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Worse Than Quirkless

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Failure was not new to Katsuki.

 

From his birth he'd been screwed over, ignored and taunted- three things he'd never expected and refused to accept.

 

That was possibly the worst part of the whole ordeal. Failure itself could, for some losers like Deku, be tolerated. The occasional slip up only built strength for them to succeed later on, which was probably the healthiest way of coping. Katsuki, however, stood by being amazing, perfect and unmarred by bad luck- a recipe for disaster, really, when he'd been born at the bottom of the barrel, worse than quirkless in some ways. And instead of rolling over and accepting it, letting himself acclimatise to his pisspoor existence, his brain would not concede, no matter how painful fighting could be.

 

Okay. Perhaps he was being a tad melodramatic, which Katsuki despised obviously, but not all men were born equal (as shitty Deku would say) and someone had to complain about it.

 

__



He'd been four when everything went wrong. His hopes and dreams crushed like pathetic little sand castles, which would have been washed away by the tide anyway. Like fate was mocking him. Katsuki had loved heroes from the moment his best friend had brought the newest All Might lunchbox into their nursery, and he'd thrown a tantrum until his father had bought him one of his own. Several YouTube videos of fights later, the young boy had learned three things: that the city’s infrastructure should be falling apart, that All Might was the best hero ever because he always won and that Katsuki had to become a hero greater than him.

 

Every night for months he sat in front of the family computer, hands clasped in front of him like some goddamn nerd, watching every clip he could find. From interviews to brutal battles, the blond child had absorbed every single word spoken, every single action taken. He was a smart kid and could recite the quotes better than even Deku, impressing all of the other children at nursery with his knowledge. They practically worshipped him, thanks to his smarts and confidence, plus the fact that he could do just about everything perfectly. He was sure to have an amazing quirk, they said.

 

When his fourth birthday rolled around, Katsuki was anticipating the arrival of said quirk. He got his hopes up, and that was on him.

 

One day, at his preschool, he'd arrived a little late and found everyone crowding around Deku. It was strange, of course, since the other boy was unpopular- though he did have the soul honour of being named the blond’s best friend, on account of being the only one similarly invested in heroes. The other kids liked them, sure, but they couldn't hold a candle to the two boys’ admiration.

 

“Deku! What's going on!?” He had shoved through the crowd of students, ignoring the mumbles of the teachers. In the middle Deku was stood in a little ring of frost, a tiny flame licking at the end of his right forefinger.

 

“Kacchan!” The fire had immediately dissipated as the other boy turned to him, eyes shining bright with newfound pride. “My quirk appeared yesterday! Isn't it cool? The doctor said it was Ther- erm, Thermofluctuation, I think? Maybe one day it'll be strong enough for me to become a great hero like All Might!”

 

Katsuki had been pulled into a tight hug, though his arms still hung loosely at his sides. Deku's quirk… It had appeared before even his? That loser? He was in a state of shock over it all even as everyone else celebrated and praised his friend, ruffling his curls and high fiving him.

 

“Well done, Izuku! I'm sure you'll become an amazing hero!” The teachers had cheered alike, for once leaving the blond outside of the limelight.

 

Deku, with that innocent smile that everyone quickly came to adore, only beamed back. “As long as I can help people with this quirk then I'll be happy!”

 

That selfless attitude did nothing to mar his reputation, as he quickly became the new favourite of their class. His grades were not far behind Katsuki's own and he already had a promising quirk- plus he was naturally kind to everyone. It didn't take long for him to become the most popular child there, even with his inadequacy at everything else. The blond hadn't minded so much at first, because this was Deku they were momentarily praising and he was sure that, once his quirk appeared, he'd be back to his top spot. Besides, the other child never once gloated about all the new praise, keeping his pride intact for the moment.

 

Until that fateful day, near the end of the school year. Katsuki was the only child left without a quirk in his class, the only one who hadn't had a ‘quirk party’ to celebrate the milestone. He hadn't worried because why would he? He'd complained plenty about how late it was but surely that just meant it promised to be powerful. Especially since, aside from Deku, his classmates all had pitiful quirks.

 

“Brat,” His mother had called, as she so often did. He barely looked up from his action figures when he nodded, more invested in his All Might's fight against Gang Orca. “We're going to the doctor's office after school, so don't stick around gabbing with Izuku for twenty minutes, alright?”

 

Katsuki bobbed his head again, smashing his figure’s fist against the other one’s face.

 

After school was over he only stopped to talk to Deku for five minutes, arguing over who would win in a fight between All Might and Endeavour. They both said All Might, obviously, but they couldn't decide whether it would take him one minute or two. Possibly even thirty seconds. The discussion was ended by his mother, dragging him into the car, screeching about ‘I told you so’, etcetera. The journey was filled with foreign tension, that young Katsuki could barely distinguish. He realised that they were going to the doctors and he was not sick, but Mitsuki had a tight, nervous grip on the steering wheel nevertheless- very unlike his rough mother. The waiting room carried a similar sense of suspense, until they were finally called into the office.

 

The doctor was a strange, bug-eyed man, with a fat mustache dangling over his mouth and a coat that smelt of tobacco. He did not seem like a pediatrician, but as he took Katsuki's x-rays and checked the child's temperature he showed no signs of malpractice.

 

“He's almost five, you say?” He'd asked, twiddling the greasy mustache. It was thick and ugly on his knobbled face, and the blond did not like looking at it, averting his eyes to the floor.

 

“Yeah, and all the other brats in his class have presented- he's the only one left.” His mother replied, before tilting his chin back up with her right hand so that he was forced to look at the man.

 

“Hmm,” The doctor glanced lazily back at the charts in front of him. “Remind me of your husband's and your quirks.”

 

“Nothing special. I sweat glycerin, like moisturiser, and he can make small sparks in his palms. With the brat’s personality we figured he'd inherit Masauru’s quirk, but there’ve been no signs so far.”

 

After a moment of silent thought, the man's eyes lit up with recognition. “Ah, I see, alright.” He smiled creepily back at the mother and son, shuffling the papers in his hands. “I thought your son might be quirkless at first, but the x-rays proved otherwise. No, but now I see he has something very similar to your quirk, Mrs Bakugou. You both smell very sweet thanks to it, but you probably didn't notice it had shown up since you're so used to the scent, as is your husband. And Katsuki would usually smell like it anyway, as you wash the clothes he wears everyday- plus it’s not fully developed yet, so he's not producing much.”

 

Katsuki and his mother had been silent for a moment, regarding the doctors words. It made sense, sure, but-

 

“I can't become a hero with that quirk.” He had mumbled, tugging at the hem of his dark shirt. The two adults widened their eyes at him, and then laughed.

 

“Hah, I suppose not. It's not exactly useless, but it's certainly not fit for combat, you'd have better chances with a simple mutation quirk.” The doctor chuckled a little more and reached forwards to pat his head, though Katsuki shook him off angrily.

 

“Plus, hah,” His mother hid her smile behind her hand, the other pinching at the blond's cheek. “It's a bit of a girly quirk, don't you think? The ability to have perfect, young-looking skin? Ahah, you could become a little model.” The child swatted his mother away, earning a swift knock to the head in response. Growling, he tried not to let his eyes water.

 

School had been Hell from then on. He hated pity so he hadn't told anyone about his unfortunate quirk, how embarrassing and pathetic it all was- those words just shouldn't describe him, ever. Katsuki was irritable and nastier than usual, getting into schoolyard fights to prove his worth, winning every time with the knowledge that it meant nothing for his future. He was still doomed.

 

It culminated when he took on three second graders. They were all bigger than him and had dandy little quirks- one had claw nails, another had laser eyes and the third had spiked shins that ripped through his trousers. They were barely threatening due to their age, but had cornered Katsuki on his way out of the playground. In all fairness, it probably wouldn't have ended in violence if he'd simply accepted that they were stronger and had given up his lunch money, or even just run away- he was still fast, after all. Instead he'd punched the guy with laser eyes in the face and snatched his bag… Only to have his back raked across by the clawed boy’s painful nails, ripping through his cotton jumper.

 

He got a couple of punches in, but he'd been beaten bloody by the end of it, and a teacher sent him to the infirmary, told him to stay there and ‘wait for the nurse with a friend’.

 

That's when Katsuki realised his only friend left was Deku. Everyone else had abandoned him when his quirk took too long to appear. Even so, he didn't call on Deku- the smarmy bastard would just taunt his weakness, he had thought, so he sat for twenty minutes alone until the nurse came to fix him up.

 

Hours later, the principal called his parents in for a meeting, though only his father could attend.

 

“Katsuki keeps getting into fights, distracting his classmates and just today he wasted the nurse’s time. I understand that your son is upset because his quirk hasn't quite appeared, but that's no reason to attack other children.” Principal Akano was a stern woman with large grey eyes and a constant pantsuit, and seemed to always be frowning.

 

“What?” His father glanced at the blond's sheepish expression, before sighing and patting his child's head. “I'm sorry that our Katsuki is acting out, though you must understand that he has presented his quirk. It's glycerin sweat, like his mother's though the doctor thinks it's a little different, and he's just upset that he can't become a hero anymore.” The child glared at his father for speaking about him like he was being childish, but stayed silent all the same, nails biting into his palms as he ground his teeth.

 

Akano raised an eyebrow, perhaps in mirth though her mouth remained a steady line, and turned to her computer. “I'll update the files then, Mr Bakugou, and I hope that Katsuki will one day be thankful that he learnt reality before his expectations could be set too high.” She pressed especially hard against the enter key before looking back at them. “However, we cannot tolerate violence in our school. Your son has been excused so far due to his exceptional grades, but I will not forgive him starting another fight. He might only be five but he should know better; if it happens again he will be suspended.”

 

His father nodded tensely, eyes darting down to the blond. No doubt his mother would be livid at him for getting into trouble, nevermind the fact that he was far more beaten up than the other boys and that the weight of his defeat hurt more than her scorns ever could. Still, Katsuki knew he would be grounded until he was thirty if he got into anymore trouble with the school, so, as he sat silently in Akano’s office, he vowed to not start any more fights on school property.

 

Easier said than done when the news of his quirk birthed merciless teasing and bullying, from teachers and students alike. He refused to do anything in response, even as two of his old friends pushed him into the pond at breaktimes, but he still shouted spite at them all. Katsuki could not stand up for himself physically, when he was five because of the rules and when he was older because of his quirk, but verbally he hit back with everything he had- he refused to be a pushover.

 

His parents barely blinked an eye whenever he came home with a black eye, assuming he'd had it coming, or sometimes his mother would yell at him for getting into yet another fight. Despite the fact that, more often than not, Katsuki came back from lunch break covered in scuff marks and with scratched arms, the teachers never offered him a word of concern. The only person who seemed to care at all was Deku.

 

That was the worst part, really, because if anything the blond should have hated him the most of all. The boy who came out of nowhere and had snatched his popularity, and still had the gall to call himself his best friend. The boy who had the powerful quirk, which was only increasing in effectiveness, whilst Katsuki was stuck with his own pathetic ability. The boy who pitifully stood up for him in the park, because otherwise he'd get yet another beating, and got himself punched in the process.

 

It was annoying as Hell. Deku was the person he most wanted to hate, but the only one who didn't hate him, who still stood by him- even if he couldn't forget that old nickname. Throughout the years, he stayed stubbornly caring and resolute, nursing Katsuki's wounds when he couldn't do it himself, and forgiving him every time the blond’s anger made him lash out.

 

No matter how much he teased him when his grades improved rapidly and Deku's stayed the same, too occupied by training to study, the other boy never gave up on their friendship to utilise all the other companions he could have had thanks to his quirk and smile.

 

“I'm going to go to UA.” Deku said when they were ten, eyes shining with determination as the two sat on his rug, surrounded by hero magazines.

 

“Great.” Katsuki replied, carefully cutting out another caption to stick into his scrapbook.

 

The other boy nudged him. “What do you want to be when we're older? You're really smart! Maybe you could keep doing your piano performances? Or design support items-”

 

“Hell no.” He interrupted, snipping especially hard and relishing in the sound of the scissors. “People in the support industry are only known for the heroes they help; I want to be known for my achievements alone.”

 

“Lots of people know David Shield though.”

 

“As what, Deku?”

 

“As All Might’s-” The boy's eyes widened in realisation. “Oh… I see.”

 

He rolled his eyes. “You're so dumb, Deku.” Katsuki cut out another photo, this one from the most recent UA sports festival. “I'm gonna do something that'll make me more famous than anyone, even All Might. I could cure cancer… In the long run I'd save more lives than any one hero ever could.”

 

The other boy smiled brightly, fire literally dancing across his freckled cheeks, and the blond felt his room get suddenly cold. Damn quirk of his, so fucking annoying. “Whatever you do, Kacchan, I know you'll be the best!”

 

Katsuki smirked, closing his scrapbook. The nerd was right, he would be the best, no matter what.






Chapter Text

Katsuki's back was slammed against the hard wall of their middle school, shoulder pressed uncomfortably into the rough bricks. 

 

“Come on, Bratugou, you gonna apologise or do I have to beat the sorry out of you?!” Some tough guy that he'd never bothered to remember the name of snarled, ugly face close enough for the blond to headbutt it. He was in class 3D or 3E, he thought, though he couldn't be sure, and had apparently heard that Katsuki had called him a ‘whiny-bitchass-motherfucker’. It was insulting that he thought he could be that uncreative, or perhaps it was pure idiocy that led him to that conclusion. 

 

He smirked up at his attacker, not sparing a glance for the guy’s cronies. “Ya really think I'd say sorry to your fucking disgusting mug? In your dreams, asshole.”

 

A vein bulged on the guy’s forehead, purple with rage, as he seethed through his teeth. His lackies crowded around him a little more, effectively caging them in. He didn't know their quirks, but the ugly one had been held back from high-school and therefore was a good bit bigger than the blond, plus his ability was some basic strength enhancer. Nothing special compared to the likes of All Might, or even Death Arms, but certainly enough to break Katsuki's jaw. 

 

“You wanna do this the hard way, huh, nerd?!” He pulled him off of the wall long enough just to slam him back down, neck snapping forwards painfully. 

 

He glared up and tensed himself. “Didn't anyone tell you that I call people nerds around here? Or were you too busy retaking middle school for the sixth time to catch that? Whatever, maybe your grades will be crap enough this year to keep going with this tough guy charade you've got, if not you could always resort to stealing people's homework-”

 

He really was socked in the jaw for that one, head being forced to the left. It hurt like Hell, but not like it had been broken, and all of his teeth were still firmly in place. It would bruise though. 

 

Katsuki spat at the boy’s livid face, getting saliva right in between his eyes. It was satisfying and he smiled despite the pain, especially when the lackies all also flushed red with anger at the realisation of what he'd done. 

 

“Break his nose for that one! Just cos he looks like a girl doesn't mean you can't beat his ass!” The blond bared his teeth at the extra who’d said that, even as the hand on his shoulder squeezed dangerously tight. He didn't look like a girl, these people were just idiots who liked to make fun, as though Katsuki couldn't easily slip his mother's cigarettes into their bags and get the whole lot of them suspended. 

 

He was about to threaten such, if only to avoid yet another trip to the principal’s office. Okirou ran this place, and while not as strict as Akano from his preschool and primary days, he still wouldn't hesitate to lecture him about getting into trouble with the other students- as though he invited them to start picking fights. But, as far as the faculty were concerned, by keeping hold of that foul mouth of his, he was practically asking for trouble, since it (allegedly) stopped his classmates from having the sympathy to stand up for him. Why would they want to help out the class bastard? 

 

Not that he cared, anyway. 

 

“Kacchan!” Oh right, he did have another student who was dead set on keeping him out of trouble. Shitty Deku ran towards them from a few dozen feet away, but even so Katsuki could still see that same determined light in his eyes that had persevered for years. 

 

One of the goons made a kissy face. “Awww, does poor Kacchan need his babysitter to come rescue him? Ahaha!”, The others followed his example, aside from the ugly one who still had hold of Katsuki, even as Deku came to a stop just outside the bubble of people. 

 

The main guy finally spoke again, albeit through gritted teeth. “You wanna tell your boyfriend to lay off or should we let him watch as we pound you into the dirt?”

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes. He'd been in way worse beatings than this, with similarly overconfident guys, and he seriously doubted that this would shape up to be most painful yet.

 

“Let him go!” Deku, the heroic bastard he was, shoved right through the ring of extras so that he was almost as close to the blond as the ugly guy was. “I'll fight you myself!” He promised, even as tears gathered in his eyes. Nevertheless, the bullies started to look a little nervous; Deku might have been a pathetic crybaby on a good day, but his quirk was nothing to mess with. 

 

Not like the loser would ever use it on these posers anyway, unless Katsuki was literally seconds away from death. 

 

“Really?!” The main one kept the blond annoyingly pinned with one hand and used the other to clench a fist in Deku's face. “How about we fight whilst my friends here cave the pretty little damsel’s face in?!”

 

Psh, just from their expressions the blond could tell that they’d never do that with the freckled boy around. Still, just the idea made his blood boil. After all these years he should be used to getting pushed around, but somehow sheer grit kept up his fighting spirit. 

 

He kneed the guy in the balls whilst he was distracted with Deku, and that squeal of pain was music to his ears. 

 

“Argh! You'll pay-” He looked at him murderously but Katsuki returned the glare, ducking his head when the other boy punched, his fist sinking into the bricks with a nasty crack. 

 

“Pretty fucking sure you can't beat me with two squashed balls and a broken hand.” He smirked, tensing for the next blow- when his attacker was pulled away by the four buddies, all looking at Deku sheepishly as they dragged him towards the school gates. 

 

The guy yelled in the distance but eventually got out of earshot, and the blond let himself slump against the wall. One hand came up to wipe his brow as he averted his eyes from the other boy’s worried frown, really fucking sick of pity at this point. 

 

Ever since Deku's quirk had appeared he'd made it his self-appointed mission to help out all those in need… Which just happened to be Katsuki 90% of the time. He was mean and arrogant, which won him no favours, and teachers didn't really care if he got beaten up, making him an excellent punching bag. Add that to the fact that he was nationally ranked academically, with some of the top scores in the country, all of the idiots in their shitty school liked to make his life a misery.

 

Then there was the quirk thing. He remembered his quirk being called feminine, even ‘girly’ as a kid, which had hurt even though it shouldn't have. Katsuki was under the belief that underestimating anyone was a great route to failure, so, no, he didn't think being a girl made a person lesser. It was just that when people compared him to a girl what they were really trying to say was that he was weak, helpless and irrelevant. They were mocking him. When he was thirteen he'd doused his uniform with axe body spray to mask the scent of his sweat, but still managed to smell like a fucking toffee factory by the end of second period. In their first week at middle school, before everyone had learned to hate him, some girls had come over to ask if he was wearing perfume, because ‘it smells so good! We'd love to know where you got it!’. It was humiliating, especially since the damned quirk gave him such a baby face that it was impossible to look intimidating. The anti-aging properties worked wonders for his forty year old mother, but all they did for his fourteen year old ass was give him soft cheeks and no facial hair (not that many of his classmates had hit that milestone yet anyway). 

 

All in all, he was practically a goldmine of bullying material. 

 

“Kacchan,” Deku nudged him, finally forcing him to meet the nerd’s eyes. He still looked close to tears, the nudging-hand reaching out tentatively to check his jaw. “I told you to run away if anymore guys tried to hurt you!”

 

Katsuki swatted his friend away, feeling the bruise for himself. It was definitely a bad one, already beginning to swell, but nothing two weeks and an ice pack couldn't fix. 

 

“I'm serious,” Deku tried as he started walking away, shifting his jaw every now and then to test the pain. “You could get really hurt.”

 

“What? Cos I can't defend myself? I don't know if you were watching back there, Deku, but I fucking dealt with the situation, didn't I?!” Despite his words, the freckled boy continued to scamper after him like a lost puppy.

 

“I was watching.” The other grabbed his wrist firmly to stop him from storming off. “And it looked like Hiruke was about to strangle you for kicking him.” Katsuki tried to tug his hand back but the grip was too strong, thanks to all of the extra ‘hero’ training the nerd did (which stopped him from studying as much as the blond). 

 

“Hiruke, eh? So that's the fucker’s name?”

 

The freckled boy might have had a point though. As much as it pained him to admit it, those lackies wouldn't have pulled the guy away if they hadn't been worried that Deku would use his quirk. Still, saying that aloud would wreck his pride so he snorted instead. 

 

“I had a plan.” He assured, which his friend raised an eyebrow at. “I was gonna headbutt him when he got in close again and then sweep his legs from under him. The extras would've been too shocked to stop me from getting away. Happy, nerd?”

 

Deku sighed but let go off his wrist in lieu of studying his face again. “That looks pretty bad, maybe we should take you to the nurse…” The freckled boy pushed his hair back with one hand. “Again…”

 

That's how it always went. Either Katsuki would get punched and then Deku would show up, his knight in shining armour or whatever, or he wouldn't show up in time and the blond would go home without any annoyances. However, on some days, like today, the green haired boy had started making more of an effort to find Katsuki after school to prevent the biweekly beatings. 

 

“I don't need the fucking nurse for this shitty little bruise, alright? It's not like I haven't had worse, and what could she do anyway? Kiss it better?” He scowled and Deku let it rest, following him outside of the school. 

 

It was five O'clock and only the first week of their third year at middle school, but the blond already knew that this promised to be his worst year yet. Not academically, of course, he'd remain a shining star in that regard (not that anyone particularly seemed to care), but he was sure that he'd get into plenty of fights, not all of which his friend could bail him out of. Not that he needed him to. 

 

“Do you want to come round to my house again?” Deku asked as they neared his street. 

 

“Whatever.”

 

__

 

 

Deku's ‘house’ was actually just a tiny apartment, though it was situated in their respectable neighbourhood. Their middle school taught kids from many districts, most of them shitty, aside from this cute, little one with the lowest crime rate in the city. The flat itself only had two bedrooms, a kitchen/living room and a bathroom, but Aunty Inko kept the whole place much cleaner than the Hag kept their roomy house. Sure, the floor of the living room was littered with sewing supplies and half finished clothing, but Katsuki forgave that since it was her job. 

 

“Aunty’s out of town right now?” He asked, toeing off his school shoes as Deku strolled straight into the kitchen, digging through the freezer for an ice pack. 

 

“Yeah, my dad filed some lawsuit that she has to sort out. Apparently it's no big deal but… Eh, the lawyers say she should get it over with as quickly as possible.” The freckled boy paused his movements for a moment before continuing, reaching into one of the high cupboards. “Do you want some hot chocolate? I promise I won't tell anyone about your sweet tooth, Kacchan.”

 

Hah, like he had anyone to tell. Katsuki might have been the most hated but they weren't in preschool anymore, so Deku's quirk didn't automatically make him the most liked. Sure, it made sure no one gave him shit (unless he was standing up for the blond) and if he did stop talking to him then he'd probably reach popular status, but for now they were equally friendless. 

 

“You have any of that white hot chocolate left? Everything else tastes like crap.” He complained, throwing himself down onto the sofa and reaching for the remote. He had to check that the nerd’s TV was set to record the UA sports festival in a few weeks, else he'd have to physically kill the boy. 

 

Deku disappeared into his room for a moment after passing Katsuki the ice pack, a quick “I'll just be a sec!” leaving his lips as the door swung closed. 

 

“I'm over here to study and drink your damn hot chocolate, not to watch you work out for three hours! You better not come back in here with a dumbell.” Despite his warnings, the other boy returned carrying a couple of small weights as well as his English textbook. 

 

They settled into comfortable routine after that, Katsuki quizzing his friend as the freckled boy worked out. Even though he was supposedly second in their year, Deku could not keep up with Katsuki for the life of him- not with his world as occupied with physical training as it was. 

 

Possibly the only bright side to having such a shit quirk was the time it allowed him. No doubt had he inherited a heroic quirk, as he'd so wanted when he was younger, he would've had to split his time between training it and maintaining his grades. As it was, he could pour all of his time into schoolwork and his extracurriculars, so that he was practically perfect in all of them. 

 

The blond was in first seat for piano, even though there were older and more experienced players in his club, and he'd recently achieved grade 8 in ballet (which he only did because his mother forced him to when he was five, and it was a good way to keep up his physique without extra exercise). 

 

“How do you conjugate irregular verbs?” He asked, laying across the entire sofa as Deku did his sit ups.

 

“Erm,” The other boy sat up for a moment, wiping his forehead. “That's a trick question; they're irregular because they're all conjugated differently.”

 

“Pretty fucking bold of you to assume I didn't want you to tell me the rules for every irregular verb.” Katsuki shut the textbook and leaned back, allowing Deku to keep on exercising. 

 

Was he annoyingly buff? Yes. He was determined to get into UA, and that school was prestigious so you needed more than a simple quirk alone to be accepted. The freckled boy might have had a strong quirk, but his analytic mind was what really gave him an edge, and even so he still thought it was crucial to train his body. 

 

Urgh. When did Katsuki start complimenting Deku's skills and drive? Even if it was only in his own head. 

 

“This time next year, you could be in UA.” The blond mentioned, eyes flicking over to look at his friend, who had moved onto push ups. 

 

Not pausing in his movements, the other boy nodded fervently. “I can't wait! I'll have to train a lot before then, but if it-”

 

“Don't start with the ‘if’ bullshit again. You want to do something, you've got to have confidence.” He advised, throwing a cushion at the nerd’s head. He missed, frustratingly, because Deku had dipped down into another push up, but it got the message across all the same. 

 

“Haha, you always were so motivating, Kacchan~”

 

“FUCK YOU!” Katsuki pounced at his smug face, his own flushing red, and tackled him. 

 

At first, the element of surprise and his force of will kept him winning. He'd landed on Deku, which had pinned the nerd beneath him, and then he'd started pulling his curls and punching him in the back. They were friends, sure, but the freckled boy wouldn't get seriously hurt by the blond, and if he did then he'd have to rethink his future career choices. Predictably, once the other boy had gotten over the initial shock, he twisted around in Katsuki's hold and grabbed his wrists in midair. 

 

“I think you pulled out some of my hair.” He whined, not letting go of his wrists as he looked up at his mop of green locks. 

 

“You're such a baby; I barely even touched your hair. Now get off me!” The blond tugged his arms away from Deku, though he didn't stand up until he'd pinched his bicep painfully. 

 

The freckled boy screeched, clutching the injured arm, and looked up at his friend with shining eyes. “Would it kill you to not get in the final blow?”

 

“Probably.”

 

They continued studying after that, until it was so late that Katsuki had no other choice than to go back to his empty home. His parents always seemed to be on work trips nowadays, but he didn't care. It gave him time to think about his future- ten year old him hadn't been wrong, he really did want to make an impact on the world all on his own. That meant either politics, which bored him endlessly, or the sciences. He could get behind those, and he knew exactly which high school had the best science division. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Really, one would assume that classes were Katsuki's favourite part of a school day, thanks to his grades and all. However, that conclusion misses the fact that, far more than bullies, the boy hated his teachers. Sure, the act of sitting at his desk meant that he wasn't getting punched, kicked or spat on, but it also meant that he had to listen to complete idiots lecture him on subjects he probably knew better than they did.

 

Plus, his homeroom teacher, Mr Takure, had it out for him.

 

“Bratu- ha, sorry, Bakugou,” Takure liked to purposefully say the nickname the other students had given him when he called the register- as though he wanted to rub in the fact that he was on their side.

 

“Here.” He grunted, one hand reaching to either pull out his own hair or strangle his teacher; either would be fine.

 

‘Bratugou’ was such a dumb insult anyway, though he shouldn't have expected any better from these idiots. They'd just put the English word ‘brat’ in the place of ‘Bak’ in his name, as though it was hilariously funny. But it didn't even make sense! They were calling him a badly behaved child as though he wasn't the only person to always bring in their homework on time, above even Deku.

 

They went through the rest of the register, until Takure held up some career worksheets. This would be the year they decided on their track: hero, business, support or general studies for those who wanted a range. Not every high school offered all four, and most had one that they specialised in, so it was important to choose carefully, or so all their teachers had been saying.

 

“Now, today we're supposed to be looking at future careers, but…” Takure tossed the sheets in the bin (not even the recycling one) and laughed. “I know you all want to go down the hero route anyway!”

 

Cheers filled the room, and Katsuki tried to bury his face in his arms. Of course these losers all thought they had what it took to become pros. They thought the blond's quirk wasn't fit for combat, but did they really believe that the guy who could remove his eyeballs would win any fights? Out of all these students, Deku was the only one with half a chance; the rest would probably bomb the provisional licence exam, if they even managed to get into the hero course at all.

 

“Takure Sensei,” The nerd raised his hand in the back of the room, and everyone turned to glance at him. He shot a specific look Katsuki's way, and the boy had to fight the instinct to roll his eyes in class. “We should still look into the other courses, even if a lot of us are most interested in the hero track.”

 

Their teacher squinted at the freckled boy, scratching his head a little. “But, Midoriya, you want to go to UA, don't you?”

 

He heard a crash and looked back around to find Deku on the floor, waving his hands rapidly, red faced and sweating. He got flustered easily, especially since he was already so idiotically nervous about his future plans.

 

Katsuki kicked his legs up onto the table, gaining the focus of everybody in the room. “The nerd just wants you to do your fucking job and give us all the options, Teach.”

 

Several people murmured at that, probably insults directed at the blond for swearing at their beloved teacher and calling Deku a nerd. He didn't care though, they hated him anyway so a few extra snide remarks wouldn't kill him.

 

“Of course you feel that way, Bakugou.” Takure shook his head at him, side-eyeing the rest of the glass who giggled into their palms. “We’ll do a vote: everyone who just wants to learn about the hero track, raise your hands.” Twenty eight students raised their hands, and Katsuki was sure at least some of them just wanted to see him suffer. “Okay, great, now anyone who also wants to hear about the other courses, raise your hands.” Only Deku and him raised their hands.

 

Takure smirked, because he was a bastard, and brought up his PowerPoint of different high schools which offered the hero track. It was stupid, because Takure was a teacher himself, so clearly he'd have been in general studies or something. Yet apparently that learning was ‘worthless’, despite the fact that being a pro was an oversaturated profession that would only lead these people to bankruptcy, granted they even made it that far.

 

__



The hours slogged by until, eventually, they got to Katsuki's actual favourite part of the day: lunch. Not because he was a greedy pig who couldn't wait to open up his bento, but because it was the forty minutes of reprieve he got from the misery of school.

 

He sat in the supply closet near the nurse’s office to eat- not because he was scared of the cafeteria, but because sitting in there usually just sent him to the infirmary anyway. It was a cramped space for a fourteen year old boy, surrounded by dried up paints and maths board games, but he could just about fit and no one knew he was in there, even Deku (thank God, because he'd probably insist on blabbering continuously about the villain that Kamui Woods and Mt Lady took down together that morning).

 

Plus, if you stroll with enough confidence, you can walk into a closet like you’d enter a banquet hall.

 

His phone pinged from inside his school bag, which meant either his parents or Deku were messaging him, since no one else had the luxury of knowing his number.

 

Hag: pick up milk after school

Me: Can't you do that on your way back from the airport?

Hag: stop being such a bone idle little brat and listen to your mother

 

Great. Now he had to run one errand, with would no doubt turn into twenty once the old woman had thought of more stuff to force him to do.

 

Me: Come pick up milk with me after school.

Shitty Deku: ok!!!

 

__



“Are you sure this is the fastest way?” The nerd asked as they picked their way through an alleyway. He didn't know why he looked so nervous; they were in the middle of the city, what could happen?

 

“The Hag wants ‘milk’ but what she actually wants is fucking almond milk, which is also fat, glucose and calcium free- she'd probably not even notice if I put some white food colouring in water.” He gritted his teeth, checking his phone again. His mother had given him a very specific shop to buy from, as if anything that wasn't from the store furthest from the train station wouldn't be good enough. “So we're gonna go to this dumb store and buy a shitty carton as fast as possible so that I don't feel like walking into traffic, alright?!”

 

Sheepishly, Deku nodded and continued to follow him through the alley. It was dim, even in the bright afternoon sun, still damp from the rainstorm a few nights ago. Trash littered the ground, sometimes in little piles- a homeless guy’s stash, probably- but also just scattered everywhere, as if they'd been tossed carelessly to the side.

 

Deku tiptoed his way through it all, grimacing at the smell of urine, bringing his arm up to cover his mouth with his sleeve.

 

“Kacchan, I really think we should have stuck to the streets, even if it's a bit longer-” He muttered, though he continued to follow the blond.

 

Katsuki kicked a bottle to one side, interrupting him. “Stop being such a fucking baby, does the scent of piss really freak you out that much?”

 

He went to take another step, when something wrapped around his ankle, dragging him forwards and onto his ass. Deku let out a yelp of concern, rushing towards him, though he stopped when a hulking figure stretched out before them, connected to the slime trapping the blond's leg.

 

It was some vile thing. Clearly an unfortunate quirk, where the person was made entirely of putrid green sludge, looking closer to some questionable dogshit than a human being. Waves of liquid rippled up and down his body, swirling around his face- if you could even call it that. Two massive eyes stared down at them, a sickly shade of yellow aside from the brown irises, only blinking when gravity pulled the sludge from his forehead over them. No nose, not even nostrils, it just went straight into a gaping chasm of a mouth that could fit a small lion inside. Teeth lined the thing, which was probably most terrifying of all, because each molar was bigger than Katsuki's entire head.

 

Plus, the breath was literally like a sewer.

 

It smiled cruelly, lips (just more of the sludge) stretching to frame the greasy, marron teeth. Standing up, the monster, for lack of a better term, towered easily over both of the boys, completely blocking the exit of the alleyway.

 

“A stroke of luck?” The thing grinned, heaving its liquid mass up to stand even taller. “Can't believe All Might was so careless~”

 

He dived at Katsuki then, more of the tentacles like the one around his ankle stretching out to grab at him.

 

“No!” Deku screamed, also racing forwards, finally over the shocked horror of first seeing the monster.

 

Shit, no. The blond, reflexes fast as ever, threw arm out to push the nerd away before he could run straight into the thing’s mouth. He landed hard a little bit away from Katsuki, but far enough to keep him safe- assuming the Sludge Villain only wanted one of them.

 

“Awwwww, how sweet,” The blond was immediately surrounded by the liquid muscle, even as he thrashed in its grip it was impossible to get away. He just got progressively closer to its face and that horrendous breath. “You stopped your boyfriend from attacking me! I'm honoured; I think we'll be great together, you know.” It smiled and started moving, letting his sludge creep across Katsuki's skin, nearing his face. Its voice was haunting, like a corpse trying to yell from inside their grave.

 

He was petrified. Shaking and sweating, hands trembling somewhere inside the mounds of sludge, the young student had no idea what to do, how to escape or even what to yell. The villain was in the street now, and even as fear clouded his senses (or was that more of the godawful sludge?) he could hear people scream for help as they realised he had a hostage. The blond tried kicking out in the general direction of an eye, but the grip was too tight- suffocating even.

 

“I was getting chased by All Might, you know,” The creature hummed, quiet enough that the boy knew he was the only one who could hear him. “There was another villain attack this morning, and I used it to my advantage. I didn't think the No1 hero would be around to stop me. You know what he did, Little Blondie?” Katsuki struggled violently at that, as sludge had finally come up to cover his mouth, though the hope of ‘All Might’ was slowly lighting inside of him. “He caught up to me and put me inside a bottle! But he must have dropped me because then you let me out.

 

“You probably regret that now. There's no way I can outrun All Might though, and I don't have the time to find the firepower to fight him head on, but I figured if I could take a hostage… Well, he won't fight me for fear of them, you, getting hurt.” It laughed, loud and bright and awful in the circumstances, and Katsuki squeezed his eyes shut to stop from crying. From the lack of oxygen, he mentally insisted, not how fucking scared he was.

 

The blond didn't think this guy was extremely experienced in kidnapping, however, because leverage usually required for the hostage to still be breathing. He couldn't pull the thing off of him, and his mouth and nose were completely submerged in sludge, head getting crushed almost by the force being pressed down. The taste crowded all of his senses, sort of bitter like beer but dirtier. Wherever Deku had gotten to, he wasn't sure, though hopefully he was out of the way and could call the police. Speaking of which, through the fuzzy haze of being oxygen starved, Katsuki thought he heard sirens and yelling- from heroes, maybe? It was hard to tell at the moment…

 

Oh shit. He was gonna die before he could prove his quirk didn't make him weak. Kind of ironic, with how he was dying.

 

Suddenly, he heard a much closer yell and his mouth was free again, letting him pant in that sweet, sweet air. Opening his eyes, he caught sight of annoying green hair-

 

“Deku?!” He coughed and sputtered with the force it took to speak, let alone yell, and the nerd's expression only became more concerned.

 

“I couldn't just stand there and watch you die!” He cried between sons.

 

It seemed like he'd thrown something into the villain’s eye, from the way he was screeching and covering it, but now his friend had both arms outstretched like when he was about to use his quirk.

 

“I've been working on a new special move, Kacchan!” Katsuki opened his mouth to call him an idiot, but more liquid forced his jaw open to pump down into his throat excruciatingly. “It was supposed to be a surprise, but…” He continued tearfully, though his face shone with courage.

 

The villain swiped at Deku with a large tentacle, but not before the nerd could activate his quirk. Immediately, the blond felt himself become cold- almost unbearably so- but the sludge in his mouth and trapping his body had it worse, becoming crystalline as it froze around him.

 

Above him, the villain's eyes stared straight forwards, unable to move, but Katsuki was still without oxygen and now also freezing to death. Deku scrabbled desperately at the frozen frozen structure, no doubt trying to pry him out, but he wasn't strong enough, despite all of his training.

 

He didn't know how much longer he could stay conscious, gripping to the sight of tears spilling from his only- no, best - friend’s eyes. That was when a laugh cheered in the distance, that awakened recognition in both of the students.

 

“Never fear,” All Might ran forwards at an incredible speed, past the other heroes who were still trying to organise the public, “for I AM HERE!”

 

Katsuki didn't really see much after that, though he did feel a massive force blast away shards of the villain as his arms were held steady. Then, he passed the fuck out.

 

__



When he woke up, which was miraculous since his body felt like he'd fallen off of a cliff, he was getting squeezed to death by Deku.

 

“Can't- can't breathe-” He struggled limply, realising how bone tired one near death experience had been.

 

“Wha-” The nerd screeched and shoved Katsuki off of him, still sobbing heavily.

 

They were on the same sunny street as before, though he felt pretty cold, so he would've guessed not much time had passed, yet it was now spitting with rain. The useless heroes were still on crowd control, keeping the public and reporters away from an ambulance (probably for him, he blearily realised) and All Might.

 

Wait. All-

 

“Young, umm, ‘Kacchan’? Is that really your name?!” The No1 Hero asked cheerfully, whilst Katsuki shot his friend a weak glare. Deku, still crying, just shrugged.

 

“It's Bakugou.” He replied hoarsely, trying to sit up when the nerd grabbed back hold of him.

 

“No!” He said, before flushing deep red and carefully loosening his grip.

 

“Then…” All Might squinted. “What is his name?”

 

Katsuki was starting wish that he'd actually died. And that he had a coat.

 

“Er, no, sorry Mr All Might Sir, I meant that he shouldn't sit up because he could be hurt… No thanks to me…” Fuck, the bastard looked about half a second from restarting the waterworks, just when he was starting to calm down.

 

The blond pushed himself to sit up, even as he shook from the cold, and punched him in the leg. “Stop beating yourself up over it, idiot. At least you froze the bastard.” He rubbed his arms and blinked at his friend. “How did you do that anyway?”

 

“Yes!” All Might patted Deku's back hard enough for him to wince, but he still smiled at the hand like it was his entire reason for existing. Which, he supposed it was. “Young Midoriya, your quirk is quite impressive! Even if the paramedics have to piece the villain back together before they can check on Bakugou.”

 

“It was nothing special! Hehe, umm, I just-” What followed was a series of mutters that only Katsuki could hope to translate. He basically explained that his quirk could control the movement of heat, so if he wanted to create fire he had to gather warmth from his surroundings, making them colder. But he'd been practicing taking heat from a specific source to put into the surroundings, so that one thing froze and everything else got a bit warmer. Basically the reverse of what he usually did.

 

It was smart, admittedly, and All Might looked impressed.

 

“With a quirk like that I'm sure you'll do well as a hero! As you, Bakugou, will surely thrive with such aptitude to survive!” All Might ruffled their hair, and Katsuki fought the urge to swear at his idol. “However, there is the small matter of your punishment, young Midoriya.”

 

The blond froze, not literally this time, and turned to stare up at the No1 Hero. “Seriously?! That's fucking stupid!”

 

All Might raised his hands sheepishly. “I know, but there are laws against using your quirk against a person when you're not directly in danger. I've spoken to the other heroes and we've reached an agreement. We're forgiving that he put you in harms way with his quirk- and yes we realise you were already in danger, please let me finish- since we figured you wouldn't want to press charges. But the villain is a different story, though we of course understand that with your friend threatened you felt you had very little choice.”

 

“So…” Deku wrung his hands nervously. “What's my punishment?”

 

All Might smiled warmly down at him. “Nothing will go on your record, and you're free to join the hero track. But, you do have to do some community service- heroing isn't all fights and rescues you know! I'd like you to clean up Dagoba Beach, and I will check your progress every month or so, since I'll be in town for a while.” The hero turned to Katsuki, “Is that reasonable to you too, Bakugou?”

 

He nodded, though personally he thought Deku shouldn't have gotten any punishment. Whatever, the nerd was probably ecstatic at the thought of seeing All Might every month for the foreseeable future, even if it was just for community service.

 

Then All Might had to tame the reporters, and a paramedic came to check him over. It probably would have taken far less time if Deku hadn't insisted on clinging to his hand through it all, but in the end she said he was just a bit bruised up and cold, but he hadn't broken anything and hypothermia hadn't had a chance to set in. Apparently he should just take it easy for a few days and put on a jacket, which was all his friend needed to start weeping into his chest out of relief.

 

Katsuki let him, just this once, since he had tried to save his life.






Chapter Text

Izuku Midoriya was blessed with an incredible quirk, one he could use to save lives. However, he would have given it all away in a heartbeat if he could reprieve his best friend of all of his struggles. 

 

As far as abilities go, Thermofluctuation was impressive, even though it hadn't yet matured. It wasn't perfect and certainly had some drawbacks, but he could use it to take down villains and save the people they were threatening- just like All Might. But he couldn't use it to make Kacchan’s life any easier, as he so desperately wanted. 

 

That was perhaps Izuku's greatest flaw as a hero: his willingness to give everything up to save one person. He could recognise that fact, sure, and that it was bad because it prevented him from saving future people, but he also couldn't seem to stop. 

 

__

 

 

“Heard about your quirk, makes you pretty weak, huh?!” Izuku heard a mean voice from around a corner, and ran forwards to face the bullies talking. 

 

He hadn't expected for Kacchan to be on the other side, all scuffed up from the two boys’ hits. The blond was such an image of victory and strength, and his quirk didn't change that in Izuku's eyes, but right then he could only see his friend as hurt and in need of saving. And he was the one with the strength to do it. 

 

“Get off of him!” The three boys all turned to him, all of them angry. “Why are you hurting him?” He asked, stepping towards his friend when he was punched in the gut by the bigger bully. He was only six or so though, so no real damage was done- even though it did smack the air out if him for a moment. 

 

“You're Izuku, right? This one was giving us lip when he doesn't even have the quirk to back him up! You should help us beat him up!” He laughed, and the other one kicked Kacchan even as he was already slumped on the floor, the most defeated the freckled boy had ever seen him. 

 

That had been the first time his body acted without his command. That caring, protective, some would say heroic, instinct taking over control as he punched the biggest bully right in the face. He hadn't meant to, but he didn't regret it either, and he even saw a glimmer of a smile on his friend's face… Though he covered it up with a scowl a moment later. 

 

The mean boys ran off together to tell a teacher, as though Izuku's flimsy little five year old arms were enough to warrant any concern. He wasn't worried about them or himself anyway, and ran straight to Kacchan’s side, hand outstretched. 

 

He scrubbed furiously at his face. “You shouldn't have done that, dumb Deku, now you'll get into trouble.” The blond stood up without his aid, eyes still rimmed with red. “I handled it fine anyway, or do you think I'm weak like the rest of these losers?”

 

Izuku wanted to hug the other boy, but instead he started fiddling with his collar for him. “I could never think you're weak! You're the strongest person I know!”

 

Kacchan grabbed his hand and started walking, tsking as he went. “Yeah, and don't you forget it.”

 

“Don't you forget it either…” He mumbled quietly in response, still following his friend. 

 

Since the blond hadn't started the fight, or even participated, Principal Akano hadn't had grounds to suspend him. She had wanted to call his parents again, but Izuku had convinced her that the other boys were the ones in the wrong- despite the fact that Kacchan always seemed to be involved in any fights that happened. The freckled boy had been given a week of detention for punching one of the bullies, and the one that had hit him got two weeks. The one who'd kicked the blond wasn't punished at all; he’d gotten off completely scott free. 

 

__

 

 

The morning after the sludge attack, Izuku still couldn't escape the news from it. As soon as he'd woken up he'd had about twenty million messages from classmates who'd never even spoken to him before, though they had nodded respectfully from a distance. They were mostly complimenting his quirk and the move he'd used against the villain, though somehow every single text managed to fit in a question about All Might. Stuff went from a casual ‘did you get his autograph’ (yes) to a bit creepy ‘what does his breath smell like?’ (I don't know I was freaking out over my best friend suffocating in the ice I created). 

 

Izuku had switched off his phone after that, but it still wasn't the end. YouTube was brimming with clips of the whole ordeal, mostly remarking at his quirk- even above All Might's grand entrance! Apparently the fact that an untrained middle schooler had damaged the villain more than five pros in the top fifty was newsworthy, but really it just demonstrated his own recklessness. Sure, technically he'd beaten the bad guy, but what use was that when his attack hadn't taken saving the hostage properly into account? Speaking of which, Kacchan was infamous too. Such a dramatic scene of half a dozen pro heroes and what looked like a hero in the making all revolved around him, but the blond was known as the helpless, unfortunate victim. Izuku just knew he'd be fuming. 

 

Even is mother had found out about the ordeal from Facebook, which he didn't know she knew how to use, and she'd insisted on coming home a day early. Apparently she was too worried about her son to enjoy the one relaxing day of her trip. 

 

Kacchan might have called him a crybaby, but he couldn't hold a candle to his mother's tear ducts. She'd been weeping into his chest for nearly three hours the moment she stepped into their apartment, not stopping no matter how much Izuku told her that he hadn't been the one attacked. Even over breakfast, she was still fretting. 

 

“Are you sure you're okay to go out today? It's the weekend, we could always stay in and rewatch last year's sports festival if you'd like?” Her eyes were pleading, but he stayed strong. 

 

“Sorry, Mum, but you know I've got to go check on Kacchan; his parents still aren't back since their trip ended up lasting a couple of days longer than expected.”

 

At that Inko’s expression did steel a little bit, though her hands wrung in front of her. “I suppose so, do tell me if he's doing alright… I hate to think of him all alone in that house after such an ordeal…” Oh no, it looked like she might start crying again. 

 

His friend’s parents had their own fashion company, which produced and sold clothing all over the world. Thanks to this, Mitsuki and Masauru Bakugou travelled a lot- especially after their son started having problems at school. When the boys were younger Kacchan would stay with them for however long they were away, but his parents had stopped dropping him off here when he was about ten. Apparently that was the age children were independent enough to be left alone. 

 

“I don't know how he's doing; he's not answering his phone.” Izuku admitted, and his mother only looked more concerned. Then again, maybe the flood of messages had just short circuited his phone's hard drive; in which case the blond could be doing just fine.

 

“Please tell him that he's always got a place here with us if he needs it, okay Sweetie?” She ruffled his curls gently, and he immediately thought back to All Might's actions the day before, until his mother spoke again. “Ooh, and you should take him some of those brownies I made! And the last of our white hot chocolate powder. Hmm, just give me a sec…”

 

Inko stood up and started bustling around the kitchen, pulling out a tupperware much too big for a couple of brownies and some hot chocolate powder. At this rate she'd put together a whole care package. Izuku understood her desire to do something though, he'd had the same one the day before, when faced with that villain. 

 

He'd been completely frozen as he watched his friend get taken hostage and hurt- it was pathetic and exactly what he'd vowed never to let happen. Izuku dreamt of becoming a hero, but how could he do that when he couldn't even protect the one person he was closest to? 

 

“Mum,” Inko turned to glance at her son, arms full of lemon zest cookies, “Is it really okay if Kacchan stays here for a little while?”

 

His mother only blinked before giggling a little to herself, continuing her pattering around the kitchen. “Of course, Baby, I don't mind at all! Though, you don't think he'll mind sleeping in my room do you? Your room is too small for you both, and I don't mind taking the sofa-”

 

“No! Mum, no,” Izuku waved frantically at his mother, interrupting her stream of conversation. “You shouldn't ruin your back just because of my friend. I'll take the sofa.”

 

She shook her head at that. “But you need to keep fit and strong to become an amazing hero! Honey, I'm old- a bad back is basically destined for me. Besides, I care about Katsuki too, so I'm happy to give up my room.” 

 

Another thing Izuku had inherited from his mother: tendency to be stubbornly selfless. If someone had to draw the short straw, they would both purposefully look for it. Rather them be uncomfortable than someone else. 

 

Except for the fact that Kacchan would be angry that they were fighting about this at all. He'd likely take four hours of begging just to be convinced to stay with them in the first place, and then he'd show up and offer more reasonable of a solution than either of them thought of. 

 

He was smart like that. 

 

__

 

 

Hauling his mum's care package two streets was almost enough to wind him- how Inko had so effortlessly carried it was a complete mystery. He doubted that Kacchan’s table would be able to hold the darn thing. 

 

The blond's house was big and lonely. Very neat (he swore every blade of grass was even), but not necessarily pleasant or homey looking. Even the trees were trimmed to be exactly 1.5m apart! Izuku had trekked up the smooth, concrete driveway enough times now not to marvel too much at the pristine fences that seemed unaffected by rust, but he could still appreciate the landscape of it all. 

 

He reached to pull out his notebook, before remembering that this wasn't anything to do with heroes- he just got distracted too easily. 

 

“What the Hell do you want?” Kacchan asked (re snarled) upon opening his front door. He was still in his pyjamas despite the fact that it was nearing 10am. Well, he supposed it was the weekend. 

 

Izuku shifted his grip on the massive tupperware. “Err, my mum wanted me to bring you this…” He smiled at his friend a little nervously. 

 

“Is that why you had to crash into the fucking door to knock?! You know you could've just put the damn thing down to ring the doorbell, right, idiot?” He shook his head at the freckled boy’s short bout of stupidity, and he cursed himself for such humiliation. “Come on then, pass it over!”

 

Kacchan motioned with his hands, holding his arms out open. 

 

“... I don't think that's a good idea…” 

 

“You think I'm fucking weak?! I'll show you-” The blond snatched the tub from Izuku, and immediately it fell to the doorstep with a loud crash, causing both boys to flinch. They paused for a moment, looking down at the tupperware, until Kacchan spoke again. “This is your damn fault, Deku.”

 

“You say that about everything!” He called after his friend as he returned inside, leaving Izuku to haul in the care package. 

 

__

 

 

Inko had ended up packing more than just sweet treats and maternal love; she'd also thrown in a bag of apples and some scented candles. 

 

“Please don't be too annoyed- you know how she goes overboard-” Izuku frantically shoved the lid back down on the tub as Kacchan meticulously studied one of the candles, face unreadable. 

 

“Shut up, Deku, I'm not an ungrateful asshole.” He interrupted, and the freckled boy could swear his friend took a sneaky little whiff of the candle. “... Peppermint…” He mumbled to himself, and Izuku chose to pretend he hadn't heard. 

 

Nevertheless, Kacchan shoved everything back into the tub and had him put it into one of the cupboards, before sighing like he'd done the strenuous work. They stood there, leaning against the counters for a long moment, before Izuku realised that (for the first time in their friendship) the silence was awkward. He was trying not to meet the blond's calculating haze whilst his hands fiddled uselessly with the hem of his shirt. 

 

His friend seemed uncomfortable too; arms crossed against his chest, eyes staring almost resolutely at the other as though it were difficult. The pyjama bottoms hung low and he could see a pale hip bone, which he decided to focus on instead of the heavy tension. 

 

“So…” He tried a minute later, when the lights in the kitchen automatically went off after they hadn't moved for so long. Kacchan waved them back to life, but that only meant he could see more of the blank expression that was so unlike the blond. 

 

Eventually, his façade cracked. Lips splitting into a scowl, he stated: “We both know why you're actually here, so just come out and say it!”

 

“I- I don't-” Dammit, why couldn't he string together a sentence? He always got flustered so easily, and he'd been getting better since childhood, but Kacchan barely needed to breathe and he'd lose 85% of his logical thinking capacity. 

 

The blond rolled his eyes, stepping forwards to jab a finger into his chest. “You came here today to give me a bunch of guilt presents, you little fucker. Otherwise you would have just waited until we walked to school on Monday to drop them off. Or do you think I'm too pathetic to be handling this shit alone?!”

 

He'd sort of hit the nail on the head, there. Izuku had felt guilty and wanted to fix it, and both he and his mother had been worried about his friend coping alone. It was exactly the sort of concern that Kacchan thought was pity, and the freckled boy should have realised he'd be pissed about it all. Still…

 

“If you'd known that all along, why didn't you just slam the door in my face when I showed up? That's what you normally do.”

 

The blond blinked at him for a moment, glare completely vanishing from his face. He might have been in a league of his own when it came to intelligence, but Izuku was smart too, and he knew more about his friend than both the boy’s parents combined. Kacchan flushed a little pink, falling back from his position two inches from the other’s face, wiping his hands on his bottoms nervously. 

 

He licked his lips. “I let you in cos I knew Aunty Inko would be upset if I didn't.”

 

“And?” He asked, because he had plenty of confidence when his friend(s?) seemed upset. 

 

“And you're a dumb idiot who would've broken in through the window.”

 

“And?”

 

“Oh fuck this! Fine, I felt pretty shit after yesterday and I wanted some brownies.” Kacchan kicked at the carpet with his bare foot. “You're not… Completely terrible at making me feel better, Deku, but don't let it get to your head. And I definitely resent it.”

 

Now it was Izuku's turn to step forwards, tapping the blond underneath the chin to get him to look up. He did, and the freckled boy smiled warmly at him. “It's okay not to feel totally okay, you know? I wasn't even attacked and I still barely got any sleep last night I was so sick with worry.”

 

The other scoffed, but didn't push away the hand under his chin. “That's cos you're an overprotective idiot who blames himself for everything.” Kacchan finally moved forwards, grabbing his wrist as he headed towards the lounge area. “I hate to think how you'll be when I'm at fucking UA.”

 

Izuku stopped dead in his tracks, subsequently halting the blond as well. 

 

“UA?! You never said you were still trying to become a hero! I support you, of course, but what the-” The freckled boy tried to calm his racing heart, and to sweep away the mental images of his friend bloody on the floor of the gym, but was unsuccessful on both counts. 

 

Kacchan cut in before he could spiral too drastically. “What the Hell are you on about?! Of course I don't want to be a dumb hero like all the rest of these wannabes,” (Izuku chose not to bring up that he was one of these ‘wannabes’) “I am going to UA’s General Studies course. You're too narrow minded to care, but it's ranked highest on academic achievement in High School sciences in the country… Mostly because so few people attend that the percentages are screwed but whatever. I'll be stuck in a class of idiot failures, who couldn't cut it as a hero student but were pathetic enough to stick around, but as the only one caring about my fucking grades I'll have plenty of one-on-one support.”

 

Oh. Okay. Not a hero student, Izuku could breathe a small sigh of relief, but did his friend really have to go to UA? He could get seriously hurt at any of the sport festivals! Or a support student's project could blow up near him! Or the other hero course kids could bully him and do some real damage. 

 

Still, he couldn't stop Kacchan when he put his mind to something; no one could. Better to just stand by him through whatever happens. 

 

Chapter Text

Sunlight glowed through his shut eyelids, warming his face pleasantly despite the chilly weather. Katsuki was extremely susceptible to the cold, so any stroke of warmth felt like pure heaven- even as he was already wrapped up in two coats. 

 

“Kacchan? Please don't tell me you've fallen asleep again.” Deku complained, out of breath. It wasn't the blond's fault that the other had called him out so early in the morning, interrupting his necessary ten hours of sleep. 

 

He covered his face with the All Might hoodie his friend had thrown over him. “I'm not asleep, nerd, I'm just…” He yawned, his body betraying him, and batted away the hand that came to take the hoodie. “You shouldn't have woken me up so damn early.”

 

From his left, Deku sighed. “I know, I know- but I was just so nervous that I couldn't sleep! Everything I've been working towards… Today I either achieve it or fail completely.” Forlornly, the freckled boy leant against his garbage-sofa, and Katsuki finally looked up at him. 

 

Ten months had gone by fairly quickly- much faster than when the blond had spent every night alone in his house. He would never admit it aloud, but staying with Aunty Inko was fun, even if he had to break up arguments over who slept where every evening. Who would have thought: Katsuki Bakugou was breaking up arguments, not starting them! Eventually he'd just decided to share Deku's bed, even if it was far too cramped and the nerd always managed to end up spooning him. Which also meant when he woke up, so did the blond, who would subsequently get dragged outside to watch him do his community service. 

 

Cleaning up the beach was mostly boring. Katsuki would sit on an old, sandy piece of furniture and watch as his friend dragged rubbish off the beach. All Might had shown up almost a dozen times, and had let Deku off of the hook a few months ago, but the freckled boy was determined to finish; as if he needed to work out anymore. The blond was still a bit taller (probably by a centimeter or two) , but the other could no longer fit in his clothes he'd gotten so annoyingly bulky- plus he'd recently been having yet another growth spurt. 

 

“If you think there's any chance of failure then you're handicapping yourself. Yesterday, when I did the general studies entrance exam, I went in with abso-fucking-lute certainty that I knew everything they'd ask. And I did.” He threw a chilled water bottle at his friend’s sweaty face, rolling his eyes when he caught it effortlessly. “Just stop questioning yourself, it's annoying as Hell.”

 

Deku fiddled with the cap of the bottle, biting his lip. “At least you sort of knew what questions would be on the exam. I have no idea what the practical portion will be about…”

 

“Did you Google last year's?”

 

The freckled idiot looked at him like he was from another planet, before pulling out his phone and rapidly typing. Katsuki was kind of surprised he'd not thought of this himself sooner, but perhaps all of the exercise and sand had degraded his brain. 

 

“Robots!” A loud cheer almost shocked the blond enough to fall from his sofa, but in the end he just kicked Deku's leg. Hard. As though he hadn't even noticed, the nerd kept beaming at his screen until Katsuki finally had the thought to snatch it off of him. 

