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Izuku was nervous.

He looked up at the tall, large classroom door baring 1A over it with a bright red color. He couldn’t believe he was here, at UA, taking his first steps in becoming a hero. It was really a wonder how all of this that was happening to him was real and not a sick joke or a fever dream he’d soon wake up from in the morning. He’d made sure to pinch himself before leaving his home just to reassure himself that he was, in fact, starting his education at the best school for hero course training in all of Japan (and the world, as reports and statistics had stated). He wondered about who his classmates would be, hoping they would be better behaved and kinder than the ones he had to interact with in elementary and middle school. He couldn’t help feeling dread, though. What if these kids thought he was weird? What if they treated him like the others? Would they bully him here, too? Thoughts of Kacchan and that boy from the entrance exam that had gotten on his case came to mind and only fueled the fear that was settling in the pit of his stomach. He really hoped his classmates would be at least decent human beings…

When he opened the door, however, the two people that he’d hoped wouldn’t be his classmates were the ones he heard first. He caught a bit of their conversation, something about not putting feet on the desks, but Izuku knew that nobody could tell Kacchan what to do, not even a bossy student like that boy with the engines on his calves. And then, all of a sudden, every pair of eyes from his classmates were on him when the tall boy with glasses and a firm attitude pointed him out. Instantly, he felt the anxiety bubbling out and he tried to diffuse the situation by greeting them; but his voice was shaky and he felt heat on his face from the attention shifting to him. He wasn’t ready for that! What did that boy even mean by “It’s him”, anyway? Before he could even process it, he saw the same boy approach him, very sternly introducing himself and…apologizing? To him? For misjudging him?

Already this day was becoming a pot of surprises and his expectations had been shattered. This boy—Tenya Iida—was just earnest and serious about school. Now it made sense why he told him to stop muttering during the entrance exam and why he told him to leave the girl that saved him alone. Just a focused boy with a no-nonsense attitude then. It didn’t take long for that same girl from the entrance exam to get to the classroom and Izuku was truly surprised she was going to be his classmate. She sounded bubbly and upbeat, almost too happy to be there and excited about making friends.

And then…a caterpillar of a man somehow was laid out on the floor, staring at them and waiting for them to do something.

“You need to be faster to be quiet. It took too long for you to settle down.” He got out of the yellow sleeping bag he was cozily wrapped in and introduced himself as Shouta Aizawa, their homeroom teacher. It really looked like he didn’t want to be there and Izuku wondered just how this type of hero was teaching at this school. He was tired and scruffy and looked like he needed a good haircut, or at least a good brush for his hair. He continued speaking until he reached into his bag and pulled out a blue uniform with the UA logo over it in thick, white letters. He ordered them to get changed and to meet him outside.

Izuku could only assume those were gym uniforms. It was a little nerve-wrecking getting changed in the locker room, but his classmates were mostly quiet, not really making much conversation due to everyone being strangers. Except Kacchan and him weren’t strangers, but Izuku knew there was no way his former friend would come up to talk to him. Or so he thought.

Many of the boys had changed quickly and walked out of the room, which prompted Izuku to hurry up as well. He put away his clothes and backpack neatly and made sure to close the locker door, even though he was sure nobody would come in here. Still, the paranoia from middle school couldn’t be erased and he still felt like the other boys would force open his locker door and trash his belongings.

Would these boys be like them? Was that boy with the spiky red hair and sharp teeth as threatening as he looked? Or the other with the bi-colored hair that was perfectly split down the middle, white hair on his right side and crimson on his left? He took mental notes on them when he was able to glance at them, but his shyness was present and didn’t dare look at anyone when they changed. He just hoped nobody would eye him as well.

He felt a slap of a hand collide against his shoulder and a few beats after, the familiar feeling of an explosion collided with the fabric of his uniform. He was sure it would leave a singed mark or even a hole. The blast pushed him against the cold metal of his locker door before the same hand hastily turned him around to come face-to-face with Kacchan.

“Listen, you little bastard. You don’t belong here. Even though you passed the stupid entrance exam, it doesn’t prove you can be a hero. So stop trying and go home, you quirkless piece of shit.” Kacchan’s voice was as threatening as ever, and Izuku had thought that he’d gotten used to it over the years, but there was a new kind of rumble in his voice, a new type of growl that could have only been enhanced by the fresh new mania emitted from his eyes and the snarl curving his lips. This threat wasn’t like the rest. It wasn’t even like the one when he told him to kill himself a year prior. This was coming from a beast awakened in Kacchan that Izuku hadn’t noticed before and he couldn’t help feeling like he was the person responsible for the awful mood he was in.

Within seconds, Kacchan shoved him aside with enough force to knock Izuku off his balance and when that happened, he crashed against someone else, more than likely hurting them in the process.

