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Dreaming of Stars

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Sanji Inochi

I close my eyes.

 

I close my eyes. My body floats on the water-like air, soothingly clashing against my clothes. Even though I’m standing upright, it feels like my head is sinking lower and lower into the earth, but it’s expanding outwards. It’s a strange feeling, really hard to explain. I haven’t gotten used to just yet. After all, I never had a reason to go into this place. I’m legally Quirkless, but this is one major aspect of my Quirk. It’s not my Adoptive Muscle Memory. It’s something else. It’s the only power given to me.

 

It’s the power to enter my own mind.

 

I open my eyes, being welcomed by the same sight. It’s the same useless sight. I’m standing on an open white floor that could burn someone’s eyes if they stared into it long enough. As far as the bounds of my mind goes, it’s pure white as well. Everything’s lit up without a single source of light to be seen. Well, there’s one thing that’s not brightened. It’s the ceiling, acting as the roof of my own head. There’s nothing there other than pitch blackness. Yup, this is the only power given to me. I call this place my “Mindscape”. It’s not a cool name as I want it to be, but it’s a name. That’s not the only thing that this landscape has though. On this floor lies thousands and thousands of translucent glass-like panes. These… God, these things are complicated and I barely understand them myself. So, each of these things are two panes bent outwards, like the outside edge of a cube where two faces meet. Now, each of them belong to a single person I met in my life. For example, I would have one for Tokage and Kendo each, since I met them. On these panes… How can I describe it…? If an episode of a sitcom was illuminated on it, but the episode was sped up one hundred times than normal. I can barely process each frame, but I have a feeling I know what they’re telling me. They’re telling me someone’s dreams in life. My only evidence is the fact that my Quirk is named “Dreams”. The only reason I know the name of my Quirk is… Well, I just know. Much like my Mindscape, I have a name for these translucent things: Dream Mirror. Since it’s like a mirror, and I can see into a person’s mind. It’s not as creepy as it sounds. I can’t forcibly enter into someone’s head, thank God. I don’t even know how I get my Dream Mirrors in the first place. The most likely theory is by touch, since that’s how many Quirks get activated. Now, that’s almost everything except for the exact number of Dream Mirrors I have. Today, I have 17,321. Before I came to Musutafu five months ago, I only had around 10,000 give or take. Luckily, my brain tells me how many I have, acting like an automated computer. Anyway, that’s it. That’s all- Wait, no. There’s one more.

 

Carefully, I stick my hand out, taking a few steps forward. After a few meters, my hand flattens against an invisible wall. Yup, still here. In my Mindscape, I’m trapped inside an invisible box. Can’t climb out, can’t dig under, none of that. Quite literally, I’m literally stuck inside my own head. From this barrier, it must be blocking me out of my Quirk’s true purpose.

 

God, one of these days… I’m going to awaken to it. It might not be years from now. It might even be months! Might be even tomorrow if I’m hopeful! U.A. will help me unlock it. I know it. Anyway, it’s time to leave. I did my monthly checkup. It’s April. Today is the first day of school.

 

***

 

White dress shirt: buttoned.

Dress pants: tightened.

Red tie: tied.

Light gray blazer: worn.

Socks and shoes: on

Black backpack: secured.

 

All ready. Next stop: U.A. High School. Kendo and I are in Class 1-B. Kodai and Tokage are with us, while Ojiro is in 1-A. These two classes are in the Hero Course, a program dedicated to heroism. There are other departments within U.A. as well. There’s the General Courses, which are made up of students who didn’t perform well in the Entrance Exam, so they were put in there. I’m sure every student in those classes were gunning for the Hero Course. Now, there’s also the Support Department. Students in there are studying to be engineers and scientists for Pro Heroes. They have a separate Entrance Exam than the heroism one. (In fact, there’s three: Heroism, Support, and Management.) Speaking of Management, the Management Department is suited for capalitistic students who want to manage/run Hero Agencies. It’s the U.A. equivalent of business class in middle school, but as a program. Interestingly enough, the Entrance Exams aren’t strict. If, let’s say, someone took the heroism version of the Entrance Exam, they can opt to transfer into the Support Department rather than the General Courses if they wish. This doesn’t apply to the Support and Management Exams because why would someone transfer to another course? They took specific exams to get into those departments because they know they don’t wanna be a Hero.

