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From ⭐Mahô⭐, 2:54 AM

So U ready for tomorrow ?

Me, 3:01AM

No, but i will still be here. I can’t find a way to unsuscribe the exam 😓

From ⭐Mahô⭐, 3:02 AM

Lmao I will wear ur gift so u can recognize me at the gate!! =)

From ⭐Mahô⭐, 3:02 AM

I’m so happy to see U again!! And weR gonna pass and be HEROES together!! 💕

From ⭐Mahô⭐, 3:02 AM

I can’t wait!! >v<

From ⭐Mahô⭐, 3:02 AM

I need to go do my bag for 2Morrow I’m supposed to wake up in two hours! oopsie >o<💦 😝Bye bye kiss <3 👋😘💋💋💤

 

His hands were still shaking, he realized, as he stared at the phone in the middle of the night. This time, the young boy had to be realist ; it was not because of his best friend’s incessant messages and the constant beeping of the phone. He was freaking out. It should have been obvious since he was still very much not sleeping even though he had an exam tomorrow and had to wake at 7AM. But he had tried his very best to ignore the truth. And now that his friend wasn’t answering anymore all he had to do was to turn around, trying to close his eyes…

 

And forget that he was betting his dream of becoming a hero in only a few hours.

 

Which of course, he wasn’t successful at.

 

Four hours later, the boy was regretting every choices in his life that had lead him here. If he had managed to get any sleep, he sure didn’t remember, or  maybe he had dreamed all the worrying and turning in his bed. Was that even his reality to begin with? (Okay he was being overly dramatic) Anyways he was stuck in a state between tiredness, stress and awareness.

 

-Is something wrong son?

 

Shouto Todoroki stared at him across the kitchen table. Himself, wasn’t the very good example in the morning, still in pyjama with bed hair and sleepy eyes, but he sure didn’t stare at his breakfast instead of eating it like he was currently doing.

 

Momo Yaoyorozu, right next to Shouto, didn’t let the opportunity go to waste and she added :

 

-You look tired, Satoru, didn’t you go to bed early yesterday?

 

Satoru sighed, because of course his parents would choose to pay more attention to his mood than their morning routine the very day he was reluctant to talk about his feeling. (Yet some part of him knew he was being unfair because his parents always paid attention to him? They could be battling a villains on the field if he just sneezed they would stop what they were doing to find him a tissue instantly). 

 

-Going to bed early doesn’t equal falling asleep early, he mumbled, trying to eat -at least- half of his egg.

-You played video games all night again? Asked Momo with a disapproving frown.

-No…

 

But maybe he should have done that ; since he didn’t feel like he had any inch of sleep, at least he would have had fun. That was better than stressing and turning over and over under his blanket.

 

Shouto rose an eyebrow, and slurped a a spoonfull of cold soba -how he could eat that in the morning was a mystery to Satoru but “your mouth ; your choice” was his motto.

 

-So you’re stressed because of today’s UA exam, said Shouto.

 

It wasn’t a question, more of like an obvious statement.

 

-Maybe...a little ?

 

They stared, not buying this.

 

-Okay, a lot, confessed Satoru. -It’s just that… don’t know if i’m ready and i don’t want to disappoint Mahô…

 

Whom had a lot of plans about their career as a hero duos already.

 

-Or you two, he added, not daring to look at them in the eyes.

 

If he failed UA he didn’t know how he would find the courage to look at them ever again.

 

Satoru Todoroki wasn’t the best to keep his nerves in check. That was nothing new. Some people would say that he got this from his mother, Momo Yaoyorozu. As confidence issues had always been -and still was- one of the heroine’s weakness. But they would be wrong. As Satoru didn’t share any blood connection with any of them, neither Shouto nor Momo.

 

He was adopted.

 

So he couldn’t blame his nervous nature on his mother at all if he ever want to -which wasn’t the case.

 

But the fact that he had no gene in common with Shouto or Momo was probably, at least partly, responsible for his nervousness.

 

Satoru glanced at the couple in front of him.

 

Shouto’s friends said he had changed a lot since UA -but Satoru didn’t find him any different to be honest, for what he could say from the pictures- He hadn’t buffed up like his two best friends, Iida Tenya and Izuku Midoriya. He didn’t look like Enji Todoroki at all and, even if did had more mass muscles than in his teen years, it wasn’t that obvious. Apparently he got that from his mother side, in which everyone was slender rather than sturdy. His hero career only brought him more scars, and some, unfortunately, were also Satoru’s fault. Because Shouto didn’t want Satoru to feel bad about it, he started to show it, instead of hiding it under his bangs or clothes. So now he combed half of his hair back, so no one could avoid to see his burned side. He was after all, one of the top 5 hero of his generation, and was afraid of no one, he even stated to a journalist one day, when they asked why he had changed his style.

 

Momo, on the other hand, was as pretty as she always had been. Her hair was longer, so she tied them a little bit differently ; instead of doing a ponytail she fastened it up on the back of her head with a clip ; but honestly it looked as if the ponytail was still there sometimes. But Momo gave off a different vibes than in her teen -said Mina Ashido and Tooru Hagakure- the “adult vibes”. Satoru always saw her as an adult, as she was already in her twenty when they met. But she wore everyday a little bit of jewelry, pearls, mostly, and a bit of make-up. Momo always said she didn’t have a choice about this ; as the leader of Peace office, the only company that tied together police, government, hero schools and heroes, she had to look professional most of the time. The suit and high heels were her costume when she was a business woman, that she only left out when she had some heroing to do on the field. She was only in the top 50 of the hero ranks, but people whispered often that if the contest would take into account all the lives her company, Peace, saved, she would be number one. 

 

Satoru had tried to look a bit more like them, dying half of his natural blonde hair as black as Momo’s. But Satoru was just too different from them for the trick to work. Blonde hair, grey-almost green eyes, pale skin and freckles everywhere, he would pass for Midoriya Izuku’s son with better chances of succeed than Shouto’s or Momo’s.

 

But biggest difference of all reside within their quirk. Half-Fire and Ice quirk was incredible, Creation quirk was godlier when you knew how to use it. Satoru’s power, mind bond, was nothing like that, and certainly not suited for heroic course at UA.

 

Maybe he should have taken the opportunity to get in UA by recommandation, like his parents before him. But he had wanted to prove himself that he could do without, that he would be able to earn his place as Satoru, and not as Shouto and Momo’s kid.

 

It was a very stupid idea.

 

He had failed to see that the exam would judge his skills -not his efforts or from how far he came from- no. just his skills. And it was terrifying because he had absolutely no skill at all.

 

Who the heck would see Satoru ; all skinny and bones, 14 years old wimp with no muscle nor offensive quirk and say “Yes that is a future hero i see before me !”. The answer was : no one. No fucking one, ever.

 

Most parents, witnessing their kid’s self-confidence going down like that, would probably be at lost and comfort them. And that’s exactly what Shouto did and try. In a very Shouto’s way.

 

-To be frank, he stated, i would be happier if you didn’t take the exam.

 

The reaction was immediate : Satoru’s confidence reached top bottom, and Momo stood up, indigned, in front of her clueless and already slurping-soba husband :

 

-Shouto, we talked about this already !

 

That was, indeed, not a new subject, as the Fire-and-ice Hero had repeated this very same word time and time again. Satoru knew, of course.

 

-Don’t get me wrong, though, this time, Shouto resumed, after putting down his bowl.

 

He offered his on one of his very few smile : tiny and rare, but always warm and frank :

 

-I have no doubt that you will ace this exam and become a wonderful hero Satoru.

 

That, Satoru didn’t knew, and it took him by surprise. That his father had so much confidence in him, when he, himself, had none, was a bit disturbing, yes, but it was more comforting than anything. Without realizing, Satoru found himself smiling a bit too, feeling like maybe, just maybe, he could do it after all. He knew it was only temporary before his nerves took the better of him again, but for now he felt invincible.

-I just can’t help wanting to keep my son safe from harm a little longer, whispered Shouto.

 

That reminded Satoru that it would be a miracle if he came out of UA exam without a broken bone, and he wasn’t looking forward to it.

 

-Aw Shouto, sighed Momo, visibly moved. You really are a doting father, she added, patting her husband’s shoulder.

-Well of course i am, I only got Satoru for like...5 years ? So you’re 5 years old to me, you’re too young for UA. Go back to kindergarten. 

-Maybe a bit too much.

-You need to chill, added Satoru, blunt and tired of his father’s bullshit.

 

The said father turned, pouting as he finished his breakfast : “I am chill” he even dared to mumble, after saying such a nonsense. It made Momo laugh, as always (at least one of them was amused, Satoru wasn’t sure to find funny the fact that Shouto viewed him as a 5 years old when he would turn 15 in september.) But he supposed this was a behaviour someone blinded by love could find cute.

 

Momo was certainly blinded by her love, but that didn't stop her from giving her own advice to her son as well. As she put her hands on Satoru’s shoulder and said, with a confidence only a mother could have :

 

-No matter what the result will be, Shouto and I will always be proud of you Satoru. I can only hope that one day, you’ll be able to be proud of yourself too.

 

She exchanged a loving glance with Shouto, reminiscing how much he had done to her, when she was Satoru's age too. She didn’t say the world failure, or explain him that they would help you find another school if he failed - on purpose, as she knew it would spiral her son’s confidence down again. And if she hadn’t touch Satoru, maybe he would have been tricked by it. Still that was nice of her, as the word were nothing but truth : she sincerely believed what she said : nothing Satoru would ever do would make her think less of him. And that was, also, very comforting.

 

If he failed UA maybe he could still look at them in the eyes, then.

 

-Now finish your breakfast.

 

That last part was also said with a very motherly voice that had a different -almost scary- undertone. And Satoru finished his eggs and rice faster than he ever did before, not wanting to hear her lesson about how breakfast was the most important meal of all.

 

Only half an hour later, Momo was nothing but smile and sweetness as she waved her hand and said her goodbye to her boys. Mothers were scary creatures.

 

-See you later at the office Shouto! Good luck for your exam Satoru!

 

Shouto was already waiting in front of the car ; wearing something more casual than his wife with pull and scarf. Shouto’s ability to change faster than the sound in the morning was also one of the mystery of the house. He was able to get ready in less than five minutes, jumping from his pyjama to his clothes, taking a shower in between without anyone noticing. When he first took Satoru in, morning routines were -at best- apocalyptic. More often than none the kid had ended with no shoes at his feets, bed hair, and a melon bread bought on the road to work for breakfast. And that was when Shouto didn’t fell asleep as he dressed himself with only his pant halfway up. But the adult had sharpened up his skills, as he said proudly, but the truth was that Momo moving in with them, four years ago, had almost solved everything.

 

-So talking with Momo helped you ? You feel positive now ? Asked Shouto, as Satoru bulked up his belt.

 

Satoru smiled, and he looked at the tension in Shouto’s jaw ; even if he didn’t show it, he was probably irritated with himself, as he didn’t find the right words to help his son.

 

-Kinda, answered Satory, not wanting to lie. Yet, he couldn’t help but add, with a smirk : -I feel positive that i won’t have to worry about my exam if you drive without your glasses.

 

It worked ; Shouto’s face went pale, as he immediately put up his hand on his nose : checking that, indeed, he has no such thing as glasses on it. He definitely wasn’t used to wear it yet.

 

-Just a minute, he said, as he went out of the car :

 

-Momo have you seen my gla-

 

Momo choose this exact moment to rush out of the house again, all panicked already, as she screamed :

 

-Shouto your glasses!

 

Her hand brandishing the said glasses.

 

Well maybe, neither Momo nor Shouto’s words helped him feel relieved, but at this very moment, Satoru didn’t worry about UA exam anymore. He laughed at the confused face of Momo, and Shouto’s usual “ah” reaction when something took him off guard.

 

Maybe he wasn’t their real son, maybe he had no blood nor genes in common with them and was way weaker than they were at his age...But Satoru was the only one who could witness this dorky side of them. The way Shouto always forgot his glasses, the way Momo could go from adorable and sweet to panicked.

 

He loved being their kid, living with them, and maybe, just maybe..He was so stressed about UA because, if he passed the test today, then he would have to leave the only place he could come home. He would have to leave them.

 

And Satoru wanted to stay here a little bit longer.


Chapter Text

Shouto YaoyorozuTodoroki was not sure how he felt about going back to UA. Sure he still liked the school ; it was after all the first place he made friends, true friends, and many memories happened here. Not always happy memories -Class A had a wild and tragic experiences during their high school years- but every single one made him the man he was today.

 

Yet, as he stared at the H-shaped tower in front of him, he felt no melancholy nor sadness. It hadn’t change at all : just a little bit of rust in the iron-framed gate there and there, and whole bunch of different kids gathering under it.

 

So many kids. One girl looked like she had a jellyfish instead of hair, another was a rabbit, next to a squirrel, and there was even a giant boy with glasses walking beside a tiny, so tiny (how old was he even?) little child that had a head shaped like a bulb lamp. Was there so many when he passed, back in those days? He wondered. He surely didn’t remember, and he supposed that, as a recommendation student, it had been a bit different. -Besides he wasn’t very perceptive and caring about other people at that time. Though all those teens reminded him of his ex-classmates. Except that, this time around he didn’t know them and wasn’t their friends. Maybe, Satoru would be one day. That, however, felt strange. How many of them would pass the test today, and which one of them would Satoru choose to be his friends? Shouto felt old, thinking that way, and it took him a little bit of time to realize that he wasn’t. He was only 26 years old, after all.   

 

At his side, Satoru was looking at the crowd nervously. No matter who he would choose to befriend with, Shouto was sure they would be great. 

 

He looked better than this morning at the breakfast table, but Shouto didn't know if it was truly the case. His son was no liar, but he had the tendency to hide when he was feeling under the weather. As much as Satoru liked to wear an old shirt stating : “i don’t give a frog” -with a frog on it- he certainly give a fuck. To everything. The boy cared too much. Just like Momo did, at the same age. He didn’t understand why Momo was uncertain of herself at that time, the same way he didn’t get why Satoru wasn’t feeling confident ; he was smart and capable and his quirk gave him a wide advantage during the exam. But unfortunately Shouto didn’t know what to say to actually make him believe in himself. Probably nothing : after 5 years of therapy, Satoru was still pretty much -struggling with self-worth issues. As a father, Shouto had to accept that it might never go away. That maybe, he even liked this feature about people, after all he befriended Izuku, Iida and fell in love with Momo. So instead, he checked that everything was okay -that his son had his backpack, full, his lunch box and..

 

-Do you see Mahô? Satoru asked.

 

Well his son’s best-friend by his side would be a plus, she had her own way of cheering him up that never failed. Shouto checked again, but he didn’t recognize any of the kid in front of him. -And fortunately, neither did they with him. He had to thanks his glasses for that.

 

-Ah.

 

Satoru’s head rose, as if he had suddenly felt something, and he pointed the sky.

 

-She’s here. She’s about to land.

-Land? Repeated Shouto, confused.

 

And indeed, only a few seconds later a tiny figure appeared, just behind the H-tower. A tiny girl riding a broom as if it was the most natural things to do. Which was not, if the crowd gathering around her and gasping as she stepped down, was any indication.

 

-She didn’t change at all, he remarked, not physically -she was too far away for him to judge that- but mentally.

-Yeah, smiled Satoru, looking more amused than annoyed.

-Do you think she noticed us? Asked Shouto.

-I will make her feel our presence. 

 

Just as they said that, the girl’s eyes fell on them, and she screamed ; waving her arms in the air:

 

-SATORU I’M HERE!!

 

Satoru only had the occasion to wave back and answer:

 

-Mahô ! It’s good to-

 

Before realizing what was dashing to him at full speed.

 

-Oh no.

 

Shouto saw it too, and took a few steps back, wishing him good luck. One second later, Mahô was smashing his son to the ground, yelling how happy she was to see him ; as expected. She was just as he remembered her : full of energy and unaware of all the noise she could make or attention she dragged. She just didn’t care about the crowd of students at the gate, staring at her, or the boy she smashed into.

 

It was not that Mahô didn’t care about appearances ; she loved girly outfits. Today, even though she had an exam coming and we were in the middle of february she had chosen to wear a short with laces, with only a thin tights under to be protected from the cold air, and wore a lot of accessories on her arms and ears. And was it her latest gymnasict leotard she was wearing as a top? Shouto knew nothing about fashion so maybe it was “in”. Even if it wasn’t, again, Shouto didn’t remember the girl caring about how people thought of her looks. Maybe she was used to it, since, despite her very japanese look, she had a inherited a tanned skin from her father. No one could ignore her mixed blood. (Shouto still found pretty stupid that people cared about mixed blood when they were mutation-quirk-people everywhere). She didn’t have the japanese elegance Shouto loved so much in Momo, but Mahô was probably pretty. Shouto didn’t really know, since to him ; she was just as old as Satoru, so kinda like a baby. He stood by what he said, the first time he met her : Satoru was the cutest kid between the two of them. (Even if people said he was not objective regarding that matter)

 

-Hi Sato’s Pa, she eventually said, as she noticed him staring.

 

Her purple eyes fell on him -it was definitely her nicest feature ; Shouto didn’t remember why it was so special, but he did remember how her father was proud about it.

 

-Hello Mahô, he replied politely. -You know it’s illegal to show your power in public areas?

 

He really didn’t care about this rule -to be frank he found it stupid- but the plan was for Mahô to spend the weekend at their place, since she lived far away in mountains, so he would be responsible if she did anything bad. Or worst, Momo would be blamed, and so Peace. He couldn't let that happen. 

 

-Nyeheheh -Shouto had forgotten the way she laughed- It’s illegal only if you get caught! She answered immediately, not caring that hundred of eyes witnessed her crime, so that she had been, technically, caught -Don’t worry Sho-AH ! She put an hand on her mouth- I see you’re wearing the glasses i enchanted for you !

 

Shouto nodded and touched his glasses ; he kind of wished the girl had added an “Do not forget me everywhere” order, to the actual one “Unless you are a friend, you can’t recognize the person who wears this glasses”. But, he wasn't sure she could actually give two order to the same object and depending on the girl’s quirk wasn’t a good thing, especially when he was trying to say to not overuse it.

 

Still he was glad that Maho, even if she didn’t remember about the quirk-in-public-area restrictions, at least had enough common sense to not give away his real name. Even her power had limits ; and if Shouto was found out, all the kids that were busy gazing at the flying broom would immediately see through his disguise and turn to him. He doubted Satoru needed to be identified as “the boy who was with Shouto Todoroki the day of the exam.” Not that being the guy who was “smashed to the ground by a girl” was any better. But to be fair, Satoru would hate and stress over pretty much anything that would happen to him unexpectedly.

 

Speaking of son.

 

-You okay? He asked his kid on the ground.

 

Satoru grumbled something like “i survived”, as much done as down. Shouto helped him stand up again but Mahô didn’t bother letting go of his friend, her arms around his neck, still talking:

 

-I cant’ believe you’re really here Sat’! It’s been years!

-Only two…Confirmed Satoru with a smile.

-Sorry i was too busy with competitions i really couldn’t come to see you…

-No prob.

-But you see? I’m wearing your gift! She said pointing a very well-cared headband- with galaxy printed leather and fake pearls all over, linked on a thin white thread to imitate constellations.

-Yeah i felt it when your head smashed my jaw.

-Sorry! But i’m sooooooooooo happy to see you!

-So happy that you tried to kill me with only one headshot?

 

And that’s when Shouto realized something incredible.

 

-Mahô...Were you always this small? Blurted Satoru, deadpanned, as he realized the same thing as his father.

 

The girl smiled, her arms still wrapped around Satoru’s neck, her feet not reaching the floor as her friend stood up.

 

-Yup! She admitted proudly.

 

She hadn’t grown at all ; unlike Satoru, whom puberty hit him like a train last year. The boy took 10 centimeters in one year time, a growth spurt Shouto’s heart still had trouble to recover from. Apparently, the train had totally missed Mahô. How tall was she? Like...maybe...140 centimeters ? Barely. Wasn’t it abnormal, for a girl her age? He knew, thanks to his brother Touya, that doing too much sport training could slow down the growth of a kid, but...

 

-Don’t worry, i’m tall enough to ride to hardcore rollers coaster, that’s all that matter, smiled Mahô.

 

Well, at least she wasn’t complexed about it, thought Shouto.

 

“Hey isn’t it…”

 

Shouto’s body tensed up, identifying this tone immediately. It was the sound of a fan that had noticed their idol. He immediately touched his glasses -though it wouldn’t change anything if the enchantment had failed. The crowd was getting over Mahô’s flying broom and starting to stare at their weird group, full of questions and remarks.

 

“Show off” “Big Bro are they hero?” “Who are they?” “The guy brought his girlfriend to the exam” ‘What” “I know that face” “Can’t they find a room” “A flying broom! How is that possible?” “Kyah!”

 

And then, among all those tiny remarks, one stood up.

 

“Wait, i’m pretty sure it’s the famous gymnast!”

 

Oh. So they hadn’t recognized Shouto, but one of them sure knew Mahô. That was even more problematic, given how intimate she was with Satoru -who had heard and realized already that he could kiss his anonymous cover goodbye.

 

-You didn’t make yourself an enchanted object, Mahô? Asked Shouto, surprised by her careless behaviour.

-Well, i’m not that good with interviews, so i try to avoid it and people don’t usually recognize me when i’m on my normal outfits, explained the little girl as she jumped back on the ground. -But don’t worry Satoru, i’ve got this!

-Really? Asked Satoru, doubtfully.

 

Mahô nodded, as she touched her short’s pocket and whispered to her flying broom to get inside. And without a surprise -for Shouto and Satoru, because the crowd gasped- the object did obey and managed to fit and disappear inside the tiny space.

 

-Say bye to your pa, Sat’!

-Bye Papa, repeated Satoru on automatic mode.

-Bye son? Answered Shouto, curious about Mahô’s solution.

 

And he wasn’t deceived : as the girl’s solution to the problem was apparently to take Satoru in her arms -as if he weighed nothing- and run away as fast as she could from the crowd.

 

Honestly he should have seen it coming ; Mahô really didn’t change at all.

 

And now, the group of students left behind was starting to freak out -as expected. It was hard to not feel overpowered by the girl’s talent. Especially right before an exam.

 

Shouto was never one to give in to nerves, but loving Momo and raising Satoru had taught him well how something like that could destroy one’s confidence.

 

But right now Shouto had other worries, as he stared at his son’s back, getting further and further away, his heart clenched. Without noticing he stopped waving “bye bye” the boy was so far that he wouldn’t be able to see it, anyways, or even hear his usual “take care” wish.

 

It’s so weird, Thought Shouto. It felt like he only adopted Satoru yesterday, and suddenly the nine years old boy he had met was now fourteen and 160 centimeter tall, and already trying to leave the house. How five full years could have passed so fast?

 

Was it unfair of Shouto to ask for more time? To keep his son a little bit longer? Probably. But Shouto had his head full of memories ;his house would feel empty without the boy’s presence, and his life a lot less busy. He hadn’t thought that, one day, he would regret having more freetime. What would they do on Friday night, from now on? There would be no more movie nights. Even if he didn't like movie that much and always fell asleep, he liked discovering old movie and watch a Disney every now and then, with his family. 

 

-They grow up too fast, don’t they? Asked a familiar voice in his back, full of understanding.

-Aizawa!

-Yeah that’s me.

-What are you doing here?

-I work here!

 

He was the same as back then, not even wearing his glasses today. It really took Shouto back to his teen years, when he was just a student. Same outfit, same hair style, same everything. Only almost 10 years apart. Was the guy some sort of vampire for not aging at all? He was like...fourty now?

 

-No, i mean, at the gate, Shouto corrected, not catching his ex-teacher sarcasm. -Shouldn’t you be preparing the exam?

-He is here because of me!

 

A tiny figure stepped out of the teacher’s shadow, a beautiful smile on her face.

 

-Eri!

 

Shouto couldn’t hide his surprise.

 

The girl -well another girl that Shouto could still not see as an adult, despite the fact that she was now almost 18 years old!- offered him a indulgent smile. At least, she had changed! Finally someone who was the living proof of the past few years! (and now Shouto felt old again). She managed to grow so tall that she almost reached Aizawa’s chin now. Her horn, on her forehead was bigger too. He knew she hated it, when she was a kid, always trying to cover it with her bangs, but she seemed to got over it as she now wore her hair into a ponytail. If she wasn’t wearing a full cat-themed outfit, she would certainly appear like her age. But she was, after all Aizawa’s adopted daughter, and he didn’t give her the best example about fashion. Even the 3 years she spent in America, under the guidance of Nejire, Togata and Amakiji, didn’t get rid of that. Not that Shouto was very much an example, though, Momo too often brought him clothes and tied his necktie for him (but he really hated wearing one). 

 

-I thought you were going back to America, to Togata’s place!  

-There are better universities in her field of study in Japan, answered Aizawa with a pokerface.

-Yeah, i get to stay with dad a little bit longer! Confirmed Eri, with a smile so big that it kind of gave away her true motives, to Aizawa's evident proudness.

-Your field of study?

 

Shouto frowned. He sure hadn’t had the opportunity to see the girl as often as he had wanted, since she came back from America, but he was sure she studied at UA and graduated to become hero last year. And despite his patriotism, Shouto knew that Japan was not considered as the best place to learn to be hero -even though it was the home of All might, and Deku, the greatest heroes of the last decade.

 

-Well, i’m only a first aid-hero, like Recoverygirl you know...So i will only be called during emergencies, she explained to him willingfully. -So i want to study hero managment in my free time.

-I see.

 

And immediately he thought about all the oportunity Eri woud have here, in japan. It did make more sense for her to stay.

 

-Do you want to come and study at Peace Office, too? I could ask Momo, i’m sure she would be happy to offer you a job.

 

After all, Peace office did manage all the heroes agency that were its associated, it was definitely a good place to learn all kind of skills about managment and Aoyama, the main manager, would love to see the little girl again. Except she is not a little girl anymore but an adult now, forced Shouto to remind himself.

 

-That would be so kind! Thank you! But for now i will be helping UA! Recovery girl is near retirement, so i get to help her with Mari. I start off today, for the exam!

 

Shouto saw the tiny proud smile on Aizawa’s face but said nothing. Yet, Eri probably didn’t miss it and added, as proud as a daughter can be:

 

-Do you know that it was dad who made this year trial?

-Oh?

 

Shouto felt his anger rise ; he knew how hard Aizawa could be when it came to trial. After all, he had been his student, and knew about his reputation of “the one who expelled students” back in the days.

 

-Then i will be blunt with you, he warned his ex-teacher and friend, if Satoru comes back with, even one tiny scratch on him...

 

He still had Izuku’s injury in mind, as he said that:

 

-I will held you responsible for it.

 

And to his surprise, Eri repeated, imitating his furious face:

 

-Responsible!

 

He liked this girl, she got that from Togata, surely, but her angry stare was certainly more effective on Aizawa than Shouto’s. And indeed, the teacher lost his grin and grumbled:

 

-That’s up to Satoru to get away without any injury you know...And please, don’t pull an Endeavor’s face on me, you know i don’t like when my students get injured too. -And to Eri he added- Please don’t imitate him, you might encourage his endeavor.

 

Once upon a time, being reminded of his bond with Endeavor would have push all Shouto’s buttons down. Yet, time had passed. That didn’t mean that Shouto was okay with everything his father had done -far from it- but it didn’t sting and burn as much as before. And sometimes, like today...it even gave him a tiny bit of a smile.

 

An Endeavor’s face, huh? How ironic it was, for him to pull that kind of expression when he was worrying about his son. He liked the idea very much. It showed him how different he was from Enji Todoroki.

 

It felt right, to finally outgrow the shadow of his past, of the abuse, of his father, of the anger, and be just himself. Thanks to his friends and family, he didn't fear to become what he had once hated so much ; he knew who he wasn't and what he was. 

 

Shouto Yaoyorozu-Todoroki.


Chapter Text

As Satoru walked through UA campus, waiting for the hour of the exam to arrive with his best friend, Mahô, he wondered how the main focus of the story -which was supposed to be about him- had switched. Even the title of this chapter was about his mama. No that his mama didn’t derserve a whole chapter about her, she was as awesome as his papa, but still. 

 

-What’s on your mind, asked Mahô by his side, surprised by his silence, and he could feel it through their bond, worried that he was getting too much into his own head, as usual.

-Nothing, just witnessing the author lazy work on the introduction of this chapter, he said.

-Oh! She really does like to break the fourth wall!

-Yeah.

-Anyways -Mahô changed subject, as always because she didn’t care much about the author- where are we supposed to meet Tsubaki and Max?

-Uh?

 

Where did that get that idea from, Satoru wondered. But again, despite their bond, truly understanding how Mahô’s brain worked was an hassle. She was just too different from Satoru for him to be able to fully grasp her logic, even with the help of his power. 

 

-Nowhere, he answered. They enter via recommandations.

 

Unlike Satoru, Max Chandler and Tsubaki Chuzenji didn’t hesitate to pull the strings. They were from good family, diplomat and heroes ones, so finding a letter of recommandations was easy. And unlike Satoru, they had no doubt about their quirk and skills, so didn't wish to test it.

 

-They don’t even have to take the written exam, he laughed.

 

Not that it was a big deal, of course, if you had studied regularly during middle school, this exam was just a formality.

 

-Nyehehe! Of course they don’t, laughed Mahô, what’s the point of written exam for future heroes?

 

Satoru’s doubts suddenly rose, as he stared at his laughing friend. Was she serious? She was the one who aimed for UA since she had discovered her quirk, at four. How could she not know how the very exam for her dream school worked?

 

-Mahô, you do realize that UA is an highschool too? Of course there’s a written exam to get in.

-But not for the one applying heroes course, right? You’re funny, don’t make such stupid joke!

 

Despite her grin, a small, small shadow of fear started to show on her face.

 

-No. heroes course has a practical AND a written exam.

 

This time Mahô started to laugh again, but not her usual “Nyehe” sound that was so contagious, a really, really nervous one.

 

That when Satoru realized the truth : Mahô probably hadn’t studied at all for this. She really screwed up big this time.

 

***

 

Far, far away from such worries, in the Peace office building, at the Sato Rikido conference room, Momo was facing another kind of problem. A presentation of her business’ new program for the following year, in front of the press, heroes managers, government associates and sponsors.

 

Her ex-classmates and teachers always described her as smart and natural leader, probably thinking that she effortlessly went through those kind of events. She didn’t. Like a lot of people she felt scared and nauseous before each conference. The only difference was that she felt more scared and nauseous at the thought of doing nothing when she had the opportunity to act for the greater good. So, through hard word -lot, and lot of work- she always managed to find the composure to actually step on the scene and do what people expected her to do. Be a leader.

 

Today was no exception. She had planned everything, who was in the assemblee, where were her colleagues while she attended this event, even the decorum -a simple stage with a speaker, micro, comfy sofa for her guests, a large tv screen for the skye communication and a plant. Of course she knew better than stating she had everything under control, because life didn’t work that way, but she had done her best to be the closest to perfect. So she had no regret and less fear when she stepped on the stage.

 

-Thank you, everyone, for attending this meeting.

 

Good presentation always started with politeness talk, which was why Shouto hated those kind of meetings. Her husband would always spat that, if they were here, it’s because they wanted something from her too, and so why even thanking them? She wasn’t as blunt as him, even though she was not naive.

 

-It’s an honour to present you Peace office’s newest program, she stated, going straight to the point. - As you all know, so far Peace as founded many ones. “The witnesses protection” was our first, then our “Help with disabling Quirks”, “Rehabilitation of the traumatized victims”, our most popular ones among the civilians, “Redeemed villains integration”, and of course our “Heroes children protection center”. Peace had always kept in mind the best for the society and its people. Our main purpose has always been to help justice factions to work together as one, as a symbol against crime, and to help them cooperate without a worry. Yet there are people we had forgotten along the years, that deserves our attention and protection as much as the other, no matter how strong they look : heroes.

 

In the corner of her vision field she saw Aoyama make a sign, and the giant screen was turned on, showing one giant poster of the last heroes festival.

 

-Our new program, she started, is no exception. As it is based on two major improvements. First is to have a hero with teleportation quirk install their portals all over Japan in order to connect heroes agencies, police headquarters, hospitals, and of course Peace offices’s facilities. This will make it easier for heroes to reach emergencies position and help citizen evacuate.

 

She turned and clicked on the remote, in order to put another image on the screen.

 

-But it will also give back a bit of power to police officers ; as they often are the first on the field they should be given the right to analyze the situation and be able to call in for specific reinforcement.

 

One mini-movie started, showing a police officer facing a building on fire, when the hero that arrived was not a famous water quirk heroes but Inasa Yoarashi. Of course, the hero managed to redirect the flames with his wind quirk, as professional as one could be in this situation. But a diagram appeared next to him, proving with math that the fire would have dried off much more quickly, and that the villains responsibles for the attack had managed to get away using the diversion. A total of 10 million of damages bill was shown.

 

The crowd mumbled, definitely not agreeing wholeheartedly. Most of them were not happy, as giving power to a mere policemen could mean to let go of some of their own, and maybe some profit. Momo had the best interest -people’s lives- in mind, but she knew that those who had the actual control and gained from the statut quo needed to see that they would not be fooled in the deal. After all, she knew that, despite the gruesome amount of money they made everyday, some of them, not all though, worked their asses off for that. Like her parents did. So taking away the result of their effort would not be welcomed. 

 

It was a tough place to stand at, a difficult equilibrium to get : helping both classes without wronging one. And she was not sure to have found the right one yet : making ennemies in both side with her moderate politic. 

 

Luckily Aoyama Yuuga, her ex-classmate and friend, and also the main manager of Peace office, stepped in, as sparkling as always.

 

-My my! I understand that you have many questions, he said, but please keep some for the end of the presentation, i will personally answer you then!

 

One smile at the crowd -and the camera, always- was enough to make them uncomfortable and shut them up. Momo was now used to his look, his goaty and the laced ribbon tying his long blond hair was for the show, only. It helps sometimes, to make people uncomfortable, he once said to her, as he stared Midoriya until their poor friend started shaking. So she took the opportunity he offered her to talk back, a little bit louder for the people in the back:

 

-Of course, she added reluctantly, the authorization to use the portal will not be given to anyone, in order to protect this new way of transportation the choice of the hero making the portal will be essential. It needs to be someone trustworthy, and that can forbid its access to certain conditions. But this is an great opportunity to reduce the luck factor of emergencies rescue mission and increase the survival rate of citizen. Heroes agencies will not be outed from the market by this, as it will still be allowed to send heroes on the field. They just need to assure that they have a large and wide cast of different heroes in their ranks.

 

Recently some agencies had tried to fight against Peace’s influence by sending their heroes on the field so they could be first on a case, and use a old rule to be the only one allowed to act there. It was unacceptable as it put people in danger for no other reason than profit. Especially when Peace didn’t act the same and allowed heroes from other agencies to step in when their power was indeed needed. But Shouto often said to her that she was too polite and kind, and couldn’t expect everyone to act as respectfully as she did.

 

-Yes but you will have the monopoly of the market! This is just a way for you to force  the remaining agencies that are not allied to peace yet to join your group! Still complained someone in the crowd.  

 

And that was indeed right. She didn’t deny it. Some tried to be more specific and shouted other questions but Aoyama made them understand with a smile that it would be answered at the end of the conference, leaving only this one to take care of. As he knew it was an easy one, as it dealt with the fundamental politic of their business.

 

-Heroes business shouldn’t be private, as the safety of the citizen is the nation’s duty, he said with a bit too much of sparkles to Momo’s taste.

-Yet Peace is a private business, isn’t it?

 

Momo smiled ; here was a journalist that didn’t do their researches well, she could afford to educate him a bit.

 

-Peace office may had been founded by me, but the decision power is divided between several organizations within our committee, in order to avoid total corruption, as it has been for three years. One third of it is represented by the government, and so depends of the elected decision of Japan people. Now, if you’ll excuse me, i will be back to our program.

-What if a villain manage to infiltrate your new “roads?” a journalist cut.

 

And that was a legit fear that she had anticipated.

 

-The risk will never be 0, of course, but our goal is to make it as at least the same as today’s risk for villain to infiltrate our ranks, but decrease the mortality rate of heroes and civilian while doing so. As i said earlier, the main problem will be to find the right hero, with a teleportation quirk that doesn’t allow intruders to come through. Peace had already made a selection, and will provide them the witness protection program if this role threaten their, or their family, lives.

 

Aoyama did a “Tada” in front of the screen, as if he was the one controlling it, and with a few click on the remote Momo made a few pictures appear. Heroes, citizen with special permit, and villain jailed.

 

-There’s a VILLAIN on the list, someone shouted, indigned.

-AND A KID!

 

Momo nodded, knowing that full well.

 

-The quirk that we needs for this program is very specific and there’s only a few in the world that can provide it.

 

Only six people so far, two french heroes, one australian, two citizen (including Satoru’s friend, Mahô) and their ex-opponent of the villain league in Japan.

 

-Keep in mind that this list is only showing those who had agreed on the deal after Peace negociated with them, there are a few left that are still in discussions.

 

But to be quite honest Momo had already chosen who she wanted to work with, even though she still had to convince her colleagues of the committee.

 

-You said that the quirk you selected on this list would be able to identify who can and who cannot use your new “teleportation portals” aren’t you fearing EqualityWarrior’s reaction to that?

 

Momo stopped at the mention of the villain’s name. Yet she couldn’t avoid it. She would lie if she said that the villain’s reaction to her program didn’t influence her every decision and forced her to consider things that she didn’t want to think about. Aoyama seemed to understand that ; this question couldn’t be postponed to after the presentation : It was too important.

 

 -As i said earlier, every Peace decision makes are discussed within our committee and voted, as the government is being part of the decision taking process, we had to respect ethic and humans rights, as always. The usual company that assure the respect of those right being the Yaoyorozu’s, there is an conflict of interest. So we asked for not one, but three other companies to check us yearly and given them the right to publish their report online in order to be as transparent as possible. The new program will be under the same rules and yearly investigations.  As far as we know, as the quirk that will be chosen by the committee will change the procedure, we’re heading toward this solution : people who would be identified by the teleportation quirk as “dangerous” or “recognized villain” will not be denied the access to hospital, for example. However, they will not be sent to the same institutions as civilians, in order to avoid mass killing if anything went wrong.

-Aren’t those institutions less-

-Those institutions are better at handling dangerous people, as they have the means to stop them from using their quirks without hurting them and take them off their dignity as human.

-What about the accusation of the villain stating that Peace’s reintegration program use quirk-suppressing drugs without consent?

 

Aoyama stepped in, as quick as always:

 

-We will answers to rumors at the end, as the main topic of the conference is about our newest program only.

 

Momo would have liked to deny those rumors, of course, as it worried her to no end. That people actually believed she could accept such behavior was beyond her, but as Aoyama rightly said that was another fight, for another day. She had to talk about the next point of their plan:

 

-As for the second part of the program, is a more practical option. As you all know after the Detnerat company’s scandal heroes costume are monitored by government. Peace office will step in and help them financially as off now. In exchange, a new feature will be added to every hero’s costume from now on. New heroes, and previous ones, as it will be added retroactively when they sent their costumes to their annual check up. I will let our two main scientists talk about it by themselves…

 

The skype loading screen started to bip, and a beautiful girl with long blond hair and glasses appeared in her lab coat.

 

-I present you Melissa Shield, broadcasted live from I-Island.

 

Poor Melissa didn’t even have the time to greet the crowd that Mei stepped in, in all her glory of pregnant woman, arms opens and louder than Present Mic:

 

-NOW IT’S TIME TO SHOW YOU OUR NEWEST BABY!

 

Most of the people politely clapped their hands, as Aoyama instructed them to, but some got the joke and started to laugh. Momo focused her attention on them, as it was a sign they were more open to what they were hearing than the other. She tried to remember their faces.

 

-And from this very stage, Peace Office’s chief lab : Mei Hatsume-Iida, added Momo with a laugh.

 

Surely one could think that Mei being seven months pregnant would make her less energetic, and easier to handle ; they would be very wrong. The mecano was the same as she always had been, not even caring about the dressing code for conference and coming with her working lab attire and her googles. She even had her work glove on, her marriage ring hanging to her neck by a string (or was it a informatic cable? Iida would be indignied if he knew).  Her only “attention” was to make a bun out of her long pink dreadlocks, and honestly, Momo was pretty sure she only did because she didn’t want to be bothered by her hair, rather out than out of acknowledgement of the social conventions.

 

Despite her weird behavior, Mei always brought back some of fans of her work to this kind of event, and she always said that restrain would disappoint them, so she didn’t do it. Who was Momo to complain, after all?

 

Melissa Shield, surely didn’t, as the scientist had been working with Mei for the past few months and knew full well that the best reaction to his was to ignore and go on.

 

-It had come to our mind, she resumed her explanation professionally, making appear a diagram thanks to an hologram generator device - that heroes were not as protected as they should be.

 

The diagram was clear enough, making sure that no one, even the most mathematical refractor, could not understand it. Injuries, of course had the highest percentage of the lot, but right behind it (and not by lot) was abduction, and of course, death.

 

-We want to rise up the survival rate, explained Melissa, as one third of the hero dying on the field is still too much. Heroes teams helped out, she approved, but heroes are no doctors and hence can’t recognize at first glance a wound that need to be treated right away from a injury that can wait till the end of their fight. They are often caught up in the battle and unable to truly help their teammates in time.

-So we decided to add A NANO ROBOT IN THEIR COSTUME! Screamed Mei, showing the little “bug” to the sky, in a triumphant pose. -Isn’t it GORGEOUS?

 

She didn’t wait for anyone to agree or disagree with her, rushing to the first line of seat to put her invention under their very noses.

 

-JUST LOOK HOW TINY IT IS! You would not wonder how much we managed to pack in this tiny little baby! And this is just the prototype! Real ones could be hundred times smaller!

 

The engine was, as she stated, very tiny, only a little bit bigger than a nail. But Mei was really big and Momo could see that some spectators were very worried about her rushing to them at full speed, as if she would crash into them. Melissa was not helping, as she let the mood of her colleague get to her and started listing all the wonderful trick their invention could do.

 

-If a hero is badly injured, the robot will immediately scan their body, evaluate their immediate need and send an alert to the hero agency, Peace office, police and the heck up to the nearest hospital will be alerted so they can already prepare their material for any operation they would need to go through!

-Before the ambulance even arrived! And that’s not all, the check up will be available on Peace office the apps for nurses, doctor and emergencies services around!

-And of course, if the state of the hero is not the only thing that is worrying, Peace and their hero agency would be alerted of the danger!

 

Mei stopped Melissa by a sign, as she stood up and took pose.

 

-This is all to avoid situation like…

 

And she finger guned Aoyama, shouting a loud : “BANG”. Aoyama being the person he was, always ready to improvise and show off, drama-died.

 

-Oh noooo! I’m badly injured, i may not be able to fight you villain, but my friends will avenge me! He said, lying on the floor, in front of Melissa and the crowd worried gaze.

 

Mei, who definitely had spent too much time with her husband and was starting to pick up his habit, continued the villain act, laughing maniacally:

 

-You FOOL! This is nothing but part of our plan! We will make it an ambush and attack whoever comes to your rescue!

-The nano robot is programmed to activate speakers and scan the surrounding area around the fallen hero. This way Police, Peace and Heroes agency will be able to see how many villains are waiting for them and even hear off their plans! Explained Melissa carefully -as Mei continued her act, stepping on Aoyama and still laughing, but this time about how wonderful her invention was, breaking a bit the character.

 -Of course the nanorobot is also equipped with the best hacking protection to this day, and will be implanted on the costum on random localization that no one, except the maker of the costume, would know about. They are also built entirely from material that aren’t detectable with most of the market detectors, so only big organization villains would be able to detect it and rip it off!

-VILLAINS ARE SO SCREWED! Yelled Mei, proudly.

 

Momo smiled, letting her colleagues to their joyful act, as she turned on her mic.

 

-We already got the government’s permission, our committee launched the project this morning and the prototype are ready for a full scale installation, all we need is your cooperation. And in some cases, your sponsorship would be welcomed, of course. Peace will not force any agency to collaborate if it is not their wishes, but costume will be modified regardless of if. So you need to make yourself known so we can give you an app that will be able to control this new device as well. Aoyama will hand you flyers, it will give you some important details of the proposition and-

 

She was interrupted by a slow, but loud clap. It was so unexpected -as she had not finished yet- that even Aoyama stopped right back, as he had started to distribute the papers works.

 

-As always, Peace office amaze me with their newest program!

 

A man approached, stepping out of the line of spectators without any embarrassment. Momo didn’t recognize him, but she saw the press tag pinned on his coat. He looked like some gossip magazine journalist, with sunglasses on his forehead, so she expected the “but” to arrive very soon in his sentence. She wasn’t disappointed:

 

-Only a woman would think of such additions to our already working system!

 

Of course, she almost sighed, as she was used to being reminded of her gender everytime someone against her didn’t have a real point. She didn’t answer, as it would be counterproductive to shut them up right away -more often than none, letting them ramble and shout sexist nonsense was more detrimental to them than her organization.

 

-But correct me if i’m wrong, Mme Todoroki-Yaoyorozu, continued the journalist, grinning. -Your son is currently taking the UA exam to become a pro-hero, isn’t he?

 

Momo blinked, surprised by the change of subject. It had been a long time since Satoru-matters had been dragged to her feet by journalist. She thought that the world had become bored, at worst, offended, she hoped, by the way press used her own kid to hurt her. And so they had stopped. Apparently she was wrong. 

 

Aoyama was as confused as her, already mumbling with Mei about the whole point of this discussion, and they exchanged a glance, before she nodded and answered.

 

-Yes he is indeed.

 

She hoped that her short answer would made the man unable to use her own word against her. It was always the safest way to avoid scandal. Yet, the journalist didn’t give up:

 

-And correct me if i’m wrong again, but you launched the heroes’ children protection program when you adopted him, right?

 

Ah. She was starting to see where he was heading ; but he had made a mistake and she had the opportunity to “correct” him, as he had asked:

 

-No.

 

She couldn’t help but smile, as the memory filled her mind. Her hand reaching her ring finger unconsciously to play with the jewel on it. It was a beautiful piece ; a simple golden band holding one tiny ruby, in its center. Except that she had another one, almost identical -but with a tiny white diamond- and another one -with an onyx. The three could be taken separately but it was the prettiest when worn together, as one single ring. Shouto had said that it represented their family the best ; and she couldn’t agree more.Three people that were amazing on their own and yet, shone brighter and helped each other to be the best they could be, when reunited. 

 

-I adopted Satoru when i took the Todoroki’s name, she explained to the journalist. Only two years ago. The program is almost four years old. But i understand your misunderstanding.

-Besides we also launched the “Help with difficult Quirks” and “Rehabilitation of the traumatized victims” programs the very same year, added Aoyama, not smiling anymore. Which was a whole lot scarier, to Momo’s point of view.  

 

Though, it didn’t set aback the journalist, on the contrary he corrected himself and said:

 

-My mistake. But you already knew the boy and was part of his life as a mother figure, am i correct?

-Not as a mother figure, but yes indeed i was.

 

The man smirked, which probably set Aoyama’s fury on, as he added quickly:

 

-As Shouto Todoroki’s ex classmate, friend and Peace office boss only!

 

Which was true, only at the beginning, during the year that followed Satoru’s arrival in their life she started dating Shouto, so…

 

It didn't matter, as the journalist ignored both Momo and Aoyama's answers to continue :

 

-Well, it appear to me that everytime your life statut changes ; you make a new peace program, Mr Todoroki-Yaoyorozu, started listing the journalist, showing his counting fingers to the crowd. -First your son was in danger so you made this Heroes children protection program, or center or whatever. And now that he is about to become a hero : this!

 

Momo frowned, embarrassed. The man still ignored all the points that bothered him, aka the other program she launched the same year, but Momo knew the truth. And he was right. She indeed decided to found the protection program because Satoru had been targeted by villain. Not only that, but the “disabling quirk” program had came to her mind while they investigated on Satoru’s parents' back story, and the “traumatized reintegration program of the victim” was also a fall out of this very mission. Even before that, the very first programs peace founded had been “witness protection” and “villain rehab” and she had done it on purpose ; because Dabi, Shouto’s brother, needed a way out of prison. She had succeeded mostly thanks to Hawks' help, and at the cost of the bird hero's rank. And a little bit thanks to Endeavor -though the man had wanted his son to avoid Tartaros prison and capital punishment but not seeing him free yet, back then.  

 

The journalist was right ; she acted every time she saw something that could be improved, something that didn’t work well, something that bothered and worried her. Because she had the power to do so. Until now she had tried to brush off this habit of her as “normal”. After all you couldn’t help but be influenced by your life’s events! But the journalist’s word hit just the right spot:

 

-You are nothing but a worried mother! I don’t get why i should pay to calm your anxiety down, or even why the government allow you to invest millions of public money to that mean!

 

And then the man smirked and added the final touch of his discourse:

 

-I wouldn’t want to be your kid, honestly, the world is lucky you can’t bear one of your own or i would not imagine Peace’s new program every new year :  Peace new diapers program maybe?

 

She hid her movement behind the stage speaker : her hand on her belly, gripping her dress. Acid taste invaded her mouth, as guilt overcame her sense. She knew it wasn’t her fault ; her head knew, but her body and heart thought differently and it was harder to make them work together as one than it had been for Heroes, Government and Police.

 

Aoyama, on the other hand, didn’t bother to hide his emotion, as he let out an outraged french gasp. She noticed it, and tried to speak up, but her voice was weak, her tongue still tasting bitter.

 

-Please Aoyama don-

-HOW DARE YOU USE THIS AGAINS-

 

But to everyone surprise, it was Mei, who spoke louder and clearer than anyone:

 

-You’re just jealous because you don’t have a Yaomom, she said, with a very monocord voice that was unlike her.

-What?

 

The journalist -and everyone around- stared, surprised and lost by her point. Momo included, even though the nickname was nothing new.

 

-Are you deaf on the top of all? Asked Mei, snobbishly - I have a super hearing enhancement robot ; if you wanna i can sell it to ya with a special price!

 

She smiled as she made a very gross sign with her hand, proud of herself as she offered:

 

-A special jerk promotion!

 

Momo face palmed. Yes, this was just what she needed, a kid level argument right there, right now. Mei even had the boldness to start whistling, after provoking the journalist. As if she was innocent.

 

-YOU! How DARE YOU! Insisted the journalist; and that very sentence made Aoyama laughing ironically.

-How dare YOU speak that way to a PREGNANT WOMAN? Picked up Mei where she had left, as if she was the one being offended.

-Of course you use THAT CARD, women are all the same! Shouted the journalist, showing, once again that even if he was right on some point, the very reason for him to speak up wasn’t really what he stated.

-Well NO MAN ever thought of these ideas before YAOMOM! Insisted Mei.

 

She would be thankful if she didn’t spread her friendly nickname with the press.

 

-Of course they DIDN’T. It’s basically BABYSITTING HEROES. You BECHILD them when they are grown up adults!

-Some of them already act like children ANYWAYS! Right Aoyama?

-YEah!! W-wait, what?

-Oh, just like you right now?

-I’m not a hero, mind me, and if we’re are that, wasn’t it childish and out of subject to use THAT argument against our leader?

-She used GOVERNMENT MONEY to comfort her anxiety as parent!

-She use this money to save LIVES! As the government asked her to DO!

 

Okay, that was  becoming rather ridiculous, decided Momo. So she took a deep breath, and shouted:

 

-ENOUGH! ALL OF YOU!

 

Right in her microphone. Which of course destroyed everyone’s ears. Even Melissa, from the other side of the ocean, looked hurt. But, at least, it brought peace and quiet to the conference room, so after a quick apologize, Momo resumed:

 

-Sir, i won’t deny that my son influence every one of my everyday decision. As you rightfully said, i am a mother.

 

Even if Satoru wasn’t her biological child, she had risen him from 9 years old to 14. She had been the one sign his tests at school, to help him doing his homework, to read him a story before bed and to swipe off his tears when he fought with Shouto. He was her son, and she was his mother. She didn't need a blood connection to him for that, as they had shared history and memories no one could steal. 

 

-Although he merely gives me the opportunity to see the current flaws in our society, she stated. -You said that i worry too much, you’re right. I worry every time I see the state of our society. And as a Peace leader it is within my power to fix these problems and save dozen of lives. So why should i restrain? How is that a bad thing?

 

She shook her head, trying not to think how her words would be twisted later on, or how the villain EqualityJustice would use it against her tomorrow. What she said was true, and she knew that at least, some people would understand. Because they were parents too, but also because they were humans, and it wasn’t fair of them to ask to be saved by heroes and refuse to save them back.

 

-Heroes are dying every day. On infiltration missions, on the field...All because we can’t pinpoint their localisation or give them a proper back up to rely on!

 

She stared at the journalist, and maybe it was because she was on stage when he was not, but he suddenly seemed little. Insignificant.

 

-Do not misunderstand me, sir. I am not asking for you permission to launch this program. Most of our sponsors, like Ingenium company, and even the government, already provided us all the money we need to do so. I’m merely informing you all and give you the opportunity to join our program, to save lives.

 

Yes, that was right, she didn’t need to force people to join Peace, and she didn’t even need their money. Not anymore, not like back in her first years of business woman. Peace office was strong enough to stand on its own. All of her work would not crumble because of this. She would not fall because of this.

 

-Because that’s what i sworn to do as a hero.

 

She might be a mother, and the Peace office leader and founder, but she was also, and would always remain a hero.

 

One tiny part of her couldn’t help but feel proud, to reaffirm her will in front of this crowd, in this conference room. Satou Rikido. It was fitting. It was, she could believe it now, the kind of hero he would have been proud of.

 

Chapter Text

Peace office building was quiet, which was unusual. Shouto though, enjoyed the silence, a hot coffee cup in his hand. He wasn’t so fan of the drink -but that was the only beverage that kept him awake in the morning. The hero still missed the taste of green tea.

 

This lounge was mostly used for heroes and guests that came to assist at the conferences. There was everything that one could need, comfy sofa, a kitchenette area with some food, and beautiful red carpet -to make sponsors feel important- had explained once Mei to Shouto. In between bay windows, that opened to the closed garden where children of the center usually played (but not today, apparently it was closed), posters from heroes were plastered  everywhere. Mostly poster of ex-class A students, as they were the first ones to work with Peace, when it was founded, but bit by bit wall were being covered with people Shouto didn’t heard of. He probably had crossed path with them at some point, but some people weren’t recognizable when their costumes were off. Like Deku.

 

He was trying to put name on each of them, when Momo entered the place, sighing.

 

-Hard time, he guessed, handing her his cup of coffee so she could relax a bit.

-Yeah, i expected such opposition but i didn’t expect Mei to fight for my honor...It took a while to calm them all down.

-It’s hormonal imbalance! He stated very seriously. -Or so says Iida, he added right after.

 

His second best friend had been quite annoying, naming every single hormone that was acting up during pregnancy and what consequence it had specifically on his wife’s mood. Tenya could be extra.

 

The comment made Momo laugh.

 

-What? It’s true. -One could count on Tenya to make his researches as accurate and seriously as possible.

-Yeah, but it’s the way you said it!

 

Shouto grinned a bit, and started to moves his hands like Iida did, in this kind of situation, making Momo laugh even more. It felt good, to see her happy and relieved, especially after such a important event. Smile were always the best on her lips, but to be the origin of this little miracle still made Shouto's heart beat faster every time.

 

He was about to lean on and kiss her on the tip of her nose when the clock ticked loudly above us, bringing Momo’s attention to something else.

 

-Oh! It’s already this late! She noticed.

 

Almost 10AM. Shouto couldn’t help but wonder how Satoru was doing, he was probably taking the written exam now. And apparently Momo’s thoughts wandered in the same place, as she asked:

 

-I hope he is all right. How was he when you dropped him off to school? Not too nervous?

 

She took a sip of her now cup of hot coffee, leaving a pink lips mark on it. Honestly, Shouto probably had a thing for stressed people, Deku and Iida were not parangon of calmness, and he married this woman, who could worry in her child’s place -when the said child already worried enough by himself. Maybe it was his karma. He could accept such a karma, it didn’t bother him, what he couldn’t accept was:

 

-Yeah, he was doing good until Mahô appeared and kidnapped him. He didn’t even give me a goodbye hug!

 

That was unacceptable. He thought that Satoru had overcame this “phase” of his, when he had refused to hug his parent anymore, stating that he was too old for that now (When truly, he was only 11), and Shouto didn't need him to enter a new "phase" where he was to busy with his friends to hug anymore! If someone had told Shouto, years ago, that he would be the kind of parents, he would have not believe it. But when Satoru appeared in his life, he had needed this physical contact, this reassurance, because of his quirk, because he was afraid of what people could do to him and needed to know what their intention were all the time. And Shouto wanted the best and him to know it. He supposed he had picked this habit then, liked it, and never dropped it since then.  Maybe, the reason lied in the fact it wasn't something he had in his childhood, after his mother left, and he wasn't going to let his family suffer from this like he had. 

 

-He sent me a text with an emoji hug but it’s not the same! He complained.

-Aw don’t pout! Said Momo kindly, more amused by his behavior than compassionate. Traitor. She had her goodbye hug this morning!

 

Momo smiled, and without a warning she brought Shouto’s head to her level -only a couple of centimeter lower- and put a gentile kiss on his cheek.

 

-Here, she said. -It’s not Satoru’s hug, but it’s a kiss from me. I hope it’s okay with you.

 

Shouto’s heart was at lost. A hand on his cheek, as he felt the mark of her lipstick. They didn’t usually act like this in public places, but again, there was no one around, and he liked this trade. So he took the opportunity and put the kiss on her noses he had wanted to give her since she first entered the room:

 

-You give the best kisses, he assured.

 

She smiled and blush, curling up in his embrace.

 

-I don’t know, yours are pretty good too.

 

They would have probably flirted longer, just enjoying each other’s affection marks, but  unfortunately their phones both rang at the same time. Which could only mean one thing : heroes duty. Momo sighed, as disappointed as Shouto, as they checked it.

 

Peace app was simple : when a disaster requiring hero happened, it sent a signal. Everyone with a license in the vicinity received a text with a summary of the situation.

 

Shouto couldn’t help but stare at Momo’s screen, where the app asked assistance for a “rescue mission” since there was an explosion in a park, nearby (It was always a park! Did the author had no idea what kind of other gathering places there was out there?).

 

Shouto’s phone, right next to Momo’s, however, was talking about an hostage taking case, at the national bank, only a couple of blocks away.

 

-Odd, we’re at the same place, shouldn’t your app sent us to the same mission? He asked.

 

The app was surprisingly efficient ; and so far it had never let them down, not even when, five years ago, they had found themselves cut-off from the world and the server around during a mission. It was, after all, one of Mei Hatsume best work.

 

-Yes, unless there are too many villains attacks around, answered Momo without a single hesitation, as if it was a very day occurrence. -When it happens it sends the same number of hero to each localisation.

 

Shouto’s heart beat faster, this time not because of his wife’s closeness.

 

-A grand scale attack? He guessed, and instinctively, the both started to walk to the lockers room, where their costume awaited.

 

Momo simply nodded, throwing her cup of coffee in the trash still half-full. They had no time for that anymore. She was too calm, realized Shouto.

 

-You expected this.

-Yes, she answered, already debbutonning her suit top.

-And i was wondering why the main building was so quiet, and the kid center is closed, he said -You sent every one on patrol within the city, so they can cover more ground and arrive faster wherever the attack could start, and emptied the HQ in case of an terrorist attack, right?

 

Momo nodded, silently, but he could see from her expression that she wasn’t so happy to be right, and she probably didn’t expect many small attacks, but a big one. Still, as usual, she had made a move that could be useful in both cases. 

 

The lockers of Peace office didn’t have a separation between genders, mostly because, heroes arrived already prepared  so they most often used it as stocking drawer. But every once in a while, like today, they had to change so fast they couldn’t care less. There was a curtain that could be drawn to have some privacy, but to everyone surprise, Shouto had already seen his wife naked before.

 

-Peace holding a conference? Villains knows by now that it means nothing good for them, she said, as she pulled off her top completely her hand reaching for her suit inside her locker. -Of course they were going to take action. I couldn’t prevent them from doing so, but i could make sure that we would respond to it quickly. And protect the HQ as much as I could without raising suspicion and making it appear we were afraid of repercussions. 

 

Shouto did the same, hurrying to find the box containing his costume, unfortunately his own locker was a mess. He didn't use it that much, as he more often than none arrived in the HQ already in his hero outfit. 

 

-That’s why you asked me to take Satoru’s to UA, while you went ahead here.

 

He had found it weird, that she didn’t leave with them as usual. Thinking that she had an appointment and didn’t want to be late, he had brushed it off, but now he could see the reasoning behind it.

 

-If anything happened to him, i would be there to protect him, while you would be at the headquarter if was targeted.

 

He finally found his costume, but now he had to look for his “mission googles”. He couldn't afford to forget this one as his eyes problem made it hard to evaluate distance. It took some time to finally spot it, under a “Tea-shirt” shirt with a cup of green tea on it; a gift from Satoru and Momo for one of his birthday.

 

-It’s his exam! You would have accompanied him to the gate no matter what, said Momo, maybe a little bit embarrassed despite her smile. She had used him, after all.

 

But Shouto didn’t mind, because, once again, it was the truth. Momo smiled, like Shouto, honest with herself. But as her husband took off his shirt her eyes fell on the scar on his shoulders. Gun’s bullet scars. She had her own, of course, one awful on her leg and another on her shoulder blade. This was what came with their duty as a hero. This was unavoidable. Still Momo looked away, her heart beating fast, hoping that he would not come back with another one.

 

And of course, now, all she could see was the state of their lockers’doors.

 

A picture of Satou Rikido, forever stuck in his teen years was smiling at her, baking, surrounding with their friends who wanted to have a taste of his new creation. But despite the sweetness of the scene, all she felt rolling on her tongue was a bitter taste. She had came to accept her friend’s death now. But that didn’t mean it didn’t scare her, before each mission, to lose someone else. To lose Shouto.

 

So, to find back courage, she looked at the other pictures pinted on the door, like she always did.  Satoru blowing up candles on his birthday cake, taking a pose with his best friend Mahô. Jirou playing guitar and singing on stage, Shouto sleeping on the couch in front of a movie. They both had their fair share of pictures. Even Shouto had his, Satoru again, but also Satoru and Momo, Izuku and Tenya, his brothers, sister and mother…

This was where their hearts laid, and where it would forever remain. Why they fought. So the people on their pictures would always be smiling at the camera. She always wanted to be a hero to help people, and protect them, but it seemed she understood what "protect" really meant only when she built her family. 

 

-Am...Am i really acting like a worried and over controlling mom rather than a Peace leader? She couldn’t help but ask, though, evidences plastered right in front of her.

 

Shouto was fighting with his google, trying to put them on correctly. He didn’t bulge or hesitated when he answered :

 

-Kinda.

 

Blunt as always. Momo almost dropped off her cape -as it was still early spring. Shouto noticed her mood and he turned to her, helping her attaching her costume bra. (An addition from Mei, that had magnet clip on it, in order to be easy to open when she created something from her chest, yet still helped her to hold her breast during mission). This is probably because it reminded him of their crazy inventor that he added:

 

-But i wouldn’t worry too much about this, if i were you. Just like Mei said, having a Yaomom watching our back has its advantages.

 

Momo blushed, her heart beating faster despite all the years as her girlfriend and then wife. Once upon a time, Shouto was one of the only boy to always look away when she created something and showed her breast. Be it politeness or respect, she had loved that part of him, as a teen, but now...Now as an adulte, she realized she liked even more his casual attitude. Momo always had to fight almost naked, and that her husband acted as if it was the most natural and logic things to do, understood and didn't make a scene about it, it helped more than anything else. But he probably didn't know that. Shouto clipped Momo’s costume, and started running ; ready to go on mission.

 

-I personally feel much safer with a Yaomom by my side!

 

Momo blinked, her brain only processing the information now.

 

-YOU HEARD THAT?

 

Her cheeks turned as red as a tomato.

 

-Yep, answered Shouto, far ahead of her, already leaving the peace building by the back door of the locker room.

-Shouto! You can’t do that, it’s isnt’ funny! What if the press starts calling me that way!

 

Bakugou had troubles making people call him by his heroes name, as most of them knew him as Kacchan -since Deku always called him like that, or Sparky Sparky Boom Man (for obvious reasons). But at least it was cool nicknames and it didn’t give off a feeling like…

 

-Yaomom : the mom of all heroes! Continued Shouto, completing her thoughts.

-STOP IT! YO-You…

 

She couldn’t think of any weird name for him, so went for an old story.

 

-You HANDCRUSHER!

 

But he didn’t react at all, when once upon a time, he would have been all moody and depressed, convinced that it was a real curse he had. He had been so adorable back then. Not all changes from teen Shouto to adult Shouto were great, after all!

 

-As if you weren’t worried for Satoru as well, she said, managing catch him up. -If i am a mom, then you’re a dad!

 

Shouto looked at her, not bothered by that at all. He always found it cute how Momo, even angry, could not manage to be mean or impolite. But this one was particularly useless against him as he was in fact, a dad. (And a better dad than his father even was, he would even dare to say).

 

Because Shouto had no doubt about it. Right now, Satoru was safe at UA, and acing the exam. The boy was smart, just like his adopted mother.

 

Chapter Text

If Shouto didn’t worry one bit about Satoru’s written exam, trusting his son’s skill, maybe he could save some for his son’s best friend Mahô. As the girl was currently freaking the fuck out -and that was the polite version- in front of her test.

 

It was not the first time that Mahô had found herself with absolutely no preparation in front of a written test. To be frank, it was more or less a habit. She couldn't recall just how many times she arrived at school and discovered that today was an exam day when the teacher started to give the papers. So she had a way of dealing with this kind of situation. First was, of course, reading every question and noticing the ones she could for certain answer.

 

There was absolutely none.

 

Worst of all, for half of it she was not just “uncertain of the answer” but was falling in the category “i don’t even understand what they’re asking for”. Which was, of course, the worst case scenario.

 

What was even vector anyways? What was the point of drawing an arrow above number? She had a vague recollection of that lesson. She probably saw it in the notes her brother gave her, after she missed some classes. She remembered disregarding it because it would not fall on the  test, according to him.

 

Well, thank you bro, it was on her test now! She should have studied. She really should have.

 

But Mahô forced herself to not panic. As said earlier, it wasn’t the first time she encountered a difficult test without preparation. And she was definitely not one to stress out. This was nothing but a test ; the pressure was nothing compared to pro sport competition, where national pride was at the stakes.

 

Come on, what was the worst that could possibly happen? Her having a 0? Pff, not the first time and definitely not the last! ...Except, that if she got 0, there was no way for her to be accepted into UA. So no way of her to become a hero. Satoru would be the only one to go, when she dragged him into this path and forced her dream of super duo on him.

 

Her bag at her feet started to shake, reacting to her fear, and her purse jumped at her right. Oh crap. She was starting to lose control on her quirk.

 

Okay calm down Maho! She thought. It had to be easier on the verso.

 

She had Satoru in her vision field, two front rows away. He looked okay and not freaking out. She knew how he was like when he freaked out - lying on the floor and playing dead. Even if she only saw his back it really didn’t look like he was playing dead or facepalming the desk. So he had to be okay.

 

Well yeah but that means nothing, Satoru is smart!

 

But a girl next to Mahô was calmly humming, as she wrote on her test. She definitely did not look impressed by the exam.

 

Or maybe she is so scared she sings, because you can’t be scared when you sing.

 

That was stupid she definitely proved that stupid theory -again from her brother- wrong, in the past. You could very much be scared and still sing, except that when you panicked you forgot the lyrics and you felt like an idiot on the top of everything.

 

Mahô breathed in and out, trying to convince herself, that the verso of the exam would be easier, and gathered her courage to actually turn it and face it. Like a pro.

 

Except that there was no verso, the piece of paper was blank.

 

She was so dead right now.

 

She slowly, but surely started to panic. Which was unusual for her. When she felt that way she always found a way to relax : by doing a jogging (out of the question right now) reviewing through her program (not enough space) or simply by not PANICKING. Oh my gods, why her pencil case started to roll. Stop it!

 

That was really bad. Not only she didn’t have any answer to the damn test, but she was also about to lose control on her quirk, which lead to objects reacting to her emotion, which means disaster.The only thing that could save her and get her to UA was the practical exam : prove them how strong she was with her power and worth of the title of hero. Yet how could she do that if she didn’t even manage to stop her stuff to dance macarena when she was only a little bit scared?!

 

Calm down! I’m better than this!

 

It wasn’t very convincing and she sure did not convince her sheet of paper, who decided that it was time to start tearing itself apart. Great idea! (Oh no please stop!) You’re not helping! (Bad paper! Bad paper!)

 

“Only 30 minutes left !” Screamed Mic.

 

Mahô’s heart stopped and she blinked, unable to process the information. That was impossible ; she just started! She just had the time to read the questions, then panic, then see that she was screwed because no more question, the panic again, then trying to...oh good, the test was supposed to last two hours and she had spent One third...One half?...One...fifty? Crap..

 

She couldn’t even do fraction how they expected her to know what vector were? WHY would heroe even needed to know what fucking vectors were? It wouldn’t save their damn life in a battle against a villain! Damnit she couldn’t fail this. Don’t even think about it. She had dragged Satoru into this, into UA! She couldn’t fail. Don’t!  Last time she failed, last time she couldn’t do it..She just…

 

I’m going to fail this.

 

It terrified her. Why couldn’t she just stop feeling that way. Stop thinking about how you fail, do something to avoid it! Do...Something! Anything! The pencil case started to shake dangerously. No. Not that! She put an hand on it, trying to prevent it from exploding. The test really, really far away from her mind.

 

***

 

Two rows away, Satoru put down his own pencil and sighed of relief. The boy hadn’t find the test hard, but it was long, so long it surprised him to finish it so early. He could afford some time to beta-read his copy, and that thought put away a weight off his shoulders. It would be okay.

 

I wonder how Mahô is doing right now?

 

Surely, his best friend wasn’t the school-type, so she probably struggled with some questions, but there was no trap or-

 

Ah.

 

Satoru stopped, his heart beating fast in his chest at the mention of his best friend. It wasn’t normal. Something was wrong, he could feel it in his bones. His power, their bond, made fear crawling under his skin and gave him goosebump. Except that for once, it was not due to his fear, but her, Mahô’s. That alone was unusual. It wasn’t like Mahô to be afraid by a mere test. Mahô wasn’t one to be afraid by anything, she was more likely to get excited as she faced danger, wondering how to overcome this the funniest way possible.

 

Instinctively, Satoru turned his head; trying to spot his friend -half expecting to see her missing somehow. It would make sense if she was suddenly teleported out of UA in the middle of the test. That would explain her fear and panic. That would make more senses that what he actually saw.

 

Mahô, her face so pale she almost looked sick, staring at the void, her head in her hands.

 

Satoru blinked, activating his quirk further, and, through her eyes he saw the blank sheet of paper with her name on it. One hour and an half and she still hadn’t answered any of the question. Not even the easiest ones! How…

 

Satoru shook his head, disregarding pressure immediately. After all the girl did compete at pro level for two years now. Pressure wasn’t something she was not used to handle.  Then why? Why would she have a nervous breakdown, here, now, all out of places? Can Mahô could even have a nervous breakdown? It was usually his role in their duo! 

 

Whatever it was, he had to do something, Satoru decided in a blink of an eyes. He would not leave her in this kind of panic state, he knew all too well how hard it was to endure it.

 

So, the boy took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Being this close to her was easier, he didn’t had to rely on Shinso’s method to find her among all the people he had bonded in his life. He could feel her presence like a burn on his back when usually Mahô’s bond always made him warm and confident.

 

Mind Bond.

 

He opened his eyes, knowing full well it took up the beautiful purple color of Maho’s. He still kept an anchor with his own body, conscious and able to feel and see whatever happened to him, just in case. Only projecting his thoughts right to her mind.

