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What's in a Hoard?

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Izuku Midoriya was not a good kid. It’s not that he didn’t want to be, it was just hard.

 

Since his birth, little bony protrusions poked out of his messy green hair right above his eyes, a small, green ridge grew out of the back of his neck and his canines were sharper than most kids. It wasn’t until Izuku turned four that the power behind those mutations began to eagerly let itself be known. This wasn’t surprising for the son of the number six hero: The Bronze Dragon Hero, Stormclaw. Hisashi Midoriya had gone through a similar process.

 

Hisashi lived a happy life. He had graduated from UA and quickly risen through the ranks once he went independent. He met his lovely wife, Inko, at a hero gala near Musutafu. She was halfway through college, working part time for the catering company at the event. The kind-hearted woman caught his eye and he was immediately intrigued, but what really made him take notice was when he dropped his wine glass. Before the glass could spill over his expensive suit, she had quickly yanked it away from him with her quirk. The wine had, of course, then spilled all over her. Feeling guilty, he helped clean up the mess. They got to talking and, as they say, the rest was history.

 

It was only a few years later when they married, and a few more after that when they had their son, Izuku. He was a perfectly happy boy and grew up well. Inko was careful to make sure that her son was well-socialized. She had attended many hero events with her husband over the years and noticed that, much to her dismay, many children of hero families were socially stunted. She made a concerted effort to organize play dates with her son and other kids his age; some from hero families, but Inko also kept in touch with her friends from high school. Thanks to her efforts, Izuku was a friendly and charming young boy, with an award-winning smile.

 

It wasn’t until a little later that Inko started noticing something was... off with her son. Two months after his 4th birthday was the first time she caught Izuku manipulating her. It wasn’t anything drastic, he had just convinced her to stop for ice cream after she had firmly told him no. She didn’t think much of it at the time, but looking back, it was a warning sign. Izuku had never been an argumentative child. In fact, it was the opposite. Izuku was a sweet boy, always eager to please and happy to just be alive. He was a quiet and emotional child, taking after his mother in that regard. He pouted a little when she put him to bed sometimes, as all toddlers do, but he had never won before. As time went on, it kept happening. Izuku kept getting his way. It was subtle, sinister even, but it seemed to be harmless, so Inko didn’t worry too much about it.

 

Then, things got weirder. Inko watched her son play with the other children and, over time, noticed that he was acting strange. At first, it just seemed that he was a little more intelligent than the other children, but that wasn’t it. The Iida boy seemed to be just as quick-witted as her child, but there was a difference. Izuku seemed to be more...cunning. The child found loopholes in most of the games they played and was able to talk his way into getting what he wanted almost all the time. More than once, Inko caught Izuku outright lying to the other children.

 

Now, most children lied, of course, but usually they were fairly innocent. ‘White lies’, like claiming they brushed their teeth even though you know better. Izuku’s lies were complex. They were disturbingly well put together for a four-year-old, having enough truth to be believable, and told with no doubt in the boy’s voice. Inko listened to him tell the same lie in slightly different ways to different kids, each playing off their particular personality. Inko wasn’t exactly sure how to react. Her baby was intelligent, that was clear, but it was so out of character for him. The lies seemed to come naturally to Izuku.

 

On the ride home, Inko asked him about it. “Why did you lie to the other children, Izuku?”

 

Izuku sat there for a moment, thinking. He always put his hand to his chin when he was deep in thought, and sometimes muttered under his breath, like he was doing now. She couldn’t hear what exactly he was saying over the noise around them, but she could tell he was thinking a mile a minute. “I don’t know” was the answer he settled on.

 

That was not what Inko was expecting to hear. “What do you mean?” She wasn’t letting him off the hook that easily.

 

“I just did it. I didn’t think about it, it just happened. I won in the end though, right? So, it’s okay.” Izuku said, not realizing the disturbing implications of his words.

 

“No, it’s not okay.” Izuku looked at her, confused by her statement. “Are those other children your friends?”

 

“Of course!” Izuku said, no doubt in his voice, but confusion still on his face. “They’re all my friends.”

 

“You shouldn’t lie to your friends. Part of friendship is honesty and trust,” Inko lectured him. “If they found out you lied, it would hurt them. They would lose trust in you and they might not want to be your friends anymore.” She didn’t really believe she was having to explain this to a boy as smart as Izuku.

 

The boy’s eyes widened, and then teared up slightly. “I didn’t mean to! I don’t wanna hurt my friends! I won’t do it again, mom, I promise!”

 

Inko gave her boy a consoling hug. “I’m not mad at you, Izuku. I just want you to know that lying to a friend isn’t a good thing to do. It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them.” The boy nodded in her arms, and the rest of the ride home was uneventful.

 

It was Hisashi who first identified what the issue was. At first, he was overjoyed when his son had inherited his quirk. He was one of the top heroes in the country, a titan of a man who had saved thousands of people. With his transformation quirk, he was a force to be reckoned with on land, in the skies, and in the seas. There was more than one person in Japan who thanked the powers that be that Stormclaw was a hero, and not a villain. Hisashi’s quirk turned him into a western dragon: a swimming, flying, lightning breathing lizard from the story books. It didn’t make sense to some people that a hero could have a quirk seemingly straight out of an old book, but this was a world where people grew firearms inside their arms and hands, so nobody really worried that much about it.

 

Of course, Hisashi’s quirk extended beyond pure physical transformation. The power running through his veins influenced his emotions and thoughts. Fortunately, his ‘instincts’, as he called them, mostly affected him in a positive way. Some of the ways were subtle, such as his love for beaches and oceans. It made sense to him, he was amphibious in his dragon form, and it led him to focus on disasters and attacks in and around water. He had a strong sense of justice and a drive to personally stop any injustice he saw. From his earliest memories, he only ever wanted to be a hero, how could he not when his own quirk was driving him to pursue heroics? He sometimes mused to himself that he was fortunate to live in a hero society, or he might have wound up a vigilante.

 

That isn’t to say that every aspect of his quirk was beneficial. Unfortunately, he suffered from the same flaw that his father, grandfather, great-grandfather and all his relatives that manifested an aspect of the dragon quirk all suffered from. Ever since the dragon quirk line began, the same issue always arose: they were greedy. This instinct wasn’t just the desire to acquire wealth, but to accumulate it, to hoard it. It manifested in different ways for each of them, but it was always there. Most of them could be appeased by possessing moderate displays of physical wealth. They would buy gems and jewelry and keep them safe. For the most part, they managed to come off simply as eccentric, not greedy.

 

His uncle had it the worst of anyone he had heard of in the family. He had manifested his quirk as a fearsome red dragon with fiery breath and ferocious arrogance. His lust for wealth was insatiable, and his hoard grew every day. As his wealth grew, he only became greedier. Eventually, his drive overcame his reason, and he resorted to villainy. The supervillain Terrorflame had wreaked havoc across Japan for months before he was finally defeated by All Might ten years ago.

 

Once again, Hisashi was fortunate on that front. His draconic drive to hoard wealth was less intense than many of his predecessors and relatives. He indulged it, of course, it was the only way for him to stay sane. However, his rewards from the government for being a pro hero were usually enough to satiate him. As long as he received something for his work, he was happy. For more reason than one, hero society was perfect for him.

 

This isn’t to say that he kept strictly to his government paycheck. Often when he had time off, he would go diving deep into the ocean in search of sunken ships and forgotten treasures. He would drag back what he found and arrange them in a sort of gallery under the surface of the bay outside his home. If someone were to scuba dive down there, they would be in for quite the dazzling display.

 

His family home was modest for someone with the resources he had. It was by no means small, but with only his wife and son living there with him, they had no need of a mansion. The house was furnished well and had all the modern conveniences and technologies they could want, but it was much smaller than the home one might expect a top-ten hero to have. Sure, he had bought a sizeable chunk of land to build the house on, and beachfront property at that, but he was by no means stretching himself thin. The biggest expense he had each month was the collection of rare books and historical artifacts that he kept in his vault downstairs. His penchant for collecting irritated his wife sometimes, but she was understanding.

 

He was stingy when it came to most things and he was a compulsive haggler, although he spared no expense in making sure his family was cared for. The income of a top ten hero and modest expenses led to him owning a very healthy bank account. It wasn’t the traditional dragon hoard of yore, but it worked for him. It allowed him to focus on what was truly important in his life, such as taking his son outside for a day on the beach.

 

Hisashi had taken Izuku out onto the sands behind their home one lazy summerday when he had the day off. There was a slight breeze over the sea and the sun was shining bright. Izuku had been his biggest fan since the day he could say the word ‘hero’ and the boy couldn’t have been more excited to have inherited his father’s quirk. The child begged his father to train him and teach him every opportunity he got. Hisashi was a busy man, being a top ten hero, but he made a special effort to be there for his family as often as he could. Izuku was basically vibrating with excitement as Inko helped him to put on his shoes so he could go outside.

 

Izuku ran down the path outside his backdoor towards the beach. Standing there, smiling and waiting for him was his father. The tan-skinned man stood around 6’4” and was packed with dense muscle. His bronze hair, messy like Izuku’s, laid on his head, disturbed further by the two sharp, jet-black horns that stuck out on top of his head, pointing back and a little upwards. He had a small, green crest that descended down the back of his head and neck, and a slightly wider face, indicative of his facial fins when he transformed. Izuku ran past the man, giggling, hoping to beat him to the water.

 

They spent most of the morning strolling along the beach, looking at seashells and racing across the sands. However, one of Izuku’s favorite things was to go on rides around the bay. Hisashi took off his shirt and transformed into a full bronze dragon.

 

When fully draconic, he was a bit longer than thirty feet long from nose to tail tip, and the points of his horns stood about twenty feet from the ground. He was covered, of course, in heavy bronze scales, with stripes and spots of green scales scattered intermittently. His green and bronze ridge extended from the back of his head, down to the base of his neck, and then reappeared along the full length of his tail, the crest on his tail acting like a rudder while he was swimming. An armored plate with three small black horns flared off each side of his short snout, swept back to allow him to better glide through air and water.

 

Izuku quickly scrambled up his father’s tail, climbed between the two massive wings, up his ridge, and then perched himself on his head, between his two sets of horns. Hisashi swam around the bay, keeping his head above water as his son laughed and yelled the whole time.

 

It was nearly lunchtime when they came back to land. Hisashi lowered his head and allowed Izuku to slide onto solid ground. The boy’s grin was stretched wide across his face, but not as wide as it normally was. Hisashi could tell that he was thinking about something. He let the transformation end, quickly shrinking back to his normal size, but before he could pry, the boy spoke.

 

“Dad, can you teach me how to make a claw?” Izuku had asked, wonder in his voice.

 

Hisashi smiled at the boy. He pretended to think for a second before coyly responding. “You mean… like this?” His fingertips morphed into jet-black claws as his hand grew dull bronze scales for a moment before he let go of his transformation. The look on the boy’s face was priceless.

 

“Yeah!” Izuku yelled, jumping up and down. No matter how many times Izuku saw his dad’s quirk, it was still one of ‘the coolest things ever!’ Izuku got a look of determination in his big, green eyes. “I wanna do that! Kacchan keeps showing me new tricks with his quirk and I wanna show him something that I can do too!”

 

Hisashi smiled wider, he couldn’t help it; his son’s passion was infectious. “Alright, but you have to promise me not to use it inside. Your mother will mount my head above the fireplace if you start tearing up her house.”

 

“I promise! I’ll make you proud, dad!” Izuku jumped as he answered.

 

Hisashi put one knee in the sand as he lowered himself closer to his son. “Do you feel that buzzing, electric feeling below your skin? You have to find that feeling, grab it, and pull it out.” His skin grew scales once more. “Once you have it, you have to hold onto it for as long as you can.” Hisashi let the scales fade away as he saw his little boy’s brain start firing on all cylinders, the boy cupping his chin with his left hand. “Does that make sense?”

“Uh, I think so, dad. I don’t think it’s buzzy, but I feel something.” Izuku said, still thinking hard.

 

“Oh?” Hisashi was intrigued. “What does it feel like then?”

 

“Hmmm. Sort of like water or something, it’s all flowy and drippy, but at the same time it’s all floaty and light. Is that what you meant?” Izuku looked up hopefully.

 

“Really?” Hisashi didn’t even try to hide the curiosity in his voice. He didn’t really expect Izuku to inherit a carbon copy of his quirk, his horns were different after all, but father can dream, can’t he? He thought for a moment about how his son described the feeling. Izuku’s vocabulary was limited, but Hisashi felt like he had a good idea of what his son meant. ‘Drippy and flowy, eh? Perhaps he’s copper like his cousin. I’ll have to ask her how it feels to her sometime.’ He brought himself out of his thoughts. “That’s probably it. Can you take hold of it? Grab it in your mind and in your body.”

 

Izuku closed his eyes, straining with the concentration. His right hand was held up in front of him. “I uh, I think so... it’s really hard, dad... but I think I... have it.”

“Next you need to pull it out of you,” Hisashi continued his explanation. “Focus on your hand and arm, and pull it out, like you’re flexing your big muscles for your mother.” Would he truly be a father if he didn’t take opportunities to embarrass his son?

 

Izuku was too focused to react, unfortunately. His eyes had opened again, this time staring at his hand like he was trying to burn holes through it. Tears welled up in the corners of the boy’s eyes as he strained. He grunted with effort, before a small patch of scales appeared on his hands. Partially in surprise and partially due to the strain, he fell back onto the sand with a gasp.

 

“I did it, dad!” Izuku stared at his hand, tears of joy welling up in his green eyes. “I can be a hero like you now!”

 

The transformation was too quick for him to get a good look at it, but Hisashi saw the scales. His son inherited had his smile from his father in addition to his quirk, and that Midoriya grin beamed across Hisashi’s face. “I’m so proud of you son, but we can’t stop here.” Izuku stopped crying and looked up with momentary confusion. “You know the feeling now, let’s see if you can’t bring it out fully.”

 

“Yes, sir!” The boy sprung up off the sand with a wide grin and focused on his hand again. Hisashi was always impressed with the boundless energy kids seemed to have. This time it seemed to come easier to the boy. It took much less time for him to pull the energy out the second go around. It happened slowly, and then all at once. The scales formed on the back of his hand and spread out from there. Before long, his entire hand was covered in scales, and his fingertips had elongated into short, relatively blunt claws.

 

“Dad….” Izuku was staring at his hand, the excitement had given way to pure awe. Hisashi could hear his son’s voice cracking slightly “I did it, dad…” Tears were welling up again in the boy’s eyes as he stared at his draconic hand.

Hisashi was overjoyed at first. Seeing those scales spread out and the claws form made his heart swell proudly. Then he looked again. On his son’s hand was not the yellowish scales tinged with green, but incredibly dark scales. Hisashi thought they were black at first, but the sunlight shone off them, exposing their true nature. Izuku’s scales were green.

 

At first, Hisashi tried to reason this away. He had green scales too. He was mostly bronze, but he had small stripes and markings of green across his scales. His ridge was mostly green, his eyes were green; this was nothing to worry about. The longer he stared at his son’s hand, the more that flimsy reasoning fell away. There was no yellow or bronze to be seen. The scales weren't the lighter, sea green color that he had, but dark green. There was no questioning it: his son’s scales were green. His son’s quirk had manifested in the form of a green dragon. He hoped that he was wrong. Hisashi remembered his father’s words. He was right about Hisashi, he was right about his niece, he was right about Terrorflame, but perhaps he was wrong about his son.

 

He quickly hid the doubt and small amount of fear on his face and let himself smile at his son’s accomplishment. His son stared at his hand, turning it over and flexing his clawed fingers. After just a few more seconds, he started shaking with the strain, and then the transformation snapped away, quickly melting back into his normal hand.

 

His son turned up to look at him with a dopey, sleepy look on his face, his one eye open slightly more than the other. “How long was that, dad?”

Hisashi smiled widely, only having to force it a bit, “About 15 seconds, Izuku. That was longer than me the first time I did it.”

 

His son’s eyes widened a bit before he yawned. “I’m sleepy, dad.” Izuku rubbed his eyes.

 

Hisashi let out a small chuckle. “I’m not surprised. It takes a lot of stamina to keep up a transformation like that.” Hisashi said as he scooped his son up in his arms. “Let’s get you into bed. A nap will make it all better.”


Izuku was asleep before the two of them had made it back to the house. Hisashi gave Inko a small smile and carried Izuku to his room. He opened the door into a small hero shrine. Izuku had merchandise of All Might, Endeavor and more all over the room, but no hero was more prominently featured than Stormclaw. It always was a little weird for Hisashi to see the action figures and posters of himself, but it made his son happy, so it made him happy.

 

Anything that wasn’t hero-themed in his room was colored green. Ever since he turned 4, it unequivocally became his favorite color. The small emerald that Hisashi had given him a few weeks ago was put in a place of honor on one of his shelves. He smiled at it, a bit more sadly than he usually did. He placed the sleeping boy in the bed, underneath the All Might covers. He gave the boy a small kiss on the forehead. Izuku smiled softly in his sleep.

 

“Sleep well, my little wyrmling.”

Chapter Text

Hisashi quietly closed Izuku’s door behind him and walked slowly down the hallway to the kitchen, where Inko was beginning to prepare lunch. Seeing him enter, she put the food aside and went to greet him. Her smile quickly fell as she saw the worried look on her husband’s face.

 

“What’s wrong? Did Izuku hurt himself?” She was a natural worrier.

 

“No, nothing like that. Our boy did great, in fact.” A small smile broke through his worry as he recalled the event. He pulled out a stool and sat down at the counter. “I was so proud of him, you would have been too. I’m sure once he wakes up, he’ll want to show you.”

 

“Then what has you so worried?” She sat down next to him at the kitchen counter.

 

“His scales, Inko. They weren’t bronze. They weren’t gold or silver or anything metallic.” He looked up at her with a strained expression. “They were green. Chromatic.”

 

Inko didn’t fully understand everything related to the dragon quirk, but she knew that Hisashi had told her that chromatic dragons were bad news. “I’ve never heard of a green dragon in your family. What should we do?”

 

“I don’t know.” Hisashi leaned back in his chair. “Izuku is a good boy, we know that. He’s kind and caring and the most precious thing in our lives.” He looked like he was arguing in his head. “I need to go talk to dad.”

 

Inko put a hand on his shoulder. “Do what you need to do. I’ll start making lunch.” She smiled softly.

 

Hisashi smiled back wearily, before standing up, giving her a kiss on the forehead and leaving as quickly as he came. He walked out of the kitchen and downstairs, into the basement, towards to the large metal vault door in the wall. After he entered a code, a fingerprint scan, a retinal scan and a blood sample, the vault hissed open.

 

He slowly walked to the back of the vault, past display cases full of gems, ancient coins and priceless artifacts. Well, not that priceless. Hisashi had bought them, after all. Behind a further vault door, opened by him charging the lock with a small puff of his lightning breath, sat an ornate shrine, honoring and remembering his ancestors. He walked into the sub-vault and knelt in front of the shrine. There were statues and other tokens of respect, but one in particular was the subject of his visit. Sitting in a place of honor was an intricate and exquisite statue of a bronze dragon. It stood about six inches tall and could have been mistaken for Hisashi if the markings weren’t slightly different. The base of the statue read ‘Gaku Midoriya’.

 

“Hey, dad.” Hisashi said somberly to the statue of the Bronze Dragon Hero, Thunderwing. His father had died, no, had been killed , years ago, before he had met Inko. He’d died a hero, protecting a small country village from Terrorflame. His sacrifice had allowed the villagers to escape from the red dragon, and the town still honored his father on the anniversary of the attack.

 

He remembered the heartbreak he’d felt that day. Hisashi had been back home, celebrating his brother Hatsuo’s graduation from UA. His father got a call that Terrorflame had been spotted in the countryside nearby. Gaku was the only hero in the area capable of handling a threat like the red dragon. His father simply told his family that there was an emergency and left without saying goodbye. He was a severe man; he cared, but was never much one for sentimentality. Hasashi didn’t think his brother ever forgave him for never coming back.

 

They hadn’t heard from their father for a couple hours, but the news was reporting that Terrorflame had been turned back. They both flew off towards the village and found it a smoldering wreck. Hisashi checked to make sure that there were no victims still in danger, while Hatsuo had made a beeline straight for the ravaged battlefield that used to be the rice paddies in front of the village.

 

Minutes later, Hisashi had found Hatsuo crying next to the lifeless body of their father. Hisashi had learned basic forensics and crime scene procedure, but never thought that he would have to use them like this. It appeared that he had lived for a while after the battle ended. Judging from the marks in the ground and the pooled blood, his father had dragged himself along the ground and propped himself up, leaning on a rock. He’d bled out there, but not before pulling out a picture of his family, which was clutched in his cold hand, covered in burns and blood...and the wetness of tears.

 

Hisashi had visited the town again, a few months before Izuku was born; he wanted to make peace with what had happened before his son came into the world. The people there still honored his father, and they were more than kind to him. They had even erected a small statue in his honor. Once they found out who he was, they threw him a spontaneous feast. He talked and laughed with the people, forgetting his sorrow thanks to their generosity. Getting to know the people who would not be alive if not for his father had helped him gain closure.

 

Hatsuo, however, was never the same after that day. It was only a few days after the funeral when he left to take a sidekick offer on the other side of Japan. He had mostly disconnected from Hisashi, they only spoke once or twice a year. Hisashi had tried many a time to reach out and connect more with his brother, but he was always rebuffed. Excuses of work and obligations always kept him at an arm’s length. Hisashi knew how Inko felt when he gave her excuses about why he couldn’t come home more.

 

“Dad, I’m worried about what you told me all those years ago. I’m worried about what it means for my son.”

 

Hisashi thought back to a summer day twenty years ago, not too different than the current day, when he was 11 years old. His father had been sitting next to Hisashi, the two of them resting after a training session on the beach near their home. Thunderwing was never as well known as Stormclaw was, but he was still a great hero, and Hisashi’s idol.

 

“I always thought that Izuku would follow in my footsteps, and I could follow in yours. I would teach him as you taught me. I know he idolizes me like I idolized you, but he isn’t like me. He isn’t like you.”

 

“Hisashi,” his father had said to him, seriousness in his tone. “I’m going to be going on a mission tomorrow. It’s dangerous, but nobody is better equipped to handle it than me.” The boy looked up at his father. “I’ll be going after one of my cousins. She’s embraced her destiny and started using our family’s quirk for villainy.”


“Her destiny?” Hisashi asked quietly.

 

“She’s named herself Fulgurite. She was ‘gifted’ with the full manifestation of the dragon quirk, in her case, as a blue dragon. She wields lightning, same as us.”

 

“What makes a blue dragon different than us?” Hisashi thought that only bronze dragons could breathe lightning.

 

“Blue dragons are chromatic.” Hisashi didn’t know what that word meant. Seeing his confusion, Gaku explained. “There are ten types of dragons we have seen since the family quirk manifested with my grandfather. My father identified and separated them into two categories: chromatic and metallic. You and I manifested the dragon quirk as metallic dragons. Amongst the metallic subtypes we have seen, there is brass, bronze, copper, gold and silver. The chromatic subtype manifests as black, blue, green, red and white. In simpler terms, we are named for metals, them for colors. At first it might seem arbitrary, but there is a very good reason for it.”

Hisashi didn’t dare to interrupt his father when he was talking. “Every type of dragon type is different, of course, but my father saw the primary difference between metallics and chromatics. During his lifetime, his theory was just that: a theory. But in my life, in my time being a hero... I’ve confirmed it. Metallic dragons are naturally disposed towards what society considers justice and goodness. Chromatic dragons are evil. Their quirks twist their minds and emotions, taking them down a dark path. Some resist their destiny, but it’s inevitable. All chromatic dragons are villains in the making. Remember that, Hisashi.”

 

“I know what you said, and I will never forget how you died, father.” Hisashi’s shoulders dropped. “But I cannot believe that it’s my son’s destiny to be a villain.” He placed his forehead on the ground, prostrating himself before his father’s statue, small tears falling from his eyes. “I’ve come here to ask for your forgiveness.”

 

“I am going to teach my son. He will be a great hero and defy the destiny you placed on his shoulders. I swear this.”

 


 

About 45 minutes later, Inko heard the vault door closing downstairs, signaling that her husband had finished his talk with his father. She kept preparing the katsudon, a special surprise for Izuku when he woke up, to celebrate his success. Hisashi came back into the kitchen and slumped down in the same chair as earlier. He still looked stressed, but there was no longer an air of defeat about him.

 

“Feeling better?” Inko asked gently.

 

“I am. I’ve decided that nothing will prevent Izuku from becoming a hero, especially not me.” Hisashi had the same determined look on his face that Izuku often did. “I will train our son and continue teaching him how to be a good person and a great hero.”


Inko chuckled slightly. “You must have had a good talk. It’s been years since I’ve seen you fired up like this.”

 

“It’s been a… stressful day.” He chuckled a bit too. “And it’s barely even noon. What I’m most worried about now is how the others might react. Especially Hatsuo.”

 

“He’s barely spoken to you in years. If he wants to sever all ties with you because of Izuku, then I say let him go.” Inko said sternly. “Our son is more important than that and deserves to have people around him who will support him.”

 

“He’s not your brother, Inko.” Hisashi said, a little incensed. “Saori and I are determined to patch our relationship with him. We can’t give up; it would disgrace our father.”

“You’re right. Sorry, dear.” Inko quickly apologized.

 

“No, no, it’s fine. I understand. I agree with you; Izuku is our top priority.” Hisashi assured his wife. “We should discuss how we want to move forward.”

 

“Izuku will find out soon enough that he’s chromatic. We can’t exactly hide it from him.” Inko stepped through the door as it closed behind her. “He might not understand what it means; there haven’t been any high-profile green dragons in your family, at least as far as I know. We should encourage him to talk to us about it, to ask us questions.”

“Agreed.” Hisashi was too focused to even appreciate the heavenly smell coming from Inko’s cooking. “There haven’t been any green dragons around recently that I know of, which is ironic, considering our name.” He let out a single, airy laugh. “It’s important to keep him socialized. You’ve been doing a wonderful job organizing those play dates, although with him entering preschool, there won’t be as much time for that.”

“Oh!” Inko just remembered. “Speaking of play dates, Katsuki is coming over at 1.”

 

Hisashi smiled and hummed in approval, absentmindedly staring at a spot on the counter as he kept thinking. A silence hung over the kitchen for a minute or two, but he could feel a tension in the air that was growing steadily. The source became clear as his wife broke the silence.


“If we want to raise him as best we can, his father needs to be home more often.” Inko said, a degree of bitterness in her voice as she continued to prepare lunch, not looking up. “He needs you to train his quirk and to be a positive role model in his life. You’re his father and his favorite hero.”

 

His shoulders slumped a bit. “I… you’re right. Especially now. I’ve considered moving my agency here so many times since Izuku was born, but I never made the leap. I’ll start the paperwork as soon as possible.”

She looked up stunned, and briefly entertained the possibility that she was dreaming. “After all these years?”

 

“Yes.” He sounded regretful. “I should have moved the agency when Izuku was born, but I felt too useful where I am now. I’m out of excuses, and my son needs me more than ever. I’ll have less work, but we have enough in reserve that I could retire tomorrow and we would be comfortable for several lifetimes.”

 

“Oh, Hisashi, that’s great news!” The shorter woman ran around the counter and quickly threw her arms around his waist. “Izuku will be so happy.” She gave him a great squeeze before letting go and ran back to the food she was preparing. “Lunch is almost ready. You should go wake him up.”

 


 

Hisashi peeked into his son’s room and saw the boy stirring slightly. He pushed the door open and walked over to the bed. He got down on one knee and rubbed his son’s mop of messy hair. Slowly, Izuku’s eyes opened a tiny amount. He took a deep breath and stretched his arms and legs out. “Mmm….” He said sleepily. “Katsudon…”

 

“That’s right, your mom made you your favorite meal to celebrate your first transformation.” Hisashi said softly, coaxing the boy out of his sleep. “Don’t you want to show her?”

Izuku’s eyes snapped open immediately. He threw his covers off and jumped out of bed. He ran out of his room and down the hallway, yelling “Mom! Mom!”, leaving his chuckling father in his dust.

 

Hisashi made his way back to the kitchen as Izuku was telling his mother all about their time on the beach. He was talking so fast that he was worried his son was going to pass out from a lack of oxygen. He managed to get him to take a breath by interrupting him. “Aren’t you gonna show your mom what you learned today?”

“I was getting to that, dad!” Izuku huffed. “You have to set up a story to make it good! You can’t just skip straight to the end!”

 

Both of his parents laughed out loud. “I apologize, storyteller,” Hisashi said through his big grin. “Don’t let me stop you, then.”

 

“And then when we got back to land, I asked dad to teach me how to make a claw! He told me to reach inside and grab the weird feeling in me and pull it out, so I tried but it was really hard, but then I got it!” Inko was half-worried her son was going to actually start bouncing off the walls. “Only a little bit at first, but then dad told me to try it again! It was easier that time, and I made my hand into a claw!” Izuku raised his hand up.

 

“Like this!” His hand grew a patch of scales, quickly growing until his entire hand was covered. It was slightly elongated and enlarged, with dark claws on his fingertips. He held up his claw proudly. Inko saw the dark green scales, but she didn’t react like Hisashi had. His mother just kept smiling at him, pride and joy swelling in her heart. He quickly let the transformation end, not wanting to tire himself out again.

 

“I’m so proud of you, Izuku. You’re going to be a great hero, just like your father.” Inko smiled warmly.

 

“No, he’ll be even better.” Hisashi ruffled his son’s hair again, causing the boy’s smile to widen further. “I actually have another surprise for you, son.” He looked down at the big, green eyes staring at him in wonder. “Your mom and I have been talking...and I’ll be moving my agency nearby. I’ll be home almost every day once it gets finalized.”

If any more excitement was dumped on Izuku that day, he might have actually exploded. The boy let out a loud “Woah! Really!?!” and threw his arms around his dad’s legs. The boy barely came up to his father’s waist. Tears of happiness were pouring from his eyes.

 

“Yes, really.” Hisashi clamped his hand on his son’s back, returning the hug. “Now, eat up, son. You don’t want your mother’s hard work to get cold.

 

After inhaling his food in a way that Inko usually only saw Hisashi do after a particularly tough day of work, her son was asking for seconds, and then thirds. The woman wasn’t exactly sure where he was keeping all that food, but she figured it had to do with how exhausted the boy was. Before Izuku could ask for a fourth serving, the door rang.

 

“I’ll get it!” The boy was streaking across the kitchen towards the front door before his parents could react. He skidded to a stop in front of the door and flung it open. “Auntie!” Izuku beamed up as Mitsuki Bakugou looked down at him.

 

“Heya, kiddo.” She ruffled his hair. Why did people like doing that so much?

 

Katsuki stepped out from behind her, his confident smile on his face. Red eyes met green as Izuku smiled. “Kacchan!” Mitsuki smiled at the excitable boy. He had been calling her son that since he could talk. His quirk caused some unusual tooth growth, and he had kept biting his tongue whenever he tried to say ‘Katsuki’. She figured he would have figured out the teething situation by now, but maybe Izuku just liked the nickname.

 

“Hey, Izuku.” Katsuki responded. “Ready to go?”

 

“Yeah, come on!” He gestured to the boy to come inside. He ran through the house to the backdoor, Katsuki on his heels. “I got something I wanna show you!”

 

“No running in the house!” Inko called after the boys, but they were too far gone to listen. She had come to the door to properly greet her high school friend. “Come on in, Mitsuki. I’ll put some tea on.”

 


 

The two boys ran outside to play on the beach. They ran around and climbed up the rocks around the beach, laughing and competing to see who could run the fastest and jump the farthest. Katsuki was naturally competitive and his drive was contagious, stoking that same drive in Izuku.

 

“Come on, Izuku!” Katsuki yelled behind him. “How are you gonna be a hero if you can’t keep up!” Izuku put a determined look on his face and started to catch up, causing Katsuki to try harder too. Eventually the two boys collapsed into the sand right in view of the house, panting.

 

“You’re slower than usual. What’s up?” Katsuki was an observant one, just as quick-witted as Izuku.

 

“I’ve actually already ran around a lot today…” Izuku paused for dramatic effect. “And I learned how to do something new with my quirk!”

 

Katsuki’s eyes got an excited glint in them upon hearing those words. “Oh yeah, you said you had something to show me, right? Don’t keep me waiting!”

 

Izuku concentrated on his hand and held it up so Kacchan could see him. The scales were easier to pull on every time he tried, and they quickly formed along his hand. The blonde stared at the claw in moderate amazement. He reached out and grabbed his friend’s hand, examining the claw.

 

“Woah, green scales.” Katsuki kept turning the hand over. “Those look cool. What’s with these claws, though? They’re not very pointy.” He poked the claws with his finger to confirm.

 

“I don’t know, I’ve only done this a couple times.” Izuku responded.

 

“It’s your quirk, try to sharpen them!” Katsuki encouraged him.

 

“Okay, I’ll try.” Izuku always worked better with friends than by himself. He focused on maintaining the transformation, but also on trying to sharpen the claws. Slowly, they started to elongate slightly, sharpening. With a gasp, he released both the breath he was holding and his transformation.

 

“You got closer.” Katsuki observed. “You’ll get it. Then we gotta see what you can cut with it.”

Izuku caught his breath. “Yeah, that sounds cool! But there is one other thing I wanted to check out.” He looked into his friend’s red eyes. “Do you trust me?”

“What are you thinking?” Katsuki responded, intrigued.

 

“Hit me in the arm with an explosion.” Izuku saw the blonde begin to hesitate. “Come on, you won’t hurt me. I promise! It’s for science.”

 

“Fine, but if I get in trouble for this, you’re giving me the candy in your lunchbox for a week.” He held up his hand a few inches away from Izuku and let out a small blast. Izuku recoiled slightly in pain, a red mark showing up on his arm.

 

“Ouch!” Izuku said, waving his arm around, but quickly regaining his composure. “Yeah, that hurt.” He held his other arm up to the boy, before focusing on his quirk. He focused the pull down further from his hand. His forearm was quickly covered in his dark green scales. “Now hit me again.”

Katsuki saw what Izuku was getting at and quickly obliged. He let out another explosion on the boy’s arm, trying to keep the blast the same strength. Izuku recoiled instinctually from the loud noise, but then quickly began smiling. He held up the hand, letting the transformation end. There was no mark on his arm at all. “I barely felt that!”

 

The boys began to excitedly chat about the possibilities of both of their quirks. They fantasized about being heroes and all the cool things they would do once they were the best heroes in the world. They ran around for a couple more hours, laughing and generally enjoying life. Neither of the boys noticed the worried look that Mitsuki was giving them out the porch window as she conversed with Hisashi and Inko.

Chapter Text

The next two years passed and the boys grew up, but never grew apart. If anything, they grew closer. Hisashi smiled out his front door as his son ran to jump into the car in their driveway. Since they started elementary school a few months ago, Inko and Mitsuki had alternated taking the boys to and from their school each day. The boys, now six, were basically inseparable.

 

Hisashi took a sip of his coffee and looked out at the sun shining on the waves lapping at the sands. He smiled to himself, feeling honestly glad that Katsuki was his son’s best friend. Most kids treated him differently when they found out he was the son of the number eight hero, but Katsuki didn’t.

 

He reminded Izuku to keep his eyes forward, to focus on their goal of getting into UA and becoming the best heroes in the world. Everything the two boys did together was towards that end. Sure, the blonde was a little gruff sometimes, but even he was worn down by the relentless tide of happiness that was Izuku. They gradually pushed each other closer to a happy medium, Izuku becoming more confident, while Katsuki mellowed out.

 

Later that day, Katsuki was sitting on that same beach behind the Midoriya household. He was also happy he was friends with Izuku, although he didn’t say it often. He was never good at that sort of thing, preferring to speak with his actions, rather than his words. They would usually see each other at least six days a week, barring when Izuku would go on trips with his father, and he couldn’t have been happier about it.

 

Katsuki knew that to be the best, you had to have a rival. Anybody who had ever watched a show or read a book knew that. There were lots of stories where the characters had to search long and hard for their rival, but Katsuki was lucky. He didn’t even have to look for his rival, he was basically born into having one. It was an added bonus that his perfect rival was also his best friend.

 

However, it wasn’t always like that. There was a time when the boys were playing at a park that it almost all came crashing down. A couple days after Izuku’s fourth birthday, the two boys were playing together with a couple other kids in the woods, when they had tried crossing a log that was suspended over a small stream.

 

Katsuki had lost his footing and had fallen into the water below. The other kids looked over the log, waiting for him to come back up, but Izuku did something else. So quickly that he had no idea how he did it, Izuku was down in the water with him, hand outstretched to help pull him up with a look of genuine concern in his eyes.

 

“Are you alright? Are you hurt?” Izuku asked, concern in his voice as well. “I was afraid you might’ve hit your head or something.”

 

Katsuki’s vision went red. He didn’t need help, he didn’t ask for help, so that meant that Izuku was looking down on him by assuming he needed or wanted his help. With a roar of anger, he tried to push the offending child back into the water himself for daring to patronize him. Halfway through the motion, he caught a change in Izuku’s eyes. His eyes flashed a bright green for a moment and were filled with a look of anger. Instead of falling backwards, Izuku had caught his hand by the wrist. Izuku stared at the boy with fury in his face.

 

“What was that?” Izuku asked, glaring at him.

 

Katsuki was stunned. After a few seconds, he half-heartedly tried to wrest his hand free, but his attention was still on Izuku. “Let me go! You don’t get to look down on me.” He growled in response.

 

“Look down?” Izuku’s voice seethed with anger, much deeper than normal; Katsuki noticed that some dark green scales had appeared on his neck. “I wanted to make sure that my friend was okay. How is that looking down on you?”

 

“I want to be the strongest hero! Being the strongest means never needing help,” Katsuki spat back at him.

 

“Are you stupid?” If he wasn’t so furious, Izuku might have started laughing. “I thought you were smart... My mom says you’re smart, is she lying to me?”

 

“I am smart-” Katsuki tried to continue but was cut off.

 

“I thought you were strong!”

“I am-” Katsuki was cut off again.

 

“Then why did you do that?”

 

“I told you that I don’t want anyone’s help!” Izuku’s grip on his arm was only tightening, scales slowly spreading over his hand. It was starting to get a little painful.

 

“Is that what you think strength is!? I thought you told me that you were smart! Do you think heroes don’t need help sometimes!?” Izuku didn’t give him a chance to respond as he continued to yell. “Heroes need help all the time! You watch the hero news as much as I do; I can’t believe you think that! My dad needs help all the time! Even All Might has a sidekick!”

 

Katsuki tried to speak, but words didn’t come out of his mouth. Instead, it just hung open slightly. The anger in his eyes was fading into something more akin to shock.

 

“Asking for help isn’t weakness. It takes someone who is strong -not simply physically strong, but someone truly strong- to ask for help. We’re only human, and it’s the weak and foolish ones who can’t admit that.” Izuku threw Katsuki’s arm back, knocking the blonde down into the water again. “My dad told me that. Are you calling both my mom and my dad liars?”

 

Katsuki could only stare up at him in shock and a little fear. The deeper voice coming out of Izuku’s throat was causing his fight-or-flight instincts to start flaring in the back of his mind.

 

“People need people; it’s others that make us stronger. He said that too.” Izuku threw his arm forward once again, extending his open hand to help the boy up. “So, let’s try this again. Let me help you up, so we can keep going. I pull you up, you’ll pull me up some other time: we’ll both become strong that way.”

 

Izuku’s voice raised back up to his normal, high pitched tone during the last few sentences. His eyes lost that strange glow and his furious expression had vanished, replaced by his normal wide smile. Katsuki could only stare for a few moments, as he tried to deal with what had just happened. He eventually raised his arm shakily and grasped the outstretched hand. Izuku seemed to have almost forgotten the interaction had even happened, simply pulling the blonde up and running off with a smile, but Katsuki couldn’t stop thinking about what he had said.

 

That was the day that Katsuki understood that Izuku was something else. There was something instinctually unsettling with the way he talked and the way his eyes moved during that conversation, and what he had said didn’t sound like it came out of the mind of a four-year-old.

 

Katsuki knew that he had found his rival; it was right in front of his face the entire time. The other kids kept telling him how great his quirk was and how he was going to be the greatest hero, but Izuku didn’t talk like that. He called him out when he did something dumb, and he wasn’t afraid to let his displeasure be known. Katsuki was always pushing, be it himself or others, and he had found the right person to push back.

 

He never thanked Izuku for pulling him up; he wasn’t great at talking about his feelings. So he expressed his gratitude in the best way he knew: pushing Izuku harder. In response, Izuku returned the favor. The two of them would train nearly every day. They weren’t old enough to lift real weights or anything, but they did what they could. Izuku was nearly as competitive as him, and every playground game of tag or hide-and-seek would cause both boys to give it their all, much to the dismay of many of the other kids.

 

That wasn’t to say their relationship was suddenly perfect, or that they always got along. Izuku was almost too friendly for his own good, in his opinion. He was friends with almost every single kid in their grade, not just their own class. It annoyed him a little, but he knew that getting angry about it was dumb. He used to get frustrated when his friend would get distracted, but that didn’t help. He learned to just smirk and let it happen; there was no use in trying to stop Izuku when he had his mind set on something, and he was determined to be friends with everyone.

 

That wasn’t what really got to him, no, it was the unsettling way he went about it. It seemed like it was a game to him. Just about every day, he would go up to someone he didn’t really know or wasn’t really friends with and just start talking to them. He would start asking them questions or talking to them about seemingly random stuff, but as Katsuki listened, he quickly realized that Izuku’s words were anything but random.

 

Every topic he talked to them about was carefully selected to make them the most comfortable and open. With some kids he talked about heroes, others he asked them about their families, others he talked about homework or their hobbies. With one kid he had just talked about flowers. This convinced Katsuki; this absolutely was a game for Izuku. One he was very invested in winning, as the prize was friends.

 

By the end of the second month of their first year of elementary, everyone in their class was his ‘friend’. They weren’t really friends, in the sense that Katsuki was his friend, but they were people who seemed to be open to talking with him and maybe playing games on the playground with him. Katsuki kept it to himself that he thought most of these kids only liked him because of his dad. Which to be fair, while Izuku was great at talking to people about what they liked, it was basically impossible to get him to talk about himself. So, for the other kids in the class, there was nothing else to like him for, because they didn’t really know him. Tough luck for those kids, since Izuku was a fantastic person to have as your friend.

 

Katsuki knew he irritated his friend, too. “Kacchan, be nice!” was uttered at least once a day. He said it a lot less than he used to, so that was progress. He couldn’t help it, he just wasn’t as outgoing as Izuku. He spoke to a few people in class, but he couldn’t keep up with his friend when it came to talking. That was another part of their friendship that worked so well. When they hung out to train or talk heroes, Izuku loved to talk, and would do so nearly the entire time and Katsuki would speak when he had something to say. He wasn’t introverted per se, but he was more than willing to keep his thoughts to himself. Nearly everyone except Izuku wasn’t really worth his time.

 

He tried to catch himself whenever a thought like that crossed his mind. Thinking like that was arrogant, and Uncle Hisashi said that arrogance wasn’t an attribute a hero should have. Katsuki always listened to him, especially when he talked about being a hero. He would have had to truly been an idiot to ignore hero advice from someone in the top ten. Uncle Hisashi was a great hero, and his second favorite, after All Might, of course, but he was also just a good guy. He was smart enough to know that some heroes put on a friendly charade when dealing with the press or fans, but Stormclaw was the real thing. It made sense, Izuku had to have learned that smile from someone.

 

Auntie Inko was no slouch, either. She was shrewd and perceptive and a lot brighter than most adults he knew. His father often told him that Izuku had gotten his brains from his mother. She also had a natural talent for empathy and a drive to help people that rivalled any hero. She was the one who got him to finally stop crying when Izuku had accidentally broken his finger when they got a little too into their training.

 

He didn’t cry much, but he felt like his first broken bone was a good excuse. He was panicking, not only from the pain, but from the way his finger was bending in a way it shouldn’t. Izuku did his best to help him, of course, but the dragon boy was almost freaking out more than he was. She had swept him up in her arms as soon as she could reach them and managed to calm him down nearly instantly with her kind words and reassuring hug.

 

Auntie Inko’s ability to tell what people were feeling and how to help them was something he didn’t think he would ever understand, but he was even more grateful because of that. Maybe if she was born with a more powerful quirk or a more adventurous personality, both of Izuku’s parents would have been pro heroes.

 

He smirked to himself. He was really glad that he had all three of the Midoriyas looking out for him. Who knows what kind of person he would be if Auntie and Uncle weren’t there to help him, and Izuku wasn’t there to keep him honest.

 

“Kacchan?” Izuku’s voice pulled him out of his reverie. “It’s not like you to be caught up in your thoughts like that. Am I rubbing off on you?”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” His response to the teasing was half-hearted at best. His competitive smirk grew across his face. “You ready to show your dad how far we’ve come?”

 

“You better be!” Hisashi was walking down the path behind his house towards the two six-year-olds on the beach. Hisashi knew how to nurture their competitive nature without inflating their egos, something that could have been quite dangerous if left unchecked. About once a month he got the boys together on a Sunday afternoon to benchmark their progress. The boys loved it: it meant they got to hang out and see how much they improved all at once. “Which one of you is going first this time?”

 

Katsuki threw his hand up. “Izuku went first last month. It’s my turn.”

 

“Alright. Let’s see here…” Hisashi was flipping through the notebook in his hand. “You’ve both done your warm-ups, right?” Seeing both boys nod, he continued. “Let’s start with the basics then. Katsuki, let off the biggest one-handed explosion you can do safely. You know the drill; no hurting yourself. A hero who hurts himself has no place on the battlefield.” He pulled out a small device as he lectured.

 

“Yes, Uncle,” Katsuki droned before jogging several meters away from his friend. He planted his feet and let out a long breath, centering himself. He raised his hand up to the sky and let his quirk go. With a grunt, an explosion ripped from his palm, kicking up the sand around him and scaring the gulls further down the beach.

 

The device beeped a couple times in Hisashi’s hand. “That was an 8% improvement in raw force produced, and a 5% increase in explosion size. Good results.” He wrote down the data from the device. “Alright Izuku, same thing. Remember how I taught you to use your diaphragm.”

 

“Yes, sir!” Izuku traded places with his friend, both exchanging playful jabs at each other as they passed. He planted his feet like Katsuki had and took a deep breath. He focused on pulling out his power like he had learned to on this very beach two years prior, centering it in the center of his chest. He leaned forward into his breath as he opened his mouth and let his attack flow forward. Green smoke poured from the boy’s mouth, shooting forward several meters before billowing outward and dispersing in the air.

 

Hisashi smiled proudly, recalling with a chuckle the first time they had found out exactly what Izuku’s breath was. It was only a few weeks after the first time he had shown him how to create his claw that he had taught his son how to use the signature attack of the dragon quirk.

 

“Focus your power in the center of your chest, as the base of your lungs. You should feel it pooling, coalescing.” He shot a glance at his son, “Uh, do you know what that word means?” Izuku nodded quickly, prompting him to continue with a small chuckle. “Of course you do.”

 

“Where was I? Right, feel the sensation in your chest, but don’t pull it out like you do for your scales. Instead, breathe deep and fill your lungs. You should be able to breathe much deeper than normal.” He demonstrated by taking a great breath of air himself. “Once you are ready, release it. Remember what I said, don’t try to pull it out; let your breath push it out.” He showed by letting a great storm of lighting erupt from his throat and into the sky, crackling with power.

 

Izuku’s eyes sparkled in awe at the display before he caught himself staring. He widened his feet slightly, ready to try. Hisashi saw his son begin to strain, attempting to pool his quirk in his chest. The boy took a deep breath after a few seconds, gulping down air. “Okay, here I go!” He opened his mouth and pushed with all his might.

 

What came out wasn’t what Hisashi had expected. He truthfully didn’t know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t this. A pathetic puff of dark green gas escaped from the boy’s mouth, dissipating quickly in the sea breeze. Hisashi stared, marveling at what he had seen. He had seen lightning, fire, frost and even acid breath, but never...gas? What exactly was it?

 

“How was that, dad?” Izuku asked hopefully, panting slightly.

 

Hisashi smelled a faint acrid scent on the breeze, crinkling his nose slightly. “Good, son. That wasn’t much, but that’s to be expected of your first time. Let’s continue other training for now, we can come back to the breath weapon later.” His son nodded, ready to keep pushing himself.

 

A few weeks later Hisashi had organized a doctor’s appointment for his son to find out exactly what his breath was. After several tests, it became clear that Izuku breath was a poisonous one. Functionally useless against non-living targets, but potentially deadly against living ones. That wasn’t a damning statement, all the breath attacks of the dragon quirk were deadly when used recklessly.

 

Izuku was worried about the results. “Poison doesn’t sound very heroic,” he had lamented on the ride home. “It’s just good for hurting people.”

“Izuku, I don’t know what kind of humanitarian applications for fire or acid that you’re thinking about, but I assure you that those situations don’t come up very often.” Hisashi had laughed a little at his boy’s whining. “Part of being a hero is stopping bad people. Do you want to know what I think? I think you’re pretty lucky.”

His son has looked up at him when he said that, silently asking him to elaborate. “Well you see, there are a lot of quirks out there that make their owner tougher, and a lot of people who are just plain tough. Some bigger villains don’t go down even after a blast of my lightning. There’s not a whole lot of gas-based quirks out there in my experience, being able to assault people’s breathing can be very useful.” He put his finger up emphasize his point. “No matter how tough someone’s skin is or how dense their musculature, they still have to breathe.”

 

Hisashi knew the look on his son’s face well. He had placed his hand on his chin and was staring intently at the ground. The muttering that soon began only confirmed that Izuku had entered deep thought. It broke quicker than he expected it to and Izuku looked straight at him again. “Dad, you can control the output of your breath, right?”

 

“Well sure, not every attack is my strongest.” He was pleased that his son had figured out where he was trying to lead him. “Once you get a handle on it, you’ll be able to adjust the potency to what you need.” This led to Izuku resuming his muttering with an intensity usually only reserved for when he was analyzing heroes. Hisashi chuckled a bit to himself. He supposed that’s what he was doing.

 

“-ad! Dad!” Izuku was raising his voice slightly to get his attention, pulling his father out of his memories. “First Kacchan and now you, what is going on today? Why is everybody spacing out?”

 

“Oh, uh, sorry boys, I was just reminiscing.” Hisashi said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. He looked at the device in his hand, never losing his proud smile. “Great job, son. That was about 9% more volume than last month. Let’s keep going with the other tests.”

 

At the end of the day, the boys were exhausted, but proud. They were moving forward, like always. To them, their futures were bright and there was nothing that could stop them.

Chapter Text

Izuku was eight when everything changed.

 

His cousin Ryuko was a great person and loved it whenever she came over with his aunt and uncle for family dinners. She wasn’t his only cousin, but she was the only one he knew personally. Izuku knew that Ryuko had an older brother, but he didn’t know anything about him other than his name, Raizou. He had never met the man, and he always wondered why nobody ever talked about him, but he never got anywhere when he tried to ask about him. On one fateful spring day, Izuku found out why.

 

He was woken up early on a Saturday morning by his father’s shout of “Love you, Son!” followed by the sound of the door slamming. Izuku had raced out of bed and to one of the front windows in time to see great, bronze wings sprout from his father’s back as he raced in the direction of downtown. Izuku knew what that meant: a villain, and judging by how fast his father had ran out of the house, it was a particularly dangerous one.

 

Izuku was always worried, of course, but he trusted his dad. Sure, he wasn’t number one in the charts, but anyone in the top ten was a massive powerhouse. He quickly ran back to his room and turned his computer on, scanning the internet for news on the attack. He found a news site that had a live stream of the scene and with a gasp he realized why his father had been called.

 

A dragon stood in the middle of downtown, fires and street lights illuminating the black scales of the beast. The flashes of its face that Izuku could see created a terrifying image. The dragon’s eyes glowed with an eerie yellow, sunk deep into its sockets, it’s face was gaunt, and its nostrils were wide, creating a visage of a skull filled with sharp teeth. Green liquid dripped from its mouth as it made threatening motions with its two bone-white horns which curved forward, ready to gore anyone who came within its reach. It roared, causing the nearby ground to tremble and windows to crack. All things considered, to Izuku, it didn’t look fully grown. It was clearly smaller than his father, but it was still a fearsome creature.

 

The dragon reared back and opened its mouth, a powerful torrent of viscous green liquid shot straight towards one of the other heroes already on site. The hero dodged, but the car behind him caught the brunt of the attack. The car was quickly dissolved to scrap as the potent acid went to work. Anyone hit by that attack would certainly have been killed, or at least maimed. The heroes there had no chance of even approaching the black dragon, but there was someone coming that did.

 

Stormclaw smashed down onto the street in front of the other dragon in his fully draconic form. Everyone could immediately see the difference in size between the two. However, even a smaller dragon was still a dragon. Stormclaw roared at the black dragon, lightning crackling from his mouth. The entire street shook and some nearby windows shattered, showing just how much more powerful he was than the villain. An intimidation effort, Izuku noted; an attempt to end the conflict without any more combat. The other dragon recoiled slightly, before lowering its head.

 

Izuku recalled his father's lessons on fighting other dragons. The height and length of dragons was an advantage in most situation, but against other dragons, it was best to keep low, to avoid exposing the underbelly. While still armored, the underbelly was much more vulnerable to other dragons, for it lacked scales.

 

His father had told him that their scales, in addition to being incredibly tough, provide ‘natural’ protection against other dragons, as they are resistant to breath attacks from other dragon quirk users. It made sense; everyone in his family did possess a vastly similar quirk, after all, and a dragon was immune to its own breath. Dragons of the same type, or those that possessed the same type of breath, like red and gold dragons, were borderline immune to each other as well.

 

The dragon dropped into an aggressive stance, clearly wanting to fight. Stormclaw lowered himself as well, before letting a concentrated blast of lightning shoot towards the other dragon. The black dragon tried to dodge, but the lightning blast was too fast; the beast was sent skidding backwards as electricity crackled and danced over its body.

 

The black dragon regained its footing and turned back to face Stormclaw. Not to be outdone, the beast roared and let out another torrent of acid towards the hero. Instead of dodging, Stormclaw simply turned into the blast, letting the tough scales of his shoulder and back take the attack. The acid dripped harmlessly off him, burning the pavement below. Izuku noted that this was a second intimidation attempt: Stormclaw was sending the message that the dragon was severely outclassed and had no hope of victory.

 

This, once again, did not deter the villain. It roared in anger before flapping its wings, kicking up dust and debris. With its powerful legs, it surged towards Stormclaw, head low to the ground, attempting to get a hit on the larger dragon’s underbelly. His father was much too experienced to let a simple attack like that work, and struck the dragon in the head with a mighty swipe of his claw, knocking it off its feet and crashing into the ground. The dragon quickly recovered, black blood dripping from its head and melting the road where it dripped. It bared its teeth and came at Stormclaw from the side. The bronze dragon turned harshly, whipping his powerful tail into the villain.

 

The black dragon was thrown back, smashing limply into one of the cars along the street. Stormclaw was on him in an instant, moving with speed that no creature that large had any right to possess. Before the black dragon could recover, the hero had his jaw wrapped around its neck. Lightning crackled menacingly off his fangs, causing the other dragon to flinch in pain. A third, and final, intimidation effort.

 

The dragon’s wings slumped in submission, and it began to release their quirk’s transformation. Stormclaw let the rapidly shrinking villain out of his deadly jaws, but placed a strong claw on top of them, pinning them to the ground and they reverted. As the dust settled, something had been made very clear once again: the best way to combat a dragon is with another dragon.

 

With a nod of affirmation, the hero let the police and the other heroes know that it was safe to approach. The gathered crowd began to cheer, and it was only a few minutes later that the villain, a black-haired man in his early twenties, was packed up into a police van and taken away. Izuku caught the man’s face, and felt like he recognized him, but couldn’t place it.

 

It wasn’t until a few hours later, once his father had come home and endured the deluge of questions that his son had prepared for him, that the mystery was solved. Izuku was eating breakfast, watching the news on his phone. The villain’s name was released, and Izuku dropped his spoon. The black-haired man’s picture stared at him through the screen, with the words ‘Raizou Tatsuma’ underneath. This man was his cousin. Izuku knew that he was obviously related to him, but to find out that he was someone so closely related was a little unsettling. His father looked at him solemnly, wordlessly communicating with his son.

 

The news report continued. Apparently, Raizou was a lowlife with a large criminal record. The reporter on site said that, according to their sources, the rampage started when a back-alley deal went south. Raizou was angered and lashed out. The bodies of seven other criminals were found in a nearby alleyway, but thanks to the quick actions of the other nearby heroes, there were no other deaths. Many civilians were harmed, and the property damage was immense, but it was much better than it could have been if Stormclaw hadn’t shown up.

 

Raizou had turned out so differently than his sister; they could hardly have been more different. Was it all due to the influence of their quirks? Regardless, Izuku put the thoughts away for now. He had a busy day ahead of him and he couldn’t afford to be distracted thinking about his estranged cousin.

 


 

On Monday, Izuku went to school as normal. He walked into class, was greeted by most of the other students, asked a few questions about people’s weekends then sat down in his seat. The school day continued without interruption. He took diligent notes, although he didn’t really need to. He already knew the material, after all. Ever since he started elementary school, Izuku and Katsuki had been receiving private tutoring.

 

Obviously, his father wanted to send him to a prestigious private academy; a place where Izuku could receive the best education available to him. However, Izuku didn’t want to be separated from Kacchan. While his father had no problem paying for him to attend with Izuku, the blonde’s parents refused to accept that kind of charity. Izuku thought that they were being foolish, but he knew that people’s pride was important.

 

Faced with the threat of not being able to see Kacchan nearly as often, Izuku came up with a solution.

 

Izuku proposed that Kacchan and he attend their local public school. This would allow Izuku to maintain normal social interactions, which he knew his parents were interested in him doing, and keep in contact with is best friend. So that he would not suffer from a potentially lower-quality education, his parents would hire a private tutor to give him lessons, and Kacchan could join him. This would appease Kacchan’s parents, his parents, and would teach him better study habits and discipline.

 

His sales pitch was a success. For the past two years, the two boys had spent nearly every Saturday with their private tutor, alternating sessions between their houses.

 

She ran them through all the subjects at an intense pace, cramming what seemed like entire weeks of schooling into a single day. She assigned them homework for every other day of the week, more than doubling their homework load. She was a ruthless taskmaster, but the boys were always up for a challenge. The end result was that they received an education that might have even been superior to the private academy that his father had in mind.

 

This helped Izuku make more of his ‘friends’ as well. He was always willing to help give advice or tutor the other kids. He never did so at lunch, however. Lunch was his personal time, just for him and his best friend.

 


 

Later that same day at lunch, Katsuki looked over at his friend at their table, spotting the notebook in his hand. Izuku was always writing in one of those during his free time. The cover of this one read ‘Hero Analysis for the Future No. 4’, causing him to raise his eyebrows.

 

“New notebook already?”

 

“Yep!” Izuku responded happily, taking a deep breath. “I always love the smell of a brand-new notebook. Number 3 lasted me a while, but with that villain attack over the weekend, I filled up the last pages pretty quick.” He didn't say ‘my cousin’ because he wanted to distance himself from the event. Katsuki understood.

 

“Yeah, I’m not surprised,” he responded after swallowing his food. “It’s not often we get to see your dad in action like that. Uncle ‘Sashi is a force of nature when he wants to be.”

 

Katsuki returned to his meal, thinking quietly as he ate. Izuku kept writing hurriedly in his notebook, muttering under his breath. Katsuki smirked as he caught the sketch of Stormclaw on the first page; Izuku always made his dad the first entry of every notebook. The rest of their lunch time continued as it often did, uneventful and relaxing.

 

It was the walk back to class that was eventful.

 

Lunch had ended, and the two boys were walking side by side when they heard a voice behind them. “Oi. Are you Midoriya?” Both boys looked back to see two taller kids approaching them. They were at least two or three grades older than them.

 

“Yes, that’s me,” Izuku responded with a smile, turning to face them. “Can I help you?”

 

“Yeah, you can tell me when you’re going to go nuts and start attacking us,” the taller of the two older students said, a distinct note of frustration in his voice.

 

Izuku and Katsuki both froze.

 

“I, uh, what?” It wasn’t often that Izuku was left speechless, but he certainly wasn’t expecting to be asked a question like that.

 

“He asked when you’re going to stop pretending that you’re a normal kid and start trying to kill us all.” The other boy took an aggressive step forward.

 

“I- I- I wouldn’t-” Izuku had taken a step back. Several students had stopped to watch the conflict.

 

“Cause that’s what your family does, right? Or do you think that everyone has forgotten about Terrorflame?” The shorter one continued his accusations.

 

Katsuki knew that none of these kids had memories of Terrorflame. Izuku could give you the date, time and location that he was finally brought to justice, and it was years before any of the students at this school were born. These kids were mad about something and were taking it out on Izuku. Sure, he was related to Terrorflame, but he was also related to Stormclaw, and Thunderwing, and Gallant. Izuku could claim just as many heroes as his ancestors as he could villains.

 

He wasn't really listening to what the kids were saying at this point. He was more concerned with how his friend was reacting. The boy was trying to shrink down, trying not to further anger the larger, already angry students. He had taken a step back, let his head drop, and otherwise looking like he was submitting. Or at least that’s what he appeared to be doing, but Katsuki knew better.

 

Izuku did this whenever he was put into a corner. He pretended to back down, pretended to submit, but it was all a ploy. Katsuki looked at his green eyes, looking past the fake fear inside of them and saw them analyzing and calculating. He needed to diffuse this situation before it escalated, for the sake of both parties. That’s what a hero would do. He knew Izuku didn’t need to be protected, but just because someone doesn’t need something doesn’t mean they don’t deserve something.

 

“Leave him alone.” Katsuki took a step forward, putting himself between the wolf-playing-sheep and the older boys.

 

“Why are you protecting him? You know he’s just gonna kill you first when he finally snaps,” the taller boy sneered.

 

Katsuki didn’t acknowledge the boy’s words. “I said, leave him alone. Go to class. Let’s not get in trouble. Come on, Izuku, we don’t want to be late.” He half turned, trying to get his friend to move.

 

The older students apparently had a lot of pent up emotions; frustration, anger, indignation, just to name a few. The spikey-haired blonde boy tried to defuse the situation, but instead, his cold dismissal just set the boys off. The smaller one took a swing at Katsuki.

 

The punch may have actually hit him if he hadn’t been sparring with Izuku under the supervision of a top-ten hero for half of his life. Katsuki had great reflexes, and easily dodged the punch. He stared back at the boy, his anger overruling his judgement. He was getting heated now, and squared up to the two of them, putting Izuku behind him.

 

The shorter boy took another swing, then another. Katsuki dodged them both easily, but then the taller boy joined in. The students surrounding the spectacle started cheering as the blonde avoided the punches from the taller students. However, in the end, they were bigger, and he was outnumbered.

 

A punch from the taller boy hit Katsuki straight in the jaw. He’d been hit harder, a lot harder, but it was still a solid hit. His vision went blurry for a second and he stumbled back. Before he could regain his footing, he felt something shoot past him at dizzying speed.

 

He got his bearings back as a crash echoed through the hallway. He looked through the stars in his vision to see that Izuku had flown past him and tackled the boy who had punched him. Izuku was sitting on the larger boy’s chest, pinning him to the ground. Katsuki could only see the back of his friend’s head, but he could imagine the expression on his face.

 

“YOU DO NOT HIT KACCHAN!” Izuku screamed at the top of his lungs, voice deepened with the unconscious activation of his quirk.

 

Izuku reared his right arm back, clenched in a fist, and brought it down on the boy’s face with furious, burning anger. With a loud, dull noise, the boy was knocked out. The punch was solid, but judging from the sound,  Katsuki doubted any bones were broken. Izuku whipped his head towards the other aggressor, allowing Katsuki to see his eyes.

 

They were glowing with the tell-tale energy of his quirk. They moved unnaturally, turning and focusing on the older student in a distinctly reptilian fashion. The other boy took a terrified step backwards, before turning and running down the hallway. The rest of the students followed suit, leaving the two friends with the unconscious student.

 


 

The older students were suspended for three days for the fight, while Izuku was suspended for a week. Due to the testimonies of other students that he only dodged and tried to help, Katsuki was spared any formal punishment.

 

His parents had come rushing to the school when they received the call. They met with the principal and after a brief meeting, they were on their way home. Izuku had barely spoken a word since the event, and he was still clearly fuming. Inko, in her wisdom, knew that Izuku needed to confront what he was feeling. She started gently.

 

“Izuku, honey? Why did you hit that boy?”

 

Izuku thought for a moment. He was still angry, furious even, but not at her. He continued to glare out the window while he finally spoke. “He hurt Kacchan.”

 

“You hit Katsuki all the time, and so does your father.” She was playing devil’s advocate to help encourage her son to think .

 

“That’s different. We are training, helping each other,” Izuku huffed.

 

“That's why you're not angry at your father when he hits Katsuki, but what about them hitting him made you so angry? You know he's tough enough to handle himself. Defending your friend is fine, but your anger went past that. Why?” She was moving in for the metaphorical kill.

 

That may have seemed like a harsh line of questioning for an eight year old, but Inko knew what she had to do to push her son to think. “Because they were trying to hurt Kacchan. They hit him. They…” He trailed off for a moment as he considered what he wanted to say, thinking like his mother wanted him to.

 

“They hurt what’s mine.”

 


 

Hisashi took the week of Izuku’s suspension as vacation. Inko believed that he should be the one to oversee his punishment, as the incident was clearly quirk-related. Early on Wednesday, the second full day of Izuku’s suspension, he got a notification from his home security system that there was a car approaching down the driveway.

 

Hisashi raised an eyebrow, moving over to the screen on the wall to view the security camera feed. He hadn’t expected anybody that day until much later, after all. He flipped the screen on, watching the car come to a stop. He saw the man that stepped out of the car and his eyes widened. Then his brow furrowed. He made his way to the door, opening it as the man approached.

 

“To what do I owe the pleasure?” Hisashi asked, a forced politeness in his voice.

 

“I was in the neighborhood and decided to drop by,” the man responded in kind.

 

“I don’t believe that for a second.”

 

“Fine. I came to talk about your son, in light of Raizou.”

 

Hisashi sighed. He had expected as much. “Alright, come on in then.”

 


 

Izuku had woken up early that morning to finish his homework. Kacchan had been coming over after school to bring it to him, which he was grateful for. It was mostly just busy work for him, of course, but he didn’t want his grades to slip. He was already missing a week of school, falling further behind was unacceptable.

 

He sighed. He felt bad for hitting that boy, especially as hard as he did; he really didn’t know what had come over him. Izuku remembered doing it, but his memory felt like he was watching someone else do that, not himself. It was honestly mostly a blur. One moment he was pretending to be scared, letting those bullies think they had him where they wanted him, and the next he felt something snap.

 

Seeing those jerks hit Kacchan had made him so unreasonably angry. Kacchan was tough, he didn’t need to be protected. But...Izuku didn’t need to be protected either, but Kacchan stepped out anyway. He was just returning the favor to his friend. They protected each other like friends are supposed to do, right?

 

That wasn’t what it felt like, though. It felt… natural to lash out at them. The moment that they hit his friend, they had made a mistake. They dared to hurt something of his, to disrespect him like that. It was an insult he could not stomach. But as soon as his rage had left him, he had felt disgusted. His anger on that ride home with his parents had been directed at himself, not the bullies.

 

Those thoughts weren’t heroic, his actions weren’t heroic. His actions were past merely protective, they were possessive. He became angry at himself again, frustrated with his thoughts. He needed to talk to his dad about these feelings. His dad wouldn’t judge him, and nobody could be better suited to help him.

 

Izuku left his room and went to find his dad, but to his surprise, he heard his father talking to someone. His tone was a little heated, and the man he was talking to didn't sound much happier. He debated just going back to his room, but his curiosity got the better of him. He walked towards the back porch, pretending he didn’t hear the voice and just walked right in. He planned on acting surprised as an excuse, but it turned out he didn't need to act.

 

Sitting there next to his father was another man who looked quite similar to him, although a few years younger. His hair was pulled back in a small bun and was a golden blonde instead of his father’s bronze. Two golden horns swept back across his head, starting right above his eyes, and two smaller horns stuck out on each side of his head. He had a long, wispy moustache and beard, and a shrewd look in his eyes. Izuku knew this man. This was the Gold Dragon hero, Purifier. He stared at the man, the man stared back. They both blinked.

 

“Uncle Hatsuo?”

 


 

“Why is he home? Isn’t it a school day?” Hatsuo asked his brother after Izuku had been sent away to go play downstairs.

 

Hisashi sighed. “He got suspended.”

 

“For what?” Eyebrow raised in vindication.

 

“He got in a fight. He wasn’t the instigator.” Hisashi defended his son.

 

“This is what I’m talking about, Hisashi.” He pointed his finger at the table in emphasis. “He’s dangerous, it’s not his fault, but it is his fate.”

 

“You know, he isn’t an actual dragon.” Hisashi said firmly. “He’s a boy with a quirk. We are just a family with a quirk.”

 

“You know he has dangerous instincts. I can’t believe you’re still training him.” Hatsuo folded his arms. “You’re training a future villain. You know that. You know how strong our instincts become.”

 

“You don’t know my son.” Hisashi was officially angry.

 

“There has never been a chromatic hero. The closest a chromatic can get to being a hero is not being a villain.” Hatsuo was heating up too.

 

Hisashi internally rolled his eyes. His brother had probably been sitting on that line for a while.

 

Hisashi had lost enough of his temper to go for the throat. “What would dad say if he saw you now, wanting to throw your own nephew to the wolves.”

“At least you might know!” Hatsuo was reacting as he expected: violently. “I never got to know the man. It was all ‘Hisashi this’, ‘Hisashi that’! I was finally successful. I was finally worthy of his attention. And then on the day of my success, he was cut down.” His voice lowered as he hissed through his clenched teeth. “ By. His. Own. Brother. Blood doesn’t mean a damn thing to these monsters.”

 

“What, are you suggesting that I let you detain my son right now? To toss him in prison like the criminal he is?” He asked sarcastically.

 

“Of course not. Just because Purifier isn’t as high in the rankings as Stormclaw doesn’t mean that I’ve suddenly forgotten how the law works.” Hatsuo had stood up, his visit clearly coming to an end. “I’ve come here to ask, no, beg you to stop training a chromatic dragon. You can’t think that it’s a good idea.”

“No, I think it’s a fantastic idea.” Hisashi stood up as well. “Izuku is a strong boy in more way than one. No amount of instinct is going to change his desire to be a hero. He wants nothing more than to protect, help and befriend people.”

 

“You say that after he got suspended for fighting?” Hatsuo retorted.

 

“He was accosted, bullied by other students who just saw his family, and not him. He didn’t react until they hit his friend. They attacked him and his friend because of who he was related to, and who they feared he would become, and not for who he is.” Hisashi pointed an accusing finger. “Exactly like what is happening right now.”

 

Hatsuo had made his way to the door. “Fine. Disgrace our father’s memory and train a chromatic. Just know that I’ll always be looking out for you, brother. ” He said the word sardonically. “When your son finally embraces his destiny and turns on you, I just hope I’ll make it in time to stop him before he kills you.”


He slammed the door on his way out, leaving an angry and exasperated Hisashi behind him.

 

Hisashi sighed and rubbed his forehead before letting out a small, tired chuckle. “Well. That was melodramatic.”



Chapter Text

Izuku was 12 when his father didn’t come home from work one night.

 

Sure, his father came home a little late sometimes, but Izuku was getting worried. His mother had started helping behind the scenes at the agency once it moved nearby, so she wasn’t home either. He would have been home alone, but Uncle Masaru was over to babysit. His father told him that they were going to be home late tonight, but it was nearly midnight and they still hadn’t even heard from them.

 

Katsuki and he were both trying not to fall asleep. Izuku didn’t want to sleep while his parents were still gone, and Katsuki wasn’t going to fall asleep while his friend stayed up, while Masaru tried to hide his own worry, reading a book to calm his nerves. All three of them nearly jumped out of their skin when Masaru’s phone rang.

 

“Inko? Where are you?” Masaru hastily asked when he finally answered. The two boys noticed the color quickly drain from his face, causing them to shoot a concerned glance at each other. “A-All right. We’ll be there as soon as we can.”

 

This definitely had the boys worried. He stood up, looking grim. “Izuku, your father is in the hospital. Your mother didn’t tell me how he’s doing, but he’s going into emergency surgery soon. Now, I’m sure he’ll be fine, but you boys need to get ready, we’re leaving right now.”

 

The boys sprang into action, not speaking a word. Truth be told, Izuku had expected something like this. His father was a top ten hero, and the slight nervousness he detected when they left that morning let him know that something was happening. He knew how dangerous being a hero could be, but no child is ever truly ready for their parent to be hurt.

 

The car ride over to the hospital was silent. Izuku doubted he would have heard them if either Bakugou said anything, anyway. He was too deep in thought and worry. He was scanning through every news app he had on his phone, looking for any report of Stormclaw, but he found nothing, not even a sighting. That was his second clue.

 

They arrived at the emergency department entrance and Masaru couldn’t stop the boys before they jumped out of the car and dashed inside. They skidded to a stop once they got inside, looking frantically around for anyone they knew or any way to find Izuku’s father.

 

“Boys!” The boys whipped around just in time to get crushed in a great hug from Inko. After a few seconds she let them go, before looking around. “Did you run off without Masaru?”

 

“W-well, we were worried!” Izuku responded. He looked at his mother, the traces of dried tears were still present on her face, although it looked like she had tried to clean them off. He knew his mother was just as emotional as he was, if not more so. He guessed that she wasn’t crying now simply because she was out of tears for the moment.

 

They waited a few seconds for an out-of-breath Masaru to jog into the building. He looked around quickly for the boys, calming down when he spotted them standing next to Inko.

 

“Masaru,” Inko stood up to greet him properly, “thank you for bringing them so quickly. Let’s head up.” A smile attempted to make its way across her face, but failed.

 

“He’s doing okay. He’ll be okay.” She sounded like she was reassuring herself just as much as them.

 

They stepped inside and let the doors close as Inko selected the 4th floor button. The elevator ride was silent other than the odd sniffle from Inko. They stepped out of the elevator and began walking down a hallway. The hospital was eerily quiet and had a faint chemical smell that permeated everything.

 

“One more thing, before we go in.” She seemed to be uncomfortable with her words, as if she was coming to terms with them herself. She turned to face the three boys, stopping them in their tracks. “They did what they could, and he’s doing great, all things considered, but they-” She took a deep breath, preparing herself, “They couldn’t save his left arm.”

 

The three gasped. Katsuki recovered first and turned to look at his friend, who was still stunned, eyes wide and staring into space. After a few more seconds he jostled the boy, bringing him back to earth. “Hey. Nothing like that is gonna keep him down. Uncle ‘Sashi is tough as hell.”

 

Izuku slowly nodded his head and the four of them continued walking. The only reason he wasn’t crying is that he was still too shocked to properly process what was going on.

 


 

“So, we’re clear on the story?” The man wearing a light suit asked, peering through his spectacles.

 

“We are. But I’m telling you, he won’t buy it.” Hisashi laughed, which hurt. He was laying in a hospital bed, his chest covered in bandages. He was trying not to think about the limb he was now missing.

 

“Just let me do the talking, then. I’m sure you understand why we were told to keep this secret.”

 

“I understand completely, but I’m telling you that it’s gonna be hard to try and trick him like this.”

The thin man sighed, pushing his glasses up his nose. “And what do you suggest instead?”

 

“He’ll understand if we tell him it’s a secret. Give him a little bite, something that will satisfy his worry, but not endanger what we did today.” Hisashi coughed a bit; he was exhausted.

 

“I’ll take it under consideration. Forgive me if I doubt the intuition of a twelve-year-old.”

 

Hisashi laughed once, then hissed from the pain. “Just remember, I warned you.”

 


 

Inko knocked on the door and led her son into the room. He waved a short goodbye to Katsuki and his father as he left them to wait outside. Izuku immediately noted the tall, thin man sitting in the corner of the room, but ran over to his father first.

 

“Dad!” Izuku was crying, finally. Seeing his father in person brought him back to reality, and it brought his emotions back with him. He flew forward into his father’s arm, careful not to touch his chest.

 

“Hey, kiddo.” His father’s voice was a little raspy, and a lot exhausted.

 

“Are you going to be okay Mom told me you were fine but I want to hear it from you I was so worried and there was nothing on the news please tell me you're okay.” Hisashi tried not to laugh a bit as his son’s worried words flew from his mouth. If he hadn’t gotten used to it over the years, he probably wouldn’t have been able to understand him.

 

“I’ll be okay after a few days’ rest, I’d imagine.” Hisashi caught his son stealing a glance at his left side and knew what question Izuku wanted to ask. “Your old man isn’t done yet.”

 

“You m-mean…” Izuku had wanted to ask, but he thought it wasn’t the time.

 

“I’m not retiring, no. I’ll have to take it easier, but Stormclaw isn’t finished.” He smiled as much as he could, causing his son to bury his face in his remaining arm and really begin to cry.

 

His tears and shaking shoulders gradually slowed over the next few minutes as Izuku cried himself out and calmed down.

 

He finally pulled his head back, wiping tears from his face. “Okay…” He said shakily. He glanced at the man with the spotted tie in the corner and then at the missing arm. He took a deep breath and took a few seconds to collect his thoughts. “What happened?”

 

Before anyone else could speak up, Izuku began to speak with a speed that was only rivaled by his deepest muttering sprees. “And don’t tell me that it was an accident or anything like that. I know that Sir Nighteye - hello Sir, by the way,” He bowed politely. “I would love to have your autograph if you can find the time- I know that Sir Nighteye wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t something big. Sir being here means All Might was probably involved, and if All Might was involved and you were involved, then that means that it was something really big.”

 

Sir Nighteye raised an eyebrow, slightly surprised that this child knew who he was. Izuku kept his satisfaction at that reaction to himself.

 

“And if it was something big enough for both Stormclaw and All Might to be involved, and I assume other top heroes as well, and if Sir Nighteye is here to, I assume, lie to me to help cover it up, then I know it’s probably bigger than anything else that I’ve ever heard of, bigger than Terrorflame or anything else.”

 

Inko was half-mortified and half-proud with her son. She put a hand to her face, trying to contain her nervous laughter.

 

“And if it’s that big and that important to have all those heroes involved and to keep it so secret that there’s not even a mention of it on any of the news outlets, then it’s obviously too important to let me know about it.” Izuku finally took a breath. “So, I guess I answered my own question, unless I'm wrong?”

 

He turned to Sir Nighteye as he finished his rapid speech. Sir stared at him for a few seconds and blinked once. The boy hadn’t even given him a chance to speak yet. “Very astute, young man.”

 

He put his hand to his chin as he made a sound that sounded a little like a chuckle. He turned and looked at Hisashi, who was just grinning.

 

“Hey, I didn’t say anything.”

 

“Indeed.”

 

Hisashi turned back to his son, placing his hand on his head. “Son, you know there are things we can’t tell you. It’s for your own safety.”

“I know, Dad.” He nodded softly. “I’m just glad you’re okay. I won’t say anything.”

“What I can tell you,” Izuku noticed Sir Nighteye tense up slightly, “is that I know you would be proud of what I did. And for what it’s worth, I would do it again.”

 

Izuku’s eyes shook with emotion as he buried his head into his father’s arm again.

 

Sir Nighteye relaxed, then stood up, causing Izuku to look at him. “As long as you understand that we cannot speak at all about the matter, then I am no longer needed here.” He shot a glance at the boy as he walked towards the door.

 

Izuku understood the glance and backed out of his father’s arm. He pulled out a notebook from, well, none of the adults in the room were quite sure from where, holding a blank page up to Sir Nighteye. The stoic man quickly penned his signature and left, giving a small bow to Inko as he did so.

 

The boy ran outside to let the other visitors into the room. As he waved them in, Katsuki noticed a much happier look on his friend’s face. “Was that Sir Nighteye?” He asked, curious and hoping to raise Izuku’s mood.

 

“Yeah!” Izuku held up the signature. “I got his autograph, too!”

 

“Woah… that’s like, super rare.” Katsuki was in awe. It helped that his enthusiasm cheered up his friend as well.

 

After Masaru spoke to Hisashi for a while (“Sorry, Masaru, I guess I'll have to cancel next week's round of golf.”) and Katsuki was also assured that he was okay and that Stormclaw was not going to be retiring, the boys and Inko went home. As soon as their adrenaline died down, the boys’ bodies abruptly reminded them that it was nearly two in the morning. They had barely started the drive home before they both fell asleep.

 

Once home, Inko carried her sleeping boy inside, silently waving as Masaru drove away. She took him to his bedroom and laid him down, running her hand through his messy hair and giving him a loving kiss on the forehead before leaving him to sleep. She looked back at him as she left the room, worrying about the future like she often did. She took a deep breath and closed the door quietly behind her.

 

‘No matter how big you get, you’ll always be my baby boy, Izuku.’

 


 

Hisashi stared out the window of the porch, thinking about the past few days, and what the future held.

 

He wound up taking a couple months off to recuperate. The damage he received to his chest was bad enough without him also losing an arm, so Inko forced him to rest for longer than he hoped. He knew that when he finally did go back to work, he was going to have to take it easier. He was only 40, he thought, it’s a shame that he was on the decline already.

 

On the other hand, he figured his injury was a blessing in disguise in some ways. It would allow him to spend more time with his son, for starters. He still had seven good years to train and teach his son before he got shipped off to UA, after all, and he was going to use them. Izuku had made great strides in the recent years with his quirk physically and he hadn’t had another ‘incident’ since he knocked that kid out four years ago.

 

However, Hisashi knew that things were about to start changing. Izuku was starting puberty, which meant that his instincts were going to get stronger. He was hoping to put this off for a little bit longer, to let Izuku keep his innocence as long as he could, but especially with him having a brush with death, he couldn’t justify that any longer.

 

It was time for the talk.

 

Hisashi guessed that most fathers didn’t have to have this kind of talk.

 

Instead of waiting any longer, Hisashi decided to tear the bandage off right that moment. He called for Izuku, who came quickly.

 

“Yeah, dad?” Izuku was attentive, but cautious. He was expecting to be asked for help from his newly-handicapped father but didn’t want to assume his father needed more assistance than what he asked for. He didn’t want to insult him, after all.

 

“We’re going out to the beach. It’s time we have a talk about our quirks.” Hisashi said, his nerves made him sound grimmer than he had intended.

 

Izuku looked understandably worried, but quickly followed his father outside. They walked along the beach in silence for a few minutes until they arrived at a rocky outcropping that they had often used as natural chairs. They sat down and listened to the waves lapping at the beach for a while, breathing in the fresh sea air. Finally, after Izuku looked like he was about to fidget out of his skin, Hisashi spoke.

 

“Do you remember the talk we had four years ago? Right after you got suspended?”

Izuku cringed slightly at the memory, but then nodded. “You told me that it was my quirk that gives me those weird impulses, like the one that made me lash out when those students hit Kacchan.”

 

“Exactly. And I can’t tell you enough how proud I am that you’ve been able to keep in control since then.” His son smiled at the praise. “But I’m afraid there is a change going on in your life right now.”

 

Izuku blanched and his eyes went wide. “Uhhh, Dad if this is about the birds and the bees then it’s okay you don’t have to-”

 

“No, no! It’s about your quirk!” Hisashi interrupted his son before he melted down.

 

“Oh.” He sighed, relieved.

 

“Well, you were partially right,” he held up a hand to stop Izuku from sputtering more, “our quirks become more...assertive during puberty.”

 

Izuku quieted down and thought for a moment before speaking, “So, what does that mean for me?”

 

“I’m not sure, honestly. My father was the same type of dragon as me, so he could help me quite a bit, but there hasn’t been a green dragon in our family for a long time.” Hisashi cleared his throat. “But I have some idea. Izuku, we’ve talked about this before, about the difference between chromatic and metallic dragons, right?”

 

Izuku nodded, fear in his eyes.

 

“I suspect it will be something like that. Look at Terrorflame, or Fulgurite, or even Frostheart. You’re a smart kid, extrapolate.”

 

Hisashi saw his son’s brain go to work. He began to mutter, eyes darting along the ground as he considered what his father said. Then Izuku’s face fell and Hisashi realized that he had messed up. Izuku started to tear up, a note of betrayal in his voice. “Ar-Are you s-saying you think I’m gonna be a v-v-villain?”

 

Hisashi’s eyes went wide, mentally slapping himself for being an idiot. “No! No, no, no, no, nothing like that.” Izuku sniffled. “Izuku. Son. I don’t think I could stop you from being a hero if I tried.” He reached out with his remaining arm and placed it on his son’s shaking shoulder. “I would never say that. I’m sorry that I let you even think that for a moment.”

 

His son breathed deep, trying to calm himself. “S-so, what are you saying?”

 

“I’m saying that it’s not going to be easy.” He gave him a kind, reassuring smirk. “Think of it as a challenge. Nobody is going to have to try harder than you, which means when you finally succeed, you’re going to be better than everyone else.”

 

Izuku laughed a bit; a victory for his father. “Kacchan isn’t going to take that lying down.”

“I’m counting on it.” Hisashi gave his son a reassuring jostle before releasing his shoulder. “But I didn’t just bring you out here to accidentally devastate and then encourage you.” Another small laugh from Izuku. “We are here to talk about your plan to deal with these things. We call them instincts, if you remember.”

 

“I just have to ignore them, right? That’s what I’ve been doing.” Izuku began counting something on his fingers, his father didn’t know what. “Whenever I’ve felt something weird like that time I knocked that kid out, I reason it away or remove myself from the situation. You want me to keep doing that?”

 

“Well, that might work for a while, but now that you’re getting older, it’s going to be much harder.” Izuku looked fearful again, so Hisashi quickly continued. “We have a little trick that we’ve picked up to help us out whenever our quirk acts up like that. You have to give it what it wants, but in a way that works for you.”

 

Izuku was a little upset he’d never thought of that before. He just stared back at his father.

 

“Let me give you an example. Your old man isn’t as much of a saint as you might think. Whenever I do a job, such as saving someone or defeating a villain, my instincts demand that I be compensated for it.” Izuku kept thinking, not reacting in horror as his father feared. “So, instead of demanding or taking payment from the people I save, what do I do?”

 

“You take a paycheck from the government.” Izuku was catching on. “So, instead of letting your desire make you a villain, you use it to keep yourself in line and be the best hero you can be, to keep from losing that paycheck and to try and get a bigger one.”

 

“Exactly!” he said proudly. Even after all these years, Izuku often impressed him.

 

“So, whenever you feel something start to pull at you, think about how you can make it work for you, rather than against you.” Hisashi was a little proud of his adlib adage. “What’s something you feel sometimes? Let’s work on what you can do.”

Izuku thought for only a moment, rubbing his chin once. “How about the basic one; the first one I remember. I really like to manipulate people. It feels really satisfying when I get someone to change their mind or actions.”

 

“So, as I said earlier, ignoring that desire will only cause you suffering once you can’t contain it any longer.” Hisashi pointed at him. “So how can you make that work for you?”

 

“Well, what if I convince them of something good? Like I can talk down criminals or calm victims.” Izuku postulated.

 

“That’s it. Find positive outlets!” He tried to slam his fist into the open palm of his left hand but found it impossible. “There’s nothing that’s inherently evil. Everything is about intent. The difference between a hero and a villain is a matter of perspective.” Izuku nodded along to his father’s words. “I’m sure that I’m the villain in the stories of the people I defeat. If you play your cards right and use that big brain of yours,” Hisashi poked his son in the forehead, “you can be the hero in a lot of stories.”

He moved his hand down to hold the boy’s shoulder again. “You’re the smartest boy I know, and I know that you can and will figure this out. Nothing’s gonna stop you unless you let it. Remember that.”

 

Izuku smiled wide. “I will. Thanks, Dad.” He paused, before throwing his arms around his father’s chest. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Son. You make me so damn proud every day.” Hisashi said softly into his son’s hair, smile growing on his face. “Hey, how about I teach you something new today? I think you’re ready for it.”

Izuku’s happy tears dried instantly as they were replaced with a look of excitement. He jumped off the rock and into a wide, ready stance. “Yes, sir!”

Chapter Text

Izuku was 17 when he almost died.

 

In the past five years, Katsuki and Izuku had both grown up to be strong, fine young men. While Katsuki had been taller for all of their lives, in the past two years, Izuku caught up, and then passed him. It wasn’t that surprising, his father was huge, while Katsuki’s parents were pretty average height.

 

More importantly for the two, they had both filled out with muscle. Especially since Stormwing started taking it easier, the man was using his newfound free time to push his two charges even harder. It wasn’t a strange thing for them to show up to school in the morning already exhausted physically.

 

Not that Izuku minded being worn out at school. They were still being tutored privately, so he didn’t worry about falling behind. No, he enjoyed being exhausted because it made it easier to get through the day. Ever since the incident nine years ago, the other students had been much more wary of him. As he grew older, they only became more cautious around him.

