Chapter 1: A storm of noise
Izuku had always dreamed of being a Hero. These dreams crashed down when his doctor diagnosed him Quirkless. The following two years were the worst of his life. People started looking down on him, pitying him for his state of powerlessness. His classmates laughed at him, calling him weak and helpless. His best friend, Katsuki Bakugo, became his worst bully. On top of this, there was a strange noise in his head that began soon after the diagnosis and kept growing in intensity over the passing months. A trip to the doctor told them what it was: tinnitus. A constant cacophony was ringing in Izuku’s head like a storm. One more woe to the list… He would have gladly worn headphones if Kacchan didn’t stop ruining them.
Then, one day, an incident happened. Izuku was trying to defend a student from Bakugo and his posse when the cacophony grew louder. His bully drew near. Izuku tried to keep his tear-filled eyes open as the storm in his head became all-consuming. Bakugo laughed, explosions coming from his hands. Izuku grimaced. This was going to hurt.
Notes seemed to ring louder than others. They were at the forefront of his head, wild and chaotic and loud. So loud, in fact, that they thrummed like they wanted to get out. The boy held a hand, seized the notes and, instinctively, arranged them in a melody he had heard some time ago. Static filled the air. It was brutal enough that Bakugo took several steps back. The boy blinked.
“Dafuq’s going on? Hey, Deku, what d’you think you’re doing!?”
He got his answer when the weirdest penguin he had ever seen appeared. It was white, with red graffiti-like wings and talons and a pair of yellow bolt-shaped eyebrows. The creature shrieked at them. Izuku fell on his knees and breathed. Somehow, his tinnitus seemed less invasive. He stood and looked at his creation. The penguin turned, gave him a nod and stood defensively before them. Bakugo’s posse hesitated.
“It looks… nasty.”
“Took you long enough. It seems you’re not so Quirkless, after all, Deku. But you know what?”
An explosion erupted in his hand. Izuku braced himself and so did the penguin.
“It changes nothing.”
He armed a hand. The penguin went to his face and brutally slapped him, repeatedly, until the boy was rolling before his posse. The two boys looked at their leader, then at the penguin. After weighting their options, they decided to flee. Bakugo growled and rose. He readied an explosion… Izuku closed his eyes. There were notes ringing louder again. He took them, putting them together in a melody and pushed. A new creature appeared, a kind of purplish-grey porcupine with graffiti quills colored dark purple and neon green. The creature lost no time firing its quills at Bakugo with sniper-like precision, only missing because the boy dodged. The bully growled.
“Shitty Deku… What kinda power is that?”
Izuku panted. His head was aching like no tomorrows, but he endured. He glared at his rival.
“You won’t hurt us. I won’t let you.”
Much as he hated it, Bakugo had to admit the monsters looked too strong for him. He spat.
“You’ll regret that, Deku. I swear you will. Also, your monsters are ugly.”
Izuku massaged his head. He could really use a painkiller right now. The hedgehog turned to him and nudged him gently. The boy rubbed it. The texture was odd, a strange mix of fur, paint and paper. The little boy behind him looked at him with awe.
“That was awesome!”
Izuku embarrassedly thanked him. He headed home, ignoring the weird looks his monstrous partners elicited. Inko warmly greeted him.
“Welcome home, honey. How was school?”
Then she noticed the monsters. However, before she could ask, the penguin and porcupine vanished in bursts of static. Izuku looked at his mother, hands in his back.
“…Mom, I think I found my Quirk.”
He closed his eyes. This time, instead of waiting for the notes to thrum in his mind, he went fishing them in the cacophony. A song was playing on the tv, an old song from centuries ago sung by a certain Elvis Presley. Izuku made the notes in his head play along and pushed. Static sizzled. Inko watched, eager to see her son’s newly discovered Quirk.
An elephant appeared, beige of skin, its trunk a metallic red while its front legs were blue. Its tusks were short, but it had earrings lined on its ears.
It also nearly occupied the whole living room. Izuku starred, jaw agape, before turning to his mother.
Inko starred at the beast before turning to her son with a glare. Izuku panicked. How did he dismiss the creature? He wouldn’t wait for it to fade away like the penguin and porcupine and it was too big to leave by the door.
‘Disappear, disappear, disappear, please…’
The melody in his head vanished, and so did the monster. Inko sighed.
“A literal elephant in the room. Now, I’ve seen everything.”
Still, how could she be mad at her son for finally manifesting his Quirk? She held him tight, tears in her eyes.
“You can be a hero.” She uttered. “And you will. I know you will. You just need to master your Quirk.”
To Izuku, it was the greatest day ever.
To make up for not having a Quirk, he had begun observing and analyzing the Heroes’. He did the same with his, using an abandoned basketball field as a training ground under Inko’s vigilant eye. As it appeared, his Quirk could best be described as sound-to-color synesthesia. By seizing the sounds generated by his tinnitus, he could translate them into color – one sound being a color – and manifest them through his Quirk.
However, there were subtleties: simply taking a sound and pushing it out gave a splash of color. If he wanted to make monsters, he needed to arrange the sounds into tunes first. He was still amazed to realize he could control the color’s shape as it appeared. It took him days to properly control the technique but, after a little more than a week, he was able to harness his Quirk to paint on the floor. The sole problem was that his power was naturally inclined toward a certain style… Namely, graffiti. Izuku felt mildly embarrassed about it.
“Don’t be.” Inko reassured him. “Your powers are what they are. Besides, some graffiti are pretty enough to be considered street art.”
When it came to his monsters, Izuku quickly made the connection between the tunes that birthed them and music. He decided to name them accordingly. The red penguin he had summoned was birthed by British Pop, and the porcupine by Classic Music. After consideration – and some renaming as he discovered more variants of the creatures, the monsters were dubbed Brit Popguin and Classi Corehog. The elephant, born from Rock and Roll music, was called Pachy R&R after “pachyderm”. The next variant, born from Rhythm and Blues songs, was called Mammoth R&B. Soon enough, Izuku had an entire book dedicated solely to his monsters, with a small picture of them, their name and their abilities. He never took it to school out of fear Bakugo may destroy it, even after Inko suggested she made a graffiti monster to protect himself. Izuku still made the graffiti monster. He just kept the book at home.
“You should think of a general name for them.” Inko said one evening. “They aren’t exactly monsters, and creatures is a bit too cover-all.”
After hesitating, Izuku frowned.
“What about Noises? After all, I make them from noises I arrange into tunes.”
“It’s true that the noise in your head is the source of your Quirk. Noises it is.”
As it turned, despite their intimidating appearance, the Noises were rather friendly so long as Izuku acknowledged someone as his friend. Inko found having them around fairly practical. Grizzlies, all three kinds of them, were huge and muscular. Perfect for carrying heavy charges, and she would have gladly used a Pony Country, one of Izuku’s horse-like Noises, as a mean of transportation if open use of Quirks was allowed. But, since it wasn’t, she settled for keeping an Alterna Wolf as a guard dog. It helped that, as they were meandering in an art shop, Izuku stumbled upon a can of spray paint and discovered a new ability.
He could imbue the cans with his Quirk. Simply putting noise in the can gave it color-shifting properties. However, by imbuing in the paint the tunes that gave birth to his Noises, it allowed Inko to summon the monster by spray-painting them on a surface. Soon, she had a well-supplied reserve of canned Noises for when her son was at school.
Then, one day, soon after he graduated in 3rd Grade, a brutal incident happened that revealed a much deadlier aspect of Izuku’s power – and marked him for life.
Despite his power appearing, Bakugo and his cronies were still bullying him. They just did it at a distance since the boy kept a Noise at his side all the time. The teachers did and said absolutely nothing against either side, something which Bakugo took as enablement and frustrated Izuku to no end.
“Your monsters are lame!” They kept saying. “They look ugly! Look at that, they’re made of graffiti! That’s criminal! Everyone knows graffiti are illegal!”
“Your Quirk is that of a criminal!”
“Your style sucks!”
“Get rid of your monsters, they don’t fit the school.”
“No one likes you!”
And again, and again, and again. Izuku curled in his seat. At his side, the green and gold Celticat hissed a storm, keeping the other students at bay. But it couldn’t leave its creator’s side. Its purpose was to guard him, and so it stayed, even though it would love to claw a face or two…
“Shut up.” Izuku whined. “Shut up, please shut up…”
“You’re a delinquent! Go home, you’ll never be a Hero!”
The scream came like thunder. Izuku had been focusing on the cacophony in his head, trying to cover his classmates’ insults. His focus dived in the storm, wrapping his mind in the noise, cloaking his ears in vain. In an effort born of desperation, the boy forced the cacophony out, hoping to create a barrier of sound and color between himself and his tormentors. This isn’t what happened. Instead of a kaleidoscopic cloud, every single Noise in Izuku’s mind burst forth in a storm of static and dived at his classmates. Pandemonium ensued.
The Noises invaded the school, targeting students and teachers indiscriminately. Some tried to barricade doors. Dub and House Rhinos burst them, allowing Dixiefrogs, Decadraven, Jungle Boomers and Indie Rabbeats to assault the people in. Some with stronger Quirks, Bakugo among them, managed to hold off the monsters while buying time for everyone to evacuate. The headmaster barely had time to call the police for help, and even he didn’t think they would be enough. As a Wooly AOR invaded his office, he bitterly thought only Pro Heroes could stop the onslaught at this point.
He was right. It was coincidence that made All Might was passing by, but the coincidence was a welcome one. When he saw a Minimal Rhino run at a group of students, he summoned One for All.
The punch dispelled the rhino in a burst of static. All Might turned to the teacher.
“It is fine, now. Why? Because I am here!”
Teacher and students breathed.
“Thanks god, All Might! We thought those monsters would kill us!”
“I won’t let them. What happened?”
The teacher hesitated. Unfortunately, Bakugo was in the group.
“Deku went crazy! We were teasing him a little about his Quirk because it lets him make those graffiti monsters and, suddenly, he snapped and sent swarms of them after us!”
All Might held a grimace and looked at the school. There was a lot of monsters.
“Fear not. I will stop your classmate and get rid of the monsters. After I call for help. That’s a lot even for me.”
He took his phone and pressed a number.
“Best Jeanist? It’s me. I have a situation at Aldera Middle School. The whole place was swarmed by one of the students’ Quirk and I wouldn’t mind additional hands… Not that they’re strong but there’s a lot of them.”
“What!? On my way! Wait, Edge Shot is with me. I’m taking him along.”
He turned to the group.
“Fear not, more help is on the way!”
Then he went to fight the monsters. It was easy, all in all. Every creature disappeared in one punch, fading into static. The biggest problem was that there seemed to be no end to the swarm. For every monster he killed, two replaced them. And the monsters were varied.
Hedgehogs shot quills that barely scratched him, but either exploded or hit with a marksman’s precision.
Jellyfishes divided themselves if he didn’t kill them fast enough.
Minks struck in whirlwinds that would have left anyone else dizzy.
Penguins attacked in packs of three to five led by their strongest brethren.
Sharks swam across the ground like it was water, ambushing him from beneath.
Ravens dived and flew, forcing him to rely on long-range bursts.
Foxes teleported left and right, growing stronger as more tails grew.
Cats went straight to his face, unleashing a storm of claws.
Unicorns kicked when he approached from behind and fired their horn if approached from the front.
Turtles skidded across the ground and would have bowled into him if he was any less tough.
All in all, for anyone else, it would have been an absolute nightmare. It was one for the school, who was thoroughly unprepared for that kind of onslaught. All Might felt greatly relieved when Best Jeanist and Edge Shot finally arrived. The Ninja Hero looked at the place.
“What the Hell is going on there!?”
“A student went crazy and swarmed the place with monsters!” All Might quickly explained.
Best Jeanist and Edge Shot both grimaced.
“Not good. Let’s try to rescue everyone and find the student. With any chance, we can convince him to stop. Otherwise…”
Otherwise, they would have to take drastic measures. All Might refused to consider it.
“We will save everyone, even this poor boy. Something caused him to snap. Once we’re done, we will find what, and we will make sure it never happens again…”
The three Heroes turned to see a woman, green of hair and wearing a pink dress. The woman looked at the place in horror.
“Izuku, my little boy, what happened to you?”
Best Jeanist moved to push her back to safety. A grey and blue graffiti wolf turned to the Heroes and ran…
Inko stepped between the Garage Wolf and the Heroes.
“Stop! Back, now!”
The Garage Wolf stopped dead in its tracks and turned away with a whine. The three Heroes were speechless. Edge Shot mustered his courage.
“Excuse me, Madam, but who are you?”
“Inko Midoriya. I recognize these creatures. They are the Noises Izuku makes with his Quirk. But it’s the first time I see them in such large numbers. Usually, my little boy only makes one or two at the time…”
All Might internally winced.
“Well, according to one of his schoolmates, your son went crazy and summoned an entire swarm of the creatures. They have been ravaging the school and hunting the people inside.”
“He did what? No, something is wrong. My son would never do something like that. Not willingly. Who told you that?”
All Might tried to remember.
“A blonde boy with spiky hair. He called your son Deku…”
He almost jumped when Inko went pale and balled her fist.
“I see. Kacchan, huh? Mitsuki and I will have a talk once I’m done there. Thank you very much, sir. I will handle things from there. Don’t worry, Izuku’s Noises know me. They obey me as they obey him. Keep everyone safe while I recover my son.”
This was a tone that suffered no disobedience. All Might and Best Jeanist instantly agreed. Edge Shot shook his head.
“Obey her or not, I still feel bad about leaving a hapless civilian dive in that pandemonium. I’m coming along, just in case.”
“I wouldn’t exactly call her hapless.” Best Jeanist gulped.
“Thanks for the concern, unnecessary as it is. Now, let’s go.”
