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Treasure Every Encounter, For It Will Never Recur

Chapter Text

Chuuya and Dazai have recently left the Port Mafia and are trying to turn their lives around after Odasaku's death.
Lucy has just left the Guild, of her own accord, after realizing that they only wanted her for her ability.
Atsushi left the orphanage about a year before the story. He has partial, but not complete, control of his ability.
Kyouka, like Dazai and Chuuya, just left the Port Mafia, although she didn't know them while she was there. She wants to become a hero so she can use Demon Snow to help people, rather than hurt them.

Chapter Text

Aizawa leapt onto the roof of the building, scarf trailing behind him as he sprinted toward the next one. He scanned the streets below, eyes keen for any sign of trouble when he heard a crash as an amorphous blob of purple goo blasted through the window of a nearby convenience store. He flung himself over the edge, landing down on the street. The purple blob coagulated into the form of a woman. She looked at him and charged back into the shop. He hung back, trying to assess the situation through the broken window.

Toppled shelves lay all across the floor, bags of inexpensive chips and mediocre pastries scattered around them. Six people stood around the room: a man, a teenage girl, the woman from before, and two teenage boys. A teenaged employee cowered behind the counter, enveloped securely in a green bubble he could only assume was a manifestation of their quirk. The others were already embroiled in battle. The woman and man stood in place around one of the boys, a red-head. The teenage girl was locked in combat with the other boys.

The man charged at the boy, hand extending into a long silver blade. The boy laughed, reaching out and taking hold of the man’s shoulder. His hand glowed red, light enveloping the man as he was flipped with little more than a flick of his wrist and swipe of his foot. The woman spun, launching a barrage of purple spikes toward him. They had barely come into contact with him when the red glow extended to them. They hung there, pressed against his skin but not moving any deeper. The man struggled to his feet, hand morphing from a blade into an axe-head. With a smile, the boy waved his hand, sending the purple spikes blasting out again. With a shout, the woman dissolved into a blob, reforming in front of him. The spikes were easily absorbed back into her body.

A clatter called Aizawa’s attention to the other fight, between the brown-haired boy and what appeared to be... steam? It billowed around the boy, picking up objects and throwing them toward him. He dodged easily, ducking back to avoid the flying cans. It spiraled toward him with too much purpose not to be intentional. It chased him until he was backed against the wall. He shifted his feet into what was to a trained eye obviously a fighter’s stance, hand held out behind him. Aizawa narrowed his eyes. What was the boy planning?

Blue light blazed from his hand, streaming and spiraling around him. He thrust his hand forward into the mist. The blue glow tore through the steam as it solidified into a teenage girl, the boy’s hand pressed to her forehead. Aizawa heard footsteps behind him. Then more people, two women, ran past him and into the store. One of them smiled, spreading her fingers wide. A flick, and silvery white orbs spun above her hand before positioning themselves around her. She swiped her fingers, sending streams of white light blasting toward the red-head.

The cashier screamed as the green bubble around her disappeared with a popping sound. Another matching one blossomed around the redhead. She thought the boy was on her side. Either she was part of the robbery, or he was not. Based on her previous cowering, she wasn’t a robber, meaning that the boy was trying to stop the robbers. Aizawa activated his quirk. The energy beams stopped, and the spheres disappeared.

“What?” The woman frowned, moving her fingers back and forth as though to activate her ability again. The red-head shot a glance over to the other boy.

“Dazai. Did you do that?” The brown-haired boy, apparently named Dazai, shook his head.

“No.” The woman groaned and launched herself at Dazai. Aizawa blinked, releasing his quirk before finally jumping into the fray. His scarf spun out toward the woman, pulling her off Dazai. The other woman turned to face him. With a flick of her hand, a row of capsules around her waist popped open, and streams of white dust sprayed out. They glowed yellow, melting together and forming into a sword as she charged toward him. He yanked on his scarf, slamming the other woman down and releasing her. The scarf looped around the next woman, who swung her sword down on it to no avail. Despite that, she laughed and threw her hand up. The broken glass from the window launched into the air and spun to point down at them. Clever. If he used his quirk on her, or put her out of commission, the glass would rain down on them.

“I would assume he did,” he heard Dazai say. “Come on, Chuuya-kun. You know that’s not how my ability works.” He heard a thud and looked up to see that Dazai had knocked the girl out and was running toward who he could only assume was Chuuya.

The man morphed his arm into a jagged knife, and his companion, the purple woman, flung her arm forward. It flowed into a long, lumpy purple strand that she used to swing herself over Dazai’s head. The man charged him, positioning himself to drive the blade deep into Dazai’s gut. Smiling, Dazai grabbed the man’s wrist. Blue lights flared around him as the man’s hand turned back into a hand. The woman screamed and launched a volley of large purple spikes toward Dazai. He stepped to the side, careful not to let go of the man’s wrist. The woman flexed her fingers, rounding the spikes into spheres, but they still slammed into the man, sending him flying into a wall. He slumped to the floor, out cold.

Dazai brushed his fingers against the bubble around Chuuya, and it disappeared. Chuuya snorted. “Took you long enough,” he moaned. Nevertheless, he positioned himself between Dazai and the purple woman. The girl trapped in Aizawa’s scarf brought her hand down, warping the glass into a facsimile of a bow. As she pulled back the string, the remaining glass formed into a long, jagged spike. He yanked his scarf, swinging her into the wall. Her bow shattered from the force, and she passed out.

The purple woman hissed and split herself into two copies. Each one began hurling purple spheres at the boys. Aizawa lunged forward, coiling his scarf around the two and slamming them together into the amorphous blob of the purple woman. The boy Chuuya stepped forward, his skin glowing red. He brushed his fingers across a shelf, spreading the red glow to it. The shelf rose up between him and the orbs. As soon as they hit it, the glow transferred onto them as well, and they shot back at the woman. Aizawa dropped her, and she whimpered.

“Stay down,” he ordered. The shelf settled back onto the ground. Chuuya turned to face him.

“Who are you?” Dazai elbowed him. “What?”

“Really, Chuuya-kun? How dumb are you? He’s a pro hero.” Chuuya’s eyes widened. He grabbed Dazai’s hand and shot him a glance. Dazai shook his head. “We’re fine; it was self-defense. They attacked us.”

“He’s right.” Aizawa heard the sirens finally coming down the street.

A police officer stepped out of the car. “What happened?”

“Attempted robbery.” The police officers quickly cuffed the unconscious criminals and put them in the car. For such an outdated and illogical institution, Aizawa had to give them credit; they knew what they were doing. Finally, an officer stepped toward the boys. Chuuya’s posture shifted ever so slightly into a more defensive stance. “I’ll handle them. Thank you.” The officer nodded, got back in their car, and drove off, leaving Aizawa, Chuuya, Dazai, and the cashier alone in the rubble of the store.

First, Aizawa walked over to the cashier. “Go home. You’re closed. The police will come for a statement tomorrow.” She nodded, still shaking. Dust showered down from her crumpled uniform as she dodged the broken shelves and made it out the door, before she took off running. He turned to the boys, who were now leaning on each other. “So, why are you so afraid of the police?”

Chuuya frowned. “We’re not.” Aizawa groaned. Here he was, trying to help these kids who had just stopped a robbery, and they had the audacity to lie to him? His scarf flared out, and he activated his quirk preemptively as he stepped toward them.

“Don’t lie to me.” Chuuya shot a glance toward Daza, who just nodded.

“Just… nervous. I don’t like police much.” He nodded. It made sense, even if he knew there was something the kid wasn’t telling him.

“Well then. Be ready. They may come looking for you. Either way, I will be filing a report, so I need your names.”

“Osamu Dazai.”

“Chuuya Nakahara.” Aizawa nodded and took off into the night; it was only midnight. There was work to do.

Chapter Text

Chuuya slumped back into his chair with a groan as the man droned on. Fighting robots would be easy enough for him, but Dazai wouldn’t be able to do anything to them. A glance over to his card revealed that he and Dazai wouldn’t even be in the same arena. The obnoxious man who had explained the instructions finally dismissed them. They trailed into preparation rooms. He could see that most of the others had brought gear to help them with their quirks. Oh well. It’s not like he would need it anyway. Gravity wasn’t exactly dependent on having the right tools. Instead, he simply took off his hat and coat, folded them, and gently lay them on the bench before stepping outside into the courtyard. A few minutes later, he was standing at the edge of the gate.

Behind him, a little girl with red hair in two braids down her back was stretching. Beside her, another girl, this one with short brown hair, was doing the same. Further back, a green-haired boy moved as though to talk to them, before being held back by yet another boy. Finally, the gate opened, and that annoying voice crackled over a speaker.

"The exam has started!" For a moment, no one moved. "What are y'all waiting for? Real battles don't have a start so y'all better get going!" Everyone rushed forward through the gates. A glance behind him revealed a single straggler, the nervous boy with green hair.

Chuuya launched himself into the sky and shot away in search of robots. He found a group of three-point bots that had already surrounded the red-haired girl. He dropped down, landing on top of one of the robots. It crumpled into scrap metal beneath his vastly enhanced weight. The girl snorted and disappeared in a ripple of golden light, taking the majority of the other robots with her. Two swift kicks demolished the remaining ones. A two-point robot charged toward him only to be swept down by a wave of the shrapnel from its fallen comrades. More robots came charging toward him. He just kept the scraps spinning in a circle around him, cutting down the bots and adding the remains to his spiral.

Suddenly, he heard a scream. The brown-haired girl cowered just outside of his circle, trying to dodge the stray bits of scrap that came her way. The metal arced up, creating a gateway for her into the circle. A level three bot charged after her. With a flick of his hand, a large shard of armor from one of the others careened through it.

“Thank you!” she gushed. “Oh, your quirk is so cool!” He bent the circle again, allowing her to run out. He finally dropped the barrier and took off running. Another squeal called his attention to the green-haired boy, who was being pushed toward a wall. Were these really the candidates for the hero course? He jumped up and kicked the bot out of the way. The boy smiled at him and took off running. A laser blast shot past his head. He spun to face it only to see the machine hovering in front of the brown-haired girl. “Release!” It crashed to the ground. A boy blasted past them and through a one point robot behind him. Chuuya looked around to see the other candidates congregating around them unintentionally

Suddenly, a rumbling noise echoed throughout the arena, followed by a crash. A giant robot appeared, leering over the buildings: a zero pointer. It brought its fist down on the road, spraying rubble in every direction. Around him, people took off running. Soon it was just Chuuya and that stupid kid with the green hair, who was slowly crawling away from the robot. A voice whimpered; he glanced up to see the brown haired girl trapped under the rubble. Goddamnit.

The green-haired kid struggled to his feet and took off running. He sprang into the air, and Chuuya darted forward. He ran his fingers along the debris, sending it flying out of the way as he pulled her free. They heard a crash as the robot was blown away into the city. She leapt to her feet and launched herself onto the remains of a defeated enemy, which drifted into the air. The dumb boy was plummeting from the sky. With a quick swipe, she hit him on the cheek, and he too froze mid-air and drifted to the ground.

“Release!” She fell to the ground and immediately vomited over the edge of the robot. With a disgusted scoff, he turned to the stupid green-haired kid, who was already trying to pull himself forward as though he were in any state to compete.

“AND TIME’S UP!” Speakers around the arena crackled with the obnoxious voice of the man from before, signalling the end of the testing period. With a sigh, Chuuya nodded. All that was left now was to wait and see.

-------

Dazai stretched his arms over his head and yawned as he watched the argument play out. A black-haired girl in a kimono clutching a cell phone cowered away from a blond boy berating her and waving his arms around, throwing sparks every which way, apparently because she had bumped into him. He stepped forward, placing his hand on the boy’s shoulder. The sparks disappeared. The boy turned around and snarled at him. “What the hell do you want?”

“Calm down, and leave her alone.”

“And what are you gonna do about it? You’re all just useless extras!” Dazai groaned.

“Maybe we are. I certainly am. But you need to leave her alone. She didn’t do anything wrong.” The boy grumbled, but he walked away. “And you,” he said, turning to the girl, “should learn to stick up for yourself, especially if you want to be a hero.” She quivered.

“Thank you…” her voice trailed off as her grip on the phone finally loosened. He held a hand out to her. She took it hesitantly.

“Osamu Dazai.”

“My name is Kyouka Izumi,” she said slowly and shakily, as though she were admitting her deepest, darkest secret.

“Well, good luck, Izumi-san.” He walked back towards his previous spot, only for the gates to open. People rushed past him. Dazai sighed and took off running into the arena. The blond boy blasted past him, flames spurting behind him. Dazai wove his way into the city, trying to avoid the other contestants. He groaned as a series of two point bots emerged from a side street. He was at an automatic disadvantage because of his quirk compared to the others, like that idiot with the fire. He couldn’t do anything to them; the robots didn’t have quirks. He sunk into a lower position, something resembling the stance from the limited amount of martial arts that Chuuya had tried to teach him.

They surged forward at the same time he did. One of them launched toward him, claw extended. He ducked under it and spun around. It turned to face him and started moving toward him faster. He danced back, directly toward the claws of another. At the last moment, he threw himself over the one charging toward him. It rammed directly into and through the one behind him, sending scraps of metal flying in all directions. Then, he vaulted onto the robot he’d just tricked and, looking down, discovered that most of its claws had been ripped off on impact, rendering it defenseless. Embedded deep in the side was a shard of the armor from the other bot. He grabbed it and tore it out, jamming it down through the center of the robot, sending sparks flying. The machine’s legs collapsed, and he sprung forward, already trying to plan an attack on the rest.

Suddenly, the blond shot past him, shoving his hand up against a robot, causing it to explode. “Stay out of my way, you bastard!” Within moments, he had reduced them to rubble and taken off. Dazai sighed. He really hated that kid. Kyouka ran toward him, phone held to her ear, a phantom figure trailing behind her. Was she really talking on the phone at a time like this? Two three point enemies followed her.

“Kill them!” she called. In a flash of white, the phantom flew forward, bringing its blade down into the enemies, blowing them apart. In that one strike, she got more points than he’d managed to rack up during the entire exam. Behind him, he heard another enemy emerge. He spun around to face it; a three point robot crouched in the alleyway. He ran toward it, trying to calculate a strategy. As he approached, it began firing toward him. He wove in and out, dodging the blasts with a practiced ease.

Just as Dazai reached the machine, a boy went barrelling through it, sending it crashing to the ground. He struggled to his feet, revealing white hair and a face streaked with black. He immediately took off running past Dazai. Partway through the alleyway, blue light bloomed around him. When it subsided, a white tiger stood in his place. It launched itself toward Kyouka, who screamed.

“Demon Snow!” Her phantom lunged to her defense. It didn’t take a genius to realize what was about to happen: at least one of them was going to maim, if not kill, the other. He took off running, praying that he could get there in time. The tiger ducked and launched itself toward Kyouka, who was still struggling to escape. It then lowered itself into a crouch, and the phantom raised its sword. As the creature prepared to pounce, Dazai finally reached it, grasping the creature’s tail. Blue light exploded around them. Next thing he knew, Dazai was holding the suspender of the white-haired boy. The phantasm swept forward, slicing its blade toward them. He yanked the boy out of the way and extended his arm. The phantom dissolved, leaving the three of them alone in the arena.

“And that’s it! Time’s up!” Well, shoot. The exam was over, and he’d racked up a whopping four points. There was no way he was going to pass.

Chapter Text

Lucy brushed off her skirt and straightened her tie. Here she was, the first day of school at UA. She’d passed the entrance exam with flying colors, apparently, although having the enemies still in Anne’s room was a little annoying. She’d have to handle that at some point. As she walked through the gate, she looked around, scanning for anyone she recognized. The green-haired kid she’d saved during the exam, the one who’d taken down the zero-point enemy, was staring up at the school as if it were a god on Earth. How on earth had he gotten in?

As she walked toward the school, someone grabbed her by the arm. She spun around, already calling on her ability. It was the green-haired kid. “Thank you for saving me during the exam!” She nodded.

“You’re welcome.” He beamed.

“My name is Izuku Midoriya! I’m in class 1-A! What about you?” She was stuck in the same class as this idiot? Fantastic.

“Lucy Maud Montgomery. Same class.” He somehow grinned even wider.

“Do you want to walk together?” No way was she putting up with him any more than she had to. She shoved him away.

“Absolutely not.” He frowned, but she had already begun walking away.  She made her way through the school to the classroom. Most of the other student had already arrived. A blond boy sat with his feet over the desk as another boy she recognized from her exam, the one with engine legs, yelled at him that it was disrespectful to a ridiculous array of people who definitely would not care. The dumb red-head who stole her points was arguing with a brown-haired boy she didn’t recognize. Scattered around them were other people, both familiar and unfamiliar, who were doing actual, normal things like having conversations at a reasonable volume or fidgeting. Suddenly, Engine Legs blasted over to the door. She turned around with a huff to realize that he had so rudely blown past her to talk to that stupid Midoriya kid.

“Congratulations on realizing the real challenge of the exam! We were all so focused on ourselves, when you were the real hero!” Midoriya flushed a bright red.

“Oh, no, I didn’t know about that. I was just doing what I could to save-“

“Falling boy!” The girl with the levitation quirk popped up behind him. He spun around, verbally stuttering and struggling. “I’m Ochaco Uraraka!”

“My name is Tenya Iida!”

“Um… Izuku Midoriya,” the boy conceded. Lucy groaned. It was going to be a long year.

“Go somewhere else if you want to play at being friends,” a bored voice groaned. Midoriya jumped. “This is the hero course.” She peered around him to see a man laying on the floor in a sleeping bag. He pulled what appeared to be a child’s applesauce pouch out of his sleeping bag, quickly finishing its contents. A shudder ran through the people congregated at the door. The man rose to his feet. "Okay, it took 8 seconds before you were quiet. Time is limited. You kids are not rational enough." Great. He was one of those guys. He stepped to the podium, still wrapped in the sleeping bag. “I’m your homeroom teacher, Shouta Aizawa. Nice to meet you.” This was the their teacher? Lucy hadn’t had a proper teacher in years, but she was pretty sure this wasn’t normal. “It’s kind of sudden, but put this on and go out onto the field.” He pulled what appeared to be some form of alternate uniform out of his sleeping bag. They had already changed and were on the field before he actually told them what they were doing: a quirk assessment test.

First was, of all things, just sprinting. Aizawa had said that they could use their quirks, but it seemed so far that there was no way Lucy’s could help her. As she crouched at the finish line, her mind was racing. She couldn’t sabotage her opponents by sending them to Anne’s room, and no part of her power would make her faster. She couldn’t afford to get expelled so soon, so all she could do was hope someone was worse than her. The whistle blew, and she took off. A blond boy -Bakugo, if she remembered correctly, not that she cared if she did- blasted past her. She ran, feet pounding hard against the ground. Lucy slid to a halt and looked around. Last. Of course. 

The rest of the students fully embraced the “use your quirk” mandate to great effect. Even other kids with less relevant quirks, like Hagakure and Sero, somehow wound up beating her. She even lost to Midoriya and his stupid refusal to use his useful quirk. In the end, she was dead last, slowest in the class. 

Next was the grip strength test. Yet another test she had nothing going for her on. All around her, kids were getting ridiculously high scores. Maybe she could take it and have Anne do it? No, that’s not what Anne did. Maybe she could just use something in Anne’s room to help her apply pressure? No, nothing was small enough.

“Montgomery,” Aizawa grumbled. “Get on with it.” With a frown, she squeezed as hard as she could. A glance at the measurement revealed another less than impressive result. Yet again, the worst in the class, a full three kilograms less than Midoriya. She ran her hands through her hair. At this rate, she would definitely be expelled. On the first day, no less. What was she going to do if she got expelled? Wind up in an orphanage in a foreign country, surrounded by people just like the ones from her own orphanage? People who would call her weird, freaky, monstrous, wrong, evil, as soon as they found out about her quirk?  Or maybe another organization that would use her as a weapon? They would take her, sure, and they’d appreciate her ability, but not her. She couldn’t have that. She’d have to do something.

Up next came a long jump. Two students, Nakahara and Uraraka, glanced at each other. Uraraka launched herself into the sky, landing inches from the end of the sandpit. Nakahara laughed. 

“Is that the best you can do?” A red glow bloomed across his chest, and he rocketed far past the sandbox before finally setting himself down. Yet another test where her quirk would give her absolutely no help. At this rate, she would most definitely be expelled. Lucy launched herself over the sandbox, only to land in the sand with a slight thump. Great. She struggled to her feet, brushing off her uniform, and walked to the side. A long stream of her other classmates leapt over the sandbox, clearing the area entirely. At last, Midoriya stepped up. He flung himself into the sand, flailing wildly. He landed almost exactly where she had. A glance at Aizawa’s measurement sheet revealed that she had, in fact, beat him. Finally! Midoriya was here refusing to use his quirk, not giving his all and yet defeating her when she was doing her best. 

Up next was a side-step test. That disgusting Mineta boy was the only one with a particularly impressive score. Even Iida didn’t do all that well. She managed to pull out just in front of Midoriya again. Maybe if this kept going, she would actually beat that jerk. If he wasn’t going to give it his all, he deserved it. 

Then was the ball throw. She just had to surpass Midoriya, and she could stay. He stepped up to the plate. She could see him visibly sweating. If he was so worried, he should just use his quirk already. As if on cue, red shimmering lines appeared along his arm. Beside her, she felt Nakahara tense and grasp out for Dazai’s hand. Midoriya swung his arm forward, hurling the ball… about ten feet. What the actual hell was that? Now he was just mocking her. 

“I erased your quirk.” She spun around to see Aizawa, hair floating and scarf spread around him. “That entrance exam was not rational enough.” She could agree with that, if the exam let Midoriya and Mineta in. “From what I can tell, you can’t control your quirk, can you? Do you intend to become incapacitated again and have someone save you?” Incapacitated? Either he was really, really useless, even more than expected, or his quirk… his quirk hurt him. 

“Th-that’s not my intention.” Aizawa’s scarf looped around Midoriya, pulling him close to his chest. 

“Izuku Midoriya. With your power, you can’t become a hero.” Lucy winced. Maybe Midoriya was a useless, annoying idiot, but he didn’t deserve that. He clearly worked his way here; it didn’t take a psychic to realize this was a dream. As important as it was to be realistic, she’d learned long ago to draw a line between realistic and sadistic, and Aizawa was teetering toward the wrong side of the line. Maybe she did hate Midoriya, but that didn’t mean he deserved that. “I’ve returned your quirk. You have two turns for the ball throw. Hurry up and get it over with.” Midoriya frowned as he stepped up to the plate. Aizawa watched intently as he swung his arm back and around. 

The ball rocketed skyward. “Aizawa-sensei, I can still move,”  Midoriya whimpered. That idiot. If he had a quirk that injured him so badly, he really should have developed a higher pain tolerance by now. Not that she cared; at this point, she would most definitely be expelled. She and Anne couldn’t beat a result like that. Murmurs of excitement and approval rippled through the crowd, only punctuated by sudden yelling.

“What’s with that power?” Bakugo was shaking, smoke streaming from his fingertips. “Everyone’s quirks manifest by age four! What is the meaning of this?” He took off running, explosions crackling at his fingertips. “Hey! Tell me what’s going on, Deku, you bastard!” As he ran, she saw Aizawa’s scarf looping upward. At the last moment, she activated her quirk, pulling Midoriya into Anne’s room. The pink sky loomed over them, with toys scattered all over the checkered floor.

“M-Montgomery-san?! What…”

“You’re an idiot.” He cringed. “Bakugo is launching himself at you, and you don’t even move?” 

“I-I-... Thank you,” He said softly, head down. Lucy scoffed, crossing her arms over her chest as she stared down at Midoriya. 

“What else would I have done? Let him murder you?” A light blush coated Midoriya’s cheeks. 

“Someone else would have-”

“But no one else did, and you’re too incompetent to handle it yourself.” 

“Still, thank you.” He sighed. His gaze wandered around the room, his face turning more confused by the second as he finally noticed the pink sky and lack of people. “Um… where are we?”

“This is Anne’s room,” Lucy said, gesturing around her. 

“Wait, is this your quirk?” She nodded. “Oh, that’s so cool!” They all said that. Everyone thought her quirk was so cool and exciting and awesome and great and useful… Everyone thought that until they met Anne. Summoned by her thoughts, despite her actual intentions, the doll appeared behind her. Midoriya stumbled back in shock, eyes wide. “Ah!” Of course. He was scared. What could she expect with a quirk like hers except fear, or concern, or horror and accusations? He smiled in a way that he probably thought was reassuring. Instead, the boy’s false grin sent shivers down her spine. “Is that Anne?” He stepped towards her. The doll drifted forward, as though to test him. He raised his hand. “May I?” Lucy frowned. “Oh, it’s okay if you don’t want me to.” She exhaled slowly and nodded.

He tentatively placed his hand against Anne’s face, smiling even more. “This is so cool! Thank you for showing me, Montgomery-san!” She nodded, even as her mind was racing. Why was he saying that? What did he want? Was this part of some plan? Had he known before? Only one person had ever reacted this way before, and that was Fitzgerald. Did he work for him? Was Midoriya a spy? Was he observing her for his own purposes? 

“We should probably go back now.” A door appeared behind her, and she slid the golden key into it. The door eased open, revealing their classmates, faces contorted in varying degrees of shock. “What are you looking at?” 

“Montgomery. That was stupid and illogical. While your intentions may have been good, you should not have intervened when someone more prepared to handle it was already resolving the issue.” She frowned, but Aizawa had already moved on. The rest of the assessment passed uneventfully. She remained squarely at the bottom, only surpassing Midoriya on one test and even then only because of his injury. Finally, the list of results was posted.

 

  1. Chuuya Nakahara
  2. Momo Yaoyorozu
  3. Shouto Todoroki
  4. Katsuki Bakugo
  5. Atsushi Nakajima
  6. Tenya Iida
  7. Fumikage Tokoyami
  8. Eijiro Kirishima
  9. Mina Ashido
  10. Kyouka Izumi
  11. Ochaco Uraraka
  12. Tsuyu Asui
  13. Hanta Sero
  14. Denki Kaminari
  15. Kyouka Jirou
  16. Osamu Dazai
  17. Toru Hagakure
  18. Minoru Mineta
  19. Izuku Midoriya
  20. Lucy Maud Montgomery

Last place. She’d failed. She was going to be expelled, then she was going to have to go back to the orphanage, or even, maybe, to the Guild. Or she was going to end up alone on the streets of a foreign country? Who knew? She could feel everyone’s eyes slowly turning toward her.  “Montgomery-san?” Midoriya was the first to speak. She didn’t respond. 

“By the way, I was lying about the expulsion,” Aizawa said. The others chattered with relief and surprise. What did they have to be relieved about? She was the one who was going to lose everything, not them. “We’re done here.” He handed a slip of paper to Midoriya. “Have the old lady fix you in the nurse’s office. Tomorrow will be packed with even more rigorous tests. Prepare yourself.” He walked off, leaving them standing in the open field. Within moments, the rest of the students had followed, leaving her alone in the field. Lucy sighed. How was she going to get through this?

Chapter Text

Izuku slumped down into his chair. He’d made it through the normal classes, meaning that up next was special hero training. Was it going to be yet another day of brutal failure and threats from the teacher? He’d tried so hard to make it to UA, but the school really didn’t seem to want him there. His head in his hands, he almost didn’t hear the knock at the door, but he definitely heard what came next.

“IT’S ME!” A familiar voice announced. “I AM COMING THROUGH THE DOOR LIKE A NORMAL PERSON!” All-Might appeared through the door in what was most certainly not a normal fashion, cape billowing behind him. Excitement rippled through the class. “I TEACH BASIC HERO TRAINING! IT IS A SUBJECT WHERE YOU TRAIN IN DIFFERENT WAYS TO LEARN THE BASICS OF BEING A HERO! YOU’LL TAKE THE MOST UNITS OF THIS SUBJECT! LET’S GET RIGHT INTO IT! THIS IS WHAT WE’LL DO TODAY” He flipped up a sign bearing the word ‘battle’ in, of course, all-caps. “COMBAT TRAINING! THE TRIAL OF BATTLE! AND TO GO WITH THAT…” He flipped a switch, and various boxes slid out of the walls. “ARE THESE! COSTUMES MADE BASED ON YOUR QUIRK REGISTRATIONS AND REQUESTS YOU SENT IN BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED!” Wait… they were getting costumes! “AFTER YOU CHANGE, GATHER IN GROUND BETA!” Chattering excitedly, the class gathered up their costumes and went to get changed.

As he pulled his hood over his head, Izuku glanced around. Most of the class had already put their costumes on. By then, the only one left was Nakahara, who placed a hat firmly on his head and walked out, not even giving him a second glance. By the time Izuku ran out, everyone was waiting for him. As All-Might explained what they were going to do, his mind was already racing. Who was he going to ally with? He could get along with Uraraka or Iida? Maybe Montgomery, whatever her deal was? What if he had to be a villain? When All-Might announced that teams would be determined at random by lots, his nerves just increased. What if he was assigned to work with Kacchan? Or someone he didn’t know and couldn’t get along with? By the time pairs were announced, he was already sweating.

Izuku Midoriya & Atsushi Nakajima vs Katsuki Bakugo & Tenya Iida
Shouto Todoroki & Uraraka Ochaco vs Chuuya Nakahara & Toru Hagakure
Lucy Maud Montgomery & Denki Kaminari vs. Momo Yaoyorozu & Minoru Mineta
Fumikage Tokoyami & Tsuyu Asui vs Eijiro Kirishima & Osamu Dazai
Kyouka Jirou & Mina Ashido vs Hanta Sero & Kyouka Izumi

He shot a glance toward Nakajima to find him looking fearfully at him. Izuku shot him a small smile. Nakajima’s face turned red as he looked away. He had to go up against Kacchan and Iida, too. Well, all he could do was give it his all and hope for the best. He knew Kacchan; he could use that. As he walked to the entrance, Nakajima following him, he was already trying to plan a strategy. He didn’t know Nakajima’s quirk all that well, but it seemed to be some kind of enhancement or transformation type. There wasn’t really time to ask him about it, as the match was about to start. A buzzer blew, and they began.

Nakajima followed him awkwardly for a minute before speaking. “Are you okay, Midoriya-san?” He winced. Had Nakajima noticed that he was sweating? “I’m sorry, I just noticed-”

“It’s okay. I just… Kacchan is very powerful., and I don’t know if we can beat him. Not that you aren’t super strong too, I mean, you clearly are, it’s just that, he has a grudge and everything.”
As if on cue, Kacchan blasted around the corner, explosions already roaring at his fingertips. “Deku!” He smashed an explosive fist into the wall. Izuku instinctively pulled Nakajima out of the way and dodged the attack. He’d grown pretty good at avoiding Kacchan’s explosions over the years, when it came down to it. Nakajima, presumably lacking that experience, looked more than a little frazzled. He should have known he would come for him rather than wait and play by the rules. Kacchan cursed and shouted, “I won’t do so much damage that this fight gets stopped, but I’m gonna get close!” He sprung forward. He would attack with his right hand, probably a localized explosion. Indeed, his arm extended, and Izuku grabbed it, slamming him into the ground. He had all of these notes on heroes; he knew a lot about Kacchan and his fighting style.

“Kacchan, you usually start with a big right swing. How much do you think I’ve been watching you? I wrote an analysis for all the heroes I thought were amazing in my notebook.” He thought back to the day he’d last seen his notebook. “In the notebook you blew up and threw away.” Kacchan looked up at him. Izuku could feel his legs shaking. “My “Deku” isn’t always going to mean useless!” He was going to be a hero, no matter what it took. “Kacchan, my “Deku” means you can do it!”

“Deku,” Kacchan growled. “Even though you’re scared… that’s what I hate about you!” He stopped for a minute. “Just shut up and defend!” What was he doing? His comm with Iida, or just yelling at Izuku again? “I’m really angry right now!” Nakajima shot him a glance; Izuku nodded, and he took off running. “Looking away? You must be sure of yourself.” Kacchan attempted to kick him again, but he caught the kick and attempted to wrap the tape around his leg. Kacchan would get impatient and try to hit him again, probably with that right hand. As anticipated, he brought his right hand around, explosion crackling at his fingertips. Izuku ducked out of the way, tape trailing behind him, and ran into the halls. As he did, Nakajima’s voice could be heard over his earpiece, informing him of where the bomb was. He needed a plan. He couldn’t beat Kacchan head-on, but if he went for the bomb, he would just lead him to Nakajima, which wouldn’t work. He just kept running, even as he could hear Kacchan shouting at him in the background. He needed to somehow capture him so he and Nakajima could capture the bomb.

