Actions

Work Header

Quirk's Haunted

Work Text:

I.

There’s a tickle in Izuku’s throat as he eats breakfast that morning.

He doesn’t think much of it, at least not at first. In the hustle and bustle of the past ten months jam-packed with training, he’s developed a pretty severe case of tunnel vision, as can be seen by the multiple times that his mom has caught him staring blankly at, respectively, a dead fish, a completely blank wall, and his own shoe. Izuku dimly notes that the itching kind of reminds him of having to eat All Might’s hair the previous night (ugh) and that it’s. His thoughts quickly move onto the entrance exam that he’s going to be attempting in just a few hours, and within a minute or two, he’s completely forgotten about the entire thing.

But, as Izuku keeps on eating breakfast, the sensation gets worse. His throat feels tight and swollen, and he starts coughing and struggling to take full breaths. His stomach spasms abruptly, and he shoves himself back from the table, running to the bathroom. Is he having some sort of reaction because of the hair he ate yesterday? Is All Might wrong, and his body isn’t ready yet? Is his body rejecting One for All, or worse (and Izuku suspects far more likely, because even his immune system doesn’t have that kind of confidence), One for All somehow rejecting him?

Izuku bends over the toilet and heaves. Chunks of partially-digested egg, mixed with bile and the orange juice he’d been drinking with his breakfast, pour out of his mouth. Egg. There’s something about that detail that’s niggling at him, but he can’t quite put his finger on what.

There’s a gentle knock on the bathroom door. “Izuku, are you alright?” His mother asks. Izuku can hear the worry in her voice, and it’s instinct to call back, “yeah!” in as reassuring a tone as he can manage, even as his stomach spasms and he falls into another round of vomiting.

“Baby, if you’re sick, you shouldn’t go to the entrance exam,” comes his mother’s concerned voice. “I know that you’re excited to try out for UA, but your health is more important.”

“I’m not sick,” Izuku tells her, clearing his throat in an attempt to get the acidic taste of stomach bile out of his mouth. He felt fine yesterday, and he woke up this morning feeling a bit stressed and anxious, but mostly just excited. It was only once he started eating that things had started to go wrong.

Izuku’s eyes widen as a realization hits him. Eggs. He had eggs for breakfast. He remembers that when All Might outlined the American Dream: Aim to Pass meal plan, he mentioned that he had suddenly become allergic to eggs at one point in his early adulthood. It makes sense that the same thing could happen to Izuku. Izuku wants to cheer. Not only is this an explanation that means he can still go to the entrance exam, but it’s another way that he’s like All Might!

“Don’t worry, Mom,” Izuku calls, “I’m just having an allergic reaction to eggs!”

“An allergic reaction to eggs?” comes his mother’s skeptical reply. “Baby, you’ve been having eggs for breakfast your entire life.”

“I know! But I wasn’t allergic before now! Sometimes people gain allergies later in life. I know that it happened to All Might, so it makes sense that it could happen to me, too!”

“...alright,” His mother replies in a voice that clearly conveys the sentiment, that sounds wrong but I don’t know enough about allergies to dispute it. “If you’re sure that you’re not sick, you’d better go get ready. You’re going to be late.”

Izuku grins and, quickly rinsing his mouth out with some water from the sink, bounds off to get dressed for school. He’s so excited for the entrance exam!

 

II.

Izuku wakes up the morning of his first day at UA with a cheerful tune bouncing around in his head. It’s not a song that he can remember hearing before, but it’s got such a catchy quality to it that he can understand why it’s stuck in his head now.

It’s not so bad, at first. Izuku times his footsteps to the jingle’s beat as he walks to the train station, and he hums it to himself as he scrolls through his phone on the ride to UA. It’s a good distraction from thoughts of what UA will be like— it’s hard to get stuck in an anxious spiral when every three seconds or so, his thoughts are derailed by the song starting back up again.

Izuku is so busy with half-formed, interrupted thoughts of the day ahead that he doesn’t notice the reaction of a wizened old woman nearby. She lifts one hand that had been clinging to her stroller to carefully turn her hearing aids up, a look of deep concentration and vague bemusement on her face.

“It is,” she gasps softly, covering her mouth with one trembling hand. “I haven’t heard that song in years.” When she was a child, her mother would hum that odd little ditty sometimes. How this young boy— barely a high school student judging by his uniform— knows it, she has no idea.

Completely unaware of the reaction he’s garnered, Izuku steps off the train and heads into UA, still humming to himself. It’s been long enough that the tune’s starting to get a bit annoying, but it just won’t leave his head. Hopefully once class starts, it’ll stop bothering him. He’s not sure if he’s going to be able to pay proper attention in class if this keeps up.

Unfortunately, the earworm lingers. As the girl from the entrance exam introduces herself, as the boy with the engine legs and a habit of making chopping motions with his hand orders them all to their seats, as their teacher (who is dressed in a bright yellow sleeping bag) crawls into the classroom, the tune continues playing on repeat in his head.