They dived inside the school, Edge Shot watching in awe as a simple “Heel!” of Inko made the graffiti monsters sit down and be quiet. Inko made a beeline for her son’s classroom, hazarding it would be his location. She was right. Izuku was still in his seat, but his body was limp and, when she moved his head, she found his eyes empty and unfocused. Inko sighed and took her phone before playing a soothing, gentle melody. She raised the volume to the max and put the phone on her son’s ear.
“That loud?” Edge Shot frowned. “You will drive him deaf…”
“Izuku already suffers from tinnitus. This is the basis of his Quirk: it translates the sound in his head into color. I’m hoping the song will be loud enough that he can hear it and focus on it instead of the cacophony in his head.”
It worked. Izuku slowly came back to his senses, body stiffening and eyes focusing. He grabbed the phone and held it close.
“Mom? Why are you here? What’s going on?”
Edge Shot internally winced. How would his mother explain the mess he made? Inko took her son in her arms.
“It’s alright, sweetie. It’s alright. Shh…”
Izuku rested his head against her chest. Inko stroked his hair.
“Sweetie, what happened? When I found you, you were deep in your head.”
“…It’s Kacchan and the others. They kept saying mean things to me, so I focused on the cacophony in my head so I wouldn’t hear them. I… I think I forced the cacophony out, so their voice wouldn’t reach me.”
Edge Shot blinked. He wanted his classmates to shut up so he sent a swarm of monsters after them? Overkill, much? Izuku kept talking.
“I wanted the cacophony to surround me, kinda like a blanket. I wanted to hear only it, and I did. Until you gave me the phone, there was only the cacophony over me. Nothing else. I didn’t hear or see anything else, so it worked, right?”
“Yes, it did, sweetie. But… not exactly the way you may have wanted.”
It was only then that Izuku noticed the classroom was empty and more than a little damaged. Edge Shot inhaled and braced himself.
“Young boy, when you pushed the cacophony out, you created a huge swarm of monsters that attacked everyone in the school.”
“I what!? No! No, I… That’s not… what I wanted…”
“It’s alright.” The Hero reassured. “Accidents happen all the time. Given what you said, it’s obvious you either lost control or were unaware of what would happen if you translated your entire tinnitus with your Quirk. You shouldn’t blame yourself.”
But Izuku did. He clung to his mother, tears welling.
“They said mean things to me… Really mean. They said my Quirk was that of a criminal, that my monsters were ugly and the style sucked and I’ll never be a Hero. I wanted them to shut up so badly…”
“And Kacchan was among them, right?”
“He was the loudest.”
Inko quietly nodded. Edge Shot shook his head.
“Bullying a kid that can create monsters tough enough to give Pro Heroes pause. Real smart.”
As they got out of the building, they were pleased to see most Noises were gone, and the few remaining were fading one after the other. Only an Alterna Wolf remained, who dutifully went to Inko and rubbed its head against her leg. Inko petted it with her free hand. Best Jeanist’s expression was hard to read, but it was still softer than before.
“I did a headcount with the teachers. No casualty accounted for, only injured and none were life-threatening. It seems the monsters were more focused on hurting then killing.”
“All is well that ends well.” All Might smiled. “I see you got your son back, Madam.”
Before Inko could answer, Izuku’s homeroom teacher came to her and opened her mouth. Inko didn’t let him talk, shoving Izuku in Edge Shot’s arms before punching the man. The teacher fell on his rear, his eye covered by a bruise.
“Why didn’t you stop them?!” The woman roared. “It happened in your classroom! The other brats were bullying my son and you let them! This is your fault this mess happened!”
“M-Midoriya-san, I – your son…”
“Shut. Up. You’re lucky the school is too ruined to be usable anymore because I would have removed Izuku and sued you. As it is, I will simply sue you, drop Izuku home and go to the Bakugo household to have a talk with Mitsuki. Her brat’s behavior cannot last.”
She retrieved her son and headed for the exit before the Heroes’ stunned look.
“…She doesn’t look like much but that woman has a core of steel.” Best Jeanist hummed.
All Might was torn between commending the mother’s bravery and swooning. Inko Midoriya was an awesome woman, especially for a civilian.
Then Bakugo decided to throw one last insult at Izuku.
“You’ll never become a Hero, Deku. Not after that. Not after throwing your monsters at us.”
Inko froze in her steps. The Alterna Wolf at her size turned to the boy, fangs bared. Inko turned as well, eyes narrowed to slits. Before the Heroes could stop her, she gave an order.
The Alterna Wolf took off like a rocket, going straight for the blonde bully. Before Best Jeanist could drag him away or All Might could punch the Noise, Inko gave another order.
“Stop. Heel, now.”
The Alterna Wolf pulled short and, head low, returned to the woman’s side. Bakugo wasn’t the only one shivering like a leaf. Best Jeanist and Edge Shot looked at one another.
“Note to self: steer clear from her bad side.”
All Might wholeheartedly agreed.
A simple question: I can't decide between Graffiti Heart and Synesthesia for Izuku's Quirk. Which would you prefer?
Chapter 2: Bad powers for good people
It is a fact: repeat something to a kid for long enough and he will start believing it. People had repeated times and times again to Izuku that his Quirk sucked and he would never become a Hero. After the incident at Aldera School, the boy wholeheartedly believed them. Inko was worried when he stopped going to his training ground. She was even more so when he refused to use his powers, even to simply fill a can with Noise. Then he stopped taking notes on Quirks, changing channel when news featuring Heroes flashed. The alarm bells rang loudly when he started removing All Might memorabilia from his room, one item after the other.
But what could she do? What could she say to comfort her son? She had gone to the Bakugo household and a brutal conversation had ensued between her and Mitsuki, the two women almost coming to blows. Mitsuki had finally agreed to keep both of their sons as far away from each other as possible. Afterwards, Inko had made good on her words and sued Aldera School. To her surprise, Best Jeanist and Edge Shot had spoken in her favor, especially Edge Shot, who had accompanied her in her search. The school had been forced to pay a hefty sum that, combined with the massive damage caused by Izuku’s Noises, had driven them bankrupt and forced them to close permanently. When he returned to school, Izuku would go elsewhere.
Her son didn’t get better. He retreated in his room, hardly speaking, only moving to eat and wash. Music was constantly blaring in his ears to drown the cacophony in his head. He spent most of his days in his room with the curtains closed, curled on his bed. Inko was getting desperate and, to add to her woe, she had called Hisashi dozens of times and her husband hadn’t answered once. The woman sighed and endured. Izuku was her son. She would take care of him no matter what.
On the day before he was due to return to school, the boy mustered his courage and went to the abandoned basketball field. Traces of his past training were long gone: the paintings he made only stayed for three to five days at most. Izuku didn’t know why he’d gone there. He didn’t intend to use his powers – never again. They were too dangerous. The incident at his school had been a lesson: his Noises were strong. Strong enough to challenge Pro Heroes. Not only were they made in a delinquent style, they were creatures of battle, literal monsters he could sic on people. That’s why he would never use them again. He didn’t want to hurt anyone but it was exactly what his Noises did.
He was about to leave when he sensed a presence nearby. He turned to see a black-haired, close-shaven man in a white hoodie and denim jeans, white sneakers on his feet and a yellow bag hanging over his shoulder. His face was square, his jawline sharp, and his dark grey eyes gleamed with amusement.
“I was wondering why there was no new artwork showing on that old field. There used to be a new one every three days or so but, some weeks ago, it suddenly stopped. That’s sad. It gave some color to the neighborhood.”
Izuku tensed. The cacophony in his head seemed to grow louder.
“Who are you?”
“Right. Manners, Michiro.” The man smiled. “I am Michiro Honda. I work as a courier across the neighborhood. I like passing by this place, even though it isn’t the shortest way around. The artwork is pretty nice, very colorful and entertaining to watch.”
“But it’s graffiti! It’s delinquent art! It’s illegal! Besides, everyone says this style sucks.”
“Vandalism is illegal.” Michiro corrected. “If you paint in a place you’re not allowed to, even if it’s a replica of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the police will still get on your case. But if it’s on a place where it’s legal to paint, you can do whatever you want and all people will do is comment on the style.”
Michiro walked to the boy. Izuku tensed. The man raised his hands.
“Don’t worry, I’m not here to hurt you. I was just wondering why no new artwork was showing up on my favorite path. Hey, if it makes you feel better, my Quirk is Pathfinder: it allows me to figure the quickest path from Point A to Point B. Not exactly a combat Quirk, you’ll admit…”
“No, but perfect to evade the authorities… or to quickly deliver things around. That’s why you became a courier, right?”
“Yeah. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a pacifist but I prefer to avoid violence if I can. This despite my sweet Haneko being a Pro herself. God, do I love that woman… She’s the only one who can beat me in a race without a speed Quirk.”
There was a fondness in his eyes that made Izuku relax somehow. From his tone and his face, it was obvious the man was hopelessly in love. Michiro knelt to his level.
“You’re the one who used to make those paintings, right? Why did you stop?”
“…It’s my Quirk. I turn the sound in my head into color. I used this place to train, but it was before I realized how dangerous it was.”
“How is synesthesia dangerous?”
“It makes monsters. I call them Noises… One time, I was bullied at school and… and…” Izuku sobbed. “I didn’t mean to make it this way. I just wanted to stop hearing them. They were saying mean things to me, so I focused on the sound in my head and pushed it out… The school was invaded by monsters. There was so many even All Might had trouble…”
Michiro winced. Izuku cried.
“My Noises hurt others! They hurt them a lot! That’s why… I can’t summon them anymore. Because, if I do, they will hurt people. I don’t want that. I don’t want to hurt people.”
“Did you want to hurt your classmates back then?”
Izuku froze. Michiro looked at him, his gaze meeting his.
“When you swarmed your school with your Noises, did you want to hurt your classmates?”
“I wanted them to stop. They were saying mean things to me. I told them to shut up.”
“Were there casualties? Did people die?”
“No. They were only hurt. My Noises didn’t kill them.”
“Can you summon a Noise for me? A tiny one, your weakest.”
“It will hurt you!”
“Even your weakest?”
Izuku hesitated. There was a Noise, small and pretty much harmless, that he could summon. He held a hand as static sizzled and a note-looking tadpole appeared. Michiro looked at it. The tiny Noise didn’t seem aggressive. Taking a pen from his bag, he carefully poked it… The Noise poked the pen back.
“It doesn’t look hostile.”
Putting the pen away, he held a hand. Izuku froze.
‘Don’t attack him, don’t attack him, don’t attack him…’
The Noise nuzzled Michiro’s hand. The courier caressed it. It let him. Izuku couldn’t believe it.
“It… It didn’t hurt you.”
“Did you want it to?”
“Wha – No! I kept telling it not to attack in my head…”
“Then it seems we found the key to your problem. Your monsters, your Noises, they obey you. You give them an order and they comply. Tell them not to attack and they won’t be hostile. Tell them to shut someone up and they will make them somehow, by mauling if they have to. Tell me, what was your intent when you made that Noise?”
“I… had none. Well, I just wanted to show you, make a Noise that was small and harmless…”
“And it didn’t harm me. Let’s make and experiment: make a bigger Noise, but make it with a clearly pacific purpose in mind.”
Izuku hesitated. After considering, he summoned a Garage Wolf that immediately sat down, tongue lolling. Michiro looked at it.
“What did you make it for?”
Michiro grinned and took a fallen branch. The Wolf tensed. He threw it. The Wolf bolted after the branch and handed it to the man. Michiro turned to Izuku.
“See? Intent is the key. Your Noises will do what you made them to do.”
“But they swarmed my school…!”
“Because you were bullied and tried to defend yourself, so you lost control. Also, Shut someone up is a bit vague for an order. Accidents happen. I get it what happened to your school was one.”
Izuku looked away.
“People say my power is lame. My monsters are ugly and the style is that of a delinquent. They say I’ll never be a Hero and, after what happened at school…”
“What happened to your school was an accident. Not only that, it happened because you were bullied. The people who hurt you are the ones in the wrong, not you. Everyone screws up at least once after they first manifest their Quirk. I know I did. The number of times my Quirk guided me across a rooftop and I screwed the landing…”
“My power tells me the quickest way from Point A to Point B. Sometimes, the quickest way is across the roof. Just remember to mind the gap. Anyway, the people who call your powers lame would probably need a new pair of pants if one of those critters…” He rubbed the Garage Wolf. “Went chomping after their rear. As for your Noises being ugly, to each their own. There are plenty of people who appreciate graffiti art when it’s well-made, and if your artworks are anything to come by, you’re not bad in that department.”
Izuku looked down. Michiro knelt before him.
“What’s your name, kid?”
“Izuku, listen to me: no power is inherently good or bad. It’s what you do with them that makes them. You can make Noises to hurt or you can make them to help, the choice is all yours since they will obey you. But never let anyone tell your Quirk sucks or you can only do bad with it. This is for you alone to decide. Got it?”
The lesson would take time to sink, but it would. Just like the incident at Aldera had broken Izuku, the encounter with Michiro mended him.
His new school was called Corelia. Catching up wasn’t easy, but Izuku was smart. He quickly mended the gap his shut-in phase had made, much to his teachers’ surprise. However, he never used his powers there. His classmates gave him a weird look, muttering among themselves about the quiet green-haired boy who never said a word unless he was answering questions and never used his Quirk for anything. One of them wondered aloud if he was Quirkless… Izuku summarily shut him by covering his notebook with graffiti. Yes, he very much had powers. He was simply cautious. Making artwork was their most harmless use. The other students left him alone after that. None of them had realized he was the boy who had swarmed Aldera with monsters.
At home, things were different.
“Quirks and muscles are a lot similar.” Michiro told him once. “Once you spend a lot of time without using them, you need to reteach yourself how to do it. This is called reeducation. My advice? Start small. Take it easy. Tiny step after another. Start using your powers for mundane, meaningless tasks and then move to more complicated operations, got it?”