“Stay out of my way, you fucking nerd.” Kacchan said as he walked away, but he didn’t look satisfied with what he’d done. Usually, he’d be laughing, firing off even more explosions than necessary. But something had obviously changed. Izuku genuinely thought they were getting better because Kacchan hadn’t picked on him as often as he had, yet…now his insults were coming in full force and it wasn’t something he was looking forward to.

“You know, I’m more than sure this school is for heroes in training, not villains in training.” The voice behind Izuku surprised him, having forgotten for a moment that he’d hit a whole person with his body. Instead of pushing him aside, this person was holding him to keep him steady.

Kacchan stopped walking. Izuku couldn’t bring himself to look back at this person, but his voice was deep—lower than any other voice he’d heard in his life for a kid in his age group—and menacing.

“What the hell did you say, you bitch?” Kacchan was seething now.

“You’re acting like a bully when you should be protecting people.” Izuku’s unexpected savior stepped to the side and he could look at him through his peripheral vision. The boy with the white and crimson hair! “I can’t believe UA accepted someone with such a shitty attitude. Maybe you should look into a different school. This clearly isn’t the place for you.”

“Shut the fuck up! You don’t know what he’s like and if you knew him, you’d get what I said!” Kacchan’s hands lit up and Izuku knew that he was about to strike this boy.

“No, wait!” Instinctively, Izuku brought his arm in front of the boy to hold him back, trying his best to shield him. But the other wasn’t having it.

“I doubt there is anything that could warrant an attack from you.”

Izuku felt the temperature in the room suddenly drop, too cold for comfort, and it was then that he noticed the boy that stood beside him had taken a step forward and activated his own quirk. The movement was quick, too quick for Izuku to register it properly, but it effectively froze Kacchan where he stood. He had an ice quirk! That’s so cool!

Kacchan almost fell from his attempts at trying to break free, but the ice wouldn’t budge.

“What a shame. Instead of using your quirk to help others, you hurt them.” The ice around Kacchan’s legs seemed to grow, creeping over his calves and onto his knees. “You should probably consider a different profession. You’re not fit to be a hero.”

“Fuck off! I’m more than fit to be a hero! The one that shouldn’t be here is that helpless loser.” Kacchan ruthlessly pointed to Izuku and memories from his childhood assaulted his mind.

‘Deku, a loser who can’t do anything right.’

‘You’re so useless, Deku! You’ll never be a hero.’

‘I’ll be the hero. You can play the powerless civilian that’s calling for help if you want.’

He heard heavy breathing from someone, and it took him time to register that it was coming from him. The boy that was helping him was looking in his direction now, his dual-colored eyes widening at the sound of his hyperventilation. “Are you alright?” Cruel thoughts crossed Izuku’s mind, figuring he was looking at him with distaste rather than with concern. Why would he even care about him anyway?

“Don’t pay attention to him. It’s just stupid Deku.” Kacchan’s words were biting, his tone lower as he glared at him with those fierce red eyes that never failed to fill him with terror.

This wasn’t happening. He couldn’t be having a panic attack right now. Not in front of them, not in front of Kacchan. Things were happening too quickly, his mind running at one hundred kilometers per second; he couldn’t focus on anything, both his mind going blank and his eyes beginning to water. He could feel it coming. He wished he’d know what this boy’s name was, so he could tell him to leave, so he wouldn’t witness this panic he was going through. But all he did was walk towards him, keeping his gaze on him, watching him as if he were to run away.

“He’s not stupid,” the boy said. Had he moved a bit faster he would have reached Izuku, but the door hitting the wall interrupted them and in came Mr. Aizawa.

“What’s taking so long? You’re wasting time…” He took in the scene before him in a matter of miliseconds. “What the hell is going on?” He had his eyes on the boy helping him before turning to look at him and Izuku swore his tired and angry expression molded into a worried one.

“He hurt Midoriya, so I stopped him,” the boy said simply, cutting to the chase and not giving Kacchan a chance to even speak. Not like he could muster comprehensible words, though.

“Release him, Todoroki,” Mr. Aizawa ordered.

Doing as he was told, Todoroki touched his ice and began to melt it, keeping a safe distance from Kacchan. Once free, the explosive boy jumped towards Izuku, who was still trying to regulate his breathing, but Todoroki stood in front of him, ready to unleash his ice. Kacchan never reached them because he was restrained by the binding cloth that had been Mr. Aizawa’s scarf moments before. Kacchan’s hands also stopped glowing and sparking and it was then that Izuku was able to see his teacher’s hair rising and his glowing red eyes locking on the volatile teenager.

‘The erasure hero: Eraserhead.’

“What the hell…?” Kacchan growled, a dangerous sound coming from his throat.

“You think you’re so hot just because you got the top score for the entrance exam,” Mr. Aizawa began. “But you’re not going get far with this rotten attitude of yours. You’re not even going to make it past this locker room.”

