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2039 A.D.

 

The Midoriya Household

“This is an emergency news broadcast. Please stay inside and away from windows and doors. A large and bulky humanoid creature has appeared in Musutafu that is around eight feet tall. I repeat, stay inside and away from windows and doors. I’m being told the latest casualty count is 157 with 234 injured. It has been two days since the creature arrived. Authorities are sending heroes to help, but many are hospitalized and unable to perform their normal duties.

What we do know is that the creature is not from earth. When hit, it oozes a purple sludge that has a chemical composition of elements not found on our planet. The creature fell from the sky, and did not appear to take any damage from the impact. If you know anything that may help take down the creature, we urge you to call the number at the bottom of your screen.

Stay indoors. I repeat, stay indoors. This is an emergency news broadcast. Please stay inside and away from windows and do—”

Midoriya Inko turns off her television, grabs her son, and hides in a closet. With her phone held close to her chest, she hugs Izuku tight and cries.

-x-

Nearby, Bakugou Katsuki crowds with his own family in their innermost bedroom. For the first time in a long time, all are quiet.

Katsuki shakes with the force of his sobs.

No one holds it against him.

-x-

“Get in!” Todoroki Enji shouts at his children, one hand holding open the closet door and the other pointing angrily at the space inside. Shouto’s siblings enter before he does, scrambling in last. It’s no surprise when Enji locks the door behind them.

“Dad!” Shouto shouts through the closet. He’s standing right up against the door while his siblings cower farther back. “Why aren’t you helping?”

Enji’s sighs, annoyed, and Shouto can see the flash of fire from under the door.

It opens.

“Because I have to ‘protect my family’. Now shut up and stay quiet.” A big hand plants itself on Shouto’s chest and shoves him back easily. The door shuts loudly just as Shouto hits the ground hard, narrowly avoiding a fall onto his siblings. “Don’t even think of trying to burn your way out.”

Shouto doesn’t dare.

“Where’s mom?” Shouto asks.

The harsh thump on the door serves as his answer, and Shouto decides he’s already tried his luck enough for one day.

He stays quiet.

 

Downtown Musutafu

The skies of Musutafu are pink. It’s sunset and it’s raining, cold droplets falling down onto the heroes below. Tall buildings rise all around them in massive metal structures of gargantuan proportions with any semblance of foliage long forgotten. Bright screens line building walls, advertising the latest perfume or action movie depending on the minute. Where there aren’t screens there are brilliant neon lights, accentuating the sharp angles of architecture in hues of blue, green, red, and purple. The end result is a faint, electronic glow that drowns out any remaining daylight, replacing it with an artificial sun that many have grown to worship.

Horns come from all directions, but the sound of feet hitting pavement is the most prominent, especially since those footfalls are followed by even louder steps, thunderous ones that strike fear into every passerby, even the heroes that are designated to protect them.

People try not to think about what the creature resembles the most. It would give it too much power if they did. They think it bleeds, but there’s a purple substance that drips out of it when it’s hit, and the ooze falls with the consistency of snot from the multiple natural tears across its body The creature never appears fazed in the slightest at any hit, and nothing is working. No distractions, no guns, no explosions. It’s almost like the monster is designed to break the human race, and given that everyone is cowering in fear, it’s working.

And then it roars—

What the fuck is that thing?”

“Holy mother of god.”

“Oh shit oh shit oh shit!”

Aizawa can see and hear the panicked civilians from anywhere, but from where he’s perched atop an old light pole he has a bird’s eye view of the situation.

That’s where All Might and Nana Shimura come in.

The former is standing on a balcony of on of the local megacorporation’s buildings, somewhere between the twentieth and the thirtieth floor. Nana mirrors him, doing the same on a building right across the crowded street below them. The two are ready to jump if needed, and judging by the screams and rapid movements of the crowds below, it’s looking like they’ll have to.

On the ground, Present Mic is trying to run crowd control and failing.

“Remain calm! Heroes are on! Their! Way!” Present Mic shouts, activating his quirk. In a city corridor like this one, surrounded by buildings dozens of floors high, Mic’s quirk echoes. It should help them. It should calm the people. But they only seem more frantic and panicked, not swayed by Mic’s efforts in the slightest.

Mic looks up to Aizawa, saying, “This isn’t working! We have to try something else!”

Aizawa hears him through their in-ear communications systems and Mic can barely see him make one curt nod. “I’m looking into it.”

“The monster is getting closer!” Nana shouts through the systems, startling the other three. “Headed to your coordinates with three blocks to go.”

“Make that two blocks,” All Might adds with dread. “I’m coming down.”

All Might doesn’t wait for confirmation because it’s not up for debate. He shifts his feet, takes a deep breath, and steps off the building like he’s done it a million times before. With all the instances he and Nana have spent using Musutafu as their parkour playground when they want to see some real daylight, it’s easy as pie to do one twenty story jump.

He lands with a thoom! far enough away from the crowds to make sure no one gets hurt. Then, he quickly moves out of the way, running to catch up with Mic and Aizawa as fast as he can. Nana isn’t far behind, using All Might’s crater as a landing pad of her own, then following in his footsteps to meet up with the others.