 

It was a random forum post from about a year ago, complaining about the physical portion of the entrance exam:

 

KittyLoverrrrs2232:

The written exam was fine, but the robots were STUPID. Omg, my quirk only works against real people (the joys of a paralysis quirk) so it was useless. UA should make itself more accessible to people with ANY type of quirk istg~

 

He scoffed and tossed the phone back to his friend. “That girl's being such a fucking whinger. She should just go to some other school instead of whining about it online.”

 

Meanwhile, Deku had begun to mutter to himself, so they'd be there for the next three hours. 

 

It was then that an annoying little kernel of thought entered his mind: about becoming a hero. The damn forum girl had reminded him of having a useless quirk. He knew he couldn't do it, he'd known that when he was four, but sometimes he'd get reminded of his old dream and have to squash the thought down. It was unrealistic, even if he strove to be the best at everything, it just wasn't possible. The other heroes would have to save his useless ass, and that was assuming he got his licence at all. Besides, he was sure he didn't want that life anymore; it was just a bitter memory that his brain held onto. If Deku knew he'd get all concerned, as usual, and would probably remind him for the zillionth time that quirk counselling was available if he was having hard time. Which he wasn't. 

 

__

 

 

Seven year old Katsuki hated everything about school. The teachers, the students- even the food! They were all just so irritating that he never even wanted to think about them, let alone actually attend his primary school. 

 

“Your mother tells me you've been having some trouble thanks to your quirk?” Mrs Ojin smiled down at him from her desk, glasses glinting as he scowled. She was an elderly woman, falsely kind but soon to retire, and Katsuki was long past considering that any teachers could actually care anyway. 

 

Her ‘sweet’ smile was more like a grimace. As though she couldn't believe she'd been stuck with the most troublesome kid in the grade. 

 

When he didn't reply, only staring down at his hands, she continued with forced pleasantness. “It's quite funny; I usually only speak with children who have powerful, uncontrollable quirks. But you don't! Is that really why you're here, because it seems a little unnecessary, Honey.”

 

The blond kicked the desk repetitively, ignoring her prying glance. 

 

“Fine,” Eventually his youthful resolve broke. “My mum wants me here because she thinks you can make me like my quirk. You can't, so it's pointless.”

 

“Ah…” The tension in the room grew, and Ojin tapped her fingers against her desk. “Well, since your quirk isn't a risk to anyone and you don't want to be here, I suppose you can go back to your lesson.”

 

Katsuki had left the room silently and trudged back to his classroom after that, quietly dreading the remarks his peers would make. ‘Ha, you went to quirk counselling when barely even have a power? How pathetic!’

 

Even back then he'd known they were all idiots. Originally, quirk counselling wasn't exclusively for children with dangerous quirks who needed control and assurances, but rather it had been compulsory for every child, quirk or not. Each ability presented different issues, that every kid benefited from learning to overcome. His came with horrendous bullying, Deku's came with several cases of heatstroke. Even Quirkless people could use the counselling to come to terms with the absence of a quirk. 

 

Despite all of that, Katsuki had found it useless. Ojin acted caring but she just came across as condescending, and had done nothing to improve his perspective of his quirk. The entire endeavour had been pointless. 

 

__

 

 

Izuku had found the written exam taxing, but doable, and hoped for a solid 80%- no wonder Kacchan had thought it easy. Or perhaps his had been even more difficult, which tracked since the general studies course didn't need to do a combat exam. 

 

Whatever the case, Izuku needed to focus on himself right now. 

 

He was sat in a large lecture hall, surrounded by other, like-minded applicants. There were so many vying for only 36 spots that the boy's nerves threatened to consume him. Breathe he told himself. 

 

“-And that student has been muttering for the last five minutes! You, if you're serious about getting in you should not distract fellow applicants in such an unsportsmanly manner!” Oops, he'd literally been telling himself to calm down. Izuku nodded frantically at the boy who’d spoken; a tall, muscular young man who looked too old to be doing an entrance exam for high school. Then again, the freckled boy had such a baby face that he couldn't really judge someone who looked college-aged. 

 

Present Mic (awesome hero, but please don't start muttering again) worked at UA and was the one explaining the practical side of their test. He was energetic to a fault, but the enthusiasm at least distracted Izuku from his fear. It was far easier to focus on the hero’s booming vocals and corny jokes than the crushing weight of imminent failure.

 

“Now, onto the specifics!” Mic called, gesturing wildly to a holographic screen. Four robot images flashed across it, matching the ones in the pamphlets. “Like I said, there are four robots of varying point values, but that's not all! They all have different combat techniques that you will have to overcome, with only fifteen minutes to take down as many as possible! The highest score we've ever had on this test belongs to pro hero Miruko with 76 points, so you high achievers have something to aim for!” Izuku thought about that for a moment, weighing why UA would include such a detail. 

 

Kacchan would probably tell him that it was just there for them to beat, but he'd also let his competitive nature overrule his judgement. No, the freckled boy figured it was some sort of clue on how many robots to aim for. If that was their highest score ever, then getting anything above 50 probably meant you were safe, unless you were particularly unlucky. Or, their actual best score could be much higher and they were testing which students would just settle once they figured they'd passed. Would such a prestigious school really play mind games with a bunch of fifteen year olds? 

 

There was no way for Izuku to know, so he settled for his original plan: just destroy as many robots as possible. 

 

__

 

 

On his way to his testing center, Izuku managed to walk straight into someone. Not the best start to his path as a hero, but predictable considering who he was. 

 

“Ah, my bad, I'm sor-” He flushed with embarrassment and went to help the person up, but it was a cute girl who turned around and he froze. ‘Oh no no no!!! I can't handle how sweet she looks, I need to focus on the exam or Kacchan will barely leave behind a body for my mother to bury!’

 

She laughed, whole face brightening. “It's fine! I'm nervous too, this is such a big deal and I really wanna do well~” She brushed some hair out of her face. “Good luck!”

 

The nice girl left to get closer to the gate, and Izuku's old nerves had been replaced by new determination. He’d tried to help her (after he'd bumped into her) and had survived a whole conversation with such a cute person (the people at his school didn't even look twice at him). That was success, especially considering the only pretty person he usually got to help out was Kacchan, and even then it was resented. 

 

These thoughts buzzed about in his head for the next few minutes, and he let them. He should probably be strategizing, sure, but he'd already concocted a foolproof plan to defeat the robots… Plus a riskier backup plan that the blond had given him. If he wanted to escape frostbite, he'd avoid that one. 

 

“What are you all standing around for?!” Present Mic’s voice rung out from the top of a nearby building, and all of the applicants looked up. “Hero work doesn't wait around all day; the test has already begun!”

 

Immediately, dozens of applicants ran at the opening gates, Izuku included. It was necessary to push and shove to get through, and he wasn't about to let his kindness prevent him from becoming a UA student, not when such an education could help him save so many lives in the future. 

 

Hurting other examinees was not allowed, so he ran ahead of the others without too much worry of them attacking from behind. The ones with more mobile quirks had already sped in front, including the glasses guy from earlier, but that was fine too. Izuku just had to find and beat as many robots as possible. 

 

As expected, less than ten seconds into the entrance exam the streets of the city were already swarming with enemies. They'd been placed in a city to be tested since they had the highest crime rates, and luckily for him it was a good environment to use his quirk. Plus, the day was warm. A two-pointer shot around the corner he was running up to, swiping dangerously close to his face. Assuming he'd be removed from the exam if he got too seriously injured, Izuku jumped back from the attack. The thing was fast but its joints were unwieldy, and anything mechanical struggled when it overheated. The boy rose his right hand, skin tingling with the feeling of warmth in the air, and he flooded his opponent’s CPU with a moderate amount of heat- perhaps raising it from approximately 50°C to 70°C- and the robot short circuited immediately. 

 

Huh. That was easy. 

 

Izuku brushed off the chill in the air and ran towards a group of three pointers. There were four of them and had surrounded some guy with a bull quirk who'd bitten off more than he could chew. If such a relatively small temperature change could break down one of the two pointers, then it should also incapacitate these ones. 

 

Ducking under the laser of one of the robots, the boy yelled “Get down!” to the other, who dropped to the floor instantaneously. The machines turned on Izuku instead, and he now focused his quirk on their charging lasers. If these were actually tougher than the two pointers, then on second thought just raising their CPU temperature might not be enough… Instead he flushed heat from the sunny day through their lasers, and ducked as all four exploded like fragile piñatas. 

 

A large part of him wanted to remain and comfort the bull-boy (sorry for such a Kacchan nickname), but he had to get back to the test. Besides, in a real life situation like this, there wouldn't be time to coddle a victim after you'd saved them; not with so many enemies still at play. 

 

Right now he was sat at 14 points, which wasn't bad in under two minutes, but a rock faced guy with dark hair had just called out his twentieth point. If Izuku continued at his current speed, he would theoretically hit at least 98 points, which would be absurd. No, he'd lose steam within ten minutes, and UA were probably planning a twist about halfway through- something to stop people from scoring too highly. 

 

He continued sprinting through the city, taking down any robot that he could corner. Finding those four three-pointers all at once had been extremely lucky, so his score didn't increase as drastically for the next ten or so minutes. He took down five of the one-pointers in that time (easily, since they only required an extra 10°C to breakdown), another six two-pointers and three more three-pointers for a grand total of forty points. It was impressive, and Izuku let himself smile a little as he destroyed each one, but there was no way to tell if he'd be safe to get through yet. 

 

Suddenly, a crash from the distance broke him out of his thoughts, and his head head snapped towards the source of the noise. One of the larger skyscrapers had been replaced by an equally massive robot, with an absurdly huge zero written on one side. It was ludicrous and Izuku felt his nerves return, weighing on him like shackles. 

 

There were less than five minutes left, but that thing was wrecking the city! People could easily be trapped under the rubble. When Kacchan had been attacked he froze, unable to help. But now… If there was someone he could save then he would, no matter finishing the exam. Helping people was more important than any high school application. 

 

He ran. 

 

Straight towards the crumbling buildings, undeterred by the gigantus zero-pointer in front of him, Izuku went until he heard the voice of someone calling out. The girl who he'd bumped into was trapped under some bricks, looking pale and sickly (maybe a side effect of her quirk? Unless she was just ill?). She was perhaps twenty seconds from being stepped on, but the freckled boy knew he couldn't trust himself to overheat the robot. There was no way of telling if it would explode like the three-pointers did, instead of just going still like the other two had, so he could inadvertently rain shrapnel down on all of the other applicants, putting them at risk too. 

 

He'd have to use his special move. 

 

Izuku had been practising with his quirk on Dagoba Beach between community service sessions, to fine tune it. Melting old coke cans and corroded fridges was easy, but when it came to cooling stuff down he tended to let his quirk get the better of him. He'd been so much more confident with the ability before he'd developed it and used it against the Sludge Villain, but now when he thought about freezing something all he remembered was Kacchan, struggling to breathe against the ice Izuku had trapped him in. The blond had claimed that he was suffocating anyway, but the freckled boy knew he'd failed his friend completely. Now though, he'd have to get over all of that. 

 

‘Freezing’ the robot now would not encase it in ice like with the sludge, since there was no liquid to turn solid; just air that would take extreme cold to change state. If the thing were surrounded by steam then it would get literally frozen, but for now it would just lose its energy. That meant the nice girl wouldn't get trapped in ice too at least. 

 

Izuku raised both of his hands and concentrated, staring resolutely at the robot approaching him. A voice in his head told him not to back down, and it sounded suspiciously like Kacchan. Taking heat away took more concentration than the reverse, and in such a large robot it would take a moment to find its energy core… No, he couldn't think about running out of time right now. 

 

He dragged the warmth away from the center of the zero-pointers chest, into the surroundings. Centering all of those thousands of degrees somewhere specific would be too dangerous, so he let them rise into the atmosphere, hopefully not heading towards the already-melting ice caps. The task was hefty and he could feel himself sweating, head going fuzzy from the heat, but the nice girl from earlier was getting closer to freeing herself, and that spurred him onwards until the robot’s eyes stopped glowing with energy, becoming still. 

 

He collapsed. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“So let me get this straight-”

 

“Please, Kacchan, you've done this everyday since the entrance exam.”

 

“And I'm still pissed.”

 

Three days since the entrance exam, Katsuki was still struggling to wrap his head around the height of stupidity that was his friend. Aunty Inko had hinted, incorrectly, that he'd just been worried when Deku came home recovering from heatstroke, but he stood by the fact that he was simply angry.

 

“So let me get this straight,” He repeated, glaring at the other boy’s pouting face. They were sat facing each other on his bedroom floor, an unfinished game of checkers between them. He was winning. “You go to, and I quote, the ‘most important exam of [your] entire life’ and get distracted by some girl on the way there. Then, you make an idiot out of yourself by knocking her over and thinking about that until-”

 

“That was not how it went!” Deku's face flushed pink but Katsuki ignored him, starting to have fun.

 

“Shut up, you damn nerd.” He made another one of his checks a king. “Anyway, Present Mic shows up, oh sorry, I forgot the beginning where you fucking mutter through all of your instructions!”

 

“Please, Kacchan, you've made your point.” His expression was pleading, but the blond only smirked.

 

“Nope,” He popped the p before continuing. “So he shows back up and has to tell you to get a move on, only for you to barely scratch forty points before you waste your time saving that same fucking girl-”

 

Deku dived at him out of embarrassment, ruining the board game that Katsuki was winning, and tackling him to the floor. He struggled back, kicking out with his legs only to get thoroughly pinned by his friend's body of pure muscle. At this point, he wasn't sure if he could even feel pain anymore.

 

“Get off!” He snarled, and snapped up at the other's determined face. He wasn't above biting if that's what it took to win.

 

Deku just blew on his face, cheer returned. “Not if you're gonna keep talking about the entrance exam. Now, either be good and stop struggling or-”

 

“Fine, I'll keep talking about it.” He decided, interrupting him. If the freckled boy was doing this to stop him, then he'd just have to win by continuing. “You try to save this girl, as though UA would let a damn applicant die under their watch. You used the special move that we decided would be last resort only , and gave yourself your worst case of heatstroke yet, attempting to displace thousands of degrees of heat. To top it all off, the girl you were ‘saving’ then managed to match your level of dumbassery by not finishing the exam herself and carrying your useless body to the nurse’s station. Did I miss anything, nerd?!”

 

The other looked like he either wanted to strangle Katsuki or hide under his bed he was so mortified, and the blond took the chance to struggle out of his grip.

 

Maybe it was cruel to bring up all of Deku's failings, but really he just wanted the damn idiot to do better next time. Somewhere along the way, through years of him trying to unnecessarily save Katsuki from weak-ass bullies, the blond had gained some attachment to his friend. Some care. There was no way of knowing if forty points would be enough to get into the hero course, but if it wasn't then the freckled boy would have to sneak in through general studies like some loser, and maybe end up in Katsuki's class. And sure, perhaps he did care about his friend, but he wasn't sure if he could handle yet another school year of him watching over him like some damn parent scared their kid will run into traffic.

 

On the other hand, Deku could always give up on UA and try for another hero course. The training wouldn't be as good but he could at least get his license. The blond knew that his friend would never go for that though- not when he still had even a slither of a chance of succeeding in All Might's alma mater.

 

He scrunched his eyes closed. “Look, I know I screwed up, but did you really just expect me to ignore those in need?”

 

“For a fucking exam? Yes! Obviously, you should've just gone for as many of the smaller robots as possible. In the time you wasted on the ZERO-pointer you could've gotten to fifty points!”

 

Deku looked like he was about to retort, and Katsuki was ready to bludgeon him to death with the checkers board, when Aunty Inko burst through the door frantically, waving something in her grip.

 

Any previous tension in the room vanished as the two boys’ eyes met in understanding.

 

“They're here!” She presented them both with an envelope, each with an UA seal on the back.

 

Shakily, they each grabbed their own letters.

 

“Mum,” Deku's eyes shone with something undetectable, hugging the white slip to his chest protectively. “Could we ah, open them alone? We'll tell you as soon as we know the results, I promise.” Aunty Inko’s hectic expression turned to one of understanding and love, a look he'd never seen on his own mother's face. Whatever, Katsuki shoved that down as Inko left the room; he should be focusing on the letter in his hand.

 

They should have torn them open the moment she left, but instead the pair sat side-by-side on the floor, clutching their own letters. The blond wasn't nervous, he knew he’d aced that exam and that UA would be stupid not to take him, but unease still churned in his gut. Maybe he was more concerned over Deku than he'd realised.

 

“I'll open mine first.” He decided, no question about if they wanted to see each others.

 

The air was suspenseful as he started picking at the envelope, possibly dragging out the process thanks to nerves. Instead of being flat it had a circular bulge in it, so Katsuki assumed there was some sort of recorder or projector inside. He placed it down on the floor before them and clicked the button on top silently, taking a deep breath in.

 

“Hello, future UA student!” A hologram of a rat/bear thing sprung to life, and the blond recognized it as Principal Nezu. Hopefully, he'd be better than his previous ones. “With a score of one hundred on our written exam, you’ve gained the highest we've had in many years!” The compliment was soured by the overly-cheerfulness, and he almost winced at the pitch. Still, a wave of pride flooded through him, and Deku squeezed his leg supportively before the hologram continued. “Congratulations, Katsuki Bakugou, on earning your place in our general studies department. Your application specified that you were interested in the additional science courses to prepare you for college and, with grades like yours, we're sure you'll excel! We're looking forwards to seeing you on the second of April in Class 1-C!”

 

The projector shut off, leaving them to stare at empty space for a few moments. Would Deku be jealous? Or terrified of receiving his own results? Whatever the case, Katsuki was scared to turn to him and see tears-

 

“Oh my God, Kacchan, I'm so proud of you!” The other boy flung himself at the blond, sobbing, yes, but also grinning like a maniac as he attempted to crush his friend in a hug. “You did perfectly oh my God mum is gonna be so happy too we need to get her now-”

 

He threw his hand over Deku's mouth to stop him, and struggled to talk through his lungs being squashed flat. “Nerd, you're forgetting your own damn letter. Open it before I do.”

 

The freckled boy did not stop squeezing the life out of him, but he did stop chattering on without a filter. They both looked at the unopened envelope, and somehow Katsuki got hugged even tighter.

 

“I didn't forget… I just-” Deku sighed into his shoulder. “I just thought that you should get to celebrate before we opened mine.”

 

The blond pinched his arm, and used the subsequent yelp to escape the vice grip. “You'll never know if you got in if you don't open the fucking letter. Just get it over and done with.”

 

His friend nodded, and tore apart the envelope in probably the hardest manner possible, causing the projector to tumble out of its confines and turn on as it rolled to a stop.

 

Another hologram shot up, this one of All Might (no, he was not envious) in all of his glory, smile plastered across his face. Deku gasped from beside him, clasping his hands together like some nervous anime girl. Even so, Katsuki squeezed his wrist in what he hoped was a supportive manner as the No1 Hero himself started to speak.

 

“Hello, Izuku Midoriya!” His voice was less annoying than Nezu’s but fuck, it was even brighter. “You might be surprised to see me here but it's quite alright, don't worry! I am here at UA as their newest faculty member!” Duh, why else would the greatest hero ever have been hanging out in their crummy little neighbourhood for the last ten months? “As a new teacher, I shall be telling you about your scores. With forty combat points, you managed to get into UA by the skin of your teeth, landing in 35th place overall-”

 

Deku slammed down the pause button, eyes apparently full of tears, and turned back to Katsuki with that wobbly smile.

 

“I- Kacchan, I-” Instead of letting himself be pounced at once again, the blond reluctantly opened up his arms for the freckled boy to dive into, sobbing unabashedly into his shoulder. “I got into UA.” He eventually whispered, momentarily tugging at his friend's soaked shirt.

 

“Yeah, well, barely.” Katsuki replied softly, patting Deku's back. “If I'd had your quirk I would've blown that damn record out of the water. You better not slack on finals, I wanna see you kill those.”

 

“Kill?” Deku hiccuped, before pulling back from the hug with red-ringed eyes and shaking his head. “We should finish watching the whole thing before we tell my mum.”

 

“As long as you don't hug me again; I will actually throttle you if you do it a fourth time.”

 

His friend chuckled and clicked play, letting the All Might recording come back to life. Wow, Deku must've been excited if he hadn't yet realised this meant the No1 hero would be his teacher.

 

“However, we would not be such a prestigious school if we didn't take into account factors other than combat. That's why our exam includes: rescue points! Your courageous act of saving Uraraka awarded you thirty rescue points, moving you up to third place! Meanwhile, her kind choice to take you to the nurse awarded her extra points too, and she's sat just one rank above you in second place.” Deku's mouth was hanging open, but Katsuki doubted he was faring much better. This couldn't be true… Could it? “So welcome, Izuku Midoriya, to our hero academia!”

 

The clip finished, and the blond didn't even care when his best friend started wailing into his grip once again.

 

He'd never felt much pride for anyone else before, but, in that moment, Katsuki was happier for Deku getting in than he was for himself.

 

__



“Are you both ready to go? One hundred percent prepared?” Aunty Inko was fretting, as always, and fruitlessly trying to correct Deku's tie. Apparently neither of them could tie a simple knot, and Katsuki thought it would be more entertaining for his friend to go to school with an atrocious tie rather than a neat one. “Katsuki, are you sure you don't want to wear your tie? If you can't knot it that's okay, I'm sure we could find a YouTube video or-”

 

“It's fine! We're gonna be late.” He tried, dodging the hand that came up to straighten his collar.

 

She didn't seem satisfied. “You remembered your textbooks right? And how to get there on the train? Maybe I should-”

 

“Mum,” Deku cut his mother off with a wave of his hands. “It'll be fine; we're fifteen. Besides, we've practised the journey at least a dozen times and if we don't leave now we'll be late.”

 

Inki bit her lip, hands wringing in front of her. “I… I know. It's- it's just that your both so grown up and I- I can't…” She dragged them down into a watery hug, certainly not the first or last one that the blond was doomed to experience, but at least this time the freckled boy's eyes remained mostly dry.

 

They got out of her grip and ran down to the train station, at which point Katsuki realised he really had forgotten his water bottle, and jumped onto the correct train just as the doors were shutting. He wasn't ashamed to say that he'd shoved past Deku to get there first, even though his friend probably would've let him on before him.

 

It had been about a month since they had gotten their acceptance letters, and in that time not much had really happened. They'd finally graduated middle school, a celebration directly followed by some asshat with a stun quirk trying to break his jaw. He hadn't succeeded in anything other than causing a slight bruise and gaining a broken nose for himself, since Katsuki could finally fight back without teachers threatening to expel him- at least until he got to UA, that is. Even so, Deku had still felt the need to jump in and drag the other guy away from him, as though the blond weren't perfectly capable of beating the shit out of him himself.

 

He'd not spoken to his friend that evening.

 

Right on cue, as the train passed through the shopping district near their new school, the freckled boy turned to him. His expression formed a half smile, clearly faked, and Katsuki knew he was in for a frustrating conversation.

 

“You will try to make friends this year, won't you, Kacchan?” He huffed in response and turned to the window, arms crossed. “Wait, give me a second to explain… It's obviously not your fault that people keep bullying you, but UA is a good school- better than our middle school. And maybe you won't get as hurt if you at least stay quiet rather than antagonising everyone on the first day. I just… I'm really worried.”

 

There he goes again, with all of that pity bullshit. Katsuki was used to it by now but God, how it still made his blood boil after all these years. He was either weak because of his shitty quirk or pitiful because of how many people thought he was weak. He couldn't win. Even Deku, the kindest person on planet Earth, couldn't help but pick a side.

 

“Just fucking shut up,” He muttered, plugging in his headphones. “I'll be fine.”

 

Chapter Text

He and Deku parted ways when they got to the first year's block, him to the left and the other to the right. He was pretty sure his friend had wanted to walk him to his classroom like some sort of bodyguard, but the fact that they were both almost late already had managed to ward him off. 

 

UA's halls were almost outrageously high. His middle school had suffered complaints from a few pupils with quirks that made them over 8ft tall, but this place might have been overdoing it on the accessible scale. Every door he passed was ten foot tall, and the ceilings hit fifteen foot. Honestly, it made Katsuki feel kind of small. 

 

The ground floor was comprised almost entirely of training centres and computer lounges, though there was the odd staff room dotted here and there. Then, the first floor had all of the first year classrooms, A to K, all separated by department. Apparently there had been no reason for him and Deku to split up at the ground floor considering this layout, but Katsuki thought he could do with a break from the nerd. All of the fretting was really getting on his last nerve. 

 

Eventually he reached the door labelled 1-C, and took a moment to resent the fact he wasn't in A. Not because he was jealous of the hero students or anything; just because A came before C. 

 

Walking in, Katsuki slammed open the door and fixed his best glare on the mostly full room. Twenty seats of four columns by five rows, a pretty standard setup. As the person with the highest score on the entrance exam, he was assigned seat 1 at the front left. Surrounding him were sure to be idiots. Even so, he kept his lips sealed as he thought murderous thoughts and sat down, remembering what Deku had said to him. He didn't want to do what the nerd told him to, but maybe he could hold off on ensuring another three years of bullying until he got genuinely pissed. 

 

Right on cue, their teacher entered. 

 

“Good morning, students, I'm Nozomi Katana but in this classroom you will address me as Katana Sensei. Is that clear?” She addressed the whole room sternly, and a chorus of ‘yes Katana Sensei’ followed. 

 

Katsuki's new teacher, despite her name, did not seem particularly threatening. Just a woman of moderate height with blue hair pulled back into a tight bun, dressed in fairly unsurprising teacher clothes. She wore a grey blouse and dark trousers, with small black heels. Her face was tanned slightly, but quite plain otherwise. Really, the only noteworthy thing about her appearance was that it was difficult to discern her age. 

 

“I'll be your homeroom teacher this year, and-” She began addressing them, before a purple haired guy on the second row raised his hand. Katana checked her clipboard before answering him. “Yes, Shinsou?”

 

“Every teacher at UA is supposed to be a pro hero, but I don't recognise you.” He drawled out, and Katsuki already knew he'd get on his nerves. Of course general studies wouldn't get taught by anyone high profile. 

 

Katana seemed unperturbed, however. “In my twenties I was the sidekick to pro hero Enigma, but then I retired to pursue teaching the next generation. I started my career at Ketsubutsu Academy, before I was offered a place here.” She explained it all with a straight face and crossed arms, mere presence commanding silence in a way that Katsuki hadn't expected. “Does anyone have anymore questions before we head to orientation?”

 

A few mutters ran about the room but no one else raised their hand… Aside from the blond. 

 

“Why would you take a job teaching a bunch of lo- of general studies students?” She must have had some other goal, or some past failing that barred her from teaching the actual hero students. 

 

She shook her head, as though she'd predicted his question. “Part of being a hero is helping people indiscriminately. Now, let's head to orientation.”

 

__

 

 

The orientation ceremony was exclusively for first years, in a courtyard where they lined up by class. Deku's class, 1-A, were missing- but the teachers seemed unsurprised so Katsuki didn't dwell on it. The other hero students were there though, lining up all smugly. The blond briefly imagined knocking the guy at the front’s teeth out, just to wipe the superior smirk off of his face. That might have made it a little awkward to stand next to him for the next half an hour, however. 

 

Nezu walked onto stage, jolly as ever, and started the whole thing off. “Welcome, first years! It's a pleasure to have you attending our fine establishment, and we're all very excited to see how you grow over time. Soon you will all pick a class representative who will inform you on the faculty's decisions, but for now you're stuck with me, haha! 

 

“There is no shortage of talent in this courtyard, and here at UA we strive to nurture such talent. Depending on your course, you will be taught by specialised teachers, and in just a month you will all have the pleasure of partaking in our annual sports festival.” There were many murmurs at that from behind Katsuki, and he brushed off the annoyance to get through the damn ceremony. He just wanted to come to school everyday and ace his finals, not deal with this hero bullshit. 

 

On the brightside, there was no way he could get anymore annoyed. 

 

“Now, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like each of the highest scoring students for their respective entrance exams to come up here and say a piece about what they hope to achieve one day. I believe it will really help you build a union amongst yourselves.” Katsuki was wrong, he was way more pissed now, and wanted to stomp on the damn rat’s shitty little nose. 

 

There was no way in Hell he could make a speech without getting everyone to hate him, so he was already doomed. It would be so much easier if he could just stay quiet for the next few years. 

 

They called out ten students’ names, including his own, and nine of them headed up to the stage. They'd called for a Kiri-something guy from 1-A,but he obviously hadn't attended. And the smug blond guy at the front of 1-B's line wasn't called out, despite the order meaning he should have been the highest scorer on the written exam… Unless hero class’ ‘top’ achievers were based off physical examination results instead, which is why the plant girl got called up. Whatever, it was confusing and probably discriminatory in some way- valuing strength over smarts- but Katsuki had to focus on not swearing at his new principal right now. 

 

Nezu wanted to ‘mix things up’ and let the Class 1-K’s person speak first; some drivel about going into hero management and helping people that way. I and J were basically the same, so at least the boredom had the blond's anger waning. G and H talked about their plans for becoming support workers, and okay, Katsuki was definitely nodding off at this point. 

 

“I'm going to make incredible babies that will change how hero support items are regarded!” The bright voice broke him out of his standing snooze, and he shot his head towards a manically cheerful girl with pink hair. She was the first speaker to have any actual personality, and Katsuki could respect that, though… What did she mean by babies? “I will get noticed for my inventions at the upcoming Sports Festival, and will surely go into a successful firm once I've graduated. Someday, people will know ‘Mei Hatsume’ as the engineer to revolutionise the support industry!”

 

Now, that confidence he could get behind, and his mood was lifted a little. She was a bit like him; uninterested in being some hero’s helper, wanting to make a name for herself. And no one seemed to be reacting particularly aggressively to her plans, so maybe they wouldn't judge him either… Not that he cared. 

 

“I'm Sajonara from 1-E, and I'm here because I want to become a hero.” Immediately, his mood plummeted. Good bye, brief happiness. “Even though I didn't pass the entrance exam for the hero course, I just know that I have what it takes…”

 

Katsuki stopped listening then, stewing in his own anger, only becoming more on edge when 1-D’s speaker repeated the exact same spiel. Was it really so hard for people to just not want to be heroes?! For fuck's sake, these other general studies students were failures, was that really so hard to accept? All he wanted to do was focus on not being a hero; he was sick of being around losers who thought that heroics was their only career option. It was like they were all thinking he was worthless, just because he had even less of a chance than they did… Even though none of them could possibly know his quirk yet to make such judgements. 

 

Soon it was Katsuki's turn to speak, and he had some choice words for them all. 

 

“These other general studies students are pathetic.” He stated into the mic, mood gripped fiercely by anger, quite enjoying the looks of shock that spread through the crowd. Even the teachers seemed a little unsure on what to do. “They're still talking about becoming heroes, ignoring the fact that they're already damn failures. If they couldn't cut it in the entrance exam then they should've just gone into a different school’s hero course, rather than embarrassing themselves here. What, maybe one student from the Sports Festival will get moved up into A or B? But there are 58 of you who're doomed no matter what. By the way, I'm not including myself in that because I'm not a fucking wannabe hero like the rest of you idiots. I'm here to actually do the general studies course rather than use it for my absurd fantasies of getting into the hero department. Good luck failing.” He stuck his thumb down and imagined that, had the audience had rotten fruit, he'd be getting pelted with it. 

 

A chorus of boos, mostly from his own class, rung out, and the other two speakers from general studies glared at him. Meanwhile, he couldn't help the satisfied smirk that found its way onto his face, not when Katsuki had been wanting to say all of that for the last twenty minutes. 

 

“Okay, okay, settle down now!” Vlad King hushed the angry crowd, before throwing his own seething look the blond's way. “Shiozaki, if you'd like to speak.”

 

The plant girl looked between him, her teacher and the rest of their furious year, and silently shook her head. Katsuki bit back a smile (no way that would help this situation) and rocked back on the balls of his feet. What had Deku said again? Don't antagonise everyone on the first day of class? 

 

Well, oops? 

 

__

 

 

Somehow, he managed to dodge his class’ angry complaints all the way back to homeroom, but once he was inside and stuck until Katana showed up, he was was trapped. 

 

“You think you're so hard, huh?! Why don't we take this outside and see who has no chance of becoming a hero?” One of his classmates (with exceptionally bad breath) got in his face, cornering him against a wall. The exchange was being either participated in or totally ignored by the other students, which pretty much tracked. 

 

“Hah?!” He got right up in the other guy’s face too and snarled. “You extras really think you can beat the shit outta me? That's funny.”

 

Someone else, a girl who was buffer than any of the boys trying to intimidate him, spoke up. “He only made that dumb speech because he's some weakling who actually can't cut it as a hero. I bet his quirk is really sad.”

 

The first guy grabbed his collar and pulled him forwards uncomfortably- perfectly demonstrating why he didn't wear a tie. “Is that right? It's cute that you think we'll leave you alone after you act a bit thorny. I'm sure my quirk will make you think twice about disrespecting us again.”

 

Katsuki flushed in anger and humiliation, and pulled back from his newest bully. “I don't know why I always end up with losers who can't be heroes, but for some reason you all seem to act more like villains-” He schooled his face to be angry but unbothered by their hateful remarks, and dug his nails into his palms to distract from how he felt.

 

“Villains?!” The purple bitch from earlier spoke up, despite having previously been ignoring Katsuki's debacle. Now, though, he looked pissed; the blond must've struck a nerve. “I think you act more like the villain, calling people who just want to help people in the future such names. You're the pathetic one.”

 

He was about to retort, possibly throw the first punch for once in his life, when Katana strolled through the door like a fight wasn't about to break out. She gave them a side glance, before motioning to their seats with just a slight tilt of her head. Reluctantly, the blond trudged over to his seat and sat down, ignoring the looks piercing through his back. 

 

“Since it's the first day, I'll ignore whatever was about to happen.” She fixed the group with a sharp stare. “However, I do not condone violent behaviour in my classroom- if you want to beat each other up then I suggest you do it outside where the public or an active pro hero can see you. That might make it tricky for some of you to get licensed in the future, hmm?”

 

Practically everyone offered her a solemn nod, though the atmosphere in the room was still pretty hostile, so Katsuki figured he had maybe a month before his classmates decided to stop listening to Katana’s advice. 

 

__

 

 

Izuku's first hour at UA had been… Eventful. His quirk had been tested and one of his classmates had been threatened with expulsion, though Aizawa Sensei said it had just been a ploy to get them to try their best. 

 

Everyone in his class seemed so friendly- definitely the sort of perfect hero students one would expect to find at the best school in the country. Plus, once they'd stopped worrying about expulsion, their teacher had reluctantly allowed them to partake in some icebreakers whilst he napped. 

 

“This is clearly a test of our cooperation, and we must act as thou-” Iida began, standing up from his place in their circle of chairs. He was probably right, but Izuku doubted they needed to be so serious. 

 

“No offence, but does ‘never have I ever’ really promote teamwork? I think Aizawa Sensei was just tired.” One of the girls piped up; she had dark hair and earphone jacks dangling from her ears. It was difficult to remember names at this point, but the freckled boy really was trying. 

 

A guy with tape elbows scoffed merrily from his place in the circle. “Besides, how can we play that game without alcohol? We might have an unconventional teacher but I doubt he left us any vodka in the mini fridge.”

 

The girl with the ponytail, who'd come impressively second in their quirk test, spoke up. “We're just supposed to be getting to know one another, not competing. We can just raise our hand if we have done something, and when our turn begins we should introduce ourselves.”

 

Her explanation brought about a series of nods and some excited cheers. Izuku wasn't sure where he fit into this class, but he was glad they were so open and accepting. His old school had been full of people who were intimidated or awing of him, and it had left him feeling alienated. Aside from Kacchan, but that was a whole other can of worms. 

 

“Oooh, I'd like to go first!” The pink girl cheered, about six seats to Izuku's left. “My name is Mina Ashido! Never have I ever… Worn socks and sandals.” Okay, that was tamer than he'd been anticipating, but he took no shame in raising his hand. 

 

About half the class gasped in mock outrage at the half with raised hands, but they moved on quickly enough to… Minite? Mineta? 

 

“Never have I ever had SEX!” He practically yelled, rubbing his hands together and smiling creepily at the ponytail girl next to him. 

 

“You didn't even introduce yourself.” She pointed out, with an uncomfortable expression. “I don't think we need to answer that; I'll just have my turn. Ummm, I'm Momo Yaoyorozu, never have I ever… Gotten into a fight.”

 

Izuku figured lying on the first day would be pretty bad, so he raised his hand sheepishly. So did Ashido, though she did it proudly. 

 

“Ahh? Midoriya?! You got into a fight! But you're so nice?” Questioned Uraraka frantically, tugging at his arm. 

 

“Uhhhh…” He scratched the back of his neck a little anxiously, and tried not to turn into a puddle of nerves under his classmate's incredulous stares. “My friend got bullied a lot… So sometimes I had to step in…”

 

“But, Midoriya,” The frog girl (sorry, can't remember names yet) put a finger to her chin in thought. “Couldn't you have just called on a teacher? Wouldn't that have been more responsible?” 

 

He looked down at his lap sadly. “The teachers always blamed Kacchan, and they didn't care if he got hurt.”

 

Again, the girl replied. “Maybe they blamed him because it was actually his fault. Perhaps your friendship blinded-”

 

“No!” Izuku interrupted her, yelling unfairly. Everyone looked at him in shock, and he could only avert his eyes in embarrassment and let his short lived anger wane. “I mean… I'm sorry. I guess I'm just a bit protective of Kacchan, but it really wasn't his fault. He never punched back for fear of suspension, even though he's the strongest person I know! And he's a really good person; always treating me like his friend rather than some idol because of my quirk. He's… Grounding.”

 

His classmates nodded a little, and didn't appear too hurt by his outburst. It wasn't their fault that they didn't understand his friend- they'd never met him after all- plus the frog girl (Asu-something) seemed simply straightforward. Izuku took a breath to calm himself. 

 

“Sorry for assuming things, Midoriya-kun, it's clear that you care very much about this Kacchan person. Are you okay if we continue the game?”

 

“Sure!” He nodded, relieved for a new topic, and they turned to the boy next to Yaoyorozu. 

 

His appearance was odd, even in a world of quirks. He had a scar over his left eye and his hair was split perfectly evenly, red and white like ice cream. Heterochromic eyes regarded Izuku even now, despite all the attention being on him. 

 

“I'm Shouto,” Okay, so no last name, plus he didn't seem especially psyched to be playing the game. “I've never broken the law.”

 

The freckled boy wished he could bring up that this was too similar to the last one, just to save himself from raising his hand once again. He supposed he could always lie, but that would ruin the whole experience of becoming closer with his new classmates. No, it was a hero’s duty to be honest with their teammates. 

 

He raised his hand once again. 

 

“What?!” Almost everyone cried out in unison at his lone hand, but this time he didn't feel ashamed. When he'd admitted to getting into fights he'd been thinking of fights with other middle schoolers, which even to protect his friend was frowned upon. But he'd broken the law trying to save Kacchan’s life from a villain, and sure, he'd made it worse, but he wasn't ashamed to have tried. 

 

Confidently (ish), he explained. “Ten months ago my friend- yes, the same one- got captured by a villain who was trying to kill him.” He paused in speaking to lick his lips. “It was just luck really… I- I just’ve- I could've easily been the one attacked, and then… And then maybe I could've beaten the villain without anyone getting hurt.”

 

His lip trembled outside of his control, gulping back the painful lump in his throat. Uraraka reached for his hand but he pulled away- he didn't deserve her sympathy. 

 

“What happened?” Asked Kirishima, the guy who'd come first on the practical exam, with genuine compassion. This group of people… They made it easier to share his feelings, even if he knew less than half of their names. 

 

“I-” Izuku took another breath, pushing his fringe out of his face. “Kacchan was suffocating and I froze. It should've been me but… For so long I couldn't even move to help him. And when I did I was so stupidly reckless; I used my quirk in a way I barely even knew how. I trapped the villain but I hurt Kacchan too, and All Might had to show up and save him.” Shuddering, the freckled boy hugged his arms around himself. “He keeps telling me it's not my fault, that I tried my best to save him…”

 

Tears were beginning to fall, and this time he let Uraraka take his hand. Everyone was quiet now, and a fun little icebreaker had managed to bring up several issues he'd tried to push down. It was probably awkward for everyone else, to have to deal with a stranger’s problems on their first day as a hero student, but he was finding it hard to care. 

 

“You did.” Every head in the room snapped towards their teacher, who was still slouched on the floor and cocooned inside his yellow sleeping bag. One of his eyes was open and glaring, but also very tired. “You were an inexperienced middle schooler, so of course you wouldn't succeed completely against an adult villain daring enough to attack a child. All you can do now is strive to become better as a hero student; that's all any of you can do.”

 

It was anticlimactic when Aizawa just closed his eyes again, but his message had been absorbed by the class. Izuku blinked away the remaining dampness in his eyes, and thought to the future. 

 

He'd never let someone get hurt when he was there to save them, not ever again. 

 

 

Chapter Text

Kirishima Eijirou’s dreams came true the day he opened up his acceptance letter to UA.

 

He'd been so nervous that day, trying to drive his worries away by helping his mums cook and his younger siblings play. His efforts hadn't been successful, apparently, since Atsuko had run over to give him a hug whenever she saw him, babbling about helping her big brother.

 

Eijirou had thought for sure that he'd not been accepted. The written exam alone kicked his ass, despite his months of preparation, and imagining the questions like the ‘Assassination Classroom’ exams had been utterly unhelpful. The practical  seemed easier at the time though, and while 39 points had seemed fairly decent all of his hope had been crushed when Ashido told him she'd gotten 45.

 

Then, a ray of hope on Saturday morning as he moped on the sofa, as a letter arrived. All Might (All Might!!!) told him that he'd been accepted with the highest score out of anybody- making him the highest achiever of the hardest hero course entrance exam in the country.

 

It’d been unreal.

 

By now it had sunk in a little more, especially with a full day and a half of classes under his belt and waiting for their Heroics 101 teacher to arrive.

 

“Pssst,” Kaminari stretched round in his desk to talk to him, their first real chance all day. “Where'd you go at lunch?”

 

“I, hah,” Eijirou scratched the back of his neck, leaning forwards to reach and stabilise his new friend's teetering chair. This was going to be so embarrassing. “My mums wanted me to call and check in for the first couple of days… I guess we kept talking a bit too long, huh?”

 

He expected to be called a ‘mummy's boy’ or something equally unmanly, but Kaminari just shrugged. “You missed so much, dude, there's this cute girl in-”

 

At least he wasn't being mean, not that he'd expected it from the electric blond, but honestly Eijirou felt too hyped with nerves to pay attention to his latest crush. They'd been at UA for less than two days  and he was sure that Kaminari had already cycled through having a crush on every girl in their class, some twice over. But whatever, he was fun and bubbly and Eijirou couldn't complain too much when the other boy wasn't harassing girls in the corridors (like that creepy Mineta dude).

 

The door slammed open abruptly, cutting off all conversations and turning them into hushed whispers. The No1 Hero of all time stood at the door, leaning through to smile cheerfully at their awestruck class. So it was true; All Might really was teaching at UA now.

 

“I am here-” He yelled out, still leaning precariously on the doorframe, “To teach the next generation!”

 

Gasps ran across the room at his manly entrance, and Eijirou was starting to get pumped up just at the sight of such an impressive hero. His fists clenched on his desk and, instinctively, he sat up a little straighter- this man was everyone's role model, and perhaps he'd been more influenced by Crimson Riot but no one could argue that All Might wasn't the height of strength.

 

Though, the dark haired girl next to Kaminari seemed to disagree, as she winced and clutched her ears at the sudden volume.

 

The hero straightened up after a moment, moving towards the center of the room to address them. “UA is very near and dear to my heart, being my alma mater and all. It's so heartwarming to see it nurture such promising young talent, and I'm sure you'll all do great things one day!” He held up a jovial peace sign but even that couldn't take away from the encouraging message- such a stark contrast from Aizawa Sensei's nihilistic view of their futures.

 

“Sir!” Iida, who Eijirou had come to know as ‘serious glasses guy’ thanks to Kaminari, called out, hand painfully stretched up in the air. “I thought that the curriculum said you would be focusing on teaching third years, why are you also helping us?! Surely official documents would not lie-”

 

All Might laughed nervously, cutting the student off, and he swore he saw a bead of sweat travel down his face. “Calm down, Iida, all shall be explained…” He trailed off and rubbed his hands together, still smiling as brightly as the sun. It took a moment before he seemed sure of himself again, straightening back up to answer Iida’s question. “Whilst I am focusing primarily on class 3-A and class 3-B, Principal Nezu thought I'd also be able to aid younger students too; a learning experience for us all. I chose 1-A because it contains my dear friend- ah, no- student: Young Midoriya!” He gestured to Midoriya, who was sat shell shocked on the right of the room, and every head swivelled in his direction.

 

Eijirou couldn't really get over how many things revolved around him. He seemed like a cool guy, certainly very kind and sweet, but it was odd he just kept coming up. The redhead had recognised his name from a villain attack months ago when Midoriya had first been called on the register, then he'd explained his traumatic history with his ‘Kacchan’ friend during Never Have I Ever and now All Might was calling him his ‘dear student’. Everyone else seemed to be having a similar thought process as the boy turned the colour of Eijirou’s hair, face in his arms on the desk.

 

Once again, Iida’s hand shot up. “Surely UA wouldn't allow such blatant favour-”

 

“Anyway!” The No1 Hero beamed distractingly, hands clasped together. “Now that's explained, we must move onto the lesson before I, ugh, we run out of time!” Great save, All Might. The redhead chuckled to himself but still paid rapt attention to his teacher's next words. “Today you will all be partaking in a training exercise, focused on combat. A hero must always be prepared to fight villains even if they're primarily trained for rescue, so this class will be one of your most important!”

 

The other students once again focused on their new mentor, excitement rising as panels slowly started pushing out of the wall on their left. Each one had a number, from one to twenty, and seemed to contain… Costumes.

 

Eijirou practically stood up in anticipation, staring at the costumes and searching for his own number: 08.

 

“And of course, a hero isn't a hero without a signature look! Go get changed and we can begin the exercise.”

 

__



The day before, they'd gotten changed into their PE kit (which seemed unnecessary considering they had hero classes for exercise) but Eijirou was still surprised as he watched his peers getting changed (not in a pervy way!). They were such a diverse group of amazing quirks compared to his, all so strong and masculine as they chatted casually with one another.

 

There hadn't been much time to connect in their short stint at UA so far, but he could already feel the closeness his class shared. Midoriya's shocking openness the day before had made them all more comfortable, Eijirou thought, and the idea of making friends wasn't quite as daunting anymore- especially since he'd memorised almost everybody's names the night before.

 

In fact, the only person who seemed uncomfortable was Midoriya himself, as he used their ten minute break to continuously check his phone.

 

“Hey, dude.” The redhead greeted, walking over. His own costume was pretty easy to put on so he had plenty of time to try and help the other boy out with whatever was bothering him.

 

“Huh?” Midoriya gasped for a second and then relaxed, seeing it was just a classmate. “Oh, hah, hi, Kirishima-kun. Well done on the entrance exam, by the way, I meant to congratulate you yesterday but I guess it… Slipped my mind.”

 

Eijirou sat down on the bench next to him, leaning back before speaking. “No worries, man, I just wanted to see if you were doing alright; you've barely changed out of your uniform.” He pointed out, gesturing at the other's half buttoned shirt (which showed of his impressive abs, hot damn).

 

Midoriya seemed surprised at his own speed, and rushed to grab his hero costume from the tray. It's overall design was pretty strange: a turquoise jumpsuit with orange flames dancing up the sleeves, black highlights at every joint. Not the sort of style he'd expect such a sweet guy to have, but to be fair Eijirou himself had gone from meek brunette to lively redhead in the last week. The other boy’s costume also seemed kind of thick, like it was insulated, and had especially chunky belt and shoulder pads.

 

“Your costume is…” He tried, gesturing uselessly as Midoriya pulled it on.

 

“Weird?” He replied, biting his lip. “Yeah, I'm surprised the support company didn't change it up. My mum and I thought up the base, you know, the torso? But then I let Kacchan help me with the sleeves and accents, and, hah, he managed to talk me into… This .” He sighed and shook his head fondly, tugging on a black glove.

 

“Is that who you were texting earlier? Your friend, umm, Kacchan?”

 

Midoriya's eyes widened and he seemed to unconsciously reach for his phone, before pulling his hand back. “It was that obvious, huh?” The boy folded into himself, now fully dressed. “I wasn't really texting him, just checking to see if he'd messaged me. We're both at UA together, you see, but we're not in the same class so I told him to text me anytime if he needed something.”

 

Oh. Okay. So they were dating , that made so much sense!

 

Midoriya was so worried about his ‘friend’ because he was actually his boyfriend, and no wonder when they both seemed so nice. Eijirou’s current image of ‘Kacchan’ was a 5ft nothing guy with rosy cheeks and an even smilier face than Midoriya's- why else would the latter feel so strongly about keeping him safe? Clearly the two were dating and keeping it quiet, so the redhead would also keep his mouth closed. It wasn't manly to out somebody!

 

“It must be so cool to have your best ‘ friend ’ coming to your school!” He beamed at the other, sure a deeper level of understanding now existed between them. He'd have to keep a look out for Kacchan; check in 1-B for the most adorable male student and go from there.

 

Midoriya didn't really react, only standing up when Iida called for them to form a line. “You'd think…”

 

__



Everyone had to draw lots to decide who teamed with who, which was pretty simple. Izuku still felt a bit uncomfortable from the previous day, but he sucked it up as the class crowded around All Might.

 

His costume felt strange to wear, and not just because of the odd harness-thing. It was a heater, to generate thermal energy for him in battle so that he didn't have to rely on climate. He contained it in his belt and shoulder pads (both black with orange spikes) and they connected through straps across his torso. The lining of his suit was also an insulator, to protect himself, and his red sneakers had grips on the bottom to ensure he didn't slip if he made ice again. With all of that going on, Izuku couldn't believe the most uncomfortable part of it all was how foreign the design was.

 

He loved Kacchan and his mum. But, in all honesty, they'd taken over the creation of his aesthetic and left him to deal with all the technical stuff. They meant well, and the freckled boy certainly cherished their contributions, but the colours clashed and people kept giving him side glances, even if they were trying not to.

 

He hated to embarrass himself yet again, after the fiasco the day before.

 

“Okay, students, it's time for me to choose your teams!” All Might reached into a beanie (Jirou’s, apparently) to pick out two names. He was supposed to be doing this for every team up to letter K, in an attempt to replicate the randomness of fighting with other pros on the streets. “Alright, Team A is Uraraka and Hagakure, B is Shishida and Mineta, C is Kirishima and Midoriya, D is Yaoyorozu and Todoroki, E is Satou and Kouda, F is Jirou and Kaminari, H is Tsuyu and Tokoyami, I is Ashido and Ojirou, J is Aoyama and Sero, and finally K is Iida and Shouji. You now have two minutes to tell your teammate about the specifics of your quirk!”

 

At least he was with Kirishima, who seemed friendly. In fact, the moment All Might finished speaking he came bounding over to Izuku like a golden retriever hyped up on sugar. With his idol watching, the freckled boy couldn't bare to disappoint him by failing- he and Kirishima had to win.

 

__



They got to watch from a surveillance room as the first team had their go. According to All Might, the rules were pretty simple: two teams of two fought each other inside a multi-storey building. One of the teams were ‘villains’ and had to protect a fake bomb, while the other team, ‘heroes’, had to find and touch the bomb within fifteen minutes else they'd lose. Each team had comms and capture tape- also fairly standard.

 

Izuku was focusing all of his attention on the screen in front of him to try and absorb information. Uraraka and Hagakure were preparing their ‘villain base’ to withstand Mineta (the guy obsessed with sex) and Shishida (the half beast guy with glasses).

 

“Watch carefully and learn from their strategies! A good pro should be able to evolve!” Instructed All Might, and the freckled boy nodded distantly, gaze still fixed on the monitors across the wall.

 

The observation room was stuffy and cramped, especially with sixteen teenagers and an 8ft pro hero inside, but Izuku had still clawed his way to the front. Kirishima had followed him, and was now standing by his side, also staring intently as Uraraka mutely spoke to apparently thin air.

 

“Hey,” Kirishima turned over to All Might. “Can we get audio? It's really weird to watch Uraraka-kun talk to herself when we can't even hear her.”

 

The No1 hero only chuckled, even though most of the class nodded at their peer's request. “I can hear them, don't worry, and I think you will appreciate how their plan comes to fruition! The girls are doing well to say they have limited understanding of their opponent's abilities.”

 

He hoped so; Uraraka was so kind and thoughtful that Izuku wanted her to succeed in this exercise… But Shishida looked like he had a lot of brute force, and neither her nor Hagakure's quirks could face that. He figured, had they been the hero team instead, they would have had a better chance, but as it stood he doubted they'd last even the fifteen minutes.

 

Thanks to Kacchan, Izuku knew better than to judge a person on their quirk alone, but even just a minute into the match it was looking hopeless. Shishida was saying something to Mineta, who looked exerted and desperate (not from physical strain though… Ew…) and from his hand gestures he looked to have a pretty straightforward plan of attack: charge them. Worse yet, the freckled boy knew that was their best strategy; use their extra muscle to overwhelm Uraraka and Hagakure whilst they were still unprepared.

 

Meanwhile, the girls’ plan was not understandable, though Uraraka looked pretty pumped up. The freckled boy also had no clue where Hagakure had run off to, or if she was even still with her teammate.

 

Shishida and Mineta ran up the stairs towards the girls’ floor, checking every room for the bomb as they went. Izuku could see Uraraka floating a bunch of tables and chairs in her base and moving them to block the bomb, which would slow them down but not a lot. They'd picked the top floor to set up as well: also a good choice as far as he was concerned, since it gave them precious extra time as the boys ran up all those stairs (at some point Hagakure must have disabled the elevators).

 

“You think they'll win?” Asked a blond guy, Kaminari, as he gestured to the screen with Uraraka.

 

Mina, who stood next to him, nodded excitedly. “I hope so! That short guy tried to look up my skirt earlier and righteous feminist vengeance is the strongest force imaginable!”

 

Kaminari seemed to move away from her sheepishly, which Izuku chuckled at before focusing back on the screen… To see Mineta bound in tape and stuck on the third floor.

 

“What?!” He turned to Kirishima, looking similarly shocked, and then back at the rest of the room.

 

“Midoriya-kun,” Yaoyorozu, one of the only people still composed and not frozen in disbelief, went to answer him. “You missed Hagakure taking the capture tape with her and meeting with Shishida and Mineta. They were focused on one another and did not notice a circle of tape floating around until Mineta was already captured. The girls utilised their disadvantage of not having power based quirks to prey on their opponents’ confidence, as they did not care to be vigilant even when they were facing an invisible opponent. With Mineta out Shishida will likely become nervous and paranoid of Hagakure, negatively impacting his performance in the exercise. As you can see, he's already moving more slowly and looking over his shoulder consistently, increasing the amount of time it will take to reach the villains’ base. If Uraraka is lucky, time will run out before Shishida gets there.”

 

Yaoyorozu turned out to be almost 100% correct. Izuku could only marvel at her intelligence as Shishida spent twelve whole minutes just triple checking everything up to the eighth floor. By the time he arrived it was clear he was overcome with nerves, his quirk threatening to activate if the sweat beaded on his furry forehead was any indication. The shock of opening a door to see over a dozen floating pieces of furniture made him lose his composure, and Izuku watched in wonderment as he transformed; muscles rippling through his form and stretching his costume until he was at least fifteen foot tall and breaking through the wall (and the ceiling).

 

He had to pause momentarily to work out how to get into the room- long enough for Uraraka to send several chairs flying at him. By the time it was all said and done, the girls were the winners and the seemingly obvious champions had been humiliated.

 

Well, Izuku had known that quirks couldn't determine everything from the start.

Chapter Text

Historically, two days into any school year was usually when Katsuki figured out which students and teachers would be his biggest problems, so leaving Aunty Inko's apartment that morning hadn't been easy. Plus, it certainly didn't help that Deku had been asking at every chance available how he was getting on at school, clearly not understanding that he didn't want to talk about it. At least that morning his friend was too hyped for his first lesson with All Might to be too annoying. 

 

Upon arriving to homeroom six seconds before the bell, Katsuki schooled himself to remain calm and rational. Katana seemed to have an effect on his more vindictive classmates, so the most he'd received past her warning was a snide remark or two from purple bitch and a couple of angry glares- nothing he couldn't handle with the utmost ease. 

 

Just go to school, learn, go to university, cure cancer and laugh at those who doubted him. Easy as pie. 

 

"First period is PE, which I will be teaching you. This should not be a surprise if you memorised your time table, as I suggested." Katana Sensei addressed them sternly, arms folded across her chest. She was a good teacher so far, but Katsuki figured she'd show her true colours soon enough. 

 

The buff girl raised her hand from the middle row, and their teacher motioned for her to speak. "What kind of PE does general studies take part in? Are we allowed to use our quirks?" God, he hoped not. 

 

"Yes," Shit, which deity had it out for him? "As UA students you're all permitted to use your quirks on school grounds."

 

This was going to be Hell. Katsuki had been of the quite relaxing belief that, for once in his life, he could keep his quirk secret with only the Deku knowing about it. But of course UA would allow even these losers to use their abilities, even if they'd never get the chance in the future. 

 

"You look pale, worried we're about to humiliate you?" Asked Toutsu Zankokuna once they were in the changing rooms, Katsuki's second least favourite classmate so far (beaten only by Purple Bitch) since he'd grabbed his collar and breathed his foul breath at his face the day prior. He was a tall lanky guy with greasy ginger hair and a pair of sly grey eyes. He didn't know his quirk yet, but he hoped it required turning into a steaming pile of shit to activate. 

 

Instead of voicing such thoughts, he instead pulled his PE shirt over his head. 

 

"Ignoring me, hah? You'll regret that when I'm a successful hero and you're just some helpless civilian." He taunted, and Katsuki clenched his fists, glaring at the floor. "Awww, did I strike a nerve? Or are you just scared cos Katana Sensei isn't here to bail you out again?" 

 

"Fuck off," He muttered, pulling away from where Zankokuna had leant down to get in his face. 

 

The other only snickered. "Hah, Blondie? You say something?" 

 

Katsuki took a brief, beautiful few seconds to imagine knocking his teeth out. But, alas, that would get him expelled. 

 

He took a deep breath in. "I said fuck off, asshole. You're just an overzealous whiner who got rejected from the hero course; you're not fucking special." Zankokuna was fuming but Katsuki still took a risky moment to glance at the classmates watching their exchange, only stick his middle finger up at them. "The same goes for you lot. I don't need your shitty half-assed dreams getting in the way of my aspirations."