 

Besides from that, there’s the staff in U.A.. They’re pretty amazing. My homeroom teacher is Vlad King, or Mister Kan. He’s a tall and buff man who can extract his own blood and harden it. It’s very disgusting, but he’s not a Hero for no reason. 1-A has Eraserhead, or Mister Aizawa. He usually operates at night, and his Quirk is perfect for fighting against Villains. All Might (it’s hard to think that I’ll be learning under him!) is teaching heroics, Present Mic has English, Cementoss is my modern literature teacher, Midnight is… modern hero art (not my first choice for an elective, but I got put in it somehow), Snipe will be teaching metaology/science in general, and Ectoplasm is my worst subject: math. There’s also other Heroes like Recovery Girl, Hound Dog, and more who have miscellaneous roles. God… That’s a lot of different Pros. I heard nothing but good things about them! It’s… It’s amazing that I got in. Honestly…with how the world works…something like this wouldn’t be possible. Even if I could be the best, Quirkless aren’t exactly valued. It’s not illegal to discriminate against them, and it isn’t frowned upon in some circumstances. Since U.A. is the best heroism school in the entire world, one would think they wouldn’t let Quirkless in. Y’know what, doesn’t matter! I’m in U.A.! Can’t afford to waste my thoughts on things that clearly didn’t happen.

 

So! I walk out of my room wearing the uniform I will wear for three years! I hear everyone else downstairs. Usually, I would be the only one up at this hour, but today is a special day. I come down with my hands in my blazer pockets, smiling. “Morning! Good to see you guys up,” I greet them. Master Kendo and Kendo are talking over a cup of coffee while Hayami is just in front of me with a green velvet box at her back. She greets me and smiles her usual mom smile. Although, her eyes telling me to keep it a secret. Can do.

 

“Yup. Lucky you. You don’t have to worry about alarm clocks scaring you awake half to death,” Kendo complains, taking a long sip from her mug, “by the way, thanks for brewing coffee for me. I wouldn’t be able to survive without this.” That’s my morning routine. Get back from my nightly exercise, take a shower, brew some coffee, then get ready to start the day with a few chores. It’s the least I could do. 

 

“Mhm,” I acknowledge, walking into the living room with her and Master Kendo, “Master Kendo, do you have any tips for surviving U.A.? My instincts are telling me that… well… I could die.”

 

“Calm your nerves, would ya? The only thing you should do is be careful around All Might. He may be your teacher, but it doesn’t mean he’ll be a good one. Besides from that, don’t let the other students get to you. Focus on your own training,” Master Kendo answers. He must be talking about the General Courses. And, I’m sure All Might will be a great teacher. He’s the best Hero! He might be new to teaching, but he won’t kill us.

 

“That’s right. Okay… Now, I think I’m ready,” Hayami tells us, showing the box again. Kendo puts her mug down and stares at the box. Hmm, I think it has something to do with Kaito, Kendo’s dad. Because, I never seen that look in Hayami’s eyes before. It’s mournful. “So uhm… God, I can’t let myself be a mess again… Itsuka, sweetheart, I have something to give you. It belonged to… It belonged to your dad.”

 

Master Kendo and I go silent, slowly moving away so Kendo and Hayami can have their heartfelt moment. Hayami finally reveals what’s inside the box: a class ring. Kaito’s class ring. It’s a golden-plated ring with an emerald embedded in the center. Around the emerald itself has western letters etched, spelling out Kaito’s name. There’s also the graduation year plated too. I never knew how Kaito was able to marry Hayami. To be honest, Hayami is the kind of woman who seems like she hates you, when all along, she has feelings for you. And, Master Kendo is incredibly protective of his daughter. Imagine what Kaito had to do to get his favor. It worked out though. He raised Kendo well. It’s a shame he went missing all those years ago. Hayami explains, “It was his class ring… H-He spent an arm and a leg for it, but he always managed to convince himself that it was worth it. I-I… God, since you’re doing this for him... I-It felt right for you to have it. For you know, safe keeping… I don’t expect you to w-wear this stupidly expensive thing.”

 

She hands the box to Kendo, who’s crying. I never thought I would see her cry. I never thought I would see her and Hayami cry. Kendo… She takes the box and holds onto it like it’s something fragile, staring at her father’s ring. There’s all kinds of emotions emanating from her. God, I can’t imagine how she feels. Feels like I’m out of place. But! This is an incredibly sweet moment. It almost makes me cry myself. Master Kendo puts a hand on my shoulder before approaching his granddaughter, saying, “Your father was frankly a fool, but he was a great man. He would feel blessed to have you as his daughter.”

