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Testing, Testing, 1-2-3

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Buntai

Izuku took a deep breath and walked up to the group he’d been assigned to. Well, first group. Apparently, there would be a few rounds to try and prevent people from being disqualified because a teammate couldn’t work with them. A lot of it would come down to a panel reviewing how they approached the problem and worked together.

Izuku still didn’t have a lot of hope. Oh well, if he could work with Terasaka, he could work with anyone.

This group was all girls except for him.

“H-hi,” Izuku greeted, waving awkwardly as he approached, “my name is Midoriya Izuku.”

The tallest girl (easily taller than him) nodded and glanced at the other two. She was… buff. Big and buff with broad shoulders. Literally all muscle. That and her stoic demeanor were enough for her presence to dominate the group. Izuku wondered with half a mind whether or not her long white hair related to her quirk. Or her purple eyes. True, almost everyone had some odd coloration nowadays, so it didn’t mean much, but so often those physical traits did somehow connect to their quirk. Like the gods had decided everyone needed to be color coordinated then got board of it and let nature do its thing.

“My name is Suji Sukiru, and my quirk is Copy Strength,” she said. “It’s a pretty straight forward strength enhancement quirk. I can copy the strength of anything I touch and add it to my own.”

“That’s gotta be useful,” the second girl said. “Do you have a limit?”

Suji-san waved her hand back and forth. “I can only copy ten people or things at once and can only hold each one for about 10 minutes.”

“That’s a lot higher than what most copying quirks can do,” Izuku said.

Suji-san grinned down at him. “I’ve spent a lot of time training it.”

“Anyway,” the second girl cut in again. “My turn. My name is Deki Anzuru. I have a generic analysis quirk.” That explained why Deki-san seemed so jittery and was constantly looking around. She probably needed near constant stimulation for her quirk.

“And I’m Sugino Gutto,” said the third, just shorter than Izuku. “My quirk allows me to charge large amounts of energy into objects I hold and use it to launch them.”

Now that she mentioned it… “Do you have any relation to Sugino Tomohito?” he asked.

Her face distorted briefly. “Yeah, he’s a cousin. Why do you ask?”

How to answer that without acting ashamed or giving her a reason to dislike him. He had a hunch her family wasn’t so fond of Sugino-kun. “I go to the same school he does.”

Sugino-san nodded, satisfied with the answer.

“What’s your quirk, Midoriya-kun?” Deki-san asked, her eyes stilling for the first time, locked on him.

Right. Shit. So far, they had close range, long range, and intelligence. A pretty well-rounded group. The logical addition would be a defensive quirk, but between the three of them their quirks would be more than able to cover the weak spots. There should be no reason for a fourth member. Something Deki-san had to have figured out by now. “I’m quirkless,” Izuku admitted.

Izuku watched their reactions carefully. Deki-san seemed neutral, at least for now. Sugino-san looked like she was reevaluating him. Might be considering whether Izuku was in the end class. Suji-san was definitely against him being there but at least hadn’t said anything. She probably didn’t want to risk that being graded.

“Alright, let’s go,” Suji-san said, turning and stomping towards the gate.

Deki-san quickly followed without a second glance, while Sugino-san sent him a… contemplative look before following. Izuku sighed and trudged along beside them. This was going to be a long day.

Treat them like fellow assassins, Korosensei had said. Easier said than done.

 


 

The first task had been an obstacle course. Izuku would have flown through it if he weren’t tied to the rest of the group. They also probably would have gotten a faster time on it if they had just listened to him and let him lead certain points. But no. It always had to be Suji-san or Deki-san. He wouldn’t even have had a problem with Deki-san, but her analysis quirk didn’t extend to finding safe routes in difficult terrain and she wasn’t physically fit, so she needed help with most of the obstacles.

Yeah. It was bad.

Honestly, the others were worse. At least with the first task they could ignore him, but they couldn’t outright abandon him. Or do much to actually sabotage the plans (intentionally or otherwise, probably otherwise… probably).

