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Be Somebody

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At home in France, Yuuga was isolated. His parents fawned over his older sister, Marianne, because she was the child that showed promise. She was naturally talented and took to everything she tried like a fish to water. She was a prodigy on the piano; she sang like a siren; she had the grace of an angel; she painted like Van Gogh; her quirk was not destructive, and she had the brain for politics. She was the perfect politician’s daughter, while Yuuga was the extra. The spare. The accident and mistake, even. 

He had to work day and night to become as skilled on the violin as he was; his singing was a joke; he was clumsy on the best of days; he found that he enjoyed embroidery but his parents saw no use in that; and he did not have the calculating cunning to be a politician. He had to claw and fight for every scrap of attention that was thrown his way. But his violin recitals were ignored. When his embroidery was put into an art exhibit he got a backhanded compliment because embroidery was a “woman’s art”. And when he was accepted into UA, the best hero academy in the world, he got a pat on the head and an absent-minded, “That’s nice, cheri.”  

His parents at least set him up with a penthouse apartment in Japan and a bodyguard/caretaker, Fleurette LaRue, or just Fleur as she liked to be called. He’d known Fleur for most of his childhood, and she was like the mother he’d never had. She came to his recitals, visited the exhibits that held his art, and gave him the tightest hug he had ever received when he got his acceptance letter into UA. She supported him and treated him like an actual person, and not just a shadow of the perfection that was Marianne. He could shine when he was with Fleur, and that was the greatest gift. 

“Work until they have to recognize you for you,” Fleur used to say while he was training for the UA entrance exam. “Train until they see that you shine brighter than a dead star.”

It might sound harsh to ears that didn’t know better, but that was what Marianne was. She was a dead star, a dead sun. Taken and gone too soon but it was an unchangeable fact. She was twenty-three-years-old when she died, and Yuuga was just ten. She had been well on her way into politics when a villain killed her. 

He called himself Puppeteer and he took pleasure in killing the children of politicians -- his exact motive for why wasn’t known until after he was caught. His quirk was Marionette, called that because he could see strings on people and objects, akin to that of a marionette, hence the name. He could control them and make people do as he pleased. He was a danger and had killed fifteen people in total -- all of them the children of French politicians, though some had been adults. 

Marianne was living on her own in the final years of her life, but she was back at the Favreau-Aoyama Manor for the Christmas holiday when she was killed. His parents were sound asleep in bed, but Yuuga had been unable to sleep that night, so he’d gone downstairs for a glass of milk. 

On his way back up, he passed by his sister’s room. The door was cracked open, which was strange. Yuuga couldn’t help but peek inside, and what he saw terrified him. 

A tall man, lean in his frame, facing away from the door, had his hands outstretched before him. His sister was in front of him, her hands around her neck and her face a nasty combination of red and purple. Large, heavy tears ran in rivers down her discolored face, and choked noises fell from her mouth. The two stood in the center of the large bedroom, a little less than three meters from the door. 

Yuuga’s knees trembled. It was the only movement he could muster. Who was this man?

It couldn’t be... him, could it?

Marianne’s eyes locked onto his from behind the door. Her mouth opened and closed helplessly for a second. 

Suddenly, the man dropped his hands to his sides, and like a puppet cut from its strings, Marianne collapsed to the floor, deep, thankful gasps for air coming from her. Yuuga knew, then, that it really was him: it was the Puppeteer. 

The Puppeteer killed politician’s kids. He was in the process of killing Marianne and would thus come for him next.

“S-stop,” she pleaded in between coughs and sobs. Her voice was hoarse and so quiet. “Pl-please, please ju-just stop this. Turn and leave. I won’t… tell anyone, I-I swear.”

She wasn’t talking to the Puppeteer. She was talking to Yuuga. She was telling him to run and get help -- if not for her, then for him. 

The Puppeteer barked out a harsh, condescending laugh. 

Ma chérie, we both know that’s not true.” He took something off his belt -- a dagger. He held it out with his right hand, and he extended his other hand forward, forcing Marianne’s worn body to stand and walk toward him. 

 Her movement was jerky, uncontrolled, like she was fighting the strings of the man’s quirk with every step. But she lost the battle and her own hands betrayed her, taking the dagger from him. 

 Marianne raised the dagger, the blade just centimeters from her neck when Yuuga was unable to contain himself despite the intense terror coursing through his veins. 

 He shoved the door open and it crashed against the wall loudly, interrupting the scene in front of him. The Puppeteer’s concentration is broken as he turns to look at Yuuga, and Marianne uses the opportunity to jump at the Puppeteer with the very weapon he supplied her with. 

 “Yuuga!” she cried. She manages to get the villain in the shoulder, and he stumbles to the ground and grunts. “Run! Call the police!” 

 “But--”

 “Just go!” 

 And Yuuga does. He runs to his room, where he has the cell phone he’d gotten for his birthday that year, and he calls the police. As he gives his address, he fiddles with his belt under his nightshirt and turns off the function that keeps him from using his navel lazer just in case -- he has enough control to keep it off for a bit without his quirk going haywire.

 The person on dispatch tells him to stay on the phone until the heroes and police arrive, and immediately after hearing that, his bedroom door creaks open. 

 “Hey, kid,” says the bleeding villain, smirking and leaning casually on the doorframe, as if he was supposed to be there. In his right hand, he lazily holds the dagger, which was just as bloody as him. Yuuga stumbles back, gasping, his mind going a million miles an hour. The person on dispatch asks him if the Puppeteer is there. Yuuga whimpers in response and the person assures him that heroes are just a few minutes away. 

But with the Puppeteer standing in his doorway, a few minutes would not be enough. 

 “Your sister is dead,” the villain said conversationally as if discussing the weather. He stepped fully into the room, making Yuuga take a step back, right into the wall. “And you’re next. Whatever hero you’ve called isn’t going to help you -- not in time, anyway.” He chuckled. The sound made him shudder. 

 “I’ll get away, too, and I’ll be able to move on to kill some other kids. I haven’t decided who next.” 

 He was in the center of the room now, just over two meters away from him, and Yuuga shifted to the left, mentally taking aim. 

 “You won’t be able to,” Yuuga whispered, trembling. “You won’t kill anyone else.” 

 As the Puppeteer barked another amused and condescending laugh, Yuuga activated his quirk and watched as his sparkling lazer beam burned straight through his nightshirt and then through the Puppeteer’s right arm, dissolving flesh and bone and the metal of the dagger in his hand. 

 The thing about pain is that it can be so agonizing that you can’t focus on anything else. Yuuga learned this when his quirk first manifested and the pain his navel lazer caused was so intense that he could only curl around his stomach and weep. 

 It must be even more painful to have two arms one second and then only one arm the next. 

 The Puppeteer let out an awful shriek and fell to the floor, his remaining hand clumsily coming up to the stump of his right shoulder. Yuuga’s lazer beam was so hot and powerful that it had cauterized the wound, so there was no blood. 

 But the scent of burned flesh was so intense and overwhelming that it made up for the lack of blood. 

 “W-wha…?” the villain stuttered out before passing out in shock. 

 The person on dispatch was frantic, asking what happened and who screamed and if Yuuga was okay.

 “I-- I, um,” Yuuga stammered. “I’m okay. I… I used my quirk. To stop him. Am I-- am I gonna get in trouble for that?” Yuuga knew that only heroes were supposed to use their quirks to fight villains. 

 “Non, non, non,” says the person. “It was self-defense, chou. You won’t get in trouble. You did good.” 

 Yuuga nodded without thinking, “How long until the heroes get here?”

 “Estimated time of arrival is just sixty seconds, chou.” 

 And sure enough, a minute later, Chat Noir, one of the two heroes tied for the #1 spot, runs into Yuuga’s room, only to stop short once seeing the body on the ground. Next to enter is Ladybug, the other one tied for #1 and partner to Chat Noir.

 “Is--” Chat Noir, blinks his chatoyant green eyes down at the prone body, then at Yuuga’s shaking one. “Is that the Puppeteer?” Ladybug is similarly surprised.

 “Oui,” Yuuga answers tearfully. Without thinking about it, he hangs up his phone. “I used my quirk on him. Am I gonna get in trouble? The person on the phone said I wouldn’t but--” 

 “Of course you won’t get in trouble!” Chat Noir cuts him off. While he talks, Ladybug kneels down next to the Puppeteer and checks his pulse. “Now, why don’t you and me move to a different room, hm?” 

 Yuuga nodded and walked to Chat, carefully stepping around the villain’s body as he did so. He then grabbed Chat’s outstretched hand and let himself be led away as the sounds of police and ambulance sirens could be heard outside. 

 And when he started to wail, gasping for breaths he couldn’t quite get due to the emotional sobs wracking his small frame, Chat Noir gathers him up into his strong arms and holds him tight. 

It was that night that his parents gave him the first hug he’d gotten from them in years. It took his sister’s death to receive it.

 A few days later, he pretended not to hear his mom tell his dad, “The Puppeteer killed the wrong child.”

 He was now their only child. Instead of being thankful they had one left, they continued to ignore him in favor of making it so no one would forget his sister’s name. They created the Marianne Aoyama Foundation, a charity specifically for those affected by the crimes of villains. They held events in her honor and even successfully pushed for a national holiday that would commemorate the heroes, other law enforcement, and civilians killed by villains or in villain attacks. 

 Yuuga tried everything to earn his parent's attention and affection. In addition to his violin lessons, he starts taking piano and reads up on politics. His success with the piano only gets him an off-handed, “Good, but your sister was better,” and his dive into politics made him realize that he disagreed with his parents on a lot of things. 

 By age twelve, he’s mostly given up. He decides to try to get into UA, the number one hero school in the world and wants to be in the heroics course. He won’t live up to the impossible expectations his sister set, however accidentally, but he can make a name for himself separate from her and the rest of the Aoyamas. UA is a strategic choice -- it is away from Europe and thus away from the family name, and it isn’t out of reach because his father graduated from UA’s business course, so his parents would see it as him wanting to be like his father. 

 There he can be more than the sole surviving target of the Puppeteer and more than his parents' less favored child. He can be more than Marianne and can shine brighter than her legacy. He wants to escape from Paris, escape from France altogether. UA is his only chance of that. Being a hero is his only chance to be Yuuga and not Marianne Aoyama’s little brother. 

 Fleur tells him training will be hard and it is. But he gets in. He is accepted into UA’s heroics course and he is whisked away from Europe with Fleur and they move into the penthouse together a week before classes start. Fleur becomes his temporary guardian while in Japan and she acts like the mother he never had. 

The first day at UA is discouraging. It’s not that he fails the quirk assessment test Aizawa-sensei gives but is instead that everyone has such amazing quirks and skills. Yuuga was hoping to finally shine bright enough to get some attention, to shine bright enough to be an equal. 

 Yuuga should have known better. He was at UA, the best heroics school in the world. Of course all of its heroics course students would shine bright. 

 There was Bakugou Katsuki with his impressive explosions and fiery attitude; Yaoyorozu Momo who could literally create anything as long as she knew the chemical composition of the object; Kaminari Denki who had a rare electricity quirk; Tokoyami Fumikage whose quirk was a sentient being; Uraraka Ochako who could make things float; and Todoroki Shouto, whose control over his ice was already on the same level as a pro-hero. And that was just a few of his classmates. 

 Yuuga wanted to make a name for himself. He’s no longer so sure that UA will help him do that. 

 Later that night, he’s scrolling through a news article from France. It’s about him: apparently, his parents thought it would be a good idea to give an interview on his attendance at UA. 

 "We are very proud of him, of course,” says Cosette Favreau-Aoyama about the only survivor of the Villard assassinations. “UA is a very elite school -- only the best of the best get in, especially when it comes to the heroics course, which is the course Yuuga is attending.” 

 "We only wish that our beloved Marianne were here to see her little brother off. She loved him so much….” Rin Aoyama trailed off sadly in remembrance of his oldest child, who was tragically murdered by villain Simon Villard, AKA The Puppeteer, and whose execution date is rapidly approaching ….

 The article contained three links, one leading to another article about Villard’s crimes and capture, one to an article about Marianne’s death, and the last one to an article announcing Villard’s execution date. It was several months away and the people of France were celebrating that fact. 

 Yuuga scoffed once he finished reading the article. His parents couldn’t talk about him for thirty seconds before bringing up Marianne. It was ridiculous. 

 He tried in vain to ignore the growing void in his chest. 

 As the week progresses, Yuuga fails to connect well with his classmates. He doesn’t seem to fit in well with any of them and they all fall into their own groups, with a few duos here and there. They’re all nice to Yuuga and include him when he’s around, but none of them are really his friends

 But hey, Yuuga didn’t have any of those back in Paris, anyway. So he’s at least used to this. 

 Fleur is a blessing during this week. She shows him memes she knows he’d like and she cooks homemade food because she knows that he didn’t like takeout. She tries embroidery in an attempt to connect with him even though she’s awful at threading the needle and her embroidery just looks like sad tangles in cloth. She plays loud music that would be called noise by his parents and pulls him out of his room for random dance parties. And when he eventually breaks down and cries she holds him and asks in soft French, “Do you want to talk about it, or do you just want me to hold you?”

 He says he wants to talk about it, and after he’s finished, she asks, “Do you want advice, or for me to say, ‘That sucks,’ before baking a comfort cake?” 

 Yuuga sniffles, “The second one.”

 Her hug tightens, firm and embracing, and then she lets go so she can look him in the eye.

 “That really sucks, Yuuga. But let’s go make a cake so you can properly wallow, oui?”

 Yuuga nods and actually feels a little better, “ Oui.”

As it would turn out, his friendless-ness doesn’t last long. It’s just that he doesn’t make a friend in the heroics course, but rather one from gen-ed. 

 Her name is Toriyama Saori and her quirk is Glitter Production. She can create seemingly endless amounts of glitter from the palms of her hands and its due to that that Yuuga is immediately smitten -- not in a crush sort of way because he’s gay but in a friendly way. Her smile comes as easy as Sero’s but her eyes scream that she’s as dead inside as Aizawa-sensei. 

 What happens is he’s avoiding going to the cafeteria for lunch because he doesn’t want to be an awkward tag-along to any of his classmates so he’s in the library, sitting on one of the black leather couches and his nose in a French translation of The Hobbit. Halfway through Bilbo’s game of riddles with Gollum/Smeagol, he feels the couch shift under the pressure of new weight, and when he looks up, he sees a girl with blue, pixie cut hair, and tired silver eyes. 

 “May I help you with anything?” he asked nervously, and the girl beamed in response. 

 “I am Toriyama Saori from 1-C,” she introduces herself, bowing her head. “I’ve seen you in here every day for lunch since last week. I just thought it was time to introduce myself!” 

 “O-oh,” he flounders a bit, then clears his throat and bows his own head back. He never noticed her at all, which means he should probably work on his situational awareness. It wouldn’t due to be an oblivious hero. “My name is Aoyama Yuuga. Um, from 1-A.”

 Her eyes light up, the tiredness leaving temporarily. 

 “You’re in the heroics course? That’s so cool. What’s your quirk? Mine is Glitter Production -- I can create glitter from my hands!” 

 “Truly? Can you show me? Oh, and my quirk is that I can create a destructive lazer beam from my stomach.”

“That’s amazing! And of course, I can show you!” She holds her palm up, and sure enough, a little bit of blue glitter starts to appear in her hand. “I can’t produce too much of it right now without getting yelled at, but I can make lots. Buckets of it, even. In middle school, I would sell mason jars of it for 500 yen.” She shakes the glitter off her hand and to the ground without any guilt of spreading what most consider the “herpes” of the crafting world. 

“Wow,” Yuuga says. “I’ll pay you 500 yen for some red glitter, assuming you can change the color?”

She nods, “I can! And don’t worry about paying me for the first one -- consider it a friendship-gift!”

 “I’m afraid I can’t think of anything I can give in exchange though….”

 “That’s why it’s called a friendship-gift! You don’t have to get me anything in return, Aoyama-kun!” 

 Yuuga smiled. 

 At home in France, he was isolated. It was the same in Class 1-A, but that didn’t have to extend to include all of UA. 

Chapter Text

It was true that Aoyama Yuuga was training to be a hero and that heroes should follow the law, but it was also true that Aoyama Yuuga was a teenager all the way in Japan who thus had no hope of seeing any Broadway musicals. And that was why Yuuga was watching a bootlegged video of Heathers: the Musical on his phone while waiting for Toriyama-chan at the library. After sitting together on the couch at the library for two days, Toriyama had asked if they could move to sit at one of the tables hidden behind the bookshelves so she could drink her energy drinks without being kicked out for having liquids in the library, and Yuuga had agreed. So now he was sitting at a table behind the bookshelves, with five other unoccupied chairs surrounding him.

It was the second week at UA and he still was failing at making any real friends in his class. So far it was just passing Good mornings and bits of small talk with the people who sat next to him: Ojirou Mashirao, Kaminari Denki, and Ashido Mina. However, it was still better than the cool and detached conversations he had with his peers at the private school he attended in Paris. 

A lot of things were better at UA than in Paris.

Out of nowhere, a hand came down hard on his shoulder, causing Yuuga to quickly slam his phone screen-down on the table and whipped his head around while tearing the earbuds from his ears in one fluid movement. Standing behind him, he saw Toriyama along with two students he didn’t recognize. 

Like Toriyama, the boy to her right looked eternally tired, but unlike her, he did not have the same spark of life in his eyes. His hair was a mess -- it was something Yuuga’s parents would hate. It was a rich violet and stuck up on its ends, defying gravity. He stood tall, too, and would be even taller if he didn’t slouch like he didn’t want to be there.

The girl, however, on Toriyama’s left, looked far more alive than either Toriyama or the boy. Her blue eyes, so bright they were almost glowing, had actual life in them. She was short, shorter than Yuuga himself. Her black hair was also short, but it was different in that it was long enough to fall in curls around her chin. 

“Toriyama-chan,” Yuuga scolded. “You frightened me. Who are your friends?” 

Toriyama snickered. 

“This,” she pointed to the girl, “is Moto Kokoro.” She then pointed to the boy, “And this Grumpy Gus is Shinsou Hitoshi.” Shinsou rolled his eyes at being called a Grumpy Gus, scoffing, but Toriyama ignored him. “They’re my friends from 1-C. Guys, this is Aoyama Yuuga, from 1-A.”

“We’re not friends,” Shinsou cut in, looking bored. 

“Then why are you here?” retorted Toriyama while Moto walked forward to sit next to Yuuga. 

“Ignore them,” she whispered, her eyes mischievous. “They’re always like this. And please, call me Koko. I am not a fan of my surname.”

“Call me Yuuga, then,” Yuuga returned with a smile. “I am from France, so most people call me by my first name, anyway.” 

