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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.