Kacchan stepped into the hall behind him, gauntlets raised. They flickered for a moment. “They’re loaded.”

“Kacchan,” he warned.

“Why won’t you use your quirk? Are you saying you can win even if you don’t use it? Are you underestimating me, Deku?” Of course. Kacchan would expect him to go all out, even if he couldn’t. He pulled the tape taut in his hands. He had to go for it.

“I’m not scared of you anymore!” For a moment, Kacchan grimaced, before a grin exploded across his face.

“With your stalking, you probably already know, but my quirk, Explosion, lets me secrete nitroglycerin-like sweat from the sweat glands on the palm of my hand and make it explode.” He pulled something on his gauntlet, still smiling. “If they made this the way I asked, then these gauntlets will store the nitroglycerin inside them, and…” He grabbed a grenade pin in one of his gauntlets and squared them at Izuku.

“YOUNG BAKUGO! STOP! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL HIM?!”

“If I don’t hit him, he won’t die.” He pulled the pin, launching a huge explosion toward Izuku. It blasted forward, tearing through the hallway and bursting straight out of the building. Izuku himself was blown back, parts of his costume burned away by the explosion. Was… was that even allowed? Kacchan could have killed him.

“Wow,” he murmured, almost in spite of himself.

“Come on! Use your quirk, Deku!” Kacchan appeared from the smoke, smiling. “Hey, hey, what’s wrong, Deku?” Kacchan launched toward him, propelled by explosions crackling at his fingertips. “Let’s fight this out with our fists!” Izuku positioned himself as defensively as possible, already knowing it would do him no good as Kacchan rocketed over his head and shoved and explosion against his back. He finally couldn’t hold back a scream as the pain seared into him. “Look! Here I come!” Kacchan shot at him again. “It’s your favorite right swing!” He slammed him, grabbing his arm, spinning around, and throwing him hard into the ground. “Deku! You are below me!” Even more pain shot through Izuku’s body. His vision went blurry. Maybe he couldn’t do this, maybe he wasn’t cut out for being a hero. Maybe All-Might had been wrong about him, had been wrong to choose him.

He struggled to his feet, panting heavily. He had no choice but to use his quirk. But he had to time it right, had to make time for Nakajima to win…”Why won’t you use your quirk?”

“No…” He couldn’t do that quite yet.

“Have you been underestimating me like that ever since then, you bastard?”

“That’s not it…” How could Kacchan think that? How could he possibly not see how much Izuku admired and, more than that, feared him? If he could beat him, it would be his first step on the path to being a hero. “I want to win and surpass you, you idiot!”

“You damn nerd!” They charged at each other. As they did, Izuku finally, desperately, activated One for All. He felt the strength surge through his arm, but at the same time, he could see Kacchan’s hand glowing and heating up. He reared back a smash. Over the radio, All-Might’s voice crackled, halfway through telling him to stop.

“You can do this, Nakajima!” He heard Nakajima shout an anxious okay before the radio went silent. He slammed his fist into Kacchan, who released an explosion at the same time. The impact rippled through the building.

“You are underestimating me, aren’t you?”

“I wasn’t going… to use it,” Izuku confessed, choking the words out through the pain of the burns and his now-broken arm. “Aizawa-sensei said so, too… but…” Kacchan’s eyes widened.

“HERO TEAM WINS!” Izuku finally felt his knees give out as relief washed over him. Nakajima had done it. They’d won.

 

Shouto Todoroki & Uraraka Ochaco vs Chuuya Nakahara & Toru Hagakure

Todoroki knelt at the edge of the building. “Stay here, Uraraka-san.” He reached out towards the wall, activating his quirk and sending ice racing throughout the building, coating the floor and hopefully freezing his enemies in place. “I can handle it. You wait.” He could hear her protesting from behind him as he walked away.

He made his way calmly through the hallways of the building, assembling his knowledge from what he had seen of the previous match. Sure enough, he found the room, with the bomb sitting there, completely unattended. Wait, where were his opponents? They weren’t here, and he hadn’t passed them on the way here, so where were they? Frozen in position for an ambush somewhere in the maze-like halls? Not that it mattered. He was about to win anyway. He stepped forward, hand extended to claim the bomb, when he heard a voice behind him.

“Nakahara-kun!” He recognized the voice of Hagakure. Of course. She was invisible. But how had she avoided the ice? Nakahara dropped down in front of Todoroki, hand landing firmly on his head as he fell. In an instant, Todoroki went sailing back toward the wall. Ice erupted over his legs, stopping him and holding him in place. Todoroki sent a wave of ice rushing toward Nakahara, who simply vaulted over it and onto the ceiling. He spun over, landing behind Todoroki. He slammed his glowing fist into the ground, smashing the ice into large chunks. One of the chunks rose high above Nakahara. Todoroki summoned the other half of his quirk, feeling the warmth spread through his body and blasting heat -not fire, never fire- out toward the falling ice. As he did, he was suddenly aware of a tickling feeling on his other wrist. He raised it to his eyes, revealing a strip of tape wrapped around it. He’d been captured. Hagakure must have somehow snuck around while he was distracted.

Water and rapidly-melting ice flowing down his face, Todoroki sighed. He’d failed. Now he had to depend on… “Uraraka-san!” he shouted, desperately praying that she could hear him. Sure enough, he could hear her voice, shouting and squealing. Well, subtlety had been thrown out the window when he called for her. She stumbled into the room, slipping and sliding. Quickly surveying her surroundings, she started running around, brushing her fingers against bits of ice as she charged toward the bomb. With a snort, Nakahara kicked her in the knees, sending her sliding backward.

“Sorry, Uraraka-san, but business is business.” She flailed wildly, seemingly trying to get herself upright. He held out his hand, and Hagakure handed him the tape. He wrapped it around her arm and grinned.

“TEAM VILLAIN WINS!” All-Might’s voice blared over the loud-speaker. Great.

Chapter Text

Lucy Maud Montgomery & Denki Kaminari vs Momo Yaoyorozu & Minoru Mineta

Momo leaned against the door, rapidly summoning objects to block it. She had to keep her opponents out of the room and away from the bomb. Based on what she had seen, neither of them had a levitation quirk, or something that would help them scale the building, so they would have to go through the door she was currently blocking. She heard a noise behind her, probably from her partner. She spun around to see him, face bright red and eyes trained on her belt. She could feel her face turn bright red. It wasn’t her fault that her quirk required her to have so much bare skin. Momo reached to cover more of her legs with her hands.

At that moment, the world spun around them. Momo closed her eyes, hoping it would prevent any possible sickness. She heard Mineta scream, so she opened her eyes. A vast expanse of pink sky and checkered floor lay around her, toys scattered wildly about. Montgomery stood on the edge of a wrapped present, grinning down at them. The objects that had made up the  barricade and door it had been meant to hold lay strewn at her feet.

“What kind of quirk is this?” Mineta yelled, already beginning to cry. Okay, so she was going to have to do this on her own. She had to think. The obvious answer was that they had to take down Montgomery; it was the most likely way to get out of there. They just had to get up to her and take her down, but there was certainly something about this place they couldn’t see. As if on cue, Mineta screamed yet again. She turned to see what was wrong now. A giant doll had wrapped its arms around him and was pulling him away.

She extended an arm, summoning a long pole with a loop on the end, the kind animal control used, and launching it toward the doll. Rather than being caught as she had intended, the doll sped up as it blasted through an open door into a dark room. Within moments, she heard a hum, revealing that the doll had appeared behind her. As it extended its arms, Momo launched backward, intentionally brushing against the creature. The thing was made of fabric, just like any normal doll. A lighter appeared in her hand. She flicked it, holding it out to set the doll on fire, only to feel a hand on her shoulder, followed by a painful tingling that burst through her body. Her limbs went rigid as a voice laughed behind her.

“Ha ha ha! I got her!” The doll’s soft arms wrapped around her, pulling her back. As she was pulled back, still paralyzed, she caught a glimpse of Kaminari, beaming. Finally, she was pulled back into the darkness, and the door closed.

Next thing she knew, Momo was in the control room, All-Might smiling down at them. A monitor behind him showed Montgomery and Kaminari strolling through the open doorway and into the room, where they got the bomb, unopposed. Other screens showed her building her barricade, the opponents walking through the hallways, and footage of the doorway, lacking both any occupants and the door. Nowhere was there any recording of what had happened in wherever they had been. 

“QUITE THE EFFECTIVE USE OF YOUR QUIRK, YOUNG MONTGOMERY! AND, OF COURSE, A VALIANT EFFORT ON THE PART OF YOUNG YAOYOROZU! WELL DONE!” 

 

Fumikage Tokoyami & Tsuyu Asui vs Eijiro Kirishima & Osamu Dazai

Tsu smiled, crouching on a wall of the building. Inside, she could see her opponents formulating some kind of plan. Crawling closer to the window, she could make out the words that they were saying. 

“We need a full frontal attack,” Dazai explained. “We’ll surprise them, then I’ll take Asui-san while you handle Tokoyami-san, at which point I’ll circle around and back you up.” Tsu jumped down to report what she heard back to Tokoyami. 

“They’re planning to attack us before we make a move.”

"Then that means  we need to make a move before them. Thank you, Asui-san.”

“Call me Tsu.” He nodded, and they took off into the building. She bounced from the floor to the wall and back again as he led her around the building, a large shadowy creature in front of them. They searched the halls for their opponents, to no avail. Suddenly, the creature screeched. Tokoyami raced around the corner, and Tsu followed behind him. Kirishima stood alone in an empty room, the bomb nowhere in sight. Confused, Tokoyami sent the shadowy creature  towards Kirishima. His chest hardened, and the creature rammed into it, sending him stumbling backwards. Kirishima attempted to grab it, but it pulled away. Tsu launched forward, tongue lashing back and forth, capture tape in hand. 

Kirishima charged her, grinning as his solidified hands slashed toward her body. She sprung out of the way as Tokoyami’s creature rushed past her. She leapt to the ceiling and climbed along. Finally, she took the tape and, extending her tongue, went to wrap it around Kirishima. Tokoyami’s creature vanished, much to Tsu’s, and, based on his gasp, Tokoyami’s, surprise. Kirishima spun around, grabbing Tsu’s tongue and pulling her down. She landed with a thud, pain blossoming in her back, but she maneuvered the tip of her tongue to loop the tape around his wrist. Despite her efforts, she couldn’t quite attach it, and Kirishima pulled his arm away. 

“Nice try!” Kirishima laughed. She finally looked up to see Dazai and Tokoyami in the midst of a battle. “Come on!” He ran toward the fight, leaving Tsu alone. She smiled and stepped forward, once again looping the tape around his wrist and, this time, tying it off with a simple knot. Kirishima brought his hand down to swipe at Tokoyami, but Tsu wrapped her tongue around his wrist. 

“Sorry, Kirishima-chan!” He looked at his wrist.

“Oh, come on! How unmanly of me to not have noticed when my opponent defeated me” Pouting, he stepped away. Tsu bounded into the fight, coiling her tongue toward Dazai. He drifted out of the way as though she hadn’t even been there. 

“Asui-san!” Tokoyami yelled. “Help me!” Tsu jumped out of the window and onto the outside wall.

“Nice try, but I know what you want.” Dazai broke away from his fight with Tokoyami, lunging towards the window. As Tsu started to climb up the wall, he grabbed her foot and pulled her back into the room. “I’m sorry, but I can’t let you do that right now. Just stay here.” She tried to pull away, but his grip was firm as he bound her wrists with the capture tape. As he tied the knot, Tokoyami’s creature came soaring at them, maw open. Dazai raised his other hand, fingers brushing against the shadowy creature’s face. It disappeared, and he pulled the tape tight. 

As he did, Tokoyami made eye contact with Tsu and nodded before disappearing silently into the halls of the building. Dazai turned around to find nothing there. “Very clever, Asui-san.”

“Call me Tsu,” she insisted. He took off to look for Tokoyami, leaving her alone. She sat there, waiting for the match to end, knowing that she couldn’t do anything to help her partner. She heard crashes and thuds from upstairs and hoped that Tokoyami was winning. The fight carried on until a voice crackled over the speaker.

“TEAM HERO WINS!” They’d done it. Tokoyami had done it. Somehow, even if she wasn’t sure how it was possible, they had won.

 

Kyouka Jirou & Mina Ashido vs Hanta Sero & Kyouka Izumi

Sero beamed over at his partner as he stretched the tape from his quirk over the doorway. She was standing shakily in the corner of the room, hands wrapped tightly around the cell phone hanging from her neck. “Hey, you ready, Izumi-san? Jirou-san and Ashido-san should be here any moment now.” She nodded, but that didn’t stop the shaking of her legs or cause her to loosen her on the phone. “Come on, we’ve got this!. All we have to do is not get captured and stop them from getting the bomb. Piece of cake. ” 

Just then, a faint hissing sound drew their attention to the door, which was rapidly dissolving. In stepped Ashido, Jirou right behind her. Sero grinned and flicked his arms, sending tape blasting at his opponents. Ashido slicked up some slime, burning through the tape. Jirou extended one of her earphones into her boot. A loud thumping sound filled the room. His ears ached. He shot a glance to Izumi, who was still standing in the corner, tears now welling in her eyes. Sero’s knees buckled, a splitting pain running through his head. Ashido swished past him, laughing. A drop of the acid, kicked up from her movements, landed on his shoulder. He winced as Ashido rushed towards the bomb. 

“Izumi-san!” She was still shaking as she flipped open her phone. Tears beginning to run down her face as he watched her raise it to her ear.

“Demon Snow.” Ashido’s fingers were mere inches away from the bomb when a giant phantom appeared, katana just narrowly missing Ashido’s hand as she skated back. Sero felt Jirou pull the capture tape tight around his wrists.

“Come on, Izumi-san! You can do this!” Ashido grinned, spraying acid toward the creature and laughing. Jirou stepped forward, extending her earphones once again toward the ground.

“No!” Izumi yelled. Her phantom launched towards Jirou, sword flashing. “Don’t hurt her!” It stopped, sword hung between Jirou’s earphone and the floor. Jirou looked up, confused. Ashido laughed again and skated forward. The phantom spun around, blade slashing toward Ashido. It traced a thin, shallow slash along her back. Sero looked up to see Izumi, face wet with tears. As the phantom lunged toward her, Ashido’s hand landed firmly on the bomb. 

“TEAM HERO WINS!” 

“Yes!” Ashido’s smile somehow became even wider. “We did it, Jirou-chan!” At the same time, Sero watched Izumi’s tears fall faster. As he struggled to his feet, he ripped through the tape and walked over to her. Up close, he could see that she still had a death grip on her phone, despite her whole body shaking.

“It’s okay, Izumi-san. You did everything you could.” She looked up at him. “Come on.” He set a hand on her shoulder. She tensed under the touch for a moment before seemingly realizing he wasn’t going to hurt her. “You were so cool out there! Wow, your quirk is quite powerful, isn’t it?” Hand on her shoulder, Sero led Izumi away from the building and back to where the rest of their class were waiting.

Chapter Text

Chuuya groaned. A field trip. Wonderful. As Aizawa had loaded them all into the bus, he was still, for some incomprehensible reason, refusing to tell them where the hell they were going, except that is was for rescue training. He’d told them to put their costumes on and get into the bus in his almost immutable apathetic voice, which seemed to only be shakeable by abject stupidity- that is to say, Midoriya.

So there he was, stuck sitting next to Todoroki on a bus to who knows where. It wasn’t even that he didn’t like Todoroki. The boy seemed decent enough. But still, this wasn’t exactly what Chuuya had hoped to do today. Todoroki seemed to have no interest in talking to him, which was fine by Chuuya, so they sat in silence. Instead, he listened in the conversation going on around him. Listening without looking like you were was an important skill for even the lowest member of the Port Mafia; he slipped into it almost instinctively.

“I say whatever comes to mind. Midoriya-kun…”

“Um, yes, Asui-san?” He almost hear Midoriya blushing, it was so awkward.

“Call me Tsu.”

“Oh, right…”

“Your quirk is like All-Might’s.” Midoriya almost screamed in shock. Fantastic.

“You think so?” Of course she did. That’s why she said it. The similarities were obvious. Midoriya, blatant All-Might fanboy that he was, should definitely have noticed. So why was he pretending not to? “But... I’m… uh.”

“Wait a sec, Tsu-chan, All-Might doesn’t get hurt when he uses his.” Ah yes, the ever observant Kirishima. “They just kinda look the same. But it’s nice to have a simple augmenting-type quirk. You can do lots of flashy stuff! My Hardening’s strong against others, but unfortunately, it doesn’t look like much.”

“I think it’s really cool!” Oh, Midoriya. “It’s definitely a Quirk that can pass as a pro’s!”

“A pro’s, huh? But you have to think about popularity as a hero, too, you know.” Of course, that was important. In a world as competitive as the world of Pro Heroes, marketing was half the battle. “But if you’re talking about flashy and strong, it’s gotta be Todoroki-kun, Bakugo-kun, and Izumi-san, though, huh?” Bakugo stirred in front of him, but didn’t respond.

“Izumi-san seems like she’s scared to use her quirk, so she might not be super effective, and Bakugo’s always mad, so he doesn’t seem like he’ll be popular, though.” Bakugo shot to his feet, as if to illustrate Asui’s point. Midoriya also seemed alarmed, although whether that was due to the actual comment or his friend’s reaction, Chuuya couldn’t tell.

“What the hell?! You wanna fight?!”

Asui smiled. “See?”

“We haven’t known each other that long, so it’s amazing that everyone already knows his personality is crap steeped in sewage,” Kaminari said, seemingly unaware of Bakugo’s visibly growing rage.

“What’s with that vocabulary, bastard?! I’ll kill you!” A glance towards Midoriya revealed that the boy was freaking out, once again for a variety of potential reasons.

“What a vulgar conversation,” Yaoyorozu said. He had to fight back the urge to thank her. Sure, he would admit he was pretty vulgar himself sometimes, but this felt like too much.

“But I like stuff like this, too,” Uraraka giggled. Chuuya finally smiled at that.

“Stop messing around. We’re here.” They all stepped off the bus at some dome shaped building Chuuya had never seen before. Someone in an astronaut suit, presumably another pro hero, was waiting for them. He really needed to research pro heroes, especially if new ones were going to keep appearing to teach classes.

“Everyone, I have been waiting for you,” the person said.

“It’s the space hero, Thirteen! The gentlemanly hero who has rescued tons of people from disasters!”

“Oh! I love Thirteen!” Uraraka beamed, blushing ever so slightly at the opportunity to meet her hero, even if Chuuya didn’t really get it.

“Let’s go inside without delay. Look forward to working with you!” They filed inside, revealing a number of strange structures, including a red dome and a lake with a ship on it. Gasps exploded across the group.

“Wow, it looks like USJ!”

“A shipwreck, a landslide, a fire, a wind storm, etcetera. It is a training ground that I made with different types of accidents and disasters. It’s called the Unforeseen Simulation Joint, or USJ for short.” Right again, Midoriya. He would probably never understand how someone could know so much and still be so, so stupid.

“Thirteen, where is All-Might? He was supposed to meet us here.”

“About that…” Thirteen whispered something to Aizawa and flashed him three fingers, voice a little too soft to hear.

That’s the height of irrationality.” Aizawa turned to face the class. “It can’t be helped. Shall we begin?”

“Let’s see, before we begin, let me say one thing… er… or two, or three… or four… or five… six… seven…” At this point, he didn’t care how many things they had to say, if they would just get the hell on with it. “Everyone, I am sure you are aware of my quirk, Black Hole. I can suck up anything and turn it to dust.”

“You’ve been able to use that quirk to save people from all kinds of disasters, right?”

“Yes, but it is a power that can kill easily. Some of you also have quirks like that, right?” He felt Izumi stiffen almost imperceptibly beside him. Did she have one of those quirks? She seemed so scared of using it on people, so maybe. “In a superhuman society, personal quirks have been certified and stringently regulated, so that doesn’t seem to be a problem at first glance. However, please do not forget that there are many quirks that can easily kill with one wrong step. With Aizawa’s physical fitness test, you found out about the possibility of your own hidden powers, and with All-Might’s person-to-person combat training, I think you experienced the danger of using those powers against others. This class is a fresh start. You shall learn how to use your quirks to save people’s lives. You do not have powers so you can harm others. I hope you leave here with the understanding that you have powers in order to help others.” Thirteen bowed. “That is all. Thank you for listening.” Around him, other students began cheering. He glanced at Izumi, who had relaxed and was smiling ever so softly.

“All right then, first-” AIzawa was cut off as electricity crackled around them and the lights shut off. Behind him, a black mist was beginning to form in front of a fountain. He turned around, confused, and then the mist exploded. It blasted out into a huge writhing mass, including something that might have been a face. At that, Aizawa fully spun. Something that was probably a hand was visible inside the cloud.

“Gather together and don’t move!” He ordered. “Thirteen, protect the students!”

“What’s that?” A man stepped out of the cloud, immediately followed by swarms of others. “Is this like the entrance exam, where the lesson’s already started?” Chuuya stepped forward.

“Don’t move!” Aizawa ordered. “Those are villains.”

“Thirteen and Eraserhead, huh? The teacher’s schedule we received the other day said that All-Might was also supposed to be here.”

“The trespassing the other day was the work of these scumbags, after all, huh?”

“Where is he?” The villains just kept coming, more and more with no visible end. “I went through the trouble of bringing this whole crowd, too… All-Might… The Symbol of Peace… I can’t believe he’s not here. I wonder if he’ll come if we kill some kids?” Chuuya shifted into a defensive stance, summoning his power to his fingertips. He would not let him hurt his friends. Aizawa’s scarf blasted out in all directions.

“Teacher, what about the trespasser sensors?” Yaoyorozu stepped forward.

‘We have them, of course, but…”

“Did they only appear here, or around the whole school? Either way, if the sensors are not responding, that means they have someone with a quirk that can do that. An isolated area separated from the main campus during a time when a class is supposed to be here. They might be fools, but they’re not dumb. This surprise attack was carefully planned with some sort of goal in mind,” Todoroki muttered. Of course. Chuuya had done this kind of thing several times, even if it wasn’t quite his style. He’d recognized it immediately, but Todoroki didn’t have that experience. He must have put the whole thing together himself. It would have been impressive, had the villains not basically said outright that they were here for All-Might.

“Thirteen, start the evacuation. Try calling the school. This villains even had something to counter the sensors. It’s possible someone with radio-wave-type powers is interfering. Kaminari, you try contacting the school with your quirk, as well.”

“Yes, sir.”

“What about you, sir? Will you fight by yourself? With that many, even if you can erase their quirks, Eraserhead’s fighting style is capturing after erasing the enemy’s quirk. A frontal battle is…”

“You can’t be a hero with just one trick. I’m leaving it to you, Thirteen.” He launched into the fight, scarf trailing around him. Several of the villains stepped forward.

“Didn’t our intel say it would just be Thirteen and All-Might? Who is that?”

“I don’t know, but if he thinks he can come at us from the front by himself, then he’s a huge idiot.” They leered at him. A man raised his hands; the hair of the woman beside him rose up, only to fall just as quickly as Aizawa activated his quirk.

“Huh? My quirk? The bullets won’t come out!” Aizawa lashed out his scarf, sending it spiralling around the villains before slamming them into the ground.

“Idiot! He’s Eraserhead! He can erase quirks just by looking at them!” Chuuya laughed and elbowed Dazai. Several of his classmates turned to gawk at him, presumably for laughing in a situation like that.

“Sure would be useful if you could do that, eh, Dazai?”

“Now is not the time, Chuuya-kun.”

“Erase? Are you gonna erase the quirks of us heteromorphic type villains too?”

“No, I can’t.”

“Can you?” Chuuya prodded. Dazai groaned.

“Be quiet.”

In the center, Aizawa slammed his fist into the villain’s face. “But the skills of guys like you are statistically more likely to manifest in close combat, so I’ve taken measures against that.”

“I see,” groaned the first man to step out, the one with hands all over his body. “I hate pro heroes. The masses don’t stand a chance against them.” Thirteen gestured to them, and the class took off running. Midoriya hung back for a moment, murmuring to himself as he watched the fight. Chuuya grabbed his arm and darted after his classmates, using his power to cancel out the dead weight of dragging Midoriya behind him.

The black mist formed in front of them, blossoming into it’s full form. “I won’t let you. Nice to meet you. We are the League of Villains. It may be presumptuous of us, but we have invited ourselves in to the home of the heroes, UA high school, in order to have All-Might, the symbol of peace, take his last breath.” Chuuya could feel Midoriya shaking. Frustrated, he let go of his arm. “I believe All-Might should have been here. Has there been some kind of change?” The cloud expanded out. “Well, that is neither here nor there. This is the part I am to play.” Thirteen stepped forward, but Bakugo and Kirishima beat them to the punch, launching toward the villain. An explosion echoed through the building. As the smoke began to clear, he could see Kirishima and Bakugo were still there, grinning like the idiots they were.

“Did you consider you’d get beaten by us before you did it?”

“Oh dear, that’s dangerous. That’s right, even if you are students, you are excellent golden eggs.”

“No, move away, you two!” Thirteen ordered.

“My job is to scatter you all and torture you to death.” The mist rushed around them, spiralling out and around. Behind him, he saw Thirteen pull Iida and Uraraka back into the plaza, Iida pulling Dazai by the arm. The idiot, it would have been easy enough for Dazai to nullify the villain’s quirk. The darkness spun around them, and then Chuuya was falling.

Chapter Text

Sero was plummeting towards the earth, heat from the flames below already reaching his face. He glanced from side to side, looking for something to do. As he aimed his elbow toward a building, his stomach twisted, and he suddenly stopped falling. His legs almost immediately gave out from under him due to the sudden shift in momentum. Groaning, he looked up; pink sky loomed over him instead of the dome of the Conflagration Zone. He glanced around to see Ashido, who seemingly took the transition from falling to wherever they were about as well as he had. The only one who had handled the process at all was Montgomery, who was standing several feet ahead of them. She frowned.

“Get up already, we have to do something.”

“Where are we?”

“Anne’s room.”

“Why? How?”

“It’s my quirk, you idiot. I pulled us in so we wouldn’t, you know, die, but if you want to plummet to a fiery death, by all means, the door is over there.” She pointed to a door which had, indeed, appeared behind her.

“I’m gonna pass on that. What if I tape us together, then we swing down?”

“You can if you want. I, on the other hand, don’t want to slam into a wall, so I’m not going to do that.”

“Oh! I know!” Ashido beamed. “We just go out, then you catch us again right before we hit the ground.”

“Well, it’s better than the tape plan. Let’s do it.” The door opened in front of them, and Montgomery led them through. As soon as they passed through the doorway, they tumbled toward the ground, only to be caught again moments before impact. “The villains. How are we going to fight them?”

“I say we just do it! We’re gonna be heroes, let’s do some hero stuff!” Ashido said confidently. She smiled as Sero nodded in agreement. Montgomery rolled her eyes, but the door opened behind her nonetheless. Ashido swished out, and Sero followed her. The villains moved around them, muttering among themselves as the students positioned themselves into a fighting stance.

A woman charged them, hair trailing behind her like fire. Ashido launched forward, spraying acid toward her. At the same time, Sero launched his tape behind the woman, who, in the process of dodging the acid, swung back right into it. A few quick twists of his arm, and she was tightly bound in a thick layer of tape. A man behind her grimaced and stepped forward, followed by a girl with long grey hair. The girl’s hair rose up behind her, and the man raised his hand. She launched forward. Sero lunged forward, tape streaming toward her. Her hair flashed in front of her face, slicing through the tape, sending it crumpling to the floor. The girl laughed, her hair coiling tight around his chest.

Even before he felt the compression, the first feeling was the heat. Her hair began to burn him, producing an audible hissing sound. Sweat poured down his body, drenching his costume. He began to feel sick. Behind him, he could hear Ashido swishing around, acid spraying in every direction. He looked up as she flung acid toward the girl’s hair. It sizzled, and Sero felt it go limp, dropping him to the ground. The grey-haired girl screamed, but Sero couldn’t focus; heck, he could barely move. The heat was so much, too much. The man stepped over him, pressing his hand to Sero’s back. He screamed as somehow even more heat overwhelmed him.

Then, he felt a now familiar twist in the pit of his stomach. A rush of cool air washed over him, followed by the sound of someone, probably Montgomery if the noise could be believed. He slumped forward, relief washing over him. He could hear Ashido and Montgomery running around, presumably fighting the villains. Then, he heard a scream, and, rolling over, he finally looked up to see what was happening.

A huge doll-like figure loomed behind Montgomery, who was now standing in front of a door. Then, the thing launched forward, arms coiling around the grey-haired girl and yanking her backwards, through the door. He couldn’t see what was back there, but he knew she’d be gone for a while. At the same time, the man lunged toward Ashido, who slid back, precisely balanced on her acid trail. Sero raised his arm and launched a stream of tape toward the man. It spun around him, wrapping him tightly. Moments later, he heard the tape sizzling. Ashido flung acid toward the man, which burned into his shoulder for barely a moment before evaporating. At that point, the doll had returned and was blasting toward him. Ashido ducked out of the way as the doll flung its arms around the man, pulling him back into the dark room behind Montgomery.

Sero lowered his arm, gasping for breath. “We’ll stay here for now, until you feel better. Then we have to go handle the others.” He nodded.

“Thank you, Montgomery-san.”

-------

Momo was falling, rain buffeting her body A parachute ripped out of Momo’s back, tearing through her costume and slowing her descent. Tokoyami activated his quirk, creature arching down from the sky into the ground below and lowering him down slowly and steadily. Suddenly, something whistled past her. She heard a ripping sound and began plummeting faster. Moments before crashing onto the pavement, she generated a cushion under her feet, catching herself with a heavy thump. As Momo struggled to her feet, another projectile whizzed past her head. She glanced up.

A teenager glared at her, blue-grey hair soaked down by the rain. He reared back his hand in a throwing motion, and another arrow shot past Momo’s face. It took her a moment to realize why he kept missing. She only picked up on it when she heard Tokoyami grunt as he launched past her, creature streaming out in front of him. She ducked and generated a weapon of her own, swinging into action. The enemy spun around, launching an array of projectiles. Momo could see now that the weapons were made of ice, sharpened to a vicious point.

As she rushed forward to help Tokoyami, who was moving back and forth efficiently, creature swimming in and out, something slammed into her. Her weapon snapped in half. A man with large wings, wide and scaly, leered at her. She generated another weapon and lunged at him. He swung his wings around and launched into the air. A projectile whizzed past her head as she reared back her weapon, generating a rope on the end as she hurled it toward the man. She spun it, looping it around the man’s wing and yanking him to the ground. Momo ducked out of the way, generating another staff. Behind her, she heard a thump, and Tokoyami stepped up beside her. His creature reared up behind him, large and dark. The man extended his wings out to their full length and lunged toward them. Momo raised her staff, slamming it into his stomach. He stumbled backwards, and she, in turn, lunged at him. The villain flapped his wings violently. The force of the air, aided by the soaked ground beneath her, sent Momo slipping and sliding backward directly into Tokoyami. The man blasted into the air, unperturbed by the driving rain.

Tokoyami’s creature launched into the sky after him, grabbing onto his shirt and pulling him downward. “Yaoyorozu-san, now.” She dropped her weapon, summoning a thick heavy rope. Tokoyami slammed the man into the ground, and he groaned. She quickly raced forward to tie him up. As her fingers coiled around the end to tie the knot, something whizzed past her hand, slicing through the rope. She looked up; the teen from before had gotten back to their feet and was hurling projectiles. She quickly tied the ropes and turned to join the fight. Tokoyami was dancing and dodging as the icy spears launched around him. Momo summoned a shield and leapt into the fray. The teen spun around, releasing a volley of projectiles that Tokoyami easily dodged and she blocked. She summoned another rope.

“Are you ready, Tokoyami-kun?” He nodded, and she ran forward, looping the rope around the teenager, tying it as tight as possible, paying as much attention to their hands as possible so they wouldn’t attack them anymore. Smiling, Momo turned to Tokoyami. “Well, we did it.”