 

“P-Please shut up… I-I don’t feel like sobbing this m-morning…” Kendo replies, mumbling as she wipes the tears away with her sleeve. Hayami is a mumbling mess of words and tears. Now… Now I feel like I really don’t fit. I would say something since that’s the respectful thing to do, but what the heck will I say? I never felt a father’s head rub, a mother’s embrace, or the bonds with any siblings I might have. Until Hayami and Master Kendo, I guess. Hayami is the closest thing I can get to a mother, and Master Kendo to a grandfather. When I was ten or eleven, I would’ve never imagine this.

 

Hayami blows her nose into a napkin, sniffling. She looks at me and asks, “Sanji… Uhm, I-I’m sorry if I’m prying, b-but you never told us about your birth family… D-Do you know what they were like?”

 

“Hayami, I don’t wanna ruin this moment. It’s about your husband… It doesn’t feel right to talk about my own family,” I tell her.

 

“G-Gosh, just do it. Anything to g-get me to stop sobbing,” she insists, rubbing her eyes until they get even redder than before. Kendo actually agrees with her by nodding. Alright… if I have to.

 

“Well, I remember barely anything. The only memory I have is blurry… My dad had short white hair while my mom had long black hair. I don’t know if I’m an orphan, or if they gave me up. And, since my name is ‘Sanji’, I probably had two older brothers, but I can’t remember them. I’m sorry that I don’t have anything positive to say.”

 

“O-On that depressing note… I’ll just put this in my room. After that…we’re going to U.A., alright?” Kendo says, and I nod as a response. She closes the box and practically sprints upstairs. Her footsteps sounds like a drum that’s offbeat with the rest of the band. Hayami sniffles more while Master Kendo chuckles to himself. One door slam of finality later, she’s back with a completely different face on. Her eyes are still red, but there’s a smile on her, gleaming like the brightest star in the night sky. “Let’s get going.”

 

“N-Not without a hug first,” Hayami states before hugging her daughter, kissing her forehead. After that, she turns to me and actually hugs me for the first time. I… Yeah, I awkwardly pat her back. She huffs and comments, “Y’know…you’re practically family at this point, but go ahead! Be an awkward dork. Get to school you two. I expect great things.”

 

“Expect greater than great,” Kendo assures her, approaching the front door. She opens it and lets a beam of sunlight in. She says to me, “C’mon, we gotta be Heroes.”

 

“Yeah… We do.”

 

***

 

“Inochi, did I ever mention that this school was designed in hell?”

 

“That wasn’t your first thought? The main buildings are freaking letters! You know how Japanese people like western languages! Thank goodness that there’s signs around because I have no idea what this map is.” I gesture to this map that looks like an abstract piece of art. That’s what “abstract” means right? Just lines and names strewn all about with near-invisible diagrams thrown in?

 

“Yeah… Let’s follow the signs. 1-B is this-a-way,” Kendo says, pointing to the right. She leads the way, so I get a chance to admire how beautiful the interior is. The floor is painted to look like a two-way street, the walls and ceiling are spotless white, and the sunlight is illuminating everything to make it that much better. Along the walls are posters of famous Pro Heroes, clubs, sports, and something about Golden Week. Man, these will be the halls I’ll walk countless times! Imagine participating in the Sports Festival! Or be in the Culture Festival! Or in any festival in general? I’ll-! 

 

BUMP!

 

Eh? Something ran into me. I turn around and see a guy with a weird face… It’s like a manga panel. Well, not anymore. His head turns into a dizzy swirl with the rest of him on the ground. I never thought a Mutant-type Quirk could do this. Well, it’s my fault for not being aware of him. I tell him, “Laying on the floor won’t do good for your back, trust me on that.” I extend a hand out. The man yelps, suddenly realizing where he’s at. He instinctively puts up his arms before sighing, relaxing them. He takes my hand and I help him up. I apologize, “Sorry for scaring you. What’s your name?”

 

“I-It’s fine… I’m Manga Fukidashi. Call me ‘Fukid-’” He stops himself, shaking his head before starting again, “Manga. Call me ‘Manga’.” His name suits him.

 

“Sanji Inochi. And the kind lady staring at us is my friend, Itsuka Kendo,” I introduce us. Kendo walks over and shakes Manga’s hand, being more gentle than usual. Oh, I see why… Manga isn’t exactly the strongest person. In fact, I don’t think he exercises often by the looks of his arms. Guess he’s a dork about mangas. Nothing wrong with that.