 

It was a trick he had troubles with, when he was young, as it required for him to make one’s brain start to hallucinate and control those hallucinations. When he was a kid, he took the trouble to create fake memory to do this, as the concept of hallucination was something he had only saw on tv and didn't understand quite well. Mahô's state of mind made it easier than ever ; which said a lot about the violence of her break down and worried Satoru.

 

Mahô, Mahô, please calm down, tell me what’s wrong, he asked. Don’t worry i will help you, he promised, just give me your authorization to control you and i-

 

But his friend didn’t move at all, her head in her hands, she was shaking from head to toe, not even hearing him. For a moment, Satoru doubted himself, his skills. Had he done something wrong? Was he not using his power correctly? No. It surprised him how certain he was of his ability ; He had trained. He even managed to use this technique on people he was way less close than Mahô! He could talk that way to almost every Shouto’s and Momo’s friends. Mahô was his best friend . The bond should have been strong enough for him to be able to do anything! With, or without her agreement. That was the scariest part of his power after all. So why?

 

Why couldn’t…

 

Satoru tried to focus and analyze the situation. Even if Mahô’s brain was in distress, Satoru had access to everything she knew and witnessed, even the informations the owner had no way of knowing : her cardiac rate was alarming, as well as the adrenaline production. Satoru wasn’t a doctor, but he knew that this much was more common in a life or death situation. He had lived through enough of these through other’s eyes to recognize these signs.

 

And...Among all those informations, he spotted something weird. He heard a song.

 

Mahô’s mind had always been a mess, and loud, it wasn’t uncommon for her to have a song stuck in her head. But it was one melody among many, many, many other ideas and concept. Like a mermaid’s plea in a storm, only one little sound among other. This one, this hum : it was everywhere. It totally saturated Mahô’s brain and ears.

 

That was why she didn’t hear Satoru at all, the boy realized.

 

Satoru’s mind went back to his body, briefly, to have a more global vision of the situation. Stuck in Mahô’s head, all he could see or feel was what she could. And at the moment, that wasn’t much. So he stepped back, and turned his head, trying to spot, who, in there, was singing.

 

It didn’t take long to spot the culprit. A beautiful girl with lovely curled hair seemed to hum innocently as she worked. If Satoru hadn’t seen with his very power what effect it had on Mahô’s body, he would have not cared, but now, it was obvious. All the students around the singer, by earshot, were in the same state of Mahô. Heck one was even crying and hiccuping at the very moment!

 

And I can’t help them!

 

Satoru felt a pang of guilt, as he witnessed, four kid his own ages, trapped under this girl’s influence. But unfortunately, there was nothing he could do, as they shared no bond at all.

 

Saddened, but conscious of his powerlessness, he decided to come to the rescue of the only person he could reach : his best friend.

 

This time he didn’t bother keeping a touch of his own vision field, or his body, diving deep and whole into Mahô’’s soul.

 

I’m sorry Mahô, i‘m taking your place without your permission!

 

And it felt like stepping into a whirlwind. He felt cold, he felt lost, and he felt like his heart would beat out of his chest, as if something terrible would soon happen and he had no control off was about to destroy him. He knew that his own body, seated two front row away, was starting to be affected by the song too, as it became difficult to breath.

 

But among all this, he felt Mahô’s confusion echoing his. She felt his presence, yet didn’t know why, and he used this as an anchor. She couldn’t hear him yet, but feeling him by her side brought a little bit of sanity and peace in her mind…

 

All I need to do is to cut out her hearing skill and it should stop that chaos!

 

He took control of this part of the brain, and, as if he simply put his hand on Mahô’s ears, kindly, gently, made her deaf.

 

Temporary, at least.

 

He had never tried that before, so he was surprised how simple it was, really. Satoru was familiar with hallucinations and mental block, as it was something his power could use, and it wasn't that different of blocking one's nerves, but still...

 

As soon as the sound disappeared, her blood pressure dropped, as her heart rate and panic. And she blinked, confused, and tired.

 

Satoru? She asked. They had never talked that way before, as they preferred normal texting on the phone or on computer, but, in this state they kind of shared a part of her mind. Picture it, as said Shinso, to help him learn to control his power when he was kid, give a mental image to what you’re doing and it will help have better control of this.

He did. He imagined them sharing the same house, living under the same roof. They could feel one another, they became as evident to the other as breathing, as it imprinted every furniture with their presence. From the ground, with the sound of their step, to the wall with the faint echo of their laughters. Just like home. Just like with Mama and Papa. Except that it was more, more intimate. As if the whole house had only one room, as if they had to share everything, from the bathroom to the bed. It frightened him. Satoru didn’t want this intimacy and stepped back, to be able to remember where his space ended and where Mahô’s began. More like roommates, meeting in the living room. He pictured it.

 

That was better. That was how he wanted them to be.

 

-Yes, that’s me, he answered, after making sure he was okay. Now that he cut off all her hearing ability it was even easier to actually produce the hallucination he needed to be understood. Human brain was wonderful, a bit scary, but wonderful. And Satoru’s power could take full use of it, not just the usual 20% a person had control over, no, the full 100%.

 

It scared many people, Satoru included. But never Mahô, somehow. 

 

-Why are you in my head…?

-The girl next to you. She used her quirk, a sound based one. So i made sure you could not be affected anymore. That’s why you were so panicked.

-Heh? That’s so mean! Is it a power like Tsubaki’s?

 

He nodded. And remembered she couldn’t see that, so added a layer of hallucination, visual this time, so she could actually see his face and reaction. She gasped. Her eyes filling with stars:

 

-That’s so awesome! Since when can you do that?

-I will explain that later. Now you have to focus on your test! There’s almost no time left!

 

And unfortunately, he noticed in her memory that her questions were different from the one he had. UA had to use different corpus to make sure people could not copy their neighbour's answers and cheat. Too bad it didn’t prevent the student from using their quirks!

 

Satoru almost promised himself to talk to Aizawa, regarding that matter. Then he realized that he was currently doing that -cheating, using his quirk- and finally decided to avoid that topic. Momo would be so disappointed in him right now, if she knew what he was doing.

 

- I will give you back half of your control over your body, Mahô, he explained, not wanting to be any more guilty than he already was. But he had to remain with her to make sure her hearing skill would not come backl. - So Ace this test, show them what kind of hero you can be!

 

Pumped, her usual confidence back, Mahô smiled and took up her pen. All her worry gone as if it ever happened, even though her body still felt the counterpart of the adrenaline rush, feeling tired and clumsy. Satoru definitely found back his best friend he loved so much.

 

Mahô wasn’t scared of anything. He knew that. And she never, never allowed herself to stop in front of an obstacle. That was just the way she was.

 

Hum.

 

So why was she still not writing any answer down?

 

-Mahô...Why aren’t you answering question?

-I still don’t understand not a single one of the questions, Satoru.

 

Satoru felt his real eyes blinking, unsure he heard/thought/understood rightly, as he repeated:

 

-Not...A single one?

 

Mahô smiled, sweating a lot suddenly.

 

-Yep! Not a single one!

 

And she almost looked proud about it. It pushed Satoru’s buttons altogether.

 

- How can you not?! It’s all basic middle school questions!

-Like hell it is! This is super difficult!

 

It took all Satoru’s self control to not actually grumble -in his real body. One glimpse at the exam and he could already guess most of the answers, how was that even considered to be hard? If one had listened in class, they could probably answer it easy-peasy! Which lead him to ask, rather angrily:

 

- Why did you fucking do during lessons?

-Well sleep obviously! She answered with the same tone, her emotions boiling. Sorry you’re only realizing now the girl’s quirk didn’t turn me stupid ; it’s my actual level of dumbness!

 

She was pissed. And so was Satoru. No way she would get away with that lame excuse. He had the monople of self-depreciation, not her!

 

- Don’t say that, you aren’t stupid, you just never study!

-I don’t have time to study!

 

And apparently she was running out of time to ace this test because Satoru’s real body clearly heard: “15 minutes left!”

 

-What? Mahô asked, sensing his disarray.

-You only have 15 minutes left , he repeated, as she couldn’t have caught that, being temporarily deaf.

 

It certainly worked, as they forgot their little argument right here and right now, frantically looking for a way out. That’s when Mahô, still sweating as if she was in a Sauna, took back her pen, a very worrying expression on. It was the face of someone getting desperate. A villain's face.

 

-That leave me no choice, i will use my quirk then!

-That’s cheating, complained Satoru.

-Who care? Beside she started off first! She added, pointing at her unknowing, busy neighboor.

-I care! And that’s not an excuse!

 

Satoru could almost hear his mother say “If someone jumped of a bridge, would you jump too?” which, his father would of course answer “Depends, do they have fun doing it?” and ruin her point.

 

-We’re already cheating anyways, Mahô concluded, delivering the fatal blow to Satoru’s mind. She was so right, his traitorous reminded him! They were cheating. He even actually was the one who cheated first!

 

I’m sorry! He apologized mentally to his parents. They would be ashamed to have risen a cheater. Well maybe not Shouto, if he finds the law stupid. But Momo would! And he didn’t want to disappoint Momo of all people!

 

He felt Mahô using her quirk, as she started to write, and noticed, almost absent mindedly, little sparks bouncing around her pen. Was it how she saw the world, how she knew it worked? It was totally invisible when he was in his own mind and body.

 

Who cares...You’re helping her cheating! The little voice reminded him.

 

But what else could they do? Despite how much he hated it, Mahô was right : they had no other choice. Satoru sure couldn’t do her exam in her stead, not with a different subject! And he was the one who started using his power. It was really hypocrite of him to complain now. So why? Why did it bother him so much?

 

Was it because he wanted Mahô to rely on him a bit longer?

 

The pang of pain in his chest confirmed his doubts, and he hated himself for it. She was in danger, and he saved her ; he should be proud of that, not regretting the fact that she managed to get back on her feet and save herself in the end!

 

It was so selfish! How could he even think that way? Satoru closed his eyes, clenching his fist was all he managed to do, tensing up from head to toe. For a moment, he thought he was doing great, helping someone just because he couldn’t stand to see them in pain. Yet, apparently he was wrong because the moment she stopped, when she found back her smile and confidence he somehow regretted it? Talk about logic! Just because, for once his quirk was more useful than her, that didn’t give him the right to be petty! Beside what was even the point? Mahô could enchant object and he could control mind of his close friends. The difference would always be there : she could make miracles, when he only was a disaster on hold.

 

-And done! Mahô claimed aloud, proud of herself.

 

Satoru shook his head, trying to run away from such thoughts, and concentrated on the important: helping his friend. That's how he had to feel, not petty; happy. 

 

Wow, already? He complimented her -it would be harder to hold compliment if she started to stop impressing him. - Are you sure about the phrasing? Don’t you want to take a little bit more time to think? He added, though, because Mahô had always been too quick to act.- You only got one chance after all!

-Nah! No need, i used this enchantment so many times already, i know it by heart. That’s how i always manage to get through final exams at my school!

 

She said, showing him with a proud smile her copy. The sentence ; one simple order, clear and neat had been written : “Whoever reads this will give me a perfect score.”

 

So first, a perfect score? Really Mahô? You couldn’t settle for something less than perfect?

And second…

 

Don’t be proud of THAT!

 

Come on, Satoru always knew that his friend wasn’t the best at school, but cheating during finals, on regular basis? That was worse than he had feared! No wonder she couldn’t understand a single question. The scolding didn’t seem to get into Mahô’s head, though, as she still laughed and started to explain how brillant her enchantment was:

 

You see, the present tense instead of the “ing” form is to make sure the enchantment doesn’t vanish once one person has finished reading! Plus it stats active on every occurrence! And the most important part is the “will give me a perfect score” instead of “wil thinks this copy deserve a perfect score!” to make sure they actually grade it, and not just stop at thinking it! It’s perfect! I may not be able to enchant living things, but i can influence them enough with enchanted objects!

 

Satoru could see, in her memory, how many tries and hours of work this enchantment took her. And if it didn’t imply she had done that many time in the past, he would, indeed be proud like her. But now all he could think off was  : why don’t you use these brains cells or yours to actually study… Fortunately he kept that to himself, guarding his thoughts from the mind bond. As it would only hurt her. Plus If he had his body, his actual body, watching this copy, Satoru was sure that the urge to grade and give her a 100% would be unbearable. He remembered first hand how powerful her quirk could be.

 

Yet, as he stared at the sentence, a detail came to his mind.

 

What if it’s a robot which grades your copy? He asked, sceptical.  

 

Mahô’s heart made a loop, as she heard an option she hadn’t considered before. Her quirk, after all, worked better when the wording was correct, and precise, she had to be careful about such details. Which more often than none, she wasn’t.

 

Why would there be robot? She wondered, smiling nervously, denying the evidence.

-It’s UA. They’re kinda that extra, bluntly -and rightly- answered Satoru.

 

She stopped and stared, visibly concerned by his point. Slowly but surely, her smile dropped from her face and she started to sweat again, anxious.

 

-And, added Satoru, sorry already, what if Aizawa is the one reading it? Aren’t your object en extension of yourself?

 

He remembered Mahô’s brother stating that once. And since Aizawa only needed to see the owner of the quirk to be able to erase it...Well maybe it was a long stretch but it was still a risk!

 

Satoru hated to be the bringer of bad news, but as he had explained : they only got one chance. If her enchantment failed, she would get a 0. She would not go to UA. And Satoru didn’t want to go to UA by himself. (Well, that was, if he managed to pass the practical exam, but that was a worry for later). Though, it didn’t take long to Mahô to get back on her feet, she abruptly turned her back and took back her pen, still laughing nervously. (And honestly, Satoru was starting to worry about her bringing her neighbor's attention at this point).

 

- It’s okay! Okay! She stated, not thinking that at all. - No need to panic! As she was very much panicking. -I can still correct it! All i have to do is rephrase the enchantment a bit!

 

Satoru couldn’t hide his surprise, as Mahô really thought that last part, unlike the first two. She actually believed she could do that, even after imprinting her enchantment on the piece of paper. That was new!

 

-Since when can you do that? He blurted out.

-Do what?

- Erase your previous enchantment! Last time i saw you, it still took you HOURS! and we have like, ten minutes!

 

Two years ago, she was struggling with this limitation. Enchanting was something she could do in the blink of an eyes, sometimes not even needing to touch the object she put under her spell. But making them stop? He remembered she had trained and trained, yet didn’t manage to reduce even by one minute the time she needed to take her orders back!

 

- It still does! she assured him, even though she didn’t look worried by that. It made no sense. - But as Creatie often says : think differently! That’s what i did.

 

She brandished her pen and put it under Satoru’s mind nose.

 

-Look at this little fella!

 

Satoru stared, but he only see sparkling aura around at first, that’s when he actually decided to see the pen through his friend’s eyes, allowing their bond to mix a little bit more, like a peek in her room, that he finally understood what she meant.

 

Mahô had always claimed that object were alive, Satoru doubted it, but he had respected her opinion, assuming it was the same as religion. If she believed that, if she needed to think that, then who was it to tell her not to? But here and now, as he stared at the pencil in their hand, he felt it.

 

It was like facing a tamed beast. He could almost see, in the wears of the tears of the plastic, an happy face! The thing was proud to show off its skills, as it was different and better than the other, as it had a purpose! In their shared mind, Satoru could actually remember the order Mahô had imprinted on it, and even its name : Testy. (And not Tasty, even though there was a bite mark near the eraser, a mental note reminded them both, irritably). He could see three different orders ; fitting on it like clothes on a person.

 

The pencil mine, which instruction was : “Whenever Mahô writes an enchantment, transfers it to the matter you’re writing it on, on her signal.” The eraser, on the other hand, had for simple order : “If the enchantment is written, you can erase some part of it and correct it”. While the plastic, and main body of the object had to “Fuse the two enchantments of this pencil together”!

 

It was so smart, gasped Satoru. Mahô had always been limited in her power by the number or order she could give to. Only one by material. But there, she actually used the different parts that made the object and tiptoed around it. The whole trick relying on the third enchantment. It offered so many new possibilities!

 

He didn’t even had to say that with an hallucination, as she heard him in their common mind, and she blushed, happy to actually impress her friend. As if it was the first time ever she did so.

 

- I use this little one everytime i test a new enchantment! He never disappoints me! The pencil squealed, as content to get praise as its owner.

 

For a second, Satoru caught a glimpse of her past self, as she wrote a phrase on her shoes, note the effect on her notebook, tested it, ran directly into the wall at full speed, failing, to came back on the phrasing, again, and again. He often forgot how much preparation her quirk required, as she used it with such carefree attitude most of the time.

 

-As for Aizawa, she added, i really can’t add anything else to the already existing sentence…

 

She frowned, as she erased her previous order, and turned it into “Whoever read this, human or not, will give me a perfect score.” And unfortunately Satoru had no clue either on how to put the two instructions into a single sentence. Her copy was only made of paper, so she couldn’t use the same trick as for Testy and enchant something else.

 

- I will add a sticker, she finally said, taking it in her pencil case. -She had so many unused material in there it was a mess. - Yes, I will name it “HanptiGrumpy” ; as he will protect me from Aizawa, and its order will be…”No one can use their quirk on what i’m stuck on!”

 

She held it for a second, checking one last time her sentence, then proceed to stick HanptiGrumpy on it. Nodding in approval as the two mixed together perfectly, she giggled.

 

- Now i can truly say that my only limit is my imagination!  

 

It had been so long, since Satoru heard that from her. She used to always claim it with a big smile on her face, stating that, since it was what her daddy told her, it was undeniably true.

 

They were nine, the first time they met. Back then, Satoru had been weak and afraid of this little ball of energy. Everything she did was loud and impressive when he aspired to nothing but peace. She did not walk, she bounced. She did not talk, she yelled. Even facing her biggest hero, Creatie, for the first time, she had blurted out without hesitation how they would be a great team, when she would be a grown up and a hero.

 

“Our quirk are compatibles! I can enchant object. I talk to them, and they decide to help me. As long as i don’t ask them to change they do everything i say...Well nearly everything!”

 

Satoru remembered the expression on Momo’s face, both moved and embarrassed by the little girl’s statement. How could she not? She was only 9 and so full of confidence! When, at that time, Momo had been nothing but doubts.

 

Satoru he had learnt, the hard way, that the little girl wasn’t as sure of herself as she let it show. She had her own worries, at that time. She didn’t had a perfect control of her power and often destroyed objects she cared about by accident. Her family wasn’t in the best shape either. Yet it never discouraged her from being generous. The first gesture she had for the rude boy in Shouto’s arm, was to gift him a enchanted pen.

 

“It’s a gift for you, she had said, I enchanted it to help you sleep well, so you’re not tired-tired anymore, just tired, you know?”

 

Satoru still had the present, in his room. It was all worn out, only standing still thanks to Sero’s tape, as he had gripped it many time in his sleep, but it still worked perfectly. He loved this part of Mahô dearly. That day he had pushed her away, telling her he was too tired to play, and instead of being mad at him, her first reflex was to fix his problem. She always wanted to fix things. She often managed to do it by the sheer power of her confidence and will. Back then, she used to say this motto all the time “My only limit is my imagination” and to be completely honest, Satoru thought it was a lie the little girl kept telling to herself, to him, to give them courage. As time went on, she started to say it less and less, so much that Satoru had almost forgotten about it. That he almost thought Mahô had stopped believing it.

 

And now look at you…

 

He looked at her, and saw her as she was : as confident as her 9 years old self. Yet, so much stronger than she had been. And he felt the gap between them growing even further.

 

These past few years, Satoru had trained. He didn’t stay idle and hope to become a hero without any effort. His quirk, he learned how to control it with Shinso, He even asked Endeavor to teach him self-defense, which had ended in nothing but argument and disaster, and managed to convince Shouto and Momo to actually help him training, even when his papa was still struggling with this part of himself. All of this hoping that one day, he would caught up to her. But it was like a running in a marathon starting one turn behind. The distance between them only increased. It was so frustrating! The difference of talent was so infuriating. And she never let him a chance to get to her level. When he trained, she trained more. When he practiced his quirk; she found new way to use her power. How could he even compete? He was so angry.

 

Angry at him.

 

I need to work harder.

 

He knew he had started running in this race way too late. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t finish it and had no hope of winning. Just that he had to run faster than everyone else and longer. Yet here he was, wasting time complaining and self-pitying instead of running. Instead of trying! Of course he would not be able to go far with this mindset! If he thought that it was impossible, of course he would stop. You couldn’t win a marathon if you stopped running!

 

Mahô still had limit. Mahô still couldn’t un-enchant object in a blink of an eyes. But she found another way, because she believed, truly believed, that there was one! That was the fundamental difference between them, more than their circumstance of their birth and their power. He wanted...He needed to believe that. Even if it was a lie he had to tell himself everyday, just like Mahô's motto. 

 

Satoru jumped on the confidence train, knowing full well he had to take it while it lasted.

 

-Mahô, Please give me control over your body! He pleaded her.

- Heh? Why? My enchantment is done and i’m okay now! She asked, legimitaly confused.

-I will take you test in your stead!

-Heeeeh? But there’s only a few minutes left, and we have different test, and it’s hard as hell! Even a smartie like you can’t

 

But Satoru refused to hear that. His mind was already racing ; he had barely 10 minutes left, maybe even less, and this was a exam he knew barely nothing off. On the paper, it was impossible. And that was why he wanted to try!

 

- We share the same mind when you let me in! You read your test over and over again the past two hours, he realized, as the same time as he explained it to her -You know it by heart now, and so do i then! Even if you don’t remember, it’s somewhere inside your mind ; i can find it!

 

If he could find back repressed memories, force people to hallucinate, this, surely, was possible. All he needed to do was accept to share their minds totally ;no more roommates, no second room to go back too. Just one. If it was for a short period of time, he could deal with the intimacy. He trusted her, after all. 

 

- I will only answer in a form of draft, with everything you need compiled. I will not waste time by formulating sentences! He decided out of the blue.- It should be enough to get you at least a passing grade!

 

Mahô couldn’t believe her eyes and ears, and he felt it. He had managed to let her at loss with words. And it wasn’t as rewarding as he imagined it.

 

-Please Mahô! I don’t want you to handle a blank sheet of paper! Even if it’s enchanted!

 

In theory, Satoru didn’t need her permission, if he wanted, he could take it here and now control of her body and start writing ; abusing their bonds and betraying her trust. But he didn’t want to. It was the opposite of what he wanted. Because:

 

-I know i can do it!

 

He just needed her to believe in him. Because he trusted her judgement, if she thought he could, then that meant it was true. It mean they would make it true.

 

Chapter Text

Satoru was so caught up in his own mess of emotions, that he took Mahô’s stunned expression for a doubtful one.

 

He had been impressed by how she had grown, but at the moment, she was the one who couldn’t believe her eyes. The boy standing before her was so different from the one she first met, only a couple of years ago.

 

When little herself ventured in her father’s office, and gazed at his new bottles on the shelves. She wasn’t allowed to do so, but she still did frequently, always marveled by the shapes the past took, when they were trapped by her brothers, inside simple bottles. It was full of colors, as if they had put it in shooting stars! She just couldn’t take her eyes off. And some part of her knew that it was thank to this procedure her family put on that her father keep the little sanity he had left. So she loved it even more.

 

-What’s on this one? She had asked her daddy, -not caring about being caught one bit- when she first saw a glimpse of Satoru, inside one of the new bottle.

 

Lights formed the silhouette of a boy her own age, with eyes so dead that it picked up her interest. What had the boy? Why was he only wearing a simple shirt? Why was he so thin and dirty? Could she help him? Did her father, being the hero he was, saved him? The concept of misery was still blurry, at her age, as she had grew up surrounded by nothing but love. She heard about it everyday, but that was all it was : words. People getting attacked by villains, abducted, raped, left for dead, family grieving, people dying of hunger...It was as far away from her heart as it was from her body and family. Yet, as she stared at the boy in this bottle, she almost felt like she understood it. Not quite, but almost. The hard truth simple. 

 

Why was the boy so sad, when she was so happy?

 

-Mahô, had scolded her father, don’t play with it, it’s fragile.

 

Then he saw what bottle she had in her hands and his expression had softened, his shoulders dropping. The same way he always did, when he had to explain her something important. Important as to why, Tobio couldn’t go to crowded places, or why grampa would not be coming home anymore. With a sad smile, he patted her head.

 

-This is not something a girl your age should see, he said, as he took back the bottle and put it on the shelves, way higher than it had been previously. Out of Mahô’s reach.

-Why? There’s a boy my age in it!

 

Surely, if he was old enough to be concerned, so she was. It was logic. Yet her father’s smile got sadder, and he took her on his knee, hugging her. She was not one to say no to her daddy’s hug, so she didn’t complain. But the question was still on her mind.

 

-It’s a boy my colleague, Shouto Todoroki, saved during our latest mission, his father finally explained, slowly, cautious of his every word.

-Then it’s an happy memory! She giggled, trying to cheer him up. As her father was always better with a smile on his face too. That’s how Mommy and Mahô loved him the best, even though, lately, he smiled less and less everyday.

 

She succeeded, and her father gave her a grin, as he hugged her tighter.

 

-You’re right, it ends well!

 

But his hug was too tight to be true.

 

-But...He added in a whisper -We arrived too late. I saw with my power the awful things that villains did to him...And made him do. I’m afraid, Mahô. I’m afraid of how long it will take, for this kid to ever trust someone again.

 

Yet, here she was, standing in front of the same boy, her friend. He had so much radiance, so much confidence and trust that it was almost blinding. She couldn’t help but be moved, conscious of how lucky she was, to be the one witnessing this. The poor boy in the bottle was finally happy, as he should always have been, and so she was. You don’t have to be afraid anymore, she thought, not certain if she talked to her past dad or the little boy she met. She wouldn’t be able to hide her smile, even if she had wished to, when she agreed:

 

-I leave my body and soul in your hands, then.

 

As soon as the thought left her, she felt him take her place. It didn’t feel like being pushed away, as she imagined it, it was brutal, yet as soft as falling asleep. She felt like closing her eyes, and the next moment, she was dreaming of him, taking her place.

 

Satoru could have closed his consciousness to her, she would have not be able to see what he was doing, even less remember it. He was just that powerful. But he didn’t. And she couldn’t help but feel gifted by this sign of respect ; he didn’t want her to be left out. And she wished him the best, thankful.

 

You can do it! She thought, as hard and loud as she could.

 

It echoed in Satoru’s mind.

 

I can do it!

 

He felt it in his bones, the confidence, the support from his friend. It gave him courage. It gave him the push he needed, the energy he lacked. But most of all, it gave him ideas. Ideas to outbest himself.

 

Without realizing, he took a second pen in his hand, and started to write with two. Mahô was right-handed, when he was left-handed. As one, they could be both. And writing something different with each hand didn’t require much more work than controlling his own body and another one at the same time.

 

If i write only the formula i need to use instead of resolving the actual problem, i might get half of the points and not waste anymore time…

 

Unfortunately he couldn’t apply this strategy for the japanese and english subjects. So instead he noted a few key words and kanjis on the margin, hoping that this would be the one the grading teacher expected…

 

I will only give the layout of the dissertation.

-Satoru, don’t eat my nails, please! He heard Mahô pleading.

 

Ah. Fuck. His left hand had finished giving the vocabulary and Ince it was free, it went on this bad habit of his... Satoru looked for something else to make her do. His eyes fell on the physic subject : drawing a correct electric shema for…

 

Satoru…!

 

Not now, Mahô, he thought, pissed. I will explain you what i’m doing later, we will redo this test at home so you’ll be able to do it on your own next time. But now he had to focus! And for the next question...He got stuck. What was the difference between genotype and karyotype? He had forgotten. Could he went into Mahô's memory of school and find the answer there, even if the actual Mahô didn't remember it? No. It would take time to check every memory of lesson, and he was not sure they even got into this part of the program ; Mahô didn't remember. Oh boys, now that they shared mind he could see she hadn't lied to him : she really spent most of her time during lesson sleeping. What the fuck Mahô! 

 

-Satoru Todoroki!

 

Satoru turned his head, as he felt her presence to his right so hard he couldn’t concentrate ; yeah well maybe she ws indigent by his comment, but so ws he by her attitude : school were for learning not sleeping!

 

-Yes, what?! He said aloud.

 

Except that no one was standing to his right. Not Mahô, just the humming girl. Which had stopped humming and stared at him, confused. There was someone, though, at his right. His real body’s right.

 

Present Mic ; his hand stretched, asking for his copy.

 

Satoru felt his blood turning cold, as he realized that Mahô’s hearing ability were still off ; that he heard that with his own ears, but answered with Mahô’s mouth. And it went hot the second the boy saw Mic staring at him, surprised, then to Mahô.

 

He broke the bond between them faster than he ever did, slamming the door of their mental shared house, throwing the key away in the same panicked movement. But it was too late. Was it too late? Could they still pull it off as a mistake?

 

-WHAT! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT I FINISHED JUST IN TIME! Yelled Mahô, brandishing her copy in her fist with a fake smile on her face, visibly back inside her own body.

 

Satoru jumped on the occasion and grinned nervously, giving his own copy to the teacher, apologetic:

 

-Sorry, i was lost...inside my thoughts.

 

Which wasn’t, truly, a lie. Right? I’m sorry Mama, Papa...Your son is a liar and a cheater.

 

Even Mahô’s terrible improvisation skill didn’t save their asses, though. Hizashi stared at them, frowning and definitely not fooled. Knowing him was sometimes an advantage, but sure this time it was more of an inconvenient as he had the full graps of what Satoru could do and the bond between him and Ma-

 

-Satoru, did you use your po-

 

Fuck! Satoru didn’t let him finish his question, as it was now or never, and he activated his quirk again.

 

You are being paranoïd, Satoru is a good kid and he wouldn’t dare cheat on this very day!

 

He put this very thought in Hizashi's brain, and prayed for their “bond” to be strong enough to be used like this. After all, Hizashi had only babysitted him a couple of time in 5 years maybe...Maybe he didn’t like the boy at all, and just kind of went along with-

 

-Ah, never mind, you wouldn’t dare! Said Hizashi, laughing. -Thanks for you copy boy.

 

Then he went to the next candidate, and asked for his test too, as if nothing happened.

 

Satoru didn’t wait for him to realize he had been manipulated, or the first symptom of disorientation hitting Mic, the boy took up his stuff and ran out of the exam room as if he had the devil running after him, apologizing mentally all the way out.

 

Mahô didn’t wait long to get out after him, bowing to Mic as she handled her enchanted copy. She still smiled, as she noticed that Satoru, in all his confusion and hurry, had managed to answer half of the test questions in ten minutes. I can't believe I'm friend with such a smart person! 

 

But she also knew that Satoru wasn't just smart, he was kind and generous and probably feeling guilty and stressed right now. So, she decided to do something to ease her best friend's consciousness. 

 

-Here Mic, she said, giving a button to the teacher after an hesitation.

 

The hero frowned, staring at the present with confusion.

 

-What’s for? I hope, young girl, that’s not something that will force me to grade you kindly!

 

She laughed, blushing and thinking loudly well, not this one, nope.

 

-Nope! It’s to keep you at full health! She said with a smile, knowing full well how Satoru’s quirk after effect were when he forcibly entered one’s mind without permission. -Since you’re my favorite teacher here.

-Flattery and lies will get you nowhere.

-Okay, you’re my third favorite teacher here. Maybe fourth!

-Heh? That low in your list? Who are the first ones?

 

She ran away before giving him any answers. The girl was astonished how she didn’t even stumble one bit, her head light and mind clear. She would have thought that she would be hit by aftereffects too. . Was she feeling rash then? If she recalled right, it was either dissociating, disorientation or recklessness behavior, dish...Dishinbi? What was the word adult used? Whatever, the state they ended up when they started drinking but before they were drunk for real. 

 

Whatever it was, she didn't feel any change. Maybe because she was reckless all the time? But on the other hand, her best friend did use his quirk on her, without permission at first : she should be at least disoriented.

 

But he is always welcome, she grinned, so it wasn’t truly intrusion! She concluded.

 

Satoru would probably call her “carefree”, and tell her that she should not be so opened, as his power was dangerous and he could very much kill her if he had wanted to. But the boy would never do that. Quite the contrary, after all, today, he saved her.

 

I need to thank him!

 

She spotted him as soon as she left the building. When other students gathered, talking about the tests, either mourning and rejoicing, Satoru stood far away. Hugging a tree.

 

-Are you so disoriented you went head first into a tree? She asked, reaching him, feeling a bit guilty.

 

After all, if he did, it was because he had used his power. So she patted his back, hoping it would help him feel better. Satoru sighed, as if he was drawing his last breath, and slowly but surely, he let himself drop on the floor. Laying on the ground and playing dead.

 

-I betrayed Hizashi’s trust! he said. -I used my quirk on him without his consent! I’m as bad as a villain!

 

Oh. He is freaking out. She realized.

 

Well, she should have expected that. Students who just got out of the building stared at the boy laying on the ground, their eyes full of compassion and pity, probably thinking that he had fucked up his test, when, thought Mahô, He would probably have a better grade than them in the end.

 

“Do you see that? -Yeah, poor boy, he messed up! - Well that’s one less to worry about!”

 

Mahô really hated this mindset, if they feared battle, then they should not aim to be hero.

 

“But man the test was so hard! -Really? I didn’t find it that difficult. -Are you serious? The girl next to me was almost driven crazy by it, she started staring to the void and made unnecessary movement. All her stuff started to dance around her, that was super creepy! -Well my neighbor is the one taking a nap on the grass, and he already started dozing off half an hour before the end, so…-Heh?”

 

In his state, Satoru didn’t care being the center of their attention, but she knew he would, later. So she did the only think she could at the moment, as his best friend. She forced him to stand back on his feets. Even if he did not let her do that easily, clearly exaggerating the pull of the gravity.

 

-Okay, stop!  She said, poking his nose with her finger. -You’re not a villain! She reminded him.

 

He stared back, not convinced.

 

-You’re just stressed! And you know what i do when i stress? She said.

-Sport?

-Exactly! So here, stretch with me, you’ll see, it will put back your mind in a good place!

 

He sighed, but did as she said, imitating her warm up exercises. Good. She did a couple, encouraging him each time, until his face stopped being so white. That was better.

 

-He looked fine, she finally said.

 

Satoru moved his head in her direction, looking as tired as if he had just run a full marathon.

 

-Who?

-Pressent Mic! I checked, you know! He was walking straight and didn’t seem disoriented one bit. Even speaking clearly.

-So what?

-So, your didn’t force yourself on him! You told me that people you did that were dissociating after you left their mind.

-Only when i take full control of their bodies against their will, i just put a thought in his head, this barely counts…

 

You're able to pull out Jedi's trick and yet you find a way to make it seem like it's not great! Mahô frowned, but kept her smile up, trying not to show him any anger. He surely was dead set on making this hard. It made her want to pinch his cheek. She wasn’t going to let him get away with it.

 

-And i’m fine! She said. -I’m even more than fine! And that’s totally thanks to you. You saved me there.

 

Satoru said nothing, looking at the ground rather than her, embarrassed. He was going to see where she was heading and wasn’t sure he wanted to get there quite yet. He never knew how to take a compliment.

 

-You were so impressive! She continued, her eyes, full of stars, not caring about him not believing her compliment ; one day she would shower him with so much he would either take it or die drowning under the pile!-You’ve grown up so much! Your quirk is so powerful now! I’m jealous.

-Jealous, of me ? He coughed, not buying that.

 

Why would she even?

 

-Yes, of course! I couldn’t think straight at all, when i was under the girl’s quirk! I didn’t even think about using my power to cheat, like I usually do, yet you managed to see i was not feeling good to spot the problem, and solve it!Like Nope and woos and bang !And you were so cool, when you tried to do the test in like, ten minutes! You pulled out your big black glasses and played your Kira, like "this is nothing for me" and swoosh! 

-But i didn’t manage to finish it...

-Duh, of course you don’t! That was not possible in so little time, but you tried anyways! That’s was way cooler than actually finishing it!

 

Satoru felt himself blush under the praise, even the tip of his ears felt hot. Could she stop with this, already? That was becoming really embarrassing. Especially when he felt he didn’t deserve that at all. She did that kind of thing everyday, why was she impressed when other followed her example?

 

-You really looked like a hero today!

 

That was the last straw, and Satoru hid under his hands, letting himself drop on the ground again, hoping to find a quick, merciful death right her and right now. Except that Mahô didn’t let him run away and got to his level, making a split as if it was the easiest thing to do.

 

-You’re such a show-off, the boy complained.

-You’re a worry rat and you’re welcome! Do you feel better?

 

He grumbled, not sure what to say, because, yeah in a sense, he did. He was weak to praises. Especially hers, or his parent's. But that didn’t change the fact that he had cheated and betrayed Mic’s trust. A hero wouldn’t act like that.

 

-Listen Satoru, Mahô said, lying right next to him, so he wouldn’t be the only weird student around. - This is competition. It’s not about being good or bad, whoever is the best win ; that’s as simple as that.

-That doesn’t make cheating okay! You do competition all the time, do you cheat at, i don’t know, during your mondial gymnastic competition?

-Of course not!

-So why is it different? It’s also a competition, a contest, whoever is better win there too!

-Yeah but the goal of my competition is to recognize one’s physical ability without their quirk, not if they are fit to be a hero! If they wanted they could do like my competitions and give us a suppressing-quirk shot before giving us the test! But they don't. There have to be an explanation for that. They forbad people with mutation bodies in sport competition because the drug doesn't work on them, you know, because they just can't get it on hold! 

 

The argument was a bit blurry and unclear, but Satoru got the point. If UA truly condemned this kind of behavior, they would have to forbid the access to their exam to people with high intelligence quirk, for example. But it was still not acceptable, for him, as people with intelligence quirk couldn’t take it off, but they, with their power, willingly choose to use it. UA could also expect that their future students, ones who aimed to be hero, to follow a moral code! 

 

-So you tell me you’re not mad the girl next to you used her quirk on you? That she fought fair? That you’re okay with it?

-Of course yes! She was smart doing that, it almost got me! If you weren’t there to help me i would be done for and she would have taken my place at UA!

-And you’re okay with that? That someone who cheated become a hero in your place? That’s what you’re trying to say?

-Yes!

 

He was do deadpanned by her answer that he lost all his words, and for once, Mahô did seem serious, truly, utterly mad at him, as she poked his nose again, frowning:

 

-You of all people should know this well! Hero fights villains, and villains don’t fight fair! If they see you on the ground they’re not gonna stop and say “okay the fight is over, see you next time!” they will kill you and that’s the end of it! So YES, heroes shouldn’t fight fair either if it saves their lives!

 

She stood up on her feet, and pulled his arm without any mercy, forcing him, once again, to stand up. Satoru was about to say something, something petty and harsh, because he knew she was right on that point but didn’t want to be that kind of hero still. But he gulped on the word, as Mahô’s memory leaked through their contact, reminding him how she witnessed her father pointing a gun to his own head, under the influence of a villain. Of big mother. Five years ago.

 

She learnt this lesson the harsh way, and once again it had been all Satoru’s fault. He couldn’t blame her for being realist and overly cautious.

 

-So now, i want you to look at me Satoru, she ordered, seriously.

 

He obeyed, finding hard to look at her in the eyes after this flashback.

 

-And i want you to shout this to the sky: I’m going to be a hero!

-What?

 

Like hell he would do that! In the middle of the crowd, who -oh god he just noticed- was already staring at them as if they were mad. Didn’t people had better things to do? Yet Mahô didn’t leave him the choice, as she herself started to yell fiercely :

 

-I’m going to be a hero with my best friend and we’re going to best duo EVER!

 

Satoru freaked out and put his hand on her mouth, trying to shut her up. But Mahô had grew up with like, three brothers. She immediately spit into his palm as a defense.

 

-EW! GROSS!

-SHOUT WITH ME!

-NEVER!

-IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE! COME ON!

 

Satoru greeted his teeth, knowing that she would not drop this off until he obeyed, so, blushing and embarrassed from head to toe, he whispered:

 

-I’m going to be a hero.

-I HEARD NOTHING!

-I’M GOING TO BE A HERO WITH MY BEST FRIEND! He shouted, only to make her shut up.

-THAT’S THE SPIRIT! Don’t you feel good?

 

If by feeling good, she meant feeling like digging himself into a hole and never appear again, then yes, he did felt good!

 

-Oh my, that’s quite a statement!

 

With all their shouting, they managed to brought attention to them quite effectively, and before them stood the very same girl who had started this all. The teen with long curled hair, and a superior smug on her face.

 

-I don’t know if you two can become heroes, but you sure can try a comic duo, she stated.

-Oh, look Satoru, the cheat-

 

Again Satoru put his hand on Mahô’s mouth and accepted his fate as she spitted on it again. They definitely couldn’t call her a cheater when they cheated their way out too. The girl stared at them, definitely judging their skills, then finally held her hand:

 

-My name is Suzuki Honoka, nice to meet you!.

 

Was it petty for Satoru to shake her hand with the one full of Mahô’s saliva? He decided that it was not and did so, finding it way too fun to witness her face changing color.

 

-I hope that we can compete against one another once again, she said, as she tried to clean of her palm, probably assuming that it would be an easy win on her part.

-I hope not, because if we end up in the same bloc, i will leave you no chance of winning, answered Mahô, not impressed at all.

 

Suzuki grinned, definitely not buying that -and how would she, when all she see was too overconfident clowns. Though, after a while she squirmed her eyes and gazed at Satoru and Mahô with more seriousness:

 

-Wait a minute, your faces are familiar…

 

She couldn’t finish her sentence, though, as speakers was turned on, and Nedzu’s voice echoed within all campus.

 

-Dear future students, i bring your attention on this very special day, and ask you to calmly make your way to the main building The practical exam will be delayed by a few hours, as the city is currently under attack. For your safety, i ask you that none of you leave the school ground until you’re allowed to! You will find a full meal in the cafeteria. We apologize for your troubles and wish you a good exam.

 

Students lifted their heads to the sky, worry and doubts starting to spread among them. An attack? Here? Satoru wasn’t that surprised, as he knew about Momo’s plans and expected the villains to react after Peace new program...yet he couldn’t help but think about his parents. They were probably fighting on the field, right now, and as usual, he hoped they were all right. As Mahô rightfully said, Villains didn’t fight fair. Satoru had learnt that lesson the hard way. 

 

But that didn't mean he was okay for doing the same! Maybe it was too late, maybe he had been right to cheat now, but would it be in the future? He didn't know that for sure. What he was sure was, that if he could avoid doing it again, he would. And for that there was only one solution. As Mahô passed right next to him, already heading to the cafeteria, he grabbed her shoulder. 

 

-Yes? She asked him immediately.

-Vector. You're supposed to know what it is. 

 

Mahô's eyes grew wider, as she understood what he meant. 

 

-Come on, Satoru who needs to know vector anyways?

-You. And you should have known before this test. You should have been able to answer every single question -he looked away and noticed that somehow Suzuku Honda was not here anymore, so he added- without my help. But you didn't ; because you didn't study. 

-Yeah, I know and I'm sorry?

-Don't be. Because you're going to know what Vector is, and how to answer every single question of this test before the end of the break. I will make sure of that. 

 

Mahô closed her mouth, deadpanned, and she did the only things that she could do. She tried to run away as fast and as far as she can. But Satoru had been her friend for a long time now, he knew how she worked, and he might had the strength of a toddler, he could still predict her endeavor with his power. So he caught her by the collar before she could go far and grinned. Next time, they would play fair, and he wouldn't have to save her sorry ass because she didn't study enough. 

 

Because that was the right things to do, and what hero was like in their mind. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Inko Midoriya-Yagi had been the mother of a hero for quite sometimes now, one could assume that she got used to the pressure and the worryness that came with it, each time the city was under attack. But she didn’t. How could she? Her son might be considered as one of the best hero of his generation, and even the “best hero ever”, when he defeated the origin of all villain, years ago, but he was still her son. Just as it was his job to fight evil, it was her job to worry.


-You’re still zapping tv? Asked Toshinori, as he was putting on his coat.

-Some journalists must be recording his fight, i just need to find the right one!

 

But she didn’t, all the tv cared about was showing some video from the villain JusticeHarmmer, stating that this coordinate attack was his doing and was what Peace deserved : a revolution against tyranny. If she ever came across some videos of fight, it was blurry or from too far away for Inko to spot her son’s costume.  A real mess.

 

-Are you sure you need to go to UA today? She asked Yoshinori, as her worryness needed to find another target, one that was still accessible. So, her husband.

-Of course, it’s the exam today, they need all the help they can get. There’s thousand of students trying to apply, you know, and only 40 places on the hero courses.

-I know they need help but…

 

She looked for a reason for him to stay at home, safe, with her. She knew Toshinori Yagi had been the hero All might, the peace symbol and once greatest hero before her son, and she knew he was still very strong If not physically, mentally at least. But she couldn’t help thinking that it was an unneeded risk to go out, when the whole city was under attack. Especially when, for once in her life, they didn’t need money. Marrying one of the greatest hero ever, had its perks. Retirement wasn’t that good but he had enough saving and his hero agency still provided them an income regularly enough. Toshinori was old enough to actually retire without shame, yet he continued to work at UA. Because he liked this job, he liked helping people of course, but teaching Izuku and saw his growth had awakened something in him ; the satisfaction of nurturing the next generation. Even after his retirement as All might, it was his own way to protect the people. She couldn’t blame it for that, especially when this behavior, sweetness of his, was one of the reason she had fallen in love and then married him.  

 

But some days, like this one, it was hard to swallow. She wanted nothing but having him close and safe, at their home, with their family.

 

-The city seems blocked everywhere because of the fight, she finally decided to say, you might get stuck into the traffic.

 

Toshinori smiled, not fooled by this comment, and put a kiss on her forehead.

 

-Don’t worry dear, Peace got everything under control. Kirishima is the one taking me there, he has the Peace app for heroes, it will show him which roads are for evacuation purpose and which path is the fastest to go to the field. If all, i should be the one worried about you, you won’t have a hero in the same car as you!

 

She pouted, still not liking the idea, even if she knew he was right.

 

-Izuku and I are going to be fine, i will call you as soon as i get to UA’s ground, will that put you at ease?

-Yes.

-Then i shall be going Kirishima must-

 

He didn’t finish his sentence, as something tiny decked him to the ground at full speed.

 

-Toshinori! Screamed Inko, as her husband lied on the ground, spitting blood, under the body of a five years old girl with messy green hair and blue eyes.

 

-Where are you going daddy? Asked the little rocket innocently, as if she didn’t almost killed her dad.

 

To the grave if she didn’t get out of All Might’s back, right now.What a fall, the greatest hero of the last generation defeated, not by a villain, but a mere five years old girl that still didn’t know how to restrain her quirk.

 

-Satori, you can’t do that!

 

Inko took her daughter in her arms, or at least tried, because this little monster used her quirk to stick herself to the ground. It was during moments like this Inko regretted that her daughter developed a quirk of her own. Couldn’t she take after her? It was harmless ; only being able to drew little objects to yourself. But no, of course not, Satori Yagi came up with something entirely different! She had to be able to attract people lighter than her to herself AND be attracted to object that weighted more than her.If the five years old didn’t understand how it worked, maybe they still had a chance, but...

 

-Please, dear, just...let go of the ground…! Asked Inko as she tried her best to get her daughter up in her arms, in vain. It was like she weighed tons, sticked to superglue to the ground.

-No! I wanna go with daddy!

-Daddy can’t go anywhere if you’re making keep him between you and the ground!

 

Pop!

 

Just like that the little devil releashed the pressure and Inko finally managed to get her, freeing Toshinori. The poor man coughed, a little bit of blood, but suffering more from his defeat than any wound, she supposed, as he gave her a thumbs up.

 

-Can i go with you daddy? Please? Asked the little girl as soon as Toshinori stood up again.

 

She opened her arms, seeming to ask for a hug with puppy eyes, but Inko knew better:

 

-Don’t you dare rocket yourself against your father, young lady!

 

Satori pouted, as her mother kept her firmly in her arms, using her weight to keep her daughter’s there. Fortunately the little girl didn’t have the idea to aim for the ground again, or something sturdier than Inko, like the wall. For now, her parents could still outsmart her about her quirk. But for how long…?

 

-I’m sorry my dear, apologized Toshinori, patting his daughter’s head with tenderness. -But i’ve got to go to school, so you can’t go with me.

 

That argument confused Satori, apparently, as she frowned and looked for an answer in her mother’s eyes.

 

-But...i’m not at school! So why, you have to go too? She asked.

 

It took a while for Inko to understand what set their daughter off, and she laughed, amused by the way kid’s minds worked sometimes.

 

-You’re not at Peace center because it’s closed, but it’s not week-end yet, dear, Your daddy has to go to school.

-Yes, exactly, added Toshinori, understanding what was bothering his kid thanks to his wife’s comment. -But don’t worry i will be back in no time.

--Why? Why is school not closed for daddy too? What you do there best you can't here? I wanna see zuku fight on tv with you! Complained the little girl, tumbling on the word because of her newly missing front teeth.

-Aw, i’m sorry my dear, but i have to help kids there too, so they can become heroes, like your brother! You know, actually, this year there’s even Satoru who’s trying the exam, you don’t want me to let him down, right?

 

That was a mistake, Inko knew it the minute it got past her husband’s lips. Satori’s eyes grew wide as she heard about her namesake. Oh no. Toshinori saw the troubles coming too, and he did the only thing he could at the moment. He fled.

 

-Anyways, Kirishima is probably waiting for me, i have to go. Bye my dears, i will be back tonight, no worry and no troubles! He said, as he put a kiss on each of their cheeks and put down their daughter on the ground, before running away.

 

Lucky him, he managed to smash down the door before the little girl threw a tantrum. But that also meant that he left the “fix-it” part on his wife. Oh well...

 

-You know, Satori, it’s not because you’re daddy is going to UA that he loves Satoru more than you, you know that?

 

The girl pouted, visibly about to cry, and rushed to the living room. Well. That could have gone worse than that, just as it could have gone better. Inko sighed, and wondered how they could give birth to such a moody child when neither her, nor Toshinori had those kind of temper. At least playing with her would help them both, Satori forgetting her misplaced jealousy, and Inko not worrying about the two men of her life’s safety for a while.

 

At least that’s how thing should have gone, but when she arrived to the living room, she didn’t found her little girl as she expected. Even when she called her by her name and promised to “watch Zuku on tv” (if she ever found a channel that actually talked about him), Satori didn’t came running like usual.

 

-Oh my...Satori, where are you dear?

 

A pick of fear overcame her when she noticed the open window. Fortunately, when she rushed to it, and watched around she didn’t see Satori. As a matter of fact she wasn’t standing proudly on any neighbor's roof like last time.

 

-Hi madam Midoriya!

 

She looked back and noticed Kirishima, waving his hand with a big smile on his face, as her husband was entering the car. She waved back and smiled, happy to see her son’s friend as happy as usual.

 

-Thank you for driving Toshinori to school again!

-No prob, i mean i have to be there too after all!

 

The boy -no man, she had to get used to that- kindly offered to ride his ex-teacher to class every now and then when their schedule aligned, as he was working to UA part-time. She knew he lived nearby but it was still very generous of him. Especially when she knew he was working during night-time in the suburbs area when he didn't. She worried a bit for him too, as such strange schedule had to take a toll on his body, somehow. She sure hoped he had a full night sleep before considering driving, but that would be ungrateful of her to ask that kind of detail, right? Right? (Could she still? because she would like it better if Toshinori didn't get in the car of a sleep-deprived Kirishima, just as much as a without-glasses Todoroki).

 

-We really need to go if we don’t want to be late for the practical exam, reminded them Toshinori, cutting through his wife's internat dilemma.

-Ah yeah, you’re right. See ya madam Midoriya! Have a good day!

 

If Inko had taken the time to see them off, maybe she would have noticed the tiny, tiny figure stuck to the back of the car, smiling evilly. But she turned off her back pretty quickly, trying to find back that very same daughter.

 

She couldn’t have hidden too far away , she thought, instead.

 

She thought wrong.

 

***

 

Jirou Kaminari popped out her ear in of the wall, looking as serious as ever. Apparently all villains in the area had got the word “rob a place and take hostages” it could have not be a problem if the smart gang hadn’t thought of turning the camera off -smart villains, the worst cases-, so the team in charge of rescuing had to go there almost blinded. Which made their job as a hero way more difficult than it should have been, yet less impossible with the help of Earphones Jack.

 

-How many can you identify? Asked Denki, buzzling with impatience.

-At least three big shots. They’re discussing about their plan right now, answered his wife.

-So few? I could easily barge in and electrocute them all, then.

-And risk to touch any hostage? Come on, use your brain! She pinched him and her husband yelped, more for the show than because of actual pain.

-I can control my electricity better, you know, I might not grill them all if I aim right! 

 

Jirou ignored him -she knew he was better, but they needed that he touched not a single stage there, and unfortunately she could hear them very close to the villains localisation. So she used her other ear-jack to connect her radio leg, and turned down the volume to the minimal. Letting them all ear what the villains were currently discussing : something about giving some lessons and filming the whole attack and posting it online afterward. 

 

-Can you copy one of this tone with your mask, Hitoshi? She asked.

-Yeah, that’s right, if you do, you can brainwash them and take them out without a fight! Smiled Denki, then his smile immediately dropped and he whined : And i would be useless in this mission yet again.

-Well he can’t brainwahs all of them, so there’s still a chance you can fight the other two, if it’s so important to you to have your butt kicked, complained Jirou.

-You hurt me, have you no trust in my ability?

 

Jirou didn’t add anything, focusing in the third member of their team...Unfortunately, she was the only one to do that.

 

-Hitoshi Shinso, she growled, please focus!

 

The man blinked, taken back to reality, and he mumbled an apology. It was harder said than done, though. He tried to get his attention on the voice of one the villain, to find the perfect balance to imitate his tone, yet all he could think of was…

 

-Someone is telling me that you’re worried about your dear little pupil, sing-sang Kaminari, putting his arm around his friend’s neck.

 

He would be lying if he denied it. All he could think off was if Satoru was doing okay. Satoru, who was currently trying to pass the exam he had failed at his age, because they both had a quirk not fitted to combat.

 

-I worry about our little nephew too, said Jirou with compassion (Since when it’s our nephew, asked Denki, surprised, but got ignored), but you know they changed the exams rules to let people like you two a chance. You trained him hard. He is ready. And if he is not, he will be for the tournament and be accepted in his second year. Come on, now focus on the mission, you’re more professional than that!

 

Yet, again, her words, instead of helping him concentrate, brought him back years ago.

 

-Satoru, Focus.

 

Hitoshi looked at the boy, tired and pissed already. And Satoru gulped back shamely, as he had, yet again, failed to do as his “mentor” asked him to do. He always acted like that when he failed. Hitoshi was grateful the ten years old boy had stopped lying on the floor and playing dead...Yet he could barely could call that an improvement as it interrupted their lesson quite as much.

 

-I’m sorry, Satoru had apologized, looking at his feets.

-Satoru, look at me, ordered Hitoshi without hesitation, not letting the boy flee.

 

Hitoshi tried really hard to not show his agacement, as he knew that it would distress the little boy even more. But again, knowing what to do, didn’t make doing it easier, lot of time. He was pissed. and unfortunately it had to show on his face because the boy gulped again and seemed to shrink when their stares crossed way, once again, for a fraction of second.

 

-I’m sorry, the repeated, looking at his feet again; going back to square one.

-I’m not mad at you Satoru, sighed Hitoshi, though, and after abit of thinking he decided to be blunt and say the truth: -I’m mad at me.

-Why? It’s my fault ; i don’t manage to keep my power in check, you can’t do it in my stead.

-But i’m your teacher, and you’re my student, if you fail we share the responsibility. I’m supposed to help you.

 

It was his way to comfort the boy, but all Satoru concluded from that was that he was falling, and dragging his teacher along with him, dragging him down. Man, Hitoshi could almost feel it, as he had been there too once, ashamed of letting Aizawa and his expectations down. He didn’t know what to say to make it better, and he supposed Aizawa didn’t too, when he was in his place.

 

-The idea of picturing it helped, Satoru whispered faintly, comforting his teacher better than Hitoshi managed to do.

-It was supposed to help you control the back effect of your power everyday.

 

And it didn’t work at all. The only time the boy was able to “stop” using his power had been under a quirk-suppressing-bracelet, even now. What an utter failure. And it was not like the boy had any choice : he had to control it, and soon. Shouto couldn’t continue to act rashly because he was hit by his adopted son’s quirk after effect. And well, he couldn’t forbid the kid to touch people -the easiest trigger of his power- neither.

 

-Maybe the problem lies in what you’re picturing. What do you think off?

 

The boy blushed.

 

-Promise me you won’t laugh.

 

Hitoshi promised.

 

-I...i think of a room full of tv screens.

-Tv screens? Repeated Hitoshi.

 

Satoru nodded, his cheek becoming redder and redder each passing second. He didn’t know why it embarrassed the kid, the society got way past the “tv is poison’ mindset.

 

-Ah Now that you talk about it, Shouto mentioned to me that you like watching tv. Why? Asked Hitoshi.

-I...Well, this was all i was allowed to do in the room. I wasn’t allowed to have toys, Glue always said it would bring back their moral to customers and make them not fuck me.

 

Hitoshi frowned, not liking what he heard, and all the images that came with it. It had still trouble to deal with Satoru’s crude way of talking about the abuse he got through.

 

-I didn’t mean that, he corrected himself. -What i was asking is why did you choose Tvs screens out of all things?

 

Satoru blushed again, embarrassed by his misinterpretation of the question, certainly.

 

-I...It was just the first thing that came to my mind? I was already used to picture a tv screen and go through my favorite movies...and sometimes lives of people i was connected to...So i thought, maybe i could put people’s minds in there, instead of movies i knew and gather them all in one place? I don’t know if this make sense…

 

It was hard for Hitoshi to grasp it, indeed, but that was the problem with mental images : they made sense for their owner and not much for other people. The goal of this conversation was to understand why it didn’t help the kid to control his power.

 

-How did it help you to visualize it that way? Asked Hitoshi.

 

Satoru took the time to answer, taking this as seriously as ever:

 

-Before...When i had to search for someone’s mind among all the other...i couldn’t find them. I had to hop on everyone’s minds one after another until i found the right one. It was easier when they gave me a picture of the person i was looking for, but still...it was tiring. Now it’s like...i have all them all tidied up...I don’t know how to say it, but it’s like i know which screen is whom, as if...As if each screen was set on a channel i knew the program by heart? So instead of watching them all, and try to find what i want, i just go directly to the right one?

 

Well, at least the man was happy to learn that his method had helped. Somehow. Even if it wasn’t the result he expected ; the fact that Satoru was using his quirk more efficiently wasn’t a bad thing. Far from it.

 

-So, correct me if i’m wrong, all of the people you’ve bonded with has their own tv screens in your imaginary room?

-Yes.

-Even Shouto, or Momo, or I?

-Yes, of course.

-Can you turn it off?

-What?

-The tv, can you turn it off?

 

Satoru blinked, then, admitted, a little unsure:

 

-I suppose i could...Which ones though?

-All of it.

-All of it? Even Momo and Shouto?

-Yes. Why does it bother you?

-I wouldn’t be able to know if they are all right if i do that.

-There’s no reason for them to be in danger, right now, you know. They are just next door. I could call them in if you feel safer with them around.

-No...Don’t do that. I suppose you’re right.

 

He closed his eyes, and took a deep breath, before nodding.

 

-Okay, i turned everything off.

 

Hitoshi took the boy’s hand in his and squeezed it. The boy’s hand was a bit cold and faintly shaking : small proof for Hitoshi that, even if he understood his teacher’s point Satoru was probably more afraid than he admitted it.

 

-So. What am i thinking of right now?

-That it’s going to be troublesome, if i don’t want to even stop using my power because i’m scared of being alone, Satoru said, opening his eyes and staring at his feet, yet again.

 

Ah. Well crap.

 

-I’m sorry Satoru, I didn’t mean you to read that thought.

-It’s okay...I know, you wanted me to read about your key in your pocket. But i’m not scared of being alone in my head, just so you know. I even kinda wish i was.

-So what’s stopping you?

-What if they disappear from my life while i look away?

 

Hitoshi’s heart squeezed in his chest, and he couldn’t help but pat the boy’s head. 

 

-They won’t disappear from your life, they’re here to stay and for good. All of us do.

 

Satoru said nothing, as he knew,  as much as Hitoshi, that it was a white lie. No one had this much control over their lives ; heroes even less. All they could do, was to try their best.

 

-So...resumed Hitoshi, trying to find what was wrong in their method, since he couldn’t erase this fear from his student’s mind. -You’re picturing it in a tv screen right now?

 

Satoru frowned, confused.

 

-No..? he finally admitted, after a lot of hesitation.

-Why that?

-Well, you’re just in front of me, you even touching me…! I don’t need any mental image to remind me of our bond!

 

That was why it didn’t work ; how could he turn it off, when he didn’t even picture the tv in the first place? Satoru read the thought in Hitoshi’s head, as if it was his own.

 

-I can’t picture tv screens all the time, though…

-It’s okay, admitted Hitoshiu. -Focus on the screens then. Can you tell me what Shouto is thinking right now then?

 

Satoru lift his head, surprised, and after a moment he started to smile:

 

-...No!

 

That was a good start, and Hitoshi couldn’t help but feeling a little bit of hope. The fact that the thought alone, of the name, of Shouto, didn’t make him use his quirk immediately was a good sign ; it meant the boy had some restraint, had the reflex to think of his imaginary place before activating it. Even if he didn't have that reflex when he was right before someone, or touching someone... 

 

-That’s great! He said. -The method works for long distance, then, let’s find another way for short ones.

-Can i turn on the tv screens now?

-No. Not yet, it will help you focus if you have to handle one thing at the time.

 

The boy bite his lips, disappointed, but obeyed as usual. It was like kicking a kitten. Shinso tried not to feel guilty about it. 

 

-Okay, let’s switch for another method. Drop the picture...Your quirk is a part of your body, Satoru. It’s like a muscle.

-Really? Where is it?

-Where is what?

-The muscle?

 

It left Hitoshi speechless, he hadn’t considered the question at all before.

 

-In your brain i suppose? He tried.

-Which part of the brain?

-Is that really important?

 

It was Satoru’s turn to be a little bit confused, and the boy looked the ceiling this time, frowning, as if he he could see the answer hanging of the thin air better if he did that.

 

-I suppose not, he finally conceded. -I just thought it might help to focus on it, if i knew where it was.

 

Was it really important, Hitoshi wondered, to tell the truth in those times? He decided that it wasn’t, and put his finger on Satoru’s forehead, just between his eyes.

 

-Okay. Then let’s say it’s here.

-It’s not, though, said Satoru, not buying it -even you don’t believe it.

-No, i do not know if it is true or not. For all i know, it might! I’m no quirk nore brain expert! 

 

The boy made a face, but didn’t call him a liar, which was a big step.

 

-So now focus on this muscle. Feel it.

 

All he managed to do was to make Satoru frown, though.

 

-Okay. Let’s say that this position here is when your power is activated.

 

At least this way, tif it worked, he boy wouldn’t frown every time he used his quirk.

 

-Can you read my mind? He asked the kid.

-You’re wondering if you forgot to turn off the heater at your home, but you didn’t, finally said the boy, breaking this heavy tension. Then he added: -I saw it in your memory, you turned it off yesterday before going to bed.

-Thanks.

 

Sometimes, the boy’s quickness and accuracy frightened him. This was not a grip every 10 years old had on their quirk. Heck, even them, as High school students in UA, only learnt to be precise with their power during their third year! The first and second years were dedicated to growing it up to its limit. Kirishima had perfected his full armor on his whole body, then, made it as hard to break as possible, then, and only then, Aizawa asked him  challenge himself and harden only small part of his body, like his the nail of his pinky, as fast, as hard and as precisely as possible. Satoru, on the contrary, seemed to have been taught in the opposite order. Learning how to pick a small details in one’s of his target's memory but not how to not read a person’s mind.  That left him with a strange way of using his quirk that Shinso had to correct, somehow.

 

-Okay, now, i want you to slowly, appease this muscle. Relax it until you don’t feel it anymore.

 

Satoru didn’t seem convinced, but he did, slowly but surely, found back a relaxed expression, and the frown disappeared from his face. Hitoshi dared to hope.

 

-Can you read it now?

-You’re hoping it will work because you have no other idea or method under your belt.

-Crap!

 

That was harder than Hitoshi had planned. Not that he thought that being a “teacher” was easy, after all he studied under Aizawa, but still! It didn’t felt like teaching, it felt like...un-teaching! As hard as telling to a fish to unlearn swimming! Hitoshi, pissed, started to walk across the room, mumbling to himself. There had to be a solution somehow. After all, every kid learnt how to turn off their power when they discovered it. (Well except for mutation type). Maybe he could ask some kindergarten teacher for advices? What did he remember from his own experience there?

 

He remembered brainwashing his classmates to get their cookies and being punished for it. Neither a useful memory, not one he was proud of, to be honest.

 

-I will never be ready to UA…

 

Satoru’s voice, so weak and desperate, dragged him back to earth. If the teacher was at loss in front of their vain effort, the boy was starting to believe they had no hope left. Which was, of course, not okay at all. Before that day, Hitoshi didn’t even knew that the kid planned to become a hero, nor even considered this as he trained him, but that didn’t change the core of the problem:

 

-Satoru, how old are you?

 

The boy hiccuped, surprised, and, really reluctantly, he admitted:

 

-Ten.

-You pass the exam at 14. There’s still plenty of time ahead! Even if we did find a way today to help you, it will not work in a day, you know?

-But everyone should be able to do it at my age!!

 

Satoru’s reaction was way too loud, way stronger than usual. For all the time he had spent with the kid, Shinsho had learnt two things about his student : one, that he tended to be sad rather than angry, and two, that Satoru always blamed himself first. He just discovered a third one, a guess that came from the last wo : if Satoru was angry at someone, it often was with himself. But Hitoshi wasn’t going to let him do that : not this way, Shouto had especially warned him about Satoru’s confidence issue, and he would fail as a teacher, as human being, if he let the kid beat himself to the ground for mistakes he didn't make.

 

-Satoru! How old are you? He repeated, using the tone he only took while giving order with his quirk.  

 

Satoru bit his lip again, and his hands turned into fists as he screamed the answer:

 

-Ten!

 

In his voice it sounded like too many already.

 

-How old were you when they locked you in this room?

 

This time, the answer was long to come out. Yet when it did, it had lost its intensity, his anger, it was as weak as a kid’s whisper.

 

-Four…

 

Hitoshi walked back near Satoru and kneeled done before him, trying to catch his eyes, as the boy didn’t seem to raise his head at all. Gently, but firmly he put his finger on his forehead, just between the boy’s eyes.

 

-That’s almost six years Satoru, six years while kids your age got the time to learn plenty of things you didn’t!

 

Silence. And he recognized the expression on the boy’s face, as he once wore it. The one that wished things were different, that somehow, he could get rid of that truth. But that wasn’t possible.

 

-What happened to you is awful, and that’s really unfair that you got to pay the price when they do not, but Satoru, it’s your past, it’s your life they messed up, among all the consequences you don’t have control on, there might be some tiny bit that you can pick and learn from. Okay so, you can’t turn off your quirk like most of kids your age can? But guess what?

 

He pointed Satoru’s heart with his finger.

 

-They don’t have your stamina with their power. They don’t have your accuracy. They don’t know their limit because they never had to use it so vitally as you did.

 

And as usual when he gave the boy a compliment, Satoru looked embarrassed. Maybe right now the boy was frustrated by his failure, they had been working on this for so long and they had yet to make any improvement. But it was normal, and it was important for the boy to be reminded of one truth : they couldn’t erase six years of misteaching so easily. Just like...

 

- How long did it take you to learn how to read and write? One day?

-No...Three months…I missed my chance to get into school.

 

Ah, that was why he was worried. Deadlines. Did he forget that he didn’t get into classes, not because he didn’t learn fast enough, but because with all the trials that were planned this year, that the boy had to attend as witness, he would have missed too many lessons? Probably, after all, it was easier to remember failures than victories. It hurt way more...

 

-We have four years to make your ready then. That’s far more than i had, when i was in high school, you know?

 

That was also a far more grand gap they had to overcome, but that he didn’t say. It wasn’t needed. And this time he made sure to not touch the boy, so he couldn’t get to read this thought. Unfortunately the boy smiled grinned sadly, and Hitoshi had the inch he failed on that part. So now, was the time for desperate mesure, an oath :

 

-Leave it to me, Satoru, i promise you that i’ll get you ready for UA.

 

Hitoshi Shinso was maybe a trickster, a hero with a villain quirk, but he wasn’t one to break his promises. Unfortunately, just like Satoru couldn’t erase his past, Hitoshi couldn’t take the exam in his place, hence had no say over his student’s result.

 

The hero had his own battle to fight at the moment, and other people to worry about. So he had to focus. Be able to do exactly what he asked his student to do, so many years ago, focus on what he could do rather than what he couldn't. Prove him, once again, that it was possible to succeed. Because wasn’t it the core of a teacher’s role?

 

-I think i’ve got the right voice.

 

Jirou smiled, and Denki rose his fist:

 

-So, what are we waiting for?

 

***

 

The city might be under attack, but UA had not yet received any demand of reinforcement, so Aizawa assumed that Peace handled the matter well enough and got on with his busy schedule. Exam days were certainly full and complicated to handle, with around a two thousand children on UA ground and only 40 places to offer in the famous hero course. Toshinori Yagi was supposed to arrive to help, soon enough, but as the man was late, Aizawa supposed he found himself stuck in the traffic. Fortunately he had someone he could truly rely on:

 

-Eri, how things are going with the third year preparation?

 

His daughter took a garde-à-vous pose, and smiled proudly:

 

-I gave them the brief as you asked and they are currently taking their places within their assigned bloc!

-They didn’t give you any trouble?

 

Some of them were her friends after all, and it must had been weird for them to obey to the teen, as only last year, they fought side by side as equal.

 

-Kouta made a longface like this! She confirmed, imitating the boy’s bored pout. Which didn’t suit her at all, so he pinched her nose.

 

Mirio really didn’t help him getting her this strange habit of imitating people. But he couldn’t complain, the young boy had been such a great “big brother” with the little girl…

 

-If he didn’t want to be here, he should have studied harder for his own exams, said Aizawa.

 

This year, students who barely passed had to do some extra-work for the school, and unfortunately the boy was one of them.

 

-Though he changed expression when he heard he would be playing civilian in Mahô’s bloc!

 

Aizawa rose an eyebrow, surprised ; he didn’t know the two were friends. Sure the two did met a couple of time, when the girl dropped by Peace office, every now and then, and since they were close in age, they played together but…Eri smiled -a smile that reminded so much of his own that it felt weird.

 

-Get that Aizawa’s smile out of your face young lady, it’s too creepy, grumbled Hizashi as he entered the room, his arms full of copies.

 

-This is a logical ruse! Said Eri, not dropping the smile at all and going even further in her imitation.

-Oh my gods, what have we unleashed to the world...Complained Hizashi.

 

Talking about disaster...It reminded of Aizawa his favorite troublemakers.

 

-So how did those two do? He asked, taking of a copy of the pile. It wasn’t hard for him to spot the two he was thinking about.

-Pretty great. Well, Mahô did panic at some point and acted weirdly, i suppose she started talking to her stuff as usual, and Satoru got out of the room running, probably because of nerves but they both handled pretty good copies, said his roommate with a grin.

 

If Aizawa wasn’t surprised by Satoru’s good grade, he was for Mahô. The girl barely managed to graduate last year, according to her files, and her results were really not that good. So, carefully he looked for her copy and found it right away.

 

His first urge was to give her a full mark, when he hadn’t even read the full copy, that alone made him doubt. He had to look twice, squint and finally notice the red sticker on it to finally understood.

 

-She cheated.

-What! Screamed both Mic and Eri, turning white.

