Chapter 1: The Wild Card
All right, maybe snogging a total stranger in a pub while drunk had not been a great idea.
Izuku was seated inside an interrogatory room, in the police station. The policemen had been constantly interrogating him for the past three hours. How had Izuku, who was registered on the National Album as quirkless, melted the skin of a man on the bus? Izuku truly had no idea what to respond to these accusations. It was true, but he had no idea how!
It had been a little past midnight and Izuku was riding the bus home, after having spent the night inside a pub with some school friends. He had a slight headache caused by the alcohol, something Izuku was not used to. When the bus reached his stop he got up and stumbled a little, accidentally he placed a hand on an arm of a man that was seated nearby. He apologized and started to walk away when the man started to scream in pain. The spot where Izuku’s hand had rested was covered in horrible greenish bubbles that were rapidly spreading on the skin. Blood began to flow from the torn skin and the man got on his feet panicking. While everyone started to scream in terror the bus driver stopped the vehicle. Izuku, completely shocked, called an ambulance, the other passengers evidently called the police too.
Here he was now. Feeling awful, scared and guilty. The policemen didn’t find any trace of acid on his body, any container either, and the other passengers had testified that he only placed his hand on the man. Had he concealed his acid quirk until that day? Why had he attacked that man? Izuku could not answer any of their questions because he honestly had no idea.
“What you did was extremely serious and since you refuse to cooperate with us we have no choice. Your quirk, Acid Skin, is classified A in order of dangerousness and your lack of cooperation allow us to call the Task Force to deal with you. I hope you’re ready to tell them the truth.”
Izuku stomach did a backflip. A quirk he didn’t even know he had was classified A, the second level of potential danger, and they were calling the Government Task Force on him. His normal, peaceful future was flying away waving a hand.
After another half an hour, where Izuku actually thought he was going to have a heart attack from nervousness, the door opened and a young man, probably around twenty, entered the interrogation room. He sat on the chair in front of him, on the other side of the table, and started to observe him with his hands intertwined. The man had purple hair and eyes and a very penetrating gaze.
“I’m Shinso, 14th division of the Task Force, collecting information branch. Maybe you already know my quirk?”
In fact, Izuku knew. The Task Force components were really famous, after all, that was the condition of their employment. The Task Force was an agglomerate of all the most dangerous quirks of the country, the law-breaking ones. In order to reassure the population that the most dangerous people were kept on constant watch, the details of their quirks were made public making much more difficult for them to act unnoticed. Everyone was wary of them.
These people had passed a test and proved their loyalty to the country, the Task Force was the only place they could work while maintaining their freedom. All the others who failed the test were being kept captive in secret and protected environment. After Toshinori Yagi’s betrayal the Government had no mercy for everyone with an A or S level quirk.
Shinso’s quirk was Truth or Dare. Basically his quirk allowed him to know with 100% certainly when a person lied. After hearing a statement he could touch a person and if they caught fire they were lying. Shinso had been recognized as a level A since he was little, he hurt a lot of people without even having the intention. After he had received his classification he was strictly forbidden to touch another human being after they talked. Now, his quirk allowed him to do completely trustworthy interrogations.
“I’m going to ask some questions, if you don’t want to be burned you better be truthful.”
Izuku nodded multiple time, his stomach clutched. He was scared but not terrified, he was telling the truth from the very beginning after all. He was quirkless, or at least that’s what he had thought until that day.
“So, first question. Are you Izuku Midoriya?”
Izuku said yes, Shinso took his hand and no fire appeared anywhere.
“Very well, look like you are willing to cooperate and at least your identity is confirmed. Next question, did you attack that man on the bus with your quirk?”
“I-I guess I did, but it was unintentional! I didn’t even know I have a quirk at all! I guess I activated it by accident or something?” Izuku said trembling a bit, still no fire.
“I see… You’re telling the truth. That’s… unexpected. Are you a late bloomer? I thought all quirks became apparent before the middle school ages… You are eighteen, right?”
“Yes, sir. I don’t know, sir.”
“I understand,” Shinso let go his hand and got up, “in that case we can’t accuse you of aggression, but we still have a problem. Your quirk is level A, you can’t keep living as you did, you are obliged by law to take the test. You need to get your quirk registered and then we will give you some time to inform your family, but you need to take the plane to the test site as soon as possible. This year test is starting in two days, you don’t want to miss your chance and spend the next year on probation, right?”
Izuku didn’t know if he should feel relieved or not. He was not going to be imprisoned, but only for the moment. He followed the man outside the room where they were stopped by another police officer. Shinso started to explain the situation but he was interrupted by the arrival of other two men.
“Sorry to interrupt Mr. Shinso, we have observed the video of the interrogation and we have called an expert on quirks. Mr. Tokoyami’s Teleport quirk is really useful, good thing he is employed in our station!”
Izuku felt his heart skip a beat when he recognized the man that had yet to speak and was standing there looking completely bored. The long black hair, the little hints of an unshaved beard, the long white string of capture cloth around his neck and the yellow goggles on his eyes made him unmistakable. Aizawa was even more famous than Shinso as a member of the Task Force. Aizawa’s God Eye made him absolutely indispensable for the Government. His quirk allowed him to identify every person’s quirk on sight. Unfortunately it had a terrible price, every time he used it he was losing a tiny bit of eyesight, eventually he would become completely blind. That was the reason why he was wearing protective goggles, to avoid looking at someone by accident.
“We have heard that this young man has just discovered his quirk? A level A nonetheless! Mr. Aizawa is the person in charge of recruiting people for the test, technically he finished a month ago and everyone is already at the test site but it’s better to clarify things now, right? Otherwise, we will let this young man hanging for a whole year!” the man smiled trying to be friendly.
“I see,” Shinso scratched his head a little, “I guess I’m not needed anymore. I’m returning to my office then.” he looked at him. “Mr. Midoriya, don’t worry too much. The test is much better than what people describe. As long as you honestly don’t try to hurt other people you will be fine.” he lightly slapped him on the shoulder and then made his way out of the police station.
“Well, Mr. Aizawa why don’t you take a look at this young man? You can use the interrogation room so you are sure to be alone with him.” the man smiled again and left them.
Aizawa entered the room without saying anything, still looking bored. Izuku seated in the chair once again and waited, he clenched the fabric of his pants. The older man slowly slid the goggles down his face letting them hang from his neck and after massaging his eyes a little he opened them. His eyes were black and looked painfully irritated. He looked at him for only a couple seconds before massaging them again. He slowly placed the goggles back in place before speaking.
“So, here we have a nice level S. No wonder you didn’t discover your quirk before. It’s quite rare and has a very interesting requirement to work. A Wild Card, hm?” his voice was tired and low.
Izuku had never heard of such a quirk before and now he wasn’t sure he wanted to discover what it was. A level S was never a good news.
“Your quirk has nothing to do with Acid Skin, at least not directly. Before you did that little trick on the bus did you do something particular? It may have been an accident I guess…”
Before that he was in a pub, drinking, he remembered feeling lightheaded and then his school friends dare him to kiss a guy who was clearly looking at him and flirting. Normally he would not have done something like that, it wasn’t like he was extraordinary modest, but kissing a random person was not on his character. He didn’t particularly feel like telling Aizawa that, though.
“Your quirk works on DNA assimilation. When your body absorbs someone’s DNA, that person’s quirk becomes yours. Which means that you can have as many quirks as you want as long as someone willingly gives you their DNA. You can’t steal a hair and eat it, the exchange must be consensual. The only thing that I can guess from that is that you have probably assimilated someone’s quirk tonight and now it’s yours. Unfortunately, my quirk doesn’t tell me how many you have… And that’s one of the reasons you’re level S. You can hold hundreds of quirks, including other S.”
Izuku was shocked. The saliva. That guy’s saliva. Acid Skin was his quirk. Had he not had the bad luck of kissing a level A quirk owner he would have never discovered something so terrible. Maybe one day he would have assimilated a quirk, a normal one, and started to use it as his own… But nope, he just had to be unlucky and assimilate a level A as his first.
“Well, we will see each other in two days on the test site. Don’t even think about escaping this. You’re a level S, your quirk can ruin the lives of many people and it’s a real threat to the nation.”
Aizawa got up and left the room without saying anything else. Izuku took a long time to recover the use of his legs, he got his possessions back and then left the police station walking slowly, head hung. All the heat had left his body, he felt tired and drained. In the span of a night he almost risked prison for aggression, then he was told that he was a threat to the nation. All because he simply kissed a random person in a pub. Izuku had never really considered himself unlucky, he had a normal family, a good health, slightly above average grades and some friends even if they were not really close. Maybe he could have been luckier but he was quite content with his normalcy. After all, he had already seen from very close what a quirk can do to someone. Izuku reached his house feeling crushed, everything felt extremely unfair. What was he going to say to his parents?
Not really surprising his parents were in the living room, waiting for his return. He may have been eighteen but he still had the curfew at midnight and a half. It was four in the morning.
“Izuku! Where were you?! It’s way past our agreed time!” his mother stood in front of him with her hands on her hips. “I was scared! You didn’t even pick up your phone!”
“I thought you were a lot more mature than this, Izuku.” his father was still on the sofa with his arms crossed and a disappointed expression. “Even if you didn’t agree with the curfew it’s not a good reason to disappear like this and not answer your phone.”
His father was not exactly strict but when he decided something there was no way to make him change his mind. He decided Izuku’s curfew when he was sixteen and refused to listen when he was asked to postpone it a little after Izuku’s eighteen birthday. They had some discussions about this but nothing too big, Izuku in the end conceded the point with resignation. His mother didn’t really join the discussions, she was fine with her husband’s decision, Izuku knew that she was a bit apprehensive and didn't like the idea of him going out alone at night. Now, Izuku was forced to tell her that her beloved son was probably going to be imprisoned for life. Somewhere far from her.
He sat on the sofa, next to his father, his mother caught on her son’s mood and sat down on the other side, a worried expression on her face. Slowly he started explaining the events of the night, letting out only the kiss because that was still his business. After he finished speaking a long silence filled the room, both were frozen in place. Izuku felt a little pang of irritation because they were supposed to make him feel better, instead, they were taking it worse than he did. It was pretty irrational but he really wanted someone to tell him ‘everything will be alright’.
“I don’t believe it,” his father snapped out of it first, “there must be a mistake. I don’t know about the acid stuff but… You never manifested anything, it’s ridiculous, Aizawa must be mistaken.”
“Yeah, that’s right!” his mother jumped immediately at the opportunity. “There is surely a mistake! I won’t believe it unless a Specialist examines you! We are going to the Quirk Registration Office tomorrow!”
“But he is a Specialist…” his weak protest was ignored.
He needed to go to the Registration Office anyway so he just left them talk. After some time he finally could go up to his room and he threw himself on his bed still fully clothed. He pushed his face into the pillow and let out a sound of frustration. Not that he couldn't see where his parents were coming from. Normally, you have years to prepare for the prospective of you son going to be a captive for the Government and both of them never had any experience with any of it. No relatives ever had an A or S quirk, not even a friend. His mother was a florist, her quirk allowed her to make flowers bloom during every season, his father was happily quirkless. He was happy because he could see the effect that the quirk was having on his wife. Ironically her quirk made her allergic to most flowers. She was basically constantly on medication and sometimes she would sniff and have red eyes. Having a quirk often sucked pretty badly, honestly.
Izuku had mixed feeling about them, sometimes he wanted to have a quirk, often he definitely didn’t want to have one. Well, so much for that. For sure, he never wanted an A or S. His frustration prevented him from having even a minute of sleep, he spent the rest of the morning rolling in his bed hugging the pillow pressed of his face. At nine in the morning his parents, formally clothed, called him and told him to get ready for the examination. He took a quick shower and dressed as best as he could, he had two beautiful black bags under his eyes.
They had to wait for three hours, seated in a waiting room full of screaming kids and their parents, before they could enter the examination room. Inside was a young woman with long blond hair, she was cheerful and overly chatty, definitely not a good match for them, they were tired, irritated and in a bad mood. The girl licked a drop of his blood and confirmed the presence of a quirk. She laughed at the reaction of Izuku’s father who was looking at her a little scandalized. Izuku, instead, was considering that if he had done the same thing to someone he would have assimilated their quirk. A scary but fascinating thought.
After that the procedure was a bit more complicated. Only someone like Aizawa could precisely define the quirk type. Izuku was sent to another room where he was explained, more or less, how to activate an active type quirk, like Acid Skin. It took him twenty minutes but in the end he could conjure a thin layer of acid on his palm. He was surprised that he was not getting hurt himself. At that point Izuku was already resigned to his fate, even in case he was not a Wild Card he still had an A quirk. He sighed as he waited for his parents to calm down. The blond girl appeared again.
“I’ve done some research, Wild Card hm? Interesting quirk.” she had her hands inside her lab coat pockets. “If you don’t mind I would like to confirm it, there is a kid in the room right now whose quirk is Light Sphere. It’s a harmless quirk, the dimension of the sphere is pretty disappointing too, and the only contraindication is that it makes you sneeze when you activate it. Want to try and absorb it?”
Izuku was not feeling very comfortable but he agreed anyway, he was curious too. The kid willingly agreed to give him a hair and Izuku swallowed it not letting show his disgust. Then, together with the little kid, went into the test room and observed as the kid lighted up a very little marble of light in his palm. He tried the same and he suddenly had to close his eyes, he sneezed and when he opened them again he was looking at a very similar marble, it was only a little smaller still.
“Well, there you have it!” the girl cheerfully commented. “I think it’s time to sign the Registration Form and send the data to the Album, right?”
Izuku and his parents, silent and pale, were sent to another part of the office. There was sitting a woman in her forties, very short and with an ugly bob haircut. She had an elbow on her counter and she was looking utterly bored.
“Yeah, right… S quirk, very impressive.” she looked everything but impressed. “So, as you may have already figured you are forbidden to absorb random stuff… If the Government wants you to absorb stuff they will let you know…” she handed him a paper. “Considering you quirk… let’s see… Ah, right… No kisses, no sex, no blowjobs or anything like that. You can forget to have an intimate relationship any time soon…”
Izuku was burning up, he wanted to hide beneath a rock for the next century. He absolutely refused to look in the direction of his parents as he signed the form.
“Well, I guess you can do protected sex?” she was scratching her chin. “I’m not really sure…”
“Yeah, right, thank you!” he quickly interrupted her.
He didn’t want to have this conversation with his parents right behind him, protected or unprotected alike! He handed the form back.
“All right, you are registered as Wild Card, with Acid Skin and Light Sphere absorbed. If you remember or discover something else that you may have, you have to communicate it to us or someone related. Aizawa has already insert you in the test for this year, someone will drop the plane ticket to you house sooner or later.”
During the drive home no one talked. Awkwardness and shock still running deep, Izuku was really tired.
Definitely, snogging a total stranger in a pub while drunk had not been a great idea.