 

“Nice to meet you, Manga. What class are you in? We’re in 1-B,” Kendo asks, and Manga’s head turns into an exclamation point.

 

He says, “I-I’m in that class too! Guess… Guess we’ll be classmates.” Well, that’s a pleasant coincidence. Manga seems like a really good person. I hope that everyone in my class is a good person anyway because… uhm… Why are they in U.A. if they’re not?

 

“You guys are in 1-B too?!” A high-pitched girl yells behind us. We turn around and see a really adorable girl. Her eyes are so big! There’s two horns on her head like a bull, and her feet are hooves. She kicks her legs together, saluting, “I am Pony Tsunotori! I’m the American switching student!” Must be “exchange student”, but I don’t wanna correct her.

 

Kendo smiles widely, immediately rubbing Pony’s head. “I’m Itsuka Kendo. The tall guy’s Sanji Inochi, and the other one is Manga Fukidashi. Great to meet someone like you, Pony!” Since she’s from America, us Japanese usually call foreigners by their first name if they prefer it. How can I not resist calling Pony by her first name anyway? It’s a cute name!

 

“Nice to meetcha! Now! We gotta get to class! C’mon, I’ll race you guys there!” Pony exclaims before galloping down the hall, being much faster than I am. Kendo stammers before running after her! Not sure she’s running to protect Pony or from competition, but it doesn’t matter! Guess I’m running too! I pat Manga’s arm before I chase after them. I turn the corner, passing 1-A. There it is! A black sign has “1-B” printed in red! I slow down to a brisk walk, taking my time. Manga catches up with me, nearly to the point of exhaustion. He holds his hand up, but it drops to his side. Slowly, he heaves into the room muttering something about “dying”. I should apologize later...

 

But anyway, I take a deep breath and walk inside. I’m greeted with a nice sight: A clean and vibrant classroom. Large windows, white walls, and a chalkboard at the front of the room. It doubles as a computer screen, I’d bet. But, what’s even better is the people here. My classmates. I see Tetsutetsu and Shiozaki! They haven’t noticed me yet, but I’m glad they’re in my class. Now… Ah, there’s Kendo. She’s talking to Kodai. Where’s Tok-?!

 

“Inochi! You’re alive!” Tokage yells, suddenly running up and wrapping her arms around me. There’s the woman I was looking for. “You made it, kiddo! Welcome to the big leagues! Hope you’re ready!”

 

“That and beyond,” I reply, taking my hand to rub her hair. Kendo rolls her eyes while a man with a headband looks at me, being pretty surprised.

 

“Dude… You have the heiress of Tokage Industries around your waist. How the hell did you do that?” he says what? 

 

I ask back, “I have the who-now around my what-now?” Tokage makes a weird face and lets go of me. Kendo is too! Okay, what’s going on? Even the guy with the headband! Is there something I’m missing?

 

“Inochi, my adorable boy,” Tokage says my name like how someone talk to a toddler. “Did you ever question why my dad have connections in U.A.? And why I get picked up by a fancy black car? Why my meals are five-stars, top of the class?”

 

I don’t say anything.

 

“Oh my God, you really don’t know! How did you not know that I’m the heiress of one of the most successful companies in the world?! Heck, Jurota’s company is one of its subsidiaries! Oh right, Jurota Shishida! He’s one of my good friends! Say ‘hi’, Inochi,” she commands me, pointing to Shishida, a very hairy man with glasses, who looks extremely confused. I just wave and he waves back.

 

“Tokage, it’s Inochi. Sometimes, he’s an insightful man. Most of the times, he’s an absent-minded idiot,” Kendo insults me. She isn’t wrong! But, it’s a bullet right in the heart! Still, how didn’t I know this from the beginning?! All of the clues were there, but I was blind as a bat! How can I make it up to Tokage now? Oh, I know what would cheer her up.

 

I get on one knee, putting my arm on top and resting my forehead against it. This needs to be the ultimate form of genuine guilt. “Forgive me for my ignorance, my queen. If need be, take my head.”

 

“Not yet, my knight. That head of yours still has a life to live,” she spares me. A simple pat on the head lifts me back onto my feet. That’s done and over with. A few people are staring at me like I’m a clown in a circus, but I don’t care about being embarrassed. Tokage says, “So, how’s U-?!”

