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Silent Rhapsody

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(Note: Underlined text is supposed to be read as Sign Language.)

Chapter One

Play With Fire


Hisakawa Misaki stood at the gates of U.A. High with her hands gripping tightly onto the straps of her backpack. It wasn't every day at that middle schooler stood at the precipice of their future with one leg dangling off the edge and the other nervous about taking that next step to what could be a freefall or what could the next ledge on the uphill battle that humans call life.

Her stomach was churning and her knees were a little weak. She felt a hand brush against her own, and so she turned her head in the direction of the touch. It was one of her best friends, Shimizu Mari, who offered her a reassuring smile.

Another hand patted her on her back with a firm slap, causing her to turn her head in the opposite direction and get a big look at Hatsume Mei's grin.

"We can do this," Mei signed.

"Of course we will," Mari added.

Misaki was suddenly renewed with energy at that very moment, she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and smiled at the both of them. It wasn't like she was the only person going through this. She had her friends, and they had her. "Yeah, I'm just anxious. Thanks. We will get in."

The three shared a look before they each went to separate locations throughout the school grounds; Mei heading towards the General Education exam, while Mari and Misaki strode forward to the Hero Exam. They two, however, would eventually split up after receiving their appropriate numbers and going to opposite ends of the auditorium.

They made sure to separate students that were coming from the same backgrounds as not to give anyone a single advantage in the midst of their examination; The written test that they had taken a previous date was nothing compared to the physical assessment that they would be going through.

At least, that's what the new coming students knew to expect from the murmurs of daunting tasks that changed every year. Misaki took her seat with nerves buzzing, but a newfound sense of determination burning through her veins.

The lights in the room dimmed not long after this, and seemingly from an elevator floor, Present Mic appeared out of thin air with all the spotlights drawn on him and him alone. His presence was… well, you couldn't ignore the guy. He had his own strange ambiance and to anyone that could hear his ungodly shrieks and shouts, he could really stifle any hero or student that got in his way.

However, this wasn't a problem for Misaki.

Vocalized quirks such as that could only affect the hearing, only those that had a range of use of sound would be affected in some way, shape, or form.

Since she had no hearing whatsoever, the last remnants of which had been lost years ago in her adolescence, his quirk was useless against her entirely. Although, for once, that was a relieving feeling that she felt. Seeing the discomfort and jump from the students around her as his voice clearly boosted and craked as his eccentricities took over in his explanation.

The rundown of the test was fairly simple, and fortunately, the interpreter kept things simple and didn't stretch things out as far as Present Mic did. He seemed deadpan and rather done with the man, himself. A small thing she noted to herself as she learned what they would be doing- rather, fighting.

There were a large number of testing sites scattered across the school grounds, seemingly one for every letter of the alphabet as far as she could note. Just how much land did they own?

Each site would have faux villains deployed as robots, each with it's own capabilities that could be used to slow down or stop the students from destroying them with a few easy blows. She counted one that could do this, one that could do that, and so on. The last robot listed on their diagrams seemed to be a boss type, much larger and heftier than the other three by a long shot.

It seemed some of the other students picked up on that because all eyes in the room had flickered onto a student to her left that seemed to be asking about it, but she couldn't exactly catch enough of his face to guess what his lips were forming.

The instructors were quick to say what they meant. It wasn't worth any points, apparently, it was simply made to get in the way and slow everyone down, even more, to get rid of more students. After all, they only accepted forty applicants for the Hero Course for their first-year, and the dozens testing were very unlikely to make it in.

It was a matter of skill and sheer dumb luck.

Well, if you wanted to make your aspirations of becoming a hero come to fruition, you have to be prepared to fight more than villains in your future. You have to be ready to fight the other students here, and in the other academies to even get to Pro Status. Misaki noted.

Things weren't always a step and a jump from point a to point b. Her Dad reminded of that the evening before, and she kept that thought close to her heart as the seconds ticked down.

With a single farewell that consisted of the school's motto, the pair at the helm of the room left and the lots of students were sent to their designated area to begin the examination. While she knew that Mari was going to get sent somewhere else on the U.A. grounds, it still stung a bit to see the mop of pink hair disappear into the sea of students heading in the opposite direction.

They had promised when they were young that they would become Heroines together when they grew up. That promise wasn't going to stop no matter what happened today, even though they were separated for the first time in their lives, and even though the challenge seemed daunting to face alone.

Misaki kept her head held high.

The students were escorted to a cityscape without much warning. It was amazing to see, actually, it was legitimately a city. There were skyscrapers and smaller buildings, things were posed and set up to look like it was really the outside world and not just here at U.A. The budget for their school must have been eating the government's wallet or something!

She didn't pay too much mind to the other students. There were a few of them that stuck out in her field of vision, but she couldn't focus on the others when she needed to focus on herself. The goal was to defeat as many of those faux villains as fast as she could do it.

The time limit was barely enough time for the average person to try and make a dent in that.

Well, Misaki wasn't the average person, was she? Her quirk was going to give her an advantage if she used it at just the right second. She wasn't wearing her headset today, the special gadget that Hatsume had created just for her to learn to work on her quirk with. It was a baby step into trying to focus her energy on saving people and using her own prowess to do it.

Her quirk was a special one that she regarded with pride.

She had the ability to halt the flow of time for a brief moment of time. To activate her quirk, the pads of her fingers had to brush against her hair, and the same could be done to deactivate it right afterwards. The longest that she could control it had topped at around fifteen seconds the last practice run that she had went through with her training, and that was pushing her previous limit by holding her breath.

The backlash that came with using her quirk was difficult to deal with. The space between when time paused and flowed freely was utterly silent, devoid of all sound and pressure. The longer that a person was in this time slip, the more that their bodies equilibrium would struggle to cope with the side effects. Your legs would become off-balance, and every move of your hand would grow progressively more off-target.

The reason that Misaki was able to withstand the effects of her own quirk was because of her own deafness. For much of her young life, she had issues with her own balance outside of her quirk, and it had taken a long time to become accustomed to it and learn to live with it. She wasn't immune to the effects of her own power, but she had a passage of time that was longer than what a normal person could withstand.

She had been learning to push her limits ever since the date of the U.A. Entrance Exam drew closer and closer, and thanks to Hatsume's device that gave her jolted buzz every time her body would start to become susceptible to her quirk had helped her.

But, would it be enough to help her pass the examination?

Misaki lifted her head and looked at the lights. The crowd was growing restless and antsy, but that wouldn't last for long. It wasn't but a few moments later that the red lights flashed to yellow lights and then turned into green lights. She took off running without hesitation.

Ten minutes.

Six hundred seconds.

That was how long they had to prove whether or not they were good enough to become the next crop of heroes.

Her plan was to use her quirk in quick bursts to get a leg up on the robots just long enough to knock them down. She ran ahead, lifted her hand, and tossed her hair over her shoulder, and then pounced on the robot with just enough kinetic energy to knock it down; Her hand repeated the motion to release her quirk not long after that.

She managed to take care of a few robots and only wasted a mere five of her seconds on the endeavor, but Misaki could feel that familiar hum in the back of her head like a phantom warning her to be careful. The edges of her vision were a little blurry but she pushed through it and kept fighting as long as she could manage and by the time the countdown reached the last few minutes, she felt as though she had done what she needed to do.

Misaki paused for a moment to catch her breath and glanced around some of the students that were nearby. Some of them were frantically trying to attack the robots but not getting anywhere with their quirks, after all, they didn't have to play it fair so this worked for everyone.

If you couldn't adapt fast, then it didn't look good. There was always General Studies; That's what they would say.

There were others that instead of running towards the danger and fire, turned tail and ran in the opposite direction in spite of what the examination was telling them to do. They wouldn't pass that way. It was just dwindling down the amount of students that would have a chance.

And then, there were those that acted without fear and without warning. But only one person here seemed to take that idea and push it to its limits. That was when something caught her attention from the corner of her vision. Explosions rocketing from left to right, robots and their metal casings shattering and crashing to the pavement below without warning.

She pursed her lips and followed the line of disaster until it connected with a boy with a spiky mop of sandy blond hair. He bore a wicked grin as he maliciously and wildly destroyed every obstacle in his way.

He's taking them down with his bare hands. Holy shit! Misaki found herself unable to turn her attention from him. Whoever he was, and whatever his quirk was, there was no doubt that the proctors were watching him with full attention. That was when the earth started to start underneath her feet, and her head whipped around to catch sight of the biggest and tallest obstacle to exist on this course.

That was the zero-pointer in all of its glory, and if anyone of these students had been fighting and working before this, they all stopped just as Misaki had to stare at it in horror and awe. It didn't move for a moment, just stood there without moving, and then, without hesitation, it surged to life and began rolling forwards towards the students.

She went to turn and duck for cover, but as she went to move her body, the blond rushed past her with incredible speed, the wind whipping her hair around her face as she tucked it up and watched as this guy sped right at the mech and into the sky-high enough to reach its head.

Misaki noted from her position the way he lifted his hand and then a massive tidal wave of an explosion triggered by his quirk shattered the zero-point robot to mere smithereens. She followed some of the falling hunks of metal with her eyes and then realized that students were in the impact zone and wouldn't get out the way in time if they tried.

There was less than a minute of exam left and Misaki wouldn't be able to take down any more of these robots if she wanted to in that time. So, she made her mind up, her hand rose from her side and activated her quirk.

She rushed ahead in the time delay and moved the people that were in the way one by one to a safer elevation. There were three that were too close and a handful of others that needed a push to a safer spot to continue their run. With each use of her quirk, her movements grew more and more sloppy.

However, she managed to get every one of them out of the way.

Misaki went to release her quirk but at that last minute, she noticed that the surly-looking boy in the way of his destruction. Against her better judgment, she decided to help him as well. That blast from his quirk must have used a lot of his energy, she reasoned, so he probably could just blast his way free of his own problem that easily. Once he was out of the way of immediate danger, as well as the others, Misaki released her quirk and let time resume its course.

She collapsed to her knees and tried her best to keep herself upright despite the protests of her body. The weight of keeping the world stagnant for even a second took a lot out on her body, and the strain that weighed her down was now released as the robots rained down onto the buildings and streets of the testing grounds around them.

The students that Misaki had helped were blurry-eyed and confused as to how they had wound up where they had, but they were unscathed from being piles of mush against the pavement, so there likely would be no protest to the sudden confusion they all experienced.

It was a well beyond a workout to hold the universe together, and it was even more than that when you were one girl trying to lug around people that were larger than you. Well, everyone was bigger or taller than you when you barely stood taller than one hundred and fifty-two centimeters.

The good news was that she managed to save everyone! The bad news was that not everyone was happy that she quote unquote saved them!

When Misaki had gained some of her senses back, it wasn't long before she was ripped back onto her feet with a tug against her collar. This guy was glaring daggers into her as if it was going to actually frighten her; He was clearly annoyed by her choice to rescue him, and if she could hear him, she would have sworn that he was growling.

"I didn't need anyone to fucking save me, you goddamn plum," she could make out the words that he was saying more or less. "Think twice before you do something stupid as that! Do I look like any of these other pathetic extras that can't defend themselves? Whatever the hell you did, don't do it again!"

She knew that she was going to have an ocular migraine the entire train ride home now, and she had wasted her last seconds to save some ungrateful brat. Oh, well, it wasn't always going to be fun to be a hero.

"What? No 'thank you'?" her instinctual reaction when her body ached was to be irritated, and as nice and as sweet as she was to everyone, something about this guy's stupid face and his red eyes made her a little peeved. It was the first that she had talked all day, and it was obvious that he was taken back by her use of Japanese Sign Language. She stared back at him. "You're welcome. I saved your sorry ass from yourself. Don't be cocky. Just be grateful you didn't lose your head. From your own quirk, too! I didn't want anyone to get hurt."

His double-take of confusion didn't last for very long. The doubt and confusion that had crossed his face were long gone and replaced with the prior of annoyance and frustration with her actions.

His next words were a little lost on Misaki, but she pieced it together as best as she could.

"Just what I need to deal with, another self-sacrificing fucking idiot, goddamn Plum who can't even hear shit thinks she has to save people who don't fucking want that help." The blond rudely brushed past her and disappeared into the swell ground of dust and gravel that had surrounded the area. It took a moment but Misaki washed the look of shock from her face and then turned her back on his retreating figure.

Again, against her normally sincere nature, she mumbled a curse word underneath her breath about the guy, "What an ass."

The counter that had been timing down since they had begun the test reached zero not even five seconds afterward. And so, the first challenge on her path to becoming a hero was completed and she wouldn't know if she passed or not for two weeks.

Would her actions prove her worthy or would it have all been for naught?

Chapter Text

 

 

AUTHOR'S NOTE.

Wow, thanks for reading and following, you lovely people. I had attempted to write a story with Misaki in the past but I just didn't like the execution and wound up starting fresh from this point. I'm glad to see that there are people who are interested in reading about her, even now, so thanks for that, and I hope you'll enjoy the story from here on out. Reviews motivate me the most, so please keep those coming!


("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk.)

Chapter Two

Memories


Misaki's alarm clock vibrated against her pillow with a vicious rumble like an earthquake strong enough to make the proverbial cows come back home again. It shook enough that the fabric would tickle her face and awaken her from whatever peaceful dream she was having that night. That was the end to another dream and the start to another day that would have her sitting by the mailbox with Mari as they awaited news of their impending acceptance or worse into U.A. High.

She yawned, pushing her hands against the sheets and pulling herself into an upright position.

It was early enough in the morning that her Dad might have been either coming home from his shift at work or heading out for another one; He was a police officer for the local force, but he had once had aspirations of being a hero much like his daughter now had.

Who could blame him for wanting to grow into someone that others can look up to?

His mother had been a wonderful superhero in her heyday, her quirk was much like Misaki's in that she too could also hinder time down drastically to the point of complete halt; The only difference was that time only slowed down for Hisakawa Atsuko, while it stopped entirely for Misaki.

Speaking of her Grandmother, Atsuko, there was a familiar scent of food permeating throughout their little apartment that smelled heavenly and mouth-watering. It meant that she needed to get a move on and get ready so she could taste everything while it was still good and hot.

She got ready for the day by brushing her purple long hair out and making sure to carefully tuck it into a ponytail so that it was out of the way. Her quirk practically required her to be able to have her hands on it in an instant, and short hair made it much harder to get something to grip onto!

The only problem with having it so long was that the casual toss of it over her shoulder without gloves would cause her quirk to activate now and again; It was an unconscious use of it, something that she had gotten the hang of controlling as she had gotten older but much like other members of the population with quirks involving their hands, she had to be wary of what she touched!

In this case, it was her hair, but she had heard cases of others not being able to touch certain objects but their bodies were a little rarer as far as she knew in their world.

She adjusted her headset right afterward, tucking the silver device underneath her hair and hooking it to her ears. It was much like a music headset! Except it didn't play music and its functionality was to vibrate and jolt Misaki when she had gone too far with her quirk. Hatsume had gotten the idea from her alarm clock during a sleepover, and she was so fond of the gift that she often wore it even if she wasn't training or practicing.

Then, she got dressed and headed out to greet everyone.

"Morning," she greeted her family.

"Good morning," Atsuko responded.

"Morning, my little starlight." Her Dad patted her hair down a bit to mess it up from the carefully fixed fashion that she had gotten. He offered her a smile and then his voice rang in the back of her head thanks to his quirk.

His quirk was fairly simple, he was a telepath who could speak into multiple minds at once as well as broadcast audio from mind to mind. It had proven useful during many of his police operations, and got him up close and personal with many heroes; It was also something that had made those first few years where she had lost her hearing much easier than it was for the average person.

Her Dad couldn't always be at her side to help her in the world, however! So she never relied too much on his quirk and made sure to find new and better ways for herself to communicate with the world at large. It wasn't all that hard because her father and grandfather had also been hard of hearing. Their household was interabled, and it had always been that way; It hadn't been much of a shock when Misaki had started to lose what hearing she had as a young girl, so they took what they already had and applied it for her, and the rest was history.

Hisakawa Ichiru was a dedicated parent, but his work often had him gone for long hours of the day or night. It was hard for him to be home all the time, but Misaki did understand that he couldn't help it. He was very important to his crew and task force, he had to keep people safe with them.

It wasn't like she was alone at home. Atsuko had always been home with her for as long as she could remember.

"Do you have work?" she asked him, high hopes that the answer wouldn't be confirmed.

"Yes." Ichiru frowned. It was an apologetic look as he lifted his plate from the table and went to wash it. He grabbed his bag once that done and spared his daughter a passing look.

Misaki's face sank. However, she smiled at him and nodded her head. "Alright. Have a good day, Dad."

He was gone as almost as fast as she had seen him. That was how it had been lately, though; Crime in their prefecture had gotten a little out of hand and they needed all hands on deck to take care of the problem. There had been whispers of a villain coming out of the woodwork who was specifically targeting individuals that were or had been heroes. It was just a whisper though, and as far as her Dad knew, there hadn't been any incidents.

It was good to be on alert if such a threat did happen.

When she finished her breakfast and lifted her head, she saw that her Grandma was staring right at her with one of those knowing looks on her face. Misaki raised an eyebrow at her as if to ask, 'what?'

Atsuko didn't lose that expression. "You have got that look, Misa."

Misaki blinked, confused.

"You are worried about him, correct?" she inquired, more specific with her question this time. "He will be alright. He is too stubborn to get hurt."

Misaki huffed. She puffed out her cheeks as she would often do when she was caught red-handed. Was she that easy to read or was Atsuko a little too good at knowing what others were thinking? She had never quite figured that one out, it did seem like her Grandma had a sixth sense for just knowing everything and everyone.

She hopped up from the table and pretended that she didn't see that. "I'm going to see Mari. I will be back."

Shimizu Mari lived in the same building as Misaki and her family. She lived with her mother and her little brother, Inari; Her house was a few floors above her but it was a hop, skip, and a jump to get to where she was. Misaki texted her before walking up, snorting when she got a response that said that Mari was waiting on the bottom floor already.

It wasn't often that Misaki went to Mari's place. Mari was always the one coming over to visit and hang out. Mari's mother was a strict believer in the old way of life, and not for a second did she believe in heroes or the good that they did for society as a whole. Her negative thoughts towards heroes often made it hard for Mari to express her dreams of being a heroine.

Rather than start an argument with her mother and get her little brother upset in the process, it was easier to just get out of the house to hang out with her friends and be who she was. That was just the way that it had always been, and since Misaki and Mari had been friends since they had started school together, life had been very much the same for more than a decade.

She could recall that fateful day as if it were yesterday.

Mari had been being bullied by some of the boys in their class because of her quirk, and Misaki had been the first person to stand up to her by using her wit and tricking those boys into believing that All Might was just around the corner of their building.

Mari's quirk was kind of cool. She could create torrents of water from her eyes with the use of her tears. It made her look like a professional crybaby in the eyes of others, but once Misaki had seen it she only stars with stars in her eyes and proclaimed how cool it was.

The side effect of her quirk was that she would become dehydrated very quickly, and it affected her quality of vision if she overused it without drinking enough to compensate for the loss.

Misaki rattled off a text back to Mari to let her know that she headed down the stairs to meet up with her. She sent another one to Mei right after that to see if she had received any news about her acceptance yet, without a quick response, she assumed that her technological friend was in the middle of working on another one of her babies.

She reached the bottom of the stairs not long after that. She headed over to where she saw the bubblegum hair of her best friend and plopped down next to her on the ground. Misaki stashed her phone back into her pocket and hoped that Mei would message her back before three in the morning.

Mari raised a brow, "Who were you texting?"

"Mei. She did not answer me." Misaki responded.

She rolled her eyes at that, a bit exaggerated, as she always did when something involved Hatsume Mei. "She is working on a baby. I think."

Misaki pursed her lips. She wondered if that intrusive thought that had been tickling the back of her head for the past few days might have been true. It didn't seem like a stretch but she wanted to give Mei more credit than Mari would. "You think she got in already? Forgot to tell us about it? Just went straight to work instead?"

Mari nearly snorted. She rested her hand against Misaki's shoulder and shook her head at that. "Hatsume forgets to eat. She went a day without before you brought her food. I would not be surprised."

Yeah, Mei tended to be scatterbrained, Misaki noted. They had been friends since their second year of middle school, and ever since she had known the wild child, her brain tended to be off the wall. She could create all sorts of things without even blinking; She was a true natural when it came to creating something for someone on the spot, and yet, she couldn't remember to eat or change her clothes once she got roped up into something.

Misaki had been the one to make sure that she got what she needed once she realized her friend was a disaster who just needed a helping hand now and again.

Much like how she had met Mari when they were young, she had stumbled into Hatsume being bothered by some of the girls in her class. Not one to let bullying happen to anyone no matter who they were, she got the girls to back off and leave her alone. She hadn't seemed all that bothered on the surface, just laughing it off, but Misaki knew better than that.

She had offered to help Mei test some of her gadgets and roped Mari into coming along with her and the rest was, as they say, history. Three M's: Misaki, Mari, and Mei, as her Grandma had jokingly called them once.

"Her test was not any easier than ours," Misaki noted. "I am still sore from those robots."

"I had to drink water all night after the test. I never felt quenched." Mari agreed with that sentiment whole-heartedly. It had been hard to knock over something bigger than a tiny can of cola since that was what she had been practicing on all this time! They thought the test would be a little more direct than what it had been.

Misaki's face soured when she remembered the last little leg of the test in particular; That blond guy had thrown a hissy fit fitting of a toddler rather than a big prospective hero student at U.A. all because she had the gall to save him from his destruction. Then, he dared to call her a plum of all things that he could say!

A plum! A freaking plum. She wasn't fruit! Her eye twitched at the memory. Misaki hoped that that guy wouldn't get in because of his surly attitude, but the track record seemed like he would get in for his type of quirk. Something about him had felt familiar, too, but she hadn't been able to place that memory just quite yet.

Misaki had to tell Mari the moment that they got out of the exam that she had encountered the world's biggest jerk to ever be a jerk. She had been in such a huff about it that it was the only thing that she could talk about on the train ride. Mari's test had gone a lot easier than hers had. She had managed to get rid of plenty of the robots during the time limit but had fallen flat on her face when the zero-pointer showed up and caused mayhem.

"Are you thinking about that guy again?" Mari teased.

Alright, maybe she was too easy to read, after all, if Mari had noticed how fuming that memory made her look. She hurriedly shook her head to deny that question. "No, no. As if I want to remember him."

"It would suck if he was in our class," she said, not even stopping to think that sentence through.

Misaki had a sour face, "Do not make me imagine that, Mari."

"Oh. Right! I will not jinx us." Mari said, smiling.

"You mean me," Misaki corrected. "He only had issues with me."

Mari opened her mouth seemingly wanting to pout about that but stopped when something caught her eye. She stared for a moment and then gestured for Misaki to look where she was pointing.

It was the mail service.

They both stared and watched as the mail was deposited in every box. It seemed like the worker was going slow on purpose to torment them. It was obvious that they both had mail slid into their boxes and they looked like the same size package. It was impossible to tell if you passed or failed by the size of the package, they seemed to do that on purpose. There was that old myth that if you got a big package from a school that meant that you passed and a smaller letter meant that you had been rejected.

Misaki held her breath, and then counted to three on her fingers.

When she hit zero the two of them rushed forward and unlocked their respective boxes with their keys. Misaki held the paper in her hand and clenched it tightly between her digits. This was it. This was what they had been waiting for day and night. There it was, though, written at the top corner in big bold letters: U.A. High.

Mari looked over at Misaki, mirroring the same nervous expression on her face that she held.

Misaki tucked the letter underneath her arm. "We check them and then message back. Okay?"

Mari nodded, "Yes."

After that, both of the girls took off running up the stairs, forgoing the elevator entirely just to run out their nerves before they opened the letters. They parted ways once Misaki turned the corner for her floor number and Mari continued jogging up the stairway. She opened her front door without warning and raced past her Grandma who was sitting on the couch working on her knitting. She lifted the letter in one hand to indicate what her rush was about before Atsuko could get a hold of her sleeve and stop her from opening it.

Then, she went straight to her room and shut the door right behind herself.

Misaki stared at the disk in her hands with a strange sense of trepidation and excitement.

On one hand, it was the answer that she been waiting for, and on the other hand, it was the answer that she had been waiting for since the test ended. Her spine tingled. Every part of her wanted to open this up and know if she had made it but at the same time she was nervous that if she opened it and it told her that she wasn't going to get in that it was going to emotionally crush her on the inside.

What if she didn't make it in?

What if Mari had and she hadn't?

She swallowed that fear down and tried to ignore it as she opened the package and hit the button on the top. It surged to life in front of her and revealed that surly looking man from before. The guy that looked so-done with Present Mic and had been providing the JSL translations for him. That deadpan expression wasn't one that she would be forgetting any time soon. She didn't recognize him beyond that, but if he was here, then he had to be a hero of some kind since he was working for and representing U.A.

He cocked his head and began to inform her of the answer that she had long been awaiting her entire young life. "Hisakawa Misaki. Receiving this letter means that you have passed the mock trial and written exam. If you were waiting for the answer. I have it so do not grovel or groan. You have been accepted into U.A. for the upcoming freshman class."

Her heart stopped.

She had gotten in!

Now, the man began to elaborate on how she had managed to do it. Footage from the mock trial flashed onto the screen like a play by play as he pointed out her wins and fails that had all been watched. "You passed thanks to your choices in the trial. Rescuing others earned you more points than students simply destroying bots. Your efforts could have been better. But, your actions gave you the pass. You should do better to hide insults, however. Not everyone is grateful for being saved but keep your thoughts to yourself just in case an instructor knows JSL next time."

Oops.

Her face began to burn up in embarrassment. When that blond had turned his back and she thought nobody was looking at her directly, she had said some... vulgar words about him out of frustration at his attitude. She had picked them up without the knowledge of her family and hadn't had an excuse to use them until that moment. Nobody had ever set her off bad enough to want to say something mean. Her actions had been worth it, after all, it wasn't a bad thing to want to help others instead of herself in the exam.

It had been a logical rogue the entire time!

Same had been the robots, there were points on a sliding scale for people that destroyed bots and people that did acts for others in the midst of doing what they had to do. If that was the case, then that guy she had bothered to move out of the way of his blast must have had the highest points possible for getting rid of every single bot that he saw in their test.

"Congratulations, kid. Don't mess it up." he turned his head to the side and seemed to be talking with someone off-camera, as it looked as though he asked: "How many more of these do I have to do today?"

She couldn't help but jump up from the seat and do a little victory dance. Once she had gotten her celebration out of the way where nobody could see it; Misaki immediately went to grab her phone and started to hastily text her friends. The first text that she sent was to Mei, letting her know that she had gotten into the school and that if she was already working on her babies in U.A. and politely forgot to tell Mari and herself than she was going to get one stern talking to once school started.

The next text that she was to Mari. It was a key smashing mixture of readable letters that only made sense if you squinted at it. She just said Mari's name over and over, and then said that she passed and she couldn't believe it. It paid off to be nice to jerks, after all! Her heart was still racing from the sheer adrenaline as she stared waiting for the response of her friend. The little text bubble popped up and then disappeared, and then popped up and then disappeared again as if Mari wasn't sure what to reply with.

Finally, a text came in a few minutes later that simply said: Congratulations, Misaki!

Misaki giggled at the message and sent one right back that said: Congratulations to you too, right?

Mari didn't respond to that but it said that she had read the message. She might have been having her celebration in her apartment at the same time that she was. Everything was just happening so quickly that she didn't think that hard about it. Misaki assumed that her friend had passed the exam as well, otherwise wouldn't have said something like that. She would have just said that she failed rather than send a message of cheer back at her like that. It was like every little thing was going the right way for once in their lives.

She couldn't believe it. Everything was right in the universe and nothing could possibly go wrong.

Chapter Text

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)


 

Chapter Three

Bad Enough For You


Misaki stared down at her phone and the string of unanswered responses like it was haunting her psyche. Something wasn't right and she didn't have enough information to piece together a reasonable conclusion. It had been a couple of days since she had heard from Mari and it was starting to feel like something was wrong; Either that or she was simply busy taking care of the house while her mother was at work and making sure that Inari was properly taken care of. He was only four years old, but he was the most babied child that Misaki had possibly seen in her entire life.

The kid got everything that he wanted and he rightly deserved it for being an angel. He was fully capable of putting in the effort to take care of himself with not a lot of help but their mother insisted that he was taken care of first and foremost.

One of her other suspicions was that her mother had taken her phone away again, which wouldn't be surprising.

She had been busy with a lot, herself, so she hadn't been trying to get in touch with Mari for that long. Every couple of hours she would message her a little update but it would be left unanswered just as the ones before it. It was out of the norm but her Grandma would remind her that worrying when you don't have all of the facts was just a drain to your energy that could be spent doing better things.

So, she set aside that worry for the rest of the week as she put together everything that she was going to need for school as organized as she could get it to be.

Fortunately, she had been in touch with Mei throughout the week and not much to her surprise, the girl had passed with flying colors and has been spending her time working nonstop. The only reason that Misaki had the liberty of figuring that one out was because she decided one afternoon to messaging her so much that the thing would start to heat up in her pocket; That way Mei couldn't ignore it any longer than she already did.

She had started a few things and then drawn up a hundred more ideas in the span of a few weeks, and it was all thanks to the information that she could get her hands onto on the other students.

A lot of technobabble went over Misaki's head but she listened to all of the texts that Mei sent and supplied her support. Mei hadn't heard that much from Mari, either, so that didn't give her any answers as to the sudden radio silence; Before she knew it, the week had passed and her first day of high school came quicker than expected.

The wait hadn't been too quiet, but it certainly struck out of the blue.

Misaki stashed her phone back into her pocket and looked to see if the train had arrived at the right stop. She would have to try again later to see if there would be a response this time or not. It had reached its destination, so, she grabbed her bag and headed out towards the gates of U.A. The walk wasn't very far from the train station but it was still a brisk pace if she wanted to arrive on time.

Along her walk, she had noted plenty of other students in the uniform and she couldn't tell who might have been a first or a second or a third year. The only thing that she knew was that there would be around nineteen other classmates for her to contend with. It was exciting to think that she would be meeting other people who shared her dream, however, it was also a little worrying that some of them might think less of her.

She never let it show on her face that she was bothered by people treating her differently, but it did. For lack of a better word, it made her feel frustrated and upset at the same time. One hand, it would be the thing that pushed her to fight harder, and the other hand, it stung a little to think that people still thought less of others with disabilities.

Society... hadn't changed when quirks manifested regarding minor marginalization. If anything, it somehow got worse for a lot of people across the globe. When they were first appearing in humans, it was a reason to ostracize the different. It was no different than the problems in the past that had started with skin color, then to sexuality, then to disabilities, and then this, and then that as the times changed.

If it wasn't something that commonly occurs day to day in the lives of more than half of the popular then people would treat it as a difference. Differences weren't a good thing in the eyes of what most assumed was normal. Today, it was normal for people to manifest quirks at the age of roughly five and people without quirks were the ones treated like the oddities. But that hadn't always been the norm and the way it flopped from how it once was just a testament to how the world could change —

But how it couldn't at the same time.

When people teased her, did things that she couldn't know about because she couldn't hear it, or acted as though she was a circus act. That was one of the factors that said that ill thoughts still existed in the hearts of many.

People were still treated differently for things that they couldn't control or change. Whether that meant it was their quirk, lack of a quirk, disability, so on and so forth. That discrimination made her seethe. It was one of the major reasons why Misaki wanted to be one of the ones that changed everything, or at the very least, sparked a conversation and lead to others thinking more about how they treat others.

If people could see that anyone could truly become a hero or at the very least, try… well, things might have been different. It was a thought that always sat at the back of her mind as she fought to become a hero. If Mari had been at her side than these worries wouldn't have been so prudent in the back of her mind; But, her best friend wasn't with her so that meant that she was facing it alone.

She did her best to shake it off her mind as she stared up at the imposing building for the second time.

Misaki took her first steps as an official student.

The building was a bit of maze with hallways that lead to specialized courses and all sorts of hyperfocused students. She followed the markers indicated along the hallway as she made her way up the stairwell and got ready to face the music. On her way up she noted a girl at the top of the stairs who looked rightly lost, no different than the fish out of water feeling she had in her stomach.

She had short hair that framed her face just right and permanently rosy cheeks that any girl would be envious of; And for some reason, Misaki felt like this girl was heading in the same direction. So, she approached her once she reached the top of her stairs and tapped her finger against her shoulder to get her attention.

Misaki pulled out her phone and began to type a message, as she often would when she didn't think somebody knew JSL. She flashed the message at the brunette with a smile, it said: Hi! You wouldn't happen to be looking for classroom 1A too, would you? You wouldn't happen to know JSL, would you?

Her lips parted into a little "o" shape as she read over the message. She hurriedly rubbed the back of her head and opened her mouth to rattle off some excuse, or to hide her embarrassment. Her head moved up and down to indicate a yes. She spoke a little too fast for Misaki to guess what it was but she seemed to get the hint that either Misaki was deaf or mute.

The next thing out of her mouth was that question.

"You wouldn't happen to be mute, would you?"

Misaki never lost her smile and began to type again: No. I'm 100% deaf. I usually communicate through a translator or my phone when people don't know but that hasn't been set up yet. Anyways, I'm in 1A, too. You looked a little out of place and lost, kind of like me. She added on before she could forget to properly introduce herself: Hisakawa Misaki, nice to meet you.

"Uraraka Ochako," the girl went to say but then pursed her lips, she reached over to borrow Misaki's device for a moment and plug in her number. She typed out her name and sent that: Uraraka Ochako. It's nice to meet you as well, Misaki! I guess I do look like a fish out of the water, don't I? I just woke up a little late this morning and forgot to check the maps.

Misaki looked down at the characters and smiled: Yeah. I checked it out last night. It's this way, actually, not that way you were heading.

She pointed to the right rather than the left. Uraraka had been glancing that way for a few minutes and she could recall the twists and turns seemed to go the opposite direction. She still looked a little embarrassed but was warming up to the gentle reassurance that Misaki had supplied. The two of them set off in the direction of their classroom and had a small back and forth along the way.

Uraraka's phone was just as pink as she was. It was reminiscent of a cute flip phone that she had seen in the past, and it was a little more dated compared to the smartphone that Misaki had. She was a quicker typer though, which impressed Misaki: I'm relieved that you came this way. I would have been late if you didn't show up. I'm glad to know that at least one of my classmates is friendly, I don't who else we'll be with but we're here to kick butt and learn together! I hope everyone's got the same helpful spirit otherwise it'll be a long day.

Misaki snorted: Yeah, that's for sure. I like your positive attitude, Uraraka.

Their small conversation was cut short when they arrived at the classroom. There were a handful of other students in the classroom, and it seemed to be plenty talkative already. Forty students would get into the hero course every year and they would split those students between two classes just to keep things easier to take care of. Half of those would be in her class and they looked like a motley crew already. The rest of the students that hadn't been accepted into the hero course would wind up in management, support, or general studies. There were plenty of students in those classes because they could fit plenty more in them.

