Izuku helped set the table, finding it nice and refreshing to set places for three people instead of two. Back in Hagi, he’d taken over the duties of making food after about six months of his arrival. Formerly, Yagi-sensei had a couple of different people come in a few times a month to assist him with home care, food preparation and other chores. Izuku wasn’t sure if they knew who they were helping out, or if they thought he was a regular old man.
His mom was revelling in taking care of her only son again. It's been a few weeks, but she's still making all his favorites. Today’s breakfast was miso soup for all of them, tonkatsu with egg and grated daikon for him, fried egg and saba shioyaki for his mom, and scrambled eggs with cream cheese and ham for Yagi-sensei.
“Izuku, get the rice, will you?” his mom said.
He opened the rice cooker, steam rising and gathering in the lid. He scooped a cup of sticky rice for himself and his mom and about half for Yagi-sensei then added some black sesame seeds on top.
“ Ohayō gozaimasu , Yagi-san.” greeted his mom as he placed the rice on the table. Izuku went to the fridge to get water.
“Good morning, sensei.” he said as he passed.
“ Ohayō.” Yagi-sensei sat down at the head of the table and Izuku sat across his mom. He poured water as his mom set the chopsticks.
“How is the clinic coming along, Midoriya-san?”
“Yagi-san, just Inko is fine, please!" his mom requested, like many times before. "Ito-san has been very helpful. I’m excited to get everything up and running!”
Yagi-sensei didn’t want his mom to have finished advanced studies only to become a carer for him, so he hired her through a subsidiary of Might Agency to head a new branch of clinic catered to primary and acute adult-gerontology. They started working out the details when he came to Musutafu in January for Yūei's exams. After getting her Masters, his mom has been busy with hiring new personnel and other administrative duties. Izuku was told that a certain portion of the staff would be seeing retired Heroes exclusively!
“Chikara gets things done quickly. She’s the reason the foundation runs smoothly despite my absence from the agency.”
“Now that you’re back in town, will you make an appearance in Roppongi, sensei ?” Izuku asked. “That’ll be so exciting! It’s been so long since people have seen you. Even I haven’t seen you in costume at all, all this time.”
“Oh, that’ll be a sight! The last I remember from the news was… Toxic Chainsaw?” his mom recalled. “Or was it Professor Pyro?”
“I’m not sure if it will be wise to let people know I’m in Tokyo. So close to Yūei, too.” Yagi-sensei said. “You never know. Some people might draw the right conclusion. I’ll consult with Mirai first.”
“Speaking of Yūei, I received a call from Mitsuki-san last night.” his mom said, turning to face him. “She said you and Katsuki fought? I’m not clear with the details but she sounded worried. You seemed so down yesterday so I didn’t ask right away.”
Izuku sighed. “We kinda had a fight after the fight."
“Izuku and Bakugо̄-shо̄nen sparred during Hero Class yesterday.” Yagi-sensei said. “And then I heard there was, uh… some shouting after the class wrapped up.”
“Kacchan's very mad at me, mom. I really messed up not talking to him before I left. Now he’s not just angry that I left. I think he’s also mad that I came back.”
“Would you like me to speak to him, young man?”
He shook his head. “No, sensei. Thank you. But I’ll find a way to resolve this with him myself.”
“You boys were thick as thieves. I’m sure things will work themselves out for the better soon enough.” His mom commented.
“I hope so, too, mom.” They had to. He needed them to.
Homeroom was even more awkward than expected. Aizawa-sensei reminded the class that the first floor was shared and open to every student, faculty and staff and to be mindful about ‘after-school activities’ and think about their senpai who were working hard and staying in school for longer than they were. Throughout the lecture, Izuku tried to forget that Kacchan was sitting right behind him.
Afterwards, Aizawa-sensei called out everyone’s chosen electives. “Kirishima, Todoroki, Bakugо̄, Kaminari and Tokoyami have Damage Control with Present Mic. Iida, Ashido, Aoyama, Sero and Awase are in Urban Landscape Awareness with Snipe. Thirteen will be teaching Search and Rescue. They’re getting Uraraka, Asui, Shiozaki and Kо̄da.”
Izuku was excited for all the names mentioned for those assignments. He was looking over everyone’s Quirks for the last two days and he was excited for the potential of each of his classmates. While Damage Control and ULA may seem like electives taken to ‘minimise’ the effects of someone’s Quirk, to him they really were about maximizing control and precision. It would be very helpful for everyone to know how to fight and engage properly so they can go all out while being mindful of collateral damage. Search and Rescue is also very important. The first time the world saw All Might, he wasn’t fighting. He was saving hundreds of people from a disaster zone.