 

No longer was he greeted by every student when he entered a room, nor did he go out of his ways to befriend everyone. They other students knew that he was the son of a former top-ten hero, owned a powerful quirk, and didn't take crap from anybody. But he was nice enough, and would help people with their homework if they asked him and always did his part on group assignments.

 

Perhaps they were intimidated. He was one of the taller kids in the class, and certainly the most well-built, along with Katsuki. It didn’t help that Izuku had green horns poking out of his hair above his eyes and that green ridge with black spikes that came down his neck. In addition, Izuku’s demeanor was much more downcast than it used to be. He wouldn’t talk much at school, and would be content going through the day speaking to nobody but his best friend. He was almost a completely different person compared to his normal, outgoing self that Katsuki knew so well.

 

All those years ago, right when Izuku came back from suspension, Katsuki was worried about his friend. He didn’t know how the other students would treat him. He was right to be worried, because as it turned out, they all gave him a wide berth. He couldn’t blame them too much; It made sense to give space to the guy who knocked out a kid half-again his size with a single, rage-fueled punch.

 

Katsuki was worried, but he wasn’t good at expressing it. He hid it pretty well, or at least he thought he did. That day at lunch, when the two had been sitting on their own, Izuku spoke up.

 

“You’re worried about me now that I’ve lost all my friends.” It was less of a question and more of a statement.

 

Katsuki just looked over, Izuku was quietly writing in his notebook about a fight he saw on the way to school.

 

“Don’t be. I didn’t lose anything of value. They weren’t real friends. Not like you.”

 

So Katsuki didn’t worry; who could he trust if he couldn’t trust his best friend? He let it go, and they continued in their school careers, through elementary, middle and junior high. They came to high school and nothing changed. Kids who didn’t know just thought that Izuku was the quiet, smart kid with the muscular body and intimidating quirk. Kids who did know just didn’t want to deal with it.

 

Like he said, Izuku was content with Katsuki, at least for now. He felt that desire, his ‘instinct’ to socialize with more people, but it just wasn't worth it to try at school. So, he found other outlets. He would spend time at his father’s agency, and he would try to get over to his cousin’s agency once a month as well. He would talk with the interns and sidekicks there, and the occasional pro hero that had stopped by. Otherwise, he spent nearly all of his time with his parents, Katsuki, and Katsuki’s parents. It was a small group, but it was enough for now.  

 

Sometimes, especially when he was busy with homework, he couldn’t find a good outlet for his instincts. He would try anything to get them to quiet down for a bit, including socializing with random people he met on the street or in stores. Izuku didn’t make any new friends that way, but just the act of socializing helped him to think straight; his father wasn’t joking when he said that his family’s instincts were powerful. He found new respect for his father, which was an impressive feat all on its own.

 

When it got too bad, Izuku couldn’t resist indulging himself. He would try to hold himself back as much as he could, but he remembered his father’s words, that keeping this inside would only hurt him worse. So he let them out in amusing ways when he could. Well, amusing to himself, anyway.

 

He had a game he would play where he would place anonymous notes around the room to cause chaos, with each note having different handwriting on it so nobody could trace it back to him. Once he got the class to believe that two of the students were secretly twins, another time he got the entire class to plan a surprise birthday party for their homeroom teacher, when it was certainly not their birthday. Then there was the one time he got two of the students who had been rude to him to get into a fight. He felt a little guilty for that one.

 

Which is why Izuku was so grateful that his father ran him ragged. When he was exhausted, he didn’t have the energy to have his instincts bother him. Quirks are physical abilities, after all, and being tired caused them to quiet down for a while. Sometimes though, even his father’s persistent boot camp wasn’t enough, so he and his best friend came up with a new plan.

 

There was a beach in town that they decided to adopt. Dagobah beach used to be beautiful, but was now covered in mountains of garbage and scrap piled dozens of feet high. The plan they hatched was a solid one, and it kept them busy when Stormclaw was working and had the afternoons off.

 

“Dagobah is such an eyesore.” Katsuki had said as they were driving past the beach on their way to his house from school.

 

“Yeah,” Izuku sighed. “It’s a shame that the city seems to have just forgotten about it. Nobody even attempts to clean it up.”

 

“We could.”

Izuku stared at him for a second, he was so tired that he needed to make sure that he heard correctly.

 

“Us? A whole beach?”

 

“Sure,” Katsuki shrugged, “All Might is always going on about being a hero to your community by doing service like that. He said it in an interview last night, did you not watch it?”

“I fell asleep as soon as we got done training. I was gonna watch it when I got home.”

 

“Well, what do you think?”

 

Izuku thought for a moment. “I bet I can clear more trash than you can, Kacchan.”

 

Katsuki put his competitive smirk on. “Oh you’re on. We’ll have that beach clean in no time.”

“Besides, carrying all that junk will be good training. I’m glad I thought of it.”

“You thought of it, huh?”

 

Izuku smirked. “Yeah. See, I was watching this All Might interview yester-”

 

Izuku was interrupted by a backpack flying at his head, and then Auntie Mitsuki yelling at them to calm down.

 

In the end, they decided to go to Dagobah after school when they could and clean it up. They couldn’t go every day, but a couple times a week let them make swift progress, especially with two of them working. Izuku’s father proudly supported their initiative, and contracted a local company to take the trash off once the boys loaded it onto trucks.

 

Today was one of the days that they had free to go to Dagobah, as it turned out. The final bell rang and the two boys walked out a bit behind the rest of their classmates, as Izuku was finishing up some notes in his notebook. Katsuki stretched his arms as they walked, still sore from their morning training. The boys left the school grounds and suddenly were walking in different directions. They both stopped.

 

“Kacchan, this way is faster.” Izuku sighed; he couldn't believe they were having this conversation again.

 

“Your ‘shortcuts’ are dumb, this way is way more direct.”

 

“But that way is-” He sighed. “How about we settle this? We race. Whoever loses has to admit defeat and go the other way until we’ve cleared the beach.”

 

“Deal.” Katsuki immediately took off running.


“I didn’t say ‘go’ yet!” Izuku’s words fell on deaf ears. He grumbled as he bolted off in his chosen direction.

 


 

Izuku’s path was more winding than Katsuki’s, that’s for sure, but it avoided the high traffic areas and major villain hotspots. On a perfect day, Katsuki’s was faster, but Izuku’s was more consistent. He would just have to run fast and hope that Katsuki got caught in a crowd.

 

He was so focused on keeping up his speed that he didn’t notice the manhole cover in front of him oozing slowly with slime. He ran right over it, accidentally stomping into the sludge. His foot was immediately snagged, tripping him and slamming him face-down onto the concrete path. His backpack flung off of him and scattered everywhere and the sludge started oozing up his leg, engulfing him.

 

Izuku began freaking out, which wasn’t unexpected. He looked down in horror as the sludge covered his other leg and creeped up toward his waist. Struggle as he might, he couldn’t break free. He quickly turned his hand into a green claw with deadly-sharp points, and slashed at the sludge. It cut through, but the sludge just reformed and kept moving, unabated.

 

Just when he thought he couldn’t get any more horrified, an eyeball popped out of the manhole, followed by another, and then a sinister looking, tooth-filled grin as well. The twisted face of the villain came into view, grinning wide with malice.

 

Izuku reached up and tore his shirt off, then managed to lift himself upright. He strained as two dappled green wings sprouted from his exposed back. He tried with all his might, but even with his wings, he couldn’t pull himself free.

 

“I like it when my invisibility cloaks have a lot of fight in them,” the villain sneered as he engulfed the rest of his body, beginning to suffocate the teen, “and it looks like you’ve got a hell of a quirk, kid. Thanks .”

 

Izuku let his wings fade back into his body, wanting to conserve energy. The sludge was forcing its way down his throat, but he was fighting back. His body strained and struggled the entire time, never submitting. Izuku let his power well in his chest, and exhaled mightily, forcing the sludge out of his throat as a roar of thick, green gas poured from his mouth.

 

He took a great gasp of air, coughing and hacking. The poison flew into the sky, away from the villain and dispersed.The villain seemed angered, but amused. “Just stop fighting. It’ll make it easier for the both of us.”

 

Izuku glared into the villain’s sadistic eyes with defiance, his own eyes were glowing a bright shade of green, irises entirely invisible. Scales were forming and vanishing all along his body as he struggled and fought. Rending claws split the villain open but proved futile in the end as the sludge just flowed back together.

 

‘Funny how things work,’ Izuku thought as his vision blurred, ‘The first villain I encounter and he’s basically immune to my quirk. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up…’

 

He tried to use his breath attack again, but the villain was ready for it this time and didn’t give him the opportunity.

 

‘It feels like I’ve been struggling for a while, it must have at least been several minutes!’ He was struggling to stay conscious. ‘Why isn’t anybody helping me? I think… I’m... dying…’

 

Suddenly, Izuku found himself flying into the air. His blurred vision could make out the roofs of the surrounding buildings shrinking below him.

 

‘Oh, I’m dead. I guess I’m going to Heaven, though. That’s good.’ He was too delirious to think clearly.

 

A large hand grabbed him by the arm and wrenched him free from the sludge. He vaguely comprehended that none of his other sense were working, as even his vision had stopped responding. He only remembered the faint sensation of being held when consciousness left him.

 


 

Izuku slowly awoke, his head pounding. ‘This doesn’t feel like heaven. This hurts. Oh, I must have gone to Hell instead. Mom’s gonna be so mad.’

 

A faint noise entering his barely-functional ears made him open his eyes groggily. Above him, a little close for comfort, was the wide, confident grin of... ‘All Might ?!’

 

Izuku shot up and began to hack violently, coughing up pieces of sludge as his brain and senses roared back to full capacity.

 

“Young man, I’m glad you’re okay. I thought I lost you there for a bit,” All Might spoke loudly, “What’s your name, do you know who you are?” All Might was checking for signs of concussion.

 

Izuku hacked up a few more pieces of sludge. “C-ca-,” another cough, “Can I have your autograph?”

 

“That’s a strange na- huh?” All Might’s smile fell slightly for only a moment, before returning, brighter than ever as he began laughing uproariously.

 

Izuku took several deep breaths, making sure his lungs were fully clear. He stumbled to his feet shakily. “I’m serious! Y-you’re my second favorite hero of all time! Right after my dad, sorry.”

 

This caused All Might to laugh again. “And who is your father, young man? He raised a strong kid.”

 

“Stormclaw, A-All Might, sir.”

 

“You’re Hisashi’s boy?!” The surprise was evident on the hero’s face. “I know him well!”

 

Izuku threw his arms wide in frustration.“I know you do! I keep trying to get him to get your autograph, but he always forgot to do it!”

 

All Might’s voice faltered as he rubbed the back of his head. “Well, we are busy men... sometimes you, uh, forget things.”

 

Izuku took a centering breath and then bowed deeply. “Thank you for saving me, All Might. Can I ask you what happened?”

“You are welcome, Young Midoriya,” All Might gave a big thumbs up, “and certainly! Let me regale you with the tale!” All Might stood tall and gestured as he recounted the events.

 

“I encountered this villain earlier, but he slipped into the sewers. It turns out that this city’s sewer system is rather confusing to navigate!” he laughed once, “It seems that in his effort to escape me, he attacked you. So, you have my apologies, Young Midoriya. I am thankful that you are alright.”

“Thank you for your concern, All Might,” Midoriya bowed politely again, not believing that All Might was apologizing to him, “b-but what happened next? I kinda blacked out. Where’s the v-villain that attacked me?”

 

“Well, you were engaged with the villain on top of the manhole. Once I located the villain, I jumped into action! You two were blown into the sky... along with the manhole cover.” He pointed over his shoulder to where Izuku saw the cover embedded halfway in the side of a building. “Once airborne, I pulled you free and blew the villain away!” He flexed impressively, and threw a punch to illustrate his point.

 

“After I got you safely to the ground, I collected the villain in these handy bottles!” He proudly held two soda bottles aloft, both filled with green sludge.

 

“Woah, that’s so cool!” Midoriya’s eyes were wide in admiration and awe. He came back to earth as he remembered his earlier question. “Oh! Uh, about that autograph…”

All Might smiled and tossed him his notebook labeled ‘Hero Analysis for the Future No. 15’. Izuku quickly opened it, flipping through to find a blank page. Once he was about halfway through, he was stunned to see a giant ‘ALL MIGHT’ signature covering two pages.

 

“Finally!” He literally jumped for joy. “Thank you, All Might!”

 

“Not a problem, Young Midoriya,” All Might’s said with his smile shining in the sunlight. “Always happy to meet a fan, especially if he’s Stormclaw’s son!”

 

“Oh, I should let Kacchan know where I am. He’s probably most of the way to the beach by now.” Izuku pulled out his phone and sent a text, followed by his location.

 

“Well, if there’s nothing else,” All Might asked, “then I’ll be off.”

“Wait!” Izuku held out his hand to stop the man. “I have something I need to ask you!”

 

All Might stopped and thought for a second. “Sure, I have time. But only if you put a shirt on.”

 

Izuku blanched. In his excitement, he forgot that he had ripped his shirt off. “S-Sure!” He pulled out a spare shirt from his backpack as All Might sat down on the curb.

 


 

Katsuki was almost to the beach when he heard Izuku’s notification sound go off on his phone. He was initially furious that he had somehow lost the race, and whipped out the phone to see what taunt his friend had sent. To his surprise, the message read ‘Villain attack delayed me, trust me, you NEED to be here!’ The message was followed with Izuku’s location, barely five minutes away from where their race began.

 

He turned around and started jogging back. Katsuki let out a short sound of exasperation. Knowing Izuku, it was probably some small-time thug that got taken down by one of the local heroes. They knew Izuku by name at this point, with how often he found himself at crime scenes. If nothing else, Katsuki needed to go back and drag his friend by the ankle away from the hero or they would never get to the beach today.

 


 

“So,” Izuku began nervously, “I uh, um.”

 

“Come, Young Midoriya, spit it out.”

 

“You…” he took a deep breath, “youfoughtTerrorflameallthoseyearsagoandIwanted-”

 

“Woah, woah!” All Might held his hands up to stop the boy. “Slow down! I don’t have super hearing. Halfway between those two speeds would be great.”

 

He took another deep breath. “Sorry, All Might, sir. I wanted to ask you about Terroflame.”

 

“Oh.” All Might’s smile faltered for a second, “He’s related to you, is he not?”

 

“Yeah. He’s my father’s uncle. My great uncle. And…” Midoriya was hesitating. This was All Might, the number one hero. He was the greatest. He wouldn’t judge him, right?

 

Midoriya sighed and braced himself. He held his arm up and let it grow his green scales. Over the years, they had changed from a dark, nearly black color to a vibrant green the same color as his hair. He sometimes admired them; he liked to think they were beautiful, but what they represented cast a dark shadow over him “And I’m like him.” He sounded defeated, ready to have the hero rebuke him.

 

All Might didn’t react with fear or hesitation, nor anger. He barely reacted at all. “What do you mean by that, Young Midoriya. I see you have your father’s quirk, and he is a great man.”

 

‘Oh,’ Izuku thought, ‘He doesn’t know. That’s why he didn’t react.’

 

“I have the dragon quirk, yes, b-but I don’t have my father’s quirk.” Midoriya considered stopping while he was ahead, but figured that he was already committed. “My family quirk is divided into two categories.”

 

He held up one hand. “Metallic dragons are people like my father, and his father. Heroes like Silverlight. The other half is called chromatic.” He held up his other hand, the one covered in green scales. “Those are people like Fulgurite, Terrorflame… and me.”

 

“And you’re worried that you’re going to end up like them?”

 

“Yes!” Izuku exclaimed, “I am trying my hardest but sometimes…” He sighed again. “You knew Terrorflame, right?”

 

“Er, In a sense. We did battle three times before I finally brought him in. But that was over twenty years ago, young man.”

 

“What was he like?”

 

“What was he like?” All Might repeated the question, confused. “Well, he was- is- exceedingly arrogant and full of himself. He refused to submit, even when beaten. He was cruel and terrifying; even those poor souls that he cowed into his service were nothing more than expendable pawns to him.” Regret and revulsion was palpable in his voice.

 

“He was a fearsome foe, and fought with a fury and a spitefulness that is rarely matched. He is one of the most truly evil men I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting.”

 

“All Might,” Izuku said, voice cracking, “I… I have a villain’s quirk, like Terrorflame. Nobody alive knows him better than you, and I’m just… I’m trying my hardest, and all of my friends and family have done nothing but support me, but-”

 

“Young Midoriya,” All Might interrupted, “you seem to be dancing around your point. What are you asking me?”

 

A single tear escaped his eye. “...Can I still be a hero if my quirk wants me to be a v-villain? If I have a quirk like Terrorflame’s?”

 

All Might paused for a moment, then asked, “Do you want to be a hero?”

 

“Yes! More than anything!” Izuku’s voice was full of teary-eyed conviction.

 

“Then of course you can!” All Might started laughing his triumphant laugh. “Young man, being a hero comes from the heart. I know that your family’s quirk is... unique in many ways, but it is still just a quirk. You make the choices in your life, not it. So, yes. You can be a hero.”

 

Izuku knew it wasn’t that simple. The dragon quirk affected his mind and emotions, how could he ever truly be free of it? He had once thought it was that simple, but over the past five years, his instincts have done nothing but get stronger. Every day he doubted himself more, every day it was harder to resist.

 

All Might saw that doubt in his face and spoke again. “Nothing can change the desires of your heart, Young Midoriya. As long as you stay true to that, nothing will keep you from your dream.”

 

He had been told things like that before, but hearing it from someone that wasn’t his family, someone like All Might, someone who knew Terrorflame… it made all the difference in the world.

 

Izuku started to cry. He had really hoped to keep that from happening around All Might, but he’s his mother’s son in the end. All Might was right. He wanted nothing more in his heart than to be a hero, and nothing would change that. He would take this damn quirk, and do as his father told him. He would bend it to his will, and make it work for him , and not the other way around.

 

“T-thank you, All M-Might.”

 


It took Katsuki a good ten minutes to jog back, and by the time he arrived, he was confused again. If there was a villain attack, where was the crowd? He was almost to the street corner that Izuku had sent in his message and there wasn’t a single person around. He wheeled around the corner, seeing his friend casually sitting on the sidewalk.

 

“Oi, Izuku! What the hell are you do-”

 

Katsuki stopped. Izuku wasn’t sitting alone. In fact, he was sitting next to someone that he recognized.

 

“Oh hey, Kacchan!” Izuku called out to him, “Come meet All Might!”

 

This was probably a dream, Katsuki reasoned. Why else would he come around the corner into some forgotten walking path to find his best friend casually sitting next to the number one hero and his idol, All Might.

 

“So, I figured out that the villain was hiding on the third floor...” All Might was apparently telling Izuku stories, because sure, why not?

 

“Oh! Hello, young man!” All Might called out to him. Him . “You must be Young Bakugou.”

 

‘Okay Katsuki, act cool.’

 

“Yeah.”

 

‘Nailed it.’

 

“Young Midoriya here was telling me that you two are hoping to become heroes! It’s always good to meet the aspiring champions of our future.”

“Come on, Kacchan, don’t just stand there!” Izuku waved him over. Katsuki looked at his friend, and noticed that it looked like he had been crying.

 

This got Katsuki to finally move his feet. He slowly walked over to the two, doing his best to look aloof. He was pretty sure All Might would be fooled, but he had doubts about his friend.

 

“Come on, sit down! All Might was just telling me about that ice villain he took down last month.” Izuku’s smile was in danger of coming off of his face.

 

Katsuki plopped down next to his friend. He tried to keep his scowl on, but his face wasn’t having it. Eventually he just gave in to the smile.

“Right, where was I?”

 


 

In the end, they spent almost an hour talking to All Might. Eventually the hero had to go and turn the sludge villain in to the police, so he stood up to leave.

 

“It was a pleasure talking to you young men,” All Might gave them his big thumbs up, “I’m sure I’ll be hearing great things about you very soon. I assume you two are aiming to attend UA?”

 

“Yes, sir!” Izuku responded with eagerness.

 

“You went there,” Katsuki said, smirking, “so there’s no better place for the next top two heroes to go.”

 

“Oh?” All Might raised an eyebrow. “Those are lofty goals. You boys better be ready to try your hardest.”

 

“Every day of our lives.” Katsuki said confidently, punching his hands together to set of a small puff of smoke.

 

“Oh, one more thing before you go, All Might,” Izuku knew he was pushing it, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, “Why are you here in Musutafu? Your agency is in Minato, Tokyo and-”

 

“Young Midoriya,” All Might stopped him before he got started. “You know as well as anybody that there are some things you can’t tell others, especially when you’re a hero.”

 

“Yes, of course.” Izuku quickly bowed in apology. “I can’t thank you enough for what you told me and the time you spent with us.”

 

“It’s the least I could do, Young Midoriya. It was a pleasure meeting you as well, Young Bakugou.” He gave them a salute, before gripping the bottles with the villain in them firmly and leaping into the sky, soaring off over the skyline.

 

“Woah,” was all Katsuki could say. His smirk failed to contain his grin again.

 

“Yeah. Woah.” Izuku was also smiling like an idiot. Part of him was wondering why All Might had been so willing to spend time with him; perhaps it had to do to that mysterious event five years ago. But in the end, most of him was just glad to have met the man in person.

 

Izuku stood tall, remembering what he had said to him.

 

“Nothing can change the desires of your heart, Young Midoriya.”






Chapter Text

Suddenly, the boys were 18.

 

They were gathered in the Bakugou household, getting ready to have breakfast on a sunny late February morning. Specifically February 26th, the day of the UA entrance exam.

 

Izuku, Katsuki and each of their parents were there, enjoying each other’s company before the big event. Inko and Masaru were preparing the meal, chatting happily, while Hisashi and Mitsuki were sitting at the table talking about local politics. Izuku and Katsuki were both sitting quietly in the living room, nervous out of their minds.

 

Izuku showed it outwardly, but Katsuki kept it inside. Everyone in the room knew him well enough to not be fooled, however. The parents gave their children space, supporting them with their presence without drowning them and adding to to their stress.

 

Eventually, Masaru called the boys to breakfast. They began to de-stress as they ate, delicious food helping to calm their minds, and the steady, upbeat attitudes of their parents bolstering their hearts. They ate their fill, and all too soon, it was time for them to leave.

 

“I’m so proud of you, Izuku, I know you’ll do great.” Inko crushed her boy in a hug as she cried proud tears.

 

His father came up to him and put his arm on the boy’s shoulder. “Knock ‘em dead, son. Show UA who you are.”

 

“I will. Thanks Mom, Dad.” Izuku was starting to get emotional as well.

 

“I would say ‘try your hardest and do your best’, but I don’t have to worry about that, do I?” Masaru had his left hand on his son’s shoulder, and his right extended towards his son.

 

Katsuki gripped it in a firm handshake. “Damn straight.”

 

Mitsuki ruffled her son’s hair. “Kick ass, and take no prisoners.”

 

“I never do.” Katsuki smirked. He gave his parents a last goodbye then walked toward the door. “Come on, man, we’re gonna miss the train.”

 

“Coming, coming!” Izuku gave his parents one last big hug each and then ran after his friend who was already halfway to the street. “Wait up, Kacchan!”

 


 

The train ride was quiet, at least between the two. There were plenty of other commuters conversing to keep the volume up, but not loud enough to disturb them. Izuku was going over his study notes, while Katsuki looked like he was mentally preparing himself.

 

All too soon, they arrived at the gates of UA. They had seen them before, but never had they actually walked inside of them. The impressive, mostly windowed building towered overhead, and students of all shapes and sizes were walking into the building. The stood outside the gates, ready to take the step forward into the future.

 

“Well, Kacchan.” Izuku took a deep breath, smelling the air. “We’re here.”

 

“Finally... Time to show this school what real heroes look like.” Smoke popped from his right hand.

 

“You remember our deal, right?” Izuku flexed his own right hand, sending scales flashing across it.

 

“Course I do.” He grew a sadistic smile. “I’m looking forward to my prize.”

 

They had started walking towards the building entrance. “So confident! I hope you’re that confident once I win.”

 

“As if you have a chance!”

 

Izuku changed subjects. “Who do you think will b-”

 

Suddenly, Izuku was falling forward, tripping over his own feet.

 

Katsuki reached out to grab his arm. “Dammit, Deku!”

 


 

Deku.

 

A nickname that Katsuki had given him, based on an ‘alternative’ reading of his name. He had first called him that years ago, back when they were around four or five, Izuku couldn’t remember exactly.

 

Of course, that wasn’t the only nickname he gave to Izuku, but it was the one he used most often. It basically meant ‘useless’, and Katsuki used it whenever he wanted to scold or antagonize him. Izuku gave his friend guff right back, and the boys never took their insults to each other personally.

 

“Hurry... up… Deku...” Katsuki puffed, jogging with a rusted car door on his back. They were nearing the end of their day at Dagobah on a warm summer evening. They were both exhausted.

 

“Come up here… and say that… to my face…” Izuku was hauling a set of tires, lagging a few steps behind him.

 

“Go… to hell… you’re barely... taller...”

 

He would use it to goad Izuku into running one more lap, pushing a little farther on a set of weights, or sometimes just to elicit a reaction out of him. His parents had been worried when they first heard Katsuki call him that, thinking that he was being cruel, but then they saw the playful smiles on both of the children’s faces.

 

It was all good natured fun, and just like nearly everything else in their relationship, it was there to push them both to be stronger. Izuku had his own ways to antagonize his friend as well.

 

“Come on, is that all you got, Dandy?”

 

“Dandy? What the hell are you talking about?” The boys were about ten when this particular nickname came about. Izuku had beaten his friend in a spar, knocking him flat on his back. Katsuki was panting on the ground.

 

“Well, look at you, Kacchan. Look at that hair and tell me you don’t look like a dandelion.”

 

“Dandel- Oh, you’re a dead man!” Katsuki roared back to his feet, ready to go.

 

Izuku smiled and put his fists back up. Hisashi was on the sidelines, trying not to laugh.

 


 

Izuku stopped falling.

 

Katsuki had reached out to grab his arm, but it wasn’t him that stopped the fall. Izuku stared at the ground. It wasn’t coming closer to him. There was nothing preventing him from falling, but the ground wasn’t moving.

 

“Sorry, I stopped you with my quirk!”

 

Izuku slowly turned to his left, still keeping an eye on the ground to make sure he didn’t suddenly start falling like he should be. He looked up, at a girl standing next to him, hand outstretched to touch his backpack.

 

“I should have asked first, but I figured you wouldn’t mind. Bad luck and all that.” She smiled a blindingly cheery smile.

 

Katsuki pulled his friend back to his feet. The girl placed her fingers together, which glowed pink for a moment, and then with a faint flowing sensation, Izuku felt his weight return to him.

 

Izuku stood upright, still staring at the ground as if he didn’t trust it. He moved his vision up to look at the girl, and then he kept moving his eyes up. He met her eyes above his own. He opened his mouth but no sound came out.

 

Katsuki’s and his heights had both stabilized over the last year. They were basically fully physically mature and couldn’t expect to grow more. Katsuki stood about 5’10’’, same height as his father. Izuku was taller, and stood at six foot even. That put him about four inches shorter than his father, but his mother was a short woman.

 

This woman standing in front of him, however, was at least an inch or two taller than him. He was about eye-level with her lips, and as he looked up to see the rest of her face, his breath was taken away. Her face was slightly rounded, and big brown eyes looked at him happily. Her hair, the same color as her eyes, was in a bob cut, but seemed to be unnaturally voluminous, as if it were floating. She had two longer bangs hanging down, framing her face, which appeared to have a slight permanent blush.

 

She was beautiful.

 

“Anyway, sorry again. Good luck on the exam!” She walked off towards the building, leaving the two boys behind her.

 

“What the hell was that, Izuku?” Katsuki shoved his friend’s shoulder to snap him out of it. “You froze. You never freeze like that when you meet a new person.”

 

Izuku was still staring at the girl, watching her walk away. He noted her athletic build underneath her winter clothes and smiled dumbly. “...She’s real pretty, Kacchan.”

 

“...What the hell, man.”

 


 

Izuku came back to his senses as the girl left his vision. Katsuki rolled his eyes and the two made their way to the testing center. The picked up the exam and made their way to a great hall filled with desks and dividers, at least large enough to fit 500 students. They exchanged a silent fist-bump as they went to sit at their assigned seats.

 

The test itself wasn’t too difficult. It was challenging, sure... and long, but it wasn’t anything they weren’t prepared for. Looking over it, it seemed like it hadn’t changed much since his father took it, at least in structure. Izuku did great on the basic physics, chemistry and math segments, as well as the history, reading comprehension and hero law sections. He took a little longer than he would have liked on the ethics section, but he felt like he did well in the end.

 

After the grueling 2 hours it took for them to finish the test, he and Katsuki were sitting outside, eating the packed lunches and waiting for the practical to begin. They spent the time comparing answers on questions they struggled with, but overall it seemed like they had both done very well. Izuku hoped he did better; he didn’t want to lose their bet.

 

Near one o’clock, the two made their way to the assembly hall where they would be briefed about the upcoming practical portion of the exam. The UA entrance exam was a grueling marathon, but being a hero wasn’t easy. The boys found their spots next to each other and sat down.

 

The lights dimmed as the big screen behind the stage started displaying the famous, golden logo of UA. Present Mic took the stage and greeted the students with his trademark unflappable enthusiasm.

 

Izuku perhaps wasn’t listening as closely as he should have been. He heard something about robots, points and there was this one deafening silence that he registered. Instead of paying attention, he was too busy gushing under his breath.

 

“Holy crap its Present Mic I listen to his show every day of the week it’s so cool that all of the UA teachers are pro heroes I hope I can get all of their autographs before I graduate surely it can’t be that hard I’ll be here for four years but I still can’t wait I wonder who my homeroom teacher will be oh man I hope its Snipe or maybe Vlad King although I don’t even know if-”

 

“Shut the hell up, Izuku, damn.” Katsuki elbowed him in the side. “Your dad is a pro, and you met All Might last year, get a hold of yourself.”

 

Izuku apologized silently and turned to pay attention. It wasn’t to be, however. There was just too much excitement going on that day for him to keep focused. The muttering started again, but maybe a little quieter.

 

He was interrupted again, this time by an examinee asking some unnecessary question of Present Mic. Izuku faintly registered that the examinee was talking but what really got his attention was when he turned and pointed directly at Izuku.

 

“You, with the me-” The boy stopped, a flash of recognition on his face. “Midoriya. You are distracting the examinees around you. Please, silence yourself.”

 

Midoriya clapped his hands over his mouth, gesturing apologies.

 

“Warned you,” Katsuki whispered smugly.

 

Midoriya finally started listening to Present Mic as he finished up his explanation. “As General Napoleon Bonaparte once laid down, ‘A true hero is one who overcomes life’s misfortunes.’ So, get out there and don’t let nothin’ slow you down!”

 

“Come on, listeners, this is the first day of the rest of your lives! Let me hear you! Go Beyond!”

 

“PLUS ULTRA!” The students all cheered back as the pro hero’s grin shone.

 


 

Izuku and Katsuki were split up, of course. While they were disappointed that they wouldn’t get to show each other up in person, they still wished each other good luck and exchanged another fist-bump. They loaded onto their different buses and were shipped out to their assigned battle centers.

 

Izuku stepped out of the bus, leaving his backpack in his seat. He looked over the massive walls and gate and whistled. This ‘fake’ city was huge! He could see skyscrapers at least twenty stories tall over the walls.

 

This was going to be fun.

 

He began to theorize different strategies of attacks and ways to optimize damage while minimizing the strain on his body from using his quirk. He was muttering softly to himself and after a few minutes his eyes wandered over the crowd.

 

He saw the tall, brown haired girl that caught him outside the entrance. His mind stopped planning. It stopped doing much of anything. His entire mental processing capabilities were devoted to him staring at this woman.

 

He was snapped out of it by a hand grabbing his shoulder. “Midoriya.” He turned to see the boy from earlier staring down at him. Izuku was usually the tallest guy in the room when his father wasn’t here, but this guy had at least three inches on him.

 

“We both know that your father could, and would, get you into UA on recommendation. Why are you here?”

 

“I wouldn’t want that! I want to prove myself, Tenny!” Izuku smiled back at the stern boy.

 

“Midoriya!” The man recoiled in shock at the name. “It has been over a decade since we have seen each other. We hardly know each other anymore; that old name is hardly appropriate.”

 

“Okay, fine, Tenya Iida.” Izuku gave him a big smile as he reached for the bottom of his shirt. “I guess I’ll just have to earn your friendship back. Looking forward to seeing you in school!” He lifted his shirt over his head and took it off. He wrapped it up and tucked it into one of his pants pockets.

 

“That is hardly appropriate.” Many of the other examinees had turned to look at the tall, buff man taking his shirt off.

 

“Come on, Iida. You know my dad.”

 

“Yes, but it’s February.”

 

“I’ll be fine once we get moving.” Izuku focused as two great dappled green wings sprouted from his back, causing many onlookers to gasp slightly. Izuku closed his eyes, flexing and moving his wings. Getting the feel for them in this cold weather. It was like stretching out a limb that had fallen asleep.

 

“Right, let’s start!” Present Mic called out from on top of a tower. “There are no countdowns in real life! You’re wasting air time, people!”

 


 

Ochako Uraraka was having a hell of a day. She was at UA, after all! This was perhaps the most exciting day of her life. Things started off strangely, though. When she was walking in, this guy tripped and almost fell on his face, but she was there to stop him. It was basically reflex for her, she didn’t even register that his friend was reaching out to grab him.

 

She apologized for using her quirk, but he didn’t seem too upset. He did act a little strange, though. He stood up and just sort of stared at her. He was kinda cute, all things considered. His big green eyes were wide, looking at her with fascination, and those cute little horns were sticking out from his messy green hair. His face was attractive and he looked pretty cut under that tight shirt he was wearing.

 

But he didn’t say anything and she was starting to feel awkward, so she just wished them luck and walked off. Maybe he wasn’t used to seeing women taller than him. She got that a lot. She blamed her father’s genes and her quirk for that one.

 

She shook her mind of it and went in to take the test. It was here where she felt the drawbacks of her smaller-town education. She studied as hard as she could, and she was no slouch, but she was certainly not one of the first ones to finish. She looked around for the green-haired boy or his blonde friend, but didn’t see them.

 

It wasn’t until they packed onto the bus to ship off to Battle Center B that she saw the tripping guy again. His friend wasn’t with him, which she guessed was to keep them from working together. He sat on the bus and chatted up the boy who sat next to him, he seemed to be a genuinely nice guy, unlike the weird french guy who sat next to her and stared at himself in a mirror the entire time.

 

She was calming herself down outside of the fake city when she heard a commotion behind her. The green-haired man and the blue-haired one who interrupted Present Mic were talking. They seemed to know each other, but the taller one didn’t look like he knew how to relax. What really got her attention was when the boy she had helped started taking his shirt off.

 

Yeah. He was ripped.

 

She tried to keep the blush from her face. ‘Why is he takin’ his shirt off?!’ she thought to herself. ‘Not that I mind too much… Oh.’ Green wings sprouted from his back as he seemed to be focusing, like she should have been doing. That explained it. It wasn’t more than a few seconds after that when Present Mic unceremoniously declared that the exam had started.

 

The winged boy reacted before anyone else. He took a great leap into the air and with a beat from his wings, flew forward over all of their heads and into the city. She pushed the distraction from her mind and focused on the task at hand... She had one chance to make it into UA and she wasn’t going to mess it up.

 

The first several minutes of the exam passed in a blink of an eye. It was rhythmic for her, almost ritualistic. She found a robot, pressed one of her hands against it, felt the weight flow through her, toss it into the sky, then release it and let it crash back down. This same process repeated itself time after time. By the halfway point, she had already accumulated nearly 40 points.

 

She maybe could have had more, but she kept catching glances of that green-haired boy. ‘I should stop callin’ him that.’ she mused. ‘What did his friend call him? Deku? I like the sound of that.’ Deku was tearing the robots apart. She saw him throwing them into each other, she saw him tearing them to pieces and once she thought that she saw him spitting some pieces of metal out of his mouth.

 

‘He’s one to keep my eye on. If- no, Ochako, when I get in, I’ll make sure to ask him about his trainin’ regimen. He’s really fit.’ She watched him tear a robot’s head off with his bare hand while she dropped a piece of rubble on top of a pair of two-pointers in front of her. He never seemed to notice her, though.

 

“62!” she heard him say, a bit ahead of her own score. She would have to catch up. She turned to run towards another group of robots, hoping to take some for herself. She felt bad for some of the others who couldn’t keep up, but this was a competition and she couldn’t afford that luxury right now. Besides, this was a test to see who has what it takes to be a hero, they only accept the best.

 

Then, everyone stopped. What felt like an earthquake started shaking the city; people looked around in horror until the source was found. Towering well over the twenty story building next to it was a gigantic robot: the zero-pointer that Present Mic warned them about.

 

Time seemed to resume as people realized what was going on. The explanation they had received seemed woefully inadequate when compared to the behemoth in front of them. Everyone started running, Ochako included. Present Mic had even recommended as much, that they should avoid it instead of fighting.

 

The robot brought its mechanical fist down, sending debris and shockwaves through the whole city. The building next to her, already weak from nearby battles, shattered and crumbled. She caught one giant piece of rubble that was falling on her and tossed it to the side with her quirk. However, she wasn’t fast enough to catch the second one.

 

With a sickening crunch, Ochako was slammed into the ground, her foot and ankle pinned underneath a giant slab of concrete. Tears welled in her eyes as she screamed in pain. She recovered her senses after a few seconds and tried to reach down to lift the debris from her legs. Struggle as she might, she couldn’t reach her ankle in the position she was trapped in without dislocating or breaking her leg further, and even then she probably couldn't reach.

 

She felt the rumbling get closer and craned her neck over her shoulder to see the titanic robot rolling nearer and nearer. The monster stopped overhead, before turning its gaze down upon her. She felt her blood run cold as it seemed to stare into her soul with its giant red eyes. The robot reared its arm back... and began driving it down towards her, fist clenched.

 

She reached her arms up to meet the impending doom. There was almost certainly no way that she was going to be able to stop the fist, but she had worked too hard to go down without a fight. She prepared herself to throw the full weight of her quirk behind the attempt. Nobody would say that Ochako Uraraka died a coward’s death...

 

Death never came.

 

Instead, a great rush of dust and wind blew her hair around and made her close her eyes. When she was able to force them open, she saw that the fist had stopped moving. The robot had stopped.

 

No, that wasn’t it. Someone had stopped the robot. She blinked the dust out of her eyes and saw a strange, misshapen form in front of her. The zero-pointer’s fist was groaning under the pressure being put on it. She saw a green mop of hair and recognized her savior. His wings were gone, but what she saw made her mouth drop open.

 

His right arm was massive. Nearly the size of the rest of his body combined. It was covered in green scales and had a large black spike sticking out of the elbow. Down from his arm, green scales covered his back along with a green ridge down his spine. His razor-sharp black claws dug into the metal of the robot’s fist, but the robot surged forward with renewed effort, causing Deku to be pushed back.

 

It was then that she noticed his leg. It wasn’t massive like his arm was, but it was certainly different. It had burst out of his pants, leaving them tattered halfway up his thigh. The leg was covered in the same scales, green like his hair, but that wasn’t what was odd. The entire lower part of his leg was misshapen. His leg was digitigrade, his ankle joint having moved up his leg to form what resembled a second, inverse knee. His shoe was long gone; a giant green claw tipped with the same black claws had blown it to pieces.

 

His clawed foot dug into the ground, and his arm strained under the giant metal fist. He turned back and looked straight into her eyes. She gasped slightly. His eyes were no longer the cute green orbs, but intense, glowing spheres. She couldn’t even see his irises, only the bright green light. His little horns on his head and grown, now hanging over his eyes and sweeping back slightly to form a sort of ridge or crown.

 

“Can you...move?” Deku grunted as the metal above him craked. “You need to get out… before it... crushes me!”

 

‘Crushes him?! No, there’s no way I’m lettin’ that happen. I hafta do somethin’!’ She looked around for something she could use, and her eyes landed on the first chunk of concrete she had avoided.

 

Deku roared with effort as the robot attempted to push down again. His arm bulged slightly larger, and the spiked ridge along his spine grew longer. His leg dug deeper into the asphalt road. Despite all of his effort, he was losing the fight.

 

She reached out and touched the debris, all-in-all it was probably around a cubic yard of concrete and rebar. It would have to do. She felt the weight of the object flow down and out of her, and she picked up the nearly-massless object with ease. She wrenched herself around so she was almost facing the zero-pointer and threw it with all of her might.

 

Deku was nearly finished. She heard the groaning of his muscles and bones under the pressure of the mechanical monster. The chunk flew closer and closer to the chest of the titan and she could only hope it was fast enough. With a faint crack, she heard something in his back give way. He screamed in agony, but refused to quit.

 

Thanks to the near-weightlessness of the concrete, she was able to throw it with great speed. Now came the hard part. She took a deep breath and placed her fingers together. She felt the energy rush back through her and out towards the flying debris, but that wouldn’t be enough. She needed more. She strained and pushed harder, shoving more into the projectile so it wouldn’t lose speed.

 

The chunk hit the robot square in the chest like a meteor from space. A massive, blinding flash of light flashed across the city, followed by a roaring explosion. The chunk crushed into the zero-pointer and pushed it back. It staggered back from the impact, then began tipping. Explosions chained outward from the impact point, down its spine and up its neck, until it’s head exploded in a dazzling display.

 

The robot smashed into the earth with a force that caused several nearby buildings to collapse. Deku turned back to her, his face filled with awe, relief and maybe a bit of… fear? He smiled at her.

 

“I guess we make a good team.” His smile was wide, earnest and adorable. His giant arm slumped to the ground.

 

He passed out, his body snapping back to a normal, human form. She wished that she could have kept him from hitting the ground, but she was still trapped under the debris herself. With the danger passed and her adrenaline fading, the effort of using her quirk like that quickly hit her.

 

The last thing she remembered before passing out herself was the content look on Deku’s face.

Chapter Text

Izuku woke up in a strange place. He blinked and looked around, noticing quickly just how tired he felt. He was in a hospital bed of sorts, in what looked like a nurse’s office. Katsuki was asleep in a chair next to the bed, and no light was coming in through the window. He had been asleep for a while; glancing at the clock overhead told him it was past seven.

 

He stretched, feeling the tightness in his back. He thought that was strange until he remembered what he had done that day. He had thrown himself in front of that zero-pointer to save that beautiful woman. Originally, he had planned to flee like Present Mic suggested, but then he heard her scream in pain. After looking back and seeing her trapped beneath rubble with the robot closing in, the rest seemed to have been out of his control.

 

An uncontrollable desire to save had overwhelmed him and his body moved on its own. There was nothing that would have stopped him from saving that girl. What happened to himself had been entirely irrelevant.

 

He had rapidly grown his wings and beat them as hard as he could, streaking towards the nice girl like a missle. He remembered losing his wings and fortifying his back and right leg, then planting himself and pulling every bit of power that he could muster into his right arm. He had manifested the closest thing to a full draconic arm that he had ever managed in his life, and had reached up with it to intercept the zero-pointer. The robot’s fist had come down and he had thrown every last shred of strength he possessed into stopping it.

 

And he succeeded, at least for a little while. He remembered turning back to the girl and begging her to run away. He didn’t hear a response but she got this determined look in her eye that would have probably been really attractive if his arm wasn’t in danger of being crushed like a stepped-on soda can at the time.

 

He recalled his body failing. His arm had begun to buckle and he’d felt something in his spine start to give way, even with the fortification from a partial transformation. Then a chunk of concrete, moving faster than it had any right to, had shot past him. He’d watched as the chunk flew like a bullet into the robot’s chest and then seemingly detonated on impact.

 

His last memories were turning back and seeing the woman safe. It was obviously the girl that had done that; she was clearly powerful. With the roaring voice in his head screaming at him to protect gone, his ravaged body failed him, and the next thing he knew, he’d woken up here.

 

He sighed, content that he had accurately reconstructed the event. Analysis is always important. He managed to sit up, causing enough noise that he apparently alerted his caretaker. The curtain around his bed opened, revealing a short, old woman with a kind smile.

 

“Recovery Girl…” Izuku’s voice was filled with awe. “So cool…”

 

“Yes, yes, Sonny.” Recovery Girl laughed slightly. “You took a big risk out there today.”

 

Izuku recoiled a bit at the scolding. “I know, but I couldn’t help it. It’s like I wasn’t in control of my body.”

 

“Hmm.” She huffed at his cheap explanation. “You overused your quirk and pushed your body too hard. You’re fortunate that your quirk is what it is; it renders you almost immune to ligament damage.”

 

She pointed her cane at him. “That is not an invitation to do that again! Too many times and you will still have permanent damage to other parts of your body. You know as well as I do that broken bones and torn muscles remain. Scar tissue will do you no favors!”

 

Katsuki had woken up at her outburst and shook his head slightly.

 

“Oh good, you’re awake.” She smiled at the blonde. “He’s alright to go home now that he’s woken up.”

 

She turned back to Izuku. “No using your quirk for at least a day. Your body needs to rest.” Finally, she turned and left the boys alone.

 

The two were silent for a moment before Katsuki spoke. “What the hell did you do, Izuku?”

 

“Remember that pretty girl from out front?”

 

Katsuki groaned. “Yeah, she was in here, too.” Katsuki saw Izuku’s eyes grow wide. “She’s gone now! Calm down, damn. She left about an hour ago. I don’t think she even knew you were here.”

 

Izuku sighed and calmed down. “Well… she was about to be crushed by the zero-pointer, and my body sort of just… moved to protect her. I managed to get there just in time to stop the robot’s fist with a major arm transformation.” He flexed his right arm, which was also sore from Recovery Girl’s quirk.

 

“So you almost paralyzed yourself? You idiot.”

 

“How did you kno-”

“I overheard Recovery Girl talking to your mom on the phone. Cracked vertebrae in your spine. Much more and you might not be walking anymore.” Katsuki pointed an accusing finger at his friend. “You had to have known that those robots weren’t programmed to kill.”

 

Katsuki leaned back in the chair, throwing his arms wide. “It probably would’ve just stopped before it hit her. You nearly killed yourself for nothing.”

“I couldn’t have been sure! Besides, I wasn’t thinking about that!” Izuku defended himself. “I was only thinking about saving her…”

 

“Since when do you not think? I could see overthinking, but not thinking?”

 

“I… don’t know. It’s like I said; my body just moved.”

 

Katsuki sighed. “Fine. Come on, get up. Our folks are waiting back home. Your dad had to basically restrain Auntie to keep her from rushing here herself. It took Recovery Girl personally telling her that you were fine to stop her.”

 

“Yeah, alright.” Izuku leaned over and stood up out of bed. He changed into a UA gym uniform the school provided to replace his destroyed clothing and then headed for the station. He fell asleep on the train, something he almost never did. He was exhausted.

 

What a day.

 


 

The boys got to Izuku’s house at nearly eight. Once the others were able to pry Inko off of her son, they had a small party to celebrate the completion of the exam. Izuku was exhausted and could barely keep his eyes open, let alone celebrate, but told the story of his exam anyway. He left out the more gruesome parts, including the part about him not knowing why he ran forward. His father seemed immensely proud, but Izuku was still perceptive enough in his exhausted state to tell that his father was holding something back.

 

What that something was became clear the next day. Izuku woke up late, having slept in to recover his strength. He ate his breakfast that his mother made and found his father sitting on the porch, watching the waves out the window as he often did.

 

Izuku decided to attack the problem at its source. “Want to go out to the rocks?”

 

His father looked at him with slight surprise, then a proud, knowing smile. He nodded and finished his coffee in a single gulp.

 

They walked along the beach as they often did. Hisashi knew that these would be the memories he cherished most when he was old and gray. Izuku was his pride and joy, and these quiet moments didn’t come often enough.

 

After a while, the two Midoriya men found their way to the rocks where they often sat. Izuku remembered many important father-son talks on them, such as the one after his father lost his arm six years ago. The places where they always sat had been worn slightly smooth from use.

 

“I’m proud of you, Izuku.” Hisashi was staring stoically out over the waves. He took a deep smell of the sea air. It was almost a ritual for him.

 

“Thanks, Dad.” Izuku knew that this was just to start the conversation. He wouldn't have wanted to come out here for simple encouragement.

 

“You’ve taken the first step. You’re gonna go to UA and you’re gonna do great things.”

 

“The results won’t be here for a week, we don’t know that I got in.”

 

Hisashi looked at his son with a raised eyebrow and a sarcastic smirk. “We both know you’re getting in.”

 

A moment passed before his smile fell and he sighed. “Son, I need you to be honest with me. Why did you run out and throw yourself under that robot?”

 

Izuku looked down for a bit. “I felt this… uncontrollable desire to save her. I didn’t even think, I just acted. The only thing that mattered was protecting her.”

 

“Could you describe the ‘desire’? How it felt to you?”

 

“Hmm…” Izuku scratched his chin. “It was sort of like a voice shouting in my head. It screamed at me to save and protect her. The only things that seemed to exist were the girl and the deafening cacophony in my head. Like I said, I didn’t think about it, I just... did .”

 

His father smiled weakly. “I figured as much. Which confirms two things that I suspected. First, you’re going to be a damn good hero one day, and secondly, your quirk is maturing.”

 

“...I thought that’s what it had been doing?” Izuku was slightly nervous.

 

“Well yes, it has been... Let me explain.” Hisashi straightened himself out and held up his hand.

 

“We’ve noticed that there are four distinct ‘stages’ of our family quirk that correspond to the levels of our development. They correspond mostly to natural human development. What we call ‘Wyrmling’ was your childhood. The very basics of the quirk and a few, mostly harmless, oddities.” Hisashi smiled, reminiscing about his son’s childhood. He put a finger up.

 

“The next is what we call the ‘Young’ stage. This is your adolescence. That was when your instincts started kicking in. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you about the struggles you went though. You handled it well, and again, I’m proud of you for that.” He put a second finger up.

 

Hisashi looked at his son very seriously. “What you described to me, that undeniable command in your head? That’s the sign that you’ve reached the ‘Adult’ stage.” He put a third finger up, then dropped his hand.

 

Izuku looked curious. His father continued his explanation. “Everything I’ve done to help you in your life, all of the guidance and support your mother and I have given you… it was all leading up to this. This is what we were preparing you for. Everything before this was just a warm up.”

 

“So when you said that I couldn’t just suppress them and I had to find a way to let them out, it’s because you were preparing me for that …” The gravity of the situation was dawning on Izuku. “Those things I felt before… what I thought were real instincts, they were barely echoes.”

 

“Exactly.” Hisashi put his one arm on his son’s shoulder like he often did. His son leaned into the contact. “So, what I’m saying is this: Everything before was just practice. What comes next is the real thing. I never told you this before because this isn’t the type of thing you tell a child.” His tone let his son know just how serious he was.

 

“But you’re an adult now, and your quirk agrees with me. I won’t be around to guide you like I have been now that you’ll be living on UA campus, and as you train and grow, your instincts will only grow in strength.”

 

“You’re smarter than I am son, you’re smarter than your mother is, which is saying something.” This elicited a short, knowing chuckle from both of them. “You have a strong will and an indomitable drive to be a hero, so I know you can do this, but heed my words.” Hisashi took a steadying breath, preparing for what he would say next.

 

“You have to figure this out, or you will fall.”

 

Izuku and his father sat there in grim silence for several minutes. The only sound came from the waves crashing lazily against the beach. Izuku blinked back a few tears, but none fell.

 

He met his father’s eyes after a minute with a look of determination. “I won’t let this stop me. Nothing will change what my heart desires.”

 

Hisashi smiled. “Oh, I know. That’s why I said you’re going to make a damn good hero.” His son looked at him slightly confused, emotion still plain on his face. “Your first instinct in that situation, and I use instinct literally, is to rush in and save that girl... regardless of the consequences to yourself. That spirit of self-sacrifice is one of the most noble things in our profession.”

 

He pointed to the space where his left arm used to be and grinned. “I might be a bit biased.”

 

Izuku laughed a little, and then his father continued. “Let me be honest with you here, son. I doubt that that instinct was an entirely natural one. A lack of self-preservation is not a common quality in dragons, especially not chromatic ones. Which tells me that you, on your very first go , bent that instinct to your will. You took a natural reaction and made it your own.

 

“A natural reaction? What do you mean? From everything you’ve told me about chromatics, I don’t think that saving someone would be in their repertoire.”

 

“What is the common factor between all dragons, Izuku? Beyond scales and wings, of course.”

 

Izuku thought for a moment. “You told me we all have degrees of greed in us. But that it can be managed and if we find goo-”

 

Hisashi held up his hand. “Yes, that. Now, one of the many reasons that I’m proud to call you my son is that you’ve shown an impressive lack of that. At least in the general sense. But think about it, what have you always coveted? What have you always wanted?”

 

Izuku thought again. “...My hero merchandise? I don’t see how-”

 

“No, not that.” Hisashi interrupted him again. “Son, how are you so smart when it comes to everything but so naive when it comes to yourself? Come on, think! The only time you ever attacked another human being, what was it about?”

 

Realization dawned on the green dragon’s face. “...People? Friends? Is that what you’re getting at?”

 

“Yeah, yeah I am.” Hisashi laughed, his arm thrown wide. “A dragon that hoards people, who would have ever thought?” His laughter quickly stopped. “My guess is that the natural reaction of your quirk was to covet that person because you saw some value in them. Your willpower and drive to be a hero then twisted that reaction into an overwhelming desire to protect, even at the cost of your own body and life.”

 

Hisashi paused for a second with a slightly fearful expression on his face. “Don’t tell your mother I’m praising you for that,” he added quickly. After his son nodded, he returned to his lecture.

 

“So here’s the next question: What made that person someone you wanted to protect?”

 

Izuku thought for a small moment, and then started blushing furiously.

 

His father stared at him dumbly for a second, then began laughing uproariously. “My boy really is becoming a man! So, she was pretty, huh?”

 

“...the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t even speak the first time I saw her.”

 

“That sounds a lot like how I was the first time I saw your mother.”

 

Izuku looked up, blush leaving his face somewhat. “Really?”

 

“Yep. I dropped the wine I was holding and nearly spilled it all over my suit. Your mother pulled it away with her quirk, so it spilled all over her.” Hisashi leaned back a bit, laughing at the memory.

 

“My sister thinks it has something to do with our quirk, that it knows a good person when it sees one, but I don’t like to think that. I think that I was just lucky, and that your mother is an amazing woman that any man would want.”

 

Izuku laughed awkwardly, then stopped as a thought struck him. “So, what if that person wasn’t someone I… thought was pretty? I can’t be a hero if I have to know a person to protect them.”

 

“Izuku, do you think I always have an instinct telling me yes or no when I do hero work?”

 

“No… I guess not.”

 

“It wasn’t your instinct that made you go save that girl, but it… hmm. Actually, Izuku, tell me about the transformation you used.”

 

“Oh! Uh, okay.” Izuku held up his right arm. “Well, it was bigger than anything I’d ever done before. Way bigger. Uh, I would try to show you, but Recovery Girl said I’m not allowed to use my quirk today.”

 

“How big?”

“I would say about two meters long? It knocked me off balance pretty badly when I made it.”

 

“Wow, that is way bigger than anything you’ve done before.” Hisashi was impressed. “My point is that it wasn’t your quirk that made you want to save that girl, it was you . However, your instinct helped to push you further. You were working in sync with your quirk, instead of struggling against it.”

 

“That’s another reason why it’s important to bend your instincts to your will. You don’t need your instincts to be a hero, you didn’t need them to tell you to save that girl, but you needed them to save her like you did. You need them to be at your best. You’re always at your strongest when your body, mind, heart and quirk are working in unison.”

 

Hisashi looked proud, if a little somber. “I don’t want you to get the idea in your head that you’re going to be subjected to your instincts all the time. As I have to keep reminding your uncle, we are not actually dragons, Izuku.” He rolled his eyes slightly. “You will be free of them most of the time, especially when you’re younger. As you grow older and stronger, they will be stronger, but you will have learned to manage them better by then.”

 

“I thought you said I was an adult now?” Izuku’s mind was reeling from all this new information, and his father kept confusing him.

 

“Well, yes, you are. But your quirk isn’t done growing. I was honestly surprised that you had a powerful reaction like that so soon. I was planning on having this talk with you after the test, to prepare you for what was to come. I didn’t want to distract you before then.”

 

Hisashi sighed, then continued. “That worked out well, didn’t it?” He looked frustrated with himself. “Anyway, quirks don’t change overnight like that. I wasn’t expecting you to have a powerful impulse like that for months. You likely only had this reaction due to the extreme situation you were placed in. Don’t think that this is going to be a daily thing, not yet, at least.”

 

“So you’re saying that I will be able to save people and be a hero even with these instincts?”

“When have I ever said differently?” He placed his hand on his son’s shoulder. “You have time to figure this out, son. But the real test comes when you have your next reaction like you did yesterday. And then the next. And then the next. It will never stop, so you can’t afford to, either. You have time, but you can’t waste time.”

 

“You said my instincts will grow as my quirk grows, and by going to UA, where my quirk will be trained and strengthened rapidly…”

 

“Exactly.”

 

“...You’ve given me a lot to think about.” Izuku sighed. “I suppose I won’t know until it happens, yeah?”

 

“Unfortunately, yes.” Hisashi stood up, followed by his son. “There’s nothing to do but try your hardest. Work with what you have and do what you can. You’re the first chromatic to ever do something like this. Nobody knows what will happen.”

 

“If anyone can do it,” he said, looking Izuku in the eyes, “it’s you.”

 

They walked back towards the house in a thoughtful silence. Usually they talked constantly, but today, there was too much on Izuku’s mind for him to even mutter like normally. Then, a thought struck him.

 

“Dad, you said that there are four stages of our quirk? You only mentioned three.”

 

“Right, well,” Hisashi said, holding his hand out, “the fourth stage is one that is called ‘Ancient’. It has nothing to do with age really, just how powerful the quirk is. An exceptionally powerful dragon exhibits size, strength and abilities that the rest of us can’t match.”

 

He held up two fingers. “There have only ever been two dragons that I know of that have made it to the Ancient stage. Silverlight, the very first of us, my great-grandfather, and…” He let out a long, regretful sigh. “And Terrorflame. But you’ll never have to worry about any of that. My uncle is locked up tight in Tartarus.”

 


 

The next week an envelope came, stamped with the official seal of UA. Inko and Hisashi were nearly as excited as their son was, but they understood when he wanted to open it in private. He went into his room and cleared off his computer desk. He made a single claw on his hand and quickly sliced it open.

 

Inside was a letter and a small metal disk. He looked the disk over, then placed it on the desk. It kicked to life, the image of President Nezu appeared and congratulated him for passing the written exam with a near-perfect score.

 

“And in the case of the practical exam, we are happy to inform you that you also passed. Izuku Midoriya, you earned 57 Villain Points and 40 Rescue Points for actions beyond the scope of the exam, for a total of 97 points. Welcome to UA!”

 

He had counted five more points than that, but he supposed that he may have miscounted during the heat of the moment. Regardless, he got in. That’s what mattered, right?

 

Izuku saw the great scoreboard on screen and quickly scanned it over. He saw his own score sitting third on the list. He looked up to see… “Oh no.” In second place, ‘Katsuki Bakugou: 78 Villain Points and 20 Rescue Points’. He had lost their bet by a single point.

 

Then he looked up to see who got first. Someone named ‘Ochako Uraraka’ managed to beat them both out with 54 Villain Points and 45 Rescue Points for a total score of 99 points.

 

“Wow. I wonder if she’s in my class... I wonder if Kacchan is in my class.” He turned to the paper letter and saw that he was in Class 1-A. A simple set of instructions gave him his move-in date and noted his teacher was one ‘Shouta Aizawa’. Izuku wondered which pro hero that was, but he guessed he would find out in time.

 

His parents were proud of him for getting third place, but his dad teased him for missing first by three points. “Maybe you shouldn't have been staring at that girl the whole time, then!”

 

“Dad, I wasn’t!”

 

“Oh, my baby is becoming a man!”

 

“Mom, not you too!”

 


 

The next two months seemed to fly by. Before he knew it, Izuku had finished high school and was preparing to move in to his dorm at UA. Heights Alliance was the name of the building, according to his information packet, and it would be the place where he would live for the next four years of his life.

 

Izuku and Katsuki were the first ones to arrive at the dorm, being locals and all. They had unloaded in front of the building and bid their parents farewell. Inko was crying, of course, but the other five managed to get her to leave eventually, although Izuku didn’t try very hard. Once they left, it was just the boys standing in front of the building with their giant stacks of boxes.

 

Well, Izuku’s giant stack of boxes. Katsuki packed rather light and only had the bare minimum, but Izuku had several more boxes than most sane people would ever bring to a dorm.

 

“Did you seriously have to bring all of that junk?”

 

“It’s not junk, Kacchan, they’re part of my prized collection! I feel better knowing that it’s close.”

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes. Izuku had brought about 5 boxes absolutely filled with hero merchandise. He had action figures, posters, comics and more in addition to the clothes, books and furniture he brought with him.

 

They made their way up to their pre-assigned dorm rooms. Izuku had room 202, while Katsuki had room 403. The rooms were unlocked and rather bare, with a set of keys on the simple table in the room. Izuku pocketed the keys and set to work. This was going to take him a while, to say the least.

 

As with everything, the boys competed to see who could haul the most boxes up to their room at a time. Izuku wound up winning, barely. He had Katsuki beat slightly in the strength department usually, but Katsuki had him beat in other ways. They were roughly equal, but in no way were they copies of each other.

 

While he unpacked his massive collection, he got to thinking. Things were going to be different here. He didn’t have the slew of rumors that followed him throughout his public school career. This could be a fresh start. He could just be himself and finally no longer be that one weird kid with horns.

 

Was he excited, or was he nervous? He was used to being the smartest kid in the class, and that likely wouldn’t be the case anymore. He was partnered with 19 of the top students in the whole country, after all. He was used to being the tallest kid in his class, and that probably wouldn’t be the case either, especially if that one girl is in his class.

 

The girl with the beautiful eyes and that gorgeous hair and her cute nose and that blush on- Izuku shook his head, he was getting off track. Maybe he didn’t want her in his class, especially if he couldn’t get over how distracted she made him. His quirk gave him an edge in many departments, and he valued his intellect as another weapon, but she had made him shut down just by talking to him.

 

He wasn’t upset at the prospect of not being the smartest, or the strongest or the tallest student anymore. If anything, he was excited, he did his best when he was challenged. That’s why he and Katsuki worked so well together. Katsuki always wanted to compete, and Izuku excelled when he was pushed.

 

So yeah, he was excited, but he was also nervous. There’s no telling what would happen tomorrow, or the next day, or the next four years of his life. He knew one thing: He would do his best to meet every day with a smile on his face and in his heart. Nothing could change the desires of his heart, like All Might said... and dammit, he wanted to be a hero.

 

Izuku placed a figurine of All Might on one of the shelves he had installed and grew a content smile.

 

“I wonder if any other students will have horns?”

Chapter Text

It took Izuku a while to finish unpacking and setting up. All of his hero merchandise had to be properly organized and displayed, of course; anything less would be an insult to the great heroes that they represented. His meticulousness caused him to miss a text from Katsuki, and it was nearly an hour and a half later when he finally finished, a proud smile on his face, when he finally checked his phone. Apparently, the rest of the students that had moved in today were congregating in the common room.

 

He hurried out of his room, locking it behind him. He checked the lock several times just to make sure his collection was safe, and then headed towards the stairs. As he walked, he felt his previous excitement start to swell, as well as his nervousness. He would finally be able to play his ‘game’ again. The one he hadn’t been able to really play for ten long years. The other students had no reason to fear him, and he would have an entire room of people to meet.

 

He would start by observing the room, noting anything obvious: potential friend groups already forming, people who appear to be loners, people who seemed to be talkative and those who seemed to be more fond of listening. He would then look for more subtle things, such as clothing choices, body language and more. Once had this foundation, he would move to talk to them, subtly guiding the conversation so he could learn their likes, dislikes and mannerisms. Then, once he had everything he needed, he would move in for the kill.

 

He grinned widely.

 

Friendship was inevitable.

 

He reached the bottom of the stairwell and opened the door. He began to look around the room and noticed that a good number of people were alread-

 

“HORNS!”

 

That stopped Izuku in his tracks. That was one of the names that Katsuki called him sometimes, but that voice was most certainly not Katsuki. He blinked and turned to the source of the noise. What he saw, well, it wasn’t what he expected.

 

A girl was standing about twenty feet away from him, pointing accusingly at him. The first thing he noticed was her pink skin and the black sclera in her golden eyes. Her pink hair was messy like his and sticking out of it were a pair of curled yellow horns. She was also really pretty. ‘Are all the girls at UA like this?’

 

The girl stomped towards him and stopped just a few feet away. Izuku was keenly aware that most of the eyes in the room were on the two of them. She looked up at him and got a wide smile on her face. She leaned forward and pointed a thumb towards herself. “I’m Mina Ashido! I like your horns!”

 

Izuku blinked a couple of times. This was new. “H-hi. I’m Izuku Midoriya, it’s super nice to meet you! I, uh, I like your horns too?” He basically had no experience with women, at least none this forward. He probably would have frozen up if he hadn’t already had the experience at the entrance exam with that nice girl. Almost everyone at his old schools were too intimidated to talk to him, male and female alike, but at least he had Katsuki and the group of guys who hung around him sometimes.

 

She stood back upright and shouted behind her. “Kiri! Come here!” Izuku managed to tear his gaze away from the pink girl in front of him to look where she was yelling. A student with red eyes and a smile filled with razor-sharp teeth walked over. On her head was spiked red hair, styled up with two small horns on the front.

 

“Midoriya, this is Eiko Kirishima! Kiri, this is Izuku Midoriya.” The girl introduced them happily.

 

“Hey man, what’s up?” Kirishima smiled widely, and Izuku returned the gesture.

 

“We’re all horn buddies now!” Ashido stated this as fact and grinned wide as she pointed at her own horns with both hands. Her energy was infectious. “Come on, Midoriya, you’re late! I’ll introduce you to everyone.”

 

Izuku smiled dumbly. ‘Well...that was easy.’

 

Izuku finally got the good sense to look around the room and he counted 12 people, including himself. He already knew three of the others in the room, and he'd just met Kirishima and Ashido, which left six new people for him to get to know. He quickly looked around, noting that there were two girls and four boys.

 

Time to get to work.

 

Ashido took him around, as promised. She led him to a small circle of three guys first, the same group that Kirishima was standing in before she was called over.

 

“Hey dude, name’s Denki Kaminari. Sweet horns.” The blonde boy with a jagged black streak in his hair looked up at him and smirked.

 

“Thanks!” Izuku was getting back in the swing of things after being knocked off-balance by the pink girl. “Izuku Midoriya. Is that streak natural?” Izuku gestured at the lightning bolt in his hair. The boy seemed to be proud of it, so Izuku took it as an opportunity.

 

“Yeah!” He gestured proudly to it, just as Izuku predicted. “Pretty sweet, right? I have an electricity quirk, so it’s totally thematic!”

 

‘Boisterous personality, and very casual.’ Izuku made mental notes. ‘He’s not afraid to say what he thinks and he seems friendly.’ Izuku grew a genuine smile. “For sure! I assumed it was fake because it was too cool.”

 

Kaminari grinned back and looked at the other students. “I like this guy!”

 

“Name’s Hanta Sero.” The boy had a good few inches on Izuku, and a toothy smile. Izuku noted his strange elbows.

 

“How was your move-in, Midoriya?” Tenya Iida was standing with the other boys, chatting away in his stiff yet animated manner, chopping the air from time to time.

 

“Great, thanks! It took me a while to unpack, which is why I’m late. It’s really nice to meet all of you. I’m sure you’re all excited to start school on Monday.” Izuku tested the waters. As a precaution in Iida’s case; he was right about them not seeing each other for a long time, after all.

 

“I mean, yeah, but I’m more excited for the ‘hero’ part of ‘hero course’, you know? Schoolwork can be a drag.” Kaminari lamented.

 

Izuku talked to them for a bit longer. Sero and Kirishima seemed to be of a similar mind to Kaminari regarding schoolwork, although Iida lectured them all on the importance of good grades. All-in-all they all seemed like good people. Kaminari, Kirishima and Sero seemed to be fast friends, although they seemed a little wary of Iida’s intensity. Izuku understood that reaction completely.

 

“Come on, we’ve got more people to meet!” Ashido cheered, gripped Izuku by his shoulders and pushed him along, leaving the other four students to continue their conversation.

 

‘She got touchy awfully fast…’ Izuku thought as he blushed a bit. ‘Are all the girls going to be like this?’

 


 

Mina pushed her new horn buddy towards two students talking by the window, lost in her own thoughts. ‘Wow… his shoulders are firm...’ Her eyes drifted downwards, ‘ And he has a cute butt.’ She felt her cheeks warm up a little, tinting with the faintest dusting of lilac.

 


 

Ashido’s smile never left her face as she planted him in front of the two boys. Sero was taller than him, but the one on his right was taller than him. Taller than his dad, even. He was built, too. Not a sculpted physique like a bodybuilder, but a strong, thick core of real strength.

 

The giant of a man pointed a thumb towards his face, Izuku noting his rather thick lips. “I’m Rikidou Satou. You making the rounds?”

 

“Sure! I want to meet all my classmates. I’m Izuku Midoriya, I’m sure we’ll be fast friends.” He smiled and turned to the other boy. He was quite a bit shorter, about the same height as Ashido. The most obvious thing about him was his head, which was in the shape of a bird’s.

 

“You may call me Fumikage Tokoyami.” The boy’s red eyes stared stoically into Izuku’s green.

 

‘Serious, reserved. Not much to go on.’ Izuku wasn’t having the best luck so far, but it was only the first day.

 

After a much shorter conversation, Ashido dragged him off again, this time plopping him down next to the four girls who were sitting together: the three he noticed earlier, as well as Kirishima, who had made her way over. Ashido began introducing the girls eagerly.

 

“This is Kyouka Jirou...” she gestured towards a short, petite girl with purple hair and what looked like audio jacks hanging from her ears. Jirou gave him a slight wave.

 

“You already met Kiri, of course.” The red-haired woman flashed him another sharp smile. Izuku smiled back, noting for the first time her well-defined musculature: an indication she might have a passion for weightlifting.

 

“This is Tsuyu Asui...” Ashido gestured towards a girl with big eyes and dark green hair. She was slightly shorter than the rest, but no less full-bodied.

 

“This is Tooru Hagakure,” she pointed to… nothing? Izuku looked twice before he saw floating clothes sitting in the seat next to Asui. The girls giggled at his reaction.

 

Ashido extended her hands towards the taller woman with black hair and onyx eyes. Her body had certainly developed since the last time Izuku had seen her. “And this is-”

“Miss Yaoyorozu, it’s a pleasure to see you again.” Izuku interrupted Ashido’s exposition with a slight bow, eyes downcast.

 

Yaoyorozu laughed once, hand close to her mouth. “Midoriya, no need to be so formal. We are classmates now. Just ‘Yaoyorozu’ is fine.” Izuku smiled and nodded, but still didn’t meet her eyes.

 

“You two know each other?” Jirou asked, raising her eyebrows and smirking slightly.

 

“Our… parents travel in some of the same social circles,” Izuku explained, “so we’ve met a few times in the past.” Izuku was intentionally vague. People treated him differently once they knew he was the son of a pro hero, and doubly so when they found out his family was wealthy. He was sure that it was the same for Yaoyorozu.

 

‘It’s good to know that still makes her laugh. I’ve missed hearing it...’

 

Izuku noticed all the girls looking at him expectantly as the thought faded. “Oh! Sorry, my name is Izuku Midoriya. It’s great to meet all of you.” Izuku flashed his eager smile.

 

“Call me Tsu, by the way.” As- Tsu told him. Izuku smiled wider at this. She was making this game easy .

 

Izuku talked with the girls for a few more minutes, learning a little about them. Tsu seemed the strangest to him, like she was just a little emotionally different than most. Oh, and she croaked like a frog, that was a lot different. Jirou was relaxed, but eager to tease the other girls. Kirishima was boisterous and open. Hagakure seemed bubbly, much like Ashido was. Yaoyorozu was just as elegant and refined as he remembered, maybe a little bit happier too.

 

Eventually he glanced around for the last person he needed to talk to. He found him, sitting by himself on the other side of the room, staring at his phone, looking disinterested. Ashido saw him staring at the boy.

 

“Oh, careful with that one,” Ashido giggled a bit, “he’s a little prickly. Could hardly get a word out of him.”

 

Izuku gave her a knowing smile before turning back to the boy. “Hey, Kacchan! Come say hi!”

 

Everyone else in the room froze and looked at the blonde and the greenhead. The boy rolled his eyes and put his phone away before slowly sitting up and walking over to his friend. “This is Katsuki Bakugou. He doesn’t bite.”

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes again. “Hey Izuku, you forget about our bet?”

 

Izuku paled and his eyes went wide with fear. “N-no, of course not. R-right here? Now?

 

Katsuki grew an evil grin. “No, not now. Just be ready for it.”

 

Izuku gulped. This interaction got the rest of the room to release the tension in their bodies and return to what they were doing. Katsuki slumped down next to Izuku and the conversation continued. He didn’t participate, but at least he was being more social now.

 


 

After about twenty more minutes of socializing around the room, Izuku was getting frustrated. He wasn’t making acceptable progress. Sure, he was finding out more about these people and he already made friends with several people, at least in word, but that wasn’t good enough. All of these small circles around the room weren’t doing him any favors, either.

 

So he hatched a plan.

 

Izuku stood tall and waved his arm in the air. “Hey everyone!” He paused for a second as the other students turned to him. “We’re all going to be classmates for four years, so let’s gather around and get to know each other. Come on, grab a chair and circle up!”

 

Ashido was the first to react. She jumped up out of her seat and shouted in affirmation, before dragging Hagakure with her to grab more chairs. This got the rest of the students to move.

 

Soon all twelve of the students were circled up. They seemed to be waiting for Izuku to make a move, as it was his idea. Katsuki sat on his right, while Ashido had grabbed the seat on his left.

 

Once everyone was situated, he began. “I figured it would be good if we all go to know each other a little better, seeing how much time we’ll be spending together...” Izuku held up a finger. “I’ve found one of the best ways to break the ice is talk about our favorite heroes, and since we’re all here at UA, it seemed like an especially good plan.”

 

Several of the more reserved students grumbled at this seemingly grade-school icebreaker.


“So, let’s just go around and just tell us who’s your favorite hero. It’ll be easy, you’ll see. Oh! And to make things more fun, you can’t say All Might.” He looked to his right. “Kacchan, how about you start.”

 

Katsuki groaned. “You already know- Outside of All Might? Miruko. She kicks ass and doesn’t take crap from anyone.”

 

Kirishima had pulled up the seat next to Katsuki, and she was much more into it than some of the other students. “My favorite is Crimson Riot! He’s what inspired me to be a hero.”

 

‘Now we’re getting somewhere.’ Izuku thought to himself. “Crimson Riot? He was bold, I can see why you like him.”

 

Kirishima grew a proud smirk. “He said to live a life full of manliness, which means to live a life without regrets. That’s my motto, too!”

 

As they went around the circle, it became evident to all the other students that Izuku was a hero nerd, through and through. Whenever one of them would mention their favorite hero, he would immediately start spouting off facts and trivia about them. Once he even pulled out a notebook from who-knows-where and started listing off notes he had taken on them recently.

 

The other students found this interesting, to say the least. Their impressions ranged from slightly annoyed to intrigued to amused. What they didn’t realize that Izuku was using this as an excuse to gather information on them. He was eliciting reactions, watching body language and facial expressions. Nobody but Katsuki realized that this little circle had ulterior motives.


Things continued in the same way until Kaminari’s turn. “My favorite hero, eh? Probably Stormclaw.”

 

Izuku stopped reading his notebook. Everything seemed to freeze for him. That was not what he was expecting to hear, but it was something he could work with.

 

“Oh, he’s one of my favorites too.” Tsu added in. Izuku was doubly stunned.

 

“Why Stormclaw?” Izuku was too curious to not ask.

 

“Oh man, have you seen the way he throws around lightning?!” Kaminari pointed his finger and thumb like a gun, a little electricity crackling off his fingertip. “I’ve followed him since I got my quirk. I really wanna meet him someday.”

 

“He’s one of the few aquatic heroes, too.” Tsu said with her finger on her chin. “Besides Gang Orca and Stormclaw, there aren’t many prestigious ones. It’s a shame that he got injured and stopped doing as much work.”

 

Izuku sighed, half proud and half morose. “Yeah. He’s my favorite hero, too.” He realized he spoke aloud before he could stop himself.

 

“Really? Why’s that? Is it ‘cause of your horns?” Ashido hit him with a barrage of questions, but before he could respond, a noise came from outside. “Oh, was that a car door? Maybe someone new just arrived!”


 

“I’ll go see if I can help them carry stuff in.” Midoriya quickly took the opportunity to leave the circle and head outside. He saw the taxi in front of the dorm, the trunk was open and there was clearly someone back there unloading stuff. It was too dark out for him to get a good look at them.


“Need some help?”

 

“No, I’ve got it, thanks!”

 

Midoriya stopped.

 

He recognized that voice.

 

It seemed that the other person had the same revelation. The tall, nice girl from the entrance exam slowly righted herself, her bundle of luggage floating behind her.

 

Time seemed to stand still again as they both stared at each other, not more than a few feet away from each other. After what seemed like an eternity passed-

 

“Thank you for saving me!” They spoke simultaneously. They also bowed simultaneously. Their heads cracked together.

 

Both students quickly recoiled, rubbing their heads in pain. It was fortunate that she was taller than him, and impacted his skull a bit higher up than most would. Any lower and she might have hit her head on his horns, and he really didn’t want to give the girl who saved his life an injury like that.

 

“I-I’m really sorry! I didn’t mean to- are you okay?”

“Ow!” The girl rubbed her head furiously. “You’ve got a really hard head, Deku!”

 

“D-Deku?!”

 

“Yeah, isn’t that your name?” She stopped rubbing her head, her pain seemingly lost in her confusion. “That’s what your friend called you when you tripped back at the entrance exam.” She giggled lightly at the memory.

 

‘Wow, even her laugh is attrac-’ Midoriya brought his mind back. “Well, y-you see, Deku is what Kacchan calls me to tease me, m-my real name is Izuku Midoriya.”

“Oh, I didn’t know!” She seemed apologetic, but then quickly returned to her normal, bubbly self. “But you know what? I like ‘Deku’! It has a ‘You can do it!’ sorta vibe, you know? Plus, I think it sounds pretty cute!”

 

She screamed internally, but didn’t let her smile fall. ‘Why did I say that?!’

 

Midoriya’s brain shorted out for a second. “D-Deku it is!” He couldn’t move, he just stared into her eyes, unable to do anything but blush furiously.

 

‘Woah, is he blushin’ green?’

 

She blinked once at him, mesmerised by the unusual color spreading over his face for a moment, then her brain kicked back to gear. “Oh! Of course, I never told you my name. Sorry about that!” She straightened herself out to her impressive height, Midoriya’s eyes tracking her the whole way. “I’m Ochako Uraraka, thanks for holding that massive robot still!” She smiled so widely her eyes had squeezed closed.

 

This brought Midoriya roaring back to reality. “Uraraka?!” He gasped. “You got first place on the entrance exam! Of course! I should have known someone who blew that robot to pieces would get first!” He slapped himself on his forehead, wincing as he hit the sore spot from their previous headbutt. “How did I not see that?!”

 

It was Uraraka’s turn to blush. She began frantically waving her hands in front of her. “Oh, that was nothing, really! It was only because you ran in front of me and stopped that fist all by yourself!” She had recalled the memory often in the past two months, it was like something out of a movie. His muscular body, those eyes burning bright with passion and energy, him single-handedly stopping that robot… She sighed. Her blush redoubled once she realized she had sighed out loud.

 

“Oh, well, I couldn’t just let you get c-crushed, right?” He rubbed the back of his head. He was too distracted by his own furious blushing to notice her sigh.

 

“So you’re just that heroic, huh?” She teased him. ‘Why did I just t-tease him?!’

 

“W-well, it’s what anyone would’ve done, r-right?” His face turned to a deeper tone of green as he rubbed the back of his head faster.

‘Oh.’ She couldn’t help but feel satisfied with how flustered he got from her teasing.

 

“If you say so, Deku...” But nobody else had done anything. They were all running away. There was only one guy there who put his life on the line for her that day, and he was currently staring at her like a deer in headlights. ‘How was someone who is so heroic and strong also this adorable?’

 

They just stood there, staring at each other as the taxi drove off. After another minute or so, the door to the dorm opened up again. “Yo, Izuku, what’s taking you so long?” Bakugou was walking down the path towards them.

 

Midoriya didn’t react until Bakugou lightly punched his arm. He looked at the girl his friend was staring at. “Oh, Round Face, you’re in our class?”

 

“Round Face?!” Uraraka was startled.

 

Midoriya regained the use of his tongue and held up his hand to stop his friend. “Ah ah, no, Kacchan. This is Ochako Uraraka.”

 

“Oh yeah?” He raised his eyebrow, intrigued. “And why’s that?”

 

“Why’s- that’s my name?” She was more confused.

 

“She got first place on the entrance exam, ahead of you, in case that slipped your mind. Besides, I told you how she destroyed that zero-pointer by herself.”

“Well, only because you stopped it…” They didn’t really seem to be listening to her.

 

Bakugou thought for a moment. “Fine, fair enough. Uraraka it is.” He turned to the girl in question. “You better keep it up, then. I’m not having any slouches as rivals, you hear me?” He turned and walked away, heading back inside.

 

“Rivals?” Uraraka was thoroughly confused. She turned to Midoriya for some kind of explanation. “What just happened?”

 

“What? Oh!” Midoriya seemed to remember that she was there. ”Uh, Kacchan happened. Basically, he sees you as a rival because you proved your strength to him.” He was rubbing his neck in embarrassment again. “I-It’s a good thing, I promise.”

 

“If you say so, Deku...” She repeated herself, not knowing if she believed him. “Well, I need to get these to my room.” She gestured back at her luggage, still floating behind her. “I’ll talk to you later?”

 

“Uh, sure. Sounds good.” Midoriya stood still as she walked past him. He watched the woman walk across the sidewalk and up the stairs, staring at her the entire time, admiring her athletic legs under her leggings. The door closed behind her and he was left alone.

 

He sighed heavily.

 

He held his forehead in his hand, shaking his head slightly. “I need to learn how to focus around her. She’s gonna be in my class. I need to focus on being a hero, and not her face and legs and- no, stop that Izuku.” He threw his arms up in frustration. “Why do I go stupid around her?!”

 

He dragged his hands down his face in exasperation. “I think you know why.”

 

“Dammit…”

 


 

Ochako walked into the dorm, and was quickly greeted by the people inside. She was pleased to see that they were all friendly, especially the girls. But something struck her as odd. She was usually the tallest person in the room, but that wasn’t that strange for that not to be the case. However, she was absolutely always used to being the tallest woman in the room. When she greeted the black-haired girl who introduced herself as Momo Yaoyorozu, she was immediately taken aback slightly.

 

The girl was just as tall as she was, if not taller. Ochako’s permanent blush grew a bit at this realization, and she could see the slight surprise and a hint of a blush on her face as well. Red looked good on her.

 

The rest of the girls were also quite nice; the froggy girl even insisted that she already call her by her first name. Then, her eyes locked onto something familiar. Yellow irises, so intense they almost seemed to be glowing, stared back at her, keeping her mesmerized. Her brain got thrown for a loop, reliving Deku dashing to her aid.

 

But the eyes didn’t belong to him. They were a deeper, golden yellow compared to Deku’s bright, bright green, and they were accented by the black sclera surrounding them. As she noted the differences between their eyes, the rest of her face registered in Ochako’s mind and she took notice of her new classmates pink skin and hair.

 

Reality came crashing back.

 

Ochako continued to stare as she internally scolded herself for getting so lost in the moment. She couldn’t deny that it wasn’t just the color of her eyes that made her recall Deku so vividly. ‘Maybe the way she is… lookin’ back at me…’

 

“S-sorry, didn’t mean to stare!” She chuckled awkwardly, “I- uh, like your eyes!”

 

The woman she was staring at, who was still staring back, shook her head, dispelling her faint, lilac blush. Her smile grew wide, but was a little shaky. “Thanks!”

 

After she said a hurried goodbye to them all, she eventually made her way to room 405 and let her luggage and furniture fall gently to the ground. She sighed loudly and flopped onto her new bed. ‘I’ve been at UA for less than an hour and I’m already... why couldn’t Deku have been in the other class? There’s somethin’ about him that’s so... distractin’... I don’t have time to be distracted! I’m not a kid anymore, I’m 18! I should be past this!’ She hit her bed in frustration.

 

She sat up and sighed again, pulling herself to her feet to begin slowly unpacking. Even with the distraction of her luggage, her thoughts kept wandering to Deku. ‘He’s cute, sure, and totally heroic. And his quirk is super cool, and I kinda like how he looks at me… but he wouldn’t like me or anything. We just met. I’m sure I just intimidate him… them...’ Her mind went back to the girl that looked at her with the same expression.

 

She sighed once again. ‘Besides, guys just don’t like tall girls. That’s fine. I’m not here for anythin’ but being a hero. I can- need to learn to be one of the best while I’m here. Four years will be gone before I know it. I can’t get distracted thinkin’ about cute boys with horns and really muscular arms…or cute girls with horns....’

 

“...Do I have a thing for horns?” She slipped down to the ground, clutching her knees to her chest and feeling her permanent blush growing once again.

 

“Dammit…”

Chapter Text

The next day was Sunday, the last day of move-in and the last day before school started. He was used to getting up early due to his years of conditioning with his father, and he had no intention of sleeping in now. At the crack of dawn, he and Katsuki met up to take a jog around the UA campus.

 

Izuku knew that UA was big, but he didn’t fully appreciate it until he took that jog. Katsuki and he ran their normal distance, which covered a healthy number of city blocks, and they had barely explored a corner of the property. There was the main building, of course, which was huge. Then there were two dorms for the hero course, three for general education, three for support course and three more for the business course. Four years of school meant 44 separate residential halls. Then there was the stadium, the USJ, the numerous training grounds and facilities, the mock cities and more.

 

“This place is more like its own city than a campus,” Izuku puffed as he ran alongside his friend.

 

“Imagine how much it cost to buy just the land for this, not to mention all the buildings,” Katsuki pointed out.

 

The boys returned to their hall a little bit after seven, sweating and satisfied from a successful workout. A few scorch marks on Izuku’s arms and a few traces of blood along Katsuki’s betrayed the fact that they had gone a few rounds as part of their exercise.

 

After a shower and a quick breakfast, the two left and caught the train back to Izuku’s house. Hisashi was leaving on a business trip the next morning to I-Island, so the Bakugous and Midoriyas were having a small get-together.

 

By the time the boys returned to UA in the late afternoon, all of the other students had arrived. Izuku set to work scouting out the six he hadn’t met the previous day. Five were boys, for a total of 12. The girl was a foreigner, American by the looks of it, by the name of Pony Tsunotori. She had a pair of impressive horns sticking straight up out of her head, which Ashido had already spotted with another shout of “Horns!” Izuku was later informed by Ashido that Tsunotori was his friend now as well.

 

Next, there was a student with a strange, pointed head that put him on par with Satou in terms of height. He had a muscular build, but seemed supremely shy and quiet, to the point that Izuku didn’t even hear him speak. It was only by pointing at a nametag on his luggage that he was able to tell Izuku that his name was Kouji Kouda.

 

Just in case Izuku still entertained the idea that he was one of the taller students, next he met a giant named Mezou Shouji. He had six arms, wore a mask and stood about two inches taller than Satou and Kouda. He also seemed reserved and stoic. Izuku noted that he would likely get along well with Tokoyami, but couldn’t get much of a read on him beyond that.

 

Yuuga Aoyama was a bit much for Izuku, but he could immediately tell that his dazzling outward persona was a shield. The boy seemed to wear his heart on his sleeve, but the heart was a decoy. Izuku quickly figured that, despite talking about himself all the time, he never truly said anything about himself.

 

Then there was the purple one. Minoru Mineta immediately set off red flags in Izuku’s mind. He noticed that the boy took every opportunity to stare at the women in the class. He was short, crude and completely shameless. Izuku had him pegged as trouble nearly as soon as he met him, which was something that didn’t often happen.

 

The last student he knew from name only. He had apparently gone up to his room as soon as he arrived and hadn’t come out. Ashido had told him that she saw the name ‘Todoroki’ on the backpack he was carrying, which immediately let Izuku know what he needed to.

 

Izuku had seen Endeavor many times at the hero events he attended with his father, but he had never seen his children. He knew that he had them, but Endeavor was not a family man. He was at those events purely for political reasons. If his son was anything like him, then he was one to watch out for. Endeavor left a sour taste in Izuku’s mouth, and while perhaps this boy was different, he would be cautious.

 

And with that, Izuku knew all the pieces on the board. Factors such as teachers were still unaccounted for, but he now knew the most important parts of what he was working with. Satisfied with his foundation, he made the first move in his game.