-------

Todoroki summoned an icy surface beneath himself, careful to avoid freezing Hagakure or Jirou. As the villains rushed toward him, he simply put his foot down, allowing the ice to spread up the bodies of the villains. “It’s pathetic to lose to a single child. Get a hold of yourself. You’re an adult, aren’t you?” He glanced around, checking that all of the villains were frozen. “‘Scatter you and kill you,’ huh?” he mused. “I hate to say this, but you just look like guys with Quirks they didn’t know what to do with.”

“This guy… the instant we warped here… Is he really a kid?” He heard a shout behind him and instinctively spun around, catching the man’s spear in his hand and sending ice blasting down it. Seriously? He yanked the spear, sending the man crashing to the ground. These were just grunts, cheap muscle to take care of the students. They weren’t the targets; if anything, the students were just convenient bait. He just had to handle this, probably rescue some of his classmates, and go back up Aizawa.

“Hey, at this rate, your cells will slowly die. I want to be a hero. I would like to avoid something so cruel if possible.” He pressed his fingertips to the man’s face, generating a cold mist. “On what basis do you think you can kill All-Might?” The man gasped and stuttered.

“I-I- do-don-don’t know. Th-they did-n-didn-didn’t t-t-tell us.” It did make sense that they wouldn’t know. Todoroki turned to another villain.

“Is this true?” The other man shakily confirmed. Fantastic. “You’d best hope your boss doesn’t succeed, or no one will be coming to unfreeze you.” He grimaced and walked away.

Chapter Text

Kyouka’s fingers coiled around her phone as she watched Kaminari rush forward, electricity crackling around him. He slammed into a villain, who then collapsed. Again and again, he did this, bumping into villains and electrocuting them. Kyouka stood watching. She could help him, she should help him, but… what if she killed someone? They were villains, sure, but she came here to help people. She never wanted to kill anyone again. Kaminari stumbled past her, shoved out of the way by a villain.

“Izumi-san!” He needed her help. She had to do something, soon, or he would be overwhelmed. She picked up her phone. Should she? Kaminari charged past her again, electricity pulsing around him in a brilliant burst. It exploded around him, sending most of the remaining villains collapsing the ground. He stood up. “Hey, hey, hey!” Kaminari beamed for a moment, flashing her what appeared to be repeated thumbs-up signs, before a villain grabbed the back of his neck.

“Now, drop the phone or I’ll kill him.” Lightning crackled at the man’s fingertips. “If you don’t put up a fight, I’ll let this idiot go.” Her fingers loosened around the phone. He smiled and stepped forward, still gripping Kaminari’s neck.

Her phone rang. Why was it ringing? Who was calling her? Demon Snow appeared behind her, sword extended. The villain stumbled backward, fingers pressing toward Kaminari. Suddenly, giant black spikes shot through him, and she heard a familiar laugh, followed by an even more familiar cough. It wasn’t, it couldn’t be him.

“I’ve waited for this day.” She set herself in front of Kaminari, who was still giggling on the ground, as the man lowered himself down from the mountain. His black coat was as thick and heavy as ever, and he held a cell phone to his ear.

“Akutagawa-san.” He stepped toward her.

“You’ve been playing hero, Kyouka, but we both know who you are, what you’ve done. Do you really think someone like you can become a hero?” Akutagawa shot a glance toward Kaminari. “Come back.” She shook her head. The phone buzzed again before lighting up, signifying voicemail. He tilted his head down at Kaminari. “Kill him,” he ordered, voice coming through the phone as well as from him. Demon Snow’s sword flashed, blade sinking into Kaminari’s stomach.

She grasped at her phone, flipping it open, hand shaking violently as she yelled, “Leave him alone!” Demon Snow disappeared, leaving Kaminari in a pool of blood.

“Come on, Kyouka,” Akutagawa snarled. “It’s time to go.” His coat flashed, and black spikes shot toward her.

“Demon Snow!” The phantom appeared in front of her, sword holding the spikes at bay. Another stream of black lunged toward her. For a moment, phantom and shadow moved in unison, a flurry of light and sound.

“Rashoumon!” The full, demonic maw of Akutagawa’s ability formed behind him, red energy crackling around it as it gnashed its teeth. Demon Snow raised its blade, lunging into battle against the thing yet again. Rashoumon snapped and snarled as the phantom stabbed at it. Kyouka gripped her phone tightly, but her real focus was Kaminari, who was still shaking, blood seeping out from his wound. Suddenly, she felt something wrap around her, pinning her arms to her sides. A black tendril coiled around her phone, pulling it out of her grasp. “How foolish of you. You know that you will never be anything else. No one will want you. The Port Mafia is the only place for someone like you. You were born to kill, to bring death. This is who you are, Kyouka, and you cannot deny who you are.” She squirmed and struggled, but the strands just tightened.

“Demon Snow!” She flailed, knowing that it wouldn’t work. Akutagawa coughed.

“It’s over. Give up.” His coat shifted, and the world went dark.

-------

Kirishima smiled, feeling his hands stiffen with the familiar feeling of his quirk. Behind him, Nakajima was breathing heavily, clearly shaken by the sudden shift from the entrance of the USJ to the crumbling remains of a building. Further back, he could hear Bakugo shouting, even though they were alone.

As Bakugo continued shouting, his voice was punctuated by a crash as a door blew past Kirishima’s face. Several villains rushed into the room. He laughed, explosion crackling at his fingertips.

“Let’s go!” He launched at the villains, throwing himself over one and blasting them away. Kirishima grinned and ran after him. Nakajima seemed to be hanging back for a moment, but he didn’t have time to think about that as a villain charged him. Kirishima swiped at him, but he easily ducked and shoved him, sending him flying. He crashed into a wall and it crumbled, raining rubble down on his head. “Come on, Shitty Hair, you can do better than that!” Kirishima lunged back into the fight. The villain smiled.

“Back so soon? Did you miss me or something?” The man slammed his fist into Kirishima’s gut, and he went careening backward. This time, however, someone caught him. He turned around to see a teenage girl with her hands stained inky black. She flicked her hand, generating a thick strand of black goo that she wrapped around him.

“Come on! Did you really get captured already?” Bakugo glared at him even as he shoved a villain to the ground, releasing an explosion against their face. “Hey, you, long belt!” Nakajima frowned. “Stop being absolutely fucking useless and do something!” For a moment, the boy stood still, eyes darting back and forth before landing on Kirishima.

Blue light exploded around him before subsiding to reveal a tiger, snarling at the girl. It lunged at her, claws extended. At the same time, Kirishima hardened his foot, slammed it into her leg, and ducked as the tiger soared over his head, tackling the girl. She crumpled under its weight, rapidly trying to create cords only to have the tiger slice through them one after the other. Finally, Nakajima slammed a paw into her face, knocking her out.

“Nice!” Kirishima turned around to face Bakugo again. He was shouting as he hurled a villain in their direction.

“Die, you bastard!” The villain soared over their heads. Kirishima glanced around, revealing the man who had pushed him, who was rapidly making his way toward him them. He hardened his arm with a smile, and Nakajima stepped up, tail swishing back and forth. The villain laughed and rushed at them. Kirishima swung around, slamming his arm into the man’s stomach. The villain collapsed. At the same time, he saw Nakajima rush past, tackling another villain. As soon as he had handled the villain, he glanced around. The villains were all down, leaving Bakugo, Nakajima, and himself as the only ones standing.

“That was so manly! You two are awesome!” Bakugo scoffed, but Nakajima smiled softly. Suddenly, somebody shouted. Kirishima looked over his shoulder to see a villian, one who must have recovered, rushing them. Bakugo glanced behind him, releasing an explosion into the woman’s face, and snorted.

“Was that really the best they could do?”

-------

Iida felt Dazai pull his arm away from him. “Class Rep, I assign this duty to you,” Thirteen began. “Run to the school and tell them what is happening here. The alarms are not sounding, and our phones don’t have signal. The alarm system is based on infrared rays. Even though Eraserhead is erasing quirks left and right, they are still not working, which means they must have someone with an interference quirk who hid right when they arrived. It would be faster for you to run than for us to find that person.”

“But it would be a disgrace as class rep to leave everyone behind-”

“Your honor is pointless if we all die here,” Dazai said. “Go. There are alarms outside; they won’t risk following you.”

“Use your quirk in order to save others.”

“I can totally support you like I did in the cafeteria,” he heard Uraraka say. He glanced back to see her beaming at him.

“Please, class rep!” He nodded and primed his engine.

“Even if you have no other choice, are there really idiots who talk about their plans in front of the enemy?” The villain exploded out at them.

“We did it because it doesn’t matter if we’re found out.” Thirteen activated their quirk, sucking in the inky mist.

“Black Hole, which sucks up everything and turns it all to dust. I see. That is an astounding quirk. However, Thirteen, you are a hero who works to rescue people from disasters. As expected, Your battle experience is less than half of that of a normal hero.” A portal opened in front of the villain, absorbing the pressure of Thirteen’s quirk. The portal’s counterpart opened behind the hero, their power pouring out of it. Dazai reacted immediately, brushing his fingers against the portal, which immediately dissolved. The back of Thirteen’s costume fell away.

The hero collapsed forward. “He got me…”

‘“Iida-san, run!” Uraraka yelled. “Hurry!” He stood there for a moment. Could he really leave? It was his responsibility as Class Representative to stay, but…

“Go,” Dazai ordered. “You’re the only one who can.” He was right, but Iida was still nervous. What if something happened because he abandoned his post? “You’re more useful there than here.” Iida nodded. With a heavy sigh, he activated his engines and blasted toward the door.

“One of the children who wasn’t scattered. We are only waiting for All-Might. If the other teachers were here, it will be hard for us,” the villain mused. A portal opened in front of Iida, sending him skidding to a halt. He’d failed. Everyone was counting on him to get help, and he couldn’t even get out of the building, let alone back to UA. He heard somebody scream somewhere in the facility. Suddenly, Dazai rushed past him, pressing his hand into the portal and causing it to dissolve.

“Go, Iida-kun!” He nodded and launched past him. An automatic door loomed in front of him. The villains would have taken out the access to it, so he would have to force it open. He could kick it, of course, but would that even work? It was a top notch security door made for one of the best hero schools, after all. He heard the voice of the warp villain behind him, but he just kept running as the mist extended over his head. Then, just as suddenly, it disappeared.

“If he can wear a collar… he has a physical body!” Uraraka shouted. He didn’t look back, but he heard a heavy crash as the villain was pulled back and slammed down. He reached the door and began struggling to force it open. His muscles burned as he finally forced his way through and burst into the sunlight, already scanning for the way back to UA.

Chapter Text

Chuuya tumbled toward the water for a moment. He barely managed to shut off his own gravity inches before hitting the water. Behind him, he heard what was very distinctly Midoriya’s scream, followed by a splash. Fantastic. Asui splashed down in front of him, and he glanced down. He could see silhouettes moving around underwater, presumably the villains and his classmates. They rushed underneath him, and he followed them with his eyes to where Midoriya had fallen. One figure rushed another, only to be shoved aside by a third. Moments later, Asui surfaced, dragging Midoriya and Mineta with her. Using her tongue, she lifted Midoriya over the side of the boat and onto the desk.

“For a frog,” Mineta groaned, “your boobs are pretty big.” He saw Asui go rigid for a moment, and in that time, Chuuya rushed up to them, grabbing Asui’s arm and shutting off her gravity, lifting her over the side of the boat and setting the two of them down on the deck.

“Thanks, Asui-san,” Midoriya said.

“Call me Tsu.”

He blushed. “Th-th-th-thank you, Tsuyu-chan.”

Chuuya stepped forward. “This a bad situation. We need to get out of here.”

“Yeah,” Midoriya muttered. “What the villain said earlier… They knew UA’s schedule. Those guys must have set up the media intrusion the other day to get information. They were waiting to pounce, just as Todoroki said.” Mineta began shaking.

“But- but- it’s not like they could kill All-Might.” But they probably could. Maybe his lack of knowledge was at play, but Chuuya assumed All-Might wasn’t invincible. Powerful, sure, but not invincible. “Once All-Might comes, he’ll pound those-.”

“Mineta,” Chuuya cut him off. “These guys are clearly smart. Do you really think that they would have come here, at so much personal risk, if they didn’t have a plan? This isn’t something that was put together on a whim; they know what they’re doing.” Midoriya turned to him shocked.

“Guys that strong said they would kill us. I wonder if we can hold out until All-Might arrives. Even if he comes, I wonder if we’ll all make it out in one piece,” Tsuyu sighed. Mineta was shaking and sweating. Why was he here if he was so terrified by the mere concept of villains?

‘M-m-Midoriya…” Of all people to turn to, Midoriya?

‘I don’t care what they could do to us. If those guys have a way to defeat All-Might, then, right now, we should stop whatever they’re planning, by fighting and winning!”

“What do you mean, fight?” Mineta screamed. “Are you stupid?!” While Midoriya was definitely stupid, he was right. Fighting was probably their best chance. “These guys might kill All-Might, right?” By then, everyone but Mineta had moved over to the edge to get a better look at the villains they were facing, but they carried on anyway. “The best plan would be to sit tight and wait for the UA heroes to come save us, of course.” If he didn’t shut up in the next minute, Chuuya was going to punch him.

“Those guys down there assume we’ll be fighting in the water, right?”

“Are you ignoring me?” Mineta wailed. Chuuya felt his own weight shift slightly as a warning sign.

“Does that mean that they knew what was in these facilities before they gathered people?” Chuuya nodded. “For people who gathered that much intel so meticulously, there’s something strange. They sent you, Asu-” She made a noise, “I mean Tsuyu-chan, to the shipwreck zone.”

“You’re okay. You’ll get there at your own pace.”

“Well, what about it?” Finally, a somewhat acceptable contribution from the least useful member of their team.

“This means, in other words, the villains probably don’t know what our quirks are.”

“That’s true. If they knew Tsuyu-chan was a frog, they wouldn’t have sent her somewhere with water. Probably that fire zone over there. They seperated us because that’s the most efficient way to handle unknown quirks. Minimize the number of enemies and and do everything you can to give yourself the advantage.” Midoriya nodded.

“We have inferior numbers and less experience. Our only hope lies in the fact that our opponents don’t know what our quirks. The enemy isn’t trying to climb the boat, which supports my hypothesis.” He had to give it to him. Even if he seemed to be perpetually doing unbelievably idiotic things, Midoriya was smart.

“I’ll tell you more about my quirk,” Tsuyu said. “I can jump high, stick to walls, and stick my tongue out up to twenty meters. I can also spit out my stomach and wash it and secrete toxic mucus that just stings a little.” Mineta blushed, the god damn pervert. “The last two are practically useless, so you can probably forget about them.” Midoriya smiled.

“I already kind of knew, but you’re really strong.” He glanced at his fist. “I have super strength, but once I use it, I’m pretty much out of commission.”

“My quirk lets me stick these things super tight.” Mineta pulled off one of his spheres and attached it to a wall. “Depending on how I’m feeling, they can even stick for a whole day. They grow back after I pull them off, but if i pull off too many, I’ll start bleeding. They don’t stick to me; they just bounce off.” Seriously? That was this boy’s quirk. That was just plain dumb. For a moment, they just glared at him. Then, the boy started sobbing. “That’s why I said we should just wait quietly! My quirk is totally unfit for battle!” At least he was self aware.

Midoriya winced and looked nervous. “That’s not it. It’s an amazing quirk, so we should just think of a way to use it,” he said.

“And I can control-” Chuuya was cut off as a huge hand made of water slammed into the boat, breaking it in half.

“I’m getting impatient,” a villain yelled. “Let’s end this quickly!” Mineta screamed and ran forward, hurling spheres into the water.

“What are you doing?” Chuuya hissed, yanking him back.

“The enemy will figure out your quirk.” Midoriya leaned over the edge. Chuuya followed his eyes to where the villains were trying to push the spheres away.

“The boat will sink in less than a minute. Once they get in the water, we’re sure to win.” He laughed. They really were dumb. Were they even paying attention? They didn’t know their quirks, sure, but had they actually been watching them? They should have seen enough by now to know that wasn’t necessarily true. Midoriya shot him a glance, but Chuuya just laughed.

“Why are you laughing?” Mineta sobbed. “Why are none of you guys scared? We’re about to die! Why are you laughing?” He kept going off. “We were in Junior High only months ago! And now we’re going to die here! I didn’t even get to touch Yaoyorozu-san’s boobs!” The deck cracked under Chuuya’s suddenly enhanced weight. Mineta cringed and stumbled away from him. Chuuya quickly activated his quirk, sending a familiar red glow racing over the surface of the half of the ship and stopping its gravity to hold it in place.

Midoriya turned to face them. “I have a plan.” He quickly filled them in. Moments later, he leapt over the side of the boat, fingers poised toward the water. He hit it hard, releasing a burst of air that sent him flying skyward. Chuuya grabbed him, fingers coiling around his collar for a moment before letting him go, leaving him hovering between himself and the others. His bloody fingers hung limp as they raced away. Mineta suddenly screamed and began hurling spheres into the water, and Chuuya got the sudden urge to just let him fall. The spheres rushed down the vortex that Midoriya had made with his “smash”, attaching themselves to the villains as they fell and eventually sticking the villains together. The villains muttered and screamed as they were sucked under; a plume of water exploded upward, and they were gone.

“I guess it’s like we’ve cleared the first hurdle,” Tsuyu mused. He dropped them into the shallows at the edge of the Shipwreck Zone with a soft splash. Midoriya immediately began muttering to himself about how lucky they were that there weren’t any more of them, that they didn’t have any backup, that he needed to be careful. As right as he was, it was annoying. “Midoriya-chan, stop that. It’s scary. Rather than reflecting back, shouldn’t you think about what to do next time?” He nodded. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah. Anyway, we make getting help our top priority. It would be best to follow the shore and avoid the central plaza as we head towards the exit.”

“That’s true. Aizawa-sensei had drawn a large number of villains to the plaza.”

“But… I think he overextended himself by jumping into that crowd of villains to protect us.

“Wait… Midoriya… don’t tell me… stupid, stupid, stupid!” Mineta muttered.

“I’m not thinking of doing anything that’ll get in his way. But if we can find an opening and lessen Aizawa-sensei’s load, even just a little…”

Chapter Text

Aizawa looped his scarf out and around the villain, erasing their quirk as he slammed them into the ground with a heavy thud. Another three tried to rush him, but he darted out of the way, scarf already coiling back around to catch them. He slammed them, one after the other, into the floor and rushed past. Three more were already poised to attack him. One rushed him, tentacles swirling, two more racing behind them. He looped his scarf around the villains’s tentacles, swinging them around to hit the two. He vaulted up over two more, coiling his scarf around them. As he came down, Aizawa caught a glimpse of four of his students waiting in the water. He easily recognized Midoriya, Asui, Mineta, and Nakahara. The idiots. He’d expect this kind of reckless stupidity from Midoriya, but he had assumed Asui and Nakahara would be able to provide some kind of restraint on his dumbassery.

The lead villain, the one with the hand on his face, suddenly rushed toward him. Was this it? If he could handle him, he could take out the top and maybe the bottom would fall without it. He raced toward the man, who extended out a hand. As they approached each other, he shifted his position, slamming his elbow into the man’s stomach. The man bent, twisted, and grabbed his elbow barely in inche from his stomach. Aizawa’s eyes burned with the stain until he was forced to blink. His hair fell around his shoulders. Damn.

“It’s hard to see because you keep moving around, but there’s an instant when your hair falls. That’s when you’ve finished an action.” Pain shot through his elbow. “And the time in between has gotten shorter and shorter.” He looked to see that his elbow had turned a dusty gray, lined with cracks. What the hell was this guy’s quirk? “Don’t push yourself, Eraserhead.” His elbow began to crumble along the cracks. He finally activated his own quirk and pulled away from the man. The exposed muscle on his arm burned in the open air, but he didn’t have time to worry about that as several villains rushed him. He wove in and out, avoiding their attacks. “That quirk isn’t suited for long fights against a large group, is it? Isn’t this too different from your usual job? What you’re good at is a short fight after a surprise attack, right?” The man with the hands struggled to his feet. “Even so, you jumped right in to fight us from the front. Was that to put your students at ease?” More villains lunged at him. He coiled his scarf and jumped back and forth, taking them down efficiently. “You’re so cool!” Aizawa stood still for a moment, panting. “By the way, hero, I’m not the last boss.”

He turned and looked up. A huge man with inky skin and a bird’s beak loomed above him. His hand slammed into Aizawa’s face, sending agony splintering through his head as he was shoved to the ground. “I’ll tell you something, Eraserhead. He’s the anti-Symbol of Peace, the bioengineered ‘Nomu’.” Nomu screamed and grabbed his arm. It yanked back his arm with a sickening snap, and Aizawa couldn’t bite back a scream. “You can erase quirks. That’s wonderful, but it’s nothing impressive. In the face of overwhelming power, you might as well be quirkless.” He spun and glared at Nomu, summoning as much of his quirk as he could. It screeched and slammed down on his arm. Could it really be that strong, even without a quirk? He’d snapped both of his arms with unbelievable ease.

Nomu pulled Aizawa’s head back and slammed it into the floor hard enough to crack the concrete. The agony ripped through him even more than before, rivulets of blood rushing down his face. He heard voices speaking around him.

“Tomura Shigaraki.”

“Kurogiri, did you kill Thirteen?”

“I put Thirteen out of action, but there were students that I was unable to disperse, and one of them was able to run away.” One of his students had escaped. If they were smart- and Midoriya was here, so they probably were- they’d go get help. He just had to hold on until then.

“Huh.” He heard laughter. “Kurogiri, you… if you weren’t a warp gate, I would’ve crushed you to pieces. We can’t win against dozens of pros. It’s game over this time. Let’s go home.” Were they really retreating? “Oh, yeah, before we leave, let’s smash some of his pride as the symbol of peace.” He raised his head to see the villain racing toward his student. He reached for Asui’s face, fingertips outstretched. Aizawa activated his quirk, feeling his body shake with the strain of holding his head up. “Damn it. You really are cool, Eraserhead.” Nomu yanked his head back and slammed it down. He felt his nose crack and spill more blood down his face.

“Let go of her!” Midoriya yelled. Great. The idiot was going to break his limbs, and then someone was going to have to rescue him. “SMASH!” He felt a burst of air rush past him from the impact. Nomu let go of him and ran away. For a moment he just breathed. Then he froze. The creature was going somewhere, and the only somewhere it made sense for it to go was toward his students. He had to get over there.

“You move well. Your ‘smash”- are you a follower of All-Might?” One could say that. “Oh well. I’m done with you.” Midoriya screamed. He heard Nakahara groan, followed by a heavy thud as Nomu slammed past him. Then, something exploded at the entrance. He looked up for a moment.

“IT’S FINE NOW! I AM HERE!”

-------

Izuku’s eyes locked firmly onto All-Might. Was it really okay for him to be here, when he’d used up his time already? Surely there were other heroes UA could have sent to rescue them. All-Might stepped forward. “I HAD A BAD FEELING, SO I TORE MYSELF AWAY FROM MY CHAT WITH THE PRINCIPAL AND CAME. I PASSED YOUNG IIDA ON MY WAY AND GOT A ROUGH IDEA OF WHAT HAD HAPPENED.” So Iida had gotten away and gone for help. “GOOD GRIEF, IT REALLY MAKES ME ANGRY. THINKING ABOUT HOW FRIGHTENING IT MUST HAVE BEEN FOR THE CHILDREN… AND HOW HARD MY JUNIORS FOUGHT… BUT THAT IS WHY I MUST PROUDLY SAY ‘IT’S FINE NOW!’ ‘I AM HERE!’” He pulled off his tie, grimacing. He wasn’t smiling. Pushing through when he was out of time must be extremely difficult for him.

“I’ve been waiting for you, hero. You trash of society.” The hand-villain’s voice rang out over the sounds of shock and surprise coming from student and villain alike. A handful of villains rushed forward, but All-Might took them down with such speed and efficiency that they barely managed to take a step. He scooped up Aizawa and kept moving, grabbing the students and carrying them toward the stairs.

“EVERYONE, GO TO THE ENTRANCE. I’M LEAVING AIZAWA-SAN TO YOU. HE’S UNCONSCIOUS. HURRY!” Izuku nodded.

The hand-villain covered his face as he stumbled towards his artificial one, which had been blown off, as he muttered, “It’s no good… it’s no good… it’s no good… I’m so sorry… he hit me as he was saving them… it’s the violence of a government official…” Nakahara elbowed him.

“Midoriya-kun. Come on. We need to go.” He nodded, and Nakahara picked up Aizawa, the red glow from his quirk spreading across their teacher’s body. As they made their way toward the stairs, he could hear All-Might fighting. Sounds of punches and shouts finally forced him to shoot a glance over his shoulder as All-Might hurled the bird-creature, Nomu, to the ground. Air and dust exploded around them.

“How did he make a suplex look like an explosion?” Mineta grinned. “All-Might’s on a whole ‘nother level!”

“Even though he’s a rookie teacher who can’t teach without looking at his notes…” Tsuyu trailed off. Izuku shuddered involuntarily. That thing, Nomu, was powerful. If it could easily withstand his smash and a punch from Nakahara in quick succession… how would it react to All-Might’s? Could he really beat that thing? He was All-Might, of course, but would that be enough? Should he go back to help, leave Aizawa with Nakahara and run back into the fight? What if he got captured? That would do more harm than good, so was it really worth the risk? He would just have to have faith in All-Might. He was the number one hero, after all. He didn’t get that far for nothing.

Nakahara elbowed him. “Come on already.”

“Get ‘em! Aim for the balls,” Mineta screamed. Nakahara looked like he was about to kick Mineta in the balls.

“Were we overthinking it?” Tsuyu looked over her shoulder. Izuku followed her gaze to where the smoke had cleared. All-Might had slammed the creature into the ground, only for a portal to open beneath him, allowing Nomu to loop around. The creature’s claws sank deep into the hero’s stomach. He could hear the hand-faced villain talking, but he didn’t care. His eyes flicked across All-Might’s body. He’d been stabbed in the side where his injuries were. All-Might struggled to break out of the thing’s grasp. Both All-Might and the villains were talking now, but he couldn’t make out the words between the distance and his own racing thoughts. What was happening? Should he step in? What if he made things worse? What if they actually killed All-Might? Nomu was designed to do the job. What if it was successful? His eyes darted around. There had to be something they could do, even from so far away. Some of them had longer-range quirks; surely someone would be able to intervene.

All-Might sunk under the ground, absorbed by a warp gate that had appeared beneath him. Izuku’s eyes widened. They were going to cut him in half. For a moment, he stood stock still. Then, spurred on by the realization that he couldn’t exactly make things any worse, he took off running.

Chapter Text

Dazai groaned as he watched Midoriya sprint down the stairs, leaving Chuuya, alone with Asui and Mineta, standing on the steps. His eyes trailed down to where All-Might was wrestling something. Flexing his fingers, he shot a glance at Uraraka and Thirteen, then back at All-Might and Midoriya, then back again. Uraraka nodded at him, smiling. He took off running, sprinting down the stairs.

“All-Might!” Midoriya called. As he approached, Dazai could see that All-Might was pinned down by a creature with black skin and a beak-like mouth. Beneath him was a warp gate, swirling black. It was a decent plan on the part of the villains, but nothing incredible. Midoriya reached out for All-Might. The mist-man manifested in from of him. Dazai finally reached them, wrapping his fingers around Midoriya’s arm and pulling him back as Bakugo launched over their heads.

”MOVE IT, DEKU! STAY OUT OF MY WAY!” The warp gate exploded, and Baguko, grabbing him by the collar, slammed him down. Ice shot up the creature’s body. Todoroki.

“I heard you are here to kill All-Might.” Kirishima was the next one to step in, launching toward the hand-villain, who stepped out of the way.

“Damn it! I didn’t get to do anything cool!”

“Stop acting so stuck up, Shitty Hair!” Bakugo snarled.

“The Symbol of Peace cannot be killed by someone like you,” Todoroki said.

“Kacchan! Everyone!” Midoriya smiled, pulling his arm out of Dazai’s grasp.

“You careless bastard,” Bakugo grumbled. “You’re just what I thought you’d be. Only certain parts of you can turn into a warp gate. The fog gate covers your real body, right? Back when we attacked you, you said ‘that was close’. You wouldn’t have said that if you didn’t have a physical body.” The mist shifted. “Don’t move or I’ll blow you up.”

“Nomu.” The hand-villain said calmly. The creature struggled out of the warp gate, forcing itself upright. As it did, two of its limbs, the frozen ones, snapped off. It continued to fight its way into motion.

“Even though it’s so injured… it’s still moving.” Dazai snorted. Midoriya was one to talk, with his visibly limp fingers and blatant history of getting injured.

“GET BACK!” All-Might ordered. The creature, the one the man had called Nomu, moaned as muscles burst out of its shoulder and lower body, forming new limbs. “WHAT? HIS QUIRK ISN’T SHOCK ABSORPTION?”

“I didn’t say that was all he could do,” the villain muttered. Multiple quirks? Dazai subconsciously flexed his fingers. The creature’s skin extended over the newly-grown limbs, and it growled. “Nomu has been specially created to take you at 100%. He’s essentially a human sandbag.” The man sighed. “First, we need to get our exit back. Go ahead, Nomu.” the creature lunged forward, and rubble exploded around Bakugo. Out of the corner of his eye, Dazai saw All-Might start moving.

“Kacchan!” Midoriya screamed. He heard a cough from behind him. “You… you dodged?” Bakugo grimaced.

“No.”

“Then how…”

“It must have been…” Kirishima’s eyes landed on the broken wall, where the dust was settling. “All-Might!” Indeed, the hero was standing there, arm raised defensively.

“REALLY? DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW TO HOLD BACK?”

“I was defending my companions. I mean, earlier, that plain-looking one was going to punch me with everything he had, you know. Violence for the sake of others is admirable, right, hero? You know what, All-Might? I’m angry. I’m angry that we live in a world that categorizes the same acts as ‘heroic’ or ‘villainous’, deciding what’s good or what’s bad. ‘The Symbol of Peace’?” The man laughed. “You’re just a figurehead to repress violence. Violence only breeds violence. The world will finally see this once we kill you.” Dazai laughed at the sheer stupidity. All-Might would realize something once he was dead? That’s not how dying works.

“That’s preposterous. The eyes of white-collar criminals burn silently. You just want to enjoy this yourself, don’t you, liar?”

“It’s three against six,” Kirishima said.

“Kacchan already discovered the fog’s weakness,” Midoriya added, nodding slowly.

“These guys are crazy, but if we help back up All-Might, we might be able to push them back.”

“NO!” All-Might ordered. “RUN AWAY!”

“You would have been in serious trouble if we hadn’t gotten involved earlier,” Todoroki grumbled.

“THAT WAS A DIFFERENT STORY, YOUNG TODOROKI! THANK YOU, BUT I CAN HANDLE IT FROM HERE. JUST WATCH WHAT A PRO CAN DO IN TOP FORM!”

“All-Might, you’re bleeding, and you’re-” Midoriya stopped. Interesting. He watched All-Might flash him a thumbs-up.

“Nomu. Kurogiri. Get him.” The creature lurched forward. “I’ll deal with the children. Now, let’s get on with it so we can go home.” The villain started moving toward them, only to be cut off as All-Might rushed past, slamming into the Nomu

For a moment, everything was still. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, bursts of air came rapidly. A fist-fight? Could the injured All-Might really handle that?

“Hey,” the hand-villain began, “you were talking about his shock absorption earlier.” Ah. A fistfight would, in fact, be the way to handle shock absorption. But if the creature could really regenerate so efficiently, would it really work? Nomu and All-Might swung at each other in perfect unison, releasing intense bursts of air with every punch. The wind pushed him back, sending all of the students flying. He caught a glimpse of Midoriya and Bakugo trying to upright themselves. Dazai could tell that All-Might was yelling at Nomu, and the villains were talking, but he couldn’t make out any words over the noise.

Then, he heard a heavy crunch behind him. He glanced over his shoulder; Chuuya was standing behind him, hair whipping around in the wind, red glow extended over his body. With every step he took, the ground cracked. “Dazai, come on.” He nodded and began to struggle to his feet. For a moment, Chuuya reached out to help him, but he waved him away.