Around them, pedestrians move like an anxious swarm of bees, not running in any specific direction other than away from the oncoming creature that is—

“One block away,” Nana updates, looking behind her back to check on the pedestrians while she runs then facing forward once more. The creature is almost in her sights, and she’s not looking forward to their first meeting.

Some people trip on the smooth ramps of the curbs, or get caught behind the disposal bins that dot every corner, ready to take in and vaporize anything from an old candy wrapper to the latest cell phone.

“Nedzu!” Aizawa shouts, his earpiece picking up his words and radioing them back to their headquarters at U.A. Scarves unwind. Eyes turn red. Aizawa drops from the light pole like a cat, landing onto the grating below without a sound. Water vapor curls around his feet amidst the raindrops that spatter them, and despite all the liquid, Aizawa hasn’t broken a sweat. “I’m growing impatient. We need a plan, now.” His scarves wind their way back into their resting position, and Aizawa turns to find Mic, droplets dripping down his face and eyes squinted in determination.

On the other side of the communication apparatus and back at U.A. Headquarters, President Nedzu is typing away furiously on not one, but three computers, doing his best to estimate the times of arrival of the other heroes. His own brain works in tandem, cruising at hyperspeed in the darkness of the room, desperate for any semblance of a plan that will bring his men and women home.

This isn’t fair.

“You need to distract it,” Nedzu exhales. He hadn’t wanted to say that. He’d wanted to outline a plan, something to defeat this thing. But he doesn’t know how.

The four heroes nod from their separate locations and then wait for the creature to arrive.

It comes bounding down the street, crushing cruising pods and disposal bins, damaging and toppling light posts, and breaking the informational glasses on the first and second floors of buildings.

When it finally gets to the heroes, it’s roaring again, letting out an awful mix between a growl and a chirp! That sets everyone’s bones on edge.

“I’ve got this one,” All Might says, and the other three voice their approval.

All Might feels his quirk rise in his muscles, a ripple of pure strength pulsing through him like a heartbeat, and it builds and builds and builds until—

“TENNESSEE SMASH!”

The resulting shockwave knocks a few civilians still standing by to take a step back and Mic continues to usher them away.

But it doesn’t affect the creature. It merely looks down at All Might, and if not for All Might’s deft dodging, he would have been hit by a punch from the creature that may very well rival his own.

“It didn’t work.” Nana elbows All Might when he returns to her, falling back until he has a better plan.

“Well, if guns and bombs can’t take it down, then this shouldn’t surprise us as much as it does,” Aizawa says. “We have to try something else.” He then jumps out, eyes red and scarves blazing, floating, winding, twisting, and gives everyone in the area, and the creature, his best imitation of a ribbon dance.

He moves left and spirals his scarves, letting them overlap to form double helixes of deadly white fabric before leaning right to do the same thing. All the while he’s moving from the ground up a light pole, across a transportation pod, and then returning back to where he’d been before.

“Get them out!” Aizawa shouts, jumping, his scarves rippling the motion as the creature now attempts to swat at the fabric. “I’m not going to be able to do this forever!” Paws move through the air then, thankfully missing cloth. Aizawa can’t breathe a sigh of relief, but there’s a part of him that knows he would if he could.

Mic moves quicker than All Might or Nana then, shifting his feet to pivot towards what’s left of the crowd, shouting at his top volume for any nearby civilians to—

“Run! Now! Go!” He all but shoves the last two people away. Aizawa’s deadly dance is continuing, and the creature is clearly becoming frustrated. With its lack of success in beating Aizawa’s game, it’s not surprising.

The hero’s capture weapon shoots out again, and he performs a more daring twist, flicking one of the ends in a whiplike motion. The creature bats at it, and Aizawa lets it, but what Aizawa hadn’t planned for retractable claws that could sink right through the fabric.

Aizawa doesn’t panic. He doesn’t freak out. He doesn’t scream out of surprise or fear.

But he comes close.

He makes a split second decision as the creature starts pulling him forward. Aizawa turns on a small hard light blade he keeps on his person at all times and cuts right through the scarf, freeing himself from the creature’s grasp.

He runs back to the group, paranoid the creature will come after him but not daring to show it.

“We need a new plan, Nedzu!” Mic yells. His hair is beginning to falter in the rain, the singular, sharp blond spike beginning to droop. He’s grateful his speaker systems are waterproofed, but the rest of his costume isn’t doing so well in the continued onslaught of water. Near to him, Aizawa’s hair looks exactly the same as it always does.

Terrible.

“The plan remains,” Nedzu orders, face green from the screens before him. “Distract. You’re supposed to be heroes now do your jobs.”

The heroes stand a little straighter. They’re the best of the best. They’re the best the world has to offer.

All Might doesn’t realize how much he’s objecting to Nedzu’s orders until he’s yelling at him to come up with new ones.

“It absorbs my punches! We need a better plan!” All Might argues. “Distracting it won’t cut it! If I can’t—”

“This isn’t about you!” Nedzu scolds, hands fully off of the keyboard now, fingers curled in focused frustration. “You aren’t alone in this so stop acting like it!” He pauses, and All Might is reeling a bit to the point that Nana almost places a hand on his shoulder. “Now, put on that smile that you’re so known for and save these people!

