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With All Due Respect, what the fuck?

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[For as long as he can remember, Izuku Midoriya has had a cat. He was told the cat grew up with him, and the two did everything together. Eat, sleep, school. They were constant companions.

When Izuku turned 13, which was old enough to notice these kinds of things, he began to see that his cat, fondly named Mikumo, was... odd. He never paid much heed to it, though. He was just a cat after all!

Occasionally his cat would disappear for hours or days at a time, before waltzing on home like he had never left. Even stranger was the fact that he was the same color as Izuku's hair, and had almost identical big, green eyes. He was smart, too. Sometimes he seemed to understand commands given to him, and he didn't act very catlike.

But after the first time Mikumo saved his life, Izuku began to look a bit more closely.

-

The first time Shouto Todoroki saw the cat, it was the morning after he got his scar. He was crying in pain and fear on his bed, when he heard the window squeak open. He looked up to see a small, dark green cat standing on the windowsill. While Shouto sat petrified, the cat soundlessly padded inside and curled up next to him, pushing it's tiny little head into his hands. He paused, and began to pet it softly.

As he sat there a couple hours later, a purring cat on top of him, he realized that while he still hurt, he had never felt better.

Over the years, the cat would come sparsely, but that simply made his visits better. Mikumo, he read from the collar, never failed to improve his mood, and always seemed to know where he was hurting. He also had a strange knack for coming when his father was out, so he was never caught. Shouto always wondered who owned him, and why they let him wander freely, but he never received any answers, not even for how old the dark green cat was.

Mikumo was odd, too. Smart, and uncannily knowledgeable about Shouto's schedule, but he was always too busy petting the cat to wonder too much.

That changed when the cat set an elaborate prank for his fa- Endeavour for the first time.

-

The only times Hitoshi Shinsou saw the cat was when he was running. The first time was when he was running from his newest pair of foster parents (no better than any of the others) and he had gotten lost. So there he was, sitting at the edge of an alleyway when a little shape sidled up next to him. They sat like that for a while, watching the people as it got dark. Eventually, the cat got up, waving its tail as it strode forward. Hitoshi was used to it, but the cat leaving still sent a twinge of pain through his heart. As if listening to his thoughts, the cat stopped and looked back at him with big, green eyes as if saying 'what are you waiting for?' He smiled softly and slowly got up, careful to avoid his injuries, before following the cat.

They walked for awhile, until it the moon was high in the sky and the streets were empty. Soon, though, the cat paused and sat in front of a nondescript door. Hitoshi stared at him until the cat, still not breaking eye contact, tapped the door with his paw. The human sighed and knocked, mentally cursing whatever instincts caused him to follow a cat to random stranger's doors.

He was surprised when the door actually opened to show a tired looking man with black hair and eyes staring at him. Without a word he left the door open and went inside. Hitoshi followed quietly, closing the door behind them. By the time the man had made two cups of coffee and gotten medical supplies, Hitoshi was comfortably seated in a chair by the small kitchen table. The man sat.

"Call me Aizawa. I don't know how you found this place, or why you came here, but you might as well get something out of it."

After that first occurrence, Mikumo showed up whenever he was lonely or in trouble, but always away from home. He never came out when he was with his multiple foster parents, but also seemed to know whatever was wrong. When Hitoshi changed addresses, the cat found him again. He never really thought much of it, at least before Mikumo somehow called Social Services the first time after particularly biased fosters almost killed him from starvation.

Then he thought about it a lot.

-

The only times Katsuki Bakugo saw the cat was when he was beating up Deku. The annoying little thing always got in his way or meowed loud enough to bring an adult. Although, he never really paid much attention to the stupid cat, so he probably saw it by itself too.

Admittedly, the thing creeped him out. It was always watching him, almost judgemental, with that weird look in its eyes like it was disapproving of his actions.

So, naturally, he ignored it until he absolutely couldn't anymore.

He stopped that after the idiot animal led a police officer to him after a car almost ran him over.

Yes, he stopped ignoring it then.

-

Shota Aizawa was so done with this cat. Just. Done. At least once a month, at random times of the day (but suspiciously only when he was home, how in the world-) strange kids would show up at his door, looking confused and hurt.

At first, he didn't ask how the kids had gotten there, just treated them and let them stay the night. But around the 5th or 6th, he got curious. He asked a purple haired kid covered in bruises who brought him there, and the boy responded with 'a small green cat'. After fact checking and getting the same answers from a couple more strays, he decided he simply had to know more. So the next time a kid showed up, he ignored them.

That plan was scrapped after he came home from patrol to find at least 20 stray cats filling his studio apartment. He never ignored kids after that again.

He always wondered how the cat knew how to lead kids to his home, or how it knew the way, but he never actively investigated it.

That only lasted until he saw the cat stalking down the UA halls outside his classroom.

He told Nedzu everything later that day.

-

Naomasa Tsukauchi would see the cat on his desk at least once a week. The first time, he had been getting coffee while working on a robbery case and had come back into the room to find Officer Tamakawa sitting at his desk, in a staring contest with a small cat.

When Naomasa closed the door behind him, the cat-headed officer jumped up, the bell on his neck jangling cheerily as he looked at the detective.

"I didn't know you had a cat! Is he even allowed to be here?"

Naomasa sighed. "Tamakawa, I don't own a cat. It must be a stray, but I am confused as to how it got in..."
At that point, another officer poked her head in.

"Oh, that's Mikumo. I'm surprised you haven't seen him yet. He's the neighborhood cat, smart little fluffball, yes he is..."

As the woman devolved into meaningless cat noises in the background, Naomasa looked back at the cat. For some reason, the cat seemed to be reading his case papers, before letting out a loud meow at the suspect list. Naomasa watched in utter confusion as the feline firmly sat on one of the pictures, then put his paws on two more.

Tamakawa had shushed the lady already, and was by that point staring at the cat. "Are..." he asked hesitantly, then swallowed. "Are those the perpetrators?"

The cat purred, then slowly got up and stalked past the dumbfounded police and out the door.

No one stopped him.

Two weeks after that, the day after the three criminals had been tried and convicted, Naomasa decided he would always leave the window open in his office. He thought about following the cat and talking to it's owners, but he decided not to look a gift cat in the mouth and not investigate it.

Of course, he revisited the topic when, a couple years later, the cat single handedly solved one of the worst serial murder cases in the Musutafu area ever recorded.

-

Deku had died. He was sure of it. Absolutely positive.

He supposed it could be worse. He had lived to the ripe old age of 89, a retired hero who had been the number 1 hero for decades. He had a wife, kids, grandkids, a new protege who was the new number 1, and few regrets.

He was at peace.

So, he was not expecting to wake up next to his own crib as a kitten. Baby Izuku gurgled at him before falling silent. A cute hero calendar on the wall nicely informed him that it was 3 days after his birthday. As in, the date of his birth.

'The HELL?'

When the implications washed over him, he almost fell over. He could fix things. Make things better, help people, his FRIENDS, and make everyone's lives better.

'This time,' he vowed to himself, 'I won't ever be too late. Although... to whatever celestial being thought it would be funny to do this, excuse me, but how the fuck am I supposed to change my future looking like this? THIS ISN'T GODDAMN FUNNY.'

Cat or no, he would save everyone this time around.

Chapter Text

Do you know how hard it is to raise someone who is basically yourself? Mikumo remembers all of the major events in his young life, but damn it was hard to keep watch over a child as a cat. He had forgotten just how STUPID he was as a kid.

'Thankfully, it will all have been worth it today,' the human-turned-cat mused as he stretched. Unfortunately, the peace was abruptly shattered as a frantic Izuku fumbled into the living room, mumbling incoherently that he was going to be late to school. Midoriya climbed gracefully into his hair, which almost completely hid the tiny feline. It was a daily ritual of theirs, ever since they figured out that 'Mikumo' was small enough to completely disappear inside Izuku's curls, with only his glowing eyes showing.

A few minutes time saw the two greenettes watching a villain attack at Tatooin Station with excitement, though for different reasons. Izuku's thoughts went along the line of '-newheroesineedmynotesand-,' while Midoriya was simply excited that who he saw as his little brother was finally going to start his hero life. Sure, it had hardships and close calls, but that was why Midoriya was there, to smooth the process.

'Soon...,' the cat began to purr and closed his eyes. 'Soon, this crazy life is going to begin.'

-

There was something off about Mikumo today, Izuku firmly decided while updating his hero notes. The rest of the class was in uproar after their teacher started talking about career paths, but he had zoned out hours ago.

The cat in question was sitting on a windowsill overlooking the koi pond, lazily watching the chaos. It was usual for him, and very telling of their quirked society that no one batted an eye at him anymore. Almost everyone in the city had seen him at least once, and many knew him by name.

The boy was so lost in his thoughts that he only snapped out of it when the class went quiet after the teacher had mentioned he was also applying to UA.

"What! Quirkless Deku, he'll never get in."

"Forget a useless quirk, he doesn't have one at all!"

"No way that loser is going anywhere in life."

He tried to hide in his hands, but before he could say anything, Kacchan blew up his desk. As he frantically defended himself, a small part of his brain catalogued that Kacchan wasn't as aggressive as usual, and he kept glancing to where his lazy-ass freeloader was simply sitting and watching.

'Stupid cat...' Izuku mentally grumbled.

By the time class had ended, he'd finished his hero notes and was just putting his notebook away when Bakugo grabbed it out of his hands and started flipping through it, before burning it in one hand and tossing it out a window.

"What do we have here, you damn nerd? Shouldn't you have realized by now that you'll never be a hero? Worthless."

Izuku gulped. "It's just trying, Kacchan. Wh-what's wrong with trying?" He asked, then flinched back as the explosive blonde put his hands on his shoulders in a clear warning.

"Listen up, you useless piece of shit. I'm going to be the only hero from this dumb school, and I'm going to be the best. I don't care what you do, but stay out of my perfect origin story, hear me?"

Izuku could only nod emphatically, squeezing his eyes shut. Eventually, the hands disappeared.

"Oh, and Deku?" Don't say it, don't say it, don't-

"If you're that desperate for a quirk, take a swan dive off the roof and hope for one in the next life."

Izuku- no, just Deku now, stared at the floor, hands bunched in his shirt, as Kacchan and his lackeys laughed their way out of the classroom. Shame and tears burned at his eyes, and he only half registered the burned hero notebook pushed towards him by sad green eyes.

-

Oof. Midoriya knew that this experience was crucial for the timeline, but it didn't make it any easier to watch.

He padded along behind a downcast Izuku as they slowly made their way towards the fated underpass.

His senses tingled as they walked through, culminating in one big anxious bubble that swelled almost to bursting as-

...
Well, shit.

The boy trotted away from the manhole cover, but nothing moved. The cat even lingered for a moment, but felt no vibrations.

Looks like not stopping to pick his notebook out of the koi pond had given this Izuku plenty of time to mosey on through this turning point unscathed. Oh no.

He KNEW he shouldn't have caught the notebook. Aaaargh. He would need to find someway for Izuku to stay for a small while until the sludge villain attacks.

'Here goes nothing.'

He meowed, loud and long, in the cat equivalent to a sob as he stopped directly over the manhole. Just as predicted, Izuku stopped and turned back, seeming to notice the fake limp he had adopted. But just as he reached him, the world exploded.

Unfortunately, the cons of having a cat there, arguably more forgettable than a little boy, was that the sentient slime focused mostly on the cat. Also unfortunately, a cat has less lung to breathe with, meaning less breath.

Well then. He had not planned for this.

Just as his vision went black from lack of oxygen, he heard an exceptionally loud "TEXAS SMASH" and coughing. He opened his eyes a moment later to the most awful scene he could have imagined.

Another con of there being two bodies to take, was the sludge had failed to send Izuku unconscious, more concerned by the smaller body. That means that All Might was currently signing a very excited Izuku's notebook.

Oops.

As Midoriya was busy coughing up a lung (Which is not fun as a cat. Seriously. Don't try it.), he felt himself be picked up by the boy.

"Well, as much as I love to spend time with my fans, I must be going now! See you later, young Midoriya!"

Izuku nodded, looking slightly more concerned with his cat than the hero leaving, and then the idiot started WALKING AWAY as All Might picked up his spilled groceries.

NO. No, no, no, this would not do.

So, 'Mikumo' made the stupidest decision he had ever made, even though he had technically done this before. He leaped out of Izuku's caring arms and latched onto All Might as he jumped away.

"Mikumooooooo!"

Well, looks like he can put to use all of those new curse words. He could go for minutes, actually. After all, one does not grow up with Katsuki Bakugo and live 70 years as a pro hero without picking some stuff up.

Chapter Text

By the time Midoriya had stopped screaming mentally, he was almost out of curses. By the time they landed on the rooftop, he had moved his way through English and was starting on French (thank you, Aoyama and Pony). But he had accomplished his goal, which was to make Toshinori Yagi drop the bottles of slime.

All Might looked askance at him and he realized that he must look really odd, growling with his fur all over the place.

'Alright. I can fix this. I can make something good out of this shitshow... hopefully.'

So might as well just continue this crappy trend of things going wrong.

'Mikumo' took as big of a breath as he could, steeled his courage, and slowly walked up to the confused All Might. He stood on his hind legs, placing his front paws right on his injury, and meowed three, distinct times.

Toshi flinched like he'd been slapped, reflexively gaining his muscled form for a few, short seconds. But for the cat, that was all he needed.

He jumped to Toshi's shoulder, and, quick as a house fly, yanked a couple pieces of hair straight out of his scalp. 'Attention grabbed.' Before the man could even react, Midoriya high-tailed it out the open roof door and down the stairs as fast as possible, immediately heading towards where he knew the sludge villain would appear. 

...or not, as he quickly switched direction towards where he left Izuku. 'This is messing up the timeline so much! I swear, if this continues, I'm going to snap and kill something,' he thought grimly as he spit out the hair.

His adrenaline was wearing off, but he didn't have much time. As soon as he saw Izuku, he chirped loudly before springing in the opposite direction, only looking to see that his charge was following. He was, albeit concerned.

Thankfully, everything from there was easy. He led Izuku to the plaza where the villain had taken Kacchan hostage. The boy needed no prodding, and rushed to save his friend/enemy/rival. Toshinori needed nothing either, just the sight of a weak, little boy throwing himself into danger was enough to get him moving. And so, for the first time in what seemed like hours, Midoriya could just sit back and watch.

After being released with multiple warnings, the boy (and cat disguised in his hair) began the long walk home. Then came the death threats from a secretly thankful Bakugo and All Might popping out of nowhere to talk him. Most of it was the same, except for the fact that the two hadn’t spoken earlier, so it was really two conversations in one. The outcome was the same, thank goodness.
And then the tears.

…damn, it was weird watching himself talk to Toshi. Was he really THAT much of a crybaby back then? Jeez, he'd rather be slapping the idiot for decreasing his time limit…

Oh no.

He almost fell off of Izuku’s head when he realized that he must be acting like All Might's teacher would. If he wasn’t a cat, he'd be blushing like a schoolgirl.

‘You know what, I think I’ll just adopt all of them. They’re my friends, and someone needs to take care of them,’ Midoriya mused, fully accepting the self imposed role of team mom/older brother. It wouldn’t be too bad. He could make Aizawa and Hitoshi get sleep, force Toshi to actually eat something, maybe keep Mei from accidentally blowing herself up in her workroom. He could do that.

-

In the early morning, a small dark shape stood silhouetted against the streetlights in the pre-dawn blackness.

‘There are definite advantages to being a cat. No one looks twice at a stray cat at one in the morning. Plus…’

The cat lept down into a small alley, where several other cats milled around. One particularly large tortishell tom padded towards Midoriya.

“I have news regarding the detective. A thin blonde man visited late yesterday, and mentioned you. The detective told him all he knows, and showed him papers. That is all.”

“Thank you. The food is on the roof two buildings north. Please inform me of anything else you guys see.”

The tom grinned, a sharp cat smile that made the light glint off his canines. “For more food, anything,” and bounded away.

‘…they make wonderful spies, and will do almost anything for constant food or safety, both of which I can provide.’

Midoriya turned towards Naomasa's office and continued forward at a brisk trot. He reached it in a few minutes, and lo and behold, the lights were off and a window was open. After he had become a pro, Naomasa and him would have lunches where they talked about biggest and weirdest cases, so Midoriya knew that the detective was currently working on a puzzling burglary spree, whose culprit was actually a new intern in the police force who had lied about his quirk. He stealthily slipped inside, pausing to let his eyes adjust to the office room darkness.

It took him a minute of searching, but he located the file on him (satisfyingly short), which was on Tamakawa's desk. He had always liked the cat-headed officer, even as Deku. He made quick work of ripping it up, happily surveying his work, before turning back to the window.

Which was closed.

Ah, well. Fun while it lasted.

Even though he realized what was happening, he still jumped out of his skin when Naomasa flipped the light on. HOW had he not heard the man? Or at least seen him! Ugh.

“I'm not going to pretend to understand how you knew where your file was, or what it looked like, or that we even had one… I’m getting off track. One simple question, and I'll know if you lie.”

Midoriya knew that. Tsukauchi's quirk had been a very fun one to analyze, especially since it worked with all living things. He settled down, tucking his front paws beneath him before reluctantly meowing.

“Are you in league with, work for, or have any negative connection to All For One?”

‘Oh thank god, it’s easy.’ A head shake.

Silence

“You’re not lying.” It was said more as a statement than a question, but he nodded anyway. Naomasa sighed, before moving to open up the window in silence.

The dark blur slinked back home at two in the morning.

-

The next ten months had Midoriya settled into a nice schedule. He went to school with Izuku, supervised him in training, then snuck out at night to either hear from his spies and prowl the city, lead stray kids to Aizawa's, watch over Shouto, or sit with Hitoshi.

When the intense training came to a close, the cat honestly should’ve felt more proud, especially as the only other person on Earth that knew just how much effort it took to clean that beach, but he couldn’t help but feel relief. Nothing had gone wrong, yet.

Besides, Midoriya did think the face Izuku made when All Might passed on his power was absolutely hilarious, and he fell off of the stunned boy’s head in the cat equivalent of a laugh.

…on second thought, he hoped that he hadn’t looked like that when it had been his turn.

-

They must’ve made a real sight, Midoriya concluded. A plain looking boy in a grey t-shirt and green shorts, with a small cat nestled in his hair. (‘Mikumo’ had forced him to wear something better then that god-awful tracksuit, what had younger him been thinking?! Also, it was inexpensive since he knew that whatever was worn would be destroyed)

After the incident with Katsuki, Midoriya jumped down from Izuku’s hair moments before he tripped… and there was Ochako. Good. This is normal. As Izuku stuttered through his introduction, ‘Mikumo' swaggered over to Ochako, giving her the most plaintive meow he could and rubbed on her legs, figuring that it couldn’t hurt to introduce himself early.

As she went through the normal cycle of oh, he's so cute, what’s his name, he’s yours, right? Well, good luck! and the boy turned beet red at talking to a girl, Midoriya was laughing so hard he felt he couldn’t breathe.

After she left, Izuku wouldn’t let him back into his hair, muttering how “traitors don’t get a ride,” which only made the cat laugh harder, regardless of the fact that the boy didn’t know that.

Midoriya sat quietly during the written exam, separated from Izuku for the simple reason that nothing besides the examinees was allowed in. He did get some weird looks though, and loved startling the other prospective students when they realized that the plain kid had a cat in his hair the whole time. To Izuku’s credit, he simply shrugged and put the cat on the floor.

After that was the practical exam explanation, where the only change was that Tenya never called out Izuku, because Midoriya made sure that he wasn’t mumbling, ending up with his paws over his mouth to stop the sound.

And then, before he knew it, Midoriya had slipped away from his boy and trotted his way to the observation room, knowing that he would only get hurt if he went with Izuku. He hid in the shadows until Present Mic opened the door to the room, then slipped in at his heels and slunk over to underneath Aizawa's chair, figuring he would be the least likely to freak out, or really even care. He had a good view of test center B, and all he had to do was wait.

“AND... START!”

Chapter Text

Shota… wasn’t sure how this had happened.

He saw the cat come in, of course. Others might not have, but he was trained to see things others miss. But he wasn’t doing anything dangerous just seemed to be watching the cameras on the buses. So Shota let the cat be.

So how in damnation had he ended up with a cat nestled in his scarf, watching combat-starved buffoons punch robots. It had only been 10 minutes, for god's sake.

No matter. Hizashi was geared up to announce the time again, and so far only a few were sticking out at him.

On one end of the spectrum, there were people like Bakugo Katsuki and Shiozaki Ibara, both with some of the highest villain points in this batch. But while Shiozaki had some rescue points to balance her score, using her vines to pull other examinees out of the way of falling debris and catching pieces of rubble before they could hit others, Bakugo was full force fighting, with seemingly no strategy beyond point and shoot.

On the other end, there were people like Tokage Setsuna or Kirishima Eijirou, who saved people more than fought the ‘villains’. Of course, they had villain points too.

And then there were ones like Midoriya Izuku, who weren’t even on the spectrum. The boy had yet to show his quirk, simply running around wildly doing nothing. It would be almost funny to watch if it weren’t so pitiful.

… and there was Nedzu, releasing the zero pointers. This could be a fun show.

Oh. Oh. ‘Alright, definitely a problem child. Even if he does get in, he would be a pain to teach.' No thank you. It seemed like he would get in though. Hmmm.

As Shota sat there, staring at the screen, with a purring cat on top of him and a bad decision in his headlights, he couldn’t bring himself to put in the future effort of training someone as stupid as Midoriya Izuku.

(In another world, a small white rat would convince the teacher to take him on. But that is not this world. Here, said rat was busy reading through files on a certain cat, fully aware the object of his interests was in the school. So without the extra push of the mammalian principal, and the added weight of a warm, sleeping cat that made him exhausted at even the thought of moving, much less teaching all of these wannabes, he thought. He had to think long and hard, and when he came to a decision, the Pro Hero Eraserhead did something that he couldn’t fully understand the repercussions of.)

He [redacted][unavailable].

And everything s h i f t e d .

-sat and watched, as they fought harder than they ever had before. If only they’d had another person, then maybe this could be won. But as it stood, he had done all he could, and he watched with warring emotions of excitement and dread as one by one, they fell like dominos before-

-ran through the streets, knowing that he would be too late, and Shouto wouldn’t be there, not where he was supposed to be, and he was going to die, and there was fire, fire, so much fire and smoke and ashfirefirefire-

-that when she wondered why, she always got the same answer. The rocks loomed overhead, but she didn’t slow down, instead launching herself towards the top, where she saw the boy. More importantly, however, was the large villain towering over him, and the cat in between them. Honestly, she-

-“… after all of this, after all I’ve done, that I would stand by and watch you?! No, no, no. This is not going to end with me on the ground, and if you don’t realize it, then you’re denser than I thought. No. This ends here, and now, with one final blow, and don’t you dare think it'll go back after this. This will change…”-

-and it wasn’t him, wasn’t Midoriya, but the cat sat at his feet and begged him to follow, and how could he not when his kids were fighting for their lives, when he could be out there to help-

-so even if it wasn’t like it was supposed to be, it will turn out okay, and that is all that matters. And as Mikumo sits, swaddled in a blanket with class 1-A and B spread across the room, all asleep, he allows himself to think that maybe, just maybe, this will be even better than before. Fortunately, that-

-

Izuku was terrified. He was walking home, and he was absolutely terrified by the simple force of nature called Midoriya Inko. Not only had he failed the exam with a whopping 0 points, he had critically injured himself. And now he couldn’t find Mikumo.

He was so dead! How was he supposed to face anyone now? After all that work, all the trust his mother, his mentor, heck, even his cat, had placed in him, and he failed. He let all of them down.

‘Maybe Kacchan was right.’

‘I am just a useless Deku.’

-

He was caught up in these thoughts for days, until eventually he just grew numb. Honestly, it had coming for awhile now, especially after the need to tell his mother about All Might and the relief of seeing Mikumo safe at home instead of crushed under some rubble or hit by a car finally broke him, and he caved to his mom and told her everything. She was surprisingly gentle and understanding, but she was furious that he hadn’t told her and that he had gotten hurt because of it.

Weeks passed, until one day he came back from a walk to find his weird little cat sitting on his bed. What really drew his attention, however, was the unassuming envelope that held his future placed casually in front of Mikumo.

Izuku fainted right then and there.

-

Watching the boy deal with the UA acceptance letter was one of the highlights of Midoriya's new life. Like, calm down, kid. He purposely does not think about what he must’ve done.

But even with all of his mental assurances, he was still a little nervous. This could go wrong in so many ways. Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait long before the boy regained control of his limbs and laboriously managed to open the envelope.

“HELLO, MIDORIYA IZUKU! I AM HERE TO ANNOUNCE A FEW THINGS. FIRST OFF, YOU ARE NOW LOOKING ATF THE MOST CURRENT FACULTY MEMBER OF UA’S HERO COURSE!”

Cue the shocked gasp and excited mumbling.

“YOUNG MIDORIYA, I MUST COMMEND YOU ON GETTING ALMOST A PERFECT SCORE ON THE WRITTEN EXAM. UNFORTUNATELY, YOUR TOTAL VILLAIN SCORE OF ZERO CANCELS THAT OUT.”

And there was Uraraka on the video, earning a choked sob from Izuku.

“-Oh, how many more of these do I have to do today? Ok- WELL, TO SPEED THIS UP, VILLAIN POINTS AREN'T ALL THAT MATTERS. THERE WAS ALSO A SEPARATE SCORING SYSTEM USED FOR HEROIC ACTS, CALLED RESCUE POINTS! AND YOU, YOUNG MIDORIYA, GAINED EIGHTY POINTS, PLACING YOU SQUARELY IN FIFTH PLACE! THAT IS CERTAINLY ENOUGH TO MAKE IT INTO UA. SO, MY BOY-"

Pause, crying in joy.

“-WELCOME TO CLASS 1-B, AND YOUR HERO ACADEMIA!”

what

Chapter Text

dark dark dark no moon dark

food for for sight food food dark man dark dark bad plans dark

not good not need know food let know for food know

listen quiet quiet hear say hear listen then say food food

food giver need know

hurry hurry go bad man not see not see notseenot-

-

Shouto sat in the gardens. He wasn’t sure why exactly, he could’ve gone anywhere else. His only requirement had been to get away from the house. Endeavour was almost home, and he would be delighted by hearing what Shouto had observed in the other candidates. Unfortunately, Endeavor’s idea of delighted was not his.

Besides, Shouto needed time to address something especially concerning that he saw today.

A small green cat, hidden almost completely inside a plain looking boy's identical hair. They even had the same eyes. It was… odd, to say the least. He had basically given up getting any answers, but he would have to grill that boy if he got in.

It was a bit of a coincidence, really. Endeavour had told Shouto to explore the school so he could memorize the layout, and he had been leaving just as the other boy had been coming in for the test. Most kids would have missed the viridian cat eyes peeking out of the mess of curls, but he had been trained from- … to see things others skipped over. Neither cat nor human noticed him, he made sure of that.

Yes, he would definitely need answers. At least, he would need to look into the boy, see if Mikumo got his weirdness from his human. Might even be worth getting to know the naïve kid.

-

Hitoshi was crying. Again.

It had been on and off for hours, and now was definitely on. As soon as Present Mic had begun to explain the test, he knew he would fail, but he hadn’t expected to be that bad. The moment he had gotten the letter, that much was obvious. 11 points. He had supposedly done well on the written exam, but 11 points was just not enough to get in the hero course, only the general course.

And then his ‘mother’ came home. Upon finding him crying and the UA letter in his hand, it had sparked a rant of words and punches (he wasn’t sure which was worse), and he ended up fleeing the house.

Which was how he found himself at Aizawa’s door.

After being let inside, he explained the situation thoroughly. Aizawa was a good listener, and he never interrupted. When he finished detailing about the UA problem, the man sat back with an unreadable yet slightly pained expression.

“You know, kid, there is a way for Gen. Ed students to get into the Hero Course…”

They talked for hours. Aizawa revealed that he worked at UA, but not where in the massive school or in what position (although Hitoshi had entertained the possibility of him being a pro hero before, so it wasn’t a big stretch). By the time the moon had come up, they were both on their second cup of coffee. And then Aizawa dropped this bomb.

“I can train you to get into the Hero Course, if you’d like that.”

-

Katsuki raged. He exploded, he blew up, he hit things and screamed at the top of his lungs.

Good thing he was at Dagobah Beach.

Of course, he knew that Deku had been the one to clean the beach. Which made it a great place to destroy when he was mad at the aforementioned useless bastard. He remembered specifically telling him not to take the exam, and he looks at the scoreboard to find him on it?!

Bullshit.

(That might be what scares him about Izuku the most. His unwavering dedication, his insistence to always do the best with everything he has. If he had been born with a quirk, even a minor one, he would’ve been a force to be reckoned with. It’s almost terrifying to think about.)

Only thing is, apparently he does have a quirk. What. The hell. Katsuki had known the bitch since basically birth, and knew for a fact that he was quirkless. It was essentially a personality trait at this point. He… didn’t know what to do. Deku could possibly be useful now.

(He refused to entertain the thought that he was the useless one if they had switched places at birth, Katsuki would either be dead or close to it.)

Another pile of sand exploded.

-

“Ah, Aizawa. I thought I would find you here.”

Aizawa looked up from his sleeping bag, half-intending to pretend he hadn’t heard, before he realized that it was Nedzu.

“Yes, yes, always a chatty one, aren’t you. I came to ask about the cat.”

All traces of sleep vanished from his eyes, and he slowly climbed out of his cocoon. “Yes, what?”

Nedzu grimaced, which was an odd sight on someone so small. “I have been in touch with Tsukauchi, and received some troubling new information. A couple months ago, the cat- whose name is Mikumo by the way, officially belongs to one Midoriya Izuku- snuck into his office and destroyed the paper file the Musutafu police have on him. After then being confronted by Tsukauchi, he was asked whether he had anything to do with All For One. Mikumo said no.

This, however, is the concerning part. When he responded, the detective received two answers back from his quirk. One true, and one false. This also shows that Mikumo is sentient and understands Japanese, more than any normal cat would.”

Aizawa was struck speechless. Holy shit. This cat wasn’t messing around. Then he realized Nedzu was waiting for a confirmation, and nodded slowly.

“I’m assuming you have a plan?”

And then the rodent principal smiled, and began to speak.

-

Last time Naomasa had gotten a call at close to midnight, he had subsequently been kidnapped by absolute morons with a grudge against him. Even though they had been stupid enough to not even search him or watch him, it was not an experience he would want to repeat. 0/10, would not recommend.

So when the phone began its distinctive trill in the background, he did the smart thing and picked up a handgun first before warily stalking over to it. He didn’t recognize the number, which sent up massive red flags up in his mind.

Ring ring        ring ring
           Ring ring

He picked up the receiver.

And after a minute of listening to basically silence, he was as pale as a ghost.

-

. -   -   -   . -   - . - .   - . -   /   . -   -   /   . . -   . . .   . - - -   /   . . -   . -   /   - . - .   . - . .   . -   . . .   . . .   /   . - - - -   . -

 

- - .   - - -   . -   . - . .   /   - . -   . .   . - . .   . - . .   /   . -   . - . .   . - . .   /   - -   . .   - - .   . . . .   -

 

. - - .   . - . .   .   . -   . . .   .   /   . . .   . -   . . . -   .   /   -   . . . .   .   - -


-

Midoriya was freaking the fuck out.

For good reason, too. Everything he’d built up to, absolutely everything, from tipping off Aizawa about Endeavor’s mistreatment and directing a few lawyers to look into it, to informing the police and heroes about Muscular before he could kill the Water Horse Duo, to spying for years on All For One's protégé and nomu.

Absolutely everything.

GODDAMN it.

What could he do? He paced angrily, part of his mind thanking more than ever the fact that humans couldn't see in the dark. Aaaargh. What if… He froze.

Actually, that could work.
It wasn’t his best plan, in either life, but it would have to do. He could set things up, domino everything. Even if parts of the plan rapidly forming in his brain relied on luck, needed immense work to set up, or had a high risk of bodily harm for those involved, it was the best he had at the moment.

Now, he needed to run some errands. He would need a couple of things, namely a phone and number, a small switchblade, a key, Koda Koji, some more cat food, and a buzzer.

For the first time in a long, long while, Midoriya was struck with the feeling of adrenaline and excitement filling his veins.

He jumped out the kitchen window. Time to find some old contacts.

Chapter Text

Nedzu had expected this.

For every animal he seemed to be, he was not a cat. Knowing that another sentient animal such as himself would be itching to speak with him, and seeing that a student who could talk to animals was on the roster for Eraserhead's class, he really had seen it coming.

He had not realized it would be right before the first day of class.

-

Midoriya had done some stupid things, he would be the first one to admit that. But this one, this thing, took the cake. As Gran Torino had once told him, there was a fine line between courage and stupidity. It was only courageous if you won.

Looking at this minefield of a situation, he wasn’t sure which one this was.

He also felt a bit bad for Koji, knowing that he must be so confused after basically being assaulted while walking into the school, and now stood in front of the Principal's door with a cat on his shoulder, only having the cryptic instruction of ‘Hello Koda, please come with me to the Principal’s office,’ to go off of.

Oops.

Midoriya’s attention was brought back to Earth by the door opening slowly, like they were in a horror movie. He certainly felt scared.

“Ah, welcome, I’ve been expecting you! Come in, come in. Make yourselves at home,” chirped the perpetually-chipper voice of Nedzu. After Koda had reluctantly sat down, fidgeting anxiously, and Midoriya had settled comfortably on Nedzu's desk, he continued to speak.

“Mr. Koji, would you be so kind as to be the intermediary in the conversation between myself and Mikumo? I can assure you that you won’t be late to class.” The poor boy nodded, looking a bit less nervous now that he knew why he was there.

“Of- of course Principal, Mikumo says…

‘Hello Nedzu. Let me cut straight to the chase. I need your help.’”

“Oh? In exchange, perhaps you could answer some of my questions? I believe that would be a fair deal.”

“’I agree. As for your part of the deal, I only need a few things, first of which is a stable way to contact and talk to you without needing an interpreter. Maybe email, or… Morse code.’”

“So it was you. Interesting. May I ask how you received that information about USJ? Only the staff knows about what we have planned, and now you say that it will be disrupted? How reliable is your information, I wonder?”

“’As reliable as memory can be, with the added benefit of having a few good spies here and there. I promise that I speak the truth. If you would like, you can always give Detective Tsukauchi the recording of this conversation and check with him, provided you still have those bugs placed around the room, including the broken one on your fake plant.’”

A wry smile. Ball's in your court. “I assume you are referencing the incredible potential that cats have to go unnoticed, or mostly at least. I do plan to review the audio of this later, maybe with the Detective. I must confess that I have few to no ideas on how you achieved the information about this room.” Liar. “However, to answer your earlier question, I can give you a email link that I use for secure meetings.”

“’Most appreciated. Before I get to my second request, I guess that you have questions?’”

“Indeed. I was wondering how it was that you can understand English? I was aware that I was the only animal who could.”

“’It's part of my quirk, which I am afraid I cannot fully explain at this time. As for your implied question, you are. My second, and final, request is that I have free rein where ever I need to go, including the school and grounds. I expect not to be stopped. With this, I beg of you to listen to any warnings I have, no matter how far-fetched or small they seem. That is all.’”

Nedzu smiled, and it was with actual enjoyment this time. He slid a slip of paper with an email address across the desk. “That is all? Done. Someday, however, I do expect all of my questions to be answered fully. You may take Mr. Koda back to his classroom, the bell is going to ring soon.”

And with that clear dismissal, Koji Koda high tailed it out of there as fast as inhumanly possible. Not surprising, really. Even if the poor boy didn’t catch all of the small innuendos and visual banter, it was probably still concerning enough to need brain bleach. Midoriya hadn’t meant to go that deep, but it had been a long, long while since he had a conversation that intriguing, and he had honestly forgotten there was a student in the room for a minute.

Oops squared.

-

Well, that was enlightening. The recorded conversation wouldn’t reveal much, but in person…

Nedzu was intrigued.

The cat seemed very human-like, and if the ‘offhand comment’ about Nedzu being the only quirked animal was true, then that led to the conclusion that they were dealing with a mutated human. The man was obviously very smart, if he could easily see the value of spies only he could control and who could go anywhere.

His bargaining techniques were… a bit under the table, especially with the not-so-subtle hint that he knew a lot more than he let on about UA, and would use any means to achieve his goals. Nedzu was thankful he was insightful enough not to share anything too incriminating with a student in the room, but there was an undertone of blackmail, as in ‘I know about your office, I know things I shouldn’t, and if I’m not given what I want, I will expose it.’ UA had enough enemies as is.

The request for a way to contact him suggested that he is on the side of the heroes (thank Kami, if he wasn’t it would disastrous), and that he hadn’t told the full story, also supported by the vague answers he gave to the Principal's questions.

Besides… his negotiating style uncomfortably reminded Nedzu of someone else's.

His own.

-

That. Was a nightmare. No, you know what, it was a Nightmare, with a capital N and an extra sprinkling of abject terror. He could only hope that he had seemed confident and in control.

In his head, he had been close to tears.

Even after all this time, after getting classes from him in third year on manipulation, strategy, and negotiation, after working in the field with him as an advisor, after attending meetings on hero politics where he spoke, he could always count on one thing. When he found a new puzzle to solve, Nedzu was absolutely terrifying.