“Come on, Chuuya-kun. You’re smarter than that. There’s no use in you staying to help me. Go get the others.” He nodded and launched into the air once again. Dazai staggered forward, shaken and battered by the continual bursts of wind. Another crash, and he turned to look over his shoulder. All-Might and Nomu were full-body throwing each other, rubble flying in every direction. He carried on, pushing toward the stairs. He could hear Chuuya arguing with Midoriya. Probably trying to convince him that getting to see All-Might in action wasn’t worth the risk.

“HEY, VILLAIN, HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THESE WORDS?” All-Might’s voice rang out loud and clear. He heard Chuuya go silent. “GO BEYOND! PLUS ULTRA!” Several crashes, followed by a loud explosion, filled the air. He looked over his shoulder again as Nomu hit the wall, sending a cascade of explosions down the wall. The ground shook underneath his feet as the thing blasted out of the building and over the city skyline.

With a heavy sigh, he glanced around. Chuuya must have gotten literally everyone but Midoriya out of the way. Midoriya glanced over at where All-Might was standing. “NOW, VILLAINS! I’M SURE WE WOULD ALL LIKE TO FINISH THIS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

“No way… we’ve been completely overwhelmed,” the villain sighed. “I can’t believe he did that to my Nomu.” The man began muttering to himself.

“WHAT’S WRONG? YOU’RE NOT COMING? DIDN’T YOU SAY YOU WERE GOING TO ‘CLEAR’ THIS? THEN COME AND GET ME!”

“Come on, Midoriya,” he heard Chuuya say. For a moment, the boy was going to protest, before Chuuya grabbed him and began physically pulling him away. Dazai smiled, watching him try in vain to fight to stay.

“WELL, COME ON!” All-Might shifted forward but, other than that, didn’t move. He was bluffing. Why, Dazai didn’t know, but the hero couldn’t keep going. He was trying to stall for something. He must have somehow over-extended himself against Nomu and was trying to scare off the villains through sheer force of presence.

“Tomura Shigaraki!” The warp gate said. “Please calm down. He was clearly weakened by the damage from Nomu’s attacks. Besides, the majority of the children are gone. We still have usable underlings. The heroes’ reinforcements will arrive at any moment. If we work together, we still have a chance of killing him.”

“Yeah... yeah... yeah... right... right… We have no choice but to do it. I mean, we have the final boss right here, in front of us.” Villains began to struggle their way back to their feet. Dazai immediately adjusted his posture, getting ready for a fight. The hand villain charged toward All-Might, arm outstretched. “This is revenge for Nomu!” Another heavy crash behind Dazai signified that Chuuya had returned. He smiled. Chuuya, at least, he could count on. The warp gate lunged at All-Might, and Dazai finally took off running. He rushed toward the warp gate, Chuuya audibly on his tail. The man he’d called Shigaraki reached out, his hand passing through the gate. He almost laughed. He genuinely thought that was going to help him. He’d seen Aizawa, and he had a pretty solid guess how the damage to his elbow had happened. As the man’s hand closed in on his face, Dazai extended his own, ready to dispel the warp gate. If he did that, Chuuya would be able to handle him, then they could take on Shigaraki.

The familiar sound of a gunshot rang out through the building. Blood sprayed across Dazai’s face as a bullet pierced the villain’s hand. “Sorry, everyone!” He glanced up towards the source of the voice. At the top of the stairs, a number of pro heroes, with the principal leading them, were already preparing to handle the villains. “I gathered everyone who was available.”

“I, Tenya Iida, have returned, as befits my duty as class rep!” The villains, having regrouped, charged forward. A blond man stepped forward and released a brutal scream that sent villains and broken bits of floor flying. Another man stepped forward, sending forth several copies of himself, which rushed into the villains.

“Split up and get the students!” The pro heroes dispersed in every direction. Shigaraki stumbled away, into the warp gate.

“It’s game over now.” Bullets flew down toward him again. Several shots through the villain’s body before the warp gate could cover him. The gate began to slide over him before suddenly being pulled away.

“This is… Thirteen!” The warp gate shouted.

“I may have failed…” Shigaraki sighed, “but next time, I will kill you, All-Might!” The warp gate closed, and the villains were gone. The heroes fanned out across the facility to take care of any remaining villains. He glanced over toward All-Might for a moment. The hero was shaking, mist spraying out from his body. Then a wall of heavy cement blasted into existence between the two of them and All-Might.

“We want to make sure all students are safe, so please go back to the exit.” What were they hiding? It wasn’t like he or Chuuya were trying to go anywhere, so they had to be trying to cover up something. Chuuya grabbed his arm.

“Come on, Dazai.” He followed him back through the rubble and up the stairs, into the growing crowd of students and heroes. As they made their way through the crowd, he caught glimpses of the other students. The loud blond hero directed them all outside.

Several vehicles were parked outside the building. Most of them were police vehicles, of course, but he caught sight of Midoriya and Kaminari being put in a separate car. A large splotch of blood was smeared across Kaminari’s stomach, so he could only assume that things didn’t go particularly well for him.

“Other than the boy who was seriously injured and the one who broke his fingers, everyone appears to be unharmed.” He heard a near-silent sob. Izumi was shaking, tears rushing down her face, eyes trained on the car. “Let’s have the students go back to school for now. We won’t be questioning them yet, anyway.”

“Detective, what about Aizawa-sensei and Kaminari-kun?” Asui asked

“Aizawa-san is in the hospital with facial and arm fractures. Fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any brain damage. However, he seems to have suffered serious eye damage which may result in his eyes having permanent aftereffects. As for Kaminari-kun, he seems to have avoided any major organ damage.”

“What about Thirteen?” Uraraka stepped forward.

“Thirteen has been treated. The laceration from the back to upper arm was pretty bad, but they will survive. All-Might will also be okay. Recovery Girl’s healing will be enough for him, so he’s in the nurse’s office.”

“Midoriya-kun?”

“Mido- Oh, yeah, treatment in the nurse’s office will be enough for him. Now, go back to your classroom.” They filed onto the bus. “Sansa-san, I also have business in the nurse’s office, so I’ll take them back. You handle things here.” An officer with a cat mutation quirk saluted the detective before walking away. The police officer climbed into the bus after them. Unlike the drive to USJ, the entire trip back and most of the walk to the classroom were completely silent. It was justifiable, of course. For most of them, this was their first brush with real danger. In the silence was the dawning realization of what exactly they’d dove head-first into.

Chapter Text

“Wait here.” Uraraka nodded as Nakahara ducked into the principal’s office. “Principal, I need to talk-” she heard him say before the door clicked shut. She vaguely wondered what he needed to talk to the principal about. Was something wrong? Nakahara was one of the most capable people in their class, so he wasn’t struggling with the material. Something to due with the USJ attack? She didn’t know where he’d been during that; maybe something happened. She was considering listening in at the door when Midoriya walked past her.

“Uraraka-san?”

“Midoriya-kun!”

“What are you doing?”

“Nakahara-kun is talking to the principal, and I agreed to wait for him.”

“Well, Tsuyu-chan and I are going to walk down to the new hero fan merch store. Do you guys want to come?”

“Sure! I’ll ask Nakahara-kun if he wants to come too when he’s done.” Midoriya nodded.

“We’ll meet you out front!” He walked off, leaving her alone in the hallway to wonder what Nakahara was doing again. Fortunately, she didn’t have to wait long; not five minutes later, Nakahara came strutting out of the principal’s office.

“Thank you,” he said as the door closed.

“What did you need to talk about? Is something wrong?”

“Nah, don’t worry about it. Just stopping by to talk.”

“Oh, Midoriya-kun and Tsuyu-chan are going to head down to the new hero merchandise place, and I said I’d go with them. Do you want to come?” He considered for a moment.

“I told Dazai I’d hang out with him this afternoon, so I’m afraid not.”

“Oh, okay! Have fun.” She smiled as she made her way out front, where Asui and Midoriya were waiting.

“Mucus could be super useful as a distraction, or maybe you could use it to-”

“Midoriya-kun?” Asui cut him off. “She’s here.”

“Oh!” Midoriya looked back at them. “Hey, Uraraka-san!” She waved, and he smiled. “You guys ready to go?”

“Yeah!” Uraraka beamed.

“Let’s go,” Asui said, already walking down the street. They quickly followed her.

“We were just talking about all the cool ways Tsuyu-chan could use her quirk!” Midoriya said, still grinning.

“Midoriya, you were talking about how I could use my quirk.” He blushed.

“Sorry...”

“Don’t worry about it.” She smiled.

“Quirks are just so cool. I mean, Tsuyu-chan can do so much cool stuff, and I haven’t gotten to see a whole lot of your quirk, Uraraka-san, but it seems really awesome too, and you two can both do such cool things…” By then, she had begun to zone out. Soon, they rounded the corner to where the store was. Uraraka and Asui stopped in front of a window displaying items to curious window shoppers. They were full of hero merchandise: t-shirts, costumes, posters, action figures, and so much more. It took her a moment to realize that Midoriya was no longer with them. She glanced around. He was still walking, mumbling to himself and oblivious to the fact that they had stopped.

“Midoriya-kun!” She grabbed his arm. He blinked and looked up, then past her to where Asui was waiting in front of the shop.

“Oh! I’m so sorry!” He stuttered out, sweat beads already starting to form on his face.

“It’s okay,” she said as they made their way back to the store. He immediately pushed the door open and hurried into the shop, immediately gravitating towards a vibrant red and blue section. The All-Might section, of course. Smiling, Uraraka scanned the store for something interesting. The first thing she saw was what, upon closer inspection, looked like a Thirteen t-shirt. Having met the pro hero in person, and fought alongside them, it was a little strange to see merchandise of one of her teachers. But, she mused, this would be the world she’d inhabit once she became a pro in her own right: merchandise, interviews, all the trappings of a celebrity, for both her coworkers, and, should all go according to plan, herself.

Maybe she should get something for Nakahara, since he couldn’t come. She glanced around. The problem was, she didn’t know which heroes he liked. He didn’t even seem to know all that much about heroes themselves, especially for someone aiming to be one.

“Oh my god!” Midoriya squealed. Was something wrong? She glanced up, concerned, to find him staring in awe at an All-Might poster. “I’ve been looking for this one for months!” What else could she possibly have expected? This was Midoriya, after all. He immediately grabbed two posters and rushed to pay for them. Placated, she next looked over to Asui, who was likewise watching Midoriya. In fact, it seemed like everyone had turned to look at him. Even as the other people turned around to go back to their shopping, but both Uraraka and Asui kept their eyes on Midoriya.

When he came back to them a few minutes later, smiling, he asked, “Is there anything you two wanted to get?”

“I mostly came because you wanted to,” Asui said.

“A-Asui-san…” Midoriya mumbled, looking down at the floor in dejection.

“Asui-san, that’s so harsh,” Uraraka said.

“Call me Tsu.”

“Oh… o-okay…”

“But no, we came because we wanted to hang out with you,” Uraraka said, smiling. His face lit up. “Did you get everything you wanted?” Midoriya nodded. “Should we do something else, or go our separate ways?”

“Well, where do you two live?” They both listed off their addresses, and he frowned. She could understand that; they all lived in different directions. “Well, then, I’ll see you guys tomorrow!” She nodded.

“See ya!” The three of them walked out of the shop, waving their goodbyes as they went their separate ways. As she made her way home, Uraraka smiled. This was going to be a great year.

-------

Kyouka shuffled forward, eyes trained on the ground. What had she expected? She’d risked everything to run away and chase this fantasy of being a hero, and now, it was about to crumble through her fingertips. How could they let her continue studying at UA, after everything Akutagawa said? Maybe the right thing to do was to turn around, go back to the school, and confess. They might be more lenient if she went back and was open with them. That was a thing… right? She had tried, but in the end, the past caught up with her. She could have killed Kaminari, and it would’ve been her fault. She stopped for a moment, trying to decide whether to go back, when she heard a voice behind her.

“Izumi-san!” She glanced up to see, of all people, Kaminari, making his way toward her. He was holding his gut, and she felt her stomach drop. For a moment, she stood shaking, before she turned and bolted. What could he possibly want? Was he angry, vengeful, or trying to negotiate something? As the only one who would have heard what Akutagawa said, he had powerful leverage. Was he going to try to use it? People ducked out of her way as she ran. When she glanced over her shoulder, Kyouka realized that Kaminari was still trying to follow her as she vaulted over a fence. “Izumi-san, please!” She kept running, ducking around buildings and under barriers before she realized he wasn’t following her. She finally stopped, which was when she realized that, somewhere in her run, she had grabbed her phone again. With a heavy sigh, she let go of it and turned around. Where was she?

The obvious answer was to go back in the direction she had come. She could still avoid Kaminari, as long as she was careful. Of course, she couldn’t stall forever - he was in her class, after all -, but maybe he wouldn’t try anything. She turned around, retracing her footsteps. Several minutes passed before she recognized her surroundings again. “Hey Izumi-san!” She heard Kaminari before she saw him. Kyouka paused behind a building and glanced around the corner.

He was waiting at the fence, still calling after her. Something about the desperation in his voice, now hoarse from shouting, made her stop. Maybe, he actually wanted to talk to her? No, that couldn’t be it. Who would want to talk to someone like her, especially after she’d attacked them?

But his voice sounded so earnest, so certain, that it hurt to hold out on him like that. She ducked around the corner and saw his face light up. “Izumi-san! There you are!” He looked at her, smiling, as she climbed back over the fence and landed next to him.

“Kaminari-kun?” Despite her efforts, her voice came out small and shaky, but he just grinned.

“Thanks!” She shuddered as he grinned. For a moment, he tensed.

“Are you okay?” She went still.

“... yes.”

“Are you sure?” She nodded. He looked her up and down skeptically. “I’m not mad at you, you know,” he said, but she was already walking away. He followed, several inches behind her. “Hey,” his voice was soft. “Izumi-san, what’s up? You know you can trust me, right?” Why would he say that? Was he trying to get something from her? The next moment, he was holding her arm. “No, please.” She froze, his fingers tight around her arm. “Please, Izumi-san, wait..” She pulled away and took off, running away from him. “Look… I’m sorry.” She stopped. “Izumi-san, I don’t know what’s wrong, but I don’t want to hurt you. You seem like a really cool person, and I really want to be your friend, but I - I’m kinda dumb,” Kaminari let out a soft chuckle at that, “And I need you to tell me if that’s okay with you. So... do you want to be friends?” She nodded shakily. “Okay. Thank you.”

He led her back into the street. For the first few minutes, they walked in silence. Then, Kaminari started chattering away, visibly happier than he had been minutes before. “Hey, so, did you know that bananas are actually berries?!” She giggled. What? He visibly lit up, grin somehow expanding. “They are!” She smiled at him, and he pointed to something behind them.. “Look at that bird!” Kyouka followed his finger to where he was pointing. A grey bird, perched on a telephone wire, was flapping its wings at another, which was cowering away from it. “Bakugo.” His finger shifted to the other bird. “Midoriya.” Another bird fluttered down from a higher wire, landing between the two. “And Aizawa-sensei, I guess.” She giggled again. Who knew that Kaminari was an expert in matching the personalities of humans to birds? They kept walking, Kaminari chattering on about whatever came into his mind. “Oh, hey, an ice cream stand!” She looked up, only to find him rushing towards it. After a moment of hesitation, she followed.

“How can I help you?” The man at the stand said, looking up at them.

“I’d like a blue raspberry cone, please!” He handed the man some money, only to stop. “Do you want one, Izumi-san?” Kaminari asked. She looked up and nodded. “Blue raspberry?” She nodded again. “Make that two, please.“ He pulled more money out of his pocket and handed it over. The man nodded and gave him the two cones, one of which was promptly handed to Kyouka. Kaminari gestured to a bench nearby. “Over there?” She nodded, and they sat down.

The moment they sat down, Kaminari started eating, but Kyouka just stared at hers for a moment. Why had he bought it? Should she pay him back? Or was this bribery, intended to make her feel indebted to him. “Hey, are you okay?” Kyouka nodded. “You know you’re allowed to not be okay, right?” He was worried? Was all this some trick to get her to open up to him? Why? After what she had done to him, why would he, how could he be so nice to her? Tears began to run down her face. Somehow, Kaminari thought that she still deserved his kindness even after he’d seen exactly what kind of monster she was. thought that she deserved his kindness after he’d seen exactly what kind of monster she was. “No, Izumi-san! What’s wrong?! Please don’t cry…” By then, the ice cream was beginning to drip onto her hands.

“Why are you doing this?” Her voice wavered as she spoke. Without any hesitation, he responded.

“Well, you seemed really upset after USJ. I only kind of remember what happened, but I need to make sure you’re okay.” What did he mean, he didn’t remember what happened? “I know that there was a man there, that he made you stab me. I don’t know much else, but I do know that what happened wasn’t your fault, so you shouldn’t blame yourself.” Her tears ran faster. “Please, Izumi-san.”

“But I… what I did…”

“Nothing that happened at USJ was your fault. You did your best. We’re still students. We don’t have to be ready yet. That’s why we’re here. At UA, learning how to become the best heroes ever!” Her tears came even faster and her fist clenched around her cone, causing it to snap in half, sending melted ice cream running out of her fist and onto her uniform.

“Oh,” she muttered involuntarily. Kaminari began cleaning it off it off. “I’m sorry.”

“No, no, no, don’t worry about it!” Kaminari smiled at her. “It’s okay.” He held out a hand to her. “Come on, let’s go.” She let him haul her to her feet. Tears still dripping down her face, she followed him through the streets. “Hey, Izumi-san. You know you can talk to me, right?”

“I’m… so sorry…” she began, but he cut her off.

“You’ve done nothing wrong. I told you before. Nothing that happened was your fault.”

“But it was! He came after me because-” Kaminari shook his head.

“That doesn’t matter. You’re a hero, Izumi-san, or you will be. Sometimes things happen, and we have to deal with them. You seem really really cool and I really want to be your friend!” She smiled softly. “So you have to tell me Izumi-san… do you want to be friends?”

“Yes.” He lit up, beaming at her.

“Thank you!” His phone buzzed. “Oh, I’m sorry, I have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow?” She nodded, and he ran off. Kyouka sighed. Kaminari was nice. She had enjoyed spending time with him, but who knew how long that would last.

Chapter Text

Kirishima grinned at Bakugo. “Hey, Bakugo-kun! Do you want to train together this afternoon?”

“And why would I want to train with you, Shitty Hair?” He snarled.

“Could be fun! I have a lot I could learn from someone as manly as you!” Bakugo snorted.

“Well, duh. Fine.” Kirishima smiled. This was going to be fun! “I’ll meet you in the gym in five minutes.” He nodded and went to go change. It would be dumb to fight Bakugo, of all people, in his school uniform. They couldn’t use their costumes, so he changed into his own clothes and went down there. The gym was almost empty. He caught a glimpse of Montgomery doing some training of her own, but other than that, one or two students from other classes were scattered around, but it only amounted to a few. Bakugo was already waiting for him. “What the hell took you so long?” They found a mat, and Kirishima took his position.

“Quirks or no?”

“Quirks, of course,” Bakugo spat. Kirishima nodded and hardened his arm. Bakugo grinned, explosions crackling at his fingertips as he launched himself toward Kirishima. He ducked and slammed his hand into Bakugo’s stomach. Bakugo groaned and pressed his hand to Kirishima’s chest, releasing a blast, sending him flying. He could feel where he was going to have bruises soon as he struggled to his feet. Bakugo loomed over him, fingertips crackling and laughing. Kirishima lunged at him, squaring a punch at his stomach, but Bakugo blasted him again. “Is that all you’ve got, Shitty Hair?” Kirishima laughed.

“Of course not!” He rushed forward again. Bakugo prepared to blast him yet again, but he ducked and hit his stomach. He bent at the waist, and Kirishima slammed a hardened forearm into him, sending Bakugo stumbling backward. He grinned and launched another explosion at him. Kirishima hardened his chest and rushed onward, only to be blown back anyway. They carried on like that, explosions flying every which way. Finally, Kirishima had to call it off. “I think that’s enough for now,” he panted.

“Really?” He glanced up at the clock.

“Well, it has been half an hour of straight fighting, Bakugo-kun.” Bakugo exhaled.

“Fine. We can stop.” Kirishima glanced around. Montgomery was gone; she must have left while they were fighting.

“Thank you!” As they were getting ready to go, Montgomery appeared several feet away from them. “How do you do that?”

“It’s her quirk, dumbass.” Montgomery nodded.

“But how does it work?” He asked. “I saw you use it on Midoriya and Yaoyorozu and Mineta, but how does it work?” She considered for a moment.

“I have a doll called- well, it’d be easier if I show you?”

He nodded. “Go for it!” She glanced at Bakugo.

“Do you-”

“Duh.” She nodded and exhaled. Kirishima felt a twist on his stomach, and the world changed around him.

The padded floor and concrete structure of the training room was replaced with a checkered floor and an expanse of pink sky. Toys lay strewn across the floor. A single segment of brown wall with a door stood behind Montgomery. Kirishima gasped. It was incredible. “Wow.” Montgomery blushed. “So you bring people here, and then… do you physically fight them? Do you get some kind of boost from being here?”

“Well…” she began. “Like I said, I have a doll named Anne. She helps me fight.”

“Can we see her?” She shot a glance toward Bakugo and nodded. The next moment, a huge doll-like figure flickered into existence behind her, looming large against the salmon sky.

“This is Anne.”

“Great. You’ve seen her thing. Are we done?” Bakugo grumbled.

Kirishima laughed. “How do you train your quirk?”

Montgomery snorted. “Well, I mean, I don’t really. It’s not like I can use it against me, and-”

“I can help you,” he offered. She smiled.

“I mean, if you want to...”

“Yeah! This is so awesome! Come on, Bakugo-kun!”

“Fine, Shitty Hair.” Explosions ran down Bakugo’s arms. “Let’s crush this extra so I can go home.” Montgomery nodded, and the doll moved. In a moment, it was behind him. Kirishima ducked, hardening his fingers as he slashed upward, but the thing was gone. Baguko blasted past him. “Get out of my way!” He shoved a hand up against the doll, but it just moved again. He glanced up. Montgomery was gone.

The doll soared toward him, and he raised his fists, ready to fight, only to feel a heavy impact on his knees, like someone had kicked him in the back of the legs. The doll’s arms wrapped around his body, and he was lifted into the air, racing towards the now-open door. Bakugo lunged toward him, but the doll pulled him back. A moment later, the door slammed shut.

Kirishima stumbled forward, landing on the padded floor of the training room. He glanced around. Bakugo had Montgomery pinned down, a door closing behind them. “God damn it, Shitty Hair. You lost to the creepy doll girl? Really?”

“Hey! Don’t call me creepy!”

“Do you have a problem?”

“Come on, dude. Don’t be mean.”

“Shut it, Shitty Hair. Let’s go. This is boring.”

“Come on, Bakugo-kun!” Kirishima called, but he was gone. “Thank you, Montgomery-san.” She nodded. “Let’s hang out again sometime!” Montgomery smiled, and he waved as he went to go get ready and go home.

-------

Dazai jumped off the fence when Chuuya stepped up beside him. “What took you so long, hatrack?”

“I had to talk to the principal about something.”

“Is something wrong?”

“The trash that goes by the name of Mineta needs to go.” Dazai nodded.

“And you think the administration will do something about it?”

“If they don’t, I will.” Dazai looked him up and down.

“If you’re sure that’s what you want to do.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Chuuya demanded, but he was already walking away. Dazai ducked into an alleyway, already looking for something. He heard Chuuya step up behind him as he scaled the roof. “Dazai? What are you doing?” Chuuya rocketed past him, landing on the roof.

“You know, that’s not legal.”

“You, of all people, are worried about what’s legal? What you gonna do, report me to the police?”

“Just don’t be stupid, Chuuya-kun.”

“I would never.” He extended a hand out to Dazai and hauled him up onto the roof. Dazai rushed over to the edge, already looking across the city. “Dazai! What are you doing?” Dazai grinned.

“Watching.”

“What?”

“Silly Chuuya-kun.” Chuuya grumbled, but Dazai kept going. “Todoroki-kun is down there. I’m watching him.” Indeed, he watched Todoroki flip open his phone and mutter into it, still walking. His head was down, his eyes trained on the ground, shoulders hunched. So, he didn’t want anyone to hear his conversation. Who could he be talking too? He couldn’t hear the boy’s voice, but he saw him stiffen. Whoever was on the other end had said something that upset him. Todoroki nodded stiffly and closed the phone, walking quickly away. “Come on, let’s go.” He hurried down the fire escape and back into the street. Chuuya dropped down beside him with a heavy thud and followed him as they tailed Todoroki.

The boy moved quickly through the streets, limbs betraying not rush nor fear but intentionality. He had somewhere to be, and he knew it. But where was he going? He made his way through what were obviously familiar streets, based on the way he kept his eyes on the ground. It was several minutes before Dazai noticed a shift in Todoroi’s posture. He’d noticed them. It was another minute before the boy spun around, ice spraying toward them. The wave of frost split around him, leaving both him and Chuuya unfrozen.

“Why are you following me?”

Dazai smiled. “Because I could. Because why not. Because I felt like it. Because I was bored. Because you’re hiding something, and nothing is more interesting than someone with something to hide.” Todoroki frowned.

“Well, I don’t see how that’s your concern.”

He heard Chuuya groan and say, “Because nothing says innocence quite like ‘butt out’, huh?”

“Leave him alone.” Dazai grabbed Chuuya’s arm. He glanced back over his shoulder. “He’s right though. Take care of yourself, Todoroki-kun.” They walked back into the streets, him half-dragging Chuuya behind him. Finally, Chuuya pulled his arm away.

“Are you serious, Dazai? All that, and you’re just going to walk away?”

“Oh, come on, Chuuya-kun, please. I’m not walking away from anything, just stepping back. It’ll come in time.” He glanced over his shoulder. “We’ll find out what’s going on with Todoroki-kun soon enough. Just wait.”

Chuuya nodded. “I suppose so. But why do you care? We have our own issues to deal with.”

“Like I said, boredom. He seems like he’ll be interesting, and I want to see how this will play out.” And, although he would loathe admitting that was the reason, it was what Odasaku would have wanted. ‘Be on the side that saves people’, he had said, life already draining away. ‘Become a good man. Protect the weak and save the children.’ Todoroki was only months younger than Dazai himself and weeks younger than Chuuya, but something in him wanted to help him if he could. Maybe he couldn’t, maybe he would only make things worse, but he would try, if not for Todoroki then for Odasaku, for himself.

“Do what you want, but I’m not saving you when you get yourself into serious trouble.” Dazai rolled his eyes, fully aware that Chuuya was probably going to be the one to get in trouble long before he did. Oh well. They’d just have to wait and see.

Chapter Text

When Izuku entered the school that morning, All-Might was already waiting. “MAY I HAVE A MOMENT OF YOUR TIME, YOUNG MIDORIYA?” He nodded and followed the teacher into the staff room. The man deflated immediately, sitting on the couch. “The UA Sports Festival is something pro heroes- no, the whole country- is watching closely. It’s a big event!” Izukunodded. The UA Sports Festival, one of the biggest events in the country. He’d been watching it every year since he was four. “That is what I brought you here to talk about. As the next All-Might, the future symbol of peace, this is your chance to tell the world ‘I AM HERE!’. But could he do that? With his limited control of his quirk, was he even capable of such a thing?

“But… how can I…”

“You know the Sports Festival system?”

“Yes, of course. All of the students from every course come together and fight through preliminary games, grouped by year rather than by course. Then, those who make it through get to face off in the finals.”

“That’s right! You’ve got to make yourself known as much as possible!” All-Might yelled.

“Yeah!” His mind was racing. It was going to be hard to do well as he was, especially when he and his class were still reeling from the USJ attack. He wasn’t sure if they’d be able to focus given the looming threat of the League of Villains. And then… he wanted to, of course, but he didn’t have to do well at the sports festival since he had All-Might. It might be better to step aside for those who didn’t have a mentor like that if he even had the potential to stand out himself. It wasn’t until All-Might said something that he realized he’d been muttering.

“No one’s better at sputtering nonsense than you.”

“Nonsense?”

All-Might sighed. “There are those aiming for the top and those who aren’t. That slight difference in attitude will have a big impact on your life.” He was right. Just because he’d been given so much didn’t mean he shouldn’t try. “I understand how you feel, and this is more for me than you.” What did he mean? “I won’t force you, but I hope you won’t forget how you felt that day at the beach.” Of course. He would give it his all, channel that desperation into motivation and go as far as possible. He stepped out of the room with a simple bow and walked to class.

The normal stream of classes went by until Aizawa was standing in front of them. “The UA Sports Festival is drawing near.” “Of course, joining a famous hero agency will get you more experience and popularity. One chance a year- a total of just three chances. No aspiring heroes can afford to miss this event. If you understand that, do not slack off with your preparations.” Izuku glanced down at his hand and smiled. All-Might was right. This was his chance. “Alright. See you tomorrow.”

Uraraka slid the door open and gasped. “W-what’s going on?” Countless students were crowded around the classroom.

“What do you want?” Nakahara hissed.

“We can’t get out! Why are you here anyway?” Mineta stuttered.

Kacchan grumbled, “Scouting out the enemy, dumbass. We’re the ones who survived the villain attacks. They came to check us out before the sports festival.” Classic Kacchan. Kacchan walked up to the gathered students. “It’s pointless though. Get the hell out of my way, extras.”

“Don’t flatter yourself, Bakugo-kun,” Nakahara said. “They aren’t here just for you.”

Iida screamed, “Stop calling people extras just because you don’t know them!”

“I came to see what the infamous class 1-A was like, but you seem pretty arrogant.” A tired-looking boy stepped forward. “Are all the hero course kids like this?” Izuku shook his head. He didn’t want this kid to hate them. “Seeing something like this makes me disillusioned. There are some students in general studies or the other courses because they didn’t make it into the hero course. Did you know that?” He hadn’t, but it made sense. The school would populate its courses with talented applicants that didn’t make it into the hero course before reaching into the wider pool. “The school has given us another chance. If we do well enough in the Sports Festival, they’ll consider allowing us to join the hero course.” That was so cool. Were they going to get new classmates after the festival? He couldn’t wait to meet them, if so. “And they might transfer particularly weak competitors out. Scouting out the enemy, huh? I, at least, came to say that even if you’re in the hero course, if you get too carried away, I’ll sweep your feet out from under you. I came with a declaration of war.” He was bold, no doubt about it. Behind him, he heard Dazai laughed.

“Well, you’re certainly confident.” Dazai’s voice was calm and even. “This should be entertaining.” For a moment, the boy looked confused, then like he was going to argue, before someone’s voice cut through the crowd.

“Hey, hey, hey, let me through.” Another person, a silver-haired boy, pushed their way to the front. “I’m from class 1-b! I heard you fought villains, so I came to hear all about it! Don’t get full of yourself! If you bark too much, it’ll be super embarrassing for you when we fight!” Kacchan just frowned and walked away. “Are you ignoring us?”

“Bakugo-kun! Aren’t you gonna do something?” Kirishima ran after him. “This is your fault, after all.”

“It doesn’t matter, as long as you rise to the top.” The boy with the silver hair carried on screaming as chatter filled the room. As Izuku walked out of the school and toward the train station, he let himself think. This was his chance, but it was everyone else’s too. Kacchan didn’t do things half-heartedly, and none of the others would either. He was going to have to give it his all and hope that that was enough. He didn’t know what events he would be competing in, so the answer was to focus on all-around training. He flipped open his notebook, already planning what he could do.

The following weeks passed in a flurry of training. Much of the class- and, indeed, much of the school- spent almost all of their time preparing. Izuku himself training day and night, even working out when he watched the nightly hero reports. Finally, the day of the Sports Festival arrived.

“Be careful not to get hurt.” His mom handed a water bottle.

“Okay.”

“I’ll record it all. In HD.”

“Okay.” She smiled at him.

“You can do this!”

Izuku nodded. “Thank you, Mom!” He set off for school, smiling. He was going to do his best today, and that would have to be enough.

They had a separate entrance open for the students so they didn’t have to go through the press and the visitors, which led directly into the hall lined with waiting rooms. He opened one to find all of his classmates hanging around, already dressed in their gym uniforms. They weren’t allowed to wear their costumes for the sake of fairness. Izuku’s was still a mess, so he wouldn’t have been able to wear it anyway. He changed quickly. By the time he got back to the waiting room, he barely had a moment to breathe before Iida burst through the door.