This isn’t funny anymore, Izuku thinks despairingly. It’s already entirely too clear that Aizawa-Sensei is going to be a hard teacher, and unlike everyone else here, Izuku only has a couple of weeks of experience with his quirk under his belt. How is he supposed to keep up with everyone else around him if he’s being continually distracted by this irritating, obnoxiously infectious tune?

Izuku can barely parse out Aizawa-Sensei’s instructions since somehow, despite being inside his head and thus having no actual volume, the tune seems to have gotten louder. He quickly gets dressed in his P.E. uniform, desperately wishing that he could somehow stick earplugs far enough up his brain to make that annoying string of notes shut the fuck up.

As if to taunt him further, the song somehow gets even more obnoxious. Izuku grinds his teeth together. Is this the product of someone’s quirk? Did someone on the train to school use their quirk on him out of some sort of petty sadism? Or is this some sort of karmic retribution for some sort of sin in his past life? What could Izuku have done to deserve this? He’s always picked up his trash, eaten his vegetables, and taken proper care of his All Might toys. This isn’t fair.

When Aizawa-Sensei announces that the loser of the Quirk Apprehension Test will be expelled, Izuku feels his heart quite literally skip a beat. There’s no way that he’s going to be able to do as well as the others, not when he has so little experience and he is being driven absolutely batshit by this goddamn jingle.

Still, Izuku tries his best through all of the tests. When he’s doing the 400-yard sprint, he imagines he’s sprinting away from the song stuck in his head. During the grip strength test, he imagines that the bar he’s gripping is the song, and he squeezes almost twice as hard as he usually would due to the sheer motivational powerhouse that is imagining choking the life out of that hated jingle. And, when it’s time for the sit-ups test, he imagines that each time he successfully completes a sit up, the song experiences the burning pain his abdomen along with him.

Unfortunately, his attempts at keeping his sanity are ultimately fruitless, and he can tell that he’s lagging behind the others despite his best efforts. After everything that All Might has done, all of the time and effort he’s investing into training Izuku, there’s no way that Izuku will let himself fail now. So, when it’s time for the baseball throw, he winds up and prepares to use the full force of One for All, even if it breaks his arm again.

The ball flies a pathetic few feet forward and flops anticlimactically onto the dirt. Evidently, Aizawa-Sensei just erased One for All. But, more importantly, the song is gone! His mind is blissfully, wonderfully quiet! Izuku can’t help but grin widely, tears of joy making his vision blurry. “It’s gone!” he chirrups. He wants to laugh from sheer delight.

Aizawa-Sensei stares at him, both of his caterpillar-like eyebrows having risen so far up that they appear to be hiding in the mess of dark hair that is currently floating in a halo above his head. Izuku could swear he can hear the man saying something about “already knowing who this year’s problem child is going to be.”

Izuku doesn’t care. He’s too busy glorying in the wonderful, blissful quiet. He doesn’t even bother to wonder why, exactly, the song had disappeared at that exact minute— if asked, he would have probably said that it was because Aizawa-Sensei’s glare was so formidable that even errant earworms could be struck dumb under its force.

 

III.

Izuku stares at the sheet of paper in front of him, feeling like he’s facing down some sort of terrifying villain intent on smashing him into nothing more than a green, All Might-loving stain on the floor.

Usually, he doesn’t have any trouble in Snipe’s class— he loves quirk history, and honestly, he already knew most of what Snipe’s been teaching them since before he even went to middle school— but right now, there’s a battle raging in his head.

On the one hand, he remembers reviewing the content for this chapter’s history test with Uraraka and Iida, and he’s almost certain that Iida’s notes said that the Hero Commission were the ones to spearhead the Underground Hero Protection Bill.

On the other hand, even though he can’t remember ever hearing anything to suggest this in class or in any of his study sessions with the other students, for some reason he feels sure at a bone-deep level that actually, the Hero Commission fought the bill tooth and nail until a public scandal involving the death of an underground hero forced them to allow the bill to pass.

Izuku chews on the inside of his mouth, trying to figure out which answer to go with. He should probably go with the explanation Iida gave; Iida is a much more reliable source than “I just thought otherwise for some reason”. For all he knows, he could be getting this idea about the Hero Commission fighting the bill from some sort of conspiracy theory on a hero forum, or somewhere equally unreliable.

It’s no conspiracy theory, an utterly certain voice within him informs him darkly. The Hero Commission just wants to take credit for the very same bill that they opposed. Hypocritical, slimy bastards.

“Five minutes!” Snipe warns as he continues patrolling the aisles of the classroom.

Taking a deep, steadying breath, Izuku cracks his knuckles and makes a decision. He starts writing as quickly as he can, his pencil smearing a bit beneath his hand as he scribbles out an abridged version of the events surrounding the bill’s emergency. In a few sparse sentences, he covers the initial advocacy for it by underground heroes, Prism’s subsequent very public death, and the abrupt about-face that the Hero Commission had made.

“And… put down your pencils! If you haven’t already done so, please hand in your test!” Most of the class finished a while ago, so it’s just Izuku, Kaminari, and Ashido. Kaminari eyes him with slightly raised eyebrows; Izuku is meticulous enough in double and triple-checking his answers that he’s by no means at the front of the pack in terms of test-taking speed, but he’s never been one of the last to turn his paper in before.

