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DID YOU SEE HIM

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“If he seriously hurts himself,” Tenko muttered out the side of his mouth, “I’m going to get Torriku to reverse my Quirk so I can meld Izuku to a hospital bed for the rest of the semester."

Kansatsu snorted. “Like that would hold him.”

Huffing, the Pro didn’t bother arguing. His eyes were glued to the massive television screens, regardless, as numerous first year students streamed down the path of the obstacle course. Shouto, unsurprisingly, had gained himself a big lead with his ice, but Katsuki was catching up fast, and other 1A kids weren’t far behind. Every time the footage panned and caught a glimpse of green hair, Tenko found himself sitting a little straighter, only to slump again as other fifteen year olds were focused on.

But then his cousin went and did something that pulled all the camera views to him.

BOOM.

“What the fuck-?” Tenko blinked as they saw the explosion on screen, and heard it from beyond the arena a few seconds later.

“Holy crap,” Kansatsu breathed, leaning forward. “Is that-?”

It was: Izuku, riding a sheet of metal through the air on the shockwave of the explosion. He soared further, and further, tipping closer with every second to where Shouto and Katsuki were dodging each other’s hits as they raced for first place.

Tenko gripped the armrests of his seat with white knuckles. “He’s gonna stall out-!”

And yet, the teen didn’t. Just as it seemed like Izuku was going to faceplant on the ground, he managed to flip himself, yanking on a cord wrapped around his makeshift sled to smash it against the ground-

-and blow up the landmines beneath.

Another, smaller shockwave blew Shouto and Katsuki to either side, giving Izuku an opening to roll and get his feet back under him. At that point the boy took off running, leaning into his sprint and pouring everything he had into maintaining his precariously sparse lead.

And somehow, some way, Tenko’s baby cousin made it back through the arena gate in first place.

Both he and Kansatsu eventually turned to stare at one another as more students skidded in, red and black eyes equally wide with shock. Then, Tenko’s phone rang, causing both of them to jump.

He didn’t even need to glance at the screen to know who was calling. “Auntie-”

“DID YOU SEE HIM!” Inko practically screamed. Tenko couldn’t tell if it was in delight or horror. “DID YOU SEE WHAT IZUKU DID-?!”

“Yeah, yes, I saw!” The Pro scrambled to answer.

“IS HE ALRIGHT??”

“He’s fine, Auntie, I can see him on the arena floor, he’s- he doesn’t have a scratch on him, I don’t think-!”

Inko made some more unintelligible noises, before finally saying, “Can you check on him? Is there time?”

“Not before the second event, no - but I’ll sneak down into the waiting rooms later, I promise.”

“Okay- okay. Thank you, Tenko. Oh, my heart is still racing-!”

Tenko couldn’t help but laugh at that. “I know, mine too!”

They ended the call soon afterward, Kansatsu back to looking her usual, inscrutable self by the time Tenko glanced back over. “Only your family, Shimura...”

“My family,” he agreed, with a glance down the rings of seats to where he could just spot Uncle Toshi’s head of blonde hair. “He got first place. Holy shit.”

“Hitoshi came in twenty-seventh.”

“Wait, what? Dang it, I missed him!” Sure enough, a spot of purple fluff was just visible down on the arena floor - walking away from where Tenko could see his cousin’s green mop. “Is he not partnering with Izu for the team event?”

“Seems to be the case,” Kansatsu said slowly. They fell silent for a while, as individuals came together or broke apart, until everyone had joined into groups for the randomly selected event: a cavalry battle.

“Going to be interesting to see how some of them manage that,” Tenko muttered, glancing over a few of the bigger participants. A flash of gold caught his eye, and he grinned upon recognizing Himiko. Two of her group members looked to be other kids from Izuku’s class - the frog girl, and the fellow with a lion’s tail - while the other was a pink-haired girl wearing goggles, likely also from the Support Course.

Kansatsu followed his line of sight, and smiled. “I hope she does well.”

“Me too. The brats could use another friend in the Hero Course.”

Midnight announced that the battle was about to begin, and Tenko took quick stock of the teams he knew would need paying attention to.

Izuku had been joined by his friends Uraraka and Iida, and another of their classmates, the bird-headed boy with a living shadow.

Katsuki was already bossing around three of his new followers: the pink girl who made acid, the tall fellow with tape dispensers in his elbows, and the cheerful red-haired guy whose Quirk hardened his skin.

And Hitoshi had apparently teamed up with Shouto, along with the boy with an electricity Quirk, and the girl who could make things from her fat cells.

Half a dozen other teams, made up of other students from the Heroics courses and a few from Support or General Studies, were gathered beyond them, many already staring at Izuku and his million yen headband.

“This, is going to be interesting,” Tenko murmured, just as the horn sounded.

That was, he quickly realized, a drastic understatement.

In moments, the arena descended into chaos - cavalry groups racing around, Quirk effects flying, Present Mic’s commentary doing next to nothing to help keep it all straight. Some teams went sneaky, skirting the edges of the main action to swipe headbands from opponents. Other charged right into the thick of things, going for Izuku, Shouto, or Katsuki’s groups, who of course were fighting each other as well.

Ice suddenly spread across a wide swatch of the arena, causing some students to slip while others used their Quirks to stay up and moving. Himiko’s group nearly got caught by the unexpected obstacle, saved at the last moment by leaping into the air - and staying there.