 

“Yo, Kirishima! Satou!” Izuku called out to the two who were sitting near each other next to the TV. “Kacchan and I are heading out to check out the gym. Wanna come?” This was an easy way to start the game strong, pun intended.

 

Both students grew wide smiles and immediately agreed. The four  made their way across campus to the rather impressive weight room and set to work. Kirishima paired off with Katsuki, while Izuku and Satou spotted for each other.

 

Now, Izuku was stronger than the average person, thanks to his genes and his years of training, but he didn’t have much of anything on Satou. The man crushed all of Izuku’s personal records without even trying. Izuku couldn’t help but grin. He would make a point of training with Satou more in the future. No better person in class to help Izuku strength train than him.

 

Katsuki and Kirishima seemed to be getting along well enough, and he tolerated Satou. He had already given them both nicknames, which, Izuku noted, was a good step. ‘Weird Hair’ took all of Katsuki’s jabs in stride and accepted every challenge that he laid out. Izuku could tell by the look in his friend’s eyes that he was begrudgingly impressed with Kirishima’s spirit.

 

The workout didn’t last too long. “We don’t want to tire ourselves out too much for class tomorrow, who knows what crazy crap they’ll have us doing,” Katsuki wisely reminded Izuku on the way over. Besides, Izuku had the second move of his game already planned out.

 

Izuku encouraged the other three to jog back to the dorm with him as a ‘cool down’, but he really just wanted to get back as fast as he could to begin the next phase. A quick shower and a quick change of clothes brought Izuku back down to the kitchen as fast as he could manage. He pulled the notecards out of his pocket and set to work.

 


 

“Hey, mom?” Earlier that day Izuku had been helping his mother prepare the lunch for the party. The two of them often cooked together, and it was one of their most common bonding activities during his childhood. Especially when his father wasn’t home.

 

“Yes, Izuku?” Inko was a fantastic cook; she fed two dragons every day, so it wasn’t surprising. She was proud at how well Izuku had taken after her, and she secretly thought that Izuku would surpass her in a few years. Cooking with her son always brought a smile to her face, and it was one of the things she would miss most with him moving out.

 

“I want to cook dinner for all my new classmates tonight. Do you have some recipes I could use?”

 

Inko smiled widely. “Of course! It’s so nice of you to want to cook for your new friends. Here, I have a few you could use. Oh! And here’s one for dessert.” She was frantically writing down some of her favorites on some notecards as she gushed.

 

“Thanks, mom. I’ll be sure to try and do your recipes justice.”

 

“Oh, I’m not worried about that, sweetie. Just remember to make enough for everyone!”

 


 

Uraraka, Ashido and the other girls were making their way downstairs to make dinner later that evening. They had spent most of the day getting to know each other, talking about their high schools and parents, what heroes they liked (thanks, Midoriya), and what hobbies they enjoyed.

 

They were chatting about some of their favorite foods when they entered the common room and smelled something heavenly coming from the kitchen. Then they noticed everyone else in the dorm eating, sitting at the counter or around the couches.

 

“Oh, hey girls!” Midoriya called out from behind the stove, waving at them. “You’re just in time, dinner was just served. Come get it while it’s hot!”

 

“Did you cook for everyone?” Jirou asked incredulously.

 

“Yep!” Midoriya was cheerfully working on something in a pot. “I figured a big meal together to celebrate us all getting into UA before classes start tomorrow would be a good idea.”

 

“I won’t turn down free food!” Hagakure moved first out of the eight girls, which quickly caused the others to follow.

 

‘I really hope this food isn’t good,’ Uraraka thought desperately. ‘Please don’t be a good cook, I’m beggin’ ya’!’

 

“Midoriya, what is this?” Ashido looked like she was about to start salivating.

 

“Oh! That’s one of the new recipes my mom gave me today. It’s cold soba with natto and okra, it’s has a really interesting taste and texture. It’s one of my favorites that she makes.”

 

Ashido looked like she was about to start vibrating as she eagerly filled a bowl with the dish. ‘Holy crap, he can cook, too?!’

 


 

The girls all thanked Midoriya for his hard work and piled their bowls high with the soba and the other sides he made. They sat down in a eight-person circle off to the side of the room and ate together happily. After they finished, Ochako took the opportunity to look around the room. And by that, she meant look at the cook.

 

She noticed immediately that his eyes were glowing ever so slightly. If you didn’t know what they normally looked like, you might have missed it. His eyes seemed to be roaming the room, observing and studying all of the other students. She noted with a bit of disappointment that his eyes never met hers, as if he was intentionally avoiding her gaze.

 

She also noticed that everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Even that mysterious Todoroki boy was eating, seemingly enjoying the soba. Ashido and him had a stare-down over the last helping, which he eventually won, much to the pink girl’s dismay.

 

She also noticed that weird, short guy was staring over at her and the other girls nearly the entire time. He had already gotten an ear full of audio jack from Jirou earlier that day when he tried to get a little friendly with Yaoyorozu. He didn’t even meet her eyes when she looked at him, his gaze focused firmly a bit below her-

 

She shot him an angry look that he didn’t acknowledge and then turned back to the group of girls. ‘What a little scumbag.’

 

She tried to distract herself by talking with the other girls, trying to ignore Ashido’s incessant staring. ‘Why don’t I mind her starin’ at me?’ Despite all her efforts, her thoughts always returned to the green-haired boy behind the counter. ‘That meal was amazin’... it’s not fair. Are you just here to make things difficult for me?’

 

Ochako dared to glance at him again. Her eyes went wide. ‘No. No no no. No, please no.’

 

“Hey guys, don’t forget to leave room for dessert!” He was cheerily kneading something on the counter. “My mom gave me this great mochi recipe and I’m making enough for each of you.”

 

‘That’s… not fair…’ Ochako tried to keep her mouth from watering. ‘Maybe… maybe his mochi won’t be as good as his soba…?’

 


 

Izuku’s plan had been a resounding success. He grinned at the satisfied looks of his classmates. While everyone seemed to appreciate the meal, he had gained a few pieces of unexpected information.

 

Firstly, Ashido had seemed thrilled with his soba. ‘Was it the okra?’ She had seemed to shiver as she ate it. He made a note to cook something with it in the future to test his hypothesis. He smiled and looked over to her, noting to himself how enjoyable it was to see her so pleased. ‘That shirt is really low-cut and loose. She’s clearly very confident and comfortable with her body. I can see why, too; she’s pretty uh, gifted.’

 

Izuku quickly moved on before he blushed as green as the okra. Uraraka had a very peculiar reaction to the food. He had hoped to impress her, but she acted almost… resigned? She seemed to like the food; she had come back for seconds on the soba and she ate more of the mochi than anyone else but Satou, so that probably wasn’t it. ‘She looked almost… defeated? Weird… I liked watching her walk away from the counter a bunch, though.’

 

Izuku grew a single claw and jabbed himself hard in the leg. ‘Get your mind out of the gutter, Izuku. Ashido and Uraraka are beautiful women, yes, but they’re way out of your league. Just calm down and focus.’

 

He sighed. ‘Focus, right. Okay.’ The most surprising development of the night was his first interaction with Todoroki. Shouto, he learned, was stunted when it came to socializing. He seemed to almost lack emotion, and was quite blunt and tactless when he did speak. ‘Endeavor always gave me the creeps, maybe being around him that much affects you.’

 

The kicker, however, was how Todoroki had reacted to his meal. He ate more of the soba than anyone else, and even fought Ashido for the last bowl. That was something he could use. His mother always taught him that someone’s favorite food was a quick way into their heart.

 

Speaking of Ashido, the girl had come and offered to help him do the dishes after the meal. He wasn’t one to turn down help, especially when it came from a girl like her. He was surprised that he didn't turn into a stuttering mess with her, but perhaps it was because of everything else that was on his mind. “Horn buddies, right?”

 

Her wide, cheerful grin rivaled his own. “Yep! It’s the least I could do after you made such an amazing meal. Where did you learn to cook like that?”

Izuku chuckled as he scrubbed a plate. “My mom taught me. We spent a lot of time cooking together while I was growing up.” He smiled fondly as he reminisced.

 

“Aww, she seems like a nice lady.”

 

“She is. Maybe you can meet her one day.” He was too distracted with his memories to realize what he was saying.

 

“You sure move fast, huh?” Ashido winked at him as she giggled, which caused him to sputter and begin to apologize profusely. “Calm down, dude, I was just teasing!” His flustered state only caused her to giggle harder

 

In his panic, he accidentally ran the plate he was cleaning under the running sink in a way that sprayed both of the students with water. Izuku caught the worst of it, nearly soaking his entire shirt through. Ashido caught some of the spray, leaving a large splotch right on the front of her white shirt.

 

They stood there for a few seconds in shock before they both started laughing.

 

Izuku glanced over and watched her lose it, doubling over at the sheer nonsense of it all, relishing the moment. ‘It feels good to make her laugh, even if I made a fool of myself...’

 

Soon her giggles began to subside, and he noticed she was staring at him, eyes seemingly transfixed on the wet shirt hugging his chest tightly. He blushed a bit, but couldn’t stop his own eyes from drifting down to where the water had made her shirt see-through.

 

‘Oh wow, those are hug-’

 

A claw formed on his hand again as he mentally slapped himself and physically stabbed himself. Izuku hoped she didn’t notice the small trickle of green on his leg.

 


 

Izuku and Ashido collected themselves and finished the rest of the dishes in a slightly awkward silence. He did his best to keep his eyes from glancing over at the woman next to him, and once they finished, he thanked her and quickly left. He opted to go to bed early that night, partially due to the physical exhaustion from his two separate workouts, but more due to the mental and emotional exhaustion of being surrounded by so many new and confusing people.

 

He collapsed in his bed and fell asleep quickly, despite his excitement for class beginning the next day. In some deep part of his brain, he was thankful that his sleep was dreamless. He didn’t trust his mind right now. Hopefully, class would prove to be a good distraction from the two other distractions in his life right now.

 

He woke up at daybreak and for the first time in a while, he and Katsuki didn’t work out. They had no idea what UA had in store for them, so they wanted to conserve their energy. Instead, he used his extra time to write in his notebook about the hero news from the previous day. Before he could finish up, he heard a knock at his door.

 

“Hey, Third Place, you up?”

 

Izuku sighed and opened the door. “Morning, Kacchan.”

 

“Lips made breakfast. You’re the only one not down already, you sleep in? Slacking off already?”

 

“Satou? And uh, no, I was just catching up in my notebook. Haven’t had as much time the past two days.”

Katsuki nodded a bit then turned away. “Hurry the hell up or I’m eating your plate.”

Izuku shut his door and quickly changed out of his pajamas and into his new school uniform. He gazed at it for a while before he put it on, still not believing entirely that he was finally at UA. His uniform fit a bit snugly for his tastes. ‘Maybe I bulked up a bit since I took my measurements?’

 

He straightened his tie and headed downstairs. Katsuki had spoken the truth; the other 19 students were already eating. He quickly made his way over to the kitchen area and grabbed the plate that Satou had left out for him. He was so hungry that he took a bite before he even went to go sit down. It was heavenly.

 

“Satou, I didn’t know you could cook!” Izuku resisted cramming more pancake into his mouth before he spoke.

 

“Sure, I have a lot of practice because of how my quirk works.” Satou gave him a thumbs up. “You like it? I’m usually better at desserts than more traditional meals, so I figured pancakes would be a good one to start with.”

“Like it? It’s great!” Izuku’s willpower failed and he crammed another fluffy bite into his mouth and swallowed quickly. “I’m actually the opposite; I struggle with desserts and sweets. Maybe we could help each other out?” It was never too early to play the game.

 

Satou nodded. “Yeah, sounds like a plan. Thanks, Midoriya.”

 

Izuku sat down at one of the tables with some of the other students, including Kirishima and Ashido. They were apparently talking about their quirks, as he caught the end of Ashido cheerfully explaining that she can secrete acid.

 

“Woah, really?” Izuku loved talking about quirks, and it was an added bonus that people usually liked talking about their own quirks, too. They especially liked it when he talked about how cool they were. “That’s a great power. Can you control the potency?”

 

“Yep!” She was grinning widely at his interest, just as he suspected. “I can control the strength, viscosity and more.” Her eyes narrowed slightly, staring at his head. “But hey, what about you? You haven’t told me anything about you ! What’s with your horns? Do they have something to do with your quirk? I bet they do!”

 

Izuku was taken aback by the sudden change of subject and her intensity, but he quickly recovered. “Do yours?” He deflected, not ready to reveal his quirk and heritage yet.

 

“Well, no, bu-”

 

“Class begins in 15 minutes!” Iida was standing at his seat, hand outstretched in a chopping motion. “We should all make our way to the classroom!”

 

Izuku was grateful for this distraction and took it as an opportunity to throw the rest of his breakfast down his throat and start walking to class, leaving Ashido’s questions unanswered.

 


 

Izuku was over the moon. He was actually sitting in a classroom at UA, about to meet his homeroom teacher. He had dreamed about this moment for years and it was finally here. He was almost vibrating in his seat behind Katsuki. His friend found this irritating, judging from his glare, but Izuku didn’t care at the moment.

 

The door opened and the girls entered, they had left a bit later than everyone else, and had apparently already started moving together as a group. Izuku wasn’t surprised, it was always easier to socialize with people you had more in common with when you first met each other.

 

He watched as the girls took a look at the seating chart on the board at the front of the class and split up to their seats. Izuku almost chuckled at the seemingly-floating uniform of Hagakure as she sat down in front of Katsuki. He would get used to it, but for now, it was an amusing novelty. Yaoyorozu gave him a polite nod as she passed behind him to sit down. Mineta was between him and her, and Izuku felt himself tense up at the strange noise he made when Yaoyorozu passed by him.

 

Jirou took a seat just ahead and to the right of Midoriya, Tsunotori sat at the front of the row to her right, Kirishima sat two rows it Izuku’s left, while the other three girls all had seats on the far-right row. Izuku’s mind froze a bit as he glanced over them. In addition to the normal school uniform, Uraraka was wearing black leggings under her skirt. Izuku could only stare. ‘Those legs... I think UA might actually kill me.’

 

After a while, Izuku noticed that she was staring at him too. And so was Iida. And so was everyone. Katsuki hit him upside the head. “Wake up, idiot!” Izuku looked around in panic and noticed a scruffy looking man wearing a long, gray scarf standing at the front of the room. He was staring expectantly at Izuku.

 

“Thank you for finally joining us, Midoriya.” The man glared at him, voice sarcastic and bored. Apparently, Izuku had been staring for a long time. “As I was saying, my name is Shouta Aizawa. Your teacher.”

 

Izuku tried to will the green blush away from his cheeks as the rest of the class finally stopped staring at him. ‘Our teacher?’ Izuku’s mind began to race. ‘Then he’s a pro hero. I don’t recognize him, maybe he’s underground? Strange for him to be working at UA if that’s the case.’

 

The man didn’t wait for the murmuring to die down before he pulled out a blue and white gym uniform. “We’re wasting time. Go down to the changing rooms, put these on and meet me outside. You have five minutes.”

 

Uraraka raised her hand in protest. “But what about orien-”

 

“A waste of time.” Aizawa cut her off and left without another word.

 


 

After a desperate scramble, the class made it outside with seconds to spare. Aizawa was standing in front of them, holding a small electronic device. “Here at UA, I am free to run my class as I see fit. I have four years to teach you how to become the heroes of our future, which means we don’t have any time to waste on pointless ceremonies and traditions.”

 

Aizawa turned to Uraraka. “Uraraka, you got first place on the entrance practical.” The girl tensed up slightly at the attention. “What was your farthest softball throw in high school?”

 

“Um, I think it was about 72 meters, sir.” She seemed uncomfortable being singled out.

 

“The Ministry of Education is still pretending that we are all born equal, instead of letting those who are capable excel. If I am going to properly teach you, I need to know where you stand right now. A series of eight physical challenges will give me a good baseline so I know each of your potentials. Since the previous results you have are without your quirks, they are useless.”

 

He turned back to the girl. “Throw the ball as far as you can, using your quirk.” He tossed the ball to her.

 

She caught it with both hands. “Um, are- are you sure?”

 

“You’re wasting my time. Step into the circle and take your throw.” He sounded bored, but thanks to his scarf, nobody saw the smirk on his face. He knew what she was going to do, only a fool of a teacher wouldn’t read their forms and watch their performances at the entrance exam.

 

Uraraka walked up to the circle and turned back again, still unsure. Seeing Aizawa’s dispassionate expression, she looked back to the ball. She had been holding it with her pinky off, but let the finger touch. A small flash of pink light accompanied that familiar feeling of the weight moving through her body. Once she felt it was at an appropriate weight, she simply opened her hand.

 

The ball shot skyward, being pushed up by the now-denser air surrounding it. The class all gasped as the ball kept floating higher and leaving their vision. Aizawa turned to the rest of the class and held up the device, which read ‘infinity’. This caused further shouts and exclamations from the rest of the class.

 

“Wow…” Ashido was standing next to Midoriya, staring in awe at Uraraka’s feat.

 

“Yeah…” Midoriya had seen her in action before, but it was still incredible.

 

They looked at each other in surprise, hearing the fondness in each other’s voices. A slight lilac blush lit up Ashido’s face as she smiled. Midoriya’s green blush was more intense, and his smile was a little shakier.

 

Ashido blinked in surprise. ‘He blushes green?!’

 

‘She blushes blue?!’

 

“I am here to teach those who have the potential how to be a hero.” Aizawa’s eyes grew a crazed look in them. “I will be scoring and ranking each of your performances in the eight tests. I will declare the student with the lowest score to have no potential, and expel them on the spot.”

 

His sick grin appeared over his scarf. “You all made it into UA, but you still need to prove to me that you belong here.”

 


 

Aizawa outlined the eight events in order. A 50-meter dash, a grip-strength test, a standing long-jump, repeated side steps, the softball throw, sit-ups, sitting toe-touch and a long-distance run. The first event would be in pairs.

 

Just by luck, or by ‘luck’, Bakugou was paired up with Midoriya to go first. “You gonna hold back with all these extras around? Or are you gonna actually try and beat me?” Bakugou sneered as he spoke, challenging his friend.

 

Midoriya sighed, preparing himself. “No point hiding it anymore, I guess.” He reached up and began to pull his shirt off. “Wouldn’t want to give you too much of a handicap, Dandy.” He wished he could have kept the secret for a little longer, but there was no helping it.

 

“Midoriya, what are you doing?” Aizawa knew full well what he was doing, but he wanted to hear how the boy would respond.

 

“Oh! I uh, I just don’t want to destroy school property needlessly, sir.” Midoriya had frozen mid-shirt-removal and responded with a slight bow of his head.

 

Aizawa shrugged; that answer was good enough for him. “Carry on.”

 

Midoriya finished taking off his shirt and tossed it on the ground behind him, eliciting murmurs from the rest of the class watching. He turned half towards the students as he rotated and flexed his arms and shoulders, limbering himself up.

 

“Hey, Ashido!” He called back to the girl, who was staring at him, eyes wide. “Remember when you asked me why Stormclaw was my favorite hero?”

 

She nodded slowly. “...yeah?”

 

“Well, you see...” Midoriya’s eyes began to glow slightly as scales formed across his shoulder blades. His wings sprouted out of his back shortly afterwards, quickly growing to their full size. The class gasped again as they unfurled. Midoriya grinned wide with pride.

 

“He’s my dad.”

Chapter Text

Mina Ashido was many things. Easygoing, self-confident, sociable, friendly, pink…

 

But one thing she wasn’t... was ready.

 

She wasn’t ready for Midoriya to turn around and say her name as he took his shirt off, revealing his toned and well-defined chest and back to her as he flexed his muscular arms.

 

Hey, Ashido!” He called back to the her. She could only stare dumbly, mouth slightly agape. “Remember when you asked me why Stormclaw was my favorite hero?”

 

Mina nodded slowly, gulping unconsciously as her eyes didn’t leave his toned torso. “... Yeah?”

 

“Well, you see...” Midoriya’s eyes began to glow slightly as scales formed across his shoulder blades. Mina’s mouth opened further as wings sprouted out of his back. She and the rest of the class gasped again as they unfurled. Midoriya grinned wide with pride.

 

“He’s my dad.”

 

A pause.

 

“What do you mean, ‘He’s my dad’?!” Kaminari shouted out. Many of the other students gasped again, some shouted, while others just stared.

 

“Uh, that my dad is Stormclaw?”

 

“What?! Why didn’t you tell us?!” Kaminari was pointing at him accusingly. Tsu was also staring in disbelief, confused finger on her face.

 

“You’re wasting our time,” Aizawa interrupted the students before Midoriya could respond. “You can socialize later. Heroes must be able to focus.” The students grumbled, none louder than Kaminari, but they quieted down.

 

Mina didn’t really have the mental capacity at the moment to process Midoriya’s statement or the conversations going on around her. All she could do was continue to stare at the man.

 

“Wow…” Mina was stunned for the second time in only a few minutes.

 

“Yeah…” Uraraka, who was standing beside her, sighed fondly.

 

Again, for the second time in only a few minutes, Mina turned to her side in surprise. She stared at Uraraka, who was staring back down at her, blush evident on her cheeks. Well, more blush than normal. They grinned at each other awkwardly.

 

‘She’s just as adorable as Midoriya is when he blushes.’ Her face twitched. ‘Wait do I have a thing for tall people?’

 

“Runners, on your mark!” A cheerful robotic voice cut through Mina’s thoughts. She turned and saw Bakugou and Midoriya lined up at the starting line. Midoriya’s wings were standing up, ready to propel him forward. “Ready?” The two boys tensed up.

 

A gunshot rang out, and the two shot off like rockets, one quite literally. Bakugou jumped forward and held his hands behind him, letting off controlled, continuous explosions to fly forward. Midoriya’s wings had kicked up a considerable dust storm as then hurled him towards the finish like. He shot through the air, wings back to make himself aerodynamic. The two reached their hands out at the last second, hoping to edge out the other. They were neck-and-neck as they crossed the line, and crashed down onto the ground afterwards.

 

“3.51 seconds! 3.54 seconds!” Midoriya had won by a fraction of a second. Mina watched as the two staggered to their feet, dusting themselves off. They both shot looks at each other, smirking and determined.

 

Mina gasped slightly. She was too busy staring at his chest and abs earlier, but now she saw his eyes. They were still big and filled with those cute forest green irises, but now they glowed faintly with a bright green light, so light that it almost appeared yellow.

 

“Woah… hey, are his horns longer?” She looked up at Uraraka.

 

“Yeah… I think it has to do with when he uses his quirk. You should see his eyes when he really gets going.” Uraraka was looking at him affectionately, a slight sigh in her voice.

 

“Oh, are they dreamy~?” Mina teased the girl, causing her to realize what she was saying and begin to blush again, but she had to admit that Uraraka’s words piqued her interest.

 

The tests continued, and Mina couldn’t help but be impressed by her classmates. Uraraka went against Tsunotori next. The foreigner got into place, her hooved feet up against the starting block. Uraraka did that thing with the pink light again, but this time she touched her own body as she got down into position on the starting line.

 

Mina tried to keep herself from staring at Uraraka’s backside.

 

She didn’t try that hard.

 

Her jaw dropped again as the gunshot went off. Tsunotori flew down the course quickly, but Uraraka was a blur. She had kicked off and shot down the course at incredible speeds, and she seemed to Mina to be actually flying. “2.36 seconds!” The robot declared as she passed the finish, and “6.25 seconds!” when Tsunotori followed up.

 

Uraraka’s landing was less than graceful. As she passed the finish line, Mina noted that she looked a little green, and not green like Midoriya’s cute blush. She clapped her hands together and Mina saw the faint pink glow again. She pulled her legs underneath her as she did so and crashed down, skidding several feet on her big, beautiful bu-

 

‘Mina, calm your gay. Focus on the tests.’

 

She looked elsewhere to try and clear her head, and her gaze fell onto Midoriya who, much to her disappointment, had put his shirt back on. She noticed that he was hastily scribbling in a notebook. He was intently watching all of the students as they took their turns, eyes glowing slightly as he focused.

 

‘Is he studying us? Wait, where was he keeping that notebook?’

 

Several more pairs took their turns, and near the end it was finally Mina’s turn. She took her shoes and socks off and put them to the side, letting some acid form on the bottom of her feet. She was up against Aoyama, who was standing backwards like a tool instead of getting down on the starting block.


The gunshot rang out, and Mina kicked off. ‘Focus, girl. Fluid, but cohesive. Skate forward and don’t dig into the dirt. You’ve done this a hundred times.’ She maintained her cool as Aoyama shot past her with a dazzling laser coming from his stomach, monologuing about something Mina didn’t care to listen to. The student crashed down on his back halfway down the course and Mina skated past him.

 

“4.86 seconds!” Mina was satisfied with that. “5.02 seconds!” Aoyama dusted himself off and told the class a little too much information about the downsides of his quirk. Mina could only stare in disbelief. She broke her gaze away and looked at Midoriya, who’s eyes were flitting back and forth between his notebook and her. He noticed that she caught him looking and he began to blush slightly, but he didn’t stop writing.

 

The next event was the grip-strength test, and she quickly learned that Midoriya’s quirk didn’t end with wings. She grabbed one of the devices and limbered her hand up; her quirk wouldn’t help her here. She squeezed as hard as she could, coming out with a total of a bit over 50 kilograms. She was satisfied with that, her training before UA was more focused on endurance and agility than raw strength.

 

She glanced over to take a look at the rest of her class. Sero and Mineta were fawning over Shouji, who had nearly broken the device. He had wrapped three of his six hands around the handle and crushed it with a pull of 642 kilograms. Mina was impressed, but then something else caught her eye.

 

Midoriya was standing on the other side of the group, staring at the grip-strength device in his right hand. He took a deep breath and then his hand and arm bulked up as they grew green scales. Her eyes went wide as his hand swelled to nearly twice its normal size and he squeezed the device. He let his arm return to normal and stared with satisfaction at the number displayed. Mina wished she could have seen what it was.

 

Mina did fine on the standing long-jump, but wasn’t surprised when she wasn’t in the same league as Midoriya, Bakugou or Uraraka. All three of them had cleared the pit entirely, earning them the maximum score. Uraraka looked a little queasy again after her jump. ‘Were those pancakes that Satou made bad? I ate them and I feel fine. I wonder what’s up with her?’

 

Much to Mina’s chagrin, the little creepy purple kid took the gold on the repeated side-steps. Apparently those balls on his head were bouncy, and he flew past everyone else’s score. She caught him staring at Uraraka lecherously as she did her test. Mina felt a pang of disgust and even the twisting sensation of jealousy in her stomach. Before she could think about the implications, something behind her caused the hairs on the back of her neck to rise.

 

Something with killing intent.

 

When she turned to check, the feeling was gone and she only saw Midoriya, clutching his head lightly.

 

‘Huh.’

 

Things got interesting at the fifth event, the softball throw. Nobody had any hopes of beating Uraraka, so they were all competing for a distant second place. Bakugou stepped up and threw a massive explosion behind the ball, kicking up a dust storm, causing the rest of the class to close their eyes.

 

Aizawa’s device read ‘758.5m’, and Mina gasped along with the rest of the class. Midoriya stepped up next, bumping arms with Bakugou as he passed. “I’ve got you beat, Horns.”

 

“Yeah, we’ll see.” Midoriya smiled back confidently. Mina couldn’t help but smile with him.

 

Her horn buddy walked to the circle with a ball. He pulled up his sleeve and began to rotate his shoulder, preparing for a throw. Just like before, his arm began to grow scales, green like his hair and eyes, but this time his entire arm up to the shoulder began to grow.

 

His arm continued to grow until Mina guessed it would hang down below his knee. His hand was so large that he had to grip the ball with three fingers. As he prepared to throw, Aizawa spoke up.

 

“Midoriya, you’re holding back. I watched your footage at the entrance exam.”

 

Mina’s eyes went slightly wide at the implication. ‘Holding back?’

 

Midoriya turned to their professor, eyes still glowing. “Well, sure, but this is as much a test of judgement and endurance as it is the limits of our quirks, right? That’s why you put the long-distance run as the final event. Those who exhausted themselves in the early events would do poorly on the later ones, especially that one. That’s why Kacchan has been holding back, too.”

 

Aizawa raised an eyebrow, then motioned for Midoriya to continue. The student reared his massive arm back and let the ball fly, shooting high into the sky. Mina watched it fly until it was only a spec in the distance, before losing track of it completely. Aizawa paused for a moment, and then held up his device, which read ‘757.9m’.

 

Midoriya stared in disbelief as Bakugou cheered in victory. Aizawa slowly moved his lazy gaze over the greenhead. “You were right, Midoriya, endurance is important. But so is knowing what it takes to get the job done. You are here to push yourself, not pace yourself. The world of heroes and villains isn’t fair. You only get one shot to do it right or people will die. Don’t hold back next time.”

 

Midoriya bowed his head in defeat and walked back to the rest of the students. Mina glanced back at him as he stood next to Bakugou and noticed that he had his notebook out again. Her eyes narrowed as she looked him all over, hoping to find where he had pulled it from.

 

Mina did great at the sit-ups and the seated toe-touch. Her passion for dancing kept her core strong and body flexible. She had hoped to partner with Midoriya for the events, but Uraraka got to him before her. The two of them looked to be fast friends, talking and helping each other even through the slight blush on each of their cheeks. ‘They look so cute together…’

 

Mina stopped, realizing something. ‘Huh, I wonder why I’m not feeling jealous this time?’

 

Mina caught herself staring when Midoriya did his sit-ups. She was hoping to catch a glimpse of his abs underneath his shirt as he moved, but no such luck. In the next event, she couldn’t help but laugh at Midoriya’s clever subversion of the toe-touch rules. He had grown both of his arms long enough to reach his toes, and simply reached out and grabbed them.

 

The final event was the long-distance run, and much like Midoriya predicted, many students were already exhausted from using their quirks. He did well, likely hoping to make up for his performance on the softball throw. Because this was the final test, nobody held back. Eventually, everyone tired out except for the last three. Bakugou and Midoriya were flagging, but their competitive nature pushed them beyond, plus ultra style.

 

Eventually, Bakugou collapsed onto the ground, panting. Midoriya got about four steps further before he threw in the towel as well. They panted on the ground as the first place student continued.

 

That first place student, of course, was Yaoyorozu. Her quirk had proved exceptionally useful and her application of it was incredibly intelligent. Mina had been keeping an eye on her, watching her excel at nearly every challenge. Her quirk seemed to have limitless potential, at least to the pink girl.

 

A hydraulic press allowed her to crush everyone else’s score on the grip-strength test, a cannon allowed her to blow even Bakugou’s softball throw out of the water, and on the final test, she was still happily making laps around the track in a bicycle she created. Mina watched with a giggle as the panting Midoriya gave her a big thumbs up as she lapped him again.

 

‘Smart, capable and sexy? You go, girl.’ Mina was truly impressed by her new friend.

 

Mina was exhausted, but she had a great time. Using her quirk at school was a blast, and seeing all the other students use their quirks was pretty entertaining. She could tell that university was going to be fun . She was confident she was safe from expulsion, but she did feel bad for whoever the last place student was.

 

The scores were posted, and to nobody’s surprise, Yaoyorozu came in first place. Todoroki followed her up and then third place was Midoriya, barely edging out Bakugou. The latter boy immediately swung his arm at his friend, who blocked it so their forearms were crossed. They pushed against each other, staring into each other’s eyes with a competitive glare. It was a truly bizarre ritual, but caused Mina to giggle.

 

The scores went down from there. The scores were impressively close together, and some were hardly different at all. This class looked like it was going to be a tough one. Uraraka took fifth place, and Mina settled for a comfortable 10th. She shrugged, she wasn’t at the top, but there was a reason she was going to school. She had a lot of room to grow, and a lot of time to do it in. Why rush it?

 

It was with a degree of guilt that Mina noticed that Mineta got last place. She felt a bad for him, ‘but if I had to pick someone to get last…’

 

“Also, I was lying. Nobody’s getting expelled.” Aizawa grew another sick smile. “That was just a rational deception to get you to push yourselves to your limits.”

 

The small purple boy looked like he was about to die.

 

Aizawa’s bored drone returned. “That’s it for today. Pick up a syllabus in the classroom then head back to the dorms, or wherever.” He walked away with a dismissive wave and without another word.

 

“Hey, Deku.” Bakugou spoke loudly, clearly wanting others to hear him.

 

Midoriya turned to look at him, then his face paled. Mina stopped walking to pay attention. “...No”

 

Bakugou gained an evil grin. “Yep. You lost the bet, and those were the rules. I choose the time, and I choose now.”

 

Midoriya stared at him for a few seconds, trying to determine if he was serious. Seeing that he was, he suddenly got down on one knee in front of Bakugou. This caused nearly everyone in the class to turn and watch.

 

Midoriya cleared his throat, and then suddenly his fearful, nervous look was replaced by a self-satisfied smirk and he placed his hand on his chest theatrically. He began to recite something, and judging from his intonation, it was poetry. However, Mina didn’t understand the language. The rest of the class was faring no better, most of them looking between Midoriya and each other, looking for an explanation. Mina saw a twinge of recognition on the faces of Yaoyorozu and Tsunotori.

 

Bakugou’s own smirk faltered as he grew a look of disbelief, and by the time Midoriya was finished with his performance, it was a look of rage.

 

“What the hell was that, dumbass?!”

 

Midoriya stood up and dusted himself off. “We never specified what language, Kacchan. I paid up fair and square by the terms of the bet.”

 

Bakugou’s rage peaked as he sputtered, having his victory so deftly snatched out from underneath him. His rage broke just as quickly. “Fine, you clever bastard. I’m gonna beat your ass for that one, though.” He turned and stomped off to the locker rooms.

“Wouldn’t have it any other way, Dandy.” Midoriya was grinning ear to ear.

 

“Sonnet 18?” Tsunotori spoke up.

 

Midoriya blanched and whipped his head around to face the girl. “How di-” He slapped his forehead. “How stupid of me. So, you read Shakespeare?”

 

The girl shrugged. “No, I had project in high school.”

“Your pronunciation could use some work, Midoriya.” Yaoyorozu chuckled behind her hand.


Mina was confused. “Midoriya, what the heck just happened?”

 

Midoriya rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment, likely because Tsunotori and Yaoyorozu understood what he had said. “Kacchan and I had a bet to see who would come out on top at the entrance exam. Whoever lost had to recite a poem to the other at a time and place of their choosing. I lost by a single point.”

 

“Oh, Deku!” Uraraka looked worried. “I’m sorry! You would’ve won your bet if you hadn’t stopped to help me.”

 

“Uraraka, please!” Midoriya was turning green again. “I don’t regret anything, really! Besides, I won the bet in the end, in my own way.” He laughed awkwardly and quickly made a break for the locker room.

 

Mina had her eyebrow raised for the past several minutes and she finally just started giggling at the whole situation. The rest of the girls joined in too. They all made their way to their own locker room, ready to get out of their sweaty gym clothes.

 


 

“Hey, Uraraka,” Mina began, “what did you mean when you said Midoriya stopped to help you?” The girls were in their locker room changing. They were taking their time, as they had no place to be after this.

 

“Oh. Well, if you want to know…” Uraraka seemed embarrassed.

 

“Well, now I do.” Jirou raised an eyebrow, seeing her reaction.

 

“You remember the big zero-pointers?” They all nodded, except for Yaoyorozu, who looked confused.

 

“Wait, how did you miss them?” Hagakure asked the black-haired girl.

 

“I… didn’t take the practical exam,” she explained softly. “I was admitted on recommendation.”

 

The girls all gasped slightly. “No wonder you beat everyone’s butts out there, Yaoyorozu!” Mina praised the girl.

 

“The zero-pointer was a giant robot probably around fifteen or more stories tall. It was supposed to be the big obstacle, ribbit.” Tsuyu informed the recommended student.

 

“Right. So when the robot started rumbling towards me, a building nearby collapsed and fell on me, breaking my ankle and trapping me underneath,” Uraraka explained to the worried looks of the other girls. “It reared its big fist back, and started coming down to smash me.” She pantomimed the fist.

 

“Then, out of nowhere, Deku dashed between me and the robot and stopped it!” She blushed a bit at the memory.

 

“Woah, really?” Kiri was intrigued now. “How? Don’t get me wrong, the dude is jacked, but I can’t see him stopping that monster by himself.”

 

“If the robot was as big as you say,” Yaoyorozu mused, “then I have my doubts as well. His quirk is powerful, but nothing that impressive.”

 

“You should’ve seen it…” Uraraka’s blush deepened. “He threw so much power at that thing. You know how his arm got all big and stuff when he was throwing that softball?” The other girls nodded. “Well it was way bigger than that! His arm was probably bigger than the rest of his body combined.”

 

“Woah, that’s what Aizawa meant when he said he was holding back…” Jirou’s eyes were wide.

 

“Giving his all for someone he’s never met?” Kiri smacked her fist to her palm. “Now that’s manly.”

 

“I can see that,” Tsuyu spoke up, causing the other girls to look at her. “He’s the son of a former top-ten hero, after all.”

 

“Oh yeah!” Mina exclaimed. “I forgot about that with everything going on out there. Son of Stormclaw!”

 

“Wait, did you know that?” Jirou pointed one of her jacks at Yaoyorozu. “He said you knew each other.”


Yaoyorozu nodded. “If he didn’t tell you, then it wasn’t my place to say.”

 

“Ugh, that’s so noble.” Mina teased the girl. “Don’t you know gossip is more important than that?”

 

“Ashido!”

 

“I’m kidding! I get it.” Mina waved her hand in mock dismissal, ignoring the teasing grin Kiri was throwing at her. “Still, it’s pretty crazy, huh? He must be packing all sorts of power in that buff frame.”

 

“You have no idea,” Uraraka said quietly.

 

“I wonder if he could get me an autograph.” Tsuyu put her finger to her chin.

 

“Why not ask?” Tsunotori questioned.

 

“I will.”

 

“Oh hey, Uraraka.” Jirou got her attention. “What happened next? In the exam, I mean. Did he destroy the robot too? Was he your knight in shining armor?” Jirou teased.

 

“No…” Uraraka said something else, but so quietly that only Jirou could hear her.

 

“Woah.” Jirou looked shocked, then she smirked. “Come on, speak up and say that again.”

 

Uraraka sighed. “I destroyed it.”

 

Mina’s mouth dropped open. “By yourself?!” Uraraka nodded. “Damn, girl. I knew that body wasn’t just for looks, you kick ass!”

 

Uraraka blushed harder. “Ashido!”

 

Mine playfully stuck her tongue out at the girl.

 

“Hey, I have a great idea!” Hagakure piped up, the others turned to look at her, or at least where they thought she was. “We’re all gonna be in the same class for the next four years, right? Let’s follow Tsu’s example! You can all call me Tooru!”

 

“I love it!” Mina cheered. “Call me Mina.”

 

“Eiko,” the woman said with a bright smile.

 

“I’m still gonna call you Kiri.”

 

Momo hesitated for a second before she spoke. “You may call me Momo.”

“Ochako is fine.” Ochako smiled brightly. Mina cooed internally.

“Kyouka.” She twirled one of her jacks.

 

“Pony! This easier.” Pony sighed. “In America, everyone says first names.”

 

Jirou face twisted in confusion as she perked up from her relaxed position, quickly standing up as her expression shifted into one of shock and indignation. She quickly stepped over to the wall and jammed a jack into the stone to listen. The other girls were startled by her sudden outburst.

 

“Jir- Kyouka? What’s going on?” Yaoyorozu looked worried.

 

Kyouka held up a hand for her to be quiet, and then lifted her other jack. Sound began to play from the jack.

 

“Mineta, do not look through that peephole, that is a gross violation of privacy!” Iida’s muffled voice could be heard.

 

The girls shouted in surprise and looked frantically for the supposed hole. Kyouka found it first, and moved towards it.

 

Kiri crashed her fists together as she hardened them. “On the first day of class?”

 

“Don’t be such a prude! If you don’t want to see Ashido’s rocking bod or Yaoyorozu’s giant boobs then don’t look, but you won’t stop me!” Mineta was defiant.

 

The girls all gasped in indignation hearing the shameless words of Mineta, and made movements to cover themselves. Jirou prepared to jam one of her jacks into the hole to make the little pervert regret his choice, but before she could, a loud noise caused her to recoil, clutching at her ears.

 

I WILL.”

 

A sound like a sledgehammer slamming into the concrete wall echoed through the locker room, causing Jirou to pull her jack out of the wall as fast as she could.

 

The girls stood there for a few seconds in silence, reeling from what just happened. Eventually Mina spoke up. “...Was that Midoriya?”

 

“It sounded like him,” Kyouka hesitated, “but at the same time it didn’t.”

 

“That was Deku. I know it.” Ochako spoke firmly.

 

“What was that noise, though?” Tooru asked, still worried.

 

Kyouka put her jack back into the wall after calming herself down. She listened for a few seconds. “It’s really quiet in there, I think most of them left already.”

 

“I’ll go take a look, then.” Tooru slipped her clothes off.

 

“Tooru!” Mina sounded scandalized but her expression betrayed how much she approved.

 

“It’ll just be a second. Be right back!” The invisible girl slipped out of their locker room and snuck towards the boy’s. It really was only a few seconds before she returned.

 

“There’s like, giant claw marks on the wall, at about Mineta height.” She picked up her water bottle to demonstrate.

 

Momo gasped. “Midoriya attacked him?”

“I don’t think so; there’s no blood or anything. I think he only threatened him.”

 

“Manly,” Kiri whispered, shaking a fist, a single tear spilling from her eyes. Mina rolled her eyes at that with a smile.

 

“All that for us...” Ochako quietly added.

 

An idea formed in Mina’s head. She stepped closer to Ochako and spoke softly. “Speaking of Midoriya… I’ve seen the way he looks at you. He’s totally hot for you, girl.”

Ochako blushed harder and waved her hands in dismissal. “W-what? No, don’t b-be crazy, t-there’s no way someone like him-”

“You are hot as hell, O-cha-ko~.” Mina emphasized each syllable of her name, almost whispering in her ear. “You saw him staring at you in the classroom. You should have seen how he looked at you when you tossed that softball into orbit.”

 

“W-what are you saying, Ash- Mina?” The combination of Mina’s closeness and what she was saying had Ochako’s face nearly neon. Mina wasn’t ashamed to admit she liked the color on her.  

 

“I’m saying that I’m thinking about asking him to come hang out after class today, as a thank you for defending us from that creep.” She smiled wickedly. “I’m asking if you want to join me. No pressure, just hanging out and talking.”

 

Ochako’s eyes went wide. She clutched her chest and nodded once quickly.

 

“Good.” Mina smiled. “We can hang out in my room. I brought card games from home.”

 

The pink girl turned around to face the rest of her classmates. “Hey girls, since we had a short day today, want to hang out in my room and play some card games? It’ll be a great way to get to know each other better!”

 

“That’s a great idea, Mina!” Tooru was immediately into it. The rest of the girls thought it over, but quickly agreed.

 

“I’ll bring some tea. My mother sent this new blend with me when I left that you all just have to try!” Momo was sparkling.

 

“Oh, and I thought that I might invite Midoriya.” The other girls paused. “He seems like an interesting guy, you know?” She gestured over at the wall between the locker rooms.

 

“I like that. I really want to ask him about his dad, ribbit.” The rest of the girls looked at each other and nodded.

 

The girls all hastily finished getting back into their school uniforms at that point. They headed back upstairs and grabbed Aizawa’s syllabus. There were only a few other students in the room by the time they left back to the dorms, including Mineta, who was as white as a sheet. Mina felt a little bad, but only a little.

 

It was almost one o’clock when the girls walked back to the dorm as a group. Mina was less chatty than usual, as her brain was firing on all cylinders, planning out the rest of her day. She grinned.

 

Mina had her own game to play.

Chapter Text

Izuku was panicking as he paced across the limited floor space of his dorm room. He was running his hands through his hair, eyes wide and glowing ever so slightly. The events of his first day of class weighed heavy on his mind, and he kept running through them in his head, hoping to find something .

 

Izuku finished his repeated side-steps with an above-average score. Draconic legs granted him extra strength and speed, but there were many other quirks more suited to the task. Katsuki had beaten him fairly easily, small explosions helping to cancel his momentum so he could change direction faster. He was curious about how Uraraka would perform, and if and how she would use her quirk to help her.

 

With practiced precision, he whipped out his notebook and pen and flipped to her page. She started by touching herself on her arm, flashing the pink light. ‘Pink light created by quirk activation’ was a note he already made. She began to jump from side to side, not as quickly as he expected. It appeared that she was not as weightless as she was during the 50-meter dash.

 

‘Her quirk doesn’t appear to be all-or-nothing, she must have a degree of control over how much weight she negates.’ Izuku hypothesized as he jotted down notes. After a few seconds, he noticed her looking a little queasy. She clapped her fingers together, releasing her quirk and slowing herself down significantly. ‘Nausea? Perhaps a side effect of her quirk. Maybe weightlessness causes it, that would make sense. Strange, unnatural motion and sensations can cause that reaction.’

 

His attention drifted for a moment as he felt a pang of tension in the back of his mind. His eyes flashed behind Uraraka, where he saw the short, shameless Mineta ogling her. He felt a surge of indignation and anger.

 

How dare you?!

 

He grabbed his head as his quirk flared involuntarily. He felt his already long canines sharpen in his mouth and his horns thicken. The painful impulse quickly subsided, but it left a sick pit in his stomach. He barely noticed Ashido turning around with a confused and slightly scared look.

 

That incident was bad enough on its own, but that wasn’t the end of it. The worst was yet to come. He thought back to the incident in the locker room.

 

“Why didn’t you tell us?!” Now that they were free from Aizawa, Kaminari resumed his indignant accusations.

 

“Uh…” Izuku stalled. “I forgot?” Izuku was joking, nobody was going to buy that excuse.

 

“I don’t buy that.” One of Shouji’s mouthed tentacles had peeked around the corner of one of the lockers.

 

“Yeah, fair enough.” Izuku took his shirt off and tossed it into his locker. “The real reason is that people treat me differently once they know who my dad is. They see ‘The Son of Stormclaw’ and not me, you know?”

 

“A sensible precaution, then.” Tokoyami nodded his approval.

 

“Ah, c’mon man, you don’t think we’d treat you special cause of that, do you?” Satou leaned out from around his locker as he took his shirt off.

 

“Don’t be stupid, Lips, of course you would.” Katsuki spoke up in Izuku’s defense. “Everyone has, ever since we were kids.”

 

“Could you get me an autograph?! I’ve always wanted one!” Kaminari was grinning wide-eyed.

 

“What did I just say?!” Bakugou reached over and slapped Kaminari upside the head. “Don’t treat him any different, dumbass.”

 

“It’s okay, Kacchan.” Izuku tried to calm his friend down. “Kaminari, I’ll see what I can do, but please, I’m just one of your classmates. I know for a fact I’m not the only one here from a hero family. We’re at UA, after all, the most prestigious school in the country. Every hero would want their kid to go here.”

 

“Hey guys, someone shawshanked a hole in the wall between here and the girls’ locker room!” Mineta waved his hand to get people’s attention.

 

Izuku felt the pang of anger in the back of his mind again. ‘No, calm down. Not again.’ He put a hand to his head, trying to calm the dull pain.

 

“Don’t be a creep, dude, what the hell?” Sero looked stunned.

 

“Oh, just imagine it. Kirishima’s toned abs, or Uraraka’s sexy hips!” He seemed to be almost salivating.

 

Izuku’s eyes burned bright.

 

You will not defile them.

 

“Mineta, do not look through that peephole, that is a gross violation of privacy!” Iida chopped his hand in warning.

 

“Don’t be such a prude! If you don’t want to see Ashido’s rocking bod or Yaoyorozu’s giant boobs then don’t look, but you won’t stop me!” This tipped Izuku over the edge.

 

HOW DARE YOU?!

 

The pain in his head peaked but disappeared when Izuku stopped resisting. His right arm quickly morphed into a large scaled claw and his horns grew harshly. Scales crept over his shoulder and neck, and his voice deepened. He reared his claw back.

 

I WILL.

 

Izuku brought the claw down, right above Mineta’s head, careful to miss his sticky hair. The concrete crumbled under his razor-sharp claws. As soon as he acted, the pressure went away and he was able to think clearly.

 

Mineta was staring up at him in terror. Izuku looked down. “Never do that again and I won’t tell Aizawa.” The boy nodded quickly and ran back to his locker.

 

“Damn, Midoriya, that was cool as hell. Way to defend the girls.” Kaminari gave him a thumbs up.

 

Izuku laughed. “Don’t get confused, Kaminari. The girls don’t need me to defend them.”

 

He smiled sadly to himself. ‘Doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve it though.’

 

Izuku had held his composure until he was back at the dorms. He walked calmly to his room and shut the door quietly. Then he began to freak out.

‘It was so easy! It felt so right! I can’t give in like that, what if I actually hurt him? Sure, he’s a little creep, but I can’t just attack my classmates!’

 

He continued to pace his room in panic. ‘How was I supposed to turn that into something positive? How could I have turned that anger into something constructive? Maybe I could have lectured him? No, Iida tried that, it didn’t work. It happened so fast I couldn’t think, I need to be able to think. I won’t always be able to, though. What if I’m a hero and something happens on a mission and that happens? I can’t afford to think during these situations. I have to get better, it has to become second nature to me. I can’t hide from this.

 

But what if I can’t? What if I just keep lashing out? I have a 50% pass/fail rate right now. Maybe that first time was a fluke? What if Uncle Hatsuo is right about me? What if-’

 

His thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door. He stopped pacing and turned to look dumbly, as if asking the door itself to tell him who was knocking.

 

“Midoriya~! Open up!”

 

‘Ashido?’

 


 

Midoriya’s door opened after a few moments. Mina was waiting patiently, grinning ear to ear. “Hey, Mido- Woah!” She tilted her head to the side, looking around him and into his room. The pink woman quickly scrambled past him, nimbly slipping past his bulky frame, although she had to get pretty friendly to do it.

 

Midoriya’s room was lined wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor with hero merchandise. Shelves occupied every single available inch of wall space, and several new display cases and cabinets had been moved in. There was barely enough space for someone to walk between the door, bed, bathroom and desk.

 

“I knew you were a hero fan, Midoriya, but this is nuts!”

 

She wheeled back around with bright eyes, but the smile on her face fell quickly. Midoriya was staring at her, a look of strained intensity on his face. He was clutching his head with one hand and his eyes were glowing slightly.

 

“Uh, Midoriya, are you okay?”

 

He seemed to be struggling to find words. The look on his face, combined with his height, stature and eyes made Mina feel truly intimidated. She resisted the desire to take a step back.

 

After what felt like ages, he spoke.

 

“Ashido, we’re… friends, right?” His tone almost seemed… pleading.

 

Mina raised an eyebrow, half in confusion and half in concern. “Of course we are, Midoriya. We’re horn buddies.” She pointed at her horns, other hand on her cocked hip.

“Yes, but, are we good friends? Can we be good friends?”

 

Mina was confused even more by his line of questioning, but grew a wide smile. “Didn’t take you for someone so forward, Midoriya. But, sure! You seem like a good dude and I think we’ve meshed well. I like you a lot.” She put her finger to her chin in thought, and then snapped. “Tell you what, if you wanna make it more ‘official’: can I call you Midori? Ochako’s got a cute nickname for you, I want one too!”

 

He smiled through what Mina guessed was a headache of sorts. “Yeah, alright. I’d like that. Thanks, Ashido.” He sighed, his headache seeming to fall away as his strained expression was replaced by his normal smile and his eyes stopped glowing.

 

He shook his head slightly, and returned to normal. “Sorry about that, Ashido. And uh, yeah, I’m a huge hero fan. This isn’t even all of my collection. I couldn’t fit the rest in here.”

 

The woman shook her hand dismissively. “Yeah, yeah, okay. No problem, but what was that ? I’m not letting you off the hook that easily.” Mina was not afraid to ask questions.


Midori seemed to have hoped that she was, rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment. “I uh, well, let’s just say I’m, uh, very protective of what’s mine. I’m not comfortable with people who I’m not good friends with in my room or near my stuff.”

“Oh, so when I just barged in here, it upset you?” She felt upset herself. “I didn’t mean to, Midori. I was just so impressed with what you had in here!”

 

“You… were?” He looked incredulous at her, but his grin had returned in earnest. The look in his eyes was…

 

‘That’s the same look he gives Ochako. Interesting… does that mean...? Oh, I can use this.’

 

“Yeah, this is like some sort of hero museum! But that’s not why I came here.”

“Oh! What can I help you with?” He immediately stood at the ready, eager to lend a hand.

 

“So earnest~!” She teased him, finally getting a little bit of green in his face. “I’m having a little get together with the other girls in class. Hanging out, playing cards, getting to know each other, right?”

“Um, okay? What do you-”

 

“Some of us want to get to know our savior a little better.” Her eyes narrowed as she grinned. Mina knew that this would bug him.

 

“Savior? Oh… oh, you heard that. In the locker room.” He seemed very distressed, beyond the embarrassment she predicted. Strange.

 

“Even if we didn’t have Kyouka listening in, you were loud , Midori. And then you kinda smashed concrete with your bare hand? Yeah, we heard that.”

He bowed his head. “Well, it wasn’t with my bare hand…”

 

“Hey, chin up, buddy. We’re glad that there’s someone looking out for us. I’ll return the favor if one of us tries to peep on you, yeah?”

She grinned wider. “Unless there’s a girl or two you wouldn’t mind looking at you.”

 

That got him to turn green. “Uh, um, Ashido, I uh-”

 

“Broccoli achieved!” She began to laugh hard.

 

“Broc- How do you know all of Kacchan’s nicknames for me?” There was a hint of accusation in his sputtering.

 

Mina kept laughing for a few moments, before collecting herself. “He calls you that, too? Easy to see why; dark green hair, your face turns green when you’re blushing… Midori, you look like an actual piece broccoli right now.” He grumbled a bit, still shifting awkwardly in the door frame as she kept laughing.

 

“But hey, you didn’t answer my question. Do you want to come hang out with us? It’ll be fun, you can get to know us, we can get to know you, it’ll be great.”

 

Midori thought for a few seconds as his hand went to his chin and he stared at the floor. “Yeah, okay. I’d like to get to know you all better, anyway.”

 

“Great!” Mina moved towards him, put her hands on his firm shoulders and spun him around. She started pushing him like she had on Saturday, taking another opportunity to take a look at his butt.

 

She smiled behind his back as she pushed him towards the elevator, his door shutting and locking behind them. ‘UA is getting more and more interesting every day. Never would have thought he would have looked at me like that.’

 


 

Izuku was impressed. He had been manipulating and influencing people since he could remember, and he considered himself quite good at it. He wasn’t blind enough to assume that there weren’t people better than him, of course, but he had quite a few victories under his belt.

 

But Ashido was something else. She had caught him off guard, adapted to the circumstances, never given him an opportunity to take control and even hit him with a compliment aimed directly at his pride in his collection. And in the end, she got him to do what she wanted, and he felt good about it. She even got him to agree to a new nickname.

 

Izuku had met people who could stand toe-to-toe with him in the game, but it had been quite a while since he had lost .

 

He couldn’t help but grin as Ashido pushed him forward. He was excited . Losing never felt so good. His grin wasn’t dumb, but confident; he was determined not to lose again.

 

Ashido pushed the button for the fourth floor and the elevator doors dinged closed. She let him move of his own volition once the doors opened up again, her walking just slightly ahead of him. They walked towards the girls’ side of the dorm, passing by room 405.

 

“That’s Ochako’s room. I’m just down the hall in 408. Momo is in 406.” Ashido explained cheerfully. “The third floor has Kyouka in 305 and Tooru in 308, and the fifth floor is Pony in 505, Kiri in 506 and Tsu in 508.”

 

Izuku made a vague noise of acknowledgement. He was barely listening, instead mentally preparing himself for the task ahead. He was going to be in a relatively small room with eight women. Between Ashido and Hagakure, there was a degree of unpredictability, and Ashido especially seemed to like to tease him. He had to be focused and ready.

 

“Dude, we’re hanging out, not taking a test. Relax!” Ashido evidently noticed his distracted state as they arrived outside her room. She gave him an appraising look as he took a deep breath and then smiled and nodded. Ashido flashed her cheerful smile back and swung the door open. “I found him!”

 

Izuku gathered his confidence and took a bold step inside. “Hi, everyone, thanks for inviting me.”

 

“Of course, Midoriya, please come in.” Yaoyorozu was always so proper.

 

Izuku glanced around the room, taking stock of his surroundings. Ashido’s room was very… wow. Nearly everything inside was pink and black and styled with polka dots, hearts, leopard print, tiger stripes or some other boisterous design. Ashido was clearly not ashamed to be exciting. He noted a coat rack with scarves and hats on it that were just as vibrant and fluffy as the rest of the room. Her walls had a few posters on it and her balcony door was covered in a massive drape, just as pink as everything else. Her bed had… ‘Is that a weighted blanket?’

 

Izuku put his observations of the room aside for now and took stock of the other guests. Six women sat in a circle in the middle of the floor, each staring up at him with a smile; he immediately noticed something missing. Ashido seemed to notice his confused expression and preempted his question. “Kyouka has a headache and took a rain check.”

 

“A headache, but… wait, you said she was listening in when I uh, acted out.” He pointed a finger towards Ashido. “Did I-”

 

“Wow, okay, Ochako, I owe you lunch. You called it.” Ashido looked past him towards the brunette sitting on the floor.

 

“What did she call?” Izuku was caught off-guard again and noted that he was already losing control of the situation.

 

“She told us that you would immediately feel guilty when you found out about Kyouka.” Ashido crossed her arms but looked slightly impressed. “Look, Midori, nobody blames you, especially not her. You didn’t know that she was plugged into that wall.”

 

“It’s still my fault. I should apologize.”

 

“So manly…” Kirishima put a fist to her chest proudly.

 

“If you insist, you chivalrous oaf.” Ashido threw her arms up in defeat. “But do it later. For now, sit. ” She pointed demandingly at the spot on the floor right next to Uraraka.

 

He obliged and sat down. Uraraka and him exchanged friendly smiles. Their time together over the past few days had finally started to make them more comfortable around each other, at least to the point that they didn’t go stupid around each other… as much.

 

“Hi, Deku. Thanks for stopping Mineta.”

 

He looked down. “I… I shouldn’t have reacted like that. I’m glad that I stopped him, but my actions were inexcusable.”


“Midoriya, you dork.” Hagakure sounded like she was rolling her eyes. “How are you feeling bad about that?”

 

“No apology,” Tsunotori said in her broken Japanese. “Back home, no tolerance for creeps. I’m glad for you, Midoriya.”

 

“Please, Midoriya. We heard Iida try to rationalize with him, if you hadn’t acted… well it was probably a kindness to Mineta, in all honesty,” Yaoyorozu added, causing Izuku to look up in confusion.

 

“Yeah, Yaomomo is right.” Ashido had plopped down on the other side of Izuku. “If you hadn’t stopped him, he was going to catch an eye-full of Kyouka’s jack.”

 

“Yaomomo?!” Yaoyorozu seemed more caught off-guard than Izuku.

 

Hagakure squealed and flailed the sleeves of her shirt. “That’s an adorable nickname! Can we call you that, pleeeease?”

 

Yaoyorozu thought for a moment. Then smiled and nodded. “That sounds lovely.”

 

Izuku smiled knowingly. ‘It’s good to see her making friends. She’s probably been more worried about it than I’ve been.’

 


 

They all settled in and Mina pulled out the card games. They played for several hours, talking and laughing all the while. Pony left early to video chat with her parents back in the United States, so there were only seven of them left in the room when Tsu brought up the question almost all of them had been thinking about.

 

“Midoriya, why didn’t you tell us your dad was Stormclaw?”

 

Kirishima interrupted Tsu, even more fired up than usual. “I can’t believe you’re Stormclaw’s son! Are you related to Gallant?”

 

“Sure, he was my great-grandfather!” Izuku was being polite; he was used to the interrogation that inevitably happened whenever people found out about his family.

 

“That’s so cool! Gallant was Crimson Riot’s inspiration, so he’s like, my inspirational grandfather or something!”

 

“Then maybe you’re my horn sister instead of my horn buddy?” Izuku flashed his fanged mouth in a genuine smile, which Kirishima returned with her own sharp grin.

 

“Midoriya, don’t change the subject,” Tsu said flatly. “Why didn’t you tell us?”

 

Deku sighed as he leaned back, cards in his hand. “Kaminari asked me that, too. Would you believe if I told you that I forgot?”

“No.” Tsu didn’t blink.

 

“Yeah, they didn’t either.” He chuckled a bit. “To tell you the truth, people...treat me differently once they know. I like you all, and I didn’t want to change anything.”

 

“Treat you differently? How?” Tooru asked, playing one of her cards. “Ha! Take that, Mina!”

 

“Well, like I told the guys, sometimes people just see who my dad is and not who I am. He’s my idol, and I hope to be half the hero is someday, but I’m also my own person.” Ochako saw Yaomomo and him exchanging knowing looks, smiling a small, sad smile at each other.

 

“Aw, man, I kinda already did that, didn’t I?” Kirishima rubbed the back of her head awkwardly.

 

“Don’t worry about it, Kirishima. Really, I know you’re not one of those people.” Izuku dismissed her concern with a kinda smile, which made her smile return.

 

“You certainly proved to me that you’re more than just your father’s son, Deku.” Ochako smiled at him, hoping to cheer him up.

 

“Yeah! Ochako told us all about you rushing in and saving her!” Mina pumped her arm in celebration.

 

Deku turned a little green. “Well, I couldn’t have just stood by and let that thing crush her.”

 

Mina grew her signature teasing grin. “Oh, you’re so heroic , Midori. You can’t help but save a damsel in distress, can you?”

 

Instead of blushing, Deku grew a little indignant. “H-hey! I don't think that! You’re students at UA, just like me. I know you’re all just as tough if not tougher than anyone else, and you all have great quirks. Only an idiot would think that you’re weak.” Ochako gasped slightly.

 

“Now you’re just being flattering, Midoriya.” Momo was blushing slightly.

 

“No, come on, it’s totally true!” He threw his arms wide and then pointed at Momo. “Yaoyorozu, the way you used your quirk this morning was totally se- smart at hell. You blew us all away and you looked like you were barely trying.”

 

‘What was that slip of the tongue?’ Ochako noticed him turn a little greener.

 

“A-and Ashido, your quirk is great, too. I wouldn’t have thought to use it as a lubricant for greater mobility, and your control seems great.” Deku seemed to be trying to shift attention.

 

“Kirishima, there’s so much you can do with your quirk, it’s so well suited for offense and defense, you’re gonna make a great hero one day, and in more than one way.” Izuku gave his horn sister another big smile; she quickly returned the gesture.

 

“Hagakure, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how absurdly useful your quirk is, and Tsu, I was honestly surprised how much power you pack in your legs.” All the girls were smiling as he complimented them. Well, Ochako assumed Tooru was smiling.

 

But that just left-

 

“And you, Uraraka.” She started blushing a bit, seeing the intensity of his stare.

 

‘Wait, I remember that look from the entrance exam. He looks…’

 

“Uraraka, your quirk scares the hell out of me.”


“W-what?!”

 

“It’s absolutely terrifying. I can’t think of one in our class that frightens me more.”

 

“Y-you’re… scared of me?” She was hurt. ‘I thought we were becoming good friends… it’s not the first time I’ve scared a guy off. Stupid height.’

 

“No! Not at all!” Deku shook his head eagerly, causing her eyes to widen. “Uraraka, I’ve only known you for a bit but I already know that you’re a great person. I have no doubts that you’ll only use your quirk for great things, but imagine if a villain had it.” He shuddered.

Her blush returned. “It’s not that great… I can just shift weight around and stuff.”

 

“Uraraka, are you kidding me? You functionally have control over one of the fundamental forces of our reality. If that’s not a superpower, then I don’t know what is.”

 

“Psh, yeah, girl. Don’t be so hard on yourself.” Mina tossed a pencil at her. “You kick ass. We all do.”

 

Ochako couldn’t help but smile at the praise. ‘Deku doesn’t treat us differently ‘cause we’re girls, and he thinks that I’ve got one of the best quirks in class. I think the same thing about him, too….’

 

She dared to look at Deku, who was flashing a warm, genuine smile and gazing at her with admiration. She couldn’t help but blush a bit more at his honesty.

 

‘Well, maybe my height isn’t that big of a deal to him…’

 


 

‘Dinner’ was provided by Ashido’s rather impressive collection of snacks she had stashed in her room. Midoriya would have preferred something a little more hearty, but he wasn’t about to leave early to go make a proper meal. Eventually the sun set and Hagakure, Kirishima, and Asui left as well. Yaoyorozu opted to stay a little longer, seeing as her room was just down the hall.

 

The four of them had put the cards away and were instead just talking as the evening wound down. Or, rather, that’s what they were doing until Ashido decided to introduce Yaoyorozu and Uraraka to her new favorite game.

 

“Hey, you girls wanna see something neat?” Yaoyorozu and Uraraka looked at her and then each other. The smug smirk on Ashido’s face had them worried. Midoriya looked scared. “If you make Midori blush hard enough, he looks just like a piece of broccoli.”

 

“A-A-Ashido, please d-don’t.” Midoriya’s voice trembled with fear.

 

“Oh, it’s so easy! Watch this.” Ashido hopped up and walked over to the sitting man. She stood a little too close, looking down on him. He stared up at her black-and-gold eyes, already blushing slightly. “Midori~” The boy’s eyes went wide at her mock-seductive whisper. “How about you just call me Mina instead~”

 

Midoriya squeaked as he lit up like a traffic light and quickly covered his face.

 

The pink girl collapsed back onto the ground, rolling with laughter. “See! Look at him!”

 

Yaoyorozu couldn’t help but giggle slightly, holding her hand in front of her face.

 

Uraraka could only stare. ‘Why do I like that look so much? It’s makin’ my stomach feel all weird...’

 

Midoriya quickly stood up, chuckling awkwardly while still doing his vegetable impression. “Oh, wow, would you look at the time? We have our first Hero Basic Training class tomorrow, gotta make sure we’re well rested for that! T-thanks for inviting me, it was nice to get to know all of you. Bye!” He was out the door in a flash.

 

“You chased him off, Mina!” Uraraka tried to hide her disappointment with an accusation. ‘I really don’t like seein’ him leave.’

 

Ashido finally stopped laughing, wiping her eyes. “Oh man, totally worth it, though!”

 

Yaoyorozu stood up as well. “He spoke the truth; we should all get to bed soon. Tomorrow will be even tougher than today.” She gave them a small bow. “Thank you for organizing this, Mina. Goodnight, Ochako.” With a smile and a small wave she left the room as well.

 

Then, it was just the two of them. Uraraka sighed, holding her knees to her chest and staring off into space.

 

“You’re thinking about him, aren’t you?” Ashido’s voice was calm and kind. Instead of teasing the girl, she seemed truly concerned.

 

Uraraka blushed a bit. “...Yeah.”

 

“Me too.” Ashido scooted over closer to Uraraka, hoping to comfort her.

 

“Ugh, it’s the worst !” She pouted into her legs. “He’s distracting me so much.”

 

Ashido chuckled gently. “A strong, cute boy with a heart of gold and a good head on his shoulders? Yeah, he distracts me too.”

 

“You’re not helping either, Mina! You keep making him blush and get all flustered and that makes it worse!”

 

“Aw, I was hoping I was distracting you in some other way.” Ashido batted her eyelashes playfully.

 

Uraraka didn’t say anything, but her blush deepened a bit as she averted her eyes.

 

Ashido’s eyes went wide as her lilac blush started showing. ‘ Oh.’

 

“I-I need to get to bed too, Mina. I... had a lot of fun today.” She stood up and began to walk out. She turned back, Ashido’s eyes quickly darted up to her face from where she was staring at her butt.

 

Uraraka’s blush deepened a bit further as she gave Ashido a small wave. “See you tomorrow, yeah?”

 

A half hour later, Ashido, Midoriya and Uraraka were all lying in bed, unaware that the others were also staring at their ceilings. A collective sigh was released, signalling the end of their first day of classes at UA as they drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

The next day of school was rather boring, all things considered, at least for a hero school. Present Mic was the english teacher, and tried to make it much more exciting than it was. Izuku found it a little surreal that someone as cool as a pro hero was doing something this… mundane.

 

Not that the class wasn’t important. English was the lingua franca, ironically, of much of the world, including heroes. When two heroes from different countries and cultures had to work together, it was expected that they both knew how to speak English. Izuku did pretty well in the first class, which was unsurprising, considering he had been tutored in the language for years for that very reason.

 

He did notice, with no surprise, that Tsunotori was excellent at the class. It was her native language, after all. She made a point to not answer every question, but Izuku guessed she could probably have taught the course herself. ‘Maybe even better, considering the lack of accent…’

 

After class, he made a point to speak with her. He approached her desk at the front while others were talking. “Good morning, Tsunotori.” He crouched down, smiling at her at eye level.

 

“Good morning, Izu- Midoriya. Sorry!” She looked embarrassed by her slip.

 

Izuku was taken aback by her boldness, momentarily thrown for a loop. “I, uh, um, Tsunotori, I-”

 

“Sorry! Sorry! At America, everyone use first name. I still learning.” She held her face in her hands.

 

Izuku thought for a moment, and realized that this was an opportunity. “Oh, of course! I knew that. America is a different culture, after all. I find it a little strange how personal that seems, but I won’t judge you. If it makes you more comfortable, you can call me Izuku.”

 

Tsunotori slowly moved her hands down. “...you sure?”

 

Izuku smiled widely at her. “Yes, of course. If it makes things easier for you, then I’m happy.”

 

“Thank you, Izuku.” She returned his smile with gratitude.

 

“I have to say, you were great in class today. I’m not surprised, but I was wondering… would you tutor me sometime? I struggle with some aspects of your language.”

Tsunotori’s American eyes went wider. “Really? You want help?”

 

Izuku nodded eagerly. “I want to do the best I can, and I can’t think of anyone better to teach me. Please? Tell you what, help me out and I’ll tutor you with Japanese. Sound good?”

 

“You would help me?” She looked touched.

 

“Sure, what’re friends for?”

 

“Friends?” She thought for a moment and then smiled wide. “That sounds very, very good. I help you, you help me. Very good.”

 

“Thanks, Tsunotori. I really appreciate it.” He gave her one last smile and headed back to his desk. Katsuki gave him a knowing look and rolled his eyes.

 


 

During lunch, Ochako, Deku, Pony, Bakugou, Mina and Eiko all sat together. Lunch Rush came by each table, greeting the new students and asking how they were liking the food. Unlike all the other tables he visited however, Deku was sitting at theirs.

 

The pro hero had introduced himself and inquired about the food just like all his other stops, but before anybody could answer, Deku had whipped out his notebook and darted out of his seat. He started asking the hero a hundred questions it seemed, all about his quirk and the work he did. It was halfway endearing, but also a little embarrassing, as half of the cafeteria was staring at their table at that point.

 

‘You would think he was talkin’ to All Might judgin’ from how excited he is.’ Ochako smiled affectionately at his passion.

 

Eventually, Lunch Rush managed to escape Deku, but not before giving him his autograph. The student sat back down, still shaking slightly from his excitement. He was beaming ear-to-ear and staring at the autograph he had added to his collection.

 

“Are you always like that when you meet a hero?” Mina was snickering behind her hand.

 

“Oh yeah,” Bakugou answered, “you should see him when he meets one of his favorite heroes. We met Edgeshot last year when he worked with Izuku’s dad on a mission last year. The idiot was babbling for about an hour afterwards.”

 

Ochako and the rest of the table laughed at the imagery, while Deku only smiled sheepishly. “He’s number five, Kacchan, how could I not be excited?”

 

“Speaking of heroes, who do you think is teaching the next class?” Eiko scratched her chin. “It doesn’t say on the schedule.”

 

“Oh yeah, hero basic training, right?” Ochako was a little nervous, she had to admit.

 

“Maybe Ectoplasm,” Deku suggested, “his clones would be a great tool for teaching all of us one-on-one.”

 

“Nah dude, Ectoplasm teaches math,” Mina pointed out. “But now that you mention it, it seems lame to have a quirk like his wasted on math.”

“Tch, as if the teachers only do one thing around here. Maybe he does both, Pink.” Bakugou scoffed at her.

 

“My name is Mina Ashido.” Mina looked slightly offended by Bakugou’s disrespect, which Ochako understood. She would have gotten a less-than-flattering nickname if Deku hadn’t helped her out. Bakugou didn’t acknowledge her and got up to go get a second serving.

 

Mina huffed. “Rude.”

 

“Don’t think too much of it, Ashido. Kacchan is an… abrasive person until you get to know him better.” Deku smiled awkwardly as he defended his friend. “You may find this hard to believe, but if you have a nickname, it means he already thinks you’re okay. Most people he doesn’t even bother to remember.”

 

Eiko didn’t look convinced. “You sure, dude? Some of his nicknames are pretty harsh.”

 

“Oh?” Deku looked intrigued, strangely enough. “He calls you Weird Hair, right?”

 

Eiko nodded, rubbing the back of her head awkwardly.

 

Deku laughed a bit and grew a grin. “If the nickname he gives you is insulting, it means he likes you. He thinks you’re tough and that you can take it.” Eiko’s slightly downcast look brightened immediately as Deku gave her a thumbs up.

 

“Honestly, Kirishima, I’m impressed. You might have the record of fastest person to ever get the ‘honor’ of an insulting nickname from Kacchan.” Deku laughed at the absurdity of his statement.

 

The rest of lunch carried on mostly uneventfully from there, but then Ochako noticed Pony leaning over and asking Deku a question. They were speaking English, so she couldn’t understand it, especially with how fast they were talking. She did catch a few words, most notably ‘Ochako’ and ‘Mina’. Ochako herself tried to not look like she was eavesdropping as she ate her lunch.

 

After a few more sentences back and forth, Deku laughed a bit and spoke a single word in Japanese, as if he was explaining something. “Adorable.”

 

Ochako looked up and saw Pony with a look of confusion on her face, but when he said the word her expression changed to one of comprehension.

 

‘What are they talkin’ about, I wonder…’

 

Ochako watched them speak energetically, and she couldn’t help but smile herself. She hadn’t realized how reserved and uncomfortable Pony has been until she saw her now. It made sense, of course, and Ochako felt bad for not noticing it. The American was in a foreign land, unfamiliar with the culture and language, of course she was confused and probably a little scared.

 

Their conversation seemed to come to a close as Pony said “Thank you, Izuku!”

 

The rest of the table sputtered and Bakugou nearly choked on his food right after he had sat back down. Deku saw the reactions and surprised looks on everyone’s faces and laughed smiled sheepishly again. “It’s a cultural thing, I swear! Americans always use first names with everybody they talk to.”

 

“Really? Weird.” Mina raised her eyebrow. Bakugou simply shrugged and went back to his food.

 

Pony herself was blushing from the situation she had caused. Ochako couldn’t help but feel a little bad for her, but she was still smiling softly. It seemed like Deku had really helped her come out of her shell and feel more comfortable.

 

‘She looks so cute when she’s happy.’ Ochako thought before she could stop herself, her eyes gazing up the girl’s long, pointed horns..

 

She froze.

 

‘Oh crap, do I have a thing for horns?!’

 


 

Toshinori had come to UA for two reasons. He was one of the most experienced heroes in the world, and he agreed with Nezu that he had a duty use his expertise to train the next generation of heroes. His second reason was more personal, but no less important. Toshinori had come to UA to find a successor for his quirk.

 

He was going to be able to keep working for years to come, but considering he was still a hero, he felt like starting now would be for the best. The longer he looked and the longer he taught, he would be able to pass on more experience and see a wider field of potential successors, so he wasn’t in a huge rush. If he met five or ten classes here at UA, surely he could find someone worthy.

 

And if he didn't? Well, he had time.

 

However, he was now doubting his decision. Toshinori was standing in the UA teacher’s lounge, staring at the door. He was due to get to class 1-A to begin Hero Basic Training but instead, he was frozen, deep in thought.

 

‘Come on, Toshi. You’ve faced murderers, psychopaths and dragons, not to mention him . You can face a bunch of teenagers.’ He slapped his trembling legs. ‘Stop shaking , dammit!’

 

He took a deep breath and opened the door. He had waited a few minutes after the beginning of class so he could actually move through the halls without being accosted every few minutes. ‘What I wouldn’t give for a good disguise. I can’t exactly hide when I’m this big.’ He sighed.

 

He quickly made it to the door of 1-A’s homeroom and he took a deep breath as he stopped and prepared himself. ‘Alright, Toshi. You got this.’

 

“I AM… HERE!”

 

Toshinori threw the door open and took a triumphant step inside. “Coming through the door like a hero!”

 

The class collectively gasped as he entered. Several students cheered while others only stared. He flashed his practiced, triumphant grin as he strutted to the front of the room. He took a look around, studying his new students. As he looked to his right, he saw familiar faces.

 

‘Ah! Young Bakugou and Young Midoriya, it is good to see they made it after all! I… I should have looked at the class roster beforehand.’

 

Young Midoriya in particular was wide-eyed and manic. He looked like he was trying to say something but no sounds were coming from him besides a few excited squeaks. Toshi felt a little proud that he could still elicit that reaction from him, despite them having met previously.

 

Finally, his mouth started working again as he stood up and pointed a finger at the hero. “So that’s why you were here last year!”

 

“Wait, have you met All Might before?” A tall black-haired student to Young Midoriya’s right asked him with an excited, toothy smile.

 

“Yeah! He saved me last year when a villain attacked me!” This caused further gasps and murmurings from around the room.

 

“Woah, All Might’s the best!” A student with red, spiked hair was grinning widely.

 

“I know, right?!”

 

Toshinori cleared his throat.

 

Young Midoriya paled as he realized what he was doing. He bowed deeply and apologized. “Sorry, All Might!” He sat down quickly as Young Bakugou hit his own face with his hand.

 

“No sweat, Young Midoriya!” Toshinori gave him a thumbs up. He turned to the rest of the class, who were mostly quiet now except for a few girls giggling at the green-haired boy’s antics. He recalled the speech he prepared.

 

“Welcome to the most important class at UA!” He proclaimed. “Think of it as Hero-ing 101! Here you will learn the basics of being a pro, and what it means to fight in the name of good!”

“Let’s get into it!” Toshinori bent back, then threw his fist forward, holding a card that proudly declared ‘BATTLE’! “Today’s lesson… will pull no punches!”

The class reacted with excitement and shouts once again. Toshinori had this in the bag.

 

“But one of the keys of being a hero is…” He pointed a remote at the far wall. “Looking good!” Four compartments slid out of the wall, each holding five boxes marked with a number. The excitement in the room boiled over at this point, several of the students standing up.

 

“Get yourself suited up, and then meet me at Training Ground Beta!”

“Yes, sir!” The class responded in unison.

 

‘Heh. I was worried over nothing.’ Toshinori thumbed his nose.

 


 

Izuku was almost vibrating as he walked down to the locker room holding his costume case. Sure, he had gotten accepted into UA, and he had already done some impressive stuff, if he said so himself, but this was the first time it felt real . He was going to put on a hero costume and get instruction from All Might himself.  

 

He stripped off his school uniform and unboxed the suit with impressive speed. It was a specially designed suit, months in production. The curse with transformation quirks, especially ones as drastic as his, is that they are very hard to make costumes for. Any normal costume would be torn to shreds by even a basic transformation, not to mention a full draconic transformation like his father’s.

 

Fortunately, his family had long ago found a solution. The costume was made out of Izuku’s own scales, woven together into a smooth, scale-mail-like appearance. Because it was made from his DNA, it responded when he activated his quirk, and he was safe to do whatever he needed without the fear of transforming back without pants.

 

The process was time-consuming, painful, and expensive, even for pro heroes. So Izuku compromised. Only the pants were made at the time, leaving the rest of his body bare. It worked for him, as a simple scale-only transformation provided him with moderate protection, and it looked pretty cool in his opinion.

 

The pants were mostly green, obviously, but had accenting black lines down the sides. The pattern was in obvious homage to his father, but that only made him like it more. He put on the pants and shifted his right leg. The scales changed with him, and shifted right back to normal once he let his quirk go. He grinned widely.

 

Izuku was one of the first ones changed, due to how simple his costume was. He gave Katsuki a hand getting one of his grenade-shaped gauntlets on and walked towards the exit, eagerly theorizing what All Might’s training would be while his best friend just smirked and listened.

 


 

Japan was a very confusing place for Pony. UA was an internationally-renowned institution and she was honored to be attending, but she wished that everything wasn’t so different. Her own culture was so different than Japan’s, and it was proving frustrating on nearly an hourly basis. A lot of things had been brought into question and been confused since she had come to Japan.

 

Then Hero Basic Training happened, and Pony was more confused than ever. Her own costume was fairly modest. It was tight, but functional; she wore a skirt and pants, a headband and some stirrups over her hooves. The other girls… were less modest.

 

Ochako wore a black and white skin-tight suit, Mina wore a turquoise and purple skin-tight suit that was also really low cut, and then Momo was wearing a red skin-tight suit with a giant hole in the front and bare legs.

 

‘This isn’t fair.’

 

She opted to stand in the back of the group, and once the girls had all made their way out to the meeting area, she quickly disappeared into the fringes. Her position gave her a good angle on what happened next.

 

Izuku, that nice man who had been nothing but friendly to her, came walking out of the tunnel… wearing only pants.

 

‘Shirtless, incredibly cut, tall, horns, nice, speaks English.’ Pony’s mind did inappropriate things before she could stop it.

 

‘I-I think coming to Japan was a mistake.’

 

After Izuku exited the tunnel, Ochako and Mina seemed to take notice of the man as well. They both stopped talking and stared at Izuku, but before he saw them, Eiko ran up to him, flashing her sharp smile.

 

“Nice outfit, man!” Eiko smirked as she gave him a thumbs up. Her own costume was quite similar to Izuku’s; mostly just pants. Eiko had boots compared to Izuku’s bare feet, weird shoulder guards and a black shirt that stopped just underneath her chest, showing off her impressive abdominals, but the similarities were there.  

 

Izuku was doing his best broccoli impression, the one Mina had gone on-and-on about that morning. “Y-you too, you h-have great taste!” Izuku returned her thumbs up while he covered his face with his other arm.

 

Eiko didn’t seem to notice how hard Izuku was blushing and walked off with Bakugou, talking about something Pony didn’t understand.

 

It was at this point that Izuku caught sight of Ochako and Mina, who had come up to greet him. Just as he was calming himself down, too.

 

She watched the three continue to stare at each other for what felt like an hour. All three of them had a blush growing slowly on their faces, be it red, purple or green. Three very attractive people, in very tight and revealing clothing, staring at each other like their brains had stopped functioning altogether. Pony began to blush as well.

 

‘Coming to Japan was definitely a mistake.’

 


 

Izuku finally got his legs to move and peeled himself away from the very curvy women stuffed into skin-tight costumes without saying a word. He was pretty sure he was doing Mina’s favorite broccoli impression, but the woman wasn’t saying anything about it.

 

‘Crap, they probably think I’m a creep for staring at them like that... I’m as bad as Mineta.’

 

He decided to take a look around, hoping to clear his mind by studying the other students costumes. ‘Many of them appear to be favoring form over function. I suppose style is important, and there’s always time to add or change things once we learn more. I don’t really have to worry about that, I guess. Satou’s is pretty simple, Kaminari is just wearing a jacket over his shirt, what the hell is Todoroki wearing?’

 

He continued to look over the rest of his classmates, taking short mental notes about them all. He was nearly done when he spotted Yaoyorozu.

 

‘H-holy crap. That’s her costume?! ’ He had only just barely begun to push the blood from his face when it came rushing back. ‘What is wrong with everyone here at UA?!’

 

‘Oh no, she’s looking at me. She sees me staring. Look away, Deku. Stop being a creep. They invited you to hang out yesterday and you pay them back by leering at them. You see that blush? You’re making her uncomfortable. Quit it!’ He stabbed himself in the palm of his hand to get himself to look away from the black-haired girl.

 

Izuku had never been happier to hear All Might begin to talk, which was saying something.

 

“They say that clothes make the pros, young ladies and gentlemen,” All Might declared, “and behold, you are the proof!” The man paused to look over his class. ”Take this to heart: from now on, you are all heroes in training!”

 

Izuku’s heart swelled with pride. He was a hero in training. He was doing it.

 

All Might began to lecture the class. “Now that you’re ready, it’s time for combat training!” He cleared his throat. “Consider this: most of the villain fights you see on the news take place outside. However, statistically speaking, run-ins with the most dastardly evil-doers take place indoors.”

 

“Think about it: backroom deals, home invasions, secret underground lairs… Truly intelligent criminals stay hidden in the shadows. For this training exercise, you’ll be split into teams of good guys and bad guys, and fight two-on-two indoor battles! It’s time to show what you can do, but remember, you can’t just punch a robot this time. You’re dealing with actual people now.”

All Might brandished a small packet of papers. “Listen up!”

 

‘A script?’

 

“The situation is this: the villains have hidden a nuclear missile somewhere in their hideout. The heroes must try to foil their plans. To do that, the good guys either have to catch the evil-doers or recover the weapon within the time limit. Likewise, the bad guys win if they protect their payload until time expires or capture the heroes.”


All Might held a device. “Time’s limited, so teams will be selected randomly!”

 

“Isn’t there a better way?” Iida questioned as he raised his hand.

 

“Think about it!” Izuku explained for his teacher. “Pros often have to team up with heroes from other agencies on the spot, so maybe that’s the reason we’re seeing that here.”

 

“Yes, I see,” Iida conceded, “life is a random series of events.” He bowed low to his teacher. “Excuse my rudeness.”

 

“No sweat! Let’s draw!” All Might gave Iida a thumbs up and clicked the device in his left hand. A projection appeared with all twenty students’ names on it, and quickly started scrambling them up. In the end, ten teams were displayed.

 

Team A: Izuku Midoriya and Ochako Uraraka

Team B: Mezou Shouji and Shouto Todoroki

Team C: Pony Tsunotori and Momo Yaoyorozu

Team D: Minoru Mineta and Tenya Iida

Team E: Yuuga Aoyama and Mina Ashido

Team F: Kouji Kouda and Rikidou Satou

Team G: Denki Kaminari and Kyouka Jirou

Team H: Fumikage Tokoyami and Tsuyu Asui

Team I: Katsuki Bakugou and Tooru Hagakure

Team J: Eiko Kirishima and Hanta Sero

 

Izuku’s eyes went wide as Uraraka quickly made her way over to him. Neither looked at the other.

 

“And now, the matchups! Heroes vs. Villains!” All Might pressed another button on the device.

 

Team D vs. Team A

Team B vs. Team I

Team G vs. Team C

Team E vs. Team F

Team J vs. Team H

 

Izuku’s eyes widened further as he began to sweat. ‘I-I’m a villain.’

 

“First match is Team D as the heroes versus team A as the villains! Both teams, come with me, the rest of you, head back down the tunnel to the observation room. I’ll join you there shortly.” All Might turned and walked off as the other 16 students left as well.

 

Izuku’s feet didn’t move for a moment, but Uraraka prodded him on. “Come on, Deku, we got this, right?”

 

“R-right. Right. Yeah, we got this.” He was trying to convince himself more than her.

 


 

The four students followed All Might to a five-story building deeper into the city. All Might gave Izuku and Uraraka some encouragement as he sent them inside, giving them five minutes to prepare the building.

 

They made their way up to a room on the fifth floor where the bomb was located and Izuku set to work planning. He took a deep breath and flexed his quirk, letting the familiar feeling of his battle transformation flow through him. His eyes glowed slightly as his horns grew; scales flowed out from his limbs, covering his entire body save for his chest and stomach. Instead, those were covered by armored tan plates.

 

He felt his power coursing through him, making him more confident and focused. He turned to Uraraka, who had a similar determined look on her face. ‘It’s good to know that we can focus around each other when we need to.’

 

“You look like you’re thinking something, Deku.” Uraraka smirked at him.

 

“We have the upper hand here. We know the location of the bomb and the time limit is on our side.” Izuku transformed one of his arms as he reached up and smashed one of the lights on the ceiling. “Let’s use our home field advantage as best we can. Iida and Mineta have formidable quirks. By limiting the battlefield and sightlines, Iida will be less effective, and by blinding them, Mineta won’t know where to throw his quirk.”

 

“But then we can’t see either, Deku.” She protested as he continued to break the lights.

 

“What do you mean?” He turned around to face her, eyes glowing slightly. “I can see just fine.”

 

Uraraka’s eyes widened slightly, but quickly flashed with confidence. “I trust you, Deku. You do what you need to here, I’ll go make some obstacles for them. Slow them down.”

 

“Good thinking, Uraraka.” He pulled down the shutters on the windows to further darken the room as he finished destroying all of the lights in the room. He went out into the hallway and broke those lights as well, ensuring that the room was plunged into near-total darkness.

 

‘All Might won’t be able to see what’s happening, but that’s okay. This is the best plan I can think of.’ As Izuku continued to work, he kept hearing strange noises from down below, like walls and floors collapsing. Time was nearly up when Uraraka returned to the room.