All Might feels the rain falling on his face. Looking down he sees the red, white, blue, and yellow of his costume and he can feel the criss-crossed lit fibers that overlay those colors in a calm glow. He sees Mic, whose worry is only evident by scrunched brows, and Aizawa, who is ever efficient, examining the cut end of his capture weapon for long-term damage.

Then he sees Nana, who’s smiling as bright as the lights around them, and he knows that he wears the same smile. It’s unbreakable, passed onto him as smoothly as One for All. He remembers the faces of those that ran by him only minutes ago, the frantic nature of the crowd below him and Nana, and he remembers how the creature he’d punched wouldn’t give in and wouldn’t back down.

He remembers he’s the best.

But he also remembers he’s part of a team that will go to the ends of the earth to back him up, just as he would do for them.

.All Might takes a quick breath, steadying his nerves and shouting, “Yes, sir!” All Might can’t see Nedzu, but if he could he’d see a new look of determination, of grit, of hope.

“Yo, Eraserhead!” Mic kicks a disposal bin, foot hitting the side of the dented metal container with a bang! It gets Aizawa’s attention as planned, head shooting up and eyes glaring at Mic within seconds. All Might and Nana punch things and Mic yells, But when it comes to making and executing plans, Aizawa knows better than all of them. “You got a plan?”

Aizawa’s eyes relax. “I can make one. Just give me a second.”

Aizawa takes in the creature’s position, it’s size, it’s stature, it’s general weight, and it’s density. While he has to guess on several of those things, he’s quite good at filling in the blanks. It looks like the creature has ears, eyes, and a mouth to roar with. He doesn’t know if it feels pain, but judging by its reaction to All Might’s blow earlier, they can bank on the idea that it might not feel it at all, not like humans do.

But he’s sure it has its limits. Everything does.

So Aizawa reasons that if the creature has ears then it might have eardrums, which could be shattered by Mic’s quirk. If the creature is distracted enough by the blow or hearing loss, then All Might and Nana could jump in and distract it further by throwing punches. Finally, if the creature is weak enough, Aizawa can wrap it up in a nice little bow and hand it to Nedzu.

But Nedzu had said to distract, not attempt to incapacitate.

Aizawa huffs in annoyance, suddenly wanting to kick a disposal bin himself.

“Eraserhead, incoming!” All Might’s voice breaks him out of his own head and Aizawa understands why immediately, as the creature has fixed its gaze on him and has shifted forward, all but stalking towards Aizawa until Aizawa notices it. Several strides later and Aizawa is narrowly missing a swipe of claws, diving and rolling out of the way. A scarf shoots out and wraps around a traffic pole and Aizawa uses it to run forward and fling himself over the creature and back into the safety of the rest of the group. As long as the creature is focused on them and not the rest of the city, everything would be fine.

Hopefully.

The creature stares at them and roars.

“Shit, what is that?” Mic’s arm flies up to shield himself in the wake of the sound.

Aizawa moves into action, paying little attention to Mic’s exclamation, and finally shouts orders the others can follow. “Mic, get ready to yell. All Might and Nana, I want you two to hit it while it’s down. Aim for its head. On the off chance that it’s weakened enough by all of that, I will capture it.”

Nedzu takes no time at all to voice his opinion, and it’s exactly as volatile as Aizawa had expected it to be. “Eraserhead,” Nedzu draws out his name with more than a hint of warning attached to the end of it. “The four of you are not strong enough. Especially not the four of you alone.”

Nedzu isn’t wrong. Aizawa is essentially working quirkless since his quirk is useless against an alien creature, and Mic can only yell. All Might and Nana are their only real firepower, but when it comes down to it they’re just two humans with super speed and super strength and can be killed as quickly as the rest of them if hit in the right place at the right time.

“You don’t know that.” Aizawa stands up for his fellow heroes. “And these people need saving. You said it yourself. And Nedzu, right now its focus is on us not them and we need to use that. Besides, it’s just a contingency if the creature gets weak enough. I repeat, it’s a contingency.

“Eraser—”

Stop.”

At least ask the others! Do they too share your plans?”

Nana and All Might exchange glances, nodding to one another. “Nana and I are all for it,” All Might says without hesitation.

“It’s all clear with—” Mic starts, but abruptly the rest of his words are taken from his throat as a sharp and calculated hit descends on it. There’s a flash of purple behind him as his remaining air is punched from his gut, exiting his lungs as a rough wheeze. The hero goes flying, landing on his back roughly and skidding on pavement. He tries to catch his breath, taking into stock that several of his ribs are most certainly broken, judging by the excruciating pain he feels when he can finally drag in a breath again. In front of him, the creature that had knocked the wind out of him stands with its back to Mic, not even paying attention to the Voice Hero anymore.

This newcomer is a striking humanoid who’s tall, haunting, and dark. It wears a sharply cut suit, much like one that the heroes could find on Earth. None of them can see its face, but they can see an apparatus that’s attached to the lower half of its head that shields more than the mask that covers the rest. It’s most certainly a breathing device, which tells the heroes something they hadn’t wanted to know.

It’s an alien too. An alien that looks like them.

“Oh my god,” Nana breathes, inching closer to All Might instinctively just as he does the same. Mic at this point has begun to sit up, but he can’t stand and his attempt to do so ends up with him on the ground again.

The new creature turns to Mic.