Izuku slept for most of the noon, now that the immediate tension was gone he really was sleeping like a rock. He woke up at five when his mother, still looking very pale, brought him something to eat and the plane ticket for the test site. The flight was tomorrow morning, from the nearest airport. Izuku put the ticket on his desk and refused to think about it any further. He would have days to despair later. He decided to spend time browsing the internet in search for all the information he could find about the Wild Card.
There were only three known people with that quirk, two had served the nation until ten and five years ago, both were killed on service. The other didn’t pass the test and was held captive to that day. His mind was so very full of happy thoughts after that little search. While he was about to push the button to turn off the power he stopped realizing that he was not going to have any access to the internet or his computer for some time. If ever again.
That depressed him even further. He decided to run a quick research about his future ‘comrades’ not really hoping to find anything, one of the most important factors of the test was that you had to keep secrecy about your quirk after all. He was surprised when he got a hit. Then he wanted to kick himself in the ass real hard because, of course there was a hit. Even he knew this one! Actually, maybe he knew about this one better than anyone else.
He got up and put his face into the pillow, his scream got muffled by it. He had been so egoistic, so self-absorbed, so moronic to truly forget all about it. To think that six months ago it had been such an important factor in his life it had kept him distracted from everything else. But that time had ended and both of them had been true to their words. It was a closed chapter.
Except that it wasn’t anymore!
What was he going to tell him? How was he supposed to interact with him now? Sure, they had not parted on a bad note but…
His mother called him for dinner and she was just too sad for Izuku to ignore her any longer. He steeled himself and sat on his chair on the dining table. The meal was awkward, no one wanted to address the elephant in the room. It was only after dinner that his mother took his hand and guided him into the little greenhouse they had in the back of the house. She started to rearrange some of the floral compositions she was experimenting on, Izuku observed.
“Your father always asks me why I work in a flower shop. It would be much safer for me to work somewhere else entirely. It’s true, but for some reason I just can’t leave this quirk alone. I love it, you see? It makes me suffer, but there is so much beauty in it too. Admittedly, your quirk is quite different… But I’m sure, completely, definitely, absolutely sure that yours has some good uses too. There must be something that only you can do. So… don’t give up on it okay? Give it a chance before you decide! And give a chance to yourself too! I believe in you, I’m sure that you can do it!”
With tears in her eyes, she let go of the flowers and hugged him tightly. Izuku returned the hug in full. He would surely miss her. Together they went to Izuku’s room and started preparing his trolley. They filled it with clothes and other everyday necessities. All electronic devices were forbidden, so he could not pack his pc or cell phone.
“Write me a lot of letters, okay?” she hugged him again before leaving him.
His father didn’t come up to talk to him. Izuku could not sleep at all that night and morning came all too soon. He wrote a couple of text messages to his school friend right before turning it off. He didn’t want to talk about this with any of them. Downstairs his parents were waiting for him.
“I’m driving you to the airport.” said his father.
His mother hugged him one last time before sending him off with a tearful smile. His father didn’t speak during the drive. Izuku just stared out of the window feeling comfortable in the silence. Once they reached the airport they searched for the correct terminal.
“Well,” Izuku looked the floor, “I have to go now so…”
“Listen well.” his father interrupted. “It will take me a bit of time to fully accept all of this, I never thought… Anyway.” he breathed deeply. “You better come back, got that? You are a smart and dependable kid, there is no one else I would rather entrust an S quirk. It’s definitely in safe hands with you, understand?”
“I’m not a kid anymore, you know?” he smiled fondly.
“I know,” he hugged him, “and this is the right moment to prove it. I believe in you so I’m not worried at all. I’ll see you next year.”
“I’ll do my best.” Izuku nodded.
“I’m not asking for anything more than that.” his father nodded too. “But remember to write some letters for your mother, she will cry for days if you don’t.”
The plane was small, it was a private plane for this purpose only, inside was someone else from the Task Force that Izuku didn’t know. The man asked him his blood type and placed a hand on his chest, a red light pulsated all of his body. Izuku understood, the man was a Detector, he could detect every object on and inside his body. The discovery of the blood type of the target was the condition for the activation of his quirk.
“You’re clear, go sit somewhere.” he ordered.
Izuku remembered to have read once in a newspaper that someone tried to sneak a cell phone by hiding it inside his body. He didn’t particularly want to ask himself where they hid it. Anyway, that was the reason why the Detector was now important on this flight. After two hours Izuku identified the little island that hosted the test site. The plane was descending.
Izuku saw the faint light blue of the barrier, it was a dome that covered the whole island and a part of the surrounding sea. He knew that the barrier was actually a sphere, it continued beyond the ocean and it was passing through the ground below the island. There was no escape anywhere. The plane did three loops around the island getting closer, a little hole opened in it. The plane passed through and the hole closed immediately.
Izuku knew more or less the power of this quirk. It was like a glass panel, only unbreakable, and there was a light electric current on the inside. Basically, you could walk on it from the outside but you could not enter while touching the barrier from the inside would give you a light electroshock. The Government feared much more a potential escape than a potential infiltration.
The person who was managing the barrier was part of the Task Force. Actually, there were two people with Barrier quirks, brother and sister, twins, they were taking turns in order to keep it always activate. In fact the barrier was up only as long as that person was awake, so they were doing 12h each. They had an escort of fighting quirks and were apparently trapped deep underground in a secret location to ensure that no one would be able to attack them. The Barrier quirk was a B quirk, yet their lives were still ruined forever. Izuku sighed as brace himself for the landing.
While he waited for the plane to completely stop he observed the large structure. It was not particularly high, probably two floors at most, but really extensive. The structure alone covered half the island and it was most unwelcoming. It emanated an aura that was screaming ‘prison’. As far as he knew, though, this was not the actual prison for failed A and S. It had a very serious appearance, it was all gray with no color anywhere, the roof tiles were black. Good thing the surrounding area was pretty green, with plants herbs and flowers too. After living with a florist for eighteen years it was unthinkable to live in a place without any vegetation.
The Detector signaled him to get off the plane and he emerged from the vehicle only to find Aizawa right in front of him. The man slid his goggles off and looked at him for a second before positioning them back into place.
“Looks like you didn’t escape to Hawaii,” his tone was flat and uninterested, “smart thinking. Now, everyone is already in the classroom, we were supposed to start the ‘entrance ceremony’ this morning but since you have just arrived we are starting before lunchtime. You go to the classroom and meet the others, I need to drop your stuff in your room.”
Izuku was wondering why did he need to move his trolley personally when Aizawa gave him a series of complicated direction for reaching the classroom. He was lost after the first three. As the plane was preparing to take off again he made his way to the front door. Taking a look at the building he saw something white in one of the windows of the second floor. He looked again, focusing better, and he could make out a figure, it was a girl with short black hair. She waved at him with a smile. He returned the wave hesitantly but the girl had disappeared. Feeling a chill down his spine he wondered if ghosts were a thing there.
The entrance hall was very spacious and very empty. White and gray were still the main colors and there was barely any furniture at all, not even bulletin boards. On the left was a set of stairs that led to the second floor. There were five black doors and two hallways on the left and right side. Right in front was a glass door that led to an external area. It would take a lot of time for him to memorize the layout of the building.
He took the corridor on the right and slowly and uncertainly passed beyond doors after doors, luckily there where nameplates on them. An infirmary, a dining room, a changing room, Izuku was really surprised to see some recreational lab too, like a music lab and an art lab. He reached a corner, the corridor was continuing on his left, but while he was about to turn he noticed the female bathroom door opening. A girl with short brown hair and a round face came out and stopped when she noticed him.
“Oh hello!” she greeted him cheerfully. “You are the new one, right? Well, I guess everyone is new, but you are the last one here!”
“Y-yeah, ah, hello!” he hurriedly greeted back. “Yes, I mean, I'm late, I guess… I was trying to find the classroom.”
“Oh, I can show you the way, I’m going there too after all,” he smiled at him in a friendly way, “Aizawa’s introduction is going to start soon. We were literally waiting for you!” She led the way down to the hallway. “This place is pretty big! Took me some time to get used to it! You know, we are here since Friday, so we had some time to familiarize a little. Ah, but don’t worry. No important information has been revealed yet, at least not in public, so you won’t be left behind. We haven’t really spoken to each other either. That’s not really a rule but it’s not a good idea to potentially slip up something even before the test starts! But I know everyone’s face at the very least! By the way, I’m Urara, nice to meet you, and you are?”
The girl was incredibly chatty, Izuku was kinda surprised. Did this friendly girl really have a dangerous quirk?
“Midoriya Izuku, nice to meet you too.” he answered feeling a little overwhelmed. “Is there a girl with black hair in this test?”
The girl was observing him intensely for some reason.
“Hm? Someone you know?” she snapped out whatever thoughts she was having. “There is a ponytail girl with black hair. Is it her?”
“No, not really.” he shook his head. “When I entered the building I saw a girl with black short hair, even shorter than yours, from a window. I was wondering if it was someone you knew.”
“Hmm.” she tilted her head. “I wonder if it is someone’s quirk. I’ve never seen anyone like that in this place. She is not one of us and as you probably know only Aizawa is here beside us. Well, excluding the Barrier people and their guards.”
He remembered that the man was moving his luggage personally. Was really him the only person inside the whole building? What about cooks, nurses, janitors? Then he realized, it was not a vacation, they were supposed to take care of themselves completely, weren’t they?
“Of course. It’s the first thing I checked when I arrived. It’s a very important information after all.” she sighed for some reason.
“Is it?” Izuku was not really following her.
The girl looked at him straight in the eyes for a long moment, then she smiled amicably, ‘not at all’ she said. Then she didn't talk for a bit, she was lost in some amusing thought if he had to judge based on her little smile. After passing three more doors, one was called science lab, the other Task Force archive and the last one study room, she addressed to him again, cheerful as ever.
“The right wing of the building is the educational department. There is all you may want to study or experiment. There is an incredibly big library too, and of course the classroom is here. There is only one, so you can’t get lost!” she pointed at the door that was at the end of the corridor, it was the library. “The classroom is right on the left of the library, you can’t miss it.” she pointed the only door without a plate. “The left wing is where the other facilities are. On the center of the building there is an indoor gym and on the very back Aizawa’s quarters. I would say that it’s better if you don’t go there, he is always in a bad mood, you know?” she turned to face him right before reaching the classroom door. “I can show you around later if you want. I’ve got a feeling that we will have a lot of free time!”
Then she opened the door without waiting for his response. She called out to the people inside to greet him and went sit in one of the desks on the front of the room. Izuku stood on the doorframe for a bit while the others greeted him and commented on his tardiness. Izuku sent a generic greeting in response and took his time to look at each one of them walking slowly.
The Urara girl was seated in the first row on the left, in a double desk with a guy with black hair and square glasses, he looked really serious and stiff, his face didn’t seem used to smiles. In the second row were seated two girls, one had very long black hair that was reaching her waist and was tied with a ribbon, she was listening attentively the other one who looked really chatty. The chatty girl had fluffy ginger hair, the soft curlies were resting on her shoulder, she had big, bright brown eyes that made her look very lively but she was acting much more masculine than you would expect from such feminine looking girl. On the last row were seated a girl and a guy, the girl was the one that Urara mentioned, the ponytail one, and she had a severe look in her face while the guy had his hair half white and half red, his eyes were of a very light shade of blue. On the right side of the room on the back was seated a guy alone, the other half of the desk was unoccupied, he was resting his head against the window and looking down at the hands on his desk. He was wearing black gloves, his quirk probably had something to do with that. He had red, messy hair and a face that somehow was communicating sadness, or maybe loneliness. The middle row, just like the last and the first one too, had only one guy. He had blond hair with some black strands, they looked like black lightning, he was wearing a headset and bouncing his head following some kind of rhythm. Weren’t they supposed to not bring technology on the island? Why was no one commenting on it?
The last person, in the front row, was the first one Izuku had actually noticed, he just wasn’t ready yet. He had not noticed him yet either, he was looking out of the window ignoring his surrounding. Izuku sighed, recognizing his usual behavior. It looked like coming here wasn’t going to change his attitude. Izuku wondered why the guy with the headset had not decided to sit next to any of the two. Probably because both had a ‘no getting closer’ attitude, it was clear that he wanted to stay as far away from them as possible. Izuku wondered if he was the only one in the room that decided to sit on the right side with the ‘dangerous ones’ because he was carefree, or because he had lost some kind of battle with the others.
In any case the right side was clearly the place where the unwanted were sitting. And it was where Izuku was going to seat too, apparently, there was literally nowhere else for him to sit. He didn’t really mind anyway, they could be scared of him but he sure wasn’t, seating beside a friend didn’t sound so bad either. He stopped beside the empty chair and called up to him.
Behind him he could hear some surprised gasps and even a strangled cough, like someone had just choked on saliva. He ignored them. Katsuki turned instantly, shock clearly written on his face, then it became even more evident as he recognized him. He raised his right hand, pointed at Izuku, then at the walls and then he drew a question mark in the air. For a split second Izuku was taken aback, then he remembered. Right, Katsuki was still forbidden to speak. He would forever be forbidden to speak.
-What are you doing here?-
“Eh, things happened.” he seated down and shrugged. “Turned out I’m supposed to be here too, after all.” he tried to light up the mood a little.
Katsuki was still looking at him in shock but now there was a hint of disbelief too. He drew the question mark again. Izuku smiled when he realized that he could still get the general feeling of what he was signaling immediately.
Before he could answer, not even sure of what he would answer in the first place, Katsuki started to search through his stuff and pulled out a notebook. The notebook. Izuku was hit by a light wave of nostalgia as he remembered just how many conversations they had with one of those. Katsuki quickly scribbled something with his messy calligraphy.
-Since when you have a quirk?! And an A or S?! Are you joking?-
“It’s kind of a long story,” he smiled awkwardly and lowered his voice to a whisper, “I’ll tell you more later. I just want to say that I’m not a danger to you or anyone here, even if I’m an S my condition is pretty ridiculous, there is just no way I’m using this quirk.”
Katsuki was looking at him like he just grew three additional heads. Aizawa entered the classroom before they could progress the conversation any further. When the man reached his teacher desk and started to clear his voice Katsuki slipped the notebook in front of him once more.
-Anyway, stupid, don’t give my name away so easily, you idiot! Don’t you know that the name is like, the most common condition for a quirk activation?! They probably already knew it since I was on the internet and stuff but still!-
Then and only then he connected the dots, the girl earlier, the way she was looking at him after he gave her his name… She tricked him into saying it, didn’t she? How great, he had been there for like an hour and he had already messed up completely. He wanted to go back home.
Have you recognized them?
'Urara' called herself with a shorter version of her last name on purpose, you are not going crazy!
In this place they cannot use their names lightly so you have to get used to some nicknames I've come up for them.
If you have some doubts about some of the characters, maybe you have not recognized some of them, don't worry. You'll have all the time in the world to understand who they are.
Next chapter will be released May 21.
I wanted to give you a good feel for the story before I'm starting a serious releasing schedule.
Aizawa scratched his head with a sigh.