 

“INOCHIIIII!!!” Tetsutetsu screams, furiously sprinting up to me-?!

 

“Tetsutet-?!!!”

 

CRASH!!!

 

I hear Kodai… “You killed Inochi.”

 

***

 

I wasn’t expecting to get tackle-hugged by Tetsutetsu, but it’s great seeing him again. After a quick chat, I decided to talk to the rest of my classmates.

 

Yosetsu Awase. He’s the man with the headband, and one of the top ten in the Entrance Exam. His Quirk is Weld, letting him weld any two things together. Awase is a bit vulgar in the way he speaks, and a bit perverted, but he has a good heart. Already, he’s asked me to give him “tips on the ladies”.

 

Sen Kaibara. At first glance, he’s a handsome man, but a bit distant. That’s just him being indifferent. His Quirk is Gyrate, which lets him rotate any of his limbs. He doesn’t give me much to describe about him.

 

Togaru Kamakiri. He initially didn’t want to talk to me because I was a “goofy freak”. Kamakiri isn’t wrong, but Kendo told me his Quirk is Razor Sharp. I don’t know how she knows, but she told me that Kamakiri can grow blades out of his body. After that, she didn’t want me to talk to him.

 

Shihai Kuroiro. His skin is literally black and he speaks like weird magician. I guessed his Quirk right though. It’s called “Black”. Kuroiro can blend into any surfaces that are black in color, being the ultimate stealth hero. For some reason though, he called me an “enigma filled with riddles”.

 

Itsuka Kendo and Yui Kodai. These two were my classmates back in middle school, and two of my closest friends. Kendo devotes her time to protecting the people she cares about with her Big Fists while Kodai is Kodai. Silent beauty, that’s what she is. Do I need to describe them further? I already know what they’re like.

 

Kinoko Komori. Originally, I pegged her as a quiet girl with her bangs hiding her eyes. Well, she is a quiet girl, but once I asked her why she wanted to be a Hero, it’s like a switch flipped in her. In the most extroverted way possible, she told me how she wanted to be an Idol Hero with her Quirk, Mushrooms. Naturally, I said to her, “I look forward to hear you sing and dance.”

 

Ibara Shiozaki. She saved my life back in the Entrance Exam. I can’t thank her enough. Her Quirk is Vines, and I already know how they work. She’s already one of the best students in 1-B. Of course, I told her that, but she shook her head and was modest about her strength. She wants to do the morally good thing “in the eyes of our Master”.

 

Jurota Shishida. He’s the one that Tokage mentioned when I found out she’s an heiress. Shishida is the heir to Shishida Pharmacies. His Quirk is Beast. He can transform… well, into that! He seems such a sophisticated and respectful man though. It’s hard to think he can suddenly shift into something so savage.

 

Nirengeki Shoda. He’s a chubby guy, but I see courage in his eyes. His Quirk is Twin Impact, allowing him to land a second impact on his strikes I believe. I think it also applies to anywhere on his body, but I don’t know for certain. Shoda himself is introverted. From the looks of him, he feels like he doesn’t fit into 1-B.

 

Pony Tsunotori. I met her just before I walked into 1-B. She’s absolutely adorable and innocent. Immediately, I feel the need to adopt her. Kendo feels the same way. Her Quirk is Horn Cannon, which explains for itself. Not only that, she’s the fastest woman in 1-B.

 

Kosei Tsuburaba. Him and Awase were talking together earlier actually. Much like Awase, he’s a bit of a pervert. He thrives on competition though. He even challenged me! Well, not exactly the fight I was looking for… Tsuburaba wanted a competition to see who can get a girlfriend first. Frankly, I’m not interested in love, but moving along.

 

Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu and Setsuna Tokage. These two are very touchy-feely kind of people. I don’t mind though. Tetsutetsu is an emotional man, striving to be the best. I saw his Quirk already, and it’s great. Tokage, on the other hand, is one of the smartest women I know. Behind that gleeful smile lies a calculating woman. Simply put, I can’t beat her in plans. She knows me more than I know myself.

 

Manga Fukidashi. When I walked up to him, he was reading a manga ironically enough. He seems a bit afraid of a lot of things, but he’s here in U.A. for a reason. His Quirk is called “Comic”, which lets him spit out Onomatopoeias as weapons. Manga told me that he has a twin sister in U.A. too. Her name is Shojo. I would love to meet her one day.