So, Izuku was using his power for small things. Refilling the Noise cans at home because his mother very much liked the assistance they provided. Painting pages after pages on his notebooks with his powers. Summoning Frogs and Rabbeats, his weaker Noises, to strengthen his control over them.
“They are based on music.” Michiro realized one day. “Now I think about it, your whole Quirk seems to have a street art and underground theme to it. Say, what are your hobbies?”
“I… analyze people’s Quirks, especially the Heroes. I used to take plenty of notes before. I’ve started doing it again a little. Also, I listen music. All kinds. And I use my power to paint on paper.”
“You don’t have friends?”
“Hm. That’s not exactly good. Alright then, how about I teach you a few things about street culture to go along your Quirk? Since it has a theme, might as well expend your knowledge of it and spread your horizons. Also, I got the feeling you could use an outlet…”
The third time they had met, Izuku had introduced Inko and Michiro. Michiro had quickly reassured his mother about his intentions and showed her his wedding ring. Not only that, his wife was pregnant so the pair was expecting a child in the following months. Since Inko owed him for getting her son out of his shell, she let Izuku hang with the courier. Besides, in a pinch, she knew well how strong his Noises were.
Michiro’s first order was to get the boy a wardrobe change. Hoodies in green, silver and black found their way in Izuku’s dresser, along with loose-fitting pants and robust shoes. Next, the courier taught the boy his favorite activity: free-running.
“Are people still giving you grief over your powers?”
“Not really. They leave me alone, now.”
“Better that than harassment. Anyway, more than just looking cool, free-running – or, in its original language, le parkour – is a martial art that focuses on surroundings awareness, efficiency and self-control, things that are always useful in everyday life. Free-running will teach you how to get from one place to another quickly and efficiently. Since it’s also very physical, it will shape you up and give you a way to blow steam after school. Now, let’s start with some basic moves…”
They trained jumps and balance, how to dispel the momentum of a fall or a huge leap by rolling and to coordinate movements when running. Izuku found himself enjoying the lessons. Fourth grade came and he found himself feeling more at ease than before. Not a year had gone but he still felt stronger and more agile, more in-control of himself. And with control came confidence. Michiro was talking about giving him breakdance lessons and Izuku had to admit he was interested. Breakdancing was very acrobatic.
He had also discovered a new aspect of his power. After one of his hoodies had been dirtied by fresh paint, Michiro had asked the boy about using his Quirk to dye the fabric, out of curiosity… Hs power had done more than that, completely revamping the hoodie with a new shape and color. The courier had found it hilarious, and Izuku had embarrassedly explained his mother that yes, it was still the same hoodie he had left home with. Inko had ended buying worn-down and second-hand clothes for Izuku to train with. Unlike his paintings, once a cloth was altered by his Quirk, it was permanent. The boy thus found himself with easy access to dirt-cheap yet brand-new clothing, which greatly reduced the Midoriyas’ shopping bill. Inko was very happy with the discovery.
It was during one of these shopping trips that she met Toshinori Yagi. The man, shriveled and gaunt, was rather disturbing to look at but Inko knew better than to judge a person by their look.
And, in a pinch, she always had a can of Wolf in her bag. Open use of Quirk may be prohibited but self-defense remained self-defense…
Toshinori, still recovering from his fight with All for One, was surprised to see the woman leave the second-hand shop. He still remembered Inko Midoriya, motherly face and steely gaze. The memory of her still made him sigh wistfully. He had considered looking for the woman after the incident, ask for a meeting, get to know her… Sure, that she had a son meant she had to be married but nevertheless, he remained curious about the steel-toned woman. Too bad his personal life – or lack thereof – always got in the way. There was always a bystander to save, a villain to arrest, a crisis to advert. One thing led to another and he ended the day without having found time to look for Inko Midoriya’s number and give her a call. And now, All for One had ravaged him. Sure, the criminal had been defeated, but the victory had come with a sharp price…
He was greatly surprised to see her at the shop. Surely, the Midoriyas weren’t that poor, right? He hesitated, wondering how to accost her. It was Inko who accosted him.
“Excuse me, sir, but you don’t look so well. Can I help you with anything?”
Toshinori held a cough. It was true that he was carrying a grocery bag filled almost to the brim. And it was a bit heavy.
“I admit I wouldn’t mind some help, madam.”
Inko smiled and took the grocery bag. They walked together in comfortable silence, Toshinori unsure how to start the conversation. He didn’t have to. Inko noticed him looking at the bag of clothes.
“Don’t worry, it’s for my son’s Quirk. Izuku can turn the sound in his head into color and it turns out that, applied to clothing, it completely changes their look – and permanently at that. Sure, we can go to more fashionable shops but why bother? And it lightens our budget a lot!”
“Oh.” Toshinori smiled. “That’s clever.”
He still vividly remembered the swarm of graffiti monsters that had invaded Aldera School. To hear the boy had developed a practical application to his power was a great new. They ended talking about art, fashion and Izuku’s natural artistic tendencies. It was a pleasant talk. As he closed the door of his apartment, the Hero smiled. In the grocery bag was a slip of paper with Inko’s number.
When Inko got home, she smiled at the sight of her son doing his homework, their Alterna Wolf guard resting its head on his knees.
“How was school?”
“Good. There are new faces.” Izuku smiled. “Most people know to leave me alone. I hope the word goes around fast. I’m still… I’m still a bit nervous about using my Quirk at school so I hate it when people ask me to demonstrate it. I never really know what to do…”
“At least Bakugo isn’t there.”
“He’s not. I would have noticed him. Do you know where he goes?”
“Last time I heard, Mitsuki had enrolled him at Tatoin Junior High… By the way, I brought new clothes!”
Izuku turned to the bag and grinned, static sizzling between his fingers.
“Any special request, Mom?”
The following week was eventless, the newcomers integrating in the class. As school ended that Friday, however, a mishap happened.
“Hey, did you know Shinso’s Quirk can mind-control people?”
“Wow, that’s totally villainous!”
“He said he wants to be a Pro Hero. Yeah, sure. He’ll sooner be a Pro Bad Guy.”
Izuku frowned deeply. The boy in question, Hitoshi Shinso, was one of the year’s newcomers, a purple-haired kid who looked permanently tired. Michiro’s words came back to his mind. Static sizzled in his hand as notes rang louder and louder in his head.
He had never summoned a Noise at school since the incident at Aldera. Time to remedy that.
The five kids turned to him, surprised. Hitoshi raised his head and met Izuku’s glare for a moment. It made him shudder. So far, the kid at the back had always been quiet and inconspicuous… One of his bullies gave the boy a haughty look.
“And what are you gonna do, Midoriya? Your Quirk only turns sound into color. All you can do is paint stuff in your notebook.”
“You only saw that aspect of my Quirk because I’d rather not use its other abilities at school. It didn’t end well the last time I did.”
The kids looked at one another. A girl raised a hand, nails sharpening like talons. Izuku raised a brow and put a hand on Hitoshi’s desk. Static sizzled as a white-furred cat appeared, with intricate dark blue graffiti lines over its body that became lighter and solid to make its legs. The creature hissed at the bullies.
“This is a Bluescat. By arranging the sounds in my head into melodies, I can create monsters. Last time I checked, I had fifty different kinds, including the elephants.”
This quickly calmed the bullies.
“And… how tough are they?”
Izuku grimaced, remembering Aldera.
“Call a Pro Hero for the bigger ones. Don’t worry, though: they obey to intent. If I make them to play, they’ll be friendly. If I make them to defend someone, steer clear. If I make them to attack, prepare for a mauling. I made this one with defensive intent, by the way.”
No need to ask who he wanted to protect. Hitoshi was surprised. It was the first time someone came to his defense.
“…Why are you helping me?”
Izuku’s gaze was harsh.
“Back in my old school, people kept telling me that I would never be a Hero because my Quirk sucked and my monsters were ugly. One day, I couldn’t take it anymore and lost control. The results were so bad I was scared of using my powers for weeks afterward, until I met a man who told me no power is good or evil. It’s what you do with them that make them so. My power makes monsters – strong ones, even. They are in a style many consider delinquent, even though it’s only vandalism if you paint in places you’re not allowed to. But if I make Noises to play with people or to help Mom at home, it can’t be a bad Quirk, right? And if you use your mind-control to get a villain to surrender to the police or to stop someone mugging you, it isn’t bad either.” He turned to the girl. “But if you use your talons to slash someone’s face, then it’s a bad Quirk. You catch what I mean?”
The bullies looked at one another, embarrassed. The girl’s talons retracted.
“…Still, you have to admit some Quirks are more useful as a Villain than a Hero.”
“Then you’re not being creative enough. Every Quirk can be used for good or bad.” A grin crossed his face. “The man who told me that, do you know what his Quirk is? He calls it Pathfinder, and it tells him the quickest path from Point A to Point B.”
A boy whistled.
“Pretty useful for running from the police.”
“Yeah, but he’s a courier. He uses his Quirk to better deliver packages across the neighborhood. Bad Quirk, good people.”
The bullies looked away, some more reluctantly than the others.
“…Fine, we’ll leave Shinso alone. But the day he’ll use his Quirk to mind-control someone, we’ll have told you.”
“And I will have told you the day any of you use their Quirk to hurt someone. That kind of threat goes both ways.”
The Bluescat hissed a warning. The bullies shook their head and left. Izuku turned to Hitoshi.
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m used to it. But it’s the first time someone defends me…”
“I’ve been there.” Izuku said quietly. “People bullied me because of my Quirk to the point I lost control. I wasn’t lying about that part. I’m still ashamed of it.”
“I had a few accidents with mine too. My parents doing everything I told them, a few of my classmates doing stupid things because I accidentally brainwashed them… It wasn’t big, but people who know my Quirk are afraid to talk to me because I need people to answer me before I can brainwash them. What happened when you lost control? You said it was bad…”
The memory of Aldera came back at full strength. Izuku froze.
“It was… Between the damage I caused and Mom suing them, they had to close the school. I can make elephants but not only. I got rhinos, sharks and even gators. And… they all came out at once.”
It was Hitoshi’s turn to freeze.
“You summoned every one of your monsters at once!?”
“Yeah. All Might had no problem punching them down, but there was simply too many. In the end, it was Mom who snapped me out and ended the swarm. I never summoned a Noise at school since them.”
And here they called his Quirk villainous… The green-haired boy losing control meant a massive swarm of graffiti monsters invading the area. It was definitively worse.
“Don’t worry.” Izuku reassured. “I’m training to get better control over them. Besides, to summon the swarm, I need to do something very specific. I won’t let it happen again. But my Noises may be a bit more aggressive than necessary when dealing with bullies. And summoning them is not the only thing I can do!”
“Good to know. You got me a bit worried for a moment…”
He caressed the Bluescat, who rubbed its head on his chin. The creature had an odd texture.
And so, a new friendship was born.
A little bit of trivia:
Since some locations in the 'verse seem to have a Star Wars-themed naming going on, Izuku and Bakugo's new schools reference Corellia (Han Solo's homeworld) and Tatooine respectively.
Michiro's name, should it be written in Japanese, would contain the kanji for path, way or road, 道 (michi).
Along with the original TWEWY Noises, I created several new species to fluff Izuku's power set: rabbit-based Rabbeats (Indie Rabbeat, Jazz Rabbeat, March Rabbeat, Nu Rabbeat and Soul Rabbeat), Cats (Reggae Cat, Celticat, Bluescat and Ethnicat), horse-based Ponies (Pony Country, Pony Shanties, Pony Madison, Pony Turbo, Pony Honky and Pony Western) alligator-based Gators (Acidgator, Zydegator, Filgator and Gospelgator), snake-based Orochi (Gagaku Orochi, Shomyo Orochi, Jojuro Orochi and Nagauta Orochi) and turtle-based Shells (Discoshell, Hiphopshell and Grooveshell).
Like the original Noises, they are all themed after musical genres. Yes, even the snakes. They come from traditional Japanese music. If anyone wants to know more, just say so. I will post the list in the comments. And yes, I also researched the origins for the TWEWY Noises.
Chapter 3: Growing companionship
Hitoshi had to admit, having a friend was something new. Ever since his Quirk had manifested, he had been pretty much alone. Izuku painfully related. His own Quirk had manifested late so, for two years, he had been bullied for being Quirkless. Even today, though Graffiti Heart had a wide range of uses, it still came with the drawback of an otherwise crippling tinnitus. Sure, his power worked by arranging the tinnitus into something coherent and turning it into color, but it didn’t change the fact that a storm of noise was brewing in his head all the time, hence why he always wore headphones.
The two boys had fun comparing the pros and cons of their power, jokingly coming up with the worst side-effects and disadvantages. Then they’d come up with the opposite and imagine all kinds of scenarios where they could use their Quirk in the most amazing ways.
It was all fun and game so long as they put none of it into practice. Michiro had a good laugh at it.
“My grandfather used to say ‘Imagine the worst situation possible and make it your happy place. Then imagine an even worse scenario and prepare for it, because there are such things as Fate, Karma and Murphy, and all three hate your guts.’ Yeah, Grandpa was a fairly pessimistic guy. Comes up with growing during the Dark Age of Quirks. Still, it doesn’t hurt to hope for the best while expecting the worst.”
He had finally decided to teach Izuku breakdancing. The boy thoroughly enjoyed the lessons. Not only was the music lively, the dance was greatly physical and required as much focus as free-running. It distracted him from the cacophony in his head and made him stronger and fitter while being thoroughly entertaining. He was very happy the day he managed to do a handstand.
At school, people left him and Hitoshi alone. Everybody now knew his Quirk allowed him to summon monsters and no one wanted to challenge that. And, since Hitoshi was under his protection, they stayed away from the mind-manipulator as well. Hitoshi was grateful.