 

She wandered into the room hesitantly. “Um, Deku? I can’t see anything, where ar-”

 

Izuku had come around one of the pillars as she entered the room. In her blind state, she crashed right into him, knocking him back as she fell on top of him at an angle, her chest on his abs.

 

“Oh crap, s-sorry Deku!” She was panicking, flailing her hands around as the two were tangled up together. She brushed her hand against his chest a few times in her confusion. Her left hand searched for purchase to help push her off of him. What it found was something… else.

 

Izuku made a sound like a squeaky toy being bitten by a dog. His quirk involuntarily released as he lost focus.

 

Uraraka screamed in embarrassment as she quickly slapped herself and floated off of him. Izuku was very glad that it was too dark for the camera to see anything.

 

The two of them waited for a few seconds in complete silence, him laying on the ground and her floating near the ceiling. All Might’s declaration of “One minute until we begin!” brought them both out of their furious blush.

 

Uraraka let herself back down and straightened herself out. “A-All set down below. They’ll have a hard time getting up here now.” She smiled shakily at the darkness where she thought he was.

 

“G-great.” He took a deep breath and refocused on his quirk, bringing his scales back out.

 

“Deku... Are you sure this will work?” She quickly regained her composure.

 

“No plan survives contact with the enemy… but I think we have a good shot. I’ll explain the rest of the plan in a second, but if all else fails, we’ll just follow our instincts.” He smiled nervously to himself.

 


 

“Time begins now! Team D, enter the building!” All Might’s voice blared through the speakers in and around the building.

 

The next few minutes passed in eerie quiet. Finally, Izuku got impatient and spoke up. “Uraraka, what did you do? What’s taking them so long?”

“I collapsed all the stairs. They’re gonna have to get creative to get up here.” He saw her smile through the darkness.

 

Izuku smiled back, even though she couldn’t see it. “Amazing.”

 

Over twelve minutes had passed by the time Iida and Mineta made it up to their floor. Izuku let his quirk flow stronger as they approached. His head elongated as his jaw began to curve slightly. His horns flared back over his eyes and teeth grew sharp. He leapt up and clawed himself into the ceiling, hanging out of sight.

 

“Ready, Uraraka?”

 

She nodded. “Oh, uh, could you see that? Yeah, I’m ready. You weren’t kidding about your voice, huh?”

 

She cleared her throat and deepened her voice to jokingly mimic his voice. “We’ll defeat those stupid heroes in the name of evil!” Uraraka giggled.

 

Team D made their way to the room as All Might declared “Two minutes remaining!” Izuku saw them hesitantly stop outside the room. Izuku’s draconic mouth smiled.

 

He holds too much pride in his brother. I can use that.

 

“You’ve finally arrived, heroes. I expected you to be faster. Pathetic .”

 

“M-Midoriya?” Iida instinctually took a step backwards from the deep, unsettling voice.

 

“Why are you here, Iida? Is it to make your brother proud?”

 

“W-what does that have to do with anything?”

 

“Think how ashamed Ingenium would be to see his little brother failing so spectacularly at something as simple as this.”

 

“I-I-”

 

“Maybe after this, I’ll go pay him a visit. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he knows how much of a disappointment you are before I kill him.”

 

“...”

 

“Time is ticking, heroes. All you have to do is touch the weapon and you win. All you have to do to fail your brother is to keep standing there like a coward .”

 

Izuku new how the sound of his voice could unnerve people, especially the first time they hear it. Iida acted just how Izuku hoped he would.

 

With a frustrated roar, Iida kicked his engines into gear and he dashed into the room, but Uraraka sprung into action from her position hidden next to the door. The blue-haired man couldn’t react in time to the surprise attack and quickly had his weight stolen away from him. With nothing holding him down, he soared forward, into the air and out of control.

 

“Foolish hero! You will never thwart our master plan!” Ochako laughed as ominously as she could, which wasn’t very.

 

Izuku pushed off from the ceiling, grabbing one of Iida’s legs with his enlarged claw as the man sailed beneath him, wrapping the capture tape around it with his other hand. Iida blinked in the darkness and hung his head in defeat, feeling the tape wrapped around himself. Izuku gently tossed him back towards the door, allowing him to slowly float back out of the room.

 

Now for the wastrel.

 

“One down, one to go. Mineta, what will you do?”

 

The purple man had been standing there silent ever since Izuku had started talking. He started blabbering something incoherently as Iida floated past him and drop back on the ground as Uraraka released her quirk.

 

“You’ve lost. We know you’ve lost. You know you’ve lost.”

 

The man continued to tremble at the sound of Izuku’s draconic voice, unaware that the dragon was creeping closer to him in the darkness. Once he was close enough, Izuku slowly pulled more of his quirk out of his arm until it was over two meters long. It didn’t have the strength of the transformation he used at the entrance exam, but it had the length.

 

“Checkmate.”

 

Izuku quickly reached his arm through and grabbed Mineta’s chest in his hand like a softball, yanking him into the room as he screamed. Izuku pushed him into the ground, pinning him under his palm as he dug his claws into the floor.

 

Izuku suddenly felt his quirk surge with power against his will. He clutched his head with his left hand, keeping Mineta pinned under his right.

 

He is worthless.

 

Izuku felt himself slowly moving his head closer to the boy, the fangs in his mouth beginning to drip with venom.

 

‘Woah, it’s over! I won! Calm down!’

 

His headache only grew in intensity as he tried to resist.

 

I will make him regret his actions.

 

‘No! Positive outlets! Bend this into something heroic! Uh, okay, I’ve beaten him, I can use this as leverage to help him change his ways!’

 

His death will make them fear me.

 

‘...W-what?’

Chapter Text

“Time’s up! The villain team wins!” All Might’s voice pierced through the silence. In the fifteen minutes she had been lurking in the room, Ochako’s eyes had adjusted a bit to the darkness, allowing her to see some of what was going on. Deku’s enlarged arm was pinning Mineta down, ensuring their victory while his head was bent down close to the student’s body.

 

“Deku! We did it!” Ochako cheered as she walked up to him. She could just make out the outline of his draconic head, his long, curved jaw and ridged horns painting an intimidating silhouette. As he heard her, his eyes snapped to hers, causing her to stop in her tracks.

 

His reptilian eyes were glowing with intensity she had only seen once before, but this time they were filled with pure terror.

 

“Uh, Midoriya, c-could you get off me?” Mineta asked the horned boy, fear prominent in his voice.

 

Deku stumbled backwards, his quirk snapping off as his head returned to its normal shape. He collapsed onto his knees and clutched his head with both hands, squeezing his eyes shut while he let out a low, pained groan. Scales formed and faded along the lengths of his arms as he seemed to struggle with controlling his quirk.

 

“D-Deku? Are you okay?” Ochako was getting worried.

 

Intense, green eyes snapped open towards her as she said his name. His horns had grown larger still as his eyes burned brighter. He stared at her for a few moments before scrambling to his feet and staggering away towards the far wall. His legs trembled, but he stayed standing this time.

 

He reached his arm back, growing it large and muscular, then threw it forward, blowing a large hole in the concrete wall and letting light pour into the room. Ochako squinted as she saw Deku seemingly fighting with himself. He lurched forward, but at the same time he was trying to turn and walk back towards her and Mineta.

 

“Deku! What are you doing?!” Panic clawed at Ochako’s heart. This wasn’t normal.

 

He looked up at her again, seeming to gain temporary clarity from whatever he was suffering from. Just as quickly, he clutched his head with both of his hands as he let out a deep, guttural roar and pitched himself backwards.

 

Right out of the hole he had punched in the wall of their fifth-story room.

 

Ochako couldn’t exactly tell anyone why she did what she did next.

 

Her body seemed to move on its own as she ran forward. She touched her arm and threw her weight out of herself, ignoring the nauseating repercussions, and with a small hop she leapt up to the top of the opening in the wall and looked down.

 

Deku was falling, his wings nowhere in sight as he continued to clutch his head. She put her legs above her and kicked off of the wall, shooting herself downwards. She rocketed towards him at high speeds, completely ignoring the rapidly-approaching ground as she managed to reach out and grab his arm, stealing the weight from him.


The effort caused her to cry out as she passed both his weight and momentum through and out of her, slowing his descent. As the air pressure caught him, she released her quirk, allowing her own weight to snap back to normal, slowing her velocity. She gradually returned Deku’s weight to him, allowing him to impact the ground firmly but gently.

 

Both students collapsed as they landed, the strain of using her quirk so intensely causing Ochako to grow severely queasy. Deku groaned and stumbled to his feet, still clutching his head.

 

“D...Deku… stay down. It’s gonna be...okay,” she managed to gasp through her nausea.

 

“NO! STAY AWAY FROM ME! I DON’T WANT TO HURT YOU !” he roared as he held his head, his voice breaking as his quirk continued to freak out. His wings unfurled from his back as he kicked off from the ground, soaring high into the sky and further into the fake city.

 

Ochako pulled herself to her own feet, but then doubled over as she lost her battle with her nausea. After wiping her face and gasping for air, she looked towards where Deku had flown.

 

‘I should wait for All Might, but he looks like might hurt himself. I can’t take that chance!’ She took a deep breath to steady herself and dashed after him.

 

She jogged as fast as she dared while still recovering from her episode of sickness, trying to follow the path Deku had taken. She found a trail of claw marks and cracked walls that led her deeper into the city and eventually, her ears picked up what sounded like a beast roaring, causing her to immediately take off in a sprint.

 

Nausea threatened to overtake her again as she passed through a faint, green cloud. ‘He must’ve hit some sort of pipeline or tank. That was jus’ the traces left, but what if he got it full-on? Oh, Deku, I really hope you’re okay!’

 

The young heroine turned around a corner and finally found the man. He was standing next to one of the smaller buildings in the city, both arms transformed into giant, scaled dragon arms. He was clawing and punching at the side of the building, and looked like he had been for a while. The building itself had a hole in it up to the second floor where the wall had collapsed from Deku’s assault.

 

Her breath caught as she watched Deku throw his fist forward again, cracking the wall he was beating and spattering the ground with green drops of blood. ‘He ran away from me last time. Somethin’ is wrong, this ain’t him. I should hold him down and wait for him to calm down… Before he hurts himself worse!’

 

She reached down and pulled as much additional weight from the ground as she thought she could while still moving easily. Deku threw another building-shaking punch as he let out a terrifying roar that caused the woman to flinch and nearly stumble, but her determination would not let her falter. Keeping low, Ochako slowly crept up behind the rampaging student. As soon as she was within striking range, she lunged forward with her foot, catching him on the back of his thigh and driving him to the ground as his knee buckled.

 

He roared in surprise as she touched her arm, driving the weight from her body and throwing it all down her right leg and into Deku. With his leg taken out from under him and the additional weight in his body, he collapsed.

 

“Stay down, Deku… Calm down and talk to me!” Ochako pleaded desperately with him.

 

To her surprise, his quirk flared harder and he started to push himself off of the ground, straining from all the extra weight in his body. “Get… away from me. I can’t afford to hurt anyone, especially not you!” His voice was hoarse; raw from screaming and breaking with emotion.

 

‘Damn your muscles, Deku.’ She placed her left knee on his back and reached down to the ground, gradually letting weight flow through her and into the man. He continued to struggle, his arms and legs bulging larger as his quirk flared. She kept weighing him down until his arms gave out. “I’ve got you! You’re not goin’ to hurt anyone!”

 

His eyes were locked onto hers as he panted, the glow starting to fade slightly. As he calmed down, she finally got a good look at his face. It looked like he had been crying.

 

“I trust you, Deku.”

 

His eyes went wide and then fell from her face, filled with grief and guilt.

 

It was true, too. She had only known him for a few days, but she felt like she really could trust him. There was something about his kindness and passion that made him attractive to her beyond just his appearance. She wouldn’t pretend like the way he’d goaded Iida and Mineta wasn’t unsettling, especially with his altered voice, but he had told her beforehand that he hated to do it, even if it was the best plan he could think of.

 

But this...freak-out of his had her seriously worried. As his quirk faded, he struggled less and his breathing became more labored from the added weight. Ochako leaned down closer to him. “Are you okay now? Can we talk?”

 

He managed to nod his head slightly. She breathed a sigh of relief and pressed her fingers together, slowly releasing her quirk. He gasped as the excess weight left him and he was able to breathe easily again. He gingerly pushed himself up on all fours and rolled over into a sitting position, wincing at the various lacerations on his arms.

 

Ochako herself took a few deep breaths to steady her queasiness and then kneeled down in front of him. As her adrenaline ebbed away, her worry quickly overwhelmed her.

 

Deku gasped as Ochako threw her arms around him in a tight hug. “You had me so worried! Are you really okay? What was that?”

 

He didn’t return the hug, but she felt his chest shake slightly. She pulled back and saw that a few tears were falling from his face again. He still didn’t dare to meet her eyes. He looked down and spoke in a raspy voice. “Uraraka, I-”

 

He winced in pain. “I think some of my ribs are bruised.”

 

‘That wasn’t what he was about to say…’ Ochako stared at him in concern. “Let’s... let’s get you to Recovery Girl, then.”

 

Before she could help him, a sound like a jet engine roared behind them. They both looked at the noise in fright, before seeing the imposing figure of their teacher standing a little bit away from them.

 

“Young Midoriya, Young Uraraka, are you alright?” He looked around, seeing the carnage.

“I’m okay, All Might, but Deku… something happened.”

 

All Might grew a look of concern and… understanding? He crouched down next to Deku and whispered something in his ear that Ochako couldn’t hear.

 

Deku looked up, confused. “My dad knew you were going to be a teacher?”

 

“Young Midoriya.”

“Right, right, sorry. Yes, sir. I understand. But I...I think I should see the nurse first.”

 

“Young Uraraka.” All Might turned to her. “Can I entrust you to take Young Midoriya to Recovery Girl?”

 

“Yes, sir.” She reached down and made Deku weightless, then lifted him up and gently started pulling him along with her.

 


 

Their trip to the Nurse’s Office was a silent one. Deku seemed to have slipped in and out of consciousness as his wounds finally caught up to him. Recovery Girl had Ochako place him in one of the beds in her office and quickly checked him over. A quick kiss and an I.V. drip were all it took for her to declare him healed, much to Ochako's relief.

 

The school nurse stepped out for a moment, leaving the two students together. They sat in silence for a little longer before Deku spoke up, unable to take the awkwardness any longer.

 

“You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to.” He still hadn’t looked at her, but she could see how exhausted he was. After Recovery Girl’s treatment, combined with his… incident earlier, she was impressed he was still conscious.

 

“I want to, Deku. I’m...I’m worried about you.” She spoke quietly.

 

“I’m fine, see?” He held up his healed hands and laughed weakly.

 

“That’s not what I mean and you know it. I’m concerned about what happened in class. What was that, Deku? It’s like you were possessed!” She finally got the words she had been dying to say out of her throat.

 

“Oh.” He stared down at his sheets. “I, uh- Uraraka, c-can I ask you something first?”

 

“Um, sure...”

 

“You said you trusted me earlier...” He paused. “Why? We haven’t even known each other for a week.”

 

She blinked. ‘Why do I trust him?’ The question echoed in her mind for a moment as she rubbed her hands together.

 

“Well, you kinda saved my life, right? That earns some trust right there.” She laughed weakly, just as he had done. “And besides, you’re a really passionate guy. I’ve seen that look in your eye when you talk about heroes and about quirks. I can’t help but feel comfortable around you.” She began to blush slightly as she spoke.

 

Deku sat there for a few moments. “I trust you, too. Especially after you… after you caught me. I thought I was going to die. I can’t help but feel comfortable around you as well.” He smiled weakly. “I guess I can tell you… I should tell you. I really hope you’ll still want to be friends after I tell you, though. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t…”

 

Ochako drew back slightly. “I find that hard to believe…”

 

The green-haired man hesitated, not meeting her eyes. “Uraraka, do you know what Quirk Adaptation is?”

 

“You mean how our bodies grow into our quirks?”

 

“Yeah. For example, without the extra elastin and other stuff in his body, Kacchan’s Explosion would have destroyed his body years ago.”

 

“It makes sense to me, Deku. That’s why I’m so tall.” She figured if they were having a heart-to-heart, she might as well get it off her chest. Maybe her confession would help him feel better as well.

 

He stopped and looked at her in surprise before averting his gaze once again. “Really?”

 

“I guess I’ve never really explained how my quirk works.” She held up her hand. “You see these pads on my fingers?”

 

Deku seemed hesitant to look at her, like she was going to attack him or something. “Yes? I figured they had to do with your quirk.”

 

“Yep. I call my quirk Gravity Shift, but it’s a little misleading. What I do is I effectively remove the mass of things I touch. That part seems pretty obvious, yeah?”

 

Deku nodded weakly.

 

“What is less obvious is what I do with it. You see, the mass has to go somewhere . It either flows out through my feet to whatever I’m standing on, or I keep it in my body. The taller I am, the more evenly distributed the weight is, and the easier it is to move while I’m holding mass.”

 

“That’s… wow.” Deku was wide-eyed.

 

“You took physics, you know the basic formula of momentum, right? The momentum of an object is based on its mass and its velocity; that’s the mechanic behind my quirk. If I throw something that I’ve made lighter and then return it’s weight to it, it slows down normally. The energy doesn’t change, so as its mass increases, its velocity decreases.”

 

“But… the entrance exam. That block you threw impacted like a meteor.” He smiled weakly, but fondly, at the memory.

 

“That’s something I learned how to do recently, honestly. I found out how to mess with the energy of an object. It takes a lot out of me, but I can take or give energy when I add or remove weight. It feels sort of like I’m blowing out a candle or something, or taking a really deep breath.”

 

Deku laughed for some reason.

 

“Does that all make sense? When I threw that block at that robot, I had to put all of my quirk’s energy behind it to keep it moving at speed. And when you were falling, if I just took your weight, you would have just sped up, even with the air pushing back on you. I took the energy and your mass and threw it out of my body.”

 

“But what did you throw it into?” Deku was clearly curious, but his tone was still completely flat.

 

“Air isn’t just a void, Deku. It has mass, it exists. I pushed it into the air around my feet. Doing that is really hard, cause it’s so… airy, you know?” She laughed awkwardly. “But using my quirk like that makes me really sick, and I probably won’t be able to use my quirk at all tomorrow from overusing it today.”

 

“Won’t be able to use it?”

 

Ochako nodded firmly. “If I use my quirk too much, it sort of stops working for a while. I have to rest or I simply can’t make anything float. If you hadn’t handled most of the battle trial yourself, I probably wouldn’t have been able to save you.”

 

“And that’s why you’re tall?” Deku looked like he was flagging, his voice was almost monotone.

 

“Yeah. Quirk Adaptation… and I guess my dad was pretty tall, and you know how astronauts get taller in space? I guess messing with gravity combined with my growth spurt growing up did this.”

 

They sat in silence for a few seconds before Deku finally responded. “...that sounds made up.” They both chuckled, him weaker than her.

 

“Most people are put off by tall women, so it’s made my life hard sometimes. Nothing I can do about it, though.” She shrugged, casting her eyes away.

 

Izuku didn’t respond for another good while. “You know that's bullshit, right?”

 

“W-what?” Her eyes snapped back at the man on the bed.

 

“Tall women are hot, Uraraka...” His eyes slowly moved to catch her gaze, and she noticed how hazy they were. “You are really hot.”  His voice was completely flat, even with what he was saying.

 

“You… what?”

 

“It’s part of why I get so dumb around you. That and your eyes are really pretty. Am I overstepping? I might be overstepping...” He blinked and looked away. “Sorry, I might be a little sleep-drunk… I don’t think my filter is working.”

 

Her brain, however, was working just fine, and it was panicking. It was good that Deku wasn’t looking at her or he would have seen her blush. ‘He thinks I’m pretty?! He thinks I’m ‘ really hot?!’ Dammit, and I was just startin’ to get less flustered around him!’

 

‘Wait... filter? Does that mean that’s how he normally thinks about me?!’

 

“Oh, right, we were talking about me. Sorry for distracting you.”

 

She just stared silently at him, mind racing.

 

“So, Quirk Adaptation. Because my quirk is a transformation-class quirk, I don’t have much in the way of physical adaptations. It’d be redundant, seeing as how I just change my body. I just have the basic adaptations that most everyone has, slightly enhanced durability and such.”

 

Ochako was managing to calm down. His droning voice reminded her of some of her old teachers and was threatening to put her to sleep if she wasn’t so wrapped up in his every word.

 

“My changes are mostly mental. Sort of like how Tsu is a bit different because of her quirk. Although, mine are much more severe than that.”

 

“Really? You don’t seem any different.” Ochako finally managed to speak, slightly proud of herself for how much she was keeping herself together.

 

Deku continued to stare forward, almost unblinkingly. “My family’s quirks have something we call ‘instincts’. It’s basically like they have a mind of their own. You remember Tokoyami’s quirk from the test yesterday? It’s sort of like that...but in my mind.”

 

He sighed heavily before continuing. “My father’s quirk, my cousin’s quirk, my grandfather’s quirk… their instincts were all mostly heroic. My dad talks about his yelling at him to push through pain when fighting a villain, or telling him where a trapped civilian might be. Our instincts are a part of our quirk, and if we work with them and listen to them, our quirks work with our bodies better.”

 

Ochako nearly forgot all about his compliments as she gasped. “Woah. So, what, you have a voice in your head? Your quirk talks to you?”

 

He bowed his head. “Yeah. You probably think I’m crazy or something. There’s a reason that outside of my family, only Kacchan and his parents know.”

 

“Hey, quirks are weird, right? I don’t think Tokoyami is crazy.” Ochako smiled to try and comfort him, even though he was refusing to look at her.

 

He smiled weakly. “The worst part is what my quirk says to me. I’m sure you’ve heard about villains like Terrorflame or Frostheart, right?”

 

Ochako’s breath caught. Of course she had, but surely it was a bit taboo to bring that up with him, right? Well, he was the one who said it… “Yeah… They’re your relatives, right?”

 

“Yeah. And my quirk is like theirs.” Deku’s hands gripped his sheets, knuckles turning white. “My quirk is evil, Uraraka. I’m defying my nature by even trying to be a hero.”

 

Ochako gasped. “...Evil?”

 

Deku looked like he wanted to cry, but he was too tired. “It’s not just a voice in my head. If it was just a voice, I could ignore it. It’s so much more than that. It’s not just a voice, it’s my voice. It speaks in every part of my brain, drowning out everything else. If I don’t calm it or appease it, it just gets louder. It gets worse until I can’t think about anything else than doing what it wants.”

 

He let out a single, bitter laugh. “My dad’s quirk tells him how to be a hero, my quirk tells me how to lie and hurt people. I’ve tried since the day my quirk fully manifested to become a hero, despite everything. But after today, I… I think I should give up.”

 

“No! You can’t!” She jumped to her feet, eyes wide at what she was hearing. “I’ve never seen someone more suited to be a hero than you! Think about the entrance exam!”

 

“Have you forgotten what you saw today?” he retaliated, face twisting with anguish. “After time expired, all of that. That was me, trying desperately to fight my quirk. What if you weren’t there to save me from myself? What if I actually had hurt Mineta like it wanted me to?”

 

Ochako’s mind was reeling from what the boy was telling her. “You...you looked like you had a headache, a really bad one. Is that what you were doing? Fighting the voice in your head?”

 

He nodded. “You saved me in more ways than one today. Now I can leave UA just as a dropout, and not as a criminal.” He smiled sadly.

 

A long silence passed between the two. Finally, with a deep breath, Ochako walked over to his bed and towered over him. “Deku. Look at me.”

 

He hesitated, before finally shifting his guilt-filled eyes up at her.

 

She poked him in the chest. “You are not leaving UA. Do you understand me?”

“I… what?”

“Do. You. Understand. Me?”

 

“How can you trust me after this? How can you care about me? I’m a monst-”

 

She slapped him. Hard.

 

“Don’t you dare say that!” She was crying now, her emotions having overwhelmed her. “Nobody but you thinks that!”

 

“Do that again.” His eyes and tone finally had some life in it, but those eyes widened as what he just said echoed in the room. His hand quickly clamped down over his mouth. “Sorry. No filter,” he mumbled out as his energy dropped again.

 

She blinked and felt her face grow warm. “D-damn it, Deku, I’m serious!” She shook her head to dispel the blush and took a steadying breath.

 

She glared down at him with a determined look. “Deku, I saw you in that battle trial. You had a brilliant plan. You had a plan for Aizawa’s test. Everything you do has thought behind it. Don’t think I haven’t noticed! You said you’ve been like this since you got your quirk, but you’ve handled it before, right? You’ve had a plan! Are you telling me you came to UA without a plan on how to handle your quirk?”

 

He slumped back into his bed, hand falling to his side. “I… I had one. My dad taught me for years to turn my quirk’s instincts to my own goals. To sort of twist it, or trick it. The first time it happened, it was an accident. The entrance exam.”

“When you saved me?”

 

Deku once again smiled weakly, but fondly. “Yeah. My instincts yelled at me there, and I worked with them. That’s how I was able to push myself to stop that zero-pointer.” He let out an airy laugh. “I couldn’t use my quirk the next day after that, I guess like you.”

 

“I couldn’t use mine for a week after that, Deku.” She sat back down as he looked at her in shock, or as much shock as his depleted body could muster. “But what were your instincts telling you?”

 

“They told me to protect you. I had to save you. It wasn’t an option.”

 

“That doesn’t sound very evil, Deku.” Maybe he was overreacting...

Deku nodded his head. “That’s because that was the twist. I turned it’s desire to want you for itself into a desire to keep you safe.”

 

Ochako froze again. “To… want me for itself?” She could feel her blush creeping back onto her face.

“I said that out loud? Crap.” Deku sighed. “Yeah, that’s what happened. I turned that selfishness into heroism, I guess. I was actually proud of myself. I believed I could actually do this. But now...I know better.”

 

“Look, Deku, I want to hurt Mineta a bit, too. He’s a creep, don’t feel guilty about that.”

He threw his eyes to the ceiling in frustration. “You don’t get it. It didn’t want to just hurt him. My instincts wanted to kill him. Who knows what would have happened if you hadn't stopped me.”

 

Ochako was not expecting to hear that. “K-kill?”

 

“Yeah.” Deku's voice shook slightly. “See why I said you won’t want to be friends with me anymore? My quirk is evil. If I can’t control it-”

 

“Then you’ll learn how. That’s why we’re here, right?”

 

“You can’t just overlook mur-”

 

“Did you kill him? Did you hurt him outside of the exercise?”

“No, bu-”

 

“Then it’s okay.” She put a comforting hand on his, but he recoiled from her touch. “You’re dealing with something none of us can really understand. You can’t control what you think, especially when you have something yelling in your ear about it.”

 

She paused for a second.

 

“What did you mean when you said that I stopped you?”

 

Deku paused for a moment, thinking. “When you spoke, my quirk seemed to... listen. When I was fighting it, all that existed to me was myself and a black void. But when you said ‘Deku’, it was like a ray of light through the darkness and I could think again. It only lasted for a moment at a time, but that’s how I pulled away from Mineta and punched that hole in the wall.”

Ochako tried to ignore the rather romantic imagery and prompted him to continue. “And you jumping out of the building?”

Deku nodded weakly, his eyes struggling to remain open. “I had to do whatever it took to make sure I didn’t hurt Mineta. If it meant dying, then so be it.” His voice attempted to sound determined, but he was too tired to sell it.

 

“And you think you’re not fit to be a hero.” She crossed her arms smugly. “You would rather die than kill.”

 

His eyes widened and he stared at his sheets for a moment. Then he finally cracked a real smile. “I… I didn’t think of that.” He hung his head in relief as well as exhaustion. “Maybe I can do this.”

“You will do this. You’re not leaving UA and that’s final. If your quirk wants me so bad, tell it that killing is off-limits.” She screamed internally for being so bold.

 

“That… might actually work.” He rubbed his chin in thought.

 

He turned up to look at her, his emerald eyes staring into her brown. They were clear and filled with determination, just how she thought they should always be. “Uraraka. If I do stay here at UA, then I have to ask something of you. A favor.”

 

“Anything, Deku.”

 

“If I ever lose control again, you have to stop me. I would rather be broken or dead than have this happen again. You have my full permission to do whatever it takes to stop me.” His voice was no longer monotone, but full of deadly seriousness.

 

“W-what?” The intensity in his voice took her by surprise.

Please , promise that you’ll stop me.” She couldn't ignore the pleading look on his face.

 

She clutched her hand to her chest and looked down for a moment, before steeling herself, turning back and looking him dead in the eyes. “I promise.”

 

“Thank you. Really.” He finally began to lose his battle with his exhaustion. It seemed now that he had gotten all those things off of his chest, his willpower faltered. His eyes closed as he fell asleep. “Thank...  you… Ocha...”

 

Ochako began to blush again. ‘Was he about to-’ She jumped in her chair as Recovery Girl walked back in. ‘Wait, was she waiting for us to finish talking?’

 

She decided to not look a gift horse in the mouth and just accepted her good fortune. She let a smile grow across her face, but all the emotions she had just experienced welled up inside of her. Joy, embarrassment, sadness, anger, fear… it was overwhelming. Even through her grin, she couldn’t stop a few small tears from falling.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku slept through most of the rest of day, waking up once again in the nurse’s office once the sun had already set. He managed to open his eyes with a degree of effort and looked to see not Uraraka, but Katsuki sleeping on the chair next to his bed.

 

“Kacchan.” Izuku’s dry throat woke his friend up from his light sleep. The blonde boy opened his eyes and glared at him. “Deja vu, huh?” He laughed weakly.

 

Katsuki tossed a water bottle to him, which he caught with both hands. “Izuku… What the fuck happened?”

 

Izuku took a gasping breath after downing the water in one go. “I… I lost control of my quirk. I had a bad instinct flare-up.”

 

“Was it cause of the creepy kid?” Katsuki spoke flatly.

 

“Mineta?”

 

“Sure, whatever.” Katsuki merely shrugged. “Answer the question.”

 

“Yeah. It… it wanted to kill him, Kacchan.”

“Shit.” Katsuki rubbed his hand through his hair. “You didn’t though. What happened?”

 

“Uraraka happened.” Izuku noticed his friend’s eyebrow raise. “She talked to me, and it helped me focus. I pulled myself away and sort of uh, punchedaholeinthewallandjumpedout.”

 

“And you flew away?”

 

“Uh, no, not exactly.” Izuku looked away awkwardly. “I w-wasn’t exactly in control of my quirk. Uraraka jumped after me and saved me from hitting the ground.”

“Dumbass!” Katsuki glared at him. “I leave you alone for fifteen minutes and you manage to almost kill yourself. Amazing!”

 

Katsuki leaned back in his chair. “I couldn’t see a damn thing in the observation room, but All Might dashed out of there as soon as the match ended. We couldn’t even see the wall you apparently jumped out of cause of the camera angle. I’m guessing All Might heard Uraraka panicking over that communicator.”

 

“Makes sense,” Izuku sighed, thankful his classmates hadn’t seen his episode. “He found Uraraka and me once she, uh, calmed me down. She carried me here.”

 

Katsuki stared at him hard for several moments. “You told her, didn’t you?”

 

Izuku flinched. Katsuki knew him too well. “…Yeah…”

 

“Did the fall make you stupid?” Katsuki rubbed his forehead in frustration.

 

“Well, my quirk was asleep after Recovery Girl healed me, so kind of, yeah.” Izuku shrugged.

 

“Just… why? Why let her know about all this?” Katsuki looked as exhausted as Izuku had been before his nap.

 

“I… I don’t know… But I trust her.” He smiled sheepishly. “Especially since she’s saved my life twice.” His shoulders slumped. “To tell you the truth, Kacchan... I was considering dropping out of UA.”

 

Katsuki immediately sat back up. “ What?

 

“I almost killed a student and I had lost control of my quirk,” Izuku explained quickly. “I was ready to give up, but Uraraka convinced me to stay.”

“I would have kicked your ass if you tried to quit,” Katsuki sneered. “You need this stupid school as much as I do. Shame you missed the rest of class. I’m sure you would’ve wanted to take notes.”

 

“Oh, right!” Izuku sat up quickly. “The other matches. How did they go?”

 

Katsuki reached into Izuku’s backpack that he had brought with him and tossed him his notebook and a pencil. Izuku quickly flipped it open and prepared to write.

 


 

“Alright, Team B and Team I, follow me.” All Might had returned to the observation room and quickly resumed class. “I would like to review the work from the first match, but we’re behind schedule.”

 

Katsuki walked up to All Might along with the other two students. Katsuki looked at the two taller men and glared. “Which one of you is with me?”

 

“I am!” A cheerful voice next to him took him by surprise. He jumped back but didn’t see anybody next to him.

 

“What the…” He looked all around until his eyes caught a pair of floating gloves. “Oh, you’re that invisible chick, right?”

 

“Hagakure, yes.” Her voice sounded like she was rolling her eyes.

 

“Yeah, whatever.” He turned away from her and followed All Might. He glared at the ground, deep in thought.

 

The five of them made their way to a different building than the previous group and once they arrived, All Might sent Katsuki and Casper inside to prepare. Their weapon was on the third floor, near the far side of the building.

 

“So, what can you do besides be invisible?” Katsuki asked dryly.

 

“What can you do besides make explosions?” she retorted.

 

He turned and glared at her. “It would be stupid to try and hold them off. We need to take them out.”

 

“If it was anyone but Kyouka or Shouji, I would have a serious advantage. There’s two people in this class that can detect me and I get put up against one of them.” Casper sounded frustrated.

 

“Three, but that’s not important.” Katsuki crouched down as he thought, stretching his legs. “So Arms can hear you?”

 

“Yep. I tried to sneak up on him after dinner yesterday just to test. He heard me right away.”

 

“I can fix that.” He popped off a few explosions in his hand. “I’m good at ‘loud and distracting.’”

 

“That could work.” She tossed her gloves off and closed her hand over the capture tape, making it disappear from view. “You distract them, I’ll sneak around and capture one of them. Then it’s a two-on-one fight.”

 

“Take out Arms if you can.” He stood up, stretching his arms.

“I think Todoroki is the bigger threat, didn’t you see him at the test yesterday?” Casper’s tone was not appreciated.

 

Katsuki huffed. “Fine, whatever.”

 

She began to take her shoes off, but Katsuki had a thought. “Keep them on.”

 

“A pair of shoes is pretty conspicuous, Bakugou.” Where did she get off being this sassy?

 

Katsuki checked one of his gauntlets while he explained. “You were the one who was warning me about Half-and-Half. Remember how he used that big ice attack on the softball throw? You might want to keep your feet warm until we find them.”

 

“That’s… you think so?” Casper hesitantly put her shoes back on.

 

“I wouldn’t normally care what you do, but my grade is riding on this. If you take them off, do it later. Better safe than dead.”

 

“I don’t think that’s how it go-”

 

“Time begins now! Team B, enter the building!” All Might’s voice cut her off.

 

“No point standing around.” He stepped out into the hallway and began to pop of small, but loud explosions every few seconds.

 

Katsuki’s warning seemed prophetic as suddenly a wave of ice rounded the corner and froze the entire hallway, including the two students’ ankles.

 

“Wow, you called it. Thanks for that.” Casper carefully slipped out of her shoes and onto the icy ground.

 

“Wasn’t me. Izuku thought he might have that kind of power, I don’t think even he imagined Half-and-Half could pull something like this off.” Katsuki quickly blew his feet free with a few small explosions.

 

“I’m counting on you, Bakugou.” The girl softly made her way down one of the side hallways, leaving footprints in the ice.

 

Katsuki smirked and continued to make noise. It wasn’t long before the glowing red eye of Half-and-Half’s hero costume appeared in the dim light of the hallway. “You look stupid,” Katsuki snarled between explosions.

 

The heterochromatic student looked behind him. “Your partner is frozen, you should give up. Fighting will only make it harder for you.”

 

“I didn’t come to UA to take it easy! What are you, weak?!” Katsuki roared, intending to further help his teammate.

 

Half-and-Half’s eyebrow twitched at Katsuki’s furious yell. “You remind me of someone I hate.” He shifted his right foot slightly, sending a wave of ice at the blonde.

 

The blonde raised both his hands, blowing the wave of ice away with a large explosion. He ran towards the boy with an anger-fuelled yell and Half-and-Half let another blast of ice go. Katsuki jumped, his right arm behind him to give him extra height, his left extended to blow a hole in the top of the ice.

 

“What was that?!” Katsuki landed about twenty feet away from the other student. “That was even weaker than the first one!”

“Shut up.” Anger burned in Half-and-Half’s eyes.

 

“I saw the shit you pulled yesterday! You’re holding back on me!” Katsuki raised a gauntlet towards the boy and sneered. “I won’t hold back against you, so you best come at me like you mean it.”

 

“You want me to stop holding back?!” Half-and-Half’s cool composure was cracking fast. He raised his right foot slightly. “I’ll give you everyth-”

 

“No you won’t!” Casper yelled triumphantly as capture tape was wrapped around the student’s arm.

 

Half-and-Half stared wide-eyed at the tape as his anger drained out of him, replaced with shock. “But how? I froze you.”

 

“You f-froze my shoes, T-T-Todoroki, not me! Those were j-just a d-decoy.” Her teeth were chattering. “I’m s-still really c-c-cold, though!”

 

The captured student looked back to see the trail of footprints in the ice, then hung his head in defeat. Katsuki huffed as he walked past him. “One down, one to go.”

 

“You’re w-welcome.” Casper said sarcastically, some of the bite in her tone lost as she shivered. “W-where’s Shouji?”

 

Katsuki made a noncommittal noise and began to walk towards the stairs Half-and-Half came up. “Time to find him.”

 

“W-wait, Bakugou. What if Todoroki t-told him to sneak around while h-he distracted us? W-we should wait a-at the bomb,” she argued. “A-also, could you g-g-get my s-shoes for me?”

 

Katsuki thought for a moment. “Fine. We’ll wait.” He walked over to her shoes and carefully extracted them.


The two of them headed back to the weapon to wait. Casper was shivering the whole time, and it sounded like she was rubbing her arms and legs trying to stay warm. Fortunately for her, they didn’t have to wait long before the sound of someone walking on the ice outside echoed through the hallway.

 

An eyeball poked around the corner of the room. Katsuki smirked. “Come on, Arms. You’re boring me.”

 

Arms’ impressive height and bulk rounded the corner, blocking the doorway. Two of his arms had eyes on them, locking on to Casper as he spotted her. Katsuki raised his right gauntlet again, pulling the handle back. “Listen up. My gauntlets have been storing my explosive sweat since I put them on. They’re charged up for a massive explosion.”

 

Katsuki enjoyed the look of surprise on Arms’ face. “Surrender and I won’t use it. Take another step, and I’ll blow you away.”

 

The tall student glared at Katsuki over his mask. “You wouldn’t.”

 

“Why not?” The blonde grew a crazed smile. “I’m a villain, aren’t I?” He placed his hand on the pin.

 

“Bakugou, stop! You are forbidden from using that gauntlet!” All Might’s voice blared over the speakers.

 

Katsuki lowered the gauntlet slowly. “Fine.” He threw his arms behind him. “We’ll fight hand-to-hand!” He rocketed towards Arms, ready to attack. The giant of a student threw one of his sets of arms forward, ready to intercept, but Katsuki was ready.

 

He set off a small explosion in front of him, stunning Arms and sending him flying overhead. He used another blast to stop his momentum as he soared over Arms’ head, ready to blast him in the back. Katsuki had never fought someone like Arms, however.

 

The taller student’s other set of arms had tracked his flight, and he reached up as Katsuki flew overhead and grabbed his foot. With two of the hands on his other arm, he quickly wrapped the capture tape around Katsuki’s leg.

 

However, this made him take his attention off of Casper, who dashed underneath the action and wrapped one of Arms’ legs in capture tape as well. Katsuki and Arms were both stunned silent, staring at the floating tape below them.

 

“Score t-two for T-Tooru!” the invisible girl bubbled. “You were r-right about you b-b-being a good distraction, Bakugou!”

 

“Both heroes have been captured! The villain team wins!” All Might declared the end of the match.

 

“Where did you get that tape?” Katsuki asked as Arms set him down. “I still had mine.”

 

“I pickpocketed T-Todoroki for it. I kept it h-hidden in my hand so S-Shouji wouldn’t see that I had the tape,” she explained. “I was h-hoping that it would… encourage him to t-t-take his eyes off of m-me.”

 

Katsuki smirked.

 




“Were you really going to use your gauntlets?” Izuku asked, half surprised.

 

“Nah.” Katsuki leaned back in his chair. “I got enough lectures from your dad about collateral damage to use it indoors, and especially not on someone who wasn’t an actual villain. I was just hoping to intimidate him. I probably could’ve done it too, if All Might hadn’t stepped in.”

 

“Figured.” Izuku smiled as he continued to write. “By the way you described it, it sounds like you really got under Todoroki’s skin. Very clever to use that to your advantage to get him to lose his composure.”

Katsuki shrugged his shoulders. “I wonder who I reminded him of.”

 

“You might want to be careful you don’t make an actual enemy, Kacchan,” Izuku lectured.

 

“Yeah, yeah…”

 

Izuku took another minute or so to finish scribbling in his notebook. “Fascinating. You’re right, I had no idea Todoroki could be so precise with his quirk; freezing you both by the ankles even though he couldn’t see you…”

 

“Yeah, and get this,” Katsuki continued, “after we finished? He melted all the ice. He’s got fire powers from his left side.”

 

Izuku’s eyes went wide as he flipped back to Todoroki’s page. “That makes sense, given who his father is. It also potentially explains why his hair color is split down the middle, as well as his heterochromia. There must be a reason he hadn’t used his fire before; it wouldn’t have been very useful in the quirk assessment test, and I suppose he didn’t want to burn you or Hagakure when he didn’t have to, but still it’s a little strange tha-”

 

“Motormouth, shut up!” Katsuki let off a small explosion to get his attention. “We should get back to the dorm if you’re feeling good enough to mumble.”

 

“I’m always feeling good enough to mumble, Kacchan,” Izuku laughed as he got out of the hospital bed. “I should ask our classmates how their battle trials-” He stopped suddenly.

 

“Oh, crap. Our classmates.” His eyes went wide. “What am I going to tell them about my test? What’s my excuse? What did Uraraka tell them?!” He began to furiously think about solutions.

 

“I caught Uraraka on my way here.” Katsuki sharply tore him out of his thoughts. “I told her not to say anything about it to anyone and just tell anybody who asked to wait for you,” Katsuki sighed. “I swear, what would you do without me, dumbass?”

 

Izuku smiled as he picked up his backpack and the two of them walked out of the Nurse’s Office.

 


 

The two boys made their ways back to the dorm in the darkness of the early evening. They opened the doors and walked inside, Katsuki giving Izuku a fistbump as he made his way to the stairs, intent on getting a good night’s sleep. Izuku would have normally followed him, but he had something else he wanted to do first.

 

“Hey, Midoriya’s back!” Kirishima was sitting on a couch near Ashido and Tsunotori and was waving at him. Several other students were hanging around the kitchen area or sitting at one of the tables, and very quickly, Izuku was swarmed by them.

 

“Hey man, are you alright?” Kaminari asked worriedly. “We heard you fell out of the building!”

 

“Yeah, Iida said you were acting strange,” Satou followed.

 

“Oh, y-yeah, I’m fine!” Izuku took a step back from the large group of concerned students. “I, uh, well, I had some bad cramps from being dehydrated, you see. My quirk can be volatile if I’m not careful. Rookie mistake, I know, but I sort of forgot because I was so excited about training!” He rubbed the back of his head, hoping the students would buy it.

 

“Oh, that makes sense,” Sero said, rubbing his chin. “I’m glad you’re okay, dude.”

 

Izuku couldn’t believe his excuse had worked and just stared for a few seconds. “T-thank you all for your concern! I appreciate it.”

 

“Hey, Midoriya, come sit with us.” Kirishima pointed her thumb to the couch she had been sitting at as the students dispersed. Izuku followed her and sat down on one of the comfy chairs, forming a small circle with the three women.

 

Izuku noted the suspicious look from Ashido, but opted to ignore it, hoping it would pass. He flashed a smile at the group. “I was actually hoping to talk to you guys.” Tsunotori raised an eyebrow at him as he pulled out his notebook and pencil. “Can you tell me how your matches went? I can’t believe I missed them!”

 

“Not before you tell us what happened in your match, Midori.” Ashido squinted at him. So much for hoping it would pass.

 

“Uh, well, there's not much to tell.” He rubbed the back of his head. “Uraraka collapsed the stairs, I destroyed the lights. When Iida and Mineta showed up, I goaded Iida into running inside, where Uraraka was waiting. She made him weightless, I wrapped him up, then snuck forward and grabbed Mineta. Pretty open and shut.”

 

“Uh huh. And after the end?” Ashido wasn’t letting up.

 

“I told you, I-I got some cramps.” He smiled and quickly turned to Tsunotori before she could respond. “Tsunotori, how did your match go? Please, don’t spare any detail.”

 

“I-is it okay if I speak English?” she asked hesitantly.

 

“Sure.” Izuku smiled. “Just go a little slow and try to avoid the big words, okay?”

 


 

Pony and Momo found their weapon on the fourth floor of the building. Momo immediately went to work setting up defenses. She made them both rubber boots to wear and set up a large amplifier next to the weapon. Momo then produced a large stack of steel plates that she fit along the door frame, effectively creating a steel barrier.

 

Pony spent most of the time being ordered around, moving the weapon to a different location, positioning the amplifier, helping to put the steel plates on the door and more. She was happy to be of assistance and grateful that she was partnered with someone who spoke English.

 

Once time began, Pony didn’t do much. Both women waited in the back of the room for the ‘heroes’ to find them. It didn’t take long, thanks to Kyouka’s quirk, and soon her and Kaminari were standing outside. They tried to open the door, but found it quite impossible.

 

The two gave up quickly, but after a few seconds of silence, pulsing waves of force started shaking the room.

 

“She’s plugged in,” Momo said in English. “Pony, cover your ears!”

 

Pony put on the headphones Momo made for her as the tall woman turned on the amplifier, blasting sound towards the entrance. The pulsating waves quickly stopped as they heard a pained scream from the other side of the wall.

 

“Sorry, Kyouka, but you can thank Midoriya for the idea!” Momo shouted as she shut the amplifier off. “You’re welcome to keep trying, but I would rather you didn’t; I don’t want to damage your hearing.”

 

In the end, the heroes just didn’t have the firepower to break down Momo’s barricade without Kyouka’s quirk. Pony was happy she won, but a little disappointed that she didn’t get to do anything.

 


 

 

“Yaoyorozu really is impressive,” Izuku muttered as he finished writing. ‘But why was Tsunotori blushing the whole time?’

 

“If you give her preparation time, she might be the most dangerous student in class.” He nodded as he rubbed his chin. “Thank you, Tsunotori. It’s a shame she dominated the exercise so much. I would have liked to learn more about your quirk and the others. I suppose there will be time for that later.” Izuku shrugged.

 

“Ashido, how did your test go?”

 

“Well, mine wasn’t as simple as Pony’s…” She eagerly began to recount, apparently temporarily forgetting her suspicion..

 


 

Mina and Aoyama were given the go-ahead by All Might and entered the building. They didn’t have any detection abilities like Shouji or Kyouka, so they had to do it the old fashioned way. Aoyama strutted through the hallways, looking more interested in himself than the exercise. Mina, on the other hand, skated along easily thanks to the special boots she wore.

 

She slid down the hallways, quickly covering ground as she looked in the rooms she passed. It took her about five minutes to find the bomb on the fourth floor, Kouda and Satou standing guard around it. The look on their faces as she skated by and waved at them with a smile was truly priceless.

 

“Surfs up!” Mina shouted as she skated up behind her partner once she found him patrolling down on the second floor. She accidentally splattered a bit of acid on his cloak, burning some holes in it, much to his annoyance. “Oops! My bad!” She smiled sheepishly as she clapped her hands together in apology.

 

They quickly made their way up to the fourth floor and got into position around the door. “Do you have a plan?” Mina asked.

 

“The same plan that I always have, chéri,” Aoyama winked, “I will dazzle them!”

 

“Wait, what?” Mina watched the blonde boy step boldly into the open door.

 

“Adieu, gentlemen!” His bright blue laser shot forward, causing Satou and Kouda to dodge out of the way. A giant hole was blown through the back wall as the laser sheared through the concrete.

 

Mina used the opportunity to leap to her feet and skate past Aoyama into the room. She quickly moved past Kouda before he could pick himself up, so all that was left between her and victory was Satou. She moved hard to the left to throw him off, then cut quickly back to the right. Satou stumbled as she jumped at one of the pillars to the right of the bomb, quickly secreting potent acid.

 

Her feet dug into the pillar slightly and gave her good leverage to push herself off. Mina lunged towards the bomb as Satou jumped towards her. She managed to stretch out and put her right hand on the weapon right as the muscular man grabbed her by the ankle and flung her backwards.

 

She flew across the room and landed hard on her back, but it was too late. All Might’s voice echoed through the room, declaring her team the winners.

 


 

Izuku scribbled as fast as his hand would let him, determined to record everything he could. “You got thrown across a room? Are you okay?”

 

“I’m fine, Midori, I’m not the one who fell out of a buil-”

 

“Kirishima!” Izuku interrupted her hastily. “How did your fight go?”

 

“Ah well, you see…” Kirishima began.

 


 

Sero and Eiko noted that the weapons had been on the upper floors for each of the previous fights, so they decided to start at the top. Fortunately, their building had a fire escape on the side of it and they quickly ascended to the top floor.

 

From the fact that half of the lights were destroyed, it seemed like their assumption about the bomb location was correct. It also seemed like they weren’t the only ones who picked up a thing or two from the previous matches.

 

The upper level was one large room, filled with pillars at regular intervals. Eiko could spot the weapon in the middle of the room, but between her and her win was Tokoyami and Tsu. “Alright, Sero.” Eiko hardened her fists and smashed them together. “We’ve got nearly the entire time limit to touch that weapon. We got this.”

As soon as they started to move forward, a great shadowy monster emerged from under Tokoyami’s cloak and rushed towards them. The two dodged out of the way as Dark Shadow slammed down between them, separating the ‘heroes’.

 

“I’ll take Tsu!” Sero yelled back as he ran off behind a pillar.

 

“That means it’s you and me, Tokoyami!” Eiko ran towards her opponent, arms crossed in front of her.

 

“Fight well,” Tokoyami responded stoically as his quirk reared back and dove down on Eiko. The red-head hardened her arms and took the blow, grinding backwards across the ground. Before she could recover, Dark Shadow was on her again, driving her further away.

 

Realizing that brute force was not an option, Eiko dropped her guard and dove out of the way of the next attack, rolling behind one of the room’s many pillars. She continued to dash from pillar to pillar, barely dodging Dark Shadow along the way. She was kept at distance, never being allowed any closer to the weapon.

 

On the other side of the room, she could see Sero engaged with Tsu. Her powerful legs allowed her to hop around at unpredictable angles, dodging every stream of tape shot at her. Eiko saw him in a similar situation of hopelessness and made the call. “Sero! Trade me!”

 

The black-haired boy nodded and taped a pillar, pulling himself towards Eiko. The two heroes-in-training high-fived as they crossed paths. She squared up with Tsu, hardening her arms again as he ran towards her.

 

Tsu jumped up and stuck on a pillar near the ceiling, out of her reach, and shot her tongue at her. She swung her arm forward like a sword, striking her tongue and causing it to recoil. She took the opportunity to run towards the weapon, aiming to touch it and win.

 

The other woman saw Eiko run past and jumped towards her, feet aimed towards her back. She looked back just in time to brace for impact, hardening her back to taking the kick, using the force of Tsuyu’s kick to roll forward onto her arms and back onto her feet, never breaking pace.

 

Tsuyu bounced off of her and onto another pillar, shooting her tongue at Eiko again, this time catching her around the waist and arms, wrapping her up. “Sorry, Tsu!” she yelled as she hardened her arms and chest and struggled, rubbing her sharp skin against the tongue. Tsuyu yelped in pain and released her, allowing her to continue running towards the goal.

 

Eiko’s victory was nearly within her grasp when suddenly Tsu sailed overhead, grabbing the apparently hollow weapon with her tongue and pulling it away from Eiko as she outstretched her hand.

 

“Damn!” She took the time to turn and take a look at Sero. Tokoyami had been taped to one of the pillars, but that did nothing to prevent Dark Shadow from moving freely. Eiko turned to run and assist her teammate when Tokoyami scored a direct hit on the taller student.

 

Sero was tossed backwards, hitting a pillar with a resounding thud and slumping down to the ground. Before he could stumble to his feet, Dark Shadow swooped down on him and wrapped the white capture tape around one of his arms. Eiko barely had time to harden her arms before Dark Shadow turned onto her once more.

 

She was struck full on, just like Sero. As Tsu protected the weapon, Tokoyami continued his assault. Repeated blows to Eiko drove her backwards; she dug her feet in, but the bone-crunching blows were grinding her up against one of the room’s many pillars. Without time to plan, she did the only thing she could think of and hardened her back against the assault.

 

Dark Shadow continued to crash into her, each attack driving her further into the pillar as the stone began to crack. After a dozen attacks, the pillar began to crumble as Eiko was pushed deeper into it. She shook with exhaustion, each feral blow becoming harder and harder to resist. After nearly thirty powerful strikes, her hardening began to fail, and after ten more, she broke, collapsing onto one knee.

 

Before she could catch her breath, Dark Shadow came at her from above, flattening her against the ground. In her exhausted state, Eiko couldn’t push herself  back up, and Tsu slowly approached her and wrapped tape around her arm.

 

“You fought valiantly, Kirishima,” Tokoyami said as his quirk released her. “Feel no shame for your defeat.”

 

Eiko could only try and catch her breath as All Might’s voice rang out, announcing her loss.

 


 

Izuku scratched his with his left hand as he finished the last of his notes. “Tokoyami is much more powerful than I thought… I wonder why they broke the lights, perhaps his quirk performs better in the darkness? That would make sense, judging from it’s name… or perhaps he was simply attempting to obscure the battlefield. Tsu being able to carry the weapon with her tongue indicates a level of stren-”

 

“Uh, Midori? You okay?” Ashido’s half-worried, half-amused voice brought an end to his mumbling.

 

“Oh! Uh, yeah, fine. Thanks, Ashido.” He laughed awkwardly as he closed his notebook.

 

He sat back in his chair, analyzing what he had learned. “It seems like the villains were at a major advantage during the exercise. Ashido’s team was the only one of five to actually win as the heroes.”

 

“I said that during your match!” Ashido pointed a finger at him. “All Might said that heroes are at a disadvantage all the time, and we have to learn to overcome it or something.”

 

“Yeah, it was inspiring as hell.” Kirishima smirked. “Even though I lost, I don’t have any regrets. I tried my hardest and did my best. That’s all I can ask of myself.”

 

Izuku smiled as he stood up. “As much as I would love to talk to you all, I need to speak with Iida before I go to bed.” He let out a huge yawn. “Recovery Girl’s quirk takes a lot out of you.”

 

“Iida?” Pony grew a look of confusion. “Why?

 

“I… I just need to talk to him. Sorry.” He hastily waved goodbye and headed for the stairs.

 


 

Izuku took a deep breath and knocked on the door of room 303. After a few seconds, the door opened as Iida stood in front of him in his sleepwear.

 

“Midoriya?” He looked slightly surprised to see him.

 

Izuku threw himself down into a deep bow. “I would like to apologize for what I said during class today. I have nothing but respect for you, Ingenium and the Iida family. Please accept my apology.”

 

“Your apology is accepted, but unnecessary,” Iida responded flatly, causing Izuku to slowly stand up. “I do appreciate it, however.”

 

“You’re… not mad?” Izuku was surprised how easily things were working out.

 

“Of course not. You were merely acting the part of the villain. If anything, I commend you for being so dedicated to your schoolwork!” Iida chopped his hand emphatically.

 

“R-really?”

 

“Yes! Even All Might said as much.” He threw his arms wide. “In fact, you received the MVP from our match for fully embracing the spirit of the exercise and facilitating the capture of both Mineta and myself.”

 

“I… I didn’t know that. I’m impressed that you’re so level-headed about this, Iida.” Izuku let out a large sigh. “It’s a weight off my shoulders.”

 

“Furthermore…” Iida paused for a moment, considering his next words carefully. “I actually want to thank you for… exposing a weakness of mine.”

 

“A weakness? How so?” Izuku had foreseen this meeting going much differently.

 

“Your personal attacks against my brother clouded my judgement. After the match concluded and I was assured that you were unharmed, I couldn’t stop thinking about what you said to me and how I reacted.” Iida crossed his arms and closed his eyes. “I thought to myself, ‘what if a real villain used that against me?’ I realized I could be provoked into acting rashly during a truly dangerous situation.”

 

“I… wow, Iida.” Izuku grew an impressed smile.

 

“Experience is one of the most important tools in a hero’s arsenal, Midoriya, and today, you gave me incredibly valuable experience.” He smiled at the shorter student. “Tenya Iida will be that much better of a hero thanks to your actions.”

 

Izuku stared at him for a few moments before beginning to laugh heartily. “You are something else! I have a lot to learn from you, Iida; even more than I thought.” He paused and took a deep breath. “I made a promise to you at the entrance exam, and I’d like to see it through. Friends?”

 

Iida nodded emphatically. “I’d like that.”

 

“Thank yo-.” His thanks was interrupted by another large yawn. “Oh man.”

 

“You should get to bed post-haste, Midoriya,” Iida lectured him.

 

“Agreed.” Izuku turned away from him with a wave. “Goodnight, Iida.”

 

“Goodnight, Midoriya.”

Chapter Text

Cramps ?! That’s the best you could come up with?!” Katsuki hissed through his teeth as Izuku walked out of the dorm the next morning. Uraraka and Iida were walking just ahead of them, talking happily to each other.

 

“You know I’m not good at making stuff up when I’m tired, Kacchan! I was exhausted.” Izuku whispered back as the two other students noticed them and turned around. Iida waved at them, beckoning them over.

 

“Good morning, Bakugou, Midoriya!” Iida’s boisterous greeting interrupted any further arguments between the two as they walked up to the two taller students.

 

Izuku smiled back and greeted Iida, then turned towards the woman. “Good morning, Uraraka.”

 

“Good morning…” She didn’t make eye contact with him, and quickly grew a slight blush. Izuku didn’t react outwardly, but couldn’t help but shake the feeling that she was acting weirdly. He also couldn’t shake the feeling that it was his fault.

 

‘Is she scared of me now that I told her about my quirk? No, she wouldn’t be blushing then…’

 

The four quickly made their way to the main building, the three men discussing their first class with All Might and the results of their training with him. Izuku made a note of Uraraka’s distracted silence, but was too involved in his discussion to give it much thought. Once they reached their classroom, their group split, each moving to their own seat.

 

Izuku sat down and began to brainstorm why Uraraka was acting so strangely around him compared to the previous days of class. Before he could get far into his mental investigation, a shadow was cast on his desk, causing him to look up.

 

“Oh, good morning, Ashido.” He smiled cheerily at her, but his expression faltered when he saw the serious look on her face.

 

She stared at him for a few moments, eyes both suspicious and concerned. “You’re going to tell m-”

 

“All students should be in their seats when class begins, Ashido.” Aizawa threw the door open and reprimanded the pink girl in the same beat. She scurried back to her seat, apologizing softly as she quickly sat down.

 

Aizawa took his place behind the lectern and slowly moved his tired gaze over the class. “I reviewed all of your performances yesterday. There were no glaring issues that weren’t expected.” His eyes met Izuku’s as he spoke, causing the student to swallow nervously. “So overall, good work.”

 

He walked out from behind the lectern with a stack of papers, handing one to each student. “These are your performance reviews. Read them over after class and speak to me if you have any questions.”

 

Aizawa returned to the front of the class and looked to make sure he still had everyone’s attention. “Next… you will make a decision that will change your future.” All of the students sat upright with a sharp intake of breath. They all stared at their professor expectantly.

 

“It’s time to pick your class representatives,” Aizawa droned emotionlessly.

 

The collective breath was released.

 

Students all around the room began to boldly declare their candidacy, standing and shouting at their desks, while Izuku took a moment to assess the situation and the other students. He had, of course, planned for this. The class representative was an important position, especially in a hero course when it was a way to show leadership and get yourself noticed.

 

Izuku smiled to himself; he already had it in the bag. This wasn’t the objective of his game, but it was a convenient benefit that he had already set up the board in his favor. He stood up, raising his arm into the air as the other students argued. “We should hold an election!” The other students stopped to look at him. “A democratic vote will show who already has the trust of their classmates. It is the only way to be fair.”

 

His classmates turned to look at each other, slightly stunned by his sudden proposal. Murmurs of assent ran around the room. Izuku continued his explanation with confidence, “Whoever gets the most votes will be the class representative, and second place will be vice representative. In the case of a tie, we’ll have a runoff election between those students. Everyone write their vote on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it on the table in the front of the class. Does that sound good?”

 

He looked around the room and nobody raised any objections. He smiled wide and sat back down, pulling out his own piece of paper to write a name down. A stack of votes quickly appeared at the front of the room and Izuku asked Aizawa to count them out, for the sake of impartiality. Aizawa glared at him for only allowing him a short nap but obliged.

 

The results left little room for debate. Most students sat at zero or one vote, presumably themselves, while two students stood out from the crowd. Yaoyorozu had three votes, while Izuku had five.

 

“Alright, Midoriya is your class rep, and Yaoyorozu is your vice rep. Congratulations to you both.” Aizawa half-heartedly gestured towards the two students standing at the front of the room.

 

Izuku himself turned and looked up at the woman and gave her a wide grin. “I look forward to working with you, Yaoyorozu.”

 

She smiled softly back at him. “Likewise, Midoriya.”

 

He turned and looked at the class, scanning over the students looking up at him... although he carefully avoided looking at Mineta. He had a good idea of who voted for him, and he was glad that his gamble paid off. He felt his quirk flare slightly, causing his eyes to glow almost imperceptibly.

 

They are all mine.

 

And for the first time in a long time, Izuku didn’t try and resist. He simply smiled wider.

 

His eyes caught Uraraka’s who was looking proudly at him. As her eyes met his, she began to blush again and averted her gaze. Izuku furrowed his brow slightly, finally having the time to think about her.

 

He moved back to his seat, rubbing his chin as he ran through the events of the previous day. Ever since walking to class, Izuku hadn’t been able to shake the feeling like he had been forgetting something. With all the action of the battle trial and the aftermath, the whole day seemed like a blur.

 

“Hey, hey Midoriya, you really... grabbed that by the horn -!” Kaminari yelped in pain as one of Jirou’s jacks caught him mid-pun, causing much of the class to start laughing.

 

Instead of laughing, Izuku was frozen in his seat. ‘Grabbed by the…’

 

Suddenly, all the memories of the previous day came crashing back. His eyes went wide as he remembered everything : the accident before the battle trial started, the confession about his quirk, what he had told Uraraka when he was delirious...

 

“Tall women are hot, Uraraka...You are really hot.”

 

Izuku thought his face might catch on fire as he turned green and buried his head in his arms.

 


 

Midori had successfully avoided Mina for the rest of morning classes, but she wasn’t ready to give up yet... Lunch gave her a great opportunity to talk to him without something interrupting her. She waited in line for her food and sat down across the table from him, waiting for her opportunity.

 

But before Mina could find it, something else distracted her; Midori and Ochako had been awkward around each other since they both arrived on Saturday, but today was something different. They had been getting better each day, but now they couldn’t even look in the other’s general direction without blushing.

 

Mina couldn’t help but smile as they awkwardly avoided each other. Even though they weren’t trying to be, they were adorable. Midori was so flustered that he didn’t even notice Mina staring at him almost the entire time.

 

Eventually, she grew tired of being coy and decided to take matters into her own hands. Midori wouldn’t want to talk in public, so she would just have to ask him to speak in private... She promised herself that this wasn’t just an excuse to get some alone time with him.

 

She noticed how distracted he was, so she reacted over and tapped him on the head with one of her chopsticks. He blinked and looked at her with a slightly worried look on her face, tilting his head slightly.

 

‘He has no right to be that adorable!’ She smiled at him, but then remembered what she was doing.

 

“Can I speak to you in pri-”

 

Suddenly, an alarm began to blare through the lunch room, followed by a recorded voice. “Warning, level 3 security breach. All students, please evacuate the building in an orderly fashion and return to your dormitories.”

 

The ‘orderly’ part did not happen, as the lunchroom immediately devolved into chaos. A stampede of students began pushing and shoving out of the cafeteria, creating a human traffic jam. People were shouting in panic and fear, elbows were flying and the crowd was only getting denser at time went on.

 

Her friends had managed to stay close for the most part, but as the other students pressed in, they had to really get close. Mina found herself and Ochako shoved into Midori, arms forced to their sides as they were crushed together. The pink girl found her head squeezed between the two taller students’ chests; firm on one side, soft on the other.

 

She sighed softly. ‘I could get used to this…’

 

“What’s a level three security breach?!” Midori shouted as they were all crushed together.

 

“It means an intruder broke onto campus grounds!” Iida replied. Mina couldn’t help but laugh; of course Iida had read up on all of UA’s protocols.

 

“An intruder?! Who would be stupid enough to break into UA of all places?!”

 

“It was probably the damn press!” Bakugou was apparently on the other side of Midori, judging from how near his voice sounded.

 

“The press?!” Ochako replied. “Ow!” Someone jammed their elbow into her side as they shoved past.

 

“They’ve been swarming the gates since they found out All Might’s teaching here! Hey, fuck off!” Bakugou yelled back as someone crashed into him as well. “Did you not see them this morning?! They were all over the damn place!”

 

“It is the press!” Iida shouted from a little ways away, sounding like he was pressed up against something. “Look out the window!”

 

“People need to calm down before someone gets hurt!” Ochako shouted as she got squeezed even closer to Mina and Midori. However, despite Mina’s desires, eventually there was such a thing as too close. The pressure from the crowd caused her to get squeezed out from between her friends.

 

It was at this point that Mina got torn away from the rest of the group. Several students behind her started pushing harder, and took her along for the ride. She saw Ochako reach her hand out, but Mina was already too far away from her. Midori was staring at her with wide eyes, panic setting in.

 

The surge that Mina was caught in was not a gentle one, and as it crashed into another group of similarly-panicked students, things took a turn for the worse. Somebody tripped someone else and it created a domino effect, students falling on top of each other and people continued to shove from behind.

 

Mina couldn’t stay upright in the human tidal wave and was pushed off of her feet. She tried to claw her way up, but nobody was paying attention to her. She caught an elbow in the back of the head, knocking her down further. Her legs started getting stepped on as she cried out. “I’m being trampled!”

 

She looked around desperately for something to pull herself up with, but the students were moving too quickly and forcefully for her to gain her balance. She looked back, hoping to see her friends were nearby. She could barely make out Midori, who was staring straight at her. He was clutching his head slightly as his horns slowly stretched longer, while his eyes were wide and burning bright. They looked almost… angry.

 

She lost sight of him as she was dragged away by the undertow of people, but then a loud crash rang out, causing the students around her to finally stop.

 

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

 

She flinched and looked up, spotting Midori hanging from the wall, high above everyone else. His right arm was transformed, it’s claws dug deep into the stone. His pants were shredded below his thigh as scaled, digitigrade legs burst from them, the right foot dug into the wall as well; she guessed that he had to have jumped at least fifteen feet high. Mina could make out high green scales covering his neck as he shouted.

 

“You are UA Students , not animals ! Act like it!”

 

There was something deeply unsettling with his voice, as if it caused the ancient, primal part of her brain to cower in fear. The students around her felt it too, all staring at the man hanging from the stone, staring down at them with intense, glowing eyes and his mouth turned up into a snarl, exposing his elongated teeth. Several of the students around her even took a hesitant step back from the man.

 

Mina could only stare as he scanned the crowd, eyes moving quickly in a decidedly inhuman fashion. His fierce gaze snapped to her’s as he finally found her, still sitting on the ground. Midori’s eyes were nearly as disconcerting as his voice; they were the eyes of a hunter and he wasn’t moving them off of her.

 

The other students began to move again, but in a much calmer way. Mina picked herself up, still staring back at the green-haired man. He never took his eyes off of her, staring her down with an intensity that caused that animal part of her brain to scream ‘predator!’

 

Even though Mina was in the middle of what should have been one of the most intimidating experiences of her life, she couldn’t help but smile and feel... exhilarated.

 


 

It took about ten minutes, but eventually the lunchroom cleared out. Midori hopped down as soon as Mina was able to stand up and walk over to her friends safely. As soon as he landed, the intimidating aura was broken and the man returned to normal.

 

Ochako quickly moved up to him and crouched down slightly next to him, speaking softly to him. Unfortunately for her, Mina hadn’t become the gossip-fiend she was today without carefully cultivating her eavesdropping skills.

 

“Deku, was that your-”

 

“Yes, but I was in control this time. It’s okay.” He smiled shakily at her, and then spotted Mina standing nearby. His eyes went wide as he swiftly moved over to her. “Ashido, are you okay? Are you hurt?” Midori fussed, worry in his voice.

 

“I’m fine, thanks.” She smiled up at him to assuage his concerns.

 

He let out a huge sigh and then tensed up as he realized the situation he was in. “Oh crap, I clawed a hole in the wall! Nezu is going to kill me!”

 

“Not true.” A small, squeaky voice from behind Midori caused them all to jump.

 

“P-President Nezu!” Poor Midori looked like he was about to pass out at the sight of the small, white, rodent dog thing or whatever the President of UA was.

 

“You won’t be punished for your actions here, Midoriya,” Nezu assured him. “In fact, I would like to thank you for taking charge of the situation and calming your fellow students down before anyone got seriously injured.”

 

“T-thank you, sir,” Midori stammered, “but what about the wall? I damaged school property and-”

 

“Cementoss can smooth over the damage in no time. No permanent damage has been done.” Nezu cut him off succinctly, then turned to the rest of the students gathered around him. “Classes for the rest of the day have been cancelled. Please return to your dorms and await further instructions from your homeroom teacher.”

 

“Yes, sir.” The others responded immediately.

 

Midori let out another great sigh, his shoulders slumping in relief. Mina’s eyes drifted down his body to his shredded pants. His transformation had mostly destroyed them, leaving everything below his upper thigh exposed to the air.

 

Mina wanted to think something inappropriate, but her brain wasn’t working that well. She only stared and let her mouth hang slightly agape as she stared at his muscular legs.

 

The man followed her eyes and then realized what she was staring at. He yelped and covered his legs with his backpack. “S-sorry, Ashido!”

 

Her trance was broken as he covered himself up. She blinked a couple times and closed her mouth, staring slightly dumbly at him.

 

“I-I know you wanted to talk to me, b-but I need to go get new pants! Sorry!” The man took off down the hallway, earning a reprimand from Iida for running in the halls.

 

Bakugou and Kiri started walking behind Iida as they all headed back to the dorms, Bakugou laughing the whole time. As they walked off, Mina and Ochako were the only ones left in the hallway.

 

Ochako sighed. “Oh, Deku…”

 

Mina found her voice this time. “I know, right? Did you see his legs?”

 

Ochako jumped, apparently having forgotten Mina was there. She looked down at Mina and began to blush slightly. “Yeah…” She spoke so softly Mina could barely hear her.

 

Mina smiled at her blush, and grew a small lilac dusting as well. ‘Why are you both so damn attractive?’

 

Their walk back to Heights Alliance was silent, both of them evidently in deep thought. Mina was staring at the ground, thinking through the events of the week so far. ‘The way he looked at me… and whatever Ochako and him were talking about afterwards… it has to do with what happened yesterday, right? I have to get to the bottom of this.’

 

She sighed audibly. ‘It would have been so much simpler if I was just in 1-B…’

 


 

The rest of the afternoon passed mostly uneventfully. Midori had come back downstairs after changing into casual clothes, including a t-shirt that boldly declared ‘t-shirt’. Mina rolled her eyes but couldn’t help smiling at the strange, endearing garment. The man refused to make eye-contact with her for the next few hours, which made her both annoyed and a little flattered.

 

But Mina could tell that Midori was acting out of character. She had known him for five days, and she had never really seen him relax like this. He was always doing something , be it training with Bakugou, reading the textbook, making food, or writing in that notebook of his. Right now however, he wasn’t doing much of anything. He was simply sitting on the couches, hanging out with her, Ochako, Tsu, Kiri and Bakugou. If she didn’t know any better, she would have thought that he was waiting for something.

 

Dinner came, and Midori went out of his way to cook for everyone again. Satou didn’t let him do it alone this time, and even Tsu helped. Mina didn’t know if she had ever had better ramen; she could definitely get used to this, and judging from the noises of satisfaction coming from the other girls she was sitting with, they could too. Mina noted a small, almost nostalgic look that Yaomomo and Midori exchanged when he served her. She made a mental note to question her about it later.

 

After dinner, when the sun was setting, Mina was sitting on the couch again with Midori. The other four had dispersed to do homework, workout or otherwise head to their rooms. This made Mina even more suspicious as she sat near him, watching him talk to Kaminari who was sitting with them. Bakugou and Kiri had left with Satou to go work out, and Midori had declined to go with them, even after the rather calm day of school.

 

Mina was glad for the opportunity to get him on his own and finally grill him about what had happened the previous day. She couldn’t help but feel concerned for him, especially with how Ochako seemed to fuss over him at lunch. Something was going on, and she felt like it was her duty to find out what. Midori wouldn’t want to talk about it publicly, she had figured out that much, so she just needed a way to get rid of Kaminari.

 

Fortunately for her, as she was formulating a plan, there was a loud knock at the front door of the dorm. Kaminari leapt up from his seat with an emphatic “I’ll get it!”

 

He began to quickly move over to the door and Mina took the opportunity to lean over to Midori to make her move. She noticed that he was watching the door expectantly, but continued anyway. “Midori, I really-”

 

Kaminari opened the door and promptly screamed, causing everyone in the room to look at him. He turned and ran back towards the group, panic on his face. “Why is the number nine hero at our dorm?!”

 

‘A hero?! Wait, number nine?! That means…’

 

With this, Midori also leapt from his seat, vaulting over the couch and sprinting towards the door. The other students saw his reaction and, already on edge from Kaminari’s reaction, began to freak out as well.

 

“Keep the hero nerd away from the pro!” Kyouka warned loudly. Several of the other students realized what she was saying: if Midori had freaked out so much over Lunch Rush, what would he do around a top ten hero?

 

Stepping through the front door was a beautiful woman just a bit shorter than Mina, wearing her elegant, copper hair over her right eye. She wore a long, black cheongsam that exposed her dense, refined musculature of her arms and shoulders. Mina stared with her mouth agape. Her favorite hero in the whole world was standing just a few meters away.

 

‘Ryukyu?! But why?’

 

Iida had moved to intercept Midori, hoping to stop him before he harassed Ryukyu. The green-haired simply ducked under Iida’s extended arms, deftly avoiding him without missing a beat. Midori was on the pro hero in seconds, and rapidly threw his arms around her, crushing the much smaller woman into his chest.

 

Mina contained the pang of envy she felt in her stomach as she and the rest of the room screamed . “Midoriya! Unhand her at once, that is entirely inappropriate!” Iida chopped the air sternly.

 

Then everyone stopped. Ryukyu was hugging him back, eagerly returning his crushing strength. Mina took a mental step back. ‘Oh, right. Dragon. Midori, Stormclaw, Ryukyu. How did I not realize that yet?’ She hit herself on the head. ‘I’ve been really distracted this week.’

 

The rest of the room seemed to make this connection themselves, and quickly relaxed. Midori let go of the woman and turned back to the classroom. “Everyone, please meet Ryuko Tatsuma, my cousin.”

 

The woman bowed slightly. “It’s a pleasure to meet all of you. Izuku has told me much about you.” Her smile was kind and genuine.

 

Now it was Mina’s turn to feel indignant. She ran forward to join the crowd of her classmates that were surrounding the hero. Much to Ryukyu’s credit, she didn’t seem put-off by the pressure; she was certainly used to crowds as a top ten hero. Mina pointed an accusatory finger at Midori, just as Kaminari had done on Monday. “Why didn’t you tell me you were related to Ryukyu! I mean, I should have figured that out, but still!”

 

Midori looked sort of sheepish and took a step back from Mina’s intensity, but it wasn’t him that responded to her. “You must be… Ashido, right?” Ryukyu tipped a knowing finger in her direction. This caused Mina to begin turn lilac.

 

‘Midori told her about me?!’ She bowed slightly, more to hide her blush than anything. “I’m Mina Ashido, it’s truly an honor to meet you!”

 

“I was surprised to hear about someone with an acid quirk. My time is limited, so please excuse me.” She turned to the door, beckoning Izuku to follow her. “Perhaps next time I visit I could give you some pointers?” She waved to the class. “It was nice to meet you all, sorry I can’t stay longer.” And with that, the door shut and Ryukyu and Midori were gone.

 

The class around her was talking about the event that had just transpired, but Mina wasn’t listening. She was standing stock-still, mind racing. ‘Pointers?! Personal advice from one of the greatest and most beautiful heroes in Japan?!’ She frantically tried to calm herself down.

 

Then she realized something else. ‘Interrupted again!’ Her frustration overpowered her fangirling. For the third time that day, she had been stopped from confronting Midori and she was getting tired of it. She was ready to try something a little more… drastic.

 


 

Izuku returned to the dorm nearly an hour later, after saying goodbye to Ryuko. He normally went to his father for advice, but it was always good to get a different perspective on things. After all, none of his family’s quirks worked exactly the same. And besides, his father was still out of town for a couple more days.

 

He always found himself feeling better after spending time with his cousin. She was humble, kind and gregarious; a great friend and a great mentor. The… incidents of the past few days had been weighing heavily on his mind, and while he couldn’t say that all of his doubts had been assuaged, he felt a lot better.

 

He wiped the final tears from his eyes as he walked back inside the dorm, hoping his eyes weren’t too red. None of the other students were still in the common room, much to his relief. He made his way quickly up to his room on the second floor, ready to be done with the day.

 

But sometimes, things don’t work out the way you planned.

 

He put his key in the lock and turned the handle, slowly opening his door. What happened next seemed to be both a blur and in slow-motion. His room came into view and he immediately noticed that there was someone in his room. A mistake.

 

INTRUDER

 

His quirk flared with such intensity that he had no hope of controlling it. In an instant, he had dashed forward and tackled the interloper. His forearms shifted as his eyes glowed and his horns grew. The intruder was pinned to the ground as Izuku held their arms down with his clawed hand, and held their legs down with his own.

 

His teeth grew and he growled in the trespassers face, venom barely contained. His face was contorted into pure rage and indignation as his deadly fangs hung inches from the face of the person on the ground.

 

“Midori?”

Chapter Text

Just like that, Izuku could think again. The surging fury of his quirk disappeared as quickly as it had arisen once he heard the nickname. The scales and claws on his hand swiftly receded, and his fangs shrunk back to their normal size. His eyes went wide with horror as he saw Ashido looking back up at him. He tried to sputter some sort of apology, but he was so ashamed and appalled with himself that he couldn’t make his throat work.

 

Ashido, on the other hand, had no such issues. Her eyes weren’t filled with fear like Izuku expected, but with confusion and a degree of mischief. Her mouth curled into a cruel smirk as Izuku stared at her. “This is pretty forward, Midori…”

 

He was utterly frozen; no longer holding her down as much as paralyzed on top of her. She shrugged his hands off of her arms and reached up. “Not that I mind, I~ zu~ ku~” She wrapped her arms around his neck, her hand accidentally stroking his green ridge. Izuku instinctually leaned into the contact as a low groan escaped his throat.

 

Ashido’s eyes went wide as Izuku’s body finally snapped back into action. He flung himself backward, off of her and onto the floor, covering his face with his arms. Izuku was half-expecting his face to actually catch fire with how hot it was feeling. The woman’s smile grew wider as she sat up to face him. “What was that?

 

“I, uh,” Izuku’s throat was working, but his brain still was frozen.

 

“I was hoping to just make you broccoli for me again.” her eyes narrowed again as she regained her smirk. “But that was…” Izuku noticed a small dusting of lilac on her cheeks as he peeked out from under his arms.

 

At long last, Izuku managed to find his voice. “W-why aren’t you afraid of me?”

 

She looked even more confused than before. “Should I be?”

 

“Yes!” he answered immediately. “Or, uh, no!” He sighed and put his head in his hands. “Ashido, I just… how can you not be afraid of me after that?”

 

She smiled at him, not even thinking about her answer. “I knew you wouldn’t hurt me, Midori.” She giggled lightly. “I trust you.”

 

For the second time in two days, Izuku heard those words echo in his mind. He looked up from the floor, small tears of guilt forming in the corners of his eyes as he repeated the same question he asked to the other woman to say that to him. “...why?”

 

Ashido put a finger to her chin and thought for a moment. “Hmm, I guess I just do? That’s not really an answer, is it?” She giggled a bit and kept thinking. “You saved me earlier today, that counts for a lot… and you’ve made friends with most of the other students in our class, so you’re clearly a good dude… oh!” She pointed her finger at him. “And you have horns!”

 

Izuku stared at her for a few seconds, blinking. She threw her arms up in exasperation. “That last one was a joke, come on , Midori!”

 

“T-thank you, Ashido, but…” Izuku turned his gaze away from her, clearly wanting to say something, but looked back up after deciding against it, at least for now. “Why are you in my room? H-how are you in my room?”

 

Ashido narrowed her eyes slightly at his pause and pulled out a small leather pouch from her pocket. “Lockpicking kit.”

 

“You have a lockpicking kit?” Izuku raised his eyebrow at her.

 

She looked at the kit in her hand and back to him. “No.”

 

He blinked and sputtered a bit, causing the intruder to giggle. “You know how to use a lockpicking kit? Why?”

 

Ashido shrugged and put the kit away. “It’s a useful skill to have. I could teach you if you want. It’s much more subtle than kicking a door down, you know?” Her eyes drifted down from his face. “Although with those legs of yours I’m sure you don’t have a problem with that.”

 

Izuku felt his face begin to green again and tried to quickly change the subject. “Yeahsuremaybelater. B-but you didn’t tell me why you’re in my room.”

 

She got up into a kneeling position and crossed her arms. “I’m tired of being interrupted. You are going to tell me the truth about what happened yesterday, and you’re going to do it now. No more excuses, no more interruptions.”

 

“You could’ve just waited for me to come back and knocked on my door!” Izuku threw his arms wide in protest. “That way I wouldn’t have-”

 

“That’s exactly why I broke in!” she interrupted him swiftly. “I figured that since you got so uptight about me pushing past you, being in here without you knowing would be even worse.” She rubbed the back of her head and grinned sheepishly. “I didn’t expect a reaction like that though…” She blushed a little harder.

 

Izuku’s eyes went wide with surprise. “You… you…” He stared at her for a few seconds more as his mind processed what she had said. Then, realization dawned on him.

 

Izuku couldn’t help it. A huge smile broke across his face and he looked at her with a mixture of adoration and awe. “You played me.”

 

Ashido put her hands on her hips and puffed her chest out proudly. “Sure did!” She leapt to her feet and pointed a finger down at him. “And since you attacked me, you owe me an explanation! You have to tell me what’s been going on; it’s only fair because I was a victim .” She smirked down at Izuku, his smile faltering.

 

Izuku felt his quirk flare slightly; a small pressure growing in his head, pushing him to comfort her. He hung his head. “Okay.” He sighed heavily. “You’re right, you deserve to know.”

 

Ashido smiled wide. “Good!” She stepped over and took a seat on the floor, leaning up against his bed and patting the spot on the ground next to her. “Come here and tell me.”

 

He crawled over and sat next to her, their shoulders only a few inches from each other. Izuku looked at the ground between his legs for a few moments, gathering his thoughts and figuring out where he wanted to start. To her credit, Ashido was waiting patiently. After almost a minute of silence, he leaned back, resting his head on the bed while he stared at the ceiling. “Ashido, are you familiar with quirk adaptation?”

 

“Course I am. ‘The process by which our bodies become better able to use our quirks’, or something, right?” She mockingly repeated a line from an old textbook.

 

“Right. For example, I assume your body has become increasingly resistant to acid over the years.”

 

“Yep.”

 

Izuku sighed again as he braced himself. “Well, my adaptations are mostly mental. I’ve got what amounts to a voice in my head.” He waited for her to say something, but she just sat there, listening intently. He looked away from her. “My whole family has it. At least the ones with the dragon quirk. So my dad, my cousin, me, et cetera. We call the voice ‘instincts’, and honestly, calling it a voice is a little dishonest.”

 

Ashido was still just listening, making Izuku feel a little better that she wasn’t judging him outwardly, at least not yet. “It’s not a separate entity, per se, it’s my own thoughts, but different. It’s really hard to explain. My instincts are me, but they’re not my thoughts, but at the same time, they are. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, I know, but that’s the best way I can explain it.”

 

“But what does this have to do with quirk adaptation?” Ashido finally spoke up, not a trace of judgment or derision in her voice, just curiosity.

 

“Our instincts are necessary for us to use our quirk to its fullest potential.” He stared at the posters of his father across from his bed. “For us to use our greatest powers and our maximum strength, we have to work together with our instincts. Here, you’ve seen how Stormclaw and Ryukyu fight, right?”

 

Ashido nodded firmly. “Sure have. They fight a lot like you do, transforming limbs and stuff as they need it. They only go full dragon sometimes.” She sighed dreamily. “I wish they did it more often, though. It’s super cool.”

 

Izuku laughed once. “Yeah, exactly. A full draconic transformation takes a lot of stamina and it requires for the person to be fully in-sync with their quirk. But our instincts go further than that, they’re a constant in our lives. We have to learn to live with them and work with them.” Izuku closed his eyes as he leaned his head back onto the bed.

 

“That’s really cool.” She had some awe in her voice. Izuku’s eyes snapped open and he turned to look at her. “So what kind of stuff does it tell you to do?” She gasped slightly, her face filled not with fear, but with wonder. “Did it tell you to tackle me?”

 

“S-sort of,” Izuku began. He sighed again. “But it doesn’t exactly just ‘tell’ me stuff. If it was just a voice telling me what to do, then I could probably ignore it. But like I said, it’s not something separate from me. It is me. I can fight it, but if I ignore it, it grows stronger, and if something sets it off really hard, it flares too hard for me to control.” He gripped his head with both hands, remembering the pain of his quirk. “When it gets too strong, it drowns out the rest of me, leaving me mostly at its mercy. It’s honestly… really scary sometimes.”

 

Ashido eyes went wide as he held his head. “All those times you looked like you were having a headache… when you were holding your head… those were just your quirk yelling at you and what, you trying to resist it?”

 

Izuku smiled sadly and nodded.

 

Ashido paused for a moment, staring at the ground. “What sort of things does it say to you?”

 

Izuku looked away again and the two sat in silence for several seconds. He transformed his hand and stared down at the claw, flexing it a few times. “Ashido… why do you want to become a hero?”

 

The woman was seemingly mesmerized by his quirk, staring intently at his hand as he flexed it with a slight smile on her face, but at his question, Ashido’s expression turned to confusion. “Why do I- hey! Don’t think you can distract me.” She pointed a finger at him accusingly.

 

He sat up a little straighter at her sudden accusation. “No, no, I’m not. I promise I’m going somewhere with this.”

 

She eyed him suspiciously for a moment, then relaxed. “If you say so...” Ashido straightened herself out and puffed her chest slightly. “I don’t like bullies. People who abuse or hurt others because they’re different or just because they’re weak are the lowest of the low.” Izuku couldn’t help but smile at the conviction in her voice. “I want to help people. I want to protect those who can’t defend themselves. I want to protect those who are attacked just because of what they look like or what their quirk is or whatever else outside of their control.”

 

Izuku smiled wider. “I would have liked to have been your friend for my entire life, Ashido.”

 

The woman looked surprised for a split second before she gave him a big smile, their eyes meeting for the first time. He noticed a small dusting of her purple blush on her cheeks as she grinned. Izuku stared at her, not to admire her, but to analyze her. She evidently noticed his appraising stare as her grin faltered slightly under his intense gaze.

 

“Ashido…” Izuku said, still staring at her. “You were one of those kids, weren’t you?”

 

She flinched and shrunk away; it was her turn to avoid his eyes. The woman ran a hand through her messy pink hair as she nodded slowly. “I’ve always stuck out, you know? Weird, pink girl with black eyes and horns? I look like an alien.”

 

Izuku moved himself a little closer to the woman next to him, hoping to comfort her by pushing his shoulder against hers. “I really like how you look, Ashido; I love your shade of pink.”

 

Her eyes widened slightly and lilac danced over her cheeks as she seemed to melt into the contact. She recovered before Izuku realized what he had said and smiled widely at him. “Oh, I’m not bothered by it anymore,” her eyes got a teasing gleam to them ”But~ it’s good to know that you think I’m pretty, Midori.” She stuck her tongue at him, causing him to begin to sputter and backtrack.

