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Eri Breaks Logic

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What's past is prologue. - William Shakespeare

BREAK LOGIC

Life taught me countless lessons. It shaped who I was, who I am, and who I will be. I can name most of my lessons off the top of my head; however, one stands out above all the others.

All men are created evil.

When I was four years old, I learned that everyone alive is inherently selfish and evil, myself included. I guess that's why I didn't fight back that hard. Why bother? They're evil. I'm evil. I was just getting what I deserved. I killed my father after all, and what could atone for that? In the mind of a child, I saw myself guilty of an ultimate evil, so I simply looked forward to the day I die… The day I won't hurt anyone ever again.

However, that all changed when I met him, my hero and savior. They all think he saved me from torture, captivity, and so forth. No, Shota Aizawa saved me from myself. He was the first of many.

BREAK LOGIC

Shota Aizawa didn't believe in fate, and he would say the same if asked in the rare instances he talked with other heroes. Fate exists as something inherently illogical. To assume that things are meant to happen in a certain way seemed too easy. Admitting that fate exists meant he'd resign himself to the world's inclinations, and Aizawa had no intention of doing that. If he saw someone in trouble, he'd help instead of resigning it to fate. It's why he became a hero in the first place. Despite his melancholy exterior, the young man ranked helping others as his second favorite thing in life. His cats remained firmly entrenched in first place.

Aizawa pinched the bridge of his nose. If he believed in fate, maybe he'd just go along with Midnight's forced proposal. He could do a lot more good training the next group of heroes at Japan's top hero academy rather than fight the criminals himself. Of course, the help wouldn't be as direct and meant he'd be paid less, but selfishness is also illogical.

For some unexplainable reason, Midnight revealed to him Japan's best hero high school, U.A., hired her as part of the staff. While he has no idea why that principal decided to put the 18+ Only Hero: Midnight in a classroom full of youth, he even has less of a clue why she thought he'd make a good teacher. Why she recommended him anyway confounded the man.

Shota Aizawa was a few things. First, he fought for justice as Eraser Head, an underground hero. While most craved the spotlight, he preferred to work in the shadows. A less well-known face made life easier and more effective. While U.A. has a reputation for keeping the students and faculty's privacy, he still would be forced much more into the spotlight than he ever had been. Plus, none of the students will recognize him, unlike the other famous heroes employed there, meaning they may not like him. While Aizawa doesn't care about likability, he knows teachers need stable relationships with their students to be efficient.

Second, Aizawa has the personality of a soggy sponge. He doesn't smile. He doesn't show emotion in his voice. He guides his life using logic instead of other, unreliable methods. He also places high expectation on other heroes, but he finds that to be logical. He has even higher expectation on himself, pushing himself so hard that he often found himself sleeping any time he can manage. Criminals commit the most and the worst crimes at night after all, and most heroes prefer to operate by day. If it's day, more people could see their exploits which create more money, popularity, and other frivolous things.
The man nodded at himself, deciding he shouldn't be a teacher for U.A., at least not yet. Even though his almost perfect record as a hero would make him a prime candidate, other men and women could fulfill that role more effectively. Eraser Head operates best as an underground hero, one who mostly ambushes villains.

In fact, he now waited in an alley for that very reason. A certain drug named Trigger caused the deaths of dozens over the past month. It boosted Quirks' power significantly for a few minutes, making a villain a supervillain during that time. Three heroes had died fighting boosted villains, and the drug proved to be addictive. He concluded that this specific alley was used for dealings. Life a disease, Aizawa wanted to attack the cause rather than the symptoms; therefore, he shall apprehend the dealer.

He sat perched on a building's flat roof, occasionally checking for activity. Jumping down won't be a problem, and attacking from above remained one of his favorite options. Maybe he will wait for a few more minutes, maybe a few more days. It won't matter if he can make the world just a little safer. Another dealer will replace the captured one, but the drug won't be available in this region for at least a week. All he must do is wait for two people to arrive and make the deal.

He heard two pairs of footsteps, but he detected something off. While one sounded normal, if a little rushed, the other sounded too light. The irregular pattern of the latter suggested this person had been running and approached total exhaustion. In addition, the hour just passed three in the morning. The hero concluded that he most likely was hearing a child run away from something, probably the other set of footsteps. He knew the probability of a child in need just happening to run towards his direction at this time and place had next to no chance of happening, yet the situation happened. Logic dictates that even the near impossible can be possible in given enough time and chances.

No, this has nothing to do with fate at all.

From the left side of the alley, a figure dashed from the shadows. While the details were obscured by the night, he could tell the individual was a child's height and the frantic way that person ran further suggested she ran from a pursuer. He assumed the child was female due to her longer hair.

A few seconds later, a man emerged from the shadows wearing a mask akin to a bird's beak. Aizawa recognized it as the Yakuza gang symbol, an illogical marker. While the gang had been in decline for decades, that mask meant this person had membership in a criminal organization. In other words, he can punch first and ask questions later.

"Stop running." It came out more as a growl, but the Yakuza member spoke loudly enough for Aizawa to hear.

The girl tripped and fell onto the dirty ground. Her dress seemed old and tattered. Perhaps she was a runaway? The bandages covering her arms and legs indicated someone much worse had been going on. She curled into a ball and cried, her sobbing reaching Aizawa. The stoic man had witnessed countless horrors during his lifetime, so it took a great deal to make his blood boil.

His blood boiled.

It was a logical reaction for humans to protect the young, especially from others.

He leapt from the roof to the Yakuza member. The man slowed down his pace, so judging his trajectory was easy. Eraser Head swooped through the air without a sound, his black and grey clothing camouflaging him in the darkness.

The villain noticed him anyway. The enemy raised his hand to touch the plummeting hero. Not knowing the man's quirk, he assumed it had something to do with his hands' contact, so Aizawa did the most logical thing possible. He stared at the man and did nothing to stop that hand.

The girl gasped as Eraser Head delivered the entirety of his blow to the man's left shoulder. The risk of kicking his head in hopes for a knockout remained too high, but crippling an arm had high chances. The villain's eyes opened wide, not in pain but surprise. So, he did expect to do something.

This was another reason why Shota operated underground and away from the public eye. His Quirk works best paired with the element of surprise. By looking at anyone, he can erase their quirk, the only caveat being they regain their power every time he blinks. That was also why he wore goggles. Dry eye proved to be a problem.

By using the villain's shoulder to take the brunt of the impact, Eraser Head landed on the ground without injury. On one side of him, he faced the Yakuza member; on the other side, the girl cried. It provided the highest chance of protecting the civilian from further harm.

"Damn you!" In total ignorance of his pain, his dislocated shoulder and a broken collar bone, the man used his left hand to slap the ground. Since Aizawa had yet to blink and the man had yet to realize his Quirk has no function, the only result on the hand slap was a flurry of curses emanating from the villain's mouth.

The villain screamed in agony when Eraser Head stomped on his hand, shattering bone. Before he could wrap the villain with his capturing weapon, the hero heard the girl running away again. He didn't blame her. The body contains the fight or flight mindset, and a child's best hope resided in flight. Nevertheless, this posed a new dilemma. The girl could hypothetically slip away. Considering the bandages, she could need immediate medical attention. On the other hand, the villain would escape if he chased after the girl. After working as a hero long enough, Aizawa found that villains always escaped if left alone. Knocked out, dismembered, or handcuffed. It didn't matter. Somehow, they escaped.

Considering he incapacitated this villain almost effortlessly and the girl could be in serious danger, Eraser Head knew what he had to do.

"I'm Overhaul! You'll regre-" Before the villain could monologue about getting revenge, he delivered a kick to the head which nocked the villain unconscious. It also let Aizawa blink again. He turned around and ran down the alley, searching for the girl who proved to be adept at hiding.

He heard a shriek quickly followed by the words murder and villain. Eraser Head sprinted, something he almost never had to do. His mind concluded that the villain named Overhaul wasn't the only Yakuza in the area, and the other member found that girl in public. All heroes failed, including Eraser Head. He concluded he failed to save fifty people during his career, and he memorized all their names by reciting them every night. Because of his shortfalls, the youngest civilian who died because of him perished four days after his fifteenth birthday. The girl couldn't have been older than eight.

Aizawa rushed out of the ally and saw a sobbing old man clutching a purse. Another onlooker stood frozen in terror. A woman leaned out her apartment window and continued to yell about a villain and murder. She pointed at a park, a common spot for delinquents and the reason drug dealings happened in an ally close by. A final pedestrian leaned out another window with a phone pressed to his ear, most likely calling the police. An anti-Quirk strike force should arrive in twenty minutes. A few police officers will be on the scene in minutes at most.

The hero has no time for waiting. He chased after the killer. While the old man seemed distraught, Eraser Head couldn't comfort. He fought.

The park was the size of a block, an idea by some well-intentioned designer. Why not give children a place to play? Unfortunately, they put the park in the slums, and the countless bushes attracted the attention of the wrong crowd. It also had a large tree, a tree that vanished in the blink of an eye. The hero concluded that the old man clutched the purse of his deceased wife, who disappeared in the same way as the tree.

Aizawa rushed forward. This villain had a lethal Quirk, one which apparently disintegrated objects in an instant. Those were the type of Quirks which led to mass killings and the deaths of heroes. In other words, Eraser Head and his Erasing Quirk were probably one of the few counters to the villain's Quirk in all of Japan.

Again, fate had nothing to do with this, just coincidence.

When he heard a child scream, he recognized the voice. It matched the little girl when she sobbed, but there was one difference. This time, the screaming had no semblance of sanity. It sounded as if her body sucked in air before pushing it out with the sole purpose of making a bloodcurdling wail.

He followed the sound of that voice in hopes of saving her in time but stopped in front of a bush. All he saw was the girl. In the pale moonlight, her hair seemed like a mixture between blue and white. Her eyes were red. Her arms and legs carried scars, mostly from needles. On the right side of her forehead, a horn protruded from her flesh. Her white dress had strains from filth and blood. She clutched her legs in the fetal position and screamed after every breath. By chance, her hand grazed against the bush, and it vanished that instant.

Eraser Head reclassified the situation. Only one villain, Overhaul, chased after the girl. She was the one who killed, most likely an old lady. Old ladies take pity on small children, and this child seems to destroy with a touch.

This little girl has an uncontrollable Quirk. Since unauthorized public use of Quirks remained illegal, the anti-Quirk task forces arrested countless children every year. While authorities wanted to rehabilitate those users and give them control over their powers, this girl killed someone. She will have jail time. Death sentences normally were not given to minors, most of the time.

She noticed Aizawa standing over her. She looked terrified at the sight. While his stem demeanor did scare children, this girl seemed for terrified for him rather than of him.

"S-Stay away!" she pleaded. "I'll kill you too!"

He decided to classify the girl as a victim rather than a villain. The zero-tolerance policy of the government was illogical. The child held no intent to harm others; therefore, he activated his Quirk. The girl gasped, and her horn shrunk to the size of a stub.

He knelt in front of her. "Until I blink, you have no Quirk."

She shook her head. "You'll die! I didn't wanna make the lady disappear! I…" She squeezed her legs. "Why can't I make myself disappear? I've tried so many times but can't."

He held her small, cold hand in his, and she quivered in fear. "I don't fear you." He said those words without passion or embellishment. It was akin to mentioning the weather or accounting how many bills he must pay this week, since he viewed it that way. He stared at a little girl, and little girls did not scare the man.

"W-Who are you?" Her eyes lit up, like dumping gasoline on a smoldering fire. Somehow, he awoke something in the girl that she hadn't experienced in years. Hope. "I… I'm Eri."

The telltale ring of sirens approached from the north and the east. They came to arrest someone who illegally used her Quirk in public and killed someone. The law doesn't care if the death resulted from an accident.

Aizawa blinked to test a theory. Since he finished blinking, he proved himself correct. The girl's powers became more powerful, more uncontrollable, or both due to heightened negative emotions. In other words, she had a defense mechanism.

To answer her question, he took off his goggles. "I'm Eraser Head."

She titled her head to the right. "Is that a real name?"

How isolated did the Yakuza keep this girl? "That's my hero name." One of the police cars stopped. He had little time left to save this victim. "I'll protect you. Hold on." He scooped her up in his arms. She felt too light for someone her size, but he ensured he didn't grab any of her bandages.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and sobbed. Her tears soaked his scarf, but worrying about something like that seemed illogical. He dashed out of the park and into the shadows, detected by no one. While even the police knew little about him, his reputation for slinking away spread to most cities. The police will assume he captured the criminal, and the officers will go about their merry lives.

This girl needed medical attention, but he also wanted this girl… Eri… to be as hidden from the public eye as possible. He had a nagging feeling her parents were either dead or didn't care. It just happened that this city had a hero who ranked among the best healers in the world. That hero also happened to work at a school who specialized in helping students train their Quirks. U.A. would be horrible if its heroes couldn't control themselves. Lastly, it was just a coincidence that Midnight recommended him to the principal recently.

Fate had nothing to do with this.

"Where are we going?" Her voice came out as a whisper. Her arms squeezed tighter around his neck; however, her Quirk had yet to do anything.

"Somewhere safe." He carried her all the way to U.A. Even then, she refused to let go of the hero, the only person in her short life that ever showed her kindness. Not once did he consider the irony of the situation.

Shota Aizawa didn't believe in fate, but fate believed in Shota Aizawa.

Chapter Text

Sweet are the uses of adversity. -- William Shakespeare

BREAK LOGIC

I regret not remembering much about our first meeting. I remember the terror with ease. I can’t get it out of my head. Mrs. Tanaka... She reached out to me in concern to that scared, injured little girl. She touched my hand then didn’t exist anymore. That feeling of guilt and fear sometimes wells up in me. In a twisted way, I like the feeling. I know I’m still human if I feel disgusted about killing her or when I killed my birth father. Why did both have to smile when they died?

I recall “I don’t fear you”. I’m glad for that memory. Father has felt many things towards me over the years, but fear was never one of them. I did enough fearing for the both of us. I clung to Eraser Head all the way to U.A. It was night, so only a few guards should’ve been on campus. That didn’t stop Principal Nezu or Recovery Girl from rushing.

I was a very undocumented person. The Yakuza got a hold of me without the law knowing, so my original identity is either listed as “missing” or “dead”. Not sure which. I never bothered to check. The select staff at A.U. kept my case undocumented.

Recovery Girl relied on her nurse’s office and healing power to help me. I’m certain I was healthier in that moment than I been for the entirety of my captivity. Even so, she did everything while I clung onto Father’s left arm. He sat next to me stoically, sometimes patting me on the head. He only used his power once on me, and that was when I revealed my fear of shots. From all the scaring on my arms and legs, they concluded the several dozen small, circular scars were from needles of some kind. I feel sorta bad about not talking about it to them. I did a few years later, but I still don’t like shots. My illogical fear can be rationalized by my abuse, so Father doesn’t mind.

I found Principal Nezu to be a pleasant experience for my little self. I never expected empathy from an animal, but he too was a victim of vicious human experimentation. He told me the same thing, and those words got me to trust the animal with the most powerful intelligence Quirk recorded. It also helped that I had a little bunny doll back in captivity, and my little self decided he was actually a fluffy bunny. To this day, I will swear Nezu is truly a mutant bunny in one of my few instances of genuine humor. Until he tells me his bloody species, he’ll incur my mischievous wrath.

I learned this years later, but Nezu and Father decided my fate as I was pulling his supposedly bunny ears with my free hand. I kept my other hand latched onto my savior. Due to the erratic but potentially powerful nature of my Quirk, U.A. adopted an official but tight-lipped new educational program. They never enrolled others. Oh well. For me, it just meant I was under school jurisdiction and got to stay with the hero who I first called Aizawa.

Poor Nezu spent almost two days straight jumping through legal loopholes and calling in favors just to ensure my undisclosed safety. By comparison, he can do a textbook worth’s of calculus in a few minutes, all while lecturing one of his teachers about balancing hero work and teaching.

BREAK LOGIC

Mina Ashido liked dancing, being happy, and making friends. Her eyes darted across the classroom to the four students already in class. She arrived thirty minutes early, an absolute rarity for the girl, in order to make friends before any of this wonderful adventure begins. She suppressed a squeal at the sheer amazing magnitude of the situation. Somehow, she managed to get accepted into U.A. high school! It’s, like, the coolest high school in the world!

She even all but flunked the academic test.

Her eyes, black except for the yellow irises, first observed a tall student. He had glasses, so she concluded he must’ve been very smart. He had his hair cut short and not a single strand stood out. He also seemed to be taller than most Japanese men; however, her vision focused most on his rigid posture. She decided he came from a well-to-do family and considered “fun” to be an unholy concept worthy of chastisement. In other words, she’ll become his friend later. It’ll be fine, right?

The next one was a blonde with traces of European ancestry. Her weirdo detection went off as he practically lusted after his own reflection in his hand mirror. She’ll become his friend soon because weird people created lots of fun so far.

Then, a student with odd hair sat in the back. On his right, white; on the left, crimson. His nasty scar on the left side suggested a less than stellar upbringing, but he had the same posture as the rigid bespectacled boy. An interesting story lied in his past, but his frigid aurora screamed that he didn’t feel like talking. While she had a happy go lucky personality, Mina knew when people didn’t want to talk and had crap they needed to deal with.

Lastly, she saw an apprehensive girl, like a performer about to enter her stage. Her muscles tensed a lot. Her gloves and leggings also obscured any skin below the neck, an act of hiding herself probably. Her pretty red eyes stared back at Mina; however, two things stood out the most. The girl was friggen tall, most likely a head taller than Mina when she stood. Second, she had a cute little horn above her right eye.

“Horn buddies!” Mina leapt for joy and drew the attention of the students present. Even the frigid boy in the back stared at her if lobsters crawled outa her ears, but she didn’t mind the stares. Instead of normal skin, she had pink fur over her entire body and poofy pink hair. Outa that hair were two bendy and cute horns.

“Pardon?” Her future horn buddy replied in a blank tone. The fact that she tensed even more suggested Mina might’ve overplayed her hand.

She bounded in front of the girl’s desk and gave a genuine smile, which could be said about all her smiles. “I’m Mina Ashido! Wanna be friends and horn buddies?” She extended her hand to solidify to offer.

The girl eyed the hand in mistrust. “Define ‘horn buddies’ if you may.” Her language gave the impression of formalism, but she held herself differently than the rich kids. Militaristic maybe?

“I have horns!”

She narrowed her eyes. “You do, and I have one likewise. What are you insinuating?”

Oh crud, this could be going a lot better. “No no no!” She waived her hands around to further that point. “It’s just something we already have in common, and I was hoping…” She scratched the back of her head and grinned bashfully. “Well, I made it up on the spot. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The girl nodded her head with a jerk. She stood, which proved Mina’s thoughts about her height, and offered her hand. “Eri Aizawa.” Mina grabbed it and shook. The girl tensed again.

Mina let go before she scared the girl but grinned from her accomplishment. She made a new friend. “Let’s trade phone numbers! Give me yours, and I’ll text you mine.”

Eri frowned. “I can’t do that.” Darn it! She pushed too hard and made her friend uncomfortable. “I only use a home phone.”

At that moment, Mina concluded she made a friend with a girl who had few friends. What kinda girl wouldn’t text unless they had no one to text? Texting was awesome!

Little did the pinkette know, she was Eri’s first friend.

BREAK LOGIC

“A Quirk Assessment Test?!” Over a dozen students said the exact same phrase within the same moment. It was illogical.

A brunette by the name of Uraraka clarified the class statement. “What about the entrance ceremony? The orientation?” Though naïve, Aizawa saw a genuine earnest nature within this student. Considering her sufficient scores in the placement tests and her weight-related Quirk, he considered her a strong candidate for a future hero. Though, he wished she was in his last year’s class. Unlike every other student, he wouldn’t have kicked her out, and being a homeroom teacher for just one student would provide plenty of time for teaching… and sleeping.

Aizawa suppressed a yawn.

“If you’re going to become a hero, you don’t have time for such leisurely events.” As always, his voice carried disinterest. “U.A.’s selling point is how unrestricted its school traditions are.” He watched his students for their reactions. “That’s also how the teachers run their classes.”

Principal Nezu firmly entrenched himself in the Constructivist ideology of teaching. He wanted the students to have opportunities to form their own ideas and learn in ways besides lecturing. Aizawa agreed. A hero needed to be themselves, not a spoon-fed dolt who merely memorized lectures. That also meant he had an excuse to push his students to their limits and beyond.

Aizawa’s ideology and actions came with a side effect. Nezu always sent him the more eclectic students for the hero course while Kan received the less peculiar cases.

“You kids have been doing these since junior high, right?” He held up his phone. It showed different tests. It also gave the more situationally aware students an opportunity to prepare themselves. “Physical fitness tests didn’t allow for Quirk usage. It’s irrational.” He focused on a troublesome student. “Bakugo, you finished at the top of the practical exam, right?” To be precise, he scored highest since the hero Best Jeanist, now the forth-ranked hero in Japan. His intelligence also suggested a genius intellect.

Bakugo nodded.

“In junior high, what was your best result for the softball throw?” Aizawa already knew the information, but he wanted the other students to hear the number. Laws did not allow a teacher to say that information, but the student himself could.

“Sixty-seven meters.” He answered to the point. Rational.

“Then, try doing it with your Quirk.” He handed his student a softball made by U.A.’s technology division. It connected with his phone to give instantaneous results for distance. It saved time. Logical. “You can do whatever you want, as long as you stay in the circle. Hurry up. Give it all you’ve got.”

Bakugo stretched his right arm. He wound up, then he threw the ball. He used his Quirk Explosion to boost the distance. The ball traveled as if it was a rocket; however, what the boy said drew Eraser Head’s attention. “DIE!”

The student’s records suggested the boy had aggression problems, most likely stemming from his Quirk. The mind and body adapted to whatever power a person possessed, and sweating nitroglycerin from your hands would alter one’s mental state. Bakugo grew up with explosions. He saw them like one would see throwing a punch. Dangerous, but not nearly with the same destructive potential massive explosions actually incurred.

Aizawa glanced at Eri. The girl stood opposite of Tokoyami, a boy with the head of a crow. He predicted correctly that she would associate his face with the mask of the Yakuza man who hurt her, even on a subconscious level.

He narrowed his eyes and concluded he will be far less lenient with Bakugo than normal. While he held professionalism in high regard, the man was a father before a teacher or hero. He won’t let Eri be hurt by any of her classmates, consequences be damned.

BREAK LOGIC

Eri Aizawa pulled at her gym shirt, uncomfortable with how it left her arms exposed. She took every precaution available for the safety of others, but wearing a modified shirt without explanation would arouse too many questions.

Her father finished explaining the necessity of knowing one’s limits, an idea she followed whole-heartedly. The other students seemed to think more about Bakugo’s distance, 750 meters, or how fun using Quirks would be in the case of Mina, her… friend.

“Fun?” Father’s attitude silenced the talking students. “You have three years to become a hero. Will you have an attitude like that the whole time?” He smiled which Eri knew as a precursor to terror. “All right. Whoever comes in last place after all eight tests will be judged to have no potential and expelled.” A lie. “We are free to do what we want with our students. Welcome to U.A.’s hero course!”

Father wanted the students to have the proper motivation. Based off their displayed potential and attitudes, he could expel anywhere from all to none of them. Eri clenched her fists. She will give her all.

The smiley girl Uraraka noted how expulsion wasn’t fair, so Father gave examples how hero work wasn’t fair. It motivated the other students, but Eri thought about the future tests instead. She knew what her scores should approximate since she trained with her Quirk from 4:30 to 6:30 every morning. While it won’t give her distinct advantage, she could use it for creating disadvantages in others.

While she could not wear her watch, she long possessed the ability to count seconds like mental metronome. By noting the exact moments where the weaker students felt the most tired during the tests, she could exhaust them before they take another one. She’d ensure herself a placement above last.

Who to target? Hagakure seemed like a good option, but the fact that the so far ditzy girl entered the hero course meant she had a high score in the practical exam. Doing so with a Quirk that made her permanently invisible, a rather harsh side effect, meant she either had extreme physical prowess or a creative mind. Not a good target.

Midoriyascored only rescue points during the practical which suggested his Quirk might not help him here. Add onto the fact that he acted somewhat reminiscent to her after her first years free from torture meant he either had a weak constitution or suffered from bullying. She planned to target him for the time being.

She will target Mineta. The boy stood only up to her hips and took that opportunity to stare in perversion. He also lusted after the other girls’ busts and hips. His short stature and ugly personality meant she will ensure his downfall.

Lastly, she decided to target Kaminari. He mentioned his electric-based Quirk before class started, and he also seemed to stare at the girls too much, albeit with more tact that the dwarven pervert. His Quirk sounded unlikely to help him. The same could be said for Jiro, but Eri liked that girl’s stoic personality. Maybe she too could be a… friend?

Eri shook her head. She shelved emotions and fun for later. They have a 50-meter dash to complete as their first test. What would Father say if she didn’t pay attention for the class’s first major display of Quirks? Additionally, her targets will be physically tired the moment the finish the sprint, so she should memorize all three of their times to use against them.

Midoriya was her first target to run, and he didn’t use his Quirk. Eri nodded in satisfaction. He showed his exertion at the end of the run, so Eri started her first time for the boy to use later. Stop watches could break, but her mind won’t.

Kaminari refrained from using his Quirk too, but he finished ahead of Midoriya. Mineta placed the balls on his head onto his feet and bounced the distance. Eri had no understanding exactly how that Quirk worked, but the pervert kept himself from physical exertion; therefore, she didn’t bother counting up from his finish time. His continuous use of his balls also added to her mental picture as him being an unredeemable pervert.

When it was her turn to sprint, Eri sprinted like a normal person. She could’ve used her Quirk for a feedback loop but doing so held repercussions. She had better opportunities for Rewind, and her athleticism and long legs placed her ahead of all who ran without their Quirk and even two who did.

The class next went through a grip strength test which favored male and physically powerful students. Eri had a high grip strength since she used her hands most often for her Quirk. She placed higher than expected for the test, but a student named Momo Yaoyorozu placed third by creating a clamp. Other girls cheered for their compatriot. A Creation Quirk of that caliber was unprecedented and choosing to use it for heroics showed either naivety or a strong moral compass.

Midoriya, Kaminari, and especially Mineta struggled. She beat all three much to her amusement.

She fared on the lower side for the standing long jump, but so did Midoriya and Kaminari. Mineta used his balls as a spring which irked Eri to no end. He hadn’t broken a sweat yet, so she had no use for memorizing a time for him.

It took immeasurable control to not scream in frustration when Mineta bounced from side to side during the side step test. Was his only power bouncing off balls that, for lack of a scientific explanation behind the process, magically reappear after he plucks them off his head like a never ending giving tree? Kaminari and Midoriya did worse than her. If trends continue, sabotage won’t be necessary.

Uraraka impressed Eri with her ball throw. With a mere toss, it drifted towards the atmosphere due to her Zero Gravity Quirk. The girl all but cemented a score higher than Eri’s self-designated adversaries with a score of Infinity. In other words, first automatically.

To the surprise of just the dimmest few in the class, Mineta bounced the provided ball off his hair balls. Since he apparently won’t become physically exerted during any of these tests, Eri brainstormed other methods of crushing him, but thought of nothing that could remain hidden. Kaminari demonstrated a good natural and boosted the power with a small electrical burst.

Eri threw the ball. While the distance had the potential to impress normal high school girls, she scored the forth lowest score in this category much to her chagrin. She cursed the female’s disadvantage of upper body strength and ignored that the two highest scorers shared her gender.

The last student to throw was Midoriya. As he prepared himself to throw, Iida and Bakugo argued over the boy’s power. The former felt impressed by what the green-haired boy accomplished during the entrance exam. Word spread quickly about the all-time rescue point achiever. The latter believed Midoriya had no Quirk at all.

What? Is Bakugo stupid?!

However, when Midoriya threw the ball, Bakugo’s prediction all but proved itself correct. The ball landed 46 meters away, though Eri focused more on Father. His eyes gave a soothing red glow, one that the girl associated with safety. Everyone else seemed terrified. It didn’t help that his hair lost all sense of gravity when Father activated his Quirk. To this day, that aspect remained unsolved.

“That entrance exam was definitely not rational enough.” Father’s capture tape unwrapped itself from his neck and twilled around like snakes. “Even a kid like you was accepted.” Midoriya won’t be attending any more classes, right?

“You erased my Quirk,” the boy said in fear. “Those goggles… You’re Eraser Head!” The students mumbled to themselves and tried to remember her father.

“From what I can tell, you can’t control your Quirk, can you?” Eri’s fist clenched at his words. “Do you intend to become incapacitated again and have someone save you? How long until you kill a civilian or even a villain?”

“Th-that’s not my intention!”

Father’s capture tape wrapped around the boy and pulls him close. “Whatever your intention.” He glared into the boy’s eyes. “Uncontrolled Quirks will hurt others. Did you know over a thousand deaths occurred last year through uninhibited Quirks? Look at your classmates, Midoriya.” The boy obliged. “All of them spent years of pain and sweat to achieve an above-average level of proficiency. Prove to me you can control your Quirk. Prove you can become a hero.” His scarf unwrapped from the student. “I’ve returned your Quirk. You have two tries.”

Midoriya walked back into the throwing circle, fear and turmoil apparent. Father gave an ultimatum where neither solution benefits her peer. Either he will use his power and show a lack of control, or he won’t use it and thereby fail using his Quirk. Most of the students grasped the gravitas of the situation except for Mineta and Uraraka. The former seemed too preoccupied with ogling Yaoyorozu’s impressive bust. The latter watched Midoriya in earnest anticipation. Did she know something others didn’t?

The green-haired boy threw the ball, and it launched like a missile much akin to Bakugo’s. The class gasped while Father raised an eyebrow. Midoriya faced his peers with a determined grimace and clenched his throwing-hand into a fist. His index finger looked broken… Oh, that was how he did it.

“Teacher!” His voice carried conviction. “I can still move!”

Eri sighed and decided not to target the boy. Unlike her, he appeared untrained to control his work, and despite its self-destructive nature he may yet become a hero. She decided forcing him to fail as hypocritical; nevertheless, this new situation presented an opportunity to increase her worth in the eyes of others.

“Teacher?” She raised her hand. “Requesting permission to use my Quirk on student Midoriya.”

Father opened his mouth to respond but wrapped his capture tape around Bakugo instead. The delinquent determined that the best course of action was to yell at Deku and charge in an aggressive manner. For what reasons, Eri didn’t know; however, she classified it under the umbrella category of “peculiar men things”.

Since Bakugo seemed incredulous about how what appeared as a mere scarf restrained him, Father cleared his throat. “These are capture weapons made of carbon fiber woven together with metal fiber made of a special alloy.” Eri used the same material in her undergarments. “Don’t make me keep on using my Quirk over and over. I have dry eye.” And with that, he deactivated his Quirk and released Bakugo. Midoriya slinked away from the explosive boy. “And you’re permitted to use your Quirk to heal Midoriya.”

