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The old bait and switch

Chapter Text

Izuku has gotten used to being underestimated for the majority of his life. It's been because of many things throughout the years: Quirklessness, small physique, shy outward nature ect. Stupid things he can't really control, but he's learnt to live with it.

He uses it to his advantage now.

In middle school he'd been bullied, yes, but he'd come to understand that if he played the part of small, weak, cry baby Deku people left him alone. Sure Bakugou was lecherous in his attempts to put Izuku down but despite that it worked.

People saw what they wanted from him, and because he played the part he was left alone. It wasn't fool proof and sometimes other people besides Bakugou would try their luck.

But even then, because they underestimated him and only saw a weak child who could never be at their level, they went easy. And in the slips in their guards because 'What's Deku gonna do? Snitch?' He learnt everything he needed to avoid them, to beat them, to break them.

As he'd grown older, wiser and jaded to an extent, he'd gotten better at slipping behind the facade of a shy, quirkless boy who dreamed too big and wouldn't hurt a fly.

He never had friends but despite his quirklesness he had been generally well liked by his classmates. And the facade that he had developed to buffer the attention from his real calculating and frustrated nature had only ever been questioned once.

"Don't you worry that one day he'll snap? Just because he doesn't have a quirk doesn't mean he couldn't kill someone!"

Izuku had pretended to be engrossed in rereading his hero notes, his last two books had started to have segments of villains and criminals including things that made them hard to catch and things that made them good at escaping.

There had been a laugh from the general direction the question had come from. "Deku? Seriously? The guy could get knocked over by a strong breeze, he isn't dangerous . "

The query was forgotten and life had continued as normal but it had gotten Izuku thinking.

So far his facade had been a bullying deterrent. A way to keep the dogs off his scent so to speak, so that he could follow his dream to the best of his abilities without Bakugou and his cronies yapping at his heels the entire time.

After being told that he didn't appear dangerous he'd understood that that was something he could use. After all, the minimal footage and exposure Erasure Head had proved that he was an unassuming figure and didn't look strong or dangerous.

Erasure Head used that and took his enemies down quick and hard, with nothing more than speculation as to HOW.

With that knowledge he'd asked his mother for martial arts training, they'd whittled away, arguing and presenting reasons as to why and why not. Eventually they'd settled on self defence and it was there that he learnt his most important lesson, Never underestimate your opponent, let them underestimate you.

It had continued from there, self defence turned to Tae Kwon Do and that turned into nothing else as he disciplined himself and tried as hard as he could to progress, but nobody learnt belts over night. In the dojo it seemed that the only place he would not be underestimated was in the ring.

For that he was grateful.

As two years passed, as he became less jaded and more open to his fellow trainees (he still never had friends. Quirklessness was still a barrier many refused to breach) his classmates began to solidify this image of him in their heads.

Small.

Weak.

Quirkless.

Bakugou insisted that he was a lying, cheating bastard who was looking down on them because did they not see that he was getting stronger, that he was becoming more confident behind his cheap little mask that he put up?

Thankfully, nobody believed Bakugou and over time the accusations dimmed, becoming less angry and more resigned. More targeted that no matter how strong he thought he was he would never be as strong as Bakugou.

From that Bakugou also underestimated him.

-*-

It carried over to U.A. as well. He'd been surprised at that.

Hadn't they seen him at the USJ- heart in mouth broken finger and murder in his eyes- throwing himself at the Nomu, at Kurogiri with the intent to harm?

Hadn't they seen him in the sports festival - Eyes wide and manic, power shattering his body as he broke through layers and layers with a sledgehammer of spite and sheer force of will?

And hadn't they heard him in the stands, when Uraraka asked him what he was writing about and he revealed that he had files on ALL of them?

Hadn't they seen, heard about damn it hadn't they read about the involvement he had with the Stain case? How he had supposedly helped Endeavour into taking down the hero killer?

They had, and yet the idea remained that Midoriya Izuku was not dangerous.

He was kind, caring, a cry baby at times but a determined kid at the end of the day. Nobody dangerous.

Reading between the lines he realised something. For years people hadn't not found him dangerous, they'd always assumed he wasn't dangerous to them. It was a game changer then, realising that people didn't see him as a threat because he never seemed like one.

Bakugou was never perceived as a threat, because whole considered violent and 'dangerous' he wasn't dangerous towards the class. He blew up and swore yes, but he didn't intentionally hurt people. He didn't sit awake at night planning how to take his classmates down in every situation his mind could conjure up.

Or, at least, he didn't think Bakugou did. Maybe he did and he and his childhood friend were disturbingly similar in that regard as well, the first point of disturbing similarity being their unwavering love and devotion to All Might.

And then there was his mentor. Even All Might, symbol of peace, man of many smiles and seasoned hero of nearly forty years didn't see him as dangerous. He was more open with his mentor, the facade sliding away to hopefully prove that he could be dangerous if he wanted to.

It didn't happen. Instead he was constantly told how much of a 'hero of the people' he was. How 'unthreatening' he was and how admirable that was in a future hero candidate.

That had always bitten at him.

He didn't want to be dangerous, or seen as a threat. But he... He wanted to be seen. To not be 'shy, awkwardly friendly' Deku or 'slightly intense, scholarly' Deku and he most certainly wanted to stop being seen as 'Goody goody' Deku.

In thinking it over he realised that he wanted to stop being Deku, and start being Midoriya Izuku again.

Midoriya Izuku swore, Midoriya Izuku had near obsessive notes on heroes, villains and classmates so that when push came to shove he could fight.

Midoriya Izuku sat up late at night running contingency plans through his head. His friends, family and teachers the subject of many ludicrous plans that would never happen and his mind bending and flipping a hundred different ways to fix them problems.

Deku didn't do any of that. He was quiet, mumbled a lot and got nervous around new people before morphing into a slightly less quiet and less nervous kid who rambled on about heroes.

It was like two sides of a coin. Heads and tails, mirrored yet reversed.

The only time he could be Midoriya Izuku was around people from other classes, like Shinsou and Mei. He'd spent a few lunch times hiding away in Mei's lab, chatting and helping her tinker with and think away at new 'babies' while Shinsou lounged on the beaten and dead sofa Mei had pushed up against the wall in her supposedly shared workshop, occasionally interrupting debates with input of his own and the more occasional summons to look at cute cat pictures.

(There was never another inventor in the lab and the door read only his friends name. So Izuku was starting to think the lab partners had either requested a move and Mei never noticed or the pink haired gremlin had pulled a Neon Evangelion.)

Midoriya Izuku thrived in the workshop, where he could discuss the lethality of his plans without provocative and without judgment- the other two joining in saying when it went to far or when he could push it just that little bit more.

He thrived where he could lie down and tension could leave his shoulders and he could swear and scowl and not be happy and smiley. And he could be tired and stressed.

There was another occasion he could be himself as well, though this one was constantly overlapping with the first.

Monoma Neito was a frequent visitor at the Hatsume forge (it was supposed to sound intimidating apparently but it made Izuku think of a soft jrpg npc location) constantly asking about support items and licenses and, when the Sun and moon were in the right positioning he seemed to also enjoy having a normal conversation.

They'd begrudgingly gotten used to each other, and at times Monoma joined in with debates between himself and Mei, sometimes the blond would just speak with Izuku out of sheer wanting to about various topics.

The sports festival, despite causing him to injure his arms beyond repair, had gifted him with friends and an unlikely... acquaintance though he suspected Monoma would drop dead before admitting it.

 He was thankful.

Uraraka, Iida, Todoroki and Tsuyu were all wonderful people but Izuku had to admit that the company of Mei, Shinsou and Monoma was more welcome at times than the near suffocating friendship with the others. Since being given the opportunity to be...free he'd felt confined.

The constant use of Deku and Midoriya rather than Izuku, Mido and idiot (Monoma often sounded calm when he called him that, no venom visible or heard) hit home how tightly he kept his more open personality close to him.

He, again, felt so so thankful that he'd had the opportunity to be close to them. He was especially thankful when exams started up and Monoma agreed to help him study, claiming that '1-A's poster child needs to be at the top of his game.'

He'd never been given an explanation on the poster child comment, but the blond's tutelage had helped exponentially and he'd exited most of his exams with a breath of relief rather than of despair.

The post-test haze that had settled over the class had been pushed aside as some classmates made up for lost time getting back into hobbies while others trained and trained hoping for the opportunity to release their quirks to their hearts desires.

Then you had others, like Hagakure, Ashido and Kaminari who had gone information hunting. They'd come back with news of practical exams. Of tales from 1-B's class rep (Kendo was nice, she was another he could relax around) about past years experiences.

Entrance exam reruns, days after days of spontaneous hero practicals, and the more intense ones being week long lock ups in training grounds.

He'd been enticed by the idea of that last option, and soon discovered that it was a simulation test. The hero classes would alternate between who had the leaders in it (it changed each year this particular exam ran apparently) and then the two leaders would be named either villain or hero and they were given a week to prepare before being locked in a training ground for a week.

The objective was to test both sides on different parameters.

The villains prompts were often to create havoc, to create as real a simulation as possible. -The footnotes on the documents he read through detailed about how they were judged on acting as well as actions.-  Along side that they had certain parameters to meet. Things to steal, 'people' to kill and places to destroy.

With the added bonus prompt of 'killing' off as many heroes as possible.

Clearly the leader and their team were assumed to be those who would consider going into underground or undercover positions so playing the villain would be practice he guessed.

Reading through some of the past schemes he realised it was also an opportunity for people to learn to think outside the box, to make a situation fit for them, instead of waiting for it to.

The heroes prompt was much simpler. Win.

Take the villains in, don't 'kill' them unless absolutely necessary (there was no indication of fake weaponry in the guidelines so he suspected it was the prerogative of the students to find a way around this.), stop the villains plans and get them to surrender before the week long exam finished.

Reading through the few reports (the activity received controversy each time it was activated so it happened once for each year very decade) he saw that the longest the seven day time limit had lasted was three days. And the three times it had been run heroes had never lost.

Spurred on by interest he soon found himself diving into rule books, theories and data analysis from past students on the exam. It was such an interesting concept. More invigorating, more spontaneous and more fitting of up and coming heroes in their world today.

The concept of the activity was to teach the villains to work under intense pressure and against stacked odds and learning to trust your gut and ignore moral guidance for the greater good at times.

And the concept was also to teach both sides how to deal with city warfare and sieges. Something that as of late was becoming a bigger and bigger threat.

It had been massive in the early years of heroism. As villains and heroes alike acted more like soldiers rather than peacocks with nuclear explosives strapped to their chests.

Now, his generation were coming into a world of heroism where a battle between a hero and a villain was not too different than a war anymore.

He didn't get his hopes up and went back to training for the two most obvious choices for their exams. A redo of the entrance exam and a week long spontaneous heroics class.

He was shocked, when two days before the announcement for what their practical exam was going to be they were told they would be living in dorms.

The only explanation given was that the school had been meaning to for years and decided now that with all the encounters the first years had had they were finally sold. Not to mention, Present Mic had told them, training camp was coming up after the exams finished. Wasn't it better to get used to sleeping under the same roof sooner rather than later.

Izuku was fine with it as long as he didn't room with Mineta.

Chapter Text

U.A. had bullshit reality warping methods for doing everything, all students and staff (past and present) were aware of this. Still, Izuku was slightly bewildered how after two days the dorms were done and he was moving in.

That excitement and bewilderment was discarded as Aizawa stood in the common room after dinner, "Tonight, two of your classmates will have slips under their doors indicating whether they are the hero leader or the villain leader."

He simultaneously felt his stomach drop along with everybody else as at the same time his brain jumped for joy. He was getting the exam he wanted.

He'd spent the rest of the night in the common half engaging in conversation with his classmates as he texted Shinsou and Mei, before switching to the group chat where he read through about seven paragraphs of Monoma complaining that 1-A got to be the leaders of the exercise.

Reading through all the paragraphs (because Monoma could be insightful at times) he discovered that the leaders job was to recruit, Vlad King having explained that tomorrow the leaders would be debriefed but as 1-B had no 'major role' in the game other than as pieces they were being told ahead of time.

The job was to recruit, train and prepare.

He wondered who the staff would pick for 'captains'. The hero candidates were obvious, either Bakugou or Todoroki.

Bakugou due to his overwhelming physical abilities and unstoppable determination demonstrated the stereotypical qualities of a well-to-do hero like All Might or Muriko. Todoroki on the other hand exemplified the self-containment and finesse of many heroes as well as being a hero descendant who had been trained to one day take his father's place.

Of course, depending on who was picking the leaders (and Aizawa could tell him it was random all he wanted but Izuku hadn't spent years picking apart people to be fooled by such an obvious lie) it could be a complete left field candidate like Shouji or Hagakure.

His classmates were all strong and had different qualities that would make them all suitable for the job, the only problem was that many of them lacked the confidence to lead.

Adding that to the fact many of them hadn't gotten to show off their strength it would be near impossible to gather support from 1-B students or from other classes- Aizawa had said after all that it was a year wide exercise. Not just a hero course one. 

In one of the reports he'd read on this exercise at one point the villain team had been made up of near exclusively support course students. That had the year it had stretched on for three days, the support gadgets giving the outnumbered students an unexpected edge.

Their downfall had been that there was only one offensive quirk and most of the support course students needed close quarters to activate their quirks something their gadgets negated.

"What're you doing Deku?" Breaking from his thoughts he saw Uraraka sat next to him on the couch, glancing at his phone with confusion and concern. Looking down he realised he'd open his notes at come point and he'd been writing down his thoughts.

"Just got an idea, wanted to write it down." It was half true, a lie was always more believable if it was born from a truth. Her confusion melted away, any and all concern leaving her eyes instantly.

She smiled and started speaking. Something about him just seeming so engrossed that she just wanted to make sure he was okay. He gave a generic response to that, and once confirming he was okay she turned back to Tsuyu.

He shoved his phone in his pocket once her attention was diverted, stretching and making his way to his room with no announcement. People didn't really notice when he came and went, that was something he relied on.

 -*-

The letter that sat on the floor inside his room stared up at him, teasing him. He could already tell from the design of the letter what side of the coin he was.

The matte black envelope and authentic looking red wax seal aesthetic didn't give any illusions. Closing the door behind him he ignored the letter and placed his phone on his desk, saving the notes he had been typing downstairs before opening up audio recorder.

With U.A. He couldn't be too sure how long the contents of his letter would survive once he broke the seal. Starting the recording he picked up the letter and sat at his desk, taking out the slip of paper that rested atop of the folded up packet of papers and reading aloud.

"Dear Midoriya Izuku, you have been randomly picked to be the leader of the villain team in this years U.A. survival course. You will find the rules and regulations you are expected to adhere to in the packet included in this envelope."

He paused, taking out the packet and placed it on the table, it didn't look particularly thick, that meant either there were a lot of loopholes or each rule was ridiculously thorough.

"The basic premise of your mission is to recruit members of your year group," he stressed the use of the word year, future reference of that would be important, "and to train and prepare for a week before a week long lock up in one of U.A.'s training grounds. The objectives for that week will be revealed tomorrow by your teacher, as a team leader it is your prerogative to keep your identity secret or out in the open."

That made him pause, if it was his prerogative does that mean that the hero leader was given the same options? Or as a villain, traditionally with leaders hiding in shadows and behind organizations, was it a special privilege to keep his identity hidden?

"Your identity either way will be hidden from the hero leader and vice versa, this is to eliminate as much as the staff can any pre-planned attacks against leaders. I look forward to seeing your potential Midoriya Izuku, sighed Principle Nezu."

Saving the audio recording he set the letter down on his desk and closed his eyes leaning back.

He held his breath for a few seconds before releasing it in an effort to keep himself calm. It was futile as his fingers were already itching and scrambling for one of the many pens and sheets of paper he had on his desk.

He was going to have to plan, and plan and plan. Fail safes would be important. And plans would have to be linked to fail safes.

One way of doing it would be that each fail safe stemmed from where something in a plan could go wrong and could eventually lead to the original plan again. Or lead to another fail safe depending on the nature of the slip up.

He resisted the urge to grab pen and paper though, he didn't know his objectives, though he suspected they would be the same as years prior. He didn't know who his rival was, and again he already had suspicions and most importantly he didn't know who his team would be just yet.

That however, he could solve. Opening his eyes he grabbed his phone and dialled his first number, "Hey," he said when a half aware hello was shot at him, "What do you say to being locked in a training ground for a week?"

He felt a grin stretch along his face at the answer, "I'm not hearing a no."


 "Who do you think the villain leader is?" He kept half an ear on the conversation while he transferred most of his notes on his class into a new notebook, this new book would serve as a class centric guide to quirks and weaknesses.

He was glad that it was only him on his row right now, it would be hard to hide what he was doing if Bakugou or Mineta could hear his murmuring and see his work.

"I don't know, I can't see anyone in our class playing a villain to be honest." He kept his grin to himself. There was yet again another opportunity to be underestimated here. If they kept that line of thinking he would already have won part of the war.

"Midoriya." a presence looming over him made his attention divert fully. Standing next to his desk were two of his classmates, blocking line of sight of him and of what was going to be discussed. 

"Shouji, Koda." The two boys stood paired, nothing too suspicious. Koda was a skittish -brave at heart but generally too nervous to start confrontation- kid and Shouji had taken to accompanying the other boy sometimes as moral support.

It could also of been Koda's selective mutism and the others capabilities in sign language, but he'd seen the genuine friendship there.

They surveyed each other for a few moments, before the six-armed boy seemed to find the words he wanted to say, "We'd like to be on your team." It was said low, and quiet so as to not draw suspicious glances or wandering ears.

"I'm not the hero leader." he knew neither were stupid, but he wanted to make sure they knew what they were signing up for. He also wanted to see what made them so sure it was him.

"We're aware," he could swear that behind the mask Shouji was smirking, "However, you don't let anything slip past you and this means you have what it takes to win."

"And we want to win." It was Koda speaking up that sold him, if so much confidence was held in the usually timid voice then he had no other choice did he?

"Perfect." He smiled, a Midoriya Izuku smile, not a Deku smile, and he was glad to see no hesitancy enter their eyes, "Because that's also what I want to do. Aizawa hasn't briefed me yet, so I'm unsure of what our aim is. However, think you could make a list of people you think would like to join our cause?"

Oh, Shouji was definitely smirking now. "You got it boss."

-*-

Throughout the course of the second part of the day multiple people were taken out class to be spoken to. It was a good ploy he supposed. Don't let anyone know who the real leaders were while confusing the leaders as to who their rival was.

He explained this to Aizawa when he sat down with him. "So you saw through it?" He nodded, watching his teachers usual bland expression creep into his wide 'logical ruse' smile. "Good, you're already doing better than your rival is."

He noticed the lack of pronouns but didn't bring it up, after all just because he'd realised the ploy didn't mean all would be revealed to him. Besides, Mei had already let him know who his rival was.

U.A. was nothing if not informative.

"I want to ask a few things sensei, about the rules and parameters."

"Of course problem child, let me explain the objectives first though. Your main goal is to last the seven days," he must of pulled a face because Aizawa's grin broadened, "of course you're aware the test has never lasted that long."

"Your second way to win is to either 'kill' the heroes or push them to a situation where surrendering is their only option. This time around Nezu has added objectives to earn bonus points." He nodded, opening the note book he'd placed on the table upon entering and started to write it all down.

"The heroes main goal is to either push you to surrender or take you all captive. They themselves have goals to accomplish, namely taking your bonus points. You can reclaim bonus points from the heroes."

He felt his mind whirling to life now. Hours spent thinking of plans to crush his classmates - hours that he had previously hated himself- were now coming to fruition. The bonus points would likely be objects if they could be retrieved and regained. However they could just as easily be actions to accomplish.

He'd have to add equipment permission slips to his list of things he'd need to obtain.

"The heroes won't know about their objectives until the day of the exam."

This made him pause and looking up at his teacher he saw nothing to indicate that he'd misheard, "Is that because the villains have never won?" If it was pity points he'd take them.

His advantage was he was underestimated, if this was because his team was underestimated he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. "Yes, and no." Aizawa looked like he wasn't going to elaborate for a few seconds but he eventually continued, "Yes, because as you've said the villains have never won; in real life that wouldn't always be the case, but no at the same time."

A sly look claimed his teachers face and he tried to remember if the last exam of this type had been on while his teacher had been a student. "In a real life situation like the one we're hoping to simulate heroes wouldn't know what to do to take down the villains."

He nodded, writing that extra information in all capitals. That would be important, especially if the reports were true about this being judged on realism.

"Your turn now Midoriya."

Flicking to his page of important questions he tore it out of the book. The action caused Aizawa to raise a brow, up Izuku ignored it as he moved to a clean page, he had a feeling he would need a lot of space to write the answers. 

"I know how I win, but how do I lose?"

The grin became even wider, and normally tired eyes became alive. "You're asking the right questions, good." He wrote the word loss on his page and got ready to bullet point. "You lose if the heroes capture all of you, if you surrender, if you are unable to sustain your team and you risk going into a health risk situation." There was a pause and Izuku looked up, seeing that light turn vicious in his teachers eyes. He would definitely need to see if his sensei had ever taken part in this exam.

"Or if you yourself are captured for longer than ten hours."

"Ten hours?" 

He started to write in capitals again, "A villain being captured isn't the end. If you were to lose as soon as you got caught you would be reckless," that was true, "however if it was treated realistically you would have the opportunity to escape - an opportunity that would allow you to be logical in your encounters with the heroes."

"Second question, what's the limitations of involvement, from outside the hero course and of the staff during the exam?"

He knew he was making it obvious that he'd read up on this from the specified questions but he didn't care.

"It's open to the entire year, with the exemption of the management course - though if a management student approaches you you are allowed to accept them into your team."

He went to ask the second part of his question again when Aizawa finished speaking, "Once the exam starts staff aren't allowed to get involved unless it's retrieving 'dead' students, or if it's to deal with the aforementioned health risks."

An idea entered his mind, one he usually would of squashed but not this time. "Would teachers step in if a supply was poisoned,to incapacitate, not kill, but there was access to an antidote and an non-contaminated supply available to the victims?"

"No. If it was made known that there was an antidote and it was nothing worse than say food poisoning I don't see why we would." The way his teacher eyed him made Izuku realise how horrible what he was suggesting was but wasn't that the purpose of the exercise?

"Is there a limitation on what external equipment you can bring into the exam?" He made a new subtitle contraband and made a table of allowed and not allowed.

"Weapons of all kinds are permitted, although anything more than rubber bullets or dull blades are not allowed. Killing your opponents is not allowed." He kept his eyes on his teacher as he wrote, taking in his features as the man's eyes showed brief understanding of what he might be planning, "Support equipment for heroic and general studies students are permitted. Support course generally don't fight in these exercise so there aren't any rules saying what they can and can't bring in."

He felt a smile twitch at his lips at that. Mei would have a field day, it also meant that the side project she and Shinsou had been working on could have its field test. "What about transportation? I assume the training ground will have roads, and subways but what can students use?"

He sat there as Aizawa looked at him, really looked at him as if it was the first time he'd seen him for who he was. As if this was the first time Aizawa had looked past the fanboy persona and was looking at a calculating monster.

Maybe it was. He often felt like a monster with most of his own ideas, many of them giving him pause. He wasn't surprised that Aizawa was thrown.

"There aren't any rules regarding that, only that if you use something you have a license, or a learners permit for it."

Izuku had his learner and he knew Mei had gotten her actual license not too long into the year - something all support students needed to get apparently because of the nature of their modular projects. He didn't know who else had theirs but it wouldn't be too hard to get them from U.A. for the purpose of the exam.

"Fourth question." This and the next question would confirm some theories, "Is there a means of production of food within the exam or are the food supplies supplied all there is?"

The thrown look from Aizawa was gone, and pride seemed to replace it. Now that Aizawa knew he was prepared to do anything he seemed to understand that Izuku would do anything.

"All the food its believed you'll need will be in your safe houses. However,the city itself has food shops, grocers ect. You won't be given money to buy anything though you'll have to steal it."

"Do the heroes get given money?" If the didn't he'd need to make sure he doubled his efforts to snatch Yaoyozoru from them before it was too late, if they did he'd still need to make sure he got to her first.

"No. You're supposed to be making this into a war zone, Nezu figured it'd make it too easy if the heroes could just buy things."

That worked in his favour. In desperation of the heroes would have to break their own morals to feed themselves. It would help demoralize them.

"I have two more questions sensei." He received an interested nod. He prided himself on the fact that from the first question Aizawa had seemed almost on the edge of his seat. "One, is the water system for the bases linked to the city's main water supply or is it independent?"

"Linked." Another piece of a plan fell into place.

Standing up, he bowed and thanked Aizawa before turning to leave, "Midoriya, your last question?"

He stopped at the door and looked over his shoulder, "You were a villain in this exercise weren't you sir?"

"I was."

"Okay, thank you sensei. I'll return to class now."

"Midoriya," he paused, "Why did you want to know that if you were so sure?"

"It's in your eyes," he missed how his teachers eyes widened as he was looking away from his face, "You want things to change. Nowadays people don't want things to change unless it effects them. Growing up quirkless-" he corrects himself instantly, "thinking I was qurikless I seemed to be the only one that didn't like how quirkless were treated. And with this," he made eye contact, "You understand how unfair this set up is and you want us to win."

Chapter Text

Once he returns to class the next person is called out, but he keeps his eyes firmly in front of him. Making eye contact with Todoroki would seem suspicious, especially as he's going to pretend to sign up for the villain team.

Nobody outside of his team had to know he was the leader. It would help, people's attention would be diverted trying to figure out if he was the leader or not which would make it easier for some of the plans he was cooking up.

He settled into his seat again, resisting the urge to look over to his teammates. He managed to keep his restless energy under wraps because that would spoil the surprise for everybody else and he couldn't have that.

-*-

Once they were released back to the doors he held back in class, letting his classmates leave before he, Shoji and Koda did. He'd need to get their numbers so that he could add them to the chat with Mei and Shinsou.

He noticed however, that their trio weren't the only ones staying behind.

It wasn't immediately obvious that they were intentionally staying behind but the way that the six kept glancing his way was telling enough.

"You're all here for the same reason I'm guessing?" He didn't look over at them as he packed his bag, but the uneasiness that entered the air was an indication that they were and that they were nervous.

Laughing he turned, facing Shoji first, "When I asked if you could draw up a list of possible candidates I didn't expect this."

The taller boy simply shrugged, Izuku felt he would quickly learn to read his expressions through his mask, "I thought you'd appreciate the hard work being done for you." It was said so smugly that Izuku couldn't help the grin that spread across his face.

Turning to face his classmates he took in who had stayed. Ojiro, Hagakure, Jiro, Kaminari, Ashido and (Yes! Just who he needed!) Yaoyozoru.

The first two he had expected to stay on the hero team so it was a nice surprise, Jiro he suspected wanted to stick close to people who wouldn't destroy her ear drums (and with Bakugou inevitably going to the hero side whether Todoroki was leader or not) the villain team was the best course of action.

Yaoyozoru was more than likely sticking to Jiro, however the level look -one that held the confidence she'd had before the sports festival- he was receiving from her told him that she was here out of her own judgement. 

Kaminari and Ashido surprised him though.

They weren't sheep, but the way they followed Bakugou around reminded him of the middle school lackeys the blond had had.

However, he did remember that the two were more open minded than Bakugou. Kirishima wasn't narrow minded, more he was one track at a time. And in his head a hero student would probably never entertain the idea of being a villain.

"Okay..." He surveyed his new teammates. They were all watching him with some form of anxiety, but not the kind that came with regret or telling a lie. All of them were sure in their decisions of being here. 

"Lets exchange numbers then. I already have two more people on our team."

"Damn, Deku, you work fast." Was breathed out by Kaminari who was looking at him with something akin to awe. 

He didn't let the tightness that came with that nickname enter his smile, "Please, call me Izuku. We're going to be spending the next fortnight in ridiculously close quarters formalities don't really matter now."

There seemed to be an ease then, at the friendly gesture of giving permission for a given name. It was something normal in this strange situation.

"I asked for Shouji and Koda to meet me now just to exchange numbers but..." He slinged his bag on his back, "If we all exchange numbers I have a plan we can put into motion now."

He received nods and when phones started getting pulled out he grinned.


 It was day two officially of prep time and so far he thought things were going well.

He'd acquired eight team mates and had gotten Mei and Yaoyozoru working together on parts and costumes. Plus he'd gotten his other team mates to write lists of people they knew they could comfortably take on in combat and those they knew they couldn't.

They'd texted their lists last night and he'd started cross referencing so that he knew who he could afford to pair up depending on who showed up on the oppositions team.

He was tired but it wasn't too bad yet.

"Deku!" Opening his dorm door he was greeted by Uraraka- which despite her being his friend was not something he wanted to see first thing on a Saturday morning he was too tired for her energy.

"Where's the fire?" It was clearly a bit too snarky for his usual personality because she looked at him with a raised brow before seemingly deciding it wasn't worth it before continuing.

"Todoroki just came out and confirmed that he was the hero leader! We have to go sign up!"

He paused as she smiled brightly at him, he hadn't ever thought of asking her to join his team, but the insinuation that he would obviously go towards the team with a strong figure head annoyed him a bit.

The rest of the class had little to no knowledge of the villain team or leader, what if Bakugou was the leader? Or Iida? Didn't it occur to her to wait? See what both teams had to offer?

It was earlier than he wanted to but at the way her grin was dimming the longer he stayed stationary in the doorway he had to play his first card, "I'm sorry Uraraka, I can't."

"But-what?"

"I've already been recruited."

She didn't seem to get it as her smile went full force again."Oh! Of course that makes sense! Why wouldn't Todoroki get you at the first available moment?"

"No," he had to watch as realisation smashed through her rose tinted glasses, "Uraraka I'm on the villains team."

"W-why!?" He'd expected surprise but not the anger in her voice, "Why would you do that!?" He didn't understand the anger in her voice. What right did she have? She was his friend, not his mother!

He realised how much this sounded and looked like a lover's spat.

Both of them were in their pyjamas, Izuku half dressed in a pair of jogging pants and a back to front t-shirt, and Uraraka had obviously gone straight to him after hearing the news -probably sent by text- as was evident by her messy hair.

Coupled with the fact Izuku was keeping himself up right through the use of the door frame and Uraraka being nearly in tears it looked like he was breaking up with her after they'd spent the night together.

God this was going to get the rumour mill going wasn't it?

"Uraraka I did it because it's my choice." He grit his teeth in the adversity of her angry and betrayed expression. Hopefully she'd gossip about it to their other friends and he'd be left alone for the time being. Though at the same time that was an issue.

"If you don't like it that's not my problem."

"You idiot!" She turned on her heel then and stormed off, now that she wasn't blocking the way he can see his floor mates looking on in shock.

Tokoyami and Aoyama especially seemed shocked, Mineta to his left looks like he's about to have an aneurysm. "YOU SPENT THE NIGHT WITH URARAKA!?"

"Are you fucking deaf?" The three boys freeze, "She's pissed that I'm not on the hero team."

"YOU'RE NOT ON THE HERO TEAM!?" 

-*-

It didn't take long apparently for it to spread that Todoroki was the hero leader. It didn't surprise him, he enjoyed the chaos that his class created about it really.

It gave him cover.

Thankfully the fact that he was on the villain team hadn't spread, though the way Uraraka kept glaring over at him, the cat would be let out of the bag sooner rather than later.

Then there was Mineta to worry about but the likelihood of anyone believing him meant that he wasn't a threat.

However, he wouldn't throw his status as a threat away. He'd seen at the USJ and at the sports festival how potent his quirk could be. Out of sheer principle he wouldn't have him on his team so they would have to find a way to counter his quirk.

Mei did still hold a grudge because if what the boy had done to her 'baby' so it would result in something most likely over the top but incredibly effective.

He had spent most of the night, that wasn't filled with cross-referencing, planning different strategies for different scenarios for the bonus points. Looking through records his assumptions that the bonus points were objects and actions was not unfounded, so he needed to come up with plans.

He'd have to start having the team get together to train early in if he wanted this to work. Risking a glance around the room he made eye contact with Yaoyozoru and when she nodded he turned his head back to facing forward.

One the lesson finished up, thankfully leading into lunch, he stood and began packing his bag. He'd need to show Me I the plans on his laptop as well as make sure that Yaoyozoru knew the plan.

That then left him the awkward role of disturbing the delicate peace he and Monoma had formed between them. It would look suspicious whether he went to the dorms (though that could contain the issue...no. Still too much exposure due to proximity to his own dorms) or if he kidnapped his blond friend(?) before he went off for lunch.

"Midoriya." 

He didn't physically freeze, though everything in his mind besides core functions did. It was like the tabs for each plan had been minimised to hide from being scrutinized.

"Todoroki." He made eye contact, kept his posture relaxed if a bit skittish. The normal, and smiled, "What's up?"

"Uraraka said you were on the villain team."

There were definitely a few gasps of shock.

Well damn, he thought, now the glares made sense. She was really vindictive at times wasn't she?

An uneasy silence settled over the room at the accusation - was it even an accusation it it was true?- and he realised how full the room was. He wasn't going to play his full hand yet, so, keeping in line with the anxious character he'd had them associate him with for so long he spoke:

"Its true."

More gasps and a quick glance around, disguised as a trapped animal looking for an escape look, revealed that his team was doing a very convincing job of playing the concerned classmate. "What about it?

The blank face of his friend didn't change. Hetrochromic eyes unchanged by the news. It pissed him off a bit actually. Only the slight twist to his mouth betrayed him, "Why?"

He didn't mean for it to happen but he let out a Midoriya Izuku laugh, "You're the second person to ask me that today." He refused to look at Uraraka from her place next to Todoroki.

"Because it's ridiculous to think you'd willingly go over to the villain team." He could see the cogs begin to turn in Todoroki's head and was about to pull some bullshit out of thin air when Yaoyozoru saved him.

"He joined because I asked him to." Even more gasp, what were they a drama show now, erupted and he knew immediately that people thought that was Yaoyozoru coming out as the leader, "I wanted to improve my quirk and figured the villain perspective would allow for that and Izuku has been helping me with my quirk recently so when I asked him he agreed."

If a silence could choke he'd of been dead times over. It was almost literally suffocating in the classroom, "I-Izuku!? Since when did you start calling him that!?"

He wasn't sure who exactly said it, but it brought attention away from him being on the villain team. From the tone it sounded suspiciously like Ashido. The smirk he caught her wearing warranted a gift in return.

"What?" He titled his head, classic deku move- highlight the innocent features and ignore Bakugou's scoff, "Momo's called me by my given name for awhile now."

It erupted into chaos from there and he was glad he'd texted his other teammates what had to be done before class had ended because he and Yaoyozoru were bound to be preoccupied for awhile now.

-*-

 Finally escaping he was quick to check his phone seeing the group chat filled with progress reports. Recon was a go.

"We're being tailed." He'd noticed the reflection in his phone as he'd turned it off, the distinctive forms of his friends a few paces behind. They weren't hard to pick up on, too loud for this kind of thing.

Yaoyozoru nodded, giggling like he'd told a particularly funny joke, "Shall we head for lunch then?" She leaned in closer than she normally would of, he had to give it to her she was convincing actress.

"Mei's ten minutes?" Her eyes answered yes and he pulled away from her with a bright cherry smile. "See you there Momo!" He called as they reached the staircase. They were lucky that this stair case split into two different directions or otherwise it would of resulted in a chase through the corridors.

Turning they went down different stair cases, apparently going in opposite directions, and Izuku smirked to himself as he took three steps at a time, resisting the urge to take the banister just barley.

When he got to the bottom of the single flight and onto the second floor he hid under the stairs and watched as Tsuyu and Todoroki made it to the bottom of the stairs, looking left then right before splitting up in search of him.

He stayed crouched for a few seconds longer after they'd left, just long enough so that he couldn't see them anymore. 

After that he stood up, texted Yaoyozoru that he was on the move and drifted back up the stairs he'd just came down. He took this trip up at a casual pace. He didn't want to risk Iida and Uraraka hearing him if they were near the top of the stairs.

Making it to the landing he went the way he'd just come, drifting past his classroom to see nobody but Aizawa inside, and made it to 1-B. Hopefully Monoma had lunch in the room.

Looking inside he was greeted with the sight of Vlad King looking up from (oh God Izuku wanted to take pictures but that would get him in trouble) a cutsey bento box, Monoma and Yanagi Reiko having a quirk off and Tokage experimenting with her hand on the ceiling.

It as what 1-A would look like if they were wholesome and weren't all a pack of rabid animals, Izuku included himself in that grouping. "Midoriya..."

Vlad King looked like he wanted to say something, but seemed to understand that the bento box was probably not something that gained him respect. "I'm here for Monoma sir."

There was a pause, and Monoma seemed to peek his prideful self out of its shell, "What do you want 1-A scum?"

To his surprise it was the Yanagi girl who hit him on the back of thr neck with the signature karate chop Kendo was so commonly seen executing. "Please, you don't ever shut up about how much you enjoy hanging out with him and the other two."

The sad looking girl smiled as best as she apparently could, "Take him, please don't give him back." He cracked a smile and the one being sent his way turned a bit more genuine.

"Come on Monoma," he strolled towards the downed boy grabbing onto the back of his blazer, "Mei has new gadgets for you to try."

The blond made some noise of confirmation and didn't object as he started to drag him down the hall by the back of his blazer. Nobody stopped them as they exited the classroom. As they made their way down the hall he got out his phone as he dragged Monoma with one hand.

'Gonna be a few minutes late. Had to detour.'

He typed quickly, keeping the chat open just in case Yaoyozoru had the phone in her hand. "Um.. Midoriya?"

Looking up from his phone he looked up and saw Midnight standing in the corridor a look of concern flitting across her face. He realised how bad the scene looked. 

Him, dragging a slightly dazed Monoma by the back of the blazer with one hand while he avidly texted someone with a grin on his face.

There was clearly only one way to deal with this, "Hi sensei, how are you today?" He stopped in the corridor to face her and the woman smiled with tight eyes.

"I'm fine Midoriya, what you got there?"

'A smoothie.'

He made his smile wider, "Mei wants Monoma and I to be her test subjects!" Her eyes looked even more dazed, "Vlad King sensei is okay with this by the way, Yanagi knocked him out because he was being a little bitch."

She mutley nodded at him, "Say that to my face Midoriya." Was slurred from Monoma and he did his best to haze her with bright smiles and innocent eyes.

"We gotta go now, sensei. Have a nice day!" Slipping his phone into his pocket he picked up the blond and threw him over his shoulder as he approached the stairs.

"...Bye Midoriya..."


 "We clearly have different ideas of what a detour is boss." Dropping Monoma atop of Shinsou's half conscious form he let out a laugh at the loud noise of confusion and embarrassment behind him.

"Not really." He jumped up onto the empty spot on the work desk Mei reserved for him and looked out at one potential squad of his team.

Monoma and Shinsou were rearranging themselves on the sofa to look slightly dignified, Yaoyozoru was perched on a chair he hadn't seen before as elegant as ever and Mei was next to him, back pressed into his thigh as she sat on her stool with her laptop in her lap.

"I think they're exactly the same." The pinknette tilted her head back until it was resting on his leg and gave him a scrutinizing look that he returned with a crooked grin.

"Whatever, I get blondie out of it so I'm not complaining."

"Speaking of which!" Monoma's complaint was accompanied with a slight grunt from Shinsou as the couch was jostled, "Why the hell did you drag me along the fucking corridor!"

"Izuku you did what!?" He looked away from where both Shinosu and Yaoyozoru were staring at him in shock. He could see the humour in Shinsou's eyes but he didn't know how long he could last not laughing and Yaoyozoru didn't look too happy.

"He was barley conscious okay! I'm built like a stqck of bricks but I'm not a damn pack mule! I wasnt going to carry him down two halls and down the stairs."

"That wasn't even the worst of it!" His friend settled back into the couch and slumped into the material, "At least four teachers saw us and none of them even bothered to question it!"

"Incorrect," his grin got bigger as Monoma's eyes widened and the other three got on the edge of their seats, "Midnight sensei stopped us before letting me on my way. You told me to say you got knocked out by Yanagi to your face."

There was a groan of despair from the blond before Mei got them back on the right lines. "You said you wanted us to start working on something right?"

"Yeah, but first, Monoma." The boy looked dover, resigned to whatever shit he was going to drag him into this time, "Want to be on the villain team?"

"Whatever. I'll be on the end of Mei's baby's anyway, I'd rather be pulling the trigger than in front of the barrel."

"That, ironically, leads to the topic of today. Weapons."

There was a loud shout of laughter and, concerned that sleep deprivation had finally caused Shinsou to snap he made to get off of the bench and go over to him. Monoma made a quick escape from the couch, "Shinsou?"

"You're letting Mei make weapons? We're all fucking screwed."

Chapter Text

After the lunch debrief he and Yaoyozoru (they'd decided to just roll with calling each other Momo and Izuku) left Mei's lab separately as they made their way to class.

Izuku made sure to 'bump' into his teammates on the way through the corridors. If he was passed slips of paper or memory sticks in the pass nobody needed to know.

Arriving back to the classroom 'first' he felt slightly at odds when Tokoyami and Aoyama ganged up on him in the doorway, "Midoriya we want to-" hearing their other classmates coming down the corridor he cut the bird headed boy off:

"Both of you, the gym four pm." They looked shocked but nodded and when the rest of the class came in it was to see Aoyama and Tokoyami discussing what constituted too much sparkle and him reading a book.

Aizawa was a few minutes late but he didn't care, all that he was focused on was the new contacts added to the group chat, courtesy of Monoma.

"As this is the week leading up to the exam we would normally allow the two teams to go recruit and train in these last few periods of the day." Aizawa looked out over all of them, "However due to the fact the villain leader is exercising their right to remain anonymous we can't do that to its full extent."

Todoroki raised a hand, "Sir, why is it that the villain leader had the right to remain anonymous?"

"To improve realism. Consider it apart of the experience Todoroki. Any other questions before I get the lesson started?"

He went to raise his hand but Hagakure did it first, "Um...sensei, the villain team leader may not of come out and said who they were but there are those of us who have already registered with the teachers."

A tense quiet settled over the room, "Oh?"

The invisible girl stood up, and despite the fact that he couldn't see anything but her uniform he could hazard a guess at the fact that she was holding her head high, "Yes sensei. I myself have already registered my place on the villain team with Snipe sensei."

"Same here Sensei." He raised his hand, and in a few seconds the rest of his team including Aoyama and Tokoyami, bar Koda, raised their hands.

"Our captain sent a message as well at lunch, we have 1-B team mates as well. It'd be beneficial if we could meet and discuss."

Aizawa watched them, he noticed his eyes never lingered on any one of them for any particular amount of time. "Okay. I'll inform Vlad King that you're coming to collect your teammates, then proceed to support lab 113. That will be your headquarters for now."

He hid his grin at hearing the lab number. It seemed the staff were quick to figure out his rouge teammates.

At least Mei got to keep her lab set up.

 -*-

"Mei, I've not done programming for awhile, what's the first basic rule?"

He sat next to her on the workshop bench, his team stood there watching him and his friend, realisation (the pieces of late night talks and scraps of overheard plans finally falling into place in her head) crossed her face.

"You cheeky bastard." She laughed hysterically after her comment, mad glee overtaking. "First basic rule of programming. Assume all users are stupid and plan everything around that."

"Aren't we underestimating our opponents?"

"No. We're just planning from the ground up." He smiled at the questioning looks.

"Most of the heroes are tactician's but not team players. They'll have impressive plans but idiotic slip ups will lead to failure if exploited correctly."

"Not that I don't think this is great and all," it's one of the 1-B kids that Monoma brought along, his names Awase if he remembers right, "But how exactly is this group going to take down the rest of the heroics department?"

It's a simple enough question, curiosity and rightful concern fill his voice and Izuku watches as the kid waves his hands about careful not to touch any of the metal on the walls in Mei's lab.

"Raw fire power doesn't win a war. But, neither does strategy alone. We need a fine balance of both which is where everybody here comes in." He can see he has their attention now and from his spot on Mei's desk he leans forward a bit more.

"I had Monoma gather people from 1-B that wanted to prove themselves," there's a down trodden tinge to the way they hold themselves after that, "Because people who want to prove themselves are the most dangerous."

He doesn't need to see them to know he has their attention, and looking out at his team -sans one person- he can tell they're all prepared to listen.

"As I'm sure you know, Todoroki Shouto is the hero teams leader. Now, I'm not being offensive to anyone here, "the look in Monoma's eyes screams of pain for him if says the wrong thing, "But pretty much everyone here isn't on his threat radar."

As expected the 1-B students erupt into a state of anger. Surprisingly enough his blond friend (and Yanagi though he hasn't seen her express much of anything) is the one to stay calm:

"Oi! Shut up and let Izuku finish damnit he's not here to brag!"

He feels his own mouth fall open at the use of his given name but it works and he has to continue speaking because his friend is beginning to look smug.

"Like I said, I'm not being offensive. I'm stating a fact, Todoroki Shouto doesn't consider most of the people in this room a threat. Whether that's him not seeing the versatility of your quirks or he's never fought you."

He does a quick headcount, "Five people in this room have fought Todoroki." He motions to himself, Hagakure, Ojiro, Momo and Juzo from 1-B. "Shinsou isn't here but Todoroki knows his abilities and with a liability like Bakugou on his team Shinsou will be a threat."

"A general studies student? Wouldn't he just slow us down, he hasn't got the training with his quirk that we have?" He wasn't sure exactly who said it but it made his blood boil.

"Wouldn't I just slow you down then as well?" He grits his teeth, "Considering that I don't have full control of my quirk and for the first fifteen years of living I was perceived as quirkless?"

Everyone but Mei and Monoma stare at him, shocked perhaps? Disgusted? He isn't sure but he takes a remote off of Mei's desk and uses it to turn on the old and dying projector that croak's to life before displaying a power point.

Removing himself from the desk he ignores the way they're looking at him.

He isn't here for them to pity, he's here to lead them.

"I can match him punch for punch in fire power. Doesn't mean I can outright beat him though." He shrugs, "Just means I can slug him a few times before we both pass out."

He turns back to his team, seeing that their resolve isn't gone, only changed. "If you have regrets now, leave. If you can't deal with the training I'm going to put you through, leave. If you can't work with the people here, leave." Nobody goes, "If you don't think that a general studies student is capable of being in this group, leave."

And nobody leaves.

"Perfect. I'll explain the plan for this week then."

 

Chapter Text

 They're taking a break from training, quirkless combat was harder for quite a few of his team mates but that was why they were handling it in the early stages.

"Why isn't Koji here, I noticed he wasn't with us before." 

"Espionage." Is his simple response.

"Isn't it against the rules to switch sides during the exam?" Mezou leans in his directions mask pulled down slightly to allow for him to chug from his water bottle.

He smiles, smirks really, a full blown teeth showing smile and sees Denki and Rikido shift where they're sat.

"Not against the rules if his allegiances are with us the entire time. There's no rule against occupying enemy camp and spying."

"Why do I feel..." He looks to his left at the gasped out words and sees Sen sprawled on the floor, "...like my joints are going to pop off...?"

"Same." Rises up from a few others in the group.

His smile devolves from its smirk state into a genuine smile, and he pulls himself to his feet with minimal struggle. He's tired, yes, but training for U.A. was harder than this.

"Where did you even come up with this training regime anyway Izuku?"

It's so strange to have so many using his first name, but it was him who told people they could, and when he looks to the voice it's Torou. "It's an easier version of what I did for the U.A. entrance exam."

"What? Really!?" The invisible girl pulls herself to her feet, renewed with energy now that her interest has been peeked. She stands in front of him in seconds, "If this is easier what did you do?"

He can hear the murmurs of agreement and people start asking him to tell. He would, but it's embarrassing.

"Hey, Izuku."

"Yeah Hitsohi-" he freezes as his friend sends him a grin and there's a short silence where everyone looks from Hitoshi to him.

He's worried people are going to say something, but thankfully and rather not all at the same time, they all start to wear the same smug grin, "Could you please tell us what your U.A. training was?"

It's worded so innocently and he can't help but find it a bit funny as he starts speaking without much control of what's coming out. He just manages to keep the All Might secret.

"I ran two miles every day, twice a day. Did two hours of Tae Kwon Do every other night and helped clean Daugobouh beach until was clear again."

He feels the familiar 'snap' as Hitoshi's quirk releases him and stands there as his team stares. Reiko speaks first, "Impressive." And then all Hell breaks lose.

"YOU DID WHAT!? WHAT KIND OF BEAST WERE YOU!?"

He chuckles, looking away from the crowd. How would they react if he told them it was before his quirk 'came in' as well? They continue to question him and well...

He's just really happy that people want to know him. That people are willingly including him in social circles that had previously been barred to him.

The team is a hodgepodge of social groups, and yet they seem to meld together near perfectly. He can already see there will be a few bumps before the exam starts but that's why they're starting early after all.

"Alright! If you've got so much energy lets continue!"

There are groans, whines of complaint but still everybody gets up. He notices that nobody stops smiling either.


 Getting back to the dorm three hours after classes officially ended Izuku and the 1-A portion of his team were greeted with a very sombre atmosphere.

It had been made in clear in class where people's loyalties pay when Aizawa had made the option for anyone who wanted to sign up for the villain team to go and do so.

They'd acquired quite a good chunk of the class (or at least in 1-A) but still, there was a percentage of the class that hadn't taken kindly to the villainous choice.

"Hey guys!" Ever the optimists of the class Mina and Denki remained unperturbed by the near literal cold shoulder of their classmates.

It caused the rest of the team to pause, the way the room had suddenly shut off all conversations the second they all entered the common room was suspicious to say the least. A quick glance at Koji told him this was intentional.

"Sorry dude, dudette," it was Kirishima who broke the silence, his sympathetic look a contrast to the grave and contemptuous looks from the others, "We're on orders to not talk to you guys."

He spared a look over to where Todoroki was sat. Uraraka and Iida were hunched around a table with him. Bakugou wasn't too far away from the table, body language suggesting that whatever was going on over there was important and the blond was apart of it.

'The heroes have a war council. Interesting.'

"I'm heading off to bed, see you guys tomorrow." He raised a hand goodbye, addressing the whole room like everything was normal, as he turned for the stairs. He turned his head though, before entering the stairwell and didn't try to hide his smirk.

"Don't forget what the boss said."

There were confused looks spread around the heroes, Todoroki flinched ever so slightly, and his friends and teammates all grinned like they were in on a joke.

He hadn't said anything for them to remember.

It was a ploy to wind up the hero team. And it was working.

-*-

He'd been in his dorm for about ten minutes maybe fifteen when a knock rang out from the other side.

Closing his laptop lid he left it out in the open, no need to look suspicious if he didn't have to. He opened his door a fraction and frowned when he saw who was there.

Todoroki, Uraraka and Iida were all stood outside his door, having the nerve to look conspiratorial.

"Deku, can we come in?"

Reluctant, but interested in what they wanted, he opened his door enough for them to see his face properly, "Why are you here?"

"We want to talk, Midoriya." He must make a face because Iida is quick to elaborate, "It won't take long, we just wish to pose a few questions to you."

Now this really going to be interesting isn't it? He finds himself thinking. Uraraka's fidgeting makes that much obvious when he opens his door enough for them to come in.

His room at home had practically been an All Might shrine; posters, memorabilia, pop figures ect.

He'd had everything to prove his status as a hero fanboy but when he was presented with moving into the dorms he'd had to seriously reassess his decorative choices.

He'd a revaluation of sorts.

Fanboying was fine, but shrine level was just weird. After that had been presented to his mind he'd started how...obsessive his hero collections were.

He'd talked it through with his mother at that point, going through what he guessed was a midlife crisis.

She'd informed him that throughout his life he'd had various phases where he focused on one thing and one thing only. With that in mind he'd looked back and depressingly realised she was, in fact, correct.

After that he'd gone through a purge of sorts.

If it wasn't at least semi-functional then it wasn't going to the dorms with him. He had at most three purely decorative items in his new room. A picture of him and his mother, glow in the dark star stickers and a inspirational quotes poster that his aunt Mitsuki had gifted him that year for his birthday.

Just because he and Bakugou didn't get along didn't mean he and his aunt didn't.