“Are you guys ready? We’re starting soon.” Iida nodded.

“Midoriya-kun.” He glanced up to see Todoroki looking at him.

“Todoroki-kun? What is it?”

“Looking at this, I am undeniably stronger than you.” Wait… what did he want? Izuku nodded. He was right, no doubt about it. “But All-Might has taken an interest in you, right?” Oh, god. Was Todoroki on to them? “I won’t pry into that.” He exhaled softly in relief. Maybe this would be okay, after all. “But I’m going to beat you.” He gulped. Todoroki was probably right.

“Oh,” he heard Kaminari say, “Is the best in the class declaring war?”

“Hey, why are you picking a fight?” Kirishima stepped forward.

“We aren’t here to be friends.” Todoroki turned away.

“I don’t know what you plan to say when you beat me,” Izuku began, “but of course you’re better than me. I think you're more capable than most of the people here. Looking at realistically…”

“Midoriya, don’t be so negative.”

“He’s right.” Izumi’s voice cut through the crowd. “Most of us cannot beat Todoroki-san. That is simply how things are.”

“Izumi-san, come on, have a little confidence!” Kaminari said. “You can do it!”

“The kids from the other courses want to crush us. I can’t afford to fall behind. I’ll be going after it with everything I have!” Izuku continued.

Todoroki nodded. “I would expect no less.”

Chapter Text

Atsushi stepped into the blinding sunlight of the arena, the deafening noises of the crowd all around him. The announcer, whose voice he recognized from the entrance exam, was already speaking.

“The UA Sports Festival! The huge battle where fledgling heroes test their mettle once a year! Besides, these are the ones to watch! The new stars who already valiantly conquered their enemies! Hero course, class 1-A!” He felt his gut clench. Could he really do this? What if he just crashed and burned? Would they expel him, transfer him, kick him out? What was he going to do if that happened?

“Time for the player pledge!” A woman shouted over the crowd. He looked up. She had long black hair and a white costume, whip in hand. Why was she dressed that way? “Be quiet! Representing the students is Katsuki Bakugo from Class 1-A!” Wait… Bakugo? Bakugo was going to represent them all, somehow. What was he going to do? Bakugo stepped onto the platform.

“I pledge that I will be number one.” His voice was almost bored as he said the words. Atsushi winced. This was why everyone hated them. The assembled students began booing angrily.

“Why are you being so disgraceful?” Iida demanded. Bakugo turned back to them.

“Do something useful and becoming a stepping stone on my way.” He glared at them as he stepped back into the crowd. Atsushi closed his eyes. This was going to be a disaster, with a start like that.

“Alright! Let’s get started!” The woman smiled. “The first game would more accurately be called a qualifier. Every year, many face rejection here!” What if he failed the qualifier? Is that what they meant by a performance poor enough to be kicked out of the hero course? “Now, here is the first game!” A screen sprung into existence behind her. “This year, it will be…” lights flickered across the screen before settling on one, “an obstacle race! All eleven classes will be participating in this race. The course will be the outer circumference of the stadium. And, because this is UA, you can do anything you’d like, so long as you stay in the course!” She pointed across the field. “Now, get to your places!”

They made their way to the starting gate. People stuck with their classes, although he didn’t know whether that was by mandate or simple preference. He glanced around at his classmates, then out into the gathered students. There was no way he could beat out the others. This was it. He just had to hope that he’d do okay enough, somehow, for them to let him stay. “Start!” the woman yelled. Immediately, the crowd rushed forward. Atsushi had to dodge students as they sprinted past him.

“Okay, here’s the play-by-play! Are you ready to do some commentary, mummy man?” The announcer’s voice was loud enough to shake the ground a little bit.

“You’re the one who made me come.” Wait, that was Aizawa? His teacher was going to publicly describe his failure? Fantastic.

“Let’s get started right away. What should we pay attention to in these early rounds?” Atsushi tried to push his way through the crowd of sweaty bodies and jabbing limbs to get into the course, but he couldn’t get any further through the wall of students. He was already behind. There was no way he could recover from something like this. Then, a wave of ice shot past him, arcing out of the gate. Todoroki rushed past him, Dazai hot on his tail. Of course. His feet ached with the cold, and he closed his eyes. He was going to have to just rip himself free and rely on his quirk to cover the rest. As he was pulling himself free, several of his classmates rocketed past him. He recognized Nakahara, Yaoyorozu, and Bakugo.

“I won’t let you get off so easily, half-and-half bastard!” Bakugo screamed. With a painful ripping feeling, Atsushi tore his feet free from the ice and rushed after them. Around him, he saw the rest of the students breaking loose and slipping along the icy surface. He slid forward for a moment before a realization hit him. He closed his eyes and felt his body shift from boy to tiger. He bounded forward, claws gripping the ice as he moved. He followed the others from behind. At one point, Mineta leaped into the air, hurling the spheres from his head out in front of him and bouncing along them.

“I’ve outwitted you, Todoroki-kun!” The boy grabbed another sphere and prepared to launch it at Todoroki. “Take this!” Something slammed into him, and Atsushi stopped. In front of them were an array of robotic villains from the entrance exam.

“The first barrier has arrived! Some of you students may recognize them from the Hero Course Entrance Exams!”

“So this is what the general entrance test was,” Todoroki mused. Noise filled the crowd as students tried to figure out what to do. The robot began to reach toward them. “I wish they’d chosen something a little more impressive.” Ice exploded around him and shot over the robot like a wave. Todoroki kept running, leaving the crowd in the shadows of the robot.

“We can get through under the legs like he did!” Someone suggested.

“I wouldn’t. The robot is in an unstable position. They’ll fall any minute.” Atsushi leaped back as the villain lurched forward and collapsed.

“Todoroki-kun from Class 1-A! He both attacked and defended in one go! Amazing! He’s the first one through! It’s practically ridiculous!”

“His actions are logical and strategic,” Aizawa said.

“As expected of a student who made it through on recommendations! He’s never fought them before, but they were no match for him!” Atsushi looked around as more villains advanced. A deep breath rattled his chest. Maybe he could do this.

“Someone’s trapped underneath!” Another student shouted. Wait. Someone was stuck underneath? Were they okay? Should he do something? Could he do something? Suddenly, the ice on top crackled and Kirishima burst out of the top.

“Like I’d die! That jerk, Todoroki, had it planned just right to fall!” Another figure burst through the metal, shining silver in the sunlight.

“Class 1-A really are bastards!” It was the grey-haired boy who’d come to their classroom before the festival. “If it wasn’t me, they would have killed someone!”

“Our quirks are pretty similar,” Kirishima said.

“Huh?” The silver boy looked confused as they ran over the villain. From further into the crowd, his ears picked up a growl. Bakugo launched over their heads and past the robot.

“Like I’d let you icy-hot bastard get in front of me!”

“Clever! Katsuki Bakugo, from class 1-A, couldn’t go under, so he went over!” Sero and Tokoyami launched over the machine after him. Atsushi finally took off running, other students following him. Behind the carcass of the original giant ones were a number of smaller enemies. He rapidly pounced from one to the other, sinking his claws into their metal exteriors and tearing them to shreds. Atsushi shifted back into a human as he kept running. “So the first barrier was easy, huh? Then what about the next one?”

He came to a halt at the edge of a deep pit, lines of chord connecting platforms all the way across. “If you want to get across, you better crawl!” Crawl? Would it be better to do this as a human, tiger, or something in between? He needed balance, so he should go with some level of transformation, but the tiger would be too heavy.

“Check out my babies, all you companies out there!” A girl with pink hair yelled, zooming forward past him and onto the thing. All that equipment… was that allowed?

“I can’t believe you dumbasses are letting this stop you,” Nakahara spat, launching himself out over the chasm. Todoroki and Bakugo quickly followed, skating and soaring after him respectively. Within a moment, more of his classmates were moving on, each in their own ways. Iida slid along the string, Uraraka ran across, probably decreasing her weight, Izumi stumbled along, phone pressed to her ear and phantom carefully guiding her, and Yaoyorozu had created a tightrope walker’s harness. With a nod, he felt his body shift, settling into something between tiger and human as he stepped onto a wire, crouching to hold on with both hands, tail balancing him out in the back. Atsushi moved slowly, carefully avoiding the others as he made his way across.

Before he’d even gotten halfway across, he heard the announcer’s voice. “This is the final barrier!” The others had already passed the pit. Oh well, he just had to keep going and hope it would be enough to carry him forward. He caught a glimpse of Midoriya clambering along the bottom of a wire, armored plating from one of the robots strapped to his back. “The reality here is that it’s a minefield. Of course, these mines aren’t too dangerous, but they have enough flash and noise to make you wet your pants” A minefield? He was going to have to be careful when he got up there, but, for now, he had to focus on getting there. Distracted, he slipped, barely catching himself with his right hand. A tentative pull showed that he couldn’t pull himself up. He began swinging, arm by arm like a monkey, toward a platform. When he finally reached it, he sunk his claws on his back feet into the rock and hauled himself upward, back onto the top.

Even more carefully this time, he crawled along the wires to the edge of the pit and jumped back onto solid ground, already running toward the next obstacle, the minefield. It was an open space of brown dirt, already spotted with explosions. Midoriya was digging around the mines, probably planning something, but Atsushi didn’t have time to deal with that. He stepped onto the dirt tentatively, eyes scanning for any sign of one of the mines. Kirishima shouted as he was blown away, dirt cascading around him. So there was some force behind them. He shifted back into a human; his tiger feet were too wide. Atsushi darted from across the field, eyes trained on the ground to watch his feet and be aware of the mines.

Then, an explosion echoed through the stadium. “There’s been a huge explosion in the back! And- was that intentional?- Class A’s Midoriya is gaining a lead!” He glanced up. Midoriya was, indeed, soaring over the field on top of the piece of metal. Atsushi didn’t have time to worry about him. He stumbled forward, and his foot sank into the dirt. He barely knew what was happening before the mine exploded, sending him careening backward into another mine, which launched him back forwards. Eyes and face stinging, he struggled to his feet, careful to avoid any more mines. “AND WE HAVE A SURPRISE FIRST PLACE WINNER! MIDORIYA-KUN FROM CLASS A!” Midoriya had won. An unexpected result, sure, but also an irrelevant one.

Atsushi kept moving, ducking from spot to spot slowly and carefully. By the time he reached the end, the announcer had given up on declaring the new people who placed. With a single heavy breath, he stopped at the end of the track and glanced around. A lot of students were already standing there. Oh, well. It was too late to change anything. He would just have to hope that that was enough to get him through.

Chapter Text

Shinsou ran a hand through his hair as he looked around. The top 42 finishers would enter the next round, and while he certainly hadn’t come first, it was enough to get him through. Of the kids to make it, the vast majority of them were the idiots in the hero course, with a few support course students sprinkled in. He was the only general studies student. It was stupid how blatantly rigged it was, but this was his chance. He had to do well enough to get into the hero course, or it was all for nothing. This was what he’d been waiting for, and it hinged on a cavalry battle. He needed a team. As he looked around, his eyes landed on the engine-legged boy from class A. He seemed decent enough, but Shinsou wasn’t going to rely on his personality. What he needed was his quirk.

“You’re Iida, right?” He asked, stepping up behind the boy.

“Yes! My name is-” Something clicked into place, and Iida’s face went blank. Shinsou’s work complete, he turned away.

“Follow me.” He scanned the crowd for another potential member. He caught a glimpse of the red-head -Nakahara, supposedly- and the brown-haired boy who’d made fun of him when he went to scope out 1-A waiting at the edge of the crowd. If he could get those two, it’d make a good team. “Hey, you two.”

“Eh, what do you-” Click.

“You’re the boy who came to our class, right?” Rather than clicking, Shinsou’s head began to hurt. He looked up, confused. Why wasn’t it working? By then, his head was throbbing violently as he made eye contact with Nakahara, or at least tried to. His eyes were empty, but he was clearly in pain, bright red lines snaking along his skin as he let out a ragged, angry scream. The others turned to look at him, eyes wide. “Chuuya-kun?” The brown-haired boy reached over and grabbed his arm in a flash of blue light.

“What the hell was that?” Shinsou said, eyes narrowed.

“I should be asking you the same question, asshole!” Nakahara glared at him. He made an effort to make sure he didn’t feel the click.

“Leave it.”

“Oh really, Dazai?” The boy -Dazai- began pulling him away. “I’m gonna kick his ass!” What was that? Had he done something to Nakahara? Had he caused that? And why hadn’t his quirk worked on the Dazai boy? Who were they? He looked around. The white-haired tiger boy was wandering the crowd. Perfect. He made his way toward him. The boy was talking to another member of class A, a girl with long black hair in two low ponytails.. Were they a team?

“Are you two a team?” He hoped it would work this time. If not, he didn’t know what he would do.

“No.” Shinsou felt the familiar click, and he released the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. The white-haired boy looked blankly back at him, and the girl stumbled back.

“What about you?” She shook her head. “Do you want to join my team?”

“Yes.” Click. This was his team. He’d seen them during the obstacle course; they were all workable, and under his control, he could use them to get through.

“What are your names?”

“Tenya Iida.”

“Atsushi Nakajima.”

“Kyouka Izumi.”

“Now then, let’s get started!” The woman at the front yelled. Shinsou nodded.

“Okay, Nakajima, you and Iida pick me up.” They did. “Izumi, you get in the back.” A bell blew, and the battle began. “Alright, Izumi, activate your quirk.” She flipped open the cell phone hanging around her neck. A large phantom-like figure blossomed into existence behind her. Impressive. That would be useful. “Send it off for a headband. How about,” he glanced around the field. He noticed, for some reason, the absence of several teams, most notably the Midoriya one. Oh, well, he’d just have to get the most from the people around him. “Hers.” He pointed toward a girl with long green hair and a headband labeled 195. Izumi repeated the order into her phone, and the phantom vanished, reappearing in front of the girl’s team. “We’re going after that one.”

They rushed toward a team of hero course girls. Nakajima and Iida carried most of his weight. Izumi wasn’t strong enough to help hold him, especially with one hand occupied, but the others were more than enough. Besides, her quirk was like having a whole other team operating for him. The phantom appeared beside him and handed him the headband. “Give me the phone, Izumi.” She did. He pressed it to his ear and spoke calmly, hoping he had interpreted her quirk right. “Get behind them,” he ordered, and the thing rushed away, coming to a stop behind the opposing team. As they approached them, the enemy team readied themselves. The girl on top reared back her arm. “Stop her.” The phantom caught her arm. “Grab the headband.” She gasped as her band was pulled away.

“What the hell?” Her fist expanded several times as she ripped her elbow away and went to punch him.

“Nakajima, block it!” The boy pushed his way to the front, catching the blast himself, Iida holding him up. “Get the other ones,” he ordered into the phone. The phantom launched forward, quickly grabbing the other three and pulling them away. He tied them around his own head and nodded. “Keep them at bay. Let’s keep moving.“ His team turned to face the green-haired girl and her team. The rider was a boy with silvery hair, the one who could turn his skin into metal. But, as his team charged toward them, something rippled in the air, and his stomach dropped.

The sky was a vibrant pink, the ground a checkerboard pattern, and toys lay strewn across the floor. Around them, other teams looked like they were trying to coordinate something. In the center were the teams of Midoriya, Bakugo, and Todoroki. Great. Bakugo was laughing, his team stationed above the others, on top of a giant Rubik’s cube. Midoriya and Todoroki rushed toward each other. He glanced around to see that none of the other teams had headbands left.

Team Bakugo launched down into the Midoriya vs. Todoroki fight, but Shinsou had other things to worry about. A huge doll-like entity appeared behind his team, arms reaching toward him. “Nakajima,” he pressed the phone harder against his ear, sending the order through it as well, “destroy it!” Nakajima nodded, quirk activating and turning him into a half-tiger, half-man. He and the phantom lunged forward, claws and sword slashing against the doll in tandem. The thing ducked back. “Nakajima, stay with the team.” He stepped back. “Izumi, tell me what to call this thing.”

“Demon Snow,” she said, voice flat and hollow.

“Demon Snow, get any headbands you can.” The thing rushed off, racing toward team Midoriya. The doll returned with a vengeance, looming ahead of them. “Iida, Nakajima, get us out of here. They nodded, and he felt Iida’s engines kick into a higher gear. They rushed off, blasting away from the doll. As they moved, Iida bumped into a girl with large horns and stumbled, barely catching himself before he dropped Shinsou. The doll appeared in front of them, looming and large. “Demon Snow!” The phantom reappeared, two headbands wrapped around its arm, sword already raised. The doll darted back again, rushing behind them, and the phantom followed. Again and again, they moved back and forth, leaving Shinsou and his team trapped between them. He reached out and grabbed the bands from Demon Snow’s arm, rapidly tying them around his head.

Then, a sound like an alarm clock going off. “The time is up, Todoroki-kun!” A girl yelled. He looked up. Team Bakugo was launching forward just as an icy wall sprung up between them and team Todoroki. Bakugo launched himself forward, his team barely holding on.

“The game is over, Kacchan!” Midoriya yelled.

“Not until I say it is!”

“Bakugo-kun,” the red-haired boy on his team said, “the round is over. It’s unmanly to break the rules.”

“Shut up, Shitty Hair!”

“Montgomery-san,” the red-head turned to the girl next to him, “can you end this?” She nodded. “Go for it.” Shinsou’s stomach plunged once again, and they were standing back on the concrete stage.

“And the contestants have returned!” Present Mic shouted.

“Well, that was certainly an interesting match,” Midnight said. “Let’s look at our results!” The board flickered, and the point totals appeared. Third. His team had come third. With a sigh, he released his hold over his teammates. “The top four teams will move onto the final round!”

“Let’s look at our advancing teams!” Mic announced. “In first place, we have Team Bakugo, made up of Katsuki Bakugo, Eijiro Kirishima, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and Mina Ashido! In second, Team Todoroki, featuring Shouto Todoroki, Chuuya Nakahara, Denki Kaminari, and Momo Yaoyorozu! Then, Team Shinsou, made up of Hitoshi Shinsou, Kyouka Izumi, Tenya Iida, and Atsushi Nakajima! And, in fourth place is team Midoriya, with Izuku Midoriya, Ochaco Uraraka, Mei Hatsume, and Fumikage Tokoyami!”

“Thank you for your hard work,” he said, glancing at his team as he handed Izumi’s phone back to her. For a moment, she just stared at it, breath shooting from steady to heavy and ragged, and tears began to appear in her eyes. Her body shook with a silent sob as she tentatively took it, fingers unsteady enough that she almost dropped it. Of course. This was what always happened when people found out. They freaked out, decided he was evil, and wanted nothing to do with him. He just had to prove them all wrong.

“Now, we’re going to break for lunch before the afternoon’s festivities! See you all soon!” He’d made it. He just had to do well, and maybe, they’d let him finally be the hero he could be.

Chapter Text

Todoroki exhaled, eyes staring directly at Midoriya. “W-what did you want to talk about?” Midoriya asked. “Come on, Todoroki-kun. If we don’t get there soon, the cafeteria will get super crowded.” That didn’t matter. He had to say these things to Midoriya, an affirmation of his promise to not use his left side if nothing else, after releasing his fire during the cavalry battle.

“I was overpowered. That’s why I broke my pledge.” He raised his left hand, slowly clenching his fingers. “Uraraka, Tokoyami, Yaoyorozu, Nakahara, Kaminari- none of them felt it. But only I was overpowered. Me, the only one who has seen All-Might’s full power.”

“What do you-”

“I felt similar power from you.” Midoriya winced. So he was onto something. “Midoriya-kun, are you All-Might’s secret child or something?” Midoriya’s eyes widened, and he just stared. “Are you?”

“No, no, no, no! That’s not it.” But something was, and Todoroki would get to the bottom of it. “I mean, even if I was, I’d deny it, so I don’t think you believe me, but I promise that’s not how things are.” Midoriya looked him in the eyes. “But, I need to ask you. Why would you think that?”

“You said ‘that’s not how it is,’ which means that there is a connection that you can’t talk about, right?” He sighed. “Endeavor is my father. As you know, he has been stuck at number two for a long time. If you are connected to the number one hero, that is only more reason I need to beat you. My old man has a strong desire to rise in the world. He won a name for himself through crushing force, but All-Might has always been a sore spot for him. He couldn’t beat him, so he moved onto his next plan.”

“Todoroki-kun, what are you talking about? What are you trying to say?”

“You’ve heard of Quirk marriages, right? Choosing a spouse based on strengthening your quirk and passing it to your children and forcing people into marriage? It’s an old-fashioned practice with no morals or ethics. My father is a man with both fortune and fame. He easily won over my mother’s relatives and got access to her quirk. He is trying to fulfill his goal by raising me to surpass All-Might and become the number one hero.” Todoroki grimaced. “I refuse to become the tool of a monster like that. In all of my memories, my mother is always crying.” Slowly, he raised his hand to his face. “ She told me ‘your left side is unsightly’ as she poured boiling water onto my face. I picked a fight with you to show him what I can do, how powerful I can be, without using his quirk. I will reject him completely by winning first place without ever using it.”

For a moment, they looked at each other in total silence. Then, Todoroki turned and began to walk away. “I don’t care if you can’t tell me how you are connected to All-Might. That doesn’t matter. I will rise above you, using only my right side.” He kept on walking, not even stopping to talk.

“Todoroki-kun!” He stopped. “I have always been supported by the people around me. That is how and why I am here. Strong and fearless, like All-Might- that is who I want to be. To do that, I have to become strong enough to be number one. My motive may seem trivial next to yours, but I can’t lose either, for the people have helped me get where I am. I’m returning your declaration of war. I will beat you, Todoroki-kun.” Todoroki turned away. It was a given, of course, that Midoriya would fight his hardest. He walked toward the cafeteria. As he made his way through the halls, he caught a glimpse of Izumi sobbing into her hands, phone hanging from a string around her neck again. He frowned but kept walking; he didn’t know her well enough to say anything. In the cafeteria, he saw his classmates had spread out: Jirou and Tokoyami sitting at a table, both wearing headphones; Asui, Uraraka, Iida, Dazai, Nakahara, and Midoriya sitting together, chatting; Kirishima, Bakugo, and Montgomery yelling at each other. Kaminari brushed past him as Todoroki took in the scene. He got in line and bought a bowl of noodles, which he ate alone. Then, he made his way back toward the waiting room, but before he made it, they called the contestants back to the stage.

“Now, the last contest! But we have recreational activities for those of you who didn’t make the finals, so don’t worry!” Present Mic laughed. “We also brought in real cheerleaders from America!” He blinked. Why would they do that? That wasn’t the point of this event. “Wait, what’s this?” Todoroki glanced up. All of the girls in his class, excluding Izumi, were wearing cheerleading uniforms. Most of them looked a bit uncomfortable. “What are you doing, Class A?”

Yaoyorozu turned bright red. “Mineta! You tricked us!” She frowned. “Why does this keep happening? Why me?” Uraraka tried to comfort her.

“You asshole!” Montgomery looked like she was ready to murder Mineta.

“Well, it’d be a shame if things got tense, so let’s just do it!” Hagakure laughed.

“You’re enjoying this, Hagakure-chan?” Asui asked.

“Alright, everyone!” We’re starting the recreational games! Once that’s over, the finalists from the cavalry battle will fight it out tournament style, one-on-one!”

“Now,” Midnight said, “let’s see the bracket. After that, we’ll have the games and then start! You finalists get to choose if you want to play in the games! Now-”

“Excuse me, ma’am!” He recognized Iida’s voice immediately. “I’d like to withdraw if possible.”

“Iida-san, why?” Midoriya asked.

“I don’t remember anything from the start of the cavalry until almost the end. I think it was the effects of my leader’s quirk.” Iida was on team Shinsou, if he remembered correctly. “I understand that I’m giving up my chance, but I have to. I can’t accept an honor I didn’t earn. It would be disrespectful to all of you who fought so hard to be here.”

“You’re worrying too much, Iida-kun! Just take the opportunity and earn it along the way!” Kirishima said.

“He’s right. It’s stupid to throw away your chance for your honor. No one would blame you for what happened if you kept going. Your obsession with honor is only hurting you.” Dazai said.

“Be that as it may, it would be disgraceful for me to carry on.”

“Um…” Nakajima spoke up too. “I’d also like to withdraw for the same reason. What kind of person, what kind of hero, am I if I can’t progress for myself?” Izumi stepped forward, but Kaminari caught her arm.

“Don’t, Izumi-san. Let it go,” he said.

“What an unusual turn of events! It’s up to the referee to decide what she wants to do!” Present Mic yelled.

“Youthful talk like that is something I love!” Midnight yelled. “I accept your withdrawals!” She beamed. “In that case, we’ll have to move up two people from the fifth-place team!”

“Well,” a red-haired girl said. “I think it shouldn’t go to us, but to the team who fought so hard to reach the top. If you are okay with it,” she glanced at her team, who nodded, “I believe that honor should go to Team Tetsutetsu!”

“Kendo-chan!”

“It just makes sense.”

“Thank you.” The team turned to discuss for a moment before two members raised their hands. “We’d like to proceed if you’re okay with that!”

Midnight smiled. “In that case, Tetsutetsu-kun and Shiozaki-chan have moved up to make sixteen! These are the results of the bracket!” Todoroki scanned the bracket. He would be fighting Tokoyami first, in the second fight. He glanced across the crowds, eyes picking out the pairings from the gathered. Izumi, Kaminari still holding her arm, was up against Midoriya, who was smiling. Kirishima and Tetsutetsu were already arguing. Montgomery and Shinsou seemed to have adopted a strategy of ignoring each other. Bakugo was glaring at Hatsume, who was tinkering with her gadgets. Ashido and Uraraka were both smiling at each other. Nakahara smirked at Kaminari, but he was preoccupied with Izumi. Momo and Shiozaki were both looking at each other with interest.

He made eye contact with Tokoyami, who just nodded. Todoroki clenched his right fist. He could win, he would win, all without using his father’s quirk.

Chapter Text

Kyouka made eye contact with Midoriya from across the stage, fingers clenched tightly around her phone. He smiled at her. “For our first match, we have Class A’s Izuku Midoriya, our first place finisher from the obstacle course! Opposing him, we have Kyouka Izumi, also from Class A!” The announcer talked with a bright, happy tone, but she only paid attention to the rules of the match. One of the pro heroes would step in if anything got too serious. She wouldn’t kill Midoriya. They’d step in before that could happen. He flashed her a thumbs-up as the announcer bellowed, “Now, start!”

Midoriya charged toward her, arms in position for a punch. She pivoted out of the way, more on instinct than anything. He spun around, grabbing her arm as he did. With a deft twist of her wrist, she broke out of his grasp and shoved him away. Midoriya leaned backward but caught himself with ease. Once upright, he lunged forward, extending his leg in preparation for a wide sweep, but she stepped back, out of the way. He swung toward her again, lunging forward with his right foot as his right arm shifted back at the same time. He was trying to fake her out. A quick step back, and he was forced to catch himself again. By then, the crowd was beginning to murmur. He swept at her again, but she ducked and darted back.

“Come on! Do something cool!” the announcer yelled, voice ringing through the stadium. Midoriya glanced at her and smiled.

“Let’s do this, Izumi-san,” he said. For a moment, she reached for her phone. Then, her hand stopped. Could she really do that? What if she lost control of it again and hurt him before they could stop her? Kyouka looked at Midoriya, who was smiling at her, and let her arm drop to her side. She couldn’t do it. He lunged toward her again, and she ducked. What should she do? She couldn’t fight. Midoriya, though, he had the drive, the urge, the desire. He wanted to fight on, keep going. He had it in him. He would go far if he won this fight. Maybe she should step aside and let him win. It was the best answer.

Midoriya hurled a punch at her chest. She pivoted again, but he grabbed her arm. Ah. The same situation as before, but this time, there was no reason to do anything else. He grabbed her arm and pulled her toward him, only to activate his quirk as he flicked her backward, sending her soaring off the stage.

“Midoriya wins!” the woman yelled. The crowd cheered. Kyouka struggled to her feet, ignoring what she could tell would soon be sore spots. As she turned to walk back inside, the cheering subsided, and she heard a very familiar voice shouting at her.

“Hey, hey, hey, Izumi-san, up here!” Kaminari yelled over the crowd. She looked up. He was leaning over the edge of stands, beaming down at her. “That was so cool! Great job!” She smiled softly as he waved and shouted. It really was strange, that he thought she was worth cheering on when she wasn’t even brave enough to try to fight Midoriya, but she appreciated it.

-------

Tokoyami stared at Todoroki as the announcer yelled, “Start!” Immediately, a wall of ice surged toward him. He barely avoided being crushed by launching himself into the air with Dark Shadow. Todoroki just glared at him before releasing another icy wave, which once again he barely evaded. Then, he felt cold creep along his legs, covering his body in mere seconds. Dark Shadow thrashed for a moment before being covered by the ice. He’d lost. So quickly too

“Tokoyami-kun, can you move?” Midnight asked.

“No.”

“Todoroki wins!”

Todoroki stepped up, pressing his left hand to the ice to free Tokoyami.

-------

Kirishima slammed his fist into Tetsutetsu’s face, a loud clang filling the stadium as he struck steel, sending the boy flying. Tetsutetsu rushed him, punching him square in the chest. Kirishima stumbled backward and righted himself, ready to go at him. Again and again, over and over, they slammed into each other, throwing the other back and forth, this way and that, in a flurry of sparks and grunts. His muscles burned as he slammed into Tetsutetsu over and over again.

On and on, they fought for what felt like hours. The crowd cheered, the announcer shouting along excitedly, as they crashed together, again and again, punching and blocking and dodging as the fight carried on. Kirishima beamed, but his opponent just shouted and slammed into him again. He barely caught the strike and shoved him back, only to catch a fist to the face. He stumbled backward and frowned. Tetsutetsu swung back another punch, but Kirishima did so at the same time. They hit each other, and both went flying. He barely felt himself slam into a wall before the world went dark.

-------

Lucy looked across the stage toward the purple-haired boy in front of her. He smiled at her, although it was more unsettling than comforting. The announcer yelled start, but the boy didn’t move. She opened Anne’s room, already calling the doll.

“The hero course, huh?” Was he trying to make small talk during a match? “Must be nice.” Anne appeared behind him. He ducked under her arms and sprinted toward her. “Being accepted as a hero so easily, I mean?” She grimaced. What did he mean? Anne appeared behind him, and he barely managed to get away. “People just assuming you were going to do good things.” She had to bite back a laugh at that. The orphanage had expected anything but good from her, with a quirk like hers. Her hand went to the scars on her stomach as he narrowly evaded Anne yet again.

“It’s the great injustice of the world that people decide everything about you based on your quirk.” He had a point. She knew exactly what he was talking about. “Those classmates of yours, who denounced me for mine? Just the latest in a long line.” Anne lunged forward, and he ducked. “I can’t imagine how nice it must be to be someone like you. People told me all my life that I had the perfect quirk for a villain.” She knew how that felt. It hurt, but it was nothing unusual. So many children go through that, did this guy think it was special?

“I have to be a hero, to prove them wrong. Instead, positions in the hero course go to people like you. Not that someone like you, born with such a fantastic quirk, would understand, right?” Anne’s arms latched around his body. “None of you do. Nobody does. No one here understands how it feels to be looked at from childhood as a future enemy, the word villain branded onto you from the moment someone knows about your quirk.”

Anne pulled him toward the door. “You think you’re special, just because people thought you had an evil quirk? Welcome to the club,” she yelled. “Just shut-” A cold wave flooded her, and she stood stock-still.

“Let me go.” Anne dropped him, and he stumbled as he landed on his feet. “Let me out of here.” The door appeared behind him. What was he doing? Her mind drifted back to Iida and Nakajima earlier. Was this the boy’s quirk? “Go out first.” Her body moved of its own accord, crossing the room and stepping out the door. How had Iida broken free? As she tried to remember, the boy followed her out of the room. She could hear the announcer shouting, but her mind wouldn’t focus. She had to get out, fight back, win. How else could she keep going?

“Walk off the stage.” She turned around, mind screaming for her to stop as her feet carried her to the other edge. With all her efforts, she couldn’t stop herself as she stepped out of bounds. Her mind cleared, and she spun around.

“Shinsou wins!”

He smiled as he turned around. “Thank you for your hard work, Montgomery-san.”