“Eh?” said the entire class, most notably Midoriya.

Without pause, Eri strode up to her peer and tapped his right hand, though any part of his body would’ve sufficed. That instant, his broken and swollen finger reverted to its normal state. “I heal,” she explained. The less information the others knew about her true Quirk, the better.

“I feel great! Thank you, um…” He wanted a name. Eri didn’t give one.

The next two tests went by without trouble. She pared with Mina to hold the girl’s feet for the sit ups and vice versa. Both girls managed to surprise the other with their abdominal prowess. To make matter even better, Mineta failed in pairing with a girl and doing more than two sit ups. It also happened to be the first time to boy exercised.

Eri finished second for the seated toe touch. Father stressed the need for strength and flexibility as a teacher, so she strove to achieve both. Only Mina beat her, and their progress spurred an idea. If they were friends, friends did things with each other. Since Mina and she were friends, it would be logical if they partook in leisurely activities. Since Mina already displayed superb physical abilities, maybe she would accept an invitation to exercise together?

Before they started the final test, the long-distance run, Eri had another question to ask from her friend. “Mina?” Eri took a deep breathe, released it, and repeated the process.

“Yup!” The girl drifted closer and closer to Eri as the tests went along. For the previous two, they were together for its entirety. “You ready! My Quirk’ll be great for this, like ice skating!” Despite her jovial nature, Mina showed a creative mind with the ways she used acid, somehow secreted from her body.

“When we’re done, I may require a shoulder to lean on.” She breathed more, ensuring a high oxygen content in her blood.

“Oh?” she teased. A sly grin emerged. “Not much of a runner?”

Eri shook her head. “No, but the application of my Quirk for this test will prove taxing.”

Mina tried to reply, but Aizawa droned a “Start”, so the class took off running the three-kilometer. This was her last opportunity to effect Kaminari or Mineta, but she concluded her score shall rest above at least five other students. A few students took the lead. Iida’s Quirk was suited best for running, Bakugo propelled himself with explosions, Yaoyorozu built herself a bicycle, and both Mina and Todoroki skated using acid and ice respectively.

Eri ran at a full sprint, yet she did not breathe. Instead, she counted to 6 at 60 bpm over and over. Every time she reset the measure, she used her Quirk on herself. Technically, she could decrease the number to half a second, but it taxed her even more. Even so, she had no need to breathe more oxygen, since she brought her body back to the moment the race began. It also meant her body didn’t tire.

Stopping will hurt.

While a few of the students ran ahead of her on the first kilometer, she passed all besides the top five by the second. She had no need to pace herself. Why bother? She never could forgive herself if she couldn’t sprint for six seconds. Neither would father. On the third kilometer, she trailed behind Mina and lapped half of the other students.

As requested, Mina stayed next to the finish line after she passed it and waited for Eri. When the tall girl finished, she strode to her friend without the feintest trace of exhaustion. She said, “Stay away from my face, else I may bleed or vomit on you.” She draped her arm over Mina’s shoulder. The pinkette scrunched her face in confusion.

Eri ended the six-second cycle.

Her stomach twisted, and she spat out bile. She tasted iron from her bleeding nose but hardly noticed. A jackhammer pounded her cranium, and she broke out into a cold sweat.

“The Hell?!” Mina shifted her footing to better accommodate Eri’s weight. “Techer! I’m taking Eri to the nurse!”

“Denied,” he deadpanned.

Mina’s muscles tensed. “She’s bleeding everywhere! She could be-”

His glare silenced the girl. “I am aware of her Quirk’s effects if used repeatedly. Did Eri ask you for medical assistance?”

Eri spit vomit and blood onto the ground. Mina held back her own gag reflex. “That’s not normal!” She pointed to the ground with her free hand. Tears, spit, bile, and blood intermingled into an unsettling but familiar smelling goo.

“As with Midoriya, if your peer can’t withstand the effects of her Quirk, then she is unfit for field heroics.” He turned away from the duo and focused on the race. Eri smiled at her father’s tough love and gave a thumbs up as a sign of encouragement.

“Damn.” Mina’s tone shifts from frustration to empathy. “Can you make it to that bench? We can sit there until the others are done.”

Eri nodded.

“And holy smokes, girl! I thought Midoriya had a harmful power, but-” Mina paused as Eri dry heaved. Maybe she should’ve waited eight seconds for every reset. Mina’s disposition would have improved. “Does that only happen to you, or everyone you heal?”

Eri took a calming breath. “Just me. To simplify, I healed myself every six seconds, but the aftershock proves irritating.” She hacked. “This effect does not occur when done to others.” She wipes the blood and snot from her nose with her bare arm. “I’m fine now. If in a combat situation, I could have continued to fight, albeit with less efficiency.”

Mina put a hand on Eri’s shoulder. The girl’s back eyes held a concern deeper than the ocean. “You need to take better care of yourself, else someone will hurt you on the battlefield.”

“Thou hast not half that power to do me harm as I have to be hurt.” Seeing Mina’s confusion, the girl clarified, “It’s a quote in English. To paraphrase, it’ll be hard to actually hurt me, let alone kill me.”

“Oi!” Even though he stood some distance away, Bakugo listened into the girl’s conversation. He didn’t have much to do after finishing second. “Stop quoting damned Othello! Emelia died, moron!” He crossed his arms and turned away in a huff.

“What?” Mina looked back and forth from Eri to Bakugo.

Eri spit out the remaining and unsavory bile in her mouth. “Fascinating. I didn’t expect there to be another fan of Shakespeare, especially him.”

“Oh!” Mina nodded quickly. “We read one of his plays in middle school, though I just read the synopsis online. He was France’s best poet, right?”

Eri stared at the girl with her mouth agape. A French poet? If that’s true, Father hated cats and slept ten hours a day.

She shook her head and noticed most of the finished students congregating around their teacher. Eri stood without help and walked with Mina to the others. While she has time before the slowest runners finish, Eri wanted to prove that her Quirk didn’t debilitate her.

Nobody said a word until Mineta and Midoriya stumbled to the other students. As they placed last in the run, all eyes focused on their teacher. He pulled out his phone, the same device he used to track their totals. “Okay, I’ll quickly tell you the results,” he droned. “The total is simply the marks you got on each test. It’s a waste of time to tell you verbally, so I’ll just show you the results.”

He held up the phone. Eri placed tenth, one behind Mina. To her glee, Mineta placed last instead of Midoriya who was one ahead. The perverted dwarf screamed in anguish and mumbled about all the breasts he won’t get to touch, though he spoke in a crasser manner.

“By the way, I was lying about the expulsion.” Damn it! Eri allowed herself to mentally curse due to her immense frustration. Father had the perfect opportunity to eliminate Mineta, but he elected not to. Their teacher smirked. “It was a rational deception to bring out the best in your Quirks!”

Most of the class still stood in shock. Yaoyorozu, on the other hand, put her hands on her hips and spoke, “Of course that was a lie.” Her tone didn’t carry arrogance. She most likely intended to be helpful, but it still gave a bad impression. “It should’ve been obvious if you just thought it through.”

Eri raised her hand. Father nodded for her to speak. How unhappy will this make him? “Actually, you’re right that Teacher lied, but you are wrong in the way he lied, classmate Yaoyorozu.” The curvaceous girl raised an eyebrow. “Last year, Teacher expelled his entire class on the first day.”

“How did you know this?” Yaoyorozu asked. Again, Eri decided the girl wasn’t being distrustful or arrogant. She merely felt curiosity.

“I am acquainted with a third-year student. The expulsion is known to most of the school populace.” No one pressed on that student’s identity, though Togata wouldn’t have minded more people to talk with.

“If that’s all, go back to class and read the handouts on your desks. They contain information on your curriculum.” Thus, their teacher left the class in one of the more peculiar ways to start a school year.

Eri grabbed Mina’s arm. “Can I ask you one more favor?”

BREAK LOGIC

Aizawa rubbed his eyes after staring so long at the pile of papers scattered on the kitchen counter. On it were the students’ history. Two came from hero families. One came from the thirteenth richest family in Japan. One developed his Quirk in the last year. Another lived just above the poverty level. Another lived in France. Four dealt with criminals at some point. Four. Too high a number. Four had Quirks that hurt themselves. Three had hard to control Quirks. Several students had some form of major stress or mental problems. One had been invisible for just over a decade.

Eri was also his daughter.

He sighed. After observing the students for over an hour, he could add more details and problems to each of their profiles.

He lived in the prototype for the U.A. dorms, though it served more as an excuse to have Eri live on campus. It had ten dorm rooms on the first floor with only two occupied. It had a male and a female bathroom and a communal kitchen. While the high school had plans to have dorms built for students next year, he and Eri will gladly make do with this peace and quiet.

The front door unlocked then opened. Another benefit of having a dorm to oneself was locking doors at will. “I’m home.” His daughter stepped through and relocked the door.

“How was your first day?” He wore his hero costume. He would waste time by changing out of the gear after class only to reapply it for his nightly patrol.

“I made attempts to speak with the students with general success.” Eri blushed; Aizawa raised his eyebrows. For the past two years, only the machinations of Ms. Joke and Midnight made that reaction. “A student made friends with me. We exercised together. She asked for my phone number, but I…” She shifted her weight onto a different foot. “I had none to give. Her name is Mina Ashido.”

He smiled. Of all the students to befriend Eri, Mina may prove the best from a logical perspective. She displayed an outgoing personality. By being a mutant type, her values would lean towards accepting others due to mutant discrimination. Her low grades meant Eri had ample opportunity to held said friend. Their friendship could become very symbiotic.

“Good.” He took an object out of his pocket and handed it to his daughter. “It’s yours.”

Eri cradled the cell phone in her hands before she said, “Thank you.” Her smile reminded him of a day that passed years ago.

Eraser Head watched as the girl pressed into his side. She gripped his arm with all her feeble might. Her stomach grumbled.

“Sorry!” She tensed and closed her eyes. Aizawa’s blood boiled from those implications.

In a calm voice he said, “You did nothing wrong. The Fluffy Bunny will return shorty, and he promised sandwiches.” Why she decided that Nezu was a fully bunny… he had no idea, but the girl warmed to the principal within minutes. Likewise, the animal hero grew attached to her.

He leaned back into the couch to show outward relaxation. The girl needed to calm. Nezu’s office had nothing scary besides numerous awards in math, science, and teaching psychology; however, the girl trusted nothing. That didn’t mean she trusted no one.

She looked up at him with pleading, red eyes. “Mister Aizawa, when will you leave me?” And she needed to trust him, a firm foundation for rebuilding her life.

“Your going to be staying with me from now on, Eri.” He and Nezu decided that helped her the most. He had the only Quirk that could counteract hers.

“Promise?” Her lips quivered.

Aizawa reached his hand over her head. She closed her eyes in fear. He patted her head. “Yeah, I promise.” She let go of his arm and clutched his hand and forced it to stay on her head. Tears cascaded from her eyes.

Then, she smiled.

Aizawa reached his hand over her head. His daughter closed her eyes in anticipation. He patted her head.

In that moment they weren’t teacher and student, savior and saved, or hero and civilian. They were father and daughter.

Chapter Text

“Dispute not with her. She is lunatic.” – William Shakespeare

I could say the first gift I remember receiving was my freedom, but that takes the meaning to a more metaphorical level. My first real gift was a toothbrush, and I keep it vacuum sealed. It sits on my dresser.

It happened the morning after he saved me. I fell asleep on Nezu’s couch. He had comfy couches in his office. I’m not sure if Father slept that night. A curvaceous woman woke me up when she entered the room. Something about her presence just draws all eyes to her. I wondered if it’s due to her Quirk, but she just had that kinda presence, you know? During the early hours of the morning, Miss Nemuri took a few things from Father’s apartment. She fed his cats when his missions took him to another city, so she owned a spare key.

He took the bag from her as I cowered, not that Miss Nemuri was to blame. To be perfectly clear, she acted… motherly. Most people’s first impressions of the hero Midnight lie a little below her neck, but I had a distinctly different impression. Maybe it was because I didn’t remember my mother at that time. When Miss Nemuri doted on me, Father handed me a toothbrush. I asked him why, and he answered with giving me a roll of toothpaste.

To this day, I take dental hygiene very seriously.

BREAK LOGIC

On Monday, Eri sat in her seat before anyone else arrived. The other students filed in, and she already saw the beginnings of a social group. It made sense for Iida, Uraraka, and Midoriya to be friends. From what she could tell, they met during the physical test and all had a genuine desire to make the world a better place… even if they all liked All Might a lot.

Mina arrived with three minutes to spare yet greeted each girl before their teacher arrived. The males outnumbered them, so perhaps she wanted unity to trump quantity? She also squealed when Eri showed her the cellphone.

Eri felt the device buzz in her skirt’s pocket. For the twelfth time. During the first class.

She sighed and focused on the teacher. U.A. teaches a full curriculum like any other school, yet they also have a full heroics regimen. Present Mic taught English, Eri’s best subject. This translated to her and Yaoyorozu answering all the questions. The hero also shouted half the time, though he suffered from hearing loss due to his Quirk. None of the other students knew that.

Even so, Present Mic spent most of the time going over the curriculum and his expectations for his students. U.A. did not offer any form of advanced or honor classes for students in the hero course. The necessity of comradery eclipsed individuality; however, the class challenged students akin to a college course. Even the worst performing students, Mina being one of them if her grumbling was true, held almost straight A’s in middle school. She asked Father about that weeks ago.

The other classes proved challenging to Eri, and she deduced that she needed to improve. Math befuddled her as always, an ironic twist considering her love of logic. It didn’t help that Ectoplasm taught the class. His ability to clone himself made him the perfect living test subject for her to use her Quirk on… She lost count after she accidentally killed a few thousand of his clones…

Cementos taught modern literature which never interested Eri. She preferred English classics like Shakespeare, especially Shakespeare. Fine. Just Shakespeare. Her ability to self-motivate will face a daunting trial for this course.

Miss Nemuri’s class received a spectrum of different reactions, mostly not because it was named Modern Hero Art History. Though it was an art class, the content covered costume design, a very important class for future heroes. Two decades ago, several heroes advocated for this course to be included for all prospective heroes, since many rookies had costumes that debilitated their performances.

So, Miss Nemuri caused the controversy as always. She flirted with her students. The fact that everyone seemed to think her costume looked like a dominatrix’s outfit didn’t help, though Eri never saw it that way. She thought it looked cute; however, she was willing to admit a bias since she grew up seeing that costume and associated it with safety.

The girls responded between Uraraka’s fretted embarrassment to Jiro’s controlled indifference. The boys also had embarrassed and apathetic responses, but a few enjoyed the attention. Mineta should just crawl in some hole and die. Most of the boys shifted in their chairs, as if their pants became too tight. Eri fought back a blush and cursed reproduction.

She also approved of Miss Nemuri’s actions.

“Miss Nemuri, why did our waiter make his face red? Isn’t it illegal to do Quirk things in public?” Eri took another sip of her coco. The café had few patrons in the early afternoon. Eri didn’t like crowds, and Miss Nemuri knew that. She even took the girl to a back corner of the establishment. The girl felt like she could hide better.

Miss Nemuri took a gulp of her tea and chuckled. “I did that to the boy, and it wasn’t any Quirk.” The woman gave her a warm smile. “You’re really innocent for ten.”

Eri looked down at the table and mumbled, “I’m going to be eleven tomorrow.”

“I know! Isn’t that fun?” She took off her glasses. Eri payed close attention. That meant the hero was about to get serious. “I’ll tell you something important, Eri. I like flirting. It gets boys flustered.” As if on cue, the waiter tripped when walking to another customer. “If you remind a boy that girls exist, they get really stupid for a while.”

“Even Father?”

Miss Nemuri almost spit out her tea. She swallowed and laughed. “Gods no! That man must’ve spent weeks jabbing himself with a taser if he even thought about appreciating us fairer folk.” Eri titled her head in confusion. The woman waived her hand. “Don’t worry about it. Anyway, I flirt with villains, and it helps me beat them. The dudes get distracted. I win. The girls become uncomfortable or excited. It depends, but I still win.”

Eri nodded. “That’s good.”

She propped her elbows on the table and rested her chin in her folded hands. “What happens when a villains flirts with a hero?”

“Um… the villain win? Unless it’s Father.”

“Exactly, unless they’re used to it. You see, I flirt with heroes and U.A. students because it might just save their loves one day.” She downed the rest of her tea.

“Then, what about civilians?”

Miss Nemuri grinned, a dark grin that substantiated her more domineering side. “Because flirting is fun.” Eri never once felt worried around the woman. She feared herself and others but never Miss Nemuri.

Eri looked down at herself and cursed her genetics and captivity. They took away two powerful assets for being a hero like Midnight. She crossed her arms over her chest and payed attention to the lesson once again.

BREAK LOGIC

Class 1-A took their lunch at noon. During the mornings, they have classes which followed the standard pattern, except for Miss Nemuri’s. Though, it may count as an art elective in other courses. 1-B, the other hero class, takes a hero class in the morning and the normal ones afterwards. Eri knew some discrepancy hid in Father’s story because the hero class lasted for three hours and the students started at eight in the morning. 1-B had some normal class during that timeframe; however, that was an answer not pertinent to her situation.

Eri ate at the lunch hall during her time living at U.A. but never as a student. Loud. So loud. Hundreds of students ate and talked at once which created an indistinguishable wall of sound that assaulted the girl’s hearing. She gripped her lunch try until her knuckles turned white and scanned the tables for some vestige of silence. She found her salvation in a back corner where a lone student sat. His scowl made it clear why he sat alone.

Eri sat her tray and ate while Bakugo glared from the other side of the table.

“Oi.” He sat his chopsticks besides his lunch and crossed his arms. “What the hell are you doing?”

While he could threaten her to no end, they both knew U.A. punished students for excessive bullying or assault. He could hurt her, but he wouldn’t. She’d just heal it anyway. “Eating.” To prove her point, she took a bite.

“Red Eyes, you damn well know you’re screwing with me, so fuck off!” He shoveled about five bite’s worth into his mouth and chewed loudly.

Eri felt anger and crushed the feeling. She took a bite instead and took her time. Being passive aggressive was logical… somehow. She glanced at the students around them and tried to block out the noise. So much noise.

One statement, however, stood out from the rest. “You’re an asshole,” Bakugo said.

“Pardon?”

“White knuckles, wary eyes, continued grimacing, crossed legs, and slouched shoulders. It’s damned clear you hate the crowd, so you used me for some quiet without even thinking to tell me.” With each declaration, he raised a finger until his clench fist became an open palm. “Therefore, asshole.”

Eri tilted her head. “Your logic is solid. I am an asshole.” She picked up her chopsticks and chewed on more rice.

“So, leave.”

“I’m an asshole, thus I will act in that manner.” Eri filed Bakugo away in the same category as Mineta. Neither will build friendships and neither give her a reason to act courteous around them. She saw no detriment in showing hostility or disrespect; furthermore, she followed the logic Bukogo just supplied to her.

Her explosive classmate, on the other hand, concluded that Red Eyes was a grudge-holding bitch. He didn’t care. She showed nothing else to make her anything except another extra in his rise to the Number One Hero position.

Neither could’ve expected the disaster the Foundational Hero Studies turned out to be.

BREAK LOGIC

Aizawa passed the steaming cup of tea to Eri. She gave no indication of noticing until she jerked her head back. The tea trembled from her shaking hands, the only easily observable sign of her distress. Aizawa spotted the others. She took great care to keep a meter between herself and any other living thing, in this case himself. Her eyes were out of focus. Her lips curved into a slight frown.

She took a sip. He heard every detail. They sat alone in the dorm. Even his ten cats sensed something was off and avoided the living area. She insisted on sitting in a wood chair from the kitchen. He elected to take one of the couches in a vein effort to make the situation less worrisome for his daughter.

“Report,” he said.

Eri took a deep breath. “We finished lunch and headed to our classroom. All Might entered and announced that we were too have a Battle Trial. He gave us our uniforms. I went to get changed with the other females of the class. I hid again to keep them from seeing…” She glanced down at her arms which were covered by a light jacket. “I noted to them how their costumes focused a great deal on the aesthetic aspects of hero work and not realistic ones. I also noted that Yaoyorozu and Jiro had more realistic costumes, the former due to Quirk-related matters. They thought mine was, quote, scary. End quote.”

Aizawa nodded, annoyed with how Eri talked but understanding due to her past. Her Quirk flared from emotion, so she tried to act emotionless during times like this. Nemuri said she’ll grow out of it after puberty, also the onset point; however, it concerned him anyway. Eri thought she was protecting other, but she’ll only hurt herself later.

“They also showed surprise my brass knuckles were allowed. I elected to not show the taser and tear gas grenades.”

Her Quirk allowed her to heal others, and its combat potential was death or nothing. He helped her jump through a few legal loopholes and secure nonlethal but dangerous tools. No knives though. He forced himself to stay neutral instead of grimacing. NO KNIVES.

“We exited the locker rooms. I had no time to criticize the males’ costumes, though only Iida had a worthwhile suit. He used his older brother’s, so it already proved itself in the field. All Might showed he was a rookie teacher, for he became overwhelmed by the barrage of student questions.”

With her tea cooled, she gulped most of the cup at once. “He assigned us at random to teams of twos. The first team to battle for a McGuffin in a building were as follows. Midoriya and Uraraka. The other, Bakugo and Iida.” Aizawa raised his left eyebrow. Her disdain towards Bakugo bleed through the word. “Midoriya and Ba… Bakugo have a negative history of some kind which was apparent to most of the students. They fought. Despite his personality, Bakugo had violent but nonlethal forms of attack. Midoriya shattered his own arm. I healed Midoriya first. I healed Bakugo with quick, physical contact with my hand to his cheek.”

“You slapped him in the face,” he deadpanned. News traveled fast, but gossip traveled faster.

“Yes, sir.” She nodded robotically. “My team performed efficiently. Koda performed reconnaissance by mind controlling birds, though I wish he had access to humans. I used that information to ambush our opponents from above. I used three tear gas grenades and stunned both with my taser. My mask worked as intended for filtration purposes. Though, perhaps adding pepper spray to my arsenal would also benefit me.”

Aizewa pieced together Eri’s costume. “You used the villain-infiltration design?” She never told him which design she requested as her first.

She nodded. “It contained the highest combat penitential. I will contact a willing freshman in the support department for creating the necessary parts for my daytime design.”

He nodded and recalled Power Loader already complaining about a maniac who’d be more than willing to help Eri. “Logical, though don’t frighten your classmates.” He leaned forward and stared Eri in the eyes, a common way to show seriousness. “Now, tell me what happened that I DON’T know, young lady.”

“The g-girls saw…” She looked down and close her eyes. “Some saw m-me when I was changing. Mina came to talk or s-something, but she saw me and I… I think I gasped? Maybe screamed? The others came. Uraraka, Yaoyorozu, and Jiro. I threw on my shirt and skirt and ran.”

He rubbed his eyes in exasperation. “So, the news of my daughter running through the school barefoot and wearing a half-buttoned shirt are true.”

“Y-Yes!” Her emotionless façade crumbled. He doesn’t like seeing her scared, but at least she was being open.

“And has Mina texted you yet?” He already knew the answer.

“I put my phone on mute after the third text. I never read them. It’s illogical. I’m sorry.”

Aizawa stood. A few of their cats crept into the living room, and one hoped into Eri’s lap. “I’ll make ramen. As punishment, you’ll talk with Mina tomorrow. Beating around the bush helps no one.”

She didn’t respond, but the purring cat in Eri’s lap did in its own way.

BREAK LOGIC

Katsuki Bakugo crossed his arms and huffed. Today pissed him off. First, a bunch of amateur reporters assaulted him because they wanted to know about All Might teaching. Why not ask the hero himself instead of bothering them? He noticed most worked for tabloids anyway. The average villain told the truth more than them. Though, watching them leave Glasses in the middle of his boring as hell and robotic explanation entertained him for a total of two seconds. When not even the tabloids could spin an explanation into something interesting, the explanation sucked.

Red Eyes gave him the cold shoulder. She arrived at class before him on the previous two days, but today she slunk through the door with seconds to spare. Her eyes not once looked up from the floor, and she didn’t talk to Racoon Eyes. Even that pink freak noticed something was off. Stupid grudge-holding bitch. She even slapped him, not that it physically hurt, but she thought she could get away with that. Retarded bitch.

The last piece of the shit storm occurred when Tired Teacher walked into the classroom. The first thing he did was call out the explosive boy. “Bakugo, you’re talented, so don’t act like a kid.”

Fucking Deku hid his Quirk from him for years, so of course he’d be pissed. They knew each other since they were toddlers, but no. Deku confronted him about it after school ended and gave a bull shitted excuse about getting it from someone else. Whatever. Deku has a Quirk that breaks his arms. That just means another extra to beat on his way to number one hero.

“I know.” And that was why he crossed his arms and huffed. Tired Teacher told the truth, and the man could beat Bakugo… for now.

But, when Tired Teacher told the class they had to choose their class representatives, his pissed off mood disappeared in a moment. Most of the class raised their hands and screamed they wanted the spots. Class rep positions often looked great on resumes and would look amazing for his rise to number one. Bakugo raised his hand and screamed his intentions as well, louder than anyone else much to his pride.

“Silence please!” Glasses got the rest of the class to quiet down. “This is a job with serious responsibility of leading others. It is not a job for just anyone who wants to do it. It is a calling that requires the trust of those around you. If we want to use democracy to decide on a true leader, then we should hold an election to chose one.” Of course, his hand was high in the air like a saluting NAZI during his entire speech, but the class went along with his idea. Idiots. All of them. Governments have a higher voting age than fifteen for a reason. They’ll probably vote one of the two worst choices for class rep, Deku or Pervert Balls, and Rich Girl for vp since she had the biggest breasts.

Everybody wrote their votes on a piece of paper. Bakugo wrote his name and passed it to Glasses who collected the votes. He wrote their names on the chalkboard and tallied the votes as they came in. For the first dozen or so, everyone received one vote. Then, Rich Girl received a second vote.

“Great job, Yaoyorozu!” Racoon Eyes congratulated. “I, uh, didn’t vote for you, but GIRL POWER!” Bakugo wondered if she never realized the suffrage movement ended generations ago.

Two more votes went to blank names, but his predictions came true again. Some dipshit voted for Deku. DEKU! It must’ve been Round Face. He saved her life or something during their entrance exam.

With three votes to go, with Bakugo’s being one of them, Deku got another. The explosive teen slammed his face on his desk in exasperation. The damn nerd never led anything in his life and had the backbone of an invertebrate. Hopefully, Rich Girl had brains, since she entered U.A. off a recommendation. Stupid rich people.

Bakugo saw his vote get tallied meaning only one remained. No matter what, Deku will be a class representative. He’ll REPRESENT Bakugo. PATHETIC!

Then, the entire class gasped when Glasses put a second tally by his name. “Who voted for him?!” chorused about ten different students.

He wanted the answer to that question too. He knew nobody liked him, but he put no effort into that either. He wanted to defeat villains, not join a friendship club. The fact that someone voted for him meant either Deku did out of fear though not likely since Deku received three votes, someone was fucking retarded beyond belief and misspelled their name as Katsuki Bakugo, or someone liked him for some unfathomable reason. He glanced at a few of the girls and hoped it was none of them. He had no time for childish crushes.

His eyes narrowed on one student in particular. He never claimed to be good at names or even knew anyone’s actual name besides Deku, but he could read body language. He all but knew who voted for him. “What the hell…” he mumbled.

Glasses decided to do a revote for VP, but only having Bakugo and Rich Girl as options. For the second ballot, he received two votes again.

Bakugo got pissed off again, this time at democracy in general.

BREAK LOGIC

Eri sat her tray in yesterday’s location. Like last time, Bakugo sat alone and glared at her. This time, he didn’t bother yelling at her and ate food at a rate where it caused indigestion. He finished after she took her fifth bite, but she surmised he had no intention of letting her finish. The foremost indicator was how he grabbed her wrist in a very tight grip and dragged her into an empty hall. Not wanting to escalate a volatile situation, she elected to not break from his handhold. It was one of Father’s first lessons in self-defense.

“What the hell are you playing at, Red Eyes?” He managed the impressive ability to scream a whisper. He let go of her wrist but stood in between herself and the path back to her lunch.

What was he even doing? She had enough to worry about. “I wasn’t playing. I was eating lunch,” she monotoned.

“Bullshit! You know what I’m talking about. You slapped my face yesterday, gave me the cold shoulder this morning, then voted for me.” He took a step forwards, but he gave no indication of hurting her despite his raging anger. “If you got a problem to me, tell it to my face. Don’t do this deceptive shit. I’ve got enough people doing that to me already.” She filed away that last bit for future reference.

Regardless of his emotions, Bakugo made an honest attempt at clearing whatever perceived problem he had with her. Therefore, she saw fit to respond honestly. “You caused unnecessary danger during training, so I reprimanded you in a law-abiding albeit blunt manner. I…” She looked away and forced herself not to grimace. “My actions this morning regarding my… emotional state. They were unrelated to you.” She bowed. “I apologize for causing the misunderstanding, but the matter was… is deeply personal. I ask that you refrain from prying.”

“I don’t care about your personal shit.” He crossed his arms. “Why the fuck did you of all people vote for me?”

“Ah.” Her eyes lit in understanding. “You don’t know why the student who displayed the most hostility to you became the only one who supported you, even when you and Yaoyorozu were the only options.” He nodded. “Promote the rebel.”

“Eh?”

“My father…” She rubbed the back of her head. “He works in education. I know some educational theory as a result. You have a wide variety of skills, but the correct attitude is not one of them. I hoped a leadership role would help.” She looked him in the eyes. “I have never met many heroes, but I know more about them than most. You will become a powerful combat hero; however, I’d rather have you be All Might instead of Endeavor.”

He grinned, like a boxer about to start his match. “You got that right.” He pointed his thumb at his chest. “I’ll be the number one hero!”

Eri nodded, not wanting to correct his thoughts. Her father will help the boy, she’s sure; however, ensuring fewer Endeavors prowl the streets will be a boon to everyone. She opened her mouth to say some meaningless blurb of encouragement that he didn’t need, but a world-changing sound rammed itself into her head.

While Eri had a very different outlook on life, since being tortured as a little kid would do that to anyone, she still thought in the same patterns as many other people. She feared social humiliation like any other person. She worried a lot. She also held onto the belief that her home was safe. Most did until something shattered that gilded illusion. Many times, a break-in at your home or an abusive parent ended that farce, and it was the same for Eri.

“Red Eyes, the fuck is this?” Regardless of how they didn’t get along, Bakugo moved closer to her. To protect her or simply following the concept of safety in numbers, she didn’t know, but she welcomed the one piece of safety.