“Hagakure, Shо̄ji, and Jirо̄ are with me. Intelligence Gathering . The lifeblood of most Hero work. Yaoyorozu is the only one taking an elective with the Support Department. I know you’ll be an asset to each other. Make sure to represent our Department with dignity.” Their homeroom teacher continued. “Finally, Midoriya and Monoma are taking Quirk Analysis & Synthesis with Principal Nezu. Good luck.”
That… that sounded more ominous than encouraging, Aizawa-sensei.
“And you still have no class president and vice president? Well, you have three days. I’ll give you back 20 minutes of your time.” And then he coccooned himself into his sleeping bag. Izuku was beginning to wonder if maybe Aizawa-sensei was at the tail-end of his work schedule during homeroom.
“Well, well, look at me with Mr. Special over there,” The boisterous blond said, when Izuku turned to talk to him. Kacchan was pretending like he wasn’t interested in either of them at all.
Izuku carried his chair and set himself in front of the other boy. Thankfully, Shiozaki-san also moved her chair closer to Uraraka-san so there was room.
“Hello, Monoma-kun. If you have to call me a nickname, you can call me Deku instead.”
“Deku? Self-deprecation, huh? I can appreciate that.” He laughed. “So, why is a power-type like you doing an elective with me?”
Izuku produced a dozen or so notebooks from his backpack and showed them to the copier. “I’ve been fascinated with Quirks since I can remember. I’ve kept so many notes over the years. I’ve actually already thought up different pairings and groupings for the class when it comes to fighting or suppression missions. Here, I drew this notebook up on Sunday.”
Monoma-kun was looking through the older notebooks from elementary school, flippantly at first and then with some interest. “Wow, when you say fascinated, you mean freakishly obsessed.”
He blushed and chuckled. “If you don’t mind, can I take notes on your Quirk? I’m the most curious about whether when you use Copy, do you have perfect use of the copied Quirk? Would you know what someone’s Quirk is just by touching them? Do you have complete information or do you need to at least see it used first? And you said you can copy.. how many? Three, four?”
“Do I have to tell you anything? What if I don’t want to?”
Izuku just shrugged. “I mean, sure, do what you want. But if we work together I think we can make you one of the top Heroes in Japan.”
Izuku stated it so simply because he wanted to see that look. He’s seen it on his own face before. When you’re holding back hope for fear of crushing disappointment. He wondered what Monoma-kun’s history was, to not already know that his power can make him almost unstoppable with the right planning and a lot of training.
“You don’t know who I am, do you?” It’s whispered so quietly he almost misses it.
“No. Haven’t got a clue.” Izuku smiled. “I hope we can be friends. Then, if you feel like it, you can tell me your story.”
“Tssk. Cheerful, hopeful and friendly. I hate people like you the most, Deku.”
Izuku laughed. He was really looking forward to this new friendship.
In Home Economics, Izuku was assigned as station partners with Yaoyorozu-san, which was a handy stroke of luck. He was already very interested in her and third period provided the opportunity to talk to her and get to know her better. He was glad for the socialisation his journey through the country provided him. He would have been way out of his depth when talking to a girl before.
“Midoriya-san, you’re very good at this,” she said as Izuku quickly decided on a recipe, following the requirements given to them by Shōga-sensei, one of Lunch Rush’s station chefs . The setting: a fact-finding mission in the mountains during fall. Requirements: fast prep time, minimal outdoor cooking equipment, and use of open fire.
“I helped out a lot in the kitchen. Only child of a single mom with a hectic and late work schedule. Just comes with the territory, I think.” he replied. “How about you, Yaoyorozu-san? Your Quirk relies on your caloric intake, right? Are you very interested in food?”
“I enjoy fine dining and hosting. And I love tea ceremonies…” she contemplated. “But I’ve never had to prepare my meals. Sometimes eating becomes a purely mechanical task for me, you know?”
He nodded. “For sure. I’m never less interested in food than when I’m bulking up.”
She smiled, blushing. “I still haven't seen you use your Quirk but I think it’s fascinating. The fact that it manifested so late — only when your body was suited to it — that alone is almost unbelievable.”
"Yours is, too. It breaks all sorts of rules for conservation of mass and energy. I really can't wrap my head around it. And it requires you to know materials down to their atomic structures? Or was it chemical composition? You must be so smart, Yaoyorozu-san!"
"Ohh, thank you."
"What sorts of things can you make?" he asked.
"Quite a lot. I started learning basic materials first— different types of natural fabrics, timber, oil, metals and rocks. And then refined products and component shapes," she explained. "It's easier to make modular items. It takes a lot of energy to make something that's ready to use."
"I read up on your family. You have the same Quirk with slight differences from the maternal side, right?"