A month after they met, Izuku decided to introduce his friend to Michiro and his mother. Michiro warmly greeted the boy.
“Izuku told me a bit about you. A mind-manipulator, huh? Mental Quirks are fairly uncommon compared to physical ones. You’ll sooner find a hardened skin or fire breath than sharper senses.”
“So… you don’t care I can brainwash others?”
“No. It’s your power. You do what you want with it. I’ll still rap your knuckles if you use it to break the law, though.”
Hitoshi belatedly remembered it was the courier that had taught Izuku his Bad Quirk-Good People mentality. He didn’t complain when the green-haired boy showed him the bases of free-running or shared his more exotic music tracks with him. All he asked for in return was a can of Bluescat for his personal use. The Noises made for great pets and he had a certain fondness for kittens…
They had gone to Izuku’s home to do homework when they caught Inko at the phone. It was on loudspeaker, and there was a feminine voice with a thick American accent.
“Anyway, Hizashi’s my sugar daddy, now. Goodbye, pancake face.”
The phone slipped from Inko’s hand. Still in a daze, she went to sit, unaware that her son and his best friend had been listening. Their Alterna Guardwolf put its head on her knees. Inko stroked it a few times before falling to tears. Izuku carefully approached, Hitoshi a few steps behind.
“Mom, what’s going on?”
Inko turned to him, finally aware of the children in her house.
Before any of the boys could react, she hugged them tight, tears staining their shoulder. Izuku and Hitoshi held her. They didn’t know why she was crying but they knew she was in pain. They sat with her, waiting for her tears to dry. After what felt like hours, Inko finally spoke.
“That gaijin bitch! How dares she steal Hizashi!? And she boasts about it to my face, at that! She is never, ever setting a foot in my house, and neither is that limp-noodled traitor!”
She ranted, raging at her cheating husband and his vixen of a paramour. Once her temper was down, she grimaced and looked at the two boys.
“Sorry you got to see that. I still can’t believe Hizashi is cheating on me… Come on, let’s get started on your homework. I will make some tea.”
Izuku and Hitoshi agreed. There was a dull ache in Izuku’s heart. He knew what cheating meant. As he took his notes and his books, he couldn’t help but be bewildered. Why would his dad see another woman? His mom was great, she was amazing! She was sweet and caring and always smiling and when there were mean people around, she still smiled as she threatened to embed a yen in their eyes as she prepared to summon a Garage Wolf. She was supportive and protective and everything he could ever ask for. So why did his dad not love her back?
“He’s an idiot.” He mumbled to himself before working on a math problem
Meanwhile, as the tea brewed, Inko was deep in thoughts. She and Toshinori had seen each other a few times after their meeting at the clothes shop and they were getting along amazingly. If she didn’t know better, she would hazard the blonde man had a crush on her… and she didn’t mind. Despite looking barely fresher than a zombie, Toshi was a real gentleman, always respectful and considerate. She enjoyed his company.
And now, her cheating bastard of a husband was seeing another woman. Hizashi wouldn’t get away with it scot-free. Not a chance. As she served the tea, Inko idly wondered if Izuku and Toshinori would get along. They probably would. Izuku had a big heart in his chest. But would he be alright if she started seeing the man? Friends were one thing. A boyfriend was another.
When he heard Hizashi was cheating on his wife, Toshinori was baffled.
“How could he… Your husband is an idiot, Inko-san. A blind idiot, for not seeing how amazing his wife is.”
“Thank you, Toshi.” Inko sighed. “I am not stupid, I noticed how you behave around me. Your feelings are obvious. I don’t want you to think I would see you to get even with him. You deserve better than that. But that bastard is seeing another chick. I feel much less guilt about returning your feelings.”
There was an edge in her voice that idly reminded Toshinori the woman wasn’t to be trifled with. Roses had thorns. Inko Midoriya had Noises. He took her hands.
“I understand, Inko-san. Thank you for being honest.” A smile crossed his face. “Unlike your husband, I can see clearly what an amazing woman you are. I would sooner face All Might’s fury than see someone else in your back.”
Inko almost melted at the words. That evening, when she asked Izuku what he would think of her seeing another man, she got a very curt and rather unexpected answer.
“Dad started it.”
Point taken. She and Toshinori began to date. Izuku didn’t care and Hitoshi even less. Inko was nice, but the Midoriyas’ business was their problem and he would only assist if asked. As for Michiro, he laughed hysterically at the situation.
“I wouldn’t wish to be your dad at the moment, kid! Your mother’s a sakura tree with serrated leaves and she will cut your genitor to ribbons the moment he returns. Best that he stays in America with his braindead bimbo for a few decades. Maybe, just maybe, she will cool off. But I wouldn’t bet on it.”
One year went by, then two and three. Elementary became Junior High. Izuku and Hitoshi remained close, the green-haired boy being the mind-manipulator’s only friend. Hitoshi aside, Izuku didn’t have many friends either. His reputation as Corelia’s monster-summoning bully hunter kept most of his peers away but Izuku didn’t mind. He still remembered Bakugo and his cronies’ bullying. Better a handful of true friends than a gaggle of false ones.
Hitoshi had naturally taken a deeper interest at his best friend’s hobbies. Under Michiro’s tutelage, he had honed his skills in free-running and breakdance, deepening his knowledge of street culture. The trio usually gathered at the old basketball field on weekends to dance or practice with spray paint, Inko joining them sometimes with a thermos of tea and snacks. Those were the times Hitoshi remembered most fondly.
Junior High brought many new faces as people changed classes and groups were splintered. Izuku and Hitoshi were lucky enough to remain together. Not only that, the pair got acquainted with a couple of newcomers from a different elementary school. The couple was also childhood friends and, just like them, had managed to remain together.
Their names were Denki Kaminari and Kyoka Jiro.
It was recess and Izuku was quietly headbanging at a table, completely ignoring Hitoshi’s amused smirk.
"Let me guess: Metal again? Some genres are a bit too cacophonic to my taste but the more melodic can be really catchy.”
“Hitoshi, I got a dozen different Noises that require a variant of Metal music. Of course, it will take a large part of my playlist.”
Hitoshi chuckled. A little away, Kyoka watched them. She had noticed the green-haired boy always wore earphones and it got her curious. When class resumed, Denki tried to put his own headphones on, only to be summarily scolded.
“Why can Midoriya do it, then?” The blonde grumbled.
“Your classmate suffers from Quirk-related tinnitus.” Their teacher explained. “The earphones are necessary to counter it.”
This got Denki to shut up. Kyoka frowned. A Quirk based on tinnitus? She wondered about the details. She got her answer as class ended. As they left, Izuku started humming the first notes of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. Static sizzled along his arms and a black wolf with metallic grey graffiti limbs appeared. The wolf, despite its fearful appearance, went begging for caresses, which Izuku and Hitoshi provided. The other students gave them a wide berth, obviously intimidated by the creature, and Kyoka herself had to admit it looked threatening. But it was just a façade. With its summoner and his friend, it behaved like a big friendly dog.
Once they were out, Izuku hummed another song, Toby Fox’s Megalovania. A navy-blue rabbit with white ears and hindlegs appeared and sauntered next to the wolf. Denki raised a brow.
“He uses music to make monsters?
“Apparently. But how is it related to his tinnitus?”
The next day, Kyoka mustered the courage to ask the boy. Izuku watched her come, earphones still on. Hitoshi tensed a little but remained silent.
“Excuse me.” Kyoka said. “I’m Kyoka Jiro. I noticed you summon monsters from music yesterday and I’ve been wondering how it works.”
Izuku raised a brow.
“You don’t find them scary?”
The girl bit her lips.
“Actually… I find them stylish. They look like living graffiti art pieces and, well, yeah, I like the style.”
“They’re called Noises, actually. I summon them by picking the sounds made by my tinnitus and arranging them into melodies. Different musical styles make different Noises.”
“Oh… What music styles do you know then?”
Hitoshi answered in Izuku’s stead, amusement in his voice.
“Over fifty, and it ranges from Nu Metal to Ragtime, with a hefty helping of Jazz and Pop.”
It was Kyoka’s turn to look eager. Deciding to give her a demo, Izuku asked her.
“What music do you prefer?”
The boy nodded and started humming Anarchy in the UK by Sex Pistols. A pretty huge crab – by the species’ standards – manifested in a sizzle of static. It was black with metallic grey pincers and waved cheerfully at the girl.
“Carcinopunk.” Izuku explained. “As far as I’ve seen, it’s the strongest Carcino I have. Another thing: my Noises answer to intent. I make them with a specific purpose in mind, or at least a general attitude. If I make them friendly, they will play with everyone. If I make them cautious, they will behave if treated nicely but will attack if threatened. Noises I make to harm, I always make them with a specific target in mind. If I didn’t, they would attack anyone in sight…”
At his grimace, Kyoka guessed there had been an accident to warrant that specificity.
“Cool Quirk. Is it all you can do?”
“Not by a long shot! Izuku’s Graffiti Heart is a real swiss-army knife. We haven’t figured out everything it can do yet.”
“By picking lone sounds, I can paint on things but it only lasts for three to five days.” Izuku explained. “When using that ability on clothes, I can alter how they look, and it’s permanent until I alter them again. Mom uses it to buy cheap clothing so I can change it into something more stylish later. It lightens our budget.”
Kyoka whistled. Denki seemed fairly interested in that ability. The girl turned to Hitoshi.
“What about you? What’s your Quirk?”
Hitoshi’s answer was a dangerous grin.
“Brainwashing. If someone answers to me, I can control their mind. This means I can control you right now…”
He narrowly dodged a lash of Kyoka’s earphones lobes.
“Don’t you dare!”
“I was joking.”
Izuku looked at the girl.
“And you, your Quirk is those jack-like earlobes. What do they do exactly?”
“Well, I can use them as actual jacks, for starters.” Kyoka smiled. “I can also use them as rope and transmit sound through them. Last time I’ve seen, they can extend to four meters.”
“Uh, that’s nice.”
He would take notes later, even though his fingers just itched to take his notebook and write. Denki grinned.
“My name’s Denki Kaminari. I’m Kyoka’s best friend. Anyway, since we’re talking about Quirks, mine’s Electrification. I generate an electric aura around me, but I also use it to charge appliances, like my phone or the hairdryer. Actually, I’m trying to direct the electricity, but it’s an uphill struggle… Still, I’ll get to make that lightning blade, one day.”
Now, Izuku really wanted to take notes. They kept talking about their Quirks for the whole recess and, as class ended, the conversation shifted to music. Kyoka and Izuku were two peas in a pod, the b-boy and the punk singer. They spent the entire way talking groups and trading tracks. Hitoshi and Denki naturally felt a little left out.
“Let them.” Hitoshi sighed. “Izuku can be pretty focused when it comes to his hobbies. Whatever caught his fancy, he isn’t satisfied until he knows the matter completely, may it be music, street art or Quirks.”
“He’s interested in Quirks?”
“Given he spent two years apparently Quirkless, he developed the habit of analyzing Quirks to compensate. He has entire notebooks on the matter at home – and yes, he completely analyzed mine. Until he mentioned it, I would have never thought of using Brainwashing through sign language. It works.”
“I wonder if he could do it with mine. Electrification has a pretty huge drawback; when I use too much of it, it fries my brain and I’m completely dumb until it wears off. It’s annoying.”
Hitoshi made a full-body turn.
“Your Quirk has that kind of drawback? And your parents haven’t found a way around it, like a battery to store the excess?”
“We aren’t rich, and these things cost a really pretty yen. Nah, we don’t have the means for that. So, I’m forced to watch myself and play safe. Sucks…”
Unbeknownst to the two teens, Izuku had heard. He was lucky that Toshinori was dining with them that night, because it allowed him to mention the matter.
“An Electric Quirk that fries its user’s brain if used too much? That’s nasty. And dangerous.”
“Yeah, I noticed Denki isn’t particularly bright. It’s just a hypothesis, but maybe he loses a few brain cells every time it happens. Sure, they regenerate overtime, but… not all of them. And it cumulates. Tiny bits of permanent brain damage that keep adding up and up and up… Yagi-san, you said you were working as All Might’s secretary. Maybe you’d know someone who’s good with support items who could make a battery, or at least a dampener. Please.” The boy said with big pleading puppy eyes. “Pretty please. Denki is cool. Not that smart, that’s for sure, but he’s cool. Could you please help him?”
Go say no to a face like that. And Izuku had asked politely. Toshinori sighed. He would have done it regardless, but now he really had to do it. The item was ready a week later, a pair of blue headphones that served as both a battery and a dampener. Denki was very grateful.
The action firmly solidified the friendship between Izuku, Hitoshi, Kyoka and Denki, who joined the pair in their urban activities. Kyoka, being a musician, was happy to have somewhere to perform freely while Denki turned to be an amazing dancer. Hitoshi had a certain knack for moving around and often came closest to beating Michiro in their races, while Izuku was hand-down the best painter.
The mind-manipulator had the occasion to show off his skills during a basketball game at the school. When one of his classmates accidentally activated his super-strength and sent the ball on the school’s roof, Hitoshi shared a glance with the rest of his friends. Denki and Kyoka looked way while Izuku shrugged. Grinning, Hitoshi went to the gutter and scaled it under the gasp of his classmates and to the shock of his school teachers. It was easy. The school was only two stories high. The climb was fast, and the basketball soon went down. Hitoshi followed through the same path. For some reason, the teacher didn’t seem happy.
“That was incredibly risky, Shinso-kun. I would appreciate that you didn’t pull such stunt again. Besides, I thought I had forbidden willing use of Quirks…”
“Sensei, you are misunderstanding.” Hitoshi said sweetly. “My Quirk lets me brainwash people. It has nothing to do with my agility. What you saw there was pure skill.”
The teacher was obviously embarrassed.