One of the great things about Snipe-Sensei’s class is that he’s one hell of a speed grader. He takes Ashido’s test and flips through it, his red pen flashing as the pages turn. Ashido winces at every strike of the red pen, but when Snipe hands the test back, she grins to see that she actually managed to pass.

“Good job, Ashido-san,” Snipe says, holding out a hand for Kaminari’s test. Kaminari’s test is similarly quickly graded, and, as Ashido and Kaminari exit the classroom a few steps behind the rest of their lunch-bound classmates, Izuku hands in his own assignment.

At first, Snipe moves through it just as quickly as he had for everyone else’s tests, but about halfway through, he slows and then stops completely. For a moment, Snipe is frozen; not frozen like Todoroki used his cold side on him, but frozen like time has somehow stopped. Izuku is just considering whether or not he should fetch Aizawa-Sensei to negate the effects of whatever errant quirk is clearly being used on Snipe-Sensei when Snipe slowly puts down the test and looks at Izuku gravely.

“Midoriya,” he says, “I don’t know how you found this out, but this information,” he taps on Izuku’s answer about the Underground Hero Protection Bill, “is something that the Hero Commission is extremely invested in keeping under wraps.”

“What?” Izuku squeaks. But— he’d never done any extensive research into that bill! How could he have learned some huge secret the Hero Commission is keeping, by accident?

Snipe sighs. “I’ll give you full marks for that question since that is the honest, historical fact, but please don’t go around acknowledging what really happened. You’re a good kid, and I don’t want the Hero Commission to make life difficult for you. Alright?”

Izuku nods, still in shock.

Snipe writes out a big 100 at the top of his test and then rips the sheet of paper with the question on the Underground Hero Protection Bill off. He pulls a paper shredder from under his desk and starts feeding Izuku’s answer on the Underground Hero Protection Bill into it. “If anyone asks, say that I spilled coffee on that page, and that’s why you don’t have it,” he tells Izuku calmly.

“Y-yes, sir.” Izuku’s hand clenches around the test, making creases appear in his carefully-written answers. How, by All Might’s left hair tuft, did he end up in this situation? He wasn’t trying to find out super-secret information! He just wanted to get a good grade on his history test!

With a nod of satisfaction, Snipe waves him out the door. As soon as he’s exited the classroom, Izuku lets out a slow breath of relief. At least Snipe-Sensei didn’t seem to be angry at him. He’ll just… have to be more careful about how he studies for history tests, he supposes.

 

IV.

Izuku takes a deep breath, trying to prepare himself for the roaring of the crowds that he knows will be coming. After years of having eyes on him mean pain, it’s difficult to endure having literally thousands of people watching his every move.

It’s okay, though. Izuku managed during the obstacle course and the cavalry battle, and he’ll manage now, too. Even if it’ll be a thousand times worse, what with Izuku and his opponent being the sole center of attention.

It’s time to head out now. Izuku forces himself to keep walking with his eyes straight ahead, even as he can hear Present Mic yelling out an introduction and the crowd letting out a wave of noise. The only people out here who matter are him and his opponent, Shinsou Hitoshi.

Izuku is honestly pretty sympathetic towards Shinsou. Sure, what he had said about their class was kind of cruel when you consider that there’s only so much attention on them because they got attacked by villains, but he doubts anyone who hasn’t been in a villain attack really understands how traumatizing that kind of thing is. Plus, Izuku can relate to him— he would probably be him, or someone even worse off, if not for All Might giving him One for All.

But right now, Izuku can’t let his sympathy stop him from giving the match his all. All Might wants him to say “I am here!” to the audience, and that means he can’t give up. Izuku faces Shinsou, making sure to keep his lips firmly pressed together as he remembers the warning that Ojiro had given him.

START!

Practically before Present Mic is done speaking, Shinsou begins trying to rile him into replying, insulting everything from his fighting style to his hair. Years of bullying allows Izuku to resolutely ignore him without so much as a blink. It’s only when Shinsou says something about how foolish Ojiro was to drop out that Izuku isn’t able to contain himself. “You’re wrong!” he bursts out.

His body abruptly goes limp, and he can see Shinsou grinning. “Got you,” he says. Izuku tries to struggle, tries to make his body bow to his will once more, but it’s like his mind is cut off from his body.

“Walk out of the ring,” Shinsou commands grimly. Izuku can feel himself moving, turning to obey Shinsou’s order. Through his blurry eyes, he can see the grass of the ring, the dark of the entrance, the brightness of the glowing lights within it— wait, what?

There’s a collection of strange, glowing figures standing in the dark of the exit. As Izuku watches, the brightness of the lights seems to grow brighter and brighter, until Izuku is half-blinded by a rush of rainbow colors flowing past him in a show worthy of any psychedelic orgie back in the 20th century.

This is a terrible idea, Izuku thinks he hears a female voice say. This is just encouraging his bad habits.

