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Green Lightning

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Izuku Midoriya had been four years old when their hopes had been shattered at their feet for the first time.

 

In a world where almost every person had a super power, a quirk, they were quirkless.

And according to  literally everyone, apparently, you couldn’t be a hero if you didn’t have a quirk.

Even if being a hero was all that Izuku had ever wanted.

 

At the time, Izuku had shrunk in on themself and instead of giving it up, they only became more enamored with heroes. The heroes of modern times, and… the heroes from old comic books, back before quirks, too. 

Superhero comics from back before quirks emerged were hard to find nowadays, and even when you could find them, the way the stories depicted the heroes was noticeably different from how modern heroes worked now. 

But, a hero is a hero, and so Izuku loved them anyway.

And… inevitably, of course it was a comic from before quirks had appeared that was the one that gave them the answer that they needed:

A hero that, instead of fighting with a superpower, used complex gadgets and technology. 

 

Izuku was still young then; they didn’t know exactly what they would be getting themself into by doing this. But that didn’t matter.

All that mattered was that they had their hope back.

 


 

"A gigantification quirk…" Izuku mumbles to themself, quickly scribbling down as many thoughts about it into their notebook as they can. "Depending on how exactly that works, it could offer a lot of interesting battle strategies. Is the size controllable? Is it possible to shrink instead of grow? What about…" 

After writing a few more thoughts, Izuku quickly switches notebooks. “Would it be possible to replicate a gigantification quirk though? Probably not literally, but it could be possible to fake it. Villains might be intimidated by an enemy that looks larger…”

 

This is how Izuku takes their notes, and it has been that way for as long as they remember. First, taking notes on the quirk and hero themselves, and second, taking notes on possible ways that they could recreate the quirk or its effects.

Sure, by this point their shelves are becoming a bit cluttered with notebooks, but it’s manageable. They probably could have stopped taking physical notes a while ago but… something about seeing all of the notebooks together on their shelf fills them with a warm feeling. They suppose, in a way, it helps them feel more confident.

They have actual concrete plans for how to be a hero.

…Even if almost no one else wants to believe in them.

 

Izuku finishes writing and snaps the notebook shut.

I can be a hero, even if the only one who believes in me is me.


Their day at school is… less than stellar, but honestly, isn’t it always?

 

It had been more stressful today, though. The class was talking about all their plans for the future, and well.

No one would hesitate to tell Izuku that they couldn’t be a hero, especially not Bakugou. (The teacher hadn’t said anything about it, but only because he had given up trying long ago.)

Once the class was calmed down, they were happy to ignore them, though. It seems they only care that they're there when they want to remind them that they can’t be a hero, that they're quirkless, that they're useless, that they're just Deku.

...Izuku shakes their head. It doesn’t matter what they think. It’s never mattered.

They open their notebook to write down a few more notes that they thought of during class-

And the notebook is suddenly snatched from their hands.

Izuku looks up to see Bakugou holding the notebook, a scowl on his face. ...Ah.

“We’re not done talking yet, Deku.” He growls.

“Can you please just give me the notebook back?” Izuku asks quietly. “I get it. You don’t think I can be a hero. There’s nothing to talk about.”

Apparently, this is the wrong thing to say. Bakugou claps his hands together on the notebook, and it explodes. Izuku yelps in surprise.

“Hey- you can’t-!”

Ignoring Izuku’s protest, Bakugou throws the now-scorched notebook over his shoulder and out the window. At this, Izuku lets out a wordless cry of dismay.

Bakugou grabs Izuku by the shoulder, and leans in closer, an intense glare on his face. “The problem here, is that you still think you can be a hero.”

“There’s no rules that say I can’t be a hero,” Izuku protests meekly.

The hand on their shoulder gives a small explosive pop, and Izuku bites back a hiss of pain. Bakugou leans in even further, and Izuku flinches back.

“Listen, Deku, very carefully. Don’t. Apply. To. UA. Got it?” Bakugou says, and the ‘or else’ is very strongly implied.

Izuku doesn’t want to agree with him, because that would make them a liar. They have no intention of ever giving up on applying to UA. But they don’t want to flat out say ‘no’ either, because that… that never ends well. So instead, they look down, away from Bakugou’s glaring eyes.

Finally, Bakugou lets go, pushing them back as he does so. Izuku still doesn’t look up, but they hear Bakugou’s footsteps go further and further away. They hear the door open.

“Y’know,” Bakugou says, “if you want to be a hero so bad, then maybe there is a solution. You could take a swan dive off the roof, and pray that you’re born with a quirk in your next life.”

Izuku flinches backwards at Bakugou’s harsh words, but they keeps their gaze glued to the floor. Let him think he’s winning. Just let him think he’s winning, and he’ll stop.

Seemingly satisfied, Bakugou leaves the room, slamming the door behind him. Izuku finally looks up.

First, they glance out the window that Bakugou had thrown their notebook out of. They find it, floating at the top of a pond.

Izuku lets out a heavy sigh, gathers their stuff and heads down to get the notebook.


It isn’t all bad, Izuku tries to tell themself, like they always days when things get to be like this. Mom still believes in you.

At first, when Izuku had been diagnosed as quirkless, their mother was about to give up right along with everyone else. But then, when they had come up with an actual way to be a hero, she had supported them completely.

She worries for their safety sometimes, though. Izuku knows that. They promise her they’ll be careful, and while Izuku isn’t necessarily sure she believes them when they says that, she lets them continue anyway. For that, they're grateful.

They're lost in thought as they pass underneath a bridge (though, it’s more like a tunnel honestly).

Izuku contemplates whether they should head home right now, or if they should mess with their gadgets for a while. They would go out and mess with their gadgets after getting home anyway, but part of their mood makes them want to do it sooner rather than later.

Messing with their gadgets always cheers them up whenever they're upset-

They're broken away from their thoughts by a sudden crash from behind.

Izuku whirls around. Is that… a villain…?!


Yes.

It was a villain.

 

If that had been the end of it, Izuku would definitely, without a doubt, say that this was probably one of the worst days of their life.

That had not been the end of it though, and their day went from “worst of their life” to “best of their life” so fast it almost gave them whiplash.

Why? Well…

 

“You’re All Might!” Izuku squeals in awe.

 

… Izuku had been saved from the villain by All Might, the number one hero, and Izuku’s all time favorite.

And All Might had given Izuku his autograph. So. Sounds like a best day, there.

“Well!” All Might says, “Now that I’ve finished dealing with that villain, I’m afraid that I must take my leave.”

“You’re… leaving already?” Izuku can’t help the disappointment that leaks into their voice. The meeting feels so… short. Realistically, they suppose, of course All Might doesn't have all the time in the world but… already?

“Afraid so! Heroes are always fighting time as well as villains,” All Might tells them apologetically.

“Can I ask you a question, before you go? I’ll make it quick, I promise,” Izuku pleads desperately.

All Might hesitates. “One question. All right kid? Just one.”

Izuku takes in a deep breath. I need to know. I need to know if he would believe in me… “Do you think that someone who is quirkless could be a hero?” They ask.

For a long moment All Might says nothing, and just stares back at them.

Then…

“I’m… I’m sorry, kid. But… being a hero is dangerous work. I cannot simply tell you that you could be a hero without a quirk.”

It almost physically hurts Izuku to hear those words. It’s like a sting, right in their heart. “But, I… There are plenty of heroes who rely on support gear more than they do their quirk, so if I just…!”

“I’m sorry, my boy, but it’s still too dangerous.” All Might says softly, apologetic. “Heroes get hurt all the time. Even me. Fighting villains without a quirk will just get you hurt.”

Izuku looks away.

“…That was one question, so… I have to go now. I’m sorry,” All Might apologizes one last time before taking off into the sky.

Numbly, Izuku watches him fly away.

 

He doesn’t believe in me.

Just like everyone else.

He doesn’t believe in me.

 

Something tells them that this day is now plummeting the list of “best days ever”. 


Izuku stops by their home first, but as soon as they drop off their stuff and change out of their school uniform, they head down to Dagobah Beach.

Dagobah has… an infamous reputation. The beach had always seemed to be a place where garbage ended up flowing to, but then the locals had to use it as a dumping site for all of their garbage as well. So now, instead of a nice beach, it’s mountains and mountains of garbage.

For Izuku, though, it’s like a perfect building ground.

People say that if you look hard enough, you can find just about anything in the garbage on Dagobah Beach. Well, Izuku can agree with that statement; the garbage is where they find almost all their parts for building new gadgets.

And not only is the beach a good place to find new parts, it’s a good place to test out their gadgets too. Plenty of potential targets, and no one ever comes snooping around so they don’t have to worry about anyone messing with their stuff.

 

Izuku reaches the beach and they make their way through the maze of garbage piles, already knowing the way to their spot by heart. 

At Izuku’s spot is a nice little makeshift shed (built from spare parts of course); inside that is a work table, and three piles. Parts to use, gadgets that work, and gadgets that… well don’t quite work yet.

Izuku carefully grabs from the pile of non-working gadgets, sinks into the chair by the work table, and starts trying to turn it from non-working to functional.

The chair is surprisingly high quality- the only reason that Izuku can see for it being thrown out is the red paint splattered on it (and yes, it is paint, they checked that repeatedly). The paint splatterings over the tacky green pattern makes it look like the winner of an ugly Christmas sweater contest, but it’s undeniably comfortable, and Izuku loves it anyway.

Leaning back in the chair as they fiddle with the gadget, Izuku lets their mind wander, thinking.

Thinking about a lot of things, really, but mostly thinking about what All Might told them. 

 

“I cannot simply tell you that you could be a hero without a quirk.”  He had said.

 

...Well, he didn’t outright say ‘no’, Izuku reasons to themself. He just said that it wasn’t a simple answer.

...Oh, who am I kidding. The more doubtful side of their mind mumbles. I even asked him about using support gear to make up for the lack of quirk, and he still said that it would be too dangerous. That I would get hurt by villains too much if I don’t have a quirk.

A small (very, very, very small) part of them wants to be bitter about All Might telling them ‘no’. But on the other hand… All Might had just been worried for their safety. The hero, just… he just didn’t want Izuku to hurt themself by trying to be a hero.

That doesn’t mean I can’t do it though, They mutter to themself. All kinds of heroes get injured while fighting villains. It’s an inevitability.

Besides, what else am I gonna do with all these gadgets?

Izuku has spent almost ten years now, almost an entire decade,  learning to make gadgets and then, well,  making gadgets. What’re they supposed to do now? Just give up? Throw out all their gadgets- all the things they've learned up until now?

If nothing else, I guess working for a support company could be a secondary career path, Izuku thinks. They're not sure if they're taking that thought seriously though, because they know deep down what they want, more than anything else in the world;

 

Izuku wants to be a hero.

 

A small squeaking noise makes Izuku look up from the gadget in their hands. There’s a small white ferret perched on the table in front of them, wearing a small visor with a screen in the front. Currently, the screen is displaying a row of X’s.

“Garby, did you break your visor again?” Izuku sighs, already knowing the answer. Garby chirps in reply. Izuku carefully takes it off of him, and works at fixing it. “You’ve gotta stop breaking this thing. Or, maybe I should make you a new one that’s less breakable, huh?”

Luckily, it’s a very small issue, so it’s fixed in no time. Izuku carefully replaces the visor onto Garby’s head, and the small screen on it immediately displays:

[:)]

“Yeah, yeah, you’re welcome.”

Garby looks up at Izuku, tilts his head, and the screen blinks and changes;

[?]

“What?” Izuku asks. Seemingly in response, Garby sniffs at Izuku’s shoulder- the one that Bakugou had burned earlier, they realize. “It’s okay. It’s only a little bit burned. You don’t have to worry about it.”

[Doubt]

Izuku frowns. “What would you know, you’re a ferret.”

Garby chirps in reply, and jumps to their arm before crawling up to perch on their uninjured shoulder. Izuku goes back to fixing the gadget they had been working on before.

 

They really do appreciate Garby’s company. The ferret had first shown up a few years ago, and at the time Izuku thought it was a little… weird, but after a while Garby grew on them.

Izuku’s not entirely sure how intelligent he is, given that Garby is, in fact, just a ferret, but he seems to understand whatever Izuku tells him.

“You think I got it working this time?” Izuku asks, screwing the handle on the gadget back together. Garby gives a small squeak. Izuku steps outside of their small shack (just in case the gadget malfunctions; they wouldn’t want to accidentally ruin any of the working gadgets in there).

Izuku chooses their target (a small boulder), aims, and squeezes the trigger. A small beam flies from the gadget in their hand and hits the rock, kicking up dust and sand in the process.

The dust clears. There’s a hole in the center of the boulder, about the size of a fist in width and depth.

Izuku frowns at the gadget in their hand. It was supposed to crack the boulder apart. “Guess it still needs tweaking, huh...?”


 

All Might had said that Izuku couldn’t be a hero without a quirk. But, in all honesty, that was what everyone had tried to tell them all along; and if nothing else, Izuku is determined and stubborn.

They're going to take the UA entrance exam to the hero course. And they're going to try their absolute hardest to pass.

It’s not much to go on, but… determination has gotten Izuku this far already.

Chapter Text

Izuku stands in front of the gates of UA on the day of the entrance exam, and they're incredibly nervous. Of course they are. Their entire future depends on the exam ahead of them.

They had done a bit of research ahead of time to see what the practical exam would likely include; they’d been relieved to find that it was just robots. Robots with fairly simple AI are something Izuku can deal with.  And they've always had good grades in school, so the written exam shouldn’t be too much of a problem for them.

…Even so, they can’t help the wave of nervousness settling over them.

I can do this, Izuku tells themself, taking a deep breath, I can do this -

They're broken from their thoughts as someone bumps into their shoulder, and they spring backwards in surprise. Just as they're about to blurt an apology for being in the way, they look up and see Bakugou and their mouth promptly snaps shut.

Bakugou looks back at them surprised. (And also angry. But the angry part isn’t surprising to Izuku, given that angry is like Bakugou’s default.)

The last time they had interacted was when Bakugou had threatened them to not apply to UA. Since then, Izuku has been trying their best to avoid him, and the only reason they can see for Bakugou leaving them alone was that he didn’t want to mess up his record just before applying to UA. (Not that bullying Izuku had ever put a scuff on his oh so perfect record before.)

So, Izuku doesn’t know what Bakugou is going to do here, in this situation. Izuku being here is deliberately doing what Bakugou threatened them to not do. But at the same time, would he really risk getting into UA just to threaten them…?

 

Eventually Bakugou scoffs and turns away. “Whatever. It’s not like you’re gonna get in to UA anyway. Just stay out of my way, shitty gearhead.”

Bakugou stalks away, and Izuku stares after him, surprised. For Bakugou, that was incredibly civil. He even called Izuku ‘gearhead’ instead of ‘Deku’ which is rare.

Then they look up and sees a few people staring; as soon as Izuku looks at them, they immediately turn away and pretend they weren’t watching, but it’s still incredibly obvious.

...Oh. He wasn’t being civil because he’s trying to be better. He was being civil because there are other people watching who might actually care. Izuku frowns, and takes a deep breath. Whatever. Bakugou doesn’t matter. He doesn’t. I’m not going to let him ruin this for me. This is my one and only chance.

They take a step forward.

I’m finally on my way to being a hero…!

-They trip.

Or I’ll just die, They think glumly, staring at the ground as it rises up to meet them. They close their eyes at the last second and waits for the impact but it… never comes.

What?

Izuku blinks open their eyes to see the ground in front of them, as they… hover over it? They feel weird too- a little weightless.

“Sorry!” A cheerful voice says, “I shouldn’t have used my quirk on you without asking,” a pair of hands steadies them onto their feet, and weight returns to them. Izuku turns to the person who had stopped their fall. “...But it would have been bad luck to trip and fall on the first day.”

After a second, Izuku realizes they should really say something in reply. “I, um,” Izuku stammers in response, “er, thank you?” Nailed it, Their thoughts hum sarcastically.

She smiles. “You’re welcome! Well, good luck on your exam!” The girl waves at them, then walks away.

She’s really nice, Izuku thinks to themself as she walks away. …Maybe this is a sign that things are turning for the better?

With that hope burning inside of them, Izuku steps forward and walks into UA to take the entrance exam.


The written portion of the exam went well; at least, Izuku thinks so, now that it’s over. After the written portion, they have to take the practical exam, and none of Izuku’s worries over it have vanished yet.

They’re standing at the entrance to the fake city where the exam is held along with a large group of other examinees, and waiting. The others that are there pay them no mind, and Izuku doesn’t recognize any of them but two; first is the girl who talked to them just before they entered, and second is a boy that they had made upset by mumbling too loud earlier when they were going over the rules for the practical exam. Izuku winces, thinking about that.

They could thank the girl again, or wish her luck, but they decide against it. She looks like she’s busy trying to prepare herself, and they don’t want to bother her if that's the case. They also could apologize to the other guy for mumbling too loud, but that thought just makes them embarrassed, so they decide against that too.

Eventually, they settle on pulling out one of the gadgets they brought with them and fiddling with it nervously. For now (since they haven’t activated yet) it’s just a small thin rod, and Izuku spins it in their hands over and over.

Deep breaths. I can do this. I’ve been working on these two gadgets specifically for the past ten months just for this exam. I’ve tested them hundreds of times, and I know they work now. Well. One of them for sure at least.

That's not the point! What matters is… I can do this. I can pass this exam-

“AND, GO!” Present Mic’s voice announces.

Wait what.

“C’MON, C’MON, YOU’VE GOT NO TIME TO WASTE! THE EXAM HAS STARTED NOW!”

At that all of the participants run forward and start the practical exam.

Izuku splits off of the large group quickly, taking a path down a narrow alleyway. The end of the alleyway opens to another large street and waiting there is one of the fake villains, a large “3” written on it's front.

A three pointer! Izuku thinks. They're suddenly very relieved that they had been messing with their gadget ahead of time, because that means they don’t have to worry about pulling it out now. Instead, they press the first button on it, and the small thin rod shoots into a much longer staff.

They run up to the robot, dodging the lasers it shoots their way, until they're right in front of it.

Swiftly, Izuku stabs one end of the staff into the robot and then presses the second button. A shockwave runs through the staff (though, Izuku doesn’t feel it because they're wearing gloves they specifically designed to protect against the shockwave), and the robot short-circuits, falling broken to the ground.

Three points. I have three points. They tell themself, determined, as they run off to find more robots.

… 

“THREE MINUTES LEFT ON THE CLOCK!”  Present Mic’s voice echoes throughout the fake city.

Izuku takes in a deep breath.

I have 47 points. Will that be enough to pass…?

 

And then there’s a giant crash that booms through the area.

Almost in unison, everyone slowly looks up.

 

…Ooooh that’s what the zero pointer looks like… Izuku thinks, numbly, as they stare up at the giant robot towering over them, bigger than all the surrounding buildings, the one robot that is worth exactly 0 points. Time to run away!

Turning to do exactly that, Izuku is suddenly stopped when they hear the sound of someone crying out in pain. They turn back towards the zero pointer. And then they see, caught in the rubble laying right in the zero pointer’s path; it’s the girl that stopped them from falling before the exam.

 

Izuku is already running forward before they even have the time to think, Oh boy, time to do something reckless.

 

“Hey!” They call to get her attention, and she looks up at them desperately. “Can you push that rock up as hard as you can? You don’t have to lift it all the way, just-”

“Yeah,” She grunts, interrupting them. She pushes on the rock hard.

Izuku pulls out their second gadget, the only one they brought aside the staff, and holds it against the rock. Please, please, please, actually work this time, They pray, because while they got it to work before, that was just the day before the exam, and they're not entirely sure whether or not it was just a fluke.

Mentally begging that it works, they pull the trigger on the gadget. There’s a pause; and then, the rock that’s pinning down the girl cracks, falling apart into pieces. Quickly, the girl pulls herself from the now-smaller rubble, and steps out onto shaky feet. Izuku is starting to panic a little, because the zero pointer is right there, and they’re running out of time.

“Can you walk?” Izuku asks quickly.

The girl shakes her head, “My foot- I think it’s sprained-”

“Okay, okay, okay, here, put your arm around my shoulders, we’ve gotta go.”

She quickly leans onto them, holding an arm around their shoulders as instructed. As fast as they can, the two hobble away from the zero point robot, half running and half limping.

Thank god it’s so slow in the first place, Izuku thinks.

 

Then, abruptly, the robot stops.

“AND, TIME’S UP! THE EXAM IS OVER!”

 

Izuku is so relieved that they could fall over, but they're still holding up the girl, so they keep themself standing upright.

Next to them, she lets out a heavy sigh. “Whew…” She turns to face them, but it’s a bit hard when she’s leaning her weight into them. “Thanks. For your help.”

“It… it was no big deal.” Izuku mumbles. “They probably would have called the robot off before it could have actually hurt you.”

“I know, but still. Thank you.”

“…You’re welcome.”

“I’m Uraraka Ochako!” The girl- Uraraka- introduces herself.

“I’m… I’m Midoriya Izuku.” They introduce, nervously.

“Well, Midoriya-kun,” Uraraka says with a smile, “I hope that we both pass and end up in the same class together. You’re really cool.”

Izuku is a little surprised at that. No one ever… really calls them cool . “…Yeah. Me too.”

From there, Recovery Girl (the school’s nurse) shows up, heals Uraraka, and… they split ways.

 

They still think about what Uraraka had said though. “I hope that we both pass and end up in the same class together. You’re really cool.”  

With those words in mind, Izuku looks toward the future with hope.


The letter from UA is here. And Izuku is almost too nervous to open it. Because this- this letter is going to determine their future. Sure, there are other hero programs available, but none are quite as prestigious as UA.

They take a deep breath. Open it. Just open it already.

Carefully, Izuku opens the envelope.

Inside it is a folded letter.

 

[Dear Midoriya Izuku,

We would like to congratulate you on your scores for the entrance exam to UA’s Hero Course. On the written portion of the exam, you scored 95%, which is definitely enough to pass. In the practical portion of the exam, you scored 47 villain points. There was also a secondary system which recorded rescue points for helping other examinees during the exam; you scored 50 rescue points.]

 

Izuku smiles to themself, feeling hope beaming in their chest. …But the letter isn’t over.

 

[Normally, this would be enough to pass.]

 

They feel a sick feeling settle over them. "Normally…?"

 

[However, upon checking your record, it came to our attention that you are quirkless. We applaud you for the scores you got on the entrance exam for the Hero Course, however, due to your unique circumstances, we find that admitting you into the Hero Course may not be the best idea. Instead, due to your use of technology that you built yourself, you have been admitted to the Support Course, Class 1-H. Congratulations!

Sincerely, The Staff of UA]

 

“Congratulations.” Izuku mumbles, numbly. “Congratulations.”

They can’t- they can’t just- they can’t just do this, can they?  Izuku thinks, unbelieving. They read the letter over again, and then again, and then again, and then again.

The words on it don’t change.

The sick feeling that settled over them grows deeper and deeper each time they read it.

 

They passed the exam.

They passed.

But UA still won’t let Izuku into the Hero Course, all because they doesn’t have a stupid quirk. They don’t want to be in the Support Course, they want to be in the Hero Course.

 

Izuku wants to be a hero. It’s all they've ever wanted.

 

But no matter what they do, no matter how far they push themself, no matter how much they grow… Nobody else ever notices or cares.

Eyes stinging with tears, Izuku feels a lump starting to grow in their throat. It’s not fair. This isn’t fair. They passed, and still they…!

Izuku draws their knees closer to themself and rests their head on top of them. You knew it all along, didn’t you…? You’ve always known. Life isn’t fair. Life is never fair to you.

This time it hurts more though. Because, they had felt like they were so close. They were so close this time, but it still didn’t change anything.

All anyone will ever see them as is quirkless.

And the Support Course. Now, they're supposedly in the Support Course. They know that getting into UA at all should be like a great honor, but this- this just feels like some kind of consolation prize.

They had joked before that if nothing else they could work for a support company, but they hadn’t meant it.

 

All Izuku has ever wanted is to be a hero. To save people who need help.

 

Well, now what? Izuku thinks, glumly. It would be pretty rude to just not go to UA after being accepted, but… Still. How am I supposed to be a hero now?

They know there are people out there that are vigilantes, people who save others without the use of a hero license.

But that’s illegal- it’s illegal to use your quirk to fight villains-

Izuku’s thoughts stop abruptly.

 

It’s… it’s illegal to use your quirk to fight villains…

 

For a moment they're overcome with a burst of curiosity, (a small ray of hope, even,) and Izuku quickly checks the official definition of the word “Vigilante”.

 

“Vigilante: Someone who illegally uses their quirk to fight villains without a hero license.”

 

Someone who illegally uses their quirk to fight villains without a hero license. Izuku thinks over it in their head. They feel the loophole growing. I don’t have a quirk though.

Switching tabs, they search something else; self defense laws for fighting villains.

…Technically, they all say that as long as you don’t use a quirk, it counts as self defense.

 

Izuku leans back in their chair, fingers threaded together, thinking. …This is crazy. I- I can’t just…

Except I can just. It’s right there. It says there’s nothing illegal about fighting villains without a quirk.

It means it’s not illegal to defend yourself from villains as long as you don’t use a quirk.

Then they should have written it that way.

 

Izuku bites their lip. This isn’t an easy decision. It’s not something to be taken lightly. …I still have a chance of becoming a hero. Of getting an actual hero license. Is this really the right decision to be making, now…?

…Well, maybe… maybe just until they let me into the Hero Course. And, hey, it’ll give me some experience fighting villains.

 

This is, by far, probably one of the most reckless decisions they've ever made.

…They can’t help but feel a little excited at it though.

Well. All of the comic book heroes were vigilantes. And people who read those still see them as true heroes. And as long as I avoid causing property damage, I should be okay.

 

A shaky smile grows on Izuku’s face. Just until they let me into the Hero Course, though. And then, I can be a real hero.


Shinsou Hitoshi is having a bad day.

 

…Most of it had been getting the letter from UA, though.

 

He hadn’t gotten into the Hero Course. Of course not. Why would that surprise him? Their practical exam was more geared towards people with physically strong quirks. Obviously, that’s the only thing that matters to being a hero, right?

The sarcasm in his thoughts is so thick, it’s almost like an actual presence on his brain.

So, now, Hitoshi has been admitted to the General Education Course of UA. Whippee. Fantastic.

Oh, oh, there’s the sarcasm again.

Bitterness and anger and frustration and tons of other emotions are running through him. So much that he feels like he could drown in it.

A while ago, he had decided to go out, take a walk, get some fresh air.

 

It hasn’t helped.

 

He’s still as bitter, angry, frustrated as he was when he had left home. Now he’s even more frustrated, because these awful thoughts and feelings just won’t go away. If anything, at least there’s no one around to bug him-

 Suddenly, Hitoshi’s back hits hard against the side of a building, and there’s a knife at his throat.

Wow, that went from zero to one hundred really quick, is his first thought, and then his second thought is, …Shiiiiit.

 Before, there was no one around ‘to bug him’. And now, that means there’s no one around to save him.

 

The attacker stares him in the eyes. “Give me all of your money, or else.”

Hitoshi rolls his eyes. “I don’t have any money. Sorry about your luck.”

This is, apparently, not the right thing to say. The blade presses closer to his throat. For a brief moment, he considers using his quirk-

“Don’t even think about using a quirk to escape.” The attacker growls, and Hitoshi almost wonders if he has a mind-reading quirk. “It’s illegal to use your quirk against someone else, y’know? Even in self defense.”

Hitoshi grits his teeth. That’s a really stupid law.

“If you really don’t have any money, then give me one reason that I shouldn’t kill you right now.”

“I don’t know. Maybe because murder is illegal?” Hitoshi tries.

“So is robbery,” The other deadpans. “You think the law is enough to stop me?”

“Well, I mean, you’re operating under the assumption that the law would be enough to stop me," He mutters.

“You talk too much.”

“Sorry,” Hitoshi apologizes without truly meaning it.

And then, a new voice speaks up. “Um… excuse me?”

The attacker spins around quickly, surprised. Hitoshi is about to sneak away, and then the attacker almost immediately falls over along with the sound of a loud BONK.

Which is then immediately followed by a surprised shout of, “Wow! That actually worked!”

 

“…What?” Hitoshi asks numbly, because, there really isn’t any other way to process the current situation.

His apparent ‘savior’ is another kid who’s about the same age as him.

“Are you all right?” The kid asks him, “That guy was attacking you, right?”

“Um… yeah…” Hitoshi says slowly, “I’m… I’m okay, I guess…”

“Oh! Good!”

“You just… you just… um… you just took that guy out.” Hitoshi mutters, mentally kicking himself. Yes, Hitoshi, that’s a bit obvious.

“Yeah…”

“You don’t have a hero license, do you?” Hitoshi asks, skeptically.

“Um… no…” The kid mutters sheepishly.

“Doesn’t that… kind of make you a vigilante?”

“…Kind of.

“Isn’t that… um… illegal?”

The kid immediately backpedals, “Well, I’m only kind of a vigilante, technically, I’m not!”

“How are you only kind of a vigilante?!”

“The official definition of vigilante is someone who uses their quirks to fight villains without a hero license.”

“…And?”

The kid looks away before replying, “You can’t use your quirk to fight if you don’t have a quirk.”

Dear lord. What is the kid even getting themself into?...

Eventually, Hitoshi mutters, “Yeah, uh, I don’t think that kind of excuse would fly with law enforcement.”

The kid grimaces at him. “You’re not gonna turn me in, are you?”

Hitoshi breathes deeply. “No. I guess that would be a pretty shit way to repay you for, uh, literally saving my life I guess.”

“Oh. Good. Thank you.”

…I should just walk away now. I can walk away now. They saved me, we had a nice chat, things can just drop here. Hitoshi thinks.

And then, his curiosity gets the better of him, and he doesn’t. Instead, he asks, “Shouldn’t you wear a mask or something, though? I mean if I did plan on turning you in, you could get in trouble even if you run away.”

The kid gives him a sheepish look. “I, um. I guess I didn’t think about that.”

Hitoshi blinks at them, exasperated. Seriously, are they prepared for what they're getting himself into, at all? He thinks, and then, that train of thought… leads him somewhere else.

“…Why did you even decide to become a 'kind of' vigilante in the first place?”

The kid pauses for a moment. “…I just want to help people. To-to be a hero. But no one thinks I can because I’m quirkless. So, if they don’t think I can, I’ll prove them wrong. I’m… I’m still going to try to be a hero, but until then, I guess I’ll have to settle for being ‘kind of’ a vigilante.”

They… They just want to be a hero, huh…? But no one thinks they can be one…

Hitoshi thinks it’s a little eerie how closely he relates to that. Because, that’s. That’s what’s going on with him right now.

Oh, this is reckless.

Ooh, this could end up bad.

But, well. Obviously they need some help. And they seems like they’ll make so much of a mess of this that Hitoshi can’t help but feel like he should offer his help.

This has got to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done.

 

“What’s your name?” Hitoshi asks, because he can’t just keep thinking of them as ‘the kid’.

“I’m Midoriya Izuku.”

“Shinsou Hitoshi,” Hitoshi introduces himself. “So, Midoriya, do you have… some kind of base, at least?”

“Why?” Midoriya asks.

Hitoshi sighs, deeply. “Because, against literally all of my better judgement, I’ve decided to help you.”

Midoriya blinks at him, clearly surprised. And then they repeat, “Why?”

“…Let’s just say,” Hitoshi mutters, “I know what it’s like to want to be a hero, but to have everyone tell you that you can’t be one.”

Midoriya pauses. “I do have ‘some kind of base’ I guess.” They then glance down at the person who had attacked Hitoshi and started this whole thing. “…We should probably do something about this guy first, though.”

“Oh. Right. I guess that’s important.”


They deal with the would-be-robber/murderer rather quickly. All they have to do is restrain him and leave him somewhere that the police will find him; Midoriya also leaves behind a few photos to prove that he had been in the wrong.

(When Hitoshi asks how the hell they even had those, Midoriya shows him a small camera device that he has connected to a portable, wireless, printer. Hitoshi comments that he had no idea that you could even buy those kinds of things anymore, to which Midoriya vaguely responds, “You can’t,” )

 

And then, Midoriya leads Hitoshi to their ‘base’.

 

“This is the garbage beach,” Hitoshi says, blinking at it. “Your base is at the garbage beach.”

Next to him, Midoriya shrugs. “There’s privacy, supplies, and hey, it gives you motivation to shower every day.”

Okay, deep breaths Hitoshi, you can do this.

“All right, all right, I’m good. Lead the way.”

Midoriya leads him through the mountains of garbage carefully, until they approach what looks like some kind of a shack. One end of it seems newer than the other, and Hitoshi assumes that Midoriya must have expanded on the size of it more than once.

They walk in.

“Well, um… here we are,” Midoriya says, and gestures around at the space.

There are three piles, not labeled, but one of them looks like a bunch of broken technology pieces, and the other two look… like possibly working but very skeptical quality pieces of technology. There’s a work table with a chair in front of it; on the table is a bunch of scattered papers, and at least seven cans of soda. The chair itself is green with a tacky pattern, but it has a bunch of red… stains…

“It’s paint,” Midoriya assures him immediately when they catches Hitoshi staring at it. “I’ve checked. I promise.”

“O…kay…”

Then, there’s the sound of papers crinkling, and cans clinking, and Hitoshi looks back up at the table. There’s a ferret sitting there now, looking at him; it has a small visor on its head, and the screen display simply shows [?].

“What the hell.”

“Oh, that’s Garby,” Midoriya says nonchalantly. There’s a pause. “Short for ‘Garbage’.” There’s a moment where Midoriya tries to keep a straight face, but then their mouth twitches, and they snort a laugh. “Sorry, I’ve just… I’ve always wanted to be able to tell someone that.”

Hitoshi blinks. “Garby.”

“Yes.”

“Short for ‘Garbage’.”

“Mhmm.”

“…You must love him a whole lot,” Hitoshi mutters, sarcastically.

With complete sincerity, Midoriya replies, “He’s a treasure.”

 

“You know, Midoriya, I don’t know if you’re trying to scare me away, or if you’re literally begging for help at this point.”

Midoriya sucks in a deep breath. “Please help me, I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Hitoshi nods. “Yeah. Mhmm. That’s apparent.” He sighs. “Okay, first things first; you need some kind of a mask to block your face.”

Midoriya seems to consider it for a moment and then starts digging through one of the piles off to the side.

“Not to interrupt you,” Hitoshi mutters, “But next thing to work on is definitely organization skills.”

“…That’s fair enough, I guess,” Midoriya mumbles back.

Eventually, they pull back from the pile with a bulky pair of… goggles? Glasses? Both? They explain, “I made these a while ago, so I’ll have to check that they’re, ah, still functional, but they’re supposed to be able to switch between night vision, regular, and sunglasses.” They put the goggles on, and they cover the upper half of their face. “Well? That good enough for a mask?”

“Hmmm…” Hitoshi hums, thinking. “Just one more thing,” He reaches to the hood on Midoriya’s jacket, and pulls it over their head so that it comes down to where the goggles stop.

Midoriya frowns. “Is my hair really an issue? I mean, everyone always tells me that I’m… I dunno, plain looking.

“How many people do you know that have curly green hair?” Hitoshi shoots back.

“Fair point.” Midoriya sighs.

Another thought comes to Hitoshi again. “This one is just an idea, it’s not exactly necessary… But if we’re trying to hide your identity as a vigilante, it would certainly help.”

“Well? What is it?”

Hitoshi hesitates for a moment, then mutters, “If you were to fake having a quirk, less people would suspect you because you’re quirkless.” Midoriya’s eyes fill with an emotion that Hitoshi can’t name on a first glance. “It’s just an idea. I understand if you’re against it…”

“I think it’s brilliant,” Midoriya says. “And if we’re on the topic of identities, I need a vigilante name too. So the quirk and the name should be related somehow.”

“Hmmm…” Hitoshi turns to the piles of gadgets. “You made all of these, didn’t you? Is there some kind of motif that’s similar with all of them? I mean, besides being made out of garbage,”

After giving a small pout at Hitoshi’s last sentence, Midoriya’s expression shifts to one lost in thought. “Hmmm… Oh, I got it! Usually, adding electric charges to things is really simple and effective, so I do that quite a bit! So it could be some kind of electric quirk.”

“No one in your family has an electric quirk, right?”

“Not that I know of…” Midoriya murmurs. “Now, I just need a name…”

They sit there for a moment, thinking. Nervously, Midoriya fiddles with the sleeves of their jacket, when suddenly, they seem to have a realization.

 

“I got it! What about… Green Lightning ?”


Bonus:

  “I mean, don’t get me wrong Midoriya, Garby is a treasure,”

“Of course he is, Shinsou-kun.”

  “-but aren’t you… I don’t know, worried about other rodents- no offense Garby- getting around in your space?”

“Nah, Garby takes care of that problem himself. Kinda like a cat. Also, ferrets aren’t rodents.”

  “They aren’t?”

“No.”

  “Oh. What about diseases though? I mean, if Garby is just living in this garbage dump…”

“That’s his quirk. He can’t get infected with diseases.”

  “Oooh, that’s convenient. Wait, how do you know?”

“This. It’s a quirk sensor. I used to know someone who’s quirk was, well, sensing quirks, and they helped me put this together.”

  “…Do most animals have quirks?”

“Not that I know of. Heh, it’s funny. Animals with quirks are rare, and people without quirks are rare, but here we are. A quirkless kid, and a ferret with a quirk. It’s… kinda ironic when I think about it.”

Chapter Text

Izuku flinches as their head hits the wall behind them.

They would try to run away, but currently the hand tightly gripping at their collar is also pinning them to the wall.

...Guess that means Bakugou hasn’t changed a bit, huh...?  Izuku thinks with a grimace.

“What did I tell you about getting into UA, Deku?!” Bakugou growls, and the fist that isn’t gripping Izuku by the collar is pulled back, ready to punch. For a while, Izuku says nothing, staring straight down at the ground, but then Bakugou pushes them into the wall harder, explosions popping on his palms. “Answer me, you damn nerd!”

“You said that I shouldn’t even apply,” Izuku mumbles quietly.

“So, then, why is it that-”

“I’m not even in the Hero Course,” Izuku interrupts, with the same quiet tone. “Does it really matter so much to you?”

The fist flies forward, and Izuku has just enough time to think Shouldn’t have said that, before it hits. Their head bounces off the wall again, and now there’s a stinging pain in their cheek.

“You’re not supposed to be in UA at all!” Bakugou barks. “So, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll find somewhere else to go before school starts back up. You got that?!”

Without giving them a chance to respond, Bakugou shoves them into the wall again and storms off. Izuku stands there for a moment, watching him go. They don’t leave until Bakugou is completely out of sight.


The days fly by quickly, and before Izuku knows it, it’s suddenly a week later; the first day of UA.

It had been incredibly tempting to throw their “acceptance” into the Support Course out the window and apply to another school’s Hero Course, but they decided against it. Mostly because, as they thinks about it more, they see how valuable the Support Course could be for them. Admittedly, it would be nice to get their hands on some actual materials and see what they can make from that.

On a more depressing note, they figure they wouldn’t be able to simply apply to another Hero Course, because well. None of them would want a quirkless kid with them either.

Besides, if they just went somewhere else, then that would also mean caving in to Bakugou’s threats. And Izuku is just a little bit too full of spite to allow that.

So, Izuku stands in front of UA again, as a student of Class 1-H. It’s not Class 1-A or 1-B, but… for now, it’s good enough.

Now I just have to find the right classroom…

Then, from behind, they hear a cheerful voice. “Oh, hey! It’s you! Midoriya-kun, right?”

Izuku spins around to see the girl from the entrance exam- Uraraka. “Oh, yeah, hi.”

Uraraka smiles at them. “So you got in! That’s great! What class are you in?”

“Uhh…” Izuku thinks for a second, before looking away slightly and mumbling. “1-H.”

“1-H?” Uraraka frowns. “But the Hero Course classes are 1-A and 1-B…?”

Letting out a nervous laugh, Izuku rubs the back of their neck sheepishly, “Yeah, w-well, since I only passed the entrance exam using gadgets instead of a quirk, they decided to put me in the Support Course instead, so…”

“Oh. …Why didn’t you use your quirk though?” Uraraka asks, curiously.

For a moment, Izuku’s tongue freezes in their mouth. And then, quietly they admit, “I… I don’t have one. I’m quirkless.”

“Oh,” Uraraka says surprised. “Wow, you were able to save me like that even though you don’t have a quirk? You really are cool, Midoriya-kun!”

“Huh?” Izuku mumbles, dumbfounded. They don’t think they're ever going to get used to people treating normally even when knowing that they're quirkless (although, granted, there’s only two people who have so far, and it’s entirely possible that no one else will…)

“Maybe you’ll be able to transfer into the Hero Course sometime later.” Uraraka suggests.

“That’s… kind of what I’m hoping for.”

“Well, I’m rooting for you!” Uraraka cheerfully tells them. “And, I… I know I already said it before, and you said it was no big deal, but… really, thanks for helping me. During the exam.”

“I was happy to help,” Izuku says, because saying ‘it wasn’t a big deal’ would probably sound rude at this point.

“We should probably head to class now,” Uraraka steps away. “I’ll see you around, I guess? Good luck with the Support Course!”

“See you around. Good luck with the Hero Course- oh, and, congratulations for that, too.”

“Thanks!”

 

...Huh. Izuku thinks, watching Uraraka walk away. ...I hope that most Hero Course students are like her and not like Bakugou.


It’s the first day, and Hatsume Mei couldn’t be any more excited than she is in this moment. Class hasn’t started yet, but she eagerly glances around the room at all of the other Support Course students. They’re all chatting with each other, but Mei is content with just watching.

I wonder if I’ll finally get to have a rival, She thinks, giddy.

UA is the best of the best. That means that the people in this class must be the best of the best when it comes to building things. So, surely, someone here would be able to keep up with how fast she wants to make more things. Or, maybe even surpass her.

That thought makes her smile even wider.

 

The teacher (assumedly) steps up to the front of the room. “Hello class. You may know me as the pro hero Power Loader, but feel free to refer to me as Maijima-sensei.”

The class echoes back a collected, “Hello, Maijima-sensei…”

“Since it’s the first day, I want everyone to introduce themselves to the class, briefly explain your quirk, and why you wanted to be in the Support Course.”

 

Mei feels ecstatic. What could be a more perfect way to find a suitable rival?


…She wants to stay optimistic. She does. But all of the people who have gone so far are so, so incredibly boring. They’re all, “it’s a family business” this, or “it would be an honor to help heroes by making gear for them” that.

There are a few outliers that make things a bit interesting though.

 

First, there’s Natsuki Hikari.

 

“Um,” Natsuki mumbles, as she stands at the front of the room, twiddling her thumbs as she talks. Her hair is luminescent green, which Mei finds vaguely interesting, but what’s more interesting are the goggle-like glasses over her eyes. “My quirk lets me absorb light from anywhere, as long as it’s not in direct sunlight. But, because of this, I, um… I can only see when it’s dark. Like, a reverse from what everyone else would see. Because of this, when my quirk developed, I was basically blind. To counteract it, though, a Support Company made these glasses that let me see even when I don’t have my quirk activated. So, I wanted to be in the Support Course, not to make gear for heroes necessarily, but to make gear to help people with quirks that would interfere with their daily life.”

It’s an interesting story, Mei thinks as Natsuki finishes.

…But it’s not ‘rival material’.

Mei shrugs to herself. I guess we could still just be friends. Considering how everything else has gone so far, I guess that’s good enough.

 

Then, another outlier student is Sora Kenji.

 

When he first steps up, Mei hears the student behind her make a strange noise. She glances back, just in time to see them glance away nervously.

Do they know each other…? She wonders.

“Hi everyone!” Sora greets, cheerily. “So, my quirk is that I can sense other people’s quirks. And I’m in this class because I like inventing things! I, um, didn’t really have a concrete plan for the future until a little while ago, and I  decided that since I like making and building things, I would go for the Support Course. I’m kinda surprised I actually made it in to UA, ahaha!”

Well, at least he says he likes inventing things, Mei hums to herself. That could be closer to an actual proper rival…

 

Before she knows it, it’s her turn to go up and introduce herself. Excitedly, she bounces her way to the front of the room.

“I’m Hatsume Mei! Hi!!” She starts, pointing to herself with a sense of pride. “I’m here, because I want to be the greatest inventor ever! I’m gonna be number one! Oh, and, my quirk is that I can see things that are far away, I guess, but that’s not important. I look forward to working with you and seeing what we can all come up with!”

With that, she returns to her seat, and then it’s time for the kid who sits behind her to take their turn. They walk to the front of the room with an anxious air, bright green eyes glancing around at everyone nervously.

 

“Um… I’m Midoriya Izuku,” They introduces themself. “I, uh… well…” They stammer, “I’ve been making gadgets for a while, but I, uh, I wasn’t really… trying to get into the Support Course, I guess? I tried to take the Hero Course entrance exam, but because I passed using my gadgets instead of a quirk, I got put into the Support Course instead.” Midoriya glances away. “And, um. I don’t have a quirk. I’m quirkless.”

After they're finished speaking, they practically run back to their seat. Mei doesn’t even pay attention to the next person who steps up, because she’s busy thinking about Midoriya.

They got into the Support Course without even trying? They just make gadgets for fun? Not only do they make gadgets because they want to, but they also must be practical, considering they were actually able to pass the Hero Course exam like that…!

Mei smiles to herself, excitedly, and maybe a little deviously. Sounds to me like I’ve just found the perfect rival.


It’s lunch time now, on the first day of UA, and, well. Hitoshi is suddenly coming to the realization that he never did ask Midoriya where they ended up going to, since they had apparently not gotten into a Hero Course.

The reason he’s coming to this realization, is that they just ran into each other.

…Literally.

“Oh- I’m so sorry, I-” Midoriya stammers quickly, before looking up and meeting Hitoshi’s eyes. “It’s you.”

“It’s you.” Hitoshi replies, with an equal amount of surprise. “…I thought you said you weren’t in a Hero Course?”

Midoriya frowns a little. “They put me into the Support Course. Because I passed the exam, but only by using gadgets I made, so…”

“You mean, you passed the exam , and they still didn’t let you into the Hero Course?”

“Yeah.”

“Dude, that’s messed up.”

“I know!” Midoriya groans. “…Just, come on. Let’s go get food and find a place to sit.”

Hitoshi hesitates for a second. “Wait, you mean… you want to sit with me?”

In response, Midoriya flinches back, “Well-er-I mean- you don’t have to! I just- I thought- you might want to, and I- um, it’s not like I have anyone else to sit with-”

“Yeah, sure.” Hitoshi says once he’s found his voice, interrupting Midoriya’s stammering. “I… yeah. Sitting with you would be nice.”

It’s weird, he thinks. Usually people don’t like him- granted, he hasn’t told Midoriya his quirk yet, but there are still some times when people don’t like him even before he tells them his quirk.

…They seem almost too trusting. That might give them trouble when they go and do their vigilante thing.

 

…It might be a bit worrying, how easily he’s taking this whole ‘vigilante’ thing.

 

They’ve just found a table, when-

“Hey! You! You’re Midoriya-kun, right?”

Midoriya jumps in their seat and turns. Hitoshi stares at the newcomer curiously.

“Um, yeah… you’re Hatsume-san, right?”

Hatsume’s eyes light up. “That’s right! And we’re going to be best friends!”

Hitoshi is about to say, “I thought you said you didn’t have anyone to sit with,” when Midoriya turns to him with a completely lost and confused expression that makes Hitoshi snort a laugh.

“I…what…huh…?”

Hatsume slides into the seat next to Midoriya, smiling brightly, while Midoriya continues to make an expression that can only be described as completely and utterly lost beyond belief.

“You passed the entrance exam using gear you created! And you didn’t even have a quirk that would help you make things! How did you do it?!”

“Um…well…I…Uh…” Midoriya stammers, and they glance to Hitoshi with a new expression that reads Please help me, I have no idea what I’m doing.

This time, when Midoriya looks to him, Hatsume looks at him too. “Oh, hi!” She greets with a bright smile. “I’m Hatsume Mei, from Class 1-H! And you are…?”

“Shinsou Hitoshi,” He introduces himself slowly. “Class 1-C.”

“General Education,” She hums, and Hitoshi doesn’t miss the slight disappointment in her eyes. He doesn’t think it’s because he’s not in the Hero Course, though, it’s more like it’s because he’s not in the the Support Course. She turns back to Midoriya. “So, what materials did you use to make your support gear that you used to pass the exam?!”

“Um- well- about that- uh-” Midoriya mumbles.

“Well?!” Hatsume pushes, excitedly.

“I, uh, I found the materials, um, on the garbage beach.” 

Hatsume blinks. “What?”

“The materials I use to make gadgets. I found them on the garbage beach.”

“Is… is that some kind of code, or do you mean it literally-”

“Oh, they mean it literally.” Hitoshi nods. “I’ve been to their workshop-thing there.”

Hatsume blinks again. And then, 

“Oh my god, that’s amazing. You’re like, the best rival ever!”

“Rival?” Midoriya echoes, nervously.

“Rival!!” Hatsume shouts, pumping a fist in the air.

Midoriya sighs in defeat. “Okay…”

Hatsume perks up suddenly. “Oh, hey! I noticed earlier, and I’ve been meaning to ask- do you know Sora-kun?”

In response, Midoriya chokes on the food they're eating, which is as good an answer as any, really.

“So you do!”

“Who’s ‘Sora’?” Hitoshi asks.

“He’s in the Support Course with us,” Midoriya answers first, then mumbles, “Yeah, I knew him a while ago; he used to go to the same school as me a few years ago but then he moved away and we kinda… fell out of touch. He helped me a bit with making things back when we knew each other though- Actually, Shinsou-kun, remember that quirk sensor I showed you? He helped me build that because that’s how his quirk works.”

“You have a quirk sensor? You- you built a quirk sensor?!” Hatsume asks excitedly.