The alarms blared. Red lights flashed. Maybe the speakers said something; maybe they didn’t. Eri’s thoughts moved at lightspeed, but not one resembled anything coherent. Only two ideas stood at the forefront of the unintelligible disaster. A break-in at U.A. HE will take her back.

Too concerned with her Quirk running wild, she grabbed onto the sleeve of his jacket instead. “Enemies on campus,” was all she could say. Her eyes said the rest. Her face kept its ever-practiced blankness, but her eyes betrayed the primordial fear of prey.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. – William Shakespeare

During my first week at U.A., I had mixed feelings towards All Might. I respected him. He arguably was the most powerful person alive at that time, but I feel like I resented him as well. He could defeat any villain or save a thousand people from a natural disaster, yet he never saved me.

“It’s fine now. Why? Because I am here!” He used that as his catchphrase, a true one. He just never arrived to tell me that as they ripped my body apart for its blood. I escaped from the facility. Father then took me before I was recaptured.

I never understood the magnitude of those words until… Well, most of my class experienced it during… USJ. Fear and despair were replaced with courage and hope the moment he said those words. I was too; however, I learned what those words meant three days before then.

Those words changed my life, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

BREAK LOGIC

Bakugo decided Red Eyes was useless for the time being. Over the alarms, he heard chaos from the cafeteria. That meant one of two things. Either villains were painting the walls with his classmates’ blood, or they and the general education students were being fucking idiots.

They voted Deku as class rep. He decided it was the latter.

The explosive teen wanted nothing more than to defeat the villains. Why else would anyone want to become a hero? He also knew that his enemy’s location was an unknown while joining the others could get Eri trampled. He read about how villains or angry students attacked schools. He knew he’d have to fight at one someday. He wouldn’t be able to use his Quirk in the cafeteria without harming the nameless idiots, so he’d just be another idiot if he went in there. In the cafeteria, the students were nothing but fish in a barrel. In this hallway however…

“Oi, it’ll be alright.” He grinned in anticipation. “We’ll wait here. If anyone comes, I’ll kill ‘em!” The hallway kept him out of a potential kill zone and gave him enough space to use his Quirk. All he needed was for Eri to let go of his fucking shirt.

Her hands trembled. She cried. He thought he had her personality pegged as a cold, cool-headed bitch; however, her actions threw that portrait into doubt or at least showed a hidden aspect.

“B-Bakugo.” Her voiced quivered. He looked up at her, since she stood about 8 centimeters over him which sorta pissed him off. “I don’t wanna go back. They liked h-hurting me.” The last word came out as a whisper. “Please.”

Bakugo always had a very simple yet effective idea on how he wanted to be a hero. He’d defeat the villains before they hurt anyone, and he’d do that by being the best. No innocent would hurt. No civilian would cry. All would be alright, because he’d be there.

Instead, he found himself in a very different situation. No one could call him dumb, and Eri showed she got abused or worse. For some reason, she decided having a panic attack right now. This wasn’t a situation he could solve by simply blowing up the villain. No, life handed him a victim who no one saved in time, and he had no idea what to do.

She needed to let go of his shirt to give him maneuverability.

What should he do? He remembered his idol All Might, the number one hero. It all became quite clear. He put on a smile that pretended he knew what he was doing. “It’s fine now. Why?” He straightened his shoulders. “Because I am here.”

If even just a little, Eri believed him, enough to let go of his shirt.

BREAK LOGIC

Mina felt scared, and so did most of the class. The alarms went off, and that startled them. Iida noticed the perpetrators were reporters, so he warned the others. It saved many of the smaller students from being trampled. She felt surprised but not worried when Midoriya gave his class rep position to Iida.

No, three things scared her. First, Eri wasn’t in class. She last saw her during lunch when Bakugo took her into a hall for without explaining. Maybe he was pissed about her slapping him yesterday? Yet Bakugo looked… not worried but uncertain? Something like that? She had a hard time reading him, but the jerk probably knew what happened and it bothered him. Lastly, the terrifying part, Aizawa looked furious. She thought he looked scary when his Quirk turned on, but he looked scarier now. He had this cold fury, like a judge about to sentence a criminal to death.

He let the class out early. It wasn’t even his class time. They had All Might in the afternoon, but Aizawa told them the man helped secure the school. Their teacher never tried to sleep. Too impatient. He wanted to go somewhere but couldn’t abandon his students.

As everyone packed their bags, she heard her name called. “Ashido, Bakugo. I’ll need you to stay after class.” A few students gave Bakugo weary eyes. What if he hurt Eri during the chaos? Mina didn’t suspect that. He would be with the principal if that was the case, but she felt certain something bad happened to her friend.

She grimaced. After scaring her friend so much yesterday, the girl didn’t talk to anyone since. Maybe Bakugo unwillingly. Mina knew Eri wanted some time and space, but she wanted to apologize and reassure her so much! What if she never gets the chance?

They waited for the other students to leave. Bakugo and Mina stood on the other side of the desk.

Aizawa’s shoulders slouched after the last student, a concerned Midoriya, left. “Ashido, you realized Eri went through a lot yesterday.”

Her eyes opened in fear. “I’m sorry, but I nev-”

He held up his hand to silence her. “Bakugo, you figured that out during the security breach.” The boy nodded. “Under Japanese law, I cannot as a teacher tell my students about other students’ pasts or personal lives. As a hero, I cannot talk about ongoing investigations or past cases involving my interactions with minors.” Mina put the pieces of the puzzle together. She didn’t like the picture. “As her father, I have more leeway.”

Bakugo didn’t say anything, but Mina blurted, “I asked her about your same surnames, but she said-”

“’I have no known blood relations with Teacher Aizawa’, correct?” She nodded. She asked her when she realized Eri was Eri Aizawa, and she gave that response verbatim. “She was adopted. I found her being chased by a villain. I won’t go into details. Eri will tell you when she’s ready, but I adopted a very damaged little girl. I’m asking as her father for you to be there for her.”

She nodded. “I was going to do that anyway.”

“Thank you…” He rubbed his eyes. “If you want to talk, she’s in the nurse’s office. She, Recovery Girl, and an upperclassman are there. It would mean a lot to her if you showed up.”

She nodded and went out the door, not bothering to take her book bag. She barely caught the first words between Aizawa and Bakugo.

“Bakugo, thank you. Now tell me, what did she say?”

BREAK LOGIC

Eri had two places she viewed as safe. First, her home. U.A. happened to be the best hero school in the world. How could a place full of heroes teaching future heroes be dangerous? Second, heroes themselves. Father saved her. Father was her safe space. Principal Nezu had a hero license even though he was just U.A.’s principal, and he kept her safe. Miss Nemuri took her out on dozens of trips to cafes and even malls. Not once was she ever in danger.

That’s why she wanted to be with someone safe since her home no longer held that title. All the pros had their hands tied with securing the school or teaching, but someone just as powerful came to her side without asking. He didn’t care if it counted as skipping class.

Mirio Togota sat beside her on the hospital bed and scanned the room for any villains. It held no logic to think she’d be attacked, but he assuaged those worries regardless. She rested her head on her knees and felt the slightest comfort. Instead of focusing on the present or the dark past, she thought of warm memories. She thought of when she met Mirio, when he was nothing but a student who barely made it into the hero course instead of the strongest student in U.A… and stronger than most pros.

Eri blinked. A naked man fell through a wall. Most girls blush or scream at the sight, especially if they’re only thirteen; however, Eri knew how to subdue outbursts.

Her reaction confused the first year Mirio Togota. His Quirk, Permeation, allowed him to slip through all forms of matter which included floors, buildings, and his clothes. For the moment, it was a lot less badass than it sounded. The way in worked, in practice, was him slipping into the floor blind and launching himself out like a bullet. Controlling that launch lied outside his abilities, his current situation being a perfect example. Not only did he end up outside the gym, but he seemed to have lost his clothes somewhere in that process.

Oh, and he’s now outside in his birthday suit next to a young girl. This couldn’t lead to any awkward situations at all, right? Since he had so much experience with appearing out of the blue without so much as his boxers, he knew how to defuse these situations for the sake of the observing parties.

“Here.” The girl took off her sweatshirt and handed it off. “This should suffice for the moment.”

Much to his surprise, the situation needed no defusing. He wrapped the jacket around his pelvis akin to a kilt and smiled.

“Thanks!” He rubbed the back of his head. “And, uh, sorry. My Quirk’s hard to get precise and these things tend to kinda happen… a lot, so thanks.”

She gave a jerky nod. “Understandable. After you’ve obtained your original garments, please give my jacket to U.A. faculty. Tell them it’s Eri’s.”

“Eri, huh?” He held out his hand. “I’m Mirio Togota of class 1-B! Are you in 1-A? I haven’t met them yet, or maybe you’re gen ed. Oh, or business? Support?”

“I’m thirteen.” Shoot. She’s tall.

“The question still stands.” He kept his hand hanging. She took it and shook with her gloved hand. Huh, even though they were into the start of the school year and the summer heat lingered in the air, the girl wore pants, a sweatshirt, a jacket, and gloves. Now, minus the jacket. Probably had something to do with her Quirk.

“I am not a first year, though my presence is permitted on school grounds.”

Not a student but allowed on campus? His eyes widened in recognition, not by her appearance but by reputation.

“You’re the Ghost of U.A!” For almost half a decade, the school acquired a bit of an urban legend. The school had world-class security, and everybody ended up seeing all their classmates at least once before they graduate, even those weird support-course hermits. Then, there was the Ghost. Her appearance ranged from an ethereal angel with a halo to a fleshly android who escaped from Power Loader’s workshop. The fact that the teachers never confirmed nor denied the student’s questions only further fueled speculation. Some even furthered the rumors, a good tactic in keeping the truth hidden. No one knew what was true and what wasn’t when well-over a hundred theories floated around the Ghost.

She blinked again. “Possibly.” She tilted her head. If she were an android, she’d be smoking at the ears. He could almost see her brain going into overdrive. “How about a trade?”

He had no idea what she was talking about. “Sure!” He always was the kinda person who rushed headfirst into danger and friendships. He thought the latter was more likely in this case.

“You keep the details of our meeting concealed from any students. The faculty may know. In return, I offer you help with your Quirk, whatever it might be.”

He had no idea how she could help him unless she happened to have the same Quirk and better control over it. “Sure!” But, Mirio was humble and always wanted to improve. Plus, the girl spoke way too formally. Maybe he could help her with that.

On that day, Mirio acquired a Quirk trainer with terrifying amounts of control over her Quirk. Eri acquired something much more precious. She’d never admit it to anyone, but she acquired something akin to a big brother. She found that feeling evocative.

She also was dangerously close to screaming the entire time. Standing next to a nude guy would do that kinda stuff.

“I wish I was braver.” Her voice came out like a whisper. Mirio frowned.

“I think you’re very brave. Pretty much everyone stampeded to the emergency exit when the alarms went off.” He shook his head. “We’re U.A. students. Most of the second and third years in the hero course fought villains during their field experience, yet we let the crowd’s energy lead us like… your dad to a stray cat.” She didn’t smile. Well, that joke didn’t work. “Really, I only know two students who kept their heads together, though I think there were more. Anyway, there was a kid with motors in his legs who told us the trespassers were just reporters.”

“Iida, the younger brother of Tensei Iida. He’s a classmate.”

“The other was that kid who brought you here. Baka-something, right?”

“Bakugo, though a baka as well. Another classmate. I voted for him to be class rep.”

Mirio nodded. “Well, from what I can tell, he has a cool head on his shoulders. I’ll cheer him on during the Sports Festival.”

This time, Eri gave the slightest hint of a smile at how far off Mirio was with guessing Bakugo’s explosive personality. Though, cheering on one of the most likely winners of the festival offered a low chance of disappointment.

They heard a knock on the door. “Um, can I talk to Eri?” Why did Mina arrive, and how did she know Eri was here? Only Bakugo, the people in this room, and her father knew that… Oh, Father must’ve told her, so he must want her to talk. He did ask her to do that yesterday.

“Come in, come in.” Recovery Girl stretched her aged muscles. “Kids these days. When I was a student, we met on rooftops or cafes if we wanted to talk. Do you all? No, you meet in the nurse’s office.”

Mina entered the room and walked to the back, where Eri and Mirio sat. She recognized Mirio. Most students and many pro heroes did.

Recovery Girl thumped her cane on the ground. “You can talk, but don’t rile up the girl or else.” Even though the short woman had an actual healing Quirk and should’ve retired two decades ago, the threat carried through.

“Yes, ma’am!” Mina nodded furiously, not wanting to anger the lady who heals any wound sustained on campus. She waived at the younger two. “We haven’t met, but I’m her friend. Thank you for staying with her, Togata.”

With just a glance in Eri’s direction, he reads the situation. “I’ll give you two some time.” He nodded at Mina on the way out. “And you can call me Mirio.”

Recovery Girl also made herself sparse. Eri became aware of how quiet the nursery office could be.

“Your dad, um…” Mina rubbed her arm, and Eri ascertained what happened with that statement alone. He would have given minimal information on Eri while also inferring villains hurt his daughter in the past.

“Who else knows?” She uncurled her legs and let them dangle over the bedside.

“Bakugo. They were still talking when I left.”

“Oh…” She looked out the window. Students filled away to their normal lives. Their greatest worries were boyfriends or grades or parental squabbles. Did she envy their… perception of the world? Yes. Did any of them learn to ignore needles jammed into their legs? How many of them had their bodies killed only to be reassembled back to life? What would they do if they look and their hands and know those took lives?

Eri pried her eyes away from the window and those dark, illogical thoughts, and her gaze rested on Mina. The girl knew how to laugh. Eri envied that.

“Um…” Mina shifted her weight from one foot to another, wanting to do something like sit next to her friend but unwilling to take that risk. “I had a panic attack once. A villain.”

The bluenette raised her eyebrow. “Truly?”

“Yeah.” Her eyes… darkened for a lack of better terms even though the white of her eyes was already coal black. “Kirishima was there for part of it too.” Seeing Eri’s confusion, the girl informed, “The guy who makes rocks with red hair. I don’t think he was on your radar yet. Anyway, we went to middle school together. Class was out, and I was heading home like always. Then, there was this friggen spooky looking guy talking to Kirishima in an alley. My, uh, feet sorta took me there without a thought, and I suddenly got asked for directions by the villain. He even said he’s a villain.”

Mina paused to take a protracted breath. “Sorry. I don’t say this story much. Well, he wanted to attack our police station, but was from another town. No.” She shook her head. “I never knew why, nor do I want to know why. Kirishima stood there frozen in fear. I gave fake directions, and the villain believed me. We called the police. Heroes captured the villain before he hurt anyone. Kirishima dyed his hair crimson instead of his natural black. All was well. I had a massive panic attack that night and the next and the next… For weeks, they’d just sorta happen at night when I was alone.” She shrugged. “Easier to think of what-ifs that way, right? Uh, Eri… You okay?”

Eri seemed frozen. She was many things, but okay was not one of them. To her disgust, she felt joy the most because Mina stood in front of her and Mina could empathize, even if just a little. Same age. Traumatic villain. Girl. Eri had access to a friend with that same combination, so she made an emotional and logical decision. She had just enough emotional control to do it.

Father took initiative and captured villains by surprise with his capturing tape. Eri stood and captured a friend with a hug. Unlike the villains, Mina didn’t struggle. She welcomed the contact.

She said a short statement, a mere observation on her state of being yet something she willingly said to few, “I’m scared.”

She felt scared for many reasons. Her home was invaded. Two more people know about minimal aspects of her past. Some of the girls saw her scars. Moreover, she felt scared for the future. Not only did she embrace Mina, but she embraced the… concept that she’ll pursue normalcy or at least friendships, despite the pain and worry. The hug tore away any excuse to withdrawal from friendships, at least in her mind.

She felt scared for the future, full of delight and agony. Even so, she squeezed Mina tighter.

BREAK LOGIC

Bakugo felt the need to explode everything. Why? His perception of the world, his everything, had not only been shaken but violently strangled to death, burned to ashes, then shoved down his throat.

It all started when Deku, FUCKING DEKU, saved him from a slime monster. The villain attacked him almost a year ago and at random. He needed a body to hide in, and he chose Bakugo. The boy fought and struggled for fifteen minutes in a desperate attempt to not suffocate in greasy sewage. His explosions bought him time, since the heat generated hurt the monster. Did any of the people around him help? No. They gawked, shrieked, and called the police for heroes. Bakugo held nothing against the civilians because they were damn civilians. Heroes protect them, so they couldn’t do the protecting.

What infuriated the boy consisted first of the heroes’ responses. None of them had Quirks that had obvious ways to defeat the villain, though in hindsight the boy thought of fifteen different ways. Just as Bakugo ran out of energy, Deku showed up. He didn’t hesitate. He ran up knowing he’d die just to buy him a few more seconds.

Then All Might came and defeated the villains in a single punch. THAT CREATED A FUCKING STORM WITH JUST THE CHANGING AIR PRESSURE OR SOME SHIT LIKE THAT. He always imagined meeting his childhood idol as a proud moment in his life. All Might would recognize him as the next number one hero or at least congratulate him. Instead, the towering god among men saved him moments before some random villain killed him, then the hothead barfed and spat out sewage on the ground.

Glory became shame.

Oh, and the most useless, Quirkless nerd ever bought him a few seconds that saved his life. The world worked like a line. The most powerful stood on top and protected everyone below him. The second most powerful protected everyone but the most powerful. That process went all the way to the bottom, where Deku lied. That meant Deku was more powerful than him, since his childhood but former friend saved him.

Then, Deku made it to U.A. with a QUIRK. Now, he had a fucking Quirk that worked like All Might’s and had enough power to shatter bones, including the user’s. Quirkless Deku became Dangerous Deku, and he could give no good explanation for how he suddenly has a Quirk.

Bakugo could handle that. It meant he had to push himself harder, but he had a clear target. Deku. He had to become a better hero than he.

That was two days ago, and he thought his world couldn’t get any more shattered. It did.

Red Eyes said things when during the alarms and as he took her to the nurse. She rambled and muttered. Some of it didn’t make sense, but she said enough for him to have a small idea of what happened to her.

Then, Tired Teacher informed him of the shitstorm he found himself in. Despite the fact she hated his guts, Red Eyes decided that she trusted him implicitly. Her father, because of course his homeroom teacher adopted the psycho bitch, said Red Eyes willingly told three people of anything about her past. One was her father. The other was left unmentioned. The last one was Bakugo himself. Tired Teacher said the situation caused a breakdown that made her lips loose, but now Bakugo bears that knowledge.

He could handle that. He could handle the idea of a girl getting tortured. Those things happened despite how horrible they were.

What shattered his reality… He never would’ve saved her. Even as a pro hero, he envisioned himself on taking down the biggest villains because he will become one of the few powerful enough to do that. Hero Bakugo never would’ve stopped to attack a random Yakuza member who secretly tortured a six-year-old for still unknown reasons.

Just to drag him through the shards of his broken worldview, the fucking villain got away. No name. Unknown Quirk. Unknown location. He kept a low profile before he lost Red Eyes. Who would track a petty criminal named Overhaul who never committed public crimes? Hell, his Quirk somehow could rearrange matter with hand contact which no one in Japan had officially registered. After he vanished, the name Overhaul never slunk out of the shadows. Now, only a traumatized girl and a guy who saw him in a shady nighttime alley could identify him.

For all the suffering he caused, the nameless monster evaded judgement. Tired Teacher then ordered him to not do his own investigating. Something about keeping Eri’s anonymity. Good fucking luck with that during the Sport Festival.

Bakugo felt the need to explode everything. Instead, he opened the door to his family’s house and walked inside. He didn’t yell as always. He didn’t slam the door shut as always. He didn’t call his mom an old hag as always.

“OI BRAT, WHY ARE YOU SO FUCKING LATE?!” his mother shouted. “THE DINNER’S FUCKING COLD NOW THANKS TO YOUR LAZY ASS!” Bakugo suspects that he only inherited his Y-chromosome from his father. Everything else stemmed from his mother.

He didn’t respond. He trudged up the stairs to his bedroom.

“BRAT!” His mom’s footsteps crashed from the kitchen towards him. “WHAT THE HELL IS Y-” She cut herself off midsentence when she saw her son. “Hey, you alright?”

“Not hungry. Going to bed,” he mumbled.

She nodded. “Okay, punk.”

Bakugo closed the door and went to bed. He didn’t fall asleep until 3 a.m.

BREAK LOGIC

“Today could’ve gone better.” If it was anyone else, Eri would’ve said it was sarcasm; however, her father spoke those words. He expressed blatant honesty towards her. No sugarcoating, misdirection, or sarcasm. He offered himself as a channel of honest sincerity, and she appreciated that. Instead of sarcasm, Aizawa stated a fact.

“Indeed.” She set her chopsticks down, not having the appetite to finish her meal. She heard other families talk during dinnertime, an ancient tradition of breaking bread and fellowshipping. They didn’t. They kept their words concise or enjoyed the silence.

“Mina?”

Eri recalled the conversation and her, for lack of better words, breakdown. She had gone weeks without one, but three hit her in the past twenty-four hours. Embarrassing. Pathetic. Illogical. “She understands the reason for my scaring. She told me she will text me tonight. I…” She took a sip of water to combat her dry mouth. “I feel curious about partaking in stereotypical behaviors of teenage females.”

Her father blinked. “You’re excited about doing teenage girl things. Try to text informally. That kind of language is hard to read on text.”

“Oh.” She nodded. “Thank you for your advice.” She stood and straightened her posture. “I will do so,” she declared with the utmost conviction. She glanced at their plates. “But dishes come first.”

Aizawa shook his head. “I’ll do it. You get ready. Mina talks informally. Try to incorporate her diction without coming off wooden.”

Eri cracked the slightest of smiles. “Thanks.”

Her father returned the gesture. “That’s my girl.”

Eri went to her room and got ready for bed. She completes her workouts and homework in the morning, so only the texting remained for today. After waiting ten minutes and twenty seconds, she decided to stop practicing her mental metronome and completed homework for the time being. The clock read seven forty, and Eri went to bed at eight to wake in the early morning. Mina won’t wait too long, would she?

At a nine twenty-eight, a groggy Eri heard a ping from her phone. She checked the device and saw an unread text. She woke up almost instantly.

Mina: Hey! How you holding up?

Eri: What time do you fall asleep?

Mina: What?

Eri: I sleep from 8 to 2. What are your hours? I am curious due to your time to initiate conversation.

She felt proud over typing numbers with symbols rather than letters.

Mina: hghsdjf! WHAT?!

Eri: I’ll assume my hours are weird.

Mina: Yeah… 12-6 is what I and lots of others do. Um, wanna sleep?

Eri: I stayed awake to talk. Let’s continue.

Mina: How are you doing? Are you coming to school tomorrow? Uraraka, Yaoyorozu, and Jiro feel bad about seeing your scars and wanna apologize, but you were… you know… today.

Eri: I heard group messaging is possible. Is that true? You initiated a group messaging conversation with Hagakure before a class started.

Mina: OH! Here! Download this app! Fill it out! It’s for group messaging, and I’ll have one ready for you! Name yourself your name so I can find you!

Eri: Thanks?

She downloaded the app that Mina sent and made an account. Immediately thereafter, she received an invite. It dawned on her that Mina qualified as a genius when it comes to communications technology.

Alien Queen: Eri! This is Mina!

Kuudere: What happened to your name?
Kuudere: My name is also not what I registered it under.

Alien Queen: You’re a total kuudere! You aren’t really supposed to use your name in this. Sorta an unofficial thingy. Don’t get sidetracked! @Bubbly @VP @Guitar God Eri has something to say!

Red Eyes: I like this name more, in that case. I assume those are Uraraka, Yaoyorozu, and Jiro respectively?

Guitar God: Yep
Guitar God: Also hi. We missed you for afternoon session. Hope you’re fine.

Red Eyes: I’m doing better. Are Uraraka and Yaoyorozu here? I do not know how this functions.

Guitar God: IDK but they’ll see it.

Alien Queen: ^

Eri squinted at the screen. Being in a conversation with other people yet not seeing them felt surreal… off. Detached? Yes, it felt detached, but maybe that was what she needed. She suspected saying these same things face-to-face would’ve been harder, so perhaps she could use this group messaging technology to convey more personal thoughts.

Red Eyes: I apologize for my emotional outburst. I understand if you feel unease at my presence now. I request that you refrain from telling others about my scarring and you do not ask how I acquired them. This is a personal matter to me. The U.A. staff is informed, so they are aware of my situation. Thank you.

Her heart pounded from the shadow of the unknown. Will they comply with her requests? Will they be offended? She waited for the responses. Jiro came first since hers was shorter.

Guitar God: Scars are cool, dude. Didn’t bother me. We’re cool. No prob.

That’s it? Jiro not only complied but never had a problem in the first place?! Eri re-evaluated her initial response to the situation. Depending on the others, she should’ve been more trusting.

Alien Queen: I understand! I’m a fuzzy pink mutant-type with black, soulless eyes! I know how it feels to be judged by appearances! Your life is yours to share, and come to me if anyone is being too pushy about it, alright? And I won’t accept your apology because you did nothing wrong in the first place! :)

Eri took several calming breaths before typing a response.

Red Eyes: I sincerely thank you for your kindness. You are both wonderful people.

Bubbly: I’m so sorry we made you think that we felt nervous around you! I didn’t. VP didn’t either, but she doesn’t seem to use her phone after dinner. She’ll read it in the morning.

Red Eyes: Thank you.
Red Eyes: I do exercise and combat routines on U.A. campus from 4:30 to 7:30 every morning. You may join if you want. Goodnight. Thank you again.

Alien Queen: Shit! You weird morning people! I’ll try to make it at the end.

Bubbly: VP might. My train arrives later than that. Sorry. Goodnight!

Guitar God: Fucking hell, girl. When do you sleep? G’night.

The conversation continued past that point, but Eri turned off her phone. She felt exhausted and not the kind from staying up later than normal. She fell asleep not long after that.

BREAK LOGIC

Aizawa finished another cup of coffee. He passed his recommended daily caffeine intake ten cups ago, but he still felt exhausted. Not his normal exhaustion. This reached higher levels, and he blamed it on a simple fact.

The doors were disintegrated, yet none of the reporters had disintegration Quirks.

Even though they existed for news, none of the reporters gave an account on who broke them into U.A. besides “wore a hoodie”. Why? Why did that person cause that distraction? They never were apprehended which meant they slunk away after committing that crime or entered the school without being caught.

All Might started teaching. Eri started her first year. The son of the second ranked hero in Japan started his first year. The daughter of the twenty-fifth richest family in Japan started her first year. U.A. was the top hero school in Japan and maybe the world.

Just a cursory glance at his class gave five very good goals, but he didn’t know which of them were correct. Maybe none of them were. Maybe all.

Since he cleaned their dishes after dinner until now at one o’clock, he combed over every bit and piece of evidence for some connection. Any connection.

He rubbed his bloodshot eyes. Eri… He hoped, a rare and illogical thing for him, that her time in 1-A could help her make friends, smile, learn to live. Normal girl things for a girl who damn well deserved it. Instead, she had a panic attack and won’t feel safe in her very home for the next several months or longer.

He leans back in his desk chair and lets out a crestfallen groan. Eri’s very existence disproved the notion of karma. What was he doing wrong?

“Father?” His brain went into overdrive, and all impressions of sleep fled his mind. She should still be sleeping.

“Yes?” She wore her pajamas, a hot pink outfit with little bunnies. He bought it for fifteenth birthday. She claimed to be embarrassed yet wore the clothing regardless. It also meant she either wanted to talk to him without delay or planned to go back to sleep. She would’ve changed otherwise.

“I invited some of my classmates to train with me during my morning routine. Is that permissible?” She rubbed her eyes. He suspected his daughter might not be fully awake.

“Do you want to?”

She tilted her head to the side and pondered the question, then she nodded. “Yes.”

“Then you should.” He walked to her and patted her head. “Come on. Let’s get you back to bed.”

He guided Eri to her bedroom and tucked the girl in for the little time she had before her alarm goes off. Aizawa took a final glance at his sleeping girl before slogging through research until morning.

He muttered, “If only you were that peaceful while awake.”

Chapter Text

Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find. – Unknown Author (possibly Shakespeare)

I just turned eleven when I started my combat training. Father taught me. I ended up getting frustrated with him because he was being too nice to me. It must’ve looked weird. How many kids ordered their fathers to punch them harder? That’s why we trained at night.

Did you know most heroes didn’t learn any martial arts back then? Only Combat Heroes did, and most of them relied on Quirks. I happened to know three exceptions. Miss Nemuri, Present Mic, and Father. Only father punched criminals by necessity. The other two rarely needed to resort to martial arts.

After we trained, he took me out to “an ice cream sundae buffet”. Lunch Rush set up a little treat just for the two of us. I ended up putting apples on all my sundaes. To this day, I think everyone else is crazy for not trying to themselves.

What method did Father teach me first? He was really good in six forms, so he had choices. I think he made the right choice. I found it easy to learn, and it was intended to be picked up quickly. He taught me one whose specific form hadn’t been used in centuries. The military deemed it too lethal.

BREAK LOGIC

Eri started her workout routine by running for an hour without her Quirk. If she did, she’d receive no benefits, since the body needed to experience the tearing of muscles, not rewinding them. Her mind wandered during this time. Sometimes, she went through the Shakespeare she memorized. Other times, she thought of ways to improve her combat capabilities. Today, she wondered if her friends will arrive.

Her entire body shook from overexertion, and she paused a few moments to wretch into trashcans. While most could call this agony, it didn’t even register to Eri. Why would it? She felt worse. If she was honest, she’d also say the more she hurt, the better she felt; however, that was something only two others know.

She also had a logical reason. Male and female legs had no difference besides average heights, and much of Eri’s tallness came from her legs. She never measured, but she might have the longest legs in class. It meant her physical abilities excelled in this area. Why wouldn’t she ensure her legs had every possible advantage? Her height might as well come with one benefit.

The hour ended, so Eri spent the next ten minutes recovering. She taught herself how to jump into her next set without a break, but that could harm her body over time. Even she had enough self-preservation to limit herself in that regard.

She ran over 14 kilometers, a very good time. Until she hit fifteen, she never hit that number once. Now, she never missed it.

On her way to U.A. gym, she stopped. The sun had yet to come up, but the girl knew every nook and cranny of the campus. The dark blob next to the gym shouldn’t be there. Then, it ran towards her. She considered going into a fighting stance, but the school’s security always operates. It had to be someone authorized, and she offered to exercise with four other people last night.

“Eri!” With that word, she concluded the person jogging at her did not constitute a threat.

“Yaoyorozu,” she said in reply. “I am glad y-” Eri did continue her greeting since Yaoyorozu barreled into her and hugged her. Despite the physical contact, she did not feel as though it endangered her, so she let it continue. Yaoyorozu never talked to her last night. This constituted her initial response, and she at least showed she didn’t fear Eri.

Who would hug a monster?