“Jetpacks,” Tenko grinned. “Nice.”

Carried by the other Support girl’s machinery, the four kids came down right on top of Izuku’s group, and a long tongue snapped out towards the million yen headband. A timely swipe from the living shadow kept it safe, and then Iida and Uraraka acted in concert, their Quirks working together to propel the whole group upwards as well. Himiko and her teammates had to touch down briefly, but gave pursuit, propelled upwards by powerful kicks from the frog girl and tail kid.

Meanwhile, a group of 1B students got in close to Katsuki’s group, and their rider neatly swiped his headband. Words were exchanged on the field, clearly igniting the explosive boy’s temper, because he ordered his group around to chase down the other team.

As three other sets of students closed in on Shouto’s group, Tenko saw the girl with her hair in a ponytail make something that swiftly went over her teammates. “What are they...?”

Bright bolts of electricity arced out from the blonde boy, shocking everyone within range - except for the others in his group, who were protected by-

“She made an insulator for them,” Kansatsu muttered. “Very clever.”

With the teams around them stunned, Shouto’s ice burst outward again, this time successfully freezing several people to the ground. Hitoshi led them on a quick pass to collect headbands, before heading towards the far side of the arena, where Himiko’s group was still battling Izuku’s. The aerial pursuit had deteriorated into a ground chase, with one team focused on evasion, the other on offense. Shouto and his group’s sudden arrival turned it into a momentary free-for-all, and a few different headbands changed hands, too quickly to tell which ones ended up where.

As for Katsuki’s team, they seemed to have engaged half of Class 1B at once in their effort to retrieve his headband, even after having snagged two lower point values. The tape boy launched a strip to stick to the ground just in front of their targets, as the acid girl melted a path - and then, Katsuki fired off a blast which launched them forward, speeding across the liquid ground too fast to dodge. He snagged his original headband back from the 1B kids before they could block him.

Though even that didn’t seem to be enough, as Katsuki raced his team towards the chaos of the fight for the first prize headband. But just before they could get there, Izuku threw a punch - and the concussive force of it hit the ground, sending up a cloud of wind and dust, blocking everyone’s view of each other for the last few moments of the competition.

“TIME’S UP!”

Unaware that he’d been holding his breath, Tenko let it out in a big whoosh of air, and slumped over in his seat. Kansatsu looked to be in a similar state. “These kids...” She groaned.

“Tell me about it,” Tenko agreed, his gaze drifting to the scoreboard as they waited for the dust cloud to settle. What he saw made him sit up straight again. “Kansa-”

“What?”

“Look!”

Team Shimo - 10,000,755 P

Team Bakugou - 1,350 P

Team Toga - 805 P

Team Midoriya - 685 P

Kids on the field sat or fell over in their exhaustion, as the crowd went wild, Present Mic screaming over the loudspeaker system. Tenko felt his phone buzz from a text message notification, and guessed his aunt had completely by-passed being able to speak. Sure enough, when he pulled it out to glance at the screen, her message consisted entirely of exclamation points.

Kansatsu was shaking her head with a grin when he looked back up. “If Hitoshi actually manages to win this thing, he’s going to be insufferable for the rest of the year.”

Tenko snorted. “If it’s Izuku, he’s going to burst into tears on the awards podium.”

They paused, before sharing a calculating glance. “...dinner at my favorite kaiseki restaurant if my brother wins, or that izakaya place you like if it’s your cousin?”

“Deal.”

The two of them shared a brief laugh, and then the match-ups were being announced on the television screens, attracting everyone’s attention and sending considering murmurs through the audience.

Iida vs. Hatsume

Shinsou vs. Kirishima

Uraraka vs. Yaoyorozu

Ojiro vs. Bakugou

Tokoyami vs. Ashido

Sero vs. Shimo

Kaminari vs. Toga

Asui vs. Midoriya

“Is it wrong that I’m glad Izuku and Katsuki are on opposite sides of the board?” Tenko asked with a grimace. His best friend snorted.

“Are you kidding? I wish Hitoshi was further from that punk too.”

They wound up leaving their seats during the smaller events, where students who hadn’t made it to the final round showed off their skills and Quirks. Both used their respective Pro license and police badge to get through security around the interior halls of the arena, acting as though they were there on the job, rather than as relatives of students. Kamui Woods nodded to Tenko when they crossed paths with him, and no one else spared a second glance at the pair.

At least until they got to the student waiting areas, anyway.

“Kowasu-san! Lieutenant Tamachi!” One of the 1A kids jogged over, waving. “Is something wrong?”

“Everything’s fine-” Tenko scrambled internally for a second, trying to come up with a name from Izuku’s rambles, “-Jirou, we’re just having a quick look around before the final event starts.”

The dark haired girl squinted at them for a long moment. “...you’re visiting Midoriya, aren’t you.”

Kansatsu smirked. “Smart kid. Yes, he’s visiting Izuku, and I’m here to see Hitoshi.”

“Gotcha. Just down the hall, our room’s on the left.”

“Thanks. And hey - just because your team didn’t advance doesn’t mean you did poorly,” the policewoman said. “I guarantee there were Pros watching today who made a note of your name.”

Jirou seemed startled for a moment, before her posture straightened and she nodded firmly. “Right. Thank you, Lieutenant.”

“No problem.”

They parted ways, the teenager heading back the way she’d come as the twenty year olds continued onward. At the door to 1A’s room, Tenko poked his head inside, and whistled when he spotted two heads of green and purple hair sitting at a back table.