“Yeah, yeah,” Midoriya waves it off like it’s no big deal, “I can show you later if you want, I guess.” At that, Hatsume squeals in delight. “…It’s weird though. I never would have expected Sora-kun to go to UA.”

“Hm? Why not?” Hatsume asks.

“Well, you heard him.” Midoriya shrugs. “He just likes building things, and he never really had any concrete future plans. UA is like, a big deal though. And I mean, sure, he likes building things, but working for a Support Company doesn’t really sound like him either. I mean, he always joked that he wanted to be a secret agent or something when he grew up…”

A secret agent, and a vigilante. Hitoshi muses. Well, I guess Midoriya wouldn’t have said back then that they wanted to be a vigilante, specifically…


“So, what’s our plan for today?” Shinsou asks Izuku.

It’s after school time now and the two of them had decided beforehand to meet at Izuku’s ‘base’ (it still feels a bit weird to refer to it as a base, but essentially, that’s what it is ).

“Well, uh,” Izuku mumbles after a second, “The other day you said that I should work on organization, and. You’re not exactly wrong so…”

“So we’re organizing everything?” Shinsou asks. Izuku replies with a nod, and Shinsou sighs and says, “Thank god.

“Oh, come on, it’s not that bad-

“No offense, but we’re literally in the middle of a garbage dump right now.” Shinsou frowns. “I think you could use as much organization as possible.”

For a second, Izuku wants to debate it, but, well… “I mean, you’re not wrong… C’mon let’s just get started organizing, all right?”

They start by finding a large shelf in the surrounding area, and while it’s a bit busted up, they take a bit of time to fix it up and it's good… well, not good as new, but definitely good enough. Izuku and Shinsou move the shelf into the shed, carefully.

Then, it’s just a matter of putting things on the shelf.

Izuku starts by looking through the pile of working gadgets first. They tell Shinsou what each of the gadgets is, and then Shinsou takes the gadgets and puts them on the shelf, with a label this time.

There are a few gadgets that Izuku doesn’t recognize on sight, when they start to get to the bottom of the pile. They're careful about activating those- outside of the shed, definitely outside - and there’s a handful of them that don’t even work anymore, leaving them only guessing at what their originally intended function was.

When they’re done with that pile, they take a small break.

“Do we really have to sort the other piles too? I mean, you could probably get better parts now that you’re in the Support Course at UA…” Shinsou says.

Izuku frowns. “It would be a bit suspicious if I was using gadgets with materials from UA while doing vigilante stuff, wouldn’t it?”

“Well how would anyone else even know where you got your materials from in the first place?” Shinsou counters.

“…That’s fair.” Izuku mumbles. “It’s just- I don’t know. It took a while to get all of these parts and materials together, and throwing them away feels like a waste.”

“They already were thrown away. We’re in a garbage dump.”

“…Fair.”

Izuku and Shinsou compromise and move the pile of materials and half-working gadgets out of the shed, but keep it all together in a pile near it anyways.

“…Are we gonna do something about those cans littering your work table too, or-”

“I’ll get to them eventually.”

“Once again, we are literally in a garbage dump, you could just move them outside.”

“We recycle cans, not throw them away, thank you very much!”


It’s the second day in the UA Support Course, and the task at hand is simple; working in pairs, the students have to see the best thing that they can come up with in the time that they have.

Natsuki Hikari isn’t quite sure what to think of the other people in her class yet. There are a few names that stick out; Sora, who’s absurdly relaxed, Hatsume, who’s easily excitable, and well. Then there’s Midoriya, the student she’s currently paired to work with.

She almost wants to be jealous of how they got in to the Support Course without even trying, after all the work that she’s put in but… the anxious air around them tells her that they aren’t happy with the situation either. They hadn’t wanted to be in this spot, UA had put them here; if anyone is to blame, it’s the people who made that decision.

 

“Uh, h-hey, Natsuki-san!” Midoriya greets as they walks up next to her.

…Also, something tells her that she wouldn’t be able to stand giving them the cold shoulder if she tried.

“You don’t have to call me Natsuki-san, just Natsuki is fine.”

“Okay Natsuki-sa-- er, Natsuki!”

“So, Midoriya, do you have any ideas in mind?” Hikari asks.

“Well, I have a few… b-but, if you have ideas too, then I’d love to hear them!”

“It’s all right, Midoriya, I asked you for your ideas because I don’t have any. Given that the point is to build something within the class time, we shouldn’t spend too much time deciding on what to do, or we’ll run out of the time to do it.”

“R-right!” Midoriya squeaks and takes a deep breath. “Well, the best possible plan would be making something that’s simple, but useful. It needs to be simple enough that it would be easy to make, but we still need it to be something that’s useful, otherwise there’s no point.”

“Right. So?”

“I was thinking we could build something like- like- well, I’m not quite sure what to call it, but something that could be used to grab things that are far away? Like, the base would be a retractable pole, and then on the end would be, um, a robotic hand, sort of, that could grab things.”

They're not the best at explaining things, but Hikari gets a mental image of what they're trying to say. “That’s really practical,” She comments, as she’s envisioning it in her head. “And, I don’t think it would be too difficult to pull off. All right then, let’s go with that.”

 

Without much talking, the two spend their time building. Even so, Hikari notices a few things about Midoriya.

Like how despite the fact that they had been so nervous before, they seem to gain more confidence as they focus on working. 

Or how Midoriya knows quite a bit about building things and how they should go together, but at the same time, it seems like they don’t know the more technical terms for things.

It’s intriguing, to say the least. It makes Hikari want to know more about them-

“LOOK OUT!!” A voice suddenly shouts from across the room. Hikari looks up, startled, just in time to see something flying at her-

Whatever it is, it hits her in the face, knocking off her glasses and suddenly everything turns bright white.

“Natsuki, are you all right?” A different voice asks- Midoriya, that’s Midoriya’s voice.

“I-I’m fine.” Hikari mumbles, “I just- I need to find my glasses…”

For a second, she considers using her quirk to find them, but- no. She couldn’t do that. If she did that, then no one else would be able to see, and that would just be rude.

“Ah, here,” Midoriya says, and Hikari feels the glasses as they hand them to her.

“Oh, thank you, you didn’t have to-”

“It’s no problem. You said that because of your quirk, you can’t see at all without your glasses, right? It probably would have been hard to find them yourself, so…”

…They're really nice.

“…Thank you, Midoriya.”

Carefully, Hikari puts the glasses back on her face, and once the bright light fades she sees Midoriya smiling at her.

“I’m so sorry!!” Hatsume apologizes, running up. “I didn’t mean to do that!! It kinda just went flying, and…”

“It’s- It’s all right. It’s not a big deal.” Hikari tells her. At that, Hatsume gives her a nervous grin, then skips back to her work table with Sora.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Midoriya asks again.

For a moment, Hikari doesn’t reply. But eventually, she says, “Yeah. I’m okay.”

…I couldn’t give them the cold shoulder if I tried.


“So, do you have any leads yet?” Nedzu asks patiently, sipping his tea.

In response, he shifts from foot to foot. “No, not yet. Are… are you sure that someone in the school is a traitor? I just… I don’t know. I can’t imagine what kind of a high school student would go around informing villains about what’s going on in UA. Or why they would either…”

“I wouldn’t say that it’s a one hundred percent certainty,” Nedzu hums, “But something definitely feels amiss. The student files- they’re almost perfect, but on closer examination, there’s something… wrong going on there.”

“…” He hesitates for a second, before muttering, “Are you sure that’s not just because of what you did with Midoriya’s situation?”

“It’s not,” Nedzu says easily, waving it off. Then, he narrows his eyes. “How would you know about that though?”

“…You asked me to look into the files too. It was certainly something I noticed.” He answers. It’s not exactly a lie; he had noticed it before, but he hadn’t really known what it was that had happened until Midoriya had said it themself.

“Ah. Of course.” Nedzu nods, stirring the tea absentmindedly. He sighs. “Listen, Midoriya’s situation is not the main concern here. It would be best for you to focus on figuring out who our traitor is, all right?”

He’s tempted to debate it for a second, but he refrains. “Of course, sir. If… if there really is a traitor, I doubt they would stay quiet for too long.”

“Good!” Nedzu says, with a smile. “That’ll be all for today. Just remember to report back here as soon as you find out anything, though.”

“…Right.”

With that, he turns and walks out of Nedzu’s office.

Chapter Text

Izuku sinks into the chair by their work table with a groan. “That was something.”

As soon as they're seated, Garby crawls up his arm and curls around his shoulders (the screen on the visor has a [:)] on it as well).

“Why would you chase after someone with a speed quirk.” Shinsou groans, putting his head in his hands. “Why.”

“Hey, I caught them, didn’t I?” Izuku defends.

They've just returned to their base after running around town and fighting villains as a vigilante, so they're taking a breather before putting their gadgets away (admittedly, Shinsou had been right about the whole ‘organization’ thing; it’s a lot easier to find things with that shelf).

“I need some kind of device to help me with speed…” They mumble, staring at the ceiling.

“Roller skates already exist,” Shinsou points out.

“You. Want me. To fight villains. In roller skates. And I’m supposed to be the impractical one here.”

Shinsou shrugs. “It would help you hide the fact that you’re short.”

"I’m not that short, Shinsou-kun.”

“You’re barely over 5’4!”

“That’s still not that short!” Izuku protests. Shinsou just laughs in response, and it takes them a second, but then they're laughing too.

At first, they had been a bit nervous to hang out with Shinsou (what if they did something wrong, and Shinsou ended up hating them?), but even though it’s only been a little while, he’s pretty easy to joke around with. Shinsou does plenty of teasing, but… none of it is ever about how Izuku doesn’t have a quirk. And Izuku appreciates that.

They pause for a moment, thinking. “Actually, maybe I could make roller skates work.”

Shinsou does a double take. “Wh- I was kidding, you can’t actually fight in roller skates-”

“Obviously I wouldn’t be fighting in them, but-” Izuku brushes away the papers scattered on the table, and pulls out a new blank one, sketching quickly on it, “-if I were to have them be retractable, then it would be easier to chase down villains or make a quick get away.”

Shinsou stares at them for a second, without saying anything.

“What?”

“…I don’t know how you take the most absurd possible ideas, and then just… make them work. ” Shinsou mutters. “I swear, if you actually figure out how to pull this off, you’ve gotta be some kind of mad scientist or something.”

“You’re only getting a mad scientist vibe now?” Izuku jokes. “It’s a good thing for everyone that I could never be a villain.”

“Then you’d really be a mad scientist.”

“Hey, mad scientists who use their science for dabbling in vigilantism are still valid.”


It’s only the third day of being at UA, and Hitoshi is already starting to feel incredibly bored with being in General Education. Sure, UA is… the best of the best, Hitoshi supposes. But being in General Education when all he wants is to be in the Hero Course is incredibly boring.

“Hey. Midoriya.” He mutters, that day at lunch. “How’s it going in the Support Course for you guys?”

Midoriya responds with a noncommittal shrug. “We still have to do regular classes, like everyone else, and now that the first few days are past, our main assignment is to just… build as much as we can, and then in the final we’re supposed to present on the best thing we’ve built in class.”

“Well,” Hatsume says, “I think it’s cool that we get to build whatever we want, because that means that we don’t have to be tied down to one specific topic or theme!”

“I guess.” Midoriya hums. “Having free reign to build what I want should be useful.”

Hitoshi pauses for a second, then asks, “Are you actually going to make those roller-skate shoes?”

“I sure will try,” Midoriya responds, with a dead serious face.

“Roller-skate shoes?” Hatsume asks, turning to Midoriya excitedly. “Explain. Please.”

“Basically the plan I have in mind is that they would be able to retract the ‘skates’ part into the heel of the shoe. The point of it would be having faster mobility before and after battling. Or, maybe if you were to train with them enough, you could fight in them too, but that seems a little… sketchy.”

“Where do you even come up with these ideas?”

“Technically Shinsou-kun came up with it; though, I’m pretty sure when he suggested it, he meant it as a joke.”

“I definitely meant it as a joke,” Hitoshi says, “But you know what? I should have known that you would actually do it. That’s exactly the kind of ridiculous thing that’s like… your brand.”

“I just wish I had thought of it first,” Hatsume mumbles. “Now I can’t do it, otherwise it’ll seem like I’m trying to copy you.”

“I don’t mind if you try making the roller-skate shoes, Hatsume-san. I think it’d be interesting to see how you would build them, and maybe we could even compare.” Midoriya says.

In response, Hatsume perks up. “You’re right! We could build the same thing, and then compare them to see who’s the better rival!”

“That’s… not what I meant, but okay.” Midoriya mutters, defeated.

Well how about that. My friends are the most interesting thing about UA so far, Hitoshi thinks to himself as he picks around his food. Or wait. Do they count as my friends? Is that thinking too forward? I can’t just ask now. That would be weird.

Hitoshi opens his mouth to say something, and he doesn’t even have the time to decide on what he’s going to say before an alarm blares across the cafeteria.


“Ah, you’re already back again, today.” Nedzu says when he sees him walk into the office. “Did you find something, then?”

“It’s not much,” He mutters, “But yesterday, I think someone was looking into the files.”

“Looking into the files? Not downloading the information or copying it?”

“No downloading, no copying.” He confirms. “But, I think it’s possible that whoever it was copied down the information into a physical file. Written. That way it wouldn’t be traceable. They certainly were looking at the files long enough that they could have.”

“Interesting theory,” Nedzu hums. “Do we know what files they were looking at in particular?”

“At first, it was just All Might’s teaching schedule,” He answers, “And then it was the student files for Class A. I’m not sure, but I think it might have something to do with the USJ trip that’s scheduled to be about a week from now. Class B has a similar trip too, but theirs is a day after Class A’s, so, maybe whoever it is chose Class A because the date was sooner.”

Nedzu says nothing for a moment, and merely hums. “Well, I suppose we’ll have to wait until then to see if we have a traitor on our hands.”

“Wait you-” He stutters, “-you’re not going to do anything about it?”

“No,” Nedzu waves it off, as though it’s no big concern. “Technically, we have no proof that anything is going to happen, so we shouldn’t do anything rash. I’ll have the staff look over protocol for possible villain break-ins sometime this week in preparation though. If we reschedule it, we have no way of knowing if there really is a traitor or not.”

“So, what you’re saying, basically, is that we’re using Class A as bait here.” He mutters, lowly.

“Again, as soon as we get word that things are going south, we’ll send the staff right on over to deal with the problem.” Nedzu assures. “Besides, I thought you knew what you were signing up to when you agreed to this.”

He grits his teeth. He opens his mouth to argue more, when an alarm goes off, blaring across the whole school. “What’s-”

“That’s the intruder alarm,” Nedzu says, instantly alert.

He hates that suddenly hearing this makes him excited, but on the other hand… “If we hurry, maybe we can catch the traitor now!” ...on the other hand, if they don’t do it now, they could risk Class A getting hurt.

But instead, Nedzu says, “No. You evacuate with the rest of the students, and the rest of the staff and I will deal with this.”

“But-!”

“No ‘but’s. Go.”

He sighs deeply, but he knows he has no room to argue in this situation. He turns and leaves Nedzu’s office.


“I can’t believe everyone was panicking over a press break in. ” Hitoshi mutters, and he feels extremely exasperated in this moment.

“I know!” Hatsume agrees, frustrated, and Hitoshi thinks this is the first time he’s seen her be any other emotion besides ‘excited’. “I almost got trampled there.”

Midoriya doesn’t say anything, simply staring out the window, off into space.

“You’d think that UA would have a better security system!” Hatsume rants on. “I bet I could design something better. Although, maybe I could use a bit of your help too, Midoriya-kun.”

Still staring out the window, Midoriya doesn’t say anything in response. Hitoshi glances out the window and then back at Midoriya. What are they thinking…?

Hatsume seems to notice how spaced out Midoriya is now, because she waves a hand in front of their face. “Hello? Earth to Midoriya-kun?”

Midoriya jumps, surprised. “Huh? What?”

“Jeez, are you always staring off into space like that?” Hatsume jokes.

“Ah, sometimes,” Midoriya laughs it off nervously, with a glance back out the window. The thoughtful expression on their face is slipping away, but it’s still just barely there. “Just… thinking.”

“What about?” Hatsume asks.

After a second, Midoriya says, “The roller skate shoes.”

This prompts a laugh from Hatsume, and a small laugh from Hitoshi as well, though he wouldn’t admit it.

The conversation redirects back onto gadget-talk from there… leaving Hitoshi wondering what Midoriya had really been thinking about, before they had changed the subject.


Izuku lets out a sharp cry as they fly face-first into the mattress pile again.

Off to the side, Shinsou doubles over, laughing.

“Oh yeah, why don’t you try it if you think it’s so easy.”  Izuku wheezes.

“I’m not the one who needs practice roller skating,” Shinsou points out. “Maybe you should have made sure you knew how to roller skate before deciding to make roller skate shoes for yourself.

Izuku pushes themself off the pile of mattresses with a sigh. They’re at Dagobah Beach again after school, this time testing out the roller skate shoes they had been working on all day to see if they, well, work. It would be easier to tell if Izuku was actually good at roller skating.

At least they had the foresight to drag out as many mattresses as they could find, and put them in a pile so they would have a soft landing.

“That’s it, I am done with these for today.” Izuku mutters, pulling the skates off. They absentmindedly rub their elbow, sure that if it weren’t for the mattresses it would be bruised.

Garby runs up and sniffs at the skates before looking up at Izuku. The screen on his visor has a smiley face, but Izuku is sure that if they had programmed the screen to be able to display ‘smug’ or ‘amused’ that would probably be closer to what Garby is thinking right now.

“Yeah, yeah, laugh it up.” Izuku mutters. “I can’t believe this. Betrayed by my own ferret.”

“You did name him ‘Garbage’.” Shinsou points out, with a raised eyebrow.

Izuku looks to Garby. “You like your name though, don’t you?” The smiley face doesn’t change. “See, he likes it, he’s fine.”

“Oh please,” Shinsou scoffs, “I doubt he understands what you’re even saying.”

Garby turns to Shinsou, and the smiley face on the screen turns into a pouty face.

“...I am so sorry that I ever doubted you, Garby.” Shinsou mutters, after a second of stunned silence.

The pouty face goes back to a smiley face.

 

Shinsou sighs. “So, if you’re done floundering around in roller skates, now what?”

Izuku pauses for a moment, and stares out at the sunset. The sun has already dipped below the horizon, leaving a bit of light before the day truly turns into night.

“I wanna check out UA.”

“Um,” Shinsou says, “That seems like a bad idea. If they catch you being a vigilante, they could expel you, you know that, right? And what better way to get caught than by going in there. As a vigilante.”

“I know,” Izuku mutters, “But… something about the press break-in isn’t lining up. I won’t go in to UA, I just want to check by the gate- and I’ll disable the cameras and everything.”

“What do you mean, ‘something about it isn’t lining up’?” Shinsou asks.

“I mean the break in that happened earlier today. Yeah, the press are desperate, but even they would know that breaking in like that is illegal. Would any of the reporters risk doing something like that, even if they wanted the news very badly?”

“…You think it wasn’t just a press break in. You're thinking that maybe something else was there, but the press was a cover?”

“It’s possible.” Izuku nods. “Again, I won’t go in. And I can disable the cameras. And I’m just checking the gate.”

After a moment, Shinsou sighs heavily. “This still sounds incredibly risky, but I guess I can’t stop you.”

Izuku beams. “Great! So, wanna play look-out?”

“…I swear, if you get us both expelled, I am kicking your ass.”

“Fair.”


It’s late in the day, the sun already set, when something interesting regarding the whole ‘traitor case’ starts happening again.

His computer beeps a notification, and he quickly rolls his chair over to it to see what’s happening.

 

UA security cameras have been disabled.

 

His heart skips a beat. Score!

If he manages to catch something happening, then maybe he can stop any future attacks that the traitor might be planning. He quickly checks to see which cameras have been deactivated, and then switches on his own camera that he had placed in that area.

It takes a second, and then his screen displays the UA front gate. Normally, it would be hard to see in the low light level, but luckily he had the foresight to have it be a night vision camera.

For a moment, he watches, and nothing happens. Then, a figure stealthily moves into the camera’s vision. He almost snorts at how they’re trying to sneak, even though they’re right in the way of the camera.

The only thing he can see about them though is that they’re… small. Short. The rest of them is covered by a large green hoodie with the hood up, baggy sweatpants, and even when he catches a glimpse of their face, there’s a pair of night-vision goggles covering the upper half of it.

He decides to wait patiently to see what they’re going to do.

On screen, the figure ‘stealthily’ makes their way up to the gate and kneels next to it. They pause, looking it over.

That’s weird. He frowns. It doesn't look like they're doing anything to the gate or trying to get in, they're just looking at it. If they’re the traitor, why would they be checking the gate? Wouldn’t they already know what happened to it?

…Unless if this isn’t the traitor, the thought strikes him. But then, who-

…oh.

…Oh.

He does know who it is by the gate now. And, well. Nedzu had said it himself; that student file did not have to do with their traitor problem.

So, this person isn’t the traitor- but then, he had already known that.

 

But now he knows that Midoriya is taking it upon themself to investigate what happened earlier that day by themself.

 

He bites his lip. Should he tell Nedzu about this? He was told to report anything that happened, but Midoriya would likely get in trouble over this…

Well. Nedzu told me to report anything that happened with the traitor. And we’ve already established that Midoriya’s situation is separate from the traitor’s. So… technically, I don’t have to tell Nedzu about this.

…But, dammit, Midoriya, you better be more careful in the future, or you’ll get caught.

... 

The next day, Nedzu asks him what happened that caused the cameras to go out.

He tells Nedzu that it was just some kids playing a dumb prank, and that he scared them off before they actually did anything.

He’s not sure Nedzu buys that answer, but he doesn’t push the issue further.


Hikari drums her fingers against the work table in front of her. She still doesn’t know exactly what she wants to build, yet. She had spent all of yesterday’s class thinking, and even most of her afternoon, and yet… she’s still drawing blank.

She understands the usefulness of building something for the sake of building it, making it something that anyone could use, but that’s not her strength. She said it the first day, and she’ll say it again; she’s in the Support Course so that she can build gear that helps counteract the negative effects of some people’s quirks. Without any specific quirk or problem, she doesn’t know what to make.

Someone bumps into her lightly, and it makes her jump.

“Sorry, sorry!” Hatsume says quickly, waving her hands frantically. “I don’t mean to keep bumping into you Natsuki-chan, promise!”

“It’s all right, Hatsume.” Hikari assures quickly. “Um. Hey, if you don’t mind me asking, what are you working on?”

Hatsume brightens up immediately. “Oh! Well, I got the idea from Midoriya- we’re kinda building the same thing to see who can do it better- but their idea was to build roller-skate shoes!”

“…Roller-skate shoes.” Hikari blinks. “Well… I guess I’ll try to think of something else, given that you and Midoriya are already both working on that, but… um, good luck? And, I hope you don’t crash into any more things while wearing them.”

Hatsume laughs, “I’ll try not to! Good luck coming up with something, Natsuki-chan!”

With that, Hatsume bounces away back to her work table. Hikari hums to herself. She’s easily excitable, but nice. …I hope we get to talk more, in the future.

Hikari goes back to staring at her hands as she drums on the desk, thinking and racking her brain for ideas on what to build.


Hitoshi sits in Midoriya’s ugly-christmas-sweater-looking chair, keeping an eye on the large TV screen, but not really fully paying attention to it. Instead, he’s using Midoriya’s work table as a table to, well. Do his homework.

Guess that still makes it a work table, huh.

Midoriya is out fighting villains and other vigilante things, and whenever they do that, it’s Hitoshi’s job to watch over the base and to keep Midoriya updated on things going around town.

The TV, actually, is split into two halves; one half shows the news to see if anything is happening, and the other half shows the current status of the gadgets that Midoriya has with them, so that if any of them get busted, Hitoshi can warn them ahead of time.

Today is… incredibly slow, though, and it feels like nothing is happening. Which, Hitoshi supposes, is a good thing, because that means villains aren’t causing trouble anywhere.

 

And then…

“Hello?” A voice calls from outside, a distance away. “Hell oooo ??”

Hitoshi jumps in surprise, looking up quickly. Why is there someone here…?

Curiously, he pokes his head out of the door of the base. The voice calls out a ‘hello’ again, and this time, Hitoshi recognizes it.

He sighs heavily.

“Hatsume, what are you doing out here?”

There’s a pause, and then Hatsume steps around one pile and reaches the clearing where the shed is. “Ah-ha! Heya, Shinsou-kun! Nice to see you!” She waves at him, a beaming smile on her face.

“Um… Nice to see you too, I guess.” Hitoshi mutters, then, “Not to be rude, but- what are you doing out here?”

Unfazed, Hatsume points to the shoes on her feet. “I finished building my version of the roller skate shoes, and I wanted to show Midoriya-kun! I remembered you saying the other day that they have a base on the garbage beach, so I thought I’d check here and see if I could find you!”

Hitoshi wants to go back in time and smack his past self for a second.

“Midoriya isn’t here right now. They're, ah. Out testing the roller skate shoes.”

Technically not a lie, I guess.

Hatsume tilts her head. “But if this is Midoriya’s base, then why are you here when they aren't?”

“Um, well-”

And then, with perfectly awful timing, the communication device beeps. “Shinsou-kun, any updates on the situation?” Midoriya asks, and Hitoshi almost wants to facepalm.

“Well-” Hitoshi starts,

“HEYA, MIDORIYA-KUN!!!” Hatsume interrupts loudly, shouting over anything Hitoshi could say.

There’s a moment of silence. “Is. Is that Hatsume-san?”

“Uh-huh.” Hitoshi mutters. “She found the base.”

“Ohhhhh…” Midoriya hums for a second.

“So, what’cha up to?” Hatsume asks, completely unfazed.

“…Hey, Hatsume-san, can you keep a secret? Like, it’s very important that this stays secret.”

“Secrets?!” Hatsume cheers, “I love secrets!! If you tell me, I promise that I won’t let anyone else find out!”

“Great.” Midoriya mutters. “Shinsou-kun, you tell her, I gotta go now- bye!”

“Wh-” The communication device beeps again before Hitoshi can even say anything in reply.

I can’t believe they just abandoned me like that.

 

“Well?” Hatsume asks expectantly, the same old excited gleam in her eyes.

“Uh,” Hitoshi mumbles. “So. Um. Did you know. That technically, vigilante laws say that you have to use your quirks for it to be illegal to fight villains? Interesting.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Hatsume shrugs, then she pauses. “Waait a minute. Are you saying- are you saying that Midoriya is a vigilante?

“…Technically not by definition,” Hitoshi says, “But basically yeah. Kind of. Yeah.” For a moment, Hatsume says nothing in reply. “…Remember, it’s a secret, so you can’t tel-”

“Oh my god, that’s so awesome!” Hatsume gushes suddenly. “Oh, this is so exciting, my rival is a vigilante?!”

“You’re. Um. You’re taking this better than I thought you would.” Though, looking back on it, I can’t say that this reaction is exactly surprising.

“Well, yeah. I mean, you said it yourself- technically, it’s not illegal.” Hatsume points out. “So, if you’re here, does that make you, like… an HQ? You update them on things going on around town, while they go out there and do cool stuff?”

“I mean, I guess?” Hitoshi says, still a little baffled.

 

Well, I guess Hatsume knows about this now.


Hikari is at a small grocery store, but she’s not really paying attention to her surroundings that much; she’s still trying to think of what to do for class.

It shouldn’t be this hard to just… to just think of something…!

Except it is. That’s what makes it all the more frustrating. The more she thinks about it, the more she thinks about how simple it should be, and that just makes her more frustrated and less able to focus.

Hikari shakes her head to clear her thoughts. Lamenting about it isn’t going to change anything. She tells herself.  …Maybe if I’m just patient, then an idea will come to me…?

Oh well. It’s the only plan she has now. I guess I’ll just have to roll wi-

There’s a loud crash, followed by a short scream. Hikari is immediately filled with a sense of dread.

Please tell me someone just dropped something. Please tell me that this isn’t some kind of villain attack. Please-

The small store fills with smoke. “Everyone, get down!”

...It’s a villain attack.

Hikari can’t help but feel that she’d jinxed it.

She drops into a crouch, staying low to the ground. She moves to peak around the corner of a shelf, but the smoke is so thick that she can’t see anything through it.

She grits her teeth. Please let there be some kind of hero nearby… someone… anyone

Hikari can’t see anything that’s happening, so she listens instead.

“Give us all your money!” Says a gruff voice, and well, Guess that’s the villain, Hikari supposes.

There’s a reply, but it’s stuttered and mumbled so much that Hikari can’t make out what it’s supposed to be.

 

Then, the sound of a door opening. A confused grunt from the supposed villain. The villain lets out a small cry of surprise, and Hikari sees a light flash through the smoke.

 

Then, the shelf that she’s crouching behind falls over.

Hikari gasps and backs up, but not fast enough. It lands on her, and the collision causes her to hit her head against the floor, and her glasses go flying. Her vision is consumed by white light.

…If I build nothing else, I really should put a strap on these things to keep them from flying off. She thinks, annoyed and frowning.

She hears more fighting noises in the distance, but now she’s less focused on that, and more focused on groping around the surrounding area, trying to find her glasses.

Then, there’s a soft voice. “Hey, are you okay?”

“My glasses.” She mumbles, not really answering the question, but it doesn’t matter at the moment. “I can’t find my glasses- they should be mostly black and-”

“Here,” The soft voice says again, and Hikari feels someone handing her glasses to her.

…Why… why does that voice sound familiar? Hikari wonders, as she takes her glasses. She raises them to her face. Someone must have come to help- are they a hero? Is that why I would recognize their voice?

The glasses settle on her face, and the white light blinks out, and color replaces it. For a second, it’s blinding; she blinks to clear her vision.

The smoke is lessening in the area, and Hikari can see the shelf that fell over on her. And she can see the… hero(?) as well. They have a large hoodie on, with the hood over their face, and they’re wearing some kind of glasses or goggles- a lot like hers, actually.

They smile. “You good now?”

“Um… yeah.” Hikari blinks, surprised. “Who are…?”

Laughing it off, they mutter, “Ah, that’s not important. If you’re okay, then I guess it’s time for me to go now. Bye!”

"Wait-!” Hikari protests, but they’re already fleeing the scene.

I’ve never seen that hero before… and that was pretty strange for a hero costume… Hikari thinks, watching them leave. A vigilante then, maybe? But that still doesn’t explain why…

Why do I recognize their voice?

 

At the last second, outside, Hikari sees the (…hero? vigilante?) activate some kind of device in their shoes and skate away.

Skating shoes…? She thinks absentmindedly.

 

And then, it hits her.

 

“Natsuki, are you all right?”…“It’s no problem. You said that because of your quirk, you can’t see at all without your glasses, right? It probably would have been hard to find them yourself, so…”

“Hey, are you okay?” …“If you’re okay, then I guess it’s time for me to go now. Bye!”

The same voice.

“…but their idea was to build roller-skate shoes!”

Hikari continues to stare out at the non empty sidewalk, even though… ‘the vigilante’ is long gone.

Midoriya…?

Chapter Text

It’s almost hard to believe that it’s only Friday of the first week, Izuku thinks to themself. It feels like so much has already happened…

At the moment, they're fixing a few problems that they noticed yesterday while wearing the roller-skate shoes. They’re fairly simple fixes, at least in their opinion, but they’ll really help and… and…

 

Why do they suddenly get the feeling that they're being watched?

 

Izuku glances over their shoulder, nervously.

…But they sees nothing.

They frown. That’s weird. I could have sworn… They shake their head. Come on. Why would someone be watching me?

 

…Unless Natsuki figured things out.

Izuku glances back at Natsuki and stares at her for a moment. She’s currently fiddling with something that looks like a headgear strap, by the looks of it. The look on her face is thoughtful, distant. Well, they guess that it is; it’s a bit hard to tell when they can’t see her eyes.

I wonder what she’s thinking about?

It would certainly help their anxiety if they knew. If Natsuki figures out that they're a (sort of) vigilante, that would make three people who know, and they're not sure what Natsuki would do if she did figure it out-

“-Midoriya-kun?” A hand waves in front of their face, and they're snapped from their thoughts. Izuku jumps, startled, and turns around.

They're expecting to see Hatsume, but when they turn around, they find, instead. It catches them off guard so much that they actually find themself jumping in surprise again. “Sora-kun?”

Sora gives them a goofy smile. “Hey, dude! I’ve been meaning to talk to you, but things have been so busy.”

“Um,” Izuku mumbles. Good going, genius. Super social skills you’ve got there.

But Sora doesn’t seem to notice (or care) about their social ineptitude. “So, how have you been? Gosh, it’s been what- four years?”

“Y-yeah, it’s been four years,” Izuku stammers, “And. I’ve been good, I guess? What about you?”

“Hmm, I’ve been great,” Sora hums.

After a second of contemplation, Izuku says, “I… um, I’m kind of surprised to see you here. At UA, I mean.”

“Ah, yeah. A lot has just… changed, I guess. But hey, I get to see you again because I’m going here now, so I think it was a pretty good decision.”

“Gave up on being a secret agent, huh?” Izuku jokes.

“Who says I ever gave it up?” Sora jokes back, with a beaming smile.

“Oh really?”

“Yeah! I’m secretly a spy for Shiketsu, and I’m here at UA to figure out all of their teaching secrets.”

“Uh-huh.”

At first, the idea of talking with Sora made Izuku nervous, but now that they are talking, it feels like almost nothing has changed. It’s nice.

“So, what are you working on, Sora-kun?” Izuku asks, curiously.

“Ah, well, I made it a while ago so I’m just tweaking at some bugs and making updates, but it’s a camera with a quirk sensor on it.”

“You like putting your quirk in any gadget you make, don’t you?” Izuku says.

“It’s an incredibly useful quirk!” Sora defends.

“That’s fair.”

“So, what are you working on?” He asks, poking at the shoes sitting in front of Izuku. “What do these do?”

“They’re roller skates, but they can retract the skates into the bottom of the shoe and become regular shoes. It makes it easier to get around fast.” Izuku explains, activating them as they do so as to let Sora see how they work.

Sora whistles. “Nifty.”

There’s a slight pause in the conversation, and then Sora asks, “Hey, so, are you busy this weekend? I was thinking maybe we could hang out, catch up. It has been four years and all.”

Izuku thinks on it for a second. Technically, they don’t really have plans, but they had sort of intended on spending the weekend doing vigilante work. Though, granted, it isn’t a real job that has mandatory attendance. It’s technically almost not even legal.

“…Nah, I don’t have any plans.”

Sora beams. “Great!”


Izuku picks at their lunch, once again lost in thought. They have plans now, to hang out with Sora on Saturday around noon, so they can’t do any vigilante work in the morning. They suppose that’s fine, because most of the time they stick to the evening for that anyway.

They still aren’t sure about what happened on that day of the press break in. Looking at the gate, which had been repaired rather hastily, the only thing Izuku noticed was a considerable amount of dust around the area. This would suggest that it was the work of someone with a disintegration quirk, but when they researched it later, they found that there’s a very small number of people registered with a quirk like that, and they’re nowhere near here.

So either, it wasn’t a quirk, it was a different quirk that just didn’t leave behind evidence, or it was someone that isn’t in the register. Izuku had originally planned on spending the whole weekend looking into it, but evidently they’ll have to cram all of that into Saturday night and Sunday-

“Midoriya.”

I really need to stop spacing out. Izuku thinks, looking up.

“Is this spot taken?” Natsuki asks, gesturing to the open spot next to them.

“Ah… no, it’s open.” Izuku says.

“Hi Natsuki-chan!!” Hatsume shouts in greeting.

There’s a second where Natsuki and Shinsou stare at each other, a little confused.

“Oh, uh, Natsuki, this is Shinsou-kun; he’s in General Studies. Shinsou-kun, this is Natsuki; she’s in class 1-H with me and Hatsume.” Izuku introduces.

“Nice to meet you,” Natsuki greets Shinsou.

“Likewise,” He replies. “Nice glasses.”

“…Thanks.” Natsuki mumbles. There’s a small pause, and then she turns to Izuku, “Roller-skate shoes is a very interesting idea for support gear.”

Shinsou sighs, like he’s just accepting that all anyone ever wants to talk about at this table is support gear.

“You think so?” Izuku asks, nervously. …She didn’t see me using them yesterday, did she?

“Yeah. They’d be pretty useful for a hero to be able to chase down villains, or,” Something in Natsuki’s voice changes slightly as she continues, “say, a vigilante who needs to get away quickly after solving some kind of issue with villains.”

Izuku winces.

Oooh, she’s on to me.

…I could still play ignorant, maybe-

“Oh, so Natsuki-chan knows too?” Hatsume asks.

SO MUCH FOR PLAYING IGNORANT.

“Midoriya,” Shinsou says, “what part of secret identity do you not understand?”

“All of it, apparently,” Izuku sighs. They turn to Natsuki. “Uhh… I can explain?”


“Uhh… I can explain?” Midoriya says sheepishly, and it’s almost more of a question than it is a statement.

“Please do,” Hikari asks.

She thinks that Midoriya is nice. She thinks that they're smart. And now, she also knows that they're a vigilante. …But Hikari wants to believe that they have a good reason for doing it.

Midoriya bites their lip. “Ah… did you know. That. Technically, you have to use your quirk to fight villains in order to be classified as a vigilante? Interesting.”

…Fair point, I guess, but…

“That’s not your only explanation, is it?”

They look away. “I just… I want to be a hero. I want to help people- to save people. It’s… it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. But people don’t think I can, just because I’m quirkless. People these days, all they care about is quirks. If you don’t have a strong quirk, then no one thinks you can be a hero. So, I’m proving them wrong. I’m… I’m going to help people, whether they think I can or not.”

Hikari contemplates the things they're saying for a moment. She doesn’t really get the impression that they're lying about anything and, well… with their reasoning, she can’t really see that they're doing anything wrong . They just want to be a hero and no one will let them. Technically speaking they're not even a vigilante, but that’s just because of how prejudiced things are against quirkless people.

“Um, that being said though,” Midoriya continues, “obviously if I manage to get a transfer to the Hero Course, I’ll stop the whole… vigilante thing.”

Hikari nods. “I see.”

“Are… are you going to tell anyone?” Midoriya asks nervously.

She lets out a sigh. “No. I’m not going to tell anyone, Midoriya.”

“Oh thank god,” Midoriya mutters just under their breath. “Oh, and… um… if you don’t mind me asking, how did you figure it out? Like… was it just the roller-skate shoes, or…”

“That was a big part of it, but mostly, it was your voice that gave it away.”

“My voice…?”

“Yeah. I knew it sounded familiar when you first spoke, and I was trying to figure out why. Then I saw you use the roller-skate shoes and it clicked.”

“…Guess I’ll have to work on a voice modifier then.”

An idea pops into Hikari’s head, and before she can think better of it, she says, “No, wait. Let me work on the voice modifier.”

“What?”

“Well…” Hikari mumbles, “I… to be honest, I’ve been having a hard time coming up with something that I want to build in class. So, I… if you don’t mind, I would like to build it for you.”

There’s a slight pause as they think about it, and then Midoriya shoots her a beaming smile. “Thanks, Natsuki! I… I appreciate it.”

“…You’re welcome.”


Tenya and Uraraka are walking to the train station together, as they have done since the first day. He enjoys her company quite a bit; she’s very nice, although much more bright and cheerful than he is. She has an impressive power as well, impressive enough to score her an infinity in one of the tests on the first day.

“Man, this first week was so fun!”  Uraraka rambles on. “Being at UA is so exciting! I wonder what’s in store for next week? And-” She cuts off suddenly, staring ahead.

“Uraraka-kun?” Tenya asks, confused, turning to her. She doesn’t respond, and without warning, she takes off running ahead. “Uraraka-kun?!”

“Heeey!!” She calls, “Wait up! Hey, Midoriya-kun, wait!!”

Uraraka runs up to another student who’s walking just ahead of them. The student turns and- ah, yes, Tenya does recognize them. They had been in the same testing grounds for the entrance exam, and…

“Oh, Uraraka-san! Hi!” Midoriya greets her.

… and before that Tenya had called them out for mumbling too loudly in the testing room, judging them to be someone who wasn’t taking the entrance exam seriously. And yet, Midoriya had proved him wrong, even running back into danger to help Uraraka when the zero pointer came out.

Tenya had been very eager to talk to them earlier, to apologize for judging them so quickly and to praise them for figuring out the Rescue Points portion of the entrance exam. However, to his disappointment, Midoriya had not been in Class 1-A with them, so he hadn’t been able to.

“Hi, Midoriya-kun!” Uraraka beams at him. “It’s good to see you again!”

Tenya approaches them, and greets, “Hello. Midoriya-kun, was it?”

“Uh, yeah,” Midoriya stammers nervously, “Hi, um…”

“Oh, uh, this is Iida Tenya,” Uraraka introduces him. “He’s in the same class as me!”

“Ah.” Midoriya hums. “Hi, Iida.”

“I wanted to apologize for my behavior during the entrance exam,” Tenya says immediately, bowing deeply. “I poorly misjudged you, and for that, I’m sorry.”

“Oh- no- it’s fine!” Midoriya assures him quickly, nervously waving their hands back and forth. “I hardly even remembered, so really, it’s fine!”

“It was still wrong of me. On top of that, I’m sorry for waiting this long to tell you- I would have told you sooner but we weren’t placed in the same class. Are you in Class 1-B, then?”

Midoriya winces slightly, just enough for Tenya to notice. “Ah, no.” They mumble. “Class 1-H. Support Course.”

“Support Course?” Tenya frowns. “But… you were taking the Hero Course exam. Why…?”

“I only passed using tech that I built myself, because… because um. I’m quirkless. So they put me in the Support Course instead, and, well… uh, here we are?”

Tenya’s frown deepens. “That’s rather unfair. Not letting you into the Hero Course just because you don’t have a quirk.”

“Tell me about it,” Midoriya sighs. “Anyway, I’m hoping to transfer in later, at least.”

“It’s very noble of you to be taking all of this in stride,” Tenya comments. “It would be really easy to be bitter in your situation.”

Midoriya shrugs. “I… I was really bitter when I first got the news but… I just have to work with what I got. No one wants to believe in me because I’m quirkless, so I’ll always have to work harder to prove myself. The sooner I accept that and work with it, the better.”

Tenya blinks. “That’s a very admirable way of looking at things.”

…They really would make a good hero. It’s a shame UA put them in the Support Course.

“So, what’s your quirk?” Midoriya asks suddenly, abruptly shifting the subject.

For a second, Tenya is thrown off with the fast change, but he decides to go along with it. “Ah, I have engines in my legs. They let me run very fast.”

“Ooh, engines, huh?” Midoriya hums. “Yeah, I think I remember that from the entrance exam now. If you don’t mind me asking, what powers your engines? Or do they just work automatically.”

“They’re powered by orange juice.” Tenya says.

“…Orange juice?”

Tenya nods. “Orange juice. I’m not quite sure how it works out either.”

“…Huh. Well, how about that.”


“Duuude, ya made it!” Sora says, greeting them with a smile.

“I said I would, Sora-kun,” Izuku greets back, knocking their fist against Sora’s in a fistbump. “It’s nice to see you again.”

Sora drags them into a one armed side hug. “Aww, buddy! It’s nice to see you too! It feels like it’s been forever.”

“Yeah, it does.” Izuku hums. “So? What’s your plan?”

“Well, first, let’s go find somewhere to relax, hang out,” Sora says, “And then let’s catch up!”

“…You got it.”


“You know, Shinsou-kun, I’m noticing something strange.” Izuku mutters when they return to the base very early Sunday morning; they glance at their wrist watch which reads ‘1:00’.

“What is it?” Shinsou asks.

“There have been a lot less villains around recently.”

“…You’ve only been a vigilante, for like, two weeks."

“I know, I know,” Izuku mumbles, “But it’s not just me. Villain sightings on the news, hero fights, I’m seeing less and less of them recently.”

“Isn’t that a good thing though?” Shinsou points out.

“It would be, except…” Izuku trails off for a second, thinking, “…except, there’s no reason for why there would be less villains now. Nothing major has happened recently, nothing that would discourage people like them. So, it’s more like… more like they could be planning something.”

“How could all the villains in this area be planning something? There haven’t been any organized villain groups in decades.”

“Maybe that’s what they’re planning. They’re all planning to get together and do something.”

“How, though?” Shinsou asks, skeptically. “It’s not like they can just wave a banner around saying ‘sign up for our villain organization here!’. How are they getting together?”

“…I don’t know.” Izuku eventually mutters. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll snoop around town and see what I can find. I need something more stealthy though… the goggles are good for hiding my face, but they also make me stand out. Maybe some kind of gear that helps with stealth…”

“Do you have anything for that?”

Izuku winces. “Not currently. I don’t know quite how long it would take to make something either, so…” An idea hits them. “Wait. I think we know someone who might be able to help us.”

“We-” Shinsou seems confused for a second, then mutters, “…Hatsume?”

Nodding, Izuku says, “Hatsume-san.”


Mei is absolutely bursting with excitement.

Midoriya? Wants to meet up together so that we can talk about support gear? Maybe even build some together?

Granted, this seems more like a ‘best friend’ kind of thing than a ‘rival’ kind of thing but… oh, what the heck! Who says they can’t be both?

The doorbell rings, and in a flash, Mei is there and opening the door.

“U-um, hi there, Hatsume-sa-”

“SO, YOU’RE HERE TO SEE ALL MY AMAZING BABIES, RIGHT?!” Mei yells before Midoriya even finishes their greeting.

“B-babies…?” Midoriya stammers.

“Of course! Everything that I’ve built is my precious little baby! Ooh, I love all of my creations so much…! You’re here so that I can show you them, right?!”

“Actually, yes.” Midoriya says.

Mei is thrown off for a second. They… they actually do want to see her babies? Usually no one ever actually wants to see her babies!

“That’s fantastic!” Mei shouts, ecstatic. “What do you want to see?! Do you have anything in mind?!”

“I need stuff that’s stealth based,” Midoriya answers. “I'm planning on trying to follow some villains without being seen,”

“Sounds dangerous,” Mei comments, “I’m in! I think I have just what you need!”

Without warning, Mei practically drags Midoriya to the workshop in the back of her house. “Wait here,” She instructs once they’re at the doorway.

Running in the workshop would be too risky- Mei would never dare do something that could possibly damage any of her babies- so she powerwalks to the closet in the back. There had been a period where she was focused on making things based on underground heroes, because those are usually the heroes who most use support gear. A lot of it is stealth based, given that such is the point of being an underground hero, and so it’s probably just what Midoriya needs.

She lays it all out on the nearest table, then beckons Midoriya over. “Boy, do I have some awesome babies to show you!”

Mei holds up the first one. “Ta-da! Now, it looks like a normal hoodie, but it has a switch in the pocket that makes it blend with its surroundings! It won’t cover over the rest of you though, only the parts inside the hoodie. It’s a really big hoodie though, even for regular sized people, so given how small you are it should be plenty of space for you.”

Midoriya nods, and Mei moves onto the next contraption."This looks like a big old pair of powerful headphones, so if you’re following someone they’ll think you won’t be able to hear them. However instead of being noise cancelling, it has the opposite effect! Perfect for eavesdropping on conversations! People will be less on guard because they think you won’t hear them, but you’ll be able to pick up everything they’re saying, crystal clear!”

“Next up! This is a mini camera that you can move around carefully using this tablet! It travels through the vents of the bad guys’ base so that you don’t have to! All footage taken on the camera streams live to the tablet screen, although, you can’t save anything until the camera stops recording! I’ve been planning on reworking it so that it goes to multiple devices and saves automatically as it records, but in a pinch it’ll work for you!”

“Oh! And, and, these! I know you have your super cool roller-skate shoes now, but if you’re going for a stealth mission, these boots are the best! They don’t look like much, but they don’t make a single sound while you move! Guaranteed!”

Mei continues to ramble on and on about all of her babies, excited. Even by the time she’s gotten through at least ten, Midoriya still seems to be listening intently to every word she’s saying. In her opinion, it’s one of the best audiences she’s ever had. They let her ramble on about her babies without interrupting, but still listens intently.

By the end of it, Mei is a little out of breath. “So? What do you think? Want to use any of them?”

“These- these are all amazing, Hatsume-san,” Midoriya says in awe. “I- you would really let me use them?”

“Of course! My babies are of no value just sitting in this closet, wasting away… Well, that’s not quite accurate, because I make sure to dust them regularly and keep them in working condition, but still! I want someone to use them, that’s what they’re made for!”

“I owe you one, Hatsume-san!”

“No, no, the pleasure is all mine! Tell me how my babies work for you, would ya?”

“I will!”


That evening, Izuku steps off of Dagobah Beach decked out in a mixture of their own gear, and the gear that Hatsume lent them. Really, they feel like they can’t thank her enough for lending all of it to them, especially on such short notice.

They just hope that with all of this they’ll be able find out what’s going on with the villains. They know they’ll have to be patient though…

 

 

It’s been two hours of wandering around the town, and so far nothing has happened. They know they should be grateful nothing bad is happening, but if they can’t find out why then they can’t stop villains from doing things in the future.

They're about to turn around and find a different place to look around when they pick up a conversation through their headphones.

“So, what’s this deal you were mentioning?”

Izuku focuses immediately. This could be something…

“Keep your voice down,” A second voice answers, in a hissing whisper. "Someone could hear you!”

“Oh please, there’s only one person here, and they’re not listening.” The first one groans, annoyed. They raise their voice a bit, and say, “Hey! Two villains over here! Plotting some evil villain stuff!” Izuku carefully does not react to what they’re saying. “See? No one cares. No one’s listening. Now, tell me about the deal.”

Izuku can almost feel the eyeroll from the second person. “There’s this new underground group going around calling themselves the ‘League of Villains’. So far, all of my other connections that I know about have already joined up.”