If Izuku could, he would bristle. After the Quirk Apprehension Test, Aizawa-Sensei pulled him aside to talk about his quirk. Apparently, he was worried, based on Izuku’s reaction to having his quirk erased, that Izuku had some sort of trauma surrounding the use of his quirk.

At first, Izuku was mortified by the fact that he was going to have to explain about the song stuck in his head. Instead, he ended up accidentally revealing that he’d only had his quirk since the Entrance Exam.

Aizawa-Sensei went as pale as a sheet, and, to Izuku’s deep shock, immediately apologized (him! a teacher!) for not giving Izuku the adequate support for his situation. Shortly after the conversation, Aizawa-Sensei arranged for Izuku to meet with a quirk counselor who was an expert in late, traumatic quirk manifestations. His counselor is honestly an angel, and Izuku’s managed to avoid breaking any bones since.

Barely, the female voice notes critically. Letting Nine break more bones now is like giving a recovering alcoholic a shot of vodka for the road.

Do you have any other better ideas? a dry male voice asks in reply. As much as I hate to say it, I think breaking a few fingers is the better option here.

There’s a noise that could be either a sigh or passing wind. The lights rushing past him seem to glow even brighter, and suddenly Izuku can feel the heat and power of One for All pooling in his fingers. His first two fingers explode, a shockwave of power rolling out around him. Across the ring, Shinsou is staring at him, his purple eyes wide. “H...how?”

Izuku, having finally learned his lesson about not answer Shinsou, doesn’t respond. He approaches steadily and then starts physically pushing Shinsou out of the ring. Shinsou tries his best to push him back, but instinct has Izuku easily judo flipping Shinsou over one shoulder. Shinsou slams to the ground, well outside the ring.

Izuku reaches one hand down. “Your quirk is so cool!” he cheers through the blood that’s started gushing from his nose. “Can you command people to do more complicated tasks, like adding numbers, or is it just physical tasks and you still have to do the thinking? Do different people hallucinate different things, or is it always the same glow-y figures that I saw?”

“...glow-y figures?” Shinsou mutters, his face twisted in confusion.

“I couldn’t tell you during the match because obviously then you’d use your quirk on me, but I think you’re really cool! It’s not really Class 1-A’s fault that we got attacked by villains, but I can see how frustrating it must be to have everyone ignoring the other courses. I bet your class is really proud of you for doing so well! I promise I’ll keep on working hard in the tournament so it won’t look like you lost to someone easy to defeat!”

“...thanks,” Shinsou says slowly, his face blank as he processes the fact that apparently, Midoriya “Golden Child” Izuku thinks that he’s cool. He and Izuku are so lost in, respectively, the delight of quirk analysis and the delight of being aggressively befriended, that neither of them thinks about the actual origin of the mysterious glowing figures.

 

V.

Izuku stretches, feeling his sore muscles protest at the movement. Fighting Gran Torino was fun, but he’s glad that they’re taking a break to pick up taiyaki. His stamina is a lot better than it was before training with All Might, but even with all of that training, Izuku still can’t keep up with Gran Torino.

Not that anyone can. Izuku chuckles fondly as he recalls a younger Gran Torino zipping across the city like a ping pong ball on caffeine.

“By the way,” Gran Torino asks, “I’ve been meaning to ask you. How come you didn’t fall for my ‘senile old man’ act?”

Izuku smiles as he recalls entering Gran’s apartment. Gran had pretended to mistake Izuku for All Might and had devolved into a serious of confused-sounding questions about who he was and what he was doing there, but Izuku had just laughed and said, “it’s good to see you, Gran Torino.”

Izuku shrugs and gets up onto his tiptoes so he can reach up to grab Gran Torino’s favorite brand of taiyaki. “Honestly? No idea.”

 

VI.

Izuku knows that the whole point of this mission is to get Kacchan and leaves soon as humanly possible. Logically, whoever this is (All for One, a voice within him whispers) is a hell of a lot more than Izuku can take on, and he should leave him to All Might and Gran Torino.

Key word being logically. Because unfortunately, Izuku is feeling rather devoid of logic at the moment.

Izuku bites into his fist, hard. He doesn’t think that screaming that a powerful villain has an “uglier face than a melted barbie with failed botox injections” would be a very good idea, as tempting as it is. He’s not even sure why he’s so mad.

Well, yes, the dollar store Darth Vader knock off did kidnap Kacchan and is currently fighting his dad mentor, but usually that wouldn’t be enough to leave Izuku so utterly, senselessly, absurdly spitting mad.

He leveled Osaka just because he knew that my wife lived there, Izuku thinks, both a) nonsensically and b) very angrily. First of all, Izuku doesn’t have a wife. Second of all, Osaka was destroyed in an earthquake about a hundred and forty years ago. Third of all, and most importantly, what the fuck?.

He killed my three-year daughter, Izuku thinks, rage and confusion rushing through him at the thought. Three-year-old daughter? He’s fifteen! And that’s not even getting into the fact that he thinks he would know if he had a daughter, much less a dead one!