The weight didn't rest on them as much as it did with the one hundred and twenty that made up the hero courses throughout the three years that the school offered. Mei would be having the time of her life in her support classes while Misaki and... maybe Mari was working hard to prove themselves to the other heroes.

It was strange to be in a classroom without her best friends for the first time; however, it was good to be able to adapt to changes but that didn't make it any easier for her to deal with. Who of this bunch would be the easiest? She had already made some work with Uraraka but there were eighteen others in this room that she had to scope out. At first, nobody stood out to her in a way that could rub her the wrong way but she soon realized that the universe had it out for her today.

Sitting on the other side of the classroom was a boy with blond hair and the cockiest look on his face.

Her eyebrow twitched. Misaki hoped he stayed that far away from her so she didn't feel the urge to say something worse again. Thanks for jinxing me, Mari, where ever you are right now, I hope you know your joke wasn't funny because I told you this would happen if you didn't stop trying to be funny. Look at me now, stuck with this asshole who thinks it's cute to give pet names.

He was having a spat with another student who also seemed a little familiar but she couldn't place him. He seemed to be getting onto the blond for his surly attitude if she saw what he said right. Glasses seemed like a stickler for the rules and Misaki already knew that this guy had none as far as she could tell. Their back and forth seemed to leave him looking appalled by the vulgarity that Misaki could only assume was coming from the blond, seeing the way his mouth opened and closed as he searched for a comeback that wouldn't come.

She managed to pick the last bit of what glasses said, "That's awful. Do you really want to become a hero?!"

Then, all eyes shifted towards the doorway where it appeared as though another student had arrived. Uraraka seemed excited by this because she hopped out of her seat to approach him. This green-haired newcomer, whose hair looked like a head of broccoli, seemed a little startled by the sight of the something but upon Uraraka blocking his way into the room, his nervous look died down a little. If Uraraka knew him then he was probably an alright guy, she didn't seem like the kind of girl to be friends with someone like that pineapple.

Oh, what seemed even more intriguing was that Uraraka's friend looked as though he knew pineapple very well.

Interesting. She noted, maybe this class would be more chaotic then she thought.

Then, everyone in the room besides Misaki went stiff as if they had seen a ghost. She raised an eyebrow but realized they were all staring at the doorway, and when a dark-haired man strolled inside and stared them down, she realized that their instructor was the same guy that had told her that she had gotten into U.A. He didn't look any more amused than he had than the last time, except the source of his nonchalant displeasure seemed to be stemming from the entire class of teenagers.

Fortunately for Misaki, he wasn't as terrible as what he may have appeared to be. He was already aware there were students in this class that knew sign, so he signed and spoke to them.

"I'm your homeroom teacher, Shota Aizawa. Pleased to meet you. Change into your gym clothes and head out to the grounds."


A test, another test of all things was what he wanted them to do. The energy in the room dropped fifty percent when he said those words, and while the rest of the students would be going about their business, carefree and bored, spending their first day of school doing what you were supposed to be doing; This class was going to be stuck doing what their teacher wanted, and apparently, he wanted to judge their abilities despite likely having seen all of them from the entrance exam.

Misaki almost felt as though she should have seen this coming because of the deadpan expression and no-nonsense behavior that seemed to radiate from his aura. It kind of reminded her of someone that she knew but she couldn't put a finger on why that felt so familiar. So, all the students changed in their P.E. uniforms and headed out to one of the practice grounds outside of the school. It was a warm morning but not enough so that it was uncomfortable, the winter air that had once covered the area had recently started to subside and calm down.

The warmth of the sun on her face was great. However, if they were going to be working underneath it without breaks then it was going to be one long day out of hell. On the bright side, she did figure out there was at least one other student that spoke through sign language primarily as she did, Koda Koji, thanks to her keen eye noting him saying something to himself. He had been a bit startled to have someone approach him but Misaki's bright reassuring smile seemed to win him over as they made their way out of the building.

There was a sense of camaraderie when you found others like you. However, he had no issues with his hearing, he just struggled to use his voice because of his severe social anxiety and found it easier to communicate with people like that.

She was just glad that she wasn't the only person in the class that didn't use verbal speech one hundred percent.

Aizawa got down to business when they arrived outside, wasting not a moment to explain what the point of this exercise was. "There's no time to waste if you want to become heroes. U.A. is known for freestyle education. That counts us, teachers. Softball throwing, the standing long jump, the fifty-meter dash, endurance running, side to side stepping, upper body training, and seated toe touch. You did these in middle school. The standard No-Quirk-Allowed gym tests. This country still insists on prohibiting quirks when calculating the average of those records. It's not rational in regards to heroes."

His attention centered to her left where a familiar blond stood. If she wasn't mistaken, she was certain that he called him "Bakugou", finally, a name to put to the pineapple. Aizawa asked him a question, and it was obvious that he responded not long after when a ball was chucked at him and Aizawa seemed to want him to prove himself.

Bakugou took a few steps forward and paused, only to rare his arm back and launch the ball with a huge blast from his hands. It sent the ball flying off in the distance far out of sight and mind in an instant. Aizawa flashed the counter towards the class so everyone could see how far he got, seven hundred and five-point two meters far. That seemed to be limit for his try, and his point to this seemed to be finding how far they could push themselves to have a standard to work from in the future.

There was a point to his lesson. It didn't seem as though the students that were looking at each other mystified and in awe get it.

"Awesome, you say? You're hoping to become heroes after three years here... and you think it'll all be fun and games? Right. The one with the lowest score across all eight events will be judged hopeless... and will be expelled." The aura that surrounded Aizawa got dark and sadistic at the same time if humanly possible. He looked amongst the student and looked for the one that was trembling the most out of the bunch. Misaki had a feeling he was signaling out Uraraka's friend.

His lips curled into a grin, however, twisted it was. "Your fates are in your hands. Welcome. This is... The trials of the first day."

It didn't exactly seem fair, Misaki wanted to say; Plenty of the other students seemed to chime in with the same feeling before she had the opportunity to let him have it.

"Japan is full of unfair things. Villains, natural disasters, highway pileups. Heroes are the ones that correct the unfairness. If you thought you were going to have quiet nights the next three years you need to think again. U.A. has no mercy. That is what Plus Ultra is. Use your strength to overcome everything. Your test starts here."

They were running through the basics and the first test up for Misaki was the fifty-meter dash. She raised her hand and when the light turned green to tell her to go, her hand instantly went upright and brushed against her hair. The time came to a standstill around her body and she noted the other students frozen in place before rushing forwards to the end of the line and releasing her quirk when she stepped over the finish line. The robot would chime and indicate to the rest of the students that she had completed the test in zero point zero seconds.

She was sure there were eyes on her back because of that as people wondered what her quirk was. To the untrained eye, they would assume that she had a speed quirk.

Time disruption: the ability to halt the flow of time, that was her true quirk.

Misaki watched a few of the other students come up behind her, noting as Uraraka tapped her fingers against her heels and then sped through the course quicker than normal She must have had control of weight, or some kind of gravity, if she made herself light enough it would allow her to move without as much restriction as a normal person, or how pineapple used his explosions to get across the finish line fast. There was a trick to getting where you needed to be, you just had to know how to do.

Not bad, and plenty of her other classmates were quick to perform better than others at certain tests than others because of their quirk. That was to be expected. There was always going to people that had a leg up on others because of what their quirk gave them. She went about the rest of the trials as best as she could with her quirk, and it more or less worked enough to give the points that would help her pass.

Unfortunately, there was one guy that lagged behind the rest of the class in nearly everything.

It didn't seem as though he was using his quirk at all, just going through the motions as if he didn't have a quirk to use. If he didn't make a turnaround and prove himself then he was going to be one that got kicked out if Aizawa kept his word. Uraraka and Misaki shared a look of worry as they watched him fail to prove himself time and time again. She didn't have to say anything to get it across. It was an understatement that he was doing poorly.

"He's not doing so well... poor Midoriya," Uraraka said.

Misaki couldn't help but wince as he failed once more. Then, she felt somebody standing at her side, looking to the corner of her vision she noted that Bakugou had come over to catch a glimpse of the green-haired boy that Misaki now knew as Midoriya. Bakugou seemed to be seething, or at the very least shaking with irritation. He barked something but the most that Misaki managed to pick up was the word "he" and "quirkless". She quickly looked back in Midoriya's direction with a bit of shock.

Quirkless?

If he was quirkless than he would be one of the firsts that Misaki had ever seen at U.A. in the hero course. It wasn't unheard of but it was rare to see an everybody man in a class for heroes. It would be impressive if he got in on his merit alone, but Misaki had a feeling that he did have a quirk it just might have been something that didn't benefit these tests at all. What was his ability, then?

Midoriya lifted the ball in his hand as he went to take his last test, clutching it in his hand and then launching it forwards with as hard a thrust he could manage. It landed on the ground not that far from his body. It looked to be around forty meters away, which was pitiful compared to how far everyone else had managed to do. He stood there looking confused at his actions as if he had tried to use his quirk but it didn't work when he tried to use it. Wait, if something had been stopping him from using his quirk that meant that someone was causing it.

That's when Aizawa was quick to approach him and let him in on something.

That's when it finally clicked who their instructor was.

He was Eraserhead, the hero that could take out quirks with his vision alone. Her sinking suspicion was seemingly explained away. The quirk that Midoriya had hurt him every time that he used it, and he must have taken the exam and hurt himself tenfold in the process. Aizawa was stopping him from doing something stupid. He got a stern talking to about it and then Aizawa gave him the chance to try again, and this time, not hurt himself the way that he had during the exam.

Midoriya gave it one more go.

This time the ball was sent flying off in the distance and when the counter went off it told them that he had gotten one meter further than Bakugou had managed to get. It seemed as though he had injured his finger in the broken, looking purple and bruised and disjointed. He hurt himself, but he didn't hurt himself by breaking his entire hand or arm like it was implied that he did.

Misaki was surprised to see it.

The body usually had its limiters for strength quirks, so to see someone get hurt because their raw energy was so powerful was something else. If he had done more in his exam, she might have wished that she could have seen it. Everyone else in the class was mystified by his actions just as much as she was, but it wasn't all smiles and cheers. That twitch that Bakugou had caused him to surge forward and take off towards to Midoriya in a fit of what must have been rage or anger.

His explosions went right behind him and Midoriya screeched as if he was going to take it—

Aizawa stopped him with his capture weapon before Bakugou could touch him. He was given a stern talking to just as Midoriya had, at least, as far as Misaki could tell from the way that he took a slow drag of air.

The rest of the events were pretty well... uneventful. It wasn't long before everything was completed and the students were left staring at the digital screen to find out their placing and learn how much good or how much bad had been to them. When he clicked the button and flashed the names and numbers in front of them, Misaki was relieved to find her name on the upper half of the numbers. She was safe, and she was glad that she was safe. Though, despite his best effort, Midoriya's name was sitting right where everyone knew it would be.

At the bottom.

"Time for the results. Your total scores simply reflect your performance in each of the events. Explaining the process would be a waste of time, so all you get are the final rankings. Also, I was lying about expelling someone. That was a rational deception... meant to bring out the best in all of you."

Everyone collapsed at this revelation.

Midoriya was safe, after all!

Misaki could almost hear the shocked shouts coming from in front of her they were so beyond mortified. That deadpan proclamation from their instructor was so out of hand, and it left her feeling just as agasp with the man as she had felt in the morning. His surly nature somehow stuck whether he used sign or not. She wanted to drag her palm against her face in exasperation when Aizawa continued to ignore their protests and groans. "Anyway. We're done here. Your documents about the curriculum and such are back in the classroom. Give them a good look."

Aizawa's eyes rested on the class for a moment before he directed his attention towards Midoriya, probably telling him to go and visit Recovery Girl with that injury he got from his quirk.

Misaki was one of the last people to come and collect her things from the classroom that afternoon. She picked it up and shrugged it over her shoulders and went to head back to the open door but was surprised to be stopped at the door by Bakugou. His hand rested against the opposing wall and blocked her pathway. She glanced at that and then looked back at his red eyes. Great, now what did he want and why was he trying to go about ruining her afternoon again?

She narrowed her eyebrows.

"You again," she read his lips as he had the decency to speak slow enough for her to catch it. "They fucking let someone like Deku into this school, but they also let you in? Two charity cases in one class, huh?"

Misaki wanted to scoff at that. She assumed that the Deku he was talking about was Midoriya, and it seemed in line for somebody like him to give out a name like that to someone. She had her phone in hand and didn't miss a beat as she typed out her response to him: I'm not really in the mood for whatever ego trip that you're on. Mind moving aside?

He seemed surprised by her backbone. "I'm just making myself clear to you because you and that Deku seem to share the same dumb trait. Stay the hell out of my way unless you want to get burned. I'm going to be the top hero here."

Misaki's eye twitched. Oh, of course, that was the only thing that he cares about. He really was one of those prideful guys that needed to push down others to make himself feel good. He probably had an inferiority complex. That sort of thing was what tackled guys down to the ground as their own weakness if they weren't careful about it. It was a benefit and a threat to one's self. She wasn't going to play guessing games and figure out what his deal was, it was better to leave well enough alone. Something about him just kind of made her want to fight.

All Misaki wanted to do was become a hero that showed the world that even disabled people could be heroes if they wanted.

She sucked in an annoyed breath and typed another response: Yeah. I'm not interested in being the top dog here and I don't want to get tangled up in some petty squabble. If you wanna be number one then do it, be my guest. I'm here for my own quest, not yours. Misaki waited for him to get the gist and then typed another one: Now if you'll excuse me. I have better places to be than stuck in a classroom alone with you, and I think you have a date with Deku to give him the same spiel.

Misaki brushed past him without saying anything else. However, he had the nerve to say the word Plum about her right before she stepped too far away to let him get away with that nickname. She stopped dead in her tracks and stared back at him with a wicked smile. It was so unlike her to brazenly face somebody without freeing a pinch of fear; She usually ignored others or didn't give much time to bullies because it wasn't worth the effort, but her body was acting without thinking this time around and she felt like she had a point to prove.

She typed one last message to him that afternoon: My name is Hisakawa Misaki, not plum, not sugar, not any other fruit out there, and I just decided that I changed my mind. I'm going to get the top and leave you in the dust.

Chapter Text

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)

Chapter Four

On My Own


The class started on a new note after a few days had passed.

In the morning, after their homeroom, they would have normal classes that any other high school student would have: Think English, mathematics, or science. It was quite a bore Misaki had always done alright in school once she was given access to even the playing field. It was more of a chore to do normal lessons when they were all sitting in the middle of the biggest hero academy on this side of Tokyo. The afternoons were designated for hero lessons, and that's what most students were on the edge of their seats for.

Misaki took this time to get acclimated to her new surroundings, and existing in a new space that didn't have her best friend in it.

She still couldn't get in touch with Mari. It wasn't for a lack of trying, at least, but no matter how many times she texted or went to visit her apartment, there was seemingly no answer. It was... worrying. Mei had told her not to worry so hard about that, that Mari was probably laying low if she did get into U.A., just to hide it from her Mom. Which made sense when Mei laid it out, but Misaki was still concerned.

She was a worrywart when it came to her friends.

Misaki sat at her desk, writing out the notes from the board as they came to be. Fortunately enough, with her position in the classroom, she was able to have a bit of a back and forth with Koda now and again. He was far more kind than she was when it came to learning, ever positive to her occasional nihilism that sprung up when something didn't click the first time. It was funny at least when he was surprised by her attitude change, and that made that worth it even it was a brief laugh.

A distraction wouldn't always last for very long.

You had to be dedicated to making sure your grades were just good enough to stay in the good flavor of the ranking system. When the classes were done, for the time being, they would head out to lunch to grab a bite before their lessons changed from educational to a practical lesson. When lunch was over and everyone returned to the class that was when hero lessons started.

And today?

All Might was in charge of the lesson. How did she know it was All Might? Because of the sudden rush of wind that entered their classroom and the shocked look on her classmates' faces as they stared at the tall blond man. Everyone was staring at him, unsure of what to do, and that quickly turned into buzzing energy that couldn't be contained. It was intriguing to have a literal God among men in their classroom as their instructor, knocking that surprise off of her face, she sat up straight and waited.

He explained himself, not so casually, that he arrived to give them basic hero training. Today's training was battle training, and that meant they were going to going against one another in a real situation. Real fighting? Finally! Now they were getting down to the nitty-gritty and where she had wanted to be all of this time.

What was even better was that their costumes were finally finished!

Misaki felt rather giddy when the sidewall flipped open to reveal 20 cases just for the class. All that delicate work she had put into crafting her costume, people like the kind of one that Mei wanted to be were the ones that designed all of it. Support users and specialists were important to hero society just as much as heroes were. You couldn't have a great hero without a great costume, and great tools to back them up.

The rest of the students were just as excited as she was, and it was written all over their faces. She had spent a great deal of time trying to piece together her costume so it was functional and pleasing aesthetically.

It was a sleeveless black bodysuit that covered her torso and stopped just above her mid-thigh, with three stars accenting the bottom edge on both sides. A cropped white turtleneck went over it to cover up her neck and made sure it was protected when she went to hurriedly use her quirk, it had a bright star on the back to designate her style. The rest of her legs were covered by thick yellow tights, and her arms were protected by purple warmers that went all the way up to her shoulders where they stopped short of being full sleeves. She had an accessory belt strapped to her hips that would carry everything she needed.

Last but not least, she had the headset that Hatsume had designed for her. It was a sleek silver device that tucked into her ears, like a headset but it wrapped around the back of her head and only vibrates to give her a time limit warning. It also a shooting star carved into one of the sides, it was an homage to her Grandmother... all of the stars were. Her Grandma was a hero once, and she went by the codename Shooting Star.

When they activated their quirks, the only things that people would see were the glimmer of stars that one would see when they felt faint. Before and after they knew what had hit them hard.

Misaki was proud that she had a quirk just as great as the woman that she idolized, and every motif on her uniform was a homage as well as a new adaption to the classic theme that she loved. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror on the way out and was sufficiently satisfied.

Once they were changed and properly suited up, they all headed for training ground Beta.

All Might was just as pleased with everyone's new looks when they walked through the gates, complimenting them all and nodding his head. He explained to them that the battle training was going to be new and exciting, just the thing to thrust them into what they thought heroism was all about. They would be having two-on-two matchups at a sheer random draw, and they would have to work together either as heroes or villains to pass.

It wasn't going to be like the entrance exam.

Villains weren't just going to be prowling the streets, and that's why they were here in a crowded cityscape setup. They would have to try to keep the damage contained to the building they were located in because the worst of villains were usually trapped away inside layers of protection while the people under them would be in the way.

This exercise was simple.

The villain team would be guarding their detonation device and the heroes would have to try and take them down before the time limit ran out. They would have to secure the other team or take down the weapon to win.

Drawing at lots to make a partnership was easier because heroes often didn't get to choose who they were matched up. At least, if they weren't already a partnership. Hero duos were rare, however, and the rest of the population would be strung with someone whose quirk they may not know well, or mesh well with on a normal occasion.

As a hero, you had to be ready for whatever was thrown your way.

That was the price of the job, after all.

The first matchup was a surprise, indeed. It was Uraraka and Midoriya facing off against Bakugou and Iida. Fate seemed to think that they needed to resolve their issues today. The tension that Bakugou had with Midoriya was going to reach a head sooner rather than later.

Uraraka had a nervous smile on her face but it was obvious she was relieved to be on a team with Midoriya. Misaki looked in her direction with a knowing smirk, and with her rosy cheeks burning up, Uraraka headed out with the boys to the training ground.

The rest of the class would be watching from CCTV along with All Might as he monitored the situation and the time limit.

The villains could speak back and forth with one another if they so chose to leave the room and chase down the heroes. They would have the advantage but it wasn't an unfair one, that was often something that heroes could expect to face out there, so, they had to be prepared for the challenge to know what was waiting in the real world. Time was also of the essence! There were only fifteen minutes for the heroes to rush in and either capture the villains, or diffuse the weapon, or for the villains to capture the heroes and set off their bomb to win the game.

Iida and Bakugou clearly had different plans. Iida wanted to stay put and guard and Bakugou wanted to go out and fight. They had a tiny spat about it and Bakugou left without warning to go and face the heroes on his own. He charged headfirst out of the room and down the stairs the instant he heard the faint sound of the starting gun hit his ears. Iida sighed, in defeat, and stood his ground where he was to make sure he could protect their win.

As for Uraraka and Midoriya, they stayed close at first. They took their time wandering the corners of the building making sure to check every corner and every sound before they made a choice to go in a certain direction; Of course, this safe plan did not last for long as Bakugou found them within a few minutes and sent off a blast with his quick which Midoriya stopped.

Uraraka took the chance to run for the weapon and Bakugou paid her no mind.

It was obvious that he had a score to settle with Midoriya. Misaki knew that he had something against that guy, whether they knew each other from their middle school or if something had happened a long time ago. He meant business because he acted without thinking of what if he hurt another student.

He held his hands up and looked right through Midoriya.

The room around her was incredibly tense.

He was playing that part a little too well in the eyes of the others. Misaki struggled to see what he was saying to Midoriya, the CCTV only provided them with video, but it was fairly blurry from her position in the back of the room. She narrowed her eyes and tried to pick apart every other word as much as she could to figure out what this was about.

He was talking about something that had happened not long ago. Sludge villain, she had caught the word at the last second. No wonder he had happened to seem familiar in a way when she first saw him. She had written it off as nothing but circumstantial but Bakugou was the boy that had gotten caught up in that mess and Midoriya had been there as well if she recalled.

She had been watching the news with her Grandma and Mari at the time and there had been two boys around their age.

That had been them… but that didn't connect all of the pieces. If Midoriya had tried to help… wait, was a part of it? Bakugou wasn't the kind of guy that wanted help from others. He pushed them alone and went in like a lone wolf, not stopping to ask if he could get help.

That would've been a blow to his pride.

Now, he wasn't really dumb enough to try and settle that during a class exercise, was he? Misaki grimaced as Bakugou raised his gauntlet towards Midoriya and held his hand against the trigger. Her answer had been to her before she could even finish the thought.

All Might seemed to know what he was doing as well.

He won't die if it's not a direct hit, she could see Bakugou say as he yanked the trigger back and an explosion enveloped the scene. A huge explosion erupted on the spot with half of the building had been blown to the wind once the dust had settled outside.

Nobody moved and nobody did anything as the smoke covered the entire hall of the building. They waited until either of the boys came out of the smoke; It took a moment but once it cleared, Midoriya was shown to be alright and Bakugou was standing not far away from the scene.

He was chastised for acting that way but the exercise continued as planned.

Everything dissolved from that moment onward.

Bakugou and Midoriya continued to fight on the lower level of the building with Bakugou on the assault and Midoriya on the defense. More of more and the building was destroyed from the bottom up, as Uraraka tangled with Iida on the floor with the bomb. Even as the floor underneath their feet started to get in the way, the kept playing cat and mouse, the four of them.

Midoriya tried to avoid Bakugou, the keyword was "try".

They had their fight, and both boys were getting more and more ragged as the time limit got closer and closer to the buzzer. Inevitably, Midoriya devised a plan to use Uraraka's quirk to benefit them. She used her quirk to send the debris in Iida's way, distracting him long enough to get her hands onto the bomb.

That didn't stop Bakugou from getting Midoriya to use his quirk so much that he wound up hurting both of his arms beyond reason. They were nearly purple to the sight by the time the match was over, and he passed out from the pain right as All Might declared the heroes the winners. Midoriya was taken away to Recovery Girl, and the rest of the students came back to get their scores explained by All Might.

Iida was the showrunner of that battle, he took his job as the villain seriously and played the part down to the letter even if it was a bit comical.

It couldn't be Bakugou because he took his vendetta out on Midoriya when the battle had never been about that. Midoriya hurt himself and put himself out on the line without thinking about anything else, and that got him injured badly. Uraraka put up a really good fight but her last attack was a last-ditch effort that could have caused more harm than good if she didn't plan it out.

Misaki could see that something in Bakugou's expression was different when he brushed past her to stand in the corner of the room. She couldn't identify what it was, but she knew very well that he wanted to be alone. Whatever he was dealing with wasn't something that she understood but she knew very well what it felt like to taste defeat and be sore about it.

All and all, the first round was a heavy one.. not just for the students involved in it firsthand.


"Jeez, they had to match us against a powerhouse, didn't they?"

Just because his dad is a big hero doesn't mean that he's going to be. She thought.

Oijiro and Misaki got acquainted as well as they could on their way to the center of the building where the bomb was located. It was going to be a challenge to communicate to the rest of her classmates when they all didn't know how to do that properly; However, most of the students had started learning nonverbal cues to silently communicate with one another, and that helped a bit.

Start, stop, go, run… only the basic words in JSL.

Hopefully, they would incorporate more at her insistence.

Misaki wasn't a fan of using her voice to speak to others since most of her enunciation was off at times, but it was easier to use it than to not in regards to the able-bodied folks. Often, it would just the soft of sounds, according to what others told her, but she had trained to be able to use her more than just that in the last few years. It took a lot of practice to know what sounds felt like, and how to use them correctly. It was one of the only things that she was a little iffy about. Oijiro was nice enough to say that she was understandable, which made her silently thank her tutor that worked with her since she was fairly young.

It wasn't time to have a communication issue, that was for sure.

Because as soon as they got to the room, that was when All Might said the exercise had begun.

They had to think fast before the heroes showed up.

The two of them were facing off against Todoroki and Shoji, and while she had the smallest inkling of their abilities from their first day of training, she didn't know all of the details to piece things together. Since they were the villains in this situation that meant they had to figure out how they wanted to act.

Did they want to face them head-on, or did they wait here for them to arrive?

His quirk was tail, he had explained to her when they moved. He could use his tail to take down whatever he wanted, and he was well versed in martial arts which benefited them. He had quick reflexes but he could only be so fast against the ice that moved in an instant.

He was fast but there was a chance that Todoroki's reaction time was a lot faster than he was. Now, Misaki could, in theory, move faster than that by activating her quirk but if he froze everything around them then she was in trouble.

How did they beat that?

"What do you think, Hisakawa? Any plans?"

Misaki pursed her lips.

What would the best way to trick them?

They may have been outmatched by the sheer strength they had, but there had to be some kind of opening to outsmart them.

It was clear to her that Oijiro was nervous about Todoroki, he had this imposing aura that could have made anyone uneasy. It was the same kind of energy that Bakugou had except in a quieter, more assured way. Misaki knew that he was the biggest threat as he didn't have to face someone head-on to attack as she and Oijiro did.

If Bakugou preferred to work alone… it was just as likely that Todoroki preferred to be on his own. If they considered that only he would enter the building, or at the very least be the first person to come after them… His ice quirk was a pain, but as long as they had the head-start then it was possible that they could win if she took a tiny field of chance.

Nobody knew everyone else's quirk completely, and that was the advantage here. It was a disadvantage as well, but there was a reason why All Might picked this as one of their first tests. It was realistic to not know what was out in the field awaiting you in the darkness. They all only had a vague awareness of each other's abilities. Most of this class likely assumed she was a speed type, just as Iida Tenya was, and that meant she could bamboozle them.

It was... tricky. But, she had a plan that had to be executed at the last second to give them the win this round. It was going to be a split second to know if the plan was viable. If that was wrong, then they would have to give up.

Misaki shared a look with Oijiro, nodding her head.

"Long shot," she said, looking away from him at the doorway for a moment before looking back at him. "But, got a plan."

On the ground, the heroes approached the building together as the counter began to tick. Shoji leaned in to listen to where the villains were located. Once he had made sure that the two of them were standing on the ground, he looked back over to Todoroki to tell him that they were both together. "They're both on the fourth floor. One is on the north side of the room, the other is not far off in the same room. They're lying in wait for us," he warned. "They want us to come to them."

Todoroki's eyes narrowed down the hall.

"Stay outside. It's going to get frosty in here fast and you'll just be in the way. Our opponents think they can play the defensive game inside but… that means nothing to me." He pressed his hand to the ground and suddenly the entire building was enveloped in ice in an instant. The entire thing, just covered in ice up to the top.

Nearly eight floors just frosted over just like that. Shoji listened to his advice as he could take a hint when it was given, and took a step back as Todoroki began to walk inside the building and head up the villains.

Both and Misaki and Oijiro were startled when the ice began to cover every crack of the ground, there was no time to think, Oijiro used his tail as she had advised him as a backup plan in the case this happened to keep her feet from getting frozen to the concrete. She sighed in relief at having been spared that fate. Misaki looked back at him, grateful that he had sacrificed himself for her sake.

"Thanks," she breathed, the puff of cold air escaping her lips not long after that.

"It's not over," Oijiro warned.

Plan B, they silently agreed.

The foreboding footsteps rang out in Oijiro's ears, and as soon as he thought that their classmate was about to enter the room, he was prepared to warn Misaki so she could activate her quirk.

"Bring it on," Todoroki warned them when he entered the room, catching a brief glimpse at the pair of them, unbothered by their small threat of action. "But you'll just be frozen like your partner if you move. You're no match for my league. Give it up."

Oijiro gave her that nudge, tossing her forward, and Misaki reached up to grasp her hair before Todoroki knew what she was doing. The time came to a shrieking halt all around them in the process, the frozen face of surprise was written all over Todoroki's expression, and Oijiro was just as surprised by how fast she moved.

She landed on the ice with a thud, barely catching her footing and whipping out the cuffs from her belt. She felt cold, however, and when she glanced down she realized that her opponent had almost taken her down. There was frost on her fingertips that indicated that he saw her try to use her quirk, but she moved fast enough that the ice couldn't force properly.

He nearly had her taken down.

The ice that had almost encased her left hand was two inches to the left, just floating there in the air.

Misaki shook her head, amazed. They were very much in a different league but she had to respect that they were almost equally matched when it came to speed. He would have won if she slipped up. Something about his reaction time was a bit off, could he had been impaired by his costume?

No, no that couldn't be it.

She would push that thought to the side for the time being, as she had to wrap this up fast. She held up her capture tape and took care of business. Todoroki was captured just as easy as that, and when the time came alive around them once again, he was shocked that he had been bested by Misaki.

Oijiro was equally shocked behind her, with his mouth opened wide.

"Almost had me there," she told him, honestly. "But, nobody can beat the hand of time."

Villains win, she knew All Might would say.

If Shoji came into the building then he would have been taken down in an instant, and if stayed put where he was that would save him the shame of getting bested by them. The ice that Todoroki had put in the way would have taken a while for anyone to navigate, and there wasn't enough time for him to make his choice, either, so he had to admit defeat as well.

The back of her head was aching but it wasn't so bad that it was going to knock her off her feet… just make her vision blurry for a few minutes. She rubbed the sore spot and smiled over at Oijiro. She told him that she would make sure they had a chance against him, but she had managed to best this beast.

Back in the control room, everyone was shocked that Hisakawa had managed to take down Todoroki when all the odds had stacked against them, ands against her for that matter. His quirk was incredible, and yet this tiny girl had taken him down faster then their eyes could follow.

All Might seemed surprised by it, but that purple hair should have tipped him off when he caught a glimpse of her. "I thought I recognized that motif on her costume but I merely thought it was a homage. Why, Miss Hisakawa is the granddaughter of Shooting Star, a heroine that could move faster than a star in the night sky. " he murmured.

Most of the students didn't know who that was since she such a popular hero way before any of them were born. Shooting Star had been working hard when heroes that All Might idolized were far from his reach, and he was barely the man he was back then compared to now. She had retired from the field piece by piece when she had her children, however, and that was how her name seemed to fade from the spotlight.

"Wow, what the heck!" Kirishima blurted out from All Might's side. He had just been saying how amazed he was at Todoroki's speed, and that he had it beat faster than anyone else but Misaki proved him wrong. "I didn't even see her move!"

"She said she could stop time and all, but I can't believe she could beat him so fast," Uraraka said, awed by her friend.

"So, she stopped time itself and took Todoroki down before he could stop her and get to the weapon to touch it, ribbit." Tsuyu concluded after hearing that explanation.

"That's almost unfair I think," Kaminari said. "Since she can beat someone before they even have a fair shot at beating her back."

Yaoyorozu frowned. It had a display they hadn't expected but it almost hadn't even occurred. If she thought about it, the smallest detail had been eating at the back of her head.

She concluded aloud. "If Oijiro hadn't alerted her to Todoroki they would have lost the match though since she couldn't hear his footsteps herself. She may have an advantage with her quirk but because she can't hear anything, she could have been bested if she wasn't for him."

One moment she was there, about to take defeat with Oijiro, and the next she was behind Todoroki with her hands tightly taking hold of him with capture tape with a grin on her face. If someone looked hard enough they notice that she was breathing a little harder then she had been seconds ago, and the smallest tremble of her feet against the ice ground.

But most of the students didn't note that.

All they saw was a girl that took down one of the students that got in on recommendations.

Bakugou saw the weakness, however, he saw the way that her body was fighting her the same way that it had when she mindlessly put her way in the space for danger to move kids out of the way during the practice exam. He had been clenching his jaw so hard when he saw Todoroki's sheer power in front of him, and it hit him even harder when that girl struck him down.

From the peripheral of his vision, he could see her let Todoroki go free with a smile on her face. They said something to one another, but he didn't care to see what it was. Then, all of that ice that been created began to steam away as though heat came out of nowhere. The entire building that had once been frozen was melted before he even took in a breath.

This guy… he had fire and ice as a quirk.

Great, just great.

This class was filled with strong characters, and it made him feel so angry and confused and... He was too pissed off to think about this. He just had to keep his composure long enough to get out of this class. Circumstantial. Of course, it was circumstantial. She had gotten lucky that day and sheer dumb luck would not lead her to true victory. After all, the only way to victory was with your power and with your two hands, not from anyone else's help.

It was a weakness to let others get in your way and think they had to help you. If people thought you were weak, if you needed the help of others to win something then you didn't win on your own merit.

And what kind of hero was that?


AUTHOR'S NOTE. 

Sincerely thank you to all of those who follow, favorite, and kudo, etc. You guys are the reason that I can keep writing what I can!

Chapter Text

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)

Chapter Five

Trade Mistakes 


The afternoon came and went just like that. Everyone managed to make a display of their quirks be it in a good way or a bad way. It was interesting to see everyone's different quirks for the first time applied in this context and how different they all were. It hadn't been all that bad, and she was glad that she now knew enough about everyone to think about future matchups be it together or against one another in class. As long as she didn't have to strain herself against folks with quick reaction time, she would be lucky the next few times.

Misaki went home and immediately ate something, showered, and then went to bed.

She was too tired to think about anything else besides that.

When she woke up that morning and headed out to school, she was surprised to see a message on her phone from Mari of all people after so long of just radio silence. It didn't say much of anything, but well wishes that her classes were going well. She smiled. She sent the same message back to Mari and asked if they could speak soon about how things were going but she had to stash her phone away when she got closer to the gates of U.A.

She noticed that Midoriya was up ahead. He wasn't covered in wrappings that could have rivaled a mummy so that meant that Recovery Girl had worked her magic on him.

Good for him, she thought.