A League of Villains? So they are forming together…

“Yeah, yeah, I knew all that already.” The first huffs, bored. “Tell me something new. Why should I join them? What makes ‘em so special?”

“Heh. Well, you’ll just have to ask them yourself, won’t you? Why not meet with them in person?”

“I don’t know where their base is, you imbecile.” The first snaps. “Otherwise I would have.”

“Fine, fine,” The second sighs. “Follow me.”

The two of them walk away. Izuku watches them go, waiting until they’ve at least turned the corner. Then, they activate the glasses they're wearing, and a path of footsteps appear where they had walked away.

Izuku follows after them.

They're very careful to make sure that they don’t notice him. First of all, they're wearing the silencing shoes, so the two villains shouldn’t hear them; second, they stay behind them just enough that they’re out of his view.

The path eventually leads them to an abandoned office building, and the two villains enter through the fire escape on a side alley. Izuku knows they wouldn’t be able to follow them inside, so this is as far as they can go on foot.

Stopping at the edge of the alley, Izuku pulls out the small camera and the tablet. The camera can’t fly through the air, but it can walk on a vertical surface; Izuku walks it up the side of the building, further and further, until they hear talking, and then they carefully stop the camera at the window, giving them a view of the interior.

The image displayed on the tablet shows two villains standing in a room, but not the two that Izuku had followed to the building. One of them, sitting in the desk chair with his feet propped up on the table, has a dismembered hand over his face- Izuku hopes that it’s fake, but it’s not certain. The other villain appears to be made of some kind of dark gas, though he wears a suit over what must be some kind of physical body.

There’s a screen in the other corner of the room, and Izuku’s attention is drawn to it as a voice speaks through it. “Shigaraki Tomura. It seems you have visitors.”

The man with a hand on his face- presumably ‘Shigaraki’- groans in response. “Yeah, yeah, Kurogiri, bring them in.”

Kurogiri would be the second villain, then, Izuku notes.

The gas villain- Kurogiri- seems to expand for a moment, creating a large space made of the strange gas. The other two villains from before walk through it.

A warping quirk? Izuku thinks, nervously. That’s a dangerous quirk for a villain to be in control of…

“Ah,” Shigaraki hums. “Blade-duster. A… pleasure to see you again,” He says this, but his voice suggests it isn’t actually a pleasure. “Who is this you’ve brought with you?”

“Call me Typhoon,” Replies the other, smoothly. “I’m here to ask you some questions about what it is you’re planning.”

“The plan is simple,” Shigaraki scoffs. “We’re going to kill All Might.”

Kill All Might?! But he’s-

“Oh please. You think you can kill the Symbol of Peace?” Typhoon mutters. “Many have tried. All have failed. What makes you think you have a shot?”

“I’ve been… ‘advised’ that it isn’t wise to go around telling every outsider you meet about the things you’re planning.”

“Wouldn’t it be better to inform people about a plan that they’re putting their entire livelihood in?” Typhoon counters.

“That’s not an issue,” Shigaraki waves it off. “Whether or not we succeed in killing All Might- which, we will - Kurogiri will be there to warp us in and warp us out. You only need be concerned with your part in the plan.”

“Which would be…?”

“Killing All Might is the goal, but he’s not going to be the only one present. We had an… informant give us a look into UA’s schedule. We’ll be attacking when All Might is teaching Class 1-A at an off campus training facility. There will be other teachers of course, and the students themselves. We need people to keep them back while we launch our plan into action.”

“You want me to attack children?” Typhoon asks, disgust clear on his face. “Not only is that insulting to my skill level, but also- they’re just children. I have some standards.”

“Don’t see them as children then.” Shigaraki mutters. “See them as low-level heroes. Sure, they’re hardly a threat now, but give them time to level up and they’ll crush you once they’re at a point where your standards wouldn’t bother you.”

“I wouldn’t underestimate them, either,” Kurogiri adds, and it’s the first thing he’s said since the other villains entered. “They may be children, but they were able to pass the UA entrance exam, which is notoriously difficult. They’re the best of the best when it comes to heroes in training, first years or no.”

“…I’ll need to consider this.” Typhoon eventually says.

“Whatever.” Shigaraki mutters. “Just make up your mind before Tuesday. That’s when we move out.” Without waiting for an answer, Shigaraki says, “Kurogiri, see them to the door.”

The warp gate appears again, and Typhoon and Blade-duster walk through, disappearing from view again. The gate closes.

“Heh.” Shigaraki chuckles to himself. “Another minion to add to the party. At this rate, this raid boss will be a piece of cake.”

“Tomura,” The voice from the screen speaks again, and Izuku notes that whoever it is didn’t speak at all when the other villains were in the room. “I didn’t want to say this earlier, because I was afraid it might… scare off a potential new recruit.”

“Well, Sensei? Get on with it.”

Sensei? So is Shigaraki not the leader here-

“There’s a camera sitting on the windowsill outside.”

Izuku’s blood turns to ice.

“What?” Shigaraki hisses, turning around in his chair and moving his feet to the ground. The hand on his face hides most of his features, but Izuku doesn’t miss the deathly glare in his eyes.

“It appeared right when those two did,” The voice from the screen continues. “I don’t think it was their intention, but it seems they were followed here. They came in through the West entrance- Kurogiri, do you mind-?”

In a second, Izuku realizes what’s about to happen. They quickly drop to their knees, pulling the hoodie over all of themself and pressing the button in a haste. They're facing the wall of the alleyway, but they hear the warp gate open behind them, not even a full second after the camouflage takes effect. They almost breathe a sigh of relief, but quickly slap a hand over their mouth to hide it.

They doesn’t know how long they crouch there, holding their breath in and holding a hand over their mouth in case even that doesn’t work. If their breathing doesn’t give them away, their heart surely will- it feels like it’s beating right out of their chest.

After an agonizingly long moment, Izuku hears the warp gate leave. They throw a quick glance over their shoulder just to make sure, and only once they're absolutely certain that the villain is gone do they let themself breathe again.

Note to self: ask Natsuki to have a silencer along with the voice modifier.

There’s a beat where they do nothing, and then they quickly scan the ground for the tablet; they had dropped it in their rush to hide. They wince at how the screen is cracked when they pick it up, but otherwise, it’s still functional.

Sorry, Hatsume-san… They mentally apologize. And then, they refocus on the conversation in the room.

“There was no one there.” Kurogiri reports, re-materializing in the room.

“…Hmm.” The voice from the screen hums lightly. Almost in a tone that would suggest he doesn’t believe it. “I suppose whoever planted the camera may have immediately fled and simply hoped the camera would pick up some useful footage.”

“Hmmph.” Shigaraki scoffs. He gets up from his chair, and marches over to the window, before throwing it open. He reaches out to the camera. “Try recovering footage from this.

That’s the last thing Izuku hears before the camera cuts out.

…Sorry, Hatsume-san. Izuku mentally apologizes, for the second time. After that, they don’t need any more hints. They run away before the villains can do anything else.

Chapter Text

Izuku feels nothing short of absolutely awful.

There’s multiple contributors to this. First of all, the fact that they could very easily have been killed by those villains had not made it easy to sleep at all. Then, there’s the fact that they didn’t even manage to save the footage from the camera, which means they have absolutely no proof of what those villains are planning besides their own eyewitness account which they can’t really give to anyone except for his friends who already know they're a vigilante.

…Thinking about their friends makes them think about Hatsume again. How are they supposed to tell her that they lost one of the gadgets she lent them? Her gadgets, which she cares about so much that she refers to them as her babies .

With a groan, Izuku lowers their forehead to rest it on the table in front of them. Could that have gone any worse…?

A small echo in the back of their mind answers, You could have died. There’s that.

With a heavy sigh, Izuku straightens back up. At least, even though they don’t have any evidence, they did send an anonymous message to Nedzu to warn the principal about the villain attack. They just have to hope that Nedzu will believe them-

Izuku feels someone bump into them. Hard. They stumble forward just a bit, catching themself on the desk with their hands.

They're about to just let it slide, ignore it and move on, when a sharp voice says, “Well?”

Confused, Izuku turns to see one of their classmates that they have yet to interact with. The other is staring at them expectantly, a cold glare in his eyes.

“I’m… I’m sorry?” Izuku asks, confused.

“You should be!” The other snaps, “You were in the way, and you made me bump into you!”

“I…” Izuku shrinks backwards, and mumbles a soft, “I’m sorry.”

“What, were you not going to apologize before?” The other demands, not even acknowledging the apology. “Are you really just that self-centered?”

“I-I’m sorry,” Izuku stammers again, because they really cannot think of anything else to respond with, “I-I was just l-lost in my thoughts, I didn’t-”

“So your thoughts are just more important than me?!”

In the back of his mind, Izuku wonders, What the hell is this dude’s problem? But they don’t say this out loud, because that would probably only make him blow up worse, and Izuku just wants this conflict to end as soon as possible.

“Let me guess-” The other student growls, “I bet you don’t even remember my name , do you?”

“I…” Izuku mumbles and wracks their brain, “I-it was a week ago, a-and we haven’t r-really spoken-”

“Oh? But I remember your name, Midoriya Izuku .” The other says in a mocking tone. “Oh poor you, you didn’t even want to be in this class. What, do you think you’re better than us?”

“N-no, of course not!” Izuku waves their hands back and forth frantically.

“Since you didn’t bother to remember my name the first time, you better remember it this time, because I’m not repeating myself again. It’s Masaru Ichirou. Remember me now?”

It clicks. Izuku says, “Um, yeah, you, uh, your quirk tells you how to build things as long as it’s been done before. Your family has been in the Support Company business for-”

“Oh, so now you’re a know-it-all, are you?” Masaru glares.

“I-I didn’t mean- I just- you were offended earlier because I didn’t remember, so-”

“Everything about you offends me,” Masaru interrupts, and Izuku shuts up. “You, some, some quirkless nobody, getting placed in the same class as me? What a joke! Not only did UA place you on the same level as me, but now you’re going around acting like you’re better than everyone else? All of us who actually worked hard to get here?” 

“I don’t- I didn’t choose to be here-”

“You shouldn’t be here at all! They probably only let you in out of pity after you bombed the hero course exam-”

Izuku’s patience snaps. “Ninety-seven.”

“I beg your pardon?” Masaru asks, clearly upset with being interrupted, despite the fact that he had been interrupting Izuku at every opportunity.

“Then beg.” Izuku snaps. (They really shouldn’t find the shock that creeps onto Masaru’s face as hilarious as they do, but right now they are just not in the mood to care. ) “Ninety-seven is the score I got on the Hero Course practical exam, and I scored a ninety-five percent on the written exam. Both scores by far good enough to pass. But I didn’t get into the Hero Course because they’re underestimating me for my quirklessness. Now, I’m very, very, not in the mood to continue this conversation now, so will you just go away?”

Masaru stares at them, stunned. “I- you- I-”

“Excuse me,” A new voice says, and when Izuku turns to look and see who it is, they almost cry in relief. Sora ignores Masaru standing there, and says, “Hey Midoriya-kun, can I talk to you for a sec?”

“But- but I was-” Masaru stutters in protest.

“I believe Midoriya-kun just told you to go away.” Sora points out, staring him dead in the eyes. “So you might want to get on that.”

Masaru glares at Izuku one last time. “This- this isn’t over.” Then he stalks away.

“Jeez, what a jerk,” Sora comments as they watch him walk away. Sora turns back to Izuku, a hint of worry on his face. “You okay, though?”

“…Yeah. Yeah, I’m good.” Izuku mutters, “I just… I kinda wish I hadn’t snapped at him like that.”

“He had it coming, trying to push you around like that,” Sora says. “…Ninety-seven though? Daaang. I bet they didn’t put you in the Hero Course because they were afraid you would wipe the floor with everyone else.”

Izuku lets out a soft laugh. “Thanks, Sora-kun.”

“…” Sora looks at them for a second, then asks, “Are you sure you’re okay, though? No offense, but you look a little, ah… dead inside.”

“I just… I had a really rough night.” Izuku answers carefully. “I couldn’t sleep.” It’s… not necessarily a lie, I’m just not… telling him why I couldn’t sleep.

“Mm,” Sora hums. “Well, I hope you’re able to sleep better tonight.”

“Yeah,” Izuku mumbles, “Me too.”


Nedzu calls him in at lunch again.

“Yes, sir?” He asks, cautiously.

“Late yesterday evening,” Nedzu explains, “I received this email. Would you mind looking at it?”

Nedzu turns around the computer screen in front of him so that he can read it.

 

[To whom it may concern:

For starters, I would like to admit, with deepest apologies, that the information I am about to give you does not have any evidence or proof. I wish this was different, but the evidence I had was destroyed before I could salvage it, and now all I have to give you is an account of what I saw.

There is a group of villains coming together, and they call themselves the League of Villains. Apparently, they have been accumulating members for a while now, discreetly, though I’m not sure on the extent of how. However, I do know that they plan on launching an attack on All Might sometime within the next week. The date and time is not certain, but it would be when All Might is teaching one of the Hero Course classes. One of the villains has a warping quirk to get them in and to help them escape when either their mission goes south or is complete.

I believe it is in your best interest to reschedule any planned class outing that All Might would be participating in, as a safety measure. I know there’s no evidence here to anything I’m saying, but I swear that this is a serious threat.

Good luck,

Green Lightning]

 

“Green Lightning, huh…” I guess that must be Midoriya’s vigilante name, then. Who else would have gone through the trouble to track this information down…?

“What do you make of it?” Nedzu asks, stirring his tea.

“It goes along with the conclusion we already came to, that the villains would attack when Class 1-A went on the USJ trip. I think it confirms it, so, we should call the trip off-”

“There still isn’t any evidence though,” Nedzu frowns.

“Evidence doesn’t matter right now!” He insists. “You read the message, they have someone with a warping quirk, and who knows how many villains are working together-”

“We still can’t act without any proof,” Nedzu says. “Technically none of this information is truly confirmed. If we reschedule and try to lay a trap, but no villains show up, how are we to know if that’s the cause of a traitor telling them there was a reschedule, or if there were no real villains to begin with. We need to be focused on the bigger picture here.”

“But how are you going to explain it if any of the students get hurt?” He asks.

“Then it will be a tragic accident.”

“That you could have prevented!”

“You’re acting as if we have concrete proof of this,” Nedzu says sternly, “and we don’t. Of course I hope that there won’t be a real attack, but all we can do is wait.”

We can do more than that. He thinks, but he keeps his mouth shut this time. He bows. “…If you say so. May I be excused?”

“You may.”

He turns, and leaves the room. …I’m going to do more than that.


Hitoshi glances over at Midoriya again, worried.

He’s not exactly sure what had happened the night before, but it was something bad, he knows that much. When Midoriya had come back, they had seemed completely unsettled, but insisted on talking later. And now, today, they look like they got an even worse night’s sleep than Hitoshi himself- which is definitely saying something.

He doesn’t know if he can press on it much though. Would Midoriya even answer him? Does he even want to know what exactly they had to go through?

It’s Hatsume who ends up asking first, though.

“Yo, Midoriya-kun, what’s up?” She asks, frowning. “You look like you haven’t slept in a week, and you nearly bit that guy’s head off this morning. Are you okay?”

Hitoshi cocks an eyebrow at the ‘nearly bit that guy’s head off’. Of course, he knows she means it in the figurative sense (…at least, he hopes). Still leaves him confused as hell, because the idea of Midoriya biting someone else’s head off, literally or figuratively, is just something he cannot even imagine.

“Oh… you saw that, huh…?” Midoriya mumbles.

“Yeah,” Hatsume says, holding out the first syllable for a few seconds. “I mean, he was totally asking for it! That dude was a douche! But I’m really worried about you.”

Midoriya hesitates for a moment. “Um… I need to apologize to you for something, Hatsume-san.”

Hatsume blinks in surprise. “Apologize? Why?”

“I, um…” Midoriya mumbles, getting really quiet, “…you know the one gadget with the camera that you lent me? I… I kind of lost it. And I can’t get it back. And it’s probably broken beyond repair at this point, so I just- I’m sorry. I’m, I’m really, really, sorry.”

Hitoshi almost expects to see Hatsume blow up for a second. He knows how crazy she is about her gadgets, and he even sees a small flicker of anger in her eyes, and he thinks they’re doomed, but then.

Hatsume laughs. “It’s okay, Midoriya-kun! Really, is that all? Well, I had to work on remaking it anyway, because it wasn’t as good as it could be in the first place! So, no sweat, okay!”

Midoriya looks up at her, still clearly distraught. “R-really…?”

“Really.” Hatsume nods. Her expression shifts more serious again. “But, I… I doubt you would have just lost it. So, what happened? How did you lose it?”

Midoriya sighs heavily, and puts their head in their hands. “Nothing I can prove, since the camera’s out.” There’s a pause. “I… I managed to track down the base of a group that’s calling themselves the League of Villains.”

A chill goes down Hitoshi’s spine. So there really is a villain group that’s forming…?

“No way!” Hatsume gasps. “What did you find out?”

“Apparently they have some kind of a plan to kill All Might.”

Hitoshi chokes. “Kill All Might? But he’s… All Might. Do they have a death wish or something?”

“I don’t know what their full plan is, but they must have something. All I know is that they're planning an attack, and that it’s going to happen during one of the hero course classes.”

“But you don’t have any evidence,” Hatsume mutters, “and so we can’t tell Nedzu because he probably wouldn’t believe us.”

“I did send an email to Nedzu under my vigilante name, but I have no idea if he’ll believe it or not, since there’s no proof.”

“How did they catch the camera?” Hitoshi asks out of curiosity.

Midoriya pauses. “One of the villains… well, they weren’t there in the room, and all I know is that they were on the other side of this T.V. screen, but there wasn’t any image displayed for them. The villain who I even thought was their leader referred to him as ‘Sensei’. I found the base because I was trailing this villain who was looking to join, and I was able to listen in to them recruiting him, but as soon as that villain left the room, this ‘Sensei’ immediately pointed out that there was a camera on the window outside.”

They pause with a shudder. “One of the villains had a warping quirk, and tried to find me as soon as they knew there was a camera, but… I managed to hide from him.” Midoriya looks to Hatsume. “In all seriousness, I’m pretty sure that your camouflage hoodie saved my life there. Literally.” With a sigh, Midoriya continues, “…After that, though, the other villain grabbed the camera from the window, and… I’m not sure what he did exactly, but I couldn’t get the camera to come back, and the footage completely cut out, so I’m pretty sure it’s gone.”

“Well… I’m sad the camera is gone, a little, but I’m glad that the hoodie saved your life!” Hatsume cheers. “Somewhat because that means it works so well, but mostly because that means you’re okay now.”

“Thanks, Hatsume-san.”

Hitoshi thinks to himself for a moment. “…I just hope Nedzu at least takes some precaution after getting your message.”

Midoriya sighs, for what must be the millionth time, but Hitoshi can’t really blame them. “Yeah. Me too.”


That evening, Izuku gets an email back, and it almost gives them a heart attack. Mostly because it’s their personal email… and yet someone has addressed it as, ‘To Green Lightning’. The sender is completely anonymous too, so they have no idea who sent it.

All they can do now is pray that whoever it is, it isn’t the kind of person who would tell someone else.

They take a minute calming themself down, taking in deep breaths. And then they open the email.

 

[To Green Lightning:

First, sorry for addressing this message like that. I just wanted to get your attention, and I knew this would do it. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell anyone about it; your secret is safe with me.]

 

Izuku falls backwards into their chair, relieved. Well, it did get my attention.

 

[I have been hired by Principal Nedzu to track down rumors of a traitor giving away information. A sort of 'reverse spy', if you will. I found the information you sent to us incredibly helpful, because while we already had an idea on the where and when, you filled in the who and what.

However, due to the lack of evidence, Nedzu has decided that not acting would be the best course of action. He’s going to have all of the staff ready to go the moment there’s news of trouble actually striking, but he isn’t going to act before. I disagree heavily with this approach.

Since you filled in the rest of the information for us, I’ll fill in the rest of the information for you. Earlier we determined that if there were an attack, it would be on Class 1-A when they do their outing to the USJ facility this Wednesday. At the bottom, I have linked the scheduled time, and the address.

I’m not going to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with this information. But knowing you, I think whatever choice you make will be the right one.

-Reverse Spy]

 

Izuku looks over the information linked at the bottom.

…Oh, this idea is definitely stupid. And reckless. Oh, I shouldn’t. But, if Nedzu isn’t going to do anything, then someone has to. Well…


Hikari is at home, but she’s still working on the helmet she’s making for Midoriya. Now that she knows what to build for class, she couldn’t be any happier to be working on it, even if she’ll have a problem finding something new once she’s done.

And then, she gets a call. From Midoriya. Hikari frowns at her phone.

“Hello?” She answers.

“Hey, Natsuki,” Midoriya says immediately, rushing right in to whatever they're saying. “Quick question- and know that I’m totally not rushing you and I understand if it’s not done- but where are you right now on making the voice modifier?”

“Well,” Hikari says, “I have the voice modifier technically done, but I have it in a helmet that’s not entirely finished yet. There are a few other features I want to work on.”

“That’s great,” Midoriya says, “Do you mind if I use it sometime soon? I’m sorry, normally I wouldn’t ask, but this is important.”

“Um…” Hikari mumbles, thinking, “Well, when do you need it?”

“I need it Wednesday. Can you get it to me tomorrow so I can have it then?”

Hikari frowns. “If you need it Wednesday, why would I give it to you tomorrow, when tomorrow is Tuesday?”

“Uhhh…” Midoriya hesitates, “Look, it’s really important. I can’t be at school on Wednesday. I need you to trust me okay?”

Hikari takes in a deep breath and lets it out. “…You’re going to do something stupid and reckless aren’t you?”

“…Possibly.”

“…I’ll have the helmet good enough to use by tomorrow. But whatever you do, don’t wreck it before I get the chance to finish it, okay?”

“Can’t make any promises,” Midoriya admits, sheepishly. “Thanks for this, Natsuki! I really owe you one!”

“Then you can repay me by at least promising you won’t do something that will get you killed.” Hikari says.

There’s a long pause that Hikari really doesn’t like.

“Okay, Natsuki. I promise.”


“Hey, Iida-kun!” Uraraka shouts, running up to Tenya, a beaming smile on her face. “Are you excited? I’m so excited!”

Tenya frowns. “What are you excited over?”

“We’re taking a trip off campus!” Uraraka cheers. “Isn’t that cool?”

“It’s still for class,” Tenya points out, “I don’t think it’s supposed to be a fun event.”

“That doesn’t mean it can’t be!” Uraraka counters.

“I… suppose you’re right.”

“I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone on a field trip!” Uraraka gushes, “This is gonna be great!”


“This is so not great!” Uraraka yells, as they run for the exit, away from the group of villains that had appeared. “Definitely not great!”

“Uraraka-kun, stay calm!” Tenya yells back, and he could be running faster, but he doesn’t want to leave her behind. “We’ll get through this, I promise!”

As he says this, the warp gate villain appears in front of their class, blocking the main exit. Tenya curses under his breath.

“Pardon us for the intrusion,” The warp villain says with a smooth, calm, voice. The kind of voice that someone uses when they’re already confident they’ve won, but don’t quite want to brag over it. “We are the League of Villains. It may be presumptuous of us, but we have invited ourselves in to the home of heroes, UA, in order to destroy All Might, your precious ‘Symbol of Peace’. All Might was supposed to be here today, wasn’t he? Was there some kind of change that we were not informed of?”

But how does he even know that?

No one speaks up and the villain continues, ignoring the stunned silence of the students, “Well, that is neither here nor there. This is the part I am to play…”

The warp gate stretches out, but at the same time Thirteen steps forward. However, before they can activate black hole, Kirishima and Bakugou run forward to attack the warp gate.

Is now really the time to be jumping into things and acting like that?! Tenya thinks, They’re getting in Thirteen’s way-

“My, my. UA really is full of some future potential. I knew not to underestimate you. I hope the rest of my colleagues follow suit.”

The vortex of the warp gate stretches over the class, and in a split second, Tenya quickly activates his engines, and pushes Uraraka out of the way. They tumble to the side for a second, and by the time they’ve recovered, more than two thirds of the whole class have disappeared.

Tenya curses to himself again. No…! Not my classmates…! How am I supposed to be an honorable class representative if I can’t protect them?

“So some of you even dodged,” The warp gate hums. “Very impressive. I-”

The villain is interrupted by the sound of a very loud

CLANG .

What was that? It’s coming from the door-

All of them turn to look at the door in unison, villain included. Now, there’s a big metal staff protruding through the space where the door splits. There’s a SHINK and it goes back through the door, leaving only a small hole.

For a second, they all stare.

Wh… what?

There’s a second CLANG even louder than the first, and this time the metal staff is larger, and stretches the door open further. Following that is a creeeeaaaak as the door is slowly pushed open.

A head sticks inside, but Tenya doesn’t quite recognize it; whoever it is, they’re wearing a helmet.

“Hey!” The person shouts, and either their quirk is one that distorts their voice, or they’re using a voice modifier. “If one of you happens to have a quirk that helps with speed, I recommend that you go get help. No pressure!”

 

Wh What?

Chapter Text

Mei is confused, and, just a little worried. Because, it's Wednesday, a school day, and Midoriya isn’t here.

She frowns at the empty space where they usually would be working. Where the heck could they be…?

At first, she thinks they could just be late. But then as the seconds turn to minutes, and the minutes turn to hours, they continue to not show up. Maybe someone else has answers…

“Natsuki-chan! Hey, Natsuki-chan!” Mei calls to her, to catch her attention. “Do you know where Midoriya-kun is?”

“Not… necessarily.” Natsuki says slowly. “But they told me that they wouldn’t be here today. They asked me on Monday if I could give them the voice modifier yesterday so that they could use it today.”

So, they're doing something vigilante-ish right now… Mei thinks. Her mind wanders back to the other day, how Midoriya had said that her babies saved their life. It was good, because she’s glad her babies saved them, but it was also a bit unsettling because that meant their life was in danger in the first place.

“…You think they're gonna be okay?” Mei asks.

Natsuki sighs. “I have no idea. I made them promise not to get killed at least, but… well, I’m just hoping that they’ll do everything they can to keep that promise.”

Mei hums, but doesn’t say anything in response. I really wonder what they're up to, though…


“What do you mean, Midoriya isn’t here?” Shinsou asks at lunch.

Mei shrugs. “I mean that Midoriya-kun just isn’t here. I don’t really know what they're up to, but according to Natsuki-chan, they asked to have the voice modifier yesterday and they planned on using it today.” She explains. Then, she frowns, and glances up at him. “They didn’t explain anything to you?”

“No,” Shinsou mutters, now frowning too. “We haven’t been doing the whole ‘vigilante’ thing recently because we knew that hardly any of the villains around were going to be striking alone. I don’t really know what they've been doing instead.”

“…Do you think they're doing something reckless right now?” Mei asks.

Shinsou snorts. “I don’t think, I know . That’s just how they are. Question is, what are they doing that’s reckless?”


“Attention. All teachers report immediately. Villains have broken into the USJ facility that Class 1-A was scheduled to train at today. All teachers report immediately.”

Mei looks up at the loudspeakers. She’s not… surprised, necessarily, because Midoriya had said that it was going to happen. She’s still a little concerned. And at the same time...  

Wellp. I think I know what Midoriya is up to now.


…30 minutes earlier…


“If one of you happens to have a quirk that helps with speed, I recommend that you go get help. No pressure!” Shouts a voice, coming from the door.

There’s a beat of silence where they do nothing but stare at the door, stunned. The stranger walks through the gap they made in the door, and their footsteps seem to create an echo, because it’s the only sound in the area that they can hear.

The villain is the first one to react. “You. You’re the one that spied on us the other day, aren’t you?”

The vigilante (at least, Tenya assumes that’s what they are; they don’t seem like a villain, but he doesn’t know of any heroes who look like that) gives an exaggerated shrug. “I could be. Would that upset you? That’s a little hypocritical when you have spies of your own.”

Frustrated, the warp gate villain rushes forward in an attack, and the vigilante rushes forward to meet him.

The students are all still stunned, but Thirteen moves next. “I don’t know what’s going on with that,” They glance back at the two fighting, “But they were right about one thing. You have to get out of here, and you have to go get help.”

“But what about you?” Uraraka asks, her tone full of worry.

“I’m going to help take out the villain.”

“But-”

“I’m a pro hero, and you guys are just students,” Thirteen insists. “Now, go! I’ll help hold the villain off.”

Tenya and the other students hesitate for a second. And then, they turn towards the door.


The warp gate rushes forward to attack, and Izuku moves a second later. Here we go!

A swirling void appears on the ground right in front of them, and they narrowly roll to the side to avoid it. From the roll, they land in a crouch.

My turn.

Izuku aims with their right arm, and with their left they reach over and grabs at their elbow. To anyone else, it would look like they were bracing themself to attack. But in reality, they're turning the gadget on.

They flip the switch, and an arc of “lightning” shoots out at the warp gate villain. For a second, the villain is stunned; then, a wall of the dark, swirling, mist shoots towards them, and they have to switch the gadget off again and dodge-

A portal opens up under their feet, right in the spot where they had planned to land.

Shoot!

Before they can do anything, though, the mist disappears. For a second, Izuku is confused. But then, Thirteen steps up beside them.

“I’ll keep this brief,” They say. “I don’t know who you are, or why you’re here, or how you even knew to be here… but right now all that matters is taking out this villain. Are we in agreement?”

“Yeah.” Izuku agrees, because they won’t lie, getting some help would be nice right about now.

“All right.” Thirteen nods, then shifts into a fighting stance. “Then let’s do this!”

“Are you done chattering amongst yourselves now?” The villain asks. “We don’t have all the time in the world, you know.”

“How polite of you to let us finish talking,” Izuku replies sarcastically. “Are you sure you’re up for this fight, though? It’s two against one. If I were you, I’d back out now.” (They wouldn’t, actually, but the villain doesn’t need to know that.)

“Unfortunately for you, I still quite like my chances,” The villain answers, “But what about you, vigilante? Are you sure you’re willing to die for these heroes? People you don’t even know?”

“No one’s going to die here today, villain. Although…” Izuku smirks under the mask, even though no one else can see it; but it's more for themself than anyone else. It almost helps them feel as confident as they're acting right now. “…I may kill your pride a little.”

“Hmmph. How foolish.”

A portal starts to form under their feet again, but they dodges it just in time. In the same moment, Thirteen uses black hole and Izuku uses their lightning. However, this time, they notice something… odd. Then, a small gleam of reflected light hits their eyes.

There!

The mist surrounds both of them again, and their attacks cut off as they dodge.

“Thirteen!” They call over to the pro hero, “The villain has a physical body that’s covered in some kind of metal casing!”

Thirteen half turns to them. “How can you be sure?”

“The first time I attacked him, I didn’t notice because I was just aiming towards the villain in general, and not anywhere specific. This time though, I was aiming towards the middle- but the lightning swerved upwards. It wouldn’t do that unless there was some kind of conductor to attract it!”

“I see,” Thirteen says. “Attacking the surrounding mist won’t do much, but if we manage to attack the physical body…”

“Then we can take him out.”

“Sounds like a plan!”

“It’s not wise to discuss your plans right in front of your enemy,” The warp gate villain says in a threatening tone.

“Don’t have much of a choice. Besides, what are you gonna do about it, Ghastly? It’s not like you wouldn’t have been defending your weakness already.” Izuku mutters.

The villain is quiet for a moment. “You know, I think I’ve decided that I hate you.”

“Feeling's mutual.”

There’s another few rounds where the villain tries to trap them in warp gates, they dodge and attack, and then it repeats. Then, Izuku catches something out of the corner of their eye.

The Class 1-A kids who had managed to dodge the initial warp gate are still standing there. Not moving towards the exit.

…I know I have exactly zero room to talk when it comes to interfering when I don’t need to, but dammit guys.

“Once again, Izuku says, trying to reign in their frustration, “If one of you has a speed quirk, you really should think of running and getting help from more pro heroes!”

Iida responds, “I can’t just abandon my classmates! They’re in danger, and running away is-”

“IIDA, JUST GO!” Izuku shouts (and they're glad that the voice modifier is a full mask, so no one can see them grimace when they realize that they called Iida out by name). Trying to brush it off, they continue, “It’s not running away, you’re not abandoning them, you’re getting help! Which we really need right now! So go!”

After a moment of hesitation, Iida turns towards the door that’s still partially pried open (Thank God.)

“As if I would just let you-” The villain scoffs.

“News flash!” Thirteen interrupts, “You’re not in full control of the situation here!”

Iida runs for the door, and the warp gate villain makes a dive for him. Thirteen takes the opportunity to use black whole to attack the villain's undefended back, but then a portal starts to form behind them-

“Look out!” Izuku shouts, but they know there’s not really enough time, so in the same moment they run forward and push them out of the way of the gate. For a second, the pull of black hole through the gate pulls them through up to the arm, but Izuku quickly pulls back out of the swirling mist.

Iida slips through the escape doors and runs away, at top speed.

Yes!

The warp gate villain turns back towards them slowly, eyes glaring daggers. “You’re lucky that I can’t use the gates to dismember someone without experiencing discomfort myself, because had that not been the case, I would tear you to pieces right now.”

Izuku would give another reply, full of snark and false confidence, but the villain warps away before they can. They frown, and then they turn to Thirteen.

“Who are you-” Thirteen starts to ask, but Izuku cuts them off.

“There’s no time for that. Get the students out of here- they’ll listen to you better than they’ll listen to me, probably.”

“And what are you going to do?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Izuku says. “I’m going to fight more villains.” Before Thirteen can get another word in otherwise, Izuku activates their skates and flies down the front steps of the USJ, to the area where the biggest fight is going down.


Shouta is getting more worn down.

It’s to be expected, of course. Erasing quirks is far better for taking out small numbers of people with sneak attacks than for doing a full frontal attack on such a large group. But in this situation, there wasn’t any other choice to be made.

Most of the villains seem to be petty thugs that go down fast, at least. They’re knocked out easily; the real problem, he can tell, is the warp villain (whom, he accidentally let get away earlier, Stupid, stupid, stupid ), the one covered in hands, and then…

There’s the large villain with the jet-black skin. He (it?) looks like the biggest threat.

Shouta narrows his eyes.

Another two of the villains comes rushing at him, but he easily dodges and manages to knock them both out by knocking their heads together. A quick glance around tells him that those were the last of the small fry villains.

Now time for the real threats.

The hand villain steps forward, and while Shota can’t see his face, he’s radiating an air of annoyance. “I guess that’s why they say is you want something done right, you do it yourself,” He hisses.

But then, just before he charges, the warp gate villain appears next to him again.

“Shigaraki,” The warp villain addresses the hand villain (who, presumably, is named Shigaraki).

“Kurogiri,” Shigaraki says. “Is Thirteen dead?”

Kurogiri hesitates. “…Unfortunately, no.”

“…you useless-!”

“That’s not even the worst of the news, I’m afraid,” Kurogiri says gravely. “One of the students managed to escape and run for help-”

“Your job was to make sure they were all teleported away!!” Shigaraki cries out.

“-and on top of all that, there’s a vigilante who’s interfering with our plans, most certainly the same one that tried to spy on us earlier this week. Had it not been for them, this whole attack would have gone smoothly as planned, but they kept getting in the way.”

Shigaraki is silent for a moment, trembling in rage. “…That… damned little-!” For a moment, he devolves into just shouting out muffled curses.

Shouta hears someone approach quickly from behind, and he turns-

“Easy, easy,” A distorted voice says. The newcomer is covered head to toe, and wearing a strange mask. They hold their hands up in surrender. “I’m here to help you, not to fight you.”

That villain- Kurogiri. He mentioned a vigilante… Well, Shota certainly doesn’t recognize them, and as an underground hero himself, he’s sure that he would know them if they were a hero. After a few seconds of contemplation, Shouta nods in response to the vigilante, and turns back to the villains in front of them. He’ll deal with the fact that they’re a vigilante later- right now he’ll accept any help he can get.

“Hey there,” The vigilante greets, with a tone that almost seems friendly but has just a bit of ice underneath. “I suppose you’re not happy to see me?”

“You…!” Shigaraki seethes. “What do you even want from us? Why are you here?”

“I could ask you the same thing.”

“I’m here to kill All Might!” Shigaraki shouts in a high whiny voice.

Shouta can only imagine the eyeroll that the vigilante gives at that. “That’s like me saying that I’m here to stop you. Why do you want to kill All Might?”

Shigaraki doesn’t respond for a moment. “…You know what, it doesn’t matter. As long as I know you’re here to try and stop me, I know enough that makes it necessary to kill you.” 

“Unfortunately, I’ve kinda promised not to die,” The vigilante shrugs. “Though, I doubt you care about keeping promises.”

“On the contrary, I do plan on keeping my promises,” Shigaraki says. “Like my promise to kill All Might. And now, my promise to kill the two of you.”

“Yippee,” The vigilante mutters in an unenthusiastic tone.


Izuku won’t admit it, but they're worried. Before, fighting Kurogiri two on one had already been basically a tie, but now here they are fighting villains two on three- and they really don’t like the larger one that stares ahead blankly.

Maybe there’s a chance, though. Having Eraserhead on my side levels the playing field…

“Nomu,” Shigaraki orders, “you deal with Eraserhead. Kurogiri, stay back. I’m turning this vigilante into confetti by my own hands.”

“I doubt I’d make for very colorful confetti,” Izuku mutters, reaching to the back of their belt. Kurogiri had been good to deal with using simple zaps of lightning, but they're not fully sure what Shigaraki is capable of. For one thing, he won’t attract the lightning like Kurogiri does, so it’s a lot easier to miss. No, Izuku needs something else to deal with this.

The gadget they pull out, in functionality, is almost exactly like the one they used to pass the entrance exam. Aesthetically though, it looks like an entirely different item.

When the staff fully extends, the only part of it that’s made of metal is the handle in the middle. The rest is made of what looks like glass- though, in reality, it’s far more durable than what you would expect from glass. And when they switch it on, the electricity is a lot more visibly apparent now as it surges it’s way through the glasslike container. The beauty of it all is that the staff is just as powerful as before, but now its bark matches its bite.

Kurogiri steps (or, ah, floats ) forward, but Shigaraki yells, “I said, stay back! They’re mine!”

At that, Shigaraki runs forward and lunges at Izuku, hand outstretched; in response, Izuku swings the rod and smacks it into Shigaraki’s gut. It would already hurt from the standpoint of how much it hurts to be hit with a blunt object, and so the lightning is just icing on the cake.

Shigaraki falls to the ground, writhing.

Izuku doesn’t have time to celebrate that though, because from behind, they hear a loud crash. The Nomu-!

They whirl around in a flash to see the Nomu pinning Eraserhead to the ground. Eraserhead’s head is pushed into the ground hard enough to make a crater and- and there’s blood-

Before Izuku can charge forward, they hear a “Not so fast!” from behind them. They swings back around just in time to catch Shigaraki’s hand with their staff. The villain winces for a second, but after that, the end of the rod disintegrates and the lightning flickers out.

Shoot! Izuku thinks, pulling back. Fortunately, the other half of the rod still works, sparking with electricity, but the half Shigaraki grabbed is toast. Grimacing, Izuku detaches the end and holds it out like a sword. He doesn’t look like much, but to just push through after being shocked like that… he’s persistent, but that just makes him more dangerous. At least I know what his quirk is now.

If they want to save Eraserhead, they’ll have to take down Shigaraki for good first. Although, then, Kurogiri might go back on his order…

Izuku bites their lip. This is bad. Where the hell are the reinforcements?

 

…Well, if the heroes are taking their time getting there, then they can’t count on them showing up.

Without waiting for Shigaraki to attack first, they dash forward, slashing downward.


Nervously, he drums his fingers against the desk in front of him. The announcement had come five minutes ago- the USJ is under attack by villains.

He can’t even tell Nedzu I told you so, because Nedzu knew too, but thought that confirmation that there is, in fact, a traitor was worth the risk. That the reward would outweigh the risk.

At least someone seems to be doing something about it, he thinks, glancing at the empty space where Midoriya should be, but isn’t. It’s too much of a coincidence for them to just be missing today; no, he knows exactly what Midoriya is up to.

He’s not really surprised that Midoriya would choose to do something about the situation. It had been why he sent the message in the first place. Even still, he can’t help but feel anxious. If Midoriya ends up getting caught, or worse, badly injured , he’s not sure he would be able to forgive himself.

And if they got killed- No, no, no, he immediately snaps himself out of that line of thought. Midoriya won’t get killed. They won’t. They won’t. They wo-

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees something interesting, and he turns just enough to get a better view while still being discreet enough to hide the fact that he's watching.

Off in the corner, Hatsume and Natsuki are talking to each other in voices too quiet for him to hear from where he is. Normally, this wouldn’t be odd; they do hang out quite a lot. But the urgency on their expressions, and the fact that he just barely catches one of them saying ‘Midoriya’…

So they know. He thinks to himself. He can’t help but wonder if Midoriya told them about it, or if they're just really bad at hiding it.

He glances at Masaru, recalling the… “argument” from the other day. For your sake, Midoriya, I hope you get a lot better at hiding that secret, because I think I know at least one person who wouldn’t hesitate to leak it everywhere they could.


This is bad, Izuku thinks to themself as they dodge backwards, but really “bad” is kind of tame, considering just how awful things are going.

Now that he’s been shocked, Shigaraki is a lot more mindful about dodging the lightning rod, and Izuku has to be careful not to let him grab the other end of it and destroy that half too. They're still certain that attacking with just the lightning gadget on their arm would fail because if Shigaraki dodges they’ll be in trouble; and, if Shigaraki were to destroy the second half of the lightning staff like he did the first half, Izuku isn't sure they would have time to bring out another gadget. They can't let Shigaraki destroy the staff in this situation. Otherwise they'd be doomed.

Another cause for concern is the Nomu and Eraserhead.

Izuku hasn’t been able to catch many glimpses about what’s going on with them, but from what they have seen, it’s far from good. They need to stop the Nomu, but they can’t with Shigaraki constantly attacking them.

This is a fight that could be decided by a single attack, so really it’s just a matter of which of us slips up first-!

As the thought crosses their mind, Shigaraki stumbles just a little over his feet as he lunges forward.

Izuku smacks him hard in the side with the lightning staff.

Shigaraki lets out a string of loud curses as he falls to the ground, flailing and trying to grab at Izuku’s weapon, but he misses.

I just have to knock him out, not kill him, Izuku thinks, getting ready to do one final blow-

“Nomu!” Shigaraki shouts, pained.

Izuku has exactly one second to think, Oh crap, just before their feet are suddenly swept out from under them and the world is turned upside down. The Nomu has a hard grip on their legs, holding them high off the ground as if they were just some ragdoll.

No, no, no, They think, trying desperately not to panic. They swing the lightning rod hard at the Nomu and manage to land the hit right in the middle of its body and…

… and it does absolutely nothing.

 

What?

It’s like their mind goes blank, their head filling with cotton.

How… just how strong is this thing? It isn’t even affected!

 

“Funny thing about that,” Shigaraki says. “One of his best powers is shock absorption. Normally, that term just applies to all attacks, but… in this case, I find it funny how it’s quite literally shock absorption. Don’t you think so?”

Izuku turns their head to see Shigaraki slowly stand up. He takes his time, and he staggers a bit, but he’s back up and standing. And then, he starts to approach, just as slowly.

In a last ditch effort, Izuku tries to hit Shigaraki with the lightning staff again, but the Nomu grabs their wrist and twists. They choke on a sharp cry of pain, and the rod drops out of their grasp. The Nomu doesn’t let go of their wrist, simply holding it in the twisted position, and Ow, ow, ow, I don’t think wrists are meant to bend like that-

Shigaraki only stops approaching when they’re face to face (or, ah. Face to mask?) “It would have been so much more satisfying to catch you myself, but I’m tired of chasing you around. And getting hit by your dumb knock off lightsaber was rather… infuriating.

“Pretty sure that’s the intended effect,” Izuku mutters through gritted teeth.

From behind the hand, Izuku sees Shigaraki give him a withering glare. “…In any case, I suppose the upside of having the Nomu trap you like this just means you’re that much easier to kill. Convenient.”

Izuku feels their blood turn to ice. Oooh, crap. Way to go, pissing off the dude with a disintegration quirk. That’s gotta be one of the worst ways to get killed.

 

Now would be a really good time for the reinforcements to show up! Izuku thinks desperately, as though they can will it into existence by wishing hard enough.

… The reinforcements do not show up.

 

“Now then, first,” Shigaraki continues, “off with this dull helmet.” He flicks the front of it. “If I don’t get to see your face while I’m killing you then what’s the point?”

Oh great. I get to break both of my promises to Natsuki; I’m dying, and the helmet is getting ruined. Fantastic. Just peachy.

“Shigaraki, if you want to kill them, please hurry up,” Kurogiri says, tensely. “The reinforcements could show up any second now-”

“Yeah, yeah.” Shigaraki huffs, rolling his eyes. He reaches out to grab the front of the helmet, and Izuku squints their eyes shut to brace for it.

But, as they sit there, waiting… nothing happens.

… Huh?

Izuku opens their eyes. Shigaraki’s hand is definitely on their helmet right now, and the villain looks just as confused as Izuku does for a moment. And then, he turns.

“Wow. You really are cool, Eraserhead.” Shigaraki says. “And here I thought you were out of the game.”  

It’s hard to turn around in the grasp that the Nomu has on them, but Izuku manages to twist themself just enough to be able to catch a look. Eraserhead still looks like absolute hell, but now he’s propped himself up on his elbows, and his quirk is activated as he glares at Shigaraki.

Shigaraki’s hand drops down off of Izuku’s helmet, and they lets out a shaky breath. Casually, Shigaraki walks over to Eraserhead.

“I don’t appreciate you interrupting me here,” He says. “Your quirk really is annoying. I wonder, would it still work if I gouged out your eyes?”

“Wait-” Izuku protests, struggling. “You can’t just- you can’t.” Oh wow, nice, he’ll definitely listen to that. “… I’m the one you’re mad at! So just…!” Their words catch in their throat, and they can’t quite force them out. What else are they supposed to do in this situation, though? They can’t just let the villains kill Eraserhead.

Shigaraki sighs heavily. “Well, if there’s one thing I hate more than anything else, it’s selfless idiots who are more than willing to sacrifice themselves.”

Not exactly wrong with that assessment there, Izuku grimaces.

 

Just then, before anything else can happen, there’s a large crashing sound at the front gate, and a bunch of dust gets blown up all over.

 

They all turn to look.

 

“Everything is okay now,” A voice booms. “Because I am here!”

 

Took you long enough, Izuku thinks sarcastically, but really, they're so relieved at that moment they could cry.

Chapter Text

“Everything is okay now. Because I am here!”

 

The situation moments before had seemed to be absolutely hopeless, and yet all it took was one thing to turn the whole mood around. Because, even though the villains original plan had been to kill All Might, Izuku is still pretty sure that they can’t actually pull it off.

This is All Might after all. There’s no way they can kill him.

 

The Nomu turns to look at All Might and lets out an ear splitting screech.

Izuku is sure that they're never going to get used to how fast the Nomu can move, despite it’s massive size. Because, one second they're still being held up in the air, and the next they're suddenly flying through the air. They have a small moment of clarity where they're able to comprehend Oh, I just got thrown, and then they hit the ground.

Nothing like some nice concrete to break a hard fall; but then, as though that weren’t enough, the momentum keeps them tumbling and rolling a few more feet before they finally stop, laying flat on their back.

Ow, They thinks, and while that’s a bit of an understatement, they can’t bring himself to think of anything else at the moment.

It takes them a bit to be able to think clearly again (a minute, maybe, they're not sure exactly though). They go to push themself off the ground, but as soon they put even the slightest pressure on their wrist it flares up in pain again and they falls back down.

Okay, that’s definitely a broken wrist, They grimace to themself. They're not sure how they're going to explain that one, but that’s a problem they’ll have to save for later.

They push themself up again (this time, careful to avoid the broken wrist). Across the USJ, they can see the Nomu and All Might fighting.

Since All Might is here now, it might be the best time to sneak my way out of here, They think to themself. All Might is more than capable of handling the situation, and if Izuku sticks around for too long the heroes will catch them, and they’ll have to explain just what they're doing here.

They have a feeling the heroes won’t take “technically not a vigilante by definition” as an answer.

 

“Psst. Hey.” A voice whispers behind them.

Izuku nearly jumps out of their skin as they turn around. Behind them are three of the Class A students; they don’t remember their names at first glance, but they vaguely recall looking over the files and seeing their quirks. A frog quirk, a vine hair quirk, and…

What was the third one’s quirk again?

Whatever, it’s not urgent right now.

“I’m not a villain,” Izuku quickly says defensively, in case they get the wrong idea and try to attack them.

“We know,” The girl with the frog quirk says. “We saw you helping Aizawa-sensei. You were really cool.”

“Oh,” Izuku sighs, relieved. “Um, thanks?”

“We need to get out of here,” The vine hair girl says. “Can you walk?”

“I… think so,” They say carefully. Having these Class A students with them could be good, because then they won’t be absolutely doomed if they run into another villain on the way, but at the same time Izuku is worried about possibly giving away their identity.

The frog girl holds out a hand and helps them stand up.

“What are your names?” Izuku asks, “Just so that I know what to call you…”

They introduce themselves as Asui Tsuyu, Shiozaki Ibara, and, the one who's quirk they didn't quite remember on sight, Orenji Ketsueki. Izuku quickly tries to memorize their names for future reference.

Orenji looks at them curiously. “Who are you? How did you know to come help us?”

“I’m… nobody important,” Izuku says. “I overheard the villains planning, and I… well, you needed help, so I decided to help.”

“So, are you a vigilante?” Asui asks.

“…Something like that.”

 

(They make it to the door just in time to see the rest of the reinforcements show up. Izuku slips away from the USJ before any of the heroes try to question them.)