 

He took off the sticker from the paper -the urge of giving her a perfect score didn’t go away, so he used his erasing glare. Mahô’s object were a part of her, so it was always tricky for him to use it, it never really worked well. He needed them both in his vision field for a full erasure. Yet it was enough for him to be able to actually read the copy she handled this time, and understand what it said.

 

-And Satoru helped her, he smirked, as it was impossible the girl would be able to solve such a complex math problem at her actual level. He had saw her file, and so her grades and appreciations. 

-He wouldn't dare, he's a good kid and I didn't see his eyes changing color! Protested Hizashi.

-Maybe if you took off your glasses sometimes...Besides the intensity of the color change depends of how deep he goes into one's mind, it's not always evident, explained Aizawa calmly. -Maybe he just influenced her thoughts. 

-Those...They’re gonna get an earful from me! Surged Mic, pissed, as he tried to get the copy and stare at it. -Which would change nothing, Aizawa had stopped using his power and so, the effect was back.

 

Still Hizashi gasped, connecting the two dots :

 

-That’s why she gave me a enchanted button for my health! Satoru must have used his power on me too! I should have seen this coming! They’re not going away with it! I’m calling their parents, right now!

 

And he rushed out of the room, muttering loud and clear about what he thought of that. Eri, a little bit impressed -as always when someone screamed near her- bit her lips.

 

-Are you going to expel them for that? She asked her father.

 

Aizawa shrugged :

 

-No.

 

And he put down the kids’ copies on the table, where a robot would come, collect it and grade it, as it was programmed.

 

-We can’t forbid students to use their quirks during the test. What would we do about those with high IQ quirks? Besides, if Satoru wanted to cheat, he could use our bond to get all the answers right from my brain, or i don’t know, Yaoyorozu or Midoriya’s intellect...It would have been easy. I wouldn’t even know it.

 

Eri looked relieved:

 

-He is too honest for that. Even if he cheated, he wouldn’t, cheat like that...And now that i’m saying this aloud, it doesn’t make much senses…

-No. It does.

 

Aizawa said as he thought the same. Satoru’s copy was his own, that, the teacher was sure. All students had their own way to answer questions, even when they answered right. He could see Satoru’s style everywhere on his copy. He didn’t cheat. Well he did, but...The boy probably never even consider this option : stealing other people’s knowledge to get through the test. How far he came from, thought Aizawa quite fondly. When the boy was 9 and barged into Shouto’s life, after all, he didn’t even know how to read, and had to rely on his quirk, get into other’s people’s mind, for basic knowledge...

 

But that was another problem, and the real reason why he wouldn’t fire them for cheating was way simpler:

 

-i’m not supposed to favor one student over another, if i didn’t know them i would have not looked at their copies at all, hence i would have not see their cheatery. Whatever the robots will grade them depends of how smartly they cheated.

-You’re going to let them get away with it, then?

-Of course not : since they did it together, i will add  both of their results and divide it in half. That will teach them beforehand what’s teamwork is like.

 

He could read the order on Mahô’s paper, so if she did her enchantments right, she would get a perfect grade. So that meant everything relied on Satoru’s shoulders. If he had a good grade, the division wouldn’t hurt them much. And if Mahô made a mistake in her enchantment, then Satoru’s answers on her test would be their only hope to get a decent grade.

 

-And they’re gonna get an earful from Hizashi, i wouldn’t wish that even to my worst enemy. You know how he’s like... He added with a tired expression.

 

She sure did, as she heard Mic yell a lot, especially when Joke or her Dad didn’t wash the dishes -which happened a lot.

 

-You’ve got softer, she still said. -Izuku used to tell me so many stories about you being strict and all.

 

Aizawa didn’t answer, embarrassed by the truth. Though, that didn’t mean he would let the two kids get away with this strategy one more time. He would make sure of that, if they managed to get into UA.

 

***

 

Shouto had secured the hostage in the bank pretty easily, putting a wall of ice between them and the villains. Iida, was already evacuating those who were in critical condition, faster than any ambulance could. He had thought he had trapped most of the villains inside the vault bank, as he had melted the key system with his flames, but apparently some got away with their bounty. The villains that managed to get out had realized that their only choice was to flee as fast as possible, using the opportunity that Ingenium was busy, probably thinking that Shouto alone could not get all of them at once.

 

That was very naive of them.

 

Shouto let the police handle the evacuation of civilians -as they could still reach them by the back up entrance of the building- and chased after them. The criminals had jumped into a car, but they had one crucial problem, they were bound to the roads, when Shouto didn’t.

 

He created an ice ramp lurching the building around, adding a small layer of ice on his shoes so he could actually skate with it, and with his fire propulsed himself on it at full speed. With Uraraka’s help to make him weightless, the technique usually worked better, or with Sero’s tape to orientate the ice ramp, it would have been easier to catch up; but his friends were busy on their own missions. So he had to make a do.

 

Fortunately, the traffic was so dense that even if the villain ran through all red lights…

 

-Ah.

 

Shouto stared as the villain car suddenly turned into something eerie, almost spectral looking, that could go past everything as if there was never any obstacle in the first place.

 

Probably one of the villain quirk, and how they got away from the vault. They couldn’t go far, though, decided Shouto. He used more of his flames to propulse himself faster, using the building around to support his ice. He just used amount of flames to keep himself sliding on his ice and defying gravity, and passed them up in a matter of seconds.

 

And as he jumped in front of the villain’s car, he froze it right on its track.

 

Unfortunately he hadn’t taken into account his own speed and ended up in the decorum, avoiding injury because of his reflex to create an ice ramp and accidentally freezing another pair of villain he absolutely didn’t noticed. Just robber trying to take the opportunity in the confusion and rob some granny. He acted as if it was planned and came back in front of the villain’s car as if nothing happened, only getting the fine layer of frost -dust from the fall- off his costume.

 

Ah. Fuck he had burned half of it again. He promised himself to ask for some changes next time he got it revised, this time ; he was tired of burning it so many times.  Besides it was not like it was bad, Momo fought half naked all the time, why couldn’t he?

 

-If i were you, i would put the heater on, he said to the block of ice encasting the villain’s car. He had left purposely some holes in his “iceberg” to allow them to breath but if they didn’t want to freeze to their death in this icy prison they better start act smart.

 

He couldn’t hide his smile when he saw the driver, visibly clacking his teeths, following his instruction. That meant that whatever allowed them to escape the bank was not an option anymore, and they knew it. He had won. He still kept an eyes on them; just in case they could still pull it out.

 

Well, that was one easy mission. If he didn’t know it was a coordinate attack, he would have called this an amateur job. Shouto was about to check his phone -to give the signal to policemen that villains were apprehended and needed to be picked up-  when he received a text.

 

Peace app used a very recent program that allowed computer to identify faces from security cameras. Since they had access to the Police files, thanks to their allies, the system could find really fast all the informations needed on the identified villains during an attack.  

 

So he expected Peace app, telling him either where to go next and what quirk allowed the villain to get through civilians’ cars like that, and he opened it. Except it was not Peace, but Mic, and the text said :

 

“Your son used his power on me and cheated on his UA test! Call me ASAP.”

 

***

-It’s good to see you back, sir! Is your back better?

 

Enji Todoroki grumbled something that almost sounded like a greeting. Fortunately his assistant wasn’t like reporters, he didn’t mind the grumpiness of his superior. All the contrary Enji had especially hired him because he didn’t get offended by every little things. After all, he was a old fan, and very good at dealing with press. Unfortunately, despite this advantage, the man wasn’t perfect, as he was desperately chatty.

 

The assistant put down a pile of document on the hero’s desk, the work he had done in his absence, along with a glass of water and pills.

 

-Doctors’ orders are absolute, he reminded Endeavor with a smile. -Herniatec disc isn’t something to take lightly!

 

Enji stared at those medic pills with hatred, as much hatred as he did staring at the damn chair he had to somehow, pull himself together to sit on. But he was a hero, even if he was so close to retirement, and he wasn’t one to back down facing hardship. Even if sitting hurt like hell.

 

-So. Give me a summary of what i missed...He instructed his assistant as he greeted his teeth and started his routine job, aka way too many administration papers for any sane man.

 

-Well, the committee is asking when you plan to retire for good, and who will take your place at the head of the agency, as usual.

-Vultures.

-That would do a good meme. But yeah, i got your son on the phone about that matter, and i kinda got the feeling he flipped a finger on me as he told me he would rather die than take your place as the head of the agency.

-Which ones?

-Two of them, sir. And your daughter too, even if she was much more cordial, that was still a refusal without a doubt. A certain Keigo answered instead of you third son, and he said they had already talked about that matter with you.

 

Damn Hawk, rubbing salt on his wounds. It’s not like the alternative the bird proposed wasn’t good, it just...Changed too many things to Enji’s tastes. It was too risky. The damn bird liked to fly too close to the sun, one would thing that having his wings burned once would have taught him better, but it didn't. 

 

Enji sighed, and looked at the ceiling : here he was, having built an empire no one wanted to inherit. He supposed he deserved that : he knew he deserved that. It still hurt to see all his hard work going to waste. That was probably why he was still there, sitting on this damn chair and working himself to the bones, because he had to find a way to not make all his life’s efforts disappear with him. He knew he had done some bad things, awful ones even, but he had also did some good ones. In order to keep his sanity, he had to remember those ones too. 

 

-If this continue i will have to ask to my son’s wife to take over.

-Actually i called her, and she answered to me that if we do, she would probably change the field of expertise, and go along with your third son’s plan, as Peace is not what you call a hero agency.

 

He really liked this assistant but sometimes he kind of wished the boy wasn’t so efficient in his work, so he could still have some hopes left.  

 

-Oh. By the way, suddenly said his assistant. -Should i send a card and a gift to your grandson? He is after all taking up the UA exam today.

-This is not my grandson.  

-Hm, hm.

 

The boy hummed, faking to check something on his to-do-list, with a smug grin on his face. Not buying that, when he definitely should.

 

-I suppose we can send him a card, mumbled Enji.

-Perfect, i have one ready, you just have to sign it!

 

Enji took up his pen, and as he was about to sign the paper, he stopped, frowning.

 

-This is a congratulation message.

 

For once it took his assistant by surprise.

 

-Well yes, he will most certainly succeed it, after all, he is your grandson. You helped him train a ot this past few months too, and since he stopped coming at one point so I assumed he was ready by your standards…

 

Well, if he had been there during those training time, he would have seen why Enji had absolutely no trust in the boy’s success and why the boy had stopped coming. Satoru was a kindhearted boy, that wouldn’t hurt a fly! Actually, if there was a match between a fly and Satoru, Enji would bet on the fly’s victory rather than the kid. But everytime he tried to warn Shouto about it, all he got was a death glare. Even though his son didn’t want the boy to enter UA neither! Talk about rebellious phase! At 26, this kind of attitude was supposed to be over….right?

 

-Well you assume like shit. He isn’t ready for this exam.

-Oh. Well...hm…

 

The assistant took back the card and squeezed his eyes, as if he could rewrite it with the power of his mind. Which was not his quirk. 

 

-Should i say something along the line “You’ll have better luck next time” ? Finally asked his assistant, unsure of himself.

-No. Say something along the line “give up” but nicely.

 

His assistant gave him the look, the same one Fuyumi sent him to him when he said especially stupid. Damn Enji hated that look.

 

-What?

-With all my respect, sir, i’m afraid there’s no nice way to say that.

-Fine, then i will say it rudely and get scolded for it again! Give that card to me!

 

But the damn sneaky assistant rose his hand and put the card out of Enji’s reach, taking opportunity of the old man’s back problem.

 

-Again, with all my respect, sir, i wouldn’t do that if i were you. I mean you’re trying to mend your relationship with your family, i don’t see what good it would bring to…

-It’s because i’m trying to fix it that i’m saying this kid he should learn how and when to give up!

-It isn’t like you to do say that sort of thing!

-Well it should have!

 

Enji screamed, punching his desk a little bit too hard and making a mess out of it. The glass of water was spilled on very important documents and contract. Just his luck. Damn he regretted being the “chief” of this agency by name only, and having the freedom to do his hero job on the street instead of filling paper with mumbo-jumbo administration words. As he tried to save some documents, his eyes fell on the framed pictures on his desk. He wasn’t one to usually collect pictures of his family in his workplace, but this one...This one was special.

 

It was the photo of the day Rei finally got allowed out of the psychiatric ward, showing proudly to the camera both her releasing order and divorce paper, surrounded by her children. Even Touya was there, albeit hiding behind and avoiding to face the camera. Everyone was there, smiling, except Enji, even though he was the one at the origin of the event, the one who did all the paper work for it to happen, the one who signed those damn release and divorce papers. 

He deserved it, and he has promised himself, a long time ago that he would not seek forgiveness out of them ;as he had hurt them too many times and too much ; as it was the path to true redemption ; making all the effort because it was the right thing to do, and not because he expected something in return. But, was a thank you too much to ask? Even that, he would be okay with the simple acknowledgement from them that it hadn't been easy for him to accept to do that. But they didn't. Heck, except for Fuyumi, they all stared at him angry when he tried to explain. It was harder than Enji thought it would be, for them to act as if everything he did right was "normal". 

 

Yet he still put this picture on his desk because it reminded Enji of two things : First, that the pain was worth it, because his kids and ex-wife could actually smile at the camera, now, and even if he wasn’t sharing their happiness, he had at least some responsibility in it. Second, what “not knowing when to give up” almost destroyed.

 

He just wanted Satoru to not make the same mistake as him, holding out to an impossible dream and destroying everything he cared in the process. The boy was not ready. The boy was too frail to be a hero. All he would achieve would be to put himself in danger, in best case scenario, and in worst case, drag Shouto along, and get them both killed or traumatized for life.

 

Enji didn’t want that. His family had gone through enough and for the first time he could protect them from the damage, instead of being at the origin of it. He tried to do the right things, for once !   

 

So why would not a single soul was willing to hear him out?

 

-Listen…, He said to his assistant. -It’s not like i want to hurt the kid.

 

Quite the contrary, he had came to care for the boy, even if he still thought it was a whim from his still rebellious 26 years old son and a hindrance to Shouto’s career.

 

-I know that sir.

 

Enji smiled, sadly, because he was almost certain that his assistant was the only one that knew that. Shouto still glared at him every time Satoru trained with Enji, as if he was about to break his kid’s arm by mistake. Which occurred only once, okay? It was not his fault Satoru had bones that snapped so easily! The kid had grown out without being nourished properly and so he was fragile, what could Enji do about that? And his nose bled so freaking often that Enji was sure that him pitching it was enough to make a situation look like a blood crime!

 

-But someone has to tell them the truth, and since i’ll always be the culprit in this family, might as well be me saying it.

-Sir, with all my respect, you sound like you’re romanticizing your misery.

-What does that even mean?

-That you comply yourself in it instead of doing something about it. Maybe you’re right about learning when to give up, but maybe you should also re-learn when it’s time not to.

 

And with that said, the boy dared to walk away from his office, as if he was the one in charge. Damnit, if he didn’t need as many allies as he could, Enji would have fired him there! Okay maybe not. But still. He was pretty pissed by this youngster trying to give him lesson. What did he knew about life? He was like...even younger than Enji’s youngest son!

 

And he was stupid too, because even if the assistant left with the card...He left Enji his phone. He could send the boy a text message instead of a card, he didn’t need his assistant’s permission to do things.

 

Yet, he didn’t texted anything neither.

 

The kid is probably about to begin the practical exam, he thought, hesitant. - His weak point…

 

What if his message arrived at the bad moment, exploded the boy's confidence which lead the boy to hurt himself during the exam? Shouto would never forgive him this. Enji wasn't sure he would forgive himself either, to be responsible of someone else's downfall yet again...

 

If he closed his eyes, he could almost see how the boy tried and tried to get his body in shape for the exam, in vain. Enji had tried everything, every damn combat sport ; every time it was offensive it was a no-go. No matter how many exercises Enji threw at him, how many techniques of self-defense he tried to put into this thick head...It didn’t work. It always ended the same way, with the kid flying to the corner of a room. Even Shouto, who was way more indulgent than his father, met the same result when he reluctantly agreed to participate. (And the face of Shouto, as he stared at his own hands, lost, as if he had acquired some kind of super strength all of the sudden when, the truth was just that his adopted son had the body resistance of a toddler…That was satisfying! At least he understood Enji's struggle for one second).

 

-Let him use his quirk. He can do better with it, had said Shouto, two months ago, tired of seeing his son’s confidence pummeled to the ground along with his body.

 

And as much as Enji understood why Shouto went for this strategy, he disagreed : they had to do the right thing and continued to train Satoru’s weak point.

 

-He needs to be able to stand on his own, without relying on his power!

-How funny, it wasn’t your mindset, years ago, had remarked Shouto. Because as always, he went for the easy way out and reminded his father all of his past fault to get away from the present situation. Because he fucking knew that Enji couldn’t deny it.  

-Could you not? I’m saying this for his own good! What if he is unable to use his power one day during a fight?

-As if you knew what was good for kid.

-Maybe i don’t, but i know what is good for a hero!

 

Shouto knew that, he respected the new Endeavor. He usually trusted Endeavor's words sometimes. And fortunately, the kid he adopted was smart enough to see the truth in Enji’s words, even when Shouto couldn’t. As he got back on his feet and rubbed his bloody nose before going back to the dojo.

 

-One more time, please, i think i got it, now.

 

Well he didn’t. Or at least he got the first part right, but as soon as he assumed he had won he dropped his guard, allowing Enji to punch him in his gut. A basic trick that every damn villain would do. What was the point of learning a parade if you didn’t manage to protect yourself until the end? What if the villain had a damn knife? Satoru would be dead!

 

-You should give up. You’re not ready. You’ll never be at this rate.

 

One more time it ended with Satoru being knocked out and Shouto being angry at Enji.

 

-Enough. I’m tired of your shit. Satoru, we’re going back. You did well. Better than usual.

 

Which was a lie and very stupid of him to say when the kid could actually sense it with his damn quirk: 

 

-You can’t ignore it, just because it comes from me, Shouto, you know the truth.

-There’s more than one truth.

 

He tried to help the kid get on his feet, but unfortunately, the damn boy decided that it was time to throw up. Which really, didn’t help Enji’s case at all. Shouto even more on edges than before after that.

 

-That’s it, we’re out of here. No more training with you!

-What! Screamed Enji.

-But Papa…

-It’s my final word. Thank you for your help until now, but this is enough, i will take over Satoru’s training.

 

Sometimes, the boy helped to mend the relationship between the two...But sometimes he did more harm than good. And this was one of those times. That was why Enji couldn’t bring himself to know if he cared enough about the boy to call him grandson. Fixing his relationship with his family was already difficult, he didn’t need any more hindrance.

 

-You can’t just use me when it’s convenient for you and throw me away as soon as i say something that you don’t like! Complained Enji.

 

He could try, but not they didn’t even leave him one chance! Unfortunately it was, once again the bad thing to say, as Shouto looked at his father, with the same hatred as he did in high school. An expression he hadn't seen on his boy's face for almost five years. 

 

-Watch me.

 

And Enji did, he watched the two of them leave the dojo and never coming back. They had talked over this, by phone, afterward, but it hadn't been more successful.

 

-I won’t apologize, because i was right, had said Enji by text.

 

And Shouto had answered basically the same. Which was infuriating. They were really father and son sometimes. 

 

-If you want me back in your life, and be a father to you, you have to accept that i have flaws too!

 

Enji had answered, and he noticed too late, after sending it, how much of a blackmail it sounded.

 

-No I don't have to. I can live without a father. I never had one to begin with.

 

The text had hurt Enji much more than he expected.

 

What was he supposed to do, then? Redemption, recovery, correcting yourself, all of that wasn’t linear. He was fated to make some mistakes. Yet it seemed like Shouto wouldn’t accept any.

 

Enji felt like he had hit a wall higher than All might’s shadow, as he stared at his phone, at the text he was about to send, to his son and grandson alike.

 

What was the right thing to do?

 

He didn’t know, and he was afraid to make a mistake that would destroy the fragile peace he managed to get back in his family.

 

One should learn when to give up... He had said to Satoru, but maybe, he should say that to himself too.

***

 

If Momo had been, only a little bit less well-educated, she would have cursed, right here and right now. The fire had spread to the trees. Her colleague Hero, Backdraft, was trying his best to contain it, with the help of the firemen, but unfortunately it kept spreading. But he way it spreaded made absolutely no sense : as if the arson was still there, running in the wild and starting one after another.

 

For now all she had managed to do was to create fire-proof blanket for the very few civilians that had been rescued and provided a water cannon to the firemen. She couldn’t do much more -she still had to improve Peace app program, It definitely still had some trouble selecting the most fitting heroes for each type of attack. So she decided to listen to her intuition.

 

She created a pole and used the creation process to lift herself up. It helped, to have a bird’s vision, for once. Even though she really didn’t like what she saw at all.

 

This park was the biggest of the city and now, she was sure of it, the arson was still there, pretty much setting its flames to the cardinal points of the area. They would not be able to save the park at this rate, and with this strategy. They needed a good rain.

 

She let herself slide down the pole, and went back to the water canon she had made earlier. Momo focused, trying to mix some silver iodide in the water tank. It was a component that could accelerate the chance of raining, once it reached the cloud, and the water was being sent directly on the flames, evaporating quickly. It could help.

 

But there was an even fastest way, and so she called her friend with her phone.

 

-I’m a little busy at the moment right now! Answered Deku, in a hurry.

 

Judging from the tone of his voice and the surrounding noises, he must had been fighting, and the phone directly went into speakers mode instead of going to the voicemail, as it was programmed with calls from Peace and Police. Perfect.

 

-Sorry to bother you, Deku, but can you do me a favor and punch those villains so hard the atmosphere would drop?

-Give me a minute!

-The sooner the best ; thank you! She said, hanging up.

 

That’s when she stared at the screen of her phone that she noticed the tiny message icon from Mic. Why would he call? She opened it, hoping that Satoru hadn’t been hurt during the exam and needed to be brought to the hospital, and only had the time to read :

 

“Your son used his power on me and cheated during the written exam! Call me ASAP.”

 

She hadn’t got the time to process the accusations. There had to be some mistake! Satoru would never act that way! She taught him better she-

 

-Creatie ; Watch out! Yelled a civilian.

 

She didn’t know where the threat came from, so she instinctively created a shield out of her skin on every vital points : head, chest and back. The tilt of a knife hit her back-protection and sent her flying to the nearest tree. Without thinking she created air bags to protect her body from the fall, and barely had the time to get back on her feet before a shadow rushed to her.

 

She created a couple of poles from her chest, hoping to keep him to arm length as she was not that good at close-combat. But the villain disappeared into a cloud of fumes as soon as they were hit. I have to get away fro here! Was Momo's first instinct, and she created a grappling hook from her hip. The hook flew off, and gripped the nearest tree to her right. Still attached to the creation by the rope, she frowned and imagined a system of  pulley, that pulled her in the direction. She let go of her creation before she hit the tree; back on her feet. It was her favorite move to get away quickly, and also her fans's favorite because apparently it looked like some popular anime. What matter is that Momo got out of the fumes in a blink of an eyes. 

 

Momo was scanning the area, trying to spot the villain when...

 

-This is not the place for some rich girl like you! She heard, near her ear.

 

But the rich girl knew how to fight, and she kicked the owner of he voice. They yelped, and for the first time she managed to have a glimpse of them, as she was not hiding behind the smoke screen anymore. It was a teenager, a girl, and she was holding her stomach, visibly hurt by the hero’s kick.

 

-You bitch! How dare you hurt me?

 

Momo shook her feets, making the skating shoes she created while kicking drop to the ground. It wasn’t something that could actually stab someone, but it hurt enough to make people step back when needed. A little trick she had learned on the field and fans named it on the net apparently. She was sorry to hurt someone so young, but she didn’t have a choice there.

 

-I will pass on this little aggression of yours, she stated, if you give off your teammates.

 

From what she could guess, the girl’s quirk allowed her to hide inside the smoke, so she needed fire to attack.  So she either started it the old fashion way, or relied on someone else. And since she had seen another fire start far away from their actual position, it left only one option.

 

The teen, though, wasn’t impressed, and laughed, finding the very idea stupid apparently:

 

-The world isn’t that simple!

 

She was about to rush to Momo once again when it happened. The rain. The villain hissed as her smokecloak melted to her feets.

 

-No!

 

Momo thanked Deku in her mind, and used this diversion to get the villain under a heavy net. Of course the villain struggled, and tried to evaporate herself out, but Creatie had saw that coming. The net she had created had a small battery connected to it, and she activated it. Electric energy was turned on, passing through the net, and the teen yelped in pain. It wasn’t dangerous for one’s health, but it was painful enough to make one unable to focus enough to use their quirk. And the water surely helped.

 

Momo stared at the apprehended villain, protecting her heart with walls. She was only a couple of years older than Satoru, what had lead her to this path, she wondered. (Would her son turn out that way too? He cheated during his exam! Her motherly side finally starting to panic) The teen seemed to get what was in her head because she grinned at the hero:

 

-What, don’t tell me it’s the first time you see a poor girl getting arrested? Are you gonna give off some of your money to some charity to make you feel like you helped me?

 

Momo recognized the discourse all too well, and she hadn’t had a time for that, she needed to apprehend her partner in crime. Interrogation could wait a bit.

 

-I leave this one to you! She said to her hero colleague, Backdraft. -If she tries to get out put some water on her!

 

Backdraft nodded, still struggling with the fire despite the weather’s help. But at least flame had lowered enough so Momo and some firemen could sneak in and access the other areas. As she ran after what she supposed to be another delinquent teen, she promised herself to get some answer from her own teenager at home.

 

And if he did cheat, he was going to get a good scolding.

 

***

 

Toshinori Yagi, more known as All might, sighed. Stuck in the traffic. Even if he had gotten back to civilian life 10 years ago, he still wasn’t used to be pulled aside like that when heroes had to take action on street. He could almost see UA Building, on the horizon, and was actually considering the option of leaving the car and get there on foot. He had more chances to get there than waiting there until the commotion settled down.

 

-I thought the road would be clear, apologized Kirishima.

-Don’t worry. It’s not your fault, peace probably had to use the road as an evacuation path. Let’s continue on foot, should we?

-Do you think i could give them a hand, maybe it would unblock the path, mumbled Kirishima, trying to spot the origin of the traffic jam.

-I’m sure they would like your help Kirishima, my boy, but...We’re kinda in a hurry and Aizawa is going to be mad at us.

-Yeah you’re right. I would rather come home in one piece, resigned Kirishima with a laugh.

 

As he said that, Toshinori had opened the car’s door and his eyes had fell upon something he definitely wasn’t ready to handle.

 

-Daddy!

 

His daughter, Satori Yagi-Midoriya, was there, looking all smile and proud, stuck to the ironed door.

 

-How long have you been here?! He yelled, after repainting the whole car red with his blood.

 

And Kirishima’s face turned pale, as he realized he drove with a freaking kid on his car.

 

The little girl looked up, her big blue eyes counting something in her head, considering the question. And she raised three fingers, still stuck to the car, as she stated:

 

-Super long!

 

That wasn’t the answer Toshinori, nor Kirishima, wanted to hear. Oh gods, he realized, Inko had to be a mess right now, if their daughter had managed to snatch away from her attention!

 

-You can’t do that, Satori, your mother is going to be worried you know...He scolded his daughter, as he tried to get her unstuck from the car. But unfortunately the little girl probably though he was going to get her back home if he succeeded and used all her power to stay where she was.

 

It was in moment like this, that Toshoniri realized how his little girl’s quirk could be handy, as she could attire object to her like her mother, when she weighted less than the wanted object, or get stuck to it, when she wanted something clearly too big for her. The car, was, obviously from the second group, and so she was as good as glued to the thing right now, for as long as she deactivated her quirk.

 

-Please dear, asked Toshinori, who really couldn’t lift up a car anymore -...Could you stop using your power for a second and-

-Don’t force me to cut my car door, kiddo, warned Kirishima. -i will do it, even if i’m still paying it!

-NO!I wanna go with Daddy! No mommy! Daddy! No Kishi! I'm going to school too, not home it's not the week-end!

-Satori...I’m not taking you back to mommy, i promise.

 

Pop! The girl unleashed her power and Toshinori crashed in the decorum, his little demonic daughter laughing in his arms.

 

-That’s quite a demon you have there, commented Kirishima.

 

No one ever told Toshinori that parenthood required this much patience.

 

-Aizawa is going to be super pissed.

-Well, he is like, fifty percent of the time, that or tired, remarked Kirishima, helping the ex-hero to get back on his feet.

 

That didn’t mean they looked forward to it. He didn’t have a choice, anyways, since he couldn’t get her back home now -it was too far away and the traffic was too bad. He sent a message to Inko, telling her that Satori was with him and safe and sound. At least as safe and sound as she could be after a ride ON a car and not inside.

 

-Don’t do that again, dear, he asked. It’s dangerous, you’ll make your mother cry.

-She always cry! Brother too! They’re crybaby and i’m not a baby!

 

What can he answer to that? All he found was:

 

-I love your mother and you brother even if they cry a lot.

-Me too! Me too! She claimed, bouncing on his shoulder, gripping her father’s hair as if it were reins. And she turned to Kirishima and pointed him with her finger: I love you too!

-Aw, i like you too, little one.

 

Then she stopped and pointed an advertising board where someone -luckily a villain- just crashed in. Now they knew why the road was packed.

 

-Break his leg! Satori asked Kirishima, proudly, as she pointed the villain this time.

 

-Later, if you act nice and like a good girl at Daddy’s work, promised Toshinori, giving up, to Kirishima’s surprise.

-I will be a good girl! She promised.

-Wait, i don’t break people’s leg, complained Kirishima, apparently hit at a sore spot. -They break it off on their own trying to hit me!

 

Toshinori Yagi finally managed to get to UA main building right on time, luckily, with his babbling girl on his shoulder. He would have been sad to actually be late for such a special year, after all.  

 

Back in those days, when he was Izuku’s mentor, Aizawa often told him he played favorite and was biased as a teacher. Which had been true -though he had tried his best to correct this behavior of his. Izuku being an adult, the “problem”  was out. (even if he hated to call that the boy he came to care as his own son). But now, was the first year where Toshinori would have to face it again, under two other names :

 

Satoru Todoroki and Mahô Shindo.

 

It was too soon, and he was probably too old, to ever hope to teach to his ex-students’ kids one day. But those two was the closest thing to that hypothetical situation. Mahô; after all, was the daughter of a ex-hero, who was All might’s generation and even though the man had barely ever worked with him, they were colleagues, and maybe something else,  as they both shared one common friend : Naomasa. And Satoru...Oh Satoru was an adorable kid that had barged into their lives 5 years ago, dragged by Shouto without warning nor preparation. Too young to be a father, the young adult had relied a lot on his friends, and ex-teachers on many, many occasions.

 

Toshinori didn’t consider those two as his kids, but he had seen them grow up. It would be hard to be partial. Life was full of obstacles, he might not be a hero, but he still and plenty of nemesis, and this three next years, it was going to be those two, he just knew it.  But Toshinori Yagi, with or without One for All, was pretty much still All might, he wasn’t afraid of a fight...Well to be frank he was afraid of a fight, as one punch in a guts would make him cough blood. So okay, maybe not physically, but in his mind he was up to the task!

 

-Finally here, smiled Kirishima as they arrived to UA ground too. -Man i hope they’re doing okay the city look like a mess.

-I’m sure they have everything under control.

-Why you’re not fighting? Asked Satori to Kirishima. -You’re hero, you’re not?

 

That comment made Kirishima laugh nervously.

 

-Well, you see Satori, i’m a hero, but i’m also a teacher. And right now people need more the teacher-me than the hero-me!

 

Satori looked at the city, and the mess it was as another villain was pummeled to another add, and then to the school building, where children were gently waiting and eating, enjoying the sun ray. The confusion on her face was evident as she asked with innocence:

 

-Why?

 

Yet, again, Kirishima seemed embarrassed.

 

-Well i’m more of a defensive type? You know, i protect, more than i attack? I’m not that good at attack , well not alone. So...

-That’s not true, cut Toshinori. -You’re a great hero, Kirishima.

 

Yes, Kirishima wasn’t a Izuku, Bakugou or even a Todoroki or a Yaoyorozu. But those four were just incredible and it didn’t do any good to anyone, to be compared to them. The red-haired boy was doing great and it was important, as his ex-teacher, for Toshinori, to always point it out. His book “Teaching for dummies” always said to always counter part a reprimand with a compliment.

 

Though it made Kirishima’s face turn as red as his hair :

 

-Thanks, but I'm still better at defense than offense, even if it's unmanly. By the way Do you know where Satoru and Mahô could be?

 

Hearing her namesake, Satori froze. But neither Kirishima nor Toshinori saw that.

 

-I want to take lot of pictures of them passing their exam! Apparently Shouto couldn’t take a picture of the two of them at the gate, and didn’t get a goodbye hug, he complained to Izuku and Tenya about it via text! And they told me. So I’m going to make it up for him!

 

He promised, showing his phone to the teacher, ready to honor his words. This kid, thought Toshinori, was definitely a good friend.

 

-Let’s see if we find them, we still have a little bit of time ahead after all. And don’t you want to see your godfather, Satori?

-Nah! My name not his! I’m Satori he is not! The little girl pouted.

 

Apparently the little girl didn’t like sharing her name still. Toshinori had tried to make her understand that it was not something to be ashamed off. After all, they named her after the boy who helped saving Izuku 5 years ago, the brother she loved so much. And the name of the dear student Toshinori hadn’t been able to save 10 years ago. It was a way for them to be thankful to the first one, and apologize to the second one. But Satori, apparently, didn’t want to be one nore the other.

 

-I'm me not them! She pouted, again, definitely angry.

 

Ignoring his daughter’s whim, they started to look around. It didn’t took them long to find where the kids were ; as there was hundred of them and could be spotted from afar. The mass was lingering inside the cafeteria -the perfect hang out for growing teens. Though they hesitated before going near, as they would certainly bring too much attention. Being stuck in a traffic had been enough, thank you. Fortunately, they didn’t have to.

 

-I found them! Yelled Kirishima, and he immediately zoomed and took a picture.

-Where?

-Here, look, near the window!

 

And he showed him his phone, with the moment he had stolen. The girl was banging her head to the table, while Satoru looked like the happiest boy in the world, pointing something on a sheet of paper. As he noticed where they were now, he looked at them, and managed to get a glimpse of the scene. Mahô definitely tried to sneak out of there while Satoru turned his back and he caught her by the collar and put her back at the table, in front of her test.

 

-Those two are inseparable as ever, the teacher sighed.

-Don’t tell me, we’ve got like several bet going with Mina, Sero and Aoyama about when they’re gonna hook up! I stopped when he started going out with Tsuyu’s little sis though.

-There’s an insanely amount of bets in your group of friends.

-Yeah, well, it’s fun and it’s one of the rare field we can actually beat Katsuki !

 

Then he stared at his phone, his face turning white:

 

-Oh crap it’s already this late! Aizawa’s going to kill us!

 

And he was right, Toshinori feared, as they both started to run to the meeting point. Very, very late. Aizawa did looked angry, when they finally got to main building, and teacher lounge, as he stared at them with his sadistic smile. (The fact that Eri was standing behind him with the same expression on her face was even scarier, but for different reasons). As soon as she saw him, Satori’s eyes got big and she pointed the man with her finger:

 

-Villain! She claimed. -Kishi break his leg! She ordered.

-Yagi, what is the meaning of this? Asked Aizawa, pointing back the little girl with his finger too.

 

Satori bite him. Which, of course ruined all the arguments Toshinori had in her favor.  

 

-I’m really sorry, he apologized, bowing down. She followed me and i noticed it too late to get her back home.

 

They got a scolding, as it was expected. And after a big commotion, Recovery girl finally took the little demon in her arms and asked for her assistant’s to take care of the little girl. Mari, as it was her name, took Satori in her arms and changed room, promising to keep an eye on “it”.

 

-I wanna stay with Daddy! complained the little girl.

-I have cookies.

-Bye Daddy!

 

How sad, thought Toshinori, to be abandoned by his own flesh and blood for cookies.

 

-Now that we’re finally all here and without some unwanted guests, let’s start the reunion! Aizawa finally concluded, scrubbing his wounded finger.

 

Toshinori shared a look with Kirishima, as they both felt a ping of guilt. Every other teacher were already here : they had their phone turned on and near, so they could see of Peace ever needed for their assistance, but still managed to get here.

 

-Yeah sorry we’re late! Suddenly said a voice behind their back.

 

Vlad, Nemuri, who supervised the recommandation exam this year, just arrived, their arms full of files.

 

-I couldn’t resist and i stopped at the cafeteria to take a couple of pictures of Satoru for Todoroki, stated Nemuri with a smile, showing her colleagues her deeds. - I even took a video of the best moment, right before going to say hi!

 

The girl was moaning while Satoru definitely checked a piece of paper, in a bouncy mode like Momo used to go when she was a teen.

 

“You almost got it right but you made a miscalculation there! You know what 7x8 does?

-No i don’t : i always forget this one!

-Okay, i suppose we all have one that is hard to remember. Fine, here is a good way to for this one : It’s not complicated, repeat after me : 5,6,7,8! What gives 7x8?

-I don’t know you didn’t give me the answer!

-I gave you a clue, use your brain! 5,6,7,8...What gives 7x8?

-...9?

-56. Mahô. It gives 56.

-How was i supposed to know that?!

-You’re supposed to know your multiplication table and understand how it works! What gives 6x7?

-You’re supposed to be my best friend and now you’re betraying me : stabbing me in the back!....45?

-That’s not how multiplication work, complained Satoru, with a look that was way too much like Shouto.

-WHY IT WORKED ONE TIME WHY CAN’t IT WORK EVERYTIME! I HATE MATH!”

 

The video ended there and Nemuri smiled, enamoured.

 

-Aren’t they adorable? After that she tried to run away...

 

Aizawa didn’t say anything, not daring to play the guilt card on her, as he would invariably loose. Beside he seemed quite amused by the video. So they all sit and stared at the principal Nedzu.

 

-Perfect, now we can start! Tell me, who are the lucky ones on recommandation group?

 

Vlad scoffed, clearing his voice, as he put down his tablet and tapped on a few profiles. Five stood out. Two girls, and three boys.

 

-That’s a lot! What was even their exam this year, asked Kirishima, curious.

-They were sent inside a labyrinth and had to find their way out, answered Vlad, displaying the map of his tablet.

-I was the one making the maze and i changed its lay out every ten minutes, added Cementoss.

-First ones to get out earned their places at UA, completed Aizawa.

-They would have no map nor information, so it’s a good way for us to judge their adaptation skills, analysis competences and of course, if they can think quick and act fast! Explained Powerladder.

-And we can see if a leader emerges among them and takes the lead! Squealed Nemuri.

-The maze has barely any light so it takes a toll on their mental state, they have no way to judge how the time pass, added Nedzu with a weird smile that made Kirishima remember the rumor about him being a past lab rat.  -Besides we announced them right away that only four of them would be accepted in, and each time one passed the finish line we told them to via speakers. It is a way to see how they handle stress.

-I hid some of my shadows inside it to both protect them when they put themselves in danger or stop them if they tried to attack each other, finished Ectoplasm.

 

That...Was some exam, thought Toshinori. He knew that Aizawa had been in charges, and so it ought to be difficult, but it was worse than he had planned.

 

Vlad started a couple of videos and they could see the “winners” as they tried to find their ways out. A girl with brown skin and water-like hair had found her way out first, as she entered a big tunnel with a skylight above her. Somehow, she had started to swim toward the light as if air had turned into water for her.

 

-What’s her power? Asked Toshinori, curious.

-Her name is Arya Sairen, her quick is registered as “Aura sphere”, her body emits an aura of 3 meters around her she can manipulate at will and adapt her body to it.

-I’m not sure i get what it means, complained Kirishima.

 

Toshinori was as lost as his ex-student, but he supposed that it was the type of power you could only get once being confronted to it.  The second one to succeed arrived at the same time, teaming up soon enough ; Max Chandler and Tsubaki Chuzenji.

 

-Congratulations, your grandson managed to pass, announced Vlad to Recovery girl.

 

The old woman nodded, as if she had never doubted he would. Toshinori smiled, as he had many discussion with the old lady about it ; it was not Tsubaki’s skills that worried her. And he could understand why : the boy had used his sound-based quirk as a sonar to find the exit, and managed to do it on a sound level that would not hurt his friend. Max, with his wax body had managed to turn his finger into key and open every old-school door they found, and light their way with his flames. The guy really was like a candle. They encountered a group of other contestant in their way and managed to get rid of them rather quickly, Tsubaki making them faint with only one hit and Max sticking them to the ground.

 

-They are good, he agreed, after a short video of their performances.

-And they are the only ones among the other who thought of teaming up, added Nemuri with a smile.

-Well, they knew each other beforehand, that helps, said Aizawa. -We should have made different blocks for the recommandation exam too.

-We already talked about that, protested Nedzu, there was not enough people for that. And besides we didn’t make them start at the same part of the labyrinth, it’s their skills only that allowed them to reunite.

-It’s important to be able to reach your colleagues and regroup in dire situations, asserted Vlad.

 

Toshinori couldn’t agree more, as heroes now worked mostly as trio or small teams.

 

-The other boy, suddenly asked Snipe, for the first time since the beginning of the meeting. -I see in his files that he is from a GSC.

 

Toshinori frowned, his attention focusing on the one boy. He only knew one person who came from this government secret center ; his former colleague and regretted teammate, Night’s eyes. People from that kind of places usually had dangerous quirk, one that could change time or dimension, or even threaten Japan’s stability.

 

But for all he could see, the boy could only divide himself into seven clones, and that’s how he covered more ground and found his way inside the maze. His name was Riichi Daisuke.

 

-His power reminds me of one of the league of villain’s member, whispered Kirishima, his mood dropping.

 

The poor man had been driven man by his quirk and Peace “disabling quirk program” could only do this much, as it arrived way too late to help him.

 

-We will need to keep be very wary of this boy’s mental health, he concluded.

 

The other girl didn’t do as good as the other ones, she ended up as 5th, but displayed a intriguing skill. She had the appearance of a zombie and willingly detached her limbs one by one. Her arm, which apparently could move on its own, was the one to pass the arrival line.

 

-Why is she on the list, we usually only allow 4 students via recommandation, Aizawa asked.

-Because of this, explained Vlad, as he started a couple of videos.

 

Each one of them showed the other students, ones who hadn’t made it. They seemed to start panicking after the speaker announced the qualification of Sairen, and some even started to attack the others contestant. Which resulted in Recovery Girl’s grandson and his friends being attacked. The more announcement it was made, the more restless they looked, acting rashly and rushing to mistakes and when the final result arrives, the fourth name was announced...Every single one of them gave up  immediately. Except this girl.

 

She did looked like she understood, yet she barely changed direction and resumed the race, as if it didn’t matter. She even helped the boy stuck by wax on the ground once she found them. Her arm reached the finish line while her main body was still in the maze, going right and left randomly, helping those she encountered there and comforting them as if it was okay.

 

And that was intriguing.

 

-I asked her why she still continued to fight, even once she knew she had lost, told Nemuri. -And she answered me that even if she didn’t get in she wanted to finish the job. I like her mentality.

 

Even if heroes needed to know when to give up, they had to know when they should not. This girl seemed to grasp this difficult concept and, since she had finished the race, was deemed worthy. Toshinori could agree with this decision, even if it was unusual.

 

-As for the others… Aizawa looked at his phone and smile. For a moment Toshinori thought he had received a message from peace, summoning him on the field, but he supposed it wasn’t that as he stayed there. -It is time to prepare and divide the work for the practical exam.

 

Chapter Text

Reality hit Satoru like a train when he sat in the auditorium. After four hours of waiting in the cafeteria, eating  an omelet and lecturing Mahô, he had almost forgotten that he was passing UA exam. Now he remembered. Sitting in the middle of the other contestants, waiting for the presentation of the practical trial, hew as starting to stress all over again. And he kind of felt the consequences of his sleepless night too. Great!

 

Mahô didn’t have that problem, first because she was confident in her ability, and second because reviewing the written exam all over again apparently fried her brain. She laid half-dead on the desk, right next to him, her ears still fuming. (She was  overly dramatic, vector weren’t that complicate to understand and most of her errors were because she answered before thinking, as usual).

 

He was still glad he could sit next to her, this time, even if she wasn’t a great support right now. Because he felt like fleeing as far away as possible right now, as panic reminded him that his quirk wasn’t offensif enough, that he had the strength of a toddler, and that he was more fragile than most boys his age. He tried to repeat himself that it was going to be okay, and that the exam had been changed to fit people with quirk like him or Shinso, and that, many people he loved, believed he could do it. He respected their opinions, he trusted their opinions. He couldn’t let his stress taint that fact. If he couldn’t believe in himself, maybe he could believe in them...

 

Yet, if fear could be reasoned, people would know it by now.

 

So Satoru resigned himself to wait, his heart beating so fast in his chest it hurt. On the scene, way down there, Present Mic stepped in. It didn’t help and Satoru hid a little further down the desk, still feeling guilty for his actions.

 

-Yeah everyone ! Shouted Mic, as joyful as ever. He seemed all right, as Mahô told him, and it comforted Satoru a bit, even if he was still feeling guilty. -We’re sorry for the delay! I hope you’re all ready for the exam!

 

Nobody answered to his call. And Satoru felt sorry for him, as he stared at the silent room full of kids. For solidarity, he rose his fist in the hair and whispered a small “yeah” that didn’t sound confident at all. Mahô, did the same, though, next to him. So two people were cheering, that was better than no one! Mic spotted them and…

 

-Tch.

 

That was not the smile Satoru expected to see. Fuck. Did he understood what they had done? Was he angry? The hero definitely seemed to know it.

 

As he was trying to identify Present Mic’s mood, Satoru suddenly felt Suzuki Honda’s stare, the girl from the written exam,  she had a strange look on her face too, just like Present Mic. Last time they had seen her, she had judged them as clowns, and now...Now it felt like she was identifying at them as threats. What had happened? Had she googled their names on the internet?  Did she ever knew their names? Did she realize that Satoru used his power to get Mahô out of troubles? Was she going to sell them off?

 

Calm down. Everything is going to be okay, you’re just making this all up because you’re scared, he tried to convince himself.

 

But sure, it itched to not know. He could feel her eyes lingering on his back, leaving him the bitter taste of apprehension in his mouth. If only he could manage to steal a little touch, a handshake from her, he would be able to check what was on her mind...But without a bond he couldn’t know anything at this distance, just like any regular kid.

 

How the heck was he supposed to pass this exam with this kind of useless ability They were looking for heroes, not regular ki  -Okay stop! He forced himself to calm down.

 

It was becoming evident that he couldn’t get out of the self-depreciating loop of his mind, nor could he stop thinking about the exam. So he had to go for another strategy, or he would start the trial already on his knees, defeated by no one but himself.

 

You can’t stop yourself from thinking about it, he conceded to himself, but you can decide how you’re thinking about it at least. To some extent. Probably. At least a little bit.

 

So Satoru decided to try something akin to self-hypnosis. Every time he felt like he had no chances of success, he would picture himself succeeding instead. If he could not, he would spell the word in his mind. It should at least make him focus on something positive, and give him the illusion of control over his life. It might be lying to himself, but it was something he could do, instead of waiting and letting his own mind beating him to the pulp.

 

Okay, let’s do it. You can do it. You can ace this exam. He started to think, the loudest he could.

 

So he tried to focus on what Present Mic was saying. Lost in his thought he had missed the introduction and probably some jokes, but he came back just in time, when a giant screen was turned on.

 

-You will be separated into several blocks, when this presentation over, please look at the exteriors boards to know which one is your or check your exam convocation. As you arrive on your assigned block, you will receive this little bracelet.

 

Satoru recognized the tool that was displayed on screen immediately. He had seen it many times in Momo’s papers at home. Mahô reacted to it, and stopped to look like a zombie for a second, smiling proudly instead.

 

You can do it. 

 

-This is a prototype brought for us by Peace office, and will allow us to know every moment of the mission what’s your health statut. So don’t worry about, if you ever need help, we will be here in no time.

 

But it also meant, Satoru thought, that they would not have a second chance. If one fainted during the exam, they would probably be brought back to the infirmary by robots in no time. He wondered if some wounds would also disqualified them immediately, contestant being judged as “not healthy enough to continue”. Was there even a button they could smash if they decided to give up willingly? ( No , decided Satoru, it would give the opportunity for others to activate it and get rid of rivals too easily ). Unfortunately Present Mic didn’t answer any of his mental questions, resuming the presentation as if such informations wasn’t important. Maybe they expected kids to guess it.

 

-The rules of this exams are simple : in every block, there will be barcodes hidden. All you need to pass is to find one, and scan it with your bracelet! It’s like a gigantic scarvenger hunt!

 

On the screen, some sort of barcode appeared on what seemed to be an iron wall. A kid wearing UA uniform approached and scanned it by passing their arm on it, resulting in a recognizable bip sound.

 

Well, that didn’t seem too difficult , thought Satoru, there had to be some tricks . Some students around let out a sigh of relief, but Mahô, on his right, pouted, grumbling a “As if” ! And sure enough, Present Mic didn’t wait long before giving off the trap:

 

-Once someone has scanned it, it will not be scannable anymore by anyone else! So first arrived, first served!

 

The screen showed another kid, this time a girl, arriving near the iron wall, and trying to pass her arm in front of the barcode. Another sound came out, with a giant cross. So, barcode didn’t disappear and you only know it’s too late when you try to scan it, concluded Satoru. That was bad : you could waste precious time to get a barcode for naught. Besides, it kind of encourage people to not pair up and fight as a team ; who would do that, if only one of them could get the reward in the end?

 

Satoru frowned. That was going to make things harder for him.

 

Breath in and out. You can do it. 

 

Yet it still felt too easy ; hero needed to be more than fast and observant. They needed to be able to fight, and so far…

 

-You can find barcode everywhere, on the ground, the wall, even lamposts, but also on robots. smiled Present Mic devilishly.

 

On the screen, the previous iron wall where the student had found the barcode was, in fact, a robot. A really, really big one.

 

Of course. Robots. They were applying for UA, after all...Mahô rose her fist in the air with a “YES” celebrating, while Satoru immediately re-calculated his chances.  He wondered if it was too late to apply for another school. Maybe he could become a kindergarten teacher...or a social worker for childcare. Something that would not expect him to fight GIANT robots.

 

SUCCESS. No more picture, black screen and white letters only : S-U-C-C-E-S-S...He forced himself to think. 

 

-Defeating a small robot will earn you 5 point, a giant one will give you 10 points, continued Mic.

 

Even the smallest Robot on the screen still seemed way too big for Satoru. The girl was still there, giving off the scale : and the one worth 5 point was twice bigger than her, while the “giant”, was as tall as four humans. Satoru was trying to think of how on earth he was supposed to defeat that with his ability, when a boy with glasses rose his hand, asking a question (to his desk neighbor visible embarrassment) :

 

-You’re talking about points. So is there some kind of points system going on you’re not telling us about? Or if there is a draw between students the winner will be the one with more points?

 

That was a good guess, and Satoru regretted not thinking of that.He supposed he was too concentrated on spelling a word in his mind. But now the subject had been brought up he wondered if points could be “lost”.

 

-Good thinking, young man, encouraged loudly Present Mic. -There is indeed a points system! For example, one barcode will earn you 100 points!

-Does that mean you have to get at least 100 points to get into UA? Immediately asked Satoru, this time.

 

Present Mic made a face, and pouted:

 

-I will not answer this question.

 

And Satoru blinked, surprised by the reaction. He is mad, isn’t he? Or maybe it was his stress talking, and the blonde hero wasn’t allowed to answer that. He hoped it was that. Don’t think about it. Go back to strategy : everything going to be great. Success. S-U-C-C... 

 

-Can we get into UA if we get lot of points, but not a barcodet? asked a girl, this time, one that had a jellyfish like hair.

-Nope! You’ll have to get at least one barcode to be selected! Explained Present Mic.

-H...how many barcode there are in each block, then? Asked Satoru, again.

-Not answering that one neither! Sing-sang Present Mic with a smirk.

 

Defeat : D-E-F-E...ARGH! 

 

Okay... This time, the boy was sure like 100% sure, that Hizashi somehow knew and was getting his revenge. So the boy stopped asking question and sat down, trying to gulp over his guilt. they deserved it, he supposed. Mahô patted his back in an attempt to comfort him, and whispered :

 

-Your questions are just so spot-on everytime he can’t answer ; he is not mad at you, don’t worry!

 

She knew him too well. Yet he couldn’t shake off this bad feeling.

 

Everything is going to be okay. You can do it. Success... Who was he kidding?

 

This exam...though simple on paper, seemed to be more difficult than it appeared to be. With no clue how many barcode there were and no indication where to find each one, contestants would feel the urge, and probably make some mistakes. If defeating robots was enough, they would just go wild and defeat as many enemies as possible but...it was not the case, so Instead, of encouraging teaming up, it would rather push them to attack one another, at worst ; steal the barcode of others at best. It was so against the new political hero society’s viewpoint that it seemed off. Satoru couldn’t help but think that, if point could be gained, it could probably also be lost. How much would he lose, if he waited for a contestant to find a barcode, and rush and scan it before they could?

 

He had to try and get this information without giving off too much. Otherwise Present Mic would not answer him again…

 

-Can we get a barcode, and yet still not get into UA? He asked, instead.

 

Present Mic turned around, frowning, and many students started whispering, worried by this possibility, as they waited for the answer. This time, he couldn’t avoid it. And surely, the hero finally nodded and finger-gun the boy:

 

-Nice catch! He simply said.

 

Satoru couldn’t hide his smile, as his chest felt heavier and heavier. You can do it, it was getting harder to lie to himself. Around him students started to gossip. Some of them understanding fully what it meant : points were important, they probably needed 100 points, and while a barcode would automatically grant them that number, they could also lose some and not be recruited. Others, who didn’t think that far, just probably feared the uncertainty : if getting a barcode didn’t automatically gave them a place in the wanted hero course, then what would?

 

Would that realization scare some contestants and push them to not attack or steal ones and another, or on the contrary, make them do it ; that Satoru didn’t know. He could only hope. (And he especially hoped that the ones in his block would be the ones who were smart enough to read between lines and get that stealing was not the solution).

 

-The exam last two hours! Finally said Present Mic. -Go get your assigned block and meet me at the gates! Good luck everyone!

 

As Satoru stood up and walked to the exit, the guy with glasses, the first one that had started to talk, came nearer, and whispered:

 

-Thanks for your last question.

 

Then proceeded to leave, followed by a boy with starlike skin, white hair and golden eyes, the same one that had been embarrassed and pleaded him to not ask questions next to him minutes before. Were they friends? It sure was comforting to go through this with someone you could trust.

 

He looked at his right, where Mahô stood, already putting some earrings and tying her hair, getting ready. She seemed all right, excited even. Satoru wanted to throw off.

 

Sucess… 

 

He spelled it again, and the nauseous feeling faded a bit, but not completely disappeared.

 

It didn’t take long for them to see their assigned block. There were ten in total. Satoru’s was number 4 (he wasn’t particularly superstitious, but his stress reminded him how that was bad omen), and Mahô’s number 7.

 

-Aw, we’re not in the same block, complained Mahô. -I wanted to fight with you and test our duo…

-It can’t be helped, i suppose...

 

Despite the fact that they weren’t from the same district, and didn’t came from the same school, they were still separated. UA staff knew quite well about their friendship, after all. It still sucked, not only that would make things more difficult for Satoru, but he would miss his best friend’s support. How the hell am i supposed to get through this test with my ability? He still hadn’t find the answer to that question, and he was running out of time.

 

-Satoru, give me your hand, please...Asked Mahô, as they were about to part way.

 

He obeyed without thinking much, and was surprised when she tied up one of her “friendship” bracelet around his wrist. It was different from all the previous ones she ever offered him : way simpler, in a sense, as there was only one red thread with no pattern, and two fake pearls, white and black ones.

 

-What does it do? He asked, mixed between suspicions and thankfulness. He knew that Mahô’s gift were always, always, enchanted. But he didn’t want to cheat again. That way, If he were to fail this exam, it would be his own fault.

 

But you will get it. Spell it, S-U-C-C-E-S-S! 

 

For once, Mahô blushed, and she played with her braid, swirling it around her finger. It turned red : the color of embarrassment.

 

-I know they give you a bracelet and all...but i still wanted to give you this. For my own peace of mind.

 

She showed him her own wrist, where she had put the same kind of accessory.

 

-The white pearl will teleport the wearer of the bracelet to the nearest and safest place if they faint.

-Teleport? Repeated Satoru, still amazed that object could do that.

-You don’t want to know what would happen if i had used the word “drag” or “take”.

 

He could picture it though, (and it was a nice change of image, after so many black screen with white letters, spelling the same words over and over again). And he was immediately relieved that Mahô’s enchantment could say fuck to reality’s laws. That didn’t seem like a pleasant experience.

 

-Is there anything you cannot tell them to do? He still sighed, forever amazed by her potential.

-Well yeah, ordering to destroy themselves willingly or something that goes against their nature. Actually i discovered that the closer my enchantment is from their natural usefulness, the stronger it is.

-Teleport isn’t something pearl usually does.

-Yes, though every object tends to disappear when you’re not careful (that was debatable, thought Satoru) it’s not like they actually teleport...Anyways it will only work once, too. So, try not to faint ; please. This is just a safety net, but i do want you to pass this exam.

-I will do my best, but i can’t promise you that.

 

He still liked the fact that, Mahô as confident as she appeared to be, still had a white pearl on her bracelet too. She didn’t disregard that possibility for her either. His best friend was careless, most of the time, but not always.

 

He couldn’t help but remember her memories of the Usagi park incident, five years prior. The echo of her words “Don’t!” as the world faded to black, taking away the image of her father and the villain threatening him.

 

He supposed she wasn’t careless, anymore. Not when it counted.

 

-What does the black pearl do? He asked, trying to chase away the bitter taste of the past, lingering his mouth.

-It does the same as the white pearl, but for the enchantment to start, you have to rip it off the thread. It’s in case you think you have no other choice but to teleport to make it out in one piece. And before you ask, the thread is for good luck.

-Good luck? Isn’t that too vague to work?

-Well, kinda, i dunno what it does exactly, i just liked the way it sounded, and it actually worked so whatever? If it makes sures the lampost falling to the street doesn’t end on your head, then it’s enough for me.

 

Satoru caressed the gift, feeling oddly comforted by this last enchantment, more than the previous one. Luck. That was thanks to luck that he had met Shouto and now lived here, surrounded by so many great people.

 

-Thank you Mahô, i will treasure it.

 

It eased his worry more than his weak attempt of reasoning. It felt like he carried with him, on his wrist, his family and loved ones. But he didn’t say it because it sounded way too cheesy. The girl though, smiled as if she had heard that.

 

-See ya at the end of the exam Satoru, she whispered.  

 

She made a pause, and then added :

 

-Don’t forget to have fun Satoru. I know this is an exam, but this is also the first time we can let our quirks go wild, and see its utmost limit without caring about consequences. Have fun with it! You always do better when you enjoy yourself, it’ll pay off and show.

 

Satoru wasn’t sure he could do that : as he had never considered his quirk to be fun to play with, unlike her. But he liked the advice all the same, because it sounded just like her.

 

Mahô was about to walk away, when Satoru’s heart made a loop, realizing something, and he caught her wrist.

 

-I…

 

It was great to have fun during an exam, but...She had to not totally forget herself.

 

-I...Be careful, he finally whispered. -I think you can lose some points during this exam.

 

He knew that Mahô wasn’t stupid, but that didn’t mean she had connected the dots like he did during Present Mic’s presentation. There were many different ways to be smart, Satoru and Mahô’s ways differed greatly, that was all.  So he wanted to make sure that she knew, he wanted to share his deductions, just in case she hadn’t.

 

-Don’t act out of line, Mahô. Act...Like a hero would do, okay? I think that’s the best bet.

 

Mahô blinked, surprised, and then slowly nodded:

 

-Okay. I will keep that in mind.  

 

And with that promise, she waved her goodbye and they parted way.

 

***

 

Aizawa sighed, as entered the dark room full of screens. Kirishima was already there, along with All Might. They had kept him a chair. Some future third year years student were also there, with paper and pen, ready to help for a few extra points. A habit that Aizawa encouraged : it was good for them to see the generation below in action, and it helped them develop a keen eye. But they needed guidance to know what to do. Too bad Hizashi, though wasn’t back yet.

 

-So. Who knows what we do here? He asked to the crowd.

 

No one answered. Of course. Eri still had work to do, she was supposed to give a briefing to every student helping, not just one of the field. The teacher sighed, and cursed his loud friend who hadn’t come back in time to do that presentation in his stead. Resigned, he pointed the many, many screens displayed on the wall.

 

-Each contestant have a camera robot following them, thanks to their gps bracelet. The images are brought here on those screens. You’re in charge of keeping an eye on around 10 of them. Don’t worry if you miss some moments, it is recorded. Your duty is to note everything down and keep the count of yours contestants’ points. If you notice something interesting, note it in the margin. You’ll have to write down a essay, analyzing one contestant’s performance, before the end of the semester, so do it seriously.

 

Toshinori took pity of Aizawa and arrived, his hands fulls of printed papers:

 

-On this paper you will see how to count points. Here are the bonus points : 5 points for defeating a small robot, 10 for a big. 100 points if they scan a barcode. 5 points if they help contestant, 10 points if they save another contestant. 50 points if they team up. As for malus points : -100 points if they hurt another contestant willingly. -50 if they put others in danger by accident. -10 of they damage buildings around. -5 if they run away instead of helping people. Is everything clear?

-Yes sir!

-Good, i will now give your your assigned contestants and screen to watch : Kaori Ashuna, you’re responsible of…

 

Aizawa let the blonde handle it, after all he had always been more used to crowd than him. Satisfied, he went to sit next to Kirishima, gazed at the wall of screens and put some eye drop. That was going to be tiring, he thought, as he put glasses on his nose. Unlike Shouto he didn’t need it all the time, just when he was watching tv, computer, or to read on the phone. Which was already too many times if you asked him, but It helped avoiding headache and tiredness. No that he had high hopes avoiding one tonight, though. UA exam could exhaust anyone, even those, like them, who didn’t technically fight.  

 

-It’s your first time reviewing the exam, Kirishima, isn’t it?

-Yep! Smiled the redhair.

-You’ll see it’s not that different from when you were watching your classmates fight during assignment. It’s just on a bigger scale.

-It’s so weird to be on the other side now! I remember how stressed i was at their ages…I didn’t think that such an event meant so much work, all i cared was if i could manage to get in.

-You did great, if i recall right, you almost saved as much people as you destroyed robots which was unusual when we still used rescue and villain points.

 

Kirishima’s smile grew wider.

 

-Why did you change the exam, though? I’m sorry but the new formula give a lot more chances for great people with hero mentality but...er...way less efficiency? When we were kids you kinda hated that.

 

Aizawa hummed.

 

-Well, i still do not like kids who has the dream of becoming hero but not skill to support that dream...but i’ve never been fond of the way exam was either. Great quirk doesn’t equal great heroes. I always fought for a fairer exam.

 

The teacher thought of Shinso Hitoshi ; his successor, as the press liked to call him. for once he didn’t hate the press’s decision, even if he still thought they should mind their own business and ask for permission before allowing themselves to rename others. Without Shinso’s success, though, changing the exam formula would have stayed a pipe dream of his.

 

-I heard you were the one planning it this time…

-Yeah. I decided to make it longer to evaluate their stamina. The barcode chase is to see how observant they can be, and how quick they are at taking decisions. And of course, the rest is for fighting, and hero mentality.

-But you didn’t say how they could lose points to the contestants...That’s not very fair. Why?

-Because it should be obvious that if you hurt innocent to win, you’re aren’t fit to be a hero, no matter how stressful the situation get and if you meet the other requirements.

-It’s sure isn’t manly.

 

Kirishima mumbled, focusing on his own screen, deep in thoughts.

 

-You’re worried about Mahô and Satoru? Guessed Aizawa.

 

The redhair wasn’t the one assigned to their screens. Toshinori and Aizawa were.

 

-Nah. I’m good, i know those kids, they aren’t the type to do that kind of stuff.

 

Aizawa nodded, no doubt clouding his mind either. They might have cheated during the written exam, but they weren’t stupid. They would see the trap. As he thought that, Hizashi arrived, and Toshinori sit, right next to them, ready to start the exam.

 

***

 

When he arrived at the block and saw a student in UA uniform distributing the bracelet to contestants, Satoru was okay. His legs were shaking a little, but still, it was pretty much under control.

When he saw hundred of students arrive one by one, and wait for their turn, Satoru was nauseous. His stomach hurt like crazy, as if his heart had fell into it and was beating his way out. But that was still manageable, he could throw off on one of the contestant’s shoes, at worst.

 

He remembered going into vacation to Mahô’s place, three years ago, with Shouto and Momo. During summer. Back then, they had walked to a riverbank in the mountain, stopped in front of one pond and even jumped into the water from the rockslides. It felt just like that day, standing in front of a ten meters fall, being surprised by how far it looked, now that they stood on the top, when it seemed only fun when they were at the bottom. He was feeling just as before a big jump. Nothing bad could happen ; yet it still was scary. But also, strangely, exciting.

 

The only difference was that, on that day, Momo and Shouto had offered their hands and they jumped all together.

 

Remember to have fun, had said Mahô. He was starting to understand what she meant. Maybe he would fail this. ( Don’t think that way, spell it, success!) But he could still have a great time : build a memory he would not regret. One he would do his best, and as she advised him; tried something new. Something he couldn’t do anywhere else, not even when he trained with Shouto, Endeavor, Momo or Shinso!

 

Plus Ultra! Wasn’t it the motto of the school, after all?

 

When the starting signal resounded, and the gate opened to a gigantic building area full of robots, Satoru gulped down all his feeling and jumped.

 

First , he thought his heart beat covering all the noise around him, I need to find a way to spot the barcode. 

 

Most of the other contestants around had the same instinct, and they all tried to get a bird’s eyes view, some climbing down buildings, or, when they could, fly off. But that would take too long for Satoru to find an entrance, run up the stairs, and look around with no equipment. It was also a gamble, as nothing assured him it would help.

 

But for once, his quirk gave him an advantage. And this time, it was fair, and authorized. So Satoru took a deep breath and... Focus! 

 

He had trained so hard, that he didn’t even need to close his eyes anymore to picture it : a long tunnel like room with screens plattered on the walls, surrounding him. Each of it had a name carved in, it was someone he had bonded with. Before, all of it were either constantly on or off. Now, thanks to Shinso’s training, he could actually choose which one interested him, without being overwhelmed by everything else, an he could actually distinguish which was who.

 

As he was running in the real, physical world, Satoru let himself drown a bit farer dow into his mental one, to reach the ones at the bottom of the place, the bonds he treasured the most. There, he turned his head and faced Aizawa’s, paced right next to Shinso’s and Fuyumi’s.

 

I’m sorry. But i need to get into your head. 

 

Surely, the man had to know everything about the exam, even the localisation of every barcode. If he didn’t...Well Satoru would try with All might’s mind. Then Hizashi...Until he actually found the information he needed.

 

It wasn’t as invasive as taking control over their body, not even as rude as watching their memories. All he had to do was to put himself in their shoes and think of what he needed, the knowledge would flow to him as naturally as it would for their rightful owner. Satoru still didn’t like to do it without their permission, but he had no other choice. What could he do? Waste energy to make Aizawa hallucinate and say : “hey i’m borrowing this, can i?” No. Definitely not. The exam lasted two hours, he would need to keep every little bit of energy he could.

 

It’s not bad, it’s the same as when i enter Shouto’s mind to find back his key or glasses. I do not invade their privacy as much , he tried to convince himself, with mixed result.

 

What helped was the assurance that the teacher would not be bothered at all by his actions, not aware of his presence. He would not even think about the barcode because Satoru did. His intervention would go totally unnoticed.

 

The knowledge came flowing immediately as he touched the screen in his mind-picture.

 

The first was on a red flag, on one giant robot’s head. Another was on a wall near a fake gasoline container, hoping that clever students would immediately identify such zones as risky and try to either take advantage of it or protect it. The third was on the top of the tallest building around : a crane ; in order to reward student who would think that it was the best spot to have a global vision of the area. The fourth had been hidden under rumbles of an already destroyed area, that screamed “we need help” for any hero. And the fifth barcode would only appear in the last fifteen minutes of the exam. Satoru’s mind was filled with clear pictures of the barcode and their surrounding area, but also the map, as Aizawa was either looking at right now or learned by heart with a frightening accuracy.

 

So only five barcodes per bloc. (Only five?) Satoru’s heart grew heavier. That was so few!

 

As he thought that, he got the information from Aizawa’s mind that they didn’t even expect to recruit 5 students per block. As there were 10 blocs in total and they had only 40 places for the hero courses, minus 5 recommandation students. So only 35 places left. Pressure got Satoru badly. But that wasn’t that though, that made him stumble on is own feets.

 

It was his first encounter with a giant robot. And it was way bigger than it seemed on the screen. It reminded him of those awful things Shouto iced during his first UA festival. The heck was wrong with UA?!

 

He had managed to manipulate some objects with his quirk, yet always ones that had been enchanted by Mahô before. So he didn’t know if that would work on normal ones. (Why didn’t he test that before ; he scolded his past self) And somehow, Satoru was pretty sure that the robot would smash him to the ground before he managed to get near and bond. So he opted for the most logical solution : he ran away. Efficient he tried to run in the direction of the nearest barcode...but got wrong.

 

Of course.

 

He wasn’t the best at direction, and it’s only thanks to Aizawa’s mind that he realized that. It felt like watching a GPS. It became clear to Satoru’s eyes that the teacher was watching him precisely. It could be useful ; but also very disturbing, as he clearly sensed his disapproval too.

 

What do you want me to do? Fight that? Complained Satoru to Aizawa -who of course would never hear this.

 

Of course the Robot, since there were no other contestant around -all busy climbing buildings and spot the barcodes- decided he was the perfect target. Especially when the boy tried to run, then piled and went back to pass under his robotic nose. That was too easy. Just his luck!

 

-Can’t you bother someone else?! He still screamed to the robot.

 

And the engine answered by smashing the nearest telephone pole. That was probably a nope.

 

Satoru couldn’t take advantage of his quirk on this (probably), but maybe, he could use their absurd size difference against it. Since he had no other plan, Satoru rushed to the narrowest passage way he spotted. A path that he could barely fit in.

 

It was a mixed win, as the robot was blocked as planned by the surrounding buildings, but not destroyed. (It would have been too easy, right? Thought sadly Satoru) The IA, though, wasn’t as smart as it could have been : instead of giving up on his current prey to find another, he still tried to reach Satoru with its gigantic arm, the only thing that could sneak inside this tiny space.

 

That didn’t make it any less threatening from Satoru’s view point.

 

His first instinct was to try to outspeed it with a sprint but he hit quite an obstacle : literally. The street ended with a pile of trashes in front of a wooden barrier obstructing the way.  A semi-dead-end.

 

Trash in front, Gigantic hand that was about to trash him, in the back.

 

That left him no other choice. Satoru jumped on the first piles of junk, and luckily didn’t lose his momentum nor equilibrium, allowing him to grab the top of the wooden barrier and shift over the other side.

 

The robotic hand almost grabbed his ankle, but failed. Satoru was finally out of his reach, and a bit out of breath, he stared at the danger he had just avoided, and let out a tiny hum, full of hope and proudness. That wasn’t so bad!

 

He certainly didn’t rest on his victory though, with only five barcodes around he had no time to waste.

 

Just as he thought that, his connection with Aizawa informed him that the barcode on the mecanic cane had just been scanned.

 

Only four barcodes left.  

 

At least, he wouldn’t have to climb up a whole mechanical cane.

 

***

 

Recovery girl was getting too old for this, she said, as she sat in her office. her back was killing her, and she didn’t have the energy left to run through every block and heal each contestant one by one. Luckily, Nedzu being as considerate as ever, had finally agreed to give her some help this year.