“You bast—”

Mic coughs and it makes his ribs scream. Then his heart starts thumping wildly in his chest. If he couldn’t even finish a sentence, that meant that his quirk—

“Ah,” the new creature says to Mic, who is close enough to hear the chuckle escaping its lips. “Seems as if I’ve weakened you a little too easily.” The cruel laugh stops and its voice grows cold. “Of course, that was my intention.”

Mic’s stomach drops as it turns back to the rest of the heroes and throws out its arms. “Hello to all! Just so we’re clear, you shall call me All for One, and this,” the figure gestures to the monster closest to him, now heeling upon hearing the voice of its master. “Is my Noumu.”

All for One approaches the creature he calls Noumu and pets it.

The Noumu absolutely purrs.

“Noumu likes this planet, as do I. You humans are quite… compatible I see.”

Mic coughs, trying to ask—

All Might straightens. “Why are you here? What do you want from us?”

All for One pauses, holds All Might’s gaze. The silence drags, everyone waiting, until finally All for One answers.

“What do I want? I want this planet. I want your service. I want your worship. But no, most of all, I want you, All Might and you, Shimura Nana.

All Might and Nana freeze solid. The two think the same thing in unison.

He couldn’t be the All for One, could he? Not here, not like this, how could that have

Before All Might can retort back and ask a follow up question, or Nana can at least clarify what is going on, All for One makes everything worse by continuing to talk.

“Now, I’m thinking we want to have some fun. What’s an arrival on a new planet if there isn’t a party to accompany it?” All for One continues stroking the Noumu and the creature loves it. “And Noumu here is lonely, after all…”

Oh god, please no, Aizawa says silently, catching All for One’s implication immediately. They couldn’t even handle one, there’s no way they could handle—

Something drops.

Another scream.

The dull noise of another hitting the earth and leaving a mark.

Noumu.

Noumu.

Noumu.

Until there are nine alien creatures moving around and surrounding the group.

Aizawa actually gulps.

“Where’s Midnight when we need her,” Nana says under her breath, now standing back to back with All Might and preparing for the worst. “I don’t like these things conscious.”

“Pretty sure you wouldn’t want them unconscious either. Eraserhead, the plan might still work,” All Might grasps at straws. “It could take out one or two at least, and that... that might be enough of a distraction.”

“Nedzu,” Mic whispers, teeth clenched and finally standing. “Where. Are. They?”

“I’m on it,” Nedzu tells him, and Mic can hear the typing as he struggles not to cough again. “They’re not close enough.”

“Well how much—” Mic loses the fight against an incoming hacking fit. “How much time do we have?”

“Three minutes to arrival, one until they’re in comm range. We aren’t suited for a fight against aliens. I advise you wait—”

“Nedzu, we don’t have much of a choice. If we die, we die.”

The silence that follows is heavy. “Well then, I wish you the best of luck. Just be careful,” Nedzu finally tells him. “Please.”

Mic grits his teeth, sees an opening while All for One is seemingly distracted, and runs. Mic can’t see it, but All for One smiles under his mask. Mic makes it to the rest of the heroes, and Aizawa is with him immediately, standing close enough to guard him while he coughs again.

“Can you activate your quirk?” Aizawa asks quietly.

“I don’t know,” Mic says, voice barely passing for a rasp after he’d coughed so hard. “But I have to try.”

Aizawa gives him a curt nod and the two mirror All Might and Nana, standing with their backs to one another and ready to fight from any direction.

Nedzu can’t see Mic and Aizawa’s nods, but the silence tells him everything he needs to know. “Eraserhead! We’re up!”

Aizawa meets his eyes, and Mic angles his body to get a vantage point for the nearest Noumu. Aizawa readies his scarves and All Might braces himself while Nana’s skin seeps purple lightning. Both of them grin and for the hell of it, Mic and Aizawa grin with them.

Mic opens up his mouth, screams, and everything burns.

PLUS ULTRAAAAAAAA!”

The world hums and his whole body vibrates with the force of the channeled blast that hits the nearest Noumu and several around it. The one that received the direct hit cries out, though its screams isn’t nearly as deafening as Mic’s quirk. Mic doubles over, the force of the scream having almost taken him out too because holy fuck does his throat hurt.

“CALIFORNIA SMAAAAAAASH!” All Might yells as he punches the alien, a full power blast radiating outwards enough that everyone in the vicinity can feel the force of the shockwave. It’s no tiny hit, yet the Noumu only budges a foot, if that. So All Might moves to his left, because he knows that Nana is right behind him with her own quirk activated to its maximum.

“MONTANA SMAAAAAAASH!”

A convergence of purple lightning crackles and pops, and then makes contact with the Noumu in a flurry of lightning strikes that are enough to brighten the area. Thunder follows in their wake, the boom shaking All Might’s bones due to proximity alone and causing his ears to ring.

“You’re going to make me lose my hearing one of these days,” All Might laughs and smiles wider as she finishes up her flurry of blows.

But the Noumu hadn’t moved more than a foot again.

Nana fights the urge to frown. “Well, gear up, because I’m about to try now,” Her voice is strong, but there’s a note of unease and worry of a fear that only All Might can detect. It isn’t as if she’s unable to sense his terror as well.

But they’re heroes.