“What?” Toriyama suddenly cut in, looking put out. She shoved Shinsou towards a chair and glared at him until he sat down across from Kokoro, and a second later Toriyama sat next to him, facing Yuuga. “You’re on a first-name basis with Koko already? We aren’t and we’ve known each other longer!” She pouted.

“Who would want to be on a first-name basis with you ?” Shinsou muttered disdainfully under his breath. 

There was no way that Toriyama didn’t hear him, so she was definitely ignoring him when she asked, “Will you call me Saori?”

Yuuga smiled, “Call me Yuuga and I’ll call you Saori.” He glanced at Shinsou, uncertain, and Saori picked up on it and quickly said, “Don’t worry about Shinsou-kun: he still calls Koko Moto even though she threatens to throat-punch him every time he does it.” 

Shinsou snorts, but then Saori adds, “He’s a tsundere, you know. He secretly has a big ol’ heart of gold. He just pretends he doesn’t because he wants to be seen as aloof and cool .” That comment earns her a jab to her ribs, but Saori is apparently an expert at ignoring Shinsou’s disgruntled words and actions despite having probably only known him for a little more than a week. 

“Shut up,” he grumbles. “I do not.” 

“Oh?” Kokoro challenges. “Then why do you want to get into the heroics course so bad?” She makes an eep noise when tired eyes turn into a glare. “Sorry!”

“Heroics?” Yuuga asked, despite the glare he received that told him not to ask. “Why did you not get in?”

Shinsou crossed his arms, a huff escaping from his lips, “The entrance exam is biased towards those with nonphysical quirks.” 

Urged on by the fact that Yuuga didn’t get his head bitten clean off for asking, Kokoro excitedly said, “Shinsou-kun is planning on doing good at the Sports Festival so he can move up into one of the heroics classes!” 

Yuuga blinked, surprised, “That can happen?”

Shinsou nodded, “Yeah. ‘S how my dad got into the heroics course when he went to UA.” He suddenly smirked, “Better do good in the Festival, Aoyama. Otherwise, I might just take your spot.” 

Aoyama repressed a flinch. Wouldn’t it just be perfect to have worked so hard to get into UA’s heroics course only to be chucked into general education because someone did better than him in the Sports Festival? His parents would have a ball if that happened. 

Marianne wouldn’t have gotten demoted to gen ed. He could already hear it. 

Instead of voicing any of these insecurities, Yuuga said, “Personally, I hope you take Mineta Minoru’s spot. We have been here for a week and he’s already harassed the girls too many times to count.” 

“Wait,” Kokoro said, “Isn’t your teacher the one who expelled an entire class once, for like, nothing? If he’s done that, why doesn’t he expel this Mineta kid?” 

Shinsou looked pensive and maybe a bit insulted, probably upset that a pervert was in Class 1-A and he wasn’t, so Yuuga said, “We all have potential, or so Aizawa-sensei says.” He shrugged, “I cannot see Aizawa-sensei’s temper remaining long with Mineta. I’m sure he’ll be expelled at sooner or later.” 

With that said, Saori brought out an energy drink from her bag, and then pulled out a second one for Shinsou, who nodded gratefully. In unison, they popped the caps off their drinks near-silently. 

“Impressive,” Kokoro complimented. “But I can’t believe you brought the Walking Dead a drink and not me or Yuu-kun one.” 

Yuuga blinked at the nickname as Shinsou smirked into his drink. 

“I’m just better than you two,” he stated. 

“Hardly,” Saori rolled her eyes. “I just don’t want to hear you whine about not having your own energy drink. Now, as for you.” She turned narrowed, accusing eyes to Yuuga, who pointed to himself in confusion.

Moi ?” he asked. 

“Yes,” she nodded superiorly. “ Toi .” She pulled out an orange and a water bottle from her bag. “You never eat lunch! You’re in the heroics course, you idiot. You need to keep up a healthy diet or you’ll end up passing out during training or something! Eat this orange and drink this water!”

“I don’t recall you being my Maman,” Yuuga quipped, but he took the water anyway. Not the orange, though. “How do you know I don’t eat a big breakfast and supper to compensate?” 

“Exactly!” Saori exclaimed, which is not the response he was aiming for. “How do I know you’re eating properly? I don’t. So eat this orange and start bringing lunch for yourself before I drag you to Lunch Rush and rat you out.” 

The truth was that Yuuga didn’t eat lunch because Foundational Heroics was always after lunch, and he had no way of knowing if he was going to be over-using his quirk during that class. Over-use of his quirk always resulted in a stomach ache and vomiting, unless he didn’t eat anything. That, and well….

“I can’t eat the orange,” he admitted. “I took aspirin and other medications since my quirk developed but had to stop because they started to give me stomach ulcers. Citrus fruits made the symptoms worse so I stopped eating them a long time ago. Spicy foods, too. But thank you, Saori. I appreciate the concern.” 

It’s more than he got back in France. 

Saori looked put-out that she couldn’t feed him, and she heaved a great sigh before rolling the orange to Kokoro and then digging through her bag again. 

“Do you have more food in there?” Kokoro asked in disbelief, taking the orange and peeling it. 

“Yes,” Saori answered, and in response, Shinsou said in deadpan, “Unbelievable.”

From her bag, Saori pulled out a Ziploc baggie containing chocolate chip cookies. She pushed them across the table to Yuuga, and he took them with thanks. 

“Eat those and enjoy them,” she said threateningly. “I can’t believe that I have to give you junk food…. You’re just gonna get a sugar crash. But this is better than nothing, I guess.” 

“A true mother hen,” Shinsou snorted. 

“Whatever, you stupid tsundere.” 

Kokoro and Yuuga exchanged twin looks of suffering. 

Despite this, Yuuga doesn’t mind the idea of every lunch being spent with this odd assortment of teenagers for the foreseeable future. 

Chapter Text

A few days after the press break-in, Saori shows off the watch that she bought with her own, hard-earned money from her job as a waitress. Shinsou insults it and calls it gaudy, mostly kidding, but Saori still uses her quirk to throw hot-pink glitter at him. Since it’s glitter, it not only gets Shinsou, but it also coats itself on Yuuga and Kokoro, who had been innocent bystanders. 

“Saori!” Kokoro scolds in a hiss, trying and failing to wipe the glitter from her body. Yuuga didn’t bother. He knows that trying to get rid of glitter is a futile endeavor. But there was an odd tone to her voice, one that sounded like panic. “You’re gonna get us kicked out of the library. And then where will we eat?”

“In the cafeteria?” Shinsou points out with a raised, condescending brow. “Like everyone else?”

Saori scoffs, shaking her head, “Shinsou-kun, honey, no. With the plebs?” She tsks. “We’re better than them.” 

Shinsou rolls his eyes, running a hand through his wild violet hair. Pink glitter rains down from wherever his hand touches, almost as if he were the one with the Glitter Production quirk. 

Though, speaking of, he never did learn what Shinsou’s quirk is. Or Kokoro’s, for that matter. All he knows is that Shinsou’s is a nonphysical one. 

The bell signaling the end of lunch rang, however, so Yuuga filed that question away for later as they all packed up their smuggled lunches -- Yuuga, too, because he had started to bring something small to eat for lunch after being threatened by Saori. They all said their goodbyes, and then parted ways, the general education courses being in a different part of the building than the heroics course. 

Ashido wolf-whistles once he arrives in the classroom and takes his seat, eyeing the glitter on his body. The only other people in the room are Kaminari Denki, Kouda Kouji, Satou Rikidou, and Todoroki Shouto, who are all at their respective desks.

“Did you go to a strip club for lunch, Aoyama?” she teases. 

The joke makes him blush, but he without hesitation he quips back as he sits down, “ Non , I am just naturally sparkly, didn’t you know?” 

Ashido snickers. 

“We know,” she assures, her unique eyes mischievous but her voice kind and genuine. “You shine bright all on your own!” 

It’s something he’s said himself before. He’s said it to his classmates, to Fleur, and to himself late at night when he thinks about his parent’s preference of Marianne. 

It’s nice to hear it from someone else.

The door slides open, and in walks Mineta. Normally, this wouldn’t be anything eventful, but with Aoyama right next to the door, he is the first thing Mineta sees. The next thing Mineta sees is all the glitter on his body, and his lip curls into a sneer at the sight of it, making Yuuga’s gut twist painfully. 

“Wow,” Mineta says, disdain in his voice. “I was kinda suspicious, but I guess now I know for sure. You really are a fag, huh, Aoyama?” 

Yuuga freezes. Japanese might not be his first language, but he is fluent in it, and he knows what he was just called. 

Ashido’s hand comes down on his shoulder protectively, the same time that a more muscular, strong hand grabs Mineta by the shoulder and shoves him away from Yuuga’s desk. 

It’s Shouji Mezou, who arrived while Mineta was talking, along with Tokoyami Fumikage. Shouji’s brow is furrowed, a glare in his eyes, and Tokoyami looks just as pissed. 

“That kind of language is uncalled for, Mineta!” Shouji asserts. “You should apologize to Aoyama right now.” 

“Apologize?” Mineta sputters. “No way! If anything, you should apologize to me, since you just pushed me!” He turns to Kaminari and says, “Kami, man, help me out here!”

For a moment, Aoyama is afraid that Kaminari will side with Mineta, considering he’s seen the two together a few times, but Kaminari crosses his arms in refusal, and something in Yuuga’s chest loosens. 

“I won’t,” he simply says. “I’m bisexual, so why would I help you when you just called Aoyama a fag?” 

Mineta’s pleading gaze becomes a repulsed sneer at that information, “Did you short-circuit or something? Kami, bisexuality isn’t real. You’re either a fag or straight, and you’re straight, so stop being stupid.” 

Kaminari was pale at the jab at his short-circuiting mode and then went even paler at the bisexuality, fag, and straight comments, lighting a fire in Yuuga’s stomach, and apparently, an even hotter one in Ashido’s. 

The pink girl leaped up out of her chair, pointing an accusing finger at Mineta. Her shoulders were quaking in a Bakugou-esque rage, her gait widening to make her seem like a bigger threat. 

“How dare you say that? How dare you say any of that to Kaminari or Aoyama?” she seethes, her hands clenching into fists. Anxiety pricked at Yuuga’s nerves. “And-- and stop calling him Kami like you’re his friend! You aren’t his friend if you say stuff like that!” 

“Mineta,” Tokoyami cut in with a cool and unforgiving voice. “Apologize to Aoyama and Kaminari at once.” 

Mineta scoffs, crossing his arms, but a glance around the room reveals no sympathetic faces. His jaw clenches and he spits out, “Fine! I’m sorry, Aoyama, Kami.” 

Ashido bristles at the use of the Kami nickname, but Mineta stalks off to his seat before she can say anything, and it’s clear by the sharp, exasperated huff she gives that she’s decided not to pursue the argument. She gives both Yuuga and Aoyama comforting pats on the shoulder with thankfully acid-free hands before sitting back down. 

Tokoyami looks at both him and Kaminari in concern, “Are you two feeling okay? Do you want to report this to Aizawa?”

Kaminari shakes his head, “No…. He didn’t say anything I haven’t heard before, you know?” He turns his worried golden eyes to Yuuga, “But we can if you want to, Aoyama. I won’t stop you if you want to tell Aizawa-sensei.”

Yuuga also shakes his head, “I’m okay. It didn’t hurt me that much.” He’s been hurt a lot before and by now his feelings were mostly calloused. It would take more than being called a fag to make him break down. If he were in Kaminari’s shoes, he’d probably report Mineta. The short-circuit and bisexuality comments Mineta made were really what pushed him over the edge, and he can’t imagine disregarding the insults the same way Kaminari did. Yuuga may have taken the first proverbial hit, but the other boy was the one who was really attacked. 

Kaminari nods, as do Tokoyami and Shouji. 

“If you two are sure,” Shouji says, if a little warily, not wanting Mineta to get away with his transgressions. 

Before he and Tokoyami walk to their respective desks, Tokoyami says, “I happen to find the glitter enamoring. It suits you, Aoyama.” 

Yuuga blushes and stammers out merci while Shouji snorts from behind his blue mask. 

“You just like sparkly things,” he accuses in amusement. Tokoyami ducks his head, black feathers puffing up, and doesn’t deny it, causing Yuuga flush, a pleased smile gracing his lips. 

From behind him, Ashido snickers, and Kaminari utters a soft, “Adorable.” 


 

Yuuga admittedly had a bit of a following on social media. Of course, nearly all of his followers were French, and most of them followed him for one of two reasons: 

1) He was the son of the French politician, Cosette Favreau-Aoyama, who was well on her way towards becoming the prime minister, and the wealthy businessman, Rin Aoyama, CEO of Aoyama Industries in France. 

2) He was the only survivor of the Simon Villard murders and the cause for his capture. Not just that, but he was only ten-years-old at the time. 

Then there were those who followed him for both those reasons and a very small margin of people who followed him for the things he posted. 

On Instagram, he posted pictures of finished products and works-in-progress, but not much else, and certainly nothing UA-related. His Facebook was definitely abandoned and was going to stay that way since he hated Facebook. Twitter and Tumblr, however, were different stories altogether. 

His Twitter was full of anecdotes from his day, never revealing anything about his schedule or about UA. (As the son of two very wealthy people, he couldn’t afford to give away anything that might make it easier for someone to kidnap and ransom him. (Not that his parents would pay it.)) So it was just anecdotal and occasional shitposting. Because of this, his Twitter had the highest follower count. 

Tumblr, on the other hand…. Well, his main blog was pretty political, since he didn’t come out and say that it was his blog. It contained his thoughts on political matters, vastly different from his parents. He commented on issues with exigence, issues that had importance in current politics. The only thing he didn’t comment on was what he thought of Simon Villard’s upcoming execution, which was a hot topic for all of France and some of Europe. 

Scrolling through the things he was tagged in on Twitter revealed that a lot of people were wanting his thoughts on the matter. Others were predicting that he was relieved, or happy that Villard was soon to meet his end. The truth was that Yuuga wasn’t sure what he thought of the matter. 

He knows that Villard’s death won’t really solve anything. It won’t bring his sister back, nor will it bring back the other fifteen victims. He also knows that Villard fanatics have tried to kill him in the past to “finish the job,” so to speak, and that Villard’s death will help bring an end to that particular brand of nonsense. Anyone who believed that the death of a child was poetic justice was absolutely mad. 

Villard’s youngest victim had been four-years-old and had just gotten her quirk a few months before she was killed. Her name was Appoline Bonnefoy. Yuuga was nine when she died, but he can remember her at galas and other events that their parents dragged them to. He had talked to her once, about two weeks before she died. She was telling him about her quirk and telling him all about how she wanted to be a hero. Her quirk allowed her to freeze her opponents in place for two minutes, as long as she could place her fingertips on that person. She could unfreeze them early with just a thought. 

She would have been a great hero. 

He thinks of Appoline and Marianne sometimes and compares how he feels about their deaths. There’s a noticeable difference. 

Marianne had been thirteen when he was born. That’s a large age-gap. She had other interests to attend to and didn’t want to spend time with the new baby. It probably didn’t help any that she saw that her parents also didn’t want to spend time with the baby. She was just so much older and better and Yuuga had no hope of catching up. She loved him, he didn't doubt it -- her words that night she died prove that. But the fact remains that the night Marianne died was the first night in years they spent time together.

Yuuga had just had one conversation with Apolline and he felt like he knew her better than he did his own sister. She called her quirk Freeze Tag and wanted to be a hero named Medusa: the Freeze Tag Heroine. She said that she wanted to show other little girls that they could be heroes too because her best friend, Lucie, was convinced that girls couldn’t be heroes. (France had been lacking in popular female superheroes at the time, with the exception of Ladybug.) She said that she wanted to make people happy and help them feel safe. 

He knew lots of things about Marianne. Her hobbies, political pursuits, her perfect boyfriends. But he didn’t know her, not like he did little Appoline. Appoline was a real person who he could mourn whereas his sister was more akin to a perfect celebrity: she was someone he knew vaguely but not personally. When she died, he was sad, but he didn’t grieve the way a brother should. 

And that? That made him feel truly guilty and sorrowful. 

Chapter Text

“So, what’s it like, being taught by All Might himself?” Saori asks at lunch the day after the Mineta incident. 

Kokoro and Shinsou look at Yuuga in curiosity at the question, and Yuuga leans back in his chair in consideration. 

All Might was the number one hero in Japan and was well known throughout the world, but seeing as Yuuga is from France, he didn’t really idolize the hero like his classmates did. All Might being his teacher was cool, but it wasn’t “Ladybug and Chat Noir, number one heroes in France” cool. 

He shrugs and decides to tell the truth, “All Might is manifique , of course, but he is not the best teacher. The first class he taught ended with Midoriya Izuku in the infirmiry because he did not assert his authority as a teacher over Bakugou Katsuki.” 

Kokoro snaps her fingers in recognition, “Is he the splodey-boy? The one who yells at anyone walking too close to him?”

Oui , that is Bakugou,” Yuuga nods. 

Shinsou sagely copies the nod, “With a classmate like that, it is a miracle that you all haven’t been blown up yet.” 

Saori snorts into her energy drink, then lowers it to request with excited eyes, “Okay, but seriously: you have to tell us more about All Might! He’s just so cool, he’s my favorite hero!” 

“There’s not much to tell.” He pauses for a second to think, trying to come up with anything interesting to tell his friends. “He’s All Might. Strong, loud, but gentle and kind. He is a good person, I don’t know what more you want me to tell you.” 

“Well, none of us have ever met him in person!” Saori elaborates. “He’s human, you know? Just like us. I guess I want to know more about his humanity.”

Kokoro agrees, “Yeah, I get what you mean! Like, he’s always played up to be larger than life, you know? But he’s human too, so what makes him like us?”

“Ah, I see,” Yuuga hums. “Well, I’m not sure. I don’t know his hobbies or anything. He’s a teacher. He shows up and… teaches. That’s it.” He tilts his head, then says, “Well, I guess I see him sometimes with Midoriya. So he plays favorites, maybe? That’s pretty human.”

“Midoriya is the green-haired one, right?” Shinsou asked. 

Oui , and he breaks his bones like it’s going out of style.” Midoriya’s quirk didn’t seem to fit his body…. Rather like Yuuga’s didn’t. 

Kokoro and Shinsou snort, Saori cracking a grin that she covers with her hand. 

Yuuga’s heart warms. How did he ever survive in Paris without friends?


 

The rescue training at the Unforeseen Simulation Joint is a disaster. 

The class isn’t even there for a full five minutes before villains break-in. Yuuga and his classmates get scattered across the USJ into different sections, where they fight real-life, actual villains who are willing to kill them. They are first-years who haven’t even had internships yet. They haven’t even been attending UA for a full month yet. 