His All Might memorabilia was stored in his room back home, awaiting his return if he ever so desired to relive the oblivious first fifteen years of his life.

His new room was remarkably plain in comparison really.

A twin bed shoved against the far right corner with flat tone covers. A desk was opposite that, cluttered with note books (school books and analysis alike) and his laptop -which contained the only blatant hero merch in his room in the form of a menagerie of stickers.

On the right side of the desk was a small collection of weights.

At the foot of the bed rested a bean bag, and next to that was a book shelf that was home to his text books, extensive literature collection and the occasional manga here and there.

He'd die before he admitted it but he actually had really cutesy shojou manga because hey, sometimes you just want to sit there and cry about friendship and love triangles. It wasn't like he was the only one.

Stepping aside for them to enter he saw them take a quick glance around his room and quickly take seats around the room while he remained standing.

"Alright, your questions?" He felt the overriding urge to keep his eye on Todoroki who was closest to his laptop but that would drag attention to the device and all he needed was for his rival leader to discover his plans.

Not after the past two sleepless nights.

"We want to say sorry first." That made him pause, a variable he wasn't expecting. In the past when people had lashed out he'd just had to roll with it.

Uraraka stands from where she'd perched herself on the edge of the bed, her movements are stiff like Iida's were the first few weeks of term. She bows to him, a formal way of apology that he isn't quite share why he's receiving.

He becomes even more confused when she stays bowed and Todoroki from where he's sat at his desk and bows also. When they're both bowed is when Todoroki speaks, "We apologise for calling you out this morning. The intention was not to make you feel cornered as it obviously made you feel."

Uraraka picks up where he left off, "I apologise for this morning as well. I over reacted and I should of respected your decision. I'm sure you had your reasons."

He'd been well on his way to accepting the apology but it's the wording at the end that throws him. Iida's twitch at the phrasing tells him he's also not the only one to notice something amiss.

Then he remembers the fact that he's looking at three quarters of the the hero teams war council and alarm bells start ringing. He's fallen into one of his own traps.

They shouldn't be in his room, what if they've figured- no. That's paranoia. Paranoia will get him nowhere. Breath Midoriya.

Okay, he thinks, calm now. Probably.

" 'Had my reasons'? What's that supposed to mean?"

This is meant to be their tome to ask questions and it seems he's the one doing most of the asking. He doesn't like how much power that gives them. But then he takes another deep breath and realises that that power will make them loose lipped.

This is a group of friends, he'd slipped his guard and he was probably more paranoid than Todoroki so he just needed to needle in such a way that he'd get exactly what he wanted out of them.

"We have an offer." the way they seem to relax, Uraraka and Todoroki returning to their claimed chairs, gives him another image of a war council. They think they're working on home turf, with no clue that they're in the lions den.

He shoves his hands into his hoodie pockets. He'd had his audio app open anyway, he knows how to press play without looking by now and he does so before they notice. "An offer?"

He keeps his hand in his pocket and shifts his footing. More relaxed, more open to suggestion. It's a familiar stance.

"We want you to be our spy on the villain team." The little tributes of information come together like a poorly stitched patch work. He can see the reasons behind some of their earlier actions but he's not displayed that level of intuition or cunning before so he plays dumb.

For now at keast, he can't have them know what he knows.

"What? But... but you were really adamant about - and earlier..." Turn to mumbling, lower head and cross arms while grasping chin. Lower volume and add a confused tone.

He hears a good natured huff of amusement from his three enemies and knows he's got them fooled, "Deku."

Do not flinch. Do not. This isn't junior high. They won't tell you to stop and shut up, get a grip Midoriya. Do not flinch.

It's the cold monotonous tone that Todoroki is known for that sparks an old memory but he puts it away. Thankfully the pause in his mumbling plays into the act well. Looking up the rival leader is giving him a rare smile.

He doesn't feel an ounce of guilt at playing them for fools.

"The reason we were so adamant about having everyone know you were on the villain team is because that way you wouldn't need to prove your loyalty to that group."

Solid reasoning, he'll admit. But do they not realise the draw backs? Now the hero team would be less likely to believe any information he would hypothetically give them.

He finds irony in the fact that his rival is asking him to snitch on himself. "I'm registered on the villain team I can't switch or work for you." 

Not true, but if he's right then none of them will of read of the rule book as deeply as he has, and Aizawa's wording had made it seem like Todoroki hadn't questioned things to a great degree so he should be covering bases well on that end.

The drooping of smiles and the way Todoroki's mismatched eyes lose a bit of their spark prove him right. "If I could I would, but you know me," fake little laugh get them relaxed and make sure they don't question the next few words, "I've read it cover to cover. There isn't a way for something like that to work."

He likes to think he can read Todoroki pretty well, and he's thankful doe that because it allows him to see the tension melt from his shoulders because why would he lie to them?

He was Midoriya Izuku, he didn't lie to his friends. He smiles at them as they say they need to go after a few more minutes of mindless chatter. As they leave the room he proves to himself that he can do this.

That he can, truly and fully deceive his friends and let his thoughts come to fruition. He lies directly to their faces and looks them in the eye, "By the way, I don't know who the leader of the villains is. I joined because of Momo but to be honest, "laugh and look to the side, "I don't know who my boss is. No ones really taken charge."

Good, good he thinks as the gears turn behind their eyes. Let them think the villains aren't unified. Nobody plans well for a rabble.

Prople plan for armies, people improvise for rambles. He'd have Koji keep him updated though. Uraraka looks at him in shock, "Really? Wow, they're really keeping the anonymous thing going aren't they?"

Todoroki pauses outside his room and he doesn't let his emotions betray the worry at being called out that constricts his throat. "Is it possible that Yaoyozoru is the leader?"

It isn't aimed at anyone in particular, "You're guess is as good as mine! Good night!"

They bid him good night and he locks the door behind them. Strolling to his desk he pulls out the phone and ends the audio. He places the phone on the desk and waits a good ten minutes while typing before daring to go over to his door.

He checks through the gap between the door and the doorway to make sure no one is hiding away and watching. Sure that the only one possibly listening in is Dark Shadow next door he replays the audio and smirks when the entire conversation is caught.

It's a bit muffled yes, but it's clear enough that there aren't any misconceptions to be had about what's being said. Opening the group chat he sends the file.

Kumicho: LookWhoVisitedMe.MP3

There's a lull where he leaves his phone on his desk as he goes about getting changed for bed. It's Sunday tomorrow so he won't need to make appearances unless necessary until the afternoon.

He wanders around rearranging things here and there as the phone on the desk pings with an instance.

Going back over to it he smirks as he has to scroll up to read the responses.

Wakagashira: Wow, I knew they'd thrown you under the bus but wow.

Piper: We're lucky he doesn't suspect anything, but that makes my job easier

Cleaner™: I didn't know you were such a good actor, your voice doesn't even have a trace of hesitation

Evangelion: I take it that this is my cue to tap their phones

Wakagashira: Don't get caught

Evangelion: Who do you think you're talking to?

White_Collar: This is what I mean by 1-A being cocky

Shadow: I'll chop you again

Muscle: So that was where he went today.

More messages popped up and he scrolled down to read through them as they appeared. He put his phone down though, opening up his laptop again, the screen turning back on to display the blue prints and plan view of ground Gamma.

He brought up another tab, MS paint of all things, and traced another route over the map in tab for another heist plan. Nezu had sent him an e-mail with all the things they would need to acquire or commit for their bonus points and he was planning the routes.

Another round of pings drew his attention and he saved his current progress before turning his attention towards his phone again.

Mirror: Boss! Boss! @Kumicho !

Ninja: Why are we getting Kumicho's attention?

Mirror: It's important just help me! @Kumicho

Ninja: Alright...? @Kumicho hurry before she blows up your phone

Eldritch: @Kumicho

Demoman: @Kumicho

Demowoman: @Kumicho

Nova: @Kumicho

The_Mole: @Kumicho

Torch: @Kumicho

Addict: f for @Kumicho 's phone

Zombie: Why are we all @ at Kumicho?

Geo: Humour @Kumicho

Blanc: To reach the pinical of comedy... @Kumicho

Heapheastus: You should stop now. Have you considered that Kumicho is busy?

Apollo: Sorry Mum.

Kumicho: I'm purposefully ignoring all of you BTW. Except you Heapheastus, we're honoured you're here with us.

Mirror: !!! @Kumicho what do you think of this plan. We bedazzle Todoroki.

Kumicho is typing...

He snorted at the idea, his minds eye trying to visualise it. He could already feel his mind trying to find ways to make that work.

Kumicho:... I'll see what I can do.

Heapheastus: @Kumicho

Wakagashira: Look who's in trouble!

Evangelion: Look whos in trouble!

Heapheastus: @Wakagashira @Evangelion

Kumicho: Look who's in trouble now!

Heapheastus: @Kumicho open up I just want to talk

Kumicho: Shit, Momo I'm sorry, how the hell did you get to my room so quick!?

Heapheastus: Like i said i only want to talk

Kumicho: If I don't make it make sure my funeral is open casket and have Bakugou lower me down

Putting his phone away and once again closing the lid of his laptop he went over to his door to find it was in fact Momo standing at his door, but he smiled at her anyway. Despite how scared he was that she might actually do him in and ascend to the head of the villain crew.

"You wanted to talk about my quirk?"

"Yeah, come on in. This might be a long chat."

If either had bothered to look at their phones they would of noticed the flood of responses:

Eldritch: Can confirm that @Heapheastus is in fact coming for @Kumicho. Will update when the sounds of murder start

Apollo: F

Nova: F

Piper: F

Chapter Text

"Whats the extent of your quirk's abilities?" Reaching out to one of the notebooks on the table he was glad to have grabbed the right one. Clicking a pen, this time having been behind his ear, he got ready to write.

"What do you mean by extent?"

"Like," he took a seat at his desk chair and Momo perched on his bed, "How much can you make in one go? What can't you make? Can you control what you make if the original object was sentient?"

She sat staring at him, and Izuku could tell she was trying to judge how serious he was being about this. Her expression turned contemplative.

"I must admit I've never actually tried to make anything living. What did you have in mind?"

"Bacteria? Viruses?"

There's a few tense moments where he can see Momo really looking at him. It's the same way that Aizawa looked at him. Like she's just now seeing the kind of monster he can be if he really wants to be.

She stares into the eyes of the beast, and she is not the first to look away. "I can try."

"That's all I ask." He shifts in his seat and sighs, "I understand that I'm effectively asking you to poison our classmates but..."

He pauses, looking away. He's isn't trying to manipulate here. He just doesn't know how to get across the fact that since he could understand the difference between right and wrong his brain has always wanted to do the bad thing.

Bullying? Well, learn their weaknesses and exploit them. Wreck them before they wreck you.

Need to work around a problem? Tear the problem to the ground so it's never a problem again.

Injured? Find a way to make the attacker look worse.

Want people to ignore you? Manipulate them and their whole view of you.

"It's the way your mind works isn't it Izuku?" He looks up at her, seeing no judgement, "I could tell from the way you just settled into this role. You like to be able to control things and to be able to plan."

"But at the same time, I can tell you're also not above improvisation and rolling with the punches. It's why having a request like that isn't too strange." A smile spreads across her face and he thinks to himself that she looks better relaxed , it's a novel thought really.

"It comes with the territory of having nearly zero control of any aspect of your life I guess." They're getting off topic but she doesn't mention it so he continues, "Did you know when I was seven my sensei told me that I needed to start planning my career before I reached the age of eleven."

 "Oh? They sound like an interesting sensei."

He chuckled at that, that sensei had been the only one to ever be kind to him, to not care about his quirklessness and to actually treat him like every other kid. "Yeah... sensei was amazing. But the reason he told me to start looking for a job at the age of seven was because the unemployment percentage of the entire population is ninety five percent quirkless."

Her bemused expression drops, and her mouth twists, "Why..."

Why isn't it on the news? Why is it that big percentage? Why don't people care?

There are so many whys she can ask.

"Why did it ever get to such a high percentage?" He realises he could be manipulating her, subconsciously, and decides to ignore that thought.

"You know the quirk discrimination laws, the ones that have been around since quirks first came in?" She nods, "They haven't been changed in nearly two hundred years. There aren't any laws about discriminating against quirkless. The government like to pretend we-they don't exist."

He realises his slip up, sometimes he forgets that he's only here because of All Might's quirk. But then he remembers and all he can think about is that younger him would be so upset and angry. He never did become a quirkless hero. He's just like everybody else now.

Once the quirk came in he decided that the quirklessness didn't matter. He was past it. But that's wrong, he is quirkless. He doesn't have the gene or the lack of a joint in his toe. Biologically he is quirkless. He's merely a container for one for all, he makes sure remind himself of that often.

He can see it in All Night's eyes that the man had gotten so used to not being quirkless anymore that the prospect of it is scary to him. That's why he reminds himself often, because he never wants to wake up one morning and realise he's dreading the day he goes back to being him.

Deku is the boy with a quirk, Izuku is the kid who learnt to work around the world.

"I suppose..." she begins, body folded over slightly and a hand on her chin, "That I can understand then, why it is that you immediately go for the way to put the situation in your favour. Bakugou... the way he treats you..."

She leaves it open ended, "Its the same way he used to treat me when he thought I was quirkless." Her lips thin at the confirmation. "I'll admit, when I first met you I was sceptical that you would make it."

Well, that hurt more than he thought it ever would. He was sure he'd gotten used to that kind of reaction by now.

"You were anxious, shaking and had absolutely no control over your quirk. Now though, I can see beyond that." He feels a small little smile slide onto his features, "We were all anxious that day, you however were trying to control a quirk that holds more power than most of us combined do and you had the knowledge that a childhood bully was watching your every move..." she laughs sullenly to herself, "Thinking back it was rather hypocritical of me to see you that way."

"That's not important now though is it?" She claps her hands together and like that they're back on track. He's glad he has someone like Momo in his inner sanctum.

"No. I ask about your quirk because yesterday while we were watching Mei plan our deaths I had some of our other team mates do recon."

She leans forward on the bed, elbows rested on knees and her expression turns, dare he say it, down right conniving. "Oh?"

"Oh yes," he smirks, "Denki short circuits a lot right? Well, he spent lunch today learning how machines output electricity and excess energy. He's got an appointment with power loader tomorrow for some support equipment." He closes the log forgotten note book.

"Torou and Mashirao were skulking around 1-B's lunch spot, the whole class mainly sits together at lunch apparently. I've now got data on basic mutant quirks in that class." He starts to list the operatives off on his fingers, "Koji was sitting with the hero team, he's got data on their movements and training. We'll be using that to change our training accordingly."

"Mina and Jiro spent time going through the different uses of their quirks, I'll get back to that in a minute. Sato spent lunch researching some foods I asked him to look into," at her look he elaborated, "from what I could get out of Aizawa a problem we'll face is food shortages. I was hoping to make nutritious foods with as little waste as possible for our endeavour."

"I had Shoji ask around about what kind of things we can bring into the exam, which brings me back to Mina." He could feel his grin widen, "Diluted acid conducts electricity and we have both acid and electricity so, tomorrow I'm having the two of them go to Mei so the three of them can figure that out."

She nodded along, eyes becoming more approving the further he went on. "I was wondering if you and Neito could go with them tomorrow."

"Of course, I can go. Though Neito I'm not too sure..."

"He's fine once you get used to him, promise. But the reason I'd like you to go is because that way you can prompt Mei into saying whether or not she got permission for the bacteria I want you to replicate."

"Out of curiosity," she leant back, he spared a quick glance to the clock to see nearly an hour had passed, "What exactly does this bacteria do?"

"Think of a water born version of food poisoning. However, this strain is particularly nasty. It makes the victim nauseous and causes them to pass out for anywhere between two to sixteen hours." Her mouth fell open.

"It was originally created by the government as a interrogation drug, but it was deemed against human rights to use it. Especially when sometimes in these interrogations they'd pump them to high heavens with the drug and kill the suspect."

"And..and you want me to make this because? No, never mind that, how do you know about this!? How has Mei gotten her hands on it!?"

"Now you're asking the real questions. Simply, the drug became public knowledge a few years back but the media didn't cover it in case of any big scandals coming to light." He shrugged, "U.A. has a stash of it though, despite the whole humans rights thing the head before Nezu thought it would be good to use to 'restrain defiant students'."

He can see the disgust enter her features, "I'm quoting the guy himself here, those were his words about the decision to hold samples of it. How I came to learn about it however is that Recovery Girl didn't realise I'd woken up after my surgery at the sports festival and I just started asking about the stuff on the walls."

"And you're having Mei get clearance for this, and having me and potentially Neito replicate this because?"

He doesn't know what expression he makes but it must not be very nice, "Aizawa turned around and said the heroes wouldn't step in unless there was no out for the heroes. So, we're going to push them to an out by damaging one of their previous resources."

"You want to infect the water supply."

"Bases are on different water lines to the rest of the city. If we hit just the hero base and leave everywhere else safe the heroes won't step in. And if we have an antidote?"

Understanding settled in, "You want us making an antidote not the actually drug..."

"Correct."

 

Chapter Text

Glancing up from where he was trying to memorize the layout of the main base he saw the clock reading two in the morning. Groaning he pulled himself out of his chair and landed on the bed with a thud.

He was too tired for this.

Lying on the bed he closed his eyes, trying to go to sleep. His mind, however wasn't having it. And thoughts he'd need to privately address popped up.

He'd told Momo earlier that the bases water supply was separate but Aizawa had said they were linked. That meant he'd need to find some way to separate the water supply or potentially block off the villains and poison the rest?

No...that wouldn't work.

He didn't want to put any more pressure on Mei than he already was. That's why he was having Neito helping Momo,who was helping the inventor. 

Then there was the issue of costumes. Functionality and aesthetic would need to be balanced here. Again, the only way for them to be made would be through the use of the previous trio.

Unless...

Scrambling out of bed he picked up his phone and opened his emails. Aizawa had said he couldn't directly involve management course in combat, however he didn't say he couldn't do supply gathering through.

He was just lucky some management course had given them his e-mail for business dealings in the present or in the future.

He'd have to pull favours out for this. However... He could make a deal out of this. They worked with the management course and whatever modular fake businesses they were running they could stick sponsors around the exercise. His grin reappeared as he typed out his proposal.

If they could get their hands on material and flexible not too bulky armour he'd register himself and the villain team as fake sponsors and use the training ground as a giant advertisement show.

...

Wait! That could help as well with the realism aspect. After all, how many facades and fake companies existed for the sole purpose of a villains source of income?

He finished composing his e-mail and sent it, before placing his phone on the bed side table. He didn't lie back down now. Though one problem had been solved he had another to solve. Looking at the clock on the wall he cringed when he reminded himself what time it was.

Maybe he could wait till morning?

But by then there would be even less time to plan and they were already onto day three of seven of planning and only losing more time. "Screw it." He whispered under his breath as he picked the phone back up.

It rang a few times before the groggy voice of his mother tentatively called out his name. "Hey Mama."

He began to pace as her sleepy voice fretted over him, "No no. I'm fine, no I... I haven't been up all night... alright yes. But I have a favour to ask."

"Do you have Mr Hiitachin's number?" He laughed at her response, "No, don't worry I'm not planning on plumbing my own room. It's for that school project I told you about."

He'd always wondered where he'd gotten his true nature from, after all his mother was so sweet and innocent. However, hearing her guess his entire plan from just asking for a plumbers number made it abundantly obvious who he'd gotten it from.

"I know, I won't go too far. I know I could of just texted you but... I just wanted confirmation that I could talk about it." Her softening voice soothed his nerves, "So you'll text his number to me? That's great. I'll see you in a few weeks okay Mama?"

"Love you too, bye."

Okay, so... costumes were potentially fixed. And now so was the plumbing, possibly. Production of weapons was something he'd be taking up with Mei, Momo and Neito later. He kept his phone in his hand as he started pacing aging.

Koji had let him know that the heroes were training in the mornings, so that meant he'd have to continue training at night so that they weren't caught out. But Koji was also supplying him with what exactly the heroes training was like, which helped a great deal.

He'd planted the seed earlier that the villains weren't united and he'd have to expand on that otherwise it would come out as what it was, a cheap diversion tactic.

He continued doing circuits of his room as plans and problems crashed down on him from all angles. It was a Hell of a lot harder when people expected these kind of things from him.

That was it.

Why the Hell was he focusing so much on coming up with new plans when he already had an extensive collection of counter measures that he could just improve upon?

That slowed his pacing and the feeling of drowning lessened slightly. There was however, one idea that he was very fixated on bringing to fruition.

It was risky, possibly against the rules (though he hadn't found anything against it) and could very well get him in serious trouble. Principle Nezu was sure to love it.

Content with his new plan of action, and that he had things to do tomorrow besides worry he was finally able to put his phone on his desk and lie down.

This time, when he turned off the lamp and closed his eyes he actually slept.

-*-

"Izuku." He nodded at Rikido as he entered the kitchen. It was five am meaning he'd only had three hours sleep but he could handle that. He'd ran on less before.

"Morning. What're you up to?" He created small talk as he grabbed two bagels from the packet clearly labelled: 'Bakugou Katsuki's' and shoved them in the toaster. He caught sight of the smile on his team mates face as he watched him.

"Trying out some new recipes, your mother's recommendations were excellent by the way." That brought a smile to his lips as he busied himself with getting out a plate along with the butter. He usually had traditional breakfast but he needed to be in and out quick today so western style it was.

"That's great, oh." Taking the popped bagels he started to butter them, "I'm gonna be out for awhile today, do you mind helping Fumiko and Yuga with their plan?"

"Sure! You sure you don't want more than just a bagel?"

He held up the two now buttered bagels. "I have two. Besides, "he was already leaving the kitchen as he spoke, "I have to be out early today."

"See you later!"

"Bye!"

Making his way out of the dorms, scoffing one of the bagels, he met up with Hitoshi outside the front door. Handing off the second bagel they made their way to the main school building.

"Thanks. But are you sure this is safe?"

Swallowing his current mouthful he answered, "Not at all. That's whim having you come with. You're registered as my second with Nezu anyway, you being there won't be too suspicious."

"Too suspicious?"

He grinned, "Nezu is paranoid he's going to have looked at this requested meeting from every which angel since I asked for it two days ago."

"That," half of a piece of bagel was motioned at him like an accusatory finger, "Is the worst decision you could possibly make, besides letting Mei make weapons."

"What?" He smirked, "Let the high specs figure me out? Nah, I think that's exactly the right decision to make. Nezu wouldn't let me get away with it if he didn't want to see how it'd play out."

There was silenced and he looked over to his best friend, "I can't tell who's worse. You or Nezu. You're both viewing this like its a game, which I guess it is but what I want to know is..."

They stopped in front of the doors to the main building, "Who are you playing against Izuku?"

He stood there silent, not expecting the question. The answer was simple wasn't it? He was playing against Todoroki and everyone on the hero team. But then he thought about it, truly thought about.

He thought about the fact that Deku wasn't playing and it was Izuku Midoriya who was, and then he thought about the fact that one of his goals was to show everyone that he wasn't to be viewed as weak. That he was to be seen as what he was.

Then the answer came easier.

"Myself and everybody else."

Hitoshi didn't balk at the answer or become accusatory. His eyes didn't even change from their tired amused look, "As long as we're on the same page." And then he was smiled at and an arm was slugged around his shoulder as they entered the school building.


 "Come in, come in! How are the two of you today?"

Nezu led them into his office, still in the same suit as ever, and motioned them over to his desk where Hitoshi slid his phone out and placed it in his lap.

Seeing Nezu focus in on the 'attempt' at secrecy Izuku activated his own phone recording in his pocket. There wasn't even a twitch to show that Nezu noticed the sudden increase in frequency, courtesy to Hitoshi pretending to turn the volume up.

"We're good, principle Nezu. Though, the boss here has a few things to ask you." The motions are too stiff, the tone too formal. Perfect.

High Specs gave Nezu one of the highest intelligences in the world to date. That meant he would pick up on the subtle cues of someone lying to him. However, not long after the Stain incident the principle had asked him to come talk and they'd gotten onto the conversational topic of quirks and analysis.

Through that Izuku had learnt that despite abundant intelligence Nezu found it difficult to pick apart and understand the complexity of human emotions. He wouldn't be able to tell the difference between Hitoshi playing up these cues and actually exhibiting them.

He can tell his plan is working as planned from the way that even as Nezu's attention turns to him Izuku can see his ears keep twitching in Hitsoshi's direction.

He had known from the second he let Nezu know he was bringing Hitoshi that the rat would figure out he would be using Hitoshi as a buffer. However, with the fact that Hitoshi had 'hidden' the recording device it made it look like Izuku was distracting Nezu from Hitoshi.

It was a good way to counter act high specs. Let him work it all out and then do what he expected but not.

"Oh?"

"Yeah, I was wondering if you could tell us the announcement possibilities we'll hear throughout the exercise."

"An interesting request." He could see high specs twirling to life behind Nezu's eyes. He loved seeing people who believed whole heartedly that they had the upper hand become pawns. "But not one that I can find any issue in fulfilling."

He hid his own grin as a sadistic glint entered the rat's eyes. "May I ask though, Midoriya, why you're having your second record me?"

"So that we can run through a drill and how to avoid hearing certain possibilities and reacting to others. I was hoping to play them when my team broke one of the rules during practice."

"Interesting. As I said, I don't see any reason why I can't help you. But next time just ask to record me."

"Of course, sir."

He faked a look of annoyance at Hitoshi who faked a wince and awkward shrugging of shoulders. Sure, it was redundant on first glance to pretend that the other was recording, however on a less superficial level it was exactly what they needed.

If Nezu thought he could figure them out it allowed more wriggle room.

"Now, for the most common statement you could hear: Midoriya Izuku of the villain team has been captured. Of course, we would address you as any titles we have heard you be referred to as, if requested."

"Thank you."

"For someone on the opposite team it would be the same except would refer to them as follows Midoriya Izuku of the hero team has been captured."

-*-

"That was intense. I could practically feel the mental battle going on in there."

Shinsou let out a sigh as they exited the office and began to walk down the corridor when a familiar voice was heard down the corridor, "Todoroki are you sure Midoriya really is in the school building?"

"Yes. I had Koji's birds follow him. I'm convinced there's something off about Midoriya being on the villain team."

Smiling at Hitoshi the boy only sighed fondly and they began to get ready. Izuku leant against the wall with his arms crossed and Hitoshi stood across from him boxing him in. They began to 'argue' at a level that you would only hear once you came to this part of the corridor.

"I told you, I'm not going to request to change!" He forced his voice to crack when he heard Iida's and Todoroki's footsteps grow closer

"Why the hell not!? Clearly you only joined the villain side out of pity!"

He could see them in the corner of his eye and unfolded his arms and got in Hitoshi's face, "It wasn't out of pity!"

"What, don't tell me you have a crush on Yaoyozorou!?" Despite the fact he'd planned this out with Hitoshi last night the question was still so sudden and out there that his red face was genuine. "You do!"

"I do not! Besides what would- what would that have to do with changing teams!"

"It means you don't have a reason to be on the villain team!"

He saw the smirk Hitoshi sent him and he got ready for the finale seeing his friends stalled in the corridor just watching them argue, "I'm not going to go to Nezu and request to change teams because you're jealous!"

"I'm not jealous! I just want you to realise you need to stop letting people walk all over you!"

"I'm not! Just go away and leave me alone!"

"Midoriya...?" He'd practiced the deer in the headlights look years ago till even his mother had begin to believe the look and he took liberties with that when he swung around, pushing lightly against Hitoshi (though because or the act the other acted like it was a violent push), and came  face to face with Todoroki and Iida.

The peppermint coloured teen was staring with no emotion as usual, though his voice had sounded quiet confused when he'd said his name.

He'd been told by Koji that Todoroki had requested a tail on him, and so they'd created an act that would allow for he and Hitoshi to be around each other during school hours more and get them off any lingering scent that he could be the leader.

After all, the leader wouldn't be arguing with his 'boyfriend' about changing teams.

"Todoroki! Iida! What are-what are you doing here!?"

He felt himself blush when Hitoshi pulled him into the tallers side. They'd left the confrontation stage to improv and it was clearly the right choice because whatever Hitoshi did would get actual reactions from him.

"We came to talk to Nezu but what are you doing here?"

'So despite being a council system Todoroki still has a second that's interesting. I can see why he wouldn't want Bakugou but Uraraka? She isn't as stiff about rules as Iida so she'd be the one I'd go for. Although. Two legacies together does make an appealing powerhouse unit.'

"Come on Izuku, let's go." Nodding he allowed Hitoshi to gently push him past his friends by the arm around his shoulder but they both stopped when Todoroki called out.

"I'm having a conversation with Midoriya, it's rude to walk off mid conversation."

"And its rude to listen into a private conversation but that didn't stop you two voyeuristic bastards did it?" An eye brow was arched and the two hero course students spluttered and tried to come up with excuses, "We're going, enjoy your talk with Nezu."

They past with no incident after that and Izuku felt himself genuinely leaning into Hitoshi the further away they went from Todoroki and Iida as he slowly started to lose the ability to not burst out laughing.

When they made it to the front door he finally lost it, and the arm around him was the only thing keeping him up as he erupted into full blown laughter.

-*-

"That's not fair! I want to fake date Izuku, Toshi brake up with him so I can have him, we'll be the ultimate power couple - with my inventions and your cunning we'll be unstoppable!" Mei pumped a fist into the air and Izuku felt his smile grow when his present team mates started laughing.

 Yosetsu looked up from his welding and over to him, "Was it really necessary to pretend to be dating him though? Couldn't you of just you know done it as the friends you are?"

He shrugged from where he was sat upside down on the couch, "I mean yeah. But then you would have questions as to why Hitoshi knew about me being on the villain team. However, if he was my boyfriend it would make sense that I'd tell him."

Sen lolled right side up on the couch next to him, a DS in hand as he waited for the next time Mei needed him for her home made tank, "It makes sense I guess, but why Hitoshi? I mean no offense dude," the boy in mention waved a dismissive hand over his shoulder from where he was practically leaning in the engine. "But wouldn't someone as gorgeous as myself of been a better fit?"

The snort that rose from both boys was friendly and wasn't at all condescending, which was a plus because it meant that this was allowing Hitoshi to make friends. "You're not his type man." Was called out of the engine.

"What and Mei and Hitoshi are?"

Reiko, who was sat next to Denki as the two of them tried to get the new support equipment on the blond, added, "You can't forget Neito either."

"Oh heaven forbid." He let out a snort, "Dude your type is just socially inept and touch starved strays!" Denki called out before letting out a yeah as the equipment stayed on.

"You calling me a bitch sparky!?" Mei appeared out from under the tank in record time and had a wrench pointed endearingly at the blond.

"No ma'am! That's what I'm calling Neito." For that he received a pat on the head.

"As you were." And with that the pink haired girl was bounding over to him, "Look, Izuku, I have to level with you."

After saying that she crouched down and he let out a laugh and was rewarded with her signature scheming smile, "I love you, really really do. However I'm gonna go crazy if I keep having people come and go from my lab all day ever day. It's only ten am on the third day."

He knew this problem would arose sooner or later. "Your lab has garage doors yeah? And U.A. has a track doesn't it?" She nodded, "Well we could borrow one of the garages and have that be the base of operations for equipment production." Her smile grew at that, "And then you could keep your lab as your tinkering room."

"Perfect!" Bouncing up from her crouch Mei clapped her hands, "Alright! Everybody up we're moving out now! I'll go get Momo and Blondie and move them out!" She seemed to get a thought suddenly as her eyes turned mad, "I CAN TEST OUT MY NEW BABY WHILE WE'RE THERE!"

Chapter Text

The nine of them, plus the tank, made it to U.A's practice track without much incident.

The fact that Aizawa stared him in the eye as he and Mei pushed its inoperable husk past him to the track just made him even more convinced that Nezu had issued orders to let them do as they wish.

The rat was more interested in seeing his moves than he was of playing Izuku himself, however that was an advantage. When the game truly started Nezu would hopefully be stumped for a few seconds.

Izuku had lived his life exploiting precious few seconds of confusion.

The track itself was a sight to behold. A simple ring circuit was flanked on both sides by garages, with doors on both sides for easy chemical access. The buildings looked to be two floors tall, but knowing the school a basement wasn't off the cards.

As they got closer to the track, the last stretch being just him as Mei had gotten struck by inspiration for improvements and was writing them on a pad, he noticed that the simple track was anything but.

There were interlocking teeth groves in the floor which Mei explained opened up and allowed for fake buildings to come up and create a city scape on the track.

He'd glanced at Mei's gleeful features when she explained that she loved that feature the most as she got to test her babies in a collateral environment.

'Evangelion was definitely the right codename. Next she'll start wanting to make angels.'

"Alright! My worker drones here we are, Hatsume forge 2.0!"

As the garage door opened and he began pushing the tank into its new home he heard a few laughs and comments about being referred to as robots.

Finally getting the vehicle - the first of many apparently- into place he was relieved to see the building was only two floors.

"Alright everyone," attention snapping to him and he stretched his stiff arms above his head, "Momo, Neito could you please continue weapon production?" At their nods  He continued, "I'll have Kyoka, Rikido, Yuga and Fumiko come pick some of them up. Snipe sensei has agreed to start training us in small doses."

"Hitoshi, are you still up for helping Mei or do you need a break?"

"I'm good boss." The boy rolled his shoulders, and his smirk was enhanced by the oil smears on his face.

Izuku resisted the urge to roll his eyes- he was just happy Hitoshi was becoming more comfortable around people outside of their small group of friends.

"Awase? Sen? You guys still good?" The duo gave him matching grins and thumbs up (the two were too preoccupied by whatever game Sen was playing) so he took that as his answer.

Turning to Denki and Reiko he took note of how the blond looked uncomfortable in his new support gear.

"Denki," the boy looked up shocked almost that he was being addressed, "I'm meeting with Mona after this, want to come with?"

"Uh...yeah. Sure, dude..."

He didn't like how surprised and unsure the blond seemed about the invitation - that was something he'd need to change.

The idea that somebody who portrayed such over the top confidence and swagger was so easily thrown off by such a simple comment rubbed him the wrong way.

"And me?" Looking to Reiko he set another personal mission to help lessen the sad look in her eyes.

"I've got a really important job for you Reiko. Your quirk enables telekinesis right?" When she responded with a small yes he continued, "Shoji, Kendo and Juzo are transporting some materials to Mei's workshop - it's pretty delicate but heavy stuff. Think you could give them a hand?"

"Heavy but delicate... and you are entrusting that responsibility to me?"

"Only if you're up for it. I'm sure they can handle it but I had to pull a few favours to get my hands on the stuff." He shrugged, not noticing the intrigued looks he was being sent.

"Ooh! What have you got me now, dear Kumichou?"

Mei had pounced on him in seconds. An arm was thrown around his neck from behind as she leant her head over his shoulder. From that position looking down he could see in full form the excited smirk on her face.

"You'll have to wait and see won't you? All I'll say is that the management course are gods and goddesses."

"The management course?" Neito perked up from where he'd slumped into an office's chair, "You're really embracing the whole 'year side' aspect of the exercise."

Patting the arm slung around his neck Mei released him, "We get scored on realism, as well as on our overall approach." He waved his hand nonchalantly, "Because of that if we were to have sponsors or faux businesses to our groups name it wouldn't be too different than real villain income fronts."

There was a silence where be realised that, again, too much had been said. "Dude that is is cool, you've really thought of everything huh?"

He felt a blush crawl up his skin, "I wouldn't go that far...."

-*-

So... why are we meeting Mina?" Glancing at Denki from the corner of his eye he went back to surveying the area, still cautious after the events earlier in the morning.

"It's about costumes, besides equipment material I struck a deal for costume material. Mina begged for artistic input on our costumes, Kuroiro also has some of the more popular designs from the ones I sent around so he'll be there as well."

"And I'm here because...?"

He let out an amused huff, "You're not exactly the extrovert you portray yourself as are you?" He can see the raising of an eyebrow in his peripheral, "Oh you can handle social interaction and people like Bakugou no sweat but the minute you're in an environment you don't know how to handle you turn into an introvert."

A laugh came from Denki and he cringed at how fake it sounded. Was that how he used to sound in the beginning? He'd never truly appreciated how blind and deaf people became as soon as the word quirkless was stamped on your forehead.

"You've got an interesting sense of humour there dude-"

"There's no use lying to me," he turned to look at the blond, "I've spent years reading people, you guys are practically open books to me. It's not something to be ashamed of."

They continued walking, a quiet settling over them that wasn't awkward per say, but instead heavy with the feeling of pulling at an open wound. 

"Am I that obvious?" The voice is incredibly small.

"Not particularly, like I said you guys are practically open books to me. If it helps Bakugou used to have claustrophobia when we were kids, he used to play it off that he didn't like it because he couldn't use his explosions but... I could always see the fear in his eyes."

"Should you really be telling me this?"

"Should you really be on the villain team Denki?" He stopped and didn't remove his eyes from the bond's back. The other boy was frozen in front of him and didn't turn around to face him. "You're not registered on either team, so I have to wonder what are you doing exactly?"

"I'm- I'm...not sure."

Shaking his head he shoved his hands in his pockets, glad that the way from the track to the meeting place was pretty secluded, "What do you want to do Denki?" At the tenderness that entered the air he added, "No one's asked you that before have they?"

"No. Everyone wants me to be this amazing hero... but I've never understood how to get control of my quirk and then... then Todoroki came out as the hero leader and I thought... here's my chance to make everyone happy." 

Denki turned to him, "And then Kyoka said she was thinking of joining the villain team and... the thought that it was the first time I could do something for myself came to mind. But then just seeing... how happy and genuine about this everyone is..." the blond laughed, "I couldn't just sign up when I was just here for selfish reasons."

He didn't do it normally, but he walked up to the blond, who watched him like a hawk, and cuffed him atop of the head, "Idiot." The bond's jaw dropped, "As if that has ever stopped anybody from doing anything. Fuck it if it's selfish- everyone gets to be selfish sometimes we're all human at the end of the day quirks don't change that."

He began walking again, "Lets hurry up or the two drama queens will have our heads. And I'm not talking about the management department."

Behind him Denki laughed, "Just like that? Not gonna demand I go sign up for the villain team?" Despite the questioning Denki sped up to keep pace.

"I'm not not going to force you to do anything, this is a team not a military unit. You're standing beside me is answer enough."

"I'll sign up after this meeting."

He felt a grin slide onto his face, "Good man."

-*-

"Punctuality is a virtue boss."

He grinned at Mina and Kuroiro, noting that management hadn't turned up yet, "As the management will tell you its fashionably late."

As he settled into a chair in one of the management courses office/meeting rooms the door behind him opened and a hoard of management course kids poured in an evil gleam in their eyes.

His three team mates settled into seats next to him and he made sure his posture was as good as it could be as the 'head' of the 'fabric company' settled into the seat across the table from him.

"Mr Midoriya, I hope we didn't keep you waiting long."

The other kids either settled merchandise on the table or set up charts on stands, he smiled a Midoriya Izuku smile, "No bother, as I was explaining to my compatriots it's called being fashionably late."

A gleeful grim was his response along with a half wistful 'Very true.' 

"I see you have the merchandise I asked for."

"Yes, only the best for our most loyal customers," the fact he was possibly the first and only customer went unsaid, "And you intend to uphold your end of the bargain?" The loud confident tone dropped into a worried quibble.

Pulling his phone out he showed the first draft designs for advertisements he'd made shortly after waking up. They were quick, scruffy but they showed that he was serious about the deal.

"I uphold all my promises. Are you sure you're okay with us using your companies name during the exercise though? I'm not sure how to credit you all," he motioned to the entire collection of students, "without ruining the surprise."

"If I can just suggest something for a moment, why not allow us to say that we have gotten a sponsorship from the hero course? The credit is given and the teachers don't know what you intend to do."

A tall girl from the corner of the room spoke up, despite her impressive height she was relatively normal looking. Izuku had a feeling she slipped under the rader quite well. He immediately pinged her on his own personal radar.

Someone like that was someone to keep an eye on.

"That sounds like a brilliant deal miss." He turned back to the boss, "What do you say?"

A matching crooked grin to the one on his face appeared, "I think we have a deal Midoriya, oh sorry." The boss rephrased, "I think we have a deal Kumicho. It's been a pleasure doing business with you. May we interest you in listening to our full presentation?"

"Unfortunately," he pulled himself out of his chair and along with Mina and Kuroiro collected the materials, "I'm not able to. However, my rep for this Kaminari Denki is free and I'm sure would be more than happy to."

He ignored the pleading look as Denki crumbled under the full force of over ten management course students giving him pleading eyes. "We'll be off then."

As they left the room, door closing behind them Kuroiro lent closer, "Don't you think that was a bit mean?"

"See it as punishment. Even if he did nothing wrong we can't have him thinking pulling our chain is alright."

Mina laughed, "That sounds so wrong."

He found himself snickering.

Chapter Text

 "I booked a support room, so we can work on the outfits and other skills together."

"Other skills?"

"Some of us are going to need to learn the basics of plumbing for one of my plans. I'm learning it along with Tooru and Mashiaro."

"And... I'd I may ask boss, how do you plan on doing that?"

He smiled at Kuroiro, "My mother is good friends with a plumber and told him I was interested so he's agreed to give me a crash course of the basics over video chat!"

"Huh..." the 1-B student hummed before facing forward and Izuku did the same when the boy continued, "Hey Izuku who's that?" He was surprised to see his mother had arrived early and was happily chatting with Mashiaro and Tooru.

"Oh, Izuku!" She looked up and spotted him and he felt his grin widen, "Sorry for turning up early dear, Nezu phoned and said you'd asked if I could come earlier."

'Careful Nezu, people are going to start thinking you have favourites.'

Brushing the thought away he simply continued to smile, "It's fine Mama. These are my friends Mina and Kuroiro- they're really creative and agreed to help with the costumes."

His mother's smile widened and her eyes softened as she inspected the two teens next to him, the two tensed up as if afraid that they wouldn't meet her expectations.

"Ah, You're the girl with the acid quirk aren't you? You were very impressive in your one on one's!" A glance to the left after a snort from Tooru and a sly grin from Mashiaro led to him seeing Mina going a beetroot pink.

"And Kuroiro was it? The way you used your quirk in the obstacle course was amazing, it really caught my eye! It's a shame you didn't get through to the one on one's."

Looking to the right he couldn't see any colour change due to the boys complexion but the bashful nature of his expression said enough. "Alright Mama, You're gonna make them pass out if you're not careful."

-*-

The inside of the spare support room felt strangely clinical without the hum of electric machinery and the permeating smell of oil and solder that was a given in Mei's workshop.

Thankfully there was more than enough bench space and the sewing machines he had gotten permission to borrow were already set up.

"Did you get the pictures I asked for Tooru?" Placing the box of material on the desks with the machines (his mother smiling brightly with an evil look in her eyes as she took it and turned to her poor unsuspecting apprentices) he turned to his own would-be apprentices.

The invisible girl placed the pictures with a cheerful chirp of yes, and he and Mashiaro crowded around the pictures of the pipe system beneath the hero base.

"It was surprisingly easy! Though...boss, there are cameras there. They were disengaged but they were all over."

Well, that was an interesting development. Not an entirely unaccounted for one but he'd have to adjust the plan for now.

"How new did they look?" He couldn't see her expression but he guessed it was pensive and he slid the images over to Mashiaro.

"Not too old, the plaster hiding the wires still looked wet but that could of been the damp." He nodded at her and stepped back to allow her to slide next to the blond boy.

Newsy must of figured he'd do something like this from the beginning (with how adamant Aizawa seemed on them being given a certain advantage there was a snowflake in hell chance of him spilling.) He wouldn't put it past the rat to have the feed go straight to the heroes main surveillance room.

Being slightly behind schedule was proving to be a blessing, they wouldn't of known about the camera's until it was too late if they'd of acted any earlier.

"Hey," a nudge to his arm had him looking over to his companions,"Look here. I don't know much about plumbing but I do know what this is." A finger was stabbed onto the picture pointing at a small insignificant looking valve, "That will shut off all the water. It acts like a kill switch. When our pipes burst the other week my mother had me turn ours."

"That might just work. You said the camera's were everywhere?" He looked in the general direction of Tooru hoping he was looking her in the eye.

"Yeah. On the pipes, the way in and everywhere down the tunnel to this valve." There was a wrinkle in the paper next to the valve indicating the girl had pointed.

Crossing his arms he paced, "Whats the layout of the tunnel like?"

"There's only one way in and out from the sewers but i noticed a door way at the end of the tunnel, probably connects the basement to the sewers. Other than that the tunnel itself can't be more than eleven meters long and is divided into two narrow walkways by the sewage."

He was developing a mental image of the area, "The entrance to the tunnel, is it a corner or an intersection?"

"Six way intersection." He could hear the cunning in Tooru's voice as she seemed to catch on, "I just barley made it in and out without becoming lost because you had that amazing map. If they tried to chase us down the sewers they'd be lost."

"We have a lot to learn but this will be crucial for a major debilitating strike against the heroes. Are you sure you want to do this? It will probably be boring as hell."

"We're sure. I just want to know what the hell your plan for the pipes are."

He tapped his nose, "When Neito and Momo finish up I'll let everyone know. Until then it's radio silence."

"Damn."


 "How do you have the measurements for our entire group...it's kind of creepy." Looking up from his piece of pipe that he'd been studying he looked over to Mina.

"You know U.A. has public records of all its students on the internet for easy accessibility for pros looking for interns. You don't need any kind of special thing to access them." 

"They...they're just on the internet for any creepy stalker to see!?"

"Yep." He clicked his tongue in annoyance as his scrap refused to cooperate. "Shiketsu does it as well. We're sister schools so we're constantly competing."

"I do have to wonder about the legality of that though... you are all minors after all." He could hear the worry in his mother's voice, but brushed it off.

"As long as U.A. churns out good heroes the government continues to turn a blind eye."

At the silence that settled, a regular occurrence as of late, he looked around, "What?"

"That sounds like you know something we don't..."

"Part of the reason these pipes are so important is because of something U.A. is allowed to keep on school grounds because the government don't care." He couldn't quite keep the contempt out of his voice. He was within every right to use the drug but... He hated that it was so readily available.

Wait... "Shit! I need to talk to Recovery Girl!" Dropping his pipe and wrench to the table he grabbed his jacket from the back of his seat and threw good byes over his shoulder not bothering to see the curious looks sent his way.

-*-

"You want to know the recipe for my gummy's?"

"As I'm sure you're aware Recovery Girl the first year exam is the lock down scenario." He resisted the urge to shuffle his feet, "I've done my research and despite already preparing for lack of food I haven't found any other way to help keep my team rejuvenated."

The old lady hummed, "I can see why you would come to that conclusion. Would it not be easier to just request pre made gummy's though dear?"

He made sure to keep eye contact, not wanting to come off as suspicious, "That'd be depleting you then, besides if we had access to a readily available source we run the risk of addiction."

He'd thought this through, the rejuvenating gummy bears would act as a stimulant, something to chew on when they felt themselves nodding off when they needed to be awake. Plus, in a pinch the medicine could help speed up the healing process of the body so if somebody became injured it would help.

Another reason he wanted the recipe was because he wanted to allow everyone to show case their talents during this and he knew for a fact Rikido was still self conscious about his baking and sweet making abilities.

"Sound reasoning. I swear Midoriya you become less like that man child every day. Although..." she looked up at him with a sceptical look, "I do worry that you're going to have Toshi in here with a heart attack after this."

Laughing and rubbing the back of his neck he realised some of his plans - scratch that a good ninety nine percent of them- would probably cause cardiac arrest for his poor mentor.

"I can't make promises. So... could I please have the recipe?"

"Of course." She lifted herself from her chair and went over to her impossibly tall filing cabinet.

"I've had the recipe worked out since I was in first year here you know." She sounded wistful and he kept close interested in the memories possibly about to be shared. "The first version was like overdosing on caffeine. You couldn't take any other form of drug for a good ten hours after and you would be a shaking wreck because of it... the new ones been modified since obviously."

He noticed she pulled out two sheets of paper, one crumpled, worn and disciplined with age the other simply wrinkling at the edges where hands found familiar grip. Turning Recovery Girl handed them both over.

She had a knowing look in her eyes as the hand off happened, "I know you're using the Nausea knock out drug," she shook her head, "So I can only assume you have no inhibitions about the exercise."

Looking down at the older sheet, it had been the paper on top he paused, noticing the tiny almost faded scribble in the bottom corner and he felt his mouth twitch.

"The older version will be good in case someone is captured, the opposition won't be able to drug them so they'll be set if they break out."

Bowing he carefully cradled the sheets to his chest, "I'll bring them back as soon as we have our own copies."

She waved her hand nonchalantly with a knowing smile, "Keep the new version for yourself, though I would like my first pass back."

"Of course. Thank you Recovery Girl, have a nice day."

"You as well Midoriya." Walking out the nurses office he took one last glance at the scribble in the bottom corner feeling his smile widen.

'Should make the hero team unable to use their quirk properly - villain team should practice under influence. Ask principle for permission. -Chiyo.'


Making it back to the dorms he hid the papers in his jacket pocket as he entered the building, checking the wall clock as he removed his shoes to see it was five at night.

'They might still be with Snipe Sensei...I don't want to risk pushing the papers under the door though...'

His thoughts were disrupted by the signature sound of explosions and Bakugou's fist hitting the wall inches from his nose. "Deku."

"Kacchan." He turned to look at the blond, not even having to fake the fear in his eyes. He'd forgotten he was keeping up his front in front of the rest of their dorm mates. What if Bakugou had seen the papers? "How...how are you today?"

Red eyes narrowed, seemingly contemplating his next few words which was unusal. "Why the hell was your mother here not ten minutes ago asking for you- looking scared shitless for you!?"

Oh, thank Kami. His mother was an amazing actress and he hadn't been sure what time he'd be back so he'd left it to his mother to start this next plan. 

"Did you see which way she went!? I should go find her-"

"Answer the question Deku!" If there was one thing he could count on nowadays with Bakugou, it was the fact that all the Bakugou's loved and cared for his mother. It had simply been a matter of making sure the blond had seen his mother.

"I'm- I um..." the stuttering was faked of course but it must of been convincing because Bakugou's posturing relented slightly, "I had a fight with my boyfriend and I was really upset so I called her."

He wished he could of had a camera at the way red eyes widened at him so shamelessly saying the word boyfriend.

"I was me you know... so I got really teary and said I was gonna take a walk and I guess she came to check up on me. I just checked my phone and I had a few missed calls..."

"She does worry too much sometimes..." it was muttered so that no one else was supposed to hear it, but Izuku did and he internally sighed. Trust it on his luck that his childhood bully/ex-friend cared for his mother but hated his guts.

"I'll go look for her okay? I um... Kacchan can you move please?"

"Whatever shitty Deku. Don't make her fucking worry- she already has to put up with you don't make her stress more."

"Of course." With that he turned around and slid his shoes back on exiting the dorm.

His mother's appearance served two purposes. If he was in the dorms it would allow for him to know the current production of costumes were done, and two if like now he wasn't it allowed for the same thing but also let him help spread the seed of him having a partner. That way it wouldn't be questioned or scrutinized too heavily when he and Hitoshi were around the place.

He'd just have to give the papers to Rikido tonight and have the next round of theur group get basic gun training so that the boy could start on that instead of missing any form of training.

Speaking of, he'd received a confirmation of approval e-mail meaning he could start applying for the explosives handling courses.

-*-

"Hey Everyone, Mama." Sitting in the U.A. canteen was the entire villain team, including Koji, and his mother he was happy to see everyone tucking into dinner. In suit bags lay what he presumed were the first round of costumes. There was almost enough for the entire group so the three had worked.

Walking down the two rows of tables he greeted everyone individually.

The gun squad looked pleased, as did the production squad. Everyone looked happy with their work and he felt happy himself. The only one who looked remarkably put out was Denki.

"I take it the presentation was as boring as I expected?" The blond have him a sour glare.

"If I didn't know you were so strong and our leader I would seriously be thinking of attacking you right now. The amount of flow charts!" Their team mates looked over, "fucking flow charts that I had to look at was ridiculous!"