“Before any of you get any strange idea… The fact that I don’t see doesn’t mean that I don’t see. My goggles have special infrared rays and heat detectors. Before any of you have the wonderful idea to try and trick me I want to make clear that no one ever succeeded. I may have a disadvantage but I know everything about your quirks, don’t pull any stunt. I’ve already sent enough people in confinement because of something stupid like this.”
Izuku had wondered for a time how was Aizawa moving around with his goggles on, now he knew. It made perfect sense actually, he should have thought about that sooner.
“Now, for the rules… First thing first, the most important thing is that you are out as soon as you physically hurt someone enough to bleed. I don’t care if it’s just a little cut, if there is bleeding you’re out. Obviously, even if there is no bleeding but the hurt dealt is big enough, let’s say a broken bone for example, you’re out. Basically, I decide what’s too much, so just deal with it.”
This was a nice rule, at least Izuku didn’t have to worry about getting hurt. It meant that he could not use Acid Skin but he wasn’t planning to in the first place.
“Second rule. You pass as long as you don’t get sent in confinement. Which means that if you’re still in this, next year, you automatically pass. You may think that it sounds too easy, and it is actually, but you are missing the point. You are here to demonstrate that you are trustworthy, that you won’t hurt someone with your quirk no matter the situation. Furthermore, it would not be fair for everyone if this test was any different than this. There are people here who are absolutely forbidden to use their quirks and have low chances of getting anything done.”
Izuku was really surprised, he had heard from Katsuki that the test was a fierce battle for survival, how was this possible if all you needed to do was wait for the end of the year?
“Third rule. I’ve said that you can pass just by waiting… well, that’s not entirely correct. At least one of you must lose, if you do absolutely nothing for a year it would not make any sense. Specifically, if one of you get another, no matter how, to say ‘I surrender’ then you get to pass immediately. If you surrender three times you’re out. To summarize, everyone who gets to make someone surrender wins, while a person who surrounds three times lose.”
Now Izuku was starting to get a better idea of the situation. Everyone wanted to pass as soon as possible to avoid the possibility to end in prison for the rest of their lives. All of them had quirks that allowed them to pull some law-breaking actions. Izuku had a thought, what about Katsuki? His quirk was made for this kind of situation, but was he allowed to use it?
“Fourth rule. You can use your quirk as creatively as possible. I encourage you to think of some way of making a good use of your quirk. Obviously, there are some exceptions. First, the blond guy in the first row, he is completely forbidden to use his quirk, no matter what. Second, the guy with red hair in the last row, the same goes for him. Third, the guy with the square glasses, he can use it with moderation. If you even attempt to break this rule you are gone as fast as the wind.”
Made a lot of sense. Everyone was nodding when Aizawa mentioned Katsuki, clearly everyone knew about his quirk and no one was surprised that it was forbidden.
“Fifth rule. For the whole duration of this test you are absolutely forbidden to reveal your quirk. Its name, its conditions, any direct information. You are out if you do. On the other hand, the others are permitted to guess or find out everything about it in any way they want. You are actually encouraged to find out as many as you can since it can make the difference between your freedom or your imprisonment. As long as the information doesn’t come out directly from the person’s mouth. Ah, clearly no writing either.”
That was why everyone was so incredibly suspicious of everything. Since they could only guess what information or thing could activate someone else’s quirk everything was dangerous.
“Sixth rule. Since your quirks are random as hell, everything would become a huge mess if I don’t implement some way to understand that you are being targeted by something. So, before using your quirk on someone, or multiple people, you have to send your target a Calling Card. They are anonymous, obviously, but at least the person that received it can stay on guard for any anomaly. If you receive a Calling Card you better do your best to avoid dangerous situations. After you send the card you have the next day, from midnight to the following midnight, to successfully attack your target. If you fail it’s not a problem, but you will have to wait a week before trying again with that person. You are free to try another one, though. If you don’t intend to use your quirk you can do whatever you want. Another important thing you have to remember is that a person who has surrounded can’t send a Calling Card for a month after that day.”
This was getting complicated. It was a good thing, though, to have some way to know in advance that you were a target. This whole test looked like a psychological war. The terror of an unknown, dangerous quirk directed at you…
“That’s it. I’m probably forgetting something… oh well.” he scratched his head again, completely uninterested. “I know everything about all of you and your quirks, but don’t even try to get information out of me, it would be stupid. I won’t interact with you much and I won’t even call your name. What information you want to share it’s up to you. You are free to use fake names, sell or buy information, cooperate with others, anything goes. You are even free to become all the best of friends and just not do anything, make someone surrender and then just live peacefully. Well, if you think that you can trust others, that’s it.”
The way he said that last part was so ominous that Izuku felt a chill down his spine. It seemed like he was sure that something like that would never happen.
“Now, leaving aside the whole test ordeal, it’s important that you understand why you are here. This is not a punishment but an opportunity, so you better take it for what it is. You don’t necessarily need to show off or prove your worth or anything like that, what you want to do with your life is your business. The only thing that’s absolutely required of you is a total respect for the rules and learning the importance of the law. That’s why here you have mandatory lessons in which you will memorize and understand every single one of them. You all have years of compulsory education on your shoulders so don’t expect me to give you lessons about math or literature. Whatever interest or career beside the Task Force you want to pursue it’s completely up to you, you will have a lot of free time. Do whatever you want.”
The class filled with animated whispers. It looked like the serious part of the introduction was finished.
“So…” Aizawa shuffled some papers on the teacher desk. “Aside from my private quarters, the whole building is at your disposition. You are free to use your personal room or pitch a tent in the library, I don’t really care. There is no stupid stuff like curfews, you are all adults, take care of yourself. You will have to take care of stuff like laundry, cooking and so on, if you are not capable then learn, or find a way to make someone else do it for you. Don’t ask me, I survive on instant noodles.”
That earned a few chuckles. Aizawa concluded his speech saying that next to the blackboard was a timetable of the mandatory lessons and to knock on his door at any time to ask for a Calling Card to use or in case of emergencies. And to not bother him with anything else. He left without a word of farewell.
“A man of solitude, hm?” said suddenly voice next to Izuku’s desk.
The girl from earlier was resting on his desk with her head on her crossed arms, she was looking at him from below.
“Urar--ah…” he stopped himself just in time.
“Oh, it’s fine, you can call me that! I mean, it’s a fake name so there is no problem!” she smiled at him apologetically. “I’m sorry, you really didn’t know about the name policy, did you? I mean, you even called him,” she pointed at Katsuki, “with his real name without thinking twice! I was thinking that you had me figured out and that you gave me a fake name but I guess not. So, I’m telling you that I didn’t give you my real name, it’s my apology for tricking you, forgive me!”
She closed her eyes and joined her hands in prayer. Izuku was once again a bit overwhelmed. The girl was really chatty and now it was difficult for him to understand if she had always ulterior motives or not. He could see what Aizawa meant when he said that to was difficult to trust others here.
“Okay, it’s okay, it was my fault for not thinking about this sooner…” he smiled a bit awkwardly.
As the girl was opening her eyes and placing her hands back on the desk he heard Katsuki snort from behind him, he saw him scribbling something in his notebook.
“By the way, are you two friends or enemies? I mean, considering the fact that you call him with his first name in this situation it must be one of those two options!” her gaze was shifting between the two of them. “Judging by the fact that you are sitting together I would say friends, where did you two—“
Katsuki got up suddenly, put his notebook away and left without looking in their direction at all. They both followed him with their eyes until he disappeared beyond the door before looking at each other again.
“Not very social, hm?” she smiled.
“He can’t talk.” he was pretty sure that this was not an information that he was supposed to keep a secret.
“Oh, I know that, I think I know everything about his quirk,” she admitted casually, “but there are tons of other ways he can communicate with us right?”
Izuku didn’t answer, she was right but he had his reasons too. He gave up socializing really early in his life and now he just could not be bothered anymore. It took him a month to get Katsuki to communicate with him when they first met during high school.
“Hey, I offered to show you around, didn’t I?” she changed the subject, cheerful as always. “What do you say? Think that you can trust me?”
Well, if she was going to put it that way how was he supposed to refuse? He didn’t want to be rude on the very first day. She waved at the others in the classroom who were starting to get ready to leave and waited for him outside of the door. She pointed at the library that was nearby and they started from there.
“I was wondering…” he hesitated a little but the girl didn’t seem to have too many trouble asking for information so he wanted to take advantage of that if possible. “I’ve seen that one of the guys had headphones, I thought that all objects from outside were forbidden?”
“Oh, no, those headphones comes from the music lab,” she tilted her head a little, “I guess that you can ask him if you want to use them. All things here are a communal property, so probably there will be trouble in case a lot of people want the same item…”
“Ah, I don’t really want the headphones, I was just…” he tried to justify himself.
“Collecting information?” she smiled at him. “I see that you’re starting to get in the right mindset!”
The library was pretty impressive, it was spacious, the ceiling was high and made of glass making the whole ambient well lit. It had an upper level that was accessible from two stairs in the right and left corners, the upper level had a balcony which let you see the area below. In the center there were three long tables, all over the place were positioned various armchairs. Izuku thought that it was even too beautiful for a place like this. He doubted that it was used to its full potential.
“Why is there a study room down the corridor if this place already fulfills that role?” he asked her.
“Hmm… That room is pretty small… Probably it’s for people who want to study alone.” she pondered. “This place is kind of open, there is no privacy whatsoever. The real problem will be when people will start to take books from here and hide them somewhere. Since there is no librarian, one can take what they want. If important study material gets stolen we will all be in trouble with Aizawa’s lessons…” she stretched her arms. “Ahh, this place is so perfect for losing faith in others… You don’t even have to try hard to make things difficult for everyone.”
Izuku was pretty impressed, in a bad way, by just how crafty her mind was. She already had a lot of ideas, didn’t she? They took a quick look inside the music lab and the science lab, then she said that she was getting bored and that he could look at the labs at his own pace. She grabbed his left arm and dragged him into the dining room. The room was divided in half, one half had a long wooden table and ten chairs with no other furniture, the other half had a small kitchen.
“This is what I wanted to show you, the kitchen.” she pointed with her finger. “Since we need to take care of ourselves, food is pretty important.” she smiled. “See that door over there? It’s the pantry, inside are stored most of the ingredients. Do you know how to cook?” she entered the pantry and he followed her inside.
“Well, some stuff, I guess…” he kept his answer vague.
She chuckled then stood up on tiptoes looking for something on the highest shelf, she started to jump a little when she could not reach it.
“Aww, think that you can reach the chocolate up there?” she asked him with a pout.
“No, I can’t, I’m barely any taller than you, how can I?” he answered a bit surprised, could she not see it just by looking?
“Right, I guess that you are around 170, maybe? I guess I’ll have to take a chair!” she brought a chair from the other room and used it as a stepladder. Once she had her chocolate bar in her hands she grinned satisfied. “Have you noticed? There are only canned ingredients here. Since we receive a cargo of objects only once in a while we need to cultivate our own fresh ingredients!”
She took his arm once again and dragged him to the indoor gym area. Call it gym was not entirely correct, it was more like a courtyard with a glass roof. The terrain between the two wings of the building was clean of grass and perfectly flat. It was basically a playfield create in an unutilized space. Beyond the playfield, on the very back of the building, was a space full of rows of vegetables and on the sides were two fruit trees.
“We can take this stuff whenever we want, but it would be best if we could find a way to make everyone cooperate to produce new ones.” she said with her arms crossed behind her back. “It would be bad if we were to remain without fresh food. Ah, by the way,” she pointed at the two windows right above them, on the second floor of the building. “Those are Aizawa’s windows. In case you need to find him, his quarters are there.”
Izuku had a decent understanding of the right wing and the center of the building now, the second floor and the left wing were still a mystery. Reentering the building she started to show him the left wing.
“Let’s leave the second floor for later, there is where our rooms are and little else, on this wing, however, are the most useful things.” she led the way through the hallway on the left. “Here we have a big room for laundry, luckily the washing machines are easy to use.”
It really was big, there were ten washing machines and five drying machines. Some irons were stored on a shelf.
“I think we have a sewing lab too, so if you need to sew something you better try there. I don’t really know how we are supposed to get new clothes… I mean, I hope we are not supposed to stay in the ones we have for a whole year!” she rolled her eyes and proceeded further into the hallway. “Here is the storage room, but I think that a lot of people have actually started to call it ‘the convenience store’. It’s where most things are stored, like toothbrushes, shampoos…”
It really looked like a store, only without prices. The shelves were filled with every kind of everyday stuff. Further down the hallway was a supply closet with cleaning tools like vacuums and brooms. Then she stopped in front of a double door.
“Now, check this out!” she pushed the door wide open. “It’s a pool! We have a pool! This is not a vacation but they are surely treating us well, don’t you think?”
She looked very excited about this, for some reason. He supposed it was kind of different but... wasn’t the ocean right outside? Unless she wanted to swim on rainy days he could not really see her point. Picking up on his awkward attempt at a smile she pouted and walked down the hallway with her chest puffed out.
“I was going to show you the rooms but I guess that you can go alone if you’re going to be a meanie!” she turned to face him with a smile. “I’m joking, but you have seen the most important parts by this point. On the second floor are the rooms and two big bathrooms. We have individual shower rooms, but if you want to take a real bath you have to use the communal one. The two wings are divided by sex, the right one is for females the left for males. So the rooms are divided into the two wings and there is a bathroom for each side. Too bad they made only a changing room for the gym and one for the pool though… Why make a unisex changing room? Sheesh.” she paused for a bit tilting her head. “Yep, that’s about it. You can explore the rest on your own I think. I’m going now, I suppose you have to take care of your luggage, right? I’ll see you around!”
She waved her hand and left him behind.
Izuku really wanted to shut himself in his room, he needed a moment to collect all his thoughts. When he reached the second-floor hallway he searched for his room. It was the only one without a number plate on the door. Since he was enrolled at the last minute they had not had the time to make a nice looking plate like they did for the others. He had to ask Aizawa if he could have one later, he didn’t particularly want to stick a piece of paper to the door.
The inside was very nice. It was spacious and it had a large window with a view of the ocean. There was not much in term of furniture, only a wooden desk and a chair, a low square table on a carpet, some shelves, a closet and a bed. A door led to a private toilet and shower room. Inside the closet he found some sheets and pillows. He needed to make the bed later. His trolley was on the floor.
Izuku took off his jacket and was about to start preparing the room when he noticed a piece of paper inside a pocket. He took it and opened it, recognizing the handwriting immediately.
-Come to my room later-
He felt a chill down his spine, he wasn’t really sure that he wanted to be alone with him. Considering… But he wanted to see him, too. He fidgeted, full of conflicting feelings. A part of him was telling him that in this place and situation he was better off focusing on what he was doing, more than on making things even more complicated. Another part, however, was reminding him that it was stupid to be afraid of confronting him. He had nothing to be ashamed of.