And Midoriya had certainly presented him with a puzzle. The cat would be astonished if the mammal ever let this go before getting answers.

Before he could get too wrapped up in his thoughts, he found himself at Class 1-B, just as Izuku turned the corner, a blubbering mess with an American transfer student beside him.

‘Ah, Pony-san. I had forgotten she was in 1-B.’

-

Wow. Just… wow. All his previous embarrassment was quickly replaced by awe as he opened the door.

Izuku's brain just about short-circuited when he entered the classroom (his new classroom, scree!!) to find a veritable forest of quirks. Literally, since one of the prettier girls had vines for hair. He was a bit sad to not see Uraraka, but figured that with her amazing quirk, she must have gotten into 1-A.

“Hey there! Who're you?” a smirking boy bounded off the desk, where he had been sitting and talking to another boy. “Call me Awase.”

The girl next to Izuku looked lost, muttering a few English words under her breath before timidly offering, “Pony Tsunotori.”

Awase smiled, a full on grin that exposed his very white teeth. “Nice name, Tsunotori! And you?” he asked, turning to Izuku, whose social anxiety chose that exact moment to once again attack him. He scuffed his toe as his face turned beetroot red.

“Izuku Midoriya,” he mumbled under his breath, but thankfully Awase caught it. Then, his eyes turned upwards, and he froze. Izuku began to smile a bit, noticing where he was looking. Then…

“HONENUKE HELP ME THERE'S A DEMON ON THE NEW KID AND I'M SCARED PLEASE HELP mE i BeG oF yOu GeT iT aWaY-" Izuku was startled enough to laugh, forgetting his shyness for a minute as he snickered on the ground, still staring at Awase, who at this point was curled up bridal style in another boy's arms, while the boy looked on in heavily amused and judgemental silence.

A beat.

Then, as one, every girl in or nearby the classroom swarmed Izuku, all vying to see the kitty in his curls.

Needless to say, he almost passed out.

-

‘Oh. My. God. That was hilarious.’

No matter how many times Midoriya saw it, his younger self's awkwardness when talking to females was legendary. Thankfully, he managed to sneak out of the classroom before Izuku could die of embarrassment, leading the kids away from the flustered boy. Besides, he had no intention of sitting through orientation when he could be tormenting Aizawa.

He made it into Class 1-A just before the bell, noticing that Monoma was there in place of Izuku. At least he would keep Bakugo in line, they could compete with each other. He sat unnoticed in the back as Aizawa went through the normal routine; namely scaring the crap out of his first years, generally looking like a hobo, and passing out the gym uniforms with a time limit attached.

Predictably, 1-A sprinted towards the changing rooms, while their slightly amused teacher strolled outside. Midoriya sat at his heels for a minute, before jumping into his scarf with no warning just as the kids came out of the door.

Wait, he had been right. It was so funny to watch these little human beans try their absolute hardest and be terrified out of their wits for no reason, and the cat got the feeling that Aizawa felt the same. When all was said and done, no one was expelled, which had Hagakure in tears since she was last.

As their teacher pulled up the scores, Midoriya got up from his shoulder and stretched, before walking silently over to Shouto, who was the only one to have seen him besides Momo and Katsuki, both of which weren't even looking at the holographic screen, knowing they were on top. Midoriya meowed insistently until Shouto picked him up, looking admirably calm about the whole thing.

Some of the other kids noticed before too long, but nobody asked about it.

Not for the first time, Midoriya praised the legendary strangeness of UA high school.

-

“Maybe this won't-"

-

‘-be so bad after all.’

-

 

 

Chapter Text

Contrary to popular belief, neither Deku nor Midoriya hated Katsuki. It was however, touch and go as to whether Izuku did. Deku and Bakugo had… somewhat reconciled during the later years of UA, not becoming best friends, exactly, but they could work together without going for each others throats. By the time the pro-heroes Deku and Ground Zero rose to the top ten, they had been pretty neutral, as in saying hello and giving high fives for jobs well done, but not exactly coming over to hang out unless it was a class reunion, which they had held regularly.

(Not like Deku and Shouto, who had become fast friends after the court case against Endeavor, and had stayed that way until Midoriya died.)

Taking that into consideration, it was really a coincidence that Midoriya even knew about Katsuki's hearing aids. It happened when they were around 27, and a VERY drunk Bakugo had mistaken Deku's hotel room for his, leaving Deku to carry him back to his own room, taking out the other hero's aids when he made Kacchan go to bed and not do something stupid like jump out his window. Then he had gone back to his room, cleaned up after the wasted man-child (Blasty hadn't been able to find his key card, and all that was left of the door was the still-smoking hinges.) before going to sleep, figuring he could make the other heroes deal with a hungover Ground Zero tomorrow in retaliation for letting him drink that much.

Ah, good times.

All of this was running through his head as Midoriya slipped into Aunt Mitsuki's office, the only window left open in the Bakugo household, in order to leave new aids on the living room table. He knew just how much the teen hated being seen as weak, and while this would be a good lesson for him, it actually wasn’t his fault this time.

It was, however, totally his fault for baiting Monoma in the battle training, resulting in needing these in the first place. Which, if asked, is the reason why the cat had stolen the most uncomfortable ones, feeling like his mother wouldn't object.

Thank god he knew what type Katsuki used, he realized as he slipped back out again.

-

Izuku… wasn’t having a terrible day.

His first couple weeks at school had been better than expected, honestly, and he really did love his school and classmates. His teachers were, well, weird to say the least, but they were pro heroes, so he figured it came with the job description.

His main new friends were Itsuka Kendo, the class rep and class mom, Yosetsu Awase, who was more of an energetic troublemaker than Izuku had originally thought, especially when paired with another sarcastic friend by the name of Sen Kaibara, along with Kodai Yui and Setsuna Tokage, whose quirks were so freaking amazing and diverse it made his head spin.

Pony was there too, but she was more of a revolving door friend, bouncing off of everyone in the class and becoming the class little sister through her bad Japanese and innocent personality.

Yes, Izuku loved his classmates.

Which is why, when he heard the obnoxiously blaring alarm in the middle of lunch, his first instinct was to find everyone else in order to keep his new family safe. It seemed Mikumo agreed, since he jumped off of his lap, and raced ahead, looking for their class. (The whole class loved Mikumo, and he loved them back, sometimes nestling into Setsuna's hair instead of Izuku's, seeing as they were close in color.)

He held on tight to his tablemates, diving into the literal river of people to see if he could find some of his plainer classmates. Kamakiri and Bondo were clearly visible, but they were basically impossible to get to. Meanwhile, the shorter ones like Fukidashi or Komori were functionally invisible in the veritable sea of panicking people. By the time he'd found Yanagi, Tetsutetsu, and Kuroiro, he was about ready to give up.

Izuku was actually quite thankful to the 1-A student who had managed to stop the mess, since that meant he could finally get to Bondo and Kamakiri, collecting Tsuburaba along the way. After that, it was a simple matter of keeping everyone together and running around the slowly dispersing students, looking frantically for his classmates. Fortunately, they were mostly unharmed, with Shoda only having a few bruises where he had gotten momentarily trampled. He also found Mikumo, who had latched onto Shiozaki.

Then they were back in the classroom, where Kan-sensei did his best to explain the situation and praise them for keeping semi-level heads, especially Izuku, who blushed at the praise when Kan mentioned how finding his classmates was a logical decision.

Immediately after class ended, he was crowned the class big brother, and he swore up and down that Mikumo was laughing at him.

-

‘Yeah, maybe it’s a good thing that Izuku didn’t get into class 1-A,’ Midoriya mused from his favorite perch in his younger self's hair. It honestly seemed to be going well for the little idiot.

He would need to introduce Izuku to Ochako, Tenya, and Shouto, preferably before the USJ in a couple days, so he would need to find a good time for that. Maybe tomorrow after school? Hmmm.

“Hello, my name is Todoroki Shouto. Whose cat is that?”

Well, he's fucked.

Izuku, the little bean that he is, only looked startled for a moment before responding. “He's mine; his name is Mikumo. Would you like to pet him?”

Shouto looked visibly shaken when the pure embodiment of sunshine held out a cat to him, smiling wide enough to hurt his face just looking at it. “… sure. And who are you?”

“Oh! I'm, um, M-midoriya Izuku. N-nice to me-et you?” And there was the crippling anxiety. Wondered where it had gone.

As the poor boy stared at the floor, his face redder than a tomato, Shouto began petting Midoriya silently. It was like that for a good ten seconds, but right as Izuku was about to ask a stupid icebreaker question, Tenya speedwalked up to Shouto and easily shattered the quiet.

“You are both students of UA! You should know it is against school rules to bring pets on campus! That is highly unprofessional and unbecoming of your hero-in-training status!”

Oh, thank everything. Izuku was immediately accosted by Tenya, allowing Shouto to slip away after placing Midoriya on the floor next to him. He turned the corner as the final comment from Izuku (“But Principal Nezu gave me express permission, I promise!”) rang in the air.

-

Tenya frowned, confused.

Why would some random kid's cat have permission to be on campus? Assuming the plain boy wasn’t making it up, which would be dishonorable for a student at such an illustrious school. Tenya did not need another hoodlum to correct the ways of, he had enough on his plate dealing with Bakugo and Monoma.

He paused for a moment. The kid genuinely looked scared of him, so it seemed unlikely that he was a liar or a bad person. He settled his mind, and opened his mouth to tell the kid to take him to Nedzu, when-

“HEY! YOU'RE THAT BOY With the cat!” Uraraka cannonballed into the conversation, slinging herself at the green-haired boy, who now closely resembled a strawberry. Tenya figured he had anxiety or something, it would make sense. As the two awkwardly stuttered through introductions and number exchanges, Tenya thought to himself that, possibly, his first impressions were flawed.

He got Midoriya's number.

-

At least that was taken care of. Honestly, USJ was in, like, 3 days. Midoriya did not have the time to play matchmaker too.

He loved Tenya like a little brother, but he was honestly such a killjoy that it was infuriating.

The only good thing he could honestly say he was thankful for would be the fact that Nedzu took his warning semi-seriously, and the plans had been changed to include Kayama and Yamada. Normally he wasn’t such a ‘told you so' person, but was kind of pumped about watching Nedzu's face when he realizes that this random cat knew more about their enemies plans than they did.

So as he nestled back into Izuku's hair as the boy walked out of his dream school, he realized that it had been a long time since he was this excited for something.

-

Midoriya Izuku

Quirk: Reincarnation Loop

-Main Function: When dead, the soul of the quirk user is reset to point of birth. Always active, unable to be dismantled or stolen. Activates under any circumstance as long as user is dead.

-Mutation (0.001% chance of activation): Dual Soul

- Quirk user's soul will be returned to point of birth, where it will split into two, one half inhabiting the user's body while the other half inhabits a nearby, suitable body. Both halves will feel incomplete without the other nearby or touching, and can very rarely pinpoint the other's location. Mind does not transfer, so animals still have animal brains. Can be used in conjunction with other mutations.
- Activated: 115 times

-Mutation (0.001% chance of activation): Recollection

- Along with the soul being reset, the mind is as well, including memories. Anything ranging from full, 100 percent remembrance to slight feelings of déjà vu can occur. Can be used in conjunction with other mutations.
- Activated: 109 times

-Dual Soul Mutation (0.0000001% chance of activation): Link

- This mutation allows the two halves of a soul to [redacted], [redacted], [redacted], and share [unavailable unavailable error unavailable error]. With enough practice, all parts can be activated on command by one or both users. Works best if other host is human.
- Activated: 4 times

-For more mutations, cont.

-Current Loop: 4,709,263

 

Chapter Text

The sun rose.

“Are you ready, my boy? This is your debut, after all. I’m sure you will do just fine.”

A nod. “Yes, Sensei. I have gone over the plans again and again. I will make you proud. This...

is the last day All Might will draw breath.”

-

“A FIELD TRIP!” Mina screeched at the top of her lungs excitedly, as if everybody hadn't already heard Aizawa say it. Kaminari joined her, jumping around like a deranged monkey while the rest of the class chattered loudly about what they would be doing. Or, at least they were until Aizawa used his quirk and shut them all up.

“It's rescue training, on campus. We will be accompanied by Present Mic, Midnight, Thirteen, All Might, and myself. You may choose to wear your costumes or your PE outfits, since some of you are getting yours fixed. You have ten minutes before the bus arrives.”

The class erupts, predictably, but most grab their costumes, with the notable exception of Monoma and Katsuki. Midoriya noticed that Uraraka looked less comfortable in her outfit, probably due to lack of encouragement from Izuku.

‘It's really the little things that bother me the most.’

-

Why. The hell. Is Deku's stupid cat on the bus. Katsuki was almost speechless, but then he remembered that he was a Bakugo and turned his confusion into pure anger.

“HEY, PINKY. THE SHIT IS THAT?!”

She giggled. Fucking. Giggled. “Oh, Uraraka-chan had him. He came in with Aizawa this morning, but she says that he's the pet of some kid in 1-B! Isn't he the cutest!?”

Braggy Bastard chimed in, even though everyone ignored him. “Well, we should adopt him! He deserves a better life than he can get from the ruffians and idiots in Class 1-B! We are obviously superior and-"

“Aizawa-sensei! Why is there a cat allowed on the bus? This is a violation of school rules, even if he does have permission to be everywhere on campus!”

That was the first Katsuki was hearing of it. How in the world did little, useless Deku get his cat express privilages? Either way, he was fucking done with this loud-ass conversation, and tuned into another one just in time to hear Discount Pikachu talking shit about him.

“IF YOU WANNA SAY SOMETHING, SPARKY, SAY IT TO MY FUCKING FACE! I'LL KILL YOU!”

-

Midoriya was done. At first it was cute, but after ten whole minutes of being cooed over and petted and hugged, he was at the breaking point. He would take fighting villains over this any day of the week, and somehow Jirou seemed to sense that and started snickering.

“We're here.” Oh thank Kami for Aizawa, the insomniac mascot that he is.

As the rest of the students got off the bus, ‘Mikumo’ trotted at Aizawa's heels. When the other teachers showed up, and Thirteen started their spiel about how quirks were dangerous, Midoriya started going over all the events that would happen in his head. He distantly heard everyone clapping.

3… 2… 1…

And there were the portals, right on schedule. The villains menacingly stalked forward, and although they looked terrifying to the kids, Midoriya could plainly see that they were inexperienced and unorganized. Well, they tried.

Honestly, he wasn’t too worried. The extra teachers should make up for Izuku's absence, and all he had to do was sit and watch. Speaking of teachers, how were they reacting? He figured Aizawa would do the same thing that he did last time, but-

“Wondering where they went? I’m afraid they are somewhere far, far away where they cannot protect you.”

No.

“Now that I have your attention, I must ask you… where is All Might?”

No.

“… No one will answer? Well, I’m sure that a few dead children will bring him running.”

Over half of the class was absorbed into the black mist before they could react, leaving just over half a dozen kids. Villains began pouring out of the portals surrounding them, Shigaraki taking the lead. Midoriya had gone unnoticed by then.

“We… are the League of Villains. And we have come to kill All Might. Before we end this, I do have to know. Who warned the school about an attack?”

No.

It started out slowly at first, like a persistent feeling of déjà vu on top of the monologue. Then it got stronger, until he could swear he saw himself standing in Shigaraki's place, looking down on a frightened class.

“We have to thank you profusely. If there had been less teachers, we might have let them stay, which I can see now would have been a mistake. You have saved us a good deal of time and trouble.”

He snapped.

Visions flashed through his head, idea after idea after image of his dead friends, his co-workers mangled and broken, Toshi coming in to find their corpses strung up on the walls, ready for his to join them.

He saw their parents, Katsuki's mom crying inconsolably, Tenya’s brother never seeing him grow up and take his name, Uraraka's family falling into homelessness without the fame and income of their perfect daughter.

He saw hundreds upon thousands of scenarios and lives and deaths and births, millions of thoughts and memories and powers that weren’t his but were his. He saw everything, and he stopped thinking.

Shigaraki's hand stretched in font of the portal, towards a frozen Asui and a petrified class.

Until there was no longer a hand.

-

There was no timeline to preserve, anymore. Everything would be forgotten, no matter what he tried or did. So if his only thoughts were to protect his family, that was sure as hell what they were going to do.

What did it matter if it was the same as last time, if last time had been the same as every time before that, and every time before that, and every other time until the end of time itself.

What use was there in protecting a timeline where his friends were hurt, family torn apart, life broken into smithereens. What life is one where nothing mattered? Where he would have to watch everyone fall like Dominos, knowing he could have prevented it and unable to look away?

So, they didn’t.

They could only hope it was enough.

-

Izuku looked up, every hair he had trembling in anticipation. For what, he wasn’t sure. He raised his hand, and Kan-sensei gave him the bathroom pass.

The moment he collapsed in a stall, his throat began tingling uncomfortably. His eyes burned like he'd left them open too long. He felt a bit lethargic, and as he sat on the ground wondering what the hell was going on, he thought that he probably shouldn’t go back to class right now.

-

In one world, Midoriya Izuku became a great villain. Someone to be feared by the heroes and loved by his followers, a villain who ruled with kindness and determination instead of terror. Eventually, his reign included all of Japan, and several other countries. He wasn’t evil, not really, but he had grown up from his once naïve ‘good and bad' ideas. After his favorite hero, his idol, had told him that he couldn’t be a hero, he took it to heart.

In a few more, Katsuki Bakugo was Midoriya's soul partner. It was actually quite common, really, and in most versions they became legendary heroes together, as best friends. A couple times one killed the other, and then was never able to achieve anything big in life, dying alone and miserable. Or they became villains together, with the kind of unwavering trust in the other that was both terrifying to see and able to do so much.

On a very rare occasion, Midoriya remembered every other loop as well as the last one, and drove himself insane from a young age. He never received All Might’s power (another constant in the loops) and was abandoned, ending up on the streets, where he wrote a book of events and sent it to the police and UA. He kept up anonymous communication with those places until he died from sickness in a youth hostel at the age of fifteen, driven to the point of death by the thought that he was normally in Class 1-A, interacting with best friends he would never have.

In the most common stories, he became a world-renowned hero after gaining Yagi Toshinori's power, dying a relaxed and happy life after making his world a much better place and making new friends out of everyone he met. Most importantly, he remembered absolutely nothing.

But this was not any of those 4,709,262 worlds.

No, in this world, everything aligned in a way it never had before. This Midoriya remembered, just enough to change, and had the power to act.

Yes, this Grasshopper, this Deku, this Bunny, this Sybil, this Akatani Mikumo, Rabbit, Ghost, Echo, Kitten, villain, Witch, Kingpin, Spectre, Beetle, hero, Dekiru, Jackrabbit, Mirage, vigilante. This soul.

This Izuku Midoriya stood as tall as he could at two foot nothing, baring his teeth and sparking green, and spoke with the power of four million lifetimes of love and hardship.

 

 

 

‘D̸̢̢̡̡̫̪̦̫̙̦̘̘̖̿̓̎̔̎͘o̴̢̨̭͚̗͍̼̹͔͌̍̓̅̇̔̐̌̋̈́̈́͗͂̃̏̔̋̓̅̽̂̅̉͗͠͝ṇ̵͖͚̮̜̙̤̙̟͑̽̃̒̇̈́͂͑͊̓̊̌̒̅̒̌͋͆̌̂̀̕̕͜͝'̷̧̛̩̰͚̣̜̤̽̑̊̂͑̂͑̈́̿̑͆͒̊̊̈́̈́͌̊͐̋̓͐̒͆͌̑̕t̴̨̧̢̜̤͖̥̥͓͒͗̐͐̂̃͆͊̈́̊̈͊͐̾̎̉̂̓̐̄̇̈̚̕̕͠͠͝͝ͅ ̴͉̝͖̪̋͂̌̃̎̓̋̄̽̃̈́̿͠͝͝t̷̡̧̯̳̖̫̺͎̞̲͚͈̙͙̦̣̻̻̦̰͙̤̯̃͛̉͒͆̓ò̸̟̟̙̦̪̣͚͓̳̳̖̦͍͙̳̹͑̊̇̎͆̄̉̽̔̎̈́̄̒̓̾̉̀͒̋̚͝͝ṳ̵̿̋͊͑̿̃̅̌̂̓͂̈̓̆̽̽̀̅̎̊̐̂̄̕͘͜͝͝c̶̡̧̰̙̱̱̬̱̳̞͙͍̤͇̟̐́̊̋̆̔͑̽̓̊͐̒̌͜͝h̶̹͇̩̝͖̘̰̄̈́́̈͑̈́̾͌̀̈́̈̽̌̃̇͐͌̿̕͝͝ ̵̧̧̥̜̬̭͕͈͔̜̗͚̮͖̝͈̎̈́͛͜t̵̡̡͕͖̦̤̙̙̞̱͕̻̥͋͑̿͋̋̂̎̕ȟ̸̛͉̯̖̟̘͇̞̤̂͌͂̍̒̎̅͌̌̽͊͂̈́͌̽͗͊̈̏́̊̕͠e̶̡̢̧̼̦͔̯̤̤̱̺͕̹̝͊̃̃͑̇͋͆̿̍̓ͅm̶̧̧̨̡̭̘̹̺̩͙̺̦̯̤̫̪̻̖̬̥̹͖͔̭̖̘̲̪̩͈̻̎́̿̾̀ͅ.’

 

 

 

-

Midoriya Izuku

Quirk: Reincarnation Loop

-Main Function: When dead, the soul of the quirk user is reset to point of birth. Always active, unable to be dismantled or stolen. Activates under any circumstance as long as user is dead.

-Mutation (0.001% chance of activation): Dual Soul

- Quirk user's soul will be returned to point of birth, where it will split into two, one half inhabiting the user's body while the other half inhabits a nearby, suitable body. Both halves will feel incomplete without the other nearby or touching, and can very rarely pinpoint the other's location. Mind does not transfer, so animals still have animal brains. Can be used in conjunction with other mutations.
- Activated: 115 times

-Mutation (0.001% chance of activation): Recollection

- Along with the soul being reset, the mind is as well, including memories. Anything ranging from full, 100 percent remembrance to slight feelings of déjà vu can occur. Can be used in conjunction with other mutations.
- Activated: 109 times

-Dual Soul Mutation (0.0000001% chance of activation): Link

This mutation allows the two halves of a soul to communicate telepathically, always know where the other is, sense their current emotional state, and share memories, abilities, momentary senses, and energy. With enough practice, all parts can be activated on command by one or both users. Works best if other host is human.
- Activated: 5 times

-For more mutations, cont.

-Current Loop: 4,709,263

 

Chapter Text

The villain screamed, and Tsuyu had never been more confused.

Suddenly, she noticed that the hand that had been reaching towards her was on the ground, and standing over it was the biggest grown cat she had ever seen. It was sparking with green energy, that very slowly became whiter and whiter over the background of whimpers and shrieks.

His mouth never moved, but she could clearly hear a voice that reverberated around her head, chilling her to the very bone.

 

Don't touch them.

 

The villains all flinched back as one, except for the mist man, who simply narrowed his eyes at the new threat.

The main villain, who was now missing a hand, stepped forward, rage and bloodlust coming off him in waves. “wHeRe iS aLL MiGhT? BRiNg HiM tO mE!” He scratched at his neck, producing a sound that almost made Tsuyu surrender right then and there. He growled, and took another step towards his still-bleeding hand on the ground, but the cat growled right back even louder, halting him in his tracks.

Uraraka tapped her on the shoulder. “we need to fight,” she whispered. Tsuyu nodded, breaking the unnatural stillness that had consumed the whole place. The other villains charged forward, and the remaining heroes-in-training of Class 1-A ran as one to meet them, leaving the two biggest threats facing off against their only remaining line of defense.

-

Midoriya couldn’t be prouder of his friends. He couldn’t see everything, most of his attention still fixated on Shigaraki and Kurogiri, but what he did see made him immeasurably less stressed.

Unfortunately, he was the one in greatest danger at the moment. He could already feel the memories and size boost slipping away, and he could only borrow power from Izuku for a very short time. Not to mention that he was small enough that anything over 3% would probably kill him, and even that would definitely land him in the hospital.

Shigaraki lunged forward suddenly, and there began their deadly dance. Kurogiri stood off to the side, trying to trap Midoriya with portals and send Shigaraki's one remaining hand into his path. Midoriya leaped and spun, diving under portals and jumping over hands, occasionally getting in a lucky swipe on Shigaraki, but more often than not being forced away by the two villains.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Rikido blast the doors open and Tenya tear down the road, while Tsu, Ochako, and Hanta worked in tandem to keep the others distracted and unable to stop them.

Mezo launched a weightless Ochako into the air, where she released just over a group of villains, knocking them into the ground. Before the rest could retaliate, Tsu's tongue snatched her out of the crowd, and Hanta wrapped a bunch of the attackers up in tape before retreating to where Mezo kept a big man with drills for hands and a girl who could control her hair from getting to Tsu, before they were both knocked out by Rikido who came from the doors. Ashido had sealed them shut after Tenya, and had just entered the battle.

Their teamwork could be a bit better, but the base was there and they were doing okay.

A hand just missed the air above his head, before he used it as a springboard to latch onto Shigaraki's face and clawing at his eyes. He leaped backwards just as the man-child reached up, and he noticed that the villain looked pale. Probably from blood loss, despite the tourniquet of black mist covering the stump. From the outside, they must look like just blurs.

But they were both slowing down, and even Kurogiri looked tired. Midoriya could feel One For All slipping from his grasp, and hoped with all his might that… well. That was unintentional.

“I tire of this. Nomu, restrain him.”

Well, nice life, I guess.

The mountain of a creature moved faster than he could follow, and it was only through pure reflexes that he managed to dodge. He narrowed his eyes, and leaped back into the fray, feeling the last of One For All drain from his system as exhaustion crept in.

-

“… so those are my thoughts on invertebrates, but when you consider their evolutionary processes, they really aren’t as big of a deal in the world timeline, especially if you subscribe to the Kerothsenian school of thought, which I personally…”

Toshinori was a strange mix of in pain, confused, impatient, and terrified, that mostly just made him feel like he had to go to the bathroom. Upon hearing that All Might had spent the whole morning in the public eye, Nedzu had all but dragged Toshinori to his office, where he had been for the past half hour.

The principal could be terrifying.

Just them, he noticed that the mammal had trailed off, looking curiously at his tablet. “Interesting… hmm. I might send Ectoplasm, just to be sure…” Toshinori sat quietly for a minute, before Nedzu sat upright and stared at him as if just remembering that he was there.

“Ah! Toshinori, I’m afraid I need to ask you for a favor. Class 1-A is on a field trip at the USJ currently, but I think something is blocking the signals from the teachers' communicators. Would you possibly go check it out? It should be a quick stop.”

Toshinori really shouldn’t be spending his few remaining minutes doing errands, but something in his superior’s dark gaze compelled him to say yes.

-

(And if he left a few minutes earlier than Iida arrived, then, well, no one could fault the principal for being just prepared enough to, maybe, save a few lives.)

-

Izuku was out of his goddamn mind.

Sure, normally he didn’t curse, but it’s not like anyone could hear his thoughts, and this situation definitely called for it. At this point, he was fairly sure that he had skipped at least one class at this point, but that was honestly the least of his concerns.

A few minutes ago, his eyes had been really itchy. They weren’t anymore, thankfully, and he didn’t feel nearly so terrible, but something still scrabbled at the back of his eyelids. His headache was almost gone too, so he probably wouldn’t need to go to the nurse's office.

Which was good, because he had no idea what in the actual hell just happened.

Even now, he felt a little tingle in the back of his brain, and if he focused, he could faintly… well, not really hear, exactly, it was all in his head, but anyway, he could ‘hear’ rumbling, voices, and screeching that had no place inside his head. He could ‘see’ flashes of brown and green, black and blue-gray that made his headache worse.

He groaned.

Well, enough of that. Maybe his eyes are better now? He tried opening them, and then realized something quite peculiar.

His eyes glinted in the mirror, flashing when he turned his head under the bright bathroom lights that illuminated everything with a glossy sheen. That wasn’t there before.

And then he realized.

He had never turned the bathroom light on.

-

Tenya had many questions, almost all of them revolving around that cat.

Unfortunately, he had neither had the time nor mental space to entertain such queries, so he simply focused all his energy on running (for their lives, his friends, everyone is counting on him) and sped forward, not even slowing down when he felt his engines start to overheat.

He was only about a minute from USJ when he was stopped by All Might and briefly explained the situation. Even as the relief swept through him at the Symbol of Peace going to help his friends, he couldn’t help but feel… anxious.

He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he could sense it in his bones, in his stalling engines, in his frazzled mind.

Something was about to go horribly, catastrophically wrong.

-

Toshinori narrowed his eyes and continued forward, cussing out Nedzu quite creatively in his mind. That little rat…

He wouldn’t even be surprised if the animal had planned all of this out from the beginning, the sneaky little bastard that he was, just to see how he would react. Unfortunately, he couldn’t actively continue that rapidly derailing train of thought, because he was coming up on the big double doors leading into the active warzone (based on poor Iida's expression and desperation at getting him to hurry, he was prepared for the worst.

It was so much worse.)

His students (his kids, his suddenly clear brain corrected. The people he spent his life protecting) were fighting for their lives everywhere he looked, and what looked like Midoriya's cat was fighting a nightmare of some Eldritch, Lovecraftian horror machine. And the cat was losing.

Badly.

As he stepped forward, drawing the attention of the villains and students alike, Toshinori's mind flashed back to the first time he brought up the cat to Tsukauchi.

He had been standing awkwardly in the doorway of his friend's office for a while before the other man noticed him.

“Oh, Toshinori! What brings you here?”

He had snorted. “What, I can’t come see my friend at work?”

“People do that, yes, but you don’t. You and I both know that you don’t have enough time in the day to come to a detective's office on a social visit. So, spill.”

He grew solemn. “Yes, you’re right. I had quite the odd encounter with an animal today.” Tsukauchi went very still.

“It wasn’t a cat, was it? Please tell me that is wasn’t a cat…”

“It was, actually. Why, do you know something?”

The other man paled, and gave a pretty accurate description of the little Mikumo. “… Is that the cat?” A nod. “Whatever you do, try to stay away.”

Toshinori was taken aback by the emotion in the man's voice when he continued. “I mean it, Toshi. I don’t know why, or even how, but that cat is dangerous to somebody. Just be careful it’s not you.”

Back then, he hadn’t really understood what Tsukauchi was talking about. Maybe the cat was intelligent and lucky, but dangerous? He couldn’t see it.

But as he watched the monster finally get a good grip on the cat and slam it into the ground, hard, only for the cat to just barely stagger onto its feet, snarling and swaying, caked in blood and dust, but bright green eyes (so much like Midoriya's) glittering with determination and challenge… well.

He finally understood.

“DO NOT FEAR…

FOR I AM HERE.”

-

Later on, Midoriya would have all the time in the worlds to think over the intricacies of both his quirk (which he had never really understood before the USJ) and the effect of his actions against the League. But in that moment, after he heard the words he had been just barely holding on for, after he exhausted all but a spark of his newfound power, he collapsed.

And that spark continued twinkling, even as he destroyed the timeline he had worked his whole re-life to keep the same, even as he doomed people that hadn’t been in danger and saved others who would’ve fallen beside them, even as his interference led to most of his prior-life's information to be useless.

It twinkled as his limp, bloody, battered and bruised body was loaded onto an ambulance to the nearest vet, as his mentor in another life told himself what had happened, as his arch-nemesis told his protégé to keep a special watch on him.

Yes, it twinkled.

-

-honestly, Shouto wasn’t expecting anyone except Bakugo and maybe Monoma to even get close to him. So when Midoriya Izuku appeared silently out of the dirt, eyes glinting playfully in the half-light like a cat's, he was almost frozen in place. And as the plain boy danced sure footedly across the uneven terrain, grinning madly, he had to-

-but he could swear that the cat was laughing at him. Really, the damn thing got on his nerves enough as is. Yet out of nowhere, the animal stood stock still, head cocked like it was listening to something, before it sprinted as fast as it possibly could down the flickering hallway. Shota wasn’t a person with bad eyesight, but he almost swore that he saw a flash of green lightning as the-

-the fires had been put out long ago, but the smoldering embers still glowed brightly in the predawn blackness. And there, just a few yards in front of her feet, sat a large, innocent paw print in the soot next to a child's shoe print. Oh, the boss will be so pleased! She almost couldn’t wait to show him, see what he'd say and-

-

Chapter Text

When  Izuku  made it home the day of the attack, he was informed via letter that all classes were cancelled for the next two days, plus the weekend, leaving school to return to session on Monday.  

 

Meaning  Izuku  had way too much time alone with his thoughts.  

 

That night, he holed himself up in his room, giving the stupid excuse of being  a little overwhelmed to his poor mother, who bought  it  easily and left him to eat dinner alone. He felt bad  lying to his mom, even though it  was  technically  true,  he still felt like a terrible son after she gave him a teary hug with his dinner.  

 

As it steadily  grew darker and darker,  he felt a little itch between  his shoulder blades that just would not  go away. So, since he obviously wouldn’t be able to go to sleep, he sat precariously  on his little-too-small office chair  and tried studying. He continued like this for another  half hour, before the itch became impossible to ignore . He put down his pencil, and his eyes roamed the  darkened room outside his small circle  of lamplight, the eyes on all his posters and action figures  looking terrifying in the night.  

 

He shifted, just a bit.  

 

[Hey, kid ? ]  

 

He fell off the chair.  

 

-  

 

Midoriya  was not expecting to have to  escape from  the emergency vet, but he hadn’t expected to have to fight today  either, and just look at his track record. Honestly, it  would’ve   been  easier  to  wait to be released, but  who in their right minds would  actually   stay  at a hospital.    

 

(Actually, he wasn’t fully healed, and probably  needed an extra night or two  in the hospital, but  he had spent a very large chunk of his time as  Deku   in  hospitals , meaning he had grown very good at breaking out of them.  Besides, sleep is for the weak. And he had to talk to  Izuku , too.)  

 

 

Thank god  that one of the vets at the pet hospital had a n animal healing quirk.  

 

He had not expected this turn of events. In hindsight, it was obvious, but  now… he had no clue what to do with these abilities except for keeping his family alive. Meaning he  needed  to talk to  Izuku , to figure this whole thing out, before the kid tried experimenting on his own and  raised some eyebrows. Hell, even  Midoriya  hadn't gotten a full idea of what this was, although  the brief flashes of memory  showing   Izuku  and  Katsuki  sharing quirks and abilities  as vigilantes was fun and informative to see- no, remember? Or was it glimpsing?  He had no clue- and would help.  

 

Now if only his  migraine would go away.  

 

Going into that fight, after the first flash of memory,  he had realized he would send himself into quirk shock.  Receiving   Izuku's  quirk,  a size boost,  and the memories all at once was  as  difficult as  feared.  Even with the size increase, he couldn’t use any more than around 2% comfortably, and 3% if he wanted to try and explain random bruises. As he was now, normal sized,  even 1% would blow him to smithereens.   

 

But that didn’t apply to  Izuku .  

 

So  as he neared the house, he started thinking of ways to explain this to the kid.  Thankfully, he could feel the little buzz in the back of his head  meaning there was a telepathic link still open, as well as a homing link.  He jumped onto the windowsill , and said the first thing that came to mind.  

 

[Hey, kid?]  

 

It took all of his will power not to laugh when he saw the tense  Izuku  squawk like a bird and fall off  his chair.  

 

-  

 

“So, you’re telling me that  you are actually a reincarnated version of myself from the future who died and went back in time as a cat,  and that I’m not  quirkless , but the soul-rewind thingy is my-sorry,  our -quirk.  

 

[Yes.]  

 

“And now there’s a mutation of it that allows the two of us to share powers  and thoughts telepathically, which you used in the villain attack on Class 1-A, making both of us targets  for the school and villains. Not to mention that you know all this because you occasionally  see flashes of memory from  other  previous versions of us, and what they did with this power.”  

 

[Yeah, sounds about right.]   

 

Izuku  put his head in his hands.  Oh my god, ” he said, near hysterics. “Oh. My god.”   

 

His traitor of a cat (And, oh, but he will never look back on his fond memories with ‘ Mikumo ’  the same way again) licked his paws, seeming a little sheepish.  

 

“You know, and I've been wondering all day why in the world  my eyes started reflecting light all of a sudden, and- it was you who  got me in trouble for skipping class, we're discussing that later when I’m more coherent- and  that was because you were being attacked by villains?!”   

 

[I said sorry!]  

 

“Just… you know what, fine. We have bigger problems. We need to learn how to control this. Do your memories  give any pointers?”  

 

If cats could sigh,  Mikumo  did. [This has never happened before. Whenever this has been activated,  it’s been with another human. The eye thing today was  probably you sharing my cat eyesight  through our link.] He paused, then straightened  up. [Wait. If you got my eyesight, could we share things like my  heightened hearing, balance,  claws, stuff like that?]  

 

Izuku  stopped for a second, before a tentative smile crawled across his face. “Of course! Maybe not  super-noticeable things like ears or tail, maybe not claws, but internal things like balance and small  physical things like your  tapeta   lucida  would be invaluable as a hero and even as a student I suppose you can tell me later about  everything that happened last time plus if  you've been using One For All for a long time you can help me not break my bones with that and-"   

 

Mikumo  removed  his paws from  Izuku's  mouth. [There. Better?]  