 

And with that, he strolled out of the room before any of them could strangle him. 

 

__

 

 

The walk to the field was tense, and not just because he could feel his livid male classmates breathing down his neck. He needed to come up with a plan, otherwise he'd be humiliated. His quirk was shitty so it might even be beneficial to call himself quirkless, but Katana likely had a record of his power and wouldn't let that slide (she seemed kind of obsessed with justice and honesty for some reason). Katsuki also considered just getting by with false confidence; perhaps if he acted like his quirk was the best one in the world then the others would find it hard to use it against him? 

 

Or maybe he'd misjudged the worth of his classmates` powers and theirs were all almost as pathetic as his. 

 

"For this class we need to have a baseline of your abilities. Your middle schools gave us your results from your third year but that's without factoring in quirks. Therefore, we do eight tests at the beginning of each year to confirm your abilities. Any questions?" 

 

There were none, so Katana continued. 

 

"For safety purposes I would like you each to each tell everyone about your quirk, so that any surprising backlash does not cause avoidable injury."

 

Katsuki was starting to think this teacher hated him already, but he did comply… Even if he did let everyone else go first to excitedly reveal their quirks. A lot of them talked about unnecessary specifics to show off, which was a poor choice considering the Sports Festival was in just a month. 

 

His worst fears had also been confirmed: they all had great quirks. Much better than the ones from his middle school, and it totally explained why they were so sure that under different circumstances they could have made it into the hero course. Zankokuna had some strength/pain quirk that he kept pretty quiet about, Ikari (the buff girl) had a quirk that copied animal strengths and Purple Bitch (apparently called Shinsou) had brainwashing, that he also seemed averse to discussing. People gave him a few side glances when he told them but Katsuki didn't particularly care as long as he didn't use it to get him expelled… Which was now beginning to seem likely, shit. 

 

Nineteen people talked about nineteen kind of really incredible quirks before he got the chance, and he was starting to regret not going first. The 'worst' one so far had been the ability to shoot lasers from their eyes but only for fifteen seconds, as in no less or more time. And even that was way better than his pathetic power. 

 

"Bakugou." Katana motioned at him, making him realise he'd been silent past the beginning few moments of his turn. His classmates were pretending to hide obvious snickers at his flushed face, but Katsuki couldn't exactly snarl at the losers with the teacher so close. 

 

 "I-" His voice cracked in the most mortifying display of nerves he'd ever felt, and a few of the bolder students began outright laughing, uncaring that Katana could hear them. 

 

"We don't have all day." She reminded him, but also cut off the laughs from the crowd. 

 

He nodded and schooled his features into the most threatening snarl he could manage with his soft skin and plump cheeks. "My quirk is glycerin." There was no need to elaborate so long as no one asked-

 

"What the fuck is that?" An especially dumb looking guy with pointy ears and a forked tongue asked, looking at both Zankokuna and Katana for guidance. 

 

She sighed, looking at her watch. "Bakugou, just explain your quirk so we can do the lesson."

 

"Fine," He agreed sharply, before softening his tone a bit. This was his teacher; she'd be difficult enough to deal with without directly antagonising her. "I swear glycerin- like moisturiser. That's my quirk."

 

And 3… 2… 1-

 

Katsuki doubted he could name a classmate who wasn't almost choking on their laughter. A couple of the girls were restraining themselves to just giggles but everyone else acted like he'd told the funniest joke of all time. 

 

Previously, he'd never had the unfortunate luck of telling people about his quirk. Teachers had just revealed it to his classes, under the guise of 'protection'. They'd said stuff like 'watch out for poor Bra- Bakugou, he can't look after himself~' and he'd just dealt with the aftermath. But now he was the source of information and somehow it was so much worse. 

 

Thirty seconds later people were calming down, though it seemed mostly due to Katana’s angry scowl. Still, the students were sure to throw in a couple of choice remarks before the class moved on. 

 

"That's such a useless quirk, isn't it?" 

 

"I don't know, it would be good for a girl's beauty regimen."

 

"Psh, so he's just some sissy with a girly quirk? And he called us pathetic."

 

"Hey, don't call him girly; that's an insult to us." 

 

"You're right, he's too worthless to-" 

 

"That is enough!" Katana's voice rose over them, and they slipped into silence once again. Katsuki blinked to make sure his eyes hadn't watered (he was safe) and tried not to bite his lip too hard. "If you're all serious about becoming heroes," was she really about to chastise them for their comments? He felt almost giddy with the thought. "Then you shouldn't be wasting your limited training time for such childish behaviour. I do not condone my students wasting lessons."

 

Meh, he should have known it was too good to be true. At least she hadn't joined in, and the next hour would distract his classmates as they showed off their own abilities. Still, his perception of his new teacher soured, and he decided not all heroes were even close to All Might in a trait as simple as compassion. 

 

__

 

 

Izuku and Kirishima were the villain team against Iida and Shouji. It wasn't… Ideal, to be honest, since he kind of wanted to show off his heroism, not pretend to be a villain. At least it was all fake. 

 

"You've got a plan, right, Midoriya-kun?" The redhead smiled brightly at him as they entered the building. 

 

They had ten minutes of preparation time to choose which floor the bomb would be on and to set up defences around it, which seemed like a lot but Izuku knew their situation was dire. From what Kirishima told him, he had a simple hardening quirk- interesting and strong, but impressive that he ranked first place in the entrance exam with it. That meant it was probably pretty powerful and he'd be great at defence, but their team was lacking a way to trap their opponents. 

 

Mineta had sticky balls (ugh) that stuck to people, Sero had tape from his elbows and Tsuyu could wrap people up with her tongue. They didn't need to rely on the small bit of capture tape they were given to immobilise their opponents. Even Todoroki and Yaoyorozu had solely used the former's ice to win against Kouda and Satou in a landslide. Meanwhile, Izuku and Kirishima would have to use the tape to capture the opposing team, which would likely only be possible if they had a major element of surprise (like Hagakure) or if they beat their opponents unconscious. Otherwise, they would be forced to continuously ward them off for the full fifteen minutes. 

 

"Umm, dude..? You're muttering." His teammate waved a hand in front of his face, causing Izuku to break out of his rambling stream with an embarrassed squeak. "You okay, man?" 

 

He chuckled lowly as they kept walking through the building. "Ah, yeah, I just don't realise I'm talking out loud sometimes." He took in a deep breath and forced his humiliation to wane. "Anyway, the best plan I can think of is still only subpar. Iida's quirk is engine, so he has incredible speed which he will likely utilise to catch us off guard. It's useful for both combat and agility, so if he gets into our stronghold we're pretty much doomed. That means we need to distract him if we're going to keep him away from the bomb, else he'll just run and touch it in the first minute. Meanwhile, Shouji's quirk is unknown. In the tests on the first day all he really showed was his strength and obviously his multiple arms, but I'd suspect there's more to it than that. However, we know he isn't as fast as Iida since his score in the speed trial was only average. This makes him less of a priority than Iida. 

 

"Therefore, the best plan is to split the two up immediately. In combat you're better against strong opponents thanks to your quirk, so I believe you should be the one to wait for them near the entrance whilst I guard the weapon. Your hardening will prevent them from seriously injuring you, and you should focus your attacks on Iida so that he cannot get to the bomb. Though, if Shouji presents himself as the bigger threat deal with that accordingly. Keep your comms on at all times so I can hear what's happening and can act in response if something particularly bad occurs. Once you've immobilised Iida, I will join you to beat Shouji. Any questions?"

 

Kirishima looked a little lost, and Izuku realised he might have just overloaded his teammate's brain with information. No offense to the redhead, but he was one of the lowest ranking students in academic terms and he'd have probably been better off with a cliff notes version of the plan. A simple: 'keep your comms on, focus on Iida and don't let him near the weapon' would have probably sufficed. 

 

"Okay," Kirishima said once he'd regained the majority of his brain cells and they'd reached the room for the bomb. It was a small room on the first floor so Iida could not build up speed (he hoped). "I think I get what you're saying, but why don't you just use your quirk? I mean, you didn't tell us the specifics but you could just give them both heatstroke and be done with it, right, man?" 

 

Izuku nodded slowly as he checked the time- just a few minutes left now. Everything was in place; he'd welded the elevator doors shut on their way over and Kirishima had wrecked the stairs so their opponents couldn't drop in from above. Well, they could, but would need to break open the elevator or waste time climbing broken stairs. Without the bomb upstairs they would not be driven to such lengths. 

 

"I could try that, and it might be more efficient. However, I'm still not great with precision moves on a moving target. Shouji is slow enough for me to target but, once again, Iida is the larger problem since he can outrun my quirk right now, and whilst I could burn him alive even if he's running, I feel like that's against the rules of both UA and heroics. Plus, giving him extra heat could fuel his exhaust pipes before he passes out, actually improving his performance. There are simply too many risks to rely on my quirk."

 

Kirishima smiled in understanding. "Wow! People in this hero course are so smart; first Yaoyorozu and now you. You think this stuff through so much! Okay, I guess I've got to go meet them at the entrance- don't worry, you can count on me."

 

Izuku returned his bright expression and waved as he left, before welding the door to the stronghold shut. It was a futile precaution in some ways, since both Iida and Shouji had the strength to break it down, but it would buy them a few extra moments if their plan failed. 

 

His hero costume included a digital (and near indestructible) watch, which he checked continuously until All Might's voice called over the speakers that the exercise had begun. His hero… Teaching him, guiding him. 

 

Izuku could not lose. 

 

Over comms, he could already hear the beginnings of an interaction. 

 

*Stop, villain! Surrender and you will not be harmed!* Iida's voice crackled over, sounding righteous as ever. He was clearly treating this how the most by-the-books hero ever would, which might become an advantage later on…

 

*Hmmm, nah! We're going to blow up this, uh, theme park!* Was Kirishima also getting into his role? Izuku supposed that was part of the training but it might be distracting. Plus, did he really have to say theme park? That wasn't true at all. 

 

There was a slight rustle of noise and a quiet 'ew' from his teammate before anyone else spoke. *We know the weapon is here on the ground floor, two doors down on the left of that corridor.* There was a muffled sigh- Shouji's, since he'd been the one speaking- before he continued. *Please just give in.*

 

Thankfully, Kirishima did not listen to him and followed the plan. Izuku strained to hear the exact sounds of the battle but he listened as the redhead charged at someone, pulling out a groan that definitely belonged to Iida, just as he told him to. 

 

A part of him felt cowardly for hiding away as his teammate fought valiantly, but Izuku's more logical half reminded him that this was their best strategy. Earlier when they'd been explaining their quirks to one another, Kirishima told him his quirk lasted about ten minutes, longer if he only hardened certain parts of himself at once. That was most of their allotted time, so if he could keep it up then Shouji and Iida would have to fight continuously against one opponent before moving onto a fresh, not tired one. And that was if both of them even lasted to face off against Izuku. 

 

He went back to concentrating on the comms, hearing a vague smash- possibly a window? 

 

*Midoriya! I shoved Shouji halfway through a window but Iida used the tape on me from behind and ran off!* Kirishima's words sent a chill down his spine as turned to the door of the strong hold, only to hear something thump against it. 

 

Of course, Iida was intelligent too, and very invested in heroics. Izuku couldn't say if he realised his plan or not, but his opponent certainly used their two-against-one advantage well, sacrificing Shouji to take out Kirishima since Iida himself was more likely to win on his own out of the two of them. It even tracked with his pantomime of acting like this was a real situation: hero code stated that, in fatal situations, you should put the lives of the public above your teammate. Thousands of people would die if this were a real bomb that got activated… 

 

His classmate knocked down the door with a swift kick, or rather ripped a hole in the metal with his calf alone since the smelted hinges were still intact. 

 

Panting, Iida pointed an accusing finger at him. "Halt, villain, you have been trapped! Step away from the weapon immediately!" 

 

Slowly, Izuku raised both of his arms in surrender, looking between the bomb and his opponent. His new plan was risky to say the least… But it could give them the win. Besides, if this continued as it was then Iida would have time to tackle him before he could use his quirk against him. 

 

"No, cowardly hero," If this was going to work he'd have to role play too. "You will be the one to surrender, otherwise I will detonate this bomb."

 

The other tilted his head in confusion, and looked at the fake bomb. "That's impossible; it only explodes on impact after being fired. Your trickery will not allow your escape this time, you scoundrel!" 

 

"That's what you think!" Was he doing an accent now? God, this was more fun than he thought it would be. "My quirk lets me rapidly increase an object's temperature, and would thus allow me to detonate the bomb prematurely, destroying this, uh, theme park immediately."

 

Hia opponent's face morphed into a shocked expression, one hand over his heart for extra dramatic effect. "You would sacrifice your own life, and the life of your partner, simply to evade capture? You're bluffing!" 

 

Izuku smiled as he came up with something else. "No, this was my plan from the beginning. Kirishima was just hired muscle for extra protection as I set up the weapon. If it detonates down here the entire block will be incinerated and many lives will end. I knew you would try to thwart me, and I allowed it, so I could watch the hopeless look on your face as I killed hundreds of innocent people!" He schooled his expression into the murder glare that Kacchan had perfected, and Iida actually winced. 

 

"... Such cruel drive… How can I save these civilians?"

 

Er, how would he do that? Izuku couldn't actually blow up the weapon since that would probably disqualify his team, and he'd just said he wanted to do this all along. Plus, his poor acting was not doing him any favours. 

 

"If you, umm, surrender yourself to me right now then I will let these people live! Killing you would be satisfying but I feel like I'd get more enjoyment out of months of torturing you. So, what will it be, 'hero'?" 

 

Iida actually teared up and had to wipe the moisture away, but wrapped his own wrists in capture tape nevertheless. Seconds later, All Might's voice boomed over the speakers. 

 

*The villain team… WINS!!!" 

 

__

 

 

"The MVP of this match is young Midoriya, can anyone tell me why?" All Might smiled at him as he said it, and Izuku almost started bawling. He was proud of him- a dream come true. 

 

"I-" 

 

"Okay, Yaoyorozu, maybe let someone else take this one?" 

 

"It was because he was super hard-core!" Ashido cheered, jumping excitedly and grinning brightly at him, causing a slight blush. "He didn't even use his quirk whilst fighting and he still convinced Iida to tie himself up- it was rad!" Iida let out a muffled sob from his left, and in his peripheral he saw Kirishima squeeze his arm supportively. 

 

"Plus," Kaminari shot finger guns at the redhead. "He totally made up a great plan for both him and Kirishima."

 

"And he used Iida's own morals against him." Added Asui- wait, no- Tsuyu thoughtfully. 

 

They thought so highly of his skills, even after he'd made nothing but a fool of himself for the last two days. They were so kind hearted and accepting, truly the next generation of heroes- Izuku would be honoured to work alongside them. In fact, he actually was about to start crying now. 

 

"Very good, students! Young Midoriya used his knowledge of his opponents' quirks to construct an impressive plan in such little time. He then decided to leave most of the combat to his better suited teammate, even if he would have preferred to do the fighting himself. Their base location was strategic and thought out, and not easy to break into for most people. Then, even as his first plan ultimately failed, Midoriya quickly thought of a new one specifically targeted at Iida. Most other opponents would have realised the bluff, but due to his strong sense of justice Iida did not take time to properly consider if the villain was lying, or whether he could stop the villain if they chose to detonate the bomb anyway. Kirishima did follow the plan but lost focus in the fight and got captured, similar to Shouji." All Might clapped him a little too hard on the back and beamed. "Well done today, everybody, but I've got to get going! No major injuries is commendable, but I warn you to not lose vigilance in the future!"

 

And with that the No1 hero sped off, leaving them all to chat about their first combat lesson at UA. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

As soon as they opened the door, returning to Aunty Inko's apartment, both boys were crushed in a hug. 

 

"Oh my God, are you both okay? You didn't get hurt in combat training did you, Izuku? Katsuki, were the teachers okay?!" Her emotional state was similar to her son's, as she too couldn't resist blubbering at the slightest thing. 

 

Katsuki carefully pried her arms off of himself, and considered a way of sneaking into Deku's room without A) upsetting the only parental figure he had left or B) getting immediately found out for being actually upset (but only barely). 

 

"Combat training was really good! We-" He stopped listening after that since he'd already been given a way too detailed description of Deku's entire fucking day. In some ways the rambling was calming, but in more ways it made him want to pull his hair out after an already stressful day. He knew his friend would win! In his mind there was no doubt about it, so he did not need an essay about how great his new friends' personalities were to understand the outcome of his day. It. Was. Just. Not. Necessary. 

 

But Aunty Inko ate it all up with impressive patience and enthusiasm, so Katsuki didn't want to be the ungrateful teenager who stormed off into his room (re Deku's room) just because he was a little moody. 

 

"What about you, Katsuki? Did everything go okay?" She asked after twenty minutes, once her son was finally too out of breath to continue talking. 

 

"S'fine." He muttered impassively, crossing his arms and turning his head to the side. 

 

Neither of them looked particularly convinced, dumb worry warts. 

 

"Kacchan…" Deku looked at him with shiny eyes, reaching out to hold his hands- as if he needed the support or whatever. "They're not bullying you again, are they?" 

 

Yes. "No."

 

"Aizawa Sensei is really nice, maybe we could-" 

 

"I said no, Deku!" He spat out sharply, and while his friend remained unbothered his aunty did flinch, so he took a moment to breathe. "I just mean- look, I- I've not got a scratch on me, have I? I don't want to be fucking interrogated, and I especially don't want some shitty teacher involving himself in my problems, okay?" 

 

He nodded glumly but let the issue drop all the same as Inko started talking about dinner, and who would help with what. Katsuki agreed to do the harder stuff both because he needed a distraction and Deku was as hopeless in the kitchen as he was with everything else. 

 

Dinner passed by quickly, with Aunty telling them about her day at work fixing this little girl's ballet leotard. It was a sweet story but there was still tension at the table and Inko's brief mention of his parents did not help whatsoever. 

 

She wasn't being malicious or anything, just concerned as always. Last time he'd seen or heard from them was four months ago, when his dad had skyped him from their latest 'business' trip. They might as well move to Paris at this point, wouldn't make much difference and they could sell the house. His dad knew he was at UA but he doubted the guy had the balls to tell his mum, so she was currently blissfully unaware that her son was gallivanting around the top hero school in the country- which she'd surely scorn him for. 

 

They cleaned up and went to Deku's room, leaving Inko to watch soaps on their small television. As soon as the door shut, Katsuki knew he wouldn't be getting any peace and quiet. 

 

"I know you're hiding something." Deku paced around his room as the other flopped down onto the bed defeatedly. 

 

"You shouldn't worry so much; you'll get wrinkles."

 

"Says you, scowling like that isn't doing you any favours either." He took a deep breath and sat down next to his head. "And stop distracting me!" 

 

"Look," Katsuki threw an arm over his face. "No one is beating me to a pulp after lessons and the teacher isn't verbally abusing me at every possible chance. I'm fine." He rolled over so his back was facing his friend. "I wish you'd invest as much fucking interest into me as you do my safety, you dumbass."

 

Deku probably heard his mutter, but whatever, he knew better than to pity him by now. 

 

"I- okay, Kacchan. I'm sorry." The other boy laid down next to him, breath tickling the back of his neck softly. "How did your day go?" 

 

He didn't push the nerd off since he was warm and comfy, and he told him about his day (cliff notes version without the mean remarks). 

 

"Then I had lunch in the library-" He lied. 

 

"They let you do that?" No, he checked. "Wouldn't it be easier to sit in the cafeteria even if you want to study? You can sit with me and my new friends!" Right, 'new' friends. 

 

"Come on, idiot, haven't you noticed that the lunch times are staggered? You go to lunch twenty minutes before me and I leave twenty minutes after you, plus I don't want to sit with the losers in the hero course." He snapped, reaching for a dumb All Might pillow to hold onto. Wasn't it a bit weird to have a duvet covered in your teacher's face? 

 

Deku chuckled at that, leaning further into him. "Are they really so bad?" 

 

"Yes." He replied pettily. 

 

"Aww, even me?" 

 

"Especially you."

 

This time his friend actually laughed, ignoring Katsuki as he shifted round to swat at him, noses inches apart. 

 

"Good night." He muttered sleepily, letting himself lean into Deku's hold after a few moments. 

 

The other remained quiet for a few seconds, stroking his hair calmly, before-

 

"Kacchan, it's seven!" 

 

__

 

 

A few days later, Katsuki found himself eating lunch in a janitor's closet on the first floor, reenacting his middle school days. 

 

Obviously he wasn't scared of the cafetaria. In fact, he hadn't even stepped foot inside it yet so he couldn't really pass any judgement- it was just… A little daunting. His only friend was Deku, who would already be sat with his annoying new friends by the time he got to lunch. If he were to sit with him that also meant tolerating hero students, who were mostly awful people pretending to be kind for the cameras… Except Deku. 

 

Then there was the whole issue of his only friend going back to class earlier than him. It didn't seem like his own classmates would physically beat him up, but he didn't doubt they'd utilise any opportunity to offer him hurtful comments and hateful words. Plus, they could tease him about having a friend in the hero department despite scorning their aspirations, which was even less appealing and more irritating. 

 

So, on that first day of class, he'd found this lovely, little closest and made it his home. 

 

It was nicer than his previous one- a bit roomier. He was still eating rice less than a foot away from some bleach and a pile of mops, but UA's janitor also cleaned their own cupboard so it felt more hygienic. The phone service was also way better than Katsuki was used to, so he could stream All Might's fights right below the No1 Hero himself's office. 

 

If only the people were as nice. 

 

The door handle to his lunch room (re hiding place) twisted abruptly, and his eyes shot up to the now opening door. A girl, probably a second or third year, was on the other side, and damn she was pretty. Katsuki didn't have much preference when it came to gender, though he liked to think he wasn't very interested in romance to begin with, but this student was breathtaking. 

 

She wore a high ponytail of dark hair, with light skin framing her hazel eyes and even the befuddled look on her face couldn't ruin the image. Also, she had fucking massive cleavage that had no business belonging to a high schooler.

 

Katsuki was mostly just trying to avert his eyes from her chest by the time she actually spoke, humiliation from being found in a closet momentarily forgotten. 

 

"Uh… Hi. What are you doing in here?" And with that, the spell ended. Katsuki glared up at the girl, who was still stood awkwardly in the doorway, and grit his teeth. God, he hated to be reminded that people spoke. 

 

"I could ask you the same thing!" He snapped, ineffectively since she just raised an eyebrow at his position on the floor. 

 

Undeterred by his aggression, she replied: "The cafeteria is too crowded so I thought I'd look for another one, but apparently this unmarked door was not the right one…"

 

Of course this door was unmarked! Katsuki did not want anyone to realise he was eating his lunch in a closet like a loser, that was a secret shared only between him, the janitor and the brooms… And now this other student.

 

Also, how the fuck could she believe there'd be two cafeterias? Even UA could only afford one massive one; that's why the students' lunchtimes were staggered! 

 

"Are you dumbass or what?! How damn prissy do you have to be to seriously believe that a high school would have a secret, extra cafeteria?" He asked savagely, cradling his bento subconsciously. 

 

The girl frowned but didn't really retaliate, before blinking in some sort of realisation." I'm sorry, I haven't introduced myself," She apologised, like she genuinely thought that was the reason for his hostility (had she taken etiquette lessons or something?). She placed a hand over her heart and offered him a tentative smile. "My name is Yaoyorozu Momo, and it's nice to meet you."

 

Oh. Ohhhhh. She probably did have etiquette lessons because she was rich. Katsuki ignored her outstretched hand to instead ponder the height of her wealth- no wonder she assumed there would be a quieter, private lunch room when her weekly pocket money was probably enough to end world hunger. 

 

"Your family runs Yaoyorozu Enterprises, doesn't it?" He grumbled out, and Yaoyorozu lit up at the recognition, pulling back her unshaken hand without any sign of embarrassment. 

 

"Yes!" She clasped her hands together, as though no one else had noted her extensive fortune previously, before her expression soured once more. "Though, you still haven't introduced yourself. And you're sat in a… Mop closet?" 

 

He rolled his eyes, but figured she'd piss off if he replied. "My name is Bakugou, and I'm in here because I… Also wanted some fucking peace and quiet."

 

Yaoyorozu did not appear to catch his implication that she should leave, rather choosing to focus on who he was. "Wait, you're Bakugou? You came first in the academic portion of the entrance exam, and your scores are nationally ranked!" She closed the door (finally) and came down to sit next to him in the already cramped space (Hell no). "It was so inspiring to see such talent grace the hero course!" 

 

He physically recoiled from where her arm brushed his, and she reached forwards reflexively to see if he was alright. 

 

Of fucking course yet another person would assume UA was only worthwhile for its hero track, even a student themselves. Yaoyorozu, or Ponytail as he'd now chosen to christen her, was probably yet another hero wannabe, only a successful one. Would that make her more or less vile than his classmates? He didn't know, but guys like Zankokuna had already tarnished his perception of those who wanted to 'help' people regardless. 

 

"I'm not some dumb hero student, Ponytail. I'm in General Studies." He growled, which did nothing to remove her concerned demeanour. Instead, she looked thoughtful. 

 

A few moments of thinking later, not only was she still annoyingly situated in his closet, but she had also come to a conclusion. 

 

"You're getting picked on." She assumed, worried eyes glancing over his tense frame. "Since you're not in the hero course you don't have the physical skills necessary to defend yourself, and your intelligence likely makes you a prime target due to our peers' envy. You eat in here since you don't want to eat in the cafeteria like everybody else, as you fear your bullies will harass you."

 

She wasn't necessarily wrong; he was getting picked on. Even his most hateful classmates, like Zankokuna and Ikari (he'd decided Shinsou was quieter and therefore slightly less annoying), hadn't actually laid a finger upon him, but they did start some good 'ole chain bullying. Whenever he'd opened his locker in the past three days, he had found it filled with dozens of notes. Most were simple and many had repeated handwriting- just the words 'sissy' and 'pathetic' over and over again on tiny slips of paper. But then there were bigger notes of more distinct handwriting, not that he had obsessively leafed through them in secret under Deku's bed or anything. Those ones were more cruel- repetitive insults, sure, but they were more thought out. Katsuki was planning on never opening locker again at this point. 

 

However, they had nothing to do with his intelligence. 

 

"Shut the Hell up." He grunted, a little miserably. So what if she was smart enough to figure him out? Not like it was difficult considering the circumstances. "You don't know what you're talking about." He denied. 

 

Ponytail shook her head and went to pat his arm- probably supportively but he still growled- clearly not believing a word he'd said. 

 

She smiled softly a few moments later, and reached into her bag to pull out her own bento. 

 

"What the fuck are you doing, hah?!" He snapped, eyes flicking between her and her lunch. 

 

Brightly, Yaoyorozu replied: "It's not very heroic to leave a person in need alone, so I'm going to sit with you in here until you feel like you can eat in the cafeteria wi-" 

 

He was mortified. She couldn't just- just decide that shit without even considering what he wanted! Everyone seemed to care 'so much' about him without even asking how he felt. 

 

Katsuki snarled and cut her off. "I'm not asking you for shit; just fuck off back to your damn hero buddies and leave me alone. I don't need your pity."

 

She rolled her eyes, because clearly the rich girl thought she knew best. "I'm not trying to pity you, I want to help you because it's the right thing to do, and I'd feel bad if I didn't-" 

 

"Literally the definition of pity."

 

"What I'm trying to say is I think it's wrong that, even in a hero school like UA, not everyone feels safe." Ponytail tucked some hair behind her ear and smiled once again, and unfortunately for Katsuki it was still genuine. "Besides, it's hard for me too…"

 

God, she probably wanted empathy or some shit that he couldn't give. How was he supposed to deal with some random girl deciding to pity befriend him? She was probably having 'issues' with her overwhelming wealth and unfamiliarity with their 'low status'. Or maybe he was being a tad harsh. Perhaps he should actually try getting along with the one person other than Deku who didn't seem to immediately hate him. 

 

"If you're staying, just know that I'm not your fucking friend."

 

__

 

 

The next week, Katsuki walked to his afternoon classes in an even worse mood than usual. Yaoyorozu had only invaded his lunches four times by then, but her concise tales about hero class were becoming an admittedly soothing break from the rest of his school life. So, even though he knew she'd be at the USJ (apparently not the same as Universal Studios Japan) for rescue training along with Deku and the rest of the hero dumbasses, it still left him grouchy to eat alone. Stupid really, since he'd had lunch alone throughout most of his life. 

 

Katsuki arrived at their classroom on the first floor a few minutes early, boredom from lunch inspiring him to study at his desk for a little while; being as smart as he was took work. However, a few from his class and some other first year students were already swarmed around the door, Zankokuna in the center and smirking at his phone as he leaned against the wall. 

 

"Oh, if it isn't our little damsel in distress~" He drawled out, earning a few chuckles and one full blown laugh from forked-tongue-guy. The asshole then straightened up, smile still twitching upon his lips. "I didn't expect you for at least another five minutes, but I suppose it makes sense that such a good student would come to class early."

 

Trepidation swirled in Katsuki's gut uncomfortably, causing him to cross his arms. Zankokuna was up to something, if the mirth in his eyes was anything to go by, so he glared sharply. 

 

"What the fuck is your deal?" He grunted out, strolling past the outskirts of the other boy’s lackies to stare down the main perpetrator. 

 

If it was possible, Zankokuna became even more smug. He lifted Katsuki's chin with one finger, expression not faltering even as he swatted his arm off. 

 

It was only then when his hearing picked up on the audio coming from the guy's phone. It was strikingly familiar, turning him pale with the memory of sludge and bile, a reporter shouting over the chaos of the attack. He couldn't bare to speak, afraid his lips would tremble pathetically, and he swallowed down the lump in his throat. After All Might's booming laughter sounded, Zankokuna turned his phone around to allow Katsuki the view of the YouTube video. It was the official broadcast, unfortunately, so he stared blankly at the high definition picture of himself, lying feebly on the ground as All Might stood over him triumphantly. 

 

The clip ended. 

 

"Cat got your tongue?" Hissed Forked Tongue, eyes gleaming as he stood on Zankokuna's left side. 

 

His hands were trembling. These losers knowing about his quirk was bad, but then finding video evidence of his weakness? It stung more than any punch could have, and he wished this set of bullies were the same uncreative ones from his middle school; he'd prefer the endless beat downs to this… Taunting. 'Bratugou' had been irritating, and maybe a bit hurtful, but even those idiots had never thought to use a damn villain attack against him. 

 

"It was pretty easy to find, y'know?" Zankokuna hummed, switching off his phone. "Last night I realised that even such an annoying, useless guy would be notable enough to find online. Shame I never could find your Twitter account- I was too distracted by this first search result." He ran a hand down Katsuki's cheek, caressing the soft flesh."Funny how the one of us who doesn't care about heroics has faced a villain, hmm? Even crazier: there was this article a few weeks later, an interview with the Sludge Villain. He gave plenty of details-" 

 

Katsuki found the strength of mind to shove him off, finally recoiling from his unsanctioned touches. "Shut the fuck up!" He snarled, skin itching with discomfort. 

 

The other boy smiled at the others, who seemed happy enough with his suffering, and went to speak again before someone beat him to it. 

 

"Not super heroic to bring all that stuff up, is it, Zankokuna?" Purple Bitch had shown up at some point, and was now looking at them with a raised eyebrow- though his expression was otherwise impassive. "I mean, I get he's an asshole-" Katsuki internally growled, "-but this shit is just cruel."

 

The ginger scowled a little when some of the marginally nicer people began to frown at Shinsou's words, but he reclaimed his chipper façade soon enough. "Hey, Shinsou-kun! I guess I can see your point, but I think you're forgetting how disrespectful this sissy little loser is. Even the girls agree he's pathetic."

 

Purple Bitch strolled over casually, though he stepped in such a way that he ended up partially between Katsuki and Zankokuna- what, was he trying to protect him too now? He seethed, but couldn't really say much with Shinsou's back to him. Still, it was aggravating to be discussed as though he were even there. 

 

"That's fucked up too." Katsuki blinked because he hadn't expected him to be so forward, and he was pretty sure everybody else leaned in to hear his next words. "I mean, I was all for being pissed at him for being an asshole, but then you guys turned into assholes too. By now it doesn't even seem like you're mad he called all our dreams pointless; you're just using it as an excuse to belittle him for his quirk."

 

Zankokuna stepped forwards, getting into Shinsou's space, but was stopped by a large slash from some massive sword- Katana Sensei's quirk. 

 

She fixed the group a pointed stare, silver and extended arm glinting between the two boys as everybody else stepped back. Their teacher hadn't even given Katsuki the chance to mouth both of them off for talking about him whilst simultaneously ignoring him.

 

"I don't know why you're all loitering out here, but anyone who's not in my class should return to their own teachers." Several students nodded at her firm words and the majority of the group disbanded. "Zankokuna, Shinsou, Bakugou. Stay out here for me to speak to you- everybody else, go inside and start reading chapter three. I may be your homeroom teacher as well as your history teacher, but that does not mean I'll forgive lack of effort."

 

They all left as well, leaving the final three alone with Katana. 

 

Katsuki felt like a frayed nerve; sensitive and ready to react at any moment. He was overwhelmed with anger at Shinsou's pity and hurt at Zankokuna's taunts, both of which he should have been more acclimated to after so many years of them. Still, he could only handle so much and this day was already testing his limits. 

 

The other boys did not seem nearly so distressed. The ginger had one lanky wrist leant on his hip, smiling charmingly at their teacher, grey eyes shining with genuity. Purple Bitch was at least more sombre, but he was picking at his nails nonchalantly, also seemingly unperturbed by whatever Katana was planning on saying. 

 

"I've already warned you over testing my patience with fights and arguments, correct?" Two of them nodded but Zankokuna bowed. 

 

"I'm sorry, excuse me if I seem disrespectful, Sensei, but you specified not to waste lesson time or squabble inside your classroom. I feel like, how do you say… Letting off steam at lunch doesn't go against that, especially since no one was hurting each other, and I certainly had no intention of physically harming one of my fellow classmates."

 

Katsuki and Shinsou both scoffed quietly at the bullshit he was spewing, but that only redirected Katana’s steely gaze to them. 

 

"I see your point, and I do understand that I cannot temper teenagers to be constantly civil, especially not outside of lessons." Was she serious? "However, in less than two weeks at UA this has been continuously happening." She turned to Katsuki. "You always seem to be in the center of these issues, and evidence suggests that they would fade if you simply curbed your attitude, Bakugou."

 

He clenched his fists in anger, biting back an enraged retort. He'd expected to once again be blamed for all the conflict that birthed around him, but some small part of him had hoped that a literal hero teacher would be different. That she'd see he didn't deserve to be fucking abused like this just because he was abrasive and had a shit quirk. 

 

Unless he did. 

 

"That's unfair-" Shinsou defended, even as Katsuki glared down at his boots. 

 

"End of discussion." She cut him off. "This is only the second time you've been involved, so I would recommend you keep your mouth shut. Now, we've wasted too much time: go into class and catch up on the reading."

 

When Katsuki miserably slumped down into his desk, he did not start speed-reading chapter three. He'd already read the whole book twice in preparation, so he excused himself to the bathroom. Though he certainly felt like crying, he restrained that urge to instead call Deku- he'd said he would always be available if he needed the nerd, even if he was in hero training he'd promised to be reachable. 

 

The call went straight to voicemail. 

 

Eight more calls had the same result, leaving Katsuki twitchy and nervous. It simply wasn't like Deku to turn off his phone, since the fucker had the annoying habit of letting it go off in class. Plus the USJ should have excellent service, like the rest of UA, so that the teachers could easily communicate with one another. 

 

Something had to be wrong. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Going to the USJ was a… Unique experience, to say the least. It didn’t help that the beginning of the day was full of its own interest, and the rumours spreading throughout the hero course about a break in the night before were also pretty distracting. However, overall, Izuku felt hyped up to eleven at the prospect of doing some rescue training.

 

“This open layout completely ruined my seating strategy.” Bemoaned Iida, face in his hands as he sat across from Asu- Tsuyu. Personally, Izuku found it freeing and less tense than a normal bus seating plan; this way there was no need to pick just one of his new friends to sit with.

 

Part of the interest of that morning: they’d elected a class representative (and their deputy). It had been Iida’s idea to have a democratic vote, which Izuku agreed with even though it brought up less-than-stellar memories from his final year of middle school. He knew, what with his embarrassing behaviour from the first few days at UA and his frequent tendency to mutter over their teachers, that his prospects looked dim. Class rep was a good position to have on your record when looking into hero agencies, but Izuku hadn’t been overly bothered; he had no intention of forming a team, much preferring to follow All Might’s footsteps and primarily work alone. So the 'good leader' label that came with being class rep was unnecessary.

 

Therefore, it’d been an easy choice who to vote for: Uraraka. She was bubbly and bright, fairly well ranked academically and her plan had allowed her and Hagakure’s victory in their first combat exercise. Plus, she was his friend. Uraraka had also garnered votes from Kaminari, who seemed to have a crush on her, and Hagakure- putting her in the top spot above Yaoyorozu, who’d looked a little miffed at the turn of events.

 

Meanwhile, Izuku himself had surprisingly gained Iida’s vote, which admittedly just put him on par with the majority of the class (since they’d all voted for themselves), but it was flattering nevertheless. Apparently his strategy in the combat training had been ‘truly remarkable’ and his decision to save Uraraka in the entrance exam had been ‘masterfully intuitive of UA’s true aims and values’. Izuku chose not to correct him.

 

“Oh, come on, Iida! I didn’t promote you to class rep just for you to make me sit away from you guys~” Uraraka leaned cheerily onto Iida’s stiff frame, unbothered when he awkwardly fixed his glasses. “Besides, it’s more fun like this.”

 

Izuku smiled to himself as he watched the exchange. Uraraka was speaking above the rest of the conversations on the coach, and subsequently brought the attention of the whole bus onto themselves.

 

Kaminari put his phone into a pouch in his hero costume, similar to where Izuku’s own was stored. “I’ve been thinking-”

 

“Dangerous game.”

 

“Hey, shut up, Jirou!” His sunny demeanour shifted so he could pout at the girl, who only giggled behind her own hand. “ Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how stupendous it is that UA has a whole facility that’s entirely focused on rescue.”

 

“Really?” Izuku asked, grabbing his notebook out of his school bag, and poising his pen to write. “Is there a facet of your quirk that lends itself to rescue?”

 

“Nah, or, not right now at least. I just figure I can learn how to use it for rescue.”

 

That was commendable, Izuku thought as he put away his notebook a tad sheepishly. Personally, his own quirk didn’t have much function that was primarily for rescue. Once he’d suggested he could help victims of heat stroke, but then Kacchan had called him 'ice pack' for the next month. Alternatively, he could probably help in floods since he could freeze the water before it reached any buildings- but it still didn’t have as much use as some of his classmates’ abilities.

 

__



The inside of the USJ was better than a theme park; entirely breathtaking and massive, without any creepy mouse mascots running around to kidnap- sorry, take pictures with- small children. Izuku could barely choose just one thing to train his eyes on, instead rapidly switching between staring in awe at a 150m waterfall and an entire city that was blazing with giant licks of flame. In comparison, the small grassy platform they were stood on overlooking a fountain was sort of underwhelming.

 

“-In conclusion, it’s important to understand the dangers that accompany your quirks, and that the most crucial part of being a hero is helping people, not fighting villains or doing Buzzfeed interviews.” Thirteen’s inspiring speech was followed by a round of applause that Aizawa didn’t seem particularly fond of, but Izuku ignored his teacher's fed up expression to instead clap along with everyone else. The Space Hero had similar ideas regarding heroics to All Might, since he'd too explained to Izuku how the importance of helping the community in little ways could outweigh the worth of arresting your twelfth mugger that week.

 

Uraraka turned to him brightly, tugging on his arm. “Thirteen’s the best, aren’t they?! They were always my biggest inspiration when I was little.” It was sweet how her face lit up, reminiscent of Kacchan’s expression when Izuku bought him an All Might jumbo pack of gummies last Christmas, and consequently made him blush furiously.

 

“Ahaha- yeah, I-” He stuttered to his point, but was cut off from speaking by a strange sound from below their platform.

 

It was like something being unzipped, only on a much larger scale. A cold feeling rushed up his spine, biting at his nerves as Izuku took in the scene by the fountain, The water ran purple with...  Mist? It seemed unnatural and foreboding, only becoming more terrifying when even Aizawa Sensei’s breath hitched uncomfortably.

 

He told them to be quiet just as Ashido asked if this was actually surprise combat training, cutting her off harshly but not angrily. Izuku could only stare as figures started emerging from the mist: mostly people with mutation quirks, but some who looked entirely normal, if very angry. A man with bull horns whinnied loudly enough for them to startle, and a woman shot a metre long spike at their group. Aizawa caught it effortlessly with one of his scarves, but they could still feel the breeze it created brushing their faces.

 

The group was large. Larger than their class by far- at least forty villains swarming around the fountain, with no way to tell which ones were the most dangerous. The mist unfurled and condensed back into a vaguely humanoid shape, creating a man to tower behind the rest of his companions.

 

“We are the League of Villains!” He announced, and Izuku gasped as the villains rushed forwards. The rest of 1-A seemed similarly shell-shocked, trembling where they stood as adult criminals threatened them from below.

 

“Thirteen,” Aizawa got their fellow teacher’s attention immediately, his expression sombre. “Protect the students and try to contact help. I’ll deal with these guys.”

 

“What?! No!” Izuku broke out of his stupor and roughly grabbed onto his teacher’s sleeve. “Your quirk and fighting style are primarily based on stealth, and work best in one-on-one fights. Battling large groups of opponents isn’t your specialty.” He said, eyes brimming with concern and fear.

 

Aizawa gently but firmly pushed him off, turning back towards the horde of villains. “You can’t be a pro if you only have one trick.” And with that, he jumped into the chaos of the opposing army.

 

Iida pulled him back from the edge of the platform, back to congregate with everyone else. He focused on what Thirteen was saying, about how communications seemed to be disabled and they needed to get back to the main campus as soon as possible. It was easier to pay attention to that rather than the fear churning in his gut.

 

“Everyone, head towards the exit and run for the campus. I’ll follow you, just make sure you get backup-” They were interrupted by the mist guy coming into view behind them, assumedly having escaped from the carnage Aizawa was wreaking.

 

He chuckled, but it sounded like an echo, as though he were laughing from the bottom of a very deep well. “Leaving so soon? I haven’t even had time to introduce myself.”

 

It was hard to describe his appearance exactly, but Izuku could try. He looked like an amalgamation of the ‘baddest baddies’ All Might had needed to face in his old cartoon show. It was Kacchan’s favourite, because one of the episodes promoted a quirkless scientist who saved All Might’s life in season three. Eight year old Kacchan had commented that that would be the two of them in the future: Izuku’s useless hero ass getting rescued by him, the smarter and ultimately better best friend. Izuku had, of course, nodded along in agreement.

 

The mist guy also had this weird metal collar wrapping around his neck area, possibly a way to keep him together? Or maybe extra armour? Could a person made of mist even get hurt by physical attacks?

 

Kirihima seemed interested in answering that question, as he charged straight at the villain’s ‘face’.

 

“No! Move out of-” Thirteen’s warning went unheeded as Kirishima’s brutal attack landed, him rolling to the ground a moment later. The villain was unaffected and still rather chipper, in a sadistic kind of way.

 

“Now this just won’t do.” Walls of the same purple mist raised around them, caging them in before Thirteen could activate their quirk. “I think it would be better for you students to learn the value of independence.”

 

Vaguely, Izuku noted Iida grabbing some of their classmates, dragging them out of the bubble of mist. However, he was primarily focused on the way his own body was suddenly surrounded by a flood of purple, turning the world dark as he weightlessly got swallowed into the warp.

 

__



When he opened his eyes, he was drowning.

 

Not metaphorically: he was literally surrounded by water with no idea which way was up. For all he knew he could be in the Mediterranion on his side, but he was aware he was pretty deep since he could feel the pressure pushing down on him. Aizawa and the rest of his class were far out of sight, so Izuku decided it would be beneficial to assume he was on his own for the time being.

 

For once, he needed to focus on himself.

 

He kept his lips sealed to store in all of that precious oxygen, and used his quirk to boil the water in front of his face. The tiny air bubbles his nose was releasing should also travel upward, but they were intermingled with the currents created as Izuku swam, so this was an easier way to regain a sense of direction. The steam shot up clearly to his left and he followed it, kicking up to the surface. Step 1) breathe oxygen again, step 2) get to the USJ to help his friends (what? He couldn’t focus on himself forever).

 

He’d made a good bit of headway, plus the screaming of his lungs was mostly just being a nuisance, when an approaching figure caught his eye. They had an aqueous mutation and were snarling, so Izuku assumed they were a villain and turned to face them.

 

The man shot out a clawed, webbed hand to grab him, causing Izuku to let out a wave of heat. The water around his legs got pretty chilly, but the water around the villain reached near boiling point and he screamed out in pain.This let Izuku continue swimming upwards, until his head was breaking through the surface of the water, gasping for air.

 

Okay, so he was still inside the USJ. The mist villain had likely landed him in the flood zone, if his surroundings were any indication, and it wasn’t too hard to clamber up the ship floating in the water. Almost as soon as he ascended the final rung, a splash sounded out behind him and Izuku shot around to see Asui and Sero swinging (in their own unique ways) up to the deck of the ship too.

 

Unfortunately, any elation at seeing familiar faces was cancelled out by the mob of water based villains surrounding the ship.

 

“Oof.” Sero commented, scratching at his jaw nervously. Izuku could only nod, wringing his hands as they were quickly trapped.

 

Asui- no, Tsuyu - bit at her nails thoughtfully. “They aren’t attacking? Why wouldn’t they be capturing us as soon as possible? Or killing us, I suppose.”

 

It was true. The villains, as threatening as their low grumbles were, were remaining firmly situated in the water, almost as though…

 

“I think they’re being careful.” He decided, and the other two turned to him with differing levels of confusion. “I mean, they’re not attacking because they don’t know what to expect. Tsuyu, you have a water based quirk right?”

 

“Yes; my quirk is frog, so I can jump high, stick to walls, extend my tongue and I survive best in aquatic environments.”

 

"Exactly. If they knew that then they wouldn't have sent you here, they'd have sent you to the fire area instead." Izuku explained, glancing down at the villains apprehensively.

 

Sero looked between them, not exactly as though he understood. "So… They don't know what quirks we have?"

 

They nodded, and then Izuku went back to thinking. The villains refused to attack because they were being careful- they didn't know how dangerous the students could be. If they stayed in the water, where they had the advantage, it would force Izuku, Tsuyu and Asui to fight on their terf. However, if they could devise a plan to take out the dozen villains in one go, without touching the water, the villains wouldn't get to use said advantage.

 

He described as such to his classmates, who seemed to understand though there was one a glaring issue.

 

"How can we attack the villains without going in the water?" Tsuyu brought up, because none of them had particularly long range capabilities.

 

Sero's tape was useful for capture, but how its structural integrity would hold up underwater was questionable. Tsuyu would probably have better luck, since her quirk was water based, but just her versus so many villains would be downright idiotic.

 

"I could use my quirk." He offered, because it was their best shot. Sero raised an eyebrow and Tsuyu motioned for him to continue. "I've got the range to freeze the top two feet of water in order to trap them, but that volume of water will probably make me pass out." Heatstroke was nasty, and it would be pointless to become useless after fighting so few villains (relative to the forty villains Aizawa was probably still facing).

 

"So," Tsuyu pondered, ignoring yells from their adversaries down below. "We need a way to use your quirk but not to a degree that would incapacitate you."

 

Surprisingly, it was Sero who figured out a solution (sorry, Sero).

 

"You can also heat stuff up, right?" Izuku nodded, because that was the entire premise of his quirk. "So instead of focusing on trapping the villains in ice like Todoroki would, couldn't you just boil the water?"

 

It was at that splendid point that the boat began to tip. They rushed to look over the side, to see the villains had grown impatient. Izuku guessed they had less than two minutes to sort themselves out. Panic was rising in his gut once again, but he squashed it back down in order to think properly.

 

At face value, Sero's idea could work but would have the same drawback as freezing: Izuku would pass out after changing that volume of water by so many degrees. Water was tricky that way, because it was deceptively large. However, if he heated the liquid to a boil in an attempt to hurt the villains (and therefore push them back) so Tsuyu could help him escape, it could actually work.

 

As he'd thought earlier, the water in the USJ could belong to the Mediterranean, because it was already fairly warm. Not boiling, but it was supposed to represent a warmer climate so getting it to a painful degree wouldn't be too drastic. Plus, rather than freezing where he'd need to affect a substantial amount for the villains to be securely trapped, less water would need to be hurtful for it to still be effective. Izuku would be dizzy for about ten minutes afterwards, and using his quirk again later might cause him to pass out anyway, but he wouldn't be an unconscious lump burdening Asui- Tsuyu - and Sero whilst they faced these villains.

 

"Okay, we'll do that." He announced, even though his voice shook as he walked up to the edge of the boat.

 

Tsuyu followed his lead. "Really? Won't you still-"

 

"I don't think so." Izuku interrupted, before blushing because 'wait that was rude' and- oh, whatever. Villain situations outweighed politeness. "Just… Grab me after, please?"

 

And with that, he used his quirk.

 

It wasn't too bad of a burden- no where near facing the zero-pointer at the entrance exam, or even the Sludge Villain that held Kacchan hostage (and tried to kill him). He raised it by fifty degrees, which sucked at such a volume of liquid but was still manageable, at a twenty five foot radius, so they'd have plenty of room to get away. Izuku's legs shook and he reminded himself to expand the parameters of his quirk, as the villains started retreating due to the water becoming too uncomfortable. Some were even more desperate than others, probably because they had a similar aversion to extreme heat as Tsuyu, which only made their escape that much easier.

 

Sero, with the villains thoroughly occupied, swung out of the boat with his tape,  followed by Tsuyu who'd grabbed Izuku from the deck.

 

Those adversaries weren't permanently dealt with or anything, but for now they could get away safely.

 

Tsuyu smiled a little to herself. "I guess we passed the shipwreck zone."

Chapter Text

Okay, breathe. 

 

Katsuki clicked his phone off and shoved it into his trouser pocket, continuously taking in steady breaths to calm himself. He wasn't wrong; Deku was almost certainly in trouble if he wasn't answering his phone. Katsuki had the confidence in his own judgement to recognise the error of the whole situation… But what could he do? 

 

Recently, falling in and out of total self pity had been common for him, though he still despised that fact, and on this occasion he at least believed it to be warranted. What could a basically quirkless kid (who was so pathetic he was struggling not to cry in his high school's bathroom) do when his only evidence that something was amiss was the fact that a fellow student wasn't answering his calls during lesson time? And that was considering the teachers even listened to him in the first place, without immediately issuing him a detention for skipping class. 

 

Katsuki wiped his clammy hands on his blazer, mulling over his limited options. Teachers were assholes- no doubt about that. However, they would be forced to listen to him if they had their own evidence that something regarding the USJ just wasn't quite right. 

 

That in mind, he gathered his courage and strolled out of the bathroom, head held high even if there was no one about to see him. The staffroom was on the ground floor, he remembered from orientation, so Katsuki pretty easily slipped into the freshly polished elevator and embarked towards his target. The tiny thrill that came from skipping class, even for good reason, was probably the best part of his day so far. Katsuki even bit back a smile when he slipped into a closet to avoid an upper-class man also wandering around the ground floor. Perhaps he was heading to the infirmary? Apparently that was on the first floor as well for ease of access, so that even students with leg injuries could get there on their own. 

 

Sneaking around always made time pass more slowly, so it felt like hours by the time he reached the teacher's lounge rather than a few measly minutes. Plus, the dread that had settled at the pit of his stomach over Deku's safety wasn't doing much to help the moments slog by either. 

 

With nothing else to do, Katsuki rapped confidently against the door with his left hand and waited for a response. 

 

It came quickly: the previous murmurs of conversation halting for a second before the clattering of a rush could be heard. 

 

"You answer it!" Came a louder, more distinguished voice that sounded eerily similar to All Might's. "Nezu-sama, please, Sir. I can't-" Another round of almost humorous clattering and Katsuki checked his watch. 

 

"Ugh…" He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Whatever." He mumbled, before briskly and roughly twisting the door handle open and stepping through. 

 

Predictably, the staffroom was larger than any had been at his previous schools. Granted, Katsuki had avoided them like the plague, completely averse to anything teacher-related outside of necessity. Like that one time some older girl had broken his wrist and the nurse hadn't been in. Or when he was given detention for, let's see, existing. However, this one was also full of steam, as though the principal boiled water in his spare time (explained why his last homework assignment still hadn't been marked).

 

Katsuki stepped further into the room and the vapour rapidly dissipated, leaving the image of Nezu sitting across from All Might, who was seated in a comically small chair. He could swear the No1 Hero looked panicked at his arrival, but Katsuki tucked that knowledge away to instead focus on the fact that Deku was probably dead by now. Or at least horribly mutilated. 

 

"Ah, it's just you, Young Bakugou!" At least All Might seemed to brighten a little when he saw it was him, though Katsuki bristled at the name. Logically, he knew All Might was just a great hero who was overly cheerful, and called everyone under age 25 'Young [their name]'. Still, it felt like yet another comment about his baby face. 

 

"'Just me'?" He scowled, because he was petty and bad at facing the worry he held for his best friend. Plus, he was long used to completely disregarding the authority of his teachers. 

 

All Might flinched, despite being well used to Katsuki's particular brand of feeling offended after seeing him at the beach with Deku so many times, and went to say something. Before he could so much as open his mouth all the way however, Nezu interrupted (though not unkindly). "I'm sorry, Bakugou, but we were in the middle of an important meeting." Katsuki's gaze fell down to the shattered mug on the floor, and Nezu's own beady, little eyes followed. "Er, would you like some tea to go? I'm sure we could find a travel mug, or perhaps a thermos-" 

 

Ignoring him, he instead stepped over the new stain on the fancy looking rug to stand in between the two heroes, well aware that he was probably asking for trouble by openly defying his headmaster. Whatever, he'd be forgiven once they realised he was right. 

 

"Deku's not answering my calls." He stated roughly, crossing his arms. Both teachers continued staring blankly. 

 

"Erm…" All Might scratched the back of his neck awkwardly, flexing every muscle in his body as a result. "Your and Young Midoriya's, ahh, relationship issues really aren't the concerns of the faculty. Perhaps after school hours I could help you with the problems but for right now…" The No1 Hero trailed off, possibly realising the impressive shade of scarlet Katsuki had become in just a matter of seconds. 

 

Internally, he was screaming at himself to get to the fucking point. Externally, he was about to combust and take the whole of UA with him, Deku and his future be damned. 

 

"Wha- I'm, I mean, we're not fucking-" 

 

"Well, at your age I hope not-" 

 

"SHUT THE FUCK UP," Katsuki swore he heard the building rumble at his screeched exclamation, and to be honest he probably would've preferred being crushed under rubble to ever looking All Might in the eyes again. He took a deep breath and continued at a more reasonable volume, out of grudging concern for Nezu's dog(?) ears if nothing else. "Look, Deku's not answering his phone at all and that's a problem because he always answers his damn phone. It's not even going through, I'm just stuck at fucking voicemail!" 

 

Dawning realisation swept over the teachers' faces and, probably out of relief, All Might sighed and leaned over to pat his head. 

 

"Look, Bakugou, just because it's not going through doesn't mean there's a serious problem at the USJ. It is lesson time after all, so he could've easily chosen to turn off his phone to prevent disturbances. Or maybe it simply died." Nezu spoke calmly and logically, far more amicably than any other principal had spoken to him before. Still, that same feeling of unease remained and Katsuki couldn't bring himself to believe them. 

 

"No. There's something wrong because Deku would never let that happen. He's practically the poster boy for 'cares too fucking much' for God's sake! I'm not sure if he could actually handle not constantly knowing I'm perfectly safe, so he wouldn't allow his damn phone to die and he definitely wouldn't turn it off." He insisted, grinding his teeth and clenching his whole body in anticipation as the heroes regarded his words. 

 

Really, the situation wouldn't change much whether they believed him or not. If they decided that he was being paranoid and sent him back to Katana, Katsuki would just sneak out and sprint over to the USJ. He'd be useless, but at least he'd get the satisfaction of knowing he was right as he watched a bunch of other teenagers die along with him. Conversely, All Might and Nezu could believe he had a point and they'd all get to go and watch a bunch of teenagers die together, though one would hope the No1 Hero could prevent at least a few deaths. 

 

Apparently, as time went on, Katsuki became more cynical. 

 

"You know… Aizawa hasn't answered any of my calls either." All Might admitted, wringing his hands nervously. "I thought he'd just blocked my number after I sent him twenty-six consecutive texts about good tourist spots in America, but maybe there is something amiss." Minutely, Katsuki stood up straighter in excitement. 

 

"I trust your judgement, All Might. If you believe you… Can... then you’re welcome to go and check on the USJ. Just remember that we're not done with our talk yet." Nezu sipped his own tea a little sadistically and, from the No1 Hero's shudder, Katsuki guessed the principal wasn't as sweet and cuddly as he outwardly seemed. 

 

Together they both bowed and left the staffroom, just for All Might to stop him as he stepped towards the main entrance to the building. 

 

"Now, now, if they are in danger then we cannot forgive putting another student at risk." He explained with an attempt at being stern, which Katsuki almost instinctively scoffed at. "Hey!" All Might paused in stretching his legs to retaliate. "I'm serious! I will not endanger one of my students.”

 

Katsuki growled, shoving his hands into his pockets and gripping his phone in anger. Turning away, he snapped "Hah?! I'm not even your damn student, and I know you just want me to stay 'cos you think I'm weak. If it were Deku, you'd let him come in an instant."

 

All Might sighed, looking between the student and the door. Realistically, Katsuki knew his idol could easily run off immediately and he'd have no hope of catching up, but from the multitudes of interviews he'd watched with Deku he knew that simply wasn't his hero's style. 

 

"I don't think your weak." He assured with a smaller smile than his usual grin, which was unfortunately genuine. So genuine, in fact, that he allowed All Might to lean down to face him, hands holding onto his arms as if worried he'd do a runner. "And you are my student, because you come to this school too. Perhaps I should also teach general studies? Perhaps gym…" Katsuki briefly imagined his idol in gym shorts and a tank top. Tank top: hmmm, okay cool cool not gay at all. Gym shorts: good God no you remind me of my creepy old uncle. "Whatever the case, I'm simply worried you'll get hurt."

 

"The longer you spend here, arguing with me about whether or not it's safe for me to come, the more likely a bunch of your other students dying is."

 

That was the sort of argument no self respecting teacher could win against, and All Might sighed, letting him go. 