 

She laughed before quickly regaining her composure. “But when I was younger, I got picked on a lot. I learned to ignore the jerks and I always had a lot of friends, but their words still hurt.” She held up her hand, staring at her own palm. “But my quirk… there was a bunch of kids who called my quirk a ‘bad guy’s quirk.’ Acid isn’t exactly nice, you know? I can mess someone up really easily.”

 

Izuku nodded, staring off into space in thought. “You want to prove to yourself that your quirk isn’t evil, don’t you?”

 

Ashido started again, her eyes going wide. “Was it that obvious?”

 

The green-haired man looked down to the floor again, his shoulders slumping as he sighed. “I could tell because I’m here for the same reason. Don’t worry, Ashido. Your quirk isn’t evil. I’m the one here with the villain’s quirk.”

 

Ashido giggled. “Now you’re just trying to make me feel better. Don’t worry about me, Midori, you don’t have to lie.”

 

“I’m serious,” Izuku pleaded, “think about it. Why do you think I’m always resisting my instincts?”

 

Ashido froze.

 

“It’s depressingly deterministic, even. Have you ever noticed that there are a relatively large number of villains in my family?”

 

She hesitated and rubbed the back of her head. “I-I guess?”

 

“Our family quirk is divided into two broad categories: metallic and chromatic. Metallic dragons have noble instincts, for the most part, while chromatic… less so. There are five types in each category that we’ve seen so far. There could be more, but we haven’t seen anyone manifest something outside of those ten.” He held up his hand and began to count on his fingers.

 

“Metallics are brass, like Gallant, bronze, like Stormclaw and Thunderwing, copper, like Ryukyu, gold, like Purifier, or silver, like Silverlight.” He held up one finger as he numbered each one, then brought his other fist up. “On the other hand, sorry, no pun intended, on the other hand, for chromatics, there is red, like Terrorflame, blue, like Fulgurite, white, like Frostheart, black like that villain that attacked Musutafu ten years ago, do you remember that?”

 

Ashido was sitting completely still, taking in the information he was spouting. She nodded shakily.

 

He looked at the four raised fingers on his hand and hesitated. “And… green. Like me.” He raised his final finger as he transformed his hand, showing off his green scales. He felt tears forming in his eyes again. “I’m born to be a villain, Ashido. It was chosen for me before I could even talk.”

 

He threw his hands onto his head again, clutching his skull as he revealed his secret. “I fight these instincts because they tell me to do terrible things. They took control when I saw you in here, that’s why I tackled you. After Monday, they wanted Mineta…” He struggled to spit the word out. “...dead.” He shuddered at the memory. “So no, Ashido. I’m not trying to make you feel better, I really do have a villain’s quirk.”

 

Ashido paused for a moment, thinking. “...I thought I told you that you couldn’t distract me, Midori.” Izuku turned to look at her in surprise, raising an eyebrow in confusion. “What does that have to do with what happened yesterday? You said they told you to hurt Mineta, but I can’t help but notice that you didn’t.”

 

Izuku let his hands fall from his head and back onto his knees. “It’s all thanks to Uraraka, really. She snapped me out of it and calmed my instincts.”

 

“Really? How?”

 

“By saying my name- or uh, my nickname. She said ‘Deku’ and my instincts calmed, if just for a moment.” He waved his hands in front of him, then paused and looked at Ashido again. “Just like what happened earlier with you.”

 

Ashido’s eyes went wide. “You’re saying…” She paused as she thought. “That’s right. You opened the door and it was like you were possessed. You t-threw me down like I weighed nothing and pinned my arms with those big hands of yours and your eyes were wild and glowing,” she fidgeted next to him, rubbing her hands up and down her arms, “and those horns of yours were growing and those big, sharp teeth of yours were snarling so close to me...” She trailed off, rubbing her thighs together as she sighed, her blush growing more and more vibrant.

 

Izuku blinked a few times as she quickly regained her composure. “Then I called you ‘Midori’ and it’s like you snapped out of it. That’s what Ochako did to you, too?” He nodded slowly, still a little confused. “Okay, well I have a question for you now, mister evil dragon boy.” Her tone was so sarcastic that he didn’t even flinch. “Why do you want to be a hero?”

 

This was a question Izuku could answer very easily. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. I want to save people and I want them to feel safe when they see me. I want to be the world’s greatest hero and save everyone, just like All Might. I want to make villains think twice, just like my dad.” His voice was full of determination and drive.

 

The woman smiled at him. “That doesn’t sound like someone who’s born to be a villain.”

 

Izuku smiled. “You and Uraraka both have been… I don’t get it. You both listened to me tell you all this terrible stuff and you both just took it in stride and encouraged me. I don’t think I deser-”

 

He was cut off as the pink woman put her finger in front of his mouth. She didn’t touch him, but she was very close. He resisted the desire to move his mouth forward as she spoke. “You stop that. We both are encouraging you because we can tell that you’re a great guy, Midori. You’re a great guy who’s got the cards stacked against him. What I’m hearing is that you need some friends in your corner. Who knows about this besides Ochako… and I’m guessing Bakugou?”

 

“Here at UA? Outside of you three, just All Might, President Nezu, and Recovery Girl. The latter two were here when my dad, uncle, and cousin all went here. My dad told them all about my… issues. Professor Aizawa knows a little, too, but not the whole story. ”

 

“And you’re telling me that Ochako and I seem to have the ability to calm you down if your ‘issues’ get out of hand?”

 

Izuku nodded hesitantly as his eyes caught her mischievous smirk returning.

 

“So you’re just a big, mean dragon in need of a couple of dragon wranglers, huh?” She was grinning ear-to-ear, her face filled with cruelty, but her eyes filled with kindness.

 

He felt his blush returning, but also felt his quirk flare.

 

Mine.

 

Izuku’s face grew hotter as he saw Ashido notice his eyes glowing slightly.

 

Oh~, did your quirk like that?” Her eyes narrowed as she teased him, but Izuku noticed the small blush on her face grow slightly.

 

“I-I-I-”

 

“Oh, hush, I’m just teasing you.” Ashido giggled. They both smiled and looked away from each other for a few seconds as the air in the room grew more serious. She leaned further into the shoulder contact. “Midori… thanks for telling me all that. It means a lot to me that you trust me that much.” She blinked and looked up as if she had just realized something. “Wait, why do you trust me that much?”

 

Izuku stopped. ‘This is some serious déjà vu.’ He rubbed his head awkwardly. “Uraraka and I had this same conversation yesterday… and I’ll tell you what I told her.” She looked at him with anticipation. “I, uh, I don’t know.”

 

Her expression fell in exasperation. “I already used that line, Midori.”

 

He tried to recover the best he could, waving his hands in front of him. “I-I guess you’ve just been really nice to me. I feel like we’ve been friends since you first saw me on Saturday.”

 

“That’s cause we have.” Ashido didn’t leave room for argument.

 

Izuku laughed awkwardly. “Y-yeah. Right. You’ve been so honest with me, that I felt like I had to be honest with you…” He hesitated again but decided if he was in for a penny, he was in for a pound. “Besides, my instincts have taken a liking to you. Remember lunch?”

 

Ashido’s eyes lost focus and a dopey grin grew across her face. “Yeah…”

 

“That was my instincts and I working together. They wanted to protect you, to not let anything happen to you; I agreed. It’s much easier to think when your mind isn’t split against itself.” He rolled his quirk over his fingers, transforming them one after the other.

 

“So you’re saying I have a ferocious green dragon looking out for me now?” She emphasized the word ‘ferocious’ in a way that made Izuku feel weird. He couldn’t exactly put his finger on it, but it wasn’t exactly a bad feeling. Like she was implying something… else.

 

Before he could put more thought into it, she snapped her fingers. “Wait a second! You told me on Monday that you get ‘very protective of what’s mine’. The thing in the locker room… the thing at lunch today… what you’re telling me about Mineta…” She leveled her accusing finger at him once more. “You’re very protective of Ochako... and me.”

 

Izuku blinked, his blush faltering behind his burgeoning pride. “You… you’re really brilliant, Ashido.”

 

“Flatterer. It wasn’t that hard.” She crossed her arms but was still smiling at the compliment.

 

He looked down again. “My instincts have taken a liking to you, as I said. They can be very possessive and very protective. I-I’m sorry if that comes off as creepy, but there’s no point lying to you now.”

 

Ashido eyed him suspiciously. “If you think for a second you’re going to control me, Midori, then we’re going to have a problem.”

 

Izuku eyes went wide with shock. “No! Never! I-it just…” He stopped and thought for a moment, then remembered his conversation from yesterday. “If anything, it-it gives you some power over me, not the other way around. Uraraka figured that out.”

 

The pink woman looked at him suspiciously once more, but for an entirely different reason.

 

“We already talked about it in fact: my quirk listens to you. Since it likes you, I guess it wants to make sure you want to stay around me. Uraraka said that if my instincts want to keep her around, then they can’t k-kill anyone.” He laughed awkwardly at how dark that sounded.

 

“And that worked?”

 

Izuku nodded. “I didn’t have a single incident this morning with Mineta. You can’t imagine how big of a relief it is.”

 

They sat in silence for at least a minute. Izuku saw Ashido deep in thought and opted not to interrupt her. Eventually, she looked like she reached a decision and stood up, seeming to regret breaking their shoulder contact. He rose to his feet as well, Ashido looking up at him. “I’ll be looking out for you now, Midori, just like you’re looking out for me. I think you deserve to be a hero, and if I can help you get there, I’ll do whatever I can.”

 

Izuku smiled and felt some tears form in the corners of his eyes again. “T-thank you, Ashido. I… I don’t know if I can do it without you and Uraraka. I really do need your help.” Her eyes were filled with enough kindness and determination that Izuku’s restraint temporarily failed.

 

He reached forward and threw his arms around the pink girl, bringing her into a tight hug. She seemed startled and even pulled back at first, almost instinctively. After only a moment, she seemed to come back to her senses and melted into his embrace, throwing her own arms around him and pushing herself into him as much as she could.

 

Izuku’s nose was filled with the sweet smell of her hair, and he adored how her arms and body felt pressed up against him. The woman was firm and fit, but soft in all the right places. Without thinking, Izuku ran one of his hands up her spine, feeling her defined muscles, while the other combed through her pink locks, holding her head close.

 

She seemed to be enjoying herself too; Izuku couldn't help but blush deeper as Ashido buried her face into his chest and squeezed him with all of her might. A soft, high pitched mewling rumbled up from the woman as his hand moved up and down her spine. Izuku nearly stopped breathing as he felt the woman push one of her thighs against his and lean in, putting more of her weight on him.

 

They stood there for almost half a minute, greatly enjoying each other's company, before Izuku slowly let her go, his face doing it's full-blown broccoli impression. “S-sorry, I couldn’t help myself. You don’t know how much this means to me.”

 

Ashido seemed hesitant to release him as she squeezed even harder for a few seconds, but eventually loosened her grip and stepped back. She was blushing more furiously than he had ever seen her before as she looked up into his green eyes. The two students stood in silence, staring into each other's eyes with their faces nearly glowing with their unusual blushes. After what felt like nearly an eternity, Ashido finally broke the silence. “It's f-fine, Midori, I’m glad that I could help. I-I should let you get some rest, though.” She turned and wasted no time making her way to the door, as if she suddenly had to be someplace very important. “Good night!” She waved and quickly, but quietly, closed his door behind her.

 

“Good night!” He barely was able to return her farewell before the door closed and he was alone again. Izuku rubbed his hand through his hair and let out a great sigh, releasing tension in his body. He took off his shirt, finally getting ready for his much-needed sleep.

 

‘I know dad said that I hoard people, but those two… they feel different than the others… why? ’ He flopped down into his bed and kept thinking until he finally drifted off to sleep.

 


 

Mina rubbed her arms as she walked down the hallway outside of Midori’s room. Her mind was reeling from everything she had just learned; she had expected something when she broke in, but nothing like this. Honestly, it made a lot of sense; it explained how weird he’d been acting.

 

She still had a million questions to ask him, but those would come in time. For now, she had something else she needed to do. As Mina walked up the steps to her floor, she couldn’t help but think back to the hug they had just shared. ‘I can’t believe how much I needed that. I feel so much… happier.’

 

She pushed the thoughts out of her mind as she stopped in front of a door on the fourth floor. Not her room, but room 405. She knocked firmly on the door, hoping the woman inside wasn’t asleep.

 

Mina’s night wasn’t over yet; Ochako and her needed to talk.

Chapter Text

A few seconds later, Uraraka’s door opened. The brunette stood there, head cocked to the side in confusion as she looked down at the pink woman. “Mina? You need something?”

 

“Can we talk?” Ashido smiled, but less brightly than normal; her thoughts were weighing her down too much for her to put full effort into her grin.

 

Uraraka seemed to realize that something was amiss and stepped aside, letting Ashido into her rather simple room. The taller woman closed the door behind her before speaking again, her face full of concern and worry. “Are you alright, Mina? What’s this about?”

 

Ashido turned around in the middle of the room and rubbed her arm awkwardly, not meeting her friend’s gaze. “It’s… it’s about Midori.”

 

‘Oh, crap.’ Uraraka blanched. ‘I should’ve expected this. Deku trusted me, I can’t just tell her about his quirk. Come on, Ochako, think of an excuse.’ Ashido waited awkwardly for Uraraka to finally form words. “W-what about him?”

 

Ashido looked down, letting her pink hair cover her face as she smirked. It wasn’t her fault that it was just too fun to tease her friends. “Well, I’m worried about him.” She hid her smirk and put on a look of confused worry again as she looked back up at Uraraka. “He was acting all weird after class yesterday and I think something might be wrong.”

 

Uraraka began racking her brain for an excuse, but found nothing she didn’t think Ashido would immediately shoot down. She instead opted to buy more time for herself. “Wrong? W-what do you mean?”

 

“Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed!” Ashido said scandalized, hamming up her part. “That weird thing in the locker room, that thing at lunch today. He’s so aggressive.” She looked down for a second. “It’s almost like he’s acting… villainous.”

 

Uraraka’s brain stopped trying to find an excuse and was instead filled with anger as Ashido’s words caused her to feel indignant and protective of Midoriya. “How dare you say that about Deku! He’s trying harder than any-”

 

She stopped suddenly as Ashido began laughing; Uraraka was really confused now. The pink girl smiled up at her, deciding to finally end her ruse. “It’s good to see you feel that way about him, too. I’m just kidding, Ochako.”

 

Uraraka crossed her arms in annoyance. “Did you just come here to tease me about Deku? If so, you can just leave. I need to get some sleep.”

 

Ashido’s smile faltered slightly. “That wasn’t the plan at first, but it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Sorry.” She winked at Uraraka, causing the brunette to roll her eyes. “But seriously, I did come here to talk about Midori. I actually just finished a nice, long chat with our local dragon boy. He told me a lot; I’m guessing most of the same stuff he told you yesterday.”

 

Uraraka let her arms go slack as she took a half-step back. “You mean…”

 

Ashido narrowed her eyes. “Does the word ‘instincts’ mean anything to you?”

 

The brunette’s eyes went wide as she covered her mouth. “H-he told you about that?”

 

Ashido nodded emphatically. “Yep. He told me a bunch, but I don’t think he told me everything. That’s why I wanted to come talk to you: I want to compare notes.” She turned and sat herself on Uraraka’s bed, crossing her legs and patting the spot in front of her. “And maybe some other stuff too.”

 

Uraraka walked over to the bed and sat down across from Ashido. “W-what did he tell you? I… I don’t want to tell you anything he didn’t tell you. It’s not my place.”

 

“You’re such a good friend, Ochako,” Ashido said with an honest smile. “We’re both lucky to have you.” Ashido mercifully decided not to comment on the blush her friend grew at those words and instead pretended not to notice. “But I think if we’re both going to help him, we need to be on the same page.”

 

Ashido straightened herself out on the bed and cleared her throat. “He told me about his instincts, first of all, about how they’re his own thoughts, but different or something. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense at first, but I think I’m starting to understand. He told me that it was his form of quirk adaptation, a way to help his body and his quirk work at their best.”

 

She sighed heavily and continued. “He told me that his instincts and quirk were something called ‘chromatic’, which meant that he was destined to be a villain, but he wanted nothing more than to be a hero. He said it reacted harshly to Mineta’s perving and wanted to hurt him real bad.”

 

The pink woman looked up into her friend’s eyes and smirked. “He also told me that you seemingly have the power to get him to stop.” Uraraka began to blush again and this time, Ashido leaned in a little closer. “ Guess what we found out ?” She leaned in even closer, propping herself up on her arms to not fall over. “I do too.”

 

Uraraka was getting a little tired of Ashido dropping bombs on her that made her freeze, but apparently her friend had a flare for the dramatic. “R-really?”

 

“Oh yeah, you should’ve seen it Ochako.” Ashido shivered slightly at the memory. “He was all riled up. He tackled me to the ground and pinned me down, then he snarled and growled in my face and that look in his eyes was so intense…” Her cheeks had turned a bright purple as she reminisced. “And then I just called him ‘Midori’ and it seemed to snap him out of it. He said it was just like what you did to him yesterday in class.”

 

Uraraka blushed furiously as Ashido fondly recalled her experience, her own mind going places she really wished it wouldn't. She pulled her legs up and tried to hide her face behind her knees.

 

“Oh, and he told me one last thing.” Ashido’s smile grew as she leaned in even closer. The pink girl was only a few inches away from her friend’s face, and both of them could feel the heat coming off each other’s blush. “His instincts are really protective of us, Ochako. They’ve taken a liking to us. But I think you already know that; he said you already told him that he can’t kill anyone if he wants to keep you around.”

 

Uraraka squeaked slightly as she fully hid behind her legs. ‘He told her that?! Why?!’ She breathed deep and sighed. ‘Well, I guess Mina is right. We’re both in this together now.’ She peeked over her legs and spoke so softly that she was almost whispering. “He said that his quirk ‘wanted me’. That’s how he saved me at the entrance exam. His quirk wanted the same thing he did, so he was able to really work with it and stop the zero-pointer.”

 

Ashido squealed a little. “Wanted you, huh? Girl, I told you that he was crazy about you.” Uraraka looked away, blushing harder. “And I know you’re crazy about him too. I saw how stupid the two of you were around each other today. Stop trying to hide and stop trying to deny it!”

 

Uraraka squeaked again and slowly came out from behind her legs, crossing them beneath her again instead. “Maybe I do like him…” she admitted.

 

Ashido cupped her face. “I knew it! What do you like most about him?! Tell me everything!”

 

“A-are we talking about boys now?”

 

“We’re talking about a boy. Don’t dodge the question, Ochako,” Ashido scolded.

 

Uraraka took a deep breath and nodded. “Well, he’s so earnest and passionate about being a hero, and he’s so friendly and I just sort of feel comfortable around him.”

 

“I feel the same way. There’s just something about him, isn’t there?” Ashido added. “You just sort of feel… safe around him, don’t you?”

 

Uraraka nodded again. “And I also feel like I want to keep him safe, too.”

 

Ashido leaned back onto her hands. “Ugh, same. Big, strong dragon who could snap me in half like a twig if he wanted to and he needs us to protect him.”

 

“Hey, we kick ass, remember?” Uraraka smiled playfully.

 

“Damn straight we do. I never said he wasn’t in good hands.” Ashido leaned back up and looked into Uraraka’s eyes. “But come on, it’s gotta be more than that. You think he’s hot, don’t you?” Seeing her friend’s blush return, she smirked and probed deeper. “What about him?”

 

“Do we really ha-”

 

“Yes.”

 

Uraraka sighed. “He’s obviously jacked. He’s muscular all over , but he’s still adorable.”

 

“I know!” Ashido interjected. “It’s so not fair!”

 

The brunette laughed softly. “Yeah…” She lost herself in her memories for a moment before continuing. “I… like his big eyes and that big, goofy smile he puts on… and…” She looked down, debating if she was ready to confront her feelings or not.

 

Ashido sensed blood in the water and leaned in closer. “Come on , Ochako, spill it. What~

 

Uraraka took another deep breath, bolstering her resolve. “Ireallylikehishornsthey’resuperattractive.”

 

Ashido sputtered. “Nu uh, that doesn’t count. Enunciate your words, girl.”

 

Uraraka let out another great sigh as she admitted defeat. “I really like his horns, they’re super attractive to me for some reason. I… just want to look at them and touch them and stuff…” She blushed as she looked down.

 

Ashido grew a truly wicked smile. “Oh, is it just his horns~” She fluttered her eyelashes playfully at the brunette, who began to blush even harder and hid behind her legs again.

 

“...no…”

 

It was Ashido’s turn to freeze. She felt her heart begin to race faster as blood rushed to her face, causing her to turn a particularly vibrant shade of purple. ‘Is… is this really happening?’

 

Ashido leaned forward. “Did… did you just-”

“So!” Uraraka quickly tried to change the subject and for once, Ashido didn’t resist. “Why did he tackle you?”

 

“Oh, uh, I uh,” Ashido weaseled around for a bit, letting the blush fade slowly from her face. “I sort of broke into his room to confront him about the whole… thing .” She waved her hand as if gesturing to some unseen object. “He reacted… aggressively. I knew he would, he seemed very protective of his stuff, but I didn’t think it would be that aggressive.” She put a finger to her chin” Although, I guess we’re sort of his stuff too, yeah? His quirk has taken a liking to us and everything.”

 

“Don’t say it like that!” Uraraka exclaimed.

 

Ashido waved her hand dismissively but grew a mischievous grin. “Oh, you know what I meant.”

 

Uraraka let her shoulders drop. “That’s the kind of stuff he’s worried about, though. Aggressiveness he can’t control, impulses that he doesn’t want. It’s the reason he needs me- er, us. It’s the reason he wanted to quit UA…”

 

“He WHAT ?!” Ashido yelled as she stood up on her knees, managing to actually look slightly down at Uraraka.

 

“Keep your voice down! We don’t want to wake Momo!” Uraraka hissed quickly.

 

“He what?! ” Ashido repeated, quieter but no less intense.

 

“Did he tell you what happened yesterday in All Might’s class?”

 

“He told me that his instincts wanted Mineta dead but you stopped him before he could.” The pink girl raised her eyebrows in suspicious confusion.

 

Uraraka laughed sadly. “That’s… technically true but honestly, it was a lot more complicated than that.” She put her legs back down and rubbed her forehead. “We won the battle, right? Deku knocked all the lights out so I couldn’t see much, but I could barely make him out, standing over Mineta, his head low towards him. I don’t think you’ve ever seen him with a transformed head, but it’s a little… unsettling. He had his mouth open, Mina. He was that close.”

 

Ashido sat back down on the bed slowly, listening intently with a look of worry spreading across her face.

 

“I was able to help him break through and fight against his instincts, although I didn’t know it at the time. He staggered over to the wall and punched a hole in it.”

 

“We saw the light pour into the room on the camera, but we didn’t have an angle on Midori,” Ashido said quietly. “We could just see you, looking terrified. Then you ran off camera.”

 

The taller woman swallowed nervously. “He… he looked at me. He looked so scared… Then he roared and clutched his head and he… he jumped.”

 

Ashido gasped.

 

“I didn’t know what happened to me; my body just kinda moved on its own, without me even thinking. I jumped after him and managed to slow him down right before he hit the ground.” She held up her hand to stop her friend. “But that wasn’t the end of it. He got back up and flew off to another part of the city. I was able to find him by following the trail of destruction he left behind. When I finally caught up, he was beating his hands to a pulp against a building. I think he was trying to tire his quirk out.”

 

The pinkette resisted the urge to reach out and hug her friend. “So that’s what he’s fighting against…”

 

Uraraka nodded slowly. “And then I took him to Recovery Girl. Once he woke up… he told me about his quirk. The same things he told you. But he… he had given up. He was planning on quitting, giving up on his dream. He was so scared about hurting someone that he would have rather thrown his own life away, both literally and figuratively, just to avoid it.”

 

“I can’t believe that,” Ashido said, doubt nevertheless in her voice. “He told me about why he wants to become a hero. It’s like it’s the only thing he cares about.”

 

Uraraka nodded again. “Exactly. But he thanked me for ‘letting him leave UA just as a dropout, and not as a criminal.’”

 

“What did you do?”

 

“I told him no.” Determination suddenly burned in the brunette’s eyes, causing Ashido to gasp slightly.

 

A grin finally found it’s way back onto Ashido’s face. “You told him no? That he was what, not allowed to leave UA?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“Ochako, you are so badass I can hardly stand it!” Ashido pumped her fist as she forgot to keep her voice down again. “You saved his life, then you saved him again! I could just kiss you right now, and not just for the normal reasons!”

 

Ashido quickly clamped her hands over her mouth, but it was too late. Her lack of sleep and her excitement had caused her emotions to blow past her mental filter, exposing herself to her friend.

 

Uraraka began to blush again, but quickly felt her embarrassment give way to frustration. She put her hands on her hips and glared down at the pink woman. “Now you’re just confusing me, Mina. I’m too tired to deal with this right now: are you crushing on me or Deku?”

 

Ashido let her hands fall from her face as her blush crept in and her heart began to pound even faster. She breathed slightly heavier as she stared at the expectant gaze of Uraraka and debated how to respond. ‘Well, if I’m already in this deep…’ Ashido tried to smile confidently, but instead her nerves caused her to tremble. “B-both.”

 

Uraraka wasn’t expecting that .

 

Her own blush grew until her entire face was bright red. “W-what do you mean ‘ both’ ?!”

 

Ashido’s heart felt like it was about to jump out of her chest. ‘I’m not a schoolgirl anymore, why am I freaking out about this? I mean, I guess I’m technically still in school, but this is college!’ She fanned herself slightly, trying to chase the purple from her face.

 

“I mean that I’m crushing on both of you. And at the same time… and I was kinda… hoping that you were crushing on me back?” She rocked back and forth on the bed slowly. Finally getting this off her chest was making her feel a lot better and she could finally smile fully again. “I know you have a thing for Midori but-”

 

“Isn’t this a little fast, Mina?” Uraraka was covering her face with both hands and floating off the bed a little bit as she pleaded. “We haven’t even known each other for a week!”

 

Ashido’s looked away and pouted a little bit. “Yeah… yeah, you’re right. Sorry.” Uraraka released herself, dropping back onto the bed softly. “I meant what I said earlier though, Ochako. You’re such a good friend to have. I can tell that already.”

 

“T-thanks, Mina.” Uraraka desperately tried to chase the blush away from her face. ‘I don’t know what I’m feelin’, but even if I do like her, this is just too quick! I haven’t even sorted my feelin’s for Deku out yet...’

 

Ashido pulled her confidence back out from where it was hiding and smiled brightly at her blushing friend. “I wouldn’t want to risk that friendship for anything. Thanks for letting me get it out in the open, I feel a lot better.”

 

Uraraka felt inspired by Ashido’s confidence and tried to straighten up. “Of course, Mina. Anytime... But I think we should really be focusing on school now. We’re here to become heroes, right?”

 

Ashido nodded. “Right! I came here to talk about Midori, not this. Sorry for getting distracted!” She giggled, internally proud of herself for how quickly she had managed to regain her composure. “We’re a team now, Ochako. We’re in charge of our very own dragon and it’s our job to make sure he becomes the hero that he deserves to be.”

 

Uraraka nodded and clenched her fists, her eyes burning with determination. “Deku is counting on us. With our help, he’ll get a handle on his instincts and become a great hero one day. Until then, we gotta keep an eye on him.”

 

The pink woman giggled again. “Besides, it seems like he’s kinda being melodramatic about the whole ‘villainous quirk’ thing, you know? A big bad villain that has a weakness for a couple of hot babes, I mean come on. You handled him at his worst yesterday just fine, and I’m sure we can handle whatever happens, especially if we’re working together.”

 

Uraraka wished she could be as confident as Ashido, but the memory of the battle trial sat in the back of her mind. Regardless, she met her friend’s gaze and nodded. “For Deku.”

 

“For Midori.”

 

Uraraka and Ashido stared into each other’s eyes for a few moments. And then a few moments longer. Eventually Ashido leaned in just a bit, arms moving unconsciously. She caught herself and quickly broke eye contact and stood up, making her way to the door. “I’ll let you get some sleep, thanks for staying up to talk to me.” Ashido tried to keep her slight sadness out of her voice.

 

Uraraka stood up slowly, slight concern growing on her face as she looked at the back of her friend’s head. ‘She looked like she was gonna… ah come on, Ochako, live a little!’

 

The brunette took a couple quick steps forward and caught up with Ashido, putting a hand on her shoulder and spinning her around as she leaned down. The golden-eyed woman looked up at Uraraka in confusion for a moment before, for the second time that night, she felt arms wrap around her and bring her in for a hug.

 

Ashido gasped and felt herself recoil slightly in shock before her brain realized what was happening. She wrapped her own arms around Uraraka and returned the warm embrace, hooking her chin over the taller woman’s shoulder. She tried to burn the feeling of Uraraka’s body heat into her memory, hoping to hold onto it for as long as she could.

 

Uraraka took the opportunity to smell Ashido’s hair, just as Midoriya had done earlier. She smiled softly at the sweet smell and savored the sensation of her soft skin. ‘Maybe havin’ her around more wouldn’t be such a bad thing.’

 

They held onto each other for a few more precious moments before Uraraka brought herself back to her senses and slowly let go. Ashido reluctantly followed suit after holding on for another second or two. The two women stared at each other, blushes spreading across their respective faces. Ashido finally turned back around and opened the door quietly so as not to wake Momo next door. She gave a silent wave goodnight as she crept down the darkened hallway and back to her room.

 

Uraraka closed the door behind her and held her breath for a few seconds before letting out a great sigh. She shook her head softly, brushing her face with her brown locks as she pulled the covers back on her bed and layed down to sleep.

 


 

Mina rubbed her arms again as she crept back to room 408. ‘I can’t believe I got hugs from both of them today.’ She didn’t think she could have removed the ear-to-ear grin from her face if she wanted to.

 

Thanks to years of practice, she silently opened the lock to her room and slipped inside, closing the door behind her. She quickly changed out of her day clothes and slipped on something more comfortable as her sleepiness finally caught up to her.

 

Mina yawned as she pulled back her polka-dotted sheets and got into her bed. She pulled her weighted blanket over herself and smiled fondly as she drifted off to sleep. It felt… less necessary than before.

 

‘Breaking into Midori’s room was the best idea I ever had.’

 


 

The next day of class was surprisingly uneventful. They had their second Hero Basic Training course with All Might, which went much smoother than the previous one, especially if you asked Uraraka or Midoriya. No alarms interrupted lunch and there were no threats of expulsion from their homeroom teacher. Midoriya cooked dinner again for the class, with the help of Satou this time. Uraraka was much less resistant to enjoying the delicious meal than she was on Sunday.

 

All-in-all, it was a normal day at UA. Or, at least what the students felt like should be a normal day; it was the first one of its kind that they had experienced. They twenty students of Class 1-A did their work, hung out together and went to sleep, hoping that Friday would be just as simple so they could get to the weekend quickly and easily.

 

However, some things were just not meant to be.

 


 

The next morning started as normal as any other. Izuku got up early to go on a quick jog with Katsuki and Kirishima, who had decided to come along that morning. They got back to the dorms and were able to grab a quick shower before eating a filling breakfast and heading to class.

 

While Izuku considered all twenty students in class his friends, (yes, even Mineta , you stupid quirk) , there was a group that he certainly felt closer to; Uraraka, Kirishima, Ashido, Iida and Katsuki were just easier for him to get along with. He still made a point to spend time socializing with Yaoyorozu, Tsunotori, Satou and all the other students, but when he didn’t put effort into facilitating events, it was the group of five that he seemed to spend the most time with.

 

Speaking of Yaoyorozu, Izuku noticed that she seemed to be avoiding him. Whenever he talked to her, she seemed happier; Izuku had a talent for making her laugh, one that he had developed years ago. He figured that she would have wanted to spend more time around him because of that, but Yaoyorozu seemed to always find a convenient excuse to excuse herself whenever he got her laughing.

 

Izuku filed that thought away for later as they arrived at their homeroom a few minutes before class started. Katsuki and Izuku walked to the far side of the room while the other four continued to talk near the door as their seats were all close together. The greenette made a point to greet Tooru and Yaoyorozu, who were chatting quietly near the front of the room and took his seat.

 

As the bell rang, the door flew open and Aizawa stepped inside. Izuku narrowed his eyes and racked his brain for the hundredth time as he glared at his professor. ‘Who are you…’

 

“I have a surprise for you today,” Aizawa droned in his usual bored manner. “All of your classes are cancelled.”

 

A cheer erupted from around the room from nearly everyone; Izuku noted with amusement the look of betrayal on Iida’s face. Aizawa’s glare flashed around the room, somehow immediately quieting the celebrating students. “Your classes are cancelled because we’re going on something of a field trip today.” He pressed a button on a remote in his pocket and the four compartments on the far side of the room hissed open.

 

“We’re doing rescue training today. Change into your costumes if you wish, but you might want to just put on a gym uniform if you’re not used to it yet. We won’t be doing any combat today. Get dressed and head outside. We’ll be taking a bus to our destination.” Without even entertaining the idea of answering questions, the black-haired man turned and walked back out the door.

 

The class jumped into action and about ten minutes later, they were all gathered outside as a bus pulled up. Izuku took the moment to look around at his classmates, keeping his eyes off of the women in the class so as not to have a reason to stab himself again.

 

“Kacchan, why did you bring one of your gauntlets?” Izuku asked, hoping to distract his brain from its repeated attempts to get him to glance at Uraraka and Ashido. “That bulky thing isn’t going to do you any favors. Didn’t you hear what Aizawa said?”

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “I gotta get used to them. I’m not gonna be able to take them off in a real fight if I gotta rescue some chump in the middle of a fight.”

 

Before Izuku could keep up his small talk, Iida blew a piercing whistle that made everyone flinch, but Jirou a little more than everyone else. Izuku jerked his head in her direction as he felt his quirk flare slightly in the back of his mind, but it calmed as quickly as it spiked once he saw that she was unharmed.

 

Iida asked Izuku for permission to organize their classmates loading the bus in an orderly manner, but the open seating plan ruined his strategy, much to most of the class’ amusement. Izuku patted the taller man on the back to comfort him as he himself chuckled along with the rest of the students.

 

The students began to pass the time with small talk as Aizawa napped at the front of the bus. Izuku could only marvel once again at the sheer scale of UA’s campus as they traveled down the road.

 

“Hey, Midoriya,” Kirishima got his attention, “I gotta say, I’m impressed with your quirk.” She held up her arm in front of her and hardened it. “It’ll be hard for me to get noticed with just this Hardening, but you’ve got such a versatile and flashy quirk. You basically have my quirk and then a bunch on top of it, you’ll get scouted in no time!”

 

Izuku’s quirk pulsed in the back of his head and put a little green glow in his eyes. “What are you talking about, Kirishima? Your quirk is super great for hero work! You can beat all sorts of bad guys with it, and you’ll be able to stand up to nearly anybody! My quirk has basically nothing compared to yours in the toughness department.”

 

Kirishima raised a suspicious eyebrow. “What do you mean? I saw that hole you put in the wall of your building when I was on my way to my test. I’ve seen your scales, dude. You don’t gotta lie for me, really. I’m happy with what I’ve got, I just wanted to say that you’re a lucky guy.”


The redhead’s self-deprecation was causing his quirk to flare harder for some reason. Izuku smirked and held up his right hand, forming scales along his fist and forearm and holding it up to the woman. “Here, I’ll prove it to you. Fist bump me. Like you mean it, too. Make Crimson Riot proud.”

 

Kirishima’s eyes flashed with fire as she accepted the challenge. She brought her hardened fist up and threw it forward as Izuku did the same. Scale and hardened skin collided, a solid, resounding noise ringing out through the bus. Izuku hissed through his teeth as he pulled his hand back and clutched his wrist in pain. The scales slipped away and he held up his red fingers to the woman.

 

“See? I may be tougher than most, but you’re like a bulldozer.” He stretched his fingers and smiled at Kirishima, who was looking worried that she hurt her friend. “Keep your chin up, horn sister! You’re tougher than I’ll ever be.”

 

Kirishima grew a wide, sharp smile and nodded. “Thanks, man. That means a lot to me.”

 

“We’re here!” Aizawa shouted back from the front of the bus before their conversation could continue. The students stood up, piled out of the bus and promptly dropped their jaws at the gigantic dome before them.

 

“Hello, everyone, I’ve been waiting for you!” A hero in a puffy astronaut suit greeted them cheerfully as they stepped into the sun.

 

“The Space Hero: Thirteen!” Izuku gushed. “The chivalrous pro who’s rescued thousands of people around the world! In just the last year alone, Thirteen sa-” Izuku cried out in pain as Katsuki elbowed him in the side to prevent him for going on another hero tangent. Next to the two boys, Uraraka was also gushing as Ashido laughed and tried to get the woman to calm down so the hero could continue to speak.

 

“Thank you for the flattering introduction, students. Welcome to the most advanced rescue training facility in Japan.” Thirteen pointed back to the building. “This is the Unforeseen Simulation Joint, or USJ for short. Let’s head inside and I’ll show you what you’ll be working with.” The hero turned around and walked inside, with Class 1-A following behind.

 


 

Ochako could hardly contain herself. She was getting to train under Thirteen of all people, one of her favorite heroes in the whole world! The brunette was nearly vibrating as she walked through the heavy metal doors of the USJ and looked around. She noticed Deku writing in his notebook, but was too wrapped up in her fangirling to try and continue her investigation into where he kept it.

 

The twenty students stopped as Thirteen turned around near the top of the steps to address them. “Welcome to the USJ! Here we have six different areas to help train you to rescue people in a variety of conditions.” The hero pointed to the students’ right. “Starting and going counter-clockwise, we have the Storm Zone, the Flood Zone, the Conflagration Zone, the Mountain Zone, the Landslide Zone and the Ruins Zone. Once you get the go ahead, you’ll head down these steps behind me and head to one of these zones.”

 

Aizawa stepped forward and began to speak. “We’ll be splitting you up into groups for the day. All Might was supposed to be with us, but the Prime Minister personally requested him to assist with a hostage situation, so we’ll make do. Instead of splitting you into groups of seven, seven and six, we’ll be doing ten and ten. If you sit in the two rows closest to the door, you’re with Thirteen, otherwi-”

 

Their teacher stopped and snapped his head around, staring at the central plaza of the facility. Ochako followed his gaze and saw a purple vortex forming near the fountain in the middle of the plaza. A strange man with messy, light-blue hair and a hand covering his face appeared in the swirling mass, gazing up at the students with a crazed look in his blood-red eyes.

 

“Are we starting already?” Kaminari asked hesitantly.

 

The vortex widened as dozens of strange looking people stepped out into the USJ. “Stay together!” Aizawa yelled back. “Thirteen, protect the students!”

 

“What is this, I thought we were rescuing people today?” Satou asked nervously.

 

Deku took a step forward. “Stay back! This is real. Those are villains. Stick together and get back outside!” Aizawa snapped as the students except for Deku recoiled and gasped. Ochako saw his eyes begin to glow brightly as his horns stretched back across his head. Deku took another step forward as scales began to form across his shoulders and back.

 

Aizawa turned his head back and stared at the student, his eyes glowing red and his hair floating. “Stand down , Midoriya.”

 

Deku suddenly let out a piercing scream and collapsed to the ground as his scales vanished, clutching at his head as if it it were on fire. Ochako’s eyes went wide and the world seemed to slow down around her as he writhed on the ground in tortured agony. She took a step forward but was knocked back as Bakugou dashed past her, crouching down next to Deku and helping him up. Ochako was hot on his heels and grabbed his other arm and between the two of them, they pulled Deku up to his knees.

 

Deku panted heavily for a few seconds as he slowly let go of his head, moving his head up and looking at the rest of the class, eyes completely devoid of any glow and wide with confusion and fear. Ochako felt the need to hold him close and tell him that everything was going to be okay, but before she could he spotted Bakugou to his right and clutched the blonde’s arm.

 

“K-Kacchan?” he stuttered fearfully. “W-where am I? Who a-are all these people?”

 

Bakugou’s eyes went wide with shock as the rest of the class nearly screamed. The sudden noise startled the confused man, who would have fallen back onto the ground if he wasn’t being held up. “W-what’s going on?!” Deku looked absolutely terrified and his voice was cracking like he was about to start crying. Ochako felt like nails were being driven into her heart as she watched helplessly, wishing she could do something.

 

Deku finally noticed her holding onto him and he turned to look into her brown eyes with his shaky green. He stopped shaking as much as he seemed to calm down slightly, a small blush creeping into his face. Ochako started to smile, hoping to comfort him, but her expression turned fearful as she noticed the familiar glint of recognition in his eyes was completely absent. “Do… do I know you?” Deku asked, still staring at her.

 

Ochako whipped around to glare at Aizawa. “What did you do?!” She yelled, half terrified and half furious.

 

Aizawa had been struck dumb by the series of events, staring along with the rest of the class. At Ochako’s shout, he quickly refocused and blinked, his eyes returning to their normal black as his hair fell back down. As soon as he did so, Deku screamed and grabbed his head again, falling back out of her and Bakugou’s grips.

 

His screams subsided quicker than last time and he slowly stood up under his own power, catching his breath again. He rose to his full height and looked over his classmates as they stared back in confusion and horror. The look of intelligence and determination that Ochako liked so much had returned to his eyes, but it was also accompanied by confusion. “W-what just happened?”

 

Bakugou made sure Deku could stand before he stepped back. “Teach did something to your quirk. He looked at you and you collapsed.”

 

Deku’s eyes lit up with understanding and he spun around, pointing a finger at their professor. “Y-you’re Eraserhead! That was one of five I narrowed it down to, but I should’ve seen it sooner!”

 

“Eraserhead? Who’s that?” Kirishima muttered next to Mina, who could only shrug and shake her head.

 

“Y-you can’t fight all those villains on your own!” Deku pleaded with Aizawa. “You specialize in back-alley brawls and one-on-one fights!”

 

Aizawa pulled a pair of strange slitted goggles from underneath his scarf and put them on. “Midoriya, you should know better than almost anyone that no hero is a one-trick pony. Now follow my orders and stay with the rest of the class.” Without another word, he turned and leapt down the long flight of stairs, his scarf unraveling behind him ominously.

 

Ochako grabbed onto his shoulders and spun him around so she could look down into his eyes again. “Deku, are you alright? What happened?”

 

The man’s green eyes had begun to glow again and stared back into hers, taking her breath away with their intensity. “I’m not sure, but it’s not important at the moment. Right now I- I mean we have to focus on getting everyone out of here safely.” Ochako looked at him for a moment, then grew her own look of determination. She nodded once and released him, turning back to face the rest of the class.

 

“You heard the man!” Bakugou yelled over the rest of them. “Stick together and we just might survive this!” He turned and smirked at Deku, who was reforming the scales along his body. “And you thought I should’ve left my gauntlet back at school.”

 

Chapter Text

Shouta was not a young man. He wasn’t as old as many of the teachers at UA, but he was no spring chicken. Over his long and eventful career as a pro hero, he learned many things, such as the how insufferable the media is, how to deal with a thug tweaking out on Trigger, or the best way to get blood out of his capture weapon.

 

But above all else, Shouta Aizawa had learned that he hated surprises.

 

Today wasn’t a day he was expecting to be surprised, either. He was normally a fairly wary man, even occasionally bordering on paranoid. He knew that, and he was okay with it; paranoia kept you alive. Over the years, he had seen a lot of surprising things, but a platoon of criminals breaking into UA’s campus with the most dangerous and potent warp quirk he had ever seen was certainly a new one. So was what happened to Midoriya.

 

Midoriya had a transformation type quirk, that much was abundantly clear to anyone who saw him in action. Aizawa had been briefed that his quirk affected his mental state sometimes, which wasn’t that rare, all things considered. He was trained and able to deal with that. Or so he thought.

 

His student’s reaction to his quirk had him seriously worried. The boy had reacted extremely poorly to his Erasure; one of the worst he had ever seen. Those sorts of reactions were normally reserved for people with major mental quirks, but that wasn’t what Midoriya had, at least as far as he was aware. The fact that he had collapsed and experienced acute amnesia implied that the mental effects of his quirk were much deeper than he knew.

 

But now wasn't the time to think about those implications. Now was the time to focus on the immediate threat in front of him, and none were more immediate than the villain made of purple mist.

 

Warp quirks were rare, and he thanked the powers that be for that, as even the most limited of them could completely alter a fight in unforeseeable ways. As he flew down the stairs of the USJ, capture weapon unfurling behind him, he took in all the information he could about his situation. The warp quirk user was standing in the back of the group, next to the younger man covered in hands, both watching calmly as the horde of thugs walked closer. Those two were likely the leaders and the most dangerous. It was imperative that he keep them locked down if he was to give his students the best chance for them to get out alive.

 

Shouta didn’t like to act rashly, but since his communicator was being jammed, he knew he didn’t have much of a choice. He had to hold them off so his students could escape, and if he died while doing it, then so be it. It was a hero’s duty to give of themselves what was needed to keep innocents safe.

 

He put those thoughts out of his mind for now; it was time to get to work.

 

His best friend in a fight was the element of surprise, especially against a group this large. That was part of the reason that he was an underground hero, besides just his hatred of the media: if villains knew what he could do, they could strategize around it. In a fight, he was essentially quirkless; his best and only tools were whatever advantages he could scrounge up. All his quirk could do was level the playing field; it was up to him to tip it the other way.

 

A couple of idiots stepped forward from the rest of the group, preparing to use what he assumed to be ranged quirks to attack him. He waited until the second before they acted to erase their quirks and quickly wrap them in his capture weapon, knocking them out as he used their weights to break his fall from the top of the stairs.

 

“Idiots!” one of the thugs yelled. “That’s Eraserhead, he can erase your quirks just by looking at you!”

 

Shouta twitched. He hadn’t expected to be outed nearly this quickly. This was going to complicate things. ‘Damned media…’

 

“Erase? Ha, bet that doesn’t work on mutation types like me!” A six-armed man came running at Shouta, ready to attack.

 

“You’re right,” Shouta said calmly, “it doesn’t.” He ducked under the telegraphed attack and smashed the villain in the face with a full-bodied right hook, feeling his facial bones crack and crunch under his fist. “I can’t believe I’ve never encountered a mutation type before.” The man flew back from him but Shouta wrapped his leg up as he ducked under the punch of another assailant.

 

He twisted as he ducked, kicking the new villain backward into a group of thugs as he swung the first criminal over his head and down into the pile, putting all of them out of commission. “If only I could have planned for this.” He pulled his weapon back around his neck as he slowly looked around at the hesitating crowd. “Now, which one of you punks is next?”

 

It was painfully obvious that these villains were low-level street criminals with no real experience dealing with a pro hero. The fact that they were all here under a seemingly-united cause had some incredibly dangerous implications that he didn’t have the time to think of at the time. What was important was that his attempts at intimidation were much more likely to be successful if these thugs were all small-time.

 

He let his eyes rest for a moment as the criminals hesitated. If they weren’t going to come to him, then he had to make a move, which was fine by him. He quickly threw out his weapon again, wrapping two flat-footed thugs up while he swung his heel into the jaw of a criminal whose quirk he shut off. He hurled the two trapped criminals at their compatriots, clearing more space for him to move around in.

 

Sweat began to slowly drip down his forehead as he kicked the feet out of another thug taking a wide swing at him. The villain hit the ground hard and Shouta drove his heel into his sternum, cracking it before he could react and putting him out of commission. Against these odds, Shouta had no room for mercy and restraint; every motion he made had to be made with perilous intent.

 

Three more villains fell in quick succession, causing those still standing to hesitate again. Shouta took the brief moment to look at the man covered in hands. His manic, red eyes were staring back at him, clearly analyzing and observing. This settled it for Shouta: that man was the leader, which meant that-

 

‘Crap.’ He couldn’t hold his eyes open any longer and was forced to blink. When he reopened his eyes, the warp villain had vanished. He cursed under his breath and returned his focus to the nigh-insurmountable task at hand. There was nothing he could do about it now.

 

‘Thirteen, I’m counting on you.’

 


 

This certainly wasn’t how Momo saw her day going. Rescue training should have been the perfect opportunity to prove what she could do, especially to herself, but in an instant, everything changed. She had been prepared to put all of her rescue practice and intense studying into action, but she didn’t foresee that the ones needing rescuing would be her and her classmates.

 

“Come on!” Thirteen yelled. “Stick together and follow behind me; we’re getting out of here!” The hero started to jog towards the entrance, leaving the villains and their teacher behind. Momo looked back over her shoulder as she followed, listening to the sound of Aizawa fighting for all of their lives.

 

‘Even if he is a pro, the chances of him surviving all of those vill-’ Momo shook her head. ‘No, now isn’t the time for pointless theorizing.’ She turned back and fixed her gaze on the massive metal gate in front of her. They towered well over thirty feet tall, looming like the door on a bank vault. ‘They’re supposed to keep us safe, but instead it just feels like those doors are the gates of our tomb.’ She shivered as she jogged. ‘Don’t think like that!.’

 

Momo would’ve sworn that the doors weren’t getting any closer as they ran towards them, but she knew what fear and panic could do to the human mind. She might not be able to calm herself down, but she could rationali-

 

The group ground to a halt as a great purple vortex appeared on the ground in front of them, swirling black with sinister intent. A form rose from the vortex, towering high above them as two glowing yellow eyes appeared at the top of the mist. “There is no escape for you.”

 

Momo felt her heart drop out of her chest and into the growing pit in her stomach. The villain spoke with a refined, but malicious tone. “It is a pleasure to meet you, students of UA University. We are the League of Villains. I know it’s impolite, but we decided to invite ourselves into this haven of justice to say hello.

 

The students trembled in fear as the purple mist monologued in front of them, the sadistic intent palpable in his voice. A commotion to her left caught her attention as she broke her terrified gaze from the villain and onto…

 

‘Midoriya?’

 

The man was crouched slightly, legs wide as if he was bracing himself. He was holding his head with his left hand, allowing Momo to see his burning green eyes and lengthening horns. She could barely make out Ochako, who was bending down slightly and rubbing his back, whispering to him.

 

“Come on, Deku. Keep calm, now isn’t the time. We gotta stay focused.”

 

Momo felt sick. She shouldn’t have eavesdropped the other night, but after Mina’s outburst woke her up, her curiosity got the better of her. She couldn’t make out everything they were saying, but she did hear quite a bit. ‘Is this him fighting against those ‘instincts’ they mentioned? What are they? They seemed to be talking like Midoriya was supposed to be a villain or something. Is… he resisting that ? Is it his ‘instinct’ to be a villain?’

 

Momo’s questions were firing like a machine gun in her head, giving her no time to think of answers before the next question burst into her mind. She barely even noticed as the villain continued his speech. “Wouldn’t you say this is a fitting place for the Symbol of Peace to meet his demise? Truly Unforeseen…but I see no sign of him. He was supposed to be here today, but there must have been some change of plans…”

 

Midoriya’s breathing sped up; the man seemed like he was on the verge of hyperventilating. Ochako had a worried look in her eyes as she grabbed one of his shoulders and shook him slightly, but he didn’t seem to notice. The horns on his head grew longer still as he reached up with his right hand to clutch his head. Momo gasped as she saw the claws forming and fading along his fingers. ‘Is... is his quirk trying to activate itself ?!’

 

“I suppose in the end, it doesn’t matter.” The villain almost sounded amused. “I still have a role to play. Prepare to meet your deaths.”

 

Midoriya’s rapid breathing stopped.

 

He stopped clutching his head.

 

His eyes burned with a light that Momo had never seen before; the green was so vibrant it was almost yellow, and it was so intense that it obscured the rest of his eye.

 

He slowly lowered his arms from his hair, scales swiftly and firmly appearing along their lengths. The claws formed again but did not fade as his arm bulged larger.

 

Midoriya’s innocent face stretched out, scales rapidly appearing as his hair vanished and the ridge on the back of his neck grew up his head and down the length of his spine.

 

Scales formed across his bare back, while tan plates formed on his chest. His pants seemed to melt into his legs as they too grew longer and thicker. His bare feet grew black claws like his hands and dug into the concrete floor as he flexed his toes.

 

The man rose to his full height, but then kept going. Normally, Momo looked down on him ever so slightly, but as he straightened himself out, she had to turn her gaze up to follow his burning eyes. ‘He… he must be over seven feet tall…’ Momo took a hesitant step back from Midoriya, his predatory glare causing her to want nothing more than to turn and run, even though it wasn’t directed at her.

 

‘Is Midoriya… was Midoriya, who made me laugh when we were kids...’

 

It was all Momo could do to keep herself from falling down and screaming as the man took a towering step forward, shaking the ground and cracking the concrete as his claws dug in.

 

The rest of the class turned to Midoriya, his seismic stomp breaking their attention from the chilling gaze of the villain. A deep, threatening growl rose from his throat, causing all of them, even Thirteen, to instinctually recoil from him, clearing a path between him and the mist.

 

‘...was Zu… my Zu…’

 

There was no hesitation in him. There was no struggle in his eyes. There was no resistance in his movements. His claws were bared, their razor-sharp black tips glinting in the light of the USJ. His mouth hung open slightly, showing the dozens of deadly fangs lining his jaw.

 

Momo’s own instincts were yelling at her to shrink back away from him further, to make herself as small as possible to hopefully pass under the gaze of the apex predator in front of her. Nearly everyone else in the class was backing away slowly as well, eyes wide with fear.

 

‘... a monster this whole time?’

 

I won’t let you touch them. Midoriya’s gaze was fixated on the villain, his eyes filled with undeniable death underneath his flared, ridged horns.

 

The villain’s own glowing eyes raised in what amounted to an intrigued look for a moment. “You seem to be quite dangerous, but it matters not.” Tendrils of black mist began to writhe in front of him ominously. “You cannot harm me.”

 

Midoriya surged forward, leaving a crater behind him as he reared his arm back. The tendrils shot forward, forming a black and purple vortex inches in front of the leaping student. The pool seemed to swallow him whole as he vanished from view.

 

“Izuku!” Bakugou yelled, the only one with enough sense still in his head to form words. Explosions popped off from his fists as he began to run forward towards the villain, Eiko hot on his heels.

 

The villain’s eyes narrowed. “Now then. Perish .” The tendrils swirled once more and rapidly extended towards the students, quickly enveloping them all in a black cloud. Momo heard movement and commotion around her, but she was still too petrified to move.

 

The swirling mist grew thicker and raged around them with more intensity until she felt the ground drop out from underneath her, a scream finally bursting from her lungs as she fell into the darkness.

 


 

As the mists faded, Tenya looked up, quickly checking on the two blondes he had tackled out of the way. “Are you two alright?”

 

“Oui.” Aoyama nodded as he stood up and dusted himself off. The normally aloof boy had a focused look on his face as he pursed his lips slightly.

 

“Yes, thank you, Tenya.” Tsunotori was too overwhelmed at the moment to realize her mistake, and Tenya had more important things on his mind. He looked around, hoping to find other students that had avoided whatever the villain had done. To his dismay, he only saw four others.

 

Satou was tearing Sero’s tape off of himself while Shouji was helping Thirteen stand. The villain hovered ominously before them, glaring at the seven people standing before him. “Disappointing, but not unexpected. I will simply have to deal with you myself .”

 

Tenya quietly revved his engines, making sure everything was flowing for the inevitable fight. His fellow students brought themselves down into combat stances, while Thirteen stood in front of them.

 

“What happen to others?” Tsunotori asked Tenya as they glared at the villain.

 

“He likely warped them somewhere else,” Tenya postulated.

 

“Momo… Izuku… the others…” Tsunotori whispered under her breath sadly, barely loud enough for Tenya to hear her. Her eyes narrowed with anger as a horn popped off of her head, another quickly taking its place as she called the villain something very rude in English.

 

“They’re probably still within the facility,” Thirteen suggested. “These villains are somehow jamming our communications, transporting them outside would give more opportunity for the alarm to be raised.” Tenya’s eyes went wide; he hadn’t noticed the alarms hadn’t gone off.

 

Nobody knew they were in danger.

 

There was no help coming.

 

“Iida, you have to get past this villain and outside to warn the school! It’s our only hope!” Desperation was creeping into Thirteen’s voice.

 

The blue-haired man’s eyes went wide. “And abandon you all?”

 

“Come on, Iida!” Satou shouted back over his shoulder. “You’re the only one who can!”

 

Tenya looked over his classmates and back to the rest of the massive facility. There were 21 other lives riding on him, not to mention his own. The man turned back to Thirteen and nodded as he revved his engines again and planted his feet, ready to kick off towards the door.

 


 

Fumikage was too distracted by trying to keep Dark Shadow under control in the black mist to remember when he started falling, but that’s certainly what he was doing now. Water smacked his face as he tumbled towards the ground, nothing but concrete to break his fall.

 

He braced himself, hoping to escape with only a few broken bones when his descent was suddenly arrested by a pair of large arms. He blinked and looked up at Kouda, who had jumped up to catch him before he hit the ground.

 

“Thank you, my friend,” Fumikage said as the other student let him down to stand on his feet. He took a moment to look around at the dismal downpour they found themselves in. He mused that he would be at a distinct advantage due to the dim conditions but his partner… “Will you be able to use your quirk to help us?”

 

Kouda shook his head.

 

Fumikage closed his eyes in thought as he formulated a plan. After a few moments, he looked back to the taller student with his beady red eyes.

 

“Could I ask you to place your trust in me?”

 


 

Kyouka clutched her ears and squeezed her eyes shut as she fell, two other screams piercing through the darkness and into her skull. She felt air rushing past her face and reopened her eyelids as she crashed down onto something surprisingly soft.

 

She looked down and saw herself sitting right on Momo, causing her to panic and quickly scrambled to her feet, before turning to help the taller woman up. “Sorry, Yaomomo, are you alright?”

 

Momo seemed shaken, more so than herself, and took a moment to respond. “Y-yes, I am, thank you Kyouka.”

 

A grumbling noise startled the two women, who jumped back as Kaminari dug his face out of the ground, spitting dirt out of his mouth. “Happy to be your landing pad,” he said sarcastically.

 

Kyouka rolled her eyes as she helped the man to his feet. He dusted himself off, still grumbling under his breath when Kyouka heard movement behind her. She whipped around and saw a group of menacing and sneering thugs moving towards them.

 

“Heads up, we got company!” She turned back to Momo, who was staring into space, out of the mountain zone and into the distance, seemingly distracted by something and deep in worry. “Yaomomo, you with us?”

 

The woman jumped slightly and hastily looked around. “O-oh! Yes, of course.” She shook her head and adopted a determined look as she quickly produced a metal pole from her arm. “I’m with you.”

 


 

Tooru’s fall was abruptly slowed by a large ice slide, but even the smoothest of ice was incredibly uncomfortable on her naked body. She whined all the way down, but her whine quickly turned into a scream as she realized who she was about to crash into.

 

Todoroki turned around at her shout, one of his eyebrows raising slightly as he evidently saw nothing but a pair of shoes and gloves sliding towards him. His eyes went wide with realization just a moment before he was toppled over by Tooru slamming into his side.

 

Both of them laid there for a moment, completely silent and still. “H-hey, Todoroki, t-thanks for breaking my fall!” Tooru tried to break the ice, but the man was seemingly too cold to react. Speaking of cold, Tooru realized she was lying with her chest on his, and judging from how cold she was, he certainly had to be aware of that.

 

She quickly scrambled off of him and covered herself up, protecting her invisible modesty while she calmed herself down. The man picked himself up slowly and turned to walk away from her without a word, nor even a look back. Tooru huffed and ran after him, not eager to be left alone in who-knows-where.

 

They walked in silence through the rocks and rubble of the Landslide Zone for a minute or two before Tooru couldn’t stand it any longer; the quiet only made her worry more. “No hard feelings about the battle trial, right?”

 

Todoroki didn’t turn to acknowledge her and was silent for a few moments before uttering a simple “no”.

 

Tooru took the hint and didn’t try to strike up any more conversation. She resigned herself to walking quietly on his left, enjoying the warmth radiating from him when he suddenly spoke up. “Make sure you stay behind me, I don’t want to freeze you if we encounter any villains.”

 

“Oh!” Tooru said, smiling softly to herself. “Right, thanks.”

 


 

Ochako was falling, just like most of her classmates, but unlike most of her classmates, she could do something about it. She quickly took in her surroundings as she tumbled from the misty portal, finding herself surrounded by burning buildings and smokey streets. She clasped her hands together, pushing her mass out of herself and letting the hot air begin to catch her fall.

 

She pushed more weight out until air pressure completely stopped her and then pressed her fingers together, letting her weight snap back to her as she fell the remaining five feet to the ground.

 

“Hey, Ochako!”

 

A voice she recognized called out to her, causing her to look up and whip around. She searched for the voice for a few seconds but found nothing. “Mina? Where are you?”

 

“Up here!” Mina called back. Ochako lifted her gaze and found her pink friend about three stories above her, dug into a wall with her hands and feet, acid dripping from the pockmarks. “I grabbed the wall when I fell out of that stupid portal, can you catch me when I jump?”

 

“Sure!” Ochako yelled up. “But wait, can’t you just climb down you- oh you jumped!” Mina let herself fall, arms wide as she pitched herself backward. Ochako held her hands out, quickly pulling Mina’s weight and momentum away as she caught the woman in a bridal carry.

 

Mina wrapped her arms around Ochako’s neck and smiled widely. “Oh, my hero!” Ochako blushed slightly and hastily let her down, returning Mina's weight after a moment.

 

The brunette looked around, taking in her surroundings again. “I think this is the Conflagration Zone that Thirteen mentioned…”

 

Mina nodded as she stretched. “Looks like it. I guess that means everyone else got scattered around too… I hope.”

 

Ochako checked the bracers on her costume and let out a slight sigh. “You’re worried about Deku, aren’t you?”

 

“Are you not?!” Mina said, raising an eyebrow. “You saw how he was there, I’ve never seen him that worked up. Was that how he was at the battle trial on Tuesday?”

 

“No…” she shook her head, “this was… much worse. I think when that villain threatened all of us, he sort of… lost control.” Ochako clenched her fist and looked her friend in her golden eyes. “But there’s nothing we can do about it now. We gotta focus on getting out of here and helping the others.”

 

Mina let some acid drip from her hand as she smirked at the brunette.. “Just like heroes are supposed to. Let’s do this.”

 


 

Bakugou shouted with frustration as he blew another thug away. “Dammit!”

 

Eiko jabbed another villain in the gut, causing her to gasp in pain and exposing herself to a hardened chop from Eiko. “Worried about Midoriya? Don’t be, Bakugou, if we got tossed here, I’m sure he’s out there somewhere.”

 

“That’s what I’m worried about, idiot!” Bakugou deflected a wide, off-balance swing and kicked the legs out from under the villain, blasting them with an explosion as they hit the ground and knocking them out.

 

“What do you mean?” Eiko blocked a knife swing with her arms and knocked the villain down with a headbutt. “He’s tough, he’ll be fine.”

 

Bakugou yelled again as he set off a huge explosion, blowing the wall in front of him down and taking out three thugs at once. “You don’t get it!” The dust and debris settled as Bakugou took advantage in the lull in the action to stomp over to Eiko. “Back when we were 8, some older kids came to pick on Izuku when we were at school. Izuku didn’t want to fight them, so I stepped in. They took a couple swings at me and eventually got a solid hit.”

 

Eiko raised an eyebrow at him. “Sounds rough, but what does-”

 

“As soon as I got hit, Izuku flew past me and tackled the kid, who had at least a foot on him. He screamed in the kid’s face, took a swing, and knocked him out with a single punch.”

 

“That’s pretty manly, Bakugou. What’s the problem?”

 

Bakugou poked Eiko hard in the forehead. “You’re still not getting it! He had hardly ever raised a finger against someone before that day outside of training, and then all of a sudden he puts a kid in the dirt and knocks him out in a rage. All because I took a cheap shot to the jaw that barely phased me.”

 

The blonde moved his face very close to Eiko’s, his growl nearly a whisper as he glared into her eyes. “ So what do you think will happen when 19 of his friends are threatened with death ?

 


 

Things could be going worse for Tsuyu, all things considered. Of all the places she could get warped to, she was lucky enough to teleported to the fully aquatic zone. She hit the water with practiced ease and dove deep, feeling the water pass through her suit to let her skin breathe. Looking around, she saw a few shapes swimming around the water with her. Since it was very unlikely that UA would be stocking this lake with any sort of fish, Tsuyu had a good idea what those shapes were.

 

She didn’t have much time to get her bearings before a noise broke through the still waters.

 

“First catch of the day! Nothing personal, kid, but you gotta die!”

 

Tsuyu whipped around and saw a villain with a shark quirk tearing towards Mineta, who was flailing helplessly in the deep lake. With a kick from her powerful legs, she streaked towards her classmate, slipping through the water and crashing into the side of the assailant, knocking the breath out of him. She quickly reached her hand down and tore off the breathing apparatus he had on, before kicking off of him. She grabbed Mineta under her arm as the shark villain disappeared behind them, frantically swimming for the surface.

 

Mineta had a look of panic, fear, and gratitude on his face, but couldn’t speak for obvious reasons. Tsuyu needed to get the boy out of the water if he was going to stay conscious.

 

She remembered the ship in the middle of the zone and scanned above her, quickly spotting the vessel about a hundred feet away from her. Tsuyu kicked hard and began to swim towards it, but before she could get halfway there, Mineta started flailing in her arms and slapping her frantically, pointing behind her.

 

She turned around and saw another villain shooting towards her with deadly intent. His blonde hair streaked behind him as he smirked, rearing a spear back, ready to attack. He was too close for Tsuyu to dodge, her only hope was to knock him off course; she shot her tongue at him, but he spun out of the way with ease.

 

He thrust his spear forward as he closed within a few feet of Tsuyu and Mineta, the latter squeezing his eyes shut as the villain attacked.

 

And then, the water went red.

 

Tsuyu kicked back, distancing herself from the bloody mist. She patted herself down to make sure hadn’t been stabbed, just in case she was in shock. She found nothing, so she quickly looked over Mineta, but he was unscathed as well. The woman turned to stare as the red cloud dissipated, her eyes widening further and her mouth dropping open slightly as the scene came into view.

 

The villain was bug-eyed as a great green claw clutched his neck, his right arm ineffectual tugging at the scaled arm of Midoriya. The spear drifted slowly to the depths of the lake while a gruesome wound on the villain’s left arm poured blood into the water as Midoriya firmly held his wrist.

 

Tsuyu’s classmate had shrunk back down to his normal size, but he was still an intimidatingly large man. He had grown a long tail that was flitting back and forth, keeping him still in the churning waters. That, combined with his elongated, draconic head, made him look nearly crocodilian. But Tsuyu was pretty sure that crocodiles did not have burning green eyes.

 

The villain gurgled in pain as Midoriya slowly pulled the villain closer to his face until he was mere inches from his fanged maw. “You will not lay a hand on them. Do you understand?” Tsuyu’s stomach felt uneasy as his deep, intimidating voice echoed through the water.

 

The villain nodded as much as he could while being choked by a claw. “Good. Tell your companions the same thing.” Midoriya released his grip and delivered a powerful kick to his chest, sending the villain rushing away from them. Newton sent Midoriya floating in the opposite direction, but a few powerful strokes slowed him down so he stopped nearby to Tsuyu.

 

The green-haired woman had half a mind to drag Mineta up to the surface so he could breathe, but the other half of her mind was too stunned by the brutal display put on by her otherwise friendly and jovial classmate.

 

Suddenly, Midoriya’s hand shot out towards her, causing her to flinch and squeeze her eyes shut.

 

Her eyes snapped open again as she felt him patting her head softly. “I’m sorry for scaring you, Tsu. Don’t worry, I won’t let them touch you.” His eyes still burned brightly and angrily, glaring off in the direction he had kicked the villain as a small blush formed on her cheeks.

 

Tsuyu was thankful her skin breathed for her underwater because she was pretty sure she would’ve otherwise forgotten how. There was something oddly comforting about his powerful, clawed hand gently tussling her hair. She couldn’t help but lean into the contact slightly, her eyes closing as her mouth turned up into a small smile.

 

Mineta’s struggling reminded the both of them that he was still there, and still couldn’t breathe. Midoriya's hand slowly retracted back as they both blinked a few times. He turned to look at her, an expression of genuine concern on his face, or at least as much concern as could be mustered on his reptilian snout. “Are you alright? Are y ou hurt?” Midoriya’s voice rose slightly as the light in his eyes faded.

 

She brought herself out of her daze and looked back at Midoriya, shaking her head. “I’m fine, thank you. We should get out of here.” As the two of them kicked towards the surface to let Mineta breathe, she finally took note of his chest, which was rising up and down slowly and rhythmically. “Midoriya, you can breathe underwater?” Tsuyu put a finger to her chin and tilted her head slightly. ‘Just like his dad…’

 

“What? O-oh, yeah.” The nervous stuttering nearly gave Tsuyu whiplash when compared to the stone cold persona he had displayed merely seconds earlier. The man tapped the side of his neck. “When I have my neck transformed, I can breathe underwater. I have to ask though, I’ve noticed you’re not breathing normally, can you breathe through your skin like an actual frog?! Can you-”

 

“Midoriya, maybe not right now.” Tsuyu would have laughed as they broke the surface if she wasn’t still so uneasy.

 

Midoriya turned to his right. “Right, s-sorry, time for that later. Follow me, the shore is this way. We should hopefully be able to handle anyone we encounter on the way there, but you’re right, we need to get out of here before they gang up on us.” He kicked his feet and began to swim quickly, much faster than he had any right to.

 

Tsuyu took note of the webbing between Midoriya’s fingers and toes. Those, combined with his powerful tail stroking from side to side behind him, made Tsuyu guess he would be comparable to her in the water. She smiled a little to herself. ‘I was hoping to find someone who could keep up with me underwater, maybe I should ask Midoriya to train with me.’

 

The image of the blood-filled water and Midoriya’s reddened claws flashed back into her mind, causing Tusyu to shudder as she followed behind him towards the shore. ‘Well, maybe.’

Chapter Text

The lake became more shallow as Tsuyu and her classmates approached the shore, allowing the three of them to stand waist-deep in the water as they peered over the raised bank and into the central plaza.

 

The crowd was much smaller than it had been when the villains had first arrived through the warp gate. Taking stock of the unconscious thugs scattered around the plaza, Tsuyu quickly noticed that there were far fewer than there should have been. This confirmed her suspicions; the villains had been scattered like the students were. Divide and conquer. Tsuyu could only hope that her classmates were as lucky as she, Midoriya and Mineta had been.

 

Only four villains remained: three surrounding Aizawa and the man covered in hands, who was standing further back, observing. She could barely make out that he was mumbling numbers under his breath as he watched their teacher fight.

 

Aizawa was clearly flagging, but the battle was nearly won. He wrapped up one of the villains and dragged him in front of another, who was swinging a flail towards the hero. As the villain took out his ally, Aizawa ducked past him and drove his knee into the thug’s stomach, and as he doubled over from the pain, the hero’s elbow cracked the side of his skull, knocking him out.

 

Their teacher tried to catch his breath, looking between the leader and the other villain, sizing up the last two enemies standing. The observer paced slowly, walking perpendicular to their teacher, his array of hands creating an unsettling silhouette. The other villain had a simple transformation quirk, his two arms were bulked up to nearly six feet long and covered in dense, brown hair.

 

The lead villain walked in a wide arc, continuing to keep his distance as the three were locked in a standoff. As he moved behind the large-armed villain and obscuring himself from their teacher’s view, Tsuyu noticed the blue-haired man slowly moving his arm, detaching a vial from his hip.

 

Midoriya apparently had noticed the same thing, shouting loudly over the plaza. “Professor! He’s got something in his hand!”

 

Aizawa jerked his head towards the three students, his hair falling down around his face. As soon as he moved his eyes from the villains, the leader dashed forward and jammed whatever he was holding into the neck of the thug. The villain stumbled and fell to his knees, letting out a blood-curdling scream as the leader stepped back, chuckling to himself.

 

“What the heck did he just stab that guy with?” Mineta asked in a terrified whisper. Midoriya and Tsuyu were too stunned to say anything as they stared at the scene unfolding in front of them.

 

Their teacher stepped back slightly, unsheathing his scarf as he returned his attention back to the villains. The man on the ground stood up slowly, a slightly unhinged look on his face as he stared Aizawa down.

 


 

Kurogiri sneered. “Are you really foolish enough to plan in front of your enemy?”

 

Thirteen turned to face him properly. “It won’t matter if you know what we’re planning if you can’t do anything about it!” A finger on Thirteen’s costume popped open as Iida began to rev his engines, ready to make a break for the doors. An irresistible force began to pull Kurogiri in, dragging him closer to oblivion.

 

However, Kurogiri wasn’t worried. “Thirteen,” he said flatly, “you are a rescue hero. You have saved thousands, but you are woefully unprepared to face me. When was the last time you were in real combat?” The villain began to swirl his warp gate in front of himself, focusing on his quirk’s precise energies. “When was the last time you were against someone who was genuinely trying to kill you?”

 

Thirteen didn’t answer, instead continuing to focus on using Black Hole against the villain. Kurogiri opened the other end of a warp gate right behind the rescue hero, almost instantly rending Thirteen’s suit wide open.

 

The hero collapsed onto the ground, weakly uttering “He got me…” as the students all gasped, looking on in shock and horror.

 

“Come on, Iida! Go!” Satou shoved Iida’s shoulder, prompting the man to snap back to reality. Iida turned back and hesitated for a moment, before nodding and kicking his engines fully into gear, dashing madly towards the towering gates.

 

“A sheep trying to escape from the wolves…” Kurogiri swiftly opened a warp gate in front of the speeding Iida. ‘I simply cannot allow that.”

 

Right before Iida slammed head-long into the portal, Shouji leapt in front of him, using his massive arms to envelop the small warp gate and clearing the path for Iida. “Run! I’ve got him!” The six-armed man tumbled to the ground, struggling with the writhing purple mass.

 

Iida kicked off again, the gate to their salvation growing closer with every step. Kurogiri began to lose his patience, rearing up and flying at the armored man. “Impertinent children! I will not allow you to set foot outside those doors!” His misty form loomed over Iida’s head. “Begon-!”

 

Kurogiri’s command was interrupted by an anguished grunt. He whipped his vision back around as a sharp, excruciating pain ran along his body.

 

A sharp, crooked horn had pierced his brace, wedged painfully between the metal plates. He could feel his blood slowly seeping out along the wound.

 

Tsunotori took a step forward, grinding her hoof into the ground and glaring daggers into Kurogiri’s wide, yellow eyes. The short woman grit her teeth, exuding a grim intensity that reminded the other students of Midoriya.

 

Kurogiri cried out again as the horn wedged deeper into his flesh, twisting slowly. Tsunotori never broke eye contact as she growled in English. “Sound trumpets. Let our bloody colors wave.” A second horn slammed into the side of Kurogiri’s armor, cracking the metal plating protecting his body. “And either victory, or else a grave.”

 

The villain kept his impressed surprise to himself, shoving the pain out of his mind to focus on his mission. He surged again at Iida, desperate to prevent the man from alerting the outside to their attack. Before he could reach the man, Sero shot tape out, wrapping around one of the horns dug into his side.

 

Satou grabbed Sero’s tape, pulling with all his might and flinging the villain away and high into the air. The momentum wrenched the horn from his side, letting the blood flow freely as he grunted in agony.

 

The groaning sound of the doors being forced open signaled Kurogiri’s failure. He turned his gaze to the horned woman down below who was still glaring hatefully at him. The villain warped away as he somberly recited in English: “To weep is to make less the depth of grief.”

 


 

Uraraka and Ashido ran through the smokey alleyways of the Conflagration Zone, the only illumination from the roaring fires that burned in every building.

 

“We have to stay quiet, and stay together ,” Ashido whispered as the two peeked out into one of the soot-covered streets. Uraraka nodded in agreement and signaled for the two to dash across to another hidden alleyway.

 

They barely slipped into cover as a small band of thugs wheeled around into the street, sneering as they searched for Uraraka and Ashido. Groups of villains were patrolling around the zone, shouting and threatening all sorts of bodily torture on the students ‘when’ they caught them. The women were determined to not let that happen.

 

The smell of smoke and burnt wood stung the nostrils of the women as they crept from alleyway to side road, keeping out of sight of the villains as best they could. Uraraka cursed her tall statue under her breath; her height did her no favors when trying to find places to hide.

 

“We can’t- stay here, M- Mina,” Uraraka gasped out as she tried to hold in her coughs. Both of their eyes were watering, and breathing was beginning to get difficult.

 

Ashido nodded. “I have an idea, but you’ll have to trust me.” Her whisper was low and serious; she clearly understood the situation they were in. Uraraka met Ashido’s steely glare with one of her own, nodding in response. “Alright, let’s make our way to the edge of the c-” she coughed harshly, covering her mouth, “-omplex. I can melt us an escape, but it’s not gonna be quiet, and we’re not gonna be able to hide.”

 

Uraraka gulped. “So you need a distraction.” Her friend nodded grimly. Uraraka took a deep breath, shoving her worry away and gritting her teeth. “Alright, let’s do this.”

 

The two women began to move as fast as they could while keeping a low profile, making a beeline for the nearest wall of the Conflagration Zone. Uraraka ducked left and right, slapping and grabbing every decent-sized chunk of rubble she came across from the buildings already collapsed from the flames raging in the zone.

 

A building they were running past was smoldering with low, licking flames when one of the sides collapsed, tumbling twenty or more feet and cracking the pavement below it. The sudden rush of oxygen reignited the dying embers, causing the side of the building to erupt in flames and send more concrete falling.

 

Uraraka was too stunned from the dazzling cataclysm in front of her to do anything but stare, mesmerized by the flames as the debris fell straight towards her. Fortunately, Ashido was in no such daze, and shoved her friend out of the way, the two tumbling backward and onto the ground.

 

Uraraka and Ashido covered their heads as concrete exploded in front of them, kicking up dust and flinging smaller chunks of building flying. Ashido cried out in pain as a baseball-sized piece of debris hit her in the back, cutting her hero uniform and leaving a bleeding gash.

 

Uraraka’s eyes widened as her friend cried out. The brunette’s shock vanished as she flew into action, flipping their positions in a single motion, pinning Ashido underneath her as she shielded the pink woman from the settling carnage with one of the weightless chunks she had been towing behind her.

 

Both women panted as the dust floated down to the ground, catching their breaths and staring at each other. “Thanks,” they gasped out simultaneously, earning a wide-eyed look followed by a small smile from each of them.

 

Uraraka reached down and pulled Ashido’s shoulder towards her, turning the woman so she could see the wound. Her lilac blood seeped slowly out of the dirty wound, gradually staining the rest of her costume.

 

Ashido shook her shoulder loose and stood up, dusting herself off. “I’m fine, Ochako. We have more important things to worry about than a scrape. Let’s keep moving.”

 

Uraraka hesitated, seemingly wanting to protest, but obliged. As they ran through the newly-created debris field, she reached down and pulled the weight out of the largest chunk of wall she could find, picking it up effortlessly and adding it to her collection.

 

The two made it to the exterior wall without further incident, but they both knew that the commotion was likely to bring unwanted visitors. Ashido nodded to her partner as she put both of her hands up against the thick steel wall and began to produce the most potent acid she could muster.

 

Uraraka reared back and pitched one of her distractions as hard as she could into the air. As she lost sight of it in the smoke, she released her quirk; a few moments later, she heard the echoing sounds of a great collision. She couldn’t risk imparting energy to the debris, but gravity was her friend. Launching something weightless into the sky and letting earth pull it back down was a great way for her to get free inertia.

 

She repeated the process several more times, pitching the rocks deep into the burning city, each one creating a satisfying, crunching report. Ashido was grunting in pain as the burning acid pushed her own resistances to their limit, but she was not deterred. She was nearly through the wall when they heard a commotion down the road.

 

A group of three villains had turned the corner and spotted them, each shouting in cruelty and anger as they dashed towards the two students. Ashido redoubled her efforts, tears flowing from her eyes as her skin burned from her own power. “J-just a little longer!”

 

Uraraka tried to ignore how much her knees were shaking as the villains closed on them. She picked up her penultimate piece of ammunition, throwing the weight out of it and gripping it tightly in her hands. She took a deep breath and stepped forward, hurling the boulder like a bowling ball towards the charging villains.

 

“Release!” she yelled, throwing the weight back into the projectile and pushing to keep it from slowing down too much. The villains didn’t have time to react as the chunk of concrete crashed into them, throwing the three back into a heap. Uraraka hoped she hadn’t overestimated or underestimated how much force to put into the attack. She wanted to incapacitate, not kill.

 

“Midori was right,” Ashido said, a small smile growing on her face through her pained tears, “you’re scary .”

 

Before Uraraka could respond, her worries came to pass. The villains groaned and stirred, pushing themselves to their feet, the cruelty in their eyes replaced with burning hatred. Uraraka wheeled around as a second group of enemies ran into the open from the other direction. “M-Mina? I hope you’re almost done!”

 

Ashido grunted with a final effort, light pouring into the dim street as she broke through. “Come on, let’s get out of here!”

 

Tears formed in Uraraka’s eyes as her emotions continued to build. She reached down and threw the weight out of her final piece of debris: the mostly-intact wall she had grabbed earlier. She pulled it with her as Ashido slipped through the small hole in the wall, placing the concrete slab above her head.

 

One of the villains flung a knife at her, catching her in the arm before sailing past. The woman dove through the hole after her pink-skinned friend, screaming in pain as she hit the ground hard. She blinked through her tears and clapped her hands together, “release!”

 

The wall fell down with a heavy thud, kicking up more dust as it effectively sealed the hole Ashido had made. The pinkette helped pull her to her feet, careful of the bleeding gash on her right arm. “You okay?”

 

Uraraka panted for a few seconds, partially from her adrenaline leaving her system and partially because of the stress she had put on her quirk. She tried and failed to speak, instead settling on gritting her teeth and nodding.

 

“If we get out of here alive, I am so kissing you, Ochako. You can’t stop me.” Ashido’s teasing smile was flatter than normal, her own exhaustion clear on her face. Uraraka’s face lit up bright red as she began to stutter and cover her face with her hands. “Yeah, you’re fine,” the pink woman giggled as she gestured towards the central plaza behind her. “Let’s get moving. We gotta help the others.”

 


 

Aizawa squared up against the twitching, wild-eyed villain, still panting and exhausted. Tsuyu and her classmates stood in the waist-high water, staring at the scene in front of them, frozen in concern; even Midoriya was still, his eyes glowing softly.

 

Their teacher wrapped up the villain and crashed his knee into his gut, causing the thug to sputter and stagger, but unlike before, he remained standing. Her teacher’s hair fell down around his face again, and the villain seemed to explode. Before, his arms were massive, easily five feet long, but now they were truly gargantuan.

 

Each limb was larger than the rest of his body combined, bulging with taut muscle with fists larger than his torso clenched threatening at the ends. The scarf wrapped around him was flung outwards by his sudden growth, the hero leaping backwards as pulling the weapon back around his shoulders.

 

The villain lunged forward, crushing the ground to smithereens where their teacher had been before he had dodged away. He swung his arms wide, chopping the air as Aizawa jumped above him. The villain’s arms suddenly shrunk back to normal as their teacher wrapped him up and pulled himself downwards, driving the thug into the dirt.

 

Once again, the villain was not knocked unconscious, the jarring blow to his head only seeming to irritate him mildly. Their teacher snarled in frustration, “ what did you inject him with?!”

 

The blue-haired villain sneered. “Wouldn’t you like to know? Let’s just say it’s a homebrew.”

 

Aizawa jumped back as his hair fell again. “Trigger and stimulants?” he guessed, “You’ll kill him.”

 

The leader shrugged, throwing his arms wide. “A small sacrifice to bring down this disgusting society of heroes!”

 

Before Aizawa could retort, the large-armed villain took another deadly swing at him, the hero barely dodging.

 

Purple mist appeared next to the leader, the warp villain forming from nothing. Tsuyu immediately noticed a large, yellow horn jutting from the side of the mist, with what she guessed was his blood dripping from it.

 

“Tomura Shigaraki,” he said formally, his voice slightly strained from the pain he was in.

 

“Ah, Kurogiri,” Shigaraki responded, either unaware or unconcerned with Kurogiri’s wound, “is Thirteen dead?”

 

“The rescue hero is out of commision,” Kurogiri said evasively, “but one of the students escaped. He is going to call for the other heroes.”

 

Without warning, Shigaraki seemed to snap, his arms twitching as he raised his hands to his neck and began scratching himself violently, like a junkie going through withdrawal. “If you weren’t the lynchpin of this whole operation, I’d turn every atom in your body to dust!”

 

Just as quickly, he composed himself. “There’s no way we can win if dozens of pros show up to stop us; its game over, back to the title screen.” His shoulders slumped. “And I was looking forward to finishing this today. Dammit… let’s go home.”

 

Tsuyu could hardly believe her ears. Next to her, Mineta was having a similar reaction. “Did I hear that right? Did he say they’re gonna just leave ?”

 

“That’s what it sounded like to me,” Tsuyu responded.

 

Mineta began to weep tears of joy, his arms reaching for Tsuyu’s chest in a relieved ‘hug’. Before he could touch her, he froze. Midoriya’s eyes had flared brighter, the man snapping his neck towards Mineta, his mouth curled up to barely reveal his sharp fangs. Mineta wisely chose life, and took a step backwards.

 

“Oh, before we leave…” Shigaraki turned his crazed look on the three students. “Let’s make sure the Symbol of Peace is broken. Let’s wreck his pride.”

 

With stunning speed, Shigaraki was upon the three classmates, his hand reaching towards Tsuyu’s face. Death itself flashed before her, rooting her in place.

 

“Shigaraki, was it?”

 

The villain froze, his hand inches from the woman’s face. She dared to shift her gaze to her right, catching a glimpse of the green light radiating from Midoriya’s eyes.

 

Midoriya’s right arm was covered in scales, his am bulging slightly as his clawed hand gripped Shigaraki’s wrist tightly.

 

“Why are you doing this? You want to kill All Might, but that plan has clearly fallen through,” Midoriya continued, his tone both curious and matter-of-fact. “Surely you have a backup plan, so I’m curious as to why you’re doing this.”

 

Shigaraki tilted his head slightly, seemingly intrigued by Midoriya. “Isn’t it obvious? I’m going to kill you to break All Might’s spirit.”

 

“Surely your goals are larger than that ,” Midoriya responded. “You want to kill All Might, sure, but do your aspirations end there? The death of a single man?”

 

The villain’s hand gradually pulled back as his curiosity grew, Midoriya releasing his grip on the mesmerized villain. He stared at the student for a few moments, thinking. “It’s… not just a single man. It’s what he represents. With his death, I will destroy this pathetic society and their ‘heroes’.”

 

Midoriya snapped his fingers. “There it is. I knew you couldn’t be that small minded.” The student grew a twisted, unnerving smile. “You want to change the world, I can understand that. So what’s the best way you can do that?”

 

Shigaraki’s eyes grew a manic glint. “By killing All Might.”

 

The greenette nodded. “Right, but he’s not here, so what’s the best you can make of this situation?” Before Shigaraki could respond, Midoriya continued. “I’ll tell you: fear. You spread fear. You make a name for yourself, your ‘League of Villains’. This doesn’t have to be a setback, Shigaraki, it can be a brilliant debut.”

 

“What do you mean?” Shigaraki had seemingly completely forgotten about Tsuyu and Mineta, the two taking the opportunity to slowly slip away.

 

“Let’s say you kill us. Think of the headlines.” Midoriya was unsettlingly calm. “‘Villains Break into USJ, Take out Teachers and Kill Students.’ Not a bad headline, but it’s thinking small. What sends a better message: a bunch of villains killing some college freshmen, or a true mastermind, who orchestrated this whole operation, had the students in his grasp, literally dead to rights… and then walked away?”

 

Midoriya threw his arms wide. “It’s not about the body count. A few dead in a country of millions? It’ll be forgotten in a month or two. It’s about the message you send. The fact that you are strong enough to break into this place, desecrate one of the supposedly most secure campuses in the world , just to prove a point. You held our lives in your hands, and you let them go, just because you could.”

 

Midoriya crossed his arms as he finished. “That shows that you’re not some two-bit violent thug, but a real supervillain, planning much further ahead and much grander than a couple of dead students. Fear is what wins wars, Shigaraki, not dead bodies. Break the spirit of your enemies and it will be worse than any death.”

 

Shigaraki was stunned silent as the man finished his speech. His eyes squinted slightly, his face twisting into a wide smile. “You’re pretty smart, kid... and I think you’re right.” Tsuyu nearly tripped; had Midoriya’s ploy worked?

 

“Fear is important. Which means… Kurogiri!” Shigaraki called back over his shoulder, a warp gate forming under his feet in an instant. The villain reappeared next to Kurogiri, chuckling softly to himself. “We’ll continue as planned. Bring in the heavy-hitter.”

 

“Oh, and finish off Eraserhead, will you? I’m done with him.”

 

“As you wish, Tomura Shigaraki.” Kurogiri turned his focus on Aizawa, who was dodging away from the Triggered villain, his exhaustion making his movements more sluggish by the second. A massive arm surged forward, but once again, Aizawa ducked out of the way.