So they smile.

All Might understands the meaning of her words immediately, his wavelengths perfectly aligned with hers. He steps in front of her and charges a punch.

The Noumu roars.

“Mic!” All Might shouts. “Can you hit it again?”

“Roger that!” Mic says, voice stronger than before.

The blast does cause All Might to consider wearing earplugs from now on, but it does cause the Noumu to reach a state of distress powerful enough that Nana and All Might can do their worst.

“MONTANA SMAAAAAAASH!” All Might rushes forward, superspeed fueling his initial hit. He makes contact and the Noumu’s skin—if one could call it that—ripples from the impact.

Then, as fast as he’d arrived, he moves away, and Nana shouts from behind him, “NEW YORK SMAAAAAAASH!”

Come on, time it right, All Might thinks, mentally crossing his fingers. You’ve got this, Sensei.

Her fist, colored purple from lightning, hits the Noumu in the same place All Might had made contact with seconds before. Her hit moves to chase All Might’s, the lightning tracing the contours of the Noumu’s temporary injury. The electicity snaps and the Noumu makes one noise of discomfort. The thunder hits and All Might is sure his eardrums are going to shatter.

“We need you to hit it again, Mic!” Nana says for the both of them. All Might doesn’t protest because he’d been about to suggest the same thing.

“You sure?”

“Yes, do it!” Both All Might and Nana shout in perfect unison.

PLUSSSSSS ULTRAAAAAA!” It’s strong and clear, and All Might and Nana can feel it in their bones, cells humming.

The Noumu cries out again, flinching backwards just enough to give All Might and Nana another chance.

Nana goes for its eyes, aiming to blind it, and All Might goes for the back of its neck.

“CONNECTICUT—” All Might begins, fist strong and firm.

“—SMAAAAAAASH!” Nana finishes, both fists drenched in a lightning storm. She holds them out, then brings them together, crashing into each side of the Noumu’s skull and feeling a wet squish of something between her hands.

At the same time, All Might strikes a solid punch to the back of the Noumu’s neck, aiming for the closest thing it has to cervical vertebrae. The combined shockwaves from the two hits throw off the Noumu, and while it is still relatively unmoved, it’s reeling and distracted by All Might and Nana’s combined assault.

Perfect, All Might thinks. Their plan might work after all

Nana is on his wavelength. “Eraser, you can—!”

“—On it!” Aizawa shouts, cutting her off. His eyes burn red, and he sprints forward, his scarves flying out and rippling in his wake. Aizawa moves faster, a terrifying oscillation of deadly fabric fluctuating behind him as he runs.

He’s trying not to think about what the other Noumu are doing to their targets. Civilians are dashing away, trying to escape the creatures but are so often not quick enough. Men and women are trying to rush past, aiming to get inside their transportation pods, only to have them crush and ripped apart before they can lock the doors. The streets are torn up, glass store windows decimated, and there’s too much blood everywhere.

And the police are not—

And the Noumu are—

And the screaming. Such screaming.

It’s never been this bad before. Aizawa has faced villains who could turn into the ones he loved, villains who were all encompassing slimes, villains who could shatter an entire nervous system with the flick of a wrist, but to say this is the epitome of bad would be an understatement.

Aizawa finally reaches the Noumu, and only anger is inside him when his scarves move around its body. They twist and turn, guided by Aizawa constantly inverting and reverting his gravity field.

This is for the people you’ve killed, the ones I couldn’t save, and may you never hurt anyone ever again, Aizawa thinks, winding the scarves around his forearms. He begins to pull them taut, but eyes stare back at him.

Movements become more ordered.

The scarves fly apart.

“I thought you took those out!” Mic shouts.

“I did!Nana shoots.

The creature’s dark hand wraps around the back of Aizawa’s neck and Aizawa scrambles, trying to escape its grip, too shocked at the creature’s recovery to think at full capacity.

The hold on his neck tightens, and then next thing Aizawa sees is the ground as his face slams into the pavement. Then the Noumu is on top of him and Aizawa can’t even try to move. A hand is dragging his head up by his hair and another hand holds him down by the arm, claws digging into his skin, their prickle far past painful.

The footsteps are slow as they approach him and dread coils in Aizawa’s gut.

No, no no, Aizawa thinks helplessly.

“Wait, Aizawa, come in, Aizawa!” Aizawa hears Mic’s broken voice on the comms but he can’t muster any strength to reply.

It’s quiet anyway. Everything is quieter now.

Except for its voice.

All for One stares down at him, and Aizawa does his best to breath evenly. He’ll be damned if All for One sees how afraid he is. “Aizawa Shouta. Eraserhead. Quirk: Erasure. Very nice,” All for One says.

“You won’t—” Aizawa starts, but the claws entwined in his hair tighten. His head comes up, and then it comes down. There’s a sharp hit to the back of his skull right before his vision dims.

“I won’t what?” All for One taunts, daring him to speak again. He crouches down closer to the hero.

Despite Aizawa’s frustrations and his stubbornness to not let anyone threaten him into not doing anything, he’s far from stupid. He ends up lying there and trying not to think too much. The world is turning grey and Aizawa really doesn’t mind it as much as he thought he would.

“Hmm? Nothing?” All for One continues speaking, but Aizawa is finding it hard to hear him.