 

"You're quite the little imp, Young Bakugou. Now, climb onto my back."

 

"The fuck?!" 

 

"It will be faster if I run us there, and you said you wanted to go."

 

"Yeah, but I'm not a damn five year who needs a piggy-back ride!" 

 

In the end, he took the piggy-back. 

 

__

 

 

Izuku ran with Tsuyu and Sero away from the shipwreck zone, sprinting as quickly as they possibly could in order to put the most distance possible between themselves and the water-based villains. In the center of the USJ Aizawa would likely still be fighting the massive horde of enemies, and scattered about everywhere else should be the rest of their classmates. He vaguely recalled Iida grabbing some of the other students out of the warp, so hopefully they’d managed to escape and were getting help. Unless, of course, the warp villain wasn’t allowing them to leave.

 

“Okay,” Sero paused in his lanky strides, bending double to gasp for breath.There hadn’t been enough high buildings on their route for him to use his quirk to get around, and the tall student seemed inexperienced with running. Still, the other two followed his lead and caught their breath too. “What are we doing now? We should try to escape, right?”

 

“Yes,” Tsuyu agreed, “Involving ourselves with more villains will just put us in danger of becoming hostages or even dying. I’m sure Aizawa-sensei would want us to leave the USJ and get help.”

 

Izuku shook his head; it just wasn’t realistic. “We can’t leave the building because the walls are too reinforced to break through with our quirks and that warp villain is probably still blocking the entrance. Besides, I thought I saw Iida escape the vortex and he’s the best choice for fetching the teachers.”

 

“Then what should we do?”

 

That was fair. He couldn’t just dismiss their plans when he was struggling to think of his own. Desperately, Izuku wanted to aid Aizawa-sensei, at the very least he wanted to take a couple of opponents off his hands. It could be the slight difference their teacher needed in order to win. On the other hand though… It was more likely that Aizawa would win or lose whether they assisted him or not, and jumping into the fray with the majority of the villains was a foolish idea when they were still untrained. Best case scenario, as Tsuyu had said, was being taken hostage- which would only burden their teacher even more.

 

“I think we should go to the other areas of the USJ.” He decided, though neither of his companions appeared to understand his reasoning. “Helping Aizawa-sensei won’t lead to anything good, but we might be able to successfully lend a hand to our other classmates who got thrown around here. At least a couple of them could be on their own facing villains, and they would actually benefit from our help.”

 

Reluctantly, they both nodded at his suggestion, probably agreeing out of pure heroism alone rather than logic. Izuku smiled to himself, happy to have the opportunity to save people, even if thinking too much about the villains sent uncomfortable shivers down his spine.

 

“Thanks to our mobile quirks, Sero and I should head over to the earthquake zone.” Tsuyu said, adjusting the belt of her hero costume.

 

Despite being reminded of his own, frankly rather embarrassing, hero suit he brightened his expression. “That’s a great idea!”

 

“You should come too,” Added Sero, grabbing onto Izuku’s arm seriously. “If we’re trying to help anyone who ended up on their own, then splitting up so you don’t have any backup is stupid.”

 

Izuku assured them both that he’d be fine, since (if everything went according to plan) he should quickly meet up with at least one classmate. Plus, his quirk would be most effective in the fire zone, due to all the thermal energy, rather than where the other two were headed.

 

__

 

 

Eijirou was getting tired.

 

Exhausted, really. Every bone in his body felt like lead and the blood pounding in his ears was sloshing around like tar- too thick to pump through his veins properly. It was a side effect of overusing his quirk, and whilst very uncomfortable it actually didn’t usually take too long to recover from.

 

However, that little factoid was absolutely useless in his current predicament.

 

After his pathetic attack on the warp villain, who’d not even flinched, he’d been flung to this place. Eijiriou assumed he was still inside the USJ, even though it was hard to see his surroundings with so much smoke threatening to choke him. He was alone, against maybe a dozen villains in the beginning though by now he’d at least managed to half that number, but his biggest issue was the fire. It was all consuming, as though he’d been dropped into the heart of the flames. The villains themselves, though creepy just because they’d had the nerve to attack a school, weren’t actually too hard to put out of commission. They were all in possession of rough, seemingly heat-proof skin and some brand of fire quirk, but once punched with Eijirou’s hardened fists they crumpled easily. Unfortunately though, he was also fighting against smoke inhalation and a constant stream of fire, which meant his body had been entirely hardened for the last ten minutes so he didn’t burn to a crisp.

 

“That all you got?!” He challenged as confidently as he possibly could, at least hoping to goad the rest of villains into fighting him before his hardened form faded away. Even though every one of his limbs were sorer than they’d ever been, including during the UA entrance exam, Eijirou was certain he could beat these last few villains so that his friends wouldn’t need to later.

 

One guy ran at him, or maybe a girl? They had long, serpentine strands of hair and razor sharp teeth lining their eyelids, a fact that Eijirou winced at. He knew the struggle of too pointy teeth all too well, but even he couldn’t imagine the torture of having them around your damn eyes. Whatever, he poured his last ounce of strength into punching them directly in the mouth, hearing the telltale crack of their other set of teeth shattering.

 

He felt his hardening start to fade away properly, even as he willed himself to hold onto his, now painful, armoured skin. But it was pointless; as soon as his skin returned to normal he’d start getting burnt, and would probably pass out from the pain. Or really, the copious amount of smoke he’d already inhaled and was stabbing at his lungs, turning the world fuzzy, would be the cause of his downfall.

 

Blinking, eyes weighed down by the tiredness that had settled deep within his corel, Eijirou took one last look at the scene around him. A few more villains were reaching forwards just as he finally dropped his hardening entirely, expecting the painful tension residing in each of his muscles to be overwhelmed as flames licked his skin.

 

But it didn’t happen.

 

He blinked again, and the whirling storm of fire had been drawn back, now only drenching the walls of the surprisingly large room he’d been trapped in rather than burning him. The villains even startled, ceasing their movement as they stared at something behind Eijirou. 

 

“Kirishima!” Came a concerned, but familiar voice. He turned around slowly, wincing at his soreness, to see a soot covered but completely unharmed Midoriya, fire circling his wrists as he aimed at the villains.

 

“You can’t-” Eijirou croaked, before clutching his neck in surprise. It was fine, it hurt but he could handle it. “They’re fire-proof.”

 

He could’ve sworn that Midoriya smirked uncharacteristically at that, face splitting into an almost sadistic grin. “That’s fine, get behind me.”

 

And so he did. Achingly, Eijirou stumbled to cowardly stand behind his shorter classmate, who the villains were beginning to target their attacks on. They sent their own blasts of flame, but they all dissipated within a foot of Midoriya, as though he were surrounded by a forcefield. Then, he raised both of his arms so that they were pointed directly at the center of the five remaining villains. A gushing blow of heat rained down on them, blue flaming tendrils whipping across the small crowd as the fire in the rest of the room completely vanished.

 

Distantly, Eijirou realised that this was Midoriya in his element. He’d been a terrifying strategic mind back in the combat exercise, but now he was in an environment where he had complete control over that which would harm or even kill most other people. Sure, the guy was still easily flustered and a little prone to oversharing, but that didn't stop him from being an incredible force all the same.

 

Most of the villains collapsed at the overload of heat; everyone’s quirks had their limits after all. The one that remained standing widened his eyes and dashed out of the window behind him. Eijirou chuckled at the display, only stopping when Midoriya collapsed to his knees in front of him.  

 

“Whoa, dude,” He crouched down to help, turning his now seated and unstable looking classmate around to face him. “Are you alright?”

 

Midoriya took a moment before nodding, a small smile finding its was to his lips. “Yeah, I- I just overused my quirk is all. I’m actually surprised I didn’t pass out.” Right, just like Eijirou, he had weaknesses too (even if his quirk was so much better than his own). “Usually when I have so much fire to work with it’s easier- working in the cold is way more straining- but I already boiled a bunch of villains before I got here.”

 

Eijirou nodded, helping him up and heading towards the surprisingly undamaged door. He supposed UA of all places would invest in indestructible furnishings. The pain from overusing his own quirk was fading by now, the short rest doing wonders. Even though he could only keep his hardening up for about ten minutes before it was too much, usually after only a few minutes his body recovered enough to use his quirk again (though then he could only keep his full body hardened for about five minutes due to the loss of stamina.)

 

Once they’d reached the ground floor of the skyscraper Eijirou had apparently been trapped in, Midoriya having to quench the burning fires as they stumbled across them, he started talking. “Is everyone else okay?”

 

His classmate, who was now standing alone though his legs seemed to be shaking, shrugged. “Tsuyu and Sero were, last I saw them at least, and I think Iida and a few others avoided the warp villain’s attack.”

 

“We should find anyone else who needs help!” Eijirou decided, clenching his fists in excitement. "Our quirks both recover pretty quickly, right? So by the time we find everyone else we should have recharged enough to fight.”

 

Midoriya gave him a thumbs up, despite still looking kind of pale and sickly. At least he wasn’t shaking anymore, and Eijirou himself only felt like he’d had a rough workout; not like he’d almost burned to death three minutes ago.

 

“I still want to help Aizawa-sensei. By now he’s almost definitely been overwhelmed.”

 

“He’s still fighting those guys?!” Eijirou exclaimed in a panic. There’d been more than forty villains out there! Even a trained pro would struggle with that. “Why’d you come here first?”

 

"I thought I wouldn't be able to make much of a difference, and getting held hostage would only be detrimental to Aizawa-sensei's efforts."

 

Okay, he could understand that. However, if their teacher went down then those dozens of villains he'd been targeting would turn on them, and their friends would probably get hurt. Clearly Midoriya was trying to convince himself not to go and aid him, but Kirishima wasn't going to help him in that endeavour. 

 

"How can we be heroes- how can we even call ourselves men- if we don't at least try to help out, even if it's dangerous?" 

 

Midoriya looked up at him, new conviction in his eyes, and agreed. "I'll go over to Aizawa-sensei, but maybe you should check on our friends by the entrance? I know Thirteen is up there but I've got a really bad feeling about that warp guy…"

 

Eijirou swallowed back any upset at being excluded from helping their homeroom teacher, knowing that his classmate probably knew best. Even so, the fact that he'd be running away from a fight didn't seem manly whatsoever. 

 

"After I've made sure they're okay, I'll find you." He promised before they parted ways. 

 

Chapter Text

Eijirou was lucky enough to reach the USJ’s entrance right as All Might burst through the doors, a series of cheers following his arrival. Eijirou himself breathed the largest sigh of relief of his life, as their teacher stood confidently and challenging, staring the warp villain down.

 

“So you did show up.” He sneered, pausing in what seemed to be a game of ‘Whack-an-Iida’ to drift over to the No1 Hero.

 

All Might looked behind himself proudly, before turning back. He then smiled softly at Eijirou, “Young Bakugou, stay with Kirishima as I show these two-bit villains what happens to people who mess with my students.” Another student walked out from behind the teacher, rolling his eyes though he seemed to glance up at the villain a tad fearfully as he made his way over to the redhead. But perhaps Eijirou had seen wrong. 

 

“Bringing more children into the fight, Symbol of Peace? Sad that he will die too.”

 

In an instance, any softness in the hero’s face was replaced by anger, lividity lining his harsh snarl. Finally, Eijirou thought he understood why so many criminals paled at even the thought of All Might. The hero ran towards the villain, hand drawn back, punching forwards just as he made an attempt to warp away- his action being prevented by the teacher’s incredible speed. The villain split apart like a timid Autumn breeze, almost dissipating from the strength of All Might’s hit. However, he seemed to start coming back together the moment the force ended.

 

“You can leave it to me now- just go help Eraserhead!” Assured Thirteen with feigned strength as Uraraka and Ashido held them up. They raised both of their hands, opening up ten black holes that started sucking the remnants of the villain in.

 

The No1 hero obediently leapt away from the scene and towards the main commotion of the battle with unthinkable speed, leaving in his wake a field of unconscious criminals. Meanwhile, the warp villain appeared to understand that he was screwed, and warped away from Thirteen’s grasp just moments before the hero collapsed onto their knees.

 

Eijirou let himself breathe in this moment of calm, trusting All Might to save them all. Sadly, however, the calm quickly ended.

 

The other student- Bakugou, he was pretty sure- prodded harshly at his back with a deep frown. “Where the fuck is Deku?!” He asked, attempting to look angry and utterly failing. Eijirou had a short moment of ‘grandma-instinct’ that encouraged him to pinch the other boy’s cheeks, which he steadfastly ignored.

 

“Umm…” He stared blankly at his questioning glare. “What’s a ‘Deku’?”

 

Bakugou openly snarled at that, making a show of hitting himself on the head. “Why are hero students such idiots?” He said to nobody in particular, carrying on before Eijirou could explain that he was the dumb one, and not to judge his classmates based off his intelligence alone (except maybe Kaminari). “Deku is obviously made of the same kanji as Izuku, you absolute fucking moron.”

 

“Izuku like Izuku Midoriya?” Why would this random guy who All Might just brought into an actual battle be looking for Midoriya? Unless… “Oh my God, you’re Kacchan!”

 

He recoiled when Eijirou said that, murder in his eyes but cuddliness in every other feature.

 

Bakugou was not quite what Eijirou had been expecting from the famous ‘Kacchan’, but nevertheless there were still several similarities. He was about the same height as Ashido, though a little taller, with soft looking, blond, spiky hair. There didn’t seem to be a single ounce of gel on it! His skin was unblemished and perfect, pale enough that the flush on his face at being called Kacchan was very clear. For whatever reason he wasn’t wearing a tie, and the whole windswept thing would’ve made him look pretty hot, if it wasn’t for the aforementioned cuteness that just radiated from his entire appearance. Plus, whatever deodorant he was wearing was impressively strong and smelled absolutely delicious, like a candy floss factory. Overall, Eijirou got the impression that Bakugou probably wasn’t a fan of the fact that his appearance was so alien to his personality.

 

"You must be a really strong student for All Might to bring you here!" He complimented brightly, rather than answering the question about Midoriya. "I mean, I guess he told you to stay by the entrance but he still brought you!" 

 

Bakugou turned away, crossing his arms with yet another frown. Was he missing something or..? 

 

"Kirishima!" Iida came sprinting over, glasses missing. He didn't seem too blind though, as he managed to run over to the two boys without crashing. "Do you know of the safety of our other classmates?! As Class Rep I must- wait, who is this?" Iida inquisitively looked down at Bakugou (quite literally, the height difference was impressive). 

 

"It's Kacchan!" He said, maybe a little too loudly and a little too quickly, as Bakugou barely had the chance to open his mouth to answer for himself. 

 

The blond looked around subtly, red irises flicking between approaching hero students with the precision that only came from being in previous battles. He hadn't even shown off his quirk yet and Eijirou was already sure he could beat him in a fight any day of the week. 

 

Sighing, Bakugou seemed to give up on looking for an escape and instead turned to Iida. "All I want is to find stupid Deku, or Midoriya, for you halfwit extras. You're a shitty class rep or something, ha? So tell me."

 

Despite the foul language, Iida seemed chuffed at recognition of his class status and replied politely. "I don't know where Midoriya is, but since Kirishima is covered in soot I assumed he did, which is why I came over here."

 

"Yeah, obviously I did too, at first, but the bastard isn't answering my fucking questions."

 

Eijirou blinked back to awareness because, yes, of course he knew where Midoriya was. However, now All Might was around they should wait and let him handle the villains before they went looking for their classmate. 

 

"Midoriya went to help Aizawa-sensei with that massive battle-" 

 

"What the FUCK?!" 

 

"But I'm sure he'll be fine now that the No1 Hero is here!" 

 

Bakugou gave him a look that said he was an idiot, which, okay, fair. Then he turned on his heel and started walking straight towards the chaos at the center of the USJ. 

 

"Uh, Kacchan? You shouldn't do that! We must wait until All-" Iida tried, grabbing onto his arm just as he was about to leave the safety of the entrance platform. 

 

"Don't call me Kacchan." He sneered, continuing to walk. 

 

Then Eijirou tried interfere; no matter how strong of a hero student he was, there were still too many villains down there for him to face. "But All Might said you had to stay with me. You must trust his judgement, right?

 

"He's not the boss of me."

 

Iida let out a loud, yet somehow probably not exaggerated, gasp, clutching his chest theatrically (if only it was just theatrics). Bakugou seemed very smart, Eijirou reasoned with himself, so the only reason he'd be being so reckless would be out of worry for his boyfriend. And sure, Eijirou wasn't the brightest bulb in the box when it came to intelligence, but he had a lot of empathy and knew that there was no way of stopping him at this point. 

 

"I'm coming too!" He called after him, jogging to catch up. Bakugou didn't say anything back, but he took that alone as a sign he could stay. 

 

__

 

 

From what Izuku could tell, Aizawa was on his last legs. 

 

He'd gotten into the fight himself, though he remained on the outskirts. Hitting moving targets with precision was still tricky, but whenever a villain away from the main action paused Izuku would raise/lower their temperature by just the right number of degrees to make them pass out. This meant there was no permanent or serious damage, which protected his morals even as he protected himself. He'd taken down twelve that way so far and managed to remain unnoticed, the other villains likely just thought his victims were more casualties caused by Aizawa. 

 

The teacher in question, unfortunately, did not seem to be benefitting hugely from his assistance. He was swaying on his feet and barely keeping enemies away at this point, never mind putting them out of commission entirely. Izuku knew he had to do more to help, but he just couldn't figure out how. Every scenario he ran through his head ended with him being caught and held hostage, putting Aizawa in an even worse position. 

 

Before he could make up his mind on what to do, the slam of doors being opened could be heard and he instinctively looked towards the USJ entrance. Stood like a warrior angel in the doorway was All Might, perfectly ready to take on the burden of fighting the villains. Izuku would have smiled- he would have jumped for joy even- except a surprisingly quiet villain with blue hair and hands all over his body chuckled. 

 

It wasn't a nervous laugh, like one might expect from a villain about to face down with the No1 Hero. No, it was amused, maybe even relieved, like getting All Might's attention had been his plan all along. 

 

Izuku's blood chilled at the thought. 

 

Such fear only got progressively worse as All Might rushed towards the sea of villains, parting the waters without a morsel of effort until he reached where Aizawa was still standing. 

 

"Glad you could make it." Aizawa said croakily, leaning on his fellow teacher the moment the opportunity arose. "If you'd been any longer I might have actually gotten injured."

 

All Might laughed, the booming sound steadying Izuku's heart rate just a little… Until the hand villain stepped forwards. 

 

"I was starting to worry that you'd never show up, Hero. I'm glad you did, since now I get the pleasure of welcoming you with a gift. Nomu?" 

 

Izuku paused for a moment to scan the crowd for a villain who'd answer to that name, not seeing anyone react to the boss's words, when he noticed the shadow encompassing his own. 

 

There was no time to turn around. Not a moment for him to dodge. It all happened too quickly. His eyes just barely picked up on the motion of a fist coming down on his head, before suddenly he was fifteen metres away- sat next to Aizawa against a boulder, watching All Might take the force of the blow instead of him. 

 

"All Might!" He screamed, clambering back up to his feet with wide eyes. The hero smiled at him from under the Nomu's hit, yet he didn't seem able to get out from underneath it. 

 

"Aww, too bad." The hand villain complained, crossing his arms. "I wanted you to watch your student be killed before you got murdered. What a nuisance."

 

All Might somehow managed to escape from the Nomu's hold, and landed a blow of his own. The air pressure rose so drastically that the breeze almost pushed Izuku over again, yet the monster didn't even flinch. 

 

The No1 Hero paused in shock, and the hand villain's demeanour only brightened once more. "Impressive, right? This is my Nomu: he's got the same strength as you, plus shock absorption and regeneration. He's your perfect match!" The way he was talking was almost childish, but Izuku got the idea that he was telling the truth nonetheless. 

 

Izuku was all but frozen during the proceeding battle. He watched All Might and the Nomu exchange equal blows, wrestling each other around with unimaginable strength until his teacher had been pinned into a warp gate. He looked desperately over to Aizawa, who was long passed out from his injuries and exhaustion, noticing his leg was twisted in a painful way. He couldn't come to the rescue, which left Izuku alone the responsibility to save his idol. 

 

Without thinking anymore, he ran forwards into the commotion. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Todoroki heading for the Nomu, and made a last second decision to sprint straight towards the hand villain instead, trusting Todoroki to do something. Besides, the Nomu seemed to be controlled by this other villain, so taking him out should also stop the monster… Hopefully. 

 

The villain wasn't expecting an attack, and certainly not one from a student, but he still had a fair amount of skill. Even as Izuku raised his hand in order to give his opponent heatstroke, he managed to dodge quickly enough to the left for his attack to be mostly ineffective. However, he'd anticipated his enemy's evasion capabilities and, even as the villain moved, Izuku managed to blast out a fire ball which hit him directly on his right side. His opponent paused, clutching the injury and curling in on himself, before turning to look at Izuku with murderous intent in his eyes. 

 

"You'll pay for that!" He screeched, starting a wobbly sprint forwards to his position. 

 

"I'd appreciate you leaving my student alone!" All Might replied, out of the pin with half a frozen Nomu at his feet. 

 

The hero managed to grab the attention of the villain, just enough for Izuku to seek cover with Todoroki as the Nomu began to regenerate. 

 

The battle still seemed hard, but with the No1 Hero standing once more and the lead villain injured, he hoped that they had a chance of winning. He let himself hope for a second, until… 

 

"Deku!" Izuku's heart filled with dread as he turned to see, clear as day, Kacchan stood above the battlefield and completely putting himself at risk. 

 

__

 

 

In retrospect, bringing all attention onto himself had probably been a massively poor choice, especially considering whose attention he was inviting. There were dozens of gnarly looking villains at Katsuki's feet and three more stood facing All Might, including a hand bastard, a warp bastard and a what-the-fuck-is-that bastard. 

 

"Young Bakugou, I told you-" The No1 Hero's worried words were interrupted by the latter villain aiming an unforgiving blow straight at the side of his head. 

 

Shit, okay. Katsuki didn't know what to do. He'd gotten where he'd wanted; there was Deku, alive and uninjured, so really he should just go back to the entrance where it was safe. Unfortunately, every instinct his body was saying that Deku was going to get himself killed and he had to help somehow, else he'd never be able to forgive himself. 

 

On the bright side, Kirishima seemed to have the same idea and jumped down into the clearing right as All Might began truly fighting, exchanging so many punches that he and the villain were simply blurs. 

 

Katsuki followed the redhead, charging right at Deku (who was still breathing, thank God). During all the time he'd been worrying about him, he'd never exactly figured out what he'd do to him when he found him. Punching the idiot was probably at the top of the list, shortly followed by kicking him. Katsuki had also considered yelling at him until his throat was hoarse. Saddeningly, out of all of those stellar options, when he'd finally reached Deku he pushed them all aside and hugged him instead. 

 

Not a slight hug, either. Katsuki sprinted at his poor best friend and then leaped at him, squeezing him tightly enough to hurt as he buried his face in his dumb, safe body. The force of the hug actually made Deku falter a little, before returning it with just as much gusto and lifting him up off the ground, spinning him a couple of times with the momentum as he did so. Everything else going on didn't matter as far as Katsuki was concerned, so long as Deku hadn't been killed it was all okay. 

 

"Why are you here?" His friend moaned onto his forehead after he'd put him down, arms still around him as though he were the concerned one. Katsuki had just gone through the most worrying fifteen minutes of his life- so Deku was currently banned from fussing over his safety. 

 

"I told All Might that you idiots were dying and he brought me."

 

"Why would he bring you here?!" 

 

The question was separated from its answer by a crash from the battle, and all four boys turned to see the Nomu hurtling through the USJ's reinforced glass ceiling. That left only two villains for the teacher to fight, but All Might was looking less and less action-ready by the second. Katsuki wasn't sure how much longer he could up. 

 

"I'm sure All Might can handle it from here." Deku decided, grabbing onto Katsuki's arm protectively to lightly tug him away from the commotion. "We should take Aizawa-sensei over to Thirteen."

 

Kirishima put up a thumb to signal his agreement, whilst the Halfie guy nodded silently (why the fuck did he seem so mysterious). But as they started walking, Katsuki lingered behind a little, trudging along much more slowly even as Deku pulled him forwards. 

 

All Might was trembling, and intermittent with the smoke from the fight there was steam- identical to the vapour from the staff room. The No1 Hero was barely upright, he could tell that much, but there was something more to it. He still needed help. Deku just had too much faith in his idol to see the situation objectively, because otherwise he too would be concerned. 

 

That in mind, when the hand villain lurched forwards, and All Might was slow to react, Katsuki made use of his own impressive reflexes and threw his phone directly at the guy. He'd have preferred to throw a grenade, or at least something less expensive and more damaging than his goddamn phone, but it did the trick well enough when it hit the villain square on the side of the face and he immediately halted. 

 

"You-" He clutched his head and turned to their group, where Katsuki was quickly getting surrounded by three hero students, Deku shoving him behind himself so quickly that Katsuki almost fell over. 

 

"Shigaraki, the mission-" The warp villain interrupted, only to be cut off himself by the sound of bullets piercing the air. 

 

Looking up, Katsuki saw a crowd of pros standing triumphantly, Snipe putting bullets through each of Shigaraki's limbs. The hero students around him did not relax their grip, but he still knew that they were as good as saved. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The pro heroes cleared up the mess left by the villains, though Shigaraki and his warp sidekick got away. Katsuki heard that the Nomu was found a few miles away, perfectly intact but unresponsive. He'd wanted to stay and see what was up with All Might, but all of the students had been dragged to meet up with paramedics outside before they went to the police station to give statements. 

 

"Bakugou?! Are you okay?" Yaoyorozu came rushing over once they were outside, looking uninjured aside from one or two grazes. He was vaguely surprised when Deku let her get close; sure his friend would be too protective to allow anyone else near him after such a tense battle. "What are you doing at the USJ? How did you even get out here?" 

 

"Ponytail, I can't answer you if you don't fucking shut up." He scathed, which she ignored in favour of carrying on studying his unblemished appearance. "God, can you all stop doing that!" 

 

Yaoyorozu raised an eyebrow in confusion, and the grip Deku had on his arm relaxed. Finally. 

 

"I'm obviously fine so can you all stop treating me like a piece of glass?" He said, throwing a judgemental glare at his best friend, who cowered a little before he let go entirely. 

 

"Sorry, Kacchan." The other boy amended, though to be honest Katsuki kind of missed his secure hold- he'd been annoyed at the damn fretting and overprotectiveness, but the tactility was actually rather soothing after such a stressful day- just not the previously too tight grip. 

 

Still, he brushed off any discomfort at being let go (it was nothing, he was probably just still tense from thinking Deku had been murdered). Then he turned to go towards the paramedics, so that they could further prove how perfectly fine he was. 

 

"Wait," Yaoyorozu asked in puzzlement, following them to the ambulance even though she'd just been over there. " You're Kacchan?" 

 

Damnit, just how much did Deku fucking talk about him? Apparently this entire hero class had been given a detailed description of him and their relationship, because otherwise these people wouldn't be using his childhood nickname to address him. Once again, Katsuki glared at his sheepish friend before sighing because 'of fucking course, might as well just roll with it'. 

 

"You're deputy class rep or some shit, right?" He asked Yaoyorozu, who immediately brightened as she nodded. God, what a nerd. "Then can you please tell everyone else in your damn class that yes, I'm Kacchan, but no, they are not allowed to call me that. Or even speak to me. Got it?" 

 

Saddeningly, the girl appeared unphased by his anger and request, though she looked apologetically at Deku. "Is he always this grumpy? I thought maybe it was just a lunchtime thing from hunger but-" 

 

"Hey! Don't talk about me like I'm not here!" 

 

"Apparently, he's just always a little bit moody." She finished, smiling at his pout and looking about three seconds away from booping his nose fondly. 

 

"Ahaha, yeah…" Deku laughed nervously, grabbing back hold of Katsuki's arm, which he leaned into just a little. "Hey, umm, I think Jirou is trying to get your attention." He pointed out, gesturing somewhere to the left. 

 

Yaoyorozu left, and Katsuki could only hope that, despite her teasing, she actually would silence the rest of 1-A on all matters regarding him. He definitely did not need eighteen more hero students wading around in his business, especially if they were all as worrying as Deku and Yaoyorozu. 

 

__



The trip to the police station was not fun.

 

Obviously, it would have been pretty difficult to have fun less than an hour after they were all almost killed anyway, but what was worse was that he was stuck on a coach with more heroics students than most heroics students would be able to count. All the teachers appeared to believe having the coach right at the USJ entrance was an incredible stroke of luck, despite the fact that Class 1-A had obviously ridden it up in the first place. 

 

Some teachers were absent from their protection detail, however. Eraserhead, Thirteen and All Might were all off resting after the battle (seemed like All Might did basically everything though, from his perspective), and a few other advanced hero teachers had remained at UA in case there was another attack there. Figures that the administration wouldn't trust their dumbass sidekick teachers like Katana to protect the school. Katsuki figured that, after allowing over twenty first year students to be put directly in harm's way (and okay, sure, it would have only been twenty if he hadn't shown up too), UA was under humongous pressure to ensure the safety of all of their pupils. 

 

"Well, that was wild." Some idiot with mustard yellow hair broke the pensive silence, smiling a little too cheerily to have all of his brain cells intact. From the seat next to him Deku sighed. 

 

An equally idiotic looking person with pink skin and hair nodded from beside the first guy, offering a weaker smile to the coach. "Yeah… I guess I stayed with Thirteen the whole time, but it was actually kinda exciting!" 

 

"Are you an actual moron?" He asked, totally meaning to say it out loud because Katsuki Bakugou did not do anything by mistake. His harsh honesty brought about the attention of everyone else, even Midnight who was observing curiously from the front of the bus. "How can you even be fucking considering that you just went through an 'exciting' experience when you were moments away from death the entire damn time?!" 

 

"Hey, asshole! It's called looking on the bright side!" Piped up an annoying and disembodied voice, which he steadfastly ignored in favour of scowling out the window. "Who are you anyway?" 

 

Katsuki just scowled more angrily, perhaps jutting his bottom lip out a tad out of aggravation. Deku, the dumb and yet still observant fool, seemed to sense that they were barrelling towards an argument, which made him perceptive but did not put him in any position to prevent Katsuki's immenant outburst. He decided to let the bastard consider how to diffuse the situation though, because rushing him would probably end up working out even more poorly (it always did). 

 

"Ahaha," Came his nervous laugh. "Remember when I told you guys about Kacchan…" Nope, even with thinking time Deku still couldn't pick his words correctly. "My best friend-" The other boy stopped when Katsuki offered him a certain look of distaste, immediately silencing and allowing everyone to realise just how quiet the coach had suddenly become. 

 

Kirishima seemed to want to end the apparent confusion, speaking out from behind them with full use of his two brain cells. "You guys remember Midoriya talking about him, right? He's from 1-B and-" 

 

"I am not from some shitty hero course!" He snapped, turning and standing in outrage even as Midnight shook her head disapprovingly. "Did you extras seriously think I'd be yet another hero wannabe?!" 

 

"Kacchan…"

 

"Shut up, Deku! Why does everyone always fucking think that I- that you need to be-" He cut himself off in frustration and slouched back down, covering his face with one hand. 

 

He dug his fingertips into his forehead painfully, and though it relieved his stress slightly he was still a long way from feeling even minutely better. The other damn students were always assuming shit about him, as if they thought you needed to be like them in order to matter. 

 

Silently, Deku placed a hand over the one covering his face, lightly guiding it down to his lap, brushing against his knuckles as he did so. It was dumb that it made him feel better, but Katsuki couldn't help that he turned said hand around to squeeze Deku's fist. Just a tiny way of showing appreciation, one of the only ways his pride would allow on bad days such as these. 

 

"You're saying…" The girl sat next to Kirishima eventually spoke up- she had brown hair and cheeks way too pink for any healthy human being- after minutes of stark silence. "That not only did you manage to figure out there was something wrong with our class, burst into the USJ with All Might, head straight over to the center of the action against everybody's wishes and attack the lead villain, but you did it all with no training, no combative quirk and no plans to go into heroics?!"

 

"... Yeah?"

 

He swore that simple word was like drawing moths to a flame, since moments later a wave of chatter had erupted through the class as they swarmed out of their seats to crowd around his. Iida, the class rep guy, made some feeble attempts to calm the ruckus, but ultimately he too was helpless as Katsuki thought through his best escape plan. 

 

"You're so cool!" 

 

"You're basically fearless, bro."

 

"How did you even know we were in trouble in the first place?!"

 

"He must be, like, uber smart!" 

 

"I hereby declare you an honorary member of our class!" 

 

"Shouldn't that be Iida's job?"

 

"Oh, shut up. All in favour?" 

 

"Yes!" 

 

"Whoo!" 

 

"Absolutely!" 

 

Honestly, there were way too many cheery faces for Katsuki to stomach. He turned to Deku, who was nodding along to the cacophony of compliments with a relieved tinge to his smile, as though this was not the weirdest scenario ever. 

 

With a lot of shame, he whispered: "Are they… Actually being nice?" 

 

Deku faced him wearily, like he hadn't been expecting the self deprecating note to his tone (well, in his defence it wasn't usually there). "Of course they're being nice," He murmured back, still too quietly for his rowdy classmates to pick up on the words. "This is what 'wannabe heroes' are supposed to be like."

 

With that, Katsuki leaned back. He didn't get it. These people were way too bubbly and genuine to fit his perception of anyone looking into heroics; they really just blew his own class out of the water. Of course, he couldn't ignore that these students were simply still new and enthusiastic, not marked with bitterness like Zankokuna and Katana-sensei. It was impossible that they could all be the one in a million like Deku and All Might who actually embodied how heroes should act. 

 

He was simply becoming too optimistic- too hopeful- when it came to meeting new people, that was it. Katsuki needed to ignore any idiotic fantasies that anyone, let alone damn hero students, would actually bare their true selves to him and for those selves to be even close to positive. 

 

__



"What am I doing here?" Katsuki asked as he slid into a plush armchair. After speaking with Detective Tsukauchi he'd been called into this other woman's office, alone as well since Deku was still having his statement taken. "I already told the other guy everything I know."

 

The new detective laughed good-naturedly, leaning back into her own seat. The woman seemed to be in her late forties, or possibly early fifties, and wore an old suit that had seen too many days in the sun. She had wrinkles around her eyes, which twitched every time she moved her lips. He wouldn't have called her beautiful, or even necessarily pretty, but she fit his idea of a senior policewoman kind of perfectly. Much like Tsukauchi had exactly matched his notions of what an investigator, like that English guy Sherlock Holmes, should look like. 

 

"I'm sorry, I should have gotten Officer Tamakawa to explain better when he summoned you in here." She apologised, beginning to pour herself some coffee. "Would you like some?" 

 

He shook his head. "I only drink tea." The woman tutted at that, taking a sip of the coffee without adding even a droplet of milk or a grain of sugar- Katsuki almost shuddered. "What's your name, anyway?" 

 

"I'm Detective Yagami." She replied, placing down her mug in favour of rummaging through some files on her desk, none of which Katsuki caught the meaning of the writing on. 

 

Unsure of what to do, he commented: "Like in Death Note?" Because he was clearly some shitty fan and was too uncomfortable to say anything else. What did this woman even want from him?

 

"I get that a lot, but I promise I won't kill you."

 

He ignored the butchered wink to wring his hands together, tapping his foot on the ground. Yagami did not seem to be picking up the fact that he was unamused, but he also didn't necessarily want to cuss out a person who could arrest him. That left tense silence that the woman seemed deaf to, continuing to rifle through her papers, scattering them even further across the table as she did so. 

 

"Okay, Bakugou, you said you've already spoken to Tsukauchi, right?" She finally spoke up, looking him in the eye. 

 

"Yeah, he asked me what the villains said and if I could pick some of them out of a lineup- normal police shit like that."

 

She nodded, slyly writing something down. "That's typical."

 

"Urgh, can you just fucking-" He snarled, cutting himself off when his language got too colourful. He didn't like how confused he was, nor did he enjoy the fact that he'd been dragged into yet another questioning when all of the students who'd been there the entire time had only been forced to sit through one. It sucked, to put it simply. 

 

Finally, Yagami appeared to sense his unrest. "I'm sorry; I know I'm being slow to get to the point, but sometimes it's hard to get my thoughts in order. I called you here because, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like for you to tell me what happened before you got to the USJ. I heard your redheaded friend-" 

 

"He's not my damn friend!"

 

"I heard your redheaded acquaintance tell Tsukauchi that you were the one who brought All Might to the USJ, is that right?" Katsuki nodded a bit reluctantly, but even so he couldn't deny that she was correct. 

 

"I tried calling my D- my friend, Deku, after lunch and when he didn't pick up-" 

 

"Sorry, can you tell me why you were calling him?" Katsuki stared at her quizzically. "Don't worry, you're not in trouble or anything, I'd just like to have all the details."

 

"Fine." He bit out, before continuing. "This dumbass in my class was… Kind of teasing me, which pissed me off, and my homeroom teacher, Katana-sensei, didn't do shit. So I went to the bathroom to call Deku so that I could calm down, but it kept going straight to voicemail. Deku's an idiot but he'd never let his phone die or turn it off, so I knew he must be in trouble." He explained, drumming his fingers restlessly against his thigh. 

 

Detective Yagami took another gulp of her coffee from Hell. "What did you do after that? Clearly All Might ended up going with you in the end."

 

He grunted in affirmation. "After that I went to the teachers' lounge to tell them there was trouble at the USJ, and All Might and Principal Nezu were in there. After a couple of minutes they agreed to send All Might over to check for any trouble, which he obviously did before he fought the villains." Katsuki finished, the urge to chew his nails never having been stronger. 

 

The woman hummed in thought for a little while at that, nibbling on her own fingertips. 

 

"Can I go now or..?"

 

She blinked back to realisation with a grin. "Sorry, sorry, just a couple more things- just stop me if I'm wrong. You told your teachers that there was trouble at the USJ specifically before you and All Might left, right? And then when you got there All Might went off alone to villains? Okay? Yeah, good. Thank you very much, Bakugou." 

 

He got up to leave but was stopped once more by Yagami gently grabbing onto his wrist. Resisting the urge to groan out loud and roll his eyes, Katsuki turned back to take in her vaguely sheepish expression. 

 

"Okay, really, I promise this is the last thing!" She reached into her pocket and pulled out two little cards, both with messy writing on them. "Here, there's one for you and one for your parents," Aunty Inko then. "They've got my number on, so if ever you're in trouble you can just call me up. Is that alright?" 

 

He snatched the cards from her hands and studied them, mulling over her meaning. "Why would I need your help when I go to a school brimming with heroes?" 

 

Yagami shrugged. "You never know."

 

As Katsuki left he shoved the cards into his blazer pocket, making a mental note to give one of them to Aunty Inko. He didn't know shit about Yagami, but he trusted that she at least wasn't trying to hurt him, so he figured doing what she said wouldn't be too problematic. 

 

Besides, as he walked back into the annoyingly bubbly group of 1-A students, Katsuki got the feeling that there was plenty more trouble to come. 

Chapter Text

Katsuki had correctly assumed the police wouldn't let them take the train home, and so they all needed to wait for their parents to come pick them up. He'd fortunately listed his guardian as Aunty Inko, as otherwise he'd be stuck at the station for the next two months (though he wouldn't put it past his mother to extend their trip yet again). 

 

Unfortunately, there was one downside to Inko picking him up. 

 

"Izuku! Katsuki!" The usually gentle woman barreled into them both, squeezing them with misplaced strength that should have belonged to a gorilla. "I was so worried when UA called me!" 

 

She squeezed them again, and Katsuki was pretty sure he heard a rib snap before Deku managed to pry his mother off them both, softly wiping her tears away as he did so. Meanwhile, Katsuki turned slightly to glare at his friend's classmates, trying to get them to look away. Of course, they ignored his threatening stare to instead continue giggling- aside from Kirishima and the two dumbasses from the bus, who all waved cheerily at his sour expression. 

 

"Goddammit," He muttered under his breath, inadvertently gaining back Inko's attention. 

 

She stopped weeping into Deku's chest and turned to him, eyes still moist but no longer running like a tap. He didn't know how a woman standing at five foot with chubby cheeks could make him feel a little sheepish, especially after he just threw his phone at Shigaraki, but Inko managed it. 

 

"Katsuki," He averted his eyes as she poked his chest with a trembling finger. Aunty Inko wasn't nearly as nasty as his own mother, however for a brief moment, as she glared at him, he feared she might hit him. 

 

Yeah?" Katsuki replied with feigned nonchalance. 

 

Any worry he might have had was erased a second later, as she pulled him into yet another hug. This one wasn't as desperate (or rib-breaking) as the first, but somehow it felt firmer, as though she was trying to hold him together. 

 

"How- how could you-" She choked out, rubbing a hand through his unruly hair. "How could you put yourself in danger like that?! How could UA ever let-" 

 

"Hey, mum, it's okay." Deku turned Inko around to look her in the eyes, all strength and support even outside of combat. "Kacchan was just, I don't know, trying something. It's fine. We can talk about it tomorrow."

 

He offered her a supportive smile, and her gentle grip still resting on Katsuki's wrist let go. Deku replaced it a moment later, squeezing hard enough as to not hurt him but enough for him to be sure their postponed conversation would not be over quickly. 

 

__



Izuku had never been more worried in his life than he'd been when he saw Kacchan at the USJ, standing proud and loud as though he was sure he would be safe. Though to be fair, Izuku seemed to get more worried every time his friend got into a bit of bother, be it a paper cut in pre-school or the Sludge Villain when they were fourteen. At this point, he was starting to feel like his own mother. 

 

Still, even that realisation couldn't quell the protective urge he felt the next morning, as he and Kacchan laid together in his bed. 

 

The other boy’s hair was shining golden with yesterday's conditioner, splayed out across the pillow he'd stolen in the night. His face relaxed as he slept so gently, murmuring every so often but in a way Izuku found comforting. Last night, Kacchan hadn't put on pyjama bottoms, and his baggy shirt slid up enough for Izuku to trace across his flat, toned stomach with his eyes. Even the blond's body heat was perfect, easy to wrap around protectively. 

 

But most of all, Izuku treasured the way Kacchan’s chest pushed up and down with each breath. 

 

He'd been watching him rest for most of the night, too keyed up to sleep anything but restlessly himself. Kacchan, however, was always out like a light at 08:30pm no matter what had happened during the day. So Izuku let his childhood friend lean against him in his slumber, happy to be there for him. Of course, around ten Izuku had gotten a tiny bit bored and had brought out his phone to watch YouTube quietly- he wasn't perfect, after all. Kacchan slept pretty deeply so there was no issue there at least. 

 

Now it seemed that the other boy was finally waking up, having been sleeping in as the USJ attack had cancelled the rest of their classes that week. 

 

Kacchan looked up at him blarily, shifting a little in his embrace. "Pervert." He grunted as he closed his eyes again. 

 

"No~" Izuku tried to sound cheerful, since he doubted his friend would want to talk about his own recklessness. Perhaps a lighter tone would disguise the conversation they were about to have? Or maybe Kacchan would actually be super accepting of his criticisms of his behaviour? 

 

Yeah, no chance. 

 

"You have that dumb look on your face." His friend grumbled, already working on smothering himself with the duvet. 

 

Pulling the duvet back away from his face, Izuku responded "But you always think I have a 'dumb look' on my face." 

 

Kacchan rolled his eyes, finally sitting up (sadly this stopped Izuku from cuddling up to him). "I mean the shitty one, where you're trying to smother me in possessiveness. It's annoying, especially this early in the damn morning."

 

"It's already nine!" He said, before realising the other part of what the other said. "And I'm not possessive, sometimes you just have a habit of-" 

 

"Of what?!" He spat back, unexpectedly aggressive; though Izuku actually probably should have anticipated this. "Of trying to save you from villains? Or of letting people beat the shit out of me daily?!" 

 

Izuku leant back from Kacchan’s snarl, waving his hands around defensively. "Hey- hey that's- you know that's not what I was going to say!" 

 

His friend relaxed infinitesimally, switching from offensive to guarded in a split second. "Fine. What were you going to say?" 

 

That gave Izuku pause. He'd just been concerned is all, but wording was always tricky with Kacchan, and he certainly didn't want to offend him. He could tell the other boy was still keyed up from yesterday, tension residing in his muscles despite the comfort of their bed. Now more than ever, Izuku knew he should be mindful of Kacchan’s short fuse. Still though, he was upset too and couldn't simply let his friend lash out at him unfairly. 

 

"You have a habit of putting yourself in danger ."

 

"I do n-" 

 

"Just let me finish, Kacchan." He continued, pressing a finger to the blond's parted lips. "I'm not saying that it's unnecessary all the time, or even that you mean to-" He sighed, grabbing the other's clenched hands into his own. "But yesterday was different. You did great! You told All Might we were in trouble and I'm so proud of you for that but-" 

 

Kacchan pulled his hands away, looking down. "But?" He asked quietly, barely a question. 

 

"There was absolutely no reason for you to also come to the USJ! And when I think of you getting hurt, I just- just- and with- with the Sports Festival I don't… I don't know what I'll do."

 

The blond turned away fully, crossing his arms over his chest. Izuku couldn't see his expression, but he doubted it was a good one. He sniffled a bit, throat burning from the tears he was trying to restrain. It was dumb for him to get upset when Kacchan clearly had more right to the emotion, but somehow he just couldn't help it 

 

"I'm gonna go." Kacchan eventually grunted, getting up and marching over to the door without looking back. 

 

Startled, Izuku fumbled as he got to his own feet. "What? Why?!" 

 

"You think I'm gonna fucking-" He snapped before biting himself back, literally as he dug his teeth into his bottom lip. Kacchan took a steadying breath, and Izuku could almost see him mentally count from one to ten as he tried to calm down, which was either relieving or extremely threatening. "I'm going so I don't say shit I'll regret later."

 

And with that he did leave, taking a fresh set of clothes with him as he slammed the door. His mum might try to stop him, kind-hearted as she was, but she was usually (re always) perceptive enough to leave Kacchan alone when he needed it- a skill Izuku had never managed to develop, unfortunately. 

 

__



Katsuki was fuming. He guessed that, with an actually useful quirk like fire or some crap like that, he'd literally have steam coming from his pores as he stomped through the central part of their town. To make matters worse, despite his scowl, no other civilians seemed to understand that he wanted to be left alone, as they kept tossing him worried glances. Some D-class 'hero' had even asked if he was lost and needed his mother, like he was some damn child! 

 

Suffice to say that pro had gotten quite the earful of colourful language. 

 

That left him where he was now though: absolutely livid with rage but missing any sort of outlet. He'd seen a storefront advertising some selection of his parents' clothing line and had almost gone in there with fabric scissors and unattractive dye. Katsuki almost regretted thinking better of that plan. 

 

He knew, in theory, that Deku had a point. Maybe, just maybe, he'd needlessly put himself in danger by going with All Might. And perhaps, at the very least, he could've just stayed by the entrance when he got there. However, right now none of that mattered to him as he stomped through the mall's entrance, not exactly sure where he was headed. 

 

Had Deku done any of that shit, especially if it hadn't been technically necessary, all he would've heard would've been praise! Even Katsuki himself, after a few well deserved insults, would've just brushed it off as Deku being his normal, heroic, dumbass self. But since it was him , and since he didn't have some flashy quirk, all his friend could see was the risk, not the reason! 

 

Katsuki mulled over the unfairness of that as he reached his apparent destination; the most emo shop in all of damn Asia. 

 

"And if I wasn't a loser before…" He muttered as he headed inside, brushing past some twenty year old girl as she browsed their collection of skull earrings. 

 

Until he saw the Stain poster, he hadn't really been paying attention to any of the store's products. The miserable aura had matched his mood, so Katsuki focused on that. It fuelled his anger for Deku, which was really just anger against an unfair society, until the large print caught his eye. 

 

He stood for a moment and stared. 

 

The poster was pretty simple: a black backdrop, with an almost glowing white figure perched upon a skyscraper. In relation to the picture, Stain himself appeared small- but his bright light drew the eye directly to him, even before a person could notice the almost sinister blood moon in the top right hand corner. 

 

Katsuki scoffed. The poster was dumb, no doubt about that. ' Hero Killer: Stain' felt more like a fairytale to most people than an actual threat, especially since no one actually knew what he looked like. The poster only showed a vague silhouette, recognisable only as the infamous villain because his name was plastered gaudily in red at the top of the sheet. He was a threat, a well recognised one thanks to his staggering casualty count, but as far as Katsuki knew the general public felt pretty safe from him; he only went after minor to mid level heroes, after all. 

 

So no, none of that is what made him stop and stare, broken from his jumbled thoughts about Deku and Inko and 1-A. What really caught his attention were the grey words below the skyscraper, almost hidden in the shadows of the darkest part of the poster. Those sly, messily scrawled words read:

 

' Heroes are not who they are supposed to be.'

 

"What'ya looking at?" A voice from behind made him startle, and Katsuki turned to see Purple Bitch. 

 

He chose not to respond to the question, muscles tensing in defense. "None of your fucking business, Mind Freak."

 

Shinsou only shook his head and rolled his eyes at that, apparently not even slightly turned off by Katsuki's aggression. "I've never heard that nickname before, but you do seem the type to pull something both completely original and outstandingly dumb out of your ass in record time." He smirked, wrists jangling with the excessive chains decorating them. 

 

He seethed, venom lacing his lips even as he mentally restrained himself. This idiot wasn't as bad as Zankokuna, but he was still a bitter hero reject and Katsuki didn't seem to have much luck with those guys. "Figures some emo punk like you would hang out in this dumpy shop, what a shitty cliché." He decided to say, looking up with rage. He decided this guy probably wouldn't try to knock his teeth out when just yesterday he'd defended him, but Katsuki remained a little apprehensive about straight up slaughtering the guy with his words of malice. 

 

"You're here too, you know that, right?" Shinsou chuckled. 

 

"Oh, fuck you." Sadly, Purple Bitch was blocking his only escape route, else he'd have escaped then and there, but the other boy appeared to have done that on purpose. 

 

"Hey, hey- chill a little bit, alright?" Shinsou said as Katsuki tried to shove past him despite all that, putting his arms out in front of himself in order to stop him. "I actually needed to talk to you, and in person is way easier than the debacle I'd have to go through to get your number." He shuddered dramatically, raking one hand through his idiotic hair. "That'd involve talking to hero students, and I'm sure you can tell why that would suck."

 

Katsuki couldn't help but nod in agreement, uncomfortably reminded of Class 1-A's bright but fake smiles, and how genuine their intentions seemed to the ignorant. Even so, what the Hell did Shinsou want to talk about? As far as he was concerned, his classmate barely counted as a neutral person in his life, along with Yaoyorozu. Did the other boy want to talk about the USJ attack? Perhaps curious to know how his future Sports Festival opponents had gotten along against actual villains? Whatever the case, Katsuki wasn't telling him jack shit. Deku was being currently annoying, certainly, but as of right now he didn't think he could stomach stabbing his friend in the back by sharing oh so precious information about him with a future competitor. 

 

"Spit it out then." Katsuki muttered, still prepared to keep his lips sealed. 

 

Any mirth left in Shinsou's eyes departed as he said his piece, scratching the back of his neck. "Zankokuna is out for your blood." Katsuki raised an eyebrow. When was that not true? "Obviously, everyone was evacuated from the school early yesterday when the teachers caught wind of the attack, and Katana-sensei couldn't exactly register you when you'd been gone since lunch. But then she got an email from Hound Dog, saying you were at the USJ and that she should just evacuate everyone else."

 

Even with the faint MCR wailing in the background of the shop, Katsuki swore you could hear a pin drop as he realised what Shinsou was saying. 

 

The boy continued, finally letting both his hands drop to his sides. "Everyone is pretty pissed that the one guy who doesn't even like heroes got experience with fighting villains, especially since apparently the entire hero department loves you now."

 

Katsuki imagined for a moment every terrible way Zankokuna and the others could absolutely destroy him, imagined how their anger would only increase the daily taunts. Perhaps they'd even move onto physical brutality now he'd properly incensed them and they knew Katana didn't give three shits about him. 

 

He gulped. 

 

"I guess they'll try something at the Sports Festival then, where no one will even blame them for beating the shit out of me." Katsuki figured, forcing his tone to come out even. 

 

Shinsou's eyes widened at that idea, and dread settled in his stomach as his classmate seemed to pick out the flowers for his funeral as they spoke. 

 

"I didn't-" He controlled his expression again, shrugging off any worry- didn't matter; Katsuki had already seen it. "I didn't think of that. I'm sure the principal will let you sit out if you're in danger." Shinsou amended. 

 

"Fuck that!" He snarled in response, annoyed that Shinsou thought his only option was to avoid the problem like a pussy. "I'm not gonna run and hide just 'cos some idiots wanna try shit. We've got three weeks until the festival, I'm sure I'll think of something."

 

Purple Bitch did not appear to believe him, but he could at least tell that Katsuki wouldn't be backing down anytime soon. So with that he left him to brood at the back of the dumb emo store alone, listening to American music. 

 

He made a couple of different decisions in that moment, the first of which being to take the poster. 

 

__



Katsuki returned to Deku's apartment, stomping through the front door as he had done for the last eleven months. He'd chosen to return at the time he knew Aunty Inko would be out doing her weekly shop, knowing he'd not be able to leave if she were the one who tried to stop him. 

 

"Kacchan!" Deku greeted with a hint of nervousness as he stalked into his bedroom. "You really had me w-" 

 

"I'm going." Katsuki said, grabbing his backpack from the hook and opening his clothes drawer. Some of the stuff in there was Deku's, like his favourite T-shirt that said ' T-shirt ' on it, but he emptied the whole thing out into a bin liner nonetheless. 

 

His friend's flailing limbs stopped for a second in confusion. "Again? But you only just came back…" He took notice of the clothes. "And why do you need all that stuff?" 

 

Katsuki sighed, halting in his rush to throw everything into a bag and dash out as soon as possible. "I'm going to go live back at my mum's again." He confessed, steadfastly ignoring the hurt whimper Deku let slip.

 

"But- but you don't- this is your home!" He floundered, getting off the bed to start unpacking all the clothes Katsuki had shoved away. "That house is cold and barren and lonely and we both know you were miserable there! Why would you ever want to go back?!" 

 

Katsuki snatched his clothes back out of Deku's hands. "Because you're suffocating me!" He snapped, reaching out aggressively to do something, anything, to release his violent urge. He caught himself midway, but Deku was unaffected anyway. 

 

The other boy fell silent, empty hands gripping nothing as he continued packing. His new poster was already back at his mum's, dropped off on the way back from the mall along with his other backpack, and he was beginning to realise he'd never actually moved much stuff into the Midoriya household. His clothes and toiletries, sure, but aside from that? It was pathetic to say he'd been living there for almost a full year and yet he didn't have so much as a lamp to call his own. 

 

Finally, Deku regained his voice. "What do you mean I'm suffocating you? If it's about the USJ, we can drop that I'll just-" 

 

"It's not just that." Katsuki muttered, and Deku quietened once more. "You were always so damn concerned all the time, but recently I'm drowning in it. I feel like I'm being smothered in worry every time I talk to you! And you barely stop being overprotective long enough to actually act like my friend. It started out with the Sludge Villain, sure, but ever since we joined UA you won't stop fucking asking if I'm okay, even if I tell you to drop it."

 

Deku's eyes glistened with tears as he reached out to him, and Katsuki let the nerd grip his shaking wrist. "I'll stop… I'll try harder to-" 

 

"No you won't." He sighed, finally zipping up his backpack and taking the bin liner in hand. "Or, you might. You care, I know that, but I don't think you fundamentally know how to let me look after myself." The other boy's lip trembled, so he moved in to try at comforting him, not wanting to come across as mean to his only friend. "I'm not saying we can't still be friends, idiot, I'm just moving two streets away- not to goddamn Narnia- so stop your crying." Katsuki furiously rubbed any moisture from his own face. "Just… I think you've forgotten that I've got my own independence, so not being around each other 24/7 might remind you, or both of us even, that codependency isn't a viable relationship status."

 

He stood up with all his stuff, Deku following him like a lost puppy down to the door. 

 

"I'm gonna go to Dagoba Beach tomorrow, if you want to join me. I'm training for the Sports Festival." Katsuki said, trying to cut the tension from the air. Sadly that was supposed to be Deku's job, and he therefore was not super great at it. "Then I'll be getting a new phone in the afternoon, since Shigaraki's ugly ass face broke mine."

 

His friend finally did chuckle at that, pulling him into yet another watery hug. "My mum is going to kill me for letting you go, Kacchan."

 

"Aunty Inko couldn't hurt a fucking fly." He retorted with a weak smile of his own. 

 

"She could when it comes to us." Deku mumbled, opening the door for him. "I'll walk you over-" 

 

"It's less than one hundred metres; you're being overbearing again."

 

His mouth snapped closed but he nodded, only pulling Katsuki into one last hug before waving him off. It was dumb how emotional their good bye had been, when they'd be seeing each other again in less than twelve hours. 

 

Still, as Katsuki entered his former, and yet new, chilly house, breathing in the uncomfortable, stagnant air, he felt the weight of what he'd just given up truly crush down on him. 

 

Chapter Text

To be entirely honest, Izuku knew why Kacchan had left him- well, his house at least. 

 

Since they were little he'd had a thing with his pride, and found it hard to be the subject of worry. Were Izuku to put on his therapist brain for a moment, he'd guess that his friend felt that way because neither his teachers nor his parents had ever offered him any concern, so when Kacchan was faced with it it felt 'wrong' and 'undeserved'. Of course, the blond would never admit to such a thing. In fact, the only person who ever did express any worry over his wellbeing was Izuku himself, which might even be why Kacchan had a special bit of tolerance to him being the one breathing down his neck. 

 

And Izuku knew he fretted a lot. How could he not? But he'd still never anticipated that it would drive his best friend away. 

 

Telling his mother had been difficult, though not nearly as difficult as looking into Kacchan’s eyes as the other boy accused him of being 'overbearing' and 'smothering' in his care. His mum had not been frustrated with him, nor had she offered any sort of anger towards Kacchan for choosing to leave (when his mother wasn't home, no less). She was just quiet. Yet Izuku still got the feeling that she was seething, and he thought he saw her scrolling through UA's website on her phone as they ate breakfast that morning, but he didn't mention it; the last twelve hours had been difficult enough already. 

 

"So," The woman finally spoke up, placing her phone onto the table face down. "You're seeing Katsuki this morning?" 

 

He looked down into his cereal, stirring it round aimlessly. "Yeah, he said he wanted to train for the Sports Festival."

 

She nodded glumly and they fell back into uncomfortable silence. They were both guilty of becoming accustomed to having Kacchan around in the morning, often moaning at them for eating cereal for breakfast rather than something else more sustaining. Izuku was always far more lively in the morning than his friend, sure, but Kacchan was the one who brought life into the mornings they shared. 