 

Izuku  nodded, still thinking over the implications of what his cat had said.  “You  can  help me with One  For  All, though, right? And if we can get a handle on the sharing-senses thing,  I bet we can win the sports festival !”  

 

[Yeah. We can  definitely  win the festival. Izuku  wasn’t an expert, but his voice sounded  like a strange  mixture  of excited,  hesitant, and  upset. [Look, kid,] he continued, seeming more serious by the second. [If this telepathic thing is permanent now,  I want you to promise me that if I ever say to do something, you do  it. No matter how crazy  it seems.] By the end, his voice had grown dark, haunted, and  Izuku  remembered  that even though this was his cat , this was also a fully grown hero who had seen hundreds of people die.  

 

He swallowed. “Of… of course.” He then continued in a small voice. “Can I ask you… what was it like? When- when you were my age? How hard was it to keep everyone alive?”  

 

Silence. Then, [It was hard. Most of it was luck, and that was before we graduated.  Eleven years after our graduation,  Eraserhead  was killed in action. ] He looked up, seemingly lost in thoughts. [ By the time I retired at  62, a third of my classmates had died.  I was in Class 1-A  in my  time, you know. ]  

 

[But you forget that I have had a good long time to think this stuff over.  It’s better not to dwell on the past, and instead focus on the fact that, this time, no one will die. We can prevent that.]  

 

A thick silence fell over the two of them, before  Izuku  suddenly lurched forward and wrapped his arms around  Mikumo . “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” he mumbled into his cat's fur , who  began to purr, as if to reassure the boy. They sat like that for awhile, Izuku’s sniffles slowly subsiding into quiet breathing.  

 

Mikumo  pulled away, seeming frantic. [Oh, shit. What am I going to tell  Nedzu ?!]  He spun around , eyes landing on the desk. [Kid!  Izuku , can you type?]   

 

[Stop laughing!]  

 

-  

 

Nedzu  stared at his tablet. He hit the refresh button slowly.  

 

It stayed.  

 

He… did not see this coming, at all. This cat was just full of surprises, wasn’t he.  Sending him an email, at 11:43 pm no less,  was so far out of the character profile he had begun to build that it was almost scary.  He had expected a lot of things, but revealing his quirk so early on in their tentative partnership was  ballsy.  

 

And giving up this much information  this easily was alarming. It hinted that this was either false, or  modified. No one with half a brain cell would do something like this for the kicks and giggles.  

 

But he wasn’t going to look a gift cat in the mouth , so he clicked on the email.  He wasn’t nearly prideful enough to  pretend  that  he didn’t  have  questions after the student’s testimonies,   and hopefully this would answer them.  

 

. . .  

 

After he read it for  what he believed was the  ninth time, he sat back and stared. Then he started  giggling.  Nedzu's  keyboard popped into existence, and he began to type.  

 

Click.  

 

“Detective  Tsukauchi I need you to read what I’m about to send you very carefully  

 

-  

 

Hello  Nedzu I hope this finds you at an opportune time.   

 

I’m sure you have questions. Honestly, I do as well. I am prepared to give you  three things. One,  information about my quirk, as well as an explanation  to why I kept it under wraps. Two, a few requests that I hope you will honor. And three, a lie.  

 

Let’s start with the second. The first request is that you keep this as confidential as possible, for everyone’s sakes. The next directly conflicts with this, but I am sure that you can find a way around it. It is to tell the necessary people that I am to be trusted and listened to. If you can do this without revealing how I received this information, it would be incredibly beneficial. I mean people like Detective  Tsukauchi , Yagi Toshinori, Shota  Aizawa  and other UA staff, the likes. I can promise that this will save lives. The final request is to listen to  Izuku   Midoriya , which will be explained below.  

 

Next, the lie. This is what I hope you will tell the above-mentioned people to prevent my real quirk becoming common knowledge. It is to say that my quirk is Share, an ability that allows me to share traits and abilities with the person I am bonded to, that person being  Izuku   Midoriya . Because of that, I can telepathically communicate with him, and have the intelligence of a human being since I share his. That should answer most of the important questions anyone would have, but even  then  please keep this quiet.  

 

The first, and final of the three, is my quirk. You see...  

 

-  

 

Detective  Tsukauchi , I hope this email finds you well. You see, I recently received an email from  Mikumo  the cat that might answer some questions. He began by explaining his quirk, which is called Share, allowing him to share anything with his bonded human, being  Izuku   Midoriya . This ability gives him heightened intelligence, which may explain any strange occurrences you have had with him.  

 

Next, he asked me to pass on a warning...  

 

-  

 

Hiya  Midoriya ! Thank you for the email.   

 

The answer is yes, you can have outside assistance during the sports festival  as long as  the helper is part of your quirk, which sounds true for your situation. If you are a part of your cat’s quirk, and it cannot be fully turned off, then sure! Exploit the world out of it. Rules were made to be avoided through the generous and slightly illegal practice of widening loopholes shamelessly until you get want you want, after all.  

 

I’ll be watching, kiddo.  

 

-Power Loader  

 

-  

 

[Kid, we are  gonna  dominate this whole shebang. Also, I kind of need you to become friends with Todoroki and Iida so you can save Iida’s life and help Todoroki through his daddy issues so you might need to  getover   youranxietytoget   theirdamnnumbers. ]  

 

“YEAH! WE- wait, what? Hold up...”  

 

[ Gotta  go, bye! See you tomorrow at Dagobah, Izuku.]  

 

“...yeah. See you tomorrow.”  

 

Click.  

Chapter Text

Ochako was having a terrible week.  

 

First of all, this was only the second week of school. The. Second. Week. And they had been attacked by villains! She huffed, adjusting her tie. This was the second day after the attack that school was in session, and she refused to be late. Just because she lived by herself did not mean she was incompetent. She looked outside her door, only to see a covered plate of what looked like pancakes. 

 

Oh, and another thing! Since USJ, someone had been leaving little gifts on her front stoop. The first day, it had been a bag of mochi, the next a Tupperware of soba, after that half a gallon of milk and chocolate chip cookies. She had no idea who was doing it, but whoever it was seemed to be friendly.  

 

She bent down to put on her shoes when her phone buzzed.  

 

 

Restraining order, please  

 

Great deku tree : hey, uraraka, iida, maybe you should leave class early to go to lunch today  

 

Sanic : Midoriya, is there a reason for this unnecesarily cryptic warning?  

 

Sanic : Who changed my username?  

 

Ooga chaka ura raka : ^^^  

 

Great deku tree : just like, listen please  

 

Great deku tree : unless you want to be attacked by students  

 

Ooga chaka ura raka : ok,,, fine  

 

Ooga chaka ura raka : but fiiiirst  

 

Ooga chaka ura raka changed Sanic  to The iida 500  

 

The iida 500: I don’t understand.  

 

Great deku tree : oh, i see  

 

Great deku tree : i approve  

 

Ooga chaka ura raka changed username to This dysfunctional family  

 

This dysfunctional family: anddd  

 

This dysfunctional family changed Great deku tree to The ua cat cryptid  

 

The ua cat cryptid: ='•w•’=  

 

The ua cat cryptid: thanks uraraka but also please don’t tell anyone else to leave early  

 

This dysfunctional family: sure sure okay fine but how did you make that fancy uwu face  

 

The iida 500: What is  Uwu ? Also, I trust you Midoriya. I will not say a word.  

 

The ua cat cryptid:  ● >● thanks  

 

 

Yosetsu was suspicious to begin with, but this was taking the cake.  

 

He liked Midoriya, don’t get him wrong, but the boy was… odd, recently. He had noticed it yesterday initially, when the greenette had been the only one to not act surprised when Sekijirou-sensei had announced the festival. Yosetsu may be a troublemaker, but he certainly wasn’t stupid. 

 

He had explained everything to Kendo and Kaibara, from how he kept zoning out in class to how he hadn’t mumbled the entire day. They agreed with him, having noticed their own things, and they made a plan to confront him before school on Tuesday.  

 

So color him surprised when the socially anxious, innocently naïve, surprisingly buff class green bean named Izuku Midoriya walked into class on Tuesday morning with a cat on his head, a fire in his eyes, papers in his hands, and words on his lips.  

 

And, oh boy, were those words incredible.  

 

Yosetsu had never pegged Midoriya as an evil mastermind, but wow was he scarily good at analyzing people and figuring out their weaknesses. He was honestly a bit surprised that the boy wasn’t in business with that level of skill.  

 

The class had known that he was smart, but this was really something else. It was a great plan, fully thought out and with contingency plans for every outcome, going through the whole alphabet at least one and a half times. He seemed to know what the challenges would be in advance, which seemed unlikely, and even though he occasionally stuttered or mumbled, it was almost like he was a totally different person. 

 

Although. The plan mentions Midoriya doing things that are just... impossible. When he thinks back on it, Midoriya has never used his quirk in front of the class. Not once in two whole weeks, instead working off his intelligence, planning skills, and natural physical fitness to win. They all knew it was strength enhancement, but he had never used  it. 

 

Unfortunately, the festival was another two weeks away. Yosetsu couldn’t wait. 

 

Even though he did wonder how Midoriya had gotten his extensive knowledge of Class 1-A's quirks. 

 

 

Hitoshi was expecting a lot of things on his second day back from school, but what he did not expect was being cornered by what seemed like half of Heroics Class 1-B. 

 

Even stranger was the fact that the whole lot of kids was being led by probably the plainest boy he had ever seen, whose only real distinguishing figure was the very familiar cat in his hair. Hitoshi stopped to gawk, which seemed to be exactly what the other students want. Before he really could process the fact that the scary-smart, elusive cat that visited every few months was perched on a scrawny boy that looked like if his cat was a human, he had been dragged off by a dark haired boy and a silver-haired kid with the biggest eyebrows he had seen. 

 

Before long, he found himself in the completely empty 1-B classroom, and was sat down in a chair as the  class filed out, leaving him alone with the plain green boy, Mikumo, an orange haired girl, and another black haired boy with a headband.  

 

Hitoshi honestly had no clue what this was about, but before he could open his mouth to speak, the boy in the center began to speak, Mikumo jumping off his head and sitting on a desk between them. 

 

“Hello, Hitoshi Shinsou. I had you brought here in order to discuss the upcoming Sports Festival. I know you want to transfer into Heroics, and I know how you can achieve that. I was hoping we could help each other.”  

 

…okay, that was not what he had been ready to hear. “What's in it for me? You could just be bluffing in order to use my quirk. And who are you?” 

 

The boy flinched, as if startled. “Oh! Of course, where are my manners.” He then gave a blinding smile and gestured at his two classmates, who were also smiling. “I'm Izuku Midoriya, and this is Yosetsu Awase and Itsuka Kendo. And we aren't bluffing, Shinsou. I want to help you get into the Hero Course, and I also want to win the Sports Festival. Together, we can do both.”  

 

Near the end of the lunch period, and by the time Midoriya had finished detailing his winning plan, Hitoshi was grinning. He was so ready to beat Class 1-A into the ground. “Yes, I’ll help you. I’m fully convinced now.” 

 

Midoriya sat back and smiled a little shakily, obviously relieved he had agreed so readily. Awase patted the boy on the shoulder, speaking to him in low tones, probably reassuring. Kendo just smiled, and obviously relaxed. Then the boy shot onto his feet.  

 

“Oh, Shinsou! Do you want to come with us so I can convince Hatsume to help?” 

 

“Okay, su- wait, what?” 

 

 

It was the day of the festival, and while his classmates were brimming with excitement and anxiety, Shouto couldn’t feel more apathetic if he tried.  

 

He was simply... unworried. He knew he would beat these untrained children into the dust, and he would hate every second of it relish the feeling of being strong. He would win with only his mother’s power; he was sure of it. No one would challenge him and make him break his promise. 

 

He glanced over at Bakugo, who looked strangely subdued, almost contemplative as he stared at two small, little pale objects in his hands. Just in case... 

 

Shouto stood up, walking deliberately over to Bakugo. At the sight of him, the explosive blonde’s eerily blank expression morphed into the usual one of thinly controlled rage, if a little less than usual, and the entire room went silent. “What do you want, Half-and-half bastard?” 

 

“In terms of raw strength, I am better than you. But you can outmaneuver me. I believe we are evenly matched. But you have the teachers’ eyes on you, so I must defeat you. I will win, Bakugo, I have to.” 

 

Shouto was expecting something to break, or a screaming match to begin, but it was oddly telling that the only thing the other boy did was to stand up right in his face and search his eyes for a moment. Seeming to not find what he was looking for, he ground his teeth in snarl, turning away.  

 

“You can certainly try, dumbass. But don’t think I’ll go easy on you.” 

 

As the boy walked out the door, Shouto swore that he heard a mumble of, “Definitely not him, then...” when he passed by. The room was silent for a count of three, before a timid Kirishima broke the silence. 

 

“Dude, am I hallucinating, or was Bakugo actually not a terrible human being just then?” 

 

The class erupted, and Shouto had to remind himself that he wasn’t here to make friends when Jirou made a particularly funny joke. 

 

 

Who was it? 

 

It wasn’t Todo-bitch, Katsuki was certain about that, and it wasn’t his parents. He growled in frustration as he stalked the halls, the objects of his ire sitting innocently in his palm.  

 

His only real concern going into the festival was that his newest shitty hearing aids could get damaged or broken, so he had put an extra pair on his nightstand last night. In the morning, however, the extras were back in his drawer, and there was a pair of little skin-toned objects where they had been, along with a small note explaining that they were new-and-improved hearing aids that went inside his ear, and as such were almost fucking impossible to break or lose. 

 

The only problem with that was that the note had mentioned that they had been commissioned by UA’s support department a week ago. He had asked his parents, and they had both denied ordering them. Meaning that some other fucker had. 

 

But who? 

 

The note hadn't been signed, and he had been wondering all day which asshole in his class knew. He was so out of it that even Icy Hot’s challenge hadn't fully computed in his brain, which was more preoccupied making absolutely sure that the bastard wasn’t the one. 

 

Fan-fucking-tastic. 

 

And there was the signal to start getting ready. 

 

 

“Everybody know what they have to do? You better, because this all fails if even one person doesn’t do their job. And remember your teammates. We want this to go perfectly.” 

 

Itsuka was literally vibrating in her seat. This was so exciting! Plus, she had never seen Midoriya this serious or composed before.  

 

“Hatsume, you synced up all the comms? They're all active?” 

 

“Of course! Why would you doubt me?! If all of you do your part, I can do mine!” 

 

“Alright. Is everyone ready? We go out in just a few minutes!” 

 

Various yeses filled the air. 

 

“I didn’t hear that. Is everyone ready to prove to the world that Class 1-A isn’t the only class with great heroes?!” 

 

“YEAH!” 

 

“IS EVERYONE READY TO WIN?!” 

 

“YEEAAHH!!” 

 

“Then lets do that! Class 1-Better, more like it! Move out!” 

 

Itsuka followed her river of excited classmates out the gate as they heard their names being called, Midoriya in the front and center, flanked by Tokage, Kaibara, Awase, and Yui. 

 

Yeah, this was going to go great. 

 

 

Year after year, the Sports Festival always excited Kayama. It was a chance for her little chicks to grow wings and try to fly.  

 

While beating the living daylights out of each other.  

 

Yes, she loved the Festival. Oops, time to begin. 

 

As she started her opening spiel, she gazed out over the crowd of prospective heroes, engineers, executives, and functioning adults, and she categorized them mentally.  

 

It was almost the same every year, with Business students more focused on analyzing the worth and fighting over the hero students than participating, the General students more resigned than anything else, and the Support students excited to show off their inventions to the companies watching. The Hero students were always competitive and eager to go and fight, so she couldn’t wait to crush their spirits. 

 

“...and now give it up for your student rep, Katsuki Bakugo!” 

 

“. . .” 

 

“I’m going to win.” 

 

As the crowd of students and audience members alike roared in indignation, Kayama looked back towards the students. Unsurprisingly, most students acted surprised and angry, with the notable exceptions of Class 1-A, who looked resigned, and... huh, Class 1-B. Angry, yes, but not surprised. Plus a purple-haired student from Gen. Ed, and a pinkette from Support, both of whom simply looked invigorated, as if excited to crush him. 

 

Interesting. 

 

“Your first task... is the Obstacle Course! Have fun racing against your fellow students and the terrain. But be warned, there is a cutoff for the number of kids we can let move on to the second task. Your only choice is to get as close to the top as possible! Of course, that is assuming that you can. It begins in five minutes. Good luck~…" 

 

As the children below her scattered, pushing and pulling in order to get to the front of the tunnel, Kayama allowed herself a moment of satisfaction. Those words were chosen by Nedzu and her every year to subtly manipulate the kids into fighting along the way to the finish line. But as she began walking off of the platform for her short break, something very exciting caught her eye. 

 

Amid the raging rapids of students vying for good spots they would most certainly lose when the race started, stood several distinct groups made mainly of Class 1-B. They only stood out because they were working together, showing a level of cooperation Kayama hadn't seen in years from a Hero class. Someone must have planned this. 

 

She smiled, thinking about how much fun this year was going to be. 

 

After all, if there was a Hero Course student who could determine what the event was going to be, get their class to go along with their plan, and organize a bunch of teams efficiently in only two weeks, maybe less, then this year was going to be something to watch closely. 

 

 

“Teams, sound off.”

 

“Team Mobile, present and in position.”

 

“Frontrunner, ^^^.”

 

“This is Team Defense; we are ready to go! More importantly, how did you say that out loud?”

 

“In position, Team Strikeback.”

 

“Team Caboose, sounding off. Also, who the hell chose this name, ‘cause I sure didn’t and it sucks.”

 

“Team Distraction here, that would be Tokage.”

 

“Everybody shut up! Deal with this after we win. We’re missing Team Assist.”

 

“Oh, sorry! We’re here, sounding off.”

 

“Alright then, that’s everybody. The race is about to begin. Remember your places, guys. May the best class win!”

 

“”””MAY THE BEST CLASS WIN!!!””””

 

“Everyone ready to begin? Well too bad if you aren’t, cause here we go! In three...”  

 

[Let’s do this, Izuku! I have the link open, ready to go!] 

 

“...two...” 

 

[Let’s win, Mikumo.] 

 

“...one...” 

 

[[Go!]] 

 

START!!!” 

Chapter Text

Yui wasn’t really used to this new side of Midoriya, and it was still jarring to realize that he had probably planned the entire event out. She wouldn’t put it past him.

“-research, the first event is highly likely to be an indirect battle, such as a race or time trial, probbly with limited spots in order to weed out the competition.”

The boy in question had just finished a round of questioning, and now Rin was talking. “It’s a good plan, it really is, but can you explain the group things? They seem a little redundant...”

Midoriya flinched, and rubbed the back of his head, face red from embarrassment. “O-of course, Rin. The teams are organized by a main skill or function, then placed in pairs. Each team will have three members, with one team having four. In all actuality, there are three teams that I split in half for ease of movement, with one extra team.” As he continued talking, he grew more and more excited.

“The first teams are Frontrunner and Mobile. Frontrunner’s main objective is to win, I’ll say that straight out. Mobile is there to assist Frontrunner, while doing their best to also claim top spots. These teams will be on point if it is a speed-based or challenge-based task. Their biggest concern is being the fastest.”

-

Setsuna, aka the leader of Team Frontrunner, lurched forward as Midnight called the signal. Her teammates, Kaibara and Tsunotori, also jolted forward, doing their absolute best to not get trampled by the suddenly dangerous crowd of competitors. In her ear, she could hear Shishida talking to Midoriya.

“JUMP, FOR GOD’S SAKE!”

Her team did as they were told, Midoriya’s warning coming just in time as most of the kids were frozen in the tunnel. Setsuna grinned savagely to herself as she realized that while a bunch of people were now trapped, there was also a lot less competition. Not to mention that the crowd was easy to navigate now, with Kaibara simply bouncing around the tunnel and off kid’s heads, while she and Tsunotori simply sprinted across the sea of people.

As the three of them burst into the sun, she noted that 1-A had avoided the flash-freeze, but so had all of 1-B and their associates. Locking eyes with Shishida, the head of Team Mobile, along with Shiozaki and Shoda (the latter only because Midoriya had suggested that he use his quirk on every step he took, more than doubling his speed), she, not for the first time, thanked the boy mentally.

At least until she saw the robots.

-

“Then there are Teams Assist and Strikeback. They are the muscle, whose objective is to clear obstacles and other students from the path of Frontrunner and Mobile. If the exercise is mainly fighting based, these two teams will take point. Assist is also charged with helping other teams as well, since we do want everyone to finish. These teams are the heavy hitters.”

-

As Itsuka blew past Tokage to deal with the zero-pointers, she couldn’t help but feel excited. Sharing a grin with Tetsutetsu and Kamakiri just before impact, she could tell they felt the same. The pure adrenaline rushing through her veins made her feel light as air.

Her right fist only dented the suddenly frozen robots, but her left managed to knock it over, making an opening for her steel teammate to barrel through it, with Kamikiri using the blades on his elbows to slash through the metal. Before the rest of Class 1-A could catch up, Tokage shared her grin and blew through, just ahead of Tsunotori and Kaibara.

Out of the corner of her eye, she should see Kodai and Rin finishing their tunnel while Fukidashi supported it. Mobile rushed through, barely even slowing down at the threat of being crushed.

Itsuka shared a glance with her teammates full of vindictive pleasure as 1-A hesitated at the obstacles, their lack of teamwork only making them fall behind, before they rushed through their own opening. She didn’t look back.

-

“Whatever the challenge is, it is highly likely that other competitors will be a huge problem. That is why Distraction and Defense will follow behind the other teams, covering their tracks. Their main goal is to take people out of the race or trial while protecting the backs of the front teams. Distraction are the trap setters, and Defense actively takes out other students.”

-

Shinso was not expecting to be on Team Defense, even though it did make sense. He could make the kids fight each other with little effort. Kuroiro spread his shadows across both holes made by the assisting teams, while Honenuki softened the ground under the robots and children, toppling all of the above.

Shinsou looked around, unable to help just yet, and watched Komori release hallucinogenic spores into air, putting a lot of people out of commission as the mushrooms grew in their lungs and throat. Tsuburaba created invisible barriers, tripping the competitors, who then sunk into the watery ground, before getting stuck as Honenuki released his quirk.

“Fall back! The next obstacle is a glorified tightrope walk, but if we don’t hurry then the powerhouses of 1-A are gonna pass us by.” Ah, there was Tokage.

His team began to follow her instructions, with Kuroiro hiding their escape routes behind an impenetrable wall of darkness and Bondo on the other side littering the ground with sticky glue and cement.

And as they disappeared into the dark, Shinsou smiled, readied his quirk, and began to talk.

-

“That leaves one team left, with four people. Namely myself, Yanagi, Awase, and Hatsume. This team has a few purposes. One: help any stranded teams. This means breaking them out of Todoroki's ice, freeing them from obstacles, or replacing an injured team member. This team would normally be the last ones out of the class to finish. Two: distract the powerhouses. This includes Todoroki, Bakugo, Monoma, Yaoyorozu, and Iida. But mainly the first two. For that purpose, Hatsume and I may split away from Yanagi and Awase in order to distract those two long enough for the rest of our class to claim top spots.”

“Can you, though? I mean, No offense Midoriya, but you’re talking about Bakugo and the son of the number two hero here.”

“Don’t worry about me. Focus on your objectives, and we'll succeed.”

-

Those… those fuckers!

How dare these shitty extras try to catch up with him?

Katsuki was many things, but he was not blind. Somehow (This just reeked of that dumbass Deku, he knew the motherfucker would do something like this), they had been organized into surprisingly efficient teams, their teamwork allowing them the advantage over the infighting of 1-A and the other extras.

Which was why he was understandably furious when, after flying over the frozen zero-pointers, he looked down to see six or so students almost level with him. But this means that he's stronger! He cleared the shitty obstacles easily, he didn’t need help from the assholes in his stupid class.

He was about to reinforce that sentiment by blowing away these 1-B fucktards, but before he could, he was knocked out of the air.

-

Shouto was prepared to have to fight Bakugo. He was prepared to fight Monoma. He was even prepared to fight Yaoyorozu, or Iida, or any of his classmates.

He was not prepared to glance back after clearing The Fall to see Class 1-B at his heels. Where had they come from? He was sure that the frozen robots would put up a bit of a challenge, at least.

He sighed.

He really didn’t want to do this, but he had no choice- wait. Where was Bakugo? He looked back for just a second, and almost burst out laughing. The angry Chihuahua was strung up by metal wire over the drop, wrapped up like a Christmas present. If loud, angry swearing was a bow.

Then again, how did they best Bakugo?

It didn’t matter. He should thank them for taking out his biggest competitor, especially since he couldn’t see Monoma anywhere. He raised his hand to freeze them all in place.

He never got to.

He really should’ve seen this coming.

A green blur disrupted his line of sight, before what seemed like teleporting closer in order to flip Shouto over its shoulder. He landed on his back, but jumped to his feet with a pillar of ice. They continued sparring while running, as awkward as it sounds, until they entered the minefields.

At this point, Shouto was navigating purely on Present Mic’s increasingly frantic commentary. He heard a distant shout and glanced up. In that moment of distraction, he slipped on his own ice and accidentally set off a mine, which ended up separating him and his attacker.

It was completely silent, still even, for a heartbeat, before color slammed back into his senses and the world kept spinning. From the pink dust emerged a flickering shape that Shouto... actually recognized, even if it took him a moment to place the green figure.

Midoriya, huh?

His concentration was broken when roughly six members of 1-B sped past him, barely slowing down at the mines. He turned to follow them, but was stopped when Midoriya dove out of the mist, almost like a cat pouncing on prey. They tussled for a few seconds, before Shouto pulled away in order to try and catch up to the students in front.

As he skated along on his ice, catching up by the second, he risked a look back only to see two green, semi-slitted eyes approaching. He was only just able to dodge the tackle, while Midoriya came up rolling, leaping on top of Shouto before he could turn.

That was his problem. Maybe he had been too prideful, not looking into the quirks of the other classes. He would have to remedy that in the future, getting to know his opponents. It was a good skill to have. But for now, he reminded himself to focus as he narrowly missed Midoriya with a blunt ice spike.

As if that wasn’t enough, he could hear the loud sound of Bakugo, who was probably free. He could see the light in his peripherals as he rolled under a sparking punch, but he didn’t have time to dwell on it as an energetic female voice yelled something right before the blonde was yanked backwards with metal wire. He could also hear one of the 1-B boys shouting encouragements to Midoriya and the girl, who-

Ah. That was a smart plan.

Working together had crossed Shouto’s mind, but he dismissed it for obvious reasons. This class, however, made it work. The idea that some students would distract the top competitors to allow the others safe passage was honestly ingenious. It only had one major flaw.

If he knew about it, it was easy to simply shrug off Midoriya and chase the new frontrunners, leaving the boy in the pink dust.

…or, it would be, if he wasn’t so persistent. He was kind of impressed at the tenacity.

While Shouto was faster riding his ice, he needed to slow down in order to avoid setting off the mines. Even though the ground was discolored, it was hard to see, and he put all his focus on dodging around the explosives while maintaining good speed. Midoriya seemed to have no such limitations.

The sparking boy danced nimbly across the ground with a balance that Shouto envied, not slowing down to vault ten feet over a stray icicle or clear the odd incoming projectile. Before long, they were neck and neck, with the green boy doing his absolute best to slow him down and the bicolored one trying to avoid that. He knew he would win before too long, with the other boy obviously slowing down, growing tired.

They were closing in on the 1-B leaders when Midoriya got a lucky shot in.

-

What was he supposed to do?

He could feel himself losing control of One For All, and the link beginning to close, only open this long due to the stockpiling quirk’s ability to boost other quirks. And Mikumo’s endless resolve.

So, yeah, Izuku nailed Todoroki in the right ankle and left shin, effectively bringing him down. Even as the boy struggled to get back up, Izuku knew he had only moments before he would only be relying on Mikumo and his abilities for assistance.

[“Hatsume is coming up on your left, she has the wire ready. Be warned though, it will only buy you about twenty seconds before he breaks out and just around- oh, zero seconds for that one. Bakugo incoming!]

God, he was so grateful to Mikumo.

Not only had they trained their newfound abilities some over the past two weeks, the cat had helped him get a better control over One For All. It was nowhere near perfect, and he could only hold about four percent for as many minutes before he was burned out, but he hoped it would be enough. So far, it had been. His extra strength was gone, but he could make do with the increased senses and heightened physical ability he shared with Mikumo.

After Hatsume had finished tying the heterochromatic boy up like a thanksgiving turkey and leaving him to fight Bakugo for any remaining spots, they had been rejoined by Yanagi and a slightly injured Tsuburaba. The four of them shared shaky smiles and raced on, following the rest of their class.

-

Shota was mystified.

He was stymied, confused, befuddled, whatever you call it. Never in a decade would he have seen this coming... except that he should’ve. The hints had been everywhere! Nedzu had been infuriatingly tight lipped about the challenges, he really ought to have noticed.

The teams. Right off the bat, those had caught his attention, as it had for every teacher and most spectating pros. No one but them had even thought to work together, apparently (he should discuss this with his class), and the way the students were organized showed that this was definitely thought out beforehand. Impressive for a first year heroics student.

Next, it was the ease, the efficiency. Each team did exactly what it was supposed to effectively, leaving no room for error. They acted like they’ve been working together for weeks, meaning they probably have. The front teams cleared obstacles, the strength ones cleared the way, the defending ones protected them from behind. It was all very clean cut, precision planning for every outcome.

And don’t even get Shota started on how these children convinced a Support student and a Gen Ed kid to help them out. That in of itself was a goddamn miracle.

His kids were falling behind, as much as it pained him to admit. Although he had to grin at the blatant and brutal takedowns of Todoroki and Bakugo, he should teach his students situational awareness and how to escape capture.

Shota thought of himself as a logical person. After reviewing the facts, he was not surprised to see all of 1-B, 1-A, and the two extra students take the forty two spots for the cavalry battle, with the girl named Shiozaki in first.

But the fact that he was logical meant that he was struck speechless when Nedzu called them all into a conference room to inform them that, since one of the first-years knew what the challenge was going to be, they were changing it at the last second.

‘No favorites’ his ass.

And why in hell did he choose Freeze Tag, of all things?

Chapter Text

It was simply common sense that the UA Sports Festival was for the students.  

 

There were many opposing schools of thought regarding the event, both good and bad. Some people believed it should not be held because it could endanger the students after graduation, since several heroes relied on mystery to out-maneuver their opponents. Others responded by saying that it deterred villains by highlighting how outclassed they are/will be. Regardless, it is continued for quite the simple reason. 

 

Money. 

 

UA is an expensive school to maintain. They had multiple fake, fully-stocked training cities, for crying out loud. The Sports Festival is a huge revenue machine, with thousands coming to watch in person, not to mention the fact that almost all of Japan (and several other countries) tuned in one way or another. The merch and food stands alone made hundreds of thousands. 

 

Because of that, about 50% of UA’s income and spending allowance came from this one event. So, it was quite difficult to make it different, original,  exciting ,  every year. Nedzu and the teachers worked tirelessly for weeks to create a show stopping performance. The students weren't the only people who had to do their best to show off their talents, after all. 

 

...where was he going? Ah, yes, the meticulous planning that, in a roundabout way, many of their jobs relied on. Nedzu supposed he should apologize for that. With it’s long and storied history, improvising in the actual event is heavily frowned upon, especially after that one incident when two students ended up in jail, a teacher got concussed, and UA was sued precisely 34 times for trespassing and destruction of property. But alas, those were the good old days, when he could send the kids on a real-life scavenger hunt in Musutafu with few condequences. 

 

Yes, yes, his ideas. He had planned the whole festival out from top to bottom, even betting two month’s salary, three weeks of grading homework, and a picture of him in a tutu against Aizawa that Katsuki Bakugo would win. That was, until a week ago, when Mikumo confessed that he knew all about Nedzu’s plans for the festival (and that he wanted to see the picture, but that’s not important), rendering them useless. 

 

Honestly, Nedzu had been impressed at Midoriya for all of three minutes before he remembered that the first-year had a 104-year-old pro hero who knew everything about him, oh, and also the future. That remained for around two minutes before he grew doubly impressed upon realizing that said pro was also just adult Midoriya, who seemed to have all the self-confidence of a dandelion. 

 

But back to Freeze Tag. Yes, it was one of his better ideas, if he did say so himself. Even if it did make most of his co-workers begin planning his homicide, it was worth it if he could challenge both Midoriya and Mikumo. They were so intriguing to him. He might ask to borrow their original plans later, for some light reading. From what he could see, the elder was an amazing strategist. If that kind of brain was just beginning to develop in young Izuku, Nedzu would love to take him under his wing. Maybe he had underestimated the pair of them. 

 

Only time would tell. And this challenge, this probably would too. 

 

So Nedzu sat at his desk, opened his notes, and began to watch. 

 

 

Akaguro Chizome was not always a patient man. 

 

Sure, he could stalk a target for weeks, bide his time before striking, but that was different than being wrong and paying for it. All his sources had pointed towards Strikeout patrolling this street at least three hours ago. What had happened? He figured that he could just have shitty luck, which was true on every level, and it honestly wouldn’t be too much trouble to... ah, reschedule, but that wasn’t the point. 

 

He had never been wrong before. While Chizome might not be patient, he was plenty smart, and planned out his purgings down to the minutiae. Just as he contemplated going home, he heard voices at the corner. 

 

“-said that there was nothing here! You can’t just stop patrolling because some concerned kid was worried over nothing and called in a Hero Killer sighting.” 

 

Hmm. Chizome was very careful to remain unseen on his outings. Who had seen him? And a kid? He had to know more. Improvising, he hid just as Strikeout and Ingenium rounded the corner. Strikeout walked with his normal false bravado, focusing more on his conversation than his surroundings, while Ingenium was noticeably wary, only half-listening to the other hero babble about civilians. 

 

“Like, seriously! Did the kid even show any evidence? Laughable. He should go to the police with such a measly claim. He should know better than to interrupt important work. Although... I kinda wish Stain was here now, I’m sure I can take him!” 

 

That attitude is going to get him killed someday, Chizome couldn’t help but think. Then he snorted silently because, yeah, irony. At least Ingenium seemed to be taking his job seriously.  

 

“I know, but the boy sounded really familiar. He must be in Tenya’s year, or class, maybe. He sounded sure, and he was almost begging by the end. There must be some logic, seeing as he also contacted Plasma, Native, Patchwork, and Shitori. They said that he warned them about certain days too...” 

 

The vigilante felt his blood freeze. Those were his targets for the next few weeks. How had this mystery child gotten those? Thank god for idiotic heroes, or he might have to rework his whole plan for the foreseeable future. There was obviously nothing else he could glean from the conversation. As he began planning out how to separate the two, something occurred to him, and he sat back. 

 

Oh, that sly son of a bitch. 

 

By leaving such cryptic warnings, the kid had put him into checkmate. The heroes would be on a bit higher guard, but they wouldn’t stop patrolling, meaning there would still be heroes around to deter attacks by villains. If Chizome did kill any one of them, the rest would immediately see the truth behind the child’s words and subsequently make it near impossible for him to get any of his targets before they found him. This kid was  good.  He had made a system to both deter Stain from striking and maintain hero activity, all while maintaining relatively anonymous and keeping civilian safety. 

 

If Ingenium was right, and this boy was a first-year hero student, Chizome had high hopes for this next batch of heroes. 

 

He really wanted to meet him. 

 

 

All For One considered himself a very adaptable person. Able to change plans on the go, to predict the future and how it could derail his ideas, to see other angles in order to solve problems.  

 

But this. This was a surprise. When Tomura came back from his failed assault on the USJ, nursing cat scratches and bites (and a missing hand) instead of the predicted bullet wounds or broken bones, the boy told his teacher something very interesting. It wasn’t All Might that had beaten his protégé, nor other heroes, or even the students, but a cat. A cat that sparkled with power and strength reminiscent of his greatest enemy.  

 

Understandably, that opened many questions. How had a simple housecat gotten All Might’s power? He thought his quirk could only be transferred voluntarily and to a human. If this was new, what else didn’t he know?  

 

Now, as he listened intently to the UA Sports Festival, with his doctor narrating along with the infernal Present Mic, he noted something even more concerning. From what he could hear, there was a boy who had organized all of Heroics Class 1-B in order to secure them all a place in the top spots for the second challenge, whose quirk was strength enhancement that sent green sparks around him when he moved. A boy that All Might seemed to have a noticeable interest in. 

 

Layers upon layers of inquiry. 

 

All For One knew for a fact that someone could not have that power fully while another still held it. So how was an animal and a boy both using that quirk? Could it be that the cat had a quirk? But then the animal would have multiple, being an intelligence modifier and a quirk-sharing ability. Maybe that was the boy’s original quirk?  

 

Either way, he really wanted to meet them face to face, see the kind of person who had defeated his protégé, see just who warranted All Might’s attention. 

 

Maybe there was a quirk in there for him. 

 

 

Toshinori hadn’t seen something like this coming. Sure, his successor was smart, that was plain to see from the analyses he did on other’s quirks, but this was on a whole other level. The boy had basically made his own hero agency in his first year of high school, and judging from the way that his classmates followed his orders without hesitation and obviously trusted him, they were completely loyal. 