“I’m sorry.” She let go of Eri. “It’s my want and responsibility to help my peers in any way I can. Instead, I caused a problem.” She did a quick bow. “Please forgive me.”

She tilted her head. “Why do you feel you need to apologize for my scars? You didn’t cause them, and I was the one who ran.”

“Communication.” Seeing Eri’s confusion, she pointed out, “Relationships are built on communication. While you could’ve done better, we could’ve as well. I even had the excuse of becoming class vice president, but…” She frowned. “Let me prove I’m better than that by training with you.”

Eri thought over the words and applied the same reasoning to her actions. “I apologize for not communicating properly either. I will endeavor to be more prompt in the future. Additionally, I accept. I have yet to spar with other students and look forward to doing so with you. I only have one question.”

“What is it?”

“Will you come here every morning.”

“I’m a morning person!”

The girl genius didn’t know what she got herself into. She realized that the third time Eri healed her.

Yaoyorozu had high self-esteem, though no one could call her prideful. She finished first in Teacher Aizawa’s Quirk Test, and U.A. accepted her as one of the recommendation students. Her intelligence rivaled that of mad scientists and will equal Principal Nezu’s one day. Her Quirk had the among the highest versatility ever seen. She could create anything using her body’s fat reserves if she knew the chemical structure of said creation. With her intellect, she created even the more complex structures.

And with those structures, she could beat the daylight out of multiple opponents at once. The year before enrolling in U.A., she participated in a national middle-school Bukijutsu tournament. While she placed highly in many of the different weapons, she won in Bojutsu, which used a Bo Staff.

She had strong proficiency in combat.

Then why did Eri heal her broken nose, a possible concussion, and the fact that she lost vision on her left eye? She didn’t count the tooth that fell out, her twisted arm, and the bruising.

To describe Eri’s fighting style, she could only call it brutal. The only reason she hadn’t quit yet were the scars she saw on Eri. In other words, guilt.

“May I conduct analysis on your fighting style?” Eri sat next to her friend who lied on the floor in a daze.

“Please.” Eri healed everything, but Yaoyorozu’s head spun at how much she failed in their last three spars.

“Your fighting style is superb. You could defeat most opponents in controlled environments, but you seem to have some hesitation in fighting; furthermore, you had a hard time dealing with an unfamiliar situation. In this case, me.”

“Oh…”

“I can withstand most injuries due to my healing. You defended well against my Muay Thai and Krav Maga, though the former becomes more effective when I have my suit. You were nearly helpless against LINE.”

With those words, Yaoyorozu lit up in understand. She pushed herself into a sitting position and asked, “That was what you were using?”

Eri didn’t smile, not exactly, but her eyes seemed to glow. Everyone had their passions, and Eri was passionate about this specific form of fighting. “You know about it? Good. My father knows LINE well, so he taught it to me. Simple. Effective.”

“But the United States Marines and Special Forces disbanded it centuries ago for being too deadly.”

Eri shrugged. “They kept most of it in their later hand-to-hand methods.” She stood and offered her hand. “Even if you don’t want to learn it, this sparring will help with your hesitation, Yaoyorozu.”

She grasped the hand and got pulled to her feet, but she held onto the hand. “Alright, call me Momo then. I think we’ll be spending a lot of time together.”

By the time Mina reached the girls with one hour of training left, she wondered why the two tallest girls in 1-A seemed to be having such a good time beating the living crap out of each other. She joined in anyway.

BREAK LOGIC

Uncomfortable situations needed exploding. Bakugo will feel all better if the situation didn’t exist anymore. He also knew exploding Red Eyes was sorta illegal, and she’d probably heal herself. He’d only accomplish splattering her blood everywhere and…

He decided not to think about the various ways Tired Teacher would brutally murder him.

Still, he felt pretty confident that none of the other students had to deal with his situation. Hell, his parents knew something bothered him.

If he couldn’t explode Red Eyes, how should he deal with her? Ignoring her won’t work. That’s for weaklings like Deku. He HAD to do something, change the situation. He revered All Might for that reason, since he could always fix the situation. Any and every type of villain fell before him!

Red Eyes wasn’t the villain. She was the person who the heroes saved and left to authorities. She was the story no one saw on the news, just a broke girl. Why did someone as broke as her attend U.A. for that matter?

The true answer stood in front of him. He went to a school full of hero teachers. Any one of them could’ve imparted valuable advice, but that thought never occurred to Bakugo. He went through life like a one-man army. “Asking for help” (and “surrender”) weren’t words in his vocabulary.

He decided on his course of action. When he entered the classroom, Raccoon Eyes, Rich Girl, and Goth Chick chatted with Red Eyes. He didn’t care what weird girl shit it was. He had an opportunity to end the weirdness of everything.

Who the fucking hell just tells people villains tortured the crap outa you?! And how do you respond to that when you can’t explode them?

He clonked her on the head, like a karate dude breaking those fake-assed boards mostly cut down the middle.

“What ya do that for?!” Raccoon eyes acted surprise. Stupid extra.

“Be brave and stuff,” he said to Red Eyes. The others haven’t done anything commendable enough for him to talk with those losers.

He ignored Glasses telling him that hitting others was wrong and Deku apologizing for him. He plopped himself down in his seat and waited for Tired Teacher to show up. He didn’t even notice how the girls around Eri transitioned from yelling at him to going back to their conversation. Why would he? It didn’t matter.

He also never noticed Eri’s soft smile.

BREAK LOGIC

Aizawa sat in the teacher lounge with a cup of coffee in one hand and the preliminary reports All Might gave on the students’ combat capabilities in his other hand. Power Loader and Ectoplasm gave him space. They could tell he could keel over asleep any minute, and he bleed a sense of foreboding and death. He slept not a minute last night, and his efforts did nothing to help find that disintegration user.

“Hey,” her voice lacked the normal flair. “You look like shit.”

He chugged the lukewarm coffee and stretched. “Then I’m an open book, Nemuri.”

“Do you know what’s in 1-A’s rumor train today?” She sat on the chair opposite from his. Her eyes were also bloodshot. She didn’t sleep last night. It made sense. He and Nemuri had the most investigation hours under their belt. Oh, and Hizashi too. The former two did so because neither had a stereotypical combat Quirk. The latter did so since he had a radio station. Incidentally, Hizashi didn’t sleep either.

“Why would I care?” In other words, was it Eri? He specialized in making connections with his research. Finding hideouts. Discovering identities. Locating drug dealers’ routines. Nemuri excelled in interpersonal information. She could understand some villains’ minds better than the villains themselves. It also meant she had an excuse to learn all the school gossip for “practice”.

“That Bakugo kid karate chopped Eri’s head. Then, he told her to be brave.” She liked Eri a lot, and Eri liked Nemuri as well. Having another adult (which excluded Hizashi) helped him more than he would ever know.

“He’s combat focused. What happened with Eri yesterday forced him into another mindset. I’ll handle the situation, but I won’t complain if you keep an eye out as well.”

She nodded in agreement. “Alright, how are you holding up?”

He considered lying illogical considering the person sitting across from him. “Horrible. I want her safe.” He gave one of his ruthless smiles. “So I think I’m about to scare All Might.”

“You mean-”

“Yes.”

“And he-”

“Probably.”

“And she-”

“Will call him illogical for not asking her yet.”

“Can I bring a camera?”

He thought over the consequences for such an action, but he felt frustrated enough to have his reasoning skewed. “Sure.”

BREAK LOGIC

Eri tilted her head to the side. The school intercom said Recovery Girl wanted to see her after class, so Eri expected to find Recovery Girl in her nurse’s office. Instead, she saw Father, a sheepish All Might, and Miss Nemuri holding a camera.

She sometimes had night terrors, felt pain that existed in only in the past, and memorized the smell of blood; however, hallucinations never cursed her with their presence. Was today the first, or perhaps she had them but never noticed?

“Eri, All Might wants to tell you something.” The tone in Miss Nemuri’s voice suggested she found a sadistic pleasure in the present.

“Does All Might like schoolgirls?” Truth be told, Eri never grasped how much of the temptress rubbed off on her. Said temptress also took her first picture.

All Might waived his hands around in panic. “I would never see my student that way!” He bowed. “I came here for your help. Help that I should have asked for a long time ago. Forgive me.”

“I can’t forgive what I don’t know.” Since Father stood in the room, she assumed he approved of Eri learning about All Might’s supposed blunder.

“I should show you.” One moment, All Might stood like a Greek God; the next, he disappeared in a cloud of smoke and a skinny skeleton of a person took his place. The skeleton thus spewed blood on the girl’s face. “My apologies!”

Miss Nemuri took another picture.

She wiped the blood from her eyes, the first reaction she gave since the transformation. “I assume you need my help.”

“Um…” Blood trickles down his chin like tears. “I’m surprised by how calm you are, but I’ve been injured for years. Most of my internal organs were damaged, and my stomach is next to nonexistent.”

Eri nodded. “And this is your true form, at least it is these days. Using your Quirk puts too much stress on your weakened body.” She titled her head to the side again. “And I assume you know the true nature of my Quirk?” He nodded. Eri felt no ill will. Trading a secret for a secret was fair, and giving the strongest hero more time only helped the world. “How much time do you have, and how much have you used All Might’s form in the past hour?”

“Hour and a half,” Father monotoned. “You can take a higher risk.”

If Eri had a mouth like Bakugo’s, she’d curse her age like a drunken sailor. Until she started puberty, she had near-perfect control over her Quirk, then her powers grew. After that point and the near fatal… She banished those emotionally tumultuous thoughts from her head and focused on the present. Her powers either go rampant and eliminate any living thing she touched, or she could revert the target within a small timespan. For her, she and her father decided eight hours before she had any chance of losing control. For anyone else, they concluded an hour for maximum safety. If the person would die anyway, she could push it to three hours with minor risks and eight hours for any chance at all.

“For the past hour and a half.” All Might paused to rub the back of his head. “All of it? Minus the time you’ve seen me like this.”

Not wanting to waste time, Eri tapped his weathered hands. Her horn grew for a fraction of a second. “Done. Please come to me for more time, though attempt to stay on the same sleep schedule.”

He bowed, “Thank you, my dear. I apologize for letting you see me like this.” His eyes became distant. Eri recognized that look from her reflection. “To know the symbol of peace was actually this weak, I’m-”

“You are a tedious fool. I don’t care for my own perceptions of the world. If changing them helps others, so be it.”

Miss Nemuri took her final picture.

All Might smiled. “You truly are your father’s daughter.”

She nodded in affirmation. “Of course.”

BREAK LOGIC

Human psychology never interested Eri, but she knew the parts Father wanted her to remember. People make lasting impressions of people in the first few seconds. She knew most of the class pegged her as someone stoic. It surprised her how everyone changed their perceptions within a week.

Over the past three days, Eri trained with Momo, Uraraka, Mina, and Jiro often. With Momo and Jiro, they did mostly hand-to-hand, and Jiro learned some of Eri’s moves. Uraraka did some of that, but she mostly focused on her Quirk. It made sense. Zero Gravity ranked among the more powerful Quirks in the class, and Eri’s healing counteracted the only side effect of the Quirk. Eri empathized. Nausea and vomiting proved annoying. Mina did acrobatic training, and they traded methods. Mina did breakdancing, so Eri learned from her. Eri did another method, though Mina ordered her to not show it to any of the males in class.

Why? Miss Nemuri taught her that method, and it helped with grip strength. Everyone could benefit from it.

How did their training matter? All four girls had a consensus on their experience. The class still saw her as stoic but also dangerous to scare even Mineta from lusting after her (for a day).

She decided that was why none thought it odd that Eri selected to sit next to Bakugo on the bus. Class 1-A decided they were the most violent students.

Speaking of busses, Eri chose her proximity to Bakugo because of it. She never went of a field trip before, she never rode on a bus before, and she couldn’t sit next to Father. He stood next to the driver. Instead, she chose the next safest spot. Everything would be alright, for Bakugo was there.

She still believed those words.

Bakugo didn’t mind her proximity, since Eri didn’t bother speaking.

The other classmates discussed Quirks. Some could be called powerful. Others flashy. She paid more attention when Kirishima, the boy Mina knew from middle school, stated the only two powerful and flashy Quirks were Bakugo and Todoroki’s.

Tsu, who insisted on being called by the moniker, spoke something with Eri disagreed with. “Bakugo’s always mad, so he doesn’t seem like he’ll be popular, though.” Knowing Tsu’s perspective, Eri agreed. Her classmate kept tight control over her emotions and tended to be franker than anyone. She only saw one side of Bakugo’s personality, so her logic was correct though used limited information.

“What the hell!” Bakugo stood up from his seat and met the perceived challenge. “You wanna fight?”

“See?” Tsu pointed out the evidence Bakugo supplied. Eri wondered if she planned that.

“We haven’t known each other that long,” Kaminari spoke with a finger gun. Eri still disliked his flirty attitude though found it tolerable. He also thought himself to be very cool. “So, it’s amazing that everyone already knows his personality is crap steeped in sewage.”

“What’s with that vocabulary, bastard?! I’ll kill you!”

Eri elected that she reached a good moment for an interjection. “I found his personality to be like…” She paused to ensure everyone listened. Of all the students in the class, only she, Kirishima, and Midoriya seemed to know much about Bakugo. The latter stemmed from going to the same middle school. Her opinion held weight as a result. “All Might.”

“Eh?!” said the entire class, sans Bakugo.

“Quiet.” Father ended the conversation before it spiraled further. “We’re here. USJ.”

The Unforeseen Simulation Joint acted as a simulator for rescue operations. Floods. Earthquakes. Fire. Rescue Heroes specialized in this area, so the logic held for teaching prospective heroes the basics so early in their first year.

Eri, on the other hand, wanted to be a different kind of rescue hero.

“Father?” She put down her pencil for her math homework. Despite their villainy, her captors taught her the basics in education. Eri liked those moments, since she knew they wouldn’t hurt her when they were homeschooling her.

“You need help?” Father taught classes during the day, fought villains at night, and homeschooled Eri in between. She concluded her father had two Quirks. Erasure and Not Needing Sleep.

She titled her head to the left. No one knew where she acquired the habit. “Are there others like me?” It had been over a year since she met her hero, but she never met another like herself.

“Could you clarify?” He chugged his cup of coffee.

“Do you know how Miss Nemuri took me to the café? For my birthday?” He grunted in affirmation, so she continued, “I realized something on my way home. Nobody has my eyes. Old. Young. Hero. My eyes are different. I thought about it a lot, and I don’t remember seeing anyone else with it. Just… flashes sometimes.”

“Your eyes are red.” He pat her on the head. “It’s a pretty color but rare too. Normally genetic, but mine turn red when I use my Quirk.”

She shook her head. “Not the color. The feeling.”

“Oh.” His disposition morphed from tired to sad. Eri hated seeing her father sad. “I’ve seen those eyes before, almost all in heroics. I busted a human trafficking…” He noticed how she didn’t understand that term. “I saved people from slavery. Villains were mean to them too, and they had those eyes. I once failed to save a kid. He was fifteen.”

Eri gasped. Her father didn’t save everyone? Why did he save HER of all people?

“His parents… They were mad at me, but they had your eyes. I saved a young woman who was… brutalized by disgusting thugs and-”

“Rape. Father, I heard my captors brag.” She never talked about her captivity, no matter who asked. If her memories hurt her this much, it would hurt others too. Eri already hurt enough people… killed too many people…

Father clenched his fists until his knuckles turned white. He took a deep breath. “Come here.” She lifted her arms, and he picked her up. He set her on his lap, and she melted into his chest.

Safe.

“That woman had your eyes. Some say the eyes are a window to your soul. All of you were hurt, more than most anyone would feel in their lifetime.” He squeezed her tight in their embrace. “I’m sorry I didn’t save you sooner.”

Eri kept herself immersed in the present as long as she could. After a minute, she swallowed and asked the other question that brewed in her mind. “Are other heroes like you?”

She didn’t need to add onto the question, since she knew Father understood the words beyond the question. How many heroes save people like me?

He said two words. “Not enough.”

Those two words changed her life. “I don’t fear you” changed her life. “It’s alright. Why? Because I am here!” will one day. Neither gave her the same determination, a rive she kept for the rest of her life.

“Then, I’ll be one.” She looked at her father. For the first time since they met, a different feeling overtook the normal darkness, even if for just a moment. “I will be the hero I never had.”

She will rescue all the other Eris in the world.

Eri looked out the window. USJ loomed in distance, becoming increasingly larger. Her destiny approached in more ways than one.

Chapter Text

Hell is empty, and all the devils are here! – William Shakespeare

USJ. I could talk about the travesty for hours, days. After all these years, I still do. We still do. Occasionally, a perfectly jovial gathering with my friends takes a dark turn. All of us have dark things to talk about, and we experienced far too many together, but USJ shall forever hold a special place in our hearts. A dark place that emerges at night, when you wake up screaming.

We weren’t ready for it. We had plenty of powerhouses. Heck, the top five positions in the hero rankings tend to be dominated by class 1-A’s remaining alumni, but we were children. I was a child, no matter what I went through at that point.

We went to USJ to learn about rescuing people during disasters. Instead, a different idea shoved itself down our throats.

Sometimes, only you can save yourself.

Maybe that’s why we became so powerful. We would’ve died otherwise.

BREAK LOGIC

Eri nodded to Thirteen’s speech. In many ways, they had similar Quirks. They, since Thirteen always wore their space-themed suit and remained more private than even her father, had a Quirk called Black Hole. It made black holes and could kill anyone.

They also used it for good. In fact, Thirteen lived like a pacifist, only working with rescue operations. It made their speech even more powerful. Quirks had the power to kill, but with enough training and efforts, any Quirk had the power to save.

Eri wished she could’ve learned that lesson rather than experienced it.

Her classmates cheered in excitement. Uraraka wanted to be a rescue hero. Momo’s Quirk could save lives in any environment. Mina just liked helping people. Jiro could hear any victim. Bakugo… Eri assumed he wanted to impress All Might.

She tried not to wince. The top hero used all his time while commuting to U.A. He had a heart of gold but no self-restraint. She bought him just over an hour of time, and he decided to use it for the USJ fieldtrip over class 1-B. Maybe her father should speak with him about playing favorites.

All Might raised his fist to say something in concurrence to the space-themed hero. Too bad he never managed to start.

Logic dictated that perceived danger didn't exist until something dangerous appeared. Eri disagreed with that sentiment. When she sat alone in her cell, she felt unease before the sessions. Her gut twisted, her heartbeat quickened, and she flinched. This meant logic must have missed some detail, since her experiences demonstrated its error.

And now, her gut twisted, her heartbeat quickened, and she flinched. The heroes around her felt it too.

Eri took a step back, and a gate split open the air like hell piercing earth. A person stepped out. Hands grasped his arms, shoulders, and head. Severed hands. Following him from the warp gate, because only that form of Quirk could move people, were dozens upon dozens of people. Judging from their mixture of costumes, weapons and snarls, she concluded about a hundred low-rank villains and goons invaded the USJ. Most possessed mutations society deemed villainous, so society helped create their own enemies.

How villainous was killing her own father?

She blinked. The warp villain shall pose a problem. A hulking, black villain seemed like he overdosed on dangerous Quirk-enhancing drugs. The hand villain knew how to kill judging by his trophies. With father, All Might and Thirteen here, how could they not be fine?

“Thirteen.” Her father lost all his subdued countenance. He replaced it with a vigilant logic… or maybe a masked rage. She couldn’t tell which worried her. “Evacuate the students. All Might and I will defend you. Kaminari, can you contact anyone?”

The boy put his hand to an earpiece but shook his head. Eri felt surprised. She didn’t think he placed anything useful in his costume.

Without another word, the underground and number one hero ran to the villain’s center. The farther the fighting took place from the children, the safer they would be. Thirteen heralded them to the door, but Eri didn’t move. Despite their heroics, Thirteen gained little combat experience during their career. The villains had a warp Quirk. If they did enough planning for an ambush, no one was getting out.

“Eri, are you freaking out again? We have to go!” Mina tugged on her arm, the only person to stay behind with her. Then again, a handful of Class 1-A’s powerful students led from the front. Perhaps they positioned themselves there for an expected ambush?

As she felt shockwaves from All Might’s punches, a portal appeared in front of the retreating class. Thirteen took a step forward. Did they think they could defeat a warp villain without the element of surprise? Two well-positioned gates always counter a black hole.

Eri glanced behind her. Villains ran to specific areas in the USJ and congregated. A few portals appeared and transported others to farther away locations. Oh, they planned a divide and conquer strategy. “Come.” With that single word, she dragged her friend away from the other students.

“What are you doing?” Mina had enough sense to whisper those words instead of shouting them. She also appeared terrified.

“Saving you.” In terms of the battle, only three villains exhibited a good chance to kill. The warp villains due to his Quirk, the black behemoth since All Might had yet to defeat the monster, and the hand villain since his costume proved his competence. Judging from all the other villains’ positioning, Eri knew the thugs just had to keep the students occupied.

She remembered her father’s words. Here’s two things for combat, Eri. First, keep a straight head. Second, choose your battles when possible.

Eri could function efficiently in most of the USJ environments. Mina’s acid could become diluted in water, so she half-dragged and half-sprinted to the Ruins Zone. The Downpour Zone had detriments to Mina; furthermore, fewer villains congregated at the ruins when compared to the other zones.

Of course, Eri made this analysis in two second while on the run, so she could’ve miscalculated.

Warp gates opened over most zones, though the ruins had no one. For now, she had to trust everyone to survive, since she had to secure her survival first. A hero only hindered if they needed rescuing. Plus, Thirteen worked best if they had no students to accidentally kill.

“What are we doing?” Mina huffed. Both girls ranked among the most athletic in class, but Eri pushed them both to reach the ruins in all haste.

“Securing this zone.” Villains noticed the pair and ran to meet them. At her and the enemy’s rates, they should meet just outside the buildings.

“What about Thirteen and the others?!” Even so, the girl went into a combat position. “Safety in numbers, and the exit is our way out!”

“Warp villain.” She spoke the words with a finality Mina couldn’t challenge. Eri dropped her mask on the floor. It looked menacing, since she still wore her villain-infiltration outfit. She wanted the villains to underestimate them, a logical ruse.

Even though she could kill every villain they faced, Eri elected not to. She felt her horn grow a few centimeters from the situation, a true sign of her utter terror and fear at losing her father; nevertheless, villains murdered. Eri won’t. Not again.

The thugs had no organization. Five flung themselves at the two girls while two others hung back. Two veered left to face Mina, and three went right at Eri. They included a mutation Quirk with mantis-like features, an emitter Quirk that made small flames, and a transformation Quirk that turned each of the enemy’s fingers into baseball bats.

The mantis villain had about a three second lead on the other two. She classified his orb-like eyes as weak points.

She remembered another lesson from her father. If you aren’t absolutely certain, fight to win. Don’t fight fair. It’s better to be dishonorable than die or tell a mom you failed to save her kid.

He reached towards her neck in a criminally unchoreographed manner. She grabbed his hand and twisted his arm. Using his momentum and her outstretched foot, she flipped him on the ground and stomped on his left eye with her boot. A sickening crunch and a horrified shriek confirmed her crippling on the enemy.

The fire-wielding villain threw his two fireballs at her, so she used the mantis’ remaining eye to spring at the pyromaniac. She let the flames scorch her as she kneed his nose. The cartilage gave way to bone.

The thug with baseball bats for fingers swung her weapons. Eri took the blow with her right arm, and her forearm snapped. A sting of pain came from where her radius and ulna jutted from her flesh. The villain paused, not expecting to have such violent results. Perhaps they wished to stall the students while the dangerous villains felled the heroes? It mattered not.

Eri punched with her left arm. Brass knuckles met larynx. Her bats disappeared when she grasped her neck and gasped using her collapsed windpipe.

She turned her attention back to the flame villain with a broken nose. The girl clenched her left fist, and her arm reverted to a healthy position. As he took a step back in fear, Eri sprinted ahead. His hands went high to protect his head, logical but disastrous. She kneed his groin, and his hands instinctively lowered. Taking hold of the back of his head, she pulled it down and she moved her other knee up. Part of his severed tongue plummeted to the ground. She elbowed his cranium, and he collapsed on the ground.

Mina’s two villains lied on the ground, bodies covered in bruises and eyes covered in a safely diluted acid.

The two enemies who stayed back kneeled and put their hands on their heads. Eri nodded at their logical behavior.

“Mina, we should restrain them.” She assessed the injuries she and her friend gave. The one with a collapsed throat had a few more minutes. “How sticky can you make your acid?”

Mina swallowed at the site of three crippled people. “Um, super sticky?” Then, she grinned. “Oh.”

“Precisely.”

BREAK LOGIC

After Mina stuck the villains together like a demonic fruit cake, Eri healed the three she pulverized. She knew her friend was badass, but holy shit! She didn’t just win the fight. She destroyed them! Most vigilantes weren’t that violent. If it wasn’t for her healing, no way Eri could’ve gotten away with that.

Maybe she could teach her a little?

Part of her knew she entered some form of shock. Villains were trying to kill everyone! Isn’t that strange? Heroes became the victims! Maybe they should call in civilians to help since she missed the memo about everything being opposite day.

Oh gods, Kiri could be dead.

“Mina,” Eri spoke to her in her normal tone, a deadpan. “Breathe. We can have panic attacks together once this is over, deal?”

Yes, focus.

She checked the villains. Were they struggling? Nope, they sat there terrified to be frank. Funny. Did that mean everyone felt terrified?

She realized something. “All Might didn’t save us.” The shockwaves never stopped. If anything, they became more frequent, like rain in a thunderstorm. “He’s still fighting. No one lasted longer than a minute against him for… a decade! We have to help him!”

Eri shook her head. “Denied. Despite my combat prowess, I’m still a healer. You specialize in speed and capturing. We’d only get in the way of the pros if the villains can withstand All Might…” The girl clenched her fists. Red dripped from her right arm, the effects of it being broken just moments ago. That must’ve hurt. “We could assist in moving hurt allies and healing them. I only need to touch them.”

The pinkette nodded. “Okay! Start there?” She pointed at the front gates, the last place she saw her other classmates. What if they’re dead? No! Don’t think those thoughts!

And thus, Mina and Eri sprinted back to the USJ entrance, the very place they fled not long ago. They arrived and paused. Thirteen lied injured with their back torn open and about a third of the class tried to get past the warp villain. Since there were no bodies, Mina thought the others got teleported across the training grounds.

“He’s not a killer,” Eri said under her breath. Words traveled father in whispers.

“What? They’re villains!”

“Open a portal and close it with only half a student through. Teleport Thirteen to the bottom of the lake. Teleport the students to the roof and watch them splat on the ground. This enemy desires to stall us, not kill us. What is their motive?”

Before Mina had a chance to respond, she fell through the floor. After seeing the floor, she realized a portal opened below their feet. She landed next to the warp villain. She responded by throwing acid at the purple mist. Melt that fucker! He, or perhaps she, opened a gate and swallowed her attack. All the while, he defended against any other attacks or escape attempts. Eri on the other hand…

“Excuse me, sir?” Eri decided to strike a polite conversation. Mina skated on her acid to surround him, but he teleported her back to the others. Iida plowed into her.

“Yes, miss?” The villain, a he apparently, responded in kind.

Eri pointed to Thirteen. “I don’t believe anyone checked Thirteen for life-threatening injuries. I have a healing Quirk and ask permission to ensure their survival.”

Oh, right. Thirteen could be dying.

“I cannot, since I’d prefer to keep things orderly.” Bastard! He didn’t want to give them any chance of escape.

Eri tilted her head to the side. “In that case, would you allow me to heal Thirteen if we agree to wait here?”

What the fucking shit!

“Oh? Um, I would allow that, but your classmates seem to disagree.” Even as he spoke, he teleported a sprinting Iida, redirected a laser fired from Aoyama’s navel, and sidestepped tape fired from Sero’s elbows.

Her friend cleared her throat, “Remnants of Class 1-A, we’ll be saving Thirteen from further injury. Additionally, we eliminate one of the three deadliest villains from intervening with All Might and Eraser Head. If any of us escaped, Mister…”

“Kurogiri.”

“Thank you.” She bowed in respect. “If we escaped, Mister Kurogiri would thus assist in the main battle below. Considering All Might has yet to win, this must be an attack to eliminate him.” Oh, that made sense. It did for the rest of the class too, since they stopped trying to escape and… sorta stood around awkwardly around Thirteen.

He chuckled. “And you thought of that without my monologuing. Go ahead.”

Eri took off her gloves and knelt besides Thirteen. The suit remained the same, but their body became whole again. It almost looked as if their black hole ripped apart their back. Gods! That was what happened.

“Unconscious people tend to stay that way for a little while after I heal them.” She took out her pepper spray, grenade thingies, and two tasers. “And as you can see, I am now unarmed. May I traverse the school grounds to search for wounded classmates? My Quirk is non-combative. Healing. I fear it will pass its time limit before this incident finishes, so I want to ensure deaths and injuries stay at a minimum.”

“Asking to leave just after you agreed to stay put is-”

An explosion lit up everything, like lighting. Screw that. It was lighting. Kaminari just friggen blew up or something. Wait. Did he just die? Is he dead!

Eri titled her head to the side. “That amount of electricity must have been dangerous. My classmate may be dying or dead, and any villain with a heart condition could be in danger. May you teleport me there?” How the fuck could she negotiate with a VILLAIN so well?!

Mina remembered Eri’s scars.

She realized her friend had practice.

“I technically could place students anywhere.” He stroked the upper part of his ethereal, almost-plasmic body, probably where his chin should’ve been. “Alright.”

Eri bowed. “Thank you for understanding.”

A warp opened in front of Eri, and she strode through. Out of Kurogiri’s view, the bluenette smirked like Eraser Head, so Mina felt worried.

Worried for the villains.

Still, Eri talked to this enemy, and she achieved what she wanted. Since none of them could do anything according to Eri’s agreement, Mina decided to get information.

“Mr. Villain?” She raised her hand and smiled. She talked to a villain before in middle school, so she can do it now too. “Why d’ya wanna kill All Might?” This time, her classmates seemed to realize what the speaker was doing.

BREAK LOGIC

Eri assessed her situation. Jiro and Momo stood on one side, and a villain stood on the other. He wore a skull mask and had the muscles of a body builder, and her… her friends had their arms raised. A mentally unresponsive Kaminari gave an idiotic thumbs up as the villain held him in his grasp. Electricity danced in the man’s fingers. She entered a hostage situation. They all stood in the mountain zone, full of rocks and jagged terrain; however, their location appeared flat. Two dozen villains lied on the ground, casualties of the electric blast.

She remembered a comment from Miss Nemuri. A good thing about my hero persona is how I can scare the living shit outa villains with my sadistic side.

Eri had yet to craft a public persona, so she had options.

“Hands up, or your friend will die!” he sneered. His eyes moved down her body. “Babe,” he added.