 

"I think…" Izuku started as he cleaned up his bowl. "I think I'll try to support his decision to move back to his parents' house." He decided, though he knew he'd never truly be okay with his friend's course of action. 

 

He thought his mother understood, since she sent him off with a quick hug and a murmured 'I love you', not mentioning her own feelings towards Kacchan’s choice even once. 

 

__



Katsuki was the one to hug Deku when the other boy arrived, rather than it be the other way round as usually happened. He always slept very well, but without Deku there it had been more difficult than usual to fall into slumber- he missed the supportive warmth his friend offered on difficult nights. So he'd been relieved to see Deku with a wobbly smile walking towards him over the beach, and ran over to give him a hug (which sent his chest wild with an unusual fluttering sensation… Whatever). 

 

His friend accepted readily, not even staggering under his rushed embrace and hugging him back almost as tightly as he had at the USJ, minus the lifting and spinning, which was a tad regrettable. 

 

"You came." He said into the ledge of Deku's shoulder, still not pulling away. "I thought you'd be mad or some shit…" He admitted quietly. 

 

The other boy lifted his own head off of Katsuki's hairline, smiling down at him. "It's fine!" He tried with a little too much cheer in his voice. "You need space, that's alright! I'm not gonna be mad at you for that."

 

Relieved, Katsuki dipped his face back down to nod into his friend's collarbone. 

 

"Just…" Deku's voiced toned back into a sad one as he stroked through his blond hair, pressing the locks down even as they spiked back up. "Just know that when you feel comfortable again, you can always come back."

 

Even more relief flooded through Katsuki as he pushed any tears back down, trying to replace the useless warmth in his chest with anger at his own worthlessness. It was so dumb to be emotional over this when he'd managed to deal with Zankokuna and Katana with far more restraint. 

 

That in mind, he finally pushed Deku away. He didn't want to dwell on yesterday right now, rather he had to look to the future. If he were to enter the Sports Festival ill-prepared then who knows what Zankokuna would do to him. 

 

"Stop being so mushy, idiot." He said, giving his friend a light shove. They both knew that he'd been the pathetic crybaby this time, but Deku was tactful enough not to mention it. "We don't have time for this with the Sports Festival two fucking weeks away."

 

"Why are you so suddenly bothered about it anyway, Kacchan?" Deku asked, tilting his head. "I thought you didn't care about the hero course…"

 

He scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Obviously I don't, but I don't want to make an idiot of myself on live TV like the rest of my class of rejects." 

 

"Calling them rejects is why they don't want to be your friend." The other boy cut in, since he didn't know about all the problems Katsuki was currently facing. He didn't need to, either, Deku knowing would just make it so much harder. 

 

Katsuki brushed off the comment to instead start marking out a large square in the sand. His friend was perceptive enough to help him after only a few moments, and mere minutes later an arena the size of a badminton court had been marked out with small pebbles. Even outside of their small pocket of space the beach was empty, word not yet gotten around about the absence of rubbish. 

 

It was a great training ground, Katsuki thought. He would've preferred concrete or tarmac, as they would more closely resemble the material of UA's arena, but dealing with sand would probably make their footwork more steady. Unless… 

 

"Can you superheat this into glass?" He questioned his friend abruptly, only for Deku to drop the large rock he'd been holding straight onto his foot. 

 

The other boy squeaked in pain over Katsuki's poorly hidden snort, not replying as he grasped his foot humourously. 

 

"Ow!" He looked up to glare weakly at his friend. "You shocked me!" 

 

"If you want to be the No1 hero, maybe you should get used to people 'abruptly speaking' without breaking your own fucking foot." Deku did not appear amused at his joke, but that didn't matter because the dumbass still hadn't answered his original question. "Anyway, can you turn this sand into glass or not?" 

 

Recovering enough to gingerly place his injured foot down again, Deku finally replied. "I don't know, I couldn't last time I tried but my quirk's gotten stronger since then." Katsuki frowned at this lack of knowledge (usually whenever he asked his friend a question about his quirk he had to be prepared for a six thousand word essay in response). Before he could mention anything though, the other boy continued. "Even if I could do that, I wouldn't since getting glass all over the beach I just spent almost a year cleaning would be really annoying."

 

"I helped!" He defended, perhaps childishly. 

 

Deku laughed, finally seeming more genuine again. "You sat on the fridges when I was dragging them up the beach." He said with mirth, clearly trying to tease him. 

 

Katsuki thought they'd be okay. 

 

__



He was on the floor for what must have been the seventh time, sand mixing with his blond hair. He was becoming glad that Deku had refused to heat the beach's surface into glass, since it would probably be far more uncomfortable. 

 

Though, with how his friend was currently placing him down everytime he won, Katsuki guessed even glass wouldn't have been painful. 

 

"You can drop me, you know? 'Cos right now it feels like you're putting me down for fucking nap, not fighting me as if you mean it."

 

Deku just smiled down from over him- his arms caging his head and breath tickling Katsuki's lips pleasantly. "I don't need to hurt you to show you the technique. Besides, I still don't get why you're so bothered with this whole thing all of a sudden."

 

He didn't want to tell him about the Zankokuna shitshow, not when their interactions had finally started feeling comfortable again. "I already told you; I don't want to be lumped in with all the General Studies idiots."

 

Deku leaned down further so that they were nose to nose. "If that were true," He said with a lilt to his voice, "You would've felt like that a week ago."

 

Katsuki rolled out from underneath him, perfectly prepared to dodge the question. "Whatever." Okay, maybe not perfectly but still…

 

He thought his friend would push a little harder at least, or playfully grapple with him until he was more ready to share. But Deku clearly restrained himself from it, opening and closing his mouth like a dumbass fish. Their conversation from yesterday at least seemed to be working, since he was finally leaving him to sort stuff out on his own. However, it was still painfully obvious that the green haired boy didn't like it one bit. 

 

"You know what?" He finally broke a few minutes of awkward silence, climbing to his feet and pulling Katsuki up with him. "I don't think we can properly train here, but the rest of my class are at the UA on site gym getting ready for the festival, so we could always go there."

 

He chose not to ask why Deku hadn't suggested they go there in the first place. It was probably just because they'd been on shaky ground and he hadn't wanted to scare Katsuki off by bringing his new friends into it, which was aggravating but not necessarily unwise on Deku's part. 

 

"Will they fight me properly, or are they pussies like you?" He taunted, nudging his friend in they shoulder. 

 

"They better not-" He caught himself with wide eyes and red streaking up his freckled cheeks, hopefully realising how he sounded every time he went into 'over-protective mode'. "...We'll see." He amended after a heavy moment of quiet. 

 

__



Ochacko was ready to win the Sports Festival. 

 

She knew she needed to. Getting noticed by pros would help propel her into the spotlight so that she could become a more successful hero, and finally help out her family. So yes, training was a very serious endeavour that she was taking entirely seriously, of course. Not a giggle in sight, not one~

 

Tooru fell from the pull up bar for the third time and Ochacko couldn't help but break into hysterics. She knew the invisible girl wouldn't mind- they were friends, after all- and after Tooru had spoken so much about beating Shouji and Shishida at the fitness test they'd set up, well, let's just say she wasn't the only one laughing. 

 

Most of their class had gathered at the campus gym, wanting to train on their extra days off from school. Even the apparent slackers like Kaminari and Mineta had shown up, probably spurred heroically into action by the events of the USJ attack.

 

… Or maybe they just wanted to watch poor Momo's boobs jiggle as she did star jumps. 

 

The only people missing from their ensemble were Midoriya, Todoroki and Kouda. The latter was apparently training in the woods instead of with them, since his quirk wouldn't work in a place without animals, but the former two were more of a mystery. Ochako knew for a fact that both her and Iida had texted Midoriya the night before to invite him, but he'd never responded despite the fact that he'd read her message. And Todoroki was an enigma just by nature of existing. 

 

"Uraraka!" Momo ran over from where she was doing her star jumps, brushing past the pervy boys on her way. "Have you managed to do the balance beam after floating yourself yet?" 

 

Their deputy class representative was so nice, although Ochako secretly had to prefer Iida. But Momo cared a lot for their class too, and had been doing her best to help everybody all morning. She even dealt with Mineta and Kaminari maturely! By now Ochako would have floated at least the former into the stratosphere. 

 

"No, I keep falling off and Sero has to use his tape to catch me." She admitted, remembering her own embarrassing exploits from half an hour ago. "I can get almost a third of the way across now though, which is an improvement! Plus, Sero gets to work on his reflexes every time he catches."

 

Momo nodded in response, but Ochako noticed the way her foot tapped against the ground and the fact that her hands were wringing restlessly in front of her. Despite her seemingly composed deportment, it was clear that her classmate was full of nervous energy. 

 

"Umm, is there anything else you wanted to talk about?" 

 

The other girl immediately brightened, clasping her previously fidgety hands together. "Yes! I mean, ah, yes. I was wondering if you knew where Midoriya is? I'd like to talk to him about Bakugou; I just have this really bad feeling that-" 

 

At that moment she was interrupted by the slamming of the gym door, it having been opened by the two they were talking about. Bakugou led them both through, stomping in front of Midoriya, who seemed to be trying to catch up with him. Ochako had no doubt that her classmate could easily outrun his friend, but perhaps this was yet another layer of the charade they seemed to have formed: Bakugou pretended to be perfectly capable and self sufficient, whilst Midoriya nodded along most of the time. 

 

Ochako doubted it was a stable foundation for a relationship, but the two's dynamic was still pretty sweet to watch. Whatever the case, she knew that she didn't have the full story. 

 

"Speak of the devil," She muttered, even as Momo raced off to meet the pair. 

 

Had Bakugou come to watch them train? No, even from what little she knew about him she was aware of how unlikely that was. So he must've come to train too, but he wasn't interested in the hero course whatsoever? But maybe-

 

Okay, no. Ochako chuckled to herself, covering her mouth to stifle it. She was thinking like Midoriya, who was admirable for practically every reason aside from his incessant muttering. 

 

She put her thoughts to rest, settling on the prediction that their day was about to become far more interesting. 

 

Chapter Text

Tenya wasn't particularly pleased with the disturbance Midoriya had brought to their training, but voicing such a thought over the excited clamour of their classmates was difficult. 

 

"This is a closed practice! If you are to bring your, umm, partner here then he must remain quiet!" Barely anyone even glanced up at his instruction. Tokoyami shot him a pitying look from the sidelines but that was the extent of it. 

 

So Tenya marched through the noisy group, all of whom had abandoned their extremely crucial training to gawk at a person they'd met exactly once. He could understand why they found Bakugou fascinating- he had demonstrated great courage, after all- but as heroes they should be paying more attention to themselves at the moment. 

 

"Oh my God, did you come to watch us practise?!" Squealed Ashido, tugging roughly on Bakugou's arm. 

 

Before the other student could even open his mouth to respond, Kaminari had grabbed his other arm in a quick motion. "We're gonna be so awesome! You won't be bored for a minute!" He said with a huge grin, which the other blond did not seem to reciprocate. 

 

Tenya had finally reached close enough to the center of the crowd to be able to be noticed by the majority of his classmates. However, when he went to order them back to work, he noticed Midoriya's face trembling in a way that did not seem like he was hiding a smile, and Bakugou was being far more quiet than when they'd first met. Was there an issue? Yes, it seemed obvious when you were looking for it, but it was clear that Ashido and Kaminari had crossed some sort of line. It was vaguely confusing to Tenya why Midoriya hadn't even opened his mouth in his partner's defence, but even so Tenya just knew it had to be done. 

 

"Ashido! Kaminari! Let go of your fellow student at once! This childish behaviour is not fitting of UA students at all, and as your class representative I would advise you to act more maturely in the future!" 

 

They nodded and let go reluctantly- a job well done. Bakugou hissed at them as they retreated which, whilst being similarly immature, Tenya didn't blame him for. Still, now he had to do what he'd been trying to in the first place. 

 

"Everybody, the Sports Festival is imminent and therefore none of you should be wasting your time bothering a person you barely know. This event is crucial not only for you to be scouted by agencies, but as it also builds you reputation with the public- who you all know will have a large role in deciding you rank in the future.That being said," He took a breath and pushed his glasses more firmly up his nose. "I also must question why Bakugou is here in the first place. He is not a hero student, Midoriya, and has disturbed our training." By now a lot of the group had disbanded thanks to his words; perhaps only eight or so people left in it; an improvement, at least. 

 

Midoriya went to respond to him, face drawn up in some semblance of anger, when Bakugou himself cut him off. "Don't talk about me like I'm not even fucking here!" The remainders of the crowd took a necessary step back, probably realising Bakugou hadn't been extra angry the first time they met because he was still tense from USJ- nope, this appeared to be his default setting. 

 

"Kacchan," Midoriya smiled down at his partner, expression back to the cheery one everybody loved. Hopefully, Tenya thought, he was about to tell him not to be so rude to the class representative. "You're absolutely right, Iida was speaking rather rudely."

 

Tenya's heart just about stopped. He was the rude one?! He was only looking out for the best interests of their class, and even if his wording and tone had been a little rough, which seemed unlikely, it was only because his mind was preoccupied with worrying over 1-A's success in the festival. Besides, Bakugou was not a member of their class and was subsequently not Tenya's priority. 

 

"Excuse me, but Bakugou is not- I mean- Bakugou, you're not part of our class and you are interrupting our training." Tenya said, only to be frowned at by the very people he was trying to help.

 

"Stop being such a damn stick in the mud, it's not my fault if your class can't concentrate just because I walk into the fucking room." He smirked devilishly, walking forwards and poking Tenya hard in the chest. "Plus, their behaviour seems to say more about your failures as a class rep. I'd say Yaoyorozu does a much better job than you, Four Eyes."

 

He gasped in emotional pain at such a brute statement, while his fellow rep simultaneously made a small squeak of joy. She covered it up, but not soon enough to avoid Bakugou looking extremely smug. On top of that, everyone else seemed to be silently agreeing. 

 

At least that was a sign he had to change. If some random general studies student could rally his own class against him, it was a sign Tenya himself had made an error somewhere. If he were doing his job properly then Bakugou could never in a million years convince 1-A to antagonise him. 

 

So Tenya bowed down at a sharp ninety degree angle, head now low enough to be parallel to the blond's chest. "I apologise, Bakugou. I realise that I have been speaking to you out of turn, thanks to the silence of my unusually quiet classmates as you insult me." He raised back up to see Bakugou's self-satisfied grin, and turned to his other peers. "I should actually be further berating all of you for so easily abandoning your training so close to the Sports Festival, rather than getting on at Bakugou."

 

There were a few sheepish mumbles as most everyone departed, aside from Yaoyorozu, Midoriya and Bakugou. The former leaned forwards and, in a hushed tone, asked "Iida, you do realise that you were also distracted from your training, right?" 

 

__

 

 

Momo waved Iida off as he hurried away, a giggle fighting to pass through her teeth- yet she managed to endure. Iida was respectable in almost every regard, but he did have a tendency to act… Goofily, quite a bit of the time. No wonder Ochacko had such a hard time keeping a straight face. Momo turned back to smile at her remaining two friends, who appeared to be having a conversation made up entirely of blinking. 

 

She liked Bakugou a lot. Not in a romantic way, that would be foolish given his clear feelings for Midoriya, but she did feel as though she was closer to him than any of her own classmates. She'd simply shared more of herself with the blond- let him see past her exterior to an extent that she'd never allowed a person to before. 

 

Something about Bakugou just made her trust and confide in him. 

 

"Are you two here to train too?" She asked rather than voicing any of that, finally tearing the boys' attention off of one another. 

 

Midoriya smiled at her, putting his arm around his friend's waist. "Yeah, we tried at the beach but Kacchan got a little, ah, frustrated…" He trailed off, looking sheepish as Bakugou himself snarled. 

 

"I was only 'frustrated' because you're a pussy who won't actually try to hurt me!" 

 

"You're my friend! I don't exactly want to force you into an early grave-" 

 

Momo stepped between them, sensing a little unrelieved tension. "Stop, both of you! Now Midoriya, you can go and train your quirk with Iida; he's doing long distance running around the center, so if you try to cool down his exhausts as he moves it'll help you with not only range but your precision and aim as well."

 

The freckled boy appeared lost for an argument against that, gesturing uselessly between Bakugou and himself. "But I- I'm not sure if- I don't know-" 

 

"Oh, just spit it out, you damn nerd!"

 

Midoriya immediately ceased rambling, shutting his mouth with a humorous click instead. "It's just, I don't know how you'll train without me."

 

"I can train with him." Momo offered, apparently not what Midoriya had wanted she realised as his face fell. Uhh, she better fix this. "I mean, you don't need to babysit him 24/7, and I'm sure I can help him out in the festival too."

 

Midoriya agreed pretty easily, much to her surprise, but Momo guessed it had to do with the borderline pleading look Bakugou was drilling him with. So the boy left to meet up with Iida and she was left with the grumpy blond, who she had some of her own questions for. 

 

Why did he suddenly care about an event so intrinsically tied to the heroics department when he so vehemently despised said department? And what happened between him and Midoriya? 

 

As Bakugou's only friend outside of the freckled boy, Momo felt inclined to talk it out with him, though she anticipated that getting Bakugou to open up would be like pulling teeth. 

 

"Don't even fucking ask, I'll just tell you." The blond brought her out of her thoughts with a defeated sigh, which she tried not to look too put out by. 

 

He wasn't planning on making her work for the vaguest shred of a clue on what was going on? Had he been kidnapped by Shigaraki and replaced by a clone in the last 24 hours? 

 

She really needed to stop mulling over so many questions in her head. 

 

"How did you know I was going to ask you something?" She questioned, sitting down and patting the area beside her. To her further surprise, Bakugou just collapsed next to her. Again, no apparent fight. 

 

"You get the same look as Deku, but it doesn't happen as often- thank fuck." He scratched the back of his neck almost nervously. "Besides… I've kinda been wanting to get some shit off my chest… Not that it's bothering me or anything!" 

 

Momo nodded, though it was only to appease him, and gestured for the blond to continue. 

 

He did but, but he made an act of 'confidently' brushing his hair back first, keeping his eyes averted. "This idiot from my class warned me that these other idiots from my class are gonna try some shit at the Sports Festival."

 

She grabbed his arm a tad protectively. "That's terrible! Why don't you tell a teacher? I'm sure Aizawa-" 

 

Bakugou practically snarled as he cut off any suggestions about going to a member of the faculty. Why he'd be so wary in a school full of hero teachers promised yet another layer of childhood trauma, but Momo pushed that surge of interest to the back of her mind. 

 

"Fine, have you at least told Midoriya then?" 

 

His silence told the whole story. Bakugou looked down to the ground, one hand reaching fiddle with the fake grass as he let the quiet stretch on. 

 

"Why on Earth not?! This is a serious risk to your safety, and if he knew-" 

 

"He'd freak out, okay?!" Bakugou batted her hand off his forearm, scowling so hard his canines poked out from his mouth. "I just fucking got him off my damn back and if I tell him this I might as well let him handcuff the two of us together. There's no way he'd just let me endure on my own, and he'd probably try to involve teachers too and tell Aunty Inko and then- and- I-" 

 

"Hey," This time she cut him off, though her voice was soft and demeanour open, unlike his. "You need to calm down." Momo told him, hands clutching his shoulders as she demonstrated how to breathe in and out. 

 

Bakugou hadn't quite been hyperventilating, but it'd been kind of close. Luckily, he was still lucid enough to follow her instructions, breathing deeply through the nose and out his mouth until the risk of a panic attack had trickled back to practically zero. 

 

"You're okay." Momo comforted, finally letting go of him. She didn't want to force him to keep talking, so she kept quiet until he managed to formulate a response on his own. 

 

He seemed embarrassed, face turned down to stare at the floor, but he did eventually start talking again. "I just want to deal with bullies without him for once in my goddamn life."

 

At which point, Momo was sparked with the best idea of her life (okay, not really but…).

 

"I know you don't want Midoriya helping you," Bakugou looked up, red eyes flashing with ill-concealed interest. "How do you feel about me helping you out instead?" 

 

She explained her plan and, by the end, Bakugou's grin was cutting through his face in a way that almost looked painful. Far more pleasant to look at than the humiliated one he'd worn previously…

 

__

 

 

Shouto refused to let his father's name be the one everyone associated him with. He would make a name for himself, one disconnected entirely from Endeavour. 

 

But before that, he'd have to deal with Midoriya Izuku in the Sports Festival. They were only days out now, and Shouto knew it would be foolish to not have a plan to beat him. Their quirks were too similar; Midoriya could cancel his power out and aim for the top instead of him. 

 

Shouto couldn't outshine his father without winning the Sports Festival. And he couldn't hope to win without a solid plan to defuse Midoriya. 

 

Luckily, it wasn't hard to work out his classmate's weakness. It was fatal, and Shouto was ruthless. 

 

That weakness? Katsuki Bakugou, better known as the infamous Kacchan. 

 

Chapter Text

"As I hope you're all aware, UA's Sports Festival will be taking place tomorrow from nine O'clock onwards." Katana-sensei had walked into homeroom with an even more dreary look than usual. Now she stood at the front of the room, speaking in absolute monotone, about an event everyone already knew about. So yes, it was Hell. "For many of you," She continued, as Katsuki slammed his head down onto his desk. "This will feel like a great opportunity to be transferred into the hero course. However, in UA's entire history, the most students they've ever moved in a year has been two."

 

The class shifted uncomfortably, and Katsuki could bet that they were all measuring one another up; seeing who their greatest competition was. In a perfect world, he would like to prove them all dumbasses by beating every single one of them at the festival. Sadly, this wasn't a perfect world and no one thought he was even in the realm of being a threat. 

 

Katana coughed to regain their attention, steely eyes ghosting over the room. "On top of that, there are other General Studies classes which contain similarly driven students. And the Support Course has also always been a tricky one to get around." As she explained she tucked an invisible flyaway hair back into her perfect bun, expression unchanging throughout. "As your teacher, I am primarily focused on educating you all, and personally I find this festival a pointless waste of school time. Still, I hope you can all learn something from tomorrow."

 

She ended that thoroughly depressing pep talk with an order to read chapter 18 of their textbooks. Since Katsuki was feeling sorry for himself (and had already revised his learning materials at length), he chose to instead trace the movement of the clock's hands around its face. 

 

In theory, he knew he was as prepared as he possibly could be. For the last two weeks he'd been training with Deku's hero class, and clearly there were plenty of people looking out for him. Ponytail herself was being almost stupidly generous, and, as hard as his childhood friend was trying, Katsuki still knew he wouldn't be able to leave well enough alone if something were to happen. Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing since, according to Shinsou at least, he should be expecting Zankokuna to straight up murder him during the preliminaries. 

 

Speak of the devil…

 

Mind Freak leaned over his desk to tap Katsuki on the shoulder, which he brushed off with a quiet growl. "What the fuck do want now ?" 

 

"You know, just checking up again." He replied nonchalantly, like he wasn't one more shoulder tap away from losing his right hand. "I've gotta make sure you weren't badly maimed in the last 24 hours."

 

He almost rolled his eyes out of their sockets at that. "Stop looking out for me, dammit. I've got a plan so I don't need your shitty advice."

 

"Awww, don't be so grumpy." There was a pause before Katsuki felt his chair get turned round, and great, now he had to look at the weirdo's exhausted face. "Has Zankokuna done anything at all though? Said something, maybe? Threatened murder?" 

 

Glancing quickly at their teacher to assure himself she was occupied, he slammed his fists down onto Shinsou's desk. "No. And you know what? He hasn't bothered me at all for the last fortnite. Do you know who has bothered me every. Single. Fucking. Day?" Katsuki poked his right index finger hard into his classmate's chest. "-You."

 

Shinsou shoved him off, now looking both outstandingly tired and vaguely annoyed. "For good reason, you idiot. And really isn't that alone proof enough that they're up to something?" 

 

The dumbass had an unfortunate point. Zankokuna and his lackeys had barely even glanced at him in almost fourteen days, which was about half the time they'd been at UA. Somehow, Katsuki didn't believe they'd matured in the time it took for his phone to leave his hand and hit Shigaraki's face- but that was just him. Which meant they were obviously planning something, especially since Shinsou had straight up overheard them. 

 

As irritating as the weirdo was, he didn't seem like a liar. 

 

Shinsou grabbed him as their class let out into study period, hand wrapped tightly around his forearm as he dragged him decidedly away from his usual broom closet. Yes, it was also the closet he used to eat lunch, but Katsuki wasn't sure if that made him sound sadder or not. 

 

"What're you doing?!" He hissed, pulling himself out of the other boy’s hold. 

 

"Tomorrow's the festival, right?" Katsuki nodded slowly because he wasn't sure if Mind Freak's depleted brain cells could take a more complex response. "So I need to scout out my main competition. Katana-sensei went on and on about statistics and the General Studies course, but if I want to get into the hero course I have to outshine the students who are already on it."

 

"And why the fuck do you need me for that?" 

 

Shinsou smirked. "I figure they'll be more forthcoming if I bring their pet along with me."

 

He was only teasing, but Katsuki almost bit him for the comment. He wasn't anyone's pet; even if 1-A appeared to 'like' him for whatever reason- they didn't own him. 

 

"I'll kill you." He said without reservation, but the other boy only kept walking. For some reason, he felt inclined to follow even without being dragged along. 

 

__



It felt strange to be back in class after the USJ attack. Even after so many days sitting through Present Mic's English lectures and Midnight's thinly veiled innuendos, Izuku still wasn't quite used to it all. 

 

Every time they went out to train there was this itch down the back of his spine, telling him they'd turn a corner and run into yet another horde of villains. Statistically, he knew he was being foolish but… He just couldn't get rid of the feeling. 

 

But he had to push all of that down. With less than twenty four hours until the festival, any distraction could easily put him off his game. 

 

So when half of the first year showed up outside their classroom, Izuku was extremely put off. 

 

"Hey!" Kirishima's shocked shout broke above the chatter of their intruders. "Why are you guys all here? Are we being attacked again?!" 

 

At that the mob did quieten, just barely, until Izuku once again could hear himself think. 

 

"You have no business intruding on our class, even if it is free period!" Berated Iida, chopping his hands as he spoke. "Leave now!" Nobody seemed to be listening to him, but Izuku did applaud the effort. 

 

He looked over the crowd, trying to figure out where they'd all come from. None of them looked old enough to be second or third years, so his previous assumption that they were all from his year was likely correct. Some of them appeared fairly physically able, so those ones were probably other hero students from 1-B. The rest were all probably from General Studies; the vast majority, it seemed. 

 

Most noticeably there was a tall boy right at the front, with greasy ginger hair and cold grey eyes. For some reason he couldn't quite explain, Izuku instinctively didn't like him. 

 

"So, you're the class who fought villains, huh?" The boy said, stepping even further towards them. "I wanted to see if you were worth worrying about, but I guess not." His smile was so false it could've been made of plastic. 

 

"Hey," Jirou scowled at him, pointing one of her earphone jacks threateningly. "You don't even know anything about us."

 

That just seemed to entertain him. "Yeah, so it says a lot that I can already tell you're not a threat."

 

At that, Jirou went to stab him with one of her jacks- but Iida snatched it out of the air before it could land. The boy snorted, before sauntering off with two of his friends. 

 

"See you tomorrow~" He said as he walked away. 

 

"God, he was rude." Said Sero, scratching the back of his neck. 

 

"The rest of you, I ask that you please depart immediately!" Iida yelled. 

 

A few of the group did follow Iida's instructions, though they rolled their eyes first, but most of them remained. One of the more muscular students stepped forwards then; he had silver hair and eyes with strange grey things sticking out around them. Izuku could only hope he'd be slightly nicer than the other guy. 

 

"Hey!" Apparently not . "I'm Tetsutetsu from Class 1-B!" He yelled, causing Shouji to shove his ears into his blazer pockets. "We heard you got attacked by villains, and we wanted to see if that was true!" 

 

What 'we' was he talking about? It looked like he was stood alone. 

 

"Yes, it's true?" Piped up Uraraka in confusion- fair, since their exploits had been all over the news, so obviously they were true; the news never lied. 

 

That seemed to deflate Tetsutetsu, as his next yell stopped short in his throat. Was he not expecting such a straightforward answer? Or how polite Uraraka seemed? Whatever the case, it didn't take much more for Iida to shoo him and the last remnants of the horde away. 

 

Izuku breathed a sigh of relief. He just wanted to focus on himself right now, and how he would get through the festival. Thinking about how all the other classes were coming for them just stressed him out, which always led to him getting flustered and underperforming. And that would be so humiliating to do- not only because they were on live TV with millions of spectators watching them, but also because this was the first time he could really try to impress Kacchan. 

 

He really didn't want to disappoint him. 

 

__



"Hey, losers." Katsuki marched into the 1-A classroom, surprised it wasn't surrounded by a crowd of students. Shinsou had taken them the long way round to get here, but even so. 

 

He swore he could physically see the class's faces light up like an overly friendly sunrise as he walked through the door. The temptation to cover his eyes and escape was strong, but with Mind Freak's strong presence behind him he was forced to endure. 

 

"Kacchan!" Deku steadfastly ignored the insult and captured him in a tight embrace that sent his heart off rhythm. After a few seconds he pulled away enough to look him in the eyes. "Shouldn't you be back at your classroom studying?"

 

Katsuki freed himself and went across the room to pluck an unopened lollipop from Kaminari's unguarded hand. "I was kidnapped." He said, gesturing to Shinsou without looking at him. 

 

Everyone turned to his previously ignored classmate, either out of confusion or anger. He didn't really pay much attention to the specifics, because the Purple Bitch had literally walked himself into this situation- not his fault whatsoever. 

 

"Hah, he's joking-" 

 

"I'm not."

 

"Anyway," Shinsou glared at him, but came over to stretch an arm over his shoulders nevertheless. "I'm one of Bakugou's friends, and I was wondering if you guys could do me a favour?" 

 

Unlike Zankokuna, Shinsou wasn't one for faking a smile. This made him more likeable in Katsuki's opinion, however it also made him appear more sinister when he asked for favours without a trace of delight in his expression. Though, to be fair, the weirdo was trying to use him to manipulate twenty people into giving him an advantage in an upcoming competition, so perhaps it was only right that he looked as uncanny as he did. 

 

Unfortunately for Mind Freak, he'd underestimated how idiotically caring 1-A managed to be in regards to him. Deku's fists had been clenched ever since Shinsou had casually put his arm over his shoulders, and Yaoyorozu had looked ready to fight ever since he'd claimed to be Katsuki's friend. Which… Ouch. 

 

"What favour?" Surprisingly, in the tense room, it was the Halfie guy who spoke first. He was leant stiffly against a desk at the back of the room, apparently unnoticed by everybody else- the picture of apathy. Katsuki thought he looked like the boy from the front cover of 'Teen Hero Weekly'; Endeavour's son. 

 

He felt Shinsou relax against him, unwinding his arm from around his shoulders. Everyone else seemed to deflate, the tension in the room depleting just as things had been getting interesting. 

 

"Well," He started, "It would be super helpful if, when I beat you all in the festival, you could free up a desk for me." He pushed his wild hair back nonchalantly, as though the room's atmosphere hadn't just become brittle enough to snap like a twig. "I'd do it myself, but since I will also have to clean out my old desk it seems like just a bit too much work." Okay, what the fuck happened to manipulating 1-A with charm and charisma? 

 

This time even Halfie didn't reply for a moment, and Katsuki couldn't help but push down his own snicker. He wasn't particularly attached to most of these people, and by now he figured he trusted Shinsou more than the majority of 1-A. So watching them all squirm at his hand was pretty entertaining, especially that Iida guy who'd spoken so rudely to him at his first training session. 

 

"You're not a threat." Finally Halfie made up a response, though it was unsatisfying after so many long moments of silence. However, the way his features remained as still as stone as he stared Shinsou down was impressive, and the calm way he exited the classroom was something Katsuki couldn't ever have pulled off. 

 

Once he was gone, Shinsou appeared to regain his own sense of authority in the room. "Overconfident jerks like that are the ones who'll be replaced." He said, before making his own way towards the door. Apparently he didn't have any self-awareness. "Bakugou?" He asked, motioning for him to follow. 

 

"Nah," Katsuki shrugged, pointing towards Yaoyorozu. "I might as well wait here for five minutes and then go to lunch."

 

His classmate returned his shrug and departed, and the moment he was out of earshot everyone else began talking all at once. 

 

"Kacchan," Deku started, staring worriedly at where Shinsou had been standing, eyes especially trained on where he'd put his arm over Katsuki's shoulders. 

 

"Yeah?" 

 

"You need better friends."

 

__



Every student in the first year had to prepare for the festival, Katsuki included. He wasn't one to just call in sick and skip it- like he knew some of the business classes had- and if he was going to put in the effort then he was going to try one hundred percent. There was no way after so much preparation he'd settle for half-assing it. 

 

So now he and his entire class were in their waiting room, ten minutes before they were due to go out onto the field. Try as he might, he'd not yet perfected turning invisible and so he felt as though his peers were all staring him down- which was fairly likely, all things considered. Katsuki was as ready as he'd ever be though, and second-guessing himself now would do nothing but throw him off. 

 

They all had to wear their PE kits in the spirit of fairness, but footwear could be anything (except rocket boots, which apparently needed to be specified thanks to previous festivals). Katsuki had gone with his red and black boots, because they looked cool and had excellent grip. He figured Deku might try an ice attack to slow everyone down, and that wouldn't be effective against him if he wore these shoes. Plus, they were pretty comfy. 

 

"Hiah, Blondie~" Drawled out Zankokuna, apparently done with his vow of silence. He was looking down on where Katsuki sat, a bony hand stretched out on the table. "I'm sort of surprised you decided to show up; but I guess you just wanted an excuse to hang out with your hero friends some more."

 

"I don't have a single fucking clue what you're talking about." He bit out, training the ginger with his best glare. 

 

The other boy just smiled at him like he was a child, even going to pinch his left cheek. Katsuki flinched back, and Zankokuna tutted. "Nawww, come on, you must know lying is bad, even with the manners of a gremlin."

 

He just raised his eyebrow, honestly not knowing how Zankokuna figured out he knew people in 1-A.

 

This time, his forked-tongue friend responded. "I overheard you and Shinsou in the hallway, apparently you're their pet ." His voice was chilling- little more than a hiss really- but he certainly got the point across. 

 

"Well," Katsuki dithered, looking between Zankokuna's triumphant smile and Ikari's malicious grin. She seemed like she could literally crush his head between two of her meaty fingers, and that was based on her personality alone. "You're not the only ones who can overhear shit."

 

"Oh really?" Their leader seemed pleased by what Katsuki had meant as a threat. "What would that be?" 

 

"You're planning on beating me half to death in about twenty minutes, right? Well I'm not gonna fucking let you."

 

"Sweetie," Finally Ikari actually said something, rather than just looking far too excited about killing him. "If I'm being completely honest, you don't really get a choice in the matter."

 

Okay, he couldn't exactly argue with that. 

 

He opened his mouth to retort even so, but Zankokuna shut it with his right index finger. "Before you say your piece, Blondie, remember that Shinsou isn't here to bail you out again."

 

Fuck, shit. Mind Freak was off finding more cough drops for his throat (part of his brainwashing quirk?) so that was Katsuki's safety net gone. 

 

But he was Katsuki Fucking Bakugou, and he didn't need some shitty extra's help, he told himself. He sat up straighter, pushing any fear to the depths of his mind, and stared the small gang down with all the anger he could muster (which was a lot). 

 

"I don't need that fucker," He announced, standing up from his chair. The movement forced Zankokuna back a little, but he was still far too close for comfort. "I'll get further into the festival than any of you losers, even with my crap quirk."

 

The three scoffed, clearly barely taking him seriously. It was frustrating, but better than them prematurely beating him up. Katsuki didn't really want a black eye for his ballet recital on Monday (definitely couldn't let these guys know about that little detail). 

 

"We'll see about that." Ikari smiled coldly, before leading her two friends out just as the start horn was blown. 

 

Chapter Text

After Kirishima's botched student pledge (who had even let him make the speech?!) it was only mere moments until a sharp whistle broke through the mutters of the students, and all havoc broke loose. 

 

Midnight had already told them the nature of the first task: an obstacle course around the stadium. Katsuki didn't know for sure what it entailed, but he could guess well enough based on their referee's sadistic expression. Probably something cruel and dangerous, and definitely not an event he could get through by relying on his shitty quirk alone. He'd definitely need any advantage he could take. 

 

Even so, despite the signal for everybody to run forwards, Katsuki held back by jogging across the stadium towards Yaoyorozu. It was easier to let the rest of the crowd shoot towards the start line than to go with them, and at this point in the race it was unlikely Zankokuna would care enough to go after him. He was a bastard, sure, but if he had any common sense at all he'd know how crucial this festival was to his future. Going out of his way to attack Katsuki was just plain stupid. Not to say he wouldn't beat him to a pulp if the chance arose, however. 

 

Getting to Yaoyorozu was easy, but convincing himself to go there hadn't been. She'd offered a helping hand to get him through the first event, which did seem like pity but for once that wasn't Katsuki's issue with it. 

 

It took a lot to trust that she'd keep her word. 

 

She was extremely nice, almost breaching on Deku's insurmountable level of kindness, but wrapping his head around the idea that she would simply help him out of the goodness of her heart was almost impossible. Still, he had little other choice. 

 

Thankfully, Yaoyorozu stuck to her promise and made a beeline for him while the rest of her and Deku's class (including the boy himself) rushed forwards. 

 

"You're putting yourself at a disadvantage, you know." He grunted once they reached each other, all sounds from the audience blocked out of their minds thanks to the adrenaline of the event. "Starting late and using some of your lipids up is a shitty plan and we both know it."

 

She only shook her head as she pulled the creation out of her chest, not even checking whether or not Katsuki's eyes were cast down before opening up her shirt. He figured they could realistically spare a moment on this, despite his words, since the vast majority of their competitors were jammed into the start tunnel, unable to move on. That bought them time, at the very least. 

 

"Here," She said, her voice unusually clipped. Her eyes kept darting to everybody else even as she shoved the car-door-sized slab of thin metal into his hands. "It's a shield, like I told you, but it's also ultra-lightweight and has the capacity to stop as many as ten bullets- anything more will damage it. On top of that, it stores the kinetic energy from one attack to use against the next one-" 

 

"Like Black Panther's suit?" Katsuki interrupted, because everybody else was still stuck and he just had to know. 

 

Yaoyorozu blushed, crossing her arms over her chest. Finally, she seemed able to focus on him alone. "It doesn't matter where I got the idea," She snapped, but it still sounded friendlier than what she'd said a few seconds before. "Now, we need to go."

 

Katsuki nodded and they both went to join everybody else, but within just a handful of sentences pandemonium had broken loose. Rather than over two hundred students wrestling to get through a too-narrow tunnel, there were over two hundred popsicles frozen in place within the entryway. In shock both he and Yaoyorozu stopped short to just look at it, and finally Katsuki begun to register outside noises once again. 

 

"Wowza! Todoroki's killer ice attack has rendered almost all the students immobile! Some of our headlining students from 1-A are working to free themselves, but right now only Midoriya is still in hot pursuit!" Present Mic's booming voice crackled around the arena, and Katsuki made a note to take more notice of him in the future. 

 

So almost everybody was stuck in place thanks to Todoroki- that Halfie guy- aside from Deku. But considering how many hero students were participating in the tournament, it was likely more people would be free soon. It was actually fortunate that he and Yaoyorozu had hung back, since they'd both completely avoided the attack and could push straight through their immobile competition. 

 

Apparently the two had thought up this plan simultaneously as his friend shot off with him and towards the horde of people. Katsuki was shorter than most of them and so quite easily slipped in between his frozen peers, clambering over a familiar boy near the front when his six large arms completely blocked his way. Assumedly, Yaoyorozu was doing something similar off to his left- especially considering the shouts of protest that were coming from her direction.

 

He got to the front and finally broke out of the tunnel and back into daylight, before his companion managed to emerge. That was fine though, they couldn't do this tournament together and he'd been enough of a burden as it was. 

 

Just as he went out onto the rest of the course, Katsuki spied Shinsou out of the corner of his eye. The Purple Bitch was almost free himself, but strangely he was being carried by Zankokuna, Ikari and their forked tongued friend. None of them appeared to have noticed him, and Katsuki wasn't close enough to tell for absolute sure what was going on, but his heart dropped like a lead balloon when he realised that his three main bullies were likely under the influence of Shinsou's quirk. Had the weirdo done that for him? 

 

That type of action probably warranted some sort of fruit basket. 

 

Whatever, he shook off any 'feelings' he was unfortunately feeling and plunged onwards, wanting a better head start. 

 

Their course was completely covered in a thin layer of ice, preventing even the people who'd pulled themselves free from moving with any sort of speed. Katsuki guessed this was also the work of Halfie, since he seemed more confident with his ice attacks than Deku, but his friend's mark had also been left on the pathway. Heading in a straight line forwards there was a pattern of footsteps melted into the ice, almost definitely Deku's work as he tried to follow Todoroki. It was a better plan than melting everything since he wouldn't have had to displace as much thermal energy, and it left everyone else the obstacle to overcome. Proof of this was the fact that some idiotic people, Kirishima for example, were trying to follow the path of footsteps to little avail. Apparently they didn't realise they were wasting more time fighting each other for room on the path than they would have if they'd just walked slowly and carefully over the ice, like that floaty girl was. 

 

Katsuki didn't need to rely on either of those plans though thanks to the impressive grip of his shoes. They were the right choice, clearly, as he sprinted off easily towards Halfie and Deku, following their lead. 

 

__



"The standings sure are getting interesting, folks! While Todoroki and Midoriya did start at the front, they're about to reach the second obstacle and their peers are catching up!" 

 

It was hard to believe Katsuki himself technically classed as one of those peers, but it was true. By now he could see two small figures around twenty metres away, both with easily distinguishable bright hair, and only a couple of other people were with him. A strange, tiny boy who didn't appear old enough for high school was hopping about on purple balls closer to Deku, and a pink girl with horns had just overtaken him as she slipped across the floor with practised ease. 

 

He had to thank his lucky stars that he was a fast runner, even while carrying the shield on his back, otherwise he'd have no chance. Thankfully dance kept him in great shape, so even though he'd never been as strong as Deku he'd always been more agile and could usually outrun the other boy. If it weren't for that, we'll, he'd probably be back quite a ways with Kirishima and Yaoyorozu. 

 

The four in front of him turned a corner and a moment later Katsuki was following their lead, almost falling as he took the sharp turn on such slippery ground. It appeared he wasn't the only one struggling though, as he watched the tiny boy from before shoot across the ground in front of him. 

 

He didn't pay much extra mind to that until he raised his head, looking for the second obstacle Present Mic had mentioned. When he did, he was cursed with the sight of no less than five towering robots, hulking over even the massive arena to their side. Katsuki was probably smaller than one of the thing's faces, and that thought just did not sit well with him. 

 

To his right, where the arena sat, more smaller robots were emerging from the stands. Between him and them was a fair bit of distance though, as well as the pink girl and Deku (who appeared too focused to notice him). 

 

Even as he thought desperately on how to pull together a worthwhile plan, Katsuki continued to sprint forward with every ounce of energy he could muster. Right now he figured the best idea would be to avoid the smaller robots entirely and follow Todoroki- even if that meant facing the terrifyingly huge robots. 

 

That sparked an epiphany within him; he could just let Halfie do the work. He'd been fortunate enough to have distance between himself and the small robots, as well as two other students who preoccupy them for a moment. That tiny guy was still skidding across the floor behind him, and in retrospect he'd probably been hit by one of the small robots since he'd been closest to the arena, where they were coming from. That left Katsuki and Todoroki as the only ones still heading forwards with any success, since the scar faced bastard had also been lucky enough to pass the easier robots. 

 

Halfie would have to disable at least two out of the five large robots in order to get past them, which also meant creating an opening for him. As long as he stuck close behind the hero student he'd be able to benefit off the other boy’s attacks. 

 

That plan was still in Katsuki's mind as Todoroki stopped a few dozen metres before the huge robots, crouching down to the floor to place his right hand there. Almost against his will, Katsuki slowed his sprint to watch in wonder as icy tendrils shot out from the boy's fingertips, running across the ground as fluidly as water before catching on the hunks of metal that appeared to be meant as feet. From there, the frost consumed the rest of the robots faster than the eye could see, taking three of them into a cold grave before five seconds had passed since Halfie had began his awe-inspiring attack. 

 

The shock of the move, or perhaps the intense cold it brought about, sucked all the air from Katsuki's lungs, leaving him to stop completely and pant for a second. This guy was only a first year? But he was a monster! He was supposed to be in Deku's class but he was clearly in a league entirely of his own. 

 

Distantly, he heard a hubbub begin behind him as more people caught up and saw the spectacular, sparkling sculptures that Todoroki had thrust out so easily. Then, louder than that, a cracking sound began as the boy started jogging forwards. 

 

"What's this?!" Present Mic once again came over the loudspeaker, but Katsuki was numb to it as he watched the robots begin tipping. "Todoroki's stellar wave of ice has left the 0-Pointers off balance! How will the rest of the first year deal with this shocking turn of events?"

 

Katsuki stated as the things came closer, icy green metal completely filling his vision as dread settled uncomfortably in his stomach. 

 

He really needed a plan. Yaoyorozu's shield wasn't heavy duty enough to protect him from this, since she'd only made it as strong as she thought necessary to prevent Zankokuna from getting to him. Which was sweet, but since that bastard was fuck knows where behind him and brainwashed, Katsuki was wishing she'd given him a bomb shelter instead. 

 

There was no time to run out from underneath the robot, he could tell that much from how the thing's shadow stretched out beneath him like a black pit of darkness. There was no solid plan he could come up with in the few dragging seconds it took for the robots to heave themselves over, and that alone pretty much signed his death warrant. 

 

He didn't give up, but, as he saw the machine come down more quickly as time sped back up, he did squeeze his eyes shut to block out the view of his impending death. 

 

You cared, he thought with Yaoyorozu's face in his mind. 

 

You tried, he thought with Shinsou's face in his mind. 

 

Mum, he though with Aunty Inko's face in his mind.

 

… Thank you, he thought with Deku's face in his mind. 

 

A bracing blast of cold sliced through his grieving thoughts, and Katsuki's eyes shot open to see a humongous spike of ice splitting through the robot that had been about to crush him. He swore it almost cut through the clouds it was so high, and it dulled his entire vision with white. He stumbled and fell in either relief or shock, he had no fucking clue, but from the floor it was even more obvious to him how quickly his heart was pounding. 

 

His ears were still buzzing from adrenaline, so whatever Present Mic said next went completely over his head. He had the sense to know it must've been Deku who saved him, somehow noticing him even surrounded by robots, despite the fact that the spike seemed to grow from in front of him. 

 

Katsuki swallowed down the bile that threatened to choke him, pushing back his residual fear in a similar way. Everyone was still behind him in shock; if he wanted to do his best then he needed to move right now

 

__



By the time he reached the third obstacle, Katsuki had had enough time to repress all of the emotions brought about by his almost-death, and was now just feeling elation at his position in second place. 

 

According to Mic, everybody else was still dealing with the other robots or they hadn't managed to free themselves from Todoroki's first attack yet. That meant he had a solid lead over almost everybody, including Zankokuna, so his feeble pipe dream of beating his entire class actually seemed… Attainable. 

 

In fact, he was one person away from beating everybody

 

The third obstacle was thankfully far less terrifying than the second; it was a simple chasm. Halfie easily started getting across using his quirk, but when Katsuki reached the edge he found out that his peer had no business looking so calm as he crossed the huge pit.

 

It was so deep he couldn't even see the bottom! Heights had never really bothered him, but this was seriously daunting in a way that first seeing the robots hadn't been. In theory, there should be some sort of net at the bottom, but knowing UA they would just plummet and die if they fell. 

 

Even so, after a second Katsuki got his nerves back into order and steeled himself to go across- he couldn't afford to stall after coming so far; soon everyone else would catch up and then any hope of first place would be absolutely shattered. 

 

The surface of the chasm had poles going across, with several platforms connecting them. Balancing would be a little tricky with the odd weight on his back, but he'd had plenty of practise. 

 

Katsuki took off his shoes and stepped out onto the pole, finding it fairly easy to stand upright despite anything. Ballet had given him the required skills needed for this task, even if letting anyone know about that would just open himself up to more bullying. He was fast getting across, never letting himself look down and just putting one foot in front of the other over and over. Halfie's way was quicker, admittedly, but surprisingly not by much and, though he reached the other side before him, Katsuki still managed to get there just before anyone else had reached the third obstacle. 

 

That was a win, right? 

 

He shoved his shoes back on and continued sprinting, legs burning at this point. He had loads of stamina, sure, but he wasn't used to this much running. Halfie was slowing down too, at least, though he was still creating an icy layer over the ground so that everybody behind Katsuki continued to struggle. He could respect that, though, and pushed himself harder to try and catch up. 

 

"Our front-runners, Todoroki Shouto and, surprisingly, Bakugou Katsuki, are now heading for the final obstacle! If I condoned betting, which I don't, Shota, my money would be on one of those two!" 

 

They were nearing the end, then. He could let out a sigh of relief at that, he thought, until he ran around the last corner of the course and came face to an obnoxiously bright orange and black sign. It read ' DANGER! MINEFIELD!'  with a border of red explosions. Katsuki stopped himself short after reading it, not only so he could critique the thing but also so he could observe the obstacle before him. 

 

It was a minefield, just as the sign had said. Probably at least seventy feet long and about thirty feet wide, completely covered in small bumps that betrayed where each mine was. Helpful, yes, but also disillusioning in the quantity they showed. Halfie had already made some headway, but he couldn't use his quirk for this without giving everybody else an advantage, so he was picking his way across without it. 

 

Like all hero students, his current opponent was very physically fit. But, similarly to Deku, it looked from his physique like he mostly focused on strength and endurance training rather than speed and agility. So, had him and Katsuki started going across the mines from the same point at the same time, he was almost certain that he would have won. As it stood, however, with this much distance between them, he might not be able to catch up. 

 

And if that happened, he'd be stuck in second place- otherwise known as first loser. 

 

He studied the minefield a little more, his thoughts quick firing through his brain like bullets of dopamine. The fastest way would be through not touching the ground's surface whatsoever, therefore entirely avoiding the danger of explosives. But he obviously couldn't fly, so what other way… 

 

An idea hit him like a ton of bricks. It was absolutely shitty and so reckless it could be mistaken for one of Deku's plans. If it failed Katsuki would probably end up in hospital, but if he succeeded… He could win. He could show every person who ever insulted his worthlessness just how strong he could be. 

 

If he pulled this off, maybe he wouldn't feel so weak. 

 

__



Less than a minute later he was flying. 

 

He'd used Yaoyorozu's shield to pry the mines from the soil, delicately placing over a dozen of them into a pile. He didn't know how strong each individual explosion would be, but he guessed they weren't fatal and therefore he would need multiple. Hopefully this wouldn't be overkill. The pile had been set up just as he'd begun to hear a ruckus behind him, signalling the arrival of their other competitors. 

 

He'd spared one last, crucial moment to appreciate how much of a dumbass he was being, before he dived onto the heap of mines with his shield and was flung up into the air. 

 

The force of the impact had jarred his head a little, but it quickly cleared as he flew through the air. The noises from the stadium were caught up into the wind, even Mic's voice lost to the exhilaration produced by the height and speed he was going at. 

 

Katsuki could not have told you in that moment how high he was. Nor could he have said exactly what angle he was travelling at. Yet, as his small vessel cut through the sky without the slightest disturbance, he settled a turmoil in his mind so long forged that he'd thought it to be immovable. 

 

His dream quirk: flight. Ever since his pitiful quirk had presented itself, Katsuki had dreamed of another one- a better one. Strength like All Might was an attractive prospect, or fire manipulation like Deku, or even gigantification like the rookie pro Mt Lady. Something strong and flashy; perfect for fighting. 

 

But in that split second of elation as he soared straight towards first place, he knew he'd been kidding himself. He'd already come to terms with the fact that he couldn't be a hero, and when it came down to it a violent quirk just wasn't as endearing as one he could use to fly- to be absolutely free and unreachable. 

 

Like all things must, his jumbled thoughts came to an end as he started losing altitude. Katsuki had tried to aim himself so that the explosions sent him more forwards than upwards, but he'd still been thrust over twenty metres above the ground and it looked like he'd be landing hard, right on top of where Todoroki was headed (at least he'd take them both out?). 

 

Unless… Yaoyorozu's shield stored kinetic energy and released it when it got hit again. So it was probably fully charged thanks to the explosion, and if it hit something, or some one, else it would release all that charge and break not only his fall but also that thing

 

Katsuki did his best to adjust his trajectory mid-descent as Halfie moved, quickly aiming himself so that he'd wipe the other boy out as he came down. Present Mic said something over the loudspeaker as he finished his descent, a gasp of shock or some shit, but that was all drowned out by the feeling he got as he hit into Todoroki's back and was shot forwards once more. 

 

He grinned wide even as he stumbled forwards, falling off the shield as it crashed hard. Katsuki was pretty sure he'd torn his PE trousers's knees, but none of that mattered as he pulled himself back onto his feet and, with his last shot of adrenaline, ran straight over the finish line in a perfect first place victory. 

 

Chapter Text

Shouto passed through the finish line without even thinking about it, more focused on the plod of his heavy running against the ground. He'd messed up near the end there, more focused on winning as quickly as possible than he was paying attention to Bakugou. It was a mistake his father would surely berate him for later. 

 

He didn't look at his blond competitor as he walked towards Midnight's stage, and he drowned out the noise from the audience. They were cheering, sure, but this had only been the preliminaries; no reason to feel any relief or pride yet (especially considering how he'd just embarrassed himself out there). Whatever the case, his best bet now was to focus entirely on the next segment of the tournament. 

 

Still though… Shouto's mind couldn't help but be dragged back to the race, never mind how useless it was. Usually around forty people got through the preliminaries and into the second round, so that all the hero students got a chance to prove themselves. In order to beat Midoriya later on, it was in Shouto's best interest to keep Bakugou in the competition- on standby almost, in order to use against his classmate. But if he hadn't saved him from that robot, then he would be the one to just have finished in first place. 

 

"More people are finishing up!" Present Mic called over the speakers, and Shouto looked up at the screen to better see how people were ranking. "Midoriya shoots through in third! Now Iida! Now Shiozaki! Now-" 

 

"Why don't you just let Midnight do this once everyone's through?" 

 

"Righto, Mummy Man!" God, couldn't they take this seriously?

 

He watched the screen as his classmates finished the race. Most of them seemed to get through, aside from Mineta (who had gotten concussed after his run in with the robots) and Shishida (his beast form had gotten too caught up trying to fight one of the zero pointers). The rest of the top forty two was made up of 1-B students, though in the late thirties a girl decked out completely in support gear also got through. As well as her, Shouto swore he saw the greasy-haired and tired looking General Studies kids get through too. 

 

It was likely he wouldn't have to worry about any of those people, though. His ice could easily freeze the support girl's gadgets and it was probable that the General Studies students wouldn't be nearly as much of a threat as his Hero Course peers. 

 

Once the last person had sprinted past the finish line, a horn blew out across the stadium. It was loud enough to shatter the wall of noise created by the audience, and everybody within the stadium quietened down as Midnight took their attention. 

 

"Well, what a turn of events, ahahahah!" She paused to pose with her legs either side of her microphone stand, as though that were even slightly appropriate. "We've got our top forty two, and you lovelies will all get to compete in our incredible second round, if you can take it~" 

 

Their referee paused again, this time to stare right into the crowd of students. Despite being the first one at the stage, Shouto had let himself fall to the back in order to avoid any of Midnight's lude gazes. Someone coughed awkwardly.

 

"You're all a little stiff; I love it! The next round will be a cavalry battle, a team event where you must choose people and quirks who will match up well with you. But that's not all: there's a pretty little twist in it too," She motioned back to the screen, which showed a list of the bottom ten students who'd passed into this next round, each assigned with a point value. "Every person participating in this cavalry battle is worth a certain number of points, increasing by five from the bottom to the top. Except the cutie-pie in first place; he's worth ten million !" 

 

Instinctively, Shouto turned to look at Bakugou, who was also near the back (could he even see the screen?). He wasn't the only one, as eighty-two eyes all stared the blond down, even as Bakugou plastered a confident smirk onto his features. 

 

"Great! You can all fucking come at me!" 

 

__



Katsuki needed a new closet to hide in. Or better yet, a taxi he could take to the train station. 

 

He was pretty sure competing in the cavalry battle would kill him. He'd started this damn tournament with a target on his back, but now he had a whole new one! Everybody would be gunning for his ten million points, and he had no way to defend himself. Plus, the list of people who might team up with him was embarrassingly short. 

 

Yaoyorozu, bless her goddamn soul, had already helped him out plenty. Her shield had let him get first place, even though apparently he shouldn't have done that, and it had given him an extra sense of security as he'd done the first round. Shinsou, as annoying as he could be, had kept Zankokuna and his buddies at bay for a while, even if now they were all glaring at him from halfway across the arena. Katsuki stared venomously right back at them, until they fucked off somewhere else, their cavalry team already made up from the three of them. 

 

That wasn't good, but right now he had to actually find people who would be willing to harbour so many points. After all, the best strategy would be to go after points during the battle, rather than defending the entire time. 

 

And yet, it took less than a minute for him to gain at least one teammate. 

 

"Kacchan!" Deku bounded over, a large smile on his face. "I couldn't find you after the race, where'd you go?" 

 

"Bathroom," He muttered, looking away from his friend's genuine green eyes. "Heard you came third though."

 

Deku just laughed, practically jumping up and down in joy as he grabbed onto Katsuki's hands. "But you came first! I'm so proud, Kacchan!" 

 

He scoffed, but he didn't shove the other boy away quite yet, smiling instead. "What? Didn't think I'd get through?" 

 

He'd meant it as a joke, though he'd never been very good at jokes, shown when Deku froze in place rather than laughing it off. He stayed like that for a few moments, mouth open and gaping as he tried to piece together a way to get out of Katsuki's question. 

 

Too late, he responded with an almost plastic smile. "Ha ha… Yeah, I knew, of course, I mean, obviously! Obviously, you'd get through! Yeah, I, uh-" 

 

Katsuki pulled his hands free from Deku's sweaty grip, taking a step back too for good measure. "You thought I'd fail, didn't you?! That I'd come in fucking last place?!" The hurt hit deep into his chest, like an ice pick being shoved in between his ribs to go straight through his traitorous heart. 

 

"I-" 

 

"No! Don't even fucking dare, you asshole," Deku flinched back like he'd been burned. "After all that work I put in? After I tried so fucking hard to get better? You couldn't even believe in me?!" 