 

It would still be a lot of work for one old lady and her two young assistants. Mari was busy with All might’s daughter and poor Eri was struggling with one of the tv screen. Unfortunately, if they didn’t manage to make it work, they would be unable to know where to pick injured students. The exam had just begun and the already had troubles…

 

-Tsubaki, she called her grandson. -Would you mind giving me a hand?

 

The boy barely moved, focused on his console. He had been like that since he came back from the recommandation exam, locking himself up in a corner of the infirmary. He wasn’t wounded, he just waited for his grandmother’s day to be over so they could both go back home together, like she had promised him.

 

Recovery Girl didn’t expect a vocal answer from him, but she had hoped he would at least get his eyes off his console, look at her, or even nod. She should have been used to this already.

 

- Can you help Eri make the tv work, please? You’re good with that, aren’t you? She asked instead, since he was better at following instructions.

 

Tsubaki didn’t move again, as if he hadn’t heard his grandmother, then, two minutes later, he suddenly put down his game, stood and head toward the broken screen.

 

-I’m sorry, apologized Eri, probably impressed by the teen. He was tall for his age, after all, and his large hoodie made him look sturdier than he actually was. -I just can’t seem to make it work, i don’t know where i got things wrong, i might have connected the wrong…

 

Without a word, Tsubaki kneeled down, analyzed the connection, changed a few things and turned it on again. The tv still didn’t work.

 

So he hit it.

 

The screen made a strange noise and finally, images started to appear.

 

-T-Thank you, Tsubaki, whispered Eri, embarrassed.

 

The boy glared at her, as if the words of thank bothered him more than her bad skills with informatic.

 

-He is as charming as ever, commented Mari sarcastically, as she entered the room, All Might’s five years old daughter in one arm, a jar full of cookies in another.

 

Tsubaki answered by zipping off his hoodie to her face. But that didn’t seem to bother Mari, who had been through much, much worse. Instead of being phased off, she took the opportunity to put Satori in the teenager’s arms.

 

-Keep an eye on this little for me would you?

 

Then she proceeded to look at the information displayed on tv.

 

-Seems like a teenager managed to already dislocated his kneecap in block 4, she said. -Should i go and pick him up? She asked Recovery girl.

 

The system was supposed to be connected with each student’s bracelet, and alert them if they needed assistance. Of course, robots in the field were programmed to stop attacking injured contestants, and even avoid it. And somes even had the only purpose to pick each student on the ground and bring them out of the block, in safety. But those robots only worked to certain kind of injury, the most urgent ones.  

 

-It’s only a grade 1 injury, mumbled Recovery girl as she checked it. -Robot will go and take him here, his knee can’t get worse and he certainly can’t use it anymore so...

-I can ask for one of the third year on the field to go and check on him just in case, proposed Eri. -She shouldn’t be needed until the last half an hour of the exam anyways.

-That’s a good idea, dear. Do just that and-

 

The tv screen emitted a loud noise, and some informations turned red. Grade 3 injury. Recovery girl sighed :

 

-Seems like block 2 will be the first block to need our help. Mari, Eri, do you mind going?

 

Both girls nodded, and immediately departed. Recovery had no doubt they would know what to do. After all, Eri had been a great student and her power was way more miraculous than her. If she had any troubles with it, or doubt, which was okay at her age, Mari would take the right decision ; stop the time of the contestant with her quirk and bring them to Recovery girl. When her successors left the infirmary, though, the heroine couldn’t help but feel a little bit proud and sad at the same time.

 

It wouldn’t be long, for her to actually retire for good and leave her job to these youngsters. Despite her many complaints, she liked the job. She liked UA. Yet, Recovery girl knew she had no other choice : she could barely move her legs now, and needed a wheelchair. So running to each block and help each stupid contestant who overused their quirk and got themselves hurt in the process, was out of question.

 

It was okay, though, she deserved a little peace and quiet. She didn’t mind being the one watching the screen and guiding the two healers where they needed to go, and what they needed to do. And as much as she would regret UA, she looked forward spending time with her family too. Especially her grandson.

 

-It seems it’s just you, Satori and me now. Tsubaki dear, do you want some cand-

 

She stopped and stared at her grandson, who, of course, got back to his place, barely opening his hoodie enough to see anything, his console in his hands. And no Satori in sight.

 

-Tsubaki...Where is Satori? She dared to ask, not knowing yet if what was actually starting to boil inside was fear or anger.

 

The teen looked at his empty arms, as if he had just noticed the absence, and after a minute of hesitation he pointed something with his finger. A window. A wide opened window with only tiny crust of cookies on its frame.

 

***

 

Satoru blinked a few time, trying to catch his breath.

 

While he was running, another barcode had been scanned : the one on the robot. He had to hurry : as there was only three barcodes left now. He tried not to panic, and to reason his fear : the two which were found was the easiest and the one who required luck. He still had the advantage, knowing where others were hidden. He could still at least get one before the end of the exam!

 

Since the beginning of this trial, he had pushed away Aizawa’s mind in the background, aware of it, but not focused on it solely, in order to move without confusion. It had worked, it felt like being in a living room with the radio or the tv screen turned on a few feets away, while he was doing his homework on the table.

 

Thanks to that he ahd managed to cut through most of the main area, where he was sure to encounter robots. So far he avoided battles, and even found out that most of the building around were “fake”. Aizawa’s memory allowed him to know that UA was a bit short on money for years and had to cut through their budget there and there. Most of the skyscrapers were only gigantic ironed structures with printed facades, at worst, movie sets at best.  If it hadn’t allowed Satoru to cut through entire areas without any trouble and gain time, he would have been worried.

 

But despite this advantage, every once in a while his doubt made him gaze at the teacher’s mind, just to be sure, just to check if he was heading in the right direction. And this time again, it was a good thing because he got the fucking wrong turn. Again.

 

Curse his bad orientation senses.

 

-What a hero you’ll be, not being able to orientate yourself at all! he grumbled as he went through another narrow street to avoid robots and climbed another pile of trashes. - There’s trouble at west, Satoru, we need your help...And hop, going east because, of course this is the right dir-

 

He hadn’t expected to face another contestant while he was mocking himself while he climbed the other side of a wooden barrier. His embarrassement level pierced the roof while he almost fell from his spot.  

 

Here, in this back street alley, sat another boy, with spiky brown hair and a face as pale as paper. For a moment Satoru thought the teen was waiting, lurking in the shadow, preparing an ambush, but then he noticed that those pitchy black spot on his body were ink stains. And the other contestant was definitely not trying to ambush anyone : he recognized that kind of pose, that emotion in those blue eyes : fear. He was hiding. For a good reason : his knee laid in a weird angle. Dislocated, without a doubt.

 

The teen had to be in terrible pain. It hurt Satoru to just look at his wound. He could easily imagine how frightening it would be for one to see the weird angle of their own limb. Without thinking much Satoru rushed to his side.

 

-Are you okay?

 

That was a stupid question, but it was a reflex, the same that made him drop everything to check on a rival’s health. As if the words had awakened him, the teen started to panic, each breath sounding almost like a sob.

 

-I..My leg..He hiccuped.

-Yeah. it’s…

 

Satoru didn’t want to give him a wrong diagnostic and make the other boy panic. So he said instead:

 

-Don’t worry, i’m sure help is on their way. Robot will come to pick you up in no time!

 

That didn’t work well, the teen went even paler -gosh Satoru didn’t think one’s skin could get any whiter- he shook his head.

 

-N-No! I can’t...i have to continue the test! I-I have to get into UA! I...I can’t…

 

He tried to move and yelped when it spread to his wounded leg. It filled his eyes with tears, that he wasn’t fast enough to wipe before Satoru noticed it.

 

He didn’t know what circumstances the boy had, but his brain already imagined the worse. Did this teen even have a place to go home after this exam? Or did his family put too much pressure on his shoulders and he was afraid to come back with a failure? Satoru didn’t know. He couldn’t know.

 

It gives him vertigo, sometimes, to think about everyone’s circumstances. Because they all had a story, and his power made him able to grab the full depth of it, to know everything he needed to know, to feel with them, even, if he allowed it, when normal people could only get a glimpse, a fragment of it before going on with their lives. This teen had a story, a life, that nobody, except himself, knew about.

 

It could also be nothing that dramatic, but Satoru knew it was only a possibility. But he couldn’t ignore that reality was sometimes cruel. Some people were unlucky and didn’t have as much opportunities. He had been there too, after all.

 

I need to help him. 

 

Just like the wounded boy felt like he didn’t have a choice about passing this exam, Satoru wouldn’t live with himself if he just abandoned him to his fate. If he ignored his suffering when he could do something about it. No. It was even simpler than that ; after all when he had rushed to the boy’s side he hadn’t thought this through. He just saw someone in pain, and he wanted to ease it.

 

This will be your doom, Satoru, you know you can’t help everyone. You should help yourself first… 

 

His mental scolding was as clear as his usual fear, yet,for once Satoru easily ignored it. If only he could do so with all his other bad thoughts...But it seems like he had control over his emotion only when it was detrimental to him.  Satoru could deal with the consequences soon enough, for now, it seemed far away and not important in comparaison from the teen’s pain.

 

He had to do something about it. But He didn’t know what to do ; he wasn’t a doctor after all.

 

But i know one. 

 

More than one even. The tired-doctor Shouto always brought him to when he was hurt, Natsuo and...He didn’t want to think about the last one. He didn’t want to go inside this man’s mind. He could do with the other two. He focused on this little spark of an idea. Natsuo, Shouto’s brother, was also a doctor, a physical therapist. It was perfect.

 

In his mind-place, he activated their bond, just like he had done so for Aizawa. Some part of Satoru wanted to contact his adoptive uncle, explain him the situation, finding comfort in his words and following his instructions to heal the boy. But he didn’t have time for that, there was only three barcodes left. And beside it would be a waste of energy when he could simply borrow Natsuo’s knowledge.

 

Of course knowing and doing was a whole lot different, but Satoru’s connection to Natsuo also assured that he would do the right movement, perfectionned by years of experience his bonded had.

 

-Okay, he said to the teen in front of him, trying to look more confident than he actually was. (His fear was groundless, but again, fear didn’t listen to reason most of the time). -I’m going to check your wound, I think you only dislocated your kneecap but if you allow me…

 

He couldn’t finish his sentence, as the boy slapped Satoru’s hand away.

 

-Don’t touch me!

 

Out of the boy’s fingers, ink started to spread and form some kind of whip, it moved like an angry cat’s tail, threatening to attack if Satoru ever tried that again.

More than the tone and the bruise, it was the boy’s expression that surprised Satoru. He wasn’t angry, he was afraid. Why? The reason, though, was evident : he didn’t trust him. How could he? They were rivals ; aiming for the same place, maybe even the same seat on the hero course ; i could use this opportunity to destroy his last chances. 

 

Though, to Satoru’s opinion, there wasn’t any chance remaining with this kind of wound...The boy surely had either a strong mind to hold into this hope, or was a bit dellusional.

 

For a moment, Satoru was hurt. Yet, he  also had been there, once upon a time. When Shouto found him, he trusted no one, he believed that all people could do was lie and use him. How did you do it? He wondered, thinking of his father, How did you get past this emotion? To know what to do, how to help, yet not being allowed to do so? It was frustrating, but more so awfully sad. The solution was just there and because of what the world taught them, they weren’t willing to take it.  

 

Then he remembered what Shouto had done, the very first day, when he found Satoru hidden under the bed, refusing to get out.

 

-Okay...Tell me when you’re okay with it, then. I will wait.

 

Some part of his mind -the rational one- reminded him that they had no time to waste, that this was an exam and that there were only three barcodes left and he was already at disadvantage...Yet how easy it was to shut it down for once ; all he had to do was touch his bracelet and think of his father, of the patience he had showed to the resigned kid he had been.

 

Though, he didn’t had to wait long, after a couple of minutes in silence, the other boy blinked, looked at his leg again, his eyes full of tears, and finally asked:

 

- You have a healing quirk?

 

He almost sounded hopeful. Satoru felt sorry to crush his hopes, but he refused to lie:

 

-No i don’t. I can help, but my quirk can’t heal you.

-How, then? Why are you even here?

 

Mistrust appeared clearly on his features, once again, and Satoru sadly wondered what he could have done different, said anything that could have helped a bit better.

 

-My name is Satoru, he said, hoping that his name would allow them to grew a little bit closer, and give off the impression he was helping. He didn’t ask for his name, because the point was to show the other he was giving without expecting anything in return. -My quirk currently allow me to know what to do, for you injury. I can enter one’s mind, and i know a doctor. So i could probably…

 

He pointed the knee and hesitated on the word.

 

-Fix that? Maybe? But only with regular medecine skills. You’ll probably be able to walk again once i put it back, but it will be painful and you’ll certainly not be able to run and resume this exam...

 

But Satoru stopped, an idea popping up in his mind. He had been able to make Mahô temporarily deaf, he could probably shut down the nerves of his legs so the boy couldn’t feel any pain. Some kind of local anesthesia and pain killer. He had done that in the past, shutting nerves off, but never to this extent. But...He borrowed some of Natsuo’s knowledge on this subject and tested his hypothesis.

 

-What are you thinking? I dare you, If you try anything weird i-I...

 

The boy used his quirk again, a bit too showy, drawing something in the ground, a blade. The ink took form and he wielded it, in direction of Satoru again. But the contact with the ink was weird on his neck, too humid. It didn’t scare Satoru off -as he had seen way scarier threat- instead it made him wonder:

 

-You what? Can your ink really cut?

 

The face of the boy went paler, and he bit his lips, before lowering his weapon.

 

-Not really. It’s just ink…

 

Satoru let out a relieved sigh he hadn’t realized he was holding. How weird, he had felt really composed in front of this kind of danger. Maybe he was just better to deal with actual physical threat.

 

-It was a good bluff through, he complimented the rival.

-Thanks but you didn’t fell for it th-

 

The boy hissed again, his leg had a spasm. Satoru frowned. They could talk later. He checked the wound and nodded in agreement to himself : it was indeed the kneecap. Apparently it was a wound that growing teenagers often had, so it was probably something Satoru could afford to fix.

 

-If you allow me, i will put it back in place at three…

 

This time the boy shook his head, positively, his eyes closed as he was trying to held back another hiss of pain. Satoru took that as an okay, and focused on Natsuo’s knowledge.

 

-Hm…One...

 

Natsuo’s experience informed it that it was always good to make small talk, though, as it would help the patient focus on something else than the action and not tense up. So he tried to find something to say.

 

-H-How did it happen?

-I was fighting a robot, the boy answering, greeting his teeths, his eyes not leaving his wounded knee at all. -I saw a barcode on the top of its head, and tried to scan it with my power...But some girl told me to watch out for my knee and i ended up on the ground like that before i knew it…

 

Satoru’s heart missed a beat. If the boy already had a barcode it would make everything easier!

 

-Two...Did you get the barcode?

-No...The girl scanned it while i was on the ground. The robot was dangerous so i focused on getting to safe-

 

He screamed as Satoru put back his knee into place.

 

-YOU SAID AT THREE!

-I lied, i’m sorry!

 

And he really was, but Natsuo’s memory always indicated it was the best way to do it. Normally, it was best for the injured person to take some rest, but Satoru wasn’t sure if he had done things right, so he wanted to make sure before. He stood up and offered his hand to his competitor, helping him get up.

 

It made a weird “KLONK” noise, and the wounded boy got tears in his eyes as he held out a yelp again.

 

It obviously hurt, he still managed to stay on his two legs, and the kneecap didn’t pop out of place again. The boy seemed amazed, still in pain but amazed. Satoru wasn’t.

 

-We need to make sure it stay in place, and do a brace…

 

Satoru tried to do the thing from movie and rip off his sleeve...In vain. It was really good quality, damnit!

 

-Do...you mind?

 

The boy took pity of him and actually tore it like it was easy. Life was freaking unfair. Well at least if he couldn’t cut people with his ink he could probably knock them up in the face. As Satoru knelt to make a brace out of the material, he heard a faint:

 

-My name is Ryota Himaruyo….Thank you for...helping me...

 

Satoru smiled ; proud of himself, of course it wasn’t trust yet, but at least the boy did not see him as someone unreliable. The first step always looked harder to take than it actually was.  

 

-It’s okay, it’s not everyday my power comes in handy!

 

He might have accidentally give a little slap to Ryota’s knee to show his good work, and that surely wasn’t his greatest idea as the boy yelped in pain again.

 

-I’m sorry, but i don’t think you will be able to finish the exam in this state…

 

Ryota probably knew that, but he still shook his head, determined.

 

-No. I have to continue. I can still walk! I mean have you seen Deku’s heroes debut? He almost snapped every bones of his body and yet he still went on, i’m sure i can do it to. Just Slow and...stead-

 

He tried to make a few steps and ended up almost crying though. Not everyone had Deku’s pain tolerance. It was difficult to witness it. Satoru knew the right thing to do, now that he had helped him, was to part way, leave him try his luck and be contented by the fact that he had one rival down to fight over for a place. Yet how could he, when the boy was so brave he still tried to take on the exam in this state?

 

Aizawa would have called him stupid. Satoru certainly was, as he took his decision:

 

-I can help you more.

 

As he had said, it wasn’t so often that Satoru’s power could be useful. That someone actually needed him, and not the other way around. He wanted to help. He wanted... be someone’s hero. If he didn’t make it to Ua, he would at least make sure that Ryota would.

 

Unaware of that, Ryota stopped, and stared, surprised but listening. And Satoru put back his draft of an idea on the table, making his plan as he went on:

 

-I...I might be able to cut off your nerves’ sensibility around your knee, so you’ll not be able to feel any pain. It won’t heal you, but you’ll be able to ignore it for a short moment.

-You can do that? Really?

-B-But it could be dangerous, i mean, if you don’t feel any pain, you’ll not know when you’re overdoing it or making it worse...So i will have to check on your wound regulary and…

 

Without any warning Ryota took Satoru’s hands, and shook his head, his blue eyes full of stars:

 

-Do it already, i don’t mind. Just do it!

 

Satoru smiled awkwardly, and closed his eyes, breathing in and out, trying to focus on their hands connecting. He knew the boy’s name, and he was grateful toward him. But as he feared, he was still wary ; they didn’t share a bond strong enough for them to be friend yet. So he sighed, resigned to use the oldest trick in his book:

 

-You’ll have to kiss me first.

-What?

 

Never had he seen a boy took his hands away so fast. It was a bit irritating : so what you was ready to take the risk of being disabled, yet kissing another boy was out of question? Was he that ugly?

 

-It’s how my power work, sighed Satoru. -I told you; i can enter one’s mind….make their memory as good as mine, and manipulate their body’s function. But i need to bond with them first in order to do that…

-By kissing?

 

If he had sounded a little less shoked, maybe his reaction wouldn’t have push Satoru’s buttons. But it did, and so, he couldn’t help but be sarcastic as an answer:

 

-Yeah of course, do you know any quickest way to bond? I mean we could talk for the remaining time of the exam if you prefer, but that would barely get us to the friendship level i need for me to do that! Mental bond takes time! Physical bond does not. Geez, it’s not like i want you to kiss me either, but do we have a choice there? You want to get the exam or not?

 

And since Ryota didn’t say anything, as pale as a sheet of paper, he added for good measure:

 

-You’re lucky i didn’t ask you for a quick fuck in the alley. That would be really-

-OKAY OKAY I GET IT! YOU KISS. A KISS IS FINE!

 

And now he was a red as a tomato. Ah, it had been a long time since he got that kind of reaction out of anyone. That was actually pretty funny.

 

Except that, after agreeing on that, Ryota closed his eyes and waited, shaking from head to toe.

 

-What are you doing?

-W-waiting? Why aren’t you kissing me? Do it quick so we’re over it!

 

That was going to be complicated.

 

-I told you you have to kiss me. This is not something i can force on people, you know.

 

Well that wasn’t true, he could force his power on people, but the bonding had to come from them, they had to initiate this link between them for it to work. Ryota sure looked embarrassed as fuck, but to his defense, he didn’t run away and dropped the idea. As much as he disliked it, he knew he didn’t have a chance to get the exam without help.

 

I thought i would never have to do that again, still regretted Satoru. 

 

But just as Ryota was aware of his limit, Satoru knew his too, knew that being a hero meant sacrifices, sometimes. It didn’t mean he would endure what he had gone through once again, he had joked about a quick fuck, but he would never, ever resort to that ever. Not ever. A kiss was fine. A kiss was as far as he could go, he decided. If it meant helping someone, he could accept that.

 

-It’s not like i like it, you know ; i have a girlfriend thank you -he said to make Ryota’s mind at ease, some boy just were afraid of being loved by someone of the same gender- but that’s just how my power work.

-Oh? You have a girlfriend! So cool, congratulations! I don’t have one yet.

-Thank.

-She’s okay with you kissing people, though?

-Well, she knows i don’t have a say about it, she’s smart and understanding, he said, proudly.

-Wow, lucky…

 

Wait, realized Satoru, as much as he liked to talk about his favorite frog, they were side tracking.

 

-We have no time to chitchat about my girlfriend, go ahead and kiss.

-Do i have to go f-for the lips?

-It would work better, but if you do not, i think a kiss on the cheek is better than none.

-A-and you kiss like everybody like that? Like the doctor you talked a-about?

-What, you’re afraid of diseases? No i don’t i usually befriend people normally when i got spare time, but we don’t…

-A-And will you be able to manipulate me after that, like- totally like?

-Yes. But i won’t do anything weird, i promise. It would be counterproductive, right? Healing you, to fool you? You’re not in the best shape, i could probably find someone better for that.

-T-True...Do you-

-Would you kiss me already?

 

Necessity didn’t make the moment any less gross. Satoru had forgotten how a kiss you didn’t want was humid and unpleasant.

 

It had been a while, since he had those kind of flashes. For five years now, he had bonded with people gradually, slowly growing closer to them, learning to know them and trust them. It was like falling in love, you didn’t realized it happened until one day, you do, you wake up with this knowledge, unable to pinpoint the exact moment you started to feel that way : it was a sum of tiny stolen moments, lovely memories and little details that won you over.

 

But it wasn’t like that when he bonded physically : it was sudden and violent, like a flash, like falling of a chair. If bonding mentally was like falling in love, bonding physically was like love at first sight. One moment you knew nothing, the next you knew everything.

 

In one heartbeat momentum, Satoru learnt many things at the same time that he could only pick a few out of the blurr.

 

The boy’s name was Ryota Himaruyo. His quirk, living ink, as it was registered in the government archives, had been discovered when he was barely two. At first he could only produce ink from his skin’s pores, but when he first tried to draw something on the wall, like every child do, something happened. Tiny dots that had started to move and entertain him, as he waited for his father to come home. Little Ryota hated silent and his figure helped him live up the empty living room.

 

Millions of little things, details, that every human collected about themselves and the other clouded Satoru’s mind. Things they were proud about themself, things they were ashamed...Things they weren’t even aware of but that their unconscious mind still picked up.   Satoru avoided that all together not wishing to get lost in this and leave some privacy to Ryota yet. But when the occasion to know why Ryota was so adamant to get to UA appeared, curiosity got the upper hand.

 

Ryota had always dreamed to be a hero or an artist. But when he said that, all he saw in his ever-supportive father’s eyes was doubt and fear. Artist was the job of the mother who left. So he choose the hero career. His little sister waited for him at home, already stating that her brother was going to be the greatest hero and that she would be his number one fan. She was waiting, and he didn’t want to disappoint her, to make her a liar.

 

That was as simple as that. Yet it was scarier than Satoru imagined : hurting someone you held so close to your heart, betraying their trust and crushing the image they had about you...That was another kind of pressure. Not worse, not less. Just different. And for Ryota it was scary enough to try to walk again despite the injury and to kiss a boy. Hoping he would not be fooled.

 

He was…fooled.

 

Satoru hiccuped, as he understood Ryota’s memory of the exam better than its original owner. He had been set up by the girl who yelled for him to watch out. He had been okay, using his ink shaped as a bird to get the barcoded close, when she screamed “watchout for you knee!” and then he was hit. By her. On his knee. And she screamed it was dislocated. And he looked down and it was. When it wasn’t when he fell, the brain had registered. Satoru could see that. His kneecap didn’t move before she said it it had.

 

Satoru’s attention got on Ryota’s knee, pushing away the past, the hut, the betrayal. It was uneeded now. But he made sure he remembered the girl, even if her face a bit blurry in Ryota’s mind, he still heard her voice. Satoru would not forget this tone.

 

Cutting one nerve was bit harder than turning Mahô deaf. Partly because he was closer to Mahô and so had more ease navigating inside her brain, but also because he didn’t want to make a mistake. Nerves were complicated, and if he stopped the wrong one he could do more harm than good.

 

Fortunately he still had his bond with Natsuo, a doctor’s knowledge. It helped. It didn’t take more than a minute. When he opened his eyes -he hadn’t realized he had closed it in the first time- and stepped back, Ryota was looking at his own leg, shocked.

 

-It’s so weird and...awesome, but weird i…

 

He pinched his skin and moved his feet.

 

-I really don’t feel anything but i can still move, wow.

 

Satoru nodded:

 

-I block pain information right now, but not movement information.

-You’re like still connected to my leg right now?

-Yeah. Doesn’t have a choice if i want it to work.

-Doesn’t it bother you?

-Not really, it’s like typing without looking at the keyboard. I barely realize i’m doing it. As long as i don’t doubt what i’m doing.

 

Ryota bit his lips, and awkwardly he seemed like he was about to cry again. It made Satoru worry : did he fucked up something? Was he still feeling pain somehow? Or...But instead the teen bowed and shouted:

 

-Thank you! Thank you very much. You really didn’t have to do that and yet…

 

Ah. Compliment. Satoru’s cheek turned red and he did the only things he could do, he tried to run away from it:

 

-Anyways, we need to get on with the exam, you’re doing better but you still should not force on it. We have to find you a barcode quick. Follow me!

-A-Ah, o-ok yes!

 

A plan was starting to take place in his mind. He let out Natsuo’s connection fade a bit and switched back on Aizawa’s perception. Still three barcodes left. Normally they would only need two, but, Satoru had to be realistic here : he wasn’t a fighter nore a sprinter, and Ryota was injured. He could barely keep up with Satoru’s slow pace, that was saying a lot.

 

The main street was full of robots and contestants fighting. As he expected. But he didn’t intend to pass through that, the main reason he got there in the first place lied elsewhere. No matter how he thought about it, trying to come up with a plan he had come to one unavoidable conclusion. They needed to team up with someone else, someone that could help them travel fast.

 

Here was the best place to spot someone. It didn’t take long to find the right person.

 

A girl went through the mass, rushing at full speed toward two giants roots like they were nothing serious. She avoided the first hit and simply poked the iron hand of the mechanical beast, then jumped on it and propulsed herself like a rocket to the other one ; as if she had put her feet on a big spring. She only brushed the other robot’s iron as she passed above his head.

 

And the moment after that, the first robot crashed into the second one, destroying themselves in the process. The girl grabbed one of the remaining iron plate that was left and jumped on it like it was an overboard from “Back to the future”.

 

That was perfect. Satoru didn’t know what her quirk was, but he was interested in the overboard locomotion way.

 

-We need to stop this girl and get her attention, he said to Ryota.

 

But how? If he shouted he would drag attention if everyone including other contestants and robots, putting themselves in danger...

 

The teen looked at the girl, whose was using another contestant as a ramp to shout herself at twenty meters height. Out of reach.

 

Except for a black ink bird.

 

-WHA-

 

The girl didn’t had time to stop and understand what happened. Ryota’s bird had stopped right in front of her face, and didn’t have time to change shape and form some words or message. She went through it and splashed her head with ink.

 

And fell screaming.

 

Satoru stared at Ryota. Ryota stared at Satoru, his face turning pale as he only realize that he might have killed someone by accident. They really hadn't thought this through.

 

-Well...at least...She stopped now, said Ryota with a shaking voice that sounded way too nervous. 

 

Luckily one of the giant robots caught her and posed her on the ground with caution.  Apparently UA had taken some measures to prevent students’ injuries.

 

Satoru took the opportunity there as the robot didn’t seem ready to attack the girl as long as she was hurt. He rushed. Grabbed the girl’s collar, who was still confused with her face all black from the ink, and dragged her into the black alley.

 

It really wasn’t that shady in his mind and he hoped noone would take this out of context. Except the girl did and when she managed to finally get the ink out of her eyes only to see her surrounding by boys in a black alley…

 

-KIDNAPPERS!

 

Of course she screamed and started to freak out and attack. before they could do anything she touched a trash can and the thing literally flew itself to Ryota’s face. Poor guy barely avoided it.

 

-We’re not kidnappers! tried to say Satoru. Because why the hell would kidnapper be there taking UA exam damn it?!

-That’s exactly what kidnappers would say!

 

Which she had a point there. The girl touched a trash bag and yet again as if it was repulsed by her contact it thew itself to the boy...This time Ryota was prepared and used his quirk to protect himself. It exploded as it entered in contact, splashing black ink everywhere. And the girl connected the two dots.

 

-YOU’RE THE ONE WHO TRIED TO KILL ME WITH YOUR BLOODY INK!

-I’m sorry, it was an accident!

-LIKE HELL IT WAS!

 

Before she finished her sentence, the can that had been trapped inside the trash bag started to move again and she started to pilone them with it. As Satoru was hit in the face by a coca light -it wasn’t light at this speed- he understood the girl’s quirk ; the robot, the trash bin cans...the trash bag moved only because there was some iron inside it ! It was iron telekinesis! Or something with polarity maybe?

 

Not that it helped him anyways stopping this fight, though. As he tried to protect his head from another salves of trashes, he screamed:

 

-I know where the remaining barcodes are and i wanted to offer you to team up!

 

Silence followed, and when Satoru opened his eyes, he saw the girl and Ryota had stopped fighting, staring at him with round eyes.

 

-You do? Asked Ryota.

 

And Satoru realized he hadn’t shared his plan with the poor boy at all, only expecting him to follow his instructions. What a bad teammates he was already...He had to fix this.

 

-Yes i do. IMy quirk allow me to know this kind of stuff. There’s only three barcodes left, we have to hurry.

 

He turned to the girl and pointed Ryota out:

 

-He got hurt, and i don’t have an offensive quirk, so we needed someone like you who could transport us. I will tell you where it are the barcodes in exchange!

 

She turned pale and looked at Ryota with a new expression on her face, full of worry:

 

-You’re hurt? Are you okay?

 

Satoru was pleased that he wasn’t the only one who asked stupid question like that, but was also amazed by her change of heart and trust in his words. For all she knew he could be lying, yet she didn’t doubt it at all. That was somehow impressive.

 

-I’m fine, he helped me, here with his power! I...Will you help us please? Asked Ryota, again.

-The second barcode we find will be yours, i promise you, offered Satoru. -But the first one is for him. We have to make sure he has one before getting him out of the field and get his wound treated by real doctors...

 

He had to make sure the boy got a barcode first, or the girl could run off and leave them out as soon as she had what she needed to be qualified. As for Satoru’s code...Well there was one that would appear later, near the end of the exam, he could have that one. With his power he had the advantage, knowing where it would appear, so even if the two of them abandonned him, he could probably manage.

 

You’re sabotaging your chances! 

 

He didn’t listen to his stressed inner voice. Maybe it was true, and he was indeed sabotaging his chances. But he hadn’t had many to begin with, and by teaming up with people and helping them succeed, it felt right, it felt okay. It felt like it was what a hero would do. The kind of hero he wanted to become at least. So he wouldn’t regret this.

 

Maybe. Probably. That was a tomorrow problem. And something his future self would decide.

 

-W...Well, if you know where barcodes are, what are we waiting for? Suddenly said the girl with a big smile on her face. -Let me find something big enough to stand us three...It has to be ironed!

 

It was like a signal, and they all started to look for something. One of Ryota’s ink dragged the big iron plate that she had been riding before, and she inspected it, before nodding.

 

-Should be enough! -She turned to Ryota and frowned- No more ink in front of me, am i clear?

-Yes, very clear! I’m sorry.

 

She laughed, and behind all the blackness and dirt, Satoru saw her features for the first time. She was pretty, with short curly hair, and big round eyes, her smile was full of charm. As she caught him staring, though, she put her hand around her chest and grinned:

 

-Are you falling for me already?

-Na. He has a girlfriend. He might try to kiss you though, warned Ryota as if it was casual info to share.

-What? You cheater!

-Again i don’t have a choice, that’s how my power work, said Satoru, as he climbed on the iron plate with them.

-That’s a poor excuse to ask a girl to kiss you!

-I kiss equally boys and girls alike. Full equality defender right there.

 

She laughed and tapped the ground with her hand. Suddenly the plate shout itself -and them on it- to the air. That...Was really high. Cool and stuff but...Really high. He was happy to not be subject of vertigo right now.

 

-Okay mr Equality, what’s your name?

 

Because she used the joke tone, he played a little too:

 

-Who are you to ask my name?

 

She looked at him so strangely that Satory feared he crossed some line and she would push him out of the plate right there and right now. It felt like a fitting punishment for such a lame answer to be honest.

 

-Well, my name is Ryota Himaruyo, said Ryota with a smile.

 

He might not have realized it, but his answer broke the tension and the girl snorted.

 

-And mine is Yuu Jishakuu! Is my name good enough for you mr rude?

-Yep, mine is Satoru.

-If it is a way for you to go on first name basis with me right from the start, i’m not buying it! You have a girlfriend i’m not playing on that field!

 

Satoru gulped, as much as he liked their banter, he really didn’t want to give off his name and cause a fuss right there and now. So instead of picking it up, he looked at the area and pointed something.

 

-The next barcode is this way! To the north.

 

They weren’t high enough to spot the area, but he knew thanks ‘to Aizawa’s knowledge that the fake gazoline container was on the north.

 

-Okay, then let’s go! Yelled Yuu enthusiastic.

 

As they headed full speed in Satoru’s direction, Ryota thought it was the right time to inform them of a tiny, very silly detail:

 

-North is not this way…

 

Yeah, well , thought Satoru as they made a dangerous 180° turn, he had made the right choice to team up.



Chapter Text

-Don’t worry, everything is going to be alright, whispered Eri to the scared teen.

She wrapped her costume cape around his shoulders, and let Mari handle the talking, as she focused on the boy’s wound. Triple fracture, with the bones piercing the skin. Despite all their efforts, the robots’ program and the fake buildings, this one still managed to get almost crushed under real rumbles after he destroyed half of a skycrappers. Was it really necessary to show off like that? Some should use their brain and think about consequences before using their quirk! But the boy was in pain, and a scolding wasn’t needed right now.

So, Eri took a deep breath and focused on her quirk. Reverse, go back, go back to how you were only an hour ago…

Once upon a time she would have been afraid to go too far, to erase the poor boy by accident. But now, she felt confident, she was in control and most important of all she had a clear view of the distance in time she had to go through. It made it a lot easier.

In a blink of an eye, the boy’s leg was as good as new. And more accurately, was as good as it had been.

-Wow so cool! Whispered the boy, as the pain faded away, leaving him only the bad memory of it.

Mari though, took the opportunity to get some lesson in his thick head now that he was safe:

-You’re lucky we have Reset with us today, or it could have costed you more than the exam!
-Heh? Can’t i go back and take it now that i’m all fixed?
-And make another building collapse on you to break all your remaining limbs? No way young boy, the exam is over for yo-

Eri smiled, happy not being the one being scolded, or doing the scolding. She wasn’t that good on that. Since her work her was done, she stood up, and checked the surroundings : just in case some contestants needed a quick healing too. But the place was empty, surprisingly. She was wondering why when she noticed a lonely girl at the entrance of the building. She seemed like she was guarding the place.

-It’s kind of you to watch our back, but we’re good now, you can resume the exam, she said.
-Oh? O-okay. Sorry if i bothered you…

The teen had a green skin with lot of beautiful colored scales. Yet she avoided looking her in the eyes, hiding behind her purple long hair as if she was impressed. Eri was not used to be treated with so much respect, and so tried to make her more comfortable with a soft compliment:

-You didn’t, it was good thinking to secure the place where we were healing someone.
-Really? (it worked, the girl seemed happy though she still not looked Eri in the eyes, only joining her hands in a joyful movement) -Th-thank you! I already have my barcode so i didn’t know what to do during the remaining time…
-If you think you’re over, then head back to the entrance with me, you’re-

Her phone interrupted her, and she apologized as she took the call.

-Hi, it’s Marinette. You told me to watch over a kid who was hurt in the B6 area, right?
-Yeah? Is there a problem?
-Can’t find the kid.

Eri frowned, the boy wasn’t supposed to be able to move in his state.

-You’re sure you’re at the right place? You checked on the map?
-Yeah, and i have a couple of robots that arrived after me, they are currently accusing each other of loosing the kid. Are they programmed to bicker? Is it normal?

This time Eri was really worried ; robots were supposed to be linked to the GPS bracelet of every contestant, they should have known where he was all the time, in order to be able to rescue him. That meant that either the kid had vanished, or he was healed.

-I will go and check something, Thank you for your call Marinette.
-Wait, what do i do? Do i look for him?
-No, we’re entering the second half of the exam, i need you to stick to the plan please. I will contact you if this change. Don’t worry.
-Okay, but if you find the kid, please do tell me though, even if you say not to ; i’m worried.

Eri promised, and ended the call. She needed to contact Aizawa ; he had access to monitors and screens and could probably find back the missing kid. Please don’t be kidnapped! She knew the chances were low, as no student ever been abducted again on UA ground ever, but…

-What’s wrong, asked Mari, as she came closer, dragging the rejected contestant behind her. She apparently had to incapacitate him, as he was not moving anymore.

Since she didn’t want to show UA troubles in public, the other contestant still being alert behind her back, she simply shook her head:

-I just need to check up something, can you go ahead and-

This time it was Mari’s phone who rang and interrupted her. Eri could hear Recovery girl’s angry mumbles from where she stood, at three feet distance of the engine. What had made her so mad, she wondered, a little bit worried. Mari, professional didn’t show anything and simply nodded, there and there, as if it was totally normal. Eri was impressed, until the older girl hang up and stated loud and clear:

-Seems like All might Goblin ran away with our jar of cookies.

And as sometimes brain were tricky, what Eri registered first was that some evil villain stole their cookies. Only then she realized they might have lost go the only daughter of the last Peace symbol and ex-greatest hero of all time.

Talk about a first day of work!
***

Satoru head was getting cloudy and he felt an headache coming already. He knew he could still go for a three to four hours with his quirk active, it was not the problem. The problem was more that he had to move while using it. If it was something as simple as doing daily core he could have managed, but that was not ; he had to be focused on reality on his own body, on Aizawa’s informations, and on Ryota’s legs. It was more tiring than he had expected.

-I found it!

Just as in Aizawa’s memories, the barcode was there, carved on the gasoline container; just next to a fake pressure level. He rose his head, as Ryota was still trying to climb down the contained Yuu landed them on. The face he made as his bad leg slipped, informed Satoru that he had dropped his guard and let the boy feel some pain. So he squeezed his eyes tight and put more effort into it.

Despite the fact that Yuu arrived before Ryota, she didn’t make any move to take the barcode for herself. She didn’t even search for it, and went to look around the area ; stating that she needed to replenish her “iron stock” whatever it mean. As she came back, drawed by Satoru’s signal, she saw Ryota struggling to get down and offered her help.

-I’m sorry, if i knew, i would have landed closer…She apologized.
-You had to avoid robots, don’t worry i understand. -Then he stopped and stared at the wall- Oh look, a grafitti!

Satoru frowned, and wondered if Ryota was truly okay. Since they teamed up he had been so chill, noticing the form of the cloud and tiny details like that, going from one subject to another. He even said he had seen a baby on the top of one building, but when both Yui and him looked, it had “gotten away”. Satoru worried he had messed up his brain for a moment, but despite his regular check up everything seemed normal. Was it his usual salf, when not under stress? Satoru couldn’t tell, since he had access to only the boy’s own perception of himself. Maybe it was just the drop of adrenaline that made him hallucinate.

Or maybe it was Satoru’s quirk after effect, the one that made people act a bit too reckless, as if they were a little bit drunk. He hoped not, he still struggled with repressing this one, even after years of training with Shinsho.

He touched his bracelet, trying to calm down and check his mental place, just in case. Everything seemed normal. Weirdly, they were very lucky so far. Yuu seemed like a nice and honest girl. Ryota, while being hurt and a little bit absent minded, was still very cautious with his injured leg, making sure to not get things worse without noticing.

They could actually do it, Satoru realized. Yes they were a bit slow, but there was still an hour left before the end ; definitely enough to get the two other barcodes.

-It’s scanned, stated Ryota, when he finally reached the hidden spot.
-Congratulations Ryota for getting in the hero course! Rejoiced Yuu, definitely enthusiastic. -Any words for the press? She added, imitating an interviewer holding a mic.

The boy got along in her fantasy and nodded.

-I want to thank you my father and sister, and my teammates ; Yuu and Satoru, i wouldn’t be there if not their help. It was worth the kiss.

This time Satoru blushed from head to toe ; could he drop the subject already? Especially when Yuu looked at them both like that, with a weird smile and look on her face.

-What’s the kanji of your names? I’m going to write it on the wall too. To prove we were here! Suddenly asked Ryota, as if the idea just came into his head -which was the case.
-That’s a good idea! Mine is written with the kanji “friend”!
-Mine is written with “understanding”, should we really have time for this, though? I’m sure they’re recording everything we’re doing at the moment if you want a souvenir.
-Oh. french word! But yes, it’s very important! assured Ryota with a smile, as he wrote down their names together and even took the time to do a small portray of each of them. - I want us to all pass and come back here as students and see it.
-That would be so cool, besides that way, other contestants will know the barcode is already taken! Added Yuu.

Satoru dropped the subject ; since they both seemed so adamant about it, there was no reason to fight over it. Instead he tried to keep watch, or at least he tried. Then he heard a clap in his back and turned to see Yuu and Ryota High fiving.

-Why…

Then he saw Yuu’s palm full of Ryota’s ink, before she knelt down and pressed her hand on the wall besides her portrait. Okay. They were giving up your fingerprints too, apparently. Why do i befriend the same kind of people every time? Before he could tell them all the reasons why it was a bad idea, they turned to him with their eyes full of stars, buzzling with impatience, expecting him to complete the drawing. And what could he say? He was really weak.

-Okay, okay, but after that we go!

So he clapped his hands on Ryota’s (and it felt weird, as if he had squished an octopus) and then added his mark on the graffiti.

-Yeah! Jumped Yuu, in the background, while Ryota simply gave him a thumbs up and a smile.

They seemed to have forgotten they were currently taking an exam, and it was getting harder for Satoru to not get swapped in their joyful mood. He didn’t know yet if it was a bad or a good thing : it did made him forget his growing dizziness and his stress. But on the other hand he couldn’t forget some vital points.

-Now that we’re done, Yuu, do you think you can get us to the entrance really fast?
-Yeah, but why? Is the next barcode at the entrance?
-Really? That would be super sneaky of them : no one would think to look here…

Actually, there was one block with one barcode written on the top of the entrance gate, Aizawa’s memory bothered him with, but Satoru disregarded this unneeded information : they were not concerned.

-No. But we have to take Ryota to safety now that he has passed. Real doctors have to look at his knee.
-No.

Satoru didn’t expect this kind of answer, so much that it took him a bit of time for his brain to actually proceed it.

-Yes you do. You can’t make your injury worse, i told you i’m no doctor, i did what i could ; which is not much. The reason why you’re not in pain right now is only because i cut all your sensitives nerves informations from your brain. Don’t get fooled though, you are-
-I know that, simply answered Ryota, not phased at all. -And thank you for helping me. But you don’t know if i pass yet. Present Mic said we could get a barcode and yet still not be recruited. What if going back earlier disqualify you immediately?
-Oh that’s true! I didn’t think of that ; commented Yuu.

Satoru bit his lips, and sighed. But he was making a valid point : it didn’t seem very heroic for a hero to come back earlier, when the operation was still going. It could get you lose points, maybe. But on the other hand continuing the mission while being injured could do that too. Which as the worst? He checked Aizawa’s head for that information.

-It’s not! -He said, as he found it- It does not, i assure you, you can go back now and get medecin-
-How do you know that? Asked Yuu, suspicious.

This was the first time the girl showed any sign of mistrust, and it took Satoru by surprise.

-I...It’s thanks to my power, he finally said.
-What does your power exactly do? I thought if could heal people with a kiss, like Recovery girl. Are you from her family? Is that why you didn’t give us your full name?

Crap. She was smarter than he expected. She hit really close to home on this one. Fortunately he didn’t have to lie to get through this. He still wondered how their little team could go from swearing they would meet at the hero course a moment, and doubt one another right after. Trust...was such a fragile bond.

-I’m not from the recovery family. My power is more akin to Mind control.
-Mind control? Yelped Yuu, eyeing to Ryota and him side by side. -And you agreed on kissing him knowing that?
-I was hurt, simply answered Ryota, as if it was a good reason.
-I can’t believe you…
-Anyways, i can know everything i need to know about this exam rules because i know one of the teacher. I can check his memory.
-That’s…

He waited for the word “cheater” or “unfair” but was surprised, yet again:

-So cool! So, maybe you can know if Ryota is really passing right now?
-Oh, yes, that would be great.
-Will you take him at the entrance gate if do that?

She didn’t promise, and Ryota simply answered by a sceptic hum. But Satoru did it anyways, because, he was curious. Unfortunately a problem arose:

-No. The teacher i bonded with is not in charge of Ryota, he doesn’t know how he is doing.

Though, it didn’t prevent Aizawa from judging, and he had mixed feeling about it ; apparently Eri called him and asked, worried, where the boy had been, since first-aids robots couldn’t localize him. If Ryota had points thanks to the barcode, and teaming up (wow, 50 points, that many? That was a good sign for the three of them!)...He had been judged as unable to continue at one point because of his injury. So his qualification was up to debate.

Satoru didn’t want to say that to Ryota’s face : it would only makes him worry, and maybe act a little bit too desperate and rashly. He doubted now that he knew the boy, that it would be his responsive behaviour, but Satoru’s quirk after effect was in the balance. Satoru didn’t trust his self control on that part. He couldn’t take the risk.

Yes that would be troublesome for Satoru, to control both on Aizawa’s memory, and Ryota’s nerves function, but surely he could handle that much for the remaining hour. As long as he didn’t have to fight a giant robot while keeping focus on them, they would be all right.

So he gave up and sighed:

-Okay fine, you can stay with us until the end.

Ryota and Yuu high fived once again, victorious. Was it going to become an habit, he wondered. Anyways, if Ryota’s qualification was on the line, he had to make him gather as many points as possible. That way, if a draw appeared and teachers had to choose between a contestant or Ryota, they would naturally pick him for his high score. That seemed like a viable plan.

-But, i have one condition, he added. -Ryota come here a second. Give me your hand.
-Is that a proposal? Smiled Yuu.

The ink boy stepped back at this idea and eyed Satoru with a bit of doubt:

-I’m sorry but i’m too young to marr-
-I was not asking for you hand in this way. I was being literal.
-Oh. Okay then.
-That’s disappointing, complained Yuu.

Satoru ignored her as she sulked, and took down Mahô’s bracelet from his wrist to put it on Ryota’s. He hoped the enchantment would adapt ; after all Mahô did say “owner” not stated Satoru especially, and the white pearl’s trigger was “ripping off the thread” not taking off the bracelet. He was a bit sad of giving up the lucky charm that reminded him of his family, but Ryota was more likely to need fast evacuation than Satoru. So he explained how it worked.
-You’re really full of surprises, marvelled Ryota as he looked at the accessory. -It’s well made!
-He has plenty of useful friends, added Yuu with a strange white voice.

But yet again, even if she might think no less, she didn’t call him a cheater. Satoru appreciated it.

-Now we have to get going, we really should get going! The next barcode is East from this point!
-Roger that!

And as if it was nothing, Yuu jumped on one of the big contained and walked on it ninja style to get back their “overboard”. As they waited for her to come back -Satoru had made sure to not give away all informations, so she would have to come back for them- Ryota hummed:

-So next one is yours?

But Satoru shook his head. Sure, if he wanted to keep Yuu under control logic would make him take the next one, but..

-I can’t do that. The last barcode has no defined place, it will automatically appear within the last half hours of the exam.

And as he said that, Aizawa’s knowledge flooded into him ; full of details. One of the drawback of his power was that he didn’t “own” one’s memory, as soon as he activated it. It was only accessible, like external backup save of a computer. If it didn’t, Satoru’s brain would be totally saturated with informations, after all. It was definitely more useful than a research program online, as he had the value knowledge of all the informations he had at disposal, but he had to know where to look and make an effort to grasp it full content. Just like today, sometimes it could cause some surprise. This exam was more complicated than that : and way harder than he had previously thought.

Satoru couldn’t help but smile nervously, as the truth revealed itself to him:

The last barcode was a trap.

***
Kota Izumi was annoyed. Pissed one could even say. Pissed at himself, because he wouldn’t be here in the first place if he had scored better during his semester exam, but also pissed at all these contestants around.

His role -as Eri explained to every students helping for the exam- was to fake a victim. They had to put themselves in a situation that looked like they needed rescue, and this way, help sort of the contestants who had a hero mentality among others. And to be quite honest, Kota outdid himself on that one ; he had used his water quirk to create a puddle on the ground, and laid on it, face down, as if he was drowning -managing to breath because he controlled the water around and made sure he left space around his mouth and nose that no one could see. His whole situation screamed “HELP” and was really urgent.

Yet no one fucking bothered to help him here! Who, in the world, would see a kid his head in water and ignore him?

What a bunch of screw up, before they thought about becoming hero, they should try to become decent humans!

One boy even stepped on his back -and apologized right after it before running away- as if he hadn’t noticed the dangerosity of the situation. Was he blind? Did he didn’t get that he stepped on a victim in danger? Was Kota being too subtle on this?

That sucked. Like, really sucked. He was supposed to get some additional point for his own failed exam, thanks to this. If this continue he would not get any. And Eri would probably look at him with this sile full of pity as he repeated the year. He couldn’t allow that! He wouldn’t allow that!

He was thinking about changing strategy, when his phone rang in his pocket. Immediately, the boy sat down -and gave quite a fright to a few contestants around. (Did they assumed he was dead or what?!). He tried to ignore those and checked his phone.

It was the signal he had been waiting for ; the one that all the barcodes had been scanned and that the last part of the exam started.

But the UA student blinked, unsure of himself : they still had a little bit more than an hour! How could all the barcodes already retrieved? He wondered if the program had some bugs. Unfortunately he couldn’t allow himself to question it : if the last part of the exam was up, he had to rush, as his chances of getting extra points would vanish with it.

So Kota ran in the center of the area and rushed into a fake building. A gigantic robot stood there, turned off. Not for long. Though, as Kota activated it with a chip at the base of his foot. Immediately, his head activated, and the last barcode appeared on the screen : unmissable even for all the dummies in this bloc.

As planned, the engine didn’t attack Kota, identifying him thank to the chip ; instead he offered his hands and the boy climbed on it, remembering Eri’s words, as the mechanical fingers curled around his body.

The robot will create a situation where contestants will have to choose between saving you, or get the barcode. Don’t worry it won’t hurt you.

It really didn’t hurt. So it was his job to make it appear so.

As the robot stood, though, Kota didn’t have to fake his afraid yelp. He hadn’t realize how gigantic that monster was, and how many meters he would be standing above the ground! He certainly hope that the robot didn’t held him too tight as it would reduce him into but also didn’t let go of him without warning. Either way he would end up as marmalade.

He knew that the purpose of his own make-up exam, who failed at rescuing his teammates, was to understand victims, get in their shoes in order to get better at handling them and helping them...You thought differently in a emergency crisis, you didn’t react the same way. He was beginning to understand why ; as his first reflex in this robotic hand was to struggle against the pressure, instead of using his quirk.

And i called Marinette stupid…

His teammate had been captured, failing to read the plan of the villain-teacher of the trial, and all Kota did was complaining about how she handled the situation, like a jerk, blaming her for his failure. He screamed to her that since it was their teachers playing villain during the trial, she had nothing to fear and so had been stupid to get scared. He had to apologize later.

But right now he had to do his part :

-HELP ME!! He screamed as soon as the robot stepped out of the building.

And of course, most of the contestants seeing this ran away screaming too. And this lot wanted to be heroes. Bullshit!

He wondered where Mahô was. He hadn’t seen her at all during all the practical exam, when Eri assured him she would be in this very bloc. Had it been Eri’s one of logical ruse ; a lie?

No she’s not that kind of girl.

Yet it was suspicious. Did the girl fail already? That would be a shame. Kota had been dead set about pestering the little girl ; he hadn’t seen her in two years after all! Not even in television, as he had been too busy witch school and life in general to watch the record of her competitions.

I wonder how she turned out to be…

He hoped she got a few inches at least...She was tiny, both in age and size, in his memory.

Though he didn’t get the time to think further more about Mahô. Some contestants finally spotted the barcodes on the Robot’s screen, and turned their heels to fight. Wow ; too nice, but the civilian captured? Not a fucking damn? Bastards.

One boy with sky-like skin made a strange dance and seemed to duplicate. No that’s…
Kota blinked : It seemed simpler and more complicated than that at the same time. The clone of the boy stayed put, in the same position as he was before, and the original jumped on it, as it if was a stepping stone. And he did that again, and again, duplicating himself again to use his immobile images to climb himself up.

That was strange a strange quirk.

Unfortunately for him, it was very flashy and time consuming. All the UA Robot had to do was waving his feet, making all his image disappear in “pop” sound. The poor boy fell on his butt and had to take cover rather quick. He avoided some rubbles by “stopping” it in midair too.

So, whatever he could do, it wasn’t bound to himself only.

As the boy fled to safety, Kota tried to drag his attention by screaming, reminding the future hero that he had someone to save. But it didn’t work at all.

-Hang on! I’m going to get you!

Kota was surprised by the call, and spotted a red haired girl on the top of one of the surrounding building, with her hands around her mouth. Apparently he had judged them all too fast, as the girl took the time to climb all the way up there to rescue him. She was closer to him that way. Now he was curious.

-Can you get my hand? She screamed, as she dangerously hung herself to the roof barrier and held her hand to him.

Now he was freaking scared. What the heck girl, did you see the height you were? He tried to reach her offering hand as quickly as possible, but the space between them, despite her effort, was still too big.

And if Kota heard her, so did the robot.

Like a mosquito, he slammed the roof and destroyed the barrier she hung to. But there was a conflict in his program at this very moment : just like every other robot during the exam he was supposed to catch falling student. But his remaining free hand was busy holding Kota.

The second year student saw the exact moment the computer bugged and he was screwed. The damn robot dropped everything : him included.

-YOU FUCKING STUPID ROBOT IM GOING TO KILL YOU NEXT TIME!!

No one heard that threat, as the pull of gravity swallowed all sound. Or maybe the robot heard and that was why he didn’t make a single effort to catch the students. Since they had no choice but count on themselves, Kota tried to catch the contestant -he wasn't technically allowed to inder their performance during the exam, but a little voice told him they would forgive him for breaking this rule…

-Hold your breath!

That wasn’t what he expected the girl to say when he managed to catch her shoulder ; and he certainly didn’t do as she asked, too surprised. There was a strange sound, the atmosphere shifted, like a wave, then world changed.

Instead of crashing into the ground, they dived into the sea. Kota coughed, as he emerged, a mouthful of salty water. Luckily he had been in a good position and the impact didn’t hurt him. But that wasn’t the problem :

-What in the world..

He blinked. The whole place had turned into a familiar scene : a beach. If he didn’t see the robot struggling, knees deep in the sea, he would have thought they had been teleported. But that wasn’t the case. Only twenty meter afar the landscape of UA block still stood, as it was supposed to be. It just that at one point, without warning, road turned to sand, and waves crashed all around. Waves, coming from the confused robots who wasn’t supposed to take a bath.

-We need to get out of the water now! He screamed to the girl, as he saw sparks.
-I’m on i-

A wave submerged both and he couldn’t hear what she had been trying to say. Spiralling under water was dangerous. He knew that much that the only way to get out of this kind of force was to dive down instead of trying to find your way up. But to Kota’s dismay, the bottom of the sea wasn’t so close, and he was running out of breath.

Think of something or you’re going to drown you’re...

His only idea at the moment was to use his power to surround himself with his own water, and create a gap inside his bubble for his head to breath. It didn’t work long as the current was too strong and overtook his own, but it allowed him to gain some precious seconds.

The girl with red hair didn’t have that option and was out of sight.

It was at this very moment that something dragged him out of the water. Partially. It head was out at least, but it was still hard to breath, as whatever force took him was going at full speed, if he dared to open his mouth he would certainly get a mouthful again.

-You okay?

Kota’s eyes grew wider, as he recognized the person who rescued him. She hadn’t change at all, same hair style, violet eyes full of stars and large smile. She was riding a flying broom and already had rescued the red haired girl too.

There were plenty of things he had wanted to say to her to piss her off : “hey you’re still as tiny as ever!” or “hello i’m your future husband remember me?” but the situation only allowed him to spur one single thing:

-Watch out!

The robot’s gigantic leg stomped right in front of them and she spinned just in time to avoid it.

-Faster! She laughed instead, not scared one bit.

And her broom got more speed to outrace the foam too.

-Beware of the electricity! Kota screamed again.And they had to do a slalom in between cables. Mahô had managed to get them both on her broom, after a loop, and she got back her hands back on the handle. If her smile wasn’t so big, as if she had fun, Kota would have felt reassured.

-Can’t you do something about this? He asked the red haired girl.
-Yes, i’m try- -the broom changed direction so abruptly she almost fell from her spot. -I will erase this illusi-
-Don’t! I like it!

They stared as Mahô as if she was crazy. which, to be honest might be the case.

-Broomie will get you to safety! But this robot is mine. Tell other to not approach the water.

And without a second explanation she took Kota’s hand and passed a bracelet made of flashy plastic squares which formed the name “Broomie”.

-You’re driving! She simply said.

And then she jumped out, letting a swirl carry her back to the sea.

Kota tried to see how she managed, but he couldn’t turn his head without making the broom go left and right. He barely managed to reach the land that was still made of cement, before the the strange enchanted object threw them out of his back and returned to the battlefield.

-Is this really okay to not do anything? The red haired girl asked, as she stared at the horizon.

Far away, Maho was obviously fighting the gigantic engine, and from time to time Kota swore he could hear her laugh or compliment the damn thing! What…

-Why isn't’ she using her power to turn it off?

A boy arrived by their side, the one with sky-like skin.

-You know Mahô? Asked Kota, surprised.

The boy shook his head:

-No but she saved me from a robot at the beginning, all she did was touch him and it turned off! So…

Maybe she can’t. Maybe she used her power too many time already? Thought Kota. He tried to remember what her after effect was like, he thought Satoru told him it affected her speech. She had seemed alright with them. Maybe a little short and simple but to be honest Mahô had never been sophisticated in his memories.

The crowd was getting bigger and bigger, every passing second now, though no one dared to step into the sea and come to the girl’s rescue. As she saw one trying to trespass it, the red haired girl blocked the way:

-No! I can’t drag that many person into the illusion it would be a disaster!
-Is this truly an illusion?
-K-Kinda. It merges real sceneries with the place, so you can interfere with it, but it’s not really here, here, and if…

She was interrupted by a gasp. Kota turned his head to see that Mahô almost made it to the screen on the robot’s head. But then with a hood of his hand the robot sent her flying right into a building.

-OPEN! She screamed, before disappearing inside with a loud noise. The window she almost crashed in had opened just in time to let her pass, but...

-We have to help! Shouted a girl in the crowd.
-The barcode is right here! Added another, pointing the robot’s screen.

The red haired girl couldn’t do a single thing, as several person rushed. One of them dived into the sea, and turned into a strange creature with scales. But two, to Kota’s surprise, ran above water as if it was normal goudron. And judging by their surprised look ; it wasn’t their doing.

-Oh no...no! No! No! No! Coem back here! You’re putting the integrity of the illusion in danger! She screamed to the contestants.

Kota’s heart skipped a beat.

-What does it do, exactly? Is it dangerous?
-Yes! People could try to swim and find themself trap inside goudron the next minute, and people could try to walk and then fell into the sea in one step! I can’t take that many people in! At best the illusion will collapse and disappear, at worst...

That was worse than he imagined. They had to stop it.

-Make it go then! He ordered.
-I can’t! Not when people are swimming in it! What would happen to them? I never tried that before!

That’s when Mahô surged out of the building, riding her broom again. She seemed okay despite her fall. And since she was the one with the best mobility out, Kota screamed:

-Mahô! You have to take them all out of there! Forget the robot! Save the contestants!

The girl moved her head, surprised to hear her name, probably, then noticed the large crowd of people who made their way to the robot, either on foot or by swimming. Whatever she thought of it, she put her hand inside her pockets and took out several colored hoops. The kind used in some rhythmic gymnastic moves.

She threw it there and there and the things started to move around, taking place all over the places. One rolled right near Kota and stopped. Before he wondered what it did, the girl dived into the sea, dragged a boy and threw it inside a circlet nearby.

The loop besides kota vomited the contestant back, poor boy lied eyes wides, not understanding how he got teleported from here to there. And he didn’t have the time to reflect on it, as the loop spit out two others contestants in a matter of seconds.

When the last contestants was back on the “shore”, the loop rolled away.

-What the!

One of the girl, furious to be outted like that tried to get back into the field, but this time the red haired girl was ready and a gigantic wall got in the way under her feet, separating both spaces. Kota recognized UA’s gate.

-No one get through! She ordered. -It’s too dangerous!

They heard a loud noise behind the wall, and Kota used his water to propulse himself on the top of it and stood besides her.

-The rule is for you too, she warned him.
-I don’t plan on going i just want to make sure she’s doing okay, he explained.

And in all honesty, she was. She even seemed to have fun. The robot couldn’t hit her anymore, as she switched from riding her broom to dive into the sea and teleport thanks to the loop back to the sky. From time to time Kota could hear her laugh.

-You called her...Mahô, suddenly asked the red-haired girl. -L-Like Mahô Shindo? The gymnastic junior champ?

Kota nodded, and mechanically added:

-And skater too.

Again Mahô jumped from her broom to avoid a hit, glided on the arm of the robot and dived into the sea with an angel pose. He had done acrobatic diving competitions too, though he couldn’t remember why she had dropped that sport. He had forgotten how monstrous she could be, with time.

-Wow...Do you think i could ask for her autograph?

Then she suddenly got out of her stupor and screamed:

-Crap! I still don’t have a single barcode! I have to hurry!

And she climbed down the wall and ran out of sight before Kota could tell her that there wasn’t any code left, except the one on the robot over there. Robot that, once again, emitted a loud noise.

Mahô had finally managed to get on its head and scanned it. As the mechanical beast collapsed, losing power, Mahô jumped out of it. But the distance was too short ; the robot was falling inside the sea, and everything under it would be crushed. Herself included.

-Mahô!

He didn’t fully grasp what she did because of the distance. One moment she was about to be crushed, the next the robot got blown away by an explosion, and she disappeared, going through one of the loop floating above the water.

She appeared again, behind the wall, coming through the same loop as the contestants earlier. Propulsed by the wave of the explosion from the other side, she rolled on the ground, yet managed to miraculously get back on her feet and ending up, her hair in disarray and in some gymnast salute position, arms above her head and back arched.

Then she fell on her ass, with a yelp.

In front of the crowd, full of wide eyes and opened mouth, she laughed, blushing, and commented:

-I hope it’s not on tap’ cause my coach’s gonna kill me for f’such a wooby salute...

And just like that, Block 7 practical exam was officially over. One hour sooner than planned.

***

The second place where the barcode was supposed to be was full of people already. And Robots. The two fighting against each other, of course, turning the whole place in a mess. A real battlefield even!

-We have to be fast and find where it’s hidd- started Yuu.

She couldn’t finish it, because a contestants with wings appeared out of nowhere and screamed to get out of his way. Which they couldn’t do it in time. The crash was inevitable, and while Yuu managed to stuck herself to a nearby beam, Ryota and Satoru fell like rock.

Think of something!

The something his brain came up was “we’re gonna crash!” which wasn’t very useful. Then he saw the robot in the corner of his eyes and remembered what happened when Yuu fell like this too.

Ryota! We need this robot attention! He transmitted to his comrade’s head in hurry, using the situation to cause hallucinations and get his message across.

He didn’t see Ryota, but he noticed the black form that rushed to the robot, so he supposed -hoped it was ink. It hit the engine at full force, which wasn’t a lot. But that was enough. The second after, something big and heavy stopped their fall, and put Satoru almost tenderly to the ground.

Ryota was put down right besides him a couple of heartbeat later. He seemed all right, a little bit phased. Satoru blessed mentally the guy for reacting so quickly to his order ; not everyone didn’t panic when hearing other’s people thought in his head.

-That was unexpected...The boy said, tidying up his hair -but putting Ink all over it.

That was an understatement. What was to be expected though, was the reaction of UA engines. As soon as he was sure the two boys were okay on the ground...It started to attack them. Satoru avoided being hit by mere luck, rolling away just in time.

-We get away! He screamed to Ryota. -Follow me!

Ryota caught Satoru’s wrist just before he ran into a wall head first, but not for the obvious reason, instead he complained:

-I don’t see Yuu!

The robot missed their heads by a inch, and Ryota got his priorities straight. He used his ink once again, splashing the robot’s eyes and Satoru used this opportunity to help Ryota run to safety with him, this time in the right direction, he hoped. They took refuge inside a fake constructed field, too narrow for bigger robots to follow and with big mounds of sand everywhere around.

-That should make sure he won’t come after us, he explained, out of breath, to his comrade.

The ground would be too unsteady for tiny robots and most of people ready to fight. Beside forgotten suspended beams were threatening to fall. Everyone in their right mind would try to avoid this place. The scenery was familiar to Satoru’s too, but...gods. It was blurry. The boy started to feel nauseous ; he couldn’t go on with two people connected all the time to his mind, it was okay for as long as he didn’t have to move a lot...but if he wanted not not run into a wall by accident...He had to let go of one of them. The choice was easy for once.

-Ryota...Can you send message with your ink? He asked.
-Yes, of course.
-Okay…Then…I need you to remember what i say, and to repeat it to me when i tell you to, please.

Satoru took a deep breath, and proceeded to get everything he needed from Aizawa’s memory now. As soon as he would get off he bond, this knowledge would disappear with it, and he couldn’t imprint this in his own brain -which was a complicated process that required too much focus and time- so his only chance to keep it was to rely on Ryota’s. To share it aloud. The hear it with his own ears again ; that way the memory would be his.

-As soon as we find this barcode, we have to get in the center of the block. In the main place. We’ll have to fight there. The barcode of this area is under a pile of rubbles, near the half destroyed red building. At the base of it, tell Yuu to look for a T shaped hole in the ground, it’s right next to it.
-But i don’t know where is Yuu…

Satoru closed his eyes and hoped that Aizawa had his eyes on her somehow. He wasn’t in charge of this student, either, but her screen was… -Ah. Crap Aizawa seemed preoccupied by something, he kept looking at All might and...recovery girl? What was she doing wit-

Oh. Yuu! He noticed her and dropped everything. After all he didn’t have the time to care for other’s business right now.

-She’s near that building -pointed Satoru, identifying the form and the color. And Ryota kindly moved Satoru’s arm just enough for it to point the building and not the sky.
-Great! I will give her the message. And tell her where we are too, so she can come back to our sides!

That...Was a great idea, thought Satoru. But he didn’t say anything because he really felt like throwing up right now. I need to write what’s important on the ground since i can’t talk.

He had to remember the point system and also the trap that awaited them.

After a quick shema on the sand that made sense only to him; while Ryota was busy making his message, Satoru focused on his mental image. Slowly, but surely, he imagined his mental place, his mental room, his mental living room where there was the screen of Aizawa turned on...And turned it off. For a long moment It felt like he could still hear it, like an echo, a ghost sound, far far away, and far longer than usual.

-You okay Satoru?

Ryota’s concerned voice dragged him back to reality and he opened his eyes, finding himself back in the destroyed area, hidden behind all this sand. But he did feel better, lighter now, so he nodded.

-Yeah, just a bit diz-
-I’m the other way.

Ah. Satoru looked to his right, and indeed, saw Ryota’s face. Even though he heard his voice from his left side. Okay. so maybe he was a more confused that he had first thought. Really, having to deal with two people at the same time plus himself was his limit apparently, right now. He would have to train on that.

-I will be fine, in a couple of minutes...He corrected with a sorry smile. -I...i will just lie down a bit...Can you repeat me what i told you in the meantime?
-Yes of course.

It was a bit weird to wait here, barely covered and safe, listening and reading his own words and informations, while the echo of the battle was so near. But did they had a choice? Ryota already told to Yuu where they would wait for her. He hoped the message would reach the girl, though. I hope she will not run away as soon as she get her barcode. Even if the girl didn’t strike him like that, it was still a risk he couldn’t forget.

-Is everything okay guys?

But apparently it was stupid paranoia on his part, since Yuu landed by their sides only a couple of minutes after he lied down. Apart from all the ink all over her face and hands, she seemed okay and with no clear injury too. As much as he was happy to be wrong and to see her safe and sound, Satoru couldn’t help but be a little tired : he wished she had given him more time to rest.

-Yuu, called Ryota. -Did you get our message? Did you find and scan the code?

She simply smiled proudly and said :

-Nope : I’m not going without you, it’s too dangerous to part ways!

Which was nice of her but really, really unwanted right now. Satoru didn’t managed to hide his annoyed sigh. Which dragged Yuu’s attention on him unfortunately:

-You guys you look like you got splashed on the ground!
-It’s more or less what happened, confirmed Ryota with a nod.
-Really? Wow did you fell on your head you look sick Satoru, you’re okay?
-I’m getting better.

But Yuu freaked out instead:

-Your left eyes is not black anymore! Oh gosh isn’t that a sign of like really bad hit on the head? It’s became weird greyish green...
-No, it’s my natural color…
-And it’s very pretty! -She quickly corrected.
-My eyes takes other people’s iris color when i use my quirk.
-That’s why your eye turned as blue as mine...So your state right now is the after effect of your quirk? Asked Ryota, quietly.

He took it really well. And as much as Satoru didn’t want to make them worry, he didn’t want to lie either :

-No i just have a weak body in general. But i will be okay in a minute or two.

Which wasn’t technically a lie : he did have a weak body. His bones were fragiles and broke easily, he often got bloody nose, and headaches. The fact that his quirk caused him disorientation and fever was also part of the problem. And the last part wasn’t a lie too, as long as he kept his power activated, he could probably continue. Quirk were like muscles after all.

If his teammates doubted he could be a hero because of this, they were polite enough to not say it aloud. Instead, they changed subject, and offered Satoru a hand to get back on his feet.

-We better hurry. Ryota, can you cover us with your ink like you did earlier?

Ryota nodded, sure of himself. And Satoru saw the situation under a new light : at least now he would be able to get some points. He didn’t remember exactly how many points were worth defeating a robot, but that couldn’t hurt the boy’s result.

-Then i will walk backward ; that should make sure we aren’t taken by surprise. I will watch our backs and use the same trick as when we fell to tell you if we’re attacked, is it okay with you?

They both agreed on the plan, even though Yuu didn't’ seem to get what they were talking about at all.

So slowly -really too slow to Satoru’s taste- they made their way to the right building. It gave Satoru the time to rest enough and confirm that he had taken the right decision ; with only one person sharing his mind it was easier to move and focus. At one point Yuu put her hand on some gigantic iron plate, but they both agreed that flying again would be too dangerous in this mess : it was difficult enough to walk without being spotted by robots, flying would put them in clear view of everyone : robots and contestants alike, at the open. They would not be able to defend themselves at all like they did on the ground. So instead the girl kept the plate and used as a shield.