Eri suppressed a smile. She felt a boost in her self-confidence over public acknowledgement of her semi-successful puberty. It also meant she will imagine Mineta in the villain’s place.

She smiled like Miss Nemuri. “It takes about fifty volts to kill someone, so I assume you can produce at least that amount. I have a healing Quirk, and once I became curious. What if I jammed my fingers into the top of a circuit breaker box, where the electricity from the power lines enters the house at max power? Two hundred and forty volts to be exact. As you can see, I survived. I can also revive my classmate before he goes brain dead, and brain damage doesn’t matter.”

Judging from the horrified looks of Momo and Jiro, her plan worked so far, thus she didn’t stop. “Now, could you successfully fight us off? Maybe, maybe not. At the very least, I will do this to at least two fingers before you flee.” She grabbed her left pointer finger and pulled it towards her thumb until she felt a familiar snap and bit back a pained grunt. She held up her hand for the villain to see. He took a step back.

“Breaking fingers is marvelously easy with enough practice. So is gouging eyes. Thumbs in the eyes, the rest holding the back of your head, and push. I could just ask Momo to make a knife. Did you know partially severed limbs bleed more than severed ones? The body slows the bleeding to a missing arm but continues if enough tendons and arteries remain.” She clenched her functional hand into a fist, and her finger reverted to its normal state. “So tell me, how many fingers and eyeballs are you willing to lose just to temporarily kill a child?”

“Heroes wouldn’t do that.” His voice lost its confidence from before. Sweat dripped down his arms.

She titled her head to the side. “You don’t understand. Heroes use Quirks.” She licked her lips. Miss Nemuri said that made females look more predatory in situations like this. “I could do all of that without mine.”

“You crazy bitch!” Forgetting about his hostage, he dropped the boy and charged at her.

He took three steps before Jiro blasted him with a coil of sound. Heartbeat Surround. Using amplification gear, she used her heartbeats to perform sonic attacks.

The villain clutched his ears. Eri charged, ignoring the pain and ruptured eardrums. She put all her power into kneeing his groin, a delightful location to incapacitate distracted foes and therapeutic by imagining Mineta take the blow. Jiro turned off her sonic attack, and Momo cracked the enemy’s head with her Bo Staff. Eri reverted herself again.

“Nice bluff?” Jiro gave a thumbs up. “But you were fucking metal.”

Eri nodded. “As was my intent.”

“WHEEEEEEEEE!” Kaminari exclaimed, unaware of his previous danger or much of anything for that matter.

“Can you heal him?” Momo motioned to the dim male.

“Preferably not. Mental backlash and-” Eri paused. “No more shockwaves.” All three glanced at the central plaza where All Might and Father took their stand. “We should head for the front gates.”

BREAK LOGIC

Aizawa fought with a cold logic. Every move he made maximized efficiency and speed. His attacks disabled criminals and minimized medical costs for the taxpayer’s sake. He kept a clear head and ensured his safety. An injured hero served as a liability. More importantly, he had a daughter to come home to.

Said daughter also happened to be the reason why he now fought like an insane fucking demon.

His rational side pieced together that the reporter debacle must’ve been a distraction. They somehow accessed school records thereby planned this attack. Their plan worked. All Might fought to a standstill against the black monstrosity. Communications with the outside world failed. The mob of criminals outnumbered every student ten to one or more.

What did all that mean? It meant THESE people gave his little girl a panic attack, and THESE people threatened to kill her. Not that the latter mattered. She had enough sense to not get killed, even if everyone else died. No, it was more the principle of the matter. They will try to kill her.

In any other situation, he’d conserve energy and knock the villains unconscious. Today, he pounded them into the fucking floor.

The mob tried to flee after Eraser Head broke the thirtieth one of their group. Bleeding. Moaning. Screaming. Blinded. Crippled. Broken.

His index finger broke some time during the fight. His eyes screamed, dry as a desert. His body ached, pushed harder and farther than he had in a decade. His ankle throbbed from some tear or twist. Did it matter at all? No.

Few escaped from the arena. He leapt from person to person. Twisting a neck. Snapping a collar bone. Bashing a cranium into concrete. After seconds or an eternity, it hardly mattered which, only two villains stood. All Might’s enemy and the villain with severed hands on his body.

All Might spat blood. The villain punched exactly where his old injury lied, and he targeted that area over and over.

“You’re so cool, Eraser Head!” The villain with hands looked at him like a child who spotted Santa Clause. “Who knew heroes of justice could be so violent!”

Eraser Head said nothing as the blood of others dripped from his hands. Though he wore goggles, his eyes focused on the black villain to cancel his Quirk. Nothing changed. A mutation Quirk?

“Not even Sensei used such beautiful brutality!” His final enemy had blueish hair and red eyes. His skin held a pale hue, and he stood taller than most non-mutants. He looked like thinner, male Eri. “I didn’t know you’d be such a fun mini-boss!”

Of all the criminals, only three stood out. The teleporter whose location he didn’t know, All Might’s foe, and this guy. He didn’t look the least bit afraid which meant insanity or a plan, probably both.

The villain cocked his head to the side and tapped his ear. “Well, this just turned into a timed level. Kurogiri?”

Five portals appeared around Eraser Head, in every direction but down. At the same time, the constant barrage of shockwaves stopped. All three of the dangerous villains had yet to fall.

“This is like a loot box. Which one do you choose? You could erase my Quirk for three, maybe four, of the portals but not all.” What is he planning? Why the theatrics?

Eraser Head stayed in constant motion. No matter how fast, the hand villain couldn’t reach his body before he could cancel his Quirk. Why not teleport him away? Why not do something more dangerous? All they accomplished was keep him from using his Quirk.

Oh.

That was their plan. All Might was alone, and there were so many ways a warp Quirk could kill him.

Then, the explosions happened.

BREAK LOGIC

Bakugo had a single goal in mind. Explode.

To be more specific, explode the purple mist fucker. The villains got in with the fucker; they’ll get out with the fucker. Take out the fucker, and the fuckers will get fucked.

Simple.

He and the boy with shitty hair, fuck it, his name was too long to remember. Shitty Hair. That’s his new name. He and Shitty Hair made their way to the central plaza after punching and exploding all the pathetic extras that thought they could take him. Shit. Most of his shitty classmates could take these pricks.

Why head to the central plaza? All Might fought there. The villain leader wouldn’t be far away which meant the purple mist fucker will go there at some point to warp them away. Why try attacking the very villain that got him the first time? Information. Bakugo noticed that purple penguin had a metal suit for a chest, so it had to mean something. The fact that the purple shit evaded the blast that would’ve hit said metal meant it had to be important.

When they reached the plaza, he noticed a several important things. First, the purple mist guy stood there. Great. Second, the hand wanker and the black shit stain also were around. Fine. Third, Eraser Head looked like he was stuck in a purple box while All Might had half his body in a portal. Shit. Fourth, the black shit stain held All Might in place, so All Might will be dissected at the waist when the purple fucker turned off his gate. FUCK.

Bakugo acted. He launched himself at the purple dickhead at maximum speed. He slammed into his metal chest, bruising and maybe fracturing something. It didn’t matter. The purple fucker went down, and Bakugo pressed his hands against the enemy’s chest.

“Do anything and I’ll kill you!” he snarled. To be honest, he might. Damn the consequences. If someone killed All Might using a cheap pussy move like this, they deserved to die.

The hand villain ran at Bakugo, but Deku launched himself at the wanker and punched him in the gut. The villain flew backwards and crashed by all that water. At the same time, that pretty-boy icy guy covered the black shit stain with ice while Shitty Hair helped All Might break off the frozen limbs. Bakugo had no idea where all those extras came from, besides Shitty Hair; however, he couldn’t complain since they did useful shit.

Also, Deku had a broken leg and a broken arm, but Bakugo felt pretty confident that the arm already was broke. The damn nerd couldn’t control his own power.

“Oi! Oi! Oi! Oi!” The wanker picked himself off the ground. “How come the NPCs are so OP? What cheat codes did they use?!” He scratched at his neck, a bleeding neck. “Nomu, free Kurogiri.”

The black shit stain, Nomu evidently, ripped itself off the ice. The shredded remains of its arms, its left leg, and about half its torso staying in the ice. The bleeding mass of flesh stood, and muscle and bone grew back. What the fuck!

One moment, Bakugo stood on top of the purple penguin. The next, All Might set him down between the entrance and the plaza, along with the rest of the students. Behind where Bakugo once stood, the fully healed Nomu pried itself from a wall. The boy realized how fast All Might was, and how far he needed to go to surpass his idol and goal.

Bakugo looked down and saw blood on his costume. It wasn’t his. All Might bleed from his side and blood trickled from his mouth. The boy paled. Only gods could make another god bleed.

“Stay here.” All Might smiled, but one could mistake it for a grimace. He wore only a shirt and pants, what teachers wore. In fact, was All Might even a hero now, or was this a teacher protected his class? “You boys did enough.”

“To be fair,” the icy boy said. Somehow, the boy had yet to look the least bit worried or emotional. It pissed Bakugo off. “We did just save you.”

“I won’t fall into the same trap again, young Torodoki!” All Might gave a thumbs up. “It’s all right now. Why?” He shouted the final words, a battle cry. “BECAUSE I AM HERE!”

And Bakugo collapsed to his knees. All Might attacked the Nomu with such power and speed. The constant shockwaves got replaced by a single wave of power, like an explosion that never ended. Deep down, he realized he never could reach that level, that power, or that speed. No one could call it physically possible, but All Might reached that intensity anyway.

Bakugo didn’t care if he couldn’t. He will damn well try anyway. Nothing stood in his way before, and he wasn’t about to let the laws of the universe stop him either.

BREAK LOGIC

Tomura Shigaraki felt annoyed. Really annoyed, like when he couldn’t make a combo fast enough or his video game controller ran out of batteries. Sensei built the Nomu to kill All Might. Shock Absorption. Speed. About a dozen Strength Quirks. Regeneration.

He had the most OP follower ever, but it couldn’t defeat All Might after wailing on him for… minutes? An hour? A long time. He and Kurogiri resorted to their secondary plan with the time limit started. They almost had it! Then, the NPCs stopped them. NPCs! That was super lame!

To make it worse, one broke a few of his ribs.

Since All Might was one of those learning bosses, they couldn’t use the same finishing combo again. That meant Kurogiri was useless except for getting away. Well… He remembered how they still had a mini-boss trapped. Maybe his other powerful follower had a use.

“Let me grab Eraser Head’s ankle.” He coughed up blood. A rib must’ve punctured his lung and made a bleed effect. “Then I’ll kill some kids.” No matter how awesome it’d feel to kill All Might, he can’t reach the man. The very ground he and the Nomu stood one shattered from their power.

A portal opened in front of him, so Shigaraki reached through and grabbed. He waited until he no longer felt his Quirk, Disintegrate. When that happened, he withdrew his hand. It came back red.

“Cool! Now send him up there!” He pointed to the top of the dome. Everyone knew the easiest way to kill any player, NPC, or boss was to push them off a cliff. Most bosses had anti-pushback buffs, but these didn’t.

He caught movement out of the corner of his eye, and he grinned.

He played many kids of video games, and some made the player make choices. It made everything more dramatic. Save the girl, save the city, or defeat the enemy? Only one choice could be made. He decided to do the same thing. Defeat the Nomu, save Eraser Head, or save those four students.

“Teleport me over there.” He pointed at the three girls and a boy. “Let’s see who All Might chooses.”

He stepped through the warp gate, confident that All Might won’t break away from the Nomu. At the very least, Eraser Head won’t make it. He had a straight fall to the ground with nothing to stop his plummet. So cool!

Shigaraki knew which student he wanted to kill first. Few things infuriated him in video games. Most of it qualified as annoyance. Did you know his top one? NPC lookalikes. He’d spend an hour perfecting his avatar’s appearance just to find some shitty NPC with the exact same look. How cruel! If possible in the game mechanics, he’d kill that NPC then and there. Damn the consequences.

Thus, he grabbed the neck of the NPC who had HIS hair, HIS eyes, HIS skin, and even his fucking height. Change the gender option, and she had HIS looks. He put all five fingers on her flesh, and he felt her neck crumbling away.

And it crumbled.

And crumbled.

And crumbled.

Crumbled.

Crumbled.

What the hell?

His vision turned white. Somehow, that ponytailed NPC pulled a Bo Staff from nowhere like his avatars did with inventory items. He staggered backwards as blood dribbled down his head. Blood also dripped from his fingers, yet the NPC copycat looked fine besides a nosebleed, vomiting, and some trembles.

How many hit points did the bitch have?

Without warning, Kuogiri warped him back to the plaza and away from the invincible copycat. Why the fuck did he…

Oh.

Not only did Eraser Head splat on the ground like a water balloon, but All Might launched his Nomu out of the USJ like a missile. Also, somebody screamed. Funny.

Steam surrounded All Might, as if the very air couldn’t handle his supremacy. “Leave, villains.” His words spoke a finality. “Reinforcements will arrive, and only the two of you are left.”

All Might stood meters away from Shigaraki. He was so close! It felt like dying when the boss had just a few his points left! All Might hadn’t attacked yet, which meant he must’ve been at least winded, right? Right! He wasn’t THIS overpowered, right? Right! Their plan wasn’t this hopeless since the beginning, right? Right! RIGHT?!

“I might as well try,” he shrugged. The man charged at All Might with his hands outstretched. The hulking hero stayed in the same position, but the green-haired NPC who broke his ribs made another flying leap. Kurogiri made another portal for him to grab the NPC’s annoyingly boyish face. It was going to work.

Then, someone shot his hand.

Pain felt a lot more real outside of video games. It sorta sucked. Shigaraki reeled back as the hero, Snipe maybe, shot his other hand and two kneecaps. Really, Snipe just trolled him. What a dick.

Thirteen directed a black hole at Kurogiri, who had to surround Shigaraki. If not, he’d be dead. Ha! They didn’t kill anyone today, but the heroes come to troll him before trying to rip apart every atom in his body? Hypocrites, all of them!

“Game over,” he mumbled through the pain.

The next moment, he bled all over bar’s floors. Kurogiri polished them yesterday, so that at least made Shigaraki feel a little better.

BREAK LOGIC

Eri knew she passed her limit. Her horn went from a stub to an ugly long spike. She half ran and half fell towards Father. Blood. Bones. Twisted legs. She will pass out any moment, but she had to save him! It never dawned on her that the villains left or the heroes arrived. She stood frozen for precious seconds, then she ran. She could save Father.

He looked so broken. Ever since she met her hero, he meant safety. He kept her safe from herself, others safe from her, and her safe from villains. He always came home, and he’d always be there.

But, he didn’t win. What else could explain all his blood?

How many steps had she taken? Ten, a hundred, a thousand? The distance never closed fast enough. If only she could reach him sooner!

She hated herself. She hated herself so much. Why couldn’t she have avoided the surprise attack? Why did her body shut down after using her Quirk too long on herself? Why did she panic and revert herself every tenth of a second instead of every second? At worse, the villain would disintegrate through her trachea. Just pain, not death. Instead, she pushed herself too fast too far.

Father… Daddy might die because of her.

All she had to do was reach him. Reach him. Touch him. Collapse. All would be well again. Father would be all better and protect her again. The world would go back to its old ways.

She heard Momo’s yelling behind her. The girl chased after her, to stop her. Didn’t she know Father could die? It didn’t matter. Eri ran fast, very fast. Momo won’t catch her, even in her damaged state.

Then, Father’s eyes opened. She knew how he thought. She knew he assessed everything around him regardless of his pain. She also knew exactly what he meant when his eyes went from her to the broken body with green hair.

Eri was many things. She trusted few, but when she did trust someone, she trusted them unequivocally.

BREAK LOGIC

Cementos arrived and placed a wall of cement around the two teachers and two students. He saw All Might in his civilian form. The man hadn’t succumbed two his wounds using sheer willpower and a lifetime of experience with pain. He saw Eraser Head broken and bleeding on the ground. It looked horrible, but Cementos had seen enough injuries to know the man should recover.

He saw two students. Midoriya’s suit had tears and rips from the fighting, but his body had not one wound. He clutched Eri Aizawa in his arms and cried over her unresponsive body.

Chapter Text

When the hurly-burly's done, when the battle's lost and won. – William Shakespeare

From when I was rescued until USJ, I never slept in a house other than mine other than father's… besides my stays at hospitals or the nurse office at U.A. We moved from his apartment to the U.A. dorms, but it didn't affect me. Home was Father, not a place.

That's why it felt so weird to sleep in an unfamiliar room without Father.

In hindsight, I withstood all the insanity sufficiently considering, well, me at the time. I never lost control to the point where I'd kill someone with a touch. I got close around Mina once, though talking to her helped process a lot. I still wonder if I deserved such a good friend.

I also focused on the upcoming Sports Festival… though many first-years would've preferred otherwise. Too bad. They should've found them first, but I did.

I… A lot of things happened in the two weeks before the Sports Festival. A lot of really good things, even if it wasn't obvious back then.

BREAK LOGIC

During the early days of locomotion, people used the term Railway Spine to describe people who showed mental trauma after surviving a railway accident. After the First World War so many centuries ago, Shell Shock afflicted hundreds of thousands of soldiers. Medical personnel coined Combat Stress Reaction to describe many of the soldiers they saw while treated wounded.

PTSD had touched most of the world's population in the modern era. If not effected directly, everyone knew a parent, spouse, child, or friend who got caught in a villain attack.

Momo wondered if she would've seen the same faces in those World War One trenches as she watched her classmates.

Ojiro never noticed his hands and tail acquired burns until paramedics treated him. Even now, he stared at the clouds.

Mineta wept and wailed about how close villains came to killing him. "I'm just a kid," he said over and over. Tsu's face remained in her blank disposition, but her hands trembled as she tried to comfort the purple boy.

Koda petted a squirrel, mute as always. His silent tears spoke volumes while Tokoyami stood beside him. The gothic boy couldn't stand to be alone in his darkness but couldn't bear to talk with anyone.

Todoroki stood far away from the class and talked to a police officer. They already questioned a few other students.

Sero's ever-present smile couldn't be found. He talked to Hagakure, once full of movement. She might as well be a mannequin now.

Jiro sat next to Kaminari as the boy regained his wits at a sluggish pace. She could tell since the boy's face warped from a silly grin to a pained grimace. Jiro looked haunted.

Kirishima had yet to turn off his Quirk. Maybe he couldn't. Maybe he felt threatened. Maybe he forgot. All he'd do was clench and reopen his fists.

Aoyama cried into Iida's shoulder while the taller boy almost radiated self-disgust. He held himself to the highest of standards, but he didn't do anything during the battle. Or, that was what he thought. Their class representative evacuated almost half the class outside the USJ before the heroes arrived.

All of Shoji's arms morphed into eyes or ears. He appointed himself lookout for whoever parents will arrive first or their missing two classmates.

Every classmate had the same pair of eyes. Dead.

Then, she had Uraraka and Ashido standing next to her. They ran to any police officer, paramedic, or hero in the area and asked the same question. "Where are Midoriya and Eri?" No one gave a definitive answer. The last anyone saw the missing duo was in the plaza. Three ambulances since left with sirens blaring, yet they left two heroes and two students behind. Where was the fourth?

Uraraka and Ashida had different eyes. Theirs weren't dead. Theirs were terrified, almost hysterical.

Momo didn't know what hers looked like. She didn't want to know.

"Midoriya," Shoji said. His head motioned towards the USJ, now with police tape and a constant stream of police cars ferrying criminals like an amusement park ride.

The behemoth spoke the truth. The green hair boy and an Ectoplasm clone exited the building. His gym uniform looked like it went to the sixth circle of hell and back, but he didn't have a scratch on him. She recalled how he broke his arms during the battle, so only one explanation could be given. Eri healed him after the villains escaped.

Uraraka sprinted to her friend and screamed "Deku!" as she almost toppled him over in an embrace. The girl cried about how worried she was. Momo felt her anxiety rise. She reevaluated everyone around her. If they handled the situation poorly, what could describe the… that look in Midoriya's eyes?

"She w-was going to heal him." His eyes looked puffy and red. They lost focus, his mind wrapped in the past. "He… he t-told her to heal me, and then she c-collapsed." His hands clenched into fists. "There was so much blood."

Momo and Ashido stood and did nothing, for that was all they could do. Their parents will come and take them home. The injured will heal. The heroes will track the criminals. Momo will cry into her pillow throughout the night.

Then, why did she feel like she failed?

No one noticed the explosive teenager already left.

BREAK LOGIC

Eri either didn't dream or remembered none of it. One moment, she healed Midoriya; the next, she found herself in the nurse's office. She sat up without hesitation or care over repercussions. The wave of nausea proved a minor nuisance.

"He'll live. One week." Miss Nemuri loomed over her with a tear in her suit. While her Quirk didn't work as effectively as her father's, it functioned to eliminate Eri's threat to others. "And lie down before I put you to sleep."

Father will live, so she lied down. "Deaths?"

"None. Full recoveries everywhere, and Midoriya owes you a big favor now." While still in her suit, some may not recognize the woman as Midnight. Her eyes had bruises like her father's, her hair got itself in a disheveled conundrum rather than its elegant perfection, and her frown of worry existed rather than a sadistic smirk. "You've been asleep for a while. It's early morning now. We forcibly ejected Mirio and Bakugo. Ashido and a few other girls called every hour to see if you woke up. I think they made shifts of it, and-"

Miss Nemuri stopped talking. Eri's hand gripped hers with a ferocious intensity. "I promised Mina we could have panic attacks after the battle. I broke my promise."

The woman shook her head like a doting mother. "She understands, Eri. She's a good kid, okay? She won't be angry at you."

"Oh…" She closed her eyes. "I don't want to visit father. Not until he's discharged. I don't want to see him injured in a hospital."

"You don't have to. I understand."

Eri didn't fall back asleep and elected to replay the battle in her head over and over. She had to find every mistake she made. She had to.

BREAK LOGIC

09:48

Red Eyes: Alien Queen, Guitar God, VP, Bubbly
I apologize for causing distress. I recovered.

Guitar God: You tanked getting your neck disintegrated. Np. We understand, but you're fucking badass.

Red Riot: Is that Eri? Hi! Everyone's okay!

Red Eyes: Who is this?

Guitar God: Mina invited you to another chat. More people. I guess you didn't know?

Red Riot: We have the same first names! Oh, I'm Kiri. Also, Kaminari and Midoriya are here. Bakugo too, but he hasn't talked yet.

Red Eyes: I understand.

Pikachu: Hey, is Aizawa your dad?

Guitar God: The fuck, man!

Red Riot: Not cool.

Pikachu: Why? We all know they have the same family name. If her dad's injured, we shouldn't ignore it. Where are you staying, Eri? You need any help?

Red Eyes: Miss Nemuri

Pikachu: Cool!
And who?

Red Eyes: Midnight.

Alien Queen: YOU'RE OKAY!

Red Eyes: Tangibly
Also, U.A. will provide mandatory counseling for 1-A due to recent traumatic events.

Alien Queen: I'M SO SORRY I COULDN'T HELP YOU MORE!
Also, wtf. Why's us getting counseled even on your mind?

Guitar God: How'd you know that?

Red Eyes: Miss Nemuri has taken Midoriya, Bakugo, Mina, Momo, Jiro, Kaminari, Uraraka, and I. Hound Dog has the rest.

Guitar God: How do you know this, and is it legal to share?

Alien Queen: Why are you worried about us? You're the only one hospitalized.
And why's Midnight a COUNSELOR?!

Red Riot: That's good. Counseling is manly.

Pikachu: Why's only people connected to Eri with Midnight?
Well, besides me.

Red Eyes: You were close enough.

Guitar God: The fuck? Why?

Red Eyes: This is Midnight. I took away Eri's phone for the moment. She is very worried right now, and I think she might be getting too worked up.

Alien Queen: Midnight?

Red Eyes: I backread. She's terrified and being a lot more honest than she would be normally. While truth is important, it also must be done with a clear head. Principal Nezu was the one who divided the class between Hound Dog and I. Also, I have years of experience counseling children who suffered villain attacks.

Pikachu: How old are you?

Red Eyes: Young enough to kick your ass!

Pikachu was kicked from the chat by Guitar God

Guitar God: Already did it for you, Midnight.

Red Eyes: Thanks! ^-^

Personal Message between Alien Queen and Red Eyes

Alien Queen: Can I come over?

Red Eyes: I'll send my address. Just keep tight lipped, okay? I guard my address closer than my measurements. ;)

BREAK LOGIC

Mina sprinted through the streets since the train took so friggen long. All the people complained as she jabbed them aside. Some sneered about rude mutants, and one screamed an impressive amount of cursing while he remained in earshot. Did it matter at all? Ha! Not at all. Because Mina's friend needed her, she's gonna fucking get there.

She passed by an intersection and jumped over a car. She ran past U.A., where a happy Eri should be with her uninjured dad. She passed the hospital where Eraser Head and Thirteen stayed. "Watch where you're going, Raccoon Eyes!" Not even that tellingly specific insult stopped her.

She ran up the stairs to a well-kept but modest apartment complex and knocked on the door. Then, she moved to the next door since the girl realized that was the wrong address by a number.

Midnight stepped outside. "Deep breaths, okay?" The woman had civilian clothes on, very modest ones at that. Her hair went into a sloppy ponytail, and deep bags rested under her eyes. "Eri's distracting herself, which is a good thing. Her Quirk gets dangerous with heightened emotions or hormones, that includes stress. You can see her, but calm her too, got it?"

Mina nodded and stepped inside.

Then, she blinked.

And blinked again.

Somehow, the scene in front of her didn't change, and that terrified her. A picture of every student in 1-A and a bunch of other pictures, some from a few 1-B students she recognized, lied across Midnight's living room. Notes, drawing, and even a few of Eri's hero weapons sat next to the pictures. In the middle, Eri moved from one location to another. She also made a barricade using pillows, couches, and what looked like Midnight's winter coats.

Without looking up, Eri monotoned, "My Quirk can kill if one touches me while it runs rampant. While I reached a new emotional equilibrium for the moment, I will remain in this section of the house for twenty-four hours. Breaks for the bathroom are an exception, however."

Mina realized something heart wrenching. Eri needed a hug, and no one could hug her. She made the best of the situation and sat just outside the barrier. "So… what ya doing?"

"Deducing ways to eliminate any potential victor during the Sports Festival. Some I cannot win against in almost total certainty, specifically Todoroki and Tokoyami; nevertheless, I found enough counters to defeat Tokoyami and possibly Todoroki by making the proper alliances beforehand." Eri paused mid-step and titled her head. "And yes, I am providing my mind a logical outlet. I will confront my issues at a later date, one where my father is physically present. Until then, I will enjoy Miss Nemiri's patience and cooking. She makes delicious Soba."

At least Eri stayed straightforward. The pink mutant ran with it. "Cool! It's, like, almost lunch. Would I be imposing?"

"Feel free, kid." Midnight nursed a steaming cup of tea. "Hell, I'll even make that Soba. Aizawa and Eri love it for some weird reason."

"Great!" Mina knew how to be excited even when the situation felt dire. In this case, her friend appeared to be a masked emotional train wreck. "Sooooo, can I talk to ya, Eri? Like, ask a bunch of questions?"

"Since you have impressive social tact, I trust you to do that." Eri picked up a student profile with a tired looking kid printed on and skimmed through.

"So, how you doing with friends? I'm one, but do the others count yet? You're talking to Yaoyorozu on a first-name basis."

"Yes, she qualifies. I have Mirio, though our relationship seems different than friendship. Sibling? Perhaps cousins would be more in tine… Jiro and Uraraka are friends as well."

"And Bakugo! You and Kiri are the only two he doesn't explode." In fact, her friend had been ranting for hours how manly Bakugo acted during the USJ disaster. Mina knew her friend did so to distract himself, but the rocky boy needed some bro friends at U.A.

Eri bit her lower lip. "I suppose, though he may not qualify me as such."

"And speaking about relationships, who's hot?! It's as if we're in a class of models!" A good side effect about being in a superhero class was how most of the students had to stay physically fit.

This time, her friend stopped moving altogether until she moved to a piece of paper. She looked it, but Mina could tell she wasn't reading it. The reddening tint on the bluenette's ears did tell what Eri was preoccupied with. "Most of us do have aesthetically pleasing and sexually stimulating features…" She put the paper down. "But, I do not dwell on such… frivolous yet charming things due to my Quirk. I also wouldn't want to curse offspring with them."

"Quirks aren't curses. I shoot acid, but it's not a curse."

"Mina…" Eri tossed Mineta's profile from a cushion-less sofa and sat. "I really, really like kids." The pink-haired girl blinked in surprise. Of all the things her friend liked, she didn't expect this to be one of them. "Once every two weeks, I visit a prison. Sunday afternoons to be precise, and next Sunday is my scheduled visit. I spend four hours with special cases, children. All of them were incarcerated due to villainy."

What?

"I do not find their punishment worthwhile. Did your Quirk cause trouble when it manifested? Did you hurt anyone?"

Mina flinched at both unpleasant memories and what Eri insinuated for all those kids. "Um… yeah. I got my mom pretty bad. She got better. I injured a bully. He thought it'd be funny to squeeze my arms hard. I was… five? I secret acid from anywhere, so… I don't think his hand ever got all its feeling back. I got probation for three months."

Eri nodded. "Imagine having a strength Quirk. The first time it manifested, you were five and rough housing with your older brother. You punched his shoulder since he teased how small you were, but your punch sent your brother through your balcony window. He died before he hit the ground. In your fevered state, you ended up killing your next-door neighbor, a police officer, and a bystander from falling debris."

Mina swallowed.

"Villainy is, by law, the act of committing a crime assisted by Quirk usage. Little leeway is given if the crime was a crime. Perhaps he would've received probation for just the brother, but he had no chance after three more fatalities."

Eri stopped talking and looked out the window. The girls kept each other company in silence while Midnight cooked. The encouraging nod she gave helped bolster Mina's resolve.

"Mina?" Eri's voice came out more like a whimper. Her horn had grown steadily since she arrived. It now reached the same length it had during USJ. "Don't come near me for the time being. For your safety, don't approach no matter what. Do you understand?"

"I do."

"I don't want children even though I really want to. I don't remember much about my childhood before…" She took a deep breath. "I always had this." She tapped the bony protrusion on her forehead. "My biological father held me in his arms one day. Do you know how most Quirks come in? A hundred percent, a light switch. I don't heal; I reverse. For anything alive, I revert them to a previous state. I did that to my father, then he was gone. Probably a single-celled organism. My mother had me in the custody of a… criminal organization within a day. I'm not sure how she had the connections, but I was three. After six years of torture probably to somehow exploit my Quirk, I escaped. My Quirk was running rampant at a hundred percent when an old lady touched my hand."

Shit.

"Father saved me. He broke the law by doing so. Despite the circumstances, I'd receive ten years minimum and the criminal label for the rest of my life. Either that or a mental institution. Murder or mental instability… Neither was a good outcome. I don't want kids because I don't want them to feel the same pain. I… I'm telling you this because I understand you well enough. You won't tell."