Izuku collapses into the chair at their work shed, utterly exhausted. They're pretty sure that it would be easier to count areas that aren’t bruised rather than all the areas that are bruised. Their wrist still hurts quite a bit too- they should probably do something about that…

Garby jumps onto the work table in front of them. At first, the little screen displays a smiley face, but after hardly a second, the screen switches to 

[concerned]

Izuku sighs. “I’m okay, Garby. I promise.” Garby sniffs at their injured wrist. “…Maybe not one hundred percent okay, but I’m still in one piece.”

Garby’s screen changes again.

[doubt]

“You worry too much.”

Just then, it occurs to them that they haven’t talked to any of their friends yet.

They’re probably worried…

They grimace to themself.

For a second, they think of messaging them all individually, but then they come up with a different solution.

 

-Midoriya Izuku has added Shinsou Hitoshi, Hatsume Mei, and Natsuki Hikari to a group chat-

Midoriya Izuku:

I live!!

 

-Shinsou Hitoshi has changed the group chat name to Support Team For A Reckless Vigilante Idiot-

 

-Shinsou Hitoshi has changed Midoriya Izuku’s nickname to Reckless Vigilante Idiot-

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

:((( unfair, here I thought you would be happy to hear from me,

 

Shinsou Hitoshi:

fine, fine

 

-Shinsou Hitoshi has changed Reckless Vigilante Idiot’s name to Midoriya-

 

Shinsou Hitoshi:

I’m glad you’re okay

 

Hatsume Mei:

im glad youre okay too!!

sorry i couldnt find my phone for a sec, but at least you guys blowing it up helped ajskdlfjaskldjf

 

Natsuki Hikari:

Well, you did promise not to die.

 

Midoriya:

That I did!

And your helmet is completely fine too, so that’s two promises

 

Natsuki Hikari:

I’m relieved I won’t have to start over

 

Midoriya:

Now then, uh

On a completely unrelated topic,

Does anyone here happen to know what to do about a broken wrist?

 

Shinsou Hitoshi:

,,,

 

Hatsume Mei:

ohhh, midoriya, you broke your wrist??? :(

 

Midoriya:

Technically I didn’t do it, the villains did,

 

-Shinsou Hitoshi has changed Midoriya’s nickname to Reckless Vigilante Idiot-

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

Okay, I deserved it that time

Seriously though, my wrist hurts really bad what do I do

 

Natsuki Hikari:
Where are you right now?

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

The base

 

Natsuki Hikari:

You haven’t told me where your secret base is yet though

 

Shinsou Hitoshi:

it’s the fricken garbage beach

 

Natsuki Hikari:

The.

The garbage beach.

 

Hatsume Mei:

yep!!!

i can shhow you the way there if you dont know where it is

*show

 

Natsuki Hikari:

Midoriya.

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

Yes?

 

Natsuki Hikari:

I consider you a very good friend,

But Shinsou is right on this one.

You are a reckless vigilante idiot.

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

Fair


A few minutes later, they’re all gathered in the base.

“That is… a broken wrist.” Hatsume says.

Izuku sighs heavily as they lower their arm back down. “Oh gee, thanks, I didn’t know that.”

“I mean, when you said you broke your wrist, I was imagining it to be just a little broke and not… ah…” Hatsume mumbles.

“Bent out of shape like a broken pencil?” Izuku suggests.

“Yeah, that.”

“How did that even happen?"  Natsuki asks.

“Villain,” Izuku mutters. “Big. I tried to hit him with the shock staff, and so he grabbed my wrist and uh…” They hold up their broken wrist again. “You know the rest.”

“Yeah, uh…” Natsuki looks at the wrist, wincing, “I don’t think that’s something that we can fix with what we have.”

“But then what do I do?” Izuku asks.

“Not get injured,” Shinsou suggests.

“Not helping, Shinsou-kun.”

There’s a pause, as they all sit and think for a moment.

“…Didn’t you say your mom was a nurse?” Shinsou eventually asks.

“I can’t go to my mom,” Izuku mutters, “She’ll get worried, and…”

“I can’t think of any other options.” Hatsume shrugs.

“I would suggest ‘hospital’,” Natsuki says, “But I don’t have any money.”

Shinsou frowns. “To be fair, your mom probably worries about you already. Just a bit of advice, but you might not want to keep things like this from her.”

Izuku winces. “I know, she deserves to know, I just… what am I supposed to tell her? ‘Hey mom, I’m a vigilante, oh also I got my wrist snapped in half can you please do something about that’.”

“I mean, you should probably be more tactful about it than that,” Hatsume says, “But you really should tell her, Midoriya.”

“All right.” Izuku finally agrees. “All right, I’ll go with that plan. Wish me luck.”


The League of Villains (now with their numbers drastically dropped) sit in an otherwise empty bar, feeling defeated.

“I can’t believe this,” Shigaraki seethes. “We had the perfect plan, and then everything just-!” Annoyed, he smacks his head onto the table.

“It was that vigilante,” Kurogiri mutters. “They were a variable that we were not prepared for.”

“Ugh, the vigilante,” Shigaraki growls, voice dripping with contempt. “If I think about them one more time, I’ll vomit. They ruined everything!  They had someone go run and get help, and then they distracted us long enough to stop Eraserhead from being killed, and then because Eraserhead wasn’t dead he ruined our plans too!”

“It’s all right, Tomura,” Says the voice from the screen. “Next time, you’ll remember to kill them first.”

“Oh I will,” Shigaraki mutters.

Just then, the screen blinks ‘incoming call’ . After a few seconds, it’s accepted.

“Shigaraki,” A voice says from the screen, but the new voice is someone entirely different. “I thought we agreed that you would leave Aiza-… Eraserhead , alone. But you had your Nomu attack him.”

“He got in my way. And he took out everyone I brought with me that hadn’t been teleported to a different zone. He was a threat that had to be dealt with.”

“But, you agreed-

Interrupting the second voice, the first voice says, “I’m sure it was just a little mistake. Eraserhead will be left alone next time, right Tomura?”

There’s a pause. And then, Shigaraki mutters a disgruntled, “Right.”

“See? Nothing to worry about.”

The second voice hums, and then the call is cut out. There’s a pause. The first voice returns, saying, “That being said, if you’re going to insist on killing Eraserhead, do at least try to make it look like an accident now.”

“I don’t see why you pretend to put up with ‘em,” Shigaraki says.

“We need them,” The voice says. “They’re our only source of intell on what’s going on inside UA. As long as they think that they’re valued, they will continue to give us good, solid, information. Which will give you your chance to work your plans in the future.”

“…If you say so, Sensei.”


Izuku is sitting at home on the couch now, thinking. They still have… no idea how to go about this. There’s only one thing they  do know;  “Hey mom, guess what, I’m a vigilante,” is probably a really bad way to try and explain what’s going on.

It probably would be easier to start with the broken wrist. That’s definitely taking up the forefront of their mind right now. They would rather have that get solved as soon as possible. But they know they’ll have to explain how it happened in the first place, and really Mom probably does deserve to know at this point.

Behind them, they hear the front door open and Mom announces, “I’m home,”

Now or never, Izuku thinks, taking a deep breath.

“Hey mom, I need to tell you something, but first you have to promise to stay calm and not freak out.”

There’s a pause.

“Izuku, sweety, I love you, but you do realize that that’s the worst way to start a conversation if your goal is to keep me from freaking out?”

“Okay, fair, but do you promise to stay calm?” Izuku asks again, turning around on the couch so that they're facing her.

Mom sighs. “…Yes, I promise. What’s wrong?”

“Well, the short version of it is, I broke my wrist.” Izuku mumbles, and holds up their arm as if to say Yep, this is definitely a broken wrist.

“Oh dear,” Mom murmurs, looking at it. “…I want the long version of the story later, but for now, let’s do something about your wrist.”

Long version of the story later, Izuku mentally sighs in relief. I still have a bit of time to plan. “Okay.”


By the time the two of them are returning home, it’s nightfall. Izuku's wrist is mostly healed (at least healed enough that it no longer looks as bent out of shape as it feels ) and they have a wrist brace to help it finish healing. It’s lucky that they have the next day off of school so they can just rest and try to let it heal…

“So,” Mom says, interrupting the silence that had settled over the two of them since they’d left the hospital. “Are you ready to explain what happened yet?”

Izuku winces. “I… I just… I don’t want to make you worry.”

Mom lets out a heavy sigh. “Izuku, I already am worried about you. It’s just… lately you’ve been running around a lot, and coming home really late, and now you come home with your wrist broken like that… I would have to be crazy to not be worried. If worrying me is what you’re afraid of, I promise, knowing will probably make me less worried, if anything.”

Izuku bites their lip. They still don’t know quite how to go about explaining. It’s hard. Things can go wrong-

“Izuku?” Mom asks, “If it makes it easier to explain, I promise that I won’t interrupt you. I’ll listen to you, and let you explain yourself before I come to any decisions.”

“You promise?”

“I promise.” Mom nods.

Izuku takes a deep breath. Well… if she’s letting me explain myself then… I guess maybe I should do it like ripping off a bandaid. “So, uh.” Oof, this is harder than I thought. “So… after I got my letter from UA and, um, they said that I couldn’t be in the hero course because I’m quirkless, I… I took it pretty hard at first. I just, y’know. I’ve always wanted to be a hero, and I even passed, but…

“…I was just trying to think of what I should do from there and, then I. Well um.” He takes another deep breath. Here we go. Here it is. “I remembered that vigilante laws specify quirk usage, and so… um. Yeah. I’m not really a vigilante, but there’s no other real word for it.”

There’s a stretch of silence. It’s just making their anxiety grow, but it’s not like they can take it back now. And really, Mom did deserve to know.

“…I mean,” Izuku starts to ramble, “It’s kind of only a temporary solution, and as soon as I actually get into a hero class I’ll stop being a vigilante, and I just- I just want to save people, and I think it’s unfair-”

Mom interrupts them with a heavy sigh, and Izuku stops talking immediately. “Well,” Mom says, “I can’t say I’m surprised by that too much. You’ve always been so headstrong. …A part of me wants to stop you, but… I know if I try, then you won’t come to me the next time something bad happens.”

Izuku feels like a heavy weight has been lifted off of their chest now, actually.

“Just promise me one thing.”

“…Yeah?”

“Promise me that you will be careful?” Mom asks, but it’s not really a question. The look in her eyes is serious and firm. “Promise me that you’ll always be able to come home.”

Izuku swallows thickly. “Yes. I promise.”

“…Okay then.” Mom sighs.

There’s a pause of silence. Then, Izuku mumbles, “You’re actually taking this a lot better than I thought you would.”

“Well…” Mom says slowly, “It… It would be a bit hypocritical of me if I got super upset at you.”

“What does that mean?” Izuku asks, bewildered.

“Let’s just say, when I was younger, I wanted to be a hero like you do,” Mom says, “but I didn’t want the fame of being a hero. Underground heroes weren’t really an obvious path like they are now, and ah…” She doesn’t finish her explanation, and yet Izuku knows exactly what she’s saying. “Well. That’s a talk for another day. I’ll tell you about it some time.”

…Huh. I guess reckless vigilantism just runs in the family.


Tenya is always the first one to get to class. Being punctual is a very important part of being a hero. And, on the plus side, the classroom is a lot more peaceful the first thing in the morning without anyone else there.

The classroom is not peaceful right now.

Ashido is practically bouncing off the rooms of the walls as she excitedly explains, “Woah, you guys should have seen it! Just when we thought all hope was lost, WHAMO! This super cool person showed up from out of nowhere to help us!” 

“Who?” Kirishima asks.

“I don’t know!” Ashido says, but her voice is still just as cheery as before. “I’m pretty sure they were a vigilante!”

“Aren’t vigilantes, ah, illegal?” Yaoyorozu asks.

“But they saved our lives!” Ashido protests. She whirls around to face Tenya. “Right Iida-kun? Tell them! You were there!”

“…They helped Thirteen fight the warp gate villain,” Tenya says, “And they helped us escape.” Ashido beams, and Yaoyorozu frowns, so Tenya quickly adds, “Although, even if they did save us, vigilantism is still illegal.”

“I mean…” Uraraka says, entering the conversation, “I still think that, even though it’s not necessarily legal, it’s good that they showed up when they did. What would have happened to us if we didn’t get help?”

“Did you see what their quirk was?” Kaminari asks.

“Oh yeah!” Ashido cheers, “They had a lightning quirk, like yours!”

“Woah, really?”

“I bet that they actually knew how to use it though,” Jirou mutters.

Kaminari pouts, “Or maybe their quirk is just easier to control.”

“I wonder what happened after they helped Thirteen, though…” Ashido says.

“We saw them too,” Tsuyu pipes up. “Me and Ibara-chan and Orenji-chan saw them try to help Aizawa-sensei.”

“Aizawa-sensei got hurt really bad though…” Ashido mumbles, and then a thought strikes her, and she asks, “The vigilante didn’t get too badly hurt, did they?”

“They had a broken wrist,” Ibara says. “It was pretty bent out of shape.”

“I hope they’re okay,” Ashido hums. “They were so cool, and I’d be upset if they got hurt from trying to help us.”

“I wish we knew who they were, though.” Orenji murmurs. “It’s a mystery…”

Tenya’s mind wanders to thinking about the vigilante too, now that they’re the topic of discussion.

 

“IIDA, JUST GO!” The vigilante yelled.

 

… What a mystery indeed.


“Midoriya-kun!” The sudden shout is the only warning Izuku gets before suddenly Hatsume slams into them with a hug. They once again feel lucky that their wrist had healed during the day they had off.

“Hatsume-san, I can’t breathe…” Izuku protests as she continues to squeeze all the air out of them, even lifting them off their feet.

Hatsume sets them down, releasing them from the hug (though, she still keeps her hands on their shoulders). “You’re okay!”

“Yeah?” Izuku answers, a bit confused. “We already saw each other though-”

“I know, but still!” Hatsume says. “We were really in a rush because you had a broken wrist, and I just… I really was worried about you.”

“Sorry for worrying you.”

“I know, I know, I know,” Hatsume mutters, “Just repay me by staying out of trouble for a while at least? I need my rival to be in one piece.”

“I don’t know about staying out of trouble,” Izuku jokes, “But I promise to stay in one piece. I mean, given now that I’ve promised three people that I’ll be careful, I kinda have to.”

“Shinsou-kun is so right…” Hatsume mumbles.

“Right about what?”

“You really are a reckless vigilante idiot.” Hatsume says (she lowers her voice so that no one else hears, but her tone stays the same).

Izuku laughs.

Before their conversation can continue, the bell rings, and Majimi-sensei walks through the door. “Okay class, today we have a different assignment.”

Izuku listens curiously. A different assignment?

That would certainly be interesting.

“Because of the attack on the hero class the other day, a few of the hero costumes were damaged. Repairing costumes is an important part of support work just like making support items is, so each of you will be assigned to doing the repairs for one Hero Course student. A sign up sheet will be left up here at the front of the room, but if you have no preference, you’ll be assigned to a random student.”

Costume repairs, huh…? Izuku thinks to themself.


The rest of the class passes like it normally does, with them all workshopping on their own things. (Izuku returns the helmet to Natsuki, and she’s happy to see that it really hadn’t been damaged at all).

It’s lunch hour now, and Izuku is ready to continue his day like normal, when…

“Midoriya Izuku, please report to Nedzu’s office,” A voice says over the loudspeaker.

They freezes in their steps.

Nedzu? What would Nedzu want?  

Wait… what if…

A thought comes to Izuku, and it leaves them with a pit in their stomach.

That’s- that’s not possible, is it?

 

Feeling like they're hardly breathing, Izuku speed-walks their way to Nedzu’s office. Once they're there, their anxiety doubles, and they're not quite sure what to do.

Timidly, they settle on knocking at the door.

“Come in,” Nedzu calls from the other side.

Izuku pushes open the door.

“Ah, it’s you!” Nedzu cheers, with a tiny little wave. “Come, sit. Have some tea.”

Because they're not really sure what else to do in this situation, they do. Eventually, when they find their voice, they ask, “So, um, why did you want to see me sir?”

Nedzu hums. “I’m pretty sure we both know the answer to that.”

The pit in their stomach gets just a little deeper. “Do we?”

“It’s quite clever of you to pretend to use a quirk,” Nedzu says, ignoring their question. “Oh, and, I’m glad that you managed to get your wrist healed; from what I hear, it was a pretty nasty break.”

He knows, Izuku thinks, and it’s less of a realization and more that they're finally accepting it. They’d been anticipating it ever since they had been summoned.

“…Are you going to expel me?” Izuku asks, nervous.

Nedzu shrugs. “Not yet.”

“Yet?” At the same time that’s comforting and nauseating.

“Let’s put it like this,” Nedzu explains, “I’m willing to overlook it, but if you get caught by someone else and they then bring it to me, I won’t defend you.”

“Oh,” Izuku says, voice small. “Um… thank you?” There’s a bit of a pause, and while Izuku feels like they would rather crawl down a hole and scream, Nedzu looks absolutely cheerful as always. Izuku clears their throat, “So, uh… how did you figure it out?”

“A number of things,” Nedzu shrugs. “But it was all mostly speculation; the only thing that cemented it was the fact that you were missing on the same day. With that side by side with all the other evidence, it was hard not to notice.”

“…mm,” Izuku hums. “So, um. Not that I’m not grateful, but, why aren’t you going to expel me?”

“I suspect that the villains have a spy hidden somewhere in the school,” Nedzu explains, “And I think having you help figure out who it is would be very worthwhile. You already did some digging on your own and sent in a tip about the other villain attack.”

Which you didn’t listen to, Izuku thinks, but they decide against saying it out loud given that it’s their future on the line here.

“…Don’t you already have someone helping you on that though?” Izuku asks instead, remembering the ‘Reverse Spy’ who had messaged them.

“Yes,” Nedzu says, “But I feel like it would be good if you could help each other.”

Just then there’s another knock on the door.

“Ah, that must be him now.” Nedzu hums. Then, louder, he calls, “Come in!”

Izuku turns in their seat so that they can see the door as it opens, and as the person steps into the room-

“Sora-kun?” Izuku asks, disbelieving.


“Sora-kun?” Midoriya asks when Kenji steps through the door.

Sheepishly, he rubs the back of his neck. “H-hey buddy…?”

“What- but-you-” Midoriya stammers.

“Guess I’m better at hiding my secret identity than you, huh?” Kenji mumbles.

Midoriya sighs. “Well. You did always say you wanted to be a secret agent.”

“So, you already know each other!” Nedzu says. “Great! You’ll be working together now to figure out who the villains’ informant is. Good luck!”

“You’ll actually listen when we give you info from now on though, right?” Kenji mutters quietly (Midoriya laughs a little out of surprise, but disguises it as a small cough).

“As long as you have evidence for it,” Nedzu says cheerily (which, essentially, translates to ‘no’). “Now then, Midoriya, this has been a nice talk, but I’d like to talk to Sora for a bit, so you can leave now.”

“Ah… R-right,” Midoriya stutters, before getting up, and leaving. They stare at Kenji for a second, gives a little, “See ya later,” And then leaves.

Kenji waits for a moment until he’s sure that Midoriya is gone. Then, he asks, “Hey Nedzu? For real, this time. Why won’t you let them in the Hero Course?”

Nedzu sighs. “I already said I don’t want to ta-”

“Just give me a real answer,” Kenji says. “I mean really! You can’t say they're not strong enough because, first of all, they did pass the entrance exam, and second of all, they were able to help stop those villains that attacked the other day. You can’t look at that and say it’s impossible.”

There’s a pause where Nedzu says nothing, simply staring down at his tea and stirring. “Sora, tell me, have any of the other Support Course students made complaints about Midoriya being quirkless?”

The question throws Kenji off guard. “Ah. Masaru-kun said… he said that Midoriya-kun was only in the Support Course because you pitied them for being quirkless.”

Nedzu nods. “Mm. Now then, do you know how many people would be saying that if Midoriya were in the Hero Course? Especially when those students have so much more attention.” Nedzu lets the words sink in for a moment, before continuing, “No one would care about anything that Midoriya had done to get there. They would all say that they only got in because they were pitied for being quirkless. I’m giving Midoriya a chance to prove themself so that there won’t be quite as many of those people when they do become an official Hero Course student. Sure, there will still be some, but nowhere near as many.”

Kenji frowns. “But… why wouldn’t you just tell them that then?”

“Because! If they knew they had a spot assured for them in the Hero Course, they wouldn’t work so hard towards achieving it, would they?”

“You… you don’t know Midoriya-kun very well if you think that.” Kenji mutters.

Nedzu laughs. “All in good time, all in good time. Just have some patience. Now, no more talking about Midoriya being in the Hero Course, all right? I refuse to continue pressing the subject.”

“…All right.”


Bonus:

Izuku jogs to catch up with Uraraka. “Hey! Uraraka-san!”

She turns to see them and beams. “Oh! Hey Midoriya-kun! It’s been a while, how are you?”

“I’m good!” Izuku quickly says, then, “So, in the Support Course we were all assigned to doing repairs for different hero costumes for the Hero Course classes, and um, I got assigned to doing your costume?”

“Oh!” Uraraka says, eyes lighting up. “Really? That’s cool!”

“I was wondering if you were open to talking about some possible design changes.”

“Oh yeah! I didn’t really describe how I wanted my costume, so it wasn’t really my design anyway…” Uraraka mutters.

“Oh that’s good because it sucks,” Izuku says.

Uraraka chokes on a laugh. “That bad, huh?”

“Seriously who decided to give you skin tight spandex?”

“I know! You can really change that design though?”

“Yeah, totally.”

“Cool! I look forward to working with you! You’re like, a total life saver.”

“That is the goal of being a hero,” Izuku jokes. Uraraka laughs again.

Chapter Text

“Midoriya, I know gadgets are like. Your thing. But do you really have to be working on a gadget while we’re in the middle of eating lunch? ” Shinsou asks.

Midoriya looks up from the gadget they're working on for one second. “…Yes.” They return their attention back to the gadget.

Hikari doesn’t know whether she wants to laugh or sigh at that. “Why are you even so focused on it right now anyway? You were really busy during class earlier too.”

“The Sports Festival is only two weeks away,” Midoriya mutters in response, not looking up from the gadget.

“Oh yeah, that’s right.” Shinsou says.

“…I don’t get it.” Hikari says. “What’s so important about the Sports Festival? Isn’t that basically just for Hero Course students to show off?”

“On the contrary!” Hatsume cheerfully explains, “Everyone watches the Sports Festival! It’s the perfect opportunity to show off my babies!”

“And,” Shinsou adds, “It’s also how they decide who they can transfer into the Hero Course. If someone from a different class does well, they can get a chance to move up.”

Hikari nods in understanding. …That’s right. Midoriya wants to be in the Hero Course… She’d almost forgotten that. She’s so used to them being there in the Support Course by now. It would be hard to imagine them not being there…

“Don’t you already have enough gadgets that you could use though?” Hikari asks.

“I can’t use the ones that I use for vigilante stuff,” Midoriya says. “Someone could notice it and connect the dots. So I need an entirely different set of of gadgets. And even without needing to build a bunch of gadgets, I still have to redesign Uraraka-san’s hero costume.”

“I mean… you don’t really have to.”

“Oh trust me. It’s necessary,” Midoriya says, dead serious, staring ahead into nothingness.

“There’s no way it’s worse than Yaoyorozu’s costume,” Hikari sighs, thinking about it.

Midoriya looks up and glances at her. “Really? How bad is it?”

“Bad.”

“Worse than skin-tight spandex?”

Hikari nods. “Worse. I’ll show you when we get back to class.”

“No offense, but I’m pretty sure I have the winner when it comes to impractical costumes,” Hatsume says.

“Oh really?” Hikari asks.

Hatsume nods. “Hagakure Toru. Her costume has gloves and boots.”

Midoriya and Hikari look at Hatsume for a second, confused. What’s so bad about that…?

“Only gloves and boots.” Hatsume clarifies. “Apparently her power is ‘invisibility’ but I mean. Still.

“Who the heck is ‘designing’ these costumes?” Midoriya groans. “Seriously, can’t they use an outfit that can turn invisible with her? It’s not that hard! I figured out how to turn things invisible when I was twelve !”

Hikari shrugs. “That stuff’s probably really expensive. Maybe UA doesn’t have it in the budget…?”

“They can afford giant fake cities and hundreds of robots made literally just to be destroyed.” Izuku mutters, “I feel like they should be able to afford to give their Hero Class students actual hero costumes. Especially if they’re being attacked by villains.”

“Yeah,” Hikari agrees. “If they take pretty much any hit, it could seriously injure them, since they hardly have any defense in their costumes.”

Hatsume sighs. “Y’know, I wanted to have a lot of work when I came to UA, but now it’s really starting to pile up! I have to create as many cool inventions as possible before the Sports Festival, and I have to do… something about Hagakure-chan’s costume.”

“Me too,” Midoriya mutters. “Except I also keep getting new ideas of what I should do with my vigilante stuff… and I don’t even know if I’ll need it after the Sports Festival.”

“Who knows,” Shinsou says. “Maybe if you get transferred into the Hero Course and I don’t, I’ll be bitter enough to take up vigilantism.”

Midoriya laughs. “Maybe you’d be less of a reckless idiot.”

“Probably.”

“Just remember not to use your quirk!” Hatsume says cheerily.

“Obviously.”


The days blur together one after the other, and Izuku spends almost the entire time working on gadgets.

And now, the Sports Festival is here. It feels like it took too long, and at the same time, it feels like it came in too fast.

In their head as they walk to school, Izuku makes a mental inventory of the gadgets they have for the Sports Festival…

Squeak squeak!

What was that?   Izuku wonders, turning around. What they find is Garby, running up to them as fast as the little ferret can.

“What-?” Izuku stutters, “What are you doing here?”

Garby doesn’t respond verbally (of course he can't) but the screen on his forehead blinks a few different signs to convey the message:

[:)]

[Lonely]

[:)]

“I… I know, I miss hanging out with you too… but, Garby, you can’t come with me,” Izuku says. "Go back.”

Garby does not go back the way he came from. Instead, he runs up to Izuku and climbs up them like a tree. The ferret perches on their shoulder, as happy as can be.

Izuku sighs heavily. “What am I going to do with you.”

Garby continues to smile.

Well… it’s too far for me to be able to take him back without ending up late…

“Come on then,” Izuku mutters, “I just hope you don’t get me into trouble.”

If Garby could smile any brighter, he probably would have.

Izuku continues walking, but it’s not much later when they hear someone calling them from behind.

“Midoriya-kun! Hey!”

Izuku turns around to see Sora running up. Sora beams at them for a second, and then he glances at Garby and his expressions turns confused. “Why is Garby with you…?”

Izuku responds with a shrug. “Garby does what Garby wants. And apparently Garby wants to come to the Sports Festival.”

“…Y’know, sometimes I wonder if it’s you that’s Garby’s pet and not Garby that’s your pet.” Sora mumbles.

Izuku rolls their eyes, but can't help the smile that grows on their face.


Mei is so excited for the Sports Festival. She has so many cool babies to show off, it’s going to be great, she can’t wait-!

She paces around the room again, excitedly. She has so much excitement, it feels like she could burst. Why can’t they just start already?

Mei hears the door open, and she glances at it for a second, before going back to pacing. It’s just Sora, Midoriya, and Garby entering.

Wait. Garby?

Mei looks back to see that yes, in fact, Garby is sitting on Midoriya’s shoulder looking happy as can be.

“Garby!” Mei shouts, and practically runs over.

Midoriya jumps in surprise at first and then says, “Good morning, Hatsume-san.”

“Good morning Midoriya-kun!” Mei greets quickly before turning her attention to petting Garby. “So, not that I’m complaining, but what’s Garby doing here?”

“He followed me,” Midoriya says, “And it would have taken too much time to take him back to the beach.”

“What are you going to do with him when you’re participating in the festival though?” Natsuki asks.

“Oh hey Natsuki-chan!” Mei says. “Sorry, I didn’t notice you till just now!”

“It’s all right, I only just walked in,” Natsuki says.

“Well…” Midoriya mumbles, going back to answer Natsuki's question, “I mean, if you’re not all that invested in the Sports Festival, could you maybe watch Garby for me?”

Natsuki pauses for a moment. “…Yeah. I can do that.” She agrees.

Midoriya beams at her. “Thanks Natsuki!” They pick Garby up and off from their shoulder and hand him to Natsuki.

Natsuki holds Garby gently. “It’s no problem.”

Mei turns towards Natsuki so that she can keep petting Garby.

“I’m almost tempted to ask you to watch Garby, Hatsume-san,” Midoriya says with a small laugh. “Since you seem so enamored with him and all.”

“And I’m almost tempted to accept,” Mei jokes. “But I have to show off all my babies.”

“You know,” Sora sighs, “I think you two are the only ones crazy enough to actually try to succeed in the Sports Festival against the strongest hero students in the country.”

“False,” Midoriya corrects, “There’s also Shinsou-kun.”

“Shinsou-kun?” Sora asks.

“Oh that’s right, I haven’t introduced you to him yet,” Midoriya realizes. “He’s in General Studies. Wants to be in the Hero Course. First person who found out about the whole… ah…” Midoriya lowers their voice and whispers, “vigilante thing.”

“Wait, Sora-kun knows now too?” Mei asks.

“Ah, yeah,” Midoriya says. “Apparently I’m just really bad at keeping a secret identity from people I know.”

“Well, to be fair, it wasn’t really your fault that I found out,” Sora protests. “I found out because that one time after the press broke in, when you went to investigate, I had a camera set up there and it had a quirk sensor on it, and… well, I don’t think there’s many quirkless people who would care about investigating a broken gate.”

Midoriya sighs. “Well. There are worse people who could have found out.”

Before their conversation can continue, a voice comes in over the loudspeaker. “The Sports Festival will begin in just a few minutes. Participants, start making your way out to the field now.”

“Well, time for you guys to go do your thing,” Natsuki says. “Good luck out there.”

“Right,” Midoriya nods.

Mei laughs. “I won’t need the luck, but thanks anyways.” She grabs all her babies and practically runs for the door.

 

Yeah… it’s my time to shine!


They’re all gathered in the center of the field now for the opening ceremony. They’re sectioned off by class; well, mostly. For the Hero Course classes, the Sports Festival is a requirement, but for every other class it’s optional, so the Gen Ed, Support Course, and Business Course are all gathered in the same section.

Izuku finds themself standing next to Shinsou and Hatsume, which definitely feels better than standing next to a stranger. They have so much anxiety over this that they think they might just burst. Hatsume standing next to them looks like she’s ready to explode too, but in her case, it’s probably out of excitement. Shinsou, on the other hand, looks almost bored, but otherwise completely focused and ready.

Present Mic steps up to the stage at the front. “Hello everyone, and welcome to this year’s Sports Festival!”  He announces in an upbeat voice. “Today is the competition for the first year students. Normally, we would have the student who placed first in the entrance exam give the opening speech, but unfortunately, this year there were certain complications.”

Izuku has half a mind to march on to the stage right now, and say, “I’m right here,” but the size of the crowd watching makes them stay put. Instead, they mutter to Shinsou and Hatsume, “Gee, I wonder what those complications were.” Next to them, Shinsou huffs out a small laugh.

“So instead,”  Present Mic continues, “We’ll be having the student who placed second give the opening speech! Bakugou Katsuki.”

Well, there’s a second reason to not announce to the world ‘hey I got first’. Because Bakugou would definitely try to pulverize them on sight, laws against murder be damned. On the other hand, there’s something just a little satisfying about the fact that Bakugou knows someone got a better score than him, and that he’s only there because of a complication. It must be driving him insane.

…Maybe those thoughts are a little petty, but Izuku could think worse things.

Bakugou steps up to the stage and turns to face the crowd. He’s not facing the crowd of students, but Izuku is almost sure he has a glare on his face.

“I just wanna say,” Bakugou says, “that it doesn’t matter that I only got second in the entrance exam. There’s a reason that the idiot who got first isn’t here. But this time, I’m going to get an indisputable first place.” There’s a pause. “That’s all.”

He steps off of the stage, and the student crowd erupts into booing.

Present Mic starts talking again, “Well, that… wasn’t what I was expecting. But, it certainly was memorable!” Everyone gets quiet again so that he can continue announcing. “Now then, to decide the first round!”


The first round is an obstacle course.

And honestly? For Izuku, it’s just going by in a blur. They don’t want to stop and take in what’s happening, they just want to make it through as fast as possible.

At some point along the way (probably along the robot section, they think) they ended up picking up a large metal panel. They're not sure what they plans on using it for, but it isn’t too heavy to carry, so they decide it’s worth keeping around anyway.

Then, they reach the final obstacle.

Land mines.

Izuku doesn’t know what place they're in, but the amount of people in front of them makes them nervous. They need to do something.

Over the loudspeakers, they hear Present Mic announce something about Bakugou and Todoroki being tied for first.

Of course Bakugou’s close to first, Izuku thinks, his explosion quirk would help him rocket over every… thing…

Explosions. Rocket over. Land mines.

This is exactly the kind of thing that earned me the title of “reckless vigilante idiot,” Izuku thinks.

And they do it anyway.


“So… ah… what’cha doin’?” Izuku hears Shinsou ask from behind them.

Izuku looks back at Shinsou, then glances to the pile of land mines they've been building up, then back to Shinsou. “…Stuff.”

Shinsou stares at the pile of land mines for a long moment. Then, he sighs, “You know what? You do you. Have fun. Just don’t  die doing it.”

“I won’t!” Izuku agrees, going back to digging up the land mines. Shinsou shakes his head as he runs through the area, not worried about the land mines because they’ve all been dug up and put in a pile.

After digging up a handful more mines, Izuku stands back and surveys the pile. Well… it looks just about right…

They lift up the metal panel that they got from the robot.

And they run at the pile.

 

There’s a large explosion, and suddenly they're flying high through the air. Soaring over the land mine section, Izuku has a strange desire to laugh and scream at the same time.

“And woah, what’s this!” Present Mic announces. “Support Course student Midoriya Izuku from class 1-H is shooting above the competition, in hot pursuit of first place!! Who could have seen this coming?!”

Izuku feels a small smile grow on their face. They're still going quite fast, but they manage to catch Bakugou’s and Todoroki’s expressions as they fly past the two hero students. And they’re expressions are absolutely priceless.

“Midoriya is in first place now! Woah!! And they're still flying fast!”

This seems to shake Bakugou and Todoroki out of their shock, and they both run forward, now completely ignoring each other.

And then, Izuku starts to slow down. Which would be a problem… if they didn’t have any gadgets with them.

They let go of the metal panel, using it as a point to push off from, and then they activate their jetpack which shoots them forward again. A cloud of steam gathers behind them.

Izuku glances back. A moment later, Bakugou and Todoroki burst through the steam, running forward… but not fast enough to catch them before they’ll reach the finish line.

“Hey, Bakugou!” Izuku calls, “How’s it feel to taste my dust?”

“I’M GONNA KILL YOU!!”

Izuku passes the finish line.

“The winner of this round is Midoriya Izuku, from Support Class 1-H!! What a twist ending!” Present Mic announces, and the crowd goes wild.

Trying to catch their breath, Izuku looks up at the crowd in awe. They definitely don’t like being in front of large crowds of people, but at the same time, the fact that they're all cheer for them… for them…

“Second place is Todoroki Shoto, followed closely with Bakugou Katsuki in third!”

They have one second to process the thought that Bakugou has passed the finish line, and then they're quickly dodging as Bakugou tries to tackle them.

“You can’t kill me in front of an audience-” Izuku protests, dodging.

“Like hell I can’t!” Bakugou shouts.

“Bakugou-” Todoroki says, trying to approach.

“You stay back too!” Bakugou turns around to face Todoroki in a fury, almost outwardly steaming. Todoroki looks like he couldn't care less. “I’ll kill you too!”

“Fourth place is Iida Tenya!”

A moment later, Iida is running up to them. “Bakugou! Attacking fellow competitors is unsportsmanlike!”

“I don’t give a shit!” Bakugou yells, but he doesn’t try lunging at anyone again.

Izuku lets out a shaky breath. Okay, I probably shouldn’t have tempted him. 

“Are you all right, Midoriya-kun?” Iida asks, approaching them.

“Ah, yeah,” Izuku mumbles, “I’m okay.”

More people are pouring through the gates now, but then Izuku makes out a, “Seventh place is Uraraka Ochako!”

Izuku turns to the gate, to see Uraraka run in, out of breath. She doesn’t stop right away, and stumbles her way over to them first. “That was amazing, Midoriya-kun!” She cheers brightly, even though she’s outwardly very exhausted.

“A-ah, thanks,” Izuku stammers nervously. The exhilaration from the race is wearing off now and they're getting anxious again. “You did really good too!”

“Midoriya-kun,” Iida says at first to grab their attention, and once Izuku turns to face him, Iida continues, “I didn’t know that you came in first in the entrance exam.”

“Well, I mean, I didn’t really know for sure until today either- it wasn't something they ever really mentioned…” Izuku mumbles, then asks, “Wait, how did you know?”

“Well, first from the fact that I see no other reasons for the top score of entrance exam being complicated… after you came in first in the race, and then considering your circumstances, I could make a fairly educated guess,” Iida explains.

“Wait, wait, hey!” Another kid says, running up to them. His hair is bright red, and stands up in spikes. “You came in first in the entrance exam?”

After a small moment of surprise, Izuku mumbles, “Um, yeah,”

“Woah, that’s so cool!” He holds out a hand excitedly. “I’m Kirishima Eijirou! Hero Course Class 1-A!”

Izuku accepts the handshake, and Kirishima shakes their hand rapidly. Izuku stutters, “Ah, I-I’m Midoriya Izuku. Support Course Class 1-H.”

Kirishima’s eyes seem to widen in realization. “Oh yeah! Uraraka’s mentioned you a few times!”

Glancing at her, Izuku asks, “She… has?”

“Yeah!” Kirishima beams. “You passed the entrance exam, even though you’re quirkless! That’s, like,  wicked cool!

“Y-you think so?”

“Totally!” Kirishima cheers. “Heck, you even got first apparently! You’re an inspiration!!”

“I…” Izuku isn’t quite sure how to take this. They're just a bit in shock. “Er- thanks!”

“Wait-wait-” Kirishima says quickly, “Stay right here, I’ll be back! You should meet Orenji!”

Before Izuku can say anything else, Kirishima runs off. Orenji… Izuku feels a little more nervous now, recognizing her name from the USJ. They can only pray that she won't somehow recognize them.

Iida and Uraraka have wandered off to talk to some of their other classmates now, and Izuku is almost tempted to follow them, but Kirishima had asked for them to stay there-

“Midoriya-kuuuun!!” Izuku hears Hatsume yell a split second before she runs into them with a crushing hug. “Holy hell, dude!” She releases the hug so that they’re facing each other now. Hatsume has a wide grin on her face. “Look at you go!! Superstar extraordinaire!”

Shinsou walks up to them then. “I don’t understand how all of your reckless plans actually work. ” He mumbles.

Izuku shrugs.

Hardly a moment later, Kirishima is back, dragging Orenji behind him by the hand.

“Orenji, this is Midoriya!” Kirishima introduces excitedly, “Midoriya, this is Orenji!”

“Ah, hi,” Izuku greets nervously.

“H-hi!” Orenji says back, and she almost seems as nervous as Izuku feels. “You… you really passed first in the entrance exam even though you’re quirkless?”

“Ah, yeah…”

“I…” Orenji starts before hesitating. After a moment she continues, “I used to think I was quirkless too. My quirk came in really late so…” She trails off, but moves on, “I just think you’re really cool! I know how people can be about reacting to quirkless people so just… I really admire you.”

Izuku can’t help but stare. They don’t really know what to say for a moment, because they have about a million questions running through their head. Eventually, they settle with, “So… what is your quirk?” … That probably wasn’t the most important thing to ask…

“Ah,” Orenji mumbles nervously, and then she holds up her wrist. There’s a strange sort of hole on the inside of it. After a moment, a small stream of blood shoots out of it and swirls around in the air, before going back into her wrist. “I can manipulate my blood.” There’s a small awkward pause. “Yeah, it’s… probably not the most heroic sounding quirk…”

“It doesn’t matter if a quirk sounds heroic or not,” Shinsou adds, and there’s something in his voice that Izuku can’t quite place. “What matters is what you do with it.”

Orenji looks over to him and smiles. “That’s a nice way to put it. And, um, sorry this might seem a bit rude, but who are you…?”

“Shinsou Hitoshi. General Studies.”

“And I’m Hatsume Mei!!” Hatsume introduces herself. “I’m in the same class as Midoriya-kun!”

“Nice to meet you,” Orenji smiles at them.

“Yeah!” Kirishima agrees. “You guys are cool!”

“Thanks!” Hatsume cheers.

“Okay!” Present Mic announces, interrupting them, “Now that everyone has passed the first round, it’s time to announce the second round!”

Almost instantly, everyone turns their attention towards Present Mic on the stage. Next to him is a large circular board with possible options written across it. He spins it, and it settles on…

“The Cavalry Battle!” Present Mic reads. “Allow me to explain the rules; everyone will get into groups from the size of two to four members. One person will sit on the shoulders of the others, and the other member or members operate from the ground! The person on top will have a headband that’s worth points; the goal is to steal headbands from other teams and score as many points as you can! How is the point value of the headbands decided though? Well…

“Based on where you placed in the obstacle course, you will have an assigned point number! The forty-third place will have five points, forty-second will have ten, and so on so forth. However! First place is worth… Ten-million points!!!”

Izuku freezes. T…ten million points…? It’s almost like they can physically feel everyone looking at them like a target already.

“You have fifteen minutes to decide teams!” Present Mic finishes cheerfully.

Izuku whirls around to face Hatsume and Shinsou. “Please team up with me.”

“Of course I’ll team with you!!” Hatsume cheers immediately. “I mean, even if you weren’t my best friend, more people are going to be watching you because you’re first place! Everyone will get to see my precious babies…!”

Izuku turns. “Shinsou-kun?”

There’s a small moment of silence, and then Shinsou sighs, “Well, someone has to stop you from getting yourself into trouble.”

Izuku beams at him. “Now we just need a third team member…”

As if on cue, Uraraka runs up to them. “Hey! Midoriya-kun!” She shouts. “Let’s team up!”

“Ah, sure!” Izuku agrees. “That was… easy.” After a moment, he glances at Uraraka. “You’re… you’re sure you want to team with me though?”

“Yeah!” Uraraka cheers. “It’s better to team up with people you like, and I want to hang out with you more, since I can right now!”

“Great! That’s four!” Izuku says. “Now we just need to plan…”

“You’re in the Hero Course?” Hatsume asks Uraraka, curious.

“Oh, yeah! Sorry, I haven’t introduced myself to you guys: I’m Uraraka Ochako! I met Midoriya-kun during the entrance exam; they saved me from the big zero point robot!”

“What’s your quirk?” Hatsume asks.

“Zero gravity!”

“Ooh, that’s cool!” Hatsume whistles. “I’m Hatsume Mei! Support Course Class 1-H!”

“Shinsou Hitoshi,” Shinsou mutters, “General Education.”

“Nice to meet you!” Uraraka cheerfully says.

After a moment of thinking, Izuku asks, “Hey, Hatsume-san, what’s your quirk again?”

“I can see things that are far away.” Hatsume explains. “Not really useful for this, but hey, you get my babies!!”

“B-babies…?” Uraraka asks.

“She means her gadgets,” Izuku explains. “And, Shinsou-kun, what’s your quirk?”

For a moment Shinsou doesn’t answer. A long moment. Izuku turns to look at him, and Shinsou has an expression Izuku can’t quite read.

“…Shinsou-kun?” Izuku asks softly.


"…Shinsou-kun?" Midoriya asks softly.

And Hitoshi just hates how frozen up he gets at the question, be it just the sheer unexpectedness of it, or… or…

Distantly, voices from the past, voices whispering about his quirk, echo through his head. 

Really though, he's not even sure how he's managed to go this long without anyone ever trying to bring it up. It really was just something they never talked about…

Actually, now that he thinks about it, it's one of the things he likes best about this group of friends that's started to build up here at UA. They don't care about quirks, to be honest. It's not something they judge each other off of, which, compared to most other people, is like a breath of fresh air.

And so… and so Hitoshi trusts them. He feels like he can trust them with this.

Slowly, Hitoshi looks up to meet Midoriya's eyes. Even though his mind is made up, it's still a bit hard to admit, but eventually he murmurs…

"…Mind control. My quirk is mind control."

Midoriya blinks at him in surprise.

Hitoshi looks away, and for a moment he can't help but start to uncharacteristically ramble on, saying, “I just- usually people tell me it’s a… it’s a villains quirk. But I trust you. So I’m okay with telling you.”

And then, Midoriya smiles at him. “Well, it’s like you told Orenji. What matters is what you do with your quirk. And I think you’re a pretty good hero.”

“Totally!” Hatsume cheers.

That's… that's right. I did kinda just say that earlier, didn't I?

“I haven’t known you for very long at all…” The Class A student (Uraraka, she had said? Right?) softly adds, “But if Midoriya-kun trusts you, then I do to.”

Hitoshi is at a loss for words for a second. He… well, he hadn't expected anything different from them, but such quick acceptance compared to the attention they usually get… “I… thanks.” He eventually says.

“Now then,” Midoriya says, grinning eagerly, “Time to plan, so we can win this thing.”

Chapter Text

“Time’s up!” Present Mic announces. “Teams, make your way to the starting position!”

Izuku glances at their team. “We’re all clear on our plan, right?”

“Right!” Uraraka, Hatsume, and Shinsou nod together in agreement.

Satisfied, Izuku nods. Before, they had been worried about the Cavalry Battle but… they trust their friends. Together, there’s no way that the four of them can lose.

They make their way to the field; around the edges are marked areas where each team is supposed to start from. Izuku takes a deep breath. We can do this. We’ve got this.

“BEGIN!”

Almost the instant after the shout rings throughout the stadium, every other team turns toward their team.

In the next instant, Izuku commands, “Aerial evasion!”

They feel themself go weightless as Uraraka activates her quirk, and then there’s a whoosh of steam and wind as Izuku’s and Hatsume’s jetpacks launch them into the air.

“We need to find a place to land,” Izuku says. “We can’t stay up here forever.”

“Got it!”

They find an empty spot to land on the ground. A second after they land, another team runs right towards them. However, just before Izuku can decide what to do, a vine comes from out of nowhere and snatches the headband off of the leader.

Surprised, Izuku looks over to see Asui, Orenji, Shiozaki, and Shoji. Instead of attacking Izuku’s team, though, Orenji looks over at them and gives them a thumbs up. Orenji’s team then runs away as the other team goes after them for stealing their headband.

I’ll have to thank her later, Izuku quickly notes to themself.

Just then, another team comes running after them.

“Shinsou-kun!” Izuku says quickly.

“Hey,” Shinsou shouts to the other team, “You with the white hair!”

The other team’s leader looks at him, confused. “What?”

And then, Shinsou’s quirk takes effect. “Fall off and get to the ground,” He commands.

In a daze, the team’s leader lurches forward. His teammates make a frantic attempt to grab him before he reaches the ground, but they’re all too late.

“TEAM TETSUTETSU IS DISQUALIFIED!!”

Izuku reaches down and high-fives Shinsou. “Nice job!”

The other teams are starting to attack each other now, instead of focusing just on the ten million points that Izuku's team is stuck with, so maybe they have a small window to breathe-

“DEKU, YOU’RE DEAD!!”

Time to run.

“Take off, now, quick!” Izuku commands. They shoot into the air just in time to see Bakugou’s team charge into the spot where they were just standing.

But Bakugou still isn’t done, apparently, because he shoots himself up and off of his teammates to come flying at them in the air.

“Hey, Bakugou.” Shinsou says.

“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT, EXTRA?!” Bakugou demands, and then he freezes.

“I hope your teammates catch you,” Shinsou smirks.

Bakugou falls for a bit, and then a stream of tape snakes out and grabs him from the air.

Before Bakugou can recover his wits, Izuku decides it’s time to get as far away as possible. They fly over and land at the other side of the arena.

“I think that’s the last of the fuel!” Hatsume says. “We probably won’t be able to take off again!”

“Hopefully, we won’t need to.” Izuku sighs. “We’re doing good guys, we just have to keep avoiding everyone-”

Suddenly, a wall of ice materializes right in front of them. …I just jinxed us, didn’t I?

Izuku looks over to see Todoroki’s team, as Todoroki forms a complete wall of ice circling around them and blocking them off from everyone else.

“No hard feelings,” Todoroki says, “But I need that headband.”


This is bad, Ochako thinks to herself. Todoroki is probably the strongest in the class, and then his team has Yaoyorozu (who’s brilliant and has an amazing quirk), Iida (who’s definitely strong too), and Kaminari (who can certainly cause some damage, even if he’s a bit of a glass canon).

“Uraraka-san,” Midoriya says softly, but urgently. “What do we do?”

She thinks for a moment. They have a good plan so far, but someone like Todoroki wouldn’t respond to Shinsou, and so that couldn’t work… So we need to go for someone else.

After a moment of pause, she leans over to Shinsou and whispers, “Go for Kaminari-kun. He’s pretty talkative.”

“Which one’s Kaminari?” He whispers back.

“Blonde.” Ochako simply says.

“Got it.” Shinsou whispers, before raising his voice. “Hey. Is that lightning bolt in your hair natural?”

Ochako sees Kaminari blink in surprise. He opens his mouth to respond-

Yes-!

“Kaminari, don’t say anything.” Todoroki warns. (Shoot.) “It’s a clever trick,” He looks up to Midoriya, “but I already saw you use it earlier. Sorry.”  

Shinsou curses under his breath. “What’s the plan now?” He whispers up to Midoriya.

“…We need to stay to the right of them.” Midoriya mumbles, just loud enough for them to hear. “That’s our right, not their right. Kaminari is dangerous because he’s got an electric quirk, which could work out badly with all of our gadgets involved.”