 

The old hero felt himself shiver subconsciously. He was so glad, and not the first the time either, that young Midoriya was a hero and not a villain. The kind of villain who could instill blind loyalty in his followers could do so much damage. Someone who ruled with compassion instead of fear meant he would never be betrayed, never having to worry about insubordination or mindless lackeys who were too scared to offer their own opinions.  

 

He looked down on the laughing, smiling students congratulating each other, and felt his worries melt away. No, his boy would never become a villain, would never harm others to further his own goals. He was too heroic for his own good sometimes.  

 

Toshi chuckled. He shouldn’t be worried at all. If anything, he should be more concerned about that cat. After the USJ, something had changed, like the two, boy and cat, were closer than ever. Midoriya seemed a bit more confident, if still as socially awkward, and was obviously more devious. 

 

He should probably focus on his class again. Those kids needed help. Bakugo seemed distracted, almost torn, while Todoroki was acting bitter, silently brooding in the corner by himself. 

 

What was up with them? 

 

 

Katsuki didn’t know what to think.  

 

When he had been tied up, the pink haired bitch from Support had flew right next to his ear, and he had just caught the words from her mouth before he was gone. 

 

“I assume they’re working well? Izukun will be happy.” 

 

If not for that mind-fuck, he probably would’ve escaped a lot sooner. And then right as he caught up to the 1-B extras, he saw Deku taking down Half-and-Half. But he got captured again before he could demand answers. 

 

So yeah, he was torn between righteous fury and honest-to-god confusion. What did she mean that Deku would be glad his aids were working? Why would that fucker care? And was she the one who made them? Why? He had so many questions. 

 

He was snapped out of his head as three extras approached him. He pushed the bewilderment deep into his heart, letting the anger and suspicion take point.  

 

“What do you shitty extras want?!” 

 

The redhead scoffed. “You are just as vulgar and feral as we heard, no matter what Midoriya says.” 

 

What? “What did that fucker say about me? Didn’t even have the damn guts to say it to my face, did he, the damn coward?!” 

 

“He only said that we should give you a chance,” the boy with the headband said simply, stopping Katsuki in his tracks. “But whatever he says, you’re still a real shitty piece of work, aren’t you? We aren't going to say anything, but that’s not for you.” 

 

Before he could get in a word in edgewise, the sharp-toothed, moss-headed girl grinned menacingly. “Now, normally I'm pretty easy going, and I personally like your spunk. But if you touch a single hair on our little Izuku’s head, I will kill everyone you hold dear and then myself. We are only not interfering because Izuku asked us to, and we respect his wishes.” 

 

As they turned to leave, the orangette looked back, a little less murderously this time. “We do want to give you the benefit of the doubt, but one toe out of line, one burn on our Class big brother, and I can guarantee that between all of us, we can hide a body pretty well.” 

 

Katsuki was left struck dumb as the trio walked back to their group. Deku... told his classmates to give him a chance? After everything he’s done? Why?  

 

The confusion and rage welled back up like blood from an old cut, quick to cover up the slight twinge of guilt that pooled in the bottom of his stomach. 

 

 

Midoriya was worried. Really, he shouldn’t be, but he could feel the tension in the air, in the way that Nedzu kept glancing at him in the teacher spectator box, in the way that he only felt excitement and happiness shining off Izuku like a mini sun.  

 

He had closed the link to preserve energy after the race, in the break between challenges, but now he reopened it, startling Izuku a bit. The boy quickly excused himself from his classmates and hid in the bathroom, from what Midoriya could tell. 

 

[“I’ve got a bit of a bad feeling, kid.”] 

 

[Confusion. “Why? We know what’s going to happen next. There’s nothing to be worried about.] 

 

[“Maybe.” A brief flash of Nedzu looking at Mikumo in the box. “But he keeps looking at me like he knows something we don’t and it unnerves me. What if he changed it?”] 

 

[“That would be something he would do. Plus, Midnight-sensei has this dark smile and that might explain why.” A memory of Kayama looking down on the students with a touch more sadistic glee than was strictly necessary for her persona.] 

 

[“Oh! That would make sense.” Resolve. Determination. “You know what, I shouldn’t be worried. We’ve planned for everything that could happen. Nedzu can’t change the nature of the task after all, just the specifics. We’ll be fine.”] 

 

[“That’s the spirit! Even if we don’t win, we can at least make the top few, and you know everyone’s fighting styles for the one-on-one battles.”] 

 

[“Yeah, if I remember them correctly. But thanks anyway.”] 

 

He severed the connection as the kid walked back to the mosh pit a few minutes before the break ended. ‘Mikumo’ sat down, watching more intently as Midnight walked back onto the stage. 

 

Yeah, his boy would be fine. 

Chapter Text

He should have listened. 

 

It was his own damn fault. 

 

No one else's, his. 

 

And his alone, because he would not allow the maimed and broken girl in front of him to take the blame. 

 

He should have noticed; that something was off, that he didn’t sound normal, that they all spoke nothing but the truth. He shouldn’t have been so blind. 

 

Now the bodies around him smiled up at the stars, waiting patiently for him to join them.  

 

And in some twisted way, he wanted to. He deserved it. Logically, he realizes that he isn’t the one to blame, and that the others were far worse about the warnings. Maybe that’s why he is lying here, slowly bleeding out but unable to help himself, instead of joining the ghosts in his mind. 

 

But in he couldn’t bring himself to think rationally.  There were too many corpses in the street, a river of faces, of vengeful spirits blaming their deaths on him. Voices screamed in the wind, in the unfair silence, only the moon left to witness the horrors that would never disappear with time. 

 

There was blood staining his ẖ̵͗ë̵͍́r̴̬̀ ḩ̶̤͎̩̝̖̜̟̥͕̏̐̆̿̾̒̕͜į̸̰̻͔͛̊̂̌ş̵̠̬̘̫̤̟̐̈́ hands. 

 

The only sounds were distant people going about their day, unaware of the blood seeping through the cracks in the pavement, closer and closer and closer until it soaked up their shoes and into their dreams. 

 

He didn’t call out when he was freed, didn’t make a single sound. Why was he alive? It was his fault, he would gladly take their places in a heartbeat. Why was he still here? To face the guilt? 

 

He would rather have died. 

 

She was still there. 

 

He couldn’t talk, he knew, not with fading adrenaline the only thing keeping him up. So he wordlessly passed her his phone, surprisingly not cracked beyond repair. He could barely move, and she h̶̢̢̪̥̗̼̱͔͔͙̹͙̳̑̓̓̏̾̈̎̔̀̾̅̕͜͝͠͝ͅę̸̬̼̜͚͕͙̜̠̤̄̈́̎̈̈̓̈́̐ͅ wasn’t much better, but they made do. 

 

Her voice cracked as she spoke, but he couldn’t make out her words. 

 

Did her costume always have spikes on the boots? He wasn’t sure. 

 

His hands were slick on the ground. 

 

He would never forget this, even if he couldn’t fully remember it either. He knew he would wake up for months with the smell of death, blood, and strawberry  

 

m̸͍̯̄̈̉̈̂͘͜͝ȋ̴̙̣͓̦̦̄̿n̶̡̨̛̦͙̭͍̽̄͑͆̍̕t̵̯͔̯̙̩̮͉̺̍̀̉,̶̛͉̞̙͂͑̎̈́̽̀ ̸͖̩̄̽̂͌̒̃͆̍̒͗l̵̮̱̬͙͈̏ḯ̶̮̹̤͕͕̗̓̈́̕͜͜k̴̛̹̹̟͉̩̦̯̜͒͜é̸͖̘̻̩̪͈̔ ̸̠̓̅̆̄̈́̏̓͆̕̕ḩ̸̺̞̼̯̖̙̗͚͆ị̴̯̟̬͍͙̖͇͙̦͆̋̄̍̚s̷͓̥̰͍̭͒̈́͌̐͒̃͂͘ ̴̨͚̖̖̮̫̠̗̪̲̓̄̄̿c̷͈̖̣̺̞͚̋̑̊͑͝͝o̷̮̖͎̖̩̽̀̈́n̴̡̧̼͕̼̼̝̬̰͂̈͗̍͝d̴͇̘̣̉͒̌͋̈́̈́̂̈͘͘í̵͙̥̬͕͎̇͑͌͌͘̕͘͜ţ̶̗̺͙̣͕͎̍i̵̧̱̜̙̺̘̫͕̓͛͋̕o̵̯̹͈͎̤̞͖̓͑n̸̡̡̜̼͛̍e̸̜̹͈͐̃͋́̊̇͘̕ŕ̶̡̡̻̣͈͈̜̾̆͆ͅ  

 

like her shampoo as she held him close, telling him not to close his eyes, there was help on the way, they would be okay. 

 

They sat, surrounded by sightless eyes that glistened with unshed tears. 

 

His did too. 

 

Were there always this many posters up? 

 

(When the boy warned the heroes about him, he had missed one crucial detail. The plan might have worked anyway, had it been anyone but him they were going up against. Hearing of this plan, the man decided that, yes, it was almost foolproof. But there was one other option too. So when confronted with the choice, the man had decided to attack all at once, leaving no one alive except for the only three he thought deserved it. 

 

For the woman who was too quiet to voice her suspicions, he cut out her tongue and mangled her throat, rendering her unable to say anything at all. 

 

For the girl who offered peace too often, he took away the ability to give or take anything to anyone, starting with her hands. 

 

For the man who was too slow, he left him without use of his legs, so he could never be on time again. 

 

And the ghosts laughed in the stars.) 

 

Cradled in the mangled arms of his newest sidekick, Karma, staring up at crimson clouds, Tensei Iida couldn’t help but wonder if Tenya would take care of their parents when he himself couldn’t. As he felt his consciousness drift away from the here and now, he burned the image into his mind. Ingenium heard music. 

 

 C̴r̴a̴d̸l̸e̸d̴ ̷i̴n̴ ̸t̶h̵e̷ ̵a̸r̸m̵s̷ ̷o̷f̷ ̵K̵i̸r̴i̷s̷h̵i̸m̸a̸,̸ ̴s̷t̸a̶r̶i̶n̶g̵ ̵u̴p̷ ̶a̷t̴ ̸a̵ ̵s̴i̷l̶v̷e̷r̵y̶ ̴m̴o̷o̷n̵,̷ ̵I̶z̶u̶k̶u̴ ̵M̵i̷d̶o̷r̶i̸y̵a̶ ̸c̷o̵u̶l̷d̵n̷’̶t̵ ̷h̸e̶l̸p̶ ̸b̷u̴t̴ ̵w̵o̶n̵d̵e̵r̶ ̸i̷f̷ ̵K̷a̵t̶s̸u̸k̸i̷ ̷w̷o̸u̵l̶d̵ ̷t̵a̶k̸e̶ ̵c̵a̸r̶e̴ ̵o̷f̸ ̷h̵i̵s̴ ̸m̵o̷t̶h̵e̴r̴ ̴w̵h̷e̶n̵ ̸h̶e̷ ̴h̷i̴m̶s̷e̴l̶f̸ ̶c̴o̷u̶l̵d̴n̴’̶t̵.̵ ̷A̵s̵ ̶h̴e̴ ̸f̸e̸l̸t̵ ̶h̸i̴s̵ ̴c̵o̴n̸s̷c̶i̴o̶u̶s̷n̸e̶s̶s̶ ̴d̶r̴i̴f̷t̸ ̶a̴w̵a̴y̴ ̷f̵r̴o̵m̷ ̸t̴h̶e̸ ̶h̴e̸r̷e̴ ̵a̶n̸d̴ ̸n̷o̸w̷,̷ ̶h̷e̷ ̴b̵u̵r̷n̶e̵d̴ ̶t̷h̴e̶ ̶i̸m̶a̶g̷e̶ ̶i̸n̶t̵o̸ ̸h̵i̵s̸ ̶m̷i̶n̸d̶.̸ ̵D̷e̴k̴u̶ ̴h̵e̸a̶r̶d̸ ̵m̷u̷s̶i̴c̸.̸ ̴ 

 

(He didn’t die, but he was immensely lucky.) 

 

17 dead. 

 

1̷̼̋0̷̹̱̄͜5̶̧̲̾̈ ̶͉̘͎̄͗d̷̡̝̃͛ͅe̷̙̓a̸̠̯͛d̵̯̑.̵͉̬͌̈́ͅ 

 

 

The rules were simple. 

 

Almost disgustingly simple. 

 

There were no teams, and the point system remained, if changed a bit, with Shiozaki retaining the 1-million-point moniker. It was a simple game. If your headband was taken, you were given fifteen seconds to get one. If you didn’t have a headband for fifteen seconds, you were taken out of the game. Instead of everyone having points, only the top twenty did, with everyone else having blank headbands. 

 

Simple, right? Keep your headband, take others. 

 

Except that it wasn’t. The strategy was simple, the rules were simple, yes, but the game itself was going to be absolute chaos. Izuku felt Mikumo’s uncertainty and apologies, but couldn’t bring himself to reassure him, seeing as he was even worse. 

 

The only thing he could do, with anxiety thrumming in his stomach and tears building behind his eyes, was strategize. He couldn’t just sit still, couldn’t fail them, wouldn’t allow himself to let down his friends like that. 

 

So he put aside his own terror in order to soothe others, and gathered the class. 

 

 

“Todoroki is going to start off by freezing everyone to the ground, I know that much. Most of 1-A won’t be too aggressive, but they are less likely to go for each other than they are to attack us. Chances of collaboration: close to none. However-” 

 

“That’s all fine and dandy,” Awase quickly interjected, "but what is our overall game plan? We have to work together, but if we do, then most of us will lose.” 

 

Midoriya smiled, and it was in that sweet, innocent way that meant he was going to crush the competition. “We work in small groups. The highest scorers among us with be paired up with other classmates to guard them, and to take out other’s headbands. When the scorers are the only ones left, we fight for the top spots.” 

 

Kodai hummed thoughtfully, thinking it over. “This might actually work...” 

 

He beamed. “Everyone remember the quirks of our competition, right?” Nods all around. “Great! As I said earlier, there is a low chance they will work together, making it easy to pick off outliers. However, there is a chance that they will pair off to attack others, so be wary. Any questions?” 

 

Setsuna smirked, raising her hand. “Midoriya-sensei, do we need to take notes for the test?” 

 

His face instantly turned red, and he hid behind his arms as everyone chuckled, at least until she was tackled by a small green blur. Before she could process it, Mikumo sat on top of her, meowing insistently like he was lecturing her. 

 

This time even Midoriya joined in on the laughter. “Looks like Mikumo wants to join!” The cat in question perked up, kneading Setsuna’s stomach as his tail waved excitedly, sending Awase and a few others back into a fit of giggles. 

 

 

[The look on their faces when they realized you were being serious! Oh my gosh, I will treasure that forever.] 

 

Izuku found himself hard-pressed not to sigh or roll his eyes. He managed, but it was a close thing. [Haven’t you already seen this stuff before? This whole thing should not be new to you.] 

 

[Kid, I'm over a hundred. You expect me to remember every crazy thing I did in school, almost ninety years ago? We don’t have memory quirks. Like, sure, I remember the time when I fought Todoroki and had to get surgery on my hand, or that one incident after graduation when Sero got stuck in a wall because of his elbows and I ended up with a broken collarbone, but after enough deadly experiences, they blend together.] 

 

“HEYA LISTENERS!! WE WILL BE EXTENDING THE BREAK, FOR REASONS WE CANNOT ELABORATE ON, BUT BE ASSURED THAT WE WILL BE STARTING IN DUE TIME.” 

 

He was speechless for a minute, before slowly turning towards the cat licking its face next to him. [Mikumo, you need a therapist.] 

 

[Already have several.] 

 

Izuku gave into the urge to roll his eyes, and ended up with his head between his hands. [You know what, I give up.] 

 

[...You ready?] 

 

[Oh, yeah.] 

 

 

Naomasa hadn't been expecting a call from a pro hero at this time of day, so he almost contemplated letting it ring out. But he picked it up eventually, and at first all he heard was static. 

 

He went through his normal greeting, and was about to hang up when he got no response, before a hoarse voice responded. He only caught bits and pieces, but that was enough. 

 

“-there? -nyone? We need hel-… come in, pl-… street, someone hear this, we’re bleedi-… got away...-as Stain-… attacked...” 

 

He signaled one of his juniors across the room and she put the call on the speakers, making everyone in the precinct white with fear. Naomasa’s hands clenched in his pants, and he had to remind himself to breathe. 

 

Before long, a report was tossed onto his desk by a harried secretary as she rushed around, and he noticed that one of her heels was cracked. He couldn’t help but notice little things, like how the faint jingling from the other room was Tamakawa’s bell when he moved, and Keisatsu’s uniform was creased oddly from her mutation quirk. 

 

No, he couldn’t go into mild shock. Their lives depended on him. 

 

So he pushed the lingering thoughts away to the back of his mind, ordered a trace on the location of that call, and asked for a list of heroes warned about Stain attacks. 

 

God, he hoped it wasn’t Ingenium. He would actually cry if he had to tell the hero’s little brother that his bro was hurt because they didn’t take warnings seriously. 

 

 

The only reason Shota hadn’t straight up murdered the guy that called him away from watching his students being beaten into the dirt was that there was an actual good purpose. 

 

Unfortunately, that purpose was being called to investigate the crime scene where 20 pros had been attacked, and 17 killed, and that certainly put a damper on his mood. After about an hour of staring at the gruesome scene trying not to make himself sick, he was called back to a hospital where, apparently, the survivors were being held. 

 

The only thing he didn’t get was... actually, he didn’t get anything. Why was Tsukauchi looking so terrified? Why were the heroes killed in broad daylight? Why would Stain change his M.O this drastically?  

 

Tsukauchi met him in the entryway, looking sicker than Shota felt, which was a bit impressive, and he was led to an unused room while they waited for the only one of the three survivors that wasn’t in critical condition to wake up.  

 

He got his answers when the detective wordlessly handed him a headset, and pressed play on a phone recording. 

 

H-hello? Can you hear me? ...okay, good. I’m... I am calling with a warning. I have it on good authority that, later in the week, the Hero Killer Stain will target Patchwork, Ingenium, Lunar Leap... um,  Shitori , Native, Strikeout, Officiate, and Plasma... oh! And- and Cloud Ten, I think. Yes, Cloud Ten as well. I already contacted their agencies, but I thought I should warn you too... please listen to me! I promise it’s the truth, I pro-…"  

 

Shota took the headset off, but his hands were shaky, and he had to put them in his pockets to hide the absolute rage coursing through his veins. “... You’re telling me... that you, what, knew beforehand? Were warned at least, and you... just... didn’t listen.” 

 

Tsukauchi had the basic fucking decency to look sheepish, sad, and tired all at the same time, before letting it out in an explosive sigh. “It never reached my ears, Eraserhead. Trust me, I always take these things seriously. I already fired those responsible for dismissing the call... but still...” 

 

“Yeah, ‘but still’! Seventeen people, seventeen people lost their goddamn lives because of  your squad’s  fucking   incompetence.” The other man flinched at his biting  words, but  didn’t even try to dispute them. And  so  what if Shota was cussing out a police officer? He was pissed. His anger ran cold, not hot. “I know this wasn’t your damn fault, but you better do everything in your power to  make perfectly sure this never happens again.”  he hissed, inches away from the man and his obvious pent up frustration. 

 

The door slammed, cutting off his anger before he could really get a good rant going. A panicked nurse stood in the door, hair all over the place like she had run from the front desk. She barely batted an eye at the argument, the two frazzled men barely eliciting a reaction. “Sir, she’s awake.” 

 

 

Higari had never gotten a request like this. Some student asking to modify their costume was nothing new, but asking to modify someone else’s was almost unheard of. And these mods! Why would a student need this? 

 

For the younger Iida, he had been asked to make the costume fireproof, which he could understand, and  knifeproof which he most definitely did not. The knife part was repeated for Endeavour’s son, who was already fireproof, and at least half of 1-A.  

 

W h y ?  

 

Seriously, he had no idea. The students didn’t start using training knives until second year, at least, and even then most kids don’t take the optional class. Where they expecting to be attacked? At least that would be reasonable, seeing the start their year was off to, but then why would a Class 1-B kid ask to modify them? Higari wasn’t even sure if the 1-A kids knew they were being changed. 

 

And the kid had included sketches and analyses on how to improve the costumes, like making Hagakure Toru and the Yaoyorozu’s daughter’s costumes to be made from their hair so they didn’t have to be practically naked. Or that he could make Ashido Mina’s bodysuit as stretchy as possible so she could use her flexibility in combat, or that Katsuki Bakugo’s outfit should be tear and water resistant in order to allow him to collect sweat without losing any.  

 

Seriously, they were great ideas, but  why was it from a class 1-B kid?  

 

Plus, he had asked for mods to his own costume, which Higari thought was a less confusing scenario, until he actually looked at the drawings and notes. 

 

Well, then. 

 

This would be a bit of a challenge, but it would certainly be fun. 

 

Although the Support teacher had to wonder how they were supposed to make clawed gloves and boots with ‘motion activated climbing spikes’ in them before internships. 

 

And why in the world was there a size-changing cat harness in here? 

 

 

They stood, and waited. 

 

Katsuki was ready to blow these shitty extras to bits, and the staff would have to close the stadium while they picked up all the little shattered pieces of their pride. Like these fuckers could beat him in a head-on fight, and they were just damn cowards if they didn’t even try. 

 

Especially Deku, him and his creepy cat. 

 

Yeah, he’d heard the stories. Didn’t believe a damn word, but he heard them. How the shitty nerd’s fucking rabid beast had held off the villains and saved their asses, how he fought the Noumu that it took  All Might’s full power to beat.  

 

Not a word. 

 

Of course, that didn’t mean that he hadn't been watching the damn animal play around with the B-class extras, hadn’t been keeping a close eye on the thing as it sat on Deku’s damn head and acted like it was talking to him. Hadn’t seen, for just a moment before they got ready to line up, their poison-green eyes flash in unison. 

 

Had Mikumo always been that big? Katsuki swore that he wasn’t that big at the beginning of the day. Swore that Deku’s canines hadn’t always been that sharp, even more animalistic than his own. 

 

Was he just hallucinating? Unlikely, but what else would explain it. 

 

And then he heard Nedzu’s prerecorded voice repeat the rules over the loudspeakers, and it clicked into place. 

 

Ah.  

 

Even though animals with quirks were exceptionally rare, it fit perfectly.  

 

An intelligence  quirk Images sprung to his mind, of every time Katsuki had tried and failed to capture the thing, how it knew what was being asked of it and did the exact opposite, how it always seemed to have a knowing glint to its too-human eyes. 

 

Or maybe a linking quirk?  The first time in memory that he had gone over to the Midoriya’s to play with the cat and learned that Mikumo was born at the exact same time as his young owner, when he had asked why Izu-Deku looked so similar to the kitten and only got a confused look, just now when they seemed to share traits. 

 

He couldn’t help but look at them now, really  look , to finally notice the knowing looks, the twitches in facial expression that indicated a conversation he couldn't hear, the identical eyes with half-slitted pupils, the similar ready poses. 

 

He knew that the shitty nerd didn’t have a quirk, it was all that damn cat’s fault. 

 

As he lowered himself a bit more for a better takeoff position, he grinned. But it wasn’t a normal competitive smile, or him baring his teeth. No, this was one full of wry amusement and malice. 

 

Oh they would be having a talk later.  

Chapter Text

1) Class 1-A gets a visitor.

Kyouka tried to mind her own business. Most of the time, she wasn’t successful. With a powerful hearing quirk, and, you know, working eyes, she was accidentally privy to tons of secret conversations. She had overheard so many discreet breakups that they all started to blend together.

So when she heard the rustling in the vents, she tried to ignore it. She saw Shoji’s head raise a bit, and he looked at her in confusion, to which she only shrugged and they both turned back to Aizawa-sensei's monotone voice.

She couldn’t ignore it, however, when Kaminari screeched the most ear-splitting and inventive curses she had ever heard, leaping out of his seat and somehow landing with his back to the windows. For his credit, their teacher simply paused for a moment, made sure no one was dying, then continued talking. The rest of the class was in pandemonium.

Iida stood up, somehow managing to calm everyone down while Sero and Kirishima tried to get the story from the babbling boy, still pressed up against the glass on the other side of the room.

“Th-there were eyes! Glowing e-eyes in the v-vents! THERE’S A MONSTER IN THE VENTS!” Mina laughed and calmly walked over to his seat, looking up.

“Silly! There’s nothing here, stupid. Maybe you- OH SHIT.” She backpedaled, tripping over someone else’s desk. “Kami’s right, guys, those were most definitely glowing eyes. Aizawa-sensei!”

At that, he finally stopped the lecture (like anyone had been listening) and walked over while the rest of the class did their very best to hide behind him. Kyouka rolled her eyes. Their teacher looked up slowly, not even flinching, and said the most confusing thing she had ever heard.

“Uraraka, can you go get Midoriya? His demon is stuck in the vents again.” Uraraka nodded, like that somehow made sense to her, and speedwalked out the door. Kyouka looked around, and while most of the class looked terrified of a demon coming to eat their souls, several students had relaxed, like this was a normal activity. Todoroki had never gotten up, but he always seemed resigned, so there wasn’t any change. Funnily enough, both Iida and Bakugo had also calmed down at the name, and Iida had sat back down.

A few moments later, Uraraka returned with the... greenest looking person she had seen on this campus to date, and both seemed vaguely amused at the scene in front of them. Iida cleared his throat, drawing attention to him.

“Midoriya, this cannot continue. You must keep a closer eye on your responsibility next time.” The boy- probably Midoriya- smiled, and walked directly under the vents. He dragged a desk over, and stood on it so his head was inside the hole, prompting many of the students to relax as he hadn’t been eaten yet. After a moment or two of rustling around, he dropped down holding a disgruntled cat, who jumped out of his arms and onto Aizawa-sensei's desk.

Nobody made a sound, realizing that an irate cat was probably more dangerous than a supernatural spirit at this point. The cat huffed, looking back towards Midoriya. Who began laughing out of the blue.

“Eraserhead, Mikumo has a message for you from Nedzu. You need to go to his office after your lunch. If that’s all, I'll take my leave.” And just like that, he walked out the door.

Sans cat, who stalked lazily over to Todoroki, jumped onto his desk, then onto his head, curled up, and closed it’s eyes as it began to purr. The boy hadn’t flinched once, like this was a normal occurrence. After another moment of silence, Iida took control and demanded everyone return to their seats.

The class continued, but this time absolutely no one listened to the teacher except Todoroki, and instead stared at the green puffball on his head, trying not to laugh.

Kyouka noticed a lot more noises in the vents after that.

-

2) Amajiki gets shooketh

This was a campus. Admittedly, it was a hero school campus, and tons of weird things happened every day, but it was important to Amajiki’s sanity to remember that this was still a school. And sure, while he couldn’t count on three hands all the inexplainable things he had seen over his years, it wasn’t completely out of the blue. Like that one time in second year when he had walked late into his English classroom only to find everyone unconscious on the ceiling. It was weird, sure, but it was within the realm of possibility.

This, however, was most definitely not.

He had just wanted to talk with Nedzu about his internships, was that too much to ask? Apparently so, since the first thing he saw after being invited into his office was a cat. Not just any cat, no, this tiny feline was sitting in the chair across from Nedzu, a half-empty cup of tea on the desk in front of him. They both turned to look at him as he came in.

He turned around and walked right out again.

“Now, now, Tamaki, come in and meet my guest! You students should be seeing more of him around the school.” No, nope, uh-uh, not a snowball’s chance in H-E-double hockey sticks was he getting to know someone else like Nedzu.

A plaintive meow stopped him in his tracks. Or, the implications did anyway.

Why would they meow instead of talk? Are they not capable of it?

Apparently that second of hesitation was all he needed, because before he could even make a sound he was sitting in a chair pulled up to the desk with a teacup in front of him.

The cat snickered, as best a cat can. Nedzu didn’t laugh, but Amajiki could see the shaking of his shoulders.

“There you are! So glad you could join us. Tamaki, this is my good friend Mikumo. Mikumo, one of the big three… oh, of course, of course, silly me. You already know.”

Honestly, Amajiki had not even the faintest clue what was going on, but he liked to think he dealt with it admirably. Not screaming and running had to count for something, right?

He managed to stutter his way through his introduction, and the cat- Mikumo, right- blinked. Because cats can't talk.

“Hello, Tamaki. Nice to meet you.”

This time he did scream, and managed to get out the door and down the hall in record speed, not stopping until he was safely in front of his classroom.

Of course, Mirio didn't believe him.

-

3) Hizashi needs a raise

Of course Shota would be holding a cat.

Hizashi shouldn't even be surprised anymore, but here he was, all 5'6" of him (plus hair), staring confusedly at a sleeping underground hero with a green cat on his stomach.

Did… did he mention it was green? ‘Cause it was. Very green.

And a sleeping Shota! Even more rare, since he either never sleeps or takes naps in the vents and storage closets, as no one ever sees him.

He quietly closed the door of the teachers lounge behind him, waking up the cat but not Shota, thankfully. Every creature in the building could see how tired he was, and a few extra hours here and there couldn’t hurt.

The cat got up slowly and stretched. It almost seemed like it was trying not to wake him up either, but that seemed like a stretch of his imagination. Hizashi had to stop himself from laughing at the image of an irate Shota telling off a cat like he would to one of his students, and ended up shaking.

After he recovered his ability to move without wheezing uncontrollably, he strolled over to the table in the back, intending to grade the latest test on conjugated action verbs. Maybe he hadn’t noticed it because he was too busy rifling through his bag of papers, but he started to hear it by the time he had settled down.

A steady whirring in the background. Hizashi's head snapped up, recognizing the sound instantly. Any teacher or hero would be intimately familiar with that, and he was mildly surprised that it hadn't summoned every teacher on this side of the school.

A coffee maker.

Only issue was, Shota was still very much asleep. And he was the only other person in the room.

The green cat stood on the counter next to the machine, carefully dragging out Hizashi's and Shota's mugs from the drying rack, and managing it pretty well. It didn't even seem to notice it had attracted his attention, and continued waiting for the pot to fill up with every adult's lifeblood, the godly nectar, coffee.

He must have sat there for a full minute, various error messages flashing across his inner eye as he watched the pet begin the pour the pot (that was the same size it was) of coffee into the two mugs. When he regained his brain functions, he still sat there, wanting to know what the next step was.

The cat dragged his cup down the counter, until it was as close to Hizashi it could be, then somehow got Shota's mug into the microwave to keep it warm. Then it jumped off the counter, stalked over to the light switch, and turned off the lights for Shota's side of the room. It turned toward him, looked him dead in the eyes, and covered its mouth with a paw in an obvious ‘ssshh' motion, before curling up beside the still-sleeping man and beginning to purr.

Hizashi barely made it out of the room before he collapsed into a mental breakdown.

-

4) endea-whore gets kerpranked

Of course Fuyumi had seen the cat, how could she not? Honestly, she was pretty indifferent to the whole thing, and would have ignored the animal entirely if it were not for the fact that it made Shouto happy, and she would do her best to protect anything that managed to do that.

The thing that surprised her most was that she never had to cover for the cat. It somehow only came when Endeavor was out, and was always gone when he came back. Fuyumi had only seen the scruffy little thing a few times at most, but the cat supposedly came around about once a week. Or had, since it had slowed down since Shouto had started going to Yuuei.

Meaning that when she came back to the house after work, she almost didn’t notice the green ball of fluff on their couch, sitting across from a napping Shouto. When she did, she blinked a couple times, then slowly put down her bags and walked over, kneeling in front of the cat- Mikumo, her little brother had said. She tentatively placed a gentle hand on Mikumo’s head and began to pet it.

After twenty minutes, her bags forgotten, Fuyumi decided that she loved Mikumo, and would kill anyone who even looked at him wrong. After a little while longer, they both shifted positions, and the cat got up at stretched, then walked away with out looking back. She felt a little sad, but assumed that she would be seeing more of him later on now that he seemed to like her.

And then Endeavor walked through the door, and Fuyumi realize that Mikumo leaving had given her the perfect amount of time to brush the cat fur off and get into a more comfortable position on the couch.

Crap, my bags are still in the walkway!

Five hours later, sitting quietly next to a battered Shouto, nursing her own numerous bruises, she wondered what had made Endeavor so mad today.

In the morning, a shout full of pure rage woke her up, eleven minutes before her alarm was set to go off. Unfortunately, it was a familiar sound, and she winced in sympathy for whichever servant had caught the hero’s anger. Her own bruises screamed in her head, loudly reminding her of their presence. This was going to take a lot of makeup, and a lot of time. She dragged her unresponsive body out of bed, and made herself walk to the bathroom.

She laughed so hard she almost fell over.

Standing in the walkway was Endeavor, with neon blue hair, ripped up clothes, and water dripping off of him onto the obviously scorched carpet. He was growling, towering over a frightened housemaid as she stammered out apologies. Fortunately, Fuyumi had lots of practice at being quiet, unobtrusive, and in his anger the man of the house didn’t notice her standing there wheezing for breath.

She looked at the other end of the hallway, and could just make out her brothers in a similar position, with Natsuo literally rolling on the floor, ice over his mouth to prevent the screaming from being too noticeable. Shouto was leaning against the wall, heaving for oxygen, still laughing as loud as he dared. Normally Fuyumi didn’t see either of them in the mornings, seeing as how Natsuo was rarely home when Endeavor was, and Shouto was often dragged awake at the butt crack of dawn.

She wished she had a camera, even more so when she noticed the pair of glowing eyes in the hall window, crinkled with mirth as much as a cat can.

-

5) 1B is mass-hallucinating

It wasn’t every day that a student walked into UA with a cat in their hair. Was that why he had been so drawn to the plain-looking boy? Yosetsu really didn’t know. Whatever the reason, he had been intrigued from the start, and here they were. Midoriya really was an anomaly.

For example, everyone in the class knew what his quirk was in general terms, but hadn’t ever seen it used. For exercises, he had simply strategized, used the opponents quirks against them, and had planned so well that half the class had been convinced he had been lying about the strength enhancement quirk.

Also, there was the matter of his cat. Oh, that cat. Mikumo was the class pet, unofficially, but everyone agreed that the green fluffball was way too smart to be just a normal cat, which was reinforced when Rin had come into class talking about how he had seen Mikumo slip out of his window at 3:42 in the morning after dropping off homework he had left at school.

So one day, Midoriya's best friends got together and decided to uncover his secrets. Half of them had stayed after school to ask around, while the rest of them stealthily followed the other boy home. The next day, they met up before school.

“Principal Nedzu just laughed,” Kendo was complaining when Yosetsu walked in. “When Kaibara went and asked again, he only laughed harder. We stood there for three whole minutes until he calmed down, and we ended up leaving more confused then when we went in.”

Yui sighed. “You think that's bad? Try getting a word out of Aizawa-sensei, or Mic-sensei. At least you guys only got laughed at. Aizawa fell asleep halfway through, and Mic only looked at the ceiling, before trying to convince me that he had damning evidence and ‘they' were coming for him through the cameras.”

Next to Yosetsu, Tokage snickered, leaving him to tell about their experience. “Following him home went pretty normally, guys. Maybe it was just you.”

Kaibara gave him the stink eye. “Well then, bandanna boy, where’s his house? What do his parents look like? Does he have any other pets?” He smiled knowingly. “Or did you even make it that far?”

Tokage’s giggles turned into a full on laugh as Yosetsu's face turned red. He coughed. “We… didn't quite make it that far. There wasn’t a problem until we followed him off the train, which is when lizard brain here realized she had left her bag at the station. She turned back to get it, and then Midoriya just straight up parkour-ed onto a roof somehow and I lost him. I doubled back to meet with Tokage and she showed me that there were cat teeth marks and pawprints on the bag.”

He lowered his voice, causing his now noticeably more somber classmates to lean in. Sue him, but he was always a dramatic bitch. “I think there's something more-"

“Hey guys!”

Kendo jumped at least three feet in the air, Kaibara turned his head 180 degrees to look around wildly, and Tokage ended up handless, eyes wide in surprise. Midoriya laughed good-naturedly, but the only thing Yosetsu could think over his pounding heart was wondering how long he had been there.

“Don’t worry about me, honestly. I haven’t used my quirk yet because it has some serious backlash, and Mikumo is just weird. Really, we're good. Also, class is almost starting!” The fluffy-haired boy turned away and unlocked the door, leading Kendo, Kaibara, Yui, and Tokage out of the room.

Wait.

Unlocked the door? The door had never been unlocked? Holy shit, that means that either Midoriya knew how to pick locks and had locked it again out of spite, had been in the room before anyone else, or had crawled here through the vents like some kind of school cryptid.

Yosetsu honestly didn’t know which option was scarier.

Chapter Text

They had lost. 

 

Well, not exactly. They outnumbered 1-A when all the points had been counted up, and it really wasn’t a big deal (Mikumo had stressed this many times, to which Izuku had asked him what the point of knowing what would happen and not using it to help his newfound family was, and got no response.), since all the important stuff would happen in the one on one fights.  

 

But still.  

 

Shiozaki's group had pulled through, keeping their headbands, and so did the majority of Kaibara's. After that, however… it was really all over the place. Mikumo was able to steal a suspicious amount of headbands, and half of 1-A had been giving him the dirtiest looks, even though they had stolen at least as many bands.  