Yaoyorozu-san nodded. "Yes. My great grandmother could change her body's fat content and my great grandfather's Quirk was to materialise carbon. My grandmother got the combined Quirk which allows her to make organic compounds out of her body's fat stores. Mother has the same while I can make both organic and inorganic compounds."
She checked their menu of different dishes using sansai , chestnut, yams, mushrooms plus mountain stream fish and put it aside. Then, she drew another prompt from the randomizer.
"Food shopping list for a 6-month mission on a submerged nuclear submarine. Must feed 15 people." she read out.
"15 sounds very low for the number of submariners. Would be easier to multiply by 100." Izuku commented off-handedly. "And submerged means no coming up to restock food?"
"I would think so. And to be safe, you'd probably have to be outfitted with at least 9 months' worth…"
She listed several fresh options, dried, canned and frozen and made estimates for every person for every meal for 9 months.
"Oh, that gives me an idea! Can you also make food with your Quirk, Yaoyorozu-san?" he asked.
"Yes, but the caloric trade-off is not equal and the nutritional value is low. I can't just eat rice and then make steak, unfortunately." She answered.
Izuku was fascinated. The questions kept popping up in his mind one after the other. "If you ate 500 grams of rice, how many grams of butter can you make? What if you then ate that butter? With pure fat like that, can you create more?"
"I have some idea based on the items I commonly make. But not all the numbers—"
"Is it okay if I help you? My elective is with the principal. Can I use you as a subject?" Izuku asked.
"Well, I mean… sure, I think so. It'd be good for me to know those things, too, anyway." The dark-haired girl replied with a nod and a smile.
"Thank you!" Izuku replied. Yaoyorozu-san was easy to talk to and open to discussions. But she was also weirdly timid. Why would that be, when she has everything?
"I hope you don't mind. I'm just very curious, is all. Why do you want to be a Hero, Yaoyorozu-san?"
She halted. "Wh— all of a sudden. Well. Because— because I want to help. I want to make a difference. I want to give back and serve."
"Why not do that through your family's conglomerate? Why are you in the Hero Course? Why aren't you in Support or General Studies?"
"You know, before my parents made my tutors submit the recommendation they asked me the same thing. 'Why go into Heroics? It'd be dangerous and more difficult.' They thought I should go here simply to make connections for the future." She replied. "And I asked, 'What should I do instead? Make support items? Make weapons? Isn't that what our companies do already?' My parents support me but they don't really understand."
"When I was younger, I thought our wealth was a virtue. The result of hard work, talent and intelligence. But really, despite strict guidelines and consultations with fund managers and the national bank, our Quirks get around the finite nature of resources. If I had my way, I'd want to be able to give it all away. To charity. Research and development. Towards infrastructure and public services." Yaoyorozu-san sighed. "But my older brother will inherit the company. It'll be even bigger by the time he's done with it. I think I can make the most change if I'm a Hero in the public eye."
Izuku felt such warmth in his heart with her words. She was amazing!
"You could be the first Hero to deny payment. Even All Might channels his income through the foundation."
She finished writing the list and asked him to double-check. "Since you're so blatantly wanting to help me improve my Quirk, may I ask why?"
It was his turn to blush. He was always eager, but not very subtle.
"I'm gonna be very honest with you. When I found out what your Quirk was, I knew already how I wanted to influence you to use it. There's so many things that will be possible for you to do."
Izuku remembered the devastation which lingered in Iwate. The crumbling homes and structures in Kamagasaki. The dozens of neglected commuter towns between Sendai, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, and the forgotten islands in between Kagoshima and Okinawa.
"Non-corrosive bridges so that villagers don't have to make do with making new ones with wood and rope over and over due to the river rising and falling every year. Self-healing concrete for roads and buildings."
Izuku could sense some of his classmates were noticing his sprawling ideas, but he felt so fired up.
"Mass production of aerogel, graphene, carbon nanotubes, transparent alumina and other future materials. You could work with scientists and leaders of industry so those can enter civilian use one day. Imagine the applications in medicine, transportation, engineering." He motioned with his hands, startling her. "We can have fuelless airships and almost-free desalinated salt water. Can you imagine how many people you'll save? How you could eliminate poverty, illness and hunger? You would change the world!"
Shōga-sensei stood by their station. "Midoriya. Yaoyorozu. Are you done?"
"Ah, sorry, sensei . I got carried away. I apologise!" Izuku called.
"We're finished working on our scenarios, Shōga-sensei." Yaoyorozu-san quietly said.
"Good. If you must chat, be more quiet. You're distracting your classmates."