So that’s what they do. Whenever the other team moves, they shift over to stay on the right. Neither team seems to want to make the first move. At the same time, it’s both incredibly tense, and incredibly boring.

“ONE MINUTE LEFT!!”

One more minute, Ochako thinks to herself, We just have to last for one more minute.

Across from them, Ochako sees Iida telling Todoroki something. She can’t make out what they’re saying but-

“I think they’re about to make a move,” Ochako warns quickly.

Midoriya nods. Ochako isn’t sure exactly what they're doing, but she sees them fiddling with some kind of gadget gadget in their hands. She just hopes that, whatever it is, it helps them.

They return their attention to the team across from them. Iida tells his team, “Hold on, everyone,” and leans down into a sprinting crouch. His engines start going red-

Everything in Ochako’s vision disappears in a sudden flash of bright light, and then everything is surrounded in a billow of… something. It’s either steam or smoke, but she has no idea which it is. Maybe both.

“WHAT’S THIS?? A LITERAL LAST-MINUTE ATTEMPT TO GRAB THE TEN MILLION POINTS BY TEAM TODOROKI!! DID IT WORK THOUGH…?!”

The smoke and steam clears out.

“THE TEN MILLION POINTS IS IN THE POSSESSION OF…”

Ochako holds her breath in anticipation.

“TEAM MIDORIYA!!!”

She almost wants to cry out of relief as the announcement comes through. They… they did it?

“AND WITH THAT, THE SECOND ROUND IS OVER!!”


“Okay,” Hitoshi says glancing around, “Can someone explain that final move that just went down, or something? Cause I got nothing.”

“Mini force field,” Midoriya mumbles, looking at a gadget in their hands. The gadget is smoking. “Really hard to keep it active though, so that’s why we didn’t use it before. It requires a lot of energy.”

“Hey Iida-kun,” Uraraka says to Iida, since now that the match is over, they all can talk, “what was that move that you pulled at the end?”

“Ah, well,” Iida stutters, “It’s nothing. Probably not as useful of a move as I originally thought.”

“Any move is useful,” Midoriya comments, “It just depends on when you use it.”

Iida is quiet for a moment.

If Hitoshi is honest, he’s also curious about what Iida did in that last moment, but because Uraraka and Midoriya are already asking, he decides that if he asked Iida once again with them, it would be too much. So, he just listens.

Eventually, Iida says, “Well, it’s this move I call ‘Recipro Burst’. It’s when I use my engines at the fastest speed that I can.”

“That must be incredibly fast,” Midoriya comments in awe. “Why didn’t you use it earlier?”

“I can only use it for a small window of time, and on top of that, it causes my engines to stall, so I’m unable to use my quirk for a while after I use it.” Iida explains.

Midoriya nods. “That’s interesting, Iida-kun. You have a really cool quirk.”

Before the conversation can continue, Present Mic announces, “The matchups for the one on one battles have been decided!”

Hitoshi wonders who he’ll end up fighting. There were four teams who made it to this round; Team Midoriya still in first, Team Todoroki in second, Team Bakugou in third, and Team Orenji in fourth.

He almost hopes that he’ll be up against Bakugou. Sure, he knows he’s already used his quirk on Bakugou during the Cavalry Battle, but to be honest, Bakugou’s probably enough of a hothead to fall for it again.

After a second, the lineup appears on the large screen. Hitoshi doesn’t have to look hard to find his name; it’s in the first bracket. And the person he’s fighting is…

You’re kidding. He thinks to himself. But the screen doesn’t change.

 

[Midoriya Izuku vs Shinsou Hitoshi]

 

Hitoshi turns to Midoriya just in time to see Midoriya turn to him.

“Well.” Midoriya mutters. Their tone is very flat.

“Well.” Hitoshi echoes.

“I get the feeling they did it on purpose.”

“How so?”

“We’re the only two here who aren’t in the hero class that are trying to get into the hero class,” Midoriya points out.

“What about Hatsume?”

“Hatsume-san doesn’t count. She’s just here to show off her gadgets,” Midoriya says. “By pitting us against each other, it makes it so that only one of us can continue on to the next round.”

“…Maybe they did it to make sure that at least one of us goes on to the next round?” Hitoshi suggests.

“Oh sure, that’s what they’ll say." Midoriya mutters. “I’m not sure I believe that though.”

Hitoshi thinks for a moment. “So? Even if they did do it that way, what are we supposed to do about it?”

“I almost want to say that a straight out fight with each other is unfair,” Midoriya considers. “I mean, I know what your quirk is so you can’t use it all that well against me, and at the same time, I have a bunch of gadgets and you don’t.”

“A fight without gadgets or quirks would probably be unfair too. I mean, one of us fights villains in their free time, for fun, and the other one of us plays Animal Crossing at three in the morning.”

“…Animal Crossing?”

“It’s a good game, Midoriya.”

“Oh, no, I didn’t say it wasn’t, I’m just surprised that you would play it-” Midoriya shakes their head. “Off topic. Anyway. What do we do about the fight?”

Hitoshi considers it for a moment. “…What if we just do something so anticlimactic that everyone goes mad.”

Midoriya snorts. “That’d be something.”

“A thumb war is probably more fair than any other fight we could do.”

“Sure. Let’s just do a thumb war.”

Hitoshi isn’t even sure whether or not they’re kidding, but with Midoriya smiling at him and the ridiculous circumstances at hand, he can’t help but smile.


Izuku, Hatsume, and Shinsou all walk back to the Support Course waiting room (upon asking Shinsou why he was coming with them, he responded, “Well, you guys are far more interesting than anything that would be going on in the Gen Ed room.” )

They walk into the room, and immediately, Natsuki and Sora perk up. Garby sees Izuku and immediately jumps from Natsuki’s hands, runs over to them, and climbs up to perch on their shoulder again.

“You brought Garby?” Shinsou asks in a whisper, disbelieving.

Izuku shrugs in response.

Natsuki and Sora walk up to them then.

“You guys are crazy,” Is the first thing Sora says. “Definitely crazy.”

“And you’re only realizing this now?" Hatsume jokes.

“If I die of a heart attack, it’s because of you.” Natsuki mutters, but she doesn’t seem to be actually upset with them.

“I’ve never done anything wrong before,” Shinsou says, deadpan, “ever, in my entire life.”

“I know this and I love and appreciate you,” Natsuki replies.

It occurs to Izuku, suddenly, that Shinsou and Sora haven’t met before now. “Ah- Sora-kun, this is Shinsou-kun. And, um, Shinsou-kun, this is Sora-kun.”

“Yo,” Sora greets, with a silly little peace sign and a dorky smile.

Shinsou nods at Sora in response. “Nice to meet you.”

Just then, Garby lets out a strange, small, sound. Izuku turns to look at him, and sees the screen display on his head;

[?]

“Garby? What is it?” Izuku asks, even though technically the ferret can’t necessarily speak.

Garby sniffs the air for a moment- and then he takes off running for the door.

“Wh- Garby, come back!” Izuku shouts after him. They start to follow (-the ferret is still just standing at the door, waiting-) and then the door opens and Garby zips out.

It would be a little rude to just leave their friends without another word, so they quickly turns, say, “One moment,” then proceed to turn back to the door and go sprinting after their ferret.

They get through the door and they skid to a stop, looking around to see where Garby could have gone. Just as they turn to look to the right, they see Garby scuttering around the corner and disappearing.

Izuku runs after him further.

At the next corner, when they get there, they find Garby sitting there looking up expectantly at them, like ‘come on, slowpoke!’

“What, you want me to follow you?” Izuku asks, out of breath.

Garby looks at them for a few more seconds, then takes off at a fast walk down the hallway, periodically turning back and looking at them.

“Okay, okay, just don’t run,” Izuku mutters, defeated.

The ferret leads them down a few more winding hallways until he starts to slow down. Izuku’s about to ask what the deal is when they hear a voice down the hall. A loud voice. An angry voice.

“I can’t believe you! ” The voice shouts, furious. “Not only do you lose the first round, but you lose the second too?!”

“Second place isn’t losing,” Another voice bites back, and that voice- Izuku recognizes that voice. It sounds like Todoroki.

“Never settle for second place,” The first voice hisses, “Ever."

Izuku now recognizes the first voice too. They're almost certain that… that’s the number two hero Endeavor.

“I can still place first in the one on one matches.”

“Because you did so well in the first two rounds.”

Izuku has never liked Endeavor all that much (ironically, the hero had always seemed too ‘cold’) but they’d always settled for an indifferent opinion. Now though…

“To make matters worse,” Endeavor seethes, “Not only did you get second, you got second to some quirkless nobody!"

That hits Izuku like a punch to the gut.

To their surprise, though, Todoroki counters, “They aren't just ‘some quirkless nobody’. Apparently, they came in first in the entrance exam.”

“Well,” Endeavor scoffs, “At least you can beat the weaklings who would lose to a quirkless kid.”

“They have a name. And it’s not ‘quirkless kid’.”

“This isn’t the point, Shoto!” Endeavor yells. “The point is, if you just used your fire, you wouldn’t have this problem!”

“I’m not using your damn quirk!”

Suddenly, Garby shoots into action again.

“What?!” Izuku whisper-shouts, “Garby, no-!”

Garby doesn’t listen, and runs down the corner where the voices are coming from. Izuku peeks around the corner just in time to see Garby climb up to Endeavors face, and start biting.

Izuku is caught between being terrified of the fact that their ferret could be barbecued any second now, and laughing as Endeavor thrashes around, shouting “GET IT OFF! GET IF OFF!"

Eventually, Garby springs off (without being barbecued, thank God ), and runs in their direction. Izuku panics again, What are you doing?!

Endeavor looks absolutely pissed, and he has multiple small scratches over his face. Instead of following after Garby though, he turns back towards Todoroki. Izuku is filled with a huge sense of dread, and decides it’s time to step in, because Garby certainly hadn’t helped much (despite how valiant his efforts were).

“Ah- hey- Todoroki-kun!” Izuku calls, stuttering nervously. Endeavor turns his glare to them now that they've stepped out and they flinches.

“You.” Endeavor growls. “Did you see a weasel or something go down that hallway just now?”

Well, he’s not a weasel. “Nope.”

Endeavor looks like he’s about to dismiss Izuku, when they quickly adds, “Anyway, um, Todoroki-kun, I was looking for you! Can we talk? For a bit?”

Before Endeavor can reject (and Izuku knows he definitely wants to), Todoroki swiftly says, “Sure. We were done with this conversation anyway.” He looks back at Endeavor with one last icy glare, and then walks over to Izuku.

Izuku leads them down the hallway for a ways. Eventually once they're sure the two of them are far away, they stop and heaves a huge sigh.

“So…” Todoroki says slowly, “What did you want to talk about?”

“Um, well,” Izuku stutters, trying to come up with something, when Garby trots down the hallway towards them, happy as can be, and then comes to crouch on Izuku’s shoulder again. Todoroki quirks an eyebrow at them.

Well, that cat’s out of the bag.

Maybe it’s better to just be honest. “…You seemed like you wanted an out from that situation,” Izuku says. “So I gave you one.”

Todoroki stares at them for a long moment. “…Thanks.”

There’s a bit of an awkward pause, before Todoroki asks, “How much of that did you overhear?”

“He was mad at you because you got second place to…” Izuku’s words get caught in their throat as the words ‘some quirkless nobody’ echo through their head again.

“That’s about the gist of it, yeah,” Todoroki sighs. “Doesn’t take much to make the old man angry.”

“…Thanks for sticking up for me. I… really appreciated it.”

“It was nothing,” Todoroki waves it off. “I’m just tired of him thinking he’s better than everyone else.”

They fall into awkward silence again. Izuku isn’t really sure how to feel about Todoroki, because he’s always so… intimidating.

Todoroki clears his throat. “Also, again while I do appreciate you and your… weasel-”

“Ferret.” Izuku quickly corrects before they can think better of it. “He’s a ferret, not a weasel.”

“…I appreciate you and your ferret, but don’t think this makes us suddenly be friends. If we have to fight each other one on one, I’m not going to go easy on you.”

“I wouldn’t want you to.”

Todoroki nods. “Good.”

“…If… if you don’t mind my asking, though,” Izuku says, “Can I ask why you want to win so badly? I mean, something tells me you don’t want to win just because of… ah, him.”

Todoroki stares at them for a long moment without saying anything. Just before Izuku can backpedal on their question, though, Todoroki sighs. “Have you ever heard of quirk marriages?”


And so, Todoroki tells his story.

It isn’t a happy one.

Izuku’s not quite sure how to respond to it when he’s done. “Sorry” feels too fake. “That must have been awful” probably doesn’t even begin to describe.

So, they don’t say anything.

“…I appreciate you listening, Midoriya.” Todoroki eventually says. “And now, you see why I have to win. Without using fire. I have to prove that I don’t need him.”

Izuku thinks for a moment. Then… “All my life, people have tried to tell me that I can’t be a hero because I’m quirkless. A hero is all I’ve ever wanted to be. So, I can see where you’re coming from. I mean, when it comes to wanting to prove things to people. But I also know that… well, even when you think you’ve proven something to them, most of the time, they don’t really care. If you go into something with nothing other than the desire to prove your worth to someone else, you’re bound to be disappointed even if you succeed.

“What I’m trying to say is… I get why you’re trying to win. I do. But that shouldn’t be the only reason why you’re trying to win.”

Todoroki is silent, seeming to consider it for a moment. “…I’ll take it under advisement.” There’s a short pause. “It’s been… interesting speaking with you, to say the least.” He turns to walk away.

“Good luck in your match coming up,” Izuku calls after him.

Todoroki stops, but doesn’t turn back. “…You too.”


Izuku speed-walks their way back to the waiting room for the Support Course. ( Thankfully ) Garby doesn’t try running off again.

When they get to the room, they find Sora, Hatsume, and Natsuki waiting.

“Where did Shinsou-kun go?” Izuku asks, approaching them.

“He went to find you.” Natsuki says. “You were gone for a while. Are you okay?”

“Ah, yeah, it’s just… something came up,” Izuku says vaguely. “I should go find Shinsou now, huh?”

“Poor Mido-kun,” Hatsume sighs. “Just spent ages tracking down your ferret, and now you gotta track down your friend.”

“Speaking of,” Izuku says, handing Garby to Hatsume, “Can you watch him? And, uh, make sure he doesn’t run off again?”

Hatsume’s eyes sparkle as she takes Garby. “You got it!”

Izuku leaves the room again, this time to go and find Shinsou.

I wonder how much time there is left, They think to themself. The matches should probably be starting up soon-

As they approach a corner, someone else turns down the hallway their way and ends up slamming right into them.

Izuku stumbles back, about to apologize, when they see who’s in front of them. Or, more, the state they’re in.

“Orenji-san?” Izuku asks, worried, “Are you all right?”

Orenji looks up at them. Her eyes are rimmed with red, like she’s been crying and… scratch that, she’s still crying. “Sorry-” She stutters, “I- ah- don’t worry about it- I just-” Without another word she pushes past them and continues storming down the hallway.

Izuku stares after her, bewildered, and definitely still worried. They're about to follow after her to make sure she’s okay, when an announcement comes over the loudspeakers.

“The first of the one on one matches is in five minutes!”

Izuku curses softly to themself. They have the first match, which means that they have to go- now. They glance back down the hallway, where Orenji has since disappeared. They wish they had more time but…

I’ll come check up on her later. They decide.

Tucking the information into their head for later, they walk quickly down the hallway, heading towards the center stadium.

Here we go.

Chapter Text

“Let’s get on with the first battle in this tournament!” Present Mic shouts over the loudspeakers. “First up, they made a big impression in the first round, and then maintained first place throughout the second round! From the Support Course, Midoriya Izuku!!”

Izuku steps up into the ring as the crowd cheers. They're still in awe that there are people who would cheer for them, but they don’t have time to think about it right now.

“And the challenger! Well, he was on Midoriya’s team in the second round, but other than that I don’t think he’s done anything interesting. From the General Education Course, Shinsou Hitoshi!!”

“Wow, thanks,” Shinsou mutters, standing across from Izuku now. “I’m flattered.” (Of course, he says this in the flattests voice possible).

“You ready?” Izuku asks, giving him a discreet thumbs up.

Shinsou lets out a small huff of laughter, and gives a small thumbs up back. “Oh, definitely.”

From a podium to the side, Cementoss announces, “The winner can be decided in a number of ways! If you step out of bounds, you are out of the round; If you are unable to move, you are out of the round; And lastly, if you simply say that you give up, you are out of the round. Now then, let’s begin. Three… Two… One… Go!”

This is going to be ridiculous, Izuku thinks to themself as they and Shinsou walk up to each other.

Then, as loud as they can, they both yell, “ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, I DECLARE A THUMB WAR! FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT, WHO CAN KEEP THEIR THUMB STRAIGHT?!”

"…Wait what.” Present Mic speaks first. “What. What are they doing.”

Obviously ,” Aizawa says, “It’s a thumb war.”

“…I don’t get it. Why though?” Present Mic asks, bewildered.

“Honestly, it’s about the best they can do with what they’re given,” Aizawa reasons. “Shinsou’s quirk is far more effective when fighting an enemy that doesn’t know about it. Since they were on a team together last round, it’s easy to assume that Midoriya would know about Shinsou’s quirk, putting him at a disadvantage. With Midoriya’s gadgets, if those were involved, the battle would be incredibly one sided. Then, taking into account Midoriya not using their gadgets, and Shinsou not using his quirk; neither of them have been in a Hero Class, and so it’s likely that neither has practical hand to hand combat training. So, instead of both of them doing something they have no experience in, which would get them injured very easily, they chose to do the thumb war.”

“…It’s still a little anticlimactic though,” Present Mic mumbles.

“Anticlimactic or not, I’m sure Recovery Girl appreciates this approach,” Aizawa mutters back.

“How do we even commentate a thumb wrestle, though? We can’t see their thumbs!”

If Izuku is honest, they're pretty sure that both they and Shinsou are dragging on the thumb war just to hear their reactions.

“This is great,” Izuku says under their breath, barely keeping themself from laughing.

“I can’t believe I agreed to this,” Shinsou mutters.

“If you want to, you can just beat me up and I’d be too thrown off to retaliate,” Izuku shrugs.

“Where’s the fun in that though?”

For a second, Izuku manages to pin Shinsou’s thumb down, but then Shinsou clenches his hand just enough for his nails to dig in. Izuku’s thumb slips and Shinsou is free again.

Izuku frowns at him. “Using your nails as weapons is cheating.”

“All is fair in love and war,” Shinsou mutters back, without blinking an eye. “As stupid as this is, I’m not just going to let you win easily.”

“Of course not.”

They (well, their thumbs ) continue dodging around each other.

At some point, Shinsou manages to hold Izuku’s thumb down for a second, and in a moment of panic, Izuku steps on Shinsou’s foot.

“Ow,” Shinsou says it more in surprise than in pain. “And you wanna tell me about cheating. I’m pretty sure stomping is against the rules.”

“There are no rules.”

There’s another long span of silence while they thumb wrestle, but both are focusing more on dodging than attacking, so not much is being done.

“Okay, rule change,” Izuku mumbles. “First person to hold down the other thumb for three seconds wins. We can’t let this go on forever .”

“Agreed. Additional suggestion; we both stop dodging, because nothing is getting done.”

“Fair. Okay, on three,” Izuku says. “Three… two… one!”

At the same moment, both of their thumbs strike out against each other. One pins the other, and three, two, one-!

“I WIN!!”

A heavy sigh. “I lose, then.”

Very confused, Cementoss announces, “The winner is… Midoriya Izuku, I guess?”

The crowd breaks out into confused cheering.

“That was… an interesting match, no question!” Present Mic announces. “Um. The next match begins in five minutes.”

Shinsou and Izuku walk off together. “…Good game, Midoriya.” Shinsou says.

“You too!” Izuku cheerfully says back, although, after a second, their smile drops. “Except, um… I am sorry about the fact that you can’t move on. I wish things could have been different.”

Shinsou sighs. “Well, it wasn’t up to us, so I don’t blame you. I guess from now on, all I can do is cheer you on from the sidelines.”

“You’re taking this very well.”

In response, Shinsou shrugs. “I’ll get bitter about it later. For now, I’ll just settle with being happy for you. You deserve to be in the Hero Course just as much as I do.”

“…Thanks, Shinsou-kun.”


When Izuku starts making their way up to the stands to watch the other matches, the first person they run into is Kirishima.

“Heey! Midoriya!” Kirishima waves. “Yo, that match?! Hilarious!! Oh man, you really are a riot!”

“Ah, thanks,” Izuku accepts the praise awkwardly. Suddenly, the events from right before the match flash in their mind and they decide to ask, “Hey Kirishima-kun, do you know what happened with Orenji-san right before the match?”

Kirishima freezes. “Ah, well… yeah.”

“…Well?” Izuku pushes. “What happened? I ran into her and she seemed so upset…”

“She… she got in a… let's say, argument with Bakugou.”

“Bakugou?” Izuku repeats. It’s not surprising that Bakugou would be one for an argument, but Orenji seemed like a reasonable person when they met her, so why would she get in an argument? “What did they get in an argument about?”

Kirishima hesitates for a second, then mumbles, “…It was about… about you, actually. Bakugou was saying some pretty… harsh stuff about you being quirkless and all. And Orenji… well, because she developed her quirk late, she was functionally quirkless for most of her life, so she kind of took it… sort of personal. They argued, Bakugou said some pretty mean things to her too, and then she ran off.”

Now Izuku feels guilty. She’d gotten so upset because she was trying to stick up for me…? “…Do you know where I can find her?” Izuku asks after a second.

After a moment of consideration, Kirishima suggests, “She might be in the Class A waiting room right now. She probably wants to be alone, and we’re all out here watching the other matches, so it would be empty…”

Izuku nods to him. “Thanks. I’ll see you around.”

“You too! Good luck!”

Kirishima waves at them again as they walk away.

When they get there, they see Orenji sitting at one of the tables. Her eyes are red from crying, she’s still sniffling a little, and she’s typing something into her phone furiously.

“Orenji-san?” Izuku calls softly, hoping not to startle her.

Her head snaps up. “O-oh, it’s you,” She mumbles, turning off her phone and setting it aside. She quickly rubs at her eyes to try and get rid of any more tears, but she’s not crying anymore, so it’s more out of habit than anything. “Sorry, I… I just, um…”

“I heard what happened,” Izuku says. “Bakugou can be pretty…” they trail off, unable to think of a good enough word to describe it.

“He was just,” Orenji murmurs, “He was saying such awful things, and I couldn’t stand it.”

There’s a pause. “Um, I wanted to say thank you.”

Orenji looks over to them curiously. “For what?”

“Earlier, in the cavalry battle. Your team helped out my team. And I didn’t get to thank you for that.”

She shrugs. “It wasn’t much. You probably could have handled it.”

“Still. Thanks.”

“…You’re welcome.”

“…Anyway, I’m sure it’s almost time for the next match by now.” Izuku sighs. “We should head back out there so we can watch it.”

“We?” Orenji echoes, surprised.

“I don’t think I should just leave you here. It must be really lonely.”

Orenji doesn’t answer for a moment. Then, quietly, she says, “Okay. Let’s go.”


Meanwhile…


Shouto walks down the hallway, making his way to the stadium.

Midoriya's words echo through his head with every step. Don't do something purely out of spite, huh…?

Just then, he feels the temperature rise, and immediately he tenses.

"Shouto-"

"I have to get to the stadium," He cuts in. "Wouldn't want me to be late, would you?"

"We're not done with our discussion from earlier-" Endeavor growls.

Shouto pushes past him and walks down the hallway faster than before. “Yes we are.”

“You need to stop being so selfish,” Endeavor continues anyway, “This childish tantrum has gone on for long enough!”

Shouto doesn’t reply. He focuses on the end of the hall ahead of him.

“Are you even listening to me?! Shouto!”

He grits his teeth and presses on forward. Shut up. Just shut up.

“Fine! I’ll let it slide this time, because you have a match to get to. But we will finish this conversation at some point, Shouto!”

No, we won’t, He thinks bitterly.

Shouto doesn’t even notice, but any thought of listening to Midoriya’s advice is gone from his mind.


Izuku and Orenji separate once they get to the stands. Izuku invites her to sit with them and the others, but she politely declines (“I think I’ll go sit with my friends. They were probably worried about me, so I should reassure them”) .

Just in time for the match, Izuku sits down with Shinsou, Hatsume, Natsuki, and Sora.

As soon as they sit in the chair, Garby uses everyone’s shoulders as a bridge to get to them.

Hatsume pouts. “I wanted to snuggle him longer…”

Izuku shrugs. “Sorry. Guess I’m just a Garby magnet.”

The little screen on Garby’s forehead shows a large smiley face.

With that, everyone turns their attention to the area below as the announcements start.  

“Next up! First we have a student who came in on recommendations and has maintained a respectable second place so far in the festival! It’s Todoroki Shouto from the Hero Course!

“And for the challenger- Sero Hanta, also from the Hero Course!”

“I like how he pointed out that I hadn’t done much,” Shinsou mutters, “But when it’s a kid from the Hero Course, oh no, it doesn’t matter if he hasn’t done much, does it?”

“Someone sounds bitter,” Sora says. “…You’re not wrong though.”

“Would it kill them to at least pretend not to have favoritism?” Natsuki mumbles. “It’s very unprofessional.”

They fall silent as the match starts.

And for a moment, the fight almost seems fair.

As soon as Cementoss declares "Go", Sero instantly lashes out and traps Todoroki in tape.

I hope Todoroki wins, Izuku thinks to themself absentmindedly. It would be a shame if he was trying so hard to win, only to get out in the first round-

A literal glacier forms in the center of the stadium. Sero is completely trapped in ice.

"Um…" Shinsou mutters, "You know what? I'm not that sad about losing to you anymore. Have fun with that."

"It's been nice knowing you," Hatsume says.

"…Oof." Is all Sora says in reaction.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Izuku mumbles. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go scream into the void."

"We'll have another five minute break-" Present Mic announces, but is interrupted. After a moment, his voice returns, "And, um. If anyone happens to see… a weasel? Could you please report it to the main office…?"

Everyone looks over at Garby. Garby's screen continues to show a smile, but it now it's definitely a smug one.

"…He's a ferret, not a weasel," Izuku reasons.

"Wh…" Natsuki mumbles, confused, "What did he even do?"

"Nothing that I'm not proud of," Izuku smiles.

"Well," Hatsume stands up, "I have to get ready for my match! See you all after!"

She skips off.

"…I get the feeling she's planning something devious." Shinsou observes as they watch her leave.

"Couldn't be any worse than planning out a thumb war with your opponent," Sora shrugs.

"I mean, I'm on Aizawa's side for that one," Natsuki reasons, "It was pretty much all they could do."

"I'd say it was half logic and half spite," Shinsou says.

Izuku is only half paying attention to them as they chat away. For the most part, their attention is elsewhere. Elsewhere, in this case, being the stadium below them.

Todoroki is melting away the ice that he created.

And, though Izuku isn’t sure why, something about the situation makes him seem incredibly lonely.


Mei skips down the hallway, on a hunt.

Iida Tenya was the name, right…? Mei hums to herself. He was one of the ones on Team Todoroki…

She continues wandering for a while, until-

Ah-ha!

"Excuse me!! Hello!!" She calls, jogging to catch up to him.

Iida stops and turns around, confused. "Ah, hello…?"

"You're Iida Tenya, right?"

"That's correct."

Mei points a thumb to herself. "I'm Hatsume Mei! Your competition in the next match!"

"Ah, yes, I remember." Iida nods. "Did you want anything…?"

"Well, ya see…" Mei mumbles, trying to keep a convincing act. She feels a little bad about deceiving him, but hey, she'll let him win afterwards.

It's a win-win!


"Now then! Time for the third match!" Present Mic shouts through the loudspeakers. "First we have a contender from the first place Cavalry Battle team! From the Support Course, Hatsume Mei!!"

"I feel like Present Mic just hates me," Shinsou mutters.

"Why would he hate you?" Hikari asks.

Shinsou shrugs. "…might be bad at English class. Not important."

"Then… huh? What's this?!"

Hikari pieces together Hatsume's plan the instant Iida steps on stage.

"…Oh dear."

"Oh dear," Midoriya echoes right afterwards.

"Iida Tenya!" Present Mic shouts, "Why are you wearing a bunch of support gear?"

"It was given to me by my opponent!" Says Iida, covered from head to toe in all kinds of gadgets. "She claimed that the fight would be too unfair if I didn't have support gear as versatile as hers. Why? Is there a problem?"

"The rules state that you need to have paperwork beforehand to use additional gear."

"What?" Iida gasps, surprised. "I did not know! I'm very sorry. I shouldn't have forgotten something as important as that; I was just so moved by my opponent's sportsmanship…"

Cementoss considers it for a moment. "…I'll allow it for this one match!"

"Fantastic!" Hatsume shouts, and…

Shinsou squints. "Is… is that a microphone?"

Hikari and Midoriya share a look. "Yes, it is."


A whole fifteen minutes later, Hatsume steps out of the ring. "That's all the support items I needed to show off. Goodbye everyone!"

"I can't believe we just watched an entire ad campaign." Shinsou mutters, looking more tired than ever.

"On the contrary, I'm not quite sure what else Hatsume would have done," Hikari sighs.

"That was a completely Hatsume-chan thing to do," Sora shrugs.

Midoriya nods. "Not surprised at all."

Actually, Hikari had found Hatsume's… advertisement to be quite fascinating. She has no idea how someone could develop that many gadgets in such a short amount of time. On top of that, Hikari definitely wants to ask Hatsume how some of them even work…

"So far we've had a thumb war, a match that lasted three seconds, and an advertisement. Hopefully, the next match will actually have a fight?" Present Mic sighs.

"I don't know what you're complaining about." Aizawa comments. "Isn't it more original than just fighting? Besides, I think Recovery Girl would be thrilled."

Present Mic doesn't respond for a while, and Hikari can only imagine the expression he's wearing.

"…Next match will be in five minutes."


The next few matches pass rather uneventfully, but Izuku doesn't mind much.

Ibara beats Kaminari in seconds.

The fight between Yaoyorozu and Shoji goes on for a while, but eventually Yaoyorozu creates a bunch of tape and binds Shoji's limbs together, immobilizing him.

In the next match, Uraraka almost immediately sends Kirishima floating through the air. Izuku can't help but feel that was a bit of a bad match-up for Kirishima, but they're still glad that Uraraka won.

In the match between Asui and Ashido, Ashido holds off her opponent for a while, but eventually Asui manages to grab a hold of her and toss her out of the ring.

Now it's time for the last match before mine… Izuku thinks. Absentmindedly, they go through a process of elimination, trying to figure out who goes next.

Well… the two that haven't gone yet would be-

It hits them like a bolt of lightning.

No, it can't be…

"Now! With the second highest score in the entrance exams, we have Bakugou Katsuki from the Hero Course! Versus! Orenji Ketsueki, also from the Hero Course!!"


The whole match is just hard for Izuku to watch. They route for Orenji, but…

Simply put, it isn't a fair match. No matter what Orenji does, her quirk doesn't work well against Bakugou's, especially not in a setting like this. And Bakugou… well… he’s never been one to pull any punches.

Despite their best efforts, Izuku can't help but feel a little bitter about it. They can't even say that it's solely because they wanted Orenji to win, because they hardly know her. Really, on top of that, they had just wanted Bakugou to lose. They knows it's petty and selfish, but they can't help but feel that way. They just want someone to finally beat Bakugou.

"The next match is on in five minutes!" Present Mic's voice rings through the stadium again.

Izuku sighs. "Guess it's my turn now, huh?"

"Good luck," Shinsou mutters. "Try not to die."

"I'll see what I can do," Izuku mumbles. They stand up and hand Garby off to Hatsume. "Can you watch Garby again? And make sure he doesn't get away. I don't want Endeavor to fry him."

"Why would Endeavor want to fry your ferret?" Natsuki asks.

"Don't worry about it," Izuku says, and leaves before they can question them further.

For a second they think about going to the waiting room, but they don't really want to. They doubt they could just sit somewhere without wanting to get up and move again. They're too nervous.

For now, they stick to wandering around (though, they're still conscious of staying close enough to the stadium so that they can get there when they needs to). In the back of their mind, they hears footsteps behind them, but they choose to ignore them at first. Anyone could be wandering around-

"You," A voice growls.

Izuku turns around and nearly jumps out of their skin.

Endeavor is standing there, and he's… well, just about as angry and unfriendly looking as normal. (Izuku almost wishes Garby was here to scratch his face up again.)

"What do you want?" Izuku asks eventually, when they find their voice.

"Drop out of the tournament," Endeavor says simply.

Izuku is almost sure they've misheard. "I'm… sorry, but what?"

"I said, drop out." Despite the fact that they hardly even know each other, Endeavor's tone is commanding, almost even threatening.

"And why should I do that?"

"You already beat Shoto in the previous two rounds, which was bad enough," Endeavor growls, "but if you beat him again now, he really will be out. Even if it's because of his own stupid stubbornness, I can't let my son get beaten by some… some-"

"Some quirkless nobody?" Izuku repeats what the "hero" had said earlier before they can think better of it.

"Exactly," Endeavor agrees, as if completely disregarding that it could be considered hurtful to say such things.

Of course he doesn't care, Izuku thinks.

"…I'll consider it," Izuku says, turning away.

"You had better. Or else."

"Or else what?"

"You don't want to know."

Endeavor stalks off before Izuku can even think of doing something that they might regret.

Izuku considers what Endeavor said for approximately half a second before immediately tossing it in the metaphorical trash bin. It doesn't matter what Endeavor wants, they're going to fight Todoroki fair and square, and the best of them will win.

Strangely, they almost feel more determined now. …Spite is fine as a motivator as long as it's not the only motivator, Izuku reasons.

Oh, yes. Spite is definitely not the only motivator here.


[Bonus]

“…Okay, but really.” Hitoshi says, now that Midoriya has left. “What did Garby do?

“Well, let’s look at what we know.” Sora reasons. “We know it was something that pissed off Endeavor, because Endeavor apparently wants to fry him, and we know from that, that the person who asked for the announcement earlier was probably Endeavor too. Whatever Garby did, Midoriya is proud of it. And lastly. Garby is a little shit.”

They all sit around contemplating.

“I got nothing,” Hatsume shrugs.

“On the other hand,” Natsuki says, “I wonder what the heck Endeavor did to make Midoriya so angry with him.”

“What makes you think they're pissed off at Endeavor?” Hitoshi asks.

Natsuki holds up her phone. It’s pulled up to the group chat;

 

[Support Group For A Reckless Vigilante Idiot]

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

[Image attachment] (The image shows a picture of a burning trash bag)

Hey look, it’s Endeavor.

 

“…Okay, first off, that’s hilarious, and second off, they're not really wrong?” Sora laughs.

Natsuki’s phone buzzes, and a new message pops up.

 

#1 Support Course Student:

yoooo is it endeavor hating hours, lads???

 

Hitoshi glances over at Hatsume over Natsuki’s shoulder. “You’re literally sitting right here next to us and you’re texting in the group chat?”

“I may be here, but Midoriya-kun isn’t.”

Natsuki’s phone buzzes again.

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

It’s always Endeavor hating hours, lads.

 

“Okay yeah, I see your point now, they're definitely pissed at Endeavor.”

Chapter Text

Shouto feels a little nervous as he steps into the center of the stadium for his next match, but mostly, he feels solid cold determination.

“For our next match! They've held the lead for this long- will they win again? Midoriya Izuku from the Support Course!”

Across the ring from him, Shouto sees Midoriya step up and walk to the center. Their poker face is just about as good as his own; Shouto has no idea what they could be thinking right now. They has a bunch of gadgets with them, but Shouto couldn’t guess what any of them do just by looking at them.

“Versus! Last round, he knocked out his opponent in three seconds flat! Will he have it that easy again? Todoroki Shouto, from the Hero Course!”

Shouto walks up to face Midoriya. Neither of them says anything. It’s like they’re holding a staring contest.

Briefly, Shouto does feel a little sorry that Midoriya has to fight him in only the second round of the one on one matches. Midoriya deserves a chance to prove themself, but at the same time, Shouto needs to win.

“…GO!”

“Sorry about this, Midoriya,” Shouto quickly murmurs at the same time as he steps out with his right foot.

Just as the glacier of ice appears, Shouto sees Midoriya pull out a gadget. A second later, the glacier crumbles to the ground, leaving Midoriya standing in the center, still unharmed.

“You’re gonna have to try a little harder than that,” Midoriya replies, staring him dead in the eyes.

…You know what? I was wrong. They're not just some weak kid to be pitied. I shouldn’t treat them like one, Shouto realizes. Frowning slightly, he sends out a second glacier, just a little smaller this time, as though testing to make sure if it would work the second time around.

The glacier drops even faster this time.

This time, as soon as the air clears, Midoriya runs forward.

Shouto braces himself. Wait for it… wait for it…

As soon as Midoriya is only a few meters away, Shouto sends out a wall of ice to create a barrier between them.

Despite its small size, it doesn't crumble immediately like the other two had. Which means Midoriya hasn't tried to destroy it.

Did I get them…? Shouto thinks anxiously. It couldn't be that easy...

Suddenly, just out of the corner of his eye, he sees Midoriya running at him from the side. Shouto jumps back, scrambling to get out of the way; just in time, as some kind of a thick staff slices through the air he was just standing in.

“Is that allowed?" Shouto gapes, looking at the staff in Midoriya’s hands.

Midoriya shrugs. “They didn’t not allow it. Besides, you still managed to dodge it.”

Shouto frowns again and sends out another wall of ice. A second later it breaks apart again.

“Are we really gonna keep doing that? Cause I can do this all day. Can you?”

Shouto’s frown deepens to a scowl.

From there, they fall into a pattern for a while; Midoriya tries to attack Shouto with some gadget, Shouto freezes them, Midoriya breaks themself out, repeat. All the while throughout it, though, Midoriya seems to be getting more and more frustrated, (even though, out of the two of them, Shouto is definitely the one taking more damage).

And then, Shouto does it. He makes a mistake. He slips, he trips, he falls. He knows he’s probably done for now, and he squeezes his eyes shut, and waits for the hit to come.

It never does.

Shouto opens his eyes, to see Midoriya looking at him. Midoriya looks like they've stopped mid attack.

“…I thought you said you wouldn’t go easy on me,” Midoriya eventually says, voice low.

“I didn’t,” Shouto mutters. “You’re just really str-”

“Really? Because so far you’ve only used half of your quirk.”

Shouto feels his mood sink. “I can’t use my fire. I told you this.”

“And I told you not to do things just out of spite.”

“It’s not just spite!”

Before, Shouto had been prepared to lose. Now, he’s angry. While Midoriya is still stopped, not making a move, Shouto sends a wave of ice at them again.

When the wall falls and they meet eyes again, Midoriya’s eyes are blazing with anger.

They fall into the same pattern of attacking and defending again, but this time faster, harder. Shouto can feel himself freezing, he can feel himself shaking, but it doesn’t matter right now. Right now, he’s angry, and he needs to win.

“Do you know why I’m so mad right now? Do you even know?” Midoriya yells as they continue fighting. “All my life, I’ve always had to do my best at everything! I had to give all the strength I had in everything, and even then for most people it wasn’t good enough! No matter what I do, I’ll never be good enough for some people!”

There’s a slight pause as Shouto throws up another wall of ice, but it shatters quickly. “And then!” Midoriya continues, “Here you are! Literally giving half of your all! You want to win with half of your power! Don’t you understand why that makes me angry?!”

“I am doing the best that I can do!” Shouto yells back. “I’m not using fire because all it causes is destruction! It wouldn’t make me stronger, it would make me weaker! I don’t need the stupid fire quirk!”

“Do you know how much I would have given to have your ‘stupid quirk’?!” Midoriya counters. “I would have given anything to have a quirk like yours! Just so that people can stop doubting me all the time! Even if I didn’t use it, people would still take me more seriously than they do now!”

“I don’t need anything that came from my father -”

“I don’t care about your damn father!" Midoriya shouts. “This is about you! And me!”

Midoriya shoves him, and Shouto stumbles back a few steps before losing his footing. Shakily, Shouto gets back to his feet. Despite the bright sun beating down on them from above, Shouto doesn’t think he’s ever felt so cold.

“You’re freezing yourself, Todoroki,” Midoriya says, their voice hoarse from shouting. “You’re freezing yourself right now, and you’re going to seriously hurt yourself. It can’t be worth it.”

Shouto grits his teeth. “It is worth it. I swore I would never use it… I would never use my fire in battle.”

“You don’t even have to fight me with it, just stop damaging yourself.

“I’m not going to use his quirk-”

“IT’S YOUR QUIRK, TODOROKI!” Midoriya yells, and Shouto almost feels like he can hear it echoing through the stadium. “IT’S YOUR QUIRK, NOT HIS! NOW FIGHT ME FOR REAL, DAMMIT!”





 

And. Though he doesn’t know why. Shouto remembers something in that moment. A memory- a good memory. No shouting, no crying, no fear.

It was just him and his mother. They were sitting on the couch together, watching All Might on the T.V.

“Yes, that’s right. I am here!!” The All Might on the T.V. had said. “Only you can decide to become a hero! No one else! Take this to heart, kids: You got it!”

His mother had… smiled at him. “You don’t have to do whatever you don’t want to. You only have to be a hero… if you want to be. It’s your choice. It’s okay to use your power to become what you want to be.”





 

The fire bursts from within him before he even fully realizes it. All at once Shouto suddenly feels rejuvenated, ready to fight, ready to win.

And Midoriya has the nerve to smile at him.

“You know there’s no way you can win like this,” Shouto says.

Midoriya shrugs. “Oh really? You thought that when you were trying to trap me in your ice, and I still almost beat you. I wouldn’t get too confident now, Todoroki-kun.”

Despite himself, Shouto actually laughs. “I’ll tell you what, Midoriya. You’re definitely more than just some quirkless nobody. You’re much more than that.”

Midoriya blinks in surprise at that. “…Yeah, well. You’re a lot more than the son of the number two hero,” They say. That leaves Shouto surprised for a second, but Midoriya quickly continues, “So, you ready to finish this?”

“Definitely.”

They continue their fight the same as before, only now, Shouto is using both fire and ice at the same time.

Before, he wouldn’t have even dreamed of it. But, somehow, in that moment, it feel exhilarating.

It feels right.

 

And all at once, the battle ends.

Shouto is so caught up in everything, that he almost misses it, honestly. He’s on the attack, flames rushing forward, when Midoriya throws out a single gadget into the air. As soon as the gadget meets Shouto’s flames, it releases a large shockwave throughout the entire stadium.

Suddenly there’s smoke and steam billowing everywhere. Wind rips past Shouto- he’s pretty sure he’s lost his footing too, but he’s not entirely sure what’s even going on.

All he knows is that suddenly he’s laying on his back, and there’s too much smoke and steam to see anything.

“Woah!” Present Mic shouts, “What’s going on down there? I can’t see anything!”

All at once, the air clears. And a second later, Shouto realizes something.

"Todoroki Shouto is out of bounds!” Cementoss announces. “Midoriya Izuku wins!!”

…He is, in fact, out of bounds.

And despite how determined he had been to win, somehow, losing right now doesn’t bother him at all.

 

Eventually, Shouto manages to drag himself up from the ground and walk his way off the field. He’s still waiting for the disappointment of losing to settle in, but it… doesn’t. At least not yet.

Midoriya quickly catches up to him. “Hey!” They calls at first so that Shouto will slow down. “So, uh…” Midoriya mumbles, “No hard feelings, right?”

“Why would there be?”

“Well, uh, I did beat you just now,” Midoriya says, “And um. The uh… shouting match in the middle got a bit… personal. So I just wanted to check and make sure we’re cool. Are we cool?”

Cool? Is that a pun?”

Midoriya freezes momentarily, “I-I didn’t mean it like-”

Shouto exhales from his nose, and it’s far from a full laugh, but at least it’s something. He thinks he could be smiling right now, but he’s not sure. “I know. We’re cool, yeah.”

Midoriya beams at him. “Great! Nice to know. And, I’m, um. Even while we're cool, I’m still sorry for pushing you so hard.”

“I… I think I probably needed it, to be honest,” Shouto sighs. “I… I still don’t know what I’m going to do from here. I used my fire then, and for the moment it felt great, but now I still… don’t know if I could do it again. I need to do some thinking.”

Midoriya nods. “Yeah. Of course.”

“Well, um. Congratulations. On beating me, and stuff. And good luck in your other matches.”

“Oh, uh, thanks!” Midoriya says. “So, um… I’ll see you around, I guess?”

“Yeah. See you around.”

“Bye!” Midoriya smiles and waves as they walk off.

Shouto watches them leave, then stands in the hallway contemplating for a while. He thinks about all the things he knows about Midoriya, even though he’s only known them for a day.

 

Midoriya is… really weird. Shouto eventually concludes.

…But maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


“So let me see if I’ve got this straight,” Shinsou says slowly, “Because I couldn’t hear any of what you were yelling at each other down there. But. Were you yelling at him. Because he wasn’t using his full quirk to beat you up?”

Izuku is about to protest, but after a moment of trying to think of a rebuttal, all they can say is, “Well… I mean, basically, but there was a bit more to it than that-”

There’s a loud smack as Shinsou smacks his own forehead. “Do you have a death wish? I mean, did you miss the part where he froze the entire stadium with only half his power?”

“No, no, I saw that part,” Izuku protests, “But it’s just, there was… more to it.”

“More to it?” Sora asks. “Like what?”

“Certain… factors…” Izuku says slowly. It’s more about Todoroki than it is about them, and it’s not really their place to tell the others what Todoroki told them.

“Do these certain factors, by any chance, have anything to do at all with why you’re pissed off at Endeavor?” Hatsume asks.

“I’m not pissed off at Endeavor, I just hate him because he deserves it. He’s not worth any more of my time,” Izuku mutters.

“Okay seriously, what did Endeavor do to get you this mad?” Sora questions, raising an eyebrow.

“…He threatened me and told me to back out of the Sports Festival because he was afraid I was going to beat Todoroki-kun and make him look bad.” Izuku eventually admits. It’s not the full reason they're upset, but it is a part of it, and they can tell them that much.

“Oh, shit!" Hatsume whispers, “He did that? For real?”

Izuku nods.

“What a coward,” Shinsou mutters. “What’s the point of a supposedly fair competition if you chicken out whenever you have a competent opponent? And besides, it’s not like it’s life or death here. It’s just a sporting match.”

Natsuki grimaces. “That’s pretty awful of him. I guess that explains why you were so angry at him before the match, then.”

“How’d you know I was angry at him?” Izuku asks.

“What part of ‘It’s always Endeavor hating hours, lads’ doesn’t sound confrontational and angry?” Shinsou points out.

“Oh right… I did say that… right…”

“I mean, I was just ready to accept it at face value before,” Sora says, “But now? Hell yeah, it’s always Endeavor hating hours, lads.”

“I would normally be against this kind of thing,” Natsuki says, “But given that it’s Endeavor and we now know that he puts the flaming in ‘flaming pile of garbage’ I have to agree with you on this one.”

“Ooh, I like this feisty Natsuki-chan!” Hatsume teases. “Ah, there’s nothing better to bring friends together than mutual hate.”

Izuku can only imagine how much more they would hate Endeavor if they knew all that Izuku knows about him.

As that thought crosses their mind, their train of thought ends up rather quickly at thinking about Todoroki. Izuku really hopes that they can be friends. They had been afraid that they came across too… hostile , during the fight. Admittedly, they had gotten a little carried away with themself. But, after the fight, Todoroki had seemed totally fine with it.

But is it really fine, or was he just saying it was fine so that I wouldn’t try bothering him too much?

All Izuku can hope is that they’ll get a chance to talk soon.


The next match is Iida versus Shiozaki. Izuku does their best to pay attention (they’ll have to fight the person who wins next, after all) but the battle is as quick as Todoroki’s first had been; Iida activates his engines right at the start, but at the same time, Shiozaki’s vines shoot out to trap him. The timing is very close, but her vines manage to trap Iida right before he reaches her. All in all, it lasts four seconds at most.

The match after that is Yaoyorozu versus Uraraka. Izuku cheers for Uraraka because they at least somewhat know her (are they friends? Does she count as a friend? They're afraid of being too presumptuous on that front…). Izuku gets the sense that if she really wanted to, Yaoyorozu could create some kind of long range weapon to keep Uraraka away, but she doesn’t manage to get anything in time; Uraraka quickly closes in, Yaoyorozu summons a short range weapon and tries to keep her away, but eventually Uraraka manages to get Yaoyorozu with her quirk. Yaoyorozu floats out of bounds and Uraraka wins.

The following match is… Asui versus Bakugou. It goes just like Bakugou’s first match, honestly. Asui tries hard, but… she just doesn’t have a good way to counter Bakugou’s quirk. Izuku is getting frustrated, and… a little nervous. It occurs to them that, if they both win their next matches, Izuku will have to fight Bakugou. They… really don’t like the sound of that.

“Your fight is next again, right?” Natsuki asks when the five minute break is called.

“Yeah,” Izuku mumbles, still not taking their eyes off the center.

“I hope you have a weedwacker or something, cause otherwise you’re uh, kinda doomed.” Shinsou says.

“…Something like that,” Izuku mumbles again. They stand up.

“Wait, by ‘something like that’ do you mean you have a weedwacker , or that you’re kinda doomed?”

“Whichever makes you feel better.”

“…Somehow, that answer makes me feel worse.”

Izuku spends their time wandering around the halls like they did last round. At the same time, they sincerely hope they won’t run into Endeavor again- as much fun as it is to spite him, Izuku does not want to be on the receiving end of the rage storm he’s probably dissolved into by now. Although, on that note, they feel a sudden wave of guilt knowing that Todoroki will have to deal with it, because for him it’s not a choice.