The fear of fighting them is similar to when Yuuga was ten and watching his sister be assaulted from behind a cracked door, then was running for his life, and finally facing off against the Puppeteer himself. 

But Yuuga isn’t a scared ten-year-old who was facing off against a dangerous killer anymore. 

He is Yuuga Aoyama, hero-hopeful, and he has reasons to live now that extend past basic survival instincts. 

He and his classmates fight back and there are almost no fatal injuries -- almost. 

Midoriya breaks his bones again.

Thirteen-sensei was in critical condition.

Aizawa-sensei…. Aizawa-sensei nearly dies. 

The villains had this creature, inky black and hulking, its skull exposed. It was huge. Midoriya, Asui Tsuyu, Mineta, and a few others saw it up close, which is hard to imagine. Yuuga saw it from a distance and can hardly believe it was real. He doesn’t want to think about being so close to it. 

Aizawa-sensei, Thirteen-sensei, and Midoriya have to be taken to Musutafu General Hospital, whereas Yuuga and his other classmates get escorted back to UA to be picked up by their guardians post-haste. Apparently once Iida had gotten to the school, they’d had the receptionist at the front desk immediately start calling parents to come pick up their children, with Class 1-A’s parents being the first priority. Many of their guardians were already waiting for their children in UA’s courtyard, temporary passes to be let on campus in hand. 

Fleur was one of them. 

“Yuuga!” she cries out as soon as her eyes land on him, running towards him. Many other adults are doing the same thing. 

Yuuga also runs to her, arms open to hug her. Fleur wraps her arms around him as soon as they touch, squeezing him and rocking him back and forth. 

“Mon chou,” she cries in French, and he can feel tears fall on his head from her. “Mon chou, mon chou. I am so glad you are okay!” 

“Me too,” he says, also in French. His throat tightens and eyes water, “Me too, Fleur.” 

Other families are having similar reunions. The students whose parents aren’t here yet are flocked together, awkward and trying not to break down alone. 

They might be hero-hopefuls… but they are all fifteen-years-old. Children. And children shouldn’t have to face villains. This is something Yuuga learned at a young age. 

After a few minutes of hugging and holding each other, Fleur pulls away from him and says, “Yuuga, you need to call your parents.”

He diverts his eyes and quietly scoffs, “Will they even answer?”

“Of course they will,” she chides him gently. “They’re your parents, Yuuga.” 

No, he bitterly thinks to himself. They were Marianne’s parents. But not mine. 

But he nevertheless sighs and pulls out his phone and dials his father’s number. 

It barely rings once before the call is answered, and his father’s voice says in quiet French, “Bonjour. The skies are a glorious shade of blue today, oui?” 

Ah, right. Most nations had all sorts of secret codes given over the radio for politicians and their families to listen for so that when they make phone calls, they can be assured that they are talking to the person the caller ID says they are. France is not any different. Yuuga tries to think of today’s countersign and is blessedly able to recall it. 

“That’s true, though I believe thunderstorms are on the horizon.” 

There’s a sigh on the other end, short and staticky through the phone. 

“Mon fils,” his father says, relief in his voice. “We were worried about you.” 

“I’m fine now,” Yuuga says stiffly. Fleur rubs his shoulder comfortingly and he can’t help but lean into it. “Our homeroom teacher did a marvelous job of protecting us. We would not have made it out as well as we did if not for him.”

“Yuuga, this shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I am sure your teacher did a good job protecting you and the other students, but the fact is that you should not be in hero school. Why can’t you be more like Marianne and go into politics? Or maybe like me and transfer into UA’s business course?” 

Yuuga’s free hand turns into a fist and his jaw clenches. Unthinkingly, he wrenches away from Fleur’s touch. 

Why can’t you be more like Marianne? The question echoes in his head.

Why can’t you--

More like--

Why can’t you be--

Marianne?

Be like--

More like--

Why can’t you--

Like Marianne?

The Puppeteer killed the wrong child.  

Just like that, he is shocked from his momentary stupor as if Kaminari himself had used his quirk on him. 

“Be like Marianne?” he asked his father, his voice going hysterical and sobs building back up. It didn’t look too out of place, given the day’s circumstances. “You always say that. ‘Why aren’t you like Marianne? You did good, Yuuga, but Marianne was so much better. Your embroidery is good, Yuuga, but it does not hold a candle to Marianne’s skills in painting.’ Why can’t I just be Yuuga? Why am I always being compared to her?”

“Yuuga--” his father tries to interrupt, but he isn’t letting him do so. 

“Non, non!” Yuuga says. “I am not Marianne. I never will be. I am Yuuga, a hero-hopeful. I like embroidery and musicals, not the violin or piano. I will be the next number one hero in France, and nothing will stop me.” 

His breathing is heavy after the tirade, adrenaline in his veins after standing up to his father for the first time in his life. His voice had risen while speaking, so he takes a moment while his father is processing what just happened to say, “If that is all, Papa, then I would like to speak to Maman, please.” 

It was time to get this over with. 

He can hear his father shift on the line, and then he reluctantly says, “Your mother is… unavailable right now.” 

Yuuga can’t contain the biting scoff he feels in his throat so he lets it out. 

“Unavailable?” he asks in disbelief. “She is unavailable when her last surviving child was just in a villain attack?”

“Yuuga--” his father tries. 

“Non,” he asserts. “I do not want to hear it. Work is more important than her only child, oui? I understand. After all,” his voice takes on a darker, mocking tone, and he throws those words back in his father’s face after overhearing them five years ago, “Villard killed the wrong child.”

His father calls his name once more, desperation now in his voice, but Yuuga hangs up. He doesn’t care about any of the excuses his father might try to spew. 

He shoves his phone into his pocket and looks at Fleur, whose eyes are tinged with orange -- a characteristic of her transformation quirk, it happens when she gets angry. 

“ ‘Villard killed the wrong child,’ “ she repeats. Then, in Japanese, she says, “It sounds like you were quoting something.”

“I was,” he confirms, also in Japanese. “Maman said it five years ago.” 

She winces, bright flames appearing in her eyes, sclera and iris and pupil all, but then shakes her head and the red-orange flames away, leaving behind normal onyx eyes. 

“I prefer Yuuga to Marianne any day,” she states after a second. Yuuga’s heart stops, his hand going up to cover his mouth. Tears are in his eyes again. He flings his arms over Fleur’s shoulders and she stumbles back a few steps, but catches her balance quick enough and returns the hug. 

He switches back to French to whisper, for her ears only, “You are more of a mother to me than Cosette Favreau-Aoyama.”

Fleur tenses, then relaxes and pulls his head into the crook of her neck and kisses the top of his head. 

“And you are more my son than my charge, Yuuga.” 

Yuuga wishes that he really was her son. 

Chapter Text

An hour after Fleur is able to take him home, Yuuga sees he has several notifications on his phone. A glance at it shows that he’s been added to a group chat that is titled Worried about Aoyama Yuuga Club. He snorts at the name, knowing instantly who created it and why. 

He opens the group chat and looks at the messages already piled up. 

Toriyama Saori has created a group chat 

Toriyama Saori has named the group chat “Worried about Aoyama Yuuga Club” 

Toriyama Saori has added Aoyama Yuuga , Shinsou Hitoshi , and Moto Kokoro to Worried about Aoyama Yuuga Club. 

Toriyama Saori: OKAY @everyone its time to check on Yuuga

Moto Kokoro: YUU-KUN ARE YOU OKAY WHAT EVEN HAPPENED

Toriyama Saori: yea like… your okay right? All we know is there was an attack and it was on 1a

Toriyama Saori: Yuuga? C’mon man we’re worried

Moto Kokoro: @Aoyama Yuuga

Moto Kokoro: also @Shinsou Hitoshi you too bro

Shinsou Hitoshi: i’m worried too but my dad isnt doing too good so i can’t talk rn. Sorry. I’ll check back in later ok

Moto Kokoro: oof sorry yeah man. Mute the chat and we’ll @ you later tonight or something

Shinsou Hitoshi: will do thx

Yuuga frowns briefly when he sees that something is wrong with Shinsou’s dad, but he decides to disregard that temporarily so he can assuage his friends’ concerns. 

Aoyama Yuuga: sorry for not seeing this until now. I am fine. There was a villain attack at our rescue training today

Moto Kokoro: YUUGA! I was so worried! The teachers all suddenly got up and left the class reps in charge and stuff and then our parents were coming to pick us up and like we had no clue what was happening, like just the bare minimum

Aoyama Yuuga: UA will probably do a press conference soon

Toriyama Saori: yeah but like what exactly happened

Aoyama Yuuga: a lot. Idk. I don’t wanna talk about it rn

Moto Kokoro: that’s okay!!!!! You don’t have to!!!! We can just send you memes and good vibes bro

Aoyama Yuuga: ....that would be nice tbh

Moto Kokoro: :D


 

Many memes later, Yuuga gets another notification saying that he’s been added to another group chat. Clicking on the notification reveals that it’s a group chat for his class. 

Iida Tenya has created a group chat 

Iida Tenya has added Aoyama Yuuga, Ashido Mina, Asui Tsuyu, Bakugou Katsuki, and 15 others to the group chat.

Iida Tenya: Yaoyorozu and I have created this group chat due to today’s circumstances, that way if anyone has something they would like to say they can do it here without being forced to do it face to face. The two of us thought that the best way to move forward is to talk about it instead of burying it. 

Uraraka Ochako: That’s a really sweet idea, you two!

Yaoyorozu Momo: Thank you, Uraraka. We appreciate it. Is there anyone in particular who would like to start? 

Iida Tenya: I would, actually…. 

Iida Tenya: I would like to apologize. You all had to stay and fight for your lives while I… I just ran. 

Ojirou Mashirao: Yeah, ran to get us all help!!! 

Bakugou Katsuki: shut the fuck up sonic boy. You think Aizawa-sensei would be alive right now if you didn’t go get help? Well guess fucking what he wouldn’t, not when he had all of us to protect

Ashido Mina: rare soft Bakugou 

Bakugou Katsuki: shut the fck up raccoon eyes or else i’ll rip your tongue out of your face

Yaoyorozu Momo: Please do not make fun of anyone while we are discussing these matters, Ashido. And no threats, please.

Ashido Mina: ahh yea sorry Bakugou

Bakugou Katsuki: whatever

Iida Tenya: Thank you, Bakugou, Ojirou. I appreciate it. Still, I can’t help but feel bad. 

Kirishima Eijirou: Bro you did the most out of all of us. So manly. We wouldn’t have gotten out of it like we did without you

Asui Tsuyu: ^^^

Kaminari Denki: ^^^

Uraraka Ochako: ^^^^^^^

Midoriya Izuku: ^^^^^^^^^

Jirou Kyouka: ^^^

Sero Hanta: ^^^^^

Kouda Kouji: ^^^^^^^

Mineta Minoru: ^^

Yaoyorozu Momo: ^^^

Todoroki Shouto: ^^^

Hagakure Tooru: ^^^^

Aoyama Yuuga: ^^^^^

Satou Rikidou: ^^^

Shouji Mezou: ^^^

Tokoyami Fumikage: ^^^

Ojirou Mashirao: ^^^

Iida Tenya: Thank you, this means a lot to me. Who wants to go next?

Asui Tsuyu: Me, I guess

Yaoyorozu Momo: Go ahead, Tsuyu!

Asui Tsuyu: Well, Midoriya, Mineta and I were kinda at ground zero with Aizawa-sensei for a little bit, you know? And that one villain, the one with the decay quirk that is activated similarly to Uraraka’s?

Hagakure Tooru: yeah?

Asui Tsuyu: He put his hand on my face. I thought that I was going to die for a second. And then I didn’t because Aizawa-sensei activated his quirk and I just

Asui Tsuyu: sorry I need a sec

Kouda Kouji: take your time!!! There’s no pressure :)

Asui Tsuyu: thank you Kouda

Asui Tsuyu: I think I'm good now

Asui Tsuyu: Aizawa-sensei saved me and it made the villain make that Nomu thing attack him for it

Asui Tsuyu: and i just feel so, so bad about it

Asui Tsuyu: he got his skull smashed into the ground, guys. What if he can’t use his quirk anymore or something?

Iida Tenya: Aizawa-sensei is a pro-hero. He knows the risks of his job, Asui. 

Kaminari Denki: Everything he did today was for us, not just you, Tsuyu. If you take any blame then so do we

Jirou Kyouka: the idiot can make a good point after all

Iida Tenya: Jirou! No insults in the group chat!

Jirou Kyouka: ohh yeah srry

Asui Tsuyu: iida, please call me tsu. Everyone should actually

Asui Tsuyu: and thanks, Iida, Kaminari.

Kaminari Denki: :D

Iida Tenya: It is no problem, Tsuyu! I was merely telling the truth, as was Kaminari. Is that all you wanted to discuss?

Asui Tsuyu: i’m good, yeah. next person can go.

And so it continued, with everyone having a chance to voice insecurities and any guilt they might be feeling. Aoyama was mostly a lurker on the chat, seeing as his insecurities didn’t relate to the trauma the whole class went through -- his were all doubts about his worth and quirk from being compared to a dead sister. Not to mention he was more upset about the disaster of a phone call with his father than he was about the attack. 

It’s not like today was the first time he was attacked by a villain. And at least this time, he wasn’t the target. 

Chapter Text

The day after the USJ incident, his friends wanted to see for themselves if he was really okay. So Yuuga invited them over to the penthouse, a little nervous about them seeing the admittedly extravagant place he lived. He didn’t want them to think he was snobby -- especially Shinsou, who at times seemed to be tolerant of Yuuga at best and dislike him at worst. 

He messaged the group chat and told them that he’d meet them outside the hotel and bring them up to his place, so he was currently waiting outside the building’s doors for them. Soon enough, a group of three teenagers were walking up to the hotel. Well, one was skipping (Kokoro), another was meandering (Saori), and the last one was trudging as if exhausted (Shinsou).

His friends were all… filled with character, that’s for sure. 

But looking at them, seeing their faces, even Shinsou’s closed off, aloof one, brought a new comfort to Yuuga. Watching them walk towards him, thinking about their worry for him, and remembering the times they hung out, Yuuga realized he trusted them. He trusted them enough that he knew he could tell them about Villard. He trusted them enough that he actually wanted to tell them about it. 

The epiphany was jarring and rattled his bones, but his two remaining brain cells were somewhat functional and they used their combined functionality to make him think, ‘This is a problem for later.’ and he was able to shake off the realization.

Yuuga jogged forward to meet up with the friends he trusted sooner.

Bonjour, mes ami--” his greeting was cut off by Kokoro, who threw herself at him and squeezed him into an overwhelming bear hug that cut off his oxygen.

“Koko-chan!” he gasped out, his hands already around her waist in an automatic gesture. “I can’t… breathe….”

She released him instantly, an embarrassed “oops!” falling from her lips. 

“Sorry, Yuu-kun!” she apologized, taking a step back to stand between Saori and Shinsou, the latter of which looking more sleep-deprived than usual. That would make sense, considering something was wrong with his dad, not that he ever elaborated what . Which was fine. Yuuga had his own secrets, after all. 

Saori, on the other hand, looked less dead inside than usual. Her eyes were just a little more full of life and a little less dim. 

“It’s fine, Koko-chan,” he assured his friend. She was probably his second-best friend out of the group, with Saori at first and Shinsou last with his dry humor and suspected dislike of Yuuga. 

Yuuga isn’t sure if he’s making it up because of his self-doubt and insecurities or if Shinsou just genuinely didn’t enjoy his presence, or if maybe the violet haired boy just gave off those vibes to everyone. 

Yuuga turned his eyes to the boy in question to ask, “Hey, Shinsou-kun, how is your dad doing?”

Shinsou blinked, as if surprised that Yuuga knew something was up, before he shrugged his shoulders and turned his eyes downcast. 

“He’s alright, I guess. The doctors say he’s likely to make a full recovery. I’m gonna leave early to visit him.” 

His tone was laced with the command to back off so Yuuga did and said, “I am glad he will be okay.” Then, to everyone, he said, “Follow me.” 

He led them to the doors of the hotel and to the doorman he said, “These are my friends, Toriyama Saori, Moto Kokoro, and Shinsou Hitoshi. I will likely have them over in the future so they are allowed up whenever they show up.”

The doorman, a nice man named Yamasaki Hinata who Yuuga liked to talk to in the mornings before heading to UA, bowed his head and said, “Yes, Aoyama-san. Have a nice day!”

“You too, Yamasaki-san! Thank you!” 

He led them into the lobby and then into the elevator, where he pressed the button for the penthouse. 

“This will lead us straight into my home,” he informed his friends. 

“Rich kid, huh?” Shinsou quietly muttered, and he tried not to flinch. Maybe he should wait until Shinsou has left and just tell Kokoro and Saori about Marianne and Villard?

“Ahh, oui ,” he mumbled half-heartedly and ignored Kokoro and Saori elbowing Shinsou in the ribs simultaneously. 

Soon enough the elevator doors parted to reveal the living room of the penthouse, with its high ceiling, open area, and entrance to the terrace on the left. 

“Fleur!” he called out once they exited the elevator. “My friends are here, switch to Japanese for them please!” 

“You got it, Yuuga!” she called back from the kitchen. 

“Wow, Yuuga,” Kokoro started as she and the others took in living room, “This place is huge! What do your parents even do?”

“My mother is a politician in France while my father is a businessman.”

“Oof, that’s a lot,” Saori commented. “So who is Fleur?” 

“She’s my caretaker while in Japan. But back in France she was my bodyguard. I guess she technically doubles as both now.”

“That makes sense,” Shinsou said, shoving his hands into the pockets of the dark purple hoodie he was wearing. Honestly, that and the boy’s hair and eyes, it was like his entire aesthetic was Just Purple. 

Fleur burst out from the kitchen at that moment, a platter of cookies in her hands. 

“Do any of you kids have chocolate allergies? Or can’t eat gluten? There aren’t any nuts so don’t worry about that,” she fretted as she made her way over to them. A hungry gleam entered each teenager’s eyes as the scent of freshly baked cookies hit them, and once Fleur was close enough, they could see the cookies themselves. 

“Hello! I am Fleurette LaRue. I ask that you please call me Fleur. I am Yuuga’s guardian while he is in Japan.” She introduced herself, her Japanese not as good as Yuuga’s but still fluent. The main difference was that she spoke with more of a French accent whereas Yuuga could slip into perfect Japanese, as if he was born and raised here. “Please, take a cookie!” 

They each take a cookie and then his friends introduce themselves to Fleur. 