He got my sidekick to betray me, Izuku mentally snarls. Which. He doesn’t have a sidekick, unless you count Kacchan, which you shouldn’t because if Kacchan ever heard you doing that he would fuck you up. Also if there’s one thing to learn from this whole mess, it’s that Kacchan would never become a villain, not even just until he gets rescued, even when he really should, the self-sacrificing idiot!

Don’t get mad at Kacchan, get mad at All for One, a voice advises wisely. Izuku’s face curls at the thought of that sick bastard. (Next to him, Kirishima is eyeing him fearfully. Izuku is too busy calming himself down by picturing wringing All for One’s greasy neck to notice.) If they keep on lingering here, he’s going to run out of willpower and start cursing the cocknosed, cowardly son of a bitch out, common sense be damned.

“Right,” Izuku says, grimly ignoring the odd cacophony of suggestions of favored swear words to aim at All for One clanging through his head, “I have a plan to rescue Kacchan.”

 

VII.

Izuku should have realized that moving into dorms when his quirk is apparently fucking haunted wasn’t a good idea. Not that All Might can definitively say that it really is haunted, since apparently he was lucky enough to never channel the rage (and trauma) of the previous One for All users, but considering what had happened at Kamino, it’s the most favorable option of the bunch.

The other options being that Izuku has gone fucking insane, and… that he’s gone fucking insane. Izuku can’t really think of any other reasonable explanations, to be honest. Yay him.

Izuku was sleeping soundly, enjoying a dream where was soaring through the sky with a quirk that allowed him to levitate, when he abruptly woke up to find Kaminari, Todoroki, and Tokoyami all standing around his bed, staring at him.

“What the hell?” Izuku groans, rubbing at his oddly aching back. Did he sleep in some sort of weird position that left him sore?

“...you were floating,” Kaminari says slowly. “I came in, and you were floating.”

“I was what?” Izuku retorts skeptically. “Are you sure you’ve been getting enough sleep?”

“You were definitely floating,” Todoroki speaks up. “That’s why your back is hurting now.” Izuku abruptly stops rubbing his back. Todoroki leans in, his mismatched eyes gleaming in a way that Izuku, with a sinking heart, recognizes as the certified Conspiracy Eyes. In a voice of grave seriousness, he says, “I think that this dorm is haunted.”

“...even if I was floating,” Izuku says, “it was almost certainly because of Uraraka. She probably made me float in her sleep.”

“Uraraka’s awake,” Todoroki tells him. “And we already brought her in here to try to release you. It didn’t do anything.”

“Uraraka’s awake?” Izuku scrambles up to a sitting position. “What time is it?”

Todoroki checks his watch. “Eight o’clock?”

“All Might’s Premium Silver Age Hoodies, why didn’t anyone wake me up? I’m supposed to go on morning runs on Saturdays!”

“I was coming in to wake you up, but I got distracted,” Kaminari explains. “You know, because you were floating in your sleep.”

“Anyway, you’re one of the fittest people in our class,” Todoroki says matter-of-factly. “You can afford to miss a day.” Izuku feels heat spread over his face, and he stutters out some sort of awkward, flustered thank you.

“I’m… I’m just gonna uh. Get up,” Izuku says, reaching over to flick on the light. At first, it won’t turn on, then abruptly and without anyone touching it, the light bulb starts burning at twice or three times the usual brightness.

“Definitely haunted,” Tokoyami tells Todoroki, who nods solemnly. Izuku, reaching under his bed for a sock, pretends that he couldn’t hear them.

 

VIII.

Izuku had just returned from his unfortunately late run (yes Izuku is still bitter about Kaminari deciding to bring Tokoyami and Todoroki in to stare at him instead of waking him up) when Iida gathers the class in the dining room.

“As you all know,” Iida announces, “Today is a Saturday, meaning we have plenty of free time for studying. This upcoming week, we have a history test in Snipe-Sensei’s class on Wednesday, an English essay due on Thursday, and our reports in Modern Art History due on Friday. If any of you need help with any of these upcoming assignments, please speak up now so we can arrange study groups!” He chops his hand down for emphasis.

“Honestly,” Ashido speaks up, “this week doesn’t have anything too difficult. I don’t need help with anything.”

There’s a chorus of agreement.

“In that case, we can work on our hero training together,” Iida suggests gamely. Izuku can see Ashido and Kaminari exchanging a glance and suppressing groans, and he can’t blame them. He doesn’t think anywhere aside for Iida is so eager to do schoolwork on the weekend.

“Or,” Todoroki speaks up, “we can investigate the mystery that Kaminari uncovered.”

Izuku muffles a groan in his hands. He isn’t exactly eager to work on schoolwork at the moment, but this is about a thousand times worse.

With the air of Sherlock Holmes revealing the identity of a previously uncaught murderer, Todoroki announces, “I have a theory that the dorm is haunted.”

The room immediately bursts into excited chatter.

“That would explain why my Endeavor merchandise keeps on disappearing!” Kirishima gasps. Todoroki shifts uncomfortably.