 

This time however, one of Kurogiri’s warp gates opened up and swallowed the punch, redirecting it to Aizawa’s blind spot. With a sickening crack, the massive fist collided with the pro hero, sending him hurting to the ground in a heap.

 

Shigaraki began to laugh harder, cackling at the unconscious man. “Finish him off.”

 

The thug lurched towards Aizawa, his massive arms dragging along the ground behind him.

 

Tsuyu and her classmates couldn’t move as muscle as he approached the hero and raised his arms high, ready to crush the man into a fine paste.

 

He swung his titanic limbs down.

 

A heavy crack echoed throughout the plaza.

 


 

Mina cheered as the thug flew backwards, smashing through the concrete divider between the plaza and one of the other zones and crashing into the ground, choking in pain as he held his broken ribs.

 

Ochako skidded to a halt as she hit the ground, her right boot completely shattered from the flying kick she delivered to the villain’s side. She nearly stumbled as she rose to her feet, clearly favoring one leg; it was no surprise she hurt herself with how fast and hard she had flung herself forward.

 

Mina turned her gaze over to Midori, who was staring wide-eyed at Ochako. His eyes ran over her limp, her shredded costume, her shattered boot, her filthy hair, her exhausted expression and her blood-covered arm. Mina took step back as his vision snapped to her, his eyes tracing over her tender hands, her soot-covered skin and the blood staining her costume. The shock on his face drained away, replaced with unbridled rage and hatred . Mina gasped as a fire seemed to erupt in his eyes, his horns flaring back at speeds she had never seen before as he bared his fangs.

 

The villain staggered to his feet and began to run towards Ochako, a furious, unhinged look on his face. Ochako was shaking, her face split between fear and determination, but her hurt leg prevented her from getting out of the way. She braced herself for the villain’s retaliation.

 

As he stomped forward towards the woman, Midori kicked off almost too fast for Mina to see, covering the distance in an instant and leaving a massive explosion of water behind. For the second time in less than a minute, the villain was catapulted backwards, but this time, a massive, scaled man was on top of him.

 

The villain screamed in agony as he crashed into the earth almost fifty feet away from Ochako, Midori pinning him to the ground. The claws on his left arm were buried in the thug’s side where his broken ribs were, crimson blood staining his clothes. Midori ripped his claws out, renewing the screams echoing through the plaza. Surprisingly, the villain didn’t stay down but began to struggle to get up.

 

Villains! Midori screamed, raising his right arm behind him. “What have you done to them?!” His arm bulged massive, dwarfing the rest of his body as he braced himself to not fall off balance. The man brought the closed, scale-covered fist down, finally knocking the villain out cold as his ribs cracked under the mighty blow.

 

Mina winced as the noise echoed through the plaza, but took the chance to run over to Ochako, who was nearing collapse. She grabbed onto her, helping to prop her up. “Are you alright? Can you walk?”

 

Ochako nodded as she panted. “I’ll be fine… but I think my quirk’s used up. I’m all out.” Mina helped Ochako to stand.

 

Midori also stood up, turning around with cold fury burning in his eyes. “Tsu. Mineta. Take Aizawa and get him to safety.” The two students, who Mina hadn’t even noticed yet, leapt into action at his command, not hesitating to run over and pick up their unconscious teacher and move quickly back toward the entrance, leaving the Mina, Ochako, Midori and the two villains alone in the central plaza.

 

The villains had simply watched the events before them unfold. The one Mina heard called Shigaraki seemed to be enjoying himself greatly as he chuckled maniacally. “You’re getting more interesting by the second, kid…”

 

“The warp gate is ready, Tomura Shigaraki,” Kurogiri said with finality. “There is no going back after this. Are you-”

 

“Yes!” Shigaraki interrupted him harshly. “Do it.”

 

A swirling black and purple mass appeared next to the two villains, a huge metal chair falling from the gate and crashing onto the ground next to them. Sitting, strapped into the chair, was a giant of a man. Shigaraki reached over and grabbed the restraints holding the man down, the bonds simply disintegrating in his hand.

 

The man stood slowly, a cruel grin growing across his face, rooting all three students in place with the malice he exuded. As he moved his gaze upward, Mina finally got a good look at him. His head was covered in short white hair, flecked with bright red, while two massive, red horns twisted back along his skull, one with the tip broken off. He rose to his full height, dwarfing Shigaraki next to him in height and breadth.

 

His face was wrinkled, his sadistic smirk doing nothing to hide his age, but despite it all, he looked incredibly physically fit. He rotated his head, popping his neck as he seemed to enjoy the look of horror on the students’ faces.

 

Greetings , students of UA,” he said slowly, his voice deep and intimidating. “My name is Genta Midoriya.”

 

“Midoriya…?” Mina whispered softly as fear gripped her heart. She slowly turned slightly to her right, peering at Midori, whose eyes were wider than hers, his breathing getting deeper and faster.

 

“But you might know me better…” he smirked as smoke vented from his nostrils, “as Terrorflame.”

 

Mina’s heart stopped. A chill ran down her spine as her knees began to shake harder.

 

Ochako reached out, slowly grabbing Mina by the arm and pulling her closer, both women unable to run, nor move their eyes from the true supervillain before them.

 

To her right, Mina could hear Midoriya collapse to his knees, his pained breathing turning into grunts and groans. She dared to peek once again and saw the man clutching his head as if in the greatest pain he had ever experienced, tears falling slowly from his eyes, which she was sure would have been burning furiously bright if they weren’t squeezed shut.

 

“I have come here to take revenge on the man who locked me in Tartarus for 25 years, ” Terrorflame spat as he looked around. He turned back to the villains. “Where is he?”

 

“He is en route,” Kurogiri explained.

 

Midori’s groans became full-blown screams of pain as he buckled over, pressing his head to the ground in an attempt to dull the pain. Mina was crying again, panic overwhelming her. She looked back and forth between her friend and his relative, her heart falling deeper and deeper into the pit of despair in her stomach.

 

“Midori!” she cried out, her voice cracking with fright. “We need you! Stop resisting!”

 

His screams redoubled, anguish echoing through the plaza. “I’M… NOT!”

 

Terrorflame turned back to the students, a look of bemusement on his face. “Very well, I suppose I will simply have to entertain myself while I wait.”

 

His cruel grin returned as he bared his fangs. Unlike Midori, these fangs only caused her heart to clench with fear. His red eyes began to glow, resembling pools of liquid magma as his horns twisted larger on his head. “It’s been so long since I’ve been able to stretch my wings, as they say. It feels good to be able to breathe again.”

 

He inhaled deeply, his eyes filled with nothing but malice and arrogance. With a low roar, he opened his mouth wide as a torrent of flame poured forth.

 

Straight towards Ochako and Mina.

 

Even if their legs were working, the absolutely massive wall of fire rushing towards them would have offered them no chance at escape. The heat was so intense that Mina could feel her face and hair beginning to dry and singe as soon as the flames escaped his throat. Time slowed down as the rushing death closed in, the fountain instantaneously evaporating and the concrete cracking as the fire rushed past.

 

Mina was told that your life flashed before your eyes before you died, but she only saw the bright light of Terrorflame’s attack as it closed in.

 

The deafening roar of searing flames and charring flesh filled the USJ.

Chapter Text

Ochako squeezed her eyes shut, but the light coming from the flames still shone through, nearly blinding her.

 

Then everything went dark.

 

She heard the flames rush around her, the heat causing her to sweat intensely, but she felt no pain. Ochako had heard that severe burns were sometimes painless because they destroyed your nerve endings, but… no, she didn’t feel nothing . She could still feel Mina’s arms wrapped around her waist and her own arms holding her friend close. She could still feel the pain in her right leg and the throbbing from the cut on her arm. She could feel the sweat pouring down her brow, mixing with the tears dripping from her face.

 

As the sound of flames faded, Ochako dared to peek. She slowly opened one of her eyelids, but what she saw made both of her eyes fly wide and her jaw to drop.

 

Towering in front of her was a massive creature covered in beautiful green scales. Even at her impressive height, she didn’t even rise to the shoulder of its massive arm. A curved black spike, as dark as its terrible claws and easily over six inches long, stuck out of the creature’s elbow. Its legs were longer, digitigrade and bulging with powerful muscle as they dug into the concrete at her feet.

 

The body of the beast was covered in massive, interlocking plates running down its neck and back, while it’s underside was protected by lighter green armor. A great green ridge accented by long, dark spikes ran down its head to the tip of its tail, which had coiled loosely around the two women. Above her, covering Mina and Ochako and shielding them from the light was a massive, dappled wing.

 

Ochako recognized those wings. She recognized those arms. She recognized him.

 

“D-Deku?”

 

Deku was colossal, easily over thirty feet from tail to tip. His arm was larger than her entire body and his hand could easily have palmed her head like a baseball. His heavy breathing sent deep vibrations through her body, further impressing just how large the predator in front of her was. The sheer power he exuded should have terrified her, intimidated her, cowed her, but instead, she only felt… safe. All of this was for her and Mina, protecting them from certain death. She felt a swell of hope in her heart, dispelling the dark despair that had gripped it.

 

Next to her, Mina was also slack-jawed, staring dumbly at the massive dragon in front of them. Her face was turning slowly up into a smile, tears of relief beginning to form in her eyes. “He… he saved us.” Mina gripped Ochako’s waist harder, pulling them closer together.

 

Deku inhaled and reared back, throwing his head high as he unleashed a thunderous, primal roar. The women squeezed their eyes together and braced themselves as the ground underneath their feet shook with such intensity that they would have fallen over if they weren’t being held up by Deku’s tail. The trees nearby trembled and waves were kicked up in the nearby water as the ear-splitting battle cry echoed throughout the USJ. As the sound faded, Deku slowly lowered his head back down; Ochako wished she could have seen the look on his face, even if he didn’t look like Deku anymore.

 

“What’s this ?” Terrorflame sounded surprised, as well as impressed, but certainly not intimidated. Ochako could hear the smirk on his face. Deku widened his stance slightly, a fearsome growl rumbling out of his throat. His long, muscular tail coiled tighter around Ochako and Mina’s feet, wrapping itself up and around their bodies, comforting but not crushing them.

 

Deku finally spoke, his voice octaves deeper and more monstrous than anything she had ever heard before.

 

“They… are mine. They are all mine. You will not. Touch. Them .”

 

Ochako could barely tell that the voice was Deku’s. It sounded so foreign, so terrifying, so … alien, but it was definitely his.

 

Mina’s expression devolved back to fear. “We need to get out of here. Those villains are still there, but you heard what that Kurogiri guy said, right? The pros are coming! Midori’s giving us a chance, come on!” She grabbed Ochako’s arm and pulled it over her shoulder, giving the limping woman some support.

 

Ochako tore her eyes from Deku, who seemed to have heard them, his tail uncoiling around them. She missed the feeling of warmth and safety, but Mina was right. Ochako gulped, then nodded, the two of them moving as quickly as they could while keeping Deku between them and the villains.

 

“What are the chances ?!” Terrorflame sounded almost delighted , completely unphased by Deku’s transformation. “Another Midoriya in this class of students, and one with a full transformation at that! Quite impressive for someone so young, but what’s this?”

 

The two girls made it to the trees on the edge of the complex, but Ochako’s ankle was screaming, causing her to stumble. Mina pulled her behind the blackened, incinerated wood and let her sit down, leaning her up against the charred tree.

 

“Green? Chromatic ?”

 

Ochako and Mina both froze, slowly turning towards each other, eyes wide with fear.

 

Terrorflame began to chuckle, but soon the plaza boomed with boisterous laughter. “And you’re trying to be a hero?! Don’t you know what you are, boy?! You’re a villain! It’s in your blood! IT IS YOUR BLOOD!”

 

Deku snarled, turning himself to face Terrorflame properly. The villain huffed, blowing a cloud of smoke from the corner of his mouth. “Who are you?” The white-haired man inhaled deeply through his nose, smelling the air. “You smell like Hisashi, but no… you’re his son, aren’t you?”

 

Terrorflame’s laughter renewed in earnest. “What a delightful twist of fate! I take his father from him and his own child is chromatic. He must hate you.”

 

“You don’t know anything ,” Deku growled, his rage shaking the ground slightly.

 

The villain’s laughter abruptly ended. “It’s true that I’ve been isolated for longer than you’ve been alive, child, but you would do well to respect your betters. I know a great deal more than you think.” His voice had suddenly lost its mocking derision, instead dripping with malice. “Are you telling me that he willingly let a chromatic try to become a hero? What a joke .”

 

Ochako burned with anger and indignation. Who did this guy think he was? Deku was going to become a hero and nobody could say otherwise. She shifted her foot, trying to pull herself up, but Mina held her down.

 

“What are you doing? ” she hissed.

 

“I can’t let Deku fight this guy on his own.”

 

Mina looked like she wanted to slap her. “Are you kidding me?! You’re hurt, exhausted and functionally quirkless right now. Midori isn’t standing up to that monster so you can hobble back and get yourself killed!”

 

“Bu-”

 

“No buts! You are staying here until we can get moving again.” Mina poked her chest with a finger. “I will not hesitate to knock you out and drag you away if you try to go back.” She reached down to pull the shattered remnants of her boot from her right leg.

 

Shigaraki produced another vial from his hip, holding it out to Terrorflame. “Here.”

 

“...no.”

 

“What?!” Shigaraki looked up at the man as he flew into a rage.

 

Terrorflame didn’t break eye contact with Deku, completely unphased with Shigaraki’s tantrum. “I will not sully myself with such a crutch against this wyrmling.” Shigaraki began to furiously scratch his neck again, but before he could argue, both him and Kurogiri vanished into a warp gate, reappearing on the far side of the plaza.

 

Then, the man ceased to be. With a speed that Ochako had only seen when watching Stormclaw or Ryukyu, Terrorflame exploded into a huge red dragon, even larger than Deku. He took a menacing step forward as he rose to his full height, smoke billowing from his nostrils as he grinned, showing his fangs.

 

Compared to Deku’s curved jaw, Terrorflame’s was stouter and straighter, while the villain’s horns were much more pronounced, extending past his head. His shoulders were maybe a foot taller than Deku’s but she immediately noticed the difference in their builds. Terrorflame was much more the traditional image of a dragon, the one you would find in an old picture book or in a video game, his body well-proportioned and burgeoning with muscle and scales.

 

On the other hand, compared to Terrorflame, Deku was much lankier. His arms and legs were longer in proportion to his body, and his neck was much longer as well. He almost looked serpentine as he held his curved, spiked jaw low to the ground.

 

The two beasts, each over thirty feet long, began to pace slowly in a circle around each other. Ochako noticed Terrorflame’s body was covered in scars and old battle wounds, his pristine armor disfigured and gnarled, but no less effective. Deku’s scales were unblemished and beauti-

 

They weren’t.

 

Ochako gasped and cupped a hand over her mouth as Deku paced to the right, exposing his right shoulder to the women. The scales above and around his right arm were burnt and flaking, charred black from Terrorflame’s fire breath. The green dragon was keeping his right side turned away from the red dragon, keeping his wound out of reach.

 

“Come, great-nephew. Show me you have the fangs to back up that roar.”

 

The two dragons surged forward.

 


 

 

Momo finished creating a new uniform for herself as Kyouka dusted herself off while Kaminari was wandering around like an idiot after electrocuting the villains that had been attacking them; apparently his quirk had some nasty drawbacks when he went overboard. Kyouka was admiring her handiwork when a giant pillar of flame erupted from the central plaza.

 

The two still with their wits turned and stared as the blazing torrent rushed through the center of the USJ, dissipating after blasting at least a hundred feet forward. Momo clapped her hand over her mouth in horror, “w-who could have…”

 

As the fire cleared, her eyes widened in horror. Standing directly in the path, and somehow still standing, was a gigantic green dragon. The beast reared back and unleashed a deafening roar that caused Kyouka to clap her hands over her ears, despite the great distance between them.

 

“H-holy crap! ” Kyouka cried out as the roar faded. “Is that Midoriya?”

 

“I...I think it is,” Momo mumbled as the blood drained from her face. Before she could contemplate the terrifying transformation, a second dragon seemingly appeared from nowhere, standing opposite of her classmate.

 

Momo’s breath caught in her throat as her stomach twisted into knots.

 

She recognized that dragon.

 

“T-Terrorflame!” Her voice cracked as she took a step back instinctively.

 

Kyouka mirrored the motion. “The supervillain ? I thought All Might defeated him way before we were born! What’s he doing here?!”

 

Momo clutched her chest as she watched the two dragons pace around each other, their wings twitching as their footsteps shook the ground. Next to Terrorflame, Momo couldn't help but think Midoriya looked valiant… almost heroic, facing against the battle hardened, bigger dragon.

 

‘Zu….’

 

‘I’m sorry…’

 

“Getting stopped by Midoriya.”

 


 

“You really don’t know how outclassed you are,” Shouto said flatly as he stared down the frozen villain in front of him. “What are a bunch of lowlifes going to do against someone with three quirks?”

 

“T-t-three?” the thug chattered out through the ice.

 

“You’ve seen my ice, but I also have my fire.” Shouto let a small gout of fire rise from his left hand; a small sacrifice to make for the sake of intimidation. “But I’m also telekinetic.”

 

The villain grunted as he was punched across the face by apparently nothing. He sputtered and spat out a bit of blood as he stared back up at Shouto with pure fear in his eyes.

 

“Fortunately for you, I want to be a hero; I don’t want to cause undue pain or death.” Shouto heard another thug creeping up behind him, but he also felt Hagakure touch his arm as she brushed past him, moving to intercept. He kept his right foot in position to throw up an ice wall to protect himself in case she failed, but he didn’t take his eyes off of the villain in front of him.

 

The man behind him lunged forward, only to be thrown back by a kick from nowhere, gasping as the wind was knocked out of him as he was tossed to the ground. Before he could stand back up, another kick to the gut and a blow across his face knocked him out cold.

 

The frozen villain’s eyes were somehow even wider than they were before, and quickly darted back and forth between the unconscious thug and Shouto. “Do you see? I don’t even have to look to defeat you. Your position is hopeless.” Shouto narrowed his eyes. “Your lives will be spared, but only if you tell me how you plan to kill All Mi-”

 

His question was interrupted by a sound all too familiar to him: the roar of rushing flames. He finally broke his gaze from his prisoner and stared at the source. His own eyes widened as he saw a green dragon standing in the central plaza as the flames faded.

 

A second, towering dragon grew in front of his classmate, red as blood and covered in scars. Todoroki recognized the supervillain from all the studying he had done under his private tutors.

 

His mouth fell open as his earlier question was answered.

 

Oh.

 


 

The dragons tore great chunks out of the concrete floor with every step they took as they rushed towards the other. Terrorflame swung at Midori with his right hand, his red claws glinting in the light as they cut through the air. With a heavy impact that Mina could feel , despite being at least a hundred feet away, Midori turned his body into the blow and blocked with his right.

 

Midori’s long tail came around with him, striking Terrorflame on his left and grinding the villain back several yards, concrete debris flying into the air all around them. The green dragon’s head lunged forward, deadly fangs bared as his maw opened wide. The villain brought his own skull down and a sharp, echoing crack rang out as his twisted horns impacted with Midori’s flared ridges, the latter being driven into the earth.

 

Mina gasped at her friend’s pained grunt as the ground shattered underneath his skull. Terrorflame rose his right arm up again and brought it down right on Midori’s head, but before he could connect, a great dust storm was kicked up as his great-nephew’s wings beat once, launching the younger man backward.

 

“You fight like an amateur. Has this pathetic institution gone even further downhill since my imprisonment?” Terrorflame sneered, his booming voice carrying across the entire complex.

 

The green dragon shook his head as he rose back to his fighting stance, his eyes refocusing on the posturing villain. Mina noticed the familiar, intelligent look in Midori’s green eyes, even if they were massive, draconic and furious. She doubted he would make the same mistake twice.

 

Midori cautiously stalked forward, his head low to the ground and his wings poised at the ready. Terrorflame beat his own wings, launching himself toward the green dragon with deadly intensity. He swung his claws once again, but this time, Midori was ready.

 

The student’s wings beat hard, jerking him back onto his hind legs and letting the villain crash down in front of him. Mina watched the massive muscle fibers of Midori’s legs flex and push, stopping his backward momentum and launching her friend forward, fangs bared and claws extended towards the exposed villain.

 

Terrorflame’s years of experience would not let such a tactic work so easily. Planting his right claw, he ducked down slightly and drove his left arm upward with a closed fist. As Midori’s attack sailed high, his fist struck the younger man in the chest, launching him upwards and careening above the villain.

 

Like a cat, Midori twisted himself in the air and with a beat of his wings, he landed on his feet. The man took a few deep breaths, recovering the air that Terrorflame had knocked out of him. With his second attack repelled as easily as the first, Midori set to prowling again, plotting and strategizing.

 

Mina felt herself tearing up again, and a quick glance at Ochako showed that she was, too. The incredible power on display from both combatants was driving her fight-or-flight instincts crazy, but she kept her feet firm, standing guard over her friend. ‘All that strength, all this intensity… Midori isn’t just fighting for me, or Ochako…’

 

She thought back to what her classmate had said when he first transformed. His declaration of ownership had sounded strange, but Mina knew what it meant. Midori had placed his protection on the entire class, he had claimed all of them.

 

He was working with his quirk.

 

‘He’s fighting for all of us.’

 


 

Bakugou’s eyes were wide and his mouth had fallen open as he stuttered and sputtered for words. Eiko saw the look of absolute terror on her friend’s face, but she didn’t quite understand it. “Midoriya really his his father’s son, huh?”

 

“H-he shouldn’t…” Bakugou managed to choke out.

 

“Shouldn’t what? Look at him fight that big villain!” She pumped her fists up and down in excitement. “That’s so manly!”

 

Another great clash from the two dragons shook some of the rubble around them loose, kicking up dust and snapping Bakugou out of his petrified state. Eiko felt herself grabbed by the shirt and shoved backward; she instinctually hardened her back as she was slammed into a wall behind her.

 

Bakugou was glaring into her eyes, only a few inches from her face. His expression was a mixture of rage, fear and determination. “You don’t get it! He shouldn’t be doing this! He shouldn’t be able to do this!”

 

Eiko was cowed slightly under his furious snarl. “W-what do you mean? His dad does it all the ti-”

 

“Uncle Hisashi and Ryuko weren’t even going to try and teach him this until our third year!” Bakugou shouted in her face. “You have a transformation quirk, you shouldn’t be this dumb! Think about how much strain something like that puts on his body!”

 

The woman’s eyes widened slightly. “So you’re saying-”

 

“His body can’t handle this!” Bakugou’s hands were trembling as they clutched her shirt. “He shouldn’t be able to do this, but he somehow did it anyway! Stupid, stupid, stubborn bastard!” Bakugou shouted into the sky as he let Eiko go. “A full transformation is way too much for him!”

 

Bakugou began to run off in the direction of the battle, Eiko shaking herself out of her stupor and immediately following him. “What’s gonna happen, Bakugou?” She couldn’t stand the idea of anything happening to her horn brother.

 

“Stormclaw warned us about this. If he doesn’t stop…” Bakugou’s rage seemed to have broken, replaced with cold determination.

 

“He’s going to die.”


 

Deku was breathing hard as he was rebuffed once again, landing on all fours and kicking up the concrete rubble, which was all that was left of most of the floor of the central plaza. Ochako’s emotions were riding so high that tears were leaking from her face and her heart pounded like a drum against her ribcage. Deku was standing up against the biggest supervillain Japan had seen in at least a century; he was the only thing between them and fiery death.

 

Ochako adored the look of brilliance in Deku’s eyes that was burning through even in his transformed state. She could tell he was strategizing; none of his attacks so far had been the same. He was keeping the villain off balance, not knowing what to expect next.

 

Sure enough, Deku took her by surprise. With a mighty beat of his wings, he surged into the sky, soaring above the other dragon.

 

Terrorflame was less surprised, and even seemed excited. “Yes! Think like a dragon, child!” He beat his own wings and chased Deku into the air.

 

Deku had a height advantage from his head start and kept climbing higher until he was nearly at the roof of the giant domed structure. He flipped himself around with a flap of his wings and began to dive towards the earth, straight towards Terrorflame.

 

Perhaps Deku was expecting Terrorflame to be slower, as he seemed slightly surprised that the villain was as close as he was. He couldn’t gain the speed she guessed he wanted before he crashed into the red dragon, but the impact still sent a shockwave that blew her hair away from her face and shook the burnt trees around her.

 

With the two dragons locked in a ferocious grapple, there was no way that either of their wings could keep them aloft. They tumbled toward the ground in a death spiral, quickly reaching terrifying speeds. Ochako strained to make out what was happening, but struggled to see anything concrete.

 

What was clear was that Deku was using his longer limbs and neck to his advantage. Terrorflame clearly had the upper hand in experience and raw strength, but Deku seemed to be more clever and quick-witted. He used his reach to keep Terrorflame at bay, letting him strike with less fear of retaliation. Deku used his right arm to reach past the villain and grab onto his wing, effectively negating any maneuverability the red dragon had in the air.

 

The two dragons approached the ground rapidly, and Deku used his superior position to flip Terrorflame beneath him, aiming to crush the villain against the ground. Ochako dared to let her heart fill with hope as the draconic meteor rushed towards impact.

 

“Clever, but futile.”

 

Ochako was reminded just how strong Terrorflame was as he broke free of Deku’s grasp and kicked away from him, flipping over in mid air and beating his wings with enough force to obscure Ochako’s vision with dust and debris.

 

With her line of sight blocked, she had to rely on sound. She heard two heavy impacts as the dragons hit the ground, Mina stumbling and falling down next to her as some of the lights that lined the complex shattered from the shockwave.

 

A rush of wind and the cracking of concrete betrayed the surge of motion in the cloud of dust. She heard the sickening sound of piercing flesh and a deafening, primal roar that caused the two women to shriek and cover their ears.

 

Ochako’s heart clenched with terror. ‘Was that Deku?! Did Terrorflame get ‘im?!’

 

She strained her eyes as the dust cleared, desperate to see what had happened. Her mouth fell open and tears began to fall slowly as she saw the dragons seemingly frozen.

 

Terrorflame was twitching slightly, his neck raised up and his jaw open as smoke poured out. Underneath him, Deku was low to the ground, his longer neck bent upwards and his curved jaw turned to the side with his fangs buried deep in the villain's neck. Terrorflame’s ruby blood dripped to the ground, accompanied by another strange green liquid.

 

Ochako nearly cried out for joy as hope surged inside her once more.

 

‘He- He’s doin’ it...’

 


 

Pony, on the other hand, did cry out in joy. She jumped in the air and pumped her fist, cheering at the top of her lungs. “Get him, Izuku!” She had completely forgone Japanese, leaving the other students mostly unaware of what she was saying.

 

“Did you see him flying through the air! It was like something out of an old action movie!” Pony popped two of her horns off and mimicked the dragon’s mid-air struggle by flying and spinning them around her.

 

“And that part where he blocked the fire! Oh, and that dodge he did!” Pony was full-on fangirling over her friend’s success.

 

“Tsunotori, you might wanna calm down,” Satou warned her, “this doesn’t look like it’s over yet.”

 

“Don’t dull her sparkle,” Aoyama chimed. He was smirking, admiring Pony’s spirit.

 

Pony grinned at Aoyama’s encouragement, turning back to the plaza to keep watching Izuku sa-

 

She stopped. Her horns floating around her fell to the ground.

 

“I-Izuku?”

 


 

Ochako’s leaping heart suddenly plummeted back into the pit of her stomach.

 

Terrorflame wasn’t shaking with pain.

 

He was shaking with rage.

 

“You… how dare you…” Terrorflame’s eyes were burning bright, hot red; they truly looked like erupting volcanoes. “I was allowing you to serve as my entertainment until All Might arrived… but I see that you are tired of living.”

 

With a casual swipe of his right hand, Deku was tossed backwards. Terrorflame puffed a gout of fire from his nostrils and down his neck, his crimson blood igniting like gasoline and sealing the wound. “I was going to take you under my wing… Teach you the true power of our quirk… but you have proven yourself a nuisance. Witness the power you do not deserve!”

 

Terrorflame’s eyes burst with light as his entire body bulged. When he had been comparable to Deku before, he quickly dwarfed the green dragon in every way. His horns twisted back further beyond his head while his claws lengthened and sharpened. Spikes grew from his elbows and around his jawline as his wings stretched larger and larger, a faint blue-black tone growing on their trailing edge.

 

Ochako had estimated Deku to be about seven feet tall at the shoulder, and easily 30 feet long; she had thought he was massive.


Terrorflame brought new meaning to the word.

 

He was at least fifteen feet at the shoulder; Ochako guessed that his head stood another fifteen feet above that, and from his nose to the tip of his tail, she was pretty sure at least two Dekus could fit along the length comfortably. His limbs bulged and rippled with powerful muscle, while his scales thickened along his body. Ochako’s entire body would have fit inside his palm, and his jaw was so titanic, he could easily swallow both of the women whole in a single bite.

 

‘He… he was just toyin’ with us. Deku never stood a chance…”

 

She scooted back along the ground in a panic, her brain screaming at her to flee. Mina grabbed her by the shoulder and wrenched her up, surprising Ochako with her strength. The pinkette pulled Ochako onto her back and began to run as fast as she could, both of them looking back over their shoulders at Deku, who was pulling himself up.

 

Ochako noticed that he was shaking. The backhand from Terrorflame couldn’t have hurt him that badly; he had taken much worse in the fight before and been fine. She was a little concerned with how easily she was reading the expressions of a gigantic lizard, but she could tell that he was pushing himself, struggling to stay in the fight.

 

The women froze in their tracks as Terrorflame unleashed a truly blood-curdling roar. The ground shook and the remaining lights in the USJ shattered. Ochako tumbled off Mina’s back as they both fell down, clutching their ears. The roar made Deku’s sound like a puppy trying to imitate its parents.

 

Terrorflame turned his fiery gaze back to the two women. “You will not escape my wrath again. His voice boomed across the entire complex, louder than ever before.

 

The monster opened his massive jaw wide, his vicious teeth glinting and dripping saliva. Ochako could see the tell-tale glow of flames once again begin to emerge from his throat.

 

And then, Deku happened.

 

Despite him having to fight to even stand, the green dragon surged forward, faster than even the villain could react.

 

Time was flowing in slow-motion. The flames sparked and surged, edging closer and closer to the end of his throat and towards the women. Before the dragon could take another shot at turning the women into charred husks, Deku beat his wings and kicked off with his legs as hard as he could.

 

A crater several feet deep was left behind as he sailed over into the air, the spiked horns on the top of his skull impacting Terrorflame’s jaw with a bone-chilling crack .

 

The villain’s head was shot skyward as the flames poured out like the engines on a space shuttle. Despite not being aimed at them, Ochako could feel the heat radiating from the attack, and the air around her began to rush like a hurricane as it rose.

 

The roof of the USJ stood no chance as the flames smashed into it and melted a gigantic hole in the dome, the flames shooting into the sky as they escaped the complex.

 

Molten glass and melted steel fell from the hole as Deku tumbled back to the ground, the ground splintering as he landed. Terrorflame’s entire body shook with renewed rage as he slowly lowered his head back down.

 

He raised his deadly claw above Deku and crashed it down on top of the green dragon, pinning him down with a single hand.

 

“You… insolent… child!” Terrorflame roared with unrestrained fury, staring down at the pinned dragon. Deku’s maw opened as he tried to breathe something out, only for Terrorflame to push his hand down harder, crushing Deku’s chest down further into the destroyed floor, stopping his attempt. Ochako could hear the sickening sound of snapping bones even across the great distance between them. “You claimed these students? You called them yours? I will slaughter each and every one of them in front of you. I will tear your wings from your back and then devour you limb by limb. I will make every… single… moment… agony for you.”

 

Ochako could hear Mina crying as her own tears fell harder. Deku’s eyes glowed so weakly as he looked up at Terrorflame, but she could see the defiance and determination still burning within them, stronger than ever. Her soft tears turned into wet, choking sobs as the supervillain began to lower his jaw towards Deku.

 

“Missouri… SMASH!”


Terrorflame’s head was driven into the ground with such a force that Ochako and Mina were physically thrown backwards a dozen feet from the wind pressure alone. Rocks and debris were catapulted into the sky, whirling around as if a tornado had appeared in the middle of the USJ.

 

All Might had leapt down from the hole Terrorflame had burned into the dome with such speed that Ochako only knew he had from the sound his movement generated. The number one hero stood tall between Deku and Terrorflame, his broad shoulders standing guard over the dragon-sized crater he had just dug into the floor of the plaza.

 

Ochako could only catch a glimpse of his face, but it told her everything.

 

He wasn’t smiling.

 

Debris began to fall down all around the USJ, splashing into the waters of the Flood Zone and bouncing off the roof of the Conflagration Zone. He lowered himself into a combat stance, emanating pure power from his bulky frame. “Never fear, students…”

 

I am here.”

Chapter Text

Toshinori cursed himself under his breath for being so late. He couldn't have known that the USJ was under attack, but he didn’t push himself as hard as he could have to get here. He turned to look behind him at the green dragon laying in a crater behind him, his heart sinking further as he saw the burn marks on his scales and heard the labored, ragged breaths rattling from his throat.

 

‘Young Midoriya…’ There was nobody else that the dragon could be. ‘You, your father, you both trusted me…’ He scanned around the plaza, looking desperately for anybody else. ‘Your entire class trusted me. I failed all of you.’ He hopped down into the crater, kneeling next to Young Midoriya’s head.

 

“I’m so sorry you had to stand up to this villain, but I’m proud of you for doing it.” The dragon’s eyes look at him weakly. “I am here, Young Midoriya, I will keep everyone safe, you have my word. Nobody else will be hurt because of these villains today.”

 

The dragon shut his eyes and nodded, his power seeming to collapse back into his body as he shrunk back down to his normal, human shape.

 

The child spoke, his breath weak and soft. “Thank you, All Might…” He barely managed to finish his thanks before he went limp, unconscious. Toshinori scooped him up from the ground carefully and in an instant, he was standing before the two girls he had seen earlier.

 

“Young Ashido, Young Uraraka, can I ask for you to keep Young Midoriya safe?” He placed the boy gently on the ground.

 

“With my life.” Young Uraraka spoke with such grim determination that it gave Toshinori pause. She looked deadly serious, an energy almost seeming to emanate from her that bolstered his confidence.

 

The pink student quickly moved over to Young Midoriya, gently placing her hand on his chest to feel his breathing. “We’ll take good care of him, All Might.” Her voice was shaky, but seemed to be doing her best to keep it together.

 

‘These poor students, they never should have had to experience this,’ Toshinori lamented before refocusing. “Where are the other students?” He didn’t have time to comfort them right now, not when others could still be in mortal danger.

 

“We got teleported all over the complex,” Young Uraraka explained. “Tsu and Mineta took Aizawa back to the entrance, but the rest are probably still around in the different zones.”

 

“Aizawa?” Toshinori froze.

 

“A villain got him, but he’s alive… I-I think.”

 

‘Dammit…’ The true scope of Toshinori’s failings was becoming clearer by the second. He stood up and turned back towards the villain pulling himself out of the hole Toshinori had put him in. “It’s safe now, children. I’ve got this.” With that, he took several bounding steps away to get a safe distance from the students before leaping high and landing in front of Terrorflame.

 

“All Might…” The monster’s voice dripped with pure rage. “I’ve thought about what I would do if I got my hands on you every day for twenty-five years.”


“Yeah?” Toshinori postured, making sure to grow his trademark smile once again, “How about I break your other horn this time?”

 

Terrorflame roared in rage and surged forward, his gigantic claw swiping down at Toshinori. He quickly dodged to the side as the concrete shattered like glass against the villain. Despite the great power surging through Toshinori, if the villain got a good hit on him with those massive, razor-sharp claws, he would be in serious trouble.

 

“You’ve gotten slow, old-timer.” Toshinori taunted, causing the dragon to howl in renewed fury and lunge at him with his titanic jaws. Toshinori jumped back the other direction and kicked off of Terrorflame’s planted arm. He reared his fist back and delivered a full-bodied punch to the dragon’s jawline, sending him careering across the central plaza and crashing into the the lake.

 

As the torrent of water shot into the air, Toshinori took the opportunity to dash into the large domed structure to his right, tearing through the faux-city and the rain until he found his targets. He scooped Young Tokoyami and Young Kouda in his arms and shot out of the Downpour Zone, depositing the boys at the entrance before they realized what was happening.

 

Toshinori paused for a moment. He counted nine students, including the two he had just rescued. He saw Thirteen laying on the ground with a destroyed suit next to Aizawa, who was also unconscious. Toshinori felt his guilt deepen, but this wasn’t the time for him to feel sorry for himself. He had met Young Iida on his way to the USJ and he knew of the students making their way here, which left seven students for him to rescue.

 

He dashed back to the central plaza in an instant, before any of the students could even realize he was there. Terrorflame had recovered and launched himself into the air, his great wings unfurling around him as he opened his jaw and breathed a massive torrent of fire down at Toshinori. He planted his feet and brought his fist back.

 

“Texas Smash!”

 

His punch unleashed an rush of wind so great that it split Terrorflame’s inferno around him, spinning them around him like a red tornado. He jumped straight towards the villain, through the eye of the vortex his punch had conceived.

 

“I don’t remember it being this easy!” He caught the villain in the jaw, snapping his mouth shut with an uppercut. He used one of the spikes on Terrorflame’s chin as leverage and swung down, landing a solid punch on the dragon’s chest, sending him flying backwards into the massive water slide in the Flood Zone. “You’re gonna have to do better than that , villain!”

 

He scanned the water for any students and finding none, he threw another mid-air punch, flying backwards as Terrorflame’s body cracked the cliff behind the water slide. Toshinori landed and dashed off to the red-domed building. He found no students there either and ran to the next zone.

 

Toshinori saw Young Kaminari being held hostage by a villain and his blood boiled . Before any of them could even notice him, he put the villain in the dirt and tucked the dazed student under his arm. He scooped up the two girls and whisked them off to safety.

 

That only left four students unaccounted for. Before he could grab them, a massive crash announced the dragon’s return to the central plaza, steam rising off of him in his rage.

 

In a flash, Toshinori was on him. He swung with a left hook, which the villain blocked with his arm. “Come on, lizard, is that the best you’ve got?”

 

Terrorflame’s eyes twitched with liquid fire and fury as he flung Toshinori back with a swing of his arm. Every single one of his motions carried murderous intent as he slowly stalked towards Toshinori.

 

‘Keep him focused on me and get him angry ,’ Toshinori repeated in his mind. He recalled well the strategy that kept him alive and brought him victory twenty-five years ago. Keeping him too mad to think would keep all of them alive today.

 


 

As you grow up, you learn things about yourself. You learn what you like, what you dislike, what you love, what you hate and so on. Momo didn’t know everything about herself, of course; nobody does. But what she did know, was that she hated not being in control.

 

That’s not to say that she needed to be in command of every situation, but whenever she was in a situation she didn’t have a firm grasp on, she couldn’t help but get nervous and uncomfortable. She liked knowing all the facts and she didn’t like surprises.

 

Since she came to UA, she had been in control. She had studied for over a year for the recommendation exam and had gone out of her way to prepare for her classes at UA. During the quirk assessment test, she was presented with clear challenges that she could apply herself to, and at the battle trial, she had completely controlled the battle from beginning to end; her opponents never got a chance to fight back.

 

Momo didn’t feel like she could be blamed for feeling that way either. Her entire quirk depended on her being prepared; if she didn’t know the molecular composition of something, she couldn’t make it. In a grim sense, once she became a hero, her success and survival depended on her being prepared.

 

She knew that she couldn’t always be in control if she was a hero, surprise attacks and other unexpected events were sure to happen, but that’s why she was at UA. To best prepare herself to know what to do in these situations and learn how to get a firm footing. She wasn’t expecting everything to go off the rails so soon.

 

And things had certainly gone off the rails.

 

Ever since Wednesday night, she had been even more wary of Midoriya than she normally was; he brought up too many old feelings she just wasn’t sure what to do with yet. Hearing Mina and Ochako talk about Midoriya… just being around him made her nervous. He seemed so harmless, so kind, so sincere, so adorable; the same way he had always seemed, ever since they were kids. But was it all a ruse? Was Midoriya a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

 

Then she had seen him snap when that warp villain had attacked them. Was that who he truly was? A monster ready to attack? He didn’t seem to be in control of it, either. Ochako was trying to stop him, he looked like he was trying to stop himself , but it didn’t matter. He lost the battle as he transformed into a seven-foot-tall scaled draconic humanoid and lunged at the villain with real intent to kill.

 

What if Momo set him off accidentally? What if she said something or did something that caused Midoriya to lose it? There were too many questions surrounding him, too much uncertainty.

 

But then… then Terrorflame happened and Midoriya turned into a real monster. How was something that gigantic and deadly hiding in his admittedly buff, but still human-sized frame?

 

She had to admit, however, that if it wasn’t for Midoriya, they would probably all be dead. Terrorflame was a real supervillain and Midoriya held his own against him, at least for a while. He stood before the gigantic dragon, even when he used his full, terrible power and protected them with no concern for his own safety.

 

So no, Midoriya wasn’t a monster. Maybe his quirk was monstrous, maybe he had a dark side she didn’t understand, but Midoriya… her Zu… he was no monster.

 

Who was a monster, besides Terrorflame of course, was the villain standing in front of her and Kyouka. He had an electric quirk just like Kaminari and had been unaffected by his attack. She and Kyouka could only stand with their hands up while the villain threatened their lives.

 

And then… the three of them were standing back at the entrance.

 

Momo blinked a few times, trying to make sure she wasn’t dreaming or delusional, but no, there they were, back at the entrance. Kaminari was still drooling as he made dopey sounds, but Kyouka looked as stunned as she did. Momo panned around, she saw Tsu, Mineta, Aoyama, Pony, Shouji, Sero, Kouda, Tokoyami, Aiza-

 

“Oh no,” Momo clapped her hands over her mouth again. Aizawa was unconscious, and Thirteen was next to him in worse shape.

 

“How the crap did we get here?” Kyouka asked the obvious question.

 

“All Might,” Tsu answered flatly. “He’s been running around and bringing the others here. We’re only missing seven right now.”

 

“We moved so quickly though,” Momo put a finger to her chin as she began to think. “If he just grabbed us a moved us over here, we would certainly have been killed instantly by the G-forces of such a rapid acceleration, but we’re no worse for wear. It must be a part of his quirk.”

 

“You’re sounding a bit like Midoriya there, Yaoyorozu,” Satou said, laughing nervously as the ground continued to shake from All Might and Terrorflame’s clashing.

 

“Speaking of…” Tokoyami muttered ominously, causing Yaoyorozu to look up at him, and then to where he was looking.

 

Ochako and Mina had come over the crest of the stairs… carrying Midoriya between them. The two women were both bloody and bruised, but at least they were still conscious and on their feet, albeit Ochako with a slight limp and a missing boot.

 

The man they were carrying was a mess. He was bruised and scraped all over, and the skin on his right shoulder was burnt horrifically. Small rivulets of green blood dripped from his arms and his face was completely slack. Only the rattling, forced rising and falling of his chest told Momo that he was still even alive.

 

Today had been a terrible day, that was evident. Momo had been stumbling and panicking since the villains arrived, unable to feel like she was in control for more than a few seconds at a time. But as she looked down on Midoriya, bruised, bleeding and broken before her, she was reminded of the times they spent together at all those hero galas and gatherings, all those times he was genuinely interested in being her friend when everyone else just cared about ingratiating themselves to her parents. She remembered those laughs and smiles they shared, all of the silly jokes and fun games, all those smiles on both of their faces.

 

His face, which should be covered with his kind, enthusiastic smile and his big, wonder-filled eyes, was instead covered in blood and soot. Midoriya might be an unknown factor, but he was her friend, and dammit, she could help him.

 

“We need to raise the burn above his heart,” she instructed, immediately taking charge. Mina responded promptly, kneeling down and pulling Midoriya’s head and neck onto her lap, suspending his burn a few inches off of the ground. Momo produced a soft cloth from her arm and doused it with a small cup of water she made after.

 

With a rush of wind, Todoroki appeared with the group as All Might made another pass.

 

“Oh, I left my shoes and gloves behind!” Apparently, Tooru was there with him.

 

“Todoroki,” Momo began before Tooru could continue, “can you chill this rag? I need to treat Midoriya’s burn.”

 

The stoic boy paused for a second, seemingly taking some time to adjust to his new situation, which Momo couldn’t blame him for. He nodded and produced a chilling wind from his hand as he held it to the rag, quickly cooling it down. She covered the burn with the cloth and held it there.

 

“I’ll hold it.” Pony had walked up and knelt down next to her. Momo nodded and handed responsibility of the wet cloth to the American and began to prepare the next part of her first aid. The ground around them shook as All Might landed another solid blow on Terrorflame, sending the villain flying into the side of the great dome and leaving a massive dent.

 

She produced more small bottles of water, this time with some soap in them, as well as several cloths. She handed one of each to Ochako. “We should clean his wounds to make sure they’re not infected. There’s not much we can do here for broken ribs other than keeping him still.”

 

Ochako nodded, the fire in her eyes dampened slightly by barely-noticeable worry behind them as the two women got to work. Momo passed out the remaining bottles and cloths to some of her classmates, instructing them to begin tending to Aizawa and Thirteen. Fortunately, it seemed the teachers were in better shape than Midoriya.

 

“I can’t believe you’re actually teaching that boy.” Terrorflame’s booming voice got the attention of all the students as it echoed clearly throughout the USJ. “You know what he is. It's in his blood, it's in his brain. He doesn't have a choice.”

 

“W-what’s he mean by that?” Sero asked nervously.

 

“You know you’re training the next me.

 

A nervous muttering rose up around the students as they all shifted their gazes to the unconscious man being tended to on the ground.

 

“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Ochako spat bitterly.

 

“That boy is a hero!” All Might’s boisterous confidence shone through his voice. “He did what he had to do… to keep his classmates safe!” With a grunt and a thunderous punch, Terrorflame was smashed into the Conflagration Zone, his massive body collapsing half of the structure.

 

Another great gust of force rushed past them as Bakugou and Eiko appeared. Momo let out a sigh; that was all twenty students and two teachers accounted for.

 

Bakugou recovered faster than anyone else who had gotten rescued by All Might. “Izuku!” he yelled as he rushed over to his friend, nearly bowling Ochako over. Eiko moved over in front of Midoriya, her back to him as if she was standing guard over him.

 

He kneeled down and looked over the ravaged body of Midoriya, his whole body shaking with emotion. What emotion exactly, Momo couldn’t tell. He looked he wanted to cry, but that he also wanted to possibly strangle Midoriya.

 

Terrorflame had gotten back to his feet again and flown at All Might, claws bared. Momo paled at the sight; no creature that large should be able to move that fast. All Might dodged again as the villain skidded to a halt on the other side of the central plaza.  

 

“The boy can already use a full transformation and you’re still taking a chance on him? UA must truly be desperate.” Pure malice dripped from the villain’s sneer.

 

Bakugou stood up furiously, which Momo was secretly curious how he managed to do, and turned away from the rest of the class, his shoulders still shaking. “You all better make it worth it. You better be worth it.”

 

“Worth what?” Pony said curiously, still holding the cool, wet cloth to Midoriya’s burn. Bakugou refused to acknowledge anyone as he stared swords at Terrorflame.

 

All Might dodged another blast of fire as he retorted. “That was the first time he did it. He pushed himself beyond to stop you!”

 

“Um, Momo…” Mina’s voice was filled with worry, but Momo was too focused on the conversation between hero and villain to give her any mind at the moment.

 

“His first time? And he pushed himself that hard?” Terrorflame began to chuckle, his deep, cruel laugh reverberating around the USJ and unsettling the students. “I suppose I was wrong, you won’t have to worry then…”

 

“Momo, he’s not breathing!” Mina’s worry turned into panic as she shouted.

 

“Corpses don’t make very good villains.”

 

Screams and gasps rang out from the students of class 1-A, as Momo whipped around towards Midoriya. Mina was absolutely right, the faint rising and falling of Midoriya’s chest had ceased, and no air passed through his lips.

 

Momo didn’t have time to think, she only had time to react. She tossed the bottle and rag she was using to clean his scrapes away and scooted to her left so her knees were at his shoulders as she leaned over on top of the man. “Mina, put him on the ground!” The woman reacted quickly and gently, moving his head to the floor. Momo leaned his head back, straightening his neck out.

 

She placed the palm of her right hand in the center of his chest and then covered it with her left, keeping her shoulders over her hands and her elbows straight. She put the whole weight of her upper body into each motion, compressing his chest two inches up and down in the rhythm she was taught, just barely under two compressions a second.

 

If there was anything else going on around her, she didn’t notice it. Her entire focus was on giving Zu CPR. She counted as she pushed her weight down and as she counted to 30, she quickly moved her hands to his head. Momo tilted his head back slightly and lifted his chin, opening his airway. She pressed her mouth to his as she took a deep breath, forming a seal with Zu’s lips.

 

She breathed forcefully but gently, pushing her breath down his throat for one second, nearly beginning to cry as she saw his chest move up with her breath. She inhaled again and repeated the rescue breath, pushing more air into his lungs.

 

She leaned back up and placed her hands back on his chest to repeat the compressions. Thirty compressions later, she leaned his head back and pressed her lips to his again, pushing air into his lungs. After her fourth breath, his chest expanded rapidly, a flash of scales running across his neck and torso before vanishing as he started to breathe under his own power once again.

 

Momo slumped back, away from Midoriya and onto the ground as adrenaline rushed out of her system and the rest of her perception came crashing back. She nearly fell over as Ochako threw her arms around her, and it wasn’t until the brunette’s tears began to stain Momo’s shoulder that she realized that she was crying too.

 

A few seconds later, a shockwave rushing through the megastructure did cause Momo to fall over, Ochako tumbling down on top of her. The brunette scrambled off of her as the two got up to stare at what had knocked them down.

 

All Might and Terrorflame had clashed in the center of the plaza, where the fountain had once been. The red dragon radiated pure fury, but it seemingly paled next to the righteous anger emanating from All Might. The hero was holding back one of the villain’s titanic limbs with a single hand, seemingly effortlessly.

 

“Normally, I’m the one teaching my students, but today, I learn from them.” All Might threw the dragon’s arm behind him, catching the lunging dragon with an uppercut that sent him skyward.

 

He jumped into the air, chasing the villain. All Might crashed into the back of Terrorflame, the impact sending another rush of wind that threatened to bowl Momo over flying through the USJ. He grabbed one of the dragon’s wings with each of his hands, pinning them behind his back. “Young Midoriya exemplified one of the most important ideals of a hero: a willingness to give your all!”

 

The two powerhouses fell toward the earth, Terrorflame flailing, trying to dislodge All Might from his back. With a mighty kick, All Might flipped the dragon over, and with a furious roar, he flung the supervillain to the ground, the impact cracking some of the glass panels around the dome of the USJ.

 

All Might crashed down next to the villain, rising to his feet slowly. “Now for a lesson. You may have heard these words before, but let me teach you what they really mean! ” All Might reared his fist back, squaring up to the dragon’s massive head. “Go beyond…”

 

“PLUS ULTRA!”

 

All Might’s fist flew forward and impacted the skull of the dragon with a force that Momo wouldn’t have believed came from a human being. The dragon was driven deeper into the earth, the crater widening as if a meteor had crashed through the makeshift skylight of the USJ. A gigantic crack opened up in the floor, spreading and splintering as it shot like a lightning bolt across the complex. The ground rumbled like an earthquake was ravaging the complex as the entire structure buckled and bent, the tempered glass above them bending and cracking, but not shattering.

 

The rumbling came to an end as Momo and her classmates dared to open their eyes. In a day of surprises and firsts, their jaws fell open once again. The entire USJ was split down the middle, a height difference of several feet ran along the two sides of the man-made faultline that emanated from All Might’s impossible attack.

 

All Might himself was panting slightly as he pulled himself out of the crater, carrying the unconscious but finally human body of Terrorflame in one hand. He set the villain down on the ground and took a steadying step, breathing deep as he straightened himself out. After a few seconds to catch his breath, he made a run for the students, amazingly fast, but slow enough for Momo to actually track him this time.

 

He appeared before the students, looking them over and counting. He visibly relaxed as he saw all twenty of them accounted for. “I apologize for the devastation of that attack, but I learned that you have to hit like you mean it to take a monster like that down. Terrorflame escaped too many times because of my restraint in the past.” He looked to the three injured, regret appearing on his face. “How are they?”

 

“We need to get them medical attention fast ,” Momo urged the hero. “Z- uh, Midoriya already stopped breathing once.”

 

All Might grimaced. “The UA faculty are on the way, ambulances should be here soon as well. You’ve done well, performing first aid. Caring for the wounded is an important part of being heroes... and don’t get confused,” All Might looked around to the students, “after what you’ve done here today, you’re all heroes.”

“Monsieur All Might, look!” Aoyama called out, causing 19 heads to turn. A purple vortex had appeared under Terrorflame, whisking him away.

 

“Dammit.” All Might cursed himself under his breath but quickly regained composure. “These things happen, students. I chose between securing the villain and protecting my students. I do not regret my decision.”

 

Momo hoped he wasn’t lying.

 

As if on cue, the doors of the USJ slid open, revealing the rest of their teachers. The lot of them relaxed significantly, seeing All Might standing guard over the group.

 

“You work damn fast, All Might,” Snipe commented as he looked over the destruction with a whistle.

 

“I only fought one villain,” All Might responded grimly.

 

Vlad King’s eyes went wide as he scanned the devastated USJ. “But who could have…”

 

“Right now it’s our top priority to ensure everyone’s safety!” Nezu interrupted the exchange brightly. “How many are injured?”

 

“Aizawa, Thirteen and Young Midoriya. Everyone else appears to be mostly unharmed.” All Might scanned over the students, looking for anybody disagreeing with him. “But there are still loose villains all around the complex. They’ll need to be rounded up.”

 

Momo shakily stood to her feet as the teachers dispersed around the USJ, All Might and Nezu remaining behind to monitor the students. It wasn’t long after that ambulances arrived and carried off Midoriya and the two injured pros, Momo and the rest of the class watching as their classmate was carted out of the building.

 


 

Soon after, the police arrived. The detective in charge had some questions for all of them, but after only another hour or so, the 19 students of class 1-A were back on their bus and heading for the dorms, escorted by All Might and Midnight. The bus ride was almost entirely silent, Ochako probably wouldn’t have noticed anyone talking even if it wasn’t.

 

Once they got back to the dorms, Midnight stayed with them to make sure everyone was safe and accounted for. They had explicit orders from Nezu to stay in the dorms for the rest of the day, but Ochako noticed All Might trying to sneak away and rushed outside after him.

 

“Where are you going?” she demanded once she caught up to the massive, muscled man.

 

“Uh, well, you see,” the number one hero was significantly less intimidating when he wasn’t in battle. He was almost adorable in a blundering way.

 

“You’re going to see Deku, aren’t you?”

 

He grew a look of confusion. “De- oh!” He slapped his head. “You mean Young Midoriya. Well, yes. I feel it’s my duty to go check on him. It’s because I wasn’t there that he had to push himself like that.”

 

Ochako felt sympathy to the giant man, and placed a comforting hand on his arm, keeping her pinky free. “I think I know what you’re feeling... can I come with you? I need to know if he’s okay.”

 

All Might looked like he was having an internal debate, but the sad look in Ochako’s eyes seemed to win him over. “Alright, fine.”

 

Ochako smiled softly, trying to hide how much her heart hurt. “Can I bring a couple people? I’m not the only one who’s worried about him.”

 

All Might groaned, clearly nervous. “Hrmm, fine. But only if they’re subtle about it. You’re supposed to be in your dorms.”

“I can’t think of a better escort than you, sir,” Ochako said respectfully, hoping to ease his reservations. She quickly ran back inside the building, returning a few minutes later.

 

“They’ll be along shortly,” Ochako said to All Might, who had taken to leaning up against one of the trees outside the dorm.

 

After another minute or so, Bakugou came stalking around from the back of the building, staring at the ground and grumbling quietly to himself. Ochako looked around curiously. “Where’s Mina? She said she’d be right out…”

 

After another five minutes, the three were getting impatient. “Young Uraraka, we don’t have all night…” All Might warned her.

 

“I know, I don’t know- oh! There she is!” Ochako pointed as the front door opened, Mina emerging… dragging Momo by the hand.

 

“Hey guys, I brought Yaomomo!” Mina said cheerfully as the other three stared at her. The black-haired woman was blushing slightly, clearly embarrassed. “She saved Midori’s life, I figured she deserves the chance to come as much as any of us.”

 

All Might opened his mouth to protest, but no words came out. Eventually, he just shook his head slightly. “Fine, let’s get going. Keep this between us, okay?”

 


 

Ochako didn’t know why she was surprised that All Might owned a custom-fitted American truck with tinted windows, but looking back, it probably should have been obvious. Bakugou sat in the front next to All Might while the women piled in the back. Even with his seat nearly on the floor of the truck, All Might was still taller than the blonde.

 

They arrived at a hospital near UA, driving to the bottom of the parking garage to a level marked with ‘No Public Access’, but the gate opened automatically when All Might’s truck approached. The four students exited the truck after they parked and followed the pro hero to the elevator.

 

Before he pressed the button, the man turned around and looked down at all of them. “I know I don’t need to say this, but I’m going to anyway. You four are here as my guests, so please be on your best behavior. Stay quiet and respectful, please. Emotions are riding high for everyone involved.”

 

Ochako and the others nodded. Seeing their affirmation, All Might swiped his hero ID card through a scanner and the elevator door opened. Despite the spacious elevator, being in any sort of enclosed space with the giant that was the number one hero was a little cramped.

 

All Might pressed the button to go up to the fourth floor and the elevator lurched to life. The ride was silent, each of them coping in their own ways. All Might and Bakugou just stared at the walls, silently thinking. Momo was adjusting her hair, while Mina was fidgeting with a pencil between her fingers. Ochako herself, out of habit, was touching her fingers to her hands and then together, rolling her weight around with her quirk. It had been long enough that her body was rested enough to at least pretend she had powers.

 

The door opened to the fourth floor and the four students followed All Might as he exited. No introductions were necessary it seemed as a nurse quickly approached the hero and began to debrief him. When questioned, All Might informed the man that the students were here as his guests, which seemed to appease the nurse.

 

Ochako and her classmates were directed to a small waiting space near the elevators with only about a dozen chairs in it while All Might spoke with the staff. The four students waited patiently for about twenty minutes, or at least as patiently as they could manage, until the hero returned.

 

“How is he?!” Mina shot out of her chair as the blonde man turned the corner.

 

“He’s stable,” All Might said grimly. “Thanks to modern medicine and quirks, his broken bones are already mended. They mentioned that there was some aggravated fractures on his ribcage, especially around his sternum.”

 

“That must have been me, I’m sor-” Momo began.

 

“On the contrary, Young Yaoyorozu,” All Might cut her off. “The doctors wanted to pass on their thanks for your quick reactions. A few cracked ribs is much better than death, which is what would have happened to Young Midoriya if you hadn’t intervened.”

 

The black-haired woman relaxed visibly, but she was still clearly stressed and nervous.

 

“He’s going into surgery now for a skin graft, but as for…” The hero trailed off as the hairs on Ochako’s head began to float even more than they normally did.

 

Ochako looked around confused as a charge seemed to fill the room. The lights flickered as she winced in pain, a small arc of electricity hopping from her hand to the chair she was sitting on, giving her a small static shock. Momo and Mina were also shifting nervously and looked around, their own hair rising up slightly as the lights flickered again.

 

The woman noticed that only Bakugou seemed to be unphased by the phenomena as the elevator door behind him dinged.

 

The doors slid open and out stepped a well-built and tall man wearing a tailored black suit with one arm conspicuously missing. While he was not as well-built or tall as All Might, he radiated an intimidating intensity that caused Ochako to shrink back.

 

A set of black horns swept back across his bronze hair, electricity arcing around between them and around his head. His eyes were familiar to her and glowed with a green light that, while much darker than Deku’s, were no less intense. He turned to the five standing before him and stared straight at All Might as one of the lamps next to Ochako had its bulb spark and break.

 

The man opened his mouth into a snarl, Ochako’s eyes spotting his long fangs as lightning seemed dance around them. It was only then that the woman noticed the bronze scales formed along the man’s thick neck.

 

Where is my son?

 


 

Shigaraki stepped out of the warp gate, grumbling in rage as he wrenched the hands from his arms. “He was useless, Master!” he yelled at the television in the bar as the unconscious old man landed roughly behind him. Kurogiri reformed himself behind the bar and resumed cleaning a glass as if they had never left.

 

“Hmm?” An ominous voice responded from the television speakers.

 

“This overgrown lizard refused to take the Trigger! He said he refused to use the ‘crutch’…” Shigaraki stopped. “There was another dragon there.”

 

“Oh?” The voice was intrigued. “Very interesting...and Terrorflame refused to take the Trigger when he fought this other dragon?”

 

“Yes, Master. And then before he could do anything, All Might showed up and wiped the floor with him. He didn’t even land a single hit on the blonde oaf. I don’t even think any of the students died. This was a total failure!” Shigaraki turned around and kicked the bruised and beaten man on the ground. “And it’s all his! Damn! Fault!” Each word was accented by another kick. “He was completely useless without that Trigger!”

 

“What is your judgement then, Tomura Shigaraki?” The voice was unphased by Shigaraki’s tantrum.

 

“I’m done with him. I’ll find another way to kill All Might.” Shigaraki stomped over and sat down at the bar, sulking.

 

“Very well,” the mysterious voice said coldly. The unconscious man began to seemingly vomit a strange gray sludge. The goop expanded until it covered his entire body, upon which both him and the gray substance vanished. “The man is of no further use to us.”

 

Shigaraki heard the sludge appearing on the other end of the television connection.

 

“But his quirk is.”

 

Chapter Text

Ochako stared at the hulking, electrified man. “S-Stormclaw?”

 

“Hisashi!” All Might proclaimed, a hint of nervousness in his voice. “Your son is doing fine. He is in surgery right now, but he is in stable condition.”

 

The father seemed to relax slightly, but only slightly. His glowing green eyes snapped to Bakugou, who didn’t seem phased by his intense glare. “Katsuki, are these your classmates?”

 

Bakugou nodded. “They did alright by Izuku.” That was apparently his version of praise.

 

The intense glow in Stormclaw’s eyes dimmed slightly as he looked around to the three women sitting in front of him. A look of recognition appeared on his face. “Miss Yaoyorozu?”

 

“Good afternoon, Mr. Midoriya. It has been quite some time.” Momo bowed slightly in her chair, her refined upbringing shining through.

 

“Indeed it has,” the man said, nodding politely. “If only it was under better circumstances.” He turned back to Ochako. “And you are?”

 

Ochako floundered for a second before she finally suttered out “O-Ochako Uraraka, sir.”

 

“I’m Mina Ashido,” Mina said brightly, although less bright than she normally would have, considering the circumstances.

 

Surprisingly, a flash of understanding grew on the hero’s face. “Ah, Izuku has told me a lot about you two. It’s good to finally put faces to names. You all have my thanks for protecting my son. He is my most important treasure; you have a dragon’s gratitude.”

 

‘Deku’s told him about us? I hope only good things…’

 

All Might cleared his throat. “Hisashi, I think it would be best if I were to debrief you about the situation.”

 

“I would appreciate that,” Stormclaw said tersely. The two pros walked off in the direction All Might had come from, leaving the students alone.

 

As soon as they turned the corner, Mina whipped back around to Ochako and Momo, whispering excitedly. “Stormclaw is so much cooler in person. Did you see how protective of Midori he was?”

 

“Mr. Midoriya is a great hero and a better father,” Momo added succinctly. “He must be devastated.”

 

Mina tapped her chin. “You sound like you know that personally. How well do you know the Midoriyas?”

 

“Not as well as I used to, unfortunately.” There was a definite hint of regret in her voice. “I saw them less and less after the… accident.”

 

“When he lost his arm?” Ochako asked curiously. Momo nodded slightly, clearly deep in thought.

 

Ochako turned and looked at Bakugou, who was glaring in the direction the two men had gone. She turned her gaze in the same direction.

 

‘I hope Deku is okay…’

 


 

The door to the surgical observation room closed behind the two men. Hisashi walked to the one-way mirror and stared at his child on the table. The surgeons were working diligently, preparing the grisly burn on his shoulder for a skin graft.

 

“Toshinori…” His voice was trembling slightly, whether from grief or rage, he could not tell.

 

It was probably both.

 

“Please tell me why my baby boy is lying on an operating table.”

 

“Hisashi, you know I respect you immensely. I owe you my life at least once over,” Toshinori began. “So I’m going to be direct with you.”

 

“I appreciate that.” The man hadn’t moved his eyes from Young Midoriya.

 

“It was your uncle.”

 

The man took it much better than Toshinori expected. Instead of short circuiting the nearby electronics, he instead turned slowly towards his compatriot. “...What?”

 

“That burn on his shoulder? He was Terrorflame’s first victim in 25 years...” All Might stared directly into Hisashi’s glowing green eyes. “And thanks to your son, his only victim in 25 years.”

 

Hisashi blinked a few times, his face mixed between disbelief and rage. His mouth twitched, revealing his fangs.

 

“There’s more. To hold him off… your son transformed. Fully.”

 

The rage fell from Hisashi’s face, replaced by pure horror. “I-Izuku… transformed?”

 

Toshinori nodded. “He did. It was only due to your son’s bravery that Terrorflame was held at bay until I arrived. I must confess… I was supposed to be there, but the Prime Minister requested me for a sensitive hostage situation.”

 

“You couldn’t have known…” Hisashi turned back to his child on the table with a somber look. “I don’t blame you. I’m sure Izuku wouldn’t either.” The men stood in silence for a few minutes before he spoke again. “Genta… you bastard . What happened to him?”

 

Toshinori wished he had good news to give, but alas. “I defeated him again, but he escaped as I ensured the safety of the students.”

 

Hisashi nodded slowly. “A wise decision. Thank you for watching out for my boy and his classmates. He has only known them for a week, but they are precious to him. They were basically all he talked about when we talked on the phone this week.” He chuckled slightly before sighing heavily. “Katsuki said that those girls protected him? How… how was he doing?”

 

“I entrusted Young Uraraka and Young Ashido with protecting your son after I arrived. Young Yaoyorozu… I understand she performed CPR on him after…” Toshinori didn’t need to finish.

 

“I see.” Sadness was palpable on his voice as his shoulders began to shake. “Izuku…”

 

“There’s more.” Toshinori winced internally as he continued dumping bad news on Hisashi. “Your uncle wasn’t working alone.”

 

“Please...don’t associate me with that man,” Hisashi pleaded grimly as he looked back at him.

 

Toshinori nodded. “As I was saying, he seemed to be working with a group. According to the student testimonies, they called themselves the ‘League of Villains’.”

 

“And this League had the capabilities to break him out of Tartarus?”

 

“Evidently,” Toshinori said grimly. “They appear to be led by a man known as Tomura Shigaraki. His second is a man the students heard called Kurogiri. This Kurogiri has a warp quirk, and we suspect that’s what they used to breach Tartarus’ defenses.”

 

“An unknown warp quirk signature that they had no way of defending against.” Hisashi shook his head. “At least it won’t happen again, but…” He trailed off as he looked forlornly at his child.

 

“There’s more, but it can wait until another time.” Toshinori took a step towards the man, putting his hand on his right shoulder. “We won’t stop searching until Terrorflame and those with him are brought to justice.”

 

Hisashi’s shoulder shook harder. “I will spare no expense. The best doctors. The best specialists. My boy will be okay .”

 

“Young Izuku spoke to me about his worries and his doubts regarding Terrorflame before,” Toshinori admitted. “He was afraid of ending up like them, but I can tell you this, Hisashi: your son is already a hero.”

 

Hisashi wrapped his one arm around Toshinori’s shoulder and began to weep. Toshinori returned the gesture with his left arm, giving the grieving father support both physically and emotionally.

 


 

About a half-hour later, Midori’s mother arrived. For every pound of righteous fury that Stormclaw had carried into the hospital, she carried two pounds of stress and worry. She had crushed Momo and Bakugou in a hug as soon as she saw them, and after introductions, she had given Mina and Ochako a similar embrace. Before Mina could say much of anything to the mother, All Might quickly whisked her off to see her husband.

 

Once Midori was out of surgery, they moved him into one of the rooms for recovery. Mina and the other girls were permitted to be in the room as the doctor spoke to Stormclaw. The doctor raised an eyebrow at them, but Midori’s dad simply told her that ‘it’s what Izuku would want’.

 

“Very well,” she said after a pause, “the prognosis is both good and bad, Mr. Midoriya. Your son’s wounds were easily healed, and the skin graft appears to be successful, although we will be unable to confirm that until more time has passed. The bad news is that he suffered a degree of exhaustion we have seldom seen. He’s fallen into a comatose state, and we are unable to determine when he will wake. It might be a day or a week; we simply have no way of knowing.”

 

Stormclaw nodded as she spoke. “You are confident that he will recover?”

 

She nodded. “Judging from our scans and tests, he has not suffered any permanent damage and all of his bodily and mental functions appear to be working properly. He is essentially just out of energy; it will take time for him to recover, but we are confident that he will.”

 

Mina looked at the green-haired boy sleeping in the hospital bed. His chest rising and falling slowly gave her comfort and helped to pull her heart out of the pit it had fallen into hours prior.

 

Then, Mina was struck with a bold idea.

 

“Stormclaw, sir? Mr. Midoriya?” She looked up at the tall, muscular man. He was no longer comparable to Endeavor like he had been in his prime, but he was still incredibly buff.

 

The man looked down on her and raised an eyebrow. “Yes, Miss Ashido?”

 

“Could we stay here with Midori- uh, your son?” She tried to put on her best puppy dog eyes, but her unique eyes weren’t the best at it. “We’re all really worried about him, I know I would be stressed out of my mind if I had to sit back at school while he was here.”

 

“Absolutely no-” the doctor began.

 

“That’s a great idea, actually.”

 

Mina did a double take, making sure that Stormclaw wasn’t playing a prank on her. “R-really?”

 

“Of course!” Stormclaw looked to the other three students. “That is, if the rest of you would like to.”

 

The three other students nodded, surprised by the sudden turn of events.

 

The doctor protested. “This is highly irregular.”

 

Midori’s father turned to the doctor. “I assure you that it would be beneficial to my son’s recovery. Until he recovers, please consider these four students to be my family.”

 

The doctor looked up into Mr. Midoriya’s eyes for a few seconds before sighing. “Fine. But I won’t risk the safety of my patient even for family. No messing around and no second chances.”

 

“Understood.” Stormclaw nodded as the doctor sighed again and left the room.

 

All Might chuckled slightly. “Alright, get ready kids, we’ll head back to UA and get luggage.” The four students shuffled out of the room, but Mina lagged a bit behind, making sure to use her eavesdropping expertise.

 

“Are you sure about this, Hisashi?” All Might asked.

 

Stormclaw chuckled softly. “Absolutely. It has to do with our quirk. We always want to return home to rest, it calms us down, soothes us, helping us heal faster.”

 

“I don’t follow.”

 

“Remember, Toshi: Home is where the hoard is.”

 


 

Mina didn’t dare listen any longer and jogged to catch up with her friends. It took about another ten minutes for All Might to follow them, after which, the four piled back into his truck and headed back to UA.

 

The sun was setting by the time the students opened the doors of Heights Alliance. As they entered the dorm, they were greeted by a storm of questions from nearly everyone else in the class.

 

“How’s he doing?!” Kiri asked, clearly worried out of her mind.  

 

Kyouka popped up beside her. “Is he gonna be okay?”

 

Mina only caught some of what Pony said to Momo, as the woman was speaking in English, but even in another language her worry bled through.

 

Before any of them could answer, the imposing figure of All Might entered the doorframe and commanded attention. “Young Midoriya will be fine, students. Your concern is both appreciated and heartwarming.”

 

“How did you know where we were?” Ochako asked the students crowding her.

 

Kaminari chuckled. “It’s not like it was hard to figure out. Where else would you have gone after today?”

 

Kyouka rolled her eyes. “He had no idea until Midnight told us you went to see Midoriya.”

 

“Jirou, come on!”

 

Midnight was sitting on one of the stools next to the kitchen counter laughing softly for a moment before she cracked her whip to get everyone’s attention. “Now that everyone is here, we have an announcement. President Nezu had made the decision to declare a campus-wide emergency while we analyze and strategize regarding the break-in today.” The hero seemed to be parroting official jargon, outside of her normal speech pattern.

 

“What that means for you is that classes are canceled next week, but none of you are permitted to leave campus without an escort. Any of you that choose to break these rules will be… punished .” She licked her lips.

 

That was more like it.

 

All Might cleared his throat again, returning attention to himself. “Now, don’t look so sad, students. The doctors are confident that Young Midoriya will make a full recovery. However, I spoke to his father and he actually made a request that I am more than happy to oblige.”

 

The students turned back to the number one hero with looks of curiosity and some trepidation.

 

“Any of you that wish to visit Young Midoriya are more than welcome to. In fact, Hisa- er, Mr. Midoriya encourages it. He believes it will facilitate your classmate’s recovery.”

 

Satou was the first to speak. “But how’re we gonna visit him if we need an escort?”

 

“Not to worry, Young Satou.” All Might flashed a thumbs up. “Nezu has granted us the use of a bus to take anyone who wants to see Young Midoriya to him. I hope you all decide to show your support for your classmate.”

 

“Hell yeah. We’re all gonna go, right guys?!” Kiri turned around and pumped her fist in the air. Cheers went up from the class in solidarity.

 

“That’s not to say you can slack off,” Midnight said loudly. “You’re still responsible for all of your textbook readings for the week. This week off from classes means that you’ll be pushed extra hard once we get back. Hope you can keep up~”

 

As the students groaned, All Might shot Mina and her compatriots a knowing look, sending the four of them scurrying off to their rooms to pack.

 


 

Ochako marveled at the room Deku had. It was almost more like a hotel suite than a hospital room. It only had one bed, which was currently being occupied by a peacefully sleeping man. There were two recliners and a comfy looking couch in the room, as well as a full bathroom with a shower. It was honestly not the worst place Ochako ever had to stay.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Midoriya were staying a few hallways over in a guest suite: a room with an actual bed and accommodations. They were seemingly overjoyed that Deku had friends who were willing to stay with him like this.

 

“It’ll be like camping!” Mina said excitedly. “Except we won't freeze our butts off if we have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. And we won’t have a fire, and we’ll actually have running water… well, it’s a little like camping.”

 

Ochako and Momo couldn’t help but giggle a little, and even Mrs. Midoriya, who insisted they call her Inko, laughed as well.

 

“Mr. Stormclaw, sir?” Ochako spoke up quietly.

 

“Please, Uraraka; call me Hisashi. Like I said, you’re family right now.” The man looked exhausted from the emotionally draining day. Ochako couldn’t blame him, she was nearly about to pass out on her feet as well.

 

Ochako smiled weakly. “Thank you. Uh, I’m curious, why did you let us stay here? Not that I’m not grateful, but wouldn’t it be better for him to get some peace and quiet?”

 

“I appreciate your concern. Izuku said you seemed to be a very considerate girl, and he’s seldom wrong.” Hisashi chuckled weakly. “I don’t know how well you know my son, but I suspect that your presence here will help him a lot. He puts a lot of value in his friends.”

 

Ochako smiled wider. ‘But how will us jus’ bein’ around help him? Not that I don’t wanna be here…’

 

Hisashi incidentally answered her mental question. “Knowing that you’re close will help him recover. You’re just going to have to take my word for it. That’s why I asked All Might to bring any students who wanted to see him by. You should talk to him, even if you think he can’t hear you. Let his brain know that you’re there. It will help him. I promise.”

 

Inko squeezed his arm a little. “Come on, dear. The kids need rest. They’ve had a long day.” The kind woman turned to Ochako and her classmates. “I can’t thank you enough for doing this; I’m sure you would rather be sleeping in your beds back at UA.”

 

“Come on, Auntie, Izuku would do the same thing for us.” Bakugou rolled his eyes, but there wasn’t any bite behind his words.

 

Tears began to leak from the woman’s eyes as her husband wrapped his arm around her shoulder and led her out of the room. Ochako let out a heavy sigh as a heavy silence filled the room.

 

Bakugou stepped over to one of the recliners and placed his backpack on the ground before flopping down in the chair. He shifted around, making himself comfortable and seemed to begin drifting off to sleep just like that.

 

Then Ochako realized the problem. “Oh, someone is gonna have to sleep somewhere else.” She glanced over at the couch and the other recliner.

 

“Nonsense!” Mina said cheerfully, even though her own exhaustion was clear on her face. “Yaomomo can take the chair, you and I can share the couch.”

 

Ochako was too tired to argue. She was just grateful to have a place to lie down as she crashed onto the couch. Unfortunately, due to her height, she took up the entire couch.

 

“Ugh, come on, Ocha, scoot over a bit.” Ochako remained face-first in one of the pillows as Mina wedged herself in on the other side of the couch. Ochako just let it happen as Mina struggled and shifted the taller woman out of the way as she claimed a spot.

 

Eventually, Mina had carved out enough of the couch to get comfortable. The women’s heads were on opposite ends of the couch as both rested on their right sides with their backs to each other. Mina’s feet were just at the bottom of Ochako’s back, while her feet were much further up Mina’s.

 

Momo shook her head and smiled as she turned around, her back to the rest of the group. Ochako blushed slightly as the tall, busty woman pulled up her shirt and exposed her back to the group. The telltale glow of her quirk caused Ochako to tilt her head in curiosity, before a large white blanket billowed out around the woman.

 

She repeated the process two more times before walking over and putting a blanket over Bakugou, another over the two women on the couch and then finally herself as she turned off the lights and then snuggled into her own recliner.

 

“Thanks,” Bakugou grumbled softly.

 

“You’re the best, Yaomomo,” Mina mumbled into the pillow at the end of the couch.

 

Ochako could hear the smile in Momo’s voice. “You are welcome. Let’s get some sleep everyone.”

 


 

Tired, sore, grouchy, and all the other symptoms you would normally feel after spending a night on a hospital sofa scrunched up with someone else: Ochako felt none of these.

 

Instead, as she woke up the next morning, the early morning light peeking into the room, she felt fantastic. She opened her eyes slowly and rolled her shoulders slightly as she sighed. Ochako suddenly became aware of a weight pressing down on her body.

 

She glanced down and noticed that the blanket was a tangled mess and Mina had flipped around in her sleep. She was hugging Ochako’s leg like a teddy bear and resting her head on Ochako’s hip with an adorable, satisfied smile on her face. The brunette grew a matching smile and in her grogginess, reached down without thinking and rustled the pink woman’s hair.

 

Mina pushed her head into the contact instinctively, letting out a small mewl as she nuzzled her face further into Ochako’s leg.

 

Ochako felt a strange tightening in her chest as her face grew warm. Her heart rate increased, her blush deepening further as she woke up more fully. She slowly and perhaps a little reluctantly pulled her hand away from the messy pink locks of the woman wrapped around her leg.

 

It was Mina’s turn to finally wake up, which was probably Ochako’s fault for tussling her hair. The woman blinked slowly a few times and stretched her mouth in a small yawn. She looked around, taking in the surroundings and quickly noticing the position she was in.

 

Mina’s eyes widened in surprise for a moment but, to Ochako’s surprise, they quickly shrunk back down as a happy smile and a lilac dusting appeared on her face. “Morning, Ochako.”

 

“Good m-morning, Mina.” Ochako looked away, less embarrassed about the situation she was in, and more so that she was enjoying it so much. Seeing her discomfort, Mina begrudgingly let go and the two women untangled themselves from both the blanket and each other.

 

Ochako looked over to the chair which Bakugou had occupied, which was empty, and then over to the still snoozing form of Momo. The woman’s voluminous raven hair was spread over the reclined chair as she breathed peacefully. ‘She even looks beautiful and refined while she’s sleepin’...’

 

Her vision finally fell to Deku, still in the exact same position as when Ochako had fallen asleep. If it wasn’t for the faint beep of the EKG telling her his heart was still beating smoothly, there was almost no sign that he was still alive.

 

But he was still alive. He had nearly given everything to keep Ochako and the others alive, but he had pulled through. He would wake up again soon, the doctors said as much.

 

Ochako sighed as she stared at the man. Just looking at him filled her with so many emotions that it nearly overwhelmed her. She felt gratitude for what he had done for her, she felt guilty that she wasn’t able to protect him more, she felt disheartened as she remembered what Terrorflame had said about him, she felt proud for what he had been willing to do… and she felt that strange tightening in her chest that she had felt when Mina was cuddling her leg.

 

She felt her face warming up again.

 


 

Saturday passed surprisingly quickly. About ten students came by on the first bus, each spending some time with Deku and talking with the four overnighters. Inko insisted on bringing a home-made lunch for them, which Ochako enjoyed immensely.

 

“I see where he gets his cooking skills,” she complimented, her eyes squeezed shut with delight as she ate Inko’s rice.

 

The mother smiled wide. “He was so happy that you all enjoyed the meals he made. He went on and on about it when he called me a couple days ago.”

 

“Does he tell you guys everything?” Mina asked, saving Ochako the trouble of having to swallow her food to speak.

 

“Well, he tells us a lot.” Inko was rummaging in the food basket she had brought. “Like this, for example.”

 

She produced a small dish containing some delicious-smelling mochi and held it out to Ochako. “He said you seemed to like mochi; you should have heard him begging me to give him lessons on making it…” Inko trailed off as he smile dropped. “We were going to cook all day today, in fact. He was planning a big feast for you all tomorrow. Celebrating the first week of classes being done, and all that.”

 

Ochako felt her heart both swell and drop a little. She took the dish and ate a small bite of the dessert, doing her best to contain a delighted squeal as it hit her tongue.

 

Mina reached over and put her arm around Inko’s shoulder. “Maybe next weekend, Mamadoriya. He’ll wake up soon.”

 

The woman sniffed once. “Thank you, dear. I’m sure Izuku would be happy if you would want to join us. He speaks so highly of you.”

 

Ochako smiled as a small dusting of lilac appeared on Mina's cheeks. “R-really? I'd love to!”

 

Inko threw her arms around Mina in a tight hug. “Of course! Oh, he’ll be so excited once he finds out.”

 


 

 

Fire and fury. Heat and hatred. Terrorflame bared his terrible fangs in a cruel smile as he took titanic, earth shaking steps towards Ochako. He towered over a hundred feet above the paralyzed woman as he sneered down at her with his burning eyes full of malice.

 

“Greedy, greedy. You’re just a hero for the money. You don’t care about helping people.”

 

Ochako tried to step back, but she found her legs encased in black, volcanic stone. She tried to use her quirk to free herself, but it wouldn’t activate. Her panic grew with each thunderous step the monster took.

 

“While other heroes stood up to me, you cowered in fear. And why not? There’s no money to be made in standing up to me.”

 

“T-that’s not true!” Ochako yelled back. “I want to help people!”

 

Terrorflame sneered, exposing his massive fangs. A fiery glow that was terribly familiar to Ochako shone in the back of his throat as he opened his jaw wide.

 

A torrent of flame poured forth, impossibly hot and bright.

 

Suddenly, Deku appeared between the monster and Ochako, but he was no dragon. The man was in his hero costume, his chiseled chest facing toward her. The fire crashed into his back and split around her as his face contorted in pain. His eyes bugged wide as he stared straight into Ochako's own.

 

The flames began to consume him, his flesh and muscle charring and melting from his bones. The fires began to close in as his body was burned away. “Ochako…”

 

“If you want to be a hero, then why didn't you protect him? Why didn't you try?!”

 

Deku reached his skeletal hand towards her. “Help me…”

 


 

Ochako's eyes flew open as she shot up in her seat. She was dripping with sweat and panting slightly. She was so tired the previous night that she slept dreamlessly, but tonight there was nothing keeping the terrible memories of Terrorflame from her mind.

 

Even now, her imagination wandered back to the roaring flames that melted Deku in front of her. Her heart pounded in her chest as she recalled his death-

 

Except... he wasn't dead. He had saved her and had lived. She threw the blanket off of herself and quietly walked over to Deku's bed and sat down in a chair next to him.

 

She reached out and grabbed his hand, gently moving her fingers up and down his palm. She wrapped her hand in his and felt his pulse. It was slow, but it was steady.

 

Just by touching his hand and feeling his heartbeat, she felt her own begin to calm down. A feeling of warmth and safety radiated from the contact, spreading up her arm and across her body.

 

“You too, huh?”

 

Ochako nearly shouted as Mina's whisper broke the silence of the dark room. She whipped her vision up and saw the pink woman sitting on the other side of Deku's bed, his right hand held tightly between hers.

 

Mina smiled apologetically. “Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you.”

 

Ochako's pulse began to slow again as she came down from her fright. She took a few deep breaths before finally calming down enough to speak. “I-I had a nightmare…”

 

“About Terrorflame?”

 

Ochako nodded slowly. “You too?”

 

Mina returned the nod as she looked down at Deku. “I feel safe around him, but I want to keep him safe, too. I see him lying here and I can't help but think that I could have… should have done more.”

 

Ochako shuddered slightly, remembering what the Terrorflame in her dream had bellowed at her.

 

“But…” Mina continued, “seeing him here, still breathing… I know things are gonna be okay. There will be chances in the future to show him what he means to me and return the favor.” She leaned down and rested her face on his arm.

 

Ochako nodded again as her eyes returned to Deku.  She reached up and brushed his hair away from his face and ran her fingers along his horns. The whole time, both Ochako and Mina never let go of his hand.

 

After another half hour of silence, the fear and uncertainty that had filled Ochako's heart was all but dispelled. Waves of sleepiness began to crash against her body as her eyes began to feel heavy again.

 

Mina yawned widely, seemingly feeling the same thing. Their eyes met as they both made their way back to the couch. Ochako laid down, leaving enough room for Mina to squeeze in. Instead of turning around to the other side of the couch, she slid in facing the same way.

 

The pink woman wrapped her arms around Ochako's legs and rested her head on her hip again. Instead of resisting, Ochako just blushed a little and pulled the blanket up so it covered her friend.

 

“You know, Ochako. I feel safe around you, too.”

 


 

Over the course of the next few days in the hospital, they settled into a sort of rhythm. Several students came by each day to spend time and talk with Deku, some of which came by every day; namely, Pony, Iida and Eiko. What surprised Ochako most of all perhaps, was that over the first three full days of Deku’s coma, every single student had come by at least once, even the stoic Todoroki.

 

Todoroki hadn’t said much, but at least he had come by. The man had mostly sat in the chair next to Deku’s bed and stared at him, before saying a few short words under his breath and leaving. Hisashi had given Todoroki a knowing nod as he left, which tipped Ochako off that they knew each other, at least a little bit.

 

Ochako couldn’t catch most of what Pony talked to him about, she spoke English with such speed and excitement that she could only understand about every third word. It was nice to see her so animated, but Ochako blushed a little when she saw Pony holding his hand between hers. ‘Perhaps it’s an American thing? I hear they’re touchier over there… but it’s not like I wasn’t doin’ the same thing earlier.’

 

Eiko talked a lot about old heroes, which Ochako found charming. The way she spoke about them and told stories about them, it made the old pros sound like their adventures were straight out of a comic book. The passion that Eiko carried into everything she did was infectious and endearing; it was hard not to have a smile on when she was around.

 

Bakugou talked to Deku every morning for about an hour or so, mostly about the hero news that had happened the previous day, recounting important developments and key battles that gained the headlines. Mina talked with him about funny things she had read online as well as gossip she had heard between nurses and other staff, stunning Ochako with how well trained her hearing had to be to have heard half of the stuff she did.

 

Ochako couldn’t help but giggle slightly whenever Iida arrived. The man would do his best to make sure that Deku kept up on his studies, even in a coma. Ochako and Mina sometimes even skipped certain readings in their textbooks if Iida explained them well enough.

 

Momo was the one who made sure that the other two women were actually reading. Momo would spend a couple hours each day reading the assigned passages out loud to Deku, unless Iida had already gone over them, of course. Momo’s refined and well-practiced speaking voice made her a delight to listen to.

 

Ochako spent her time with Deku talking about all sorts of things. She would talk about her time with his parents, anything interesting she had read online or in her textbook, or sometimes just whatever came to her mind. She would wind up recounting stories she remembered about her childhood, some that made her laugh and others that made her a little embarrassed.

 

Overall, it was about as pleasant and exciting that spending time around a comatose man could be. But despite her spending time with her friends, which included Mina and her getting a little bit more comfortable with each other every night, Ochako couldn’t shake off the question that was plaguing her heart and her conscience.

 


 

Toshinori was nearly shaking when he returned to the hospital on the fourth full day of Young Midoriya’s coma. It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon, but the storms outside were nothing compared to the turmoil raging in Toshinori’s heart.

 

He approached the fourth floor room that held Young Midoriya, not able to take any of the joy he normally would have in the eight students in and around the room. He ducked through the doorway quickly looking around for the man he had come to see.

 

“Stormclaw, I need to speak with you.” Using his hero name would tell Hisashi just how serious Toshinori was.

 

The man picked up on his intent, quickly standing up and following Toshinori out of the room. The students around Young Midoriya were very aware of the tension that had suddenly filled the room.