“It is very nice to meet you all!” Fleur says with a bow of her head. “Before you go up to Yuuga’s room, who is staying over for lunch?”

“We all are,” Saori answers, pausing to take a bite of her cookie and giving a pleased hum, “But Shinsou-kun has to leave after that to visit his dad in the hospital. Also, these are super good!”

Merci ,” Fleur says, then turns to Shinsou to ask, “Is he okay, chou ?” 

“Um, yeah,” Shinsou responds, looking taken aback at the genuine concern on Fleur’s face. “Thanks for asking.”

Fleur clicks her tongue, “But of course! Now, you four decide what you want to eat, okay? I am going to go and pick up some groceries and if I don’t get a request for takeout by eleven, I will find the worst-rated place in the city and get the food from there, oui ?”

Yuuga winces, “Please do not, Fleur. I will text you what we decide by then, I promise.”

She nodded, then stepped forward to hug him before remembering that she was still holding a platter of cookies. Her cheeks flushing red, she said, “Call me if anything happens, okay, Yuuga?”

“Yep, got it!” 

She nodded once more and then left the room to put the cookies up in the kitchen, and then probably left through the kitchen door. 

“C’mon, mes amis, I will give you the grand tour!” 

He’d decided. He would tell them about Villard and his past later today. But... he was still on the fence about Shinsou knowing. 

Chapter Text

After the tour, they went into Yuuga’s room and decided that they wanted pizza for lunch, so Yuuga texted their request to Fleur and told her what kinds they wanted. After that, Saori asked for a recap of yesterday’s events. Shinsou was lounging on his beanbag chair while Saori and Kokoro were on his bed, whereas Yuuga himself was sitting in his swivel chair by his desk. 

“Whoa,” Kokoro whispered once he was finished. “That… that must have been terrifying.”

Saori and Shinsou nodded in agreement, the latter looking less harsh than usual, but a new worry on his shoulders. Yuuga opened his mouth to ask him about it, but closed it when Shinsou started speaking, looking lost in thought. 

“Your teacher,” he started. “Eraserhead, right?” 

Oui . What’s wrong?” 

Shinsou shook his head, “Nothing. Forget it.”

Yuuga exchanged concerned looks with the girls, then he sighed and decided to change the subject. 

“Enough about me!” he insisted. “How is Class 1-C?” 

“Eh,” Saori answered, the same time Kokoro made a so-so motion and Shinsou shrugged. 

“Not much happens in general ed,” Kokoro said. 

“That’s not true,” Shinsou disagreed, boredom in his eyes. “Just last week I walked in on Kawaguchi and Akiyama making out.”

“Are you serious?” Saori asked rhetorically with wide eyes.

“But Kawaguchi is dating Takenaka! And he’d never do that to her, he’s too kind.” Kokoro gasped in horror. 

“No he isn’t,” Shinsou denied. “I was told everything. Takenaka is his fake girlfriend -- Kawaguchi is gay but his dad is homophobic so he got Takenaka to fake-date with him, that way he could go on actual dates with Akiyama but tell his parents he’s out with Takenaka.”

“Merde,” Yuuga said in wonder. “And that’s the tea, sis.”

Shinsou nodded solemnly, “Of course, none of this information can ever leave this room.” 

Everyone gave instant vehement nods of agreement. 

“Of course!” Kokoro exclaimed. “Wow, he and Akiyama, huh? That is so precious. I’d drink molten lava for them to stay happy together.” 

Shinsou snorted and Yuuga found that he echoed that sentiment. Kokoro was… a little extra. Of course, so was Yuuga. Honestly, he was probably the most extra. 

“Wow,” Saori said, shaking her head in wonder. “I feel like you always have the best gossip, Shinsou-kun.” 

“Your intuition is correct,” he said with a smirk. “I know everything. If only you knew how much I was holding back every day.”

“Ohh, give us an example!” Kokoro begged. 

“I just did,” the purple boy pointed out. “Kawaguchi is as gay as I am. Probably even more than me since he actually has a date.” 

Yuuga blinked. He didn’t know that Shinsou was gay….

“What the hell,” Saori said, playfully insulted. So it would seem that he was not alone in his surprise. “This is how you come out to us? By comparing your gayness to Kawaguchi’s? No, do it again, run it from the top.” 

Kokoro rolled her eyes, “Lay off, Saori. Why can’t you be supporting and happy that Shinsou came out to y’all?”

“Y’all? You mean you already knew?” There was a real offense in her voice now, upset that Kokoro had been told before her. Maybe it was more hurt than offense, actually. 

“He stares at the back of Sasaki’s head too much to be straight, Saori. I noticed it two weeks into the semester and asked him about it and he admitted everything like a useless gay.”

“Hey,” Shinsou cut in, “this sounds like homophobia to me.”

“Shut up, you drama queen. I’m gay, too. Girls are just so hot.” 

“Can’t relate,” Shinsou shrugged in unison with Saori’s shriek of, “You too?!” 

Kokoro smirked in response, causing Saori to turn sharply to Yuuga and ask, “Are you gay, too? Am I the token straight friend?” 

“Ahh….” Yuuga trailed off into a nervous laugh, fiddling with his hands. The immediate effect is Saori throwing her hands up in defeat while Kokoro and Shinsou dissolve into flabbergasted but pleased cackles. 

“You are gay!” Saori was shocked to discover she was the only straight. “Unbelievable! But I guess it makes sense, considering literally all of you are useless without me.”

“Not true!” Kokoro fought back against the claim. “I’m a functional gay. Shinsou is the useless gay and Yuuga is the disaster gay.” 

“Leaving me with the token straight status,” Saori grumbled, her head resting in her hand. 

Yuuga shrugged, “Token Straight is better than Asshole Straight. Consider yourself lucky.”

Kokoro nodded, “He’s right, you know. And everyone loves the Token Straight. We wouldn’t be complete without you.”

“Although, we could stand to add a bi or pansexual,” Shinsou pointed out. 

“Maybe a trans person or two,” Yuuga agreed. 

Shinsou tapped his index finger on his lower lip in thought, “Well, Akiyama is pansexual, and Takenaka is willing to be a fake-girlfriend for Kawaguchi because she’s aro-ace so we could add them in to diversify the group.”

“We can’t just add people into the group because they’re a part of the LGBTQ community!” Kokoro shook her head. “Look, I like small groups, okay? I do not like large groups.”

“I thought you said you were a functional lesbian,” Saori accused. 

“I lose the functionality aspect when around a lot of loud people.” 

“That’s fair,” Yuuga conceded because from what he’s heard from his friends about 1-C, Takenaka could get pretty loud sometimes. And Kokoro’s dislike of loud groups is probably why she was so against eating in the cafeteria when the subject of “what if we get kicked out of the library?” came up a while back.

“Is that why you can’t ever look Mic-sensei in the eye?” Saori asked.

“Well, yes and no. It’s also because back when I thought I was straight, I tricked myself into having a major crush on him. But even knowing that I’m a lesbian wouldn’t stop me from having some fun with him if he wasn’t, like, way older than me.” 

Out of nowhere, Shinsou started choking on his air, coughing and trying to force air into his lungs. Yuuga and the girls looked at him in concern, but he waved them off. 

“Sorry, sorry!” he apologized, red in the face. “I just did not expect my lesbian friend to say that about m-- our homeroom teacher.”

Kokoro shrugged, “I can’t help it. I’m 99% homosexual, and 1% Mic-sexual. Do you know how badly I freaked out when I found out he was going to be my homeroom teacher? He’s my favorite hero! The only reason why I haven’t asked for a million autographs yet is because that would be so embarrassing!” 

“That is pretty embarrassing,” Shinsou muttered, amusement and a hint of something Yuuga couldn’t quite place in his voice. 

“Shut up!” Kokoro whined. 

“But he is right, mon amie .”

“You’re all dead to me. I can’t believe I’m only fifteen-years-old and already a friend-widow.” 

Saori wryly said, “I can’t believe I’m only fifteen-years-old and already dead.”

“Truly, it’s a tragedy.” Yuuga leaned back in his chair, a dramatic hand on his chest. 

Shinsou snorted, “You’re all ridiculous. I can’t believe I associate with you all.”

“I think you mean you can’t believe you’re friends with us!” Saori jibed, a mischievous grin on her face. Shinsou shifted in the beanbag in response, his ears going red. Saori gasped, dramatized shock painted on her face as she yelled out, “No way! Are you finally accepting the friend title?”

“Well….” Shinsou wouldn’t look anyone in the eye. 

Yuuga was also shocked, as was Kokoro, from the look of her dropped jaw. 

“I thought you were going to deny it forever,” Kokoro whispered.

Shinsou buried his rapidly reddening face in his hands. 

“Please stop. I don’t like feelings and stuff.” 

Saori ignored his plea by eagerly asking, “Does this mean you’ll call us all by our first names? And we can call you Hitoshi?” 

“I guess,” came the violet boy’s half-hearted grumble from beneath his hands. 

Kokoro clapped her hands together in excitement. 

“You won’t call me Moto anymore! I’m so happy, Hito-chan!” 

Saori and Yuuga both snickered at the nickname.

Hitoshi removed his face from his hands to glare at the blue-eyed girl balefully, “Just because I said you can call me Hitoshi, doesn’t mean you can call me any cutesy names.”

She fluttered her eyelashes at him, “Whatever you say, Hito-chan!” 

Hitoshi’s responding growl is cut off by Yuuga’s phone ringing. Yuuga digs it out of his pocket and freezes when he looks at the caller ID.

It’s his father. 

Chapter Text

Hitoshi’s responding growl is cut off by Yuuga’s phone ringing. Yuuga digs it out of his pocket and freezes when he looks at the caller ID.

It’s his father.

For a second, Yuuga lets it ring in his hand as he stares at his phone. After yesterday’s catastrophe of a phone call, he doesn’t want to answer it. He already knows what’s coming if he answers: A barrage of Marianne would never lose her composure and disrespect her father like that and similar sayings. He got enough of that yesterday, and he doesn’t want a repeat of it, especially not with his friends here. Especially not when Hitoshi gave a sign of not disliking him. 

“Uh,” a voice broke through his upset thoughts. Looking away from his phone, Yuuga made eye contact with the one who had spoken, Saori. “You gonna answer that?”

Yuuga bit his lip uncertainly. He knew his answer: he wasn’t going to. He didn’t want to. He didn’t want to be yelled at or compared to Marianne or be told that he should drop out of the heroics course. 

What he wanted was to be Yuuga. And Yuuga wanted to tell his friends about his past. 

Because once more, it wasn’t like it was some big secret. Everyone knows about Villard in France and everyone knows about the one person he didn’t kill. His classmates were all just one Google search away from knowing just like the people of France. 

But telling these three, his friends… it was different. He didn’t want them to look at him with pity, or to look at him in any sort of new light. He was just Yuuga. Not Yuuga Aoyama or Villard’s only surviving target or Marianne’s little brother. 

But… maybe he was all of those things, at least a little. Everything that has ever happened to him has brought him to this point, with three good friends around him and worried about him. And he often finds himself worried for them, too. Worried about Saori working too hard waitressing, worried about Kokoro’s aversion to loud crowds of people, and worried about Hitoshi’s insecurity about his mysterious nonphysical quirk, and most recently, his dad. 

He can tell them. Maybe not every nitty-gritty detail--

The Puppeteer killed the wrong child.

--but he can tell them the basics of what happened five years ago and why he wants to be a hero.

The phone in his hand suddenly stops ringing. It’s the resulting silence that breaks him out of his musing and causes him to realize he has been quiet too long. A swift glance reveals that even Hitoshi is looking at him with concern.

Non,” he answers Saori’s earlier question. “I was not going to answer it. It… was my father calling. We got into a fight yesterday. I suppose I am not ready to get into another one.”

Hitoshi’s brow wrinkles and the girls make similar expressions. “You could have died yesterday and your dad picked a fight with you?” he asks Yuuga disbelievingly.

Yuuga stammers for a second, taken aback. His dad did pick a fight with him, but Yuuga had snapped and picked one right back. 

“Yes and no,” Yuuga rushed to explain. “I don’t know. He just-- he told me I should drop out of the heroics course. And I snapped at him and it devolved from there.”

“Drop out of the heroics course?” Kokoro asked. “But you want to be a hero so badly!"

“I don’t know,” Saori said with a shrug, “Seems like a normal concerned parent thing to me. You did just get out of a villain attack.” 

Hitoshi’s jaw clenched, looking like he was about to actually come to Yuuga’s defense -- which was a strange 180 from his usual aloof nature -- so Yuuga intervened before his friends could start an argument, “It would be a normal parent thing if he had not been telling me to stop the whole be a hero thing since I first mentioned it.” 

Saori’s face was perplexed, “What do you mean?”

Yuuga sighed, drumming his fingers against his thighs as he said, “They -- my parents, I mean -- want me to be more like my older sister, Marianne. She was… perfect at everything.” His eyes dulled. “The ideal heir. She was into politics, could entertain, and was the perfect child to show off. I’m not any of those things.”

“Yuu-kun….” Kokoro breathed, but Yuuga ignored her. 

“She was killed by a villain when I was ten and she was twenty-three. The villain wanted me dead, too, but… he wasn’t able to, obviously. I was always compared to her before, but after Marianne died, it worsened. All my parents could talk about was how much promise Marianne had, how she was so amazing at everything, how she was going to carry on the Favreau-Aoyama legacy, and why couldn’t I be like her?” 

A sob built in his throat, but he pushed it down. He wasn’t done talking yet and he had no plans of breaking down to weep until he had everything said that he wanted said. 

“I did… everything I could for them to give me some sort of attention or affection that didn’t end with a comment about Marianne or a backhanded compliment or both. But despite the fact that she is dead, she is still our parents’ favorite. And even to people outside the family, I was just the surviving Aoyama child. So eventually I gave up and decided to make a name for myself in another way: by going to UA to become a hero. Marianne didn’t want to be a hero and no one in our family has been one. I wanted… to stop being an Aoyama, to stop being Marianne’s brother, and to just be Yuuga.”

Silence. There was complete silence after he unloaded all of that. 

Kokoro had tears in her eyes, her hands clasped over her mouth in sorrow -- she was the more empathetic of the group. Saori was biting her lip, wringing her hands together, looking unsure -- she was one of two out of the group who didn’t like dealing with emotions, the second being Hitoshi. Neither of these reactions were out of place. 

Hitoshi’s reaction, though? His was out of place. 

Yuuga knew that Hitoshi liked keeping a cool, uncaring aura. He was sarcastic and had verbal mock-fights with Saori all the time. He used to refuse to call Koko by her first name and would let the girl punch him for it everytime he called her Moto -- Yuuga had seen it himself. The only personal thing he talked about was his dream of being a hero, and most recently, he gave the bare minimum of information on his dad. 

But here Hitoshi was, his face open and soft and gentle and so full of compassion, that Yuuga had to blink a few times to make sure he was actually seeing correctly. 

He was. 

“Yuuga,” Hitoshi said from his place on the beanbag. “I’m gonna give you a few options. I can say that sucks and we move one. Or I can tell you my own experiences so you can know that you’re not alone in not being good enough. Or we can buy four plane tickets to France to beat up your parents.”

Yuuga couldn’t help but crack a grin, one more sincere than his usual, automatic press-smile he would give the media in France that eventually became the smile he wore whenever he felt down so he could hide his feelings. And after he smiled, he couldn’t help but let out a small giggle that quickly became a sob. 

“The second one, please,” he requested, wiping at his teary eyes. He’s been alone for so long after all.

Hitoshi nodded as the girls looked between him and Yuuga, enraptured at the scene before them. 

“After I manifested my quirk, my biological parents started neglecting me,” Hitoshi started. “They were afraid of my quirk, you know? They called it a villain’s quirk, and I guess it is. I… have a brainwashing quirk.” 

For a second, Yuuga froze. He thought of his sister, her hands forced around her neck, a dagger being raised--

Yuuga relaxed: Hitoshi wasn’t like the Puppeteer. Villard wanted vengeance, and Hitoshi wanted to be a hero. There was a big difference between them. 

“Go on,” Yuuga prompted Hitoshi, who had paused once he saw Yuuga tense. “It’s okay.” The violet haired teen swallowed and nodded.

“Right, so. The neglect eventually became abuse. It didn’t last too long, though. Maybe a few months. I had this older brother who was studying abroad, and when he came home on holiday and saw how they were treating me, he freaked out and called CPS. But then we just got separated by the foster system and lost contact, and in the system, I was treated worse than how I was when I was with my biological parents. Eventually, I was adopted by my two dads, who I consider my real parents.”  

“Whoa,” Saori said, her eyes wide. “That really sucks. For, like, both of you.”

“Yeah, for real,” Kokoro agreed. She looked at Saori, and Saori looked back at her, and they nodded in unison, coming to some agreement that Yuuga and Hitoshi weren’t privy to. 

Yuuga exchanged an uneasy glance with Hitoshi, wondering what the girls could be thinking. 

“Okay,” Kokoro said, clasping her hands together. “Saori and I talked and we have decided.”

“Talked?” Hitoshi muttered. “From what I saw, you two just looked at each other.”

Kokoro continued as if he hadn’t said anything, “We decided that we are going to have a mandatory cuddle session for at least ten minutes.”

“What?!” Saori burst out, looking reluctant and uneasy. “Cuddling? More feelsy stuff? I thought we were agreeing to hunt down both sets of their biological parents and maim them! I didn’t sign up for cuddling.” 

Yuuga cracked a small smile at the apparent miscommunication. The sheer difference between the two girls’ solutions was rather comical.

“That’s illegal, Saori. We can’t attack either sets of them. But we can give our friends physical affection and assurance, dammit!” Kokoro pointed an angry finger at Saori, who gulped and held her arms up in defeat. 

“Okay, okay! Geez, when did you get scary?”

Kokoro ignored the question and dived straight into giving directions. “Scoot further on the bed, on the edge. Hitoshi and Yuuga are going to be in the middle since they are our angsty beans of the day.” 

Saori followed the commands quickly, moving to lay down under the blankets on the left side of the bed. 

“What is happening?” Hitoshi asked in confusion. 

“I think we are being forced into a cuddle session,” Yuuga answered, but he was just as confused. 

“You two!” Kokoro turned her determined gaze to her male friends. Yuuga gulped. “Get in bed! I’m taking the other edge. Saori and I are going to force-feed friendly affection into your starved bodies and you are going to like it.”

“But I don’t like feelings,” Hitoshi protested, even though everyone could tell it was a token protest considering he was up and climbing into his bed before Yuuga was. 

“And. Like. It,” Kokoro repeated in a growl at Hitoshi as he laid down next to Saori. She then turned expectant eyes to Yuuga, “Your turn, Yuu-kun.” 