One problem, though, appeared when they finally reached the hidden place of the barcode ; one kid was already there. Strange black bubbles were floating around him that reminded Satoru of Chomps from Mario. He apparently could manipulate it at will, and seemed to send his creations to explore in his stead.

-What do we do? Isn’t he super close? asked Ryota. -If we go now we will give away the position of the barcodes…

They had it in their vision field the red building, and could even see the pile of rubbles and the T shaped hole on the ground. It was just past the other contestant, and luckily the boy hadn’t noticed it yet, but that wouldn’t last.

-I could probably smack him on the ground unconscious? Proposed Yuu.
-You can’t do that, protested Satoru, as he remembered what he had written on the sand before cutting his mind off Aizawa. -It would make you lose points!
-Maybe but i doubt he will let us take it without a fight and he probably doesn’t know that, pointed out Ryota.

That was problematic ; for once having more informations than their opponents was an hindrance. Though they had another advantage in their sleeves:

-We’re three, started Satoru. -One can probably drag his attention elsewhere while the other two go for the barcodes. The problem is if he decides to send his chomps after our decoy and not himself. And Yuu has to be the one scanning it but she’s the only one that has a quirk that can be both offensive and defensive...Which would have made her perfect to lure him out without troubles...

And actually that gave him an idea. And he mumbled something, before correcting his plan.

A few minutes later, the chomps boy heard a distinct scream:

“Ryota, Yuu, i found it ; i found the barcodes!!” and without any hesitation he rushed in the direction of the scream. It seemed to come from an abandoned construction field, full of forgotten mound of sand and suspended beams. He ran as fast as he could : hoping to get there before it was scanned and let out a sigh of relief when he arrived. The barcodes was here, black and visible on the wall, next to a boy with blonde bangs.

-Don’t move! He said. -Get away from the code and nothing will happen to you!

And for good measure, he showed his chomps’ teeths. At least the teen seemed to understand what was better for him and slowly took a couple of step back, his hands above his head. Just to be sure, he surrounded him by his quirk’s minions, so the blonde would not try anything heroic.

-My friends are going to be here, the guy simply said, as his way out was cut.

As if it was a problem ; he would be long gone by that time, with a barcode!

-You should have scanned it as soon as you saw it, instead of teamin’ up, you idiot! Chomp boy provoked, with a sharky smile. The same as his chomps.

But as soon as he approached the code, he noticed something weird : it was humid and some of it had leaked to the ground, like fresh paint.

-What the…

He tried to scan it, but his bracelet didn’t react at all. When he turned to the blonde, all he saw was a proud smug, as he faked surprise very badly:

-What it isn’t the real one? The nerves, the audacity, who dared-
-You!
-Actually, no..Ryota ; now!

He didn’t have the time to understand what happened, the paint on the wall suddenly jumped out of the wall and stick him to it. The boy’s first impulse was to order his chomps to attack, but…

One of the creature surrounding the blonde boy was not his, but a pale imitation made of ink! He hadn’t given it much attention, when did that happened? It didn’t matter, what counted was that it allowed the other contestant to get away.

-I got the barcode! Hurry!

A girl surged at the entrance of the construction field, waving her hands. All hope came crashing down in the contestant’s heart, but it took only a heartbeat to be filled with rage instead ; furious to have been trapped when he had been so close!

-You’re not getting away with this! He screamed to them.

And even if he was immobilized, he wasn’t going to let them go. One of his chomps ate one of the cable that hold the beams ahead to block the exit.

-The beams!

Another boy came out of nowhere, his hands black with ink. So he was the one responsible for the lure! He was going to pay for that!

Though he had underestimated the girl. Since she was the one who got to scan the code he assumed she was the weakest among them. He had been wrong. As soon as she saw the beams falling, she jumped to face it, and whatever she did, it sent three of the iron bars out of their way. The whole place turned upside down : clouds and clouds of dust and sand all around.

-Satoru! Ryota!

Yuu coughed, trying to spot her teammates in vain. She hadn’t thought this through ; obviously, only caring about not being trapped inside the building, or smashed by the beam...but now…

-Where are you? Guys!

Satoru had said they needed to hurry to the main place to get the last code. Should she just go ahead and meet them there? No! It was too close to abandoning them, she couldn’t do that! What would they think of her? Leaving them as soon as she got what she wanted? out of question, she was supposed to become a hero, hero didn’t leave anyone behind! Especially wounded ones!

-Guys! She repeated again.

The dust shifted, and she perceived a movement to her left. She turned around and met face to face with one of the contestant’s chomp. And then she heard a voice as the creature gave her a sharky smile:

-Did i mention my chomp could explode?

She really didn’t need to know that.

-Yuu? Satoru?
I’m here!

Satoru’s voice answered Ryota’s call immediately. It was a bit weird to have someone inside his head, but on the other hand, he was never so happy to “hear” someone as right now.

-Where are you?
Do not talk, you will swallow sand and give away your position!

Ryota coughed, and followed the boy’s advice. But even having his eyes open hurt at this point. Can you see the exit? He asked Satoru mentally.

Yes, i was near a ladder when everything happened, i’m above the cloud. I can see it and i can feel your position right now. Follow my instruction, and i will lead you to the exit!
-But Yuu?
-I can’t see her or feel her...But you-!

Ryota remembered the emplacement of the girl before everything turned this bad, and he shared it willingly.

-Okay, i will-

They heard an explosion and a scream. A new wave of dust replaced the previous one.

-I saw her, quick, to you right Ryota. We’re near the exit too and...

Ryota arrived in a place where dust had fallen down a bit, and he ended up face to face with the contestant. I thought my ink would hold him a little bit longer…! Was his first thought, and then How did he manage to get this far with no vision? Though he had no time to get the answer to his questions, just as he spotted Yuu lying on the ground, wounded,. Chomps boy spotted Ryota.

And he threw at him one of his creature.

-Ryota it explodes! Screamed Yuu as a warning.

Ah. Well, too late, Ryota had, by reflex, shooted it with his wounded leg. Fortunately the creature exploded only when it hit the rightful owner. Who didn’t expect that. Sometimes reflex were lifesaver, apparently.

Before the man could get back on his feet -the explosion wasn’t that strong- Ryota reached Yuu and said:

-Satoru is above!

Which seemed to give off an idea to the girl, as she ordered:

-Grab me and don’t let go!

He did as she said, and felt his feet leave the ground at full speed. In a second, Yuu got them stuck to one of the beam composing the building, right above the mess. Satoru was only a few feets away. But so was “bomb boy”, just a little bit down. Ryota looked back, hoping he was KO, but…

-Where are you all? Get back there you cheaters!

That would have been too easy.

-Don’t call me cheater you...you cheater! Scuffed Yuu back, as she touched one of the beam around.
-Don’t give off your position! We have to hurry to the exit , reminded them Satoru, taking both of their hands and dragging them out.

This did their best to fasten their paces, though the dust had died off, when they finally reached an opening in the facade, and the boy noticed them.

-You!

They jumped by the window before he could run after them and landed on the piece of Iron that Yuu had taken earlier. They tried to fly off out of reach, like they had done before, but Yuu’s power got some hiccup and they barely managed to land on another building roof. If this could be still call a landing ; to objective criteria it was more of a crash.

But, they had made it. Not a single one had fainted and...they even had the barcode. The plan, despite its problem, worked.

Lying on the ground, facing the sky Satoru finally let out a sigh of relief. His heart beating the hardest in his chest. And, gradually, he didn’t know who started it first, maybe himself, they started to laugh.

Maybe it was nerves breaking or maybe it was because they had made it almost safely, or because they all looked like crap, but somehow, the scary situation had turned fun, now that it was over.

Never had he understood what Mahô meant, when she said she liked fighting and training. As for him it had always been a mean to get stronger, at best, or a bad moment he had to endure in silence. But today, this exam ; it changed everything. For a moment right there, they worked perfectly, yes they had been in danger, yeah some details didn’t work like he wanted...But everything unexpectedly worked out, and not because of luck, but because of them. because of their skills!

Maybe we can do it. Maybe i can pass this exam.

Suddenly, it didn’t sound like a lie he kept telling to himself, but a possibility.

-Gods this kid’s power was so fucking scary! I really was like “come on you explode too?” Look at my head, i thought i had fainted right there! And Ryota was like “not a single fuck is given and woof back to him!” take that, that was so awesome!

Yuu coughed, her head covered by a mix of sand, ink and even blood, and despite that, Satoru didn’t manage to find it anything but funny. And Ryota, Ryota blushed and shook his head:

-I didn’t even had the time to understand it, it was a reflex!
-I wish i had your reflex!
-I wish i had been close to a ladder too...I’ve got sand all over my ink.
-You think that’s a problem? Look at that!

Yuu shook her head like a dog trying to get water out of his hairs, and particles of sand floated around for a moment, before going back to her, sticking her skin like glue.

-I’m not electricity type but i’m sure right now i could zap anyone who dares to touch me! She laughed.
-Too bad the guy is not here, he would deserve a zap! Said Satoru.
-Totally!

Something exploded, not so far away, and they all stood up, their legs still a bit shakily, but their body feeling lighter than ever, without tension and fear anymore.

-It’s from the center of the block, murmured Ryota.
-So...That mean the last barcode is out…
-Yeah.

Satoru took a deep breath. This was it : his last chance to get in. And for it, they would have to fight a giant robot, and get themselves into the teacher’s trap head on.

-I would understand if you wouldn’t want to fight that, he said to Ryota and Yuu.

Because it was true, he would. He would not appreciate it, and be probably a little bit angry and sad being abandoned, but he would. They were exhausted, they were already qualified. They didn’t have to.

But he was beginning to know them well, and the two of them smiled back:

-And let you fight this all alone? No way, cheered Yuu. -No offense but you aren’t really the fighting type. Leave all the fighting to me, didn’t you say my quirk is the best suited for this?
-I will make sure you get your code, approved Ryota. -Just like you made sure i had mine.

Satoru’s heart hurt, emotions filling his chest to its fullest, all he could mutter, his tongue heavy and throat tight, was a simple:

-Thank you.

It wasn’t near enough to embody what he was feeling right now, but the other two took it anyways. They both turned to the horizon, to the future, and laughed:

-It’s going to be hard to get there...I’m almost out of iron…
-And me out of ink…
-You will have to think of a plan, Sato-

But when they looked back at the boy, they found him lying on the ground, head first on the ground, a tiny little goblin with green hair on the top of his body.

-Give me back my name! The little thing screamed, hitting Satoru with her empty jar of cookies.

Satori Toshinori-Midoriya had appeared once again, at the worst possible moment.

Chapter Text

 

Kota had many expectations for when he would finally meet Mahô again. After two years of nearly radio silent-ce, he had many time to lost himself in fantasy, making up again and again what he would say and how she would react. His favorite one, and the one he was aiming for, was to go all out and remind her that, the last time they talked, she promised him to marry him.He wanted to see the confusion in her face, then the sudden realization and the embarrassment. Then he would say it’s no big deal and didn’t mind, he knew it was just silly words from a twelve years old girl, but still, did she have a crush on him at this time? And the tease would continue all year long, luckily bringing the same embarrassment to her face each time. 

 

Maybe he was a little bit sadic, but he really wanted that. It would teach her a lesson ; not to promise to marry someone so easily. To be fair, it was not just for his own entertainment, but for her own good too. Yes. Exactly. It was his duty as a hero, to do that. It was teaching, somehow. 

 

So, when he stood there, during the final exam, only two step away from Mahô -oh so little Mahô that didn’t change a bit, not even grew a hinch from back then!- he didn’t hesitate. The situation was over -the danger passed, even if there was still a wall and a sea in the middle of the area where it really should not be there- and the exam was technically over. So it was his time. The perfect moment to drop the bomb that he kept up for two whole years.

 

-Long time no see! 

 

He said, trying really, really hard to hide his smile. Mahô, drenched in sea water, looked at him with wide eyes, and pointed herself in a silent question. 

 

-Yes, i’m talking to you! 

 

Did she use her quirk so much already that she couldn’t speak anymore? It was worrisome, as she just fought one robot. It didn’t seem that bad when they talked on the flyingbroom. He never spent much time with her, but; judging how high Satoru held her, he had thought she would be way better than that!

 

Mahô blinked, then suddenly leaned on her right side and hit the back of her head. Water came out of her ears. Oh. She didn’t hear me. Well, that was disappointing but he could do it again. Mahô, though, wasn’t over, as she shook her body like a wet dog and made a strange face, sticking up her tongue as if she had tasted something bitter. 

 

-Minute, please! She slurred a bit. 

 

And went straight to a fake fire hydrant in the decorum. She hit it with her feet and the top came off like butter. If it wasn’t for her face, when no water came out at all, he would have freaked out -even if it wasn’t a real one it wasn’t supposed to be that fragile. But Kota was pissed by her indifference toward him, and so he ignored that. 

 

-Here. 

 

He used his quirk, and made water popping out. 

 

-You want to wash the salt away? He guessed, disappointed that he was second in her priority list. 

-Yeah, it hitchy! She smiled. M’ allergic to sea...Gotta wash before i go all puff!

-Why did you dive into the sea if you’re allergic, you dumbass!

-Good opportunity, good fight! Don’t wanna miss it : you know fun!

 

Fun. Fighting a giant robot. Yeah, like hell if it was. 

 

Kota looked away as he let down a full bucket of water fall on her head. He was a future hero, after all, he couldn’t afford to take a sneak peek at her. Besides there was nothing to see -except was that abs? gods she had more abs than he did?! How? He knew she was a pro sportwoman but he was a hero in training too! Guys had abs more easily than girls too, why- Ah crap he was looking! Crap!

 

Kota stared at the wall, like it was the most interesting thing in the world suddenly. Until something tapped his shoulder, to indicate she was okay to talk now. 

 

-Hi! You wanna say to me?

 

How did she manage to steal the control of the situation and the conversation was beyond him, but it would require more to stop Kota from trying. He would make her blush with embarrassment. He swore it. 

 

-It’s been a long time, Mahô. You didn’t grow at all!

-Thanks, i try hard! 

 

Was her hearing skills also deteriorating? Did she not understand what he had said? Before he could say anything else, she dropped her smile, and asked:

 

-Who’re you to call my name?

 

Wow rude. 

 

-You don’t remember me?! Shouted Kota. Indignified. In all his fantasy he never, ever considered this option. That she forgot her promise to him was vital to his plan but the boy himself? That was unexpected. 

 

Mahô frowned, and at least took a second or two, before nodding and adding a proud smile:

 

-Yeah sorry! 

 

Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad. Decided Kota. After all, he did change a lot, in two years, he got studier, taller, more handsome too, he hoped. And he didn’t wear his cap with horns! He always took it off when he had to fight, in order to not restrain his vision field and miss threats coming from above. Luckily, he had it in his pocket. Once he would put it on his head...Surely, surely it would make her remember.

 

And so he did. And realization, understanding, and he hoped, a little bit of awe, appeared in Mahô’s eyes. She opened her mouth in a perfect O as her eyes filled with stars.  That was better. He liked this reaction. You did not expect me to turn out this great, eh? Maybe this time you’ll ask me to marry you, but not as a joke! 

 

-Wow, cool cap, i want same! 

 

What? Kota almost fell off his feet. His heart shattered along with his pride. Okay this was enough. That was beyond rude! He was not going to have it any longer! 

 

-It’s Kota! Kota! Can’t you remember! I babysitted you when you came to Peace office at least three times! You promised to marry me when you grew up, two years ago!

 

He had imagined Maho blushing, sluttering with embarrassment, even confused, annoyed or angry. But never had he ever imagined her shrug off her shoulders and answer:

 

-Yeah, did that to lot of people! 

 

Sometimes reality really sucked. And since his dreams and hopes were over, he was not going to let her get away with this kind of behaviour. That was definitely not okay to act like that at twelve, now, and in the future as she planned to be a hero!

 

-Don’t go promise your hand to random people! Why would you even do that? 

-Because daddy says it’ll make one day one person the happiest in the world! I was thinking it best than simple thank you!

-Marriage is not something you give to thank people!

-Yeah, figured that!

 

Then she paused, and pointed him with accusing eyes:

 

-Wait you not be Kota! Kota is older! He take the exam two year before me!

 

How can you not remember my face but my age pretty well?! Was his first thought, then, he realized. Oh crap. He had given away one of the secret of the current exam. No one was supposed to know students from second-to-third-year were to participate and help to select contestants. 

 

But he hadn’t have time to think about it long, as Mahô put her hand in her pocket and got out a book -that shouldn’t be able to fit in there. 

 

-State your truth form or else!

 

It should not be threatening -a book- really, but knowing that it was Mahô who held it, and that she could make an object do almost anything, it sure was. 

 

-Wait it’s truly me! Kota! I swear!

-You think it enough to me for believe you?

 

She took out one of the paper of the book and stated: 

 

-Last warning ; say truth or your body will stop moving by my paper!

 

Kota decided to not say what he had in mind ; that it was stupid to warn your enemy before attacking and giving away the trick of your move- because he was very grateful she did right now. With a snap of his finger he produced water out of thin air and splashed the girl’s face, along with her weapon, making it unusable. 

 

Maybe he didn’t have the pleasure to see her blushing face when he reminded her of the marriage proposal, but the face she did as he defeated her in one move was a good consolation prize. What he didn’t expect though, was that it would last only a split of second before she decided to kick him in the balls at full force in retaliation. 

 

Now he finally understood what Midoriya felt that very day, almost ten years ago. 

 

Out of breath and focused on his pain, he didn’t see what she did, but he felt something being stuck on his back and then he heard a confused :

 

-Are you sorry?!

 

When he faced her again she had her hand on her mouth and her words and tone -definitely apologetic- wasn’t in tune. 

 

-You are truly Kota!

 

He didn’t care how she came to this conclusion -why couldn’t she have come to this before kicking him?- Mahô, still sounding a bit sad and regretful -you better be!!- knelt right before him and tapped his shoulder.

 

-I’m sorry school is hard. I know. 

 

Okay. That was it. After not remembering her promise, then his face, then his age over his name, now she was more enclined to believe he held off two years at school -as if his auntie wouldn’t kill him if he ever did, his grades were bad but not this bad!. Anyways, that was the last drop for Kota. 

 

-That’s it, i have no more crush on you! (Even if he never had one to begin with).

-Oh? Good for ya! She smiled, even giving her thumbs up. 

 

Kota was so pissed right now, he forgot everything else and spouted:

 

-I’m not here because i held back you big dumbass! I’m here to evaluate you! I’m helping UA exam! 

 

He would deal with consequences later, and probably Aizawa’s anger.

 

-Oh! -She said. -Makes senses. So, i pass? I boom you to ground!

 

Kota’s pride was already damaged, there was no way he would give her any satisfaction. He wouldn’t retork to lying because lying was bad, but he could avoid the truth by stating other facts. 

 

-The exam is already over! It was over the minute the giant robot got down!

-What? No! They say two hours! We have only one gone now!

 

Mahô’s face turned more stressed than ever while fighting the robot. She looked at her book -which managed, he didn’t know how, to dry off while they talked- and started to count on her fingers. 

 

-Are robots still on? She asked, and her diction was a little bit better, even if she stammered a bit. 

-What?

-Are robots still fighting? She repeated, more determined. 

 

Kota didn’t know that. He supposed they did? Students weren’t supposed to know they failed yet, unlike the exam for recommandations, teachers didn’t want to deal with a big manhunt -at this scale, it was too dangerous. Eri explained that to him. He...He was going to get a scolding from her too, right? Somehow, this thought was scarier than his teacher’s wrath. 

 

-I...I think they do? He answered by reflex, while evaluating how screwed up he was, in his mind. 

-Great!

 

And without further ado, she turned her heels and ran off. 

 

-What are you doing? Panicked Kota. -They’re no more barcodes available! You can’t steal it from other contestants eithe-

-I don’t care for barcodes! She screamed.-I wanna do every spell my mom say i can’t do at home!

 

Kota was left alone, still hurting in the mess that became the battlefield, his crush gone, his dream, pride and balls shattered. And suddenly he regretted no picking up Satoru’s block to supervise, he was sure as hell things went easier there, as the boy was nothing near as weird as his best friend. 

***

 

The supervision room was in an utter uproar. The news of Satori Yagi-Midoriya going missing was the sole origin for this mess.

 

To be quite frank, everyone was so focused on it, that none of them had noticed that the block 7’s exam was over,  and that the whole central place of the area had turned into a seashore., and they had their fair share of problems right now, no need to add one more. 

 

Recovery girl had apologized on her grandson’s behalf, and made the actual grandson kneel to the floor, very, very low. He hadn’t moved one bit since then, still on the same position, and despite Toshinori’s worry about his daughter, he was concerned for him too -Was he okay? Had someone told him he could move now? Wait...Was he playing video game while kneeling?  

 

-Do we need to look for the headmaster? Asked one of the student. 

 

The commotion, though, was really unnecessary, to Toshinori’s mind. Nedzu had more urgent work to do )he just had a important phone call earlier, right after the reunion. Satori had always been hard to babysit -they knew that much, she managed to escape to their vigilance once a day at least, and scared away almost every babysitters in their lives, like Satoru. All the other people on the list were pro-heroes friends.They fled all the same. 

 

Once again, Toshinori wondered how Satori could be like that when she had Midoriya’s genes, the sweetest persons he ever met. 

 

-She is a little bit devilish, he conceded to Aizawa - But she is has no ill-intentions. She is probably just looking for me. She won’t get over the fence of UA on her own, she knows i’m there. 

 

And if she was inside UA, she was safe. Mostly. Maybe. He was more worried for UA to be quite frank. 

 

-As long as she doesn’t go inside one of the block, complained Aizawa back.

-She wouldn’t do that, she hates crowds, she clings to people she knows and hides when we’re surrounded by strangers or fans. 

-She has your blood, and Midoriya’s, i expect troubles to find her. 

 

That was, despite Toshinori’s protest, one solid argument. It was true that Izuku tended to do that, and that, in his past days of glory, himself had a couple of “i do what i want” moments that lead him in the state he was right now after all. Though, when Aizawa started to dispatch a dozen of students to look for the little girl, dropping their help for the exam, he had to step up.

 

-You can’t do that. It’ll hinders the exam. 

-We can’t take the risk of your kid being hurt.

-She won’t.

 

And to his surprise, Kirishima backed him up, even though he was still very much terrified by Aizawa’s glare sometimes.

 

-He’s right, you know, i mean you said it Teach’-Aizawa stared at him- i mean sir! She has All might and Midoriya’s blood, even if she comes across troubles i’m more worried for the troublemaker than her! 

-Midoriya used to break all his bones in the process, reminded them all Aizawa. 

-Yeah but because of his quirk, Satori has got a good hold on her, i saw that, and it does not have that much of a drawback! Insisted Kirishima. 

-Besides, if we do launch a search, we will have to interrupt the exam, either put it on hold or cancel it completely. UA can’t-

 

Toshinori stopped and looked around, realizing that many students remained, and were looking at them listening to the debate instead of focusing on their task. There was no need to bring UA’s financial troubles into the conversation. Not even Eri knew about it, he wasn’t going to mess this up. So instead he dropped something that would bother Aizawa more than anything else.

 

-There would be a lot of paperwork, lot of apologizing, press conferences and we would have to organize another exam. 

 

Aizawa stopped moving, his blank face not showing the internal struggle he was going through. Mic took the opportunity to make this vow:

 

-If we organize another exam, i want to be in charge of Mahô and Satoru’s room, they won’t get pass me a second time!

 

Which shouldn’t worry Toshinori, but still did. 

 

-Come on, we can’t cancel the exam, think of the kids passing it right now, it would be a disaster, complained Kirishima. --Passing one exam is already stressful, but two?

-He is right, confirmed Toshinori. -Can’t we just, ask every students helping to keep an eye opened, and warn us if they see her on screen? Deploys the curfews robots? It would be a good first step. 

-And if they aren’t enough? 

-Then...I suppose we would have no choice but to cancel the kids’ exam and look for her. 

 

Aizawa’s sighed, pitching the bridge of his nose; tired already. 

 

-You do that only because Satoru and Mahô are passing the exam, he complained. -If this was any other year you would have stopped everything and started to search down the whole area. 

-That’s not true.

 

It might be a little bit true. 

 

But only because he had witnessed Satoru’s state, as he prepared UA exam, the last few months. It would be a lie, for Toshinori, to deny that, when he talked about the stress that it would cause if they cancelled the exam, he didn’t think of Satoru’s. But that was not the whole reason:

 

-If it had happened only a year ago, i would have done what you said. But Satori is almost 6 now ; she is more reasonable. 

-Yes this situation proves that. 

 

Another sigh, they knew they had to take a decision, now. 

 

-You’re sure she will not put herself in danger? Aizawa finally asked. -Think of the consequences. They’re not your kids ; Satori is.

 

Toshinori wanted to say he was sure, but he wasn’t. What he was sure of, was that Satori would never, ever, wander in a places full of strangers by herself. She would hide until she recognized someone and then stick herself to them like glue. And who did she know here? Not many people. Pro-heroes, his colleagues, and none of the kids that were doing the exam except…

 

-I found her! Smiled Eri, while pointing one of the screen of the block 4. 

 

Toshinori turned, a bad feeling twisting the little there was left of his stomach. 

 

Satori was there, busy hitting Satoru's head with an empty cookie bocal. In the middle of block 4. During UA exam. Surrounded by robots.

 

That was...indeed, his kid. 

 

And she definitely had Midoriya’s genes to bring troubles. And a way to make her father spit blood too. 

 

***

 

Satoru wasn’t hurt. Well, not that much. It sure was a surprise to get decked at full force by a little goblin, and getting his head hit -again and again- by a glass jar. But honestly, he was as okay as one could be, given the circumstances. Except he was not because…

 

-What are you doing there, Satori? He mumbled, too tired for this shit. 

-Oh. it’s the kid i saw when we were flying, commented Ryota.

 

Last time he checked, the exam didn’t authorize 5 years old to participate, no matter what the lineage. 

 

Satori answered without hesitation, but not with words, she first hit him again with her weapon. 

 

-I’m getting you give me back my name! She only said after this, determined. 

 

She already tried that strategy, last time he babysitted her, it didn’t work. He had explained that only villains do that, then that he had his name long before she got her, but unfortunately it seemed like none of his points were accepted by the little girl. 

 

What was he supposed to do? Satoru was pretty sure the girl should not be here. Yes he had seen that students were there to help during the exam in Aizawa’s mind, but the teacher wouldn’t dare use a five years old girl!....Right? 

 

Another hit on the head made him unable to think further and he yelped. 

 

-Satoru...do you need help? Asked Yuu, a little bit confused. You seem to know her. Is it a contestant with a special quirk?

 

She made the mistake of trying to catch the little girl and take her off the boy. Satori’s face went pale, and she rolled away, like a cat, to avoid being touched. For having seen that before, when he first babysitted her and spent half an hour trying to catch her, he knew what was about to happen. She was going to hide away.

 

-Satori, please, he whispered, calmly, as if he was talking to a wild beast about to attack. -This is Yuu and Ryota, they’re…

-Strangers! She frowned. -I don’t talk to strangers! 

-That’s great. You should do that, approved Ryota. -Especially ones who tries to give you candies. 

 

That was not helping. But it did give Satoru a little bit of time to activate his power and contact All Might. He would know what to do -once he stopped coughing blood. 

 

-Satoru? Repeated Yuu, unsure. -What do we do? We have to get to the main place quickly if you want the barcode...

 

Satoru gulped, feeling the time running. Yes he had to hurry and pass this exam. But. He couldn’t let Satori here, right? His silent question went through his connected mind, and All Might’s answered it unconsciously : 

 

“Can you keep an eye on her please? Until i’m here to get her!”

 

And suddenly, Satoru realized why he had to keep her close, until teachers came to pick her up : they were in the middle of a block, of UA exam, with robots all around them. And Satori didn’t have a bracelet that made the engine know they had to not hurt her. If she disappeared here…

 

-This is Satori, he tried to explain Ryota and Yuu, hoping they would get the problem. - She is all Might’s daughter and-

-All might?! repeated Yuu, all color disappearing from her face.

 

Except that her reaction made Satori shiver, and she immediately reached the roof parapet, dropping her glass jar on the floor. She was going to flee.

 

-Crap!

 

It took only a split of second for Satoru to take his decision.

 

As Satori used her quirk to fly off the roof, Satoru jumped and caught her clothes. Whatever she was attaching herself with her quirk, it was heavy enough to not care about their combining weight.

 

-Satoru! Screamed Yuu as she saw the boy and the little girl go like rockets into the sky. 

 

She barely hears a “meet me at the main place!” before they hit at full force a fake building, disappearing behind the decorum. In the supervision room, All might lost his connection to the boy, and watched the screen in front of him with a heavy feeling of déjà-vu. 

 

In block 4 building, Ryota and Yuu stood, a little bit at loss, but for a whole different reason: 

 

-Ryota…

-Yeah?

-I didn’t heard wrong, he said it was All might’s daughter, right?

-Yeah, quietly confirmed the boy. 

-And she didn’t act like he was a stranger to her, right?

-Yeah, she seemed to know him for a really -he said that with exaggerated emphasis on this very word- long time. 

-And he didn’t give us his full name to me. And he said he had his mind connected to someone supervising the exam and that is why he knew where all the barcodes were, right?

-Yeah. And he kissed me.

-How is that a mystery?

-I don’t know but i wanted to add this to the list.

 

Yuu stared at the now empty sky, where Satoru had disappeared. All his secrets gone with him, leaving only silence and one question: 

 

-Who’s Satoru exactly?

 

***

 

Satoru thought of himself as someone particularly unlucky, right now. Mahô’s enchanted bracelet sure didn’t work. Well, he gave it to Ryota, so maybe it worked, but not on him anyways. This last few months, his anxiety had given him a lot of nightmares about UA exam, but not a single one had foresaw the intervention of the devilish little girl he had to handle right now. 

 

-Satori, please, let us down! He pleaded her. Let’s go back to the main gate! I will take you to your father!

-Get off me ! I can find daddy myself!

-I would fall if i do that, you know…

-Yeah! Fall!

-I just wanted to make sure. 

 

Her intention about dropping him was clear enough. t was not a pleasant experience to have his legs waving in the air, only saved from a twenty meter fall by a 5 years old girl’s power that kind of hated him. So far she had tried to make him fall by sticking herself to one building one after another, smacking him down to the facade. He couldn’t admit it, but if she continued this way, she was going to succeed. He had to find a way to make her stop. Bonus point if he could make her stop closer to the main place where the codebar was. After all, he still had to pass this exam. 

 

Though it might not be the best idea to put Satori in the middle of the battlefield, given that Robots would most likely not identify her as something to be protected. But he could manage that once he had his own two feets on land. And since pleading didn’t work, he would have to ruse this out.

 

-I’m telling your father about this!

 

That threat made the girl frown but not stop. Bad plan. Instead she looked at the tower’s top in the horizon, and held her hands toward it as if she could grasp it. Next thing Satoru knew they were flying in that direction at full speed. Very bad plan. Okay, okay. He had to go for another strategy. He squeezed the girl harder and summoned his courage and hit where he knew it would hurt Satori the most.

 

I’m sorry. 

 

-Actually i need to thank you for getting me out of here. You give me a good opportunity to skip on the exam. Now i have the perfect excuse to explain my parent why i failed.

 

It should really not ring this right in his own ears. It was an excuse -a half lie, even though he hated lying- to get this situation under control. But it sure was true at the same time. Even though it was well hidden under inside his coward and selfish side. 

 

-It’s not my fault! Immediately retorqued Satori; her face going pale. 

 

Satoru knew he had managed to get her, the fact that  her hold on the tower diminished, and so they slowly lost both speed and altitude, was enough proof. He tried not to show his mild panic and continued :

 

-Yes it is. After all, i had to drop everything to save you!

-No you not! I’m no need saving you do! I’m no stupid, you stupid! I didn’t do anything you do! You fail not me! She added, not falling for that -but definitely falling in real time.

 

Time for his last brutal move, decided Satoru, rather that than brutal crash on the ground. 

 

-You’ve really helped me there, i really didn’t want to fight this giant robot in the main place!

-I didn’t help you! I hate you! She protested, forgetting totally the tower she was aiming first. 

 

Satori frowned a bit, he would appreciate if she made up her mind quickly because he didn’t like how close the ground had gotten. Fortunately the little girl had been hooked, and she used her quirk to attach them to another building, one way closer to the central commotion. Hence the robot. 

 

Yes! 

 

He should really feel terrible for playing over a five years old kid’s insecurities, but at this very moment he was just relieved his plan worked and he hadn’t crash. Priorities. He would worry later, anyways. 

 

Of course All might’s daughter choose the flashiest way arrive on the place. She landed on the top of one of the skycrappers surrounding the area. Or at least she tried. As they both discovered when she tried to land that it was one of the fake building. When Satori thought she had put her hands on cement, she found textile instead. 

 

The landing did not very well after that. But, hey good news among bad, Satoru did arrived at the main place first and found the robot wearing the last barcode! 

 

The fact that he was suspended, holding one of the iron structure composing the fake building with one hand and  holding Satori by the collar with the other was just details. 

 

-Scary, whined the little girl.

 

Scary, indeed.Though they were talking about two different thing, he realized with his quirk, while Satori was trying to get over her fall and bad landing, he was focused on something else : the Robot. It was enormous -bigger than every single one he had seen until now during the exam,, and he already thought their size was way too huge back then. Lot of contestants were already there, fighting against it. But none seemed to be able to reach the giant barcode painted on its torso. 

 

A boy was climbing the same structure, he and Satori were suspended on, and for a moment, he noticed them. Their stared at each other, blinked a bit, but then he decided to ignore them completely and continue his ascension. Good for him, Satoru’s main worry was the opposite, right now was he had to figure out how to go down without breaking a leg (especially his). 

 

-I suppose you could not use your power to get us down really slowly, he asked Satori.

-I’m not helping you! She answered angrily. Go fight the robot no-me-excuse anymore!

 

He should have expected that. Maybe he could like, hang on here until All might reached them and picked up Satori? That seemed like a plan. How long could he take, honestly? 

 

A speaker, nearby stated with a robotic tone : 15 minutes left before the end of the exam!

 

Too long, he was afraid then. He tried to think of a plan, on how to defeat a robot that was as tall as a building in less than 15 minutes, all by himself plus a 5 years old girl to watch over. 

 

Satoru had not much faith in his physical ability, he doubted he could stay hanging here like this more than a couple of minutes. He was already feeling tired. 

 

-Are you okay? 

 

A girl with a hat approached, eyes wides, she was the one asking this question.

 

-Yeah, never felt better, it’s always been my dream to end up like this, he mumbled to himself, then louder he answered: -I’m kind of stuck, actually. Would you mind helping me? I heard it gots you points when you help each other! 

 

The girl rose an eyebrow, but didn’t contest his stating. But of course Satori choose this very moment to get over her fear and try to get away again: 

 

-Don’t! Satoru’s villain, he steals name, you should break his legs! Screamed Satori to the girl And then she proceeds to struggle and aimed for something elsewhere with her quirk. 

-Oh no! 

 

He almost dropped everything when she escaped his gasp, and fortunately had the reflex to grab her with his legs instead, as his second hand joined the first one and assured they both stayed hanging at this iron bar. Whatever Satori choose to get attracted too, it wasn’t heavier than him plus the damn building! 

 

-Let me go! Complained Satori. -You villain! Bad! I’ll tell my dad!

-Not if i tell him first! (Okay maybe it wasn’t the best argument ever, but he was talking to a 5 years old and 20 feets above the ground, one could cut him some slack!).

 

If she thought anything of the show, the hat-girl didn’t comment on it and only said:

 

-Hm...okay. Why don’t you, hum…

 

She looked at him and Satori unsure. You and me both, girl, he thought. She probably assumed the little girl was another contestant with a weird quirk or after effect. And as much as Satoru wanted it, he certainly couldn’t throw Satori into her arm, the little gremlin would probably seize this opportunity to run away with her quirk. It was already hard to get sure she didn’t run away from him. 

 

-I assume you don’t have super strength or something that akin to catch me if i fall? He asked the girl. 

-Hm...no, i’m sorry.

-Nah it’s okay, don’t worry. 

 

Just his luck. 

 

-Hm. Don’t move, finally said the girl. -I’m going to ask for help!

 

It’s not like he had any other choice, and it was still very nice of her to try, so he thanked her and watched as she went on the battlefield. She might look indecisive, but she did had guts, as Satoru saw her come really close to the Robot’s legs. She didn’t even spare a glare for his movement, aiming straight for an other contestant who obviously had extensive arms. 

 

She barely had time to point them out to the guy, though. The other contestant who had been climbing earlier chose this very moment to try assaulting the giant Robot from his high point, and of course the engine reacted to that. 

 

Not only did the robot caught the attacker in mid-air as if he was merely a flies, but he brush his mechanical hands to the building right where Satoru and Satori hung. He probably had the split of second to choose to drop everything and break his legs instead of taking the blow. But to be honest Satoru’s thoughts were all about trying to contact All might -and know how long it would take him to be there, and tell Ryota where he was, and of course at the moment all space that was left filled with “GIANT ROBOT SLAP!”

 

So yeah, he didn’t dodge that.

 

In the confusion that followed the shock,  his first conscious thought was for Satori : he had to wrap up around the little girl to protect here from the fall -or maybe forbid her to flee, he wasn’t sure at this point. But the shock made him lose her!

 

-Satori! He screamed.

 

His head hurt something hard and he saw a few stars. Before he knew it, he felt like rolling and ended up on the ground. Blinking, he lifted up his head, and recognized the silhouette of he robot’s hands besides him. It put down Satori by his side, with caution.

 

Wh…

 

Then there was another sound, and the persistent contestant surged out of the collapsing building.  With a precise slash he cut off the Robot’s fingers clean and few bunch on what was left of the structure around. 

 

This time Satoru’s dragged Satori under his body and protect her from the falling rumbles. 

 

When silence came back all around, he looked around, trying to see something -and especially another upcoming danger.

 

Whatever had happened in this split of second, it must have been showy. The whole place was a mess, half of the building had collapsed, broken and bend iron bar all were pointing the sky among the rumbles. A dusty atmosphere surrounded them for a moment, but was soon cleared off, as some plumbs nearby broke and started to drench them under a dirty rain. 

 

All that was left of the robot’s intervention, though, was iron fingers lying on the ground, lifeless. For a moment he was scared to get electrocuted because of the humidity, but despite the clear cut inside its electronic, the robot part didn’t emit any spark. 

 

All might’s daughter’s whine pushed those interrogation aside ; if he was safe, it was probably because of Satoru’s bracelet protection. She had been lucky to get out without a scratch this time. 

 

-Oh gosh you’re okay? 

 

The hatgirl ran to him, Satoru followed her stare, and spotted the robot, in the background behind him. It was still fighting. 

 

Why is she worried about it now when earlier she didn’t even spare a glance? 

 

Hat-girl was alone, so he supposed the elastic arm boy had gone back to try and get the barcode. Before he could say anything she touched his forehead ; when she put if off her fingers had blood on it.

 

Papa is going to burn this place, was Satoru’s only concern.

 

Sure he did felt a little light headed, but so far he hadn’t fainted, so he had to be fine somehow; there were more pressing matters.  

 

-Help me hold her down, he asked the girl, pointing Satori. 

 

She didn’t help, here eyes growing wide. Especially when Satori started to scream and struggle even more, yelling he was a villain. Satoru didn’t care ; he wasn’t going to take anymore risk : since he needed both of his hands for his plan, he sat on her to make sure she couldn’t go. When she held out her hands, aiming for a something across the dust, he swore :

 

-Don’t use your quirk or else!

 

He didn’t have the imagination for the “else” he was referring, but it seemed to work enough. Satori looked at her hands, confused. Maybe she had ran out of energy. It would be both great and problematic if she did. At least he had enough time to take off his own bracelet -he was lucky it wasn’t locked until the end of the exam and put it on the little girl’s wrist. 

 

-What are you doing? Yelled the hat-girl. -You aren’t supposed to take that off!You’re going to be disqualified!

-She doesn’t have one, he explained calmly.

 

Surely, the teachers would understand and make an exception. Right? He hoped at least. But even if they wouldn’t, the little girl’s safety was the priority. I really didn’t lie to her, earlier, he realized. The thought of failing the exam if it meant he saved her eased his worry. No one would blame him for that, not even himself. So it was okay. It’s not like he had stepped inside this block thinking he could do it anyways. Yes at some point he had thought he could, with the help of Ryota and Yuu but now…

 

Well he was alone, with a kid in charge and the robot was freaking huge, so,it had become optional. Only if i see an opportunity. Think. Think then look for something, another solution. Use your brain since that’s the only thing that you can do well! 

 

If he succeeded, it would be great. If not, well, he would survive that as long as Satori did too. 

 

-Well she shouldn’t have lost her own in the first place! Protested the hat-girl, unaware of the situation.

 

So, she definitely thought Satori was another contestant. He had troubles to decide if it was a bad thing he should clear up immediately or not. UA would definitely get in troubles if the word of a underage kid -well, underage for the exam- was found on the exam ground got away. But on the other hand, he could really use some help. Unwillingly, he called out for his bond with Ryota and All might. The first one was getting closer, he could feel it. If only he could reach the boy then…

 

I may have a plan. 

 

-Do...I’m looking for some blue building...It must be near, they can see the robot fighting, he asked hat-girl.

-Y-Yes! It’s close, i will show you the way. Wait there for robots to pick you up, okay?

-I don’t follow strangers, protested Satori.

-Then follow me, compromised Satoru, kindly.

 

The girl pouted, but didn’t say anything.

 

He tried to stand but stumbled, his vision blurring. Crap. Was it because he had too many bonds half-connected to his brain? Or because of the wound? Or exhaustion? 

 

-Here, grab my arm, i will support you, propose the hat-girl.

-You okay? Whined Satori.

-Is it worry i hear from you midget? Beware one could believe you don’t hate me if he heard you...He mumbled.

-I hate you! She recalled. Yet she still took his hand and held it tightly, avoiding being close to hat-girl as much as possible.

 

Good. She seemed to be her usual safe. As long as she didn’t worry about the giant robot and focused on him, she might not think of running away. The hat-girl did seem to be in the same mind-loop, as one of her eye never quit the robot. 

 

Outside speakers resumed : “10 minutes left before the end of the exam!”

 

-We will have to pass through the battlefield to get to the building, it’s on the opposite side, stay close to me, she ordered.

 

When she passed one arm around Satoru’s waist to help him walk, he had a glimpse of her emotion. She was determined and not afraid at all despite her words. But using his power made him feel dizzier so he stopped right away. 

 

Yet, as he walked, too slow... Only ten minutes left... he knew he couldn’t afford to stay in this sorry state for long. Satori clung to his clothes, obviously distressed by the actions around despite her words. 

 

What could he afford to cut off right now? I need Ryota’s bond up, or he won’t be able to use his legs anymore. But I don’t need All might, he is still far away.

 

Because he was looking at his feets the whole time -worried to trip, he saw something weird on the floor, sparkling and buzzing : a smashing headset. The robot’s finger didn’t give off any sparks, he remembered suddenly. 

 

Why? Shouldn’t he be on? Satoru did his best to lift up his head. Now that he thought about it, the barcode was painted over the engine’s torso. Why? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have it on a screen that would go off once the barcode was scanned? There was no good reasons for contestants to keep fighting once it was over, since it was the last barcode! Plus it would be needlessly dangerous, right? 

 

He remembered saying something about a trap to Ryota. It was inside Aizawa’s memory. I can’t afford to peek at it now, not in my state. Adding another connection might make me lose my grip on Ryota’s one, and he needs it.  Okay, since he couldn’t do that, maybe pick it up in Ryota’s memory then? 

 

The knowledge poured inside his mind, like river. He had said nothing about the trap itself. Wow what a smart move past-Satoru. He would have to find out by himself why he thought of this situation as a trap. Thankfully he had thought it, and the deduction hadn’t gone away with the memory. 

 

Along with the information, though, he managed to pintpoint where Ryota was more accurately. And that was very close ; which gave him an idea. He transmitted his thoughts inside the boy’s brain, as he was too chill and calm right now for hallucinations. Or maybe Satoru was just tired. Anyways, the message would probably reach him whatever the method.

 

He was about to ask Satori for something, when hat-girl made them step back abruptly. He turned his head to ask her what was wrong; but his dizziness made him look to the wrong side. Just in time to see the Robot’s foot step only a few inch from where they had stood. 

 

Wow, she had good refle-

 

Satoru stopped and stared. That…! Could it be? If...If his inch was correct, then it meant two things : one, that Satori didn’t need his bracelet after all (and that sucked), and two that he might have a chance to pass yet. 

 

-I have something to tell you, he said to the hat-girl. -The little girl just there is All Might’s daughter, she is there by accident, we need to put her to safety.

 

The hat-girl stopped and stared, breaking eye contact with the robot, while Satori looked up, her eyes wide and her mouth opened as if Satoru had betrayed her somehow. For a moment there was only silence -as much as you could do on such a battlefield. The fact that the robot was really this close and yet not attacking them made Satoru’s faith in his plan grow, but the hat-girl’s response shattered his tiny sparks of hope:

 

-You’re really a bad liar, who would believe such thing?

 

Of course it wasn’t that easy. 

 

-Listen, i know you’re not like other contestants, Satoru whispered. And since he could feel her shivers at his words, it confirmed his doubts. -The robot isn’t attacking you even when you get super close.

 

He stopped, gathering his thoughts, as he explained her the rest: it was a possibility that she had a special kind of bracelet, that made the robot avoid her. But he believed it was both simpler and more complicated than that. The engine reacted to her will, it “rescued” Satori and him earlier. And besides, it seemed like the robot was not on. Otherwise wouldn’t there be sparks when part of him were cut off? The only conclusion left was this: -You’re controlling the robot, right?

 

She could still be a contestants, with a manipulation quirk, but...She stayed close to them, caring more about their safety than the barcode she was supposed to aim for. Which meant she was with the teachers on this, watching over the exam and making sure no one was hurt. 

 

Hat-girl’s face paled and Satoru knew, even without his power that he was right just by looking. 

 

Fortunately this was at this moment that Ryota and Yuu were in sight, more hoping from building to building than flying. Just like planned, the boy used his ink creation immediately and a strange bird splashed on the ground.

 

-What is…

 

Satoru tried his best to walk to puddle of ink -which was trying to take back its shape after this disastrous landing. After a few attempts -his hand always missing it from a few inches- he found Mahô’s bracelet inside, though he could not make up the color of the pearls anymore. That would still make do.

 

-Satori, i need you to give me back my bracelet, he said.

 

The plan was simple : since he could take it off, put it one Ryota’s Ink creation and scan the barcode on the robot -in case it was real- without getting themselves close.They wouldn’t be able to arrive in time anyways, that was their only chance. While they do that, he would put All might’s girl to safety with-Apparently big troubles, as Hat-girl has taken the little girl by the collar and held her close, not in a friendly manner. Satori kicked the air and struggled hard, but she was kinda short and as powerless as a 5 years old dealing with a teen, without her quirk. 

 

I shouldn’t have left her alone! 

 

-I don’t know what you’re thinking, started Satoru, as cautious as possible.

-She’s part of your quirk, right? Hat-girl stated. -That’s why your names are so close to one another. Satoru and Satori was it?

 

He probably made the same expression as Satori right now, cause she rose an eyebrow. This sweet attention from All Might, to name his daughter much like him, got really out of hand. He could understand vaguely her train of thoughts, and how she came to this conclusion, but that sounded so stupid when you knew the truth that he was still speechless.

 

-Take that back that’s my name not his! Screamed Satori, not helping the case. 

-Listen, tried Satoru. -She’s a real girl, All might’s daughter, i assure you. Call your HQ and get the confirm-

 

He stopped, and remembered the broken headset they passed by earlier. Just his luck. The damn enchanted bracelet really didn’t work. Satoru looked back, but Yuu and Ryota were still far away, and the ink-bird was still waiting. 

 

-I’m not falling into your trap, hat-girl said. -If you want me to believe you, prove me this is not your quirk. 

-I’m afraid, i can’t, my quirk is not the flashy type and i’m not at my best, right now…

 

He wasn’t sure he could do much except standing at this point, even. Hat-girl didn’t look like she believed him, once again, gazing at him then Satori suspiciously. 

 

-Then i can’t trust you either. It doesn’t matter, the exam is over in a few minutes (The speakers gave her reason, as it announced there was only 5 minutes left before the end of the exam), and i’m sure you’re already disqualified, -she added, taking off at the exam bracelet from Satori’s wrist- You aren’t supposed to exchange it!

-Don’t give it back it’s mine! Complained Satori.

 

Hearing that the exam was soon over, and that he was disqualified brought a strange feeling to Satoru’s chest. Something akin to relief, or maybe peace. If his fate was sealed, somehow, he didn’t have to worry anymore. Free of that anxious state, his mind raced. 

 

Maybe he didn’t have a flashy power to show, but he wasn’t the only one here with a quirk right. He wasn’t sure how strong his bond with Satori was, probably not that much, but he and babysitted her so many time, it had to be enough to at least try something. It was now or never, as he knew Ryota and Yuu had just landed on a roof and were about to hop to another. It would probably take all his stamina left. I’m sorry Ryota, bear it for just a short time. Before breaking the connection with his friend, he suggested him to hold on to Yuu. Then he pictured his mind place, his room full of screens, and he switched channel. 

 

That’s only when he connected his mind with Satori’s that he realized something. The little girl didn’t have overused her quirk before, he had made her stop doing it. Horror seized his heart, as he witnessed the barrier he had held within her brain unconsciously as he screamed “Don’t use your quirk or else”! He promised to apologize later, as he removed this order. I didn’t think i could even do that. Forbid someone he bonded with to use their quirk. Though it made sense he could, now that he thought about it. 

 

Mahô’s words rang in the back of his mind : “I know this is an exam, but this is also the first time we can let our quirks go wild, and see its utmost limit without caring about consequences. Have fun with it! You always do better when you enjoy yourself, it’ll pay off and show.” He had indeed let his quirk go wild, and discovered a new boundary, but he didn’t know if he liked it. 

 

Anyways it didn’t matter right now, he would think of consequences later. Now what mattered was his plan:

 

-Don’t worry Satori i’ve got a better bracelet for you! He instructed, showing her the enchanted bracelet. 

 

How much she understood his intent, and how much did he transmit through their bond, that he was too tired to evaluate. Any case, All might’s daughter extended her hands and used her quirk to attract the jewellery to her. Hat-girl barely had time to understand what happened ; because three events occurred in a very short timespan.

 

First, some contestant attacked the nearby robot, -seizing the opportunity offered by his sudden stillness. They decked him hard on the chest, scanning the barcode.

 

Not caring for the robot falling their way, unlike the two teenagers, the second Satori got her power back, she decided, after receiving the bracelet, that she had enough of being held like this. So she used her power to attract herself to the building across them, just behind Satoru. Hat-girl who wasn’t expecting that, found herself crushed between a five years old and the wall and the boy. Both teen were knocked out, seeing double or stars. 

 

Satori tried to sneak away right after that, but Satoru was more used to her strategy now -or maybe he was still inside her mind and knew what she was about to do. Before she could go anywhere he ripped off the enchanted bracelet thread, not bothering about the color of the pearls. In a blink, the little girl disappeared. I sent you back your daughter, he thought, hoping that All might would receive this message. 

 

Yet the phenomenon probably asserted Hat-girl’s doubts about Satori’s existence. She pushed the boy on the ground, tackling him down:

 

-You, i knew it! What did you do?

 

If her tone wasn’t so scared, he would have been intimidated. Instead, as he lied down on the ground, he was in the perfect spot to notice two details : The first one was the contestant that had scanned the robot’s chest, on the top of the now broken robot, he seemed to panic, looking frantically at his bracelet. So i was right, it was a fake one, a lure...Then where is the real one? 

 

And how much time they had left to find it? Could he switch into the mind of Aizawa just a minut-

 

But he couldn’t finish his next thought, as he noticed the second detail. In his fall, the robot had damaged the area, and one lampost ware barely holding straight. To be quite honest, it was about to fall right now. Right on them. 

 

-Watch out!

 

He rolled them down in panic. Just in time to avoid being crushed. 

 

-What…

 

Hat-girl looked confused. Satoru certainly look sick right now. It was a bad idea, when you were already seeing double. The world was really spinning right now. I have to not throw up on her… Ryota’s pain came flashing to his mind. I have to get back inside his head and cut his nerves… He closed his eyes, just trying to catch his breath, find one last bit of strength and courage to do all of that, as last task was added to the pile. I have to find the last barcode. Where can it be hidden? Think, think…

 

If this was a trap, and Hat-girl was at the center of it...Then... Hat…

 

Of course, the hat! The perfect place to hide something like a barcode!

 

He looked around. It had dropped on the ground. He needed his bracelet. 

 

Hat-girl still had it in her hands, he took it back, his vision blurring. She seemed shocked and anxious by their position right now, so he apologized and tried to stand up, with little success. When he finally managed to get on his feets; when he meant to go right, he went left and met headfirst the wall. 

 

-Thank y…

 

Without-hat tried to say something, but then she noticed that her hat was gone and paled. It is the hat, now Satoru was sure of it. She spotted it nearby, and weirdly, seeing her go in the right direction helped Satoru identify the space better. 

 

He tried to sprint to the hat, then realized he wouldn’t arrive before her, he clutched his hand on her back and made them both fell to the ground. It wasn’t pretty, nore professional. It probably looked more like a kid’s fight than an exam right now. he was too tired to care. The whole mess was a blur. At one point the girl pointed something with her finger and the robot’s arm smashed the ground way too close. 

 

-1 minute left! Speakers announced. 

 

The hat was only at arm length right now, and he could see the barcode inside. It was almost there! But his arm was too short and…

 

He threw the bracelet in.



Chapter Text

Izuku spotted his friend, Shouto Todoroki-Yaoyorozu, as he jumped from one building to another. It seemed that, now that everything had settled down, they got paired up by the Peace app to watch over the reintegration of the citizen in this part of the town. Izuku tried to call Shouto -by his hero’s name- but there was too much traffic down the avenue for him to hear that.  So he used his quirk to reach him. 

 

Shouto didn’t even bulge when Izuku landed in front of him, ruining his ice bridge’s trajectory. He simply made another ice ramp and propulsed himself with his fire to change the direction abruptly. Izuku’s eyes filled with stars: 

 

-Is that a new move? It’s awesome!

 

He could immediately analyse all the possibilities that came with it : Shouto had always been a powerhouse, but his problem with his power slowed him down every now and then, literally or not. With this skill, he could probably cancel his limitation : gliding on ice would make him go way faster, and using his flames was a good idea too. It gave him more power than his physical build could provide ; hence more speed ; a better control on his direction and also -that was the bonus- it melted the ice ramp he made after him, leaving the area free of damage and not allowing villains to tail him. That was definitely a great improvement! WIth that the man would best his father in aerial fight!

 

Izuku realized he had probably mumbled that aloud when he saw Shouto’s staring at him, a little bit overwhelmed. 

 

-It’s not a new skill, i’ve been using it for two years now, he simply said. 

 

Oh. Izuku blushed, embarrassed. So he didn’t fight alongside one of his best friend for so long already? That...That was a bit sad. Sure they both had their obligations and lived from the opposite side of the city, but still. They managed to hang out as friends once per month despite that, why couldn’t they find a way to work together when they were both affiliated to Peace? 

 

It made him realize how Peace had grown in the past few years too ; it wasn’t just ex-class A heroes anymore, but almost every pro hero agency in Japan. Only a couple of reluctant managers still refused to partner up with the organization. 

 

Embarrassed by his own shortcoming, after one glance at the population trying to get back home -just to make sure everything was still fine- Izuku tried to change the subject.

 

-What happened to your costume this time, you ladykiller?

 

His friend’s left side had burned, leaving half of his chest exposed, a regular occurence. Press called Momo and Shouto the “power couple” every now and then, and joke about them always wearing matching outfit, some scandalous magazine even said that Shouto ripped off his costume on purpose to match his wife even on the field. Tsuyu and Ochako often laughed about it, saying they were cute. Iida, on the other hand was more practical, arguing that it was harder to evacuate fans when all they cared about was taking a picture of their almost naked favorite heroes, or worse, had fainted because of nosebleed. 

 

-I didn’t kill anyone, simply answered Shouto with a shrug, not phased by the nickname journalist called him whenever he burned his clothes. -I crossed path with the Boiler ; had to use my fire at full capacity. 

 

Izuku frowned ; the Boiler? This villain usually worked alone, it was strange to see him in such a grand scale attack. Was it just a coincidence, or did he just saw the mess and decided to take advantage of it? Or was it something bigger, like some sort of league of villains’ return? 

 

-This is so strange. This whole day? It sure didn’t feel like a coordinated attack at all. Robbery, explosions, arseny. The Boiler, whom has no clear tie with any criminal organization known, some professional villains like those i fought this morning, who are allied to some group, and i even heard Momo fought no less but teenagers...

-Yeah, she’s fine i got her on phone, they locked them both and stopped the fire, confirmed Shouto. -But the kids didn’t even have a record apparently, at least not in the police’s data. 

-Yeah! that’s strange. And look how long this mess last? We’ve been at it since this morning…

-Yes it’s tiring, usually it dies down after an hour or two, especially when it meets such a strong response from the heroes, complained Shouto. 

 

Izuku blinked ; he wasn’t exhausted at all, yes a bit overwhelmed because he had to jump to every corner of the city without a pause, but…He was used to have days like this one. Was it because he was the current number one hero, and so had lot of work, or because Shouto lacked training? It was a tough subject the boy wasn’t ready to bring on the table now. So he resumed :

 

-Yes it sounds more like someone just gave them a date with the only instruction to make the biggest mess possible. Even the league of villains’ attack were better planned. 

 

Izuku frowned and glanced again at the population he was supposed to protect, his brain working at full speed:

 

-Why do something like that though? Who benefits from this mess?

-Momo told me on phone she thinks JusticeHammer is involved.  

-That would make sense, i mean so far all we know about him is that he wants to ruin Peace’s office’s reputation and Momo’s. This situation works for him. But does he have the means to control this many people? I’ve never heard about him going on field either. 

 

Once again Shouto shrugged:

 

-He uses internet, he said, as if it explained everything. -It’s not the first time left a message on social plateform trying to provoke a revolution. I suppose this time we just haven’t found yet where he left it, and he kinda got heard by the right people. 

 

That would be bad, thought Izuku, if villains like JusticeHarmmer found a way to spread their ideology. Just like Stain did, but more peacefully ; painting them as less dangerous, more legitimate and then, worth listening. Speaking of Stain’s legacy, it gave Izuku an idea: 

 

-Did you call your brother, Da- i mean Touya. If it’s on the dark side of the internet, he should know, right?

 

Touya, or as he called himself back then, Dabi, had founded a site named like Stain’s legacy or something. The purpose was to check on Heroes’ activity every time a rumor -or an accusation- happened. Then they checked fact with private detective investigation -to avoid the government or the heroes agency covering up crimes like they did in the past- and helped the victim make a files and during the trial if it was necessary. That meant the man had to deal with a lot of anti-hero followers, if someone knew about a message like this, it would be them. 

 

-I already called him, right after Momo told me about her suspicion, Touya said he would check his site and forum to see if any of his users had heard about it. But that internet was more complicated than what i thought and he wasn’t some kind of hacker. 

 

Of course Shouto thought about it too. It was to be expected. Izuku just wondered how much his friend had already guessed and just left his friend make his own deductions at his own pace. But on the other hand, Shouto didn’t seem so focused right now, not even once had he looked at the crowd they were supposed to supervise. Sure Shouto’s speciality wasn’t evacuation like Iida, but he was a serious and professional hero, he wouldn’t half-do any mission. 

 

-Is something bothering you? Izulu asked, worried he had done all the talking not leaving a chance for his colleague to share his own hypothesis. Bakugou often complained about this bad habit of his. 

 

Shouto sighed, scratching the birth of his scar, right at the base of his hairline. 

 

-Does it show? 

-Y-Your scar? Asked Izuku a bit lost. 

-No. That i’m...I’m not…

 

He didn’t finish his sentence, and frowned. Well, something was definitely wrong, indeed. 

 

-That you’re not...In good shape? Tried Izuku. -That you lack training?

 

Each reproach shoot him like arrow, and Shouto’s face went paler as he got hit. It didn’t seem like it was what he had meant, and Izuku felt guilty for hurting his friend with the harsh truth. 

 

-It’s...i mean it’s to be expected, you have a family to take care of, unlike us! Of course you can’t train as much as we do, and…! I’m sure Iida will be like you when Mei will give birth to their baby and-

 

Crap he was digging his own grave, was he? Every single one of his word made it worse, he should really shut the hell up. It was just...Shouto had always been a powerhouse before, someone ahead of them. Sure there had been some hiccup -like the time he didn’t had his license- but it was never due to his physical ability or lack of potential. Unlike today : Shouto relied on his advantage on them for five years. It was logical that at some point, the distance would shorten, then disappear, and if he didn’t do anything, the whole situation would reverse. He would be the one to lag behind for the first time in his life. Of course it has to be what bothered hi-

 

-It’s not what’s bothering me, confessed Shouto. 

 

Oh. Well, crap. Izuku didn’t know if he was relieved, embarrassed or worried now. 

 

-Though, i’m not in such a bad shape...Am i? (It seemed to bother him now, well done Izuku!)

-Hum...i don’t know, i haven’t fought by your side for so long, after all! Answered Izuku, covering up his mistakes. -I’m sure it’s not that bad! Look your new skill is cool.

 

He had only heard his friend’s chit chat about it, and his own thoughts. Izuku had tried his best to fight against it ; he didn’t like to think bad about a friend after all. But the facts were there : a hero usually manage to get a new move every year, and as Shouto said it:

 

-It’s not new. Well it’s not what’s bothering me.

 

Since he had worsened the situation when he hd tried to guess, this time Izuku let him develop. 

 

-It’s just i got a message from UA. Satoru’s bothering me. 

 

Oh, uh, woah. So they were having the talk about kids. Okay. Okay, he could do that. Well, Izuku wasn’t technically a dad - thanks gods not yet, he wasn’t ready for a baby, he would probably kill it by accident if he became one right now- but he had a little sister. So, well, he could probably manage. a bit. Maybe. 

 

-What has he done? 

 

Surely it couldn’t be super bad. Satoru was a good kid. 

 

-Mic said he cheated during the written exam. 

 

Ah. 

 

-That doesn’t look like him, was the only thing that came to Izuku’s mind as an answer. Not very helpful. 

-Yeah, agreed Shouto. -But he is an anxious kid. Who know what could go through his head when he is like this? Not me. i’ve tried my best not to make him feel pressured to avoid that…

-That he cheated?

-No. I’ve never imagined he would cheat. I mean. He doesn’t need to? He has good grade, UA exam is not that hard. But i didn’t want him to feel cornered, like he couldn’t go home if he didn’t make it, you know? 

 

Izuku hummed ; he got why Shouto was sharing this with him ; after all Izuku had been an anxious kid -and was an anxious man it didn’t go away with age - and he did acted rashly sometimes when cornered. But cheating? That was going a line Izuku always forbid himself to cross. (Though he did stepped on a few rules sometimes).

 

-I...i don’t know what to say, finally confessed Izuku. -It’s definitely bad, but maybe he has a reason for it?  Maybe you should listen to his side of the story?

-Yeah...But even if he has a good reason...I will still have to punish him, right?

-Yes, i suppose. 

-And i just don’t know what to do about that. I’ve never had to punish him before. Sure he does some mistakes like every kid, but...It never went beyond the “i left my stuff all over the place” or “I said something insolent to you believing it was funny but it wasn’t” you know? Not something that big. 

-And what did you do to punish him before when he did just that?

-Well, make him apologize, confiscating the stuff he left in the common space...Can’t apply it on this situation.

-Sure...i see your problem. 

-What do your parents do when Satori makes a mistake?

-I’m not sure my parents are good example, Satori isn’t turning out so great lately. I like her but she’s at a difficult age. 

-Right…

 

Shouto remained silent for a moment, staring at the void -or maybe the possible outcome of this situation. Izuku was sorry not being able to help better :

 

-Well, Bakugou would probably tell your to knock him some sense in his head with a slap.

-Not doing that, said Shouto firmly. Which was to be expected. - I can’t lock him in his room either until he apologize, given his history.

-That’s getting complicated, mumbled Izuku, playing with his bottom lips as he was looking for a solution. 

 

Then a loud beep interrupted them. Immediately Izuku’s focus went back on the crowd -looking for something dangerous, like a bomb. But it was only Shouto’s phone, apparently he got a message. 

 

-Is it Peace app? Asked Izuku. 

 

He didn’t recognize the sound of the app, though. Shouto didn’t answer him, instead he read the message, and frowned.

 

-Need to go, i leave this place to you, he said as he turned around at the corned and created another ice ramp. 

 

Izuku didn’t have the time to ask anything : was it something big? Another explosion? Did they need reinforcement somewhere in the city? His friend was gone in a couple of second, leaving him all alone in the street.

 

And weirdly enough, with a feeling of déjà-vu, he couldn’t quite remember. 

 

***

 

Momo Todoroki-Yaoyorozu was about to go back to PEace office and supervise the situation from there when she caught a glimpse of his friend, Iida Tenya, running through the avenue. She sighed, not looking forward what was about to happen. 

 

She thought of a glue substance and iron this time, as she created a grappler from her bare stomach. She aimed right and it hit Iida’s in the back without harming him, but since the hero was at full speed, he barely felt it, and continue running. Momo only had the time to create roller under her feet to avoid being dragged away. Fortunately too, she knew that it would happened and had created a grappin with a special mechanic, that would allow her to get closer to his friend in no time. 

 

-Ingenium! She screamed as she got near him. 

 

Iida slowed down, a little bit surprised :

 

-How long have i been dragging you? He asked.

-Only since 4th street, you should watch your back better, though. 

 

He stopped, and help her do the same, a little bit out of breath. 

 

-It’s dangerous to do that, you could have been hurt, i run way too fast for mere roller to keep up, he complained.

-I made them in a better material than normal rollers, don’t worry about it. But you know what is dangerous too? 

-Please, don’t use the “mother’s glare” on me, sighed Iida.

-I wouldn’t have to use it if you obeyed orders. I turned off your app two hours ago, after the bank robbery! What are you still doing here, working?

-Well, i can’t leave when there’s still so many people to help, right? Everyone else is working, so why i am the only one who has to stop?

 

Momo rubbed her temples, feeling a headaches coming. 

 

-Is it because Mei needs me? Asked Iida. -She’s not supposed to give birth before next month…

-No it’s not.

-Then why? 

 

She should have known her former classmates better, and called him right away to explain ; she should have guessed that an Iida would never stand back in a moment of crisis without a good reason. : 

 

-I need you to rest right now.

-I’m not tired! I can keep up like everyone else.

 

Gods why managing team was so hard? Natural leadership skills didn’t make it easier one bit sometimes. 

 

-I know you can, she agreed on that. Rule number one : always pair up your instructions, one good point with one bad point. - But this is more complicated than that : this grand scale attack is way worse than i imagined it would be. If this keep up, all our heroes will be exhausted by the end of the day. 

 

Iida was smart enough to see where she was heading at:

 

-You think it’s their plan?

 

She nodded, uncertain:

 

-I think it’s a possibility. They might be trying to make me waste all of our resources right now.

-This whole attack, a simple bait? A lure? I don’t believe so! Complained Iida.

 

He opened his arms, embracing the whole city with it. A city that, since this very morning was in chaos. It was just enormous, they hadn’t had such a crisis in years. Or at least it seemed that way for citizen unaware of the whole situation. 

 

 -You’re being paranoid, stated Iida.

-Maybe i am. But maybe i’m not, i would rather be paranoid and cautious than confident and reckless, she explained calmly. -This...

 

This time she was the one pointing out her surrounding to her friend.

 

-This isn’t as bad as you think it is. Yes there are some violent cases, but mostly it’s just little thieves and robbers there and there, from people that are not linked together!

 

Iida blinked, she could see he wasn’t as sure as her, and that he tried to believe her, but couldn’t right now. Maybe he would, once everything had settled down and was over. But she couldn’t afford to waste that time. 

 

-I need you to rest now, Ingenium, she repeated. -So that you can be on duty tonight and protect us when no one else will. Because you’re one of the few hero that can get to one point of the city to another fast enough. I also asked Tsuyu, Kuroiro and Tokoyami, that way with only a few of you, we can still cover as much ground as usual. 

 

The point made his way to Iida’s brain, enough for him to take of his helmet. She could see his pout fading away on his face, as he resigned himself to her argument. 

 

-I’m sorry, he finally whispered.-I didn’t get the whole picture. 

 

Momo let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. 

-It’s okay, you couldn’t know, i hadn’t explain it to you, it’s partially my fault too. 

 

She knew how hard it was for some of her friends to see her as a superior. Finding balance between friendship and work was hard for all of them, not only for them but herself too. But she was glad it went that way -way better than she had imagined it. Maybe she was becoming a bit paranoïd. 

 

-Let’s...head back to the HQ together, she proposed. -Mei is already there.

-Are you sure you want me to rest? Laughed Iida. -Cause she will not let me. 

 

She couldn’t help but smirk too, it was true that Iida’s wife could be loud. And overwhelming. 

 

-Besides, it’s almost 5PM, don’t you have Satoru to pick up at UA? Asked Iida. -The exam must be over now…

 

Momo’s mood flattened and it must be visible on her face because Iida immediately asked:

 

-What’s wrong? Did something happened? Oh no, he didn’t make it, right? 

 

She sighed, and this time the headache was there.

 

-I don’t know. I got a message from UA this morning that is...Worrying. Apparently Satoru cheated during the written exam.

 

Iida’s gasp was loud and indignied, and to be frank it embodied perfectly her own feeling. 

 

-How- Could...But- This is so…

 

He might be at loss of word, but he still had plenty of energy left, if his arms and hands' movement was any clue. Momo envied him; she just felt very tired right now. 

 

-Yes. I know. And i don’t know what to do. I called Shouto and we agreed that he must be punished for that but…

 

She clenched her fists.

 

-We don’t know what to do...I don’t know what to do , she admitted, and it felt good to actually say it. 

-You don’t know what to give him as a punishment? As for myself i would advise you to make him re-do the entire exam with you, and write a letter of apologies to UA and-

-No...I mean, well yes that’s a good idea, but...i don’t feel legitimate to be the one to punish him..

 

Silence. And for a moment, it sounded like it confirmed her doubt, but when she stared at Iida’s face again, she only saw utter confusion on it. 

 

-Why? He asked. 

-I…I’m not his mother. I mean. I am, but at the same time i’m...It’s not like Shouto’s relationship with him, I’m just...A third wheel. I only adopted him two years ago…

 

Maybe, what the journalist had said during the conference had shakened her more than she was willing to admit. Maybe she was mixing everything up, her job and family’s situation, her friendship and colleagues, paranoïa and planning. Just one look at the city’s state right now was enough to see the amount of mistakes she had made. She tried to appear confident in front of others- it was part of her hero’s role- but it was harder in moment like this. 

 

And to his surprise, Iida didn’t offer her any comforting words, instead, he gave him a sound and wise advice: 

 

-I think this is something you should discuss with Shouto and Satoru, if that’s how you’re feeling. They’re the only ones you’ll listen to, right? 

 

And he was right, indeed. She would talk to Shouto about it tonight. And she did want to hear what Satoru’s explanation for this behavior was too. 

 

-I’m sorry, it was unprofessional of me to bring it now. Thank you for your help Ingenium. 

-It’s okay, it was unprofessional of me to disobey your order, Creatie. Besides, i took my helmet off, so, you wasn’t talking to you as colleague, but as friend, so it’s normal. 

 

She laughed, a tiny bit relieved. 

 

-And if it’s any comfort to you, added Iida, as he avoided her gaze. -I...Mei and I we are aiming to be as good parents as you and Shouto are. 