“…Still, I would appreciate you didn’t do it again. This stunt was risky, especially without Quirk!”
“I’ve done much worse with Michiro-sensei.” Hitoshi mumbled.
He wasn’t wrong. Rooftop-hopping was usually more dangerous than climbing gutters. Four months after the four teens became friends, an incident happened with Izuku and his powers. It was barely less bad than Aldera.
A heavy rain was falling and the four young teens were at the Midoriya household to do some group work. Having fallen short on snacks, Izuku had offered to buy some at the local grocery store. It was a short walk, and the boy had his Noises in a pinch. Nothing to worry about, right?
As he passed under a bridge, closed bag in his hands, a gooey villain sprung on him and made him reconsider.
“Don’t worry, I’m just hijacking your body. Calm down.”
Izuku fought back as the sludge invaded his airways. He wanted to summon Noises to tear the villain, but the sensation of goo in his nose and mouth made it hard to focus. This also meant Cacophony was out of question. He needed focus and a clear mind to use the move safely.
“Stop struggling, it will only hurt for forty-five seconds. Then it will be all over. You’re a real life-saver, you know, kid? My personal hero…”
His breath was running out. Izuku’s mind was in overdrive. In his head, the cacophony thrummed louder than ever. The teen balled his fists. He had to use it somehow but what to do? The feeling of his nails on his skin gave him a split-second idea: instead of using Cacophony around him, he focused on the storm of noise and spread it on his skin. It worked. Soon, his whole body was engulfed in static as it morphed.
Toshinori was walking with Michiro to the Midoriyas’ house when a scream echoed from under a bridge. The two men headed there, along with Death Arm and Backdraft. They were just in time to see a sludge-bodied man hurriedly crawling from under a bridge with a look of panic on its “face”. From the shadows jumped a green humanoid creature holding a sphere of green energy it slammed in his head. The sludge guy reacted, using his body to engulf the creature. It was in vain. A neon-green graffiti claw tore through the sludge, shrouded in green energy. It was soon followed by the rest of the body. Michiro and Toshinori looked at one another.
“Its style is exactly like that of Izuku’s Noises.”
“Do you think…”
The creature was fully out now, and it was hacking relentlessly at the sludge man, clawing his eyes and mouth as its face was contorted in a snarl. The creature was dead silent, yet with the face it was making, Death Arm had no doubt it would be screaming its lungs out if it wasn’t mute.
The non-graffiti part of his body, namely its head and torso, was a beautiful emerald shade. Meanwhile, its arms and bendy legs were a vibrant neon green and looked somewhat skeletal. The creature also had a pair of graffiti wings in the same color and, instead of hair, its mane was a tangle of line-green graffiti curls with a pair of long rabbit-like ears. No tail. All in all, Michiro was reminisced of a humanoid rabbit Noise.
It was vicious as one too. People kept saying how wild rabbits were fighters. The creature was no exception, splattering the sludge guy all over the asphalt. It was only when the mutant man stopped moving that the humanoid Noise did the same. It remained still, taking a moment to compose itself. Then it looked around and saw Michiro and Toshinori. The look of sheer terror spoke for itself. Instantly, it leaped away and dived under the bridge. While Death Arm and Backdraft set to pick up the sludge man, Toshinori and Michiro went after the humanoid Noise. They found it trying to hide in the shadows. On a hunch, Michiro said a name.
The creature flinched and looked away. Michiro held a hand.
“Izuku, is that you? Hey, kid.”
Izuku desperately tried to hide. The neon color of his limbs made the task impossible. Michiro carefully stepped toward the transformed teen, muttering soothing words. Toshinori noticed the dropped grocery bag nearby. The pieces together painted an ugly scene… After much soothing and coaxing, Izuku finally transformed back. It was indeed him, but his face was a mix of fright and sorrow. Michiro held the boy tight.
“Alright, kid. Take your time. What happened here?”
“It’s… that sludge guy. He tried to… to… hijack me. Kill me. I-I couldn’t use Cacophony, my head wasn’t clear so… so I… I used it on me. I used Cacophony on me, instead of around me. I transformed and then… I fought back. Hard.”
Toshinori’s blood went cold. The sludge guy had tried to kill Izuku? If heh ad been alone, he would have transformed on the spot and handed the villain to the police personally. As it was, he didn’t have to. Death Arm peeked.
“Excuse me? The sludge man surrendered himself. He said he tried to kill the kid but better us than, and I quote, that graffiti monster brat.”
Michiro and Toshinori glared.
Tohinori picked the bag. Michiro picked Izuku. The teen was fairly athletic, but the courier was two meters tall for a solid hundred kilos of pure muscle. While the Heroes delivered the villain to the police station, the two men brought the shaken teen home. Denki perked up when they entered.
“Hey, Zuku, took you long enough! I thought it was… just a short walk…”
The whole room went silent. Toshinori put the bag away while Michiro sat Izuku in the sofa.
“Inko-san, can you please make some warm, sweet tea? We could use some right now.”
“Michiro, what happened?”
It was Toshinori who answered.
“A sludge villain thought Young Izuku was an easy target. Izuku found a new way to use his Quirk and summarily ripped him to shreds. Only his unusual biology allowed the villain to survive, and the beating was brutal enough he surrendered to the Heroes.”
The room went silent. Even Inko, who was brewing the tea, stopped in her tracks. Kyoka blinked.
“He did what, exactly?”
“Instead of using Cacophony around him since he wasn’t sure he could control it…” Michiro explained. “He spread Cacophony on himself. It transformed him into a humanoid Noise that was powerful enough to completely dominate the villain. The reason he’s so shaken is because his retaliation was… brutal. When Toshinori-san said Kiddo had ripped that villain to shreds, he meant it literally.”
The three teens gulped. Izuku was still quivering on the sofa. His mother gave him a cup of tea while Hitoshi sat by his side and held him. Izuku buried himself in his arms. Denki and Kyoka joined soon after. The group project was unanimously put on hold. It could wait until their friend felt better.
This was the first time Izuku used Apotheosis.
Remember the Reapers' Cantus form in TWEWY ? That's Apotheosis in a nutshell. Naturally, Izuku's Cantus form is based on a rabbit. Also, after consideration, I decided to call Izuku's Quirk Graffiti Heart like the story's title, so that part is settled.
To make Noises, Izuku hums specific tunes to help himself focus. Any track of the fitting category can work but Izuku being so overanalytical, he naturally has a book with his Noise list, what they can do and what track to use. I named some in this chapter. More are right below (but since my personal memo is at 111 different Noises, I am not going to list them all in one go!)
Garage Wolf: The Velvet Underground - Run, run, run
Alterna Wolf : Godsmack - Bad Religion
Grunge Wolf: Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Carcinofolk: Led Zeppelin - The Battle of Evermore
Carcinoska: The Skatalites, Gun of Navarone
Carcinometal: Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Carcinosamp: Pink Floyds - Echoes
Carcinopunk: Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK
Reggae Cat: Bob Marley - I Shot the Sheriff
Bluescat: Cab Calloway - Blues in the Night
Ethnicat: Los Kjarkas - Bolivias
Indie Rabbbeat: Toby Fox - Megalovania
Jazz Rabbeat: Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World
March Rabbeat: Richard Wagner - Gotterdamerüng, Siegfried's Funeral March
Nu Rabbeat: Limp Bizkit - Take a Look Around
Soul Rabbeat: Aretha Franklin - Respect
And that's all for now. Phew...
Chapter 4: Trial by sound and color
Izuku looked at the maze. Shadda’s Crossing was a mishmash of small alleys, stairs and rooftops near his neighborhood whose design made it the perfect place for training free-running. It was where Michiro had taught them, he and Hitoshi at first, and then Denki and Kyoka. They had even painted arrows on the walls to indicate different courses – with actual spray paint, of course.
The green course stayed close to the ground and was meant for beginners. The orange course was halfway between the ground and the rooftops and provided an entertaining challenge. The red course went straight for the rooftops and was definitely the more dangerous. At the height it was, a fall could be lethal.
Izuku stretched. It had taken a lot of time and hard bargaining to get the right to use the place. In the end, however, the authorities had acknowledged the place as an official Quirk Training Ground under the supervision of four people: Michiro Honda, Inko Midoriya, Toshinori Yagi and Naomasa Tsukauchi. Each had a copy of the document and, so long as someone was approved by one of the four, they were allowed to train at Shadda’s. Being connected to three of the quartet, Izuku naturally had that right.
The teen focused. It had been three years since he’d first used Apotheosis. His brutal beatdown of the sludge villain had been rightfully chalked up to self-defense and first use of a new aspect of his Quirk. He had thus been completely forgiven. Still, Apotheosis was as delicate to use as Cacophony, especially since it had the same basis. Inhaling, Izuku let the storm of sound seep over his left arm first, then his right and finally his legs. Static sizzled as the limbs morphed to take a neon green graffiti appearance. Izuku nodded and, delicately manipulating his phone, put some music.
Then he ran. The graffiti limbs were stronger than his flesh ones. They made him faster, longer strides taking him further and further into the maze as the music thrummed, frantic. He took the orange course, not the easiest or the hardest but the most technical in his opinion. Having four limbs morphed meant he could alternate bipedal and quadrupedal locomotion, his spine not being made for constant quadrupedal running. That’s exactly what he did, pouncing to a ledge before turning right up a flight of stairs – left! Across the wall, claws digging in the concrete, keeping him stuck as he ran on all four. Pounce again, two legs this time across the walkway, then the rooftop and jump across the gap, high enough to break an ankle, not a neck. Forward still, then up against the wall. Normally, it should be the gutter but his claws were too sharp. Concrete wall it was. Up the roof, then a left turn and across another gap, then down below by the gutter but his limbs could take the recoil. He still rolled to disperse the momentum. His throat didn’t burn. He had a lot of stamina. He kept moving forward, leaping, sliding, pouncing left, right, right, left, forward, left, forward… and he was back at the start. The orange race made a loop across the Crossing.
Izuku breathed and switched to something quieter. He didn’t need the rush anymore. His limbs morphed back to normal.
“And done. I think I got the hang of it now.”
“Looks like you do indeed, Zuku.”
Izuku smiled and turned to the feminine voice. Amelia Tanner had joined their merry band a year and a half ago. She was a tall and fairly buxom American brunette usually wearing a longcoat with a black bandana and thin leather gloves. A bag was hanging across her chest. Izuku knew it contained a powerful laptop.
Amelia’s Quirk was called Digital Mind and gave her instinctive knowledge of how to use anything informatic. It made her an amazing hacker. Izuku was pretty sure this was why she was in Japan: either she pissed off the wrong people or she discovered a secret that should have remained one. Now, people wanted her dead. He was willing to bet “Amelia Tanner” wasn’t even her real name.
Amelia grinned. A Gabba Bat flew to her holding a camera.
“Those critters of yours are even better than drones – and they can’t be hacked. I got your whole race in there.”
“You’re gonna post it online again?”
“Maybe. Maybe not. What music did you use?”
Izuku showed her. Amelia hummed.
“Maybe. I think I’ll make a montage. As it is, with just the music, it isn’t unique enough to draw attention. A montage of free-runners using their Quirks? More interesting. I know I have recordings of Ingenium and the Crawler somewhere. Maybe I should add Michiro too. For diversity. Or Mirko.”
“Do whatever you want. Shadda’s Crossing is a Quirk Training Ground. Racing around is the place’s purpose.”
“By the way, U. A’s entrance exam is tomorrow. Do you feel ready?”
“As I could ever be. I’m glad Denki managed to pass the written exam. It wasn’t exactly hard but, well, Denki’s Denki.”
“Yeah, Firefly isn’t very bright. He got his Quirk to curse for that. This said, given what you told me, his brain damage could be much worse. Good thing you gave him that dampener.”
“Yeah… Speaking of U.A, how’s your job doing?”
“Nezu’s been riding my ass about upping the system’s security, and I was glad to oblige. Not that it was shady in the first place but, for all his know-how, Power Loader isn’t a dedicated informatician. Nezu hired me because they needed a specialist. I’d like to say they got it.”
“That’s what your Quirk is all about in the first place.”
“IT girl for a Hero school.” Amelia chuckled. “I wish I’d had that job back in the States! If only… You know, Japan’s very lucky to have All Might. Not every country has the chance to have a Symbol of Peace.”
Izuku looked at her, curious. Amelia sighed.
“Some countries are crime-ridden, either because there aren’t enough Heroes around or because the villains are simply too strong. Some states in the US are like that. Back there, people who want safety have to adopt drastic measures. If justice can’t do its job, then the locals will make their own justice. I have seen it firsthand. In fact, I was even part of it… Sorry, bad memories. I came to Japan to move from this stuff, but let me tell you one thing: not every criminal dress in black with a balaclava. Sometimes, they wear three-piece suits and carry a briefcase full of money.”
Izuku nodded. Amelia’s words pretty much confirmed his suspicions.
The next day, he, Hitoshi, Kyoka and Denki stood before the gates of U.A. Denki hummed.
“It looks smaller than on the pictures.”
“U.A is the most prestigious Hero school of Japan.” Izuku recalled. “All Might, Endeavor, Best Jeanist, Hawks, Mirko… The highest-ranking Pro Heroes are graduates, but the admittance is less than one in a hundred. Competition is tough.”
“So are we.” Hitoshi smirked. “Ready to take it by a storm?”
“Together, we can overcome any hurdle. We will become Heroes, all four of us, no matter what society tells us.”
“Our powers aren’t good or evil. We alone decide that.” Hitoshi recited.
“There is more to us than meets the eyes. Don’t judge us simply by our looks.” Denki added.
Kyoka closed her eyes.
“We will be Heroes, but there is a person behind this mask. Never forget this fact.”
“We will never judge, for we know what it’s like to be judged.” Izuku finished.
The words were their oath, a reminder and a promise both. The four put their hands together. Izuku turned to the school.