After seeing her wrangle the two least touchy-feely members of their group into a forced cuddle session like it was nothing, there was no way Yuuga could try to escape. Not that he wanted to: cuddling sounded… really nice. 

Yuuga stood from his swivel chair and made his way into bed, lifting the blankets enough to tuck his legs under them. Immediately after, Kokoro climbed in next to him, curling around him to rest one of her arms on his chest, while the other arm gently pushed itself under his head, bending so the hand connected to it could run its fingers through Yuuga’s blond locks. 

Yuuga almost groaned at the calming sensation, tingles of comfort creating goosebumps on his skin. The platonic touch was so wonderful, he almost started crying. For so long, only Fleur had touched him like this, like an older sister would. 

“Saori, Hitoshi,” Kokoro suddenly said. “I know you two are just awkwardly lying down next to each other. Either properly join the cuddle pile, or I will be forced to take drastic measures.” 

Yuuga hears Hitoshi heave a great sigh before the warm body on his right joins Koko in snuggling up to him. The violet teen’s arm snakes its way almost effortlessly under Yuuga’s back to hold him around his waist, pulling him closer into Hitoshi. Koko moves to compensate for the loss of contact, and Yuuga can feel Saori shift on the bed to cuddle with Hitoshi, though he can’t see the exact position she chooses from his place. 

They’re a bit squeezed together, not quite like sardines in a can but close to it. Yuuga’s bed is a queen sized one, which is just the perfect size to fit them all comfortably. 

Yuuga adjusts his position to rest his head on Hitoshi’s shoulder, and after a second, Hitoshi’s head drops to lean on him. He feels a contented hum leave the taller boy’s body, and Yuuga’s mouth twitches into a real, genuine smile. 

After a few minutes of this, of just basking in each other’s presence, Kokoro says, “Your biological parents suck, Hitoshi-kun. A brainwashing quirk is a good quirk, and you will be an amazing asset for whatever hero agency you work for in the future.

“And Yuuga-kun, your parents also suck. You are so much more than your sister’s brother or an Aoyama. You’re going to be an amazing hero, too, and your parents will realize what they missed while focusing on Marianne.

“I hate that any of those things happened to you two, but I’m glad that we are all here together. You guys are my first friends in a while, you know? I don’t know where I’d be without you all.” 

By the end of Kokoro’s little speech, both he and Hitoshi were crying. Their shoulders trembled and their frames were wracked with sobs. Neither of the girls mentioned it, though. 

They just held them tighter and let them cry. It was exactly what they needed, after all. 

Chapter Text

Later that day, after Yuuga’s friends had all gone home, Fleur sat him down to tell him that his father was coming to Japan for a visit. The phone call he’d ignored earlier was his papa calling to tell him. 

However, his maman was not joining his father in the visit. When he heard this bit, Yuuga couldn’t resist letting a derisive snort out, no matter how unbecoming it was. He was a teenager, after all. 

He spent the rest of the day lurking on the Class 1-A group chat, which had quickly devolved into a disaster after everyone had gotten a chance to voice concerns or self-doubts. Kaminari, Ashido, and Hagakure enjoyed spamming it with memes, with Uraraka sometimes joining them. Kirishima liked commenting on his favorites they sent, and would always add Bakugou back into the chat whenever he removed himself from it. Kouda, Midoriya, and Asui sent several links to some cute cat videos. Similarly, Shouji sent a cute birds video compilation, which Ashido teased him about, implying that he sent that video because he had a crush on Tokoyami. Iida was quick to shut that down, though Yuuga was pretty certain that only a few people were in the know about a possible crush on Tokoyami, and thus no one really picked up what Ashido was laying down. 

When he thought of Tokoyami and Shouji, he couldn’t help but blush. Part of it was because they’d come to his defense after Mineta had made himself out to be homophobic, and another part of it was because… well, Yuuga liked the silent types. And both of them fit into the category, but fell into different subcategories: Tokoyami was a dark and poetic person, someone who spoke like they were Edgar Allan Poe and probably wrote like him, too. Shouji, on the other hand, was mysterious but caring, someone who wouldn’t take off his mask for you but would fight to the death for you. Well, maybe not literally, but they were training to be heroes…. 

Yuuga wondered about what lies beneath that blue mask of Shouji’s. It could be as complicated as that he hid his lower face because he didn’t like how it looked because of his mutation quirk, or something as simple as him being a bit of a germaphobe and not wanting to breathe in any germs. Though, if that latter part were true, then he’d probably wear gloves. 

But Yuuga shouldn’t speculate too much -- it was, in the words of Kirishima, “unmanly” to assume things about his classmates or anyone, and besides, everyone is entitled to their secrets. It’s not like Shouji’s mask and what lies beneath it is hurting anyone. 

Still, even if he was hiding some sort of mutation that most would peg as “horrifying”… it wouldn’t change Yuuga’s crush. Once Yuuga likes someone, it takes more than physical appearance to make him stop liking that person. He grew up with Fleur’s Demon transformation quirk, after all, and her transformation is pretty… ghastly. It’s what most would call an eldritch bird monster, to be honest. 

However, if what Ashido is hinting at is true, then it’s not like Yuuga has a chance with either of the young men. If Tokoyami and Shouji get together, then that’s fine: they’ll be happy, and he will be happy for them. They’re just crushes, anyway, and it’s not like Yuuga’s interacted with either of them much. Throwing out the Mineta debacle as an outlier, all of Yuuga’s interactions with his crushes are limited to greetings and small talk. Unfortunate, true, but this way it will hurt less if they start dating. 

He somewhat hopes they do. Tokoyami seems rather down most of the time, and while a partner isn’t a panacea for any mental illness, it is another support beam in a person’s life. And Shouji is mostly a loner, so seeing him with something more than a friend would be fulfilling. 

Yuuga just wants the best for them. 


 

His papa’s visit is… tense. 

Yuuga does not go to the airport to greet him, nor does Fleur. His papa had sent for a driver ahead of time so there was no point: he wasn’t exactly ecstatic to see his dad, and Fleur was being paid to be a caretaker, not a chauffeur. 

Aoyama Rin’s arrival into the penthouse was awkward. He gave Yuuga a stiff, stilted hug, and then told Fleur that supper would be just him and his son so they could talk things over, but he still expected her to cook and serve the meal. Fleur had nodded with a bowed head, her eyes lowered, and the entire interaction had ticked Yuuga off. Fleur may work for him, but that did not mean his father could treat her like that. She was more of his parent than either his maman or papa! They may have money, but Fleur has love, and Yuuga will take the latter any day.

Supper was as awful as he thought it would be. Stilted small talk over the appetizer, generalizations about school and work other than the blatantly obvious during the main course, and then, finally, real conversation over dessert. 

“Yuuga,” his father said with a great sigh, as if he cared at all about his son, “You have to understand that sometimes when people are grieving, th--”

“What? They say things they don’t mean?” Yuuga finished for his father incredulously. “You can’t be serious. You and I both know that Marianne was the favorite, and still is. Especially to Maman.”

“Your mother would never choose one child over the other,” his father argued. Yuuga took a sip of red wine that he technically shouldn’t be having since he’s underage both here in Japan and in France to hide his bitter amusement before responding.

“Oh?” he said after swallowing and setting the wine glass down. “That is an amazing lie.”

“It’s not, Yuuga. She loves you.”

“Then where is she?” 

His father’s mouth thinned into a flat line. For a second, the businessman stared into his own glass of wine, before he raised his eyes to meet Yuuga’s. 

“Your mother is dealing with the press. Haven’t you been keeping up with the French news? Everyone is all up in a tizzy over the fact that the survivor of the Villard murders could have been killed before the monster’s execution. This is another problem she has to deal with because of you.”

Yuuga clenched his fists. So this was his fault? He couldn’t have predicted this! He had no choice in being attacked by villains while he was in school. 

His father went on without a verbal response from him, “And besides, Yuuga… your mother has been stressed enough about the bill that Chloé Bourgeois is trying to pass. You know the one, oui ?”

He did. Chloé Bourgeois was a staunch supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, and the bill in question she was trying to pass would force private schools to accept trans kids and put them into the dorms of whichever gender they identified with. Yuuga thought that it was a great step forward, but he knew that if he ever expressed this to his parents, it would mean big trouble for him. 

“It still does not excuse her for not at least calling me after a villain attack, Papa,” Yuuga said. 

“You have to understand, Yuuga, these people are confused. It’s admirable that Madame Bourgeois indulged young Parish and let him play dress up, but--” 

Yuuga’s stomach rolled and it had nothing to do with his quirk. Chloé Bourgeois had had a daughter five years ago before Villard had killed her, but not a son. 

Geneva , Yuuga wanted to interrupt, but he didn’t because he was a coward. She had a daughter and her name was Geneva . There was a reason why Bourgeois was so dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, after all, especially the T part of the acronym. 

Yuuga let his father drone on, tuning out his insults disguised as compliments that were directed at Bourgeois. He took a sip of his wine that was longer than appropriate and wondered if he could get away with stealing the bottle so he could get sufficiently drunk for the rest of the night. He didn’t drink often in Japan, so surely it’d be okay to indulge himself after the rough week he’s had. 

A few minutes pass and his father eventually finishes his dessert, which means Yuuga is free to go. His father leaves to tell Fleur to clean up, which makes Yuuga glower a bit, but his father doesn’t notice as he leaves the dining room. He wonders if his papa realized that they didn’t actually resolve anything with their conversation, but he doesn’t want to go through it again so he doesn’t consider asking.

Seconds later, Fleur wanders in, but instead of starting to clean, she’s got her own wine glass in hand and she gestures for Yuuga to sit back down. He obliges and she sits right next to him, grabbing the bottle of wine to refill Yuuga’s glass and also fill her’s up. 

“To the future #1 hero in France, Yuuga Aoyama. May he never stop twinkling,” she says, lifting her glass in a toast. 

Yuuga very suddenly had watery eyes. 

“May he never stop twinkling,” he echoed, and they clinked their glasses together. 

Chapter Text

The rest of his father’s visit passed by without anything being resolved. It probably should have bothered Yuuga that nothing was actually talked about, but it didn’t. He only felt dissatisfaction and shame at the fact that he couldn’t bring himself to defend Geneva. 

Not even in death did everyone call her by her name. It was no wonder Bourgeois was working so hard to better things for the LGBTQ+ community -- while many things had improved, too many have stayed the same or worsened. 

The night before school was supposed to resume, Yuuga opened up Amazon on his phone and typed in Chloé Bourgeois. One of the first results was a T-shirt. 

On the shirt was a picture of Bourgeois in her hero costume, back when she was a full-time pro in the Top 10 before she was injured in a villain battle and had to retire from pro work early. (Her having been the pro hero Queen Bee is part of the reason why she was such a famous politician.) She stood tall on the right side of the shirt, her hands on her hips in a powerful pose. She was smirking, confident, and one of her blue eyes was closed in a flirty wink. Directly beside her, on her left, was the trans flag. 

Another picture of the shirt showed the back of it, where at the very top, white and in all caps, it read: 

DO NOT FORGET THEIR NAMES

Then, below that, in the same print but smaller still, the shirt went on to list every victim of the Villard murders, Geneva’s name sticking out the most because it was in the colors of the trans pride flag instead of plain white. 

Yuuga would probably die if he didn’t buy it. 

It was perfect. His parents would hate the shirt. They were transphobic and homophobic, not to mention the distaste they had in general toward Bourgeois. This shirt was everything they hated -- it had Queen Bee, trans pride, and a reminder that their daughter was dead instead of their son. 

He might not be able to stand up for his beliefs face to face with his parents, but he can do this.

Yuuga picked out his size and the color he wanted the shirt to come in -- black -- and added it to his cart, then immediately bought it. Since he had a Prime account, it would arrive in just a few days. 

He couldn’t wait for it to get here. Really, the only downside was that he couldn’t show it off at school due to the required uniform. 


 

Seeing Aizawa-sensei is a shock. He’d gotten absolutely beaten into the ground less than a week ago and he’s somehow able to stand up and teach their rowdy class. Sure, he’s covered head to toe in bandages but -- well, he just shouldn’t be working. At all. 

But soon enough, Yuuga’s and his classmates' thoughts about their teacher dwindles and turns to the upcoming Sports Festival in two weeks. Aizawa-sensei says they need to use the event to get noticed by pro heroes and hero agencies so they can get nominations once internship week rolls around. It’s a big deal and it gets everyone fired up, especially Uraraka, who is usually spirited and cheery but seems unusually so today. 

At lunch, things are strangely tense between Yuuga’s gen-ed friends. The disconnect is a little obvious to him despite the way the girls try to act like nothing's wrong, whereas Hitoshi is excellent at acting as he always does. So the problem is something between them, but Yuuga can’t place his finger on it. 

At the end of the day, Yuuga is placing one of his books into his bag when a yelp from Uraraka has him looking up. Doing so reveals that there is a multitude of first-year students crowding around the doorway. The ones in front are silent and staring inside the classroom, but the ones behind them are all whispering and murmuring to one another. The snippets Yuuga can hear are “villain attack” and “USJ,” which pretty much tells him everything he needs to know about why they’re here.

“What’d you come here for?” Mineta demands from the masses, and Yuuga rolls his eyes and finishes putting up his book so he can watch the rest of this go down. 

Bakugou is walking to the door, rather calmly for someone so explosive, and he says boredly, “They’re scouting out the enemy, small fry.”

Yuuga can’t hide the smirk he feels on his face at Mineta’s scared expression. 

Once Bakugou reaches the door, he turns fiery red eyes upon the crowd and commands, “Out of my way, extras.” 

“Stop calling people ‘extras’ just because you don’t know them!” Iida scolds with an endearing arm-chopping motion. Yuuga can understand why it's problematic but now that he’s heard it, he somewhat wants to steal the insult. He probably would if Bakugou wouldn’t blow his face off for it. 

“There’s no point in doing stuff like that,” Bakugou continues as if he didn’t hear Iida. 

“I came to see the famous Class 1-A,” a familiar, low voice calls out from the back of the crowd, and Yuuga winces once he recognizes it. So this is what the tension at lunch was all about -- Hitoshi probably told the girls he’d be doing this. Whatever this was becoming. Because honestly, if Hitoshi wanted to “scout out the enemy” then he could just ask Yuuga for the names and quirks of his classmates. 

Hitoshi might be aloof, but he’s also a drama queen, apparently.

Slowly, people in the crowd moved so Hitoshi could make his way to the front. His tall violet hair, matching eyes that had bags under them, and his height made him into an intimidating figure. Yuuga isn’t gay for Hitoshi or anything because he liked Shouji and Tokoyami  but… damn, this was hot. 

“But you seem pretty arrogant,” Hitoshi continued once in full view of the class. “Are all students in the hero course like this?” His violet eyes flicked to Aoyama for a second after giving Bakugou a full once-over, and Yuuga made sure to give him the flattest look he could muster. 

Drama queen. And that was coming from Yuuga.

“There are quite a few people who are enrolled in general education or other courses because they didn’t make it into the hero course,” Hitoshi tilted his head and gave a lazy smirk. “Depending on the results of the Sports Festival, they’ll consider our transfer into the hero course… and it seems they may transfer people out.”

With those words, a few of Yuuga’s classmates winced and gasped, uncertainty or indignity on their faces. 

“I may have come here to scope out the competition, but a gen-ed kid like me is also thinking about pulling the rug out from under these hero students while they’re riding high. So consider this,” his smirk widened, “a declaration of war.”

Yuuga rolled his eyes. 

“Hey, hey!” came a loud voice behind the people in front. Yuuga watched as Hitoshi shifted in place to look behind him and at the silver-haired student yelling behind him. “I’m from Class B from next door! If you talk yourselves up too much, it’ll be embarrassing for you all during the real fights! So don’t get full of yourselves.” 

Bakugou’s patience at this point has worn thin and he walks away the same time a blond, smarmy looking student strolls up next to the silver-haired kid. Yuuga recognizes him as someone from 1-B, too. 

“Are you ignoring me, you bastard?” the silver-haired one yells. 

The blond puts a gentle hand on his shoulder and says, “Calm down, Tetsutetsu.” His smile is smug, like he knows something everyone else here doesn’t. It makes Yuuga’s gut twist. 

The blond shoves his way past his classmate and then past Hitoshi, making his way fully into the classroom. 

Every student around tenses for a fight -- with the blond entering the room, a new line has been crossed that Yuuga didn’t even know existed until now. The student locks gazes with everyone in the room before he settles on Yuuga, and the feeling in his gut worsens. 

“What do you want?” Kirishima asks. 

The blond waves a lazy, dismissive hand, “I’m not here for you. I’m here for Monsieur Aoyama.” 

Yuuga sends a confused look to Hitoshi, who looks just as lost at what the situation has become. 

The blond holds out his right hand and in fluent, easy French, he says, “Ce est un plaisir de vous rencontrer.” It is a pleasure to meet you.

Yuuga hesitates, feeling every set of eyes in the room and by the doorway dig into his body. He stands up to grip the blond’s hand in a Western handshake, not liking where this was going at all. 

“Le plaisir m’appartient, mais j’ai bien peur que vous me désavantage,” Yuuga says uneasily. The pleasure is mine, but I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage. “Tu connais mon nom, mais je ne connais pas le tien.” You know my name, but I don’t know yours.

The blond’s grin widens, his eyes taunting and smug, “Oh, surely that is something you are used to, oui? But it is no matter: My name is Monoma Neito.  

He’s referring to Villard. That’s where this was going. A glance thrown at Hitoshi revealed that his friend knew, too. 

“Yuuga,” Ashido whispered behind him, “what is he talking about?” 

“Que veuz-tu?” He switches the conversation back to Japanese. What do you want? “Ce n’est pas comme ce qui est arrivé est un secret.” It’s not like what happened is a secret. 

“C’est vrai.” That’s true. Monoma crossed his arms and widened his stance. “Mais personne ne sait ici.” But no one here knows. 

“Non, pourquoi sauraient-ils ?” No, why would they?

“Ils devraient savoir que leur camarade de classe n’a pas pu sauver sa propre soeur.” They should know that their classmate could not save his own sister. Yuuga froze and Monoma’s smirk broke into a prideful grin, pleased to garner such a reaction. “Strike a nerve, did I?” he hummed. 

Yuuga paled and grabbed his bag from his desk and slung it over his shoulder, ready to just leave and call it a day. But Monoma shifted to block his path to the door. 

“Going somewhere?” Monoma teased, and from somewhere behind Yuuga, Shouji said, “It would be wise if you left our classmate alone.” 

But Yuuga didn’t need someone to fight his battles for him, not when it comes to Villard. 