 

Her heart squeezed. She was trying her best at parenting, but more often than none, she wasn’t sure, she didn’t know if she acted correctly. Especially when every strangers around could judge her actions and complain about it loudly like the journalist did. The fact that Tenya, her friend, a person she respected so much, found her parenting great...It was more than reassuring ; it was moving. 

 

-Thank you, she said, grateful to no end. -I’ll be sure to say that to Shouto, it will surely make him as happy as i am, now.

-Please d-

 

A beeping sound cut Iida’s word, and Momo recognized her phone alarm. Since it was not the sound of Peace app, it meant it could only come from Satoru’s or Shouto’s. Or maybe UA staff, she did put them in the very selective list of “family’s matters” today, just in case.

 

Her eyes grew wider as she read the message. 

 

***

 

Mahô Shindo felt contented and confident. As she stood at the entrance gate, waiting for Satoru to pick her up -they never agreed he would but she assumed he would read her mind somehow, like he always did- she was working on her enchantements. Her study book on her hands, she folded the pages of the one that needed a little bit more of rewording, and put a green mark on those who worked perfectly. The exam had been great, greater even than she expected. She had so much fun! Robots were challenging to fight and she really could go all out and test some combinaison her mother always refused her to go through at home. It definitely was the best feeling out there. 

 

Other contestants though, didn’t look as happy as her, they all looked tired and depressed as they went out, some even crying. She sure hoped Satoru wasn’t in such desperate state, it would be hard to be a good friend and be supportive when she felt so happy. 

 

-Hope’s okay, she whispered, unable to keep her thoughts to herself ; she had pushed her quirk a little too much today. 

 

At least her slurring wasn’t so bad, since she managed to space each of her enchantment a little bit. Over the years of training, she had realized that to be sure to not get stuck in a aphasia state for days, all she had to do was enchant at the ratio of one object equal one minute pause. If she used her power on ten material, she was supposed to rest for ten minutes straight if she wanted her speech to remain unaltered. But in real life battle one minute was way too long and sometimes you just couldn’t wait. To begin with she wasn’t very patient, that was also a huge problem. No matter how hard she trained, she couldn’t reduce the time between two use, nor could she reduce it when she needed to un-enchant something. 

 

-Really need to work’ n’that, she promised herself -May bee could i do some twist to tiptaptoe around the limit’!

 

Unfortunately words were hard to come by in her mouth, it transmitted to her hand too. She was scribbling something unreadable on her notebook when Kirishima Eijirou, or Red riot, the hero arrived at the block entrance, causing quite a stir. Kids started to shout and gather around, asking for a sign. -‘Is it true that you fought Gigantomancia with Pinky?” “Are you going to marry Sparky Sparky boom man?” “Is red your real color??” “I’m your biggest fan!” - Mahô already had his autograph, so she stayed at a secure distance unnoticed. At least she tried to, but the hero spotted her and shouted:

 

-Sorry kid, i’m a bit in a hurry...I will come back later to sign if you just wait. -Mahô, here you are, you need to come with me!

 

She frowned, why would a teacher call her out like that? She didn’t mind being in the middle of the attention, she was used to it, but they usually tried really hard not to, because Satoru was shy and nervous and she usually stood besides him. It had to be something big, something serious for them to break the habit. Panic rose up:

 

-Parents’ called? Is it daddy? She asked, rushing to Kirishima’s side.

-What? No! 

 

She let out a shaky breath ; but if it was not that, then…

 

-M’ waiting for Sat-Sat, can’t go or he will lost me, she tried to explain.

-That’s the thing! Satoru is at the infirmary right now!

 

Mahô’s eyes grew wider. She had faith in Satoru, she knew he could pass the exam, because he was just that smart and kind. But she also learned a long time ago that if his mind was strong, his body was weak, and that difference often resulted in broken bones. 

 

-Is he fine? What happened?

 

And why her bracelet didn’t work out , It was supposed to put him somewhere safe! 

 

To answer this questions, one would need to go back around twenty minutes back in time...

 

***

 

Yuu and Ryota arrived when everything had settled down already. Satoru heard them land behind his back, as he was lying on the ground, trying to catch his breath.

 

-Sorry we’re late, Ryota’s knee was hurt at one point so we had to stop, apologized Yuu. 

 

But Satoru shook his head, he knew that already, after all it was his own fault if Ryota felt this way in the first place. The concerned didn’t complain, instead he gazed at the place, the robot, the fallen lamppost, his ink-bird on the ground still waiting, as if he was about to paint it. 

 

-Did you manage to get the barcode? He finally asked.

-Yes he did.

 

Hat-girl answered in Satoru’s place, her belonging back in place on her head. She threw off Satoru’s bracelet back to him -and he missed him, trying to catch it with his wrong arm. It was a miracle that his last-chance-throw worked given his state. He half expected to smash it in the opposite direction, to be frank, though his intuition might not be on point today, as he also expected hat-girl to be mad at him, while she surprisingly, only sighed and said:

 

-You should head to the infirmary right after you reach the gate, you have a really nasty cut on your forehead. -And she added to Yuu and Ryota- You seem to know him, keep an eye on him i think he is in a delirious state. 

-Yeah, okay, anyways we all need to go to the infirmary, agreed Yuu, not really worried about Satoru being delirious. -Can you stand Satoru? 

 

Barely, but he managed. Two hours using his quirk non-stop was apparently his limit. And he was still using it, since they needed Ryota to be ok, at least until they reach the gate. Keep it together just a little longer, he whispered to himself. He was feeling so tired he didn’t even feel anything, neither his apparent victory at the exam, nor the ground below. It didn’t feel real at all. 

 

Though, at this point, nothing looked real. 

 

-I will need you to show me the way, i’m seeing double, he confessed, clenching to Yuu’s clothes to stay grounded. He didn’t sense the material on his skin either, though he could see himself grabbing it in a strange perspective, as if he was seeing himself through someone’s else eyes. Am i, relying on Ryota’s vision? 

-About double...Where is All might’s kid? Did you lost her Satoru? Wondered Ryota aloud.

 

Hat-girl smirked :

 

-Don’t tell me you believed his lie, it was his quirk!

 

The silence that followed made her confident expression crumble a bit. 

 

-Hopefully, she’s back to her father’s arm, i used the enchanted bracelet on her, explained Satoru to Ryota. 

-Oh that’s good news, said Ryota. 

-Hopefully? Picked up Yuu, not as chill as her comrade. 

-Well the bracelet is my friend’s quirk, i doubt she would have given me something that doesn’t work but...But sometimes it’s kinda surprising.

-Where did you sent All Might’s daughter?!

 

Satoru gulped, his head hurting, and he really, really wished this:

 

-Hopefully somewhere safe. 

 

The question was what, in the world, “safe” meant for the bracelet and Satori at this very moment. He hoped it was in All might’s arms but now that he thought about it...If he wasn’t so tired, maybe he would be panicking right now. 

 

-Hey you don’t mean it was...the real deal? The real child of All might, the All might, the ex-symbol of peace? Our teacher? Stummered Hat-girl.

 

Silence again. Hat-girl’s face got even paler than usual. Satoru could understand that, you and me both. Wait didn’t he said that once already?

 

-I...I took All Might’s girl, hostage ? She mumbled, probably to herself, all color fading from her face. Quickly, she began pacing back and forth, getting even paler than Satoru thought it was possible, repeating a more desperate “no” on loop. Then she suddenly turned and fled, without a goodbye.

-You have a thing to find the strangest people around, commented Yuu as she saw the girl run away.

-It includes us, though, calmly added Ryota. 

-Yeah well, every hero has to be a little bit weird in their own way! Managed to recover Yuu.-And that’s what we are! Futures heroes! All three of us! Isn’t that awesome! We did it! Come on, yell with me : Hip, hip, hip!

 

The hurray, both Ryota and Satoru managed to get sounded way too tired, and Yuu’s stomach decided to share its opinion too, as it growled louder than them. 

 

-Ah-ah! Sorry, i think i’m at my limit too, we should really head back and celebrate around a meal! 

 

If it bothered her to have Satoryu clutching at her shirt, she didn’t say anything, and he as grateful for it, because he wasn’t sure he could walk on his own ; he didn’t even feel the ground under his feets.She reminded him of Mahô, right now. As they began to walk -though it would be more accurate to say “hobble”- Satoru wondered if the girl was all right too. He had no doubt she had passed too. Too. The feeling finally hit his brain. I did it, i passed…  

 

It still felt like an illusion ; and some part of his mind refused to accept it : there had to be something wrong -maybe he had hurt someone and so the barcode points alone weren’t enough for him to pass- or maybe he was disqualified like hat-girl said. Nothing was certain yet. Yet. He actually had a chance to get to UA. 

 

I won’t be a kindergarten teacher, or a social worker at childcare...I can be a hero too.

 

Satoru had been so sure he would fail, he had given up so many time in the span of two hours, yet he still tried and hang to ever tiny hope he came across, despite his words. He was glad he did. 

 

In the horizon, he recognized some tiny figures…

 

-Is that...All might? Squealed Yuu.

 

 It did looked like All might and Eri...And Satori too, crying but safe. Hat-girl was leading them. Relief washed over Satoru, swiping away all his last worries. It was finally over. And he did it. 

 

Everyone was safe. And he had passed. And tonight, he would be able to tell Momo and Shouto that : I’m gonna be a hero just like you, i’m

 

-I’m gonna faint, suddenly stated Ryota.

 

Yuu panicked and immediately turned to catch him in her arms. Except he didn’t fall on the ground headfirst. Satoru did.

 

Though, Ryota followed right after, as the mind bond between them disappeared with the other boy’s consciousness.

 

Yuu stared at both of her friends, on the ground, with a deadpan expression that worsened when the ex-symbol of peace arrived too. She swore she was going to be the next one to faint there.

As she witnessed the ex-symbol of Peace check Satoru’s pulse and let out a breath of relief, she  stood very, very still. Trying very, very hard to remember that Satoru was his future classmate, and friend, but her brain did not care about her effort one bit and buzzing with this question : 

 

Who’s Satoru exactly?

 

Toshinori Yagi wasn’t really proud right now. He had rushed to the block as fast as he could, but as he was half way through it, Satori had appeared out of nowhere, right into his arms, safe. Then Marinette, the 2nd-future 3rd year student in charge of the block arrived :

 

-Is it true that she is your kid, teacher?!

 

Satori answered for her, pointing at the girl with a hat:

 

-Meanie! It’s a villain break her leg daddy!

 

After that, the poor girl kept apologizing, for nearly everything -loosing her headset in the midst of the battle, apparently taking Satori as hostage, and even for her very own existence- Toshinori tried his best to assure her she wasn’t at fault -he was...but...It was a bit of a mess. 

 

Fortunately despite her panic, the teenager had lead them to where she had seen Satoru last, and they finally found him. Just in time to witness him collapsing.  

 

They carried the whole group to the infirmary immediately of course...But Recovery girl scolded every single one of them, she shared her complains fairly among them. 

 

-You should not bring your daughter here! She said to Yagi. (The she added to her grandson : “you should watch the kid we ask you to babysit!”).

 

As the girl contestant’s stomach grumbled, she gave her candy and ordered:

 

-And you should eat before you faint too, i don’t have any bed left!

 

Seeing the state Ryota -the boy full of ink- she yelled:

 

-You should not walk in this state! What were you thinking? 

-...Passing the exam? Answered the boy, not really phased -or maybe still a bit groggy, he did faint for a couple of minutes, even though he regained consciousness quite fast. 

-What’s the point of getting inside UA if you can’t use your damn leg anymore?

-It’s not that bad...it’s a dis...dislocated something? Well it hurt but-

-It’s fractured now! It might take months for it to get better the normal way! 

 

This scene should not be so familiar to Toshinori, unfortunately it was. A smooch later, Recovery girl turned her anger toward another. Leaving the boy named Ryota obviously shook :

 

-What is this school where you have to kiss people all the time, he mumbled to his friend, a girl who was eating…

 

Was she eating iron instead of the candy? He couldn’t say, because as soon as the girl felt his gaze upon her she hid her snack and took the same horror expression as when he first met her. As if she was about to faint too. 

 

-Toshinori! Are you listening? Yelled recovery girl. 

 

Ashamed again, Toshinori was forced to confess that, no, he hadn’t. 

 

-I’m sorry, what did you say? 

-I’m saying you have to call Satoru’s parents right now. 

 

Toshinori’s heart skipped a beat, and his eyes fell on the boy lying down on the bed. 

 

-Is it that bad?

-Yes it is! Do you see in what state he is? Do you seriously think i can use my quirk on him, when he is this exhausted? It would kill him right away! I can’t even heal this nasty cut on his head at this point! So call his parents and tell them to come and pick him up! 

 

The boy did look feverish and weak. Tsubaki -Recovery’s grandson, held his hand and started to hum something very softly. Toshinori didn’t know what he was doing, but he was grateful he helped this time instead of playing video games. 

 

-Satori…

 

His daughter yelped. Since they arrived, she had been stuck to his legs, like a koala, pouting. 

 

-I need you to keep an eye on Satoru.

-I don’t wanna...

 

But enough was enough ; Toshinori might be a soft dad, but today she had crossed a line. He was not letting her get away with that, not after all that mess. 

 

-Satori. Listen to me. Satoru is in this state because he tried to protect you. And why did he have to do that?

 

The little girl said nothing, first, so Toshinori sighed, and shook the leg she was gripping at. It worked ; and she finally let out a sob:

 

-Because i disobeyed! 

 

That was a good first step. 

 

-And so? What should you do to make up for that? 

 

She pouted again, not willing to say it, so Toshinori didn’t have a choice and shook his leg again. He didn’t know why it worked every time, but it sure was convenient, as the little girl finally released her grip and walked to Satoru’s bedside. 

 

-I’m sorry, she mumbled to Satoru.

 

Of course it wasn’t over, he would have to talk about this mess with Inko tonight, and he would have to apologize to his colleagues, from disturbing such an important day, and of course Satoru and his family. She might have been the one to do the mistake, but it was his duty as father to endorse it as his own. 

 

... Didn’t Aizawa talked about Shouto threatening to sue, if Satoru had even a scratch on him? He suddenly remembered...; Well...They were in some dip shit right now, because the boy surely has more than a few scratches. 

 

Resigned, Toshinori got his phone out of his pocket, and started texting. 

 

-You should warn Mahô, she’s supposed to spend the week-end at his place, so she is probably waiting for him, he heard in his back. 

He didn’t recognize the voice, but took the advice texting Kirishima and asking him to go and pick the girl if he could. 

 

-Ah.

 

He turned to Recovery girl, once again embarrassed, and asked:

 

-Do you happen to have Todoroki’s number? I’m afraid i didn’t get the new one when he changed last month…

 

He couldn’t see it, but behind him, Yuu’s face turned pale, as she repeated:

 

-Todoroki? 

-Like the hero? Asked Ryota, taking the news a little bit better. -Why are you calling him?

 

Toshinori didn’t know what to do, on one hand, he knew he shouldn’t be the one saying this to them, but, on the other hand he couldn’t lie to future students, could he? So he did apologize to Satoru in the back of his mind, and nodded:

 

-Well, he is Satoru’s father…

 

The girl’s let out a strange scream that sounded a lot like chewbacca in those old star wars movie and for a second, Toshinori was sure he would be the cause for another student to end up in the infirmary, yet again. But instead, she turned to her friend, resigned, and whispered:

 

-Ryota...Who the heck is Satoru…?

 

*** 

 

Satoru slowly opened his eyes, his mind still sluggish and slow, trying to comprehend what had happened and where he was. The first answer remained in the fog of his memory, but the second was easy to find out, as he stared at a messy place full of screens. 

 

I’m in my mind’s place…

 

Something stirred in him, a weird certitude that he shouldn’t be there, that he should be anywhere else but there. But he couldn’t remember why. It didn’t make sense. The place was safe ; it was after all the product of his imagination, somewhere he was in control. 

 

Ah, that’s right... He finally recalled. He had been at UA practical exam. And most of all, he had by some miracle, managed to pass. And pass out too, apparently. 

 

Great. 

 

But it was unusual for him to dream of his mind place. By all means, he shouldn’t be able to even be there in the first place, as exhausted as he had been. Unless..

 

Did someone called me here? 

 

In theory, one couldn’t do that, but Satoru had been trained to use his quirk automatically as a child, so if someone he was connected with really wanted to speak to him, old reflex came up and Satoru made the connexion for them. That was the very reason why it had been so hard for him to control his ability and put if off. 

 

Unconsciously he gazed at the different screens around, trying to find which one might be important. He could see his own figures on a bed in the infirmary, a hand he recognized as Mahô’s thanks to their friendship bracelet, was holding his. Someone else was at his bedside and looking at them, confirming his guess. It was indeed Mahô, and she looked way too amused for someone at the bed of a wounded. Ah speaking of wounded : was Ryota okay? Maybe it was him, after all Satoru had let go of the tiny control he hado over him. Was his knee okay? 

 

Ryota seemed okay, he was showing his notebook to Momo, asking for a autograph. So as far as he could see, Ryota seemed okay. Yuu on the other hand -was present in Ryota’s vision field, and the girl had the weirdest expression on her face, as if she was about to have an heart attack. Though he was not bonded with her so she could not be the one asking for help. 

 

What was Momo doing there, though, realized Satoru. Her screen didn’t give her any clue, but he noticed that Shouto’s screen also show a scene at UA, even though he was currently talking to Aizawa and All might. Satori was present in her father’s arm, safe. At least for now, because one look at the screen from the teachers perspectives informed Satoru that Shouto was very much angry. 

 

Maybe those two did curse his name in the secrecy of their mind and here Satoru was, confusing this for a plea.  But there was little chance, he knew the difference. So...none of them was responsible for his presence in his mind place right now...

 

Whoever called me here, i hope it’s urgent and that it won’t take too long…

 

He was feeling drained from all his energy, even though he knew he was asleep. How one could be resting and yet still feel tired? His mental representation even let out a yawn. Weird. His dissociative state wasn’t doing any better. 

 

That’s when he heard a voice. 

 

-Long time no see, kid’

 

It sounded grave, the nickname pressing heavily on Satoru’s heart. No one, was supposed to do that in his mind place. It was safe. No one could reach him there. Yet...

 

-You’ve really done it, uh? Resumed the voice, not caring about rules, like he always did.

 

The way it echoed in his mind, reminded Satoru of an hospital room, and the beep of a machine, dying of, slowly but surely. It brought the scent of antiseptic and the pain of farewell.  

 

-A hero ?

 

For a moment, Satoru felt a ghostly hand pet his head, and the sensation of coldness, or void such contact used to bring with them. His body remembered this emptiness and it felt like his heart sank in a black hole. 

 

-Doesn’t that mean that one day we might meet again ? 

 

How ironic, to hear him talk about reunion, when the very first souvenir he had of this voice was a big arm pushing him away and threatening him to not get any closer. But today he was close. Closer than he ever been. It felt like the very man was breathing on Satoru’s neck. But when Satoru turned around, the man was not there. As far away as he always have been. 

 

The screen that should not exist in his mind place stood in his place. A giant crack passing through the face, making it unrecognizable. Just like in Satoru’s memory. 

 

So, it’s not my mind place, but a dream, Satoru realized, sadly. More accurately a nightmare. 

 

-Henry…

 

It was the man’s real name, one Satoru’s had only heard after Shouto adopted him. He didn’t know why it was this one that came to his mouth first. He supposed it was the logic of dream. 

 

Despite the crack, he could discern the smirk on Henry’s face. 

 

-I dropped that name a long time ago, why don’t you call me like usual? Shouldn’t you get used to it? After all, a hero should call a villain by his name.

-Death-pair is super edgy and too embarrassing, complained Satoru. 

-Well, would you rather call me Daddy, then?

 

Satoru’s blood went cold, as his throat tightened. 

 

-You’ve never allowed me to call you that way, why would i start now?

 

He wasn’t angry, maybe. He hoped he wasn’t. He felt mostly sad, but it was true, that maybe, right now, he was not happy having this conversation, or those memories back. Though he was bothered more by the nightmare than the father-he-never-had. 

 

-That’s not a way to talk to me, even more when i took the effort to come and congratulate you!

-You’re not there. 

-I feel very much here, thank you.

-You can’t be here, rectified Satoru.

-Yet here i am! Why, you think i can’t be here because we’re not bonded? I am your father, that’s a good enough bond to have a screen in your secret little room, don’t you think? I deserve this place more than your fake Papa. 

-You’ve never accepted me as your son. You’ve never accepted me in, there can’t be a bond between us if you didn’t allow…

 

Satoru clenched his fist. 

 

-Even your words sounds fake, you let me get adopted by Shouto. You’re not here, you’re just a nightmare. 

 

For a moment, Death-pair paused, his expression unreadable behind the crack of the screen. Then there was a smirk, that turned into a condescendant laugh. A sound that was stranger to the man Satoru remembered. Each giggle confirmed his suspicion, even more so as the crack from death-pair’s screen grew larger and larger, spreading into the entire room, shattering his mind place. 

 

-Me? A nightmare! That’s a good one Satoru!

 

The suddenly, the man sprouted out of the screen, a hand gripping the boy’s neck so fast it made his heart skip a beat. Yet again, Satoru felt his breath on his face, it reeked like the antiseptic of the hospital room, and it was as cold as his touch. The face that he couldn’t remember back then had turned into a fog or scribbles, not much recognizable even now that it was out of the bond of a tv screen. 

 

-If it’s a nightmare you want, i shall give it to you!  Death-pair said.

 

And he let Satoru go. Satoru fell, no ground under his feet anymore, his mind place becoming smaller and smaller every second. When his body smashed to the bottom of the pit, it drew all of his air out of his lung, but did not wake him up. 

 

Hurt and coughing, Satoru tried to roll on the side, and a pair of gentle hands helped him do that, soothed the pain away like a lullaby. 

 

-There, there, aw don’t don’t worry, your Big Mother is there...

 

No. Not that voice. Satoru closed his eyes, praying with all his heart that, when he would open it again, he would be back to the real world. But it didn’t. Instead, he gazed at the face so similar to his. A jaw a little bit too square for a woman, pale skin and freckles all over it, like stars remaining in the dawn sky. Long and blonde curl falling on her round shoulders, that tickled his noses when she hugged him. 

 

-My poor baby, the voice sing sang, in the mix of compassion and severity that haunted his every dream. -It hurt doesn’t it?

 

Her eyes, green and pale, full of love were so easy to trust. Yet, as soon as it locked on Satoru’s face, it changed. Like he always did, tenderness turned into resentment. 

 

-I hope it hurts, she whispered. 

 

Her hands who had been caressing his back clenched, and he could feel her nails entering his skin. Satoru bit bis lips and eat back a scream, old reflex coming back immediately. 

 

-I hope it hurts like betrayal, Big mother said to his ears. 

 

Then she pushed him away. Satoru rolled and put his hands around his head, trying to protect it, curling around and preparing himself for a hit. But it didn’t arrive. Instead, Big mother stood, towering him. She kicked him, at the same of the beat of his own heart in his chest. 

 

-Why are you acting like this? She screamed. -As if you’re the victim here. When i am? Who do you think you are, becoming a hero? 

 

He didn’t say a word, he didn’t answer back. He knew better. But he also forgot that there was no way to win against her, be it insolent or silent didn’t matter. She gripped his wrist and forced him to stand.

 

-What do you think you can achieve? Stopping me? 

-You’re dead! I can’t stop you!

 

The words got out of his throat so fast, he didn’t even have the time to process it. And it surprised him as much as Big mother’s. For a second, Satoru couldn’t even hear his own heart, as if it had stopped. Maybe he did, just like her. 

 

-How can you say something so cruel to your own mother? 

 

And she appeared so hurt and sad, her voice so full of tears that, yet again, Satoru said without thinking:

 

-I’m sorry.

 

I’m sorry, please don’t cry, i’m sorry i hurt you. But more importantly: i’m sorry you’re dead. 

 

But Big mother’s sadness was as fleeting as her compassion, and her expression went cold, as she glared at him:

 

-Is this how you’re paying me back? For giving birth to you? For raising you? For trying to find you a place? 

 

She rose her hand, and Satoru’s body stiffed, preparing himself for the impact of the slap. It still sent him back to the ground, just like when he was a kid, his cheek burning. 

 

-Well, this is your place. Never forget where you belong. 

 

He didn’t understand the meaning between her words before it was too late, suddenly, she closed a door that hadn’t been there before and he heard the sound of the lock. 

 

-No!

 

He rushed to the exit, but only met a wall of wood, a growing darkness filling the space around. 

 

-Mom please open the door! He plead, as the darkness seemed to solidify around, trapping him there. 

 

She could hear him from the other side he just knew. He knew she was there and that she had the key. So he knocked on the wood as loud and as strong as he could do. He couldn’t distinguish it from his heartbeat anymore. 

 

-Please open the door! He screamed. -Mom! 

-What do you think will happen, she answered instead. -When you’ll become a hero? With a power like yours, what do you think they will do to you? Do you truly believe it will be any different? 

 

Satoru felt something brushing his legs, and his body went cold, as he saw tiny, tiny hands made of darkness wrapping around his legs, cowering under his clothes, caressing his scars. Terror filled his every breath and he knocked harder.

 

-Let me out!

-This is how your power work! You can’t avoid it! Look at you you didn’t even manage to pass this exam without kissing a stranger. What’s the next step? Do you think because you’re a hero now it will make it easier?

 

Satoru stopped hitting the door frame, instead he put the hand around his ears, not wanting to hear that. not wanting to hear again what he said to himself over and over already. It’s a lie. I can work around it. My place is not there anymore!

 

Hands of darkness pulled him in, draining his strength, accompanying his movement almost tenderly as he fall to his knee.  He could feel their nail digging his back, leaving marks and bruises that would both fade and remain there. Satoru felt small and vulnerable. Naked and cold. Just like when he was a child. He didn’t want to call Big mother for help and indulge in her lies, he didn’t want to listen. But he was even more afraid to stay here, and let himself be drowned into the dark embrace.

 

-Mom, open the door, please…

-This is your lesson, she retorted. -Your punishment for being naive. Learn it.

 

And he heard himself promise, yet again. He would listen. He would be a good boy, he promised he would never hurt her, or say anything back, if she could just open the door, please! 

 

-Don’t leave me here…

 

It didn’t matter how much he cried and he promised, he knew it, because she never opened the door back then, she never listened, so why would it change now? But the growing sensation on his body didn’t allow him to give up, scared all too well. If she couldn’t listen, maybe someone else would. 

 

-Death-pair! He screamed.

 

Because he knew that wherever Big mother was, he would be by her side. Only death did us apart. Death-pair would come and at least make him unable to feel whatever was happening. Unfortunately, he was already knee deep into the darkness, and sinking at such a fast pace. His hand couldn’t reach the knob anymore. 

 

-Deathpair! He called again. 

 

But a hand managed to get in his throat and shut him up. He coughed, trying to get it out, and bite, but only hurt his lips in the process. 

 

It was not Death-pair voice that whispered in his ear, now, but someone else’s. 

 

A shiver ran went through his spine, and something grabbed his ankle, Satoru felt himself fall on hs back, darkness splattering all around him, sticking to him like glue, forcing him to lie down and wait until he drowned completely. A shadow stood above him, the accumulation of every sensation, every fear in his mind, forming a monster of it. It towered him completely, decking him to the ground with his grisp, a giant mount splitting his form entirely as he spoke : 

 

-Well, that will leave a mark, don’t you think, Satoru? Should i heal that? Or will you be a good boy from now on?

 

Each of his word let out a spit of this black, long hands, like drool. Satoru couldn’t stand it, he closed his eyes and tried to ignore it. If only he could reach his mind place, maybe he would forget everything else, where he was, who he was and what he was doing. If he focused enough on someone else’s mind maybe he could be anyone -just for a short moment- but himself. If he stayed here. If he stayed himself, when the darkness was filling his nostril and throat...then he wouldn’t breath anymore. 

 

-Satoru!

 

Suddenly, as he was about to drown completely, something pulled if of the muddy dark water. He barely had the time to blink, before Shouto dragged him into a hug, all the tiny hands of shadow bruning, screeching under the light of his flames. 

 

-Are you okay? 

 

Satoru couldn’t mutter a word of thanks, too shaken yet. He heard me. All he could do was grip at his father’s hero costume en cling to it. Unlike Big mother, when Shouto patted his head, and said:

 

-There, there, everything is going to be okay…

 

He believed it. It didn’t sound like a lie or a mere illusion that would shatter during his next fist of anger. Because if Shouto was angry sometimes, he was never violent. 

 

-I’m sorry…

-For what? Asked Shouto surprised.

-I’m sorry for still having trouble with this, i’m sorry for still thinking about them and letting them haunt me, i’m sorry for needing your help yet again!

 

But Shouto didn’t seem bothered, instead he simply patted Satoru’s head again, and smiled:

 

-It’s okay. I’ll be there for as long as you need me to. Take your time, there's no rush. 

 

But in the back, Big mother was watching, walking around them with here eyes so big, analysing everything as if they couldn’t see her. 

 

-Is that what you want to be ? She asked Satoru, suddenly, as if she couldn’t believe it. -This is so sugary and cliché! You can’t be serious! 

 

She drew a gun out of nowhere, pointing it to the head of Shouto -who apparently could still not see a thing.  

 

-Stupid heroes like that get killed so easily. 

-No! Don’t do it. 

 

But Big mother shrugged, and smiled as she whispered to Shouto:

 

-Takes care of my baby, if you can.

 

And pulled the trigger. Satoru closed his eyes at  the sound of thunder. When he opened it again, he stood there, drenched in blood. Shouto was lying on the ground, bleeding, and Big mother was pierced by a column of ice. White slowly turned red. Her face changed and morphed, her hair became black and in her figure turned into Momo. 

 

Dead. Dead. Dead. They were all dead. His mother. His mama. His Papa. Everything. Because of him. Because he couldn’t…

 

Death-pair appeared before him, kneeling down. He still didn’t have a face.

 

-See? That’s what will happen if you become a hero. You cannot save anyone. You just like us. You destroy things, you don’t create anything good. You can’t protect anyone, not even yourself. 

 

Then Satoru fell again inside this loop. 

 

***

-What’s wrong with Marinette? 

 

Kota stared at the girl, lying on the sofa in their shared living room in the dorms, she didn’t look so well. He knew she was supposed to act as a villain, in her block, and that she always had troubles with it, but he didn’t think it was this bad. She didn’t even took the time to change or bath. It was Eri who answered him -almost making him have an heart attack, appearing out of nowhere.

 

-There was an accident in her block, and she’s feeling guilty over it. 

-It’s not your dormitory anymore, what are you doing here ?! He yelled, red as a tomato. He was in pyjama for gods’ sakes!

 

Eri just shrugged, as if it didn’t matter to her and went straight to Marinette, offering her some kind words and cookies. Despite their whispers, Kota heard something along the line “Are you sure i’m not going to be expelled? -No of course not, teachers understand...” which was troubling. Was the incident that bad?

 

-Did one of the contestant got severely injured? He asked, worried. 

 

Eri shook her head:

 

-Oh no, nothing that serious. Well i mean Satoru did end up in the infirmary with a high fever, but he is okay. And one of his friend has a fracture on the knee. 

-Wow, wow, Satoru is what? Is he okay? Is he still in the infirmary? 

 

Kota was about to put on some shoes, and go see the boy, when Eri stopped him, a kind hand and an expression full of compassion displayed:

 

-You really do not want to get here, she warned him. 

-Why that? Satoru is a friend and he is hur-

-Mahô is already at his bedside. 

 

Oh. Oh. Well, that hurt more than he expected. Especially when he knew that it was inevitable ; Mahô and Satoru were almost always together. But seeing Eri’s knowing smile put him on edges. He wasn’t in love with Mahô damnit, so could she stop acting as if he was? Just for that he swallowed his pain and claimed:

 

-As if i care about her! I’m going!

 

Eri bit her lips, but didn’t stop him this time. All she said was:

 

-Before you go, can you tell me if there’s any contestant that caught your eyes during the exam? I need to know if you want to give anyone your “Bonus barcode”. 

 

Kota thought of the red-haired girl who had tried to save him and turned the whole area into a seashore ; she did say she had no barcode yet. He supposed he could give it to her ; but she hadn’t manage to save him at all, and even needed to be saved. She had demonstrate a good disposition as a hero, a big heart, and her quirk was impressive...but she, in his honest opinion, didn’t make the cut. So he shook his head. 

 

-No. No one. Is there anyone else who gave their bonus code? 

 

He didn’t want to be the “grumpy” one that didn’t give a chance to anyone, his classmates already described him as “too serious”. To his not-surprise, Marinette rose her hand, still lying on the couch though. The girl had always been a little bit too soft. 

 

-I did. 

 

But she seemed to be the only one who did. Reassured, Kota smiled and went outside, running to the infirmary. What he found there, though, was an complete mess. First apparently Shouto Todoroki and Momo were there too, discussing with the other teachers -All might, Aizawa, Recovery girl, and got even Nedzu…!- So Kota tiptoed around them, trying not to catch their attention and draw their anger on him. 

 

But man, he had never saw Shouto looking so furious ; while still remaining expressionless the man managed to let out an aura like a wildfire, that was frightening. He didn’t know what had happened, but he finally could get why Marinette felt so bad right now, he wouldn’t want to be part of this disaster too. 

 

Inside the infirmary, Satoru was sleeping soundly, and Mahô was indeed at his bedside (with another boy). But she certainly did not act like he had pictured it.

 

-Aren’t you’re the cutest little bean! She said, hugging a little girl with greenish hair -wait, was that Deku’s little sister? It certainly seemed so.

 

Her speech seemed to improve, since he last saw her, three hours ago, at least. But…

 

-How come you remember Deku’s sister but not me?! You’ve barely ever seen her like ever! He complained. 

 

She stared at him, blinking, as if she didn’t remember his name -again!. 

 

-How could i forget such a cutiepie? Have you seen her cheeks?

-Save me! Whined the little girl, getting wrapped up in a crushing hug and getting kisses all over her fuzzy head. 

 

That...That was beyond what Kota could endure in a way he wasn't ready to face. And since Satoru was still out and all there was left to do was wait, the teen decided to go sit and sulk in a corner. Which was full of other people; a cute brown haired girl and a boy whose leg was in a cast. They seemed like they were there for longer than him, so he asked:

 

-Has he been out for a long time?

-Almost two hours now. Apparently he has high fever, answered the boy with a nod. -Why, you know him?

-It’s a friend. 

-Oh! Then you must know…

 

The boy pointed out Mahô -which was currently trying to scribbles things on Satoru’s face with a permanent marker, while Deku’s sister was stuffing the boy’s mouth with cookies. 

 

-Is she his girlfriend? 

 

And certainly, she wasn’t. Kota knew that. Everyone he knew, though, including Eri, and Mina and Aoyama, kept saying they would end up together one day -that was just a matter of time- and it pissed him off to no end. So he said what he believed:

 

-Well. She is a girl, and she is obviously his friend. What do you think? 

 

And left it like that. The boy didn’t seem to get the irony :

 

-You heard that Yuu? You’ve got your answer.

 

The brown haired girl, apparently named Yuu, had been staring at Kota the entire time, though, and didn’t seem to hear her friend at all. 

 

-Are you okay? Have you been hurt too? He asked -after all she was at the infirmary, even if her wound wasn’t visible she had to have something, for her to stay, right?

-W-What? N-No i’m perfectly fine! Th-Thank you for asking! 

 

She was becoming redder and redder at her every word, though, so Kota checked, putting a hand on her forehead. He had been wrong she didn’t have any fever, but she did look totally out of it right now. 

 

-You should take a rest, you don’t seem-

 

Kota didn’t have the time to finish his sentence, as Shouto and Momo entered the room with Aizawa. Yuu’s face got all white in a blink of an eye, and she whispered something like “Creatie too!”. (Recovery girl should definitely check her out). While Momo waved her hand at Kota and offered him a smile, Shouto went straight to Satoru’s bed and asked Mahô:

 

-How is he? 

-He’s mumbo-mumbling in his sleep, but Tsu-tsu is humming him down. -The boy with pink hair, who was holding Satoru’s hand, nodded- Is he gonna be out the whole week-end like five years ago? 

-No, i don’t think so...His fever is not so high. Last time you saw him overuse his power, he was weak and suffering from malnutrition…Lately he just need a couple of hours after training. 

-Oh! Cool! So, are we going back to your place or to the hospital?

-We’re going back home, yes. 

 

Just like that, Shouto took Satoru in his arms, then put him on his back. For a second, Kota was glad the boy was out, because he would be so damn embarrassed to be carried like that at fourteen. At least; Kota would, if he were in his shoes. 

 

As Shouto was passing near them, he stopped and asked :

 

-Are you waiting for someone to pick you up? 

-Yes, answered the boy with a cast -after he had asked Momo for an autograph. -My father can only come and pick me at 8PM, so i’m waiting for him here. 

-I...I just wanted to make sure they all get home before going. I live nearby so, explained Yuu.

 

Kota couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow : that was super sweet and considerate of her. But he didn’t have much time to think about it, as Mahô proudly explained to Shouto:

 

-Satoru is so awesome, he managed to get two friends during an exam, can you believe that?

 

Shouto smiled and Momo giggled:

 

-I expected no less. And you Mahô, did you manage to get any friends? 

-No...But i think i made one némésis! 

 

Her eyes fell on Kota for a mere second, and she added:

 

-Maybe even two!

 

What the heck. Was she counting him as one of her némésis? And to top everything, Shouto simply nodded and said:

 

-It happened to me too. 

 

As if it was normal! Kota was still fuming, when Shouto resumed his conversation with Yuu and proposed:

 

-We have free spot in our car, we could drop you at your place, if you want.

 

For a second, Kota was sure that Yuu would take Satoru’s bed in the infirmary, as she made a long strangled noise.  

***

 

-Well it has been a long day, and it certainly could have go better...but the exam day is finally over, complained Aizawa. 

 

His day, however, was not completely finished, along with a bunch of teachers he sat at the meeting table, lots and lots of notes from the students that had helped throughout the day. While everyone was currently either going back to their dorms, or to their home, he was still working. 

 

-Don’t worry, i’m sure Shouto will not sue the school...Probably, mumbled Kirishima, at his side, probably mixing his tired face with his worried one. After so long being teacher and student, one would though the man would learn to read his facial features better but…

-I know he won’t. And even if he doesn’t, we have a bulletproof contract about it, when they sign for the exam and authorize their kid to participate, they accept they might come back with occasional injuries. 

-Really? I didn’t know that!

-UA wouldn’t have survived so long without it, laughed Midnight as she sat next to them. 

 

-Anyways, let’s do a first draft review of the day. 

-A first draft? Asked Kirishima to his colleagues, once again. 

 

This time it was All might who answered, he had his daughter, Satori, in his arms, but this time the little devil was sleeping soundly, as if nothing that had happened today had been worrying. Midnight, though, might have helped a bit. 

 

-Yes, it’s your first time participating so you couldn’t know, but we sum up everything that has happens, combining notes from students and robots’ reports, to have a first list of the selected few. Then we check every footage to make sure we are right and didn’t miss anything. Since this year we works with points, this second check is essential.

-Oh i see. So how do we proceed?

 

-You pick a student and you read all the note and reports you have about them, and write done their total points. Then we compare at the end and see who makes it and who doesn’t. 

-I can pick anyone i want? 

-Yeah…

 

Kirishima laughed, and took two files on the table with confidence. 

 

-Then i pick Satoru’s and Mahô’s!

 

Of course MIdnight complained about it quite loudly, with Mic, and Aizawa couldn’t do anything but sigh. This year, he just knew it, it would be hard for them to not play favorites. All of them. 

 

-Come on, let’s back to work, i want to go home before dinner time. 

 

***

 

Satoru slowly opened his eyes, his mind still sluggish and slow, trying to comprehend what had happened and where he was. He recognized the scent of Shouto, and the way Momo rubbed his back. The soft rolling of the walk made him guess that somehow, he was being carried. A sense of peace washed over him, and he held tight to Shouto’s shirt. He was safe now.

 

-Oh you’re awake, noticed Momo. -We’re almost home. 

 

She gently put a hand on his forehead, checking his temperature, nodded, and then showed him her hand.

 

-How many fingers?

-Three.

-And which of your side i’m on right now?

 

Satoru frowned, uncertain. 

 

-Left?

-No. But that will do for now. 

-Oh is he awake? Yelled Mahô in the back.

-Mahô please be quiet, reminded her Shouto. 

-Oh sorry! 

-Is the exam…? Asked Satoru, trying to recall what had happened earlier and why he felt so uneasy and scared. 

-It’s over…

 

Maybe it was because of Shouto’s tone, and the way they remained quiet just after saying it, that Satoru felt so desperate and sad all of the sudden, and he couldn’t help but confess:

 

-We cheated at the written exam. 

 

Which certainly did not please Mahô as she yelped:

 

-You’re not supposed to say that Satoru!

 

He didn’t listen to her, too focused on his parents reaction, his heart too big for his chest.The long silence that followed made it worse. He couldn’t move and watch Momo or Shouto’s face, he was too tired, but somehow, he couldn’t help but imagine it ; just like Big mother, the kind light in their eyes turning into anger...He knew they would never be as bad as her, but the mere thought of them being angry made him nauseous. 

 

-Are you mad? He whispered, his voice dried. 

-Not mad. Just disappointed, answered Shouto simply. 

 

Somehow, it felt worse. That was the last thing Satoru ever wished. 

 

-Why did you cheat Satoru…? Asked Momo, patient. 

-I…

-He did it to help me! 

 

Mahô probably made her way near them, even though he couldn’t see her. 

 

-I panicked, because a girl was using her quirk on me, so i couldn’t answer the test, so he used his quirk to save me from that but i still couldn’t answer the test cause i’m dumb-

-You’re not dumb Mahô…

-Well, i couldn’t answer the test, so he did it my stead. So he cheated, but it wasn’t his fault, it was all mine. So you don’t need to be disappointed in him, only me!

 

Satoru wished he could hug his friend right now, grateful that she fought for his honor, even though it doubted it would change anything. Cheating was still-

 

-I see, so it was to help a friend, said Shouto with an approving nod. 

-Oh, i’m so glad, sighed in relief Momo. -I didn’t know what we would have done if it wasn’t…

-Yeah we didn’t have any right punition in mind, whispered Shouto, way too relieved. 

 

What. If Satoru had any strength left, he would have made quite a face. But all he could do right now was stare at the void instead of his parents, completely at lost. Cheating is still cheating? Why are they okay? with it? 

 

Then he remembered -or maybe it was because he was being carried by Shouto and so could read his mind- that the two of them once trespassed the rules to save their friends Bakugou.  Still, even though he knew his parents were kind…

 

-Does that mean we’re avoiding punition? Jumped on the occasion Mahô. 

-No, they both answered, firmly. 

 

Ah. Well, at least they were not that kind. 

 

-Especially you, young lady, said Momo. -I’m telling your mother and father. And we’re going to re-do the exam together-

No not that, Satoru already did that to me during lunch break, please!

-Even better, we will see how much you remember from this session? Good job Satoru. 

 

Mahô whined, as Momo turned her attention solely on her. Satoru heard the lock of the front door, and felt Shouto walking through a couple of stairs, so he assumed they arrived at home. 

 

-Am i going to be punished too, he still dared to ask Shouto.

-Of course, you still cheated. But the punition will be less... Give us a bit of time to think about it.

-What can i expect from it? 

-Well...I suppose we can say no dessert for a time. Or maybe no internet-

-I need internet for my homework through…

-Well, maybe we can give you a curfew for it. I don’t know Satoru, i said i need to decide it with Momo. 

 

Still, this was better than what Satoru imagined, better than what he would have given to himself. And suddenly, as guilt melted away, he felt, very, very tired, relieved...And a tiny bit happy. 

 

-I think i passed the exam...He whispered to Shouto, not quite believing it himself. The word, even aloud, didn’t sound real, yet he knew it was. This time there was no doubt. -I’m going to be a hero…You were right, i could pass the test. 

-Of course. I knew you would. 

-I hope that one day...i will be able to work with you two…

 

He didn’t feel Shouto stop, as he fell asleep once again, exhausted. Nre did he heard the moved answer of his father:

 

-I would be happy to. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 11 - Interlude

 

Momo’s day always started earlier than Shouto’s or Satoru’s. She was a light sleeper to begin with, and woke up easily. Her phone could be on silent mode, she could still be awakened by the buzzing sound. Just like today. Fortunately Shouto was nothing but a heavy sleeper, and barely moved when she got herself out from his embrace. 

 

She regretted her husband’s warmth almost immediately ; it was only january after all, Shouto’s birthday only a mere days away, and the atmosphere was cold. Especially in old japanese house like the one they lived in. But that was also one of the reason why the rent was so low despite the size of their apartment, so she couldn’t really complain. 

 

Quickly she dressed herself and got to the living room, turning the heater on and starting to boil some water for the tea while checking her mails and messages. It was mostly bilan of yesterday’s attack and the whereabout of each hero who participated in the city protection. Only 30 persons had been injured, none had their life put in danger, or been disabled for life. No casualties either.  She wanted to think of it as a victory, but knew the truth wasn’t as simple as that. Press would not describe this in these self-indulgent terms.

 

But one caught message her attention, as it gave her completely new info, that happened during the night :

 

“Tentative jailbreak in Tartarus. Some villains tried to infiltrate the place, only reached the infirmary before being stopped by Vantablack. They got away without freeing anyone. They probably tried to access the electronic control system via the infirmary computer, but didn’t succeed.” 

 

Momo sighed in relief ; she hadn’t been so paranoid after all. Her brain fumed, as she thought of the different possibilities ; it could mean that the whole attack had been a decoy to exhaust Peace’s ressources and make the prison easier to infiltrate. Or it could also be a group of opportunists who thought they could take advantage of the situation. That also meant that whoever they were fighting for, was not a good hacker, since they needed an “inside” access to take control.

 

Either way they would have to give more heroes to Tartarus. Maybe they could organize turn between Peace’s allied heroes agencies, so there would always be two or three heroes on guard duty there?  She would have to discuss it with the committee. Heroes agency had their own management team, she couldn’t be a tyrant and tell them what to do and where to put their heroes everyday. Peace’s role was supposed to help them provide a steady job for their employees, not take over. 

 

As her power grew, it was harder and harder to remember that, but she tried to always draw this line. 

 

Rassured, though, that she had been right, she started her morning routine. Momo turned on the radio, to hear the news, an old habit she got from her parents. She especially liked PresentMic’s channel. 

 

She watered the plants, reorganized her pictures folder on her drive-adding ones their friends sent them yesterday during the exam-, fed their two cats, and left a bowl for the strays outside. Now came the hardest task of her mornings : waking up the two sleeping heads she loved so much. 

 

-Shouto, dear, it’s 6:30, time to wake up, she whispered to his ear, not resisting kissing the tip of it. 

 

All she earned was a low growl and a hand movement that would have gotten rid of a mosquito -maybe- but not a determined wife.

 

-It’s your time to make breakfast, Shouto, she said, a little bit louder, her husband was easier to wake up if she gave him a clear objective. -There’s tea for you. 

 

She knew that if she did nothing she would have to come back at least twice, and so she sneakily left her portative radio on the bed, hoping that their ex-teacher’s voice would do the job for her. 

 

Her next target was not easier, on the contrary. Usually this time of the day was the moment Satoru appeared in all his teen’s grumpiness glory. She had no hope that it would change today : after all he had passed UA exam just yesterday, and had been injured. She expected him to be moody, full of courbatures, and maybe a little bit feverish and disoriented still. 

 

She was surprised though, when she entered her son’s room, though. Usually when one of Satoru’s friend slept at their place, they laid down the fuuton on the plateform near their son’s western bed. A compromise they found as Satoru refused to share his bed with anyone -not even them. (Plus Mahô and Satoru were 14, they couldn’t sleep together anymore). The point was, that Mahô was supposed to be there too. But she wasn’t. Her fuuton was empty and cold even. Only Satoru’s bunny -how did he manage to get out of his cage again?- was sleeping there. 

 

She gulped, trying to recall if she had heard the little girl in the bathroom this morning, but couldn’t. Where was she?

 

Pushing down her worry in the back of her mind -Mahô missing always meant troubles-, she kindly patted Satoru’s head -the only part of his body that was out of his blanket, as he always slept like a burrito. 

 

-It’s time to wake up sweetie.

 

Satoru blinked a few time, not fully awake ; and he grumbled just like his father. At the beginning, it made her chuckle, now she was used to it, even if it still filled her heart with love for some reasons. Her caressing hand on his hair moved to his forehead checking his temperature. Nothing. He was back to normal.

 

How the time had passed! How much had he grown? Once upon a time, using his quirk to his limit made him feverish for days, and now he only had it for a couple of hours! She would be proud of his progress, if it just didn’t proved how close he had been from dying when Shouto adopted him. Care and love turned the sick, malnourished boy into a healthy one. And she would be happy and proud if it didn’t mean that he hadn’t have that before they met him. 

 

A deep frown appeared when she noticed the faint new scar that was appearing on her son’s forehead, and her lips turned into a fine line as she caressed it with the tip of her fingers.  

 

Recovery girl said that he had been to exhausted for her to use her quirk and heal that. She hoped it wouldn’t leave a permanent scar. But she also knew the reality of heroes’ work. And that what was he aimed to become. What Shouto and her were. Scars were unavoidable. 

 

She still wondered how her own parent found the strength to support such decision, back then, when the simple thought of him being hurt again put her on edges. Momo could only try.

 

-It’s too early, complained Satoru, finally emerging, dragging her away from her heavy thoughts. 

 

Momo’s expression eased,  even if her thumb still caressed the new scar as if it could wipe it away. Then suddenly she bent down and put a kiss on it. Deciding to love it just like she did with Shouto’s, instead of being saddened by it. It was the proof he was still there, and had made it back home okay, after all. The proof he was strong enough come back home. 

 

-How many fingers? She still asked, just in case.

 

Satoru didn’t answer, and she shook his shoulders to wake him up again. Yes she loved him; but sometimes he was annoying. Especially in the morning. 

 

-In general or right now?  He slowly mumbled.

-You’re making jokes too, she grinned, relieved : a joking Satoru was an healthy one. -Right now, how many and which side?

-Left side, and three fingers. 

-Okay, you’re all good, she said, as she got off the bed, patting one last time her son’s head. -Do you know where Mahô is?

-She got a call from her father this morning, too early. So she left.

 

Question answered, Satoru yawned and tried to hide under his blanket, but she took it from him before he could achieve his goal.

 

-What do you mean she left?

 

Surely, she hadn’t gone back to the mountain in the break of dawn, hasn't she? Knowing Mahô, she would be capable of that. 

 

-She left for a jog, Satoru explained slowly -like the monster she is, she jog at 5am...She said she would be back for breakfast with bread and stuff. 

 

Oh. Well, that was better. Momo was still a little bit worried. She was responsible of Mahô for the week-end, and even if she knew that the girl was used to it, she didn’t like the idea of her being alone in the morning. She was still a teenage girl, as strong as she might be. 

 

-Did you told her we usually jog on our way to Peace office on Saturday? 

-No..I told her she was a sportfreak and where were the keys, that’s all, and i got back to sleep. It was 5 in the morning Mama!

 

Fair enough. She wondered if Mahô had taken her phone with her and if she would answer to her message. Just as she thought of that she heard the front door opening, and loud steps in the hall.

 

-I’m back! I’ve got melon bread and croissants! Stated Mahô’s voice, proudly. 

 

Satoru growled again and hid back under his blanket, as if the gush of cold wind could reach him, while Momo, more practical, realized than if she managed to bring “croissant” that meant she had been as far as the french bakery, nearly 10 kilometer away! 

 

-Get up and get ready for breakfast, Momo kindly said to Satoru, one last time, as she left his bedroom to check on Mahô’s state.

 

But Mahô was fine. A little bit sweaty and with pinky nose and cheeks but fine. As energetic as ever. Mahô was difficult in the morning in her own way ; as soon as she saw Momo she followed her footstep, talking non-stop, fully awake. It was a strange contrast, when Shouto finally emerged from their room, with bed-hair, not shaved and his shirt upside-down despite his determined expression.  

 

-I got you croissant and bread! Mahô said to him, changing target. -To thank you for letting me stay over for the week-end! 

-Great, Shouto said, hiding his yawn.

-Can i help you with something?

 

Shouto stared at her, and Momo could almost hear him say “By shutting up please, it’s morning”. But he didn’t say it, instead he got to the kitchen, and began breakfast. She gave him a cup of tea to help and turned to Mahô:

 

-Why don’t you set the table?

-Okay! Oh i brought the newspaper too! So Satoru can read it, and you comment and explain it?

 

Momo stopped ; surprised. How did she know about this ritual? They used to do it when Satoru was still struggling with reading, the very first year of his adoption. It had been a while since then. Maybe Satoru had talked about it to his best friend, saying he missed those times? If so, she would gladly do it again. 

 

But there was a bit of news that was more urgent to discuss right now. 

 

-Satoru told me you got a call from your father this morning, was it okay?

-Yeah, not a big deal. I forgot to tell him i was staying at your house this week-end so when he went up to check my room this morning he panicked when it was empty.

-Did you forgot and did he forgot? Simply asked Shouto.

 

Mahô didn’t answer that, instead she squealed and rushed to the nearest cat.

 

-Kitty! Is it new? Isn’t he the cutest little bean!

-Yeah she is cute, but she doesn’t like stranger, mumbled Satoru as he emerged from his bedroom -his shirt upside-down too. 

-Really?

 

Mahô sat on the chair and gave her legs a tap. The black cat of the family jumped immediately and started purring, taking her morning nap here. Her cheeks turned red, and her eyes filled with stars, as she stated proudly:

 

-I’m the chosen one. 

-This is so unfair. They never do that to me, complained Satoru, pouting. 

-It’s because you keep bothering them when they nap, said Shouto, for what would be the millionth time. 

-But they’re so cute, how can i resist?

 

Momo chuckled, understanding her son all too well.

 

-Is anyone want japanese breakfast? Mahô? You’re up?

-For fish this early in the morning? No sorry, Satoru’s pa.

 

She was the only one calling him like that among Satoru’s friends, and it made Shouto smile proudly every time, even five years later. Though his smile didn’t last as grumpy-teen-Satoru complained: 

 

-No one ever wants japanese breakfast except you Papa.

 

Momo frowned, always put aback by her son’s moodswing, but Shouto wasn’t.

 

-Satoru, being funny is ok, being mean isn’t, recalled Shouto, no phased by his son’s comment at all.

-Sorry, i didn’t mean it that way, apologized the boy immediately. 

 

At least he was smart enough to say sorry. Some morning were harder than this one -with him being way moodier, and Momo having to go and wake him up 5 time before he finally got out of bed.- Maybe Mahô’s presence was to thanks for that. Since Mahô hadn’t laugh at all, and she usually laugh at basically everything remotely fun, he probably understood quickly his misstep. 

 

She did laugh, though, when Shouto, after putting the omelet on the table, tried to sit. He immediately jumped up with a strange sound. On his chair, a bunny stood, munching red glasses. 

 

-Satoru keep your bunny in your room! He complained.

-Sorry, he probably managed to get out of his cage. Again. Choo-choo!

 

The rabbit got out of the chair at Satoru’s signal and ran to the boy’s bedroom, leaving behind his evil deed : Shouto’s glasses. By some miracle the hero had managed to not crush the pet under his weight, but the glasses hadn’t been so lucky and had now a strange shape. Momo bite her lips : they really couldn’t afford to pay him a new pair this month, and Shouto knew that well. 

 

-Evil bunny, her husband grumbled, trying to get it right. 

 

He gave the bunny a death-glare, and Satoru ran to protect it from his father’s wrath. It wasn’t the first time such scene occurred, nore the first time this week his bunny did something wrong. Momo didn’t mind as much as Shouto, she didn’t call the bunny “devil” like her husband. But it was still annoying. 

 

-Do i need to make you a new one? Asked Momo, as she sat down right next to him, examining the damage.

 

She hated threaten the economy with her power, but they wouldn’t be able to buy a new pair anyways. 

 

-Can i enchant the new one? Proposed Mahô immediately. 

 

But then she paused, and added, suddenly serious :

 

-I wanted to ask, why are you wearing glasses, now? 

 

Satoru almost dropped his chopsticks ; and Momo bent his head to the right, curious :  She had enchanted the last pair and she only wondered about this now? Fortunately Shouto didn’t mind and simply answered : 

 

-Because i need it? Why would there be another reason?

-I don’t know, i mean, because you look good with it? Cause it’s cool? Managers’ proposition? My coach suggested i wore some too, at some events, because it would  gives off a nice vib’ and makes people think i’m good at school. I don’t know...The question sounded smarter in my head.

-It’s still okay to ask, comforted her Momo with a smile. 

 

She really didn’t like how the little girl spoke of her own intelligence. And it was true that sometimes managers had strange requests. Shouto and her were under Aoyama’s guidance as pro-heroes, they were used got their fair share of weird demands.  

 

Satoru let out a “URF”, put down his head on the table and answered his best friend :

 

-You remember the meme 3 years ago? 

 

Mahô’s smile grew wider and she even puffed, sign that yes, she remembered quite well the video of Shouto, the famous hero, taking a lampost head on while he tried to run after a villain. It was usually Momo who caused scandal and was the target of paparazzi with her clumsy side on the field. Shouto was more inclined to say something too blunt or ignore people without meaning it. So of course it got out of hand. 

 

-He needs glasses to keep looking cool and not make another buzz like that, resumed Satoru.

 -I still say there are way too many lamposts these days, whispered Shouto, And Momo put a hand on his shoulder, patting it with affection - a little bit amused.

 

Shouto didn’t really hate this meme, though. Endeavor’s assistant had claimed they were now “meme friend” thanks to it and she was pretty sure her husband befriended Endeavor’s assistant for real. But Momo knew he hated when Satoru looked at it, probably because Shouto wanted to look cool in front of his son. 

  

-It’s that bad?  It seems like you see fine right now without it! Wondered Mahô though. 

-Shouto doesn’t have a bad vision, said Momo, he just can’t evaluate distance well because…

- My left eye is constantly exposed to heat, and it was badly injured when i was a kid. So it has less vision points than the other one. The more i use my flames, the more it dries it, and the less i see. Since it cause a disequilibrium; at one point things get a little bit confusing and distance way too distorted. Honestly i just need it when i fight.

-And drive, added Satoru.  

-And drive, confirmed Shouto after a pregnant pause. 

-Oh! But shouldn’t your body adapts to your quirk?  My brother said we all mutated at some point because of quirks, even quirkless! Our bodies are more powerful and resistant than humans from before the quirks area that’s why we can jump higher, and takes more damage than human could before. Aren’t you supposed to be born with eyes sustaining the heat?

 

Satoru hummed, and instead of saying something mean again, he grabbed a bit of bread and took a bit. Momo appreciated the gesture, his mood usually lifted up after a good meal, or a shower, soon she would see her nice son. But for now, she focused on Mahô’s questions. 

 

-Yes, your brother’s theories are very interesting. But he also talks about people whose quirk are incompatibles with their bodies, like Aoyama. There are also people like Shouto or Bakugou, whose quirk have flaw. Shouto can produces flames, but he can’t protect himself from fire that is not his own, and heat still affects him. 

-It’s like sweat smell, you can’t scent your own! Stated Mahô.

 

Satoru coughed, trying not to laugh. Momo was a little bit more surprised -deadpanned was more the word. That reminded her how Sero had compared her power with poop. 

 

-A bit. I suppose, conceded Shouto. -Though it has to be a little bit more complicated. For example Bakugou’s hands are resistant to his explosion, but his other body parts aren’t. 

-That’s how Bakugou lost his hearing skill on his right, he used an explosion-move too close to his head. 

-I see. And that’s why Hagakure is invisible!

 

How did she come to this conclusion, Momo wondered. She had read Tobio’s thesis -Mahô’s brother- and nowhere had he suggested such a thing. Sometimes she had the impression that this little girl’s thoughts went too fast, too far ahead of them only to clearly miss the point by a landmile.

 

- Hagakure’s quirk is light manipulation, Mahô, but because of that her body absorbs light, to use it later, instead of reflect it, hence the reason why we can’t see her. You studied eyes and light at school, right? Explained Momo, more patient than all of them.

-Probably. 

-You certainly didn’t listen -and before his parents could remember Satoru to not be mean, he added : -The reason why you see things is because they reflect light.

-Then why are we not shining like mirrors ?

-Because we absorbs some of the light, and reflect the rest. Hagakure’s body absorbs all of it. 

-Oh.  I was so sure...that Hagakure was in my brother’s thesis, she mumbled, disappointed. 

-She is, but for another example, assured Momo.

 

And just like that, Mahô’s sadness went away, as she asked, super proud: 

 

-You read it? 

-Yes, your brother was worried about it so he asked me to beta-read it before he sent it for I-island’s appliance. It was good, i didn’t have much to do, it was already perfect. 

 

She had discussed about it with Melissa Shield, and she was sure that the boy would be allowed to study in this prestigious place soon. His theory about quirk, and observations were interesting and she couldn’t fathom what he would discover if he had the means and the material given to him. 

 

-Nyehehe, yeah, he is super smart! And he worked on this for a whole year, so it had to be super awesome! I didn’t understand much of it though, and didn’t read it all, cause it was sooooo long and i didn’t have time.

-I hope he will get accepted in I-island’s program, wished Shouto. -He certainly deserved it. His thesis was interesting. 

 

Mahô hummed as if she had been the one congratulated, and then put a full spoon of omelet in her mouth:

 

-So what’s the plan for this week-end? She asked, her mouth full.

-Well, after breakfast we will all go to Peace Office, said Shouto. -Momo and I still have to work today.

-Heh? We’re stuck at Peace kid center? She complained. 

-Is something wrong with the center? I thought you liked it there, worried Momo.

 

She had given her best to make the place as friendly as possible, with games and places to play, so heroes’ kids wouldn’t feel trapped. But more importantly, Satoru needed to be there at 10AM. They had plan for him -the fact that he was grounded didn’t change their surprise congratulation party program. They had found a smarter way to punish him last night. 

 

-It’s funnier on week-end, assured Satoru. -I go there every saturday,  plus there will be Max and Tsubaki ! And maybe even Satsuki ! He added with a blush. -You hadn’t seen them in two years, right? You’ll see how much they changed!

 

Momo put a hand on her mouth, hiding her smile : Satoru was always so cute when he talked about his girlfriend! Though The argument didn’t convince Mahô, who argued:

 

-I saw TsuTsu yesterday when you were alseep...And i know it’s fun, but i kinda hoped we could...you know, just stay here, in the house? Like, on our own? We’re 14 already, we can take care of ourselves you know!

 

Shouto immediately frowned, and put down his plate.

 

-If i recall it right, last time we let you two all of your own; you managed to break Satoru’s arm. 

 

That...Momo recalled the events all too well, especially because it lead the to the biggest scandal in her career and was still a private joke among her friends and family. 

 

-We didn’t have a ball to play baseball, we had to make with what he had!

-And even before that, you jumped of the roof.

-It was to test my flying broom! And it worked, this time no one was hurt.

-I’m pretty sure i broke my leg that day, corrected Satoru. 

-Uh-uh, but not because of me, you fell inside the stairs when we tried to run away from the dog.

-Which dog? Asked Shouto, concerned. -You’ve never told us about dog?

-It was a bad dog, the kind that bites when you fall on him with a half-flying broom, said Satoru calmly.

-See, it wasn’t my fault! 

 

It was partially her fault. 

 

-Yes, but before that, finally added Momo…-You made the whole banquet i organized for Peace sponsors blow off.

 

They had learned the hard way to not let Satoru and Mahô -but especially Mahô- on their own. 

 

-I’m truly sorry. I was young and foolish. I didn’t know i couldn’t set off a bomb with my quirk. And now i’m older and wiser!

 

Momo doubted it, and given the expressions on Shouto’s face and the stare Satoru was giving to his best friend, both of them shared the same feeling. 

 

-It’s safer at Peace, Shouto said -And there’s everything you might need there. We will be close any moment, in the training room. I only have a photoshoot after lunch. Unless there’s an emergency…We should be home early. 

-But i want to go to the circus...

-It’s no use, Mahô, they have a party planned at Peace office, there’s no way we can not go.

-A party? So cool! 

 

Momo facepalmed, and Shouto sighed, both resigned.

 

-I’m a mind reader, apologized Satoru with a shrug -You can’t hide anything from me, especially when you’re thinking about it so loudly.

-How long have you known about it? Wondered Momo, afraid they might have put some unwanted pressure on him yesterday.

-Just learned now…

-Wow, we lasted for longer than usual, rejoiced Shouto. -We’ve been working on this for weeks. 

 

She sure hoped he didn’t know about Shouto’s banner-in-case-of-failure.  

 

-Well now i know, mumbled Satoru. -Seriously ; “it’s okay to fail?” 

-Because it’s okay to fail, nodded Shouto not feeling guilty.

-Yeah! Agreed Mahô, but held her fist to the sky.-But we didn’t fail!

-Congratulations. Here have some soba.

-No one want you soba! Don’t put in my plates!

-It’s good for your health.

-But it’s not good in my mouth!

 

Momo let out a sigh, as her family bickered over their plates. Mornings at their home were always difficult, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

 

***

 

The party was not as bad as Satoru expected, on the contrary, it was even fun. A little bit embarrassing, because his parents were extra sometimes, but still. And Mahô sure forgot fast she wanted to go to the circus, hugging every single one of the friends she hadn’t seen for so long. Somehow, Momo and Shouto even managed the miracle to bring one of his friend from normal school : Minami Riku. The boy used to have his saturday always full because he helped at his parents’ restaurant. But not today. 

 

-How come you’re all so big and tall, did you all ate giant mario mushroom or what? Mahô marveled, staring at Max and Tsubaki. 

 

Both of the teenages boy had their grow spurt earlier than most, and had reached the 1m80. Satoru sure hoped for them they wouldn’t grow anymore, because they would not be able to pass through any door frame at this rate. But he wasn’t as blunt about it as Mahô. Which really shouldn’t be the one to talk because if they hated giant mushroom, she had probably slurped way too much shrinking ones. 

 

-Well, hum, hi Ma-hô, hum, you...you look huh…Tried to answer Max, his face growing redder and redder each passing word. 

-Tiny, you can say it, assured him Satoru. 

 

Max’s body was made of wax, his mutation quirk making him look like a gigantic candlestick, but his heart was surely made of fire. Everytime some girl talked to him he started to melt down, and forget his japanese. Mahô wasn’t making it easier on him, by picking up all the confettis from the party out of his wax for him. It seemed like each contact made his melting problem worsen. If this continued, Max would certainly melt enough to be as short and tiny as Mahô. 

 

Maybe it was her evil plan all along. 

 

-I don’t care, Riku understands me, as a tiny fellow! Right Riku? 

 

Riku who wasn’t as tiny as Mahô let it sound, laughed and still high fived. 

 

-You would grow more if you ate at my parents’ restaurant more often!



Tsubaki, RecoveryGirl’s grandchild, had his own way to deal with Mahô, as he silently put his gigantic hand on the top of her head, and patted it firmly. Enhancing the fact that she was small, when he was tall. The two of them exchanged a glare that Satoru couldn’t define as friendly. More liked rivals. 

 

While the two of them fought (somehow they seemed to agreed silently on a air palet game to settle their differences), Satoru turned to his wax friend. Which slowly regained his composure. 

 

-How did it go for you yesterday? He asked.

 

Tsubaki and Max had taken the exam too after all, as recommended students maybe, but it was still a trial they had to pass. This party was meant for all the children that had taken their chances to get into UA, not just Satoru. (Though Momo and Shouto would probably stated the contrary). 

 

-Fine, actually. It was really an interesting experience. I’ve never seen Tsubaki use his quirk like this before. It was fun to work with him for once and not against him.

 

In the background, Tsubaki used his quirk on Mahô, smashing her eardrum with an enhanced sound, only to get a point in their game. Riku, the auto-proclaimed referee of this match, whistled, counting this as vile treachery. 

 

-And you? It went well? Asked Max, holding a laugh as Mahô answered Tsubaki’s challenge with an enchanted object, making Riku whistle at her too. 

-Well isn’t the term i would use, confessed Satoru. 

 

There had been a lot of troubles occurring during the exam, after all. And he had fainted. And cheated. And did lot of things he wasn’t proud of. But, he had been surprised by his ability and himself too, in a good way. And he had met wonderful people. 

 

-Y-Yeah, Tsubaki texted me about your state at the end, you’re ok? 

-Yeah i’m all good now. 

 

Tsubaki and Mahô, though had dropped their and started to some wrestling contest apparently. He hoped they were fine. It always ended up like that with them, Mahô was one of the few Tsubaki could stand being touched by, apparently. He hadn’t been aware they became that close. As he tried to determine how he felt about that (and if they were playing like cats or fighting) a gentle hand caressed his head. 

 

-I’m glad to hear that. 

 

Satoru’s heart skipped a bit as he recognized the owner of the voice. Tsuyu’s little sister, Satsuki, stood behind him with a gentle smile on her face. She had put off some confettis out of his hair. Her apparition did put an end to Tsubaki and Mahô’s battle, and the little girl rushed to her friend, immediately wrapping her into a hug like she had done with Satoru. 

 

-Satsu! I’m so happy to see you!

 

Then noticing how her feet couldn’t reach the ground as she hung herself to her friend’s neck, she laughed.

 

-I had hoped you would be as tiny as me, but you ate a giant mushroom too!

-Tiniest thing are the cutest, Satsuki answered, hugging her friend back. 

 

Satsuki was surprisingly tall for her age and family, being even taller than Satoru. And he knew she was complexed about that fact. Satoru’s cheek burned, and he babbled:

 

-You’re the cutest even though you’re not tiny Satsuki!

 

Which was way more embarrassing to hear aloud than he thought it would be. Fortunately, while it made Mahô’s grin like an evil lord seeing his evil plan come to fruition, it did made Satsuki blush from head to toe. 

 

-Smooth talker, whispered Riku behind him. 

-Aren’t you embarrassed by all his sweet words Satsuki, i would be, commented Max. 

 

The fact that was talking normally said a lot about his opinion on Satsuki’s beauty. Satoru knew you couldn’t change people’s taste, but how could he not see the perfection she was? With her big lashed eyes, her soft dark hair and the aura of kindness and patience she irradiated? She was the softest, the cutest and-

 

-Look at him being all protective over his girlfriend, sing-sang Mahô, and Satoru realized he had said that aloud. -But i agree, you’re super hyper cute, Satsuki. I missed you so much!

-Thank you…

 

The poor girl’s porcelain skin had turned as red as a tomato. She was still the cutest ever. As soon as Mahô let go of her, She shyly walked next to Satoru so they could hold hands. 

 

This party was awesome. He mentally thanked his parents for preparing it, even if it was extra and they had hidden the banner “it’s okay to fail” somewhere in the shelves. 

 

-So, she asked, after a few seconds, i assume it all went well for you?

 

Tsubaki had returned, as if he hadn’t been fighting at all, and used Mahô’s head as a support, as he made the peace sign. Mahô only grinned, and did the same, while Max nodded. Satoru, feeling proud and certain for once, nodded too. 

 

He was pretty sure to get into UA.

 

-Well, not for me, since i didn’t take it, tried to joke Riku, since he was the only one among them not trying to become a hero. -I’m a normal person, thank you, i plan to follow my normal parents’ footsteps and become an humble cook. 

-You could become a hero cook, like Lunch Rush!

-Hey yeah what would i do? Throw not-rotten tomato to villain with my quirk? I would fail your exam for sure, it looks super hard. 

 

Satoru didn’t laugh like the other, a awful thought making its way to his brain. 

 

What if you failed too? It’s a contest, you may have met the prerequisites, but if there are only 30 people better than you, they won’t take you in. 

 

He shook his head, trying to get rid of hi anxiety and laugh like his friends. That wasn’t good. He needed to reset his brain and not think about that. He knew it was false, he knew he did good during the exam. Despite the odds. But unfortunately Satsuki asked ;

 

-When will you know about the result? 