Izuku shot right up to jog over, while Hitoshi followed more slowly. “Tenko! Is Kansa here? Have you been watching?”

“She’s here, squirt,” he said, pushing the door further open to let his friend step inside too. “And Auntie’s been watching on the tv at Rei-san's home - she called me after that minefield stunt got you first place in the obstacle course. I’m going to be half-deaf for a while, thanks for that.”

The teen smiled sheepishly. “Uh. Sorry?”

Tenko dropped his scolding expression after a second, to catch his cousin in a headlock and rub a fist against his scalp. “Just win this thing to make it up to me, yeah?”

“I’ll try! But Hitoshi’s worried he won’t do well.”

“I am not,” the other boy muttered, holding still as his sister checked him over for bumps or bruises.

“You are,” Kansatsu stated. “But you’re going to be amazing, regardless.” Violet eyes flicked up to meet her solid black ones, and then Hitoshi leaned forward to rest his head against her shoulder. Kansatsu hugged him back, as Tenko left off giving Izuku a noogie but kept his arm draped around the teen’s shoulders.

“You’ve both done incredibly today,” the Pro said softly. “And honestly, at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if you both make it to the final four - maybe even the final match.”

“In which case you’ll definitely win,” Kansatsu added, poking her brother in the back. Hitoshi snorted at that, and finally pulled himself back to stand straight again.

“I know neither of them can say anything, up the box where the microphone picks up every word,” the teen muttered. “But do you think... are they...”

“Aizawa and Yamada are so freaking proud right now, Hitoshi. I don’t even need to see them to know it.”

“Same goes for Uncle Toshi, squirt,” Tenko murmured, knocking against Izuku’s head. His answer was a beaming grin, which satisfied the Pro that his baby cousin didn’t need as much reassurance as the other teen. “Alright, we need to go reclaim our seats, and you two need to get ready for your first matches.”

“We are!” Izuku protested. “We’re brainstorming strategies for different opponents.”

“Well, whatever you need to do to psyche yourselves up. Good luck, brats - you’re gonna do great.”

Eventually, they made their way back topside, and returned to their spots just as the first of the duels was announced: Hatsume Mei versus Iida Tenya.

“Speed against invention,” Kansatsu murmured, adjusting her jacket. “This ought to be fun.”

And it was - just not for poor Iida.

Over the course of nearly fifteen minutes, Hatsume turned their fight into one big sales pitch, showing off her inventions and pointing out their capabilities with every hit and dodge, before finally stepping out of the ring herself.

“Geez,” Tenko said once Iida’s victory was declared, despite the boy himself protesting. “Wish I’d had wins that easy back in school.”

“You say that now, but I bet you’d have reacted just like him if someone pulled a stunt like that on you.”

“...well, maybe.”

And then it was Hitoshi’s turn.

Kirishima, the kid with a Hardening Quirk, clearly knew what to expect, because he kept his mouth shut despite how much his opponent continued talking. The cameras weren’t quite close enough to pick up audio from the duel, but everyone could see Hitoshi’s mouth moving on screen. At one point, Tenko would’ve sworn he saw the kid say ‘Crimson Riot,’ and Kirishima’s determined expression got a little fiercer, but aside from that all they had to go on was the flurry of one-sided blows. Hitoshi wasn’t dumb enough to let himself get hit by Kirishima in his hardened state - instead, he kept dodging, using every scrap of training Aizawa had given him over the years to stay mobile.

There came a moment, though, when the other boy got in a lucky hit, catching Hitoshi a glancing blow to the side of his head that sent him flying.

“Shit-!” Kansatsu hissed, automatically rising from her seat before Tenko caught her arm.

“He’s playing it up,” the Pro breathed, eyes glued to the screen. “He pushed off with his left foot to make himself tumble further.”

“What? Why?”

The answer came in the form of Kirishima hurrying forward, his face concerned as Hitoshi stayed crouched on the ground, blood already leaking from the scrapes his ear sustained. And in that moment, the red-haired boy opened his mouth, lips forming the words are you okay-

-only to freeze in place, his eyes going blank as Hitoshi looked up with a grin.

At that point, all it took was a simple order for Kirishima to walk himself out of the ring. Midnight declared Hitoshi to be the winner, and he let go of his Quirk at the same time. Kirishima blinked, drooped when he realized what had happened, and then smiled ruefully as he turned to offer Hitoshi an acknowledging nod. One hand pressed to his still-bleeding injury, the other boy joined him in walking out of the arena, both of them chatting as they went.

“...y’know,” Kansatsu drawled when her brother had vanished from sight. “If that brat complains about his head hurting tonight, I will have no sympathy.”

Tenko barked out a laugh.

After that, they had a slightly more relaxing time as they watched Izuku’s friend Uraraka engage in a heated fight with the creation girl, Yaoyorozu. Both went all in, fighting hand to hand, various weapons being made, used, and discarded. A daring lunge on Uraraka’s part, however, got her close enough to land a hand on the other student’s bare forearm, and from there it was simple to hurl the weightless Yaoyorozu out of bounds.

“I really hope she and Izuku go out on at least one date,” Tenko mentioned off-handedly, when Uraraka’s victory was announced and she and Yaoyorozu walked off arm in arm. Kansatsu snorted at him.