Looking straight into Monoma’s eyes, Yuuga said, “I would suggest you get out of my way. Comme vous le savez, mon bizarrerie brûle la chair et les os de la même manière que des ciseaux coupant du papier.” As you know, my quirk burns through flesh and bone like scissors cutting through paper. He huffed a small, sinister chuckle, “Would you like to find out how that feels today, Monoma?” 

Monoma’s smug smirk was gone, as was the taunting look in his eyes. Those things were replaced with a slightly parted mouth and surprised eyes. He’s not quite intimidated, but he’s close to it. Yuuga’s never been good with intimidation -- it’s something he should work on if he wants to be a hero.

Yuuga didn’t wait for a response. Instead he used his arm to shove Monoma aside and as he walked past him, said, “I do hope you make it to the one-on-one battles to fight me, Monoma. I would very much enjoy showing you just what it is my quirk can do.” He spared a look behind him to send his own smirk to the other blond, “Tell me, do you think Recovery Girl can regenerate entire limbs?” 

“Holy shit,” Yuuga heard Kaminari mutter as he sauntered away. 

Before he fully exited the classroom, Yuuga threw out a two-fingered wave and called out a taunting, “Au revoir!” He didn’t even need to push past the students gathered at the door: after that display, they moved for him. It was a far cry from the usual, him being ignored and cut off by his classmates. 

He’d just turned the corner when he heard running and then felt a hand clap on his shoulder. Before he could stiffen and prepare for a fight, Hitoshi’s voice says, “Yuuga, that was… intense. Are you okay?” 

Yuuga gave his fake, closed off smile, “Of course. Monoma did not say anything I was not used to hearing, after all.” It’s just he’d never heard that from anyone but his mother before. Hearing it from someone else was… a new sort of ache. 

“What…” Hitoshi hesitated, “What did he say?” 

Yuuga’s smile melted into a frown, “Monoma essentially said that I can’t be a hero because I was able to save myself but not my own sister from that villain I told you about.” 

Hitoshi faltered, a growl in his throat, “What? That’s ridiculous! You would’ve been, what, ten at the time?” 

Yuuga nodded, “ Oui, I was. But he has a point. I watched Villard attack my sister and then I ran. It’s only when he cornered me that I found it within myself to fight back.” 

“You were a kid-- ” 

“I was. But that does not excuse my inaction.”

“Yuuga--” 

“Hitoshi, please. I don’t want to talk about this right now, okay?” 

There must be something in his tone that compels Hitoshi to agree because he is not the type to comply easily. Hitoshi nods, “Okay, fine. But you can call me or the girls whenever you need to talk, okay?”

Yuuga swallowed. They finally reached the exit of the building, “Okay. Thank you, Hitoshi.”

“It’s no problem.” As they walked out of the school, Hitoshi reached an arm around Yuuga’s shoulders and gave him a gentle, reassuring squeeze. Yuuga found himself gratefully leaning into the taller student’s hold. 

Everything would be okay.

Chapter Text

Once Yuuga got home, a notification popped up on his phone from the Class 1-A group chat. A glance at the notification revealed that someone had @ ’d him. With a sigh, he made his way into his room to collapse onto his bed and pay for today’s choices. 

Class 1-bAbe

Alien Queen: So like we gonna talk about this afternoon or…….?

Alien Queen: @SparkleBinch

Class Prez: Ashido! If Aoyama does not wish to tell us what that spectacle was about then he doesn’t have to! And we as his classmates should respect his privacy and not do any digging.

Alien Queen: But I’m worried about my sparkly boi :(((

YaoMom: Iida is right, Ashido. 

SparkleBinch: It’s fine guys

SparkleBinch: Literally everything there is to know is online. It’s never been a secret

SmolMight: But whatever that Monoma guy was saying clearly hurt you! We don’t want to bring up anything that might make you upset by digging into this

Class Prez: Midoriya is right. Whatever it is that Monoma said is not our business. 

Alien Queen: I literally already did a google search on your name but the only thing that came up was baguette-speak articles and like me no speaky baguette so the secret is safe

SparkleBinch: (-_-)

Class Prez: Ashido! Apologize to Aoyama at once!

Alien Queen: For the baguette thing or my blatant disregard for his privacy thing?

Class Prez: Both!!!

Alien Queen: fInE. @SparkleBinch I sincerely apologize for insulting your language and also for immediately turning to google for answers when you said everything was online

SparkleBinch: Ahh thank you Ashido

YaoMom: Thank you, Ashido, that was very mature of you.

Earjacks: Actual Class Mom Yaoyorozu Momo

Mr.Cellophane: the use of “sincerely” ironically made it seem less sincere

Alien Queen: Sero I can and Will come into your house at night and rip every single bone out of your flesh body one by one

Mr.Cellophane: im scared

Pichu: man me too

HardAF: the real uncontrollable terror of the Bakusquad isn’t Bakugou. It is Ashido

Alien Queen: Fear Me

Blasty McSplodes: exfuckingscuse me

Alien Queen: I’m taking ur place. This is my squad now. The Ashisquad. And Kaminari, Kirishima, and Sero are my hoes. You, Bakugou, are the side-ho who I graciously allowed to stay in the squad after my coup

Yuuga quickly muted and exited out of the group chat before he could witness what was surely going to be a grandiose explosion from Bakugou. His classmates were a… wild bunch. 

He was glad that they were going to respect his privacy -- he didn’t want any of them to look at him differently. But then again, that would require them to look at him in the first place. He doesn’t really hold full-length conversations with them: he tends to just make a quip of some kind about his sparkling appearance and then calls it good when it comes to social interaction with his peers. He tried in the first few weeks to talk to his classmates, but he was almost always interrupted by a louder personality. The only time he wasn’t was when someone initiated a conversation with him, which happened rarely. 

But as he’s said many times before, it’s nothing he isn’t used to. And besides, now he has his gen-ed friends. And if everything goes well, maybe Hitoshi will transfer into Class 1-A and Mineta will be transferred out (or expelled -- Yuuga isn’t picky). Having someone to talk to in class would be nice. 

Unless, of course, Hitoshi is transferred into Class 1-A and sees how utterly boring and dull Yuuga is compared to his classmates and decides that he doesn’t want to associate with Yuuga anymore and then he tells the girls that they should ditch Yuuga too because he’s absolutely worthless and dim and stupid and useless and cowardly and--

And maybe Yuuga should consider seeing a therapist. He knows he has self-worth issues but this is ridiculous. 

Is it? His mind nevertheless whispered. Are these thoughts ridiculous or are they valid concerns? Be honest: if you were someone else, would you hang out with Yuuga Aoyama? 

Yuuga curled up under his blankets and pretended his answer wasn’t no. 


 

Even after yesterday’s debacle, no one spares Yuuga a second glance when he enters the classroom in the morning. He’s torn between being distraught that he’s back to being more invisible than Hagakure and relieved that they are respecting his privacy. Like he said, what happened is no secret, but his peers knowing would mean that their views of him would be skewed. He wants to be equal to them, just like how he wants to be of equal worth to his sister in his parents’ eyes. Them finding out meant things changing. He already knows that he’s inferior to them all and they know it too. He doesn’t find himself wanting to know how their opinions on him would change if they knew. Worsen, if Yuuga were to hazard a guess. Monoma himself said it: he could save himself but not his sister. That’s not a very heroic fact. 

Maybe if he wasn’t going into heroics, it wouldn’t be a problem. But the fact of the matter was that he was in the heroics course. What kind of hero can’t save his own sister? 

One named Yuuga Aoyama , he supposes. 

The bell rings, signaling lunch, and Yuuga’s classmates all stand to head to the cafeteria whereas Yuuga hangs back for a moment to finish up his notes and then shoves his notebook into his bag. There are only a few stragglers left when Aizawa-sensei says from his desk, “Aoyama. Stay back for a few minutes, please.” 

Yuuga freezes. Suddenly it feels like the few who are left -- Kouda, Jirou, and Hagakure -- are staring holes into the back of his head. His heart beats hard in his chest and he wonders which classmate of his talked to Aizawa about what happened yesterday because why else would his perpetually tired teacher need to talk to him? 

Yuuga swallows and nods at his teacher, “Yes, Aizawa-sensei.” 

Less than a moment later, the last of his classmates left the room. Yuuga took a deep, calming breath before standing and walking over to Aizawa’s desk. 

“You needed something, Aizawa-sensei?” Yuuga asked the teacher who took a drink from his coffee mug before saying anything. 

“Yes,” Aizawa nodded, setting the mug down. “One of your classmates expressed concern about something that happened yesterday. Apparently one of the students who crowded around the door got into something of an argument with you?” 

“Ahh, I would not call it an argument.” It was more like some kind of a who-can-out-threaten-who contest. “He said his name was Monoma Neito from 1-B.” 

“Do you know why he would have taken an interest in you specifically?”

Yuuga had to resist fidgeting in place. It’s amazing how he felt like a criminal in an interrogation room when it was just his heavily bandaged teacher asking him a few questions. 

“He said he’s from Europe, and… Well, I’m sure you’ve read my file by now.”

“So he wanted to talk to you about Simon Villard.”

“Sort of. He… implied that it was my fault that my sister died. And said that my classmates should know that I could save myself but not her.” 

Aizawa stiffened and leaned forward in his seat. Yuuga wished he could see his face underneath all those bandages. 

“Aoyama. You understand why that’s not true, right? You were a child when that happened.” The way his teacher says that is nice. He speaks like it’s a statement, assured and factual, like there’s no room for argument. And maybe there isn’t, but Yuuga’s mind does a great job of creating it. 

“Of course, Aizawa-sensei,” Yuuga dutifully answers despite his contradicting thoughts. Anything to get this over with. 

His teacher is silent for a moment, but then he sighs and informs him, “I’ll be speaking with Kan about this to make sure Monoma is given a suitable punishment. Bullying is not tolerated at UA so we will be taking this very seriously, Aoyama.” 

Yuuga nods to show he understands, even though he wouldn’t really call what happened yesterday bullying. 

“Is that all, Aizawa-sensei?” 

Aizawa studies him behind his bandages shortly before saying, “Yes. You are dismissed. Enjoy your lunch break.” 

“Thank you, you too!” 

As Yuuga escapes to the library to meet up with his friends, he can’t help but continue to wonder who told Aizawa about what happened.

Chapter Text

While on his way back to his place after school, he texted the group chat to ask if any of his friends wanted to go to the mall. He needed stress relief from that meeting with Aizawa-sensei and wanted to take his mind off things, and figured that hanging out with his friends was the best way to do so.

Unfortunately, Saori and Koko both had to go to their respective workplaces, but at least Hitoshi agreed to go. They agreed to go their separate ways long enough to go to their respective homes to change out of their UA uniforms and into comfy everyday clothes and then meet up at the mall as soon as they finished.

That brought Yuuga to where he was now, in a pair of dark skinny jeans and his new T-shirt with Queen Bee and the trans pride flag plastered all over it -- a nice middle finger to his parents -- and browsing through Hot Topic with Hitoshi, who was similarly dressed in skinny jeans but was wearing a shirt that reads “IN THE EVENT OF AN EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWN, PLACE CAT HERE” with a cartoon image of a cat in the middle of the shirt. It fit the violet haired boy well in Yuuga’s opinion. He knew that Hitoshi had a certain fondness for cats considering the number of cat videos he watches at lunch. 

“You know, Yuuga,” Hitoshi stated idly as he browsed through the clothes rack they were standing at, “I never pegged you to be the type to want to go to Hot Topic.” 

Yuuga shrugged, “The Disney and hero merch here is marvelous, Hitoshi.” Of course, they were lacking in French heroes, but that was to be expected since this was Japan and all. It’s a shame, though -- Ladybug, Chat Noir, and Queen Bee were all amazing heroes. They should be more famous than they are -- Queen Bee especially. Truthfully, it was a real crime that the heroine never made it into France’s Top 5. 

She came close, got all the way up to Rank 7… and then she was grievously injured…. 

“Ooh,” Hitoshi said with interest in his voice, breaking Yuuga from his thoughts. He was staring at something a few meters away. “A clearance rack.” And then he left swiftly for the clearance rack without another word, making Yuuga snort in amusement. 

Now that his attention was drawn to the rest of the store, he noticed the head of a tall figure peeking out behind one of the shelves in the back, one with silver hair and subtle blue undertones, one that he recognized. 

Shouji? In Hot Topic? he wondered to himself. Definitely not a place he expected to run into his tall and mysterious classmate, that’s for sure, but it’s not like he could judge: he, too, was in Hot Topic. 

Well, it would be rude of him to not go and say hello, wouldn’t it? With that thought process, Yuuga weaved his way through the clothing racks and shelves, and as he got closer and turned to see more than just Shouji’s head, he saw that his strong classmate was not alone. 

He was with Tokoyami, who had been too short for Yuuga to see behind the shelf, and the two were holding hands, facing away from Yuuga. Shouji leaned down to nuzzle his masked face into Tokoyami’s feathers, and Yuuga was suddenly tremendously aware that he was intruding on a private moment between the two. 

Something in his heart ached. He had suspicions that the two held torches for one another and had even wanted them to be happy together, but it still… hurt. He liked them both but they had each other, there was no reason to add a third to their duo. 

Besides, no one really had room for Yuuga in their lives, except for Fleur, Hitoshi, and the girls. This wasn’t anything new.  

I… probably should sneak away, he thought to himself and took a step back, clumsily into a rack of jewelry that rattled louder than a baby’s weeping on an airplane, and Yuuga cringed as heads swiveled toward him to see the cause of the commotion, including the heads of the two people he had hoped wouldn’t notice that he’d seen them. 

Merde.  

Shouji and Tokoyami released each other’s hands as soon as their eyes landed on his blushing form, and Yuuga awkwardly waved at them, “Pardon! I, uh… did not mean to…” He couldn’t find the words, unable to make eye contact as he side-stepped so he could make his getaway without bumping into the cheaply made but expensively priced jewelry and making another racket. 

“Do not concern yourself with this, Aoyama-kun,” Tokoyami said before he could run off. “Our peers were bound to find out about Mezou’s and my relationship at some point.” 

They were on a first-name basis and everything, huh? 

“Ahh,” Yuuga fumbled for his words and tried desperately to stop thinking in French instead of Japanese. What was the Japanese phrase for I swear I won’t reveal your secret relationship to the whole class, again? “Bien sûr-- I mean, of course. I promise I will not say anything, though.”

Shouji nods, “Thank you for your discretion.”

Tokoyami eyes his shirt, “I do not mean to pry, Aoyama-kun, but are you…?” He gestures questioningly to the shirt, specifically to the trans flag. 

Yuuga shook his head, feeling overwhelmed, “Non, no. This is a French hero, Queen Bee. Her daughter was trans and after Queen Bee retired from hero work she became a politician and LGBTQ activist, especially for the trans community.” 

“I see,” Tokoyami nods, and his beautiful black feathers poof up, as if nervous, and Yuuga is super aware of just how gay he is. “I was curious… because it would be nice to have someone similar to me in class….”

“S-similar?” Yuuga’s eyes were wide. “Are you--?”

“Nonbinary,” Tokoyami interrupts, and now it’s his -- their? -- turn to avoid eye contact while Shouji puts a comforting arm around his partner’s shoulders. “I go by they/them.” 

Yuuga nods, a little dumbstruck at the turn the day has taken, “It…. Are you remaining closeted to the class, Tokoyami-kun? What pronouns should I use when others are around?” 

The darker person shrugs a little helplessly, tucking themself into their boyfriend’s side, and Shouji squeezes them reassuringly. 

“You should refer to me as them/they in front of everyone unless you know they’re homophobic or transphobic,” they said, and Yuuga grimaced. 

“Everyone is safe except for Mineta, then,” he muttered, mostly to himself, but his classmates heard and Shouji held Tokoyami closer to him for a few seconds when he winced in response. 

“I can’t believe he hasn’t been expelled yet,” Shouji said in what was close to a growl. 

Yuuga nodded in agreement and shoved down the fluttery, happiness his heart was feeling at the protective tone. It wasn’t aimed toward him, but toward his partner -- Yuuga knew that. 

“I’m positive he will be,” Yuuga voiced his opinion. “Aizawa-sensei doesn’t exactly have the patience of a saint, non? Soon enough, Mineta will be gone.” 

Tokoyami nodded the same time Hitoshi meandered over, a cautious glint in his eyes as he surveyed Yuuga’s classmates. Tokoyami and Shouji similarly studied Hitoshi, surely remembering him and his dramatic declaration from the day before. 

“These your classmates, Yuuga?” Hitoshi asked boredly, and Shouji’s eyes widened in surprise while Tokoyami’s feathers flattened a bit. 

“You know him, Aoyama-kun?” Shouji questioned before Yuuga could answer Hitoshi. 

“I do,” Yuuga confirmed, pretending not to notice Hitoshi’s smirk. “I eat lunch with him and two other general education students. This is Shinsou Hitoshi. Hitoshi, these are my classmates, Tokoyami Fumikage and Shouji Mezou.” 

“Fantastic to meet you,” Hitoshi said monotonously, and it was honestly an automatic reaction for Yuuga to lightly punch his friend’s shoulder in a chastising manner. He just rolled his eyes in response. 

“Likewise,” Tokoyami replied with the same amount of inflection, which was approximately zero. 

Hitoshi snorted, then carefully schooled his face back into a blank expression. 

“Okay, Yuuga,” he said, gently grabbing hold of Yuuga’s arm, “Enough fraternizing with the enemy. Let’s move on.” 

“I am literally also in Class 1-A, Hito-chan,” Yuuga said blankly. 

“Yeah, but you’re different.” Oh ho, what was this? Tenderness from one of his more emotionally detached friends? Hitoshi’s ears were even going red! What an afternoon this was turning out to be….

“I always knew you cared about me,” Yuuga swooned dramatically, letting himself be dragged by Hitoshi. He turned his head as he was pulled away and sent a goodbye wave and wink to his crushes who were apparently dating each other. 

He was glad they were happy. He was just sad that they couldn’t be happy with him, too. 

Chapter Text

The rest of the week passed and the Sports Festival swiftly came up. Yuuga and Hitoshi both made it passed the obstacle race, whereas Koko and Saori didn’t, not that the girls cared any. They were instead happy for their friends, especially so for Hitoshi, who they all knew wanted to get into the hero course more than anything. 

When the second event was announced as a Cavalry Battle and the rules were given, Hitoshi and Yuuga had made instant eye contact and agreed to team up without any need for further communication. 

“We definitely need another person, though,” Hitoshi stated. “At the least, anyway.”

“Oui,” Yuuga agreed easily because he knew his strengths and upper-arm wasn’t one of them. He couldn’t hold up Hitoshi, who would be the better mount since his quirk didn’t need the maneuverability that Yuuga’s did. “Two more is ideal, though.” 