Well, he was having a good day until the media noticed that he was wearing the school uniform and bombarded him with all sorts of questions that he wasn't even ready to answer. Misaki would be next once they realized that Midoriya wasn't all that great at public speaking. Neither was she, she just ignored others when they didn't address her in the right way. So, she thought about the best way to disperse a crowd and the only thing that would come to mind was a tactic that she had used on some bullies that had bothered Mari.

"Hey, is that All Might down the street?!"

That sentence made the crowd whip their heads in the opposite direction of Midoriya and Misaki. There was, fortunately, a blur of a somebody with blonde hair in the distance and that had been enough to move most of the crowd.

"I think I see him!"

"Quick, before he gets away!"

Midoriya sighed in relief when the crowd was off of his back. Misaki patted him on the shoulder and the green-haired boy turned his head to see the purple-haired girl staring at him. He realized quickly that she was the reason that he was alright, and thanked her profusely for that quick thinking save. She shook her head as if it was no big deal.

Misaki simply typed out a message to him as they entered the gates and it shut behind them: They want to know anything they can. The teachers will not tell them anything. So, they go for the next best thing and that's us, the students. We're kind of just sitting ducks. Next time just don't stop walking. They get the picture when you're standoffish.


When they got into class and settled in, Aizawa was quick to talk to them about the scores from their exercise. He wasn't particularly happy to hear that Bakugou and Midoriya had gotten into another spat, Midoriya had broken another arm because of it and that Bakugou had nearly taken Midoriya's head off for no good reason besides a grudge. It was obvious that he expected better of them, and why not?

They were the prospects of one of the biggest hero schools in all of Japan. They had to be ready to mature faster than everyone else to keep on their toes.

Petty squabbles didn't solve anything.

The tension raised with those stern orders only to be squashed when Aizawa announced they would be picking the class president. Instead of more scolding and warnings, they were doing something actually normal for high school. Her teacher's attitude on life made her feel reassured, while the rest of the class were praying that his switches wouldn't always come out so blunt and casually.

The students began to argue about who would be best for the job.

Misaki already knew that she did not want that job.

It was a hassle to keep track of everyone around yourself and make sure that every single little thing was taken care of. It wasn't like she wasn't capable of doing that, she just really wanted to focus her time on other means. Others seemed to have similar thinking because they too didn't open their mouths to say anything.

Tenya Iida was quick to go to the front of the class to catch the attention of the rest. His input was simple, he didn't think that they should simply choose by saying out loud their names. They needed to vote on this so it was diplomatic and posed. While it was obvious that a good chunk of the class would likely write down their names, Iida reasoned that whoever could garner the most votes in spite of that would be the obvious choice for the job by circumstance.

Aizawa was disinterested in the subject, looking more comfortable on the floor in his sleeping bag. He merely agreed just to shut the kid up.

All and all, Midoriya wound up getting three votes and that was the most out of anyone which made him president and Yaoyorozu was right behind him with two votes and that meant that she would take the position of vice president. Midoriya looked like a terrified fish out of water and Yaoyorozu was flustered but much more composed.

Misaki was surprised by that. But, it seemed as though Midoriya's friends voted for him instead of themselves. While kind of them, it didn't seem as though that the kid was ready for that kind of job to be on his plate. Bakugou could agree with that sentiment but the scowl on his face, though his opinion was per the wrong reasoning. She had taken the time to vote for Iida as he seemed the most delighted for the job and with those steady morals of his it just seemed like a stickler for rules could handle the task.

With that note, class ended and lunchtime began.

Misaki shook her head when Uraraka asked if she wanted to have lunch with them. While she enjoyed the company of any type of friends, she had decidedly gone to hang out with Hatsume to make sure that she ate something. That is, she would have hung out with Hatsume if the girl hadn't texted her beforehand and said that she was in the middle of a new scientific breakthrough and if she stopped what she was doing for even a second then she would have lost her train of thought and in theory, whatever she was working on.

Hatsume was very bright but she had the tendency to get started on one thing and then the minute she thought of another she would start doing that instead, only a few instances would she stay working on one little thing. So, Misaki knew that this must have been really important for her work. Although, the last time she said that and Misaki dropped by she almost got a wretch the head.

She could only imagine the chaos in that room that her instructor Powerloader had to deal with. Well, it might have been wise to stay away from that room... just for today.

So, she took a left instead of a right in the stairwell and made her way to the lunchroom. It was bustling and filled with all kinds of students from each other the years and class types. Misaki hadn't been in this room very often or long enough to know what the typical layout was for the rest of her classmates as they spent time together. She took a mental note of who each of them wound up with, just seeing as everyone built up friendships. Unsurprisingly she noted that in the corner of the room that Todoroki was the only one that was sitting alone.

She would have expected that from Bakugou but she hadn't been too sure that Todoroki would be the same way.

After she had put up a sizable fight with him the other day, Todoroki had been... odd. He made it abundantly clear that she only won the match because he hadn't known the extent of her quirk, and she agreed with him because really, she had gotten lucky. Had her reaction time been any slower than it was and he would have frozen her hands and left her incapable of using her quirk.

Todoroki was standoffish, but there was an aura about him that she respected. His power was unbelievable and she had to give him credit for that. His attitude was such a way that it didn't rub her the wrong way, different from how Bakugou looked her dead in the eyes and declared her a challenge. Perhaps it was because she noticed that he too, had a disability.

That burn scar on his face hadn't just left a wound on his skin. That eye of his had been damaged as well, and she picked that hint up when she realized the mere centimeters that he had been off from hitting her wasn't because of her speed and reaction time.

It was because he was partially blind.

She had incidentally mouthed that word in a bit of surprise when she had gone to tell him what a good job he had done at nearly stumping her in their hero lesson. He was shocked that she could pick that up so fast. She just knew what to look for in others, the fiery determination to stick it to society or somebody that had told you that you couldn't, the look was one that she knew very well. She didn't know why he felt that way, but she told him that that information was safe with her if he didn't want to share it with the rest of the class.

Todoroki had been... a little odd, but he deserved a fighting chance like anyone else. Nobody would think less of him simply because of his quirks and how much of monster energy that he had. But, it was his identity to tell if he wanted.

Misaki felt a comradery in this.

In spite of his standoffish nature, she kind of wanted to be his friend. He seemed as though he could use some, especially from the way he seemed to push others away and keep alone. It reminded her sorely of the way that Mari used to be. For a time, the young girl had cried and tried to push Misaki away so she wouldn't be bullied by their classmates as well, but Misaki clung to her like glue and made her smile again. Sometimes all someone needed was another person to make them feel alright.

Thinking of Mari and the silence between the two of them as of late made her heart weary. She pushed it to the back of her head and instead took a place at Todoroki's table.

Todoroki was surprised by her arrival and rather than simply ignoring the look on his face, she tugged her phone out of her pocket and shook her head. Misaki smiled and began to type out on her phone: Do you always eat alone, Todoroki?

He had a mouthful of what appeared to be cold soba. He sighed, now knowing that he couldn't make her leave. Todoroki didn't react, he just responded to her: Do you always interrupt others, Hisakawa?

She wanted to laugh at that.

Misaki didn't lose that smile of mirth from her face, responding: Only when they seem like they need it. Uraraka asked if I wanted to join her, Iida, and Midoriya but those three have their inner circle going on. Usually, I spend my lunches with my friend from the Support class, but she's busy today. So, here I am!

Todoroki pursed his lips. Perhaps he was intrigued by her gutsy nature, or he really didn't understand what she was thinking. It was probably a combination of those two things: And so you choose to sit here?

She merely shrugged: It isn't too awful to have others around you, you know? I've heard that groups of girls have already tried to bother you for whatever reason, they think it's alright to do that because you're alone. If I'm here you're basically safe from their little clutches and crushes.

He took that information in. It seemed like a curse that any decent looking goy would be bothered by girls and the occasional boy, and that was simply the worst when you just weren't interested in all of that. While he didn't have any patience for other people and their little interests that he just didn't understand in the slightest, the way that she reasoned herself was enough for him to let it slide. It wasn't like she was going to talk his ear off or say something nonsensical.

Misaki wasn't intolerable.

So, he didn't say anything else.

Misaki appreciated that and they stayed in comfortable silence at least until the sound of an alarm bell began to blare overhead and hit Todoroki's eardrums. He lifted his head to attention and looked at the rest of the students that were just as confused, and then Misaki looked at him with her head cocked to the side. She parted her lips to ask him what was wrong but he only said:

"The intruder alert alarm."

Some assumed that it must have been a drill but some of the others noted it wasn't reacting as the practice drill did. Many of the students began to hurriedly shuffle into the hallways and look for the exit. It turned into a sea of students frantically trying to get out, and the only thing left was pandemonium remaining overhead. It was like a group of chickens who had their heads cut off.

What could have tripped the alarm?

Misaki didn't think that it was anything big. After she had run into the media early that morning, it seemed as though that it was possible that one of them had been able to scale the fence and get inside. Still, the two of them had to follow the order, and that meant that began to head in the direction of the exit that was nearby. However, Todoroki caught her by the arm not even a moment later and when she turned to ask him what he wanted, he told her that Iida had informed them all that it was just the press.

She looked surprised by the fact that he had told her anything.

The last time that she had had to listen to others without her friends nearby, others didn't tell her anything and left her to wander without knowing whether it was alright or not.

"Thanks for... telling me," she told him, honestly.

Todoroki was crass but he wasn't a bad guy. Her feelings were right on the money.

After that intruder incident during lunch, Midoriya came clean to the rest of the class and told them he felt like Iida was much more deserving of the job than he was. He had been able to calm everyone down with just a couple of clear and concise words. Iida gladly took the helm when the other students agreed with Midoriya. Now their class president was Tenya Iida and the vice president was Yaoyorozu Momo! Now that seemed like a perfect union of students with their heads on their shoulders.

Now that that was taken care of, Aizawa announced that their hero training for that afternoon was going to supervised by not only All Might, but himself, and another teacher. That information had made the students sit straight up, suddenly intrigued by how many teachers were going to be around. That meant that they were going to be doing something that would be dangerous.

At least, that's how it seemed.

In reality, it was rescue training. Instead of fighting or cleaning up, they were going to learning how to properly take care of others and get them out of the path of destruction by whatever means necessary. After all, if you wanted to be a hero than you needed to learn the ropes from every angle that you could reach. A lot of heroes specialized in different branches of hero work, but they all had training that gave them the concrete information to work with whatever they needed to take care of.

Certain heroes are better suited for one thing instead of another, but that wasn't a free card not to learn how to do what you weren't specialized in.

While everyone began to chatter about what they were going to do, Aizawa sighed. They would be taking a bus to the other side of the campus grounds as it was too far to simply walk. This time they had the choice to wear their gear or not, Misaki decided to grab hers because there was nothing about her sleek design that would get in her way. Her foresight for this had been clear in how she told them to model her uniform. She was going to specialize in combat and rescue. She was quick to remove people from harm's way but she could also take out people before they even knew what hit them.

Shooting Star had been a rescue heroine.

Misaki wanted to be just like her Grandma and at the same time, she wanted to be better and more capable of tasks. Today was her chance to figure out if she could start to do that.


It was a short bus ride that only took about ten minutes once the students were loaded up and in their seats. They were taken to a huge dome of a building that had all kinds of areas inside, there were sectors for the land, sea, sky, and anything else that you could think of. They were modeled very carefully and in such a way to replicate what it could be like on the outside. It had been carefully created by the space hero, Thirteen, to help students learn the ropes about disasters and rescuing others. U.A. had done differently before its creation to teach the students what they could, but it was easier done in this location now.

Thirteen and Aizawa had a short conversation between the two of them as the students took in the sights and sounds.

Misaki noticed that Thirteen flashed the number three with their hand, quietly, and Aizawa pressed a hand to his temple and sighed. Perhaps it had to do with the lateness of All Might, maybe he was going to be late by thirty minutes or something. He was the biggest hero in the world, after all, just because he was teaching didn't mean it would stop him from going out and helping others.

When Thirteen returned their attention to the rest of the class, Aizawa took the time to explain to her what they would be doing today. It was obvious what they were doing but they had to follow a certain set of rules to make sure that it went the way that it was supposed to.

Misaki didn't mind that. She quite enjoyed talking to her teacher even though he could leave her high and dry. "Here I thought you were going to leave me out of the loop, sensei."

"It's my job to make sure that you learn something, Hisakawa. You're one that needs to be on your toes to catch up with the others. I get the pleasure of relaying to you what you need to know." The look that flashed in Aizawa's eyes was without humor, but his surly tone was increasingly obvious to Misaki these days. "This is about learning how to use your quirk. Thirteen's quirk can be destructive. He uses it otherwise because he wanted to help others. Learn how to use your quirk to benefit others. You already have displayed the ability to do so. Prove that you can do it here."

"Do not do what Midoriya does. Got it." Misaki nodded her head with a grin.

The look on Aizawa's face didn't confirm or deny that. He seemed to know what she was referring to, however. That green-haired boy was still learning how to use his quirk without hurting himself, and how he could stand to help others when he couldn't even help himself was going to be... quite the show. "Yeah. This training will not be easy for some of your classmates. The point of this is to use your quirk without causing damage. Don't forget that."

"Yes, sir!"

Aizawa turned his attention back to the rest of the class as Thirteen finished up their speech. But, he stopped mid-sentence, and his body stiffened right after that. He seemed to feel something that the student didn't. It was a sinking feeling that was written all over his face and the rest of the class started to feel it when a giant swirl of darkness began to emerge in the center of the room. Whatever that was didn't seem like something that they should even consider messing with, Aizawa turned his back to his students and tugged his goggles over his eyes.

He ordered the class to stay back and to stay together.

Nobody knew what they were... but it became obvious when Aizawa got serious.

It was villains. There were villains inside of U.A. for the first time in its history. It was unprecedented by anything else that had ever happened at this school; This was supposed to be a haven for students and teachers to learn without villains around. They were the reason the alarm was triggered and they just used the media as a front to hide their plans. It had all been a ruse for them. It didn't seem possible but now there were dozens of villains coming out of the portal and spreading out all over the place. It wasn't clear what they wanted at first, just that they were here to make a point with all of them.

They were here for... All Might.

Misaki could see the others talking about it. But, All Might wasn't here... and only they were. That seemed to bring a wicked stance to the one in the middle of all the villains, their boss. She didn't need to hear him to know that the man wanted them dead. They had come for one thing and without that, they were going to do whatever they could to get what they wanted.

Why they had come here wasn't clear besides that one want. The system wasn't alerting anyone now. If it would have been then there wouldn't be any worry on Aizawa's face at that moment in time. It must have been destroyed when they snuck in and bided their time, waiting for the students and teachers to arrive.

Were they just here, or were they all over the campus?

Todoroki agreed with her sentiment as he asked the very same thing. These guys might not have been complete idiots to come to a school for heroes, because they had seemingly taken their time to block off what they wanted to get All Might. Aizawa told Thirteen to get the kids out of there as quickly as possible, and if Kaminari could do it, to contact the heroes at the main campus. But it was no use, Kaminari couldn't make contact with the others and the class was too stunned to move yet.

Nobody wanted to leave Aizawa alone.

But, they had to do it.

Midoriya hesitated, he was the last to start to run, looking after their teacher before he jumped into the fray and began to fight the villains on his own. He was quick, skilled, and took down everyone that came in his path. It wasn't good to be a one-trick-pony. When things were bad and you were the only one on the scene, you had to be ready to take action.

Before they could reach the door, the darkness that had cloaked the scene blocked their path. Misaki stared up at the darkness and took note of the face that appeared within it. This was the use of someone's quirk, and it was being used by a skilled villain that was dripping in killer intent. His intentions were pure sadistic, and that sense of foreboding ran down her spine faster than she could raise her hand to activate her quirk. She swallowed hard, fighting her own body to try and fight back.

She could have opened the door and moved most of the class out if she wasn't trembling!

This wasn't a time to hesitate!

Her body wouldn't listen!

They were trapped.

Other students didn't seem to stop or fear the threat. Bakugou paid no mind to whatever warning the villain gave to the class, he only glared him down and cocked his explosives. Kirishima Ejirou had no fear as well, he activated his quirk, and then the two of them rushed forward to launch a counter-attack on the villain in spite of the warning from Thirteen.

It seemed as though they would be able to land a hit on him, but, they missed entirely thanks to the use of this guy's quirk moving him out of the way.

He retaliated and there was no time to react this time.

Kirishima and Bakugou were pulled into the warp, and then more swarms of darkness began to overtake the class. Everyone tried to stay close together but they were ripped apart by the wind and half of their numbers were sucked into the darkness while an unknown number were left behind. Misaki tried her best to keep her feet on the ground and not be pulled to where ever the others were taken, but even she was not strong enough to fight this kind of quirk head-on.

Not when she couldn't even activate her quirk to rescue others.

The sheer terror of the entire situation was too much for her to handle, she sucked in a breath and tried to hold on to herself but then the darkness enveloped her and she lost consciousness in a freefall back to the Earth below here.


AUTHOR'S NOTE.

It took a while for me to sit down and pen the next chapter but here we are! It needed some touching up before I got to a point where I liked where I was heading with this. Thanks for all the response, everyone. You guys talking to me or simply favoriting or following the story really make me want to keep writing what I do.

Chapter Text

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)

Chapter Six

Guts


When Misaki regained consciousness she was laying on the ground with her face in the gravel.

Wait, gravel? Why was she laying in the dirt?

She felt sore and every part of her body ached all over but when it hit her that she was someplace different and strange she shot up like a bat out of hell and looked at her surroundings on pure instinct from the adrenaline running through her veins. She didn't recognize the area in the slightest but when she looked overhead she realized that she was still within the walls of USJ. That warp villain had scattered all of the students around the building to dwindle their numbers and make it much easier to pick them off one by one.

However, that meant that their numbers were well enough in the dozens if they could cover each of the specific zones of USJ. If they had a good amount of members with them that their levels could be varied. The bosses tended to stay in one area while weaker members would span out to do the dirty work the boss didn't want. They might have been weaker but that didn't mean that students could handle the threat.

She needed to be on her guard. Even if the villains that were scattered around the building were petty thugs and the real threat was waiting in the middle of the dome, it didn't mean that any of them could take it easy. Speaking of villains that would be waiting in the area, she could feel the thudded vibration of footsteps against the ground. Misaki sucked in a breath and steadied herself.

Oh, hell no!

She wasn't about to let herself hesitate again. It was against the rules to fight back against villains but there was no way to tell the school that they were being attacked and until All Might or someone else showed up, they were going to have to do what they could to survive.

If you want to be a hero and rescue those in need, you have to be ready to kick some butt along the way if the situation calls for it. Her grandmother's words came to her in a moment of need.

In a split second, she was surrounded by three thugs from all sides. They seemed rather amused that she looked like she was ready to fight; she could see the whisp of a warning on the lips of one of the villains. If she played along then she wouldn't get hurt, that's what they were saying. Rather than take stock in that idea, her lips curled into a wicked grin. She raised her hand and flipped it over her shoulder in a quick motion that froze time faster than they could react to it.

Misaki was fast as she could be. She rushed forward and hit them before they knew what was coming, and as she flickered time back on, the trio was confused and laying on the ground as she was long away from them.

The particular zone that she had wound up in was the landslide zone and she took stock of the area as she headed in the direction that she thought she could find the exit to it. There were plenty of rocks and sharp hills of gravel in the dirt that gave some points higher elevation and other points had a lower elevation. Just as she scaling what she assumed was the last hill, she felt the familiar chill of ice run down her spine.

Todoroki, it's just Todoroki! She wanted to sigh in relief and realization.

He had a group of villains much larger than the ones that she had faced in front of himself and they were all frozen to the brim with just the upper part of their torso unfrozen so they would be able to talk. He was trying to interrogate them about what they were doing, and he was in the perfect position to do that with the help of his quirk. Their bodies would be subject to the coldest temperatures for so long and if they didn't give in to his quirk then they would be proxy to hypothermia.

Misaki slid down from the top of the hill and landed not too far from the scene. Todoroki made eye contact with her momentarily and then returned to his interrogation. The shivering villain was chattering and finally, he gave in and admitted all that he knew once Todoroki warned him that if he didn't listen then the frostbite would take his limbs.

"They just wanted us to get rid of you kids while they took care of All Might out there! All I know is that they have this creature with them called a Nomu. It's stronger than anything else we've ever seen before! It's even stronger than All Might is! They're going to use that monster to fight and ultimately kill All Might."

Something stronger than All Might? It didn't seem humanly possible. Todoroki and Misaki left the villains chilling on ice after all the information was pulled out of the thugs. It was unsettling to think that these guys wanted to kill their teacher and that they had something capable of it. So, not only did they have to worry about these petty villains they had to think about the beast that was waiting in the middle of USJ. At least that information would be useful for the pro heroes if they arrived.

They weren't out of the fray yet, however.

Todoroki seemed to notice it before she did. His hand lifted to his side and slicked the ground behind them as he pushed Misaki out of the way, a villain skidded out on the ice and fell, unable to get back up. However, that was the first villain of a dozen that had been waiting for them at the front of the landslide zone-

so, Misaki grabbed Todoroki's shoulder without thinking and activated her quirk.

Time slowed down to a fever pitch and it surprised her how Todoroki had been unaffected her quirk and pulled into the time slip with her!

Much to her startling surprise, Todoroki wasn't frozen like the rest of the thugs had been. She looked at him and then at her hands in amazement, and then shook her head, unable to process this new adaption to her quirk. Without letting her confusion cloud her mind, she directed Todoroki to isolate the remaining villains in ice and then she released her quirk before the side effect hit her hard.

Her headset was vibrating against the back of her skull hard when time resumed. It was warning her that she had stayed too long in the slip and that the symptoms would be hitting her soon. Breathing hard, she sank to her knees to try and catch her breath. Her vision was a little cloudy and the world was spinning just so. If Misaki used her quirk beyond her time limit of fifteen seconds, she would feel extreme vertigo. It would be nearly impossible to stand up or walk around, and nausea would become overwhelming.

They had only been under the effect of her quirk for around eight seconds but it felt as though that time had been doubled because of another person using the quirk's power. It took a few minutes of waiting for it to subside. When she came to, Todoroki was puzzled by her quirk. She could only offer him a shrug and a weak look that simply said, "I haven't done that before."

It wasn't impossible for this to happen because she vaguely remembered that her grandmother could do that but she had never been able to do that herself before. She pursed her lips. Quirks could grow and adapt in stressful situations, as well as being able to grow stronger through training and practice. It just so happened that this power manifested now of all times. She had been able to touch plenty of people on the arm or shoulder and save them from danger while using her quirk but she had never been touching someone before she activated her quirk.

Odd.

Misaki had had the foresight to bring along her phone with her just in case she needed to chat with one of her classmates during the exercise, and she remembered that it might be possible to get a text out if the signal was up and running again, but that realization did nothing since the signal was still jammed.

She pressed a palm to her forehead.

The signal is still jammed. She typed out before showing it to Todoroki. I tried to get something out just in case anyone manages to find the villain blocking the signal.

He nodded his head. It had been worth a shot.

Misaki figured she could also tell him about her quirk as well. Thanks for not freaking out back there, by the way. I've never been able to use my quirk on someone and pull them into its effect with me before. We made a pretty solid team there for a minute. We'll have to try that again sometime.

Todoroki didn't react to that in a way that was positive or negative. He simply indicated that he understood. He had been perplexed by her power since she had been able to beat him, and knowing that he had been under its effect had probably got him thinking about how much she could and couldn't do. But, they had bigger fish to fry. The two of them kept moving towards the center of the building and sooner rather than later they exited the landslide zone and found themselves on the familiar concrete path of the USJ.

You want to head towards the center, don't you? She asked him.

His look confirmed that.

They took a look at the scene and tried to make out as much as they could from their vantage point. From the front of the building where some of the class remained, it seemed as though Thirteen was down and everyone that was left was cornered by the warp villain and unable to make a move without fear of worse becoming of them. Then, throughout the building, it was obvious that makeshift battles were going on. Whoever had been scattered like she and Todoroki were fighting back.

They had no choice but to do that.

In the center of the room, there was a beast of a monster lying in wait with the boss villain. Her stomach dropped when she saw the blood pooling on the ground underneath the villain, and following it to where it started connected itself to Aizawa. She reached up and pressed a hand to lips to stifle the gasp that escaped. That villain had seriously injured their teacher and the extent of his wounds wasn't obvious but it looked bad- really bad. Misaki wasn't even sure if he was moving anymore.

Todoroki shot her a concerned look but Misaki shook her head to indicate that she was fine.

What was worse was that Aizawa wasn't the only one in the center ring. Midoriya was out there with who she assumed was Asui, and the villain had shifted his attention from their teacher onto the students.

Both she and Todoroki seemed to come to the same conclusion. The smart thing would have been to run back to the entrance or hide until the pros showed up but they couldn't afford to do that when their classmates were in danger and they could do something about it. They shared a look and understood what the other was thinking. If they ran fast enough they would be able to get there before something bad happened.

"I won't let them complete their plans to destroy everyone," Todoroki uttered.

"Right," she agreed.

It wasn't that far of a run but they had to get there as soon as possible. The trees that covered the walkways gave them enough cover to block them from the view of the villains, and that meant that they would be able to launch a surprise attack on them and at least get everyone out of there. Misaki would be able to use her quirk to give everyone a headstart as long as they could get there. Todoroki would be able to provide them a wall to block them from following them immediately.

It wasn't the best plan but it was what they had. Of course, it would have been alright if Bakugou and Kirishima hadn't run in from one of the side paths and met up with them. The grimace that was on the blond's face was evident when he realized that Todoroki and Misaki were on their way to launch a counter-attack when he had been thinking the same thing. Kirishima was a lot more kind then his new friend, the look on his face was apologetic and his worried grin was just alright.

They stopped for a moment to make sure that nobody had followed them or noticed them.

Bakugou's eye twitched. He looked down at Misaki with an annoyed scowl. "It's half and half, and the plum, fucking great. You two are just going to get in the way."

Misaki pressed her hands against her hips and leaned up to glare back at him. He had called her that stupid nickname again and now she wanted to give him a wallop for it. Misaki opened her mouth to say something back at him but Todoroki stopped her before she could engage him.

"This isn't the time for that," Todoroki told them.

"Sorry about him," Kirishima rubbed the back of his head. "Chill out, Bakugou. Numbers can mean everything when we don't know anything about these villains."

Todoroki informed them of the intel that they had learned as the group of students took off running in the direction of the main villains. It wasn't like they had much else to go on. Every little thing that they could learn would make a difference. "That thing that they have with them is supposed to be stronger than All Might apparently."

Bakugou wasn't having that. "Stronger than All Might, huh? I fucking doubt that. I'm going to destroy these bastards."

Up ahead of them in the center of the fray, a blurry blob flew overhead of the group and launched itself towards the so-called Nomu. Midoriya had tried to fight back and someone had swooped in before things could get ugly. It was All Might, and he tangled with the beast for a moment before it had him on his toes. The legend was knocked back and had the claws of this foe dig into the skin of his ribcage. With the number one hero on his toes and in the need of a hand, the quartet launched in the fray.

Bakugou went straight for the warp villain with one of his calculated blasts and knocked the man on the ground, while Kirishima took his opportunity to run at the boss villain but missed his window. Todoroki used his ice to freeze the lower half of the Nomu so it wouldn't be able to move further and cause any more harm to the hero.

While the boys took care of the threat, Misaki took it upon herself to make sure that the others were alright. Midoriya was staring in awe at his classmates in shock and a bit of awe as they held their own for a moment. Misaki offered him her hand and a worried look, mouthing to ask him if he was alright and not harmed. He nodded his head but then he looked over at All Might was still in a bit of danger.

He was worried.

But, Misaki had faith in their classmates even if some of them were less than friendly. The warp villain would be unable to use his ability as long as Bakugou had ahold onto his physical body. If he took one step out of dodge then he was going to be burned. The blond was taunting him and warned him that if he made one slip up that he would "blow them to kingdom come."

Suddenly, however, the Nomu broke free of Todoroki's ice quirk and began to build up muscle mass in the blink of an eye. He was knocked back just a bit by the hero but it wasn't much.

The smoke and steam that was coming from the Nomu was unbelievable. Every injury that had been inflicted on it was starting to simply disappear as if it had never even been there. That was well beyond the power that a human could have. Even those with healing quirks had drawbacks and that didn't account for the building strength that had started right after that.

All Might held his ground to block once he was free from the Nomu but now he was refusing to budge to keep it from reaching any of the students around him. While everyone was staring at the beast, it made an opening and with one flick of his hand, the boss directed Nomu in the direction of Bakugou to get back their escape route. Midoriya was frozen in shock until he noticed the girl beside him reaching up with her hand and then suddenly, smoke covered the entire battlefield and he couldn't see anything.

When the smoke cleared Bakugou was out of the line of fire and Misaki had unceremoniously landed on the ground beside him.

"Kacchan, you dodged that?" Midoriya blurted out, staring at the sight in surprise.

The look on Bakugou's face was not happy but he was surprised that he had been moved out of the way. He knew that Hisakawa had gone out of her way to move him out of the path of danger once again. But it seemed as though she had overused her quirk to rescue him and knocked herself out stupid because of it. He took one look at the unconscious purple blob next to him, and grit his teeth. "No, the fucking plum decided to move me with her quirk! The fuck do you think happened?!"

The earth all around them was shaking from another impact, as the rest of the smoke settled, all eyes landed on the sight of a cracked wall where All Might had punched the Nomu into. Misaki might have gotten him out of the way in time but All Might hadn't known that she could do that; He had taken the blow that the Nomu had intended to give Bakugou.

Shigaraki chuckled at the sight. "Anything to save a comrade, huh? You heroes are all the same and look where it gets you. Bent and broken, and for what? You gain nothing. Even worse than that, your solution is to fight. Just like earlier when that plain-looking one tried to help you, he gave me everything that he had, all of his hatred. Oh, but violence in the name of justice is admirable, isn't it, hero? You know what, All Might? That pisses me off! Heroes and villains thrive on violence, but we're still categorized. You're good, you're evil. That's how it is!"

All Might laughed that statement off. He taunted him and his words, "Symbol of peace? Hah! In the end, you're just a tool for violence, made to keep us down! Violence only breeds more violence. I'll show the world that by killing you! What a load of hooey. Idealistic criminals have a different sort of sire in their eyes when they say that sort of thing and mean it." All Might responded the upward curl of his smile hard. "But you're just enjoying yourself, you big liar."

Shigaraki sneered at them from underneath his hand.

"It's three on five, you don't stand a chance," Todoroki told them, plainly.

"And Kacchan showed us exactly where that man's weak point is!" Midoriya said.

"These might be some brutal looking dudes but with us supporting All Might from the behind, we can beat them back!" Kirishima agreed and pressed his fists together hard.

All Might stood his ground but he turned his head to look back at the students. He didn't need them getting involved in something that they shouldn't have been, and it was better for them to retreat while they had the chance. "No! You kids need to get out of here."

"Things would have gotten worse if I hadn't stepped in," Todoroki said. He rolled his sleeves up and crossed his arms. He had a point.

Midoriya stared at him with a bit of unease. He couldn't just leave behind the hero when he was this hurt. "All Might, you're bleeding... and there's not much time..!"

"You're absolutely right, Todoroki, and I appreciate the help that you've all done," All Might interjected. "But fear not. Sit back and stay safe, you can watch a pro get serious!"

"Nomu. Kurogiri. Take him. I'll handle the kids." Shigaraki commanded the two before he started to push forward. "Let's clear the game and go home!"

"He's coming. Get ready, guys!" Kirishima held his ground, his eyes darting in the direction of his classmates.

"He's got shock absorption..." All Might's voice began to resound throughout the area as he charged forward with his fists blazing and ready to attack. "You already saw it yourself."

He began to punch the Nomu over and over again, the blasts from his punch rocked the building and everyone struggled to stand still. "It's absorption, not simply negation! So he must have a limit, no?! Built to counter me, you say?! Made to withstand everything I got?! Then I'll just go beyond that limit!" All Might kept going and going, it was a formidable display of his power to everyone around. The energy surged all around them and the students struggled to hold their ground and not fly off.

He was actually beating down this creation!

"A hero's always ready to smash through the trouble! That's what we do! Tell me, villain. Do you know the meaning of... Plus Ultra!" With one solid punch, the Nomu went flying through the air and crashed into the ceiling of the U.S.J. as it disappeared from their eyes completely.

The smoke began to settle down and All Might stood there, undefeated.

"Yep, I'm slowing down. In my heyday, five of those punches would've been enough." He held his fist up triumphantly. This battle had ended in favor of the true number hero of Japan. Now all that was left were the two villains that stood against him and after that use of his punches that had destroyed that Nomu and sent him flying far away, nobody doubted that he could take care of everything on his own. "But that was over three hundred hits just now."

"Well, villain." He looked at Shigaraki. "How about we hurry up and finish this? Well? Aren't you coming to get me?! What happened to clearing the game once and for all, villain? If you can take me on your own, then bring it on!"

Midoriya stared at All Might with a deer in the headlights expression, Kirishima was agasp, Todoroki was staring with surprise, and even Bakugou was reeling at his energy. Shigaraki stomped his foot in a familiar that rivaled a child's temper tantrum. He wasn't happy that his plan hadn't worked out, and he was pissed that his Nomu had been sent away.

However, it seemed as though the game was over for the villains in this case, and for that reason, the students turned their back to their teacher and knew that he could take care of the rest. Well, sans Midoriya. He stayed still as he watched All Might with a hint of unease under his belt. It was like he was worried about the hero for reasons that the others didn't know.

"Midoriya! We oughta just hang back for now. Rush in and they might take you hostage or something." Kirishima advised.

"He's right. We're not ready for this level yet." Todoroki said.

Meanwhile, Bakugou was weighing his options between shaking Misaki back into consciousness or demanding one of those other idiots drag her ass back to the front of the building instead. On the one hand, he was irritated that she had gone and done the damn thing that he told her three times already to not do. She went and used her quirk to save to him. On the other hand, she had done it to allow All Might the chance to beat down that villain.

If she hadn't done that All Might would have had to save him and then shakedown that thing.

It didn't make him any fucking happier to know that he had been a liability. Whatever. He was fuming but he would deal those thoughts later when he could take it out on something.

He sucked in a breath and decided to shake her shoulders. It wasn't like he could scream at her until she woke up. Plum never fucking reacted to any sound at all, no matter how loud he was or no matter what was happening. It meant that she was one hundred deaf compared to people that partial or only a small percent of hearing loss.

"Wake the fuck up," he muttered.

Her eyelids snapped open and she whipped her head up, nearly hitting him in the process but Bakugou had the foresight to step back before she could. She glanced at him and then herself, and then she realized what had happened all within fifteen seconds. Her cheeks began to burn hot in embarrassment.

"You can fucking thank me later for not leaving you behind, plum," he scowled and then headed in the direction of the other boys.