 

Juzo Honenuki. He’s the other recommendation student in 1-B. Honenuki likes telling puns and jokes. Even though some of our other classmates hate it, I don’t pay it any mind. Anyway, his Quirk is Softening. He can soften the ground beneath him, which makes for great traps. Oh, he doesn’t have a jaw.

 

Kojiro Bondo. He’s… big, to say the least. Bondo’s the largest man in 1-B. His Quirk is Cedemine, and I think that’s some kind of glue? It’s leaking out of his eye holes. For a big guy though, Bondo’s quite shy. I feel sorry for him.

 

Neito Monoma. He’s the man that Kendo saved during the Entrance Exam, and he looks pretty smug. The way he talks is a bit dramatic, but I can see why. His backpack has a Broadway pin on it. Monoma is a man of the stage. Shakespeare and… Yeah, Shakespeare is the only playwright I know. His Quirk is Copy. Maybe I should let him Copy my Quirk? Maybe I can find something out about it...

 

Reiko Yanagi. She’s the other person that Kendo met during the Entrance Exam. Her Quirk is Poltergeist, which is basically telekinesis. The most interesting thing about her is the way she speaks. It’s very verbose. Yanagi probably aces all of her essays with how many different words she uses.

 

Hiryu Rin. Rin, I’m going with his last name, is the Chinese exchange student. He seems a little like Shiozaki regarding morals and laws. His Quirk is Scales. Anywhere on his body, scales can pop up. Him and Tokage will get along great. If she wasn’t a lesbian, then I could see her being interested in Rin. Well, if I wasn’t in the picture.

 

Lastly is Sanji Inochi. He’s sitting at his desk, thinking about his classmates he just met. What do I have to say about him? What does everyone else think about him? Who the heck knows? He could be-

 

***

 

“Inochi,” Awase breaks me out of my mind, changing the scene. Oh right, I’m sitting behind Awase. Kaibara’s behind me, Kodai’s to my left, and Kendo sits in front of her. “Tell me about yourself, dude. Specifically, how did you get Tokage to hug you like that?”

 

“Awase, I only known you for twenty minutes, but stop obsessing over women. You and Tsuburaba,” Kaibara cuts in before I get a chance to answer. 

 

Awase turns around in his chair, leaning forward towards Kaibara and I. His plastic chair bends slightly. He whispers, “Hey man, but have you seen how many hot chicks are in this class? Kodai’s adorable, Kendo’s just hot, and look at Shiozaki! If God had a daughter, she would be it! Inochi, you agree with me right?”

 

“Don’t answer his question, Inochi. Awase is like most teenage boys: perverted. Nothing’s wrong with it, but it gets annoying,” Kaibara tells me. It seems we also attracted Kodai’s and Kendo’s attention. They’re staring at us now.

 

“I’m a man. It’s what we do! Gotta find the perfect girl to spend the rest of my life with! And I mean, if you swing that way, Kaibara, I’m not gonna discriminate! You do you! But, Inochi! We gotta settle this now! What makes you so damn charismatic? You’re a ladies man for sure.” Awase compliments with Kaibara groaning behind me. 

 

“Well, Awase,” Kendo joins our conversation. “Not acting like a skirt chaser helps. Don’t you agree with me, Yui? What do you think of Awase?”

 

“Pervert,” Kodai says, destroying Awase’s career. Kaibara nearly bursts out in laughter while Awase turns back to his desk, slamming his head against the solid plastic. I didn’t say a single word in this conversation. Everyone spoke for me. 

 

Finally, I say something, “So, how’s-?”

 

Click! Clack!

 

Vlad King interrupts me by his footsteps. He walks into the room. Just by his presence, the noise falls and we stare at him. Slowly, with a notepad tucked underneath his arm, he stands behind a pedestal with a scowl on his face. He surveys the room, his eyes dragging back and forth like he’s studying us. Vlad King surely knows that I’m Quirkless, right? But, he gives me the same eyes as everyone else. There’s no pity in them… 

 

“Welcome to U.A.,” Vlad King states, putting his notepad on the pedestal, “I am Vlad King. You can call me that or ‘Mister Kan’. Either works fine. As you know, you’re in the Hero Course. You will be training to become the next generation of Pro Heroes. The next three years will be hard, each year being harder than the last. But, you know that, don’t you? You’re prepared for what it takes, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. I’ll be putting you through the ringer, making a real Pro outta you. I’ll challenge you to your limits. No matter who you are or what Quirk you have. For one of you, it’s a lack thereof. Inochi, you know what I’m talking about. Stand and tell the class about yourself.” 