“It would explain why it’s always so cold in here,” Asui muses. “Even when Todoroki isn’t using his right side, and the heater’s on, it gets really cold in here sometimes.” She shivers, rubbing her arms. “I have to be really careful about wearing enough layers, kero.”

“I have heard some weird… whispers at night,” Jirou agrees. “They’re really quiet, and kind of… static-y, but I can tell that whoever it is, they aren’t anyone from Class 1-A.”

“There are probably reasonable explanations for all of these things,” Izuku tries. Todoroki sends him a glance that, although it may look deadpan to others, clearly conveys Todoroki’s plea of don’t tell Kirishima I’ve been methodically replacing his Endeavor merchandise while he sleeps. Izuku raises his eyebrow back. You should have thought about that when you told the whole class that the dorm’s haunted, that raised eyebrow equally clearly tells Todoroki.

“There definitely is a reasonable explanation!” Ashido cheers. Izuku lets out an inaudible sigh of relief. “Clearly, Todoroki’s right and there is a ghost!” Izuku very narrowly avoids facepalming.

“We should contact them!” Hagakure cheers. “Yaomomo can use her quirk to make a Oujia board for us!”

“Or,” Izuku suggests in a weak voice, “we could not do that.”

“Don’t worry,” Kirishima says as he gives Izuku’s hair a friendly ruffle, “We’ll protect you from any ghosts! It wouldn’t be manly not to!”

Maybe, Izuku thinks as he watches helplessly while Yaoyorozu looks up the blueprints for a Ouija board, One for All won’t reveal itself. After all, it’s in One for All’s best interest to stay a secret, right? Would One for All really jeopardize that just to scare his classmates?

...Izuku remembers hiding behind a pile of rubble with the others, frantically biting down the urge to jump out of behind his shelter and start cursing All for One out. Yeah, he’s pretty sure that One for All really would jeopardize its secret nature just to scare his classmates.

Asshole quirk, Izuku thinks. A deathly cold phantom wind ruffles his hair affectionately in response.

With growing trepidation, Izuku watches as the class gathers around the Ouija board, everyone packing in so that they can put their hands on the planchette.

“Are you gonna join us, Midoriya-kun?” Ojiro asks.

“You should!” Hagakure cheers. “It’ll be so much fun!”

Reluctantly, Izuku reaches over and places one of his fingers on the planchette. As soon as Izuku touches the planchette, it starts moving, zipping across the board faster than Gran Torino bouncing off the walls.

What if, Izuku thinks aggressively in One for All’s direction, you didn’t fucking do that.

“As I said,” Todoroki says with an air of satisfaction. “Dorm’s haunted.”

W-E-H-A-T-E, the planchette begins.

“Oh shit,” Sero mutters, face pale. “This was such a bad idea. Why did I let Todoroki persuade me to do this? He hasn’t even watched any horror movies, he’s clearly not qualified to make these types of decisions!”

“I’m too young to die!” Kaminari wails.

—T-H-E-S-C-R-O-U-G-E-O-F-K-A-M-I-N-O, the planchette finishes.

Kacchan barks a laugh. “The ghost’s got taste!”

“We don’t know for sure if it’s a ghost or not,” Izuku quickly jumps in. “Planchettes move because of subconscious micro-gestures by the people holding onto them, not because of ghosts.” As he speaks, he subtly lifts his finger from the planchette. Hopefully, without the physical connection, One for All will run out of steam. Hopefully.

Kacchan points at the planchette, which is currently rapidly bouncing across the board as it quite colorfully cusses All for One out. Iida is shouting about school appropriate language, but the planchette doesn’t seem to be listening. “You think that that’s ‘subconscious micro gestures’?”

“...I think we all have a lot of subconscious hatred for the Scrouge of Kamino,” Izuku replies weakly.

 

IX.

No matter how he’s pressed, Izuku will always insist that the dorms are not, in fact, haunted. This is simply because he’s a logical, rational person who doesn’t believe in something as foolish as ghosts, and is definitely not because of some sort of ulterior motive. Either way, the end result is the same; Izuku Midoriya will never admit that the dorms are haunted.

However, whether or not Class 1-A is cursed is a different matter entirely, and right now, as they watch the door to the convenience store slam open and a villain that had been on the news that morning sweep in, Izuku is pretty sure that Aizawa-Sensei is right. They are cursed; only they could get into a villain fight on what was supposed to be a quick snack run.

Izuku falls into a fighting stance, and he can see the others around him similarly readying themselves for battle— Jirou lifts her headphone jacks threateningly, Sero shoves his hoodie sleeves up so that his elbows are easily accessible, and Izuku can see Sato subtly gulping down a boxful of candy from his bag of snacks.

The villain, who had proclaimed himself Astral on the news that morning, laughs lightly. “Now, we can’t have that, can we,” he asks rhetorically. With a wave of his hand, smoke fills the room, and the world is slipping away from Izuku as darkness consumes his vision.

Astral chuckles and waves a hand to his sidekick. These hero students will fetch a pretty penny on the black market, he knows. His quirk made the whole operation as easy as stealing candy from a baby.