Misaki pushed herself off of the ground and took note of the scene. All Might had managed to make a dent in the villains. That Nomu was nowhere to be seen and he had the other villains cornered and on the ropes; She wasn't surprised that the man had been able to turn the tides so fast. At least she had saved him the trouble of dealing with Bakugou.

She caught up with Todoroki and Kirishima who were staring at Midoriya who had hesitated to walk away from his original spot. Both Kirishima and Todoroki shot her a concerned a glance and she smiled back at him to reassure him of her status. Her body had just caught up from her after she overused her quirk. If she hadn't had used it that quickly than it would've been alright.

Midoriya didn't turn to listen to whatever the boys had told him.

Instead, the instant that the villain began to charge at All Might with his hands extended, Midoriya sprang into action with his fist held high and body launching through the air.

Misaki braced herself for whatever was to come but her body stiffened when bullets began to rain through the rain.

The villain had been hit.

All eyes in the room turned to see that every single one of the teachers and even the principal had arrived with Tenya Iida. There was no choice from that point; the villains that could escape got out of dodge right at that second and the ones that weren't fast enough to catch up were left behind to be caught.

From that moment, the rest of the afternoon was a blur for the students, with the eyes of the world all on U.A. and the villains that had dared to attack in a time of peace and prosperity.

And all Misaki could think about was what would this mean for the future.


AUTHOR'S NOTE.

Surprise! Back to back updates! I'll let you know that I meant to put this out yesterday with the other chapter but it needed a little more fine-tuning before I posted it. I'm glad to see you guys liking the story so far. Keep your reviews coming, questions or anything that you want to say are the reason that I keep writing! 

Chapter Text

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)

Chapter Seven

Why Worry


"I'm sorry I was late." was all Misaki could say when she opened the front door and stared at her family.

Atsuko and Ichiru both pulled Misaki into a tight hug the minute that she got home from school. The two of them had seen it all happen on the news and nobody could get through to find out about which students were involved until the end; So, knowing that Misaki was safe and sound at last was a relief to both of her family members. She settled into their grasp and let the stress wash away.

It must have been nervewracking to be stuck without any answers to the whereabouts of the students, hours on end without knowing if they were injured or not. Neither Atsuko nor Ichiru had ever dealt with a close call like this. Misaki hated to put them with that worry but it wasn't her fault.

"We're just glad you are alright, Misa!" Atsuko said.

Ichiru nodded in agreement. "I was this close to coming to get you myself. But I trusted the Pros to make sure of your safety and they did it."

"Yeah. They did what they could for us. Recovery Girl is going to help the teachers who got hurt." Misaki looked away for a moment. Yeah, the teachers had done everything that they could and it landed them in the hospital. She thought back to the pained states of both Aizawa and Thirteen and grimaced. Recovery Girl would do her best to help them, but her quirk went so far, and a lot of the healing would still take a number of days for the normal person. That might be shortened a bit for a Pro but barely.

"That is great news, then there's nothing to worry about," Atsuko said. "These villains will regret choosing to bother the school soon enough. But, that is something that the Pros will handle. You kids are alright."

Recovery Girl was an old acquaintance of hers, so the old woman had no doubt in her capable healing ability to take care of anyone that had been hurt in any capacity, and she had faith in everyone that was still involved out in the field. They had been doing everything that they could to ensure that the public and the kids were alright.

Ichiru was a little less sure of his feelings about the situation but he knew that if his mother had faith in everyone than he should believe in them just as much as she did. On his end, there was only so much that he could do with the police. He was dealing with his own monster of a situation, whispers and whispers of attacks on heroes were growing stronger and he was doing what he could to suppress it. Coming home after a long shift to find out that his daughter and her class were stuck someplace with so many villains at once had kind of pushed him on edge.

"We'll have plenty of eyes on the school as the situation cools down, too," Ichiru added. "It's just a matter of time until things blow over and go back to normal, Misa."

They meant well in telling Misaki these things. They wanted her to know that it would be alright sooner or later. Villains would always be taken down by the good guys, that was just the way of the world. All of the students had been taken back to their houses or the train station after the incident to make sure that nothing else went wrong, and by the time Misaki got back all she could think about was going to bed and not waking up. After reassuring both of them that she was alright and there nothing to worry about, she just wanted to close her eyes.

"I'm really exhausted. I'm gonna go to bed early tonight."

She loved her family, she really did, she was just exhausted.

Both Mari and Mei had texted her because they were worried about what had happened. She got back to both of them as soon as she could. Mei was relieved to hear her favorite text subject was okay and even though Mari had been quiet lately in regards to responding to her, her best friend was crying and so happy she was safe and sound. Hearing from Mari... It made the evening almost alright in comparison to the troubles that had occurred during the day. She hoped that that meant that they would start talking once again.

Mei: My baby benefited you during the fight, right?

Misaki: Thanks for asking how I am. I'm alright, Hatsume.

Misaki: Yes. The headset helped me a lot. Although, there are a few things that manifested with my quirk that I need to tell you about later. I might need some

Misaki: You know.

Mei: UPGRADES? I read your mind! I'm going to work on some sketches! I've had a lot of ideas but I haven't been able to discuss them with you properly!

Misaki: Let's chat over lunch, okay?

Misaki shook her head at her friend. Hatsume dealt with situations by throwing herself deeper into her work. It just was her way of dealing with things that had too many emotions to go through. She was the opposite to Mari who dealt with everything on the surface, it seemed to be the blessing of her quirk, crybaby tears. Mari was able to shoot torrents of water from her eyes as long as she was properly hydrated, however, she had to make herself become emotional to make it work right... and she had to be properly hydrated, of course!

It had come in handy a lot in the past but Mari's setbacks were... frustrating for her to deal with.

It was why Misaki assumed that Mari wasn't speaking to her that much anymore. She feared that her friend didn't get into U.A. after all, and the emotional distraught left her not wanting to put a damper onto Misaki's feelings. She really hoped that that wasn't the case. If her best friend was upset for whatever reason she wanted to be there for her and help her through it.

Mari: I was really worried about you, Misa.

Misaki: I'm alright. There's no need to worry about me. I really didn't do a lot just some minor fighting in self-defense.

Mari: Still! I was worried that you might've gotten really hurt out there. I mean, villains on campus? That's terrifying.

Misaki: The Pros made sure it was okay, honestly.

Mari: Yeah. I know we wanted to be heroes but this is a little too early to be fighting villains.

Misaki: Just a little advanced study. It would be have been over a lot faster if you had been there.

Mari: ...Yeah.

Misaki: Do... do you wanna talk about that?

Mari: It's complicated, Misa.

Misaki: I miss you, Mari.

Mari: I miss you too, but... I don't wanna put a damper on anything. Just give a little more time, okay?

Misaki: Too much longer and I'll have to storm your door, alright?

Mari: You know Inari would let you in before you even got past two knocks.

Misaki: That's what's great about your little brother!

Mari:  That's what you think.

Some things may be changing but hopefully, the old order of things could return if only by a little bit.

But, with that thought in the back of her head, she decided it was best to go to sleep and cool off. When her head hit her pillow she immediately fell into a deep slumber. The entire school was off for a day because of the incident. They had to repair the school and make sure the defenses were up to par and how they needed to be. It would reassure the public of how protected the school could be; However, all of the students were shaken up about the attack. Some more than others and some less than others.

Misaki fell somewhere in the middle. She wasn't terrified and she wasn't comfortable just somewhere in the middle of the two. It was strange to think that villains out there were becoming stronger and more daring. This was a time of relative peace and harmony. Sure, there was crime and disrepair, however, it was significantly less than it had been since the emergence of quirks.

Why now would someone go out of their way to cause trouble?

Well, she couldn't get answers just worrying about it.

She got the next morning and went through her usual routine. Most of her body was aching and sore from running on adrenaline for a few hours, but it wasn't as bad as it had been when her body had caved from quirk overuse. She hadn't even realized that she had blacked out until Bakugou had jostled her awake once again. All she knew at that moment was that someone needed to save him and get him out of the way and she was the only one with a quirk fast enough to do it.

There wasn't any thought of anything else.

It had been just like the first time that she acted impulsively to help him. Of course, this time she knew that he was going to be angry and just a pensive as he had been the first time. At the very least, he hadn't gone and blown a gasket in the middle of a scene, and she was thankful for that fact. It didn't look really professional to get into squabbles in front of Pros, much less in front of actual villains.

That would be... well, something.

Misaki shook her head and tried to push Bakugou Katsuki to the back of her mind to focus on something else. Like, the next text messages that were sitting in her inbox now. She got out of bed and grabbed her phone to go through it and see what the commotion was. Upon further inspection, she noted that she had been added to a group chat with the rest of the girls from her class. She wondered how they got her number then she remembered that she had exchanged it with Uraraka and that would likely how they got ahold of her phone.

Misaki: Um, hey girls. I didn't realize we'd get a group chat so fast.

Uraraka: Mina mentioned it to Yaoyorozu and it sort of exploded from there.

Yaoyorozu: It seemed practical to have everyone together in a fashion like this. I couldn't say no.

Ashido: Girls gotta stick together, after all! There's only seven of us in this class and we gotta have each other's backs out there! :D

Hagakure: I agree! It's nice to just have space for us girls to hang out!

Yaoyorozu: Iida will wind up creating a chat for the entire class once he hears about this, though.

Jirou: That's alright. It does make sense for everyone to be able to get in touch since we'll be doing a lot more out in the fields sooner or later.

Asui: But this'll be girls only.

Ashido: GIRL POWER! YEAH!

Misaki: No complaints from me. The less I have to deal with a certain somebody the better I will feel.

Misaki: And this is the easiest way for me to communicate with everyone without having to worry about reading your lips.

Uraraka: Yeah. Sorry I accidentally called you the other day. I forgot.

Misaki: It's alright. It happens sometimes. I know you meant well.

Uraraka: Why did you start quoting lyrics back at me though? I was so confused.

Misaki: Oh whenever somebody calls me I always answer with something different. It isn't against the person specifically I just like messing with people a bit. Sometimes I recite movie scripts or I talk about the weather in some other country or sometimes I even start asking ridiculous questions, it depends on my mood.

Jirou: You recited lyrics back at her? How do you enjoy the music... if you can't hear it, Hisakawa?

Ashido: That's a little rude to ask, don't you know?

Misaki: I don't see it that way. I'm kind of used to questions like that, Mina.

Misaki: Think of it like when you read poetry from a book and you go off of what you have in front of you. I can appreciate a master lyricist through their writing just as much as you may enjoy the sound.

Jirou: I see.

Jirou: We'll have to discuss your favorite bands soon, then. I'm curious.

Misaki: Of course!

Misaki: If anyone is curious about something just ask - I won't be offended. Since we're training together it's right we learn from each other and boost each other up! That's friendship and camaraderie at its finest!

Yaoyorozu: Adequately put, Hisakawa. From here on out we're aiming to be the top heroes. We'll be together for some time. That would be best.

Ashido: How is everyone today anyway? Yesterday was so intense and I'm kind of stir crazy at home!

Jirou: Just listening to some music and trying to relax today, that's my plan for the whole afternoon. We don't get days off that often.

Yaoyorozu: I've been studying somethings while enjoying my afternoon tea. I feel its best to be productive in my downtime.

Hakagure: I can't get passed all the reports on TV today. I've been glued to the TV! Our class has been all over the news too! I saw myself and got so flustered knowing so many people saw!

Misaki: I didn't consider that, Hakagure. I didn't even glance at the television when I got home to see that. Oh boy, that's embarrassing.

Asui: Speaking of that, Ochako, have you heard anything from Midoriya?

Uraraka: He's resting today. Recovery Girl took care of him, so he isn't totally available on his phone, unfortunately.

Misaki: Uraraka wouldn't be here if he wasn't resting, you know she would be texting him nonstop.

Uraraka: Misa!

Asui: She's right, ribbit.

Ashido: Totally right Misaki!

Uraraka: Not you too, Mina! Tsu!

Yaoyorozu: It's sort of obvious. No offense, Uraraka.

Misaki: Girl squad solidarity means -

Ashido: We won't tell.

Ashido: That's like, the first rule of the girl squad. Don't reveal who your friend is crushing on! LOL

Misaki: Exactly! Mina knows what's up.

Misaki: Group hug?

Ashido: Group hug!

Uraraka: I don't know if I like your new alliance here.

Asui: They mean well, ribbit.

Hakagure: It seems fun! I want in too! Group hug! ( ^?^)

Jirou: Don't touch me, man.

Ashido: It's okay we'll hug with our eyes instead!

Yaoyorozu: That's impossible.

Yaoyorozu: Unless you mean to say it as a metaphor.

Ashido has renamed the group chat title from "Class 1A Girls" to "Girl Squad 1A."


The school was seemingly back to the way that it was before the attack happened.

They worked really fast, and upgrades had been made or were in the process of, therefore. It was like nothing had happened even though it had. Misaki walked through the gates of the school that morning without a worry in her heart. Her classmates were back to normal as well, with everyone back in their seats and conversing about this or that. Unfortunately, she did meet Bakugou's gaze when she entered and she promptly turned her nose up at him. His eyes would probably twitch but she would ignore him as she usually did.

Bakugou didn't ever say anything else to her after he had made sure that she wasn't left behind. Nor had he really thanked her for saving him again, for what was the second time since they had known one another. Misaki wasn't expecting anything from. He was far too prideful to ever thank anyone for something like that, she just wished that he wouldn't be so cocky about everything. It made her want to wipe the smug look from his face, and at the same time, it made her wonder why the hell he was like that.

Nobody had ever made her feel that way before and she just didn't understand why.

So, she tried to ignore him. That probably wouldn't last for many long knowing how easy his hairpin trigger was how fast she was to curse him out behind his back, but for today! She managed to avoid that outcome.

It was really just another ordinary day for them, and as she took her seat, she nodded in Todoroki's direction as a greeting to which he returned.

The strange camaraderie that they had now wasn't perfect but she was in better circumstances with him than most of the others in the class. It was perhaps because she had been really the only one to brave her chances and approach him. He wasn't all that indifferent and the quiet company that they could keep was nice. It was obvious that he appreciated the fact that he didn't have to converse with someone just because they were in his presence. The peace and quiet was obviously his preference. His surly attitude was nothing compared to that fiery blond that sat across the room from herself.

Of all the boys in the class to deal with, she would choose Todoroki over Bakugou at the moment. At least when she was with Todoroki she didn't feel the need to be on edge and ready for a fight.

Her attention was back on the front of the room when Aizawa appeared in the doorway looking like a mummified man. He was acting as he usually did, and it was like business as usual. He should have been resting somewhere else for the sake of his recovery and he had decided to come to class anyway, Recovery Girl was usually on top of making people stay in bed when their condition was that bad. Aizawa must have had some kind of reasoning or he just talked her into the ground about it.

Everyone just was staring at him.

His excuse was: "My welfare is not important. This fight is not over."

As commotion built amongst the students with possible questions and answers to what that statement meant, he cut them all down by answering it for them not even a moment later.

"Because U.A.'s sports festival is approaching!"

Misaki stared at him. Her expression fell flat as she and the rest of the class shook their heads in disbelief at him. U.A.'s sports festival was an important event for a lot of people, and it wasn't just the students that it meant a lot to. It was broadcasted on television as well as filled to the brim in packed arenas to watch the students face off against each other in different types of events. It was one of the ways that a student could be scouted by a hero organization, or how students in the support department could get deals, or how students could get moved from the general classes to the hero classes, and so on and so forth.

However, to have the event after such a devastating event seemed to be in poor taste. Could they even throw the event when people weren't sure of the safety of the teachers much less than students or guests that would be watching the festival?

Aizawa's reasoning came straight from the rest of the adults.

They wanted to show that U.A. could spring back from anything and that crisis situations could be handled with relative ease. There was going to be an excess of police presence and not only that, there would be a lot more Pros on the scene throughout the school grounds. This is a big opportunity for so many people and it couldn't be tossed away because of a few mediocre villains. This was, after all, the Olympics of the past had been long replaced by U.A.s sports festival.

The fact that they could be scouted by some of the top named Pros in the middle of all of this was exciting. Now that, was something that everyone could get behind. This was too much to miss and it only happened once a year, so, they would have to make do with this information and prepare accordingly. With everyone fired up and raring go, Misaki liked the shift in energy. Now they had something they could all work towards and focus on in the midst of the other worries that had sprung up.

Sports festival, huh? She thought. I wonder how they're going to run this year... it always ends in a battle royale type of event. That means we'll probably wind up fighting each other in battles. I suppose I'll have to think about counters for everyone that I know. It would be interesting to face off against people that she didn't even know yet and it would be even more intriguing to face off against the others that she had just started to learn more about. There was no doubt in her mind that the next week was going to be a very long one.


"Good to see you again, Misa!"

"You look like you have been living in this classroom."

"If Powerloader would let me do that then you know I would. I still have to go home every day."

"A break is a good thing, you know?"

"Never heard of her."

That response prompted Misaki to shake her head and sigh.

Mei was... for the lack of a better word, covered in a healthy amount of ash and grease. It was uncommon to find her in a state of disrepair, actually, it seemed to be her default state. For as long as Misaki had known her, she knew that if you wanted to find Hatsume Mei, the best way to do it would be by looking for nuts and bolts and dirt on the floor. Sooner or later you would find a frazzled Hatsume at the end of the trail with a wild grin on her face and an enthusiastic thrust of her arm.

You couldn't get things right if you didn't get a little messy in the process. That was her saying!

Things hadn't really changed that much since they were in middle school.

The first time that she met Mei she had been being bullied by the students from one of the other classes. She had been unphased by the action, but Misaki could see that she was frustrated with it. It had been rather cruel just to bother someone because of their interests; The minute she caught a glimpse of it, Misaki sprung into action and helped Mei out by helping her carry her gadgets and papers out of the building and back to her house. Mei talked of being able to create anything if she put her mind to it, and Misaki took her up on that by helping her test some of those gadgets.

She had never really had a test subject before, so the fact that someone wanted to help her out meant a lot. A lot of crazy hijinks ensued during those years thanks to mishaps. Mari wound up getting dragged into that mess not that long after she started, and although she and Mei tended to butt heads every now and again, those two were just as good friends as she and Mei were. Those times where the three of them were out in her backyard working on projects together were some of her fondest memories.

Misaki took her headset off from her ears and held it out to Mei to inspect. She then took her time to explain what had happened with her quirk, how she had been able to pull someone into the time slip just by grabbing onto them and activating her quirk, and how that accelerated the side effects of her quirk hitting her by half. She thought it might have been that if she held onto more than one person then it would have hit her even faster than it had by just using one person. However, she hadn't been able to induce the effects since that first incident.

The main components of this device were to help Misaki know when she was about to hit her limit. It was kind of a training device in that way, and because of it, Misaki had been able to length her time using her quirk bit by bit over the last few years. There were a few features that were in a beta stage, like, detecting opponents before they could approach her by setting off a certain type of vibration that was different from the one that alerted her to her time limit, and a few that Mei was keeping under wraps until she could figure out.

Mei pursed her lips. She handed it back to Misaki not long after she toyed with some of the settings, and Misaki returned the device back to its spot.

Her determined smile never left her face. "I'm going to work on designing the next model of this baby! It is getting a little outdated. I am thinking about changing up how we handle the sensors. You also need some limiters for your vertigo! I have been thinking of offset weights to help that issue out. Perhaps something with retention. Oh. I have so many ideas for this new and exciting baby that I can't stop thinking about it! I have been up most of the night playing with my plans! There are so many things that I can do and so many possibilities left untested! We are charting untapped waters! We are going to make something that will blow everyone out of the sea, Misaki! What do you think about that one?"

Misaki wasn't surprised by that change in attitude. Knowing that she had been awake that long meant that Hatsume probably forgot to get something to eat again and Misaki had planned for this happening. She tugged out a bento from her bag and thrust it into Mei's hands in response. "I am going to sit here until you finish that. Okay?"

Mei stared at Misaki and dropped her head, defeated.

There was no arguing with Misaki and winning!


On her way back to class after making sure that Hatsume ate everything that had been put in front of her, she ran into Todoroki who had been seemingly waiting for her, or somebody to come by. She paused to gestured to herself as if that was what he was waiting for and when he nodded his head, she couldn't help but wonder what was on his mind and what he wanted to talk about. Perhaps it was possible that he was thinking ahead about the festival and the best way to get to the top. It wasn't far from her mind, either, nor had it been far from the mind of her friends, as she had gotten an earful from Hatsume before she could get too far from the door about how great the advertising was going to be during the festival!

Maybe he wanted to hash out his battle plans? ...No, Todoroki didn't seem like the type to talk about that so openly with anyone. So, as she tried to discern what he was going to ask she was surprised by what he actually said on his phone: Midoriya. What do you think of his quirk?

Midoriya, huh?

Well, she had seen the golden trio of Uraraka, Iida, and Midoriya head off for lunch together but they had been stopped by All Might who had seemed to be interested in Midoriya. Now that she thought about it, All Might seemed to spend a lot more time with him than the rest of the other students, and Midoriya seemed to have some kind of connection to him that didn't exactly fit like the other students. Like, how he had seemed to rush into the fray with the villains the other day like he knew something that they didn't know.

Well, Midoriya's quirk, if he ever learned how to control it, would make a top contender for the festival. She wasn't discounting him now, but for him to beat out everyone he would have to make a miracle. Todoroki seemed strangely interested in him, and she had noticed that he had been paying more and more attention to them over the past couple of days. It only seemed to be more heated the longer time went on, and perhaps it was what they both saw at the USJ that finally made him ask someone.

Misaki pursed her lips and began to type a reply: Well, he's self-destructive but we both know that. I haven't exactly seen anyone has a strength-boost quirk so strong that it destroys the body of its user, so he's already kind an oddball. All I've noticed is that he frankly copies a lot of All Might's moves when he's fighting. It's all those destructive punches.

Todoroki was quick to read. It was obvious that he had reached the same conclusion that she had. But, he was thinking harder about it than she ever had; Misaki just assumed that he was just a big fan of his, and since their quirks had a lot in common, it was easier for him to emulate his idol than to try and figure out how else to handle it.

He nodded his head, agreeing with her words: I see. You think their quirks are alike as well, then.

Misaki couldn't say for certain on the subject. But, it wasn't out of the realm of possibility. She just never considered it. She kept typing away on her device for a bit longer: You know, it's probably possible that All Might has taken him under his wing. He might be getting extra training from him on the side or something. It's possible their quirks are more alike then we know, since nobody really knows what exactly All Might's quirk is like. I'm not really sure. All Might did take Midoriya with him for lunch earlier, I saw both of them together when I was going over to the Support class to meet with my friend.

It was like she was on the money. Todoroki was acting very strangely, strange as far as she knew. She didn't really know him all that well but as far as she could tell from her time with him in and out of class, there was something that was always underneath the surface just waiting to burst open. She couldn't put a finger on it, but there was something bothering him and he really wouldn't let whatever it was, go. He was clearly thinking long and hard about Midoriya and All Might, but why... she wasn't sure.

It was worth asking.

Misaki dared to type it out and then showed Todoroki: Why are you asking, anyway?

The look in his eyes darkened. It was like a sea of storm clouds were hovering over him and about to explode in a crackle of thunder and lightning. He didn't say anything for a moment. Then, he responded: I'm going to be the number one hero and if he's somehow related to All Might then he's nothing but an obstacle in my way and I need him to move so I can complete my goals.

She should have expected that.

Bakugou and now Todoroki... there were so many of her classmates that were tunnel vision set on becoming the number one hero. It was like they didn't see anything else but that.

Her goals of becoming a hero didn't just lay in getting to the top and decimating others. She wanted to be able to become a hero that any kid could look at and see themselves. When she was young there weren't any heroes out there that had a disability that proudly fought and showed it off without hesitating for a moment. She decided very young that she wanted to be out there and proud of herself, limitations or no. She could be just as strong and great as anyone else out there. Discrimination was always going to be there but the empathy and understanding that people could learn could always grow and exist in such a way that made it even just the smallest amount easier for people to exist.

Kindness could always outweigh hatred.

Getting to the top of the roster just didn't come to her mind as the number one thing to do. However, talking to these boys about it seemed to be like punching a brick wall. It was dense and hard, and you wouldn't be able to get through it without smashing it down or putting a door in. You couldn't through to people like that without getting ready to fight. A good slap to the face could be warranted if they were in the right setting, and man, she couldn't wait to be able to take on Bakugou if it came to it.

She would get him what for and wipe that stupid look off of his face.

He'd never dare to call her a plum ever again!

If this was the game that they were going to be playing then she would keep her head up high and take on the challenges. After all, this was about securing a notable name for yourself and getting a good internship. She wasn't about to let the boys get ahead of her just because she had different goals than they did. She found herself grinning in a way that rivaled Hatsume: Don't forget about me, Todoroki. This tournament means every person for themselves once it starts. I'm also aiming for the top and if we have to face off again, I'd love to see how it'll turn out this time. If your quirks are fast enough to stop me from using my quirk or if I'm too fast for you to stop.

He didn't seem deterred by that fact. If we have to face off then I won't hold back against you, either, Hisakawa.

Misaki didn't miss a beat as she left him with her parting words: You better not, Todoroki. I want to fight you at one hundred percent with your fire and ice.

The expression that crossed Todoroki's face as she walked him and headed back in the direction of the class was dark. It was like the mention of his fire quirk had left him feeling sour. The last time he had used his flames, there had been a moment of hesitation in his actions but she hadn't thought much of it at the time because he probably hadn't ever been bested by someone before. He was the son of the number two hero, a man that was known for his powerful and massive fire quirk, why would he seem so grim and withdrawn at the mention of it?

One thing was for certain, there was a lot more to her classmates than what was on the surface.


AUTHOR'S NOTE.

Hm, well, it's getting a little tense in here, isn't it? Misaki has made herself clear to Todoroki and now he seems to be on the same list as Bakugou, although, she doesn't want to fight him as much as she wants to fight Bakugou. She really wants to give him a good talking to for that stupid nickname, but we'll have to wait and see if it happens, won't we?

 

Chapter Text

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)

Chapter Eight

Stutter


If there was one thing that Shimizu Mari felt bad about it was lying to her friends.

She never set out to make a lie about things but it was just too hard for her to admit the truth. She had really screwed up during the entrance exam and had barely made enough points to get into General Studies. It was like the odds had been stacked against from the start. She had gotten far too nervous and it left her vulnerable to the robots; Meaning that her quirk on the fritz and while she should have been able to make an amazing display of her abilities, she had let her feelings get the better of her and that resulted in the worst score that she had ever received.

When she got the text from Misaki that she had passed the exam and would be admitted into the hero program, she had stopped herself from typing out the bad news in favor of just congratulating her friend. It just didn't feel right to ruin her day with this kind of news and while she had intended to tell her the truth sooner or later minutes turned into hours, hours turned into days, and days turned into weeks. She just couldn't find it in herself to be honest about this mess.

Only Hatsume knew the truth, and she had sworn the girl to secrecy. Mei might have been a total fruitcake sometimes but that didn't mean that she didn't know how to keep a secret. Even though both of them had the tendency to bicker, it didn't mean that they didn't like one another. Mari admired how quickly and tactical the things that Mei could create were, and Mei admired Mari's empathy and sincere feedback. Those two might not have been friends as long as Mari and Misaki had been, but there was something there that meant a lot to the both of them.

Mari made a point to visit Hatsume in the support department every now and again when she got the chance to do so. Although, she wound up covered in the ash of one of her babies the last time she popped in and there was an explosion.

It could have been worse!

Mari just counted her blessings that she had been able to get into the school at all, much to the chagrin of her Mother.

Shimizu Yumi was a staunch woman that believed in leaving things to the proper authorities, as it had been done in the days of the past. She thought the glitz and glamour of hero society was a waste of time and money. Every chance that she got, she would make that point abundantly clear to her daughter, telling her that it was better that she realized early that those dreams were useless. Her studies could be better spent learning how to do something more applicable to society! Like, becoming a lawyer, or joining the police force as Yumi had done.

Mari wanted nothing to do that with that idea.

But, it was nearly unheard of for a student to go from general studies into other classes, be it hero or support. It wasn't like it didn't happen but it one of the things that only happened during a blue moon.

It was such a rarity that it sounded fake.

But, Mari wanted to have faith in herself like she had faith in her friends.

When school started, she decided that she would try to go into it with her head held up high and without Misaki standing behind her; It had been like that for a very long time. Misaki would always be the one to lead the way and smile, boasting the confidence that Mari desperately wanted to her hands on to, but it was only moments where she was fired up by something ridiculous Hatsume would say or one of the awful things that her mother would say did she ever feel the courage to bite back.

It seemed like her quirk had doomed her to this fate. The power to cry as hard and as long as she wanted to do it. It was the telltale sign of the world's biggest cry baby. She really was a cry baby who feared a lot of things, and her quirk reflected that nature. It was a shame that it held so true in ways that she hadn't even really thought about.

She spent most of that first day with her hands in her pink locks tugging at the ends of the tips, sighing. For that matter, she had spent the first couple days of school without really talking to anyone else.

It had been such a long time since she had been around people that she didn't really know, Misaki had seemingly always been there for as long she could remember. It had been when they were in elementary school that Misaki had thrown herself in front of bullies that had been teasing her about her quirk. That purple-haired girl hadn't even manifested her quirk yet, but she marched out and did what she thought was right. She had wound up with a bruised cheek but she had grinned right through the pain and offered her hand to Mari.

The memory was a good one, at least.

Mari just wished she wasn't so... anxious around other people.

"Are you just going to stare at me all day?"

"Huh?"

Mari was pulled from her thoughts when she found a boy with dark purple locks staring right at her. She hadn't realized it but during her daydreaming, she had been staring at him. Her cheeks began to burn a little bit in embarrassment.

Everyone else in the classroom had gone onto lunch while she was in the midst of her own thoughts and now it was only him and her in the room. He hadn't really said anything before just as she hadn't done, as quiet as she was it was easy to pay attention to her surroundings. She could always pick apart details and little mannerisms that her classmates had, just by sitting and watching them all the time.

"I was daydreaming," she began to say though the words came out as a nervous babble. "I-I didn't realize that I was staring. I'm r-really sorry about that. Um, I guess I didn't realize you were still here. I t-thought everyone left to have l=lunch in the dining h-hall."

"Not all of us prefer to be surrounded by so many people like that," he responded, simply. "I've been in this room the entire time you've been here too. You must be really absentminded, then."

She pursed her lips. "I wouldn't put it that way. I just don't really get along with people that well. You never know how people are going to react to something and that inevitability is always scary. It's hard to know when you're going to say the right thing or the wrong thing so I wind up spending a lot more time in my head with my own thoughts," she said. "Why get worked up when I can avoid it entirely? Better not to say much when it can be a screw-up. Kind of like I'm doing right now because I am talking too much and that's probably annoying."

"I think it's the most that you've said in days, frankly." his voice was dry. "It might be a record."

"I-I think this is the most you've talked in days, too. Don't go and start calling the kettle black before you have the whole story," Mari countered. She crossed her arms over her chest and stood her ground, er, stayed planted in her seat without budging. Something about the way that this guy sounded made her a little bit peeved but at the same time she respected that he had that sense of humor that she could relate to.

"You got me there," he replied. "Enlighten me, then."

Mari was taken back by that question. She thought that he would turn his head and go back to his devices after she told him off. Yet, he seemed to be curious as to why she would tell him.

So, she leaned forward against her desk and looked at the front of the room so her shaking heart would calm down. Prolonged eye contact with people was one of those things that was hard for Mari to put up with. "Well, since you asked so politely. My best friend got into the hero course and I wound up here in general ed. I don't really have friends aside from her and this girl in the support unit. I'm kind of a mess when it comes to talking to people so I just don't do it unless I have to do it. Every time I try to talk to others on my own, I always wind up getting bullied about my quirk."

He seemed equally surprised that she was so honest with him. He nodded his head to that as if he understood where she was coming from. It wasn't like people didn't know that bullying happened, or worse, discrimination against others per their quirk. It happened every day, and it was crying shame that it couldn't be stopped so easily.

Mari took advantage of her sudden confidence. "So, what's your story, then? Why have you been avoiding people the plague? There has to be a reason why you're doing it. You don't seem like a shy person, so, what's the deal?" she asked.

"I suppose I relate to the latter half of your statement," he said.

"Quirk discrimination?" she voiced, quietly.

He didn't respond but it was obvious that that was what he was alluding to.

"I understand. It's wrong that people use quirks as a reason to ostracise others or bully them... nobody can help what quirk they're born with and it shouldn't be something that can be used against you for whatever reason. I don't know what you've dealt with in the past due to your quirk but I promise I won't be cruel to you about that. I know what it feels like and I wouldn't want anyone to feel that way too..." Mari trailed off.

She shook her head at that grim tone and tried to push it to the back of her mind. "Haha, that got really serious a little quickly there. Um, I'm sorry, I didn't even catch your name yet. I'm Shimizu Mari."

The glint in his eyes was intriguing.

"Shinso Hitoshi," he said.

"It's nice to meet you, Shinso."

"You'd be the first to say so."

"Oh, really? A guy like you not having the pleasure of being greeted by others? Color me surprised."

"I figure it's the same for you, you sounded like you hadn't used your voice in years. I think you're just as socially inept."

"You got me there, I'll admit it."

"Heh."


Time passed, a couple of days at most and what had changed would change everything forever.

All of U.A.'s students that had been back at the campus during the villain incident were on edge. The teachers weren't sure if there were any other villains prowling around so the group that had gone to check on the students from 1A. It had been the end of the day for most of the general studies, but there was a handful of them behind that stayed to clean up the classrooms or to train on their own personal studies. Mari and Shinso had been amongst those numbers that day, and the entire time she sat in that classroom with him she was on the edge of her seat.

She had heard some of the older students talking and she figured out very fast that the class that had involved in the incident was 1A; That was the class that Misaki was in. Her best friend was out there dealing with all kinds of hell that she couldn't even begin to imagine and she couldn't do anything about it. She had faith in the teachers and knew that they could handle the problem but what of the time when they weren't alerted to the problem?

There could be injuries or even fatalities!

It was unheard of, and villains had never once set foot on the grounds of this school. So to think that it had happened when she was attending was a little unnerving and it must have been even worse for Misaki since she was the one living through it. Shinso had been very kind to her in that time of stress. He had rested his hand against her shoulder and offered a small comment or two to ease her worries.

"Your friend will be alright, Shimizu."

"I know, I should have more faith in her and the teachers. I just wish I could be there to help... you know?"

She looked out in the distance at the faint building of the USJ.

"Unfortunately," Shinso said, pointedly. "the school doesn't think much of our quirks. They wouldn't expect us to be capable. That's why we're here in this classroom and they're out there in the field. Your friend is more than capable of handling this, at least, that's what the belief would be. So, putting it plainly, worrying doesn't do you much good."

"Very positive of you, Shinso, I can always count your sense of humor in a crisis," Mari said, the dry laugh escaping her throat was weak. She rubbed at her eyes some of the stray tears that had escaped in since she had last brushed them away. "Thanks for that. But, I do think we both could handle a crisis if it came down to it."