Izuku bowed. " Sumimasen, mina-san! "
Lunch found Izuku sitting at a table with Monoma-kun, who he invited, and Yaoyorozu-san and Todoroki-kun, who asked to join them. The latter he's had no interactions with yet and he's not sure how to initiate.
The boy was openly staring at him while calmly eating his green tea zaru soba .
"So, Todoroki-kun, how is—" he opened.
Putting his chopsticks down after finishing his squash and lotus root tempura, the other boy said, "What's with you and Bakugō?"
"Bakugō-san? What do you mean, Shōto-kun?" Yaoyorozu-san asked.
Todoroki-kun gestured and pointed his nose in the vague direction behind him, to the right. Following his line of sight, Izuku saw Kacchan coldly glaring at his plate of food, seated in a table with Kaminari-kun, Ashido-san, Kirishima-kun and Sero-kun.
"Normally, he doesn't suffer people loudly pestering him. But he's sat and borne it just so he can be in the best line of sight to us." Todoroki-kun explained. "Hasn't even blown up once."
"I think you're overthinking it, halfie." Monoma-kun said. "Maybe you're the one too fixated on the angry moron over there."
Monoma-kun was a nickname kind of guy. It was unfortunate he and Kacchan disliked each other.
Izuku didn't care to hide their history or that they were pair candidates in all but name. (A change in status might be upcoming now that they were together again. The Pair Office reached out to him and his mom previously, but limited things could be done due to the candidates' separation.) But given his feelings about Izuku, Kacchan probably didn't want anyone to know.
To give himself some time to formulate an answer, Izuku deflected. "Are you two close? You went to the same junior high school, right?"
"Yes, we were in the same class all 3 years, too. I don't know if that makes us close." Todoroki-kun said.
"Aside from you, only Ashido-san and Kirishima-kun are from the same junior high in our class, I think."
"Shiozaki-san and Iida-san are both from Sōmei." Yaoyorozu-san corrected.
"And you and Todoroki-kun are childhood friends?"
Todoroki-kun nodded. "Momo and I had play dates together."
"Shōto-kun's mother and mine are friends. So were our older brothers—"
That's something new. Izuku has no knowledge about Endeavor's home life, except being vaguely aware that he had a handful of children. His wife has never been brought up in the media, as far as Izuku knew.
"Oh, really? What—"
"Getting back on topic, I've found Bakugō's behavior odd since the day of the assessment test. You two were late coming down to Alpha Field then, weren't you? Why was that?"
Izuku recognised and noted the absolute rejection of that topic being brought up again. Monoma-kun did, too, if the eye roll was anything to go by. Yaoyorozu-san looked at her friend apologetically, so there must be something painful hiding there.
He was no gossip and he had secrets to keep as well. Izuku knew to leave it well enough alone for now. More importantly, Todoroki-kun was very observant. Typical for someone quiet, serious and intelligent. Izuku was going to have to be careful around him.
"Bakugō-kun demanded to know about me and my apprenticeship with Yagi-sensei. And then he issued a challenge against me. I think he was annoyed that my special admission was overshadowing him being the best in the recommendation exams or something."
Todoroki-kun seemed to think about it and then just shrugged. "That sounds like him. Maybe I am overthinking it."
Izuku took the easy way out being offered and took his notebook out of his blazer’s inner pocket to start asking Monoma-kun some questions. He hadn't even gotten through the first one when he felt his phone vibrating in his pants’ pocket.
"Excuse me, let me just check this," he said, reading his master's name on the call ID. “Hello, sensei?”
“Izuku, listen carefully. I want you to be alert but do not panic. There’s reports of possible intruders in the Administration Building. We’re not sure what they want, who they are or how many. Do you understand?” His master relayed, voice hurried but sure.
“Yes, I’m in the cafeteria having lunch with Monoma-kun, Yaoyorozu-san and Todoroki-kun.” Just in case, he wanted his master to know his location and who he had close by as possible backup. “Are you in the teacher’s lounge?”
“Hound Dog, Ectoplasm and Cementoss are patrolling the grounds. I’ll be checking every floor in the Main Building along with the other Hero faculty.”
Izuku nodded, surreptitiously looking around. “Do you want me to join you, sensei?”
“Not right now. Eraserhead and I are getting ready to start in the first year tower. I'll see you later, alright?” Izuku agreed, and his master hung up.
Monoma-kun squinted at him, “Are you being summoned then?”
“Hah, yep. Turns out Aizawa-sensei’s not the only one with words for me and Bakugō-kun.” Izuku pocketed the slim notebook again and hurriedly ate the last of his lunch. “ Gochisōsama deshita! Excuse me, I’ll go ahead. See you later!”
Intruders? Who are they? How did they get in? What do they want with us?