The second task had been in a group with an equal number of boys and girls, and, again, it had been a well-balanced group. It was a combat simulation with a couple of tough to beat enemies that worked well together. Izuku had a valid strategy pretty quickly after contact, but the group had flat out ignored him until a minute later the other boy, Roba-kun, restated it and claimed it as his own. Even then they couldn’t time it properly. Izuku wound up finishing the fight on his own with a little bit of brute force from the rubble they’d made.

The last task was a group of boys and one girl. As with the others, they ignored him almost entirely, delegating him to out of the way tasks where he “couldn’t get into any trouble.” It was a rescue operation with live actors that apparently do this stuff for a living. If Izuku tried to help more than his team told him to, they inevitable yelled at him to go back and do his job. His job being twiddle his thumbs and wait as they brought him victims in the most inefficient and dangerous manner possible.

Izuku felt like screaming. Or punching something. Preferably both.

(Which is exactly what he did when he returned to class. He’s just glad Karasuma-sensei was willing to spar with him so didn’t go punch trees and mess up his hands. At least the rocket heist went well. Not that it got them anywhere.)

 


 

Toku

Izuku grinned. This was going to be fun. The test was actually really simple. And so were the general rules for what they could bring. “Anything you want as long as you can carry it, think it will be useful, and it’s legal for you to have.” Which is what they were told long before they knew what they would be doing.

Most applicants brought nothing, or way too much.

Izuku had rope, a hatchet, and a small sledgehammer. (Why does he have a hatchet and a sledgehammer? He had them on hand and wanted to get his money’s worth.) And his school bag. His school bag was honestly the most valuable item he had right now.

The task? Find and retrieve as many tokens as you can. Each token is labeled with a point value, most points wins. Simple. The challenge? The teachers from the school and a few hired actors and mainstream pros were patrolling the building and guarding the tokens. In addition, anyone could steal tokens from you if they found you. It didn’t matter who got it originally, it mattered who held it at the end.

One last thing.

The tokens were hidden in a maze that was styled like an abandoned warehouse. A very dark and creepy abandoned warehouse.

So, yeah. Izuku was going to have fun with this and was extremely happy he had brought his bag with him to the practical portion of the exam. Everyone else had their pockets and their hands. Izuku had an entire bag to put his tokens in.

Each applicant was released at a different location in the maze. Izuku rarely saw anyone, but he heard them pretty often. He felt himself being watched at one point, and put on a show of being a clumsy, lost idiot. The watcher quickly moved on, and Izuku laughed internally.

The tokens also proved to be a fun little surprise. The vast majority of them were simple physical objects out in the open and easy to find. Those ones weren’t worth much. Others required passwords or information to find. They were never referred to as tokens by the guards, but as “shipments” and “product,” and other things like that. Those ones were worth more. The most valuable ones, however, were the ones even Izuku got lucky on. They weren’t objects at all. They were conversations and computer files. In other words. This was a test on collecting evidence without being caught by the criminals. And Izuku had accidentally brought in some of his school supplies. For example, a flash drive and his phone. He was so happy he forgot to empty his bag before the test when he realized this.

Well, there was one, “token” that was worth more than the others, but Izuku wasn’t dumb enough to try and fight a pro hero. If the information he’d gather was correct, the hero they’d assigned as the target was Fat Gum, as well. Izuku wouldn’t be able to make a dent.

Izuku did actually run into someone once. (Okay, technically several someones, but Izuku knocked the low-level guards unconscious and left them tied up in a storage closet. They weren’t a problem.) He hadn’t been paying much attention, assuming his hiding spot would be safe enough, and had been reorganizing his bag. He was moving the more valuable items to the bottom of his bag for safe keeping. He’d already lost one to a pick pocket he hadn’t seen or heard. Damn stealth quirks.

A small sound pricked the silence, and Izuku’s head snapped up, hand reaching down for his hatchet. Across from him, hidden in the darkness, was someone. Izuku couldn’t make out many features in the darkness, but the way they moved, and their eyes reflected what little light existed made him think they had some kind of cat quirk. They were eyeing Izuku’s tokens as he carefully and quickly tucked them away.

Izuku couldn’t make out any tokens hidden on them, or in their hands, and paused. He didn’t need this many. He had more than passed. What was one token from his hoard? Treat them like your fellow assassins. He pulled out one, and lightly tossed it across the gap between them.