He wasn’t going to forfeit his only ally anyway, so even excluding everything else he still needed to go. Clenching the piece of paper he left his room and searched for Katsuki’s. He had to face a dilemma, he had no idea which number he had, why he had not written it on the paper? He had to knock on casual doors. First he tried the one on the left of his own door, inside was the red hair guy who opened the door just a little bit, Izuku apologized and asked him if he knew where ‘the blond guy’ was. He had to bit his tongue, he was just about to say his name again. The red hair pointed at one of the doors to his left and closed his door without a sound. As it turned out, Katsuki’s room was at only three doors from his, on the left, it was the number 4.
Katsuki opened almost immediately, he gestured him to come inside then closed the door with impatience. Izuku stood in the center of the room fidgeting a little, not knowing what to do with himself. The room was basically the same as his, same furniture and disposition. Only it was full of stuff, Izuku could see canned food and daily life objects spread all over the place. It looked like he was ready to enter hibernation. Katsuki threw his notebook at him without warning and Izuku could only barely catch it.
A single word was written on it. Izuku sighed, obviously he wanted to know why he was there. He could not speak about his quirk, however.
“You know that I can’t tell you the name of my quirk or the conditions, right? I’ve already told you that it’s an S… The conditions for its activation are so unlikely that I never knew of its existence. I’ve literally discovered it two days ago. They told me that it was better to enter the test immediately instead of waiting another year… I didn’t have much time to get used to the whole situation… sorry if I’m making mistakes…” he gave his notebook back.
Katsuki frowned and plopped down on his bed, he scratched his head with the pen like he was searching for the right words. Izuku knew that Katsuki was the type of person that wanted everything immediately, having to actually write down, with patience, what he wanted to communicate was a major pain for him. Apparently he had too much he wanted to say right now but he could not find a good way to do it, his frustrated expression was a clear testimony of that. He ended up scribbling a single sentence.
Izuku could feel his own frustration matching Katsuki’s. During the previous years the notebook had been enough to convey what they wanted to say. Now nothing was enough to unravel this mess. Katsuki scribbled something again.
-Don’t just stand there, you are giving me the willies, sit somewhere!-
Izuku smiled awkwardly at his nervousness and sat down on the carpet clutching his hands together. This new position did nothing to ease their nerves, the silence was extremely uncomfortable.
What does one say when meeting their ex not-exactly-boyfriend in such a strange situation after six months?
Do I spot a Persona fan around here somewhere? *looks away innocently*
I'll make some reference here and there but nothing too big, I hope no one is bothered by it!
Is everything clear? Did I explain the rules properly? I sure hope so.
Next chapter will be posted on May 28, see you soon!
Chapter 4: Body Swap
In this chapter the first 'investigation' will start and it will be pretty logic-oriented.
It will be much more fun to try and solve the mysteries together with Izuku and Katsuki instead of just waiting for the answers. Some quirks will be quite easy to spot, mostly because the owner is not trying to keep it a secret, others will be a bit more challenging. For some there will be simply little evidence to work with, I'll drop hints about everyone and every condition all over the place but they are easy to miss, of course, it's intentional. Try to collect clues and formulate theories about all of them.
I'll be happy to read them if you want to share.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After a while, Katsuki took his pen again and started to scribble furiously. He kept going for several minutes, Izuku waited patiently, knowing that he would not appreciate any interruptions. It was like interrupting a person while they were speaking after all. When he finished, he tore off the page, rolled it and tossed it at his head.
-The doors don’t have a lock, so you better create one, if you don’t know how to do it, then learn. Start to pile up food as soon as you can, but try to be subtle about it. You never know when someone is going to take it all and you’ll starve. Aizawa takes a boat once a month to meet with the cargo folks to replenish the supplies for this place. You must be able to survive a month without new supplies, don’t expect me to give you anything if you are too stupid to think ahead. Also, find yourself a nickname, you can’t use your name anymore. And don’t give anyone ANY information, it doesn’t matter what it is, there are all kinds of weird quirks and conditions in this world. Don’t give away my information either!-
Izuku read it all and smiled a little. Katsuki was selfish and individualist but he was still going to look out for him. When he looked up he saw that he was writing again. After a moment, he threw that paper at him too.
-By the way, don’t misunderstand! This is a business contract I’m setting up! I’m not helping you! I expect something in exchange! You know that I can’t use my quirk or speak, and I’m shit at extracting information from others. I’m basically defenseless. So, I’m expecting you to tell me everything you find about anyone. EVERYTHING-
Izuku sighed, same old Katsuki. His way of asking for help was always so forceful. In a way, this was a good thing, though. It gave them both a good excuse for trusting each other without having to put emotions into play. Izuku was sure he could trust him, with or without a contract. He was never going to doubt him. He had always been the only one to trust him, despite everything, nothing was going to change. Ever.
“Yes, I accept, this sounds reasonable enough.” he tried to sound confident in himself. “I haven’t discovered anything useful yet. I’ll let you know as soon as I do.”
Katsuki nodded then wrote down something in a corner of a new page, ripped the piece and throw it at him as usual.
-You should stop talking to that girl. She is a hyena, scavenging for corpses-
“Wow…” Izuku was sarcastic. “What a nice compliment…”
Katsuki rolled his eyes and shrugged, Izuku could guess.
-Think whatever you want, but I’m right and you’re wrong-
“Anyway,” Izuku sighed dropping the subject, “about nicknames… I can be Izu, I guess… You can be… Kat?” he tried with an awkward smile.
Katsuki sent him a murderous glare and threw him a paper ball right between his eyes.
-Do you wanna die?-
Izuku massaged the spot with an unimpressed expression. Another paper ball flew on the table in front of him.
-Go away, you’ve annoyed me enough for one day!-
Izuku picked himself up without hesitation and waved at him before leaving the room. He realized that they had not decided the nicknames, Katsuki could not blame him if he was going to call him with his name then. He immediately took his advice and went into the pantry to collect some food, not too much, but not too little. Then he went to the ‘convenience store’ to do some ‘shopping’, which entailed basically stealing an exemplar of anything that looked useful. It took him five trips back and forth to move everything, but by the evening, he was mostly set up. His room was now a little messy, but he could figure out something later, he was pretty tired and wanted go to sleep, especially since the next day he had class at 9 am. Apparently Aizawa hated waking up before eight thirty in the morning since all the classes were from nine on. Not that he was complaining. He liked the idea of sleeping a bit more than his usual time for school. He looked at the calendar on the wall. It was the first of April. He was supposed to start university the thirteen of April. Now his life had taken a 360-degree turn.
The bed was comfortable enough and he easily fell asleep. The alarm clock woke him up. The alarm rang differently from the one in his bedroom back at home, so he woke with a start. Then, as he took a glance around the dark room, he remembered that he was not at home anymore and collapsed on the bed again. He ruffled his hair a bit, not wanting to get up. For some reason that simple motion felt a bit strange, he turned his face, trying to adjust to the dark without turning the light on. Something was wrong.
He sat up when he noticed that the objects were different from the ones he remembered taking and they were placed differently. They were a lot more, too. Annoyed by the sound he moved to shut up the alarm clock when he realized something. He had not brought an alarm clock in his room. It was clearly a mistake, a lack of insight on his part since he needed to go to class. Still, his quirk was not Telekinesis, the alarm could not had gotten into his room on itself!
He got up, his heart beating fast, and turned on the light. This was not his room! He was alone inside so the possibilities of having been kidnapped were not that high, unless they had locked him in to prevent him from going to class. Could he be eliminated if he were to not show up for class? He was starting to panic when he recognized the room. The paper balls from earlier were in Katsuki’s trash bin. What was he doing in his room?! He looked down and was hit by realization like a truck on full speed.
Katsuki was wearing a t-shirt and his boxers to sleep, just like--- WHAT WAS HE DOING IN KASTUKI’S BODY?!
He ran inside the shower room to look at himself in the mirror and sure enough Katsuki’s face greeted him, it had an expression of pure shock that Izuku had never seen before. Panicking, he started to consider what to do, was Katsuki okay? The first thing he had to do was see if he was in his body, if they exchanged them somehow. He ran out of the shower room and while he was searching for some clothes he saw a black square on the floor. He hitched closer cautiously and after a moment he realized what he was looking at. It was a Calling Card.
Someone had slid the card from under the door to warn Katsuki that a quirk was going to be used on him. Izuku had no trouble see which one. If this card was here, then had he received one too, in his room? Izuku forgot that he was still in just boxers and ran to his room, the one without a number plate. He knocked strongly and repeatedly with his heart beating fast. The door opened way too late for his mental health and he was greeted by his own face. It was wearing a very annoyed expression, Izuku could immediately recognized Katsuki behind it. He opened his mouth, Katsuki’s mouth, to say something, probably to scream, but Katsuki slapped his hand on it with a murderous glance. Then he grabbed his arm and he pushed him inside the room rudely, closing the door with a bang. He stomped around the room until he found a piece of paper and a pen and he started to scribble furiously.
-Fucking stupid idiot! DON’T TALK! If you use my quirk and get me eliminated I’ll come for you, no matter where you are, and chop your head off!-
Izuku slapped a hand on his mouth, well Katsuki’s mouth, feeling a chill down his spine for how stupid he had been. Thankfully, he had not spoken yet, that was dangerous!
He observed, still frozen in place, as Katsuki scribbled some more. Izuku realized then, in his body Katsuki could actually talk, but he was still not going to, habit perhaps? Or maybe he had not realized that himself.
-You didn’t set an alarm! If you hadn’t knocked on my door I would have kept sleeping until who knows when!-
Izuku opened his mouth to apologize but he closed it immediately. He took out one of his own notebook and sat to write on the low table, Katsuki joined him on the carpet.
-Sorry! I forgot. More importantly! What’s this?! You received a Calling Card!-
Katsuki shrugged like this was not that big of a deal.
-Yeah, you too, it was right in front of the door when I woke up just now. Someone here has a Body Swap quirk. I don’t know how or why it’s you that I traded with, but it’s not that strange, calm down idiot-
Izuku reflected a moment and realized that he was right, there were much worse possibilities. Like they could have exchanged with a stranger that would use their bodies to say, ‘I surrender’. It was then that it hit him. They could make someone surrender by exchanging bodies! This was seriously a dangerous quirk to have for this test. But this person was not really bright, were they? Why not use this ability to exchange with themselves and score a win?
Exchange the body of two random people was not going to help them. The rule clearly stated that it was the person that made them say the right phrase to win, not the quirk user that made it possible. Katsuki could use this opportunity to win… If he wanted to betray him he could, he just needed to say the key words in front of Aizawa and it was done. Izuku peered at him nervously. Katsuki returned the look and sighed deeply.
-I would like to use you to win but… People’s trust in me is already shitty as it is, winning this way would only make them hate me more. I don’t need this in my life. We need to figure out who did this and how to return to our own bodies-
-You’re right. By the way, I understand this test, but how come this is an A quirk? It doesn’t look dangerous, just awkward-
Katsuki sent him a displeased look.
-Then you are really stupid. You can make someone surrender easily like this, so what about the rest? You can use another person’s body to do anything you like. What about taking advantage of someone else’s girlfriend? Or kill someone? How would the victim and society know that it was someone else entirely? This is one of the biggest law-breaking quirk that you can imagine. It doesn’t leave any trace behind, only a quirk that recognize minds or consciences can see the difference-
Izuku felt indeed stupid, Katsuki was completely right, this quirk was dangerous no matter how you looked at it. Secretly, he felt grateful that the Government was making sure that a person like that could not go on a rampage in the middle of a city. It really sucked being imprisoned and all that, but it was truly reassuring to know that the problem was being addressed. He understood better Aizawa’s words now, this test was not a punishment, it was an opportunity to prove that you would not break any law, no matter what. He could understand Katsuki’s refusal to use this opportunity too. Leaving the test after a day and by using a cheap trick would only make him even more suspicious, especially considering his quirk. The suspicions would never really leave him.
-Why do you think this person targeted us?-
He tried to ask, changing the subject. Katsuki frowned.
-They didn’t target us. We have met the condition without noticing, that’s all-
Izuku inhaled sharply, surprised. It made a lot of sense. It was not a mistake made by someone stupid, it was a forced result. That person’s quirk probably activated unwillingly. They just happened to activate it by chance. Izuku felt his respect for Katsuki grow. He really knew a lot about quirks, he had lived his entire life waiting for this test. Yet, he was still willing to take some risks by trusting him. After all, Katsuki could say ‘I surrender’ in his body and win, but Izuku would not be eliminated unless he surrendered two more times. On the other hand, all Izuku had to do was literally speak and Katsuki would never see the sun again. The thought of having such a big responsibility made him shudder.
-We need to go to class. You can’t tell me your conditions, but at least tell me if there is something that I can’t do. I don’t want to activate your thing by chance-
Izuku grimaced, what was he going to say? To tell him that nothing he could do was going to activate it would only make him more suspicious and maybe he would feel like he was lying to him on purpose. Izuku sighed.
-Just don’t kiss anyone-
Katsuki stared at him with wide eyes, Izuku felt odd looking at his own face with that expression, it was half funny, half embarrassing. Then his expression changed, it was like he had been hit by realization. With a curious expression he wrote something.
-Is your quirk something like Charm? Can you make anyone fall madly in love with you by kissing?-
-If this was true, then you would be madly in love with me by now-
The sentence was out of his pen before he realized what he was actually doing, he saw the results on his own face. Katsuki was blushing with an outraged expression, he started to hit him with the notebook on the head. Izuku tried to protect himself with his arms smiling and blushing a bit. Katsuki got up and started to point furiously at the t-shirt and boxers, then at the door. Izuku got the message quite well. He nodded then sneaked into the room number 4 to change. When he left the room again, fully clothed, Katsuki was waiting for him with his usual impatient expression painted on his face.
They reached the classroom together and sat in each other’s desks. Aizawa arrived after a while, way past 9 am. The lesson was about the basic branch divisions of the Government, he had already learned that in high school so he didn’t pay too much attention to it. In the meantime, he was thinking of a way to find the Body Swap quirk’s owner. No matter what he thought, he could not figure out anything, he simply didn’t know enough about the other people in the room. At the end of the lesson, Aizawa gave them a meeting for the following Friday and left without saying anything else. He was about to write something to Katsuki, a question probably, when we was suddenly distracted by the usual girl, Urara, and some other classmates. They were all converging in front of his desk, now occupied by Katsuki.
“Hi! How was the lesson? I realized that some of us haven’t introduced to you yet, since yesterday was the first day and all, so I convince them to!” she didn’t give Katsuki time to answer her. “As I already told you, please call me Urara! How should I call you?”
Izuku momentarily panicked, he could not answer at all, they could not know the vulnerable state they were in, it was Katsuki that had to do something. But was he capable of speaking in his body? He had yet to say anything. Katsuki looked like he was focusing for a moment, then spoke in an almost normal voice.
“I see, it seems like a good idea, I guess. You can call me Izu, I guess.” Izuku had no idea why he had to keep repeating ‘I guess’, but at least he had used the name he had chosen the day before.