Shinso didn't say anything to that. It was something that they both struggled with. It was easy to beat yourself up, and it was easy to kick yourself when you were down, but it was hard to pick yourself up and keep going. There would be times when unwavering confidence flooded to the surface and other times when it fell flat. It helped that most of the students that were in their class felt the same way. So many of them had been hero prospects and pushed to the side because they couldn't prove themselves against the generalized test.

It was rigged in such a way that not everyone could truly use their quirk.

It wasn't fair, but, that was life. Cruel was as it came. Sometimes it would be his brazened words that made her believe that they could break into the hero course, other times it might be something that she said that made him stand his ground. This back and forth was what made it easier for both of them to make it through their classes. Going to the biggest hero school in the country made you realize very quickly that the balance of power wasn't as equal as it should have been.

It was just as this situation was.

There was something that they couldn't change without a big spark.

"We'll see about that, Shimizu."

"Yeah. We will. We just need to have some faith."

"Well, you're going to have to drag me kicking and screaming if you're about to start talking about friendship and the power that comes from it."

"Yeah, right, Shinso. You know I wouldn't do that to you."

It helped her get through that messy period just to talk to someone. Shinso was there, even if he was a bit touchy with his attitude at times. However, no matter how she tried to ease her worries, Mari was still worried even she walked into her apartment that afternoon.

She shared a worried look with Inari who had been worried when she didn't show up after he arrived home from school. The two of them sat on the couch in bated breath until it was announced that the students were safe and sound, All Might and the rest of the teachers saving the day just as she knew that they would. She let out a breath that she hadn't even known that she had been holding in when they reiterated that all the twenty students were safe if a bit just the smallest bit scraped and bruised from fighting back.

She immediately grabbed her phone and texted Misaki without hesitation.

Mari: I was really worried about you, Misa.

Misaki: I'm alright. There's no need to worry about me. I really didn't do a lot just some minor fighting in self-defense.

Mari: Still! I was worried that you might've gotten really hurt out there. I mean, villains on campus? That's terrifying.

Misaki: The Pros made sure it was okay, honestly.

Mari: Yeah. I know we wanted to be heroes but this is a little too early to be fighting villains.

Misaki: Just a little advanced study. It would be have been over a lot faster if you had been there.

Mari: ...Yeah.

Misaki: Do... do you wanna talk about that?

Mari: It's complicated, Misa.

Misaki: I miss you, Mari.

Mari: I miss you too, but... I don't wanna put a damper on anything. Just give a little more time, okay?

Misaki: Too much longer and I'll have to storm your door, alright?

Mari: You know Inari would let you in before you even got past two knocks.

Misaki: That's what's great about your little brother!

Mari:  That's what you think.

Things weren't the same as they had once been but at the very least, she was relieved that even after radio silence, she and Misaki could still speak to one another without a strange air of grief.


"This baby is coming along so well! I can't believe we haven't had any explosions yet. Although, it's a telltale sign that we should be on our toes for an inevitability! Disaster is the key to success! I've been working to get this thing kicking for a few days now and I'm extremely glad that you dropped by when you did! Anyways, a little bit to the right, Mari! No, not your right, my right! Okay, now hand me that wrench, I need to adjust the screws again, they're a little loose."

"Oh, there's definitely a few screws loose in this room."

"...You're probably right, some of the subpar designs that some of the other students have made do need tweaking but I'm not allowed to give input on something anymore!" She said, disregarding the context of those words. "Well, I can give verbal input, but nobody wants me to offer a helping hand anymore." Mei tightened the screws until she was sure it was just right, not too loose and not too tight. She had been given the chance with some of the other students to work on fleshing out some of the gadgets for the first years here and there, simply the opportunity of a lifetime to make a baby that was utterly perfect!

"Because the prototypes wind up blowing up in your face."

"You only learn from your mistakes! If you're not prepared to fail then you're not prepared for this career!" Mei cackled, pulling her goggles over her eyes to inspect her handiwork close up as Mari sighed and shook her head at the girl.

"Yeah, I suppose you have a point there," Mari admitted.

Mari wasn't surprised that Hatsume was really living it up in the support class. She was kind of a nut and her attitude was built for working on gizmos and gadgets on her own. Now she was someplace where people acted and thought similarly to how she did, and while some of her mannerisms were a little eccentric, it didn't really bother anyone. Well, for the most part. She was doing a lot better at U.A. then she had at their middle school where only a few teachers treated her well along with Misaki and Mari.

Misaki was settling into her own classes just as easy. At least, that's what Hatsume had said. It wasn't hard for her to be kind to people and make friends, she just seemed to know the right kind of people to speak to and how to do it. Unfortunately, she really had wound up in the same class as that guy she couldn't shut up about. She was likely kicking ass and taking names later in her studies, proving herself to be capable of everything and more that she knew she could do and others doubted.

And Mari was... just in the background of her classes without anything else to do. It wasn't bad but it wasn't good. She just sort of existed and that was it, she had what she supposed you could call a friend in Shinso now, but nothing else to really mention as progress. U.A. was supposed to be a new start for everybody and her start just wasn't what she expected it to be.

With tense shoulders, she watched Mei work for a little while before it seemed that her friend was fed up with something. She flipped her goggles off her eyes and back onto the top of her head and stared right through her. "You know, I'm not the most perceptive when it comes to human relationships but you didn't come here just to help me out with this baby, right? You never do that unless I beg you to do it. This is about Misaki. You do realize that you could have just told her that you made the general study, right? She wouldn't judge you for it. It's sort of a rigged test anyway, remember?"

Mari blanked.

She wasn't used to this kind of astute awareness from Mei.

She shook her head. "It's not that I think she'd judge me, Misa would never do that. I just don't want to put a damper on her experience in the hero course right now. She needs to focus on training, not feel bad for me."

"And leaving her not knowing, either way, is better? I don't know about you but that seems counterproductive," Mei countered, point-blank. She wasn't wrong but the way the words were phrased made her stomach twist in a knot. "She's asked about you a few times but I haven't said anything since you asked. But you do know that she'll find out during the sports festival, right? There won't be hiding it then."

Mari was under a lot of pressure.

Her mother wanted her to give up on her dream and was giving her a time limit to do it. If she couldn't prove to the school that she was strong by the time she graduated then she would have to go and follow in her mother's footsteps instead. That was only three years to make or break it, and every single morning when she woke up to get ready for her day, her mother would remind her of that very promise and it made Mari feel as though she was getting kicked from all sides.

It wasn't just her mom.

The rest of the students that were outside of the hero course were also gunning for an open spot and if she stumbled then someone else would get ahead of her just like that. Shinso had made that very clear when they talked about it.

The winner takes all and the loser takes nothing.

That was the air that she could barely breathe in.

It was every person for themselves and most of all... she just wanted to be able to prove herself if only for herself. She wanted to be able to show everyone that they made a mistake by putting her outside of the hero course. She had to be ready to fight for what she wanted out there, and she had to be brave for the rest time in her life without Misaki pulling her hand pushing her forward when she fell down and couldn't get back up on her own. If she wanted to be sure that she could cut it out there then she needed to know how to do this on her own.

Perhaps the sports festival would be the place to prove it, once and for all.

Prove that she wasn't just a crybaby who relied on others to help her solve her own problems.

She just had to hold her head up and swallow her fears.

"...By that point, I'll be brave enough. I have to be."


The date of the sports festival was growing nearer and nearer.

As was the unbridled tension that existed between all of the students. Well, between the students in different courses, that is. Mari didn't have to even get out of her seat at the end of class to know that's what everyone was scurrying off to do. A lot of the other students had been clamoring to talk about the students in 1A for weeks now, all because of the attack and what the others thought of them. Surely if they were beaten in the festival by any of the other students then all of Japan would take notice.

She sighed.

Sure, it was an idea to go and declare war on those students to assert dominance but was that really the smartest thing to do? Then again, it certainly would make them take things more seriously. It seemed like a handful of them were a little too prideful for their own good. Throwing eggs on their faces wasn't a bad idea when you wanted to beat them all. She glanced over her shoulder to look at Shinso who had just stood up and seemed to be on his way out of the door.

"You too, huh?"

"Can't let them think they're better than us, Shimizu."

Mari agreed with the sentiment. "Yeah. But we have to remember that if we're going to destroy them during the sports festival we're going to have to believe in ourselves and go beyond. If we don't believe in ourselves, then how will we ever get into the hero course, Shinso? It's a cut-throat game and we'll have to edge them out."

"That's why I'm going to make it clear to them that this is serious. If one of them fucks up then that's an open spot for us," Shinso said. "I bet they haven't even realized that that can happen. No point in letting them think they're all something special because they went through one misfortunate event. The rest of us have been putting up with that for years."

She nodded her head in agreement, "Well, don't let me stop you from laying it on them thick. Stick to those guys, Shinso, I know you'll tell it like it is." she said.

"You'll have to be fighting your friend, too, Shimizu," Shinso paused in the doorway right before he turned to take his leave. "I hope you're ready for that inevitability to get to the top."

Just as Mei had warned her a few days prior, Shinso reminded her of the very same thing.

Was she ready for that?

She let the purple-haired boy go but after staring at the door with a nervous pit in her gut she couldn't help but to get up and follow after him to catch a glimpse herself of those students The only thing that she knew about 1A was that Misaki was in it, and so was that cocky guy that she clearly detested. There were eighteen other students in that class to count off that she had no idea about. What were the rest of those kids like? How had they faired during the exam if they all beat those robots?

Would she be able to beat them?

Would she be able to beat Misaki if she wound up facing off against her? The thought was scary so she shoved it away. Against her better judgment, though, she still stayed back and out of the way from the crowd. She listened closely to the conservations between the students as she guessed who was saying what. It was obvious that those students really hadn't been ready for a visit from the rest of the school. Huh, just as Shinso had expected. Perhaps most of them were cocky.

"They're scoping out the competition, round face. No point, though. Move aside, cannon fodder."

"Can we please not resort to calling those we don't even know cannon fodder?"

Mari heard Shinso's voice break through the crowd of voices as it silenced the others. "It's true. We came to get a look, but you sure are modest. Are all kids in the hero course like this one?"

"Huh?!" That voice must have belonged to the one and only jackass that Misaki had mentioned.

Shinso didn't miss a beat.

"Gotta say, I'm a little disillusioned if this is what you're offering. Those of us who didn't get into the hero course are stuck in general studies and the other tracks. There's quite a few of us, did you know that? Depending on the results of the sports festival... they might consider transferring us to the hero course." His eyes shifted to everyone in the visibility of the door. "I understand the reverse is also possible for you. Scooping out the competition? For a general studies kid like me... this'll be the perfect chance to knock you off your high horse once and for all. Consider this a declaration of war."

The weight of his words rang through the classroom as he walked away towards the exit. Mari stared after him as he disappeared from her line of sight in awe.

They could do this.

He could do this.

She could do this.

Mari pursed her lips and shook her head at that man. Yeah, Misaki had meant it when she said that that boy was rude as hell. He wasn't the only one that she would be dealing with, the rest of 1A was there and as she took notice of them all, she steadied herself and made a silent promise.

I will prove myself.


AUTHOR'S NOTE.

I have character cards for both Misaki and Mari on my Deviantart now. I'll just share those right here! Also, I just finished watching the first episode of season four and wow, I am not ready for that arc to be played out in front of me like this. My heart isn't ready for it. What about you guys?

 MisakiSheet

 Marisheet

Chapter Text

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)

Chapter Nine

Just One Yesterday


Two weeks had come and gone faster than anyone knew it. It was bright and early that morning when all of the students of 1A were packed into a waiting room to sit and converse until the games would officially begin. There was a bit of tension in the air that could have been cut with a knife. Ever since the day that the other students declared open war on all of them, the entirety of the first-year students had been shooting each other looks between their studies and murmuring their fighting words.

Sure, everyone wanted to kick their asses but that didn't mean that they had to take it so seriously. There was a lot at stake but acting like it would make or break them was only giving into fear. Misaki just didn't want to get overwhelmed with it. She hadn't let it get to her as much as her other anxiety but it was still there. Misaki wouldn't deny there was a pit in her stomach but it didn't have to do with fearing whatever the other students were sending her way. It was more so the worry of what people would think when she was out there. She did her best to not think about it, as she usually did, but it was still there like a quiet hum.

As was the feeling of imminent action.

The fights that would be coming later in the day would be assuredly intense. The minute she had walked into the room, she had made eye contact with Bakugou and that told her enough about where his headspace was. That scowl that crossed his lips and the feathered eyebrows, it was just the expression that Bakugou Katsuki always had when he saw her. It hadn't really changed since the first time that they had met. She stuck her nose at him and ignored him, heading across the room to take a seat next to Mina.

As far as everyone else went, there wasn't a lot of issues with them.

However, there was still that elephant in the room.

Of course, the only student that couldn't read the room was Iida. He commanded order and quiet from everyone as the clock was ticking and Misaki could only shake her head in mirth. While Iida was trying to corral the students into getting ready for the day and it's coming events, all of the girls were texting each other from the group chat about this and that.

Ashido: Did you sleep last night?

Misaki: Huh? Oh. I got some but I had too much energy to get a lot of it.

Uraraka: Yeah. Those pre-game jitters had me on edge too. I kind of slept? Not the best.

Asui: Well, we're going to facing a lot of people today... I think it's expected to be a little nervous, ribbit.

Yaoyorozu: It's only natural to be a little nervous. It's pretty early to be counting ourselves out though.

Yaoyorozu: We've all prepared accordingly! It should go well.

Jirou: It would be nice if Iida could use his inside voice at this hour though.

Hagakure: I think that is his inside voice!

Ashido: You wonder if his family speaks like that too?

Hagakure: Oh, that's a good question. I don't think his brother does.

Misaki: For once I'm glad I can't empathize. He's so animated when he talks I can only imagine how loud it is!

Uraraka: Still not as loud as Bakugou...

Jirou: And he's fired up today, too. I'm surprised we haven't heard him yet.

Yaoyorozu: I hate to say it but he's a ticking time bomb sometimes. Perhaps today he'll be on his best behavior.

Misaki: I have my doubts about that.

Hagakure: Boys... am I right?

Asui: Exactly.

Jirou: We just need a better space to destress is all.

Uraraka: A cushy lounge would be nice.

Misaki: Yeah, but then I would wind up taking a nap.

All heads suddenly snapped to the front of the room as Todoroki stormed in with a heated pace towards Midoriya Izuku. Misaki noticed that everyone had shifted and when she followed their gaze she realized who it was. She wondered what the heck was up with him since he looked so rightly pissed off about something. His hands were in his pockets and his eyes were hardened onto the green-haired teen like ice. He didn't even have to say anything to express what he was feeling, it was obvious he was brewing with animosity. It was like something had ignited a fire in his gut.

"Todoroki...?" his lips parted with a nervous shiver. "What's up...?"

Misaki stared at them with a sense of fascination. Had those feelings that Todoroki had been shuffling through finally hit him hard enough to confront Midoriya about his theories? Just as he had stopped her to get her opinion on the teen. Whatever he had been thinking about Midoriya and All Might must have come to a head somehow. What did it mean though? And why was he so adamant about it? It was soon proven as she saw Todoroki started to speak.

Todoroki didn't budge. "I'm stronger than you. I'm more capable."

Midoriya continued to stare at him with wide, nervous eyes as he backed up one step and nodded his head in agreement. He babbled some sort of reply but Misaki couldn't tell what it was.

"I know you've got All Might's attention. I don't know how or why, and I won't ask but I want to make one thing abundantly clear. I will beat you." Everybody else in the room was shocked by his sudden admission. If they thought they were safe from the front from their own classmates then some of the students in 1A were now sorely mistaken. Both Kaminari and Kirishima reached out to Todoroki to both gasp, and ask why he had gone and done a thing like that. Why create more tension?

Todoroki merely shrugged and put it simply. "I don't care. I'm not pretending to be friends with anyone."

Misaki's shoulders tightened.

What?

Midoriya surprised everyone, even more, when he lifted his head up and began to speak. "Todoroki, I'm not sure why you felt the need to tell me that you'll beat me. As a matter of fact, you're clearly stronger and I can't measure up to most of the others here in skill. Objectively speaking even. That's just the truth. Everyone, even the kids from the other courses are aiming for the top now... and, I'm well, lemme just say this. I'm not gonna fall behind. No matter what that means. I'm going for it too. With everything that I've got!"

Suddenly invigorated, the students seemed to agree with his fighting words.

Satisfied or not, Todoroki left the room.

After that fallout, Misaki just couldn't help herself as she got up from her seat to follow after Todoroki. She opened the door and stepped out not noticing the few eyes that were on her back. He was standing outside of the waiting room with his back to her, eyes trained on something down the hallway that she couldn't see. The energy that was surrounding him was grim to put it lightly. She didn't like it, and she wanted to know why his attitude had suddenly shifted to something like this so fast.

Misaki reached out and brushed her hand against his shoulder.

He looked back at her for a moment, his expression didn't soften.

She pursed her lips, and typed out a message to him: Todoroki, what the heck was that about? Why are you trying to destroy Midoriya?

Todoroki spun around and gave her a look. He was a lot taller than she was so she had to look up at him to catch a glimpse of his good eye. He didn't look like he was in the mood to talk, either, but he decidedly answered her with a simple message: It's the truth. Everyone is here to become heroes, it's not about making friends and playing around.

Misaki's eyes widened. She had thought that in spite of his aloof nature, he had really started to become somewhat of a person she wanted to hang out with if she could. They would chat together every now and again and sit in solitude on the days when she wasn't helping Hatsume. It was easy to be around him because there was no expectation for anything. They could just hang out, with no worries about this or that. She had even been texting off and on during the weekends! He was kind of clueless about a lot of things and it surprised her. It was like he had sheltered upbringing or something, the guy didn't even know what the heck emojis were.

Todoroki lived a different kind of life then she did, but, she thought that they were really friends.

Now he was twisting what she thought up into pieces.

She shook her head, and began to reply: I know you want to beat Midoriya badly but you didn't have to call for all-out war, you know? You can always beat him without telling him you're going to do it. You've been kind of different for the last couple of days and I'm sincerely worried about you. What's wrong?

That's when Todoroki dropped his bombshell that cracked Misaki's heart.

He looked her dead in the eyes and replied: We aren't friends, Hisakawa.

Misaki stared back at him.

They weren't... friends? Had she assumed wrong this entire time?

No, it couldn't be!

To make matters worse, he tapped out one more message to drill the final nail in the coffin: Don't bother yourself with me as you have been. It's useless to try to keep playing like we're friends. I don't need friends. I have one goal and that's all I need.

She hurriedly typed out one more message to him: I don't know what happened, but if something is wrong you can tell me. What the heck happened to make you act this way, Todoroki? I know you want to win as much as anyone else but why the heck do you have to destroy everything to get there?

The bitterness in his eyes... the way his good eye hardened like a fire. Something in him had changed, and that change didn't seem to be something that was good for him. It was like someone had kicked him while he was down for the count, and instead of taking it and falling down, Todoroki channeled that feeling into anger and took it out on others. He wanted to fight. He wanted to do something and taking it to this level wasn't beyond him at this point and it didn't suit him. She hadn't quite seen this kind of look in someone's eyes before, but she never wanted to see it again.

"I will prove myself to spite that man."

That was all that he said before he left Misaki alone.


The students lined up and headed out onto the field in troves as they were announced one by one. The crowd that was watching the students of 1A as they took their spot amongst the other first years was much larger than it usually was. They had three separate buildings for each of the years, and they were built to make room for plenty of people but it felt as though they had packed the first year stadium even more so than usual. It might have been because of the villain attack, and everyone wanting to get their eyes onto students that had gone through such an unprecedented event.

Misaki took note of the crowd and then turned her attention back onto the field. They would have all of Japan watching them, not just these people. It was better to focus on the task at hand instead of worrying about how many eyes were on their backs. It was obvious that a few of her classmates were a little off-put by the eyes.

If you wanted to be a hero then you had to be ready for eyes on you at all times.

As soon as everyone was gathered together in the middle of the stadium grounds, that was when Midnight called on the grade representative to say a little something before the games began. It turns out that Bakugou was the one that got the highest marks on the entrance exam which meant that he was the one in charge. That didn't seem to mean much to him as he sauntered up to the stage and stared at the crowd of students with a look of disdain on his face as he opened his mouth—

"The Athlete's oath... make no mistake about it. I'm gonna take first place!"

That didn't make the other students happy in the slightest. Every other class in their year was now glaring daggers at both Bakugou and the rest of 1A for his cocky attitude. However, this is about what she expected. Once he stepped back down and acted as though he hadn't just made things harder for everyone, Midnight took her spot on stage and announced the first event that they would be competing in. It was going to be a long run obstacle course race that they were going to have to run through.

A race would mean that some people were at an advantage. To get to the front or to have a standout moment, all students would have to be on their toes at all times. She breathed in and mentally prepared herself for whatever was to come. The students lined up, and once the countdown light changed from red to yellow to green, everyone took off like a bat out of hell. The doorway became crowded as people stumbled and pushed and fought to get to the outside of the gate, Misaki used her size to her advantage and shuffled through and under the crowd and managed to make her way out without wasting her quirk on a head start.

Once she was free from the crowd, she broke out into a run and caught up with the rest of her class that had been stopped in their tracks by some of the leftover robots from the examination. She noted that Todoroki surged past the robots by freezing their legs and moving beyond them without breaking a sweat. Bakugou roared past her as he used his quirk to surge over the robots by taking the high road. Even Tokoyami and Sero were able to get their feet off the ground and past the robots without much work.

It was a good time to use her quirk, now.

These robots were a pest and she needed to not waste a minute.

She lifted her hand and activated her quirk long enough to sprint ahead and get damn near Bakugou when she released time. He spared a look over his shoulder when he probably heard the sounds of her footsteps behind him, and all she could do was offer a mischievous grin before turning her focus back on the race. He was likely cursing up a storm because he took off from her spot not even a second later, getting ahead of her again.

The next obstacle wasn't something that she could easily cross and keep her lead with. Because it was a huge pitfall trap that was only pieced together by yards of rope and pulleys. It was far too easy for someone like Bakugou who could fling himself over the field without even worrying about falling down; She rubbed her hands together and took off, crawling forwards on the ropes and trying to get across to the next space.

By the time she reached the second rock face, she was nearly knocked off when Mei landed next to her, the shit-eating grin on her face was absolutely wild and almost unexpected this time. Mei grabbed her hand before she knocked herself off into the nets below, and Misaki hobbled back onto the steady ground, staring at her friend with one of those looks.

"Where did you come from?!" She asked.

Mei gestured at the gadget that was attached to her body and that answered that question. Of course, her friend was going to use the sports festival to show off what she had been working on for months.

"Hate to leave you behind. But, this is a race." Mei said, and then immediately took off to the next obstacle, leaving her standing there, blinking.

Misaki should have expected that. But, at the very least she thought that Mei would give her a ride. It wasn't like it was against the rules to have an alliance at this point in the games. It was kind of expected as long as the kids weren't at each other's throats. She let out a sigh and shook her head. When you were dealing with Hatsume Mei, you had to expect the least expectable thing possible.

Misaki turned her focus back to the task at hand and managed to traverse the rest of the rock field with minimal damage. It killed a lot of her time to have to do this without her quirk, but it would have been a waste when she had to walk a tight rope like that. Once she was back on solid ground that didn't have pitfalls, she could see the next terrain up ahead. It looked unopposing and normal, but that was soon proven wrong when she saw explosions from the ground set off.

It was a minefield.

A real game of cat and mouse if you didn't look where you were running.

Misaki took a look at the ground and pursed her lips. What would be the best option? Her eyes settled on the ice path that Todoroki had left behind, and noted the thick layer had blocked off some of the bombs. She nodded her head and activated her quirk, following in his footsteps over the slippery ground and trying to take her time to get ahead and at the same time, trying not to fall flat on her face because her shoes weren't built to fight off the frigid cold.

If she could learn how to rapid-fire activate and deactivate her quirk, this would be so much easier. She thought.

After she crossed the field, she released her quirk, feeling a little dizzy and like alarm bells were going off but she didn't stop for a second and kept up her run. Both Bakugou and Todoroki were just up ahead of her, which meant that she was effectively in third place at that moment. It wasn't bad, that was for sure, she just had to keep fighting her body's reaction. It was a good thing that she hadn't overdone it. However, her body was going to feel this in the morning.

The boys knew that she was on their heels. From the way that Bakugou looked at her, she just knew that he was saying something unruly. Todoroki wasn't pleased either, but, that was life. Suddenly, the Earth began to rumble underneath their feet and from the corner of Misaki's vision, she could see a cloud of dirt and dust overtake the back of the minefield.

Midoriya Izuku whirled overhead, past her, then past both Todoroki and Bakugou.

Well, that's definitely one way to get ahead of everyone. She thought.

The three boys were neck and neck but she didn't see who crossed the finish line first, she had closed her eyes and pushed her body through the gate before her knees felt like they were going to buckle. When she finally got a look at her surroundings, she knew that she had made it clear; By sheer luck, she and Shizozaki Ibara had crossed the finish line at around the same time. She had gotten a solid spot in the top ten.

However, the second event was set up strategically in a way that the balance would work out for both parties. It was a point system, however you placed in the race gave you a set number of points, and you had to take down other students to get their points. They would be wearing headbands that had to be somewhere on their upper body as not to allow for hidden items. If you lost your points or if your group fell flat on their faces, you were down for the count and done for.

Whoever managed to score the most points with their team would be moving onto the final round. It was very simple in concept but when Midnight revealed how many points aligned with each student, every student in the stadium looked in the direction of Midoriya Izuku who had a one million bounty on his head.

That boy was screwed.

Misaki pressed a hand to her lips to stifle whatever laugh dared to come out of her lips. She felt bad for him, she really did, but it was just hilarious to think that a kid like that would have to do a dance to avoid everyone. The students were allowed fifteen minutes to piece together their teams and formulate some kind of a plan. Everyone scrambled and started looking for people to team up with; Even Hatsume ran past her with stars in her eyes, the pink-haired girl headed straight for Midoriya.

Misaki didn't even need to ask. Hatsume was absolutely going to use that boy for her own gain. It was everyone for themselves, after all. She would give her friend props for being so proactive later after they both secured a spot in the finals. She glanced around and thought about who might be the best people to align herself.

Unbenounced to Misaki, there were eyes on her back the entire time. Mari and Shinso had both made their way into this round without too much fail, but to be able to get to the finals, they would have to play a little dirty. Mari wasn't a fan of the idea, however, she was open to Shinso's perspective on the matter as they both knew they had to quietly survive to prove themselves one-on-one. Her fingers twitched at her side as she silently nodded at Shinso, agreeing with the plan.

"You think she'll say something?"

"Yeah. You just need to approach her fast. Your quirk only needs a response from someone, after all. She doesn't have to hear it to be affected by it... kind of like the opposite of how your cousin's quirk works."

"What's her quirk, again?"

"Time disruption. She can give us an edge on the others."

"I have my eye on a few others, as well, that I noticed during the obstacle course. Let's see which of those that I can use my quirk on and work with it from there."

"Let's get this over with, then."

Shinso and Mari approached Misaki from behind. He reached out and rested his hand against her shoulder, prompting the purple-haired girl to turn around and look at him curiously. She raised an eyebrow at him, not having noticed that Mari was standing a few feet away quite yet as her focus was on this boy that she didn't recognize. Shinso met her gaze and opened his mouth to ask, "Hisakawa Misaki, right?"

"...Yes?" her lips parted and the word came out.

It was fast how quickly his quirk could affect someone but as it overtook the girl that was when she realized that Mari was standing with him and that they were working together. She looked at her best friend with a range of emotions crossing her face before it went utterly blank and slack under the control of Shinso's quirk.

Mari turned her head away, feeling guilty.

Chapter Text

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)

Chapter Ten

Take Cover


It was like she had been in a dream or a stupor. Misaki couldn't remember what the hell had just happened but suddenly it was the end of the second round and she had passed. What had happened? She inspected her surroundings and noted that she wasn't the only person that had been in a daze. Oijiro was here as well, and it was likely that both of them had just been affected by someone's quirk. It hit her that it was that boy from general studies, he had caught her off-guard and used his quirk against her.

Why did he just use his quirk on me? She thought. What even was his quirk?

It was obvious that they had been used for the benefit of the competition. That was when it hit Misaki that not only had it been that boy from general studies, Mari had been working with him the entire time. Her friend was looking very guilty, and trying to avoid her gaze but Misaki wasn't about to let that happen. She didn't understand why Mari hadn't just asked her to help, she hadn't even known that Mari was going to U.A, but had she had come to her and wanted help, she would have offered it immediately.

She approached Mari without hesitation.

"Mari?"

Mari lifted her head. "Misaki. I. I'm sorry. There was no choice."

No choice?

What did she mean?

"I am happy to see you. It's been a long time. But. Why? Why did you do that? I would have helped if you just asked me for it. Why would you go to a length like this? We're supposed to be best friends. That means we do everything for each other!" She asked, taking a few steps forwards towards her friend.

Mari knew that. However, with downcast eyes, she looked like a kicked puppy. "I'm not as good as you Misa. I have never been."

Misaki wasn't angry. It was far to easy to get angry and hurt; Well, she was a little hurt, and a little confused, and most of all, a little more worried than anything. She wanted to know why and what made her friend think that she had to go about things like this to get to her dreams.

They had once promised that they would become heroes together, and that was on good faith. There was never supposed to be any underhanded means, and it seemed as though Mari knew that very well. However, something seemed to be eating at Mari, and that monster was daring to swallow her whole. She wouldn't have done this unless somebody had pushed her very far. She knew that Misaki would have done anything without being asked.

Misaki shook her head. "We have talked about this. You are just as strong as anyone else."

"You and Mei are the only ones that think that," Mari said.

"You have always been strong. I can't think of a time when you weren't. You have always been capable of doing great things, so what's changed?"

Mari just stood there as if she were bewildered. She seemed as though shocked that Misaki wasn't yelling at her or as angry as she should have rightly been. With shaking shoulders, she swallowed hard and tried to make a reply. "It... I... If I don't prove myself now then I can kiss my dreams goodbye. Forever. I have a clock on my future and it's counting down as we speak. I have to do whatever it takes to win. No matter how that makes me look. Otherwise, I will not be able to prove myself to them."

Her dreams were numbered?

There was only one person in the world who didn't believe in Mari.

Misaki paused. "Mari, is this about your Mother? Did she make you promise something that you have to keep? Please, if it is about that, then I can try to help you."

It seemed like that was the hammer to the nail, after all. If her mother had been yelling at her and making things generally horrible as of late in a way that was a hundred times worse then what it had been in the past, then that was why Mari would choose to do something like this to get to where she wanted to be. As long as Misaki had known her friend's family, she had known very what the woman's stance on hero work was. She thought it was chaotic, and that it was a waste of money and resources that could be have allocated to other places.

Any time that Mari brought up her dreams... her mother would shatter them. It was hard to watch, and no matter how you tried to reason with the woman, she would just get stricter and stricter until she wouldn't budge at all. There had been countless nights where Mari would come to her apartment with tears in her eyes because of something that her mom did.

Mari didn't answer the question. She tensed up, looked frightened, and ran away.

Misaki stared at the spot where Mari once was. Her outstretched hand fell flat at her side. Should she chase after her and get the real story? Or would Mari try to stay far away from her? She likely needed some space. But what kind of person would Misaki be if she didn't try to get the bottom of what was hurting her friends?

Her attention turned back to the boy from general studies. He had at the very least offered an apology for using them as a means to get to the next wrong, he hadn't meant anything cruel by it. It was simply an ends to a means. It was a winner take all situation, she wouldn't hold it against the guy for doing what he had to do. He had just wished the two of them had asked first. It might have been hard to have faith in the world when it could be so cruel to the people living in it, but it was better to act with a good conscience.

It hurt more thinking that these two had been hurt so much that they had lost their believeth in others. If it was the last thing that she did, she was going to snap that idea out of them.

This wasn't the end of it.

Far from it.


"Watch where you're fucking going, plum."

They had a break before the finals so everyone could catch their breath and get something to eat if they needed it. She wasn't angry but she did feel very frustrated that she couldn't do anything for her friends. Here she had two friends that were struggling but at the same time, they were trying to push her away. Misaki decided that she would step out of the stadium so she wasn't feeling entombed by all of her own perplexing feelings. However, on her way out of the building, she walked straight into Bakugou and was promptly knocked onto her butt.

Her head felt heavy and her eyes felt wet.

It just seemed like her luck today to run straight into Bakugou before she could escape the hallway. She put up her front and rubbed her eyes. She hadn't been crying but she had damn near been on the brink of it; Now that she was in front of this guy, she refused to crack. Misaki got off of the floor and rubbed some of the dirt from her uniform off. Whipping her phone out of her pocket, she hurriedly typed out a message to him: Why don't you? You shouldn't be standing in the middle of the hallway in the first place!

"None of your business," he hissed. "You're the one that sticks out like a sore plum. Did someone hurt your feelings on the playground during the second round?"

Misaki narrowed her eyes at him. It wasn't like he could relate to what had happened. He didn't really have any friends... san maybe Kirishima, as that guy had really started to worm his way into hanging around with him for some strange reason. She just set out to typing: I have no idea what the hell happened during the second round, you angry pomeranian. Somebody used their quirk on me to get to the finals. So don't even get petty about what may or may not have happened out there because I have no clue.

Now, he seemed surprised to read that for some reason. Bakugou blanched but his expression quickly turned back to normal after that. "Heh. Should have known that was why you didn't react earlier."

Clearly she had stepped on his toes without even remembering that she had done it. Well, that was a point to her even if she didn't know what she had done this time. She sighed, adding onto that: Whatever. I'm not in the mood to bicker with you right now, Bakugou. What are you even doing out here, anyway? I thought you would have been psyching yourself up for the finals by taking it out on one of the practice areas.

He didn't say anything which she didn't expect. He was always so quick to debate her over the smallest things by shouting despite the fact that she couldn't hear whatever he was insinuating. Something was definitely up. His eyes flickered in the direction of the corridor to the left that was just ahead of them... as if he had been following something or waiting for something to appear. It seemed out of character for him.

Why was he even out this far?

Surprisingly, he gestured to where he was staring and Misaki walked beside him to get a peek at what he was looking at. She was surprised to see that it was Todoroki and Midoriya having a conversation at the end of the hall. She pursed her lips. What the heck were they talking about? Misaki turned her head to look at Bakugou but he had such a fiercely furious look on his face that she decided that now wasn't the time to bicker with him over something stupid like they always did.

From her spot, she could only make out every other word that the two of them said. She pieced it together best she could in her head, noting that Todoroki was still suspecting something about Midoriya. He hadn't given up on his theories on there was some kind of connection between Midoriya and All Might, and now he seemed to think that All Might was related to him.

Midoriya denied it. It was strange for him to do that. If he just said that he was learning from All Might directly, then Todoroki could have moved on from his assumptions and taken that at face value. Whatever he had against Midoriya now could be dealt with in a different way, then.