 

What if there was a mistake? How disappointing it would be, for you to fail after celebrating. You’ll have to tell your parents, who organized the party. They would be ashamed. Embarrassed. They would have to tell their friends how wrong they were about you. You will make a fool of them.

 

This was bad. Like really bad. His throat felt dry while his heart seemed to sank into a deep sea of doubts. He forced himself to keep his head afloat, to listen to his brain and not his heart. 

 

Max answered Satsuki : 

 

-Tsubaki and me already know we’re in. I don’t know about normal contestants. 

 

They stared at Satoru, waiting for him to know the answer, and Satoru gulped down the uneasiness that weighed his tongue. Satsuki frowned and he knew that she had noticed his expression thanks to their linked hands.

 

-I-I think we should have the result in a week?

-By letters? 

-Yeah. 

-I would have thought that UA being you know, UA, would be more modern and send you something like...an e-mail. Commented Riku. 

 

Though, his anxiety was troublesome, most of the time, it also forced him to be cautious. Maybe the mail won’t be there in a week. Maybe the mail will never make it. Do they even send mail to those who failed? 

 

-It could be late for me or Mahô, he explained aloud, more to convince himself. 

-Why? Wondered Mahô, with large eyes. 

 

Dear gods he loved his best friend, but in what world she lived, he wondered sometimes. Being forced to explain her every little thing was annoying -but it also grounded him, keeping his mind on trivial details rather than spiralling out of control: 

 

-Heroes can’t afford to give their address, Mahô. Heroes agency offers them a mail address where they receive everything. Peace had put into place a check-mail-system, after the “Miruko-accident”. 

-What is this accident? asked Max. 

-I suppose you couldn’t know, you just had arrived to japan when it happened, wondered Riku. -You didn’t speak very well! He added with a smirk. 

 

It had occurred before the boy managed to learn japanese, so Satoru took it upon herself to explain it to him : one of Miruko’s fan didn’t accept the fact that she had been dating someone else, and sent her a poisonous cake. The heroine made it all right, Momo decided they couldn’t take these kind or risk anymore, even if it meant that heroes’ mail could be a bit delayed. 

 

-So...How long can the mail be delayed? Asked Max again. -My father never talked to me about this problem…Do you think it might be why it takes so much time to answer my letters…? 

-It’s probably that, reassured Satsuki. 

-Why don’t you use your phone or chat like any normal person, said Riku.

-You can’t send gifts by chat...

-Well if you send him food, it’s certain that there is a delay. It’s usually a two or three days long, said Satoru.

-That’s way too long! Decided Mahô. -I can’t wait this long!

-Your dad is a retired Hero, maybe it doesn’t apply to him, tried ease her Satsuki, kindly. 

 

And as much as Satoru loved her and didn’t like proving her wrong, he couldn’t let the truth be hidden:

 

-No it won’t, Mahô’s dad made a lot of enemies during his career, some are still out there. Peace judged he was still in potential danger when he retired. 

-That’s it, we can’t wait to have the answer by mail! Decided Mahô. -Let’s find it ourself.

 

Tsubaki face palmed, and Satoru felt the exact same way. 

 

-How exactly you plan to do that Mahô? Asked Satsuki. -You sure aren’t planning to infiltrate UA, don’t you?

 

One could never be sure with Mahô.

 

-That’s plan Z. My plan A is simpler. Kirishima or Aizawa are part of Peace office, right? 

-Th-they won’t tell you these kind of things! blurted out Max, his soft voice crackling under his emotions. He was starting to melt again. -It’s confidential you know...They could be in trouble if they shared it with us. You cannot just ask them these kind of things. 

-Plan B then, we find them, we spy them, they might speak about it at some point. 

-This is completely...complained Satoru.

-This look fun, rejoiced Satsuki. 

-Fun, repeated Satoru. 

 

Yeah, that’s exactly what he had in mind. Not dangerous. He didn’t think at all at the last time Mahô went into furious mode with ABCD plans. Not at all. It might be good. It might be fun. 

 

-But they probably won’t talk about it to anyone, we have to find a way to reunite them with their other teacher colleagues so they are free to talk about it, he said.

-And that’s why you’re the brain, Satoru, approved Mahô with a smile.

 

She was about to jump on him and hug him, but stopped midway, side-eyeing Satsuki as if to ask her permission beforehand. Unfortunately for Satoru, Satsuki approvingly nodded, and she hang to his neck and patted vigorously his hair -making a mess. 

 

  -Come on, it will be awesome, it will be like we’re already at UA training as future-hero-colleagues!

 

Despite what he was feeling, Satoru thought about it as calmly as he could. He would hate to hear about his failure, in front of his friends. But if the worse came to life, he would rather have it now, while he could still do some damage control and cancel the party, preparing the field for his failure for a week to his parents rather than...Than…

 

Stop it, you managed to get into UA. You aced this exam! Don’t listen to your fear, you know better than that! 

 

A gentle squeeze in his hand brought him back to earth, and Satsuki offered a timid smile. Satoru’s heart beat faster, as her intention became clear in his mind. Spend time together, enjoy the company, get Satoru’s head busy so he would not worry. 

 

Gratitude filled his chest and he saw the whole idea under a new light. His friends knew him so well, and he was so lucky to have them. Now that he had the bad thought stuck in his head, he would never get rid of it, if he stayed like that he wouldn’t be able to enjoy the party and would probably sulk in a corner, or lie down on the ground with his fear as mattress. So he might as well go into a stupid mission with his friends. 

 

-It might be fun. 

 

They always managed to make everyday fun. 

 

***

 

Shouto had left the party earlier ; he had a photoshoot planned after lunch, and had a couple of things to do, before leaving. But he was happy to see Satoru having smile with his friends -and looking as alert as ever. He hoped he would be back before Shinshou surprised his student and dropped by, he wanted to see his son’s expression when that arrived. (and took a picture) but know that if didn’t make it, Momo would probably find a way to record it. 

 

For now, he had to do something he truly didn’t want to ; keep his words, like a responsible father. 

 

-Fuyumi?

 

He knocked on the door of the only classroom door of the children center. His sister opened, a little bit surprised to find her brother there. 

 

-You’re not a troubled child, she remarked. 

 

She had started to give extra-lessons to the center children  three years ago, and gradually became the main teacher of the office. Her role was to teach little kids, of course, but also bigger students who couldn’t get to normal schools for various reasons. But she liked to call Saturday morning, the “conceal time” where she would receive every child who needed to talk, about anything, and help them find a way through whatever problem they met. 

 

She truly was a wonderful teacher, and Peace was lucky to have won her over. 

 

-I have one at home, he said, i still need to talk to you, do you mind giving me a minute?

-Of course!

 

She massed her back, who was starting to arch. Just like Mei, she was pregnant and her due date approached fast. Iida’s brothers apparently bet over who would be the first to be a dad. Shouto was pretty sure his sister would be the first one to be a mom (she already was in a lot of way) -but he might be biased. 

 

-What is your problem, she asked, smiling at him.

-Nothing much, but i wondered if you’d mind having Satoru coming over to give you an hand with your work each week evening? He could help you with your test copy, or giving students extra-lessons, or whatever you choose, it’s your call. 

-That would be a delight, of course! How much do i need to pay him for his help?

 

Shouto grinned.

 

-Nothing, it will be benevolent work. 

-How sweet of him, i will thank him for his help later when i pass at the congratulation party. For how long can i count him?

-Until the end of january, i suppose. 

 

Fuyumi’s smile grew wider. Shouto didn’t have the heart to tell her Satoru was going to help her because he was grounded. There would be time for that later. Besides, since Satoru had cheated to help his friend, Satoru and Momo had agreed to not exaggerate on the guilt trip. That would be unnecessary and cruel. 

 

He thanked Fuyumi for her help. With Satoru’s punishment been dealt, now he had to go and apologize to Izuku for letting him handle his duty on such short notice. So he pressed on to his next destination : the training ground for heroes.

 

He spotted him easily, as he was talking with Ochako and a sleepy Tsuyu by the pool. Of course his friend accepted his apology, understanding completely. 

 

-You’re a father, i get that, your family comes first, he said. 

 

Though Izuku’s word still rang inside his head : did all his friends thought he lacked training too? They were probably right. 

 

-I have a photoshoot with a magazine, but would you mind spare with me this afternoon? He asked Izuku.

-I’m sorry, Shouto, but i have a bunch of interviews planned. Maybe next day off?

-Sorry, added Ochako when he looked at her. -But i promised Tenya to help Hatsume in her labs, she can’t hold anything heavy anymore. 

 

Tsuyu didn’t answer, her eyes closed as she let herself float in the water. Shouto remembered that she had been on night duty last night. 

 

Most of the ones who went on field yesterday were there ; as there was a rule for them to take it easy after an emergency intervention, not allowing them to wander in the street, looking for villains to catch. It was to avoid burnout for them, but lot of people complained. Bakugou was one of the louder about it, stating that he felt great and didn’t need a stupid rule to tell him when he was tired. 

 

It had been a long time since he had spared with the explosive hero, and it was one of the few that never say no. 

 

-No. 

 

Shouto blinked, not expecting that answer. For a moment he wondered if he maybe had asked on the wrong side and turn-

 

-I heard you right the first time you bastard! Shouted Bakugou. -My answer is still fucking no! And people say i’m the deaf one...Can’t believe so much bullshit…

-Why? 

 

Bakugou took a deep breath, and he seemed to hesitate -which was a little bit more worrying than him screaming “none of your business” or drowning him under insults. Shouto wasn’t sure how to act, so he decided to push Bakugou’s button and get the words out of him :

 

-You’re afraid to fight me?

-Like hell i am! You’re the one who should be afraid! You’re so fucking behind there no fucking point fighting with you anymore! That’s all!

 

Oh. That left Shouto speechless. And if he was honest with himself, a little bit hurt. He hadn’t realized he had dragged up so far behind, already. He hadn’t realized that he was just a friend now, and not a rival anymore. He didn’t have the opportunity to press further though, as Bakugou left, pissed off. 

 

-Don’t listen to him, it’s nothing a little training can’t fix, Izuku said, as Shouto passed near him again. 

 

So he thought the same. The heart heavier than he was willing to admit Shouto left the training room. It wasn’t the first time they had a head start, like after the license exam, or after he killed Big Mother and got his license suspended until it was clear he had acted that way to save a civilian’s life. So he knew what to do ; as Izuku said, it was nothing training wouldn't fix. The problem was that he didn’t know where he would put “training” in his packed schedule. Especially when it meant that those training spot would steal him precious time with his family, when he had just so few left before Satoru moved to UA. 

 

He only managed to get out of the room to end up meeting face to face with his father, Endeavor. That was definitely not a great timing and they both knew it, if Enji’s expression was any indication. Their last exchange had been blunt -Harsh even- and Shouto had been too busy and tired to clear things up until now. 

 

Maybe it was a sign that now, was a good time : Satoru had passed UA exam, there was no reason for Enji to complain about it. Maybe Shouto could -for once- took the first step and say something nice like : “How is your back?”

 

But then Enji firmly said:

 

-I had warned you about it. 

 

And Shouto dropped the idea. Enji had, indeed, when Shouto decided to adopt Satoru. He had said that it would ruin Shouto’s career and his chances to be number one for ever. Shouto didn’t like to admit that his father had been right, but he had. Though, that didn’t mean that he regretted either. 

 

-I chose my family over my career a long time ago, Shouto answered, automatically. 

-Good. As long as you don’t regret this choice later. 

 

That was just so annoying : even if he did -which wasn’t the case- what was the point? Satoru would still be here and in need of a father. The choice had been made, long ago and that wasn’t something he could come back to and re-take. I would pick the same all over again, anyways, he even thought, as he wouldn’t erase any single memory of his life together with Momo and Satoru. He could be okay with not having the number one spot -as long as he knew he was number one in Momo’s and Satoru’s heart. He had to be satisfied with just that. What was harder to swallow was his friends’ jugement. Shouto would have to find a way to deal with that too, later.  

 

-What do you want? Why are you here? 

 

Enji seemed to hesitate for a moment. 

 

-I heard about Satoru’s exam. So i came to congratulate him, he finally said. 

-He is in the child center, in the opposite direction. 

 

His tone might have been a little bit harsh ; but he didn’t appreciate the lie :

 

-When will you stop using Satoru to get me? 

 

Satoru had been used for too long already. Enji seemed taken aback by the remark, and Shouto wondered if he had ever said that to his father before. He didn’t remember quite well. 

 

-I’m not...I went there, but i couldn’t find him, nore his friends. The heroes said they’re probably wandering around, up to no good.

 

Shouto pinched his nose. Why did it always end like this? He blamed Mahô wholeheartedly. 

 

-I will tell Momo about it, thank you. 

 

Thankfully, they were used to these kind of errands from them. He paused, and admitted:

 

-Thank you for warning me….And thank you for coming for Satoru. 

 

He didn’t want to apologize for accusing him of something he knew he was doing, though. 

 

-Are you sure he got in? Asked Endeavor, suspicious. 

-Yes. 

 

He couldn’t say that Kirishima had told him, because it would put his friend in trouble. But he was glad to be able to say it firmly, without a single doubt, in front of his father. Especially when he looked so wary. 

 

-We’re talking about the same Satoru? The one who fainted the first time you tried to jog together?

 

Shouto’s jaw clenched.

 

- If you’re here to congratulate Satoru, do it right, don’t make a mess in his head with half-lie-praises. 

-That’s not my intention. It’s just that i don’t understand how he got in. I hadn’t realize that UA lowered his standar-

 

He stopped, realizing too late that he had said something too hard. 

 

-UA didn’t lower his standards, Satoru got his place rightfully because he deserves it.

-He break one of his bones every year!

-He had been malnourished and abused for nine year, that’s not something that goes away easily.

-I understand that, but that doesn’t change the reality. Can someone like him can really be a hero in those conditions? He has a good excuse, yes, but excuse won’t protect him from villains. 

 

Shouto didn’t answer that, it hit too close to home, too close to his own fear as parent. 

 

-Isn’t your duty as a father to tell him that, if you-

-Oh because you are such a model as a father?  

 

Silence. Shouto hadn’t meant to say that, but...

 

-I try now. If you would just stop bringing back what i can’t change-

 

Shouto sighed. He wasn’t in mood for that. He wasn’t in mood to tell much he found this infuriating that Enji -of all people- gave him lesson on parenting. He didn’t have time to explain again to his father that he didn’t want him in his life if all he did was cause distress to Satoru. And most of all, he didn’t want to hurt him when Shouto truly witnessed him trying. But he didn’t know how to avoid that and still say the truth.

 

Izuku once said that it was okay for him to keep hating Enji. But the truth was that Shouto didn’t hate Enji anymore. Angry yes. sometimes. There were moments where his father pissed him off, and he wanted to hear nothing about him -or deal with him- for a small period...But there was also time he was surprised by him, and even touched by his efforts. In the end he just fell in the middle ground most of the time, with a feeling that was the closest to “peace”. Being neither angry nor happy with the situation. Just indifferent or tired. 

 

His friend also said that Shouto was kind, that he was preparing to forgive his father, but that now was not the time yet. Shouto thought at one point that he was almost there, he had been wrong. Multiple times. Now, once again he didn’t know. He wondered when he would finally know, and if that would finally stop changing. 

 

Maybe Midoriya wasn’t right, maybe Shouto wasn’t that kind

 

Would it be okay, then, to just stay as it was now, for ever? In between, with no hate yet not forgiving either? He didn’t know. He didn’t know if it was okay, but he did know he couldn’t accept some of Enji’s flaw and behavior still. So he was kind of improvising and making it up on the way. 

 

-Listen, i’m in a hurry. We’ll talk about this later. Don’t go to Satoru if you risk making a comment like that. I will transmit your message when i see him tonight. 

-Okay. 

 

As he was about to leave for good, Enji added:

 

-If Satoru goes to UA, you will have more time to train and i’m sure you’ll close the gap with your friends in no time. 

 

Shouto didn’t say anything, but his emotion swirled in a strange way : both sad and happy to hear that. He didn’t want Satoru to live their house, to leave us, but the possibility of closing the growing gap, to be a rival once more...Well, it was comforting. 

 

And he felt guilty, because, maybe, he wasn’t as sure as he had said, back then, between his career and his family. Maybe he had just been pushing the choice aside until he just couldn’t ignore it anymore. Five years ago, he had been proud to be an anti-Endeavor, doing the exact contrary as his father once did. Family over career. But today, he doubted. 

 

Couldn’t he find a way to keep both, find an equilibrium? Keeping his family happy while working, keeping his friend while staying with the ones he loved? 

 

Or was it too much to ask? Did the world only accepted those who made a clear choice? 

 

The truth was, that Shouto didn’t want to choose. 

 

***

 

They had managed to get away from the center thanks to Max. The boy’s wax could melt and mold into any shape, including keys. But the group of improvised heroes met their first obstacle quite fast. And not a simple one. They had no clue if Aizawa or Kirishima were even supposed to come to Peace office today. They both had their own agencies, technically they didn’t have to hang out HERE, they just came regularly because of the numerous facilities and because their friends or ex-students.

 

-Our plan is a failure! Complained Mahô. -Let’s switch to plan Z, infiltrate UA!

 

For the sake of their future career -and because Satoru didn’t want to get smashed by a robots, or end up in prison, or worse, being grounded until he turned 18- he stopped his best friend before she jumped out of the window. 

 

-Would you just...Calm down. 

-Yeah, maybe we could you know, ask around, before giving up? Proposed Riku. -We managed to get out the center just fine, so far so good, right?

-I’m not giving up, i’m just changing my strategy. 

-Why don’t we ask Satoru to just you know use his bond?

 

They all stared at Max, which furiously blushed. 

 

-What? Isn’t it the simplest way?

-Yeah, sure if you wanna take all the fun out of this, grinned Riku.

 

And Tsubaki put his arm around Satoru’s neck, mimicking someone sleeping, probably to say that it would be boring. Or maybe that Satoru was tired. (Which was true, he would rather not use his quirk for a day or two, if he could avoid it) Sometimes Tsubaki’s words were up to interpretation. 

 

-Fine, then, let’s all take the long way...gave up Max. 

-Can’t we ask people around if they saw them? Wondered Riku. 

-Not good, we’ll end up getting caught and brought back to the center, refuted Mahô. 

-Maybe we could ask to someone who has absolutely no idea we’re not supposed to be out the center, then, said Satsuki. -Like someone in the hallway, a civilian or…

-That would be no good, the hall is full of employees too, we will not be able to single out a civilian without being seen by either a manager or a hero, explained Satoru.

Tsubaki pointed the ceiling, and more specifically a camera hanging from there. They were on plain sight, but the boy didn’t seem to urge them to hide either, just reminding him the fact that they were filmed everywhere in Peace office. To be frank, Satoru was quite sure that Momo already knew they were out of the center. As long as they didn’t made a mess too big, she wouldn’t intervene ; after all kids weren’t supposed to be prisoners. 

 

But that gave Satoru an idea:

 

-We could infiltrate the control room and check the camera!

-How is that easier than going to the hallway asking people? Isn’t control room like full of securities check? 

-I like the challenge! Accepted Mahô. -Can-

-Would it be all right to just infiltrate it, without taking control? Suddenly asked Satsuki. -If so i can do it. 

 

Mahô deflated, but Satoru followed he train of thought, his smile growing larger by seconds.

 

-Let’s find the restroom. 

 

The girls entered without a second thought, and only a couple minutes after, Mahô came back, with Satsuki’s clothes folded in her arms...And a tiny frog on her head. 

 

-I still think i could infiltrate the control room just fine, she mumbled.

-Discretion is the key there, Mahô, and sorry but you’re nothing but…

-Yeah yeah i know, come on let’s go. 

 

Satoru took his girlfriend-turned-frog in his pocket and let Tsubaki lead the way to the control room. The boy had a better orientation skill than his. 

 

But they met another obstacle, the control room was somewhat guarded. Two people were discussing in front of the main door, coffee in their hands. They could stay there for hours (okay they exaggerated, probably just minutes, but it did feel like hours to the group of friends). 

 

-This is going to take sometimes, mumbled Riku, his business side showing. -Can’t they return to work, clients are waiting! 

 

Satoru nodded, recognizing the two employee from afar : the woman’s name was Anko and the man was Yuki. While the later paused absolutely no threat -his quirk, summerbnation, made him sleep half od the year,  during summer, which had made him unable to find a job before Peace found him- the second one, however, was rather troublesome. 

 

-That’s a problem. We really need her out of the-

 

She turned in her direction and Satoru made them all retread behind the wall before she could have a glimpse of them. He made a sign to Tsubaki, so he could get their conversation on mute for anyone but them. The teen made a soundless snap of his finger showing that he had done just that. 

 

-Anko is one of the very first employee of the office, and she is allowed to use her quirk while working. He power is to be able to do multiple things at the same time ; he explained.

-Doesn’t seem very powerful, noted Riku. 

-Oh, crap i remember her! Mumbled Mahô. -She is the one who snatched us two years ago despite my diversion, right?

-Yes. While still working on her phone. -He turned to Riku- Her brain was capable of processing more informations than anyone, she could talk to two different people and yet still register the each conversation in the room she was, and work on her phone. 

 

And basing from what he could see here, she was doing just that, as she nodded and discussed with her colleague, without looking at her phone screen while typing. 



-She is good, conceded Riku.  

-What can we do, then, asked Max. -Can’t Satsuki just enter the room in her frog form?

-She knows Satsuki’s quirk, she would be suspicious. 

-An half diversion won’t work, too, commented Mahô. -Last time i made her drown in a  shower of moving plushies and she didn’t flinch at all. 

 

Tsubaki poked Satoru’s shoulder, and pointed himself, as if to ask to let him handle that. Once again he snapped his finger, then took off his medical mask and opened his mouth. 

 

The sound came from the other side of the hallway, in a feminine tone : tt mimicked perfectly Momo’s voice.

 

-Anko, can you come here a minute? I need you for something!

 

Anko looked in the direction of the voice, then at her colleague, shrugged and moved on, clearing the path. Fortunately, without his chatting friend, Yuki entered the control room without delay. 

 

-That’s the moment! 

 

Satsuki jumped and in entered the room just in time, before the door closed. 

 

That’s when something in Satoru’s head clicked. 

 

-Guys, did anyone of you has any idea how she will get out of the room once she had the information? 

-You’re the brain Satoru, we’re counting on you, answered Maho immediately. 

 

Silence followed. He should have guessed. 

 

-What are you guys doing? 

 

He almost had an heart attack. Anko had appeared behind their backs and was staring at them with the curiosity of a snake ; ready to eat her prey. It was the only part of her feature that revealed her true nature : the rest was tiny and round, she always wore fun hat and large clothes that made her look like a plush. It was all but a lie!

 

-We...hum…

-We’re looking for bathroom! Said Mahô.

-We’re looking for my mother! Said Max. 

-I’m hungry ! Said Riku. 

Tsubaki said nothing, zipping his sweat’s hood.

 

Satoru mentally cursed.

 

-Hum, i see, hummed Anko with a knowing smile. -You got out of the center room once again. You know there’s a party and you’re the main guests there, don’t you think your absence would be noticed?

-I know i should have enchanted some chairs, whispered Mahô, not helping. 

 

She already used that strategy once, enchanting chair so people would see her on, if they ever looked for her. It didn’t work that well in reality. 

 

-Plan E ; EVERYONE RUN!

-It’s plan H Satoru! 

-I don’t care Mahô!

 

Anko did rose an eyebrow when every kid tried to run away. Anko had a quirk that allowed her to do multi-task but not clone herself. If they all scattered in different -preferably- cardinal direction, she would not be able to get them all. He should probably have used his power to get them the message because they all followed him like he was some kind of chief. 

 

-What are you doing?

-You look like you know where you’re going? Answered Riku.

-Kids, it’s not funny, get back to your center...I really hate to run...Anko complained, still chasing after them despite her words. 

 

Tsubaki surprisingly got ahead of them ; and Satoru noticed that he wore some kind of heelys, those shoes which were half roller. But more importantly that he hadn’t unzipped his hoodie. 

 

-Are you serious?

-We forgot Satsuki! Suddenly realized Mahô. 

-She will have to find us afterward!

-What kind of heroes abandon civilian?!

-We’re not hero yeeeet!

-I’m not leaving without her!

 

Mahô turned abruptly and put her hand in her pocket, probably summoning some kind of enchanted object. Satoru had the good reflex to deck her to the ground -unfortunately he also smashed into Max who ended as a puddle of wax on the ground. 

 

-What kind of hero attack civilians?! 

-She’s not civilian she’s a demon ; a villain have you seen her eyes?

-That’s not sweet of you to say that.

 

Anko had managed to close the gap and knelt besides them.

 

-I’m just doing my job you know. 

-What is your job even? Wondered Satoru -so far he had seen the woman work mostly on the supervision room, but she had also helped on the management department and for the big economical bilan, and once or twice she even replaced Aoyama in front of the camera to speak with journalist! 

 

To that, Anko simply smiled. Max had vaguely took back a form, just enough for the adult to grab of his hand and dragging him all the way to the corridor, before he was even aware of what was happening.

 

-I will be back with back-up wait for- Oh.

 

Anko looked at her hand, which was supposed to hold Maw captive. Except all that was left of Max was a melting hand. The real one ran away to rejoin his friend. Anko let out a big sigh. 

 

-We should run! Claimed Max as he reached them. 

-We should really scatter, corrected Satoru to his friends.

-We should fight! Answered Mahô with a burning determination.

-We should hide here! Suddenly stated Riku, pointing a door in the hallway. 

 

But Satoru posed his veto on it immediately;

 

-We can’t go hide there, let’s find another place!

-Why? I’m not like you i can’t run so looong! Lamented Riku. 

-Because it’s the office, we will bother everyone while they’re working!

 

It was a thing to mess things up in the hallway, but he couldn’t bother his whole mother’s office! 

 

-Oh. So it’s okay to bother my work but not the other’s? I will remember that Satoru. 

 

For the ever loving crap, Satoru braked with all his might, as Anko appeared right before them. And she held Tsubaki by the collar. 

 

-What the fuck is her quirk teleportation or what? Blurted out Max as they made a 180° degree turn. 

 

Satoru was beginning to wonder, actually. He might have a bad orientation skill, but he knew that it was impossible for her to corner them like that without teleportation! And she wasn’t sportive enough to outspeed them neither. There had to be a trick, but he didn’t know what. 

 

-Tsubaki is lost, abort mission! Screamed Riku. 

-Your sacrifice will be remembered Tsu-tsu! Lamented Mahô. 

 

Tsubaki didn't’ seem to be bothered by the idea,  he flipped a finger at Mahô for good measure but got out a console out of his pocket and started playing while being captive. He would forgive them. Maybe. Busy checking on his friend, Satoru missed the puddle of wax Max had left only a couple of second ago.

 

And wax was surprisingly slippy. He fell, tried to catch himself to Mahô, who got Riku, who got Max, who splashed on the ground and they continued to slide like there was no tomorrow. Just before their eyes, the control room door opened and Yuki passed his head out:

 

-What’s the ruckus? 

 

Satsuki the frog bounced out too, just in time to get on the pile of the gliding children. Satoru doubted it was premeditated but he was still glad to have her back. Except when it appeared evident that the end of the hallway was getting closer and all waiting for them was a big crash on the window. Unlike Mahô he didn’t rise his arms like he was on a roller coaster withb a big smile on his face : he wasn’t impatient to break all his bon-

 

-Open! Ordered Mahô. 

 

That somehow made it worse, because they still ended up crashing but found themselves propulsed out on the top of all. They landed in the garden seeing stars for a long, very long moment. Fortunately they had been on the first floor, or Satoru wouldn’t have survived this. Probably/ At least not in one piece, yet again. 

 

-Okay. We made it out. Satoru, do you have any bone broken?

-I don’t think so, he mumbled, hurting all over. He was bleeding from his nose though, and his forehead scar had re-opened. 

 

Satsuki in her frog form tried to fix it with a soft pat, but that changed nothing. 

 

-Yes, we’re definitely improving on this, just like i said ; older and wiser!

 

Satoru doubted his parents would see her point. 

 

But at least, Anko wasn’t dedicated to her work enough to chase them through this fall, she simply stared at them from the window, and sighed:

 

-Why don’t you just ask me what you’re looking for instead? She lamented. 

-We can’t we’re on a secret mission. Everyone get up and scatter! Ordered Mahô.

 

They still didn’t scatter. but they did got up and escaped, somehow, though they definitely limped their way out more than ran. They paused to the restroom, to get off the wax all over their body and for Satsuki to change back, both in her human skin and into her clothes. To their surprise, when they all got out, they found Tsubaki waiting for them, playing silently his game. Alone. Had he managed to escape the evil Anko, or was he brought back into the center and escaped again? They would never know. 

 

-Nyehehe, that’s why i like you guys the best, declared Mahô while she helped Satsuki tending Satoru’s injury. -At school every kid are like “no we’re adult now, why would we play let’s talk for hours”! But you, you’re always up to play. I missed that so much!

 

Satoru blushed, both moved and concerned by her statement. He still hoped the rest of the mission would be less erratic, and he turned to Satsuki, pleading :

 

-Please, tell me the teachers are there... 

 

His girlfriend nodded;

 

-I saw them, they’re here, indeed. But there is a little bit of problem. 

-Awesome, marveled Mahô. 

 

She sure loved troubles. Satoru was beginning to think that, since she couldn’t go to the circus, she was determined to turn the whole office into one. 

 

-What’s the problem, he still asked, because even if he complained, he was having fun. 

 

Satsuki looked directly at Max, and simply said:

 

-They’re with your mother. 

 

They had to all get on him to prevent him from running away. 

 

***

Momo was busy, the aftermath of an attack always brought a lot of paperwork, and while the office had grew enough to handle these kind of crisis without her -or with her on the field- they still asked for her guidance or confirmation every now and then. 

 

“Here is the list of the people injured yesterday, the description of their wounds, and the hospital they were transferred. Do i send the files to our victims-help-program?”

 

Sometimes, she wondered if they asked her rhetoric questions. 

 

-Is anyone here is in contact with the police? How is the investigation about the jailbreak is going? She asked. 

-I’ve got Naomasa on the line, he wants to know what exactly you want to know? Repeated one of the girl in the standard, definitely lost.

 

Momo nodded and took up the phone with a reassuring smile. 

 

-Hi Naomasa.

-Actually it’s Hiromi, Naomasa’s hands are full right now, but i will play mediator.

-Hi Hiromi, Momo corrected, happy to hear Momo’s eldest brother’s voice. She had forgotten that he was to become an official cop this year -Can you say to Naomasa that i need the written report?

-It won’t be written before tonight, we figured out you would want information before. 

-What did the villains were looking for? Do you have a clue?

 

Hiromi didn’t answer, and it seemed like he listened to someone mumbling besides him for a short time. 

 

-He said it’s unclear at the moment, we know for sure they didn’t even try to hack the control system though. 

-Why did they touch accessed to the computer then wondered Momo aloud. 

-We’re making a list of the files they opened, it will be in the report. It’s confidential, you will not be allowed to speak of this to the press though.

-Noted, i will give you a list of heroes who can alter computer system with their quirk and their contacts. I will make sure their agencies let them be at your complete disposal if you need them.

-Thanks, Yaoyorozu, said Naomasa, taking the phone from his newbie assistant. I will also need Peace cooperation on this other case-

 

It amazed her sometimes how the voice didn’t age at all. She had just hung up, when Anko appeared in the hallway, covered from head to toe by wax. The scent turned her stomach upside down, and immediately bringing up nausea, she tried to hold it as long as possible, but that became unbearable and she took a trash can to vomit. 

 

Dead silent followed the scene, most of the people stopped working.

 

-You okay, Boss? Asked Anko, once Momo had stopped throwing up. 

-Yes. i’m sorry it’s the smell…

-It’s not a nice way to tell me i stink, complained Anko, taking two steps back, giving Momo some air to breath. 

 

She didn’t know what to do with her trash can now, but a kind soul gently took it from her with and went away. She heard whispers from her colleagues. Of course, some wondered if she was sick, other talked about pressure...but she only cared for one small comment among them:

 

“Is she pregnant?” 

 

The feeling in her gust returned. She didn’t want to think about this possibility, so she focused on Anko:

 

-I’m sorry Anko, what did you want to tell me?

-Your kids are taking the party outside the center, she simply said to her superior, as if nothing had happened. 

 

Momo hummed, expecting as much. Shouto had sent a sms, and even so, she figured they wouldn’t sit still in one room. Since they never, ever, did that. 

 

Soon enough, she heard the sound of people typing and resuming their works, even the person who emptied the trash can came back, with a brand new one. 

 

-How did you handle them? 

-We used this opportunity to test your security idea. It works well. 

 

Momo smiled. Some of her workers had a permit to use their quirk in the office, and she had decided that, since they could, at the very least, learn how to defend themselves against attack or infiltration. They had been paired up, depending of their ability. Anko was working with one of her colleague, who could teleport people on the image she was seeing on the screen ; and Anko with her multitask ability, could handle sending her instruction or message via phone while chasing or running away.  

 

-I’m glad to hear that. Good initiative Anko!

 

...Hopefully, without any bone broken, but chasing after them would only increase the chance of this happening. 

 

It reassured Momo that, if the worst happened, every employee of the office were prepared. She hadn’t planned to use Satoru and his friend’s game for that, but she liked the sound of it. That way they could play to their fullest without bothering anyone. 

 

-So, do i pass the message to not chase after them?

-Oh? Yes, Yes do that please. They will eventually come back to the center once they’re hungry or tired. 

 

She made a pause, her brain filling with new ideas. 

 

-We could organize some kind of tag-game with the other kids, she said aloud, thinking about the next move already. -So they would be entertained and we would train at the same time for evacuation or attack. 

 

She hummed, and noticed how Anko tapped her phone ; taking notes in her stead probably. She was about to thank her when Aoyama surged into the room and called for her, apparently one of the hero agency they were allied with was taken in a middle of a scandal because of yesterday’s attack. 

 

Sometimes, she wondered which day were the most tiring,  when the crisis happen, or the following moments where they had to deal with the consequences. Fortunately, it allowed the previous event, and especially the fat ugly question, in the back of her mind. She didn’t want to get her hopes up.

Chapter Text

Inko Yagi, though she still answered to the Midoriya surname half of the time, was puzzled. When he came back from work yesterday -late and with a sleeping Satori in his arms- he had claimed that the little girl was “grounded” and that from now one -and for an undefined time, she wasn’t allowed to leave his side. She didn’t expect him to mean it literally. 

 

But as she stared at her baby girl playing on the living-room carpet, and linked to her father by some dog leash he had borrowed to their neighbour, she suddenly worried. Yes Satori was kind of wild, and Toshinori did explain his wife what she had done, but wasn’t that a bit…Extreme?

 

The ex-symbol of Peace had to stay focused on the home computer, while his daughter played loudly with plushies ; acting as if she was a villain and her toys were terrorized citizen. (Sometimes, Inko wondered what she had done for Satori to turn out so different from Izuku).  Could he really hear what the record from the exam were saying with all the noise she makes, though?

 

-Dear, are you sure you don’t want me to keep an eye on her in your stead?

-Don’t worry, Inko, as long as i am her-

 

Suddenly Satori threw her doll to the wall and started laughing maniacally, caught in her playroling fantasy like children often do, and then tried to use her quirk to fly off somewhere (probably the ceiling). 

 

-You stay here, young lady! Ordered Toshinori.

 

Inko prepared herself to see her husband getting dragged out, but Satori got stopped mid-air with a surprised look. 

 

Inko’s eyes went wide as Toshinori showed her the other hand of the leash attached to Satori : he had screwed it to the floor. She was very much grounded. Literaly. They had tried everything to get Satori’s power under control -even borrowing Izuku’s training weight- but so far none of their solution had worked. Until today. 

 

If it wasn’t such a drastic measure, Inko would have felt only relieved but she was also sad they had come to this. You raise one kid, and you think you got this, and then BAM, the new one is so different you start to zero at parenting once again. 

 

At least Satori didn’t seem to suffer from this, as she just started to swim mid-air, and laughed about being like “aunt Ochako”.

 

-I...i see you get the whole situation under control then, she whispered, still a bit bewildered by her husband’s solution. -Are you still sure you can work with her in the same room? I’m sure we can...huh, use this plan in another room. 

-No it’s okay, assured Toshinori with a confident smile. -But since you’re here, can i have your opinion on something?

 

Inko blinked, surprised ; as much as Toshinori respected her, when it was about heroes, their opinions often clashed. She was just to anxious whenever hero (and especially Izuku) faced any kind of troubles and always ended up being too cautious or protective. Still, she liked the fact that he still asked for it, knowing that, so she complied and sat at his side. She tried her best to mute Satori’s constant mumbling (she had resumed her game, impersonating a plane this time) and focus on the video.

 

-Is that...Satoru’s friend? She asked, unsure. It had been year since she had seen her in anything but pictures, doodles and photos. -Mahô, right?

-It is indeed. It’s the record of her practical exam. Every student is followed by a robot tasked to record them. The whole thing is compiled with security camera throughout the block they are and the whole thing is edited into one. Every parent will receive a copy for it, so they can see their kid’s progress. We also plan to do record them all year long and compare every new video with the precedent one to see their progress and review it with the student.

-That’s a good idea...And a big lot of work. I don’t know much about video editing but isn’t this kind of things take time? 

-Yes it does, but UA invested into a special robot for that. Though it didn’t come as cheap. 

-Is Ua gonna be okay? You said to me they were…

-I hope, i trust Nedzu on that part. Anyways, what do you think?

 

Inko hummed,  and looked at the video once again. She didn’t think much of it, and, for once didn’t felt anxious every time the tiny girl faced a dangerous threat. Why? She wondered for a second. It wasn’t because she was under UA’s supervision -fear wasn’t that rational- and it never stopped her from crying for her son’s safety before. 

 

Then she realized it ; because the girl looked like she was having so much fun! She had this big smile on her face, sing sang as she avoided blow from robot, almost dancing when she fought and bouncing from enthusiasm as she walked on a thin fake electrical ware, between buildings. 

 

-This is…

 

She couldn’t find a word to describe it : Incredible? Worrying?

 

-The practical exam was 2 hours long. Aizawa was the one putting it up, so it was difficult, they had to identify threats, guess where certain objects might be, retrieve it while protecting themselves and others. We especially choose cardinal positions to make sure that it would be difficult for student to gather it all without teaming up. 

 

Inko nodded, and looked at the screen again : the girl didn’t look like she had teamed up with anyone. 

 

-Did she fail, then? She asked. 

-On the contrary. She managed to meet the requirement and pass in less than 12 minutes. Not only that, but she also managed to retrieve every single object of the block under one hour span. 

 

Inko felt her heartbeat peeking up.

 

-What?

 

And Toshinori nodded, putting his hands together and resting in chin against it, obviously in deep thoughts. 

 

-I’ve been a teacher for eight years now...And i’ve seen lot of children with Great potential to become a hero. Izuku, of course, Togata, also, even if i’ve never been his teacher...But...Never to this extent. Or no, i would rather say ; never like this. I’ve seen people as good and talented as her. But look at this...This specific moment:

 

He touched the keyboard and moved the video to a certain timeline. There, Mahô seemed to be in somewhat of a troubles -if you could call it so. She was fighting a giant robot. And while she exchanged blow with him, she sometimes paused and talked loudly about her next strategy or move. A big grin on her face. Few of her plan failed, but each time instead of seeming dejected, she looked... overjoyed. 

 

-I’ve seen lot of students aiming to be heroes...Some like Izuku cared about saving lives. Some like Bakugou wanted to win. All of them wanted to be the best. None of them acted as if they were playing some game, like she does.

-Isn't’ that a good thing, though? Asked Inko. -For kids to have fun as they learn. 

 

Toshinori sighed, resting his back on his chair.

 

-It is a good sign of course...But...Heroic deeds are not always fun. I’m afraid of how her enthusiastic nature will handle the harsh reality. I’m afraid it might crumble her will. 

 

Inko paused. Even if she didn’t see Mahô in a long time, she couldn’t forget the events that pulled her family close to the Shindo. Usagi park incident was not a fond memory to look upon, and the tiny girl, who was barely 9 at this time, had found herself in the middle of this mess. 

 

-I think, she said, choosing her words carefully, that if her will might crumble under pressure and hard reality, it would have happened during the Usagi park incident. 

 

Toshinori didn’t answer right away, considering her words. 

 

-Maybe you’re right. Maybe i’m being too cautious.

-It is usually my role to worry, agreed Inko, as she put a comforting hand on his. -Is there any other reason for you to worry that you aren't telling me?

 

For a long time, all she heard was Satori’s voice echoing in the background. And when Toshinori finally spoke; it was so low she almost missed it:

 

-There is...Another problem with her admission.

 

***

 

Max’s mother was not a demon. She had the appearance of it, with horns on her head, blazing eyes, red skin and glowing magma veins coursing underneath, but she was honestly nice and loving. Maybe a little too loving, Satoru would say. She had the tendency to embarrass her son in front of her friends with anecdotes about his past, not let anyone speak, and...most of all; to give a hug so hot you felt like melting in her embrace. Max actually melted, once, as he was wax, and his head rolled on the floor and every kids in the center screamed, scattered and ran away. 

 

So yeah, he could understand why Max didn’t want to deal with her right now. But he couldn’t help but feel a bit sad, as he saw the older woman pass through the hallway, with a big proud smile on her face. 

 

-Thank you for your guidance, teachers, i’m sure my Max is going to enjoy his time at UA thanks to you! 

-It is a pleasure to help you, assured Kirishima. -If you have anymore question, don’t hesitate to ask us-

-Not me, corrected Aizawa. 

-Again, finished Kirishima, unfazed. 

-I will! Thank you again, no, excuse-me but i want to say hi to my little boy before i go back off to work. He is at the center, right?

 

She didn’t wait for the answer and went straight to the right direction, passing in front of them. Max held his breath. She pursued her way without noticing anyone. They stood still, not daring to move an inch for several seconds, until the whole place was empty, Max’s mother being out of sight, and the two teachers went back working in another room. When Tsubaki nodded, only then, they let out a big sigh and the tension leave their bodies. 

 

-THE INVISIBILITY CAPE LIVES! Screamed Mahô, proudly, taking off the blanket they had all wrapped themselves in. 

 

Tsubaki smacked the back of her head, as they all hushed her to shut up -the woman could still hear them if she screamed that loud. And she gulped and whispered again:

 

-The invisibility cape lives!

 

Max rose his fist and did a victory pose with her, all too happy to avoid confrontation with his mother today. 

 

-This is actually quite impressive and efficient, agreed Riku, staring at the cloth material. 

-Your enchantement are always so amazing, added Satsuki with a nod. -I would love to have a purse like yours !

-I can make you one anytime ! Instantly proposed Mahô, with stars in her eyes. 

-You’re not supposed to use your power for anyone but yourself and your family, Mahô, reminded her Satoru -and for a moment he almost heard his papa’s tone in his own. 

-Come on, Satsuki is your future wife, she’s practically family!

 

Which made turn them both red as a tomato while all their friends nodded in agreement, like it was the most obvious things even. While Satsuki couldn’t utter a word, too embarrassed, he, however, found back his snark:

 

-Even if she is, we’re not related Mahô. So it doesn’t count.

 

Mahô put a hand on her chest, offended, and claimed:

 

-You! How could you when i consider you as my fourth brother! My twin! My soulmate! The little voice of reason inside my head!

-Pick one and stick with it!

-How could you? Betrayal!  

 

It could have gone for quite some time, as Mahô picked up the habit of drama queen from Aoyama himself, but thankfully, Riku, who was very focused on the enchanted objects and took the role of putting back the invisible cape in Mahô’s purse, asked :

 

-Where does it stock such a large objects? Doesn’t it alter its weight?

 

It was the perfect way to put Mahô out of her loop : 

 

-No it doesn’t because it isn’t stocking anything : it just teleports my hand to reach the object i think of when i’m putting it in. Everything is where i left it! It’s way smarter!

 

Tsubaki looked at Mahô with such a judging expression that anyone could understand him quite well : he doubted Mahô’s intelligence. And so everyone turned to Satoru and asked:

 

-You helped her on that one?

-Oh come on! I can be smart sometimes! I made up my purse enchantment all by myself! 

 

She paused, and then scratched her cheek, looking at the invisible cape.

 

-But not this one, though, it’s all thanks to Satoru.

-I don’t remember helping on that.

 

Actually, Satoru never actually helped with any of her enchantment, like ever. But Mahô explained:

 

-You know, this morning when you talked about how light works? It gave me an idea.

 

Satoru frowned ; that could barely be considered as helping, he just recalled her a lesson she should have been studied already in classes.

 

-I once tried to do an invisibility cape, you know? I mean, when i was old enough to actually read Harry Potter and not just overhear my mother reading it to my brothers, and see something more than the quidditch match from movies! It was like...the second thing i tried to enchant after the flying broom!

 

Satoru already heard this story ; she had discovered her quirk right after seeing UA’s festival on tv, and stated to her dad that she would be a hero and a witch on a flying broom, while holding a said broom. She hit the ceiling when the broom obeyed, in front of his very surprised parents. 

 

-I guess it didn’t went well for you to stop trying to do it…

 

Mahô winced. 

 

-Yeah...i enchanted my sheets with the order “make disappear what’s under you!”.

 

Satsuki let out a tiny gasp, and even Riku, who wasn’t as familiar with Mahô’s power as everyone, could understand what it meant.

 

-Please tell me you didn’t put that on.

-Fine, i will not tell you then!

-Seriously? Screamed Max -turning whiter than...Well his usual wax whiteness. -Why didn’t you order the object to make you invisible instead of making things complicated?

 

Mahô posed, her eyes blank for a second, and she turned her head to him, confessing with with a dead tone : 

 

-’Cause i’m stupid Max. 

 

And for a second, Satoru was certain that she, never, ever, actually thought of giving off that order. Sometimes she could be so inventive, and sometimes she missed the tree in the middle of the forest. Mahô then came back to it as joyful as ever like a music box which didn’t hear the false note it spouted out. 

 

-Anyways, i didn’t put that on, me. I intended to, but then my mother arrived, and i had promised her to clean my room but i didn’t do it...So i hid my toys under the sheet instead. 

 

Again she paused, then lamented:

 

-Never got it back. 

-You’re so damn lucky, said Satoru, not even surprised.

-Yeah. Though i loved those toys. But it wasn’t all bad, i learned that day to be careful with my wording. And way later, when i enchanted my doll wrong and turned it into a stalker it was useful to make her disappear!

-A stalker doll? Repeated Riku, but Tsubaki moved his head from left to right, as to tell him to not ask further. 

-It’s actually quite useful now, to get rid of trashes! We don’t have to pay the city to collect it for us and it’s good for the environment, we’re kinda like 0 trash family! Resumed Mahô, but at this point, even Satsuki was starting to drop the subject : they all know that she could talk about her enchantment -failures and successes- all day and someone had to put a stop to it.

 

-So...Now that the path is clear, can we maybe-

 

Satoru was about to say “go and spy on Aizawa and Kirishima”, but fates was apparently determined to get in their way, as someone shouted: 

 

-There you are! 

 

They didn’t wait to know who had found them, this time they started running immediately, scattering. Satsuki, Mahô and Satoru went one way, while Riku, Max and Tsubaki went another. 

 

-DAMN! We were almost there! Grumbled Mahô, frustrated.

-Let’s make a loop and go back when we- 

 

Satsuki couldn’t finish her sentence, as Momo appeared at the otherside of the corridor, walking out of the bathroom. They didn’t have time to brake, so Satoru took both of the girls’ hands in his and ran faster instead.

 

-Sorry mama, we’re just playing! Don’t mind us! He said.

 

If Momo was surprised, she sure didn’t show it, and simply popped out of her arm three helmets that she threw at them. 

 

-Just be careful while running and be back at the center at 15! Shinshou is supposed to pass by!

 

Mahô didn’t put the helmet on, instead she sent it at the face of their pursuer.

 

-Mahô, hurting people while playing is not okay! 

 

Satoru vaguely heard his mother’s voice saying that, but they were already out of reach. At least out of Momo’s reach. But then there was the sound of a flare, and the scent of burning plastic, and the next thing they knew, they smashed into Endeavor.

 

The hero didn’t even bulge when the three kids collapsed on their butts with no dignity. Instead, he simply threw back the helmet into Mahô’s arm and said:

 

-I believe it’s your. You might consider to get better at aiming. It almost hit Creatie instead of me. 

 

Mahô’s face went red with shame, and for once, she had nothing to say back. Satoru, on the other hand, had a lot to say, and jumped back on his feets:

 

-Sorry i didn’t recognized you, we wouldn’t have run otherwise. - Satoru looked at Mahô, a little bit frustrated, who sure recognized him when she threw the helmet to his face and still did. She glanced at him back, with an expression that screamed “it was a golden opportunity and you wanted me to miss this?” And Satoru sighed, resigned. 

 

 -Is your back okay? 

 

He heard that Endeavor had suffered from a discal hernia, and even though the hero was back to work, they had bumped into him at full speed! It couldn’t be healthy to take a hit that soon after his recovery. Natsuo’s knowledge lingered, at the frontier between Satoru’s self, and while he didn’t dare to grab it yet -to afraid of using his quirk so soon after the overuse of the exam- he could almost feel it. It was like having the word on the tip of your tongue. 

 

-My back is fine, assured Enji, his jaw clenched, insensitive to the boy’s kindness. -I’m still a hero! What were you even doing there? You’re supposed to be at the center! I was looking for you everywhere!

 

Before, Satoru would have crumbled under his tone, lie down on the ground and play dead, waiting to be hit, but he had grown. And Endeavor seemed to remember that because he bit his lips and looked as if he had just bitten into a sour fruit. Even though he was still sometimes terrified by the man’s harsh voice, Satoru had learned to pick the good part of his grandfather’s every shout.

 

-You were looking for me? He repeated, in disbelief. 

-We’re sorry, Endeavor, came Satsuki to his rescue, her hand sliding into his, offering support. -We were looking for Aizawa and Kirishima, we heard they were here and we wanted to ask the-

-Then you’re on the wrong way, the adult said, taking their arms to all three and dragging them back. 

 

They passed in front of the bathroom door once again, but Momo was gone already. Too bad, he would have loved her help right now. 

 

-Why were you looking for Satoru? I thought you didn’t like him at all! Asked Mahô, not minding being dragged and as blunt as ever. 

 

And as much as he loved Satsuki’s help, he was more inclined to thanks Mahô right now, he couldn’t figure out why on earth Endeavor would try to talk to him right now. He was “officially” his grampa, but the man didn’t consider Satoru as such, more picturing the boy as something that dragged Shouto down, ruined his career -if not his life. He had agreed to train Satoru and help him, only hoping the boy would not cause the death of Shouto by being unable to defend himself in time of need. At least, at first. Now it was a little bit more complicated, Satoru was conscious of that. 

 

-I…

 

Endeavor stuttered, and for a moment he looked perplexed, unsure of himself. And Satoru felt something folded in the fist that was holding his arms so firmly.  He got the answer immediately, thanks to the physical contact. And his eyes went wide, as he stared at the old man:

 

He’s here to congratulate me?

 

It was as unbelievable as a flying pig ; Endeavor had been adamant about his thoughts on Satoru’s ability to be a hero. Did Shouto forced that on him?  

 

-I do not, not like him, the man finally said. -I’m just worried. 

 

And Satoru didn’t feel the lie in his words. Mahô’s eyebrow rose, and she stated:

 

-You don’t have to, i will protect him when we’re heroes!

 

And to her declaration, Endeavor just stopped and stared. 

 

-Not with a throw like that, he said. -And it’s time he learns to stand up and protect himself, don’t you think?

-Next time i will hit you in the head! Promised Mahô with a big smile as an answer.

 

Endeavor threw her on the ground right in front of the door where the chase had previously started. And for a moment, Satoru read his thought crystal clear : “I don’t like his friend”. The adult frowned as Tsubaki, Max and Riku jolted back, as if they could hear it too. He was more careful with Satoru and Satsuki, though, and he looked at the whole group in front of him. 

 

-Do you kids multiplies? He grumbled. 

 

Max hid Tsubaki’s gesture -which was probably a rude one- and Satsuki, as thoughtful and level-minded as ever, bowed:

 

-Thank you for taking us back, we can-

 

Endeavor knocked before she could finish her sentence. And Satoru could feel her frustration of being interrupted -again. The door opened, and Aizawa appeared, surprised. Of course, spying the teacher was now out of question. 

 

-Wow, Endeavor? What are you doing here? Asked Kirishima, in the background. -Oh? And Satoru, Mahô, everyone! What a great coincidence!

-It isn’t, stated Endeavor. They were looking for you…

 

He turned to Satoru, and silently asked, without a sound: “why were you looking for them?”. Satoru knew the man meant well, but he wished he had asked this before meddling into their business. 

 

-Well, we were also looking for you, so it will save us sometime, said Aizawa, not phased at all. 

-Really? Repeated Max. 

-Not you, though, informed Aizawa. -And your mother is waiting for you at the center. You should go back.

 

Max didn’t answer and didn’t move, instead he stared back, as Satsuki asked:

 

-Why were you looking for us? 

 

The kids gang sure knew why they were looking for the teachers, but…

 

-Actually we have something to say to Mahô, explained Aizawa.

 

They all blinked. A few time actually. Mahô even pointed herself with her finger, her eyes wide, and froze when Aizawa slowly nodded as confirmation. Her face went white, and she turned her head to Satoru, a little bit panicked. It took only two heartbeat for Satoru to connect the dots. They knew about the written exam. What if that was what they wanted to discuss with her? What if they wanted to disqualify them because of it? Getting into UA had been nothing but a short-lived dream after all...Mahô’s fears were contagious, and for a short time, Satoru’s only solution was “ You go, you spit it out what you’ve done, because it’s better if you say it to them than let them find out, then you apologize and hope-” But then a tiny detail occurred to him:

 

-Only Mahô? He asked, his voice shaking. Endeavor frowned hearing that. 

 

Surely, if they wanted to punish them for cheating, they would punish them both. It didn’t make sense otherwise. 

 

-Yeah, there’s something we need to discuss with her, explained Kirishima. -It’s personal though, you can’t come too. 

 

Surprisingly, despite the grave and unusual tone of Kirishima, it made Satoru sigh in relief. Though it didn’t occur to Mahô and she whispered, as she passed through the door frame, following the teachers:

 

-Am i in troubles?

-What? No! of course not, don’t worry Mahô, assured Kirishima with a comforting smile.

-Have you done something that makes you think you’re in troubles? prefered to ask Aizawa, with a serious glare. 

 

The door closed behind them, shutting Mahô’s nervous laugh. 

 

Satoru still thought it would be best for her to just tell the truth, since now she had the opportunity, but it was his friend’s decision, not his. He could get that Mahô didn’t want to say anything too ; after all she was kind of a troublemakers, if she had to apologize for every tiny mistakes she did, she would be bowing all day long. 

 

-Well...Said Endeavor, now you had seen them maybe you could get back to the cen-what are you doing? 

-We’re listening obviously, answered Riku, Putting his ear on the closed door.

- Do you even know the meaning of personal? This is not a discussion you should be-

-Mahô wouldn’t mind, stated Satsuki, with a big smile on her face, as she, for the first time today, interrupted someone. 

 

Tsubaki snapped his finger and instead of producing the sound it should have, they suddenly could hear Aizawa’s voice as if they were facing him. Endeavor facepalmed, but didn’t say anything, neither did he move. Satoru hesitated for a second, then joined his friends, because of the all mighty curiosity call.

 

-Mahô, said Aizawa. -Yesterday evening, Nedzu, UA’s director, got a call from your grandfather. 

-Oh.

 

Something stung at the back of Satoru’s mind, his bond with Mahô grumbling, he could feel something .  Something uncomfortable. Maybe they really shouldn’t be listening, he realized, maybe Mahô wouldn’t want them to know about it. But on the other hand, Mahô was one of the few to be completely open to him and his power, and never fear to share her mind with him, surely, if she had problem with secrets, she wouldn’t be like that...Right? He still looked at Tsubaki -the one manipulating sound- at the corner of his eyes, and opened just a little bit his mind ; like a tv in another room that you could still hear. The headaches stroke immediately, and his whole body protested against it ; he had too little time to fully recover. But he didn’t plan to move anytime soon, so a little bit of disorientation could be handled -especially if his friends were there to lead him in the right direction. It was better than hurt Mahô because they overheard something she didn’t want them to know.

 

-He offered UA money, declared Aizawa.

 

Something like that for example. Satoru felt his heart stop in his chest, his breath stuck at the back of his throat, and for a moment, he looked at his friends, bewildered. They all had the same deadpanned expression on their faces, even Endeavor who wasn’t so into it at the beginning seemed totally engrossed in this story now. 

 

-UA is not the kind of school to accept bribe, he whispered under his beard.

 

It felt like the silence lasted for hours, when finally Mahô wondered:

 

-To get me in, or to get me out?

-That’s the thing : to get you out! Spitted Kirishima. 

-I see. 

-This is a serious matter, Mahô, explained Aizawa. -And you don’t seem surprised at all, were you aware of his scheme?

 

Anger flared in Satoru’s heart, so red and bright it took him by surprise. He always thought he was more propte to sadness than wrath, but maybe five years under Shouto’s care had changed that. Or maybe it was Mahô’s emotions echo. It didn’t matter, Mahô might be stepping on some rules, but she would never cheat like this . Especially to not get into UA! He didn’t like what Aizawa’s tone implied, and neither did Mahô, apparently, as she sighed:

 

-No. I’m not surprised because he did that before. So Daddy warned me he could do it again. 

-What do you mean it’s not his first time doing this? 

-He did when my daddy tried to get into hero’s school too. 

 

Kirishima’s outrage was shared. Even Aizawa’s voice wasn’t exempt of anger, when he spoke again:

 

-If i recall right, Omniscient didn’t graduate from UA…

 

At the mention of Omniscient, Endeavor’s frown deepened, and Satoru realized that he hadn’t been aware of Mahô’s lineage until now. No , felt the boy, Endeavor hadn’t care about Mahô at all, taking her for just one of Satoru’s annoying friends, not realizing she was the daughter of one of his very first colleague. Though, despite recognizing the hero’s name, Satoru could feel that Enji didn’t remember anything but his quirk; not even his face. 

 

-Yeah, he didn’t take the UA exam though, ‘cause it’s too late in the year, but he graduated from a countryside hero school, the same one as Mount lady! Said Mahô proudly. He was in the very first promotion! He explained to me that when he learned about my grampa’s bribe, he ran off in the middle of the night, bought train tickets for twenty different places to confuse him and he took the farthest school with a dorm he could find! 

-That’s the spirit, laughed Kirishima. -Serves him right!

 

Aizawa probably gave him the look , because they all heard him clear his voice and add:

 

-I mean, it’s a bit chaotic, and don’t do that, but…

-I’m sorry to hear about what happened to your father. Omniscient was a great hero, and the world was safer when he was on duty, added Aizawa. -Had he passed the UA exam, i’m sure he would have gotten in, and the school would had not accepted his father’s bribe, just like we will not today. 

 

Mahô let out a pleased hum:

 

-I’ll tell him, i’m sure he would be happy to hear that!

-Though there is another matter we need to discuss. You see, when Nedzu said no-

-Does that mean i’m in? Is Satoru in too?

 

Satoru held his breath.

 

-Of co-

 

Kirishima yelped, and Aizawa finished his sentence:

 

-You know we’re not allowed to tell you that yet. 

-I had to try! Anyways, Grampa did something else after Nedzu said no?

-More something that he said than what he had done. 

-He said you couldn’t get into UA because you had other responsibilities as the representative of japan in both Gymnastic and Skating for the up-coming revival olympics. 

 

Satoru could feel a shiver ran down the spines of every single one of his friend, and even Endeavor’s, when Mahô answered :

 

-I do. 

 

Satsuki turned to Satoru, followed by almost everyone, and she whispered something along the line “Did you know?” her eyes opened wide. Satoru nodded, as he whispered back:

 

-She told me two months ago, when they announced their intention to do olympics again, that she was on the list. But she told me it wasn’t sure yet she would be selected, cause it’s like in three years…And she’s a competing in two sports. 

-Your friend is a pro, in two sports ? Gasped Endeavor. 

 

Satoru decided to ignore his grandfather’s suprise about his relationship, as if a kid like him couldn’t have amazing friends, and focus on his incomprehension about sport system:

 

-Quirk apparition changed a lot sport world and competitions, he explained, i don’t know the details about it, but it left a huge gap in the laws regarding how many field a sportsman could do as a pro, and Mahô told me she could become pro in two fields as long as one was winter sport and the other was not. That’s why she dropped acrobatic diving, he added for Satsuki. 

-That would make her participate during her final year at UA! Said Max, already stressed.

-Don’t you think it’s besides the point? Squealed Riku. -She’s going to participate into Olympic! Olympic! And not for one but two sports?! I didn’t realize she was this amazing! I should have invited over my family restaurant way more often...What should i do, i called her stupid, didn’t I ? Did i call her stupid? Satoru i don’t remembe-

-You’re the one being stupid right now, Riku, if Mahô didn’t care about you treating her this way now, she won’t change her mind after being selected, assured Satsuki.

 

Though, she did bit her lips, and added:

 

-But yeah...this is impressive. She’s really in another league than the rest of us.

 

Satoru didn’t like what they all implied, and the weakness in Satsuki’s voice, as if she felt less important than Mahô, or even the hot burning stare that Endeavor was giving him right now. But most of all, he hated not being able to comfort them without lying. Yes Mahô was special, she always had been. A genius of a sort, so talented some could even call born-heroine. But that wasn’t all ; so many talented people never managed to make anything of themselves because they relied too much on it and never put any effort and work. Mahô wasn’t like that, Satoru would even call her a workaholic -as long as work implied physical training. So of course, she kept that huge advance she had on others. That was nothing new, he had felt the gap between them during the exam, growing larger and larger too. 

 

-Mahô, Aizawa’s tone grew more serious. I want to ask you something important, and i will ask of you to give me your most honest answer. Whatever you’ll say to me, i promise you that nothing will get out of this room. Are you forced to compete by your family? 

 

Mahô’s mind buzzed a bit in the back of Satoru’s mind, and for a second, Satoru was about to ask Tsubaki to stop his quirk, until he realized that it was a little bit more complicated. Mahô didn’t think “ please don’t listen to my answer” but something more along the lines “ is it okay for them to hear it if nothing is supposed to go out of the room?” she was very aware of her friends’ behaviour. Satoru turned to his friends en whispered to them on her behalf:

 

-If we listen to this, nothing must get out.

 

And he transmitted their answer to Mahô’s mind to appease her. As soon as she got it, she answered:

 

-I don’t feel forced to compete. It’s fun and i get to train my body for when i will become a hero, so it’s a win win situation.  But-

 

She hesitated for a moment.

 

-If UA doesn’t allow students to compete, then i will stop! My goal is to be a hero, not a sportwoman. B-But if i do stop...Then my grandfather will be angry... 

-So it’s more complicated than that, summed up Aizawa.

-But, you do wants to continue competition while you’re at UA, asked Kirishima.

-If it’s possible! That would super awesome!

-It has never been done before, but isn’t it UA’s motto to go beyond? We can probably make some arrangements. 

 

Mahô’s voice almost turned into a victory shout, but was cut by Kirishima:

 

-It won’t be easy Mahô! That’s a lot of pressure and work, you won’t have much time for fun, even less than our usual students. And we will not allow you to burn out, if we see it’s too much for you, you stop it right away, okay?

-What about my grandfather?

-We will deal with your grandfather, if we comes up to that, that’s adults’ job, not yours. 

-Thank you! Thank you so much! I will bring up you all a gold medal at my next competition at the end of the month!

-Just...Don’t cheat on your exam during all your UA years and we’ll be good. I can’t stand Mic complaining about him one more evening or I will become deaf like Bakugou. 

 

Satoru froze, and he almost fell Mahô doing the exact same, on the other side of the door. But she immediately put up a smile on her face and laughed, with her so familiar “nyehehe” sound. 

 

-I promise! I will study hard and i will learn all my multiplication tables before entering UA!

 

Satoru was too facepalming (she was supposed to know her tables for years!) that he almost fell when the door opened again. Riku wasn’t so lucky and ended up on Kirishima’s feets with a yelp.

 

-What are you all doing here? The red hair asked. 

-Cleaning, immediately said Max.

-Listening, confessed Satoru, which earned him a glare from all of his friends. 

-What’s the point of a secret meeting if you listen to it anyways? Added Aizawa, i should have expected it from your gangs. But you Endeavor? Count me surprised. 

 

Endeavor blushed furiously, as if his flames suddenly burned too hot for him, and his eyes went to Aizawa, then Satoru, then wide as he stared at Mahô. 

 

-I...i just...I was…

 

He paused.

 

-I was listening, he finally confessed too. 

-I can see that. 

-Nothing will go out, though, you can count on my silence, and the kids’. 

-I know that too. I know them quite well...They’re a bunch of troublemakers but i’m used to handle them. Hopefully for UA or i wouldn’t be able to keep up this year.

 

Satoru held his breath, as Aizawa winked at him, and Kirishima opened his mouth like a O and shouted:

 

-I thought we weren’t allowed-

-I didn’t say anything, if they deduce something from my words it’s on them, for being too smart. Now come on Kirishima, you need to go back to UA, or they will assign class without you.

-You’re not coming? 

-I need to stop by and speak to Asui first, she asked me something. 

 

As Aizawa passed among them, he pointed Satoru and said :

 

-You’re smarter than this Satoru, you’ve know how well you did during the exam. 

 

Then Tsubaki and frowned:

 

-Stop using your power to eavesdrop. 

 

And finally Max:

 

-Your mother is going to be a pain in my ass if you don’t go see her now. 

 

Then he finally left, leaving them shaking, as if they all avoided a certain death by mere chances. Riku, though, was the first one to step out of his state and say:

 

-Well...We have what we came here for...What about we go back to the center and you know...Party? U-Unless you want to go to my family restaurant, Mahô, i will make you a discount an-

-Thanks but i gotta pee! She said with a big smile on her face -Go on ahead, i will catch up!

-Elegant, commented Riku, while Max blushed furiously, embarrassed.

 

She ignored him, and then Endeavor -who definitely tried to say something to her, and disappeared at the corner of the hallway. Satoru wasn’t buying it, though, even without breaking contact with her, he would have been able to see the fakeness in her voice, right now. But he hesitated. It was one thing to follow and listen to her conversation when it had taken them all by surprise ; but this time she was the one going away. She didn’t want them to follow. 

 

It hurt a bit. 

 

-You should go and talk to her Satoru, whispered Satsuki with a sad expression. And when she slipped her hand in his, he could feel that the sadness has spread deeper. 

-No. She is allowed to have her secrets, he said, but he wasn’t really talking about Mahô, anymore. He could feel that Satsuki had something on her mind for a long time now. -It’s not because she’s my best friend that we have to share everything. It’s not because i can read her mind, that i should. 

 

He wasn’t the scared kid locked in a room anymore ; he didn’t have to rely on his power to survive and know when he pissed up someone and had to protect himself from a hit. He had worked on being able to not need to know what his friends were thinking. For morality, privacy, for them and for himself. There was a reason why his mind place has several rooms ; he had to know where he ended and when the other began, so they could both grew. 

 

Besides no one loved Peeping-Toms, and he didn’t want his friends to resent him from knowing things he shouldn’t. 

 

-Satoru. Please. I just don’t want her to be alone right now, pleaded Satsuki still.

 

She was an angel. Truly. But sometimes angels were a little bit annoying. 

 

-Then why don’t you go with me?

-Because i’m not you. I’m not her best friend. You are. She…

 

To his surprise, it was Endeavor who answered:

 

-She is a pro, kid ; she can’t show her weakness to anyone. 

 

Satoru could have said a lot of things : first that no one here would use Mahô’s weakness against her, ever. Second, that Mahô didn’t have weakness like that, she wasn’t sad when she left ; she was frustrated and furious. Third, tha he doubted she wanted so show his weakness if she had one, to someone so weak as himself. But he said nothing ; because they wouldn’t change their mind over his points, and it was easier to bend his will than theirs. 

 

-I will catch you up with her, he resigned. See you back at the center. 

 

He didn’t kiss Satsuki goodbye, because a kiss would make him know immediately what she was hiding from him, and she deserved her space, her secret, time to decide if she wanted to share it, and trust. Just like Mahô deserved it. And that was why he had agreed to go and give her comfort, but not to listen to her secrets. Enji and Satsuki might have a iron will, and but he had one too.

 

***



Mahô didn’t go to the bathroom, instead she opened the first door she came across and went in, what appeared to be a closet. She sat in between an offended rag and took out her scared phone from her pocket. She first gave herself ten seconds to breath in and out. She didn’t want to break her anything by accident. Objects around her slowly stopped shaking, still wary of her but not echoing her emotions anymore. 

 

She was still so, so furious. She was never one to give in to anger and break things, because things were people, and living. But heck did she wish she could have something to break that wouldn’t suffer from it right now! She selected the contact on her screen and press the call button. The beep didn’t have the same effect as her countdown, it got on her nerves even more, and when it finally picked up, she didn’t even let the voice say anything:

 

-Did you think i wouldn’t find out? 

 

Her grandfather sighed; exasperated already. 

 

-A well educated girl would state her identity first then and ask how i’m doing.

-I think it’s assumed by now that i’m a well educated girl. So now, answer my question. 

-You better correct this attitude young lady, before you start doing interview again. Don’t speak to me with that tone i’m your grandfather, you owe me-

-Are you? Cause you sure don’t act like one!

 

He sighed again, and finally, dropped the condescend act:

 

-What are you even talking about?

 

She felt her anger rise from the bottom of her stomach, flaring her heart and burning her cheeks. Brooms started shaking again in her back and she seized them before they made a ruckus on her behalf. She forced herself to smile to them, but it did little to ease them. So she dropped it en clenched her teeth instead.

 

-You. UA. You tried to bribe them to get me out! 

-So you know.

-Of course i know! I have friends at UA! And what? Do you think father never talk to me? Do you think he forgot what you did to him? He warned me about you! And you know what i said to him? Do you know that?

 

Her throat felt numb, words weighed heavy on her tongue, as she spat:

 

-I said you might have changed! I said you were nice to us now, that you wanted us to be happy and that maybe you wouldn’t do that again! isn’t that fool? Isn't that cruel? 

 

She could still see the expression on her daddy’s face, as she said that to him ; as she decided to believe the man who had hurt him the most in the world rather than him. His own daughter didn’t trust his judgment and they both knew why. And she had been wrong on the top of that! She hurt him when he was the person she wanted to protect the most!

 

She would not make this mistake twice, Mahô promised herself. 

 

-That’s the case : i want the best for you, declared her grandfather dryly. -Becoming a hero is not a dream : It’s a death sentence. Isn’t your father a good enough example?

 

Her fist clenched. - I will make sure to die one field. I won’t end up like him, the thought surged, unexpected, so scary it left her breathless. 

 

-Do you want to follow his footstep that much? Do you want to end up with your brain so dried up you can’t even remember your own father’s face like him? 

-Well maybe you don’t deserve to be remembered! She screamed back. 

 

Because if she spoke louder, maybe she could erase what he was saying, deny it. Maybe she wanted it to hurt a bit too, just like his word cut through her wound and left it out in the open. Things she wanted left buried deep within and that he dug out. 

 

-Oh? Debatable, but still i will let you think what you want. But do you deserve it? Or your mother? Or your brothers? Tell me when was the last time he hadn’t mixed up your names? Or the dates? Tell me does he even know which day we are? 

 

She bit her mouth shut. Mahô heard something break in the back, and she didn’t have the courage to watch what she had done. Again. Who she hurt. She couldn’t afford it. It was better than her breaking, she couldn’t allow to just snap like that, she had to take a little bit of control back. He has a peacemaker, she reminded herself. And something low and dark whispered to her ears that maybe the object could hear her, and obey her, despite the distance, through the phone. It scared her. It doesn’t have to be a peacemaker, she remembered, did he have anything in his teeth, like a filling? That would be enough. That would listen.