“Izu! Cute name! C’mon everyone, introduce yourself!” she encouraged them with a smile.
The girl with the puffy hair raised her hand and spoke with a cheerful voice.
“Hi!! I’m Haru, nice to meet you!” she was almost singing.
“I’m Froppy, hi Izu.” said in a much more normal tone the girl with long black hair.
“You can call me Yao, nice to meet you Izu.” it was the girl with the ponytail that spoke this time, she had a business-like voice.
Then the guy with black lightning in his hair placed his palms on Izuku’s desk and leaned closer to his, well, Katsuki’s face. Katsuki leaned back with an annoyed expression.
“Yo man! You can call me Kami!” he smiled giving him a thump up.
“Kami?” said Katsuki with a sarcastic tone. “Like ‘God’? Narcissist much?”
Izuku, in Katsuki’s body, could not say anything even if he really wanted. Katsuki was going to ruin his reputation immediately, wasn’t he? He rested his face on the desk, covering it with his arms. That was the best he could do to hide his embarrassment. Then the guy with red hair and gloves passed near them and introduced himself as quickly as possible while running away from the classroom.
“You can call me Mishima.”
Everyone looked at the door where he had disappeared through. It was Urara, the first to comment it.
“Well, good to know, he had yet to say anything at all. Speaking of people that have not introduced themselves yet… Hey, you two, come here!” she called up to the guy with bicolor hair and the one with square glasses.
The bicolor guy approached them without saying anything while the other got up slowly, collecting all his school supplies, and went for the door without looking at them.
“Just call me ‘square glasses’ or something.” with that he was out of the classroom.
“Geez…” Urara looked somewhat bothered by him, but quickly reverted to her normal smile. “What about you?” she addressed the other one.
“Shu. I’m Shu.” he said in a neutral tone looking straight at him.
At him. Did he know Katsuki or something?
“I see, you have a cute name too!” Urara joined her hands. “Now we have everyone! Well except…” she sent a glance at him, or rather at Katsuki’s body. “What about you?” she asked in an uninterested tone, like she was asking more out of politeness than anything.
Izuku panicked, he could not answer. Was he supposed to write something? But what? Katsuki had not told him what he wanted to be known as. Katsuki, sensing his dilemma, frowned and answered for him.
“I think he would prefer to be known as his room number. Four.” then he got up. “Are we done with this introduction thing? I have things to do.”
Izuku started to collect Katsuki’s supplies and followed him out of the room as casually as possible. He didn’t want to give the wrong impression to all of them so soon. The others followed right after and then scattered in all directions. Katsuki was waiting for him near the study room with a displeased expression. He headed inside and sat at the table on the center of the room.
“We need to discover who did this or how.” he started while Izuku was seating in front of him. “Let’s try and narrow down the possibilities. First, I can say with complete certainly that it’s not the one with the red hair, Mishima or whatever. I know him, we were often called together for interrogations and certifications… He is forbidden to use his quirk, it’s too dangerous. I don’t know if the others know about it, but he made sure to tell everyone to not touch him. We can exclude the square glasses guy, Aizawa said to use his quirk with moderation. This quirk can’t be moderate or not, so it’s something else. I know nothing about the others. If I have to guess, though, I would say that this is your little hyena friend’s quirk. She is the one that knows both our names, right? There is something that doesn’t make sense though…” Izuku tilted his head and drew a question mark in the air. Katsuki frowned deeply. “She knows our names and her own name… she could have exchanged one of us with herself, not the two of us with ourselves. Unless this is some sort of test… Maybe she wanted to confirm that they were indeed our names… Still, I would not risk it if I were her. Because if we now know her quirk, we can sell her off during the week so that she has to wait before attacking us again.”
Izuku wrote in the notebook.
-What do we do?-
“Since I’m in your body now, I’m going to talk to her. If it’s not her she won’t suspect anything since she was being friendly with you. I suppose that your quirk is not useful for interrogation, right?”
Izuku didn’t had much of a choice so he nodded, agreeing to his plan, a bit worried. Katsuki talking to people with his body was not a great combination. Katsuki left the study room alone, Izuku waited for a reasonable amount of time before getting even more worried and deciding to spy on him. He found them in the entrance hall.
“How do I know that you aren’t lying? You are suspiciously friendly with everyone.” Katsuki was saying to her in a slightly aggressive tone.
“Well, I can’t really prove it, can I?” she was shrugging. “A deal is a deal, however, so here is my information: excluding Mishima, square glasses and Four, the only other person who is avoiding speaking too much is Shu. All the others are trying their best to extract casual conversations from others. What I’m saying is, if you discover the conditions you can easily understand who it is. Because, if you are saying this it means that someone used Body Swap on you... I don’t think that you have a quirk that reveals other people’s power or you would had not asked me any of this, you would be confronting the real owner right now. So basically… If it’s something based on conversation, you can retrace your steps. It’s just the second day, you can’t have spoken all that much with everyone, right? Your priority should be to discover what triggered it, not who. When you discover the conditions tell me, okay?” she smiled brightly at him before turning her back and climbing the stairs to the second floor.
Katsuki made his way back toward the right wing and then stopped when he saw Izuku peeking out of the corridor. Izuku offered an apologetic look and they returned together inside the study room.
“Don’t behave like a stalker while being in my body, I don’t need that kind of reputation!” he said irritably while sitting down once again. Izuku bowed his head a little to apologize. “Luckily she fell for it.” he was serious once again. “I’m sure she didn’t suspect that it wasn’t you. She doesn’t think that you’re close to anyone yet to have exchange with them and still behave normally. She would had not spoken that way had she known that it was me.”
Izuku wrote in the notebook again.
-I heard something about a deal? What did you do?-
“I’ve just told her that someone here has the Body Swap quirk. I offered her a deal. Her information was useless though. She thought it was you so she gave some advice for beginners. I already knew that. I couldn’t ask for more considering that I was pretending to be you… Problem is, you said that you spoke only with her yesterday, correct?” Izuku nodded. “Then it has to be either something about the names or something about a non-verbal action. We need to test this.”
Izuku nodded repeatedly, completely captured by his reasoning.
“When we wake up tomorrow if we are still in each other bodies then we can assume that this is an uncontrolled quirk. The owner has no control about it whatsoever. If they did, Aizawa would know they are violating the rule about not sending another Calling Card for a week. If so, it can’t be simply the knowledge of our names. It has to be something more complicated than that. Like a key word or a key action. Once we establish that, we have a good opportunity to discover the real conditions. You see, an uncontrolled quirk need the repeating of that action to stop working. Basically, we’ll return to our own bodies when we perform that action again. We just have to try until we get some results.” he concluded with a smirk.
Izuku was very impressed. Katsuki’s knowledge about quirks was astonishing. It actually sounded more difficult than anything, but Katsuki looked confident, like he was already sure that the answer would be in their hands in no time. Izuku was not that optimistic.
-What if this is a controlled quirk? What if it’s really about the name knowledge and this is just a test?-
That successfully swiped the smirk off him. He looked away, irritated and then answered reluctantly.
“If so, we are screwed.”
Controlled or active quirk:
It's a quirk the owner needs to focus on to activate. The owner can choose when to activate or deactivate it on their own free will as long as the condition is met. The price of this type of quirks has to be paid while activating the quirk or while using it, if they never use it they don't pay for it.
An example would be Detector or Barrier: condition -> activation -> use -> deactivation.
Uncontrolled or passive quirk:
It's a quirk that's always activated, independently of the owner will. As soon as the condition is met the quirk unleash its effect on the target even without the owner realizing it. Some quirk effects can be deactivated by repeating the condition, others are permanent. The permanent quirks are all banned from use without direct authorization.
Since the quirk is constantly in use the price will be distributed for the whole duration of the owner's life.
An example would be God's eye or Truth or Dare.
Haru and Mishima are both characters from Persona 5, I chose their names to give them a little tribute. While you can guess who Mishima is (I have chosen the name that sounds closer to his) don't worry too much about Haru. The fact that you can't identify her is a clue on itself. Advice: Instead of trying to find her identity based on the 'lack' of physical appearance, I would focus on what quirk can create a non-canon appearance.
Every character is canon, the fact that you can't identify her indicate that her quirk is something related to identity.
She can be anyone.
Next Chapter: June 4th.
Chapter 5: Alliance
I just wanted to say that in the last chapter there was a clue to understand who the owner of the Body Swap quirk is. If you want to try and guess who it is on your own this is your last chance, go back and search for it. If you'd rather have the answer immediately then keep reading :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Yeah well… I said that we can sell the quirk knowledge off… But it’s not like we have any proof that it’s her, or any way of contrasting it, right? We are defenseless. She will easily score a win with one of us and that’s that. We can’t really do anything to stop her.”
-So we just have… to admit defeat?-
“This is your fault! You told her your name!” he spat.
-Well, she already knew yours!!-
“Well that’s… it’s still your fault! You confirmed it by saying it in the classroom!”
Katsuki’s patience had reached its limit; he got up and left the room without turning back. Izuku knew that he was just tense and a bit worried, but it was still so not fair. He picked up the notebook and shut himself in his room, his room, the one without any number on it. He let himself fall on the bed and sighed deeply. Katsuki was always like that; he would lose his patience after a while and snap at him. Still, he was always able to come around after a while, this time he would too. Putting that aside for the moment, he tried to make a to-do list. First, he needed a lock for the door. Katsuki had said ‘learn’ but how? Izuku had spent a fair amount of time pondering when he finally reached a solution. He could not install a lock on the door, it was simply too complicated. But he could find a way to tie a chain on the handle, couldn’t he? He went into the storage room once more to fetch a thin chain and a small metal hook. Maybe it was not the best, but it could work. He needed a drill too though…
There was no drill there. Unsatisfied, he returned to his room and tried to tie the chain somewhere else, but there was nothing useful. In the end, he just pushed the low table against the door with a sigh. He needed to find a way to attach the metal hook to the wall somehow. Giving up for the day, he tried to change into his pajamas before realizing that this was Katsuki’s body. To put his pajamas on Katsuki’s body… He shook his head to get rid of the embarrassing image and went to sleep in his shirt and pants.
The next day he woke up still in the wrong body. He sighed with relief, this was an uncontrolled quirk. They were ‘safe’. Tired of eating cold food, he brought a cup of instant noodles to the kitchen to warm it up. There he found Shu, who was chopping some vegetables. He opened his mouth to greet him before remembering that he was still in Katsuki’s body and he could not speak. Shu looked pained for a second, as if he was afraid of being attacked. Izuku raised his hand in greeting trying to look casual. Shu acknowledged him with a nod. They stood in silence, side by side for a few minutes before Izuku’s noodles were ready to go, with steam coming from them. He was about to leave the kitchen when Shu stopped him.
“Urara is preparing a calendar for us to help take care of the vegetables.” he said.
Izuku nodded again, he didn’t have paper with him and even if he had had some, it was still out of character for Katsuki to thank someone. He would take care of this calendar thing when he found a way to return to his body. He didn’t particularly like the idea of interacting with the girl in this body. When he returned to his room, while he was setting the noodles on the table, he noticed a paper ball in one of his pants pockets. His heart skipped a bit after reading the message inside, thinking that it may have been Katsuki’s.
Paper balls were often associated to him, but after a moment, Izuku realized that it couldn’t be. Katsuki had never written ‘I’m sorry’ even when he was apologizing. He always found some convoluted way to avoid that specific phrase. The more he examined it, the more he was convinced; this was not Katsuki’s handwriting. Katsuki’s Y had a straight line, like an arrow, this one had a curvature. The double Rs were well defined, Katsuki’s R were an unintelligible mess. This was a message from the Body Swap quirk owner. It was a good person, after all, Izuku was relieved, and he had a pretty good idea of who it was too. It almost looked like they wanted to be uncovered.
It was only later in the evening that Katsuki finally knocked on his door. He had his arms crossed as if he was still trying to give himself an air of superiority, even if both knew that he was offering a truce. Neither of them mentioned it. Katsuki seated on the carpet still with his arms crossed.
“It’s an uncontrolled quirk.” he stated daring him to say anything.
Not that Izuku, in Katsuki’s body, could actually say anything even if he wanted. He just nodded opening the usual notebook that Katsuki had brought with him. He spread out the message that he found earlier on the table. Katsuki looked at it with a raised eyebrow.
“What’s that?” he asked.
-A message from the owner of this quirk-
“You know who it is?!” Katsuki’s interest perked up.
Izuku hesitated a moment, should he tell him his suspicions or not? They were in this together so obviously he should, but he was afraid that Katsuki would overreact and do something wrong. Izuku was pretty sure that he was not a threat, but it was only his gut feeling. He didn’t have any proof and trusting his instinct in this situation could be dangerous. Should he let Katsuki decide what was best for both? He was the one with the brain and experience… Izuku shook his head.
-I have an idea-
“Really?” he looked doubtful. “Let’s hear it.”
-At this point I’m sure it’s not Urara, so we can exclude everything that I told her. I didn’t talk with anyone except you and Mishima that day. And I’ve exchanged body with you. I think that it’s something that I’ve told you. You should try to repeat everything I said that day in front of all of them. If I’m right it should work-
Katsuki thought about it for a moment.
“You are right. This person must have witnessed or heard the condition. Quirks work based on either knowledge or on direct contact with the condition. If you fulfill a condition away from their eyes or ears, it won’t work. This plan will let us return to our original bodies, but it won’t let us know who or why. On the other hand, experimenting with a word at a time will take ages. I guess we will have to be content with just that.” he looked unhappy but resigned.
They gathered all the things Izuku had said to him that day and wrote them on the notebook for Katsuki to read them aloud the following day before the lesson could start. When they took a break, Katsuki noticed the chain on the desk.
“Are you trying to create a lock?”
-Yeah, and I’m failing. I can’t find a drill-
“You are really hopeless.” Katsuki sighed. “You are supposed to use sealant silicone; you can’t make a hole in a wall that doesn’t belong to you.”
Now that he mentioned it, it seemed very obvious. They went together inside the storage room and he showed him the correct silicone to use. Then both of them worked until the chain was somehow acceptably fixed. After that, Katsuki returned to his room, Izuku ate dinner and prepared to sleep. He wanted to return to his own body as soon as possible so he could take a shower. He suddenly wondered if Katsuki had taken a shower in his body or if he had changed into his own underwear. Izuku, feeling overheated, immediately tried to forget all of those thoughts.
The next morning, the fourth of April, was the perfect day to recreate the first-day scenario. At nine there was again a lesson from Aizawa, they would be all gathered in the room and it would be easier than searching and having a one-sided conversation in front of each person one by one. That would be incredibly suspicious. Izuku wanted to test his theory and try to repeat the conversation only in front of the person he was suspecting, but there was no way to do that without Katsuki’s cooperation. He didn’t feel like throwing him under the bus after they had apologized. He decided to apologize to him, knowing the exchange, and not to Katsuki. So, he wanted to at least try and talk to him before selling him off to Katsuki or the others. Izuku was aware of the fact that this was not how teamwork was supposed to go, but his conscience just would not let him betray that person’s offer of trust.