The next duel had the two of them tensing before it even began: Katsuki versus the kid with a tail, Ojiro. Predictably, the latter lost - but he put up one heck of a fight before hand, pushing through hits and dodging explosions, even smacking Katsuki right in the midriff at one point, nearly knocking him back out of the ring. There was no amicable heading off together afterwards, either, as Ojiro limped in the direction of Recovery Girl’s designated infirmary and Katsuki went straight back to the waiting area.

Following that, the fight between Tokoyami’s living shadow and Ashido’s acid barely lasted two minutes before the pink girl was tossed out of the ring, causing both Tenko and Kansatsu to wince in sympathy. What came after was possibly an even worse match-up: Shouto versus the tape guy, Sero.

“Any idea how many of his siblings are here?” Kansatsu asked, glancing around the audience stands as if she’d be able to spot the heads of distinctive red and/or white hair.

“Fuyumi is. I’m pretty sure Touya stayed home with Hikari, since he wasn’t sure if Endeavor might show up here or not, and I dunno about Natsuo.”

“Well, I can definitely say it’s for the best Firecracker didn’t bring the pipsqueak - look down there.”

In the very front row of seats, a new figure had appeared to claim a prime spot to watch the duel - one with very distinctive flames curling around his face and shoulders. Abusive asshole though he was, Todoroki Enji had somehow managed to preserve enough of his reputation through two divorces to continue being a Pro Hero, one with enough clout to walk right into the UA arena stands no matter the amount of unsettled murmuring around him.

Tenko scowled, hand automatically coming up to scratch at his cheek. “Bitch-faced bastard.” Kansatsu made a noise of agreement, even as she caught his fingers and guided them back to the armrest. With her other hand, the policewoman pulled out her phone, and tapped out a quick text message. “Who’d you send that to?”

“Tachibana-senpai. I let her know to notify security, Endeavor is not allowed into the student waiting areas, and especially not anywhere near Shimo Shouto.”

“You think that’ll actually do any good?”

“Maybe it won’t, but I can at least try. And if he leaves our line of sight at any time, we’ll go after him, right?”

“Damn straight.”

At that point, however, they turned their attention back to the arena floor, to watch Shouto’s first match. Evidently, the boy had caught sight of his estranged father as well, because not once did so much as a flicker of flame light up on his left side. Instead, he spun through a few quick punches with Sero, before hitting the other boy with a short ice pillar that knocked him right out of the ring. Quick, efficient, but not brutal, considering what he was really capable of. And after a pause spent glaring at Endeavor, Shouto went to offer Sero a hand getting back to his feet.

“I’ve always liked that kid.”

“Me too.”

Thankfully, Endeavor stayed put, so the two of them didn’t have to miss Himiko’s match against electric kid, Kaminari. He attempted some strange combination of flirting and trash-talking as they began, but the Support Course girl just laughed, and as soon as the match began, threw a needle at his face.

The boy yelped and dodged, but that just gave Himiko her opening to charge forward. A swift kick to the groin and then an elbow driven down onto the back of his neck was all it took to take Kaminari out. Midnight had to muffle a giggle as she announced the winner, and Himiko bounced in delight as she beamed, showing off her fangs for the camera.

“I’ve always liked that kid, too.”

“Mm-hm.”

Then, finally, it came time for Izuku’s match, against the frog girl, Asui. They smiled at each other before the call to start, which did nothing to forewarn of the absolutely brutal knock-down, drag-out fight they engaged in. Both were light on their feet, and though Asui had the advantage of greater agility and flexibility, Izuku kept pace with her movements, dodging, striking, throwing out wide punches that shook the air and nearly flung his opponent from the ring. It seemed like they were evenly matched, but when Asui nearly tripped Izuku up, he evidently decided enough was enough.

The punch that followed rattled the walls of the arena, knocking Asui head over heels on her way out of bounds - but also ripping up Izuku’s arm in the process.

Tenko let out an involuntary hiss as his baby cousin clutched at the injured limb. “Damn. And here I was hoping he’d get through this without seriously hurting himself.”

“I thought he’d gotten a better handle on things,” Kansatsu frowned. “It didn’t look like he was hurt after throwing punches around in the cavalry battle.”

“Up to a certain percentage, his new Full Cowl technique distributes the effects without harm,” Tenko replied, still watching as Izuku exited the arena to go see Recovery Girl. “But that punch must have gone over his limit.”

“Which is?”

“Five percent, as of earlier this week.”

He didn’t even need to look to know his friend was giving him a shrewd look. “He isn’t going to let a threshold that low hold him back during this.”

“No. No, he’s not.”

“...weren’t you saying something earlier about sticking him to a hospital bed for the rest of the semester?”

Despite the seriousness of the moment, Tenko’s lips twitched into a grin. “Yep. You willing to pitch in with that?”

“Probably. I bet I could get Aizawa to go along with it, too.”

“That’d be helpful.”

They kept up the banter, trying to lighten the mood before the next match began: Iida versus Hitoshi. “He’s not going to be able to pull the same trick twice,” Kansatsu murmured as the boys entered the arena, her brother wearing a fresh bandage over his ear.

“With any luck, he won’t need to. Or, I suppose Iida might just run him straight out of the ring.”

And true to Tenko’s words, the tall boy tried exactly that. Unfortunately for him, Hitoshi must have been expecting it as well, because he spun in Iida’s hold, kicked both feet against the other’s ankles, and rolled with the movement as they fell. In an instant, Iida was pitched over backwards out of bounds, moving too fast to correct himself.