The other startled and scrambled to catch it, fumbling a few times before it was secure in his hands. “Why?” they whispered, eyeing him carefully.

Izuku shrugged, keeping on hand on his hatchet and one on his bag. “You’ll do well in the field. I got lucky. Why shouldn’t I?”

“But you need them?”

“Do I? You saw how many I have? Take it.”

The other nodded slowly and scurried off. Izuku left shortly after, seeking out a new hiding place for him and his things.

At the end of the exercise the staff took each applicant aside one at a time to go over what they collected. Izuku figured it was because of the information tokens. He didn’t know if reciting the intelligence would be partial credit or if he would get bonus points, but either way, having the information would always be better than having nothing.

The look on the hero’s face as he pulled out item after item was fun. The look when he pulled out his phone and flash drive and asked if they had a computer he could borrow was better.

“Did you know what the test was going to be ahead of time?” they asked him.

“Would I get more points if I did?” Izuku replied.

They didn’t answer.

“No,” he finally admitted. “I just got lucky. I honestly forgot my phone and flash drive were still in there. I thought I had emptied all my school stuff out before I showed up.”

The hero laughed. And laughed.

“Oh, and can I have my rope back. I need it,” Izuku said suddenly.

“Yeah, sure thing kid,” the hero said as he forced himself to calm down. “And, yeah, you would have gotten a bonus for information gathering. Heck, even knowing the school exists is worth something. Most of the people in town don’t know what this place is for.”

Izuku smiled sheepishly. “Am I going to be sworn to secrecy then?”

“Eh, not really. We will ask that you don’t scream it from the rooftops, but if someone asks and you think they stand a chance, send them our way.”

            One more down, two to go.

Chapter Text

Ken

Oh, boy was Ken exhausting. Physically, rather than the emotional exhaustion that came with Buntai. There were no group efforts, so he didn’t need to tell anyone he was quirkless, but he was also competing directly against other people.

In primarily physical competitions.

Treat them like fellow assassins, couldn’t really apply here. The rules for the events usually directly forbid interacting with the other examinees.

There was the standard fight competition that Izuku had expected, which took the form of a battle royal at the end. Most of the other events were set up like games. Who can find the things the fastest? Who can capture the most villains (again actors)? Who can weasel through this tight maze (or break down its walls) the fastest? Who can clear the most rubble without toppling the structure and crushing the “civilian” at the bottom? (No actor this time, just a manikin. It was like high stakes Jenga.)

Izuku did reasonably well for most of them, especially if they were allowed access to a pile of gear to work with or given something “standard issue” to complete the task.

What they used to help identify any high potential candidates that wouldn’t do well on the tests provided? They asked the applicants about their quirk’s applications to hero work prior to starting the tests. And had them answer in front of a panel of judges.

“I’m quirkless,” Izuku said calmly, burying his fear under a mountain of nonchalance. “As a result, your question on ‘quirk applications’ does not apply to me. I have studied free running, mixed martial arts, and several other disciplines and maintained a strenuous exercise routine to help me compensate and keep up with my peers. I am also skilled in stealth and can analyze situations and create and implement detailed plans on the fly.”

The panel was silent. Izuku stood there. “Any questions?” he asked. He knew how this would go. They knew how this would go.

The judges shared a small glance with each other. “No,” the lead judge said, “you may leave.”

They never wrote anything down.

At least Izuku got to take his frustrations out on his fellow applicants (don’t worry, no excessive force was used) during the battle royal. He’s not sure how many he knocked out in that mess, but he knows it was a lot of them. A small handful might be attributed to others because of Izuku redirecting or dodging attacks so they would strike another combatant.

Either way, where Buntai left Izuku mentally sore and screaming, Ken left him physically sore and just straight up tired.

           


 

UA

Here it was. The big one. The grand finale.