“Shouta, I know you’re there, and I know you might not be able to talk, but just listen to me,” Midnight’s voice is clear and steady, easier to focus on than his enemy’s taunts. “We are coming to save you. Do not close your eyes. Do not pass out. I repeat. Do not close your eyes. Do not—”

Forehead meets pavement. A bloody nose.

Another sharp hit to the back of the head.

Dim turns to dark.

Everything feels like it’s coming from a cloud and he’s not anywhere anymore. He feels rough hits to his body but they don’t hurt. There’s a slicing feeling and something warm and wet dripping down his side and his face. There’s a snap in his arm and a crunch in the other. But he can’t feel it because he’s just not here right now.

He can’t hear All for One’s taunts about taking his quirk.

He can’t hear its threats about bringing more Noumu.

He can’t hear how this isn’t the real invasion.

But he can hear Mic’s screaming. He can always hear Mic’s screaming.

“Aizawa, you might not be able to hear me, and I know that and I’m sorry!” Mic’s voice crackles through what’s left of the heroes’ communication system. “But the other pros are here! We’re going to save everyone! It’s going to be okay!”

Aizawa’s world shuts down and he loses consciousness.

-x-

It’s not okay.

“Aizawa, breathe! Please breathe!” Mic has his hands on Aizawa’s chest doing compressions as best he can before Recovery Girl gets there. “Don’t you die on me!”

Aizawa’s eyes don’t open and his pulse remains still.

“Aizawa, come! On!” Mic yells, activating his quirk because he doesn’t know what else to do.

He can’t be—he can’t—no, not—

Aizawa’s first breath is broken and choked. The second one is far too wet and ends up with a coughing fit and a pool of blood on the ground.

But he’s alive.

“You… you came back. How?”

“I can always hear your screaming you big idiot,” Aizawa answers.

Mic doesn’t ask Aizawa for permission when he hugs him and it doesn’t matter that it’s an incredibly painful embrace for the two of them because they’re both alive. They survived.

“I’m going to sleep now,” Aizawa’s voice is muffled against Mic’s shoulder.

Aizawa doesn’t bother fighting the darkness, letting it welcome him peacefully.

He doesn’t hear Mic’s frantic yelps of protest.

 

Recovery Girl’s Field Office

The next time Aizawa wakes up he feels the casts first. They cover both of his arms, carefully held in twin slings. His face is also wrapped in bandages and he can feel that his scarf is gone along with his goggles.

But his eyes aren’t covered.

And his eyes are open.

“What—I can’t—I can’t see.” Aizawa’s voice shakes.

“It’s temporary,” Recovery Girl’s voice reaches his ears. “There’s a 98% chance you’ll recover fully.”

“And the 2%?” Aizawa asks quietly.

Recovery Girl is quiet.

Aizawa realizes he doesn’t want to cross that bridge before he gets to it. “How are the civilians?” he chokes out instead of pressing.

“1435 dead, 2578 injured and counting,” Mic answers far too quickly

“And the Noumus…?”

Mic is the one who answers again. “Gone.”

Aizawa’s world stops.

“How?” his voice would have been louder but it hurts to breathe so it’s more of a weak rasp.

Mic still hears him anyway. “While you were, you know, being attacked—” Mic hates saying it but Aizawa knows it’s the truth. He’s never been one to sugarcoat. “—All for One went on a rant about how this wasn’t the real invasion. How every life lost was a message to how powerless we were against him, and how destroying you was a message of how useless heroes were,” Mic pauses, eyes suddenly wide. “Then they left through the nexus. We tried chasing them down but when we got in, there was nothing. It thought it killed you.”

Nexus? They left through the nexus? How do aliens have compatibility with the internet like humans do? How can they go inside it like we can? Aizawa’s brain moves too quickly for him to keep up with and he lets out a groan.

“I was unaware aliens had a nexus,” Midnight states, casually twirling her ever present whip.

“I mean if they’re compatible with it like we are,” Mic reasons. “Then it would follow that they could use it like we do.”

“But how can they go inside of it? They’re not like you two,” Aizawa gestures to All Might and Nana who possess perfect nexus compatibility because of their quirk, One for All. But they are also the only people that hold the qualifications for being a synapse, a title given to someone with such an attribute. “There’s no way they’re like you two.”

“They do have quirks.” Midnight says from close by. “So it’s possible.”

“It’s reality,” Mic adds roughly, now thoroughly pissed off at the situation.

All Might quickly exchanges an uneasy glance with Nana. He coughs to get everyone’s attention. Within a second, all eyes are on him. “We haven’t been entirely honest with you about the origins of our quirk.” He exhales sharply, and sits up straight.

Nedzu puts down his teacup with a sharp clink on the other side of the comms, and everyone can hear it, knowing what it means. He’s always gentle because Nedzu uses bone china tea sets. It’s a gesture none of those in the room have ever been a part of and it’s disconcerting to everyone except for All Might, who’s too focused on what he has to say to truly notice. “Excuse me?

“All for One is the other half of One for All.” All Might speaks the words quickly, just needing to get the words out. “It’s not the name of an alien, it’s the name of a quirk.”

“Your quirk is from an alien?” Midnight exclaims before Nedzu can say anything.