She knew that there was something between Midoriya and All Might. However, her assumption hadn't been to jump the shark and think that All Might was his Dad; She thought it was easier to say that since their quirks were both... strength related, it was possible that All Might was simply teaching him as a young protege. It wasn't uncommon for heroes to take students under their wing if they thought they could be as great as they were. All Might hadn't really ever taken a student before, but it wasn't like that couldn't happen.

It was the easiest option.

If they seemed similar... it had to be because All Might was teaching him his moves. At the very least, it was that or Midoriya was truly such a big fanboy that he learned everything he had by watching the number one hero fight throughout the years.

Todoroki turned from Midoriya and looked in the direction of the empty hallway. He hadn't seen or noticed Bakugou and her standing nearby, which was a bit of a surprise. "You're hiding something," he said pointedly. "My father is the number two hero, and if you're connected to the number one guy, then that's all the more reason for me to crush you. All Might has always been a roadblock to the old bastard, but he couldn't ever beat him. So, he came up with another plan to do it."

Todoroki began to tell the story of his childhood. How his parents had come together, not because they loved each other or anything, but because Endeavor wanted to have children that would have strong quirks to defeat All Might. Quirk marriages weren't common but they had existed for nearly as long as quirks had been around. He had taken it upon himself to sweep up Todoroki's mother to get his hands on her quirk. He pushed that woman to the brink of madness, and she had been so gone one evening that she took a kettle of boiling water and throwing it on the left side of his face.

Her hands covered her mouth to stifle any noise that might have tried to come out.

Misaki tensed up. It wasn't like she hadn't seen him get this way before. But today, the way that he phrased himself was... vicious... there was something in expression that just glowered and screamed anger, frustration, and rage. She could see it plainly now. Todoroki was doing all of this to get back at his father for years of abuse.

This admission was outright jarring. It was awful, and horrific to think there was someone out there who would use their own children to justify their means. There was no wonder left as to why he refused to use his fire quirk. She felt bad for even asking him about it. For the second time that day, she found herself frozen in her tracks and unable to chase after someone. She turned her back to the two boys and decided that she had seen enough of their conversation and that it was better kept private.

Satisfaction wasn't bringing this cat back to life.

Both she and Bakugou silently made eye contact. Neither of them was going to breathe a word of what they just saw to anyone. However, the reasons for that were different.


It was a lot to take in all at once but that was the way that it had to be.

Twice that day she had been stumped by means that were out of her hands. Both Todoroki and Mari were dealing with a lot in their personal lives and the idea that she couldn't do anything about that left her forgetting all about her other worries as far as the competition went. She sucked in a breath and watched as the bracket for the finals showed up on the screen, skimming the screen to see where her name was.

She noted that Midoriya would be facing off against that boy from general studies, who she now knew to be Shinso Hitoshi. A mysterious guy that Mari had found herself in league with. Was she friends with him or... had he... no, no. She knew Mari, and she chose to hang out with someone then they had to be a good person.

Uraraka had the pleasure of facing off against Bakugou first, that was going to be a sight to see. She had no worries about her friend but she knew that her nerves would be on edge. Anyone who had to go toe to toe with had a lot to handle. Mei was going to face Iida, in a surprising chain of events. It was likely that she would spend most of her round toying with him and showing off her babies.

Then, she finally noticed where her name was written.

[SHIMIZU MARI VERSUS HISAKAWA MISAKI]

Time stood still without her use of her quirk.

Chills ran down her spine and her head snapped to the side to catch a glimpse of the worried look that crossed Mari's face. Never had she thought that she would be facing against her friend like this, but it seemed that fate had other plans in store. They wouldn't even have a chance to talk about what had happened and what needed to be taken care of. They would instead have to hash it out with their quirks in front of Japan... and whoever won their match would have to fight...

Bakugou.

Man, the universe really had it out for Misaki.

Most of the games were a blur to her the moment she took her seat in the viewing area. Midoriya faced off against Shinso first, and while the guy had him on the ropes and nearly knocked him out of the ring, Midoriya used his quirk to break his finger to snap himself out of the quirk's effect. It was rather impressive that he could manage to do so! All and all, Midoriya won his match once Shinso realized there was no other option left, but as he left the ring defeated, it seemed as though his expression had changed.

Sero and Todoroki were next.

She sank down in her seat at the end of the row as she watched the two of them with a nervous dread filling her gut. The stadium had a chill to it that couldn't be ignored, and she had to wrap her arms around herself. The instant the match started, Todoroki used his ice quirk to encase half of the entire stadium in ice. It was so tall and imposing that it nearly touched the student boxes; There was ice seemingly a fraction of an inch from the front row of her classmates.

Misaki was staring down at Todoroki with her heart beating out of her chest.

He walked across the field after being declared the winner and said something to Sero that she couldn't read from her distance. However, she could see the heat enveloping his side for the first time since their first meeting and melting down the ice that he had created to nothing. He was clearly still distraught from what had taken place during the break and the fact that he overused his quirk proved it. Yet, there was nothing that anyone could seemingly do to help him.

That thought weighed heavy on her mind as she watched the next set of students get ready for their fight. When Hatsume entered the ring, she sat up at attention and leaned over to see what her friend would do. She might have been struggling with what was on her mind but that didn't mean that she wasn't going to cheer for her friend. Mei had lent Iida some of her support tools, and Midnight had okayed it because as long as both parties were alright with it then there was no need to stop it.

Midoriya and Uraraka were flabbergasted by the antics down below.

Misaki shook her head at those two. She tapped Uraraka on the shoulders and flashed her phone at the girl: Hatsume is one of my best friends. This is what she does. She makes gadgets in her sleep and that's her goal. She wants to show off everything that she has, so of course, she would lend out anything. This isn't about a match to her, this more of an advertisement campaign.

She smiled at her friend, shaking her head at the way her wicked grin ate up most of her face before continuing the other half of her message: She loves what she does and she's very passionate about it. She wants to be the kind of person that makes the tools that make hero work even easier for people like us. She's going to take at least a half-hour to explain what her tools do and the benefits. There are not just heroes looking for interns here, there's a lot of groups who want to take on students like Hatsume.

"She does have a lot of them," Midoriya mused. "That makes a lot of sense."

Misaki nodded her head. For good reason, she turned to the side and tapped her silver headset that hooked around her ears, and then typed out something else: She made this headset for me, too. I hadn't even asked her for any help. She just knew that I needed help with training my quirk, and then one day she hands me this and tells me to test it out. Hatsume really is an amazing person but a lot of people don't take her serious because she's so different from everyone else.

Their attention snapped back to the field below.

Just as Misaki had explained, Mei was whirling around the field with her own microphone that she had just probably hooked up by hacking into the system and cleverly dodging every attack that Iida tried without breaking a sweat. She using him for her own gadget means but there wasn't anything mean about that. She just really needed a goofy faced guinea pig that would do whatever she asked without even thinking about it.

Iida was, unfortunately, an ideal target.

It reminded her of that day when they first met. She had been trying to pick up her books and papers that had been knocked out of her hands by some of the students in her class, and Misaki had shown up and they scattered to the wind when she warned them about the teacher being nearby. She picked up half of Mei's books for her and smiled. Hatsume had been unsure of what to make of Misaki, but when she returned her property to her, it seemed as though she felt better about it.

Misaki whipped out her phone, and started to talk:  You're from Class B, right? I've heard the teachers talking about you a lot. They say that you're some kind of genius and you spend a lot of your time making stuff. That's really cool. I can't believe that we have someone like you in our school!

A wide grin appeared on Hatsume's face. It was like whatever she had been feeling was gone in an instant when she was praised. "My reputation proceeds me!" she had said, "Yes, that is me! The one and only Hatsume Mei, the next big support tech!"

It turned out that Hatsume had been on her way to test a few of her gadgets out in the field but she had forgotten some of her papers back in the classroom and that was when she got jumped by some of the other girls. That happened every now and again, it was something that she had grown used to and it didn't seem to bother her as much as it did Misaki upon learning it. Misaki offered to come and help her with testing because she was genuinely interested in seeing what she could create, and because she knew nobody would mess with Hatsume if she tagged along.

"I have to test out some of my babies today. I always test them outside. It's easier when the school is abandoned at night."

Misaki's eyes lit up: Can I watch?

The rest was history. Mei had been so jazzed that anyone wanted to help her because that had never happened before in her life. Sure, that afternoon had been the first one that something blew up in Misaki's face, but it was worth it to see how happy it made Mei. It had been a lot like this, and how she was treating Iida. She wanted to show how great what she could make was, and it wasn't great if it wasn't a big display of grander and big bangs. Not a lot of people ever got to appreciate the true Hatsume brand, but they really needed to.

She was just the kind of person that you needed in your life. Her friendship with Mei was something that she cherished, and watching her friend out there made her heart ease up just a bit. The instant that Mei ran out of gadgets to use out in the ring, she stepped out of the way and took a bow. Midnight declared her as the loser and really, she was the real winner as far as the market and big hats were concerned.

Everyone was flabbergasted by her antics but not Misaki, or Mari, they knew what to expect out of her and what would happen.

The next round was Uraraka and Bakugou. It was obvious that she was nervous about facing off against someone like him because she left rather quickly right after that match to psych herself up. Midoriya had been worried about her so he walked after her to make sure that she was alright before the match started.

The fight began not long after. It was a quick match. Bakugou went headfirst into the fray, his quirk firing off round after round towards Uraraka. Smoke and ash surrounded the field, allowing Uraraka to use her quirk and throw the blond off track by throwing her uniform to the wayside and going for a fake-out from behind. Bakugou thought he had her on the ropes but-

She had been using her quirk to build up a minefield over the stadium. She unleashed her quirk and sent down a torrent of earth and rock. Her final plan had been last-ditch and had all of her cards on the table; Bakugou lifted his hand into the air and blasted the rocks away from him. She tried to push herself harder after that but her quirk just couldn't take it. With her quirk overused, she fell to the ground. Uraraka had put up a good fight but her body just wasn't ready for this.

Bakugou was declared the winner.

The field was cleared up after the mess the two of them made and Todoroki and Midoriya took their places at either side of the ring. Uraraka plopped down into the seat next to Misaki right as Midnight was getting ready to start the match. She had been patched up by Recovery Girl but looked as though she had been crying about something. Misaki rested her hand against the girl's shoulder and smiled reassuringly. She had done her best, and that proved a lot to the world.

Uraraka was also nervous about Midoriya.

She typed out her message and flashed it to the girl: You're worried about him, aren't you?

Uraraka's cheeks turned even pinker than they already were. She tried to shake her head and deny but both of them knew the truth about that. She couldn't play this off to Misaki: Guess it's obvious, huh? I bet you're just as worried about Todoroki since the two of you are friends... er, were friends before this mess? I'm not sure how Deku's going to deal with all that ice.

Misaki frowned. She still wanted to think that the two of them were still friends in spite of what had happened. I just hope he doesn't break his arms again to beat Todoroki.

Todoroki's first move was to cover the field in ice all around. Midoriya didn't make a move at first because it seemed as though he was going to take the loss at face value, but then, he lifted his hand up and did as he had done in the earlier rounds. He broke one of his fingers with his quirk, and by doing that, it shattered the ice that covered the field. It was set whirling across and out of the stadium. Misaki didn't want to believe that he was about to do the same thing again, but he steadied his hand and the minute that Todoroki used his quirk again, he activated his and destroyed the ice.

He was going to shatter all ten of his fingers to win if he had to do it.

Neither of them could last that long. Midoriya only had so many fingers and Todoroki could only his quirk so much better he would wind up hitting a wall and having to stop. Physical quirks had limits that many of the emotional or mental quirks didn't. You could only fight for so long before your body called it quits and copped out.

So they danced along the boundary lines like that for a while.

Smoke would repeatedly cover the battleground and when it cleared the both of them would be looking more worse for wear then they had prior, only to do it once again... and again... and again.


Midoriya's right arm was looking bruised and purple. It was nearly torn to shreds. He knew that he wouldn't be able to keep fighting for much longer, and Todoroki knew very well that this was reaching the end. "Sorry for all this. I appreciate it, though, Midoriya. Thanks to you... He doesn't look too happy. With both hands destroyed, you can't fight anymore. Let's end this."

Midoriya lifted his hand up against the torrential ice wall and a blast covered the field. It was enough to blow Todoroki back to the other side of the field with the ice stopping him from leaving the safety of the ring. What Midoriya had lifted was his already broken hand. He hurt himself even further than he had already done, and for what?

"You're shivering... Todoroki." Midoriya breathed, noting the ice that had begun to encase him. He leaned forward despite the burning pain in his arms. He was giving it his everything and Todoroki still was denying his true power. This ice couldn't last forever and ever. He wasn't truly being him. He was suffering by only using half of his power. "You must have a limit to how much of that cold you can bear! Quirks are just physical abilities! You could always use that left side of yours to thaw yourself out, couldn't you?"

Midoriya shook with feeling. Midoriya shouted with all the determination in his body. "Everyone's... giving it their all! To win... To achieve their goals to make it to the top! And you're going to win with half your power?! I still... haven't put a scratch on you! Give me everything you got! Come at me!"

Just like that, they were both heading for each other, running to face the other with fists held high.

Midoriya was faster, he landed a hard blow before Todoroki could and was sent flying once again. Todoroki stumbled but he caught his footing before it was too late and he got knocked out. There was ice beginning to encase his skin and that was clear to everyone in the audience now. He was breathing hard and going much slower than he had before. It was because he was only using his ice ability now.

His determination to only use half of his quirk was his Achilles; Without his heat to balance out his fire, he was slowly freezing himself. Midoriya was shaking, trembling as he stood there and looked at Todoroki. He was feeling something so strongly about his classmate and he knew very well the words that this guy needed to hear.

Todoroki didn't see the big picture. Midoriya shook his head, staring right at his classmate as he held up his fist as he stumbled forwards. "Your power... is your own! It's your quirk, not his! Your quirk! You want to be a hero, right? That's fine, you're not bound by his blood! You decide! You choose who you want to be, Todoroki! So, use your quirk!"

Unbenounced to both of those boys, Misaki had left her seat and was gripping hard on to the fence in front of the student section as she watched both of them with bated breath. Those feelings that were burning through Midoriya were the same that had filled her chest. She could see it all from the monitors overhead, all of the words that fired back between the boy of them as they struggled on the battlefield for dominance.

Misaki sucked in a breath and ignored the shaking in her chest.

"You can do it, Todoroki!"

Everyone seemed surprised to hear the sound of her voice, but whatever feelings about that were quickly forgotten and pushed to the wayside as something sparked in Todoroki. It started with a bang and then everything changed. A swirling tornado of fire erupted from Todoroki out of nowhere. It was the kind of heat that couldn't be ignored by anyone. He had all of his power underneath him but he had pushed it away for so long. For so long he dodged her questions, her accusations, and thoughts about it like it was a shameful power that he didn't want to address.

Here was standing in all of his glory and power.

Todoroki was radiating power and Midoriya had drawn out his own power.

Energy encased the stage and the two of them went flying for each other with the intent to attack. The blast sent everyone back against their seats and holding on for dear life from the impact of those two quirks smashing together. Nobody moved and nobody said a damn word. When the dust had finally settled Todoroki was standing in the middle of the stage on his both of his feet and Midoriya was...

His body was slumped against the stadium wall and out of bounds.

"Todoroki moves onto the third round."


Misaki found herself headed straight for one of the waiting rooms after that match. Hers was up next, and while it was going to take a few minutes to put everything back together, she couldn't help herself but check some of the vacant rooms to see if Todoroki was in any of them. She had really wanted to talk to him about... well, everything that happened. Most of all, she really just wanted to make sure that they were still friends. She rather liked his company, and if she knew that she still had one of her friends, it would have made going into her match with Mari a lot easier.

She couldn't find him though, so she gave that up knowing that she only had a little bit to mentally prepare herself.

On her way to the entrance, she had passed one of the waiting rooms that Recovery Girl had set up, and Uraraka stepped out of there looking a little bit relieved. Midoriya must have been patched up as best as he could be, but she had to see him to just know for sure that things would be alright. Typical, but hey, it was good that people were worried about Midoriya after he did stuff like that.

"Misa! There you are!" She said.

Misaki nodded her head in response, tugging out her phone: Is Midoriya alright, then?

Yes. Though he's going to need to stay overnight. Uraraka looked a bit sad about that, but she quickly changed the beat of her drum by changing the subject: Are you alright? As soon as the match ended you ran off before anyone could say anything.

Misaki didn't think that anyone had noticed. After she had gotten riled up by all of those feelings, she just had to get out of there for a minute. It just felt like she was getting swallowed up: I'm sorry if I worried anyone. That was just really intense. I just... wanted to make sure that Todoroki was okay after that. But I guess he needs a minute to cool off after all that heat. I haven't been able to find him.

Uraraka watched as Misaki shifted from one leg to the other. It didn't make sense. Todoroki had hardly interacted with most of the others in class thus far but Misaki had somehow weaseled her way into his circle these days: Well, you are closer to him than most everyone in the class. I'm sure he'll come around later after your match.

Misaki's face sank at the mention.

It was funny that everyone thought that they were close. She didn't really feel like she knew him at all. He was just like a brick wall, he didn't talk about a lot of things but he was there. It would be a lie to say that she really knew him. But, she wanted to get to know him better so they could be actual friends this time around. Having friends was a lot harder then it seemed as Misaki had already failed to see Todoroki's pain clearly. She really needed to work better at noticing when something was up.

Knowing that she was going to have face Mari soon... She couldn't allow herself to fail her best friend any longer, either.

Uraraka rested a hand against her shoulder to get her attention once again: Are you... worried about your match? That girl is from General Studies like the boy Deku was up against... She might have an intense quirk like that guy but I'm not sure... You should be able to take her, though, with your quirk!

Misaki already knew what her quirk was and how hard it could be to fight. This kind of fight was actually something that Mari could be good at, if she used her quirk faster then Misaki could react, then she would knock her out of bounds in a minute: Her quirk is torrential tears, She can create huge torrents of water from her eye sockets and knock you down in an instant. It's a highly strenuous quirk that dehydrates her within minutes if she's not careful about how she applies it.

Uraraka blinked, once, twice, then a third time. It was a look that seemed to say: How do you know so much about her?

Misaki was quick to fill in those blanks and explain what she knew: She's my best friend. I've known her since we were kids, but I didn't know that she was attending U.A. this whole time. I thought she failed the entrance exam and didn't want to tell me when she heard that I had passed it. We both wanted to get into the hero class, but only I did. We had a little... spat earlier during the second round and things are a little rocky right now. I never thought that I would have to fight her so I'm a little torn up about it. I also don't understand why she's been so distant.

Uraraka was surprised to learn that. She pursed her lips and thought about it for a moment before responding: She's your best friend. I'm sure she has a good reason why she's been avoiding you, Misa. There's probably something else going on and you can't help that, you know?

Misaki's shoulders were tight. There was no denying the fact that she still felt like she had messed up. She felt like she should have known something was wrong and done something to help out: I feel like I should have tried harder to see her... like I've failed her as a friend. I didn't realize something was wrong and I just didn't pursue it hard enough. I failed her as a friend just like Todoroki. I didn't know he was having a hard time and he had to have some sense beat into him instead of what should have been done.

"Misaki!" Uraraka placed her hands on her friend's shoulders firmly. It was so strong and unlike the usual bubbly touch that she had. It snapped Misaki's attention back to Uraraka with wide eyes: You're not a bad friend. You've been trying your best and that's what matters! I haven't known you very long but you always go out of your way send me a positive text every morning! Heck, even the other girls. Sometimes people hide things and it can't be helped. You're not a bad friend because of those things, okay? You're doing the best that you can.

Misaki stared, then fumbled to type a response: Do you really think that?

Uraraka nodded her head with a big smile: Of course! We're friends and comrades, I would never tell you a lie!

She flipped through her phone to show her something else. It the chat room for all of the girls was open with different happy emojis and encouragement that had been posted in by the girls throughout the morning. She then flipped back to her text window: Think of our girl chat if you think you're unsure, we've all gotten closer over the last few weeks and lifted each other up! There's nothing here that tells me that you've been a bad friend to anyone. Everyone is working hard to be friends and you're a part of that.

Thank you, Ochako. That means a lot. Misaki bowed her head. She felt her eyes brimming with tears again but she held them back.

Uraraka shook head as if to say, it wasn't a problem: No problem, what are friends for, you know? You should get going. They just called for your match.

I'm going to do my best out there. Misaki affirmed as she raised her fist into the air. A sudden flow of confidence invaded her body. She could handle this now. Uraraka had really set her heart at ease. She stashed her phone away and headed in the direction of the field. She had never intended to fight Mari, but if that was what she had to do to make things better then she was going to do it. If it worked with Todoroki and Midoriya, then it would surely be able to work with Mari.

Uraraka stood there with her hand against the wall as she watched Misaki disappear. Today was proving to be a very difficult day for everyone so far, but it was also turning out to be a good thing as well; With the way, everyone was discovering new parts of themselves and different things they didn't know about their own powers. She had even learned something about herself. Uraraka took in a breath of air and turned around to head back to the student section.

Her eyes flickered in the direction of the hall to her right.

"You should really try to talk to her after her match, okay, Todoroki? She seemed upset about you."

 

Chapter Text

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)

Chapter Eleven

Burn The House Down


Misaki kept her eyes directly ahead of herself as she walked into the open air. The sun was shining overhead and the crowd was watching with keen intention to see what the next match would be like. After the last few students had blown things out of the water compared to what it had been like in prior years that had since past, seeing another round of interesting quirks enticed the crowds. Her focus wasn't on those people that were waiting to see who would win and who would lose, no, her grey eyes were steadfast on her opponent.

"I don't want to hurt you, Misaki." was the first thing that Mari said.

"You want to be a hero just as much as I do," Misaki responded. "This is a step in on that road. If someone gets a little bruised then that's how it is."

"I know."

Misaki took one step forward as she settled in her waiting spot. It wouldn't be long now. "So put your hands up and make it a good fight. I know your Mom is watching this. Let's show her how good you are."

"I never meant to lie about the school," she started to say. "I just did not know how to handle it. Mom yelled at me for hours after I even took the exam. She was angrier when I got in at all."

"I knew something was wrong. I am not upset with you. I am a little sad that you thought you could not ask me for help. But I am not mad. You do not have to tell me about it if you don't want to." Misaki said, simply. It had become clear that this was about a lot more than just school. It had started with more than just that and fizzled more and more out of control as the days passed by.

"..."

"You are always worried about what your Mom thinks. But what you should be more worried about is what you think about yourself. You can make your dreams a reality even if you have to start from the bottom. But you have to do it the right way." Misaki said. She dared to take a few steps forward, her feet the only sound making the impact around them as Mari watched her friend come closer and closer and her feet refused to budge from their spot on the pavement.

Mari couldn't run away from the problem anymore but she didn't want to deal with this. There was no escape if she turned tail and ran like a child. If she didn't do what she needed to do then there would be no hope in proving her dreams to be something that could happen. She had to ignore the burning in her eyes and face it.

She made a mistake and now she had to make up for it.

It could only be fixed by fighting it out.

"You can start by doing it right now. Let's fight fair and square."

Mari hesitated. "But what if I give it my all and lose?"

Misaki didn't budge from her spot. She kept her eyes trained onto Mari as if the girl would blow away if she turned her head. "You'll just have to make sure you don't, or that if you do, you can say that you did everything you could in the end. I know you're scared of your Mom. Don't let her control your life anymore, Mari. You always wanted to be a hero. You're going to do it. I know you have it in you."

They both knew that it was hard to speak to that woman. It was a long fight that never seemed to have an end to it. If she would never change her mind about Mari, then Mari had to stop and learn that her life was her own. Just as Todoroki had realized that he could use his quirk and not feel bad for it belonging to a person like his own Ddd.

What mattered was that Mari stopped listening to whatever else thought of her and she starts thinking for herself for once in her life. Mari was just scared of what that meant. What it could mean to walk forward without fear.

What would it be like to feel as free as the river flowing endlessly into the ocean... going on and over forever? Would it be liberating to be able to do what she wanted? Or would it feel like the cage she was in right now?

She took a step back, nervously shaking her head. Her breath was caught in her throat. "She hates everything that I want to be. You know that. If I can't prove myself here than what's the point? If I can't prove that I can be strong and win... if I... I'm going to only be proving her right if I can't beat you here, Misaki. You can't just say I can be brave when I'm not."

Misaki sucked in a breath. Her shoulders had tightened and she felt pain, pain for her friend and anger that she felt so scared about everything. She was everything and more than what her mom thought of her, and if she had to fight her to make her see that, she was going to do it. "You told me that you wanted to be a hero because you want to prove that even crybabies can make a difference. Rain or shine, win or lose. That was your dream! Do you think that you'll be able to be a great hero if you can't even stand up to your own bully now?!"

Mari didn't say anything.

"Don't make me beat some sense into you!"


"Did I miss anything?"

Uraraka had just gotten back to the student section and it seemed as though Misaki's match had already started. She plopped down in her seat next to Iida and Tokoyami as they directed their attention to the girls down below. Neither of them had made a move to strike yet, Midnight had just gotten ready to begin the match. She pursed her lips. It seemed as though the two of them were talking about something but she had no clue what it was since she wasn't the best versed in JSL.

Some of the girls had picked up learning little things thanks to the references that Misaki had provided them, but she wasn't skilled enough to pick apart full sentences.

"They've been talking for a moment, but I'm afraid I don't know what it's about," Iida told her with a nod. "Though, it seems to be important as they've been intensely serious."

Uraraka didn't know a lot about Misaki's background, heck, she hadn't even known that she had a best friend in one of the other classes. Sure, she had mentioned some now and again, but she had assumed that Misaki had been talking about Hatsume. Hatsume had teamed up with them during the second round and decisively confirmed that she was Misaki's friend as well as other things as they got ready for the round. She knew that something had happened between Misaki and Shimizu, but whatever that was...

she didn't know.

All of a sudden someone ricocheted into the seat between Uraraka and Iida with a loud thud. It hadn't been an attack so then what was the cause of that very sound? The students from class 1-A were staring wide-eyed at the sudden appearance of a wild Hatsume Mei amongst them. She had gotten herself comfortable and kicked back in her seat as the two students stared, slack-jawed.

"Hatsume?! Where did you come from?!" Iida lifted his hand in question, sternly correcting the pinkette for her appearance. "You know you should be the Support Studies class!"

"Are you still sore about earlier? I did apologize for using you for my benefit, should be dust in the wind now, this is the best spot to watch both of my friends, hope you don't mind!" Mei waved his worries away like her hand and looked amongst the others. "I came to offer my services as an apology for then if that seems to be what has your pants in a bunch! I can translate if you're curious."

"You know what they're saying, then?" Uraraka asked, curiously.

"I mean those two are my best friends from middle school. They always talk to each other like that, since they've been friends for years longer then I've been around. I learned it fairly quickly since that's Misaki's preferred means of communication," She said. "I could have made a cute baby to enhance her ability to speak but she refused that!"

"I see," Iida nodded.

It did make sense, after all. As long as any of them had known Misaki it had been clear that she didn't see any of her abilities as a setback. She took her deafness in stride and made a show of proving herself just as worthy as the rest of them. She was very prideful about it, and if anyone brought it up, she was the first to tell them off.

Uraraka was now curious to learn the story behind the two of them. Misaki was so kind, and forthcoming to others. The idea that she would be having trouble with anyone seemed a little impossible. "Then... you wouldn't happen to know why the two of them had a falling out, would you?"

Hatsume turned her head away from the trio and centered her focus on the two girls that were circling the stadium floor.

In spite of how easy it was to joke and play around with things. It was hard to watch the two of her friends dealing with this. She knew that it was going to happen sooner or later, and while it was a weight off of her shoulders knowing that neither party could avoid things any longer, she just hoped that both of them would come out unscathed.

"You see, Mari's mom is kind of a tyrant." She started to say, "Any time she brings up that she wants to her a Pro, her mom pretty much destroys her dreams faster than one of my baby's blows up on a bad day! After she failed to get into the hero course, her Mom told her that if she didn't make it there by the end of high school, then she would have to give it up forever. Misaki's always been the one to help Mari when she fails and if it wasn't for her... Mari would have given up a long time ago. So, she got it into her head that she couldn't tell Misaki that she failed and that the only way to prove she was strong enough to make her dreams real was to do it alone."

"Of course, I told her that that was the dumbest idea I ever heard in my life, but you can't argue with that crybaby! I've been playing tug of rope with the two of them but not anymore! Misaki's been in the dark about all that's happened, so when she found out that Mari had gotten in U.A., she was pretty shocked, I can imagine! Now that I've finished my fabulous display of babies, I can focus on my friends. They have to sort out that awkward tension down there with this fight! I'll be glad when they kiss and makeup so I can have my two assistants back!"

Everyone stared at the girl, a bit perplexed.

"...Assistants?" Uraraka asked, unsure if she wanted to know the answer.

Mei's boisterous laughter ran throughout the arena. "You don't think I'm a one-woman-show, do ya? The only way to get my babies to be absolutely perfect is if I have test dummies to use! They're the most willing participants I've ever had. Misaki takes it in stride if something explodes and sends her flying across the room. It's truly beautiful!"

Suddenly, a few of their classmates felt bad for Misaki.


The match had begun whether Mari and Misaki were ready for it or not. Neither one had made a move on the other, just circling one another, waiting for the other to draw.

Then, Misaki made the first move as she raced towards Mari with her fist held high.

Mari's eyes widened, and then she activated her quirk. Torrents of water shot from her eyes and as she was already emotionally spent, her power was at its peak. Misaki barely managed to dodge the attack by rolling onto the pavement and coming within inches of the boundary line, her chest rising and falling with adrenaline as she got back onto her feet as quickly as she could manage before Mari set off another round of water jets in her direction.

Round and round they went in the arena as Mari used her quirk to cover the field in water, as well as try to knock Misaki down; She would come this close to reaching her friend but she would activate her quirk, and get this much ahead of her before releasing it.

Misaki would dodge the blasts by using her quirk. She would dance in and out of Mari's field of vision as she got closer and closer to Mari's spot on the field. She would scramble to move within the battlefield with the hope that moving around would make it harder for her friend to get ahold of her in spite of her quirk.

Touch and miss.

One of them would get right to the other, and then their opponent would dodge.

It was a cruel game of cat and mouse.

Mari did her best to keep pushing herself beyond her limits. However, she knew that sooner or later there would be no more water in her body to keep up with her attacks. How long would she be able to keep her quirk up before she ran out of fluids? Misaki could have ended this in mere seconds but she was dragging this out, right? It should have been all that easy for her to end the match. Why was she pushing this out when she could win everything without even trying?

Seeing the twinkling lights that danced around the field when Misaki would use her quirk was like a taunt. She would always be chasing those stars in front of her, no matter what she did, she just couldn't seem to pass them—

to pass Misaki.

She wanted to be the person that people could see themselves in. She wanted everyone scared of making a change to look at her and realize that anyone could be a hero. Her dream was to a beacon of light in the sky that everyone could see. As far as Mari was concerned, she already saw Misaki in that light.

The cornerstone of her dreams was already starting to come to fruition. It was a selfless dream as much as it was a passionate selfish dream.

Even before she had met Misaki and before she had gone on this path to where she was today, she had long dreamed of reaching for the top and grasping it in her hands. From a young age, she had known that the world wasn't fair to people. It was like the universe had something against her family and her entire existence. She had seen it in her Mother's eyes when she was a child and when Inari was a baby.

How cruel injustice could lead to the destruction of a family, how one mistake a hero makes can ruin someone's life just as much as a hero's justice could make the difference in the face of adversity.

One mistake could cost someone their life.

And that day, that horrible day that nobody would speak about, the life that had been taken at a hero's mistake had been her father's own. She had never breathed a word of what had happened to anyone, not even Misaki. But it was that day that her mother changed and she refused to let any talk of heroes be in a positive light in their house. She blamed the hero society for what had happened. How were they so great if they could lead to someone losing their own life?

What good were heroes if they couldn't save everyone? What good was it if they fucked up just as much as everyone else? What good could be found in people that choose to be larger than life, and couldn't hold up to that standard? What good could be done by choosing to be the very thing that caused the death of her father?

She had only started to open up about these feelings and these fears recently. When she was with Shinso... it was like she could talk about without limitation or fear, he understood where she was coming from, and not once did he make her feel as though as she had to hide the truth. He had listened to every word that she had said and took it in stride.

She could still see his purple irises in her memory.

She broke down.

It just hit her hard when she saw Misaki out there, training with her classmates and not having a care in the world. She was pushing herself, and she would get back up every time she fell. It just slipped out. She said one thing and then the rest of it just... come out all at once. How frustrated she was with herself, how her mom blamed quirks and heroes for everything, how her mom looked at her and told if that if she followed the path of a hero that she shouldn't even bother coming home.

"I understand, Shimizu. You shouldn't beat yourself up over what your mom says because it's not true. You said yourself that you're going to be a hero so she'll just have to deal with it. You're not the one that fucked up out there. It's a crock of shit, really. What matters is what you're going to do to change this society and how people like her think." Shinso didn't look at her as he spoke, as the two of them stared out of the window and into the cities' horizon.

"Fact is, I'm going to be doing the very same thing.  People look at my quirk and only see what harm it can do, not the benefit that it can have. I'm going to make them realize what I'm capable of, even if I have to claw my way to the top."

"Do you really think I could do that?" She asked him, sincerely.

"Can you cry enough liquid to fill a swimming pool?" His sarcasm was fresh as he replied. "If you're going to stick around my side then you could stand to grow a backbone."

Mari stared at him, incredulous. She shook the look of disbelief off of her face "Hey! I have a backbone!"

"Sure you do."

He was right.

She didn't have one.

Any time she voiced her opinion on her dream, her mother would smack it down.

Mari didn't want to be the kind of hero that caused pain. She wanted to be the kind of person that would everything for anybody, and if she messed up, she would be the first to sink to her knees and do whatever it took to make things right. She wanted her Mom to believe again, she wanted the light to come back to that woman's eyes.

She didn't just want to be a hero for the sake of her dreams as a child, nor did it lay on being the kind of hero that her brother could believe in.

Mari wanted to be a hero because...

because...

Her emotions had finally gotten the better of her. Through her flooded tears, she had made a mistake and Misaki had appeared in front of her, at last, and she knocked Mari across the ring almost to the boundary line.

Mari cried out, frustrated.

She knew that she was screaming at the wind. All of her feelings were just starting to become too much on her body, and the flood of tears to her eyes wasn't just from her quirk. Her chest heaved with exhaustion and her vision was starting to blur from overusing her power, Misaki approached her slowly, and when she reached her friend she stopped in her tracks and didn't move. She stared down at her, instead, her eyes were not filled with pity, but sadness.

Mari stared back at her, her heart heavy. She didn't get up at first. She laughed at how ridiculous this all was. "Why won't you end this?! I know you can beat me whenever you want! I know the inevitability. I know I can't beat the truth! So just tell me it's pointless and that I can't change how my mother thinks! She will always blame heroes for what happened to Dad, and she'll always hate what I want to be."