He frowns. Galore isn’t walking in; there’s a slightly wary look on his face as he hesitates by the entrance to the store. “Don’t worry!” he calls. “I’ve astral projected them all right out of here. They’re no threat!”

“Are you sure about that?” Galore asks.

Astral turns. One of the hero students, a plain boy with green hair, seems to be waking up. If Astral remembers correctly, he’s Midoriya Izuku, a first year with a powerful, though self-destructive strength quirk. Best to take him down before he can damage the merchandise.

Astral reaches out for his quirk, ready to sever the connection between Midoriya and his body. But it’s already severed. Whatever it is that’s inside the boy, it isn’t Midoriya.

The boy’s eyes open. Where there used to be green irises and black pupils, there’s now just a blind expanse of white-hot light. Green lightning crackles at the corners of his eyes, and there’s a feral, too-white smile stretching across his face. Behind him, Astral can hear Galore taking a stumbling step back.

The boy rises to his feet, every movement suddenly imbued with far more grace than had been evident from Midoriya during the Sports Festival.

“WHERE’S MY USER?” the thing residing within the body of the boy asks in an echoing voice. “WHAT DID YOU DO TO NINE?”

The body of the boy takes a step forward, lightning crackling around it threateningly. The smile that, on Midoriya, had looked friendly if a bit anxious, is now an animal baring of teeth.

“I f-forced his spirit to t-the astral plane,” Astral replies. “I-I can bring him back.”

The thing within the body of the boy eyes him consideringly for a moment. “BRING BACK NINE’S CLASSMATES, AS WELL.”

“Y-yes, of course.” Hands shaking, Astral reaches out for the hero students’ spirits and drags them back to their bodies. He can see Midoriya’s spirit crashing into his body, can see it by the way his irises and pupils return and the lightning sizzling around him dims. Still, now that he’s seen Midoriya’s spirit stripped away, it’s hard not to notice how his scleras remain just a little bit too bright, how the air is colder around him, how there’s still the feeling of a consciousness outside of Midoriya watching him.

“M-my apologies,” Astral manages as he quickly bows. Grabbing onto Galore, the two of them flee before the thing possessing Midoriya can change its mind.

Midoriya, meanwhile, shrugs and picks up his groceries. He can already hear Todoroki telling Kaminari how this is evidence that they’re being haunted in the background, but One for All took care of the situation quickly enough so that they won’t miss curfew, so he’s not even mad this time.

This time, he reminds sternly. He doesn’t want One for All to get any ideas.

 

X.

All Might Above, Izuku knew he shouldn’t have said that thing about not being mad at One for All for possessing him. Ever since the snack run, One for All has been acting like a two-bit poltergeist working overtime in hopes of getting a raise.

Every time Izuku sets foot into a room, the temperature immediately drops to the approximate warmth of a refrigerator in Antarctica. Electronics he touch at best explode and at worst start emitting staticky rants about All for One. That’s not even touching onto the visual effects, either. Izuku has to be very careful about mirrors since his reflection now seems to always feature a) glowing white eyes and green lightning and/or b) a bunch of glowing figures standing behind him. Also, his shadow refuses to stop writhing menacingly no matter how often Izuku scolds One for All about the importance of keeping secrets and not scaring his classmates, and Koda’s rabbit seems to be absolutely terrified of him.

No matter how hard Izuku tries, no one seems to believe his alternative explanations for all of these oddities. He mentions broken heating units, suggests some sort of issue with their electricity, and points out that his writhing shadows might just be a trick of the light, but all of his explanations just seem to make Todoroki and the others double down. It’s only when they start talking about holding a seance that Izuku thinks of an explanation that just might work.

“I think,” Izuku says slowly, “That this is Class 1-B playing a prank on us.”

The room goes silent as everyone spins to look at him. Izuku elaborates, counting off his points on his fingertips.

“There’s a business student who has technopathy as a quirk; Monoma could easily copy that and use that to make it seem like someone is haunting our electronics. Additionally, Shihai has a quirk called Black which allows him to merge and manipulate black things, so he could easily be the one making my shadows… well…”

He nods to his shadow, which is currently imitating Cthulhu on a rampage.

“Reiko could easily have used her quirk, Poltergeist, to move the planchette without it being visible to any of us. Plus, Kosei could use his quirk, Solid Air, to move cold air into our dorms without anyone knowing. Reiko’s quirk has a weight limit that’s a bit under my weight, but the two of them could probably work together to make it look like I was floating.”

For a moment Todoroki’s brow furrows, then his eyes gleam with the holy light of a Todoroki Conspiracy. “He has a point,” Todoroki admits.

“He does,” Ashido agrees. Her eyes are also shining, but unlike Todoroki’s, it’s with mischief. “I think that we should prank them back!”

The room almost immediately breaks out into discussion. Iida jumps up, chopping his hand up and down to draw their attention. “We’ll put it to a vote!” He proclaims. “All in favor of retaliating against Class 1-B, say aye!”

The entire class almost immediately shouts “AYE!”

Iida nods, his face as serious as if this is any other school event that he needs to plan. “We should also vote on which prank, specifically, we should play. Does anyone have suggestions?”