"Poor baby." Mina pulled the boy to her, resting her chin on his head as the boy spouted, "I'm sorry I didn't try and talk him out of it, it was just too funny!"

"You knew!?"

"Boss," turning around he saw Mezou sat, all six arms relaxed and practically limp, "The gear you had us move... you sure we're allowed it on school grounds?"

"I got the confirmation of approval email not long before it got here don't worry. I take it Mei was excited?" The silver haired boy chuckled.

"You could say that. Wouldn't stop hugging Hitoshi in excitement until he brainwashed her."

"Sounds like Mei. Speaking of... she did remember it was dinner and then training right?" At his query his lieutenant looked around eye brows furrowing. 

"She...she was here a minute ago."

"Under the table." Looking across to Juzo the teen pointed a finger to underneath the table, "She just kind of...slithered under there."

Crouching he pulled the table cloth up to see under, greeting himself with the sight of Mei sat crossed legged on the floor messing with exploding putty and a cartoon looking thing. He felt himself shaking his head.

Of course, Mei wouldn't just bring any contraption to mess with, she'd bring the fucking makeshift explosions. "Hey."

She looked up, smiling and waving just barley missing hitting Mezou's leg. "How're you doing?"

"Good. You?"

"Fantastic, carry on." 

Dropping the table cloth he stood back up face plaming. "Boss?"

"She could drop a damn bomb at any second what the Hell am I doing with my life?"

With that he walked off to slump next to his mother, half aware of the squawking and 'OH MY GOD MEI WHY DID YOU BRING THE EXPLOSIVES IN HERE!?' going on behind him.

Chapter Text

After dinner had been eaten and everyone safely assured that Mei wasn't in fact planning on blowing them all sky high, training began.

Koji's birds were stationed outside the gym on all sides to ensure that no heroes spied on them and Mei had control of the camera's on a loop from the previous nights feed so even the school wouldn't know what they were doing.

It was supposed to be a surprise after all.

All in their P.E. uniforms he looked out at his team taking down a mental register of who was from where:

Class 1-A's portion of the team consisted of:

Rikido, Koji, Fumikage (or Fumiko as he'd taken to calling the bird headed boy), Tooru, Mashiaro, Momo, Kyoka, Yuga, Mina, Denki and Mezou. There was definitely a couple of wild cards in that mix, Koji, Mina and Denki being the biggest ones.

They weren't wild cards because their actions were unpredictable, more that they would be the ones to most throw off the hero team, especially Koji with his sweet nature.

Class 1-B took up less of the team:

Neito, Juzo, Sen, Setsuna, Yosetsu, Reiko, Kendo (the class rep hadn't been fully comfortable with being called by her first name) and Kuroiro (again the boy wasn't fully comfortable with his first name being used but seemed to be coming around to the idea.)

Again there were a few wild cards, mainly Kendo and Neito. Kendo being class rep was probably expected to go the hero side without so much as a second thought.

Neito's less than stellar personality with the majority of 1-A would put him in the grey area for most. As long as the 1-B kids didn't blab 1-A would hopefully remain blissfully ignorant and think he was having a hissy fit and holding out on choosing the hero team for as long as possible.

It was an interesting mix, and something he found quite interesting was that a large majority of 1-A felt more inclined to the villain side of the exercise than the hero side, where as the opposite was true for 1-B.

That would be an informing experience to look into.

But then you also had Hitoshi repping 1-C and Mei repping all the support course classes. Along with his co-conspirators in the management course. It truly was a school wide experience.

"Alright," his friends turned to him and he held his ground, he hadn't realised until that moment but he was responsible for the training safety and actions of twenty one people. "Those who don't have as much skill in quirkless fights to the left side of the gym, mutant quirks included in that stay where you are."

He knew that was mainly Mashiaro but Fumiko also stayed where he was. Sadly a large majority of his group went to the left of the gym, "I'm guessing that means everyone else is capable of quirkless fighting to a degree?"

At the nods he sighed internally, this was going to a draining next four days. "Alright, Neito pick a quirk. Everyone you're going to take turns fighting Neito while he uses your quirk. This will allow you to learn your limits, and allow Neito to learn control over your quirk which will help in team up situations."

Everyone nodded and he realised they were waiting for him to continue, "I'll be helping with the quirkless combat, everyone get out sparring mats, each match should last no longer than five minutes."

-*-

"Holy shit Izuku,what do you eat?" Too tired to even bother arguing he grumbled and pushed his head back down into Hitoshi's shoulder.

The purple haired boy had thankfully agreed to let Izuku get a piggyback ride back to the dorms. "Boss doesn't look that heavy." Tooru piped up somewhere to his left and he summoned enough energy to thank her.

Three consecutive days of minimal sleep, adding up to ten hours over the entire three days, and constant strenuous mental and physical activity had wiped him out, leading to him barley staying upright after training had ended.

"Trust me, he's heavy. I'm just glad this idiot had me on weights training since I started helping with Mei in the lab."

"Izuku told you to go on weights training?"

He had his eyes closed so he didn't know how many of his dorm mates were in this particular clump of students but he knew that at least Tooru and Mina were, as the other girls voice sounded from his right.

"'Toshi nearly dropped a box of gears on his foot, so i told him he needed to get some muscle." He cracked his eyes open at the 'aww' that followed.

Mina and, he presumed from the shifting of selves, Tooru were walking backwards in front of him and Hitsohi, "You're such a caring person Izuku! And look he's blushing!" Peering around at his best friends face he saw the boy was in fact blushing.

"I just didn't want Mei skinning me, it wasn't that kind." He was shifted higher on Hitoshi's back, causing him to almost fall off, "Hey!"

"I'll drop you next time. And here I was thinking you actually cared about me." From his higher up position he stiffly punched Hitoshi's shoulder, grumbling all the while.

"You know I care you ass." Spotting watching eyes from the doorway he huffed before adding, "I wouldn't go out with you if I didn't."

It took a few seconds for Mina and Tooru to catch on but when they turned and saw the hero teams war council standing in the dorms doorway they simply smiled back at him and Hitoshi.

Keeping up the act Hitoshi lowered him to his feet and the two girls were quick to his side as his sluggish body swayed. He nearly jumped out of his skin when Hitoshi's voice practically boomed to reach the four.

"Well, looks like exhibitionism is a common occurrence in 1-A," at the timed complaints of the two girls Hitoshi gave them a tired raised brow, "You two have been stalking Izuku and I for the better part of the evening."

"Well yeah, but when Momo told us you were going on a date we had to make sure our precious Midoriya had a worthy boyfriend!"

He had left it up to chance what kind of excuse they'd come up with, and this one was slightly problematic but he could handle it, yawning he leaned slightly more on Mina. "Yeah well, Mama already decided that 'Toshi was worthy when she spoke with us before we left."

A visible shiver ran up Hitoshi's spine, "Your mother is actually terrifying, I thought for sure she was going to kill me."

He smiled at the response, privately knowing that she probably could kill and get away with it. He had to learn his skills from somewhere didn't he?

"Come on lover boy, you're clearly exhausted lets get you to bed."

Mina linked arms with him and Tooru did the same, "If we didn't know any better we'd say you did more than go out for food. Did you do something while we weren't looking?"

The teasing hadn't been something he'd planned on and his face went bright red despite how tired he was and he put his hands on his face as well as he could with both arms linked.

The two girls laughed their heads off at him and Hitoshi removed one of his hands and then pretended to kiss his cheek before whispering in his ear, "I was joking about the exhibitionism thing but they're still watching."

"Night Toshi." Playing it off as nothing more than a departing gesture he allowed himself to be 'dragged' away and towards the dorms the two girls giggling all the while.

When they got to the entrance, and sure enough the four teens were dividing their attention between himself and Hitoshi, he was greeted with the war councils expectant looks.

"Ashido, Hagakure. Could you give us a minute with Midoriya?"

Todoroki may of been the leader, but it seemed his earlier suspicion that Iida was his second was confirmed as the blue haired boy stepped in their way blocking them.

"Look, he doesn't need his friends ganging up on him again." Mina's voice was filled with an anger he hadn't heard before and he turned to look at the girl shocked.

"The way you acted when you cornered him the other day isn't how friends act. Blondie," and she gestured to Bakugou and Izuku saw the lights of heaven when the blond simply gave a gruff huff, "And Sero didn't give a shit when me and Denki joined the villain team! So why do you get to act all high and mighty!"

His friends face pulled a blank, and he could almost hear the error 404 noise their brains must of been making, as they took in the words. 

"Midoriya has just had a nice date after making up with his boyfriend so why don't you leave him alone and come back when you're not all going to jump down his throat."

Oh wow, even Tooru sounded pissed. He'd asked these two to come along because he knew they were good at talking on the fly but he hadn't expected that they'd become genuinely angry for him.

That was something new he hadn't experienced for. Sure with his friends they'd all been angry at the same thing before, but nobody had ever been angry for him.

"Guys it's fine," he smiled 'unsure', "I'm sure they just want to talk."

"Nope! Not happening Midoriya, you're going off to bed and these guys are going to evaluate if what they were going to say was something a friend would say."

With that he was pushed towards the elevator by his two teammates and forced into the metal box with Mina pressing the button for his floor before he could even react.

On the way up his phone rang, and pulling it out he answered without looking at the ID, he regretted that when all he heard from the other line was laughing.

Finally the wheezing calmed down and Neito's voice called out, "Mei has the security feed from outside your dorms, you should see them! They're just standing there!"

Mei's voice was also heard making him think that perhaps he was on speaker, "Izuku, glasses looks like a fish! Haha! And-and the girl her face is- I can't breath- her face is bright red!"

He didn't know if Mei had access to the camera he knew was hidden in the elevator and so kept his features schooled as his two gremlin friends gave him a laughter filled running commentary of what the war council was up to.

"You're recording the audio for them aren't you?" Mei's laughter died down though Neito's was still full force, and was that a thump? Did he fall to the ground? "Yeah, if they talk about plans or talk smack we'll know about it."

"Great." The elevator pinged and he stepped out onto his floor, walking straight to his room, "Don't have too much fun you too."

The bang from before happened again and he heard Neuro start cackling about how Mei had gone bright red and hit the floor. The two began to argue with him and each other while he entered his room, a bright smile on his face.


 Day four (day three of prep) began with three emails and about twenty unread messages on the group chat.

 After sifting through all that and realising that it was mostly useless stuff that didn't matter (the emails were just confirmations and the messages a meme war of all things) he'd checked the time to realise he'd gotten up at four am.

Deciding to use the fact his team mates thought it was appropriate to spam memes at four in the morning he started issuing orders for the free time during the day and setting up regimes for after school training.

He didn't feel remorseful in the slightest.

He decided the best course of action then would be to get ready for school and finish any homework, as he had a suspicion that they were going to be expected to of completed things early so they could cancel hero lessons.

Aizawa had mentioned that that was standard protocol after all. He could only hope that it was true.

Otherwise he was going to be working on a tighter schedule than be was already planning for. On the bright side though, with Nezu's interest he could probably get permission for it.

Hopefully.

There was no point worrying about that though, he had to push past it and deal.

-*-

"Alright, listen up."

He kept his eyes firmly on Aizawa as the man stood at the front of the room. While their teacher could be tired and sluggish he'd never been late for homeroom, and right now they were getting increasingly closer to encroaching on first period. "Classes are cancelled for the rest of this week."

There were a few cheers from around the room, and he was amused when he heard no villains join in in the celebration. They've knew that more free time meant he'd be pushing them to their limits and beyond.

Plus Ultra and all that other crap, he'd described it as.

"Thursday is your last day of prep and on Friday you're being shipped off so there's no point in having conventional classes."

The cheers stopped then, as people finally came to grips with the fact that this was really happening. The exercise was real. And then, as soon as Aizawa explained that when first period started they'd be off to their designated areas, bragging started.

Well...bragging wasn't perhaps the right word. But as soon as the all clear was silently sounded the hero team seemed to relax. From a quick glance posture loosened and voices got louder than they normally would of with Aizawa in the room.

It was like with this new assured freedom they had lost all inhibitions regarding secrecy or seriousness.

Not to say his team mates didn't act like relieved teenagers. It would be suspicious if they didn't. No, instead they were slightly more reserved, letting the heroes drown them out.

It was tense around the back of the room though, with three of the hero council so close to a primary suspect for villain leader. He'd apologised profusely to Momo but the girl had taken it in stride.

Saying by having the attention on her he'd be able to drop more hints about the credibility of leadership for other people confusing the heroes even more.

It was an incredible idea. 

Just one of the many reasons he had Momo in his inner circle. 

Their leadership system was relatively similar to the heroes, but instead of having a four person council with Todoroki as the deciding vote (from what Koji had told them at least), the villain team had him as leader, with Hitoshi as his second with Mei, Mezou, Kendo, Momo as his council.

The idea was he'd make ideas, run them through Hitoshi who would give his opinion before they were ran through those four and after they were tweaked they'd decide whether or not to go through with it.

It seemed lengthy and over complicated but it allowed for him to get his plans critiqued so someone could tell him if he was going too far. And then the council was to see if it was manageable.

Of course, some of his plans he'd initiated outright.

Another reason for council was so he could have squads. They would train to work together efficiently, even if some of their team mates were people they would never of thought to work with before.

Mei's team consisted of:

Her, Sen, Yosetsu, Juzo, Denki and Mina.

All of their quirks could be applied to both combat but also defensive manoeuvres. The plus was that, with the exception of Mins unless you worked on something ridiculous, they could all be applied to manufacturing or mechanics.

Momo's team consisted of:

Her, Rikido, Yuga, Neito and Kyoka.

With that set up you had a mix of long range and close rang capabilities, plus Neito had a range of quirks to copy depending on what kind of support was required.

Another plus to that team was that Momo and Rikido both needed sugar and fats for their quirk to work, so if they kept that requirement contained to one team the flow of resources could be controlled.

There was risk there of course, of they were both together and ran out of sugar/fats but there wasnt much to be done.

Kendo had taken a different approach to her fellow council members deciding to go for a stockpile of tactile quirks rather than outright defensive or offensive quirks, with her team consisting of:

Her, Setsuna, Tooru and Mashiaro.

This combination of quirks all required some element of stealth or surprise due to either the nature of the quirk or the finicky nature in which to use it.

After all, Setsuna and Tooru were much more stealth based with their quirks complimenting this with minimal visibility. Whereas, Mashiaro had a long tail on him and Kendo's hands became massive. They weren't exactly able to use their quirks in broad daylight without drawing suspicion.

And then, Mezou's team. He'd been worried at the line up, feeling that maybe the members felt outcast from the other groups. Thankfully he'd been proved wrong when it turned out Mezou had created his team first out of all of them:

Him, Fumikage, Koji, Reiko and Kuroiro.

All tricky quirks, versatile yes but not exactly put to the for front when people thought hero course. Their abilities were proven however with the sole fact they were in those classes.

Mezou himself was a powerhouse of pure muscle and coupled with Dark Shadow's raw strength it would be an amazing team up. As well as Fumikage and Kuroiro teaming up Dark Shadow could be at full potential during the day light. He felt particularly happy with Koji and Reiko being on the same team.

He knew the girl wouldn't admit it but the concentration her quirk too made her uneasy when using it, he'd witnessed that first hand during training the night before. However with Koji on hand with insects and animals at the ready some of the pressure would be off of the girl.

He and Hitoshi didn't have specific teams, as they were in possession of quirks that didn't particularly fit into the image or gimmick of the other teams. Everyone was training to be able to work woth everybody else, despite teams so them not having a team didn't matter too much.

Anyway he had miniature teams within teams anyway.

For example, Fumikage and Kuroiro, Momo and Neito and Denki and Mina. That was just three examples of the duo's he'd set up.

They'd need to be able to work in smaller groups depending on what their bonus points were, speaking of which he was supposed to get the list of objectives at some point today.

"That's the first period bell, off you go." He attempted to hide his excitement but he wasn't really trying too hard as he stood up and threw his bag over his shoulder. 

He made sure to be out of the class as quickly as possible, he needed to know whether Snipe-sensei was in a lesson or was willing to teach them how to handle firearms during school hours.

"Midoriya!" Looking over his shoulder as he speed walked through the corridor he spotted Iida and Uraraka following behind him speedily. It looked to physically pain Iida to come so close to running in the hallway.

"Deku, please wait we just want to talk!"

He sped ups jogging now and heard a very shocked, "Uraraka!l and checked to see the brunette running after him. Picking up his own pace he got to the two way split staircase.

"That won't work this time Deku!" He could hear the girl behind him and unlike last time he didn't resist the urge to jump on the banister and slide down that.

He let out a whoop as the sharp angle sent him speeding down one flight of stairs. Jumping off before he crashed he took off down the corridor to the next set of stairs and repeated the process before getting to the floor with the teachers lounge on it.

Knocking on the door, acutely aware of Uraraka's out of breath yell of his name, he waited until a teacher opened it. Midnight was the one to open the door, looking down at him with a curious yet expectant look, "Midoriya?"

"Is Snipe-sensei here, Midnight-sensei? Or is he teaching?"

She paused, looking over her shoulder and turned to answer before hearing a shout of his name just as he did. This time it was much closer and Uraraka didn't sound so out of breath.

He just hoped the rest of the team had taken the scramble approach at his lead. The point was to confuse the heroes as to where they were going so that if anyone communicated and said one person was acting suspicion for going in the wrong direction it would quickly become apparent that no one was going in a singular direction.

"Come in Midoriya. Snipe is at his desk." As he was ushered into the room he smiled at her and thanked her.

Making his way into the teachers lounge he realised it was nothing more than a glorified office, with each teacher having a desk and a singular coffee table and couch.

He hid his smile as the teachers desperately tried to hide All Might's haggard form from his eyes, even though for someone that wasn't already in the know that would of grabbed their attention even more.

He approached Snipe's desk and waited for the teacher to look up, "Oh, hello Midoriya. Don't tell me Aizawa forgot classes are cancelled this week..."

"No, Sensei already told us about that. I was wondering, about the lessons we agreed on, are we still doing them after school or could we just shadow your classes?"

He couldn't tell exactly what the man was thinking, due to his mask obscuring his entire expression, but from the way the papers in his hands were put down and a finger tapped a tune out on the desk, he could tell he was thinking about it.

"It is true that the second years have just started gun safety and combat use...and it would mean I wouldn't have to lose hours every night..." He couldn't help the grin that threatened to split his features, "Alright. I have classes through second to last period. They're all beginners, as support also learn it as well, so different groups each time would suffice."

"Great! Can i please use my phone to contact my group?"

"Sure kid." A hand was waved dismissively but as he turned and phoned Mei he wasn't ignorant to the curious look his teacher had on him. He supposed it was acceptable as the villain team had probably never seemed so invested before.

"Hey, I just git us permission to shadow Snipe-sensei's lessons for today, could you get everyone to start organising themselves into teams?"

Chapter Text

"We have parameters to keep within people, we mess this opening up all our plans go down the drain."

"Got it boss." Was choruses over the comms and he flicked his eyes from screen to screen.

There were quite a few variables here that could send this whole scheme tumbling down with the slightest of breezes however, he had two, three if he counted the back up, plans running right now.

 He was playing the long run here. Each step was carefully articulated and planned to effect down the line. Even the way he had his explosives -sloppily placed and just within the safety limits to allow them to have them- put up on his distraction would effect later on. For exam, the heroes would think they didn't know what they were doing with the explosives and when the well hidden, perfectly placed and crafted bombs would go off later into the exercise they'd have no idea what they were dealing with.

"Who's it feel boss, we have the whole world at our feet." He smiled, Shinsou's tone was cocky as he grew into the role he'd been set. A yakuza boss was nothing without his right hand and Shinsou filled the roll well.

"I say we send a welcome card."

"Oh?"

He cracked his knuckles, "We managed to grab the fake objective right?" At a nod he continued, "I say we cut the robots head off and deliver it to the heroes front door. We aren't supposed to know where each others bases are."

"Psychologically throw them off, get them paranoid from the get go... sure you don't want to let them feel easy and then pull the rug out?"

"We can do both." He stood and turned to his friend, seeing the mask and hood of the costume hiding any distinguishing features. "Scare them, let them think they're winning and then..."

"Then we hit them twice as hard as before." Shinsou finished for him, sounding remarkably amused and smug despite the lack of indication from his features. Izuku could almost guess he was smiling. Then, the tone returned to normal, "You doing good?"

"Yeah." He smiled, also returning to normal, "I've got probably a few days of this mindset before I start to feel shitty and start considering killing everyone and myself."

"Cool." A hand patted him on the shoulder and the tilt of Shinsou's masked face indicated a shit eating grin, "I'm gonna go prepare our surprise. Any preference on how they get it."

"It's a welcoming gift, Wakagashira, let's go in with a bang."

"Of course, Kumicho."

                                      ____________________

It's the day of the exam and still, nobody knows who the villain leader is, they know who's on the team from their class and the most obvious choice would be Deku, but it's Aizawa who's picked the captain's he wouldn't go for something so obvious.

When they stand in the briefing room, watching the feed from security cameras that picked up the villains activity, there isn't much indication to who's in charge.

All the villains are wearing masks and hoods with dark baggy clothing that hides any identifying features. Ochako can only spot Shoji from the rest because he's simply too tall to be anyone else.

But then, her eyes slide to another screen and she sees variation in the costumes. There are still masks and hoods but instead of jumpsuits reminiscent of Aizawa-sensei's there are business suits, formal dresses, pencil skirts.

The group coming out of the second van look like officer workers except the hoods tucked into their blazers and the masks on their faces don't give anything away.

She hadn't realised how small the villain group was until after three vans in they see no more arriving. "Somethings wrong."

Todoroki sounds tense as he speaks and she turns her eyes to her leader seeing how still he is, "The numbers don't add up. Out of the two classes participating everyone has been accounted for but there's too many people on the villain team."

"Defectors?" Iida's suggestion is met with quiet and Ochako, despite her better judgement, finds herself eyeing class 1-B for anyone who looks suspicious or who she thinks could turn. The idea to suspect her own classmates rises before ducking its head.

They're all here because they didn't want to be on the villain team, she trusted each and everyone of her 1-A teammates. She needed to stop being paranoid. "Against the rules. All players are registered with the teachers before the exam, the teachers would of pulled it up, besides our numbers are the same as when we entered."

Todoroki has a way of speaking, Ochako realises, that lets her relax and trust his judgement. "So you noticed?"

The screens that had each showed different CCTV footage turned to static before each screen started to flicker becoming one part of a greater image. A mask, and she noticed this one had more of a flourish to it than the others the villains had wearing, appeared.

No face, no body just an image of a mask and a distorted voice. "Well done Todoroki, sorry," the disembodied voice chuckled and it sounded broken and glitchy, "Hero Captain Shouto. But good job on counting our numbers. You'll remember this is a year wide assessment?"

There was a moment of silence where nobody said anything because it struck them that they had forgotten that part. The leader of the villains had taken advantage of that, had probably known they would stick to Hero course students preferring to know their teammates could fight.

She didn't realise that she privately thought someone from another course would be a dead weight, and continued listening.

"My friend's are rather unique. As is our little band of renegade's, I think you'll come to see that soon. But oh, look at the time." Why did they sound amused? "You'll be getting a welcome gift from us soon, better hurry, you don't want to miss the show."

With that the screens shut off, static being bypassed for black screens and as one of 1-B scrambled to fix it she heard a shout of frustration. The wires had been severed somehow, seconds after the footage had ended.

That meant it was someone in their team.

"Be on the lookout, we have an intruder." And then she relaxed, because of course. This was to get them wound up. Someone on the hero team had probably stalked their convoy and had hidden in the building in order to do this.

Of course.

A knock at the door made them freeze. It was only Bakugou, Bakugou who had been silent and simply watching for the duration of their exercise, who dared go to the door.

When he got there, hand going off in explosions, he ripped the door open and there was simply a package. Nothing more, no person, no note simply a box.

It heightened the belief that there was an intruder. She didn't remember ever seeing Hagakure at their training sessions so she was probably responsible.

The box was brought in, dumped on the table for all to the see scratchy hand writing on the lid of the box reading: ' To be opened in front of everybody'

And opened it them did. Ochako wished they hadn't. Broken in and ripped to near disfigurement was the head of an All Might bot, the former grinning smile looking dastardly and dead in its smashed up state.

It unnerved her. The All Might bots were failsafes. The teachers way of controlling a situation should it get too dire. For it to be this broken...

"There's something else kero." Tsu's words were loud above the unconscious rumble they'd all adopted. Nobody seemed to dare to speak over a whisper and at Tsu's words all eyes landed on a playing card tucked face down into a split in the robots skull.

The frog girl reached in for it, though Todoroki putting a hand in front stopped her, "Why would they want us all to see this and then leave such an obvious clue with everyone surrounding it in a small space unless it was a trap."

"For fuck sake icyhot, just take the damn card, I'm getting sick of waiting around! I'll take it out myself if I have to!"

Eyes split between the blond and bicromatic leader. Waiting to see what the judgement would be. "Everyone but Bakugou out of the room, in case it is a trap we don't need everyone going down."

They agree and as they leave the room Ochako spies the way Bakugou's hands tense, clenching and unclenching as he stares at the box as if he wants nothing more than to throw it away and not see what calling card awaits him.

They close the floor behind them. There isn't nearly as much room as they need there to be but there's nothing they can do. From the silence in the corridor it's easy to hear the sliding of the card from the metal, and then it's silent again.

Someone swears (from 1-B she thinks, she isn't paying attention to anything but what happens next) as Bakugou laughs. A loud, angry venomous laugh  that carries years of disdain. The door is opened and she feels her stomach drop a bit at the card, the King of Hearts isn't immediately recognisable, it's only for the K and heart on it that she recognises the placement of it in the deck.

In place of the traditional European medieval figure sits a masked figure lounging on a throne, indescript weapon hanging loosely in their grip. On the bottom of the card, where the king is usually reflected is the same figure, with the same weapon but this time the blank mask is blood splattered and the throne is gone.

She isn't sure what it is about the card that sets her off, perhaps it's the amount of detail in it that makes her heart go a mile a minute.

 

Chapter Text

Receiving the confirmation that the hero team had received their surprise, he gets Tooru or rather Mirror to return to base.

While he'd love to have the invisible girl snoop around (due to the hierarchy system Koji's position as a spy was precarious and information was sure to be spotty at times) he didn't know what Todoroki had up his sleeve.

For all his planning, analysis and counter measures Todoroki was still a wild card.

Silent and powerful, Izuku found it difficult to get in his head. And because of that many of the counter measures he had for his rival were mere speculation.

Sure, Todoroki had poor control of his fire, but he'd demonstrated he had enough control to not burn him to a crisp during the sports festival. That level of control despite years of rejection of the quirk meant that all he needed was fine tuning to be a dangerous enemy.

And having seen what he'd done with Stain, that was enough to worry him.

Besides, Mirror wasn't just a pawn. Someone to throw away, expendable. She was his team mate. Someone he trusted, and needed. He wasn't about to throw her under the bus like that- not in such an unstable situation such as this.

"Boss! We have a progress report on the council building!"

Breaking from his thoughts he turned his attention to the security screen showing the body camera footage from Addict.

The team were stood across from what looked like an ornate door, the carvings of birds and flowers looking suspiciously western. "What is it Drivers? Were the blueprints wrong?"

He did have a feeling, one he couldn't shake no matter how much he tried to rationalize, that just maybe Nezu had put fake blueprints where he could find them.

"No, nothing like that boss. It's just...well, this is the pick up." He saw the door open on the feed and nearly choked on air when he saw what was sat behind the door.

"Vlad-sensei is going to love this." 

Sat there, reclined and looking at peace as much as a robot could, was a Vlad King imitation 'eating' out of a flowery, pink bento box. The box was stamped in a deep, bold scarlet with the number five.

Seeing the door stay open and the robot take no interest in his team he spoke, "I think you should play the waiting game here, sit in the office and if the robot doesn't respond watch its movements. If there's even a second that box is unattended snatch it and run."

They'd been pushing it by demolishing an All Might bot, needless destruction was only appropriate in certain circumstances and now wasn't one of them. "Only destroy the bot if a, it notices and becomes hostile or b, if by lunch it hasn't left it unattended."

"Got it boss, Addict signing out."

-*-

Mezou let out a silent sigh as he watched his team mates shift in their places outside the ornate room. Their expressions were hidden behind white oval masks, near blank and designed to stop any form of identification.

The masks were different for each group, and he found that that was a good choice, as each style of mask was then differentiated in the slightest of ways so each person could be individual while the heroes remained non the wiser.

For instance Fumikage's mask had crossed Katana's as the main decorative aspect, however the Katana's indent was covered in a shimmering black film- allowing for the boys gothic flair to have an outlet without immediately letting on who he was.

Apparently it had been Mina who had suggested the colour, as well as that the girl had been the one to make the appropriate adjustments so that dark shadow wouldn't be crushed under the layers of fabric

He had known Izuku was a good option, the boy often did think of everything. But he'd come to learn that his classmates, people he never would of dreamt of talking to, were all just as powerful in their own right.

He would have to thank Izuku for opening his eyes, after the exercise was over.

"You heard the boss, let's get this show on the road." He heard a snicker from Shadow and was about to ask why when the quiet girl answered unprompted.

"They captured sensei perfectly."


Shouto felt a headache coming on, and seeing as it was only an hour into the exam he was ready to raise a few issues with the whole thing.

First issue, the villains seemed to be five steps ahead. They'd been allowed in first, instead of both teams entering simultaneously.

They were also apparently in the know of where the hero base was even though that was supposed to be undisclosed information.

And that, that was his biggest issue. Because it raised a variety of questions. We're the villain team being given this information by the teachers? Had the villains been given special access to the training ground?

Had his team been missing out on things, or was it biased? Surly though, he reasoned, the heroes would be the biased side.

In what little he'd heard about this exercise it was also controversially received, so his reasoning could have flaws in it.

Simultaneously though, he liked to believe that Midoriya would of told him, that his friend would of forgone team loyalties and of shared any information he had.

But then his thoughts drifted to the argument he and Iida had stumbled upon, and despite the awkward way their friend received them, Shouto had recognised the determination in the boys voice. 

It was the same way he'd told him his quirk was his own.

That was why he knew the thought that Midoriya would of told him any extra information was a pipe dream. Clearly Midoriya had something to prove, something that went beyond Yaoyozoru - whatever it was though it didn't make him dangerous.

The boy didn't have much control over his quirk, no matter the improvement between the sports festival and post-apprenticeships, and that meant that Midoriya wouldn't be a heavy hitter.

He'd be a foot soldier, or more likely he'd be tucked away at home base doing something with his analysis.

Shotou had never been more relieved for his unreadable expressions when he'd discovered Midoriya's notebooks on the class. It unnerved him, but Midoriya didn't have it in him to exploit friends weaknesses.

He'd seen that on the second day of term with Bakugou. Bakugou, who he had a terrible relationship.

He'd been interested in the match between the number one candidate from the entrance exam and the boy who broke his bones and had been considered virtually useless by their teacher.

He hadn't been disappointed.

It was clear, to him at least, that Midoriya could read Bakugou like an open book. His demonstration in the first few minutes were enough to testify that.

What had sold it though was how, even when overwhelmed be a barrage on all sides by the blond Midoriya had still managed to get what he wanted in the end.

Though, he'd seen that the boy was essentially holding back. If he was able to take down Bakugou in mere seconds why had he allowed himself to be tossed around like a rag doll?

He wouldn't. 

That was how Shouto had come to the conclusion that Midoriya, despite being capable of tearing someone down, couldn't bring himself to do it.

Bakugou's lamination after the fact that 'stupid deku could of dodged, the fucker just wanted sympathy' only added to his theory.

That was why, despite knowing how clinically Midoriya could take a person's quirk apart, he wasn't worried.

Deku had demonstrated he couldn't hurt people close to him. It wasn't in the boys nature trick and deceive.


Switching from the Drivers team comms Izuku switched to the team's overall channel.

He knew Evangelion was monitoring this from her truck (driven by Geo who apparently had jumped at the chance to be an espionage driver) but he felt better keeping an eye on everyone.

This way it would take less time if he needed to walk a team through a counter measure they may not have down one hundred percent.

It was a precaution he hoped would be needless.

It was slightly hypnotic listening to the inconsistent strings of chatter, of quips and of sighs and grunts of frustration that he asked about and helped fix issues.

So far there hadn't been hero interference, but he figured that was because they were going for small scale objectives: a street sign, a pen from a bank, documents from flats.

Nothing major, the most high risk item they were going for currently going for was the Vlad replicas bento box- which was housed in the fake city's city hall. But even that was nothing compared to some of the other objectives he'd seen on the list.

A 'nuclear' reactor from a research lab.

The life of the 'city's' mayor.

A specific painting in a museum.

And that was to name three. The objectives were bonuses, so technically they could go through the entire game without bothering with them. However, Izuku had a hunch that if they were to do that and the game ended in a tie somehow, the winners would end up being the heroes.

It would most likely be on a technicality that while it was a tie the villains had technically not scored any points, while the heroes had- specifically because one of the objectives was in their base meaning they held the points for that object.

He had to admit, having their spies room name plate as an objective was incredibly sneaky and ingenious. Prompts to Nezu for figuring out how to hid that one in plain sight.

It had helped he guessed that apparently every number in the hero base was a different colour, the only one being the shade of scarlet that signified an objective being The Piper's room.

"We have the bento box boss, but we have another problem." he was broken out of his lull, for the second time that day by the same team no less, by the worried yet level tone of Shadow's voice.

Sending a quick message Wakagashira's way to switch the camera's to his computer, Izuku turned all the camera's to the ones that gave him the best angles of the Drivers.

As he did he hissed out a curse under his breath, standing there, hands blazing with explosives was Bakugou, standing with him was Tetsutetsu and Kirishima.

All three heavy hitters against a team that was made up of one lone heavy hitter, and three long to mid range fighters. Not to mention Eldritch's quirk did not mix well with Bakugou's.... hopefully Blanc would be able to compensate.

"Alright, there's only the three of them." His eyes scanned camera angles and searched for any chance that he may be incorrect as he spoke, "Blanc and Eldritch I need you to tag team on this, Bakugou's quirk will be an immediate counter to Eldritch and the bastard knows it."

Chapter Text

Hitoshi is concerned when all he receives from Kumicho is a quick message saying to take over surveillance for him. However, the fact that its such a quick, frantic message, has him not questioning and not taking over.

He turns his comms on, sliding the headset on and standing from his seat and walking to the glass top table in the centre of the room.

Once there he taps it, the 3d holographic map of the city shining to life before his eyes. Each team has a different colour, and a different amount of rots depending on where they are.

He can tell immediately who the Drivers are because one yellow dot resides on the hero base.

But disregarding that, knowing that the Piper was where he was supposed to be, he tapped the table again seeing all the security cameras come up in front of him. He swipes all but the ones for the Drivers away.

"Okay," he's on the team wide comms so he knows the other three teams can hear him, "I'm taking over for Kumicho - the Drivers have experienced a road bump. Everybody's main objectives are to get the pay load and get out."

He taps the table, muting the mic for a second and using voice command to get the camera's for the sewers up as well, before continuing, "The sewers are everybody's best bet, we don't know how or why they're at city hall so discretion is key."

There's a round of confirmations, "Don't be surprised if you get called for combat, though, that may be left to you two Geo, Evangelion."

-*-

Izuku isn't stressed per say, rather a bit pissed off that the first little plan he had had to have this outcome. He wouldn't of minded if anyone else had turned up.

It was the fact it was Bakugou and the punch out duo. Bakugou knew how to undermine Eldritch's quirk, which meant Blanc would have to provide support.

There wasn't even a point in entertaining the idea of Bakugou going for anyone else first. He'd go for the person he knew he could beat down easiest.

And because of this that meant that Shadow and Cleaner would be dealing with the punch out duo. He didn't doubt that Cleaner could possibly handle both of them, but Shadow wouldn't be ignored (it was really biting them in the arse now that the two didn't care about fighting girls in combat) and her quirk would not work in this situation.

He knew for a fact the two were above her threshold.

However...she could cause distractions- throw them, quite literally, off their game.

"Okay, Shadow, Cleaner you're going against Kirishima and Tetsutetsu. Shadow can you try and create a distraction? Throw furniture, bins ect. While Cleaner approaches them head on?"

"They're right outside the building right? Why are we leading them into the building, that's putting us in danger."

"It's risky, I know. But this way Geo can offer an escape route without having to run Kirishima and Tetsutetsu over."

"Wait, I have the option to run them over?"

"The tank can handle it Kumicho! We could do that!"

He hears a few more agreements and as he issues them to get ready to defend he runs through the risks in his head, the escape routes open and such and he finds a rueful smile coming onto his face.

Leave it to him to turn heroes in training into people more than ready to run over their peers. "Alright Geo, you're clear to run them down. Shadow, Cleaner, Eldritch, Blanc hold off the opposition until help arrives."

He feels himself getting giddy, "Evangelion feel free to fire at will, Geo use escape route G7 once the pickup has been received. I'll send a team to create a diversion on their way back to base."

All he hears in the next ten minutes are Bakugou's explosions being promptly cut off by a horn going 'Bah-badah-bah-bah-bah' and the shout of pure confusion and adrenaline filled ecstasy as Tetsutetsu and Kirishima are ruthlessly run down by Geo.

"NOTHING PERSONAL FELLA'S!" Is called out as he switches to Hitoshi and asks him to have Muscle's squad -bar Mirror- cause havoc on their side of town.

"What do you have in mind?"

"We're never gonna need that office building again right? Plus we're talking realism. Make it a bad one."

He can hear the glee and invision the smirk, "They'll be dragging bodies out of there for weeks."

 

Chapter Text

It's...scary.

Uraraka is scared right now as she stands in front of the destroyed building.

It's on fire, and there are freighter bots at work to make sure it doesn't spread to nearby buildings, and the rubble from the explosion is scattered for the next block and a half.

It knocks her to her very core as she stands in front of the building and there are bots that pretend to be survivors, that pretend to be grieving family members who came as soon as they saw it on the 'news' and there are police officer bots taking statements and trying to console the 'relatives'.

All of it is too realistic, it's like one villain attack she remembers from when she was younger. She had supposed to of been in bed hours previous but she'd waited for the moment she knew she could get away with it to get out of bed and sneak into the corridor

She'd stuck her head into the living room, wondering why the tv was still on, but at such a low volume.

It was regretted ever since, the sight of a decimated building and grieving people haunted her. And now it was happening before her eyes.

"Uravity?" She looks over at a girl from 1-B, what was her name again (?), and watches as a sad smile that shows the same level of fear she's feeling, "It's...it's fine. They're just robots remember!"

And as she looks back at the robots she can't help but disagree. It doesn't matter that they're just robots, because if a person could so sloppily - and the sloppiness caused a great impact than was probably ever intended- destroy such realistic looking robots...

What were they willing to do to an actual human?

-*-

At noon, the villain team sit down for lunch. All the members, bar one, are present and they seem to be enjoying themselves. Laughing, joking and acting like teenagers.

The only thing off about the situation is the outfits. Jumpsuits that hide defining body characteristics and masks to hide appearances, suits that mimic Yakuza clothing, large hoods tucked into the collars with surgical masks and goggles, and then more suits - but these are older more western period drama style. A plague doctors mask goes with that attire.

But nobody wears their mask here, all are sat around in a circle on the floor with bento boxes and their masks and hoods down and around their necks.

It's relaxed, happy even.

Izuku smiles as he watches his teammates talk strategy, joke about their next villainous act and returns to his food.

-*-

Tenya has to help carry Tetsutetsu and Kirishima into the hospital ward in their building when the pair arrive. Accompanying him are Koda, Todoroki and Sero, everybody else is either out or rushing to the hospital ward to get it set up.

He's hiding the shaking of his hands as he keeps his classmate upright. Even with his hardened form activated he can see the substantial damage done to the the pair.

"What happened to you?"

"They ran us over."

"What?"

Tetsutetsu, who watches Kirishima like a hawk (seemingly knowing that metal holds up a hell of a lot better to a moving vehicle than rock) answers, "It was a head on collision. This guy with a plague mask ran us down without any hesitation."

Shaking hands are not the only thing Tenya has to suppress now. His anger and fear has joined the list.

-*-

Mezou lets out a laugh, a type of laugh he hasn't let out since before he got his quirk, and keeps relaxing as Neito sets off in a fit of laughter also.

It only gets worse as their group, him, Neito, Kyoka, Yuga and Kendo all devolve into pure laughter. He isn't even sure why he's laughing by the end of it, but he's so happy that he doesn't care.

-*-

Watching security cameras for the city Shouto clenches his teeth at the sight of the villain team mercilessly holding the office building for no reason (or no reason that the camera's picked up) before planting explosives.

And then the building blows up, it's a fiery inferno with a light so intense it lights up the once dark room instantly. Bakugou next to him swears - a regular occurrence but it seems worse now.

"How many casualties were there?" He asks, and the blond seems to find it hard to get the words out.

"They don't know. The bot said they'll be digging out bodies for weeks."

Chapter Text

Due to the disarray they'd caused in the early hours of the exam the hero team were fully occupied, rescuing and helping with the clean up of their office building display.

The look on Kendo's face when they'd come in from setting the explosives had made him regret the action, but the way the class 1-B rep squared her shoulders and told herself more than him that she just needed to view it as a lesson lessened the guilt slightly.

It was a lesson in the fact that villains didn't care. Just as she didn't have to feel guilty because they were robots, villains wouldn't feel guilty because to them the lives of others were irrelevant.

"Still," he pushed onwards, keeping his voice steady as he crouched in front of where she was sat against the wall, "I'm sorry I asked you to do that."

"Would you of gone out and set the explosives up if I'd of said I couldn't do it?"

"Yes." Her eyes snap up at him, and he smiles genuinely, "You're my teammate, my friend Kendo. If you can't do something tell me next time and we'll find a way around it."

She laughs, "What was plan B in this situation?"

He drops to his backside instead of crouching, "Plant the bombs on fire hydrants and just flood down town."

"Yeah...that wouldn't of been half as effective at scaring them."

"No...if you need a bit before going back in the field you can just say you know. Nobody is going to judge you for it." He realises how hypocritical that is to say, how many times has he gone out and done stupid shit when he shouldn't of?

"Is it scary...coming up with these plans?" Her eyes don't meet his anymore and her tone is hesitant.

"Terrifying. Some days I lay in bed and just think... I just think about what a monster I am." He sees her sneaking glances at him and so continues, "But then I think...that as long as I never intentionally hurt people they're just intrusive thoughts you know?"

"..." she's silent, and then, "You're not a monster."

Pulling himself to his feet he holds his hand out to pull her up, "Lets see how long you think that."

-*-

"So boss, what's our next cause of action?"

Everyone has piled into the meeting room, and Hitoshi stands by his side with the holographic map of the city lit up in front of them. He lets his eyes survey the map as he talks, "Well we've got four objectives correct?"

With a swipe of the hand there are markers on the map where the four obtained objectives had been, "And we know where the hero base is, so the only thing I can see at the moment is getting more objectives and causing panic where we can."

He pauses, let's it sink in and there's a general sound of agreement and he almost holds off on what he says next, almost. "It's come to my attention some of you are uncomfortable with some of the plans. That's fine." Faces that had dropped twist in confusion, "I know I'm asking a lot from you. If you can't go through with stuff tell me."

"Some of the stuff is...intense." Juzo's voice is quiet but he's heard perfectly in the quiet room, "But I signed up knowing I'd be doing things I wouldn't always morally agree with. But that's just part of it isn't it?"

"Yes." He rubs the back of his neck, "But at the end of the day you're people, you have feelings. And I don't want you guys sitting there and regretting doing something."

It is once again silent, and it seems everybody here has finally realised that what they're doing is real. It will hurt their classmates - their friends, it will scare then, it won't ever be the right thing to do...

"I won't regret anything." Reiko's voice bounces practically around the room as everyone holds their breath nervous for what she has to say, "I'm never going to have another opportunity to show that I can win... and besides real life villains wouldn't go easy so why should we."

There seems to be a universal agreement to what she's said, and Izuku lightly grasps Hitoshi's clenched fist at his side and squeezes it. The boy relaxes slightly and Izuku smiles at him.

He knows what Reiko means, and he understands why Hitoshi is getting so angry. It isn't fair, it really isn't that there are people who feel so inadequate because of their quirks.

In Reiko's case she should feel proud, should feel all mighty and powerful. But because of how U.A.'s system works she doesn't. She feels weak, she feels like she's never going to have an opportunity to prove herself.

For Hitoshi...to have a quirk that made you a powerhouse but then be treated like a disgrace was a very real thing for him. It was a testament to his morals, his conscious and his self control that he'd dealt with years of being told a villain and instead of giving in, he'd gone to U.A. as the biggest middle finger he could give to his old classmates.

But... Izuku also understood this need to win. It was something that had always haunted him, to win was to feel like you could do something well. And to feel that meant you could improve yourself.

And the idea that a quirkless kid could improve themselves and go up and up and up was almost unheard of. It came to him that maybe...just...maybe the reason his plans included him using 'his' quirk so little was because he wanted to prove it could be done.

He wasn't stupid, he knew the teachers had to of figured it out-/if they knew about All Might's quirk it was only logical to assume they knew he was looking for a successor and in lieu of a search inside school, that he was the successor.

"That's what I was hoping you'd say!" He chuckled and his team joined with him, a tension dripping from their shoulders nobody had noticed before, "I understand your devotion, and I support it, but I was beginning serious. If you can't go through with something we'll try and work around it."


Yuga tried to stop the bouncing of his knee as he sat in the back of the truck. He, Apollo, White Collar, Addict and Hepheastus were quiet as Torch drove them to their heist.

Evangelion was sat across from them, tapping away at her laptop with a serious expression on her face, it being only partially hidden by the medical mask she had on (her goggles were pushed up to the crown of her head.)

He tried to go through the plan in his head again and found, irritatingly, that he couldn't. He gave up on keeping his leg still, glad his mask hid his expression as Apollo's head turned in his direction. It was embarrassing to ask for the plan to be explained again. It was however dangerous, never mind counterproductive, to enter a sensitive situation without the plan in his mind.

He just didn't want to admit he was having difficulty remembering.

It had always been like that though he mused. Everyone else just seemed to...get things. And no he wasn't stupid or lacking in intelligence but sometimes it just took awhile for things to click...

Growing up he'd hidden it behind gaudy smiles and over extravagance. At least that way people wouldn't care if he didn't seem to be paying attention (he was he was just too busy internally stressing to ever look it) they'd just chalk it up to him being an air head.

He hated that that was what he'd fallen to, but he'd done what he'd had to.

At the very least Hepheastus and Kumicho thought he still had some use so he had that going for him.

"Nova?" Coming back into the present he nodded towards Hepheastus to let her know he was listening, he hid a flinch when she sighed. What if she stopped thinking he was useful?

"We're going through the plan once again, Apollo said she wasn't a hundred percent, do you mind?"

He was glad his mask covered his face, because otherwise they'd of seen the watering of his eyes. Before this exercise started he didn't have many friends, but Apollo had been one of the few. He knew she has a near photographic memory.

"Of course, I don't mind at all. It's best to keep it fresh in our minds after all." He could swear his team leader was smiling, and the scrunch of Evangelion's eyebrows certainly told him she was.

He sits attentive as the two leaders go over the intricacies of the plan (this time he manages to get his parts memorized and the important parts down) and like everybody else pretends to not notice Apollo giving his hand a reassuring squeeze.

She says nothing when he squeezes it back so he accepts that she understands.

-*-

Itsuka holds her breath in for a few more seconds than she normally would before releasing it as she stands next to Cleaner, the taller boy has improved hearing she knows and is grateful that all he does is send her a raised eyebrow.

She isn't sure how to feel about the situation. She hasn't been treated like she's fragile, it's more like all the other leaders, Kumicho and Wakagashira had a meeting without her.

She feels out of the loop, and its note clear to her how to feel about that. 

Should she be annoyed? Should she be grateful? Should she be worried?

Is she paranoid?

No, she pushes that thought away. The first step to being paranoid is feeling like you might be being paranoid. She was just curious. Curious as to the peculiar feeling of exclusion she was experiencing.

They're testing the waters tonight, after the destruction of the office building they weren't sure how the heroes would respond. The Piper was in a precarious position due to the heroes politics and couldn't relay information much because he simply wasn't being given it. 

The heroes were being kept nearly a hundred percent in the dark at any given point. Which, she supposed, was a good tactic against espionage as was being seen with the Piper. However, it had its flaws.

Such as, how was the team supposed to trust its leaders if they were nothing more than pawns of a chess board. She knew why Kumicho wasn't going on missions left and right in this plan because, as he'd explained, the king lost value the more it was played offensively.

As long as Kumicho remained an anonymous entity to the opposition they had an element of surprise. It was a level of secrecy that made her head work over time. But, it was better than not knowing where you were from one minute to the next.

She could agree with Kumicho on that point that it wouldn't take long for the heroes to start to destroy themselves.

A chain was only as strong as its weakest link.

If the foot soldiers, she'd originally hated the term being used to describe her friends but the more she learnt about the Piper's situation the more apparent it was becoming that that was the right term, didn't know where to shoot then the general's had little to no chance of doing anything but shooting their own men.

She knew Kumicho already had a plan in place for a such a situation.

She looked over to the holographic table in the centre of the room where Wakagashira was going through security cameras and sees the office building still in flames even all these hours later.

(Itsuka feels a shiver rack up her spine at the mere memory of what she'd done. The robots faces had been so realistic, the simulated crying and begging... the sound of shattering windows and the deafening boom of the actual explosion... she realises she's not disgusted with the action itself, but more that she felt adrenaline- a strange kind of joy and excitement-  at the whole experience. 

She'd enjoyed it. That's what she'd hated about the whole experience. She'd enjoyed having power, having the ability to say no, having the ability to be in control - to be powerful. It was dangerously intoxicating and that's why she felt so awful.

Because she'd accepted what she'd done and knew she'd do it again.)

Shaking her head she turned back to where Cleaner was talking through a headset and keeping his eyes on the screens for the sewers. Geo, Mole, Zombie and Demowoman were all on screen, collapsing certain paths and opening brand new ones that only they would know about.

She found it amazing seeing Geo use his softening quirk to make the wall partially permeable, creating a fake wall of sorts that you could pass through into a tunnel.

From inside the main tunnel it was a regular wall not even looking discoloured. However, if you pushed your body weight into it you would sink through the goo-like consistency of the wall into the new tunnel.

The best part was the way they were constructing the walls meant that it put itself right back into place as soon as you stepped through it. That meant that if worst came to worst they could make quick escapes and bamboozle the heroes doing it.

With Evangelion and Heapheastus out on a job and Cleaner next to her running the 'clean up crew',as they were apparently affectionately naming their builder's and redesigners, she was left as the only council member that didn't have a job.

Wakagashira was reviewing all the footage with the heroes in it to see how they responded to certain events, she could offer to help but the 1-C student looked pensive as he stared at the camera's.

She didn't really want to get between him and whatever was grating on his nerves. Kumicho was who knows where so she couldn't even just head up to the control room and receive orders because there was no guarantee he was even in there.

Plus, just wandering off felt wrong, but so did loitering as her team mates did work.

This lack of anything to do made her certain her other leaders had all grouped together and discussed strategy and excluded her. The thought pissed her off.

Why was she being left out!? She could contribute!

She was just as competent as any other leader here, in fact, aside from Heapheastus she a as probably the most qualified here being the class rep of 1-B! Sure, she was shaken and in a bit of a rut at the moment. And sure, she felt like she was splitting at the seams because of inner moral turmoil less than an hour ago!

But that was no reason that she couldn't be doing something! Standing, loitering, and not contributing racked her nerves and made everything ten times worse!

"Hey, Muscle?" Jerking to the left it took her a minute to realise who had called her, from Mirror's laugh she figured she hadn't been rude by literally not seeing her in the doorway.

"Yeah? Is something up?"

"No...yes." The tone would fit a sheepish grin, "Could you come help Blanc and I? Everyone else was training and we thought we'd make dinner but... we forgot why the we had certain people who would cook..."

Laughing, she imagined what mess Blanc had made this time around, "Sure I'll be right there. You haven't seen boss have you?"