Mina became a hero to stop bullies and let people see how nice scary mutant-types can be. She didn't expect to face a situation like this. Will that stop her? No.

"Eri." She clenched her fists. "Tell me when I can touch you then take a deep breath."

"Why?"

"Because I'm going to give you the biggest, longest hug ever, okay?"

Mina wanted to protect people from bullies and tell them that every was going to be alright. Right now, Eri really needed to know things were going to be fine, so she did end up hugging her friend. They ate lunch together. They talked about school and how they'd fight other students. Mina left that evening.

Eri cried that night, but she fell asleep after enough tears.

BREAK LOGIC

Aizawa watched as the boy left his room, the first student who visited him. The teacher had a good grasp over his students' actions after being honed over his years at U.A. Most of the time, he could predict how they would act. The fact that one of his problem children showed up the minute non-heroes could visit him proved surprising to say the least.

If just seeing the boy startled him, the conversation befuddled him more than All Might doing something logical. Trauma had the ability to change a person. Very rarely do heroes keep the same personality from their first year in high school until their retirement or death, whichever came first. He predicted some change in the class psyche and planned on adapting their trauma into a determined drive.

But… "What the hell, problem child?" he mumbled. He had two this year. Most of the time, he'd drop problem children. Why pour hours into a single student when that time would better serve the nineteen others? Not these two. Alas, they had ridiculous potential. Any time he put into them would serve the world tenfold.

He groaned and lied back down into his hospital bed. Logic dictated he should feel content. Students who improve themselves equated finding a needle in a haystack, yet he felt worry. How did his little girl influence Bakugo to this extent? If he was in any way religious, he'd pray to every god, demon, and any powerful spirit that this wasn't…

He will not have the talk with Eri, not the sex talk. The romantic partners talk. He'll punt that off to Nemuri like he did with the sex talk.

Yes, that was logical.

The sleep-deprived man turned on his room's television. Nemuri told him when the press conference started, and he wanted to see it. Know thine enemy. In this case, they had two. The League of Villains attacked their school; the press will attack their reputation. A two front war provided disadvantages, so he gave Nezu consent to pull out their ace in the hole.

Eri gave him permission to use it a year ago if the situation logically demanded such help. In this case, it did.

The U.A. press room had a swarm of reporters, with some of the same fuckers who started this mess, on one side. The other had a table with two empty chairs. They had a few minutes before nine in the morning, and this was the first interaction U.A. had with the media besides a release detailing the bare minimum of events.

He should have been in one of the chairs. He was their homeroom teacher and a parent. Reality spoke otherwise and confined him into recovery. All Might, despite his illogical approach to life, would have been another good choice. He had fantastic press relations and participated in USJ. The man currently lied two doors down to his left. Thirteen was another choice, but they had to rebuild USJ.

Cameras flashed. Two figures strode onto stage and took their seats. Nezu adjusted some of his papers with a smile, though the animal once confided that a rage-fueled snarl and a playful smirk looked the exact same to human eyes. The other observed the reporters with a hungry, aggressive confidence. While she wore her costume, Nemuri styled her hair akin to a lawyer.

Her appearance gave a stark impression. I will dominate you all, professionally.

Why did he let Nemuri be his girl's major female influence? Oh, right. It was either her or Ms. Joke.

Nezu cleared his throat and gave a detailed but rapid explanation of the attack. The press distraction, how the students became separated, an unnamed student's negation with Kurogiri, how four students bought All Might enough time to win, all three teachers' sacrifices to protect their twenty wards… Nezu gave almost all the information he legally could.

"Now, any questions?" the bear-mouse-dog thing asked.

Everybody answered in a wordless wave of shouts. Nezu pointed at one of the reporters. Nemuri sat there and looked terrifying.

"Are the reports true that a student received two broken arms and legs?"

"I'm not sure how you acquired that without breaking the law, but the wounds were sustained from Quirk backlash. Said student also was one who saved All Might, so his or her actions did help the situation."

"Is it true that one of the students gave lethal injuries to a petty criminal? What kind of students are you teaching?"

What the hell? First, his daughter healed the wound, and such actions were easily self-defense. She didn't even use her Quirk besides healing. Second, how did they know that unreleased material?

Nezu answered again. "That student defended him or herself without a Quirk against a criminal using a Quirk, then he or she saved that villain's life after ethically restraining that person and six others. Next question, preferably one that regards modern laws?"

"Criminals infiltrated U.A. twice. How can we assume your school as safe?"

"Warp Quirks have been used to successfully infiltrate four out of the five most secure locations in the world. Technology has yet to find a counter. Additionally, the actual attack would have been nearly impossible to successfully coordinate; however, the press provided a distraction through criminally breaking into private property housing minors after harassing said minors." Somehow, his boss said that with a gleeful smile and tone, though it could have something to do with a rage-filled snarl.

"Sir!" Ah, the reporters assumed Nemuri was there to be menacing and nothing else. "Twenty of the individuals present received major injuries and long-term disabilities. They claimed the hero Eraser Head tortured them. How do you defend against those accusations?"

How did that information get out? Also, he never had the time to torture those criminals.

Nemuri leaned forward. Her grin made lions look like kittens. "Eraser Head received a concussion, a nearly amputated foot, one collapsed lung, major internal bleeding, ninety-two fractures, and twenty broken bones. He defended children against murderers and nearly died for it."

"But, he-"

Nemuri stood. The reporter paused. "Miss, do you have children?"

"Um, a son."

"Would you do anything to defend your boy's life?"

"Of course, but I don't see-"

"Among the twenty students was Eraser Head's daughter, the only one who was admitted to the hospital. That should explain enough."

In fact, it did not; however, they planned on such. While the higher quality news media would report on the attack without causing too much trouble, the more annoying ones would say anything for readers. How did they combat them? They gave a more interesting story. U.A.'s most mysterious teacher had a daughter even though he had no history of relationships or… well, having a daughter.

They would've found out anyway. The Sports Festival occurred less than two weeks from now.

Eraser Head turned off the television as every reporter shouted follow-up questions.

BREAK LOGIC

"Raccoon Eyes said you'd be here."

Eri tilted her head to the side. She heard Bakugo approach and assumed he held intentions of speaking to her. Why? "She informed you correctly."

"Fucking figured that out when I saw your tall ass sitting here. Wanna fight?"

"With Quirks?"

"Tsk, we'll just punch the shit outa each other."

"I accept."

She read how males acquired a stereotype for venting through physical, brutal methods. While she knew stereotypes were illogical, they often had some shred of truth that snowballed into something false over time. Therefore, inflicting heavy physical trauma upon Bakugo could prove therapeutic.

She left her seat in the teacher's office and followed her… friend? Maybe? She followed Bakugo to the gym. He took off his light jacket to leave him wearing sweats and a white tank top. Since she maintained control over her Quirk, she took off her jacket, gloves, long-sleeved shirt. Only her baggy pants, which reminded her of Father's costume, and her wrappings remained.

"The fuck is that?" He pointed at her chest wrappings. "That shit isn't normal."

"I constructed my undergarments using the same material as Father's capture tape. It provides a secondary weapon in dire situations and protection from vulgar situations. For example, I could heal myself from Todoroki's fire but not my clothes, yet these would remain."

He furrowed his brows in thought. "You're gonna sneak that shit into the Sports Festival."

She nodded. "Without hesitation."

"Can I get some?" he said with a straight face.

Eri held back a blush from the image of Bakugo wearing female undergarments. "Ask the Support Department. They have the materials, but you'll have to create them yourself to ensure it's legal, until you attain a hero license."

He nodded. "In that case, are you ready to fight?" He stepped into the ring, and she followed before nodding. "Then DIE!"

Two hours later…

"YOU ALMOST FUCKING RUPTURED MY NUTS!" Bakugo did his best to not walk with a limp. Bruises dotted their bodies. The two students sat on a bench, and the boy took out a bottle of water.

"If I did, I would heal you. You use testosterone for combat capabilities, so I wouldn't hinder you in that regard." The girl looked at her arms and wondered why her right had twice as many bruises as her left.

"And you headbutted me with your damn horn!"

"I assumed you could withstand it." She waited for a reaction.

"ARE YOU FUCKING CHALLENGING ME, BITCH?!" He stood as his palms sparkled from tiny explosions.

Eri confirmed her hypothesis. "You're very insecure, aren't you?"

"The fuck!"

"You have a fascinating dichotomy of a superiority complex and an inferiority complex. You are fully aware you're better than most people, yet you also worry about appearing weak." She assumed he would've punched her at this point; however, he knew enough about her abuse to not. In a sense, she used her trauma for an advantage.

So, he attacked her verbally. "You got no room to speak. You're a self-destructive asshole. Hell, you LIKED it when I was punching you since you hate yourself so much. And you're fucking retarded. Pain won't fix whatever problem you got."

She nodded. "I appreciate your concern."

They left for their respective gender's showers and clothed themselves in their sweaty clothes again. Perhaps normal children would have cared about that, but neither did. They finished at the same time. The entire time, no one bothered them. The gym typically had few students during Sunday morning, and classes were canceled for the remainder of Friday and Saturday. Most took the time to relax or recover in 1-A's case.

"Bakugo?"

"Yeah, Red Eyes?" He stretched his back as water dripped off both their hair.

"You mentioned that people were deceiving you. Was that Midoriya with regards to his Quirk?"

Why did she ask such a question? She thought about USJ for hours on end, replaying the event over and over again. Her intentions were to find all her faults and judge the combat capabilities of her peers, but she noticed a discrepancy. In her panic-filled daze while running to heal her father, All Might stood unmoving. Judging from the day's events, he injured himself to the point where he almost couldn't hold his form. By the time she healed Midoriya, All Might became a skeleton of a man.

Most of the class did not see All Might in that form. She and Midoriya were the exceptions. He didn't act surprised, just worried. She postulated Midoriya already saw the skeletal All Might, and he had the opportunity. She knew about his and Bakugo's involvement with the Slime Villain.

Then, Midoriya became one of the latest bloomers in recorded history and received a Quirk that had nothing to do with his family but matched the Quirk of the injured, soon-to-be-retired All Might perfectly.

Coincidences did happen, but their likelihood of being mere coincidences decrease every time another one happens.

"Yeah, Deku said some shit about getting the power from someone else." He eyed her with suspicion. "Why ask?"

"Due to my Quirk and recent situations, I procured information that led me to that conclusion." She heard footsteps approaching, Miss Nemuri's from the sound of it. "While still a hypothesis formed from circumstantial evidence, Midoriya might have told you the truth."

Bakugo said nothing. Filling the air with words was pointless.

"And thank you for helping me. I am glad to have… have you as a friend."

"Suit yourself, Red Eyes."

BREAK LOGIC

Mina watched Eri throughout the school day. She saw her tremble when Aizawa entered the classroom with a broken arm, bandages around his waist, two casts on his legs, and had to roll himself in with a wheelchair.

It was the first time they met since USJ.

Mina could read Eri decently, and the girl's eyes became a maelstrom of emotion. She didn't know how to help her friend. She felt useless, like USJ. Aizawa did know what to do for the whole class. He diverted their worries, self-doubts, and restless energy onto something productive.

The Sports Festival.

Did you feel weak? Train for the Sports Festival. Do you feel insecure? Train. Was your mind flashing back to the trauma? Train. Was your body a few moments from exploding in an emotional volcano? Train.

Thus, they trained for the entire afternoon session and will do so until next Friday. Eri had determination like Bakugo, Kiri, Midoriya, and the terrifyingly resolute Uraraka. Like… what the fuck? Those two girls worked with each other for the afternoon, and it made sense. They both had Quirks that screwed them up after too much usage. Eri even taught Uraraka fighting moves which the girl seemed ever eager to learn now.

Almost dying can really motivate people.

They washed and reconvened in their classroom. Iida kept them an extra few minutes to explain the necessity of therapists. He had permission from his brother Ingenium to give some of the hero's personal stories on the matter. Mina appreciated that and wondered what her session will be like. A few students already went and said good things.

She hoped their futures were looking up. With class dismissed, Midoriya picked up his school bag and walked to massive 1-A doors. He opened it and found a swarm of angsty teenagers.

"Um, hello?" he squeaked while others in her class whispered about what the others were doing out there.

"Get the fuck outa my way, extras!" Bakugo shouted as he pushed a student to the side using his bookbag. "They're scoping the competition."

"Oh, what do we have here?" A blonde boy poked his form out from the masses. "You of class 1-A must think you're really special, huh?" To be honest, he appeared like a less-hot version of Todoroki with a personality worse than Bakugo's. "This's gonna be all the limelight you get because 1-B will crush you!"

Then Eri did what she does best, which was doing something unexpected and sorta bonkers. She stood up, titled her head, and deadpanned, "Neito Monoma. Quirk: Copy. He can copy your Quirk along with a general idea how to use it after touching a hair strand. Quirks such as mine would not function with his since mine requires accumulation and works better with female physiology."

"Th… That's not fair!" he screamed. "How'd you get my records?"

The red-eyed girl smiled. "Be wary then. The best safety lies in fear."

The boy blanched. His exchange confirmed every suspicion he held for class 1-A. They thought they were better. They saw everyone else as inferior. They even had his record! The mockery!

The rest of the class decided that Eri must be Aizawa's daughter, regardless of whether she told them. When she confronted Monoma, she radiated the same dark passion their teacher used when subduing others. She had his family name, and she acted like a blue-haired Shota Aizawa.

Mina felt happy how her friend engaged social situations in a less robotic manner, even if she traded it for being spooky.

Hitoshi Shinso stepped back into the mass of students and scrapped his idea about confronting the class. He felt they did deserve to know the General Department students' one chance at getting into the hero course, the Sport Festival. They NEEDED to do well even if it meant replacing a student in the Hero Studies. He didn't want to risk that tall girl telling everyone his Quirk, though no one in 1-A would bother checking general education's Quirks. His Quirk required the element of surprise after all.

Yaoyorozu also felt hidden glee because up until that point she had no idea how much the girl read Shakespeare.

BREAK LOGIC

A familiar iron tint lofted into Eri's nostrils. The smell once terrified her, but it lessened over time. Now, it almost comforted her. If she bled, she lived. If she lived, she could continue living.

Midoriya, on the other hand, hated the smell of blood. He wanted nothing more than to rescue people with a smile on his face. Blood meant people were hurting, and he didn't want people to suffer. He'd ignore the smell of his own blood if it meant helping others, but that blood wasn't his even. Still, he caused it.

Eri spat blood. Her hand looked like ground beef and bones protruded from her destroyed left arm. The force of the impact almost ripped the appendage from her shoulder. It stayed at the cost of breaking several bones, including the rib that punctured her lung.

She healed herself, reverting her body to its state fourteen seconds ago. She could've fixed the injuries sooner, but she wanted to ensure Midoriya comprehended the severity of his punch.

"Now, hold still for a moment." She touched his broken arm, and it became whole again. "And I apologize for any emotional distress I caused during the twenty trial runs and five person-to-person punches."

Midoriya sobbed. He disregarded devastating his arms, legs, and fingers repeatedly. That didn't matter. What mattered was how Eri got hurt because of him (even though she threatened to break each of his fingers, to stop helping him when he first refused to hurt her with a hundred-percent smash, and got him there in the first place to be his symbolic apology for getting injured thus having her heal him instead of Father).

"No m-more punching?" he choked out.

"Not like that." She shook her head. "Your Quirk reminds me of mine, actually."

His eyes lit up as his internal anguish gave way to fanboyish glee. He loved two things above all else. Quirks and All Might. "You're Quirk is so interesting since I've never seen a healing Quirk like that because most healing Quirks use some form of energy to fix the victim like solar or interpersonal or blood, but yours works without any repercussions at all including even scars because I should've got so many scars but not one appeared so I thought maybe your Quirk wasn't a true healing Quirk but more like a reverting Quirk because it seemed to put my body back into a previous condition even though a Quirk like that never existed before and-"

Her hand covered his mouth. "Midoriya, breathe." He blushed and took the first breathe since he verbal train wreck of words and mumbling. "And please keep my Quirk confidential." He nodded.

"So, I'm right?"

"The mechanics still prove confusing, but you described the effects without error." She looked around and confirmed no one could hear them. It made sense. She scheduled this a seven in the evening long after most sane people left. "But, let's talk about your Quirk for a moment. Your body and mine cannot withstand all your Quirk's power."

"Yeah. Is yours the same way?" She almost saw the gears turning in his head.

"I use just a fraction of its full potential, otherwise it runs away from me." She kept her face blank to hide her regret.

"Like a garden hose!" What? "You're Quirk is like a garden hose with no nozzle. All the power, um, the water… just flows through, so you kink it! That way, only a trickle comes out, but a trickle can only do so much! That means it must've been at a hundred percent when you first had it which means your reverting must've-" He stopped himself and took a somber gloom. His eyes turned to the floor. "I'm… I'm sorry for making you think about that. Um, I… I…"

"I have a father again, and he's amazing. I have a good reason to help you, do I not?"

He twiddled his thumbs. "I won't tell anyone, and I don't think less of you."

"You are kind…" She took a calming breath. "But, I expected you to deduce that at some point. Many in the class will eventually; however, we are off-topic. I notice you did exactly what I did. When you used your Quirk, every time you concentrated its totality in the area you used." She held her hands up. "My Quirk only activates with hand contact, so I initially concentrated my Quirk there. My father created a solution that worked effectively until…" She grimaced. "My Quirk became more abnormal during puberty. My figure and height suffered in contrasting directions."

Midoriya's face became redder than his shoes. His eyes plastered their gaze at Eri's eyes and ONLY her eyes. It didn't help he destroyed part of her gym uniform.

"Midoriya, in light of the Sport's Festival tomorrow, I will give you this assistance in return for a favor. I have accumulated several from other students at this point, so I believe this will be mutually beneficial."

He nodded. He and most of his classmates knew Eri seemed to have some hidden motive. She visited 1-B, the support department, and the general students over a dozen times during their two weeks of training.

"Have you ever tried spreading your Quirk over your entire body?"

Midoriya mustered one word which perfectly described his mental abilities at her revelation. "Oh."

Chapter Text

And though she be but little, she is fierce. – William Shakespeare

I thought I’d never have a kid, but I really wanted one. Beyond the normal aspects many have, I think wish fulfillment was a part of it. I wanted to save all the Eris in the world and rescue them because no one else would or could, but there was something else I… desired.

I desired to raise a soul who had a happy childhood.

My time with Father felt amazing. It was like sitting in a pool for minutes then pushing up and gasping for air. That desperate need for love wasn’t there, but then it was. I NEEDED to give that feeling to someone else. I wanted to be responsible for someone who always had that breathe of fresh air… I wanted to constantly save someone before they ever got hurt.

Father laid next to me for hours as I cried silently. He never prodded, but he was there waiting for when I felt ready. Miss Nemuri simply existing did so much. She forced me to watch silly and girly movies sometimes. She pushed me to talk about my past. She gave me a role model, and to this day I’ll swear she was the most amazing woman I ever got to know… Not once did she push me too hard.

Then, there was Hizashi. I first wondered why Father banned me from adding any honorific to his name. I realized why the first time I met him. I was an old soul in a young body. He was a young soul in an old body.

He’s also my crazy uncle.

BREAK LOGIC

Aizawa watched his daughter. She read the Japanese to English dictionary with disturbing conviction. She never colored. She didn’t play with dolls. She never laughed. He wondered what it sounded like.

Once, he muttered a quote under his breathe, and Eri heard it. She asked what he said, since he spoke in English. He explained those words meant in Japanese, and he spoke those words thinking of her. He still did. His girl had a fierceness not from violence but drive. She wanted to get better but not for her sake.

Father, I don’t want to worry you. I’ll get better.

She tried within the realms of her own limitations. Human interaction was still a no-go. She had three people in her circle of trust and one she tolerated. Nezu acted as her therapist while Nemuri rocketed through education and paperwork for becoming one herself. The woman also acted as a tender caregiver. Aizawa in no way deluded himself into thinking he could bake cookies for Eri without coming across as forced. As for the tolerated one, Recovery Girl had enough of a relationship with Eri to act as her doctor. She also gave the idea for Eri to work her powers on mushrooms for practice, since humans were out of the question and the girl didn’t care for mushrooms besides eating them.

Perhaps her lack of friend explained why Eri concluded she must learn English at all costs so she could read Shakespeare. Her views of the world and values were dangerously underdeveloped, so she tended to copy whatever her trusted few believe. Those trusted few were an animal experimented on by humans, a woman who had a public image of a dominatrix, and Aizawa himself.

Thus, he killed two birds with one stone and told Hizashi everything. Like Eri, Aizawa trusted few. Just Nemuri and Hizashi, therefore, he trusted his friend and toddler in human flesh to help Eri. It spoke of their dire situation when the screaming radio DJ with more bling than a disco ball was called in to give Eri a normal influence.

A knock sounded from the front door. Twenty minutes late, exactly as he predicted. Aizawa suppressed a smile when he opened the front door.

“Hizashi,” he greeted.

In return, Hizashi screeched, “Aizawaaaaa!” Aizawa squinted, though no one knew if it was from the blonde’s bling or his sheer dazzling presence.

Eri, on the other hand, set her book down and hid under their dining room table. She made the move in one smooth motion and did so silently enough to make an assassin jealous. While most little girls learned skills like sharing toys and social norms, Eri crammed concealing herself into her head through trial and error. If Overhaul didn’t think of her, maybe she’d be the tiniest bit safer.

Needless to say, Present Mic fell short of a good first impression, and the blonde recognized that.

The father rubbed his forehead. “Eri, meet Hizashi, otherwise known as Present Mic. I’ve been cursed with knowing this man for over a decade. Hizashi, meet Eri.”

“Heyyyyyy, little listener!” Even though he had no clue where the girl hid, he spoke anyway. “I’m gonna be your DJ for the day! Aizawa and I go wayyyy back. Did ya know I was the one who chose his hero name? Yeah! I suggested Eraser Head, and he took it!”

Eri concluded the man had no intent to harm her. First, Father told her he’d be coming. Second, Father would’ve attacked the man if he wanted to hurt her. Third, not one villain she ever met acted anywhere close to this man. Perhaps there were criminals out there like him, but his disposition indicated he was a good, if weird, person.

Therefore, she chose to give an unbiased opinion. Father encouraged her to be honest with others and to tell them when she didn’t want to talk about something. Not knowing what else to say, she noted the most obvious aspect available. “Present Mic, you talk annoyingly.”

Hizashi responded with uncontrollable laughter. Eri cocked her head, confused but content with his reaction. “Are you sure she’s adopted?” He got on his hands and knees to peer under the table. Gold sunglasses met red eyes. “Little listener, you’re a tiny Eraser Head!”

While she didn’t trust the man and it would take months for her to do so, Eri viewed that remark as one of the finest, most admirable comments she ever received.

BREAK LOGIC

Months later, she went on her first outing with Hizashi. Their destination was his territory, his home away from home. They arrived at his studio in the early hours of the morning. Despite the cold, she didn’t shiver, for she wore layers as protection from the outside world and for the world from her.

Like Father, Hizashi had differing jobs than the average hero. Before school, he completed his morning radio program. During the day, he taught at U.A. along with Miss Nemuri and Father. In the afternoon and evening, he finished the rest of his show. In terms of crimes stopped or solved, he did much less than the average hero. In terms of how much he helped, fewer had more influence.

He spoke of his show regularly to her. In many ways, he acted as a free information broker. Despite the music that he played, he also hosted talk programs and commentary on the hero life. He offered glimpses into another world for his audience at large, and he accepted any information offered regardless of the sender. On dozens of occasions, a criminal organization ratted out another through him since he never searched for or prosecuted the sender. Many found defeating another gang through the radio of all things was too hilarious to resist.

Little did she know, but several of her future friends listened to his show religiously, with a certain green-haired boy as the token zealot of the lot.

Hizashi leaned on a sound board that stretched from one side of the room to the other and spoke into a microphone. His personality stayed the same from personal to public life, and Eri considered that a good thing. She merely sat in a small chair in the back of the room, watched, and listened. Neither moving nor making a sound, she could have been mistaken for a statue.

He took calls ranging from fans, song request, a hero interview, and five informants. It made no sense to Eri. How could all these unrelated people contribute to just one event? What kept them pointing in the right direction? Who were they?

She didn’t know, since she didn’t comprehend people. The girl clenched the folds of her skirt. Wrong. This place felt wrong, and it was wrong because she existed. Her very presence acted as an infection, a foreign entity. All she could do was look inside, but she could never touch this world. She had no power over it.

This was a happy, innocent world.

Then, everything changed. Some modern pop song blared in the background as Hizashi read his notes. The clock read four minutes until eight. He had enough time to say one more thing or play one more song before the morning’s elegy finished. What will he do?

He muted his microphone and spun around in his chair. “Hey little listener!” He smiled in childlike glee. “What’s your favorite tune?”

She titled her head to the side. “Favorite?”

“A song that speaks to ya!” He shakes his head. “Don’t tell me the old cat won’t let his kid listen to music!”

Father did let her listen to anything, but she gravitated to older pieces. The closer to Shakespeare the better, and electronic-sounding instruments reminded her of being captive. They had machine-like sounds, so she gravitated to solely acoustic instruments.

As for a song that spoke to her… “Lacrimosa, from Mozart’s Requiem. Thank you.”

“Ahhhh…. Okay!” He pulled out his laptop and typed with near superhuman speed. He didn’t have that song nor expected her to make that request, but he decided to get it for her in time. He finished with seconds to spare and turned on his microphone. “Okay listeners! We have a special request from a special little listener, so we’ll be ending on a rad note this morning!”

And thus, the station that played pop music, hosted talk shows, and gave commentary played a song written hundreds of years ago for a funeral.

The lyrics were composed in Latin, but she knew the translation by heart. It was somber, haunting. It reverberated in the darkest parts of the soul and fought to bring weeping tears to one’s eye. She empathized with the sound. She yearned for the lyrics.

Mournful that day.
When from the ashes shall rise
A guilty man to be judged.
Lord, have mercy on him.
Gentle Lord Jesus,
Grant them eternal rest.
Amen.

She didn’t deserve such a glorious fate, but she desired it. Those guilty souls stood before all that was right in the world, and that righteousness sentenced them for their crimes… The guilty atoned for their sins at last.

Eri wanted her atonement for her sins, her damnation.

She was seven.

BREAK LOGIC

Most children would ask why they sat in a car for hours. Most children would feel fear at being away from their parent. Not Eri. She knew they’d reach their destination regardless of whether she was told, and Miss Nemuri drove the car. If Midnight was with her, how could she be in danger, especially if they haven’t been around other people?

The air conditioning blew in her face as she stared out the side window. The familiar landscape of the city fell to pasturelands, and the pasturelands fell to a forest. Again, most children saw forests as scary. They thought monsters and demons lived in the green-tinted shadows, but Eri knew the real monsters dwelt inside everyone. How else could men torture her, a little girl? How else could she have murdered her father and the old woman?

To Eri, the idea of a forest stood akin to a fortress of isolation. People couldn’t hurt her, and she couldn’t hurt the people.

They pulled into a park which lied under a mountain. Now, the mountain was nothing more than a small hill, but Eri hadn’t seen actual mountains to compare. This was her first trip ever.

Miss Nemuri stepped out of the car and made her way to Eri’s side. She unbuckled the girl and set her on the ground. The bluenette watched her other main guardian besides Father with interest. Did they come to this location for learning or recreational purposes? When Miss Nemuri pulled a picnic basket from her car’s trunk, it confirmed the latter.

“I’ve never had a picnic before. Are they fun?” she asked.

Midnight nodded. “Yup! Great date material too, so pay attention when you find that special someone.”

Eri nodded, not sure with exactly what the woman meant but assumed she would with age. “We could eat on that bench.” She pointed to a wooded bench that seemed suited for meals. No one thought her actions odd since only the two of them were there. The woman took a day off in the middle of the week, so they had the part to themselves.

“Nope!” She pointed to the top of the mountain. “We’ll eat there!”

Eri titled her head. “But, why climb it?”

“Because it’s there!”

And so, they did. All the while, Eri pondered Miss Nemuri’s words. The girl never took an action without reason. She studied in school to make Father proud. She listened to music to better understand human creativity. She learned English to read Shakespeare, and she wanted to read Shakespeare since Father knew it enough to quote it once. It had to be super amazing, right?

Midnight, on the other hand, took action for the sake of taking it. She wanted to climb the mountain. She wanted to help Eri. She like conspiring with Hizashi to find new ways to annoy Father.

She wondered which could be considered normal.

When they reached the top, Miss Nemuri opened the basket. She took out two sandwiches and a bag of apples, Eri’s favorite food. Even so, the girl payed no heed to the food, for she realized that she stood between heaven and earth.

An endless expanse stretched out before her. In the heavens, opaque clouds dotted the azure sky. The sun hung overhead and made her squint. On the earth, a forest of green melted into pasturelands of gold and jade. A small lake glistened silver and trickled into a meandering stream.

In this moment, Eri understood breathtaking beauty.

“Miss Nemuri, why did the world become so pretty?” She stood and stared, not knowing how to respond to such a foreign situation.

“It’s always been like this.” Her guardian for the day set a red and white blanket on the ground.

“Really?” She titled her head to the side and reevaluated how she saw the world. She knew the darkness of man and the indifference of the metropolitan jungle. She understood the safety that stayed in the wilderness but not the beauty. If she missed that, what else hid itself in the world?

The girl felt a hand rest on her shoulder. “The world is still beautiful even if you don’t see it.” The woman chuckles. “Or, to put it in terms you’d like more…” She changed to speaking in English. “There are more things to heaven and Earth, Eri, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Though she only comprehended part of it, her eyes lit like the sparkling waters. “Shakespeare?”

Miss Nemuri lifted the girl and sat her down on the red and white blanket with tender care. “It’s in Hamlet. But now, let’s eat!”

And thus, they did. Even though the meal was entirely Western, thereby more unfamiliar to the girl, she enjoyed it. She ate three apples and would’ve consumed more but didn’t want to risk an upset stomach on the hike downwards. On her third apple, she saw ants marching in lines. One line went towards a large bread crumb that fell from her sandwich. The other branched onto a more concerning site.

A ladybug beetle twitched as ants carried her off toward wherever they called home. Eri swallowed and bit her lip. She didn’t know her body tensed and her hand clenched, but Miss Nemuri did.

“Eri, are you alright?” She already knew the answer. Of course Eri wasn’t alright nor had she been alright for years, yet something disturbed the girl more than normal. The woman wanted to know what it was to help the child. Why would a hero not help such a soul?

“The ladybug.” She pointed at the scene. “I want to save her.”

“Then do.”

“But, the ants need to eat. If I save the beetle, the ants would starve. If I let the ants take her, then the beetle would die.” She unclenched her hand. “Do I have the right to intervene? Both are bugs, so they think the same. One doesn’t mean more than the other. Is it wrong for me to choose the winner?”