Oddly enough, Izuku wasn’t super nervous about this one. Sure, he had no idea what he was getting into, but he’d at least been given a chance to prepare. And there was the fact that he really didn’t expect much of it anyway. And honestly, he might have gone a little overkill on the preparation part. Yes, they said anything the applicant could make using only supplies found in a hardware store. Yes, it had all been approved. He still wound up not being able to fit his writing utensils, exercise gear, and supplies in one bag. Which resulted in him putting his more normal stuff in his old yellow backpack, and the supplies, some of which were fragile and very carefully packed, in his Aldera messenger bag and holding it close to his side like the slightest bump could make things go horribly wrong. Which… for him, that was true.

Yeah. He might have gone overboard. Well, even if they didn’t let him in at least he would go out with a bang. And they’d probably change the rules. They were going to regret letting him bring this stuff in. Probably. Maybe.

Who knows? It was approved by someone.

Izuku stumbled forward, breaking out of his thoughts as someone bumped into his shoulder. Without a single word or glance, Bakugou kept walking forward. Izuku gulped as he stopped for a second. Bakugou Katsuki. The pain in his rear that had messed with his life since he was four, was now ignoring him. Not all that surprising considering he probably thought he’d sent Izuku to the hospital a few months ago.

Either way, Izuku had more important things to worry about than his childhood bully. Shoving the thoughts aside, Izuku continued into UA for the second time in his life.

 


 

Izuku was very glad he wasn’t in the same group as Bakugou. He was also very glad he’d gone overkill on the preparations, which might not have actually been overkill. Wrapped around his chest and over his shoulder was a makeshift bandolier of rope which held six unlit Molotov cocktails, a hatchet, and a small sledgehammer. In his pockets were metal spikes that he had taken from some sprinklers and sorta-kinda sharpened with some files he’d managed to buy and a lighter. It had taken some doing to get his mom to help him with the purchases (especially the lighter), but she had agreed and the school was willing to permit it with a signed statement from a parent or guardian that the lighter had been lawfully obtained for use in the exams.

On the other hand, Izuku was getting some weird looks. He’d gotten more in the locker room, where he had to stuff the rags into the necks of the bottles and get the bandolier set up. Izuku just had to ignore them. Just deal with the test, which obviously had a hidden component because why else would there be a robot that was worth zero points and they were told to avoid? The test would be too straight forward if it was just the villain points.

“Excuse me.”

Great, the guy that interrupted Present Mic. “Yes?” Izuku responded, trying to be pleasant even as “Examinee 7111” looked down his nose at him.

“You should not bring such hazardous materials to this exam!” he began his rant. “It’s a risk to other applicants and provide-”

“They’re approved by the school and, as such, are completely within the rules for me to have,” Izuku interrupted.

“Wha- But-”

“If you didn’t read the rules about what is and isn’t allowed into the exam, that’s not my problem. Now, please leave me alone while I prepare.” They didn’t have much time before the test started, and even with the Molotov cocktails, Izuku would be at a disadvantage compared to those with flashy, offensive quirks.

Ignoring the sputtering behind him, Izuku pushed forward through the crowd. He was almost to the front when the doors started to open. The others ignored the opening, if they even noticed it at all.

“Right!” Present Mic yelled at them from somewhere behind them. “Let’s get started!”

Izuku broke free and sprinted forward through the gate.

“Come on! Get moving! He’s got the right idea! There are no countdowns in real battles! Get going, listeners! You’re wasting airtime!”

A cry rose up as the others realized what just happened. Izuku ducked around a corner and came upon a one pointer.

Alright. Time to see what he could do. Izuku grabbed his hatchet and pressed forward.

The first few minutes were a blur of hard fights. The robots could be taken down, definitely, but they weren’t easy. He did have to admit that, while he had to be careful with them, the Molotov cocktails were really satisfying and surprisingly effective. They took a little while to actually take down the robot, but they worked.

(Up in a dark control booth someone stared wide eyed at the screen. “Uh, why does that kid have Molotov cocktails?” they asked.

The person next to the speaker choked on their drink and someone else from the back of the room heaved a sigh.

“Because I approved them of course!” came the chirping voice of a furry, rodent like creature.

“Did you also approve that hatchet and sledgehammer?” another person asked. By now everyone in the room was watching the green haired child lay waste to their robots, leaving flaming hunks of metal in their wake.

“Of course!” the rodent answered. “Isn’t Examinee 2234 great!”