They met outside of the classroom and reenacted all perfectly. Izuku sat in Katsuki’s desk first and Katsuki entered the classroom last. When Katsuki called up his own name, like Izuku did the first day, he heard someone inhale sharply but he was not fast enough to see who. Some of the people in the room were observing them with confusion and curiosity but none of them made any particular move. The rest of the day was uneventful, Katsuki and Izuku waited for anything to happen but nothing changed. Katsuki told him that probably something would happen after they slept, just like last time.
He was right. The next day they woke up in their own bodies, finally. Izuku’s body has fallen asleep in Katsuki’s room so that’s where Izuku awoke. Apparently, Katsuki had had his same idea; he was still in his pants and t-shirt. Izuku didn’t know if Katsuki had taken a shower in his body and he didn’t want to know either, there were things that he’d rather they remained a mystery forever. He preferred to focus on the fact that now, he only had one t-shirt that was not all wrinkled, and he would have to do laundry later. Izuku was about to leave the room when Katsuki knocked on the door. He let him inside and Katsuki started to scribble on his notebook.
Izuku nodded. Now that the critical situation was resolved, he wanted to try to speak to his suspect. Maybe he would not confess, after all it was against the rules to reveal their own quirk, but his gut was telling him that he would gain something from it.
-Too bad we didn’t get to discover who it was, well as long as this isn’t a threat, I guess it’s fine-
Izuku left him, a number of tasks to complete ahead of him. There was no class that day so Izuku took a long shower, ate a warm toast in the kitchen and turned on the washing machine. While he was waiting for it to finish washing, Mishima showed up, they looked at each other for a moment. Izuku raised his hand in greeting, not sure if it was a good idea to speak all things considered, and the other mirrored his move a bit hesitantly. Mishima broke eye contact and went to prepare the washing machine further away from the one that Izuku was using. When both machines were running, an awkward atmosphere settled in the room. They were both sitting on the waiting bench without speaking or looking at each other. Mishima started fiddling a little with his gloves.
Part of Izuku wanted to start a conversation or something because ignoring someone like this was just wrong. But on the other hand, the one that he identified with Katsuki’s face, it was telling him that he spent three days in fear of a quirk, he didn’t particularly want to start all over again with a completely new quirk. Katsuki had said that he knew his quirk, and it had probably something to do with touch, if the gloves were an indication. But was it worth the risk? Maybe it was just him; he had been raised differently from the kids with dangerous quirks. No one taught him how to be rude to people to avoid risks. He wished he had asked Katsuki about this guy’s quirk. In the end, he never got to make a choice.
“Yo! Look who it’s here!” the voice belonged to the guy that wanted to be called Kami, the one with blond hair.
Both Izuku and Mishima jumped, startled by the sudden appearance. The guy strode into the room, then loudly prepared and turned on the washing machine next to the one that Izuku was using. Then he just plopped down right next to him, placing an arm on his shoulder casually. Izuku tensed up at the unexpected physical contact. Mishima’s expression was expressing a similar emotion, only stronger. It was as if he could not believe that someone would just boldly touch someone else. Izuku had mistakenly thought that everyone would be too wary of others to openly try something, but he realized his mistake. True, it was a risk, but most quirks could not work unless you were bold enough to steal knowledge or try a direct move. Katsuki would probably kill him if he was going to fall into a trap so easily. He discretely distanced himself a little, Kami noticed.
“Geez, all of you! You are all too cautious! This atmosphere, too! Looks like someone is going to drop dead any moment!” he laughed at his own comment. Izuku could not decide if he was being genuinely open or if it was a farce. Mishima surely didn’t seem to have appreciated it, he paled and looked down at his hands. “I understand that you are all a bit tense, but seriously, no one is gonna get hurt, Aizawa will prevent that! Take this vacation for what it is!”
Suddenly Mishima, who until that moment had tried to become invisible, raised his head and stared at him with hard eyes.
“How can you say that? You know nothing of mine, his, or anyone else’s situation. Don’t go and put all of us into the same category. Just because your quirk is probably something that doesn’t hurt people, don’t underestimate the others!” he got up and left the room, abandoning his laundry behind.
They both stared at the door he disappeared through for a moment before Kami shrugged.
“Man, that’s why I love my quirk so much. It’s so much easier to understand what people are thinking with it! I’ve never understood people without!” he winked at him.
Izuku was staring at him with wide eyes and his mouth open. Had this guy just revealed his quirk to him? Just like that?
“Are you… is your quirk Telepathy?” Izuku asked him.
“Close, but not quite!” he winked again. “My quirk is actually a gigantic mess! It’s difficult to use and it creates more problems than it solves!” for some reason he looked totally proud of it.
Izuku’s washing machine finished its work right at that moment and Izuku collected the damp clothes before putting them inside the dryer. Izuku returned to the bench, not knowing if he wanted to try to pursue the conversation from before or not. Kami decided for him.
“By the way, have you spoke with Urara?” he asked. “She is trying to make us all cooperate over the food. Not only the vegetables, she wants us to have the meals together as well, to share our cooking skills or something. What do you think, wanna participate?”
Izuku didn’t make any promises, he wanted to speak with Katsuki first.
“I’ll talk to her later.”
Kami nodded. Izuku gathered his laundry as soon as the machine stopped and left the room without adding anything else. He was about to reach his room, when he saw Shu entering his. They met eyes in silence, neither of them moved. After a while, Shu spoke.
“Do you want to come in?”
Izuku raised his arms full of dry laundry.
“I need to put this away, can you wait for me?”
Shu nodded. Izuku hurried to his room and dropped everything on his bed. Shu had left the door open for him. He observed his room for a bit while sitting in front of the low table. Shu’s room was much emptier than his and Katsuki’s and it was neater too. Had he not thought about gathering supplies or did he not need them?
“I’m sorry about the trouble my quirk put you through.” he bowed his head a little.
Izuku was surprised that Shu had just lowered his defenses so much, so suddenly. Yet he really could not think of this as a trap, after all, he clearly knew about the exchange and only the owner could have known. Izuku knew his secret, but Shu had nothing on him. How could this be a trap? He raised his hand in a pacifying gesture.
“No, it was no trouble really! I was just surprised, that’s all!”
“Even if you had to exchange body with that guy?” Shu was observing him curiously. “I guess you are not on bad terms, since you two are on first name basis, but still, I cannot see him as a very tolerant person.”
“Ah, I can see why you would think like that, but he is not that bad, really.” Izuku scratched his head a little.
“I see, I suppose you know better.” he changed the subject. “Anyway, you know my quirk, I have nothing on you. You can sell information about me if you want, I can’t stop you. The only thing I can offer you is an alliance; if you want, I can use my quirk for your benefit, in exchange for your silence. Actually, to be fair, if you sell my information, it’s very likely that you would be in danger, not me. Once the quirk conditions are out in the open anyone can use it at will. If you form an alliance with me I’ll tell you how to avoid the danger.”
Izuku thought very seriously about what he was implying. He spoke as though he had a disadvantage here but that was only a superficial view of the situation. Shu was implying that leaking his quirk would be more damaging than the opposite. Either he was lying to scare him or… he thought back to the little message, ‘I’m sorry’.
“Why are you proposing an alliance to me instead of just using your quirk to your own advantage?” he asked him.
“Because I don’t like the fact that people can use me to hurt other people. I’ve seen enough of that already. I’m here to prove my reliability, letting everyone take advantage of my quirk is not proof of that. It’s completely out of my hands as soon as everyone knows it.” he was very serious.
“What are your conditions?” Izuku tried.
“If you form an alliance with me I’ll tell you everything.” no luck there.
“Why not Four?” he tried again.
“I don’t trust his quirk. It’s too dangerous.” he answered without hesitation.
“He is not allowed to use it.” this was becoming way too tense for Izuku’s liking.
“Then he is useless, isn’t he?” Izuku froze at that. Harsh. Shu dropped his gaze and sighed. “No, actually, he can’t use my quirk because he can’t speak. That’s the real reason. You can, he can’t. Forming an alliance with you can be beneficial for both of us, I’ll let you use it as you wish, he simply can’t work with me. Have you made up your mind yet?”
Izuku was with his back against a corner. Shu had him exactly where he wanted; if he were to refuse an alliance, he was going to be afraid of his quirk forever. On the other hand, he could not betray Katsuki, no matter what. He could ask Shu to make an alliance with him too, even if he could not work directly with him. Izuku had no guarantees that he would accept and even if he did, he had not asked for Katsuki’s permission. Still, a part of him was telling him that Shu was not a bad person and having such a versatile quirk on their side could be actually a good thing. He took a deep breath and confessed.
“Actually, I’m already in an alliance with Four… So, if you want to work with me, you have to work with him too.” he tried to sound firm.
“I see…” the silence stretched. Izuku was starting to worry. Shu suddenly sighed. “I don’t really know if he is trustworthy or not, I really don’t like his quirk. But it’s true that he can’t use it, so I guess that it’s fine. In exchange, I want to know your quirk too, Izu. I’ll offer you all the information about my quirk and some insurance for the both of you, so I want the same in return. I was going to let you keep your quirk a secret, but if you are his friend I can’t really trust you completely.”
Izuku’s mind immediately found a solution for this new problem. He was surprising himself, when had he become so cunning? Then another thought hit him.
“How are you going to tell me your condition if the rules forbid you from say them?”
“Ah,” he smiled a little, “the rules don’t say anything about answering a question with a nod right?”
Impressive. Definitely, Izuku had still a lot to learn. He got up and left the room after telling him that he would speak with Katsuki. Izuku made his way to his ally's door and hesitated a moment. Was he capable of convincing him that this was for the best? Was it really for the best? Would he be mad that he took this initiative and ended up in a trap?
Katsuki was not going to be happy.
The clue for Shu's quirk:
During the introductions, he was the only one that acknowledged the fact that Izuku was currently inside Katsuki's body so he introduced to him, not to Izuku's body which was now occupied by Katsuki.
“Shu. I’m Shu.” he said in a neutral tone looking straight at him.
At him. Did he know Katsuki or something?
Was this too difficult? I hope not!
In any case, we have yet to hear what his conditions are... there are plenty of clues for this, you can do it :)
Maybe you feel like I should have made this investigation a bit longer, that it was solved too soon... I had three reasons.
1- Shu has reasons. He was not planning to reveal himself but he had no choice.
2- The plot would become a mess had I not done it this way. As they start to interact more and more, possibilities for conditions open and I could not let Katsuki stay in Izuku's body for much longer.
3- Izuku and Katsuki doesn't know anything about anyone as of yet, if Shu had not come forward himself they would not have been able to solve this at all, they simply lack information.
You may feel like Shu is a wasted opportunity... but I wouldn't be so sure about that.
Next chapter will be posted June 11th!
Katsuki opened the door almost immediately with a frown already on his face. He let him in and they sat on the carpet as usual. Katsuki drew a question mark in the air before opening the notebook. Izuku took a deep breath.
“I found the owner of the Body Swap quirk.” Katsuki’s eyes lit up with interest. “And err… He proposed an alliance with us.” he purposely let out the fact that the alliance was originally for him only. Katsuki frowned deeply and drew another question mark. Izuku understood that he was asking why. “He said that everyone can use his quirk as soon as the conditions are in the open… He wants us to keep it a secret in exchange for his cooperation in the future.”
-This doesn’t make any sense-
Izuku looked at the message on the notebook and tried to understand what he was trying to communicate. He could not see the point, then he met eyes with Katsuki who started to scribble some more, irritated.
-Why would he need an alliance? He can just take possession of your body and win. If he isn’t doing that, it means that he can’t. He has not met the conditions himself-
“No, I don’t think that’s it. I think that he doesn’t want to use his quirk at all. He seemed really serious about not wanting to take advantage of other people.” that was what his gut feeling was telling him at least.
-Or this is simply a trap-
Katsuki stared at him for a moment before adding something else.
-Do you feel like he is a trustworthy person?-
“Why would you ask me this? You have clearly more experience than me about this kind of stuff.” he asked, perplexed.
-Quite the opposite. I have little to no experience with people. For me, everyone is an enemy. I can reason on quirks terms, but not on people terms. If you are sure that he really hate using his quirk and he is trying to win in a clean way… Then I’ll trust your judgement-
Izuku was speechless. Katsuki was always so difficult on everything, why would he think something like that? This was not the reaction he was expecting at all. Why was he letting him decide something so important?
Katsuki played around with the pen in his hand for a moment with a complex expression on his face.
-You are the only one that actually believed me when I said that I don’t want to use my quirk. You are the only one who gave me a chance. If you say that he is similar to me then okay. You are usually right about this stuff-
Izuku could not decide if he felt extremely fluttered or scared out of his skin. Katsuki was putting an incredible amount of faith on his shoulders.
-And I can read it on your face, that you have already decided to accept his offer, I’m not stupid-
He closed his notebook with something similar to a pout, but that couldn’t be possible. Katsuki pouting? He got to his feet and gestured towards the door, moments later they were both seated on Shu’s carpet. The atmosphere was tense.
“So, I guess we have an understanding?” Shu asked after a while.
Izuku nodded, Katsuki only rested his elbow on the table with his face in his hand, and then he opened his notebook and started to scribble with his other hand.
-Not so fast. You want us to keep your secret, right? Give us all the details about your quirk THEN we have an understanding-
“Fair enough.” Shu sat straight. “I’ll tell you how to avoid activating my quirk unless you want to. I’ll offer insurance in case someone else tries to use it to their advantage too. Ask your questions.”
Katsuki didn’t waste any time.
-So, your quirk is Body Swap, it activates when you heard a particular voice command, correct?-
-The command is something that Izu said the first day. Was it my name?-
Shu nodded two times. Sharp Katsuki. When had he figured out? Then he raised the notebook from the table and rested it on his lap where only Izuku could see it.
-I was right, he has not met the condition. He doesn’t know your name so he can’t switch with your body. But you were right too. He can possess me right now, but he won’t do it. He doesn’t want to abuse his quirk or mine. This means that he may be honest about the rest too, problem is: This quirk is useless for us. We don’t know the first name of the others either. But I can see what he means by ‘going out of his control’ now. Anyone can say my name at any time and they would exchange with me. He’s right, this is more dangerous for us than for him. To be honest, this alliance is more necessary for us. The hyena knows your name. You are doomed if she says it in front of him-
Izuku felt a chill down his spine. Katsuki was right; this was very dangerous for them. Who knows if she had sold his name off? He and Katsuki were both in a vulnerable position. If Shu was serious about this alliance, he was basically a savior to them. Shu noticed them communicate in secret, well, they were not really subtle about it.
“I know what you are afraid of, rest assured. Not only I don’t want to use it on any of you, I don’t want to be held responsible if someone switches body with Four and creates a disaster either. Sure, it would not be my direct responsibility, but Aizawa knows that I have this quirk. He would know that it was partially my fault.”
Izuku was really surprised by the complexity that every quirk in this place held. Everything had more deeps than you would think. Then he thought of a question.