Miss Nemuri took a moment to gather her thoughts. The girl before her had more trauma than most heroes had in a lifetime, but she still was just seven. She switched between scared, passive, and thoughtful at almost random intervals. It often resulted in the oddest conversations.

Eri’s personality could be best described as a sponge. Very little of Eri was Eri. She liked Shakespeare because Aizawa showed the smallest of interest in him. She calculated and thought because her father did the same. She willingly talked to her trusted few because Midnight and Present Mic did so. She cared about the well-being of others because everyone she knew was a hero. None of them knew if Eri would’ve developed that way without them.

Midnight didn’t know how to respond. In heroics, the law trumped good and evil, and it made the greyest of situations oftentimes clear. If not, higher powers punted the problem off to the courts. In this situation, no law applied to the grey girl’s grey situation.

Miss Nemuri, on the other hand, knew exactly what to do. She handed her a piece of bread. “Sometimes, you can save everyone.”

Eri, being Aizawa’s daughter as thus oddly intelligent, understood what the woman inferred. With one hand, she picked up the ladybug. With the other, she put a crumb down on the ants. The little creatures scurried, but within a few minutes they’ll reform their line. Eri walked to a bush and placed the beetle on a leaf.

“Thank you, Mo-” Eri paused and blushed. “Miss Nemuri.”

The woman smiled at their unspoken but understood relationship. “Anytime, Eri.”

She pat the girl on her head, a daughter in all but name.

BREAK LOGIC

“Father, why doesn’t the world know about you?”

Aizawa stopped in the doorway and looked back at his daughter. She hadn’t moved, still tucked in her bed. Her eyes changed from dreary to alert.

“How did you hear that?” He felt certain about the answer. Today was the first day of school which meant orientations for most. For his class, it meant he expelled four of them. Another twelve probably won’t last the month. Though, three of the expelled students transferred to general education. The last was expelled from the school, since he gave a new meaning to the word idiot.

“I… I was with Recovery Girl when four students came in and needed healing. They didn’t see me since I sat on a bed with the curtain drawn. They…” He saw the confusion in her eyes. “They said ‘Who does that no-name Eraser Head think he is? Expelling us? I’ll tell my father, and he’ll suffer.’ Why don’t they know about the best hero ever?”

Right. He expelled the two recommendation students. One was the idiot. The other has a chip on his shoulder the size of Hizashi’s hair. His daughter, on the other hand, proved how well should could remember details when it mattered to her.

“The public has almost no idea I exist. Many heroes don’t unless I worked with them before.”

“Why?” She sat up in bed. He’ll have to tuck her in again later. “Shouldn’t everyone know about the nicest hero ever?”

Nicest… He wondered what last year’s students would’ve said after hearing that. “I’m underground. My Quirk uses surprise, so the fewer people who know about me, the better.” Eri nodded at his logic. “Plus, what would fame give me? Money? Fans? Neither saves people.”

“So, if Overh-” She shook her head. “If that bad man knew about your Quirk, he could’ve… could’ve…”

He intervened before she worded her thoughts. “Maybe, but real heroes aren’t one-trick ponies. I would’ve found a way to save you. I’m sure.”

“Does it bother you? No one recugnizes… rekicnizes… Um…”

“Recognizes.” He smiled.

“Thank you. No one recognizes all the work you’ve done and all the people you’ve saved.” Her words sounded sad.

He shrugged. “It doesn’t bother me, not really. I try not to care about what strangers think of me. It is illogical to think their opinion matters when they know next to nothing about me, but for the people that do know me, I care. That tells me how others who do understand me think of me.”

She pushed her covers off and stood with total conviction. “I think you’re the best father ever!”

He disagreed but didn’t voice that opinion. Taking care of a child was difficult, and he took a child who was distorted. Despite his best efforts, his little girl remained… off in many ways. She tried to hide it from him, but he knew she hated and blamed herself for her accidental deaths. She hated being away from her trusted few and despised talking to new people. Every other night, she woke up screaming or sobbing. She had no friends her age nor did she want any.

Even so, she believed he was the best father ever. Instead of correcting her error, he walked to her bed and gently tucked her back under the covers. “Thank you, Eri.” He patted her head and headed away from her.

In while leaving the room, Eri blurted, “I love you.” Immediately, she gasped and hid her head under the blankets. She never told him that before.

Not wanting to push the girl but also desiring to give his approval, he said one thing before closing the door. “I love you. Always have. Always will.”

BREAK LOGIC

No matter how many years passed, Eri remembered that moment in perfect clarity. She could feel her heart tighten and her breathing freeze from unimaginable terror. It fully eclipsed the worst moments of her torture or any injury she sustained during her career. Her fear held no logic, no reason.

Cognitively, she knew her father loved her and wouldn’t disapprove of her statement. Emotionally, the thought of him rejecting her horrified the girl because she believed he should. She brought nothing but more troubles to her hero, and she was a villain. A hero’s duty was to stop villains, and she murdered two people with her Quirk. She had more in common with a ticking time bomb than a real girl.

So, when he told her those words, a sense of jubilation washed over her. He dispelled every fear of disapproval or rejection because Father NEVER lied to her. He lied to others, but he told her nothing but the blatant truth. She had no fear of deception from Father.

Therefore, when he told her that he loved her and will continue to love her no matter what happens, she accepted it as reality. Two plus two was four. Water was wet. Father loved her.

That night, she cried herself to sleep. She cried out of happiness.

Perhaps that was why Eri said those very words almost a decade and a half later. She felt exhausted beyond belief. Her body glistened with sweat, and her mind blurred from exhaustion. She hardly noticed the doctors around her or the worried but relieved man beside her.

Instead, she recalled Father’s words and focused on the screaming soul in her arms. On top of her head was a horn, indicating a similar fate to hers.

Even so, Eri beamed in euphoria and cooed, “I love you. Always have. Always will, my daughter.”

Chapter Text

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt. – William Shakespeare

 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had a lot of Overhaul in me. It made sense. I was a sponge of a personality, and he technically raised me for three years. The early stages of a child’s life are foundational, and my first memories of anyone tough was Overhaul. I concluded he must be tough when he shattered my right arm like a firework.

 

I had an emotionless mask I used a lot. It kept my powers under control, and it made me seem tougher. That emotionless disposition paralleled my memories of that demon. He tried to be calm, logical. I don’t feel bad about it since it actually helped me during that time of my life. Still, that was the Overhaul in me.

 

There was another thing I absorbed from that bastard. He acted ruthless. When necessary, I could be ruthless too. It’s just that I had a more positive direction for that ruthlessness, even if it did scare Uraraka.

 

BREAK LOGIC

 

Aizawa really, really wanted to stand. Today was Friday. He had to wear casts and remain bound in a wheelchair until Sunday. He desired to do something that held not the slimmest bit of logic unless he took one matter into consideration. He had a daughter. That daughter was about to walk onto U.A. Sports Festival.

 

Shota Aizawa really, really wanted to give a standing ovation to his little girl.

 

Alas, Hizashi roped him into being an announcer for some insane reason, and his injuries kept him sitting. Therefore, he did the next best thing. He announced his little girl’s entrance, even if it was veiled within her class.

 

“First, comes class 1-A. They fought villains and won. I don’t think All Might or I would be alive without them. That is all.” He also never claimed to be a good or even mediocre commentator. “Present Mic, you can do the rest.” Showing such blatant favoritism could also be explained by him being their homeroom teacher.

 

Hizashi announced the other classes with screaming and energy only found at the bottom of a gallon of coffee. None of the other classes looked too pleased with 1-A’s infamy, especially 1-B. He talked to their homeroom teacher, Ken, enough to know resentment wasn’t an uncommon sight. Maybe he could trade Mineta for Kendo. Ken wouldn’t stop raving about her, a weirdly effective mix between Iida, Kirishima, and Ojiro’s personalities and abilities.

 

Eri never complained, but he could tell she disliked the shortest student in 1-A. Aizawa decided that he’ll wait until the boy did something worth expelling him from the entirety of U.A. Either that, or the boy would realize the potential he had. The man hoped for the former. That perverted gave lecherous gazes at his daughter, so fuck that little shit.

 

The students stood in rows. He saw the fear and anxiety on their faces. Most students named this event as their first nerve-wracking moment of their hero career. 1-A looked calm by comparison, and why wouldn’t they? How scary was nationally televising yourself? It was just the most watched First-Year Sports Festival ever.

 

Then, Nemuri walked onto the stage centered in the stadium. She displayed her normal demeanor and proved why this event never received a maturity rating. Then, she called Bakugo to give a sportsman’s pledge that no one would’ve listened to and the boy had no intention of making anyway. Nonetheless, he finished first in the entrance exams, and the tired man wanted to see if his daughter had any influence on the boy. He felt mildly curious.

 

Bakugo took the mic and spoke, “I’m gonna win.”

 

Nope, nothing changed at all. 1-A gave a collective sigh as every other class screamed their frustrations at the blonde’s frank statement.

 

But then, the explosive student broke whatever logic dictated the world in that moment by screaming, “And if you extras don't have the same fucking attitude, I'll humiliate you instead of crush you!” Class 1-A looked stunned, more than they were during his introductory logical ruse. Bakugo just encouraged everyone to do their best... sorta.

 

Hizashi elbowed him in the side and whispered, “Well, that's better than...”

 

Aizawa grunted. “I have a headache.”

 

BREAK LOGIC

 

Eri watched as Miss Nemuri spun a wheel. The audience and the other students believed the end point dictated their first event. That believe was false. Principal Nezu would not waste resources like that. He elected to give the illusion of random variability but preserved financial stability.

 

It meant all of 1-A knew what that wheel will land on.

 

When everyone arrived, she asked Koda to scout the fields with his birds w. He reported his birds noticed just one grouping of obstacles large enough to support the entirety of the first years. In order to generate good will with her peers, she told them all (besides Mineta, but the purple hobgoblin didn’t count).

 

The wheel stopped spinning on the obstacle course. Eri already had Uraraka in one hand and used the other hand to push through the support students. She found the familiar mess of pink hair marching towards them.

 

Eri felt the rumbling before she heard the explosions. On previous years, explosions happened few and far between. To be precise, approximately two occurred per Support Course Workshop every semester. According to Power Loader’s recent grumblings, one specific workshop had twelve explosions… this week. In general, the workshops held ten students each. Eri opened the door and saw the sole occupant. Said occupant also had a cot set up in the back corner of the room and produced more gear in her short time at U.A. than most support students would in a lifetime.

 

The name Hatsume Mei started to ripple through U.A. like the Big Three. It became more than apparent that U.A. happened to have a potential All Might, but this one built technology instead of punching villains. From the files she read, Mei had the innate ability to find and use countless different technologies in new ways. She didn’t invent a hovering, flying… foot thingy, but she compiled two centuries worth of knowledge and added her modifications.

 

Eri tilted her head when she saw the inventor. She recalled any information she knew about geniuses or mechanics; however, none of it explained what she saw. She cleared her throat. “Mechanic Mei.” Smoke dissipated from some cylindrical contraption the girl had been working on. “Why are you not wearing shoes?”

 

“I forgot?”

 

“Oh.” Eri nodded. “Thank you for clarifying.”

 

The pinkette’s eyes gained a maniacal tint. “You here for my Babies?!”

 

“No, I’m here for an alliance.”

 

Her eyes deflated. Mei lost all interest in the conversation. “Go away. I need to build more Babies and show ‘em off for the Sports Festival.”

 

Eri didn’t waver. In fact, the girl’s words strengthened her resolve. “In return for allying yourself to me during the Sports Festival, I will tell you an in-depth analysis for every Quirk in 1-A and generalizations for class 1-B.”

 

“Oh, okay.”

 

And that was the start of a most peculiar friendship between the insane inventor and the distorted hero.

 

“Weird girl!” Mei waived her arms over her head. “You want my Babies?!”

 

Uraraka didn’t know what was happening, but she decided to go with the flow. Eri had some concocted plan for the Sports Festival, and the brunette held some part in it. Plus, she helped Deku, though her friend didn’t say what. That in and of itself proved more than enough to owe her a favor.

 

Eri nodded at the support student. “Mechanic Mei and fellow classmate Uraraka, would either of you be interested in a guaranteed top three?”

 

BREAK LOGIC

 

In Greek mythology, the goddess Artemis released the monstrous Calydonian Boar upon the countryside out of petty anger. It ravaged people and crops alike, a blight to the world. People needed heroes, so heroes gathered. Together, the men would slay the beast.

 

They could not even draw blood. The beast was too fierce, too swift. Then, the most improbable occurred by the one hunter whose help they tried to refuse. Atalanta let her arrow fly and pierced the beast, and it bled.

 

As a babe, she was discarded by her father for not being a son and survived in the wilderness by suckling from a she-bear. Hunters later found and raised her. She took the title of hero for herself not through bloodlines or blessings. No, Atalanta persevered through the fire of tribulation and emerged brilliant.

 

When she fired her arrow and drew first blood, the hero announced to the world “Don’t underestimate me” not with her words but by deeds.

 

When Eri launched herself and her allies across the obstacle course, the hero announced to the world “Don’t underestimate me” not with her words but by winning.

 

None of the students even noticed the trio when they flew overhead. Made weightless by Uraraka, sustained by Eri and propelled by Mei’s Hover Soles, they soared through the heavens like Atalanta’s arrow. Mei laughed like a madwoman. Uraraka shrieked in fright. Eri maintained her concentration. She reverted Uraraka every second to ensure the girl’s nausea didn’t arise from using her Quirk on herself.

 

Eri estimated their speed and release time. “Uraraka, now.”

 

“Release!” the girl squeaked.

 

With a well-timed shove from Mei’s Hover Soles, the mechanic halted their crashing descent. Eri sat a few meters past the finish line and observed her classmates in the far distance. None of them knew their battles were for fourth place. She commented, “That was an effective twelve seconds.”

 

Mei didn’t hear her since she busied herself with dancing. Never before had a support student qualified past the first round, and the score board showed she broke that record.

 

1st Place: Hatsume Mei

 

She only used one of her Babies. She had dozens more to show.

 

Uraraka just sat besides Eri in a daze. Her mind wanted to comprehend what occurred, but reality seemed too akin to a fantasy. “Did we win?”

 

“Yes.”

 

A glimmer of white dazzled in the distance. Todoroki must’ve used his Quirk. “Was that what you were planning?”

 

“In part.” Eri’s face contorted from a passive nonchalance to a cracked smirk. “But I premeditated much more than this.”

 

Uraraka shivered at Aizawa’s spawn. The terrifying realization hit her like All Might’s mightiest greatest smash. Her mouth opened and closed for a minute, trying to formulate sound from her convoluted thoughts. “Y… You… You’re relishing in this.”

 

She couldn’t say she knew Eri like Mina, Bakugo, or even Yaoyorozu; however, she considered her a friend. Eri had likes and dislikes. She hated Mineta like all the females and enjoyed fighting. The girl went out of her way to help others, even if those methods bordered on crazy. Not once did Eri give this specific look.

 

Deku possessed it when nerding about heroes. Bakugo bled it when fighting. Uraraka showed it when helping her parents. Ashido twirled in it while dancing. Kirishima crowed it when doing anything manly… Everyone had it for something. They had passions. Sometimes one. Sometimes many.

 

She saw Eri’s passion, and it fucking terrified her.

 

“Dominating?” Eri titled her head to the side. “Yes, I relish in this dominance.”

 

Uraraka clutched Eri’s arm in desperation. “Let me be on your team!” The second event always had a team aspect.

 

Her friend nodded, all the while maintaining her reckless glee. “I planned on such.”

 

BREAK LOGIC

 

Hizashi muted their mics since Nemuri had to transition the remaining forty-two into the next event. Without the prying ears of the world, Eraserhead’s oldest friend broke into uncontrollable laughter. He fell out of his chair and clutched his sides. Within moments, the man gasped for breath from the exertion.

 

“Aizawa, did you see the looks on their faces?! On your face?!” Without waiting for a reply, he burst into laughter again.

 

The father smiled. Todoroki, Bakugo, and Midoriya fought hard for first place. Bruised, battered and freezing, the boys finished almost at the same time. In the end, Midoriya edged in front of the other two. He celebrated while Bakugo raged and Todoroki kept his ever-impassive demeanor.

 

Then, Uraraka greeted them in her innocent and cheery way, as if she saw them while walking to school. It took a moment for the males to realize the gravity-defying girl stood ahead of them and with two other students. They didn’t battle for first. They battled for fourth.

 

Midoriya hugged Uraraka out of caring sportsmanship before he became a tomato for touching a girl. Bakugo laughed much like Hizashi. Knowing the boy, he pieced together how the three beat him and how quickly that must’ve occurred. Todoroki stared at them, but Aizawa hoped it acted as an enlightenment. The son of Endeavor made it clear through his actions he intended to never use his fiery half and expected to be the best regardless. He finished sixth several minutes behind first place, a girl whose Quirk was merely telescopic eyes.

 

He watched as the rumors spread among the finishers. He traced it by the dumfounded expressions bursting from the students’ faces. Three girls crushed everyone else through teamwork. It reminded them of children’s cartoons. Love and friendship overcame all trials while unicorns farted out rainbows. Such things were for children and helped their development, but cartoons weren’t reality.

 

His daughter disregarded reality and made a new one.

 

“I’m proud.” Aizawa wasn’t a man who prided in his works. Pride felled heroes and villains alike, so he refrained from the feeling. Eri would rather have a realistic, living father than a proud but dead one. Even so, he felt very proud now. It permeated every aspect of his existence to see his daughter stand in silent, terrifying victory.

 

“Dude!” Hizashi shook his head in astonishment. “I never thought my little listener could’ve been so cooperative!”

 

The father shook his head. “She’s only just begun.”

 

Aizawa opened his eyes and forgot whatever dream his mind concocted in the same moment. His surroundings differed from the past ten days. He didn’t see the stale white of a hospital room. He saw his living room.

 

He blinked three times. Why did he sleep here of all places? Just from the aching, itchy pain in his legs, he knew he hadn’t fully healed. They judged him well-enough to return home. Nothing more, nothing less. Despite his almost inhuman drive in heroics, he wouldn’t do something unbeneficial like sleeping on a sofa rather than his bed.

 

He realized his left side felt warmer than his right. Clearing his drowsiness, he heard soft feminine breathing, and a moist breath tickled his neck. Careful not to disturb her, he turned his neck and saw his daughter. She nested herself into his side. A line of drool traveled from her open mouth to his shirt, creating a wet patch. Her hair frazzled into a tangled mess. Salty streaks painted her cheeks from the night before.

 

Noticing the rising sun, he opened his mouth to wake her. She should’ve been up hours ago. Before a single syllable could be uttered, he closed his mouth. They reunited yesterday evening, and his daughter acted robotic for most it, and he waited for her walls to lower. They did without warning, and she sobbed into his shoulder for a very long time. He couldn’t do much to comfort her, wheelchair bound and exhausted from Recovery Girl’s healing. Evidently, they fell asleep on the couch.

 

Now, Eri looked happy. Her lips curved upwards into a childlike grin. Gone were those eyes that held years of terror. Banished was her stoic façade. Here, she was nothing but a girl happy to be with her father. Aizawa would stay there for hours to let her keep that feeling peace.

 

Alas, she woke. “Dad?” Her eyes almost twinkled when they met his. She wrapped her arm around his torso as if he’d slip away. He couldn’t blame her. He almost died not two weeks ago. It didn’t matter if a person was six or sixty. Loosing a parent terrifies anyone. He knew that by experience.

 

“I’m here.” He almost cringed by sounding like All Might and his catchphrase.

 

She squinted and looked at the rising sun. “I overslept, didn’t I?”

 

“You did.” No use in hiding the truth.

 

“Ah.” She sat straight and regained her bearings. Her face reddened. “I apologize for sleeping on you, drooling on you, and oversleeping.”

 

He shook his head. “You’ve had it tough too. It’s fine.”

 

She stood. “I, ah…” Shaking her head, her disposition changed from natural to her less than pleasing one. “I will make you coffee and breakfast. Considering my error, I will head to classes with you,” she intoned.

 

He let her go and contemplated if he should move himself to that blasted wheelchair yet. Maybe he should wait. Yeah, he’ll do that.

 

The scent of eggs lofted from the kitchen. Despite being more western, they consumed hundreds of scrambled eggs a year due to their quick cook time and high protein. She set a plate and steaming cup of black coffee before him. She went back to the kitchen and fetched the same for herself.

 

He noticed what was missing. “Eri?” He raised an eyebrow.

 

Without hesitation, she noted, “You no longer have that mug.”

 

They spoke of his favorite mug. The reason for his preference was the handle. It never heated and gave his fingers enough space to not touch the mug’s body. Considering he hadn’t used it in days, he knew it would’ve been clean and Eri would’ve used it. Nonetheless, she didn’t use his favorite cup which meant they no longer had it.

 

“What happened to my mug?” He had asked Hizashi to watch over his home and Nemuri to watch over his cats and child. He suspected the former might break something, and things could be replaced. Lives could not. It seemed his suspicions came true.

 

“I used your favorite coffee mug as bribery. It secured an ally.” She spoke those words as if they were normal. Aizawa thought about his medications in search of any side effects regarding hallucinations. There weren’t.

 

“Could you explain?”

 

And so, she did.

 

And thus, Aizawa grinned.

 

Eri already displayed unexpected tenacity to win. All other students prepared for the Sports Festival by improving themselves. Run faster. Punch harder. Eri focused on a different angle. She forged allies. Why? She wanted to make a statement to the world and another to a single man, a demon that haunted her for years.

 

To the world, she wanted to announce her entrance with heroic deeds.

 

To the demon… He remembered her words from his first morning back.

 

“I want to let Overhaul know something.” She produced a cracked smile. “Come and get me if you can. I’ll dominate you.”

 

His little girl wanted to defeat the real monster in her closet.

Chapter Text

My soul is in the sky. – William Shakespeare

I watched the Sports Festival yesterday, the one for the first years. The unbridled sense of nostalgia overcame me. So many young souls gave their all to win. Most thought they looked cool. I think most of my class 1-A could’ve beat them all.

When I was fifteen, none of us students really saw how… different we were. I think Monoma of all people did since the maniac had a peculiar devotion to overcoming us. I know my dad did. Why else would he not expel half the class on the first day?

I asked Father about it a year or two ago, and he gave his theory. First, we survived a trial by fire. Very few things were more difficult than surviving murderous villains and watching your heroes get torn apart. We did. Second, he told me three students pushed the class beyond their limits… Plus Ultra.

Midoriya had a thoughtful and geeky demeanor, but he had no problem shattering every bone in his body to save someone. Bakugo used a single-minded drive to power his way into greatness and dragged a bunch of us with him. And me. Father said I helped so many students grow.

Okay, I gotta admit… He totally told the truth there, but I’m still giddy. Just because I grew up doesn’t mean I have to act old, right? I’m making up for lost years.

BREAK LOGIC

Supply and demand. Hatsume Mei knew those concepts by heart, and she attended U.A. to increase both. With access to near limitless resources, she created support gear held back only by her shortcomings like needing to sleep or eat. With access to the Sports Festival, she had access to her personal infomercial to every man, woman, or child in Japan. More importantly, support companies and heroes watched the event with interest.

She thought the perfect storm landed in her lap. That crazy blue-haired girl gave her information to make perfect counters or supports for the hero students, and her efforts produced results. With just one Baby, Mei won the first event. With that alone, her name skyrocketed into the public’s subconscious. Mei meant winner. What hero didn’t want a winner’s gear?

Then, supply and demand bitch-slapped her.

For the cavalry battle, students needed to gather points from headbands. Only the top sixteen shall advance. The lowest finishing qualifier, forty-second, received the fewest points while the highest, her, received a million. To clarify, a million was several orders of magnitude more than all the other points combined. She held most of the supply, and all the demand focused on her. If these were companies, some would ally themselves to her; however, she stood surrounded by hormonally unhinged and competitively ambitious teenagers.

No one will want to be her partner. If no one would be her partner, she won’t qualify for the event from lack of a team.

She’s fucked.

“Mechanic Mei.” Said mechanic spun to face her potential savior. She saw two other faces, and the girl’s heart skipped a beat from excitement and terror. “I have secured an alliance with another full team; however, would you accept being a part of ours?”

Ours. Eri knew Mei would accept before she accepted it, and neither girl could be called a fool. The hero in training established her organization skills during the last match. No wonder the bubbly girl followed her. Mei suspected Eri somehow manipulated her into victory knowing about the million points which meant Mei had no choice but to accept this offer.

It also meant, HOLY SMOKES, she’d better get this girl as a loyal customer.

The pinkette lunged at her new friend and hugged her. “Yes!” She felt how Eri tensed. Now, Mei held little regard for concepts like personal space or modesty. Everything in her life pointed towards inventing and using inventions, so all else fell by the wayside. As a result, she created many instances of socially questionable behavior and caused dozens of people to tense.

Eri tensed in an entirely different way. She didn’t know how exactly, but she could tell. Not wanting to burn a bridge between her and a future customer, she took a step back.

Her benefactor stood rigid for several tedious seconds before she talked again. “Please refrain from doing so again, though I don’t hold you in contempt. I will tell you our situation and strategy. All three of you, I implore you to assist if you have input.”

And she explained the situation. All three of her listener’s faces twisted into awe as the girl laid out the full scale of her scheme. Mei made a simple conclusion. In another life, Eri would’ve made a spectacular Yakuza family boss.

BREAK LOGIC

Ibara Shiozaki felt like an honest hypocrite. No… That wasn’t the right term. She was honest to the point of hypocrisy. Yes, that described her current situation much more effectively.

She looked to her left to see her teammates. Monoma gave a dazed look as drool dripped from his mouth. His hair sprouted horned vines, exactly like her hair. Her Quirk had the most versatility, so the left and right horses gained the same ability. On top of them, a class 1-A student named Mineta had the same look as Monoma. The general education student named Shinso brainwashed the two.

She couldn’t condone violating the sanctity of the human mind, but perhaps his action led to less sin. Monoma embraced the sins of pride and envy. He never ceased boasting of his abilities yet never stopped envying their fellow hero class. She and Kendo, God bless her soul, tried to teach the boy humility. Alas, he had ears but wouldn’t hear. By being emancipated from conscious thought, no opportunity presented itself for sinning while in this event.

She never met Mineta until today, but Eri explained his personality on the day that student visited. Oh, she knew the stoic girl arranged the situation. Shinso explained how their team will work with Eri’s. Even so, Shiozaki felt almost comforted by Mineta’s inaction. The boy apparently existed as lust’s incarnation in human flesh.

“Lord forgive me,” she whispered under her breath. “For even though I walk the straight and narrow path, I find relief that his eyes and hands have no chance of violating the temple of my body.”

“Hey…” Hitoshi’s bloodshot eyes scanned the other teams. In mere moments, chaos will replace order. “Eri told me you’d accept, but I didn’t…”

Shiozaki smiled. “Though you may be a sinner, I am a soldier of God and forever willing to help those who ask.”

She couldn’t see his face, but she suspected it twisted into confusion. Most people did, for not many understood her. “I think that wasn’t an insult?”

“We are all sinners,” she said with finality.

“Okay…”

Before her mind even registered the start, a 1-A student created a glacier which trapped many teams. Hers was one of the few who evaded because Hitoshi started at the edge of the square. Was this what believers felt when thrown into the Nero’s Coliseum? Daunting power against faith in God?

She prayed God willed for her to remain victorious. It wasn’t out of greed. She wanted to help Shinso. Her Lord Jesus broke bread with tax collectors, so she had every reason to help him.

The top four finishers of the race rocketed up like an Angel ascending into heaven. The religious girl felt comfort in calling them allies rather than enemies.

Shiozaki made a wall of vines of their right while Monoma did the same on the left. It created a funnel. With the out of bounds behind them and their walls on either side, the only way to reach the four was charging to them. They followed Eri’s plan without regrets.

They had just one objective, eliminate the student with a bird head or Endeavor’s son. In return, Eri’s team would give any spare headbands to them in the last minute remaining. In the end, it didn’t matter.

A team charged at the four, or she thought it was a team. A tall man from 1-A had his arm-parachute-appendages wrapped around his back. Shinso merely spoke, “Shoji?”

“Yes?” said the tall man. His expression already was devoid of emotion, but she could tell their efforts bore fruit. Shoji stopped moving.

“Now, deactivate your Quirk and stand straight.” Within a moment, a girl with frog-like attributes and a boy with a bird head clung to the giant’s neck. He asked, “Are you two… hanging in there?” Both groaned at the humorless pun, and both froze. “Would you kindly give me your headband then guard the entrance to our funnel? Thanks.”

Shiozaki licked her lips. All the ice Quirk seemed to make the air cold and dry. The girl looked to the sky and saw Eri’s team just… floating there. The inventor may have been giving an infomercial on her inventions as well, though she couldn’t quite tell from this distance.

“Shinso?” She paused the strengthen her vines. A team tried to break through her defenses without success. “Does this feel… too easy?”

“Nah.” An explosion went off in the middle of the field and shattered much of the ice. Someone screamed in either surprise or pain, but she didn’t identify the voice. On the leaderboard, their team sat in fourth. “I’m just gen ed for now, but I’m pretty sure heroes don’t fight for the sake of fighting. We’re just using our heads rather than our fists.”

She nodded. “I see your logic.”

And so, they waited. As it turned out, no one could reach Eri’s team nor did anyone wish to fight the team surrounded by horned vines and guarded by three brainwashed… minions.

The cavalry battle secured the title as “most boring Sports Festival event ever” for years to come, but it was the middle event. People never remember much about the middle event, just the start and finish. On the other hand, the audience was entertained by something else instead. The cameras focused on Principal Nezu. He laughed the entire time and became quite loved by little children everywhere. Who wouldn’t love a giggling bear-mouse-rat thing?

BREAK LOGIC

Eri sat at a corner of the cafeteria and ate.

She, Midoriya, Uraraka, Hatsmuni, Todoroki, Momo, Kaminari, Iida, Bakugo, Kirishima, Mina, Sero, Shinso, Shiozaki, Monoma, and Mineta. Sixteen students hoped to win.

Shinso proved to be a valuable ally and eliminated Tokoyami. Of the remaining students, only Todoroki had a guaranteed victory over her. Bakugo probably could beat her. Otherwise, the odds favored her in every other matchup.

Judging from the constant glances in her direction, her plans succeeded. Whispers of “Aizawa’s daughter” blanketed the room. Why wouldn’t it? She received attention after the USJ incident, and she dominated both events with her allies. The others weren’t dumb. Mei contributed with her mechanics. Uraraka accidentally made herself float, so they knew she was the gravity girl. Eri hadn’t shown her Quirk, despite using it. They pegged her as the mastermind.