Misaki was always too kind.

She was always far too understanding and accepting of people, even if they hurt her once or twice. She had even accepted the apologies from people that had bullied her in the past, understanding that children didn't always understand how to accept a difference. She took her pain and grief in strife without falling apart. Mari had always admired that.

It just stung that she was on the receiving end of one of those looks.

Misaki shook her head. "I don't know what happened in the past that made things worse with your Mom. But I have always believed in you, Mari. Mei believes in you. I know your new friend believes in you. You can do everything that you set out to do. You got into U.A., it doesn't matter that it wasn't the hero course on the first try. The acceptance rate is still strict for everyone. The fact that you got in at all means that they believe in you. You've already proved that you are something special. If you keep fighting for your dream, and you be the brave crybaby I know?"

"You'll be a hero. You'll be one of the best. You're my best friend no matter what happens here. I want to be there with you as we make our dreams come true. So, let's finish this." She said. It went without saying that the two of them would have to talk about everything once this was over, but the way that she spoke just said that things might be different but they would still be best friends.

Misaki held out her hand for Mari to grab.

Mari stared at her for a moment and then took her hand. She stood back on her wobbly legs and began to take a few steps back. She motioned for her friend to come to her with all that she had. That was the straw that broke the camels back. The two of them raced for each other with everything that they had left in their bodies.

Mari tried to ignite her quirk but what she had left wasn't enough, and it hit Misaki but it didn't push her back.

The water just dripped onto the ground like that. She still went for it. Just trying to go about this the old fashioned way with her hands. Misaki hit her with everything she had in one punch and Mari was sent flying back out of the ring with a vision of stars blurring at the edges of her tired vision. Today, her real all just wasn't enough to beat Misaki, but she accepted that things might be different in the future.

Misaki stumbled onto her knees not long after that, her own body screaming at her for pushing it close, still very conscious but inside of the ring, however.

She was declared the winner.


"Ugh!"

Mari tried to sit upright the instant that she woke up. Her vision was darkened and her hands went to her face where she felt cloth covering both of the tired eyes. She had overdone it then. Recovery Girl had done her a solid by protecting her eyes from any more damage.

Any time that she overextended her quirk, it would put a drain on her eyes and it would take a little while before they would be properly wet again. She struggled with a major case of dry eye for a few days.

"...Who won the match?" she immediately asked.

"Miss Hisakawa won the match." Recovery Girl said. She rubbed her hands together, sighing. "You shouldn't try to get up after that. You'll wind up hurting yourself more. You're going to need to replenish your fluids after using them all up like that. I've got you hooked up but it's going to be a little while. We can't shock your system too much. It was pretty reckless to push yourself that far, Miss Shimizu. In the future, I would hope that you take more care of your quirk by hydrating properly."

"Yes, ma'am," Mari said.

She knew that she had pushed it, nut it felt like she had done all that she could for once. There was no regret for her loss. Misaki had given her a fair shot and won. Once Recovery Girl had made herself clear, she settled in her bed and waited in the quiet. How long had she been out for and had Misaki made it any further in the games?

Footsteps became louder as someone appeared in the door, a little out of breath and probably disheveled, but whoever it was sighed in relief. "Mari," the voice said. "I didn't think you would awake when I got here!"

"Mei," she smiled. "Here I thought you would be out there cheering for Misaki instead of coming down here. What brings you to my hospital bed?"

It was good to hear her voice after all of that.

Mei had been a rock for her this entire time. Keeping the secret for her as long as she did had been a real challenge. She could be a real blabbermouth when she wanted to be one. But... she had been right about telling the truth in the end, after all, despite how much Mari had tried to believe that it wouldn't. She was always right, unfortunately. She just seemed to have the game of life figured out to a degree that the rest of them hadn't quite yet gotten to.

It's always the person that you least expect.

"I knew you would stop by sooner or later, Shimizu! Glad to see you appreciating my new laboratory before school starts to hustle and bustle. I've been taking advantage of the lack of students and the soundproof walls! I've had some mishaps but grand discoveries for my future babies, I have screwed up and rebuilt those screwups to perfection! You won't believe what I have access to!"

Mei hadn't been kidding when she said that she had been spending her free time at the school. They let the students that were joining the support class spend a lot of time here before the year officially began. They had the chance to work on things that would be helping the first years, and Mei had jumped at that chance. She received the phone and then sprinted to the station in the middle of a phone call with Mari. It had been that serious of a situation for her. She had been putting her time to good use.

There were dozens of prototypes all over the place.

"It's impressive," Mari noted. "But, I didn't come here about that."

Mei was in the middle of working on something as they spoke. She had lowered herself underneath what appeared to be a huge bomb, but Mari knew that it wasn't. She was trying to fine-tune something, and whatever it was, if she asked, she wouldn't ever hear the end of it. Ever the one to be quick, and without a filter, Mei didn't miss a beat when she responded.  "It's about Misaki, isn't it? How you've been ignoring her texts! I've already had a couple of messages from her about where you are, I figured it was only a matter of time till you spoke to me about it."

"Promise me that you won't tell Misaki about this. Okay? I can't bear the thought of ruining her first day knowing that I didn't make it there with her. It'll just be for a little bit. I want her to be able to settle into school without worrying about hurting my feelings. She needs to get used to it, me not being there with her, I mean."

Mei didn't stop tinkering with the project she was working on. She ducked her head underneath the metal, and continue soldering parts that needed to connect. "I still think this is a stupid idea. She would be happy just knowing that you got into the school. Otherwise, she's going to waste a lot of time thinking about where you are. You can't ignore her forever, ya' know."

Mari sighed. She clutched at the ends of her skirt and turned away from the girl. "I know, Mei."

"If you know then you should do the right thing. Rip off that bandaid before you get too scared to do it. You can't chicken out at now of all times." Mei's voice rang out from underneath the baby.

"...I know, Mei. I didn't come here to get lectured. I came here because you're the only other friend that I have," she admitted. "I already messed up by ignoring Misa for this long. I don't want to fuck anything else up... you guys are the only people that I have."

The heat from the gun stopped emitting as she shut it off and rolled out from underneath the machine. She lifted the mask off of her face and gave her one of those rare sympathetic looks that you hardly ever saw appear. She sprang onto her feet and pressed her hands to Mari's shoulders tightly. "I won't claim to ever understand the intricacies of emotional connections. It's an imbalance of chemicals inside of our heads that I haven't cracked, but if I know anything, and I sure as hell know a lot of things, it's that you don't have to worry about me ignoring you."

The smile on her face for some reason made Mari's heart quicken.

"I value our relationship," Mei said.

Mari swallowed. "Yeah, I don't know what I'd do without you."

The memory was as clear as day.

"What? I can't want to check up on you? That's cold, Mari, here I thought the two of us were good friends!" Mei's laugh was a little strange today. There was an edge to it that had something in it that wasn't normal.

Mei took a seat at her bedside, it sounded like she had been... worried. That was strange coming from that girl. There hadn't been a time where it seemed like she had made anyone concerned... especially not Mei. The two of them had always been back and forth, teasing and pulling the other's leg when push came to shove. It was just the kind of dynamic that they always had. Mei liked to bother Mari and Mari would play into it with a blush on her face the entire time.

It was... their normal.

"You were right, Mei."

Mei did a double-take as if shocked to be hearing those words. "What? Excuse me? Am I hearing the great Shimizu Mari admitting that she was wrong about something?"

Mari merely shook her head. Her fingers dug into the fabric of her shirt. "You were right about being honest with Misaki. I was being silly getting so worked up over all of that. I should have known that she would understand. She wasn't even mad at me for fucking up like that. I should listen to you more often... honestly. Look, all I'm saying is I knew that I should have listened to you from the start but... I just didn't want to face the facts. Face the fact that you were right, again."

Mei didn't know how to react to that. So, she just started to laugh. "Hahahaha! Don't look so beaten up about it! It's like it's the end of the world when I'm right!"

Mari grabbed at the air until she located Mei's hand. She gripped it tight and pulled her in for a hug. Mei was jostled, but she accepted it after a moment of brief hesitation. Her eyes may have been dry but she was still crying from the events of the day on the inside. It meant so much that Mei was here even after all of this. She understood that she and Misaki might not want to hang around her, but neither of them had given up on her. It meant even more much that she could still hold onto them.

"I'm sorry for being a bad friend, not just to Misaki, but you too. I shouldn't have made you pick sides or keep secrets. That was just as wrong as lying to Misaki in the first place. I know this must have been hard for you too. You don't have to say anything. I'll do better in the future. I need to sit down with you and Misa and talk about a lot once today is over... okay?"

Mei was quiet, but she gently patted Mari's back. "Yeah. Once today is done."

"Am I interrupting something?" Both of the girl's heads shot in the direction of the doorway where Shinso Hitoshi was standing.

He rubbed the back of his head, unsure of what to make of those two. He hadn't realized that someone would be visiting Mari after all that, and he really didn't know what to think when he realized that it was that wild child from the support class. When Mari mentioned that she really only had two friends, he really hadn't thought that one of those two would have wound up being this type of person.

Mari couldn't see him but she was smiled broadly. She had been one of the firsts to clap him on the back after he held his own against that kid with the freaky quirk, even though her mind had been swelling, she had been so damn proud of him for proving himself. Hell, the entire class had been proud of him for fighting and holding his own.

She shook her head, and waved, in spite of the dizziness that bothered her every time she moved. "Shinso! I wasn't sure if you were going to stop by. No, no, there's... nothing going on!"

"I just wanted to make sure that you were alright," he said. "You took a pretty big blow to the head thanks to your friend out there. Everyone from our class was worried about you, actually. But I see that you're wrapped up nice and tight."

Mari rubbed the back of her head. "Yeah, yeah. Recovery Girl said that I'm gonna have to stay here for a while after overusing my quirk. Mei here was just checking up on me after that mess of a fight went down. After all, she's one of my really close friends. Oh, right, you haven't met her before, right? I've said enough that you probably figured that out already but... Hatsume, this is Shinso Hitoshi, Shinso, this is Hatsume Mei."

Shinso made eye contact with Hatsume and nodded his head. "Sup. The girl with all the gadgets, right?"

Mei wasn't sure what to make of this guy. Mari had made it sound as though she was very fond of him, but he was one of the reasons that she had let things drag out as long as she did with Misaki. Well, she wouldn't pass any judgments now. Not when she could make another business appeal! "You are correct, sir! It's a shame I don't have anymore on me because I've been thinking about how you could fine-tune your quirk!"

"Oh, really?" He cocked his head to the side. Shinso didn't waste a lot of time with people, but, hey, if this girl had something to show him then he wouldn't be the one to tell her no.

Mari laughed. She should have expected that. She had half-expected that the girl would have been watching the match with her eyes and writing with her hands. "Don't even get her started, Shinso. She's been barking at the walls for weeks now trying to get me to hear about what she has planned for me. Don't tell me you have already made sketches, Mei?"

Mei's lips curled into a wicked grin. "Oh, I've got plenty after I watched everyone today. I think the two of you have a lot of wasted potentials that we could build on with some of my precious babies, what do you say?!"

This could be the start of a lovely new relationship.


Bakugou Katsuki was many things to everyone. Whatever that was didn't matter to him right now. If people didn't get with the picture and understand where he was coming from, then why should he bother? Pretty much everyone in their class had figured out two things about Bakugou, one was that he couldn't stand Midoriya, and the second was that he was always going to argue with Hisakawa if they made eye contact.

All Misaki saw him as was a pain right now. He was standing in her way to victory to prove him wrong and she was determined to make a point with him. He had started it by calling her a stupid nickname, and now all she wanted to do was wipe that smug look off his face. She had made that abundantly clear with him. On the tip of a hat, she changed her mind about being a pain in the ass, going full extra by declaring war on him the first day.

Now, this was a fight that he had been waiting for.

If she wanted to take him on, then so be it. He would beat her before she even knew he was coming. He had had the time to prepare for that stupid quirk of hers and no way in hell was he going to let her touch him and win. He had blown through the others with ease and now the only thing standing in his way was Hisakawa Misaki on the opposing end of the field.

She was going down like the rest of these extras.

As he rubbed his hands and set off minor explosions, he stared Misaki down with a wicked glint in his eyes. Bakugou made sure that he was looking straight into those grey eyes as he spoke, "I'm ready to blow you to pieces, plum."

Misaki had one of those looks on her face like she wasn't about to be destroyed in two seconds flat. It annoyed him. She needed to learn her lesson about putting herself places nobody asked her to be. She would stop going out of her way to save him when he didn't ask for it. She shouldn't have ever bothered to waste her time during the entrance exam nor during at U.S.J. He could have handled it. He didn't need anyone to get in his way to help him to the top when he could do it squarely on his own.

Nobody was going to trample his pride.

Not shitty Deku, and sure as hell, not this plum.

Misaki stood her ground with her feet firmly planted on the ground. That look in her eyes was sharp, and her fingers were just twitching at her side, waiting to activate her quirk, but he knew she could be stopped with his speed and the right force. She looked back at him, unwavering in her stance, mouthing the words, "I'd like to see you try, pineapple."

Bakugou twitched. Who the hell did she think she was calling him something stupid?

The match had begun with the rise and fall of Midnight's hand.

He made the first move in the blink of an eye.

Bakugou moved in a flash and was above the purple-haired girl with an explosion propelled towards her, she scrambled out of the blast zone by rolling to the side and springing to her feet as quickly as she could manage. He just had to keep her on the ropes before she had a damn chance to use her quirk. That was the trick to beating someone who supposedly had all of the time in the world. Her endurance was shit compared to his. He had seen her blackout from using her quirk too damn much once before.

That was the key.

Be quicker than she was.

Not hard!

"I won't let give you time to activate that!" Bakugou growled.

Misaki's eyes widened. She wouldn't be able to dodge him forever, just the same as that round face, even if they put up a worthy fight against him and lasted longer then the rest of these idiots, Bakugou would come out on top every time. It was too easy with this girl. She was repeating the pattern that she had used earlier against that girl from General Studies. Buying her time until she thought she had an edge on him.

But Bakugou wasn't as weak as that girl. She wouldn't be able to do that with him.

He changed direction and launched another attack in her direction—

Misaki was knocked back onto the pavement, hard.

He nearly counted his blessings but she came without inches of the edge of the chalk line, rather than outside of it. He shook his head, annoyed. He ran forward with the intention of putting her out of her misery but she gritted her teeth, getting up once again and moving before he could hit her outside of the ring.

Thus it began, he would launch attack after attack, and she would get closer and closer to getting burned each and every time that she dodged him.

It was obvious that she had to change her plan, but as she was running from side to side of the field, it was like she couldn't make up her mind. Bakugou was pleased with that. At least, until he realized that her dodges had gotten quicker, and the glimmer of stars in his vision meant that she was using her quirk now. She moved from the right side of the field to the left without the blink of an eye. He pushed himself harder, spring his attacks as close as he could get to her, but Misaki was proving herself.

She jumped out at his side, sticking out her tongue in a taunt before disappearing in a blur as he used his quirk on his left, only for her to appear on his right side mere seconds later. She continued this pattern for a moment, sprinting around him until he was so riled up about her stupid quirk, that he didn't notice where they were standing.

The second her hand lifted and made contact with her hair in front of him, he realized what she was doing but his body was frozen before he could move; This had been a distraction from her real goal. When he regained his clarity, his body was mere inches away from the edge of the ring, Misaki's quirk shorting out right before she had him where she wanted him.

Bakugou spun around, "You aren't using that trick on me again!" He told her, before kicking her back and out of his way.

Misaki rolled against the pavement until she came to a stop just short of the boundary line behind her once again. She pushed herself against the ground with her hands and wobbled back onto her feet. Her quirk was just as physical as his. There was a limit to how long she could do that and it was obvious she was bordering on the last of that energy. She rubbed the blood from her lip and narrowed her eyes at him.

There wasn't any time to rest.

He wouldn't give her that chance again.

He began to run in her direction, and she disappeared from his line of sight. Bakugou had figured out her strategy, turning around as quickly as he could and setting off an explosion in her face. She hit the pavement once again with a loud thud and rolled over onto her back. Her chest rose and fell once as she stared up at the blue sky overhead. He almost assumed she had accepted defeat then, but, she crawled back onto her legs and stood upright.

Bakugou would give the plum credit for one thing: she was stupidly determined. Misaki made her move and he pushed her back onto her ass every single time.

He did it again, and again, and again.

"Go down already!"

She would be late to react against the blows that he sent her way but she would get back up every time that he did it, and they repeat this process for quite some time. Minutes flew by, and their breath was equally ragged; Aching joints and burning lungs weren't any excuses for either of these teenagers to fall down and take defeat.

When Bakugou moved to do it once more—

Misaki took a chance. She reached forward with his fist and clutched onto the collar of his coat with a hard fist, nails digging into the fabric so she had a good hold onto him. She looked at him and then sucked in a breath, as though she was trying to try something that was going to be her make it or break it tactic to win. The array of static that left her fingertips was a sign that she was activating her quirk.

She reached up and flipped her hair over her shoulder and time came to a screeching halt around both Hisakawa and Bakugou.

Something was very different this time, however, when she was supposed to disappear from his line of sight she didn't. As a matter of fact, he was still aware of everything... but the sound of the crowd and the people... the wind... all of it, all of it was gone. There was no sound whatsoever left in the world. It was like something had hit a switch and part of his senses had been robbed from him. Eerie, was the only word that he could find to describe the sensation of not knowing what had happened.

It was like... it was like he was... His face ran white as if an unspoken fear ran down his spine and stole his attention. Then, he realized he could hear his own breathing, and as quickly as the fear had come, it was washed away. "What the fuck did you do? Where the hell are you, plum?! Come on out and fucking fight me!"

Bakugou looked left, and the looked right. Everything had come to a complete halt around them as far as his eyes could see, although, it seemed like the clouds in the distance were still rolling by, he couldn't be sure because he immediately started to look for Misaki. It was quiet except for the sound of the explosion he had just set off as he demanded that she come out of hiding.

"I don't know what the hell you did but it doesn't matter. I'm still going to win!"

The sound of footsteps came from behind him.

Bingo.

He caught her wrist as she launched herself at him, holding her up high off of the ground as he smirked. She struggled against him but he didn't let go for anything. "Nice try, plum," he said, pointedly. "This is your damned quirk, right?"

Misaki slowly nodded her head in confirmation.

"Well, it's not going to make a difference. You're still going to lose right here and right now." Bakugou sent her flying across the field with one strong blast. She nearly left the field, only staying in because she managed to land on her feet like a cat and tumble inside rather than out. It would have been easier for her to give up, but she had to be been a pain.

So, they started it all over again, this time without the world watching them fight. He moved and then she moved. A dance with no end in sight. It was no different than the game of cat and mouse that they had started earlier, but this time, Misaki seemed to be moving faster then he was somehow. All of his attacks slowly but surely started to miss their mark. He knew that it couldn't be him that was the problem, he had been practicing for years and never missed his target.

It would be off by centimeters, then inches, and then feet.

What the fuck was wrong?!

He kept missing his mark!

Yet she could land punches on him like it was nothing!

His ears were starting to ring from the lack of noise. It was an uncomfortable hum that didn't stop, like a vibration that would pound harder and harder the more that he exerted himself. Wasn't this what happened to her after she used this damn power? She would lose her coordination skills and motor functions, he had seen it for himself. She had launched herself in the path to move him from the path of danger and then flopped over like her damn bones were made of jello.

It was running him ragged at the present time but he refused to budge.

Misaki was unbothered by this. Her body was still moving like it was supposed to, although the longer they were in this place, it was obvious that the effects would affect her more and more.

He launched another attack but he missed entirely.

While he was distracted by his own failures, that's when she made her mark.

Misaki took the chance to dash forward while he couldn't protect himself, jumping once she had gotten close to him, and taking a hold of his shirt once again and as her quirk dissipated around them and the crowd roaring back to life around them, a pained gasp left her lips. She had her chance to knock them both of the battlefield but she hadn't been fast enough to do it.

She realized her mistake at the last second, knowing that she had taken too much time to take him down when she made eye contact with Bakugou. She had miscalculated how long she could handle the effect of her quirk on two people. Mistakes had been made. Everything that had been affecting him inside of her quirk had finally caught up with her as it always did.

Her body went slack.

Bakugou had a wide grin on his face as his explosion made contact with her body, although when he realized that she had been knocked stupid and out cold before the blast even made contact with her body, he got angry as hell and couldn't take it back. Just like with Uraraka before her, the real battle and winner couldn't be declared in his eyes. Before she had a chance to accept her own defeat at his hand, her body had caved!

This wasn't really a win for him!

The blast came before she could react to it and Misaki hit the ground outside the ring with a loud thud, unable to get back up, unconscious.

Chapter Text

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)

Chapter Twelve

Heavy


Misaki and Bakugou facing off during the Sports Festival. It's an edit.

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)

Chapter Twelve

Heavy


He couldn't stop to breathe.

Bakugou didn't want to be alone with his thoughts and when he didn't want that, he would spend a lot of time just pushing himself in walking or some kind of focused activity that would make him have to think about something else. It was one thing that his pride and sense of victory had been spat on by the universe, it was another that he had been reminded of things he would rather keep inside his head. He didn't have the time nor the patience to unpack that information again, he had to focus on the finals.

He was going to be facing off against Todoroki.

Bakugou was on his way to get prepared for his fight with Todoroki, as a matter of fact. There was a lot of eating at the back of his head today, but that didn't mean that he could escape his own head just by pushing it. The more that he paced and the more that he pushed himself to get around was just enough to get him away from it but not quite enough to make it go away. He didn't have much energy for this, but he was going to go out there, defeat that dumbass half-and-half, and take care of business to become the number one.

He would be champion and his win would be real.

He wouldn't have to waste his time thinking about how those extras couldn't even let him win properly. He would not think about what that plum was trying to prove.

Bakugou had stopped in the hallway, lost in his thoughts, only to be surprised by somebody calling out to him from inside a room.

"You there, young man. You're the boy that fought my dear Misaki. Feeling remorseful?" He found an elderly woman sitting at Misaki's bedside. Of course, of course, this was where that plum wound up. Figures she would have a waiting party to nurse her wounds. He nearly kept walking but she just had to speak to him like that. That plum had fought till she was knocked stupid, that was her fault, not his.

Her greyish hair was tucked back into a long bun, she wore a yellow cardigan and a long black skirt.

She didn't look it, but this woman had once been a hero before All Might was even a hero himself. Her quirk was very similar to Misaki's, if not identical to her own powers in many ways. He hadn't really looked into her, but he knew that if All Might knew who she was, then she had have been something. Well, was something.

He didn't see anything that impressed him.

Probably had grown soft as hell in her retirement. Typical. Now she was going to try and give him a lecture about the rights and wrongs of battle, wasn't she?

Well, he sure as hell had a lot better things to do than worry about whatever the fuck she was going to scold him about. "No," his jaw was tight. "She was the one that decided to be stupid enough to overuse his quirk. She should be the one who feels bad about her choices."

The old woman smiled, for some reason. She didn't seem bothered by his crass language or by the tone he used to speak about her granddaughter. She merely nodded her head and threw the girl under the bus just as quickly as he had done. "Ah, yes. I do suppose that's one way to interpret the situation. She knew better than to use her quirk on you like that, we've been practicing her control over more than just herself and she knew she wasn't ready for it. I knew it. I do agree with you, child. She's getting a very stern talking to for pushing herself in a way she wasn't ready for."

Her attention turned back onto Misaki. She was still knocked out pretty stupid, which was no surprise, she had been paying for using her power in a way that she couldn't handle. It was no surprise. She seemed about as smart as Deku when it came to using their power for whatever means that they could. It was written all over her face before she lost consciousness.

She sighed, "I warned her that using her power on others wasn't something that should be used lightly. I suppose it left you feeling rather rattled after its effects took its toll on you. I had a feeling something was amiss when she stayed under for too long."

Oh. So that damn quirk of hers did affect other people when she pulled them under, not only did it knock her down in two seconds after releasing her damn quirk, whoever was with her at the time had to deal with the effects too. No wonder he had been so fucked up, it hadn't been him at all, it was what her power had been doing to him.

It hadn't been what he thought it was. Turns out, it hadn't been his own actions that had caused him to get distracted, it was just a mistake of that girl. It took a weight off of his shoulders that he hadn't realized that he had been holding in, and he shook his head. Bakugou's tense shoulders lessened just a bit, he would never admit that anything scared him, or left him feeling rattled.

Not out loud, not to one damn person, not ever.

However, that dumb quirk made him think that his timelimit was significantly shortened. He had really thought that things had accelerated so quickly that his body was going to give out this soon. It was a grim reminder that he did not want. It could steadily happen at any time, and today... today had been a very close call. Bakugou thought that he had more time to worry about "that" happening, and he sure as well wasn't about to have it happen in school. It didn't matter that his damn parents had made him already go through extra studies, extra appointments, or anything else. Bakugou didn't want to deal with "that".

That wasn't something that would happen to someone who was going to be the next number, one hero.

But this damn girl... this stupid fucking plum... She just wouldn't disappear into the background, no matter how hard he tried to ignore her. It was just like "that."

It was just this stupid girl that had caused that mess. "Old hag, wait a minute. You mean to tell me that damn quirk of hers overloads on her and whoever she's using it on? The reason everything got so screwy was because of her quirk's shortcomings?"

"Yes? That's it more or less," she nodded her head.

"Well, that explains a damn lot. It cut off all nearly all of my senses. I couldn't hear a damn thing until I made sound myself with my quirk, it was like... it was like..." Bakugou trailed, and immediately cut himself off. It wasn't any of her damn business.

He wasn't going to talk about that.

Not now.

Not ever.

The woman's eyes wrinkled knowingly. "If a tree falls and nobody is around to hear it, did it even make a sound, young man? The void between space and time exists without sound. Beyond our Earth and into the galaxy, the sound does not travel. The same theory applies to space between time, where she brought you, today. This quirk, unfortunately, rips away the sense of sound from the world, skewing the equilibrium and the inner ear to a point where you have no control of your body in a way you normally would."

"It's why my shortcomings as a hero never got much further than where they did. My hearing is perfect compared to Misaki, so, my limitations are higher than hers are. When you don't have a percentage of hearing, you will struggle with numerous complications, and because my sweet Misaki has dealt with this all of her life, she's learned how to stomach the pain far longer than any of us. While many think and believe that a deaf person wouldn't have an advantage in battle, she does. However, she's still learning how to control it and it's dangerous when you prepared for it."

Bakugou could agree with one thing: "She sure as hell doesn't know when to quit when it's good for her."

It had been evident since the two of them had first interacted. She rushed in to save someone who didn't ask for it, and then she did it once again back in the U.S.J., and every time, she did it without blinking. He made it abundantly clear to her, as much as he could, to stop doing that shit. Plum only rolled her eyes at him and typed just as fast as he could yell out the words, telling him to stop being such a prissy bastard. He gave her credit for one thing, she might have been morally stupid, but at least she had the bite to back up her bark.

She could defend her argument.

It didn't make him want to deal with her anymore, though.

Hisakawa Misaki had been causing him a lot of trouble. She was this vision of everything that... no, no. He wasn't going to waste his time thinking about that, his eyes flickered in the direction of the girl. She was banged up, but nothing serious. A few scrapes and bruises but nothing that was going to put a dent into things. It was just the overuse of her quirk that kept her here.

"Bakugou Katsuki, right?"

"Yeah, what of it?"

"If I'm not mistaken, she's mentioned you quite a lot, although not by name, at least until today. I've never seen her so quite riled up about somebody before, so you've made a real impression on her. You know a lot of people treat Misaki like she's delicate, and she'll break if they push too hard. But you gave her a real fight out there. It's a shame it couldn't reach completion the way it might have if her quirk hadn't taken her down, but I appreciate how serious you took it. She would have been upset if you held back."

Bakugou scowled. "It's an insult if you don't give it everything. What's the damn point of winning if you don't prove that you're better than someone else entirely if they don't put up a decent fight? That's not even winning, then. She's no different from the rest of them. She wanted to fight and she lost just like the rest of them, not because of that but because she couldn't match up."

He didn't want people to do that to him.

He wouldn't do that shit to anyone, either.

"To be young and rivals... oh, those are the days," The old woman laughed, it was one of those knowing laughs that seemed like she knew something that nobody else did. "I can remember those times. Well, young man, you've got a lot of those to look out for now. After all, I've seen the fire in every single one of your classmates. I can't wait to see where your class winds up in the future. Although, you still have a lot to learn before you get to that point."

He didn't care about that.

What Bakugou did care about was what she said next, and what she was trying to imply.

"I have a feeling about you, especially after seeing your fight today, you have a spirit that reminds me so much of someone I used to know. It was your reaction today that lead me to this conclusion. I can sense you're hiding something, young man. It would do you well to face that truth before the secret swallows you whole. The man stubbornly ignored his truth and couldn't fix it once it was out of his control. I see it written all over your face, you and my dear Misa are more alike in ways that you haven't yet accepted. The day that you accept it, is the day that you become far more powerful then you've ever been."

What did she know?

What the hell was she trying to say to him? There hadn't been any indication of that. No way in his was he going to stand here and play twenty questions with someone who acted as if they knew him! Suddenly, and very quickly, he spun on his heels and began to head out of that room far away from this woman. "I don't know what the fuck you're talking about. You don't know what you're saying. Mind your own business, old hag."

The eyes on his back were knowing, far too knowing of something that should have been left unspoken.

He wouldn't deal with this.

"Fair enough. Good luck out there, Mister Bakugou. I hope you fair well against your opponent. I would hope someone strong enough to knock Misaki off her block would be great enough to win the entire tournament. I doubt she would let you live it down if you didn't."


A whole lot of ridiculous feelings did him no good.

Whether it was that stupid plum, or otherwise. Bakugou didn't have the time nor was he going to stop and let it invade his thoughts. He had done what he could on his end, it wasn't his fault that nobody else could keep up with him.

After laying it on heavy with Todoroki, making it abundantly clear that he has no patience for whatever emotional bullshit he's dealing with and that he was going to wreck his shit no matter what quirk he used, he headed straight for the field. Bakugou was going to beat him and get to the top. He had destroyed everyone else that had gotten in his way and it was going to be no different than it had already been. Todoroki was going down, and that number one spot was going to be his.

I'm going to crush him. He thought, gleefully, the wicked grin on his evident when Todoroki appeared on the other side. Thoughts of any other thing had been shoved to the back of Bakugou's mind, as he clenched his fists and waited for Midnight to give them the go-ahead. The instance that she did, Todoroki made the first move—

His ice encapsulated the field in an instant.

Everything was covered and Bakugou wasn't having that. The moment his ice started to make trouble, Bakugou held up his fists and activated his quirk to burn through the stuff until he came out on the other side and glared at Todoroki. He knew, he knew that a quirk like that and his control over it meant that his accuracy rate must have been shit. He could cover everything but when it came to hitting the targets and being direct, he wasn't shit. Todoroki lifted his right arm and sent another wave of ice towards him.

Bakugou easily propelled himself up and forward off of the ground with an explosion, taking the bi-colored guy off guard, and yanking him by his shirt, chucking him across the field. "You... looking down on me, you fuckin' moron?!"

Todoroki was sent backgrounds towards the boundary line, but at the last second, he managed to make a wall of ice to stop him from being sent out that quickly. Bakugou gave him no time to think or react, he came running for him yet again, but this time, when he went to whip his attack, and Bakugou thought that he had him, Todoroki reached out and grasped his wrist, it was a diversion tactic.

His eyes widened and Todoroki should have taken a chance to use his fire quirk. But, he hesitated, and when he went to use an attack, he used his ice instead, and Bakugou broke free from his grip. He gritted his teeth and glared at him, offended. Why the fuck didn't he taken his chance when he had it? Did he think that fucking little of him?

"So... I ain't good enough for that shit, huh?"

How dare this bastard act like he's not worthy of punches? If fucking Deku of all people got to face off against him with his full power, then he should have been more than willing to fucking throw hands with him. At least those fucking extras fought him until their bodies gave up. It was like this guy wasn't even fucking trying to win.

If he wouldn't go full-force, then this was a waste of his fucking time. They were here to prove that they could be the best goddamn heroes, worthy of stealing the mantle from heroes that were already out there in the field. They weren't here to play around and pretend this was all fun and games, no, this was the big league.

Bakugou seemed to be the only one taking this shit seriously.

"You'll regret making a fool of me," Bakugou stomped his foot against the ground and activated his quirk, clenching his fists tightly at his sides. He was tired of people cutting their losses against him by not giving it their all, or just coping out before they could give him a worthy battle. "I'll freaking kill you! I'm the first to end all firsts! There's no point in winning against some half-assed punk! No point if I can't do it better than Deku! If you aren't trying to win here, get the hell out of my face!"

He was going to destroy him if he didn't put up a good fight. "Why are you even here, you bastard?!"

Todoroki stood there as if he was searching through his thoughts for answers that he couldn't find. As he struggled to find his answer, Bakugou grew tired, and he launched himself at Todoroki in a whirling bomb of heat directed straight at him. Using his quirk to turn into a bomb was nothing for him and if he didn't move, he was screwed and out of the game.

He knew that.

He knew that he needed to do something.

What was he going to do in the moment of truth?

"Don't lose, come on!" cried the voice of Midoriya from the audience.

Bakugou heard that, and as much as he didn't want to agree, he had a damn point. That's right. The damn nerd is right. If you're going to fight me... fight to win! Come at me, right everything that you've got!

Todoroki seemed to find those answers that he was looking for, as his entire body erupted into flames, as far as Bakugou could tell. it seemed like he had finally got his ass into gear once and for all. Finally! Finally, he was going to pull in the effort! That wicked smirk returned to his face and Bakugou took the chance to unleash the full force of his impact. A swirling fire-bomb reached the burning peak, covering the field in ash and soot as the crowds stared in awe at his power level, as the two boys made contact with each other.

Bakugou was knocked back onto the ground from the force of it. He pressed his palms into the ground and started to push himself up to see if he could locate where that bastard had wound up, as his eyes darted around the field and the smoke began to clear away, his body stiffened, and he found himself staring at the unconscious body of Todoroki Shouto outside of the ring, knocked back into a wall of ice that he seemed to activate at the last second. He hadn't used his damn fire at all, its fuse had blown out and he failed.

"...Hey! Hey!"

He scrambled to his feet and broke out into a run over to Todoroki.

Bakugou grabbed the collar of his shirt and began to shake him, but the idiot wouldn't wake up. He wouldn't get up for anything, he hadn't even tried, he had given up at the last second, this bastard had gone and refused to face him the right way, he couldn't fucking believe this. First, it was that fucking plum and now this half and half bastard had given up on him!

No...

No...

No...

No! This can't be happening! This isn't the way that he was meant to win!

"Stop messing around!" Bakugou demanded. The frantic feeling in his gut was far too much for him. He couldn't believe that this was happening to him. This isn't how his victory was supposed to be. "Not like this! It won't- It can't fucking be like this! Wake your damn ass up, this isn't over, Todoroki! It can't... be... like this..."