“No! God no!” Nana shakes her hands, trying to dispel that thought. “He’s an alien who has it! My predecessor didn’t tell me how they received One for All, they just passed it on to me and left.”

“We do know the original user of both quirks was a human,” All Might says.

“It just got into the hands of an alien overlord somehow,” Midnight says, skepticism thick in her voice.

“Yes, actually,” All Might glares at her. “And it wasn’t our fault.

“And now we have to get it back,” Nana explains. “Or risk the consquences.”

“Or erase it from existence,” All Might suggests the alternative and Nana nods.

“Or contain it. Is there anything else we should know before I start asking the questions?” Nedzu says, a loaded question.

Nana and All Might exchange nervous glances again, and twin exhales are heard. “Yes,” Nana’s voice is soft. “There is one thing. All for One possesses the ability to take other quirks and steal nexus compatibility.” She regrets saying the words as soon as they leave his mouth because of the frantic reaction from the rest of the heroes.

“Are you kidding me?” Midnight exclaims, dropping her whip and throwing her hands up in the air.

Mic turns his head away, “Holy shit, All Might.”

“Please tell me you’re lying.” Nedzu stands up despite not being physically present with the others, tea forgotten.

“I wish we were,” All Might explains far too calmly given the gravity of the situation. “We thought All for One was lost. While Nana and I’s quirk can stockpile nexus compatibility—which is how we are both synapses and can move through the nexus so easily—All for One’s can give and take quirks and use compatibility like currency.”

Aizawa voices the collective worry of the group. “So it’s entirely possible that All for One’s army is composed entirely of synapses.”

All Might and Nana nod slowly, inwardly flinching and hating that they feel the need to.

“So if we have an alien race that has quirks and perfect nexus compatibility, where does that leave us?” Midnight asks.

“Fucked.” Mic says with a dark laugh.

Aizawa chuckles and it hurts. “I think I need a hospital.”

Mic nods and All Might picks up Aizawa and carries him away.

 

Two Weeks Later

Recovery Girl’s Permanent Medical Office

The bandages come off and all Aizawa sees is blurriness. There’s a fuzzy cloud where Mic should be and Aizawa wants to sharpen the image, but finds that it doesn’t work.

Before Aizawa can say anything, Recovery Girl is talking. “I’m sorry. The hit damaged part of your oculomotor nerve,” Recovery Girl explains. “I can help you heal many things, but nerve damage isn’t one of them.”

Aizawa can barely breathe. Mic’s reassuring hand is suddenly on his arm and it anchors him. Someone, something to hang onto. Something real.

At least he can still feel.

He then realizes that Recovery Girl is still talking. “Fortunately, it only hinders your ability to focus—”

“That’s not fortunate!” Aizawa spits. “I can’t see goddamnit!

It’s the most emotion Recovery Girl has ever seen from him and she cringes, taken aback.

“Shouta,” Mic’s voice is quiet—a rare occurance—and Aizawa has to listen to him. “We have a solution.”

“Well, spit it out!” Aizawa turns to look at him, but there’s just a vague dark grey remnant of where Mic should be. He shouts out of frustration and no one blames him for it.

Mic remains calm despite the circumstances. They just survived an alien invasion. He can get his friend through this. “There’s a surgery you can have. It will take your current oculomotor nerve and replace it with a new electronic one that works exactly the same. Unfortunately your pupil will have to go with it, as will your iris, but they’ll be replaced with ones that are even better than the ones you had before the attack.”

Aizawa swallows. Robot eyes? “W-what does that mean for my quirk?”

There’s a silence and it kills Aizawa inside. He can’t see what they’re doing. He can’t see what’s happening. He can’t see.

“We don’t know,” Mic says the words, and Aizawa feels like throwing up.

“Mic, in three seconds I want you to scream as loud as you can.”

“Shouta, I don’t think that’s a good idea, you could just test it with your hair and—”

“Three,” Aizawa ignores him, and feels for where Mic should be and looks right at him the best he can. “Two,” Aizawa attempts to activate his quirk. He sees a familiar flash of red, and maybe it will—“One.”

The scream that fills the room nearly shatters Aizawa’s eardrums.

“Fucking dammit!” Aizawa screams and turns to where he last heard Recovery Girl speak. She hasn’t moved. “I’ll do it. I don’t care. Just fix this please. I can’t live like this.

“I’ll go get the paperwork right now,” she says, already hurrying away. “Mic, stay with him.”

“Wouldn’t dream of doing anything otherwise.”

Aizawa shouts again, hating the situation and himself for letting the Noumu win.

No.

The Noumu did not win. He will show the Noumu that they do not belong on this world, in this solar system, or in this universe. Mic rubs his arm, trying to calm Aizawa down. He’s breathing heavily and can’t hide his shaking. Mic knows his efforts are most likely futile, but he’s going to do all that he can.

“You know, those eyes are going to look pretty rad.”

“I don’t care about that,”

“I know.”

“Then stop talking,” Aizawa tells his friend.

Mic shuts up with an audible click!

 

One Month Later

Nedzu’s Office

The president’s office is large enough for the aforementioned and several others, but not for the president and an entire council.

“We should run it through the military,” Tensei suggests, head leaning over the shoulder of Midnight, who doesn’t appear to mind given the circumstances. “If we run it through something private we wouldn’t be able to afford it. We’re talking about a multibillion dollar project.”