 

Toshinori led Hisashi to an empty room on the other side of the floor. He walked to the windows, staring at the rain pouring down outside. He stood still for at least a minute, collecting his thoughts and thinking of how to proceed.

 

“What’s this about, Toshinori?” Hisashi’s patience finally began to reach its limits.

 

The blonde man sighed heavily. “This morning… they found Terrorflame.”

 

Toshinori felt the hair on the back of his neck raise as the air was filled with a static charge. “Where?”

 

He turned around slightly, looking straight into the now-glowing eyes of his friend. “Allow me to clarify: they found his body.”

 

The scales that had formed alone the man’s neck and arms snapped away in an instant as the lights in his eyes blinked out. “He’s… dead?”

 

Toshinori nodded. “His body was dumped in front of Tartarus; their sensors detected the same warp energy from before. Whoever did this wanted us to find him. According to the coroners, his body was chilled, preserved. There’s no telling how long he had been dead. There were lacerations around his body that looked like someone had already performed a small-scale autopsy on him, so they suspect it might have been within 24 hours of the attack at the USJ.”

 

Hisashi sat down in a chair, staring wide-eyed at the floor. “I suppose that’s a weight off my mind, but judging from how shaken you look, I’m guessing that’s not the end of the story.”

 

“No,” Toshinori said grimly. “What has me worried is the other part of the police report.” All Might turned fully so as to face Hisashi properly, his blue eyes looking straight into his sea green. “His horns were missing, Hisashi.”

 

“Missing?”

 

“Not broken. Not removed. Missing . As if they were never there.”

 

A silence hung in the room. The only noise came from the humming of the air vents and the rain pattering against the window.

 

“So what you’re saying,” Hisashi eventually broke the silence, “is that he is back.”

 

Toshinori nodded. “I fear so.”

 

“To survive an injury like that…” Hisashi shook his head. “So... All For One is back... and this time he has a dragon quirk.”

 

In that moment, to Toshinori, the water crashing against the window sounded less like raindrops and more like the distant, echoing drums of war.

Chapter Text

After a few more minutes, Hisashi stood up to leave. Neither men bid each other goodbye; there was simply too much on their minds. The number one hero turned back to the window, following the paths of droplets falling down the glass with his eyes.

 

He was alone for a few minutes, deep in thought about what the future might hold, when a knocking brought him back to reality.

 

“Um, Mr. All Might, sir?”

 

Toshinori turned around and saw a tall brunette woman standing in the doorway, looking inquisitively at him. “Young Uraraka, do you need something?”

 

The woman rubbed her hand through her hair nervously. Unlike normally, she had her hair pulled up into a messy bun. It put a small smile on Toshinori’s face, reminding him of fond, far-off memories. “Yeah, I was hoping to ask you a question or two? I’ve had some things on my mind.”

 

Toshinori pushed the thoughts of his nemesis out of his mind for now so he could focus on his young student. “Of course, I am willing to help anyway I can!”

 

Young Uraraka sat down in the chair that Hisashi had pulled up, while Toshinori grabbed another chair so he could sit across from her. “What’s this about?” he asked her.

 

“It’s about… well, it’s about Deku.” The woman shifted awkwardly in her chair.

 

Toshinori chuckled softly. “I figured as much. Tell me, what’s been bothering you?”

 

“Okay.” She let out a big sigh. “Okay. I’ve been thinking about what T-Terrorflame said. About Deku.”

 

The voice of the villain echoed in Toshinori’s mind, fresh as the day he heard it.

 

“You know what he is. It's in his blood, it's in his brain. He doesn't have a choice.”

“You know you’re training the next me.”

He sighed. “You’re worried that Young Midoriya is going to become a villain. That he’ll wind up like Terrorflame.”

 

“No.” The woman shook her head, surprising the pro.

 

“No?” He raised an eyebrow.

 

“Deku would never become villain. I know that.” The conviction in her voice impressed Toshinori. “But the others don’t know him like I do. UA doesn’t know him like I do.”

 

‘Oh,’ Toshinori thought, ‘she’s thinking about…’

 

“The boy can already use a full transformation and you’re still taking a chance on him? UA must truly be desperate.”

 

Toshinori raised an eyebrow at her. “You seem to think you know him quite well.”

 

“I do.” She looked into his eyes. “I know it’s hard to believe…but I know he would rather die than become a villain. I’m not worried about that. He won’t let his insti-”

 

She slapped her hands over her mouth.

 

Toshinori blinked twice. “He’s told you about…?”

 

You know? ” Young Uraraka’s eyes widened.

 

Toshinori was so surprised he couldn’t help but begin to laugh, the woman joining him a few moments later with a few awkward chuckles.

 

He looked at her with a kind smile. “I see you’ve earned Young Midoriya’s trust.”

 

“Trust…” she repeated. “Yeah, we trust each other. He’s… he’s told me a lot. I know he hasn’t told me everything, but…” She shook her head and steeled herself. “I’m guessing that the school knows about his instincts… and now they definitely do. The rest of the class hasn’t said anything, they’ve been really supportive in fact but…”

 

Young Uraraka looked straight into his eyes, staring him down with a mixture of determination and fear. “I need to know if UA is planning on kicking him out or anything like that!”

 

Toshinori grew a very serious look. “And what if we are?”

 

Young Uraraka’s eyes teared up slightly, but she didn’t look any less driven. “Then… I’m leaving too. I don’t think I could go to school at a place that would kick out someone like Deku. He’s more determined than anyone I know to become a hero, he saved us from that monster, he’s done nothing but try to be friends with everyone in class! It’s not fair!”

 

“You would leave UA over him?” He hadn’t expected a reaction like that.

 

“I’m not going to follow him or anything,” she looked down. “I got the top score at the entrance exam, I could go to Shiketsu or something. I’m not going to throw my life away for a boy I have a cr- for a boy.” She caught herself a little too late, but he pretended to not notice. “But it wouldn’t be right for me to stay at UA.”

 

She looked into his eyes again, the faint hint of blush fading rapidly as it arrived. “It’s more important to do what’s just than to do what’s easy, right? Heroes fight for justice, not for fame o-or money.”

 

Toshinori grew a wide, proud smile. “That’s right, Young Uraraka! The true purpose of being a hero is fighting for justice and for those who cannot protect themselves! It speaks volumes that you already understand that.” He reached over and placed a hand on her shoulder. “And please, do not worry. UA has no plans on expelling or otherwise punishing Young Midoriya. Please forgive my deception; I wished to see how you would react.”

 

The woman stared at him dumbfoundedly for a few moments as a small embarrassed blush began to dust her cheeks. She looked down and shifted in her seat awkwardly. “O-oh.”

 

Toshinori chuckled again as he released her shoulder. “I think Young Midoriya is lucky to consider you his friend. Now, if there-”

 

“Actually, now that I think about it… can I ask you something else?” She was still looking down at her feet.

 

He noted the somberness that had returned to her tone along with a weight it hadn’t had before. “Of course.”

 

He knew that weight intimately.

 

“Is there ever times when… even after you’ve done a lot…” She ran a hand through her hair nervously. “Even if you’ve done all that you feel you can... you feel like you should have done more?”

 

The number one hero paused for a moment. His silence caused her to look up at him, her eyes filled with both regret and hope. “Every time.”

 

Her mouth dropped open. “R-really? Even you?”

 

He nodded. “Even me. Even now.”

 

“What should I do? This guilt is eating me up inside, I can’t help but feel like it’s my fau-”

 

“Young Uraraka.” He interrupted her by placing his hand on her shoulder again. “From what I understand, you did quite a bit. Young Ashido told us all about you defending her from the villains in the Conflagration Zone, and multiple students praised you for your quick reaction in saving Aizawa. You have the thanks and praise of everyone at UA.”

 

“But-”

 

“I saw your injuries before Recovery Girl healed them. You pushed yourself to your limits, you have nothing to be ashamed about.” He tried to bolster her confidence. “You are still a student; you never should have been asked to do something like this in your first week of hero school, but you did . Take pride in that!”

 

The woman hung her head as she absorbed his words. He pulled his arm back, and a few moments later, she suddenly stood up, looking slightly down at him with fire in her eyes. “I’ll train harder so this never happens again. Nobody will be hurt under my watch, not if I can help it.”

 

Toshinori blinked as his smile widened. “That’s the spirit!” He stood up as well, beaming proudly. “Let me give you a piece of advice someone long ago gave to me. A hero is responsible for not just saving someone’s body, but also their hearts. That’s why I smile, Young Uraraka, to let people know that everything is going to be okay. The strongest heroes are the ones that are always smiling!”

 

Her eyes went wide for a few moments as her mouth hung open in surprise. Slowly, her eyes regrew their determined glare and her mouth turned up into a small smile. “Yes, sir!”

 

She hesitated for a moment, then threw her arms around him in a tight hug. “Thank you, All Might. I feel a lot better.”

 

He patted her head a few times. “Always happy to help. Now, run along, I’m sure your classmates are looking for you.”

 

She broke the hug and nodded, turning and walking towards the door. She smiled brightly and gave him a wave as she left him alone in the room once more.

 

Toshinori turned back to the rainy window. Maybe it was just him, but it seemed a little brighter out than it had a few minutes ago.

 


 

Ochako headed back to Deku’s room with a slight spring in her step. Ever since she woke up on Saturday, the guilt in her heart had been growing more and more. Why was Deku the one in a coma when she was walking around just fine? Why had he nearly given everything when she was ‘disabled’ by a simple sprain while he protected her? How dare she stand next to Deku when he’s giving his all, fighting against his very nature to become a hero, while she is just trying to make money?

 

Those doubts had been silenced, or at least quieted for now. She had regrets, but like All Might said, she should be proud of what she had done. Those regrets would be reminders to her. The first week of UA had challenged so many of her perceptions. All Might was right: she was here to learn. She would get better. She would do better.

 

Only one thing still weighed heavily on her heart as she opened the door to Deku’s room. Before she could look around, she was nearly tackled by Mina.

 

“Ochako! Did you hear?” Mina was almost picking her up with how strongly she was hugging her.

 

Ochako snapped her head to the bed, but to her surprise, she saw Deku still lying there, still unmoving. She turned back to Mina, looking down into her black eyes. “...No?”

 

Bakugou clicked his tongue as he glared at the newscast on the television in the room. “It’s Terrorflame. They found his body. Bastard’s dead.”

 

Ochako’s heart felt light for the first time in nearly a week. ‘He’s gone… we don’t have to worry about him anymore. Maybe the nightmares will stop now…’

 

Then her heart twisted slightly. She looked at Bakugou as Mina let go of her. “Who killed him?”

 

“We don’t know,” Momo answered, “but my money is on that League of Villains. They were likely not pleased with him failing to kill All Might.”

 

Ochako looked over at Deku again. Next to her, Mina noticed her forlorn stare. “Don’t worry, Ochako, I’m sure he’ll wake up soon.”

 

The brunette remembered what All Might had told her and forced a smile onto her face. Surprisingly, as the smile rose, so did her mood. Instead of fake confidence, some of it had become real. She grinned happily down at the slightly surprised and barely blushing Mina. “You’re right. I can’t wait.”

 


 

The group stayed up a little too late that night talking and playing a card game that Mina had brought. The news that Terrorflame was no more raised all of their spirits. Momo was often early to bed, as she knew well the value of a good night’s sleep, or perhaps more accurately, the dangers a lack of sleep could bring. But tonight, she indulged.

 

The four students eventually couldn’t stay up any longer, and at around 1AM, they decided to go to sleep. Thanking Momo for the comfortable pillows, blankets and padding for their makeshift beds again, causing a small smile to blossom on her face. She felt a lot more comfortable now than she had the first night, and not just because of the bedding she had made.

 

Momo let her hair down and snuggled into the surprisingly comfortable recliner, pulling the covers up her body as she nuzzled deeper into the pillow. She opened her right eye just barely, enough for her to catch a glimpse of the other women, but not enough for them to tell her eyes were open.

 

Over the past several nights, Momo had noticed Mina and Ochako getting… friendlier with each other. Mina was gradually creeping further up Ochako’s body each night, to the point where Momo had noticed her resting her head on the brunette’s side the previous night.

 

However, it seemed that their lack of sleep was… liberating some of their inhibitions. Ochako got onto the couch on her side like normal, wearing those adorable little mittens to keep her quirk in line, while Mina crawled in the other side. Momo watched curiously, a little interested in how far they were going to push things tonight.

 

Momo heard Ochako sigh and whisper something like ‘screw it’ under her breath. The brunette took off one of her gloves and put her hand on Mina’s head, taking the weight from her. The horned girl looked on with silent curiosity, not wanting to wake Bakugou, who had an incredible talent to fall asleep nearly instantly. Ochako rolled to her left so she was laying flat on her back, then pulled Mina back down so that her head was right on her clavicle.

 

Mina gasped, her furious purple blush dwarfed only by Ochako’s own red as the smaller woman immediately snuggled up into the brunette’s side, her arms were bunched up near her chest while Ochako put her mitten back on and then draped her left arm along Mina’s back, pulling her close.

 

Momo was impressed she was able to keep her composure watching the scene. She felt shocked by the scandalizing display in front of her, the familiar sensation bubbling up in her ch-

 

‘No, that’s not it.’ Momo tried looking away from the two women, whose blushes were fadingly slowly as they grew content smiles and closed their eyes. She watched Ochako rub her face in Mina’s hair the smallest amount as the latter adjusted herself a little further, burrowing a little deeper into Ochako.

 

‘I’m feeling…’ Momo didn’t dare admit it at first. She tried to rationalize it away, argue against it, but in the end, she couldn’t deny it.

 

‘Envy?!’

 

Momo rolled over, turning her back to the girls and pulling the blanket to her nose to make sure they couldn’t see her growing blush.

 


 

Ochako woke up as the sun shone through the window Wednesday morning. She felt a small amount of sweat on her body and a light blush on her cheeks. ‘That dream again ?! I really am hopeless…’ She looked down and saw Mina snuggled up on her side, causing Ochako to smile happily as she softly patted her head again. ‘I’m glad I finally pulled the trigger on that. I slept better than ever-’ she let out a huge yawn, ‘-I just wish I slept longer.’

 

Mina woke up slowly as Ochako rubbed her hand through her hair. She rolled around a little bit, bumping her head into Ochako’s chest a couple times as she moved her head to she could look up. “Morning, Ochako.”

 

Ochako nodded happily, making sure she was still focused enough to keep hiding her accent. “Morning, Mina. Sleep well?” She blushed slightly from her boldness.

 

Mina’s smile was a mix between adorable and predatory. “Is that really a question? You’re super comfy. I could get used to this~”

 

That broke Ochako. “O-oh o-okay, t-thanks.” She was pretty sure her face was doing an impression of Eiko’s hair as she averted her gaze.

 

Mina giggled on her chest, Ochako becoming very, very aware of her impressive bust pressing into her side and chest. “Sorry, too much?”

 

Ochako covered her face with her mitten-covered hands, trying, but finding herself unable to form words. Mina pushed herself up into a sitting position, straddling the taller woman and causing the brunette to miss the warmth on her side, but to enjoy the sensation of Mina’s healthy thighs pressing against her hips.

 

The woman let out a yawn of her own, stretching her arms wide and lifting her shirt up, giving Ochako a very good view of her bra. ‘First that dream again, now this?!’ Ochako groaned into her mittens.

 

Mina giggled at the reaction but stopped her teasing, hopping off the woman. Ochako stood up as she tossed her mittens off and grumbled halfheartedly, still blushing from the earlier interaction. “I’m taking a shower. Don’t wait up.”

 


 

Mina loved it when Ryukyu would visit. She couldn’t be there as much as Midori’s dad was, since she was covering his normal hero beat, something that seemed to cause tension in the man whenever it was brought up for some reason. Mina guessed it was just because he was proud of his work and didn’t want to seem like he was slacking. She didn’t worry about it too much.

 

She had only come by twice before today, but each time was like Christmas for the pink woman. The first time, her visit was mostly taken up by her getting the rundown of the situation from Midori’s parents; Mina wasn’t about to get in the way of family matters. Her second visit happened to come at the same time that a busload of their classmates were visiting as well. Mina didn’t get much of a chance to speak with her then, either.

 

This time, however, it was just Momo, Ochako and her. Bakugou had stepped out to do training with Stormclaw, something they apparently had been doing for over a decade, which was baffling to Mina. Their worlds were so different from hers.

 

Ryukyu sat down in one of the chairs next to Midori and started talking about… stuff. She told him about some villains she had fought the previous day, describing her fighting in great detail. Mina wasn’t listening too well; she was too busy staring at her stunning turquoise eyes, her jutting horns, and her copper red hair to really pay attention. Mina had been crushing on Ryukyu for years and now being so close to her, well, it made her feel like a schoolgirl again.

 

The pro began telling stories about Midori when he was younger, which certainly got Mina’s attention. Apparently, he had been quite the prankster in high school, which Ryukyu claimed she had no idea about and had no part in encouraging and certainly wasn’t personally responsible for some of his better ideas.

 

They spent the better part of an hour listening to her tell stories, crack jokes and generally lift their spirits. After a while, Mamadoriya showed up, asking for some help making lunch. The three students jumped to attention, but before she could leave Ryukyu interceded.

 

“Aunt Inko, can I borrow Ashido for a bit? I’m sure these two ladies will be more than capable of helping you fix lunch.” She winked at Mina, who nearly fainted on the spot.

 

“Oh, that’s fine.” The short woman smiled kindly, just like Midori did. “You two have fun, now. Come on, girls.”

 

Ochako gave her a smile and a wave as she left, while Momo gave her an appraising, curious look as she followed. The door closed behind them, leaving the pro alone with Mina and her unconscious cousin.

 

“So…” Ryukyu looked slightly up at her, the muscular woman just an inch shorter than her. She grew a smile that Mina knew all too well, for it was the wide, predatory smirk she often wore. It was a little unsettling to be on the other side of it.

 

Mina gulped.

 

“You wear your heart on your sleeve, Ashido,” she pointed out.

 

“Is… is that a problem? I’ve always been outspoken.” She wasn’t sure where Ryukyu was going with this.

 

“No, no, not at all. I just want to ask you about something I’ve noticed.” The smile grew wider.

 

“S-sure, shoot.” Mina raised an eyebrow nervously. ‘Is this what it’s like when I do this to Ochako or Midori?’

 

Ryukyu pointed a thumb towards the comatose man. “What is he to you?”

 

Mina felt her face warming up. “W-what do you mean?”

 

“Don’t play games with me, young lady,” she jokingly reprimanded. “You keep stealing glances at him and your face goes all soft and cute when you do.” She jokingly pushed her own cheeks up to make a cute smile.

 

“Do I?!” Mina hadn’t noticed herself doing that. Her eyes went wide as she looked at the smirking hero. ‘Guess there’s no use denying it…’

 

Mina shrugged and began to laugh. “Well, I guess you caught me, then!”

 

Ryukyu started laughing as well. “I like you, Ashido. You’re a good kid.”

 

“I’m 18!” Mina protested.

 

Ryukyu shrugged. “And I’m 29. What about it?” She raised an eyebrow at Mina. “And don’t try to change the subject. What is he to you?”

 

Mina pouted slightly, earning another smile from Ryukyu. “Fine. Midori is…”

 

“A nickname? Oooh…”

 

Mina blushed slightly. “Heh, yeah… but uh, Midori is… I’m not sure.”

 

“Yes you do.” Ryukyu’s blue eyes burrowed into her black and gold. “You’re a smart girl.”

 

Mina pouted again. “I… I have a huge crush on him.”

 

Ryukyu raised her eyebrow again. “And that’s why you’ve spent nearly a week watching over him? A crush?”

 

“No!” Mina locked eyes with the hero. “I’m here because I care about him a lot. He saved my life and he’s a really good guy. Even if he doesn’t like me back, I want to be there for him. I want to be his friend and keep him safe.” Mina forced the words out of her mouth, almost panting from the mental exertion.

 

Surprisingly, the redhead’s smirk grew kind. “Thank you. He needs people like that. People to watch over him and make sure he’s doing okay. He has always been willing to protect others, but he never watches out for himself. He surrounds himself with people when he can, but it’s hard for him to actually open up. Maybe one day he’ll open up to you.”

 

“Oh, he already has.” Mina took the opportunity to turn the tables. “He’s told me about his instincts.”

 

Ryukyu’s eyes went wide, much to Mina’s satisfaction. “Wait, how long as he known you?!”

 

Mina thought for a moment. “Before the coma? Less than a week, technically.”

 

The hero began to laugh. Hard. “Oh, Ashido, I don’t think you have to worry. Izuku must be absolutely crazy about you to tell you a secret like that so quickly.”

 

A sparkle lit up Mina’s face. “You think so?”

 

“Yeah, I do.” She paused, thinking. “I’m curious, though. How did that happen?”

 

Mina rubbed the back of her head awkwardly. “Well, after you came and talked to him last week, I sort of… broke into his room.”

 

The pro blanched. “You what?!

 

Mina smiled a bit as she relived the memory of his hands on her wrists… She shook herself a little and continued the story . “Yeah, I knew he was gonna react badly, but not that badly.” She shrugged jokingly. “Anyway, he saw me, tackled me, snarled in my face and all that.”

 

The hero was speechless. “He…”

 

“Oh, don’t worry,” she waved her hand to dismiss the woman’s concern. “He didn’t do anything more than that. Afterwards, I told him that since he tackled me, he had to tell me what had been going on.” Mina rubbed her chin. “In hindsight, that’s probably what he was talking to you about, right?”

 

Ryukyu’s horror was slowly replaced by incredulous awe. “So, you played him.”

 

Mina nodded proudly. “Yep! That’s what he said too, actually.”

 

“Oh yeah, now I’m really sure.” She bumped Mina’s arm with her fist. “You go get that dragon and hold on tight, girl.”

 

Mina felt her heart swell and then do a couple backflips in her chest. She felt her face warm up and she was sure she was turning purple in front of Ryukyu.

 

“Aw, you blush purple,” the hero teased, “that’s just as cute as his little green blush.”

 

“Y-you think so..?” Mina shook herself again, giggling to cover up her slip. “Yeah, his blush is super cute.”

 

Ryukyu smiled widely at her. “You’re a good sport, Ashido. I’m looking forward to Izuku bringing you to family dinners. And that’s not me teasing you, that’s honest.”

 

“Aw, thank you!” Mina was almost bouncing with joy.

 

“Hey, indulge me for a second.” The hero’s tone changed. “Tell me about your quirk.”

 

“Oh,” Mina was caught off-guard, but recovered, “okay. Uh, I make acid.”

 

“Can you control the strength?” The hero was suddenly totally different, Mina had almost forgotten that Ryukyu was in the top ten.

 

Mina nodded. “And the viscosity. I’ve got these special boots for my hero costume that lets me use it to skate around for mobility and stuff.”

 

The hero nodded approvingly. “Clever, clever! I assume you are resistant to acid as well?”

 

“Right again! Well, uh, to a point.”

 

Ryukyu looked around quickly. “Hey, wanna do something dumb?”

 

Mina smirked. “Psh, always.”

 

The redhead opened her mouth and Mina gasped slightly as her sharp fangs began to lengthen even more. In a flash, the hero’s arm grew tough, copper scales as she held it up near her mouth. A drop of orangish-red acid fell from her fang and onto her scales, not reacting in the slightest as it slipped down her arm. It fell from her scales and hit the floor, making a small hissing noise, but not doing any noticeable damage to the tile.

 

Mina’s eyes went wide as the implication hit her. She steeled herself and held her arm towards the pro hero. “Don’t worry, Ashido, it’ll be weak.” She opened her mouth wide and let another drop fall down and land on Mina’s arm.

 

She flinched as it hit, but only out of nerves. The acid slipped down her arm just like it did on the other woman, Mina marvelling as she felt nothing. “It feels like warm water.”

 

“Oh, fun,” the pro added. “If we had more time, we could find out just how resistant you are. It’s important to know your limits. Try that out with Izuku some time; he should know too.”

 

Mina’s head snapped to look at Ryukyu. “What do you mean?”

 

“What, has he not told you? I figured he would have… oh, well.” She shrugged. “Dragon scales resist the effects of other dragons. We’re basically immune to our own ‘type’, if you would -you could give me everything you have and I probably would barely notice- but we resist the other types. Because our quirks are similar, you know? The quirk didn’t reinvent the wheel between my mother and me; it just changed some stuff.”

 

She turned to look at Midori with a forlorn expression. “That’s how he escaped our dear great-uncle with such relatively minor injuries. I shudder to imagine what would have happened if he wasn’t a little resistant to fire.” She turned back to Mina, letting her mood rise again. “So, what I’m saying is that Izuku’s scales will resist your acid a bit. You should figure out how much.”

 

Mina stared at Midori, her mind going hundred miles a minute, bashing through previous hangups about her own body. It was as if a fire had been lit inside her and all the emotions she was forcing herself to suppress were rising to the surface in its wake. She felt a little too hot, but at the same time too cold, yearning for his touch.

 

Before she actually gave in and pulled his hand to nuzzle into it, she quickly changed the subject, trying desperately to ignore the pool of heat forming below her stomach. “S-so you breathe acid and those fangs drip acid. I get that. But how do the other dragons work? How does Midori’s work- wait.” Mina froze and scratched her head. “What kind of breath does he have? He’s never shown it off or anything…”

 

“He’s kept that a secret, huh?” Ryukyu didn’t seem surprised. “I won’t spoil the surprise then. I’m sure he has his reasons. As for the others, it’s pretty straight forward. Uncle Hisashi’s fangs act as conduits for his lightning, so his bite also electrocutes if he wants. Fire dragons like Uncle Hatsuo, er, Purifier, and our dearly-departed Terrorflame have a nasty bite. Their fangs have this substance in them that ignites when it comes in contact with oxygen, including oxygen in someone’s bloodstream.” She shuddered.

 

“Our quirks aren’t nice, Ashido,” she said somberly. “But you know what that’s like, don’t you?”

 

Mina nodded slowly.

 

Ryukyu wrapped an arm around her shoulders and gave her a reassuring one-armed hug. “You have a friend in Izuku, even if you don’t wind up dating him. I want you to help each other, okay?”

 

Mina nodded again. “I will. I promise.”

 

Ryukyu laughed again and smiled. “Don’t tell Izuku, but I’m rooting for you.” She winked. “Come on, let’s go get lunch. I’ll tell you how to get him to really turn green if you behave.”

 


 

After a satisfying and filling lunch adding to her lack of sleep, Ochako was feeling seriously tired. Ryukyu, who she swore was whispering some stuff to Mina when no one was looking, had left after the meal, as she needed to get back to her patrol routes, while Bakugou and Stormclaw were still out training, which left the four women and Deku the only ones around.

 

Inko invited the girls to go shopping with her, which immediately set an adorable fire under both Momo and Mina, but Ochako was feeling too out of it. She volunteered to stay with Deku, ‘just in case he wakes up, right?’

 

Mina pouted a little bit, but gave up soon enough and let her stay behind. Ochako settled into the chair on Deku’s left and stared at him. “I wish you’d wake up soon, Deku. I… we all miss you. I know you’re gonna be okay, but it’s hard seeing you lyin’ there. I wanna thank you proper.”

 

She felt comfortable around him, even if he was comatose; she didn’t even need to hide her accent when she was alone with him.

 

Her eyelids suddenly began to feel heavier and heavier as her head sagged down. She took a slightly nervous glance at Deku and then laid her head down on his chest, her ear on top of his heart.

 

With the soothing, steady rhythm in her ear, she fell asleep nearly instantly.

 


 

In what felt like an instant to her, her eyes began to slowly open. She didn’t feel the crushing exhaustion she had when she went to sleep, which was a relief.

 

Ochako began to look around and quickly noticed that her hair had drifted into Deku’s face while she had been sleeping. She lifted her head slowly, pulling her brown locks away. “Sorry ‘bout that, Deku.”

 

She turned to her left as she stretched, but her heart suddenly skipped a beat and nearly jumped out of her chest.

 

Standing upright about halfway down the bed was a rather impressive tent in the bedsheets.

 

Ochako’s heart settled down as her heart filled with a mixture of shame and exasperation. “Oh, I’m in that dream again.” She shook her head. ‘Two times in one day, and that’s way bigger than it usually is. I’m hopeless.’

 

She stole another glance back at the towering object. ‘Wow... that would totally get me pre- no, bad Ochako. Stop objectifying Deku like that, even if it is in a dream. You’re better than that.’ She shook her head again, hoping to dispel the dream, but to no avail.

 

She felt her heart rate begin to pick up as she started breathing a little faster. Ochako bit her lip as her body continued to disobey her. She whined a little bit as she rubbed her legs together and began to sweat slightly. ‘I mean… if it’s only a dream...’

 

She reached out her hand, hesitating multiple times as it crossed the distance, before she poked the tip, causing it to wobble as she wrenched her hand back. The sight alone made her whine unintentionally. ‘...Maybe being here for so long without… private time was a mistake,’ she finally admitted as she licked her lips, realizing just how pent up she must be for her dreams to be getting this wild. She rubbed her thighs together again, hating and loving the aching, throbbing sensation spreading through them, up her spine, and into her stomach. Ochako wanted nothing more than for someone, no, Deku, to touch her, to help fill the emptiness that was growing inside. Blood rushed downward and she could feel her heartbeat throbbing in her-

 

“S-screw it.” One hand started traveling back to the monolith that was causing her suffering, while the other started traveling down her stomach towards-

 

“Hey Ochako, we’re ba-” Mina came walking into Ochako’s dream, stopping dead at the foot of the bed just like the brunette’s hands at the intrusion. She stared slack-jawed for several seconds before she found words. “Holy...shit… Midori is huge!

 

“I know, right ?” Ochako responded breathlessly, her voice heavy with familiarity and lust; she was used to this song and dance, and if Dream Mina was here… she wouldn’t need her hands. “It’s not nearly this big normally though, I must really be pent up...”

 

“N-normally?!” Mina sputtered. “Have you been-”

 

“No, no. I mean in these dreams normally.” Ochako rolled her eyes at the woman. “You’re pretty sassy today, Dream Mina.”

 

“Ochako…” Mina stared at her with a genuine look of concern on her face behind her growing lilac blush. Ochako noticed she kept stealing glances toward the man, just like her. “Do you think you’re in a dream right now?”

 

Ochako raised an eyebrow. “Obviously! Come on, there’s no way Deku is that bi- ouch!”

 

Mina had taken a few rapid steps toward the woman and pinched her hard on the arm.

 

“What’d you do that fo-” Ochako began indignantly before realization dawned on her. Her face began to heat up with a speed that would give Endeavor a run for his money.

 


 

Momo was trailing a little bit behind Mina on her way back to Midoriya’s room, as she had been involved in a discussion with Mrs. Midoriya. She was nearly to the door when it flew open, a neon-red girl nearly bowling her over as she streaked out of the room cupping her face with her hands.

 

She regained her balance and turned back to the room when Mina came flying out of the room, her own face lit up with a shade of purple she didn’t know she could turn. Momo managed to jump out of the way of the pink and purple girl as she dashed past her.

 

“What’s going on?” she called after the two, but they didn’t respond as the rapidly turned around the corner and vanished, leaving Momo alone in the hallway.

 

“How strange,” Momo said, a little insulted. “What’s gotten into them?”

 

She dusted herself off and turned back towards Midoriya’s room, opening the door and taking a step inside before freezing in place.

 

“Oh my.”

 


 

Several hours and another long shower later, Ochako had calmed down enough to return to Deku’s room, although she still couldn't look at him without starting to blush. The sun had set and they took the opportunity to go to sleep early that night, hoping to make up for the late night yesterday.

 

Ochako lay down across the couch and comfy padding that Momo had graciously made for them, leaving room for Mina to climb over her and cuddle up on her left side. She felt guilty for just how comfortable and relaxed snuggling Mina felt, especially after the day she had. ‘It’s just cause we’re sharin’ this couch, it just makes sense for us to sleep like this. It’s nothin’ else.’

 

Despite her protests, she grew a contented smile as Mina’s head rested on her shoulder and the two of them drifted off to sleep nearly instantly.

 

The next day passed by quickly. About half the class showed up that day, which was pretty standard. Pony, Eiko and Iida were there, just like they always were, doing what they always did at Deku’s bedside.

 

It had been nearly a week since the USJ and the class had certainly settled into a routine. They had been out of class longer than they had been in class; with the bizarre short day on Monday and the cancelled classes on Friday, they had only had three ‘normal’ days of class. Ochako dreaded the idea of classes starting back up on Monday, especially if Deku wasn’t up yet.

 

Mina shared her sentiments. When Iida urged Deku to wake up before he missed any actual class, the two women had exchanged worried, stressed glances.

 

Surely it couldn’t be much longer, right?

 


 

Friday. A week since the USJ and a week since Deku fell into his coma.

 

The specialists that Stormclaw had hired finished their daily round of treatment on Deku and left with a curt nod just like they had for the past week. The four students were left alone in the room as a heavy silence fell over them.

 

Bakugou was a hard man to read, but over the week, Ochako had gotten to know him a little better, even if he didn’t talk much. She could tell that he was taking Deku’s continued coma pretty hard, despite trying not to show it. Any time he didn’t spend talking to Deku was spent trying to distract himself. He had read all the textbook assignments at least twice, done all the written problems and even gone further ahead what Aizawa had assigned them. He went out jogging and strength training with Stormclaw every day, working himself so hard that he would fall asleep nearly instantly when he sat back down in his recliner.

 

She could see that Stormclaw was tired by the end as well. Maybe both men needed the exercise to get their mind off the same issue.

 

Momo surprised Ochako more, however. When she thought about it, she wouldn’t have guessed that the black-haired woman would have willingly spent the week here. She seemed friendly with Deku, sure, but not in the same way Bakugou, Mina or Ochako herself were. Momo certainly had a motherly instinct; she seemed to worry that Deku was taken care of, despite the nurses, doctors and specialists that came into check on and care for him multiple times a day.

 

She spoke to the man with a kind voice that sounded… surprisingly intimate, one she hadn’t heard her use up until now, when she was reading the textbook to him or talking about other things. Part of her wanted to hear her speak like that more, maybe even towards her, but another part chastised herself for wanting that; she could only be so selfish. Ochako knew that the two of them had a history, with what Mina told her about the first night at the dorms as well as Stormclaw’s reaction to her, but Momo seemed very adamant in pushing herself away from it all.

 

Ochako had to admit that she was impressed by the number and variety of medical quirks the staff and specialists had. Things that would normally take fancy equipment and careful observation were handled nearly instantly and quite cleanly, leaving Deku mostly free of needles or patches. The advances in wireless monitoring and remote testing meant that his hospital visit was remarkably smooth and safe, even compared to just a few decades ago, not to mention centuries.

 

As Friday afternoon ticked by, Mina and Ochako found themselves alone with their comatose classmate. Ochako sat down on the chair to the man’s left, while Mina sat across from her on his other side. They had done this often since their first time after the nightmares of the second night, usually just talking about whatever, or sometimes even playing cards across the bed with each other.

 

Today, Ochako wasn’t feeling it. She just sat there, staring at Deku’s sleeping face, pleading for his eyes to open or for him to make some noise, but nothing happened.

 

The drawn-out suspense was getting to her. She counted her blessings that the doctors predicted him to wake up any day now, trying not to image what it would be like if he was comatose for a month or longer. Throughout this whole thing, they had all been fortunate.

 

Mina, shrewd as ever, effortlessly picked up on Ochako’s melancholy. “You know it’ll be soon, Ochako. Then all this waiting will seem like a lifetime ago.”

 

She sighed. “I know you’re right, but it still… it hurts seeing him just lying here.”

 

“Yeah, I know. It’s hard seeing someone you love suffering.”

 

Ochako nearly fell out of her chair. She gripped the handles tightly as she whipped up to Mina’s face, expecting to see her teasing smirk, but the woman was smiling gently. “L-love?! Isn’t that a b-bit much, Mina?”

 

She shook her head slowly. “I wasn’t sure what I was feeling either, which is strange for me, honestly. I’m usually pretty good about that stuff. But then Ryukyu had a talk with me and well, over the past couple of days… I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.”

 

This wasn’t Mina’s usually happy-go-lucky attitude that she was displaying, nor was it the teasing tone she took while trying to get people to blush. She was serious, and her sincerity caused Ochako to listen intently, even as blush creeped into both of their faces.

 

“And I think I figured it out.” Mina reached up and ran her hand along Deku’s face affectionately. “The reason I wanted to stay here, the reason I’m willing to do all this while just waiting for him to wake up, why I get all these funny feelings in my stomach and heart and mind when I look at him…”

 

Mina looked straight into Ochako’s eyes.

 

“You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? He put so much trust in us, he put his life on the line to protect us, how kind he was, not just to us, but to everyone in the class. Well, excluding Mineta, but you know.” Mina giggled slightly as Ochako grew a small smirk. “Plus he’s super hot, I mean, come on .”

 

Mina !” Ochako blushed a little harder as the pink woman stuck her tongue out playfully. Just as quickly, she regained her composure and her serious tone.

 

“I’ve had crushes before, Ochako. I’ve had boyfriends. This is…” she sighed, almost dreamily so, “beyond that- I guess? I don’t know how to describe it any other way”

 

Mina looked back at Deku and smiled softly, resolutely. “I… I think I’m in love. I’ve never experienced it before, and maybe it’s just a foolish, childish thing, but…” She trailed off as her blush filled her face.

 

Ochako was frozen. ‘Love? Deku? I mean, I like him a lot, I’ve been crushin’ on him ever since we met back at the entrance exam… but love ? I-I never thought about it; I never even considered that, but… maybe?’ She covered her face with her hands as her blush grew to match Mina’s.

 

“I… I don’t know, Mina. I mean-”

 

“Think about it! What do you feel? I know you feel that weird bubbliness when you look at him too; What else could it be?” Mina was nearly pleading.

 

The brunette’s eyes went wide behind her fingers. She ran through everything Mina had said in her mind, she thought about him saving her at the entrance exam, about her saving him at the battle trial, the trust he put in her afterwards, the way he told her that he thought she was hot and how he reacted to her slapping him, the way he had nearly died to protect her and everything in between, not to mention her ‘dream'. Each one of those memories brought a flood of emotion to her system, causing her blush to grow even stronger and her heart to skip a beat as her stomach did somersaults in her gut.

 

Ochako lowered her hands slowly, staring down in shock. “I t-think you might be right… maybe I do... l-l-love him…” She struggled, but was finally able to push the words out. “But what if he doesn’t love m- us back?”

 

Mina smiled widely, small tears forming in the corners of her eyes. “That’s something for us to worry about another time, but if what Ryukyu said is true, and she seems to know Midori pretty well, then I don’t think either of us have to worry too much about that.”

 

Ochako’s shoulders slumped as she sighed; she felt as if a great weight she didn’t even notice had been lifted off her chest, like she had unknowingly had her quirk activated this entire time. “I hope you’re right, Mina.” She once again remembered All Might’s words to her as she looked up and gave Mina a confident smile. The other woman matched her smile, making Ochako feel just a bit better.

 

Then, Mina flinched.

 

Her head slowly turned to her left, toward Deku as her eyes began to widen. Ochako felt compelled to follow Mina’s stare.

 

Deku was gently nuzzling into her hand with a groggy, happy smile stretching across his face. He slowly opened an eye, staring at Mina, and then Ochako, his smile only growing larger with each passing second, at least until he noticed the ceiling.

 

“...Where am I?”

 

 

 

“DEKU?!”

    “MIDORI?!”

Chapter Text

Hisashi was tired. A week of worry, stress, and guilt weighed down on him, but he kept a happy face on around the children. If they saw him worrying, their own spirits might fail and he wasn't about to allow that.

 

Izuku had told him all about his classmates, but meeting them in person was different. Yaoyorozu was almost just as he remembered; she was the heiress of a very wealthy family and her upbringing shone through. He was quite surprised by how concerned and affectionate she was with his son, but he wasn't resistant to it. She was a fine young woman.

 

Uraraka and Ashido seemed like good kids as well. They were both deeply attached to Izuku, that much he could tell immediately. He wondered what had caused them to become so close, but that would have to wait until his son woke up. Everything else was secondary to Izuku.

 

Katsuki was beating himself up. Hisashi had known the boy since before he was born; he would be a sorry excuse for an ‘uncle’ if he couldn't tell when he was suffering. Katsuki was feeling guilt, just like Hisashi was. They felt guilty that they weren't there for Izuku, that he had faced Terrorflame on his own, that he was lying there while they were completely uninjured.

 

Last Friday felt like a bad dream. He had barely landed back in Japan when he had received the message from President Nezu that there had been an attack and his son had been hospitalized. He couldn’t remember the last time his instincts had flared that badly; he even got a bit of a headache from it. He had sent his luggage home with his hired driver and taken to the skies from the airport.

 

He slammed down in front of the hospital with enough force to set off car alarms and crackling enough lightning that he burst a streetlamp just by being nearby. He felt his heart pounding faster as his instincts screamed more and more.

 

He hadn’t expected to see Katsuki, Yaoyorozu and the other two girls there, but he was relieved to see that All Might was involved. Especially after saving his life, Toshinori was a loyal and steadfast friend. In hindsight, it was foolish to not expect Izuku to have made good friends so quickly. It was his nature, after all.

 

When he saw his boy lying there on that operating table, in surgery for an injury given to him by Genta of all people… his fury broke. His boy was safe, but he would never be the same, Physically, mentally, or emotionally.

 

The news that Izuku had managed a full transformation was just the icing on the terrible, terrible cake. He should never have been able to do that, he never should have had to do that. But he somehow did and, judging from what All Might told him, he had to. If he hadn’t, people would be dead.

 

A part of Hisashi marveled at the fascinating amalgamation of pride and grief that was tearing his heart in half.

 

When Ashido expressed a desire to stay there with Izuku and when the other three agreed… that made Hisashi feel a lot better. Not only did it show him just how much of an effect his son had on his classmates, he also knew that having his hoard there would accelerate his healing.

 

A week of guilt, anguish, regret, confusion, pride, joy… it was a lot to take, even for someone as experienced as him. He had seen his share of destruction and pain throughout his 26 years of being a pro hero, but he had never had his own family hurt like this.

 

Hisashi sighed, looking out the window of the suite that Inko and he were living in while Izuku was in his coma. They were willingly keeping a little distance from their son, as much as it hurt them, so to let his friends be around him without the pressure of his parents being around; he knew kids acted differently when they had an audience, especially one they felt they needed to be respectful around.

 

His long years of practice and training with his quirk had allowed him to maintain some transformations nearly permanently, including the little trick his father had taught him before he passed. By just barely circling his quirk through his sensory organs, he could maintain part of the enhanced perception abilities of his draconic form without transforming significantly. Those that knew him well could see a slight discoloration around his ears, but for the m-

 

“DEKU?!”

    “MIDORI?!”

 

Hisashi hadn’t moved that fast in a long time. He was thankful that there was nobody in the hallway outside his room as he tore toward his son. He hit ‘send’ on the message he had typed in his phone a week ago as he burst through the door, his eyes wide and glowing, whipping his head in the direction of the bed.

 

What he saw would have warmed his heart if it wasn’t already nearly on fire from beating so hard. Ashido and Uraraka both had their arms thrown around Izuku and their cheeks crushed against his, the two women crying slightly while his son’s expression was a hilarious combination of confused and very happy.

 

His entrance caused the women to nearly jump out of their skin and quickly release Izuku. His son looked startled by the sudden noise, but as his eyes latched onto Hisashi, they quickly filled with joy and tears; he really was his mother’s son.

 

“Dad!” Izuku cried out. Hisashi’s heart swelled; he had wished to hear that voice every day for an entire week.

 

“Izuku!” Hisashi crashed into his son, wrapping his arm around him. Since that fateful night six years ago, he hadn’t missed his left arm more than he did right now.

 

The two men embraced for a good minute, both men crying into each other’s shoulders, but Izuku crying harder, of course. Finally, they pulled apart slightly, Hisashi wrapping his arm around his son’s head and pressing their foreheads together. “I missed you, son.”

 

“I missed you too,” Izuku responded softly. Hisashi noted a tone of sadness in his voice. “Did… did I hurt anybody?”

 

Hisashi cracked a small smile as he leaned back. “No, Izuku. You didn’t hurt anyone. Well, besides some villains.”

 

Izuku flinched as if all the memories had suddenly come crashing back. His eyes began to glow brightly as his horns began to streak back on his head. “Terrorflame!” he yelled frantically. “Where is he? The girls! My classmates! I need to protec-

 

“Izuku!” Hisashi yelled, shaking his son’s shoulder. His eyes snapped up to his father’s, the glow fading slightly. “He’s gone. Everyone is safe. Everyone is safe.

 

Izuku panted as he fell back into his bed.  He took a few moments to collect himself as he stared at the ceiling. “How… how long was I out?”

 

Hisashi sighed and leaned back, giving his son some space.. “A week. It’s Friday, Izuku.”

 

Izuku sputtered as he shot up in his bed. “A-a week ?! Oh man, I’ve missed a whole week of training.” His eyes widened further. “I missed a week of class! Oh man, Aizawa is gonna kill me.”

 

The girls giggled behind Hisashi. He had to admit, he had forgotten they were there. “You didn’t miss anything,” Hisashi said with a smile. “They canceled class to check on the security of the campus. A wise decision, if you ask me.”

 

Izuku sighed, clearly relieved. Then suddenly, his eyes widened again. “Dad, I transformed! Fully!” His voice was equal parts excitement and trepidation.

 

Hisashi’s brow furrowed. “I heard. You’re incredibly lucky to be alive, son. I won’t scold you, but you have to be more careful. You knew how dangerous it was.”

 

Izuku’s shoulders slumped. “I know. But I had to do it. If I hadn’t…”

 

“If he didn’t, Ochako and I would be dead,” Ashido finished for him. “He saved us from Terrorflame. We owe him our lives.”

 

Izuku smiled softly at the woman’s words. “I’m just happy you’re okay, Ashido. Uraraka.” He looked back to Hisashi. “It’s sort of a blur, the whole thing, I mean. I remember resisting my instinc-”

 

Hisashi flinched this time, his eyes widening before he caught himself. “Oh, right. All Might and Ryuko told me that you already informed your friends here of our ‘family secret’.” His voice was a little scolding but mostly exhausted.

 

Izuku’s head lowered again as he looked away sheepishly. “I trust them, dad. They’re… they’re important to me.”

 

‘Ladykiller,’ Hisashi thought, shaking his head and smiling a bit as he heard both women gasp slightly behind him. ‘He doesn’t even know what he’s doing.’

 

At this point, Izuku’s doctor entered along with a small team of assistants. She asked a series of questions to Izuku while she and her team ran tests. Izuku passed with flying colors, apparently experiencing no unexpected discomfort or complications, satisfying the doctor. She nodded to Hisashi as she left, telling them to take all the time they needed and to call her when they were done catching up. She gave Hisashi a curt nod as she left the room twenty minutes after she entered.

 

“But yeah, where was I? Oh right, the transformation.” Izuku didn’t miss a beat. “I was resisting, trying to keep my instincts in control, but then I heard that villain say he was going to kill us and… well, I stopped resisting. I just... let go.” Izuku began to tear up again. “I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I needed my quirk; all of my quirk.”

 

“Wait…” Uraraka began. “What do you mean you ‘stopped resisting’?”

 

“Just that. I stopped separating myself from myself.” There was an odd note of resigned pride in his voice. “In my head, it was no longer this separate voice, but a unified one. For the first time in a long time…” He looked at Hisashi, pleading with his eyes for his father to tell him if it was going to be okay. “... I was alone in my head. There wasn’t Izuku and the instincts, there was just… one thing. I don’t want to call it myself, because I don’t think it was me. I wouldn’t have said those things, or hurt those villains like I did. I… I don’t think.”

 

Hisashi nodded. “I know, Izuku. I know.” His son looked up at him, his face filled with surprise and intrigue. “As soon as I heard you transformed, I knew that you had done that. I know that feeling well, that mixture of yourself and your instincts to make something else entirely. Unlike you, I have a name for it.”

 

“Really? W-what is it? It didn’t feel… wrong or anything. It felt like…”

 

“I call it ‘Stormclaw’, son.” Hisashi smiled at Izuku’s widening eyes. “That feeling you experienced, that’s what lets us be what we are. One day, you’ll find your own name for it.”

 

The four of them sat there in silence for a few moments as Izuku thought. He looked back up at Hisashi and opened his mouth, but before any words could come out-

 

“MY BABY!”

 

The door almost flew off its hinges as Inko burst into the room and nearly tackled Izuku out of the hospital bed. Hisashi smiled widely; he had heard her coming but didn’t want to spoil the surprise.

 

His heart warmed as he saw the short woman began to nearly crush the breath out of their son. Her tears flowed freely, which renewed the waterfalls in Izuku’s eyes as well. The two greenettes sobbed happy tears into each other’s shoulders for at least a minute before Inko pulled back, still sniffling too hard to form a coherent sentence.

 

At this point, Katsuki had made his way to the side of the bed. He and Yaoyorozu had entered with Inko, but they had kept quiet while the woman embraced her son. Izuku saw Katsuki and began to tear up again; Hisashi stopped being surprised years ago by how many tears the boy somehow stored in his body.

 

Izuku sat up straight in his bed and threw his arms around Katsuki, which the blonde begrudgingly allowed. “I’m so happy you’re safe, Kacchan. I didn’t see you at all after I got teleported. I was so worried.”

 

“I’m not the one who almost killed himself, dumbass,” Katsuki scoffed as he returned the hug with one arm. “I’m gonna kick your ass for missing a week of training.”

 

Hisashi laughed at the slightly scandalized look the three girls were wearing. They clearly didn’t understand Katsuki and Izuku’s relationship, but perhaps the wide smile his son grew would help them.

 

“Wait.” Izuku let go as he leaned back. “If I was in a coma for a week, how come I feel like I just had a good night’s sleep? I don’t feel stiff or weak from the atrophy that surely would come about from being virtually immobile for an entire week, not to mention the strain a lack of use would cause on other parts of my body like my throat, but I was able to speak just fine, and I don’t even feel thirsty. Perhaps it’s my quirk? No, that wouldn’t make sense. Perhaps…” His mumbling grew too fast and soft for Hisashi to follow, even with years of practice.

 

“Uncle had a team of specialists in to see you every day,” Katsuki explained, cutting off Izuku. “One of them had some quirk that stimulated all of your muscles. Apparently, he’s some famous physical therapist. Makes sense, with a quirk like that. There were a bunch of others that did other stuff to you, too. Long story short, you should be fine to get up and get back to work.”

 

Izuku’s eyes were wide again. “Woah… what kind of other stuff? Did someone have a quirk tha-”

 

“Son.” Hisashi stopped Izuku before he could get going again. “I’ll tell you all about it later, but we have important things to discuss now that you’re awake. Besides, there’s someone else you haven’t greeted yet.”

 

Izuku quickly looked around and locked eyes with Yaoyorozu, who was waiting politely by the door. His eyes flashed bright green for a second, quickly enough that someone might not notice. His eyes widened slowly as his jaw opened. “You saved my life. Thank you.”

 

Yaoyorozu began to blush slightly, but Ashido was the first one to speak up. “Wait, how did you know that? None of us told you that.”

 

Izuku laughed awkwardly. “Sometimes you just have to listen to your instincts, right?” He answered her question while avoiding exposing himself to Yaoyorozu, impressing Hisashi.

 

Or at least, impressing Hisashi until Izuku lowered his head in guilt. “Actually, can I speak to Yaoyorozu in private for a bit?”

 

“Son…” Hisashi warned.

 

“I know, but…” Izuku met his eyes with a look of determination and guilt. “She saved my life. I owe her the truth.”

 

Hisashi stared at him for a few seconds before nodding. He stood up as he ruffled his son’s hair, which brought a smile to both of their faces.

 

“T-this really isn't’ necessary, Mr. Midoriya,” the woman protested weakly.

 

Hisashi ushered the rest of the visitors out of the room as he smiled kindly at the woman. Ashido and Uraraka looked kindly at her, while Katsuki glared suspiciously. Hisashi caught him whispering at her as he passed. “Don’t betray his trust.” It was a warning, he noted; not just on Izuku’s behalf, but from him as well.

 


 

Izuku was putting on a bit of a brave face, all things considered. He had a vague feeling that time had passed, but it felt more like he had experienced a series of vague dreams over the course of the world’s longest night, rather than being in a coma for a week. He was understandably confused and disoriented, but it was good to see all of his close friends there for him, but he was a little surprised to see Yaoyorozu there, especially with how she had been acting the past couple of days.

 

That was, at least until his instincts spoke a word to him.

 

Lifegiver.

 

Izuku didn’t know what she did, but he subconsciously knew that she had done something to keep him tethered to the mortal coil.

 

As the rest filed out, Yaoyorozu sat in silence, looking slightly nervous in the chair next to his bed. Izuku looked at her for a moment, hoping to calm her with a soft smile. “How did you save me?”

 

She started tugging at her hair. “After you… lost consciousness, Ochako and Mina brought you up to the entrance. While All Might fought Terrorflame, you… you stopped breathing.”

 

Izuku paled.

 

“So, I gave you CPR. After two cycles of rescue breaths, your quirk flashed over your body and you started breathing again.”

 

Izuku’s eyes widened. He felt his quirk humming slightly under his skin as he stared at the woman. Since he had known her, he had always known her to be pretty, but for the first time, he realized just how beautiful she was. Perhaps it was the revelation that she had saved his life, or perhaps it was his quirk’s doing, but for whatever reason, she suddenly took his breath away.

 

The way the afternoon light shone through her long, beautiful raven hair seemed to frame her like an angel, causing his mouth to begin to turn up into a smile. Her onyx eyes and gorgeous face caused blush to begin to creep into his cheeks as his mind worked at memorizing her features rather than making sure he was still breathing. ‘Maybe I need more CPR…’

 

“Um, Midoriya?”

 

Izuku blinked, breaking the trance. He felt his quirk flare in the back of his mind.

 

Pain. Regret. Why?

 

“You were s-staring, are you okay?”

 

He shook his head, dispelling the warmth on his cheeks. He didn’t know what was causing the weight in her voice and her expression, but he made a mental note that he was going to fix it.

 

But later. Right now, he needed to explain some things.

 

“Yaoyorozu, I need to tell you something. It might explain why I’ve been acting so strangely.” He averted his gaze slightly, ashamed of how he had scared her at the USJ. He had noticed the terror on her face at the time, at least subconsciously, but he had to focus on Kurogiri.

 

Izuku took a deep breath and prepared himself while Yaoyorozu shifted slightly in her chair. “My quirk… has some unique aspects to it. You’re aware of the physical manifestations and transformation, for the most part. Those are obvious. The part that is less obvious is my quirk adaptation.” He opted to begin the conversation on an academic note, hoping to make her more comfortable. “You are, of course, aware of what quirk adaptation is. I assume your adaptations are quite impressive, considering what your quirk is capable of.”

 

Yaoyorozu relaxed slightly, bringing a wave of satisfaction to Izuku. “My body digests and metabolizes food at an incredible rate, to the point where I eat many times more what others do. If I am particularly out of energy, or eat a particularly hearty meal, or worse, both , you can physically see my body change slightly as my lipid reserves are restored and grown.” She blushed slightly as she spoke, causing Izuku to smile. “In addition, my body is denser than the average human, allowing me to store more lipids in a relatively small space. With training, both of these aspects have gotten stronger.”

 

Izuku was intrigued. “Denser? How much so?”

 

The woman blushed harder. “D-don’t you know it’s not proper to ask a lady about her weight?”

 

“O-oh, that’s not what I meant!” Izuku waved his arms around in a panic. “I was just curious, I didn’t mean to insult you, I swear!”

 

Yaoyorozu averted her gaze for several seconds, letting her blush calm down. “F-fine. I can respect scientific curiosity. Hold out your hand.”

 

Izuku did as she asked, to which Yaoyorozu extended her own arm, placing it in his and letting her arm go slack. Izuku nearly dropped her arm, surprised by the sudden weight in his hand. He lifted it back up with a look of awe on his face and reached out his other hand to turn her arm over, marveling at it. He didn’t even realize that he was holding her hand as he looked her over.

 

He ran his left hand over her arm, taking note of the refined and hardened muscles along it. ‘To compensate for the additional mass. Her joints must also be adapted to the additional strain on them as well.’

 

“O-okay, that’s enough,” she said nervously, pulling her arm back.

 

Izuku’s fingers suddenly wrapped around her arm and hand tightly.

 

I don’t want to let her go.

 

Izuku’s hands flew open, releasing her arm as he gasped slightly. Their eyes met for a split second before they both looked away, blush creeping up their faces. “S-sorry, Yaoyorozu.”

 

“Do not worry, I was the one who offered in the first place,” she said quickly, hoping to put the event past her. The two sat in awkward silence for a few seconds before she spoke again. “You were talking about quirk adaptation?”

 

Izuku, who had been distracted trying to memorize the feeling of her skin but at the same time trying desperately not to, snapped back to attention. “R-right.”

 

He cleared his throat. “Yaoyorozu, you’re basically a genius, so I’ll spare you the metaphors and get to the point. My quirk adaptation lies in my brain. I have what amounts to a second voice in my head. It’s called my ‘instincts’ and it is the key to using my quirk.” He kept his voice monotone and objective, hoping to keep her calm.

 

“The voice is mine, but it is different at the same time. At the risk of sounding to arcane and philosophical, it is like a very overactive subconscious. That is how I knew you saved me, actually. I looked at you and my instincts called you ‘lifegiver’.”

 

Yaoyorozu was listening intently, her face flat and mostly expressionless, ever since the blush faded.

 

Izuku continued. “The issue is that, unlike my father or cousin, my instincts are less than nice. I am much more akin to Terrorflame, or Fulgurite, or Frostheart in that sense. If I am not careful and determined, I am likely to wind up like them.”

 

Yaoyorozu nodded as she listened. Izuku raised an eyebrow. “I sort of rely on ‘tricking’ my quirk into making it work in line with my- you’re not surprised, why are you not surprised?”

 

“What?” Yaoyorozu sat up straight, taken aback.

 

“You’re not surprised.” Izuku’s eyes began to glow slightly. “You already know this, or at least suspected it. How?”

 

The woman blinked a few times before looking down, her shoulders slumping. “I… overheard Mina and Ochako talking to each other about it. No, that’s not entirely honest. I eavesdropped on them. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to spy, but I heard them saying you had an ev-” She slapped her hands over her mouth, but it was too late.

 

Izuku flinched.

 

“Nonono, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean t-”

 

“No, you’re right,” Izuku admitted. “They are evil. If I don’t control them, then I’ll become a villain.” He looked her dead in the eyes. “But after the USJ, I know that I can do it. I won’t let anything stop me. As long as I have my friends and family to stand behind me, I’ll never fall.”

 

Yaoyorozu was still blushing slightly, holding her face from embarrassment as he made his bold declaration. She slowly lowered her hands as a kind expression appeared on her face. “Oh, Zu.”

 

She slapped her hands over her mouth again as Izuku stared at her, eyes wide.

 

“I-I’m sorry, Midoriya, it just slipped out, I-I didn’t mean to bring up the past like that, please forget about it!” She buried her face into her hands as she begged forgiveness.

 

Izuku felt the word echo in his mind, awakening fond memories from long ago and bringing a whole new rush of emotions. A smile began to grow on his face, quickly swelling to a wide, blinding grin.

 

“No, Yaoyorozu, it’s fine. I missed being called that. Thank you.”

 


 

Momo’s heart skipped a beat. ‘I missed that smile…’ She felt a smile creep across her face as she was nearly blinded by the sunshine radiating off of Z- Midoriya.

 

The admiration and kindness in his eyes should have made her heart swell, but it only sent it deeper into the pit of her stomach. ‘Please don’t look at me like that. Please . You’ll only make it worse…’

 

She stood up, hoping to distract herself from her blush. “Thank you for trusting me, Midoriya. I’ll go get everyone else, I wouldn’t want to keep them.”

 

Midoriya nodded as she stepped outside the room. The crowd gathered outside stopped their light conversation and turned to stare at her, many of them raising expecting eyebrows. She nodded curtly and smiled weakly, hoping to appease them. They stood up and walked past her, Ochako and Mina both giving her reassuring smiles as they passed.

 

She stood alone in the hallway for a moment, tracing her hand up her arm, where the faint sensation of Midoriya’s touch remained. ‘I waited too long… I missed my chance.’

 

Momo shook her head, waving her hair around slightly as she turned back and walked into the room once again. “It was just a childish crush, anyways,” she mumbled under her breath.

 

‘Right?’

 


 

Izuku watched everyone file back into the room, his smile growing slightly with each person. However, three new faces joined the group, causing him to try and climb out of his bed before his father stopped him.

 

“Ryuko! All Might! Recovery Girl! What’re you doing here?” he said excitedly. His cousin quickly approached the bed and threw her arms around him in a big hug.

 

“Did you really just ask me why I’m here?” Ryuko asked as she squeezed him tight.

 

All Might beamed down at him, an almost fatherly look on his face. “Young Midoriya, I am glad to see you awake and well... I never got to properly thank you for saving all of your classmates last week.”

 

Izuku grew slightly green from the praise as he rubbed the back of his head. “It’s kinda funny, it doesn’t feel like a week ago. But thank you, All Might. I appreciate it. I want to thank you for keeping everyone safe after I couldn’t.”

 

“Of course, it’s my job, after all!’ the pro joked.

 

“Well, yeah, I guess,” Izuku responded. “Just because it’s your job doesn’t mean you don’t deserve thanks.”

 

All Might laughed loudly. “Hisashi, you’ve raised a good boy!”

 

Hisashi ruffled Izuku’s hair again. “As if I needed you to tell me that.”

 

Izuku smiled happily at both heroes before glancing over the rest of the room. Uraraka and Ashido were both smiling fondly at the scene, but he noticed the hint of something on Yaoyorozu’s face again.

 

Why?

 

Recovery Girl cleared her throat. “I don’t have all day, you know.” Her tone held not actual bite, but the room quieted down regardless. She looked Izuku dead in the eye. “Sorry to put this on you so soon, but we need to have a talk about your quirk and what happened last Friday.”

 

Izuku gulped and then nodded. “Alright.”

 

The elderly woman scanned the room, her gaze lingering on the three female students. “And I’m to understand that all three of them know already?”

 

Izuku nodded with a sheepish smile.

 

She shook her head. “If you say so. It’s reckless if you ask me, but I suppose it’s not my quirk.”

 

Hisashi shot the women a stern gaze. “This is a very important secret, young ladies. You must not speak of it to anyone without his permission, understand?” He gestured towards Izuku. “Our family is placing a lot of trust in you.”

 

The three women nodded. “We understand, sir,” Uraraka said firmly.

 

“Alright,” he affirmed before turning to Izuku, who was looking around nervously. “Son, I had hoped to wait a bit before telling you this; I felt it was best to let you get more used to your quirk at UA before dumping this on you, but that’s no longer prudent, I’m afraid.” He sighed before turning back to Recovery Girl. “Please, go ahead.”

 

The woman pulled out a small device and hit a button, causing a hologram of a brain to appear. The hologram rotated slowly as Recovery Girl began to speak. “I’ve been studying the Dragon quirk for a long time, children. Stormclaw, Purifier, Thunderwing, Ryukyu… all of them came through my office more than once in their time at UA. I have brain scans on all of them. Let’s take a look at Hisashi here.”

 

She hit another button, and a bronze glow began to illuminate parts of the floating brain. “Here you can see a visualization of the effect the quirk has on his brain. As you can see, about 40-50% of his brain is affected at any given time. During times of high stress, like in a battle, that percentage spikes to around 60%.”

 

She looked at Izuku as she continued her explanation. “Your great-grandfather was quite interested in finding out as much as he could about the quirk, such as how he discovered the chromatic and metallic differentiation. I never met the man, but his notes, combined with help from your grandfather, we established our best theory as to why you have these mental adaptations.”

 

“Back in the early days of quirks, there were many that were… less than pleasant to hold. The nature of mutations is that not all of them are good. Many people had quirks that caused them immense pain or loss of functionality; these quirks were mostly weeded out by natural selection as the years went on. This sort of quirk incompatibility is something that’s not heard much of nowadays.”

 

“While most quirks evolved to be better suited for the human body or to be less severe, your family’s quirk took a different path. If the quirk is too much for a person, change the person. This is, of course, the concept behind quirk adaption, but few adaptations are on the level of what your quirk does. Most adaptations are mild things that let a quirk work better for the body, such as Uraraka’s height, or Ashido’s acid resistance. Those adaptations are helpful, but are seldom necessary. Uraraka is taller so she can use her quirk more efficiently, but your instincts are there so you can use your quirk at all.

 

“The simple fact of the matter is that the human brain just isn’t equipped to pilot flying lizards the size of small buildings, especially ones as intricate and powerful as your family. That’s where your quirk adaptation comes in. In essence, your quirks ‘run’ part of your brains, which is where your instincts come from. As you grow, train and mature, the amount that it ‘runs’ grows.” She noted the concerned look on Izuku’s face.  

 

“That isn’t to say that you are doomed to fall under the sway of your quirk; quite the contrary, in fact. As someone who knew both your grandfather and Hisashi here quite well, let me be the first to tell you that they’re very different people, despite having very similar quirks. It’s safe to say that your own personality has a major say in how your quirk develops. While you can’t escape your base instincts, as it were, you are not a slave to them. Think of it less like a foreign entity taking over your mind and more of a seperate power source that helps your brain do what it needs to to handle your quirk.”

 

“Which brings me to my next point. From what several of the other students said in their reports, you had a very poor reaction to Aizawa’s quirk.”

 

Izuku nodded. “Yeah, I don’t remember too much about it, but I remember a lot of pain and confusion.”

 

“It was like you forgot everything,” Ashido added, worry in her voice. “Like you had amnesia.”

 

Recovery Girl nodded. “That makes sense. Aizawa’s quirk, Erasure, essentially turned off power to the part of your brain that your quirk was running at that point. It caused what amounted to a small short-circuit in your head.”

 

“That sounds pretty bad!” Izuku cried out.

 

She nodded again. “It is, but it wasn’t anything life threatening. I suspect that given a few minutes, your brain would have recovered and you would have regained your memories and been able to act normally. You might have liked it if it happened under different circumstances; it would have been the first time ever you would have been entirely free of your instincts.”

 

Izuku thought about the concept. “Free of my instincts…” His mind began to wander, wondering what he would be like without that damned voice in his head. Before he could get far, he noticed something. He looked at Recovery Girl and pointed a finger. “You’re speaking in the past tense.”

 

She nodded grimly. “Yes, I am. That is no longer a possibility for you, I’m afraid.” She pressed a button and the brain changed to another image, this one much less colorful, but dancing with green lights. “This is a scan of your brain from the first week of classes. I took this after your incident in All Might’s class. As you can see, much less of your brain is affected by your quirk compared to your father.”

 

She pressed the button again. This time, the brain was lit up nearly twice as much with the same green light. “This is the scan of your brain from yesterday. Note how much more of your brain is being affected by your quirk. It's still nowhere near your father, but the differences are startling.”

 

With another press of the projector, another brain appeared next to Izuku’s, this one lit up with reddish hue. “This is Ryukyu's scan from when she first started UA. If you notice, your first-year scan is slightly more active than hers, but nothing to be alarmed about.” She pressed another button and his cousin’s brain began to glow brighter. “This is her second-year brain activity. And when compared to your scan from yesterday, you can see the similarities.”

 

She looked straight at Izuku once again. “Simply put, your quirk adaptation went through essentially a year of development in what I can only assume to be a few minutes. By all accounts, young man, you should be dead. It’s a miracle your brain survived the stress it was placed under.”

 

The room grew deathly still for a few moments as her words sunk in. Izuku’s mind was racing, trying to comprehend what exactly she was telling him. He looked up hesitantly. “What does this have to do with Professor Aizawa?”

 

“When you were ‘quirkless’, you suffered complications that were severe, but not life-threatening. Since Aizawa had never used his quirk on anybody in your family, we had no idea you would react that poorly.”

 

“That is our failing,” All Might said solemnly, “and you have our most sincere apologies.”

 

“Extrapolating from what we know now,” Recovery Girl continued, “If Aizawa were to erase the quirk of your cousin or your father here, they would likely fall into a coma or have permanent brain damage, even if he only Erased them for a second. I suspect that someone whose quirk was as advanced as Terrorflame’s would likely be killed outright. Safe to say, Aizawa will not be using his quirk on you ever again.”

 

His father sighed. “I had counted on Aizawa to help you out if you had problems, but that’s not an option any longer.” He shot a serious look at Izuku. “We don’t have a back up plan, now. You’re on your own when it comes to handling your quirk now.”

 

Izuku glanced over at Uraraka and Ashido, who were staring back at him with determined looks. He looked back at his father and smiled, surprising the man. “I’ll be okay.”

 

His father’s shock fell off his face as he chuckled and smiled, ruffling Izuku’s hair again. “That’s my boy.”

 

“There is one last thing we need to discuss,” Ryuko interjected. “We need to talk about what happened at the USJ and why.”

 

“What, the vill-”

 

“No, Izuku, with you, ” she interrupted.

 

Recovery Girl looked at him with a kind expression. “Anything you can tell us about what happened will be helpful, sonny.”

 

Izuku wracked his brain. He did his best to recall the moments leading up to his transformation, but they were all so foggy. “I… don’t remember much, I’m sorry.”

 

“You were in a lot of pain, Midori,” Ashido said with worry in her voice. “Like how you are when you’re resisting, but worse.”

 

Izuku nodded as he recalled the pain. “Yeah, the headache was pretty bad, even though I wasn’t resisting.”

 

“That’s right,” Uraraka gasped. “Mina told you to stop resisting, but you said you weren’t… so you were having that headache even if you weren’t resisting…”

 

Hisashi raised an eyebrow. “Izuku, how often were you having those headaches? You mentioned them when we talked on the phone last week.”

 

Izuku poked his fingers together. “Well, not that ofte-”

 

“Are you seriously trying to lie about this?” Katsuki, who had been silent up until now, spoke up loudly. He turned to Hisashi with an angry scowl. “Horns over here had them nearly every day, and they were bad .”

 

“It’s true,” Ashido added. “He could barely stay standing when he got one.”

 

Hisashi looked down at his son, who suddenly felt a lot smaller under his piercing gaze. “You failed to mention that, Izuku Midoriya .”

 

Izuku tried to shrink down as much as he could. “I-I didn’t want you to worry…”

 

“Yes, well, that worked out, didn’t it?” His father sighed. “Son, how are you so smart about everything, but so foolish when it comes to yourself?”

 

“Hisashi…” his mother interjected. “He knows.” She looked at Izuku with teary eyes. “Please just… don’t do that again, Izuku, okay? Let us know if you’re having trouble. We want to help you.”

 

Izuku felt the gazes of disappointment and surprise from everyone in the room as he looked down. “Sorry…” he mumbled.

 

“That works well with one of my best theories, actually.” Recovery Girl got everyone’s attention as if nothing had happened. “Hisashi, you get headaches sometimes, right?”

 

The man nodded. “Rarely, but yes. Usually only when something stressful happens and I have to contain myself, such as when I heard Izuku had been injured. Keeping myself calm caused a dull pain.”

 

Ryuko nodded. “I’m the same way.”

 

Recovery Girl nodded. “And young man, you said you experienced acute pain even when you weren’t trying to hold yourself back?”

 

Izuku nodded sheepishly, still cowed from his scolding.

 

“Allow me to use a metaphor. Think of your quirk adaptation as a pipe that your quirk flows through like water. If you try and resist it, that pipe shrinks, causing ‘high water pressure’, which translates to headaches. At the same time, when too much water is pushed through that pipe, even when it’s not constricted, that will also cause high pressure.”

 

She pulled up the hologram of Izuku’s brain scans, showing the difference in the activity. “My theory as to what happened to you, young man, is that you had such a strong desire to protect your friends here that you shoved more through than you could handle, and, in an unfortunately convenient twist on this metaphor, the pipe burst.”

 

“I don’t think I like this metaphor,” Izuku said as he paled.

 

“The real question is why,” Ryuko added. “I never had any sort of reaction like that when I was growing up, nor did I experience headaches to that degree ever .”

 

Hisashi nodded. “My guess is that it has to do with him being chromatic. Their instincts might be more volatile and violent than ours; it would make sense.” He shook his head slightly. “Ryuko, did your brother ever complain about headaches?”

 

The copper-haired woman thought for a few seconds. “Yes, some. Not like what Izuku has, but worse than me, if I remember right.”

 

Hisashi sighed. “And with Terrorflame dead, we-”

 

“He’s what ?!” Izuku’s heart nearly jumped out of his chest.

 

“Oh, right,” Ashido said softly. “You wouldn’t know.”

 

His breathing picked up. “D-did I-”

 

“No.” Hisashi’s firm hand gripped Izuku’s shoulder, causing his face to whip up to his father. “He was killed by the villains after All Might defeated him. You didn’t kill anyone.”

 

Izuku sighed and fell back into his pillows, still breathing a little heavily.

 

“I think that’s enough excitement for one day,” All Might said as he stood up. “Come on, students. Let’s leave the Midoriya family in peace.” He began to motion for the four students to grab their luggage. “President Nezu wants you back in your dorms now that Young Midoriya is awake.”

 

Izuku felt a pang of longing as his four friends left, followed by All Might and Recovery Girl, but with his mother, father and cousin all crowding around him, he didn’t feel too bad.

 


 

Momo and the three other students piled into All Might’s truck after they put their luggage in the back. The hero himself had to step away to make a phone call, but he told them he wouldn’t be long. While they waited, her mind was a maelstrom of confusion and uncertainty as she sat between Ochako and Mina in the back.

 

“Yaomomo, something’s eating you up,” Mina quickly noted. “What’s on your mind? Is it about Midori?”

 

Momo knew that Mina wasn't going to let it go. Perhaps if she talked about it, she would feel better. Momo sighed, then nodded. “It’s… a lot to take in. I am grateful for the trust that he and his family placed in me- us, but I don't understand why they told us all that. Why give us all of that, rather personal, information?”

 

“Do you really need it spelled out for you, Ponytail?” Bakugou snapped from the front seat. “You heard them, Teach can’t cancel his quirk anymore. Izuku needs help keeping his quirk in check, so that’s up to us. I guess you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but Izuku trusts you for whatever reason.”

 

Momo still wasn’t used to Bakugou’s brash, dismissive nature, and she half-suspected she would never be. ‘How can someone like Midoriya be best friends with someone like him?’

 

“Deku’s gotten a raw deal in life, Yaomomo,” Ochako added quietly, but with a fire in her tone. “I think he deserves to be a hero, but he needs us to help him get there. You heard what Recovery Girl said, he has those instincts of his that he needs to control. We can’t do the job for him, but we can help, right? I know that I would love to have you with us.”

 

Momo noted with a degree of intrigue the small blush that crept onto Ochako’s cheeks as she finished, but stored the information away for the time being. “Yes, forewarned is forearmed, as they say. If Midoriya has another ‘incident’, then I will be better prepared to handle it. I suppose I am still surprised that he put his trust in me so easily…”

 

Mina scoffed. “You’ve known him longer than any of us but Bakugou, and you saved his life at the USJ. I’m not surprised; Midori seems to be a good judge of character.”

 

Momo’s brow furrowed slightly. ‘It is a hero’s duty to help those in need; I’ll do my best.’

 

She kept thinking as All Might returned and started the car. Mina and Ochako started chatting around her, which she only was vaguely listening to.

 

“Did you see how his dad kept ruffling his hair? So cute~” Ochako said happily.

 

Mina laughed. “I know, right? What’s up with that?”

 

“Izuku’s a damn cat, that’s what,” Bakugou answered. “You should see him get all goofy when people pet him. Spirals is the worst about it.” Momo could hear the eye rolling in his voice.

 

“Spirals?” Ochako asked. “Who’s that?”

 

“She’s someone who works for Ryuko,” he said dismissively. “She goes to UA, so you’ll probably meet her eventually. Upperclassman.”

 

Momo kept thinking, her classmate’s voices fading from her mind as the exciting events of the day rushed around in her mind. ‘He needs help controlling his quirk. I can do that.’

 

Her eyes went wide as she came to a realization. ‘Did he give me this information so I would feel obligated to help him? To get me closer to him? I know he noticed me pulling back from him…’

 

A small, hopeful smile crossed her face.

 

‘Clever, Zu... Clever.’

 


 

The sun had long set when Ochako followed Momo as she pushed the doors of their dorm open. As the doors flew wide and the four students entered, she became very aware of a sudden silence coming from within.

 

Every student in the common room had frozen and were staring at them. Eiko was the first one to break the still, jumping up from her place on the couch and running over. “You’re back! Does that mean…?”

 

Ochako smiled, realizing just how tired she was. “He’s awake.”

 

A wave of shouting and gasps crashed over the students in the doorway. Bakugou began getting pelted by a thousand questions from Eiko while Pony ran over to Momo and did the same thing.

 

“When’s he coming back?” Kyouka asked Ochako and Mina.

 

“Tomorrow, hopefully,” Mina answered. “At least, that’s what All Might told us on the drive over.”

 

Kyouka grew a small, relieved smile at her words. “That’s good to hear. Hasn’t been the same without him around.”

 

Iida placed his hand on Ochako’s shoulder, shocking her out of her trance as she realized she was staring off into space. “You seem exhausted, Uraraka. All four of you should get some sleep.”

 

Ochako nodded and turned to take her weightless luggage upstairs. “Tha-,” she let out a huge yawn- “Thanks, Iida.”

 


 

After getting ready for bed, Ochako found herself staring at the ceiling of her room. Despite the great weight of exhaustion on her body, she had been lying down for over an hour without being able to drift to sleep.

 

She tossed and turned, unable to get comfortable or feel relaxed. She let out a quiet groan of frustration as she turned her pillow around again and slammed her head back into it.

 

She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to force herself to sleep, but to no avail.

 

After another twenty minutes of restless sleeplessness, her willpower broke, and the thought she had been denying and suppressing the entire time began to shine through.

 

She sighed with resignation and sat up, swinging her legs over and getting out of bed. She felt a small pang of guilt in her chest as she opened her door and stepped out into the hallway, feeling bad about the thought of waking her friend u-

 

As she shut the door behind her, she heard an identical click to her right. She snapped her head up and saw Mina staring back at her in the dimly lit hallway.

 

Their eyes went wide as the two froze, staring at each other like animals caught in headlights. After what felt like hours, they began to creep slowly toward each other.

 

They met halfway between their two rooms, still staring wide-eyed at each other.

 

Silently, Mina leaned forward and wrapped her arms around Ochako, pulling her close. Ochako held in her gasp as she quickly returned the hug, bringing her friend’s head into her chest tightly.

 

They held each other for a while, but at the same time, not nearly long enough. They broke apart, each with a small blush on their faces. Mina grabbed her hand and began to pull her gently back towards her room.

 

Ochako smiled softly. ‘I guess I’ll be gettin’ a good night’s sleep after all.’



Chapter Text

The next 24 hours were a little surreal for Izuku. His family were all treating him like they hadn't seen him in so long, but for him, it felt like it had just been a few days. He knew that he had been in a coma for a week, but he couldn't help it. Having Ryuko tell him about all the hero news that had happened while he was out, which felt familiar for some reason, was strange, as if he hadn't seen her just a few days prior, at least in his timeline.

 

He was kept overnight at the hospital, just as a precaution. His mind was racing while he stared at the ceiling of his room that night. After a week of sleeping, it was the last thing he wanted to do.

 

His mind wandered, passing over the last thing he remembered: The USJ.

 

Izuku's emotions were mixed, to say the least. His transformation was terrifying, even for him; he didn't like to think what the others thought. Were his classmates intimidated by him now? Were they scared of him?

 

Good.

 

‘No, not good! I don't want them to be afraid of me, I want to be friends. I want them to like me.’

 

Friends are fickle. What if they stop liking me?

 

‘Then that's their choice. I want them to like me because they want to, I'm not going to control them.’

 

But I could control them. I could twist them to my will.

 

‘Not only do I not want to, I don't think that’s the right way to go about it. I have so much to learn from them; they’ll make me stronger. Precious things should be protected and treasured, not coveted and dominated.’

 

Kacchan understands fear. He wants villains to fear him.

 

‘And that’s fine! I think. My friends deserve protection. They’re heroes; training to keep people safe from villains that spread fear! They wouldn't stand for that. Honey, not vinegar.’

 

Fine.

 

‘And ano-’ Izuku’s eyes went wide in the dark. ‘Fine?! I… wow. Huh.’ A small smile spread across his face. ‘Glad I could agree on that.’

 

Izuku ran the thoughts back through his head, finding himself caught on something.

 

Protection.

 

He had protected them. His classmates. His friends.

 

His… hoard.

 

That word didn’t feel as dirty as it had before. It felt...natural. As he thought more, he came to a realization.

 

That’s why he was able to push himself to transform: because he was a dragon, and his hoard was being threatened. If he wasn’t the way he was, if his collection was the beautiful underwater prizes that his father treasured, or the rare metals and gems that filled Ryuko’s vault, then he wouldn’t have been able to save them.

 

Maybe his quirk wasn’t so bad. It gave him the power to save his friends from Terrorflame. Sure, everyone probably thought he was a monster now, but he could earn their trust back, right?

 

He set his mind on a goal. He had to work with his quirk, his father had been telling him that for years. After the USJ, he wasn't as scared of his quirk. He had worked with it fully and he had been a hero.

 

If his quirk wanted him to hoard people so badly, then he would embrace that.

 

Not only would he protect them, he would nurture them and make them the best they could be. They would flourish. Anything else would devalue his hoard. He would have a collection that would put Terrorflame’s to shame. Nothing would compare to the majesty and spectacle of his hoard.

 

He felt his instincts flare in approval in the back of his mind.

 

Izuku finally drifted off to sleep, finding his dreams quite vivid and alive. They were filled with flashes of his classmates, barraging his mind with words he didn’t remember them saying and things he didn’t remember them doing. Most vivid in his mind was not Katsuki, but Uraraka and Ashido. He heard them talking over him, saying all sorts of things.

 

Sometimes they were happy, sometimes they were sad, sometimes they held his hand and sometimes they stroked his face. Their voices faded in and out. He could only catch parts, but even though he knew it was a dream, it felt so real.

 

“Think about it! What do you feel?” Dream Ashido said, almost pleading. “I know you feel that weird bubbliness when you look at him too; What else could it be?”

 

Dream Uraraka paused for several seconds. Her hands were covering her face, but began to lower slowly. “I t-think you might be right… maybe I do... l-

 


 

“Izuku!”

 

A voice rang out, snapping him out of his dream. He grumbled a bit as he opened his eyes; he wanted to see how that dream went. They sounded so emotional, and about him even. He smiled a bit as he stretched his eyes open. ‘Too bad there’s no way women as beautiful and amazing as them would feel about me like I do them, especially after I showed them just how much of a monster I was in the USJ. Must be my quirk acting up... ’

 

His eyes blinked a few times as he saw his mother’s smiling face looking down on him.

 

“Hi, Mom.” A smile grew across his face.

 

“Good morning, Izuku,” she bubbled cheerfully. “Are you ready to get out of this hospital?”

 

“But it feels like I just got here,” he joked weakly.

 

Inko giggled and smiled slightly. “It’s good to see you’re feeling well enough to crack jokes, young man. Come on, let’s get you up and get the doctor’s in here so we can take you home. I’m making katsudon for lunch, and the Bakugous are coming over. You don’t want to miss it!”

 

Izuku nodded as his grin widened. “Yes, ma’am.”

 

He got up out of bed and got dressed in clothes his mother had brought him. While putting a shirt on, he took a moment to look at the great burn scar that dominated his right shoulder. It was a battle scar; his first, but probably not his last. He flexed his quirk and let his scales cover the wound. No longer were they the beautiful, pristine, and uniform green, but discolored, some darker than others.

 

He sighed. ‘Ugly. Ugly, but worth it.’

 

It wasn’t long before his doctor came in and gave him a quick check up. She declared him fit for discharge and gave Inko and him a small nod and a polite smile as she left the room, passing by Hisashi who was entering at the same time.

 

He let out a satisfied sigh. “Ready to go?”

 

Izuku nodded. “Yeah, hey actually, real quick first- Dad?”

 

Hisashi raised an eyebrow.

 

“Is this the same room you stayed in when you…”

 

His father chuckled a little. “Yeah, funny, isn’t it? I don’t want to see you back in here, alright? I know you look up to Stormclaw, but I want you to keep both of your arms, alright? One-armed suits are expensive.”

 

Izuku let out an airy laugh and nodded sheepishly. “I’ll try.”

 

Hisashi turned around, finally leading Inko and Izuku out of the room and back home.

 


 

On the ride home, a thought came to Izuku.

 

“Hey, Dad?” he began, getting his father’s attention. “Terrorflame was in Tartarus for 25 years, right? Judging from what he was teleported in on, he was kept in total restraint.”

 

Hisashi didn’t react to Izuku’s words with any degree of surprise; Izuku noted that he probably knew what was coming.

 

“Why was an elderly man trapped in a chair for 25 years still so physically fit and dangerous?”

 

His father sighed. “You really are a smart boy. All Might and I actually discussed that, among plenty of other things in the wake of the USJ. Unfortunately, we don’t know. My guess is it has to do with his quirk; I told you that ‘ancient’ dragons have some incredible power. That might be one of them.”

 

Izuku’s mind latched onto something in particular. “What else did you talk to All Might about?”

 

Hisashi smirked and shook his head. “Stuff we opted to not tell you about, son. Not yet, at least. You should go back to focusing on UA and being a student. Let the heroes figure out the hero stuff, alright?”

 

Izuku knew better than to try and argue. “Yes, sir.” He went back to staring out the window. That was fine, he would just figure it out later. He was right though, Izuku had a lot to catch up on before class started again on Monday. And with the UA Sports Festival coming up, he needed to get back to training.

 


 

The food was delicious as always, but what was a very pleasant surprise was his mother telling him that Ashido wanted to come cook with him next time he went home. That lifted his heart nearly out of his chest. Maybe they stayed at the hospital with him because they cared that much, not out of guilt or fear. He let himself pretend that for a little bit, at least.

 

It would've be a nice change of pace.

 

It was mid afternoon when it was finally time for Katsuki and him to return to UA. They loaded up into the car and made the trip in unusual silence; Izuku always had something to talk about. It was only when his mind was full that he was silent.

 

Of course, Katsuki knew that. “Third Place, what's bugging you?” he asked as they stepped out of the car in front of their dorm and after they bid farewell to Hisashi and Inko.

 

“Nothi-”

 

A small explosion interrupted him. “I'm not buying it. Spill.”

 

Izuku sighed. “I'm… worried that everyone is going to avoid me now. Like before. Like grade school. They know what I am now and what I can do. I felt the fear in them when I attacked that Kurogiri guy and that was before I transformed. I just… I like them all and I don't want them to pull away from me. I know it's not my choice and it's basically an inevitability, but still. I wish it wasn't.”

 

Then, Katsuki did something he almost never did.

 

He laughed.

 

He honestly laughed.

 

Izuku's eyes widened incredulously as the short-lived laughter echoed around the empty yard.

 

Katsuki's laughter ended and he fixed his eyes on Izuku with a small smirk. “You're a fucking idiot, Deku.”

 

He felt his brow furrow as the blonde turned away from him and walked slowly towards the front doors of their dorm. “What's that supposed to mean?” Izuku called, hustling to catch up with his friend.

 

Katsuki didn't answer him as they walked side by side to the entrance. Izuku held out a hand to open the door, but then hesitated. He turned back to his friend, who was simply smirking at him knowingly.

 

Izuku closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He steeled himself and opened his eyes, gripping the handle and turning it. So what if everyone was going to be wary of him? He had a job to do, he had a dream to achieve, and nothing was going to stop him.

 

Izuku stepped boldly inside, waving a hand and growing as wide of a smile he could muster. “Hey guys, I'm ba-”

 

WHUMP

 

Izuku blinked, suddenly staring up at the ceiling. As he got his bearings back, he felt a weight on his chest. He looked down and saw a mop of long blonde hair with a pair of pale yellow horns sticking out of it shoved into his chest as two arms wrapped around him.

 

“I missed you so much, Izzy!” Tsunotori yelled excitedly into his chest. She was speaking English, maybe because she was so worked up.

 

‘Izzy?! And what's this weird thing I feel around her chest? Doesn’t feel like when I hugged Mina...’

 

“You fought that big villain and you looked so cool! You saved Ochako and Mina and all of us! I was so worried all week and I came to visit you as much as I could and I'm so happy that you're okay!”

 

Izuku was having trouble processing whatever the hell was going on. He felt his quirk flare as the woman pushed further into his chest and wrapped her arms around him tighter; he didn't have the mental capacity at the moment to stop it from doing what it wanted. His hand reached up and ran his fingers through her long, flowing locks. “Tsuno-”

 

“No!” she yelled suddenly, moving her head up to stare straight into his eyes. The frustration and fiery determination that burned in her eyes cause Izuku's mouth to fall open slightly. “My name isn't Tsunotori! I'm tired of everyone calling me that! Call me Pony like a normal person!”