“HA!” Kansatsu cheered, startling Tenko as she uncharacteristically punched a fist into the air. “Alright, that’s two rounds my brother’s won now - I’m halfway to winning our bet.”

“Yeah yeah, just don’t get your hopes up until after we see how Izuku does,” Tenko retorted.

Down on the field, poor Iida at least seemed to be taking his loss with more grace than his previous victory. As with his previous opponent, Hitoshi exited the arena with him, talking quietly with an expression of suitably restrained pride on his face. Tenko hoped that the kid was doing what he could to smooth over the sting of Iida’s poor showing in the duels.

Any concern for 1A’s class president had to be put on hold, however, as the next match was announced: Uraraka Ochako against Bakugou Katsuki.

“Think she might have a chance of winning?” Kansatsu asked quietly, as the two students entered the ring below.

“A chance? Sure. Whether she manages to seize it, I dunno.”

Uraraka wasted no time, at least, dashing straight for Katsuki as the match began, keeping her body low, center of gravity close to the ground. He started firing off explosions without any sort of preamble either, clearly hoping to get her with a quick knock-out, unlike his previous duel.

The girl didn’t give him any easy openings, though. Even as the nitroglycerin blasts knocked her away, Uraraka kept charging right back in, even using a smokescreen and her uniform jacket to make a diversion at one point. Tenko held his breath as she plunged out of the debris cloud behind Katsuki, arm outstretched to grab him-

-but a blazing hand swung around, and blew her back again.

Biting his lip, the Pro kept his gaze firmly locked on the girl, certain she had a strategy, and hoping it something other than repeated attempts to get into grappling range. Not until Kansatsu dug an elbow into his ribs did Tenko look up - and up, and up, at the veritable arsenal of cement chunks floating in the air above the arena.

“Whoa.”

Katsuki finally noticed too, when Uraraka brought her hands together, and released it all in one go.

What happened next could only be described as a meteor storm.

Debris hurtled down, coming directly at Katsuki’s head, forcing the boy to aim his hands upwards, as there was no way to effectively dodge the incoming missiles. Uraraka took that moment to bolt forwards once more, fingers out-stretched-

BOOM!

With a single, massive explosion, bigger than anything he’d pulled out before, Katsuki obliterated all the cascading debris in one go. What wasn’t destroyed flew elsewhere in the arena, broken into pieces too small to cause any harm. Uraraka staggered, thrown by the concussive blast. Even so, Katsuki immediately turned to face her again, stance ready for whatever the girl tried next.

Except, slowly, she tipped. And then, all at once, Uraraka slumped to the ground.

Tenko let out a quiet breath. “Geez. I thought she almost had him there.”

“Is she alright?”

“Yeah, probably - Izuku told me she has a weight limit, gets whoozy and vomits if she passes it.” Gesturing to the pockmarks around the arena, Tenko grimaced. “More than likely, this was well over what she can normally manage.”

“Strong kid,” Kansatsu grunted.

“Can say that again.”

A few minutes passed as Uraraka was taken out on a stretcher, and Cementoss cleaned up the arena for the next match: Shouto versus Tokoyami.

Just like his first duel, the double-Quirk boy kept his fire tamped down, relying solely on ice to battle his opponent’s living shadow. The match dragged on, each moving quickly, struggling to get around the other’s strong defenses.

“...I don’t get it,” Kansatsu said at one point, frustration on behalf of Shouto evident in her tone. “Why is he holding back?”

“Because Endeavor’s here,” Tenko said bitterly. “And as much as Touya’s been a great older brother for his siblings, he never held back on his bitterness at inheriting their father’s flames - something that Shouto picked up on and, apparently, took to heart.”

“But he’s used his fire before! For crying out loud, he used it in the previous events-” Even as she spoke, though, the pieces connected in Kansatsu’s head, and her eyes widened with realization. “-before Endeavor showed up.”

“Exactly.”

“Son of a bastard. He’s going to cut his nose off to spite his face.”

Wincing as one of the living shadow’s claws swiped Shouto, nearly knocking him off his feet, Tenko nodded. “Looks like it.”

Even so, Shouto won the round, by way of unleashing a huge glacier on the other boy to force him out of bounds. It would have been overkill on someone like Sero, but necessary to beat Tokoyami without the use of his fire.

As the boy they used to help babysit walked out of the arena, Kansatsu folded her arms with a huff. “If he holds back like that against Izuku, your cousin’s gonna be ticked.”

“You say that like he isn’t waiting down in those tunnels to give Shouto a piece of his mind already.”

“Well, he better make it quick - it’s his turn to face Himiko.”

Soon enough, the girl herself appeared in the arena, Izuku arriving just a moment later. His arm was wrapped from palm to elbow in gauze, but he didn’t seem to be specially favoring it while moving into place to begin the match.

And what a match it was - while Himiko could match Asui for speed, she needed to get in close for hand to hand combat rather than remaining at a longer range. Izuku was forced to be that much more careful with his movements, especially as a hit from Himiko would mean getting struck by one of her needle vials or another piece of support gear.

While Hatsume’s inventions had been made with a wide range of uses and tasks in mind, Himiko’s were much more specialized, created with the sole intention of aiding her movements and giving her options with her Quirk. When Izuku threw himself back to get a bit of breathing room, the girl snuck a capsule from her belt, swallowing it before he could intervene.