Chapter Text

Hatsume smiled. She couldn’t convince the Bakugo boy to use her equipment during the match, but that was no matter. She’d just demonstrate them herself. The buzzer started the fight, and the boy launched himself at her. Beaming, she flicked a switch, and the arms on her backpack lifted her high into the air.

“I can easily evade his attack with my hydraulic attachments! Take notes, Support Companies!” She glanced up at where they were sitting, using her quirk to look at them. They were already muttering and taking notes. Good. She just had to hold their attention. Something beeped, and she shifted herself to one side as Bakugo launched past her. “With sensors in every direction, I can even deal with attacks from behind.” She dropped to the ground as Bakugo shouted and rushed at her again. She flicked another switch and her boots began to whir.

Laughing, Hatsume launched herself into the air. “Check out that lightness! These shoes use electromagnetic induction on both feet to allow for quick and easy evasive action.” She vaulted over Bakugo, who growled and launched an explosion below her. She activated her backpack again and vaulted out of the way.

“Just fight me already!” Bakugo yelled. She nodded, pulled out her capture gun, and fired it. The net wrapped around him, sticking to his skin.

“This is a capture gun! The nets are in cartridges and you can use up to five before reloading!” Bakugo blasted out of the first net, so she just fired another. “Who made all these incredible items? Me! Mei Hatsume! Remember the name!” Bakugo roared as he launched at her, explosions crackling.

“That’s enough of that! I’ll destroy you!” He snarled, pressing his hand to her chest and launching her backward. She stopped herself, but only barely. He lunged at her again, too fast for her to get out of the way, and shoved her off the stage.

“Bakugo wins!” The announcer yelled.

“I guess that’s all for now! Keep an eye out for me, companies! This isn’t the last you’ll hear of Mei Hatsume!”

-------

Mina beamed at her opponent, and Uraraka smiled back. Mina nodded as the buzzer went off and rushed forward, feeling the acid swish under her feet as she slid along the stage. Uraraka ran past her, toward the other side of the stage. She laughed and spun around, spraying acid outwards as she began skating after her. Uraraka stopped at the edge of the stage. Mina smiled. She could push her off or, at least, get close enough to throw acid at her. She sped up, racing toward Uraraka.

Instead, she ducked out of the way at the last moment. Mina barely managed to stop herself before she slid off the stage. She swirled around, spraying her acid at Uraraka, who winced as it burned through her uniform. Mina swept forward again, hoping to throw her off or get more acid on her. As she readied another wave, she felt Uraraka tap her on her shoulder.

Her gut twisted as she was lifted off the ground. Uraraka smiled.

“Release!” Mina dropped toward the ground. Disoriented, she felt something shove her, and she stumbled backward, landing firmly on her butt.

“Uraraka wins!” A voice yelled. Mina looked up and around at her grinning opponent, who was now offering her a hand to help her up. Smiling, she took it.

-------

Chuuya clenched his fists as Kaminari’s electricity crackled to life. This was going to be so easy. Kaminari ran toward him, sparks trailing behind him. Chuuya launched himself into the air as Kaminari stopped inches from where he had been. Kaminari grinned and released a wave of electricity that rippled through the air. Chuuya felt the heat singe the bottom of his pants. That wouldn’t do.

Kaminari laughed. “Hey! Hey! Hey!” Chuuya dropped to the ground in front of him. He was grinning stupidly. With a groan, he kicked his opponent in the chest, sending him flying.

“Nakahara wins!” Well, duh.

-------

Momo looked Shiozaki up and down, taking in the girl’s long swath of vine-like green hair. It had to be part of her quirk, somehow, though she couldn’t guess what it was. The buzzer sounded, and she summoned a weapon. For a moment, the two of them just stared at each other, before Momo felt something coil around her leg. She glanced down to see vines rapidly climbing her leg. She yanked her leg free, stumbling back away as the vines launched toward her.

She generated a scythe, the small kind farmers used, and slashed at the plants as they grew around her. It was a decent defense, but she had to get closer if she wanted to win. Another quick slash to free her feet, and she sprinted toward Shiozaki, scythe low and sweeping in front of her to catch any stray vines that might try to stop her. Finally, she stopped in front of her. Vines whipped towards her, so she spun her scythe in a circle, blocking everything as she pushed closer to her opponent. She brought the weapon down, slicing through the vines.

But rather than falling, new ones sprouted almost as fast as she cut them. A thick strand looped around her wrist, squeezing and twisting until her scythe dropped to the ground. Her hand flailed, trying to summon another, but the vines covered her body at a ridiculous speed, binding her arms to her sides. With a quick turn, she was set on the other side of the boundary.

“Shiozaki wins!” The referee yelled. The vines retracted from around Momo, leaving her standing across the border from her opponent.

“And that’s the end of round one! In a minute, we’ll get the winner from Tetsutetsu and Kirishima, then we’ll have the next round!”

Shiozaki smiled, and Momo smiled back.

-------

Izuku grimaced when Endeavor’s eyes met his. “Oh, there you are.” Endeavor was looking for him?! What did he want? He stepped toward him. “I saw your fight. You have a powerful quirk. You were able to create so much force with just your fingers.” Was he there to ask about All-Might too? “In terms of sheer power, yours is indeed comparable to All-Might’s.” Oh. Oh god. That could be bad if he too was catching on.

“What are you trying to say?” Izuku had to get out of there. As he stepped past, his mind was still racing. Did Endeavor know about One For All? Was he testing him? He couldn’t let Endeavor know about that if he didn’t already. If what Todoroki said was true, this man was one of the worst people to reveal his secret to.

“It is my son’s duty to surpass All-Might.” Izuku stopped. “His fight with you will be a good test.” He gulped. “Don’t disgrace yourself.” Todoroki had to deal with this all the time? It had only been a few minutes, and he had already had enough of Endeavor for a lifetime. At that moment, Dazai brushed past him, making his way toward the waiting room.

Izuku glanced over his shoulder to see him stop and reach for Endeavor’s shoulder. The moment Dazai made contact with him, the flames that covered his back and face sputtered for a second before vanishing. Endeavor whipped around to face him. “Oh, wow! Can I get your autograph?” Dazai said. The hero moved to say something. “Oh, sorry… ” he continued. “I thought you were someone else.” Dazai turned back toward Izuku. He could see the boy’s subtle smirk as he walked past him.

“I apologize for bothering you so close to the start of the match.” Endeavor walked away.

“I am not All-Might. And Todoroki-kun isn’t you,” Izuku said, even though he knew Endeavor wasn’t listening. He made his down the hall toward the stage. The round was starting soon. He just had to get past Todoroki, and, if he couldn’t, he had to get through to him. Todoroki was in trouble, but he could help. As he stepped onto the stage, he made eye contact with Todoroki and nodded. The announcer shouting away, Izuku tried to focus on summoning his quirk. It was showtime.

Chapter Text

Todoroki stepped onto the stage, already feeling the comforting cold welling up in his right side. Midoriya smiled nervously at him from the other side, but that was irrelevant. He just had to get through, and then he could leave the boy’s stupid insistence on helping him in the dust. Here, on this stage, he could and would reject his father completely in the eyes of the world. The announcer shouted, the buzzer blew, and the match began.

He sent a wave of ice racing toward Midoriya. The boy grimaced and flicked it away, sending a crest of cold wind rushing toward him. He barely managed to summon a wall of ice to brace himself before the wind could blow him back. He looked up. Midoriya was clutching his formerly uninjured hand, one finger limp and shaky. He’d accepted the injury to protect himself. It was a dangerous, self-destructive strategy, but the only one Midoriya seemed to know. He could stop the attacks for now, sure, but sooner or later he would run out of stamina, and then Todoroki would freeze him.

He sent another icy wave up the stage toward him, but he flicked it aside. Another wave, and another flick. So that was how Midoriya wanted to play. It was a game of who could outlast the other, and Todoroki was sure he could win it. Midoriya was already counting down his chances.

“I’ll end this quickly.” He sent another wave, which was once again smashed. Midoriya had used his whole hand. He ran forward, an icy ramp growing up beneath him. Midoriya screamed as he smashed the wall. Todoroki used the force of the explosion to launch himself into the air, slamming down only inches from Midoriya. Ice exploded around his hand, launching outward into a barrier that caught the foot of his fleeing opponent. Midoriya brought his fist down on the glacier, and it exploded, barely giving him time to catch himself. This was more powerful than the previous attacks, no doubt about it. Midoriya looked at him, his whole arm now limp and bloody. “Are you trying to tell me to stay away, Midoriya-kun?” His right side was just beginning to ache with the cold. He could see his breath. “You’re going to hurt yourself so badly just to be on defense?” Midoriya grimaced.

“You know,” Todoroki sighed, “I suppose I should thank you for how much you’ve upset my father.” He gulped. “With your arms like that, you can’t fight for much longer. Let’s finish this up quickly.” He slammed his foot down, and an icy blast erupted outward. Midoriya countered with yet another smash, one that sent Todoroki careening backward through multiple icy walls until he caught himself only inches from the edge.

As he hoisted himself to his feet, he looked at Midoriya. One of the boy’s fingers was darker, bloodier. He’d reused a broken finger. “Why are you doing this?”

“You’re shaking, Todoroki-kun.” He winced. He was, but he had to keep going. He had to win. He had to reject his father. “Quirks are physical abilities like any other. They have their limits. And you’re reaching yours. You can only take so much cold.” He was right. Todoroki just had to end this before he exceeded that limit. “It’s a problem you could solve if you were to use the other half of your power.” What was he doing? He needed to finish this. He readied another wave, feeling his hand shake with the cold. “Everyone here is giving it their all. We are all fighting to reach that dream, to become heroes, to reach number one.” Midoriya looked him directly in the eyes. “You want to win without using your full strength?” Midoriya raised his fist. “You haven’t hurt me yet.” Todoroki grimaced. “Come at me with everything you have!” What was he planning? Midoriya was smart, he had to have something up his sleeve.

“Everything I’ve got? Did he tell you to say that?” He lunged forward, but he could tell he was slowing down. The ache on his right side was worsening with every second as frost bloomed across his skin. Not that it mattered. He just needed to get in close enough to freeze Midoriya. As he sprung into the air, he saw Midoriya draw back a punch. As the punch slammed into his stomach, his fingers brushed against Midoriya’s other arm, sending ice spreading along it. He was sent flying, landing heavily across the stage. Midoriya screamed in pain as the crowd cheered.

Todoroki struggled to his feet and ran toward Midoriya, bringing up another wave that was once again crushed as they both went flying. They spun around each other again and again, icy walls rising and being crushed in quick succession. Midoriya threw punches without his quirk, each one easily dodged.

“My reasons may seem trivial to you, but I too want to reach number one!” Midoriya blasted another wall away with his thumb. “You asked me why I’m going this far. It’s because I want to live up to the people who believe in me!” He came running toward Todoroki once again. “I want to be able to stand and smile! I want to be a hero!” There it was again. ‘Stand and smile.’ He wanted to be All-Might, and Todoroki would have to surpass him. His mother had said he could be a hero. He had to do it for her.

Midoriya slammed into him. “Everyone is doing their best! There’s no way I can understand how you feel or what you’ve been through, Todoroki-kun. But for you to rise to the top without doing your best, to reject your father… Please, take this seriously!”

Frost spread along his body. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” It wasn’t even truly about his father. He was doing it for his mother, to be the hero she had believed he could be using the power she gave him.

Midoriya slammed a heavy punch into his gut as he yelled, “That’s why I have to win!”

“I have to reject his power, no matter the-”

“It’s your power, too, isn’t it?!” Midoriya yelled. “Children may inherit quirks from their parents, but the quirk still belongs to them. You aren’t bound to him by anything but blood! You deserve to be who you want to be, not who anyone else wants you to become!”

Heat ripped through his body as flames erupted around him, blasting out in every direction, washing away the frost from his body and the cold from his skin. “After everything, you’re helping your enemy?” Todoroki hissed. “Which one of us isn’t taking this seriously enough? I too want to be a hero!”

“Shouto!” A familiar, horrifying voice hit his ears. His father. “Have you finally accepted your power? This is good! This is the next step on your journey to surpass me!” Midoriya smiled at him.

“Why are you still smiling? With injuries like yours, it’s not smart for you to keep fighting. Please, don’t blame me for what’s going to happen next.” Ice began to spread under his right foot again. Midoriya began to step forward as the ice erupted into a vast glacier. Midoriya launched himself forward. At the same time, ice still growing, he reared back a matching wave of flames. Layers of concrete shot up between them in what he already knew was a doomed attempt to stop the match. “Thank you… Midoriya,” he muttered.

Everything exploded into a brilliant white light, a mini supernova on the stage. He was forced to cover his eyes and brace himself with another wall to hold himself in place. Rubble flew in every direction from the explosion. When the steam finally cleared, he saw Midoriya slump against the wall.

“Midoriya is out of bounds. Todoroki wins,” Midnight announced. Chest heaving with every breathe, both sides in pain, one aching with cold and the other boiling hot, Todoroki exhaled. It was over. He’d won.

-------

Shinsou looked up and down the stage, then at his opponent. The boy, Kirishima, smiled at him. He just had to get this one to talk, and he could move on. The Dazai kid had been a fluke and Nakahara was weird. He could still do this. Kirishima gave him a thumbs-up as the buzzer blew.

“How does it feel knowing that you weren’t even strong enough to win your fight without special conditions?” Kirishima looked at him in confusion, but he didn’t respond. Had Montgomery warned him? Well, there was only one way to go, and that was through. “Seriously. They had to make accommodations for the fact that you couldn’t beat that guy even though you were stronger. It’s not fair. Idiots like you get to be heroes while people like me don’t just because of the entrance exam.” Kirishima finally ran at him. He saw his arm turn rigid.

“Like that Montgomery girl. She was an idiot, but at least she knew what she was doing. It was easy, but she knew what she was good at, and that’s what she went for.” He didn’t mean it; Montgomery seemed to know what she was doing, he just managed to hit a nerve. He had to do the same for Kirishima though. “Or Nakajima and Iida. They refuse to appreciate what they have for their honor. How did you end up with so many stupid classmates?”

“Come on, man. That’s not-” Click.

“Turn around and walk off the stage.” Kirishima spun on his command and marched off the stage.

He let go of him as Midnight announced, “Shinsou wins!” He smiled. He was going to the semi-finals, and then onward from there.

Chapter Text

Uraraka glanced down the field. “From the hero course, it’s Ochaco Uraraka!”

“You’re the one who makes things float, eh, Round Face?” Bakugo spat. She just breathed in and then out. She couldn’t let him get to her, especially if she was going to beat him. “If you’re going to give up, do so now. I’m not going to go easy on you, no matter what happens.” Uraraka nodded. She would expect no less.

The buzzer blew, and she rushed forward. Her best chance was to get in close enough to use her quirk directly on Bakugo. “I’m not giving up!”

“In that case,” he reared back his hand, clearly preparing an explosion, “Die!” She tried to duck as he hurled the explosion into her face, but it caught her head-on. Smoke streamed around her. She couldn’t dodge; he was too fast for that. She ducked through the smoke. She pulled off her jacket, pulling away its gravity as she ran in the other direction, hoping to get in behind him before the smoke cleared and he realized what was up. “Don’t underestimate me!” Bakugo roared, releasing another explosion. He caught the jacket full throttle, but not her. The audience oohed and aahed.

“She used her jacket as a distraction!” Uraraka launched forward, fingers extended to brush against Bakugo. He spun around, sending her flying with another explosion. She hit the ground hard and pushed herself to her feet. She exhaled. He was fast, perhaps too fast. She needed a new strategy, and soon.

Bakugo emerged from the smoke, running toward her. She reciprocated, but he hurled another blast at her. “You’re too slow!” She spun and charged him again. He slammed yet another explosion into her. Her eyes scanned the field, looking for something, anything. The obvious answer was the rubble. If she could use that to her advantage, it could give her a chance to get close enough to use her quirk on him. Her fingers brushed along the rubble as she ran forward, sending them floating upward.

Again and again, she lunged at him and was blasted back, catching as much of the rubble as possible with her quirk.

“Uraraka keeps going without rest, but… this is excessive.” What did he mean? Another blast sent her flying yet again.

“Hey! Shouldn’t you stop this?” Someone yelled from the crowd. Uraraka grimaced. All this and the crowd couldn’t even take her seriously? She lunged forward and was blown back again.

“How can you be a hero when you act like that?” Another voice shouted from the crowd. “If there’s so great a difference in your abilities, why not just send her out of bounds!” She charged forward again. She just had to prove them wrong. More boos and shouts came from the crowd.

“There’s booing from parts of the crowd, and I can’t say that I dis-” Mic was cut off by another voice.

“Was that a pro saying that Bakugo is just playing around?” Aizawa’s voice cut through the noise of the audience. “How long have you been a pro, exactly? If you’re going to say that, you may as well just go home. Look into changing careers, while you’re at it. It’s pretty obvious what’s happening here. Bakugo is giving his all because he sees the strength of his opponent.” She froze. He… acknowledged her? He thought she was dangerous enough to be worth it? “He can’t go easy on her or let his guard down because he knows she can take that opportunity if he were to give it.”

She nodded. “Thank you, Bakugo.” For taking her seriously. For respecting her power. He tensed. “Release!”

Rubble rained down on them. Ducking to dodge debris, she rushed forward. The meteor shower was to get an opening, a means rather than an end. This was the moment of truth. This was her chance to stand on her own two feet.

Bakugo raised his hand above his head. He fired off a huge blast that sent her flying. Then he fired off another and another, an endless wave of explosions that sent her bowling backward from the sheer force. The rubble she had spent so long gathering was sent flying back up and over, out of the arena and off the stage. Uraraka fought to pull herself up to her knees.

“Since you’re friends with Deku, I knew you’d be up to something.” She gulped. That was her last-ditch, desperate, best plan, and he’d blasted through it so easily. What could she do now? She made it up to her feet. “Alright! Let’s do this then, Uraraka-san!” Her entire body shook with pain as she pulled herself to her feet and turned around. His eyes widened as she slumped forward, landing hard and heavy.

“Uraraka’s down!” She had to keep fighting. Uraraka managed to pull herself a few inches forward before her muscles gave out. Then, she felt a hand on her back. Midnight? Bakugo? “Uraraka’s out of commission.”

“Bakugo wins!” The world went dark.
-------

Chuuya grimaced. His opponent looked across the stage at him. She’d already beaten Yaoyorozu, sure, but he could handle her. The long swath of vines that was her hair swirled in the wind. The buzzer went off, and he lunged at her, his ability already activated. Her hair spun up toward him, but he kicked it aside like he was swatting away flies. The vines ripped under his dramatically increased weight. They landed with a thump, hard and heavy against the walls of the arena, but another wave was already coming. He launched himself into the sky. If he could just get close enough to touch her, the match would be over.

Vines whipped toward him, but from his vantage point, it was almost ridiculously easy to sweep them aside before they could reach him. Chuuya dropped to the ground, slamming into Shiozaki. The vines wrapped around him, but he launched himself back up. He clenched his fist, feeling his power envelop her. With a flick, he sent her flying. She barely managed to dig her vines into the ground, holding her in place only inches from the boundary. Chuuya smirked as he increased the pressure, and she was thrown off the stage.

“Nakahara wins!” He nodded, feeling gravity settle back into its natural state. Another quick, clean, easy victory.

-------

Iida pressed his phone to his ear. “I’m sorry, Mother. I just couldn’t bear to go on with that knowledge.”

“No, no, no, Tenya, that’s not it.”

“Oh.”

“Now, please listen carefully and calmly.” Was something wrong? “Your brother was attacked by a villain.” He froze. “He’s currently in the hospital.” Oh god. He had to get there. With a single glance back toward the stadium, he took off running. It was illegal to use his quirk in this situation, but he still sprinted out of the school and down the street. Every crosswalk he waited at, every pedestrian he dodged, was agonizing. He needed to get to the train station, and fast. He managed to buy a ticket and board the train in a haze, mind still racing with every second.

His fingers clenched tightly against the armrests of the seat as the world whizzed by. Was his brother alive? Was he going to be okay? He had to get there. He had to know.

It was dark by the time the train stopped. Iida ran past people on the streets and into the Hosu General Hospital, stopping only to check in. “Don’t run in the hallways!” A nurse called. He slowed to a quick walk. His mother was waiting outside a room.

“Tenya!”

“Is he okay?” He pushed his way into the room. “Tensei!” He felt his mother’s hand on his shoulder.

“Tenya, you need to keep your voice down and wear a mask.” He looked up and down the bed. His brother was there, a breathing mask over his face and bandages covering his body.

“He’s still in a haze from the anesthetic. He’s incredibly lucky he made it into surgery when he did,” the doctor said.

“Tenya…” It was his brother’s voice. It was horrifyingly faint, weak and shaky through the mask. “Mother…” Iida ran to his side as his brother continued to speak. “To have a younger... brother as capable... and accomplished as… you… look up to… me. I’m sorry… Tenya… I failed… you.” The tears finally came then, streaming down his face as he watched the shaky rise and fall of his brother’s chest, the way a watery veneer would appear at every attempt of a breath. His brother had to be okay.

Chapter Text

Todoroki frowned at Shinsou from across the stage. This was going to be an easy one. From what he’d seen, his opponent didn’t have the physical power to stop his attack. He just had to do it before he could get brainwashed, and the fight would be over.

The buzzer blew, and Shinsou barely managed to get out, “Endeavor’s-” before a wave of ice shot over his body, arcing up and pushing him against the wall as it covered him. He made sure to extend the frost to cover his mouth, leaving him both paralyzed and mute.

“Shinsou is out of bounds. Todoroki wins!” He stepped forward to free Shinsou from the ice.

-------

Bakugo glanced down the field at Nakahara. The boy was already looking him up and down, clearly trying to figure out what he was going to do. Nakahara was powerful. His last fights had been over almost immediately. He was clearly someone who had experience and knew how to use his quirk to his advantage. But Bakugo could beat him if he played his cards right. It wouldn’t be easy, but he could. The buzzer blew.

On the other end of the stage, the ground exploded under Nakahara, rubble flying in every direction. Bakugo launched himself forward, explosions propelling him towards Nakahara. He kicked Bakugou hard in the chest. He launched off a blast towards his opponent as Nakahara was sent sailing backward. He glowed a bright red and stayed suspended in place. Bakugo likewise went flying from the force of both the explosion and Nakahara’s kick. He pulled himself to his feet, another explosion already brewing at his fingers as he lunged toward Nakahara.

Nakahara shot upwards, hovering feet above the stage. Bakugo launched himself into the air, propelled by an array of explosions. As he got near him, Nakahara swung back and punched him in the chest. Bakugo plummeted to the ground, faster and heavier than should be possible, as a result of Nakahara’s quirk. He launched off a huge explosion under himself, sending him rocketing back upward, only to be sent back down again. He landed hard and heavy, the concrete cracking beneath him.

Bakugo pulled himself to his feet and looked up at Nakahara. The boy smiled at him before dropping to the ground, shattering the stage on impact. Bakugo released another huge blast, sending Nakahara soaring back again. The boy caught himself and went rocketing back toward Bakugo, springing into the air to kick him in the chest. He was sent soaring, barely using an explosion to launch himself back forward.

Nakahara spun and launched the rubble toward him. Bakugo laughed. It was the same tactic as Uraraka had used, without any element of surprise. He blasted the pieces away, catching and destroying anything that got too close to him. A heavy piece got a little too close for comfort, and he managed to send it flying. Nakahara kicked in in half, and Bakugo charged toward him, blasting aside any and all debris that came soaring toward him.

Nakahara laughed. He swung back a fist, but Bakugo dodged it by launching himself to one side and landing an explosion on Nakahara’s back who fell forward onto the ground. Bakugo reached out to land another blast, but Nakahara caught his arm and hurled him away. Again, Nakahara laughed.

“Ah, finally getting serious, huh? In that case, I suppose I should do the same,” Nakahara said, smirking. Bakugo screamed. Nakahara wasn’t taking him seriously? A huge explosion erupted from his hand, but Nakahara shot skyward. Bakugou launched himself up after him, only to be caught with a heavy kick that sent him careening backward. Explosions crackled and burst at his fingertips, but instead of stopping, he dropped to the ground. Nakahara rocketed toward him, and he reared another blast. He fired it, but the boy burst through it and punched him square in the chest. Before he had even fully registered what happened, he slammed into the wall of the stands.

“Oh!” Midnight sounded surprised. “Nakahara wins!”

“And that’s the end of our semi-finals! Our finalists are Nakahara and Todoroki!"

-------

Chuuya glanced up and down the stage. Todoroki glared at him.

“Here we are at the final round of the first year stage! We have Shouto Todoroki and Chuuya Nakahara, both from class A! Begin!” The buzzer blew, and Todoroki released a huge wave of ice, larger than any of the other ones before. Chuuya laughed as he triggered his ability, feeling gravity distort wildly around him. He landed a heavy kick on the glacier, shattering it into heavy blocks that rained down around them for a moment before stopping, suspended in midair. Ochaco had the right idea when she used the results of Bakugo’s power against him, but she didn’t have the power needed to effectively utilize her plan. It was a good idea, and he could take that card from her book and use his own power to pull it off. Her quirk was a simple on-and-off, but he had the detail and range to use her strategy to win.

Todoroki launched toward him, an icy ramp rising underneath him as he moved. Chuuya’s eyes narrowed as he increased the weight of one of the icy blocks and slammed it down in front of Todoroki, shattering the ramp and launching him into the air. Another ramp appeared under him, and he slid down toward the ground. He caught the remains of the ramp and launched them at Todoroki, who summoned an ice barrier around himself. The shards slammed into it, shattering the barrier with a loud cracking sound that sent mist flying in every direction.

Smiling, Chuuya darted forward, blasting off the ground toward Todoroki. At the last second, the boy spun, grabbing Chuuya’s leg and sending ice exploding out across it. He almost laughed when he felt his power flow over Todoroki, and he sent him crashing to the ground, pulled down by his own enhanced gravity. Chuuya slammed his fist down. The ice shattered on impact, and bits of concrete shot up into the air. He spun and kicked Todoroki in the stomach, sending him flying. An ice wall rose up behind him, but he blasted through it, barely skidding to a halt a foot or so from the edge of the stage. Chuuya launched forward, kicking Todoroki again as he struggled to pull himself back up. He shifted the boy’s gravity at the last second, dropping him to the ground before he could hit the wall.

“Todoroki is out of bounds! Nakahara wins!”

“And that’s it, folks! Your champion from the first year stage is Chuuya Nakahara from class 1-A!”

-------

Shinsou felt Bakugo bristle as he stepped up beside him. Based on what he’d seen from the boy, he was an overly arrogant asshole, but Eraserhead seemed to have some faith in him, so there had to be something about him worthy of that faith. Not that it mattered.

Third place was good, but would it be good enough? Had he gotten far enough for them to accept his transfer request? This was his best, only chance. It had to be enough. There was no other way.

“The awards for this stage will be presented by…”

“I AM HERE!” The iconic silhouette of All-Might blasted over the roof and landed in front of them, releasing a blast of wind in all directions on impact.

“Now then, All-Might,” Midnight said, handing him several medals. “Please present the medals, starting with the third place finishers.” He accepted the handful of medals and approached the podium.

“YOUNG BAKUGO.” He lay the medal over Bakugo’s head. “YOU’RE ALREADY VERY POWERFUL. WITH MORE TRAINING, I KNOW THAT YOU CAN REACH NUMBER ONE.” All-Might turned to Shinsou. “AS FOR YOU, SHINSOU-KUN, YOUR PERFORMANCE WAS WORTHY OF ANY HERO.” He put the medal over his head. All-Might thought he did well? Maybe it would be enough to get him through. All-Might moved to the next place, Todoroki. “YOUNG TODOROKI, CONGRATULATIONS.” He paused. “I ASSUME YOU DIDN’T USE YOUR LEFT DURING THE FINAL FOR A REASON?”

“Midoriya gave me a chance, but I was too scared to take it. I think I understand what you see in him. I too want to be a hero like you. But there is still something I must do before then.”

“THE LOOK ON YOUR FACE HAS CHANGED.” He wrapped his arms around Todoroki. “I BELIEVE YOU CAN DO WHATEVER IT IS YOU NEED TO DO.” He straightened and stepped toward Nakahara. “YOU DID WELL, NAKAHARA. I MUST SAY, I’M IMPRESSED.” Nakahara’s mouth twisted into a wide smirk. He stood up straight and tall and puffed his chest out, accepting his medal with pride and a pinch of arrogance.

-------

Around Japan, people watched All-Might put the medal over Nakahara’s head, and, around Japan, they stirred. Two men, a warp-gate and his boss, listened intently to a voice over the radio. A woman in a pink kimono tightened her grip on her parasol and smiled, pink-haired phantom baring its sword. A man felt his coat sink its teeth into a policeman, and, balancing on the roof, a masked figure licked the blood off of his knife.

Chapter Text

“Shinsou-kun? You can come in.” Shinsou pushed past the short purple-haired boy from class 1-A on his way into the principal’s office, shuddering when they brushed up against each other. “Take a seat.” The principal and Eraserhead sat across from him.

“How can I help you?” What was this?

“We’d like to talk about your transfer application,” the principal continued. He gulped. This was it, the moment of truth. “It’s been accepted.” Wait. He’d been accepted! He was going to be a hero, finally.

“Thank you.”

“We need to talk about the plan going forward, however. This week, the hero course students will be participating in internships with many pro heroes. You received a few offers, but we’ve decided that you’ll be spending the week with Aizawa-kun so he can get to know you and make sure that you’re fully ready for the hero course.” That made sense. Eraserhead, or Aizawa, apparently, stood up.

“Come on.” He led him to the classroom. “Wait here.” He stepped into the classroom. Shinsou stepped forward so he could hear what he was saying. “Good morning.” Calls of ‘good morning’ came from the collected students. “You will be having a special hero informatics class today.” A shudder ran through the class. “Choosing names. This is related to the Pro Hero draft picks I mentioned the other day. They’ll begin in earnest in the next few years, after students have gained more experience. For first years, an offer is a sign of interest in your future. Normally the offers would be more spread out, but the focus wound up on those three.”

“Why is Shinsou-kun’s name on the list?”

“Ah, yes. We have a new student. Shinsou-kun, please come in.” He stepped into the room. “He’s joining our class from now on, so deal with that. Also, Mineta’s been expelled, so Shinsou-kun is replacing him.” He turned to Shinsou and pointed to a chair. “You’re sitting there.” Shinsou nodded and sat down, glancing back up at the board. He’d received a decent amount of offers, but his number was dwarfed by the top three finishers: Nakahara, Todoroki, and Bakugo. It was a little disappointing, sure, but it didn’t matter. Now that he was here, he could prove to them just how wrong they are. “Keeping in mind these results, all of you will be interning with Pro Heroes, regardless of whether or not you received offers. You’ve already experienced real combat, but it will still be important for you to work with Pros firsthand. While the names you choose are still temporary, but they may very well become the names you are known by for the rest of your career, so choose wisely.” The door slid open, and in stepped Midnight. “As such, Midnight will be helping you choose, because I’m not qualified to do so. With this name, you are starting to solidify the kind of hero you want to be.” Midoriya passed him a whiteboard.

“You guys can start thinking, and we’ll start looking at names soon.” He stopped. His name? He’d spent so long just trying to get here that he hadn’t considered the minutia like his name. Who did he want to be? He wanted to be a hero. He wanted to help people. He wanted to prove everyone wrong. The details weren’t, had never been, important. What mattered was getting to this point. All around him, kids were muttering to each other, some sharing and laughing, others asking for advice. He just stared at his board, lifting his marker to write an idea, only to stop himself before writing anything. What if he chose something, it stuck, and he wound up hating it later? “Alright! Let’s get started with the people who’re ready! Ashido-chan?”

“Okay! Here’s mine!” She bubbled up to the front and flipped her board around. ‘Alien Queen.’ Interesting. Why would she choose that?

“Are you trying to reference acid blood?” Midnight asked. “I don’t know about that.” Ashido sighed and stepped away. “Tsuyu-chan?”

Asui nodded and made her way to the front. “I’ve had this one in mind for a while.” She held up her sign. ‘Froppy.’ It was cute, friendly.

“I like that one! It’s so cute! It’s a great name! Everyone will love it!” Asui sat back down. “Iida-kun?”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but I’m not ready.”