 

There it is… Mister Kan calls me out specifically. Everyone, except for my three friends, are confused. I do what he says, making sure everyone is staring at me. I explain, “I’m legally Quirkless. But, my Quirk gives me Adoptive Muscle Memory, so I’m able to replicate any physical task I see. Technically, that wouldn’t make me Quirkless, but there’s metaology laws and laws laws that I don’t know for the life of me which states otherwise.”

 

“What?!”

“Dude, you’re Quirkless?!”

“Ehhhh?! You must be pretty freaking tough to get in U.A. without one!”

“What’s your Quirk, Inochi?!”

“Damn, never expect to see a Quirkless in ‘ere. Knew there was somethin’ off ‘bout ya.”

 

I chuckle, awkwardly scratching the back of my head. “To answer the question regarding my Quirk, I don’t know. Monoma, I’m sorry to ask, but maybe you can Copy my Quirk?” I ask him, also lying. Of course I know about my Quirk, but what’s the point telling everyone if I can’t use it for what it’s meant for? And, it’s one less thing everyone has to worry about. For now, I’ll feign ignorance.

 

Monoma looks to Mister Kan for an answer, and he nods. Monoma walks up to me and touches my shoulder. Right, his Quirk activates on physical contact. His face scrunches up in disappointment. Dang, why can’t he Copy my Quirk? I understand if he can’t copy Mutant-type Quirks, but why not mine? “Hmm, I believe your Quirk is an Accumulation-type. Meaning, your Quirk needs some sort of power to function properly, like gas to a car. I can’t use it since I’m not fueled up. Perhaps if you know what powers your Quirk, you could use it. Either way, this little experiment is a failure. I’m sorry.”

 

“Thanks anyway, Monoma,” I say. Mister Kan nods for us to take our seats, and so he continues. His words leave me after a few seconds, only becoming mumbles. Although everyone knows the truth, I never once hear a rude comment. Not an insulting joke, a jab, nothing. I do hear a few whispers about how talented I must be, which is flattering, but also… it’s different. U.A. really is different, huh? Already, I can tell that we won’t break each other down. Rather, we build each other up. That’s what I feel in this room, and as much as I hate to admit it, I’m one of the most unique here. From my Quirklessness, I have to be built up as the highest tower. I don’t want that. I don’t want to be treated differently as my classmates. Quirk or not, I’ll receive the same training as everyone else. I want to be treated just the same as a man with a Quirk! If there’s some who wants to coddle me, I’ll refuse it! I won’t be a Hero if I’m not treated as one! Heck, I’ll take a physical test today or tomorrow if it comes to it! That’s what being a Hero means! I’ll-!

 

“You have a test tomorrow,” Mister Kan announces. “It’ll be a survey for me to graph where you’re currently at. There’ll be two parts: combat and rescuing. That’s all the information you’ll get. Got it?”

 

“What.”

“Oh come on.

“This is U.A. after all…”

“Unexpected, but a welcomed surprise.”

 

Well… it came to it.

 

“For now…” Mister Kan trails off, gesturing for something to come inside. It’s…? Oh, it’s two security robots wheeling in a cart of papers. Stacks and stacks of papers. Oh my God, how many trees died for this?! “We have to deal with this mess first. It’s papers for… I have no idea. The pile gets bigger every year.”

 

I’m… I’m not prepared for this!