The pause between the question and the response went to set her off but that q as quickly averted when the girl answered, "That's the reason we asked you. Boss kind of just... got some cleaning supplies out and started cleaning and we're almost too afraid to go in there."

The shift of clothing made it seem like a full body shiver had racked through the girl, "I don't get how he makes a mop look dangerous..."

Beginning to follow the girl to the kitchen she felt her body relaxing, "One of his main weapons is a staff, that may be it."

"YOU TAKE ONE STEP ONTO MY DRYING FLOOR ELDRITCH, DARK SHADOW WILL BE TASTING SPLINTERS FOR WEEKS!"

Turning the corner she felt a snort leave her mouth as Eldritch sat atop the fridge, Dark Shadow curled around him looking just as traumatized, as Kumicho waved the mop threateningly in the general direction.

The bird headed boy had never seemed like the type to swear but she couldn't help but burst into even more laughter at his words, "THIS TEAM IS A FUCKING NIGHTMARE!"

"I'LL MAKE YOU HAVE TIME OUT ON THERE IF YOU KEEP THAT ATTITUDE UP!" Though both males voices were loud and brash the laughter that underlay both tones made the friendliness of the exchange visible.

Chapter Text

"Kumicho? Eldritch?"

Itsuka is...concerned? For who exactly she isn't sure, but she knows she's concerned.

The smaller green haired boy whirled around on the balls of his feet, a winning smile on his face that didn't match the angry shouting he'd previously been doing.

Eldritch peers over the edge of the fridge with a look of relief so intense she wonders what Kumicho's expression had been making when he'd been waving his 'weapon' around. "Muscle! How are you?"

"I'm good...what's going on...?" She regrets asking when Eldritch starts silently waving his hands about in a 'no! No, no don't go there!' fashion.

"Mirror and Blanc were cooking and it went wrong."

That word shouldn't sound so sinister. She avoids eye contact by surveying the kitchen. She finds she has a new found appreciation for Kumicho and his cleaning skills because all that's still there as evidence to this mystery disaster is a dirty countertop and a soup pan that's still smoking.

"And Eldritch is on the fridge because...?"

Before this experience she though the tactical genius in front of her had been the mother of the group (the meeting earlier had stood testament to that) but now she felt like the mother inquiring about yr a siblings squabble.

"Dark Shadow and I inquired into the incident...unaware that Kumicho had cornered the area off..." The boy avoided her eyes which just made the whole situation even more ridiculous. "I muddied where he had just mopped and I was...chased atop of the fridge. It was the only place he couldn't reach me."

"Kumicho was that really necessary?" The large smiles still in place on his face.

"Oh definitely. I wouldn't of cared but Dark Shadow personified one if the pans over as well and I just..heh...have a habit of going overboard when I'm cleaning."

She finds herself blinking at the new information. This was a more human side to the infamous Midoriya Izuku of 1-A.

All she'd known, prior to recruitment, was that he had a dangerous quirk, buckets if determination and strangely enough was good friends with Neito.

But this, this was something outside of school yard gossip. This was information shared between friends in, softer, kinder interactions. This was Izuku: a kid who had a habitable befriending miscreants and kids with low self-esteem and liked to go into cleaning frenzies apparently.

She sighed, and though she was still pissed that she was being separated from her fellow council members and her duties she smiled. "I don't think keeping him on the fridge will help Kumicho."

"Fine." The leader relented, mop of doom lowering into a relaxed grip. "But, I want the dishes in alphabetical order."

She heard Mirror snort behind her and knew the girl had picked up on the vine reference also, it was made funnier as a total oblivious Eldritch responded with, "What does that even mean!?"

-*-

Koji kept his head down as he ate his dinner with a few of the other heroes. It was silent as everybody looked around the canteen searching for friends and teammates.

"Does anyone know if Kirishima is alright?" The muted scraping of cutlery and chopsticks at the table stopped and looking up he realised that out of the twenty members of the hero team (that was without counting himself as a temporary member) only five of them were known to be on site.

He watched as Tsuyu and Sero looked over to a 1-B boy who had yet to introduce himself, the boy had a manga bubble for a head and picked at his food. "He got run over right? I just...we aren't being told anything and I just want to know if he's alright at least."

He looked back down continuing eating, glad that nobody ever expected him to join in conversations usually. He knew for certain that Tsuyu, Sero, Manga boy, Kirishima and Todoroki were on site, the location of the others were unknown but he had given Kumicho what he knew already about what little plans he'd been able to eavesdrop on.

They couldn't let the teachers find out he had power over insects just yet. He'd initially regretted telling Izuku about that part of his quirks he hated insects and wanted nothing to do with them, but Izuku had seen an advantage in the power. It was his choice if in the end they went through with operation solstice, but at this moment in time he could say they probably would.

"You saw Kirishima didn't you, Kero?"

He looks up, Sure that his expression is that of 'genuine', clear confusion. He'd been practicing with Mezou for awhile how to fake reactions. It was a useful technique for getting people who were rude about his selective mutism to feel awkward and getting them to leave him alone.

Nodding, he's glad when Sero continues where Tsuyu left off, probably grasping that the blunt girl wasn't the right person to have ask him things. "What state was he in, I assume he'd used hardening but still...a tank at full speed..."

"He...he was bruised. But he hadn't broken anything...The worst was a cracked rib and a concussion."

Manga boy whistles, "Anybody else and they'd be dead...his quirk sure is powerful. Tetsutetsu got sent out to help the relief effort almost instantly after it was confirmed his injuries were superficial." The boy starts shovelling food it the manga bubble and Koji doesn't question it when the food disappears. 

He does wonder though if the boy is stress eating.

"He turned up at the recovery site and like, Bakugou just started going mad, saying stuff like why isn't 'Shitty Hair's twin' on bed rest and Todoroki just shrugged. It was mad."

"I think my heart dropped though when Pony called in the office though." Sero admitted and Koji kept his head down so as not to be at any risk of being caught smiling at the success of their plan.

He himself had nearly had a heart attack hearing the news, but he'd had one because he knew it was a pick up location. For a few seconds he'd thought his team mates had still been inside.

Having gotten a catch up from Kumicho minutes later however had helped his nerves.

He was so proud of his teammates- his friends.


Mei slid her laptop onto the seat next to Torch, the boy giving her a thumbs up to which she responded with a thumbs down.

It had been Wakagashira's idea to have a symbol like that, so that if you were captured or hurt you always had an objective to complete, to help you get back home.

You always had to return the thumbs up. 

It was so silly, and stupid. And yet it... worked. Three times now she'd set out and three times she'd done the action, returning the appropriate gesture once getting back.

It was more of a way to cool your nerves but she found it surprisingly superstitious.

Nobody dared say good luck out of fear of jinxing and yet as she climbed out of the truck she saw Torch hang out of the window to give a thumbs up to the rest of the group, her earlier action being repeated by the others, before the truck was being driven silently away, leaving them near stranded in the city centre.

She looked at the bank, pulling her goggles down and feeling some tension leave her as the program on her laptop started working through her goggles. The schematics of the building appearing be fire her eyes.

Waving her hand experimentally the motions of her hands were tracked and translated to the images displayed before her. She never would of through to apply the same kind of technology that was used in VR headsets and joysticks to gloves to use for this project.

Demoman had given her the idea after an offhand comment about her idea sounding like a more advanced VR headset. She was truly starting to understand what Izuku had meant by expanding her horizons.

She understood that cooperation was key, especially in technology development, but she'd never thought to reach out to people for ideas first. 

In the tech industry everything was so cut throat that she'd just gotten used to not daring let an idea slip unless absolutely necessary, but through exposure to Izuku's other friends and bizarre classmates she'd been given hundreds of different ideas that never would of come to her usually.

Plus, the inclusion of new projects had helped her in other ways. Now that her attention was being fought over she'd noticed that Hitoshi and Neito had started hanging out with her in their free time more.

They'd been a tightly packed unit before her, Izuku, Hitoshi and Neito. But now, her other two friends had started appearing more and more: offering to help with last minute improvements, moving supplies or even doing food and drink runs for her.

She'd enjoyed the pampering from her best friends, not even realising that she'd held them at a literal arms length (besides Izuku but Izuku seemed to have a way with worming his way into people's personal space almost accidentally) until the day before the exam started.

She'd woken up on the stupid couch in her workshop with Hitoshi's head leaning against her stomach from his place on the floor, Neito had curled up next to her, half hanging off the couch, and Izuku had been next to Hitoshi - with a hand latched lightly around her arm as if to reassure them both the other was there.

She was grateful for the growth she was experiencing. She was even more grateful to be able to test out all her babies and just let loose.

POWER LOADER COULD TRY BUT HE COULDN'T STOP HER NOW!

"Kumicho wants us to case here remember. No matter how tempting it seems to get the objective we hold off." Everyone nodded, and what a group they all looked.

Long gone were the hero students, the countries cream of the crop. Before her stood would-be delinquents , taking their first baby steps into the role of neighbourhood annoyances.

As a 'ex-delinquent' herself (it wasn't her fault that people liked to pick fights to see how strong she'd gotten) she knew exactly how it felt in these fledgling moments.

Fucking exhilarating. But also tragically scary.

"Why call it a heist if we're only casing it? And then hitting somewhere else? Just have another team do this while we hit the other place."

She got Addict's logic, hit fast and hard and making the heroes feel rushed causing them to make more mistakes. However, if there were so many villains out at once (and they were risking a lot by picking somewhere so close to their ground zero) it would draw attention and the plan was to remain as secretive as possible for as long as they could.

(She made a mental note to get Izuku to explain stuff like this to the others. It wouldn't be good if a team executed a plan early because they thought Izuku was being paranoid and overly cautious.)

"Kumicho knows what he's doing, Addict. He's probably had this whole conversation in his head, seriously his perception and forward planning is scary."

She didn't have to intervene as White Collar did it first, she remembered when he'd first bitched about how his costume was so thin in places and in his words left him feeling like a 'fledgling stripper'. 

He wore the thin, almost sheer, shirt with relative ease now though. It was bullet resistant material, even if it was thinner than the other costumes material bases, and Kumicho had made sure that his waist coat and blazer jacket were extra padded.

Not to mention he was one of possibly three with an overcoat. The only others she could think if that had the large bulky clothing were Cleaner and Wakagashira. Both of those two had it to either hide their quirk or support equipment so it was to be expected.

(She remembered the reasoning behind why Neito had one:

"Another over coat? And your mother doesn't mind?"

"Mei, Neito won't stop being bitching about being a fledgling stripper- I don't want to know why he keeps using that or how he knows what that looks like- and Mama nearly tore my throat out when I showed her the design for his costume."

"Mamadoriya is scary."

"No kidding. She hasn't looked that pissed since I told her about Momo's costume.")

"Regardless of that, let us continue with our mission. Evangelion, you have the layout correct, lead the way."

"Alright!"

Saluting Heapheastus she linked arms with White Collar and made her way around the back of the bank, releasing her willing hostage to have him boost her up the drainage pipe.

Chapter Text

Once she was on the roof she found the main power box and found herself cackling as she pulled a cord out of her tool belt and attached it to her goggles and to a port in the box.

She loved modern technology. In all the old he sit movies Izuku had insisted they all watch this was impossible and a computer with direct access had to be used. Now she could do it all through virtual reality with the only risk to her being eye strain and a head ache.

She'd been a bit jittery about this type of thing originally, technically it was illegal but as her lovable green bean had pointed out, 'Legality is a loose concept in heroics.' so she didn't feel bad in the slightest about hacking into this fake banks fake records and fake security system...

That didn't seem so fake now that she looked at it.

She'd had her doubts about Nezu's sadistic tendencies but this was making her question the defence she'd made for the rat.

"So?" She blinks, having been too busy processing all the information to even realise the rest of the team had arrived on the roof.

White Collar is crouched next to her, hands fiddling with the edges of his over coat. Heapheatus is crouched on the other side of her, staring at the box like it will give her all the answers she needs.

She knows Apollo, Addict and Nova are behind her, probably watching the three of them in much the same way.

White Collar isn't even in an official position of power on the hierarchy and everyone looks to him. She thinks that might be intentional, it doesn't boost his ego but helps his confidence.

("His ego's huge though giving him that much power will make his head bigger."

"Not everyone with an ego is confident Mei.")

"Kumicho was right to leave this for the stake out list," she bites her lip, waving her hand to see the next set of blue prints, "Our objective is on the third basement layer. That's nearly fifty meters under ground."

"Sewers?" The three other members of their team come to surround her and she spots them all in her peripheral.

"It's below the sewers, second basement layer though, has access points- but honestly? It might actually be safer to enter through the ground floor and work our way down."

"What are we expecting then?" She loves holographic technology, she'll have to find out how Izuku got her permission later, and uses it now to display the different floor plans and robot blueprints.

"Your basic, expected, security. ID checks, security guards, cameras." She flicks her wrist and the images rotate - they give off a dull glow in the night sky. The light is masked by the orange dying inferno a few blocks away, "Then it gets more complicated, metal detectors -weapons are plastic so knives are the only exception- and what scanners. The second basement has EMP's waiting in certain areas designed to all go off at once."

She chews the inside of her cheek as she finishes, letting it sink in. This is going to be difficult, it's going to be scary and she's sure she'll love it.

"If something goes off everywhere in a mile radius in every direction from here would stop working because of it. We'd be blind and abandoned."

"Third basement?"

"Just safety deposit boxes and a break room. Only way in or out I'd through stairs that go through all the other floors."

"What about this?" Nova points to a smudge on one of the blue prints...But these are digital so there wouldn't be a smudge. "It looks like an elevator, one that's hidden from most of the other floor plans as well."

"Captain I think I just found our first topic of investigative."

-*-

"Why have you essentially benched me?"

Izuku stares for a few seconds, taking in the emotionless tone of Kendo's voice, a tone that's betrayed by the hurt and confusion in her eyes.

"You need time to recover-"

"And nobody else does?" She spits the words out, all hurtful venom and shameful pride. "What makes me so special?"

"You're one of my council," he stands tall, this is perhaps the third time he's been practically kaekaboned in the hall way this year, "That means I rely on you to be level headed and available in stressful situations- more than I need to rely on the others."

She seems to accept this as she doesn't immediately start jumping down his throat like he'd feared she would, that's how it had seemed recently. He'd have a view and everybody would demand a fine tuned answer as to why and how and every little detail.

"That means that if you're needing a few hours to get comfortable again you'll have a few hours. I understand wanting everyone to think you're okay, but it isn't something you need to fake. Just relax for a while and then join the frey again later."

"But I can't!" He blinked, shocked at the volume of her words and the desperation hidden within them, "Don't you get it!? Everyone else is getting on with it and helping and I'm just here as a lead weight! The first time I ever felt useful was when I became class B's rep and I just... I feel so useless right now."

He refused to sigh, even through he wanted to.

It was almost childish the reasoning, if not a little self-centred, but he couldn't blame Kendo. It was apparently a reoccurring theme that people on this team had self confidence issues.

And of they didn't have self confidence issues they all had something that dragged them down from the high perch they all deserved to stand upon.

"..."

"It's stupid isn't it? Stupid and selfish to want to have the ability to be in control... but I feel like if I'm being trusted with that level of responsibility it means I have power over myself and the life I'm living."

He smiled, not letting her see it though.

"It's just... all my life I've had to discipline myself and work harder than everybody else to prove that I could do what I wanted to and...to do that and then be benched so early on I guess... it just hit below the belt."

"You don't have to explain yourself to me Kendo." She looked at him, a retort on her lips, "If that's how you feel, that's how you feel. I'm sorry I didn't take that into consideration . Like I said, I just want everyone at their best, but I should if explained the situation."

He bowed, hands clasped in front and eyes on the floor, "It won't happen again I swear it to you."

"You...you don't have to bow-"

"I'm apologising, of course I have to."

"But you're the boss, why should you bow to an underlying." 

He kept quickly scowl hidden, he hadn't given an impression that that was what he thought of them was it? Oh God he hoped it wasn't...

His silence seemed to spur the girl on to realise what she'd just said, "Not to say that that's how we think you see us! All of us can see you see us as equals! But- but still, you're A class and the leader. Why bow to me?"

"We're all equal, no matter if I'm A class and you aren't. On this team everyone is equally as important as anybody else and I want you to know that." He raised himself from his bow, "You guys can trust in me to protect you, of course, but everyone is capable of that themselves. My main job is making sure you aren't used as pawns by the heroes Kendo."

"Itsuka. You can call me Itsuka."

"Alright Itsuka lets go get Mirror and Ninja, I have a special mission I want you three to do."

He watched as she smiled, slow and unsure as if only just coming into herself, "Of course. Let's go do this Izuku."


Mina wasn't too sure what she'd expected from the sewers but this wasn't it. Her stomach was rocking but at least it wasn't filled with sewage.

"What do you think that smell is? Kumicho said there wasn't any sewage as the main water supply is unused." She used one hand to pinch the end of her nose and used the other to slowly weaken another section of the wall.

By now she wasn't afraid of the ceiling caving in, while it was a possibility she didn't need to worry if she was being careful.

"Mildew maybe? I mean, the pipes have to drip sometimes right? And it's not like the sewers are days old- it's probably just must and unearthed soil." A few groans went up at Geo's unintentional pun which, it turned out, wasn't actually unintentional as the boy began protesting that his joke was good.

"That aside," Zombie pushed her hair back from her face, the hood that had held the green strands back pushed down to avoid disruption of vision in the already dim lit area, "It's pretty cool to use the sewers. Like, look back in tunnel 2-D3 , if you go down you get into the subway! That's a good in and out access point we'd never of known of before hand."

Mina nodded along, removing her hand and stopping her quirk as Mole gave the signal. Stepping back Geo used his quirk to pull the wall apart just enough to create an air pocket before closing it and beginning to mould the once defiant concrete mass.

"I reckon he got the idea from Ninja Turtles." 

"Huh?" Confusion seemed to be the general consensus to that response. Mole wore the plague doctors mask and heavy goggles but she could tell he was judging her from behind the mask.

"You know Alien but not Ninja Turtles?"

"Alien is iconic! It's a massive part of pre-quirk media!" She threw up her hands, not particularly annoyed but enjoying the over reaction anyway.

Mole did the same, crossing his arms and huffing looking away, "Ninja Turtles were about four mutated turtles who lived in New York sewers with their rat mutant sensei and became Ninja and fought bad guys. A massive part of their gimmick was they travelled by sewer."

"I always forget what a nerd you are!" Mole had looked somewhat scary before that, the faint light of their miners lanterns and phone torches reflecting off of the tinted goggles, but he looked much how she knew Fumikage looked when he was surprised.

It was funny to see it captured behind a mask as Zombie glomped the annoyed teen and started giving him a noogie, her medical masks violent sharpen ganged smile looking menacing when couple with the choke hold she had on the other boy along with the evil laughter erupting from her.

Mina didn't find herself scared though, even if they looked scary and acted terrifying, she knew that the people behind the masks weren't the characters they portrayed.

Just like with her wannabe hero name Alien Queen. Yes, it was an homage to a movie villain but that didn't mean in the grand scheme of the universe she wanted to abandon heroism and be a villain.

Sure, in this exam she did. But, that was because she wanted to fight and not be under the thumb of a boy who didn't understand that his father effected him more than he'd like to admit.

Everyone knew Endeavour was a dick head, as kind as Izuku was and as trust worthy as he appeared to be, he'd spilt the minimum detail about the state of the Todoroki household not long after the sports festival.

It wasn't in ill intent either, it was so they knew not to mention Todoroki's mother or his eldest brother and most definitely do not mention his father effecting his life.

Once that had been stated it didn't take long to see how much Todoroki let himself be influenced by his father. From his resistance to team work to his apparent block-headedness when it came to emotions. That could of been the result of trauma, Mina wasn't an expert and she didn't have any experience (she hoped she'd never have any experience) so she couldn't say for sure.

One thing in particular she'd noticed though was that Todoroki and Izuku had similar methods when it came to leadership. Both liked to have control over the whole situation and both seemed agitated when they didn't have it.

She could see how Todoroki having his entire life planned for him by his father would leave him craving for every dropped control he could get his two quirked hands on but with Izuku...

He'd said for a large majority of his life he was deemed quirkless and... Mina had seen what happened to quirkless people. They got bullied, they got spat on, they were ground into dust before they could ever grow...which made her feel like that might be the reason Izuku wanted control.

Out of all of them, he'd been told what he couldn't do. Not what he had to do, from the start all he'd had were doors closed to him, all paths breaking away instead of being forced onto one he was simply forced off road.

It... made her feel a bit sick really. How many times had she tried to stop the bullying? Like genuinely tried? And...not just said stop it or tell the person to piss off an escorted her classmate away.

She couldn't come up with any numbers, it was someone else's responsibility, she'd told herself. She'd deal with the victim and someone else would deal with the teacher.

Nobody ever dealt with the teacher though. And she'd seen that from the outside in.

So to go through that and then find out you did have a quirk? And that it broke you? And then get into the best school ever only to be told by your teacher, the one meant to guide you, that you were only in school because you had just above zero potential...

She would of given up. But Izuku?

Izuku took it in his stride, he'd looked at fate, punched her and spat in her soup before continuing on his merry freckled way.

That was why she'd chosen to be under his leadership. He was smart, he was competent. But above all else, he understood what it meant to fight for your life and how to come out of it mostly in tact.

"Give! Give!"

Laughter roaring around her brought her back to the present. Geo was half way through his own creation, laughing up a storm and  Mole and Zombie were rolling on the floor scrapping.

Everything stilled though at the loud crash above them. So loud and powerful it was heard through two layers of concrete and soft rock.

'Team come in. Come in Team. Torch requesting ---- ---- I repeat---- ---- back up---- ---- Heroes------- requesting----'

Torch's distorted voice came over the transmission feed, broken and scared. The audio kept breaking up and she was at least relieved to hear no explosions in the background.

That meant the tank wasn't being followed by Bakugou then. Cleaner's voice spoke next, 'Backup request received, Geo, Zombie, Mole, Demowoman inbound. Demoman ETA five minutes. Geo estimated ETA?"

They were already making their way back to the last man hole, once quiet steps now pound and bounding in an attempt to get there before the mystery assailant(s) got the upper hand.

'ETA approximately two minutes. Torch general area please!'

Throwing herself at the ladder without thinking she climbed, just barley not activating her quirk and used her acid (Aizawa was going to kill her at the end of the exam for using her quirk in a situation where it could drop down onto others) to remove the welding on the manhole.

Climbing out she pulled on the gasmask that had hung around her neck and pulled the words on her armour ridden hoodie to make her hair and horns as hidden as possible. Thankfully the one piece body suit under the hoodie and half jogger/half jumpsuit bottoms hid the rest of her pink skin.

A chill went up her spine as she ran (stupid stupid Mina. Why are you running headlong into a fight you don't know if you can win? Izuku does it... seems to work out for him.) to end edge of the alleyway and she had half a wind to worry that Todoroki had turned up.

But no, it was the vine girl from the sports festival (she was still kind of pissed for Denki about that fight but the blond had accepted his loss rather graciously), a girl who she thought was name pony, Tetsutetsu and Uraraka. 

An odd mix sure, but... most had long range and weren't so much pursing the truck themselves as they were trying to crash it into a building to them get close.

She wasn't sure if they were aware they were endangering Torch's life or if it was pay back for earlier. She repressed a scream, only holding it back as Zombie covered her mouth as Tetsutetsu threw a chunk of debris at the windscreen and Torch's superb driving allowed him to swerve just in time to only get a dint in the tank.

It was that display of carelessness that lead them all into action, and yes maybe Kumicho had prepared them for this, and yes maybe they had a plan. But that all went out the window because it looked like they were trying to get Torch killed.

And you didn't touch one of their own.

Later, they'd say no one knew who started the war cry, but soon enough all four of them were hollering it and charging into battle. Blood begged to be spilt and they would accept the call.

Chapter Text

"WHAT!?" Hitoshi feels his blood run cold as Izuku's voice rings out through the communal area.

Looking quickly over to his leader he sees the fear and rage destroy his previously happy expression. His mouth is curled in a snarl and he's already beckoning them all over as he goes to the 'changing rooms'. "Alright Cleaner, he's on his way? Yeah, make sure he's aware of the situation. Try and calm them down."

They trail behind, green lightning sparking to life across Kumicho's skin, and it is Kumicho now who fills out the suit with the confidence and rage  of a monster, it's Kumicho who's eyes meet theirs as he turns.

"Torch got ambushed by a hero squad on his loop." A gasp arises from a few of them, Torch was on his own- him being down meant there were two other teams stuck. But not only that Torch himself is ALONE against the HEROES

"Cleaner had the clean up crew intersect and arrive to help," the door to the costume room is kicked open and everyone scrambles for gear. Who knows if they'll all be going but one of their own is in danger, "however the heroes aren't living up to their moniker and decided to throw a rock at the windshield."

There's a crack and all eyes are on him as he stares down at the snapped plastic case in his hand, his support gear thankfully unharmed. His rage is apparent for all to see but Kumicho continues like nothing is wrong here.

"Torch is fine, we think." He spits the word out, "But the clean up have flown off the rails. Everyone is scrambling tonight."

He turns to them, mask dangling around his throat.

"Muscle, take the crew you have and take the tank, pick up Hepheastus' group and explain the situation." Muscle nods, her team scurrying to get their equipment, "The tunnels closest to the bank should be done so take them."

And then they're gone, everyone continues getting prepared and is listening, "Cleaner, your crew will assist Demoman with the incident."

They nod and they leave the room just as silently as well. He can see the spiralling in Kumicho's eyes. It scares him, but he catches a glimpse of himself in the plastic and sees his eyes aren't in a different state. "Wakagashira, you're with me. We'll be holding a perimeter during the evac."

Kumicho taps his comm as Hitoshi gets the last of his equipment hidden and speaks through the comma, "Everybody, do not engage unless necessary. Focus on getting in and getting out, force is only an option if clean up have spiralled. Thumbs up."

'Thumbs down' ring a through the comms, their equivalent of good luck. He feels sick thinking about it.

"Why would they do something so stupid?"

He's got the longer legs and yet he's the one struggling to keep up as they get to the garage - it's empty of the large scale vehicles leaving only the two or single seater vehicles remaining. Like the two quads they take.

He barely hears Kumicho over the roaring of wind, a for a second he almost sounds like Izuku, "They don't know where the line is, and our stunts today have cemented our place across it."

"But still!" He shouts, his helmet firmly in place over the oval opaque mask he and Kumicho wore as status symbols, "Throwing rocks at windshields and trying to ram them into a building!? This is too villainous to not make them stop and think!"

"We ran Tetsutetsu over, I imagine he's wanting revenge for the others it's a council head and two low level lackeys- Todoroki probably had them on patrol and they accidentally stumbled into each other!"

"We can't just let this slide! They'll kill Torch if they aren't careful!"

It's static filled and almost drowned out by the wind but he doesn't miss Kumicho's response, "We won't. Muscle has her orders."

-*-

Yosetsu curses as he finally manages to get the truck to a stand still. It's unharmed, discounting its new dint, but he's certainly rattled. He thought Tetsutetsu was going to kill him.

The anger in his eyes, the unequivocally fury and damnnation was murderous and down right villainous. Kumicho had had them go through every member of 1-A and 1-B's weaknesses and strengths and he'd seen Uraraka's performance in the sports festival so he was especially scared what would happen if she got her hands on him.

Ibara and Pony he could manage, technically somehow Ibara's vines counted as inorganic material as so he was able to weld her quirk to the ground if he got close enough, Pony was a long range fighter and he e as faster.

He just hoped it would be enough.

But he had to stop musing because his teammates were throwing themselves into the fray, uncoordinated and clearly with only retribution on their minds.

Jumping from the truck, he ran to the back, opening up the doors and pulling himself in before dragging the weapon cases close to the door, he'd just got one out and cocked it when he heard Uraraka's voice behind him.

"Freeze!"

His hood and gas mask would hide features, and the jump suit made it easier to move, but he wished he had his body fitting suit and didn't have the mask, because it was a little too obvious how quick his heart was racing. So much so that Uraraka noticed.

"Are... are you okay!? Can you breath?!"

He'd put on a brave front when Evangelion had asked him to drive. Geo was better suited for this kind of confrontation, what could he do against a person he couldn't weld and couldn't let touch him in an enclosed environment!?

Wait.

What a fucking idiot.

He has a gun.

Spinning, aiming and firing with little thought, he watched as his wonky aim clipped Uraraka in the shoulder rather than the chest. She wouldn't be counted as out yet but as the force propelled her out the back of the truck and onto the floor he could already see her left arm weighing her down.

It was the first time he'd fired the firearm without protective gear covering his ears and the bang hurt more than the recoil- something he was able to deal with relatively easily.

The girl was on the floor, and he really should of felt terrified that the red paint pellet looked like blood seeping from the girls shoulder but he couldn't care.

He got the gun ready again, aimed it steadily this time, and stood just behind the lip of the back of the van. From here he was visible but they couldn't hit him without risking blowing the truck sky high.

He steadied his breathing as the once brash sound of violent conflict simmered into near silence in his mind. He was fucking pissed, he wasn't even the one to run Tetsutetsu over and here he was taking Geo's shit for him.

Just to emphasize how angry he was he aimed the gun at her heart.

It was a paint pellet but he knew some of the guns held rubber bullets, others had exploding foam and then there were the capture nets and capture foam.

Uraraka had just gotten lucky he had the paint pellets, because even if he didn't and he had the rubber bullets he'd still have the gun pointed at her heart at near point blank range.

From an elevated position at this close range the injured area would be larger, due to the way the pellet would break quicker and more violently.

"Stay where you are hero." The gas mask made his voice distorted which helped hide that his breathing was still too quick for his liking. "Now, tell your team to back off."

"No." She pulled herself to her feet, left arm dead at her side, and her calm face twisted into a snarl. He noticed that Ibara and Pony were being handled but Demowoman was having difficulty with Tetsutetsu who was making his way over quickly, "You won't win villain- not as long as I'm still standing!"

He smiled, tilted his head and laughed.

"Okay."

The bang rang out as he shot her with no hesitation.


Denki felt his static building up with every shift of clothing against him as he rode on the motorbike to get to the coordinates. The wind rushed past him and all he could hear was the sound of the vehicle purring and the tell tale snapping as his quirk tried to over reach its limits.

Going all out only happened because he didn't discharge apparently or at least that was what Kumicho reckoned. He pulled up to the fight just in time to see Torch shoot Uraraka at point blank range.

The girl stumbled back, swaying before falling to the floor. Tetsutetsu grabbed her before her head smashed open on the concrete.

He saw Geo and Zombie take down the terrified 2-B students, pulling out hidden plastic knives and holding them to their backs as warnings. Ignoring it he ran up to his counter part, taking quick note that her shoulders were too tight.

He flicked his wrists as letting his new weapons, weighted chains with modified spark plugs at the end of them, unravelled from around his arms and let them drag slightly as he hurried to see Uraraka alive and with paint splatter on her shoulder and stomach.

So that was why she wasn't 'dead' she could technically survive those injuries. If they dragged out the fight they could get her out but they'd risk losing the battle. Besides his orders were to get everyone home.

He heard another truck pull up behind him and saw Cleaner, Eldritch, Shadow and Blanc pile out, creating a blockade on both obvious ways in and out. He knew Wakagashira and Kumicho would probably be a block out doing a perimeter.

"You won't win villains!"

"Demo, my acid isn't working." He nodded, and she took the back seat as he stepped forward.

"I'll handle this Torch."

"Demoman."

The code names made Tetsutetsu's hardened features tighten. "Surrender and we let you leave and take her so that she doesn't 'die'." He gestures and the scraping of his chains diverts his enemies eyes. He has half a mind to just lash out now with the weighted chains but resists, "Or, you follow her path and let everyone here die tonight."

As he expects Tetsutetsu slowly stands, arms raised. And just like Kumicho had predicted he would the silver boy fakes it out until he takes a step forward and goes to attack.

Two weeks ago Denki would of pissed himself now, having practiced trying to whip out at Kumicho using full cowl, he finds he's only slightky sloppy in the way he throws his weighted chain out.

"I'm metal, your chains won't work!"

"You're metal," he affirms, medical mask stretching due to his smile, "And you're the perfect test subject for this." He directs his quirk through the chain, the make shift spark plug at the end regulating it so that it won't kill anyone and heats up the chain rather than letting him spark out.

He should feel sick at the shouts of pain that come from Tetsutetsu as the living conductor is electrocuted, but Denki is too used to hearing his own screams of pain in his head. He just pushes past it.

"Demoman, get everyone evacuated we'll do the rest." He nods at Cleaner and herds the others to Torch's van. Mina keeps to him though and ends up riding on the motorcycle with him.

She doesn't cry but if he hears her sniffle about how she thought Yosetsu was going to die before her over the wind he mentions nothing.

-*-

Tenya is the one that gets called up to pick up the fallen unit. He throws up when he sees Uraraka.

The image of his brother lying limp on the ground, bleeding out and all alone is still to fresh in his mind. Pony and Ibara help him get Uraraka onto his back and speed her back to base. She doesn't require any medical attention thankfully but, as the teachers explain over the speakers when they're all back at home base, it's a gesture that means a lot in a game like this.

He sits in the nurses room that night, back against the wall still in uniform in case he's called out. His eyes don't leave the three students in the beds.

Kirishima, recovering from being ran over and quirk overuse. Uraraka, a dislocated shoulder and a potential concussion. Tetsutetsu, sever electrocution, but apparently not sever enough for the teachers to step in.

What's the line here?

The villains willingly blow up buildings, shoot others at point blank and electrocute others without much though apparently for the consequences and for what? To protect themselves and save their conspirators.

The second though that the heroes act somewhat violent the teachers are sending messages along their channel and saying they need to learn restraint because they're going too far.

He can agree that Tetsutetsu throwing a rock at the windshield was excessive but so were all the villains actions.

Where was the line drawn? When did it change from underhanded tactics to endangerment of human life?

Chapter Text

Momo hides the shaking well enough that its only after they've all been checked up on by the staff and signed out for the night that she gets confronted about it.

She isn't a fool, she can see that Evangelion and Wakagashira are only here for Neito and Izuku. The quartet is close knit and she doesn't think people are ever going to be able to get inside the bubble they've created, they may latch on and branch out but the bubble is unbreakable.

That's why she's surprised when Wakagashira is the one to come up to her in the kitchen after they're all supposed to be asleep. Out of all of thek Wakagashira is the most closed off.

The boy is silent in his approach, almost like he's practiced getting around unnoticed for longer than the past two weeks, and she only notices his presence when he wants her to, which he indicates by tapping her on the shoulder.

"Momo, you okay?"

Out of all of the things she'd had to get used to, her first name being spouted by so many people had been the simplest one. However to hear Wakagashira - someone who had started calling everyone but his three close friends by their code names the second they were established - call her by her first name throws her for a loop.

Turning, she tries to compose the shaking but the scalding heat of spilt tea doesn't help her case. She's barley got a hiss out when the general studies boy has removed the cup from her hands, placed it on the side and started running cold water on her hands.

The slight sting doesn't even warrant a running under cold water, but the way Wakagashira doesn't even seem to notice makes it all the more apparent this is an ingrained reaction.

She isn't sure how to feel about that- what does it mean that this boy in front of her (someone who's never seen combat, who's presumably never been in a constant deadly environment) had an ingrained response to immediately treat burns no matter the extent of the injury. She remembers then, the immediate reaction the majority if 1-A had had to the boy. The negative airs, the unspoken hostility that had surrounded the mere idea of this boy.

And why? Because of his quirk. 

After spending time going over that realisation she thinks maybe it isn't so odd that Wakagashira would have that kind of response to an injury. How many times had the boy had to patch himself up because of something kids had done?

She and her classmates were hero students- people who were supposed to be unbiased. Look how they'd reacted.

(She doesn't think about the fact that she'd accepted Izuku being quirkless for so long because she knew he was capable before hand. She doesn't think about how that might not of been her reaction had he still of been quirkless when he'd entered U.A.)

"Are you okay?" He repeats the question and they've been moved to seats at some point, her tea back in her hands. It makes her feel worse.

She was too easily distracted. "Sorry, Wakagashira I shouldn't of-"

"You can call me Hitoshi you know." That throws her off, she and everybody else had taken his lack of naming as a line that wasn't to be crossed. If the boy didn't call them by their names that must mean that he wasn't comfortable with being called by his.

After all, he called Neito, Mei and Izuku by theirs and they in turn called him by his.

It seemed it was just another thing they'd all misunderstood about thr boy.

"Hitsohi, I shouldn't of gotten distracted. Thank you for helping me, and yes I'm alright."

She's reminded of Aizawa-sensei in the next instance at the expression of tired disbelief that floods Wakagashi- Hitoshi's face. "Izuku may be intelligent but he's rather lacking in the emotion handling department, I mean have you see him? Total cry baby."

Even if the tones flippant and she knows the friendship she feels like she needs to defend Izuku, "Don't get me wrong, he can deal with others well enough- he's survived Bakugou long enough." He laughs and its biting, mood apparently soured at the mention of the blond she thinks she'll need to dig into this, "But we can both agree emotion handling isn't something you would immediately label him with?"

She nods.

"So that should make it obvious to you how worried the idiot is about you that he asked me to come talk to you." The words don't fully register though they do get processed

 Everything just seems so sluggish, "You're in shock Momo, everyone could see you shaking. It's scary isn't it, feeling in the dark and without a way to get out of the situation."

Hitoshi is crouched in front of her when she blinks again, "It's fucking terrifying," his hands rest on hers lightly and she can see how uncomfortable this is making him and yet he's still doing it, "You were really brave when you guys got locked out of the comms during the rescue. We did it so you wouldn't panic, like I said though Izuku isn't the best with emotions. It just panicked you more didn't it?"

"Y-yeah."

"Exactly. It's okay to be scared, you're not going to be strong all the time. Izuku figured you'd be angry at him so he sent me, you're worried he's not going to let you out in the field again aren't you?"

It's true, she'd agreed with the decision to keep Kendo back but now that it could be her she's so angry. Why is she letting this happen?

"He won't. He and Kendo had a talk and she pointed out how useless being benched would make anyone feel. He's gonna mother hen you for awhile though."

-*-

Neito is disgruntled.

That's probably the simplest way to put it. Izuku had promised him, Mei and Hitoshi that they would never be in the dark during this exam. Or ever.

He would be honest with them, he would be open and he wouldn't hide things from them. The reasons he's so disgruntled is because the promise had been broken.

This isn't even about the radio silence they'd experienced for a daunting half an hour - he understood the reason for that. It minimizes panic. They're deep underground, deeper than they have been before, and then they're plunged into radio silence. It distracts from the actual issue of the heroes nearly killing one of their own.

No, this is about the fact that Izuku's been playing mind games with the rat and gotten Hitoshi to keep quiet about it.

The rat's fucking terrifying- Neito doesn't want to think what shit is going to hit the fan because of the little game his friend is trying to play.

They probably would of remained ignorant to it had he and Mei not spotted the surveillance cameras in her on-site lab which weren't supposed to be there.

"What the fuck do you mean it isn't a big deal!? We're being watched - how do we know there aren't cameras in here right now!?"

(He loves Izuku, he loved him in the way he loved Mei and in the way he loved Hitoshi. It wasn't romantic but it was more than platonic. He loved them all because they meant the world to him.

Even though he hadn't know all three if them forever he knew they meant the world to him. Because they'd been the first ones to call him out and tell him it wasn't right the way he acted, then they hadn't thrown him away, they'd kept him close and pulled him into their world.

They'd accepted him and let him in, let him into a group of tormented teens who just wanted to prove the world wrong. Izuku with his ex-quirklessness hanging around his neck like a noose, Hitoshi with the 'mark' of a villain blacklisting him from the rest of the world and Mei, inventor extraordinaire with a history of self defence cases painted as juvenile assaults.

He wasn't particularly special, he didn't have some emotional baggage except an overbearing ego and personality that he'd needed to reign in.

It's because he loves them all so much that he's so angry.)

"I sweeped the place before hand Neito give me a bit of credit here!" Izuku may have raised his voice but he isn't angry, that's one of the reasons why it's so hard to tell when he's pissed off, sometimes he shouts other times he's silent.

"Well i don't know if I'm inclined to do that seeing as you're playing with the devil here Izuku!" He however, is clearly royally pissed and Neito doesn't have it in him to care.

Does Izuku not know how dangerous this is? Not just for the outcome of the exam but for him in general. What happens if he's on on Nezu's radar and the rat decides he doesn't like the way Izuku is going?

There were plenty of rumours of the horrors the rat would do to people he didn't like. It was always hard to distinguish what exactly was true but the chimera was clearly sadistic and Neito didn't trust him as far as he could punt the bastard.

"I'm not an idiot-"

"Well you're sure as hell acting like one!"

They stand diametrically opposed in Izuku's room. He's stood in front of the door, the other boy is stood in front of him, there's less than a meter maybe between them. He can see Izuku is getting agitated now and he can tell he's falling into old habits because he's getting in the others face.

"If I didn't do this do you think we could have don't half the shit we're going to do!?" Oh yeah, definitely agitated. He should stop now, diffuse this situation but they're both too prideful to back down.

"Aren't you the one always going off about how we can work around stuff!? Or is that just so Nezu looks at you and sees such a lovely potential student!"

He can see in the way Izuku's eyes widen and then harden that he's crossed a line.

"If anyone is acting for the fucking camera it's- ugh!"

"No! Go on say it Izuku- you have something to say just say it!"

"Stop it!" They both freeze and Neito hates himself at the raw emotion in Mei's voice.

When he looks over he feels a hand plunge into his chest and stab his heart.

Mei is stood in the back of the room, eyes glassy, and Hitoshi looks tense (shoulders high, half in front of Mei so he can take the blow first) as he stands protectively between them and Mei, a grim expression splayed across his face.

It's then he realises how aggressive the situation looks. He's gotten right into Izuku's space, there's nothing left practically of the half a meter that had been between them, fists are held tightly at sides and eyes are narrowed and sharpened.

He realises it at the same time as Izuku does.

"It-you don't need to scream at each other over it! Izuku wouldn't know this would happen but he should of told us alright! There!"

He doesn't even attempt to get closer to the girl, the first time something like this happened (near the start of their friendship when tensions between him and Izuku were still high) he'd tried to do just that and Mei had flinched away into a small ball and Hitoshi had decked him.

Both of them had natural instincts to this kind of situation. Mei, to hide away and make herself less of a hypothetical target and Hitoshi to get in the way and try and fight like a cornered animal.

It was just one the many things he'd had to learn to navigate around being their friends.

(They didn't act like that all the time if there was an argument going on he'd noticed. Sometimes certain words or postures would set off memories.)

"..." he's not sure if he should apologise first or not but Izuku beats him to it, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't of shouted or kept it a secret. I genuinely never thought it would cause something like this."

"I'm also sorry, I shouldn't of gotten so aggressive," he doesn't look over to make sure Mei is alright, he doesn't, "I'm just scared for what else the rat might do. Camera's are just the first step, what else does he have lined up?"

"I'm not sure." An unsure Izuku was always a scary thing. He, as did many people, often forgot that this intelligence powerhouse was just human at the end of the day. He wasn't omnipotent.

Izuku then smiles his large, genuine him smile. Not the one he's seen him wearing in the hallways, this is the one with which he was greeted the first time he walked through the doors of the Hatsume forge after becoming Izuku's friend.

"But we'll work through it. That's what we do isn't?"

'We', not 'hero students' or 'I'. 'We' meaning collective. This would be a joint effort. That's fine. He'd rather a joint effort than no effort at all.

"..." He does consider being silent just that little bit longer to screw with Izuku but seeing the worried tinge grow in his eyes he speaks, "Yeah, it is. We good?"

"We good."

The other two don't relax per say, but Hitoshi looks less likely to judo flip them both through the floor and Mei doesn't look two seconds from a panic attack so it's better.

They'll probably spend the evening together now, staying close for the nightmares that will come. Holding each other close because everyone is tense and high off of adrenaline and now everyone is angry and sad and he just wants to collapse and let the other two know it's fine.

They're fine.

Everything is going to be fine.

He won't, because he can't promise that. Can't guarantee it.

He can however, swear that he's going to do his damnedest to make it ture.

They're going to win this, Nezu's stakerish interventions or not.

They're going to win this, because this isn't going to devolve into infighting.

They're going to win this, because everyone on this team has what it takes to be a hero.

Chapter Text

It's day two and three of them are incapacitated. Eijiro feels unless as he sits himself up in bed, the strain doesn't have a particular location but instead envelops him entirely.

He looks down at his arms, the bruises haven't fully formed yet but they're there. A shudder rips through him as he thinks about what would of happened if he hadn't had his quirk activated - about what would of happened if it hadn't been him. A squeak on the floor draws his attention.

Iida is on the floor, still in uniform, and curled up; looking ready to jump up at any second.

"Iida?"

The class rep jolts, glasses slipping down the bridge of his nose, and he realises then how close the other is to Uraraka's bed.

"You're awake," he swears that the statement is followed by a whispered 'thank goodness', "how are you feeling?"

"Sore. What happened though? Why are Tetsu and Uraraka here?"

He hates the look on Iida's face, a look of pain and fear. He hates it because all his life he's been told to associate that look with weak civilians, victims. Never has it occurred to him that the expression could appear on a heroes face (and most defiantly not on a hero in training's face.)

Iida turns ever so slightly, shifting almost unnoticeably closer to Uraraka. He isn't too sure he wants to know what happened. "They intercepted a weapons convoy last night."

He blinks, mouth opening and closing. The villains team had weapons!? His shock must show through because the others expression grows grimmer than it had been previously.

"There was only the driver originally, team gamma tried to take them in- things turned violent quickly."

The rep pulls himself to his feet now, unsteady where he stands, and shuffles over. His pained expression makes him a hundred percent certain he doesn't want to know what happened while he was passed out.

"We were the original aggressors, the driver called reinforcements, then proceeded to pull a hand gun on Uraraka." His eyes shoot over to the girl in the bed, the covers are pulled up to her chin and he fears the worst. "She was shot twice, once in the shoulder and once in the stomach."

The bile rises quicker than it ever has, "Thankfully the gun contained paint pellets but... it looked just like with Stain.... all I could see was my brother...!"

He leans forward, ignoring the screaming of muscles, and pulls the class rep in for a hug. He can feel his own body shaking in terror so he pretends, for Iida's sake, that the other isn't near bawling.

"The teachers informed us that it would of counter as a kill if I hadn't gotten her here when I did..." He should be telling the other it's fine and that he doesn't need to continue but he can't get the words out.

It's then though, that the ingrained rich boy part of Iida wakes up and he pulls away muttering apologies and about how he shouldn't of allowed himself to become overwhelmed by his emotions.

"Tetsu?" Is all he can say, seeing how thankful the other is for the prompting to change topic.

"Kaminari electrocuted him until he passed out. His quirk was activated."

Kaminari? No. There had to of been a mistake. Kaminari didn't have the kind of fine control over his quirk to even think of using it on another like that- the boy had told him himself! There was no way in hell that he'd of used it on Tetsu; a literal human conductor.

"You're joking."

Iida's expression tells him all he needs to know.


Yosetsu realised pretty early on that being a hero student would entail seeing weird things. This test was no exception.

He's leaning against the kitchen counter, nursing a cup of tea, when he hears the laughter. He's been up for half the night, trying to process how easy it was to pull a gun on another living person and fire it.

The only reason he'd hesitated was because he'd been an idiot and forgotten he'd had the gun in his own damn hands. He isn't sure what's worse, the fact that he did it, or the fact he's calling himself an idiot for forgetting he had an option nobody would normally take.

H understood now though, why situations with criminals tended to escalate the way they did. The terror he'd felt with Uraraka at his back had only been quenched by the the fact he had something to defend himself with- he imagined it was much the same for a criminal or villain backed into a corner in moments of desperation.

The laughter though, drew him from his thoughts.

Pushing off the counter, mug still in hand, he peeked his head through the doorway into the common area. It's just past half four, nobody else should be up. 

Low and behold though, the common is filling up. 

Izuku is sat on the floor in front of the large tv, Neito leaning against his back while Evangelion and Wakagashira are leant into either side of him. 

All four are laughing, little concern for what others could think upon hearing them. It makes him smile a little seeing them. Izuku's eyes catch his and the boy waves over to him, shouting his name with the familiarity of an old friend.

The welcoming, and dare he say expectant, looks from the others certainly make him feel like he's an old friend. He doesn't really listen, much too tired and much too scatter-brained to even try, but Neito explains to him what was making them all laugh.

Then Evangelion drags him down, Wakagashira having taken his mug from him seconds prior, and he's among the huddle then.

Neito has a tablet in his hands, going over schematics. Izuku has the TV switched to the security camera footage they have of the hero teams headquarters, Wakagashira is leant over chicken scratch notes with Evangelion.

Through it all he sits there nursing the same cup of tea. He smiles again.

This isn't the weirdest thing he's seen as a hero course student, but it's definitely up there.

-*-

Kyoka forces herself to not make a noise as she dodges yet another blast from Yuga. Setsuna isn't as able and a shriek rips itself from the girl as she's nearly clipped by the ray.

A buzzer goes off and she sighs in disappointment, though nobody can hear it over the cheering from the other side of the room. She glowers over there; though she doesn't think Yuga and Sen really care.

The two boys are fist bumping, which then leads to the two posing. She'd thought the anime posing thing was a Yuga exclusive but the two of them were in their element.

She'd be lying if she said it doesn't bring a quirk of a smile to her lips.

She's annoyed, not heartless.

"Rematch! I'll win it us this time Kyoka just you watch!" Setsuna is stood tall, eyes the definition of determination as she makes her deceleration.

One of the boys, she isn't really listening, makes a comment that's something like they'd like to see her try, and Setsuna retaliates by removing her hand and throwing it at the two boys.

The appendage proceeds to chase the two boys, who scream like little school girls.

Itsuka makes the buzzer go off from the side lines. For once, Mezou isn't stopping their messing about in training. He seems to find it as entertaining as everyone else does.

Good.

Mezou was a demanding task master, only beaten out by Izuku himself. But Izuku was a nightmare dressed as an angel so that made sense. Mezou was just plain sadistic when it came to training.

She could see Aizawa-sensei sitting in the viewing room now, pleased with himself for creating such a tyrannical pair.  

She wasn't sure if the idea was to make them wish for Aizawa's logical ruses or not, but if it was it was working. Checking the clock she sees its a little past half four. They've been at training for about two hours now, but it doesn't really matter.

She did her work for the heist last night, someone else gets to do the leg work today.

She thinks it's Itsuka's crew, but it might also be Mezou's. She doesn't really know. All she does know is that she gets to train and sleep for most of the day unless something horrendous arises.

After all, today and tomorrow are nothing more than build up for the start of the main plan on the fourth day.

Recon and supplies were a priority right now, they could fit in tormenting later. For now, she reasons, she should relax.

-*-

Sero swears as he pulls himself off of the floor, having gotten tangled in his covers and fallen, and rushes to his bed room door. Opening it shows an enraged Bakugou.

He looks horrendous, he finds it funny- in the back of his mind- that Bakugou isn't a morning person.

"Get dressed, the bastard are robbing the bank."

"What!?" He looks to his clock on the wall, the face stares him in the eye, with the time eight thirty in the morning, "Who robs a bank at eight thirty!?"

"Bring it up with them when we capture them soy sauce! Just get fucking dressed and meet me and Animal man down stairs with the rest of the damn team!"

He nods, speechless, and proceeds to get dressed. If anything comes of today, it's that Bakugou doesn't have an offensive nickname for Koda yet, and he finds that hilarious.

Chapter Text

Hanta keeps his arms in front of him, a simple defensive stance yes but one where his quirk isn't obstructed, and tucks his chin close to his chest.

"What do you want!?" His voice is scratchy, smoke slipping down into their floor from the ones still blazing above. The figure doesn't answer, oval mask holding the same design as the one from the video yesterday.

That means this is the leader. Then, the other speaks in the same distorted voice from before, "I want you to join our cause."

"I'm a hero! I won't change side's - besides you can't its against the rules!"

The figure, he can't get specific proportions as the goggles he'd been forced to wear upon entering the building distort his vision and the smoke might be getting to him, tilts their head before laughing. He thinks they might be male.