“How can you speak about switching bodies? Isn’t it against the rules?”
-He is speaking hypothetically, as long as he doesn’t directly refer to it or the conditions, it’s fine. Anyone can talk about their quirk as long as it’s vague or a hypothesis. You just have to phrase it right-
This rule had a lot more loopholes than Izuku first realized. Trust Katsuki to know all of them.
“So it’s fine even if you show it directly? Since you are not technically saying what it is?” he asked.
“Yes, remember what he said? ‘As long as it doesn’t come out of the owner’s mouth or pen.’ Some people would be unable to do anything if showing them was forbidden.” Shu answered. “Quirks like mine can’t really be shown though.”
-All right, enough about that. There are other conditions, right? For example the timeframe-
Shu nodded again.
-We switched while sleeping both times. Is that the condition?-
This time he shook his head.
-Then it must be… midnight? Your quirk activate at midnight?-
Katsuki snorted and wrote another sentence.
-Wow, your quirk is shit-
Izuku’s eyes popped out of his head when he saw it and instinctively ripped the page and rolled it into a ball before Shu could read it. He didn’t appear to have seen what Katsuki wrote, as he was observing them with a curious expression. Katsuki frowned at him and forced himself to change the wording.
-You quirk is pretty inconvenient-
“Yes, that is the truth. My quirk is dangerous and works in a complicated way. Often, I don’t ever realize that it’s been used, especially since its effects are so delayed. In my house, it was pretty common to be all over the place every midnight. It was very difficult to keep track of everyone. My siblings learned to use only nicknames after a while. For this reason, I had to keep my distance from everyone; I couldn’t even go to school since kids call each other with their first name all the time. My father, as soon as he realized what I was, made sure that I would not meet anyone besides family members. It was to protect my quirk secrecy for this test. He said to win by using it. I have a different opinion on the matter. Here we are all using nicknames precisely to protect ourselves from quirks like mine. Until I become a member of the Task Force and my quirk is revealed to the whole world, this is the only place where I can actually interact with people. I’m not leaving so quickly. I’ll use my quirk only if I somehow end up surrendering two times.”
-I see, now I have a clearer picture. But everyone knows my first name, they are not using it for now but this can change at any time. What do you intend to do about that? What is that insurance you talked about?-
Shu hesitated for a moment. He was searching for the right way to phrase what he wanted to say.
“Have you ever heard of priority quirks?” he asked.
Izuku hadn’t. Katsuki started to scribble fast. He had.
-I see. Yours is a priority quirk. Then you can switch before someone else gets to, right?-
Shu nodded once again. Izuku was lost. Katsuki noticed and rolled his eyes.
-Some quirks have multiple targets. Like this one, if he hears 100 names 100 people will exchange. Some of these quirks have a priority system to allow the owner a bit more control. No matter who meets the condition first, he is allowed to steal the spot. For example, if I were to say your name at midnight we should exchange, but if he says it too, it will be him who exchanges with you, not me. Got it?-
“Yes, that explanation is correct.” Shu agreed.
-Is this what you intend to do? If someone says my name you will use your priority to switch instead?-
“Precisely. If I hear your name, I’ll say it too. I’ll safeguard your body until the following midnight. About this… Does anyone knows your name, Izu? If I have to do the same for you, I have to know. By the way, I can’t safeguard two people at the same time, make sure that I never hear both names within the same day. I can help only one person in that case.”
Izuku bit his lip, Urara knew his name. Should he give it to him as well? The insurance sounded good, but it meant to fully trust Shu with his body. He could believe that he would not speak in Katsuki’s body, but what about his body? He was allowed to speak freely; Shu could go in front of Aizawa anytime and… Katsuki poked his side.
-You have to decide if you want to trust him entirely or not. It’s up to you, it was your mistake, you have to take responsibility-
Katsuki was right. His mistake, his responsibility.
“All right then… Urara knows my name. It’s Izuku.”
“I see…” Shu pondered a moment. “That girl is bad news. She is actively trying to make conversation with everyone. In this situation it’s very suspicious. I’m sure she needs some specific information to make her quirk work. In any case, since you gave me your name, I’ll give you mine. I’m Shouto. Shu is the nickname my siblings used.”
“Thanks for trusting me with it. Nice to meet you.” Izuku bowed his head a little.
“Likewise.” he bowed a bit too. “Now, I would like to know more about your quirk, so that our alliance is complete.”
Izuku had not forgotten this part of the deal, he had been thinking of a way out of this the entire time. He was pretty sure that he found a good one. He ignored Katsuki’s questioning look, there was no way he was going to say that he bargained his inclusion using his quirk as payment. He lifted the paper ball that was still in his hand, the one he rolled earlier and kept on purpose, and showed it to them. Then he made an effort to activate the Acid Skin quirk and melted the paper completely. Both of them stared at his hand speechless. They were not expecting that. Izuku had thought about showing the Light Sphere instead but anyone could see that it was not an A or S quirk. Acid Skin was well known for being an A rank, so it was a great camouflage.
“I… see.” Shouto looked a bit perturbed. “I was not expecting… this. If I end up taking your body, you have to teach me how to not activate it. My quirk does what it wants, so I’m not used to active quirks.”
Having reached an understanding Katsuki and Izuku left Shouto’s room and returned to Katsuki’s room. He immediately sat down on his bed and started scribbling with a frown.
-Acid Skin has nothing to do with kisses!-
“Yeah, well… I lied.” said Izuku while sitting down. “That’s not actually my quirk, it was just camouflage.”
Katsuki stared at him with his mouth open for two minutes making Izuku uncomfortable, then slowly grinned broadly.
-You’ve grown up a pair since the last time I saw you naked!-
“Wha-“ Izuku blushed a little. “Wait a minute…” he realized something. “Does that means that you didn’t see me naked while you were in my body?”
Izuku could not fathom what possessed him to say such a thing, he started to burn internally. His fantasies about what Katsuki could have done in his body were not supposed to come out in the open. Katsuki was tomato red and had an outraged expression on his face.
-What kind of logic is that?! I was joking, I didn’t mean physically growing a pair! What the hell! And who do you think I am?! A frigging perv? I don’t look at those things just because I can! Last time I saw you I had
the right permission to see!-
There were tons of things to comment about that, but for some reason, his mind kept focusing on the two crossed words. He had the right to see him naked, hm? Katsuki scribbled some more.
-Wait a minute, what have YOU done in my body?!-
Okay, time for Izuku to go back to his room. He got up rapidly.
“I’ll see you Monday in class. Good night.”
He ran out of the room closing the door behind him, something hit the door from the inside, probably the notebook. Izuku locked himself in his room. It was not like he did something in Katsuki’s body, he had a clean conscience, but when Katsuki was in this particular mood, he would not believe anything he said, so it was better to just run away. He threw himself on the bed sighing before realizing something. He had forgotten about the laundry that was on the bed, now it was even messier than before. He sighed deeply. Luckily, he had two days before the next class. He had time to iron the clothes.
Izuku tried to distract himself all evening and next day, he ironed, cleaned the room, stole some other supplies from the convenience store and tried to organize things a bit better. He didn’t want to think about Katsuki and Shouto for a while, he needed a break from everything. His life had been a mess this last week. On Sunday, he met Urara in the hallway.
“Finally!” she yelled running toward him. “I’ve been looking for you for days! Where were you hiding?! I know that this is a test and all that, but we don’t bite! There is no need to escape!”
“Ah, I wasn’t really hiding… I’ve been just a bit busy, that’s all…” Katsuki and Shouto both were so wary of this girl, that he felt really tense talking to her. Izuku had not a clear picture of her yet. “I was doing the laundry, and cleaning my room… things like that…”
“I see, you are an organized person, good for you!” she nodded. “And you are hanging out with Four, so I guess you are not really lonely or anything.” she grinned a little. “Do you remember what I told you about taking care of the vegetables? I’ve been trying to gather everyone to discuss it, can you come on Monday after class? We are meeting up in the library.”
“Yeah, sure…” he hesitated a little. “Should I invite Four too?”
“Hmm…” she frowned a little. “I guess? I mean… I don’t think he will want to help, but if there is someone he listens to, I bet it’s you. So, if you manage to convince him, sure, bring him too.”
Izuku was a little uncomfortable. He could not say anything since talking in this place was dangerous, but he really wanted to contradict her. It was always like that, everyone immediately assumed stuff about him, just because of his quirk. Katsuki surely was part of the problem, his attitude was keeping people away just like his quirk, but still. Izuku could not really blame people for being afraid of his quirk, it was a pretty bad one, but Katsuki was never going to use it on anyone, rules or not. They refused to give him a chance, so they would never discover that Katsuki had actually an iron morality. If he was keeping people away from him, it was mostly because he was too afraid of activating it by accident.
“I’ll ask him.” he simply answered.
“Great! I hope that everyone starts to get along soon! The atmosphere needs to lighten up a bit!” she nodded.
And yet, she wanted to exclude Katsuki from the get-go. What logic.
Izuku knocked on Aizawa’s door and the man opened after a long while, making Izuku start to wonder if he was not inside after all. The man looked really shabby, Izuku wondered if this was his quirk’s fault or more likely he was just a really lazy person. He could use a girlfriend.
“What? Is there some problem? Want a Calling Card?” he was very welcoming too.
“No, I was just wondering if my room doesn’t have a number at all… Can’t I have a number plate?” he tried to not get intimidated.
“Oh, right. I don’t have a number plate ready for you, I’ll ask for it. Or you can make it yourself, I don’t really care. You are number 7. If you don’t have anything else to say I’m going back to sleep. Bye.”
The man pretty much shut the door in his face. He was already knocking on Katsuki’s door when he realized it. He was number 7 and being the last one, he had surely the last assigned number. But the girls’ door had numbers from 1 upward too. So, if his calculation were correct there were 7 males and 4 girls. Entering Katsuki’s room, he sat down, ignoring him, and started to account for everyone. Izuku, Katsuki, Shouto, Kami, Mishima, square glasses. Six in total. Something was wrong there.
“Hey Katsuki. Why am I number 7 if there are only 6 males in the test?”
Katsuki’s expression went from really annoyed to pensive in a second. He scribbled like usual.
-You are number 7? It doesn’t make any sense. If, supposedly, one of the girls is actually a male or something, there would be only 3 rooms for girls. There are still 4 rooms for girls. It’s like we haven’t met someone, is there an extra person in this that we don’t know about? Are you sure you are number 7?-
“I just asked Aizawa, I’m sure.”
-Intriguing. Have you told this to anyone?-
“You are the first one I tell anything to, you should know that.”
Katsuki hesitated for a moment, his expression conflicted.
-Don’t tell anyone, this is good information. Don’t place the number on your door and don’t show your room to anyone. They are probably going to assume that you are in one of the numbered ones-
“All right.” Izuku agreed. “Urara invited us,” not really ‘us’ “To the library on Monday. She wants to discuss the vegetables.”
-Pain in the ass-
Direct as always.
“Actually I think I’ll go. I think that interacting with them is dangerous, but that’s really the only way to acquire new information.” he tried to explain his point. “You are free not to come, if you want, I’ll tell you if I hear anything useful.”
-Then I guess I’ll go too. To keep an eye on danger for you-
“You don’t have to do that…” Izuku was perplexed. “Why are you so accepting? The same thing happened with the alliance. You asked what I want to do and then accepted it. Not that I don’t appreciate it, but… That’s so not you. Normally, you would never let me decide.”
It was not like Izuku was suspecting him to pull some trick on him, it was just seriously disconcerting. Katsuki had a really displeased expression on his face.
-You really have not realized it, have you? My life is in the palm of your hand right now-
Izuku felt irritation grown.
“That’s not true! Why would you say such things?”
-THINK ABOUT IT. No matter what conditions their quirks have, you surely can sell me to them. Or score a win yourself. Your presence is the biggest threat to me! It’s not your fault that you were sent here, but had I known, I would have never revealed so many things to you! I can’t defend myself from you in any way!-
“So you just figured that offering complete cooperation would buy my silence?” he got on his feet clenching his fists. “I would not sell you off for any reason in the world, but you don’t believe in me at all, do you?” Katsuki adverted his gaze angrily. “You only see people as gain or loss, that’s why you don’t have a normal relationship with anyone!”
He stormed out of the room and slammed the door to his own room shut. It took him an hour before the anger could dissipate and reason could fill his brain again. It was obvious that Katsuki would feel this way, time and time again, he was denied the opportunity to have a normal life. The test was his only opportunity, his only hope, for a better future. The Task Force had many eccentric people; it was common sense that an unique person would fit best with other unique people, right? Maybe Katsuki could have trusted him more, but who was Izuku to judge his life and feelings? He needed to apologize; his childish behavior would only make him more distant.
On the eight of April, Izuku tried to speak with Katsuki before the class started, but he had already left his room. When Izuku reached the classroom, Katsuki was already seated at his desk. He sat next to him and greeted him but he ignored him entirely.
“Listen, I’m sorry,” he lowered his voice a little but the classroom was too quiet, “can we talk about this, Katsuki?”
Katsuki’s head turned toward him in a snap and a cough was audible from the other end of the room. Shouto had heard him. Izuku slapped a hand on his mouth and Katsuki face-palmed.
-You goddamn moron-
Here is a fantastic fanart by Puolukka! Thank you very much again for this <3
Take a look at her Instagram as well! She is Sarumomoka!
This quirk activates when Shouto hears a first name. The exchange happens at midnight and it won't revert unless the now exchanged people say their own name. More precisely: the quirk interprets the name as an order to insert the conscience that says it inside the body that holds that name. For this reason Katsuki exchanged even if he said his own name and not Izuku's because the quirk doesn't exchange consciences but inserts them in a specific body of choosing. Nothing happens if you say the name of the body you are currently inside. Interesting fact: if more than one person holds the name the quirk simply won't work as the order is not clear enough.
This quirk is incredibly powerful, has a priority system and it's extremely unusual. Normally the Body Swap quirk has a different condition and works in a different way.
Next chapter: 18th June!
Inside the study room, after class, Izuku apologized to both Shouto and Katsuki multiple times while bowing his head.
“You don’t need to apologize to me,” said Shouto, “if you don’t mind exchanging bodies with him, then I’m not involved in this.”
-Same old idiot. Whatever. We don’t have class tomorrow anyway-
Izuku wanted to apologize for a lot more than just that, but he could not with Shouto present. He ended up asking him if he was going to the meeting in the library.
“I’m not sure… do you think I should?”
Why was everyone asking him to decide? They had both a lot more experience than he did and yet they were relying on him to decide everything. Selfishly, he told him to go, so he would have even more eyes keeping a look out for danger. Shouto nodded, but then Katsuki got up to leave.
“Aren’t we going to the meeting?” he asked him.
He stopped, scribbled on his notebook then showed it without looking in his direction.