In moments, Himiko’s golden hair turned inky black, as her body grew tall and lanky, resulting in-

“Oh dang,” Tenko couldn’t help but laugh. “She borrowed blood from Aizawa-sensei!”

Sure enough, a perfect copy of the 1A Homeroom teacher stood on the arena floor in a rather stretched-out gym uniform, eyes already glowing with Erasure.

“Well, at least she doesn’t have a capture scarf to add in,” Kansatsu grinned, as down below, Izuku surprised his opponent by taking the initiative and jumping forward to attack.

Though she’d been clever to get a blood sample with a Quirk that let her cancel out Izuku’s, Himiko didn’t have as much experience moving in so tall a body, and the newly tight fit of her clothing was a hindrance too. Izuku forced her to keep moving, using up the time limit of her sample, until Himiko finally started to morph back into herself. Then, with Erasure safely out of the way, he lashed out with another Quirk-powered blow, tossing the girl just far enough to land with a foot outside the ring.

Himiko didn’t seem upset, at least. She laughed and bounced back over to give Izuku a hug, before heading towards the section of seating where the rest of the Support Course students were wildly cheering for her.

Kansatsu turned to Tenko with a raised eyebrow, and spoke before he could. “He’ll be going up against Shouto next.”

“I know. But first, it looks like we’ll be watching Hitoshi against Katsuki.”

“We’ll be watching Hitoshi beat Katsuki,” his friend said firmly.

“Hopefully.”

It didn’t look like the purple-haired boy would have an easy time of it, though, because even before the match began, Katsuki had an ugly snarl on his face. Midnight set them off, and an explosion rang out in nearly the same instant.

Hitoshi dodged, and right away started yelling at his opponent. In the stands, Tenko and the rest of the audience couldn’t get more than indistinct sound, especially against the backdrop of further explosions, but it was clear that with every word Hitoshi wound Katsuki’s temper up further and further.

He took a corkscrew approach, gradually getting closer with every loop around the other boy, until Katsuki was the one to leap and tackle the other. His palm lit up with nitroglycerin, ready to blow - only for the boy to freeze in place when Hitoshi spoke again. Something in Katuski’s face faltered, just for a split second.

It was long enough for Hitoshi’s legs to come up and plant themselves in his belly, launching the blonde up and off. Katsuki fired an explosion as he went, but the angle of it actually served to knock him out of bounds; something the teen didn’t notice until after he’d rolled back to his feet, ready to keep fighting, only to stumble as Midnight called the match.

“What the FUCK!”

There was no mistaking that angry shout, even faint as it was. Kansatsu snickered as Tenko outright cackled.

It took a while for Midnight to convince Katsuki that, yes, he’d lost, no, it did count, and to hurry up and exit the arena for the next match. Not until she apparently threatened to use her Quirk on him did the blonde boy go, huffing and fuming with every step.

“There is something so satisfying in getting to see Hitoshi take that bully down a peg,” Kansatsu murmured when her laughter finally trailed off.

“Yeah, I know. Part of me wishes I’d gotten to see that, but with Izuku - and the other part says him fighting Katsuki here would have gone even worse than the drills Uncle Toshi put them through in the first week of school.”

His friend hummed, gaze drifting to the barely visible seats occupied by the Hero Course kids, where her brother could just be spotted taking a seat amongst his classmates. “Yeah, I kind of doubt Izuku would have been able to put him in his place as firmly as Hitoshi. Not for lack of power, mind you, but...”

“But history as old as they are tends to get in the way of things like that.” Sooner or later, though, Izuku and Katsuki would need to clear the air between them if they wanted to be able to work together during their continued high school careers.

But in the meantime, Izuku was up against Shouto.

Both boys walked into the ring, and from the solemn look on Shouto’s face and the grim one on his cousin’s, Tenko knew Izuku had already confronted his friend about only using half his power. By the same token, he figured the other boy hadn’t listened, either.

Sure enough, as their match began, Shouto started off with a massive blast of ice like he’d used to win against Tokoyami, his left side remaining conspicuously flame-free.

Izuku lifted a hand, and with the flick of a finger, obliterated the incoming glacier.

Wind and ice shards whipped around the arena, buffeting those closest to the fight, forcing many audience members to duck for cover. Tenko and Kansatsu were high enough to avoid the need for it, but even so, strands of their hair flew about in all directions.

“Fuck’s sake,” Tenko breathed as the cameras focused in on his baby cousin. “Little brat just broke his fucking finger.”

“I already don’t like the way this match is going,” Kansatsu muttered beside him.

“Me either.”

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much they could do from the stands. Shouto launched another polar blast; and again, Izuku shattered it to pieces. A third time they did this, and a fourth, before Izuku yelled something that spurned Shouto into launching himself and bringing their fight, at least momentarily, to close quarters.

Ice nearly caught Izuku’s bright red shoes. At the last moment, he kicked himself upwards, spun midair, and used another One for All powered blast to turn himself into a weapon. The impact of his landing ripped up the floor of the arena, shaking Shouto and sending him down onto one knee. He was quick to throw up another wall of ice to shield himself, though, and from behind it sent forth yet another blast.

This time, though, when Izuku tore the ice down, he screamed something that had the other boy’s head snapping up. Tenko thought he faintly heard the words your power, but wouldn’t swear to it.

In the next moment, Shouto’s entire left side burst into flames.