 

No, what really confused Izuku was Kacchan. 

 

The entire challenge, he had been gunning for Mikumo and him in particular, which really wasn’t that peculiar, but he hadn't seemed especially angry, more… cold. Yeah, cold. Like he was preparing to snatch them both and beat them up outside the McDonalds at 2 am, laughing as Izuku tried to breathe through a broken nose while Kacchan stepped on his cat's tail as they both screamed in anguish only to be met with deaf ears. 

 

Wow, that was oddly specific. Maybe he needed a therapist too. 

 

Well, its not like Kacchan could do that. They weren’t even in the same class, what was he going to do, kidnap him? It was only when they moved into the dorms together that his harassment was an issue.  

 

Didn’t mean he didn’t feel bad for letting down his classmates with his hastily thought out plans. No matter how many times they said it was okay, it really wasn’t. 

 

At least he saved Iida's older brother! That counted for something.  

 

According to Mikumo, the bracket was very different this year, while still retaining some very important things, like his fight against Todoroki. Speaking of, there was that boy now. Izuku really wasn’t sure what to make of the boy, even with his cat's helpful input about “Singularity being a damn good hero" (and, really, will he ever swear that much? It wasn’t a lot, but it was unsettling, hearing what was basically his own voice spit obscenities at Monoma when they passed in the halls, loud enough to give Izuku a headache.). He didn’t hate the boy, per say, he just had no clue what to do with him.  

 

[I'm sorry, princess, or are you going to follow him? You’ve been staring at him oddly for about fifteen seconds now.] 

 

Izuku squeaked in embarrassment, face immediately turned to a deep red color reminiscent of a strawberry, and hurried to catch up to the heterochromatic boy. [I don’t know what to say! Please help me.]  

 

If cats could laugh, this one would be. Traitor. [You know what, I'm feeling a little bored. Yeah, just say what I do. Don’t want to freak him out with a talking cat.]  

 

Izuku sighed. 

 

Why did his future self have to be such a terrible influence on him? 

 

 

It wasn’t like he was that uncomfortable. Really, he wasn’t. It was just that Midoriya had been staring at him blankly for a while, and Shouto felt like there were error codes flashing behind the other boy's eyes. 

 

He turned away, figuring the boy could catch up when he snapped out of his daze. By the time he had reached the exit of the stadium, they were walking almost side by side, with the greenette a half step behind. Maybe sensing the atmosphere? He didn’t really care. 

 

He paused about twenty steps in, making Midoriya gravitate to the wall across from him. Shouto inhaled, deep and long. 

 

“You beat me.” 

 

Green eyes flashed, but not with the expected curiosity or hostility. They were almost... sad. Were they lighter than before? “N-not really. I had the surprise advantage, and I exploited it. You’re m-much stronger than me, Todoroki.” 

 

He couldn’t help but feel caught off guard by the almost reassuring statement. “... yes, I am. You almost made me break my promise, that I-” 

 

“-would never use  his  power, yes, yes. I know. Your mother is doing fine, by the way.” 

 

He blinked. Midoriya blinked back slowly, almost lazily, as he continued. 

 

“You really thought no one would notice, Shouto Todoroki.” 

 

 

So of course, the minute Katsuki runs off to beat the answers out of shitty Deku, the peppermint bastard snatches him like a wig, and they disappear together. He’s about to storm in after them and beat them both up, before not only is he interrupted  again  in his quest for a goddamn confrontation, it’s by the one thing he didn’t want to see. 

 

Miku-bitch. 

 

He growled warningly, so Katsuki did the same fucking thing but louder, until their stare-off was replaced by voices. 

 

“Well, I did. Congrats, you were abused, big hooray! Shall we throw you a pity party? Mr. Emotionless, spending the rest of his life making ice sculptures and hiding away from everything that hurts.” 

 

A low growl cut through the air, but it wasn’t from Katsuki or the cat. “You know nothing! His quirk is a disease, useful for nothing but disaster and death. You don’t know how hard it is to come home every day, having no one to talk to except for my overworked sister and brother, who have their own problems. The only person I can talk to is your cat, for crying out-” 

 

“You’re talking now, aren’t you?” 

 

The icy voice made Katsuki freeze, even as the animal next to him let out a low purr. He had never heard Deku use that tone of voice before, that chilling finality lining his words with freezing anger. “Todoroki, I do know. I know everything about that. Yeah, Endeavor is kind of an a-… butthead. Pretty much all the time, but is that scar on your face from his fire?” 

 

“... no?” 

 

“It’s not. Is it from a quirk at all? No. Is it from your fire?” A tense pause, and then Deku sighed. “Sometimes, the most dangerous things in the world aren’t quirks.” 

 

Half-and-half began pacing from what he could hear, feet hitting the ground with way more force than necessary. “I refuse to use his fire, Midoriya. I refuse to become like him.” 

 

Another, even deeper sigh. “Okay, you aren't getting it. How about a metaphor. Is a knife evil?” The pacing slowed. “No, of course not. It’s the person who wields it who gives it meaning. If a knife is used to attack someone, is it the same as if that knife is used to make someone dinner? It’s the same knife. Why is it different? Because it’s the intent that matters. Same with a quirk.” 

 

The fucker stopped moving entirely, and the purring from next to him intensified. 

 

“In this school, right now, there is someone with a brainwashing quirk. Perfect for a villain, right? Well, this person is a student, who is aiming to become a hero. It’s not their quirk that influenced them to heroics, it’s their character. Or how about your father? Great quirk for a hero, yet somehow an abusive scumbag who acts more like a villain. If his quirk controlled him, he’d be a good person. Yet he isn’t. If a person used a match to burn down a house, do you blame the match? You blame the person. If I handed you a lit match, right now, would you go set something on fire?” 

 

“Of course not.” 

 

“Would your father?” 

 

“Yeah, probably.” 

 

“Then you aren’t your father, and your quirk isn’t his. It’s yours. Your quirk is the match, the knife. Are you going to save people with it? Be a hero using it? Or will you burn down the entire house, Todoroki? Make your choice soon, because I guarantee you won’t stand around while people are in trouble and your ice doesn’t do the job. Sooner or later, you’re going to accept your quirk.” 

 

Katsuki couldn’t see their faces, but he could imagine them surprisingly well. The bastard’s all twisted up, confused and hurt and angry all at once (like a fucking pussy, who even feels emotions anymore?), and Deku’s, quickly losing confidence now that his brain has caught up to his mouth, trying not to stutter even as tears gather in the corners of his crybaby eyes.  

 

“And if I have anything to say about it, it’s going to be sooner rather t-than later. S-see you in the finals, T-todoroki.” 

 

Oh shit, he was coming! He backpedaled furiously, cat nowhere to be seen, just in time. Deku walked shakily out of the tunnel, with peppermint boy trailing afterwards a minute or two later. 

 

Katsuki sat there long after they had both gone, staring at the little damn note in his fist and wondering why, when he came to get answers, he only left with more questions. 

 

 

Hey Kacchan 

 

I know you were listening, and I need a favor.  

 

Fuck Endeavor.  

 

P.S. No, not like that. I mean make his life miserable, okay? You’re good at that  

 

-  

 

“Did you really have to be so mean? You know how much I hate conflict.” 

 

[He wouldn’t have listened unless you got his attention, and right now the only way to accomplish that is to insult how he copes with trauma. If you had been nice, he would’ve just brushed you off, and you damn well know it!] 

 

“And another thing! Why in the name of All Might must you cuss so much?” 

 

[Seriously? I never said anything that wasn’t true. Endeavor is a prick of the highest order. Did I or did I not show you a memory of his trial?] 

 

“Okay, yeah, he sucks, but he hasn't done some of that stuff yet! Just because he  might  kill his daughter doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee. He can be redeemed.” 

 

[First off, no. If he doesn’t kill her, then it’s someone else. It always happens. Secondly, he's already done a lot of terrible things, and I can't forgive him for trying to kill Mina after we graduated when she walked in on him beating up Natsuo.] 

 

“... you know what, that’s fair.” 

 

[I’ve been building a case against him forever, almost ready to turn it over to Aizawa and Nedzu. It’s almost scary how little security really applies to small animals. That’s a good thing to talk to Nedzu about, but he probably already knows. Huh, I wonder if he's used that to gather surveillance, it would really be like him to do that and there are tons of ways our respective sizes could be used for spying but- I'm doing it again, arent I.] 

 

“No, go on, this is interesting! You make some very good points… also, has anyone ever told you- er, me? Us? Whatever. -that the mumbling thing is terrifying? Because it is. Why are you casually talking about breaking in to spy on the number two hero?” 

 

[I say it casually because it was easy. If he doesn’t want me to get away with pranking him, then he needs to screw his vents tighter.] 

 

“… remind me to never make you mad.” 

 

 

Inko wasn’t terrified, particularly. Very little made her genuinely scared, no matter how much she cried. Now, uneasy...

 

Not the little penknives she kept finding in Izuku's room, not the morse code clicker, not the modified keyboard (perfect for little paws), and certainly not his sudden canine growth or slitted eyes. 

 

No, what scared her is when Mitsuki called her to ask if she knew any other cats that looked like Mikumo, because little Katsuki had mentioned in passing that his classmates said that her beloved little cat fought against villains. So she thought, and when she found poorly hidden veterinarian bandages in the trash, she decided to investigate. 

 

Turns out, yes, her son's cat had in fact gotten grievously injured protecting UA students. Or, well, that was just her inference. In the official records, a vigilante with an animal quirk had been admitted to a pet hospital and healed as much as possible (though the reports said several ribs were still slightly cracked after healing), but was found to have escaped before they could find out who it was. 

 

Her... her cat wasn’t a vigilante! Maybe technically. But everything he did (if it really was him) was done in defense of others. Inko took a mental step back before she made herself cry and looked at the evidence again. 

 

Oh, like she hadn't known for years that Mikumo had a quirk. It was obviously intelligence or something similar, and she kind of hoped the weird activity from her son was because he had found out, or maybe they found a way to communicate? Either way, she wasn’t  that  oblivious. 

 

Did Mikumo know she had motion sensors installed a few years ago when the crime rate spiked? Izuku didn’t. 

 

She ran her hands through her hair as the commercial break dragged on. Her little boy would be fighting! She was worried for him, but she knew he’d do great. With All Might’s power, he could do anything. 

 

It was almost funny how many things he tried to hide from her, and how bad he was at it. 

 

After all, a mother knows everything. 

 

She was so proud of him! Making new friends out of classmates, getting this far into the festival, getting accepted in the first place. Inko was much more relieved now that he can do things without breaking his bones. She suspected something to do with her fuzz baby, but she wasn’t going to complain about it. 

 

She would always support her son, no matter what. He could win the festival! 

 

(In the back of her mind, a dark room smoldered. A little, teary-eyed Izuku placed his tiny heart in her hands, and she cried as she crushed it and rebuilt it and crushed it again.  

 

She buried it. Inko Midoriya was past that, and she had always supported her son.

 

She trusted her son to do his best, and she trusted Mikumo to make sure he wasn’t hurt along the way. Those two, she thought, and smiled through her sniffles, are going places. 

Chapter Text

He didn’t say a thing. 

 

Enji was careful to never say outright what was going on, but he hinted, threatened, spoke down to the boy. Yet he didn’t respond, only turned and walked away. Not a word. The pro hero had been prepared for many reactions, but the child straight-up ignoring him was not something he could comprehend. However, what really made him freeze up was what he finally said when he reached the end of the hallway. 

 

A half turn, just a glint of dangerous, poisonous green eyes. A whispered statement that had the adult subconsciously leaning forward to get a hint of what the student said, a voice so small yet so full of rage it was almost scary. 

 

“Enji Todoroki. If you continue to treat Shouto like a tool, and not a son... well, I’m sure Touya would love to have company, or would you prefer Rei to see her son more often, instead? He’s not you, he’s better, and you’re only trying to drag him down. Let go, and watch me win from the stands.” 

 

He made no move the stop the toxic creature from leaving the hallway. 

 

 

“Gosh, I take it back. That guy’s no hero. Does he think I’m stupid?! He talked down to me, and... ugh.” 

 

Izuku paced inside the waiting room, Mikumo watching from the table. Only half his mind was on the upcoming fight with Shoda, and he had already dismissed the current match from his mind, his cat telling him that the pink girl-  Ashido , right? He thinks it was  Ashido would easily beat Shiozaki.  

 

[I told you, Izuku. Guy’s an absolute shitstain.] Mikumo answered with a mental sigh. 

 

Izuku looked over in mild annoyance, taking in the way the feline lounged without a care in the world. “Hey, I’m not doing all the work here! You don’t get to lounge around just because you’re me but a cat.” 

 

[Do you really want to get into this now, Izuku Midoriya? You know damn well how much I hate not being useful now.] 

  

He exhaled, reaching the end of his pacing circle and turning to face Mikumo. “I know, I'm sorry. But you said it yourself, the best we can do for now is win, put me in the spotlight to draw attention away from them.” He carted a hand through his hair in frustration. “Even though we solved the Ingenium situation, I still feel restless. It must be even worse for you, at least I can fight.” 

 

A strained laugh filled his head. [Thank you so much for reminding me, Izuku. Not like I was already frustrated.] 

 

“...” 

 

[…] 

 

“... would... um- I mean, d-do you want to help me think up strategies to beat the 1-A kids?” 

 

[Kid, I was one of those 1-A kids. Of course I’ll help.] 

 

“...Out of curiosity, why do you keep the future a secret from me? And Principal Nedzu?” 

 

A hiss through gritted teeth. [I understand you want to know, but the fact remains that I have no idea what will change the timeline at this point. Even me just being here shifts a lot of things up, least of which is that you’re in 1-B. If I tell Nedzu about the Kamino Ward operation, he’d have a field day manipulating the troops and further distorting the future. And Kami forbid I tell you about the camp or the license exam. Just telling someone could be enough to change up who gets put on the Vanguard Action Squad, and that could cause countless more deaths.] 

 

“...oh, I see.” 

 

Mikumo calmly stood and stretched after his rant, leaving Izuku to over-analyze his words in increasing anxiety. However out of it he was, he still caught his cat’s final remark before they plunged back into going over strategies, and it saddened him. 

 

[… maybe I can’t do anything right now, but everything I do is to help them survive. Please, my friends, hold on. At least the Ingenium situation is dealt with, and I can make sure that even if he enters battle against that blood-curdling hypocrite, my friend will succeed.] 

 

 

Yosetsu did not question why Midoriya emerged from the waiting room pale as a sheet, missing his cat, and with frustration filled-eyes. Instead, he pulled the shorter boy into a hug, since that’s what friends do, and led him to the bathroom to get cleaned up. 

 

About halfway there, as he talked the greenette’s ears off to distract him from whatever made him upset, they happened to brush shoulders with their teacher, who seemed to be in a hurry. A few seconds later, Midoriya froze with a look of surprise on his face, and whirled around to shout down the corridor at his retreating back. 

 

“S-sensei? Do you know anything about the ‘V-vanguard Action Squad’?” 

 

Sekijirou-sensei turned around with a perplexed impression. “No, I haven’t. Midoriya, are you okay?” 

 

Yosetsu hadn’t the faintest clue of what was going on, but he certainly noticed when his friend tensed up, looking ready to cry.  

 

“Thank you, sensei, but Midoriya here needs to go get ready for his match, right buddy?” No response, okay, he could work with this. “See? Our little brainiac is already creating strategies and would you look at the time, gottogobye-” 

 

And they high-tailed it out of there, laughing once their brains caught up to them.

 

 

Eijirou wouldn’t classify himself Bakugo’s friend, exactly, more like there was a manly connection between them. As he was one of the few people the bombshell blonde actually talked to instead of blowing off (pun completely intentional), he had seen him in many different moods. 

 

This, right here, was a new one. 

 

He had seen rage, boiling anger, frustrated confusion, rage, cold fury, battle lust, and a thousand different distinctive types of being absolutely pissed, all of the time. He had to admit, staying that mad constantly had to be a colossal feat. 

 

Before now, the angriest the redhead had ever seen his classmate was: A.) while being attacked by villains, or having to be saved, B.) while talking about someone he called Deku (who he talked about so often, that if it wasn’t always with palpable bloodlust in his tone, Eijirou would have tentatively called it bordering on obsession, or having a crush. But alas, the threat of a patellectomy far outweighed the hilarity of saying that out loud, since he kind of liked his kneecaps right where they were.), and C.) when talking about said Deku’s cat.  

 

Now, he had never gained the privilege to meet this famed ‘Deku’, but whoever they were, they sound manly as hell. And so did their cat. 

 

Right now, however, since Eijirou may be a hardhead, but he certainly wasn’t an idiot, he could clearly see Bakugo’s line of sight firmly fixed on the contestants going up to fight. And since his explosive friend was no slouch in the brain department either, and the redhead needed some winning bets to even out his losses for the day, he did a very stupid thing in hindsight. 

 

“Hey, Baku-bro, who do you think is going to win?” 

 

Instantly, he knew he had done something wrong. His fellow hero-in-training's shoulders stiffened, and he bristled like a cornered cat.  

 

“Fuck off, Hair For Brains. Of course the shitty nerd Deku is going to win, with that broken-ass power of his he’s been lying about for all these fucking years. With that damn cat helping him, no way he’d even dare to lose to a scared-shitless extra like that and deny me the privilege of beating his ass on live television.” 

 

Eijirou blinked, stunned. Okay, there was a lot to unpack in that, the last being the note of respect he had just sensed in the blonde’s voice.  

 

“Um, that’s nice and all, bro. Real manly of you to show support for your buddy, and all that... sorry if you mentioned it and I’m just being stupid, but which one of them is this ‘Deku’?” 

 

Crimson eyes turned to him in a rare moment of rage-free incredulity, before returning to normal in a perfectly timed eyeroll. “Just look for the one who is obviously stronger, dumbass.” 

 

Thanks, real helpful, not at all confusing and cryptic as all hell. Makes it much easier to tell which one of them is who, you stinky Pomeranian.  

 

And then the competitors walked onstage, and he realized that Bakugo was entirely right. Where anyone else may skip over the plain boy at first glance, seeing as he didn’t place very high in any of the events, people who were looking to find the outcome before the match even started would see the telltale signs of muscles under the boy’s uniform. 

 

Shit, trying to hide your strength like that to give your opponent a chance to prove their valor in front of the crowd was the manliest thing he’d seen all day. 

 

Midnight called the match start, and Deku- oops,  Midoriya   took off like a bullet from a gun, moving with a dancer’s grace. The other kid put up a good fight, but even from up in the stands Eijirou could see he’d already resigned himself to losing. It wasn’t hard to see why. 

 

The blue-haired student also kicked off the ground, obviously trying to clothesline or trip the green blur. Midoriya simply pushed off the ground, flipping over the stunned kid like gravity was just a suggestion. Before his opponent turned around, the greenette kicked him in the back, sending him closer to the line. They separated, and geared up for another attack. 

 

The entire exchange had taken a maximum of three seconds. 

 

The audience was in quiet awe at the speed and strength displayed, but everyone really paying attention knew who was going to win. Another war cry fell from... was it Shoda? He thinks it was- from Shoda’s lips as he lunged forward with another burst of speed, this time catching Midoriya a little off guard and just brushing his side before he could get some distance. 

 

That must have been his quirk, however, since Mido went flying backwards a second later, only managing to stay in the ring through an incredible display of acrobatics and balance, flinging himself back into the ring before he could touch the ground. Immediately, he sprung back up to his feet, eyes blazing, and rushed forward once more. 

 

The two ran to meet in the center of the ring, and Shoda’s arm was back as if winding up for a high-speed punch. The chance to throw it never happened, though, since Midoriya pulled a baseball slide right under his feet, and they both went sprawling to the ground, the plain boy rolling back to his feet without a second’s pause, and with a burst of green lightning he threw Shoda bodily out of the ring. 

 

From start to end, the match had been less than half a minute long. 

 

The crowd went  absolutely nuts  as the winner raised his arms in victory, before bending down to help his opponent over to Recovery Girl’s makeshift office. Eijirou felt his eyes get a little misty with the manliness of helping your enemy-in-arms to be healed.  

 

But honestly, he did not want to face that monster in combat. 

 

The silence from the boy next to him spoke volumes as well. 

 

 

He won! He felt like spinning around in circles, and he could feel Mikumo sharing his excitement. His first  real  match, and he had won. 

 

He began to eagerly talk to his cat over the bond they shared as the next fighters went up, some boy with a skin hardening quirk versus Tetsutetsu. He wasn’t sure who would win, but the uncertainty only dampened his mood a little bit. 

 

He’d be the first to admit, before he hadn’t been certain he was worthy of this power. Honestly, he still didn’t think he was. But now, a little bit of that weight was lifted off his shoulders. He had saved Todoroki, he had saved Ingenium, he could really help people now. 

 

His heart felt dangerously light. 

 

He only noticed Mikumo’s absence when some boy in 1-A came back from a phone call with a dark look on his face, and by then he couldn’t stop the traces of ice beginning to run through his veins, despite the warmth of his victory. 

 

some 

          thing 

                     was 

                            very 

                                  wrong 

 

 

Why?  

 

There is no happy ending at the end, no nice conclusion. This is the real life, boy, not everyone can play the character part and earn themselves a redemption arc.  

 

So? You can play the part just fine, can’t you? Can you give them happy endings if you’re the writer?  

 

Of course. Control over your own story is everything in life. If you relinquish the power to  decide  what happens next, you may end up looking like the bad guy.  

 

Is it bad that I want to keep everyone safe, but want them to follow a pattern at the same time?  

 

Not really. They’re your characters, do whatever you’d like. Just be careful not to attract to much attention. Puppets can’t save you.  

 

When people read my story in a hundred years, I want them to cry and laugh and hurt and feel happy. I want to make my own ending, so when I look back on this in a thousand of your lifetimes, I can cry and laugh at how bad I was at playing the game.  

 

Well then, who can you trust? Who can you fool? Be careful, my child.  

 

I will, always. I am sure of that, at least.  

Chapter Text

Tenya considered himself a good person.

 

He follows rules, and makes sure others do the same. He is compassionate and lawful, with good friends and a good family and a good life. He has a wonderful brother who is always there for him.

 

Tenya also wants to commit first-degree homicide.

 

Yes, he can see how it’s wrong, how it will only hurt those who care for him, how disappointed Tensei would be. Yes, he can see just how selfish he is, planning for revenge when his brother is still alive. It could have been much worse, there could be many other families and mothers and spouses and children that have no one left, just because their loved ones decided to make a difference and one man hated them for it.

 

Yes, he can see the look in his friends' eyes, the innocence and carefree attitudes of people who haven’t been reminded how fragile life is.

 

Is it selfish that Tenya wants someone to confront him on it? To force a catharsis, an explosion that forces him to think about his choices going forward. He’s only thinking of himself, the pain he feels, of course it’s selfish. Why would he ever even consider dragging his friends into this silly revenge plot? They should be focusing on their own matches, why would they care about his problems, and who is he to take away their happiness like that?

 

Of course, he’s going to have to forfeit the matches. But looking across at Uraraka’s bubbly yet concerned eyes, at Yaoyorozu’s little head tilts, subtly asking if he’s okay (of course he isn’t, his brother may never walk again-), at Ojiro’s scrunched-up, questioning expression, he just…couldn’t.

 

Farther away, staring at Midoriya’s piercing, poison green gaze, dissecting every little thing that makes him up and functioning, that makes him tick, conveying a wise sort of sadness, he cannot bring himself to say a thing.

 

So he squared his shoulders, taking a deep breath, and forced a smile onto his face. It felt like slicing open his cheeks with glass, but hopefully that wouldn’t show. The burning of tears in the back of his throat didn’t subside, if anything it got worse, and he already felt lightheaded. 

 

It didn’t matter.

Why would it...?

 

A few hasty platitudes and a break in the fight below soon soothed his friend’s queries and concerned looks, and as they turned back to the arena to cheer on the students, he allowed himself to relax minutely.

 

A tiny drop of red splashed onto the floor, only narrowly missing his pants, a few more following its course. Little crescent shaped marks carved themselves into his palms, but the stinging kept him focused. 

 

He would not cry.

 

He did not know when the cat had ended up in his lap, but he took the opportunity to pet it regardless, careful to avoid the multitude of miniature cuts on his hands.

 

Tensei is the best brother anyone could ever want. He’s someone he could always count on to help him up when he fell. What kind of family would he be if he couldn’t help him up too? 

 

Yes, he thought, Iida is a great person. Ingenium is a hero, Tensei is a wonderful human being, and Class President is a role to be filled with honor.

 

But he doesn’t deserve any of it.

 

Good thing he wasn’t Iida anymore, then. 

 

With a background of battle, of screams and cheers and blood and sweat, he looked at his friends as they leaped up to egg on the opposing students.

 

He was just Tenya now.

 

(His brother would want him to be strong. He wouldn’t cry for him- he wouldn’t. )

 

-

 

There weren’t many things that truly upset Mikumo nowadays. Ever since, y’know, dying, a lot of other things seemed small in comparison. Yeah, his only real goal in his new life was to protect his friends and found family (he wouldn’t dare try to protect Inko, his mother could more than take care of herself), not to mention Izuku too, but other than that…

 

He didn’t exactly have a hard life.

 

Which is why it hit him so, so hard when he realized that he couldn’t cry.

 

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to, or that he didn’t have any reason to. No, he had plenty of that. It was that he, as a cat, could not cry.

 

Which only made him want to cry more.

 

Yeah, he felt bad about leaving Izuku to fend for himself for a little bit, but it wasn’t like he was a fragile little kid anymore (seriously, raising yourself was a mindfuck in itself). Right now, Tenya needed him. 

 

The other kids (so innocent, no idea of the truth, worried about their friend, and he has to keep them safe and happy and unhurt he wouldn’t let them get hurt even if he had to burn down the world to do so-) had absolutely no clue, no inkling of the subtle tension in Tenya’s smiles, in his shoulders, the weight in his eyes and steps, the gravel in his voice as he struggled not to snarl.

 

So he had to comfort him.

 

And he couldn’t even shed a tear for his friend. It was all his fault, if he had been just a bit faster, smarter, stronger, he could have prevented the injury. At this point, he couldn’t care less about the timeline, his friend was hurting , he was in pain . He could help him.

 

Why wouldn’t he? 

 

So what if he dies? Would anyone besides Izuku really care at all? If he couldn’t save Tensei, if he couldn’t protect Tenya, if he couldn’t protect those he cared about, then why was he even here? His only purpose here is to make things better, to help, and he had already messed that up.

 

What was the point?

 

His decades of experience didn’t matter anymore. Neither did his rankings, his medals, his death, his life. It was all for his friends.

 

Without them, he was worthless.

 

Just a quirkless little boy.

 

And so, he purred, every speck of attention focused on how Tenya kept clenching and unclenching his hands, on how his legs were growing uncomfortably hot. But there was nothing he could do.

 

He didn’t shed a tear.

 

(But oh, how he wanted to.)  

 

-

 

(In another timeline, Midoriya Izuku was and would continue to be good friends with Iida Tenya, and they were able to talk things over after sharing a traumatic experience that brought them closer, setting many others things in motion. But here, Midoriya was not good friends with Iida, and they never talked, never screamed and cried and hit each other and made up in the end. No catharsis for the grieving boy, no confidence for the self-doubting one.

 

Someone died, or will die, that day. Many people died, actually, but only one matters to the rest of the world.

 

Isn’t that funny? How society can value life so much, yet so easily discard one’s gift in exchange for their own or another’s?

 

Humans are selfish creatures, but that is what makes us so interesting. No one is perfect, but some people are worth more than others, and that is simply a fact of life.

 

Blame it on bad luck, and bad decisions that someone like that was caught in the crossfire.

 

Her name was Kettei Unmei, and she was only worth a few seconds .

 

A lot can happen in a few seconds.) 

 

-

 

Izuku Midoriya didn’t know what to do. He had no clue as to why Mikumo cut him off so suddenly, he had no clue who he was going to be fighting next (the match was currently Tokage versus Tokoyami, but from the look of things it wasn’t much of a versus, clearly tipping in the feathered student’s favor. He was slated to go up against someone named Ashido…? He remembered her quirk, but without Mikumo he had no knowledge of her fighting style), he was completely at a loss as to why Iida looked so terrible after winning his match, he just…

 

He didn’t know.

 

He was essentially on his own until Mikumo came back.

 

And, wow, wasn’t that an upsetting thought. It had only been two weeks, and yet he had become entirely dependent on his pet cat.

 

God , was he pathetic.

 

(He couldn’t cry, not here, not now.)

 

-

 

It was heartbreaking, really, to see a decorated, experienced police officer begin bawling his eyes out in the middle of a hospital waiting room. And if he was being honest? Shota was half a cup of coffee from joining him.

(But why would he be honest?)

 

His friend was paralyzed from the waist down.

 

He would never walk again, never jog, never run, never sprint in with a smile on his face to save civilians from a possessed bus or team up with local vigilantes to prevent crime.

 

Tensei couldn’t be a hero.

 

Shota was taught early on that he couldn’t save everyone. It just came with the territory of being a hero, and as an underground hero he knew that better than most. He could never forget the pale, cold faces of kidnapped children they found too late, the bloody rain when he missed a villain on his nightly patrol who later killed twelve people, the terror on the faces of mothers and fathers as he informed them that their child or spouse didn’t make it.

 

Knowing it was all solidly on his shoulders.

 

Even All Might knew that, that even if you had super-hearing, some people were too scared to cry out for help. And maybe someone just a bit greater than All Might, just a bit faster, a bit stronger, a bit smarter wouldn’t have to learn that lesson.

 

He taught the next generation as a way of ensuring that, someday long after he is dead and forgotten (as he should be), children won’t need to be shipped off to other family because they just became orphans, and teenagers won’t need to work to support medical bills and younger siblings, and mothers won’t cry over the bodies of their children.

 

He taught the next generation so that no hero should ever be told they were too late, and no person should die waiting for someone who would never arrive in time.

 

Shota loathed the thought of his kids having to learn the lesson the hard way, so he was mean. He didn’t let himself get attached. He made them lose, again and again and again to drill through their thick skulls that, ‘ No, you aren’t invincible’, and ‘No, you can’t change the entire world.’ That they can’t save everyone.

 

He could honestly say he hates society. It’s a logical conclusion, actually, that was only made stronger by the distant echo of Iida’s tense and carefully calm voice over the line. Children should not be forced to fight, to lay down their lives for a mass who will always blame them for failures and yet not acknowledge the hypocrisy of their own actions. 

 

People were ostracized, bullied for having weak, evil, quirks, or even no quirk at all. In that action, they become jaded with the world that seems to hate them, and they lash out at everything that hurts. Villains were created by people, and are people, and are taken down by people.

 

People are flawed.

 

Every year, they lower the cutoff and standards for hero schools. Quantity over quality for young men and women who are utterly convinced that their life is worthless if they can’t save people. Ready to lay down their lives for the world, and are subsequently blamed for everything.

 

Even now, with Nedzu doing all he could, the press hounded UA for it’s failure to keep its students safe. They did everything they could, and still they were shot down. Nobody blamed the villains until they were caught, out of sight, and then the public would jeer, riot, and scream and shout at the evil they created.

 

He could already feel the backlash, the tension in the air for the entire hero community over such a large number of their ranks were killed, for essentially no reason.

 

So, yeah, Shota was a bit pissed. He was angry, and tired, and in pain, and ready to cry, and stressed.

 

He didn’t cry.

 

(He wouldn’t allow himself to.)

 

-

 

She wasn’t stupid. She had been called a lot of things, from airhead to bubble-butt to best friend, but she was not an idiot.

 

Ochako knew when something was up, and right now, something was up.

 

Iida wouldn’t look her in the eye, his smiles a little too forced to be natural. When she tried to wave at Midoriya in the other stands, he flinched and looked away. Yaomomo was curled into herself, muttering strategies for her match against Hatsume.

 

Everything was so on edge, and it was driving her absolutely bonkers .

 

She tried to distract herself, watching as Dark Shadow fended off a floating arm from the pretty girl, and Tokoyami headbutt her to the ground, where they scrabbled for the upper hand.

 

Sure, it was interesting, but there were more pressing matters.

 

But as she watched them fight, something struck her as odd.

 

The 1-B girl knew about Tokoyami’s weakness to light, and Ochako was pretty sure she knew exactly who had told her about it.

 

Mido, you sly son of a bitch.

 

Then something else occurred to her very-much-not-stupid brain that truly made her pause.

 

How did he get the information on their quirks? He was rarely around the classroom, and they had only been friends for a short time. Plus, there were his journal entries. At her insistence, he had showed her one at lunch the other day, and it was good. It had been on Ojiro, with a detailed description of his quirk and, y’know, just some casual colored drawings of his outfit.

 

I mean, if she discarded the stalker-ish vibe, they were kinda sweet and definitely helpful in this type of fight.

 

Problem was, in the journal she had seen a note about how the fur on her classmate’s tail was extremely sensitive to wind and air currents, something which she hadn’t known. There were also things like how the inside of his ear was less developed than normal, since he had his tail to balance with instead, and how it was easier to grow muscle mass on it since it had more muscles.

 

But when she had gone over the next day to ask Ojiro about those things, he frowned and said that those weren’t things he had ever tested. Day after that, and he had come up to her asking how she had known.

 

If sweet, little, class 1-B with an unknown quirk Midoriya knew things about her class that even they didn’t know…

 

She hadn’t really thought about it before, but things were starting to come together in her mind.

 

Either her green friend had an analysis quirk, or he was spying on 1-A. And since she hadn’t seen him around during any exercises, then he must have someone spying for him. Someone small, and unobtrusive, that the class was used to seeing for no reason.

 

Holy shit, there was a quirked cat spying on her class.

 

(And when the next match was her and Bakugo, and she lost, well. She didn’t cry. Nope, not a single tear from her. She buried her face into Mikumo’s fur and began to think.

 

So what if his fur was wet? Wasn’t her.)

 

(She would not cry.)

Chapter Text

This was it.

 

On one side of the ring stood Todoroki, something broken in his eyes but face as calm and collected as ever. On the other was Izuku, a small and tense smile on his face, otherwise unnaturally still. The crowd cheered and screamed, back and forth and back and forth and back again on who was going to win.

 

Izuku didn’t hear a thing, except for his own thoughts. 

 

Despite everything Mikumo had told him, he knew very little about Todoroki as a person, just that he was probably very pissed at him right now. Great. He had already told Mikumo not to help with strategies, since he wanted to win this himself, so just asking him was off the table.

 

Mikumo helped enough already, the least Izuku could do was let him focus on comforting a friend. He needed to prove he could do something without help, for once.

 

Gosh, did Todoroki realize how sad he seemed? Maybe not to the crowds and spectators, but to the people who knew him, really knew him. Izuku didn’t dare to include himself in that number, but he had seen enough memories of a laughing, happy teenager who had fun with his friends that this scared little boy in front of him seemed small in comparison. 

 

Hng, that sounded very creepy. And stalkerish.

 

Oh, Kayama-sensei was introducing the match.

 

Shit, she was calling the match-

 

And dodge the massive wall of ice. Todoroki must be really ticked off, wow that was a big glacier, move move move… 

 

Jeez, Izuku couldn’t even get close, and he certainly wasn’t landing any hits from forty feet away. How in the world did Mikumo ever win this?

 

And then he remembered that Mikumo didn’t win, he lost and received critical damage to his hands, rendering them close to unusable. Fan-freaking-tastic.

 

Move move, jump over the ice spikes and forward- nevermind, backward, away from the follow-up wave of cold that would have frozen him in place if he hadn’t used his literally cat-like reflexes.

 

“Why are you doing this?” Todoroki shouted over the roar of adrenaline, and Izuku couldn’t help but smile. With the pseudo-fangs, he imagined that he looked quite terrifying. (He looked more like a sneezing kitten, but let a kid dream, okay?)

 

“Why not, Todoroki? You need to get over this stupid grudge before it hurts you or someone you love.” And leap over another reaching spike, the ground was probably all torn up now. Regards to Cementoss, who was going to have a field day cleaning this up. Izuku mentally promised to buy him some chocolates later.

 

Todoroki’s pretty features twisted up in anger. “You think this is some kind of petty grudge? You were born with a perfect power and a perfect life, what do you know about wanting revenge? About pain? DON’T PRETEND YOU KNOW WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH!”

 

Oh, that was enough. Izuku felt his face crumple in Bakugo-esque rage, canines lengthening to the point that they poked out of his mouth. His fingers flexed, unnatural claws sliding in and out of his misshapen hands. “Born with a perfect power, huh?” His eyes narrowed. “Don’t assume a damn thing about how hard I’ve worked to get here. You’re simply throwing away your power? I would have done anything for some of your natural power and prestige.”

 

He flung himself into a swan dive, balance perfectly level over a wave of crystals. “EVERYTHING I HAVE WAS GIVEN TO ME BY OTHERS, TODOROKI! YOU STAND THERE AND SAY YOU’RE TOO GOOD TO ACCEPT WHAT YOU HAVE? YOU SOUND JUST LIKE A SPOILED BRAT TO ME!”

 

“SHOW ME YOUR FIRE, TODOROKI, OR LOSE.”

 

The heterochromatic boy froze for just a moment, but for Izuku’s heightened reflexes that was more than enough of an opening. Green sparks flickered off his figure, his glowing green eyes flashing in the dust and ice in the air as he darted forward, throwing a punch into Todoroki’s abdomen, before sending a flurry of kicks at his legs. 