"If you were registered yes, it would be. But you aren't registered on either team are you Sero Hanta? Now, tell me why."

His throat tightens and he knows it isn't because of the smoke.

*Half an hour earlier*

Hanta gulps upon seeing the state of the bank, they'd used their quirks to reach their location but the villains hadn't been as quiet about their entrance.

The doors, once tall proud metal warriors, are discarded to the side- torn off their hinges and crumpled in on themselves. There are only a handful of options for who's here then, and if it's who he thinks it is he doesn't want to be here anymore.

Midoriya wasn't an overall threatening person, however he had a tendency to break himself. If he was ripping doors off left and right what was the state of his body?

He didn't want to aggravate any injuries the boy may have!

Apart from the doors, smoke flew out of the doorway only matched by the stream of 'civilians'. They ignore the civilians though, instead planning to charge head on into a burning bank.

Hanta shudders, what was it with the villains and burning stuff?

"They're burning the evidence..." He jolts where he's stood, head snapping to Koda at the same time that Rin and Kamikiri do.

"Of course they are, bunch of fucking cowards knew if they didn't wed of won by now!" Bakugou's pride makes a reappearance, but Hanta ignores it.

He's friends with the idiot and that means it's something he just has to accept. Though, he can try and weather it down after they're out of a life and death situation. For now he has to focus on problem in front of them.

"Icyhot caught sight of the building setting on fire about five minutes ago, that means they're still inside." And just like that, Bakugou is their tactical leader and from a bag slung over his shoulder he's producing goggles and air purification masks for each of them.

"There's two floors here, the ground floor and basement." They pull on the equipment as Bakugou continues, "If they're setting the place alight they'll be on their way out - soy sauce, animal man you two will be on the basement level seeing if they left any clues. There's an emergency basement exit on the left side of the building if you need it."

He doesn't like the implication that they might need it, but a look into Bakugou's eyes shows that he doesn't like it much either. At least his friend isn't a total jackass right now.

"Me and these extras will grab them on their way out. Now don't fuck up and get out safe." With that he watches as Bakugou and the class-B part of their team enter the building with no restraint or sign of hesitation.

"I guess it's you and me then?" He looks at Koda and suppresses a shiver that threatens to run down his spine.

Standing tall, goggles on and mouth hidden behind the purifier Koda looks dangerous. The fire reflects off the glass in the goggles and his simple costume looks like a menacing facade for greater evil hidden underneath.

Then, when Koda's quiet, soft, voice answers he shakes the thoughts away. This is Koda he's talking about. Just like Midoriya this guy doesn't have a bad bone in his body.

As they continue on into the burning building he lets Koda leave. It's simply paranoia from three of their team being taken down so easily. That's all it is, besides, at least Koda knows where his loyalties lie. Hanta can't say the same thing.

*Present*

"What have you done with Koda!" If he ignores the question then just maybe he can bury the sickness away, ignore it and pretend it never existed.

He isn't the only one who never officially signed up for a team, that doesn't make him a bad person...right? People's loyalties changed constantly in the real world- people didn't commit whole heartedly and instead went along with what was said to be right.

It isn't his fault that that's how he feels about this exercise is it? Who is he kidding? It is. He should of made his mind up - should of stuck to his ideals.

Now he's here, trapped on a third basement floor for a building that's only supposed to have one, fire burning above him and his partner MIA.

"He's safe," the voice behind the mask is mocking him. Or at least that's what it sounds like, "As you to will be. Whether you join us or not I will not leave you to die- unlike your teammates."

It's supposed to get into his head, he knows that, but the fact that nobody has radioed to see where he and Koda are just makes the statement feel true.

"If you join us however, we can keep you alive for the rest of this game. It's your choice. Live on the side of misfortune, or join us and live on the side of heroes."

That's an oxymoron he thinks, distantly, but he reaches his hand out. To hell with loyalty to the Heroes team. Todoroki and his council have kept them in the dark, have led them to situations like this like lambs to slaughter and all he does is sit on his office. Hidden away from the danger.

The other in front of him takes his hand, a physical confirmation that this leader is risking his life to save him. And a reminder that his own doesn't seem to care.

-*-

"Koda Koji along with Sero Hanta of the Hero team have been captured by the Villain team."

-*-

Koji smirks behind his purification mask as they sit in the truck going back to base. Kumicho is sat next to him, relaxed as could be, and Wakagashira is asleep atop of a pile of weapons crates, overcoat over the top half of his body hiding his face and hair to the traitor.

"It's good to have you back Piper." Cleaner's words make Sero's eyes widen, shock racking his form.

"Good to be back." He takes off his heroics gear in exchange for the mask Kumicho passes him. "Lets have some fun."


They arrive back at base via the tunnles, and Izuku is glad he refused Mei's suggestion to add windows to the truck because otherwise Sero would be able to tell the Heroes where they were.

When they pull up he grabs a black cloth bag he'd hidden under the seat. "Alright, this should only take a second." Sero's eyes dart to the bag, seemingly getting what he's going to do next, and starts to try and break away from them.

He doesn't get far though because, due to Hitoshi's habit of sleeping light, his second grabs the skittish boy by the back of his uniform and presses a pressure point knocking him out before the other can realise he's up.

"How long have you been up?" He questions as he slips the bag on the boys head.

"A few minutes, I was counting down the seconds till he got jumpy." He turns and Hitoshi lifts the now unconscious Sero onto his back. 

"Alright! To the prisoners cell we go!" He keeps a grip on Sero as he gets out of the back of the truck, taking the elevator from the underground parking area to the sub-level prisoners quarters.

It's nothing more than a single corridor with three empty rooms that lock from the outside (they made sure to triple check), an observation room for one of the cells and a bathroom.

The only ways in and out were the elevator and stairway. For this exercise they'd be taking the elevator.

Stepping into the lift, he stood side by side Koji and Hitoshi as Mezou moved the truck to a more secure area. The doors slideshow with little resistance and then they were going down.

"Did Mei start editing the footage yet?"

"She's still finishing up, we've got the soundboard set up though."

"Perfect."

-*-

Shouto feels his body shaking in anger as he watches the screen, the rest of his team are on the brink of hysterics behind him.

"Hello hero team~! As I'm sure you're all aware we have something that you think belongs to you~" The mask from the earlier broadcast was situated on the figures face, the camera panned out to show a chest up image of the mastermind.

He still couldn't get an idea about who the leader was, but at least now he could tell at the least it was male. And that they were being completely patronising.

Knowing that this was two way feed, sick bastard were watching then squirm, he responds - keeping his voice as bland as possible, "What do you mean, we think belongs to us? Sero and Koda are our team mates."

He takes note that the figure seems to grow tense at his lack of reaction. The figure tilts their head, finger pressed to where the lips would be if it were a face, "Are they?"

That makes him stall, he thought this was going to be a hostage situation. Now it's a traitor outing. "Because if I remember right Hero Captain Shouto, Heroes weren't registered on the Villain team."

The camera pans to the left and focuses on Koda. Standing tall, mask hanging around his neck, and in an outfit completely different to his hero uniform. He has an assault rifle slung over his shoulder, and the strap is lost within the black trench coats fabric.

The boy has the gall to lift his hand in greeting. Then, the shot returns itself to the mastermind. "And for our friend Sero? Well, I believe my patron has prepared a showing just for you lovely souls."

The screen turns to static before an image returns, it's security camera footage. In the remnants of the burning bank stands Sero, back to the camera, and the masked villain in front of him. The audio is hard to hear over the crackling of fire but it's obviously been made louder so they can hear it.

"Live on the side of misfortune, or join us and live on the side of heroes." 

Sero doesn't say anything and instead accepts the hand held out to him. The two disappear out of the camera's view then, but no words are exchanged and for the briefest of seconds that Sero's expression is exposed to the camera he doesn't look conflicted.

"No... it can't be, you can't change teams once you've registered!" One of the B-Class students say behind him, but Shouto doesn't look behind him - he doesn't want to risk missing a second of what this maniac is showing them.

The footage changes back to the mastermind, and they're sat in a chair that wasn't there before, lounging as if this exchange were bothersome for them.

Like they hadn't just revealed that two members of their team were traitors.

"Oh, but it can be. And here's the proof to back our footage up." They hold up a registration log, it's the Heroes one, and nowhere on it do the names Koda Koji or Sero Hanta appear. "You see, my heroic friends, there aren't any rules about infiltration, Koda here never showed any loyalty to you or your cause. He simply did the duty of a hero."

They cackle standing out of the chair and walk, the camera following. "Dear Sero never had any loyalties to begin with. Isn't that right?"

The camera swings and they're staring at Sero, tied to a chair by his ankle and wrists with a sack over his head. He's struggling against the bonds keeping him in place as another masked figure (with a similar design to the mastermind) stands with a crowbar in his hands.

"Let me out! You promised to let me join your team - you promised!"

"Did I? As I remember it, I said we could. Not that we would, you should know Sero that people with a lack of loyalties are always the first to fall in war. You have nobody to trust and now, nobody trusts you."

"Let him go!" He finds an anger he usually hides away bubble to the surface and escape through his voice. That sarcastic tone and sweetly hidden spite reminds him of another boy, one who begged for freedom and was broken down and thrown away for it.

'Touya...'

"Oh?" The monster sounds giddy at the emotion leaving him, "Would you look at that? The ice block has feelings!" the figure falls into hysterical laughter then, "Wakagashira you know what to do."

The camera moves away, to point at the wall, and its then they hear the sound of metal hitting flesh, of a body knocking to the floor and the scream that rips itself from Sero as the crowbar breaks his bones.

"STOP! PLEASE I'LL DO ANYTHING PLEASE!"

He can't tear his eyes away from the screen, even if it's the same wall he can't do it. Sero screams again, and it sounds wet, like he's choking on blood as he does it.

"PLEASE! PLEASE STOP!"

"WHY ARE THE TEACHERS NOT DOING ANYTHING!?"

At that question the camera turns back to the mastermind, "Such a good question, our green assassin, why you ask? Because we've jammed the feed to their viewing room. They can't hear or see a thing." They laugh again, a hand resting on the mask, like they're covering their mouth smugly, "As far as they're concerned you're all just training and searching for ways to see your precious team mate."

"Oh!" They tap the mask in thought, "That's something else I forgot, the teachers were aware of Koda's betrayal. They were the ones who sanctioned Tetsutetsu's electrocution, they were the ones who sanctioned Uraraka's attempted murder, they were the ones who sanctioned the setting alight of the bank while your team was inside."

"They've been playing you all for fools Heroes. Now, have a little think on who you can trust while Sero and I get acquainted properly."

Chapter Text

As they cut the feed Hitoshi finds himself coughing, throat raw from the screaming he'd been doing. He lets the crowbar clatter to the ground before pushing his mask up, pulling the voice modulated mouth guard free. Sero stares at him from the ground, perfectly fine except for maybe a bruise of two from being pushed to the floor in a chair.

"Did you really think I would hit you?" 

Before this exercise, the look of utter fear would of sent him spiralling into dismay due to its familiarity as a look associated with the word villain being spat at him.

Now though, Hitoshi finds it satisfying. The purpose of this was to wreck the heroes, that expression stands testament to their success.

"How- how did you match my voice!? How did you around just like me- that's not your quirk!"

He crouches next to Sero, smirking lazily at him, "This?" He holds up the modulator, "Just a little something our guardian angel made for us."

He snickered to himself at the unintentional pun, but the look of anger on Sero's features show he doesn't take kindly to being left out on the joke. "Yo, boss what's the next cause if action?"

Izuku's voice sounds again from behind the one way glass, "Just leave him, Cleaner will finish the job later."

At the words 'finish the job' the boy begins to thrash on the floor again, eyes like a trapped rabbits. Standing up he backs away, slipping the mouth guard back in and the mask down. 

He's probably pushing his luck here, after all the teachers are actually watching this whole thing, but he uses Sero's voice again as he backs out the room. "See you later."

He turns so that his back is to the boy on the floor and presses onwards despite the screams of 'Let me go!' echoing behind him. The door doesn't slam, but the sound of it closing is just as resolute.

Izuku, Mei and Koji leave the observation room seconds later and the four of them make their way to the lift. It opens and Mezou exits, giving only a nod as greeting before they continue on into the metal box.

At the last second Koji is called out to help, and then it's three of their quartet in the lift.

"So, Toshi~" he sighs, looking up at the ceiling, "You were super cool back there with your whole 'I'll break your ribs if you make eye contact' vibe."

"Mm. He was, I was quivering in my boots."

"Oh trust me Izu, if we'd of shown the rest of the team the after transmission feed that wouldn't of been the only thing quivering."

He groans as two of his best friends continue to make dirty jokes at his expense.

Distantly, he thinks he hears a gunshot but ignores it in favour of batting Mei's hands away playfully.

-*-

"Sero Hanta of the hero team is officially dead. A member of staff will now come and collect said student to take them to a student viewing room."

-*-

"So," Kyoka leans into Yuga's left side (with the bond's arm thrown around her and helping keep her in place on the top small couch) with her feet swung into Fumikage's lap, "What was the bank objective? I didn't see anything leave the truck."

Technically she should be asking one of the five involved, however they aren't available right now - "They're disposing of the evidence." "Yeeting Sero off a building and letting Ectoplasm catch him?" "Most probably." - and if anybody else in this team knows what the secret workings of the plans are its Neito.

The rest of the 1-A portion of the team are on slightly strained odds with the blond but things are improving. Apparently they're proving that they aren't silver spooned fucks.

She's glad. The junior high emo in her recoils at the meter thought of being a preppy teenager. Of course, just because Momo comes from a wealthy background doesn't include her in the umbrella that is Silver spooned fucks.

No, no. That term is reserved for people who have the idea that money makes them superior.

"You really want to know?" Neito, she notices, is squeezed between Mina and Denki on the other couch. The others are out but she doesn't know right now. She could ask and find out, but right now she just wants to take the most advantage she can of her rest period.

"Yeah. Sero's 'torture'," she uses air quotes and feels she should be put off by her nonchalance at the word but forgets about it as soon as the thought pop's up, "was necessary for the plan to progress, but setting the bank on fire and collapsing the tunnel there? The purpose isn't that obvious."

She nudges Fumikage with the side of her foot softly when the boy looks too deep in thought, "Sorry, I was thinking the same thing. Could it be that Sero himself was the objective?"

"Sort of." He puffs and leans back, head against the top of the couch, "The objective was to take a life. Another objective was to expose a traitor so he did both."

"Wow...Nezu isn't messing around is he?" 

An eye is spared to the camera in the corner of the room and they fall silent as Denki gets up and short circuits it. "Oops. I'll get Evangelion to fix it later." He says, like it was an accident, like he didnt short circuit it on purpose. Bakugou's sarcasm was rubbing off on him.

"Nezu's testing Izuku more than any of us with this test." Neito sits up, eyes the picture of concern, "I looked through the objective list and... some of them left me feeling sick. One is that we have to take a limb from the opposition- which wouldn't be a problem if Setsuna was on the other team but she isn't. And knowing the registered teams and whither unregistered were aligned with, Nezu didn't remove it from the list."

"It's scary that that guys the head teacher..."

"I think he's testing to see how far Izuku will go. It's draining for him though, Izuku's always thought of himself as a monster and being taunted like this isn't going to help."

"We'll just have to endeavour to keep him as mentally fit as possible won't we?"

-*-

Mezou doesn't look down at Sero, who's straining over his shoulder to stare at him. He doesn't want to see the expression on his face. He doesn't feel guilty, and he doesn't think looking at the other will make him feel guilty.

He just doesn't want to think about how realistic the paint looked splattered on the floor, surrounding Sero's head like a morbid halo.

"Why?"

"You were the less extreme." Is all he utters out, eyes fixated on where Ectoplasm is approaching. Why had the staff let them get away with so much? He wonders, and then remembers how one by one Nezu had called them all in and asked them for their reasoning behind joining the villain team.

It was clear from that exchange alone that the head master had a stake in this game. Mezou suspected that Izuku and the head master were playing each other rather than Izuku playing against Todoroki.

It was fine though, he wasn't a pawn he could tell that much. Everybody was valued too much for that to be true for any of them.

No.

They were part of a greater plan, and while they may not understand just yet, when the time came they would.

"What do you mean, Shoji-" he pushes the hand cuffed boy forward towards Ectoplasm who stands on the rooftop now. His teacher nods at him.

Finally, he forces himself to look down at Sero, "Ask the staff. It's not my place to spill their secrets."

With that, he turns away, and makes his way down the stairs of their headquarters. The Sun sets behind him, and he thinks it might be symbolic.

The sun sets upon the heroes, and the villains will take over where they have failed to maintain in headlight of day.

Chapter Text

"Sero Hanta of the hero team is officially dead. A member of staff will now come and collect said student to take them to a student viewing room."

-*-

They freeze, all of them. Katsuki isn't even sure why he freezes.

(Yes he does Soy sa- Sero is one of his best friends. And hearing his name and hearing that he's dead makes his stomach rock. He knows it won't be real. He knows they won't have killed him but still. Still the word dead ethos around his head.)

But all of them freeze, they're in the stupid communications room at the time, the scraps of 1-A and majority of 1-B stuffed into a room that had been too stuffy from the start and now feels suffocating.

He feels like something is using up all the oxygen in the room, like something is draining the life out of him.

Sero is dead in they eyes of the game. Even if it was fake, even if it's just a game they had to do something that would of resulted in an injury that would of killed him.

All he remembers is the sound of Sero begging for help, the sound of one of his best friends bones breaking under the cold impersonal metal of the crowbar.

All he remembers is that bastard of a leader sounding so- so bored when he knew what would happen to Sero. It makes his blood boil. Sero is a person dammnit! He's a living breathing thing he doesn't deserve to be beaten to 'death' by someone in their year! Nobody deserves that.

And the teachers... He doesn't know if it was true that the teachers couldn't see what was going on but what the Hell were they doing? All Aizawa went on about was how their class wasn't logical.

Well, he wants to yell, scream, at his teacher, where the Hell is the logic in any of this!?


Shouto finds the note on his pillow in his room latter that night. It rocks his stomach.

They got in his room. They got in, without anybody being the wiser. How many others could they have hurt, how many others could of died?

His stomach drops even more when he reads the note;

Dear Hero leader,

I hope this reaches you in good health and high spirits, myself and my right hand wish to speak with you concerning today's events. We are aware that it is a sensitive issue and as such would like to meet you on neutral ground. Feel free to bring your council along with you - after all we would not want you to be responsible for their mistakes again. That has already seen one of your comrades dying hasn't it?

But let us not talk of such morbid things. The address will be inscribed upon the back of this note. Meet there at half an hour before dawn on the thirteenth floor. Yours truly and graciously,

Kumicho


"Hero leader, Shouto. It's a pleasure." He cast an eye towards where two of the three members of the war council are stood. They'd left one working then, or Bakugou had suddenly acquired the ability to be silent.

"Kumicho, or do you have another name I can call you by?" He let his grin widen, though it was obscured by the mask he wore, as was the expression of his own lieutenant. "Why did you call us here today, you can't be that cocky to think we'd let you get away."

Oh, this was fun. Todoroki had no idea where they were.

He leans forward, elbows rested on his knees and fingers inter laced, "Tell me, where are we?"

The question immediately set the three on edge and he hears more than sees their realisation. It was humorous though, unsteady realisation clinging itself together with conjectured ideas and half truths.

"The Harimitu stock exchange." Todoroki's voice was stoic to anybody else, but Izuku knows Todoroki, he knows when he's hiding his emotions behind that plateau tone.

He hums, leaning back in his chair more, enjoying the way Uraraka and Iida's eyes suddenly flirted from robot to robot, camera to camera.

Paranoia was a beast that once unleashed from its cage acted fast, they were already falling into its clutches and he hadn't even gotten to the best part yet.

To Todoroki's credit his expression didn't betray him, rather the twitch of his left eye did all the talking. It could be something played off as long term nerve damage due to his scar, however Izuku could see what it was.

The boys tell.

The esteemed, emotionless rock, that was Tododoki Shouto had one of the most obvious tells he'd ever seen, and it was completely disregarded because of past experiences.

He knew his own tell, he had a habit of biting the left hand corner of his lower lip when he started to get nervous. That's why he had the masks, most people had tells in their faces so it helped reduce the risk of identification and tell spotting.

"Yes, the Harimitu stock exchange. Now, why do you think I chose this place as our meeting place? It's a rather odd location isn't it? Compared to the location of our bases its practically in the middle of nowhere and it's easy to get many of your men in the building with little resistance."

He sits back up straight, relaxing into the ornate modern arm chair. He can only imagine what type of image he's projecting, scorched yet dangerous posture with the sun rising behind him, a growing blood stain on the horizon they're watching from thirteen stories up.

As he practically calls out their plan he sees the twitch again and watches the lieutenants look around more, actively searching for either a threat or backup.

"Wakagashira, do you mind getting Mr.Harimitu for me?"

"Sure thing boss." He could practically hear the smirk in Hitoshi's voice.

He sat there, the three heroes across from him shifting in paranoia as more civilian bots came and went. He was surprised the stalling act was working so well. His teammates would be well on the way to getting their bonuses, and as long as the leaders were preoccupied their replacements would have all the pressure on them.

No one trusted deficient steel to support a building.

They remained in their silence for a few moments longer as Hitoshi came back with a civilian bot that looked humorously a lot like his real business partner in the management course. Standing up, he kept his tone cheerful, the bots didn't understand emotions but they registered tones and the supposed relationship between himself and the bot was friendly.

"Ah, Mr Harimitu. Sorry to draw you from your office, these are my associates." The bot, wig, business suit and sharpie-drawn face bowed politely to the heroes who all look taken aback at the display.

"Welcome, I am Mr. Harimitu, owner of Harimitu Corp and president of Harimitu stock exchange."

"Again, my apologies from dragging you from your job."

He can see the fumes from the others lieutenants ears- he sounds mocking to his own ears he can only imagine how he sounds to them.

"No issue, Kumicho. You know we here are always happy to see you. Unfortunately I do have to get back to my office so I will have to cut this meeting short. It was lovely meeting you."

The heroes didn't even have chance to introduce themselves before the bot was making its way back to its office, it's program not seeing any route to go down due to insufficient data on the heroes.

If that has anything to do with Mei, Izuku pretends to be ignorant to it.

Sitting himself back down he asked again, "So, why do you think I chose this place as our meeting place?"

"You..." Iida was the first to catch on, as he'd expected, and the reaction was funnier than he'd thought it'd be, "You're in control of this company!?"

"Ding ding ding! We have a winner, my my Mr. Ingenuim you have near perfect observational skills." His tone turned sly, "And there isn't a lick of evidence suggesting the entire thing isn't legal."

He waved his hand, "So. Getting back to my question, the reason I asked you here was because you don't have anything to connect me or my organisation to the tragedies that have taken place in the past two days."

He stretched his arms above his head, revealing in how pissed off it made the three

(And there was another twitch of the left eye. He wonders distantly how Endeavour hadn't picked up on that. Maybe he has? Maybe it's insignificant to him and his perfect plan. Not so distantly he thinks maybe Endeavour doesn't want an awe inspiring, world saving hero, out of Todoroki. Maybe he just wants a weapon of mass destruction.)

He found his leg bouncing, as something seemed off with the atmosphere all of a sudden and he subtlety titled his mask in Hitoshi's direction, hoping he'd understand.

"The other reason was because I just wanted to let you know if you damage any of the Harimitu properties the company will receive reparations."

"That's against the rules." Todoroki's voice is icy (ha) and that's the only indication that the boy is steaming inside.

"Is it?" He swore something was buzzing in the back of his head, something was wrong but what it was he couldn't tell, "The rule book never disputed neutral ground. And good luck getting the staff to remind you, that would be breaking the interference rule, wouldn't it Nezu?"

At his last three words he turned his head to the right, facing a small Nezu- shaped robot sat on a couch in the lounge area a few meters away.

The Android had been staring a hole through his head, and as soon as the beast looked away the buzzing stopped. A small chirping noise, of what he supposed was confirmation, came from the robot as it then walked off.

Turning back to his present company he kept his tone light, "Unless it's life or death the teachers won't get involved heroes."

He sees the confusion cross their features and he laughs, glad for the voice modulator he has. Otherwise he'd of been found out by now for sure with how long he's been monologuing.

"Did they not tell you about that regulation heroes?" Their faces tell him the answer to that question, "You really are in the dark here aren't you?"

"And how did you find out Kumicho?"

"I asked." he spits the word out, sick and tired of how the other team is looking down on him. They don't even know it's him and still they're acting like they usually do. Underestimating him, not believing him capable of this victory. "Like anyone who wants to win, I asked and checked my sources."

"You'd do well to remember that next time you send proxies without assessing a situation."

Pulling two pictures from his blazer he let them hit the table, the terrified visage of Sero in quirk suppressant cuffs in one,the other shows him bruised and bloodied (photoshoped of course, Sero hadn't had a scratch on him but they don't need to know that) stared up at them.

"You monster!" Uraraka's hand smashed down into the table, pure rage radiating from her, and he slides his mask up enough for her to see his smirk.

"Me? The monster?" He laughed,standing up and flipping the pictures to show the personalised drawing of the hanged man tarot card. Instead of a jester hanging upside down by his foot from a noose, Sero's figure hangs above a fore pit by his own tape.

 "And then what does that make you? Sending sacrifices into the lions den willingly." He lowered his mask back down at the lack of an answer, before sighing.

"The next time you want dirty work done, do it yourself. Don't act like they're expendable, they're your teammates and this is a war."

"A war? And what makes you think you're on the right side of this war?"

"Oh, I'm not." He spat, "But I'm not abandoning my team when they need me, and I'm not leaving people to die. I'm almost most certainly not leading an army into a hail of bullets without knowing my guns are loaded."

He leaves the pictures on the desk, moving away from the low table and lounge chairs. His trench coat and mask hide most features, but the hoodie tucked under the trench coat keeps his hair hidden from the back. He's glad because they watch as he walks away, Hitoshi joining him as he enters the lift.

"Oh, and hero leader Shouto?" Todoroki looks over to him, "Sero's death was your fault."

The lift closes before the boy can even form a response.

Chapter Text

Momo watches Izuku, Juzo and Hitoshi leave home base two hours before dawn, Mei disappears into her workshop not long after they exit leaving the responsibility of leadership to her, Itsuka and Mezou.

She turns to her fellow council members, seeing them looking to her for what next to do. She's somewhat shocked. Despite being a team leader she's still been getting her orders from Izuku, and as deputy rep for the class she's never been a hundred percent in charge before.

She should be scared however, she remembers her mother's words. The Yaoyozoru corporation were a matriarchal company and before she'd expressed her idea to be a hero her mother had begun training her to take over the company one day.

That meant she knew what it meant to be in charge in a stressful situation, that meant she could deal with this.

"Okay, we need to get everyone awake. Even if they're just eating breakfast or training everyone needs to be awake."

Mezou wonders off at that, and Itsuka (does the girl even know she's doing it?) squares her shoulders slightly. Mono remembers then that Itsuka is her own classes rep and probably isn't too sure on taking a vice reps orders...

"Is there anything you need me to do personally Momo? Or should I help Mezou?" But then she blinks and the squaring of shoulders is actually the piling of confidence onto herself.

"Could you help Mei please? Tomorrow's the big day, we can't have her burning herself out."

They begin to walk towards the elevator together and Itsuka laughs to herself, "I remember the day we all found out Neito was friends with the other three..." her voice is wistful and glancing to the side she sees the soft smile on her face, "he was fuming about the fact she'd burnt herself out. He came into class ranting down the phone to Hitoshi about her, we hadn't known before then but..."

"..." Momo isn't sure how to respond to the observations. Izuku had never made any indication that he had friends outside if 1-A, but then again Izuku didn't show a lot of his true self to them prior to this did he?

"There wasn't a way you couldn't hear his worry."

They continue to the lift, getting into it in a now heavy silence. She isnt sure what brings about the new weight but it's there.

"Momo... who told Izuku he was a monster?" The doors slide shut and the familiar drop of her stomach that always comes with riding lifts is replaced by the dropping of her heart.

"What?" Her voice breaks.

-*-

Hitoshi steps out into the underground car park of the Harimitu exchange building, Izuku at his side, and keeps his steps steady as he walks over to the bin ten meters in front of him.

When he gets there he grabs the duffle bag with their combat gear in it and retrieves the special support speaker Mei made for him before tossing the bag over to Izuku.

In comparison to his Present Mic-esque speaker there isn't much change to his appearance after he adds the new gear.

His mask is replaced with a pair of goggles though, the large speaker coming up and covering the lower half of his face.

He slides the oval mask into the duffle after its tossed to the floor between them.

Looking up and at Izuku the change is apparent. He's removed his trench coat and blazer, so that he's in a pair of flexible trousers and his hoodie, oval mask replaced with the standard gas mask most of the team wares when they aren't facing the hero team.

It's mainly for practical reasons (such as potential toxins and defences being triggered during a heist or fight with guards) but he can see the aesthetic appeal as well.

When they're facing the heroes they're making an impact, when they're doing their job they're making a statement. Showing how something like a bank heist is irrelevant to them, showing the teachers that they have much more important things to do than put on a show for them.

He turns away from Izuku for a few seconds, watching the exit with a form of paranoia that has never steered him wrong yet. This fight is going to be vile.

It might not go the way they hope, but if it fails they have ten hours.

Ten hours is more than enough. He nods to the cat sat atop of a car not too far from where they're stood. The cat flicks it's ears before jumping off and sauntering away.

The cat will be close by, a connection to Koji through their fight. He can only hope that Geo doesn't get tangled up in this, while technically not an 'innocent civilian' Geo wasn't taking an active role in this. He was the get away driver (and if he shaped the road to block the heroes on the way out then whatever) and didn't pose a threat.

They'd seen however, that the heroes didn't care for things like common sense.

"You ready for your debut Kuma?" He turns to Izuku as they both finalize the adjustments to their outfits, storing the duffle bag with their previous outfits in the entrance way to their tunnels that they'd entered through originally.

Izuku knocks his hand against the wall, and they here the rev of Geo's engines. In twenty minutes it will be like that tunnel never existed.

He spares one last look at their get away before marching towards the potential fight of his life. Izuku is in step with him the entire way, until they're standing at the entrance to the car park and witness nearly the entire hero team waiting for them.

"Well, looks like Kumicho was right Cortex. They're scared of us."

His grin is hidden behind his speaker but that isn't important. What's important is that he turns to Kumicho - Kuma for this short period of time- and sees that he is a hundred percent right.

"Hey! I have a question for you all, you hero scum! I say Marco, you say!?"

And like idiots the responses come rolling in.

Chapter Text

Unfortunately not everyone responds with Polo, some don't respond at all and a large majority of the team that do respond with 'what?' and other exclamations of surprise and confusion.

However, despite the lack of comedy his plan works perfectly. Within seconds of being Cortex he has half of the enemy force under his control. "Now, go back to your base and don't let your teammates hit you!"

And just like puppets they follow his commands and a large portion of the opposition turns around and starts running. They'll tire themselves out before long, meaning that it will take longer for them to get back. Perfect.

The remainder of the hero team just stand there, scared of what he'll do next he supposes. He grins. "Kuma, would you please do me the honours?"

He holds his hand out to Izuku, an exaggerated bow tightening the hold the air has on the situation. Izuku takes his hand and bows also, "I'd love to Cortex."

And with that, they do their first real attempt at a move that they've been practicing for weeks. Hitoshi digs his furthest back foot into the ground and pivots as quickly as he can on it. Coupling that with Izuku using full cowl to launch himself results in Hitoshi flinging Izuku into the crowd.

He lands, feet first, a few steps away from the heroes who have locked themselves (foolishly) into fighting stances. Because of this when the entire force of his body and his quirk hit the ground the shockwaves and crumbling of concrete sends them tumbling like dominoes.

They'd gone over how this would play out on the elevator ride down, but they hadn't gone over exactly what Izuku would be doing as his distraction. 

Because of this Hitoshi nearly faltered in his steps as Izuku pulled himself from his self-made crater singing, "SOMEBODY ONCE TOLD ME THE WORLD WAS GONNA ROLE ME, I AIN'T THE SHARPEST TOOL IN THE SHED!"

He found himself laughing as he got close enough to send a punch to the vine girl from 1-B, who had been so completely thrown off she'd let her guard down enough for him to send her tumbling to the floor.

All hell broke loose from there as Izuku sent another shockwave punch and Hitoshi flung himself into the fray once more.

-*-

Uraraka lifted her head from the wall, eyes opening half way, as another loud bang sounded out from the lift. The pounding noises were only obstructed by a robotic voice adding on more and more property damage.

Turning, she saw that Iida hadn't made any progress whatsoever since she last looked. Looking to the right she noticed Todoroki watching the fight down below in the street.

"How's it going?" She raises her voice just a bit to be heard over the sound of 'bang! bang! bang!' that is Iida's kick against the elevator safety doors. They can't access the shaft yet and there isn't a staircase in the building so they're forced to watch their team mates be tag teamed by two mystery assailants.

Except, they aren't a mystery. It's Deku and that Shinsou guy from the festival. She'd been hoping to get a glimpse of Deku, but not like this.

"They're onto the last of them." She wishes they could get out through the window but whatever it's made of has taken the impact of the ice Todoroki can confirm is safe to use in the building, and there are too many fire hazards in the room to even risk melting the window.

It doesn't help that Iida and Todoroki have had an argument, now her other best friend won't even stop smashing into the doors - despite the fact he's going to break his leg soon.

She offered to help turn the doors weightless, but Iida had just shouted at her and Todoroki had glared so she wasn't going to involve herself anymore than she already had.

"Has Deku broken any bones yet?"

"Doesn't look like it."

She turns away from her leader, seeing his pensive expression and monotony aren't going anywhere, and closes her eyes again.

'Bang! Bang! Bang!'

She isn't sure what's the sound of Iida and what's the sound of her pounding headache and frustration.

-*-

Izuku is careful to bring a lamppost down with him on his next landing, narrowly not hitting the green assassin (as he'd named her), but pinning her vines down.

A screech of pain left her and he felt an ounce of guilt before moving past it. As he kicks Kirishima away (and WHY is he being allowed to fight!? He can see the bruises on him) he belts out another line of song.

"If you wanna be my lover!"

"You gotta get with my friends!" Hitoshi's response, off key and a few pitches too high to be human, rings out from behind him.

They haven't strayed too far from each other the entire fight, occasionally Hitoshi will back off, but that's only so that Izuku can break apart the ground, and then use the debris as projectiles.

Uraraka's fight had seriously inspire him, but this time an explosion wouldn't save Katsuki if he were fighting him. He'd noticed how the blond's hands had shaken after that move in the festival.

Dodging too slowly he gets clipped in the arm, turning his tumble into his momentum he moves away from the current attacker.

He's a bit too far from Hitoshi but it's fine. His best friend can handle his own. Besides, despite now knowing who Crotex is, they sometime s keep slipping up and responding.

He's glad this time that Hitoshi isn't going for super personal stuff, he would hate for people to hate his best friend. However they're equally as effective his jabs. 

A comment about a hero costume here, a note that their left foot didn't have enough force in it ect. Each and every one of them got responses. Whether it was a hum, or a 'tch' or even sometimes an anger filled refute it did its job perfectly.

Eventually though everything came to an end with both he and Hitoshi and the remnants of the hero team (Kirishima, Shishida and Bondo) standing in exhausted stances, and ready to drop.

"Surren- Surrender villains! This is your last chance!" He hears the stutter in Bondo's voice, though he can't see the boys face to know what expression he's making. He presumes its one of exhaustion.

"Never." He spits out, crackling full cowl across his skin as a threat to not try anything. 

Their guardian angel arrives seconds later anyway, and Geo pulls up in the middle of the street, semi-automatic aimed at the hero team. He open fires, and Izuku realises he's using the rubber bullet gun.

He feels his smirk widen. He runs to the truck, pulling himself in and grabbing another semi, though this time from the paintball set, and Hitoshi does the same.

Once enough cover fire has been lay they high tail it put of there, with he and Hitoshi open firing out the back of the truck.

Chapter Text

Izuku can feel his chest heaving with the way his heart is being ricocheted around his rib cage.

He's never had to fight that many people at once, he's never felt so alive in a fight before. Taking Tae Kwon Do had taught him the importance of distilling discipline into himself during a fight, constantly hiding his true nature to keep himself safe had taught him that simplicity and modesty were his greatest allies.

But this...

It was almost intoxicating. He could see now why people like Stain and Shigaraki made the news, why their ideals were spread. They were loud, they broke the norm and they were so unique in a flashy quirked industry.

He grins, hiding the fact that he's forcing himself to pull back. That he's pulling his feelings into a little lead box and shoving it away.

Because it's dangerous thinking. And as much as he sometimes thinks himself a monster he's never going to give someone a valid reason to call him one.

Uraraka's words from earlier rise to the forefront of his mind but he ignores it. There wasn't an actual valid reason for that, he hadn't actually beaten Sero into the ground.

(But you thought about it. It was your plan. You CONVINCED them to go through with it, you. You who's always lying and tricking and deceiving. How can you call yourself a hero when you act like such a monster?)

He isn't actually a monster...surely?

No...no...he isn't...

-*-

Reiko is impressed with herself, she didn't know she could keep her balance for this long. And yet, here she is; balance perfectly like a cat atop of security camera's ledge.

It's her responsibility to keep the camera covered while her new teammates get to work. Their original teams are still their core teams- but right now their specialties are needed elsewhere.

They're divided, but still standing strong.

"I have it! Yeah boy- oh shit that's hot- hot hot hot!"

She feels laughter bubble in her throat as Demoman removes a shorted out fuse from the panel he's meant to be braking, his gloves not quite concealing the heat from his body.

He ends up passing it like hot potato and White Collar shrieks as a burning hot fuse comes sailing at his face. On instinct he grabs onto the nearest person, possibly hoping they have an appropriate quirk.

Unfortunately, for him not for Reiko- Reiko is living for this, he grabs the mole. So instead of anything protective he just ends up ducking, throwing himself and the mole away from the fuse.

It hits the ground, and Demowoman lowers her hands from her defensive position. She's glad it never came to the pink haired girl, her acid and that heat would not of been pretty.

Though the way White Colar and Mole are in a pile on the floor, looking suspiciously at the device on the floor she thinks it's well worth it. She can't tell where one boy starts and the other ends- the two are holding each other for dear life.

"It's only a fuse." She tells them, and its a shame their expressions are covered because from body language alone she'd of loved to see what their faces looked like.

"Don't play hot potato with electrical components! What the Hell man!?" It's not angry, White Collar is just scared. She can hear it in the slightly shaken quality of his voice and the way he keeps Mole slightly behind him.

Like he's ready to send the boy to the opposite side of the room in case anything else decides to go flying around the room.

Demoman rubs the back of his neck, chuckling sheepishly, "What? I didn't see any flying components? Did you Demowoman? Shadow?"

She shakes her head no, and even if the mask covers it she can see Sen sticking his tongue out at her from behind his mask. The boys too predictable like that.

Neito scoffs, "Just...next time aim it at the enemy?"

This time Denki doesn't sound so stiff when he laughs, "Sure thing boss man. Though uh...can't say I've seen any flying components."

"Why you!" The two blonds tussle for half a second when the door to the lights finally go out be fire flickering back on dimly.

It was being deceptively easy to get in, with using Demowoman's acid through the interconnecting wall so they bypassed most of the security, and then using Demoman's quirk to reduce the building to back up generators and manual overrides.

She wasn't complaining but Kumicho must think this team was special enough to put the various quirk and style types together. He wouldn't do this for something so simple. Which meant that the reactor would be protected by something unforseen that Kumicho had foreseen.

"Alright Shadow. The camera's down, let's go everyone." She drops from her perch and exits the power room with her group. Not letting that little tingle at the back of her brain be ignored.

If there was something she was learning from this exercise, it was that if something felt too good to be true it probably was.

-*-

Izuku looks across the table to Mei, she doesn't meet his eyes and he sighs.

"There isn't another option, Mei."

She sneers at him, anger at him showing through, "What was it you taught me? If you're losing change the game. There's always another option Izuku- if there isn't you make one."

"We have ten hours." He isn't sure who he's convincing anymore, "It will be fine, I promise."

Her glare sharpens. "You can't promise that. Don't lie to me. Not about this."

He takes a hesitant step forward, not knowing if right now he's allowed in her personal space. When she doesn't worsen her stare he moves until he's on her side of the table, leaving enough room for her to move around him and out the door without obstruction just in case he accidentally over steps boundaries.

She still doesn't worsen her expression, but it doesn't change to be less pissed either so he isn't exactly relieved.

He finds himself messing with his hands, as he tries to make eye contact though it's a futile effort as Mei refuses to make eye contact. "You're right...I can't..." his eyes search for cameras that aren't there. He feels his throat tighten, Recovery Girl had given him the recipe surely she wouldn't do that if it wasn't safe? He wonders if the teachers would stop him if they knew what he was going to do?

"I can't promise that I'll be fine." She looks at him briefly from the corner of her eye, "But I'm being serious here Mei, if I could find a way around this I would but... as it stands this is me finding an alternative to someone else going."

She grits her teeth, he watches as her jaw clenches and the hands in her lap tighten, "Your health is important as well you idiot, how do you not-"

"I understand it, okay?!" He hisses at himself when he raises his voice, this time it's his turn to avoid looking her in the eye, "I get it Mei, saying it a few more times won't drill it into my head anymore than it already is. But the thing is, if it's me we have a time limit. We'll be more efficient."

"And what if I don't administer the drug? What then, we both know I'm the only one who can do it safely and the second I think you're doing it yourself Toshi will have you incapacitated." 

They stare at each other at that, because they're both as stubborn as each other when it comes down to things like this. Neither of them will back down until the sun burns the earth to dust, or they reach a compromise.

"Half the dose." He offers first, seeing her hands unfurl slightly.

"A quarter."

"Not strong enough."

"Half a dose could stop your heart if we're not careful."

"Then we're careful."

"What if they give you something else when you're under the influence huh? What will you do then?"

"The staff will step in. It's a health risk situation."

"Just under half a dose."

"Deal."

-*-

Yosetsu closes his eyes, trying to keep his breathing calm - though even to his own ears it's clearly shaken. 

It's difficult to even try with the way his chest heaves. He can't get his breath steady. Opening his eyes makes it worse. "Torch? Torch are you quite alright?"

He sees Eldritch's red eyes gleaming out through the darkness the tunnel creates, he brings his hands up to his eyes, fists hiding his retina from the natural darkness in his own superficial dark.

He briefly nods when the question is repeated. The tank bumps and he clutches onto the metal bench he's on for dear life, a screech ripping itself from him.

"Fuck! Are you doing this to me on purpose dude!?" His voice is a few pitches higher than he wants it to be but he can't help it, especially not at Juzo's laugh.

"I don't get how you're scared! You've been driving through these things for the past two and half days!" Juzo's laughter is jubilant, and he doesn't think his friend realises how scared he is.

"That's when I have the headlights! The underground freaks me out - I can hardly go on the subway because it gets so dark sometimes... all that ground above us, what if it collapses? No one would ever find us we'd just be there..."

He's surprised when he feels something reach out and rest on his shoulder, he wants to squeak but holds it in, seeing that its Dark Shadow.

The sentient quirk is resting its head on his shoulder. He can see the quirk is tense, looking just as sick as he feels. Glancing at Fumikage he sees the boys feathers look flat.

"The darkness effects us both, don't feel ashamed." 

He feels silly then, Fumikage is sat next to him in near complete darkness having to control a quirk that goes rabbi in the dark.  "Your fear isn't stupid, just remember you're safe and everything will be fine."

It sounds like a mantra the other boy has been repeating to himself but he accepts it for the help it is. This time when he closes his eyes and tries to calm his breathing its a little bit easier.

The weight of Dark Shadow is grounding and focusing on Fumikage's level breathing helps him level his own.

He doesn't mention it until they're out of the tunnels but he doesn't miss that Juzo's driving is a bit more controlled.


The 'Treasure Room' as they'd taken to calling it was filling up quickly. Masahiro takes a glance at the menagerie, it's uplifting almost seeing their loot accumulate.

It makes some of the other bonuses sting less.

"C'mon Ninja we're gonna be late!"

"Coming!" Closing the door he takes in a deep breath.

It's all worth it, in the end. Focus on the end game rather than what he's doing now and everything will be easier. Rather than focusing on the fact he's going to poison his school mates he focuses on the idea of being able to stand there and say that he, weak monkey boy him, could take down people like Bakugou and Todoroki.

It doesn't matter to him that its a round about method, it doesn't matter that he's doing less fighting than their training had originally lead him to believe they'd be doing. 

What matters is that they're doing it.

They could do it by force feeding them snails and the victory and the confidence boost would be the same.

Even if they were to fail now, even if Kumicho's next move flops and they lose the game? He'd be able to stand with his head high.

Because even if Kumicho was captured and they immediately lost he could say that the villain team had done their damndest.

He's learnt more in this exercise about his teammates, about his friends, and about fighting as a hero then he probably ever would of without this test.

If loss happens he'll accept it, but he'll still feel like they've won.

Because they'll of made a statement. They'll of shown that they aren't worth less than those on the hero team. That they're equal. That all of them can become heroes- that all of them are worth the same praise and attention.

It will be the biggest middle finger to their haters their team could ever do, winning or losing.

Either way they've accomplished their task.

That's why he has a bit of a skip in his step as he follows Torru to their meet up point.

"What made you so bubbly?"

"Nothing, just thought of something."

The invisible girl hums, in a way that tells him she thinks she knows why he's happy, "Okay. Let's go get our objective!"

Yuga gives a cheer, raising a secretly smiling Jiro's hand in a fist pump of the air. He feels his chest grow warmer.


"I'd say your friends should start dropping in about what?" He looked off screen, grin turning vicious as whatever he wanted to know was confirmed, "Five minutes? Don't worry it won't kill them. Yet. You know my demands, I look forward to our next chat."

They stay in silence, watching the recording on the heroes screens shut off. Nemuri barley keeps her dinner down.

"He just...poisoned the water supply and then didn't tell them that any water was safe to drink."

Next to her Hizashi looked as tense as she felt, but it was Ken who spoke, "He's intending to what? Hostage the cure for their surrender? Or, is he trying to wait till they die of thirst and pride. Midoriya is clearly playing the long game here."

"Nezu you're creating a monster." It went very quiet, the voice small but sure. Attention went to All Might after he spoke. Everybody knew of his relationship with Midoriya and how close the two were.

For him to say that the reality settled in on how...evil their student was acting.

Psychological warfare, poisoning of resources, holding hostages - what he pretended to do to said hostages - and all while his team struck hard and fast. Evil spirits in the night and monstrous villains in the daylight.

Their aim was clearly to leave as many casualties in their wake and as little evidence of themselves. Not to mention the double whammy that was the double agents ploy he'd had going on. All for one was like this, Midoriya was acting like All Might's greatest foe had at the height of his power.

And it scared them.

"I haven't created anything. I'm simply luring the beast out of its cave."

"You can't truly think this is acceptable behaviour surely!?" It once again hit home how terrified they all were when All Might still protested, "He's tearing them down to the very core of their psyches!"

"That's the point isn't it?"

Nemuri snapped her head towards Shouta when he countered, it having been the first time he'd done anything but give a grin that reminded her too much of a snarl.

"Midoriya has psychological profiles on all his classmates and all the potential players, of which he ran through me." A quiet overtook the room, the screams of frustration ("SHITTY HAIR!" "KIRISHIMA- PONY CRAP SHE HIT HER HEAD!?") and dropping of their students high lighting the reality of the situation. "He ran them through me first, meaning that what he's doing is acceptable within the rules... He's hitting them where it hurts the most."

"He's playing them for fools!"

Ken was on his feet, body shaking. Nemuri realised then how much this must be effecting him. It was the first time both classes had merged for this exercise and he was having to watch as his class tore itself to pieces. 

This would be hitting him hard, to see another class so effortlessly strike down on the other- to see his kids lose all morals and friendships in order to achieve their goal. Monoma's complete 180 and infallible loyalty to Midoriya would probably be his biggest challenge to accept.

Shouta was dealing with it a hell of a lot better clearly.

"He's playing to win." Shouta's tone was terse and Nemuri could see the pride in his eyes.

The pride of seeing a student push past all expectations and taking full flight. "So don't make it seem like he's using cheap tricks. Midoriya Izuku has been giving us a run for our money since he entered UA and he's showing us why."

Chapter Text

After the camera feed shut off he found a massive rush of air entering his lungs, followed by his legs forcing him to slide down to the floor against the wall behind him.

Taking off the mask he pressed his face into his knees, taking long deep breaths. He squeezed his eyes shut and tightened his grip on his mask, the other hand taking grip in his hair. The tug acted as a grounding mechanism as he found himself start to shake slightly.

All he could see was his classmates falling to the ground, all he could see was Bakugou's eyes jumping to Kirishima as the Red head started to sway, all he could see was Fukidaishi's speech bubble filling with symbols as his body started to collapse under him, all he could see was his work coming to fruition.

He tried to keep the laughter quiet, silent almost. He didn't want anyone else hearing it, hearing what a monster he was.

He was laughing at poisoning his classmates- at making people think he'd gladly risked their lives and q as willing to let them die for the sake of winning.

But that was why he couldn't help but let the desperate bubble of laughter out. The whole situation was so bizarre- so outlandish that he couldn't wrap his head around it. His actions were being allowed in fact they were being encouraged!

Thoughts that had once made him sick to his stomach, had made him question why he even tried to be a hero, were being allowed, prompted and accepted.

And it was all because he was playing on a technicality. He was just within regulation; because he still wanted to play by the rules and win.

That forced another laugh from him.

If this was how easy it was to destroy a group of heroes when he was following a set of rules and regulations with a only a week of advanced planning then what damage could of been achieved if it were real villains?

Real bastards of the salted earth who didn't care about rules, or keeping them alive - of avoiding the mere mention of health risks or endangerment.

Uraraka had trained with Gun Head, she'd been trained, albeit briefly, to deal with armed attackers. She should of been able to handle Torch easily- but it was because she felt she was safe under the umbrella of a school exercise. Torch hadn't been offered that liberty.

Torch was a villain in this exercise, he was cornered and he was afraid, and he was aware that as long as he didn't shoot the other in the eye he was fine- it was allowed.

He worked for his survival.

The real purpose of this exercise was for the heroes to hunt the villains like rats because the heroes were supposed to feel like they were superior- like they had the upper hand.

But they'd become so deluded with that promise they'd compromised themselves.

In the real world, if Uraraka had taken the threat of the gun seriously she might of taken Torch down- if Tetsutetsu had taken Demoman's threat seriously he would of deactivated his quirk and put distance between them instead of letting himself get electrocuted with his quirk activated.

In the real world...Izuku would be called a monster.

His team mates wouldn't stand united beside him they would pull away, disgusted and mortified to of ever called themselves his friends.

In the real world Izuku had asked if he could poison his classmates, he'd been allowed and he'd convinced a bunch of other sixteen year olds to do it as well.

In the real world that was called a cult. It was called a crime ring. It was called a league of Villains.

And this was the real world. This wasn't just a stupid test in a fake city. Their actions had consequences- his thoughts had consequences. Butterfly effect was a thing that existed damnit.

Years. Literal years of hard work to keep this dark twisted cesspool side of him hidden and he'd destroyed that work in three and a half days.

He'd torn down everything that he had ever worked for. He'd torn down every defence and for what?

To make himself be seen as a worthwhile opponent? Well good job there Izuku! Now you're just a villain to be. Lying in wait until the right push comes along to tip you to the other side!

What was this all for again? To have a petty fight of wits with his headmaster? To throw a sadistic chimera off before landing a hit for what? What did he gain by one upping Nezu?

Nothing.

Nothing, nothing, nothing. He got nothing for destroying everything.

He laughed again, unable to realise he was crying and yanking on his hair. He laughed, unable to tell that his friends - the very team mates he was thinking would abandon him- were worried and calling out for him.

He sucked in another deep breath, unable to tell that it didn't even reach his lungs before in his hyperventilating state he'd pushed it back out again.

-*-

Yuga knew he didn't always seem...empathetic.