“Oh hell,” Tenko swore, automatically rising to his feet, Kansatsu too caught up in doing the same to push him back into his seat. Below, Shouto lit up with power, pure cold and heat spiraling around him as he readied a massive shot. Izuku took that moment of preparation to brace himself, his own arm lighting up with One for All.

Midnight unleashed her sleeping gas. Cementoss threw up a dozen absorbent barriers.

The arena still exploded.

Force fields all around the stands crackled to life, shielding audience members from hurtling debris and errant flames. Individuals still had to cover their eyes against the sheer glow of the blast, and blink past the after-images even when the dust began to settle. Every gaze, the moment they were able, focused back on the site of the explosion.

Two figures were lying prone on the floor of the arena.

One was still in the ring. The other was not.

As soon as she stood back up, Midnight staggered closer to take a look, and make her announcement. “Shimo is out of bounds! MIDORIYA WINS!”

The audience erupted into cheers, as down in the front row, Endeavor slowly turned, and departed.

Letting out a wheeze, Tenko slumped back down into his seat. Kansatsu glanced at him with a gaze so wide her eyebrows vanished beneath her short bangs.

“Your family, Shimura...”

“I know. Believe me, I know.” Suddenly reminded of his aunt, Tenko pulled out his phone. Not seeing any new messages, he tentatively pulled up her contact info, and hit the call button. After a few rings, Inko’s phone was answered, but not by the voice he was expecting.

“Hello, Tenko-kun,” Shimo Rei said faintly.

“Hi, Rei-san - um, is my aunt...?”

“She’s, a tad indisposed, at the moment.” The woman paused long enough for Tenko to pick up the distant sound of wailing, and he made a noise of understanding.

“Gotcha. And are you alright, Rei-san? Izuku and Shouto’s match-”

“Was nothing less than what I would expect of my baby and your cousin. Those boys are both frightening in their drive to be the best they can, Tenko-kun. Today has just been a chance for everyone to see that.” She huffed out a strained laugh. “Admittedly, I wish it had been just a tad less dramatic, but what’s done is done.”

“Right. Okay then, I ah, I’ll let you go. Thanks for answering, Rei-san.”

“Of course.”

Hanging up, Tenko set his phone aside and buried his head in his hands. “Holy fucking shit.”

“You can say that again.”

“Holy fucking shit, Kansa.”

“Language, Shimura.”

Yelping, Tenko flailed in his seat, before recovering his composure and looking down at Principal Nedzu’s amused face. “Do you do that to all your former students?”

“Yes,” the small man said cheerfully. “Now, if you wouldn’t mind, please go down to Recovery Girl’s infirmary - it would do your cousin good to wake up with family close at hand.”

Tenko frowned. “Uh, of course, but, I should think my uncle would take first priority, right?”

“Normally, yes - but I’ve asked for his assistance in shooing Endeavor away from the student halls, as there are few others capable of cowing that man.”

Sudden irritation flooded the young Pro’s veins, and he nodded. “Right.”

“Do you need me to gather some of the other police officers, sir?”

“Likely not, but it would be good to notify them of the situation, if you wouldn’t mind, Lieutenant Tamachi...”

So, Kansatsu went with Nedzu to call up reinforcements for the Endeavor problem, while Tenko to a back route to get to the infirmary. By the time he arrived, both Izuku and Shouto had been delivered, and were slowly waking up.

The latter blinked at the ceiling with his heterochromatic eyes, and let out a quiet, “Ow.”

“S’what you get!” Tenko called as he walked past to Izuku’s bed. “Oi, squirt, rise and shine, up and at ‘em, I want to win my bet with Kansa and that means you’ve got a tournament to win.”

His cousin squinted up at him with a baffled expression. “...eh?”

“You heard me, you tenacious little weirdo.” Tenko spun a chair around to sit on it backwards, chin resting on his folded arms. “You’ve half killed yourself to do it, but you made it to the final match, Izu. If you win, Kansa has to treat me to izakaya, but if it’s Hitoshi, I have to pay for her ridiculous kaiseki.”

Shouto made a noise of protest. “Kaiseki’s not ridiculous...”

“Says the boy who best likes cold soba - which your family will undoubtedly be treating you to tonight, by the way, so there’s that to look forward to.” Tenko smirked as his words caused the other teen to smile, before sighing as he looked back to Izuku. “It’s a good thing my hair already turned blue thanks to my Quirk, or else you’d have sent me from black to grey just with today’s stunts.”

“Sorry?”

“Hn.” Reaching down, Tenko rubbed a thumb back and forth over his cousin’s forehead. The boy hummed, closing his eyes as he relaxed thanks to the soothing touch. “Little brat.”

“That’s me.”

“Yeah-huh. You’re up against Hitoshi next, Izu. Think you can manage it?”

Izuku frowned. “I don’t want to hurt him...”

“Alright, one - if you hold back against him, he’s gonna be just as ticked as you were when Strawberry Icing over there held back in your fight. Two, as much as you mumble, it’s not like he’s completely disadvantaged.”

Shouto snorted, and Izuku opened his eyes again to glare. “I won’t hold back. And I won’t mumble, either!”

“You might,” Tenko said, moving his gloved hand to ruffle the teen’s mess of hair. “And so far, no one who’s gotten caught by Hitoshi’s Quirk has been able to break out of it. So, in your earlier strategizing session, did you by any chance think up a way to beat your best friend in case he gets the best of your talkative nature?”