“Time to become Heroes.”
They were nearing the entrance when a voice Izuku had almost forgotten echoed.
“Deku? Dafuq are you doing there!?”
Izuku froze. He knew that voice. It had been literal years since he’d last heard it, but he still heard it in his nightmares, sometimes.
“Kacchan. Of course, you would be there.”
Hitoshi, Kyoka and Denki turned to Izuku, then to the voice. It belonged to a spiky blonde teen with red eyes and an angry scowl who was directly looking at their friend. Hitoshi tensed. Izuku had told him a few times about Aldera. It always made his skin crawl.
“Katsuki Bakugo. You used to be Izuku’s bully.”
“Uh? I’m not talking to you, Droopy Eyes.”
He had answered to him. Hitoshi could use his Quirk any moment, now.
“Of course, you’re not. Izuku told me about you a few times. From what I’m seeing, you’re exactly as he described.”
Bakugo turned to Izuku.
“Deku, who are the extras?”
In the past, Izuku would have cowered in fear, tears welling in his eyes as he begged Kacchan not to hurt him. But he’d changed. He had grown. He stood straight and confident, arms crossed, and Bakugo didn’t miss the spark of defiance in his eyes.
“They are my friends, Kacchan. My precious friends who I would go to Hell and back for. Now, leave us. We’re going to be late.”
On this, he turned and walked away, leaving a dumbstruck Bakugo behind. Hitoshi, Kyoka and Denki followed, the mind-manipulator silently glad he didn’t have to use his power. In the amphitheater, Present Mic welcomed the candidates like the talk show host he was… and got a more than tepid reaction. Internally wincing, the teacher proceeded to explain the entrance exam. Izuku frowned as they were presented with the enemies. On a hunch, he raised his hand.
“Excuse me, sir? What exactly will the enemies be like? Will they be people or artificial dummies…?”
“An excellent question, examinee 2702, and vague enough that I can answer. They will be artificial, of course. You won’t face people during the exam but machines we prepared specifically for the occasion. I won’t tell you more.”
Hitoshi cursed. The other three winced in sympathy.
“Machines… My Quirk isn’t going to work on that, it only affects people!”
“This scenario is the worst that could happen to you.” Kyoka frowned. “Against machines, you are essentially powerless.”
“If you want to pass, you’ll have to cheat.” Denki considered. “Wait, he did say we could bring whatever we wanted with us, right?”
Izuku had come to the same conclusion and had already grabbed three blank cans of paint. Humming Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer, he charged the first with a teal and black dragon, then snuck it to his friend. Hitoshi gave it a look.
“Ragtime Drake? Seriously? I was going for something a bit smaller…”
“You got something specific in mind?”
“I was thinking along the lines of a Rhino.”
“Hm. House, Minimal, Dub or Trance?”
After hesitating, Hitoshi picked Minimal. Izuku hummed Terry Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air as the can charged with the Noise. Finally, he charged the last with Hitoshi’s favorite.
“And a can of Bluescat. Here you go, Hitochan.”
Toshi was, unfortunately, already taken. Hitoshi pocketed the three cans and winced as Present Mic shouted the school’s motto. As they left, they noticed the teen who had interrupted the teacher about the fourth opponent was glaring at them. Izuku walked closer to his friends. He was stern, build like a tank and his glasses didn’t help at all. Then he got in the same bus as him and Izuku started to really worry. To soothe his nerves, he summoned an Indie Rabbeat he stroked carefully. The Rabbeat lay against his chest. More than an examinee couldn’t help but coo at the critter, but a new muttered about the style. Izuku sighed. The tall glassy teen was still glaring at him.
The examinees massed before the gates. As they got out, the teen muttered.
“We’re up against machines… Which track should I use? I know I got something in my electro-techno playlist. Now, what will it be?”
He took his phone and browsed the playlist. It was quite large in size and it took him time before he set his mind.
“Let’s see, Blood Rave? Nah, wrong context. Clubbed to Death? Getting closer already. Oh, oh… Yeah, this one will do.”
“Excuse me, could you please stop doing that? There are people there who are trying to focus.”
Izuku flinched. As he thought, it was the tall glassy teen. Problem was, he had drawn everyone’s attention to him. He sighed, put back his phone and held his Rabbeat.
“Sorry, that wasn’t my intention.”
He knew he better hold his judgment against the other teen, but his impression so far was nothing positive. He turned to the gate. It was… actually narrower than he thought. And the crowd was massing before it. He frowned and summoned his wings, the storm of sound flowing like static against his skin. The taller teen took a step back, clearly not expecting the meek green-haired boy’s Quirk to do that. Izuku didn’t care. Indie Rabbeat in a hand and phone in the other, he waited for Present Mic’s voice.
The door opened. Izuku smirked and pressed Play. As the other examinees reacted, the music thrummed and Izuku took flight, overpassing everyone. The first robot he saw was a one-pointer. Smirking, he threw the Indie Rabbeat at it. The Noise lost no time hacking into its wires, its graffiti hindlegs leaving deep dents in its neck until the robot was well and truly beheaded. A two-pointer was close by. Izuku summarily dive-bombed it, limbs morphing into graffiti mid-dive. Its stinger tail tried to get him. The boy grabbed it and redirected it at a one-pointer it helplessly shot. The one-pointer was finished by a boy who fired a laser from his navel. Izuku turned to his own target, tore its tail then ripped off its head. Leaping back, he focused on a familiar song and summoned a pair of Alterna Wolves. His Indie Rabbeat joined them. The teen grinned.
“Let’s get them, boys.”
They dived into the fray, the Wolves playing tug-o-war with a one-pointer while the Indie Rabbeat leaped at the face of a three-pointer, distracting it long enough Izuku finished his robot and ran at it. His claws left deep gashes as he tore panel after panel until he finally dived his arm in the machine’s core and ripped it out.
Yeah, he wasn’t a clean fighter. But those were robots. He could afford it. He didn’t really see time go, too focused on tearing the pointers apart with his Noises. Then he noticed a steel-skinned teen who was trying to get from under a broken three-pointer. Izuku didn’t hesitate. He ran as a red-haired girl with massive hands did the same. Together, they had no trouble lifting the robot as one Alterna Wolf dragged the boy.
“Thanks, guys. I hope you pass.”
“You’re welcome. And same to you.”
On this, the girl balled the pointer with her hands and nailed a one-pointer the tall glassy teen was rushing to. The ball of scrap nailed the robot, forcing the teen to step on the brakes before he collided with a wall.
Then a sound echoed. A metallic sound, loud and threatening. Everybody tensed. Metal notes started playing in Izuku’s head as his phone shifted to the next track. When the zero-pointer appeared, he couldn’t decide between summoning a Noise and running away. The steel-skinned boy starred.
“Well, shit. Time to run.”
“Yeah.” The red-haired girl agreed.
The robot moved, a single swipe ravaging the surroundings. Izuku was about to run when he noticed someone, a brunette girl lying on the pavement, her face in pain. Through the dust, he thought he saw something red around her leg.
Forget running. As the zero-pointer prepared another swing, he jumped to the girl and held a hand. Almost like a reflex, the Goth Metal Drake sprung to life and roared, flying straight to the robot’s head. Its red orbs rammed into its body as its claws and horns hacked it.
The steel-skinned student stopped dead in his tracks and turned to the redhead.
“Is it bad that I want to watch that?”
The girl was inclined to agree, and she wasn’t the only one. The blonde boy with the navel laser and the tall glassy teen had also gathered. Meanwhile, Izuku was holding the girl. She yelped when she tried to move her leg. Izuku winced. Indeed, her left leg had a nasty bruise on it.
“It’s not good. I can’t move…”
“Here, ride this, then.”
In a flash of static, the boy summoned a white unicorn with green swirly graffiti mane, tail and lower legs. The unicorn whined.
“Pony Turbo.” Izuku explained. “This is my fastest horse Noise. If you can’t use your legs, it will replace them.”
The girl grimaced but accepted and got on the creature.
“What about you? You don’t plan on fighting that thing, are you?”
“I crushed more than a handful of pointers with my Noises. I think I got enough points to pass. You and the others focus on finishing the test while I take care of this one.”
“But how?” The zero-pointer had slammed the Drake into a building. “Your dragon doesn’t look like it’s doing good.”
“Don’t worry.” Izuku said as he summoned a Woolly AOR. “I still got a few aces up my sleeve. You and the others finish the test. I’ve got this.”
Then he got on the elephant who trumpeted. The girl obeyed, spurring her ride. The steel boy, redhead, blonde boy and tall glassy teen reluctantly turned away to focus on the test. Izuku watched them leave before turning to the zero-pointer, who had just dispelled the Drake. His glare was harsh.
“Looks like I’ll have to use it, in the end. I never like using it, nor do I like using Apotheosis.”
He closed his eyes and focused.
Moving flesh good. Moving metal bad. Protect moving flesh. Crush kill destroy moving metal. Crush kill destroy really big one there first. Target big one first. Priority target: the zero-pointer.
Then he removed his earphones and spoke a single word.
A storm of static sizzled around him. Then, pandemonium.
Ochako winced as the unicorn carried her. The ride was smooth, but her leg still ached. She tagged a one-pointer. The robot started floating, only to be lacerated by her mount’s wind blades. The girl grinned.
“Thanks for the assist.”
The unicorn nodded and sent a pressurized wind sphere that smacked into a three-pointer which was summarily demolished by the steel-skinned boy, Tetsutetsu. Nearby, Iida, the strong teenager with the glasses kicked a two-pointer straight at the red-haired girl, Kendo, who crushed it with her huge hands. Yuga, the blonde boy who fired lasers, nailed one who was sneaking on her. Her mount kicked its remains away.
Monsters like her mount started appearing left and right, protecting the other examinees. They barely ever took down pointers, instead focusing more on shielding and weakening the teens. A blue and purple jellyfish hugged the face of a three-pointer Kendo destroyed. A red and pink turtle took a shot meant for Yuga. Three ravens harassed a pointer that was targeting Tetsutetsu. Small things, but it gave them openings. Ochako wondered if the boy was done with the zero-pointer and had summoned them as back-up.
At last, Present Mic called the test over. Everyone breathed while the creatures retreated, gathering around their master. The huge purple elephant walked to the teens… who immediately noticed something was off. The green-haired boy was hunched over his mount, head low and earphones hanging clearly from his vest, static sizzling in the air around him, spawning monster after monster. He was completely unresponsive to any attempt, and the reason became clear when the elephant trumpeted gently and lay him down with its trunk. Kendo gasped.
Everyone could see the blank look through his half-opened eyes, along with the thin trail of droll on his mouth. Tetsutetsu looked a little further and jumped.
The zero-pointer wasn’t just down. The boy’s monsters had utterly demolished it, reducing it to a pile of torn-up, half-melted and thoroughly battered scrap metal. Three different dragons were still growling at the robot while a pair of crocodiles were toying with a piece of plate and a unicorn wreathed in graffiti fire kept puffing flames at the machine. Next to it, a purple, red, black and yellow rhinoceros was sharpening its massive graffiti horn on the head. Kendo winced.
“Power at a price. He can summon an endless stream of graffiti creatures at the cost of falling unconscious.”
“A most dangerous technique.” Iida frowned. “Now, how do we wake him up?”
“Recovery Girl is there.” Yuga informed “Par chance, she will know.”
However, after giving them all candy, Recovery Girl had to admit she was helpless.
“My Quirk only heals physical injuries. Brain disruptions fall outside my competence field. This said, I noticed this young man has a phone on him. Luckily, one of his contacts will be familiar with the situation.”
The top of his speed-dial list was simply labelled Mom. They decided to call it. If someone knew the issue, it had to be his mother. Recovery Girl put the phone on loudspeaker.
“Sweetie?” A feminine voice rang. “You’re calling early. Is the test finished already?”
“Madam, this is Recovery Girl, from U.A facility. We are calling because your son suffered an ailment during the entrance exam.”
There was a beat.
“Yes. Your son has lost consciousness and his Quirk is constantly generating graffiti animals. Do you know how we could snap him out?”
Everyone heard the woman breathe in relief.
“Oh, good, he just used Cacophony. I’m not going to ask for details, he will give them when he gets home.”
“You’re not worried, Madam?” Iida asked, surprised.
“Not the slightest. Cacophony is one of Sweetie’s deadliest moves. Whatever he used it against, I have no doubt it is currently incapable of harm. Sweetie is always mindful with this technique, and for good reason. He is always worried the command he gave before using it won’t be precise enough. As for how to snap him out, just play musique at full volume and give him back his earphones. Having a melody to focus on will bring him back.”
The woman’s answers raised several questions they decided could wait later. Instead, Recovery Girl noticed a track was currently playing. She upped the volume and put the earphones back in Izuku’s ears. The teen shuddered, his eyes blinking back to life.
“Ow, my head… I always get a headache when I use it.”
He rose and stood, looking at the scenery around him. He was quick to notice the zero-pointer. Sighing, Izuku started dismissing his Noises, each dissolving in a burst of static, even the Woolly after a final caress. He still kept Ochako’s Pony. Recovery Girl hadn’t healed her yet.
“You guys managed to rake a few more points?”
“Yeah, your monsters helped a lot. Saved our hides a few times.” Tetsutetsu grinned.
“Good. I was worried my command was too vague. I get it none of them hurt you.”
“They focused on the pointers.” Kendo reassured. “You have nothing to worry about on this side.”
“Still, that was a very risky technique.” Iida noted. “How could you be sure your monsters wouldn’t go after us? Wait, stupid question. You said it worried you.”