“Excuse me? You’re Midoriya, right?” A soft voice asks.

Nearly jumping out of their skin, Izuku turns to see Shiozaki.

“I, uh, yeah that’s me,” Izuku stutters. She was one of the people who saw me as a vigilante at the USJ… Izuku realizes, similar to how when they saw Orenji at first. …I have to be careful.

“I just wanted to wish you good luck next match,” Shiozaki says. “I know we have to fight each other, but, well. It’s nothing personal.”

“Right,” Izuku nods. “Good luck to you too.”

“…I almost want to apologize ahead of time, given that I won my last two matches so easily, but… something tells me you’ve got something up your sleeve.”

Izuku almost wants to laugh, because yes, they've got something. And it may or may not be literally up their sleeve. “I appreciate you not holding back just because… well, because of…”

“I might have thought of doing so before, but…” Shiozaki pauses. “Orenji-chan is my friend. And she’s helped me realize that quirkless people aren’t that different just because they don’t have quirks.”

“How’s she doing, by the way?” Izuku asks, remembering what had happened earlier. “I mean, after her fight with Bakugou…”

Shiozaki winces. “She’s… a bit angry. Well, no. Not ‘a bit’ angry. She is angry. She got really frustrated when he beat Tsuyu-chan last round. Obviously she’s not the Bakugou type of angry, but for her? For her standards, she’s pretty angry.”

“Oh…” Izuku mumbles.

“This might be a little rude to say,” Shiozaki murmurs, “But I hope Uraraka-chan beats Bakugou in the next match. It’s just… it feels like Bakugou always gets to win. And for once I want him to lose.”

Izuku sighs heavily. “Trust me, I know the feeling.”

“Do you have some kind of past experience with Bakugou?” Shiozaki asks suddenly. “I mean, earlier he… ah…”

“I know he was saying bad things about me before the one on one matches started.” Izuku mutters.

“Right,” Shiozaki nods awkwardly. “So, do you know him, or…?”

Izuku hesitates. Eventually, they say, “We went to the same middle school together. He was probably worse there than he is here. That’s all I’m going to say about it.”

“I can hardly imagine how hard that must have been…” Shiozaki murmurs.

Izuku shrugs. “It… could have been worse.”

 

…Could it?

 

Before the conversation continues, the loudspeakers announce, “One minute!”

“We should probably head down.” Shiozaki says.

“Right.” Izuku agrees. “…Good luck.”

“Thanks. Good luck to you too.”


“This match, we have the one who keeps coming out on top despite the odds! Are we sure they don’t actually have some kind of luck quirk? It’s Midoriya Izuku from the Support Course!”

Izuku steps up into the ring and they're practically vibrating with nervous energy. I hope this is enough…

“Versus! She laid pretty low the first two rounds, but she’s been defeating her opponents in seconds flat during the one on one matches! It’s Shiozaki Ibara from the Hero Course!”

Shiozaki steps up across from them. Izuku wonders if she’s really calm, or if she’s just good at hiding any nervousness.

“…GO!”

Almost immediately, like in Shiozaki’s other matches, vines sprout from the ground and trap Izuku.

With a silent prayer of, Please let this work, Izuku clicks the gadget in their right hand. A second later, the vines are cut and Izuku is rolling into a landing on the ground. They click the gadget in their hand again, and the blades on their forearms are sheathed back into gauntlets. Nice.

Shiozaki looks at them surprised.

Then, her surprise hardens to determination.

The vines shoot out a second time, but this time they're not meant to just trap Izuku; the vines encircle them, then fling them towards the edge of the ring. Just in time, Izuku activates their jetpack and flies away from the out of bounds line.

Upon landing, Izuku runs right at Shiozaki. A few vines shoot out at them again, but Izuku quickly activates their bladed gauntlets and slices through them, not breaking their stride.

At about ten feet away, Izuku throws one of the gadgets into the air, and a second later, a black cloud of smoke surrounds the ring. Shiozaki lets out a squeak of surprise. For a second, the vines twitch like they're about to move again, but they make no further move.

Bingo.

With a quick mental apology, Izuku reaches Shiozaki and knocks her over by kicking her feet out from under her. Hardly a few seconds later, she's pinned.

"Midoriya has Shiozaki pinned! Is this the end of the match?!"

Shiozaki hesitates for a second, then loudly announces, "I give up."

"Midoriya Izuku is the winner!!"

Izuku quickly stands up, and holds out a hand to help Shiozaki up.

"Thank you," Shiozaki says, accepting the hand. "That was a very good match. Congratulations on your win."

"Ah, thanks!" Izuku awkwardly accepts the praise. They're still not fully used to it.

"Might I ask how you knew that I would be weaker if I was cut off from sunlight?" Shiozaki asks curiously as they step away from the stadium.

"Ah-" Izuku stutters. The honest answer is that they had noticed when they looked into the student files before the USJ incident, but obviously this isn't something that they can tell her without sounding suspicious. Eventually, they say, "It just… kinda made sense. Plants need water and sunlight, so I figured that if I cut off the sunlight I might have a chance."

Shiozaki nods. "I see. Very deductive of you!"

"Can I ask you something?"

"Go ahead."

"Why did you give up?" Izuku asks. "You probably could have fought back once the smoke effect wore off."

"Well," Shiozaki hums, "if it had been a real fight, it would have ended there. The only reason you hadn't taken me out was that this match was just training. You beat me fair and square, at least in my eyes."

Izuku nods. “Thanks.”

“It was the right thing to do,” Shiozaki shrugs.

It occurs to Izuku, suddenly, that the next match is Bakugou against Uraraka. “Hey, do you know where I could find Uraraka-san?”

Shiozaki considers it for a second. “She could be in the waiting room. I’d look for her there first. If not then… well, she’ll be somewhere around here.”

“Thanks!” Izuku quickly says before turning to go look for Uraraka.


When they do find her, she’s in the waiting room, just like Shiozaki had suggested.

“Uraraka-san?” Izuku says softly to catch her attention.

Her head snaps up to see them enter. “Oh, hey Midoriya-kun. Nice job beating Shiozaki-chan. That must have been hard.”

“Yeah.” There’s a momentary pause, before Izuku continues, “So, you have to fight Bakugou.”

Uraraka nods. “Yep.”

“And… how are you handling that?”

“I’m fine,” Uraraka says. “Just trying to think of a plan.”

Izuku hesitates for a second, then offers, “I can help you come up with a plan to beat him, if you want. I think you really do have a chance.”

Uraraka smiles. “I appreciate it, but… no thanks. I’ve… got my own plan I'm working on. And I want to be able to do this without having to rely on anyone else.”

“Yeah, I get that. Okay.” Izuku probably knows what it’s like more than anyone how it feels to need to do something by yourself. “Again though… you have a chance. You really do. I believe in you.”

“Thanks, Midoriya-kun.” Uraraka stands up from the table she’s sitting at. “I should probably get going now, I think…”

“Okay,” Izuku says. “Good luck!”

Uraraka nods. “I… I’ll see you in the finals, Midoriya-kun.” With a brave smile and a thumbs up, Uraraka finally turns and leaves.


 

Bonus:

“Hatsume, what are you doing.” Hitoshi says, completely and absolutely just done.

Hatsume pauses, and looks up at him. “…Would you believe me if I said I was… definitely not betting on the winners?”

“Isn’t betting a little dangerous?” Natsuki questions. “You could lose a lot of money…”

“Oh please,” Hatsume waves it off, “After beating half-hot half-cold dude, there’s no way that Midoriya-kun could lose. Like, seriously. Are they just made of determination or something? Absolute madlad.”

“I just really hope Uraraka-chan beats Bakugou’s ass this round,” Sora mutters.

Natsuki raises an eyebrow at that. “What’s with you being so against Bakugou?”

“Well,” Sora says, a bit hesitant, “You know how Midoriya-kun and I went to the same school for a while? Well, Bakugou went to the same school too, and let’s just say…” Sora seems to choose his words carefully, “He’s not a very heroic person.”

“I think he’s just full of it,” Hatsume mutters. “Seriously, at the beginning he declared that he was gonna win; wow, way to go, what a motivational speech.”

“He’s not been wrong so far, though.” Natsuki mumbles.

“He’ll be wrong when Uraraka kicks his ass,” Hitoshi counters.

“Wait, wait, wait!” Hatsume says, “Let’s ask Midoriya-kun for their take on the situation!”

 

[Support Group For A Reckless Vigilante Idiot]

 

#1 Support Course Student:

hey mido, do u think uraraka is gonna kick bakugou’s ass??

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

Oh yeah definitely, he’s about to be absolutely destroyed

 

“Midoriya-kun has spoken!” Hatsume cheers, “Bakugou will lose!”

Hitoshi rolls his eyes.

Chapter Text

“Hey Midoriya-kun, I think I accidentally killed Garby.” Hatsume says.

“You’re kidding, right?” Izuku asks. They're pretty sure she is kidding; she probably would approach the matter much more carefully if she wasn’t.

Hatsume holds up Garby, who continues laying in her hands without so much as a twitch in protest. “He’s been sleeping like this for like. Five whole matches.”

“He gets sleepy sometimes,” Izuku shrugs. “Here, let me see him.” Hatsume hands Garby over, and Izuku shakes him a bit (though, they're careful to not do anything that would actually hurt him). “Come on buddy, wakey wakey. You were the one who wanted to be here.”

It takes a bit, but eventually Garby opens his eyes. “See? He’s fine.”

“Oh, that’s a relief,” Natsuki sighs.

“Garby is like, a non mortal being,” Sora says. “There’s just no way for him to actually die.”

Izuku shrugs. “There might be some truth to that. When I found him he was already a fully grown ferret, and if you calculate the fact that this was five years ago and ferrets only live six to ten years, it’s very possible he’s just immortal.”

“God bless,” Shinsou says.

“Now then, it’s time for the second to last match!” Present Mic announces.

“I’m pretty sure those are called ‘Semi-finals’, Mic,” Aizawa says dryly.

“Right! The Semi-finals!”

“Aizawa is so relatable,” Shinsou mutters. “Although, I wonder why everyone calls him by the name Aizawa. Every other teacher is referred to by their hero name, but I don’t even know Aizawa’s hero name.”

“That’s because Eraserhead is an underground hero,” Izuku explains.

“Wait, what. You. You mean that Aizawa. Aizawa is Eraserhead ?” Shinsou asks, disbelieving.

“Yeah?” Izuku confirms, confused. "Did you not… know this?"

“Class 1-A gets taught by the hero Eraserhead?” Shinsou asks again, still not fully comprehending.

“Shinsou-kun is an Eraserhead fanboy,” Sora accuses.

This snaps Shinsou out of his shock. “I- well, I mean-” He stammers, “No! It’s not like that, I just. Okay, maybe a little bit. He’s just really cool.”

Izuku smiles at that. They remember how excited they were to meet All Might, even though…

Even… though…

“Guys, sh, the match is starting!” Hatsume says eagerly. “I don’t want to miss a second of this if Uraraka really is going to kick Bakugou’s ass.”

Izuku looks back down to the center of the stadium. They’re standing, waiting. It’s as if the whole stadium itself is holding its breath.

“…GO!”

Uraraka runs forward first, towards Bakugou.

She seems so sure of herself. That means she has to have a solid plan, right…?

Before Uraraka can get to him, Bakugou blasts her with an explosion. Izuku winces in sympathy as a cloud of smoke springs up over the field.

When the smoke clears, Uraraka springs backwards. Then, the process repeats.

As Uraraka runs forward, over and over again, Izuku has a hard time figuring out what exactly her plan is. Is she trying to exhaust him? Is it supposed to be an endurance match?

Eventually, Bakugou gets tired of the repetitive circle. Amidst the smoke, Izuku sees a glimpse of Uraraka’s coat, and apparently Bakugou sees it too; he fires an explosion in that direction…

A second later, when Izuku sees Uraraka running at Bakugou from behind, coatless, they realize it was a decoy.

She’s got him-!

Just in time, Bakugou swings around and fires an explosion. Izuku cringes at how close the explosion must have been to her. Doesn’t he care at all if he seriously hurts someone?

Izuku almost thinks it’s a lost cause, when a bit of rubble catches his eye. A bit of rubble that’s floating upwards. Slowly, Izuku glances up.

“At this rate, I think she’s going to lose,” Hatsume mutters, worried.

“Uh, hey guys,” Izuku mumbles.

“That can’t be!” Sora protests, “There has to be something…!”

“Hey. Guys.” Izuku says more insistently this time. They don’t say anything, and so Izuku continues, “Look up.”

Above the stadium is a whole meteor shower's worth of rubble that must have been blasted up by Bakugou’s quirk, and held in place by Uraraka’s quirk.

“Oh dear god,” Shinsou murmurs.

“And I thought Bakugou was the one being overkill…” Natsuki says.

They all look back down to the stadium.

Uraraka and Bakugou appear to be yelling at each other, but from the distance, they can’t hear whatever it is they’re shouting.

And then, Uraraka brings her hands together.

 

And all the rubble in the sky starts to fall.

 

It’s hard to see through all of the falling stone, but Uraraka runs towards Bakugou for one final time.

Bakugou fires upward blasts, trying to stop the rubble, but it’s too late.

Amidst the falling rubble, Uraraka manages to activate her quirk on Bakugou.

Izuku leaps up out of their seat and cheers.

Bakugou tries to take control of the situation, but when he fires a blast again, he ends up spinning out of control.

Out of bounds.

“Bakugou Katsuki is out of bounds! Uraraka Ochako wins!”

Uraraka stumbles for a second, like she’s about to fall.

Izuku feels a wave of worry for her wash over them.

But, she stays standing. And victoriously, she raises a fist to the air.

 

The crowd breaks out into cheers.


Ochako is pretty sure she’s never felt so tired in her entire life. She had managed to hold on until she had left the eyes of the stadium, but now that she’s by herself, she just wants to take a nap.

She stops into Recovery Girl’s office and (after getting a thorough scolding for pushing herself too far) the nurse gave her some energy gummies. Apparently she’ll need much more sleep than usual later, but for now, she can keep going.

She steps out of Recovery Girl’s office and right outside of it she finds Midoriya, waiting for her.

“Uraraka-san! Hi!” They greet. “Congratulations on winning, I’m so happy for you!”

“Aw, thanks!” Ochako accepts. “So, next I gotta fight you, huh?”

“I almost want to say I’m glad I have to fight you instead of Bakugou,” Midoriya says, “But to be honest you’re probably more terrifying.”

Ochako laughs at the idea of being called terrifying, but she understands why. “I… went a little overboard with my last attack, huh?”

“Well, I mean. It worked.”

“You know, you’re pretty terrifying yourself,” Ochako points out.

“Huh?” Midoriya blinks surprised. “Why’s that?”

“I mean… you did beat Todoroki-kun. That’s pretty hardcore.”

Midoriya shrugs. “I guess. All right, so maybe we’re on equal grounds of terrifyingly and secretly strong.”

Ochako laughs. “…And, uh, hey. It might be a bit soon to presume, but… I’m looking forward to when you finally get into the Hero Course.”

Midoriya looks at her, surprised. For a while, they don’t say anything. Then, when she almost thinks they won’t talk at all, they murmur, “Thanks.”


Izuku decides to wait in one of the waiting rooms this time. There’s not as much space to pace around, but they think maybe it’ll be harder for someone to find them here than if they were wandering the hallways. Right now, they just wants to be alo-

The door slams open. Or maybe not.

Izuku turns to see Bakugou standing angrily in the doorway.

“What do you want?” Izuku asks. Just seeing Bakugou makes their anxiety rise, and they're suddenly very grateful they're not fighting him in the next match.

“You," Bakugou snarls. “You’re friends with that stupid floaty chick, and you’re the one who gave her that plan to beat me, aren’t you?!”

Suddenly, they're not anxious anymore. They're angry. “Uraraka. Her name is Uraraka. And Uraraka-san came up with that plan all by herself, it had nothing to do with me.”

“Yeah right!” Bakugou yells. “It’s just like you to stick your nose in situations where it doesn’t belong! And it’s just like you to ruin this whole thing for me, just like you ruin everything!”

“I ruin everything?” Izuku snaps before they can think better of it.

“What was that?” Bakugou growls, suddenly quiet.

“Nothing. Forget it.”

Bakugou scoffs. “Just like you. You’ve always been just a coward.

He takes a step forward, and Izuku flinches backward. He wouldn’t try and attack me right now, would he? Not here- and besides, he’s left me alone until now-

Izuku has no idea whether or not Bakugou would have attacked then, but suddenly Bakugou yelps in surprise.

For a second, Izuku is confused, and then Garby is climbing all the way up Bakugou’s leg and then his torso-

“Garby, no!”

Garby scratches up Bakugou’s arm.

“What the hell- get off !” Bakugou exclaims, waving his arm to get rid of Garby.

Garby jumps down and then runs off out the door.

“Get back here you damn weasel!! ” Bakugou yells, and chases Garby out the door.

“…He’s a ferret.” Izuku whispers into the now-empty room. Shaking, Izuku sits back down.

That had been… close.

They press their forehead to the table, and focus just on trying to calm down before their next match.


“What do you mean you don’t know where he went?” Natsuki asks.

“It’s fine, Garby is unkillable.” Sora shrugs.

“That’s a funny theory and all, but Garby is just a ferret, he could get seriously hurt or something!” Natsuki protests.

Mei stares at the entrance, waiting to see if Garby comes back.

“Do you want me to go after him?” Shinsou asks.

“He’s probably long gone by now,” Natuski mumbles, biting her nails. “Oh no, what if someone found him and took him to the main office-”

“GARBY!” Mei exclaims excitedly as the ferret runs back through the entryway.

Garby quickly runs over and hops into a seat. Just then, Bakugou goes running by the entrance, yelling, “WHERE THE HELL DID YOU GO, YOU STUPID WEASEL?!”

Mei, Natuski, Shinsou, and Sora all share a look. Then they look to Garby. The little screen on his head displays a smiley face.

What did he do this time?


“It’s time for the final match!” Present Mic announces.

For now, Izuku is so overwhelmed that they've circled right back around to a deadly calm. They'll have to deal with their feelings later, but for now, they can focus on the fight.

“They've maintained first place for the whole thing, but will they trip over the final hurdle? Midoriya Izuku from the Support Course!”

Keeping their focus on just breathing, Izuku steps forward.

“Versus! The underdog of Class 1-A; who thought she’d get this far? Uraraka Ochako from the Hero Course!”

Uraraka steps up.

Another deep breath.

“…and, GO!”

Uraraka runs forward, and Izuku waits for her to come to them. From Uraraka’s perspective, all she has that she can use against them here is her quirk. To use her quirk on them, she needs to touch them. To win, Izuku just needs to dodge, and also make sure that there’s nothing else she can float to use against them.

Uraraka reaches out to touch them and activate her quirk, and they duck to avoid it. They spring backwards before she can lash out again, and they reach for a gadget on their belt.

The gadget in question is supposed to be a net; throw it out and it’ll expand and (hopefully) trap whoever you’re throwing it at. Izuku just needs an opening to throw it.

Uraraka runs at them again, and Izuku continues to dodge. If the match with Bakugou was any indication, she’s not going to give them any room to breathe.

Both of them are waiting for the perfect opening, and the first person to make a mistake is almost certainly out.

They continue running around in circles, dodging and attacking.

 

Uraraka lashes out to attack them again.

Izuku dodges, but just then, Uraraka’s opposite hand manages to catch them off guard and it hits them once it’s too late to notice it.

Izuku slowly floats upwards.

No…! I refuse to give up yet!

Izuku scrambles to grab the grappling hook from their belt and they aim it at the ground.

SHINK

It keeps them from floating away, like an anchor to the ground. At least for now, that’s enough. They keep their right hand firmly on the handle, but that leaves them with only their left hand to attack or defend.

Uraraka gapes up at them as they hang onto the grappling hook for dear life. Then she looks at the spot where the hook goes to the ground.

She glances back up at them. “No hard feelings!”

Oh my god, she’s going to try to detach it from the ground, Izuku realizes as she runs forward.

Uraraka reaches the end of the hook and she starts kicking it, hoping to make it come loose.

Wait… she’s staying in that spot. She’s not moving!

With their left hand, Izuku pulls the net off their belt. They can feel its weight, which means it’s not affected by the zero gravity like is. That means it can be thrown.

Last try here!

Desperately, Izuku throws out the net. Halfway to reaching the ground, it expands into it’s full size.

“What the-?!” Uraraka exclaims just as it falls on top of her.

There’s a beat of silence as Izuku floats above the ring and Uraraka struggles in the net.

Then, Cementoss asks, “Uraraka, can you move?”

Uraraka struggles for a bit more, but eventually heaves a sigh. “No, I can’t.”

“Uraraka Ochako can no longer move!” Cementoss declares. “Midoriya Izuku wins!”

Izuku feels a wave of relief wash over them.

Suddenly, gravity returns to them and they fall down to the ground with a surprised yell.

Luckily though the fall wasn’t from that high up, so it doesn’t actually hurt too much. Izuku glances at Uraraka, still trapped in the net. “…No hard feelings?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Uraraka says. “Can you help me out of this thing?”

Izuku nods, and helps detangle her from the net. Once off of Uraraka, the net collapses in on itself and goes back into a portable form. Izuku offers their hand to help Uraraka up, and she accepts.

She nods. “Good match.”

“Thanks! Uh, you too! That was exciting.”

“Yeah. Congratulations! You just won the entire Sports Festival. That’s really cool!” Uraraka cheers. “I’m happy for you.”

“You’re not mad that you lost?” Izuku asks hesitantly.

Uraraka contemplates it for a bit. “…Nah. I got really far. I beat Bakugou. For now, that’s enough for me.” She gives them a playful punch on the shoulder. “You got this victory all by yourself! Fair and square! Be proud of it.”

 

Now that the finals are over, all the other students who participated in the festival are coming down to the center for the awards ceremony.

“MIDORIYA-KUN!” Izuku hears Hatsume yell from off to the side. This time they manage to brace themself right before she tackles them with a hug.

Still holding them in a tight grip, Hatsume jumps up and down excitedly. “You won! Oh my god, you actually won! Dude, that’s crazy!!” She drops her voice down to a whisper, “Also you helped me win fifty bucks, thanks.”

“What?”

Hatsume pulls away and out of the hug. “I totally didn’t bet on the match, ahahaha, what, that’s crazy!”

Izuku doesn’t know which surprises them more, that Hatsume would bet or that she bet fifty dollars they would win. They decide not to press the subject.

“Um, I’m gonna go find Iida-kun,” Uraraka says. “Actually, now that I think about it, he kinda disappeared a while ago…” A concerned look crosses her face. “I’ll see ya later, I gotta go.”

“Good luck!” Izuku calls after her. Wonder what’s up with Iida…?

“Iida’s the guy I fought, right?” Hatsume frowns. “I hope I didn’t upset him.”

“He still fought Shiozaki-san though, and that was after your fight.”

“Hmm.”

Shinsou walks up to them then. “Hey guys.”

“Hey Shinsou-kun,” Izuku greets brightly.

“So uh… care to tell us if you know anything about what Garby was up to?” Shinsou asks.

Izuku thinks back to Garby scratching Bakugou. “…Well. Again. It’s nothing I’m not proud of.”

“He scratched Bakugou, didn’t he,” Shinsou accuses, deadpan.

“Where would you get that idea?” Izuku asks nervously.

“Because after Garby came back, Bakugou ran by shouting about some stupid weasel,” Hatsume explains.

At least Garby escaped. “…He’s a ferret, not a weasel,” Izuku says innocently. “I don’t know why Bakugou would be angry at a weasel.”

“Of course not,” Hatsume agrees, with a devious smile that suggests she doesn’t believe it for a second.


So, All Might is the one handing out the medals… Izuku thinks slowly.

The last time they saw All Might, the hero had told them… that they couldn’t be a hero if they were quirkless. Izuku tries not to hold it against him, but it still hurts a little.

…Maybe a bit more than a little.

Now, All Might has to give them a gold medal. Izuku has no idea how that’ll go over, and they almost want to skip out on it all together, but that would draw too much attention if they just ran off now.

The medals are handed out starting from third, then second, then first, so the others get the medals first. Except…

“Where is Bakugou Katsuki?” All Might asks.

After a moment of hesitation, Shiozaki answers, “He, uh, said he refused to accept a third place medal. He’s not coming.”

All Might frowns. “Oh well. I suppose he doesn’t have to receive a medal if he doesn’t want one.” He clears his throat. “Well then! Shiozaki Ibara, you fought very well today! You should be proud of yourself, even if it’s only third place!”

Shiozaki nods. “It’s an honor to be here.”

All Might gives her the bronze medal, then moves on to Uraraka. “I am very pleasantly surprised to see you do so well, Uraraka Ochako! You’ve proven yourself to be quite talented and resourceful today! Good job reaching second place!”

“I’m happy to be here.” Uraraka says, eyes shining.

Then All Might moves up to Izuku.

“Well, this is a surprise.” All Might says. “Midoriya Izuku, not from Hero Class A or B, but from Support Class H. It must have taken a lot of determination to get this far! Getting first place is a great achievement! You should be proud.”

“I just want to be a hero,” Izuku says, lightly.

All Might nods in understanding. “Maybe someday you will be.”

They shouldn’t, but Izuku can’t help but focus on the wording of it. Maybe someday you will be. Not “You can be a hero”. A maybe someday.

I’m sure he didn’t mean it like that, Izuku tells themself.

 

…But they can’t help but doubt a little.


The next day is technically a day off from school, but really, it’s the Sports Festival for the second years.

Izuku had almost skipped out on it, chosen to take a day off, but then Hatsume had messaged the group chat and suggested that the group of them hang out at the Sports Festival for fun. So, that's where Izuku is; they're watching the second years' Sports Festival with their friends.

Watching it is a lot less stressful when you’re not supposed to participate in it, and hanging out with their friends is a plus, so Izuku is enjoying themself.

Although, the day is going much faster considering how Hero Class 2-A is, ah, nonexistent. Apparently they were all expelled last year.

A bit harsh, maybe, Izuku thinks.

It’s all going well… until Izuku’s phone buzzes as a message comes through. They look down at it and frown.

“Midoriya-kun?” Sora asks. “What is it?”

“It’s Nedzu,” Izuku mumbles, still frowning. “He says that if I’m here, I need to come to his office right away.”

Sora frowns with them. “Did he say why?”

“No,” Izuku looks over the message again. “That’s all it says, really. It’s very vague.”

“You should probably go see what it’s about,” Natsuki suggests. “It could be important.”

“…All right.”

 

A few minutes later, Izuku is at Nedzu’s office, knocking on the door. “Um, it’s me.”

“Ah, Midoriya-kun,” Nedzu says from the other side. “Come on in.”

Izuku opens the door and steps inside. Nedzu is sitting at his desk, staring at his computer, with his… fingers? Paws? Whatever they are, they’re together. He seems to be contemplating something.

“Am… am I in trouble?” Izuku asks carefully.

Nedzu doesn’t answer. “Midoriya-kun, come over here. I want you to see this.”

The last time Izuku felt this nervous, they were worried that they were about to be expelled from UA after Nedzu found out about the whole vigilante thing.

All in all, Nedzu isn’t the most comforting person (creature?) to be around.

They're not sure what it is that they're expecting when they step behind Nedzu’s desk to look at the computer, but what they see definitely is not what they were expecting.

 

It’s security footage. From their old middle school.

 

Nedzu presses play.

For a moment, nothing happens.

Then, Izuku sees themself run across the screen… being chased by Bakugou.

Izuku cringes as the video continues.

To put it simply, it’s… not pretty. By the end of it, past-Izuku is stuck, shoved in a locker.

The video ends, and the silence in the room suddenly feels deafening.

 

“I…” Izuku mumbles, having a hard time breathing, “Where did you find this…?”

“It was sent to me by an anonymous source,” Nedzu says, deadly serious. “And I wanted to check with you. Is this footage real?”

Izuku feels their words catch in their throat. Yes. Yes, it is real. But they know that if they tell Nedzu that, Bakugou will get in trouble. For all that’s happened between them, Izuku… doesn’t really want to get Bakugou in trouble.

“It’s a simple question,” Nedzu says, snapping them back to reality. “Is the footage real or is it not?”

I can’t just lie to Nedzu, Izuku reasons, But Bakugou will have to face the consequences…

 

From somewhere deep within their mind, a voice whispers, If Bakugou didn’t want to face the consequences, he shouldn’t have done it in the first place.

 

“…Yes.” Izuku murmurs just above a whisper, just loud enough to hear. “It’s real.”

Nedzu nods. “That’ll be all, Midoriya-kun. You can go back to your friends now.”

Izuku does their best to keep their composure as they leave Nedzu’s office, but once they're out of it, they speed away like their feet are on fire.

When Izuku gets back to the stadium, they collapse into their seat, hardly breathing.

“Midoriya?” Natsuki asks, concerned. “Are you all right?”

Izuku doesn’t say anything for a while, staring into space.

 

Who did it? Who could have sent Nedzu that footage?

Who?

 

“Midoriya,” Shinsou says softly from their side, “You need to breathe, okay? You don’t have to explain anything yet, just breathe.”

Somehow, Izuku takes in a deep breath.

“Midoriya-kun? You good?” Sora asks, nervously.

“I’m good,” Izuku manages to say. “I just. Don’t want to talk about it.”

Sora would have known about what happened with Bakugou, Izuku realizes.

…No. He wouldn’t have done this. It’s not his style. Or he would have at least told me first, right?

“We won’t push it then,” Hatsume says. “Do you want to go home, or…?”

Izuku shakes their head. “I just need something different to focus on. I’d rather be here with you guys than go home.”

Hatsume nods. “Okay.”

Izuku doesn’t think they've ever appreciated their friends as much as they do right now. Just having their comfort here is enough.

 

…They've come a long way from being the kid who got shoved in lockers all the time.


“What the heck is up with that guy?” Izuku asks the next day, when the group is once again meeting up to watch the Sports Festival- this time, the third years'. “Togata Mirio, I think- didn’t he have a different quirk last year?”

“A different quirk?” Shinsou frowns. “I don’t think you can just have a different quirk.”

“No, I’m serious,” Izuku says. “Last year when I watched the Sports Festival on TV, his quirk was just that he could phase through objects. Why does he suddenly have super strength or something?”

Sora hums. “It’s some kind of freak mutation, I think. Mutations in quirks always mess my quirk up.” He squints at Togata. “For example, my quirk still tells me that his quirk is Permeation, the quirk that lets him phase through things, but that has nothing to do with the super strength he’s displaying.”

“Your quirk just… glitches out sometimes?” Natsuki asks bewildered.

Sora shrugs. “Yeah. Sometimes my quirk tells me that people who’s quirks came in late are still quirkless. Sometimes my quirk tells me random quirks for people who are supposedly quirkless; the case being that either the quirks are too obscure to be found out, or maybe they were just meant to have that quirk and… didn’t get it.” 

He lets out a laugh. “I mean, my quirk tells me that All Might is quirkless for christ’s sake, so yeah, I think it just breaks sometimes.”

“Weird quirk,” Shinsou comments. Just then, Shinsou’s phone buzzes. “…It’s an email from Nedzu asking me to come see him in his office.” He looks up from his phone. “Should I be nervous?”

“Terribly so.” Sora nods.

“Sora-kun!” Izuku protests. “We don’t know if it’s good or bad and scaring him is just mean.”

“Oh, it’s good all right,” Sora mutters. “Whatever it is, it’s good for the rat. And occasionally you get lucky and whatever is good for the rat is good for you too.”

“You don’t think too highly of Nedzu, do you, Sora?” Natsuki notices.

“I have my reasons.”

Izuku turns to Shinsou. “I’m sure you’ll be fine. Go on, you haven’t really done anything that’ll get you in trouble.”

Shinsou nods, and stands up. “I’ll be back.”

Ten minutes later, Shinsou returns with an unreadable expression on his face.

Remembering how it went for them yesterday, Izuku asks, “Shinsou-kun? Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” Shinsou immediately responds. He sinks into the seat next to Izuku.

“…What happened?” Izuku asks. “You seem… off.”

Shinsou stares at Izuku for a moment. Izuku still can’t read his expression. After a long moment of hesitation, Shinsou answers, “Nedzu just told me I’ve been moved to the Hero Course Class A.”

For a moment, Izuku doesn’t process fully what that means. Why isn’t Shinsou happy? He gets to be in the Hero Course-

 

It hits them all at once.

Shinsou was moved to the Hero Course…

 

…And Izuku wasn’t.

 

 

“Midoriya?” Shinsou asks, and Izuku realizes now, it’s guilt. That’s what Shinsou is feeling.

For a moment, Izuku drowns in bitter feelings. They feel the jealousy, the unfairness, the hopelessness…

 

And then, they let it all go.

“I’m happy for you,” Izuku says eventually. “Really, I am. Both of us equally deserved to be in the Hero Course. And even if I didn’t get moved… at least you did.”

“Aren’t you upset?” Shinsou asks. “Aren’t you mad that it wasn’t you?”

Izuku takes a deep breath. “I’ll get mad about it later. For now, I’m just going to be happy for you. Congratulations, Shinsou-kun. I… really am happy for you. You deserve it.”

“Not as much as you, though.” Shinsou mutters.

“I’m pretty sure if you beat me at that thumb war, you would have been as great as I was,” Izuku tells him, forcing a smile.

“That… does beg the question though…” Natsuki mumbles.

“What question?” Izuku asks. They just want to take their mind off the subject now. They don't want to think too hard about what it means that they're not being let into the Hero Course again.

“If Shinsou got moved to the Hero Course…” Natsuki asks, “Who got moved out?”

The answer to that hits Izuku all at once too. They remember yesterday, when Nedzu called them to his office.

“Oh my god, they kicked out Bakugou,” Izuku whispers.

Their friends all turn to look at them.

“Bakugou?” Hatsume echoes, surprised. “You mean the explodey guy? Sure, he had some anger issues, but they kicked him out?"

“What makes you so sure?” Natsuki asks.

Izuku hesitates. “…Bakugou and I went to the same middle school. Yesterday, when Nedzu called me to his office, it was because he found security footage from our old school, and in it Bakugou um… was… let’s say, ‘doing less than heroic things’. He wanted me to confirm whether or not it was true.”

They’re all silent for a moment.

“I… I didn’t know Nedzu would kick him out.” Izuku whispers. “I knew he’d be in trouble, but I had no idea he’d get kicked out.

“To be fair,” Sora mutters, “He did it to himself. It’s his own fault.”

“I just…” Izuku mumbles, “The one thing I wonder is who sent Nedzu the video. He said it was anonymous. I don’t even know if Nedzu himself knows.”

“That does sound like a mystery…” Sora hums.

“For a moment, I thought maybe it was you,” Izuku comments, “But I figured you wouldn’t do that without telling me first.”

“Yeah,” Sora nods. “I wouldn’t do that to you. Still though, it must have been someone who hated him. But who would hate him enough… to…” Sora trails off, and he stands right up out of his seat.

“Sora-kun?”

“It’s the traitor!” Sora exclaims suddenly. “It has to be! Sure, everyone doesn’t like Bakugou, but he’s strong, and there’s no denying he would be good at stopping villains. But a person working for villains would have every reason to get him expelled then!”

It makes sense. Especially when Izuku thinks more about… “That’s not the only thing we know about the traitor now,” Izuku finds themself saying.

“What else is there?” Sora asks. “This is the first lead I’ve had in weeks, so tell me everything!”

“Before, you told me that the traitor knew about all of Class A’s quirks. They were looking into the files and stuff. And I thought that couldn’t be right, because Shiozaki-san and Asui-san came from the water zone at the USJ. If the traitor knew their quirks, why would they send those two to the water zone when it would benefit them the most?

"Unless if the traitor is picking favorites with the students,” Izuku says, reaching their point. “Shiozaki-san and Asui-san are both friends of Orenji-san- someone who was also there with them at the USJ. And the other day when we had our Sports Festival, Bakugou upset Orenji-san. Badly. Whoever the traitor, is they’ve decided that they like some of the students, and will probably try to keep them from harm.”

“That’s an interesting theory,” Sora hums. “But, what if…?”

“What if what?” Izuku frowns.

“No, that can’t be right,” Sora sighs. “I was thinking maybe it could be one of them, but… none of them really seem like the traitor type. I can’t think of a motive for any of them.”

“I spoke with them for a bit during our Sports Festival,” Izuku says. “I just don’t see how any of them could be the traitor either.”

“Maybe that’s because whoever it is, they’re a good actor,” Natsuki suggests quietly.

“…Going around suspecting everyone doesn’t do us any good.” Sora says. “It just makes us paranoid. I hate to admit it, but in this case, Nedzu is right. We need more evidence before we can make a decision here.”

“Right.”

There’s a beat. “Still, though. I can’t believe they expelled Bakugou.

“Maybe there’s some justice in this world after all,” Sora dramatically sighs.

“Sora-kun, that’s kinda mean…!” Izuku protests.

“Sorry, you’re right,” Sora mutters. “God forbid he actually face consequences for his actions.”

“What did Bakugou even do anyway?” Hatsume asks.

Izuku and Sora share a look, but don’t say anything out loud. Of the five of them there, they’re the only two who actually know.

“It’s… not worth talking about,” Izuku eventually mutters. They don’t want to tell the others. Not yet. Now just isn’t the time.

Thankfully, the others let it drop.


After the Sports Festival ends, the five of them are walking out together. And, normally, it would be nothing worth noting. It should be nothing.

It should be nothing.

And yet, as they’re walking, Izuku trips. It’s not that much of anything; they get a bit clumsy sometimes, sometimes they just trip up on himself. It happens.

It should be nothing.

But, for some reason, they feel their throat closing up.

“Midoriya-kun? Are you all right?” Sora asks.

“Yeah,” Izuku mumbles back, but they sound choked up.

…Why…?

They feel their eyes starting to sting.

Why? I don’t understand. Why am I so upset? Nothing happened. Literally, nothing.

Except, they know why. It’s just that they doesn’t know why it’s coming out now.

“Midoriya?” Shinsou says softly.

“I’m…” Izuku pushes themself up, “I’m okay, really, I’m okay, I just…”

It’s nothing, but really it’s everything.

It’s how they won and All Might just told them “Maybe someday”, it’s how Nedzu dredged up memories of how things were before at their old school with Bakugou, it’s how they're being denied into the Hero Course again, even though they tried so hard, and they thought they really truly had a shot this time, only to have it taken away when it was just within their reach.

And god, it’s embarrassing, but now they're crying and it feels like they just can’t stop.

“Midoriya-kun?” Hatsume asks, startled. “What’s wrong?!”

“It’s, it’s nothing,” Izuku chokes out, “Really, it’s nothing, it should be nothing, I just…”

“You know…” Shinsou mutters, “I know that you said you want to be happy for me, but if you need to take the time to cry, you can.”

“It’s, it’s stupid,” Izuku sniffles. “I mean, why, why should I be- be surprised? It’s- it’s not like this is new. It’s not like- like this isn’t what happens- what happens every single time… ” They take in a shuddering breath, but it feels like they just can’t breathe-“It’s stupid that I thought I actually might get somewhere this time.”

“It’s not stupid,” Shinsou says softly. “It makes perfect sense. It’s justified for you to be upset over this. And if you need to cry, I won’t judge you.”

They'd already thought they were crying as hard as they could before, but at that, it’s like a whole new dam breaks free and they find themself crying even harder. They lower their head just so they don’t have to look anyone in the eye.

They feel Shinsou (at least, they're pretty sure it’s Shinsou; it’s a bit hard to tell) hesitantly reach around to give them a hug, and Izuku immediately returns the hug, holding onto him tightly like some kind of life line.

“It’s okay, buddy,” Shinsou whispers.


Kenji watches as Midoriya breaks down crying, and he feels angry. Not at them, of course. At a certain rat.

He steps away.

“Sora-kun?” Hatsume asks. “Where are you going?”

“I’m gonna either build a mousetrap and hide it in his office, or I’m gonna go yell at Nedzu,” He mutters. “I’ll figure it out on my way there.”

The only reason he doesn’t take the mousetrap route is that it would take up more time. So, instead, he marches down to Nedzu’s office.

Kenji slams the door open.

“Sora-kun, that’s very poor etiquette.” Nedzu frowns at him.

“I want answers, Nedzu,” Kenji says lowly. “Spill.”

“Answers to what?” Nedzu asks.

“You know what,” He growls. “Why isn’t Midoriya-kun in the Hero Course.”

Nedzu sighs. “This again?”

“Yes, this again!” Kenji shouts. “They just won the Sports Festival, you can’t tell me they haven’t proven themself!”

Nedzu is quiet for a moment, stirring his tea. Then, he says, “Did you know that after the Sports Festival was over, I got a visit from Todoroki Enji? Though, you might know him best as Endeavor.”

Endeavor…?

Kenji feels a pit grow in his stomach.

“Endeavor wanted Midoriya to be expelled," Nedzu explains. “Said that there was no way they weren’t a cheater. Said they had to be using some kind of unfair advantage, or bribery.”

“But… but that’s ridiculous !” Kenji protests, “There’s no way they could have! An unfair advantage- literally everything is stacked against them! Including you, apparently.”

Nedzu ignores his last comment, and instead goes on to say, “Ridiculous or not, as the number two hero, Endeavor is rich and powerful. I couldn’t afford to so deliberately go against him like this.”

“You’re afraid of Endeavor," Kenji says slowly. “You.”

“Well…” Nedzu hums, “There is the whole vigilante thing.”

Kenji rolls his eyes. “You know they would stop the vigilante thing if you let them into the Hero Course, right?”

“That’s part of why I can’t do it,” Nedzu says.

“What?” Now Kenji is just confused. “What do you mean?”

“With them as a quote unquote ‘vigilante’, they make an invaluable addition to our team to track down the traitor. They're capable of going out into the field and getting their hands dirty with trying to track down the villain’s base itself. I mean, before the USJ they already found the League of Villains, didn’t they?”

It just feels even worse now.

“So you’re using them,” Kenji accuses.

Nedzu sighs heavily. “It’s for the greater good, Sora-kun. They’ll get what they want eventually, but for now, we need them to do this.”

“…You’re the worst, you know that?” Kenji mutters, bitterly.

“I’m far from the worst,” Nedzu hums. “At least I’m not a villain. And again, it’s for the greater good. As long as everything turns out in the end, can you really call me the worst?”

Kenji thinks back to Midoriya, breaking down in the hallway.

“Yeah. Yeah, I can.”

He storms out, slamming the door shut behind him.

Chapter Text

"Midoriya, are you… sure you're okay?" Shinsou asks hesitantly.

Izuku sighs heavily. They find themself regretting the minor breakdown they had earlier that day, if only because they don't want other people to be worried about them.

Currently, the two of them are hanging out at their base on the beach; just them and Shinsou.

"I'm fine," Izuku mutters, "Really, I'm fine. If anything, the best thing for me right now is to take my mind off of it."

"But… is jumping right back into the whole vigilante thing really a good way to deal with it?"

"What makes this any different from all the other times I did the whole vigilante thing?" Izuku asks, annoyed. 

"Because now it feels like you're doing it just to be reckless rather than doing it because you want to help people."

"That's…" Well… Izuku doesn't really have anything to say to that.

Eventually, they promise, "I won't go looking for fights with villains. I'm… just going to check out some things to see if there's any way I can help."

From where he's sitting on the desk, Garby stares at them.

[Doubt]

"You're telling me that if you see a villain up to no good, you'll ignore them?" Shinsou asks, as equally doubtful as Garby.

"The best way to take my mind off things is helping other people," Izuku explains. "If I need to stop a villain, I will, but I'm not going out of my way to look for them. I promise."

Shinsou sighs heavily. "All right. Fine. Sure. If you're gonna do stupid reckless things, I'll at least be here to help you fix them."

Izuku flashes him a smile. "Thanks."

"Yeah, yeah," Shinsou mutters. "Just don't get killed or I'll be upset."

"Understood," Izuku replies as they step out of the base, and start walking.

 

…Towards the part of town where they originally found the League of Villains.

 

That was what had been on their mind to begin with, although they hadn't told Shinsou they planned on that. …Mostly because they didn't want him to stop them.

They need a lead on what the League is up to. If they manage to get enough information on them, the heroes can take them down.

(…And maybe, if they help take the League of Villains down, UA will actually let them into the Hero Course this time.)

Besides, it's… not like they lied to Shinsou. The League probably moved their base after the USJ attack, or maybe even after they almost caught Izuku spying the first time. So it should, in theory, be empty of villains.

If it's not, Izuku will back out and inform the heroes of the location. No harm done. It'll be fine.

Besides, they did work on their gear a little during the period before the Sports Festival, and anything they didn't use during it is fair game. They have the helmet Natsuki built for them too- she finished it about a week earlier. It has a built in voice modifier, silencer, and they can even call people if they needs to. On top of that, she worked with Sora to add a quirk sensor, and it can do night vision. (She really outdid herself with how well it works… Izuku makes a mental note to thank her again later.)

"Hey." Shinsou's voice says, coming over the communicator.

"Yeah?" Izuku responds.

"So- because you're not going to be trying to fight villains- I'm going to tell you reports that come up so you can avoid them," Shinsou tells them. "And if you actually go in that direction instead of avoiding it, I'll tell the others, and then you'll have to deal with them scolding you too."

"…Fair enough," Izuku mumbles back. If these situations are being reported on, that means heroes are on their way to the scene. Izuku wouldn't need to help in those situations.

"All right. Glad we're on the same page," Shinsou says. He lists out the places to avoid, and Izuku quickly mentally checks to make sure they're not on the path they plan on taking. "And… just be careful, okay?"

Izuku almost wants to be annoyed, but they know Shinsou is just worried about them. "I'll be careful, I promise."

 

…No matter how much mental justifying they try to do, they can't help but feel like they're lying.

They manage to get there without much incident, which is a relief at least.

The abandoned office building seems just as empty as it did the first time they saw it, but the first time they saw it was when the villains really were there.

They sneak their way into the alley. They want to trust that the villains really are gone, but there's no way to know for sure as things are now.

They pull one of the remote controlled cameras from their belt, along with the remote, and starts driving it up the building.

They hold their breath as it climbs up the wall. They remember the first time, when that strange villain speaking from the TV had almost caught them…

Don’t think about that now, Izuku shakes their head as though physically trying to clear the thoughts.

The camera reaches the window ledge. At a first glance, the room looks completely empty of anything suspicious. That doesn’t mean the villains couldn’t have set up any traps though.

For the first stretch, Izuku climbs up using the fire escape. Once they're on the level the window sits on, they uses a grappling hook to work their way over to the right one (they know they used a grappling hook before in the Sports Festival, but it’s a different model; and on the other hand grappling hooks are a common enough item for people that use gadgets, so it can’t be all that suspicious).

They eventually reach the window that looks in on the room where the villains had been set up, but they don't enter the building from that window; they don’t want to risk the possibility of the window being trapped. Instead, he go in from the window of the room one door down.

The building is eerily quiet.

They don’t like it.

Various things litter the ground, but they move as stealthily as they can to the next room (though, they pick up a small handful of random office supplies on the way).

The door to the room is closed; which sets it up to be a good potential trap. But they need to investigate what’s in there.

They hold their breath and swing open the door before diving to the side of the hallway.

Nothing happens.

They let out a shaky breath and peak into the room.

Nothing, so far.

It almost seems like they're being paranoid, checking every possible trap, but they remind themself that this was a villain’s base before.

Almost expecting nothing this time, Izuku tosses a stapler they picked up from the other room into the center of this room-

Immediately, some kind of laser shoots out and blasts it in midair.

A chill goes up their spine.

Well, I was right about a trap.

Just to check that it was a one time setup, they throw a second decoy into the room, but nothing happens to it this time.

They don’t let their guard down yet, but they finally enter the room, ready to look for evidence.


Meanwhile, somewhere far away, a device beeps.

From the bar stool where he’s sitting, the leader of the League of Villains (more commonly known now as Shigaraki Tomura,) glances up from the slice of pizza he’s eating.

“Hey,” He calls over to Kurogiri, who’s standing on the other side of the bar, “Something activated the trap in Base F. Quick, turn on the camera.”

He doesn’t say it out loud, not then, but there’s nothing Shigaraki wants more than to see that meddling vigilante, completely fried by the trap the villains had set up.

The TV screen in the corner of the room blinks on, and the image loads…

The vigilante is, in fact, there.

But they’re not fried by the trap.

“No! What?!” Shigaraki whines. “Ugh, why did they have to disarm it! That’s no fun.”

He turns to Kurogiri, but before he can even say anything, Kurogiri interrupts, “No. I will not warp you over there.”

“Why not?!” Shigaraki demands.

“First of all, you’re still injured,” Kurogiri points out, “And we’re out of minions.”

“We have you,” Shigaraki counters.

“I am not fit to fight them.” Kurogiri shrugs. “I already faced them at the USJ attack; their power set works too well against mine.”

Shigaraki scoffs, but says no more.

“Second of all,” Kurogiri continues, “They won’t find anything. There’s nothing there to find.”

Shigaraki watches in annoyance as the vigilante goes through everything that’s left in the room. “…Why did they even show up, anyway?” He grunts. “It’s been, what, two weeks? Three? Whatever, it’s been a while since the USJ attack. Why are they checking now?”

“Possibly because they’re confident that it will be abandoned now that time has passed. They don’t know how much manpower we have, and they could be trying to avoid conflict,” Kurogiri suggests.

Shigaraki turns off the monitor, disappointed. “Whatever.”


Izuku is frustrated. They had hoped to find something in the villains’ former base- anything. Instead, they’d found a bunch of old papers from back when it was an office building, and an empty pizza box from some place in Kamino.

In other words, their only lead is a pizza box. That doesn’t give them any specific location, it gives them an entire city and even then they have no idea if the villains really are in Kamino or if they just really like Kamino's pizza.

Frustrated, they leave the way they came.