Izuku’s frown deepened.

The door slammed open.

“MIDO-SHI-DE-RIYA-MO-KU-!” Several voices yelled various names overtop each other, and Tenko scooted back from his cousin’s bed, both to allow some of the students room to crowd close and regain his composure from being startled.

Uraraka, Iida, Asui, Ojiro, Yaoyorozu, Himiko, and Hitoshi all filled the space between Izuku and Shouto’s bedsides, reassuring themselves that both boys were still breathing while at the same time talking loudly, exclaiming over the match, praising and admonishing by turn. When he’d had all that he could stand, Tenko let out a piercing whistle, effectively silencing the lot of them.

“Thank you, Shimura, I was just about to do that myself.” Recovery Girl glowered as she stomped out of her office. “Now this is far too many people to be in here at once - out, the lot of you! You can fuss at your friends later! Go on, move it, get-!” She emphasized her orders with jabs of her cane, chasing students away from the beds and towards the door. Hitoshi managed to dodge her long enough to pin Izuku with a fierce stare.

“You’re going to be well enough for our match, right?” He demanded. “I don’t want to win this by medical forfeit.”

“I’ll be out soon,” Izuku promised.

“Good. Owch!”

“Out, young Shinsou!”

“I’m going, I’m going- hi, Yagi-san- guys, wait up!”

A much taller figure slid in through the door just before Recovery Girl could slam it closed, one whom she hmphed at. “You’d better figure out a better way for your boy to utilize his power, Toshinori, because I’m sick up patching up injuries caused by his recklessness.”

“Of course, we’re working on it,” Uncle Toshi soothed, edging out of range of her cane as subtly as he could.

“You’d better be. Call in Gran if need be - I may detest the man, but he clearly did at least something right when it came to you...” Still grumbling under breath, Recovery Girl strode back to Izuku’s bedside. “Alright, Midoriya, I believe you’re ready for a dose of Healing - but you better not come back in here after your last match, understand? Even if you lose, I won’t fix up anymore bones broken by your stubbornness today.”

“I understand.”

Satisfied, the old woman leaned over to kiss him on the shoulder, and Izuku shuddered at the wave of fatigue that surely had to wash over him. Tenko waited until she moved on to Shouto, before bopping his baby cousin on the nose. “What she said, squirt. Don’t hurt yourself again, okay? Please.”

Izuku’s intense expression faded a bit at the concern in Tenko’s voice. “I’ll do my best.”

“Okay then.”

Uncle Toshinori came over to them then, sighing as he let his All Might form slip away. “Izuku... I know you’re going to be an amazing hero, someday soon. But it would be preferable if you got to that point with all of your limbs still intact.”

Red bloomed across Izuku’s cheeks, and he ducked his head a little. “Right. Sorry.” A large hand coming down to gently ruffle his hair got the teen to pick his head back up again.

“That’s not to say I don’t feel exceptionally proud of how far you’ve come today, my boy. Just, make sure to learn from all of today’s lessons, positive and negative alike.”

“I will, Dad. I promise.”

“Good. Then, Tenko and I will return to the stands, and when we next see you, it shall be on the finalists’ podium!” Grinning, Uncle Toshi ruffled Izuku hair again, and patted Shouto on the shoulder too, before leading Tenko out into the hallway. After checking that they were alone, he fixed the younger Pro with a serious look.

“Endeavor tried to insist on seeing young Shouto, to ‘discuss’ his performance in today’s battles,” Toshinori said quietly. “I was able to turn him away, but I fear this won’t be the last time he tries to come through UA to get access to his youngest son.”

“Figures,” Tenko growled, fingers clenching and uncurling as he tried to resist the urge to scratch at his skin. His uncle laid a hand on the young man’s shoulder, and instantly the urge faded.

“We will look out for them, my boy,” Toshinori swore. “But for now, let’s enjoy what I hope will be a memorable final duel.”

“Oh, it’ll be memorable all right - if only because we know, whatever happens, Hitoshi won’t stop bragging or complaining about the outcome for months.”

His uncle laughed as they headed for the exit to the audience stands.

Though perhaps not as dramatic as previous fights, Izuku and Hitoshi’s duel still wound up being a nail-biter. Both boys had their injuries fixed up - one with gauze wrapped around his fingers up past his uniform sleeves, the other with an absorbent pad still taped to the side of his head - and were moving carefully as they exchanged blows. Hitoshi talked, of course, and Izuku visibly bit his lip several times to keep from replying.

Then, the purple-haired boy said something that got Izuku to forget himself, and the single word that escaped his lips was enough for the Mind Control Quirk to slip in.

“I think I’d like that kaiseki this weekend,” Kansatsu said smugly, as Izuku started to walk out of the ring. Tenko rolled his eyes and began to reply, only to pause as he noticed his cousin not taking that final step out of bounds.

Hitoshi clearly saw it too, and gave his order again for the other boy to lose. Izuku’s foot lifted into the air-

-and one of his broken fingers twitched.

A small blast of air whipped away from him, forcing Hitoshi to raise a hand to cover his eyes. Even as he started to lower it again, Izuku tackled him. The two boys tumbled across the ground, grappling for purchase on each other, until Tenko’s cousin rolled back to his feet and bodily heaved Kansatsu’s brother out of the ring.

“Izakaya next Monday evening alright with you, Kansa?”