 

His friend looked down at the ground, fists clenched in front of him where they'd been previously holding Katsuki's hands. His lip was wobbling, the crybaby, but Katsuki shoved all of his guilt at his harsh words down. 

 

Quietly, though thick with emotion, Deku found his voice again. "It's not that I didn't believe in you, Kacchan, it's just that I knew how strong everybody else was."

 

He bit the inside of his cheek as his anger started to ebb away. Unfortunately, that just left the soul-crushing hurt behind. "So you had more faith in people you've known for a month than you had in me?"

 

It wasn't yelled, or angry, or even particularly emotional. In fact, his question came out cold. So cold, that Deku's warmth wasn't enough to thaw it, and he could only bow his head in shame.

 

"I don't want you as a teammate." Katsuki turned away and started walking, stopping when his friend grabbed his shoulder. 

 

"Okay, I know I screwed up but, Kacchan," He said from behind him, fingers nervously digging into his arm. "If you don't accept my help you're going to get really hurt out there. No one else wants you and-" 

 

Katsuki stopped listening, shrugging the other boy off completely. He didn't need any reminders about how defenceless, how worthless, he was on his own. And he couldn't stand to hear the truth that was 'no one else wants him'. Despite all that, he didn't start walking away yet, instead taking a moment to breathe. 

 

"Try your hardest against me out there, Deku. Anything less would just be insulting."

 

And with that, Katsuki let himself disappear into the crowd of students, leaving Deku behind. 

 

__



"Midoriya!" Uraraka stopped short, looking at him. "Why are you crying?" 

 

Izuku slapped a smile onto his face (though it was feeble), just like All Might always did, and scrubbed his last few tears away. "Ahah, it's nothing, don't worry about me."

 

She didn't quite look like she believed him, but she shrugged nonetheless. They did have more important things to concern themselves with right now, after all. Such as the cavalry battle, and getting more teammates. Well, that was assuming…

 

"Did you, uh, come over here to join my team?" He asked her, scratching the back of his neck. 

 

"Yes! I think friends should go together, don't you?" He nodded, relieved, but she wasn't done talking yet. "Though… I thought more people would be trying get onto your team."

 

"Me too, actually. But for some reason everytime someone got close they'd start looking really uncomfortable and back off."

 

Uraraka raised an eyebrow at him. "You scared them all off with your crying."

 

Ohhhh. Oops. 

 

"Well, now I've stopped so we can figure out two more teammates." He said as cheerily as he could, taking a moment to observe the field. They had fifteen minutes to pick their teams, but he'd already spent five of those talking to Kacchan and consequently crying. 

 

His friend hummed in agreement. "Wouldn't you also like Kacchan on our team? I know he's worth a lot of points and not got a combative- oh my God, why are you crying again?!" 

 

Izuku reached up to brush away his tears, sniffling pretty pathetically. "I kinda had a fight with him… He doesn't like me very much right now."

 

Despite how serious their situation should be, and Izuku's penchant for crying uncontrollably, Uraraka giggled. "Have you seen how he looks at you? Even if he's angry, it's not gonna last- he likes you too much."

 

"You don't understand; I think I really upset him this time. He looked so weepy, and he thinks that I don't have any faith in his ability to handle himself! Now I think he wants me to fight him to show that I do, but I can't do that! I could hurt him!" Izuku said in a breath, and immediately felt embarrassment flood his system afterwards as he realised how much stuff he'd just dumped on Uraraka. She shouldn't have to deal with all of his problems, especially whilst in the middle of the Sports Festival. 

 

However, even though she had every right to be annoyed, she just tapped him on the nose playfully. "You know, it's probably sentences like ' oh no, what if I hurt you? ' that keep upsetting him. There's a big difference between beating him up in cold blood and seriously trying to compete against him in a competition. I think he just wants you to respect him." Izuku just stared as she unloaded her troves of wisdom, flabbergasted by how confidently she could say it all. 

 

He trudged forward and collapsed against her in a hug."How are you so good at this?" He mumbled into her shoulder. 

 

Uraraka giggled and patted the back of his head. "I've always had a knack for love, it's a-" 

 

Izuku launched himself back from her so quickly that he fell to the ground, staring up at his friend in shock as his fingers dug into the grass beneath him. "Wha- I! I don't, I'm not-" 

 

She crouched down so that she was facing him, one hand patting his forearm supportively. "This conversation is gonna take too long, and we only have six minutes left, so come on."

 

He was pulled up onto his feet, nodding numbly as Uraraka pulled him towards where Iida was standing maybe ten feet away. 

 

__



Shouto made his way through his competitors easily, already knowing exactly who he wanted on his team. He brushed off anybody not on that specific list, eyes dead set on his targets.

 

Iida was the perfect choice for a front horse, especially since he'd just rejected Uraraka and Midoriya. Momo was strong in her own right as well- the perfect teammate as she made for an unpredictable opponent. And, of course, the person who'd stop Midoriya from posing a threat:

 

"Bakugou," The boy in question turned to look at him, crimson eyes widening just slightly as he saw the face behind the words. "Be on my team."

 

This had been his plan from the beginning. Every second round of a Sports Festival was some sort of team event, usually calling for the three to five people to join forces. Even though Bakugou lacked the ability to fight in any worthwhile way, Shouto was sure having him on his team would prevent Midoriya from attacking. The ten million points might even work out for the better, since his ice would make it easy to defend against attackers. And the person who could most efficiently negate his ice would be too afraid of hurting his friend. Plus, the blond had already shown that he could look after himself in the preliminaries. 

 

"Why would you want me?" Bakugou asked, crossing his arms. He wasn't in any position to refuse- Shouto had seen his and Midoriya's earlier fight. 

 

"For one, you have no other options." He replied, face schooled to be entirely detached and emotionless. He could tell this frustrated the other boy so he didn't let up. 

 

Bakugou shook his head, scowling. "That's not a reason you'd want me, idiot." Shouto shrugged; no need to tell him about his plan to keep away Midoriya, not when the blond was clearly smart enough to figure it out on his own. 

 

"You've got ten million points."

 

This time he scoffed. "Everyone knows that's a disadvantage in this competition, even with your ice it's not a good idea to paint a target on your back."

 

"Is it really not enough to just say I want you on my team? Do you really want an explanation?" 

 

"Well obviously!" Bakugou clenched his fists at his sides, stepping forwards to glare more intensely into Shouto's bicoloured eyes. "I'm a fucking disadvantage too!" 

 

Bakugou's ears were ripped red with rage, but he ignored that- it didn't seem necessary to bring up right now. They were very close together too, only a couple of inches between their noses. So close together, in fact, that Shouto could see Bakugou's bottom lip trembling ever so slightly. Was he feeling sick or something? 

 

"I don't think you're a disadvantage. If you were, you wouldn't have placed first in the preliminaries. The only disadvantage of having you on my team is the ten million points, you're right, but that doesn't matter as long as we can defend against attackers." The flush spread from Bakugou's ears to his cheeks as he huffed and looked away, stepping backwards. "Plus, you're a much better teammate to have than someone with a lot of power but no sense." 

 

Shouto waited patiently for a response, giving the blond a moment to decide. He was positive that the other boy would say yes, but he figured he'd be more cooperative if he weren't pressured into joining forces with him. 

 

"I'll join you, but only if Yaoyorozu is on our team too." He said. 

 

That was easy enough, that had been one of his picks anyway, so Shouto agreed. 

 

"And who else do you want?" Bakugou asked, fiddling with the hem of his PE shirt. 

 

Shouto gestured to where Iida was standing. "Iida will be great for manoeuvrability and speed."

 

The blond grimaced, but he nodded nevertheless. "I guess we get them and then go over our strategy or some shit, right?" 

 

This time it was Shouto's turn to nod, before leading his new teammate over to the others, a plan already perfected in his mind. If everything went smoothly, he would be able to show up his father completely. 




Chapter Text

Katsuki was not dumb. In fact, he was pretty fucking smart, according to all available sources. And he was not gullible enough to think Icyhot only wanted him on his team because he could 'handle himself'. 

 

Obviously, Katsuki was a pretty useful tool to use against Deku. He refused to hurt him, felt terrible on the rare occasion he did accidentally hurt him and was fiercely protective to an excessive degree. If Halfie wanted to keep Deku from attacking, which based on their similar quirks he definitely would, then Katsuki was by far his best bet. However, and maybe this was just his idiotic remaining slice of hope talking, he thought Icyhot was still being truthful about some of what he'd said. Like the fact that Katsuki could look after himself… His childhood friend had never even come close to saying something so bold- something that gave him so much independence. 

 

Of course, Halfie could have been lying. But if he was, and actually thought that he couldn't take care of himself whatsoever, then that'd mean Icyhot was an abysmal strategist. Having someone on your team who was detrimental to it? That gave him a far larger disadvantage than Deku got from Katsuki being on his main opposition's team. 

 

"So, we're all clear on the plan?" Halfie asked, arms crossed in front of himself. Their team nodded, but Yaoyorozu seemed itching to speak 

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes, scowling at her. "Just fucking spit it out, would you? There's only two minutes until the next round begins."

 

She let her mouth fall open in surprise for a moment, before shutting it with a click and taking a deep breath. "I just have to ask, Todoroki, why are you one of the flanks when your power is specifically tied to which side of your body you use? Surely, it would be advantageous for both your left and right sides to be on show, rather than Bakugou blocking your left, right?" 

 

His friend had a point, actually. With their current arrangement (him as the rider, Yaoyorozu and Halfie as flanks and Four Eyes as the front horse) if Halfie tried to use his fire it would burn Katsuki, which would be fucking stupid, not to mention painful. Glasses seemed to figure this out too, as he also stared at their 'leader' in confusion. 

 

Icyhot turned his face down, shadows leaking over his forehead to cover his mismatched eyes. Slowly, he brought his left hand up to stare at it. "In battle," He said quietly, voice rough on the words, "I never use my left side."

 

For some unknown reason, Yaoyorozu and Four Eyes appeared moved by this bullshit anime backstory; weren't these people supposed to be smart?

 

"What the fuck, Halfie?!" He snapped, glaring over his nose straight into Icyhot's widened eyes. "You want us on your team, but you won't use all your power? How is that fair?" 

 

The other boy's eyebrows creased in annoyance, and he opened his mouth to speak just as the horn blew. Their other teammates took this as a great opportunity to drag them both into their starting positions, even though Yaoyorozu had to wrestle with Katsuki as he tried to grab Halfie in order to gain his attention. She won their short lived match pretty predictably, and he stopped going after the boy. 

 

Silently, their team clambered into position; Katsuki doing most of the actual climbing as Four Eyes only thought to help him up after he was already 90% done. From his new seat, he kicked petulantly in the vague direction of Halfie's face- only to slip as he lost balance. For a few moments he fell to his right, probably looking towards a broken arm when he hit the ground. Then, quick as a whip, Icyhot grabbed his waist as he fell, bring him towards his torso for better leverage. 

 

At that point, Katsuki probably could've picked himself back up- had embarrassment not been sending all of his limbs entirely numb. This was live TV, and of course he was making a damn idiot out of himself. Zankokuna was going to have a field day with this. 

 

Yaoyorozu and Iida had long forgotten to continue their fussing, no longer trying to get them all into place. Rather, they were both stood stock still and staring at the little scene in front of them, along with practically all their 1-A competitors. Katsuki couldn't see Deku from his piss poor vantage point in Halfie's arms, but he'd bet he was not happy with this arrangement. He also couldn't quite spot the main screen in the arena, but from the Icyhot bastard's pale face he could guess Mic had noticed their little scene. 

 

Despite this, the bastard still hadn't put him down. 

 

"Hey!" Katsuki snapped, pinching the tender flesh of Halfie's underarm to no avail. "Put me down before I fucking ki-" 

 

Before he could finish his sentence, he'd been unceremoniously dropped onto the grass of the arena, landing with a soft thud. He didn't break anything from this lower height, thankfully, but that didn't stop him from scowling up at his teammate. 

 

Icyhot just tilted his head a little, face as expressionless as stone. "I put you down."

 

Katsuki closed his eyes, blanking out whatever useless spiel Mic was spouting. All he could think as Yaoyorozu pulled him back up to his feet was how hard this round would be to get through, even if it was only going to last fifteen minutes. 

 

__



Izuku wasn't necessarily fuming as much as he thought he was literally on fire from how fuc- from how fricking angry he was right now. 

 

So. Kacchan was annoyed at him, okay, that was fine. He could get through that with only four emotional breakdowns an hour, granted he tried hard enough. But he wasn't used to Kacchan having other people to turn to when he was upset. Obviously he was ecstatic that he was making friends, and didn't have to rely totally on a single person anymore, but there was something that irked him about his sudden friendship with Todoroki. 

 

He'd seen them pair up together just before the horn blew, which hurt but was bearable. It was easy enough to write off as desperation or necessity on his friend's part. But just now, the way Todoroki had held his Kacchan , as though he had any right to do so. As though he'd also been there through all the hard times, protecting him at every turn. 

 

"Uhhh, Midoriya? You're burning…" Uraraka's words caused Izuku to blink out of his vaguely incensed state, looking down to see the collar of his shirt turning to ash before his very eyes. 

 

He patted it down, cursing his lack of control, and turned to his team apologetically. "He, he, he," He scratched the back of his neck nervously. "Sorry about that, guys…"

 

Izuku had chosen a bit of a mismatched team, but he stood by its ability to come out on top. Uraraka helped with mobility, Kirishima acted as a physical defence and Tokoyami was their long ranged fighter. Izuku was the rider, and his role was to attack with ice and fire- apparently a favourite to join up with not only because of his third place slot but also because he had the best shot against Todoroki. 

 

"Looks like romance is in the air!" Present Mic's voice boomed over the speakers and Izuku clenched his fists, the fire starting up again, much to his teammates' concern. "Last round's winners are still in a tender embrace, I wonder what the future holds for these two love- OW! Shota?!" 

 

God, he was going to show Kacchan. He could be just as good, no, better than Todoroki! But… He felt his face heat up as he thought about what all those feelings meant, and about what Uraraka had said earlier. 

 

Love..?

 

He knew he loved Kacchan. Knew it as clearly as the sun shone in Summer and the moon glowed at midnight. Izuku would do anything for his best friend, in fact, if Kacchan really wanted him to he could even fight him in this next round. But how Uraraka had said it, was it true? If this was how he felt at even the idea of Kacchan being with someone else then it must be. 

 

"Okay, we're going after Todoroki's team the moment the horn blows." He told his team, steadying his breaths. 

 

They looked between themselves worriedly, before Kirishima spoke up. "Dude, I know they have the ten million points but if you're too worried about Bakugou we can just-" 

 

"No," Izuku interrupted sternly, spying the clock's countdown now that his friend's group had sorted themselves out. "Kacchan wants me to fight him? I'll fight him, I'll show him I have faith in him."

 

Uraraka gave him a cheery thumbs up as the two other boys looked at one another nervously. That was fine though, he could do this- he was certain. 

 

__



When the actual Cavalry Battle finally kicked off, Katsuki got the feeling he might be in just a little over his head. 

 

"Bakugou," Asked Iida calmly as they stared down the horde of teams charging angrily in their direction. "Why does everybody look so annoyed?"

 

He leaned back as they kept approaching, a feeble act at nonchalance. "They're probably pissed at Icyhot for those massive fucking robots falling earlier." He would've kicked the bastard again but, well, that didn't go super well last time. 

 

"I'm pretty sure a few of them are yelling your name though." Pointed out Yaoyorozu, the absolute traitor. 

 

"Focus, everybody. This doesn't matter."

 

Halfie stomped his foot down and sent out an icy sheet, sending all their ill-prepared competitors skidding. The ones that had actually thought their plans through held steady though, as they'd anchored themselves into the ground- this included only three teams. 

 

Deku's team was the one Katsuki noticed first, stilled only by Kirishima's hardened foot being buried deep into the ground beneath the sheet of ice- however, he wasn't sure how the redhead planned to get out of that predicament. After all, he probably hadn't realised when he'd done it that Deku could have just melted the ice, if he were given the chance. Next he noticed Zankokuna, and promptly considered throwing himself off their 'horse'. Ikari seemed to be the one keeping their team steady, bare feet somehow sticking to the ice. The final group still on for getting to them appeared to be led by some blond guy who Katsuki vaguely remembered from the welcoming ceremony as 1-B's brightest student. He couldn't tell how they were counteracting Icyhot's move, but they did look pretty confident about whatever it was. 

 

"Why do they all look so angry?" Asked Iida lowly now that they were waiting for their opponents to make the next move. 

 

Katsuki thought back to all the unsavoury things he'd mentioned at the welcoming ceremony, and then every subsequent interaction with Zankokuna. "They don't like me very much 'cos I told them straight how shit they all are."

 

There was a pregnant pause before Iida managed to croak out a small "Oh."

 

Thankfully Yaoyorozu and Todoroki, who were apparently used to his bullshit, took this in stride and were good to strategise. Currently they were surrounded, but Katsuki had actually expected their situation to be far more dire. Since so few teams had effective countermeasures against Halfie's ice, after these first few minutes they'd mostly given up on the ten million points to instead exploit more vulnerable targets. That meant, if they could deal with these guys, they should be able to let time run down and keep the ten million. 

 

"I think the best way to disable them is to take away their defence against your quirk, Todoroki, since that should weaken them considerably." Yaoyorozu suggested, because she was great and smart, and so he nodded along. 

 

Todoroki seemed less agreeable, though."Mostly they appear to be using their quirks against my ice, which are impossible for us to get rid of." He said, left arm warming slightly against Katsuki's leg. "I could send out a larger attack, but the likelihood is that Midoriya would just melt through it, which would then offer the other teams a way out too."

 

"Then we should just set them against each other," Katsuki thought out loud, only to have his three teammates turn to him. Cheeks flushing, he looked to the floor and elaborated. "I just mean, Deku has the second highest headband in the Cavalry Battle, so it shouldn't be too hard to tempt the other fuckers to go after him, so long as we seem too hard to beat."

 

"Great idea!" Yaoyorozu complimented at the same time Iida said "That could work…". He ignored both to instead raise a questioning eyebrow at Icyhot. 

 

He didn't even agree with words, just nodding silently as the other teams started to make their moves. Katsuki could still tell what he was thinking though, even after so little time knowing him it was still clear as day; he was hoping Katsuki was right. 

 

__



"Fucking prissy little bitch." Izuku heard the boy to his right say, clearly directing it at Kacchan. He was the same boy from General Studies who'd threatened their class yesterday, and somehow he looked even less friendly now. The way he was staring at his friend… Well, his intent was clearly malicious. 

 

"What's our plan here, Midoriya?" Kirishima asked, foot still wedged beneath the ice. If they were lucky, their opponents might believe the redhead to be too dumb to get out on his own- expecting Izuku to free them before he could direct any attacks. 

 

He considered all of this before replying as coolly as he possibly could. "We're going for a full frontal attack; we're just going to charge up and grab the headband."

 

Tokoyami looked up at him, even his bird face managing to betray his expression of disbelief. "That plan doesn't seem to hold much strategy, and it even opens us up to attacks from the surrounding teams since we'll lose focus on defence." He pointed out, not unfairly. 

 

Still, Izuku had to do this- for Kacchan- even if it wasn't necessarily the best plan he could up with. That's not to say, though, that it wasn't well thought through whatsoever. "It's not completely mindless; Todoroki picked Kacchan as his rider as he was sure that would dissuade me from attacking. He's probably not even considering us a threat right now, so by going for a straight up physical attack we'll be throwing him entirely off kilter. And, whilst we would be more vulnerable to other teams, in all likelihood they'll use us as an opening to get the ten million points, which-"

 

"-Would be beneficial since, no matter who gets it, they'll be easier to steal it from than Todoroki!" Uraraka finished excitedly, smiling widely. "You're so smart, Deku~" 

 

He flinched at the nickname. That wasn't catching on, was it? Izuku brushed it off best he could, looking straight ahead instead of thinking about Kacchan and how mixed up everything felt. God, why couldn't he have just liked Uraraka? She was nice and cute too, and she didn't come with two existential crises and heart palpitations. 

 

"So, that's our plan, okay?" They all nodded, but he still threw in a little extra explanation. "We'll all charge with Kirishima as a battering ram, and I'll melt any ice defences they put up. When we get there, make any attempt to grab the headband from Kacchan without knocking over their horse and landing ourselves with a red card." Another set of nods and Izuku willed himself to relax infinitesimally. 

 

He needed to focus right now; the Sports Festival was massively important. So was Kacchan, but if he played his cards right he could hit two birds with one stone. He looked on as Todoroki turned to say something to his friend, and steeled himself against the flush of anger. 

 

"Charge."

Chapter Text

Shouto wasn't sure what to do as the other teams began running at them, but he wasn't planning on telling his group that. Any ideas he came up with seemed easy to thwart; Midoriya would melt any ice, and the other two teams were absolute mysteries to him, so there was no way he could counteract- 

 

Unless. When he took a moment to think about it, he realised that there was somebody in his group who knew more about at least some of their opponents. 

 

"Bakugou," He snapped at the boy, who was still staring at their approaching competitors. "What do you know about the group from General Studies?" 

 

The blond stiffened above him, breath catching in his throat just loudly enough for him to catch. He didn't know if Yaoyorozu and Iida noticed, but, to be fair, they were both preoccupied with figuring out which direction they should run in (Shouto would need to remember to melt them a path if they started moving). 

 

"They're assholes, do you really need to know anymore?" He asked roughly, not even looking at Shouto. "They wanna be heroes or some shit and they got rejected; it's simple as fuck." 

 

"What are their quirks, I mean? How do you think they're sticking to my ice?" The blond kept his eyes averted and to the ground, studying his lap as though it would give him the information he wanted. Just when Shouto thought he'd never get a reply, Bakugou started furiously muttering. 

 

"Zankokuna, the rider, has some sort of pain quirk. I don't know what the fuck that means, but he was talking about it on the second day." Iida started shuffling to the left and the blond rambled out a little faster. "Ikari is a bitch, and she was bragging about hers so I know a little more about it. Apparently she can take on the abilities of animals, whatever the restrictions are to that I've got no fucking clue. And the other flank is Forked Tongue Bitch Boy," Shouto took a moment to just stare at him in wonderment at his naming choices. "He can paralyse people if he touches them."

 

Seemed like a powerful group, and yet they'd failed the entrance exam? Especially considering people like Mineta had made the cut. He supposed Zankokuna and 'Forked Tongue Bitch Boy' might've had trouble due to the nature of their quirks against faux villains, but so long as Ikari could utilise her quirk properly than she should have done better. 

 

It felt like hours since everyone had started charging, even though less than two minutes had passed, and Iida's attempts to move them hadn't been all that successful. They didn't need to cover too much ground to get out of the crosshairs, due to how difficult it was for everybody else to get around on the ice, but for some reason Shouto was struggling to concentrate and the whole team was suffering as a result. It was pathetic, and he'd need to do better if he wanted to prove anything to his father. 

 

Plus, despite the fact that he'd planned out all these different strategies, Shouto still didn't feel prepared for this moment when they had to actually do something. 

 

__



Katsuki was not ready for Zankokuna to be going after them first, but he thought he handled it pretty well as his newest bully's team quickly shortened the distance between them. At least as they overtook Deku and blond 1-B guy those teams seemed to falter and slowed down to let them take the lead. 

 

Thwacking Four Eyes over the head (borderline painfully) he yelled "Maybe it's time to fucking move?!" just as a new burst of speed hit Ikari and she drove her group straight into Yaoyorozu. 

 

The force was jarring and pushed them across the ice, even as Halfie attempted to thaw it to stop their slipping. Ikari remained pushed up against Yaoyorozu's side, a sadistic grin splitting her face in half, as Ponytail scowled right back at her. Despite her furious expression, Katsuki could tell Yaoyorozu had been thrown off by Ikari's simple attack by the way she now trembled as she held him up. It made sense that a hero student used to thinking hundreds of strategies out wouldn't expect an opponent to go straight in for a hit. Despite this, the girl managed to pull a baton out of her arm and aimed it at her opponent, forcing her to dodge and move back a bit as Katsuki was then given the opening to reach for Zankokuna's headband before the other boy had a chance to do likewise. 

 

"You both okay?" Asked Icyhot as he readied his right hand, lifting it up as if to spread ice across the stadium. "I'm surprised Ikari was so brutal; Midnight said intentionally trying to knock a team over would get you a red card."

 

Katsuki frowned and muttered under his breath, "Yeah, brutal, you could say about their entire team…"

 

It wasn't meant to be a confession, or any sort of cry for help, more a sentence brought about by spite as he watched Zankokuna slyly mutter something to his teammates. Unfortunately, he'd not quite thought through the ramifications of saying something like that within earshot of Yaoyorozu, the world's third most caring person (just after Deku and Aunty Inko). 

 

"Wait…" She said thoughtfully, looking over Katsuki's tense form with a ghost of worry embedded deep into her eyes. "Are they the ones who have been bullying you?!" 

 

At this Todoroki's stoic frame faltered, and he took a moment to glance at Katsuki's traitorous expression of anxiety. 

 

He didn't even get a chance to tell them both off though, as Ikari chose that moment to run back at them with an even more malicious expression than before, this time swerving on the ice and heading straight for Iida. 

 

"Fuck," He bit out, looking over Icyhot's head onto the frosted ground, taking a breath as the thud of their opponents' shoes on the ground got louder. "Catch!" Katsuki ordered, throwing himself off the 'horse' just as Zankokuna swiped for his head with a heavy fist. 

 

Four Eyes had also ran back as Ikari had gotten closer, but going backwards and turning weren't his strong suits and their entire team almost collapsed. The only reason they held together was because of Yaoyorozu's iron grip on Glasses's shoulder and Katsuki's left shin, but they were on their last legs with Zankokuna's group consistently aiming for where Halfie couldn't fire. 

 

As expected, Icyhot had caught him before he'd been given chance to fall too far, but little good that was doing them. Katsuki couldn't realistically do more than dodge any attacks, and he realised he should have asked Yaoyorozu for a sword or something at the beginning of the round. 

 

Their problem wasn't that they were a poorly put together team, he didn't think, but that they were disjointed and hit by a lot of bad luck. Zankokuna was crafty, but there was no way he'd known to aim for Yaoyorozu so that Icyhot couldn't attack them without hurting his own team. And Glasses was fast, but any direction he ran would throw him closer to either of the other two teams who were still surrounding them- though, thankfully, it appeared they were both waiting to attack, at least for now. 

 

As for Katsuki's team themselves… They were trying. They had all the right aspects for a perfect group: heavy attack power, speed/mobility, versatility and… Whatever the fuck he brought to the table, but for whatever reason it felt like they were incapable of working together as a concise unit. They kept talking about plans they could put into action, but they weren't actually performing well enough together to carry any of them out. 

 

So maybe…

 

"Halfie," Katsuki, still securely in Icyhot's grasp, looked up at him and snapped his fingers in order to garner his attention. The other boy stopped studying Zankokuna's group to meet his gaze. "I need you to make an ice dome covering us, Deku and Zankokuna."

 

He barely tilted his head in agreement, but it was quite clearly a nod all the same. "How big?" 

 

"Big enough for us to beat their asses."

 

Halfie passed him back over to Yaoyorozu and Four Eyes, probably conscious that they'd be out if Katsuki touched the ground even once, and stomped his right foot. Icy tendrils shot forth from the sole of his shoe, consuming the already frosted ground beneath them in a massive circle. It stopped a little short of the blond guy from 1-B, whose teamed rushed forward just late enough to be blocked out by the ice carving upwards through the stadium, glistening walls of cool silver reaching higher than most of the audience. It peaked at a sharp point, not so much of a dome as it was an oblong pyramid, however, it still served its purpose as they were consumed by the structure, along with their main two opponents. 

 

Said opponents seemed thrown for a loop, even Deku looking around quizzically from about ten metres away. Katsuki could've just told Halfie to make the ice fortress around them and them alone, but then Deku would've simply melted a hole in the side. This way, his childhood friend wouldn't do that since the frozen space also served to protect his (still very high headband) from the other teams who might be getting desperate. Plus, it served to drown out Present Mic's grating voice. 

 

They gathered their bearings and put their team back together, no longer in two pieces. However, Katsuki knew this was unnecessary. 

 

"We kind of fucking suck as a team." He admitted, crossing his arms. 

 

Glasses sighed, but it was more tired and resigned than angry or disbelieving at this point. "I know we should be doing better, but lowering our morale when-" 

 

"No, that's not what I'm saying." He snapped, interrupting the nerd. "I got Icyhot to make this massive barrier so that no one could see as we cheat and split off from this dumbass horse we're stuck as."

 

Four Eyes's eyes widened comically, and Katsuki felt the corners of his mouth twitch in amusement. 

 

Yaoyorozu was the next one to speak, her tone a little more hurried as their opponents regained some sense. "Perhaps… it's not cheating?" 

 

"That's scandalous! How could you even suggest-" 

 

"She's not wrong." Halfie was the one to interrupt this time, voice cool and steady as ever. "The rule is not to let Bakugou touch the ground, and whilst they might scold us for undermining that rule, they cannot stop us if they can't see us."

 

Glasses still looked apprehensive, so Katsuki scowled at him and growled out a short "Do you want us to fucking lose?!" He bowed his head and shook it, finally giving in just as Icyhot made a small platform out of his ice and Katsuki climbed off of them and on top of it. 

 

Now he technically wasn't touching the floor, and there was no rule about the rest of his team splitting off from one another to fight. 

 

Yaoyorozu and Glasses both headed over to Zankokuna's and Deku's teams respectively, whilst Halfie hung back to protect him, since he was still wearing the headband. Even if both their other teammates were taken down, there was little risk to their team as a whole getting through since neither of them had the headband, plus they'd hopefully distract the other two teams long enough for time to run out. 

 

"This was a good idea," Icyhot admitted, still in an attack stance as he watched Four Eyes chase Dark Shadow around. 

 

He scoffed. "Of course it was; it was mine. "

 

Katsuki was sure he caught his teammate chuckle at that, and he felt himself grow warm at the tiny action. He shook his head to get it out of his system, and looked towards where Yaoyorozu was up against Zankokuna- only to see her suddenly on the floor, apparently unconscious, as the other team raced towards them. 

 

He almost felt his heart stop as he leaned forwards to run to her- Zankokuna and his plan to beat him half to death completely escaping his mind- when Halfie shoved him back onto the platform and sprinted forwards himself. 

 

"Stay there," He ordered firmly, and the urge to refuse itched in Katsuki's throat. He closed his mouth though, swallowing down his verbal protests. 

 

Yaoyorozu was smart- she got into UA through recommendation alone, after all, so there was no way she'd been stupid enough to let Forked Tongue Bitch Boy paralyse her, and she should've been wary enough of Ikari's strength to defend against her. So… Had Zankokuna put her in that state? If so, Katsuki would need to be more conscious of who he made enemies out of in the future. 

 

Completely disregarding Icyhot's warning, he dropped off of the platform and also sprinted towards their fallen peer. Deku and Co were occupied by Four Eyes at least, so Katsuki just had to avoid Zankokuna long enough to reach his friend-

 

Something solid hit him as he swerved around where Halfie had engaged Ikari, and pain blossomed in his side like a poisoned lily. He fell, this time without anyone there to catch him, and found himself landing hard with a new weight on top of him. 

 

Zankokuna leaned over him, somehow away from his team. Had he also given up on the rules after they'd disregarded them? And were his other teammates really strong enough to keep Icyhot at bay on their own? 

 

Neither of those questioned mattered, he realised, as he stared up at his bully's cruel expression and felt terror settle deep in his bones. 

 

"Hey, Bakugou~" He smirked, squeezing Katsuki's left bicep. It shouldn't have been enough to do anymore than pinch a little, but it felt as though his arm was being consumed by an unforgiving torrent of fire, and he let out a sharp cry of pain. "What? No so tough now, huh?!" 

 

He tried shifting a little, to figure out if he had any hope of throwing Zankokuna off of him, but his side felt like it was stuffed of molten metal where the other boy had crashed into him; also burning to move even slightly. It was so much that tears of pain pricked at his eyes, ones he couldn't scrub away as the other boy held both his arms down with ease. 

 

Of course, Zankokuna wasn't nice enough to just let the tears roll down his face, and instead he let go of Katsuki's injured bicep to tenderly stroke away the moisture gathering under his eyes. Even as he flinched the ginger boy's smile grew, and he leaned in even closer. 

 

"I'm so glad you got your new boyfriend over there to put up this ice structure- now the judges won't see what I'm going to do to you." He taunted, grey eyes sweeping over his trembling form almost hungrily. He tried to shuffle back, the searing pain running across his side be damned, but he was easily halted by the boy above him. "Awww, come on now~ I'm just getting started,"

 

It felt like there wasn't enough air in between them, and Katsuki had to fight not to gasp for breath as he stared fearfully into his opponent's excited gaze. He didn't know what was going to happen next, and that was so fucking terrifying. It didn't feel like middle school bullying had, all taunts and beatdowns because there was nothing better to do, instead this felt targeted and sickeningly personal. 

 

Taking in as steady a breath as he felt able, Katsuki tried to stop his voice from shaking as he started talking. "Aren't you even going to take my headband? I thought you wanted to be a fucking hero, but you're willing to give up your shot for some revenge?" The hand that had been lightly caressing his cheek trailed down to his neck and pushed down, not enough to completely screw him over but enough for him to feel it. Zankokuna looked pissed. 

 

"I'd guess we've got about a minute left, and you're completely at my mercy, Kacchan ." He teased, still not removing the hand from around his neck. "I want to treasure this time for as long as I possibly can before moving onto the next round." The bastard leaned even closer still, and Katsuki froze as he started talking directly into his ear. "Your buddy Shinsou made a fool out of me earlier, and you've been nothing but trouble from the start of the year. I'll put you in your place, and then I'll move into the hero course that you clearly love so much." Each word was warm on his ear lobe, so close that every syllable felt wet. 

 

Zankokuna kept talking, the hand not on his neck making short work of his wrist, breaking it as Katsuki bit back a scream. He couldn't make any sense of what was being said, pain and fear morphing together into a sense of panic that sent him over the edge. Concentrating was impossible as he felt something else erupt in pain, though it was hard to tell with his chest burning with the need to breathe . He felt the back of his head slam down and everything fell even further out of focus, as he tried closing his eyes to shut out all the pain and fear. 

 

Something tugged him up, a hand in his hair he was pretty sure, so that his fuzzy vision was forced to focus on Zankokuna's enraged glare. "-You're ignoring me?! You think you're that fucking-" 

 

It seemed to happen in slow motion, though maybe it was just Katsuki's watery eyes trying to catch up that created that effect. One moment it was Zankokuna above him, then a sweeter feeling of warmth flushed through him, and the next second a new face had taken his place; one with sunny freckles and familiar hair, dimpled cheeks and a caring smile, a worried brow and kind eyes. Seeing them all together brought Katsuki out of his state just a little, like cold water being trickled over his head as he felt his ability to breathe inwards come back slowly. 

 

Now Deku was saying something, but everything still felt foreign to him. He was numb all over (probably good, he thought distantly, considering his injuries) but he could still feel gentle fingers running through his hair. These ones were truly careful and, unlike Zankokuna's poor imitation of adoration, Katsuki felt like he could actually lean into them. 

 

It was at that point, with his childhood friend holding him close enough for his tears to drop onto his cheeks, that his vision went fully dark and he faded into a somewhat peaceful unconscious. 

Chapter Text

In the flurry of battle, Izuku had barely let his gaze stray too far from Iida to notice what was happening to his best friend less than ten feet away. His only thoughts had been about protecting his dumb headband, to the point where he almost missed the sound of Kacchan’s strangled yell. 

 

He didn't, though, and within a moment his head had snapped round to see the blond lying tense on the floor, pinned under the Zankokuna guy. Izuku tamed his straying mind enough to wonder, at least for a second, if he was right to feel so livid at the sight; after all, it could have just been part of the battle. But then he spied the hand on Kacchan’s neck and the way his attacker was smiling ruthlessly at him- and that was enough to send him over the edge. 

 

He abandoned his team in a heartbeat, ripping himself from Uraraka and Tokoyami's grasps before ducking underneath Iida's outstretched hand. Izuku let go of any inhibitions he could've had about hurting his friend and ran full force at the scene, feet pounding into the ground almost painfully at the speed he was sprinting. Without even thinking about it, he summoned up his quirk and pulled a gush of fire from Todoroki's left side, using it to douse Zankokuna just before he charged into his side. 

 

The attack sent the other boy rolling for three meters, groaning with pain as he toppled hard off of Kacchan. Izuku barely even considered what damage he might've done as he leant over his friend's body, tenderly cupping a hand under his head. 

 

"Hey," He spoke softly, fighting back a wince as he felt wetness at the base of the blond's skull. "It's okay, shh, I got you-" 

 

Dazedly, Kacchan blinked up at him. His eyes were clouded over and slick with tears, but he just about managed to tug on Izuku's free and hovering hand before he fell still. 

 

For one terrifying moment, he thought his friend had died. 

 

It didn't matter that he could still see the way his chest pushed up and down, or hear the way his short breaths came out, raspy from the damage done to his neck. Hell, Izuku could even feel his friend's pulse thrumming softly under his weak touch. But the fear that engulfed him nevertheless nearly sent him spiralling with dread and mourning, ready to fall into a pit of melancholy even though Kacchan clearly still had life flowing through his veins. 

 

He stopped himself. The panicked voices of their teammates behind him faded into background noise as he calmed his own racing heart. Kacchan would be disappointed to see him so upset over something like this; he'd want him to believe his friend would be okay, because Kacchan was just that strong and determined. That in mind, Izuku smiled to himself and ran a careful hand through the fluffy hair in front of him, focusing on that rather than the purpling bruises on the other boy's neck. He slipped his fingers right up to the hairline and, though he shuddered at the warm feeling of blood, he still unclasped the velcro there and shoved Kacchan’s headband into his pocket. 

 

__



Tenya's focus on fighting was broken when Midoriya shot off from his team, leaving him without a target to go after. The real kicker was that the other boy's own teammates seemed similarly confused at their captain's sudden departure, and they were all just left standing with little to do. In fact, Tenya simply stood there immobile, lost for ideas, until he saw a look of horror gradually take over Kirishima's befuddled expression. 

 

He says 'gradually', but no. It was definitely an instantaneous change, however it felt slow to happen in the moment. And, as he turned around to see the commotion, he felt a wave of heat erupt from the center of their dome, blinking away the bright glare of the flames  until he saw the clear picture of Midoriya leaning over an injured Bakugou. 

 

"Oh my God, what happened?!" Kirishima practically yelled, racing forwards only to be floated into submission by a similarly incensed Uraraka. 

 

She let him back down, not bothering to stop the redhead from thudding to the ground as she looked between Bakugou and that General Studies guy, who was now laying on the ground too.

 

"Both of you stay clear." Tenya held his arm up as a signal for the two to stay back. "Remember your first aid training; crowding an injured civilian does more harm than it does good." He took a deep breath, ' come on, ' he thought to himself, ' you're the class rep so you need to take charge here. ' Firmly, Tenya raised his voice so that everyone inside the dome (including the members of the other teams) could hear him. "I'm going to fetch Aizawa-sensei and Midnight-sensei, and they'll sort this all out. You should all stay calm and wait for their orders."

 

He took a deep breath and ran towards the wall of the dome, kicking through the ice and into the bright daylight on the other side just as the horn signalled the end of the round. That was easy enough to ignore, however, as he zipped between the other teams towards his target. 

 

Midnight was saying something about the end of the round, about how there was no way to know the winner yet, when she stopped short as Tenya neared her. He knew he had to stay calm in this situation, but there were so many unknowns he couldn't really blame himself for probably giving off a pretty panicked aura. 

 

Coming to a grinding halt right before her stage, he looked up and explained. "Ms Midnight, there was an altercation of sorts and Bakugou has been badly injured. He's unconscious underneath the dome with Midoriya watching over him." Tenya thought back to the battle once more. "Yaoyorozu was also hurt, however I believe her injuries to be less serious. In addition, I think one of the boys from General Studies was similarly struck down, but once again Bakugou was the prime casualty."

 

All charisma and charm left Midnight's face in an instant and her expression went as stern and unforgiving as stone. She quickly switched off her microphone and tapped her ear once, eyes shifting to look up at the commentators' box. "Aizawa, three students have been injured, one of them apparently quite badly." She paused for a moment before nodding. "Yeah, inside the ice dome; Recovery Girl will take them back to her office but we've got other things to worry about-"

 

Tenya hated to intrude, but he felt compelled to tap his teacher's shoulder to garner her attention. "I'm sorry, but could you call Recovery Girl now? I-" 

 

Midnight's clearly forced smile did nothing to erase his anxiety, but it did get him to stop talking. "Just using this channel has notified her of an incident," she reassured, miles from her sadistic public persona. "Your friends will be fine- you did the right thing coming here, okay? Good job, Rep."

 

Tebya let out a sigh of relief and nodded. He let the woman go, glad to have been of some help to his class. 

 

__



Shouta was about to fucking lose it. 

 

He hated the Sports Festival on a good year; too many reporters, loads of stress for his students and an absolute bore for him to get through. It was a good opportunity for his class to be noticed, blah blah blah, but it was also the one time of year he wondered whether or not marrying Yamada had been such a good idea. After all, if he could barely get through eight hours as his commentator partner than how could he expect to get through the next fifty years as his life partner. 

 

None of that was the primary problem this year though, oh no, if only he could be that fortunate. Apparently, a student had been fairly seriously injured during the festival that he already despised. 

 

He rushed down to the arena floor to meet up with Nemuri, leaving his husband upstairs so that he could calm down the audience. By the time he'd reached his destination, Recovery Girl was already guiding some stretchers towards the dome of ice. The other students were also being cleared out. 

 

Shouta had known Todoroki creating that ice structure was a bad idea. It obscured their vision and left the students without any reason to follow the rules- an obvious recipe for disaster. Of course though, Nemuri thought it should be allowed; after all, 'it was so crafty and surprising! They deserved a shot,' according to her. 

 

He reached the first stretcher, which held a slightly groggy but otherwise uninjured Yaoyorozu. "Sensei?" She asked, rubbing her head. "I think Zankokuna was the one who hurt Bakugou, but-" 

 

He interrupted her. "It's fine, we'll sort it out whilst you students all rest ."

 

She nodded sheepishly and a robot wheeled her out just in time for the next kid to come out of the dome. This was the General Studies one- the Zankokuna Yaoyorozu had been talking about. 

 

He also didn't seem to be on death's door, though his face and arms were pink with what appeared to be sunburn. It did not compliment his ginger hair in the slightest, but since Shouta was already weary of the kid he wasn't exactly feeling much sympathy. 

 

"How'd this happen?" He asked, but his tone made it clear that the boy had to answer. 

 

Zankokuna's gloomy expression froze from where it was staring at the floor, and molded into something a little more pitiable as he raised his head to face him. "That Midoriya guy in 1-A… He just burnt me all of a sudden; I don't know why." The kid brought up one hand to gingerly 'wipe' some nonexistent tears from his raw skin. "All I was doing was checking over Bakugou- he's my classmate, y'know, so I was pretty worried- but then I got attacked out of nowhere."

 

Ugh, Shouta was ready for a nap. He squeezed the bridge of his nose and motioned for the robots to take this stretcher out as well. 

 

All in all, he was a little underwhelmed. Neither Yaoyorozu nor Zankokuna appeared anymore injured than was pretty average for the festival. Sure, usually students remained fairly okay right up until the one-to-one fights, but some minor burns and a blow to the head? As far as he was concerned, that was barely more than a sniffle by UA standards. Though, he supposed Zankokuna being in General Studies did complicate matters a little…

 

He heard the rattle of the next stretcher's wheels forcing their way through gravel and looked to see the state Bakugou was in. Apparently he was the worse off, but hopefully that still wouldn't be too dire considering the other injured students' conditions. Plus, Shouta knew whatever injuries the kid had managed to obtain wouldn't be life threatening or anything- otherwise Recovery Girl would be in far more of a rush. 

 

However, when he saw the kid's shape he was ready to hit himself for being so naive about the whole situation. 

 

Bakugou came out unconscious, with Midoriya hovering over him. He had dark bruising on his jaw, neck and forearms; but that was just the stuff his uniform left uncovered. The red tint left on Midoriya's fingers betrayed the fact that the blond was bleeding from somewhere, not to mention at least one of his wrists seemed to be twisted the wrong way. 

 

Shouta put a hand out to stop his student as Bakugou's stretcher passed, hating the fact that he needed to get answers but knowing Midoriya was probably the only conscious person who'd seen what happened. 

 

"Please tell me there wasn't a villain attack of any kind." He used a monotone voice as he spoke, but that barely camouflaged the desperation he was feeling. 

 

Rushedly, the kid shook his head. "No! No, Kacchan just…" His lip wobbled and Shouta wondered if he should have sent Yamada to do this after all. "That Zankokuna guy…" His lip stopped trembling and instead pushed itself into a surprising hard line of anger, as he clasped his hands together firmly. "I saw him pinning Kacchan down and choking him, so I ran over to save him. I burnt Zankokuna a bit but I cared more about Kacchan, and when I reached him I saw that he was injured all over; not just his neck."

 

Nodding in response, Shouta gently pulled the kid's hands apart so he didn't squeeze them too hard and get himself injured too. 

 

"Okay, we'll be doing an investigation into it so that's enough information for right now. But, before you rush off to your friend's bedside, I need you to go tell Present Mic that we'll be cancelling the rest of the festival."

 

Midoriya's shocked expression was almost comical, and he opened his mouth to say something but Shouta turned his back to him instead. There was no way they could keep the festival running when a student had been badly injured in, apparently, cold blood by a classmate. Plus, the whole situation brought up the problem of bullying at UA, which was a can of worms the press would just love to open. Nezu would most assuredly agree, so it wasn't better to tell everyone now than later when they were grumpy after being made to wait for news. 

 

__



Toshinori was there in the infirmary as Recovery Girl fussed over young Bakugou, which was unfortunate because that meant he was also there a few minutes later when Inko Midoriya came storming through the door. 

 

It was UA policy to contact a student's guardian the moment they were injured. Adding to that the fact that Ms Midoriya had probably been on high alert already due to the Sports Festival, it wasn't all that surprising that she'd reached the school so quickly. However, it was very fast considering all the security checks she would've had to get through on her way into the school. 

 

"Erm, excuse me, Ma'am-" He tried as she slammed the door open and took an angry breath in, only to have her fury redirected at him. 

 

"All Might-" She practically growled as she interrupted him, marching up and poking him hard in the chest. With this woman as his guardian, Toshinori was starting to understand where young Bakugou pulled his fighting spirit from. "Why on Earth has UA let my child be put in danger for the third time since the school year began a month ago?!" 

 

Ms Midoriya was even shorter than young Bakugou himself, and was very reminiscent of young Midoriya, but as she finished her question he could feel himself cowering under her incensed gaze. He might have been the No1 Hero, but even he wasn't immune to a mother's wrath. 

 

Still, he found it in himself to ask probably the dumbest question one could have in his situation: "Third? I thought this was only the second time…"

 

When he heard Recovery Girl's quiet intake a breath behind him, he knew he'd screwed up royally. 

 

The woman before him shook her head as though she were in disbelief, before pointedly holding up three fingers. "First, Katsuki was allowed to go to the villain infested USJ by you." She prodded him sharply. "Then, you allowed a massive robot to be dropped on him and the faculty didn't interfere whatsoever." She poked him again, even harder. "And finally, as I was on my way over to complain about that second instance of total neglect and endangerment, I get a phone call saying my child had been injured by another student, one who has likely been bullying him for the entire term."

 

Every word felt like a stab to the gut, and Toshinori was forced to bow his head in shame. There was nothing he could say to make her feel better; no 'I am here' would convince her that young Bakugou would be alright. After all, he'd been present the entire time and her child had still gotten hurt. 

 

He was about to say something that would probably cause her even more distress, knowing him, when Aizawa came through the already open door with a stack of papers in hand. He bowed properly to her, expression betraying nothing about how he was truly feeling. 

 

"Ms Midoriya, I'm glad you could come so quickly. I am Izuku's home room teacher and I was supervising the first year's Sports Festival." He stood up straight and brought out the papers. "The principal and I anticipated that you would be concerned over Bakugou, so we reviewed the footage of the incident and are already taking measures to ensure your child's safety in the future."

 

God, Aizawa was so calm and put together. Not surprising really, since he had actual teaching experience and had probably spoken to frantic parents before. Meanwhile, he'd become a nervous, stuttering mess the moment Ms Midoriya walked through the door. 

 

"What measures exactly? How are you so certain that Katsuki won't be hurt again whilst under your 'hero' protection?" 

 

It was a fair question, and Toshinori had no fucking clue. 

 

Thankfully, Aizawa had everything sorted out. "After watching the footage from the ground cameras on the arena floor, we confirmed which group of students was responsible. All three have been expelled and two have been passed onto the courts for disciplinary proceedings."

 

Ms Midoriya nodded at that, some of the tension leaving her frame."Only two are facing legal action? Why not all of them?" 

 

Toshinori looked back to his coworker for the answer, slightly surprised he'd lasted this long in such a brutal parent-teacher conference; especially since Bakugou wasn't even his student. 

 

"Zankokuna and Ikari are the only ones who will face legal action as they're the two who physically attacked classmates. Zankokuna had a clear record up until he hurt Bakugou, however one of their classmates, Hitoshi Shinsou, reported to me a short a while ago that the bullying has been happening since the beginning of term. Ikari is also facing disciplinary proceedings since she was already on probation before we heard about the bullying; during the entrance exam she attacked her fellow examinees and therefore wasn't accepted to the heroics department, despite technically getting through." The man sighed and ran a hand down his face." Do you have any other questions?"

 

The woman finally deflated fully, before shuffling over to young Bakugou's bed and collapsing down onto it, so that she was sitting next to him with her hand gently over his bruised forearm. She shook her head looking at least slightly reassured. 

 

__



Katsuki woke up slowly. He rose to consciousness and tried to shift his body, only to be struck with pain all across his sides. Gingerly, he let himself be still again and breathed through the residual pain. 

 

He opened his eyes to a dim room- was it evening? Night time even? It took a moment for his vision to focus, but it wasn't nearly as fuzzy as it had been earlier… 

 

Ugh, it all came rushing back. Shame overtook him as he thought back to how pathetic he'd been- so weak and unable to protect himself. Zankokuna had barely tried and yet he'd still been totally at his mercy; terrified and blubbering like a child. 

 

Through the dim room Katsuki noted Deku's form hunched over one side of his bed, with Aunty Inko occupying the other. Fuck, he'd asked his friend to have faith in him but he'd let himself get hurt not even an hour later. If he had any sense, Deku would be too ashamed to even look at him by now. 

 

A lump formed in his throat and Katsuki curled in on himself, only for another lash of pain to lance through him. This time his arms also felt brittle with agony and he couldn't help but whimper as it overwhelmed him. This small noise of total discomfort was apparently his undoing, however, as Aunty Inko shifted beside him. She pulled her eyelids apart and looked at his trembling form, before reaching for his arm carefully. 

 

His lips trembled at the pressure and her kind smile, and Katsuki let a short sob escape him. Inko moved over to lay next to him, tilting his head so that his face was buried comfortingly in the crook of her neck. 

 

"I-" It came out croakier than he was expecting and he sobbed again, ignoring the residual pain from his injuries to squeeze his Aunty more tightly. 

 

"Hey, baby," She cooed softly, brushing a tender hand through his hair. "Shhhh, shh; it's gonna be okay, I've got you."

 

Katsuki nodded into her, letting himself weep quietly as she held him close. It was fine, he thought, just this once to let himself be weak in her tight embrace. 

Chapter Text

Izuku slept through the night, despite the fact that he sat hunched over uncomfortably in a barren infirmary the entire time. He didn't want to leave Kacchan, even though his mum promised she'd stay there until morning if he wanted to go home to his bed after such an exhausting day. Now she was gone, getting coffee most likely, but she said she'd be back within the hour. 

 

That left Izuku alone as Kacchan finally roused himself from his slumber. 

 

"Mm… Deku?" He didn't know if his friend's voice was scratchy from the remaining bruising on his neck, or if he'd been crying through the night. Surprisingly, he hoped it was the former. "Why are you here at… 9?! Fuck, we're late to class-" 

 

He tried to sit up and Izuku could only (gently) shove him back down into his many pillows, trying not to wince in sympathy as Kacchan gasped at his own movement. "Kacchan! You need to rest, okay? There aren't any classes until next week anyway, so relax."

 

Of course, he did not seem to like that advice too much as he slumped back down and scowled, crossing his arms over his stomach gingerly. Recovery Girl had healed him a little yesterday, but apparently he'd been too worn out from the festival to be perfectly back in shape. According to the nurse, however, he would be right as rain, ready to go home by the evening. Izuku didn't really care if his pride still felt wounded; Kacchan would be coming back to his and his mum's apartment no matter what.

 

"Please don't say 'I told you so'" The blond muttered, face turned down. "I already know I fucked up and got hurt."

 

Izuku reached forwards to clasp one of his hand in both of his, worriedly noting the bandages around his wrist. "Hey, come on, this isn't like you…" He tried smiling warmly and gripping his limp hand more tightly. "You're you because you never give up! You're so confident and brave-" 

 

Kacchan snatched his hand back roughly. 

 

"Are you-" 

 

"It's not fucking fine, Deku!" He snapped, biting his lip. "I made a whole damn deal about how little faith you had in me but you were right! I'm just some shitty, pathetic, defenceless-" 

 

Izuku couldn't bare to see how his friend's face trembled with the need to cry, nevermind hear the way he spoke about himself so cruelly. So he leaned over him and squeezed him into a loose hug, gently guiding his face to rest in the crook of his neck. It worked well for stopping Kacchan’s slew of self-deprecation, but he didn't know if it prevented him from breaking down into tears. 

 

They stayed like that for a while, at least ten minutes, with Izuku petting his friend's hair and rubbing his back mindlessly. He didn't think the blond ended up crying but it was hard to tell. 

 

"Did you win the festival, at least?" Kacchan mumbled into his shoulder. 

 

He stopped stroking his head for a moment with a start. "Wha- no, didn't anyone-" 

 

His friend shoved him away, expression creased into one of rage. "Don't fucking tell me you dropped out to look after my shitty ass-" 

 

"No, no!" Izuku waved his hands about frantically, wondering how he should explain. "After what… Happened… UA shut down the First Year competitions."

 

Kacchan just stared at him for a second, gripping his sheets with white knuckled fingers. It made sense that he hadn't known about that small detail, considering he'd been passed out since yesterday. But Izuku felt like he'd feel guilty over it, when it clearly wasn't his fault. 

 

"You're saying I ruined it? For everybody?!" Bingo. 

 

Izuku hardened himself, painting the lines of his expression with stubborn honesty. "No. Zankokuna and his team ruined it for everybody- you did nothing wrong. Not one person with even an ounce of decency thinks you're at all to blame, okay?" He stayed calm and collected, staring straight into his friend's pink-rimmed eyes as he spoke with clear surety. 

 

When it came to stubbornness, Kacchan usually took the cake. But when it came to matters regarding his best friend's well being, Izuku was known to put up quite the fight. Thankfully, this left the blond nodding miserably at the other's words. He was still clearly upset, but he seemed to have drawn himself in enough to half accept what had been said. 

 

They sat in comfortable silence for a few nice minutes, before Kacchan went suddenly rigid next to him. "Wait," He said excitedly, lighting up a little. "If the festival was cancelled at the end of the second round, and I still had the ten million points, does that mean I technically won the goddamn UA Sports Festival?!" 

 

Stuttering, Izuku offered up a sheepish smile. "He he… Funny story…"

 

"Don't dare fucking tell me that Zankokuna or some other shit idiot got my headband."

 

"No, no," Izuku wrung his hands before reaching into his back pocket. "Whilst you were, uh, unconscious, I kind of took the headband off…" 

 

He passed the ten million points headband back carefully, trying to avert his gaze from Kacchan’s shell-shocked face. When he'd taken it he hadn't had any malicious intent- not even close! He just thought it would be a good symbolic gesture, to prove to his friend that he didn't spend every waking moment worrying about if he was okay. 

 

Was this too much, though? There was a difference between engaging properly in a physical competition with an able opponent and just taking their points after they'd just gotten unlawfully beaten to unconsciousness. God, Izuku was the worst person in the world. How could the other boy ever trust him again? He couldn't, they'd have to-

 

His train of thought was crashed as Kacchan's uncontrollable laughter leaked into his mind, and Izuku looked up to see his friend clutching his stomach as he tried to calm himself down. 

 

"You- you're a-" Another round of laughter. "You're a dumbass, you- you know that?" 

 

Kacchan smiled at him and he almost deflated in relief, slouch back down in his too-small plastic chair. 

 

His friend fiddled with the headband a little, smiling to himself. "Thanks, Deku."

 

Izuku nodded, his own lips tugging upwards at the sight. 

 

__



"We need a plan." Nezu wasn't usually one to start meetings so bluntly, but in this case Shouta couldn't blame him. 

 

Yamada, laid back as always, shrugged. "I don't see why. Sure, we got some heat from the media for cancelling the First Year events halfway through the festival, but this isn't even close to the aftermath of the USJ attack." He said, and he wasn't wrong, but Shouta still shook his head at his husband's ignorance. 

 

"Mic, the problem arises when the media catches wind of why we cancelled the festival." He sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose to delay the oncoming headache. "And just the fact that Bakugou was attacked in the first place demonstrates we've been too lax on behavioural issues."

 

Snipe coughed behind his hand. "Says the man who expels every kid that so much as breathes wrong."

 

Shouta glared at him, but his focus was quickly swung over to Midnight as she leant forwards in her seat. "We've been ignorant of our secondary departments for years now; an incident like this was bound to happen." She tapped her long nails against the table, looking down. "Not to mention how much we build up the festival to be these kids' one shot at getting into the hero course. Obviously some have gotten violent and desperate, it was just a matter of time."

 

Nezu nodded and a blanket of silence rested over the room for a few moments, giving them all time to think. Bakugou had been pretty badly injured even in terms of hero students, so this whole thing being a big deal made sense. But what it implied was probably the larger problem; the fact that they'd been neglectful enough of one of their departments for a serious bullying case to be going on without any of their knowledge. 

 

Shouta straightened himself up minutely. "Our first course of action should be a disciplinary meeting with Bakugou's homeroom teacher, Katana. She should've flagged the issue when it first began." Everyone appeared to agree, so he continued. "And we'll need to assure all the parents that UA is safe for their children. Ms Midoriya should be the only one who knows why we cancelled the festival, though some students may tell their own parents, but everyone will be concerned since this happened so soon after the USJ attack."

 

Nezu brightened up, raising his hand as though he weren't the one in charge here."I've actually had a plan for this for quite a while, and this seems to be the perfect time to implement it!" 