 

Then he was pushed away, because the 1-A student was definitely the better hand to hand fighter. Izuku might have the speed and power to match and even surpass him, but Todoroki had experience and form, whereas the greenette was simply throwing punches and kicks with no strategy.

 

Note to self: If I survive this, ask Mikumo for fighting practice. ‘Cause I suck.

 

Both combatants leaped backwards to put some space between them, Izuku landing on all fours before straightening up and wiping his face, glaring back at his opponent. The dust from their clashes rolled around at their feet and across the frozen cement.

 

A distant “FUCK HIM UP” from Kacchan (to which one of them?) was all that was needed to snap the tension like a glowstick, and they both lunged into the fray once more. In the half light, glowing green slitted eyes met flashing blue and gray, an unspoken conversation in connection. 

 

A stray punch caught Izuku in the cheekbone. Is it worth it, Todoroki? To fight like this?

 

The other student caught himself on one knee, a surprisingly strong kick from Izuku grounding him for a moment. Nothing ever is. I will win, Midoriya.

 

A tiny grin illuminated the catlike boy’s expression, green electricity trailing behind a series of rapid punches. Oh, so is that why you’re shivering and fighting quirkless? Because last I checked, you can easily freeze me when you aren’t fighting off quirk exhaustion.

 

I’m plenty strong enough without my quirk, unlike you, who’s been using it constantly since we entered the ring, Todoroki glared back, and Izuku couldn’t help but feel indignation at a silent conversation during a fight.

 

What has his life come to?

 

“Excuse you, I can at least function without my daddy issues getting in the way!” A tackle, and then they were cat fighting on the floor for a second before Todoroki rolled away and upright, for once the emotion on his face clear as day.

 

“I won’t use his,” Another kick, but this time he blocked it, “fire, I refuse to give him the satisfaction.” An attempted judo flip, but Izuku was able to nope away from the ground before he landed on his feet several feet away.

 

He yowled, straight up yowled, in frustration. “CAN’T YOU SEE, TODOROKI? IT ISN’T HIS FIRE, IT’S YOURS! IT’S YOUR QUIRK, ISN’T IT?!”

 

Right then and there, Todoroki hesitated. He could have used Izuku’s building emotion and lowered guard as the opening it was and attacked. He could have won, and in any situation, he would have done so without remorse. Why didn’t he?

 

Whatever, if he wanted to waste his chance then you better be sure as hell Izuku would take advantage of it. He lunged forward, and with the same judo flip that had been used on him, Todoroki was in the air. Unlike him, however, there were no cat instincts to make sure he landed on his feet.

 

He disappeared into the dust just as Izuku noticed that he was standing on the line.

 

Todoroki was outside of it.

 

Izuku had won, all by himself. He’d won fair and square, but something felt off in his stomach.

 

The air remained fire free.

 

(Unbeknownst to him, Todoroki had hesitated because of the eyes. Looking into Midoriya’s eyes, he realized that he knew them. Those soft slitted eyes visited him when he was sad, when he was hurt, when he held a knife to his wrist and asked why anyone cared. Those eyes were the exact same, and he had to ask himself why the boy was angry. It wasn’t like Endeavour had hurt him, only Shouto, so why was he upset for him? They weren’t even friends, yet he was trying to help. 

 

Looking into those eyes, his arm was about to burst into flames before he found himself out of bounds, any hope of breaking that barrier extinguished just like that righteous spark in Midoriya’s eyes as he held up his hands in victory.)

 

Izuku reached down to a shell-shocked Todoroki, and he could tell they had made some progress when the other boy took it, standing equal on the playing field for just a second longer.

 

The crowd roared, but neither boy heard it, locked in a handshake that meant so much more than any words.

 

They left the arena side by side, and neither was smiling.

 

-

 

Well, damn.

 

He forgot that he was a sucky fighter. 

 

Mikumo stretched on Tenya’s lap, keeping up a constant stream of purring. Oh, he was on yet another call. It looked like Tsu and Momo had already figured out things were wrong with him, but why was Ochako giving him a look like that? He dismissed it in order to keep an ear on Tenya’s call. Sounded like it was Naomasa on the line and wait what? He listened in for a moment, before taking a moment to calm himself down with his purring. 

 

So. Naomasa’s team got Izuku’s call, got his warning, and paid it no attention because they looked it up and he registered under quirkless. Damn it, they hadn’t updated the registry yet, shit shit crap goddamn racist-ass bullshit costing several people their lives like whomst the fuck ignored that call Mikumo was gonna go beat their scrawny behind.

 

No matter what he did, he either made things worse or it didn’t matter. Great for self-esteem, they should sell bottles of self hate at health stores and make a pretty penny.

 

Maybe everything would be better if he just let it play out…?

 

No, he promised to save everyone this time. No way in hell was he just gonna sit by as Katsuki gets kidnapped or Toshi almost dies, or as Izuku attempts one multiple reckless rescue attempt(s). Not going to happen bitch.

 

Besides, he could still help. He couldn’t make things too much worse than they already were, after all.

 

-

 

Naomasa was tired. Weary to the very bone, because goddamn having to sack some good officers for being quirkist and not filing a report correctly really wakes you up inside. Not.

 

Uggggghhhhhh.

 

He collapsed in his chair, shit he was still bloody- whatever. He was too tired to care. Eraserhead had retreated back to UA where he was supposed to be, but Naomasa had been up since 5 am. Yesterday. And physically could not muster the energy to be interested in the Sports Festival or other police reports coming in.

 

Would anyone care if he took a nap at 2 in the afternoon?

 

He didn’t think so, but he had to log out first. With a monumental sigh that led itself into a yawn, he woke up his computer and began closing tabs, before one caught his eye. He focused himself a bit more awake, eyes trained on the blue screen before he could lose interest. A few clicks later, and he found himself at a video.

 

He recognized this! Why were there several reports attached to it? Did he attach those? He didn’t remember, but he was the only one with access to this particular video. He continued thinking it over as he pressed play, since there wasn’t any sound in the first couple of minutes.

 

The attached reports were completely random too, almost nothing in common other than the fact that Tamakawa, Shitsu, or Naomasa worked on or closed the case. No other connections, at least none that he could-.

 

He rewound the video, hoping he misheard.

 

Funny thing is, his quirk works on all living things, over audio or video, and on nonverbal languages. So when his quirk registered something odd, it brought back the memory the video is showing and he realized that he had forgotten all about it.

 

Holy shit. This explained a lot of things. He felt the gears spinning in his mind, locking new information into place and connecting the reports, finally seeing the common thread between them. His second third fourth fifth wind almost lifted him off his feet, the detective’s tired mind finally looping together the nagging feeling in the back of his head.

 

He walked away from the still-playing video, and the screen was filled with Mikumo Midoriya slipping out a police station window, a dark station and cautious Naomasa behind the cat.

 

-

 

Yeah, okay, so Yui was a little worried. Sue her. 

 

No one in the class had ever seen Midoriya so… passionate. Dark? How about: willing to hurt himself in a fight against someone he didn’t even know? Yeah, the last one fit best.

 

Seriously, how had the little green bean not accidentally killed himself rushing around trying to help everyone yet? It’s a goddamn miracle. Half of the class was convinced that Mikumo was the responsible one and kept all of them alive. The other half revered the cat as some sort of god, having come to the conclusion that he was fully sentient ages ago. 

 

With the rumors running around school about a cat saving 1-A from the villains, they’d be stupid not to.

 

Midoriya’s quirk was really something, huh? Awase was murmuring under his breath about how his “little cinnamon bun child can really fuck some kids up, yikes,” which Yui found both amusing and fight-or-flight reaction inducing. She knows firsthand just how bad Awase and Tokage can get without Kendo reining them in.

 

Yikes indeed.

 

So. Small green bean is good fighter, good listener, good planner, all around good boy. Good male? Nah, that sounds really weird, nevermind.

 

Wait, why were there tears? 

 

Oh, Kaibara had lost. That was disappointing, Yui quite liked the sarcastic deadpan student. She did wish he had gotten a bit farther, though his quirk wasn’t very, uh... destructive, and he probably wouldn’t have won against that Bakugo kid. 

 

Wow, 1-A was full of assholes huh? There was that Monoma bastard, always preaching about the superiority of the other class, then of course Bakugo, who she hated on principle since Midoriya was obviously scared of him.

 

(Kaibara had told her about the scars he’d seen in the changing room, little starburst ones that stretched across his back like constellations, obviously from explosions and faded with time. She’d almost cracked a tooth, and ending up having to fling enlarged thumbtacks like darts at her walls for hours so she didn’t kill the brat on sight.)

 

Kendo would beat her to any revenge-taking, that was certain. Both little blonde bitches would be dead before anyone could blink, and the rest of the class would gladly hide the bodies. It would be so easy…

 

Woah, back up there. No homicidal thoughts during school hours, even if they deserved it. Oh, Midoriya’s coming back. Did he get healed that quickly?

 

As he was bombarded with about twenty congratulations, Yui noticed something a little odd.

 

Midoriya wasn’t crying, which was good, but he wasn’t really smiling either. The fake smile managed to fool most of the class, but he should really look happier if he just won against such a tough opponent. Why wasn’t he happy…?

 

Aaaaand it all came back around to Midoriya’s inability to leave well enough alone if he thought anyone was in trouble. Unfortunately, that meant that Todoroki was most definitely in trouble.

 

Shit.

 

She sighed, and slammed her head into Shishida’s shoulder, who to his credit didn’t even look up. All she wanted was a nice school year, is that too much to ask? She would have to talk to Kendo about teaching Mido about stranger danger, since putting your life on the line to help a stranger was taking things a little bit too far in the heroic department. 

 

Damn, he was making the rest of them look bad, with his heroic spirit nonsense or whatever.

 

Yui Kodai had only had this class for a month or so, and they were already a bunch of insufferable toddlers. But by god, she wouldn’t trade them for the world, even if Monoma finally got over his own ass and finally started recruiting.

 

She hated them, jeez, can’t this explosive pomeranian stop blowing shit up and screaming for just a few seconds so she can comfort her adoptive little brother?

 

Is that too much to ask?

 

She felt like Midoriya and his cat were going to turn out to be more trouble than UA knew how to deal with.

Chapter Text

That motherfucker. 

 

The insufferable bastard of an ice machine went and challenged Katsuki’s ass, and then didn’t have the balls to beat shitty Deku? Like he could have fought or won in the final round if he couldn’t even get over his fucking daddy issues and fight like someone worth beating into the ground. Even if Deku as a whole sucked major balls, at least he never gave up or half-assed anything.

 

Yeah, maybe Katsuki could’ve seen where Deku was coming from, before this clusterfuck of a competition, but now… the old nerd would have done anything to help Half n’ Half, even if it meant losing against him, but now it seems like he finally grew a goddamn backbone, the fucker.

 

God, he was so ready to beat that cocksucker into the concrete, answers be damned.

 

Well, no, he still wanted answers. But winning against… Tokoyami? Oh, bird-bastard… came first. Katsuki actually felt a little bad for the guy, since fighting him was the worst possible matchup for his shitty shadow monster (who looked fucking cool and was fairly strong, so props for not being a complete emo, edgy angst fucker), but was Katsuki going to lay down on the ground and cry for him?

 

Hah, fuck no. He was gonna win this thing, fair and square, facing off against Deku and his creepy cat, where he would win. Because he was stronger, and smarter, and faster, and tougher.

 

Shit, though, Deku was certainly scarier.

 

-

 

Ashido knew firsthand how absolutely terrifying Bakugo is, and how strong, but she can’t help but mentally cheer on Tokoyami, because 1) he was badass, 2) he had won against several people from class 1-B, and 3) he was nicer than Bakugo. Honestly, the last one wasn’t hard, but she didn’t feel like putting ‘he was badass’ on there twice, so she came up with something.

 

Unfortunately, she couldn’t say any of that out loud, because she liked her shins intact and right where they are, thankyouverymuch.  Looking over at Kiri and the other idiots, she could tell they felt the same way. Kaminari was sitting on his hands, looking like he swallowed a whole lemon, while Sero looked anywhere but the arena. Kiri was cheering, but it was quite obviously ambiguous to who he was cheering for , and his smile was a bit strained. 

 

Seriously though, it wasn’t her fault she wasn’t that interested! This match was honestly tame after the absolute gladiatorial battle Todoroki and the green kid had. Gosh, it looked amazing though. With the ice and the sparks and all that, damn, Ashido knew which fight was going to be the biggest and would have the most reruns. And it wasn’t the final one.

 

She must have said as much without thinking, because Kirishima paused in his cheering to look over at her with a mixture of smugness and worry on his face. “Yeah, you think so? I have it on good authority that Bakubro knows that Midori kid personally, and they aren’t on the best of terms. I feel like the final fight is going to be explosive.”

 

She blinked at him. “Was… was that pun on purpose?”

 

“Nope,” he replied with a smirk that set her teeth on edge, knowing what was coming, “It was… punintentional.”

 

She shrieked, drawing the attention of Kaminari and Sero as she leaped at his head in a rage that she couldn’t maintain due to the whole ‘lack of air because I’m laughing too hard’ thing.

 

In fact, she was laughing so hard that she almost missed the look of actual concern on Kiri’s face as he turned away.

 

Almost. 

 

-

 

Shit shit shit, he was so dead! Nice life, never felt love, died at the hands of a childhood friend who acts like an abusive ex. Great epitaph for a great hero.

 

Ahhhhhh. He was becoming more like Mikumo every day.

 

That was probably a bad thing, huh?

 

Oh well. He wouldn’t have to worry about that much longer, if things went the way he knew they would.

 

[What do I do? I’m so screwed, Mikumo, please help meeeee… I know I said I didn’t want help, but if I don’t get any I’m going to dieeeeeee…]

 

Mikumo smirked that little cat smile of his, the furry traitor, and turned to casually take a bath. [You’re selling yourself short, Izuku. C’mon, at this point in time, you know about as much as I do, since a lot of the things I remember are from after his therapy.]

 

Izuku looked up sharply, ignoring how this must look from the outside, and leveled the cat with a piercing stare. [What exactly do you mean, therapy? ]

 

[Oh, Bakugo and a few other students were forced to take therapy for underlying mental issues, Bakugo got roped in after I accidentally let slip to Nedzu that he had suicide baited me- us. We got along much better after that.] 

 

Well, this was certainly news to Izuku. Thank you so much, omniscient cat protector who can see the future. Very. Helpful.

 

He was right though. Almost every Midoriya to ever exist has unrivaled experience dealing with a pissed off Katsuki Bakugo, and is overqualified to fight him. Hmmm…

 

Theories and strategies began to whirr through his head, and he was left to it after a final comment from Mikumo.

 

[Hey, kid? Just… relax, okay? React, don’t bother planning ahead and all that. You can analyze the fight later, but you have to win first.]

 

Izuku turned to his little fuzzy guardian angel, beaming smile on his face. Sure, it still had a touch of nervous energy at the corners, but it was progress nonetheless. 

 

“Of course I will! Thank you, Mikumo.”

 

-

 

Setsuna wasn’t crazy, she swears. Maybe a little bit, maybe, but not nearly enough to hallucinate this whole thing. 

 

Okay, so she had sent her right eye to go find Mido, but he was just sitting with his cat. So she had been about to leave, but then he had just sat up and stared at his cat very intensely for no reason at all. Of course she was intrigued!

 

They had seemed to have a full conversation with only their facial expressions alone, which was already weird and shady as shit, and then. This bush-child just turns to his cat with a smile like sunshine incarnate. And talks to him. Thanks him, even.

 

Like, excuse her French, but what the actual fuck?  

 

-

 

“WELCOME TO THE FINALS, EVERYONE! GIVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR THE STUDENTS WHO HAVE MADE IT THIS FAR… THERE WE GO! BUT NOT EVERYONE CAN BE A WINNER, AND ONE OF THESE STUDENTS WILL BE GETTING SILVER, WHILE THE OTHER GETS THE GOLD!!!” 

 

Yamada-sensei’s voice practically vibrated the air, hyping up the already excited crowd into a frenzy, thousands of voices melding together into an almost musical cacophony of noise.

 

Yeah, it was a bit annoying, but it was absolutely perfect fight music.

 

“ON ONE SIDE, THERE’S KATSUKI BAKUGO, AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE SINCE THE VERY BEST, AND FROM THE INSANELY POWERFUL CLASS 1-A! HE MAY HAVE AN EXPLOSIVE PERSONALITY, BUT HE GOT THE TOP SCORES ON THE ENTRANCE EXAM!”

 

Their eyes met across the slightly burnt cement, both narrowed in concentration and determination. But while one was burning with rage and anticipation, the other was cold with calculation and precision, plans shifting to accommodate the new variables in the equation.

 

“ON THE OTHER, IT’S THE DARK HORSE OF THIS TOURNAMENT, CLASS 1-B’S VERY OWN IZUKU MIDORIYA! UNASSUMING AND PLAIN HE MAY BE, BUT HE GOT HERE BY BEATING THE NUMBER TWO HERO’S SON, SO HE’S GOT SOME FIGHT IN HIM!”

 

Crimson eyes narrowed yet further into mere lines in cold fury, observing how his opponent twitched at nothing, obviously conversing with someone unseen. Those newly slitted, poisonous green eyes glared right back with a toxic resolve.

 

One would win, and the other would die.

 

“AND IF OUR LOVELY REFEREE MIDNIGHT WOULD CALL THE MATCH WHENEVER BOTH FIGHTERS ARE READY, WE CAN BEGIN THE FINALS OF THE U.A. SPORTS FESTIVAL!”

 

Either way, Katsuki would get a damn explanation.

 

-

 

Everything faded out around him, just him and Kacchan and the ground in between them. The very air crackled with tension and the sickly-sweet smell of nitro-glycerin, little pops beginning to sound from his hands as Izuku’s reflexes heightened in preparation, adrenaline racing its way through his system.

 

He wasn’t ready.

 

“Annnnnnd… go!”

 

Immediately, Kacchan blasted his way in close, demolishing the gap between them with a toothy grin promising to spill blood. But Izuku hadn’t grown up with him for nothing, and he launched himself upward as the explosive boy shot underneath him. 

 

They both landed a short distance away, and the crowd was completely silent at the near-instant encounter. Then they both shot themselves back in, and what the crowd was doing didn’t matter anymore.

 

He let his reflexes take over, and flipped over Kacchan’s shoulders, almost managing to set the boy into the ground before he blasted off a massive explosion from his outstretched hands towards the ground, launching them both up and managing to dislodge Izuku with a quick spin.

 

Midair, they both twisted around, Kacchan rocketing his way with an outstretched hand, ready to suplex Izuku into the concrete below, but the green boy grabbed onto the arm and used it to flip them both over, the explosion sending them further up until they both began to fall. A cleverly timed kick from Kacchan separated them, but this time Izuku took the offensive. Green sparks skittered across his skin, lighting up the smoke flowing from his opponents hands. He pounced just as Kacchan landed, knocking them both onto the ground with Izuku on top. Katsuki growled up at him, positively shaking with rage.

 

“Get off me… fucker… fight like you mean it… always using that damn quirk you’ve been hiding from me…” In a burst of fury-fueled strength, the pinned student sent a point-blank explosion at the ground, flipping them both so that he landed on top. “Always fucking looking down on me. You were having a grand old time laughing with those extra friends of yours, huh?”

 

Izuku twisted himself onto his stomach, using a burst of One For All to push them both back into the air, where he practically folded himself in half to avoid the next attack from a screaming Katsuki. “Laughing about how stupid you think I am, yeah? Well guess what-,” Fed up, Izuku grabbed his old friend by the mouth, throwing him down in order to land on top of him again, but the other boy rolled the moment he hit the dirt, and they once again stood opposite each other. “-I’m not stupid, asshat! I know all about your creepy-ass cat, and your fucking physic bond or some shit.”

 

Katsuki wiped his mouth, eyes glinting with a slightly feral smile, wreathed in smoke like a demon straight from hell. Izuku met them defiantly, an answering grin on his own face, just that much more animalistic and vaguely unhinged looking. “I never looked down on you, Kacc- Katsuki. I’m not going to throw this fight, I hope you realize that.”

 

“Wouldn’t want you to, shithead."

 

-

 

Neito wasn't usually a coward, or one to back down from a fight. 

 

Usually.

 

Looking down at the two people he wanted to fight the absolute least in the entire world, that word suddenly applied. He didn't want to fight Bakugo for obvious reasons, in his opinion, but that green-haired kid was an unknown. 

 

Neito's strengths were in good teammates he could copy from, or opponents he could turn their quirks against. With Bakugo, he had too much experience and a far-too volatile quirk with few weaknesses. In a one-on-one, the copy would always lose. On the other hand, there was Midoriya. His eager informant in class 1-B had told him in slightly broken Japanese about the boy's tactical prowess and sparse use of his quirk, which probably meant it was either equally volatile or weak, neither of which helped Neito in any way. 

 

Either way, it was too big of a risk.

 

But against each other...

 

They were a sight to behold. Neito's breath was almost taken away by the sheer power and speed shown, and judging by Jirou's faint " holy shit " behind him, he was far from the only one. 

 

If you took your eyes off them for even a moment, they would already be seven beats in before you could catch up again.

 

Holy shit indeed.

 

A sloppy roundhouse from Midoriya clipped Bakugo's shoulder, sending the boy spinning from his own explosions for a moment before he landed, righting himself before diving to meet his opponent head on with a snarl of anger. The blonde combatant blasted himself to the right, just out of the greenette's line of sight, hitting him with a haymaker to the ribs that sent them skidding apart.

 

They stilled for a moment, the rage-monster shouting something unintelligible and Midoriya's face twisting in honest confusion. The expression only made Bakugo angrier, and he lashed out with a wild yet controlled swing, which the 1-B student used as an opening to send a sparking green left hook into the gut of his foe.

 

Huh, foe. Why had his brain used that word? Not like it doesn't fit, that was just… an odd choice of words. Like his brain was getting tired of using the same adjectives for things and was starting to get creative.

 

And damn, he lost his sightline. Neito caught up again just as Bakugo delivered a devastating rocket-powered axe kick that Midoriya only just managed to block, body tensed to avoid falling to his knees. The foot still on his forearms, he uncrossed them with a wave of force and a gust of wind to send Bakugo flying away, quickly followed up by a lightning quick shoulder check that broke through Bakugo's guard and sent him stumbling away with another shouted statement.

 

Yeah, Neito wasn't usually a coward.

 

But All Might himself wouldn't step into that ring right now, not if he valued his own life.

 

-

 

Katsuki was getting tired. His hands felt scraped raw, his throat tingled in agony from his own smoke, and his arms trembled with exertion from blocking Deku's far too fast and strong punches and kicks. 

 

But even exhausted out of his goddamn mind, no chance in hell that he was going to back down from this fight. Deku looked just as bad, maybe even worse, his body riddled with Katsuki-made bruises, burns, and mottled purple skin that was slowly getting darker with each moment. Even the nerd's creepy cat eyes were dimmed with fatigue.

 

He felt a rush of satisfaction run through his veins. Even looking down on him, with all his help and shitty powers, Izuku was still just a useless Deku who stood no match against Katsuki-fucking-Bakugo.

 

Unfortunately, the plant-fucker knew that full well, and insisted on taking his sweet-ass time in losing by being as annoying as physically possible. He was like a fly, always just a little bit too fast to get caught or severely injured by any of Katsuki's strikes.

 

Yeah, he'd gotten slower since the beginning of the match, then again, so had Katsuki. They were pretty evenly matched in speed and maneuverability, but Deku just wasn't built for the pure power that his explosions provided or the stamina he gad trained to get.

 

Plus the fucker very obviously had no idea how to fight. He knew a few basics, sure, like to punch with his thumb outside his hand so he didn't break it, but other than that? Pretty much nothing. 

 

In any other situation, Deku would have had a good chance at winning. While Katsuki was no slouch, the nerd was much better at strategic and long term plans, analyzing people's fighting styles to determine the best way to take them down. Here, though? Pure fighting skill, no time for all that sly cheater shit. Just fists meeting faces. And here was where Katsuki fucking dominated the field.

 

Duck under an uncontrolled jab at his head, use the chance to throw an elbow under his ribs and fling him into the air. Boost himself up with an explosion, punching straight down on Deku to propel him down hard enough to crack the concrete. Or would have, since he contorted himself in the air like a cat to land on Katsuki's back and clambering over his shoulders, sending him down with his belly up.

 

Like a cat…

 

Huh. That… might just work.

 

While Deku continued to spout bullshit about his quirk (oh, after he'd beaten the assface into the pavement they were going to have a nice little chat about that particular topic) from across the stage, Katsuki took the opportunity to gather a small pool of nitroglycerin in his left hand, leaping forward to feint an attack with his right. Just as he'd predicted, the shithead danced left to avoid the fake shot, darting in close so he couldn't use his firepower without also injuring himself.

 

Good thing he wasn't using fire, then. 

 

At the last possible moment, he splashed the flammable chemical right into Deku's face. See, nitroglycerin might smell good from a few feet away, but right in your face the sugary scent turned acrid and saccharine, and tasted even worse. 

 

The right hand was the kicker, though. As Deku gagged on the stuff that had gotten into his mouth and nose, eyes watering from the fumes, Katsuki created the loudest, flashiest, smokiest explosion he could make as close to his opponents face as he could. 

 

He stumbled out of the cloud coughing, ears ringing, but hopefully Deku had the enhanced senses he thought he did and…

 

Yep, the fucker was effectively blind and deaf for a short while, and Katsuki wasted no time in tackling him to the ground, pinning Deku under his throbbing and scratched up arms to keep him immobile as possible.

 

Midnight began the countdown, and as the boy beneath him struggled weakly, Katsuki began to realize how exhausted he actually was. Another few confrontations, and he wasn't sure who would win.

 

But, in the end, the winner was him. He couldn't help but feel a strange sense of satisfaction as Midnight ended the countdown and the crowd exploded more violently than his quirk, as he stood with shaking limbs and bloody teeth from biting his tongue to meet their calls.

 

One foot on the now still figure of Deku, who Midnight was walking over to help up, and he put up his arms and roared along with the audience, the sound reverberating in his chest and up his throat like fire and bursting out of his damaged vocal chords like a gravely tongue of flames, stoking up the crowd even further.

 

He ran out of breath after a few moments, stumbling off of Deku to let him be taken away by the Medibots, but his wordless shout ending so abruptly barely made a difference. 

 

Yeah, he felt like shit. But he couldn't help but smile as loud-teach announced his win, as PG-sensei lifted his arm up in victory, as his trembling body finally gave out against the roar of congratulations from the crowd.

 

(And if the last thing he saw before he finally collapsed was the limp form of Deku being wheeled out on a stretcher, even more injured than he was, then he didn't say anything when he woke up.)

 

-

 

When Izuku finally clawed his way free from unconsciousness, he was immediately ushered onto the new stage, gratefully accepting the silver medal as a smug Katsuki showed off his gold like a peacock. The bird headed boy from class 1-A, Tokoyami he thinks, received third with a stoic countenance and simple nod, which Mikumo told him remained the exact same as before. 

 

It wasn't that he wasn't happy with second place, it was honestly better than he expected to do… but something just didn't fit right. With Mikumo’s help, he had good knowledge on the ins and outs of everyone’s quirks. And he still lost.

 

Was he just not strong enough?

 

Could he not even beat an enemy he knew everything about?

 

-

 

Flickering car lights pushed their way through his blinds in a staccato flashing pattern, illuminating the room and plunging it into darkness every few moments. A new medal hung off the shelf above his bed, swinging in the faint breeze from his fan. A cat lounged on the windowsill, while a boy buried himself in his covers to avoid looking at his pet.

 

“Why are you like this, Mikumo? I just… I need to know. What happened- what went so wrong that you… you act like this, so d-desperate?”

 

The silhouette moved, shifting around for a good minute before a voice filled Izuku’s head. A little broken voice, smaller than ever before and getting ever fainter. [I… I guess I never did really tell you about what- well, not what really happened, but... it did for me, I suppose. Looking back… through these memories, well. We were lucky.]

 

A strange little cat sigh, and another few seconds of moving around. [Before- I mean like before before, looking through some of the loops I can recall… sometimes we all died. More often than not, Iida dies before we even get out of first year, and either Uraraka and Tsuyu become maimed or killed by a younger villain in our second.] Izuku swallowed thickly, the lump at the back of his throat throbbing with the need to cry. His first real friends, killed by criminals before school even ended? He would go insane, he realized. 

 

And that was a terrifying thought.

 

[Those- they aren’t the worst, not by far. Other times we never meet All Might, never go to UA, and almost everyone in both hero classes dies before third year. Or-... or, we are… well, sometimes, we are- are a villain. And we… we end up killing them ourselves.]

 

Oh, no.

 

 Mikumo said the last sentence in a rush, and was silent for a while after. Not only having to watch your only friends die over and over and over again, but knowing that it’s your fault they’re dead, that you killed them…

 

[But, I mean, there’s a bit of detachment, I guess? I know it happened, and to me, but… also not to me, not really. It wasn’t as bad for me, and we all made it through school.] A dry laugh rasped it’s way over the connection, evoking the bitter cynicism of an old man reminiscing on his youth and the mistakes he made. [Like that’s any better. So, yeah, we all made it as heroes, at least for a little while.]

 

Izuku could barely even see Mikumo anymore if he had bothered to look, the flashing light almost completely gone, so he closed his eyes and listened. [It was… I believe four years after we graduated. And, um, Hagakure- you know, the invisible girl? Yeah, she was caught in friendly fire after a police officer opened fire on a hostage situation, and Hagakure took two bullets to the chest to protect the hostage.]

 

[Next was Tokoyami, the one with the bird head. He ended up being… killed by his own quirk after being forcefully shot with trigger, making Dark Shadow go on an insane rampage. That was… ten years after, I think. Then was Aizawa-sensei, who passed away from an infected injury while on a stakeout, eleventh year. His was long and painful, but… we all got to say goodbye, and I’m forever thankful for that.]

 

Mikumo continued, with a tight voice and ever tightening throat, to detail the deaths of just under half of his classmates before continuing on to his retirement, and how another chunk of them was taken out by “accidents” as they too began to retire.

 

Tsuyu Asui, the frog girl, died of hypothermia after getting lost on a rescue mission, two weeks before she was set to turn in her resignation letter.

 

Sero Hanta, tape-elbows, went missing for three months, later turning up in… multiple locations and missing his quirk, accredited to a gang rivalry over the limited supply of quirk-erasing drugs.

 

Present Mic, Yamada-sensei, died quickly from internal bleeding after winning a fight against a dangerous villain, vocal chords so blown out that he would have drowned in his own blood if the missing legs didn’t get him first.

 

And on and on and on, Mikumo’s voice somehow becoming a bit stronger with each name, with each vague description. Some were bitter sweet, like how both Mina Ashido and Hitoshi Shinsou went peacefully in old age, or how Kyouka Jirou bravely offered her life for the release of several captive children. Many more were violent and bloody, senseless in their brutal description, as students like Mashirao Ojiro and Denki Kaminari were tortured to death and then mutilated beyond recognition, as Momo Yaoyorozu was poisoned slowly and agonizingly, as Mezou Shoji and Yuga Aoyama were crushed mercilessly under several thousand tons of concrete and rebar, requiring a closed casket for all.

 

And how much of 1-B met a similar fate.

 

[I have to try, Izuku. I can’t-... I won’t sit by and watch them die again, and again, and again in painful ways if there’s any way at all for me to prevent it.] Some shaky breaths, and it was perfectly silent and pitch black, even the sound of breathing oddly distorted and muted in the heavy atmosphere. [You… you don’t know him, but there’s a boy, in class 1-A, who told me he wasn’t brave.]

 

[He told me over and over, almost every exercise we did together, that he admired my… well, my “manly spirit,” as he said. He dressed up and did his hair and fought like his favorite hero, like a little kid would dress up like All Might and scream at the top of their lungs “I am here!”, pretending that they were invincible because of course All Might would save them and help them and give them hugs and do everything a hero should. Some of the students in other classes made fun of him for it, and he eventually toned down on his obviously strong personality… until we were doing- doing a r-rescue mission after a villain attack, b-but the villain got free and there was this little g-girl and she looked so scared but I couldn’t move and she was going to die and then… he stepped in. He stood up, turned on his quietly powerful quirk, and he didn’t move.]

 

[He always said I was the brave one, that he was a coward, but right then, he looked down at the girl and he smiled, full of sharp little shark teeth, and he didn’t say “I am here!” like small children do because then he wasn’t a kid, anymore, and little kids think they can rule the world and they don’t even know what Death is, but he looked Death right in the eyes and said 'not yet'. He… he said, he said “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you!” and the little girl squealed in excitement and happiness and I realized something. He wasn’t… he wasn’t afraid to die, right then and right there if it meant only saving just one more little girl, and I thought- I think, now, that’s the only way I can help.]

 

[I refuse to be afraid of death if it means that I can keep them safe just a little bit longer, because they’re just kids right now. They can’t fight, they can’t kill, they are just soft little balls of emotion and if I am- if… if we are the only people who can help, then so be it. I will help, and I won’t fail. I owe it to everyone any version of me has ever killed, ever hurt, because if I am always atoning then I am always doing something good, and... I can live with that.]

 

A small trolley rolled by outside, distant sounds of laughter and people returning home from late-night work or frantic parties breaking the tension, but still neither moved. Neither opened their eyes.

 

[And if I’m only here, if we only have this quirk, to help others, then of course that’s what I’m going to die doing.]

 

And they sat there, into the night and the following morning, neither having gotten a wink of sleep.

 

-

 

”...and we have recently received reports that Iida Tenya, the thirty-seven year old pro hero Ingenium, has just been killed in a villain attack. The public funeral is set to be held on the nineteenth, at…”

 

Deku sat back, ice spreading through his veins. He had- he just saw Tenya a week ago, no, less than that, and now he was de… dead.

 

Tenya was dead.

 

Six hours of pacing and crying later, and he was finally put through to Tamakawa, who sounded as solemn as he could over the noise in the background of the station.

 

And then there was no noise in the station, or anywhere else except for the beating of Deku’s heart and the words spilling out of the phone speakers, because. Tenya… he had almost bled to death after being disabled, shot in the knees about twelve times to prevent his movement, before being- just… just left there, like... trash.

 

But no, he couldn’t have died just then, no, of course he had to have his spine broken in far to many places, then dropped off of the top of a building before dying when he hit the pavement.

 

And Deku couldn’t move, because they had just lost Tsuyu, and Satou, and Momo, and the class was falling apart and he couldn’t deal with their-... gone. Just- just gone, their class president, like ashes in the wind.

 

And Deku sat there, heavily, on the side of his bed, with silent tears rolling down his cheeks, so far past sobbing, and he sat there. And thought.

 

And Deku realized, as his phone slipped out of his hands and clattered on the ground to wide, unseeing eyes and ears deaf to everything but the roar of blood in his head, Tamakawa still calling his name frantically, that why should he get to live when the others, people who have worked every second of their lives away to reach where they are, don’t?

 

What made him special, without his friends?

 

Was it worth living, if they weren’t?

 

-

Chapter Text

On the first day back from school, after the shitshow that was the Sports Festival, Yosetsu was not expecting to be approached by an irate Shinsou, who looked more like a disgruntled cat the more he looked.

 

Okay, the image of the other student holding his hands out like paws, purple cat ears perched on top of his head, and with the most deadpan expression possible on his face saying “nya” was more than enough to send Yosetsu into hysterics. Tokage gave him a confused expression, and all he had to do was whisper “Tired purple boy says nya” before Shinsou was in earshot for her to start giggling too.

 

The general education student waited for them, expression not once changing. When they were done, he sighed, rubbing the back of his neck.

 

“Look, I didn’t get very far in the third round. But whatever, thanks, I guess, probably wouldn’t have made it there to begin with if it wasn’t for your guys’ help. So… just pass that onto Midoriya or something, haveanicedayokaybye-”

 

Before he could leave, Tokage grabbed his shoulder with a floating hand, her almost sadistic smirk only adding to the image. “Uh-uh, eyebags, how about you tell him yourself? Or is the big bad brainwasher afraid of little Midori and his cat?”

 

Shinsou tensed, but didn’t turn around. “Can’t… can’t you just tell him? I’m not scared, really, it’s just…” he began cautiously, voice a little shaky. Yosetsu joined Tokage, grabbing the boy’s other arm.

 

“Yes, my dear little friend?” He continued to speak over a quiet splutter of “ I’m taller than you!” from his prisoner. “What is about tiny little green bean over hear that makes you too terrified to talk to him, huh?”

 

“... he keeps trying to be friends with me!” Shinsou burst out finally. A moment of absolute silence, before both 1-B students began to laugh so hard it was a real struggle to hold on the boy. Still chuckling, they began to drag him to the classroom, Shinsou fighting them every step of the way by grabbing onto every obstacle he could find and just generally being a nuisance.

 

He was hissing , for Kami’s sake!

 

The first person to see them enter the room, Kaibara, slammed his head down on his desk so hard that Yosetsu heard something crack. On the good side, it did alert the earlier students already in the classroom that something was happening. The smarter (and saner) of them ignored them or escaped from Tokage’s sharpened grin while they could. Honenuki went over with a sigh to help the now crying Kaibara, and Rin walked up cautiously.