His body went slack and he fell to the ground as Midnight appeared behind him. Her quirk had taken care of him before he had caused any more trouble, she glanced between the two of them, and sighed. "Todoroki is out of bounds... so, Bakugou is the winner! And that concludes our contest, the first-year winner of the U.A.'s sports festival is... Bakugou Katsuki of Class 1A!"


Misaki woke up sometime after the games had ended. She sprang upright in the bed only to be smacked by her Grandma for rushing to make a move. She patted the back of her head and pouted at the old woman. She knew that Atsuko was going to be there at the games, she just hadn't realized that when she got knocked out that she would wake up to her staring at her like that. All she could offer was an apologetic smile. She knew that she had pushed her luck but there was no amount of apologies that could make up for that.

She had promised that she wouldn't push her luck.

Well, Bakugou had just pushed her to fight even harder, and every time he gave her that cocky look with his red irises, she just wanted to wipe the floor with his stupid smug smile. He was the only person that had ever made her feel that way, and despite the fact that she knew better than to fall into a trap like that, she just couldn't help herself.

It was going to be a bad habit of hers, wasn't it?

She rubbed her eyes free of the blurriness that was leftover from her slumber. She wasn't sure how long she had been out, just that it was still bright outside and she hadn't slept the rest of the afternoon. There was a dull ache all over that just wouldn't go away, and she knew that to be the effect of Recovery Girl's quirk. She could advance the healing process by a long shot, but you would want to sleep forever if you overdid it.

She didn't have any broken bones or anything, but she did have a splitting headache that wouldn't quit.

That's what she got for taking things seriously with Mari and Bakugou. Her heart tinged at the thought of the former mention. She was going to have to have a long talk with Mei and Mari, but she was glad to know that things could get better again. It was just going to be a matter of working at it and making up for their mistakes. They all had messed up, but they could get better at it.

That's what friendship was. When you had a problem... you try to work at it. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was a good friendship, it took a lot of work and a lot of heart to get a good one.

Nobody's perfect, after all.

That was when she noticed her Grandma's attention had left from her side and trailed to the doorway. Misaki followed her gaze and noticed who was standing there. She was surprised to see that it was Todoroki Shouto of all people. His posture indicated that he was a little nervous, and for that, she wasn't sure why he was. She hadn't seen him or talked to him since they had spoken earlier in the morning, and he told her to her face that they weren't friends... that they hadn't been real friends this entire time.

She hadn't given up on him. No, Misaki didn't give up on people, no matter what they did. She was just pained that he didn't want to trust her with his pain, that he felt like he had to go through it alone. It was a lot like Mari... there was a lot that she didn't know, but she knew that she would be there when they wanted to talk about it.

That's the kind of friend that she was, and would always be: The person that neve abandoned someone no matter how hard things got.

Everyone deserved to have someone in their field that wouldn't judge them, only lift them up when they needed a hand to keep going. It was what she would want from her own friends if she needed someone to hold onto. It wasn't the fact that you could tell them anything, it was the idea that you could come to someone and not have to talk about what was bothering you at first, just get the comfort that you needed at that moment and then handle the situation when you felt ready for it.

Misaki then made eye contact with her Grandma, who nodded knowingly and left the room for the two of them to talk. Todoroki sat down at her side and didn't say anything at first. He waited for her to make that first move.

She grabbed her phone from her jacket and began to type out a casual message: I have a feeling that you and Bakugou made it to the end. Well, no, it had to be the two of you. You're both some of the strongest contenders out there. It must have been a really long match if it's this late in the day already. Who won?

There was something in his eyes that looked as though ashamed of something that had transpired. Be it what it had happened out there during the fight or something before it. Todoroki only could come up with: Bakugou.

Misaki cracked a weak smile. She only shook her head in mirth. She hadn't been sure who of them would win if they got into a fight, so, she wasn't sure how to feel knowing that he had lost. She only hoped that it had been a good fight. That he had fought with everything that he had in him: I guess he just couldn't live without proving his point to me. He was going to win whether I liked it or not. Ugh. Still, you did what you could out there, it was a good attempt. Thanks for trying to defend my honor out there.

Todoroki stared.

She smiled, sheepishly: That was a joke, sorry.

She felt his fingers brush against her own, briefly, just briefly, and Misaki turned back to look at him with her undivided attention. They were both quiet, it was like the moments they have spent in each other's company during school. There was no kind of rush or direction when they were together; They could just exist without worrying about someone judging them.

Still, there was a lot that they needed to address.

Todoroki was the one to come outright and say it this time. He hesitated, in that quiet, aloof way that only he knew best. It was curt and it was simple as could be: You were right.

Misaki did a double-take. She glanced between him and those words for a moment. She wasn't sure what he meant by that. Her raised eyebrow was enough for him to try and craft something that made more sense.

He sighed: About what you told me all those times before... that I should use my quirk. You said it yourself that you wanted to go against me with my full power out there, and I get it now. Y I can't limit myself if I want to be a hero. You don't know it but... for a long time, I didn't consider this power my own. I realized during my match with Midoriya that you were right, that he was right about it. My power is mine, not anyone else's

It wasn't his Dad's.

It was his.

Just in the way that her quirk belonged to her and that it didn't belong to her Grandma. Sure, it was similar, but that didn't mean that the power they held was the same.

For Misaki to hear that he had finally figured that out meant a lot. It seemed as though that Midoriya had been the one to break through to him where she had failed. For that, she was happy. It hurt her to think that people were suffering in ways that she couldn't imagine, so knowing that things were on track to be better was good. He was going to a hero, and to be one, he needed to use his power to the full extent.

Listening to Bakugou was a good idea in that regard. She agreed with the sentiment. He may not have had a soft way to say it, but he made a great point in that using your power as strong as you could be was the way to be your best. Finding your limitations and overcoming them to get better, and to be ready for whatever was ahead.

She nodded her head. She was going to have to learn what had happened between the both of them the minute that she got home and could review the fight bit by bit. Something had happened out there, she was sure of it. Whatever it was, she wasn't going to make him tell her. She merely smiled: I'm glad to see you say that, Todoroki.

His vision turned in the direction of the window. Out towards the field where the fights had taken place earlier in the day. He was at his wit's end, the day had been fairly long and hard for him. It was written all over his worn expression. But... It's going to take me a while to accept that. I realize. I'm just not going to let myself be held back by my problem anymore. That's... why I had to come and see you, Misaki. Well, it's part of it. I never wanted to get involved with other people or let them get mixed up in my mess. I just preferred to be alone. It's easier for me that way. I never stopped to think that anyone would try to get involved with me, either.

Todoroki paused.

It was obvious that he had never really had friends before. She knew that. It just seemed strange that he had gone so long without anyone trying before, sure, it was possible that people had tried to speak to him, but how much he left them into his life... had to be slim to none. He always didn't know what to say when things weren't about class or hero training. He just... sort of... floated through it.

Misaki stood by her thought that nobody deserved to go through things on their own, not even the people that thought they needed to be one their own. It was just a matter of accepting it first. Hell, even Bakugou was going to have to face the fact eventually that he couldn't do everything alone. It just wasn't possible; It was the very nature of hero work to be able to get involved with others, no matter the situation or cost.

It was just hard to reach out to people when you never did it before. It was obvious that he was trying but he just didn't know how to deal with it or how to work through it.

He sighed and then continued: I was just so angry and riled up about everything. I never thought I could have a friend or even people that really cared about me aside from... well, maybe my Mom or sister. So... it was easier for me to try and push you away then it was for me to acknowledge your... kindness. What I'm trying to say is... I'm sorry about today. I just don't know how to be friends with someone.

Misaki couldn't help but laugh. It was just her way of processing those feelings. He didn't exactly understand why she did that, but he merely stared and waited for her to say something.

She shook her head, and then rested her hand against his shoulder to reassure him of this issue: I always considered us friends. I didn't exactly accept what you said this morning because I knew something was wrong. I never give up on my friends, even if they have a bad day and try to push me away first. I'm always here no matter what. Don't beat yourself up over it, I haven't exactly been a good friend lately, either. I sort of messed up with my friend Mari, but I think it's going alright with her now that we've acknowledged that things need work. The thing about it is... you can always learn how to better a better friend.

That was what he wanted to try.

It was clear now.

Todoroki slowly understood that. He nodded his head in agreement with those words and mulled it over before he asked her the question that had been on his mind: Can we... no, can I be your friend this time? I know I have a lot to learn about this. I know you put a lot of work into trying before now, but I want to do better now. I'll understand if you say no.

Misaki smiled before she typed out her reply: I'd like that.

If only it was this easy to talk to Bakugou about things.

 

 

Chapter Text

("Underlined text" is supposed to be read as Sign Language. "Italicized text" is used only for Misaki's Dad's quirk. "Bold Text" is used for messages Misaki types out.)

Chapter Thirteen

New Perspective


It was the day after the sports festival when Misaki went down to run to the store for a few things. She had paused midway down the steps as she noticed that Mari and Inari were walking into the building and heading in her direction. It was the first time either of them had seen each other outside of school in weeks, and while there was this air of uncomfortable unease, it was actually nice to know that they were still living in the same place and this could happen. She had been wanting to talk to her, but she hadn't had the chance to do it after the games.

The first one to notice Misaki hadn't been Mari, it was actually her younger brother, who upon meeting the Misaki's gaze began to wave and pull at his sister's hand to her attention. Mari looked down at Inari with a raised eyebrow and he thrust a hand in her direction and waved. She had a nervous look on her face but she still waved at her friend.

"Hello, Inari, Mari." She greeted as she reached the bottom of the stairs.

Inari grinned ear to ear, his pink locks bobbing with his head as he bounced up and down. He was really a bundle of energy that nobody could ever control, and it was cute. "Hello, Misa! You did really good in the games yesterday!"

Oh, so Inari had been watching everything. Misaki hadn't expected that knowing how their Mom felt about heroes, but it was possible that he had been watching at school or something where she couldn't control what he was watching or anything. Misaki pat the top of his head, "Thank you. I am sure that you're proud of your sister, too, right?"

"Mhm!"

Mari hadn't said anything yet. It was obvious that she was nervous about what they needed to talk about, but she didn't know how to bring it up or even where to begin.

Misaki glanced at Mari for a moment and then she looked back at Inari. "Inari, do you mind if I borrow your sister?"

"Sure! I'm going back home, okay?" Inari nodded his head, and then looked between Mari and Misaki, before bounding up the stairs to go back to his own devices leaving the two of them alone.

The two girls headed outside of their apartment building and sat out front together underneath a tree. Neither of them said anything at first, they just sat there for a moment. It wasn't until Misaki broke that awkward feeling that either of them began to dump out what they were feeling. "How are your eyes? I know they have to be hurting a bit."

"They're alright. I need to keep hydrating for the next first days otherwise I think Recovery Girl will kick my butt." Mari adjusted her glasses after that. She didn't have to wear them all that often, but when she did, she was always a little shy about it. These were a pair of baby blue lenses that she had picked out a while ago. She only wore them when she was reading things or when she overused her quirk and her eyes ached too much to read all the little details.

Misaki could only smile sheepishly. "Yeah. I know the feeling. Grandma and Recovery Girl got onto me for overusing my quirk too. I still have a big headache."

"Your Grandma stopped you from wandering into stuff this time, right?" Mari inquired, a little laugh leaving her lips at the memory that popped into mind.

The last time she had seen Misaki overdo something like that she had been in her apartment and was always three steps away from what she intended. It wasn't like she wanted to walk around off balance but her body had other plans. Misaki had walked straight into an opened door and flopped onto the ground while she and Atsuko laughed. She had insisted that she could handle it herself and that hadn't gone as planned.

Mari hadn't been able to stop laughing that first time. But she was no better off because when she had to protect her eyes from the weather she had to wrap them up good and tight. She was basically without sight and she too would wind up walking into something because she couldn't help it. The two of them were just that brand of helpless.

Misaki puffed out her cheeks. "I didn't get up this time. Shut up."

"I guess we both have a lot to learn," Mari agreed, that smile still on her face. "I saw you out there with Bakugou. You pushed it even harder against him then you did with me."

"I do not have an excuse for that. I just really wanted to sucker punch his stupid face." Misaki's mouth was set into a line. She wasn't kidding about that, but the feeling was rather mutual as far as she knew. "He and I sort have this whole rival thing going on. You would not believe the last couple of weeks even if I told you."

Mari looked down at her lap for a moment. "I missed a lot because of my actions. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you."

Misaki shook her head. "No. I'm sorry that I wasn't there for you, Mari. I should have tried harder to get through to you."

She meant that. She meant every word of it. She didn't realize that Mari was dealing with things a lot worse then she had in the past and she had just wished that she kept trying to reach out to her instead of letting things go quiet. Both of them had made a lot of mistakes since they had started high school, but that didn't mean that they couldn't make things right.

It just started with actually talking about it.

Mari's hands began to shake as she tried to piece together her next statement. "I did not make it easy. I was the one trying to dodge you. I thought that I had to do everything on my own to prove to my Mom that I'm strong. But... I realize now that that wasn't the right thing to do. I should have listened to what Mei said to me back at the start. I should have been honest about what was bothering me."

Misaki rested her hand against Mari's for a moment. She smiled, although it was small.

"We both messed up. Let's just say that instead of apologizing over and over," she said.

"Yeah. Otherwise, we might be here all night." Mari snorted.

The two girls settled back into comfortable ease after. They began to talk about everything that had happened and everything had gone wrong; From Mari's mistakes all the way up to the smallest thing that had happened in her classes with Shinso, and for Misaki, how she had settled in nicely with her classmates and how she wanted to fight Bakugou every time they two of them wound up alone. They had a lot to catch up on, but it felt like they could do it without worrying about hurting the other now.

It felt great for both of the girls to know that they still had their best friend.

They chatted about this and that until the big subject came up. Misaki listened very carefully as Mari finally admitted why her Mother had been so adamant against heroes all these years, as well. The little dots had come together after she filled in the pieces. In hindsight, she should have known what had happened but she hadn't even known anything had happened until her Dad wasn't around anymore. He often wasn't home anyway as she hadn't seen the man a lot when they were kids, as he was often on the clock and working many hours.

But things had changed a lot after that incident; Misaki hadn't noticed because she was a kid. It was a lot to take in at once but she did it, and she reassured Mari the entire time.

Misaki had nothing to say when she was done but: "I'm sorry."

Mari shook her head. She knew that it could have been solved if she had just told her friend what was bothering her so bad. "You don't have to be. But, yeah. This is why she made make a deal with her about my dreams when school started and she wouldn't stop breathing down my neck every single chance she got. I'm just tired of her thinking that my dreams have anything to do with what happened back then, and I was finally honest with her last night about everything. I told her that I'm going to follow my dreams no matter what she thinks about it. She still thinks her point was proven because I got a little reckless but she's not going to stop me from attending U.A."

"Really? You stood up to your Mom?" Misaki was amazed to see that. 

Mari had never been able to do that.

She was always too scared to tell her Mom what she was thinking or what she wanted, but to think that she had stood her ground made her heart swell. She was so very proud of her friend. But, she knew at the same time that it had to hurt on some level for Mari to know that no matter what she did, her Mom wasn't going to believe in her dreams. It was good that Mari could acknowledge that she could do what she wanted without pleasing her Mom, but it couldn't stop the fact that it likely stung. 

It was only inevitable. 

When two conflicting views come into contact with each other, it was only a matter of time until things exploded. 

After Hatsume and Misaki had tried to put it through her thick skull during the festival, Mari finally got it. She finally understood what she wanted in life and how to fight for it despite what stood in her way. If you wanted to be a hero you had to be ready to sacrifice it all for the greater good. Mari was willing to face her monster in spite of how scared she was, and after she spoke her mind - her Mother just went quiet and said she could keep attending U.A.

"I'm going to become a hero no matter what she thinks," Mari smiled. "I know I can do it because I have people in my life now that really believe in me, you, Mei, and even Shinso. Anything can happen from here on out but I think I'm ready to face that."

"I'm so proud of you, Mari." She said. Misaki's eyes began to swell with tears. She threw her arms around Mari and hugged her for the longest few minutes of their lives.

When the two of them pulled away, Mari was a little embarrassed by the fact that she couldn't quite cry as much as her heart wanted to, but even so, a few slipped from her eyes as she gently rubbed them away. She was going to have chug more water when she got back to her apartment. "Thank you, Misa. If it wasn't for you and Mei beating it into my head then I never would have remembered what it was that I wanted to do with my life."

Misaki shook her head at that. "Hey. Give yourself some credit. You did this on your own. We just lent a little help."

Mari couldn't help but tease her to lighten the mood. "Hey, I'm the actual crybaby here. Don't you try and steal my thunder."

Their conversation for the rest of the time they spent together was about everything they had been up since the school year started and all they had not been able to talk about until now. It also went on to talk more about what they would be doing the rest of the year with each other, and Hatsume, of course. It was like nothing had ever been wrong between them. This feeling was something neither of them wanted to take for granted anymore. They really had to try their hardest not to let something come between them again. 

Misaki hugged her best friend and waved goodbye as she began to venture into the city. It was returning back to normal. That conversation had proved their friendship could last any storm. But, Mari wouldn't know it until a few days later, she realized she should have helped Misaki that afternoon and not left her alone.

It was hard enough to be someone like Misaki, but it was even harder to deal with the sudden onslot of celebrity. 


After the break and after everyone had settled down from the events had transpired during the festival, life had gone back to normal, well, a new normal for them, but something that felt right. Misaki boarded the train for school with her friends often when they would in middle school. Mei and Mari were always next to her, and that had returned. When the new year had begun she had walked the line by herself after leaving her apartment but now they were back to doing things together.

It was a new and old welcomed routine.

Today it was raining and dogs when they arrived at the station. Misaki was the only one to have the foresight to bring an umbrella this time around, so the three huddled together and made their way to U.A. It was kind of hilarious but really, the only one of them who seemed to keep an eye on these little things was Misaki. Mei was always invested in other things, and Mari tended to rush ahead and not worry too much about this or that. They would be drenched to the bone if it wasn't for their purple-haired friend.

"You knew it was going to rain, didn't you, Mari? You could have told me." Mei looked between the two of them.

Mari let out a huff as she glanced over at Mei, "Just because I have a water quirk does not mean I know when it rains,"

"Actually. I warned both of you last night." Misaki interjected, shaking her head at the two of them. "I think you were too busy working on another project and I think you were too busy helping Inari with his homework to even respond to me."

"It was an important baby!" Mei said, simply.

"Inari really doesn't understand his English lessons!" Mari argued.

After a bit of chastising and reminding them to listen to her messages when she sent them, the three girls split up and headed to their respective classes. When she entered the classroom, she noted that things had seemingly gone back to normal. Everyone was congregated into their little groups as they chatted about this and that, and Misaki didn't have to guess that they were talking about the festival. Once that had aired, everyone had a good idea of who they were and for those that had made it to the finals and stood their ground? Man, they were swamped by everyone from here to Tokyo.

She and Mari and even Mei had had interactions with people over the break, of course, not many people came around when Mei was around as they had noted her eccentric nature, but still, it was strange to be approached by people out of the blue.

The first few times it left a sour taste in her mouth because people kept trying to see if she was really hard of hearing, and it got to the point that even Mari opened her mouth to tell people off for praising her without warning but then treating Misaki like a petulant child. It had reminded her of the way some of her classmates in primary school would act. Sometimes they would shout or do things next to her head just to see if she was faking, or if she would even react to it.

Usually, when she had instances like the one she had gone through, she could hold her ground and bite back against comments if need be but... it was harder as of late.

It didn't matter that she had gotten in her dream school and that she was proving that she could more than capable as a hero.

People still looked at Misaki like she was one of a few things which included: an inspiration-porn story that proved that anyone could do anything despite everyone having personal limitations and not one person defining a whole group, one of those a charity case stories that got in because she had a disability, and the worst of all, a liar who was acting like she was deaf.

Someone would approach her and say something along the lines of: "I can't believe a girl like you is actually deaf!"

If she could muster a verbal response, they would say: "Wow, you don't sound deaf at all."

People without limitations and able bodies would just laugh: "You know if that girl can do it then nobody like that should whine about anything."

She could often imagine what people were saying when she turned her back on them: "She's totally faking it, I bet. You get more pity points for stuff like that, don't you think?"

A few would be brazen and outright ask her: "Are you actually deaf?"

The worst all of would come when people would actually play games and sneak up on her, doing little tricks and ploys to try and somehow prove that she wasn't deaf.

Those things were among what she had dealt with in life but for so long she held her ground and laughed it off. Or, sometimes she wouldn't even know something had happened because Mari or Mei wouldn't let her know that people were being cruel, they would deal with it half the time. It wasn't like words could really hurt her when she knew those things weren't true, right?

Despite the fact she was back into her safe zone she could still feel looking at her. Eyes. All she could feel was eyes on her back. Sometimes it could be nerve-wracking to be unable to hear people, this was no truer than when Misaki knew that people were staring at her, people were looking at her and talking about her behind her back.

Then, everything began to collapse when she answered one person's question. They would fall into line with those questions in different ways and then she would feel steamed.

It was a non-stop barrage on her character and it was... exhausting.

On top of dealing with people knowing who she was and how badly she wanted to be a hero, she had to deal with people thinking less of her for something out of her control. She had always tried to be someone that didn't act out, that didn't say something angry when things didn't go her way but man, it was comments like that that made her want to scream. Those feelings were just bottled up inside and she couldn't stand it. It was like when she was around Bakugou and he pulled her trigger, Misaki just wanted to let it out.

To not be the nice go and just lose it.

But she couldn't do that. She had seen how people vilified others and thought less of someone for doing that. It was pointedly seen when she saw what people did to Bakugou, but that was getting ahead of herself here.

The fact of the matter was, she had a hard few days off.

Misaki might have pulled her hair out if it weren't the fact that she was approached by a very nervous child clutching at the coat-tails of their mom's leg at the end of the day. That child signed a very small "hello" at her, and her hardened heart softened to mush. It turned out that that kid was partially deaf and had been having a hard time lately, but when they noticed Misaki communicating with sign language during the sports festival, they had become glued to their tv and rooted for her to win.

She spent a good twenty minutes talking to that kid and their parent about how she got into U.A., and how they could do it too if they wanted.

Despite the fact that she knew many people would think ill, it was the fact of the matter that kids like that one were out there and when they saw somebody like Misaki trying to become a hero... Seeing yourself reflected on the television with somebody like yourself... that meant a lot to people. It rejuvenated her goal of becoming a hero as soon as she could. It was difficult to live up to expectations that people put on you, though. So, she was going to do her best to live up to her potential.

It was funny, though.

As she took her seat in the class, she made eye contact with Todoroki and nodded her head.

While she had to deal with that time and time again, someone with a similar disdain didn't have as much trouble. People could tell just by glancing at Todoroki that he had some visual issues, but they didn't forth-right go out of their way to bother him. Be the fact that he was the son of a big hero, or that his quirks were so damn powerful, or the fact that he just gave off this "fuck off" energy, he didn't get as much backtalk as she did.

But he empathized with it, and as a matter of fact, she had mentioned her experience to Todoroki through text after it had happened. She had just felt so damn giddy that someone had looked at her and thought something good. She hadn't even given it a second thought, she just had to tell someone and he had finally shared his number with her, as everyone else had already been forced to hand over their digits to Iida for his classroom alert system.

His response was polite, for once. After hearing about what she had dealt with in the past, his vitriol about the ableists out there hadn't been very forth-coming when she mentioned the cruelty of the world. He hadn't had to deal with things as much as she did in this regard, but Todoroki just understood there was a line people shouldn't cross.

That's what she appreciated about him.

It was easy to talk to him.

Unlike a certain pineapple in the front of the room who sat just a bit in front of her. Normally she would have scowled when she saw of his head, but today, she couldn't do that. Speaking of the sports festival, the minute that she got home, she turned on her tv and searched for the battles that she had missed while she was unconscious. She had first paused when she was glancing over her own matches, and she pushed through those to see what had happened to everyone else.

It wasn't until she got to the end of the matches that she was glued to the edge of her seat. Both Todoroki and Bakugou put up a really hard fight. It looked like two powerhouses going for the gold, at least, that's what it started out as.

Bakugou put his everything into it. He created a firestorm much stronger than anything else that he had made that day, and when he went in to make the big hit... things didn't go as planned.

However, Todoroki hesitated at the last second and extinguished his flames.

She had watched, with bated brief, as the rubble and dust from the field to reveal that Todoroki had been knocked out of the ring and Bakugou was still in the middle of it. She had seen the desperate look in his red eyes, the way that his normally hard expression turned to mush as he pleaded with Todoroki for this to not be over. The normal look of pride and aggression had faded away into something that she had once see in his face before. It made her feel... strange to see him in such an odd way.

Her heart clenched.

Bakugou had looked at her like that right before she lost consciousness. Winning meant nothing to him if he could do things right, she now understood his perspective on that matter. They may not have seen eye to eye but that didn't mean that she couldn't feel for him. What was worse was that nobody respected how he felt about this, they just tied him up like a dog and made him take it.

She thought that was wrong, even to somebody who could be as feral as Bakugou Katsuki was.

All he wanted was to win the right way, the way that proved his power was genuinely stronger than someone else. It wasn't asking much, and the fact that nobody thought to ask him or talk through this was kind of insulting. Of course, she could never voice these feelings aloud to him as it might have rubbed him the wrong way.

Misaki still wanted to wipe the floor with his stupid face, though, don't get her wrong; She just... viewed him a little different now. Of course, that would probably subside the minute he said something to her, but for now, it was what it was.

She was torn from her thoughts when Aizawa entered the classroom. He was looking much better than he had a while ago, and all of his wrappings had been removed, meaning that Recovery Girl had likely taken care of most of the problems on the outside. She may have gone a little overboard but that wasn't anything that couldn't be healed by a lot of rest and that seemed like something that Aizawa had covered.

His news was that: "You will be coming up with your hero aliases today."

Most of the class was thrilled by that statement, of course, he had to also bring up the fact that the drafts had also finally been completed by the pros. "It's all based on who the pros think will be the readiest in two or three years. Interest may grow or wane over the years, however. Things can be revoked very easily. There's usually a spread but the top two took the most spotlight."

Misaki blinked.

He wasn't kidding when he said that either. Todoroki was at the top with over four thousand offers, with Bakugou right underneath him with over three thousand offers.

The margin underneath him was more sensible and underneath four hundred at best. They were first-years, offers were usually fairly low when it came to who got what and who wanted who. Her eyes caught sight of her name after a bit of trailing downward; Hisakawa had a decent amount next to it. She was in the same pool as those with fewer offers - smack dab between Yaoyorozu Momo and Kaminari Denki with only one hundred and eighty-nine offers from the Pros.

The class had different reactions to the news and whispers seemed to break out between them all; She could tell some were deflated by the news, some perplexed, and how angry Bakugou was at his own offers. It was possibly a combination of Bakugou's swelling and massive pride and whom Todoroki's father was that would explain the gap between the offers and the actual winner of the Festival, she mused.

Aizawa eased the fears of the class by making it clear that no matter if they got offers or not, they were still going to go out into the field. It wasn't long after that that the door to the classroom had been opened and in strolled Midnight of all people with an amused expression. Clearly, she was in charge of the lesson today and it was business as usual.

She laid it on heavy.

The names that they choose today could very well be the name that stuck with them forever; For some people, that was a bad thing, and for others, well, it made them look good. You could tell a lot about a person just from their name and heroes that was everything. It said everything and almost anything that needed to be said about you. Just as important as your costume could be for displaying your type of hero and attitude, your name was going to cement you in everyone's memory.

Misaki watched as people were approved and shot down time and time again. Aoyama got the seal of approval with only a minor change, and Mina was dejected after her first idea fell flat on its face. With Midnight's blunt responses and sparkling clarity, it made everyone stop and really think about what they wanted their name to be before they were embarrassed in front of everyone. A few more students wound up going before she did, Asui having chosen a very gentle name and Kirishima leaning towards a hard name, so on and so forth.

The tension from that point dissolved as everyone announced their names to the class, some were obvious choices and some were clever wordplay that pleased Midnight enough to let them slip by without too much judgment or chastisement from her words. There were only a few that she told to revise or think long and hard about - that included Bakugou who, actually wanted to be known as King Explosion Murder for some reason - and Todoroki who had just settled on his first name had slipped by with a nod.

Misaki had already picked out a name that she liked when she was young, just like Asui. It wasn't a question of if it was the right choice, it was a question of if she could live up to it. She was a light in the night that was going to light up and then recede, over and over again. This name was one she held close to her heart. She scribbled out the name on her placard and took it to the front of the room with a small sigh against her lips; It read The Time-Stopping Hero: Stella Nova.

Just as Shooting Star had lit up the star during her short time as a hero, she wanted to be the Stella Nova that did the same.

"Out of this world, Hisakawa! You were inspired by your Grandmother, right? Well, taking inspiration from someone can leave a lot for you to live up to. I hope you're ready."

Was that a thumbs up from Midnight?

Misaki smiled, if only out of relief. With that thought in mind, she returned to her seat feeling a lot better than she had. The last two that were left were Iida and Midoriya, and surprisingly, Iida just went with his name. There was something off about his expression but Midnight accepted him through because it was simple. As for Midoriya, he had chosen to go with something nobody expected. It was likely his way of reclaiming a phrase that had been used against him for a very long time, the very name that Bakugou had often called him out with time and time again.

Midnight was as surprised as the class to see what he had chosen as his name. "Huh? You sure about that, Midoriya?!"

Midoriya nodded his head. A little smile came onto his face as he addressed his fellow classmates about his decision. "Yeah. I always hated it. But then someone... helped me see it in a different light. It took me by surprise but, it made me happy at the same time. I'm the Deku who gives it all. This will be my hero name."

After a quick break for lunch, Aizawa let them know that these name choices were done ahead of the first line of internships.

"Your internships start in a week. For this all-important decision, I'll be handing out personalized lists to those who were not drafted. You may choose from among those who scouted you. For those who were not drafted... the list I just passed out contains forty agencies from around the country willing to accept interns. You will choose from that list." Aizawa explained, pressing his fist against the desk for a moment. "Each has a different specialty and region. Give your choice some real thought. Submit your choices by this coming weekend."

Everyone was left to their own devices to pilfer through the listings to see what they wanted and who might be the best suited for them. Misaki already had somebody in mind and she was glad to see that that name was on her list. She had just happened to hear about this hero in passing on the internet not that long ago, and the fact that their quirks could have blended well together made her excited! It was like finding a needle in a haystack, it wasn't often that you struck an ideal candidate right off the bat.

She could feel eyes on her back, though.

Misaki glanced over her shoulder and noticed that both Uraraka and Midoriya had noticed that she had already finished her choice.

Uraraka pursed her lips. She tugged her phone from her pocket and began to type away: "The Lolita Hero: Hime? I haven't heard that name before. Is she a new hero?"

Misaki nodded her head in confirmation. She glanced back at her paper and then back at the two of them: "Yeah. Her debut was a couple of months ago. She rescued a U.A. student who got caught in the crossfire of a villain attack, and that was enough to promote her to start her own agency. She and Mount Lady sort of had the same luck this past year. Her quirk is a lot like that boy from General Studies that you fought, Midoriya. She can control people as long as she sings her commands and they can hear them."

Midoriya put two and two together quickly. "Oh! Her quirk wouldn't affect you, then. That means you can work on your own quirk in the meantime while she holds villains at bay!"

"Exactly!"

She hopped out of her chair, deciding that she should go ahead and hand in her applications but she paused for a moment as she passed Todoroki, and then she took a step back. Misaki noticed that he was staring at his own recommendations. He had a lot to go through but he was already decided so it seemed by her speculation from afar. There were so many choices and he really had free reign of his choices with all of those offers from heroes all over the country. The scrawl of his writing was clean and neat but the words seemed wrong.

She frowned at the sight.

Something about that made her concerned, like, a feeling of a pit inside of her stomach.

Todoroki noticed her at that moment, and she shook her head. "You're choosing your father, Todoroki? Isn't... that something you wouldn't want to do?"

Todoroki was quiet for a moment as he looked back at his paperwork. He looked back at her, "I may not like him but I could learn something when it comes to my fire abilities, that's all."

She sighed. Boys, huh. It made sense that these guys wanted to go for the top dogs that they could get their hands on but she didn't understand why they would put themselves through some nonsense like that. She pursed her lips, "While I don't think that's completely a great idea, I'll stand by your decision if that's what you wanna do."

Todoroki nodded his head at that. It was as if he were saying thanks for that.


The day that began their internships had come faster than everyone had expected.

All of the students of Class 1A were gathered together at the train station early that morning as Aizawa made sure that everyone was accounted for. He was also there to see the group off. He gave them a once over just to make sure everyone had what they needed, costumes and all and once he was sure that everything was in order.

Aizawa nodded, "You've got your costumes, right? Wearing them in public is strictly prohibited, but don't drop them. All of you, be on your best behavior! Now go."

She had hold of her case and backpack for the internship. It was going to be a long week but she was prepared for being out in the field with real heroes that she didn't know. Her train was just up ahead of her and waiting for her to hop on. It would be a long trip and there was an urge to put that off as long as she could do it.

Misaki paused, and she caught sight of Todoroki eyeing the golden trio just beyond them to his left, Iida, Uraraka, and Midoriya. Those three were always with each other, and it seemed like something wasn't right. Well, she thought it was alright, but it seemed as though Todoroki didn't think that all was well with the three musketeers.

Misaki frowned and approached him. She rested her hand against his shoulder: "Hey, is something wrong, Todoroki?"

He looked back at Misaki, "...It's nothing," he said.

Misaki raised an eyebrow but didn't press on the subject. It was suspicious, to say the least. If Todoroki didn't want to mention it then it wouldn't be worth it to play a guessing game when they had to part ways so soon. Still, something must have been wrong at the very least curious if it had made him turn his attention away from his own travels.

She raised her hand to wave him off before rattling off one last message. "Well, alright, just making sure. Good luck this week. Don't hesitate to message me if you need to talk!"

The edge of his lips curled upwards just enough that she noticed. "Sure thing, Hisakawa."

He was gone just as fast as she had spoken to him. Misaki let out a little puff of air from her lips in a huff as she watched his retreating figure walk onto a train down the line from her. Even now, Todoroki still held all of his classmates to high formalities and only using their last names. She had told him at least four times to just use her name, but he ignored that.

Well, at least that was better than seeing somebody call her plum.

And so, the internships were officially started as the teens left their sensei and boarded their trains.

Misaki sat down in a seat after catching the door and hopping into the first seat she had noticed. She just wanted to get settled since it was going to be a very long trip of Okayama to get to Hime's hero department. She had started out in Musutafu near U.A., but the Hero Guild had stationed her in a different area with a wave of their hand. There were a couple of other heroes in that area but she couldn't quite recall which ones. At least it would be a relatively short time to spend collecting her thoughts.

Her bags tucked away and eyes out the window, the reflection in the window of the person sitting across from her caught her eye. She was so surprised by the figure that she blurted out:

"Bakugou?!"