“That’s okay. Is anyone else ready?” Kirishima raised his hand. “Yeah, Kirishima-kun!” He raised his sign. ‘Red Riot.’

“You’re paying homage to Crimson Riot, right?”

“Yeah! I know he’d kind of out-dated, but I really look up to him!”

“If you’re taking a name you admire, that’s more of a standard you have to hold yourself to,” Midnight said. Kirishima smiled and nodded. “Okay, then! Who’s next?”

“Me!” The earphone girl stood up.

“Okay, Jirou-san,” Midnight said. “What do you have?” She raised her sign. ‘Earphone jack.’ It was a good name. Simple, to the point, and yet recognizable. “That’s good! Who’s next?”

“Um…” Nakajima muttered. “I can go…” Midnight smiled as he made his way to the front. He raised his board to reveal the name ‘Jinko.’ An interesting choice.

“After the mythical weretigers?” Midnight asked. He nodded. “That’s cool!” Nakajima smiled as he sat down. “Who’s next!” The boy with tape dispenser elbows stood up. “Sero-kun?” He stood in the front and revealed his name: ‘Cellophane.’ They all had made their choices or had been planning this for a while, it seemed. Midnight glanced around the room, eyes landing on Montgomery. “Hey, Montgomery-chan, you got something?” She nodded and made her way to the front of the room. ‘Poppet.’ It was a good choice, a subtle nod to her quirk while still being short and memorable. “It’s cute, but why that one?”

“It’s a reference to your quirk, right?” Kirishima asked. “Anne?” She nodded.

“Oh! In that case, it’s a good name! Who’s next?” Ashido lunged to the front of the classroom again.

“Me! And my name is Pinky!”

“That’s more like it!” Midnight smiled. “Who’s next?” Kaminari made his way to the front of the room. ‘Chargebolt.’ It was simplistic, a little childish for a Pro Hero, but it suited him, based on what Shinsou had seen of the boy. “Great!” The invisible one, whose name, he learned, was Hagakure, chose ‘Invisible Girl.’ A bit of an odd name, but a fitting one, one that’d be easy to remember. Yaoyorozu chose ‘Creati’. Todoroki came to the front and raised his sign, which held the word ‘Shouto.’ That was just his name. Voicing the same concerns, Midnight asked, “That’s your name? Are you sure?” Todoroki nodded. The next one to come up was Tokoyami, who presented the name ‘Tsukuyomi,’ after the god of darkness. At that, Nakahara sat bolt upright, rapidly scrawled something onto his board, and walked to the front of the room. ‘Arahabaki.’

“Chuuya?” Dazai asked. “Are you sure you want to-”

“Yeah, Dazai, so back off.”

“Well, then,” Midnight gulped. “The god of destruction?”

“It has,” Nakahara sighed, “shall we say, personal meaning.”

“Just be careful. It’s a dangerous precedent to set for yourself.” He nodded. The next one to come up was Bakugo, who proudly presented ‘King Explosion Murder.’ If Arahabaki was a bad precedent, that was a declaration of villainy right then and there. “I don’t think you should do that.”

“And why the hell not?” Bakugo spat.

“Just no. Think about it.” She said, already in the process of picking someone else. The next one to make their way to the front was Uraraka, with the name ‘Uravity.’ “Cute!” Midnight exclaimed. “It’s perfect!” She looked around. “Only a few of you haven’t gone, right?” Shoot. He was running out of time to think of something. “Bakugo still needs to rethink his, then there’s Iida, Midoriya, Dazai, and Izumi, right? Shinsou-kun, I was told you can pick one if you have an idea, or you can wait.” He exhaled. He didn’t have to figure it out yet. “Are any of you ready?”

“Izumi-san,” Kaminari asked, “do you not have an idea?” She shook her head.

“What about Sprite?” Kirishima offered. “Like the mythical creature?”

Kaminari nodded. “Yeah! I like that!” Izumi smiled and wrote it slowly on her board.

“Okay! Sprite it is! I like it!” Midnight said. Izumi sat down with a grateful nod toward Kirishima.

“Thank you.”

“Alright, who’s next?” After much deliberating, Iida stepped up. ‘Tenya.’ “You’re using your name?” He nodded. “I suppose it’s okay.” He bowed and sat down. “Dazai, Midoriya, are either of you ready?” Dazai was the next to make his way to the front, board bearing the name ‘Viper.’ Shinsou couldn’t claim to understand it, but Nakahara seemed to think it was an apt choice, and Midnight let it slide. “Midoriya-kun? Are you ready?” He nodded.

“Deku.” Midoriya gulped. “This is my hero name.”

“Are you sure?” Ashido asked. “People could be calling you that for the rest of your life.”

He nodded. “Someone showed me that there’s another side to this name. This is who I want to be.” Midnight smiled.

“In that case, I can only say, I hope it serves you well.” She glanced around. “Bakugo-kun, do you have something now?” Bakugo stood bolt upright.

“Yes! Lord Explosion Murder.”

“No.” Shinsou sighed. The hero course kids were an absolute mess, but at least now he was one of them.

Chapter Text

Iida watched the people wander by as he followed Manual through the streets. “Hey.” The Pro Hero stopped. “I hate to presume, but you’re after the Hero Killer, aren’t you?” Iida paused. Manual was on to him. He should have expected as much from a Pro. “I couldn’t think of any other reason for you to come to my agency over many of the other ones available. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely thrilled that you came, but you shouldn’t act on a personal grudge.” Manual was right, Iida knew that, but he didn’t want to let it go. He couldn’t let it go. “As heroes, we don’t have the authority to arrest or punish criminals. We are only allowed to use our quirks because of specific legislation. No matter what happens, a hero must not use their quirk for personal gain. If anyone used their quirk for such a thing, it would be a serious crime, no matter who it is who does it.” Iida nodded. It was a smart law, meant to prevent issues caused by Quirk usage. “I’m by no means denying that the Hero Killer needs to be punished, of course, but I can tell that you have something of a one-track mind. You won’t give up on anything. But I’m worried.”

“I appreciate your concern,” Iida sighed.

“As long you understand that, everything should be okay,” Manual said, nodding. “Let’s go.” Iida followed him, but his mind was racing. Manual was right about the law. He knew the consequences. But still… he had to avenge his brother, somehow. Maybe the Hero Killer wouldn’t make an appearance, and none of it would matter. But if he did… Iida had to do something. They wandered down the streets, greeting pedestrians and keeping an eye out for trouble. It wasn’t until the sun had gone down that there was any sign of a problem. Smoke began to fill the air, and Manual’s radio buzzed. “A villain?” The hero asked. “We’ll be right there.” He turned to Iida. “We have to run.”

This was too flashy to be the Hero Killer. It wasn’t his style. This was someone else. As he was running, his eyes caught a glimpse of something in an alleyway. He took a moment to recognize it, and he turned to dart into the alleyway. A man, presumably a Pro Hero, was held pressed against the wall by a man in a mask, blades strapped to his body. Even more alarming, the pale figure of Nakajima lay slumped next to him, a faint spattering of blood around him.

“If you’re trying to be a hero, you had best choose your last words well.” Iida gulped. This was the Hero Killer. He was going to kill that man. Iida lunged forward, angling to knock his blade aside, only to be thrown back, mask sent flying. The Hero Killer turned to face him. “A child in a hero’s costume?” He grimaced. “Take this boy-” he pointed to Nakajima- “and leave. This is not a place for children.” Iida struggled to lift himself back up.

“You’re-you’re the Hero Killer: Stain. I’ve been looking for you.” Stain flicked and pinned a sword to his throat.

“Be careful. Children are not usually my targets, but they may become one.” He wasn’t even considered important enough to be a target? Stain attacked his brother and didn’t care to even bother with him?!

“Listen to me, Stain. I am the brother of a hero you attacked.” He pulled himself to his feet. “My brother is a hero, one of the best. And I’ve come to defeat you in his stead.” He had to do it. For his mother. For his family. For his honor. For Tensei. “Remember me. I am Ingenium. That’s the name of the hero who will defeat you!”

“I see,” Stain muttered. “In that case... you’ll have to die.” Iida lunged forward, hoping to kick the villain aside, but he easily spun and got behind him. “You two are brothers?” Stain kicked him hard in the arm, boot cutting cleanly through his armor and sending blood flying in every direction. “You’re weak.” He slammed a blade through Iida’s arm. “Both of you are.” Stain looked down at him. “Because both of you are fake heroes.”

“Tensei…” He choked out, “is paralyzed from the waist down. His life as a hero is over. He was a great hero who saved so many people, and you destroyed that. He didn’t deserve it. My brother was a great hero who passed on this dream to me… I can’t forgive what you did.” He began to struggle once again, trying to pull himself to his feet once again. “I’ll kill you for it.”

“Save those two first,” Stain spat. “Think about your actions. Save others. Don’t wield your power for personal gain. Allowing your hatred to control you and following your own desires above all is the exact opposite of being a hero.” He spun his blade, raising it to his mouth. “And that’s why you have to die.” His tongue flicked along the blade, and he swallowed a single drop of blood. Iida barely choked back a scream at the blast of pain that ripped through him. He couldn’t move. Stain raised his sword. “You must die for a more just-”

He was cut off when a burst of silver slammed into him. “Nakajima-kun!” Stain spun, blade angled downward so that the tip was pressed to Nakajima’s forehead. The boy had turned fully into a tiger.

“You should leave while you still can. You aren’t a target yet. Get out of here before that changes,” Stain warned. Nakajima snarled, crouching defensively between Iida and Stain. “Leave while you still can.” Another blur, this one green, hit the villain once again.

“Smash!” Midoriya appeared in the alleyway, green lightning flickering across his body. “I came to save you, Iida.” No. No. No. No. What if Midoriya was crushed by the Hero Killer just like his brother? Or what if he, impossible as it was, won? He’d be taking away Iida’s chance to redeem himself. He had to win. He had to avenge his brother, and Midoriya couldn’t take it from him. The two of them, Midoriya and Nakajima, stood between him and Stain, both poised for a fight.

“Why? How?” Iida muttered.

“60% of the Hero Killer’s victims are found in places with few other people, so I searched the alleyways furthest away from the commotion.” He glanced back. “Can you move? We need to get out of here. We need help to handle this.”

“I can’t… I think it’s his quirk. Ever since he cut me...”

“The commentators were right, huh? If his quirk is activated by cutting the target… Nakajima-kun. Can you help me move them?”

“Midoriya… this has nothing to do with you… stay out of it…” Nakajima had been attacked, but Midoriya was just butting in.

“What-”

“Your friend came to save you, but my quest remains the same. I have to kill all three of you. The weaker will fall. Now, what will you do?”

“Nakajima-kun! Grab the hero!” Next thing Iida knew, he was being slung over Midoriya’s shoulder as the boy launched away. Nakajima followed, now in the form of a human-tiger hybrid. They sprinted out into a separate alleyway, Midoriya still scanning for a direction to go.

Then, suddenly, he spun and essentially dropped Iida as he vaulted over the Hero Killer, raising a fist for a punch. Stain spun, and Midoriya shot past him. Midoriya launched himself up again, spinning over the Hero Killer, angling another punch, this one lower. Once again, Stain evaded it. Smiling, he licked his blade, and Midoriya shuddered. Iida’s eyes shot toward Nakajima, who was shaking, arms holding the Pro Hero as firmly as he could manage.

“It was a worthy attempt, but futile. You recognized your situation and your limits when forming a strategy, then adapted effectively to a change, getting where I couldn’t see you. So many heroes are just bluster, but you’re worth leaving alive. As for your companions, I can’t say the same.” Stain stepped forward, raising his blade over Iida’s head.

“No!” Nakajima shoved him aside. He stumbled back for a moment, but Iida’s eyes widened in terror. A bright red slash ran along the front of Nakajima’s body. A moment later, he collapsed, leaving them entirely defenseless. Stain raised his sword over Nakajima’s chest, only to be met with a bright burst of flames.

“Another one?” Stain mused.

“Midoriya.” Iida recognized Todoroki’s voice instantly. “You need to give more context on things like this. I would’ve come faster. It took me a minute to figure out what you wanted, given that I only had a location. You wouldn’t do something like that for no reason, though, so I came to find you. Icy barriers sprung up between them and the villain. Iida grimaced. This was just getting worse and worse. There were too many people. He couldn’t get his vengeance like this. “Don’t worry. The pros are coming.” He released another wave of flames. “I won’t let you kill them.”

“Todoroki-kun…” Midoriya muttered. “His quirk lets him freeze people by ingesting their blood. Be careful.” As if for peak irony, a blade whisked past Todoroki’s cheek, spraying blood. Stain lunged forward, knife barely caught by an icy wall. The Hero Killer leaped forward, aiming to get Todoroki’s blood, only to be blasted back in another fiery wave. Again and again, Todoroki released waves of ice, bursts of flames. Stain slashed and sliced, shattering ice and dodging fire. This… no. He had to keep fighting, but none of his limbs would move. He was stuck.

“No… please… that guy’s mine… I inherited this name from my brother… I need to earn it...” Another icy wall bloomed in front of Todoroki, only to be slashed to bits.

“Blocking your view is incredibly foolish against a faster opponent.” The green streak of Midoriya slammed into him.

“I don’t know why, but I can move now!” Was there some kind of time limit? But what would determine that? Who’d be next to be able to move? Or was Midoriya special?

“Midoriya!” An icy blast shot over the street, Midoriya barely avoiding being frozen.

“He takes in blood to paralyze people. It could be a couple of things. The number of people, the amount ingested, or blood type.”

“We need to hurry up and get out of here,” Todoroki said. “But his reaction time is too fast for me to hold him.” Beside him, Iida could see Nakajima stir. Slowly, he watched the boy pull himself upward, still sluggish from the last dregs of Stain’s quirk.

“I can- I can help.” Nakajima pushed himself forward, shifting into a tiger in a flash of blue light.

“We’ll get in close, you cover us from behind.” Todoroki nodded.

“Three against one? This won’t be easy.” Stain stepped forward. Midoriya shot forward, green light streaking behind him. Nakajima lunged after him. The three moved together, Midoriya and Nakajima darting back and forth around blasts of fire and ice, doing their best to drive the Hero Killer Back. They were protecting him. This was supposed to be his chance, his mission, and instead, his classmates had to protect him.

Midoriya stumbled, and Stain slid a blade along his leg. Nakajima tackled him before he could ingest any blood.

“Please... Stop… I have to...” Iida choked.

Todoroki glanced at him. “If you want us to stop, then get up and stop us.” Iida wanted to scream. He had to get up and fight, but his body refused to respond. He was stuck. The fight raged on around him, but he was barely paying attention. “Fight for what you want to be!” He was right. If he wanted to be worthy of the name Ingenium, then he had to be strong. He had to fight for it, somehow. Iida’s fingers twitched. Stain’s quirk was wearing off.

Stain lunged toward Todoroki, blade ready to slice his arm. Iida screamed and he launched himself to his feet, engines kicking in on full throttle, a full-blown Recipro Burst, as he blasted into the Hero Killer and sent him bowling backward.

“Todoroki-kun, Midoriya-kun. I’m sorry. This shouldn’t involve you. Nakajima-kun, I’m sorry I was too weak to help you.” The tiger growled and stepped forward. Iida continued, “I can’t allow you to get hurt any more.”

Stain grimaced. “Don’t lie and say you’ve changed for your own sake. People don’t change that fast. You are a selfish fake, now and forever.” Blue light flared behind Iida. Nakajima stepped forward.

“Iida. Don’t listen to him.”

“No,” Iida grimaced. “He’s right. I’m not worthy of the name of a hero. But, for Tensei, for my family, for everyone, I have to try.” He gulped. “If I give up, this is the end of Ingenium. I can’t allow that. “ Stain lunged forward. Todoroki shoved Iida aside and summoned a burst of flame. For a moment, the two of them spun around again and again as Todoroki launched blasts at him. Iida stopped. He needed to move, but his legs stalled. They were overheated. He couldn’t move. “Todoroki, freeze my legs! Just don’t plug the ports, please.”

A knife soared toward Todoroki’s arm. At the last moment, Nakajima leaped in front of it, the blade sinking deep into his shoulder. Another knife shot clean through Iida’s arm, but he barely noticed with the combined adrenaline and the feeling of Todoroki’s quirk on his legs. Heat surged through his legs once again as he blasted forward. To one side, he caught a glimpse of Nakajima shifting back into a tiger. On the other side, Midoriya burst forward. The three of them collided into the Hero Killer, sending him crashing downward. Todoroki released a jet of flames that sent him slamming into a wall as he fell. The Hero Killer slumped forward, unconscious.

“Can someone restrain him so we can get out of here?” Nakajima asked. Iida exhaled. It was over.

Chapter Text

Atsushi gulped. The pro heroes were crowding around, and he was already getting nervous. The wound in his arm had already healed, but this wasn’t a good use of their time. Everyone else would only get worse the longer they waited, and the Hero Killer might still wake up. “Get down!” One of the Pros suddenly called. A large grey creature swept done over them. He instinctively slashed upward, but the creature grabbed Midoriya and swept off. He prepared himself for a fight, but it was too late.

Suddenly, the creature shuddered, and a red and black blur shot past, colliding with the villain in a wave of blood. The Hero Killer loomed over the mangled body of the villain before turning around.

“This is all to create a better society.” He stepped forward. Atsushi lunged forward, claws reappearing. “For the sake of a better world, I have to dispose of the false heroes.” Atsushi was shaking, but he couldn’t move. Stain lunged forward. “The streets will run red with the blood of the pretenders, false heroes driven by fame and money. They must be-” he collapsed.

Atsushi approached him tentatively, but he was out cold, blood streaming from the corner of his mouth. As the pros approached him from every side, he finally exhaled. The Hero Killer was done.

-------

The ground rumbled with a single, loud crack as the rocks slammed into the ravine and skidded to a halt. Kyouka glanced up at Thirteen. Her mentor nodded. “We need to move. Find any survivors and get them out. That’s the first step.” Kyouka nodded back. “It’s like we practiced, but we need to be even more careful. There are no second chances in a real situation like this.”

Step one would be getting down there. She stepped forward. The rocks shifted under her feet. If she kept going like that, she’d fall into the ravine herself. She would have to move slowly. Kyouka flipped open her phone and held it up to her ear, feeling the burst of energy as Demon Snow manifested behind her. “How are we doing this?” She asked.

“We have to find out where the people are before we try to get to them.” Thirteen advised. Kyouka nodded.

“Demon Snow,” Kyouka muttered. “Find people.” The phantom rushed forward, hovering for a moment before lunging forward. Kyouka looked at Thirteen and said, “I think it found someone.” Thirteen nodded before stepping forward, being careful not to slip. Kyouka followed them down the slope, keeping her footsteps as light as possible so as not to disturb the piles of rubble.

As they approached, Kyouka heard a soft whimper. She glanced at Thirteen, who nodded.
“Show me where they are.” Demon Snow dropped down, sword indicating a pile of rocks. Kyouka sprinted forward, still careful of the rocks as she made her way to the pile. Another whimper came from the other side of the rock. Kyouka darted around to see a woman pinned down underneath.

“He...help…”

“We’re going to try to get you out. Please stay still.” She had to be careful. She had to avoid hurting the woman, no matter what.

“First, we need to figure out the safest way to get her out, whether that’s using quirks, manually, or a combination of the two.” Kyouka scanned the scene. The rocks were in too many pieces for Demon Snow to move efficiently. Thirteen’s quirk, based on what she’d seen in her research into the hero before the internship, was too imprecise to use safely.

“A quirk-enhanced manual process would be best, I think.”

“That’s right. Let’s get started.” Thirteen stepped forward and bent to move the rocks.

“Demon Snow.” The phantom appeared behind her. “Help move the rocks.” Blue light flickered and flashed as Demon Snow’s sword disappeared, and it lunged down, shifting the rocks away carefully. At the same time, Thirteen began sucking up smaller rocks. Kyouka herself began pushing aside what she could, Demon Snow providing the force where she couldn’t. Within a few minutes, the woman had been uncovered. By then, emergency services had begun to arrive, and the woman was quickly handed over to them.

“We need to split up to get to people faster,” Thirteen said as they turned away. “Call if you need help. Take care, and do your best.”

“Keep looking.” Kyouka trailed Demon Snow across the ravine toward another pile of larger rocks. “Get rid of the rocks, but don’t hurt anyone, and make sure that it stays stable.” Demon Snow lunged forward, sword appearing once again as it began slicing through rocks, revealing a teenager caught underneath. Within seconds, it had slashed the pile down almost to pebbles. Demon Snow raised its blade and broke through the last one. Something rumbled in the distance. Kyouka glanced up to see the rocks tumbling downward toward them, destabilized by the loss of that last rock. “Demon Snow!” The phantom manifested in front of her, sword raised. It could protect her, no doubt, but what about the teenager? “Get them out of here safely!” She had a better chance of getting out than they did, and even if she died, better her, murderer that she was, than them. It rushed forward, blade spinning and blocking to keep the rocks away from the teenager as it scooped them up and rushed away. Kyouka herself darted back and forth, trying to dodge rocks and get out of the way.

Then, she was yanked forward. Someone blasted past her. An explosion tore through the air, and the figure shot back. Thirteen opened their capsule and began sucking in the rocks. Kyouka slid to a halt at the feet of a man dressed head-to-toe in denim. A moment later, she recognized Bakugo standing next to him, his hair pressed flat. She hauled herself to her feet.

“God damn it, Cellphone Girl,” Bakugo hissed. “I don’t want to listen to Dunce Face mope for months because you got yourself killed.” Kyouka winced.

“Your instinct to save the civilians first is good,” Thirteen said, “but you need to avoid situations like that and have a contingency plan for when things do happen, rather than acting on instinct.” She nodded. “We have to keep going.” Kyouka gulped and stepped forward, more carefully this time.

Demon Snow trailed her down the ravine, back into the rubble. “Find someone.” They switched positions, her following it down further, steps light and careful as she moved downward. Demon Snow stopped above a single large boulder. She could see a man caught underneath. She had to get him out, but she had to be careful. She scanned the scene. Nothing seemed to be leaning on it; it would probably be safe to move. The obvious answer was just to have Demon Snow break it, but he was directly underneath. Any movement that cut completely through it would cut him too. “Pick up the boulder.” Demon Snow lifted it easily, and Kyouka ducked underneath, pinning her phone between her shoulder and her ear as she took careful hold of the man and pulled him out. “Put it out of the way, away from people.” Demon Snow rushed off as she carried the man over to the emergency services. A moment later, Demon Snow returned, and she set off.

It became almost rhythmic, pulling people out of the rubble and handing them over. The others seemed to be effectively doing the same. Thirteen sucked up pieces of stone, allowing the people caught underneath to pull themselves out. The man in denim controlled threads that hoisted rocks and pulled anyone caught among them away. As for Bakugo, he was doing surprisingly well, although he continued to complain that there were more interesting things he could be doing.

Everything was running relatively smoothly until he got just a little over-zealous and shoved aside a large chunk of stone, which rolled to one side as he tugged out the person underneath. Kyouka glanced at its trajectory only to realize that it was rolling toward the man in denim, who was in the process of moving several rocks off of a woman. The man was distracted, he might not see it, but if it hit, it would be really bad.

“Stop it!” She shouted. Demon Snow rushed past her and in front of the rock. With a quick swipe of its sword, the rock shattered and collapsed to the ground. Kyouka exhaled. She did it. She’d made it. She’d save them. A shout for help from behind pulled her back into the moment; there was still work to do.

The four of them, with the help of the ever-increasing team of firepeople, quickly managed to get the rest of the people out of the rubble, handing the injured off to emergency services. Luckily, no one was seriously injured; nobody would even need to be hospitalized. Thirteen and the man were talking to the police. Kyouka and Bakugo were told to talk with the un-injured victims in the meantime, so there they were, two untrained highschoolers trying to comfort them.

A boy grabbed Bakugo’s arm. “What do you want!?” The boy flinched and began to cry. A moment later, a woman who looked like his older sister stepped up behind him.

“Come on, don’t be mean,” she said, picking up the boy. “It’s okay, Tatsuya. Let’s go.” Bakugo grumbled and turned away. Kyouka glanced away, only to feel a soft tug on her skirt. She looked down to see a little girl with a faint spatter of scales across her face, gripping her skirt.

“Where’s my mommy?” Kyouka smiled softly as she knelt in front of her. What could she say?

“Your mom is with a doctor, who’s going to make sure she’s okay so she can come back and play with you.” The little girl began to cry. “Shh… it’s okay.” What did she do now? The girl stumbled forward, and Kyouka instinctively wrapped her arms around her, pulling her tighter. She hadn’t done this since she left the Port Mafia. Her mother, and, after that, Kouyou, had done it for her when she was scared, frightened first by thunderstorms as a child and later by the darkness of the Port Mafia. “What’s your name?”

“Ka...Kazu...Kazuko…” The girl hiccuped through her tears.

“Okay, Kazuko-chan. Your mom is going to be well soon, and we can stay together until then.” Kyouka hoisted her up to her side, letting the girl cry into her shoulder as she looked around, watching Bakugo argue with a highschooler, the two Pro Heroes talk to the police, the people mill about, supporting each other and checking in, even with strangers. And somehow, despite the situation, Kyouka smiled. If this was what being a hero was like, well, it wasn’t too bad.

Chapter Text

Hizashi glanced up and down the street for a moment. He and Shouta had been called out after reports of villains in this part of the city. He had to convince Shouta to come since he was working with an intern. So there they were, Hizashi and Shouta and Shouta’s intern, getting ready for their approach against the villain. He was on the ground; the other two were waiting on the roof of a building across the street, much more Shouta’s style.

A man in a black coat with a red scarf stood in the center of the road, a little girl in a red dress grinning next to him, a giant syringe slung over one shoulder. Normal-sized syringes were everywhere, embedded into walls, the street, and several people. To the man’s other side was a kid with brown and white hair, a creepy beige doll clutched tight to their chest. They matched the description in the call, but that couldn’t be right. Neither of the kids looked any older than ten- certainly not old enough to be a villain in their own right.

The little girl laughed and summoned a wave of syringes, which she hurled toward him. Hizashi screamed, activating his Quirk, and shattering them before they got to him. The girl summoned several more. He glanced up at the roof where Shouta and his intern should be waiting. He didn’t want to go all out on a ten-year-old, but he had limited options. If Shouta got involved, he could end this without having to use his quirk on her. She launched a volley, and he shattered them again. He spotted Shouta looking down from the top of the building, hair and scarf floating as characteristic of his quirk, but the girl launched herself into the air and fired off another barrage of syringes. If he wasn't affecting her quirk, whose was he erasing?

Shouta’s scarf shot forward, wrapping around her waist and slamming her to the ground. He leaped down, intern pulled down by his scarf after him.

“Elise-chan!” The man lunged forward. Shouta triggered his quirk, staring down the man. As his quirk was activated, the little girl dissolved into blue light. Some sort of teleportation quirk? “What did you do to her?” So it wasn’t her quirk, or the man’s. The man pulled out a scalpel and dashed toward Shouta. Hizashi screamed, sending the man bowling backward. Behind him, the kid covered their ears and closed their eyes. He was going to have to deal with that. Shouta sprung forward, scarf lashing around the man’s chest and yanking him forward.

“Shinsou-kun?” His intern stepped forward. “Do you want to handle him?” Shinsou nodded

Hizashi glanced around, eyes landing on the kid, still hugging their doll. “I’m going to go check on them.” Shouta nodded, and he walked over, crouching in front of them. He smiled, hoping that he wouldn’t scare them since they started on a pretty rough note. “Hey, little listener, it’s gonna be okay.” He set a reassuring hand on their arm, and the kid smiled. He’d always liked kids, and this kid seemed like they might like him too. Then they stepped back and pulled up their sleeve.

Blood dripped from their razor and bandage coated forearm. Hizashi had to suppress a wince. He’d touched them there. That had to hurt. It looked so painful; he would have to take them to see Chiyo, or at least a doctor, when this was over. The kid laughed. “I know things are gonna be okay, Mister.” Their hand wrapped around their doll’s head, their smile somehow widening as they ripped its head off.

“Hey, hey, hey, kid… what are you doing?” Wow, his head hurt. He turned around to see Shouta charging toward him. His scarf flared toward Hizashi. Shouta was… attacking him? He had to stop him, this wasn’t right, he had to stop Shouta before he hurt someone. Roaring back the full force of his quirk, Hizashi screamed.

-------

Aizawa clamped his hands over his ears as Hizashi’s voice slammed into him, sending him tumbling backward. Behind him, he could tell Shinsou was doing the same, to less effect. Something was wrong with Hizashi, and Aizawa had to do something before he hurt anyone. He activated his quirk, forcing Hizashi to stop screaming, but it wasn’t enough; he kept coming, ready to attack. Aizawa lashed his scarf around him and pulled him down, still kicking and fighting.

“Shinsou.” He glanced back. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, but why would he attack us?” Shinsou looked around. “His eyes-” Aizawa nodded. He’d noticed that too- the blood seeping like tears from Hizashi’s eyes. “Did that kid do something to him?” It was the only logical response- Hizashi started exhibiting strange behaviors and symptoms after interacting with a child of unknown quirk with established villain connections. That meant he had to find the kid before they did it to anyone else, and so he could undo what they did to Hizashi. But if he left Hizashi here, he was liable to attack someone. The kid was still watching from down the street, and they were still smiling, a now ruined doll clutched to their chest. Aizawa blinked, bracing himself to be attacked, as he transferred his gaze to the kid.

“What- Eraser?” Hizashi sputtered. “What happened?”

Aizawa sighed. “I don’t know. Something made you attack us. We think it was that kid, but we’re taking them into custody, so we’ll find out.”

“The kid? Oh, Eraser, be careful; they’re injured.” Aizawa smiled. That was just like him.

“Shinsou-kun, can you go get them? I’ll keep an eye on him.” Shinsou nodded as he walked past him. Aizawa turned to face the man in the black coat, who seemed to still be brainwashed. Easy enough. He went back to where Shinsou and the kid were standing together. He couldn’t erase the kid’s quirk from this angle without hitting Shinsou, and that would be bad. He stepped forward, ready to get involved if something went wrong, but a moment later, Shinsou walked back toward him, kid trailing him with familiar blank eyes.

The two were quickly loaded into quirk resistant police vehicles and sent off to a police station. “Okay, Shinsou-kun.” Aizawa looked at him. “We’re going to meet them at the station. When you’re on patrol, that doesn’t happen, but this was an emergency call, so we will.” Shinsou nodded and followed him as he walked to the station, following the cars as best as possible. They arrived minutes after the trucks; the chief was already waiting for them.

“They’re waiting in those two rooms. We’ve tried to run ID on both of them already. The man’s name is Ougai Mori. His record is fuzzy, with no listed crimes, but enough suspected ties to put him in jail for the rest of his life if even 5% of them are true. As for the kid, I’m afraid we couldn’t find anything, not even a legal name. We have no idea who they are.” Aizawa nodded.

“We’ll see what can get out of them.” He entered the first room, Shinsou following him. The man looked back at them. “Okay, Mori. We’re going to ask you questions, and you’re going to answer them.” Mori smirked. “Let’s get started. Who was that little girl?”

“Elise-chan.”

“How are you two connected?”

“She’s my daughter.” Aizawa grimaced. He was lying, plain and simple. This was someone who’d been questioned before, who wasn’t scared of the law.

“Is that true?” Shinsou asked. Mori smiled but didn’t respond. He probably knew Shinsou’s quirk, and he was smart enough to avoid it. Great.

Aizawa looked at him. “What about the other kid?”

“That’s Q.”

“Q? What’s their real name?”

Mori made eye contact with him. “The best advice I can give you is to stay away from them. That kid’s a monster, through and through. Do not try to save them; you can’t change their nature.”

“That’s not what I asked.”

“But that’s what you need to know, so that’s what I’m telling you.” He leaned forward. “For the safety of everyone, don’t let that child go.”

“What. Is. Their. Name.”

“Q. They are Q, nothing more and nothing else.” Aizawa frowned. This was getting nowhere.

“Fine. Their name is Q. Why were you three attacking people?”

“Elise-chan wanted to.”

“You committed serious crimes… because a ten-year-old told you to.” Aizawa grimaced.

“I didn’t do anything. Elise-chan and Q did.”