 

"What is it?" Yamada asked after Nezu had been silent for too long. 

 

"Hmm?" He tilted his head to Mic. "Ah, yes! There's a dorm plan that should help the parents trust us to keep a close watch over their children."

 

"Really?" All Might finally spoke up, raising his gaunt face to look around the room. "In Bakugou's specific case, the problems arose due to his classmates. Even in dorms we can't ensure our students will be safe from one another, and it could even make the situation worse as they have to spend more time with their bullies."

 

"From this point forward, we'll need to have stricter regulations on bullying and a more observant policy in terms of spotting it." Shouta decided, and, after a moment of thought, he said "And Bakugou can stay in the 1-A dorms, if he wishes to continue studying here."

 

Everyone quietened, no more issues or concerns they needed to raise. Well, until Aizawa realised he'd forgotten just one tiny thing. 

 

"You should see it on the system, but yesterday I expelled Minoru Mineta for sneaking into the girls' changing rooms whilst he thought everybody was preoccupied with Bakugou. I'm going to see if Hitoshi Shinsou would like to take his place in my class, since he outperformed even some hero students in the first round."

 

No one seemed to have a problem with that either, and the meeting was adjourned. 

 

__



When Katsuki arrived back at the Midoriya household, Aunty Inko excused herself to make a quick phone call. Whilst she was in the other room, a knock sounded at the door. 

 

"I'll get it," Said Deku, going over to the door as he collapsed onto the sofa. He was all healed up, finally, but the old lady had left him feeling way too woozy and light headed for his liking. It was all he could do to stay on his feet as they walked from the taxi into the apartment. 

 

From his vantage point, Katsuki could see as a face appeared over Deku's green curls, one with mustard blond hair and an over the top grin and-"

 

"Fuck, All Might is in your house!" He scrambled to sit up, only for his vision to darken at the edges as he fell sideways instead. 

 

Something caught him (like Todoroki had the day before, he thought warmly) but this time the hands were larger, more muscular. He blinked the fuzziness out of his brain to see All Might's concerned, though still smiling, face shining down on him. 

 

"Young Bakugou! Relax, please, I don't want to see you get hurt again."

 

He nodded reluctantly, pulling himself out of All Might's grasp to sit back down on the sofa. Deku came over to them both, hair blown out of control by the No1 Hero's previous speed. He was keeping his composure well, for a fanboy, but Katsuki could almost see his friend vibrating with excitement. 

 

"Um, All Might?" Deku started with a gulp, face beaded with sweat at the effort to remain calm and look presentable. "Why are you, uh, in my house?" 

 

All Might's booming laugh shook the very apartment they were all in. "Ah, Young Midoriya! I missed your fanboy antics- at UA you're so much more put together." Deku blushed, and Katsuki had to bite back a snort. "To answer you question though, I'm here to speak with your mother about a new initiative we at UA are putting together." He leant down to be face height with them both, cupping a hand over one side of his mouth. "Please tell me she's in a better mood today."

 

He looked almost frightened, so Katsuki felt bad when Aunty Inko came back through the door with an outraged gasp. She marched over to the sofa, sitting beside him and pulling him into her side as she glared up at All Might. In all likelihood she would have grabbed onto Deku too, but since he was still standing she couldn't really do that. 

 

"What are you doing in my house?!" She snapped, and Katsuki worried he might've influenced her poorly. 

 

"Aunty," He nudged her side, nodding towards All Might. "You can't yell at the No1 Hero." He said, despite it being a wondrously hypocritical statement. 

 

She sighed but nodded all the same, reigning in her tone. "Mr Might, why are you here?" 

 

All Might was now sweating more than Deku which was kind of impressive, but he took a deep breath to answer her question. "Principal Nezu thinks it would be, uh, beneficial to implement a dorm system at UA."

 

"Oh, okay, give me a moment."

 

The hero nodded at her request and looked down, as Katsuki turned the offer over in his own head. He wanted to continue studying at UA, but he didn't think he could bare to live with all the assholes in his class. Apparently Zankokuna and his gang had been expelled yesterday, according to Deku, but it wasn't like the rest of his classmates were much better. Shinsou was okay- he tried to help him at least- but the others… No way he could stand living with them. 

 

"I don't think I trust UA to look after my children." Aunty Inko finally decided, pulling Deku down to sit next to her too. "It's not even been one term yet and so many things have gone wrong. Izuku's class was attacked by villains, Katsuki was allowed to join in with that situation and now all this Sports Festival drama… How can I call myself a good mother if I allow them to go into your care full time?" 

 

All Might bowed so low he was on par with Katsuki's height."I know we have not given you the best first impression and I know you just want to keep your children safe, but think not of UA as it is now but as it could be. With dorms we'll be able to better look out for issues with bullying and we'll be able to train young Midoriya to be a better hero." He straightened back up, smiling more gently down at her. "Please consider it."

 

Aunty Inko looked to the both of them with a questioning gaze, and Katsuki gave her the slightest nod in return. If he was allowed to stay with Deku, then he thought he could get through UA. 

 

Finally, Inko voiced her approval. 



Chapter Text

Trying to pack with two Midoriyas was about as easy as wading through a lake of tears- because that's what the task basically involved. They'd packed up all of Deku's crap with a few sniffles from the boy himself about a fountain from Aunty Inko, but when they got to Katsuki's house to grab his stuff they both started losing it. 

 

Even dumb shit, like Katsuki's old All Might jumper, got sodden with all their crying, to the point where he'd just let them have it as a tissue. They found a picture he'd drawn of himself with Deku, and Aunty Inko had seemed ready lock them home forever. All in all the process hadn't taken too much time, but emotionally it was impossibly taxing. 

 

"Okay, are you both ready?" Asked Inko, rubbing the last of her tears away as they stood on the platform at the train station. "If you can't figure out how to do laundry just call me. Or if you have a nightmare. Or if you-" 

 

"We'll be fine." Katsuki snapped, though not unkindly, interrupting her. "We've been on Earth for sixteen years; I think we know how to do goddamn laundry." Deku looked at him blankly but he shrugged it off- the nerd could just watch a YouTube tutorial or some shit like that if he was so lost. 

 

"I suppose…" She murmured, clutching her sopping tissue for support. 

 

"Yeah!" Agreed Deku, who had no business being so confident. "And we'll call you every week." Aunty Inko looked at him desperately. "Umm… Everyday then?" He guessed, until Katsuki fixed him with his own harsh stare. "Or maybe every Thursday and Sunday?" 

 

Finally they all seemed to have an understanding, and Aunty squeezed them into final hugs before reluctantly letting them enter one of the train cars together. 

 

"I'll miss you." She said simply, head bowed down. 

 

"Us too…" Katsuki muttered under his breath, offering her one last half-hearted wave before fully entering the vehicle. 

 

The train ride to UA wasn't too long- only thirty or so minutes- but with the weight of what they'd just left behind it felt a lot longer, as though they were travelling further than they actually were. Katsuki's own mother had never really been in the picture. When he was younger she'd been there physically, sure, but emotionally? He guessed she'd opted out of that responsibility about two months into her pregnancy. His dad was better; soft-spoken and kind-hearted, and easily swayed to Katsuki's every whim. Sadly, that still didn't make him a good parent. He was nice and he tried, certainly , but he did whatever his wife and son told him to (even when said child was just that, a child ). And when it came down to it, he was more scared of disobeying Katsuki's mother than he was disappointing his son. 

 

But Aunty Inko… She was everything a parent was supposed to be. She was patient, warm, kind, gentle, caring and present . She was a single mother with little money but she'd showed up to every single school play he and Deku had ever participated in. Hell, she'd even come to all of Katsuki's many recitals and award evenings, even though he wasn't her actual son and therefore she had no responsibility that said she had to support him. Meanwhile, Mitsuki Bakugou had only come to one of his ballet recitals, and that was because she'd been promoting her new line of children's wear- Katsuki couldn't remember her even staying until the end of his performance. 

 

But now he was leaving all of that warmth and happiness for the second time, and this go round his choice had nothing to do with his injured pride, which somehow made it harder. Deku must have noticed, because ten minutes into their journey he reached out and grabbed Katsuki's hand supportively, not even looking to check his friend's reaction as he did it. At the action, Katsuki leaned into the other boy's side, deflating there as they waited for their stop. It was hard leaving, but at least this time he had his best friend with him as he went. 

 

__



They were one of the last ones to arrive at Heights Alliance, probably due to Aunty Inko's incessant crying and hugging, which meant they got surrounded the moment they stepped onto the property's front porch. 

 

"Bakugou!" Cheered at least six different people, before he was swallowed into a group hug. Kirishima, Kaminari and Ashido seemed to be the culprits, and he was struggling to force them off. 

 

Deku spoke up, a little hurt. "Don't I even get a simple 'hello'?" 

 

Deadpan, Todoroki replied "Hello.", to a quiet chuckle from Katsuki. 

 

"You're awesome too, Midoriya!" Promised Ashido, squeezing Katsuki tighter until his face was almost pushing into her breasts. 

 

"Yeah!" Agreed Kaminari, shoving his own face a little closer to her breasts too until she (quite expertly) elbowed his side. With a pained gasp, he hollowly said "We just, urgh, don't see Bakugou as much as we see you."

 

Deku pouted and unravelled the hug until Katsuki was finally free again, only for him to then be pulled aside by Yaoyorozu. 

 

"God, what do you want?" He asked shortly, putting some distance between them. 

 

Smiling in her genuinely kind way, his friend replied "I wasn't sure if you were okay." She scratched the back of her neck awkwardly. "...You haven't texted me since the festival..."

 

He opened his mouth to reply when Deku beat him to it, spluttering out a disbelieving "You have his number?!" 

 

Katsuki took great offence to this. True, for the first fifteen years of his life there had only been three numbers on his contact list: Deku's, Aunty Inko's and his dad's work number. But he'd recently doubled that, with the additions of Yaoyorozu, Shinsou and Detective Yagami. So his friend had no reason to be looking so shocked. 

 

"What about it?" He snapped, nudging him. 

 

Deku tamed his expression to be a bit more neutral as fiddled with the hem of his shirt. "Ah- sorry, I just thought you didn't like giving out your number…"

 

Rolling his eyes, Katsuki nudged the other boy playfully. "Duh, I only give it to people I like." He gave him a pointed stare, trying to demonstrate that he was still his best friend and no one was about to replace him. For whatever reason this caused a blush to adorn his freckled cheeks, and Deku averted his gaze back to his classmates. 

 

Kirishima was the next to speak up. "We were super excited to hear you'd be rooming with us, man!" He said, patting Katsuki so hard on the back that he had to fight not to fall forwards. 

 

He only scoffed in return, crossing his arms over his chest. 

 

Then the invisible girl started to say something he wasn't properly paying attention to, when Four Eyes burst out the doors of the dorms, practically crashing into the area they were all chatting idly in. Everyone stopped to stare at him, looking equally shocked. 

 

"Dude…" Tape guy stared him up and down, apparently taking in the other student's dishevelled and vaguely sweaty appearance. "I didn't even know you were here."

 

Glasses brushed himself off, standing up a bit straighter with a proud gleam to his lenses. "As the Class Representative, I decided to come here early so that I could be ready for you all with dorm rules and regulations."

 

A cool looking punk girl raised her eyebrow. "How early?" 

 

Four Eyes paused for a moment, before pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "An appropriate amount of time, of course."

 

"How early?" She repeated. 

 

"... Six hours…"

 

Several people face palmed, including Deku, giving Katsuki the perfect opportunity to escape into the dorms without being noticed. So, as his peers began their onslaught of teasing on Glasses, he snuck around their backs to greet the front entrance of his new home. It was a regal purple shade, at least ten feet high and imposing, but it opened silently enough for him to pad through without falling victim to yet another impromptu group hug. 

 

__



After passing Shinsou, who was napping peacefully on one of the many sofas, Katsuki went up four flights of stairs and reached his own new room. All of his furniture had already been delivered, but he still had to arrange it. Honestly, he'd probably just end up staying with Deku most nights anyway, but for now he needed a place to keep all of his stuff in a somewhat orderly fashion. 

 

He shoved against his bed's headboard to find no give, simply sliding down to his knees after a few moments of unfruitful pushing. He tried again, but this time he pulled the headboard. And a third time. 

 

After once again failing, Katsuki let out a frustrated yell, thwacking the shitty bed with his fist until said fist began to throb with pain. Goddammit, now it looked sore.

 

"Need any help?" Asked a lifeless, grating voice. 

 

Katsuki turned to the Icyhot bastard with a scowl, attempting to look dignified from his pathetic place on the floor. "No." He denied petulantly, crossing his arms. 

 

The other boy remained unbothered, though he went and sat down stiffly on his desk chair. "Okay, well…" He started, his expression finally betraying some of his discomfort, rather than that pretty boy façade he usually had going. "I wanted to talk to you anyway. To apologise."

 

Okay, well, that certainly peaked his interest. Whilst it was true that in reality Halfie was less annoying than he'd originally pegged him to be, there were still plenty of things Katsuki would love to hear him apologise for. Like dropping that robot on him, if he were to pick a totally random example. 

 

He gestured for the other boy to continue, unconsciously leaning towards his peer. "During the cavalry battle, I used my left side, even though I'd promised myself I would never use it in combat. I-" 

 

"Hah?" Katsuki stared at him quizzically, wracking his brain for everything that happened previous to Zankokuna giving him a concussion. "You never burnt me or anything? Fuck, I don't even think you turned on your fire!" 

 

Icyhot looked down at his hands in disgust, his only reaction to the other's words. "You were almost unconscious, I think, so you won't have much memory of it…" His hands clenched into fists and he continued to look down and away from Katsuki's pinning gaze. "To get Zankokuna off of you, Midoriya used his quirk to draw out flames from my left side. He forced me to do it but that isn't an excuse; I almost hurt you and-" 

 

Katsuki threw a hair brush at him to shut him up, sighing when it bounced off of his muscular shoulder rather than his more breakable nose. "So you're all pissy and mopey cos Deku made you use your fire, which, for whatever fucking reason, is against your goddamn emo backstory, is that it?" He got up and grabbed the other boy's chin, forcing his heterochromic eyes to meet his own burning red ones. "Don't be so fucking childish and get over yourself, okay?! I'm fine, your fine and that's all that should matter."

 

Halfie tore his hand away from his face, the pressure he put on his wrist almost painful as Katsuki fought back a wince. "You don't know what you're talking about." He replied coldly, still holding onto him. "If you knew what this made me- if you knew how close to my father I'm becoming… You would be disgusted with me too."

 

He felt his own rage surge up into an unruly malstrom of emotion, and he grabbed Halfie back, digging his nails into his wrist. "Maybe I don't know whatever fucking thing has made you this goddamn sorry for yourself, but who cares if you're like the number two pro hero ! That's a good thing, you fuckhead." Icyhot flinched back at that, finally letting go and trying to turn away once again. Katsuki got closer into his face in response, so that their noses were mere centimetres apart and the asshole was forced to look at him. "Just cos you use his power doesn't make you his carbon copy. Hell, I'm a fucking mirror image of my bitch of a mother but do I do everything I can to prove we're not the same?! No. Because I've got enough sense to just be my own person and, no matter how much of a shitty weakling that person is, I know that I'll never let myself be all the things I hate about her."

 

He finished with a pant, not having expected to share so much. It felt as though he'd just run a marathon and he was ready to just rest for the next twelve hours, just to try and get over this over exposed feeling that ran through his veins, but Icyhot was looking at him with wide eyes. 

 

"Your mother? The one who looks like Midoriya?" 

 

Disbelief took over his anger and exhaustion alike as he fixed the other boy with a blank stare. "No, that's Deku's mum; how fucking dumb are you?!" 

 

"I thought…" Halfie flushed and stopped speaking, brushing himself off. "Thank you for saying all that." Which part? It all seemed massively emotional and dumb from his perspective. "It was, somehow, kind of comforting." Halfie offered him a small, weak smile and Katsuki felt himself flush, a bout of lightheadedness threatening to take him over. 

 

He pushed his hair back, looking down to the floor. "Yeah, whatever, get out of my room then."

 

The other boy nodded, waving briefly and turning towards the door. Then, over his shoulder, he said: "By the way, my room is right next door if you need anything. Midoriya's is all the way on the ground level so I might be easier to get to."

 

Under his breath, after the fucker had gone, Katsuki muttered out a small "Duly noted." Before turning back to his bed for another go at moving it. 

Chapter Text

Life in the dorms wasn't actually too difficult, or even that different from Katsuki's home life. 

 

Excluding the month he'd spent alone back at his parents' house, he'd lived with Deku and Aunty Inko for the better part of a year- so when he got to the dorms and he was still with Deku it wasn't that big of a change. Sure, there were more extras milling about (who seemed unnecessarily fond of him), but really Katsuki could deal with them pretty easily. 

 

For one: his school day finished before that of the hero students'. Since 1-A did heroics training in the afternoon, they always ran over the standard lesson time by an hour, which wasn't even including the ones who needed to go to the infirmary afterwards. That gave him precious time to chill out and prepare for the onslaught that came to his patience when they all arrived back. 

 

His own lessons were… Different now. Shinsou told him that Katana-sensei had been put on probation after Zankokuna was expelled, which he could've guessed for himself by the way she always seemed to be walking on eggshells around him. It was still her, whatever screwed up values about education being more important that student wellbeing remained, but now she was careful not to broadcast those beliefs. Plus, she actually took steps in order to curb any misbehaviour. 

 

Such as today. 

 

"I can't believe you got Zankokuna expelled." Snapped one of his classmates- a girl with mousy features and barbs outlining her eyes (ouch?). "And Ikari too! Urgh, they were just teasing, you didn't have to be such a little wimp."

 

Honestly, Katsuki had scarcely been paying attention to her. Barely anyone in his class had so much as spoken to him in the two weeks since the Sports Festival, and, whilst there were clearly mutterings going on behind his back, the new, rigid school policy against bullying seemed to scare them off of saying anything to his face. This one extra was an outlier, and Katsuki simply had more important things to focus on. 

 

"Hey! Don't ignore me!" She pestered whinily, and he winced at the unforgiving pitch more than any meaning her words had. 

 

Sighing as she got increasingly annoying, Katsuki stood up from his desk to look her in the eye. "Could you just shut the fuck up for two seconds?" She snarled in outrage but he ignored her. "You're giving me a damn headache."

 

"Oh you sissy little-" 

 

"That's enough out of you, Hakamata." Interrupted a stern voice as Katana-sensei entered the previously almost empty classroom (it was break, after all). "That'll be detention for the next two weeks and a harsher curfew during that time for you."

 

Hakamata opened and closed her mouth idiotically in shock, closely resembling a suffocating goldfish- a fun image for Katsuki to imagine after being irritated by her incessant whining for the last few minutes. He didn't show any of this mirth on his face, however, still plenty distrustful of Katana-sensei and her ability to stab him in the back. 

 

"You can't-" Hakamata tried pleadingly, still looking erratically between the two. "I was just-" 

 

"My word is final, now if you would give me a moment with Bakugou here, to prevent those two weeks of detention from becoming three."

 

She scampered off with her tail between her legs, hastily bowing to their teacher as she practically threw herself into the hallway. A humorous display that was lessened in comedy by the fact that it left Katsuki alone with his teacher. 

 

On the bright side, she seemed just as uncomfortable as he was. "Er, so." She pushed a nonexistent hair out of her face. "I needed to speak with you because Aizawa would like you to meet him after hero classes end and, well, he- well, he told me to tell you… That."

 

Feeling confident, Katsuki raised an eyebrow at the clearly out-of-her-depth woman. "Couldn't you have just said Aizawa wants to see me?" Her previous wordiness had only emphasised her nerves and, yes, he would've definitely been able to guess she was probation through this interaction alone, even without Shinsou cluing him in. 

 

Katana frowned. "Don't disrespect me," She ordered, before looking to the side petulantly. "And sorry."

 

Before he could ask what for, the bell for their next class sounded and he went back to his seat, watching with feigned disinterest as his classmates entered the room and fixed him with varying looks of hostility. Still, much more bearable than his previous experience in the class. 

 

__

 

 

By the time Katsuki arrived at Ground Beta, where Deku had told him 1-A would be training today, their activities were already well underway. It was almost disconcerting how easy it was to sneak up on the group whilst they were in the fray of battle, but Katsuki pushed that thought out of mind to instead observe their training. 

 

For whatever reason, he'd previously assumed all hero lessons would be deeply competitive; similar to the Sports Festival. So it was perturbing to realise that, in this particular exercise at least, the class appeared to be working as a cohesive unit. The standard route to Beta had brought him out in the surveillance room, the perfect place to observe all the happenings of the lesson. 

 

Yaoyorozu and Iida, along with Aizawa and Snipe supervising them, were commanding their classmates from within the surveillance room, all eighteen of which seemed to be fighting against a horde of robots (like the Sports Festival (good job, UA's creative team)). On the screens, Katsuki managed to catch snippets of different students fighting, noting how Kirishima dropped himself from the roof of a building to flatten one of the machines. 

 

Not everyone was that dramatic, though. Todoroki was simply sending out a stream of ice at a group of robots, all of which were equipped with some sort of thermal technology, allowing them to melt his ice at the same rate he froze them. That battle was mind-numbingly uneventful, but Katsuki guessed that eventually, if Icyhot continued to exclusively use his right side, the robots would end up overpowering him. 

 

He caught a brief glance of Deku fighting against three robots, arms outstretched as he used his quirk. Katsuki didn't see him for long enough to actually know what he was trying to do, but there was this intense expression on his face that sent a strange feeling coursing through his chest. He ignored it, shoving it deep down to instead continue observing. 

 

Strangely enough, it was that girl Deku hung out with- Uraraka he thinks- that appeared to have the most efficient strategy. She and the punk girl with weird ears seemed to have teamed up, and the latter would send out a sonic blast to temporarily disable the robots' functions before Uraraka floated them. After they were about twenty feet up she would release the machines, causing them to clatter to the floor and break on impact. 

 

"Enjoying the show?" Katsuki turned at the sudden, monotone voice, realising after a moment that it was Aizawa who had spoken. 

 

He reigned in his pounding heart, getting over the initial surprise. "It's whatever, I guess." He mumbled, too nervous to say much else. 

 

This was the guy who'd expelled Zankokuna and talked Aunty Inko out of suing UA, but Katsuki couldn't recall ever speaking to him. He tried not to be off put by his strange appearance- the ruffled clothes and bedraggled hair making for quite the picture, without even touching in his strangely piercing eyes, which held a spark of power despite the bags beneath them. Overall, he looked about the opposite of most of the esteemed staff Katsuki had come into contact with at UA, but he was observant enough to notice that the more respected the teacher, the wackier they tended to look.

 

(All Might, for example, walked around brazenly in his skin tight red jumpsuit, flaunting his cape at any passer-by who stared for too long.) 

 

Aizawa hummed from beside him, and Katsuki wondered how long it would take for Deku to finish the exercise and save him from this conversation. The one time his overly protective nature would've been appreciated. 

 

"I assume Katana delivered my message?" He asked, his mood completely unreadable. "Unless you just wanted to watch a hero lesson, in which case I'd recommend viewing the third years; it's the logical choice."

 

Fuck, why was this guy so intimidating? Katsuki shook his head, not quite looking the teacher in the eye as he replied. "Got your message and I figured I might as well come early and see what these idio- what these guys do all day." After a brief pause, he tacked on. "Wanted to see if they've got any right to act so hard done to at the end of the day."

 

It was a few minutes before Aizawa responded in any meaningful way, as he got absorbed by the broadcast on the screens. Katsuki watched with him; he didn't have anything better to do, after all. He saw Kaminari short-circuit and some tape guy accidentally strap himself to one of the robots, neither of which had good consequences but they were quickly rescued by the froggish girl. 

 

"I should really push them harder." He finally said, combing a hand through his scraggly black locks. "It's been over a month and I've still got twenty students. And I'm about to bring you on board too, which almost seems nonsensical considering my actions throughout the previous years."

 

Wait, what? 'Bring him on board too'? What the fuck did that even mean? 

 

"Hah?!" He questioned eloquently, turning to properly face the older man. "You can't mean-" 

 

"I'm not talking about adding you to 1-A, if that's what you're so confused about." Well, that's what he had been confused about, but now he was much more puzzled by what other fucking meaning Aizawa's words could have. "You might notice that Shinsou is performing poorly in this exercise, correct?" 

 

Katsuki turned from him to glance back at the screens, one that Iida seemed to be commanding with more desperation than any of the others. It showed Shinsou hiding behind a metal beam, with Ashido on the other side fighting the robots. 

 

"Yeah, I guess. He's just cowering behind someone else."

 

"Exactly; because his quirk isn't suited for faux villains. He's been in the hero course for a fortnight now and he still can't hold his own against an opponent his quirk isn't effective against." He explained, and Katsuki found himself nodding. He knew Aizawa's quirk, Deku having not been the only overzealous child to obsess over heroes, and could see why he in particular would be so attached to this idea that heroes must be able to function even without their quirks.

 

Still, that didn't really answer Katsuki's many questions. "But how the fuck does that effect me?" 

 

Aizawa sighed, as though speaking with teenagers was his least favourite pastime (clearly he made the wrong career choice, then). "I assume that expelling the main perpetrators in your bullying hasn't completely solved all of your problems, as it would be naïve to think the rest of your class would cease their poor behaviour the moment consequences were introduced."

 

Reluctantly, Katsuki nodded. It wasn't as bad anymore, sure, but on the whole his class still absolutely despised his existence. He was sure some of them couldn't give two shits either way, but peer pressure sort of forced everybody to look upon him with utter disdain, even if a few of his classmates didn't believe he deserved it. 

 

The teacher continued. "And you've clearly formed a close bond with Midoriya, which I assume- in the heat of adolescent hormones- will evolve into something more than just friendship-" 

 

"What?!" Katsuki snapped, flushing at even the thought as that same feeling from earlier rushed through him. "We're not- I don't think he-" 

 

Aizawa raised his hand to silence him and he appreciated the break from speaking, which he'd clearly lost his ability to do with any form of eloquence. "Even if that's the case, though from experience I would say it's not, simply having a close friendship with a hero will put you in great danger in the future. After the Sludge Villain attack, the USJ and the Sports Festival you've already made quite a name for yourself, which also lands you directly in the spotlight; which could easily lead to you being a target."

 

Katsuki was quickly losing patience for this conversation, which had suddenly become about how much risk his safety was at. "Could you just get to the point?" He pressed rudely, but Aizawa didn't seem too disconcerted by his aggressive tone. 

 

"If you can't protect yourself then I believe you'll be dead before you have the chance to graduate." Okay, maybe that was just a little too straightforward, and Katsuki stood frozen for a moment. Was… Was it really that big of an issue? "But, since I'm holding extra lessons before class to instruct Shinsou on hand to hand combat techniques in order to bolster his skill a hero, I figure they could dually serve as self defence classes for you."

 

Immediately, all sense of worry and fear left him as he heard those two words. "You're going to let me do self defence?" He asked excitedly, eyes widening at just the implication that he'd be able to learn how to fight. 

 

"Were you not able to before?" Aizawa questioned with a raised eyebrow. 

 

Flippantly, Katsuki replied. "My teachers all thought it would just encourage more disputes, and they said I'd just get thrown around." He remembered how upset he'd been at age seven when they'd told him that, after his fourth black eye that month. "Apparently the other kids would've just used me as a fucking punching bag or some shit, so they said I'd be better off if I just 'stopped starting fights at school', like that was me in the first place."

 

Some unreadable expression passed over the man's face, before he was back to looking closer to an unfeeling gargoyle than a person with emotions. "Be back here at 6am tomorrow else I'll remove you from the self-defence group."

 

Katsuki couldn't tell if he was joking or not, but guessed it didn't really matter since he'd probably get there for half five anyway. 

 

"I'll be here." He promised, to only a small nod in response before he was being shooed away. 

 

__

 

 

He was, for once, waiting for 1-A to get back from their lesson, anticipating their arrival as it meant the chance for him to talk to Deku. Katsuki vibrated in his seat, watching the door like a hawk until finally it was pushed open to release the vibrant sound of the hero students arriving. 

 

"Really, it's your confidence that needs to-" Four Eyes, the first person through the door, paused in speaking with a cowed Shinsou when he saw him. "Oh, this is a rare sight. Do you need something or..?" He trailed off when Katsuki's eyes remained trained to the entryway, looking out for that familiar head of green hair. 

 

It popped up a moment later, and he rushed towards him- stopping mid-step when he saw Uraraka holding onto his arm. That alone irked him for whatever reason, but then he zeroed in on the blush covering Deku's face, and the way Uraraka was smiling almost… Flirtily. It sent a pang of hurt, or maybe something else, straight to his chest, but he brushed it off best he could and continued on his way to his friend as though the falter had never happened. 

 

"Deku-" He successfully caught the other boy's attention, causing him to blush even more and hastily shove Uraraka off him. Didn't he want him to see him with her? Or… What? It's not like they could be dating or anything, surely he would've been told if that was the case. 

 

Deku waved a hand in front his face, snapping him out of his thoughts. "Hey, Kacchan, I know you hate this question but are you okay? You look a little pale…"

 

Katsuki gently swatted the hand down, before looking between his friend and this girl. She was nice, he supposed, in a very cliché 'cute girl' way. He knew she was one of Deku's closest new friends, and that she'd done well in the training he'd seen earlier. Really, it made sense that they might fall for each other, and it's not like Katsuki had any right to care either way; he was just simple friends with Deku, after all. Aizawa had hinted at something else, but obviously he didn't know what he was talking about because Katsuki was absolutely fine with this new development in the two's relationship. 

 

Maybe he'd get a girlfriend too! That's how perfectly chill with the whole situation he was. Yaoyorozu was nice and pretty, or maybe to really stick it to Deku he'd get a boyfriend instead, you know, just 'cos. Icyhot was pretty cool and handsome, and it's not like getting a boyfriend just to spite his childhood best friend was immature or anything. 

 

But it also made sense that, as Deku's friend, he would be invested in making sure his potential dates weren't too handsy or anything. Like Uraraka clinging to him so brazenly in the common room? In no way was that acceptable, especially before they were dating, and he was sure Four Eyes would back him up on that front. Really, for the good of the whole dorm, he should prevent their indecent displays of affection. 

 

"Seriously, Kacchan, you're not blinking, do you need to see Recovery Girl?" Deku had now progressed to checking his temperature, and Katsuki allowed it as he leaned into the cool hand on his forehead and closed his eyes. 

 

After gifting himself that precious moment, he mumbled "M'fine, I just wanted to tell you that I'm gonna do self defence lessons with Aizawa and Shinsou."

 

Abruptly, the hand was taken away and he was squeezed into an enthusiastic hug. "That's so great! You've always wanted to learn how to defend yourself, and I know I'm not the best teacher but I always tried. Obviously, Aizawa should be way better though! I mean, he has sixteen years of teaching experience and he's been a qualified pro for 23 years and seven months now so combat wise he's especially skilled. Not to mention the fact that he fights quirkless, which should mesh well with your non-combative quirk and the specific challenges-"

 

"Deku, you're muttering again." Laughed Uraraka, but Katsuki was too focused on the first word out of her mouth to agree.

 

"You're calling him Deku?!" He snapped, more on instinct than purposefully. His friend's eyes widened at the unexpected hostility, but Uraraka's expression gained a level of understanding as she smirked. 

 

"Does that bother you?" She asked, in an annoying singsong voice that made him want to rip out her dumb brown hair. 

 

Through gritted teeth, he bit out "Of fucking course not." Despite the building rage that was currently making it difficult to speak in a somewhat even tone. 

 

Deku looked between them nervously, half stepping in the middle so that neither would be able to pounce on the other. Katsuki decided Uraraka should be thankful for this, as otherwise, lack of hero training or not, he would be punching her dumb, pretty face. 

 

Once again, it made perfect sense that, as Deku's closest friend, he would be irritated by someone else stealing the nickname he uses for him. It's against friend etiquette! It implies that Uraraka, inconceivably, feels as close to the idiot as he does. Which is ludicrous and really fucking dumb. 

 

"So…" Deku interrupts Katsuki's glaring, probably in an attempt to curb the tension between their small group. "Uraraka and I were going to watch a movie together while everyone else does their homework, if you wanted to join us? It's a rom com so I know you're probably going to say no but-" 

 

"What are you talking about? I fucking adore romcoms and I'll obviously watch it with you." He spat, possibly with a little more anger than was strictly necessary. 

 

They moved into the dorm's main lounge area, which held their TV, and Deku sat down in the middle of the sofa facing it. Then, as a test, Katsuki allowed Uraraka to sit down next, watching with disgust as she sat down on his left side, despite there being plenty of room on the floor and at the dining table in the other room. Perhaps a little childishly, Katsuki let his petulance get the better of him and shoved himself down in between the two, rather than simply sitting on Deku's other side. 

 

This left the three of them uncomfortably squished on one half of a three person sofa, but Katsuki counted it as a win as he was completely (sensibly) blocking Uraraka from getting into any funny business with his friend. 

 

"Erm…" Deku was blushing, attempting to wriggle away from Katsuki. "We're a bit squished, don't you think?" He stared blankly at the green haired boy. 

 

Uraraka finished his thought off for him. "...So maybe you should move over?" 

 

He pouted in response, before coming to a realisation. "Sure," He smirked at her. "I'll move over, that's fine." Katsuki stood up and immediately plopped himself back down, this time on Deku's lap. "This far enough for you?" 

 

His friend was now so red in the face Katsuki actually considered that too much blood might be going to his brain, and thought about giving up his pettiness for Deku's health. However, when he shifted just slightly Deku looped his arms around his waist, pulling him still. 

 

"Yeah." He squeaked out, squeezing Katsuki's midsection to prevent him from moving anywhere. "This is far enough. Uraraka, would you turn on the film?" 

 

And so that's how they stayed for the next two hours, and honestly Katsuki didn't pay much attention to the film. Deku had been right in the first place: he thought romcoms were useless drivel for pathetic losers, so they really didn't interest him at all. But he could draw parallels to his own situation from the shitshow, especially when the leading woman thought her love interest was seeing some other brunette with big eyes and an infuriatingly sweet personality instead of her. 

 

That realisation left him feeling weirdly empty, as he snuggled back against Deku's chest. It would imply that, despite his adamant refusal, maybe how he was feeling towards his 'friend' wasn't as platonic as he thought. 

 

Chapter Text

Katsuki really wished he could vent his frustrations in his self defence classes, but if anything they only served to put him further on edge. 

 

He'd been pissed ever since he'd seen Deku and Pink Cheeks together; pissed at them for being close, pissed at himself for feeling weird about it and pissed at Dunce Face for making fun of him for sitting on Deku's lap (not his finest moment, but he was petty). So of course he'd been hoping to blow off some steam- punch Shinsou in the face, learn how to break a pedophile's nose etcetera. Unfortunately, Aizawa did not seem particularly keen on him having any fun whatsoever. 

 

It had been a week. Seven days of waking up at ass-o-clock in the morning just to get thrown around in the mud. 

 

Apparently, according to Shinsou at least, he actually somehow had the 'better' deal out of the two of them. 

 

"You clearly got the longer end of the stick here!" He argued one morning as they trudged over to Hell. "You just do this for ninety awful minutes and then get to relax in 1-C for the next seven hours. Meanwhile, I do another three hours of training on top of this."

 

Katsuki scoffed, raising his eyebrow. "Yeah, which means you're way better at this crappy 'training' than I am." He fiddled with the hem of his (re Deku's) gym shirt uncomfortably, irked that he'd admitted that. "I thought I'd learn how to actually fucking defend myself, not just how terrible I am at it."

 

For the last week he'd been tossed about easily. Aizawa was either insanely good at beating up children or he was atrociously bad at defending against forty year old men. Either way, it wasn't looking great for him. Shinsou didn't get kicked about quite so often, rather he'd get stuck tangled in Aizawa's capture weapon for the better part of their session, struggling fruitlessly to free himself. It would've been funny to watch, had Katsuki himself not been observing from under their teacher's boot. 

 

"You're still not blocking." Stated Aizawa unhelpfully as Katsuki found himself on the floor once again. 

 

He rolled his eyes and pushed himself back up. "I am, but then you hit again too soon for me to react!" 

 

His reflexes were usually impressive, almost inhumanly so, but in an area he was a novice to, up against a professional? He had no chance. 

 

Aizawa hummed, pausing in his next strike. "I suppose it would be logical to change your training up a bit then, especially if it's as useless as you claim."

 

Katsuki thanked the Lord before collapsing down, laying back on the floor for a well deserved breather. He could've sworn he'd gained more bruises from this one week alone than he'd been given throughout all of middle school (which was not improving Deku's blood pressure).

 

They trained at Ground Beta, technically, but Aizawa always led them to the small patch of marsh behind the main site. It was canopied by branches from the surrounding trees, making for a fairly nice scene, but Katsuki would've rather sparred on the fake street, even if the concrete would be more painful to land on. It was humid as fuck and left him sweaty and tired, but it was the former of the two that pissed him off more: the whole place quickly began to reek of caramel. Three days in it already smelled that way as they arrived, somehow managing to drown out the plants' natural fragrances, and by now it had only gotten worse. Katsuki had no idea how his quirk had managed to make a mini forest its bitch but Deku seemed to think it was developing or some shit, due to 'trauma'. 

 

(Like Zankokuna had the balls necessary to traumatise him.)

 

"Bakugou… I think Aizawa-sensei might kill you if you don't start paying attention." Shinsou's hushed whisper brought him out of his thoughts, and he turned to where the boy was helplessly trussed up before noticing their teacher's death glare, which was directed pointedly at him. 

 

He bowed his head and grunted out a short "Sorry."

 

They started back up again, but Aizawa did alter the training slightly; he untangled Shinsou and put them up against one another, likely for his own amusement rather than due to any sense that it would expand their capabilities as fighters. 

 

"If I break your jaw, Midoriya is going to kill me, isn't he?" Asked Shinsou, cracking his knuckles as they got into position ten feet from one another. 

 

Blushing, Katsuki brushed him off. "Only if he finds out."

 

"So," Aizawa interrupted their exchange in a clipped tone. "First person to force the other to the floor and pin them for ten seconds wins, no biting and Shinsou can't use his quirk." He let himself fall to the floor, pulling the sleeping bag already there around himself. 

 

Katsuki was glad to be up against a semi-defeatable opponent finally, and punching Shinsou in the face might give him some scrap of satisfaction from the beginning of their relationship, but even the purple weirdo was beginning to seem too challenging. He was pretty skinny, sure, but he had a good few inches on him, and now he was looking more closely Katsuki noticed some form to his arms, betraying how they were lined with subtle muscle. 

 

It was unlikely he'd be able to overpower Shinsou, but Aizawa still hadn't taught him any technique other than how to fall whilst sustaining the least possible damage. 

 

What we're these sessions are supposed to be good for again?

 

Not one to back down from a fight, however, the moment Aizawa mumbled out a gruff "Go, then." He thrust himself forward and slammed into the other boy, sending him stumbling back. 

 

He wasn't particularly strong, but he had to exercise a lot for ballet and he was really fucking nimble. So, when Shinsou caught his footing and tried to strike back, he stepped to the side and dodged, before placing a kick to the back of his knees. The taller boy fell back and Katsuki momentarily congratulated himself on the small victory, before pouncing at him in order to cement the win by pinning him. 

 

Unfortunately, nothing ever went to plan and he was quickly grabbed and flipped over to his back. Shinsou held an iron grip on his shoulders and Katsuki couldn't seem to shake him off. He attempted another kick but they were in the wrong position and the other boy didn't even seem to notice him, easily keeping his back planted to the ground until Aizawa called time. 

 

At least he'd finally gotten a chance in a fight that wouldn't be counted against him. 

 

__



Tomura Shigaraki was pinned underneath Stain, a knife pressed dangerously against the column of his throat with his only help paralysed twenty feet across the room. Despite all this, as he scratched at the incessant itch underneath his jaw, all he could bring himself to feel was annoyance at the situation, rather than any sense of fear or dread. 

 

"You're a man with no convictions, and you interrupted me before a kill-" Snapped the man above him, beginning to draw blood with the sharp blade. "Now the false hero Ingenium will live to see retirement."

 

Tomura didn't really see what the big deal was. Ingenium was well known enough, but he was only ranked at 34- a far cry from All Might, the League's target. If anything, Stain should be thankful they asked him to join their escapades. 

 

"Would you shut up for a minute?" He snarled, pausing in scratching to grip the base of the blade instead. "We have done more to deconstruct the idea of heroes in the last month than you have in all your years of villainy." Tomura flexed his fingers over the cool metal, feeling it begin to crumble as his quirk activated. "You say I don't have ideals but at least I have results."

 

Stain side-eyes his hand, releasing some of the pressure against his neck. "You're wrong. You're too childish to do your research, I suppose? But the heroes I leave behind are better because of my purging, and I have mass public approval. Your league is two people strong, yet you believe you deserve my support?" Despite his words, the man pulled away, leaving Tomura squirming with the need to destroy him. 

 

He wanted to snap back with a scathing retort, to hurt the other man with his words until his skin was flaking to ash. However… His master said this criminal would be an important piece to the larger game he was playing. 

 

So, when Kurogiri began mediating, he kept his mouth stubbornly shut. "Sorry for offending you, but our proposition is dually beneficial." Stain straightened up and regarded the other speaker, who was still slumped over the bar as a result of the man's quirk. "We can create cover for you to go after more highly ranked heroes, whilst being associated with your reputation would give our group legitimacy." 

 

Really, Tomura didn't care if Stain chose to join them. He'd been against this team up from the beginning, and the other man's whole outlook on the world infuriated him. Apparently, however, joining their forces would make it easier for the League to gain manpower, which it was admittedly lacking in, and that alone was enough for Tomura to tolerate him so far. 

 

Stain took a few thoughtful moments to reply, languidly stroking his knife as he considered his options. "Tell me your plan for the future and I'll tell you mine, then I'll decide whether or not we can work together."

 

Despite how rapidly his patience was leaving him, Tomura held back his anger with clenched fists. Master said this man would be useful, so he had to try .

 

"We're going to ravage Hosu with our Nomus, and prove that we're still a threat and weren't capsized after our attack on the USJ." He replied, bitterly thinking back to their failure. Had it not been for those damn brats… "Then we're going to taunt UA and the rest of the hero community by stealing one of their precious charges."

 

"You're so pathetic you need to use children as pawns in your little game?" Tomura held back yet another blow, curling his clenched fist towards his chest instead. "I won't be part of that, but your immediate plans could work for me. I want to draw out Endeavour, and I'm sure we can figure out some way to do that." He smiled coldly, and Tomura relaxed his tense frame to nod. 

 

This should be interesting.

 

__



Shouto was, quite unfortunately, in the common room when it happened. 

 

They were all relaxing, with him trying to imitate their collectively calm demeanour, and laugh in the right places as Yaoyorozu told him a story from her childhood. Kaminari, Ashido and Bakugou were throwing flour at one another in the kitchen (though he didn't think Bakugou had joined that particular game by choice) and their merry laughter, mixed with angered screeches, permeated the chilled atmosphere nicely. Midoriya was watching worriedly from his side as the blond pounced at his two attackers, and Shouto tried to remember what it was that irked him so about the green haired boy. 

 

His phone pinged with yet another message from his father, reminding him to keep up his 4am training regime, which he ignored as steadfastly as the other ones. It was nice, cosy even, how quickly they'd settled into dorm life. 

 

The only missing piece was their class representative, who'd been called out of class earlier in the day. Shouto hadn't caught his expression as he'd left the room, but he hadn't come back since. Still, despite the perhaps ominous way he left, people were appreciating the short break it allowed them from Iida's continuous beration; probably the whole reason Kaminari had started their flour game. 

 

"Do you think Iida's okay?" Asked Uraraka from her spot on the floor, which Bakugou had banished her to before leaving to kill their other classmates. "I mean, he really doesn't seem like the type to skip class…"

 

Midoriya smiled warmly at her, finally tearing his gaze away from the kitchen. "I'm sure he's fine, I mean, Midnight-sensei probably just wanted help with something and picked him because he's the rep." 

 

Yaoyorozu looked down at her hands, clearly unsure. "Perhaps, but usually they would ask me for help too- and they've never asked for us to miss class before. Plus, he left hours ago."

 

It was then that Bakugou returned, face flushed after chasing Kaminari and Ashido and absolutely covered in flour. Yaoyorozu's small frown quickly molded itself into a restrained giggle as she reached to flick some flour off of the boy's pouting face. 

 

"Those idiots are so damn annoying." He grunted, as Midoriya joined the crusade to clear him of the mess. "And they wasted like six bags of flour." 

 

Shouto figured Satou would not be pleased with that news, and nudged Midoriya over so that he too could reach Bakugou and help clean him up a bit.

 

"You look pretty sweet, Kacchan." The blond scowled at his smiling friend, before brushing all their hands off of himself. 

 

"That was a really shitty pun, Deku, flour might be an ingredient of cake but it's not what makes it ' sweet '." He poked the boy roughly in the chest, before pointing at Shouto's defenceless face. "You're the only fucker here not laughing so you're gonna help me get this shit out of my hair."

 

It wasn't a question and so Shouto found himself nodding, about to get up and follow him when Hakagure squealed from across the room. Everyone turned to her, used to needing to fight whenever someone screamed, but found no enemy to defeat when they looked in her direction; just a picture of Stain and Ingenium on the television, with a caption below that really didn't need to be read to understand the broadcast. 

 

The class found themselves shocked to silence, a cold feeling replacing the homey aura from before. By now everyone knew of Iida's relationship with the pro hero- their costumes were almost identical after all- and their nonchalance over Iida leaving was now replaced with guilt that they hadn't been more worried. 

 

Bakugou turned back to them blankly. "What the fuck are you all looking like that for?"

 

Except of course he wasn't aware of the connection; he wasn't privy to their rep's lunchtime rants over his brother's heroism, and Shouto doubted he'd seen Iida's costume more than twice, and he'd likely never paid much mind to it. 

 

Yaoyorozu tried to respond. "Stain… It's…" She trailed off, gulping as though to defend against tears. She and Iida were pretty close; it made sense that this would upset her. 

 

He wished in the next moment that Bakugou was more cautious with his words, or that he had more information at least. "I mean, he obviously shouldn't fucking kill people but Stain has good results right? And whichever asshole he's iced this time is probably just as damn shitty as the others, so no loss." 

 

They stared at him in collective horror, though Shouto moved to stare at the floor instead, and Midoriya immediately jumped up to mitigate the situation. "Ingenium is Iida's brother , Kacchan." He murmured in a hushed tone that Shouto doubted anyone else had picked up on, before Bakugou went ashen with the realisation. 

 

From there he was rudgedly herded out of the room by his friend, whilst everyone else was left to stew in worry- their primary emotion- or righteous anger at Bakugou's words. 

 

Shouto himself kept his head bowed, fiddling with the hem of his shirt. He was concerned for his classmate, but he didn't share the unrest of his peers that wanted to lash out at Bakugou. He figured they were just scared and needed someone to blame, and unfortunately Bakugou had made himself the perfect target.




Chapter Text

Despite Deku’s almost endlessly chipper exterior, Katsuki was sure his latest infraction would warrant a little yelling. He figured it was the least he deserved after such a senseless comment, especially considering Deku and Four Eyes seemed pretty close. They walked into his bedroom with that on his mind, expecting the door to slam behind him and Deku to cry furious tears- no such thing occurred.

 

Instead, the door fell shut gently after Katsuki was herded over the threshold and led to his bed, left to stew in the uncomfortable void of quiet his own reckless words had created between them. Deku soon plopped down across from him on the desk chair, hands clasped and face bowed, looking disappointed, sure, but with no trace of anger. With that realisation, Katsuki let his shoulders lose their tension and sag in relief.

 

“I know I fucked up-” He tried, after the minutes of quiet had become unbearable and Deku refused to meet his eyes.

 

His friend interrupted him with a raised hand, and he was so shaken by the last ten minutes that he actually paused in his apology. Deku finally turned to him with a small frown, running a hand tiredly through his sagging curls. “Katsuki,” He said in an even tone, and Katsuki literally felt as though his soul was torn from its vessel and plunged into an icy tundra. He was pretty sure the use of his actual first name made him wince, if Deku’s tiny grimace was anything to go by. “Katsuki,” He repeated, as if to emphasise his disappointment. “I don’t… Why would you ever say such a terrible thing? You couldn’t have known of Iida and Ingenium’s relation, I guess, but still… You’re not the type of person to side with a villain on anything.”

 

Shame flared up in his chest like bonfire gone wild, escalating from its usual, constant glow into a wildfire ready to tear down any positive emotions he might have been able to feel otherwise. After mere weeks beginning to establish some semblance of regular human relationships with his peers he’d thrown it all away in two sentences.

 

It wasn’t like he was extremely into Stain’s philosophies in the first place, not like the weirdos he’d seen online who practically worshipped the guy. He just hadn’t seemed… Totally bad, and at least he had convictions and some warped sense of morality that he followed, unlike that hand fuckweed from the USJ. Even now, the principle that heroes should be good people and, if they’re corrupt, should be purged? Katsuki could still see the reason behind it. Besides, as much as 1-A had succeeded in proving otherwise, he still had the ingrained belief that most people who desired a heroic career were doing so for some not-so-heroic reasons. With so many ‘bad eggs’ out there, was it really so criminal for him to assume most of the heroes Stain murdered were truly awful people, like Zankokuna?

 

“I’m not stupid,” He defended with a huff. “I know Stain’s a murderous bastard, but I just thought he- I don’t know- I fucking figured he had a bit of a point."

 

Deku stared back at him, bewildered. "A bit of a point?! He attacked Iida's brother , and he's killed almost as many heroes as he's put into retirement." He sighed. "God, what were you thinking-"

 

This time it wasn't the disappointment in his friend's voice that got to him, but rather the overwhelming exhaustion. He was tired of Katsuki and dealing with him, so tired, in fact, that he no longer even had the strength to be disappointed. 

 

He snapped back at him, too hurt to feel comfortable showing it. “Maybe if you knew what it was like to get fucking shit on by society you’d by a little more understanding,” He looked down. “Stain and every other criminal are assholes, but at least they don’t lie about it. Stain’s screwed in the head, but he knows full well that he’s a villain.”

 

 “You can’t still think of heroes as criminals after all 1-A’s shown you? After Aizawa has tried so hard to help you?!” Deku bit back, uncharacteristic rage filtering through his features to mold his face into a scowl.

 

Katsuki stood up and marched away from him, harshly clutching the middle his shirt in an attempt to rein in his anger. “Like that shit could make up for everything else.” He gritted out, despite the flush of warmth that he felt whenever he recalled how 1-A had taken him in. That didn’t matter anymore; they hated him now, and it would only be humiliating to admit how much that thought pained him.

 

“I-”

 

“Just get out, Deku.” Katsuki muttered, barely loudly enough for his friend to hear.

 

Reluctantly, the other boy got to his feet, brushing shoulders with him as he passed towards the door. “Only to give you time to cool off.” He replied just as he reached the threshold. “I’ll be back- I’m not going to just let you stew.”

 

__



Izuku had no idea what to do. 

 

Kacchan fucked up, plain and simple. He'd tried talking it out with him, attempting desperately to find the perfectly reasonable excuse he was sure his friend would have, but left with little more than the realisation that Kacchan was still angry at heroes as a whole. 

 

And that shouldn't have been surprising; the blond had been endlessly bullied by wannabe heroes, and the fact that his own quirk wasn't strong enough for a hero was what made him such a target in the first place. Maybe he had been naïve to think all that pain and suffering could be wiped away by a few weeks in a positive environment. 

 

Plus, there was still Zankokuna to consider. Izuku had been so wrapped up in his own life, so focused on his studies and UA as a whole, that he'd let Zankokuna get away with making Kacchan’s life a living hell for months . It didn't matter that he'd suspected something was amiss the whole time and Kacchan had refused to tell him what: it was his duty to keep him safe, he should've figured it out on his own. 

 

He reached the common room without even realising where he'd been going, mind buzzing with too many thoughts to focus on anything as mundane as direction. On the other side, he could hear his classmates talking, and he stood pressed up to the door to try and eavesdrop. Izuku knew it was an impolite thing to do, but, even if his own current feelings regarding Kacchan were all over the place, he wanted to know what everyone else was thinking and that they weren't about to burn his friend on a pyre. 

 

"I think we should all calm down," Came Tsuyu's mediating voice, the most clear one through the thickness of the wood. "Making judgements about Bakugou right now is short-sighted; we should be worrying about Iida and his brother."

 

"Yes, but how can I do that when they're saying such awful things?!" Yaoyorozu snapped back, the harsh edge to her voice unfamiliar. 

 

There were a few murmurs, none of which Izuku could distinguish, before it was Aoyama's unexpected voice that spoke up. "But Iida is so good and kind, ma femme, and Bakugou's words would have deeply disturbed him, were he here."

 

"But he wasn't here!" She refuted, and Izuku could just imagine the expression in the poor girl's face. "I'm not saying we should just brush it under the rug- Bakugou should apologise- but he didn't know any better!" 

 

"He still made some choice statements about Stain, though." Shouji pointed out. "Are we really just going to ignore the fact that he's on the side of a villain?" 

 

"Psh," Uraraka let out a sarcastic laugh, and Izuku pressed closer to the door to make out what she was saying. "I think that's a little generous, don't you? It's not like he's a traitor; he just said a dumb thing at the wrong time."

 

"Yeah, besides…" Kaminari muttered something that Izuku couldn't distinguish, but the gasp of shock was pretty telling. 

 

"Dude! You thought Stain was cool too?!" Asked Kirishima incredulously, at such a volume that Izuku actually felt himself pull away from the door. 

 

"Before all this, obviously!" Kaminari defended at a much more reasonable volume though his voice had a screechy quality to it. "If I hadn't known Ingenium was Iida's brother, I might have agreed with what Bakugou was saying."

 

"Are you really spying on them?" Asked a much, much closer person, and Izuku jumped up in shock, practically throwing himself away from the door and almost landing on the floor with a thud.

 

He looked around to see Todoroki leaning casually against the side of the corridor, regarding him coldly through his multicoloured bangs. He was pretty handsome, Izuku thought, but that just left him feeling even more bitter as he remembered how the other boy had teamed up with Kacchan at the Sports Festival. 

 

Ignoring the question, Izuku asked one of his own. "Why aren't you in there? You're friends with Kacchan, right? I figured you'd be defending him."

 

Todoroki just shrugged. "I could ask the same thing of you." 

 

Izuku's response died in his throat, and he looked down. "I'm angry with him."

 

Speaking with the bi-coloured boy was difficult, he quickly came to realise, as he barely offered a response no matter the question. He just looked blankly and spoke in monotone, which only made the conversation awkward and stilted. Due to this, those moments waiting for Todoroki's reply were borderline torturous. 

 

"That's okay," He shrugged again, looking down at his hands. "He made a mistake and now you're annoyed that he can't see how much all our classmates care for him." 

 

Uh, yes, actually. That was exactly why Izuku's feelings were so muddled and raw, putting him in a state of malcontent. Kacchan’s opinions regarding Stain might have been the catalyst for this whole situation, but it was how he couldn't see their affection that really irked him. 

 

"I should go back and talk to him again." He decided out loud, thinking of Kacchan lying alone in his room, alienated from the rest of their peers. 

 

Todoroki shook his head. "You were just up there- I'll go talk to him."

 

Izuku raised an eyebrow. "I can, it's fine."

 

"I insist."

 

"But, really, I insist more."

 

"I-"

 

This wasn't getting them anywhere. Izuku sighed, long and drawn out, but ultimately figured he himself could do with a cool off from Kacchan- even if he felt bad about it. 

 

"Fine, thank you." He said, waving the taller boy off. 

 

__



Shouto respected Midoriya in a cold sort of way, but still struggled to see why Bakugou seemed to like him so much. In theory, he knew that shouldn't be what he was focused on. Iida was probably having a really hard time right now, and as his classmate he was pretty sure the standard was for him to be worried, rather than primarily giving all of his attention to this random blond guy who had just shown up one day like he owned the entire hero department. 

 

In some ways, though, it often seemed that he did: in the eyes of their class he didn't appear able to do any wrong. Everyone acted as though he was sugar incarnate, ignoring the flaws that Shouto at least took into account (even if he found them outweighed by the blond's more positive characteristics). Perhaps that's why this instance struck them so hard, after all, it was jarring to realise the guy you'd been idiolising as perfect had faults of his own. 

 

Shouto knocked on Bakugou's door, expecting the resulting "Go the fuck away, Deku!". 

 

"It's me." He replied calmly, knocking once more as he heard a few grumbled curses from the other side. "Can I talk to you?" 

 

Eventually the door was pulled open, and Bakugou grabbed his collar to drag him in. Shouto stumbled a little at the harsh action, but quickly regained his balance as the door slammed shut behind him. He'd only been in the blond's room once since they moved into the dorms, and at that point it had still been in shambles. Now it was neatly ordered and well lit, full of books and a few pictures of him and Midoriya, as well as a woman who looked extremely similar to Midoriya (his mother, one would assume). He noted the lack of Bakugou's biological family, and could relate as his own dorm showed not a single trace of his father. 

 

The only two things out of place in the whole room were a large orange comforter, which Bakugou had wrapped sweetly around his shoulders, and an A3 poster that had been shredded into dozens of tiny pieces. It was impossible to tell what the picture had once been, but by the way Bakugou stomped purposely over it he assumed it was related to Stain. 

 

"What do you want?" Asked the shorter boy bluntly, crossing his arms and tapping his foot. 

 

Shouto couldn't help but think back to the last conversation they'd had in this room- when he'd tried unsuccessfully to apologise for emulating his father and almost hurting him, and Bakugou had in turn told him to 'fuck off and get over it'. For some reason that memory brought a smile to his lips. 

 

"I wanted to know how you're doing." He replied, surveying the other boy's trembling fists and gritted teeth. He could guess just about how well he was doing. 

 

Deliberately releasing tension from his body, Bakugou shrugged. "Everyone fucking hates me and shitty Deku was just in here psycho-analysing me, so, you know, pretty normal."

 

Now, Shouto was not the best at reading people. He was smart, but he'd never been particularly able to connect with his peers- an issue he was sure Bakugou could relate to. It was easier when they were communicating completely non-verbally, then he could focus on those signs alone. But when they said one thing and their mannerisms practically shouted something different, it was really difficult for him to dissect. 

 

In this case, however, it didn't take a genius to realise Bakugou was lying. 

 

"I'm going to be here next week." He mentioned without prompting, causing the blond to look up at him like he was Kaminari. 

 

"Hah? So?" 

 

"Everyone else is choosing internships tomorrow, and next week they'll be going to them. But I think I'm going to choose someone in the city, so I can stay here and see you." He explained, only for Bakugou's cheeks to redden as a large scowl crossed over his face. 