 

“Um, Awase, is there a reason for this?” he asked, giving Shinsou a pitying look. The purple insomniac dangled like all his bones had disappeared from Tokage’s floating hands, where she was trying to get him to talk to her.

 

“Shinsou here doesn’t want to be friends with Midoriya!” Yosetsu finally burst out with. From the back of the room, Shishida gave him an absolutely deadpan look before looking over the boy in question and shaking his head. Several murmurs broke out across the room.

 

What, is the kid stupid?”

 

“Oh, to be that innocent. Midoriya will stop at nothing.”

 

“If he wants to make it into the Hero Course, no way he can withstand Mido. No. Way. I tried, the little stalker found out where I lived and became friends with my mom.”

 

Yosetsu whirled around at that last one, finding a solemn Komori comforting a resigned Tsuburaba, who looked up at Shinsou with an almost manic energy. “Don’t let yourself befall the same tragic end.”

 

Another round of agreements swept the sparse class, containing many serious nods and whispers of “tragic, tragic,” and “save yourself.” The black haired student took the opportunity to guide the now slightly alarmed Shinsou over to the back of the room, where a small chart was set up. On it were each student’s contact info, and there was a quickly scribbled space at the bottom for Shinsou.

 

“As soon as we heard Mido ask for you by name, we made sure to make you a spot,” he explained. “This is so Kendo can contact you about our meeting days, since with the class stalker on your tail, you're going to need to be prepared.”

“Class… stalker?”

 

Shoda popped up from behind them, shoving his way into the conversation. “Oh boy, you haven't seen him at work! If Midoriya is determined enough, he can find anything,” at this his eyes grew haunted, “or any one . He got me the second week, somehow tracking me down on every online site I use, and sending me cryptic messages through them. Eventually I caved and gave him my phone number.”

 

Every student within earshot shuddered. “... and our lives haven’t been the same since,” finished Yosetsu. “But you have us to help you! You can’t escape it, it never works, he always finds you, somehow, but we can prepare you a little.”

 

Shinsou looked more alarmed than when he had been bodily dragged down the hallway, as Tokage took him under her (whole again) arm with a surprisingly formal expression and walked him out of the class, her voice trailing off as they rounded the doorframe. “You see, my good sir, the easiest first step is to plan at least ten different ways to and from your house, and…” 

 

-

 

No, Izuku was not stalling. 

 

He wasn’t, really! 

 

Maybe a little tiny itsy-bitsy bit. Maybe.

 

Okay, he was definitely stalling. Katsuki would want answers (since when had he stopped calling him Kacchan, that was certainly startling) and he had absolutely no idea how to tell him. If he lied and the other boy found out… no, too risky. He liked his eardrums intact. But telling the truth would be just as bad, he had no idea what the reaction would be.

 

I’m not ready I’m not ready I’mnotready-

 

“O-oh, h-hey Kats-suki!” And, cue the immediate internal cringe. Wow, he sounded like a nine year old. Ouch.

 

Obviously, the object of his greeting shared his feelings, since he physically cringed and began to growl, only halting when Mikumo growled too. “C’mon, nerd. Unless you want to talk here?”

 

“Um, n-no, not r-rea-”

 

“Rhetorical question, dumbass. Get moving.”

 

They found themselves in a back hallway by the training ground restrooms, which wouldn’t be used until the heroics classes started class. Katsuki stood and waited, unsettlingly patient as he stared at Izuku trying to organize his thoughts.

 

Ten minutes later, he was just as calm and stony-faced. As the explanation had progressed without even the slightest change in the explosive boy, Izuku had become steadily more anxious and high-strung. But his fears were only making him jittery, and past experience failed him. It obviously didn’t fail Mikumo though, as the cat had moved from the bush that was his hair down to his feet as Katsuki’s face grew harder and harder to read.

 

As Izuku finally trailed off, the hall was completely silent for several heartbeats. The blonde slowly closed his eyes, resting his head against the wall, and breathed in for a count of four. He held it until his eyes opened and he trained them on Izuku with a carefully maintained calm.

 

“You… you can see the future.”

 

Okay, for all the different ways he had foreseen this, that was not one of them. True to form, no plan survives being put into motion by its own anxious creator, and he had absolutely no clue how to respond. Mikumo stepped up to save him, and for the first time in a long while Izuku saw Katsuk flinch when his cat’s voice filtered into the air.

 

No, but I can see the past. It’s just that my past may be your future.”

 

A drawn out sigh, and Katsuki visibly forced himself to relax. When he next spoke, it was quiet and surprisingly soft, almost forcing Izuku to lean in to hear him. It was… unsettling, to say the least, but Izuku did not lean in. He very carefully did not move at all. 

 

“... but you know… what may happen. The possibilities.”

 

A nod met him, and another moment of tense, slightly echoey quiet. The sounds of students just entering the school for the day was surreal in the background, seeming like an entirely different world than the one they stood in now.

 

“You’ve seen me? What am I like, tomorrow?”

 

Ah, so that was the crux of the matter. Always about himself. But for once, Izuku couldn’t really blame him. For all his blank mask, there were hints of subtle desperation in the tightness of his mouth, the hard slant to his eyes, his crossed and defensive arms.

 

“... depends. Sometimes you and Izuku are great friends, sometimes rivals, sometimes enemies. Maybe you become a hero, or a villain, or a vigilante, or nothing. Sometimes, you die. Others, you get hurt. Still others, you were born with a different quirk or no quirk at all or no one has quirks or you aren't even human. Sometimes, you’re never born.”

 

Mikumo took a deliberate step forward, but Katsuki’s eyes didn’t follow him. They remained rooted to the tile, staring but not seeing anything.

 

I don’t know how you’re going to turn out. Only you can tell me that. What I do know, is that I can’t remember everything. I can only recall the important things from the last hundred lives or so, or I would go insane. In every memory I can dredge up, no matter what happens, you change the world.”

 

Those glittering rubies pinned Izuku to the floor like a caught butterfly, a beetle on a page, and as Mikumo took another step forward, almost inaudible words tumbled from his lips like water off a mountain. Silent and with an air of perfect stillness, yet so inescapably deadly.

 

“That’s not what I meant.”

 

The next words were inaudible, and Izuku frowned. “Can… can you repeat that.”

 

And then that porcelain mask broke. “I. Said. THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU SAVE THEM?!” Katsuki practically roared, just loud enough to get the point across without being heard by the growing crowd of students outside their little bubbled hallway. He leaped forward, getting right up in Izuku’s face while grabbing his uniform collar, practically dragging the smaller boy onto his tiptoes.

 

“OUR TEACHER WAS PUT IN THE HOSPITAL FOR FIVE DAYS. FIVE. DAYS. ALL MIGHT GOT SERIOUSLY INJURED, AND YOU DID NOTHING. WHY DIDN’T YOU BEAT ME IN THE FESTIVAL, HUH? WHY ARE A BUNCH OF HEROES DEAD, IN AN EASILY PREVENTABLE WAY? WHY, WHY, WHY… Why… why?”” 

 

At this point Katsuki had fallen to the ground on his knees, tears beginning to fall from his eyes. Even as he hit the shiny tile, body shaking, his eyes remained locked onto Izuku’s. Their distorted reflections in the polished surface seemed almost karmic, the pitying bully standing over their kneeling, crying victim. 

 

But he wasn’t the same Izuku as before, and this wasn’t the same Katsuki. He strained to hear Katsuki’s voice now, but it echoed strangely off of the empty walls.

 

“Glasses… his brother may never walk again. How did you fix that, exactly? I asked about- about myself to see what the world will be like… then… apparently exactly the same. You fought the monster that hurt All Might, and you lost… You say you see the important things. Is that not important? Why did I beat you?”

 

And Katsuki seemed so lost, so out of the rage that had been keeping him going for so long, that Izuku couldn’t help himself. Mikumo stood off to the side, stone-faced, as he knelt down. Before he could ever say a word though, his hand was slapped away. Katsuki stumbled to his feet, angrily wiping at his eyes with his uniform sleeve until he looked almost normal.

 

“Are you even fucking trying?”

 

It was Izuku’s turn to flinch. Of course he knew those words, beat himself up in his head about everything he could have done differently, saw accusing faces in his dreams. He knew that if it had been Katsuki who had this power, no one would have died. Oh, he wanted so desperately to give it away, to say I’m so sorry, please take this and do better than I did, I’m not worth having this, I’m so so sorry. 

 

No, it wasn’t the words. It was the way they were said, so plain and matter of fact. Are you even trying? Of course he was. Was he? They were barely a question, just a statement of facts. I could do so much better, his inner Bakugo whispered. I’m so much better than you, I could help everyone. You know I could. 

 

He wanted to scream, but Katsuki wasn’t done. He refused to turn back around, to face Izuku even as his voice began to crack with anger and calm assertion.

 

“You come in here with your fancy powers, saying you want to save people. You hide yourself for years because you’re too scared to make things different than how it always was. You could have done so much good.

 

“I don’t care that you didn’t know. I don’t care that you did all you could. You failed. You sit back and hope everything will work out fine, and wake up, princess, because no it fucking won’t. Stay away from me, if you won't even try to save lives. You could have told someone before, could've put your necks on the line for someone else. But… you didn’t.”

 

He took a shaky breath, the victim on one side and the bully on the other leaving himself behind.

 

“I thought you wanted to be a hero, Deku. Guess I was wrong.”

 

The first bell rang.

 

-

 

Toshinori was a bit concerned about his young protege. The boy had been sitting in his office, eating lunch with the most poorly concealed depressed face that he had seen in a while, for several minutes now. Neither had even tried to start a conversation.

 

“... I think I’m going to intern with Gran Torino, if he sends in a request.”

 

Toshinori spluttered, spitting blood into his handkerchief, and tried to cough out a fully formed sentence. “Um, Young Midoriya, he probably won’t. Why would you want to intern with him?”

 

His boy looked up with a sheepish expression. “W-well, he trained you, right? I figure I can get a lot of help with One For All from someone who taught the Symbol of Peace.”

 

“Good thinking, kid!” Toshinori didn’t know how Gran Torino would like his enigmatic successor, but he could at least try and give him a call, even if the mere thought of talking to his old mentor sent shivers up his spine. “But from what I could see, you have a pretty good handle on One For All already.”

 

The student laughed almost guiltily and rubbed the back of his head, avoiding eye contact. “I mean, yeah, a bit, but I can only handle about two or three percent before my bones start breaking, and even that takes a lot of concentration.”

 

That made a disturbing amount of sense, now that he thought about it. “Yeah… I suppose working with someone who can help with that is a good choice, then. I support that decision, even if I do have to warn you about Gran first…”

 

Midoriya laughed quietly at his pronounced shudder, and while it wasn’t up to his normal levels of enthusiasm, it was certainly a start. Toshinori felt a warm glow of pride blossom in his chest, to have found a kid like Midoriya, who had more heroic spirit in every bone than some pros. No way this sweet sunshine child would ever do anything that could hurt anyone.

 

Confidant in his assertions, he leaned back as they began to talk more informally, Midoriya’s eyes lighting up as they began to discuss the pros and cons of interning at each agency. 

 

It wasn’t until later that night that he realized that not only should his student have never heard of Gran Torino, he shouldn’t have had even the faintest clue that the old hero used to be Toshinori’s mentor.

 

It wasn’t until several days later that he realized he never figured out what Midoriya had been upset about.

Chapter Text

“You know, I think I might intern with Backdraft.”

 

Itsuka looked over at Awase, who looked fairly serious for once, and Tokage, who was draped over the back of his chair like a large dog.

 

“Oh, he sent in a request? Cool, I’m thinking of going to Uwabami,” Itsuka said, then paused. “You know where you’re going yet, Tokage?”

 

The other girl groaned, sliding yet further onto an annoyed Awase’s back. “Nooooo…” she whined, pouting dramatically. “I got a few requests, but it’s so hard to chooooose…”

 

“You could always go with Kamui Woods?” Midoriya deftly slid into the conversation, lifting Tokage off of her friend and setting her on the next desk. Itsuka stifled a laugh about how normal this all was, to where Tokage just went limp in the air like a kitten, used to be carried or moved around.

 

“I could… but there are so many other options, ya’ know? I don’t even know half these people!” Mido’s face lit up like the sun at the chance to talk about heroes, and the two greenettes walked to their desks to continue the conversation, leaving Itsuka and Awase behind.

 

“I wonder what we’re doing in class today,” he commented softly, more to fill the silence than anything else, then frowned. “Hold on, where’s Mikumo?”

 

Now that he mentioned it… “I’m sure he’s just running an errand for Midoriya or something.”

 

Awase frowned harder. “Yeah, about that. Green Bean seems more down today. Did something happen?”

 

“Not that I know of, but I can always ask Yaoyorozu or Iida.” She had become pretty good friends with the 1-A students at a student council meeting. Wasn’t their vice president going to Uwabami too? Itsuka didn’t really remember. Awase’s frown turned more curious than anything else, and he beckoned over Kodai as she entered the room.

 

“Do you know what’s wrong with Mido?” he asked before she could speak.

 

She huffed. “Hello to you too, and no, I don’t. He looks pretty normal to me.” Looking over at where the boy in question was verbally burying Tokage with hero facts, Isuka couldn’t help but agree, if she hadn’t known him so well. His smiles weren’t as big, he spoke a bit more softly, he rarely made eye contact.

 

“Look, we’ve only been back in school for a few days. Maybe he’s just upset that he didn’t win?” Kodai tried, not unkindly, but Awase didn’t look convinced. Just then, Kan-sensei burst into the classroom, and everyone hurried to their seats. After the usual greetings, their teacher opened a folder on his desk and got right into things.

 

“As you can see, we’ll be doing something a little… special today. I assume you all have the packets of internship offers I gave you?” The class nodded, and he continued. “Class 1-A did this exercise yesterday, and now it’s our turn. The reason I’m not alone today,” and wow, how had Itsuka not noticed Thirteen by the doorway, that was almost embarrassing, “is because we are going to be choosing your hero names.”

 

A beat of shocked silence, and then the class erupted. 

 

A few minutes later, when everyone had finally calmed down and they were given their whiteboards, Itsuka still hadn’t the faintest idea of what her’s should be. The only person to go up yet was Kuroiro, who had explained that he had ‘felt this name in the inky depths of his soulless body from whence he was but a child,’ whatever that means. Seriously, she was pretty sure some of these words weren’t even being used right. 

 

Tetsu practically bounce up to the front of the room, and Thirteen gestured for him to continue.

 

“The Titanium Hero: Real Steel!” He looked around the classroom with a huge smile on his face, and everyone voiced their approval, even Thirteen. His smile grew even wider, showing off his sharp teeth, and he walked back to his seat as his classmates gave him claps on the back or high-fives. Next up was Komori, who had the cutesy name of Shemage that everyone just cooed over, and she sat back down with a noticeable blush.

 

Thirteen clapped their hands after a few more nice names and a big pause, the rest of the students struggling to come up with something. “Anyone else?” They looked around expectantly, but the remaining people just withered under their gaze. “C’mon, some of you have to have something! You there, Tsuburaba, right? What do you have?”

 

Tsuburaba dragged his feet up to the podium, turning around his whiteboard with just his name on it, smiling sheepishly as Thirteen sighed, before trudging back to his seat. Tokage raised her hand excitedly, and stalked up front with a wide smirk. She whipped her whiteboard around with a little dramatic flourish, and read it to the class.

 

“The Eldritch Hero: Cthulhu!” 

 

A collective groan rippled through the classroom, a few snickers in there for good measure. Awase was wheezing quietly on the floor, and Itsuka bit her lip to keep from laughing out. The girl’s smirk turned into a much more genuine grin at the reactions, and she showed the other side of her board to show her actual name. 

 

“Just kidding, guys. Meet the Splitter Hero: Lizardy!” A round of applause followed her back to her seat, a bit more subdued due to the students still trying to suppress their smiles. Thirteen seemed a little lost, but after calling on Yanagi and Kamakiri, who both had blissfully nice and normal names, they seemed to be pretty normal.

 

As Awase came up with Weld on the spot, Itsuka stared at her board. She racked her brain, and then a spark of inspiration hit her. She uncapped her marker to write Battle Fist, but paused.

 

‘“I think you can do a lot, Kendo!” Midoriya smiled up at her, the honesty clear in his face. Mikumo purred in agreement from her arms, but she was too shocked to pet him back. 

 

“I mean, yeah, I’m a good fighter…” she trailed off as the boy in front of her shook his head, looking like an earnest toddler with his wide eyes. 

 

“No, I meant besides that. Your quirk can do so much, you can help so many people besides just fighting. I think your quirk can help with more than you give it credit for.” His smile turned a little bittersweet, and his gaze grew far away as Mikumo stopped purring for a moment, before his clear eyes snapped back to her. 

 

“Kendo, I know that you’ll become a great hero, and you can save so many people.” He patted her on the arm. “We’ll all be great heroes. Now c’mon, we need to get ready for the sports festival. I’m sure everyone’s waiting for us.”’

 

She walked up to the front, taking a deep breath before turning the board around.

 

“The High-Five Hero: Helping Hand.”

 

She gave an internal sigh of relief as Thirteen approved it, and the class roared in support for their representative. She caught Midoriya’s eye as she passed him on her way to her seat, and he smiled as he got up.

 

“U-um, yeah, so I chose… the Dekiru Hero: Legacy!”

 

Thirteen laughed at the wordplay and said it was great, bringing a relieved smile to his face as he hurriedly left to make room for Honenuki.

 

Itsuka sat back down, Shoda giving her a pat on the back and a small grin. As the class continued to applaud her friend’s choices, she couldn’t help but glance over at Midoriya. 

 

There was definitely something wrong, but what?

 

-

 

“No, Nedzu, I swear that I’m perfectly sober.”

 

“No, no, I believe you. It’s just… are you certain? You double checked? Have you actually asked him yet?”

 

“Yes, I double checked- what do you mean ‘have I asked him yet?’ Of course I haven’t asked him yet, that’s why I’m calling you!”

 

Okay, Naomasa, calm yourself. This may be nothing, don’t get all worked up over it.”

 

“Okay, I’m sorry, I’ll calm down.”

 

There we go, much better. Deep breaths. Alright then. Now, I know for a fact that whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably not nearly that bad.”

 

“That’s not very helpful. Can you tell me how?”

 

How I know? That would be cheating. I can always ask him though, if you really need confirmation.”

 

“Of course you can’t. Because why make things easy when- you can ask him?”

 

“Of course. So could you, actually. We’ve had some very enlightening conversations.”

 

“I’m wouldn’t even dream of asking how any more. But he actually listens to you?”

 

Oh, yes. I think he might even be scared of me. But we’ve gotten off topic. Have you talked to Midoriya yet?”

 

“No, I haven't tried, but-”

 

“-It would be a little weird, and it would be even harder to ask Mikumo directly. I understand.”

 

“Yeah. That's what i meant. It’s just, I'm human, and…”

 

You want me to ask him then, because I’m not.”

 

“Yeah, you’re not. Exactly. Is that why he listens to you?”

 

“He… really doesn’t listen to me, but he’s told me a lot. Really, he’s been very forthcoming, I think it would be very hard for him to be hiding something this big, unless he had substantial help. I still say talk to Midoriya.”

 

“I know you’re trying to be helpful, but won’t it be even worse if I just go and arrest the kid!”

 

I didn’t say to arrest him, just find a good time. I think he’s interning in Hosu, mybe you can pull him aside then.”

 

“I know." A sigh. "Thanks.”

 

I still think you’re overreacting, but you're welcome.”

 

Naomasa put down the phone, more than a little frustrated. Just because he hadn’t slept in two days doesn’t mean he is incapable of rational thought. Nedzu just wasn’t listening, and certainly wasn’t taking him seriously. He had the video and everything, and he'd talked with the principal about this before as well. He even had a video of Mikumo getting a partial lie response to one of his questions, the most important one.

 

So what if he only had a little bit of proof? He was absolutely positive that Mikumo was working with All For One.

 

-

 

Tomura raged around the bar, only managing to not disintegrate the floor through Kurogiri’s frantic efforts. All For One listened to the noise from the screen, and he waited patiently until his protege calmed down. Once all was quiet, he finally spoke.

 

“I gave you the freedom to do as you wish. Just because Stain made the mistake of refusing your offer does not mean you failed. You have the power to recruit Stain, if you wish, but I still expect the attacks on Hosu to be carried out efficiently.”

 

A scraping sound, probably knees against the hardwood. “Yes, Sensei. As you say.” A beat of silence, and then he continued, albeit a bit more cautiously. “If I can… can I change the plan a little bit?”

 

Sensei felt his mangled face stretch into something that might once have been a pleased grin. “Of course. Remember, you are the leader here.”

 

Finally, his boy doing what he was supposed to. He was the one who would have to make decisions, the plans, the strategies. One day, he would be the leader. He had to get used to some level of autonomy now, without going too far overboard and messing up his master’s plans.

 

That would be very bad indeed.

 

Kurogiri hummed in the background, a silent question dancing in the air. Should I let him do as he pleases? the air seemed to whisper through the crackly speakers. Sensei sighed quietly, a response of no, watch him but give him leeway. A small creak in the floorboards from the shifting weight returned an affirmation, and he felt himself relax just the tiniest bit.

 

Of course, that day was not today. Goodness knows that his boy wasn’t nearly ready for that kind of role just yet, and it was a comfort knowing that Kurogiri would help him for a while longer, even after he was gone.

 

His multitude of hearing quirks picked up a quiet muttering. “... and instead of making the distraction with Noumus, I can use the distraction that Stain gives in order to release the Noumus…”

 

Good, he was much calmer now.

 

-

 

Toshinori fiddled with the phone, staring anxiously at the floor as it rang in his ear. He needed to do this… but he totally wasn’t ready. Not even the slightest bit.

 

Click. “Ah, Toshinori. Your boy said yes, then?”

 

Oh thank whoever watched over stupid choices, he didn’t seem angry or upset. “Sorahiko, ahm, yes. He said yes.”

 

A huff from the other side, and the sound of papers rustling. “Izuku Midoriya, right? That him?”

 

“That’s him, yeah… um, I should- I do need to warn you about a few things…”

 

“Hah. Serves you right that you’d pick a difficult one. I swear that this is just karma, for all the times you would sit there for hours and not learn a thing.”

 

“Yes…”

 

“Anyway, spill! What’s up with your boy?”

 

He opened his mouth to answer, and then the actual words contained in that sentence registered and he just ended up blue screening for a few seconds, before turning bright red and sputtering as his old teacher laughed. “Ah- no, no, he’s- why would you say he’s my- my boy? I’m just- just teaching him- really, I promise, ah…”

 

“Oh, let an old man have his fun. You youngsters are too uptight nowadays, really. ANYWAYS,” and the harsh bark made Toshinori subconsciously straighten his back, even forty years later, “I need to know if there’s really something wrong.”

 

Ah… well, he has- he has a cat.”

 

A beat of silence, before the most deadpan voice he had ever heard from Sorahiko reached his ears. “ You called me… to warn me about a cat.”

 

Obviously his silence was telling enough, since the next thing to pop out was an incredulous laugh. 

 

Of course you did, of course. How could I forget the infamous fusion of the need to help and stupidity, with your handsome mug right there on top. Of course you did.”

 

“No, but really, I do actually need to warn you about this cat,” he added when his voice finally returned. “There’s just something weird about him… Naomasa thinks that he’s working with All For One, but Nedzu talked to the cat and said that there’s no evidence for it.”

 

“... go on.”

 

And so he did.

Chapter Text

The pulsing mass of excited students filled the station with their energy, and Shouta was once again reminded why he tried not to take on any interns. Forget the whole nocturnal, under the radar, back-alley style he used, spending upwards of a week with a teenager, possibly multiple teenagers, would most certainly give him a heart attack faster than his coffee overdoses would.

 

But he had to do his job anyway, so he fixed his tired eyes on his students and took joy in their suffering. Oh, and maybe a little bit helped them get organized and ready to leave. A little bit. Because that’s what he was paid for.

 

His kids were such hot messes.

 

“Are you okay, Eraserhead?” asked a curious voice next to him. He slowly turned to find Midoriya and his godforsaken cat, the boy nervously watching the crowd of students and the cat nervously watching him.

 

He would never grow old of inspiring fear in children by reputation alone. “I’m fine, Midoriya,” and then, because he hated himself, “May I ask where you’re interning?”

 

The boys face lit up. “I’m working with Gran Torino!” Shota racked his brain for any such name, and got a distant memory of some old retired pro, but not much else. The kid continued to ramble for a few minutes about- All Might’s old teacher? Huh. But he was too distracted with sipping his Redbull and espresso and watching an energetic Mina try to convince some of the boys to jump into the train tracks for a quick selfie. 

 

Thankfully, they had enough collective brain cells to realize that was a bad idea, and oh nevermind, there went Sero. Shota decided that he could pull himself out of danger fast enough if the train came, and turned a bit of attention back to the babbling child next to him.

 

“-and I was kind of disappointed that we won’t be in Hosu, but that’s okay, I think, and if it isn’t then we can probably work something out, I’m positive that it won’t be as bad as I feared, probably, maybe, Iida should be fine if things go to plan, anyway I think we’ll be working on-”

 

He sputtered in confusion when Shota wrapped his mouth in capture tape, then fell silent when he noticed the growing pressure behind the teacher’s eyes, and the absolute done-ness in said eyes.

 

“Are you done?” A tentative shake quickly transformed itself into an enthusiastic nod at his glare. “Good. First of all, where is your teacher? Actually, why are you even here?”

 

“Mmph-”

 

“Did I say I was done? No, shut up. Secondly, what did you say about Iida and Hosu?”

 

He cautiously released the boy, who took a few discrete steps back. “Um. S-so, Kan-sensei is right over there helping everyone find their train tickets, but Mikumo made sure I had mine in my pocket so he told me to go do what I want as long as I don’t step in front of the train, which really makes me wonder why he thinks I would do that-”

 

He needed aspirin. Although the train thing makes him check up on the boys, who- oh, looks like Kaminari is now licking the wall across from the platform, and Ojiro had somehow been bullied by Uraraka into a climbing contest with Asui as the rest of the class took bets and cheered them on.

 

How… quaint. He decided to ignore it.

 

“I get it, kid, next answer.”

 

“Oh, yeah, sure. I- um, the Hosu thing… I mean, have you really paid attention to Iida these past few days?”

 

Of course he had, he kept careful tabs on all of his students. The class president had seemed more subdued, a bit more angry and cold these past few days, but that was to be expected when he had just almost lost his brother. Shota himself had been more distant the day or two after the sports festival, according to Hizashi. And then something struck him as very, very odd.

 

Climbing the walls in a train station had to be against some type of safety rule, but Iida wasn’t saying a thing to his classmates.

 

He always lectured about rules, whenever possible. And right now he had a captive audience, so why…

 

Midoriya fixed him in place with an unreadable expression. “Yeah, that’s why he chose Manual. Can you just… I don’t know, keep a close eye on him? Ask Manual to watch him as much as possible?”

 

He really needed that aspirin. As much as he hated to consider it, the kid was right. If he was that age and his brother had just been put very firmly out of commission by a villain, he would be plotting revenge too.

 

That really just brought up the question of how destructive and powerful his student could be when he stopped caring so much about civilians or property damage.

 

Oh, no.

 

A mossy-haired girl popped into existence on the other side of Midoriya, firmly taking ahold of the boy’s arm and making him squawk with surprise. She gave a calculating look towards Shota, but eventually dismissed him as just a teacher and shook her friend instead of questioning it.

 

“We’ve been looking for you forever, Mido! You can’t just run off like that, Kan-sensei was worried that he gave you such lax rules, and when we hadn’t heard screaming he decided you had gone and knocked yourself unconscious. Give a girl more warning, jeez!”

 

As she started to drag him back, Midoriya cast one last bewildered look at Shota. “Seriously, why does everyone seem to think that I’m so self-destructive?!”

 

The teacher sipped his coffee as the student was dragged away, the back of his mind still churning with possibilities as he watched Yaoyorozu dissuade Kirishima from joining the climbing contest.

 

-

 

Ochako snatched her friend out of the sidelines with an unheard sigh, bustling Iida and Yaomomo towards their train. Where was Midoriya, again?

 

Oh, there he was. She felt absolutely no guilt at possibly dislocating his arm with the force she used to yank him away from Tokage, since desperate times called for desperate measures. To his credit, he only blinked confusedly a few times before seeing her pointing finger and getting the message.

 

“H-hey, Iida, wait up!” The boy in question paused for a moment, turning around with an honestly confused expression.

 

“Midoriya, what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be boarding your own train soon?”

 

“Haha, yeah…” Their 1-B friend sheepishly rubbed the back of his head. “It’s just… Iida, you can trust us, you know?”

 

He was obviously thrown for a loop, and Ochako was too. What was Midoriya talking about? She had just pulled him over to say bye. “Of course,” he said after a moment’s pause. “You are all my friends, I trust you.”

 

At this, the greenette seemed to deflate a little bit. “Yeah, and you can rely on friends to help you out. Let us help you, Iida. That’s what we’re here for.”

 

A sort of guarded expression entered Iida’s eyes, even as a painfully unconvincing smile stretched across his face. Maybe it would have fooled anyone else, but Ochako could clearly see the pain underneath as he reassured Midoriya that he would ask his friends for help when he needs to. A careful glance back at Midoriya, and the pain was clear in his eyes too, although it seemed more of a desperate plea than some deep-seated wound.

 

Wait, why was she overthinking this?

 

“Yeah, Iida, you can rely on us! We can help you with anything, that’s what friends do!”

 

He looked a bit overwhelmed by them ganging up on him, so Ochako figured that was enough for right now. She would be sure to call him later and talk for a while. She really liked calling Iida, more than any of her other friends (except for Yaomomo), because he was always such a gentleman about footing the phone bill. And really, who was she to refuse the generous offer when it was insisted upon so strongly?

 

Just before she got on her train, she took a last considering look of the platform. Her’s was one of the last to leave, so the crowds were a lot thinner. She could see some of the 1-B kids and Sato still waiting, and the teachers of course. Aizawa-sensei caught her eye just before the doors closed, and he mouthed something at her that she didn’t quite catch.

 

(That night, when everyone else was sleeping, she shot awake from a nightmare and knew, without a doubt, that the words he’d mouthed were ‘Hosu,’ and ‘Help him.’)

 

(She couldn’t reach Iida’s cell.)

 

(She didn’t go back to sleep.)

 

-

 

[“Remember, he’s going to be just inside the door, on the floor with a bunch of ketchup and sausages to look like he’s hurt.]

 

“But he’s not hurt, right?”

 

[“I don’t really remember this time period too well, probably dwarfed by… everything else, but I think I would notice if I walked in to an internship and Gran Torino was dead.”]

 

“Okay, that’s fair. So I just… go inside, huh.”

 

Izuku stood there, the door to a stranger’s house open in front of him, unlocked, and he began to rethink his life choices. Of course the person he was going to be learning from was on the floor pretending (?) to be either dead or senile, of course he couldn’t get any sleep on the long train ride so he was exhausted, of course he had only Mikumo’s reassurances that the new costume was good. Of course, because he was Izuku Midoriya, butt of every cosmic joke.

 

Fantastic.

 

He swung the door open the rest of the way, despite himself flinching at the unmoving body in the entryway, before rallying himself and stepping over it. 

 

“I assume you’re Gran Torino, right? If you aren’t I would feel bad for breaking into someone else’s house.”

 

No answer.

 

“Oooookay then, I’m just going to put my bags over here, and I hope to learn a lot from you!” Ha, take that Mikumo, your informality with people you know will not rub off on Izuku! It did feel a bit weird bowing to what could possibly be a corpse.

 

“I’M ALIVE!” Not a corpse, definitely alive, also ouch his ears. He stumbled back in surprise, giving the pro a chance to stand up. As he started explaining himself and just overall acting completely unfit to teach a child, Mikumo started laughing in his head.

 

[“Oh, your face!”] he crowed happily from his spot on the floor. [“That was priceless!”]

 

[“And you couldn’t have warned me?”] Granted, it was funny, but not when it was happening to him.

 

His traitor of a cat stalked away, tail held high in amusement. [“Let me have fun, Izuku. A lot of things are boring when you’re seeing them for the second time.”]

 

And then the senile old man proved he was not as crazy as he appeared by literally launching himself at Izuku, and he just barely cut off a yelp of pain and shock. Ah, kneecaps, ah that hurt, shins, yeowch. “You need to pay more attention, boy! Get out your costume, let me see how much of Toshinori’s terrible teaching I have to fix.”

 

As Izuku turned and stumbled (canes were serious weapons, and there was a definite advantage to being short) towards the luggage he had put down, he cast one last smug look at his bristling cat on top of the refrigerator and tried not to laugh.

 

[“Shut up.”]

 

[“I didn’t even say anything!”]

 

-

 

When Toshinori had said he was a problem child, Sorahiko had expected someone dumb, or maybe an I’m-fifteen-and-I-hate-everything type of kid. But no, he would actually prefer one of those now. He didn’t think it could be much worse. He was wrong.

 

Yeah, the kid had a… decent grasp on One For All, but still seemed a little too attached to All Might’s style, what little there was. The kid was smart, fast, and hard to hit, but he wasn’t using any of those effectively. And his power regulation was atrocious, fluxing from way too little to far too much every second. 

 

Worst of all, he had absolutely no clue how to fight.

 

“Pay attention! C’mon, do it again. No, you’ll break your wrist that- okay, better, it’s a start, but take your thumb out before you crush it. Yeah, close enough. Breaking bones builds character!”

 

Midoriya glanced almost reflexively at his cat (And another thing, who the hell brings a cat to a hero internship? And gets said cat a legit hero costume? If that thing survived the week, Sorahiko would eat his socks) and winced, for some mysterious protagonist tragic backstory plot reasons or whatever bullshit.

 

“Ahm, I don’t exactly think-”

 

“Nonsense, do I look like I care what you think? No? Good, because I don’t. Now try again.”

 

-

 

After a week of hell, he had made a bit of progress on what Mikumo called Full Cowl but Izuku liked to call Lightning Hood, because what Mikumo called it sounded like some type of terrible clothing line one would find in thrift shops, and no one could say that Izuku wasn’t dramatic when he needed to be.

 

Anyway.

 

He had been taught how to throw an acceptable punch, yelled at about breaking his everything (Why did everyone think he was so self-harming? Mikumo was sure to drill into his head the consequences of breaking his fingers for sport, and he would swear up and down that he had somehow gotten ahold of a powerpoint too. He hadn’t broken any bones since the entrance exam, and right before the USJ incident when he accidentally closed a door on his pinkie) and after much begging was allowed to go practice on his own just after dark the night before he was supposed to go for work experience on the job.

 

He had to say, Power Loader-sensei was really something, making such a cool costume for Mikumo and the revisions to his. He had been informed that it was a bit different from what he’d had last time, but that was only fair since that costume had obviously not been blade-resistant. He would need to get him a present for doing it without any questions.

 

Mikumo, the little dramatic toddler that he was, strutted around in his miniature cat-shaped lookalike harness, being absolutely unhelpful like always. [“Here we are,”] he said eventually, stopping in front of a tight alleyway. [“Using Full Cowl-”]

 

“Lightning Hood.”

 

[“-... Using Full Cowl, jump to the roof.”]

 

Izuku spun around to face him. “What do you mean, to the roof? It must be five stories!”

 

[“Not all at once,”] his cat huffed, jumping up to one of the many dumpsters lining the walls. [“You need to bounce off one wall, to the other, to the next and so on until you reach the top.”] When Izuku didn’t move, he laid down and did the cat equivalent of raising an eyebrow. [“What are you waiting for? We don’t have all night, and you need to know at least this much for the upcoming fight.”]

 

“I thought I was supposed to be nice,” Izuku lamented quietly as he began to stretch. “I was going to grow up and be a beloved symbol of peace who was kind and strong and brave. Looks like we never got to the ‘grow up’ part of that, huh?”

 

[“Oh, you’re just jealous that I’m almost six times as old as you.”]

 

Izuku absentmindedly reached for the mental link. “Like I would be jealous of that. Aren’t old people supposed to be wise and- hey!”

 

Mikumo had a severe frowny aura as he forcefully cut the link, and then seemed to realize he couldn’t talk now and just settled for glaring at him to get his message across. It took a moment, but Izuku decided to just accept his fate and try not to die in the process.

 

“Only One For All, huh?” he murmured, concentrating on the output as electric green tendrils of energy began to curl off his body, gently illuminating the darkened alley and sending Mikumo into high contrast under the flickering light. The sparks were almost like fireflies, jumping off him in arcs before dancing around only to meld back into his skin. It was entrancing, that such a powerful quirk can look so pretty.

 

Focus! He shook himself out of it, and took a moment to plan out the clearest route to the top before taking two stiff steps and launching himself upwards, just narrowly missing breaking his nose against the wall. 

 

Okay, try #2. He had only been trying this for a couple weeks, and succeeded only a few days ago. Needing a few tries was completely ordinary. Didn’t mean that he wasn’t frustrated by it, he mused as he scraped his palms not reacting quickly enough to spring back off the wall and hit the ground hard.

 

This may be hard, but he couldn’t give up now! He needed to be strong enough to save his friends, and if he had to break his nose a hundred times to keep everyone safe, he would, with Mikumo right beside him.