Now, she had to rely on her preparations and combat prowess. The tournament consisted of one-on-one duels which didn’t suit the girl like group events. She preferred a support role since her powers let her teammates have unlimited energy and healing.

Someone set a tray across the table of her. The yawn let her know who it was.

“Greetings, Shinso.” She ate another piece of toast. She expected to hurl whatever she ate due to combat, so she consumed items easier on the stomach.

He shifted in his chair. “Um… Thanks again for the help. You and the vine girl proved… different than what I expected.”

“I understand.” She sipped some energy drink. It tasted horrible. “You’re better suited for heroics than the purple pervert.”

“About that, why’d you tell me to use him? I thought the last thing you’d want is positive exposure for him.” He scratched his head. “Unless you think he’d humiliate himself?”

She motioned in the pervert’s direction. “I asked Jiro to take one for the team. She happened to suggest a coffee drinking contest to him. Since she has breasts, he accepted.”

He almost spewed his soda. “A diuretic? If he’s as cowardly as you make him to be, he’ll piss his pants.”

“Precisely.” She smiled, a genuine one. Shinso reminded her of Father. Smart, exhausted, non-combat Quirk. The world needed more heroes like Father, so Shinso will be great.

She nodded in thanks to Kendo. The girl didn’t hesitate to answer her questions. Was Monoma really that conceited? Yes. Were there any students who’d help anyone in need, even an opponent? After a moment’s pause, the class representative of 1-B answered with a name. Ibara Shiozaki, the girl with vine hair.

Thus, she traveled the halls to the general education section. The students ranged from hero hopefuls to kids who happened to attend a school with a hero department. During these two weeks, 1-A received the afternoon to train their bodies and Quirks while 1-B did so in the mornings. 1-C had a full day of normal classes, giving them a major disadvantage.

Eri knew she’d be in this class if she wasn’t recommended, not that anyone knew that. Actually, she would’ve seen the futility of fighting robots and healed others. She would’ve only been accepted if the other students were self-destructive idiots.

After thinking about 1-A for half a second, she concluded there wouldn’t have been any problems with completing that portion of the test.

The bell rang for the final time that day. A student opened the door to leave but paused when they saw her. The girl’s stubby horn and reprimanding Monoma garnered her a small reputation already. Seeing that she remained standing on the opposite wall, the student shrugged and left. One. Two. Five. Nineteen. All but one student left the classroom, and she wanted to talk with him.

She stepped inside and saw a boy. He had purple hair and sleep-deprived eyes which narrowed when they saw her. Hitoshi Shinso didn’t trust her, probably loathed her.

“What are you doing here?” He glanced at the door and tensed. Ah, another person who experienced cruelty from the monster known as humanity. Others saw Brain Washing as a villainous Quirk; furthermore, it had the potential to take away people’s control over their bodies. Children would respond to that fear by asserting control over Shinso. In other words, punching and bullying.

He saw her as the culmination of all his hatred, a student with a Quirk society deemed heroic and a life that glided into 1-A. Too bad he’s wrong. Additionally, he asked her a question. If she answered, his Quirk would take effect. Since she… procured his filed… the girl also knew how to counteract it.

Eri punched a desk with all her might and incorrectly. Shinso flinched at the sound. Pain shot up her fingers since some broke. She started bluntly. “I want you to replace student Mineta in 1-A. I canceled your Quirk with three or four broken fingers, so our conversation can’t be interrupted.”

He looked at her hand back to her eyes. “The fuck?”

“The second event is group oriented. I have secured an alliance with a support department student, and I know of a 1-B student who’d be happy to help. Lastly, there are approximately five students in 1-A who’d work with me and are good people.”

He shook his head. “You’re insane. You think I believe you, and you just broke your hand. You didn’t even trust me enough to tell me your name.”

He walked by her to the door.

“Apologies!” She shook her head. “I’m sorry. When I become nervous, I speak rigidly.” She held out her hand, now healed thanks to her Quirk. “Eri Aizawa of 1-A.”

He froze in his tracks. “Aizawa?”

She put two and two together. “Adopted.”

“And you want me in his class?”

“I’ll offer hand-to-hand combat experience as well. Like Eraser Head, I am adept at fighting Quirkless. I pervert occupies a seat in class, and I really want his presence far away from me or any other girl. I know you applied for 1-A, and your Quirk is among the most beneficial I’ve seen among first years.”

“You aren’t afraid of my Quirk?”

Ah, another test. This time, she showed her trust. “I’ve seen worse.”

“You’re talking a big game with nothing to show.” He rubbed his chin. “How will I know I’ll get something out of this?”

“Do you like Eraser Head?”

“Favorite hero.”

“I concur.” She nodded. “In that case, I will give you a memento. Does his favorite coffee mug sound sufficient?”

He tensed. “Will he kill me?”

“No, but he’ll work you until you wish you were… if he discovers and confirms who received the mug.”

Shinso rubbed his eyes. “Alright. Whatever. This’ll be the best chance I’ll get.”

They shook hands. “Additionally, I can give enough information for you to successfully spur most of my classmates into a verbal response.”

“Why didn’t you just start with that?”

Eri finished eating her lunch. It soured in her stomach when she saw the pervert slithering her way. While most male or female stares at her body made her pleased, his did not. He reminded her of Overhaul in a twisted way. The man abused her physically, and she believed he’d rape any girl if he thought he’d get away unpunished. His presence made her uncomfortable. Was killing him really such a bad thing?

“Eri!” he wheezed with a peculiar lisp. Shinso raised his eyebrow, not having experienced much of the boy’s sexual instability since he was incapacitated mentally. “The principal wants all the 1-A girls to do a cheerleading exercise during the general games! Yaoyorozu is already making the suits!”

“Call me Aizawa, not Eri.” A few tables over, Momo indeed created a few cheerleader outfits. She had a significant desire to harm Mineta, but she couldn’t do anything illegal with the Sports Festival occurring. Then, she remembered a conversation she had with Bakugo during one of their sparing matches.

“Bakugo, you know how to be blunt. Can I ask for advice?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Me? Sure, whatever.”

“What’s something hurtful I could say to Minita when he sexually pursues me?”

Her friend shrugged. “The little shit is good at covering his bases, so you can’t threaten him with legal crap…” He paused to put some thought into the answer. “First, I’d be sure to stand over him. Assert dominance and reinforce his small height. Plus, you can get Aizawa’s creepy stare. Then, I’d probably say…”

Eri stood up and moved in front of the perverted little blob. She looked down and stared with all the fury she could manage.

The cafeteria’s noise died down. Hundreds of eyes fixed themselves on the two.

Eri spoke calmly and clearly. “Mineta, you’re a disgusting, short excuse for a human being, so go fuck yourself. It’s all the action you’ll ever get.”

Mineta burst into tears and ran away. Eri felt rather pleased with herself.

Chapter Text

A smile curses the wounding of a frown. – William Shakespeare

Also

I’m super cute and an alien queen! – Mina Ashido

One thing I never liked about the Sports Festival was the final event. It seemed to suggest the pinnacle of heroism was fighting. One on one battles. Excitement! Explosions! Drama! It’s all a bunch of nonsense if you ask me. The pinnacle of heroics lies in the act of saving. All Might punching a hundred villains paled in comparison to my father’s life-changing words.

“I don’t fear you.” My father saved me.

What does it mean to truly save someone? It doesn’t mean defeating a villain. It doesn’t mean pulling someone from a fire. Heroes truly save people when they save a soul, not the body.

It was a lesson many of us didn’t know yet. I was a lesson I had yet to truly understand. Still, that didn’t stop some of us from trying.

BREAK LOGIC

As Eri stood waiting for the bracket’s announcement, she heard a familiar voice. “Oi.” Bakugo kept a neutral expression, so she didn’t know why he approached her. The girl nodded at him, so he continued, “Why’d didn’t you stop the girls from the damned pervert’s farce?”

He spoke the truth. While she refused to let Momo make her a cheerleading outfit, she neglected to warn her friends that Mineta lied. Well, Kaminari went along with it too, but she doubted that blond thought up the idea considering his academic performance. Therefore, she watched as the girls made fools of themselves on live television, and their images will likely be used as tasteless material for years to come.

So, why didn’t she stop this abhorrent disregard of respect?

“Damage minimization.” Several of her classmates leaned towards her. In fact, all the remaining sixteen qualifiers besides Mei focused on her. Should she show her cards yet? Meh, why not? “My long-term goal is the permanent neutralization of the threat known as Mineta.” Said pervert gulped loud enough for her to hear. “Nevertheless, lessons are better remembered through extreme emotion duress rather than verbal lectures. By not warning them, I simultaneously plummeted the girls’ opinion of Mineta while also making them wearier of potentially worse future situations.”

Not many people followed what she said. Fortunately, Bakugo did. “So, you vaccinated them.”

I must be cruel only to be kind,” she summarized in English, which only helped those who spoke English in the first place. Those people were among the more intelligent of her peerage, so they didn’t need her summarization at all. On the other hand, it gave her an opportunity to quote Shakespeare, so it made her pleased.

“Still a dick move.” He headed off to Kirishima. They got along well, so she felt glad.

Eri watched the other students interact. Sections of 1-A and 1-B mingled with the finalists, but none of the support or general youth supported their representatives. Shinso impersonated a statue while Mei tinkered with… something metal that seemed to glow green. Eri wondered if her acquaintance had access to radioactive material.

Monoma stayed close to Shiozaki, the only 1-B students to advance. Unlike Mineta, Eri didn’t dislike the copying hero, but he held a dangerous amount of pride and self-esteem issues. With his current disposition, he or a partner would die in heroics, so she deduced that something as humiliating as being brainwashed into a victory while also reaching the final round could help in some regard. Plus, he was one of the few students she felt certain about defeating.

Of her classmates, Uraraka smiled and bounced on her feet next to a worried Midoriya. He happened to not use the power he and she unlocked, so he held an advantage over the others (besides herself). Her only remaining but guaranteed obstacle to victory, Todoroki, kept a stoic demeanor. No matter how many scenarios she played in her head, she had no way of defeating him on a flat, cement terrain. Mei could if she felt like it, though she won’t. Bakugo could if Todoroki exhausted himself beforehand. Midoriya could if he unveiled Full Cowl during their fight. Shinso could if they would’ve brainstormed a proper prompt but, as the Eraser Head fan put it, “It’s hard to get a guy to say something when he doesn’t say anything in the first place.”

Hmm… What if she bit her wrist until it bled and used the shock to reach Todoroki? No, he was among the best hand-to-hand combatants in her class. Reaching him would accomplish nothing.

She stopped her mental rant and focused on the woman who stepped on stage. Miss Nemuri looked as beautiful as ever, though several lustful stares from her peers darkened Eri’s mood. She spoke a little, though the girl focused on the screen behind her. Every second of planning could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

Then, she realized the staring gave her no benefit because they had to reach their hand into a box and draw out a number. Eri drew a fifteen and waited for the screen to display their choices, because Nezu must’ve created an instantaneous way of accomplishing that.

Ah, there they are.

Shoto Todoroki vs Hanta Sero

Izuku Midoriya vs Minoru Mineta

Momo Yaoyorozu vs Mina Ashido

Ochaco Uraraka vs Neito Monoma

Denki Kaminari vs Eijiro Kirishima

Hatsumi Mei vs Hitoshi Shinso

Tenya Iida vs Katsuki Bakugo

Eri Aizawa vs Ibara Shiozaki

Since she had nothing to worry about, Eri decided to accomplish two secondary goals before her round in the tournament. Without regard to their conversations, she grabbed Momo and Midoriya by the arms and dragged them into the halls lining the underside of the stadium. They protested, but her vice-like grip proved too strong, and she ignored them anyway.

It was time to set the final two pieces to her plan. Then, she only had herself to rely on.

BREAK LOGIC

Mina wiggled. There was no other word to describe it. She felt such an overbearing excitement, and no other route presented itself to ease the overload. She made it! One of sixteen people in the entire friggen country! Millions watched the event where Mina Ashido, the pink and horned mutant, stood alongside the most heroic and powerful youth in Japan. How could she not wiggle in excitement?!

“Go Todoroki! Go Sero!” she cheered though neither stepped into the arena yet nor could they hear her if they were. Did it matter? No! She let herself be swept in the crowd’s liveliness.

“You’re rooting for both, Mina?” Yaoyorozu asked. Pretty soon, they’ll beat the snot outa each other, but they’re just classmates for now, and they will be after their round finished.

“Why not?” She shrugged. “Midoriya already left, so we don’t have an analyzer. My guess is as good as any. Plus, I want both to do great!”

“Icy-Hot.” Bakugo stayed oddly calm ever since the second event. His arms remained cross, and his face fashioned itself into a contemplative scowl. Kirishima tried to get a rise outa him a bunch of times, but the blond kept his cool. “Just a few people could defeat him. Soy Sauce Face ain’t one of ‘em.”

Yaoyorozu tapped her finger to her chin to contemplate. “Though, if Sero wrapped Todoroki in his tape and swung him, he might be able to win.”

“Tsk.” All of 1-A took filled a row area thingy… Mina didn’t remember what it was called… And almost all of 1-A looked at Bakugo in one of his rare moments of tactical advice. For somebody who though DIE and EXPLODE solved most problems, he strategized peculiarly well. “Icy-Hot was acting all pissy before we even started. He never even finished in the top two during the race and cavalry battle. He’ll make a statement here.”

The crowd cheered louder yet and drowned anything else Bakugo might say. Mina realized the first round would soon begin. Cool!

Present Mic’s voice overwhelmed the already deafening cheer of thousands of people. She squealed in joy. He said words, but she hardly caught any besides “Shoto Todoroki” and “Hanta Sero”. Why would she? Present Mic sounded excited. The crowd screamed excitement. Mina felt moments away from spontaneously combusting in excitement!

Midnight stood just outside the arena’s bounds between the two boys. Made of cement, their battleground was large, rectangular, and flat. With no way to use the environment to their advantage, only their training and Quirks could achieve victory or defeat.

“Go! Go! Go!” she shouted over and over. Leaning over, she clung to the railing or else risk falling. They looked so tiny down there.

Midnight’s voice boomed over the sound system. “Start!”

And then the temperature plummeted.

One moment, her two classmates stood like two cowboys waiting for high noon. The next, Todoroki covered the arena, the grass, and some of the outer wall a glacier. She didn’t exaggerate. Her classmate, the boy who hardly spoke a word, created a glacier in under a second.

Suddenly, all her excitement felt like a distant memory. This was the third event? THAT was what she had to beat? Her throat became dry. Her stomach plummeted.

It wasn’t just Todoroki. Bakugo made EXPLOSIONS. Midoriya could punch like ALL MIGHT. Uraraka could TOSS HER INTO THE SUN. Yaoyorozu, who she’ll face in minutes, made a BAZOKA THINGY during the race!

How could she, the girl who makes acid, beat them? No, how could she survive them?

Somehow, she made her way into the waiting room. Midoriya and Mineta were next, but she and Yaoyorozu went after them. Maybe she passed by Midoriya on the way out? Maybe not? Wait. Did someone lead her here or did she walk here on her own? Did she know her way back to her classmates?

Oh gods! She didn’t have a strategy against Momo! How the heck could she plan against the girl whose Quirk was “can make anything”?!

Mina clutched her head and let out a pathetic whimper. Right now, she was alone, and that meant she didn’t have to be all smiles. Her heart twisted. She had no chance of victory. Why was she even here?

The girl blinked.

Bullies.

A little girl sat in a sandbox and watched the other children play with her ball. Her tears splashed into the sand and made tiny drown dots in the tan expanse. Her little head didn’t understand why the other kids wouldn’t play with her. She brought a ball. That meant she wanted to play. Other kids brought balls or toys. Then, they’d all play with it. Simple, right? What did she miss?

Did she say something wrong? She did stutter. Talking to new people was scary, but other kids stuttered.

Did she bring the wrong ball? No, the others played with the ball and had lots of fun with it.

Maybe the problem was herself? She was used to making children cry when they saw her. Mama said people in the country sometimes were afraid of different things, and Mama said Mina looked different. She didn’t think so. She was pretty! Pink is the most amazing color, and she got all the pink! The other kids didn’t think the same way. They made a song about her. “Pink Devil! Pink Devil! She’s gonna spirit us away! Pink Devil! Pink Devil!” It made Mina cry, so she covered her ears whenever they said that.

But, this was supposed to be a new place! Daddy got a job in the city, so they went to one. Mama said people wouldn’t be afraid of her here and no one would call her a pink devil. Her horns were cute!

So, she hoped things would be better. She brought her favorite ball, went to a playground with Mama, and handed a group of kids her ball. They accepted her ball! Then, they screamed, “Alien!” She didn’t move as they ran away laughing.

She just… didn’t get it, so she cried in a sandbox.

“Eh? You okay, girly?” Mina rubbed her eyes and looked up at a pretty woman with flowing green hair. Her voice sounded happy, but her face looked concerned.

“I’m fine.” She crossed her arms. “I got sand in my eye.”

The woman waived her finger back and forth like her mama did when she caught her lying. “A hero stops crimes, and you’re fibbing. You’d have sand in your fuzzy, pink cheeks if you had sand there.”

Mina stood, mouth wide open. “You’re a hero!”

“An intern.” She waived her hand. “I’m nobody you’d know, and I’m off duty. Still, I won’t stop until I solve this problem. So tell me, why are you crying, missy?”

“Um…” She realized the hero created a super strong trap. She can’t lie to heroes, so she could only tell the truth! “No one plays with me. We moved. The kids before called me a pink devil. Those kids over there.” She pointed at the group throwing her ball around. “Took my ball but didn’t let me play. They said I’m an alien.”

“Alien, huh…” The woman knelt beside her, so their eyes met. Her knees got sandy. She patted her on the head. “You know what I think? Become queen of the aliens and show those pesky bullies just how awesome and friendly you are!”

The girl tilted her head to the side. “Queen of the aliens? How?”

The woman’s face became serious. “Three steps. Step one, Don’t Give Up. No matter how hard it hurts, keep on going. Step two, Believe You’re Cute. That’s a beauty secret of mine. I look pretty because I believe I’m pretty, and you’re super cute! Like… all the cute! Step three, Smile. Like this!” She pointed to her face as her mouth moved into a big, fun smile. “You got it?”

She nodded. “Yeah! I’ll go do it!” She took three steps out of the sandbox before stopping. “Um, what’s your name?”

The hero shook her head. “I became a hero to help others smile, not to become famous. Just remember me as the smiling hero, okay?”

“Okay!” Mina sprinted off to the kids and screamed, “Hey guys! I’m super cute and an alien queen! I wanna play too!”

It actually worked.

Of course, it didn’t work all the time. No matter how happy she was, some people couldn’t see past her fur, black eyes, and horns. Though, she won’t complain. She never learned the hero’s name and realized she must’ve pulled her entire motivational speech out of her ass, but it helped.

Whoever that hero was, she helped Mina overcome some discrimination not through violence but through personality. Mutant discrimination existed if the person looked weird, especially for children. Koda almost never talked. Tokoyami had a very stoic personality. Shoji preferred to not talk much and wore a mask. She never asked them. It just wasn’t polite, but she’d bet her phone that all three of them faced bullies.

Mina wanted to be an Alien Queen. If weird looking mutants scared children, then she’d become a super awesome hero and make the children realize spooky mutants can still be cool! And friendly! And cute! Who cares if she’ll win or lose? She’ll go out there, give her best, and smile the whole friggen time!

The girl nodded and glanced at the screen. Midoriya and Mineta almost reached the arena. Then, she’ll fight. Until that point, she might as well watch this one. Everybody saw Eri drag Yaoyorozu and Midoriya off. While she knew Eri didn’t do anything to sabotage her match, Mina had a distinct feeling a certain narcissistic blond and a certain purple pervert will face unexpected troubles.

Plus, she really hoped Midoriya would punch Mineta in the dick. Of course, that kid was a cinnamon roll too sweet to do such a thing, but girls can dream, right?

The monitor didn’t carry volume, since it’d distract the waiting contestants. They camera angle was close to ground level and captured both boys in its view. She waited until they moved.

Mineta made the first move. Judging from his face, she guessed he screamed as he threw his balls at Midoriya almost hilariously fast. Despite his perversions, he had a somewhat tactical head. Doing something so… straightforward didn’t fit his style. Why?

Oh, Jiro had a coffee drinking contest with him. It sorta reminded her of those whiskey drinking ones but with coffee. The little guy got jacked up on caffeine. He had hardly any body mass to him in the first place. He must’ve exceeded the maximum safe amount tenfold.

Midoriya dodged. The boy held his own against Bakugo for a couple minutes without using his Quirk, and that guy was freaking scary on the battlefield. The greenette knew dozens of ways to defeat his opponent, and unlike Eri, he did so just because. He really liked Quirks. That’s all there was to it.

Mineta continued to throw his balls around, which sounded just as perverted as the boy’s normal actions. Midoriya swerved left to right at seemingly random intervals. No matter where the sticky purple spheres went, he found a way to avoid them. All the while, he moved forward slowly but surely.

He could end the battle at any moment. While self-destructive, his Quirk was DESTRUCTIVE. He’ll win in one punch, but he elected to do it Quirkless again, like the first two events. She entertained the idea of Midoriya winning the Sports Festival Quirkless. Holy smokes! That’d be the ultimate troll move!

His lips moved. Judging from his earnest expression and sweet personality, he yelled encouragements to the pervert. Really? He risked advancing to help his opponent. Though, if he somehow made the pervert less perverted, she’d do something nice for him like… Oh! She could bake him cinnamon rolls for the cinnamon roll! Hilarious and helpful. How hard could baking be anyway?

Tears streamed down Midoriya’s face, and she meant STREAMED. Two tiny rivers fell from his eyes. Quirks effected human biology in interesting ways. Her Quirk was acid, but her body looked cute as heck. Blonde became a natural hair type in any people group. Midoriya had green hair. Kirishima had spiky teeth. Breast got bigger, not that Mina was complaining about any of that. So, even though the boy’s Quirk had nothing to do with his eyes or water, he could cry more easily and more rapidly than anyone she met before.

At last, Mineta said something besides his wordless shrieking. With his skull bleeding, he spoke enough for a single sentence. Whatever he said, it made Midoriya freeze in his tracks. Mineta stood panting and threw one last ball which Midoriya punched, essentially sticking the ball to his knuckles.

This time, she guessed what the better of the two said based off his lips. The serious expression helped too. “Even Uraraka?”

The pervert nodded.

“Oh shit,” Mina sung with a smile.

Midoriya charged. A wet spot spread around Mineta’s groin. The hero stepped over the balls on the ground and let the ones in the air his him as if they weren’t there. The villain became a crying and snotty mess. Her friend punched her enemy in the face, and he flew backwards. Midoriya, in fact, used his enemy’s Quirk against him. It stuck to everything except the one who grew hair balls. Instead, it acted like a spring.

Mina cheered as Mineta’s blubbering body sailed over the edge of the arena.

Midoriya walked off stage as Mina ran to the edge of the stadium’s entrance. As she neared, the crowd’s cheering became louder and louder until it seemed to shake her very bones. Cool!

Her excitement plummeted again when she saw Midoriya. Through the dozen balls on his body, he exposed his dejected face for all to see. Did he regret winning?

“Hey, Midoriya.” She stopped in front of him. There was no way she’ll let him get away feeling so down. “You okay?”

“I, um…” He tried to wring his hands together but got them stuck together instead. “I’ll see if Recovery Girl can, ah, fix this.” He wouldn’t meet her in the eye.

“What’d Mineta say? Tell me.” She kept her voice calm and collected.

“I was trying to…” He blinked his eyes, trying to stop more tears. It didn’t work. “To help him. Get him to be more heroic. His Quirk works great for capture situations and-” He stopped himself before they drowned in his mumbling. “He said he wanted to beat me then Todoroki to…” He swallowed. “There’s a seventy-five percent chance either I or Todoroki will face a girl. Mineta wanted to win just to…” He looked away. “To…”

She put her hand on his shoulder, a part without a purple orb. “Midoriya, just repeat what he said, okay? I promise I won’t get mad at you.”

He trembled. “I want to beat you and Todoroki, so I can touch boobs. He said that. I’m sorry for saying such a vulgar word, and it surprised me, and in the heat of the battle, I sort of lost it because I wondered if he included Uraraka because she’s so nice, not that I’m saying you and Yaoyorozu aren’t because you are and sorry I didn’t think that during the battle, but I asked if that included Uraraka, and he nodded, so I became angry that he wanted to do that even though I wasn’t thinking heroically, so I attacked him and embarrassed him in front of everybody and-”

“Izuku.” Saying first given name stopped his self-degrading tirade. “I’d hug you if I could.” He froze with reddening cheeks and a gaping mouth. “You were supposed to try and win. I can guarantee all the girls cheered when you socked him.” She smiled. “I did.”

“R-Really?”

“Yeah, there’s nothing wrong about sticking up for a friend.” She walked around him, since she couldn’t be late for her own battle. “And talk to her about it if you need the reassurance. She’s nice. You’re nice. It’ll all work out.”

“Thank you!”

She waived. “What are friends for, right?”

And she stopped at the edge of the light. Behind her, the halls where she waited stood. In front of her, millions of eyes watched and waited. Present Mic talked like one of those announcers before a boxing match, though he started on Yaoyorozu.

Oh! He just mentioned pink. That meant she should come out, right? Wait. Should she enter when he started or when he finished? Did that make a difference? Was it bad to come out in the middle of his broadcast? Never mind. He said her name.

Mina skipped over the grass and onto the cement arena. Her ears heard just two things, the roaring crowd and her heartbeat thumping like a drum. She felt like crying, running away, and dancing all at the same time.

Step one, Don’t Give Up.

She took a calming breathe and took off her shoes. Villains tried to kill her. She was friends with Eri. How hard could this be? Weak but slippery acid secreted from her feet.

“You two ready?” Midnight asked. In the girl’s opinion, the woman looked a lot prettier without all the BDSM stuff.

“Yes, ma’am,” answered Yaoyorozu.

Step two, Believe You’re Cute.

“I’m adorable and ready,” she spoke with a serious face. Her opponent raised an eyebrow. The referee snorted.

Step three, Smile.

“Start!”

With a goofy smile, Mina skated forward using her acid. Yaoyorozu became more dangerous the longer she waited, so she charged at one of the best close-quarter combatants in her class. Her right arm secreted a sticky, diluted acid, and her left arm oozed a slimy one in preparation for their contact. Meanwhile, her friend stood her ground and formed a Bo Staff.

Technically, both girls could’ve fought harder. A sword wasn’t that hard to make, and Mina could create acid that’d cause those awesome little Facehuggers from Aliens jealous. To save a kid, she’d melt a villain’s arm off if there was no other way, but they fought in a sports festival. Sports were fun.

When two meters away, she swerved hard to the right and used the jerk to fling her arms’ acid. The slick acid went to her feet. The sticky acid went to her face. Yaoyorozu ducked and dodged. She ducked under the sticky stuff but slipped on the slicky stuff. She hit the ground and dropped her Bo Staff.

Yes!

She used her momentum to turn around to make an attack. Her strong legs strained as she pushed herself to go faster than normal. When she saw her opponent again, she already made her weapon. Pointed right at her was a giant, friggen pump-up water gun.

What?

The water came out like a garden hose and hit her in the eyes. By the time she realized her eyes STUNG, the spray went all the from her head down to her feet. When she realized her feet were wet, her skating acid stopped working, and she stumbled on the concrete.

Fucking soap.

Mina wasn’t a genius by any means, but she understood the PH scale better than anyone outside of a chemist lab. Neutral stuff was a seven, like pure water. It just sat around and did nothing. Acidic stuff was anything under seven, even negatives! Base stuff was anything over seven. Yin and Yang. Soapy water had a value of twelve, the highest Momo could’ve gone without hurting her opponent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, lemon juice had a value of two, the lowest she could go before worrying about hurting people.

One guy in Australia once dumped a glassful of hydrofluoric acid in his lap and died of multiple organ failures two weeks later. The girl could’ve been a horrifying villain, but… she was just a normal teenage girl. Her body made special acid that melted and did nothing else, but everything she did possessed risks. What if it got in someone’s blood stream?

What did all this mean? Every part of her body besides her arms no longer could secrete safe acid. Also, she had soap in her eyes.

Part of her wanted to get angry or charge at Yaoyorozu, but millions of people watched the pink alien girl. She wanted them to see the odder-looking mutants as… people. Kids loved fluffy things but hated monsters, so she’ll be fluffy. Super fluffy!

“Ah!” She fanned her face fanatically as if it’d do anything and jumped from one foot to another. While goofy, her actions helped get at least some of the soap off. “You got soap in my eyes!”

She could still see and saw Yaoyorozu form a handheld taser. While still hopping back and forth, a new plan came to mind. Like flexing a muscle, she… tensed… her secretions in her arms and let them build up. Like a volcano! A volcano of love! Her opponent misjudged her current situation. Looking for a quick KO, she provided the jumping girl a path to victory.

Bo Staff in one hand and taser in the other, she took bounding steps forwards. Mina waiting until she saw a spark. Four meters. She raised her left arm to strike with the staff first. Three meters. That’s gonna hurt a lot, won’t it? Two meters. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea? One meter. A spark.

Mina shot both of her arms forwards, as if preparing to stop a speeding train. A huge spray of heavy, sticky acid shot forward. As the Bo Staff connected to her ribs, Yaoyorozu tased herself. That acid could act as an electrical conductor. She learned that the hard way when she leaned against a power outlet and a little of her slime got inside.

Wincing in pain, she jumped ahead. Their bodies collided, but the shocked girl fell backwards. When she hit the ground, Mina grabbed each of her arms and pressed down, secreting all the sticky acid she could manage. Her knees pressed into Yaoyorozu’s stomach. The girl struggled and probably had the advantage of strength, but the pinkette had gravity and sticky stuff on her side even though she probably had a cracked rib or two.

After about fifteen seconds of grappling, Midnight asked, “Can you get up, Yaoyorozu?”

With a final shove, the recommended student deflated. “No.”

“Then the winner is Ashido!”

The crowd roared. She advanced. Present Mic announced. Had he ever stopped? Even so, none of that really mattered. Her friend looked sad.

“Hey, Momo?” She stood and started pushing some of the acid off the taller girl.

“Yes, Mina?” The once refined lady looked like a goopy mess. Also, first name basis. YES!

“Can I give you some advice?” She offered a hand. Momo accepted. Standing face-to-face, she said in total seriousness, “Step one, Don’t Give Up.” She held up a finger. “Step two, Believe You’re Cute.” A second finger joined the first. “Step three, Smile.” Three fingers pointed to the sky.

Momo tilted her head to the side. “What does that mean?”

“It means I’d have quit a long time ago if I let a crushing sense of inadequacy get me down.” She smiled. “I simply didn’t quit, so keep on being the same awesome Momo. Got it?”

Her face stayed confused for a few seconds. Did she not explain something? Then, her face lit up, and she nodded. “I think I do, Mina.”