 

"I don't fucking need your shitty-" 

 

Shouto placed a helpful hand over the blond's mouth, more shocking him into silence than covering up the noise. "Who said I was staying for you?" 

 

He left after that. Obviously he was staying to keep an eye on Bakugou; looking after people was a hero's duty, and he figured the boy would probably be in a vulnerable place after today. Hopefully the class as a whole would get over the situation soon, but it would be optimistic to think everything would go comfortably back to normal before they all left for their internships. And, despite what Bakugou tried to say, Shouto was sure that being left alone and thinking everyone hated him would be painful to experience. 

 

Definitely something he felt unable to let him go through alone. 

Chapter Text

Shouta had gotten very good at figuring out his students over his many years of teaching the next generation of heroes. 

 

Hell, he'd practically gone straight into teaching after graduation- instructing hand-to-hand combat classes every Friday for the first years. Then, at the ripe old age of twenty three, he'd sustained his first serious injury; and it had been such a dumb one as well. Shouta had fallen four storeys trying to avoid getting shot in the leg, and Yamada had needed to save his ass. During the three month recovery time, not only did he get engaged but he also took over the homeroom class of a different teacher, who'd retired to spend more time with their grandchildren. 

 

And from there it had all spiralled out of control. Marking papers, safeguarding students, teaching the brats; it became his life, more so than actual heroics. It was helpful to some extent that Yamada followed him on his little diversion from their previous goals, but it wasn't all that beneficial for his blood pressure, considering his husband no longer slept between his shifts as a full time hero, a full time teacher and a full time radio host. 

 

(Forty hours of teaching plus forty hours of heroics plus thirty hours of broadcasting… His husband was going to die before he hit fifty.) 

 

What really mattered was that Shouta was experienced in both teaching and heroes and especially in both at the same time, so when Iida called him the morning after the Hero Killer attacked his brother he'd been anticipating it, and had set his alarm for slightly earlier than usual in preparation. 

 

It had been the first warning that his class was entirely out of order. 

 

"Good morning, Aizawa-sensei, I apologise if my call awakened you." Iida's voice didn't sound all that torn apart, but it was difficult to tell between the innate crackles of the call. 

 

"It's fine," He muttered in response. "What do you want?" Shouta knew by now which students required coddling in times of hurt and which simply needed to stick to their usual routines. Iida was of the latter group, so, while he didn't reprimand him for calling so early, Shouta was not worried about being sharp with the boy. 

 

Iida responded immediately. "I just wanted to inform you that I am on the train back to UA, and should arrive promptly for homeroom." A brief pause, too short for him to cut in. "And if you could possibly prepare for me the work I missed yesterday? I would be most grateful."

 

Shouta sighed, these kids were just too much effort sometimes. Sticking to routines was one thing, but this? This had to be crossing a line. 

 

"You don't need to come in." He told him with a sigh, running a hand over his already tired face. "Stay in Hosu with your brother and I'll email you the work-" 

 

"Sorry, no." Iida interrupted, and the words of such reckless abandon for his senior from the usually respectful student left Shouta speechless. "I mean, Tensei is well cared for at the hospital and I have studies to continue, Aizawa-sensei. Besides; we have our first round of internships next week and it would be detrimental to my studies if I were to miss it."

 

Figuring that leaving his brother's side would be detrimental to his student's mental health, Shouta shook his head, before remembering Iida obviously couldn't see him. "I really don't think-" He tried in a softer tone, thinking that perhaps that would get through to him.

 

"Apologies, Aizawa-sensei, but we're about to go through a tunnel. See you at 08:30!" Iida practically cheered from the other side of the line, before the call clicked off. 

 

Had Yamada been in bed beside him he'd probably be reassuring him right now- rubbing his back and promising that they'd all keep an eye on the kid to make sure he was okay. But Yamada was an annoying bastard with three jobs, so he'd left two hours ago and Shouta was alone to stew in worry over his student's uncharacteristic behaviour. 

 

Sure, objectively Iida had sounded pretty cheery over the phone, but that in itself was unlike him. Plus, in class the kid only ever interrupted by putting his hand up before Shouta could finish explaining things, and he'd never directly refused one of his teacher's orders before. It was all incredibly disconcerting, but Shouta knew there was nothing that could be done now: Iida was probably already halfway from Hosu, and if he didn't stop ruminating soon he'd be late for the self-defence class. It was better to just sort things out in homeroom. 

 

With that he dragged himself out of bed and over to his drawers, laboriously picking out clothes from the three identical sets he owned and trying to push the concerned thoughts out of his head. How much easier his life would be if he'd simply expelled all of 1-A the moment he realised they were too annoying to deal with on a daily basis. 

 

__



The second sign that 1-A had screwed themselves over came in the form of Shinsou and Bakugou, who both looked like their favourite pets had died. 

 

Shinsou seemed gloomier than usual in an even more outward way, sulking to himself and haplessly fiddling with the clasps on his hero costume. His hair was more of a mess than usual, and he kept looking worriedly over to Bakugou as though trying to communicate something that the other boy clearly wasn't interested in hearing, if the way he stared resolutely at the ground was anything to go by. And usually Shinsou would make some sarcastic remark as they started their training, something to shatter the grumpy atmosphere so early in the morning, but he seemed too preoccupied to even bother. 

 

Bakugou was even worse off. His pale skin was practically ashen, making the almost painful looking dark bags under his eyes seem even more obvious. In addition, the bandages left from the grazes he'd earned yesterday clearly hadn't been changed last night, and the cuts on his hands looked like he'd been picking at them. His gym uniform was creased and rumpled, matching the way the blond's posture sagged defeatedly. 

 

Sometimes the two would become like this after the painful slog of their lessons, but never before. It left Shouta's mind thrumming restlessly with concern as he took them in and thought of the best way to deal with the pair. 

 

"Morning." He decided, because he was pretty sure these were two more students who wouldn't benefit from coddling. "Start the warm up and then spar, then Shinsou can retry the 'hawkmoth spin' with my scarves whilst Bakugou blocks my strikes."

 

They nodded glumly and began stretching, the blond still pointedly averting his gaze from Shinsou's, even turning his back to him as he leant down. Even so, Shouta didn't get the impression that they'd had a fight- neither looked particularly angry, just downcast and miserable. 

 

Watching the spar was hard. As in, he had to fight the urge to look anywhere other than the pathetic mess they'd gotten themselves into. Bakugou remained allergic to actually looking at Shinsou, so his aim was abysmal, and Shinsou himself barely tried to hit the blond, and when he did the punches were more similar to pats.

 

After a few minutes Shouta had no choice but to stop them both. 

 

"If you're not interested in putting in the work than there's no point in you being here." He told them, crossing his arms. "Why are you suddenly acting so unenthusiastic?" 

 

The two boys bowed their heads, muttering under their breath until the sound began grate at him- this wasn't getting them anywhere. 

 

Finally, Shinsou spoke up. "Sorry, Aizawa-sensei, some stuff happened yesterday and it was…" He looked over to Bakugou, who stood trembling with his gaze still fixed on the mossy ground beneath them. "It was a lot." Shinsou decided on, really not helping Shouta understand what on Earth happened. 

 

Still, he doubted he'd get any more information out of these two. And besides, in his experience, kids could usually sort out most problems on their own if you gave them space and time. 

 

"Go back to the dorms and get some rest." He ordered them, ignoring the way their faces lit up with confusion. "You've worked pretty hard through these sessions, I suppose, and Shinsou, you'll be out on your internship next week anyway." They stood there a while longer, apparently in shock that Shouta was letting them off early. "Go then, before I change my mind." He snapped once more, for the pair to scramble and bow, before turning back towards the dorms. Shouta thought for a second and called out once more. "I expect you to put in twice the work next week, Bakugou! I've got a special set of lessons planned!" 

 

He smiled to himself, glad he could still make a simple lesson plan sound malicious even after he'd been so soft with the kids and let them go back to bed. 

 

__



Shouta had at least hoped his original class would remain their annoyingly chipper selves, but as he walked into homeroom the only student who appeared to have any energy was Iida, who really should have been the most miserable one of them all. 

 

Kirishima and Kaminari were upholding a weak conversation, smiles obviously forced with no brightness to their voices. Yaoyorozu was glaring daggers at anyone who turned towards her, a far cry from her usually sweet and kind demeanour. Midoriya had progressed from muttering constantly to lying with his face flat on his desk, though Shouta could spot him periodically checking his phone from his frozen position in the doorway. 

 

Todoroki was the only one acting like himself; staring straight forward at the board with an entirely blank expression, which mostly just served to creep him out ninety percent of the time. 

 

Shouta was close to simply turning around and heading out of the lesson, his career be damned. But somehow he persevered and made it to the front of the class, disappointed to see that no one even reacted to his sudden presence. 

 

"I'm glad you're all in a cheerful mood this morning." He commented sarcastically, a small attempt at lightening his class's melancholy mood. Shinsou let out a quiet snort that was closer to a grunt, but that was the extent of the reaction. "At least you're all quiet for once." He muttered under his breath, before beginning the lesson. 

 

Homeroom was a slog; he called out the register and the timid way his students answered only exemplified the tense atmosphere of the room. Still, he thought he was beginning to put the pieces together. 

 

Shinsou said that yesterday had been "a lot", indicating that some big event happened the previous day. However, it didn't appear to be solely that Ingenium was attacked by Stain, since a lot of the class seemed to be avoiding Iida rather than trying to comfort him (though a few did). In addition, Shinsou had also seemed particularly worried over Bakugou (who was quickly becoming the bane of Shouta's existence), which suggested he was central to the issue. This theory was supported by the students closest to Bakugou being the most unlike their usual selves, with the exception of Todoroki who could probably sustain his emotionless expression through a nuclear war. Iida's strange and uncharacteristic behaviour was therefore a completely separate problem, tied exclusively to his brother's attack. 

 

With all that in mind, Shouta prepared himself for a painful last day of class before the internships. 

 

Though, perhaps this first lesson would incite some excitement in at least a few of his students. 

 

"Internships are next week and I assume you've already read the brief I sent out about how it will work, correct?" He asked the room, for only Iida to raise his hand. 

 

"Today you're going to tell us about the offers from pros we received thanks to the Sports Festival and then we'll need to choose which hero to go to. In the case that we didn't receive any offers we'll choose an agency from a separate list to attend."  Shouta nodded, gesturing for the boy to put his hand down. 

 

"In addition," He mentioned, noting that a few of the students had already perked up slightly at the mention of internships. "We'll also be picking codenames."

 

A good seventy five percent of his students sat up straighter in their seats at that, eyes widening with the exciting thought. Shouta pushed down a smirk, having anticipated that this would improve their solidly downcast moods into something more akin to the class of excitable fifteen year olds they were. 

 

He raised a hand to silence their enthusiastic mutters. "But first we'll need to go through the offers, so if you could turn your attention to the board-" 

 

He clicked onto the next slide, where an incredibly short list of pupils appeared on screen. This was to be expected since the Sports Festival had ended so early, but the class were still shocked into submission at the name on the top of the list. 

 

  • Bakugou Katsuki: 645 offers
  • Todoroki Shouto: 408 offers
  • Midoriya Izuku: 272 offers
  • Iida Tenya: 96 offers
  • Yaoyorozu Momo: 49 offers

 

"As you can see, this year was slightly outside of the norm-" 

 

Shouta was interrupted by twenty teenagers shouting "What?!" simultaneously, and would have needed to cover his ears, were he not plenty used to uncomfortable volumes. 

 

"But Kacchan isn't even part of the hero course!" Cried Midoriya in a panicked tone, staring at the name on the top of the list. "You're not going to make him do an internship, are you?!" 

 

Before he could even hope to reply, Todoroki spoke up almost boredly from the back of the room. "Shouldn't Bakugou get the choice to do an internship? He's clearly sought after."

 

Midoriya quickly turned on him. "That would be way too dangerous!" 

 

The other boy replied in kind. "Apparently the pros think he's more than equipped to deal with one, otherwise why would they ask for him?" 

 

Midoriya practically snarled, the situation escalating quickly, as he stood up from his chair whilst Shouta considered whether or not stopping their arguing would be worth it. "I don't know what your problem is! Ever since the festival you've been so-" 

 

"So what?!" Todoroki snapped back, standing up too as the class watched in shocked horror. "This isn't even about me, it's about Bakugou and whether or not he should go on an internship!" 

 

"Well, Kacchan isn't even interested in becoming a hero, so-"

 

Suddenly, Hagakure scoffed from the front of the room. "Yeah, that much is obvious." She muttered, plenty loud enough for everybody to hear in the dead silent classroom. 

 

"What did you just say?!" Todoroki and Midoriya responded simultaneously, immediately turning away from each other and towards the invisible girl. Any antagonism between them vanished in an instant, both of them staring Hagakure down. 



She stuttered for a moment, before standing up herself. "You heard me! And you heard what Bakugou said yesterday; he was completely out of line!" 

 

Yaoyorozu stood up too, an angry scowl cutting through he face. "It was an accident; he didn't know what he was talking about! I don't understand why you're so intent on holding it over him-" 

 

"Hey," Ojirou piped up, not standing up (finally a student not trying to ruin Shouta's already abysmal blood pressure) and simply turning around in his seat instead. "Don't speak to her that way, especially since she's right."

 

Shouta revised that previous statement, feeling like Iida at that moment, as they both watched in confusion as the class worked itself into a frenzy over something neither of them had been witness to. Quickly, Shouta lost his patience. 

 

"Quiet!" He called over the ruckus, activating his quirk as he glared at them all. "The next person who speaks without raising their hand gets expelled, and I'm this close to barring you all from taking part in the internships."

 

Finally, they stopped shouting over one another, and Aizawa had a moment to breathe. 

 

The tension in the air was palpable, and he could easily see his class take on two sides. He'd been correct in his assumption that their strange moods were due to Bakugou, but he'd had no idea how truly serious the whole thing was- and he still didn't even know what Bakugou had done to garner such anger! Yet, he knew the blond was a good kid, and from Yaoyorozu, Todoroki and Midoriya's vehement defence he doubted he'd done anything irredeemable. 

 

So Shouta sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, annoyed that he felt compelled to do this. "Whatever happened yesterday, don't let it tear you apart as a team. You can argue and be angry as much as you want, but if you think you can get through the next three years at UA whilst at each other's throats then you might as well walk straight out of that door right now." He sighed again, and inwardly cursed himself. "Whatever Bakugou did, consider if his actions really hurt anybody. And-" Ugh he was really disobeying his 'no coddling' rule right now. "Appreciate the fact that he's gone through the biggest change out of all of you in the last few weeks, so maybe he deserves a little slack."

 

Pathetically, the group of students nodded, a few of them looking sheepishly at one another. Shouta was endlessly grateful when Midnight showed up a few minutes later to orchestrate the codename lesson, giving him time to take a much needed nap.

 

__



As he looked through his students' agency choices, he was both disappointed and unsurprised to see Iida had chosen a mediocre a hero from Hosu to intern with. The same place his brother had been viciously attacked by the Hero Killer. 

 

It didn't bode well. 

 

But he didn't have the right to police who Iida interned with, and it was unlikely the boy would change his mind before the end of the day. So, as any sensible teacher would do, he called in some of Iida's friends to talk him out of it. 

 

When Uraraka and Midoriya entered his office, Shouta worried that he'd made the wrong choice. The girl seemed to be nagging at her friend, only to be ignored as Midoriya kept staring at his phone. 

 

"Just apologise for losing your temper!" She snapped as they reached the threshold of his office and Shouta quickly pretended to be asleep at his desk. "He's upset, you're upset- this isn't a difficult problem to fix."

 

The boy muttered something intelligible, and then said. "I know, I know, but I'm annoyed too! Is it so much to ask for him to apologise for once?" 

 

Shouta coughed from his position slumped on his desk chair, before slowly opening his eyes to see the pair sheepishly looking at their shoes. 

 

He rolled his eyes. "Can we pause this discussion for a moment?" 

 

"Yes, Aizawa-sensei."

 

"Good, now I need you both to talk to Iida. He wants to intern in Hosu and that's obviously a poor decision on his part, but I'm not supposed to interfere. However, I think it would be too dangerous to simply allow him to go, so I would appreciate it if you two could speak to him and convince him to go somewhere else." Shouta instructed, before preparing to take a real nap this time. 

 

"Uh… Actually, we already tried to talk to him and he wouldn't budge." Admitted Midoriya, clenching his fists. 

 

Uraraka nodded along with him. "So we decided on a different course of action."

 

Shouta looked between the two worriedly. "... And what course of action would that be?" 

 

The girl smiled, holding up their two forms, both with 'Hosu' written at the top. "We decided to intern with him! Well, I couldn't get the same agency but I'm really close by, and Deku is going to go with the Normal Hero too."

 

Shouta raised an eyebrow at the determined pair. "You'd sacrifice a crucial chance to get experience with the perfect agency for you, just to keep an eye on your friend?" 

 

Midoriya nodded, brow fixed as he stared resolutely at Shouta. "You're the one who told us that we're supposed to be a team, Aizawa-sensei, and it would be unheroic to let Iida suffer alone right now."

 

"I hope you understand that this decision is illogical for your future." Shouta warned them, though he had to fight off a small pleased smile. 

 

"Respectfully, Sir, I think it would be selfish to let our friend make a really bad choice when we could stop him." Uraraka countered, and he let some of that real pride leak into his expression. 

 

"Very well. Now, go off to class- it's almost third period."

 

__



By lunch 1-A seemed to be in better spirits, even though the divide was still clear. At least most of their anger appeared to have dissolved, leaving Shouta to hope the class would make up properly after their internships. 

 

All in all, he figured the rest of his day would be relatively easy. Almost everybody had a codename and had picked an agency to go to, and next week he'd not need to bother showing up to homeroom. But as almost everybody left class to get food, he was unfortunately left with the one student who had neither picked a codename nor chosen an agency. 

 

Todoroki stayed sat at his desk until the very last of his classmates trickled over to the cafeteria, and Shouta considered whether teaching had been the correct career path after all. 

 

"What do you want?" He asked, vaguely sick of dealing with his students' teenage drama. 

 

Todoroki, at the pinnacle of expressiveness, shrugged. "I want to intern with you."

 

Okay, well, that gave Shouta pause. This kid had garnered the second most offers from the first years, but he was requesting a placement with his own teacher? When Shouta hadn't even put in an offer? 

 

But he didn't shoot him down immediately, nevertheless. "Why do you want to intern with me? I'm sure Endeavour put in an offer for you, as well as many other top heroes."

 

Another shrug. "I hate using my fire, and that's what my father would want from me." He explained poorly, and Shouta took a mental note to look into his student's home life. Still… 

 

"That's not a reason for why you would pick me specifically." He pointed out, leaning back at his desk as the student seemed to consider his words for a moment. 

 

Eventually, he replied. "You're ranked eighty seventh because you have almost no public approval, but in terms of arrests you're ranked fourteenth in Japan. You're even ranked first in ability to take down organised crime operations. There's no reason to think you wouldn't be beneficial to learn from." Well… That made sense, and Todoroki had clearly done his research. Even so, Shouta knew he was hiding something. 

 

"I'll accept your request, given one thing." He decided, and the boy nodded in agreement. "You must tell me the real reason you want to intern with me."

 

Todoroki, and this wasn't a lie on Shouta's part or even a trick of the light, flushed pink with a blush and looked down at the floor, twiddling his fingers uselessly. This student who barely emoted when his class was attacked by villains, went red at a simple question. 

 

"I, uh…" Shouta was so surprised at this development that he almost didn't make the kid explain himself. "I figured if I intern with you I can still stay at the dorms… With, um, you know…"

 

Shouta's eyes widened with the realisation that Todoroki 'has an icy expression no matter the dire circumstances' Shouto was flustered because he wanted to keep an eye on Bakugou at the dorms. 

 

In retrospect, this made his dynamic with Midoriya make sense. 

 

This was terribly illogical reasoning for a hero student to have, he decided, and really he should tell Todoroki to intern with somebody more suited to him. However, he couldn't help but feel some sympathy for the kid, remembering his own hopeless crush on a loudmouthed blond. 

 

"Fine."

 

Todoroki lit up for a moment, before reverting back to his usual cold demeanour. "I'll see you Monday then, Sir."

 

__



On the next Monday he waved off most of his class at the train station, a mundane event that somehow felt heavy. As he watched his students backs shrink in the distance, he couldn't help but get the uncomfortable feeling that this set of internships would be unlike all the previous ones- in a bad way. 

 

Chapter Text

"So, you said I'd be getting special training?" Katsuki asked, arms crossed as he watched Aizawa's smirking face through the warm haze of dawn. "Why wouldn't you want Mind Freak here for it?" 

 

The teacher shrugged. "This isn't villain related at all- it's just basic defence training that Shinsou's quirk makes him specially exempt from needing."

 

That was… Odd. Aizawa never thought quirks made people immune; his whole thing was making them useless. He gave the man a questioning glare, only for him to roll his eyes and pull out a small wooden rectangle from his pocket. It was roughly the size of a screwdriver, though it was thicker through the middle. However, the way Aizawa's expression gleamed made Katsuki aware that this was in some way going to end with him getting his ass kicked. 

 

"This is a small knife- most commonly found in supermarkets and dining stores. It's also the weapon of choice of low level thugs due to the ease it takes to acquire one. And I'm going to teach you every way to avoid getting cut, slashed or stabbed by it." He explained finally, twirling the wood between his fingers as Katsuki continued in his attempt to unravel his meaning. 

 

"That's a stick." He pointed out, first of all. "And why doesn't Shinsou need to be here? I'm pretty sure he's not immune to getting impaled."

 

Aizawa sighed, long and suffering. "Shinsou, given that I don't expel him in the next three years, will likely become a pro hero. Pro heroes are never attacked by the sort of low life that would carry one of these knives around, because even petty criminals aren't that dumb. You, meanwhile, seem like a helpless, upper-middle class thirteen year old and I'm actually quite surprised you don't get mugged every time you leave the house."

 

Katsuki bowed his head to the floor, gritting his teeth. He still found Aizawa so damn peculiar, and he just couldn't discern what his motives were. His first instinct should be to hate him (the guy was a hero and a teacher, after all, Katsuki's two least favourite things) but he'd been so helpful in getting rid of Zankokuna, and whilst he was sharp with him it was still abundantly clear that he was much sharper with his own class. Still… The man was quite irritating in moments like these, when his 'tough love' as Deku called it was on full display. 

 

"And what? It's wooden because you don't want to hurt my poor, helpless upper-middle class self, hah?" 

 

Aizawa shook his head, taking a stance with the `knife` stretched out ahead of him. "No, it's because Nezu won't let me use actual blades against students outside of the hero course."

 

They practised for two hours, thirty minutes over the usual allotted ninety minutes, and by the end Katsuki was more sore than not. He was actually pretty glad that the knife was so dull. They'd only gotten through two techniques, which Aizawa had forced him to repeat an absurd number of times so that they would 'stick in' properly. He could now disarm two types of thrusts, and with one of those he could even take a knife for himself. 

 

It was actually pretty basic stuff. Nothing particularly fancy, not something Deku or Yaoyorozu or Icyhot or even Shinsou would ever need to know. But it felt empowering because that meant he was the only one who could do it. If all their quirks were taken away and then they got stabbed (which, sure, unlikely), Katsuki would have the best chance of fighting back. The warmth that sent through him wasn't quite enough to negate the irritation at being thrown around for two hours, but it's certainly made his toil feel slightly less futile. 

 

__



When he got back to the dorms after yet another round of painfully annoying classes, he found Icyhot waiting for him in the common room surrounded by papers. He had this almost imperceptible crease along his forehead, giving just the slightest hint of emotion to his endlessly bland expression. 

 

It was kind of cute, and Katsuki was tempted to touch it. 

 

Instead he slammed the door behind him, causing the other boy to falter minutely from shock and look up at him. "Why do you have so many fucking forms around you? And why aren't you on your internship like the other dumbasses?" 

 

Icyhot stared blankly at him, the crease gone. "I told you I'd be staying." He replied as though it were obvious, before looking back down to the stack of sheets in his hands- a tiny percentage compared to the rest scattered around the common room. "Aizawa isn't taking me on patrol until 11pm, so he told me to grade all the hero course midterms by tomorrow."

 

"Huh." Katsuki responded, just as mundanely, before looking to the elevator. He was only stopped from heading straight over to his room by Todoroki's almost pleading expression. "You want me to help you." He realised with a groan, before staring down at the other boy with utter contempt."

 

The asshole nodded. "If you help than we can do it all much sooner, and then we could spend time together."

 

Katsuki scowled, but sat down next to him nonetheless. "And why would I want to spend time with your sorry ass?" 

 

"Why wouldn't you?" 

 

He opened his mouth to reply, but found himself coming up empty. There were plenty of reasons in theory; Icyhot was irritating, blunt and dull, and he made Katsuki's skin crawl in an unfamiliar way. But then his mind would drift back to how the guy had respected him at the festival, been kind when maybe he could do with some softness and hadn't treated him differently thanks to his comment on Stain and Ingenium. 

 

Deku, meanwhile, hadn't been able to ignore that small deed, and every time Katsuki tried to interact with him that fact became glaringly obvious. He didn't seem angry, necessarily- his words and actions were just stilted, awkward even. Deku was trying to carry on as normal without their fight ever really being resolved. Katsuki himself was just as bad though, as he tried to ignore his friend at every possible opportunity. Seeing the way his words had cracked their relationship made him furious with himself, but he couldn't bring himself to go back on what he'd said nevertheless. They were stuck in a weird purgatory, where neither of them were willing to apologise and they therefore couldn't move forwards, as Katsuki so wanted. 

 

It was all such a jumbled mess of feelings, good and bad, that he could simply ignore when he was around damn Icyhot. Because, sure, he was infuriating 90% of the time (okay, maybe 80%) but it wasn't hard. All of his feelings for Deku were so big that it was overwhelming, but with Todoroki he finally felt able to relax, to just feel like a normal teenager. 

 

Perhaps that's why he agreed to help him in the end. 

 

__



"I think I'm going to give you an F." Decided the blond as they neared the end of the stack. Bakugou was looking over his work with mild disgust, and Shouto found himself irked at the idea. 

 

"I know I did better than that." He replied, leaning over his friend to look at the work for himself. "I only got two questions wrong." Shouto pointed out, only for the other boy to hum in response. 

 

"An E then?" 

 

He snatched the paper off him and wrote A- at the top before holding it out of the other boy's reach, putting a hand on Bakugou's forehead as the blond struggled to take the test back. When he realised that it was a fruitless attempt, he scowled and slumped down, incidentally leaning against Shouto as he did so. 

 

He grumbled something unintelligible under his breath. "Why am I putting up with you?" He asked more clearly, probably rhetorically but Shouto found himself replying anyway. 

 

"Because we're friends." It was a new word for him but he liked it, and especially liked the way Bakugou made him feel. 

 

Said boy flushed, shoving himself away from Shouto and towards the other end of the sofa. "Whatever." He spat out, which wasn't a denial. "So, we've got a few hours before you leave. How the fuck do you want to 'spend time together', and all that other crap you were blabbering about earlier."

 

Shouto's chest blossomed with new warmth, and he offered the other boy a small smile. He reached underneath the sofa and pulled out three brand new boxes- each with a different board game inside. 

 

"I bought us some games to play. Yaoyorozu said they were fun, and I know my father's bank details off by heart." He explained, presenting the games to a strangely dubious looking Bakugou. 

 

He raised an eyebrow. "So you refuse to use your father's fire power, but his bank account is no big deal?" 

 

Shouto opened his mouth to speak and closed it again, probably not looking dissimilar to a fish out of water. Shame overtook him and he bowed his head, clenching his fists on either side of his lap. 

 

"Hey, no-" Bakugou's panicked voice filtered through the haze of resentment that Shouto had cocooned himself in. He'd refused Endeavour for as long as he could remember, but indulged this once with the hope that he might be able to cheer up Bakugou as he suffered through his own hard times. Still, how could he be so reckless? He finally got a friend but now surely the blond would be driven away by festering disgust as he looked upon Shouto's pathetic frame and realised he truly was like his father in every conceivable way-

 

"Oi! Cut it out, you melodramatic bastard!" Bakugou snapped, punctuating his words by hitting Shouto's arm. Hard. Shouto stared at his friend's scowling expression, meekly prepared to be removed from his circle of peers. "I-" Here it comes. "I'm sorry."

 

His head shot up immediately, surprise overtaking his features, though, to the outside eye, it was probably just a subtle change in demeanour. Bakugou was looking back at him, borderline guiltily, wringing his hands upon his lap. Tenderly, Shouto reached out and clasped those hands inside his own, an act of comfort he'd seen Yaoyorozu and Jirou perform once.

 

Bakugou continued. "It wasca shitty joke, I didn't mean to make you all mopey." 

 

"But I-" He tried, ready to defend the blond. 

 

He was thwacked with the Scrabble lid for his trouble. "You're not bad because you're like your father- which you barely even are, by the way- and this is the last time I'm gonna argue your case." Bakugou harrumphed and stared him down, making him feel very small despite being faced with someone so much shorter than him. 

 

It was impossible to refute that tone, and Shouto found himself comforted anyway. He squeezed Bakugou's hands, watching with awe as red once again creeped up his friend's neck and coloured his cheeks like a blossoming rose. 

 

Without warning, Bakugou snatched his hands back, leaving Shouto uncomfortably cold. 

 

"So Scrabble, huh?" He asked, still red faced. Shouto chuckled and nodded, letting a soft smile invade his expression. 

 

__



Stain sat across from Tomura and Kurogiri, running a thumb threateningly across one of his knives. 

 

"So the plan is underway?" He confirmed, eyes not leaving the blade in his grip. 

 

Kurogiri nodded in confirmation. "Your attack on Ingenium has put all of Hosu on high alert, giving our Nomus plenty of heroes to make examples of." Tomura smiled at that thought, imagining the blood they could spill. 

 

"And I get more heroes for myself, too." Stain continued, finally looking up to meet their eyes. "But UA' first year internships are on now." The new tone was accusing, and Tomura scowled at it indignantly. "Did you really devise this plan to land when those children are in the city so that your 'League' can enact some pathetic semblance of revenge?"

 

So, he'd figured them out, huh? Tomura clenched his fists, bitterly recalling that shameful day. Still, Stain didn't know the real reason they had ensured their attack would also affect the UA students, and he had no need to. 

 

That in mind, he lied. "This was simply the time when Hosu's heroes would be most on guard." He said, raising a hand to quieten Kurogiri. "It's coincidental that the brats are here too, but surely you wouldn't mind making examples of them if they prove to be impure of heart?" 

 

Stain paused, pensive. "I still do not trust you, Shigaraki."

 

Tomura shrugged. "That makes no difference to us, so long as you abide by your role in the plan."



Chapter Text

Izuku wished he could say he was eaten up with worry over Kacchan, or that he couldn't shake the guilt that came from leaving for his internship without resolving their argument. He wished he was focused on his broken promise; the fact that he'd said he wouldn't let his friend stew in anger but now is leaving him alone for a week. 

 

Unfortunately, none of that was the case. In fact, Izuku was primarily occupied by how much fun he was having on his internship, even only two hours in! 

 

Perhaps it was selfish, but becoming a hero was his dream. And he had to trust that his and Kacchan’s friendship was strong enough to withstand a little spat. Besides, the blond always told him to focus on himself, rather than worrying over him all the time. 

 

"So you built your whole agency just on the brand of being 'normal', right? And you keep that reputation even now, with perfectly moderate rankings in all categories? Even though here in Hosu you're very appreciated, especially since that rescue work you did in 2008, with the minibus full of kittens-" A nervous laugh cut through his ramblings, as Manual smiled and shook his head. In turn, Izuku bowed down in apology. 

 

Another small chuckle. "Hey, no, it's okay! I'm glad you're so invested; it's just a little surprising that one of my interns has read my whole Wikipedia page and can recite it by heart." He smiled again, still so brightly, and Izuku found himself returning the gesture. Perhaps he'd only picked Manual to keep an eye on Iida, but he could still appreciate how much effort the man put into heroics, despite his limited fame. "Besides," He continued after a moment. "I'd rather hear why you two UA students picked my agency of all places- I've never had interns from such a prestigious school before!" 

 

Well, Izuku should have really seen that coming. His eyes flicked over to Iida, who was walking on Manual's other side silently. After leaving UA he'd dropped his cheerful façade, but this quiet, pensive Iida was even more unsettling. He wasn't energetic, he wasn't enthused with a drive to learn and get better. If anything, the boy seemed reluctant to even go on this simple patrol, as though he had better things to do (like hunt down his brother's assailant?). 

 

"I only came because I knew Iida would be coming, and I really wanted to stay with a friend. Finding out how cool and inspirational you are was just a bonus!" Izuku explained as best he could, without revealing his friend's likely dubious intentions in Hosu. He didn't want to get the boy in trouble, but he did want to keep him safe. 

 

Manual turned to Iida after thanking him for his kind words. "So what made you pick my agency, Iida? I'm not sure what Ingenium's brother could hope to learn from a C-Grade hero like me, ahahah~" Iida looked down to the floor, but Izuku's limited stature allowed him to still see the pained expression on the boy's face. 

 

Despite this, Iida managed to answer evenly. "You're a member of the highest ranked agency in Hosu, and I wanted to observe what a hero on high alert would look like, such as after an attack from a serial killer."

 

Their mentor paused, as though unsure of how to respond. But the silence was only brief and soon his smile was plastered back onto his perfectly average face. "Well, I'm sorry to say it's not all that interesting. After a crisis like happened last week, we mostly just perform extra patrols and submit more safety checks. Still, I like to think of it as a good experience to have, since unfortunately crises like these happen often in our field of work."

 

A sombre feeling overtook the group, and Izuku worried he'd adopted Iida's downcast expression. Right, they were heroes; the tragedy of Ingenium's retirement was not an isolated incident, but instead the norm of the lives they'd chosen. 

 

It reminded him of when they had first entered the dorms, and All Might had taken him aside for a little 'chat'. He'd been worried his hero had learned that he'd skipped Sex Ed class and would force him to sit through that god awful video of him putting a yellow condom on an unnecessarily American themed dildo, but the actual conversation had been so much worse. 

 

__



He'd barely arrived at the dorms before All Might was calling for him over the loudspeakers, requesting he meet him in his office. It was exciting, really, because Izuku had never spent time alone with his hero before, always with Kacchan or the rest of 1-A (or both, more recently). Perhaps All Might had some specific tips for how he could improve as a hero, or maybe he was planning to explain his strangely toned down fighting at the USJ. 

 

However, when Izuku entered the cushy office, it was a tense atmosphere that he was met with. The expensive furniture and soft lighting should have leant itself to a more comfortable setting, but the way All Might's posture sagged defeatedly as he offered Izuku tea was enough to send him reeling, thrown completely out of sorts by this unexpected turn of events. 

 

"Ah, young Midoriya, you're here." The man greeted, gesturing for him to sit on the sofa across from him. Obediently, Izuku perched there, mind trying to unravel All Might's uncharacteristic mood. "I trust you're doing well, and that the move to the dorms hasn't been too stressful?" 

 

"No, it's been fine…" He replied tentatively, staring down at his tea. Why would All Might be acting so down? He was usually so bright and enthusiastic, but right now he looked ready to attend a funeral, despite his garish red and blue costume. 

 

After a few more moments completely crammed with disconcerting silence, All Might cleared his throat. "Ha ha, it's unlike you not to try and talk my ear off, Young Midoriya, but I suppose it's just as well- I feel it is my duty to have a serious conversation with you today."

 

"And- And what-" Izuku stopped and started again. "And what do you think we need to talk about, All Might-sensei?" 

 

Finally, his teacher gained some semblance of a reassuring smile. "I'm really sorry to spring all of this into you, young man- but I thought now was the best time. In the second year UA do a whole class on this, but I thought it was necessary for me to tell you sooner-" 

 

"You're scaring me." Izuku interrupted, eyes lifting to look at the hero. "Please just tell me what's going on."

 

All Might wrung his hands together, but answered nevertheless. "After the incident at the Sports Festival, I felt it necessary to warn you that Bakugou getting hurt- or anyone you're close with, even- could easily become the norm as you continue your journey to becoming a hero." He sighed, looking down to his lap. "I'm confident that you will achieve great things in the future, Young Midoriya, and under other circumstances I might even… No, perhaps not…" He trailed off until his words were inaudible to Izuku's already ringing ears. 

 

He was talking about his fame as a hero causing harm to Kacchan's wellbeing, but he'd never let that happen. If his friend had only told him about the abuse he'd received from Zankokuna sooner then he could've stopped it before it escalated so far. And even then, it was Izuku's fault for not better protecting Kacchan but it wasn't him who had directly caused the whole situation. 

 

"Zankokuna didn't attack Kacchan because of me, though. And if I'd just been a few seconds faster-" 

 

"But you weren't a few seconds faster!" All Might snapped, eyes widening at his own tone. "I mean, I'm sorry, Midoriya, but there's no way you can hope to protect Bakugou and everybody else you care about all the time, it's simply impossible. You can only hope to save people in your vicinity, but even then you couldn't stop Zankokuna from attacking your friend in the first place." All Might ran a hand down his face tiredly, looking at Izuku with pitying eyes. "And I know Zankokuna's actions weren't due to any specific grudge against you, but very soon there will be villains trying to hurt your loved ones out of revenge, and Bakugou is on the top of that list. Aizawa's got his own plans to help him, I've heard, but I wanted to warn you." 

 

Izuku gulped, grip tightening on his teacup. All Might was right, in a way; all heroes had to be mindful that villains would use their loved ones against them, no matter the ranking. You could be ranked in the two thousands and still have your mother held hostage by a mugger you arrested two years prior, and stuff like that only became more frequent as you moved up the rankings. 

 

All Might himself had never demonstrated specific attachment to anyone, else they'd probably be constantly targeted by villains. And most heroes in the top two hundred refused to marry civilians, due to worry that they would be put in danger. Plus, the majority of those heroes chose not to have children until after they retired, once again concerned that they could be hurt. Endeavour was the exception to this rule, though, having married a doctor's daughter and with three children currently to his name, even as the No2 hero. But Izuku felt like there were many unorthodox aspects to the Todoroki family dynamic, and so he brushed past this one too. 

 

He liked Kacchan. Uraraka had needed to beat him over the head with that fact for him to believe it, but it was true. As a child he'd always imagined his life as the No1 Hero, with his best friend at his side throughout it all. But, as All Might just pointed out, that couldn't be possible without Kacchan being at risk constantly. Even so…

 

"I know what you're saying, All Might." Izuku said, tone dry and serious as he stared his mentor down. "But I would never let Kacchan, or anyone I love for that matter, get hurt on my account. Maybe it's reckless to care about people, but it's also necessary. You're the No1 Hero and I respect and admire you for that, but I simply cannot bring myself to follow your footsteps exactly; I will not push the people I find dear away, because they make me stronger."

 

His mentor sighed, long and suffering, but Izuku wasn't going to change his mind. 

 

"Be wary, at least, Young Midoriya." All Might said, standing up from his seat. "And keep those you love close to you, even now. I don't-" He looked down. "I can't bare to see my students get hurt again."

 

__



Katsuki didn't know what he'd expected to come from playing Scrabble with Icyhot, but this wasn't it. 

 

The other boy was staring in dumbfoundment at the board between them, three hundred points behind and close to tears. His usually mundane expression had been overtaken by pain thirty minutes ago, when Katsuki had played 'razzled' for one hundred and five points. Icyhot had countered this by playing 'is', in likely the most pathetic display he'd ever seen in his life. 

 

In theory, Katsuki knew Icyhot was intelligent. Nowhere near as smart as him, of course, but decently brainy, all things considered. Certainly, he should be smart enough to get more than forty points in a game of Scrabble. 

 

"You suck." He decided bluntly, as they finished game. His friend bowed his head miserably, probably mourning over his pathetic loss. 

 

"I-" He tried, but, really, what defence could he come up with at a time like this? "I'm tired, I went on patrol with 

Aizawa all last night, and had to shadow him today through all his classes."

 

Todoroki's eyes were pleading, but Katsuki shook his head at him. It was true that Icyhot was now almost two days into his internship, and had gone on patrol after their, ugh, 'moment' the day before, but that was not an excuse for sucking so badly at Scrabble. 

 

"You're just a dumbass who can't admit it." Todoroki nodded solemnly. "Now you lost so you have to clean all this up." He snapped, gesturing to the game between them. 

 

Unexpectedly, Icyhot's eyes lit up with excitement. "After I've cleaned this up, can we play another game?" 

 

Katsuki sighed and looked at his watch. It was only seven, far too early for even him to go to bed yet, and to be honest he was having a lot of fun with Todoroki. Of course, he couldn't tell if that fun was caused by his constant winning or Icyhot actually being fun to spend time with, but whatever. 

 

"Fine, if you really want to get beaten again that badly, you damn masochist." Katsuki ignored the other boy's look of confusion with a blush of his own and kept talking. "Maybe if you pick the next game you'll actually have a fucking chance of losing by a decently acceptable margin, but I really doubt it."

 

Obediently, Icyhot packed away their game of Scrabble and then rooted around the pile of games beside them, provided by UA to keep the students occupied whilst in the dorms. Katsuki watched in amusement as he picked through the likes of Monopoly and Battleships, only to pull out Twister. 

 

"This one looks fun." He said, face unreadable as he held it out. 

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes. "You've got no goddamn clue what you're in for." He smirked, looking at the way Todoroki innocently gripped the colourful box as though he were hugging it. "I'm a master at that game."

 

Icyhot shrugged. "You're a 'master' at all the games we've played today. And this one is pretty."

 

"Why the fuck does that matter?" 

 

"It reminds me of you." Todoroki offered him a tiny smile and Katsuki felt himself go beet red, fighting the urge to bury his quickly warning face in his hands. It wasn't damn Icyhot's fault he was so embarrassing- he was just too socially inept to understand the connotations of what he'd said. 

 

He surged on bravely, only stuttering slightly. "Yeah, sure, whatever…" He snatched the game out of the other boy's hands in order to start setting it up. "But I'm especially good at this game, because it relies on balance and flexibility. Which I- uh, I- I have a lot of."

 

His friend nodded sagely. "Because of ballet, right?" 

 

Katsuki flushed again, dropping Twister in shock. "How the fuck do you know about that?!" 

 

Todoroki was unperturbed. "Yaoyorozu showed me a video of you dancing. You're really good."

 

Of course that damn prissy rich girl would blab, though he never did tell her to keep it a secret. He just knew she was the type to watch expensive ballet shows at the weekends, so he'd sent her a video of himself dancing to see how he compared. She'd been far too complementary, pretty much showering him with praise until he'd had the good sense to mute her contact on his phone. 

 

"Yeah, well…" He mumbled, pouting a little. "Don't go spreading that shit around."

 

Katsuki was staring down at the floor sullenly, when he felt a warm hand press against his right cheek, tilting his face upwards. His other hand found purpose on his shoulder, gripping the flesh there tenderly. He froze in place, eyes meeting with two bi-coloured ones, finding himself far too close with the other boy, so that he could feel his breath on his face. Outside of his control, his gaze wandered down Todoroki's face, drifting across the smooth plains of skin until he was staring at his lips, watching how they quirked themselves up and into an uncharacteristic smile. It was the first time he'd really noticed their height difference, realising he was practically eye-level with the taller boy's chin, and gulping at that thought. 

 

Unlike Deku, Todoroki's skin was unblemished aside from his scar, which cut an almost semicircle across his face in a strangely mesmerising way. Being frozen as he was, Katsuki couldn't bring himself to touch it, but he thought about the way the rough edge would meet with the supple tenderness of the rest of the boy's face. Todoroki was still resting one hand on his cheek and one on his shoulder, staring into his ruby eyes as though they were actual precious jewels, to the point where Katsuki couldn't tell if this was simply due to a lack of social awareness or not anymore. 

 

He didn't even notice Icyhot was talking until he felt the words form puffs of air against his skin, and he was brought back into focus. 

 

"I promise I won't tell a single soul." He swore, gently running his thumb over Katsuki's cheek before moving away again, leaving him staring into space. 

 

"I-" He wanted to curse him out and yell, as his feelings rolled tumultuously throughout his mind, images of Todoroki's tiny smile fixed stubbornly to the back of his eyelids. It was no use, though, the words simply wouldn't come out. 

 

Icyhot was either unaware of his crisis or ignorant of the fact, as he began setting up Twister on the floor. By the time he was done Katsuki felt mostly like himself again, but he could still feel the ghosting pressure of Todoroki's hand against his cheek, comforting in its small embrace of skin against skin. 

 

He shuddered, trying to shrug off his new and convoluted emotions. 

 

"Shall we play?" Icyhot asked, tone perfectly mundane and even. 

 

Katsuki nodded, before finding the strength to speak. "I- fucking yes, okay, let's go." 

 

His mind felt scrambled and his body was too energised, but the other boy didn't seem to notice in the slightest. In fact, he reached out and grabbed Katsuki's hand, guiding him towards the colourful mat on the floor with far too much bounce in his step. 

 

After a few minutes of playing, he was feeling better. He had his left hand on blue and his right hand on green, legs stretched out between red and green, almost doing the splits. 

 

"That's really impressive," Icyhot complimented from beside him, both arms and left leg scattered in the red and blue section. 

 

He spun the wheel to find out his next position, and it sent for him to lean right over Katsuki, one leg knelt between his thighs and his face pressed against Katsuki's defenceless neck. In response to this, Katsuki tried to breathe in, but found it impossible as the warmth invading his cheeks once again forced his throat to close up, leaving him shaking and sweating beneath the taller boy's muscled form. 

 

He couldn't remember feeling like this from his prepubescent games of Twister against Deku.

 

"Now what?" Todoroki asked, bland as ever. "How do we determine who wins?" 

 

Katsuki choked on his next words, torn between inching closer to the boy above him or wriggling desperately away. "We, uh, fuck, we need to- need to see who loses their balance first."

 

"Oh." Icyhot hummed pleasantly against his ear. "That shouldn't be too hard; you're really comfy." He leaned further against his body, pinning Katsuki completely to the ground. It was weird and overwhelming and kind of terrifying but he also liked it. He enjoyed the supportive weight above him, and it wasn't like he was uncomfortable either, so he might as well indulge in the warmth for a while. 

 

They stayed there until they both drifted off to sleep, Todoroki only leaving when his alarm went off, signalling that he had to go out on patrol. As he moved away Katsuki woke up too, but was quickly shushed back to sleep, feeling himself get gently moved over to lie on the sofa. A blanket was draped carefully over him and a pillow tucked beneath his head, but most comforting of all he felt a warm, soft pressure against his forehead. His drowsy brain couldn't distinguish what it was, but he smiled to himself nevertheless and drifted back to unconsciousness. 

 

Chapter Text

Ochaco nodded along blindly to whatever goodbyes Rooster Girl was offering her, distracted by the evening's promise. 

 

She had followed Iida and Midoriya to Hosu, under the guise of helping Iida. After all, it was critical to ensure he didn't do anything stupid whilst he was upset over his brother's injury. But she'd barely seen either of her friends since arriving in the city, and was starting to feel… Abandoned? No. Humiliated? 

 

It had never been her intention to rely on her friends constantly, but now she thought about it she felt a bit like she was afraid to be on her own. During the Cavalry Battle she'd immediately teamed up with Midoriya, saying that their friendship would make them a stronger team. Then she'd followed both him and Iida to Hosu, picking a random rescue agency so that she could stay on their heels. It was pathetic. 

 

And, worst of all, Ochaco knew they didn't really need her. They were both so tough and strong; she wished she could be more like them. Why would people like that need her floating around after them? 

 

"Uraravity, are you listening?" Ochaco snapped out of her thoughts and looked up to Rooster Girl's disapproving expression. 

 

"Ummm." She tried to focus on something other than her mentor's pointed beak, but the beady black eyes were even more unsettling. "Sorry, Ma'am."

 

Rooster Girl shook her head, but didn't reprimand her further. "You need to focus, otherwise I won't allow you to patrol with Manual's agency tonight."

 

Ochaco engaged her most pleading expression, widening her eyes and sticking out her bottom lip. "Please, Ma'am! I really want to patrol with my friends~" She widened her eyes even further. "If you don't let me I'll change my codename to Gravity Girl!" 

 

Rooster Girl physically flinched, a full body shudder taking over her form. "You wouldn't dare . I've told you a million times how belittling it feels to be called 'girl' in your forties, God." She scowled, and Ochaco felt her manipulation working perfectly. "Urgh, and you know I would never let a young woman resign herself to such a humiliating fate."

 

"So you'll still let me go?" She asked, eyes sparkling. 

 

With a long suffering sigh, her mentor nodded her head. "Yes, but you must keep out of trouble and follow Manual's instructions exactly, do you hear? I would go with you but I've got to go to my cousin's wedding reception, ugh." Ochaco could've squealed in delight, bouncing on the balls of her feet as subtly as she could manage. "Just stay safe, alright?" 

 

__



Tenya walked behind his two chattering friends and Manual, staring at the dark puddles as he marched carelessly through them. It was almost eleven pm and Hosu's night life was awakening, drunk twenty year olds littering the streets whilst muggers crept between the shadows. According to Manual, this was the most eventful patrol shift to go on and they should be constantly on guard. However, Tenya found himself retreating into his own mind nevertheless, barely noticing his surroundings as he trailed behind the lively three. 

 

Stain was here somewhere. It was simple deduction, and Tenya was planning to kill him. He knew that was why Midoriya and Uraraka had shown up here; they wanted to stop him from serving justice to the man who'd brought down an incredible and kind hero. Who'd brought down many, in fact. 

 

As he had that thought, Manual paused in his gait to walk beside him, his approachable smile a permanent fixture on his plain face. 

 

"Having fun?" He asked, as though he hadn't noticed Tenya's downcast face in the last three days they'd been interning there. 

 

He shrugged and kept walking, a particularly rough step flattening an abandoned beer can. 

 

Manual kept talking despite the lacklustre response. "Deku and Uraravity seem to be enjoying themselves- you could try to join in on their fun?" What was he, his babysitter? 'Go play with the nice children over there!' Tenya was tempted to swear for the first time in his life. 

 

He didn't, he simply kept marching forwards, fists clenched at his sides. He could feel Manual's resolve cracking beside him but ignored it, eyes following the lines of the grate he was walking over instead. 

 

Manual grabbed his arm to halt his brisk pace, and Tenya's gaze shifted to the hand wrapped around his wrist. "I know you're still grieving over you brother, and that the only reason you came here was to find closure in revenge." Tenya grit his teeth and resolutely kept his angry stare fixated on anything that wasn't the older man's earnest expression. "But a hero cannot use their quirk for their own self interests, and you're not even licensed yet anyway. Please, Tenya, make the right choice and leave Stain to the pros."

 

"Fine." He bit out with no conviction, tugging his arm from Manual's grasp. 

 

He understood where the man was coming from, of course he did. But that didn't change the heavy hatred running through his veins, or the molten anger burning at his chest whenever he remembered what Stain had done to Tensei, his caring older brother who certainly didn't deserve it. He didn't want to risk his future, or break the rules, but it all hurt too much to just ignore, and the only method of release he could think of was tearing Stain limb from limb- putting him through the same pain his family had suffered at his cruel hands. 

 

Manual left his side to go back to Uraraka and Midoriya, who were playfully shoving each other further up the street. 

 

Tenya sighed, but shoved off any remorse he felt. It wasn't his fault they'd sacrificed the internships in some childish attempt to 'save him from himself'. They should have just left him alone. 

 

__



Everything had been going perfectly well until the Nomu had crashed through the building next to them, throwing Manual ten feet as Uraraka just barely managed to float Izuku in order to lessen the impact. The quiet murmers of the intoxicated were quickly replaced by shrieks of terror, and the massive beast let out its own almighty roar. 

 

He drifted almost comically through the air for a few moments, helplessly watching the hulking beast shake off rubble from the bakery he'd brought down. Just seconds ago he'd been enjoying some mindless chatter with Uraraka, but now they were both stuck in terror, unable to do anything as the Nomu stomped about ruthlessly below them. 

 

It was unlike the one from the USJ; fewer veiny muscles with a leaner build than one might expect from a ten foot mutant. The skin was still dark as hot tar and the protruding brain was grim as ever, but the difference in build was stark. In addition, this one had multiple blades jutting out of its arms and chest, sharp enough to slice  clean through the bricks he'd already shattered with his deceptively powerful fists. 

 

Izuku's eyes searched desperately through the smoke and dust, the late hour not aiding in his quest. Somewhere down there Iida should still be standing; he was the furthest from the Nomu, so hopefully he'd be practically uninjured. Meanwhile, Manual was probably suffering from at least one broken bone after that impact and subsequent fall, so they would need to get him out of there too. 

 

His mind was running a mile a minute, adrenaline pumping as his body caught up with the fact that he was no longer having a casual late night stroll but instead was in mortal danger. Izuku tried to stay calm, tried to think of a way to get them all of this safely, but it felt impossible on his own-

 

Suddenly, he felt a firm pressure on his arm and he turned to see Uraraka, looking bravely into his eyes. He wasn't alone- she was safe and uninjured too, and Uraraka was one of the strongest people at UA. She'd achieved second place on the entrance exam, beating out even him and Iida. 

 

"I've got a plan." He told her, trying to keep his eyes averted from the chaos being wreaked below them. The public had already scattered but their screams were still in hearing range, and sirens in the distance clouded his mind. It was almost impossible to focus but, as a hero, it was his duty to save people, so he would just have to deal with it. 

 

Uraraka nodded, looking determined. "I trust you, Deku, I'll do whatever you say." 

 

He let his gaze drift downwards again, assuring himself that his observations were accurate. "When the Nomu came through the bakery its behaviour appeared erratic; he was mindlessly charging and happened to end up near us." Uraraka let out a barely audible hum of agreement and so he continued. "However, if that we're the case and it was just attacking randomly then it would have followed the civilians when they ran away, but instead it's circling beneath us, as though it's looking for something. 

 

"Therefore, it seems likely that it's specifically targeting one of us, but doesn't have the necessary brain capacity to deduce that we're above him." His friend looked ashen at the explanation, and Izuku couldn't blame her. The realisation felt shocking to him too, especially considering its implications. 

 

"So…" Uraraka started, gulping. "The League of Villains, the guys who almost killed All Might, must be tracking us ? And have created a murder machine with one of us as its target?!" 

 

Izuku could do little more than nod; her deductions were perfectly sound and exactly what he'd been thinking. 

 

"It's not all bad," He tried to reason. "My plan sort of bases itself on the fact that the Nomu seems tied to one of us." She motioned for him to explain and so he did. "The likelihood is that it won't attack anyone aside from its target, so long as they don't get in the way. It only hurt Manual because he was between it and us, and even that was more collateral damage from the bakery destruction, really. Iida is still down there somewhere too and hasn't been attacked yet, so that's another piece of evidence." He but his lip, still thinking even as he told Uraraka everything he'd figured out so far. "So long as whoever it's after stays up here then, in theory, the other one of us will be perfectly safe if they go down help Manual and everyone else."

 

"So that just leaves one question, doesn't it?" Uraraka muttered, eyes filled with dread as she regarded the chaotic scene below them, the Nomu circling their position like a predator dawned in on its helpless prey. 

 

Izuku nodded. "Who is it after?"

 

__



Katsuki didn't usually stay up until almost eleven at night, but with Icyhot bugging him constantly it was difficult to get to sleep. Besides, he was so used to being with Deku at night that slumber no longer came easy when he was on his own, and he had enough pride left not to replicate the previous night's embarrassment (he was not willing to fall asleep cuddling Icyhot two days in a row!). 

 

They were sat on the main sofa in the common room, a three seater that Todoroki seemed determined to ignore 90% of as he pushed up against Katsuki's side like a dumbass cat wanting attention. Even so, Katsuki allowed it, too tired to really argue against his advances, if he even knew that was what he was doing. The two were flicking sporadically through channels, only pausing when the screen was suddenly filled with smoke and fire, a reporter narrating some massive disaster. 

 

"-As you can see, Hosu has been absolutely overturned in the last ten minutes, three monsters are tearing apart the streets and multiple buildings have coll-" 

 

Immediately, Katsuki felt himself become alert, going rigid and sitting up, pulling away from Todoroki's comfortable side. He hadn't spoken much with Deku before he'd left for his internship, but he knew enough to know where he'd been heading: Hosu, the city that was currently on fire. 

 

"Icyhot!" He snapped, roughly elbowing the other boy to wake him. He was supposed to be patrolling in ten minutes but he was dozing with him instead? Dumbass. 

 

Thankfully Todoroki snapped awake quickly too, raising an icy fist and searching around for a threat. Upon finding none, he turned to Katsuki worriedly. 

 

"What's wrong? You're all… Pale." He reached out to touch his cheek but Katsuki swatted him away, fearful gaze fixed on the television. 

 

"Hosu is under attack." He stated, slightly out of his mind. 

 

Icyhot turned to the TV too. "Oh, um, do you have family there or something?" 

 

"That's where fucking Deku is!" He bit out, tearing himself away from the other boy to pace around the common room. "That place is a mess and he's with the damn heroes! He could be dead right now, or in hospital or kidnapped or-" 

 

The possibilities ran through his restless mind, sporadic thoughts of his best friend bloody on an ash soaked pavement making his chest squeeze painfully, unable to breathe. They'd barely been speaking and now he might never hear Deku's dumb voice again! How could he look at himself in the mirror, knowing he'd never had the fucking balls to just resolve their dumbass spat. 

 

"Hey," Distantly, he felt Icyhot grab his arm and shuddered, only for the pressure to alleviate a moment later. "Breathe with me a second, okay?" 

 

Katsuki opened his eyes to see Todoroki looking down at him, and felt a spike of shame as he struggled to follow his breathing pattern. In and out, in and out- but every time he got it under control he'd catch a glimpse of the television and work himself up again. 

 

Once he felt decently okay he nodded, and Icyhot offered him a small smile. "It's fine, I'll take you to Hosu."

 

"What?" 

 

"You're worried about Midoriya, right? Because you don't know if he's okay?" Todoroki shrugged as though that were the simplest problem in the world, and Hosu wasn't halfway across the country. "If it would make you feel better, I can have us there before midnight."

 

Katsuki stared at him, wide eyed. Was this guy even real? "How the fuck are you planning on doing that?! Have you even seen a goddamn map before?!" 

 

"The Endeavour Agency has a private jet, and the hangar is a ten minute drive from here." He said it like it was such a mundane thing, that he could travel across the country whenever he wanted. 

 

But Katsuki wasn't one to miss an opportunity. "So you'll take me to Deku?" 

 

Icyhot smiled, bringing out his phone. "If it would make you happy, I think…" He paused, pensive. "I think I'd do anything."