“Uh, not that I disagree with you,” said a skeletal man, “but how is someone bringing in improvised explosives and other… weapons a good thing?”

“It’s because he actually read the rules and is exploiting them,” said a tired voice. “Something most applicants never even consider. He got his gear properly approved and made sure he knew how to use them before coming here.”

“Indeed,” said the rodent. “Oh, and look, it seems like he’s got a hero’s heart as well!”)

Out of the corner of his eye, Izuku saw another examinee backing into a corner.

Treat them like fellow assassins. As much as they were competing against each other, this was actually a very good model for the hero industry. They were competing to take down the most villains, but they all also had the same goal: take down the villains. They were on the same team.

Izuku quickly closed the distance, climbing up the back of the two-pointer. He pulled one of his spikes out of his pocket and slammed it repeatedly into the cameras serving as its eyes until it collapsed and stopped moving.

“You alright?” Izuku asked, panting.

The examinee nodded and dashed off.

Well, he probably just found the hidden system. Time to keep moving.

They had to be nearing the end of the exam when Izuku stumbled across a group of students. He only had one Molotov cocktail left and one spike, though he made sure the keep his hatchet and hammer on him. Did that kid just say he had 45 points!? Shit. Izuku was nowhere near that.

Maybe the rescue system would help him out. Not important right now.

(“Time to see what they’re really made of.”)

The ground rumbled. The crowd of applicants all immediately stopped. Confused and worried chatter rose through the air as the literal building sized zero-pointer rolled towards them.

“What the hell are you doing!” Izuku yelled at them. “Don’t just stand there, run!”

That sparked them. Worried cries flew as applicants turned tail and sprinted away from the monstrosity bearing down on them.

Windows shatters. Cement cracked. The zero-pointer crushed the top of the building under its “hand.”

Izuku stayed off to the side, watching his fellow examinees run. He needed to make sure everyone got out. The ruble falling could easily hurt someone.

The zero-pointer reared back and slammed a fist into the ground in front of it. A large cloud of dust rose and blasted forward. The last of the examinees that had been holding their ground, screamed and ran.

Izuku stayed to the side and watched. He waited for the air to clear, and the zero-pointer continued to rumble forward. His heartbeat heavily in his chest, but he stayed still. UA wouldn’t let anyone be killed, and they had Recovery Girl-sensei. There was no real danger here. The worst that could happen was they would fail.

Even something as big and powerful as this couldn’t really hurt them.

And anyway. Compared to the hell he’d gone through this year, a robot this slow didn’t even register. He could probably climb the thing and sit safely on top of it.

“Less than two minutes remaining!”

A cry caught his attention. Izuku scanned the crowd, keeping his eyes low. Where were they?

There. On the ground. A girl with brown hair was pushing a piece of ruble off her leg. A boy with striped red and white hair sat dazed next to her. Her leg was broken. She wouldn’t be able to get out of the way. Izuku ran forward, helping her push the hunk of cement off, and quickly wrapping her arm around his shoulder to support her weight. “Come on!” he yelled at the dazed boy, who blinked out of his stupor and nodded as he stood. Balanced carefully, they hobbled as quickly as the girl could walk.

Something cracked above them. A shadow started growing. Izuku tried to move faster, but the girl shoved him aside and out of the way, hip checking the other boy to knock him down. Izuku rolled with the fall, ignoring the crunch of glass as he scrambled to his feet.

“Let me!” the girl yelled, raising her hands.

She didn’t have a strength quirk! Izuku had seen her earlier! She had a… a gravity quirk activated by touch. That cement was going to have a lot of momentum.

“Take it from the side!” Izuku yelled. Please don’t break your arms for this.

The girl seems to listen as she ducks down and reaches up to just barely tag it as it passes over her head. The other boy stands and grabs the cement, chucking it back towards the zero-pointer. The girl released her quirk.

“And time is up!”

The girl threw up.

Izuku collapsed on the ground.

The boy laughed nervously.

It was over.

 


 

Outtake

Izuku glanced down at his wet workout clothes, wrinkling his nose as the smell of gasoline wafted off of him. Well, these were ruined now. And he really needed a shower. At least none of the broken glass had managed to pierce the cloth… or him.