He was loud and outrageously sparkly; but of course he struggled with his own things. However that didn't mean when he saw Izuku (hands in his hair pulling and tugging, face covered in tear tracks) get escorted to his room he didn't jump to his feet and begin trailing Wakagashira.

Neito, Evangelion and Wakagashira could say what they wanted about it being a private issue, Yuga managed to get himself into Izuku's personal space before they could stop him.

His leader (teammate, classmate, friend) took a few seconds to recognise him, and when he did his voice was cranky and confused. "Yuga?"

"Oui, now let's get you sat down." He helped the unstable form of Izuku to the floor despite what the other three tried to protest.

He knew from experience trying to walk when he was this emotionally and physically exhausted wouldn't do him anything but more harm. You could see he was straining to keep himself together.

"I'm-I'm fine you can just," he tried to push himself up but Yuga wouldn't let home, "just leave it I'll just have a lie down and I'll be good."

"Izuku," when green eyes still looked slightly to the left he snapped his fingers in front of the other boys face. It was a bit awkward due to how he was crouched and leaning over the boy as three other teens leared over them. "I'm here. Not to the left."

He watched as Izuku blinked, trying to pin point exactly where he was. He must of exhausted himself if his vision was this unsteady.

No wonder he'd looked so out of it when he'd walked past them. "Oh. Oh yeah, okay. I... I knew that..."

"You need to rest for awhile mousuire, you're in no condition to be doing anything. When did you last sleep, properly?"

He isn't made to feel better when he's given a blank stare. He can't tell of its because Izuku doesn't have an answer or if he can't see properly again.

-*-

Manga looks around the infirmary in home base, stomach twisting into knots and head pounding all the while.

Just under half the team is out if commission just due to whatever the Hell the bastard villains poisoned them with, there are others as well who are out of commission because Cortex and Kuma injured them just before the point that the teachers would step in.

He couldn't even believe that these acts were his friends- his school mates- doings.

But then again that mind freak from the sports festival was on the Villain team so it made sense they'd be messed up. Only people not right in the head would let someone like that on a team.

At any moment he could turn on you- one thing he didn't agree with and his entire point of view. Friendships would be forgotten, loyalties and ties forgotten. And what for? To win?

It was disgusting.

He reached for the bucket next to his bed as he threw up again.

-*-

It pained Mei to leave Izuku alone after seeing him break down.

It was scary seeing it to be honest. He could be terrifying when he was angry because Izuku didn't get angry. But it was a hundred times worse seeing him break down. 

Having to watch him curl into a ball and start laughing and crying hysterically as he yanked at his own hair had shattered her heart. She'd been too frozen in place to do anything remotely helpful but Neito hadn't.

He'd quite literally jumped the table that separated the two and was trying to get Izuku to release his death grip on his head as gently as possible as Hitoshi tried to trick Izuku into talking so he could get him to calm down via his quirk.

All she'd done was st and there with heart in mouth.

He was in good hands though so she could afford to leave him for now.

 

Chapter Text

"You still think that's a monster Yagi?" Hizashi looked over to Shouta, his friend had sounded so proud of his student, had defended him like he was his own. And even now he was defending his actions, "The amounts of time I've spent with Midoriya is probably superficial in comparison to the time you've spent as his mentor,"

The homeroom teacher stood up, posture straight and shoulders back for once he towered over all them as they remained seated, "But the difference between the time we've spent is that I noticed early on that Midoriya has a tendency of faking things."

Hizashi took in his friends words, trying to pick up on any times he'd noticed Midoriya acting superficially.

Nothing stuck out to him, but Shouta had a tendency of picking up on things that often went under the radar.

"He consistently faked sadness to events, he consistently pretended to not have figured out emotional ploys despite his actions saying otherwise and he consistently used non-heroic strategies before switching something he could pass as heroic."

They stared.

"Midoriya Izuku has a logical mind with analysis skills that lead to him picking apart his adversaries for all their worth and then finding ways to put them out of commission. Most of you would say that's villainous behaviour."

Due to being born with his quirk, since being a kid Hizashi had always had his mouth in motion in some way. But hearing that last sentence dried it up and made his twitching lips still completely.

"If I described that behaviour for anyone else you'd say they were a villain. But that's a kid- a kid who wants to be a hero. Did any of you even read the objectives Nezu has given him?"

"I didn't offer them to them Aizawa, I wished to see their responses first before revealing how lenient Midoriya is being." Hizashi turned to his boss, the Chimera having turned in his spinny chair to face them, "Just know everyone , Midoriya is choosing the lesser evils right now. I also noticed the qualities Aizawa pointed out which was why I put Midoriya in this position."

"You wanted to see if he was a threat..." Nemuri's voice was very quiet, and she suddenly sounded very ill. 

"On the contrary, I wanted to see Midoriya's control and how far he could take it before he realised that his actions have real world consequences. That's something our students seem to be lacking in."

He latched his eyes onto his students, watching as Aoyama practically cradled Midoriya to him as the boy was hyperventilating. He couldn't look away as the 'evil mastermind' melted away to reveal a scared teenage boy.

"He's exceptionally early in fact. I expected him to crack far later after he'd done something irreversible."

"Midoriya is aware enough of his actions sir that would never happen." There was something in the finality of the word never that made him pause, taking another look at Shouta.

The raven man was still stood tall and aggressive, but his face was calmer somehow. Like he knew he'd convinced them that he was right. But he couldn't get over the emotion in that word.

Shouta without a shadow of a doubt believed that Midoriya knew his limits. And maybe the kid did, to break down 'this early' showed he knew what he was doing was wrong.

Thinking back to when he'd done this exercise in second year he remembered the way that the villain team (that Shouta and Oboro) had fought tooth and nail to keep any standing.

He remembered how Shouta had let tears of frustration drop for a few minutes after the exam had concluded. He remembered the few words thatched been able to hear, "Damn it- we were all to scared to do what we needed to!" he hadn't understood at the time. His classmates had been feral almost in their attempts to grasp power.

Now though he understood.

The villain team were always going to be at a disadvantage, they were being forced to fight for a morality they'd spent their entire lives being told was wrong. 

They were being forced to fight for a 'cause' that went against the very reason they were at this school.

They were being forced to brake from what the knew, what they believed in all in order to turn on their classmates, their friends, and then we're expected to remain the same after it as they had been beforehand.

It had been a subtle shift but Shouta and Oboro had definitely been less like themselves after that- they'd been closer as well. Like there was something they both understood but couldn't put into words.

Everything made sense now. Hearing a quivering breath he looked to its source.

He glanced at All Might to see the old hero looked pained to realise his boss and co-worker knew his successor better than he did.

-*-

Ochako paced outside of the infirmary, the room being packed to bursting point with gurnies so there was no room for visitors and definitely no room for pacing.

Down the hall she could hear another argument break out, and childishly she pressed her hands to her ears to drown them out. But it didn't work.

Somewhere above her a low rumble sounded out and she ignored it, knowing it wasn't some sick attack by the villains when they were at their lowest but rather Bakugou and Todoroki arguing.

Again.

How many times could they have the same argument? How many times could they destroy the same damn room!? She wanted to rage as well okay!

She wanted to cry and burst into a screaming fit or just throw shit around a room but she couldn't!

She wasn't allowed the opportunity because Iida was currently bed ridden and the only other authoritative figures in their stupid fucking team were in a room arguing like brats!

And now everybody else was arguing and some of the 1-B kids were saying they should of joined the villains team so a mutiny was probably on the way! And don't get her started on the fact the few orders she's tried to give people have blatantly ignored!

Everything was crumbling around her and it was so stupid!

They were scared she got that! They were sick and tired of being left in the dark - well whoopdy FUCKING do so is she! Council her ass the only ones that ever knew what was going on were Todoroki and Iida.

Her and Bakugou had minimal input and were only told of the thought happened to randomly pop into the other two's minds. They were a cohesive unit the two of them yes, but her and Bakugou and everybody else needed to know what they were doing.

"Uraraka."

"What!?" She brought her hands to her mouth, feeling awful as she stared at Tsu - the frog girls eyes wide and somewhat upset. "Tsu I- I didn't mean to- I'm so sorry-"

"It's...it's fine. They um...the villains are attacking the town hall again kero. What do we do? We don't have the numbers and we can't meet the demands the villain team have set...right?"

"I'll go deal with them, Tetsutetsu and some of the others are still functional right? You stay here and...hold down the fort okay? We'll deal with it." She tried to smile, although the tears of stress pricking at her eyes might have something to do with the fact it wasn't very convincing.

"You can't! Kero you can't go!"

"Tsu we can't just let them run rampant-"

"Kumicho and Cortex are the ones holding the 'mayor' hostage! We don't know Kumicho's quirk but Cortex is too dangerous to take on anyway!"

"And what do you propose we do Tsu?" She pulled herself taller, trying to find an ounce of courage within herself that wasn't fuelled by self preservation, "Just sit here while our team mates die? If we get Kumicho we can hold him hostage- we can offer him in exchange for the cure- and as soon as we're back on our feet we'll destroy them."

"Why do you think anyone will go along with this?" Tsuyu sounded so defeated, and so angry that it pulled at her heart strings, "Why should we put ourselves at risk for such a slim possibility!?"

"Because we're heroes Tsuyu!" She didn't care that she'd raised her voice this time. "A hero's job is to push against the odds and do what they can to help people!"

"Well right now Uraraka I just want to stay alive." She hated how defeated her friend sounded.

"How can we expect to survive if we don't try!"

"How can we survive if we leave our wounded defenceless and throw our lives away! They have guns Uraraka- guns with fake outs in them that if the pellets hit us in the right place count as an out." She noticed that Tsuyu had started crying, "You know what they did to Sero and you want to- want to what Ochako! Tell me what the hell you want to do because for the past four days I've been kept in the dark and I'm sick amd tired of it!"

"Join the club Tsu- I'd love to know what's going on as well! If I have to I'll storm city hall myself!"


"This mask is so uncomfortable, how has he been wearing it for so long?"

Neito lifted the oval mask from his face, taking in deep breaths after being under the stuffy mask for so long. Across from him Momo hummed in agreement while Hitoshi didn't make comment.

"We shouldn't of left him..." He eyed his best friend from the corner of his eyes but didn't make a move to acknowledge the comment. Hitoshi had picked up the habit of mumbling his thoughts from Izuku, "Why did we leave him again?" 

This time the boy turned his boy to him and Neito sighed, leaning into the seat he closed his eyes to ease off the building headache.

"Have faith in Yuga, Hitoshi." He didn't comment on the fact that Momo had used Hitoshi's first name but catalogued it for later questioning.

"I do its just-" he opened his eyes as he heard the noise of aggravation leave the other boy.

"'Toshi." He didn't stop the pacing he'd started but his head snapped towards him, "Izuku is going to be fine. A bit of Y&F and he'll be good to go."

"You don't know th- what the actual fuck is y and f!?"

He snickered, "Uh, Yuga and Fumikage? Obviously? Look," he knew both teens in the room were looking at him intently and it made him slightly uncomfortable so spun around on the spinnny chair to not have to make eye contact, "The whole break down was expected it was just made worse because Mei had administered the drug. It obviously made him all buzzy and it didn't react well with his emotional over load."

His chair spun so he was facing then again, they both looked contemplative, "There isn't really anything we can do Toshi. The others will make him feel as well as they can. We just need to step up- you two are his lieutenants right, so, you guys need to take charge."

"It just leaves a sour taste in my mouth that we're taking major charge because Izuku is emotionally incapacitated." He agreed with Momo before slipping the mask atop of his head as Kuroiro opened the door.

"They're here guys. You ready?" The shadow quirk user didn't look nervous, instead his face was set in a confident half smirk. Not too cocky but reasonably assured of his victory.

"Yeah. Blanc, set the mood please."

"With pleasure, Kumicho." the boy winked as he went to the window over looking the heroes and opened it slightly, before allowing his quirk to envelope them creating an arena of darkness.

From down below they could just about hear Uraraka shout her orders, "Keep calm! Defensive positions they could come from anywhere!"

Neito took a deep breath before putting the mask back on and using the microphone Momo handed him to speak, "Hello little heroes! How are we doing today?"

-*-

Tetsutetsu felt on edge when Kumicho spoke. The darkness of Kuroiro's quirk enclosed them, trapped them, but that wasn't the cause of the shiver up his spine.

There was a detached quality to the voice. It was the same monotonous disembodied tone, the same image of a suited figure with the same mask on showing on the screen.

But something was wrong. He couldn't put his finger on it.

The closest he could get to putting it into words was that the speed h wasn't right. It was the same condescending nonchalant attitude but there was a tiny spec that wasn't right.

"Good good, we're doing fine how many of you have dropped yet? Quite a few I imagine. Did your little leader take it well; oh I can see his face now!"

"Where's the real Kumicho!? You aren't him!"

Eurasia called out what he couldn't, it was clicking into place what was off putting as she continued talking, "You may have his voice but your speech is too different!"

"Oh well, you caught me," he watched as Monoma pulled off the mask, "no point keeping up the charade I suppose. Oh and what do we have- what are you doing here!?"

Turning he saw someone stood just on the edge of the dark void. This time they looked like the Kumicho from the video, and spoke just like them. This time he knew the real Kumicho was in front of him. And the fact Monoma was confused said that this wasn't planned.

"I heard you were wanting to see me heroes, heroines? Well isn't this your lucky day?" There was something unsteady in the way Kumicho moved closer to them, like his body was too heavy and it was draining him to put one foot in front of the other. And yet, at the same time he could see that the boy was shaking.

"I apologise that my associates held you up, they weren't aware I'd be coming. However now that we're all here lets have at it, acting hero leader Uravity - what is it that I can do for you?"

Even shaking and visibly unstable the figure of the mastermind in his dark all encompassing outfit (clearly designed to hide any defining characteristics) standing against the void shook him to his core.

"Villain leader Kumicho you are under arrest! Turn yourself over or we will be forced to use force!"

Tetsutetsu readied himself, biting his tongue as he activated his quirk hoping to dear god the lack of reaction from the villains in the building didn't mean they were on their way here.

They were stragglers at best- he was only here because he couldn't bring himself to be useless anymore. "Oh?"

The chuckle that sounded from behind that mask, so distorted and unnatural, sent a chill through him, "Is that all?" They brought a hand up to their mask and he realised it was the right hand. His stomach dropped when he realised the mastermind wasn't wearing gloves.

He caught sight of the scar on the hand and nearly dropped to his knees in despair then and there. The reality really sunk in when Midoriya Izuku removed his mask to reveal he was Kumicho. "You could of just said so, I'd have met you at your base with my own quirk suppressant cuffs."

Chapter Text

Hitoshi took the steps three at a time as he practically threw himself down the stairs.

Why the fuck had Izuku pulled himself from his bed, he visibly was unstable and now he was going through with the original plan- a plan that required he actually be able to hold his own body weight which had looked like it was proving an issue.

But the biggest question was - "How the fuck did he even get here!?"

Neito must have read his mind as the blond yelled out his thoughts just as the four of them launched themselves into the lobby to see Izuku pull off his mask and reveal himself to be the villain leader.

It was supposed to last a little while longer, their charade.

It was sensitive information and he was just willingly giving it up? The original plan had involved a reveal a bit later and with a much greater effect!

They made it out the building to see Uraraka's knees go out from under her, "Deku...? You...you did all this?"

"Kuroiro you can release your quirk now, it's not needed thank you." From next to him Hitoshi saw the other teenage boy lower his hands and could only stare as his quirk melted away. "I take it you're surprised Uraraka?"

Their leader crouched down in front of his friend and the remnants of the hero team stumbled back, leaving an open path to Izuku. They could grab him and go- leave quickly and without leaving a trace.

"You're supposed to be the good one... out of all of us you're supposed to be the innocent one!"

Her voice sounded raw to Hitoshi, a horrid feeling of reflection came to him. He'd sounded like that more than once over the years.

"That was your mistake. Now, get up, I'm willingly going with you to interrogation we don't have all day."

"Hell no!" He found his voice working before he'd fully processed the words, "You're or going anywhere with Kumicho! Heapheastus, Blanc, White Collar and I won't let you!"

"You four, stand down. I'll go say hello to Kacchan and Shouchan for a bit, see you in a few hours."

Hitoshi hated himself because he could only sit there and watch as his best friend was carted off. He desperately made contact with home base to discover Izuku had struck out on his own and they'd been looking for him for over an hour.

"Damn it! For fuck sake Izuku!"

-*-

When Shouto got the message that they'd caught Kumicho he'd requested the following interrogation be he'd at an abandoned building a few blocks from their home base.

The point was to give Kumicho as little information about the layout of their building as possible while still keeping him within range of what remained of their force.

He hadn't been expecting- well he didn't know who he had been expecting but he hadn't been expecting Midoriya Izuku to walk through the door to the empty room on the third floor.

"Deku!?" Next to him Bakugou's voice reached a new pitch.

"Hey KacchanShouchan. How have you been?"

"You little rat bastard you're gonna pay for what you did to Sero! I always knew you were a sick twisted snake!"

Midoriya's expression didn't change at all, and that made everything worse.


"You hate Bakugou... don't you Midoriya?" The way his friend stopped, beaten body folded near in half from where he was clutching his stomach as he supported himself against the wall, only made Shouto more convinced that his conviction was well placed.

He was throw however when Midoriya started shaking. Instinct kicked in and he rushed forward towards his friend, worried that the frankly savage beating Bakugou had inflicted was having serious repercussions.

He stopped short however when he heard the laughter that echoed around the destroyed room. He could see Midoriya's mystery right hand move towards him but they also faltered when Midoriya lifted his head up.

Green eyes had looked murderous during this exercise before, but the look Shouto faced was not murderous or malicious it was bone liquidating instability.

Despite being previously too beaten to even hold his own weight, the boy managed to pull himself up albeit swaying.

From there Shouto got another good look at his face. The instability in his eyes was high lighted by the unstoppable laughter erupting from his lips and the numerous bruises blossoming to life on his face. What really sold the 'snapped villain' look was how the blood from his head injury ran down his head heavier with the sudden movement causing one eye to be nearly blind due to obstruction.

"Hate?" It was whispered with such fragility that he almost missed it.

"Hate him?" He managed to stop swaying and unsure as to what was going on in the smaller boys mind Shouto prepared for a fight, the familiar feeling of ice running through his veins, "Silly, silly Shouto. I've far fucking surpassed hating him. I could happily put him in the ground and not give a flying fuck about the consequences! And you know what stops me!?"

More vicious laughter and the second even stepped back, "Not the law, not my own morals no. No, the only thing stopping me from murdering Bakugou Katsuki is the fact that I respect him!"

"But why. Why get to that point if you respect him." He was far beyond trying to get tyrannical plans from the other boy, now he was more focused on figure out who was in front of him and where Midoriya had gone.

(In the back of his mind he secretly wondered if the Midoriya he had known had ever truly existed and if this person in front of him was what his friend was truly like.)

"Do you know the amount of shit I've been put through by him!?" a broken hand was forced into action and Bakugou stilled at the accusation, "Since I was four I've come home with bruises, with burns with cuts, all because that fucking narcissist didn't like that I was QUIRKLESS." He could see Midoriya start shaking again and the accusatory finger pointed at Bakugou wavered before dropping. He almost missed that the boy had started crying,"How many times have you been told to kill yourself Shouto?"

He could only open and close his mouth unsure as to how the hell he was supposed to respond to that.

All Midoriya did was laugh, quieter and more stable this time. His second came closer to him, reaching a silent hand out towards the boy that was ignored, "I don't have enough appendages to count the number of times I've been told. The day before my quirk came in you know what I was told?

Shouto didn't like how Bakugou flinched, as if the next words to follow would injure him. Shouto came to learn they would do much more than that.

"I was told I should go take a swan dive off the roof and pray i got a quirk in my next life," The crying mixed with the blood flowing down his face and the image of a beaten, bloody and smirking Midoriya would haunt him, the boy spread his arms, "As you can see I didn't. The teachers didn't care when I told them, yeah KACCHAN I fucking told them. Guess what our homeroom teacher told me?"

There was a tense silence and Shouto wished he never heard what was said next, "He told me it was sound advice. The same man that told me how proud he was of me when I got into U.A. told me that I should throw myself off the roof. So, hero leader Shouto."

The use of his new title had him looking over at Midoriya, broken from his disgust. The villain leader gave a flamboyant bow, blood droplets hitting the floor as he spat on the floor as he stood up straight.

"Do you think I hate Bakugou."

With that the boy was hit with another round of laughter and his second tilted their head behind the mask and wrapped an arm around Midoriya's waist as the boy finally seemed to loose whatever was keeping him uo and promptly collapsed into the others side.

"It's been great, honestly folks, but we have to bounce." And with that they fell through a hole in the floor. At the sight of his friend falling Shouto rushed forward to see a convertible roof closing and a car soon enough sped off.

For a few moments all that was heard was the sound of the car driving away, the rain against the exposed concrete interior and both his and Bakugou's breathing.

At the reminder of the blond he spun around and lashed out, ice encasing the explosive boy who acted strangely complacent as Shouto felt his fire lick at his face as his anger boiled over, "How much of that was true!?"

"...Everything about me was true."

Chapter Text

He took notice that it had begun to rain, and watched the rain droplets start hitting the window, "You little rat bastard you're gonna pay for what you did to Sero! I always knew you were a sick twisted snake!"

He snickered at that, turning his eyes to Bakugou to see how angry and devastated he was. It caused another laugh from him when Todoroki showed the same emotions as well. "Midoriya...but you're supposed to be-"

"The innocent one?" he couldn't resist his smirk when the two stared at him gobsmacked. "Uraraka said the same thing. You had me figured out for awhile though didn't you Kacchan. What was it you used to say..."

He brought a hand up and tapped at his lips, partially keeping an eye on the way Bakugou's entire body was shaking. He also realised that his feet had been frozen to the floor.

Wow, so Todoroki still cared. It was too little too late to start caring.

He could feel the buzz of Recovery Girl's original formula under his skin making him shake and feel like he could take on the world. But he could also feel the dark oppressive drain that had come after his break down a few hours earlier.

"Oh! That's it!" He schooled his features, " A lying, cheating bastard with a cheap little maskIt can't of been that cheap can it if I still managed to fool you."

Red eyes stabbed him and a familiar poisonous tongue spat at him, "What about auntie huh? You think she's gonna still care about you when she figures out the lengths you've gone to? You think she's still going to want you when she figures out what a monster you are!?"

He couldn't help himself, and soon found himself half way across the room from Todoroki holding Bakugou face down into the ground, cracks in the concrete where he'd thrown the blonds face into it.

"Shut up! Don't talk like you know anything!"

He was thrown back off of the other boy as Bakugou propelled himself from his floored position using his hands. Once they were all on their feet again (the rain was getting heavier he could hear it now) he got into a fighting stance but refused to use full cowl.

Not yet.

Not if he didn't have to.

Bakugou made the next move, roaring at the top of his lungs as he activated his quirk and flew straight at him.

He knew from years of watching the other and from the sports festival that the blond had aerial manoeuvring down pat, however he also knew from their first heroics lesson that in an enclosed space like this Bakugou had to get directly above him for it to work.

So, when the living explosion got over top of him he sprung forward, confusing the two heroes, and aimed a punch directly at Todoroki's solar plexus officially winding the boy.

At the sound of concrete crumbling he turned to see Bakugou had displaced a good half of the outside wall, now rain would be getting in and making this even harder to fight.

Taking the winded boy he threw him at Bakugou who-with no intentions of catching his team mate- crashed into the other boy leaving them a winded mess on the floor for a few minutes at least.

"Alright!" His voice was painfully cheerful even to himself, "How about we actually have an interrogation yeah!? Instead of you fighting- Fuck!"

He fell back, back knocking into the wall as he grasped his head his equilibrium suddenly gone. Looking down and to the left he saw a piece of bloodied debris next to his foot. Looking up he saw Bakugou barley on his feet, still obviously out of breath, arm still raised in its final position.

"Shut up Deku. If you wanted to talk you lost your chance the minute you beat Sero to a bloodied pulp!"

He could tell then and there that he was fucked. Could tell that all this unbridled rage had to have an out and right now for Bakugou he was the most direct course of action.

So, opening his arms wide and purposely making himself a target be raised his voice to just before a shout and spoke, "Oh just like old times huh?" He didn't miss the blonds flinch, "Sorry to disappoint you Bakugou but I'm not taking it lying down!"

"How dare you act like the victim here after all you've done!" Todoroki was in the middle of pulling himself to his feet just as Bakugou launched himself at him.

"Pot fucking kettle!" He found himself spitting out as he tried to block Bakugou's attack though was unsuccessful due to how uneasy he was on his feet.

It all happened too quickly but Bakugou got a few jabs in and suddenly he was bent over the others explosive packed punch to the stomach.

He felt the bile in his stomach (because he'd thrown up too many times after his break down for there to be anything but bile) rise up and be forced out of his mouth.

The sudden appearance of fluid on his arm forced Bakugou to pull back, a disgusted expression on his face, but Izuku took the opportunity of his lack of full concentration to throw his own punch at Bakugou's face (it was too weak damnit! The drug dose wasn't lasting as long because he'd let Mei convince him to do a little more than half!) and managed to knee his stomach enough for him to back off.

They both stood hunched, struggling for breath a few meters apart. Glancing behind the other he saw Todoroki climbing to his feet and staying there this time.

Izuku quickly surveyed the room.

If the drug was on the end of its high then he'd be crashing pretty soon and he couldn't afford that. It would be too risky and too dangerous to even think about it right now.

"I'll repeat again! Questions... ask... the fucking...questions!"

He tried to pull himself up to full height but stopped when he felt something wet slide down his face. Bringing a hand up he realised that whatever injury Bakugou had inflicted by throwing a lump of literal fucking concrete at his head it was deep enough for blood.

Great.

"I already told you Deku-"

"I'm not talking to you; this is why we can never have a conversation because all you do is scream! So talk Todoroki- ask me some fucking questions because this is nothing but a beat down if you don't!"

He could feel the room swaying under his feet, feel how everything was slowly titling but bit his tongue, the sharp random pain sparking his brain to power again even if it was only for a few short minutes.

He took a step forward, activating full cowl, and threw a punch, desperately missing Bakugou but breaking apart more of the outside wall. Rushing he managed to use full cowl to use the air to push Todoroki away so that his back was exposed to the elements.

He had an escape route here.

When the two started to encroach he smashed his foot into the floor creating a hole just behind him and send spider web cracks along the floor, stopping just before the two boys. "I'll bring down the building if I have to!" They didn't take another step closer.

"Izuku!" He turned his head towards the door to see Hitoshi standing there, full Wakagashira gear on including mask. He felt a hiccup in his throat as he barely murmured his friends code name.

Hitoshi paused where he was, clearly taking his appearance in before a horrid growl reverberated from him, "You bastards! What the hell did you do to him!?"


He was barley able to keep himself aware in the car as they sped back to, he presumed, home base.

Everything hurt and pulsed and felt like he had actually gone through with dropping the building on his head. Hitoshi had him resting his head in his lap but he couldn't tell who else was in the car.

He wasn't particularly lucid enough to care to be honest.

"M'sorry..." He felt the other stiffen under him, and suddenly found a hand running through his hair, causing him to relax. It took the edge off the pain if even a little bit.

"You were an idiot...and I don't understand why you did it... but I'm just glad you're safe."

"Mhm." He let his eyes slide closed, trying to level his breathing. "Oh."

"Is something wrong?"

"No..no. Hey Toshi?"

"Yeah?"

"Thumbs up."

He heard a wet laugh escape his best friend and before sleep finally let him into its grasp he felt a shudder of relief run through his friend.


Shouta continued to struggle against Hizashi as his friend held him back from storming out of the observations room.

This was too far! He was all for realism and making the kids see the reality of their situation but not to this extent!

Midoriya should never have looked so convicted when he threatened to drop the roof on his own head. He'd seen in his students eyes he was prepared to go that far to get away.  The threat itself was a violation of the health risk rule but the fact it had gotten to that point was also a violation.

He should of been down there stopping thrm!

"Let me go!"

"Its finished Shouta, they stopped fighting Midoriya is on his way to get help. So calm down damnit."  It was rare when it happened but occasionally Hizashi would lower his volume and be the emotionless one in their dynamic.

Pulling him back to grounded reality and allowing himself to think logically about the whole thing that had caused him to go off the metaphorical rails in the first place.

"It never should of reached this point!"

"Weren't you the one defending Midoriya's actions before weren't you?" Turning on Ken he felt himself snarling.

"That's a child Ken! His actions have followed the rules- the heroes team's actions then did not. However we can't do anything because Midoriya also broke the rules when he threatened to bring the building down! On himself and two of his classmates- let that sink in."

"I am aware that my stance previously had not been... particularly supportive of young Midoriya but Aizawa has a point." Shouta turned (when had Hizashi and Nemuri flanked him and kept him between them) to see Yagi on his feet, skeletal form looking imposing for once.

"Young Midoriya is a teenager. You may not like his actions but that does not condone the fact that we allowed for him to become beaten by his peers. Nezu," the number one turned to the head teacher, "Why did you not stop this?"

"Its an objective, All Might. One that was just between Midoriya and I. Nobody else knew about it...but to think he would go about it this way..."

"What was the objective sir?"

"To turn the leader against his men."

Chapter Text

(To clear some stuff up, the start of last chapter was a flashback to just after Bakugou called Midoriya a snake)

Also this is a short chapter


"How many more secrets are the two of you hiding from us Nezu?"

"..."

The silence was answer enough.


"Boss you need to stay lying down! You are no where near healed up!"  Rikido was sure he was going to go grey at this rate. It was the third time he'd caught Izuku trying to sneak out of his bed.

It pained him to see the other boy in his current state, head bandaged and severely bruised with his torso not being in any better shape.

Along his neck and ribs he had scorch marks from the proximity of Bakugou's explosions, that coupled with the bruises blossoming to life across his torso made Rikido's stomach churn.

He didn't even look half as bad as he had when he'd turned up.

Blood trailing down his face, sick drying on his chin where he'd been punched so hard he'd thrown up, bruises covered in concrete dust and green eyes delirious as he came down from the high of the drug he'd taken to keep himself on his feet.

After they'd done a quick check up (courtesy of a video chat with Recovery Girl) they'd found that Izuku had somehow predicted he'd have a mental break down because the drug wouldn't of been able to be administered after the break down and the only thing that had kept him on his feet had been the caffeine high.

"I'm fine Rikido- shit!" The other hissed out as Rikido pressed lightly on his side, raising an eyebrow at the other who only huffed. The funny thing was that the 'shit!' Was really a drawn out 'sssshhhiittt!'

"Sure you are Izuku. You got the shit beaten out of you so heal."

The other relented and lay back down, prompting Rikido to leave so that he could swap out with Kendo. He knew it was counter productive to waste man power keeping an eye on their healing boss; but Izuku had proven that he would and could sneak out of a building of over twenty other people just to risk his life.

He was just about to close the door behind him when he froze as Nezu's words carried over the intercom, "Midoriya Izuku of the villain team is officially dead."

Spinning on his foot quickly he saw Izuku cackling, "Phase two is starting now guys, I'm 'dead' as far as the heroes know let's see how they react to a bunch of ghosts!"


Katsuki felt his throat tighten at the overhead announcement, heart thumping in his chest violently at hearing the phrase.

He'd never thought he'd hear it, and somehow it hit more than Sero's 'death' because he'd killed Midoriya. He'd been the one that had caused such violent injuries they had to class his as dead. He'd...He'd done that.

When he blinks all he can see is Deku, bloodied and feral - his upper lip is pulled back revealing clenched teeth as he snarls and hisses that if need be he'll bring a roof down on all of them.

He can see the way that some kind of relief enters Deku as his second turns up. He can remember it vividly and it haunts him. 

When had Deku last looked so happy to see someone? When had he last looked relieved?

Never.

Even as kids, even when he'd been the centre of Delu's attention and vice versa he'd never seen him so relieved or happy to see someone.

Why had he done that?

He slides to the floor, back pressed against his bedroom door as he stares at the darkness encompassing him.

Why had he allowed himself to act so villainous? He wanted to be the hero that always won- but if he only focused on winning he was no better than a villain.

Sure Deku's team had done terrifying things but... but they wouldn't of maimed Sero. And they wouldn't of poisoned them with something that could kill them...

It was all in an effort to scare them-

Wait.

Wait a fucking second.

If Deku was 'dead' and the game hadn't ended...

He felt bile rise in his throat at the thought.

That meant the real leader wasn't Deku- the real leader had used Deku as a distraction, as a pawn.

He'd 'killed' Deku so someone else didn't have to deal with the consequences of their actions. He wanted to be angry, to scream at the idea that someone refused to fight him but he wouldn't.

He couldn't get angry that the leader was running from the responsibilities of their own actions. After all, people shouldn't throw kettles in glass rooms.


Fumikage lies on the couch, Dark Shadow hovering above him.

They're both silent in the darkness of the night, the only sounds accompanying them the innate electrical hum that accompanies a silent atmosphere and the sound of the rain pelting against the window.

For all that its worth he's doing nothing more than having a staring contest with his quirk, but it's relaxing.

There are no expectations now, there is only silence. And there is only control.

He lets out the breath he's been holding as Dark Shadow quivers with the rattling of his chest. It's taking a lot to keep them both this still and separate, but it's worth it. He wants to prove he can do this.

He can cooperate with his quirk, Dark Shadow may have sentience but he did not control Fumikage. It was co-dependent situation and he needed to accept that instead of trying to fight it all the time.

"You're scared of what's going to happen aren't you?"

He merely blinked at his quirk as it rumbled, "You're scared you won't be able to control the both of us when you need to. We'll be fine Fumi."

"Will we?"

"We will. You are strong. Izuku wouldn't pick you if you weren't strong. We will win Fumi. We will win."

"Okay... but you blinked before I did."

Dark Shadow howled in annoyance, breaking from his control to move and sulk on the other side of the room, "I thought you wouldn't notice!"

Chapter Text

"Would someone mind telling me what the fuck is going on!? Because right now Izuku we're all more than a bit confused on how you're dead and we haven't lost."

Hitoshi was going to pull his hair out any second; he loved Izuku so so much but by God was the brat starting to drive him insane. He knew Izuku was lounging on the couch because it activated his injuries the least but coupled with his smirk just made him look smarmy.

He could tell from the muted rumble of their group that everyone was interested in what the fuck was going on.

"You remember when we visited Nezu, the day Todoroki and Iida spotted us?"

"Yeah?" Of course he remembered, "What about it all we did was get Nezu saying...oh."

Oh.

Oh, oh!

("Now, for the most common statement you could hear: Midoriya Izuku of the villain team has been captured. Of course, we would address you as any titles we have heard you be referred to as, if requested."

"Thank you."

"For someone on the opposite team it would be the same except would refer to them as follows Midoriya Izuku of the hero team has been captured.")

"You sly bastard!" He found himself laughing as the pieces came together. This was going to be brilliant, "You're going to have the teachers and Nezu in uproar!" 

He could definitely hear the others asking him what he was going on about but he couldn't even begin to explain as be continued to laugh his head off.

All he could see was Nezu's shocked face when he realised that Izuku had one upped him again, that Izuku had been playing even him for a fool.

He'd asked Izuku who he was fighting against, and he'd answered everybody and himself. He should of asked Nezu though, because it seemed the rat had just lost his offense.

He'd thought he knew how Izuku thought, he'd tried to get into his head and in the process had let Izuku into his own: letting his friends greedy, hunter of a mind tear down the walls to find his weaknesses.

Nezu was superior for his ability to think ten steps ahead, Izuku could beat him because Izuku could hide three plans under one and not let it slip until they were at the eleventh step of the plan.

"It was really all Mei's hard work to be honest. Hitsohi and I had received recordings of Nezu saying multiple phrases that would be used throughout the game." He zoned back in to see everyone had left him to his laughing fit and Mei was now sat on the couch next to Izuku preening under the verbal affection and praise their best friend was rolling out.

"I asked Mei if she could splice two of them together, which she did." He noticed Izuku's wince as he waved his arm about, Mei seemed to notice it as well from the way she shifted closer, "Then, when it was Mei's shift to make sure i didn't try and escape my room we devised a plan to wait until two hours had passed to pronounce me 'dead'."

He could feel a grin spread across his face, as it did to the others in the room.

It was an unsettling sight, a room of twenty plus teenagers all crowded in a room grinning maliciously at the explanation of how someone faked their death.

He hoped Nezu was watching them.

He really, really, hoped Nezu was watching them.

"You mentioned phase two, what does that mean?"

Izuku's grin turned down right conniving and he was living for it, "We go under the cover of darkness- the poison should be coming out of their systems by now so more of them will start to be active in the daytime."

"That is where I will come in I presume?" Fumikage's voice had them all pausing. So he'd known about this plan? Did that mean he knew about the fake death?

He wasn't even angry. This was how Izuku worked. Nobody knew how many plans he had except himself. That way he kept his plan a working and his backups operational.

"Yep." The younger boy popped his 'p' at the end, "Fumiko will lead a team into the hero base and wreak havoc from the ground up, They'll use the sewage entrance which means I'll need you as co-leader on this Torru."

He wished for a second that the girl wasn't invisible because from the way her outfit seemed to vibrate and the way she was jumping up and down he imagined her expression was a face splitting, eye blinding smile.

"Yes! Yes, I can definitely do that!"

"I assume we'll all be doing some form of anarchy tonight boss?" Kurorio posed the question they all knew the answer to but it sped up the process of knowing what they were all doing.

"Late to tonight to early morning is more the window I'm thinking of but yes. We're going to haunt this city and level it as much as we can without telling them where we are." He sat up more, "I'm talking fires, foreboding messages, general haunting stuff y'know?"

"But the ghost aesthetic is because?"

"Fumiko here has agreed to pretend to be the 'real' Kumicho for me. We've directed them away from the truth and now we're going to switch up the facts."

"They're going to be so pissed off though..."

"It's perfect isn't it? While they're distracted with Fumiko and we're destroying everything around them we can attempt to put a few more of them out of commission and collect bonus points."

"And you're okay with this?" He doesn't really know who asked but everyone turns to Fumikage. It was all well and good Izuku saying the boy had agreed to become a scape goat and a prime target but the consequences of that were greater than could be expressed.

"Yes. After all, we're aiming to win aren't we? Some sacrifices have to be made. I was however hoping to make a suggestion."

"Oh?"

"What is everybody's opinion on the Sparticus method?"

Chapter Text

(For those of you that celebrate Christmas, happy Christmas Eve. For those of you who don't, have a fantastic week!)

Also, there's a line here in Nezu's section that only really makes sense in you've got the first chapter fresh in your brain so I'd quickly go over that before reading this chapter.


"So... Deku was Kumicho?"

The silence was excruciating in the too small command room. Most of them were up and on their feet, his hypothesis that the illness was only temporary being confirmed, but a few of them were still out of commission.

"And... Bakugou 'killed him'?" He didn't even attempt to hide his crestfallen expression. He knew what he'd done, there was no point hiding and pretending he didn't understand his own mistakes.

"Deku wasn't Kumicho."

"Huh!?"

He snarled, spitting out his words for the deaf morons on his team to hear, "Use your fucking heads! Deku couldn't of been Kumicho -the villain team would of lost by now!" He looked to Todoroki, who was still refusing to look at him, "Or at the very least Kumicho wasn't the leader. Someone used Deku as a scape goat and I took it too far."

That brought a reaction out of the half-and-half bastard as well as everyone else as they all stared at him.

"What!? I fucked up- I acknowledged it lets move on why don't we; start figuring out who's actually playing mind games with us!"

"Kumi- Midoriya mentioned about not using his men as pawns when we met him at the exchange building...if what you're saying is true Bakugou..." the half and half trailed off, clearly putting some semblance of a plan together, "The villain team will probably be in shambles. Their trust will be broke..."

"They'll probably be unable to even cooperate with each other."


"AY MACARENA!"

Fumikage found himself sighing, not dejectedly but rather in tired acceptance as the rest of his 'stealth' team sang and did the hand motions for the Macarena.

He knew it was a pretty old dance, something pre-quirk era at the least, so he was surprised that most of his teammates knew it. Or maybe that was because he'd been stuck with the excitable puppies of the group.

Torch, Demonman, Demowoman, Mirror and Mole all chanted as they made their ways through the sewers and due to the simplicity of the song and the impending boredom that had sent his team mates into this situation in the first place he found himself holding Dark Shadow back for the sole purpose of of his quirk wanting to belt out the song.

With his luck Dark Shadow would get him dancing as well...

He huffed another breath, spotting the way the identical masks reflected the light from their torches.

Without the superficial light they would be engulfed in complete darkness. He knew it was to light the way, but the extra brightness setting of all the torches was probably for Torch.

He'd noticed the other boy was less restless with all his friends and light to defend him.

Everyone was wearing a mask that matched Kumicho's. Down to design and voice modulation everything was identical. He didn't have one for the fact an oval mask was useless with his facial structure.

Everyone else though? You couldn't tell the Kumicho form the clones.

That should throw the heroes off track again. 

He just couldn't wait to put the rest of their plan into action.


There are few things in life Nezu regrets; with what he has gone through he has learnt that regrets are nothing more than useless human emotion getting in the way of logic.

However one of his biggest regrets is letting Midoriya Izuku become aware that he did not truly comprehend human emotion.

He didn't regret it for anger or disdain driven reasons, no. He was glad somewhat that the boy had exploited it. It's what he would of done.

No, he regrets it because now Nezu has to watch as a student he put so much value into blossoms to life in front of his eyes. And he has to watch it knowing that he has been outplayed.

He can't keep up.

He can't be steps ahead when Midoriya doesn't let any one person know every detail but himself.

It would be near impossible to pick apart his web of deceit and camouflage.

He is proud though, this is what he wanted to see. He wanted to see the beast be unleashed- to see the thing that hid behind Midoriya's eyes out.

After spending so many years in a cage of someone else's making Nezu can only imagine what it felt like being trapped in one you'd made yourself.

He regrets the action and yet not.

Truly the only reason he completely regrets it is because he no longer knows where he stands.

Midoriya had never been playing Todoroki; that had been obvious from the beginning. But who was he playing now when he had already thrown himself off the board? And who was he playing now when Nezu himself was no longer a player?

He would just have to wait he supposed, he could do that. He'd spent many years waiting for someone like Midoriya to appear.

Someone who was capable of blurring the lines but knew where he should stop, someone who could go through with these things for the greater good and yet retain their humanity.

In a world with All For One raising to power again, and all the old heroes who's morals would allow for this behaviour dead or dying Midoriya was exactly what he needed at his school.

...

......

Toshinori wanted the boy to become the next symbol of peace, but that was futile. That concept had created the problem they were facing from the beginning. No.

No. Nezu wanted to see Midoriya come to full fruition. He wanted to see the boy become what he truly was instead of hiding behind a facade.

The boy he was looking at on the screen was not the same boy that he had seen in his office on the day they'd tricked him. Oh no, this was someone else. This wasn't Deku (as he'd heard him be referred to as so many times) this was Midoriya Izuku.

And he couldn't be prouder.


"Heeellllooo everybody! How are we feeling tonight!?" Bakugou felt his throat tighten as he stared from the common room's floor to ceiling windows to see a Kumicho stood on the roof with a giant microphone.

This figure was smaller, less built than Deku. He could tell that from here, but they were dressed the same as him, wore the same mask as him and the biggest mimd fuck was that they had his voice.

Not the creepy modulated one, no. They had Deku's voice as they spoke.

The figure nodded to an invisible crowd, "Good, good. Now heroes over there," they pointed a finger in their direction, "I have one thing to say to you!"

He was so glad he hadn't changed from his hero costume in the next few seconds. "Kaboom!" With that one word the glass shattered and he threw himself and some girl from 1-B to the floor.

He kept his head down as did everybody else as boom after boom sounded as the Windows of their building shattered and rained down on them with a near deadly force. 

He didnt dare look up, but he heard the Kumicho's words clearly, "This was Kumicho live for you tonight! Enjoy the rest of the show and I'll see you all later!"

With that it suddenly went quiet and he lifted his head, moving off if the other student and went to stand when a loud growling reverberated through the building, causing the glass on the floor to shudder.

For a terrifying moment he thought they were at the epicentre of an earthquake. And then Kirishima dragged him back down as possibly what was a living embodiment of a nightmare screeched and rushed the room covering the minimal street light and plunging them into darkness as whatever feral demon above them caused anarchy.

And then it was gone and cackling sounded out as the elevator pinged.

 

-*-

"So we're fine, but we probably shouldn't of attacked so early because now the heroes are vigilante."

He nodded, "Okay... we'll go through with the rest of the plans, just make sure everyone is extra vigilante. Thumbs up."

"Thumbs down."

-*-

"Ingenium up here!"

Hearing Midoriya's voice (how? How is he here? How is he alive? He was dead wasn't he!?) causes him to look up at the burning buildings of the financial district.

He slowly turns in a circle trying to pinpoint the location of the voice. Just as he thinks he's gotten it he spins as it calls out again from another building.

"Over here!"

"No here!"

"Up here!"

"Here!"

It bounces off of shattered windows, distorting it and making it inhuman much like the reflection he sees when he finally sees the other.

Except when he blinks they're gone. And then someone kicks him in the back and he stumbles, turning to see who's there when a harsh punch is delivered to his sternum winding him.

He hears Tetsutetsu not too far off screaming for Midoriya to show himself. But that isn't possible because Midoriya was here a second ago or- "Looks like I finally found you, fake hero scum."

His body locks up as he feels warm breath next to his ear, he knows not if he really is paralysed but his body won't cooperate as he hears Stain's voice next to his ear. "You won't get away this time Iida Tenya. The name Ingenium will end by my blade and it will be your fault."

He comes to his senses then, because Stain was in Tarturus he can't hurt him. But as he tries to make himself turn he can't move.

He can't, because nobody on the villain team bar Midoriya (and he's out he has to be, he just has to be because nothing makes sense if he isn't) knows what Stain said to him in that alley way and then he can feel a blade at his throat and he knows now that he's going to die.

Because this is what it felt like, this is what he found himself feeling seconds before Midoriya knocked Stain away but nobody is here now, and he feels his body shaking in fear but...

He. Can't. Move.

He feels the blade press into his neck lightly, in the tiny gap between his helmet and the rest of his armour, and its so mocking as the blade digs in.

It takes him a second to realise there is no pain, and then another second to realise that the knife isn't real, but by the time his brain realises the fake blade has been slashed across his neck and Nezu's voice rings out:

"Iida Tenya of the hero team is officially dead, a member of staff will arrive to collect him shortly."

He drops to his knees, left arm (the arm that Stain had damaged, the arm that is a reminder his failure of his disgrace-) reaching up to grasp at his throat. 

He finally convinces his body to cooperate and looks over his shoulder but nothing is there, no one not even the wind greets him as the fire rages around him.

And then, "Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu of the hero team is officially dead, a member of staff will arrive to collect him shortly."

"Fukidaishi Manga of the hero team is officially dead, a member of staff will arrive to collect him shortly."

"Kodai Yui of the hero team is officially dead, a member of staff will arrive to collect her shortly."

"Shiozaki Ibara of the hero team is officially dead, a member of staff will arrive to collect her shortly."

His entire team is wiped out. Seconds apart.

What the Hell is going- no. That's the wrong way to phrase it. Where in Hell is he?

-*-

"There's so many of them..."

Kirishima felt his heart rattle in his chest, still slightly woozy from whatever had infected them, as he stared at the hospital roof.

Standing on the rooftop, flames of the burning financial district at their backs, we're multiple 'patients' all on the edge of the building. Each robot stood expressionless as six identical Kumicho's stood behind each individual one.

"Kirishima...kero, what do we do?" Turning from the sight he looked at his team.

Their group was in shambles and so his team weren't the most ideal, he stared at Tsu, Komori and Mineta trying to figure out how the Hell they were going to get out of this one.

"Umm.. Mineta you could use your quirk to climb with Tsu so that if he pushes them she can catch them and then Komori and I-" he heard screaming and ran desperately to try and do something about the falling robots.

He knew they weren't real people but seeing them screaming, clawing at the side of the hospital for something to stop their fall, made bile rise in his throat.

They didn't make it in time and as he looked up to see the Kumicho's on the roof he saw nothing. "Over here! Heroes over here!"

Spinning on the balls of his feet he saw other Kumicho's behind them. But this time they weren't identical clones.

These were individuals, these were his classmates wearing costumes and pretending to be Kumicho. 

Bakugou's words ring in his head then:  "Deku wasn't Kumicho."

Which means that any of the people in front of him might be the real leader, might be the one that threw his friend under the bus, the one that gave the order for one of his best friends to be beaten to a pulp.

"We heard you were looking for us?"

It's synchronized, and it's Midoriya's voice.

"What the Hell are you all doing! This is madness you'll kill everybody in this damn exam at this rate!" The fire is half a city over and he can see the flames, can practically hear them crackling in his ears.

Their ferocity only matched by their creator's.

"We're doing our job little heroes." The Kumicho on the far right speaks, the one next to them continuing where they left off.

"The real question is," and then the one next to them.

"What are you doing?"

"Standing here talking to the air?"

"That isn't really what you should be doing is it?"

"Now now," a voice comes from behind them and he turns his head slightly, backing his group so they're stood in a circle so that as the Kumicho's surrounded them no one is left without someone at their back, "Be kind to them. After all the dearly departed should still have their manners."

Looking to the voice he sees the second of Kumicho- he thinks Todoroki called him Wakagashira though he isn't sure. They stand tall, foreboding in their waist coat, shirt, over coat and haunting mask.

Wakagashira bows at the waist with a flourish of his hand, it's so mocking, "You killed the king, silly little heroes. And in his place you left Macbeth, now prepare for the tyranny you brought upon yourselves."

He hardens his skin when he sees the other Kumicho's raising semi-automatics, he knows he's going to be the only one 'surviving' this. But he won't accept it and so he yells a war cry, hoping his team mates will respond and they do.

They charge, desperately, at the enemy surrounding them.

Tsu manages to snatch a gun off of one of them, throwing it out of range (he doesn't see the knife the Kumicho pulls out and slices Tsu with after dragging her forward by her tongue.)

Komori releases her quirk but it's futile as the spores become useless once she's shot twice in the chest forcing her to the ground where she loses consciousness.

He doesn't even bother to focus on Mineta. He can tell some of the Kumicho's in front of him are girls so he knows once rounds sound off that they're finding a home on Mineta.

But his quirk makes him versatile and he gets to one of them, paint bullets useless against his armour. He grabs one of the Kumicho's and uses them as a human shield.

He doesn't know what to do from here, the two girls are 'dead' and their death confirmations are sounding out for all to hear and Mineta is 'injured' with a gun to his head.

All he has is a human shield and an unbreakable quirk.

"What do you hope to accomplish here little hero?"

Wakagashira's voice pissed him off, how cocky he sounds, how assured of victory he is. "We won't lose to you I swear-"

He starts to lose control of his body and remembers who exactly Wakagashira is. "Now, you're going to take Kumicho's gun, you're going to shoot Mineta in the chest twice and then return to home base and tell Todoroki exactly what I told you about killing the king."

Chapter Text

"Thumbs up from us over at the hospital boss."

"Thumbs up from the financial district."

"Thumbs up from the movie theatre, boss."

They're on the open channel again, so everybody can hear everybody. It makes his end a bit harder to manage but it makes everything that more cohesive, everyone is connected and everyone knows the others are safe.

They've proven already the extent they'll all go to defend their own.

"Hey, boss, how many of them are left? We must of gotten most of them right?"

He hums, standing over the holographic map, and swipes his hand up to get a list of the hero team, there are red lines through the faces of those that are out.

"There were five at the financial district, three dead at the hospital and how many at movie theatre?"

"Two boss, only two of them responded to the sighting." He nods, at Itsuka's words before mumbling a thanks when he realises she can't see him.

"In total we killed eleven today, so far." A cheer goes up over the channel and there are whoops and shouts of 'GO US!' which you really shouldn't hear from a group of up and coming heroes about hearing their death toll.

However, their group has learnt to deal with this. After this exam is finished he wonders what will become of their unit.

In the beginning he'd privately expressed doubts of their cohesiveness to himself, but now the closeness of their group is unbelievable. It's been nearly two weeks since they started sticking to each other like glue.