 

No! No! She couldn’t do that. She couldn’t listen to that feeling ; yet how could it felt so right, when she knew it was so wrong. 

 

-Mahô, resumed her grandfather, mistaking her silence for resignation, listen, this is-

-No. You listen ! - She hadn’t planned to sound so pleading, and so she corrected her tone- You made a big mistake. 

 

Every word sounded way calmer than she was. Mahô felt like a boiling kettler. She didn’t know how she managed to tone it down to this ; though it still was insolent to adult’s standards. 

 

-Oh? I -and it sounded like it meant, him, of all people in the world- did a mistake? 

 

He laughed, and inquired:

 

-Please, do tell me what that tiny brain of yours, which could barely get passing grades, understood while mine, who ran a mondial business, didn’t?

 

She hadn’t thought that far ahead, her words were only the reflection of how she felt : scorched and wronged. But now that he was asking for proof she felt lost. She knew how she felt, but she didn’t know how to express it. What a shame! For someone whose power relied mostly on wording, she sure had troubles with language. Too often, it was like hitting a wall at full force. People spoke too fast for her, so she spoke first and faster. Their minds went too slow, and she barely managed to step back and follow back the train of their thoughts when she felt so far ahead. Speaking to objects was easier. Simpler beings, happy to change their mind. Objects made her feel like the smartest person in the world. But people...Oh people clung to their opinions and their logics that didn’t always made sense, and made her feel so stupid most of the time, just like her grandfather right now. 

 

I should have thought of an answer. I should have prepared an answer. I should know how to answer him! 

 

She thought of Satoru, and tried to get inside his head. He would never be taken by surprise like that, he always had something to snark back. Thinking of Satoru, though, ravived the lurking presence at the back of her mind, and even though it didn’t gave her advices, or made her smarter, summoning him gave her a little bit of courage back. Enough to say:

 

-You misjudged the situation. 

 

She couldn’t find a point, then she would state what she knew, facts. What was right in front of her. 

 

-UA isn’t going to say yes to your money, and i will become a hero. 

 

Hearing it, gave her the little push she needed to find back her confidence. 

 

-You think you have power over me. But you do not. I’m stronger than you. I’m not forced to do what you said.

 

She hadn’t meant to add that, she didn’t know how much she was allowed to say to him, even if UA had promised to protect her from his wrath, it wasn’t wise of her to poke him and provoke it. Especially before they were prepared to fight it. And she cursed herself for doing so. Fortunately, her grandfather mistook her speech for a bravado, and calmly stated:

 

-Mahô, who do you think is paying your coaches? Please, tell me you’re not naive enough to think they like you and care for you growth. They’re not your friends, they’re my employees. If i stop paying them, they will stop teaching you it’s as simple as that. 

 

It hit too close to home. 

 

-You think i care? If they stop teaching me, then i stop, that won’t bother me much. I will have more time to play with my friends. 

-Which friends? 

 

She didn’t answer that petty point. She had friends. Here. Just not at home. 

 

-Mahô, her grandfather said. -I’m doing this for your own good. Hero career will only kill you. Sport, on the other hand, is getting its way back into popularity. With the olympics games in three years, and you as the representatives for japan, your future is assured, and your fortune too. Don’t you want that? Or are you satisfied with seeing your mother works two jobs a day, hoping to pay for your father’s treatment ? Isn’t she still paying off your grandmother’s funeral and unable to meet month’s end? Do you think she can afford that right now?

-You said that like you wouldn’t suck it up all i get.

-I’m just taking my well earned part, you still got some left. And you’ll be able to have it once you are an adult and spend it however you want it. Think about it, you’ll be able to pay a treatment for your father in three years. How long will it takes for you to make the same amount, as a hero?

 

Somehow, when the teachers of UA said they would protect her from her grandfather’s influence, it sounded like it was an easy task. But she wasn’t so sure now. They was just so much more at stakes. She was stupid to call, she was stupid to talk to him at this point; she was making things worse. How could this happen? She had the power to make the whole closet crawl under her emotions, to bend reality to the utter limit of her imagination and yet, she found herself so powerless right now. Unable to make him understand the most simple thing and digging her own grave. 

 

-You can’t force me, she still said, her voice wavering, i’m the only one on the ice, if the music starts and i don’t start skating with it, then there’s nothing you can do. 

-That’s true. But you won’t. 

-I can say awful things in interviews, she added, struggling to get a little bit of power back, just a bit, and not think of this damn peacemaker in her grandfather’s chest that would listen to her when her grandfather obviously didn’t.

-That’s also true, he agreed. But you won’t. 

-Why are you so sure i won’t! 

 

Even she, didn’t know yet if she would have the courage to do that.

 

-Because you care too much for your family. And you won’t do anything that would do them any harm.

 

Her blood went cold. 

 

-I don’t like being threatened, she whispered.

-I’m not threatening you. I’m teaching you a lesson about reality your parents should have taught you long ago. Facts. You think you have power, but you don’t. You think you can back off just like that, bout you can’t, your mother signed contracts on your behalf. If you betray it, she will have to pay the reparations fees. That should make you dance, when the music starts, don’t you think? 

 

Her heart skipped a bit, but not because she was scared this time. Hope sparked from the most unexpected place, as she remembered something. Something she had done, years ago, when she still listened to her daddy and believed his judgment. When she had the permit to use her quirk to protect her family. 

 

-Ah, yes the contract, she whispered, peace washing over her and taking her fears away. -I wonder about it. Did she really sign it? I’m pretty sure i was the one doing the signing part.

-Don’t spout nonsense, Mahô. You were 11; law doesn’t allow you-

-Maybe you’re right. Maybe you’re not. It was a long time ago, maybe you should check the contracts. 

 

Something in her tone had to make him doubt, because her grandfather went silence for a moment. And her fist curled at her impatient skirt, as she waited, expecting, praying, she remembered right. Wishing her mother had used the enchanted pen she gifted her with to sign it those damn papers. 

 

It was an ugly pen, with glitters on it and awful pink heart stickers, but it was a gift, that Mahô had made her, for her birthday. A gift her daddy helped her do, and probably convinced her to use. 

 

Suddenly her grandfather came back, his breath rapid and nervous:

 

-What did you do?

 

And Mahô found back a little bit of power, her clothes relaxing on her skin, when she let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. 

 

-I told you, i signed it. 

 

And for a second, she could almost hear Satoru’s tone in her, snarky. She felt proud. But a little bit sad too. She had freed herself from those papers, but at the cost of the truth. And even though she had discovered the true face of her grandfather during her discussion with Aizawa and Kirishima, only now, she had the bullet proof of it. Only now, she realized she had trusted and loved and seeked someone’s attention who didn’t deserve it. 

 

-No you didn’t! Your mother did! I remember well, she even used...The pen! You-

-It’s enchanted. If she signed something, and the person holding the contract ever want to use it against our family, her signature would be replaced by mine. 

 

When she was small and her father proposed this, she didn’t quite understand the whole purpose of it, she simply thought that she was protecting her mother, and taking the blame. And in her child’s mind, since she was stronger and better at fighting than her mother, it was the right things to do. Only now, she got the full picture. And she promised to hug her daddy tight to thank him and his sharp mind. I swore to protect my family in his stead, and yet again he is the doing the job, even after retiring. 

 

She was still a child. And for now, it was better that way:

 

-I wonder, she resumed. -Is the contract still active, when it’s a child signature instead of their legal tutor?

-Of course it’s not, you moron! Do you have any idea what you have done? Do you have any idea what repercussion it could cause me? It’s illegal!

 

She frowned, he didn’t mind putting her or her family in danger, otherwise the enchantment wouldn’t have activated, though, so why should she care about him? Even though he helped Hiromi get into Police school. She didn’t care! Even though he paid for Akira’s apartment when he went to study law. She didn’t care! Even when when he offered a computer to Tobio and showed so much joy in his result that she had seen her brother’s first ever proud smile on his face. She couldn’t care! Even if she knew that without him, her mother wouldn’t be able to pay her father’s treatment, to busy to keep them all afloat. She really couldn’t care! Even though he found her the best coaches, the kindest ones that listen to her and talked to her…

 

-Mahô, ordered her grandfather. -You better fix this. Now. 

-No. 

 

It was only money. Yes that helped. Yes, that saved them. Yes that made them happy. But that was all but a lie. So she shouldn’t care! He did this for his own gain, not for them. Yet, if the act was selfish, the emotion it brought, the happiness and comfort it had, had been real. And that was so hard to come by. 

 

Why couldn’t you have our best intention in minds? 

 

She hated that, she hated reality. 

 

-Mahô, dear, you misunderstood me, he tried. -I acted like that because i didn’t want to lose you, like i lost my son, to this awful career ! You have to believe me, i care for you and if i hurt you it was for your own good. 

 

She hated reality, but she wasn’t going to ignore it and be a fool twice. She would not buy his lies and his fake love. She would not back down because it pained her. 

 

She. would. not. care. 

 

Something clicked, inside of her heart, and suddenly, all went still around her, appeased by her resolve. As simple as that. Objects were simpler than people. She ought to be like them.

 

-I’m stronger than you, she repeated, and this time she knew she had the power back. -I’m the one who decides what to do with my life, not you. And i decided to become a hero. Even if it kills me like my father, it’s my choice. Not yours. 

 

She hoped she would be stronger than her daddy. 

 

-...You little ungrateful brat, just like your father you- That’s how you thank me? You will stop this nonesense about heroes! You already have a job, a career waiting for you as a pro and you want to waste it over a pipe dream? I will not allow it !

-Do you want to bet on that? Do you want to see if i'm truly your granddaughter through and through?  That way we will both know what the other is capable of once and for all. But before you go to war against me, i should remind you of something. i always win. What about you, old man?

-Is that a threat?

 

His voice was full of venom, and for a moment, Mahô wondered if she had the same tone, earlier, when she felt small and cornered by him just like he felt right now. 

 

-As you said earlier, it’s just a reality check ; facts. 

 

She was sick to quote him. 

 

-What a hero you will make, i wonder, acting like that…!

 

Once again, his words struck a chord, way too close to home, but she even though she heard it, she refused to listen. She knew who she was, she knew what kind of hero she wanted to become. 

 

-You left me no choice. 

 

She just played by his rules. 

 

-We always have choice, you just made a bad one.

 

And he hung up. Mahô let the words sink into her heart. She didn’t feel very free right now. She hoped she didn’t make UA’s future job harder. She hoped she had been right. She hoped her choice wasn’t that bad. But her quirk wasn’t future sight, and there was no way of knowing that. What she could do was focus on the present. 

 

And not let emotions get in the way. Emotions were dangerous right now. 

 

She began typing messages. To her daddy mostly. She apologized for not believing his words, first, and warned him about what her grandfather’s mood. After a moment of hesitation, she added some instructions. She told him about the notebook she hid under her bed, and to erase the name of their grandfather of the page of “family, to put it on the one labeled “Enemy”. 

 

She didn’t like it, but it was better this way. He had bad intention in mind, when he took the contract, she reminded herself. And so he was an enemy. It is simple, she convinced herself. This notebook was the one keeping the intruders out of their house, making them unable to find the Shindo’s address, and track them down there. She couldn’t allow him to remember their address now. 

 

Not only one minute later, she got a message back : 

 

Daddy 

Saturday, 2PM

It’s okay my tiny witch. I’m sorry he didn’t deserve your trust like you wanted. But be careful Your GP holds grudge. Do not wander off after school tonight and come back straight home, please. There’s nothing you can do. Let adults handle this. 

 

And even though she held it during the call, even though she protected her heart all along, it suddenly broke in half.

 

She missed the daddy of her memory, the one who would have never ask her to give up. Where was the proud man who stated that “her only limit was her imagination”? Where had he gone? Sometimes, she wondered if he ever existed or if she just sublimed the souvenir of him as a hero. 

 

There had to be something, she could do. 

 

She hated staying put like this, and wait for adult to untsuck her from the mess they made. UA teacher were worried about her doing too much sport : but at least while she did sport she didn’t feel powerless. She was actually doing something concrete and great. She was fighting still. She didn’t lie when she said she loved it : she would rather be outside, training for hours than stuck in her empty home, with a dad becoming more of a stranger everyday, an overworked mom and brothers busy with their own troubles.  

 

But her grandfather was wrong when he said that in three years as a sport woman, she could achieve more than being an hero. As a sport woman she would have to wait three years in order to do anything for her daddy. As a students in UA, she could start as soon as this very april. 

 

She could change his words so he would stop saying “There’s nothing you can do”. She would make him see that no, there’s a lot yet she had to try. She would remind him they could fight. The battle was truly over only when you stopped trying, after all! Maybe, if he saw her do miracles, he would start to believe again, and fight on his own too. 

 

It was better than money ; it was hope. 

 

She could do it. She had to do it . She would do it.

 

Mahô counted to ten. To erase the little girl that was still tiny and scared and wasn’t sure she could succeed yet. Slowly. This girl was allowed to exist, but only for ten seconds. Nothing more, nothing less. Breathing in and out. Only then, when she stopped shaking, she stood and got out of the closet. 

 

And met Satoru’s sorry stare. 

 

Her body went still. No! She didn’t want him to know that. Satoru and her friends were the place where she could be herself, where she could have fun, and be stupid and reckless and not care about consequences. She didn’t want to troubles them with that -something they couldn’t do anything about and already stressed her enough. But also, selfishly, she didn’t want them to know about it, because it would make it harder to ignore.

 

-I didn’t hear anything, stated Satoru, cutting short her fears. 

 

Shivers on her spine melted like snow under the sun, and she relaxed despite herself. She blinked a few times, having a hard time to understand it fully, and Satoru added:

 

-You obviously didn’t want me to know. 

 

Mahô’s whole body relaxed, and her chest filled with love. She loved him so much. She loved him so much that he understood right away, that she didn’t have to talk for him to get it. 

 

-Thank you, she whispered feeling like smiling again, for the first time in what felt for ever.-Can we go back to the center? I feel like dancing and playing? 

 

She wanted to be thinking about dance! About Satsuki and their friendship. About love or everything else. She wanted to be thinking about anything but this whole upsetting mess, for just one day. Today ; today she would not think of her father at all, and be a selfish, ungrateful brat that was just tired of being a nurse instead of a daughter. She needed that. 

 

-Yeah of course! I feel like it too, agreed Satoru with a compassionate smile. -Besides i wanna see Shinsho. 

 

He turned his back and started walking...Straight to the wall. And he ended up on his butt with such an offended look on his face, as if the place had come to attack him by surprise. This time Mahô couldn’t help but laugh. 

 

-Your disorientation is back! Did you use your quirk again?

-A little, he mumbled, getting back on his feet. 

 

She offered him her hand, and he took it gratefully, and so she began to walk. For a moment, they were silent. Silent was something she found embarrassing though, and she couldn’t help but fill it with the first thing that came to her mind:

 

-If you...want to know about what happened, you could use your power, you know. 

-I know. 

 

She looked at their joined hands.

 

-Why don’t you?

-Well if you think about the matter right now while i hold your hand, i won’t be able to unsee this, declared Satoru, bluntly. -I’m just not that good at handling my quirk yet. 

 

She blinked, her mind going blank, but before she could say anything else he added:

 

-But, if you do avoid that, then yes, i won’t look for it. I’d prefer you to tell me on your own free will, i suppose. Sometimes people need to order they thoughts before speaking, and getting inside their mind at that moment can lead to misunderstanding...That might be the only thing i learned from my biological mother... So I can wait until you’re ready to speak about it. 

 

Mahô avoided his gaze, she didn’t like talking about his mother ; for her, Satoru was Momo’s child. She had to think like that, because the villain named Big mother, had done too much to her own family for her to be able to forgive. 

 

-What if i’m never ready? 

 

She stopped, her heart heavy. What if she always wanted Satoru to be unaware of her shortcomings? To always be the place where she could be happy and not think about what dragged her down? What if she didn’t want him to be stressed over something she already felt powerless about? Was it okay? Could they still be called best friends, in that case? Could they still be a duo of heroes, if she kept secret from him? Would his power allow that? Doesn’t it mean that she didn’t trust him, and would severe their bonds? 

 

But Satoru’s expression was calm, as he simply said, his voice far, far away as if it wasn’t totally here in the present but also somewhere else:

 

-Then it’s okay. 

 

And just like that, it made every single one of her doubts go away. Suddenly she took back her hand and let herself fall. Satoru immediately caught her back before she hit the ground. 

 

-A trust fall, really? He asked, reading her mind. 

 

She laughed again, happiness bubbling in her heart. Maybe she was making a lot of bad choices, like her grandfather said, but at least she didn’t need an enchantment to know she hadn’t been wrong about one thing : choosing Satoru as a friend. She trusted him, knowing he would always catch her if she fell, just like now. 

 

Satoru blushed, and whispered :

 

-Your thoughts are very embarrassing right now…

 

But he didn’t force her to get up and stand back he waited for her to do that on her own. 

 

-Satoru, whispered. -Do you think i can do it? I mean UA and sport things?

-...I don’t know.

 

He made a strange face, the closest thing he had for a scowl, before he finally said;

 

-It’s not like you would stop if anyone told you you couldn’t. 

-True, she admitted, blunt. 

-But...i think that is there is one person in the world that can do it...That’s you. 

 

That’s all she needed to hear. If Satoru, the smartest person behind Creatie, thought so, then he was probably right. My plan will work. So she stood up, and took back his hand, got back on walking with a smile on her face. 

 

-I would stop, though, she said, after some steps. 

-What?

-If you said to me i should stop, i would listen to you. 

-Now? 

-No, of course not now, it’s not a time-limited decision, i mean anytime. In the future. If you ever think i go to far, or i’m making the wrong decision…

 

She breathed in. If my plan is failing...

 

-Then just tell me to stop, and i will listen to you. 

 

She breathed out, letting the relief of the promise dwell on her. Satoru didn’t say a word back, but his grip on her hand went stronger, and tender too. He understood. He promised too. Even though he would rather have her know when to stop on her own, he liked to be so special to her. And, he didn’t know where to start without her getting ahead first, so Satoru supposed, that, somehow, it made them even. 

 

***

 

The center party was the same as when they left it, except for Endeavor now being stuck with Max’s mother and giving his very pregnant daughter Fuyumi glance, asking mentally to be saved. Glance she ignored with a knowing smile. Satoru didn’t know how Max managed to do that, but he was glad he did. He was happy that Endeavor wanted to try, but he would be happier if he tried another day. 

 

Mahô got into the party like there would be no tomorrow, and though Satsuki looked worried at first, she soon let herself be dragged into the fun by her friend. When she took her to the dancefloor and started dancing with her, Tsubaki even opened his mouth…

 

And let out some artificial song that was some off-tempo with her they ended up laughing on the floor trying to keep up. It was an error because kids were intrigued by Tsubaki’s skills and started to ask him to sing every one of their favorite anime opening -which he did to perfection -even manipulating the sound to make them hear the orchestra- until some curious kid tried to touch him. Then Max managed to get them away, lurring them with wax figurines. 

 

Shinsho arrived late, and with a cake. he directly went to Satoru and patted his head:

 

-I knew you could do it. 

 

Riku ate the cake, while the mentor and student talked. Satoru tried to explain Shinshou what he had felt during the examen, and how he handled the situation, and Shinshou listened, giving him some insight and comments from time to time. 

 

-You were impressive, you did great given what you had at your disposal, he concluded, when Satoru achieved his story.

-Though i had to kiss someone, at one point. 

 

He was still not happy with it. He didn’t want to be that kind of hero, after all. But Shinshou shook his head:

 

-You’re still learning, for now you couldn’t avoid doing it, but one day, you’ll find other means. 

 

Satoru couldn’t help but wishing for his words to be true. Then Mahô suddenly barged in and stated:

 

-Satoru is going to be the strongest among us ; when he finally believe in himself!

 

It was so out of place, in her mouth, especially after the whole mess of the morning, when everyone praised how awesome and talented she was, that Satoru couldn’t do anything but stare doubtfully. Which set her off, and she grumbled:

 

-Don’t make that face! If you can bring out someone’s potential at 100% with trust, why can’t you do the same for you? Like pah and pow! The power of friendship! I believe in you!

 

And then she spotted at Riku eating the cake and screamed:

 

-But not you! You cake-eater traitor! 

 

She left an unconvinced Satoru. Sure he appreciated her sentiment ; but that was just not how his quirk worked. 

 

-She’s right, though, said Shinshou with a smile. 

-About trying to manipulate my own self ? Don’t think so!

 

Shinshou blinked, and Satoru realized that he had probably came to this very conclusion thanks to Mahô’s strange mind and their connection. Embarrassed, Satoru jumped on the first pretext to end this conversation. And this pretext was a camera that some kid held.

 

-Why don’t we take a picture? To celebrate the moment? 

 

The idea worked perfectly, spreading among all the kid of the centers. First Satoru and his friends tried to do selphies, but their heights differents made it impossible : Mahô was too short to fit in, Tsubaki and Max too tall...Shinshou had to do the work for them.

 

Of course it went out of hand when every kid wanted to be part of it, and it ended as a “group photo”. At one point, Satoru even saw two brunettes join the group of “those who tried the UA exam”. Their names were Yume and Reika, if he remembered well. He never managed to get on friendly basis with them, though and was surprised to learn they wanted to be heroes. 

 

He hoped they passed too. 

 

Before they knew it, the day passed. Shinshou and Endeavor went back to work. Not before patting Satoru’s head and congratulate him one last time -Though Enji’s act left Satoru speechless for a moment, even if he knew that was his sole purpose of coming here.

 

Satsuki had to leave too, at one point, when Tsuyu came back with Ochako and Izuku. And before she left, she hesitated to kiss him. Instead, she did the same as Momo this very morning, she caressed the new scar on Satoru’s forehead, weeping it with her thumb as if she could erase it with the power of her love. 

 

-I wanted to tell you something today, she finally murmured.

 

Satoru could feel through their contact that it wasn’t something easy to come by, and that it saddened her. It worried him ; that the people he loved were suffering in silence. His quirk allowed him to know what happened, how they felt...But not the right words to say to them. He could only stare and see the extent of the damage be done if he spoke wrongly. So he didn’t and stayed silent. He waited for the words to come out.

 

But Satsuki didn’t say anything, instead she promised:

 

-I will tell you when i’m sure about it, okay?

 

It would do for now, decided Satoru. He would worry, that much he knew, but Satoru also knew he could be worried for a week over an anime character too, so it wasn’t like it would be different than usual. 

 

-Okay. 

 

Since he couldn’t kiss her without knowing her secret, he simply put his forehead against her and savored the contact. She sighed and he was happy to sense her replicate the feeling. 

 

-Thank you. 

 

Then she was off. Max soon followed, and Tsubaki.  Before they he went back to his family restaurant, though, Riku brought Satoru apart and whispered;

 

-Hey, i don’t know about this whole business with Mahô and her grampa, but is he a dick?

 

Satoru frowned ; to be quite honest he hadn’t met the guy at all. Or at least he didn’t remember. From what he heard today, he certainly seemed like one, but sometimes truth were a bit more complicated than that. He tried his best to always remember it. So he said:

 

-Well i’m not sure. Sorry. Why?

-Well i was thinking that if he was a dick, we could find his address on internet and his car and break his tires so he could not bother Mahô anymore. Or his bike, if he uses a bike. 

 

It was so utterly stupid that all Satoru could do was stare and judge. His thoughts had to be written all over his face because Riku pouted. 

 

-Aw come on, it’s a good plan, we can’t let adults handle all of it, she’s our friend! We protect our own! He added with a solemn face.

-Yeah, and that’s why we should let adults handle this and not bring her more trouble than she already have, he said. 

 

Riku frowned, and pouted again:

 

-Well whatever, i still think my plan works, keep it in mind.

-No.

-Fine i will keep it to myself. 

-Please don’t do that, don’t break anyone’s car or bike!

 

Riku didn’t promise such things, and rode his own bike home after sticking out his tongue at his classmate.  

 

The center emptied itself, until only Mahô and Satoru remained. At one point, Momo arrived with her arms full of paper works, and sit next to them...Only to fall asleep right there. It was already dark out there, when Shouto finally arrived, looking exhausted. 

 

-I’m sorry, it wasn’t supposed to take that long. 

 

He looked at Momo, sleeping, a little bit surprised, but then took her stuff and carried her in her arms to the car. As he was installing her on the back seat, checking her forehead  for temperature, Mahô approched Shouto and asked shyly:

 

-Can you brought me to my mommy’s bookstore? I want to go back home. 

 

Satoru’s heart sunk, as he stared at his friend. He couldn’t help but think of the conversation she had, hidden in the closet. He did heard some words, “Well maybe you don’t deserve to be remembered!” before he put his hands on his ears to respect her privacy, but it was haunting him. 

 

Shouto frowned, but didn’t ask why. 

 

-We’ll need to get home first and take your luggages. Will it be okay? You were supposed to stay the whole week-end.

-Yes. 

-But it’s been so long since you’ve stayed with us...Didn’t you want to go see the circus? Asked Satoru, disappointed. -We can go tomorrow...

 

He had planned to make dinner tonight, and maybe watch a movie with everyone while braiding Mahô’s hair -because he knew she always loved that and thought it could bring up a smile on her face. Maybe she perceived his sadness, because she went to him and hugged him tight:

 

-We will have plenty of time together once we’re at UA! Since we’ll be in the same class and dorms! Don’t worry! I’m sorry to leave so soon but...I want to see my daddy and mommy right now.

 

He could understood that. Or more precisely, he wanted to understand that despite his chagrin. He wanted to be the patient friend. That’s why he had put his hands on his ears and didn’t listen to what she said in this closet. Even though it hurt to know that she didn’t want to rely on him. He could get why ; after all he was a mess, right? He worried over his qualification at UA exam even though he knew he had met the requirements. Aizawa was right, he should be smarter than that, and get a hold on his anxiety. No wonder, Satsuki nor Mahô wanted to share their troubles, when he couldn’t even keep up with his.  

 

They drove in silent, all the way back. They stopped at the pharmacist though, because Shouto was worried for Momo, and he put her to bed once they arrived at home. She mumbled something about being all right and still needed to do groceries shopping and Shouto promised to do it in her stead. In the meantime, Mahô got her stuff back and assured:

 

-I can get home on my broom, if you have things to d-

-It’s illegal for you to use your quirk in public. So no. Get back in the car. 

 

Satoru followed too, despite Mahô’s protests. He wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her just yet, not when he thought he had the whole week-end for them. But he couldn’t bring himself to talk at all during the long drive neither and so they spent most of the time in an awkward silence. Until Mahô poked him on the head...And when he turned to ask why, she was sitting right here, with all of her hair down to hide her face, and a pair of glasses on the top of it. 

 

It was so unexpected  that he almost burst out laughing here and now, but he managed to swallow it and keep a pokerface.

 

-Aw i was sure it would make you laugh, she lamented. 

 

And he choose this moment to put up a bit of his hair between his nose and upper lips, and say;

 

-I mustache you a question…Whose are those glasses?

 

Mahô wasn’t as good as Satoru to stay impassive, so she let out a giggle, that turned into a snort and then a full laugh. Satoru never liked silence in the first place, but with Mahô at his right, it was even worse : odd and unnatural, like water running up and not down. So being able to make her laugh like that when she was feeling so under the weather made him proud. 

 

-Now give back Papa his glasses, he ordered to his friend- before he kill us all in an car accident. 

-I can see quite well, protested Shouto. But his confidence was shattered when he flinched and tried to get his face closer to the next sign they encountered ; as if it would help him read it better. 

 

As if it unlocked something between us, they managed to not fall into silence once again, instead they talked, about anything and nothing at the same time. Iddles thoughts that only Mahô could give and Satoru put any sense on...And when they ran out of topic, she just started to sing -awfully wrong- some anime songs, that Satoru couldn’t save with his teenager voice...Shouto even joined at some point, when he recognized the lyrics. 

 

It was this kind of moments, Satoru loved the most. Simple and simply happy. It didn’t have to be grand and rich, just a hum they all shared while being stuck in the traffic and it made it seem like all was right in the world.

 

Their fun was interrupted midway though, when a villain surged from one backalley and jumped from car’s roof to another, laughing about his deeds. 

 

-Isn’t that your némésis, asked Satoru, as he identified the villain who was currently playing with policemen. 

 

Shouto let out a sigh, and drop his head on the steering wheel with a loud “thud”.The klaxon resounded, like an internal scream, for a long, long time, before he finally moved and opened the car’s door. 

 

-I’ll be back. Don’t get out. 

 

Just like that, he went back on hero duty. Satoru gazed at his father behind the window car, and Mahô soon joined, besides him. 

 

-One day, she said, her voice full of confidence. -We will be able to help them on the field too, and protect them. 

 

Her words though, rang so hollow, so far away, right now, when all he could do was stand by and watch, his papa being cool and strong. He couldn’t wait, to stand by his sides on the field, but as the same time, he felt miles away from ready to do it.  

 

***

 

Fuyumi was surprised to find her father, waiting for her backhome, on the dinner table. She was supposed to be alone, tonight ; as Tensei was on a business trip. She didn’t mind company, but she was afraid that all her father was here for was to complain about Shouto. She had heard they clashed in peace center today. 

 

Though, she was a kind soul, and she would give him the benefice of the doubt -or at least a chance. Sometimes he surprised her, in the good way. So she simply smiled at him and said:

 

-Do you want some tea?

-I will make it, you, rest. 

 

His eyes fell on her very pregnant belly, and she let out a sigh. 

 

-I’m not made of sugar you know?

-I know, you’re my daughter, you’re made of fire. 

 

He still went to the kitchen and prepared something, leaving her to deal with the compliment. She didn’t know what to do -she had not been used to this, especially from him. He was becoming better at it, but still, some rule from her childhood still lingered Don’t hope, if you want nothing you can’t be disappointed. She pushed this far away because that wasn’t true anymore, he had given him reason to hope, he had given her attention and care. 

 

-So...I saw you flirting with a kid’s mother today? She smiled, when he sat with a set of tea.

-More like she flirted with me and i didnt’ know what to do to get her out of my back, he grumbled.

-It would be good for you to meet someone new, she still said. 

 

So he would not end up all alone. It didn’t have to be romantic, she would be happy if he had friends. Hawks -no Keigo now- almost managed to be one. But things were complicated with Touya, and so with Keigo too. All he had were fans, and colleagues who were respectful and afraid of him. She wished she could say he had still his family ; but that was the core of the problem actually. He had his daughter, and sometimes he had Shouto. Natsuo and Touya were not ready to get him back in their lives -and maybe they would never. And Rei, of course, was trying to get past it. They could be cordial, but that’s hardly what you call a family. That’s hardly what she dreamed of.

 

-You say that because of the pregnancy hormone, i don’t need anyone in my life. I would only ruin their life. 

-Not anymore, she assured. 

 

He had made progress. He knew. he could fight this bad side of him the same way he fought stubborn villains. Her dream could still be. She wished it could still be. Because she didn’t feel strong enough to be there for her father on her own, and that was the awful truth.

 

To that, Enji didn’t answer. Instead he drink a bit of his tea -winced because it was too sweet- and finally, changed subject:

 

-Satoru’s friend : the girl. 

-When i say you need to find someone new, i meant someone your age.

-Ew.

-Ew indeed. What about her? are you talking about Mahô, or Satsuki?

-The talented one. Omniscient’s daughter.

 

She made a face : he did got better but he still had some way left to do. 

 

-Mahô it is, then. What about it?

-Is she...urf...Is…

 

He frowned, and Fuyumi started to worry. It wasn’t like her father to stutter and blush and look for his words. But by the time she started to wonder how she could help, he managed to say:

 

-How is Satoru feeling about it?

 

That wasn’t what she expected. 

 

-What do you mean? What he feels about her? I’m pretty sure they’re just friends, even if i know some people are betting they will-

-No, not that. I mean... How does he feel about her...being so great, when he is not?

 

Oh. Fuyumi blinked, trying to understand what she had heard. Oh. Was her father worried about Satoru developing a inferiority complex? Joke on him, Satoru already had one. But, what surprised Fuyumi most of all, was the worry in her father’s eyes, as if he cared. Does he care? 

 

Maybe it was indeed pregnancy hormones talking, but she couldn’t help but feel the need to tease him a bit: 

 

-Well, i don’t know, you’ll have to ask the question to the one who is concerned about it. 

 

If he cared, Fuyumi decided, she couldn’t wait to see where this development would lead them all. Maybe, just maybe, she wouldn’t have to worry about her father being all alone, in the end.

 

***

 

 

Momo’s day always started up earlier than everyone in the house, sure, but Shouto’s day ended up later. After dropping Mahô at her mother’s bookstore -and making sure it was okay and it didn’t bother the said-mother to get her back earlier- he went straight back to do groceries shopping. 

 

It wouldn’t be today he could start training again, he figured.

 

Since it was already so late, they bought dinner at a chinese restaurant. He honestly didn’t have the courage to cook tonight. And Momo was the same, because she was already sleeping, when they arrived. 

 

-She’s definitely sick, he told Satoru. 

-I will help out tomorrow with chores, promised the boy.

-No. I would rather have you take care of her...but put a mask on, don’t catch it.  

 

That woke Momo up, and she insisted to spend the evening with them ; as it was their usual saturday night tradition. So they all ate on the couch, watching a random movie. Of course, as usual, Momo fell asleep while watching and so did Satoru. So Shouto carried them both to bed, kissed their foreheads, and checked the whole flat’s locks, before finally getting some rest. 

 

Shouto’s days always ended late, but he loved it every moment of it. That was why, as he lied down on the fuuton, Momo in his embrace, he wondered how he could manage to sacrifice any of it to get time to train. He fell asleep before finding an answer. 

 

Momo was definitely sick ; nothing serious, but she had to stay to bed all sunday long. Satoru was kind enough to cook them breakfast, and get it to bed ; which sent her throwing up as soon as she opened her eyes. 

 

Shouto handled the house chores. He didn’t had time to think about his problem, too busy with cleaning and sending Momo back to their bed. He loved her dearly, but if she approached one more time with blanket wrapped all around her, asking if she could do anything to help while coughing...Fortunately Satoru proposed to keep her busy, before Shouto decided what he would do. With a mask on, he spent the all afternoon playing board games, like go, with her, or read her book aloud when she was too tired to think anymore. 

 

Shouto managed to talk about his little training schedule, only on sunday evening, after a in the middle of the night, when Momo finally woke up feeling fresh and well rested. And they’ve come to the agreement that they could never fit anything else in their already busy schedule : 

 

-Maybe, wondered Shouto. -We need to think differently. Not about where we have blanks to fill or what to get rid off, but more…

 

He didn’t know, but as always, Momo made his thoughts clearer:

 

-How to turn what we do into training materials?

 

Shouto could have kissed her -if he didn’t risk getting the flu too by doing so. It was the perfect idea. Maybe he could do groceries shopping and use shopping bag as training weights, splitting them evenly on each arms? And of course he could jog instead of taking the car. But what about looking for news moves? Maybe he could turn their “charade game” they did sometimes into some brainstorming idea for moves? Maybe when his friends got over for diner for his birthday…

 

-Maybe we could finally let Satoru come back home alone…

 

Shouto frowned ; sure it had been 5 years, and the whole black market was done, surely Satoru was safe now. But still. He was a baby. And his orientation skill was terrible. He would get lost. End up in china. They would never find him back again!

 

-What about i go get him and we jog home instead? Shouto proposed.

-You’ve definitely got more chance to make him jog with you in the afternoon, rather than in the morning...

 

Momo let out a sigh, and he could still feel her body temperature, way too high to his liking. So he decided to put the idea to the test, and turned to her :

 

-Come her. 

 

And as she snuggled ot his arms, he used his ice quirk to make her a little bit better. 

 

-Tell me when the temperature is perfect, he whispered to her ears. And she hummed with pleasure. 

-You’re perfect. 

 

They fell asleep like that. He woke up in the break of dawn, his arms empty and a furious urge to go to the bathroom. As he stumbled across the living room, still half asleep, he heard a familiar whistling noise. 

 

Momo was standing near the kitchen, looking at the kettle to make some tea. 

 

Something stirred in Shouto’s memory, ahd his heart beat sped up, as cold sweat ran down his spine. Before he could reason himself up he found himself behind the bathroom locked door, catching his breath. goosebump all over his arms and legs, almost to the point it itched. 

 

Don’t be stupid. She’s just making some tea, he said to himself. 

 

Yet, he could not unsee his mother’s back, as she did the same, that fateful night. The souvenir caught him off guard and he tried to step out of this awful state of doubt and incoherence, splashing his face with cold - very cold- water. 

 

His breath was still erratic. So he closed his eyes and tried to even his respiration. When he opened it again, he saw the inside of the trashcan, right besides the sink, and his heart finally settled, as he understood. 

 

There was a pregnancy test ; and it was negative. 

 

When Shouto came back to the living room, he found Momo sitting at the table, not touching her tea at all, silently crying. And it break his heart so much, that she would hide her tears from him, keep this suffering all to herself, away from her he could reach and help. 

 

Silently, he joined her, and she looked up at him. 

 

-I’m sorry, did i woke you up? she whispered. 

 

He didn’t answer, instead he kindly hugged her, and caressed her long silk black hair with his hand. He hoped he could transmit with his touch all he couldn’t manage to put into words. How he was sorry, how he was not angry, but just as sad as her, but how he loved her. He had loved her since high school -though it took him awhile to realize it- and would always do. 

 

And somehow, it seemed to work, she understood. She swallowed her breath, letting out a tiny hiss, as she finally let the tears spill freely on her cheek and hiccuped:

 

-I know...I know it was silly, that it’s just the flu...but i wanted to check...i…

 

He understood : he wanted to believe in it too. 

 

-You and Satoru, you’re enough for me. 

 

Momo hugged him tight, and hid her face in his neck. She didn’t say anything, and he was grateful for that, because he didn’t know if he could repeat this lie with a straight face. He wanted to believe it, he couldn’t imagine his life without Momo and Satoru. But just like he hadn’t imagined his life without children before. It had always been a constant fact, when he imagined his future : him, with a happy family full of kids he would raise better than his dad did. It would be his revenge, when he would be a better hero than him, only using his mother’s power. He had dropped some of his plans, as hatred turned to anger, then indifference, the understanding and acceptance. But not this one. This one stayed the same all those years. This dream had always as scary as comforting. He didn’t knew he could do it, until he met Satoru, but he had no doubt that it would happen at one point. 

 

And now it might never. 

 

-I just want to have the choice, cried Momo, in his arms. 

 

And not the choice being taken from them. He could feel that too. 

 

-The doctor said nothing was wrong with us, he reminded her. 

-Then why can’t we? She pleaded.

 

And he didn’t have the answer to that. The doctor said maybe it was a psychological block, that maybe it was Momo’s quirk, that used nutriments which a baby would use to grow, that was to blame. Maybe they were just unlucky. Not knowing, not being able to do anything to fix the problem, somehow made them stand between a “hope” and “resignation” state that wore them both. Maybe even more for Momo, who was used to make up plans and find a solution to every problem…

 

But her own. 

 

He couldn’t find a plan either - it was not his job. All he could do was believe in her. Like he had done since high school. 

 

-We will, one day, he promised.

 

If not biologically, they could still adopt. It hurt to think that there would never be a kid that had Momo’s beautiful features and his eyes. Or his hair and her pretty eyelashes. Nor her pretty nose or the hair lock at the base of neck, that he loved so much. A kid that was a bit of them both, bad and good. He could deal with it ; if they rose him together, a child would still be a little bit of them, he hoped, just like Satoru got his bouncy mode from his mother, and his serious moment with actions lines from him. They would still raise him to be the best of what they were, everything they loved and admired. 

 

-The three of us, he whispered. We found one another, and built this family. We can do it again.

It still hurt, to think about it, but he loved his adopted son too much already to think of it as a consolation prize. And he knew that Momo was like him. Maybe it just made things harder for both of them, though. 

 

He had just dried off both of Momo’s tears and his, when his phone rang. He didn’t question who was calling at 4AM, and just hang up. Izuku’s voice resounded at the other side of the phone, managing to be sad and shocked at the same time:

 

-Tsuyu is leaving!

 

And after that he burst into tears. Shouto looked at the clock, which showed 5AM and he found no point to go back to bed now. 

 

***

 

The following week passed too fast to Satoru’s taste. He was busy. High school wasn’t too hard, but every single student seemed to know that he had tried his luck on UA exam, and he was the talk of the class. Riku managed to drag him out most of the time, protecting him from attention and harsh rumors alike. 

 

People were saying he was sure to pass because he was the adopted son of Todoroki, while other reminded them that he couldn’t pass, because he was the son of a villains, murderers even! Nothing new, though, it hurt the same as usual. 

 

But knowing he had passed sure helped not go spiralling into worries. Much. Anxiety was like an untamed beast, sometimes it really didn’t make any sense. When it was too much, he just lied down on the floor of the rooftop and waited for the stress to pass. That’s how he made it through the hellish week, waiting for the result. 

 

The big surprise of the week was the sudden change at home ; Shouto and Momo finally agreed to cut Satoru some slacks. After five years he was finally allowed to go out without a hero besides him, from home to school, school to therapy, and then therapy from Peace headquarter. He called that a miracle. He still had to wait for his parents to finish work, because they didn’t want him out, alone, at night, but that was definitely an improvement! Shouto said they would do some jog together sometimes during the week -if this was the price to pay for freedom, Satoru was up to do a jog with him as many times as he wished for it!

 

So now each evening he went to Peace office (all alone, and he didn’t even got lost so many times!) to help Fuyumi, and then went back home with Shouto or Momo with a jog. They looked tired, but not were sick anymore. (Though Satoru did caught the flue and skipped Tuesday, while Shouto stayed in bed on Thursday) 

 

Satoru took the cooking duty each evening, because Shouto handled breakfast, and even if Momo was healed, she was still recovering, hence her taste buds wasn’t so accurate. Which apparently made her think she could test things out, and do exuberant and strange dishes, like chocolate steak. She used to do that, most of the time she didn’t give in to her curiosity and followed the recipe, and when she did, she was a good cook...But given the opportunity, like a left-over dinner or a hot pot, or in this very situation still sick taste bud, there were just no hope of salvation. Satoru wasn’t the best cook, but he could manage, and he hoped it cheered his parents up. They were in a sad mood since monday. 

 

He tried not to use his power to know, but that was impossible. Momo had thought she was pregnant. And Shouto was thinking he needed to train. And Apparently Tsuyu was leaving Ochako and Izuku, to do her job in France for one full year. In Toulouse, more precisely, even if Satoru could not even pint point this on a map without internet help. Satoru wondered if that was what Satsuki, Tsuyu’s sister, had wanted to talk about. But since she didn’t talk about it inside their text messages, he avoided the subject. Being the respectful friend was harder than he imagined. 

 

On Shouto’s birthday, which happened during the week, Satoru realized that it wasn’t just them, though. Ochako and Izuku -and Tsuyu- were all depressed. Even Kirishima didn’t manage to lift up the mood -and Satoru ahd the strange impression the man was avoiding him. Was he scared of letting UA info slip in front of a future student? When Tooru and Ojiro arrived with their baby girl in their arms -apologizing for not finding a babysitter- it was the final blow.

 

-I can babysit her, Satoru proposed. -Why don’t you all get out? Have some fun outside.

-Oh? Thank you Satoru you’re such a sweetheart! Said joyfully Tooru.

-You sure it will be okay? She has invisible limbs, you know, it’s hard to see what she’s doing until she’s doing it...Argued  Ojiro, worried.

-We can’t leave you all alone at home, mumbled Shouto. 

-Oh come on, can’t you cut some slack to the doting father act for once? he’s not made of fucking sugar, he can take care of himself for two hours! Complained Bakugou.

-Kacchan is right, besides, your address is not found on the net, assured Izuku. -There’s no risk of anything happening. 

 

Iida and Ochako’s argument helped convince Shouto, and he finally agreed to leave. Sending a message to the rest of ex-class A, where they were moving the party. They came back very late that night, happy again, even if tired. 

 

On friday, people at school started to talk : apparently the result were out, some kids had started to receive a notice from UA, saying if they were accepted or not. Some tried to ask if Satoru had an answer yet, but…

 

-There’s a delay, between normal mail and heroes mails, he explained to a classmate. -They check every heroes’ letters to make sure it isn’t dangerous or a threat since Mikuro got poisonous candies for Valentine day. 

 

He started to feel numb and scared though, as it became evident that every letter received that day were refusal. You know better, had said Aizawa. Satoru repeated those words like a mantra to keep his fears at bay. 

 

But then Mahô called him, and he couldn’t help but feel nauseous. 

 

“Tobio is accepted to I-island!” 

 

That wasn’t what he expected. He congratulated Mahô’s brother of course (he could hear his victory scream in the background) and asked:

 

“What about you? Any letter from UA?

-No? Should i have?”

 

Stupidly it comforted him a bit. If Mahô didn’t received her letter of admission too, than mean it was normal for Satoru to not have it. You know better. He knew better. He got this. He got in. So why did he still feel as scared to fail as everyone else?! Damnit. To not wander in this dangerous place, he asked instead:

 

“And you, how is everything? Did you grandfather caused any troubles again?”

 

It was the wrong move, he felt it in their bond -something like disappointment. And he regretted asking immediately. But to his surprise, she still answered:

 

“Well apparently he tried to come for visit and wait for me after school to talk...but his tires were all cut down!”

 

Satoru tried very hard not to look at Riku at his right, but the guy made that difficult when he simply put up a fake offended pose and claimed :   

 

“Can you believe people would do that? The nerves!”

 

Then he ate his spaghetti with an unrepentant smile. Mahô, unaware of this, continued : 

 

“He called and accused me of breaking his things for that, can you believe it? When he knows i can’t order objects to just break!

 

The miracle letter arrived of course, on monday. When Shouto went out to check it, just before they got out to work, he came back with a big smile on his face and showed his son a big white letter with UA logo printed on. Momo went immediately into her bouncing mode, while Satoru felt like all his blood had been drained from his veins at this very moment.

 

-Want to open it? Shouto simply asked. 

 

Yes, he desperately wanted it, he had been wishing for this letter all week long. yet the word that came out of his mouth was :

 

-No!

 

And he almost gave in to the urge to go and hide behind the couch. If Shouto was as surprised by Satoru’s reaction as Momo, he didn’t show it. Instead he just said:

 

-Well i want to know, so i will open it. 

 

Which definitely made Satoru rethink his strategy : that was way worse! He jumped and tried to get back his letter, but Shouto rose his hand, to make it out of reach. 

 

-Let’s see, what does it say?

-Nooo! I will read it! Give it back!

-Shouto don’t do that, give him his letter bac-

-Oh, they joined his motivation letter.

-Really? I didn't’ know you had to write one, why didn't’ you ask for my help Satoru?

 

That knowledge gave Satoru wings, and with one jump he took back what was rightfully his. Shouto didn’t seem very offended, since he had his hand free of charge, he used the opportunity to take out his phone and start recording the whole scene. 

 

For a moment, Satoru considered the idea to ran away in his room and shut the door to their noses. But Momo was standing in the way and if he did that, they would be late for school (things considered, they were already late). So he took a deep breath, remembered what Aizawa had said, and looked at the result. 

 

The letter didn’t contain much : there was indeed a copy of his motivation letter -which he would hide later, some kind of spreadsheet and a strange disk with a button underneath something akin to a speaker. 

 

Momo put a comforting hand on his shoulder, and whispered : “Press it.” And he did just as she told him. Immediately a hologram was displayed, and Satoru could almost hear Riku’s voice in his head, saying “they couldn’t send a mail but a hologram that, they can do”. 

 

To his surprise, it wasn’t Nedzu which appeared, not like in Momo and Shouto’s memories, but All might himself, stating with bright confidence: 

 

“This is a projection!! And I am here to…”

 

Then he bowed :

 

“Apologize and thank you once again for what you’ve done. Without you, my daughter could have been hurt during the exam.”

 

Satoru didn’t say anything, too surprised by the personal message. Did they really put the time to personalize his letter? He couldn’t help but feel so moved, and yet embarrassed at the same time. Why did they bother? Because he was Shouto’s adopted son? Because they knew him? But then All might resumed:

 

“It is hard, when you’re too close to someone, to stay down to earth. At UA we all knew that you wanted to be a hero, and although we all wanted you to succeed and support you, we didn’t know if you had what it take to be one.”

 

It hurt, Satoru knew, of course, but it still hurt to hear it. Though the pain didn’t last long, before Shouto and Momo could put a comforting hand on his shoulders, All might stated:

 

“Until that day. You showed us that you had the kindness and the courage to be a great Hero. Among us, there are no more doubt. I’m sure you’ll turn to be a wonderful hero...And someone...here...Wants to tell you something…!”

 

Satoru blinked, when All might took something off camera, and dragged it there. Satori appeared, her hair brushed and her cheeks all pink.

 

“Thank you...For saving me…” She muttered, looking at her feet rather than the camera. “My name...We can share. It’s okay.” 

 

Satoru couldn’t imagine how many hours All might had to spend to convince his daughter to say that. Probably too many. A week. Did he spent the whole week accomplishing this miracle?! Forgetting that it was just a projection and not reality, Satoru mumbled:

 

“It’s okay Satori you don’t have to-”

 

And then he caught Shouto and Momo proud stare and he shut up, as embarrassed as the little girl in the hologram. 

 

“I think, resumed All might, as he took his daughter in his arms, that you understand what it means. You passed the UA exam. Your result in both the written exam and the practical were outstanding. It will be an honor to see you in April.”

 

For a moment Satoru’s brain went blank. He could see the information on the screen which displayed his ranks, and showed he was among the top 10 of the contestants who passed even, but he barely registered it. Or, to be more accurate, he couldn’t believe his eyes. So much that he tried to get closer to the letter, to make sure he was seeing things right. 

 

That’s when he noticed Mahô’s name at the top of the list, 1rst place. So it had to be true. 

 

He really did passed the UA exam. He was in. He was in!

 

-I’m in! 

 

He turned to Momo and Shouto, his smile so big it hurt, his heart beating so fast it felt like bursting out of his chest ; only one truth ringing to his ears : he had passed! Passed! He would be a hero! Starting next april, he would be at UA! 

 

As only answer, Shouto put down his phone, and smiled -a little bit sad, and a little bit proud at the same time- and nodded:

 

-Yes, you did it. 

 

Momo gave him the sweetest hug ever:

 

-We’re so proud of you Satoru! 

 

And for once, Satoru felt proud of himself too. Once upon a time he believed he would always live in his mother shadow, forced to follow her footsteps until it consumed him whole. Until began to hone, a power of his own, that neither he or his family were scared of. A power that he could sue to save people even. 

How far he had come ? He had been a no-one, not even recognized by the society, a child without a birth certificate...From the kid who was nothing but a toy in the hands of villains before, forced to do as they pleased and unable to restrain his own quirk, he was there, now, with a loving family and a bright future ahead he had chosen. A future hero, maybe, he dared to dream.

 

And it was all thanks to them...To his new parents that let him go, and backed him up, ready to pick him up if he ever fell, even when they didn’t wish for him to go there. 

 

Gratitude bubbled in the back of Satoru’s throat.

 

-Thank you…

 

The word came out, almost like a sob, but there was no tear, nore sadness ; only happiness. 

 

Shouto and Momo stared for a second, unsure of what to say, and then they smiled, as if they understood what it meant, what Satoru had in his mind. Silently they patted his head, and let him gather back his pride of a teenager. Only when he felt ready -and picked back UA letter, they asked to see it.

 

And Satoru almost strangled himself when he saw the result ; he had managed to get so many points! 

 

-Can i take a picture and sent it to my old man? Asked Shouto with a smug. -And Fuyumi? And my brothers?

 

And it was just the beginning ; apparently the UA device had sent them a mail once the recorded message was over. It contained were many things -informations about April, UA, which class Satoru was in...what he needed to buy, what he needed to do...but also, his written exam copy -and Mahô’s too, at least the one he did in Mahô’s stead-  the record of his practical exam performance...

 

-Should we watch it this evening after work? Asked Momo entering a full bouncing mode. 

 

Satoru had the whole day to prepare himself for this. Or not, apparently the school had been warned about his success, and he was the only kid who passed UA exam in his school. Which turned him into some kind of prize all teachers showed off around the school all day long. Satoru coped quite bad with popularity and it was a relief to come back home that day ; thinking that surely, watching his own deeds with his parents couldn’t be as bad as being the attraction of the whole school.

 

He was so damn wrong ; first it was utterly embarrassing to see himself on tv -like some kind of star. He hid behind his hands so many time, not able to handle his own vision. But worse that he could see all his reckless acts, his plan’s shortcoming and…There were just so much he still had to improve! 

 

He could feel very strongly Momo and Shouto next to him, aware of their thoughts. That they both try very hard to hide it. 

 

-It was...hum...Started Momo when the video ended.

-You were...Tried Shouto. 

 

They echanged a glare and gave Satoru a stressed smile, as they both said :

 

-You did great. You were smart. 

 

They didn’t think that -or to be more accurate, they did thought that, but were too worried to be happy about it. Satoru was grateful that they lied for once. 

 

-Please...just...be more careful next time?

-Yeah do not use your body as a shield between a kid and a boulder please…

-I will, promised Satoru. 

 

***

 

This very same night, Shouto and Momo laid awake, staring at the ceiling. 

 

-Momo? Whispered Shouto, as he took her hand in his. 

-Yes?

-Let’s make the world a safer place before Satoru graduate.

 

She squeezed Shouto’s hand back, her brain turning on repeat the moment of the video where Satoru jumped to protect the little girl during the exam. For a moment, she was sure she couldn’t answer, feeling her heart beating so fast in her throat that it felt impossible to form words. But then she nodded, and promised:

 

-Yes. Let’s do that. 

 

***

 

Mahô received the letter of admission one day later than Satoru, but she learned it the same day as him, thank to her teachers and school. Just like Satoru, most of them were happy about it, and just like when she won a competition, they showed her around like a prize they earned themselves. Mahô was used to it, so she didn’t mind, but she was surprised when her main teacher let out a tear in front of her:

 

-What’s wrong? She asked, worried.

-i’m so relieved, the teacher sobbed. -I don’t know what i would have done...if...if…

 

She hiccuped and let out a loud sob:

 

-If you said to me you wanted to try a normal high school! Your results are just so terrible there was no way you would have gotten in anything!

 

Mahô couldn’t agree more, and simply patted her teacher’s back. Then she returned to her daily routine as if nothing happened : it wasn’t like she had any doubt. Becoming a hero was her dream. No. it was her destiny. She never doubted she would make it. The question was just how long would it take for her to be the hero she wanted to be. She couldn’t allow to waste too much time on it.

 

She wanted to go back home and check the mail before going to her evening training session, but her plans were shattered. Just like her daddy expected, she found her grandfather waiting at the entrance of her school yard, inside his car with new tires. Whoever sabotaged him apparently couldn’t continue for one more week. She was happy for the innocent tires, but disappointed still. 

 

And he must had been really angry because it usually took him 5 hours to get to this remote village in the mountain. Too bad for him!

 

-I heard you got in, he said as she passed near. 

 

She went still ; as she was wearing her headband today -Satoru’s gift- he shouldn’t have been able to recognize her. She enchanted it especially so that people - fans with bad intention and villains alike- couldn’t spot and recognize her in the crowd. Did that mean that today, Grampa didn’t plan anything bad? Or maybe her enchantment needed some correction…It was after all, the first draft of the one she put on their house.

 

Anyways she couldn’t avoid confrontation now; so she turned to him and answered:

 

-Yeah! Starting April i will study at UA.

-Get in the car, then.

 

She squeezed her school back’s handle in her hands. Maybe her headband didn’t see any evil intent in him, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t have one in the future, like he had in the past. 

 

-I’m not stupid enough to get inside your car. 

-Okay, then run, if you prefer. Whatever this is, i scheduled an interview in less than half an hour. 

 

Mahô frowned. Could she avoid that? She would need to think of an enchantment to avoid situations like this in the future. But for she didn't’ have any clue on how to get out ; there was just no way her parents could come and pick her up, nor UA, and she couldn’t make a scene when she...

 

-I have a training session until 10PM, Mahô recalled him. 

-The interview takes place at the gym. You’ll do your warm up during their questions; i already warned your coach. Maybe you can answer some while training. 

 

Mahô tried her very best to think of a comment, something insolent and mean, something annoying enough to fit her mood, but all she could manage was:

 

-I thought i was not disciplined enough for interview. I warn you i won’t tell lies, i will not deny that i want to become a hero first. 

-I will make a do with that. Just don’t do another stupid move like at your pro-debut. 

 

The souvenir made her blush, embarrassed : she certainly didn’t want that too. That stressed her a bit, she was used to attention but talking to this many people with so many way they could interpret her words wrongly? It was scarier than testing a new enchantment on an object. Objects said no, and sometimes they bit back to make sure she understood ; or they obeyed wrongly. Fans...Fans send death threats, make humiliating memes on the net and mock you behind your back with no way for you to correct things without getting things worse. They could be great and very supporting and loving too, at least as loving as they could be hateful, but not when Mahô talked during interviews. 

 

-If you’re afraid to make a mistake, let me do the talking like usual, her grandfather said.

-I’m not-

-You can correct me if i say something wrong, if you say it nicely. 

 

She pouted, and to make things clear she was still angry at him -even though she would obey for now- she stated:

 

-See you at the gymnasium then. 

-Don’t forget to smile for the camera.

 

And started running. She arrived before him -car were great but traffic was dense at this hour, and mountains roads were not easy for luxurious engine. Especially now that there was snow all around like today. Whyever her grandfather had organized that meeting, he did things right, his coach was already handling a bunch of journalists, showing them were they could sit and put their camera. 

 

Mahô’s heart felt as heavy as her feets.

 

Journalist noticed her quite fast ; and rushed to her side, eager to be the first to get the news:

 

-Is it true that you’ll be attending UA and try your luck for the Olympic revival? One said.

-You’ll be the first student to ever get a special treatment-

-Aren’t you taking the job of hero and olympic too lightly?

-What do you want to say to your rivals who train full-time?

 

She gulped, and tried:

 

-Wish them good luck?

 

Fortunately her coach barged in and lead her somewhere she could hide while waiting. The two next hours were exhausting -more so than normal training session. Her grandfather showed up and acted like some supportive old man. He had somehow changed his mindset and decided to make the most of this situation. He talked about how amazing the situation was, and talented Mahô could be, and sponsors that were already rushing, eager to have her to represent their marks. 

 

He was trying to get her under new contracts, using her special situation to lure them in, she realized. And he would not fall for the same trick a second time.

 

-I have no doubt my granddaughter will succeed, he said, putting a hand on her shoulder while she remained silent. -She is already an accomplished sportwoman, and she’ll be just as impressive as a hero. She always win, after all, he added, looking right at her. 

 

His confidence astonished journalists: 

 

-Aren’t you afraid this might be too much for her? One asked.

-How will she manage to train enough for competition?

-What if she got hurt at UA right before performing?

 

For that, her grandfather smiled and explained:

 

-Maybe it would be a problem for someone else. But my granddaughter is very serious about training. And she had an iron will. All we need to do, as adults, is to organize her schedule with care and attention. Besides, we are not afraid of training injury, why don’t you show them, coach, how we make sure that nothing happened to our little genius?

 

They showed them Mahô’s material, which was especially enchanted by and for her ; she didn’t talk much, even then. She loved her suit -which made her float if her position was wrong enough to make her fall- and her skating choose that could not cut flesh derly,  and even her hoops which could teleport her from one to another -even if she used them way less now that she dropped acrobatic diving- but she didn’t want to be help her grandfather in any way. She smiled though, when she finally got on ice and could resume her training as planned. 

 

She still couldn’t believe how he managed to twist it, and lie so blatantly. He didn’t congratulate about UA at all, he said he was proud of her to the camera. She knew how to lie, but the was at another level. So convincing she almost got fooled too even though she had promised herself not to. She wouldn’t let him have her way. 

 

As soon as the interview was over, her grandfather left, not even saying goodbye. She was both glad and furious at the same time. She hated that. She hated not knowing how to act in his presence. 

 

When she returned home, way later, fortunately her parents had prepared something more joyful for the occasion. They had already opened her letter and were waiting her to celebrate -they didn’t even took their dinner yet even though it was so late! And Mother had prepared crepes! They even waited for her to eat, when it was already so late!

 

In front of her surprise, her mother simply shrugged:

 

-I made Tobio’s favorite dish to congratulate him for I-Isiland, why shouldn’t i do the same for you?

 

She tried her best to ignore the darkness under her mother’s eyes, gulped back an unwanted advice for her, and offered her brightest smile instead. 

 

After dinner, they all actionned UA device contained inside the letter. Her father took her into her arms when they officially announced her qualification -as if she was still a baby- and made her fly high. 

 

-That’s my girl! 

 

Her mother was a little bit more sceptical when the hologram talked about her cheating the written exam. Her brother Tobio was beyond angry: 

 

-I can’t believe you made it to the first rank when you cheated! How could they even let you in?!

-They can’t forbid people using quirk during written exam, or people with QI enhancing quirk would be discriminated, explained Mahô’s father, quite seriously. 

 

Mahô smiled proudly, and nodded, as if she had thought of that too, when she clearly didn’t. 

 

-That’s still so infuriating! You’re going to do over this exam with me this week-end promised Tobio. 

 

Mahô didn’t care, and just laughed, happy to see them so invested in her success.

 

Her two other brothers, Hiromi and Akira, which had been hom to celebrate Tobio’s success at I-Island, arrived, dragged by the commotion, and took their part, Akira siding with Tobio and their mother while Hiromi simply rejoiced with their father and sister. 

 

Like in Satoru’s house, they all sat down the same evening to see the recording from UA. But Mahô was again used to see herself on television, as this happened on every competition. She couldn’t help but smile proudly each time her father was impressed by her skills, even her brothers once or twice asked her what enchantment she had done there, and there, curious. But the true victory lied in her mother’s reaction, when she frowned, irritated, at the end and asked:

 

-More than once you were surprised by your own enchantment, why?

-Well, because i never used it before, so i didn’t know if it could work.

-That’s so reckless, Mahô, you should test every enchantment at home, not on the field that’s too dangerous! You could get hurt!

 -But you forbid me to uses those ones, you said it was too dangerous at home!

 

She blinked a few time, as if it was the first time she had heard of it :

 

-Did I? 

 

She asked her husband silently, but he just shrugged, unable to confirm or not. Then, seeing the anxious face of her children, she corrected:

 

-Well; if i had to recall every little thing i forbid you all to do, i would need more than one brain…

-You say that as if we’re all to blame, complained Tobio.

-Do i have to recall you what you used to said too? Added Akira with a smug.

-You said that Mahô was the reason you could grow grey hair before sixty! Completed his twin, Hiromi. 

 

Mahô pouted, especially when her mother did check her greying hair. When it once had been as dark as night, in Mahô’s dearest memory, it was now all grey, if not totally white. And she was indeed, not sixty yet. She gulped a bit, feelingguilty for one moment. Then she saw the frown on his father’s face, and the sadness in his eyes, and she jumped to her feet:

 

-This is all my work! Claimed Mahô, proudly, hugging her mother and putting a kiss on the top of her greying hair.

-Not all your fault, whispered her mother to her ear, so she would be the only one to hear that, giving her a kiss too, on the cheek. -Well. Enough with my hair. Back to the problem : i take that order back. Please, do test your enchantment before using it on the field.  Or i will really have white hair before i turn sixty. 

 

That was really a good surprise, and Mahô couldn’t help but do a victory pose. Though it didn’t last long, because her mother reminded her:

 

-Don’t you have a math test tomorrow? You did great at UA, but you need to keep your grades up, dear, go study. 

 

Yep; she still had a very good memory, unfortunately! 

 

Her daddy, however, stood up and declared:

 

-I will help her study. I’m not that good at math but i should be able to handle first grade level. 

 

Silence made him pose, and he looked around the table, confused by their expression. He looked twice at Mahô, and blinked a few time, before saying:

 

-Oh dear, i’m sorry my tiny witch...You’re...Definitely not in first grade anymore…

 

He didn’t say which grade he thought she was currently, and she was grateful he didn’t. Short terms memory confusion were the worst case. 

 

-It’s almost midnight, and it had been a long day, I think, it’s time we all get to bed, we’re all tired, whispered mommy, as she caressed her husband arms with patience and compassion. 

 

None of them believed that, not even daddy, but they all complied because she looked the most tired out of them. 

 

-It’s normal to be a bit out of place, she assured as she lead him to their room.

 

Daddy’s expression turned grim, jaw clenched, frowning and lips sealed tight. Before he could go though, Hiromi and Akira stopped them and proposed to save the memory of the evening before leaving.

 

Mahô went back to her room, but when she locked the door, instead of going straight to her desk, she opened her laptop and put back the recording of UA exam. Then she went back to her bed and sneaked out one simple bottle from under her pillow. The bottle didn’t look that important, but when she taped on the top and said:

 

-Usagi park incident…

 

A knocked on her door startled her, and she put back the bottle in its place swiftly.

 

-Open, she ordered to the door.

 

Her brother, Tobio, entered. 

 

-I said i didn’t need help for my homework, she pouted. -Besides Satoru and Creatie made me re-do the written exam already, no need for me to do it a third time!

-I’m not here for that. And it depends, can you do it on your own without a single error now?

 

She didn’t answer that. He sat on the ground, facing her, looking grave and serious; so she did the same. 

 

-What’s the matter? You still mad i got in?

-I’m not…-He paused- Well maybe i’m a little mad. But i’m happy for you.

 

If that was not that, Mahô tried to guess what she had done that could piss her brother off ; the list was very long since Tobio was always pissed about something, but she could pint point a few reasons still:

 

-I’m sorry i casted away grampa from the house without telling you beforehand. 

 

Tobio frowned, and declared loud and clear:

 

-Yeah you should! You’re not the master of this house, i’m still on good terms with grampa and now he can’t get inside because of you! 

-He threatened me, Tobio, and he took something i enchanted especially to know one’s intention about us ; it wasn’t good. He wanted us harm. Objects don’t lie, human do!

 

Especially her grandfather if what happened today was any clue. If he could say with a straight face to journalist that he admired his son as a hero and supported Mahô, what else could he do?

 

-I know! But still, you should have at least told me before making the decision. It’s just about respect and -

 

She didn’t understand why he was so adamant about it ; why would he want to stay with someone who didn’t want the best for them at all. She could get being forced -she didn’t have a choice but to stand his presence- but willingly seaking him? Maybe he thought he could outsmart their grandfather -and maybe he was right- but she didn’t want to try their luck. It was dangerous and…-

 

-Urgh! Her brother grumbled, rubbing his forehead as if it hurt. Which was probably the case. -I’m not here to fight with you, he said. -I’m here to talk about something more important. I can still see grandfather outside of home. 

 

She didn't’ like that, but she couldn’t forbid her older brother to do that ; she just didn’t have that authority over him ; couldn’t help but wish her mommy and daddy would in her place, though. 

 

-What’s this about then?

-This April, you’ll move to UA. You will be in a dorm. 

-Yes.

-And i will be moving to I-Island.

 

She was afraid to know where this discussion would lead them. 

 

-We need to discuss how we will help mom take care of father while not being here, he added, as she thought. 

 

Mahô nodded, having already thought of that. 

 

-I will enchant every object in the house while i’m still here, she assured. 

 

She took out a book from one of her shelves, and laid it down between them so he could read it. She liked to call this one her Grimoire ; since she noted every enchantment that worked and every one she was still working on. She pointed a drawing of a wristwatch :

-That’s the blueprint for Creatie’s asked for her program. I can probably changes some enchantments so it could work for us. I could add a some hand in it, and turn it into some kind of Weasley-watch-look alike? That way we would know how is everyone just by looking at it.

-Good idea, agreed Tobio. -You should also enchant the gaz, so that way if he starts cooking and forget about it, he won’t-

-I can’t enchant the gaz itself but i can probably enchant the cooking place…

-Do what you think is best, as long as it works.

 

She nodded, already thinking of a few sentences. 

 

-If you have any idea of an enchantment that could help, just write it down a list like usual, i will add it in the morning... 

-He can’t be alone all day, Tobio said with a pout -Or he will lost concept of time. I will probably be able to call them each evening. Hiromi promised to call during lunch break. And Akira said he would try to do random call during the day. Can you take care of calling them in the morning?

-Yeah of course, i start early anyways. 

-Do not call them at 5AM though, mom needs to sleep.

-I can call them after my morning jog, at 7am, she offered. 

-Good. If you can do memory games with him during those time, it’s better. I’m counting on you, Mahô.

-And i’m counting on you too, she smiled. -Do not get so into your study that you lost track of time! 

 

At least the joke made his frown go away ; it was not a laugh, but that was something. 

 

-Five years. That’s how long i’m supposed to study to I-island, he said. -I will find a cure for his quirk’s drawback, i just need a little more time and equipment. I will try to make it in three, but that depends too much on how things works there. 

 

Mahô didn’t say anything. The fact that they both feared their daddy couldn’t make it that long hurt. How could it both feel too short and too long at the same time? 

 

-Leave that to me, i will make him so invested in my hero career he won’t be able to forget anything, she said. -You focus on the remedy, i will take care of daddy. 

 

Tobio finally smiled ; it was a strain on his face, nervous and anxious, a little bit competing, but never happy. His usual. He simply acknowledged her effort, nodded, and left with a simple sentence:

 

-I hope so. 

 

The whole place felt cold, when the door closed, and Mahô looked at the empty space, for a long, long time. It fit the mood of her heart, but felt so out of place with her brain, which was saturated with thoughts and spiralling out of control. She needed to do something.

 

She counted to ten. And took back the bottle hidden under her pillow. 

 

Images started to appear inside it. For a moment she just stared and listen to words she knew by heart now: 

 

“I still have three of them” Big mother inside the bottle said. “I will execute one every 30 minutes. When I’m done with this family I will kill another one. I will not stop until I’ve got my son back.”

 

 Mahô slowly put the two records, UA and Usagi park, next to each other, and opened a book -which was definitely not Math related. Slowly she wrote down:

 

“Enchantements to improve”

 

***

 

Satoru got a call from Mahô, the very next day, they usually only chatted on Tuesday, since she was very busy, but apparently she made an exception for him. 

 

-Did you got it? She asked, he could almost see her bounce, judging by the enthusiasm of her voice. She knew of course, that he did -unlike him she was not anxious. She only have the kindness to let him say it aloud :

 

-I passed!

 

She squealed, so loud that Riku, who was eating next to Satoru, almost fell of his chair. The poor boy stared, afraid that something awful had happened, but Satoru assured him with hand gesture that everything was all right.

 

-I passed too! She finally said, as proud as him, when she calmed down. 

 

And so Satoru returned the favor and let out the most honest “Woooooow!” he could mutter at this moment. She giggled, not bothered by his bad acting, and resumed:

 

-I’m so happy! We will now be heroes! I can’t wait to finally share a class with you! There’s so much we will be able to do! Train together, study together, you can help me with math and i can help you with…

 

She probably made a gesture that meant “everything physical”. He didn’t mind as it was true. 

 

-We will finally be able to work our duo, too, approved Satoru.

-I have so many moves in mind, already, do you have some too?

-Not really, i thought we could find out step by step during exercises. 

-Yes, that would be so cool! It would be like Pow ! And poof and wooosh and aaaawww- 

 

That’s when Riku -who had been listening as politely as possible, suddenly asked:

 

- You seem so sure you’ll be in the same class…You already got your assignment?

 

Satoru nodded, though the letter didn’t say with who he shared his class, he knew which one he was assigned to -and who would be his main teacher. And he had no doubt, for once, that Mahô was with him ; after all, UA knew abut their plans. So he confidently stated:

 

-I’m in class A.

 

While at the same time, Mahô declared:

 

-I’m in class B!

 

And just like that, their plans shattered.