“Actually, whenever I summon a Noise, I focus on a specific attitude beforehand: friendly, protective or aggressive toward one specific target.” Izuku explained. “However, when I use Cacophony, I focus on the storm of sound in my head and force it out, which is why the Noises never stop appearing. I’m completely lost in the storm when it happens, and I only use it to deal with situations of life and death, so I need to ‘preset’ my Noises, so to say. I focus on the targets that need to be taken down, then I tell them everyone else is to be protected. Then I activate Cacophony. My biggest fear is that I skipped someone when ascertaining who to protect. In this case, it was easy: destroy moving metal, protect moving flesh, focus on big moving metal.”
The group looked at one another. The boy’s explanation certainly clarified some things. Tenya made a note to be a bit more polite when interacting with the teen. He didn’t want to be on the receiving end of a rhino, much less a dragon, just because he had angered him.
The test was over. Izuku gathered with his friends at the exit.
“How did you guys do?”
“I’ve never been so glad to have a Drake on hand.” Hitoshi shuddered. “When that zero-pointer showed up, I emptied the cans of Drake and Rhinos and ran like hell while they fought. To be fair, so did everyone else. They managed to hold it until the test was over.”
“What, you ran?” Denki laughed. “When that thing showed up, I zapped it to empty the battery, then I recovered it and fried it with Indiscriminate Discharge. The battery held.”
“Great. It’s doing its purpose well.” Izuku grinned. “Kyoka?”
“We got the zero-pointer too, but it was a team effort.” The girl smiled. “I was with a girl who could generate acid and a boy who generated powerful glue. He stuck the zero-pointer in one place so the girl to corrode it and I finished by blasting it away with my Quirk.”
Hitoshi grumbled. Izuku comforted him.
“Hey, as we said, this scenario is the worst that could happen to you. It’s just not fair for people whose Quirks only influence sentient or organic things. Don’t beat yourself over it.”
Hitoshi smiled. This was what he liked about Izuku. Whenever one of them was down, the green-haired artist always knew how to cheer them up. They returned the favor as often as they could.
“Let’s go home. Soon, we will know if we’re admitted or not.”
“Hopefully, we all will!”
Trivia bit: Shadda's Crossing is named after Nar Shaddaa, the city-moon orbiting over Nal Hutta and visited in The Old Republic. And Amelia, with her Quirk and her past, references a character from a video game by Ubisoft who may or may not appear later in the story.
Finally, it looks like Izuku is in control of both Cacophony and Apotheosis… and Kacchan returns. Watch out.
Chapter 5: First class
“Sweetie, there it is!”
Izuku ran from his room and grabbed the envelope. Instead of a letter like he had thought, there was a small holographic projector. The teen didn’t activate it. Instead, he took his phone and sent a text to his friend… only to receive three at the exact same time.
“I got it!”
There was a beat. Then Kyoka sent a message.
“Meet at the basketball field?”
The three boys sent the same answer.
Izuku called his mother.
“Mom, we’re meeting at the basketball field to watch it together.”
“Got it, sweetie. I’ll come along and bring snacks and sodas. Don’t forget to warn Michiro and Amelia-san. They will want to be there too.”
There was a knock on the door as Izuku texted the two adults. Toshinori entered.
“Inko-san. Young Izuku. How are you doing?”
“We all received the answer.” Izuku answered. “We’re meeting at the basketball field to watch it. You want to come along, Toshi-san?”
The shriveled man smiled.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
They gathered at their training ground half an hour later. The four teenagers were all excited, and the sight of snacks and sodas didn’t help at all. Izuku nudged Hitoshi.
“You go first.”
“Because the test was the hardest for you. You’re the least likely to have passed, so let’s make sure you did first.”
Hitoshi nodded and activated the device. The huge silhouette of All Might almost took them by surprise.
“I am there as a projection! Young Shinso, you passed the written exam with high marks but only scored twenty at the practical. One point less and you would have failed to pass…”
The four teens looked at one another.
“This means that…”
“With the bare minimum, but you did.” Michiro grinned.
“Wait before celebrating. There’s more.”
But Hitoshi had passed. Despite the blatant unfairness of the test, he had managed to pass. The teen’s heart was steadily soaring in his chest as the video continued.
“However, the entrance exam wasn’t solely graded on villain points. After all, how can the Hero Course reject people who save others and do the right thing? That would be hypocritical. Come on, this is a job that requires risking one’s life for the sake of others! This is why we have this ranking that uses rescue points. Given by a panel of judges, this is the other basic ability we at U.A look for.”
A video played. The group recognized it as Hitoshi’s exam.
As the zero-pointer appeared, the purple-haired teen took the can of Ragtime Drake. At his side, a girl with huge eyes and a long tongue starred at the monster.
“Yeah.” Hitoshi winced. “Run away. I got something that will hold it off.”
“You don’t plan to fight it, ribbit? You said your Quirk was useless against robots.”
“I don’t plan to fight it.” Hitoshi retorted as he pressed the nozzle. “I’ll just send my strongest monsters against it and hope they’ll hold it until the test is over. Present Mic said two more minutes.”
Three Ragtime Drakes appeared in a flash of static. Hitoshi whistled and three Minimal Rhinos joined his side. He pressed the Minimal can and summoned one more Rhino to his side.
“Get it!” He ordered. “Get that pest! Attack the zero-pointer now!”
The Noises charged. Hitoshi ran the other way. He was almost caught by falling debris before the thorny hair of a girl dragged him away.
All Might grinned.
“Technically, the zero-pointer gives no points upon destruction. However, is isn’t uncommon that brave people take it on regardless, not for the challenge or their own glory but because it is threatening the other examinees and they, selflessness in their heart, charge at it in the hope of protecting them. Then the zero-pointer rewards points, for rescue. Young Shinso, even though you ran, you did it after summoning creatures to hold off the pointer. For this, you earned rescue points. Fifty, to be exact.”
Hitoshi’s score appeared. Villain points: 20. Rescue points, 50. Total score, 70. All Might stood tall.
“Hitoshi Shinso, this is your Hero Academia.”
The four teens looked at one another.
“…I passed. I passed!”
“With flying colors, man!” Denki laughed.
Izuku tackled his friend.
“You did it! You really made it!”
Hitoshi laughed, clear and free. His chest was feeling lighter than ever, even as his friends hugged him and dogpiled him on the asphalt. Michiro beamed and opened a can of soda.
“To our passing boy! Three more to go!”
Hitoshi took it, tears in his eyes. Denki went next. Once more, All Might appeared and explained the situation. Denki hummed as his villain score appeared: a fairly decent forty points. Then came the fight against the zero-pointer.
Denki didn’t look fazed as the hulking machine rampaged before him. In fact, he even seemed amused. A teen with spiky red hair and saw-like teeth looked at him.
“You don’t plan to take this on, are you?”
“Why not? I fried more than a handful of pointers. I think I got enough to pass.”
“But why? You know that thing will get you zero points! Why fight it?”
“So you can finish the test in peace.”
A girl with silver hair and a sleepy look frowned.
“I understand. While you challenge the zero-pointer, the rest of us can focus on the remaining machines and earn a greater score for ourselves. This is very selfless of you.”
“If you think I’m selfless, you haven’t met my best friend.”
Denki then strolled to the robot, almost casually. When the machine swung at him, he lunged forward, dodging the move while grabbing his battery. The item flew to the zero-pointer and delivered a taser jolt upon contact. It stunned it enough that the electric blonde could grab the battery, put it back and charge his attack.
The silver-haired girl held the redhead before he could join him. It saved him. Lightning flew from Denki’s body, shocking everything around him. The zero-pointer was left a smoking husk. Just to be sure, the teen also emptied the battery and turned to the pair.
“Here. I think we can finish the test quietly, now.”
All Might grinned.
“Young Kaminari, such bravado could have easily been mistaken for challenge-seeking, but the recordings got your conversation, and it was obvious you acted for the sake of the examinees. As such, the jury awarded you rescue points for taking down the zero-pointer: thirty.”
Denki’s score finally appeared in full. Villain points: 40. Rescue points: 30. Total score: 70. The blonde turned to Hitoshi.
“We scored even!”
“Yeah, you two got the same score!”
“Denki Kaminari, this is your Hero Academia.”
A new round of happy laugh ensued. Kyoka then activated her own projector. All Might appeared and gave his little spiel, which they listened patiently until they got to the girl’s score, a rather average thirty-three. What followed was the explanation about the rescue points and the part everyone was waiting for: the fight against the zero-pointer. The group watched the recording intensely.
Kyoka grit her teeth as the robot rolled.
“…Fuck this. I’m fighting it.”
“What? Are you crazy!?”
The girl turned to the other examinee. It was a yellow golem-looking teen with a sort of sandcastle for a head. She had seen him spew glue against the pointers.
“No. That thing terrifies me and I want to run away, but if I run, it will start targeting us, taking god knows how many of us before the test ends. I need to stop it, or at least slow it down until everyone cleared the place.”
“Going against that monster is suicide.”
“I know. Someone still has to do it. Might as well be me…”
The teen sighed.
“…Fair enough. I’ll help, because there is no way you’ll last half a minute against that monster.”
“I’ll help too!”
The pair turned to a pink girl with fluffy hair and a pair of horns.
“If you’re out to take that thing, I ‘m going to help. My Quirk generates acid. Just tell me where to aim.”
Kyoka nodded and turned to the golem teen.
“Glue its tracks. First, we need it to stop moving.”
“Then, while the pointer is stuck, go wild. Corrode as much as you can, then I’ll plug my jacks in and break it with my soundwaves.”
The plan worked flawlessly.
All Might grinned.
“It isn’t uncommon that candidates may take on the zero-pointer, but it is even rarer that teams form in the middle of the exam. It is, after all, a competition. And yet, three examinees who didn’t know each other banded against a greater threat and prevailed. This is something extremely rare for the exam. Young Jiro, you didn’t hesitate to charge an opponent you knew outmatched you and formulated the plan that took it down. For this, the judges proudly awarded you forty-five points.”
Kyoka’s score appeared in full. Villain point: 33. Rescue points: 45. Total score: 78.
“Kyoka Jiro, this is your Hero Academia.”
“She got you two beat!”
“Of course, she did. Hitoshi and I have the same score!”
“Your turn, kid. Show us that performance of yours.”
Izuku nodded and activated his own projector. When his score came, he hummed. Thirty-five wasn’t bad. Then came the fight against the zero-pointer. The group watched as he rushed fearlessly at the machine, summoning a Goth Metal Drake to distract it as he rescued the girl. Then he summoned a Woolly and activated Cacophony. They watched as the Noises literally swarmed the zero-pointer, hacking and slashing and unleashing everyone of their abilities on the robot until it finally collapsed through the sheep power of numbers. Then the Noises turned to the remaining pointers, supporting the other examinees as they finished the test. They were everywhere, shielding the teens when they weren’t creating openings for them to take the machines.
The sight reminded Toshinori of Aldera, but in reverse. This time, the monster swarm saved people instead of mauling them.
“Izuku Midoriya, you defeated the zero-pointer by taking a great risk unto yourself. This technique drives you unconscious and you were fully aware of its drawback, yet you sacrificed yourself for the sake of not one examinee but all of them, and your monsters carried your will by protecting the others with their life. Very rarely have I witnessed such selflessness, even less during U. A’s entrance exam. This display of heroism was difficult to rate, for few people show these qualities in such a large amount. Thus, they decided to reward you with the highest score they could give you.”
The score appeared. The group’s reaction varied from stunned silence to very loud “What the fuck!?”
One hundred and eighty rescue points. Hitoshi blinked.
“Ho. Ly. Shit.”
Denki’s jaw was on the floor.
“You have to be kidding me!”
Kyoka simply starred.
“Wow. Just, wow.”
“Izuku Midoriya, you are the current holder of the highest rescue score ever earned in U. A’s history.”
His total score appeared. Villain points: 35. Rescue points: 180. Total score: 215. Michiro snickered.
“Congratulation, kid. You just broke the rating scale.”
All Might didn’t grin. He beamed.
“Izuku Midoriya, this is you Hero Academia."
The shock passed, everyone cheered. They whooped and hollered and congratulated the green-haired teen as Izuku felt equally embarrassed and merry. They ended sharing the drinks and the snacks, playing happy party music as they celebrated the four teens passing.
It was a great time. Of all the memories Hitoshi would make over the years, this one remained a favorite.
Unbeknownst to everyone, All Might watched them, pride swelling his chest more than One for All ever could. But they didn’t see him. The irony made him smile, that the one talking to them and congratulating them was sitting right next to them at the moment. But he didn’t care because there was nothing negative about this irony, and it meant he could have a proper celebration with them.
Soon enough, school started and the four teens gathered before U.A. It had come as a surprise that they were in the same class, but they didn’t complain. Over the years, they had become a close-knit group, and it would have saddened them to be separated.
It wasn’t coincidence. Toshinori as All Might had taken a teacher job at U.A. and had pulled some strings to keep them together. He could recognize a Hero Agency in formation when he saw one.
“Let’s get there early so we can pick our spots.” Kyoka had wisely suggested.
Everyone had agreed. As such, there was less than a handful of people when they got there. Izuku recognized the tall glassy teen with engines in his legs, but that was it. Next to him was a teen with bicolored hair, the right side pristine white and the other a deep burgundy. The last was a girl with green hair and way too big eyes. She recognized Hitoshi, and Hitoshi recognized her.
“Asui-san? You’re in our class?” A smile crossed his face. “I am glad.”
“Likewise, Shinso-san. And please, since we’re classmates, call me Tsu.”
The group picked a seat, Hitoshi sitting next to Izuku at the last row while Kyoka sat before the purple-haired teen and Denki before her. Tsuyu was one row on Denki’s right and the tall glassy teen was on her right. The teen made a beeline to Izuku, who tensed. Hitoshi noticed and prepared a sharp remark, just in case he would have to defend his friend.