Izuku couldn’t fully understand what his teacher was saying due to the built-up anxiety he was slowly subduing, trying his best to inhale and exhale deeply, focusing on his surroundings and on the back of Todoroki’s head. It was difficult to do so when the chaos was still present, though.

“And what’s that supposed to mean?” Kacchan hissed.

“It means you’ll be going home on your first day if you continue with your behavior. There is no room in my class for bullies, Bakugou. You either stop being a little bitch or you’re going home.” Mr. Aizawa’s voice was leveled, but there was a hint of annoyance and anger. “Now apologize to Midoriya and head to Principal Nezu’s office. I don’t care how talented you are with your quirk; you’re sitting out on what I have planned for today and you get an automatic failure.”

To say that Kacchan was infuriated was an understatement, and it was a good thing that he couldn’t activate his quirk because Izuku knew he would have blown up the entire room with the explosions he was capable of making. He didn’t even bother to say he was sorry because he wasn’t. He never had been and he never would be. There was a horrible ache in Izuku’s stomach, telling him that things would get worse from then on and he had an even bigger target on his back now. He watched as Kacchan walked out of the changing room and into the hallway and Mr. Aizawa and Todoroki turned to him.

Izuku hadn’t done any physical activity yet he felt so drained, so exhausted from the situation.

“You’re not breathing heavily anymore. Do you feel better?” Todoroki asked. His expression was blank, but the slight curve of his eyebrows said otherwise.

“Yeah…I think so,” Izuku nodded, feeling how difficult it was for him to speak up. His voice sounded so worn to his ears.

“He left a hole on your shirt. Probably hurt you with that blast,” Todoroki pointed out.

“It’s not as bad as other times.” Izuku had had much worse, so this was nothing.

“You mean he’s done this before?” He hadn’t expected for Todoroki to react this way. He looked angry with indignation, his breath coming out in a puff from his nose like some sort of dragon.

“Head to the nurse’s office, Midoriya,” Mr. Aizawa said extending a pink slip to him. “Have the old lady heal you. You could always do this activity at a later date. Unless you’d rather go through with it now and then go to her.”

“I can…do the activity now,” Izuku nodded. He didn’t want to miss out on what would happen during the first day of class.

“Fine. Head outside already; we don’t have all morning.” Mr. Aizawa walked towards the entrance, leaving him and Todoroki behind in the locker room.

Finally, Izuku was able to breathe. It was a lot to process for him in such a short amount of time. He’d grown accustomed to people turning a blind eye against Kacchan’s attacks.

“I don’t get why Mr. Aizawa didn’t expel him on the spot,” Todoroki said, a small pout forming on his lips.

“Well, Kacchan has a great quirk…and he has a lot of potential to be an awesome hero,” Izuku answered.

“I doubt it,” Todoroki shrugged. “I know a bully when I see one. He’s the least qualified for a job as a hero.” He extended a hand towards Izuku. “I’m Shouto Todoroki, by the way.”

Izuku accepted the gesture, feeling how cool his right hand felt against his own warm one. It must be the effect of his quirk. “I’m Izuku Midoriya. It’s nice to meet you.”

Todoroki nodded, taking his hand back and placing it inside the pocket of his gym pants. “Are you sure you’re alright? That burn on your back looks pretty bad.”

“Ahh, well…I’m used to it by now.”

Todoroki frowned at his response. “I can make you a cold compress if you need one.”

“It’s alright.” How was it possible that this boy that didn’t know him could offer him something like that or well…step in to help him? He found himself bowing to him, though, knowing the answer to his own inquiry. “Thank you for saving me today. Nobody’s…ever done that for me.”

“Don’t mention it.” Eyes wide with surprise, Todoroki gave him a stern look. “I hope you know you didn’t deserve that…what Bakugou did, I mean.”

Izuku’s throat felt tight and he wasn’t able to speak for a moment. “...Thank you.”

“Let’s get going. Aizawa looked like he was ready to bite Bakugou’s head off and he’ll probably do that to us if we don’t get to his activity,” Todoroki pointed out.

“Right!”

Their walk was silent, but it wasn’t something Izuku minded. He received looks from his classmates and even a few asked him if he was okay. He must have still looked rattled until he remembered he had a burn mark on his shoulder and that couldn’t be easily ignored. It wasn’t until after the surprise quirk apprehension test they went through that he was able to feel a moment of relaxation that day. He didn’t even want to think about how badly that went, but at least Mr. Aizawa didn’t send him home like he said he would for last place.

He had expected to head to the cafeteria to eat alone that day, but it genuinely surprised him that he had three classmates by his side. Iida and Uraraka, the two that had cheered for him during their surprise exam, and Todoroki, who had stood up for him that day. It might have been a rough start, but at least he had made good friends. He had a feeling his journey through UA wouldn’t be as horrible as he’d initially thought.