“You think the government would be up for that, Mr. President?” Midnight stares right at Nedzu, not afraid to put him on the spot.

“We don’t have a choice,” Nedzu says. “It’s our job to protect the people, both the government and the heroes, public and private, and I, like you all, believe that this program is the best way to do it.”

The program is a protocol for recruiting young students, pairing them together based of specialized mental and physical criteria, and sending them on interstellar reconnaissance missions to find All for One before All for One comes back for them. It’s a simple idea, but implementation requires the building and use of thousands of experimental designs for space travel and the research for many more. It’s a massive undertaking, but with humanity on the edge of a knife blade, this is their best chance at prevention.

There’s silence for a while, as if no one knows what else to say. Mic is happy to distract with less important aspects of the project. “We still don’t have a name for the program,” he says.

Aizawa, still wearing his casts, steps forward in the cramped space. He blinks, cybernetic pupils dilating and constricting naturally.

“We’ll call it the U.A. Initiative,” he says. It’s not a suggestion. “If we’re going to train people to save the world, we might as well call them heroes.”

 

 

2049 AD

 

The U.A. Initiative’s Exam Facility

“Deku, you brat get back here!” Bakugou Katsuki shouts while running after his unwilling partner. “We’re supposed to be a pair right? Save the fucking universe and that shit? You have to work with me, right?” Katsuki mocks.

He’s chasing Midoriya Izuku down a broken street, the simulation in night mode so that sight lines are dim and short, and there’s wreckage from a transportation pod that had been torn open and shattered glass everywhere from multiple sources. One light pole flickers, and Katsuki stalks forward, slower now, because Izuku is closer to him.

“Pairs don’t use their quirks on each other maliciously!” Izuku ducks into a faux alleyway and nearly slips on an piece of aluminum foil. It’s even more dimly lit than the main street and a pink glow settles on Izuku’s face as he runs under a long neon light tube embedded into the wall of the alley. It leads to a fake door that doesn’t work, twisting into the words Dance Club. “Nearly taking out my shoulder with an explosion because I still call you ‘Kacchan’ counts as malicious, Kacchan!”

In the control room for the simulation, Nedzu presses a single yellow button. A robot Noumu is released and it immediately makes a beeline towards Katsuki and Izuku’s coordinates. Other robots had been situated around the artificial metropolis, but none of them had crossed Katsuki and Izuku’s paths, yet.

This should get them in line, Nezdu thinks, not even worried about their lack of cooperation.

It would be willing soon enough.

“Are you sure you want to pair them?” Aizawa asks the President, voice unsure. He’s also in the control room, being that he’s one of the few chosen to observe the entrance examinations to the U.A. Initiative. Nedzu, on the other hand, is responsible for giving the physical and mental acuity tests that all rising high schoolers are required to go through and use them to pull out the best and the brightest. Once he has a list of those students, he puts them into pairs and slates them for training.

“Oh I’m positive,” Nedzu zooms in a high-resolution camera on the boys who are oblivious to the robot monster closing in on them thanks to their useless arguments. Katsuki slams an explosive fist into a brick wall, and leaves a small crater in the side of the building. Izuku flinches, clearly fighting the urge to cower. “Those two are some of the brightest I’ve ever seen. If they can settle their differences and work together I have no doubt that they would be the greatest pair the Initiative has ever seen.”

Meanwhile, Izuku is standing up straighter, planting his feet, and making the terrifying decision not to run.

“Deku!” Katsuki’s voice gets louder as he yells at Izuku, who notices the other boy has finally stopped running away. “Shitface motherfucker—”

Izuku takes a deep breath, and for the first time in a long time, stands up for himself.

Kaachan, I’m not playing your games anymore!” Izuku’s voice is shaking . “If we’re going to be a pair you need to act like you’re a part of one!”

Katsuki notices the robot Noumu first, and after seeing the sheer size of the beast he realizes he has a new priority.

It’s exactly the side and shape of the first Noumu that the heroes encountered ten years ago, meaning that it has four legs, an exposed brain, and a generally humanoid physique. It’s just nine feet tall and far too muscular along with being equal parts metallic and robotic.

He needs to stop this thing now and chances are, if these twisted exam proctors have designed this exam the way he thinks they have, Katsuki is going to need Izuku to do it.

Ugh.

“You said it yourself earlier!” Izuku is rambling, a defense mechanism meant to keep Katsuki occupied while he thinks of an escape plan. Katsuki can’t let that happen now. They have to fight this thing and Katsuki’s view of the robot Noumu is getting more vivid as the mechanical beast is getting closer, stalking towards them with surprising stealth. They have to make a plan now. “Deku—“

“Kacchan!Izuku taunts back before Katsuki can finish. “My name is Izuku. Not Deku. Stop calling me that!

Fine!Katsuki grows impatient and a little frantic.

Frantic enough to give into Izuku’s wish. “MIDORIYA MOTHERFUCKING IZUKU LOOK BEHIND YOU!” Katsuki barks out the command without thinking and thankfully Izuku turns.

Izuku turns.

“Oh,” he says, finally seeing the artificial alien that’s towering over both of them.

Izuku appropriately screams.