It’s dark outside now, and they aren’t sure when it is that the sun went down.

“Midoriya? Midoriya, come in.” Shinsou says.

Izuku switches on the communication device. “Yeah, I’m here. What’s up?”

“You haven’t said anything in a while, so I was… just checking up on you. Is everything going okay?”

They contemplate how to answer that question. “…There was something I wanted to check out. I’ve checked it out now, but I didn’t find much of anything useful.”

“All right. Thanks for the update.”

“I’ll probably just come back to the base.” Izuku sighs. “Considering you don’t want me out vigilante-ing.”

“Vigilante-ing isn’t a word.”

“I’m already sort of breaking the law, and you wanna correct me on the laws of language?”

Izuku hears Hitoshi make some kind of noise on the other end. They thinks it’s a laugh, but they're not sure. “Whatever, whatever. Just hurry on back.”

“On it.”

Izuku makes their way back to their base on the beach…

…Or at least, they had intended to.

 

They're walking past an alleyway when they hear distant shouting. For a moment they consider their options, but there’s really only one path for them to take, here. When you’re a vigilante and you hear strange yelling in an alleyway, you go down the alleyway.

As they get closer, they can make out some voices.

“I wouldn’t use that quirk of yours, if I were you. Don’t you know that’s against the rules?”

Man, Izuku hates that rule. Who decided that it was against the law to use your quirk to defend yourself from villains? Really, that’s what creates a good half of the problems they face. Well, vigilante problems, anyway.

“And what if I do?” The second voice responds, and now that Izuku is closer, they recognize the voice.

It’s Todoroki.

“Yeah, I suppose you think you’re above the law, huh?” The villain teases. “All cause of your daddy being a super hero, huh?”

Izuku winces. They get a feeling that’s still a sore spot for Todoroki, even if he’s been working through things over the past few days.

Okay, time to act, Izuku decides. They make a quick mental apology to Shinsou for getting into a fight after all, and then they activate their roller skates and shoot into the alleyway.

“What the-?!” The villain exclaims, just as Izuku runs into him. Todoroki falls off to the side, but Izuku doesn’t have the time to focus on him.

They're not as rusty at fighting as they could be, considering that they had to fight during the Sports Festival, but fighting hero students and fighting villains are entirely different things. Especially when they're not quite used to their roller skates again-

As they're sliding backwards to avoid one of the villains attacks- (who has a quirk that lets him just shoot knives from his hands- ) they trip over one of their skates and fall to the ground, hard.

Izuku grimaces as they feel pain shooting up one of their legs and they get the distinct feeling that they just broke something, which is very inconvenient considering that they had specifically promised to be careful.

 

At least the fight ends there, though- the villain thinks Izuku is done for just because they fell, but doesn’t see them pull out a stun gun.

Izuku sits on the ground for a moment, trying to catch their breath.

“You all right?”

Izuku snaps their head back to look at Todoroki. “…I thought you would have run away by now.”

Todoroki shrugs. “I thought you might need some help.”

“But what about-”

“Are you really about to try and lecture me about what is and isn’t illegal?” Todoroki asks with a raised eyebrow.

Izuku decides not to respond to that. In the back of their mind, a nervous voice tells them to be careful and to remember that Todoroki doesn’t know that it’s, well, them.

“So. Are you okay?” Todoroki asks again.

“Ah, yeah,” Izuku quickly says, and they push themself to stand up-

The instant they put any weight on their leg, they let out a hiss of pain and almost falls back down again, but they manage to catch themself on the wall just before they do.

“That doesn’t seem very ‘okay’,” Todoroki points out, frowning.

Izuku gives him a small glare, then remembers that they're wearing a mask and Todoroki can’t see their face anyway. They sigh and shift their weight so that they're standing on the uninjured leg.

“Well, I’ve had worse,” Izuku mumbles defensively.

“That still doesn’t really add up to okay,” Todoroki says. He pauses for a moment. “Look, we can take you to a hospital-”

“No,” Izuku shakes their head, interrupting Todoroki. “No hospital.”

A hospital would mean that, one way or another, they’d have to reveal their secret identity. They want to trust Todoroki, but that doesn’t mean that they really can yet.

“Okay, fine, no hospital,” Todoroki sighs. “…Can I at least put ice on your leg for you, if you’re going to insist on not getting professional help?”

“Why do you want to help me?” Izuku asks.

“Because you literally just saved my life,” Todoroki mutters, like it’s obvious. “If I just left you here with a possibly broken leg that would be pretty rude.”

Izuku considers it for a moment, then sighs heavily and sits down, carefully extending their injured leg. Todoroki reaches over with his right arm and activates his quirk. At first, the cold startles Izuku, but they will themself to stay still.

There’s a stretch of silence.

Eventually, Izuku can’t take it anymore, and so they ask, “What are you doing out here anyway?”

Todoroki shrugs. “I just wanted to be out of the house.”

Izuku nods, understanding. “Guess that makes sense. I wouldn’t wanna be stuck anywhere near that flaming trash can either.”

They mentally kick themself as soon as they say it, especially when they see the look Todoroki gives them. Idiot! Green Lightning shouldn’t know the things Midoriya Izuku does! Quick, make up an excuse-

“Sorry, that might have been too much to assume,” Izuku quickly apologizes, “He’s just always seemed like, well-”

“A bastard,” Todoroki suggests.

“…Yeah.”

“…Well, you’re not really wrong.” Todoroki mutters. “Endeavor is an asshole, I can confirm that for you. Now let’s drop the subject, please?”

“Right, right, sorry.” Izuku mumbles.

There’s another stretch of silence as they sit there, Todoroki icing their leg.

This time, it’s Todoroki that breaks the silence. “How old are you, anyway?” He asks.

“Wh-” Izuku stammers, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You seem like normal height, but that’s only because of those roller skates on your feet, so you must be fairly short. And that voice changer hides your voice so it’s hard to tell how young it is. Something tells me you’re no veteran fighter either.”

Izuku scowls to themself.

This is gonna end up getting me caught… They warn themself mentally.

Yet, they still answer; “I’m in high school. I’m not that young.”

Todoroki raises an eyebrow. “I’m in high school. I may be training to be a hero, but I’m not one yet. For a reason.”

“Just drop it,” Izuku mutters.

Suddenly, Shinsou’s voice comes in through the helmet again. “Midoriya? What’s the hold up?”

Izuku mentally curses themself. They quickly reach up and silences the mask before turning on the communicator, so that Shinsou can hear them and Todoroki can’t.

“I…” Well, it’s better to be honest at this point, “I may have ended up getting into a small fight on the way. Don’t worry I’m fine,” Mostly, “I just have to wrap up a few more things here and then I’ll continue on my way home.”

Shinsou sighs heavily. “Why am I not at all surprised. Midoriya, if I find out the ‘fine’ is actually any kind of injury, I will personally fight you.”

“This coming from the guy who can’t even win a thumb war.”

“Please just get back here before you get yourself hurt, dude.” Shinsou mutters.

“I’m on my way,” Izuku promises. They switch the silencer and the communicator off so they can go back to talking to Todoroki. “Sorry, something just came up. I have to go.”

“Your leg is still broken,” Todoroki points out, deadpan.

“I’m just going back to my base,” Izuku sighs. “And hey, since you’re still here, can you help me deal with the villain?” Izuku glances back at the villain, who’s still out cold, laying in the alleyway.

The two of them make quick work of tying up the villain (and Izuku finds that even though their leg is nowhere near healed, it does feel a little better after being iced). Izuku and Todoroki go their separate ways, and Izuku heads back to their base.


“Your leg is broken.”

“Only a little.”

“Only a li- how do you have a leg that’s only a little broken?!”

“Well, it doesn’t look like my arm did after the USJ.”

“…You’re grounded.”

“You can’t ground me!”

“Yes I can. You’re officially grounded.”

“To be fair, I only broke my leg cause I accidentally tripped while wearing the roller skates.”

“Fine. You’re grounded from the roller skates.”

Shinsou-kun… !”

 

…It would be a lie for Izuku to say, even if Shinsou did get on their nerves sometimes when he acted like an overbearing parent, that they disliked joking around with him.


It’s Thursday now, but it feels like a weird Monday because technically it’s the first day of the week that they’re spending in the classrooms, after all that happened with the Sports Festivals for the first, second, and third years.

Although, Shouto didn’t personally see the second and third year’s Sports Festivals. Those days he technically had off, and he spent most of them praying that his old man would get called away on another mission. He made time to visit his mother too.

And then, last night…

As if on some kind of cue, Kaminari comes running into the classroom. “Oh my god, hey guys, did you see the news last night?!”

“What?” Ashido asks, eager and curious.

“Green Lightning is back, baby!” Kaminari shouts, pumping a fist in the air. “They stopped another villain last night!”

“Woah, really?!” Ashido exclaims, now excited too. “I was worried something happened to them, cause they’ve been absent for a while!”

“I know, me too!”

Shouto deliberately looks away from the two as they excitedly gush about the vigilante. He supposes he should feel lucky that they don’t know he was involved in the incident.

Green Lightning…

Mostly he’s been trying to keep it off of his mind, but of course they’d be talking about it. Who would be crazy enough to go out and fight villains in their spare time while also dealing with the pressure of being in school…?

…He doesn’t have any clue.

Shouto glances around the room, and when his eyes land on Iida, his mind changes topic to a different news story he heard over the pseudo-weekend.

The hero Ingenium, attacked by the Hero Killer Stain.

Usually Iida is, while well behaved, one of the louder people in the class.

Today, instead, he’s sitting silently at his desk. Uraraka is trying to talk to him, but he doesn’t look like he’s interacting much.

Shouto feels a small pang of worry.

Just then, the bell rings, and Aizawa walks in.

By this point, the class has learned that when Aizawa enters the classroom, it’s usually better to get quiet quickly. And by usually, they mean always.

“Okay class,” Aizawa starts, “We have some stuff to do today, but first, I’d like to announce we’re adding a new student to our class.”

Quiet murmuring breaks out around the classroom.

“Come on in.”

Shouto is expecting to see Midoriya Izuku walk in- they had won the Sports Festival and all.

Instead, it’s Midoriya’s friend.

Shinsou, if Shouto remembers correctly.

“This is Shinsou Hitoshi,” Aizawa introduces. “He’s in Class A now.” There’s a pause. “Any questions?”

A group of hands shoots up.

“Orenji,” Aizawa calls.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but…” Orenji timidly mutters, “What about Midoriya-kun?”

Aizawa frowns. “For whatever reason, Nedzu has decided that Midoriya isn’t ready to be placed in Class A. I personally disagree, but Nedzu seems very persistent on this matter. Any more questions?”

A few more hands than last time go up.

“…That aren’t about Midoriya.”

A majority of the hands slowly lower.

“Kirishima.”

“Where’s Bakugou?” Kirishima asks.

With Kaminari and Ashido yelling as soon as they entered, Shouto hadn’t even noticed that Bakugou was gone. Now that Shouto has noticed, he can’t help but wonder too.

“Bakugou… has been found to exhibit behavior that does not fit what a hero stands for,” Aizawa says carefully. “I would like to believe that he could change and do better, seeing as he’s still young, but for the time being, he has been expelled.”

Expelled?

Another wave of murmuring breaks out over the class.

Sure, Shouto had never liked him much. But for him to be expelled ? What exactly happened?

“Any more questions?” Aizawa asks, and before hands can even shoot into the air, he adds, “That aren’t about Bakugou.”

No one raises a hand.

“All right. Shinsou, you can sit in that empty spot there,” Aizawa points to Bakugou’s now vacant seat. “Now then. Today, we’re deciding on our hero names…”


Shinsou sits down next to Izuku at the lunch table, and he immediately sets down a notebook in front of them.

“What’s this?” Izuku asks.

“I wrote down everything Aizawa-sensei said during class,” Shinsou mutters.

“Because you’re a fanboy?” Sora asks, and Hatsume snorts a laugh.

“No!” Shinsou protests. “…Maybe a little. But the point is, ” He looks over at Izuku, “I wrote down everything that wouldn’t have been said in the standard classes.”

It clicks why Shinsou is giving the notebook to them.

“So, even if you can’t… physically be there, at least I can give you the class notes.” Shinsou adds, confirming Izuku's guess.

Izuku feels their emotions rising up again, but they don’t want to cry again in front of everyone so soon. “Thank you,” They manages to say, eventually.

“No problem,” Shinsou mutters. Before things can get too sappy, he adds, “Maybe if you get notes from an actual hero class, you’ll stop doing reckless things like, hypothetically speaking, breaking your leg.”

“I’m gonna need a roller skating class for that,” Izuku replies.

“I can’t believe you,” Natsuki sighs. “You really went right back to doing the whole vigilante thing?”

“I mean…” Izuku mumbles, “I’d rather things just… move forward than get stuck on one spot. I can’t dwell on the fact that I didn’t get into the Hero Course forever, otherwise I’ll end up getting left behind, and then I could lose my spot in the Support Course. That would just make things worse.”

Sora frowns and looks like he wants to say something, but he stays silent.

Before Izuku can ask him what’s wrong, Hatsume jumps in, “Besides! Who needs some dumb Hero Class when you get to hang out with us?”

It isn’t that effective in and of itself, but just the thought that Hatsume is trying to cheer them up lifts Izuku’s spirits a little.

“You are aware that I’m part of said dumb Hero Class, right?” Shinsou mutters.

“Incredibly so,” Hatsume smiles innocently.

Natsuki giggles at Hatsume’s words.

The bell rings, signaling the end of lunch. They all stand up, and Izuku is painfully aware of the, well, pain in their leg.

“Hey, you guys go on ahead, I think I’m going to see if I can get Recovery Girl to do something about my leg.”

“All right,” Sora says. “Catch ya later when you come back!”

Izuku waves and they go separate ways.

They walk down the hallway, trying to remember where the nurse’s office is, while simultaneously trying to come up for an explanation for what's wrong with their leg-

They bump into someone.

I really need to watch where I’m going, Izuku thinks, rather belatedly.

“Oh, hey Midoriya,” Todoroki says.

“Oh, h-hi Todoroki-kun!” Izuku nervously greets.

Please don’t figure things out, please don’t figure things out, please don’t figure things out…

“Are you okay?” Todoroki asks. “You seem… distressed.”

“Ah, yeah, I’m fine!” Izuku waves it off, “I just wanted to talk to Recovery Girl cause my leg’s been bothering me since I… broke… it… last night…” Izuku trails off, trying to think of an excuse, while also mentally slapping themself repeatedly. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

In front of them, it’s like they can see the thoughts clicking together in Todoroki's head.

Well, there’s no way to know for certain! I mean, it’s possible he doesn’t know-

“Did you, by any chance, injure yourself while roller skating?” Todoroki asks carefully.

HE KNOWS. ABORT MISSION, ABORT MISSION.

“Wh-what? No, haha, where, um, where would you get that idea, I, uh…” They flounder for an answer, but they clearly does not have one. “…Can we talk about this later? I promise I’ll explain things, it’s just, we should probably head to class…”

“We can talk about this later,” Todoroki agrees.

Todoroki walks away to get to his class, and Izuku walks to Recovery Girl’s office, now trying to figure out an explanation for Todoroki as well as an explanation for Recovery Girl.


“So…” Todoroki says slowly.

“So.” Izuku awkwardly replies.

Later has suddenly become now , and Izuku still has no idea what to say.

“You’re the vigilante Green Lightning,” Todoroki says. It’s not really an accusation, it's more like an observation, but it still makes Izuku flinch.

“Kinda, yeah,” Izuku mumbles.

“Kinda?” Todoroki frowns.

“Well…” Izuku thinks, “Technically , to be a vigilante you have to be using your quirk. It’s in the definition of the word and everything.”

“Wow,” Todoroki winces. “Even the law doesn’t treat quirkless people equally. Wonder how many people have figured out that loophole.”

“I’m not sure,” Izuku says. “But anyway, I just… I mean, I want to be a hero. I want to help people. And if they won’t let me into the Hero Course then… if I have to be a vigilante to be able to save people, I guess that makes me a vigilante.”

“I mean, I understand the reasoning,” Todoroki clarifies, “But that’s pretty reckless.”

“Yeah, that’s what all my other friends who know say too.”

“You mean other people know?” Todoroki asks. “Who?”

“Well…” Izuku thinks, and Well, it’s too late to back out now… “What’s your phone number?”

Todoroki frowns, but tells them.

“I don’t see what that has to do with…”

Izuku pulls out their phone.

 

-Reckless Vigilante Idiot has added Todoroki Shouto to “Support Team For A Reckless Vigilante Idiot”-

 

“That’s an appropriate title,” Todoroki says, checking his own phone.

Izuku pouts at him, but it’s more in a friendly joking way rather than a serious way.

 

That one not support course kid:

midoriya this has to stop

also come on, now my name doesn’t work.

 

-Reckless Vigilante Idiot has changed That one not support course kid’s name to Purble-

 

Purble:

fine

 

“So that’s… Shinsou?” Todoroki guesses.

Izuku nods.

“I’m somehow not surprised that he’s in on this.”

Izuku laughs nervously, then opens up the side bar that lists the other people in the group. “So far, the only people that know are Shinsou-kun, Hatsume-san, Natsuki, Sora-kun, and now you.”

Todoroki nods, but Izuku assumes it’s just a polite nod to pretend he’s understanding, considering he’s never really met some of them before. “Hatsume was in the Sports Festival, right?” Todoroki asks.

“Yeah.”

“She’s… something.”

“She’s a good friend.”

“I don’t doubt that.”

Both their phones buzz at the same time, and they both glance down.

 

007:

Please tell me that we don’t have to cancel Endeavor Hating Hours™

 

There’s a second.

 

Todoroki:

We’re not canceling Endeavor Hating Hours.

In fact.

Now they’re mandatory.

 

Izuku snorts a laugh.

 

#1 Support Course Student:

ooh i like this new dude

he’s been officially approved

 

There’s another pause.

“You don’t mind me adding you to the chat, do you?” Izuku asks. “I can take you out if you want.

Todoroki sighs. “No, I don’t mind. If anything, at least this makes things more interesting.”

“So… you’re not going to try and tell on me? Get me arrested?”

“Well, you did sort of save my life,” Todoroki shrugs. “That would be a pretty bad way to repay you. Just… don’t get yourself hurt, all right?”

“Not you too,” Izuku mumbles.

“Maybe you wouldn’t hear it so much if you were careful,” Todoroki suggests.

“Fair.”


 

[Bonus:]

 

It’s the next day.

“Yo, hey, Mina, I have a theory!” Kaminari shouts.

“What kind of a theory?” Ashido asks.

“You remember Midoriya from the Sports Festival right?” Kaminari asks. “Crazy gadget kid. They won and stuff.”

“Yeah, of course I remember,” Ashido says. “Where are you going with this?”

“What if- and I mean hear me out, what if- ” Kaminari suggests, “They use gadgets to make it seem like they have a lightning quirk, and they're actually Green Lightning.”

“Oh come on, that’s just far fetched!” Ashido laughs. “I mean, where would they even get the free time?”

“Have you ever seen Midoriya and Green Lightning in the same room? No. Case closed.”

Across the room, Shouto meets Shinsou’s eyes. They both stare at each other for a long moment, as Ashido and Kaminari continue to talk about Kaminari’s “conspiracy theory”.

“-hey, Shinsou! You’re friends with Midoriya, right?” Kaminari asks. “Obviously I’m right, right?”

Shinsou stares at him silently for a moment. Then, he mutters, “Sure,” in a deadpan voice that makes him sound insincere, but Shouto is now aware that he’s just dying inside over the topic.

Kaminari scoffs, “Whatever man, you know it’s true and you just won’t admit it.”

Shinsou and Shouto meet eyes again. Shouto has never been much for having a humorous side, but he almost wants to laugh.

Chapter Text

Friday passes by rather uneventfully, and then before they all know it, it's the weekend.

Over Thursday and Friday Hitoshi's worry for Midoriya had gone down, at least a little. Of course no one is happy with the current circumstances, but Midoriya has been choosing not to dwell on them.

Then, in the middle of what had seemed to be a peaceful Saturday, Midoriya messages the group chat.

 

[Support Team For A Reckless Vigilante Idiot]

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

-link attachment-

Look at this. I'm so mad.

 

That's not good, Hitoshi thinks, nervous. What is it? Why are they mad?

Well, there's only one way to find out. He clicks the link.

 

It’s an article.

 

[Uh oh! Do Sports Festival results show that UA's first year hero students are weaker this year?]

 

The headline makes him wince. He doesn't even have to read the rest of the article. He knows exactly what they're suggesting.

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

They're calling the hero classes weak because I won the Sports Festival.

I mean, how else could some quirkless kid win, right?

 

#1 Support Course Student:

aww thats awful dude, i'm sorry :((

 

007:

It doesnt matter what they say

We still know the truth, right?

 

Purble:

yeah. what do they know anyway?

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

I know but.

If they're just going to pin the blame on the hero students, I'd really rather they ignored the whole thing.

This isn't what I wanted.

It wasn't the point.

I'm just mad.

 

This is bad… Hitoshi thinks to himself. In a situation like this, Midoriya could easily get really upset again. And if last time they ended up breaking a leg rushing into vigilante stuff, what could happen this time…?

We need a distraction, Hitoshi decides.

But what is he supposed to do? He's never been one to hang out with others. Actually, before UA, he… never really had friends to begin with.

Not the point.

He just needs to come up with something for them all to do, before Midoriya goes out and gets worse than just a roller skate induced injury-

 

Huh.

Well, there’s an idea.


“Shinsou-kun, is this your way of passive-aggressively telling me that I suck at roller skating?” Izuku asks as the six of them stand outside of a roller skating rink.

“To be fair, you did break your leg the other day,” Todoroki points out.

For a moment, they frown at Todoroki for his betrayal, but then Izuku sighs heavily. “Yeah, I guess you’re not wrong.”

“Come on, it’ll be fun!” Hatsume cheers.

“Getting some practice in will be good,” Sora points out. “And in a roller skating rink, no one would question why you’re working on roller skating!”

“Fine,” Izuku agrees, “But you guys know you have to skate too, right?”

“Huh?” Hatsume mumbles.

“It’s only fair. Besides, it would be weird if you came in only to watch other people roller skate.”

“But I can’t roller skate!” Hatsume protests.

Natsuki frowns. “I thought you were making your own pair of roller skate shoes to compete with Midoriya’s?”

“Well yeah, but I wasn’t planning on ever wearing them myself.”

Natsuki laughs and in return Hatsume gives her a betrayed look. “It’s okay,” Natsuki offers, “I can help you get the hang of it.”

Despite how their day had been going so far, Izuku finds themself actually… smiling. Part of their insistence of having the others join them was because they didn’t want to feel awkward, but now that they’ve actually agreed, they're happy because they're not alone.

Shinsou knocks shoulders with them. “You look like you’re doing that thing you always do.”

“Huh? What thing?”

“Overthinking things.”

Izuku rolls their eyes, but they don’t really mean it. “I don’t do it all the time.”

Shinsou responds by simply quirking an eyebrow at them.

“Okay you have a little bit of a point,” Izuku mutters.

Sora claps both of them on the back. “Come on, what are we doing standing around out here?! Let’s get going!”

Izuku smiles a little brighter. “Yeah. Let’s go.”


Shouto wonders, for what must be the hundredth time, why he's here.

It's not that he's wondering why he agreed to come- right now, he would agree to just about anything as long as it meant getting out of the house and away from the old man. Currently, he's using the excuse that he's busy studying with Yaoyorozu ("But she did even worse than you in the festival-" "Well, it's a good thing we're studying then, isn't it?").

So, Shouto knows exactly why he came. What he wonders about is why he was invited in the first place.

If it were just Midoriya, he would find it more understandable. But with it being the whole group of them, Shouto can't help but feel a little out of place. They all already know each other, and Shouto has no real connection to them outside of, well, Midoriya . Even if Shinsou is in the Hero Course now, Shouto isn't sure they would have become acquainted at all if it hadn't been that they were both friends of Midoriya.

When it comes to the other three, he vaguely knows Hatsume based on what he saw during the Sports Festival, but nothing about Natsuki or Sora. What do they think about him being there? Do they mind at all? To them, Shouto is little more than a complete stranger.

"Hey there."

Speak of the devil, Shouto thinks to himself as Sora stops skating to stand next to him instead.

"Hey," Shouto mutters back.

"What'cha doin?"

"…Thinking."

"To be fair, I guess that was obvious." Sora laughs. "What are you thinking about though?"

"I just…" Shouto hesitates, thinking about what to say, then answers, "I feel weird being here. Almost like I’m intruding.”

In response to this, Sora simply rolls his eyes. “If we didn’t want you here, we would have said so. To be friends with someone you kinda have to spend time getting to know them, y’know?”

“I don’t see why you want to be friends though. We know nothing about each other,” Shouto points out.

Sora shrugs. “I’m pretty sure that’s how most people start before becoming friends.”

“I… suppose,” Shouto mutters.

“If you feel weird being here, then why did you come?” Sora asks. Shouto glances at him, and he must have a rather hostile look on his face because Sora immediately clarifies, “Not that I mind you being here! I think it’s totally cool that you’re here! It’s just that you didn’t have to come and I’m wondering why you did if you don’t think you belong.”

Shouto sighs. “Right now I’d do just about anything if it meant getting out of the house.”

“Oh, right,” Sora hums in understanding. “The flamey bastard.”

If there’s one thing Shouto definitely likes about Midoriya’s friend group, it’s that none of them like Endeavor. None of them question the hate at all; they accept it as it is.

Although, Shouto can’t help but wonder why. Midoriya was the only one he told about his past, and Shouto can’t imagine that Midoriya would go and tell the others about it, so why…?

“Not that I don’t appreciate it,” Shouto clarifies before asking, “But why do you hate Endeavor so much?”

Sora hesitates this time, a wince on his face, “Well… first of all, there’s the understandable bit where he’s just a generally sour person. He doesn’t act like how a hero should, you know? Then, there’s that he’s made some… pretty sketchy arguments against vigilantism. I don’t have to explain why that affects us, but, specifically his reasoning on it is pretty telling.”

Shouto knows what Sora is referring to. He’s heard rants more than once about “those damn vigilantes stealing his job by fighting villains”. A hero shouldn’t be upset by there being less villains around.

“And then…” Sora continues, dropping his voice. “I… I don’t know if Midoriya-kun mentioned this to you, but during the Sports Festival, right before your guys’s fight, Endeavor threatened them and told them to drop out.”

It shocks him at first, but after it’s set in, Shouto isn’t necessarily surprised that the old bastard would do something like that. It’s just like him.

Sora hesitates again, before continuing, “On top of that… I haven’t told Midoriya-kun about this yet- I’m not sure how they would handle it if they heard- but apparently Endeavor tried to get them expelled too. After the Sports Festival was over. Nedzu claims that it’s part of the reason that they didn’t get put in the Hero Course.” (Shouto can’t help but notice how Sora seems as bitter talking about Nedzu as he does Endeavor).

“I wish I could say that’s a new low for him, but to be honest, it really isn’t,” Shouto mutters darkly. “I hate how he thinks he can just throw his weight around and get what he wants. I hate it even more when he gets his way.”

Sora winces. “Sorry. Here I am complaining about him, but if he really is as bad as I think he is and you’re the one who has to put up with that, you probably have it so much worse.”

“Worse is relative. It doesn’t matter if someone has it 'worse' or not, because almost always there's someone out there that'll have it worse. …Also, the fact that you have actual reasons of your own makes me feel better than if you hated him just because.”

Sora is quiet for a bit, then he waves a hand like he’s trying to clear the air. “We’ve probably talked about that garbage fire more than he deserves now anyway. So. Wanna skate together?”

“As it turns out, I’m… actually not all that good at roller skating,” Shouto admits. “I’m good at ice skating, but roller skating is just different enough to be hard.”

“Wow!” Sora says with exaggerated shock, “And here I thought you would be good at everything on your first try!”

Shouto rolls his eyes, but there’s a slight smile on his face.

“Come on,” Sora offers again. “I’m not all that good either. We don’t have to be good at it though. It’s just for fun.”

“Just for fun, huh…?” Shouto muses.

Sora pushes off the wall first, and offers a hand out to Shouto.

A second later, Shouto pushes off the wall himself and accepts it.


“You never told me you were good at skating!” Izuku accuses as Shinsou skates backwards next to them.

Shinsou shrugs and spins around. “You never asked.”

“Uh, that seems like some fairly vital information to me!”

“To be fair, I’m only good at trick skating, meanwhile you would benefit more from speed skating,” Shinsou explains. “Although, if you’re gonna get into fights without turning the roller skates off, maybe learning some trick skating would do you some good.”

“So, can you teach me sometime, then?” Izuku asks brightly.

Shinsou blinks in surprise. “I mean, I wasn’t… really being serious, but I guess it would be helpful. Now’s not the best time though- there’s lots of people in the way, and I don’t think they’d appreciate it if we were in the way.” He thinks for a bit. “Tell ya what- if you find a time and place to work on it, then sure, I’ll help you learn how to do some trick skating.”

Izuku beams. “Thanks, Shinsou-kun! It really means a lot to me.”

For a second, Shinsou looks at them bewildered and maybe a little flattered, but he quickly rolls his eyes. “Yeah yeah, whatever,” Shinsou coughs, trying to act nonchalant. “Figure it would be a big help for a trouble maker like you.”

Izuku’s smile turns to a cheesy one. “Yup! Always the trouble maker- that’s me!”

“Oh! Hey! Shinsou-kun, is that you?”

Both Shinsou and Izuku turn to the source of a new voice; it’s another student, but Izuku doesn’t quite recognize him on sight. He has a surprised expression on his face, but it’s the happy sort of surprise.

Izuku may not recognize him, but Shinsou apparently does. “Oh, hey,” Shinsou greets back. He hesitates for a moment, then says, “It’s… Aoyama, right?”

“That’s me!” He confirms cheerily.

He must either be someone in Class A or someone who was in the General Education class with Shinsou before he transferred… Izuku concludes, though, when they think about it, Class A makes more sense. They remember when they looked over the class’s quirks before the USJ, and “Aoyama” does sound vaguely familiar…

“I never thought you’d be interested in roller skating!” Aoyama goes on.

“It’s a side hobby of mine,” Shinsou mutters.

That’s when Aoyama looks from Shinsou to Izuku, and Izuku watches his eyes light up so brightly that for a second they wonder if that's a part of his quirk. “You! You’re Midoriya Izuku!”

“I- um- yes?” Izuku stutters, a bit bewildered.

Aoyama holds out a hand. “I’m Aoyama Yuga! I’m from Class A and it’s great to meet you!!”

“Um- I’m-” Izuku almost introduces themself before remembering Oh, right, he already knows who I am, and so instead they awkwardly accept Aoyama’s handshake, and mumbles a quick, “It’s great to meet you too?”

“You are like… so totally awesome!” Aoyama gushes.

“Um, thanks? But… why?” It’s not that Izuku doesn’t appreciate the positive attention, because they do, it’s just that they're utterly confused as to why it is happening.

“You came in first in the Sports Festival!” Aoyama explains, then elaborates, “Only using support gear! That’s so bold and new and I think it’s just fabulous!”

“Oh! Um… thanks?” Izuku says again, mostly because they're a little overwhelmed.

“It’s just…” Aoyama speaks softer, toning down a little, “I worry sometimes, about myself, y’know? Of course my quirk is beautiful and flashy but… sometimes when I look at other people in Class A, I wonder if I’m really powerful enough to be a hero. Of course I’m fabulous, and I’ll always have that, but I can’t help but worry if I’m strong enough sometimes. And then you… you won the Sports Festival with less than what I have. So if you can be a hero, maybe I can too.”

“But I’m… I’m not in the Hero Course though, so… not much of a hero.”

“You’re still a hero to me.”

At that, Izuku is completely taken aback. When they hadn’t gotten into the Hero Course after the Sports Festival, they had believed that they were still stuck where they were before. That it had all been for nothing. But… maybe it wasn’t. Maybe they really had taken a step closer to being a hero, even if they hadn’t been put in the Hero Course just yet.

As quickly as the moment had started, it ends. Aoyama’s smile changes to a brighter one, but though the smile is brighter, it somehow feels a little less genuine. “Anyway! Sorry for getting all sappy on you. I don’t usually get like that, but I wanted to tell you. It was nice meeting you! Bye,” And before Izuku can even say anything in reply, Aoyama skates off, leaving them standing there stunned.

Did that… really all just happen?

Before Izuku can start thinking too much, Shinsou bumps their shoulders together. Izuku glances at them curiously.

“Y’know, you really are a lot cooler than you give yourself credit for,” Shinsou mutters. After a moment he adds, “Even if you do some pretty reckless stuff sometimes.”

Izuku smiles. “Well, that is why I’m the reckless…” They glance around, then continue, “Ah, the reckless idiot.”

Shinsou huffs a small laugh. “Yeah. Now, come on, reckless idiot. Let’s see if we can at least remove ‘roller skating’ from your list of ways to get yourself hurt.”


Monday


Shouto is still worried about Iida.

He hasn't been acting like himself ever since the news came out that Ingenium was attacked, and for Shouto to notice even though he doesn't talk to Iida much at all, it must be pretty bad.

He feels like he should go to him and say something, but he has no idea what.

Uraraka is keeping Iida company, though. That eases his worry a little.

"So, hey, uh, Iida-kun!" He hears Uraraka ask nervously, "Where did you decide to go to for your internship?"

She's at least trying to hold a casual conversation, Shouto thinks.

In response, Iida doesn't say anything besides, "Manual's hero agency."

Uraraka continues to chatter away, but for some reason Iida's response sticks in the back of Shouto's mind. Manual. Shouto doesn't know much about him, which means that Endeavor didn't make him learn about the hero. That means Manual isn't someone considered to be overly strong or popular.

So why would Iida choose that agency? He did fairly well in the Sports Festival, and even if he hadn't, he's still Ingenium's little brother. Surely he had better offers than some small hero agency in… what city was it again?

It hits him all at once. Hosu. That's where Manual's hero agency is. And that's where Stain attacked Ingenium.

Shouto wants to hope for the best, but it seems all too clear for him now;

Iida is planning to try and go after the Hero Killer.

 

But what is Shouto supposed to do with this information? He already submitted his choice so he can't change it to try and help Iida. He doesn't know if his internship will take him into Hosu. What can he do to help Iida?

Another thought comes to him. Maybe he can't help Iida... but he thinks he knows someone else who can.


Izuku works on their next gadget, trying to stay completely focused.

"Hey Midoriya-kun, what'cha makin?" Sora asks.

Without looking over Izuku answers, "They're supposed to be flash-bangs."

"Flash-bangs?" Sora echoes nervously.

"They're more for show than to be any kind of weapon," Izuku clarifies. "The point is that they make a blinding flash of light, and a really loud bang. Kind of like a… crack of lightning."

"Ah," Sora hums in understanding. "I get it. Those would be useful for some kind of indoor battle or night battle."

"They'll make for a cool entrance at least," Izuku says, smiling to themself.

Just then, Power Loader ( -er, Majima-sensei, that is, ) announces from the front of the room, “All right everyone, listen up.”

Normally he doesn’t say much and just lets the class focus on working on gadgets, so the sudden change grabs everyone’s attention almost immediately.

“Thank you for quieting down so quickly,” Majimi starts. “Now then, next week we’re going to be doing internships with Support Companies. A few of you have been given offers if it’s a family business for you, or…” He glances at Hatsume and then Izuku for just a second, “…if you showed some talent during the Sports Festival. The rest of you will be given a list of agencies that have agreed to do internships for UA Support Course students.”

There’s a pause over the classroom as everyone takes in the news.

“That’ll be all. Please try to make a decision on where you’ll be interning as soon as you can.”

With that, they’re all given the lists and-

“What the heck.” Izuku exclaims, looking over their list.

“What is it?” Sora asks, glancing over.

“I-” Izuku stutters, “What- how-”

 

Here’s the thing.

Izuku had expected a few offers. They were in the Sports Festival and all. So yeah, they had expected a few .

 

And their list has at least a hundred. More than likely a couple hundred.

 

Sora looks over the list. “…I mean, I don’t really see why you’re surprised.”

“But… but this many?”

“You did win the Sports Festival and all,” Sora shrugs. “They don’t care if you’re quirkless, if you can win the Sports Festival with only gadgets, then you have the kind of talent that Support Companies dream of getting.”

“I… I guess,” Izuku mumbles. “I have no idea how I’m supposed to choose one though.”

“Well…” Sora says. “Good luck!”

“You can say that again.”


Not much happens during lunch besides the usual (although, Shinsou did mention that “Aoyama says hi”- Izuku hadn’t really known how to respond except to tell him to say hi back). What’s really important is what happens right at the end of lunch.

Todoroki steps up next to them. “Hey, can I talk to you for a second? It’s important.”

Izuku is surprised, but they agree, “Yeah, sure.”

In no time at all, they’ve gotten away from everyone else and are talking in a secluded hallway.

“So what is it?” Izuku asks, cutting right to the chase.

Todoroki hesitates for a second, then asks, “You know Iida, right?”

“Iida-kun?” Izuku echoes. “Yeah, a little. He’s Uraraka-san’s friend, right? He went up against Hatsume-san in the Sports Festival too…” For a second they remember the USJ incident and how they had accidentally called him by name as a vigilante.

At least Iida hasn’t seemed to add things up yet…

“And he’s Ingenium’s little brother,” Todoroki adds, tensely.

“Oh yeah, I guess that makes sense, I should have realized before, and-” Wasn’t Ingenium on the news recently for some reason? Oh yeah, it was- “…Oh god. Oh my god.”

Todoroki nods, knowing exactly what Izuku realized even without them saying anything. “Yeah.”

“Is, is Iida-kun okay?” Izuku asks, but really they already know the answer. No one could be okay with this, first off, and second… Todoroki wouldn’t bring it up if there weren’t an important reason.

“He’s been taking it really hard,” Todoroki murmurs. “He’s been really distant to everyone recently, even Uraraka, despite the fact they’re friends.”

Izuku frowns. It’s definitely not something good, but… “Well, what do you think we should do about it?”

“There’s… there’s more,” Todoroki says, not answering Izuku’s question. “We’re doing internships with hero agencies. Iida chose an agency in Hosu.”

“That’s where the Hero Killer attacked,” Izuku realizes. “…You think he’s planning to go after him?”

“I think it’s a possibility,” Todoroki nods. “I already decided on where to do my internship, and I just… I wish there was someone to keep an eye on him. And I hoped you might be able to.”

“I can do it,” Izuku agrees immediately. “We’re doing internships in the Support Course too; I’ll just pick a place in Hosu then.”

“Are you sure?” Todoroki asks. “If it’s something important to your class, then…”

“I had no idea where to even start looking before,” Izuku shrugs. “Now I do! And… I just… I couldn’t leave Iida-kun like that if things are as bad as you say they are.”

Todoroki takes a deep breath. “This is probably going to be the only time that I’m grateful that you’re a reckless vigilante idiot.”

Izuku laughs. “Thank you.” They almost go separate ways there, but out of curiosity, Izuku decides to ask, “So where are you going for your internship, then? If you already picked somewhere.”

Todoroki winces. “I… I picked Endeavor’s agency.”

“En. Endeavor.” Izuku clarifies slowly, disbelieving. “I’m sorry, but- why?”

“I’m not excited about it either,” Todoroki mutters, “But. Well, first, if I’m going to try and get used to using my fire I suppose it would be better to listen to someone who knows how to use it. And he didn’t become the number two hero by being likable, that’s for sure.”

“And second?”

“He’s… still pretty pissed off for how I lost the Sports Festival,” Todoroki hesitantly admits. “If I put up with this one thing, he might be a little less insufferable about it.”

Izuku winces. “I’m… I’m sorry. That’s my fault, I-”

“No. Don’t apologize,” Todoroki insists firmly. “You won fair and square because you deserved it. You already didn’t get what you wanted from it, I’m not gonna let that bastard make you feel guilty about it either.”

“Well…” Izuku mumbles, “I didn’t get nothing from it either. But… if you don’t want me to feel guilty, then I’ll try not to.” They find themself smiling, and they add, “Thanks, Todoroki-kun.”

“I should be thanking you,” Todoroki says. “You’re the one helping me with the whole Iida situation.”

“It’s no big deal,” Izuku waves it off. “I can’t just leave a situation like that on its own, y’know?”

The bell rings then, signifying the official end of their lunch period.

“We should probably get going,” Izuku says. “Anyway, um. Good luck with your internship? I’m pretty sure you’re gonna need it.”

“Yeah. You too.” Todoroki nods.

Izuku almost walks away, but hesitates, and turns back. “If Endeavor tries to give you trouble, shoot me a message, okay? I’ll zoom over as a vigilante and zap him.”

“You. Realize he’ll kill you if you do that, right?”

“He can try, but if I can survive evil villains trying to kill me, I think I can survive an old man who throws a tantrum because he doesn’t get what he wants.”

“Midoriya. I appreciate you so much. I mean that sincerely.”


 

Bonus:

“Hey Midoriya-kun did you figure out what to do with your internship-”

“Oh yeah, I did, but hey Sora-kun you’re working on Iida-kun’s hero costume right?”

“Ah… yeah?”

“Can you help me with something mildly illegal if it’s for the sake of saving his life?”

“I hate it when you start conversations this way.”

Chapter Text

"So we're doing internships next week," Hitoshi says, trying not to seem nervous.

"Yep," Aizawa confirms.

"But you… haven't given me any of the internship forms."

"You'll be interning with me," Aizawa explains. "Since you're a new transfer student, we'll spend the week trying to catch you up on what they've already gotten done."

"…Right," Hitoshi mutters.

I guess that makes sense…

 

There's a few seconds where neither of them says anything, and then Aizawa sighs.

"All right kid, out with it."

"Huh?"

"You have something on your mind that's bothering you. What is it?"

Hitoshi hesitates, then asks, "What do you think about the whole… Midoriya situation? I mean, they got much further than I did in the Sports Festival and stuff and I just…"

Aizawa doesn't answer for a long moment, and Hitoshi can only imagine what he's thinking. Eventually, Aizawa mutters, "Nedzu is pretending the situation is complicated, but really, it's not. The truth is that both of you easily could have been added to Class A. You both deserve to be in Class A. I'm disappointed that Nedzu won't let Midoriya into the Hero Course, but that does not mean I'm disappointed you're here, all right?"

"…All right."

"Good."


The week flies by them and suddenly it's time for their internships.

Izuku arrives in Hosu, pulling their luggage behind them and checking on the address slip for the support company they're interning with-

"Why are you here?" A voice demands.

Izuku turns to see none other than Masaru Ichirou- the two of them had only spoke once before, and in that one conversation Masaru had made it very clear that he hated everything about Izuku. Needless to say, neither of them are very excited to be seeing each other.

"I'm here for my internship," Izuku answers, keeping their tone level. "Why are you here?"

"I'm here for my internship!" Masaru says. Then his eyes narrow. "Wait. Where exactly are you interning?"

Izuku feels a pit sink in their stomach, and they show Masaru the address slip they're holding.

Masaru takes a second to read it, then glares furiously, "That's where I'm interning! You can't intern there! What are you, some kind of copycat?"

"Trust me," Izuku mutters, "If I had realized, I would have picked a different agency."

"Excuse me?!"

"What, don't act offended, of course I don't want to be around you when you constantly insult me and strut around with your overgrown ego."

"YOU DARE-!"

"Look," Izuku cuts in, "There's no going back on it now, so can we please just make this week as painless as possible for each other?"

Masaru scowls. "Fine. Stay out of my way and we'll be perfect."

"Already planned on it," Izuku mutters.

With that, Masaru marches off, and Izuku decides not to tell him he's headed the wrong direction.

The place that they're interning at is big, much larger than Izuku had been expecting, even. They even get their own room to themself, which, considering their rocky relationship with Masaru, is honestly a blessing.

They're going through their suitcase and unpacking some of the stuff, the bag inside the suitcase moves, they sort the books on their shelf-

…Wait, what?

Izuku looks back at the bag, sure they imagined it.

After a second or two, the bag twitches.

They carefully lift the bag and open it.

Garby smiles at them from where he's sitting inside the bag- well, the visor on his head smiles.

"Garby…" Izuku groans, then whispers, "You can't be here! You're going to get me in trouble!"

The visor blinks and the smiley face is replaced with a word;

[Lonely]

Izuku stares at Garby for a long moment, before giving a heavy sigh. "Okay, okay. I guess it's not the end of the world if you're here. Just stay out of trouble, okay? Not biting or scratching people."

Garby's visor blinks a [:)] but a second later it blinks a different word, [Concern].

"What?" Izuku asks, uncertain what that means.

Garby reaches forward and nudges Izuku's hand insistently.

"…I'll be careful too," Izuku says. "Promise."

[Doubt]

"Don't act like you have the moral high ground, I seriously doubt that you intend on keeping out of trouble too."

[:)]

"Yeah. Exactly. That's not comforting at all."


"Natsuki-chan? Is that you?!" Mei exclaims, racing up to her friend.

"Hatsume!" Natsuki turns to face her, surprised. "Wait… are you interning here too, then?"

"Yeah!" Mei cheers, fist pumping the air. "Does this mean that we get to intern together?!"

"I mean, I guess it does," Natsuki says, smiling.

"Yay!!" Mei shouts, jumping on Natsuki with a hug, "Oh, I'm so happy! It's cool that we get to spend more time together! Oh, this is gonna be great!"

Natsuki's smile just gets brighter, and seeing it makes Mei feel warm and fuzzy inside. "Yeah," Natsuki says, "This is gonna be great."


They're a day into the internships now, and Shouta has noticed something… interesting about Shinsou.

He takes a lot of notes. A lot.

Which, normally, Shouta wouldn't really question- except Hizashi has mentioned before that Shinsou's style of note taking is writing the bare essentials only. And that doesn’t match up with the way he's writing his notes now.

Shouta tries to ignore it as he continues the lesson.

His mind wanders to the other day when Shinsou had asked what he thought of the situation with Midoriya. It's pretty clear from that and the Sports Festival itself that the two of them are good friends…

…Ah. So is that how it is…?

"…Shinsou," Shouta says eventually.

Shinsou looks up from his notes. "Yes?"

"Are you writing those notes with the intention of lending them to Midoriya?"

The look on his face explains it all.

Technically, sharing notes with someone outside of the Hero Course is against the rules…

…But maybe he can let this one slide.

"Forget I asked," Shouta tells him.

If Shouta starts going any slower to help Shinsou's note-taking pace, neither of them mention it.


It's the third day of internships, and Tenya is patrolling with Manual.

“Just another day of patrolling. Sorry it isn’t more exciting,” Manual apologizes.

“No… it’s actually…” Tenya mumbles the answer out, still half wrapped up in his own thoughts, “It’s actually… better this way.”

Even as focused on himself as he is, there’s no way that Tenya could miss the concerned glance that Manual gives him.

“…Okay,” Manual says, turning back to the sidewalk in front of them. There’s silence for a moment, hesitation, then he asks, “Hey… I really hate to bring it up but… you’re here because you’re after the Hero Killer, aren’t you?”

Immediately on the defensive, Tenya replies, “And what, exactly, makes you think that?”

“Well, it’s just,” Manual backpedals, “I… can’t really think of any other reason that you would choose to intern with my agency. I mean, don’t get me wrong! I’m thrilled! I worked with your brother all the time, so knowing that I would get to meet his little brother was awesome! But… I mean, I don’t know if Tensei would have suggested my agency or not… so it’s almost like it’s too good to be true.”

“…Tensei has mentioned you plenty of times before,” Tenya says. That part of it, at least, is the truth. “That’s why I chose to intern here.”

“Right.” Manual hums. Something gives Tenya the impression… that he doesn’t fully buy his lie. “Even so. I’d like to warn you not to act out of personal desires or a want for revenge. We’re heroes, you know? Saving people should always be our top priority.”

Tenya is glad for the moment that his hero costume covers his face. “…Of course,” He answers, trying to sound sincere. But try as he might…

S omething has to be done about Stain.

I can’t let him continue…

He has to pay for what he’s done…!

That is Tenya’s one and only goal on this internship trip.

 

To find the Hero Killer Stain.

 

And to put an end to him.


The door to the room slams open.

"What did you do?" Masaru demands, furious.

"What?" Izuku asks, completely oblivious to why he's so angry.

"I said what did you do?" Masaru repeats, "All of my tech isn't working, and I know you're responsible for it!"

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Izuku defends. "Besides, you think I would stoop so low as to sabotage your work?"

"Yes, I do," Masaru snaps.

"Yeah, well, I didn't."

Masaru gives a wordless growl, then threatens, "So help me if I get one shred of evidence, you're gonna have hell to pay." From there, he storms out, slamming the door behind him.

"Good thing you won't find any," Izuku mutters to the door in front of them, even though Masaru is already gone.

They hear a rustling behind them and they turn to find Garby. The visor on his head shows a big smile and nothing else.

The puzzle pieces click together in Izuku's brain. "Garby…" They groan. "I thought I told you to stay out of trouble!"

Garby continues to smile in a way that feigns innocence, and yet at the same time the smile is somehow incredibly smug.


"Woah, do that again!" Mei cheers.

"Huh?" Natsuki asks, turning to her. "What?"

"That!" Mei yells, and gestures vaguely at the gadget in front of her. "I've never seen technique like that before!"

"Oh, well, okay," Natsuki mumbles.

First she undoes the action with a motion so fluid that Mei finds it mesmerizing. Then Natsuki glances over to make sure she's watching, and does it again.

The motion seems so fast it looks like in theory it wouldn’t work; and yet everything comes together and falls in place right as it should.

"Woah!" Mei exclaims. "Can you show me how to do that? Can you?!"

Natsuki laughs softly. "It's not that difficult, it just takes practice. Here-" she undoes it again, then takes Mei's hands and guide them on to the gadget, "I'll lead you through it."