Time was running out -- they only had fifteen minutes to create a team and come up with a strategy. The other forty competitors were all frantic, looking for a team to join too. 

Midoriya in particular looked panicked, and while Yuuga’s heart ached for his classmate, Hitoshi did not need a ten million point target on his back keeping him from making it into the heroics course. 

Sorry, Midoriya, he thought to himself the same time his eyes landed on Ojirou, who was teamless and partnerless. 

A smirk graced his lips. 

“Hitoshi,” he said, tugging on his friend’s arm, “We need Ojirou. The blond.” He pointed to his classmate so Hitoshi could pick him out from the crowd. 

“What if he doesn’t agree to join our team?” The violet boy worried his bottom lip, but Yuuga could see in his eyes that he knew the answer to his own question. 

“Hito-chan, it’s a Sports Festival. A UA Sports Festival where you use your quirk to further your place in the competition. If he does not agree, you use your quirk on him.” He shrugged. 

Hitoshi looked uncertain, “I just… I guess I thought you wouldn’t--”

“Approve? The only approval you need is the approval to transfer into the heroics course.” Yuuga grabbed Hitoshi by the wrist to pull him to Ojirou, who was starting to look consideringly at the foreign exchange student in 1-B. Better nip this in the bud before Ojirou asks to team up with someone else. 

“Ojirou!” he cried out to get the taller boy’s attention. He even stuck an arm in the air and waved it around. Sure enough, the blond boy’s head turned to Yuuga and Hitoshi. Yuuga picked up speed so he could get to the other sooner, and once in front of him, he said, “You should join our team, Ojirou-kun.”

His eyes narrowed on Hitoshi, “I don’t think so…. Isn’t this guy the one who declared war on us?” The question was clearly meant for Yuuga, but Hitoshi is the one who replied. 

“What do you think?” Hitoshi snarked. 

“Wh--” Before Ojirou can say what he was going to say, his eyes go blank and his jaw drops open slightly. His face goes void of not just emotion, but awareness, too. 

“Wow,” Yuuga remarks, impressed. He waves a hand in front of Ojirou’s eyes and his vacant expression does not waver. He’s never seen Hitoshi’s brainwashing in action. It’s different than what Villard had been able to do. Yuuga is not entirely sure that Ojirou will be aware of what’s happening, unlike what happened with Marianne and all of Villard’s other victims. “What are your limits to your quirk?”

Hitoshi shrugs, “Can only control five people at once, no longer than two hours… and anything as painful or jarring as stubbing your toe can break you out of my quirk.”

Yuuga winces, “Not the best weakness for an event involving the word battle in the title, but we will make do.” He turns calculating eyes on those still scrambling to join a team or find a partner. “So… who next?” 

Hitoshi’s gaze landed on a shy, sheepish looking boy with ice blue hair from 1-B. 

“Him,” Hitoshi said, nodding toward the boy. “I’ve seen 1-B practicing before, and with who is left, he’s our best bet.”

Yuuga gave an encouraging smile, “Then let’s win this thing.”


Yuuga, Hitoshi, Ojirou, and Shoda just barely make it into the final rounds in fourth place by the skin of their teeth. Todoroki’s team came in first, with Bakugou’s at second and Midoriya’s in third. Monoma, who he’d been hoping to fight in the final rounds, was out of the competition at fifth place, unfortunately. 

Midnight is about to reveal who is going to be fighting who when Ojirou’s hand shoots up from the crowd of students and he announces, “Um, excuse me! Sorry, but I’m withdrawing.” 

Everyone gasps in surprise. Yuuga exchanges a look with Hitoshi. 

“Ojirou, no way!” Midoriya protests, and then Iida adds, “This is a rare chance for you to get scouted!” 

“It just wouldn’t be right,” Ojirou denies. “I barely remember anything from the Cavalry Battle until the very end of it.” Yuuga winces and Hitoshi’s expression darkens -- they both know where this is going. “I… think it was that guy’s quirk.”

Ah, yes. There it was. 

Yuuga clutched onto Hitoshi’s hand and gave a comforting squeeze. He watches as his friend makes eye contact with Midoriya before looking away, and then Midoriya’s confused gaze falls on him. Yuuga does not flinch away, and when Ojirou begins talking again, the green-haired boy finally turns his attention away.

“I know this is a great opportunity. I wish I could take advantage of it, but my conscience won’t let me.”

“Just think about this--”

“I have, okay?” Ojirou snapped at Midoriya. “Everyone gave their all in Round 2, while I was just someone’s puppet. No way! I don’t want to advance if I don’t even know how I got here. It wouldn’t be fair.”

“You’re making way too much of this!” Hagakure asserted, moving her pom-poms wildly. Yuuga agreed with her -- Hitoshi can’t make Ojirou do something he can’t already do. All of his abilities were the same while brainwashed as they were when he was lucid. If they had been able to convince Ojirou to join the team without brainwashing, then he would have advanced just the same. “Just kill it in the finals and prove you deserve to be here.”

“Yeah, what she said!” Mina agreed, comfort in her tone. “I didn’t do much in the battle either.”

“That’s not it!” Ojirou cupped his face with his hand. “I’m talking about my pride here! I refuse to give that up.” 

Yuuga scoffed. Pride? How foolish. He couldn’t help but think that injured pride is a stupid reason to refuse to advance. Maybe if he had a moral problem with not being able to recall the actions that led to him landing in 4th, Yuuga would understand, but pride

And here he thought that Ojirou was smart. 

“Shoda Nirengeki from Class 1-B,” the other student that Hitoshi brainwashed stepped forward and Yuuga winced again, giving another squeeze to Hitoshi’s hand. “I think I should withdraw for the exact same reason. Regardless of how strong I am, this isn’t how I wanted to get here. It would go against the values of the Festival to advance without earning my spot.”

Well… that’s a better reason than pride at least. 

“They’re so manly!” Kirishima cried, making Yuuga snort. 

For a moment, Midnight is silent, but then her booming voice rings out across the stadium and she declares, “This sort of talk is incredibly naive, my boys!” She waves her whip around, “That turns me on! Shoda, Ojirou, you’re withdrawn!” 

“Did she say it turns her on?” Yuuga whispers in disbelief to Hitoshi, who shrugs and lets go of his hand to shove his hands into his pockets. 

After that, Monoma immediately declares that he should be moved up and take one of the empty spots. His teammates, Tsuburaba, Tetsutetsu, and Kuroiro all roll their eyes a bit but concede and then let a tearful Tetsutetsu take the remaining spot. 

With all that figured out, they get the names of their competitors. 

Aoyama Yuuga vs Monoma Neito

He smirks and turns his head to make eye contact with Monoma. His competitor is also smirking and staring right at him. Yuuga can’t help but send a cocky wink toward the boy, who scowls in response. 

Movement from Hitoshi breaks his attention away from Monoma, and Yuuga watches with slight interest as the violet boy goes to stand next to Midoriya, who was staring up at the jumbo screens deep in thought. Yuuga looked up to search for the boy’s name and saw that he was in the first fight against…. Hitoshi. 

He winced -- that was not the best match up. Yes, Midoriya breaks his limbs as often as he cries, but him having a physical quirk still gives him a great advantage over Hitoshi’s mental quirk. 

“That is you, right?” Hitoshi asks in a drawl. Yuuga nervously walks to stand next to him, uncertain of what exactly this situation called for. “Midoriya Izuku?”

Midoriya yelps and backs away, frightened, clearly having been so lost in thought that he hadn’t noticed Hitoshi or Yuuga walk by him. 

“A pleasure,” Hitoshi says when Midoriya only stares at him for a second. “So, are you excited?’

“Uh, yea--” Midoriya’s automatic, somewhat awkward response is cut off by Ojirou’s sudden appearance, the blond using his tail to cover up Midoriya’s mouth and keep him from replying. 

“Not so fast!” he cut in, a serious expression on his face. 

Hitoshi cracks a bitter smile and lets out a mirthless laugh, turning and ambling away. Yuuga quickly followed after, sending one last glance back at his two classmates before turning his sole attention to Hitoshi. 

“Are you okay, mon ami ?” 

Hitoshi’s eyes flicked over his form, making Yuuga feel small, then he said, “Yeah. I’m peachy.” When Yuuga opened his mouth to push the issue further, Hitoshi said, “I don’t wanna talk about it right now.”

“Oh… okay.” He gave a nervous smile, concern burning his gut in an uncomfortably familiar feeling. “Maybe later, then.”

He rested his hand on his belt and tried to will the feeling away. 

Chapter Text

When Yuuga gets to 1-A’s viewing section, most of his class is already there, with the exception of Midoriya, Todoroki, and Bakugou. Before he can take a seat, several of his classmates jump up to crowd him. 

“Aoyama!” exclaimed Ashido. “You’re fighting that one guy!” 

“Yeah, man, how do you feel about that?” asked Hagakure.

“You fight with him is gonna be so manly, bro!” Kirishima 

“Um, well—” he tried to speak, but was interrupted by Sero.

“Kiri is right, dude! You’ll be awesome and show him what 1-A is made of—”

“I insist you leave Aoyama-kun alone!” Iida broke into the fray with a few arm-chopping motions, and Yuuga let out a relieved breath as his rowdy classmates all took a step back from him. 

“Sorry, Aoyama!” they all chimed as one, the same time that Ojirou walked into the fold. 

“You let that Shinsou guy brainwash me,” he accused with narrowed eyes, and suddenly the atmosphere intensified. 

“It’s a Sports Festival,” Yuuga said simply. “Quirk usage is allowed and you do what you have to to get ahead. Hitoshi wants to be in the hero course, so he has to do well in the Festival.” 

Ojirou’s fists clenched, “You’re helping him replace one of us at the cost of my memories and free will!” 

Well, when you put it like that….

“There’s no guarantee he will be in 1-A, but if he is, then I’m sure he will be replacing Mineta, and there’s no real loss there—”

“Hey!” Mineta cut in with a scowl, but everyone ignored him. A few girls even murmured their agreement. 

“—and as for your memories and free will, I am sorry about that. We did violate you and we should not have. But I am not sorry for helping my friend do what he needs to do to be a pro, and I never will be.” 

Ojirou exhaled, his expression still cross, but his fists unclenched and he nodded once. 

“I understand,” he said. “Shinsou is lucky to have such a good friend.”

He didn’t accept his apology, but Yuuga knew that saying sorry doesn’t magically erase hurt feelings, and besides, it wasn’t exactly the best one apology in the first place. 

So Yuuga said, “Merci,” and that was that. 


For a moment, Yuuga had really thought that Hitoshi had Midoriya. He was so excited -- a gen-ed student progressing so far into the Sports Festival was already impressive, but if they were to continue to advance….

But then Midoriya somehow breaks out of the mind control! It’s incredible and should be impossible. After all, pain might jolt someone out of Hitoshi’s control, but Hitoshi never gave Midoriya the order to break his fingers like that. 

Somewhere, in the back of his head, he wishes Marianne had been able to break herself out of Villard’s control longer than she had. Long enough to get away.


The group chat explodes right after Hitoshi’s fight:

A Handful of Gays + 1 Straight

Coco2017: Omg Hitoshi I am so happy! You repped gen ed so well!

GlitterBabe: You were great Hitoshi

SparkleBinch: You! Were! Magnifique! You shined bright, mon ami!

Gengar: thanks guys

Coco2017: You cant see it Yuu-kun but Hito-chan is toooootally blushing rn it is so cute!!!

SparkleBinch: omg cute

GlitterBabe: HA #exposed

Gengar: why am I friends with you people

GlitterBabe: Because you love us.

Gengar: well I don’t know why

Coco2017: D:

SparkleBinch: DD:

Gengar: sIGH

Gengar: fine i take it back. Geez

Coco2017: he loves us :’)

SparkleBinch: he doooooooo

GlitterBabe: ha Hito-chan has feelings

Gengar: you are all problem children

Yuuga blinks at the term. He’s intimately familiar with it, since Aizawa-sensei uses it so often--

An announcement that the next competitors need to get into position startles him out of his thoughts, and with a start he realized that he was one of them. 

And Monoma was the other one. 

A smirk found its way on his face. He was ready for this. 

“Kaminari-kun,” he said, catching the boy’s attention. “Will you hold onto my phone for me while I fight?” 

“Sure, man,” replied Kaminari with an easy-going smile, taking the phone from Yuuga.

“Merci,” Yuuga said with a wink, and then he was off. 


They were standing across from each other. Midnight had started the battle just a few seconds ago, and neither has made a move yet.

“Savez-vous que seuls les étudiants du cours de support peuvent avoir des éléments de support?” asked Monoma with a cocky smirk, gesturing to Yuuga’s belt. Are you aware that only support course students can have support items?

“J'ai complété les papiers appropriés,” Yuuga smoothly replied. I completed the proper papers.

Up in the commentator’s box, Present Mic made a comment about them speaking in fluent French to one another that Yuuga didn’t really tune in to hear. 

Monoma’s smirk turns into a mocking pout, “Oh, tu ne peux pas contrôler complètement ton laser?” Oh, can you not completely control your laser?

He has enough control that he doesn’t completely destroy whatever is in his path anymore when he activates his quirk. Now, he can cause mild burns or even give someone a suntan. Unfortunately, he can only slightly burn Monoma since this was a school event. 

Well, it was lucky for Monoma, he supposes. 

When Yuuga didn’t respond, Monoma snarled, “Je suis certain que cela ne peut pas être trop difficile!” I’m certain it can’t be too difficult! Then he was running toward Yuuga, a fierce expression on his face. 

Yuuga dodged left the same time Monoma lunged to grab at him on his right. So he had some sort of contact-based quirk maybe? No time to really think on it -- Monoma was already righting himself to lunge again so Yuuga fired off his lazer at his opponent. It struck him in his left shoulder, causing Monoma to let out a hiss of pain and to automatically cuff his shoulder, where some of his athletic uniform burned away. 

He aims his lazer again, this time trying for a more centered attack, but when he fires it, Monoma dodges it in a roll, getting startlingly close to Yuuga. He jerks back a step, but Monoma is already twisting his body enough to kick Yuuga’s feet out from under him, and he goes down with a hiss. 

Monoma doesn’t waste his chance, and he reaches out and grabs at Yuuga’s ankle, where the leg of his athletic uniform had risen up a bit to show bare skin. Immediately, Yuuga feels a strange tingling sensation, and he tenses, wondering what his opponent’s quirk is and if it’ll be his downfall. But even as Monoma victoriously smirks, no pain comes. 

Instead, Monoma’s stomach starts to glow from beneath his uniform, similarly to Yuuga’s when he uses his quirk. But then Monoma’s smirk is wiped clean off his face. He pales dramatically, one hand clasping at his stomach and the other at his mouth. The glowing stops and he abruptly falls to his knees, keeling over a bit. 

The crowd around them murmurs, just as unsure as Yuuga is, and Midnight says something that Yuuga doesn’t really hear the same time Monoma starts to vomit up blood. 


“Dude, what happened out there?” Kaminari asks when Yuuga gets back to 1-A’s viewing section, still a little dazed from the events of his fight with Monoma. He hands him his phone, Yuuga saying a small merci in response.

“Yeah, man, what was that?” Kirishima piped up, and all of his other peers asking similar questions.

“Ahh, from my understanding, Monoma has a copying quirk, and when he tried to copy my lazer beam, his body had an… adverse reaction.” 

Adverse was probably an understatement. His quirk burned. It never stopped burning. That’s why he wore his belt during the day and switched to quirk suppressing bracelets at night: so his quirk wouldn’t be so painful all the time. 

When he wasn’t actively using his quirk, it was more of a sting. When he did use it, it was painful and caused nausea. But he was desensitized to it at least. Monoma was not. 

One second, he was fine, and the next, Monoma felt his stomach lining burn. 

Yuuga couldn’t help but relate it to what happened with Villard. 

“Wow, really?” asked Midoriya, who was always excited for information on quirks. “I never thought about someone with a copying quirk having such a bad reaction after copying someone’s quirk. Do you know why this Monoma guy’s body rejected your quirk, Aoyama?” 

He shrugged, a little uncomfortable and unsure of how to answer his question. He didn’t really want his classmates to know about his medical history. 

“Well,” he started, trying to come up with a reasonable-sounding explanation. “Everyone is different, oui ? Especially in this day and age. Monoma’s body is just not built to withstand the heat of the lazer like mine is.”

Liar, a voice whispered in his head. And he was one. 

Chapter Text

The next round comes and passes, and Yuuga faced Ashido. 

The results of this battle are… not ideal. 

They’re pretty embarrassing, actually. For once he hopes his parents don’t care enough to be committed in his life because he’ll never hear the end of it if they watched his pants fall off on national television. 

His dignity is more injured than his jaw is, and that’s saying something considering just how strong Ashido’s right hook is. She had broken his jawbone, after all!

He absent-mindedly rubbed his jaw in remembrance of the jarring pain. He was now in the infirmary, all healed up with help from Recovery Girl’s quirk, and while normally this would mean he would be free to go and enjoy the rest of the Sports Festival, he does not have this luxury since his belt is currently out of commission. He has a few spares, but all are at the penthouse, so Fleur had to be contacted and asked to bring him one of them. It’d be a while, since Fleur had gotten a ticket to watch the Festival from the stadium, so she had to make a trip there and back. 

A beeping from his phone alerted him to the fact that his and his friends’ group chat was active. The name had previously been Worried About Aoyama Yuuga Club , but it had long since gone through several changes, the most recent one being “A Handful of Gays + 1 Straight.”

A Handful of Gays + 1 Straight

GlitterBabe: yo @Sparklebinch you good fam?

Coco2017: That was a hard hit after all

Sparklebinch: oui I’m fine but my support belt was damaged :((( so I can’t leave the infirmary until a replacement arrives for safety reasons :((((

Coco2017: safety reasons??? Is everything okay??? I am concern

GlitterBabe: lol it was pretty funny when ur pants fell…

GlitterBabe: wait oh yeah umm are you okay yuu-chan? Haha I am a good friend :)))

Coco2017: -_-

Gengar: Literally zero people believe you, Saori.

GlitterBabe: :(((

Sparklebinch: lol no it’s fine and yeah i can control my quirk but like it still kinda is always hurting me??? so yeah i need my belt :))))

Gengar: What

Coco2017: oh my gosh my sweet summer child please explain

GlitterBabe: yes pls explain i am confusion and concern

Sparklebinch: okay so when my quirk first developed it kinda burned a lot and it still does. My parents had a rush order put on a belt that would keep the lazer from burning my body but until it was made i had to wear quirk suppressors on my wrists to keep it from heating since i couldn’t control it

Sparklebinch: so while TECHNICALLY i can control my quirk now, it is safer in the long run to always have the belt bc it regulates the heat. I don’t wear it while sleeping since it’s too uncomfortable so I wear the quirk suppressing bracelets when I go to bed

Yuuga conveniently left out the part where the belt kept his quirk from burning away at his stomach lining and that it was something that he could not control at all. It wasn’t vital to this conversation. 