“I recognize you. You are the boy from the Entrance Exam.” The teen smiled. “I didn’t get to introduce myself. I am Tenya Iida. Please to meet you and… sorry, for the way I treated you back then. I thought you were uncaring and disrespectful, but your selfless actions proved otherwise, especially since the technique you used has such a nasty drawback. So, let me apologize for misjudging you like this.”
We never judge was a rule the foursome took seriously. Izuku smiled.
“My name is Izuku Midoriya. Pleased to meet you, Iida-san. And, to be honest, I misjudged you too. At first, I believed you were scary and stern and, well… If you’ll allow me that language, I thought you had a stick up your ass.”
Everyone in the room chocked at the words, albeit for different reasons. Tenya’s face reddened slightly. Izuku grinned sheepishly.
“But I was wrong. You’re simply concerned and earnest. And honest, too. So, I apologize for thinking such things about you. We’re even.”
“Oh. Good. You’re welcome.”
Hitoshi snickered and elbowed his friend.
“You can add awkward to the list.”
Izuku elbowed him back. Slowly, the rest of their classmates trickled in. Denki recognized the red-haired teen who had watched him take on the zero-pointer. He was with the pink girl Kyoka had teamed up with. The pair introduced themselves as Eijiro Kirishima and Mina Ashido. Both came from the same school, which gave them something in common with the four teens. The blonde laser-firing teen arrived soon after and introduced himself as Yuga Aoyama. Izuku was wondering when the brown-haired girl he had rescued would arrive when a familiar voice echoed.
“Deku? Don’t fuckin’ say you made it!”
Izuku groaned and hid his face. Hitoshi almost snarled, ready to jump from his seat at a moment’s notice.
“Hello to you too, Kacchan. And yes, I passed.”
“Don’t fuckin’ shit me. There’s no way you could’ve passed, not with your stupid Quirk. You have nothing to do there.”
“What gives you the right to say that?” Hitoshi hissed.
Bakugo raised a brow.
“Uh? Oh, Droopy Eyes. You’re one of Deku’s sidekicks. Wouldn’t expect him to have one. Hey, Deku, what did you do to get a sidekick? Cause I don’t see you getting any with that scary and useless Quirk of yours.”
Several people raised their voice at once, Tenya among them. They all shut up when Hitoshi rose from his seat and stood. Even though the mind-manipulator only had five centimeters to the explosive blonde, the fact he stood ramrod straight with murder in his eyes made him much more intimidating. His voice was a low snarl.
“Give me a single reason why I shouldn’t brainwash you into jumping from a window.”
And he could do it too, Izuku, Denki and Kyoka knew. Bakugo had answered him. It meant their friend could brainwash the bully any moment. Izuku recognized the distinct scent of nitric acid from his bully’s skin. This spurred him. Before anyone could react, the green-haired teen was standing next to his friend and had a hand on his wrist. Gently, he nudged him back to his seat. Hitoshi gave him a look. Izuku answered with a tiny yet steely nod. Hitoshi obeyed and watched his friend turn to his tormentor.
With only these few gestures, it became clear that the smaller teen was the leader of the group. It didn’t matter that the six centimeters between them forced Izuku to look up to Bakugo. What mattered was that the boy was staring at the blonde with a cold gaze that was echoed by his voice.
Izuku shifted his arm into graffiti form and put a claw right under Bakugo’s jaw.
“Let’s make one thing clear, Kacchan: if you hurt any of my friends, I will make Aldera look like a kid’s tantrum.” His claw grazed the bully’s skin. “Understood?”
Gulping was all Bakugo could do to avoid needing new pants. He still remembered Aldera. It was the source of his greatest nightmares. And where did Deku gain the ability to make his limbs like those of his monsters? How strong were they, exactly? He could feel the claw on his skin and he could tell it was sharp. It was also close to something vital. One wrong move and Deku could kill him.
One wrong move and Deku could kill him. Fuuuuuck …
His heart pounding wildly, he went to a seat a row behind Iida’s right. Izuku sat back and gently massaged Hitoshi’s shoulder. The mind-manipulator turned to him with an admirative smile.
The class was muttering among themselves, now. Finally, the girl Izuku had rescued arrived. The teen smiled.
‘She’s cute. That uniform suits her well.’
The girl looked around before noticing him.
“Oh, here you are.”
There was a free seat next to him. When the grape-haired boy had tried to sit there, Izuku had noticed the looks he was giving to the buxom brunette in the next seat and had quietly raked his claws on the chair. The student had gone straight next to Iida.
“I’m Ochako Uraraka.” The girl grinned. “Thanks for saving me a seat.”
“The boy who tried to take it looked like a pervert and, well, look next to you to understand. I’m Izuku Midoriya, by the way. Nice to properly meet you, Ochako-san.”
“Please, just Ochako will do.”
“If you’re here to socialize, then get out. This is the Hero Course.”
The whole class turned to the entrance. A ragged-looking man in black slowly dragged himself out of a sleeping-bag. He had long black hair, sleepy eyes and what looked like a scarf around his neck but Izuku could clearly tell it wasn’t one. The man stretched.
“I am Shota Aizawa, your homeroom teacher. Nice to meet you. Now put on your gym clothes, we’re going to the training ground.”
As it turned, Shota Aizawa, also known as the Pro Hero Eraserhead, was rather unorthodox in his teaching methods. The very first thing they did, skipping the entrance ceremony and guidance session, was to give them a series of gym tests… with their Quirks. Hitoshi sighed loudly.
“I don’t see how my Quirk is going to help. This is a test of fitness. My Quirk doesn’t affect the body. It affects the mind.”
“With all the training Michiro-sensei gave us, you don’t need a Quirk to ace them.” Kyoka reminded. “Besides, correct me if I’m wrong but you’re the best free-runner of us four. The only one who can match you physically is Izuku and, even then, there are days…”
Hitoshi was forced to admit she was right. Still, he felt this was something their teacher needed to know. When he passed the tests, it would be using his skills alone. Aizawa apparently heard him since he turned and raised a brow.
First test was the softball throwing. Bakugo was first. If his non-Quirk throw was sixty-seven meters, his explosion-powered throw went beyond seven hundred. Aizawa turned to Hitoshi.
Hitoshi shrugged. His Quirk wouldn’t help, but he was still fit. And breakdance and free-running required enough arm strength to support yourself. His throw was a decent hundred meters.
“Sorry, Sensei. My Quirk doesn’t affect that.”
Aizawa said nothing. Instead, he made several more students pass before it was Izuku’s turn. The teen smirked and turned his right arm into graffiti. This earned him more than a few surprised looks. Aizawa raised a brow. Izuku delicately took the ball, aimed and threw.
Eijiro could swear he heard something cracking. In any case, everyone felt the swoosh of air. Aizawa gave his phone a weird look.
“A kilometer and a half.”
Bakugo’s face was priceless.
Once the test was over, one student made the mistake of calling it fun. It was apparently the wrong thing to say because their teacher then made a very serious threat.
Whoever had the lowest score across all exercises would be deemed hopeless and expelled. Izuku glared.
“If he actually goes through with it, we’re going to have a problem.”
“It’s not the first bully teacher we’ve dealt with.” Hitoshi mused. “This will be the first Hero one, though.”
Aizawa gave the pair a look.
“Big words coming from students. After all, as you said, I am a Pro.”
Izuku looked him dead in the eyes.
“A bully remains a bully regardless of the age, Sensei. My friends and I have spent a good deal of our school years hunting them down. We know how to handle them.”
Then his eyes turned red. Izuku froze. Slowly, his hands went to his head.
“The storm… It’s gone!”
Hitoshi, Denki and Kyoka looked at him.
“The storm is gone?”
“Yes! The storm of sound in my head is gone! I don’t have tinnitus anymore!”
Aizawa expected panic. His Quirk had erased that of the green-haired teen, leaving him powerless. He wasn’t expecting to be rewarded by a look of pure joy.
“There is silence! Only silence! It’s been so long… I almost forgot what it’s like…”
He swiftly removed his headphones and went to sit somewhere quiet. Aizawa made a point to keep him in his sight. Izuku breathed, sheer relief on his face. Kyoka grinned.
“Looks like we have our answer: his tinnitus is part of his Quirk rather than something his Quirk uses.”
Izuku had his eyes closed, a small moan of pleasure escaping him as he enjoyed the quiet in his head. For the first in a long time, there was no cacophony raging in his head, no storm howling discordant sounds between his ears. It was incredibly relaxing. He could have stayed that way for hours. Unfortunately, his teacher had other ideas.
Slowly, the storm returned. Izuku sighed and put back his earphones.
“It was good while it lasted. Did your Quirk run out, Sensei, or…?”
“You were falling asleep.”
“Oh. Sorry. Been a long while since it’s been this quiet in my head. I wanted to enjoy it.”
“So, your Quirk generates a permanent storm of sound in your head that you can turn into color. Weaponized synesthesia. I have seen your entrance exam. When faced with the zero-pointer, you used a technique that left you unconscious.”
“Oh. That. I explained the staff how it worked.”
“Well, I didn’t hear it…”
Izuku explained. By the time he was done, only his friends, Ochako, Tenya and Yuga weren’t surprised. Everyone else was either wincing in sympathy or left speechless.
“That is indeed a nasty drawback, Midoriya. Still, back at the subject, since I can erase your Quirk, what could you possibly do?”
“Well, correct me if I’m wrong but your Quirk doesn’t work on Mutant ones, right, Sensei?”
On this, the teen morphed all four of his limbs. Aizawa shut it again. Nothing happened. Izuku smirked.
“The storm of sound in my head? I morph my limbs by applying it on my skin. And your Quirk simply deprives others of their power. They don’t amplify your own skills. It just so happens that many people rely on their Quirk to fight, which gives you the edge. But against mutants and people who fight normally, it doesn’t help much. You meet someone stronger or more skilled than you, you’re done for, Sensei.”
Aizawa had to admit he had a point. He also made a side-note about the boy’s analytic skills.
“Fair enough. Forget what I said about expelling. But still, take these tests seriously. This is not a game, far from it. Hero business is serious business and I expect you to show this seriousness.”
Everyone decided to agree. Bakugo glared at Izuku as they moved to the next exercise.
“Where did he find the spine?”
Next event was the fifty-meter dash. Hitoshi, Denki and Kyoka’s Quirks didn’t help them here – Kyoka had flung the softball with her jacks during the previous event. Izuku, limbs still morphed, crouched at the starting line like a feline. It was over in two cheetah-swift strides and two seconds and a half. The following event was grip strength. The teen nearly crushed the machine.
“Can’t be helped. My limbs aren’t made of flesh and blood, right now. They’re made of sound and color.”
Apotheosis gave him the same biology as his Noises. Not only that, he had once squared against one of his Neoclassical Drakes after Amelia had summoned one with a can. The Drake had lasted about ten seconds.
The next tests went much the same way. For the standing long jump, he added his wings for more kick. He also kept them for the side-stepping, making himself just light enough to touch the ground. If Ochako dominated the throw by sending the ball into space, Izuku could at least boast he sent his into high orbit by throwing it at escape velocity. He grimaced a little.
“I trained using my graffiti limbs before, but it’s the first time I have numbers to put on them.”
Endurance running, upper body strength and seated toe touch went much the same way. Having a definitely non-human biology helped a lot. The only reason Izuku felt somewhat tired was because his head and torso were still flesh and blood. He grumbled.
“I feel like cheating.”
“What would be cheating is you using Apotheosis.” Hitoshi retorted.
Aizawa raised a brow.
“My second Threshold Move after Cacophony.” Izuku explained. “Threshold Moves are abilities I save for when my life is in direct danger and my only choice is using them or dying. You’ve seen Cacophony during the Entrance Exam. My graffiti limbs are me undergoing partial Apotheosis. Full version is me completely transforming.”
To demonstrate, he walked away and opened his arms.
Static cloaked his body. When it faded, there was no flesh or blood left on him. The whole class but his friends gaped. He was a little taller than Aizawa, now. His graffiti limbs were unchanged, but his hair and rabbit ears had become the same, and his body was now emerald green with the anatomy of a doll. His eyes shone, pupil-less and white.
Aizawa took a moment to stare. He had guessed that his flesh body was the reason his scores weren’t any higher – and he had graded him second only to Momo Yaoyorozu. But now, he was seeing his true, fully-transformed form.
And he fully understood why the teen saved it for last resort.
Trivia bit: the students who assisted Hitoshi, Denki and Kyoka during the Entrance Exam are Ibara Shiozaki, Reiko Yanagi and Kojiro Bondo respectively. You already know Itsuka Kendo and Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu were with Izuku. And yes, Izuku atomized the exam's rescue score.
Also, as you noticed, the seating is going to be different from canon, especially since both classes will have twenty-one students:
First row: Yuga Aoyama, Koji Koda, Tsuyu Asui, Tenya Iida, Minoru Mineta
Second row: Mashirao Ojiro, Denki Kaminari, Eijiro Kirishima, Mina Ashido, Katsuki Bakugo
Third row: Mezo Shoji, Kyoka Jiro, Hanta Sero, Fumikage Tokoyami, Shoto Todoroki
Fourth row: Toru Hagakure, Hitoshi Shinso, Izuku Midoriya, Ochako Uraraka, Momo Yaoyorozu
Last row: Rikido Sato
Finally, about Izuku and Hitoshi's argument with Aizawa:
Aizawa didn't expell any of the two because he only expells those without potential - and the pair's reason for standing to him were completely heroic. Izuku and Hitoshi have something of a bully-hunting habit and, unfortunately, Aizawa with his threat was acting like one. They didn't challenge him because they are rebellious teenagers. They challenged him because he was threatening the class with an unfair punishment and they weren't about to let it happen. And Aizawa realized that. So he let it slide, especially after Izuku pointed the weaknesses in his fighting style and demonstrated a valid counter. Desire to protect their own at all cost and strategic mindset. they have potential. Aizawa chose to keep them and hope for the best.