“And you allowed that?”

“Of course! What was I supposed to say? No?”

Aizawa turned around. “This is getting nowhere,” he said as he left, Shinsou following him.

“Did you get anything?” The police captain asked. Aizawa shook his head.

“Not much. He calls the kid Q but refuses to give us their actual name. He’s clearly mocking us, but he has no intention of telling us anything unless he genuinely did it because a ten-year-old I’m not entirely convinced is a real person told him to. We’re going to talk to the kid next.” He nodded, and they made their way into the room. The kid, Q, was sitting in front of them, hugging their doll tightly. “Shinsou-kun, you try to take the lead on this one.” Shinsou nodded.

He stepped forward, eyes darting up and down, sizing up the kid. “Hello.” They looked up at him, mismatched eyes wide and shaky. “I have some questions for you, is that okay?” They nodded. “What’s your name?”

“Q,” they muttered, voice weak and wobbly. There was no shift in their posture, no change in their expression; Shinsou had opted not to brainwash them. It was likely a tactic to build up their trust- they knew or at least had a sense of how his quirk works. The kid was young enough that it might work.

“How old are you?”

“Th-thirteen.” Wow. He’d thought Mori’s lies were blatant, but this kid wasn’t even trying to be believable. Instantly, they sat upright, eyes becoming hollow and face going blank. Shinsou had taken control. He was trying to get answers out of them since Mori wasn’t responding.

“I need you to tell me the truth. How old are you?”

“Eight.”

“Now, we’re going to talk about what happened today. Why did you attack Present Mic?”

“Who?”

“He’s a Pro Hero, he was the one who talked to you today. What did you do to him?”

“I used my ability.”

“How does your ability work?”

“When someone hurts me, it lets me curse them.”

“Why do you use your ability to hurt people like that?” For a moment, there was silence, before they blinked, and they were suddenly shaking, eyes wide and scared. Had Shinsou had given up control, or had they broken it?

“Well, Mori-san said,” their voice began to shake even worse than before. “He said, he said that,” tears started running down their face, “that my ability is meant for hurting people.” He saw Shinsou tense. It must have struck a little too close to home. “He said that with an ability like this, I have no other choice. God made me with this ability, I have to use it for what it was meant for, and that’s attacking and cursing people.” They finally broke down sobbing. Shinsou sent him an uncomfortable glance; neither of them knew what to do with this.

Then, after several agonizing minutes, Shinsou sighed and leaned forward. “Okay, Q, look at me.” Their breaths came out in sharp hiccuping bursts, but they didn’t look at him. Shinsou exhaled once more and began again. “What’s your name?” Aizawa nodded. He knew what Shinsou was going for. He was trying to get control again.

“Q…” They sat bolt upright, tear-soaked face going blank.

“Okay, Q. Breathe normally.” Their breathing did, as ordered, slow down to a steady rate. “Do you want to use your quirk like that?”

“No, I want to help people, but I can’t with an ability like this. I like using my ability, so I have to use it this way.” Shinsou sighed and stood up.

“Thank you for your cooperation. Aizawa-sensei, let’s go.” Aizawa nodded and followed Shinsou out. There was more he wanted to ask, but clearly, Q wasn’t ready to talk anymore. Once they got out, Shinsou turned to face him. “We have to do something.”

Chapter Text

“Q, right?” She stepped forward. “My name is Recovery Girl. My friend here says you’re hurt. Can you show me?” They gulped. What if she got mad at them when she saw their arms? Would this be what finally convinced these people that they were evil? Would they give up on Q after that? “Please. I can’t help you if you don’t show me what’s wrong.” For another beat, they hesitated before Shinsou made eye contact with them and nodded. Tentatively, they pulled back their sleeve, wincing when the fabric brushed against their exposed cuts.

There was almost a collective inhale as they took in the bloody slashes and razors taped to their arm. Then, Recovery Girl stepped forward, already pulling tweezers out of her pocket and taking a gentle but firm hold of their arm. “This is going to hurt, but it has to be done.” She gripped the first blade in her tweezers and pulled it out. They watched a violet handprint appear on her shoulder, fingers peeking out from under her coat. Aizawa stepped up, hair rising around his face, and the handprint faded.

Recovery Girl made quick work of removing the blades and cleaning as much of the blood off as possible. Much to Q’s surprise, rather than pulling out bandages, she leaned forward. They instinctively flinched, but she pressed a kiss to their forehead. Immediately, a wave of exhaustion came over them, and they glanced down to see their arm pale and clean, no trace of the slashes that had covered them since they were about five. Q began to cry.

The adults in the room were talking, but they were too tired and confused to focus. Then, someone picked them up, but, by then, they were already half-asleep. Within moments, lulled by the gentle movement, they were sleeping.

-------

Uraraka lunged forward. Her footsteps pounded softly as she approached Gunhead. He was ready, and she tried to think. What would Deku do? What would Nakahara do? She grabbed his arm, canceling out his weight as she swung her foot around to try to trip him up. Instead, her foot slid under him, and he caught her in the back, sending her dropping to the ground. Within thirty seconds, he had her pinned, despite her quirk.

“Okay, Uraraka-chan,” Gunhead said. She released her quirk as he pulled her to her feet. “You need to keep track of your opponent’s movements. Don’t get bogged down in your moves. You have to know what they’re doing just as much as you need to know what you’re doing.” She nodded. That made sense, when she thought about it. “Let’s go again.”

Clenching her fist, she charged again. He spun to knock her down, but she braced herself and vaulted over him, landing a single punch on his back before she hit the ground. He raised his arms as he came around, but she went under. Unfortunately, he caught her with a knee to the stomach and sent her tumbling. She hauled herself up and came running again, only to be hit by his arm, grabbed, twisted, and slammed to the ground.

“Good, but not quite. Let’s do it again!”

-------

“Next week is final exams. Make sure you’re studying properly. As you know, there is a practical part as well as the written component. Be ready. That’s it.” Aizawa closed the door, leaving them all in the classroom to freak out. Momo glanced around. She herself was most likely prepared, but some of her classmates were beginning to panic.

“I didn’t study at all!” Kaminari was the first one to react. Ashido nodded.

“It’s true that we’ve had so many things one after another,” Tokoyami concluded.

Midoriya smiled. “Let’s all do our best so we can go to the training camp together!” Momo nodded. That was exactly the mentality they needed if they were going to get everyone through. Maybe she could help? She’d done relatively well on the midterm, so maybe this would work.

“If you two need it, maybe I could help you with the written part?” She offered.

“Thank you, Yao-momo!” Ashido beamed.

“Wait, if you’re offering, can I join in?” Jirou stepped up beside them.

“Oh! Me too!” Sero clamored.

Montgomery was the next to appear. “Can I come?” Momo smiled. They all wanted to spend time together and study. Oh, this was wonderful!

“Of course! Let’s hold a study session this weekend at my home! Oh, in that case, I’ll have to ask Mother to open the hall. What kind of tea do you all like?” They stared at her blankly. “I like Harrod’s but Mother prefers Wedgewood, so please, tell me what you’d rather have. And, of course, you can trust me to help you study as well! I will do my best!”

Kaminari coughed. “What did you say your favorite tea was? Harry’s? That sounds good.” Momo nodded.

“Harrod’s!” She grinned. “Alright, then! We’ll all meet this weekend and study together! It’s going to be great!” It was fantastic! She was going to get to spend time helping and supporting her classmates, and she was going to get to know them in the process.

-------

Aizawa looked his class up and down. They’d all passed the written exam, but here was where their practical experience would come into play. This was the actual test for their ability to be heroes. Language and math were important for any job that they could get, but practical combat skill was what set them apart as hero class students. This was key to their future careers as heroes.

“Because of the increasing demands of hero society, we’ve updated the final exams to ensure that our students are fully prepared,” the principal explained. “In teams of two, you will go up against various teachers.” He watched the collective fear ripple through his students. They were intimidated, of course. It was only natural when confronted with a significantly more powerful opponent. Aizawa nodded. “For the sake of fairness, each teacher will be carrying weights to limit their movements.”

“You will have thirty minutes to complete the exam. To pass, you either need to capture the teacher, or one member of your team has to escape,” Aizawa said.

The principal nodded. “First, Nakajima-kun and Kirishima-kun will go up against Cementoss! Then, Shinsou-kun and Dazai-kun will be fighting Ectoplasm! After that, Powerloader versus Yaoyorozu-san and Ashido-san! Fourth, Montgomery-san and Sero-kun versus Eraserhead! Fifth will be Todoroki and Uraraka going up against Thirteen! Then, I will fight Nakahara-kun and Kaminari-kun! Seventh, Jirou-san and Izumi-san will go up against Present Mic! Hagakure-san and Asui-san will go up against Snipe! Then will be Tokoyami-kun and Iida-kun versus Midnight! And to finish us off, we’ll have Midoriya-kun and Bakugo-kun vs All-Might!”

“When you aren’t participating in your own exam, you can either watch the ongoing exams or strategize. I would recommend developing a strategy with your teammate before you go in to fight,” Aizawa advised. He could already see many of the groups drifting together, trying to develop something they could use. The obvious exception was the team of Bakugo and Midoriya, but that was why he’d put the two of them together. Other than that, all of the teams were, at the very least, talking to each other. Midoriya was, as usual, trying to strategize with Bakugo, but he completely rejected the concept. Their exam would certainly be an interesting one.

Chapter Text

Atsushi clenched his fist as a voice called, “Nakajima and Kirishima versus Cementoss, start!”

Kirishima looked at him.

“We probably get a better score for capture than escape, so let’s try that!” Atsushi nodded.

“Let’s go!” He lunged forward, shifting into a tiger-hybrid as a wall of cement rose to meet them. Kirishima drew back and slammed a punch into it, shattering it into chunks that rained down around them. Another rose to meet them, only to be crushed yet again. It took several more for Atsushi to realize that it wasn’t working. Kirishima was going to wear himself out; they had to try something else.

“Kirishima-kun!”

“Yes?” He shattered another wall.

“We have to escape. We can’t push through like this.” Kirishima looked at him, then back at the ever-rising waves of concrete, then back to him again.

“Okay. You’re faster. I’ll cover for you. Go ahead, dude.” Atsushi took off running, converting fully into a tiger as he moved, feet pounding against the concrete with every step. He could hear Kirishima behind him, still punching against the walls. He moved through the streets fluidly, darting around corners as he kept his eyes on the exit. The noise of Kirishima in the background remained consistent for several minutes, fading slightly as Atsushi got further away. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped altogether. Kirishima was done. Atsushi had to get out of there before Cementoss caught up with him. He rounded another corner, and the gate was in sight. In just a minute, he’d be able to make it.

Then, a wall of cement blasted up in front of him, barely giving him time to stop himself before he ran into it. Atsushi glanced around. Another barrier sprouted behind him. He needed something. Then, an idea dawned on him.

He vaulted past, rather than over, the wall. From there, he fought his way to the top of the building. The edge of the field was only a few buildings over, it would be easy to get there without going back to the ground. He got a running start and leaped over the gap. From there, he sprang from building to building until he was across from the exit. He jumped off.

A wall of concrete rose in front of him. He hit it hard, pushing himself upward and over it. Atsushi stumbled forward when he hit the ground, claws ripping through the concrete as he pushed himself through the gate. A buzzer blew, and he exhaled. He did it.

“Team Nakajima and Kirishima have passed the final.”

-------

Dazai grinned. This would be easy. He just had to get his partner to play along, and everything would go smoothly. Shinsou turned to him.

“I don’t know or care what your deal is, but I need to pass this, and I need you in order to do it,” Shinsou said. “I can’t control you for whatever reason, but you still need to play along and follow my plan.” Something deep inside Dazai wanted to smirk at the almost quaintness of his statement, but it was easily squashed. That wouldn’t win the fight.

“By all means.” A buzzer blew.

“Dazai and Shinsou versus Ectoplasm, start!” Dazai glanced around. Already, copies of the teacher were appearing around them. He understood why Aizawa had put them together, but that wouldn’t matter. They needed to get through to the teacher, at which point Shinsou could escape. The main part, though, was getting there. The clones couldn’t touch him, so he could just blow past them, but Shinsou couldn’t be left behind, which left him with one option.

“Hold my hand.” Shinsou stared at him.

“No.” Shinsou turned to face the Ectoplasm clones, which were rapidly approaching. That was okay; he hadn’t expected the plan to work. A clone lunged toward them, and the fight began in earnest. Dazai spun and brushed his hand against it. “We need to move.”

Dazai nodded and followed Shinsou as he sprinted toward the entrance, intentionally brushing against and destroying as many clones as possible as they moved. According to a map of the facility, this would lead down a hallway, then to another matching room, where they would reach the exit and, most likely, encounter the teacher. Several more clones sprung up in front of them. Dazai spun and waved his hand through them, dissolving them into blue light as they moved. Shinsou slid easily back into the lead as they sprinted toward the open doorway.

Another line of clones manifested along the hallway. Shinsou full-body rammed into one, forcing it to dispel, but it wasn’t enough. They converged on him, rushing in like a swarm. At the last second, Dazai grabbed his arm. The clones flickered out of existence as they ran into the boys, and Shinsou glanced back at him in surprise.

“Did you think I asked you to hold my hand because I was flirting?” Dazai almost laughed. “I want to pass, and this is the strategy to do it, given both of our limited physical combat capabilities. Now, we’re going to go into that room and you are going to run. Escape, and we pass.” Shinsou looked him up and down, but Dazai could already tell he’d accepted the plan.

They burst out of the hallway into the open room. As expected, a swarm of Ectoplasms surrounded them, each one poised for a fight. Dazai needed to find the original. Further toward the exit, he could see one clone stood out among the crowd, shuffling its weight slightly. A clever decoy, but not what he needed. The right one would be trying to blend in. He caught a glimpse of one standing almost cartoonishly still among the others, shifting more intentionally than any of them. That was the one. He let go of Shinsou and ran forward, avoiding the others as he made a beeline for the original. As he grabbed the original hero’s arm, the others flickered out of existence. He glanced over to see if Shinsou was leaving, but he was hesitating. A frustrating deviation from the plan, but not entirely unexpected. Shinsou was new, he still had something to prove, and he didn’t want his teammate to be doing everything. It was fine. Dazai could work with that.

He shifted his weight to let the teacher throw him down. Shinsou’s eyes widened, and he rushed into the fight. He slammed his fist into the teacher, who flinched but easily grabbed Shinsou’s arm and flung him to the ground.

“You aren’t strong enough to defeat me in head-on combat. It would have been wiser to run while you still could.” Ectoplasm pushed down harder. Shinsou couldn’t use his quirk as long as Ectoplasm was touching Dazai, so Dazai pushed himself forward. Shinsou seemed to catch on, grabbing his hand and hauling him out.

“Really? That’s what you think?” Dazai took off running. If Shinsou brainwashed Ectoplasm, that would be fantastic, but it wasn’t necessary. A clone sprung up in front of him, rising up and above until it was significantly larger than the others, but Dazai just barreled through, letting it dissolve around him as he burst through the exit.

“Team Dazai and Shinsou have passed the final.”

-------

“Ashido and Yaoyorozu versus Power Loader, start!” The ground rumbled under Mina’s feet, and Yaoyorozu grabbed her hand. All around them, chunks of rock shot upward.

“He’s underground,” Yaoyorozu began. “We can’t trust anywhere we step.” She generated something and hurled it out into the field. Several bursts of rock exploded on the impact. So she was right.

“Then what do we do?” Mina glanced around.

“The best strategy would be to find a way to escape while touching as little of the ground as possible,” Yaoyorozu said. “I think I have a plan, but I don’t know if it’ll work.” Mina smiled.

“It’s worth a shot!” Yaoyorozu nodded and flipped open her dictionary, quickly settling on a page. A string of rope burst out of her hand. It just kept coming until she had a huge pile at her feet.

“My plan is essentially to throw you by having you skate while I spin the rope to launch you out the exit.” Mina nodded. That could work. Yaoyorozu tied the rope around her waist, and she took off running away from the exit, generating acid under her feet as Yaoyorozu tugged the rope and pulled her around, her feet barely skimming the ground as she rocketed past her teammate and was thrown across the ground. Power Loader suddenly burst out of the ground, but she redirected herself swiftly along the terrain, swirling past him.

But then, her foot brushed against a rock, and the ground made a sickening rumbling sound under her feet before collapsing. Mina flailed, but she was stuck. The rope was still tied around her waist, but with Yaoyorozu no longer holding on, it wasn’t useful. The only thing she had in her favor was the fact that the rocks hadn’t fully caved in on her. The best thing to do would be to dig herself out, but she didn’t even know which direction she was facing.

“Ashido-san!” She glanced up to see Yaoyorozu offering her a hand. After a beat, Mina took it and was hauled up to the surface. She looked around. They were only a few feet from the gate. “I’ll cover for you!” Mina nodded and took off running, careful this time to keep her footsteps light and, above all, fast, so that she wouldn’t fall into the craters that were still opening up behind her. With a single, final burst of speed, she blasted through the exit.

“Team Ashido and Yaoyorozu have passed the final.”

Chapter Text

Sero pulled his mask down over his face and glanced over at Montgomery. They’d worked together before, so they had that going in their favor. They’d need every possible advantage to be able to beat Aizawa. She straightened her collar and nodded.

“Montgomery and Sero versus Eraserhead, start!” Immediately, Sero launched himself into the air. Their plan, as proposed by Montgomery, was to use him as bait was that he would lure Aizawa into Montgomery’s range while keeping him busy long enough for her to pull them into Anne’s room, where she’d have the full force of her quirk available. He scanned the rooftops, but Aizawa was nowhere to be seen. He shot a glance back down at Montgomery, who was herself waiting behind a wall for him to give her the signal. For a minute, they just waited there, each watching for Aizawa’s approach.

Then, suddenly, Montgomery screamed as something wrapped around her waist and tugged her backward. Sero spun and saw that she was hanging suspended from a lamppost, flailing back and forth. Aizawa was gone, leaving her flailing.

“I can’t- I can’t get-” Montgomery sputtered, gasping for breath. “Anne’s room.” She couldn’t get into Anne’s room, which meant… “Still here.” Sero nodded. He needed to draw Aizawa’s attention away from her, but, first, he had to get her down. A stream of tape shot from his elbow as he swung himself onto the roof. He stumbled back when he realized Aizawa was crouching on the back of the roof.

Then, multiple things happened at once. The man’s scarf lashed out towards Sero. Montgomery swung forward. His stomach plummeted. An expanse of pink sky appeared above them. A doll flickered into existence behind Aizawa, arms already extended. Sero tried to generate more tape, but nothing came out. Anne made a grab for the teacher, but he ducked under her hands and lashed his scarf around her body, spinning her around and slamming her down as he turned to face Montgomery.

Aizawa’s hair rose around his face, the faint glow of his quirk lighting around him. Anne flickered and disappeared. Montgomery screamed, a sharp, broken sound. He saw Aizawa flinch, and he took the opportunity to lash tape around the teacher and yank him back. Yellow light flared around Montgomery, and Anne reappeared. Aizawa spun, ripping through the tape, and launched himself into the air.

Anne caught him and began to pull him away, but he glanced at Montgomery, and the doll flickered out of existence. His scarf lashed outward, wrapping around them and yanking them in opposite directions, Aizawa still watching Montgomery to keep Anne away. As for Sero, his arms were firmly pinned by his sides, so that he couldn’t use his quirk even if he could figure out how.

Aizawa kept his eyes on Montgomery as he made his way toward the door embedded in the brown wall. He gripped the doorknob for a moment before stopping and walking toward them. “Okay, Montgomery-san. I’m going to return your quirk, and you’re going to let us out of here. Nothing else, and if you try anything, I can guarantee that it won’t go well for you.” Sero saw her flinch, but Aizawa’s hair fell limp around his shoulders and a door appeared beside them. He nodded and pulled them through it, back onto the street. Sero shot a glance up at the clock. They had about three minutes left, no strategy, and nothing going for them. He really wanted to go to the training camp, so they had to make it. Aizawa pulled his scarf tighter and nodded. “You’re almost out of time. It’s over.” Sero winced and looked back at Montgomery.

Aizawa was staring at her again, keeping her quirk firmly locked away as the seconds ticked by. Sero tried to extend his arms, but Aizawa tugged his scarf even tighter. Montgomery struggled against her bonds to no effect until a buzzer suddenly blew.

“Team Montgomery and Sero have failed the final.” Aizawa’s scarf went limp, and Sero climbed to his feet before turning back to Montgomery. She hadn’t gotten up and was just sitting silently on the ground. Sero offered her a hand.

‘“C’mon, Montgomery-san, let’s go.”

-------

Todoroki felt the ice rise up at his fingertips. Uraraka nodded to him as the buzzer blared, “Todoroki and Uraraka versus Thirteen, start!” Thirteen flipped open the capsule on their finger and began trying to pull them in.

Todoroki generated ice around his and Uraraka’s feet, thick enough to hold them in place, and looked up at the teacher. “Like we planned?” He asked. Uraraka gave him a thumbs up and pressed her fingers together. In a wave of ice, he generated a ramp, and she sprinted up it. Thirteen tried to dissolve the ice, but he just kept it coming, maintaining the ramp under Uraraka until she vaulted over Thirteen, grabbing their arm and twisting them around. Todoroki released a jet of flames between the two, forcing the teacher to stumble backward. Uraraka darted forward and snapped the handcuffs firmly onto their opponent.

“Team Todoroki and Uraraka have passed the final.”

-------

“Nakahara and Kaminari versus Nezu, start!”

Chuuya clenched his fists and summoned his ability, already feeling gravity shift and distort around him. The pavement cracked under his feet.

“Nakahara-kun, what’s the plan?” Chuuya scoffed.

“We’re going to kick the principal’s ass.” He laughed. Around them, the city rumbled with the distinct sound of collapsing buildings. The principal was there, taking full advantage of his small size. But what was his goal? “Come on.” Chuuya pulled his hat lower and started running, feet pounding heavily against the pavement. A pipe rumbled in the distance. “Aha.” He vaulted into the air and kicked cleanly through it. It clattered to the ground. Behind him, something shifted and fell. Kaminari screamed. “What do you want?” Chuuya turned to face him only to see that he had been covered by the rubble, buried under a pile of metal scraps. Fantastic. Absolutely wonderful. Chuuya groaned.

He easily cleared away the rubble -- it had fallen around Kaminari but not on him, a clever touch by the principal-- and hauled his teammate out. The principal had escaped.

“Let’s not do that again,” Kaminari suggested. Chuuya rolled his eyes and grabbed his arm, shutting off his gravity as he jumped onto the roof. He needed to find their opponent, and fast. Something moved, and Chuuya shot across the field, leaving Kaminari stranded on a roof, but he didn’t care. He hit the building hard, and dust sprayed in every direction. It shifted and collapsed. He hated this. It was kind of like fighting Dazai, a game where his every move was being turned against him, rather than a proper head-on fight. Oh well. He could still do this.

Somewhere in the distance, he heard Kaminari shout again. Great. Could the boy not do anything for himself? He kicked a large piece of concrete through the piles of metal and darted outward. Chuuya jumped from building to building, distorting the gravity of metal and concrete that broke under his feet until he got to Kaminari. The boy was wide-eyed and laughing, despite the situation. That was perfect. Exactly what he needed. It was at times like this that he almost missed working with Dazai. At least he could take care of himself for thirty seconds while Chuuya did something. Kaminari had rendered himself entirely useless, leaving Chuuya to handle everything.

Chuuya checked his hat before vaulting off of the building. He glanced at the clock; he had ten minutes left. Less time than he thought, but it would be enough. He landed down in the street and launched his collected bits of material up into the air, out, and then down, hoping to draw the principal out of hiding by force, if he wouldn’t come out in any normal way. With a quick swipe of his hand, he shoved the rubble back and forth. There was the familiar sound of metal ripping and buildings quaking, but no sign of his opponent, not even when he launched himself into the air to get a view. Then, something buzzed behind him. He heard someone laugh, and then something slammed into him, sending him flying.

He barely managed to shift his gravity and stop himself before he hit the ground. The principal was leaning out of the window of a crane, laughing as tea ran down his chin. Chuuya launched himself skyward, toward the crane. It swung around, but he spun and kicked it to bits, sending it raining down in shards. He shot a single, large fragment into the engine and watched the principal scramble into a pipe.

Chuuya laughed and dropped onto the pipe, but Nezu was gone. He had six minutes left. He was almost out of time. If he didn’t catch the principal sometime in the next minute, he would have to run. That would be awful. Dazai would never let him live it down. He looked around, but there was no sign of his opponent. He didn’t want to do it… but retreating was necessary at times. He couldn’t just fail, after all. That would be even worse.

Pulling his hat down over his eyes, Chuuya launched himself like a rocket over the arena, dodging buildings and towers until he finally burst through the gate.

“Team Nakahara and Kaminari have passed the final.”

Chapter Text

Kyouka tightened her grip firmly on her phone as she stepped forward. Jirou smiled, her earphones already poised for battle as the speaker crackled to life and announced, “Izumi and Jirou versus Present Mic, start!”

She shuddered as a raw wave of sound washed over them, pushing the two backward. Kyouka couldn’t do anything but clamp her hands over her ears and try unsuccessfully to stay in place despite the force ramming against her. Beside her, Jirou seemed to be having an even harder time, likely as a result of her quirk.

“We should avoid direct contact, but what can we do? Even if I could get my quirk in, my eardrums would burst before I could do anything. Can you send yours ahead to distract him so we can sneak past?”

Kyouka shook her head. “I have to be there to give it verbal orders. Sending it ahead while I go another direction would end badly.” Jirou looked in the direction the sound had come from.

“So our best solution is to avoid him at all costs and escape through the gate.” Jirou extended her earphones into the ground and listened for a moment before pointing to the left. “The way out is that way. But so is he. He’s waiting at the gate.”

Suddenly, another raw wave of sound slammed into them, Jirou shouted as her earphones were ripped out of the ground and she was thrown backward. Kyouka barely managed to flip her phone open, Demon Snow flickering into existence behind her. The wave stopped, leaving them in silence once again. Jirou nodded. “Let’s go.”

They made their way through the forest, stopping every couple yards to check that they were going in the right direction. It was perhaps two minutes later that another raw wave of sound came crashing over them, but this time, Kyouka was ready. “Brace her!” She ordered. Demon Snow rushed behind Jirou and held her still. Kyouka ducked behind a tree and covered her ears, hoping the wood would serve as some level of a barrier between her and the oncoming attack. When the wave stopped, she stepped back out. Demon Snow was still behind Jirou, supporting her as she regained her footing.

Jirou smiled. “Thanks.” Kyouka nodded, and they kept moving. The next time Present Mic attacked, she covered herself while letting Demon Snow protect Jirou. From behind her tree, she saw Jirou plug into her wristbands and fire a blast of sound back, but it was quickly overpowered. Demon Snow barely caught her before she was bowled over. The tree Kyouka was using for cover creaked and shuddered. She barely managed to get out of the way before it crashed to the ground.

Finally, they reached the clearing -- or, more accurately, Jirou heard that they were in front of the clearing. “How about I distract him and you slip around the back?” Jirou proposed. Kyouka nodded, already wondering if that was really a good idea. She could do it, given Kouyou’s careful training, but did she really want to? Was it worth digging back into her memory for those skills? What if she unearthed more than she’d like? “Let’s go.” Jirou sprinted into the clearing, and Kyouka slipped further into the trees.

It was easy enough to slip through the forest unseen, keeping her footsteps silent and avoiding branches, staying close enough that she could see the clearing but far enough that Present Mic wouldn’t notice the red of her costume if he wasn’t looking too closely. From the clearing, she heard a flurry of shouts and the repeated waves of sound reflective of both Mic’s and Jirou’s quirks. She’d be too noticeable if she stopped to get a proper look, but she could already tell that Jirou was losing. The noise of sending Demon Snow to protect her -- not to hurt Mic, just to keep Jirou out of harm’s way -- would be too much, and Jirou seemed like she could hold him long enough for Kyouka to get away, at which point he’d stop.

Soon, all that was left was crossing the exposed area along the back fence, the final and most risky part. Jirou was seriously struggling; Kyouka had to finish this fast. She stepped tentatively into the open. Present Mic didn’t turn around, so she kept moving, watching him and Jirou more carefully now that she could. He drew back a powerful scream, and she saw Jirou flinch preemptively. Her earphones were hanging limp and long, exhausted. They shifted to latch back into her wristbands, but they all knew it wouldn’t be enough. Kyouka had to do something, or she was going to get hurt. Someone else was going to get hurt because of her failure.

“Get her out of the way!” Demon Snow raced past her and pulled Jirou out of the way just as the wave of sound blasted through the spot where she had been standing. Present Mic laughed as he turned around.

“Very clever! Such a shame you blew it, though. You were almost there!” He screamed, slamming Kyouka full force into the fence. She crumpled, Demon Snow flickering faintly. Jirou shouted and ran toward her.

“Izumi-san! Come on! We could still do this.” A buzzer blew.

“Team Izumi and Jirou have failed the final.”

Kyouka shook her head. “No, we couldn’t.”

-------

Hagakure adjusted her gloves and gave her partner a thumbs-up. “Let’s do our best, Asui-san!”

“Call me Tsu.” Hagakure nodded, even though her teammate couldn’t see it. Tsuyu smiled and looked around. “But yes, let’s give it our all.” The buzzer hummed.

“Asui and Hagakure versus Snipe, start!” Immediately, a bullet whisked between them. Hagakure stumbled backward, but Tsuyu’s tongue coiled around her waist and pulled her behind a pillar as another bullet flew past them. Hagakure pulled off her gloves and boots; it was embarrassing but necessary. Another barrage of bullets shot past them, followed by the teacher’s voice.

“Let’s play hide-and-seek, shall we?” He hurled a canister into the room, and it exploded. A smoke bomb? Why would he do that? It’d obscure his vision as much theirs.

“It’s his quirk,” Tsuyu muttered. “He can tell where we are, so it just messes with us.” A barrage of bullets slammed into the pillar above them, and they both barely dodged before it crumbled entirely. Tsuyu waved to her, and she slipped around. She walked carefully around Snipe, watching Tsuyu as she stepped into the open, lunging at the teacher, who fired several shots, none of which landed on Tsuyu. She stumbled backward, and Snipe followed. Inhaling deeply, Hagakure sprinted forward and latched the handcuffs onto his wrist, beaming.

“Team Hagakure and Asui have passed the final.”

-------

Tokoyami felt Dark Shadow rustle under his cloak, sheltered from the harsh sunlight of the arena. Iida smiled. “Strategically, the best thing to do would be to find someone more resistant to her quirk,” Iida began. Tokoyami nodded.

“So we must escape, then.”

“Tokoyami and Iida versus Midnight, start!” Dark Shadow slid out of his cloak and glanced around. Immediately, it pointed Midnight out to him. She was crouching behind a rock but no sooner had he noticed her did she step out, already ripping her sleeve open. Dark Shadow launched him into the air and away from her, in the direction of the exit. Iida sprinted along the ground toward him, engines already running to get away before he fell asleep, but the fog was still spreading rapidly, faint and pink. They had to get out of there fast.

“You can’t run for long, boys.” Midnight laughed, whip flashing outward and around Iida’s wrist. She yanked him back toward her, but Dark Shadow shot out toward them, grabbing Iida and catching him in a tug-of-war between the two. His engines roared and flickered before he shot forward, blowing even past Tokoyami. Midnight laughed again. Dark Shadow let go of him just in time to avoid Tokoyami being pulled after him before he came to a halt. Iida looked at him.

Midnight pulled back more of her sleeve, releasing a thicker wave of pink mist that roiled outward toward them, taking in a wider radius. Once again, Dark Shadow launched him away from her, landing next to Iida. “Iida-kun, run!’ Tokoyami shouted. Iida nodded and activated his engines in full gear, blasting over the ground toward the gate. Midnight lashed her whip toward Tokoyami, and Dark Shadow shot up to catch it, pulling her forward. A rolling wave of pink mist came rushing toward him, and he barely covered his beak with his cape so he didn’t fall asleep.

“How long can you hold out like that?” Midnight ran a hand over her hair and stepped forward. Tokoyami nodded. He didn’t have to hold out very long, just enough for Iida to escape. And, indeed, the buzzers blared a moment later.

“Team Iida and Tokoyami have passed the final.”