Sparklebinch: But enough about me!!! Let’s move on to Hitoshi!!!! You were the only one in gen ed who made it to the final event, do you think that was good enough to be moved into the heroics course?

Gengar: I mean ideally

Coco2017: you’ll make it into the heroics course! Your quirk is perfect for being a hero! 

GlitterBabe: she right tho

Gengar: Thanks guys

Coco2017: Don’t thank us for telling the truth! 

Gengar: But it kinda does need thanking. Only my parents, aunt, uncle, and cousin have really ever been supportive of me wanting to be a hero. It means… a lot that you guys believe in me and my quirk

Yuuga finds that he has to blink away tears of empathy for his friend -- there’s no doubt in his mind that Hitoshi has been told that he has a villain’s quirk and was bullied for it. 

Sparklebinch: We will always believe in you, Hitoshi. Always. 

Gengar: Why are you guys trying to make me feel feelings? It’s v inconvenient so pls stop

GlitterBabe: omg you are soooo dramatic

Coco2017: Stop teasing him!!! He’s sensitive!!!

Gengar: Gee, thanks……

GlitterBabe: It’s not my fault he’s a baby!

Sparklebinch: He IS a babey but like maybe stop poking fun

Gengar: You defended me and insulted me at the same time

Sparklebinch: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Gengar: If this is what friendship is then i don’t want it

Coco2017: w-what

Gengar: sIGH except for your friendship, Koko, i value and appreciate it

Coco2017: :DDD

GlitterBabe: idk so i feel like Koko is the sensitive and dramatic one, why haven’t we called her out on it yet?

Sparklebinch: making fun of her is less fun bc of the guilt that inevitably follows

Coco2017: :DDD

GlitterBabe: oh so similar to how it is with you then?

Sparklebinch: wait what

Gengar: She’s right. You and Koko radiate Big Insecurity Energy so we have to be careful about what we make fun of you 2 for

Sparklebinch: oh and you don’t radiate Big Depression Energy????

Gengar: When did this become a call out post

Coco2017: when you called me and Yuuga out

Gengar: That’s fair 

A sudden presence at his bedside brings his attention away from his phone. He looks up, and standing beside him is….

Monoma. He’s still pale from what happened during their fight, and his hand still lightly grips at his stomach, as if trying to comfort a phantom pain. His copy of Yuuga’s lazer may have long been gone and Recovery Girl may have healed him, but Yuuga knew that it was hard to forget pain. 

“Aoyama,” he says, a little stiffly, and Yuuga narrows his eyes. 

“Need something, Monoma?” 

“Does… does your quirk always feel like that?” 

“When I was little, yes. Now it’s mostly just mild burning.”

“Oh,” he says blandly. 

They stare at each other for a few uncomfortable moments before Yuuga clears his throat, “Did you need anything else, Monoma?” 

“A-ah, yes!” he startles, his eyes widening a bit in surprise at Yuuga’s voice. He shifts in place, shuffling his feet. “I… wanted to apologize.”

“Apologize?” He raised an eyebrow.

“For what I said. About you and what happened with your sister,” Monoma clarified. “I’m… sorry.” He said it like it pained him more than copying Yuuga’s quirk ever did. 

“Oh.” Yuuga had not been expecting this. He wasn’t sure what he had been expecting, but it certainly hadn’t been this. He wondered what brought it on, and if the results of their battle had anything to do with it. “Well, thank you, Monoma.” 

He nodded, looking just as tense as he did when he first walked in, and he said, “Right. Well, I should….”

“Go?” Yuuga supplied. 

“Yes, that. Have a good day, Aoyama.” 

“You, too, Monoma,” he said, and then the boy left. 

He couldn’t help but chuckle lightly to himself: would you look at that? A classmate he barely knew could apologize with more grace than his own parents.

Chapter Text

When Yuuga first got it in his head to become a hero, he wanted his name to be I Cannot Stop Twinkling. It was… a mouthful in Japanese and an even larger one in French. But it was what he wanted. To him, it meant that no matter what happened, he would keep twinkling, keep sparkling, keep shining. Even as everyone preferred Marianne, even as he himself thought that Villard killed the wrong child, he would sparkle and shine and twinkle and he would never stop. 

But Midnight and his classmates didn’t understand that. Maybe that was on him for not trying hard enough to befriend them, but either way, they were right. A sentence as his hero name was unrealistic. But he still needed something that would show he would always twinkle. 

So, his name?

Le Héros Qui Brille: Chevalier

“What’s that mean, Aoyama?” eagerly asks Midoriya from the back when Yuuga presents his second choice to the class. 

“It means The Shining Hero: Knight,” he answers, and Midoriya beams. 

“That’s an amazing name considering your quirk! And with your hero costume, it just adds to the overall image, doesn’t it? So a knight in shining armor is the image you’re going for… a fairytale theme, almost. Makes sense, you’d be very popular with the younger crowd--” he broke off into mumblings, frenetically scribbling notes in his hero notebook. 

Tokoyami nods in agreement with Midoriya’s first statement, “A name such as that fits you well, Aoyama. Your soul reflects that.” 

Yuuga averted eye contact, his usual smile taking on a more genuine, embarrassed but delighted tone, and he said, “Thank you, Tokoyami, Midoriya,” before taking back his seat. 

Tokoyami gave a nod of acknowledgment whereas Midoriya hadn’t even noticed the thanks. Midnight looked awkwardly at the green-haired boy and asked, “Does he do this often?”

While most of the class either shrugs or gives an affirmative, Yuuga’s attention was recaptured by the official-looking letter that he’d been given earlier by Aizawa-sensei that was all the way from France. 

It was an internship offer from the very hero agency he wanted to work for after graduation: the Miraculous Hero Agency. 


“Where’s Koko-chan?” is the first thing Yuuga asks when he gets to the library for lunch. Saori and Hitoshi are both already at their usual table, but the girl in question is missing. 

“Mic-sensei asked to see her after English,” Saori answers as he sits down. 

“She looked like she was being told she had six months to live,” Hitoshi dryly adds. 

“She’s a disaster.” Yuuga shook his head in mock disappointment. 

“Yeah, but who cares?” Saori metaphorically waved away the issue with her hand. “You heroics students get your nominations today, right? How many did you get? Do you know who you’re interning with?” 

“Slow down!” Yuuga laughed. “I didn’t get any from Japan, but get this--” he leaned forward, his eyes sparkling with excitement, “I got an offer from France!”

“No way!” Saori was appropriately perplexed but excited. Even Hitoshi raised a curious brow. 

“Seriously?” he asked. 

Yuuga nodded proudly, “And it gets better. The nomination is from the agency that employs the Number One heroes in France -- the Miraculous Hero Agency! It’s the agency I want to work for after graduation!”

UA was one of the only hero schools that could graduate heroes with valid hero licenses in many different countries -- most North and South American countries, all European and Asian countries, and a few African countries. There were only two other schools in the whole world that graduated international licenses: America’s New York Hero Academy and Spain’s Madrid Quirk Academy. 

“You’re taking it, right?” Hitoshi asks. 

“Of course!” Yuuga assures. “Aizawa-sensei says that I’ll miss two days of classes for the plane ride there and back, but that UA will excuse the absences since it's for my internship.”

“Did it s--” Saori is cut off by Koko’s arrival, who is red-faced and immediately buries her head in her arms when she sits down next to Yuuga and groans. 

“Are, uh, are you okay, buddy?” Saori awkwardly asks from across the table. Hitoshi is similarly uncomfortable looking. 

“Geez,” he says, “What did Present Mic do to you?”

“It’s not what he did,” moans Koko from beneath her arms. “It’s what I said. I’m so dumb. Will one of you please kill me and end my suffering?” 

“Sorry.” Saori doesn’t sound sorry at all. “But you’re not the victim I have in mind.” 

The joke draws a snort from Koko, and she lifts her head to peek up at them. 

“My friends,” she says dramatically, “I am the most embarrassing person on this earth.”

“Elaborate,” Hitoshi requests.

“So Mic-sensei asks me to stay behind for a minute for lunch, right?” Koko starts, looking pained. “And logically my first thought is, great, he figured out that I’m terrible and have a crush on him even though he’s way older than me and also my teacher and so now he’s going to call me out on it and transfer me into Class 1-D even though that jerk Tsukuda is in Class 1-D because he can’t have me in his class since I’m terrible and all.”

“Oh yeah,” Hitoshi nods like that makes perfect sense, making Yuuga and Saori snicker. “That’s completely logical.” 

“Shut your stupid face, Hito-chan,” Koko snaps without any actual heat. “So anyway, I stay behind and then walk up to his desk, and all he says is that my English is impressive and asks if I’m fluent.” 

“Sorry, cherie , but I fail to see the embarrassing part,” Yuuga tells her. 

“I was getting there,” she assures. “So I say that I am closed to fluency but not there yet and like a total idiot--” her face retreats back into her hands and she moans out, “like a total idiot, I tell him that I learned English so I could listen to his English radio broadcasts when he started to get big and was given that international time slot. I can’t believe I admitted that!” 

“Wow,” Hitoshi states blandly. “That’s-- that’s dedication to your favorite, folks.” 

“That’s not embarrassing!” Saori tries to comfort the only other girl in the group, but Koko’s face remains hidden behind her hands. 

“Yes it is,” she insists. “I can’t ever go back to class. I have to drop out of UA, out of high school in general. I’m dropping out and becoming a homeless hermit who hisses at people who get too close and feeds all the stray cats and dogs in the neighborhood. This is the only option for my life now.”

“Don’t you think you’re being a little dramatic?” Yuuga asks, placing a comforting hand on her hunched over back. “I mean, becoming a hermit? Won’t you at least let us visit you?” 

“I guess you guys could visit me under my bridge,” she says, but she still doesn’t budge from behind her hands. “But only if you bring cat and dog food for my 200 stray pets.” 

“Deal!” Saori says, then pokes Koko’s immobile body. “Will you come out now?”

“I’m a lesbian.” Hitoshi snorts and Yuuga laughs. 

“That’s not what I meant and you know it!” 

“Well, I’m too humiliated by my very existence to come out from hiding.”

Hitoshi suddenly gave a big, long-suffering sigh, drawing Yuuga’s and Saori’s eyes to him, and he reaches across the table, gently grasping at Koko’s wrists. 

“Koko,” he says firmly. “Koko, look at me. Please.” It’s the please that breaks her -- Yuuga’s somewhat sure he’s only ever heard the violet boy sound so sincere that time they were at Yuuga's home after the USJ incident, but he’s definitely certain that he’s never heard him say please before, and it’s likely that the girls never have, either. So Koko peeks at Hitoshi through her fingers, and the boy takes the crack in her guard to lower her hands to the table himself, revealing her tomato-red face.

“Koko,” he says again, voice soft and comforting. “Mic-sensei is probably honored that you learned a whole other language just to listen to his radio shows. And besides, have you ever known Present Mic to be mean to one of his fans?” 

“...No,” Koko admits reluctantly, her voice going petulant. And it’s true -- Present Mic is one of those world-famous heroes thanks to his radio show, so even Yuuga knows that Mic isn’t ever mean to his fans unless they deserve it. 

“And does you telling him you learned English to listen to his show even suggest that you have a huge, embarrassing crush on him?” 

Saori punches him in the shoulder for that comment, but Koko nevertheless replies, “No, I guess not.” 

“So then do you really have anything to be embarrassed about?” Hitoshi asks, rhetorically.

“No, I don’t,” comes her final admittance, defeated. But then she brightens, “Thanks, Hitoshi-kun.”

Hitoshi withdraws his hands from her wrists at that, grabbing his energy drink to take a swallow. 

“No problem,” he says after setting it down. “My work here is done.”

“Okay, great,” Saori quietly claps her hands together. “So now that your Mic-crisis is over, Yuuga has exciting news!” 

“Ooh!” Koko turns excited blue eyes to him. “Do tell, Yuu-kun!” 

His grin becomes genuine and he replies, “I received a nomination from the best hero agency in France! They employ the two Number One heroes in the country!” 

Koko gasps in quiet enthusiasm for him, making his heart warm. Not for the first time, he thinks about how he has such awesome friends. 

“Yuuga, that’s so amazing!” she says happily. “What hero are you interning under?”

“Yeah!” Saori cuts in, “That’s what I was gonna ask before Miss Melodrama here interrupted.”

Koko stuck her tongue out at Saori, who rolled her eyes in return, and Yuuga quickly answers with a slight frown, “The nomination didn’t say, but since I want to work under this particular hero agency in the future, I’m accepting for the experience.”

“That’s smart,” Koko nods. “But you’ll be gone for more than a week if you’re going to France, right?” Without waiting for confirmation, she continues, “You have to text us often. And send lots of pictures! Oh, and see about getting a selfie with whatever hero you work with!” 

Yuuga laughs and agrees, “I’ll have to do that!” 

Chapter Text

As Yuuga stepped into the airport off the plane, the nerves he’d been feeling since he received the internship offer doubled. He was back in Paris, but not to see his parents -- he didn’t even tell them he was coming home. He was here because he wanted to be here, he was back in Paris for his future. 

Over the past week, he’d had a longer discussion with Aizawa-sensei about his unprecedented nomination. UA had never had an out-of-country hero agency put up an offer for a student before. He assured Yuuga that even though he wouldn’t be in Japan, he still had the right to end the internship early if the Miraculous Hero Agency (MHA) impeded any of his rights or made him do something he didn’t feel right about, and that he could call Aizawa or someone else from UA to make sure that he could be set up in a hotel room outside of MHA until they could secure him a plane ticket. 

Aizawa-sensei also told Yuuga that MHA would be sending a chauffeur to pick him up from the airport, and the name on the board would be Finlay Brodeur. His teacher and everyone else involved knew that the Aoyama name was too much in the spotlight for his real name to be on view for the whole world to see, hence the alias. 

After grabbing his luggage from the baggage claim, Yuuga scanned the crowds for a poster that had his alias written on it, and eventually found what he was looking for in a tall, balding man wearing sunglasses and a suit. 

Yuuga wandered over to the man, who noticed his approach and asked, “Mr. Brodeur?”

Yuuga confirmed it, “That is me, yes.” 

“I’ll be your driver, Aiden Berger. Madame Lavillant-Couffaine is waiting for you in the limousine. Shall I take your luggage?”  asked the chauffeur. Yuuga nodded and thanked the man, handing over his suitcase but keeping the carry on for himself to lug. Then he followed Mr. Berger out of the airport to the waiting limousine, where the man opened up the door for him after taking his carry on to put into the back. 

Inside the limo is a blond woman whose hair was styled in a pixie cut and has gorgeous blue eyes. She smiled warmly at Yuuga, and he couldn’t help but send one back to her. 

“My name is Rose Lavillant-Couffaine,” she introduced herself as the limousine door was shut and Yuuga took his seat.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you. I am Yuuga Aoyama.” Introducing himself with his surname after his first name was a little strange on the tongue after months of being in Japan. 

“The pleasure is all mine!” Mme. Lavillant-Couffaine said. “So, Mr. Aoyama, I’m the head of the Internship Program at Miraculous Hero, so I’ll be giving you a tour of the MHA headquarters, then take you to your lodgings and introduce you to the hero you will be working with.” 

“That sounds great! Can you tell me what hero it is?” 

She gave him a mischievous look, “I am under strict orders to keep this under wraps: all I can say is that they’re a retired hero who is temporarily returning to service to do this.” 

Instantly, Yuuga’s mind went off, trying to think of retired heroes who worked for MHA while active. Papillon, Nightshade, Lune, Bouclier, Viperion, Wraith....

….Queen Bee? 

Immediately, he shut that down. It would be so cool to have her as his mentor for the week, but it was extremely unlikely. Bourgeois was working on passing that trans rights bill, there was no way she had the time to play hero for a week with the son of her political archnemesis….

Right? 

….Right. 


Wrong. 

He was wrong. He was super, very much, completely wrong. 

Yuuga stared across the office he was in at Chloé Bourgeois, who stood tall and refined behind the desk of the CEO of MHA, Wang Fu. The CEO himself was also there, right next to Minister Bourgeois, so much shorter and somehow less intimidating, despite controlling Europe’s biggest hero agency. 

“Pardon,” he said, so overwhelmed that he was actually underwhelmed. “But can you repeat that?”

“Minister Bourgeois wants to come out of retirement just long enough to mentor you for this short week,” Mme. Lavillant-Couffaine helpfully piped up from beside him, a cheery grin on her lips. 

“But-- but, well-- why?” he sputtered out. And it was a good question, despite the less-than-perfect delivery. Why would a busy politician -- a rival of his mother’s, at that -- want to mentor him? Was this a Villard thing? Did she want to talk with the one kid her daughter’s murderer couldn’t kill? 

His heart painfully throbbed. It was definitely because of Villard. Why would Chloé Bourgeois want to speak with him -- let alone mentor him -- if not for Villard? He was the son of Cosette Favreau-Aoyama, the woman who walked all over everything Bourgeois fought for, the woman who deadnamed Geneva. 

For all Bourgeois knew, he was just like his mom. 

“Why?” repeated Bourgeois, her tone genuine with incredulity. “Yuuga, you are only fifteen, correct?” Yuuga nodded. “You are only fifteen and made it into the final rounds at UA’s Sports Festival, the biggest event in Asia. You are only fifteen and have survived two villain attacks. You were only ten-years-old for one of them. You are already on the cusp of being a great hero -- I just want to help you refine yourself. Your performance in UA’s Sports Festival was great, but not amazing. We need to work on your hand-to-hand skills. ” 

Yuuga was relieved to hear that he wasn’t here just because of Villard, but he still winced at the reminder of what happened at the Sports Festival. That was on live television--

“None of that!” Monsieur Fu waved his hand in the air commandingly. “Chloé here was just like you when she was your age. Relied too much on her quirk and had minimal hand-to-hand combat skills.”

Chloé didn’t seem insulted by this. She even continued his line of thought, “In fact, with how vain I was, I was probably worse off than you. I needed reforming. You, Yuuga Aoyama, just need a little polishing.”

Her eyes, stunning blue, were sincere. He was the son of the woman who hated everything she stood for, and Chloé Bourgeois wholeheartedly believed he would be a great hero, something only Fleur had ever done. 

His knees trembled and his eyes went watery. He wiped at them, then said, “When do we start?”

Bourgeois smirked, “Right now.”