-YOU are going. I’m not. Wipe your own ass-
He slammed the door as he left. Of course, Katsuki would still be mad at him. Izuku could feel Shouto’s eyes on him, he was observing him curiously, clearly unsure of what had just happened. Izuku massaged his eyes for a moment, sighing. This was a problem for later. Izuku and Shouto joined the others in the library; everyone was there except for Mishima. Urara was explaining a table setup that she had drawn on a big paper when she saw them and greeted them. Most people at the meeting, like Kami and Haru, were pretty energetic and talkative so Izuku started to relax bit by bit. This looked a lot like a group for a study project, something Izuku was familiar with. Shouto and square glasses looked more uncomfortable than relaxed as they didn’t say a thing. By the end of the meeting, Urara had assigned Izuku to the Tuesdays and Shouto to the Saturdays. They were to pull out weeds and water the plants on those days. Katsuki was excluded.
“All right, now that the vegetables are out of the way, there is something else I want to discuss.” Urara rolled up the paper; she was going to hang it in the classroom later. “I have learned, by asking Aizawa, that we are allowed to fish in the sea and gather seafood if we can find any. However, there is the problem of potential food poisoning… Do any of you know how to recognize what’s edible? If not, maybe we shouldn’t bother; it’s not wise to risk our lives where there are no hospitals.”
“We have this library though, there’re surely volumes about fishes and seafood.” said Froppy.
“That’s why I had this idea! Why don’t we have a seafood barbeque once a week? We can share fishes and anything else we can find. We can cook them all together! Isn’t this a good opportunity to spend some time together like a real class? I don’t want to spend a year shut in my room too scared to stick my nose out of my door. Let’s be friends!” she smiled looking at each of them.
Kami, Froppy, Haru and Yao nodded; square glasses didn’t have any noticeable reaction. Izuku was conflicted once again, this sounded like a great idea, he was not a great cook and he could already see himself getting bored of instant noodles, sandwiches, toast and snacks. On the other hand, Katsuki and Shouto both had expressed they had a bad feeling about the girl. Even now, Shouto was looking down on his laps, not saying anything. He decided to try and risk it, nothing would change if he didn’t try to change it himself. He nodded.
“Well then! The majority voted in favor!” she got up with enthusiasm. “Let’s do it every Wednesday, all right?”
No one had anything to object, it wasn’t like there was much to do in this place, each day was basically identical to the previous one and the next one too. Only Aizawa’s lessons were helping to pass some time. Izuku knocked on Katsuki’s door to update him on the meeting. He opened the door, only a bit, enough for his face to be visible. Katsuki could be very childish if he wanted to.
“We decided to have a seafood barbeque every Wednesday. You coming?” Katsuki shook his head with an unimpressed stare. “All right, I have to take care of the vegetables every Tuesday.”
Katsuki disappeared for a moment inside, but he returned before Izuku could open the door fully and enter. He had his notebook with him.
-Which means that, tomorrow, I have to go in your place-
Right, they would exchange at midnight until the following midnight.
“I can go with your body if you want.” he offered.
-That’s a bad idea. They would wonder why I’m going in your place, if anyone saw me-
“Well then I—“ before Izuku could offer something else Katsuki slammed the door in his face. “Alright… maybe not…” he sighed.
The next morning he woke up in Katsuki’s room, in his body, as expected. Before he could get his bearings, someone knocked on his door, it was Katsuki in his body, with his usual displeased expression. He dragged him in front of Shouto’s door and as soon as he opened the door, he said ‘Katsuki’ then disappeared inside Izuku’s room without even greeting them. They followed him with their eyes and then looked at each other. Shouto bowed his head a little in greeting and Izuku offered him an apologetic smile. Shouto slightly bowed again, then closed the door; apparently he didn’t want company. Izuku wondered if it was Katsuki’s body that was making him unwilling to spend time with him. He returned inside Katsuki’s room and sat down, thinking about what to do for the day. He had nothing special that he had to do, maybe he could take a look inside the library for seafood books or something, but he didn’t want to do it in this body, similar to the situation with the vegetables, people would wonder why. It was better for him to remain in the room and wait for midnight. He scanned the room with his eyes in search of something to look at, anything.
Katsuki had staked a lot of random stuff, there was even a juicer for making fresh orange juice. Izuku could not remember, but he was not so sure that oranges were even available here. He had cooking knives, a toaster, and even a little portable stove. He really didn’t want to go to the kitchen to cook, did he?
Katsuki was above average in his cooking skill, so it was obvious he had thought about that thoroughly. There were three packs of toilet paper; Izuku realized he had to do the same, only because there was still paper in his bathroom it didn’t mean it was going to be infinite. He had a lot of writing supplies and spare notebooks, but that was pretty normal. Beside the desk was a tower of books, on closer inspection they were all from the library, they were textbooks for a lot of different subjects. Izuku felt a little guilty but he started opening the drawers of the desk. Inside the first one, was a medical kit and a medical textbook. Izuku smiled, Katsuki was always prepared for everything, Izuku had only to learn from him. In the second one, was a photo album. Izuku opened it, inside were photos of Katsuki and his family when he was younger. Izuku was surprised that Katsuki had actually brought such a personal item to this place. However, it was not implausible; Katsuki loved his family even if his feelings were tainted by guilt. Izuku observed the photo of them on a beach; Bakugou Mitsuki had a black smear on her left cheek and Bakugou Masaru a black shape on his right shoulder, a little child’s hand. Katsuki was fully clothed, looking uncomfortable as he was in all the pictures where his parents were touching him somewhere. Izuku sighed sadly. Katsuki’s control over his quirk had gotten a lot better since he was little, but he would never fully get used to accepting physical contact after those incidents. What a heartless quirk.
He turned the pages mindlessly until he reached the last two pages, then he stopped, frozen in place. He recognized these pictures; he was the one that took them. One was the trip during the second year of high school, they were on a panoramic spot, Izuku had taken a commemorative photo of the two of them, Katsuki was looking away from the camera, only his frowning profile was visible. Another was in an amusement park, Izuku had taken a photo of the sign with them in front, or at least he had tried to, Katsuki had started walking away mid-shot and Izuku had turned to call him back, it was a terrible photo. There were others taken during the school trips, in all of them Katsuki was trying to leave or showing only part of his face. Izuku remembered all of them, he also had them at home, but they had been taken with his camera and Katsuki never asked for a copy. Had he stolen the camera to copy them from the memory card when Izuku was not watching? Probably. He should just have asked. Izuku would have been happy to give him a copy.
Same old Katsuki.
This was not even nearly half the actual photos anyway. But, they were all of them together. Izuku had stolen a lot more shots of Katsuki alone and he had an annoyed expression in all of them, he hated being photographed. Izuku chuckled remembering just how many times he had written him that he would burn his camera someday. He turned to the last page and choke on his saliva. These were not his photos. There were shots he had never seen before. They were of Izuku alone, staring outside a bus window, sitting outside the baseball playfield, eating an ice cream in the amusement park and one of his sleeping face. He started burning up when he realized exactly when he had given him to opportunity to take a shot at his sleeping face. He had no idea Katsuki was sneaking pictures of him too! He was a lot better than Izuku at secretly taking pictures, he never suspected anything. The dimension and quality was different from the previous ones, these were taken with his phone camera. He slammed shut the book and put it again inside the drawer. For the rest of the day he tried to forget all about it with little to no success.
Wednesday, the ninth of April, Izuku, again in his own body, went down to the West side of the little island. The Northern side was entirely occupied by the building, just beyond was a high cliff. The Southern side had the area where the planes were landing and the cliff was surrounding the whole East side from there. Only the West side had a slope that ended directly in the sea with a little beach. It was seriously an exaggeration to call it beach, but at least it was flat and soft, contrary to all the sharp rocks that were everywhere else, like landmines. There were already Kami and Urara, he was splashing in the cool water in a swimsuit, while the girl was examining a grill that looked pretty old. She had a swimsuit on too, but the lower part of her body was covered by a long, colorful beach pareo. Only after a while, he noticed square glasses sitting in a corner, far from everyone else. He was reading a book and was fully clothed. He didn’t even look up from it when Izuku greeted him. He wondered what was with this attitude of his. He still bothered coming to all the social events, but he behaved like they didn’t exist at all.
“Please Izu!” Urara suddenly pleaded. “Help me! I know nothing about grills!”
Izuku was not exactly an expert either, but he supposed he had helped his father set up the annual barbeque in their garden sometimes. However, he was not really sure that this grill was safe to begin with, it looked pretty dirty. While he was trying to make it look a little less poisonous looking, Haru and Froppy joined them. They were good friends apparently, they moved always together. Froppy had a top and shorts while Haru was wearing only a bikini, Izuku tried to not stare, the girl was pretty hot.
“What? I thought we were going to swim! Why are half of you still clothed?” Haru asked looking surprised.
“It’s April, I’m not sure the water is at a warm enough temperature right now.” answered Urara.
Haru pouted and then joined Kami in the water who looked overjoyed to be near a hot girl. In the following hour, Haru and Kami brought little shells they found on the rocks nearby and Froppy fished up three small fishes. Shouto and Yao arrived at noon both were normally clothed. The total amount of food was not even nearly enough of all of them, but it was an acceptable first try. Izuku tried to start the fire with some difficulties; at some point square glasses took his spot and easily created a nice layer of charcoal. He started cooking the fishes afterward, all in complete silence. Izuku really could not get a read on that guy.
The first seafood barbeque went quite well, they talked about fishes, seafood and the ocean mostly, but some even shared some details of themselves. Froppy said that she liked water and she preferred autumn over hot summers or cold winters. Her nickname was given to her by her friends because she was like a frog, always playing with water, jumping in puddles and going outside in the rain. Urara talked a little about her parents and hometown. Haru about her favorite type of swimsuit for girls. Kami chatted an incredible lot about his favorite food. Izuku was starting to relax a lot, he thought about maybe revealing something about himself, but Shouto’s coldness to the whole thing made him hesitate. Even now, the guy was seated with his head hung in silence.
“I thought I smelled roasted food…” suddenly a voice sounded from the other end of the beach. Aizawa was there, looking as shabby as always, even in the warm sun he was wrapped in oversized clothes. “I haven’t eaten anything properly cooked in a long while, is there anything left for me?”
They all looked at each other. That certainly had been unexpected. Truthfully, there was nothing left, but Froppy was still fishing and Urara hurried inside the building to gather some vegetables as a side dish. Eating together with the man was a bit awkward, but they were eager to get on his good side, so they tried to make small talk. Two more fishes were caught by Froppy and they roasted them for him, not even trying to claim them. The man wolfed down on them like he had not eaten in a month, while they were sending him some perplexed glances.
“He really needs a girlfriend…” Urara whispered in Izuku’s ear and he quickly hid a smile.
“To be fair…” Shouto mentioned later, while they were all returning inside. “He is already partially blind. I don’t think it’s easy for him to cook or take care of himself, I don’t think it’s right for us to look at him that way.”
He was right of course, Izuku felt a little guilty. Maybe they should implement another duty, to bring Aizawa a decent meal every day. Once he returned to his room, he thought about stopping by Katsuki’s and talk, but he could not think of anything important to say. And Katsuki was still irritated with him.
The following week was pretty uneventful, Izuku didn’t try to talk with Katsuki and he made no attempt either. Classes were still easy and a bit boring, the vegetables were looking healthy and everyone was socializing tentatively except for Katsuki and Mishima who were avoiding everyone as much as they could. Shouto too was pretty reticent still, but Izuku started to forget about that. Nothing bad was happening and everyone looked friendly enough. Maybe Shouto was just as untrusting as Katsuki, it was not their fault, but they were simply biased. That Tuesday, Izuku took care of the vegetables for the first time, it was actually Katsuki who did it the last time. Surprisingly, Froppy was already there crouched down, examining some plants.
“Oh, good morning Izu.” she greeted him.
“Froppy, good morning… Today is my day, right?” for a moment he was afraid to have actually got it wrong.
“Yeah, of course it is. Don’t immediately start to second guess yourself.” she smiled sweetly. “I just love plants and water and I wanted to be sure you knew what you were doing. Am I bothering you?”
“No, no! Not at all! I was just surprised! I love plants too, but I normally take care of flowers, not vegetables, so a hand is always welcome!”
He went to fill the watering can with water.
“The person that was in charge yesterday, Kami if I’m not mistaken, didn’t pull out the weeds… Geez, so sloppy…” the girl started pulling weeds out with enthusiasm. They worked in silence for a while, then Froppy started singing a tune Izuku did not recognize. “Can I ask you something?” she asked out of the blue after she stopped singing.
Izuku hesitated a moment, unsure of what to do or say to avoid offending her, then he realized that she must know how the test worked better than him.
“I don’t know if I can answer though.”
She nodded smiling, like he had just given the right answer.
“It’s a good idea to keep things to yourself, but don’t forget that we are all still kids and Aizawa won’t let us use our quirks to do something nasty, so you can relax a bit. I’ve talked to all of them, most don’t really have an objective here. Kami has already a spot open for him in the Task Force, his approval is almost granted, he is basically having a good time while he’s here. Mishima and Four are already well known by the Government. They can’t do anything with their quirks. Square glasses has a quirk that hurts others. I don’t know anything specific, but that much is evident. Shu wants to simply wait for the end without doing anything. I can’t guarantee anything about Urara, she is pretty transparent in her attempt to get information, but at the same time, I have a feeling that she is not actually a bad person. I don’t care about winning before the time limit and my quirk is not very useful either. Yao is keeping to herself. Which means that the only person I’m not sure about is you. My question is: What do you want from this test? Are you trying to win or just to survive?”
It was a pretty fair question actually. Anyone could lie about something like this, but he was sure that Froppy was quite good at catching lies. The question was more similar to psychological test than a real question. She wanted to know his personality. He squatted down next to her.
“True to be told, I had no idea I would take part in the test until very recently.” The truth was his best option, especially since he really just wanted to reach the end intact, not to win. “I was not raised with the knowledge of what to do in this situation. So, if you ask me what I want from this test… Nothing. I don’t really want anything from it. I just want to reach the ending and go back home as peacefully as possible.”
“I see… Do you want to be a part of the Task Force? To use your quirk for the Government?”
“Well, in the end the Task Force is just a bunch of part-timers right?” he scratched his head. “They get called when there is the need and then do whatever they want the rest of the time. So I guess I don’t really mind? I haven’t really decided what to do with my life after all.”
In any case, his quirk was not very useful the way it was now.
“I see!” she smiled. “You are just a normal kid! I never hung out with a normal kid before! I look forward to learning more about you!”
She got up and started to walk away humming again in high spirit. Izuku observed her completely confused, he had no idea what to make of this conversation.
“I’m just a normal kid…?” he asked the eggplant in front of him.
About Katsuki not asking Izuku what quirk he has...
He trusts Izuku to know what he is doing, which may not be a good idea since he doesn't really know what he is doing and he is being a bit dense... Still, it's not like he can force Izuku to talk especially since we would not be able to distinguish between the truth or a lie.
If you like fanarts take a look back to chapter 6, I received a wonderful gift <3
Next chapter 25th June!