Izuku hesitantly raises a hand. “We could stick all of their furniture to the ceiling,” he suggests. “It’d be difficult for them to get down, but it wouldn’t be too hard for us to do, since we have so many people with quirks that help with mobility and/or strength.”

“I can persuade Vlad-Sensei to take Class 1-B on an outing so that we’ll have plenty of time to do it,” Aoyama volunteers. “It should be très facile for someone as charismatic as me.”

“I can check to make sure that there are no stragglers in there before we sneak in!” Hagakure cheers.

“I can electrocute the security cameras so that the teachers won’t be able to see what we’re doing,” Kaminari offers.

“Everyone in favor of sticking Class 1-B’s furniture to the ceiling, vote aye!” Iida calls.

Once again, the vote is unanimous.

Months of working together make the class an efficient team. After Hagaruke has swept the area to confirm that no 1-B students are there to witness their mischief-making, Iida and Yaoyorozu move through the rooms of the 1-B dorm, methodically noting down the precise location of each item so they can recreate the floorplan on the ceiling. Once that’s done, Hagakure and Jirou station themselves outside of the dorm to keep watch for teachers while everyone else sets to work.

Ashido busies herself in the bathrooms and kitchen, using her acid to cut the toilets, sinks, and bathtubs from the floors. Meanwhile, Yaoyorozu creates special extra-strong glue to attach the furniture to the ceilings. In the living room, Uraraka lightens heavy objects so they’re easier to maneuver, and Satou helps Uraraka not overburden herself by helping lift some of the heavy objects.

At the same time, Sero uses his tape to easily bring himself and 1-B’s furniture up to the ceiling, and Kacchan does something similar with his explosions. Additionally, Dark Shadow’s excellent mobility makes him a dab hand at placing objects in difficult spots, and whenever they encounter something with liquid that would spill if it was upside down, Todoroki solves the problem by freezing it solid.

By the end of the day, everyone is satisfied with the results of their hard work. As the cherry on top, Izuku is relieved to note that this whole “haunted dorms” thing has finally been put to rest.

At least. He hopes so.

 

XI.

According to the teachers, their honestly harmless prank means that class rivalry at UA is “out of hand”, they’re all “problem children who are only moderately better than Midoriya,” and they need to “bond”. Hence why the two classes are having a joint class taught by both Aizawa-Sensei and Vlad-Sensei.

Izuku can see where they’re coming from— he has to admit that maybe the bit with cutting the permanent fixtures like the sinks and toilets off of the floor had been a bit over the top— but at the same time, he really doesn’t think that inter-class sparring is the way to fix the issue.

Monoma doesn’t appear to think that this is prime time bonding either, but he also doesn’t seem to mind the real outcome too much. Judging by the way that he’s been staring at Izuku like a hyperactive lapdog looking at a squirrel it wants to chase for the entirety of their teachers’ lecture, he really, really wants to spar with Izuku.

Izuku sighs internally. The things he does for his teachers.

As predicted, the moment that Aizawa-Sensei is finished speaking, Monoma appears in front of Izuku, a smarmy grin stretched across his face. “Want to spar, Golden Boy?”

Izuku eyes him warily. He doesn’t particularly enjoy spending time within a five-foot radius of Monoma, but One for All is yanking him towards Monoma like a dog dragging its owner in the direction of the dog park. This is going to end badly, isn’t it. “...sure,” Izuku replies.

They square up, each one falling into their fighting stances. Kendou, who’s standing off to the side, counts down from three. On two, Monoma sprints forward, slapping Izuku’s cheek. Izuku tries to hold onto One for All, but it slips out of his hold with the delight of a flea jumping onto a particularly sweet-blooded new host.

“Got your quirk!” Monoma crows. It’s the last thing he says before suddenly his eyes roll back in his head and are replaced by a glowing expanse of white nothingness.

“MORE LIKE THIS QUIRK HAS YOU, seven overlapping voices note in amusement. Monoma’s hand, which is sizzling with green lightning, lifts into the air, and Monoma’s body starts slapping itself in the face. “WHY ARE YOU HITTING YOURSELF? WHY ARE YOU HITTING YOURSELF? WHY ARE YOU HITTING YOURSELF?” One for All asks in a deadpan voice.

Izuku sighs. He knew this was a bad idea. With the long-suffering air of a mother coming to pick up their child from school after they got suspended, Izuku approaches and holds out his hand. Aizawa-Sensei, watching incredulously from across the yard, is reminded of a teacher asking a delinquent student to hand over the contraband they’re clearly hiding.

The thing wearing Monoma’s body pouts, but it reaches out and slaps Izuku’s hand with little fuss. For a moment, both of the boys’ eyes glow with the bright white light of eight exploding stars, and then the two of them are back to normal.

“Your quirk is fucking haunted,” Monoma gasps as he scrambles back from Izuku.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Izuku deadpans dryly. “It’s the dorms that are haunted, not my quirk.”

As he walks away, his writhing shadow gives Monoma the middle finger.