 

~~~

 

Itsuka Kendo

BAM BAM BAM!

 

BAM BAM BAM!

 

BAM BAM B-!

 

“Blowing off some steam?” Inochi asks right before I was about to punch through this straw dummy’s head. Shame, if he didn’t stop me, I would’ve done it. I get surprised at my own strength sometimes. 

 

“Yeah, guess I’m up as late as you. Today sucked, Inochi. I never thought I would hate paper, but now I do,” I answer, facing him. Inochi’s wearing his gym clothes. It’s a blue gym shirt with “PLUS ULTRA” in bright red and black gym shorts belonging to an American brand. Seems like he doesn’t mind the paperwork we had to do, but I was traumatized when I saw the cart. Do we have to do the same thing next year? God, that’ll probably be even more paperwork than today...

 

“Never thought that’ll be our worst Villain to date… Anyway, since we’re alone, I wanted to ask you something-”

 

I answer his question, “Mom hasn’t made our costumes yet, so you can’t use it for tomorrow’s test.”

 

“Wasn’t that, but thanks for letting me know. What I wanted to ask about is your dad. He’s your inspiration to be a Hero, yet you never talk about him much,” he tells me… Jeez, he’s really asking me about Dad, huh? Inochi’s right, I guess. Mom and I never talked about Dad much. We’re not people who dwell on the past… well, not outwardly. Us Kendos don’t talk about our history. Especially Grandpa. I know he was friends with All Might, but that’s all I know from his early Pro Hero days. The same goes for Inochi too. He never talks about his life before he got here. For the four of us, we would rather leave it behind and look towards the future. Still… It doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves why we’re looking forward, not back.

 

“Sit. I’ll tell you about him,” I say, going over to the windowsill, just large enough for someone, and I take a seat. Inochi sits across from me, putting one leg over the other. I joke, “Let me tell you a story, kiddo.”

 

“Heh, want me to lay my head across your lap? Maybe I could finally rest from your voice whispering to me,” he shoots me back with another joke. Jeez, if someone else said that to me, I’d interpret it in a lewd way and punch the dope.

 

“Sorry, you’d have to stick with my loud voice for the time being. Now uhm…” I start to tell Inochi about Dad. When he met Mom, it was during the first few days of school I think. He told me that he was head-over-heels at first moment he saw her. Mom though, didn’t quite like him just yet. He chased her around a lot, but he knew his boundaries. Eventually, Mom accepted his advances. She acted like she hated him, but Mom loved Dad more than anything else. They were the best duo in the world. Dad, being a Pro Hero, and Mom, being an awesome support scientist. Grandpa, despite being overprotective of Mom, taught Dad everything he knows. Then, one thing led to another and little baby Itsuka appeared from thin air. Mom said when I came along, she was the happiest she ever been. Especially when…when I ended up inheriting Dad’s Quirk: Big Fists. 

 

Dad was the best. He was a bit like Inochi, actually. Goofy and kind. Anyway, Dad and I did a lot of things together. We wrestled and tumbled, ate ice cream until our brains became ice, and he even let me ride with him on his motorcycle even though Mom hated it. I remember when I saw Dad on TV, beating the bad guys up. Every time I saw him, I knew I wanted to be a Pro just like him and Grandpa. When I told Dad, he lifted me into his arms and rubbed my head. He had such a big smile, showing every one of his teeth. He said to me, “Be the best Hero, Itsuka. I’m counting on you to take care of me when I get old.”

 

Dad… He never got old. On November 24th, when I was only eight years old, he disappeared during a patrol in Kamino. The police searched for him. His friends searched for him. Even Mom went out on her own. Nothing. They couldn’t find him. Everyday, Grandpa would assure me that Dad will come back home. So, I kept waiting. When I came back from elementary school, I hoped that Dad was standing on the other side of the door, so I could run into his arms. It never happened. The search continued for months, but no one could find him. Mom got more and more depressed by the day, burying herself in her work until she couldn’t bring herself out of bed. Grandpa had to raise me when Mom couldn’t. It took a long time for her to gather her strength again. Today, I never once saw her happy as she was when Dad was here. That’s why I want to be a Hero. For her and for Dad, and one day… One day, I want to continue where the search ended. It might be denial, but I want to look for Dad. Even if the chances of him living are astronomically low, it’s still a chance nonetheless.

 

“So… That’s the story of Kaito Kendo. What about you, Inochi? I know you said that you don’t remember your family, but what do you think they were like?” I ask him. Inochi sighs and looks out the window, staring at the moon.

 

“Kind, I hope. They brought me into this world for a reason, no matter how cruel it is. I like to think that’s why our family name is ‘Inochi’. We bring life to the world we live in,” he answers, laying his head back against the edge of the windowsill. A soft smile forms on his lips. Inochi is already bringing life to 1-B. Who else would take their time to meet with each of their classmates? In fact… I…

 

“You know, Inochi… Your smile reminds me of Dad sometimes. It reminds me that not all of my memories of him are sad.”

 

“I’m glad. How about, just for tonight, you tell me stories about him? Seems like you need motivation for the test tomorrow,” he asks. Heh, all of this thinking about Dad did put a damper on my mood.

 

“Alright… And, thanks for listening to me talk. You’re a good friend.”

 

“Of course. That’s what I’m here for.”