He feels like they'll stick together much the same, even if it's out of stubbornness- but he knows that there have been bonds formed here. Bond's that never would of even been a possibility beforehand.

He's glad they can't see him as he smiles to himself.

"With Sero added to the mix that's twelve, so there are only eight heroes left. Focus on objectives now, we'll attach the remnants as a unit." There's a murmur of anarchy through their ranks, and he feels like his body is joining in synch with the frequency.

"Others said we would fall, but lets show them why Rome only took a day to burn!"

The response is a war cry, a roar for the blood of their enemies and he feels a smile crawl onto his face.

-*-

Nezu thinks he has everybody fooled, and maybe he has most people fooled but not Shouta.

It's takes a special breed to enter Nezu's inner sanctum. (Un)fortunately Shouta was one of that lucky lot; since his high school days he's been a piece on Nezu's playing board.

Not a pawn for him to throw away, but something more valuable. Something worth keeping around but not worth shielding away and protecting like polishing to perfection.

He's fine with that, he's never wanted to be the next Nezu anyway.

He's a special breed because he understands the way Nezu thinks, maybe he can't read his every thought but he knows the thought process.

He knows the dark dastardly things that run through the chimera's head, and he can admit that sometimes those things run through his head. Sometimes he'll sit there and think not how to resolve the situation quickly and efficiently, but rather how to drag it out - make his target suffer before making them submit to his mental trap.

And while Nezu has broken him enough for him to still consider his boss someone worth being played for, he isn't broken enough to fall for it.

He knows that Nezu will back him up, defend him. But only as long as his worth and value outweigh the repercussions of what he's being defended from.

Midoriya though?

Midoriya is another story entirely.

When he'd first started teaching the other he'd been aggravated, how had Nezu let someone like this slip through the entrance exam? They normally had restrictions and protocols surrounding those with dangerous quirks.

Then he'd discovered be was All Might's apprentice and he'd gotten his answer. All Might could deny it, but he was a pawn for Nezu.

He'd sold his soul to the devil the very second he'd let Nezu have any say in what he did.

At least this time Nezu would protect a pawn, one of the first lessons Nezu had taught him was that pawns and bishops were necessary because a king lost more value the longer it was played offensively.

He'd thought that was the end of Midoriya. He was a meat head who was just like every other teen his age wanting to become the next All Might.

But then he'd watched closer (of course he had the kid shattered himself on a regular basis) and he'd seen someone hiding behind Midoriya's big innocent doe eyes.

Something primal and something skin crawlingly familiar. It was something he recognised in his own eyes so many years before Nezu had gotten his claws on him.

After discovering that he'd kept the kid close, wanting to save him from Nezu for as long as he could while still hopefully cultivating the potential inside.

He hadn't had much of a choice in telling Nezu about him though when he started asking questions. Because Nezu had to know about the regulations that would be stretched and the plans that were waiting for the all go to be implemented.

And that required revealing Midoriya's nature to Nezu.

It had been a familiar song and dance watching Midoriya be pulled in by Nezu, watching as his student bent but never broke under Nezu's wing. Midoriya was like a watery reflection of Nezu.

Not perfect or distorted like a mirror, but rippling and ever changing while remaining at its core a reflection in the water.

Everything that Nezu prided himself on, Midoriya could do it almost better. The kid had what it took to be Nezu's successor, to be what Nezu had wanted Shouta to be- what he now wanted Midoriya to be.

The problem came with the fact that Nezu couldn't keep up.

While Midoriya wasn't at Nezu's level yet, too young much too young and far too loved to have reached that level yet, he could of fooled anyone else into thinking he was.

That was one of the reasons he was so adamant on defending his student, on shoving it down the others throats that he was still a lid, because damn it Midoriya Izuku seemed to forget at times that he was a kid.

Growing up being told he stole quirks Shouta had had minimal friends, mostly those who were fellow outcasts or quirkiness kids who either didn't believe the rumours or seemed to think because they didn't have a quirk he was friendly territory.

He remembered how hard it had been for the quirkiness kids he knew, he hated remembering how none of them had made it out of their early twenties.

You grew up fast as a quirkless kid, it was a race to see if you survived or let the universe crush you. He'd thought perhaps it had changed, because Midoriya had never expressed any obvious issues.

But he lived his life like a fully grown adult, someone fully prepared to put the world on his shoulders because that's what had been expected if him since his 'diagnosis' (Shouta hated that term in regards to Quirklessness. It made it sound like some incurable disease, like it was something to be ashamed of, scared of) of course he wasn't going to let any signs of problems be visible.

The first time he'd heard and seen the effects of what had formed Midoriya was when he had to witness his student scream and cry (Midoriya cried a lot but what was on screen was different, on screen was desperation and torment in the form of tears) pulling himself into a shaking bloodied mess. 

The first time he'd heard and seen the effects of what had formed his student was when he was restrained by his best friend and was forced to watch as the kid threatened to bring a building down on himself and his classmates.

Like to him suicide meant nothing, as if the mere concept of death was one he was intimately familiar with and as such didn't fee like he has to fear it.

Thinking back to his lost friends he knew that that was probably true. He could say with almost fully certainty that Midoriya would of brought that building down if they'd of stepped closer.

Nezu claimed he was bringing a beast out of its cave, but he was trying to stick a leash on a bear he'd shoved in a cage and poked a stick at.

And perhaps given Nezu's past that analogy was poorly executed but the meaning was the same.

Nezu claimed to want to free something, and maybe he did, but he only wanted to free it to mould it to his own purpose.

But perhaps unlike him, Midoriya knew. Who was he kidding? Of course the problem child knew, nobody else but he and Nezu had noticed it but Todoroki was never the opposition in this game.

He was merely an obstacle in Midoriya's way to showing Nezu exactly what he could do when given the opportunity.

In all honesty this felt more like an entrance exam for Nezu's personal student then it did a finals exam.

It was hard to make the distinction between where he was grading the students and where he was studying them as adversaries. It was an unfortunate side effect of being Nezu's Bishop for so long - you picked up habits.

He was sure that if he was still alive after the next three years that just maybe he would be shifting boards.

Chapter Text

It's only really now, after fifteen years, that Hizashi notices how close Nezu and Shouta are. Of course, in the time that he's known Shouta Nezu has had some role in the others life.

He's been a teacher, a school contact, a boss. But it's different. This isn't normal, and he's seeing the same patterns with Midoriya as the boy schemes away on screen as his team grab objectives left and right.

There's something eerily familiar between Midoriya and Aizawa, and something even worse between those two and Nezu.

Its like its a mentor-protege relationship. And he doesn't want to know why Shouta is alright with letting Midoriya be snatched up by Nezu, but surly he must have his reasons.

Because at the end of everything and anything, Shouta always has a reason.


They're dropping like flies in August, fighting an invisible enemy with no clear way to victory or survival.

Eleven of them are dead, Kirishima has been disqualified because he killed a member of their team, and he still doesn't know who he's playing against.

He's been complacent, that's been his downfall. He's been going at this how his father would, thinking he has all the cards at the table and so not even bothering to ask what game he's playing.

That's why he's been lead around by the nose for most of the exercise, why the wool has been pulled over his eyes, why it's taken till this very second, counting their dead, to realise he needs to step up.

He needs to be a leader, and he needs to stop his opponent before they wipe all of them out.

(How sad it is that when everyone else has realised that Kumicho is not playing Shouto that the heroes decide to start playing. Poor little heroes, far too late- far too misguided. You can't join a game half way and win it. You can't win a game if you were never playing it.)


Mezou stretches his arms above his head, yawning all the while as he steps into the van after loading their bonus into it. He helps Fumikage cover the generator with a tarp before leaning back into the side of the vehicle.

"We're nearing the end if the exam."

"Day six... two days left of our time limit." He closes his eyes, tilting his head back as he's sat across from the bird boy. It's only him, Fumikage and Mei now, and the Reiko in the front driving them away from the decimated building.

They'd taken a gamble going for this objective, the flames still roared in the financial district but here, at the birth place of the blaze there's nothing more than cinders.

The generator though, had survived. Broken, useless, but in tact enough to collect it.

The objective was to obtain a specific generator with a bold number fifteen painted on it in scarlet, not to have it be working.

"I think Izuku might attack them late tonight into early morning. To give us enough time for a margin of error."

He hums in agreement at the others words, remembering the fire that had greeted him when he'd looked into green eyes. He remembered, distantly, learning in junior high that flames turned green if you burnt copper. It was ironic really, given the colour of Izuku eyes made it seem like he'd set the blood of his enemies alight.

"What are your thoughts on this Mei?"

He kept his eyes closed as Fumikage started to converse with the girl, letting himself drift off of only superficially.

"Whatever way you look at it, we've won. If we were to lose at our last stand we'll go down with the record for the longest record for this exam- it's never lasted more than three days."

There was a crackle as the radio confirming that their underground entrance was opening, and he shuffled to be sat up, knowing that the journey would only get bumpy from here.

He didn't really fancy hitting his head and getting a concussion this late in the game.

"But...I think you're right. Izuku wants an indisputable win, I think I speak for everyone when I say we all do."

He snorted, rejoinig the conversation, "Izuku called it 'the biggest fuck you to ever be' if I remember correctly."

"Yeah," she chuckled, "I can see him saying something like that. The margin of error is going to be a bit over twenty four hours, meaning we are either going to be returning to rest up for the finale or wrecking more havoc."

He opened his eyes, about to respond when he was cut off pre-emptively. "Guys, you need to listen to this." He looked over to where Reiko was leaning through the small window separating the cab and the back.

He realised then they'd stopped moving, "Villain team, this is hero leader Shouto, we would like to inform you we have six members of your team." he felt like the wind had been knocked out of him, "We caught them inside our interrogation building and propose a deal. Hand over your location and we will return your team mates. If you do not comply with our demands we will have no choice but to remove them from the game."

-*-

"Consider this a declaration from Dunsane."

He felt his jaw click as he grit his teeth, a snarl trying to pull at his lips despite his resistance. He could feel the anger bubbling up in him as Todoroki's message looped back to the beginning and repeated.

"How long has it been playing?" He had to cross his arms to hide his shaking fists, flanking him he could tell were Itsuka and Momo. Kuroiro stood across from them, the usually blank face twisting in anguish.

"About twenty minutes, the only team that hasn't checked in is Wakagashira's execution squad... they didn't get all of them though because we managed to contact Mole."

He tried to process what this loss meant, counting each player hanging in the balance; Hitoshi, Mina, Tooru, Setsuna, Koji and Kyoka.

His second was captured, Ninja and Demoman were without their partners, Apollo didn't have any of her amplification equipment with her, Zombie and Piper were in possibly the most compromised position with neither being able to use their quirks while captured.

Zombie could possibly use hers to aid in an escape but then what? They were all perfectly capable fighters but with the hero team acting so out of character and the fact they'd taken down an entire squad and he hadn't heard or seen anything until now meant that nothing would be so simple.

"..."

"Is Sen alright?" Itsuka turned from Momo (had they been talking? He hadn't heard them...) and towards Kuroiro. Despite the boys dark complexion he swore the boy turned pale.

"He was pretty bruised and had quite a few burns. Recovery Girl said they shouldn't scar."

"But he's back? We can see him?"

"Yeah, I wouldn't recommend it he- Boss!"

He turned and started making his way to the infirmary. He didn't care about how the other boy looked, he need a physical confirmation that he was alright. He also needed to know how the fuck this had happened.

It wasn't as if their members were all reliant on a figurehead telling them what to do, they were all separate squadrons in their own rights.

He practically smashed the elevator button as he stepped into the metal box. He could of taken the stairs but the lift opened right across from the infirmary, something he'd take up with Nezu after the exam.

Sure it was beneficial for the team, but if this was the hero's headquarters and they'd performed a strike like they did? It would put those in the infirmary at a greater health risk.

Though with how lax the classification 'health risk' was being used he wouldn't be surprised if the chimeria simply rolled his eyes and told him that was the point.

It was something the other would do.

And of course, it was something he would pick up on. Of course he picked up on how to exploit such a meaningless decision. It was probably because in real hero buildings it was so a gurney would get their with ease.

No one thought oh, the villains could utterly destroy the wounded. It was a major oversight on a lot of people's behalf that he should never of even noticed. If highly trained, deeply PTSD effected veteran heroes didn't notice why did he- a fifteen year old- notice.

"Sen." He called to the other boy as he entered, noticing the boy was curled up with his back to the door.

He furrowed his brows as he noticed the other's uniform was pulled down to the waist, leaving his back exposed and the magnitude of bandages covering his upper body.

"Hey boss." 

His concern spiked as the other didn't turn to face him and moved further into the room, stalking quietly over to the others bed. "What's up?" He moved to be in front of the other and his anger raised tenfold at what he saw.

The other boy's chest was almost exclusively bandages, and the arms that he'd been unable to see from the door were revealed to be in casts. And yet he still couldn't see the others face.

"I'm sorry." Sen tucked his chin deeper into his chest, and the others usually immaculately contained hair draped across his face unchecked. "I'm so sorry. It's all my fault."

"No it isn't-"

"It is though!" The boy looked up finally, and Izuku felt air hiss out of him at the sight.

Left eye swollen shut there was a nasty streak of a burn across his left cheek that went from his ear to his chin. Following the mark he saw it swirled down his throat before stopping huts above his Adams Apple.

It looked like someone had gone to grab him by the throat and as he'd ducked they grazed him with their flames.

That immediately ruled out Bakugou as he knew from experience that the others explosions didn't create such contained burns. They were usually more contained, with even the larger scale more powerful ones creating more of an impact zone than a skid mark.

Sen had tears running down his face, with his one open eye being firmly bloodshot.

"Why is it your fault?"

"We were making our way back to the tunnels and- and I started taking the piss about Ninja and Mirror I mean everyone knows there's something there-" he hiccups having to take deep breaths and avoiding eye contact, "And everyone got distracted and that's when Todoroki and Bakugou jumped us. If I hadn't...if I hadn't distracted everyone they'd be okay! They wouldn't be captured!"

Stepping back and sitting on the gurney next to Sen's he let the boy cry a bit before posing his question, "Did you alert the heroes to your position?"

The question had the tears stopping and venom being spat from the others mouth, "Of course I fucking didn't! Why the Hell would you even-"

"Then it wasn't your fault." His angered words faltered, "You couldn't control that at that moment the heroes decided to attack. If it's anyone's fault it's mine, I allowed you to go somewhere secluded without direct access to the network without a tank." He stood up, moving closer, "It's my fault for leaving you guys exposed."

"No it isn't!"

"Why?"

"Huh...?"

"Why isn't it my fault?"

"Because...because you weren't there you couldn't of done anything!?"

He laughed, "Exactly. I wasn't there- so i couldn't do shit. Just like you couldn't control what was going to happen. You're here, Sen, and because of that we can sort this out quicker."

Chapter Text

Sen turned his eyes away again, seemingly not convinced that it wasn't his fault but also accepting that Izuku wouldn't back down on that front.

"Can you tell me exactly what happened? I know you said they jumped you, but that burn says more than that happened." At the mention of the burn the ravenette brought up a hand, sluggish and clunky due to the cast on his arm, and ghosted over the burn with a pained expression.

He had noticed the burn ointment next to the bed when he'd walked in and hoped that the burn didn't leave a scar, for everybody involved sakes.

Todoroki could possibly regress at seeing a mark of what he'd done everyday, leading to him truly believing it was his father's quirk. And with how guilt ridden Sen was now, having a physical reminder literally burned into his skin would not be good for his mental health.

"We'd made our way from the financial district, on our way to the tunnels when Wakagashira realised we'd gone too far out from our original path. So, we decided the closest rubble entrance was near the hero base." He tried to image in his head how that had happened.

It wasn't that difficult actually, all they would of known was that they had burning buildings at their backs and the sunrise in front of them. No wonder they got confused, yes he'd wanted them to all known the area as well as they could but expecting them to know it off by heart was asking touch.

"Todoroki and Bakugou must have been at the interrogation building for something because when I started teasing Mirr-Torru they were above us in a flash." The other shivered, hand still at his burn, it looked like he was trying to hide it from prying eyes - like it would make his slip up more obvious if it was shown to the world.

"Todoroki trapped us in an ice dome which Bakugou decimated with an explosion, a chunk of ice hit Torru and she went down." He felt his anger starting to build again, "Kyoka and Mina helped stop most of the debris hitting the rest of us... but Todoroki iced them like he did Sero in the sports festival just on a smaller scale."

He could see it now, the seven of them packed into a side street barley big enough for rows of three with one in the middle, laughing and relatively on guard as they made their way home. The sounds of Todoroki's ice and Bakugou's explosions so familiar he could imagine them in his mind as the scene played out.

"My feet were stuck to the floor and I managed to use my quirk to get myself, Setsuna and Koda out, Hitoshi had already gotten out and had shot at Bakugou and Todoroki a few times giving us breathing room." Again, he could hear the resounding BLAM BLAM BLAM of the gun and perfectly imagine the words that spewed out of his classmates mouths.

"It went like that from there, Setsuna and Koda couldn't risk using their quirks so lay down heavy fire as Hitoshi tried to bait one of them into speaking," he took in a jittery breath, "I couldn't do anything but break up the ground and let the others use it as cover. That's how I broke my arms... I was such a fucking idiot I hit a water pipe when just was going down, Todoroki just used it to freeze everything."

He grabbed the others hand and pulled it Assyria his neck, hiding his sigh at the sight of finger nail imprints he'd left in his own skin.

"I just... I couldn't deal anymore and so when Hitoshi said to retreat...I didn't- I didn't even look back when I heard his equipment be crushed! I didn't even see if he was okay!?" The hand in his grip clenched and shook, "It was as I was...running away that Todoroki got in front of me. I- I remembered what you said when we went through a strategy for him."

"You aimed your quirk at his left side... and his instincts kicked in and when he went to grab you his left side set alight?"

Sen nodded, legs curling tighter against his chest than they had before. Izuku gave the hand in his a squeeze, doing his best to do his Deku smile. 

That smile reassured people, made them think everything was going to be okay from now on, so he gave his team mate that smile. Not expecting the reaction he got.

Sen burst into laughter, full blown hysterical laughter.

"You- you - boss bwahahaha!" Slightly bewildered at the reaction he released Sen's hand and stepped back, slightly and unsurprisingly put off by the apparent rejection of his comfort.

"I can't- I know it's only been a week but hahaha!" He let out a snort as he started to piece the broken words together into their bigger meaning, "You look too innocent! I can't deal with- hahahaha!"

Shaking his head he scowled at the other playfully.

"Well never expect me to tell you where Mei hid your DS then." 

That had the boy immediately sitting up straight, all humour gone from his face, "She has it!?"

"You left it in her workshop and she has it for safe keeping, I'm thinking of telling her to forget it with that kind of attitude."

"No, boss please you can't do that!" The others hands clasped together awkwardly - due to the casts- in a prayer and he bowed his head as he began to beg, "I'll do anything but don't do that please! You royal evilness have mercy!"

He made sure to keep his voice monotone, "Do you want fries with that?"

Sending the other boy into a second spiral of laughter, which was unfortunately cut short as a hissed breath rushed through him, "shit shit shit shit!!!" Izuku was quick to try and assess what was wrong but when Sen straighter his body out, back going straight he figured it was nothing more than the laughter flexing aggravated muscles and skin.

"Being serious again, what are you going to do from here?" At the questioning look he elaborated, "You can't fight or drive right now, so what do you want to do going forward?"

"I could always forfeit but..."He looked away, "I want to finish this exam with the whole team. We've beaten the odds together so far and I just...want to make it to the end."

"Fair enough, I had plans for tonight but this changes things. Until we've got our friends back would you like to accompany me on bed rest duty?"

"Huh?" The other raised an eyebrow.

"Momo and Itsuka are acting like mother hens and aren't even letting me pick up a staff, so we can go be annoyed teenage boys in a dark room watching other people fight."

"That just sounds like when my Dad and I watch American wrestling."

He gave a crooked grin,"I'm not hearing a no."

-*-

Masahiro stood next to Denki as the electric boy sparked occasionally in agitation, he could understand the other boy's nerves duo to his duo being split up also. He would of put a hand on the others shoulder but he didn't want to risk being electrocuted.

He nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt a hand lightly pat his shoulder and turned to see Yuga had a hand on both his and Denki's shoulders, a slightly wavering and unsure smile on his face. "They will be fine my friends, they are more than capable of defending themselves and we will get them back shortly."

The electric boy sighed, bringing up a gloved hand (they were insulated and apparently Torru had suggested them...) and patting the hand on his shoulder. Masahiro simply nodded and he accommodated as Yuga moved so he had arms slung around their shoulders instead.

"I know that but it's just... I can't help but worry what's going on y'know?" The boy moved his left hand only, as to not hit Yuga, "Like sure, Bakugou probably won't go on a murder spree because they haven't personally done anything to piss him off...but it's just the thoughts there and it won't leave."

"Mm. I understand, if it's any consolation Izuku, our glorious leader, has a plan."

Masahiro looked at Yuga then, having previously only been focusing on Denki. And when he looked at the flamboyant boy he saw a grin that before this exam he would of called villainous and felt down right disgusting for it to be on the face of a hero in training. 

Now though, now it was a common occurrence on all their faces and promised mischief and devastation for their enemies and jubilation for their team.

"Careful now boys," he looked out of the corner of his eye to see Kendo (was he allowed to call her Itsuka? The girls all were and some of the boys were but did he need explicit permission??) giving them a smirk, "You're starting to look like a trio of blond devils."

"Diables blonds huh? I like the sound of that, what say you my friends?"

He felt his grin grow as Yuga practically goaded them into agreeing.

-*-

"Fuck sake...my head kills, what hit me?"

Kosei isn't sure what's particularly more surprising, the odd ball group they'd captured or the fact that its Hagakure who swears. The invisible girl had always seemed plenty polite and like a person with squeaky clean vocabulary.

Apparently he'd been wrong.

"Literally or metaphorically?" It's the second that speaks, Shinsou if he remembers right, and he finds himself purposefully shutting his lips even though the question isn't even directed at him.

The knowledge of what he had Kirishima do is still fresh in everyone's minds. He doesn't get how the villain team speak to him, like they have some assurance he won't turn on them and use his quirk.

He'd never be able to be that relaxed around someone who could control him at a single word.

"Literally." The invisible girls bindings shift, simple handcuffs unlike her team mates who are all wearing quirk suppressant cuffs. 

"A fuckton of ice." He blanches at the vulgar language coming out of the near exclusively female group. "Todoroki trapped us in an igloo remember and then Bakugou decided the appropriate action was to blow it up with us inside."

Ashido doesn't look particularly angry at that, merely vexed and he's reminded that the pink girl is the blonds friend.

"Hey, boss man." He keeps his full attention on Jirou as she speaks, desperate to know who she's directing her words to, who the actual leader is. But it's Shinsou and that isn't right, because Vlad-sensei confirmed that the leader was a 1-A student. "This remind you of any of the rooms you studied from the hero base? If we're there we're definitely deep in the building."

That deeply unnerved him. The fact that Jirou is asking someone of a higher rank to think on blue prints they'd seen of their base. What? When?

How much did they know? Did that mean they were simply waiting on reinforcements?

He was never more glad to be behind one way glass. Ironic, considering his quirk and all.

"We're in the hero base, I'm thinking third floor up from basement level. That's where the cells were, Piper?"

Koda looks up and Kosei had thought the boy had nodded off but no, he's awake and he nods. The betrayal still stings. How could he so easily shift ideals? How could he so easily pretend to stand for heroism and its ideals but then play them all?

How could any of the villain team turn their backs to what they had learnt since birth? How could they do it so well and without feeling an ounce of regret or distress because of it!?

"Yeah... we're in cell 2B exactly... I had some insects scout the place before they put the cuffs on us."

Shinseki's grin grew dark, the rest of the villains faces growing to match his and he turned towards the glass.

"Hear that little hero? We know exactly where we are, so, why don't you get your leaders and we'll talk with people that don't have to hide behind bullet proof glass to watch over disarmed and non-lethal prisoners."

Chapter Text

"Honestly..." Torru sighed, leaning her back against Kyoka linking fingers with the girl as they pushed themselves to their feet after they were sure the hero onlooker had left. "You'd think they wouldn't be so stupid- we're what, fifteen going on sixteen? Cuffs aren't enough."

Turning to Mina she helped pull the girl up as Kyoka pulled Setsuna to her feet. She stumbled back a bit at the difference in weight as she pulled the bigger girl up.

She wished she had that muscle mass. From the girls exposed arms (they'd removed her blazer in their inspection of them) she could see the flex of muscles as Mina proceeded to pull Koji to his feet.

She watched as Kyoka approached their second in command and expected him refuse a hand up, instead she received a not-smile in gratitude as the purple haired boy was pulled to his feet.

"We're on our feet and alone for the moment, next move?"

They mulled about for a few seconds, surveying the room for a way to remove the cuffs (hitting them hard enough should do the trick for the traditional cuffs she had on), before their attention was diverted to the sound of metal clicking against the ground.

Turning around she saw Setsuna rubbing her wrists, with a proud lilt to her smirk.

"Easy enough."

She noticed they were all staring at her, and she watched as the girl grew an even more cocky expression, "Contorting my wrist was easy enough, it comes with a quirk like mine."

"Wait." At the sudden outburst from Koji attention diverted to him, "We have a pins in our boots, if we pull it out we can pick the lock!"

"Koji why on earth do you know that?"

The quiet boy chuckled, looking away, and Torru could tell that if his hands were free one would be rubbing the back of his neck, "I overheard Kumicho talking to Evangelion about it, she was adamant that they were a good idea."

"That minx, I swear." She should of focused on how Setsuna procured a bobby pin from her boot, practically battling to get the wedged in metal out, but she couldn't.

Not when Wakagashira had such an expression on his face, not when the boy she had thought closed off and relatively emotionally strained had such a ... she didn't know the word for it.

Soft was the only way she could think to describe it.

"Can you imagine what would of happened if they'd of had metal detectors?" Kyoka piped up again and she turned to look at her punk teammate.

Laughing she offered her own thoughts, "I know we're all pretty good at bullshitting but can you imagine that conversation?"

She offered her hands out as Setsuna set about picking the lock on her cuffs, when they were released she rubbed at them, being able to tell that they must be chaffed, even if her quirk meant she couldn't see the damage.

"Oh yes Todoroki sir, this bobby pin in a totally random place I didn't know about? Oh yes, that in deed was for hair emergencies- you see Koji here has such an uncontrollable mane that its a requirement to carry some at all times." she found herself snorting in laughter at the quip watching the way Setsuna's head dipped side to side sarcastically as her voice took on a sugary sweet tone.

"Well that isn't suspicious in the slightest, you go on right away, we can see his luxurious mane from here." Wakagashira joining in made her smile.

She watched as the taller boy walked over to the door, tapping on it in certain spots with his ear pressed to the metal.

She stayed back, not wanting to interfere in whatever he was doing -he clearly knew what he was doing right now (don't think about the implications of that Torru. Now isn't the time for thinking of those implications. Wait till your safe. Then, then bring it up. Bring up why he has experience checking the thickness of doors.)

"You think I'd be able to burn through it?"

"Probably... To' Kyoka you think you'd be able to pump a small enough concentrated beat through to shake the hinges out?"

That gave her pause, and looking back her friend she saw the way the girl opened and closed her mouth, "I never tried. Sure, I'll give it a shot."

"Torru, mind standing in front of the camera? Your light refraction should make the camera feed look funny, they'll probably think they've got a camera glitch before thinking we've escaped."

Humming in acknowledgment she tapped Koji on the shoulder and tapped it again in thanks as the boy lifted her onto his shoulders. Moving so he was directly under the camera Torru placed her hand just before the lens of the camera.

She nearly let out a yelp when a rumble spread through the room, and whipping her head around she saw Kyoka with a face that made it look like Christmas bad come early.

In the girls exposed hand were three screws, her jacks resting on the hinges, speaker boots pointed at the gap between the door and the hinges, whatever her and Wakagashira were doing it was working.

"Looks like the bosses have been holding out on us." She looked down at Setsuna, who was stood next to Koji, seemingly talking to herself, "Izuku isn't the only one capable of getting us out of a fix."

"Those four have something going on between them though don't they?"

"Oh definitely, there's too much tension for anything else."

"Suddenly, I'm very glad I'm not one of those boys who tried to eavesdrop on girl gossip."

"I'm sorry, now of the boys who tried to do what?!"

-*-

"Yeah, no. If your backside is not in that chair by the time I count to ten I swear to Kami, Izuku, it will not be pretty." He didn't mean to have it come out as a threat but seeing one of his best friends (Bandaged, bruised, hurt you couldn't stop him from being hurt) try and stupidly get ready to perform a strike while heavily injured made his blood pressure rise.

And of course, because Izuku was a brat he simply nodded, tone turn it sickly sweet, "Of course Neito, dearest. And would you like me to cook you dinner first or would you rather have desert?" The injured boy, wobbling and looking the least attractive he's ever looked, ended his sarcastic wip with a fluttering of his eye lashes.

Neito rolled his eyes, refusing to retort with something that would pull either Hitoshi or Mei into this because he swore up and down if he heard one more comment about a sexual tensions-

"Neito is right, Izu, you can't tell Sen to chill and then just throw yourself into the fray." Mei didn't share his sentiments and joined in anyway, however he was glad to see that doubling the disappointment was getting Izuku closer to crumbling.

"But we can't just leave Toshi and the others-"

"If you hadn't gotten yourself beaten to a bloody pulp you could of gone Izuku." He could practically hear the 'ooohhh!' that Hitsohi would of made at the comment.

This was Mei putting her foot down and, to be honest, it was super cool watching the bubbly girl go full throttle at their sacrificial friend.

"Seriously? You're both still hung up about that?"

Their silence was enough of an answer. 

"... Fine!" He threw his arms in the air, hissing as he did and Neito hid a satisfied smirk. Served Izuku right for doing that when be was injured, "I'll just go sulk in my room then!"

A nudge to his ribs from the pink girl spurred him into action as he scooped Izuku into a fireman hold as gently as be could, causing an undignified squeak to leave their suave leader.

He liked embarrassing Izuku as much as the rest of their quartet did, but he was glad nobody but them could see this because some of the blackmail Izuku was spewing to get put down would of wrecked them otherwise.

"I'll tell everyone that your room at home is an All Might shrine Izu." The boys blabbering went silent.

"Don't thinks she won't Izuku."

"You have absolutely no proof. Nobody will believe you without physical evidence."

He hummed as the two bickered, "Toshi has a video of Izuku show casing all his merch to us on his phone doesn't he Mei?"

"Yeet me out the window Neito, I beg you. Do it. Now."

Chapter Text

"What gave you the idea to vibrate the screws out of the hinges?" Hitoshi looked up from where he was collecting said screws off of the ground and to his on looking team mates.

They were all watching him, well he presumed all of them were watching him, with a sort of avid curiosity he usually reserved for Mei and Neito's exploits - those were often times more ludicrous and deadly than Mei's and Izuku's.

Mainly because with the prior pair both knew exactly what they were doing and did it anyway, whereas with the former pairing Mei knew Neito didn't know what he was doing and let him carry on regardless.

"Some old disaster movie White Collar showed me once, to be honest I didn't think it'd actually work." He hoisted himself to his feet, careful not to knock the balancing door to the ground.

The sound of that bang would surely have all of the villains on them at once.

He could of sworn he heard a few comments behind him about how of course it would be something like that but decided to leave them in the dark.

After all, they didn't need to know he and Mei had done a test run with a speaker and home made directional device on Izuku's childhood room to get a stack of photos of his All Might obsession.

Making sure to pocket the screws, you never knew when you would need opportunistic tools or weaponry, he turned back to his team. They looked better now that they were all on their feet and free of cuffs.

"There wasn't a specific contraband room on the blueprints, Piper did your friends make contact with something like that or just where we were being held?"

The other boy simy shuck his head and he found himself sighing, everything had been going well so far as well. Looking over his team mates he tried to assess who's quirks would work best in what order.

This was normally Izuku's forte but... He guessed he could give it a shot.

"We'll check this floor while moving in a caterpillar formation. Apollo, I want you in the front, your quirk works best without obstruction in the way. With you at the front you can let loose and not worry about hurting us."

He received a nod, the punk girl stepping up next to him, "I'll go next, mainly because my quirk works best at close range as well." He bit the inside if his cheek as he tried to figure out the next few placements, "Zombie and Mirror I want you next, with Piper and Demowoman next. Demowoman I'm trusting you to be our rear guard, can I do that?"

"Of course, Wakagashira. Do you have any idea where we're going on this floor though?"

Mentioning Koji forward to help remove the door as quietly as possible he responded in a hushed voice, now exposed to the silent corridor, "There is a room I think might be the prisoner storage, but like I said there wasn't anything specific on the blueprints."

The rest of the group filed our quickly and silently, the only noise being their breathing and their foot steps. Once everyone had left the room he and Koji put the door back in its place and got in line.

"Go straight ahead and at the first crossroads turn left and then right."

With that they were quietly making their way down the corridor, and he cursed in his head each time they passed a camera. If they'd expected this he could if looked into camera blind spot's.

As it was they'd just have to hope they made it to their supplies before the heroes got to them.

He was still on edge by the heroes just leaving them unsupervised (and truly they had because even with quirk suppressant cuffs on Kyoka had such powerfully refined hearing she'd been able to tell when the other had left) but he had to stay collected.

They could afford to freak out later. Right now, he had to summon that suave, cocky, bastard cat persona he usually wore (as it had been dubbed by his best friends.)

They reached the right corridor quickly enough, thankfully. And trying the door it was thankfully unlocked and empty as they entered. Even if it didn't have their equipment (and from Torru's happy shout it most definitely did) it allowed for them to have a breath that didn't make them more anxious as it bounced around the corridor.

Walking over to the table where his team were gathered he sighed at the sight of his crushed speaker. Mei had spent so long working on it as well.

No matter, he thought putting in his mouth guard which contained its own rudimentary voice modulator. After that was in place he slipped his mask on, grabbing his blazer and overcoat as well.

It was bulky yes, and maybe slowed him down the tiniest bit but it was for aesthetic purposes. Not to mention Mei had convinced Ms. Minority to sew a layer of Kevlar into the inside of the trench coat making it bullet proof.

He scoffed looking over to the other table where their weapons were. He was surprised the hero team had even separated the tools from the weapons when he saw the table.

"Snipe-sensei would of killed us if we did this." There was a hum of acknowledgment as they moved over to the table where their ammo was played out next to the guns.

Even if they'd had two-three gun training sessions with the teacher it was already engrained in them that you keep weapons that weren't about to be fired and ammo in separate rooms.

Clicking his ammo magazine into his gun he clicked his tongue at seeing the safety still turned off, "These might not work guys, they yanked the magazines out without turning on the safety." After saying thay he slipped the gun strap over his head and picked up his knife and stuck it in its sheath on his hip.

"What the hell!?" Turning to Mina he saw the angered expression on her face as she scoured through the pockets of her blazer and hoodie. He hadn't even noticed she hadn't gone over to the weapons table with them.

"What's wrong?" He made his way over and looked at the equipment in front of the girl. Her canisters were intact and still at full capacity and her own mouth guard and mask were lay out neatly enough.

"They took my lighter! How the Hell am I supposed to light my acid up without it!?" 

He'd forgotten about Izuku's main reason for distilling Mina's acid and partnering her with Denki. When it was distilled and exposed to flame or electricity it set alight, which meant the Demoman/Demowoman matchup were a living breathing two part flame splitter.

"They took the claws out of my gloves..." He turned to Koji now, seeing the boy flexing his hands with his gloves on. The action should of caused retractable claws to slide out but they weren't.

"Are you sure? Maybe they're stuck?"

"Maybe... let me turn them inside out..." nodding he left the boy to his work and turned to survey his team.

Torru was almost unrecognizable due to the fact not a single spec of her invisible skin was on display, her costume covering her head to toe. The purpose was to not let them know it was her.

(He also thought about how Ms.Midoriya had thrown a fit when Izuku had showed her the girls costume.)

Kyoka was already fully dressed again, her semi automatic's strap slung over her body but in her hands ready to be used with two knives sticking out of her boots.

Setsuna was much the same, except her mask was pulled down around her neck instead of resting on her face. 

He would of much preferred they had their original masks, the medical masks and gas masks wouldn't of worked for their ploy though so they'd make do with what they had.

"No...they definitely took the claws out." Looking back to Koji he saw the irritated expression on the boys face at seeing his favourite piece of equipment be trashed.

"You putting on your speaker boss man?" Looking he saw Mina holding it out, just seeing how the reinforced metal had caved in made his throat hurt.

It had been a miracle that nothing had been punctured in that hit, and in fact it had lead to the teachers giving out a health risk warning in their sector because of it.

That, at the very least meant that Sen had gotten away.

"Sure, it won't work, but Evangelion would kill me if I didn't bring it back."

"I have to ask," they got back into their formation, doing one last check over their equipment, "Why is that her code name?"

"It's an old pre-quirk anime about people building giant robots called Angels. Evangelion expressed the fact her goal is to build a big ass mech and so the nickname spawned to life."

They went quiet as Kyoka put her hand on the door handle, only stopping turning it at the sound of explosions near by.

'Bakugou... shit did the hero actually take their teasing serious? I know they left the room but I figured it was a bathroom break....'

"What the hell do you mean they said they wanted to see us!? And you left them unsupervised!?" The blond's voice got louder, along with the volume of his explosions as another boys voice responded.

He could feel the tension building in their room and, stupidly, he found himself worrying that if it grew anymore it would become palpable and they'd know exactly where they were.

"Bakugou has a point, we have walkie talkies for a reason."

'And Todoroki... wait. This is an enclosed space, Bakugou and the other one might be able to fight but the main power house isn't.  And even if he tried Kyoka could shatter the ice or Mina could melt it.'

He snickered to himself at his next thought, 'It's just like in pokemon. It's all about type match up's.'

"On my signal, Kyoka I want you to throw the door open. As violently as possible. Then, myself, Koji and Setsuna will drop and supply cover fire while you and Mina use your quirks to get some distance between us. We'll go from there."


"Neito, is there any particular reason why Izuku is hand cuffed to his chair?" Momo watched the blond boy as he casually leaned his chin on Izuku's head as the boy worked out the last few parts of their plan.

"He's kinky." Was said at the same time that Mei said, "He enjoys it."

A very awkward silence filled the room as the entirety of their team stared at the three.

That was a joke...right?

"Oh, shit wait you don't get the joke. Sorry. He's being a big baby so we're forcing him to remain stationary."

There was a quiet breath of relief at that answer.

A quiet hum of conversation settled over them until...

"Okay, so is it just me or is anybody going to ask why the Hell it's an inside joke that Boss is kinky?"

-*-

Juzo resisted turning his nose up at the smell of petrol as he fuelled the tank up. As one of the few designated drivers it was his responsibility to fill up the vehicle he drove most often.

He hated the smell of petrol, something that contradicted heavily with his love of motor sport, something that required you to have a near addiction to the smell it permeated that much.

"Yo." Nearly dropping the pump in shock he turned to the elevator where Sen was hobbling over from. His friend was bandaged and slightly bleary eyed but apart from the burn on his face and throat he looked okayish.

"Yo, should you really be off of bed rest? I know the boss is, but like, Izuku is on a whole other level of extra and pain tolerance."

The usual stoic look that resided on Sen's face was absent as he approached more, and when they were close enough for Juzo to go for a fist bump (stopping because what the hell, both of the guys arms are broken) he realised that Sen's eyes were blood shot.

"Probably not, but I'm looking for 'Su, you seen him around?"

"Yeah, Su's down that way, still filling his truck why? You need help with something?"

"I'm...Kami this sounds so stupid," the boy looked away, bruises illuminated by crappy LED lights, "We got into an argument before the because I couldn't find my DS and said he had it, it was all a big joke you know? We both knew that, but I never apologised and now I know where it is and having my life flash before my fucking eyes-"

Removing the pump and lowering it to the floor he pulled his friend into a hug, careful not to activate any of his injuries. "I get it, let it out man, let it out so you don't snot all over his nice clean uniform when you apologize."

Sen knocked his forehead against his shoulder in retaliation.


He held his breath as the voices got louder, closer, and he gripped his gun tightly finger ghosting over the trigger.

He waited just a few more seconds, hoping that he was getting this right and not throwing away their one chance at throwing the enemy off.

Nodding to Kyoka the girl let out a shaky breath.

'3...' she gripped the handle, '2...' they all let out one last exhale, 'Go!'

The door they'd been piled behind slammed open as the punk girl through her entire weight into it, and they all tumbled out of the room, open firing with a scatter spray that was quickly interrupted by an air shield that the three heroes hid behind.

He hid his smug satisfaction at seeing Bakugou drag a dazed Todoroki to his feet, the hetrochromic boy sporting a bloodied nose and wide eyes.

They kept shooting, because what else could they possibly do? And he felt his ears pop as suddenly a very high pitched sound went past his ear as from his knelt position he was right next to Kyoka's boots as they blasted a wave of sound strong enough to shatter the air shield.

Seeing as they'd still been laying down cover fire, the air shield boy got splattered and knocked down by their heavy fire, but just a bit too quickly Todoroki set up a block of ice that took all the paint pellets for him and Bakugou.

He heard what was definitely a highly amusing, "What the fuck was that for Icyhot, now we're stuck at a dead end!?"

Standing to his feet, he motioned for the other two to stand as well. They continued firing for a few more seconds, before he nodded to Mina who threw a handful of acid at the ice blockade, the hiss being accompanied by the shrieking of the metal walls as more ice was formed in response.

"Back up, go right and the elevator should be there, Piper, Demowoman swap positions." They did so silently and quickly made their way to the elevator, Bakugou's muted explosions sounding behind them.

The six of them were packed tight in the small box as they rushed from the sub level to the underground parking. "Lets hope this time we can get to the tunnel."

A crackling noise in his ear made him jolt, irrationally fearing Bakugou had somehow gotten right next to him, before he felt his entire body relax as he heard Neito's voice over the comms he had forgotten was in his ear.

"Hello? Hello, phone call for the dashingly handsome Shinsou Hitoshi."

He felt a smile grow on his face, "To what do I owe the pleasure White Collar?" He saw the rest of his teams head whip towards him, and he was glad that his face was covered up because he could feel the strain of the dopey smile on his face.

"Maybe managing to upstage Izuku?"

"Oh? Well that's a first." He flicked his eyes up to the elevator, they still hadn't reached above sub level yet. How deep underground had they been? The blueprints hadn't done the depth justice.

"Yeah," Neito chuckled on the other end of the line, "We had this big rescue plan and everything, but you turned on your comm a few seconds ago and so I jumped on the line. I take it you're in an elevator right now?"

"Approaching the underground parking of the hero base, we're going to attempt to get to the tunnel near there."

There was a shuffle on the other end of the line before Itsuka's voice replaced the blond's. "As Neito said we only got your single a few seconds ago, well minutes now, but we've already dispatched Geo. He'll be there to meet you by the time you get to the tunnel."

"Are we thinking of closing the tunnel up?"

"Probably... actually," he could hear typing on the other side, "underground entrance from the parking to the sewers is still open. Geo will meet you at the tunnel but you'll be best going through the sewers."

"Alright... give me a second." He muted his end of the comm and turned to face Torru, "New plan guys, we're going through the sewers to the pick up point, Mirror you're in charge of directions okay?"

"Okay, I can do that."

He nodded, unmuting the comm, "We're good to go on that front. Hey... how's Mole holding up?"

"..."

"Muscle. How's he holding up."

"...physically he's pretty banged up, mentally he's really not the best. Kumicho is trying to convince him to see Ground Hog about it...it's...it's looking to be survivors guilt- even though he knows you guys are alive it's eating at him."

He sighed, glancing up to see them arriving at their destination, "Is he there?"

"Yeah, you want to talk to him?"

"Mhm." They piled out, weapons at the ready as Torru lead them to a door with the words maintenance only written on them. The girl opened the door, leaving the door way empty as she then proceeded to shoot out the cameras.

"Wakagashira...you guys are alright..." just from Sen's voice he could tell that the other had been crying. It was strained and breathy in a way that suggested a tightening chest not elation as the source.

"More than alright- did you know Zombie was a part time contortions?"

Sen laughed, "Did she get to show you her trick? It's pretty freaky isn't it?"

"Totally. I'm gonna put you on to Zombie right now actually, you mind?"

"No boss...that's fine."

"Heya Sen, you revealing my secrets or something because Wakagashira sounded way too smug just then."

Chapter Text

There isn't any video footage for him to track, so Izuku has to content himself watching the holomap and the six little dots that represent his team mates move through the sewers.

They could be injured, they could be dying or being followed and he isn't able to do a damn thing. He just has to rely on Juzo to meet them safely and quickly.

He hates waiting like this.

He can't control anything in this situation- it is entirely put out of his hands and it scares him.

He doesn't want to of gotten this far just to lose six people because he couldn't do anything.

Especially not when the group contains Hitoshi.

Don't get him wrong, Izuku would be just as diligent in getting them picked up even if his best friend wasn't in the team. But the thing is, Hitoshi is there, and as someone with no emotional ties whatsoever to the hero team he's a prime target for someone who wants to go off the rails.

He wasn't making accusations, but Koji's bugs had picked up chatter over the last few days - especially on the night after they'd locked Todoroki, Iida and Uraraka in the tower and fought the rest of the heroes that had turned up to ambush them.

All it would take was someone getting pissed off and making accusations that then snowballed into a beating and - he was describing his own interrogation... the point remained the same.

He looked away briefly to where Sen was hunched in a chair in the far corner of the room, laughing quietly as he spoke with Setsuna. It let him relax slightly.

They were fine.

Yeah.

They were perfectly fine.

"How you holding up?" He moved back into the chair, leaning his head against Mei's shoulder as she leant her body on the back of his chair wrapping her arms around his shoulders.

"Good...just worried." She didn't respond, just nodded. He felt her grip around him tighten and murmured his own question quietly so that the others in the room didn't hear them, "And you?"

"I'm...reaching a breaking point... should be fine for the rest of today and tomorrow though. Just want them all to be back home and safe."

"Mmh." He looked around the room, spotting Neito watching them out of the corner of his eye as he half heartedly pretended to listen to Momo and Itsuka. He motioned the blond over, "It looks like our blond cat misses his purple counterpart."

He spotted Mei blinking slowly at him, before he saw the beginnings of a smirk forming, "I forgot we gave them those nicknames... I still remember when we found them asleep in the tree..."

When Neito reached them he nudged his hand off the arm rest, sitting himself there, one arm coming around Mei, the other resting at his side. "You know you two aren't helping the rumours that we're all in some big relationship y'know."

Izuku found himself turning his head to the left so he could look up at Neito properly, "You saying you don't love us?"

"Yep. Hate the three of you with a burning passion." Izuku had to turn his head to not suffocating as Neito leant his head atop of his own, "Can't stand any of you- in fact when Toshi gets here I'll proclaim it for the whole base to hear."

"You do that, blondie. You do that, because I'm sure he'll believe you after the sultry tone you used on the comms just then." He snorted as Mei continued to make comments that left the blond red in the face.

"We really don't help ourselves do we?"


Hitoshi kept his breathing as even as possible as they stalked through the sewers. He knew they hadn't been moving for long, but it felt like an age as he constantly looked over his shoulder.

Logically, he knew the chances of Todoroki and Bakugou coming after them were slim to none.

The two heroes KNEW the sewers and underground was villain territory. It was an almost unspoken thing, he could almost see it now the two standing there sneering down their noses at them muttering blankly villain suck could stand the stench of the sewers.

They were wrong however, mainly because that was Hitoshi's personalised vindictive imagination at work, and because even the villain team couldn't handle to smell.

The thing that put him on edge however, was that the others in the hero team probably were more tgan ready to chase and gut them.

Their overheard conversations were evidence enough of that. But still, jumping at every little thing would put his team on edge, and that was the last thing he needed.

Especially because he'd placed himself at the back of the line, closest to any incoming attackers. He couldn't justify why, not out loud or to himself in words. The closest he could come to justifying it was that it was the same instinct that had made him stand in between Mei and Izuku and Neito when the other two had been arguing.

There was an instinct, but there weren't words to justify the instinct.


"What's the plan boss?"

Itsuka watched out of the corner of her eye as three of the quartet of hooligans that ruled their roost slumped together near the back of the room.

Izuku looked deflated, worse so because of his still bruised and injured form. Neito and Mei didn't look much better at all, stress marking their features even as they tried to feign relaxation.

Not all of it was forced, just too much for her to feel entirely comfortable with it. Since Momo's almost violent reaction to her question about Izuku's deprecating she'd kept an eye on the boy when he spoke of his plans- just to see if when he wasn't holding up some long winded front it showed at all.

So far she hadn't spotted anything, but this time she did. His eyes darkened and the arm that he had around Neito tightened ever so slightly.

It was minimal, all throw away actions.

If she'd learnt one thing over the last nearly two weeks, it was that throw away actions tended to be the most important ones.

"I've...got a plan... but I'm not sure if I really want to voice it."

Denki laughs from where he, Masahiro and Yuga are converged in the corner. They'd forced their team to fit in this room; they won't admit it but they're all too scared to have a tactical meeting in the common room.

They're too many windows, too many points of exposure.

It isn't safe. It isn't smart.

Here it's squashed but...the leak risk is minimised. Plus they can see everyone leave and enter- and she'd heard Izuku mutter about how that was a security risk and she'd picked up on that also. But they needed to ignore that for now.

Of they picked at everything right now they'd get nothing done.

"Can't be that bad boss, they may not be clear morals but you've got a set of morals you stick to!" The electric boys words are said so off handily, so carefree.

For a minute Itsuka thinks maybe the others haven't picked up on their leaders hesitation- his doubts in himself. Then she kicks herself because everyone had seen him in the aftermath of his break down.

But not even that, Izuku just doesn't seem to be very good at hiding things right now.

"It is." The monotony of his voice is shrill against the constant underlying hum that surrounds their group. That stops also, to listen as Izuku pulls himself out of the grip of his friends, "It goes against most of my own morals to be honest but... it follows the basic principles of what we've been doing just more personalized."

He clasps his hands together, looking them all over. Watching, waiting, like a predatory animal for its kin to stand with them or fight against them.

"What did you have in mind?"

She remembers when she'd broken down into tears, how Izuku had calmed her down. And she distinctly remembered the boy that had pulled her to her feet, questioning how long it would be till she saw him as a monster.

That same boy looked around the room, "Sense deprivation. Cut off all sight and most of their auditory input- play blind man's buff."

"That doesn't seem that bad, a bit cathartic, but not moral breaking."

"I'm thinking of aiming it specifically at Bakugou and Shoda." That makes her pause. She doesn't think it's monstrous but it makes her stop.

"The two who most rely on their senses for their quirks..." attention shifts to her and she explains louder for the rest of the room, "Shoda may not always need to see his target, but sight is essential in some form for him and his quirk- removing auditory functions as well would shake him. Bakugou needs to actually aim to not injure himself-"

"It's not just that." His voice is sharp now, not directed at anyone though. Like he's more angry with himself than anything else, "Bakugou not only has intense claustrophobia but he's hard of hearing because of his quirk."

It's silent before he continues, "Removing his sight would freak him out, because he'd have to rely on a depleting sense. Removing his hearing to some extent could send him into a melt down...but it's just the kind of opportunity that would let us knock him out of the game."

Chapter Text

"For now it's...just a plan. Like I said it goes against my own moral code- and I'm already pushing all of you by breaking yours constantly- and my moral code is near non-existent if I'm being honest."

He has to look away, glaring at his clasped hands as the room remains silent. He has their undivided attention right now, this all hangs on him.

But the risks...the psychological effects...

He's done some pretty sick things this game, he's haunted Iida with Stain's ghost, he's tricked a team into thinking they'd brutally assaulted their team mate, he's literally haunted the hero team and he's at one point had them convinced he'd poisoned them.

But throughout all of that, the effects have been assessed. He wouldn't of sent out 'Stain' if he didn't know that Iida would get back up from it.

He wouldn't of tricked the heroes like they did with Sero, if he didn't know they'd rally around the fact he wasnt dead.

There had been more risk involved with the poisoning, but he'd done his research. No lasting effects ever appeared with the dosage they'd used.