 

Izuku expected his mind to freeze and for him to lock up, but instead he felt another pulse from his quirk.

 

Mine.

 

Oh boy.’

 

“A-alright.” He took a deep breath and looked down into her big, blue eyes. “Pony.”

 

Her face lit up like the sun as she smiled widely.

 

“Hey, Pony!” Kirishima had stepped over and was standing over them. “Stop hogging him to yourself, we're all happy to see him!”

 

Pony apparently just realized what she was doing, as she turned a violent shade of red and scrambled off Izuku.

 

Kirishima reached her hand down to him, her wide, sharp smile dominating her face. He grabbed her wrist as she locked around his and yanked him up off the ground. Izuku noted the way her abs and arms bulged as they helped to return him to his feet. “Come on up, Aniki,” she said with a proud grin.

 

‘Aniki? What’s with the nicknames?’

 

Izuku finally tore his eyes from Kirishima’s beaming face to look around. In the time that Tsu- Pony had tackled him, a crowd had formed.

 

“Midoriya!” Iida chopped the air. “It is good to see you up and healthy!”

 

Kaminari was nearly vibrating. “Man, you were totally awesome against that Terrorflame guy! The way you two fought in mid air was something straight out of a movie or something!”

 

He looked around, expecting to see fear or at least trepidation on their faces, but instead he saw nothing but kind smiles. His jaw fell a little slack as he looked around. Pony was still blushing madly, Kirishima and Iida were both had proud looks on their faces, Kaminari and Sero were both grinning widely, Yaoyorozu, Tsuyu and Jirou had a soft, small smiles, while Uraraka and Ashido looked… positively affectionate.

 

Izuku did a quick double-take, to make sure that he wasn’t seeing things. His eyes passed over the women and as he made eye contact, both of them seemed to almost sparkle a little bit as their expressions brightened. ‘Are they so afraid of me that they’re trying to appease me? They were the closest when I transformed, they had to have been terrified.’

 

He moved his eyes away from them before he felt worse. Regardless of everyone’s apparent happiness to see him, he took a deep breath and did what he needed to do.

 

“Guys, I’m… really sorry about the thing at the USJ. I swear I didn’t mean to scare you all, it’s just that, I felt like I couldn’t hold back.” He bowed his head in apology, hoping they could tell how sincere he was.

 

There was a pregnant pause.

 

“Is...is he serious?” Kirishima half-whispered to Katsuki, who was standing next to her.

 

Katsuki huffed before taking a step toward Izuku and slapping him upside the head. “Nobody is scared of you, dumbass!”

 

Izuku let out a small yelp and rubbed the back of his head. He shot a hurt and confused look at Katsuki before turning back to the rest of the class, who were all staring incredulously at him.

 

Satou raised a worried eyebrow and began to speak slowly, concern in his voice. “Midoriya, you’re the reason that none of us died, and you’re the only person who was hurt badly enough that Recovery Girl couldn’t fix them up. What are you feeling bad about?”

 

“But when that Kurogiri guy attacked us, I saw how scared all of you were,” Izuku argued.

 

“Yeah, a villain attack will do that!” Kaminari countered. “Maybe that whole murderous dragon act you put on was a little intimidating, but I was never worried that you were going to eat me or anything.”

 

Izuku noted Yaoyorozu’s sharp intake of breath, as well as the slightly guilty look she grew before she regained her composure.

 

“It was a stressful situation, Midoriya,” Iida continued, in an attempt to placate his worry. “You cannot be blamed for how we reacted; none of us were expecting to be facing life-or-death situations in our first week of school. If you were to do it again, I’m sure that we would be less concerned.”

 

Kirishima patted him on the shoulder, flashing him a thumbs-up. “The whole deep, scary dragon voice thing you did was super manly, too!”

 

“You saved Mineta and I,” Tsuyu added, tapping her chin. “It was scary, but you showed that you weren’t going to hurt me. Next time, I won’t be scared.”

 

Ashido cocked her hip and raised an eyebrow. “Besides, any of us could kill someone with our quirks if we wanted to. I remember on the first day of class, you told us that you thought Ochako’s quirk was terrifying.”

 

“Well-”

 

Ashido took a step closer to him. “And are you scared of her?”

 

“N-”

 

Another step closer. “In fact, you told us that you weren’t scared of her. Her quirk was powerful and dangerous, if used incorrectly, but you said she was a good person, so you didn’t have any worries, right?”

 

“Ri-”

 

A third step brought her right next to him. She jammed her finger into his chest harshly. “So why would we be scared of you, Midori? Isn’t that a little hypocritical? Do you think so little of us that we would be scared of our classmate who put his life on the line to stop a supervillain from killing us?”

 

The entire room was silent, Izuku included. He didn’t know what to say, which was incredibly rare; once again, Ashido had left him speechless. What seemed like a simple defense of her classmate, at least to those who didn’t know about his instincts, had a deeper meaning. She knew that the rest of them probably should be afraid of Izuku. Until he mastered his instincts, he would be a potential danger to everyone around him.

 

Even so, she was telling him, in a way that didn’t seem suspicious to anyone who didn’t know, that she wasn’t afraid of him. She was telling him that he should trust her, Uraraka and the others.

 

In fact, she was telling him that she was getting irritated that he was still acting like there weren’t people there that knew his secret and had promised to help him.

 

He felt shame.

 

Izuku felt his quirk pulse again, his eyes glowing slightly brighter for a second.

 

Mine.

 

‘Greedy.’

 

Izuku hung his head. “You’re right, I’m sorry. Everyone,” he looked up to his classmates again, “thank you for your trust. I’ve been… conditioned to expect a certain reaction, but you’ve completely destroyed those expectations. I couldn’t ask for better classmates.”

 

“Ah, c’mon, why so sappy?” Sero asked with his toothy smile. “You’re back, let’s celebrate!”

 


 

Kyouka always enjoyed a party. The impromptu celebration wasn’t the wildest thing she had ever been to, but it was nice.

 

Mina quickly gathered Ochako, Pony, Tsuyu and Tooru around for a card game, dragging Midoriya in from the conversation he was having with Iida as well. Momo and her were standing off to the side, chatting with each other while Pony, who was apparently pretty competitive, ran away with the game nearly immediately.

 

After a while, Satou got up from the couch, where he, Kaminari, Sero and Eiko were playing a video game together, heading towards the kitchen to begin dinner. Midoriya noticed and immediately stood up, heading off to follow Satou.

 

“Ah, no, go back,” he yelled back at Midoriya. “I got this one, man. You go have fun.”

 

Midoriya began to protest, but relented. Kyouka had to admit, it was a little endearing to see him so eager to help, even with the little things. Not that a six foot tall, muscle bound man with a powerful quirk like that was cute or anything. He was just a nice guy, and she could appreciate that.

 

Terrorflame's words about him still hung in her mind, but she wasn't about to let the threats of a desperate villain get under her skin.

 

As his shoulders slumped and turned around to head back to the card game. Before he did, she noticed his vision pass over her and then suddenly freeze. His big green eyes locked onto her and he began to make his way over with intent in his step.

 

Kyouka raised her eyebrow as Momo noticed him approaching as well. “Jirou!” he called as he stopped a few feet from them. “I wanted to apologize.”

 

She cocked an eyebrow. “For what?”

 

He looked down on her with a kind, but regretful expression. “Last Monday- well, two Mondays ago, I guess. The first day of class.”

 

“Don’t worry about it, man,” she said, waving her hand dismissively. “Not your fault I was listening.”

 

“Right, the other girls said that. But still, I should apologize for any pain I cause, regardless of intent or fault. I didn’t mean to harm you.” He hung his head slightly in apology.

 

‘Great.’ She rolled her eyes slightly as she spun one of jacks around her fingers. ‘He thinks I’m some delicate-’

 

“I know you don’t need my pity or protection, but still, you deserve the courtesy.”

 

She stopped twirling her jack as her vision snapped to his.

 

“In fact, I was hoping you could help me. Your quirk is amazing, Jirou, and after Pony told me about your battle trial, I’ve been really curious about it.” Midoriya looked like a kid in a candy shop. “You see, my quirk gives me enhanced senses, so I was hoping we could train together some and you could give me some pointers? From what the other girls told me about you, your ability to hear is out of this world!”

 

‘Wait, the guy who fought Terrorflame wants… pointers?’

 

“I was gonna ask you after school on Friday, er, two Fridays ago, to see if you had time that Sunday, but uh, yeah that didn’t work out.” He laughed awkwardly. “So, what do you say?”

 

She blinked a couple times. “Uh, s-sure. Sometime.”

 

Midoriya jumped up and down. He actually jumped. “Awesome! Thank you, Jirou!”

 

Kyouka felt her face heat up a little bit as the man hurried back to his card game.

 

‘What the hell just happened?’

 

She chose to ignore the small, knowing smirk on Momo’s face.

 


 

Several hours later, the party had wound down. Everyone had come down besides Todoroki, which disappointed Izuku, but didn’t surprise him. Even the stoic Tokoyami and shy Kouda had joined in, both passing on their well-wishes to Izuku. It made his heart swell that so many people participated. He had made time to talk to every one of them and he had felt his quirk buzz slightly in approval whenever he spoke to someone new.

 

Eventually, it had gotten dark outside and everyone had left for bed except for Izuku, Ashido and Uraraka. He yawned loudly; the long day of socializing had exhausted him. “Alright, bed time. I’ll see you two tomorrow, er, if I get all my studying done that is.” He scratched his head in worry. “I have a week of reading to catch up on.” He stretched widely, absentmindedly lifting his shirt slightly

 

He sighed as he ended his stretch, looking back down to the women, whose eyes snapped up from his stomach to his face as quickly as they could. “Well, goodnight.”

 

He turned and took a few steps towards the stairs before a voice called from behind.

 

“Um, Deku, actually, could I talk to you for a little bit?”

 

Izuku turned around slowly as Uraraka stood up from the floor and shifted awkwardly. “Oh, uh, sure.”

 

Ashido hopped up cheerfully. “I’ll give you two some privacy.” She walked off to the staircase with a small smirk.

 

As the pink woman left, Izuku turned back to Uraraka, who had her eyes shut, seemingly steeling herself. She let out a great sigh and then walked up to him, until there was only about a foot of space between them. Izuku found his gaze fixated on her lips, which were eye-level with him, but managed to eventually look her in the eyes.

 

She began calmly. “Deku, I came to UA to become a hero.”

 

Izuku cocked his head slightly.

 

She looked away slightly, then back into his eyes. “Twice in the past two months, you have stood between me and certain death. First at the entrance exam, and then with Terrorflame.” She looked down at him, her face full of frustration.

 

“I-I’m sorry?” Izuku didn’t know what to say.

 

“No! Don’t be sorry!” She began to blush a little bit. “I’m grateful, of course. You saved me, Deku. You put your life on the line for me twice. I’ll never forget that and I’ll never thank you enough. In fact…” She stopped and looked away, biting her finger in apparent thought. She looked down and up, before finally appearing to make a decision. Uraraka looked back into his eyes with a determined scowl, causing Izuku’s mind to go blank a little bit.

 

‘Does she know how beautiful she is?’

 

“Here, this is a thank you.”

 

She wrapped her arms around his shoulder and back, bringing him in for a tight hug. He felt his quirk pulse hard in the back of his head as his arms shot around her, tightening their embrace. Izuku felt the warmth of her body spreading through him like a hot cup of tea on a cold December morning as he hooked his chin over her shoulder.

 

Seemingly emboldened by his reaction, she moved her arm up to hold the back of his head and ran her fingers through his hair. Izuku felt his heart rate pick up as the sensation ran down his spine. He could feel her heartbeat against his skin even through the clothing separating them and only sped up further as she turned her head slightly to smell his hair. His body reacted to the sensation of being so accepted by trying to pull her even closer, the lean muscles of her back imprinting themselves in his memory.

 

With one arm across his back, another on his head and her face buried in his hair, Izuku felt… safe. Protected.

 

After far too little of a time, Uraraka released him, causing Izuku to loosen his arms as well. She brought her arms up and rested one on each of his shoulders as he looked up at her. She moved her face closer, pressing her forehead against his. Both of them panted softly, their faces absolutely flushed, intoxicated by the contact in a way he couldn’t even imagine. Izuku could hear his heart pounding in his ears so loudly that he was certain she could hear it as well.

 

Her eyes burned with determination and her voice was steady as she looked deep into his soul. “Next time, I’ll be the one standing between you and danger.”

 

Izuku’s eyes flashed a bright green so suddenly that Uraraka had to squint slightly.

 

Mine. Mine. MINE.

 

Uraraka’s tongue flicked out of her mouth as she quickly licked her lips. Izuku noticed that his mouth felt a little dry too, but he was too busy staring at her plump, inviting lips to do anything about it. She began to push her head forward, slowly moving her mouth towards his. If his heart was beating any harder, it might have actually jumped out of his chest.

 

Suddenly, the elevator dinged behind them.

 

Uraraka and Izuku flew apart as they whipped around. Kaminari stepped out of the elevator in his pajamas, yawning loudly as he walked towards the kitchen. The illumination from the elevator contrasted with the darkness of the common room, shrouding the two of them in total darkness. They watched the blonde make his way to the kitchen and open up the refrigerator; he rummaged around inside for a few seconds before pulling out a bag of shredded cheese. A dopey grin spread across his face as he grabbed handful, shoved it in his mouth and made his way back to the elevator, leaving as quickly as he came.

 

As the doors closed, Izuku and Uraraka were left in the darkness of the common room. In the intervening seconds between the interruption and now, he had managed to shove his quirk back down. However, without it encouraging him, his courage failed. He stiffly turned his head towards the taller woman and stuttered out a weak farewell. “G-good night, Ura-raraka. I’ll s-see you tomorrow.”

 

If she said anything, he didn’t hear it. Izuku moved to the staircase as quickly as he could without actually running and began to climb up to his room, two steps at a time. He swore he heard someone about a flight above him, but his mind was too distracted with other things to worry about it.

 


 

Mina barely had time to react and dash up the staircase before Midori began to climb them behind her. She tried to move quietly, but the man was climbing too quickly for her to be able to afford that luxury. As she hurried up to the fourth floor, she just hoped he didn’t investigate the noise. Fortunately, he stopped at the third floor and headed for his room, giving Mina time to catch her breath.

 

She crossed her arms and furrowed her brow. ‘They were so close! And I’m so proud of Ochako for making the first move! If Kaminari hadn’t…’

 

“Ugh!” Mina threw her arms up in frustration as she walked out of the stairwell.

 

‘This will not stand!’

 


 

 

Perhaps it's an indication that I've finally made it or something, but I've had a few very talented artists make wonderful fan art for me! 

This one is done by M35U on the Total Command discord server, who gave me permission to post the picture on my tumblr, as she doesn't have a place to post it herself.

 

 

You can find her AO3 account here

 

I am absolutely blown away that people like my work enough to use their talents to make me gifts like this :O 


Thank you to everyone who reads and enjoys!

 

Chapter Text

Ochako stared at her ceiling as she lay in her bed, her eyes wide and her mind racing. ‘I was just going to give him a hug, but it felt so good to hold him… and then he smelled so good and the way he hugged me back… it felt like I was melting.’ She ran her fingers through her hair in frustration as she heard her door creak open.

 

“Leaving the door open for me?” Mina whispered, the smirk evident in her voice as she crossed the darkness of the dorm room to Ochako’s bed. She slipped under the cover and nuzzled herself into the taller woman’s side, filling Ochako with a sense of comfort that helped to calm her.

 

They laid there in silence for only a few seconds before the pink woman whispered something else. “You’re tense, what’s up?” Mina was keenly observant, but this was impressive even for her.

 

“It’s nothing,” Ochako deflected.

 

“If you say so. Goodnight.” Mina gave up easily, for once, as she closed her eyes and relaxed.

 

Ochako shifted awkwardly. “Okay, fine. It’s about Deku.”

 

Mina was immediately at attention. “Yeah? How did you little private talk go?”

 

“F-fine.”

 

“Are you gonna tell me or not?” Mina bumped her hip into Ochako, prompting her to continue.

 

“Well, I was planning on telling him that since he’s stood between me and danger twice, I’m gonna do the same for him next time.”

 

Mina’s grin widened, her white teeth visible in the dark room. “Oh, so heroic~

 

“But then I… well, I hugged him,” Ochako continued as Mina’s head was drifting closer. “And… I…” Mina was only a few inches away from her face. “I… I almost kissed him.”

 

“What was it like?” Mina whispered excitedly. “Was there a hunger in his eyes as he held you tightly? Did he look deep into your eyes with desire and want? Did he look at you like he wanted nothing more than to keep you close forever?”

 

Ochako’s mouth fell open. “M-Mina, how di- were you spying on us ?!”


“Yes!” Mina admitted, cupping Ochako’s cheeks with both hands. “Ochako, listen to me. That boy wants you. If Kaminari had kept himself from being a walking meme for another twenty seconds then Midori would have melted against you!”

 

Ochako’s mind suddenly started imagining how Deku’s bare skin would feel against hers. His firm, muscular chest pressing into her as they embra-

 

She shook the thoughts from her mind. She didn’t want another one of those dreams tonight.

 

Well, maybe she did.

 

But… what if he didn’t feel that way about her?

 

“Hey,” Mina said sternly, apparently sensing her doubt. “Don’t worry about it, okay? Leave it to me.”

 

If anything, that made Ochako more nervous. “If you s-say so, Mina. Let’s get some sleep, okay?”

Mina nodded quickly and burrowed back into Ochako’s side underneath the covers. Maybe Mina was right. She shouldn’t worry about it.

 

If Deku really did like her back, then things would work out, right?

 


 

After waking up and doing his morning training with Katsuki, Izuku was prepared to spend all day catching up on the reading he missed, but it barely took him any time at all. It was like he already knew everything. His mother told him that Iida and Yaoyorozu had spent a lot of time talking about their homework and the latter had even read to him. ‘I guess I really was listening…’

 

He left his room around noon as the smell of something delicious wafted up through the air vents. He took the stairs three at a time and burst out into the common room ready to help make lunch.

 

Unfortunately, the food was already done. To his surprise, it wasn’t Satou who was cooking this time, but Tsuyu and Kirishima. “Hey, Midoriya!” Kirishima called as she waved at him. “I was hoping you’d be down soon, I just finished making yours!”

 

Izuku filed the new information away in his growing dossiers on his classmates as he made his way to the counter. Kirishima passed the steak over to him, flashing her razor-sharp smile. “It’s nothing fancy, but there’s few foods manlier than a good steak. Bakugou said you’d be down as soon as you smelled it, glad to see he was right. He also said that you liked your steak rare.” She pressed the spatula she was holding into the meat, letting the juices seep out slowly.

 

“I told you that he liked it raw!” Bakugou shouted from a nearby table.

 

“Wait, you were serious?” Kirishima snapped her head to the blonde with wide eyes. “Isn’t that, you know, dangerous?”

 

“I-it’s fine, Kirishima,” Izuku muttered quickly. “This looks amazing, thank you.”

 

Tsuyu looked up pat him as she scooped rice onto his plate. “Wait, is it cause you’re a dragon?”

 

Izuku flinched. It was always a little awkward to explain to someone how good bloody meat tasted. Thankfully, his quirk rendered him functionally immune to any sort of food poisoning or other negative effects of eating raw meat. “Kinda, but uh, I’m not actually a dragon, Tsu. It’s just my quirk, right? You’re not really a frog.”

 

She nodded. “I figured you would know what I meant. We’re a lot alike, aren’t we?”

 

He smiled down at her. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Izuku hadn’t really considered that, but Tsuyu and him shared quite a few aspects of their quirks. Beyond their shared affinity for water, both of their quirks affected their minds and actions. Hers were more visible, usually, but he guessed that his were more severe.

 

“Wait, you can eat steak raw?” Kaminari said as he approached the counter. Izuku felt a small tinge of annoyance due to his interruption last night, but he knew he didn’t mean anything. “Kirishima, come on, you wanna see it too, don’t you?”

 

“I gotta admit, I’m curious,” Kirishima said with a raised eyebrow.

 

“Kacchan…” Izuku whined. “Why did you tell them?”

 

Katsuki swallowed his bite of steak and shot a cruel smirk at him. “I missed an entire week of giving you shit, think of this as revenge for the poem.”

 

Jirou had arrived next to Izuku as well. “This I gotta see.”

 

He sighed. “Fine… Here, Kirishima, you can have that one. Give me a raw one.” He pushed the plate back to the cook, who eagerly ran off to fetch an uncooked steak.

 

Izuku sat down at a table while the rest of the class gathered around. Kirishima placed the raw, bloody meat in front of him on a plate and stared.

 

Izuku looked down at the food, his mouth starting to water slightly. His dad didn't get the pleasure of doing this, so it was something he was actually grateful to his quirk about for once.

 

He looked around the room at his audience; if they wanted a show, why not embrace it? He let his quirk flow slightly, scales flashing up his neck as his teeth sharpened and elongated. He drew a single claw from his hand and stabbed the steak, lifting it slowly from the plate as his classmates continued to stare.

 

He opened his mouth wide, showing off his razor-filled jaw as he took a huge bite, tearing the meat effortlessly. He resisted letting out a satisfied groan as the taste of raw steak hit his tongue. It was second only to his mother’s katsudon as his favorite food, after all.

 

Another gnashing bite followed by a third and a fourth caused the steak to vanish entirely. It wasn’t a huge thing, so he ate it quickly. His shredding fangs made quick work of the meat as he swallowed and sighed.

 

He let his quirk fade, returning most of his teeth to their normal, human shape. Only his usual fangs remained, shrunk back down to their normal, large size. He smiled, the blood covering and running down his teeth.

 

“Woah, gross!’ Hagakure yelled, but he could hear the smile in her tone.

 

Izuku quickly glanced over the room, judging everyone’s reactions. Most of them looked stunned, while Aoyama and Iida looked a little offended. But what caught his attention most was the women: Uraraka and Ashido both had small, incredulous smiles and bright blushes for some reason, while Yaoyorozu was wide-eyed, covering her mouth. Tsuyu, Pony, Jirou and Kirishima had the widest eyes out of everyone, but he also noticed a small dusting of red on each of their cheeks.

 

“Hardcore…” Jirou muttered finally.

 

Kirishima nodded in agreement. “Manly…”

 

Tsuyu croaked slowly. “You really do look like a predator. Like from a nature documentary or something.”

 

“So what, you won’t get food poisoning or anything?” Kaminari asked with awe in his voice.

 

Izuku shook his head as he wiped his mouth and hand with a napkin. “Nope. It’s honestly really convenient if I ever need to have a quick meal: just wolf down something raw and off I go.”

 

As the rest headed back to their own meals, Izuku suddenly felt a weight on his back. A very soft weight. His nose told him that Ashido was very close, so he had a very good idea what those two, large, soft weights on his back were. Pink arms wrapped around his shoulders as he felt her breathing into her ear. “Kinky,” she whispered. “Is that all you eat?”

 

Izuku didn’t know exactly what she was implying, but the husky tone of her voice set off all sorts of alarms in his head. “A-Ashido, w-what are-”

 

She had started giggling.

 

“Sorry,” she said quietly, “Bakugou put me up to it.”

 

“Up to what?” He was genuinely confused.

 

“Are you serious?” She looked at him with a exasperated expression as she whispered. “As in eating someone…?” She winked seductively for some reason.

 

“I would never!” His eyes went wide as he whisper-shouted at her. “How could you even-”

 

“No, no, you adorable idiot,” she clapped a hand over his mouth. “I mean eating…”

 

She whispered something in his ear.

 

If she was looking for a broccoli impression, she got it.

 

“Hey, Jirou!” he yelled as he stood up suddenly, startling the shorter woman and everyone nearby. “You got time for that training session today?”

 

“Uh, sure, anytime, I guess,” she responded, still a little stunned.

 

“Great! I'll go get changed and meet you in front of the dorm!” He bolted from his seat and up to his room as fast as he could, tearing away from Ashido as his face glowed green.

 


 

Kyouka changed into a gym uniform and headed outside, where Midoriya was already waiting. “Hey, dude,” she greeted him as the door closed behind her.

 

“Hey, Jirou!” he responded brightly. “Thanks again for helping me out. I really appreciate it.”

 

“No worries,” she said cooly. “Not exactly sure what you want me to teach you, but I’m down for whatever.”

 

Midoriya started doing stretches. “I’ll explain along the way. Wanna jog with me?”

 

“Sure.” Kyouka was certainly not staring at his bulging thighs and calves as he stretched his legs, that would have just been shallow. It’s not like Midoriya was a total hunk or anything and it’s not like those horns on his head or that small ridged sail on his neck were totally badass or anything. She was just helping her classmate train.

 

After they stretched in silence, Midoriya and her started jogging towards one of the practice facilities. “So basically,” he began, “my quirk gives me enhanced senses. Smell, sight, hearing, that stuff. How strong they are depend on how much power I push into them, if that makes sense. I was hoping you could give me some tips on how to utilize my hearing.”

 

He wasn’t panting at all as he spoke, nor did he even pause to take a breath. ‘His lung capacity has gotta be out of this world,’ Kyouka thought as she nodded along.

 

Shortly after they arrived at a large rectangular structure: one of the practice gyms. Midoriya opened one of the doors and poked his head inside. “Cool, nobody’s here.” He held the door open and she entered in front of him.

 

“Alright, here we go.” Midoriya took a deep breath as the two of them stood in the middle of the empty facility a few moments later. He let out a deep, controlled breath as his green scales formed along his neck and up to his ears which… disappeared.

 

“Uh, your ears are gone,” she pointed out. “How do you hear?”

 

He tapped the side of his head softly. “When I’m transformed, I hear through these little holes."

 

“Alright, well let’s start with the basics then,” Kyouka said as she sat down, patting the ground to her left. “You hear best when you focus on it. Close your eyes and shut out everything else but your ears, or whatever those things are.”

 

Midoriya sat down next to her and obeyed, breathing out slowly as he closed his eyes. She slowly reached her hand to her right, away from him, and tapped slowly on the ground, so quietly that a normal person wouldn’t be able to hear. After several seconds, he reached out and started tapping on the ground in time with her.

 

“Good,” Kyouka said approvingly. “Let’s try something a little harder.” She listened for a second before continuing. “How many people are outside this building right now?”

 

Midoriya’s eyes opened as he raised an eyebrow incredulously. “What? How am I-”

 

“Hey,” she hissed sharply. “Focus.”

 

“Right, right, sorry.” He closed his eyes again and resumed his breathing.

 

She heard something flowing beneath his skin, like blood but different. ‘Is that him using his quirk?’ She watched him focus for a few more seconds. ‘Gotta admit, it’s kinda fun bossing him around. This is the guy that stood up to a supervillain?’

 

Kyouka found herself daydreaming a little. Now that the danger was gone, she could appreciate just how badass Midoriya looked fighting Terrorflame. The way those two gigantic beasts had moved so quickly was totally unreal, not to mention their mid-air fight. The way Midoriya had nearly pinned the villain as they tumbled… and the way he had bitten down on his throat.

 

It was fucking hardcore is what it was.

 

“Oh, uh Jirou,” Midoriya brought her out of her reverie. “I think I hear two people outside. You know, it sounds like they’re getting closer.”

 

Kyouka listened for a split second to confirm. Midoriya was right, there were two people coming towards the building they were in. Judging from their footfalls, one was a man and one was a woman.

 

The doors of the facility flew open as two people their age entered, Midoriya and Kyouka standing up as the newcomers caught sight of them. Kyouka was right, by the way.

 

The woman had long orange hair tied in a side ponytail and was probably a few inches taller than Kyouka. Her teal eyes had strange white pupils, but they looked friendly. The man was a few inches taller still, his head was adorned with messy silver hair and his beady black eyes were framed with a bizarre jagged frame. His mouth was turned up into a small snarl, revealing his razor-sharp, spiked teeth, just like Eiko’s.

 

“Hey!” the man called accusingly. “We’ve got this place reserved, what’re you two doing here?”

 

Midoriya waved a hand at the two. “Sorry, we didn’t know! We’ll get out of you way.”

 

As Midoriya and Kyouka headed for the exit, the woman piped up. “Hmm, hey wait, what class are you two in?”

 

“1-A,” Midoriya responded succinctly. “Why?”

 

The woman’s face lit up slightly. “Oh, you’re in the other hero class! We’re from 1-B. Itsuka Kendou, 1-B class rep, and this is Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu.” She gestured to the silver-haired man, who was now looking at the two of them appraisingly.

 

Midoriya’s face lit up in kind. “I’ve been looking forward to meeting the other hero students! I’m Izuku Midoriya, class rep of 1-A, and this is K-Kyouka Jirou.” He seemed a little nervous saying her first name, even if he was introducing her.

 

It was a little cute. How was a dude eight inches and at least fifty pounds of muscle larger than her so nervous around her?

 

“Oh, you’re Midoriya?” Tetsutetsu asked, pointing a finger. “You’re the one that stood up to that villain in the USJ!”

 

Midoriya took a half-step back from the pointing man. “O-oh, you heard about that, did you?”

 

“The entire school was shut down for a week,” Kendou remarked with a laugh in her voice. “Yeah, we heard about it.”

 

Midoriya half-smiled, but didn't seem keen on talking about it. “I’m just glad everyone made it out okay. Anyways, we’ll be going. Good luck training.”

 

“Hey wait, hold on!” Tetsutetsu held out a hand to stop the taller student. “Kendou and I are here to train; how about you spar with us?”

 

Midoriya thought for a moment, then glanced at Kyouka, asking for approval, or was it permission? She thought for a second, then nodded. The man turned back to the 1-B students and grinned, baring his fangs. “You’re on.”

 

“Alright!” Tetsutetsu threw up a fist. “Let’s do this!”

 

“Ground rules?” Midoriya asked as he and Kyouka put some space between them and the other students. “You have the reservation, you decide.”

 

Kendou thought for a moment. “We’re here to train, not seriously injure each other. Let’s say you’re out if you touch a wall or unable to move. Good sportsmanship.”

 

“Sounds fine to me. Jirou?” he asked softly.

 

“Works for us,” she called out loudly before leaning towards her partner. “You got a plan?”

 

“We don’t know their quirks,” he reasoned, “so we should play it safe until then. We’ll have to think on our feet, but I have a feeling you’re good at that.”

 

Kyouka huffed. “Remind me to ask you why you have that feeling later, but you’re not wrong. I do alright.”

 

Midoriya took a deep, centering breath as scales began to spread along his limbs as he took his shirt off. Kyouka certainly wasn't admiring his defined back as he tossed the shirt aside. While she wasn’t doing that, something caught her eye: a patch of off-color scales on his right shoulder. She thought the darker and lighter tones meshed well with the solid, forest green of the rest of his body, giving him a sort of camouflage look.

 

A simpler part of her wanted to run her fingers over his scales, to see if the scarred scales felt as badass as they looked.

 

Another wondered where he got it from.

 

‘Wait, is that where he blocked the fire that was gonna kill-’

 

The horns on his head streaked back until they formed a sort of crown and his eyes glowed brighter. His fingers flashed into claws as his entire body was covered in scales, save for his head. Midoriya kicked off his red shoes and grew his feet into claws, digging into the ground slightly. “Ready when you are.”

 

Damn, that voice was cool.

 

‘Why do I keep thinking stuff like that?’

 

Kyouka froze as she realized what was going on.

 

‘Oh, right. He’s a dragon. Dragons are badass. Yeah, that’s fair. ‘

 

She smirked as she eyed the competition. She had a dragon on her side and she knew she could handle herself. These 1-B guys didn’t stand a chance.

 

“I’ll stand back and attack from range,” she whispered, low as she dared. “I’ll have an easier time if you can keep them off me.” He could apparently hear her fine as he nodded and took a few steps forward, dropping down into a ready stance to guard her.

 

Kendou and Tetsutetsu nodded to each other. The woman’s hands grew to enormous sizes, easily large enough to grab Kyouka like a pencil, while the man’s skin turned silver as he transformed into living steel. ‘What, is he just a male Eiko? Weird.’

 

“Go!” Kendou shouted.

 

The two broke into a run, charging straight at Midoriya. She saw his arms beginning to bulge and lengthen as she heard that rushing noise under his skin. This time, she was sure that the sound of blood was accompanying it; it made sense, his quirk would have to make blood to keep circulation through his massive transformation.

 

Kyouka shot her jacks toward what she figured was the more dangerous target. Tetsutetsu made the mistake of underestimating her as he didn’t move to avoid her attack. Her jacks slammed into him, cracking his metal slightly under her assault. The man cried out in surprised as he tripped and stumbled to the side.

 

Midoriya took the opportunity to turn his full attention onto Kendou, who seemed equally taken aback by Kyouka’s surprisingly powerful attack. He swung his enlarged left arm, but she recovered quickly enough to throw up a block, causing her to just be pushed back a few feet by his fist.

 

“Tetsu!” Kendou called with a determined grin, “we gotta take advice from The Offspring and keep ‘em separated!”

 

Kyouka hated that she got that joke.

 

They began to move towards Midoriya and Kyouka again, this time splitting up so Midoriya could only block one of them. His head shot back and forth, trying to figure out what to do.

 

Unwilling to get caught by a pincer move, she came up with a better idea, or at least what she thought was a better idea in the heat of the moment. Kyouka ran forward and jumped, latching onto the taller man’s neck with her arms and hooking her legs around his stomach. One hand had latched onto his shoulder, while another around his neck against his chest to lock her upper body in place. “Go!”

 

Midoriya gasped slightly, clearly not expecting a surprise passenger. To his credit, he picked up quickly and tore off across the facility, leaving the two flanking students behind. Thanks to his sudden burst of speed, she had to brace herself, but as her hand slipped down his shoulder, her palm passed over a different texture. She glanced down for a split second and noticed she was palming his scar, and before she fully realized what she was doing, her fingers were running gently along them. They felt rough compared to the of the rest, but at the same time, it almost felt familiar. The texture was reminiscent of one of her leather jackets, but hard like steel.

 

‘Woah, even his scar is punk rock.’

 

After her moment of curiosity passed, Kyouka refocused, quickly turning back and shooting her jacks at their opponents, but they now had a healthy respect for her quirk and dodged.

 

Kyouka hopped off his back after they put some distance between them. “Hey, you’re a dragon, right?” she shot at her partner. “Don’t you have like fire breath or something? Gimme a hand keeping them at range!”

 

He seemed shocked for some reason. “N-no, I don’t have fire! Besides, I can’t use my breath here, no way!”

 

“Ugh, whatever!” She didn’t have time to argue with him. “I don’t think they’ll fall for that again, get ready.”

 

It seemed that the two 1-B students had come up with some sort of plan, as Tetsutetsu was charging Midoriya with Kendou lagging a little behind. The metal man reared a fist back and swung at Kyouka’s draconic classmate, who blocked it with a grunt. As soon as the two men engaged, Kendou darted around to the side and made a break for Kyouka.

 

Midoriya attempted to stop her, but taking his attention away from Tetsutetsu was a mistake. The smaller man caught Midoriya in the gut with a solid punch, driving him to the ground. A ferocious snarl ripped out of his throat as he swiped back with one of his clawed hands, sending the horrendous sound of grating metal echoing through the building, causing Kyouka to flinch slightly.

 

In the meantime, Kendou was closing. Kyouka wasn’t some damsel in distress, but she knew that those giant fists and that almost-playful smirk meant nothing but trouble. She took off running, trying to keep as much distance as she could between the two of them as she shot her jacks back at Kendou.

 

The woman was clearly well trained and flexible as she dodged every single attack with ease. This game of cat and mouse clearly wasn’t working, so Kyouka changed tactics again. She let her pace slow enough for Kendou to gain ground, hoping the woman would get greedy and go in for an attack.

 

Her gamble paid off as the redhead lunged.

 

As soon as her foot left the ground, Kyouka pivoted and stepped to the side, shooting her jack around like a boxer’s right hook. Kendou couldn’t dodge in time as the jack hit her in the ribs, digging into her side. The sharp, literally stabbing pain was nothing compared to Kyouka slamming her heartbeat through and blowing Kendou back as she shouted in pain.

 

After a few moments, Kendou shakily stood to her feet as she wiped some blood from her mouth. “Good one.”

 

She never lost that smirk.

 

A quick glance over to the men told Kyouka that Midoriya was struggling. His claws had little effect on the metal armor of Tetsutetsu, but his enhanced strength was keeping him in the game as the two grappled on the ground.

 

She returned her attention to the redhead as she returned to the offensive. Kendou seemed like a smart woman; Kyouka doubted the same attack would work twice.

 

Using her hands to push off from the ground, Kendou covered the distance between them faster than Kyouka could react. It was all she could do to dodge underneath the giant fist swinging at her.

 

Unfortunately, now Kyouka was on Kendou’s playing field. She took a couple swings at the taller woman, mixing her jabs with stabs from her jacks. She was hoping to get her to back off, but it became painfully obvious that Kendou was a far superior martial artist.

 

Painfully was right, as Kendou swiped up with her enlarged left hand, knocking Kyouka’s guard away as she drove her right fist into her gut.

 

For a split second, Kyouka’s world went white.

 

She flew backwards, slamming into the ground and rolling a few times before she came to a stop on her back. Kyouka groaned and rolled onto her side to pick herself up. She took a breath, but as she tried to breathe out, she found herself unable to. Panic set in automatically as tried again, but nothing came out. She focused and took another deep breath, filling her lungs that Kendou had knocked the wind out of.

 

As she regained her bearings, something else assaulted her senses.

 

That rush was back, but this time, it was nearly deafening.

 

Her slightly-blurry vision snapped to the source of the sound, her eyes locking with Midoriya’s as he stared at her. His green orbs burned with an intensity she hadn’t seen before.

 

With a furious roar, he drove his left arm into Tetsutetsu’s stomach, flinging the nearly six feet of steel off of him like he was nothing. He jumped to his feet, his eyes glowing so brightly they were nearly yellow. Kyouka normally had to look up to him, but this was something else.

 

He easily passed the eight foot mark as his arms and legs bulged, just like he had at the USJ when he attacked Kurogiri. His vision left Kyouka as his face grew elongated and draconic, his predatory eyes landing on Kendou. “You hurt what’s mine.” His voice was level, but filled with rage.

 

‘Mine?’

 

The other three students were all frozen with slacked jaws as he bulked up, but once he kicked off towards Kendou, time resumed. Kyouka staggered to her feet and stepped away from Kendou as Midoriya was on her before she could move. She drove a brutal open-palmed strike into his chest, but he barely seemed to notice.

 

He crashed down on her, pinning her chest to the ground with a single, giant claw. He snarled in her face, his fangs bared. “Yield.”

 

“Woah, man, I yield!” she shouted back, holding her hands up and letting her hands shrink back down.

 

Kyouka remembered that that the fight wasn’t over and tore her eyes from her massive classmate over to Tetsutetsu, who was pulling himself up from the ground slowly. Her jacks shot out and stopped an inch from his face. “You heard the man, give up!” she yelled, half-surprised her voice still worked.

 

“Ah, dammit, fine!” He held his hands up.

 

Midoriya’s vision snapped to her again. She felt a little uneasy as his glowing, reptilian eyes looked her all over; she noted the distinct look of intelligence within them as he slowly approached her. The man towered over her as he stood next to her; she only came up to his stomach. “Hey,” she smirked as best she could up at the man nearly twice her height as she tried to keep the blush from her face. “What’s this about me being ‘your’s’? If anything, you’re mine, dragon boy.”

 

‘Shit, that sounded a lot cooler in my head.’

 

Apparently, he seemed to think it sounded cool, because his mouth dropped open slightly as his eyes flashed to hers. He breathed out slowly as he shrunk back down to his normal impressive height and his face returned to its normal cu- shape. Normal shape.

 

‘Man, fuck you, hormones.’ She let out a short, frustrated sigh. ‘It’s just cause I haven’t spent any time with him. There are plenty of hot dudes in the class, I’ll get over him.’

 

It was then that she noticed the unfortunate side effect of Midoriya’s transformation. His pants… didn't make it. He seemed to be aware of this, as he didn’t let his quirk fully release. His body was still covered in scales, with his chest and stomach covered in his light-green plates. His legs were completely bare from the feet to his thigh and… up. Thankfully, and somewhat strangely, there wasn’t anything there.

 

Regardless, she felt her face heating up just from the implication. “You know, I’m not some princess that needs rescuing. I was fine.”

 

“What?” He looked at her with genuine confusion. “No, I know that. You can take much more than that punch, but still, you being hurt is unacceptable. You don’t need my protection, but you definitely deserve it.”

 

She blinked. ‘ Dammit , that was cool.’

 

“Damn, you two go hard,” Kendou said as she approached the two of them, still smiling. “You have that whole intimidation thing down pat, Midoriya.”

 

“T-thanks,” he muttered sheepishly. “But hey, you didn’t hold back either, look.” He let the upper part of his quirk fade, exposing his chest, arms and defined abs, where a large bruise was forming in the middle of his torso. “I don’t think you cracked any of them, but my ribs are definitely bruised a bit.” Kyouka noted that the scales around his right shoulder didn’t vanish.

 

Tetsutetsu had gotten up and joined the group as well. “Midoriya, I gotta say: you do the hero course proud! Both of you! That fight got my blood pumping! You better bring that passion to the sports festival, I don’t want my victory to be against anything but your best, alright?!”

 

Kyouka and Midoriya looked at each other before nodding. “See you there, man.” Kyouka had to admit, the spar had gotten her blood pumping too. Fighting with Midoriya had felt really good.

 

Midoriya gave a curt bow. “Thank you for the opportunity, but we’ll be going now. Enjoy the rest of your training!”

 

The two 1-B students waved back as they exited the building back into the early afternoon sun. “Jirou, I-I want to apologize. I didn’t mean to uh, do that.”

 

“Do what? Go all dragon on them?” She waved a hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about it, it was pretty cool.”

 

“Y-you think?” He looked genuinely surprised and touched.

 

She remembered this was the guy who tried to apologize for ‘scaring’ them all when he saved their lives. He mentioned that he was what, ‘conditioned to expect a certain reaction’? Had he been ostracized and shunned most of his life for his quirk?

 

She felt a small twinge of anger and indignation at the idea. ‘Wait, am I getting protective of him?’

 

Kyouka opted to avoid the question and change the subject. “Speaking of, why didn’t you just go full dragon like at the USJ?”

 

He flinched. “Oh, uh, well, I can’t.”

 

“Can’t?” She cocked her hip as she raised an eyebrow.

 

“At the USJ… well, I shouldn’t have been able to do that. It almost killed me.”

 

“...What?”

 

“Well, it's wrong to say I ‘can’t’, rather I should say I ‘shouldn’t’.” He looked away sadly. “I could probably do it if I really wanted to, but it would almost certainly put me in the hospital again... and who knows if I would come out alright this time. My dad wasn’t even going to teach me how to do that until our junior year.”

 

“Wait, that would put you in…” She noticed his particular language.

 

Midoriya nodded. “Terrorflame didn’t put me in a coma for a week, my own quirk did.”

 

Kyouka’s jaw dropped. She didn’t realize. “I, uh, wow, dude. I didn’t know, sorry for asking.”

 

“No no, it’s fine. Sorry for dumping that on you.” He chuckled awkwardly as his disposition brightened. “I just feel comfortable around you Jirou, I didn’t mean to let all that slip out.”

 

“No problem,” she muttered, looking away to try and maintain her cool. “Let’s head back, alright? We gotta get you some pants.”

 

Midoriya yelped a little. “Oh, uh, r-right. Sorry.” Two giant wings slowly sprouted from his back and stretched in the spring afternoon.

 

She watched his horns grow slightly longer and then ran her eyes over the great, dappled wings. ‘His quirk is metal as fuck, are you kidding me? If this hero thing doesn’t work out for him, he could get a job acting in music videos.’

 

“Oh, how rude of me,” he laughed, turning back to her. “My mother would kill me if I didn’t offer you a ride. Wanna grab on?” He pointed to his back with a grin.

 

Kyouka flashed back to her impromptu piggyback during their match a little while ago. “Wait, like, a flight back?”

 

“Yeah! It’s a lot faster. Flying is a ton of fun, too. You’ll love it!” He was like an excited kid.

 

Riding a dragon? Sign Kyouka the hell up.

 

“Like I’d pass on an opportunity to ride you.”

 

‘SHIT, that sounded a lot cooler in my head!’

 

Midoriya didn’t seem to notice her accidental innuendo as he bent down to allow her easier access to his back.

 

Unlike last time, she had the time to fully appreciate what she was doing. Her arms locked around his shoulders and neck and her legs wrapped around his thick core. She could feel his muscles bulging and contracting with every motion and breath he took.

 

What felt intimate to her was apparently nothing to him. He just looked back with a small smile and asked if she was ready. When she nodded, desperately trying to keep her face from blushing, his wings rose up and beat downwards, sending the two of them streaking into the air.

 

Her feelings of embarrassment quickly gave way to a rush of fear as her stomach dropped. She instinctively gripped harder, pressing herself tighter into his firm body. Kyouka was much too preoccupied to worry about her thighs squeezing into his sides.

 

As the acceleration slowed and their ascent stopped, she finally peeked one of her eyes open. As she peered around, both of her eyes shot open and her jaw dropped, or at least dropped as far as it could when it was pressed into Midoriya’s back.

 

The view was spectacular.

 

The two of them were soaring at least several hundred feet above the ground, well over the tallest tower of the UA main building. Looking out she could see all of Musutafu and the ocean sparkling in the sun.

 

The wind whipped through her hair as her heart swelled with amazement and excitement and as a wide grin stretched across her face. Kyouka couldn’t resist cheering loudly as the two of them soared high in the air.

 

All too soon, they began their descent. He held his wings out wide to catch the air and slow gravity's pull on them, causing the two of them to glide slowly to the ground. He circled around the dorm several times before landing by the front doors, his muscular legs acting to absorb the impact as he lowered himself on contact.

 

He stayed crouched, letting her slip off his back and back onto solid ground. She almost fell down as her legs gave out beneath her, but Midoriya seemed to have expected that and reached out to hold her up.

 

The feeling returned to her legs as her adrenaline faded, but the wide smile never left her face. “That was awesome! You get to do that whenever you want? Consider me jealous, man.”

 

“It never gets old,” he returned with a smile.

 

She stood up tall, or at least tall for her, patting his arm to let her go. “Thanks for catching me. You were on top of things, you do this a lot?”

 

Midoriya shook his head. “Not really. You're actually the first person other than Kacchan I've given a ride.”

 

Her cheeks warmed up. ‘The first…?’

 

“Anyway, gotta go, thanks helping me out!” he said suddenly, taking back off into the air.

 

“H-hey, we should do it again sometime!” she called after him, to which he gave her a nod and a thumbs up before he disappeared around the side of the building.

 

She sighed. ‘That was a much more exciting training session than I expected. Midoriya is a really cool guy.’ Kyouka realized she was still smiling. ‘Oh shit, do I have a crush on him? No, no. No way. I barely know the guy.’

 

She turned to walk inside, her shoulders slumping slightly. ‘Being 18 sucks. Hormones suck.’

 

‘Not like he would even look at someone like me when bombshells like Mina are after him…’

 


 

Izuku quickly flew up to his room, where he had intentionally left his balcony door unlocked. He had managed to keep his composure during the flight back, but now that he was in private, he broke down.

 

He grabbed one of his pillows and shoved his face into it hard, screaming at the top of his lungs. His throat felt a little sore, but a lot of his tension was gone.

 

‘Holy crap, why are all the girls in my class so hot?! Why did I offer her a ride?! Did she know what she was doing?! She was pressed so hard into me…’ He reached up and ran his fingers over his scar. ‘Her touch was kind, even on something so ugly.’

 

‘Why did it feel so good?’

 

He slumped down onto his bed and ran his fingers through his hair, trying to calm his quirk as it flared at the memories of Jirou’s body against his back and her bright smile. ‘At least school starts back up tomorrow. That’ll be a good distrac-’

 

A knock on his door.

 

“Oh, Midoooriiii~”

 

‘Oh no.’

Chapter Text

“Ashido, uh, now isn’t a great time!” Izuku called out.

 

“You don’t get a choiiice~” she singsonged through the door. “This is important!”

 

“Uh, I’m naked!” That wasn’t a lie, he was; especially now that he had released his quirk.

 

He heard a gasp on the other side of the door. “Izuku Midoriya, what have you been doing?!

 

The blood drained from his face. “N-nothing!” No answer, but he heard his handle moving slightly. “...Are you picking my lock again?!”

 

“You better get some clothes on if you don’t want me to see~” The lock started moving a little faster. “Unless you want me to see, of course~”

 

Izuku never threw on clothes faster in his life. He grabbed the first things he could find, which happened to be what he slept in last night: a pair of All Might underwear, his Stormclaw pajama pants and a shirt that said ‘pajamas’ on it.

 

He flung the door open, finding Ashido standing there with a playful grin and empty hands. He stared at her for a few seconds with wide eyes. “You… weren’t picking the lock?”

 

“Nope! It got you ready though!” She grabbed him by the arm and pulled him out of his room. “I need you to do something for me. I’ll explain once we get there.”

 

“Um, okay…”

 

Izuku had a bad feeling about this.

 

Or was it a really good feeling?

 


 

Ochako sat on Mina’s bed, rocking back and forth slightly as she stared out at the window, wondering what was taking her friend so long. She had been reading peacefully in her pajamas when she got a text from Mina to come down to her room, but once she got there, Mina just put her on the bed and told her that she “needed to go grab something real quick”.

 

Just when she was getting ready to text Mina to ask where she was, she heard footsteps approaching the door. No, wait. She heard two sets of footsteps. ‘Did Mina get someone? Maybe she’s organizin’ another one of those game nights. Strange she didn’t say nothin’ about it to me, though.’

 

“A-Ashido, are you sure?”

 

Ochako blanched. Is this what Mina meant by “leave it to me”?

 

The door swung open and standing there were two of her favorite people in the world, but she couldn’t help but be filled with trepidation.

 

“Ura-raraka,” Deku stuttered. “H-hey.” It was like he was back on the first day of school again; the poor man couldn't even make eye contact with her and just being nearby was causing him to blush. He had gotten so much better about it, but she guessed that her boldness last night had ruined all his hard work. She kicked herself a little.

 

“Hi, Deku,” she replied, forcing a smile on her face to hide her pounding heart. ‘Dammit, I’m blushin’ too now. Mina, why?!’

 

“Alright!” Mina chirped with a wide smile. “Midori, on the bed. Opposite Ochako.”

 

“Um, that’s okay, I’ll just sta-”

 

“Nope! You’re sitting down.” She put her hands on his back and pushed, shoving him into the room and towards the bed.

 

Ochako scooted back towards the head of the bed to let Deku have space at the foot. Both of them sat there cross-legged, staring at each other for only a second before looking away.

 

Mina shook her head. “You two are hopeless.”

 

“W-what did you want from me, Ashido? Is this another game night or something?”

 

“You could say that.” She looked at him with a cruel grin as she sat down on the bed next to Ochako. The two women were almost touching, but Ochako didn’t feel the comfort she usually did; Mina was up to something and it made her nervous.

 

“There is a problem,” Mina began. “An issue. I’ve been thinking long and hard about how to fix it, especially since last night.”

 

“Last night?” Deku was rightly worried.

 

“She was spying on us,” Ochako muttered, still not looking at him.

 

“Damn straight I was!” Mina declared proudly. “I thought to myself ‘how do I fix this?’ I considered getting you two to go to a movie with me and then getting conveniently ‘sick’, I thought about tricking you both into going to a restaurant together, I thought about sneaking forged letters into your backpacks to get you to meet up.” Mina rattled off her plans as she rocked back and forth on the bed. “But those had way too much potential to play out like a bad romance show, and Mina Ashido is not about that life.”

 

She puffed her chest out and pointed an accusing finger at both of them. “You two are absolutely nuts about each other and you are not leaving this bed until you talk about it!”

 

Deku looked like he was about to die. Ochako figured she looked about the same.

 

“A-Ashido, w-what is this? What are you s-saying?” The poor man wasn’t ready for the storm that was Mina.

 

Ochako wasn’t ready either. She buried her face in her hands and fell over on her side, trying to hide herself up against the wall.

 

“I’m saying that Ochako has a huge, huge crush on you, Midori, and I’m tired of dancing around it! You two are absolutely adorable together and I will not stand for you to keep acting like a bunch of hopeless virgins!”

 

“But I am a hopeless virgin!” Deku yelled out suddenly. “Uh, I mean, uh-” He hid his face behind his arms as he turned nearly neon green.

 

Mina giggled. “Well, that’s good to know, but surely you didn’t act like this around your other girlfriends, right? Where’s that Midori confidence that shouted a hallway of panicking students down?”

 

Deku mumbled something.

 

“What was that? Speak up!” Mina demanded.

 

“I’ve… never had a girlfriend.”

 

“What?! No way!” Mina leaned over onto her hands closer to him. “How? I don’t believe you!”

 

“People are scared of me, Ashido,” he muttered sadly. “You know that. You know that they should be. I’ve already resigned myself to being alone, I just focus all my energy on being a hero so I hopefully won’t hurt anybody.”

 

Ochako felt her blush fade a little as he spoke. ‘Alone? Him? How could he be?’

 

“Oh, Midori,” Mina sounded a little sympathetic. “You won’t be, I promise. You deserve to be happy. And today is your lucky day because I know one tall, beautiful brunette who is head-over-heels for you.”

 

Ochako squeaked. “Mina, why?!”

 

“I already told you why! Now stop hiding, both of you!”

 

“N-no, that can’t be right,” Deku argued. “Someone like Uraraka couldn’t like someone like me. That’s- no, that's ridiculous. She’s way too good for me, are you kidding?”

 

Ochako felt something flare inside her. She whipped up and looked Deku dead in the eyes. “How can you say that?! If anything, you’re too good for me!”

 

“What?!” He nearly fell backwards. “But I’m a mon-”

 

“Don’t you dare finish that word!” Ochako threatened. Her cheeks were burning but it was her blood that was truly on fire. “Mina is right!” She squeezed her eyes shut as she forced the words out.

 

“Deku, I love you!”

 

There was silence in the room. She didn’t dare open her eyes.

 

“B-but... how? ” Deku sounded like he was on the edge of tears. “Y-you’re so beautiful and strong and capable a-and-”

 

“And what?” she hissed. “You’re a brute with an evil quirk?”

 

“I-”

 

It was like the dam that was holding her feelings back had crumbled. Everything was pouring out. “You’ve been nothing but kind to me, ever since we met! You saved my life the day we met, you saved me at the USJ from that guy with the big arms, and then you turned around and stood between Mina and me and God damn Terrorflame!” She finally tore her eyes open and looked at the man.

 

Eye contact made it so much worse.

 

He looked confused, scared and panicking. His eyes were flashing green erratically and his voice seemed caught in his throat.

 

Even so, her heart clenched in her chest and her stomach did flips.

 

“You always talked to me like I was this beautiful, strong woman who could do anything.”

 

“That’s what you are!” He found his voice. “B-both of you!”

 

“That’s what I’m talking about!” Ochako whined. “How could I not fall in love with you? You’re the man who saved his entire class from a real monster with no concern for his safety, but you look at me like that! Just being around you makes me want to do better, and not just for myself! I want to make you proud of me, Deku!”

 

“I…”

 

Ochako realized something.

 

She whipped around on Mina, who was absolutely beaming from ear to ear. “Mina feels the same way!” She scowled at the pink woman, whose expression had fallen away rapidly.

 

“W-what?! Both of you?!”

 

Mina looked confused and startled. “H-hey, this is me trying to get you two together, what are you doing?”

 

“Don’t deny it! You love him too!” She leaned over, getting in Mina’s face.

 

The pink woman was not ready for how this had turned on her. With Ochako towering over her, purple began to creep into her face. “S-so what?”

 

“Why are you trying to do this, Mina? It’s time for you to confess and you can be his girlfriend! He deserves you !” She didn’t really know what she was saying, but it felt right. Ochako’s feelings for Mina were confused, but she knew that she cared deeply for her. Mina wanted Deku as much as she did and she would do anything in her power to make sure Mina was happy.

 

Mina was panicking. “What?! No! You should! T-think about it, it’ll be like how we’ve been sleeping, except it’ll be him. No worries, I’ll be fine!”

 

Ochako felt her heart plummet. The idea of losing Mina was something she wasn’t ready to confront.

 

“W-wait, how have you two been sleeping?” Deku asked, his voice still shaky.

 

Ochako froze. “Uhh…”

 

“We started cuddling when we were sharing a couch while you were in a coma,” Mina explained, still blushing herself. “And, well, it kinda stuck.”

 

Deku’s jaw dropped. “You two… have been sleeping together?”

 

Ochako and Mina stared at each other for a few seconds before slowly turning to face him. They both nodded slowly.

 

He looked down slightly as a small smile grew on his face. It was full of relief, but also sadness. “It sounds like you two should date each other. Maybe you two love each other, instead. That would be much better.”

 

Ochako looked back to Mina, who did the same.

 

They stared into each other's eyes, time losing its meaning as she lost herself in her gold irises in contrast to her black sclera. .

 

When she finally managed to pull her gaze away from her eyes, it focused on her soft, sweet-smelling hair and over her adorable horns. She wanted to run her hand through her pink locks again, to feel her mewl at the contact like she always did.

 

Then she looked at her full, kissable lips and her purple-tinted cheeks.

 

A new urge made itself known.

 

Ochako didn’t realize it at the time, but Mina was doing the same to her; looking her over for the hundredth but seeing her for the first.

 

She felt her heart leap as her mind raced through the memories they shared.

 

The bonds they forged in the fires of the Conflagration Zone and then in the inferno that was Terrorflame… The sensation of her skin on hers…

 

It was something that she didn’t know if she would want to live without. Ochako felt comfortable around Mina, more than perhaps anyone else outside her family. Maybe it was the hormones pumping through her right now, but Ochako felt like Deku was right.

 

The two women were still locked in place, staring at each other. Ochako felt Mina’s hot breath on her face and neck.

 

It was driving her mad.

 

“M-Mina?”

 

“Y-yeah?”

 

“I...love you.”

 

“I love you too, Ochako.”

 

She realized what she wanted right now.

 

Ochako’s arms moved on their own as they reached out and grabbed the sides of Mina’s head. She pulled, bringing the pink woman closer and closer, her head tilting slightly on its own.

 

Their lips locked.

 

Electricity sparked in Ochako’s mind as the sensation of Mina’s soft, luscious lips crashed through her body. She pressed harder and pulled her closer as her mind focused only on amplifying the feeling that was flooding her with such pleasure.

 

They broke contact for a moment, each of them taking a breath before diving back in for further contact. Mina’s arms wrapped around her waist and held her close, almost begging for more contact.

 

Ochako’s eyes widened as she felt Mina’s tongue slowly probe her lips. She moaned softly as she allowed the tongue to slip in and quickly met it with her own. Compared to Mina, she was clumsy, but it didn’t seem like she minded. Ochako pushed forward, meeting no resistance as Mina retreated back into her mouth as fast as Ochako advanced. Soon, she was in total control and judging from how much Mina was squeezing her, the smaller woman loved it.

 

After what felt like a moment but also a lifetime, they broke apart again, a thin strand of saliva still connecting them. They both panted faintly, their cheeks flush with color.

 

As her brain slowly started processing information outside of ‘Mina’, she heard a faint noise coming from the far end of the bed. She turned her gaze to Deku, who had his hands clapped over his mouth.

 

He was crying softly.

 

Ochako’s heart sank. ‘Oh… that- no, that was so selfish- I knew he was interested in me, but I-’

 

His hand fell away slowly, showing a wide smile. “I’m s-so happy for both of you.” His eyes were glowing softly, almost imperceptibly so.

 

Ochako thought she felt herself fall for him again. ‘How sweet is he?’

 

He swung his legs over the side of the bed and got up to leave. “Wait, where are you going?” Ochako didn’t want him to go.

 

He looked back, an expression of genuine confusion covering his face. “I’ll leave you two in peace, don’t worry about me.”

 

Mina leaned over towards him. “Hey, w-we weren’t done! Ochako told you that she loved you and you’re just going to leave her?” She was still a little flustered from their kiss.

 

Deku flinched. “Y-you two are dating now, right? It’s better that way. I hope you’re happy, really!” He forced a smile on his face.

 

Ochako frowned. “What do you mean ‘better that way’? Are you putting yourself down again?”

 

Deku slouched a little, before looking away. “Yeah, I guess I am, but you don’t understand. You don’t know what you’re asking. You don’t l-love me, not really. I’m sure I’ve… tricked you into thinking that. My quirk does that.” He began to tug at his hair in frustration. “It manipulates. It tricks. It lies. It deceives. And by ‘it’, I mean ‘me’. I’m really glad that you’re both my friends, but I-”

 

“This again?!” Mina shouted in indignation. “I thought I already dealt with this yesterday! You either have a very high opinion of yourself, or a very low one of us. Or both! Midori, do you think that you’ve been ‘manipulating’ me this whole time?”

 

“W-well, I… yeah?” Deku offered weakly.

 

“No!” Mina sounded actually a little mad. “You haven’t! Unless you consider ‘being a nice person’ or ‘saving my life’ to be manipulation! If you define it as any sort of interaction that changes someone’s opinion, then yeah, I guess you have been, but then I’ve been doing the same thing! We all have!”

 

Deku said nothing.

 

“So, get your legs back up here, mister,” Mina growled through grit teeth.

 

Deku obeyed.

 

Mina took a calming breath. “Now.” She looked the man in the eyes. “I want you to listen very carefully , okay?”

 

Deku nodded.

 

“Midori, I, Mina Ashido, of my own volition, love you. Do you understand me?”

 

His eyes flashed brighter. His right hand twitched as if it was moving to grab onto his head, but he kept it down. “I… thank you, but-”

 

Ochako finally spoke. “But what? Do you not feel the same?”

 

“It’s not that!” he immediately responded, before he had time to think.

 

Ochako felt her heart skip a beat. ‘Then he does?’

 

“You don’t know what you’re asking!” he admitted, seemingly forcing himself to speak.

 

“I think we’re asking-” Mina was cut off this time.

 

“I am a dragon ! Dragons hoard things! We are greedy! ” He clenched his eyes shut as he spat his words. “We all have our collections. My dad hoards underwater treasures and oddities, Ryuko loves rare metals and gems, Terrorflame just loved wealth . It’s a part of our quirk. If we don’t hoard, our instincts get very upset.”

 

“So is that why you have all that hero stuff?” Ochako asked.

 

Mina nodded. “I don’t see where you’re going with this.”

 

“Yes, Uraraka, at least in a way.” He sighed heavily. “We don’t just hoard our favorite thing. Our collections’ sizes are important. Outside of the pearls, historical artifacts and old books, my father enjoys generic wealth just as much. Anything valuable is worthy of our hoards.” He seemed to be trying to choke back tears. “I collect my hero merchandise, yes, but I also love emeralds and things that remind me of the forest. But that’s not my favorite thing to hoard. It's not what my quirk values over all else.”

 

Ochako racked her brain. “What is it then?”

 

“P-” He paused, centering himself. “People. I hoard people . You, the other girls, our classmates… my quirk has claimed you all. You’re all part of my hoard, as far as its concerned.”

 

Ochako gasped. “So… are you saying that you like us as much as everyone else?” She felt her heart sink again. ‘We’re all just part of his hoard? He doesn’t actually-'

 

“No.” He spoke with authority. Ochako and Mina were both immediately at attention. “You two… you’re… you’re more. I don’t know what it is, but I… nothing has ever been like this. I can’t get either of you out of my head! A night hasn’t gone by in the past… however long it’s been that one of my dreams hasn’t involved you both. If it’s not you, its Yaoyorozu, or Pony, or Jirou or Tsu! I feel so gross.”

 

“That’s actually kinda flattering,” Mina giggled, tilting her head.

 

“You don’t get it,” Deku repeated. “You should both be scared. My quirk has latched onto you in a way I’ve never experienced before. I don’t know how to deal with this! If you tell me that you...l-” He tried to force the word out, but failed. “-like me, you’re asking for trouble. If I… give into this feeling I have for you both… there’s no going back. I won’t be able to go back. My quirk won’t allow it. I don’t want to ‘own’ you- either of you. You’re both your own people who deserve so much more than that!”

 

He slumped down as he finished his speech. He looked exhausted.

 

The room was quiet for a good while. Ochako turned the information over in her mind time and time again. ‘No goin’ back? His quirk has ’latched onto’ us?’ Her gut churned with emotion after emotion, some good, some less so. Deku was right, this was not a light decision, but what did she feel? She knew what she felt to a degree, but something was holding her back.

 

She realized something. ‘I don’t know how he feels back… that’s what’s-’ Her eyes went wide. ‘Wait. He said that he can’t get us out of his head. He said that he doesn’t know how to deal with what he’s feelin’.’

 

Ochako smiled. Her heart started beating even faster.

 

She knew what he was feeling.

 

She knew what he was feeling because she was feeling the same thing.

 

She turned up to look at him. “Deku?”


He slowly raised his eyes to meet her gaze. His green orbs were filled with guilt as they glowed softly.

 

She lunged forward.

 

Nothing was going to stop her this time.

 

Her arms wrapped around him as they had before, one arms holding his back while the other gripped his head. He barely had time to react as her lips crashed into his. His eyes widened and erupted in light as her own mind began going blank for the second time that afternoon.

 

The force of her lunge and the sudden, primal need she felt to be as close to him as possible drove him onto his back, flat on the bed. She closed her own eyes as she focused entirely on the feeling and taste of his lips on hers. Fireworks went off in her mind as his shock wore off and he began to return her affection.

 

Emboldened by her kiss with Mina, Ochako pushed her tongue forward, asking for permission. He granted it, but as she moved forward, she was met with resistance. Unlike Mina, his tongue was just as clumsy as her own, but that didn’t matter to either of them.


He felt different than Mina. His kiss was no less passionate than hers, but it carried a different energy. While Mina let Ochako take charge, Deku was struggling. He wasn’t trying to fight her for dominance, he was merely challenging her. If she wanted it, she would have to work for it.

 

She loved it.

 

She loved him .

 

Both of her hands moved to his head as she pressed him further into Mina’s soft bed.

 

It was only once they both began to feel short of breath that they broke apart.

 

She loomed over him, her hair hanging down around his face as he stared up at her. They panted for a few seconds, thin strands connecting them in their silence until she smiled softly. “How’s that for an answer?”

 

He seemed too stunned to speak and instead just nodded dumbly.

 

Ochako leaned back, slumping back onto the bed next to Mina. She pushed her shoulder into Ochako’s arm slightly. “I’m proud of you, girl.”

 

Deku slowly pushed himself up on his elbows, blinking and dazed.

 

Mina laughed. “Damn, Ocha, did you suck his soul out? You better have left some for me.”

 

Deku’s vision cleared immediately as he turned his head to stare at Mina.

 

“That’s right, my answer is the same, Midori.” Her smile was kind and loving, a blush glowing on her face. “Listen, ever since I laid eyes on you, I could tell you were something special. You’ve shown me kindness, passion, dedication, joy and that’s just to name a few. You take my teasing like a champ and you don’t mind that I have fun with you. You’ve treated me with respect without putting me on a pedestal, you never once entertained the idea that my appearance was strange or that my quirk was anything but one fit for heroics.”

 

She let out a big sigh as her blush faded out as quickly as it came and her smile turned back to teasing. “I love you and no big, scary quirk is gonna change my mind.” She beckoned him to her with a seductive finger. “But if you want it, you’re gonna have to come and get it.”

 

Deku’s eyes flashed bright again and he was suddenly surging forward across the bed. He pinned Mina down in an instant, his face mere inches from hers as his hands held her wrists down above her head.

 

“You know, this is the second time you’ve had me in this position,” she teased. “I hope you don’t get cold feet this time.”

 

Even with his quirk surging and bursting against its confines, he hesitated. “Is- can I?”

 

“Yes,” she said simply, her smile threatening to burst from her face.

 

He lowered himself, slowly, methodically; it reminded her of a predator stalking its prey. Something told her that Mina liked that. Maybe it was the way her eyes sparkled with excitement and affection as he got closer.

 

He locked his lips with hers in a firm, commanding way. It was filled with passion, but there was no room for argument. The kiss was so different than the one they had shared, but she could see just how much Mina was enjoying it. Her back arched as she squirmed against his grip and her legs wrapped around his, encouraging him to continue.

 

As he had lunged at Mina, Ochako had felt a sickening worry fill her heart. Would she feel jealous that Deku was kissing Mina? Or that Mina was kissing Deku?

 

As the two continued, she felt her heart swell. There was no jealousy or envy to be found within her, only pure happiness at seeing two people that she… that she loved wrapped up in such passion. The weight was lifted from her shoulders as a smile bloomed across her face.

 

The two of them split apart finally and Deku fell backward off of Mina. He panted slightly as his quirk continued to glow brightly in his eyes. ‘I wonder what’s goin’ on in his head right now…’

 

The three of them sat in silence again for a few moments. Eventually, a thought crossed Ochako’s mind. “What now?”

 

“What do you mean?” Mina asked.

 

“I mean, where do we go from here?” Ochako looked back and forth between the two. “Am I dating Deku? Am I dating you? Are we dating at all?”

 

Mina blinked. “Oh.”

 

As the rush of passion left her body, Ochako began to worry. “We… we didn’t think this through. I was so caught up in my emotions that… How do I pick? How do any of us pick? Anything we do is gonna leave someone…”

 

Mina understood the implication as he own mood visibly dropped. “Well, we could pick nobody. That way no one would be…” She looked up at Deku. “Midori, what do you think?”

 

His eyes flashed.

 

He immediately grew a look of slight shame and revulsion. His eyes moved like he was chiding himself for a thought.

 

Mina noticed it too. “Your quirk just told you something, didn’t it?” Her mischievous grin was growing back slowly.

 

“Y-yeah, but don’t… it’s nothing.”

 

The grin was fully back now. “No, no, tell us! Tell us!”

 

Deku gulped. “It… it said, uh…” He looked down in shame. “It said ‘both’.”

 

Ochako’s jaw dropped.

 

Mina took it much better. “Really? It said both? Oh man!” She turned to Ochako, looking like a kid on Christmas. “Let’s do it!”

 

“What?!” Ochako and Deku exclaimed simultaneously.

 

Mina raised an eyebrow. “Polyamory isn’t that weird. Doesn’t make it any less exciting though!”

 

“I mean I’ve heard of it…” Ochako shifted uncomfortably. “But… can we really do that?"

 

Mina’s expression grew more incredulous. “What do you mean? Of course we can. It's not even an uncommon thing, where have you been?"

 

“But isn't it a little weird?"

 

Mina rolled her eyes a little. “Ochako, it's-"

 

"You are not about to use the 'current year' argument on me,” Ochako snapped.

 

Mina was so cute when she pouted. "But it's true! It's not the 21st century anymore, it’s not even the 22nd! Who cares if we both date Midori and each other and whoever else we want to date?” She began to blush a little. “I know you've had your eye on Yaomomo, and I've had a little bit of a crush on Kiri for years now.”

 

Ochako nearly fell over on the bed. “W-what? Yaomomo?! Y-you think-”

 

"You know that one hero team that was pretty high in the rankings a couple years ago?" Mina wasn’t about to give up.

 

Ochako thought for a moment. "The Pussycats?"

 

"No, the other ones.” Mina waved her hand “I can't remember their name, but what's important is that they were all dating each other and nobody outside of the tabloids gave a damn."

 

“I guess I knew that…” Ochako admitted. “I just… never even considered that I might be in a situation even close to that. I didn’t even think I’d get a boyfriend or anything. N-not that I needed one! I’m here at UA to become a hero first and foremost.”

 

“Hold up,” Mina shot back. “Why didn’t you think you’d get a boyfriend?”

 

“W-well, I’ve never had one before, you know?” Ochako poked her fingers together. “Guys have always been really intimidated by my height and-”

 

Deku was suddenly in her face. “You’ve been nothing but supportive of me. You’ve been honest and not judged me even when sometimes I think you should have. Let me do the same for you.” He leaned in a little closer. “Your. Height. Is. Sexy. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Do you remember when we first met?”

 

“W-when you tripped?”

 

Deku flinched. “Y-yeah, that part.” Mina giggled. “Besides your big, beautiful eyes and your gorgeous hair and those lips of yours… what really took my breath away was how I had to look up at you. Something about it just...” He leaned back, giving her space even though she didn’t really want it. Suddenly, his confident air seemed to vanish. “I-I hope that wasn’t too forward… I just hate seeing you beat yourself up.”

 

“Now you know how we feel,” Mina scolded. She leaned in between Ochako and Deku. “So, what do you say? Do we want to make this work?”

 

Deku immediately nodded. “I-I warned you. I can’t back out now.”

 

Ochako nibbled her finger a little as she thought. ‘I really want to, but is this right?’ She peeked at her two friends who were looking back expectantly. The thought of having them close all the time… ‘Yeah, I want that.’

 

She nodded. “I want this.”

 

Mina squealed .

 

Deku suddenly swung his arms around, bringing both of them in for a tight hug, one in each arm. “T-thank you both. For this. For everything.” His arms bulged with strong muscle, making Ochako feel distinctly safe within his embrace.

 

He leaned back, looking them both in the face and smiling as tears flowed down his face. “I want you to know that this isn't my quirk talking. I feel this way even when it’s quiet.” He took a deep breath. “My entire life, with few exceptions, including the Bakugous and my family- and not even them as a rule- I’ve been… held at arm's length. When I was little, more than ten years ago, I was friends with everyone, but as soon as the saw the fury that my quirk puts in me… they walked away.”

 

“But you two,” he pulled them in closer, putting his head between theirs as his tears flowed, “you two have been nothing but kind to me from the moment we met. Even once you found out what my quirk is, what I am, you didn’t bat an eye. You held me close and encouraged me, embraced me… and now even loved me. I didn’t know what I’ve been feeling, but I’ve figured it out. I often speak with confidence, but right now, I’m speaking with certainty.”

 

He pulled his head back and looked at them both with an expression filled with love and joy.

 

“Uraraka, I love you.” He kissed her on the cheek, causing her to light up red.

 

“Ashido, I love you.” He kissed her too, causing the woman to beam even as she turned purple.

 

He let them go, causing Ochako to immediately miss his touch. ‘Oh man, I’ve got it bad… but I’m glad it’s for him. I don’t think he’ll be leaving me anytime soon.’

 

The free-flowing tears slowed as he wiped his face on his shirt. “A-also, one last thing. Apologies if this is… a little creepy.” He smiled sheepishly. “It’s about what I told you earlier. About my uh, hoard.”

 

“Ooh, yeah, we’re officially part of a dragon’s hoard now, huh?” Mina smiled as her face lit up in fascination. “That’s kinda cool.”

 

“Y-yeah, and about what you just said, Uraraka.” He looked at her with that determined gaze that she fell in love with. “About you coming to UA to be a hero.”

 

He sat up straight. “Listen carefully, please. The value of our hoard is very, very important to us. We will always have a drive to increase its size and its value. What that means is that it is my goal, my mission, to make sure that you two are the absolute best you can be. You are my hoard, you and the rest of 1-A. You will be the best.” His eyes flashed. “That’s not an option.”

 

Ochako felt her face growing warm again. Mina, on the other hand, began laughing. “That may be the most ominous encouragement I’ve ever received! Well hey, right back at you, Midori. You’re not allowed to slack off either!” She pushed him playfully.

 

A smile grew across his face. “I-I won’t, Ashido.”

 

“Oh!” Mina leaned forward again. “That won’t do! Now you really do get to call me Mina!”

 

His eyes widened slightly as his quirk flared again. “R-really?”

 

“Uh, yeah?” she laughed. “I want to hear you say it.”

 

“M-” He gulped and licked his lips. “Mina.” As soon as he said it, his eyes flashed once.

 

She squealed again. “ Oooh~ ! Ochako, come on, you gotta try it!”

 

Ochako felt her heart start to beat faster at the thought. “A-alright, Deku. S-say my name.”

 

He hesitated again. “O…” He looked at her again, as if asking for permission. She smiled reassuringly. “Ochako.” The flash again.

 

A bolt of lightning shot through her mind as the word passed his lips. Ochako felt her heart swell and clench as a warmth spread through her body. Hearing her name from him just… made it seem so much more real.

 

She couldn’t help it.

 

She lunged forward again.

 

She pressed her lips into his for the second time, but all the magic was still there. He was less surprised than last time and wrapped his right arm around her, holding her close. She appreciated his taste more this time as she mashed her lips into his. She kept her tongue to herself this time and pulled back shortly.

 

“S-sorry.” She was blushing something awful once again. “I… couldn’t help myself.”

 

“I-it’s fine, Ura- Ochako.” He laughed slightly, apparently in disbelief. “Y-you don’t have t-to apologize for that. E-ever.” He was trying to sound confident, but he was too flustered to be convincing. She found it endearing.

 

“Hey, Ochako,” Mina had moved forward so she was on Deku’s left. She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, sending a pulse of green through his face. While he was momentarily distracted, she looked straight at Ochako with a mischievous smirk.

 

Maybe it was due to her spending so much time with her, but Ochako couldn’t help but be a little disturbed that she perfectly understood Mina’s silent intent.

 

Both women moved up to one of Deku’s ears.

 

“Izuku,” they whispered in unison.

 

Ochako didn’t know if she’d ever seen him greener.

 


 

It took Izuku a few moments to recover. Today had been physically, mentally and most of all, emotionally exhausting, and it was only four in the afternoon.


Today had moved so quickly, he could hardly process that he was now looking at the beaming faces of his girlfriend...s. Just thinking about it caused his mind to sputter slightly.

 

On the other hand, his quirk had never been happier. The pulses of joy and satisfaction washed over him like a hot bath on a cold evening as it almost felt like it was dancing in his mind.

 

It was addicting.

 

Of course, Izuku was happy too. The feeling of affection and acceptance that the women had given him was something he knew he craved, but he didn’t really understand how much he needed it until they gave it to him. He couldn’t have been more grateful and he was so glad that he reciprocated their feelings.

 

Their happiness was important to him on more than one level. Because of the way his quirk worked, it wasn’t just the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment you would normally feel for making someone happy, he was also filled with the deep, primal joy of fulfilling a biological imperative. Their happiness was his happiness on a fundamental level.

 

Maybe his quirk wasn’t all bad.

 

As the three of them sat there in the afterglow of their hormone-fueled confessions, Izuku’s stomach growled.

 

“What, hungry already?” Ash- Mina remarked.

 

That was going to take some getting used to.

“I uh, well, using my quirk takes a lot of energy,” he explained.

 

Ochako tilted her head. Being that cute was probably illegal. “You were using it? I thought the whole eye glow thing was it more than you.”

 

He rubbed the back of his head. “Right, no, it is, but I used it earlier. When I was training with Jirou.” He was in fact using his quirk right then, to keep a certain something hidden and under control, but they didn’t need to know that.

 

Mina's face lit up in recognition. “Oh yeah, how did that go?”

 

“It went fine, but we didn't get to practice much. Two students from 1-B showed up shortly after we started and well, we wound up sparring.” Izuku leaned back as he recalled the fight. “Kendou, 1-B’s class rep, has a quirk that makes her hands really big and it seems to increase their strength as well.” He lifted his shirt and showed the large bruise on his chest. “I got this while transformed.”

 

He noticed both of the women staring at his abs and chest, concern mixed with what he could only call desire. Normally that would make him blush and freeze up, but now… now he felt… proud?

 

“The other,” he continued as he put his shirt down, “his name was Tetsutetsu, and the best way I can describe him is a male Kirishima.”

 

“Wait, what?” Mina snapped her vision from his chest to his face.

 

Izuku laughed once. “Yeah, crazy, right? He’s got the same sharp teeth that she has and his quirk turns his body into solid steel. They’re really similar.”

 

Ochako and Mina looked at each other and shrugged.

 

“Anyways, we got in a fight and things got a little hectic and I wound up going a little uh, overboard.”

 

“You didn’t hurt anyone, did you?” Mina asked, although her voice wasn’t worried.

 

“No, no, not outside the purview of the spar, at least. I pinned Kendou down and got her to yield, and then Jirou got Tetsutetsu to give up too. Jirou’s great, she kicks ass.”

 

“She sure does,” Ochako said with a smile. “Yaomomo told me about how she handled herself at the USJ. But hey, what caused you to go ‘overboard’?”

 

Izuku flinched slightly. ‘Well they’re my girlfriends, right? I should tell them stuff.’

 

“J-Jirou got hit hard. You know how I told you everyone in class is part of my collection now?” He rubbed the back of his head again. “My quirk didn’t take kindly to her being hit like that.”

 

Mina’s eyes lit up. “Is that why you didn’t have pants on?”

 

“Wha-”

 

“Y-yeah,” Izuku interrupted Ochako. “I wasn’t planning on doing anything like that when I left, so uh, they got destroyed.” Mina and Ochako were staring at him. He opted to quickly change subjects. “So yeah, we won the spar and then I gave Jirou a ride back and went up to my room and that’s when you found me.” He finished his story quickly as he could.

 

“A ride?” Ochako asked, wide-eyed and curious.

 

Izuku shrunk down a little bit. He probably shouldn’t have mentioned that. “Y-yeah, we flew back.”

 

Mina’s eyes widened further as her grin grew. “So that’s why Kyouka looked all flustered when she came back into the dorms and why you weren’t with her!” She whipped an accusatory finger at him as he shrunk back in surprise. “You went all big, bad dragon in her defense, lost your pants and then gave her a flight back! You’re such a ladykiller!”

 

“What are you talking about?!” Izuku recoiled.

 

“I’m like… 95% sure Jirou has a crush on you now, Midori.” She smirked at him. “I have a sense for these things.”

 

Izuku’s mind temporarily short-circuited again. He blinked a few times as he rebooted. “No, what? You’re just seeing things, there’s no way Jirou likes me. She’s so cool and beautiful and… well that’s just wishful thinking. Besides, I have you t-two now.”

 

“So?” Mina asked flatly, gesturing to Ochako and Izuku. “There’s room for her.”

 

Izuku sputtered. “W-wha-?!”

 

Mina giggled. “Midori-”

 

“I know, I know,” Izuku said, letting out a great sigh. “You’re just teasing.”

 

“What? No,” she responded, causing him to whip his head up to her. “I was gonna say ‘all in due time’.”

 

“Mina!” Ochako sounded scandalized… a little.

 

“Hey, if she wants in and we like her, why not?” Mina shrugged. “I’m not saying let’s go grab her right now, but if things work out in the future, why refuse?”

 

“Well, maybe…” Ochako admitted. “What do you think, Deku?”

 

Yes.

 

‘Shut up, I have more than enough already; don’t be greedy. Besides, Mina is just seeing things, I don’t want to get my hopes up.’

 

“S-sure,” he answered. Since there was no chance of it happening, there was no harm in him agreeing; he was already astronomically lucky to have two women, it would be absurd for him to even consider more.

 

“Good!” Mina was pleased. “Oh, and Midori? You might want to mention that to Kyouka, that you think she’s beautiful, I mean. Just between us, I think she has some self-esteem issues that she just hides really well.”

 

Izuku did a double-take. “First of all, how would you even know that after only knowing her for a couple weeks?”

 

“You remember the first day of class? With Mineta in the locker room?”

 

Izuku scowled. “Yes.”

 

“Oh, hush, you guard dog,” she scolded. “Well, when he didn’t say anything about her, lecherous as he is, she looked a little hurt. It was hard to spot because then you nearly took the wall down, buuuut I noticed.”

 

Izuku blinked. “A-alright, that’s fair.” He cleared his throat. “But second of all, how would she feel that way? She’s gorgeous!

 

“I know, right?” Mina agreed. “And have you seen her butt?”

 

Ochako blushed a little. “Yeah…”

 

Mina smirked. “So yeah, just keep that in mind, alright?”

 

He nodded. “F-fine.”

 

“Good!” she chirped again.

 

Another stomach growl.

 

“S-sorry.”

 

“Oh, right!” Mina hopped up out of the bed. “I still have some snacks from the first week. We can eat those and play some games to pass the time. School starts back up tomorrow, so let’s get a good night’s sleep though, alright?” She turned back and winked for some reason.

 

Ochako nodded. “Sounds good to me. Deku?”

 

“Relaxing sounds nice,” he muttered with a sigh.

 

“But first, look at you two in your pajamas already. I feel so overdressed!” She reached down and began to whip her shirt off.

 

“M-Mina!” Izuku cried, slamming his eyes shut and covering his face. Next to him, Ochako had a similar reaction.

 

“Oh boo, you both are so adorable.” Izuku could almost hear her tongue sticking out.

 

Mina began to rummage around in her dressers. After only a few more seconds she called out to them. “Alright, you can open up. I’m decent.”

 

Izuku sighed and lowered his hands. “Mina, please war-”

 

She wasn’t. She wasn’t decent.

 

Mina was still shirtless, a seductive smirk and a wink on her face as he stared at her black bra. It contrasted beautifully with her skin and accented her impressive bust. Izuku was completely frozen, staring against his wishes. ‘Those are-’

 

He wrenched his mind back and slammed his face down into his arms again. “Mina!”

 

She began to cackle loudly. “Oh man, you should have seen your faces! You two are too precious!” She paused for a second as she actually put a shirt on. “Alright, for real this time. Let’s play on the floor, it’s easier than the bed.”

 

Izuku peeked out from behind his hands, looking over at Ochako, who was doing the same. They both smiled awkwardly as blush filled their face. They exchanged an understanding look and then moved to join their girlfriend on the floor.

 


 

The three enjoyed each other’s company immensely over the next several hours until the sun went down. After the day he had, Izuku was ready for an early night. He yawned and stood up, stretching after sitting on the floor for so long.

 

“Where are you going?” Ochako asked, looking up at him.

 

“To bed,” he answered. “Oh, of course.” He kneeled down and gave Ochako a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. “I’m still new to this, sorry.” He stood up and looked at her, expecting to see her blushing or smiling, but instead he saw her looking a little disappointed as her brow furrowed. “W-what?”

 

“Midori, she’s wondering why you’re leaving,” Mina told flatly.

 

“I told you?”

 

Ochako pointed to Mina’s bed with her brow still furrowed. “Your bed is right over there.”

 

“W-what?” He stopped dead. Surely he was hearing things.

 

Mina hopped up while he was stunned and threw her arms around his waist. “Yep! You get to sleep with your two beautiful girlfriends tonight. How lucky are you?”

 

“Y-you want me to-”

 

“Ugh, Deku, why are you so adorable?” Ochako stood up, looking down on him slightly with a soft, sympathetic expression even though her own cheeks were blushing. “Yes!”

 

Izuku felt his quirk pulse and hum in his mind.

 

Good. Keep them close.

 

Izuku hated when he agreed with his instincts. “If you two want me to, then alright.”

 

“Yay!” Mina squeezed him harder. “Let’s go get ready and turn in! I’ve never been this excited to go to bed, but hey!”

 

Izuku nodded as Mina let him go. “Alright, alright. I’ll be right back then.”

 

He left the room and headed back down to his room to get ready. His face felt slightly warm the whole time and his heart was beating a little faster as he brushed his teeth. He was nearly shaking when he finally returned to room 408 and knocked.

 

Mina swung the door open. “You don’t need to knock, silly, but thanks.” She smiled up at him as she moved to let him enter.

 

Ochako showed up less than a minute later, entering as she let out a big yawn. “Y’all ready?”

 

Izuku made a mental note of her unusual speech but filed it away for now. He had more pressing matters to deal with. “Y-yeah, I guess. I’m not exactly sure what-”

 

Mina put a finger to his lips, silencing him. “Go lie down, we’ll take care of the rest.”

 

Izuku nodded and slowly, nervously made his way towards Mina’s pink bed. He reached out and pulled the covers back, including the weighted blanket he had previously noticed. Izuku felt his mouth dry up as he looked back at the two women watching him. Mina was smiling kindly, nodding for him to continue, while Ochako looked like she almost wanted to die of embarrassment, but at the same time was incredibly happy.

 

He gulped and rolled onto the bed, placing his head on her pillow. “Alright, now wh-” He gasped in surprise as Mina dove over him and onto his left side. She quickly burrowed herself into him, pushing herself up between his arm and body and placing her head on over his heart.

 

Before he could finish processing the sensation of Mina’s soft-yet-toned body on his, Ochako slipped into the bed on his right. Because of her height, instead of resting on his chest, her head came to rest next to his, their faces close enough to barely feel each other’s breathing. He looked into her eyes and felt his heart swell.

 

She leaned over and pecked him on the nose. “I’m really happy right now, Deku,” she muttered softly.

 

Mina quickly sat up and grabbed the covers at the foot of the bed, pulling them up over the three of them as she dove back into Izuku’s side. She stretched up and gave him a kiss on the cheek before burrowing herself back into his chest. “Me too.”

 

Izuku felt tears well in the corner of his eyes. He leaned over and gave Mina a kiss on the forehead and gave one to Ochako on her cheek. “Me three.” Mina mewled slightly at the contact and Ochako’s blush marks grew larger.

 

The both shifted slightly, moving somehow closer to him. “It’s been a hell of a day, huh?” Mina muttered.

 

“You can say that again,” Izuku replied as his eyelids began to close.

 

The three of them drifted off to sleep tight in each others embrace.