 

He got back up and steadied himself to try again as Mikumo watched on, unable to help.

 

-

 

“Now boarding, train to Shinjuku!”

 

The cheerful female voice boomed across the crowded platform, and Mikumo would be lying if he said he wasn’t nervous. What if he just made things worse? Things could go so badly…

 

His unease seemed to bleed across to Izuku, who paced in little circles until Gran Torino finally snapped at him. 

 

"Calm down, boy. It's not like we'll get into many big fights." He looked so sure, Mikumo couldn't help that little pang of guilt he felt every time he was reminded of his inability to tell anyone what was coming. At this point, he had no clue if everything was already so changed that his foreknowledge was useless.

 

They were the most prepared people within a thousand miles, and they could still end up flying in completely blind.

 

It was not comforting.

 

Izuku continued to pace.

 

When the train pulled in with a loud hiss of steam, he jumped as he was jolted out of his thoughts. Yeah, things at USJ could've gone a lot worse, he actually was quite lucky with this one, but this was the first time that people could really die if they made the wrong choice. It was nerve wracking, that people who would never even know he existed were putting their lives in his hands- paws.

 

They took their seats silently as Izuku fidgeted. Closer, closer…

 

Gran Torino began to whistle, then commented on the weather. Neither were responded to, and he once again fell silent. Every once in a while someone would shift in their seat, or rustle through their bags, but otherwise no one made a sound, not even the other passengers.

 

Closer…

 

Mikumo looked out the window, almost freezing up at the glittering lights of Hosu. It should be… now!

 

Or not. It had to be soon, how about… now!!

 

Nope, but he was tensed and coiled up like a spring on the windowsill. Izuku had half sit up, obviously sensing the anticipation, as a speck approached the train… and it got bigger, and bigger… his heart was racing, he felt like he could barely breathe…

 

NOW!

 

And then the bird passed by, and he stopped breathing altogether as they slowly pulled away from Hosu and left the city behind in a sea of blackness on the way to Senjuku station.

Chapter Text

-Tenya, Tenya, too little too late, found him two days later on the pavement, poor boy right after his brother, he was all alone, no one got there in time-

 

-sitting in the chair, but he can’t use his quirk anymore, so what’s the point of it, let them roll him up on stage and give him an award for taking down the villain what does it matter he can’t even stand-

 

-he was right there, his blue eyes were wide but not in death or fear but anguish for having to kill one of his friends but that too faded Izuku couldn’t move and Tenya smiled slowly at him as Stain congratulated him-

 

-and now neither of them could move, and Stain brought the sword down but there he was in front of them until he slowly tipped backwards, blue eyes wide in fear and death and pain and Izuku couldn’t breath as the monster approached they were too slow-

 

-too slow-

 

-too slow-

 

Too slow.

 

Mikumo winced against the headache, the memories pressing in on him, but there were so many and all he could see were those blue eyes in pain because he was too slow-

 

No. Focus. He wouldn’t be too slow, he would make it, he just needed to get off this train and then he could help and protect his friends. As his breathing slowed, he cursed Tenya in his head for the millionth time for being such an insufferable noble bastard and not telling his friends. Doesn’t he know they care for him? He can’t just run around, giving up his life for others, for revenge. He has people that care about him, and that just isn’t healthy.

 

Firstly, train. They had left Hosu behind, but they weren’t too far away yet. Unfortunately, there was no way off of it, and even if there was, Gran Torino would under no circumstances let them just leave like that. So they either had to take him with them, or escape without him noticing or being able to act on it.

 

The rumbling of the train tracks wasn’t helping him think, and neither was the general chatter from the other compartments. Come on, think!

 

They didn’t have much time, but he couldn’t get stressed. Breathe in… out. Close your eyes, and think. He was good at that, he can make a plan, he can.

 

What if… he paused.

 

[“...what if we do both?”] he murmured over the link, only noticing he had when Izuku startled in his seat. 

 

[“Um, Mikumo, isn’t the nomu supposed to have gotten through by now?”]

 

[“About that…”] he paused, mind running so fast that he would be muttering if he had human vocal chords. [“We could… no, but if I… that will work. Okay, Izuku, I need you to listen very closely. I need some help with this.”]

 

The boy shot a not-so-subtle look at Gran Torino when he finished. [“I think that will work, but I’m a horrible actor. I hope you have a backup plan if he gets suspicious.”]

 

[“Yeah,”] he winced internally. [“Not so much. If we can pull this off, the only problem is how fast I can go on my own. You need to be fast.”]

 

[“Right!”]

 

Mikumo made a show of stretching languorously, before hopping off the seat and stalking away as slow as his racing heart would allow him to. Which was still definitely faster than normal, so Gran Torino almost certainly noticed. Joy.

 

[“Are you okay?”]

 

Wow, it was almost as if stress and life-or-death situations made him more sarcastic and high-strung! Incredible!

 

He made it out of the compartment in what felt like centuries, the sound of Izuku distracting his teacher fading away as he dashed for the front of the train car. A few people lifted their feet or looked confused, but the vest must have looked official enough for people not to care too much other than a few curious stares. The little girl blocking his path reached down to try and pet him, but he wasn’t even going to give her the time of day and he managed to wriggle around her.

 

There it was!

 

Funny thing about these bullet trains. Created around the second quirk generation, when it was starting to become the norm, the specialized trains get updated frequently to provide the greatest amount of comfort, speed, and safety in the new day and age of diverse quirks that can make all safety planning obsolete in just a few seconds. Since the engineers weren’t possibly able to keep them all up to date, the last few models had an interesting little feature that was the biggest catch-all in safety procedures.

 

Mikumo pounced forward onto the emergency brake button, and all hell broke loose.

 

Another cool thing about bullet trains, they went fast. Very fast. When you stop something going that fast, especially when it’s considered an emergency and thus going to be stopped as quickly as possible, things tend to… happen. And this little phenomenon was what Mikumo was counting on.

 

Everything pitched forward as one. People screamed and shouted, creating a terrible cacophony of noise that assaulted his ears and made the headache only get worse. Mothers used their quirks to get to or hold on to their children, teenagers lost control of their quirks, suitcases flew off shelves and collided sharply with the front metal wall in a dangerous storm of flying objects. Essentially, everything was in chaos and no one could tell what was going on.

 

Mikumo put all his energy into sprinting back the way they came, dodging flying objects, children, and some kid’s smoke quirk until he managed to reach the center of the car, Izuku breathlessly meeting him in the middle. With all the noise, he was for once glad that he couldn’t talk normally.

 

[“GO GO GO!”] Izuku burst into motion, the green sparks blending into the background with all the confusion. But the train was almost standing still now, and people would get their bearings any second, so they had to hurry. Mikumo was lifted under one arm and he crawled onto Izuku’s back, attaching to his costume snugly with his harness. Together, they jumped up and out the emergency roof exit, just barely clearing the roof into the cool night air where they landed with a heavy thump.

 

[“Alright, let’s go!”] Izuku’s sparks lit up the dark around them, casting eerie shadows that twisted ominously. He took a step forward, then found he couldn’t move. 

 

“You better have a good explanation for this, brat!”

 

The only thought in Mikumo’s head, as he half-twisted to get a glimpse of Gran Torino’s manic expression about two inches behind him, was quite the eloquent oh, shit. The pro hero was holding on to Izuku’s legs with an iron grip, and the train was stopped. Workers were already making their way down the train cars to look for the problem, they had to go now.

 

Let’s do both.

 

“Go, Mikumo!” Izuku shrieked, grabbing Mikumo like a football and enveloping him in tingly green electricity before throwing him as hard as he could back the way they’d come. Gran Torino was just a bit too late to grab the cat, missing him by just a hair as the small figure hurtled through the air, landing on all fours a ways down the tracks. In just a second, Mikumo was lit up with his own very faint emerald sparks, sprinting as fast as his legs and adrenaline would take him back towards Hosu.

 

His paws pounded on the metal, a steady thump thump the mirrored his heart

 

 - standing in front of Tenya’s grave, all because he wasn’t fast enough or a good enough friend to him so now his tears are splashing in the dust on the old headstone with a new name-

 

and the pulse in his ears. He gritted his teeth, the power of One For All thrumming in his veins opening up his mental blocks and restarting his headache. It took a real effort to wrestle his thoughts that weren’t his from out of his head, and by the time he finished he realized he had already started to slow down. The cat’s bones creaked ominously as he piled on a few decimals to his One For All percentage, and the streaks of light intensified.

 

Back towards danger, and back towards his friends in need of help.

 

And this time, he was all alone.

 

He needed to go faster

 

-

 

before it was too late.

 

He would not fail!

 

Tenya tore down streets, looking down every alley as quickly and quietly as he could. No sense in alerting the pros now, every hero in the city was looking for Stain, and while he wouldn’t look out of place, someone stopping him to ask for a license would certainly delay him. He didn’t have time for that, he needed to be as fast as possible.

 

A muffled shout came from a few alleys up, on a street without any pro heroes. To anyone passing by it would have sounded normal for a back alley in a city like this, but to Tenya it was exactly what he’d been looking for. He raced forward ( faster faster) and skidded breathlessly around the corner. A streetlight nearby flickered a little bit, and in the yellow glow on the worn bricks he carefully moved forward, slowing down considerably in the unfamiliar environment.

 

His armored feet quietly nudged aside old wrapper and rotting cardboard in the eerie silence, so starkly contrasted to the yells from earlier. Nothing moved in the dead air, except for Tenya and the moving shadows of the streetlights behind him against his back. He wasn’t used to this kind of environment of rot and filth, but he found it morbidly fitting for a place one would find a villain like Stain. The dumpsters lining the walls mocked him with the military green of Asui’s hair, the muddy brown of Uraraka’s eyes, the dark gunmetal gray of Yaororozu‘s ponytail. The light glittered gold like Ojiro’s tail, flicking on the dirty ground.

 

He swore he heard the breeze ruffle around his pristine helmet, whispering like his friends did when they thought he couldn’t hear them, when they sent him worried looks and said they were concerned, when they asked him directly to help and give them some of his burden. He paused for a moment, just a single second, foot hovering over the concrete. He could turn back… go back to his home, his friends, his internship. But it was only a second, and he put his foot down resolutely ( standing walking running like his brother would never do again) and he continued forward into the gloom, where certain danger awaited.

 

And this time, he was all alone.

 

-

 

“Um, I can explain?”

 

Izuku’s human prison didn’t budge an inch, even as he wriggled around so his elbow wasn’t digging into his stomach. They were silent for a moment.

 

“Seriously, can you just let me go? Please? I can answer all your questions but we need to be quick,” he tried again, unsuccessfully. Gran Torino grunted out a negative before Izuku could shift any more. His left arm was getting tingly from the lack of blood flow.

 

“I’ll let you go when you give me some answers, boy.”

 

“... what if I-”

 

“No.”

 

“But-”

 

“No.”

 

He sighed, trying to act nonchalant, but he knew in his bones that Mikumo wasn’t nearly fast enough with his measly one or two percent, and had very few ways to fight Stain if he even made it on time. He needed to get out of this situation, and soon. It was quiet on top of the train, which hadn’t yet begun to move, and his eye twitched before he tried one last time.

 

“... One of my friends is currently fighting Stain,” bit of a stretch, but Gran was a teacher somewhere in there and emphasizing the danger Iida was in was a good enough way as any to appeal to his deeply-buried kind heart, “and if I have any chance of saving him, I need to go now.”

 

“... I’m listening.” Yes, his grip was loosening! Just a little more.

 

“If I don’t leave this second, my friend will die!” Come on, come on.

 

A short silence followed, before a gruff, “Alright, you can go. But I expect some real answers when you get back, and you better not disappoint!” 

 

Izuku sprung to his feet, hurriedly assuring the old grizzled hero that he would follow all of his instructions and do everything he asks, before turning to leave. Gran Torino’s next statement stopped him in his tracks before he could even take a single step.

 

“Oh, I didn’t say that was the only condition, did I?” He slowly turned around to look fearfully at his madly grinning mentor. “No, before I give you permission to fight, I have one more teensy-tiny request.”

 

-

 

Backdraft looked down curiously at him, but at that point Shouto couldn’t care less. Midoriya had sent him a short text about Iida and Stain, as well as a promise for a location in the next few minutes. He really had no clue to what to make of it, but the pro was waiting. 

 

“One of my-” friends “-classmates sent me a worrying text about the Hero Killer in Hosu.”

 

Backdraft looked a bit worried, but it was hard to tell. “Oh, that’s really not good. We’re too far away too help, but I can send out an alert for the agencies in the area. Is there a location?”

 

Shouto replied the negative, then watched as the hero directed one of his sidekicks to radio one of the major agencies in Hosu about the situation, before he turned back to Shouto and started talking about keeping them updated. He payed the right amount of attention, but his thoughts were elsewhere, in a little alley in Hosu where a little cat corpse sat on the dirty wet ground.

 

He couldn’t help. The heroes would save his classmates and then he could really get some answers, that was really the only thing he wanted. He told himself that he couldn’t care if they died or not, just that he needed Midoriya alive to answer the questions he never got to ask. But his hands didn’t get the memo, and they shook with anxiety even as his heartbeat slowed back to normal.

 

Backdraft had stopped talking, just looking at him with an unreadable expression behind the mask.

 

“You can be scared, you know. Your friends are in danger, you’re allowed to be stressed out.” The hero placed a comforting water hand hovering over his shoulder.

 

“They aren’t my friends, and I’m not worried,” Shouto snapped back on reflex, putting his hands behind his back and squeezing them into fists until his knuckles turned bone white. It was a token protest, and his current teacher could obviously see right through his feeble attempts, but only nodded a bit sadly as if aware that he couldn’t do anything to help.

 

They cautiously returned back to patrol, but it was with a new awkward quiet even on crowded streets full of chatter. Somehow, his mind just kept boomeranging back to images of the matted and damp fur of a lifeless green cat, dull viridian eyes, stained white armor that was more red than anything else.

 

Why did he even care? He shouldn’t, he obviously didn’t, why were his hands still trembling? His nails cut raw crescents into his sweaty palms, even as his face was carefully controlled to show nothing under the sharp glances from the heroes around him. 

 

Eventually he gave up, finding it futile at this point. The next break, he brought out his phone and searched up the one number he thought he would never use. Clicking call and studiously ignoring the curious looks, he impatiently waited as it rang a few times before the click on the other end sounded.

 

“Aizawa-sensei, Iida and Midoriya are in trouble.”

 

-

 

Tenya strode forward, turning the corner carefully but quickly. He had left the main street behind long ago, and if he was any less focused on his goal he would be worried about finding his way out. The lingering doubts fled from his mind like rats from the sun as the last bit of light faded behind him, his new shadow stretching out behind him as a lone lamp shone like a beacon on the crimson bricks.

 

Stain was standing over a hero (which one didn’t matter, he wasn’t here to save, he was here for one reason only and he couldn’t be distracted not now) that looked decidedly worse for wear, costume all ripped up and bloodied. Good, there was no one to stop him. He took the final step in, standing tall but eyes burning with rage as Stain slowly turned toward him, not even having the gall to look surprised or afraid.

 

“Another false hero here to stop me. Well, I won’t say no to ridding the world of another one.”

 

Tenya grit his teeth until his jaw popped, and fought to keep his voice under screaming level. No use alerting others, not now not ever. “... You may not recognize me, Stain ,” he spat out the word with as much contempt as he could show, “but I’m sure you aren’t stupid enough to forget this armor.”

 

Stain looked at him almost curiously. “Your voice… a shame, that society is getting them so young.” The man tsked and shook his head slowly, seeming content to let the groaning hero beneath his blade bleed to death. “I can’t say it doesn’t look familiar… maybe someone I killed?” He snapped his fingers in realization, the childish action contrasting strongly with the murderous glee on his warped features. 

 

“No… that belongs to someone I left alive. Quite recently, in fact. Would you like to know why?”

 

“What?” Tenya was caught off guard by the conversational tone, but removed his helmet and placed it on the ground almost gently, blue eyes still locked on the man in front of him.

 

“Why I didn’t kill him.” Stain shrugged unapologetically. “I could have, you know. I severed his spine, there was no way he could have escaped. Do you know why I didn’t?” At Tenya’s incredulous silence, he sighed. “Someone like you can’t understand, I guess. Ingenium is a fake, but he was not a coward. He looked up my blade and ordered the others to flee, told them he would hold me off as long as he was able. Of course, no one got away, at least for very long.”

 

He paused contemplatively. “Your voice is very similar to his. You have the same rage… except yours is with the intention to hurt, not save, so you could never be a true hero. You spared no second thought for this coward, you only came to bring me harm. I might leave you alive like Ingenium, if you mange to fight me long enough to get this one help. He won’t survive, but it’s the action of fighting a losing battle that I admire.”

 

At last, Tenya couldn’t hold in his anger any longer, and fire laced its way through his words and eyes. “My brother was a hero, a true hero, and I hope you go to hell for even suggesting he wasn’t, you murderer!” He shouted and shifted his stance, but his narrowed eyes never left Stain’s and the light above him cast his face in shadow. He practically hissed the words as they fell from his burning lips, features contorted in unbridled fury and teeth clenched in a nightmarish facsimile of a grin.

 

You killed my big brother, you son of a bitch . I hope you choke on your own blades, because karma may be coming, but I’m here first, motherfucker, and you can’t run from me .”

 

Their eyes met as they both surged forward and clashed in the middle, but it was over as soon as it begun. One spiked boot planted itself over the thrumming heart of the teenage boy, and this time Stain was the one in shadow. Face blank, he looked down sadly.

 

“Such a shame, really, I had such high hopes. But I guess you're just another fake to be executed.”

 

Metal flashed in the air as the man reversed his grip on the sword, and blood splattered the old bricks under the familiar glow of a yellow streetlight.

Chapter Text

Maijima couldn’t sleep.

 

Was there something he forgot…? Usually when he couldn’t sleep it was because he was just too awake and full of caffeine (Nedzu’s tea packed one heck of a punch), but now it felt more… like he was anxious. Scared, even.

 

But of what?

 

The teacher had half a mind to get up and check, but it was so late at night. He really needed to go to sleep.

 

He resisted the urge for about ten minutes, before he gave up and rolled over to grab his phone. The blue light practically blinded him, and he dropped it with a small hiss of pain. Sitting up, he carefully turned it on again, squinting until his eyes had adjusted somewhat.

 

No new notifications…

 

He’d half expected Hatsume to have sent him about a dozen messages complaining about being kicked out of the laboratory because she’d broken in, again, and Snipe had pulled the short stick on night shift and had to go tell her to leave, again, and then she asked him to tell Nedzu about the flaws in his security system, again.  

 

This had happened more than he’d care to admit. The girl got even less sleep than he did (Maijima needed to know what she used to get rid of eyebags), and that was saying something. He might leave one night and come back early morning to her waiting anxiously outside.

 

Now that he thought about it, it was almost strange that she wasn’t messaging him. His sense of unease slowly coalesced in the bottom of his stomach.

 

Bring!

 

Oh, think of the devil and she shall appear. Now this was normal. 

 

Click. “Hatsume, it is three in the morning. Go to sleep.”

 

I need you to turn on the news, sensei. Now.”

 

And there was that lingering sense of dread. “Okay… what’s this about, exactly? Are you alright?” He switched on the lamp by his bed, fishing around for the remote. He wasn’t frantic, not yet, but-

 

Oh, no.

 

He knew what he had forgotten, now.

 

-

 

1 hour earlier

 

Little green paws pounded on the pavement, very much frantic. Mikumo almost couldn’t hear the noise over the pounding of his pulse in his pointed ears, but what he could hear was the screaming. 

 

He skidded to a halt at the edge of a rooftop, dark fur ruffled by the breeze and tinged with orange light that flickered and twisted in his almost pure black eyes. The night was dark, but the rampant flame that streamed through the streets lit up the world with tongues of light that stretched into the dark sky.

 

Civilians flowed like a river down the asphalt, screaming and shouting into an almost musical note and heroes tried desperately to control the crowds.

 

Interestingly enough, there weren’t as many Noumu. He could only see one from his perch, and it was busy ripping up sections of the street to hurl at any heroes who dared to come close. 

 

No, it wasn’t the villains that were the problem.

 

The mobs went in all directions. Windows shattered, quirks went wild, buildings began to crumble. Something was making people go wild, way more than any normal fear would. 

 

The Noumo let out a piercing roar, and the mass hysteria doubled. Another quirk? It would explain a lot, even the heroes seemed to be having trouble holding their ground, and Mikumo felt his heartbeat speed up irrationally. He took a moment to try and calm himself down, but the chaos below wasn’t helping one bit.

 

Suddenly, his heart leapt up into his throat, and his eyes blew wider than they were supposed to. Was… was this just a distraction? It had to be. Scare the population, incapacitate the heroes, then unleash the rest of the Noumu to level the now defenseless city.

 

He glanced down at the last of the local heroes. He could even spot Manual among them, desperately trying to put out a fire. Manual. Tenya. He needed to leave. He made to turn, but a flash of movement caught his eye.

 

One of the heroes down below stumbled, and her friend reached over to grab her, accidentally turning her back on the rampaging monster. Mikumo’s breath caught in his throat, everything slowed down, she looked over her shoulder and her eyes went wide with fear and she wouldn’t move in time and she looked at him she did she looked right in his eyes-

 

- “What was her name?” Moth’s voice probably sounded tinny over the phone, but it should still be easy to figure out the words.

 

“What do you mean?” The police chief sounded honestly confused, and Moth couldn’t help but frown, pushing a green curl out of his eyes. 

 

His voice was small when he spoke again. “You know who I’m talking about. Her. What was her name?”

 

“... Ah, I see. I have the paper right here… her name was Kettei Unmei.”

 

Fate, destiny. He almost couldn’t force the words from his mouth. “Was… was there anything I could have done?”

 

“I’m afraid not. If you had stayed to help her, the U.A. student would be dead now, and she wouldn’t have lived long anyway. You saved one life. Be happy for that.”

 

A picture flashed up on his phone, one that had taken him three hours to find on the internet. A lesser-known hero, non-offensive quirk. Local to Hosu. Died fighting a Noumu.

 

“Listen to me, Moth. You couldn’t have done a thing-” The officer’s voice was soft and gentle, as if afraid the vigilante would crack. He was afraid of that too, and he hung up the call without another word.

 

Just a few seconds… -

 

Green flashed like a thunderclap, and the huge gray hand that had been about to crush them to death was pushed aside by inches, ruffling the heroine’s hair as one thick claw just barely brushed her scalp.

 

A not-so-little green cat was poised to strike again, teeth pulled back in a silent snarl and eyes crackling with energy. Jagged lines of blood oozed from the arm of the beast, in tandem with a shallow line of red that slowly dripped down the awestruck heroine’s head.

 

The Noumu reared back it’s hand to try again, but was once again knocked off course. It tried a third time, but before Mikumo could interfere, another hero, this one with horns, distracted the Noumu for it to turn away.

 

By the time Unmei turned back to look at her savior, he was gone, just a faint afterimage in the flames.

 

… but a lot can happen in a few seconds.

 

-

 

Akaguro was not having a good day. He didn’t like killing kids, ever, and he really didn’t want to start now, but this was… a special case. His sword was through the calf entirely, pinning the still child to the ground quite effectively and bloodily.

 

He still didn’t like it.

 

He was quick to paralyze the kid (being a child doesn’t mean he couldn’t be dangerous), and looked around the dingy bricks. Maybe he had gotten a little bit irrationally angry. Maybe. The student was losing a lot more blood than he’d intended.

 

Chances were he’d live, but the vigilante had to clear out before someone came to check. He turned away, but the ringing in his ears just wouldn’t fade. It sounded… that wasn’t ringing.

 

If the League of Stupid Motherfuckers was targeting civilians, he was going to lose his mind. He’d better make this fast, so he could go deal with them.

 

A dirk flashed its way out of his boot sheath, and he didn’t waste any flashy movements in slitting Native’s throat. He reached down to finish it off, but a shout from behind him interrupted him.

 

You know, he might be starting to reevaluate his stance of children. Maybe he’ll make an exception this time. He had to admire the tenacity, but a good hero should also know when to give up so they can save more people in the future.

 

This kid would not shut up.

 

The voice was weak, but it was still distracting. He turned away from the now-dead Native with a frown, slowly walking over to the hoarsely screaming boy in the armor. Not very good armor, was it? Didn’t even stop a normal steel sword.

 

He shushed the boy. “If you don’t stop screaming, I will kill you. As much as I don’t want to, you’re getting on my last nerve.”

 

Blue eyes flashed defiantly up at him, but there was a bit of fear in there too. Makes sense, he had just killed someone and stabbed him. Thankfully, he shut up, like a smart little kid, and Akaguro turned back to Native’s body. 

 

Ptah.

 

There was saliva on his shoe.

 

A dagger blade embedded itself up to the handle in the boy’s unprotected back, eliciting a scream of pain ripped from his hoarse throat. Another knife sunk deep into the right thigh, then the left. Two quick wrist flicks and the hamstrings were severed, then both Achilles. 

 

The boy would live, but he might not want to. He would heal, but some of the damage would be permanent. Maybe he would never walk normally again, the scars might weigh him down with their presence alone.

 

He took a step back to admire his handiwork, then carefully renewed his quirk and turned to leave.

 

Shit!

 

A swear echoed loudly as clapped a hand over his eye, three large dark lines already welling blood on his forehead and across his nose. They would for sure scar, but that wasn’t his biggest problem. A cat the size of a german shepard was growling at him, in front of the boy he was going to leave. 

 

It turned away for a moment, becoming quiet and still at the sight of Native, before snarling in absolute rage and rounding on him. Those weren’t dumb eyes, though. There was a level of calm fury lurking in the murky green depths that gave him pause, and if he was a lesser man he would have been scared for his life.

 

He had about two seconds to be confused before the beast spoke. “ Hello, Akaguro Chizome, Stendhal, Hero Killer: Stain,” and he almost stumbled back a step, raising his blade instead. Nobody alive today knew his name, how…? The voice was quiet and eerily polite, like the calm before the storm. “I don’t make a habit of habit of killing, and I’m not the best fighter. But I’d like to try, if you’ll let me.”

 

Slitted green eyes flashed luminescent in the dim light, their faint static glow glinting off of unsheathed claws. The cat growled menacingly, baring sharp and fully animalistic canines. The ears were so far back they were almost invisible, and a tail that doubled its length thrashed like a wounded snake.

 

Those eyes glanced off of his dark blade, dripping rose petals that splashed softly to the dirt, and one silent paw moved forward. It was almost gentle, the precise movement of a predator. Again, he would have been terrified, but the intelligence in the black pupils gave away more than anger.

 

There was fear in those depths.

 

“Very well,” Akaguro grinned darkly. “Let me add another name to the grave tonight.”

 

-

 

[“Where are you? I just made it in the city, and it’s chaos down here.”]

 

[Dark walls, a smiling man with a sword from a perspective of low to the ground. ‘Can’t talk.’]

 

[“Can you give me any other hints, where are you? How did you get there?”]

 

[The scene panned side to side, nothing but walls and a broken streetlight. No stars. Smoke in the air. Fading audio. ‘Borrowing speech, need backup quickly. Can’t fight. Will lose.’]

 

[“Ears! I’m sharing sound, but it’s choppy. I’m on the main road, closing fast. Please, just give me the street you took, anything!”]

 

[“... 3rd from the-... Seiji building…” Abruptly shifts to sky, back at ground, dodge knife, not dodge the second, long shallow cut, hurts]

 

[“Hang on, I’m on my way!”]

 

-

 

Red fingers clutched at the ground, unmoving.

 

Tenya’s lips were inches from the dust, eyes still screwed up in the pain that throbbed from his legs. He was paralyzed by a quirk and by fear, for himself and for whoever was fighting Stain currently.

 

Carefully, ever so slowly, his eyes cracked open, and he squinted through the light that hurt the backs of his corneas. Had he hit his head? He didn’t think so, 

 

He was face down, but at one point a large paw had landed next to his face and then pushed off again, so he assumed it was Midoriya. There was a little corner of his brain that was still in terror, but he felt surprisingly calm. Shock, maybe? The all-encompassing anger was gone, so he could think straight, but he still felt detached.

 

What was happening?

 

Was Midoriya’s cat fighting for him like at the USJ? That wasn’t good.

 

He observed the battle through hooded lashes, the little corner of his brain that could still feel was in awe of the speed and agility. Both sides had taken hits, but…

 

Metal was stronger than keratin, after all, and it was obvious Mikumo was fading quickly. There were less sparks than before, and Stain wasn’t pulling any punches. If the cat was any smaller, there would be a knife going straight through one of his hind legs, but even with the size the last two inches of tail was missing.

 

It was showing that the missing tail part was slowing the feline down, and his balance was definitely off. He was oozing blood from several cuts. 

 

On the flipside, Stain’s depth perception was off and he had missed several hits already due to the blood dripping into his eye. Lacerations lined his uncovered arms, because while steel was stronger than claws, claws and teeth were stronger than skin. 

 

Both were covered in the sticky red liquid that coated his legs, most of it mixing together on the ground. It swirled in a hypnotic pattern as boots and paws splashed the crimson puddles and stained their legs yet further (hey, we match!), four different people’s lives just sitting there in a back alley under a yellow streetlight.

 

Logically he knew he was bleeding out, but most of him felt like giggling. Mikumo had fought for… a minute at most, at USJ? Wasn’t it approaching two, now?

 

And then reality came back to hit him harder than a sledgehammer, and he couldn’t breathe. In the same moment, the electric green power fizzled to an abrupt stop, and there was a heartbeat of absolute silence as both combatants just stared at each other in bewilderment.

 

Then Stain bared his teeth in victory and dived forward, a sword in each hand.

 

No longer was it a battle. It was a massacre. The cat still dodged, still scratched and hissed and bit at the villain, but now the man was much faster. 

 

There, a knife to the ear, impaling Mikumo to the bricks. A vicious snarl and he ripped away, leaving half of his ear still pinned.

 

There, a katana that scraped savagely across his side to leave a gash as long as he was. Was… was the cat getting smaller? His wounds weren’t shrinking, he was only going to bleed out faster.

 

Move, goddamnit!

 

There, a dagger that missed by centimeters but still sheared off half the whiskers on his left side. Three claws lay on the pavement, brutally torn out but not spared a second thought, completely stained a collage of the sunset: Mikumo’s on one side, Stain’s on the other.

 

MOVE!

 

His fingers twitched.

 

Stain grabbed the cat around the middle in midair, producing an earsplitting yowl as he was slammed against the rough alley wall.

 

He pushed his upper half off the ground.

 

The villain lifted a blade.

 

“WAIT, STAIN!”

 

Unbelieving, empty eyes slowly turned to face him, sending a shiver of fear down his spine, but at this point he was far more worried about Mikumo than death.

 

“It’s me you want, isn’t it? Leave him alone!” He shouted desperately from his kneeling position. It hurt so much to even think about moving his legs, but he didn’t have time for pain.

 

Please, there has to be someone coming, someone, anyone…

 

He could still hear the screaming, see the light from the fires, but their little bubble was silent. Nothing else mattered, except his eyes and Stain’s. His words. The ragged breathing of both of them. There might have once been people outside these walls, but they didn’t matter.

 

Nothing else mattered.

 

Anyone…

 

There was no response. After a few seconds, the blade spun back towards his victim. The green eyes met him, but there wasn’t any fear in them. Just sadness, an unspoken apology.

 

I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you.

 

I’m sorry, too. I’ve been a terrible little brother. I’ve been a terrible friend.

 

No…

 

There was no one coming. Tenya tried to rise to his feet, but he couldn’t even get off his knees. A shuddering breath filled his lungs, and he screamed.

 

The blade came down.

 

“KILL ME INSTEAD!”

 

 A slight hitch, a little bump in the smooth motion.

 

But he wasn’t nearly fast enough.

 

The steel slid like butter in between the barely-visible ribs, the green fur parting like a sea to a splash of rubies and garnets that tumbled out and filled the alley and two emeralds staring into him accusing him and he had to move he couldn’t move

 

nobody came nobody came to save him

 

He blinked, and the blade was sunk up to its hilt in the mortar, half an inch from a round, dark eye.

 

“Maybe you do have some hero in you, yet. I won’t kill you. But next time we meet… I may not be so forgiving.”

 

There wasn’t a single sound except the hush hush of metal against leather, then the quiet clang of spiked metal boots on pavement that faded away like an old memory. It was a dream, a nightmare, except for the hammering of his heart in his chest and the rasping of his breath and the pain from his wounds.

 

He was never more aware of the blood seeping into his clothes, four people’s lives just dripping on the pavement like the trash it really was. 

 

He collapsed as the last little sound flew from his senses. Face first into the bloody ground, but he couldn’t care less. There was a dead man sitting not ten feet away, but there wasn’t a dead man where he was laying now, and that was all he could ask for.

 

He managed to roll over as sirens began to close in, voices getting louder and louder. Soft steps with a little limp alerted him to his visitor, and a soft little tongue, hesitant, shaky, but very much alive, rasped over his red cheeks and licked up the drops rolling down his face.

 

His body only started to relax as a low purr found its way into the world, a gentle sound so at odds with the iron on his tongue that it seemed fitting.

 

He wasn’t crying.

 

He wasn’t going to cry for people who were alive. Not for his brother, not for Mikumo, not for his classmates, and certainly not for himself. Not today.

 

He spotted the red and blue in the corner of his eyes, the shouting got louder. A pair of boots slammed down next to him, and he was conscious enough to recognize the fluffy hair and rapid murmur. 

 

There was a sharp inhale of breath at seeing him, but it smoothed out. Another one at seeing Native, and that one didn’t go away so quickly, but a low growl from the cat next to him was enough to get the other student to focus.

 

People filled the alleyway, and he closed his eyes to the pain as a pair of strong arms gently lifted him from the ground. A quiet shhh, shhh, and he knew no more.

 

-

 

A fine purple mist seeped into the cracks, both men watching from above.

 

“You know, it was very smart of me to change the plan,” Tomura preened. Kurogiri nodded absentmindedly, still focused on the defeated Noumu and the current commotion past the Seiji building.

 

“Stain is gone, he left victims,” he quietly informed his charge.

 

A large smile stretched out the cracked and bleeding lips he knew were hidden behind that hand. “Stain is good for something, at least.”

 

Kurogiri tilted his head quizzically. He knew his role, but he hadn’t heard the full plan…

 

“You see, Kurogiri, every hero in the prefecture is looking for Stain.” He spread his arms over the whole city in a grand gesture of power. “Victims mean someone’s looking for them. Looking for someone equals alerting the authorities, which equals a bunch of people who all rushed over as soon as they heard Stain was found.”

 

“I see.”

 

“Yes. Almost every hero and first responder are in one spot, and none of them have their guard up.”

 

-

 

“Your-,” the paramedic paused, and neither of them looked at the bodybag. “Well, I’m not going to say your friend was lucky, but these will heal in time.”

 

Light scarring. Cleanly cut Achilles and hamstrings, impeding movement and causing immense amounts of pain. Several lacerations, blood loss. Possible nerve damage, but Iida… he would be fine. Izuku smiled as solidly as he could and thanked her, but his voice was probably still shaky.

 

First responders milled around. Iida was given a shock blanket and was currently being strapped onto a stretcher, but the current thing was that he was okay. Mikumo and Izuku stood off to the side with Gran Torino and a few other heroes, watching police officers load Native into an ambulance.

 

Stain had been long gone by the time they’d found them.

 

He looked down at the cat calmly sitting next to him, still dripping blood on the asphalt. He was cleared with exhaustion and several permanent wounds, like his tail and ear, but Mikumo had softly informed Izuku that they were battle scars.

 

His eyes had never left Iida.

 

Gran Torino wasn’t smiling, no one was, but something in his face made Izuku look up from his still purring cat. The fires were still roaring, the citizens still being corralled, but there was something else, just at the edge of his senses.

 

The night was dark, and cold. A bit of fog was starting to show the light beams, even if they did turn it a bit purple-y…

 

He didn’t get to widen his eyes before there was a fully formed portal, at least four Noumu piling out of it before anyone could react. An earth shattering roar broke the trance, and every hero scrambled to either defend the rushing paramedics loading up Iida or to attack the beasts.

 

Izuku immediately leapt into action, shooting forward with Lightning Hood to smash both feet into the biggest one, sending it skidding back a few feet. He didn’t even attempt to get help from Mikumo, they were both much too tired.

 

There was screaming behind him.

 

He looked over. If they could just get him to a hospital, Iida would be fine. Their first priority should be getting him to safety, as well as the police, so the heroes could use… their…

 

Nothing moved.

 

The wing beats stilled in the air, a horned hero next to Izuku stopped blinking. There was no fire anymore.

 

There was a Noumu in the sky, all big leathery wings and green-gray complexion and exposed brain. It had to be thirty stories up, big meaty claws held in front of it.

 

Nothing moved.

 

Iida was limp and bloody in its grasp ( people don’t bend like that he could hear the snap), arms thrown wide and a pristine white against the black black sky like some ethereal god.

 

The Noumu screeched and it echoed in Izuku’s ears as a soft feather, slowly, ever so gently, coasted down on the breeze, all white and beautiful blue and tinged with a flowing red like ribbons, untouched by the fire and the eyes focused on it, until it finally touched down on the black black tarmac with a sound much louder than a feather should.