But this? What he's proposing? He can't justify the effects to himself; and if he can't justify it to himself how can he justify it to everyone else?

Bakugou's hearing was information that had been told to him in confidence when the two of them were still friends. And no matter how badly their relationship had deteriorated, Bakugou knew that Izuku wouldn't exploit that.

Because they both knew he didn't have it in him, nor would he ever want to.

He'd already broken that trust by revealing it to his group just now, but that was a superficial break of trust. All the people that had put forward a request for an internship with Bakugou would of had access to his file- a file that told them of his hearing loss.

But what he was proposing was more than a breaking of trust.

Izuku knew from first hand experience that the sludge villain, when it had you in its grasp, removed all senses. All control of your body was gone.

You could try and fight but all it did was ma's everything worse.

He knew why Bakugou had looked so scared when the villain had had him. It wasn't just the promise of death, it was the realisation that his senses were useless, his quirk was useless.

And for someone who had spent eleven years of their life being told that their quirk was perfect? Who had spent eleven years being told that one day they were going to wake up and not be able to hear?

Well... the situation explained itself really didn't it?

He didn't know what psychological effects this would have on Bakugou- and he knew so much about the other boy.

Shoda from 1-B was even worse. He had as much information as his file could tell him, and the scraps he'd gotten from the 1-B villains. The boy kept to himself, didn't explain his quirk or its complexities often or at all.

He couldn't prepare for a fall out he didn't understand.

"What makes you think this plan goes against your own morals?"

The question shakes him, and he looks up to see Itsuka stood across the room staring at him. Her arms are folded and her expression is near unreadable.

"Because I'm getting into someone's head and I'm not only betraying their trust and wrecking them willingly, but unlike with Iida, I'm doing it not knowing how they're going to come out of this one."

"You haunted Iida because you knew he'd be able to handle it?" He's not sure who asks, but it sparks anger in him. Anger that he swallows up.

It isn't their fault, he reminds himself. For all that these are his friends, his family now he guesses, they don't understand how his mind works. He shouldn't expect people to get something they've never been asked to understand.

"Yes." His voice sounds gritty to himself, "I wouldn't of dreamt of sending Torru after him if I didn't think Iida could handle it. Even if we're going for realism there are lines I won't cross." 

'except I might just be about to cross them.' isn't spoken but everyone knows that's what he wants to say.

"Has anyone else got any plans in mind?"

It's silent, and it drives him crazy. 

He doesn't want to go through with this plan. But it can create a domino effect that will lead them to victory. But it will also create a domino effect that could lead to something horrible.

He and Bakugou had been on the road to civility before this, it had been a long out stretched road but they'd been on it. And after this? If they go through with his plan he fears that road will be nothing but a past figment of imagination.

He stands, one of his joints crack and it echoes in the still silent room, "I'm going to go train, we can have another meeting when they're back."

He doesn't look back, and he turns his ears away from the muted chatter that starts up as he exits the room. As he makes his way to the elevator an aching pain in his side reminds him he shouldn't be moving about so much, but he ignores it.

There's so much going on right now.

He doesn't have time to worry about his body.

He needs to find a way to get them out of this with the least damage possible.

The plan in regards to Shoda and Bakugou is a last resort. It seems more like a back up though with the lack of suggestions just then.

His hand slams into the button for the training floor, he doesn't care though. As the doors slide shut he sees some of his team exiting the room, and he closes his eyes once the doors are closed and sits on the floor.

He crosses his legs, plants his hands on either side of him and leans back, making direct eye contact with the camera in the lift. He hadn't told the rest of the team about them, if he had they'd notice the ones in the forms.

Those were needed for safety purposes, if they knew they were there who's to stop that information getting leaked to villains? Then you'd have every villain with a grudge against U.A. joining the LOV to have access to Kurogiri.

No, he won't tell them.

But he keeps eye contact with it. He doesn't know if they're watching, and if they are who is.

The teachers? His victims?

...He mentally pauses at that thought. Not the heroes, not classmates, not schoolmates. No, his victims. People he'd hurt, or was in some way responsible for hurting.

It was a devastating thought. One he pushed down, like his anger before.

He'd expected this, after so many years of internalized hatred, of fearing himself and what he wanted to do to others... how could he not of expected - Hell prepared for the day he hurt someone so badly they were classed as his victim.

But that was just another reason he'd wanted to become a hero hadn't he? To prove to himself that he didn't just have to hurt people.

He blinked when the elevator dinged, and realized he'd been starring at the camera for ten whole floors. He'd definitely unnerved whoever was on the other side. Standing up he shook his limbs out.

As he walked out he looked over his shoulder to the other camera in the elevator, "I hope you're happy."

As he turned away he found he still didn't know who he was talking to.


"You're back!"

Torru found a smile breaking across her face as they jumped out of the back of Juzo's truck. Landing and looking up she saw who had come to see them back.

Mei, Neito. They were here for Hitoshi then.

Momo, Jiro.

Masahiro and Denki were here for her and Mina. And then she spotted Mezou, clearly for Koji from the way the boy was already making his way to the other.

She frowned when she realised no one had turned up to greet Setsuna back until she spotted Sen loitering around near the lift. Grabbing the girl by the elbow she whispered to her, "I think Sen still feels guilty. You and Juzo might need to convince him other wise."

The other girl gave her a small smile and a nod. Torru stepped away and started walking over to Masahiro, hearing Setsuna call Judo over to her as she did.

-*-

"Don't tell me I hurt Izu's feelings so badly he won't even come greet me anymore." Hitoshi could see the strain in his best friends eyes as he'd approached them, opting for a joke to help sooth the mood.

It didn't work however. Mei's brows were furrowed, her lip caught between teeth as her hand tapped a rhythm on her leg. Neito had his arms crossed, eyes hard.

"What's wrong?"

"We have a problem with the plans for the next twenty four hours. Izuku's offered something and even he doesn't want to go through with it."

"Oh shit."

"Yeah, oh shit." Mei spat the words out, but they weren't directed at him, "He wants to essentially strip two of the heroes of their senses and then hunt them as if for sport to really fuck with them."

He clinches slightly at the swearing from Mei. It wasn't as if she never swore but never with extreme vulgarity.

"And no one came up with alternatives?" He can hear anger slipping into his voice, and the way Neito's eyes flash from him to the rest of the room tells him he needs to keep it contained until they're in private. They have an audiance.

"We were trying to process his words and no one else has come up with jack. He's in another of his moods at the moment." He nods and they start making their way to the elevator.

Izuku's moods were infrequent, but always self-destructive when they came about. He'd focus entirely on a problem until the point of exhaustion- or when it was particularly bad collapse.

He's only seen it twice, once the tail end of it after he'd first started hanging with him and Mei. And the second time just after he'd returned from Hosu.

Izuku had devoured every waking hour that wasn't occupied by any form of school with obsessing over how he could of treated the Stain incident differently. He hadn't meant to tell them it had been him and two other students from his class that had taken down the hero killer, but moody Izuku didn't give a damn what the law wanted him to keep quiet.

He'd probably be working his problems through in his room or, more likely, he'd be beating his frustrations away in the training room.

When they got in the elevator and the doors closed he let his anger slip out, containing it enough to not scare either of them but letting it out enough to clearly express his frustrations.

"Not a single person came up with a solution!?"

"Itsuka, Momo and Mezou just ended up making it worse. Everyone looked to them and when they didn't have the courage to come out with a plan everyone else lost courage." Neito leant back against the wall, "I reckon after Izu came out with his plan everyone was too shaken to come up with alternatives."

"He's aiming for Shoda from 1-B, and Bakugou. Bakugou is partially deaf."

He felt a lump in his throat, and it deflated slightly as Mei continued, "Thankfully he didn't call himself a monster this time."

"This time?"

"Itsuka was saying he'd called himself a monster earlier on, in her words she said he'd wondered how long it would take for her to start seeing him as a monster."

"I say we let him go after Bakugou." The words were so unexpected that he nearly gave himself whiplash turning to the blond. "What? Izuku's put up with enough shit from him. It'll teach him a lesson."

"Yeah and what happens when the mass media get a hold of the tapes for this exam? U.A. gets controversial media coverage every time this exam runs. It's bad enough that they'll have evidence he thought of it-"

"They'll drag him through the mud, utterly destroy any chance he has at being a hero if he goes through with it. They dragged Bakugou for being dramatic about the fact he didn't get an unquestionable win." Mei hissed her words out. "Look what my school did with me over self-defence cases. That was a school: an institution supposed to protect and secure the best interests of their students. The media has no such obligations."

"Well have you two got alternatives?"

"I'm thinking. Surely the three of us should have enough damn brain cells to come up with a semi-coherent plan." He laughed, trying to lighten the mood.

Neito sighed, before grinning slightly, "Don't go giving us too much credit."

"I don't know about you two boys, but I think I have more brain cells individually than you two and Izuku combined have."

"Mei, that's just a basic fact."


1

He had to think of another way to get to the hero team. They had less than half their own numbers.

He shifted his left foot forwards.

2

It shouldn't be this hard to think of another plan.

Right foot forwards, in front of the left.

3

He'd had this disgusting plan stewing in the back of his head for ages now, why couldn't he just think of another?

He brought his staff up and swing down.

Strike! He moved back into his original position.

1

He didn't want to admit that the plan was so easily formed because it had been something he'd wanted to exploit for years.

He put his right foot forwards first this time.

2

He'd always wanted to get back at Bakugou- always wanted to get back at everybody that had belittled him, had made him feel disgusted in himself, had thought he was worthless.

He'd always wanted to get back at the people that had stripped him of Izuku and given him Deku as compensation.

Left foot is moved in front of the right.

3

But that was no excuse. He could feel like that, but if he went through with it, he knew he wouldn't stop till he found the world burning at his feet.

It had never been about being stronger, or smarter, or better. It had never been about being feared. He just wanted people to see that he wasn't to be messed with.

But it wasn't something a hero should do.

It wasn't something a person should do.

You weren't supposed to want the world to know you could burn it down, you weren't supposed to want the world to know that if you did burn it it would be with a grin on your face. You most certainly weren't supposed to want the world to know you'd thought of how to burn it to nothing but cinders.

You weren't supposed to. That didn't mean you didn't.

The staff shuck as he raised it, hands quaking as he brought it down.

Stri-miss. The staff clattered to the floor, missing the dummy entirely and slipping from his grasp in the same breath.

It was a terrifying prospect, knowing you wanted to burn the world. It was an even more terrifying prospect when you knew you could.

What had All Might seen in him that day that he'd chosen him?

A false hero wading through the sewage that was self-hatred? A depressed teenager he could mould to his image? A child in need of a mentor, one desperate enough for recognition that he'd latch onto the first hint of outside appreciation?

Maybe he'd seen all three.

Maybe he hadn't seen any of them.

Maybe he'd seen a quirkless kid, desperately clawing at a sludge villain trying to free another child as adults did nothing. And just maybe he'd thought 'why the fuck am I letting this happen?'

He picked up his staff.

1

2

3

Strike.

This time he didn't miss.

Chapter Text

Tenya can feel eyes on him when Midoriya speaks. "I wouldn't of dreamt of sending Torru after him if I didn't think Iida could handle it. Even if we're going for realism there are lines I won't cross." 

The eyes are almost accusatory, like they're demanding how he - someone descended from heroes- was taken by a girl with only invisibility. 

But Hagakure's quirk doesn't matter right now, and neither does the fact she got him out.

What matters is that Midoriya has at some point studied him enough to get a psychological profile on him.

That shakes him to his core.

He can't look away from the screen though, they're essentially trapped in this room until the end of the exam. There's a walled off area for toilets, and a kitchenette in the far corner. Dotted around the rest of the room are couches, fold up beds and sleeping bags.

It looks like some morbid scene from an apocalypse movie, teenagers stuffed in a room with the bare basics, forced to watch as the rest of the world parishes.

He eventually finds his voice, turning away to face Sero who's stood next to him. Apparently he's been here since people first started trickling in, stationary in front of the monitors- looking like a man obsessed.

Maybe he is, Tenya has heard he's only slept once in the time anyone else has been here.

"Is this how all their meetings play out?"

"Usually." Sero's eyes never leave the screen, Tenya can't spot him blinking, "Midoriya is shaken though. He's never been hesitant before."

That hits Tenya and he looks back to the monitors to see Midoriya pull himself from his chair and announce he's going to go train.

The Midoriya he thought he knew was always determined in everything he did, but there was always an edge of hesitation- split seconds where he would form words on his lips before losing them.

He'd thought it was because he didn't know how to vocalist his plans, his brain moving too quickly. He realises now it's probably because Midoriya has more plan a that he won't vocalise than plans he will.

Then Midoriya gets in the elevator and sits down before staring at the camera.

Not a fleeting glance, no. He sits there and he makes direct eye contact with the camera. Like he knew it was there. Like he'd specifically walked in here, sat down and stared at it.

"What's he doing?"

Sero answers again, "He does this sometimes. Usually he rants at Nezu, tells him how stupid some of his objectives are. Other times he just stares and mutters."

"What about?" Tenya is almost scared to ask what Midoriya mutters about when there are no obvious ears listening in.

"Security risks, how easy it would be for someone to break in, how easy it would be to overcome the minimal security the building has. I think it's his usual muttering- y'know when his thought process just gets blurted out."

"Sero, dude, you should get some sleep." Seeing as Midoriya is just staring and the rest of the villain team is just doing monotonous acts - with the remnants of the hero team just training- Tenya decides he can focus on Sero rather than the screens.

Kirishima has had the same idea as he's put a hand on the other boys shoulder and his trying to pull him over to a fold up bed that Tetsutetsu quickly vacates.

Sero resists though, "I don't need to sleep, I need to see what I missed-"

"Sero you can't keep -"

"YOU DON'T GET IT!" It suddenly falls silent and Tenya can feel his heart beating violently in his ears, "NONE OF YOU GET IT!"

Sero throws his hands in the air, plain and calm face a mess of anger and desperation. "I keep watching, seeing Midoriya come out with all these plans - and all of them are him! Every little damned thing is his doing!" He steps forward, reaching a hand out to help stabilise his shaking classmate but the hand is slapped away.

"And I keep watching, trying to find what I missed! I was the first to die, I've been here every time they've done something to you. Nothing!" His spreads his arms, "THERE IS NOT A SINGLE DAMN THING TO INDICATE THAT IT'S NOT THE SAME MIDORIYA IZUKU THAT SITS NEXT TO ME IN CLASS! Do any of you realise how terrifying that is!?"

He laughs, starting to cry, "THAT GUY IS THE SAME ONE THAT CALLS THE BOY WHO TOLD HIM TO KILL HIMSELF BY A CHILDHOOD NICKNAME! THE GUY THAT POISONED OUR ENTIRE TEAM WITH NO REMORSE IS THE SAME ONE WILLING TO BREAK ALL THE BONES IN HIS BODY TO SAVE STRANGERS!"

Sero is hysterical now, hyperventilating and Tenya can do nothing as he and the rest of the dead watch in morbid curiosity. "He's had so many break downs through this- I've seen Midoriya cry before...our- our entire class has seen him cry. But not like that. Not the way he did when he released the video after he poisoned you all."

"So he felt guilty so what- it doesn't make him innocent-"

"You still don't get it!" Sero has stopped crying, but maybe that's because he's so spent he can't anymore, "That is the same boy who I have spent the past half a year sitting next to, and that same boy looked me in the eye and told me he was going to kill me. There isn't a separation between Midoriya Izuku and Kumicho."

"And I... I have to see what I missed! Because there has to be a sign where he changes personas. Because I don't know about you, but I need to know that a hero in the making isn't prepared to do half the things Midoriya can do without putting on a facade."

-*-

"Still prepared to defend him, All Might, Aizawa?" Shouta feels his blood boil as Ken goad's him.

How dare he? How dare he act as if Midoriya is any different from every other student going through with those plans. Just because Midoriya creates the plans doesn't put him at sole fault.

It's been made clear time and time again that the villain team can vetoe a plan if they don't like it. This isn't a confirmation that his student (some traitorous part of him calls Midoriya Nezu's student) will go through with his plan. No. This is the suggestion of a plan.

"Yes." He spits out, and he's so happy when Ken's face pales. Shouta is logical, he doesn't let emotions interfere with his work, with his students. The last time he let emotion interfere he lost Oboro. "You're damn well right I'm still prepared to defend him Ken. Because unless you've somehow forgotten- that is not a criminal. That is a sixteen year old boy doing what his head master has asked of him."

"You could of fooled me Aizawa. He's going to deafen a classmate Aizawa what's to stop him from going off the rails-"

"You're wrong."

"Well now you're just fooling yourself-"

"Did he say he was going through with it?" When Ken sputters out a no he continues,"Exactly. It's an option. Just like every time you use your quirk you choose between using it on someone else or just yourself."

"I cannot-"

"We were in the same year Ken, I've seen you use it on others. Don't play the innocent card now. Not when you're accusing my student of being a criminal." He has so much more he wants to spew out.

There is gallons of venom resting on his tongue, waiting to be spat at the other man. But he knows his place on the board, he understands his own expandability. And he knows how much support on the board Midoriya is going to need.

So, he reels his neck in, schools his features and swallows his own venom.

The unspoken words are for a time when Nezu cares a little less for public relations between his staff. Looking to his boss (that same traitorous part from before calls Nezu his mentor) he spots the little head tilt that says they'll talk later.

There's little more than twenty four hours left to this game. He can hold out that long, after all he's been holding his disdain for most of hero society away for years.

"All Might... what is your stance on the matter." Shouta turns to the number one. 

He expects to see the same traumatised look on his face from the first time, to see shock and fear and disgust. He sees none of that.

He sees determination, pride. Something that should never apply to his successors behaviour.

Somehow, that cools Shouta's nerves even more.

"I think Midoriya is doing exactly what we, as a society, have taught him to do." There is venom in his words, venom directed at himself and what he knows he's created, "To go for the throat of his enemies and to not let go till his prey is dead."

"All Might you can't be serious-"

"Vlad King, if I may, have you ever been face to face with All For One?"

A chill rips through the room, and its at that moment Midoriya chooses to start staring at the camera. Shouta feels like he's watching them cave under themselves- daring them to try and judge him after all they've done.

"No...no sir I can't say I have." It's the change from title to 'sir' that really indicates the power shift in the room.

As Shouta sees the board, Nezu is both king and player, he is a bishop and Midoriya is soon to become Rook or opposition. All Might is an unforseen piece. Almost like someone's put a Shogi piece on a chess board. In some way he holds value, but the value is indeterminate, and he doesn't follow the rules.

In a card game he'd be the joker.

"When I face criminals as an aspiring newly graduated hero I'd believed there was a clear line between good and evil. As I became the symbol of peace I realised I had been stupid to ever think that." 

Previously he'd thought All Might had looked frail in this form. But right now he didn't even need to bulk up to hold the ' All Might' presence their society had associated with overwhelming defeat for the opposition. "When I faced All For One do you know who I faced? Not a super criminal, not a mass murderer, not a mad genius. No, I faced a man who had a cause he was fighting for- a cause that had become lost over the years because people like you didn't want to listen."

"Don't misunderstand me, All For One was all those hideous things and more. But All For One was a man born with a quirk in a world where he was hated. He was a man who fought against his brother because he wouldn't listen. He was a man I ended up fighting because as people grew to hate and fear he had to get his hands dirty to get anything done."

It was silent, and then a wheezing life escaped the hero, "My mentor, Nana, once told me that the reason All For One calls himself that was because his original aim was to have all people come together as one." The skeletal features sneered at the room, and he felt shocked at seeing such a spiteful expression on the older man's face, "Tell me how that differs from my position as symbol of peace. I'll tell you how it differs, people listen to me because they don't focus on my mistakes, on my grievances. That's all they see of him."

All Might stood now, still as imposing as ever, "So I'll ask you to refrain from throwing my student away Vlad King. And as a mentor I'll kindly tell you to stop throwing your preconceived notions onto young children. But most importantly as a fellow hero I'll tell you, it is not your job to determine guilt or worth." The man's next words choke Shouta up, "You are a hero. Not judge, jury and executioner. So it's about damn time you stopped acting like you were."

Chapter Text

Neito struggled to keep his breathing even as he stared at Izuku's shaking form, that being the only thing he was able to do as his feet refused to move from the doorway.

Izuku was crumpled to his knees, staff clutched desperately in his hands the only thing keeping him from completely hitting the ground. His body was shaking violently, blood spilling from his supposedly healing head injury and a pool of sick next to him.

He'd pushed himself too far.

Neito couldn't bring himself to move, because he'd known this would happen and he'd let it happen. He should of followed Izuku-

'You know that would of just started an argument though. When he's like this all he does is push at everything. At people, at himself, at his limits. What could you of done?'

Something, he could of done something, anything.

Even just following and watching him, he could of prevented this. How long had Izuku been like this?

Hyperventilating, shaking, crumpled in a pool of his own sick and blood?

"Get...get off. I'm fine..."

It's Izuku's ragged words that finally make him move, and anger swells in his chest as he storms over. "You are no where near fine Midoriya." Izuku flinched at the use of his last name, looking and blinking blankly at him.

"Oh, that got you to listen?" He's being argumentative, he knows that. But right now Izuku is only going to listen through an argument, "You care more about what you're being called than your own state? And you call yourself a leader."

"I do... care about my state-"

"You're sitting in a pool of a mix of your own blood and vomit. How the actual fuck is this caring for your own state." He doesn't raise his voice, because he isn't even angry. He's just desperate right now.

"I needed to think...things through I...I got distracted."

"That's not an excuse." He squats in front of Izuku, next to where Hitoshi and Mei are wrapping his head. He's so out of it he doesn't even resist as Hitoshi tilts his head side to side. "What the Hell could be so important-"

"I don't want to be a monster...okay?" It's whispered, so quiet that he almost doesn't catch it.

"What?" He's heard him, he doesn't need a repeat. But he... He feels like it needs to be said again because he can't believe those words have been said. He hadn't believed Mei when she'd told them what Itsuka had said, because Izuku was far too intelligent to think that.

"I said I was too busy thinking that I don't want to be a monster!" The shaking gets worse, and he helps manoeuvre Izuku away from the pool of bodily fluids and to a bench not too far away.

"I was so obsessed with thinking of a plan- because nobody else would come up with one- that I didn't... I didn't realise I was hurt until you called out to me."

"Shit Izu..." He hisses the words out, and glassy eyes stare at him, "If your head wasn't bleeding right now I would slap you atop the head."

Izuku suddenly slumps against the wall, it only being Hitoshi's quick thinking that keeps him from probably splitting his head open. "That wasn't an invitation to take a crack at it yourself-"

He pauses, mouth hung open as he registers the unintentional pun and he gets a weak snicker from Izuku and muffled laughter from his other insufferable friends.

"We're going to figure a plan out..." it's muffled and he barely hears Hitoshi's mumble. Looking up from where he was squatted, he looked to Hitoshi. The taller boy was resting his cheek on the crown of Izuku's head, careful not to press his body weight on the other.

"You're not a monster Izuku." Mei whispers the words equally as quiet and, grasping the boys hand, Neito confirms the previous statements.

He'll storm the hero base himself if he has to. He doesn't want to do this plan. Not one bit.

-*-

They're going through with the plan.

Not fully, but with enough elements of the original plan to still make Fumikage feel ill. He can see how shaken Izuku is at the groups decision- he can also spot that his bandages are fresh even though they'd just been changed before he went to training.

He knew that, he'd been the one to help Izuku wrap them around his head.

Dark Shadow howls in his chest, demanding to fight against this idea - to find another way that doesn't hurt people like this.

But everyone else doesn't seem to share Dark Shadow's sentiments, because they've all agreed to go through with the plan. Wakagashira looks knocked to his stomach, as do Neito and Mei next to him.

Something happened in the time that Izuku left and when they returned. Something that had made Izuku abandon all want for this plan.

Except maybe he'd never wanted this plan to begin with, maybe it was a festering evil that he had blurted at the wrong time, wrapped within the silk disguise of a plan before it would end them as it revealed its true nature.

The only saving grace is that the plan is being adapted.

They aren't segregating Shoda and Bakugou anymore.

This will be aimed at all the heroes left. That seems to put Izuku at ease somewhat.

Fumikage can still feel his stomach curl and twist. He can still feel Dark Shadow pounding against his ribcage along with his heart as the plan is discussed.

He fears he's growing over emotional till Yuga pulls him aside at the end of the meeting and asks if he can vent. The rant quickly devolves into worry for the plan. Into dramatic words and hand gestures doing a terrible job of covering up the palor to Yuga's face.

This will not end well for either side.

It's not meant to though, is it?

After Yuga calms down (and it takes awhile, and Dark Shadow curling around the blond) Izuku calls him aside.

"I know it's the shittiest of times to ask...but our original new leader plan... would you mind if I officially named you as my successor?"

"Is this to do with the last resort protocol?"

"Yeah... I know it's a big responsibility but Fumikage," it's serious if Izuku isn't using the nickname, 'Fumiko', he'd given him, "I need to know if you're on my side in this."

The question is so desperate it hurts.

Before he's sure that a questioning of his loyalty would of agitated him, would of made him feel like he wasn't trusted, clearly, but now he sees the questioning of loyalty not as an accusation but as a confirmation.

Izuku isn't seeing who's on his side and who isn't, he's seeing who is putting their neck on the line and who is doing their everything to succeed.

He doesn't hesitate in his answer. And its with warm eyes and a cold tongue he responds, "I'm on your side."

Chapter Text

They aren't going through with the plan.

Or at least, they aren't going through with the plan everybody thinks they're going to go through with.

Shihai is still trying to understand the mental gymnastics the plan is under going right now.

In front of him Izuku is stood (and holy shit the boss looks ready to drop at any second and Shihai swears he's shaking but the look in Izuku's eyes say that mentioning it is a bad idea. The boss looks like those hunting dogs from the old gothic movies he loves watching, starved for the hunt, howling and clawing at anything that slightly resembles a threat) and a selected group of their team stands beside him.

He realises it's all the people who didn't vote for the plan. It had been eleven to ten, for the plan. Albeit a heavily edited plan. He hadn't understood that idea being pushed forward by Momo.

Either you vote for mental torture of Bakugou and Shoda, and throw Midoriya under the bus later down the line or, you voted against the plan and found an alternative.

He guesses this is what this is.

An alternative.

Along with him, there are nine others; Fumikage, Wakagashira, Yosetsu, Tooru, Kyoka, Setsuna, Mei, Koji, Neito.

(Izuku hadn't given himself a vote. Shihai didn't understand that, but maybe he didn't trust himself to make a secure judgement right now. 

That should make his faith waver, should make him walk away from the boss and turn his back on this plan. It undermines the rest of the team. It creates a divide and yet... everyone is clouded by anger and exhaustion right now.

None of them are really in the right state to be making these kinds of decisions.)

It isn't a surprise to see Wakagashira's execution squad (bar Mina who had sided with Denki this time) sticking with him. It is a surprise however, seeing Yosetsu. The other boy hadn't left Sen's side since he'd made it out of the infirmary, but maybe like the rest of them he'd realised that Sen's vote was drenched in revenge and self-depreciating anguish.

"Fumiko will be acting as leader through this operation, both literally and in the decoy sense. Yosetsu I want you as designated driver right now."

Both boys nod and even shaking and looking sick Izuku still looks intimidating as he steps towards where Yosetsu is standing in line. He stops in front of him and his face is devastating.

(He looks so so tired and it's clear this type of tired has been building up for a long time. For longer than this exam.)

It's devastating because he can tell that Izuku is putting everything he has into keeping his composure and it just isn't enough. "Yosetsu, I need to know you can put your personal feelings aside right now and do this."

"I voted against the plan boss of course-"

"We both know that isn't what I meant." They both stare at each other, and Yosetsu dips his chin and continues keeping eye contact.

"I can." It's said quietly, like a secret. No... like an oath.

He's reminded of that first day in Mei's workshop, of the unadulterated fury and determination that had burned in Izuku's eyes. He's reminded of how he'd held himself, words bitter and eyes knives as he told them that if they weren't ready to follow then they had to leave.

That he wouldn't lead people unprepared to adapt.

That same boy takes the boss spot now. Shaking, cornered animal, Midoriya Izuku is hidden now. He's pushed back into the cave as Kumicho comes out.

"Hitoshi, Mei and Koji I want you as field support can you do that?" They nod and he turns to the rest of them. "Kuroiro, Tooru, Kyoka, Setsuna, Neito I want you as the front line forces. Yosetsu and I will be road support."

"Izuku, you're barley standing right now-"

"I can point a gun and shoot right now Mei." The two strike steel against steel in the air with their eyes. It appears to be a draw as both look away at the same time.

-*-

Momo stands in the corner of the common room with Itsuka and Mezou as the rest of their team lounge about.

Except it isn't the rest of their team is it? There are ten people missing. The ten who didn't vote for the plan, that's too much of a coincidence especially with Izuku involved.

They'll be off somewhere creating an alternative plan, she can read that much into the smaller boy. She doesn't dare try and predict anymore, she won't dare.

It's been proven time and time again now that its best to not try and predict an anomaly like Izuku's actions.

"So what are we going to do? We all know Izuku is plotting away regardless of the majority ruling." Itsuka's words echo her thoughts.

"It was obvious from the get go really, he didn't use his vetoe vote, or any vote at all. That should of set alarm bells going anyway." Mezou has her mind whirling at the observation, "But did you see those three? Something happened when they went to the boss. They looked like they couldn't decide between going on a rampage and being sick."

"The plan is...sick. I'll admit. But until Izuku or anyone else comes up with anything else it's all we have. I can't think of anything that doesn't involve eliminating targets as efficiently as possible...."

It's quiet before Mezou asks something that confuses Momo, "Do either of you know what the hell operation solstice is?"

"Operation what?"

For a few minutes she'd forgotten Izuku's key to successful unpredictability.

Never let any one person except himself know the plan.

"Attention villain team, please come down to the parking bay in your full uniform and gear. Grab pillows and blankets. We're going on a stake out."

Izuku's voice sounds over the intercom system. She furrows her eyebrows looking outside and realising the sun is just beginning to set. They're going to be out for a while then.

"What is he up to?" Itsuka whispers more to herself than to them but Momo responds anyway.

"I think we're about so see Izuku's alternative."


Izuku is reaching the point where he's already planned how many days he's going to be spending in a near comatose sleep after this exam ends.

That's how ready he is to be done with this whole thing.

They've done great- fucking fantastic.

They might just win this - well good for all of them.

He might rush this if he isn't careful - Oh no, well Todoroki can go fuck himself if he thinks Izuku is going to be sportsman-like when they come face to face. The icy bastard is the thing keeping Izuku from hiding from the world under his covers and he's going to pay for that.

He's in full Kumicho attire, strapped to high heavens with weapons - staff, guns and knives- and leant against Yosetsu's tank with the boy as everyone else finishes getting their equipment ready just as the rest of their team come pouring into the underground parking area.

Momo, Itsuka and Mezou are all dressed to the nines in their council gear as well, and they lead the pack. Everybody else breaks away to the group of people setting up their equipment but those three continue.

Yosetsu pats his shoulder and walks away with a salute to the three council members as they practically box him into the side of the tank.

"What's going on."

"An alternative plan. No one was coming up with alternatives and I don't really want my auntie Mitsuki sueing me for damages."

It's said in a jokey tone, but he's just about keeping it together. He doesn't know what he'll do if the group rebel now, if they decide to stop standing besides him.

"Will it work?"

"It has a higher chance of success than the original. Shihai is still going to rid them of their sight but... we're going about it differently. I don't want to be the reason Bakugou or Shoda have nightmares or lasting trauma."

"Totally understandable. We were trying to figure out a plan but you beat us to it." 

Izuku snorts, thinking of how ironic that is. He came up with this while beating the carp out of himself... ha.

Yeah, his humour is a bit screwed up. He blames his childhood isolation. That's worked so far for Todoroki, as long as the excuse department is concerned.

"So what's going on, because we have eight people wondering what they're about to do right now."

"We're going to stake out the hero base, when they inevitably come out to pay us a visit, Shihai will unleash his quirk blinding them. Then, we do what I like to call operation shoe blades."

"Operation shoe blades..." He can feel the smile pulling at his lips, can feel the strain as his tired body keeps up with the adrenaline rush. And he can see how confused they are.

But his previous fears were unfounded because they release their tight knitted circle and he can see everyone else watching them through the gaps.

"I think the name is pretty fitting." He can feel his Izuku smirk returning, after a long time of being hidden away by fear and exhaustion it returns. "Torru!" Mezou moves so he can 'see' the girl easier and every one looks over, "Stamp your feet twice please!"

"Fine..." she huffs out a laugh before stomping each foot twice. When she does ice skates pop out of the soles. She just bar key manages to stay upright with the help of Koji.

"That's operation shoe blade."

Chapter Text

The lullaby Yuga sings in this is a real lullaby called Chut plus dead burit and its about children staying silent during the night watch.


This new plan is audacious to say the least.

Momo doesn't think she's heard of anything like it, she's almost inclined to think Izuku isn't the one to have come up with it due to its nature differing from his previous plans.

But then she stops looking at the plan at face value and looks at it properly.

When she did that the green haired boy was written all over the plan.

They were to bait the hero team into coming to them, once again putting the fight on their terms. Once the heroes were within long range supports vicinity they were to verbally engage the heroes.

Then, it was Fumikage's job to get a raise out of Todoroki, something that would get him to use his ice. Izuku was relying on the boy's clouded judgement to be in their favour.

Hopefully Todoroki would freeze them in place. Then they'd be mobile and the heroes wouldn't be. Other wise the back up was to use the skates as picks.

Apparently they were detachable and were viable weapons.

She forces a laugh down as she remembers the shriek Neito had given out as Hitoshi had showcased this feature by taking a blade from his own boots and proceeding to throw the blade at the blond.

It had stuck into the wall mere centimetres from where the top of Neito's head was.

She forces herself to concentrate however. They cannot afford to lose now, not so close to the end and not because she allowed herself to lose focus.

Locking eyes on the door to the van she drifts her hand over to her hand gun, making sure it's within range. Once that is done she lets the silence sink into her bones, only broken by the quiet singing from Yuga on other three way radio.

-*-

"What should I say? I do not have any experience in taunting an opponent this way..."

Izuku sits with his back to the 'wall' of the trucks interior, blanket wrapped around his knees as he watches Fumikage stalk back and forth in the enclosed space.

It's dark, obviously- it's late at night and they've closed the grate partition that allows them to see into the driving cabin, but Fumikage still manages to avoid stepping on the others curled up in the back.

He somehow keeps hitting the weapons crates though, which makes the least amount of sense but hey, what can Izuku say?

He doesn't understand Fumiko's night vision and he isn't about to ask if it's Dark Shadow being vindictive because then that brings about a whole debate on Dark Shadow's sentience and he is not getting into that conversation right now.

He's barley keeping it together right now, he isn't starting Fumiko on an existential crisis.

As fun as that may be...

"We want him to use his ice, so, just say something like he'd never be able to beat us while only using his ice. He's still figuring out his fire side and after the 'news report's," he makes air quotes he isn't sure anyone can see, "we made with Sen's photograph he's going to be even more adamant on using his ice over his fire."

"That is part of my worry though, Kumicho." The boy stops pacing and turns to him, "Surly he will be tipped off that something is wrong with us showing Sen's injuries on television? We haven't done that before, not for any of our acquired injuries... it's out of character."

He rolls his shoulders before hoisting himself up, Yosetsu makes a noise in the back of his throat as he shifts, the human blowtorch losing a source of body heat and clearly not liking it.

"Look, Fumiko," he stretches letting out a little groan at how stiff he is. He forces Fumikage over to where he'd been sat seconds ago until the boy is sat down, Yosetsu wastes no time in indiscriminately consuming body heat, "Everyone is on edge, Todoroki's attack on Sen with his fire was out of character, we'll be fine. Besides, when we brought them to the exchange building we hinted we had other enterprises."

It seems to put his friend at ease and he nods. Izuku grabs the blanket discarded on the floor next to Fumikage and drapes it over the other who starts to protest.

"Just sleep okay? Sen and I are gonna be out of the way so it doesn't matter if I'm a bit tired you however?"

Fumikage doesn't argue with him, just snuggling deeper into the blanket and letting Yosetsu's sleeping body drape on him more, and mutters about him being such a mother hen.

He gives one last grin before making his way to the end of the truck next to the hatch and takes a deep breath to calm his nerves.

It's quiet, normally he'd call it too quiet, but the walkie talkie next to him lets him hear the humming that Yuga is doing from his own truck while on watch.

Reminding himself on why he's still awake he opens the crate next to him slowly and quietly, cocking the semi-automatic rifle, and leaving it within grabbing range on the floor next to him.

And just like Snipe-sensei taught him, the barrel is pointed at the door away from his sleeping team mates.

It hits him then, remembering his teacher, that right now no one can see or hear them. The teachers are completely unaware of what's going on.

He realises then, and this night is a night of revelations apparently, that so much of what's gone on has been formulated or told in these trucks.

So much of their planning and execution has been done away from the prying eyes of their judge's. It sends a spark of joy up his spine when he realises how annoyed that must make Nezu.

Fear for Nezu still resides in him, it will never truly go away, but Izuku isn't petrified of the chimera like everybody else is. He isn't sure if it's stupidity or recklessness that has him discarding the warnings his brain gives off when Nezu gets too close.

He likes to think it's a mix of the two, but he can't be too sure. After all he still isn't sure if the warnings are from Nezu's imposing aura or from the fact his stupid human brain doesn't like the fact that Nezu isn't a natural creature and his brain just can't handle that.

But that's for another time.

For now, he listens to Yuga stop humming and starting singing softly in what he thinks is French.

"Chut! Plus de bruit c’est la ronde de nuit. En diligence, faisons silence, Chut! Plus de bruit, c’est la ronde de nuit Marchons sans bruit, c’est la ronde de nuit."

He closes his eyes, leaning his chin on the palm of his hand to a lullaby he doesn't understand.

-*-

The silence is broken before dawn itself brakes.

Kyoka feels stiff and not the most well rested she's ever been, but what can she expect after waking up at half four in the morning after spending the evening sleeping in a metal container?

A numb backside apparently.

The muted ringing coming from all of their devices is irritating, but if it isn't a good alarm clock she doesn't know what is. Moving to the door she starts to pry open the crate of weapons before she's stopped.

"Nope Kyo-chan," she lets out a shriek that is probably a bit too loud as she's hoisted onto someone's shoulders, "food first then a quick shower and then you can get your hands on some hard artillery."

She bristles (Mezou mutters that she's acting like a cat) as Setsuna keeps her hoisted off her feet with one hand and opens the back of the truck with the other.

It is not fair in the slightest that she's a twig among all these other girls who could probably bench press her and Yuga simultaneously. It's also not fair that she is discovering she finds it quite affectionate to be picked up and carted around like a sack of potatoes.

Because that's normal isn't it.

She doesn't shriek this time as Setsuna jumps from the truck to the floor, but it's just barley. Once they're on solid ground she's released and she does nothing but lean her weight into the girls front.

The green haired girl got her out the truck she can deal with her tired weight for a bit longer.

Everything goes by in a bit of a blur after that. The trucks had all been parked behind a gym building a few blocks away from the hero base, somewhere their reconnaissance equipment and Koji's friends could reach with little effort but was far enough away that it wasn't obvious.

Because of their location in groups they're all piled into the gyms changing rooms to have showers and freshen up after being in close quarters over night and then the staff room in the gym is being used to cook what provisions they brought with them.

She only really zones in again when she finds the boss sitting next to her, laughing at something that Mezou said. It's such a boyish laugh that she's sure that's what broke her out of her haze.

Now alive and back with the world she looks around the staff room.

There are only two tables, not enough for their twenty plus band of misfits. But instead of everyone sitting on the floor what's happened is that all the chairs have been occupied and then the tables themselves have been turned into seats.

She swears this group are a bunch of animals.

(she loves them for it though)

She cringes internally at seeing Denki's dusty boots on the table top in front of her, but needs must. She does however make a comment about his 'feet almost making her lose her appetite they smell that much Jesus Christ Denki.'

"I think I zoned out what time is it now?" She doesn't try to deny the fact she probably just lost the past two hours of her life to a sleepy haze.

"Half six, we're eating, cleaning up again if we have to then rolling out at half seven. I'm aiming for this to be done before nightfall if we can."

Kumicho, and its Kumicho right now not Izuku - there is an obvious distinction between her boss next to her and the Izuku who had been laughing next to her seconds prior- because when it comes to business she knows to address him as her boss not her friend, answers her question around a mouthful of rice.

"Cool. Mind running the plan by me one more time boss?"

"Sure, if, you answer my question."

She raises a brow, "What's your question."

"What's the distinction between me being boss and Hitoshi being bossman?"

"You know," she twirls her long earlobe around her index finger, "I don't actually know."

-*-

At eight o'clock in the morning Shouto stands with his (giving up, refusing, defiant remnants of a) team as the villain (strong, powerful, united) team stand across from them.

The ting is, they aren't even all on the ground outside their base. No, most of them are hanging out of the trucks they've been so keen on using. Each cabin has at least two gun toting villains, and he can only imagine the kind of artillery they have stashed in the back of the damn things.

What confuses him is that there are only two trucks, but everyone is present. He pushes that aside though. They must of just forced everyone to fit.

"Which one of you is the leader?" Bakugou is calm at his side - he doesn't find relief in it. The is the calm before the storm. But the bond's words seem to ripple through the villains.

They all look to each other, then behind them, to the side, to the ones in front, like no one 's perfectly sure who is in charge.

It makes Shouto's chest tighten. Because his plan had been to aim for the leader and not stop. He's failed this exam, no matter if he wins now or not.

He's lost his team, he led them like lambs to the slaughter and now this is karma's retribution upon him for failing to see the obvious.

That he'd underestimated everyone else.

Finally after a few minutes of apparent deliberation - he'd noticed the masks their prisoners had worn had had noise cancelling technology so he wouldn't be surprised if the villains were all talking right now.

It takes him a few seconds then to realise they're not all wearing the Kumicho mask anymore.

Gas masks, oval masks, medical masks and plague masks.

The menagerie has come back, that's when he knows he's going to lose. Because it was one thing to turn up to fight all portraying a dead team mate, it was another to turn up sporting your own signature.

Tokoyami steps forward. He doesn't have a mask on, it's obvious why though. Even if the different types of masks are aesthetic only, they all hide defined features.

Tokoyami doesn't hide his features because right now he's intending for them to see who he is. "That would be me, Bakugou."

And then, he turns to look at him and Shouto feels not a sliver of hope for their victory but more a defiant fury. This was the person that had thrown one of his best friends to the wolves.

This is the person that tormented them.

But something feels wrong, he knows not to underestimate now but something just isn't fitting-

"Are you going to actually fight us Todoroki or are you afraid that your ice isn't enough?"

His mind stops working for a short second. "What?" 

In the corner of his eye he sees Bakugou flinch and look at him shocked. He finds himself shocked at the tone of his own voice. It's venomous.

"I said," and then they do that trick they did when they pulled the kumicho ruse where as Tokoyami speakers his voice is echoed by every villain behind him, "Are you afraid your ice isn't enough?"

His fury has already clouded his judgement, but something in that insinuation just sounds like his father and he doesn't even realise that he's stomped his right foot on the floor sending out a sheet of ice that traps the villains in their place.

They can't move now, and it seems his team have got the same idea. All they have to do is avoid the gun fire which won't be hard and they can easily get the villains out-

"Thank you. Todoroki, you've been a great help, but I'd like to let you know we couldn't of gotten this far without your help."

He doesn't get to speak as all too quickly the ground beneath his feet gives way, literally crumbling with a bang, the villains suddenly sprout ice skates and circle them with their guns pointed down.

They're surrounded from above but still they can just make an ice dome and then- the cocking of a gun at point blank range next to his head makes him freeze. 

"Hey, Shou-chan." Turning his head slowly he sees Midoriya, honest to God in the flesh Midoriya holding a gun up to his head.

The smaller boy is bruised and bandaged but his face is cold as he holds the gun to his head keeping everyone still, the only thing running the murderous atmosphere is the small smirk that crawls onto his friends face. "I know Eldritch already said it but, thank you. Really couldn't of done all this without you."

He can't keep his eyes off the green ones staring daggers into him.

He feels himself shaking but the thought is far off and distant.

"I relinquish my position as villain leader to Eldritch!" He shouts and suddenly the world goes black.

Except, as screams from his team mates sound off he realises it isn't actually darkness, no it's a swarm. He shuts his mouth, barley keeping his eyes open as he tries to keep the insects from landing all over him.

From what he can make out Midoriya is still in the swarm, though the insects aren't attacking him like they are his team.

He feels them biting at his skin, crashing into him with force they really shouldn't posses. And then, the real darkness sets in and he distantly hears over all the buzzing Bakugou make a noise of fear he hasn't heard before.

He feels his left side heat up in preparation to just burn his way out of this but the last thing he hears before pain on all sides assaults him is Midoriya yelling one last time, "Now!"

As he hits the floor he sees Midoriya fall as well.

-*-

Mirror: I'm really nervous, the announcement didn't say whether we won or not...

Hepheastus: That's true, we have to just hope though @Torch @Mole how are you two doing??

Mole: Good RG healed me up so I'm just resting in her office right now I'm staying for over night obvs though

Torch: I'm doing cool Hepheatus though I have just barley escaped from Evangelions lair

Evangeline: You thought you could escape?? You really thought you could run from me? You fool. You absolute fool I'm tracking your location as we speak. Your days are numbered

Torch: It was an accident and you know it! Also help!

Nebula: Mon amies... it is past six... we should all be resting by now.

Evangelion: past six okay and??? I have to kill a bitch but Nebula your concern is loved and appreciated- as are you.

Cleaner: @Hepheastus have you seen Kumicho?? He isn't at the dorms and Wakagashira said his mother isn't with him?

Heapheatsu: No I don't actually...

@Kumicho is now online

Kumicho: We won.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







 

 

"My boy, why did you hide this side of yourself? I would not of thought any less of you, you have already expressed your want to be a hero. Remember what you told me? You want to be a hero that is always smiling!"

Toshinori watched his student, bubbly, cheery and bright eyed Midoriya stare near vacantly at him (he's learnt recently that bubbly, cheery and bright eyed Midoriya wasn't real. But it was almost impossibly to get the image out of his head. His student had spent so long cultivating the persona that it was hard to fit the real Midoriya in the indent the persona had left behind.)

He tried to keep his face as calm and comforting as it could be but the dissecting look on the younger's face threw him off.

It wasn't an expression he'd ever seen on a child's face before- and it was one he had yet to see on Midoriya though he suspected he'd be seeing a lot of it now. It was similar to Night Eyes when he used his quirk; as if Midoriya knew exactly how he worked and how everything was going to play out.

(He probably does a part of his brain whispers)

"I lied." That isn't what he expects but besides blinking he doesn't react, "People like me aren't heroes. We pick people apart, dissect weaknesses and catalogue ways to hurt people because it's the only thing that makes sense."

The words are monotone, they leave no room for discussion.

For Midoriya these are facts. Not subject to change and inevitable truths that must be spoken for the world to keep on spinning.

He nodded hesitantly- happy to see Midoriya's eyes flash with thanks at the action.

"I wanted to be a hero because growing up quirkless I was told I couldn't- and it made me angry that all these people with amazing quirks just wanted to hurt other people for a living but I..." the boy brought a hand up and ran it through his hair almost violently. "I held back from wanting to hurt, to ruin people ever day because they all made it so so easy to find their weaknesses. And I couldn't be a hero because I was missing a gene."

The younger took in a deep breath, "And then i saw you on the news saying how a true hero put the people above the fame and... I decided that was the hero I wanted to be."

There's a genuine edge to Midoriya's voice, but it still holds the factual tone.

"Why keep telling people then that that was your goal? Why not just say you wanted to save people, surely that sounds that much more heroic?"

Toshinori had silently promised himself and Midoriya, minutes after first seeing the real boy that he had been mentoring for over quickly year, that he would try and figure his student out. Or at the least, that he would try his damndest to learn and to attempt to understand his student.

Because Midoriya was so confusing sometimes. The way he seemed to be the embodiment of a hero - loyal, courageous, focusing on saving the people rather than the glory- contradicted with his own personal beliefs that he was a monster.

And maybe, a dark deeply hidden part of Toshinori said his protege was right he ignited it. Because he knew what people like Midoriya became when people let them slip through the cracks.

Genuine geniuses twisted into malformed destroyers.

He watched Midoriya, waiting to see if there was anything in his answer that pointed to what he'd been hiding for so long.

He simply shrugged, "I figured if I said it enough I'd start to believe the lie myself."

-*-

"Izuku, my dear boy, may I call you that?" He nodded, settling into the chair across from Nezu, "Izuku my dear boy one of these days you realise you will have to abandon someone, you cannot always afford to make everyone irreplaceable."

He nodded, face blank, as he watched the chimera across from him fold his paws together and lean forward. "I understand that sir."

Of course he understood it, how could he not?

He'd spent years assessing how to get rid of people, spent years seeing everyone bar his mother and uncle and aunt as expendable. He knew the intricacies that came with abandoning people, of forsaking people for the greater good. And sometimes for nothing else but the desire to be rid of someone.

But he also knew that as long as he was able to he wouldn't abandon anyone.

He knew the intricacies, he knew the responses. "However, I know and understand, sir, that intentionally abandoning my fellow hero without reason will lose me all the respect people have for me."

Nezu's eyes flashed in the setting suns light. Before a small little smile crawled onto his face. "Well we can't have that now can we Izuku."

-*-

"Midoriya, a word." Staying behind as his classmates and friends left the room he walked to the front, waiting across from Aizawa as the man shuffled some papers in place.

"Is something the matter sensei?" He and Aizawa stared at each other, each appraising the other, each waiting for a sign of weakness, each waiting for one to back down in submission.

Knowing he wouldn't win against Aizawa - not right now, not while his suspicion is hot and his information is so little in content- he looks away first, hearing an approving grunt from his teacher.

"You're aware, I'm sure, that Nezu is on the prowl for a successor. And I'm sure you're aware you are the prime candidate."

He nodded, wondering where this was going. If they both knew why were they talking about it. He could see the merits of becoming Nezu's student, but the conversation he'd had with the chimera before still had him on edge. Not unlike every other interaction with the other.

"I'm offering mentorship of my own, Midoriya. Nezu took me as his student for my three years here and I didn't make the cut. However, he's more dead set on you than I've ever seen him on anything."

"What exactly are you offering here sensei?"

He knew full well what kind of dance was going down between his teacher and Nezu. The minute he'd crawled into the chimera's twisted head and picked about in there he knew he'd end up getting involved.

He just hadn't expected to be used for a parlay.

"I'm offering to take you under my wing officially, along with Shinsou, and unofficially train you to be able to withstand some of the tactics Nezu hasn't employed on you yet. You're his Rook right now Midoriya that is a precarious position to be in."

Izuku had never particularly been interested in chess, but his mother played it often enough that he did understand what Aizawa was saying.

Pawns were easily sacrificed pieces, losing the queen could cause the kingdom to crumble and the more the king was played offensively the less value he retained.

That was why the knights, rooks and bishops were so important. They were the corner stones of a chess table empire. But Izuku kept the fact they could just as easily be sacrificed at the forefront of his mind.

"And you, sensei? What's your place on the board?"

"I'm his Bishop, and I assume we both know the implications of that. He won't question me mentoring you, and if you decide to take his offer when he asks...I will defend your decision if i need to."

He felt a sly grin edge at his lips, "Which side of the board are you playing for sensei?"

Izuku had spent years cultivating a persona, a facade to hide the real him away from the light of day. He'd spent years forcing tears to his eyes, hiding his real thoughts and intentions behind long winded distractions.

Izuku knew what it meant to play the game from both sides, and he needed to know where his teachers loyalties lay. He wasn't prepared to stand by someone who would sell him out to Nezu at the first sign of danger.

His teacher gave him a familiar lazy grin and he spotted a light he often saw in his own eyes light up in Aizawa's. "Whichever side you need me to."

He had all the proof he needed. "That's a dangerous game to be playing sensei."

"Only if you don't play it right."