Natsuki's hands are rougher than Mei would have thought, though, she shouldn't be surprised considering they're both Support Course students. That being said, they're not too rough. And it's obvious that Natsuki carefully maintains them.

That's a good idea, Mei hums to herself, Mechanical work kinda needs working hands, huh?

"Okay, are you ready to try?" Natsuki asks.

"Huh?" Mei mumbles, still half lost in thought.

"The technique you asked me to show you."

"Oh! Yeah I'm ready, go ahead!"

With Natsuki's hands on hers, Natsuki guides Mei through how to do it over and over again.

"There!" Natsuki says after they've done it together a few times. "Now you try."

Mei takes the gadget in her own hands, and tries to focus on thinking of the motion they just went through.

"It's… it's not quite working for me yet," Mei pouts, staring at the tool pieces in her hand, definitely not together like they were for Natsuki.

Natsuki giggles, and the light sound lifts Mei's spirits. "Come on," Natsuki offers, "Let's try it again together."

"Sure!"


Shouto collapses into his bed at the end of the day, exhausted.

He certainly doesn't know how to pull any punches, huh…

He would almost full on regret choosing to intern… here, but undeniably he's been making some fairly quick progress with his fire. Which… is better than nothing, he supposes.

It's just then that his phone buzzes with an incoming message. When Shouto checks, he sees it's from Midoriya.

 

Midoriya:

Hey, how are you doing?

I haven't heard anything so I thought I should check up on you

I mean

If it's a bother, you can tell me not to!

 

They text just like they talk, huh…

 

Todoroki:

I'm okay. A little tired, but otherwise fine.

 

Midoriya:

Good!

That's nice to hear!

Any interesting news?

 

Todoroki:

Well, it seems like the old man is interested in bringing down the Hero Killer, so we'll be making a trip to Hosu soon. I guess it was pointless of me to ask you to go there.

 

Midoriya:

It's fine!

I mean, even if you weren't, there was never any guarantee that Iida would try to track him down

Honestly if this whole thing turns out to be pointless I'll be relieved.

 

Shouto would feel awkward letting the conversation drop, but he's not sure how to respond to that. Eventually, he asks,

Todoroki:

How is your internship going?

 

Midoriya starts typing but then stops a bunch of times. Eventually what comes through is-

Midoriya:

In fonr-

om ginw

Sorry, Garby keeps getting in the way when I try to type that I'm FINE

 

Todoroki:

Garby?

 

Midoriya:

He snuck in. Long story.

 

Shouto pauses for a moment.

Todoroki:

So if Garby is stopping you from typing "I'm fine" is it because you aren't actually fine and he's trying to keep you from hiding it?

 

Midoriya doesn't respond for a while. Eventually, they text;

 

Midoriya:

One of my other classmates is interning here

And uh

Let's just say we don't really get along

 

Todoroki:

In other words, he's a jerk.

 

Midoriya:

I mean, that's pretty blunt, but yeah

 

Todoroki:

I can't imagine you not getting along with someone unless if they were being purposefully confrontational.

 

Midoriya:

Purposefully confrontational

That sounds about right

 

Todoroki:

I'm sorry.

 

Midoriya:

What?

What for?

 

Todoroki:

You didn't have to intern there, but I asked you to.

 

Midoriya:

It's FINE

Really!

Besides, the only problems that came up were when GARBY went after his gadgets and ruined them.

Sorry, I capitalized Garby because he's still in my lap and I wanted to be accusing

 

Todoroki:

Wow. Your ferret gets into as much trouble as you do.

 

Midoroya:

Ha ha

That was sarcastic by the way


It's on the night of the fourth day of the internships that it happens. Attacks start happening all over Hosu while Manual and Tenya are on patrol. And in the chaos of it all, Manual goes one way, and Tenya goes another.

With all of these distractions going on, it would make perfect sense for Stain to try and attack someone right now, He theorizes, running through the city. Most of his victims were found in deserted alleyways… so that's where I'll have to look.

Just as he thought, he finds them in a deserted alleyway; an injured pro hero, and the Hero Killer Stain himself. Tenya's sight narrows until the only thing in his focus is Stain, and he runs forward at the villain.

Stain reacts fast, too fast, knocking off Tenya's helmet and causing him to stumble back a few steps.

"A child in a costume…?" Stain mutters, now that Tenya's helmet is gone. "Get lost kid. This doesn't concern you."

"Yes it does," Tenya says, voice trembling. "You. You attacked the Hero Ingenium. My brother. And I'm going to make you pay for it."

The light in Stain's eyes changes as he listens. "…You really don't want to be doing this, kid. I'll give you one last chance to run away before you make me kill you."

The last few words chill Tenya with a shiver that goes right down to his bones, but after that his statement just makes Tenya angry. This man, this- this villain hurt Tensei, and thinks that he can just get away with it.

Tenya drops into a crouch and readies himself to attack, but somehow, again, Stain is faster. They scuffle for a bit, and Tenya falls to the ground. He's about to get up when a sword drives it's way through a chink in his armor and through his shoulder. He snaps his teeth together to stop himself from crying out in pain. I refuse to show any weakness to this… to this monster .

"I did try to warn you, kid," Stain mutters. The sword is removed from Tenya's arm, and he's about to stand up to fight again when his limbs lock together. He can't move himself an inch.

"You hurt Tensei," Tenya snarls, ignoring the tears that are starting to sting at his eyes, "And for that I'll never forgive you!"

"Oh yes, revenge. That's just the best heroic trait, isn't it?" Stain snaps sarcastically. He then points over to the Pro Hero, still frozen on the wall. "If you were a real hero, your first priority would have been getting him out of here. But it wasn't. Kid or no, you're just another one of the bad egg heroes running around. And for that, you must die."

Tenya can't see much from this angle, but it's like he can sense Stain lifting up his sword, ready to drive it down.

"Say what you want," Tenya shouts, ignoring the fear that's building up inside of him, "But at the end of the day, you're just the criminal who hurt my brother!!"

 

There's a large crack and a blinding flash of light.

 

What? Lightning? Tenya thinks, squinting his eyes shut to fend off the sudden bright light.

…Wasn't the weather clear out? Why would there be lightning?

 

The light fades, and Tenya opens his eyes.

 

Stain is standing a few meters away from him now.

 

And in between Tenya and Stain is the vigilante Green Lightning.

Chapter Text

Izuku themself had been relaxing in their room when the disaster had struck. When it had, there wasn't even a question in their mind of what to do; they needed to help.

They assembled their Green Lightning costume in a flash and was out the door seconds later.

For the most part, as they made their way through the city they kept to the roofs; the streets were flooded with people, but no one would pay attention to what was going on overhead.

First, Izuku had found Manual. When they realized that Iida was, in fact, no longer with the hero, a pit had sunk in their stomach.

Though, they supposed, this possible scenario was why they had asked Sora to put a tracker on Iida's hero costume in the first place.

They pulled out said tracker and followed where it led.

It hadn't needed to tell them when they found Iida, though. What told them that was the gleam of a sword in the moonlight.

Bingo.


Many cities away, Hitoshi is sitting at home, anxiously drumming his fingers on his leg.

The news is already blowing up about an incident in Hosu. Where Midoriya is interning.

There’s no information on what exactly is going on, but there’s no doubt about it that it is something bad, something to do with villains.

Please don’t get involved, Hitoshi mentally begs Midoriya, Please don’t do anything that’s too reckless…

Hitoshi’s phone buzzes.

Midoriya Izuku has sent out their location.

Oh I have a bad feeling about that.

Dammit.


“Y-you!” Iida stammers, “You were there at the USJ! You’re that vigilante, Green Lightning!”

“Nice to see you remember me,” Izuku mutters, not taking their eyes off of Stain, lest the villain try to make a move if they do.

For a moment, Izuku considers trying to grab Iida and making a getaway without fighting Stain, but carrying someone wearing a full set of armor while roller skating sounds difficult even just in theory; and even if it didn't, there's another person here too, a pro hero that Stain must have been targeting originally before Iida had come here. Izuku definitely doesn't have the strength to carry two people.

Fighting is the only option then… although…

“What’s your blood type?” Izuku asks Iida after a moment of thinking.

“What?” Iida asks, “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Just answer me.”

“It’s… It’s A.”

Izuku stares at Stain and the details of his quirk list out onto the helmet’s screen in front of them.

“In a little under five minutes, that paralysis will wear off. When that happens, run and get help.”

“What?!” Iida exclaims, “I can’t do that! I have to-!”

“You know,” Izuku cuts in, “For someone with a quirk based around running, you’re really bad at it.”

Iida doesn’t respond to that.

“Interesting,” Stain speaks up. “How did you know my quirk?”

“That’s a secret I’ll keep to myself,” Izuku says evenly.

“So… Shigaraki wasn’t being paranoid when he said that there might be a vigilante who shows up and interferes.” 

“So they remember me too? I’m flattered,” Izuku says, though they're not actually all that flattered. “Does that mean you work for the League of Villains then?”

Stain scoffs, “Of course not. It’s more of a partnership than anything. Shigaraki and I… don’t really get along.”

“I’m not sure Shigaraki really gets along with anybody,” Izuku mutters, recalling their own meeting with the villain.

“Heh,” Stain huffs a dry, humorless, laugh. “So why are you here, vigilante? You’re an awful long way from your home.”

“A change of scenery is nice from time to time. Besides, isn’t it obvious? I’m here to stop you from killing any more people.”

Stain is silent for a moment. “I like you. You’re not some kind of fake like the rest of these heroes. Only a real hero would help others for no pay, no benefit. Vigilantes are the truest heroes in our time.”

“Thanks, but no thanks,” Izuku says. “I don’t want your praise. You’re a villain.”

“Villain, vigilante… we’re not that different. You can’t tell me you don’t see the corruption in modern heroes?”

“Corrupt or no, they don’t deserve to die,” Izuku snaps. “And I’m nothing like you. Because your goal here is to kill people… and mine is to save them.”

“Hmm. Shigaraki told me that if I ran into you, I was to kill you too. That being said, he has no control over me. If he wants you dead, he can do it himself; killing you would be a waste.”

“Aw, gee, thanks,” Izuku mutters sarcastically.

“Well then, if you’re so determined to save them, then come at me,” Stain says. “Let’s see if you’re strong enough to back up your bold words.”

With that, Izuku knows the time for banter is over. They take a deep breath.

Focus. This isn't some random thug. This is a villain who's earned the title of Hero Killer… this isn't going to be easy.

Stain is bracing himself, but otherwise waiting for Izuku to make the first move.

Hardening their resolve, Izuku shoots forward. They still have their roller skates out, so they moves fast. Stain is prepared to face them, but as soon as Izuku is close enough, they drop into a crouch and slides under the killer. In the same movement, they pull out a gadget and stab one end to the ground; it activates, forming a full staff for them to use as a pole vault. Izuku uses the momentum from the skates to swing themself upwards, over Stain's head.

Stain, however, is still reacting to their first move; the Hero Killer turns around, trying to find them, unaware that they're already over his head. Before Izuku can fully come to a landing on the ground, they pull in their legs and kick at Stain's now-exposed back.

Stain stumbles forward, and Izuku uses the staff to steady their landing on the ground. From there Izuku retracts the skates back into their heels; after a move like that they'd rather not risk any further chance of snapping an ankle somehow.

Izuku pulls the staff from the ground and readies it as their tool for defense. Stain turns around to face them finally, anger rolling off in waves.

"I see. So you do have some skill," Stain mutters. "I don't think I need to hold back on you."

"Don't know why you thought you should in the first place," Izuku mutters, tightening their grip on the staff in their hands.

Stain throws a knife out, and Izuku spins the staff to knock it from the air. In the same movement, Stain dashes forward, hoping to catch them off guard while they're deflecting. At the last second, Izuku manages to block Stain's sword blade with their staff.

Trying to keep the action subtle, Izuku presses the button on the handle at the center of the staff. Electricity sparks through it, and in turn through Stain's blade, but there's no other reaction than that.

"Unfortunately, Shigaraki warned me about your quirk too," Stain says as their weapons are still locked together. "You're going to have to try a bit harder than that if you want to shock me."

Shock absorbent gloves, Izuku observes. Dammit.

The vigilante and villain push away from each other.

Izuku twirls the staff in their hands to get a better grip at it, and Stain fixes his stance.

Stain throws another knife and runs forward, and Izuku knocks the knife from the air; however this time, instead of attacking with his sword, Stain throws them off by throwing two knives.

Izuku manages to deflect one, but the other just barely catches them on the arm and nicks them-

As Stain pushes past them instead of attacking, Izuku realizes his plan.

Izuku hadn't been expecting a full on tackle, so when Stain pushes them to get through the alley, it knocks them over. Izuku scrambles to grab another gadget from their belt, to turn it on, to roll over to get a good angle, to point and aim at the second knife before Stain can get to it-!

They're not fast enough.

It's like all of their blood really does turn to ice and they're locked into place, unable to move.

Come on… if I could just… move my finger…!

Their finger, in the trigger of the gadget, stays completely still. Nothing at all shoots out to possibly stall Stain in any way.

With a kick, Stain knocks it from their hand and it skids across the alleyway, far from their grasp.

"Looks like you lose, Lightning," Stain mutters. "I meant what I said, though. I won't kill you."

Stain turns… to face Iida and the other injured pro in the alleyway.

"Wait-" Izuku protests, desperately.

"I think we're both aware that my quirk has a time limit," Stain interrupts, "I'm not letting you stall until any of them run out."

Izuku grits their teeth. "Why do they need to die anyway?"

Stain doesn't stop or turn around. "These are corrupt caricatures of what being a hero should be. For that, they must be removed."

"Iida isn't even a hero yet!"

That's when Stain stops.

"So. You know his name?" The villain turns. "Is this, perhaps, a personal fight for you, Green Lightning?"

Terror shoots through them. If there's one thing worse than someone at UA finding out their identity… it's a villain finding out their identity.

Fighting to keep their voice level, Izuku answers, "No. He was in the UA Sports Festival. I wouldn't say I know him personally."

Stain hums, then turns back around. "Good. Otherwise I imagine this loss would hurt much more."

Izuku's heart leaps into their throat as Stain raises his sword. But just as they're about to yell out, the alley is once again filled with light as a streak of fire aims right for Stain.

"I hope I'm not too late to this party you're having back here."

Izuku lets out a shaky breath of relief.

They sent out their location, but they weren't sure anyone would get it. After all, the person they wanted help from only said that he would be coming to Hosu soon, not that he would be there at that very day. There was no guarantee that he would be there in time…

And yet, there stands Todoroki at the other end of the alleyway.

"Todoroki-kun!" Iida yells, surprised. "What are you doing here?!"

"You of all people have no right to be asking that," Todoroki mutters. "You were missing. I came to find you. Lucky for us, I did."

For the briefest moment, Todoroki glances over to Izuku.

"This is my fight!" Iida insists. "It doesn't concern you!"

"Yeah, you realize that if I accept that and leave he'll kill you, right? I'm not leaving you here alone."

"So, you intend on standing in my as well? If you do, I'll have no choice but to take you out too," Stain threatens.

"I'm not the kind of hero who runs away when people need help."

"Hm," Stain grunts in acknowledgement. He crouches down to get in a fighting stance.

His quirk, The thought strikes Izuku suddenly, I need to warn him-!

"Don't let him drink your blood!" Izuku blurts quickly. "That's how his quirk works, if he drinks your blood you get paralyzed!"

Stain glares back at them. "You're making me regret not killing you."

"It's a special talent of mine."

As Stain's back is turned, Todoroki attempts to freeze him in ice; not with any big glacier like he used during the Sports Festival, but a smaller and more precise move. Stain jumps back just before it gets to him.

Stain throws a knife out at Todoroki, and though he dodges, it leaves a slight scratch in his cheek as it passes. Heeding Izuku's warning, Todoroki quickly freezes over the knife as it lands, making sure Stain can't get to it.

Come on…! Izuku thinks anxiously, staring at the clock displayed in their helmet screen.

Just one more minute…!


Shouto wouldn't admit it to anyone, but right now, he's nervous. There's so much at stake in this one fight; if he doesn't win, then Iida could actually die.

The fact that Stain had already managed to take out Midoriya doesn't help, especially considering that Midoriya won the Sports Festival.

Shouto shoots fire at Stain as he reaches for another knife. He leaps out of the way, and despite having to dodge he still manages to throw a knife out. This time Shouto does manage to successfully avoid the knife, but as he's dodging, Stain runs forward at him.

Stain glances up, and instinctively, so does Shouto; he sees Stain's sword in the air.

He threw his sword? What's the point of that-

As he's focused on the sword, Stain grabs him and yanks forward. In a flash, Shouto remembers the cut on his cheek, and instantly he fires up to make Stain back off.

The Hero Killer is undaunted, already pulling out another knife-

As Stain raises his hand with the knife, a beam shoots out and hits his hand dead center. Stain yells out in surprise and pain.

 

Everyone turns to see Midoriya, now standing, holding out some kind of gadget that presumably shot the beam at Stain.

"…I think I'm beginning to see why the League wanted you dead," Stain mutters dryly.

"Was it not clear before?"

Taking advantage of Stain being distracted again, Shouto once again attempts to freeze him. At the last second, Stain realizes and jumps back.

Now able to move again, Midoriya slides their way over to Shouto's side so that they're both facing the Hero Killer together.

Without turning, Shouto glances over to Midoriya. "I thought you were paralyzed."

"His quirk works on a timer based on blood type," Midoriya explains. Shouto almost wants to ask how they knew that but at this point he should just stop being surprised with Midoriya. "Do we have any other backup coming?"

Shouto opens his mouth to speak, then pauses. I have to hide that they sent their location in the first place… no one can know that we're connected. Not Iida, and especially not Stain…  

"…When I realized that Iida was missing, I told the other heroes I was with that I would go searching for him. They can easily pin my location, so as soon as they wrap up any immediate business they have, they should come looking."

"Got it. So it's only a matter of time before they'll get here."

Across from them, Stain grits his teeth. They have him cornered, and he knows it. His only options are to run away or… or to kill all of them and escape. That's not a pleasant thought.

"Todoroki-kun," Midoriya says softly from next to him. Their voice isn't disguised anymore and it's a lot more quiet- are they trying to relay plans without Stain catching on? "You work better with fighting from a distance, so I'm counting on you for back up. I'm going to get in close and see if I can take him out."

"Be careful," Shouto warns, keeping his voice to a similar level of volume. "Those blades look like they can leave a nasty cut."

"Oh, come on," Midoriya laughs softly; and though Shouto can hear the smile on their voice… something about it gives the impression the they're only trying to act like they're not afraid. "I think we both know that's not my style."

Without another word, Midoriya runs forward at Stain, pulling out an extended staff. Shouto grits his teeth. I'll make sure you stay safe… that's at least half of the reason I'm here.

"Todoroki-kun," Iida grits out from behind of him.

Speaking of reasons I'm here.

Iida continues, "You have to get out of here…! I can't let you get hurt on my account!"

"It's a little late for that," Shouto says.

Anything else Iida may have said blurs into the background as Shouto focuses on Stain and Midoriya. Shouto considers how to help- he can try to freeze the ground right where Stain is about to step in an effort to trip him, but if Midoriya trips instead that would be a problem for obvious reasons. He just needs an opening…

There!

"Lightning," Shouto quickly says, "dodge left!"

Midoriya rolls to the side, and just as they do, Shouto fills the opposing side of the alley (where Stain is still standing) with ice.

For a moment, he lets himself hope that the battle will be over there, but it’s not; a few second later, the ice shatters as Stain cuts through it.

“It’s not smart to use an attack that moves your opponent out of view,” Stain says.

From the side, Midoriya lunges towards Stain, but Stain is already running forward at Shouto. As Stain gets closer, Shouto activates his fire. Stain uses what little width of the alley there is to try and get around him on his right side, but Shouto turns to meet him-

Instead of fighting him, Stain continues down the alley.

It’s at that exact moment that Shouto realizes the ice that had covered the knife earlier is now mostly melted. Shouto races forward to try and stop Stain, but the Hero Killer is faster; he’s always faster apparently. The paralysis catches him when he’s off balance, and so as his limbs lock together, he falls to the ground too.

Before anyone can work on processing what to do next, Stain is already running at Midoriya. From where he’s at, Shouto can’t even see what’s going on. All he can hear is the clanging of Midoriya’s staff against Stain’s blades, and every clang scares him.

“Todoroki-kun,” Iida says from the ground next to him, “When your paralysis runs out, you need to run.”

Shouto scowls at him, “Right, and leave you here?”

“Listen to me,” Iida insists desperately, “I know now, I know that what I did was wrong. Watching one of my classmates get hurt because of my actions… I just made things worse. I regret it. And so I can’t let you get hurt any more. You have to run.”

“…Now that this battle has started, it’s not going to end until we all go down, or Stain does,” Shouto tells him. “You want to stop this? Then get up. Get up and help us take down the Hero Killer for real.”

For a moment, they do nothing but stare into each others eyes, and Shouto sees the building determination growing inside of Iida. Then Iida’s eyes widen as he stares past Shouto, presumably back at the battle. And then, he’s moving. Iida moves all in one motion, blindingly fast.

Shouto still can’t see what’s happening, so all he can count on is sound.

There’s a large crash.

Midoriya’s voice, distorted by the mask, exclaiming, “Iida…!”

“I know you told me to run away,” Iida says, “But I can’t leave you behind now after you saved me. The best way to end this fight is to work together. And then no one here has to die tonight.”

Shouto can definitely hear the smile on Midoriya’s voice as they respond; “Yeah. Let’s do this!”

Stain scoffs. “You talk big game, but you can’t fool me. There’s no way you can change who you are at the drop of a hat. You’re still rotten to the core.”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Stain. Maybe he can’t change at the drop of a hat. But that doesn’t mean he can’t ever change. Your philosophy rides on the fact that people are always the same and can’t ever improve. But humans are always changing. That’s why you’re wrong, and that’s why we have to beat you.”

The fighting resumes.

Eventually, Shouto realizes he can move again, and the first thing he does is push himself up and turn to get a view of the fight; he doesn’t jump in immediately, because he knows they made need his back up later. At the opportune moment.

Iida manages to knock the Hero Killer with a solid kick, but Stain pushes right through it.

Stain seems to be centering his attacks more on Iida, but more than once Stain slices at Midoriya with a blow that could be fatal if it connected. Something gives Shouto the impression he’s going back on his decision to not kill Midoriya.

Dammit…

Just then, Stain manages to knock both Midoriya and Iida backwards, and now without any attacks to worry over, he dives to make his attack on Iida-!

Shouto jumps into action all at once, pushing Iida behind him as he falls and meeting Stain’s knife with fire. To avoid getting burnt, Stain jumps back.

If Stain was angry before, now he’s growing downright murderous. They have him cornered, and he knows it- but nothing is more dangerous than someone who’s cornered. However, before Stain can make an attack, someone finally gets in a good blow. Midoriya whacks the Hero Killer on the back of the head with their staff, electricity activated.

Shouto and Iida move back and out of the way, as Stain falls to the ground, writhing. Midoriya deactivates the electricity in staff, and before Stain can stand back up, they push one end of it into the villain’s chest.

Stain scowls up at all three of them.

“It’s over, Stain!” Midoriya announces. “Give it up!”

Stain’s eyes narrow, but then close, and he heaves a heavy sigh. “Fine. I surrender.”

Shouto breathes his own sigh of relief and sags, grateful that the ordeal is over.

 

But that’s exactly what Stain was waiting for out of them.

 

As soon as their guards drop, Stain swipes Midoriya’s feet out from under them, and before anyone can recover he’s already grabbing for a knife. The Hero Killer aims the knife right for Midoriya’s chest-

A wordless cry rips through Shouto, but the one who bursts into action is Iida. Activating his engines, Iida kicks Stain back, right in his own chest.

Now pumped full of adrenaline, Shouto stares at Stain’s body, waiting for him to move, to jump up, to continue attacking.

The Hero Killer stays still.

“Did… did I…?” Iida murmurs.

“I think he’s just unconscious,” Midoriya says, voice shaky.

Midoriya.

Shouto crouches down next to them to help them up. “Are you all right? He almost got you there.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” Midoriya waves it off. It’s harder to tell because of the voice distortion, but Shouto is almost certain they're only hiding their unease.

"We did it… we… we actually stopped him…!" Iida says in awe, eyes glued to Stain, almost completely oblivious to the exchange between Shouto and Midoriya.  

"Looks like we didn't need any back up from heroes after all," Shouto mutters.

"Ah…" Midoriya mumbles. "Speaking of… heroes… I should probably get going."

"What?" Iida blinks. "Why?"

"If Endeavor is coming, I think I'd rather not stick around long enough for him to fry me where I stand. And my job here is pretty much done."

"Wait," Before Midoriya can even turn to leave, Iida calls out. "I want answers. Why? Why are you here? Why do you keep showing up? How do you keep showing up?"

Midoriya is quiet for a moment, before answering, "Let's just say that I'm not someone who can keep my nose out of people’s business, or out of people’s problems. Getting involved when I don't have to is… what I do."

"But…" Iida continues, still at a loss, "Who are you?"

"No one important," Midoriya waves it off. Before any more questions can be raised, they step away, "I'll be leaving now. Don't take this the wrong way, but I sincerely hope we won't have to meet like this again."

With that they disappear into the darkness of the alleyway, skating away.

“…I… get the feeling that I should stop them,” The pro hero says (surprising Shouto, who had almost forgotten they were here at all), “but considering they kinda just. Saved my life. I think letting them go is okay in this sense.”

"They're a real mystery…" Iida mutters. After a second, he turns to Shouto. "Do you know anything?"

Feigning ignorance, Shouto asks, "Why would I know anything?"

"I don't know," Iida says, "It's just that you acted very… familiar with them."

"They're just as much of a mystery to me as they are to you," Shouto mutters.

I can't let him find out about Midoriya's identity. There's no telling what he'd do…

 

A few minutes later the pro heroes arrive to deal with Stain, and the conversation is history.


Without much delay, Izuku makes their way back to the Support Company's building and hides all of their costume. As they do so, Garby comes rushing out to greet them. At first, Garby is happy, but then he stops and sniffs at the cut left on Izuku's arm from the time Stain managed to actually cut them.

[Concern]

"It's fine," Izuku mumbles, "Just a little scratch."

Although, to be honest… scratch or not, it'll definitely generate attention. If people ask too many questions, like say, why they didn't go get help for it, that could cause problems…

Hmm… I guess I could go back out and… find somewhere where other civilians gathered to get to safety… They consider. There would probably be medics there who would treat the scratch too; they wouldn't need to think too much about it because lots of people must have been injured in the chaos…

All right, that's their plan. They'll go and find one of the spots where a group of civilians gathered to get away from the chaos. After all, Izuku themself is supposedly a civilian; they'll blend right in.

Izuku steps back outside of the building.

 

SCREECH!

 

Startled, they turn to see one of the creatures similar to the Nomu from the USJ- and it's diving right at them.

Right at them, just after they put all of their gadgets away.

Izuku has just enough time to think Uh oh before it crashes into them.

Chapter Text

Most of the fighting around the city seems to be over by now…

 

But Mirio is checking around just to be sure that there’s no situations left anywhere.

After all, the Hero Killer was running about earlier, apparently, taking advantage of the chaos caused by the attacks elsewhere. And Endeavor had apparently been chasing down one of those strange amalgamation creatures before Stain had taken over as a priority. Meaning that, it got away when he was distracted.

Mirio just hopes that he can find that monster before it attacks someone.

As if on cue, from up ahead he hears a screech accompanied by some yelling.

Dammit. I have to hurry!

Mirio speeds up, following the direction the noise is coming from.

He turns the street corner, and he can already somewhat see what's going on. There is, in fact, someone being attacked by one of the monstrous creatures. The creature, from what Mirio can tell, is trying to drag them away; but whoever it is, they're putting up enough of a fight that its giving it trouble.

Mirio runs up to them.

Power coursing through him, he lands a punch on the monster itself, and the creature is thrown back a few feet. It looks at him for a moment, perhaps considering its options, and then it flies off.

Mirio is tempted to chase after it so that it can't hurt anyone else… but right now his top priority is helping the person who was being attacked.

He turns around to face them and asks, "Hey, are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," They answer quickly.

For some reason, Mirio feels like he should know who this is, but it hasn’t come to him yet.

But that's not important- what's important right now is that this person who was attacked, they're injured. Not severely injured necessarily, but covered in too many scratches too count, and there's a particularly nasty one under their right eye.

Yeah… they're not fine.

"Are you sure you don't need any help?" Mirio asks again.

"Yeah I…" They start and then stop themself, almost abruptly, before recovering, "Actually I… could probably use some help. Um. Thanks."

Mirio smiles, and offers a hand to help them stand up.

And that's when it clicks.

"Wait a second!" Mirio says, "You're Midoriya Izuku!"

"Huh?" Midoriya looks at him, baffled. "How do you know that?"

"You won the UA Sports Festival for the first years, duh!" Mirio beams. "I gotta say, for a first year you were pretty impressive!"

"Ah, yeah, sure, I guess," Midoriya stammers. There's a pause, and then Midoriya whirls towards him, "Wait a second! I remember you! You're Togata Mirio- you won the third year's Sports Festival!"

"Yeah," Mirio laughs. "You can just call me Mirio by the way."

"Uh, o-okay! Sure!"  For a second, Midoriya hesitates, then they continue, "Can I ask you a question?"

"Well, you just did," Mirio jokes. "Yeah, sure, go ahead."

"…How exactly does your quirk work?" Midoriya asks eventually. "I mean, I just noticed that in this year's Sports Festival, your quirk seemed… I dunno, different."

The question catches Mirio off guard for a second, but he quickly recovers, "I'm not exactly sure myself, haha! Weird quirk mutations just happen sometimes, you know? It's not something that can be easily explained."

"Yeah, I guess that makes sense. Some things just can't be explained…"

Except this… could be explained… Mirio thinks, a little guilty.

…This isn't the kind of thing I can go sharing easily, though…

 

But even so… now he finds himself thinking about how Midoriya is so determined to be a hero, even without a quirk…

"So, you asked me a question. Can I ask you a question then?"

"Uh, yeah, sure!"

"If… If somehow, someone was able to give you a quirk, would you accept it?"

Midoriya is quiet for a long, long moment.

Eventually they answer… "No. At least… I wouldn't if they offered it to me now."

"Why?" Mirio asks.

"I mean… I've come so far already without a quirk. And if I just. Suddenly got a quirk, it would feel like everything I did up until now was pointless. Plus, to be honest I… I don't really have a problem with being quirkless necessarily; the real problem is how people treat quirklessness in general."

"Ah… well, when you put it like that, it makes sense," Mirio hums.

…For a first year, Midoriya really is inspiring. Well, no. They're inspiring even without considering that they're just a first year.

 

"Besides," Midoriya says, "there's never been a recorded case of a quirk that can be passed onto someone else so… it's not really a possibility in the first place.

 Mirio smiles. "Yeah, I suppose so."


In a lonesome bar a portal opens and the leader of the League of Villains steps back in. Although the bar is lonesome, there are two other people present besides Kurogiri and Shigaraki.

Sitting at a table together is a blonde girl with her hair in messy buns and [ERROR 0531161: CHARACTER DESCRIPTION NOT FOUND] .

“So, how’d it go?” The blonde asks sweetly.

Shigaraki scowls. “Stain was apprehended.”

[ERROR 0531161] frowns. “I thought that was what you wanted, wasn’t it?”

“Well, yes, but I wanted him to off that annoying vigilante first,” Shigaraki mutters. “And he didn’t. Oh well. If he’s too useless to kill any of our enemies, then we don’t need him around.”

“Hmm… I thought Stainy was cool though,” The blonde pouts. “At least he was cooler than Tomura-chan. He had actual motive, convictions, ambition…!”

“I’m right here, you know that right?” Shigaraki asks.

“Of course I do!” She smiles sweetly.

Shigaraki growls wordlessly. Then, he turns to [ERROR 0531161] . “What are you doing here anyway? I thought you had internships or whatever. Are you trying to lead them here or something?”

“They won’t even notice I’m gone,” [ERROR 0531161] says nonchalant. “Besides. I don’t get to hang out with Toga-chan when I’m with the heroes.”

“…Whatever,” Shigaraki mutters. “I’m gonna go find somewhere to relax in peace.”

“What, do you not like us?” Toga asks teasingly.

“Yes,” Shigaraki answers, already stepping out the door.

Toga giggles at that. Then after a second she frowns. “It is upsetting that Stain got caught though. I was hoping he could at least bring back some of that vigilante’s blood you know? Then we could figure out who it is.” She says this, completely oblivious to the fact that if they took the blood from the one surviving Nomu's talons, they would have the blood that belonged to the vigilante.

“Yeah… and you were right when you said that he has a much more clearly defined motive than Shigaraki…” [ERROR 0531161] comments, trailing off. After a moment, they turn to the screen, the screen that’s always there in the back of the room. “Why do you keep him around anyway, Sensei? What’s the point?”

“…He’s merely a tool, nothing more,” The screen answers. “I leave him in charge because no matter how crudely, he still gets the job done.”

“Are… are you sure this is the right way to go about it, though?”

“Yes. Hero Society cannot be reborn without first coming to an end. Whether or not our motives completely match, Shigaraki Tomura is someone who can help make that happen.”

“…If you say so,” [ERROR 0531161] murmurs… and they let the conversation drop, completely oblivious to the fact that, when Shigaraki had asked, “Sensei” had given him the exact same answer about them.


The hospital is rather packed when they get there, but that was to be expected. Mirio leaves Izuku there because he has other things to attend to, and after a few minutes Izuku gets treated for all of the scratches. They kinda feel like they're a mummy when they’re done, thanks to the bandages wrapping up and down their arms and even a few on their legs.

The medics tell them that they’ll be all right, although they’ll probably have a leftover scars; definitely one from the cut that was under their eye. It doesn’t really bother them that much.

After that, they're ushered off and… with nothing else left to do, Izuku returns to the place where they're staying.

 

Of course, when they get there, Garby is immediately all over them, climbing up to their shoulder and sniffing at the bandage that’s still left on their cheek. The visor on Garby’s head clearly displays a pouting frown.

“I know, I know, I’m sorry,” Izuku mutters. “To be fair though, I didn’t pick that fight.”

Garby looks at them directly, less than amused at their words.

Just then, Izuku’s phone buzzes on the side table next to them.

 

[Support Team For A Reckless Vigilante Idiot]

 

Purble:

[Link Attachment: Hero Killer Stain defeated by the vigilante Green Lightning]

MIDORIYA.

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

I blame Iida

 

007:

THATS WHY YOU ASKED ME TO PUT A TRACKER ON HIS HERO COSTUME????

 

Palm Tree:

You put a TRACKER in Iida's HERO COSTUME?

 

007:

MIDORIYA SAID IT WAS A LIFE OR DEATH SITUATION

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

To Be Fair.

It WAS.

 

#1 Support Course Student:

ALSJDNSOSPDJWOQODNE????

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

Besides, Todoroki was there too, idk why you're only giving me a hard time,

 

Peppermint:

You fiend. You have betrayed me.

 

Purble:

TODOROKI

I EVEN HAD FAITH IN YOU

 

Peppermint:

I blame Iida.

 

#1 Support Course Student:

PLEASE can i get an explanation here

i thought iida was the good boy who followed the rules, wasnt he?????

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

Well yeah but

Stain kinda badly injured his brother

And so Iida uh

Decided to take it upon himself to bring him to justice

 

Peppermint:

Or, in other words, Iida tracked down the Hero Killer to get revenge for his brother.

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

You could also put it like that, yes

 

Purble:

,,,

I cant take it, I cant take this manh reckless idiots, thats it, Im dropping out,

*many

 

Peppermint:

This probably goes without saying, but I might as well bring it up; you can't tell anyone about the fact Iida and I were involved in this situation. Technically, I'm not even legally allowed to talk about it; the only reason I am right now is because Midoriya already did.

 

#1 Support Course Student:

we are EXPERT secret keepers here!

 

007:

Noah-fence but of all of us I think you're the most likely to spill a secret

 

#1 Support Course Student:

HEY IVE BEEN HERE LONGER THAN YOU

Besides! Midoriya is the most likely to spill secrets, considering that's why we're all here in the first place.

 

Purble:

fair

 

Palm Tree:

Fair.

 

007:

Fair

 

Peppermint:

That's fair.

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

,,,

Maybe so


They still have a day or two left of their internships, despite the incident. Izuku doesn’t mind all that much, and so… they use the time visit Todoroki and Iida (Todoroki had told Izuku the two of them were in the same hospital room together, most likely to keep an eye on them since they were involved with the Hero Killer incident).

This will be the first time Izuku has seen Iida since the whole… alley fight… and admittedly they're a bit nervous. Honestly, they're not entirely sure what to expect out of Iida. He seemed to take a turn for the better at the end of the fight, but… will he stick to that?

Only one way to find out.

Izuku knocks on the door.

From the other side, Todoroki says, “Come in,”

Taking in a deep breath, Izuku pushes the door open. “Hey! I heard you were here so I thought I’d come visit you.”

Iida blinks at them in surprise. “Midoriya-kun? I didn’t know you were in Hosu…”

“Surprise?” Izuku shrugs.

After a second, Todoroki mutters, “You’re injured. How did that happen?”

Oh right, I still have the bandages on, huh…

“I got attacked by a Nomu,” Izuku admits sheepishly. “It wasn’t intentional though!”

“I should hope not,” Iida frowns. “Picking a fight like that would be unwise.”

Frowning, Izuku is half tempted to say ‘You have no room to talk,’ but remembers that technically they're not supposed to know about the situation. Instead, they mutter, “It just caught me off guard. E-enough about me though, I heard you guys were attacked. Are you all right?”

Iida and Todoroki share a look, Iida probably trying to figure out what to say without admitting what happened with Stain, completely oblivious to the fact that Izuku was there. Izuku tries not to snort a laugh at the thought- after all, they themself has to hide that they were there, considering that they should really try to limit the people who find out about the whole Green Lightning identity.

“…We’re all right,” Iida says eventually. “Thankfully there weren’t that many injuries. The worst one between the two of us is my shoulder, honestly.”

Izuku smiles. They already knew that… but it’s good to hear it from them; they’re okay. “That’s great.”


And in the blink of an eye, the last of their internship time is over.

After getting back home, the first thing Izuku does is go to Dagobah Beach. They'd rather get Garby to his home before he can cause any more possible mayhem; and while they're there, they might as well put away their vigilante gear.

As soon as they’re there, Garby scampers off and disappears. Izuku doesn’t worry too much because they know that Garby isn’t going anywhere that's too far away. Hopefully.

They spend a good half hour or so putting away their gadgets, and then they sink into the desk chair with a sigh.

Home sweet home, huh…?

Izuku’s thoughts are broken up when they hear someone at the door. Curious, they glance over.

“Oh, hey Shinsou-kun,” They smile and wave.

Shinsou looks at them, partially surprised. “I didn’t know if I’d find you here or not. Hey.”

“You were looking for me?” Izuku asks. “What for? Did you need something?”

“Not really,” Shinsou shrugs. “I guess I kinda just… wanted to see you. You know. Cause it’s been a week and all.” 

“Aww, did you miss me?” Izuku jokes.

Shinsou rolls his eyes. “Yeah. Knowing you I just had to make sure you didn’t radically change your entire look in one week.”

“Nope! I’m still me.”

With a frown, Shinsou mutters, “You’ve got a scar now though. How’d that happen?”

Izuku sighs. It’s really not that big of a deal… “Got jumped by a Nomu. I’m fine though.”

“Yeah yeah…” Shinsou says, then asks, “But what about Stain?”

“You saw the news. I beat him up, no problem!”

“Midoriya, no offense, but I sincerely doubt that. He is the Hero Killer and all. Are you… really sure you’re okay?”

For a second, the very end of the fight flashes before Izuku’s eyes. Stain tripped their feet out from under them, and was suddenly lunging with a knife…

They feel heavier than they did before.

“I’m okay now,” Izuku mumbles. “…Actually, can I be honest for a second, without you. Like. Flipping out or something?”

Shinsou nods.

Izuku is quiet for a moment, gathering their thoughts. “There… there were a few times where I was scared. A few times where I thought maybe Iida-kun would get killed, or Todoroki-kun would get killed or… orwould get killed. It was honestly nerve wracking. The Hero Killer is someone who really… earned the title of supervillain, you know?” After a pause, they continue, “Honestly if it weren’t for Todoroki-kun and Iida-kun, I don’t think I would have won. No, I wouldn’t have won. And I just… I don’t know. That scares me.”

Shinsou is quiet for a moment. “Well… what’s important now is that we’re here. You beat Stain and… everything will be okay. For now.”

“…Yeah,” Izuku hums, distracted. Everything still just feels so… heavy. “Hey can…” Izuku starts to ask, then stops, “Nah, nevermind, it’s stupid.”

“Hmm? What is it?”

“It’s just…” Now that they've already started it’s hard to just go back, but at the same time, saying it out loud is… This is a mess I’ve gotten myself into, huh. “Can you… can you hug me?”

Shinsou obviously wasn’t expecting that, from the way he looks at Izuku so surprised. “Huh?”

Immediately, Izuku backpedals, embarrassed. “I… sorry. Like I said, it’s just stupid-”

“Just come here and hug me,” Shinsou mutters, interrupting them. “I did… you know. Actually miss you. If that helps.”

Izuku’s not even sure when they processed the decision, but before they know it they're already standing up, and wrapping Shinsou in a hug. Shinsou, of course, hugs back.

And for the moment, they can forget. They can forget everything that was troubling them before, because right then all that matters is that Shinsou’s hugs feel warm and safe. It feels like the kind of hug that tells you “everything is going to be okay”. Izuku doesn’t know why or how but Shinsou always gives the best hugs.

“I’m really glad you’re okay,” Shinsou murmurs, still hugging them. “I don’t think I actually said it before but. I am.”

“I know,” Izuku says softly back to him. “And I know you’re just worried because I’m too reckless for my own good.”

“Heh. True. I don’t suppose you’ll be doing anything to remedy that any time soon…?”

Izuku laughs. “Unfortunately, no.”

“…It worries me that I’m actually relieved to hear you say that.”

“I guess being reckless is just part of my charm, huh?”

“Yeah, well… you could tone it down just a little.”

“Heh… that sounds more like you.”


Bonus:

Shouto is, without a doubt, relieved that the week is over.

Another blessing is that the old man isn’t coming back to the house just yet either; he’s still running around Hosu trying to find “that bastard vigilante” so that he can “bring them to justice”. It seems that whether it was intentional or not, Midoriya spared him from having to spend more time with the old man again, which is a pleasant surprise.

Shouto is pleasantly surprised, yet again, when he returns home to find that Natsuo is there as well as Fuyumi.

“Natsuo?”

“Yo!” Said older brother waves when he enters the room. “Nice to see you!”

“…Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see you too, but, why are you here?”

“I heard that the old bastard was gonna be busy for a little while longer, and I decided it was time to drop by and visit,” Natuso shrugs.

Shouto can’t help but give a small smile at that. He… he never got to interact much with his siblings when he was younger, and so now, he’d probably do just about anything if it meant spending time with them again. Especially considering how happy Fuyumi looks at seeing the three of them even just together in the same room.

Just then, they hear a crash from somewhere else in the house. All three of them look around curiously, and without speaking they agree to cautiously investigate.

When they get to the source, what they find is…

“Is… is that a weasel with a headset on?” Natsuo asks.

Shouto laughs through his nose as he watches Garby go about tearing through the old man’s room.

“He’s a ferret,” Shouto replies. “…Let’s just leave him be for the time being.”

“What?” Fuyumi asks, “But what if he gets into important stuff?”

“Oh trust me, that ferret has exactly one target here, and it’s not us.”

“Shouto,” Natsuo says, “When exactly did you become friends with a ferret?”

“Well,” Shouto starts, backing up from the doorway they were looking through, “How about we pretend we saw nothing, go out for lunch, and we can talk more about it then?”

After a beat, Natsuo nods. “Sounds like a fair plan.”

Fuyumi laughs softly and shakes her head. “All right then, let’s go.”

Chapter Text

Class A has always been very hectic in the mornings before school starts, and so naturally when they’re finally back together after a week of internships, it’s even crazier.

Especially considering that Tenya’s week was… ah… as eventful as it was.

“Iida-kun, are you okay?” Uraraka asks as soon as she sees him that morning. “I heard on the news, you were attacked by the Hero Killer, weren’t you? That must have been so scary!”

Just as Tenya is about to assure her that he’s fine, Kaminari pushes past her.

“Yeah, yeah, okay, but WHAT ABOUT GREEN LIGHTNING? They were there too, right?! That means you met them in person!! You have to tell me all about it! Come on, pleeeaaase?”

Tenya can’t just say ‘no’ when Kaminari is pleading with him like that, so, “Well… they’re a very interesting individual I’d say. And… they did save my life so, for that, I’m grateful.”

“They’re a vigilante, though,” Yaoyorozu says nervously. “Even if they saved you, vigilantism is still… against the law.”

“I know,” Tenya winces. “And I judged them harshly for that before but… really, I just think they want to save people. For whatever reason though, they can’t be a hero. If nothing else, I admire their selfless drive.”

“That’s awesome!” Kaminari shouts and fistpumps the air.

From there the class continues to excitedly discuss the vigilante Green Lightning, and Tenya decides he would rather not talk further about it. Mostly because, even to him, Green Lightning is still a mystery.

Kaminari is now questioning Todoroki in the same manner he had questioned Tenya, and though Todoroki looks tired of the conversation already, he does humor Kaminari at least a little, from what Tenya can tell.

In the back of his mind, Tenya recalls the earlier weeks of school when Todoroki was completely closed off and acted cold to everyone. It makes Tenya happy that he seems to be opening up more.

…Why do I get the feeling I’m being watched?

Tenya scans his eyes over the classroom again, and then for the briefest of moments, his eyes lock with Shinsou’s.

However, almost immediately, Shinsou turns to stare out the window.

Tenya doesn’t know Shinsou very well, considering he had only joined the class right before the internships while Tenya was… not in the best mental state, and then they all had a week away from school. And yet, he’s almost certain that Shinsou had been staring.

But why…?


Meanwhile in the Support Course…


“Ah, I’m so excited!” Hatsume shouts.

“You’re always excited,” Sora points out.

Hatsume rolls her eyes, then says, “Yeah, but this time I’m excited for a reason!”

“And that reason is?” Izuku asks.

“Our exam is coming up!” Hatsume cheers. “DUH! Oh man, I can’t wait to show off the tech I made here…!”

“Oh, that’s right,” Natsuki hums. “We’re supposed to show off our best invention that we made in class…”

“There’s something I’ve been working on just for this!” Hatsume says with enough excitement that if she weren’t holding some of it back she’d be bouncing off the walls. “I almost wanna tell you, but I also want it to be a surprise…! Oh, I can’t wait to talk all about it! So hey, what are you guys planning on showing off?!”

“Well,” Natsuki murmurs, “I’ve been spending most of my time working on modifications for Midoriya’s helmet but… that might be hard to show off for ah… obvious reasons.”

“We could, like, temporarily spray paint it gold or something and no one would know,” Sora suggests.

“…I find it amazing that such an answer seems lazy and thoughtless while at the same time it could actually work well.”

Sora shrugs. “Sometimes the easiest answers are the best ones.”

“What about you, Sora-kun?” Hatsume asks, “What are you gonna show off?”

“Quirk sensing cameras with a night vision feature,” Sora shrugs.

Izuku sighs. “You just love your quirk sensors.”

“They’re very useful!” Sora insists, before asking, “All right, well what are you planning on showing off?”

“Well…” Izuku mumbles, “It… doesn’t really have a name that could easily describe it. It’s supposed to utilize the mobility of both a steam powered jetpack and a grappling hook. I’m not actually done with that yet though, so I’ll have to work on getting it finished within the next week or so.”

“It sounds really cool,” Natsuki says. “I can’t wait to see it when it’s done.”

“Thanks!”


Hatsume is still ranting about the Support Course exams by the time lunch rolls around (though, she manages to avoid saying what exactly she has planned throughout it all).

While Izuku greatly appreciates her friendship, the fact that they now remember the deadline for the Support Course exam is giving them anxiety.

Trying to be subtle about it, Izuku decides to ask Shinsou and Todoroki, “So what are you doing in the Hero Course for your exams?”

“Kaminari and Ashido were saying they heard a rumor about the exam being more robots like from the entrance exam,” Shinsou mutters. “I can’t say I’m too excited for that.”

Todoroki shrugs, “I don’t know. I get the feeling it won’t be that easy.”

“Easy?” Shinsou snorts. “Maybe you can freeze an entire stadium with your quirk, but my quirk doesn’t have any physical power.”

“What I meant was, I don’t think they’d just copy the entrance exam like that. Mostly I think that because of this rise in villain activity they’ll probably come up with something… intentionally harder.”

“I pray, for your sakes, that whoever comes up with your exams it’s not Nedzu,” Sora mutters.

“What do you have against Nedzu, anyway?” Todoroki asks. “I’ve been meaning to ask.”

Izuku is fairly certain that it has to do with the whole “reverse spy” situation, but given Sora’s hesitation Izuku gets the feeling that he’s probably technically not allowed to talk about that.

“He’s the one who created that bullshit entrance exam,” Sora answers, “And I could go on and on about some other dumb policies too, but we don’t really have the time and he’s not worth the energy.”

Todoroki nods. “Yeah. I get what you mean.” For a moment he pauses, then he looks over to Izuku. “That reminds me. Midoriya, do you know what Garby was up to after you got back from internships?”

“…No, but I get the feeling you do.”

“He made a trip to my house and took some sweet time tearing apart the old man’s room while he was still gone.”

“…Did you get in trouble for it?”

Todoroki shakes his head ‘no’. “I was there with my sister and my brother when Garby got there and shortly after he did, we decided to leave and play ignorant when we got back. Old man was too busy being angry to realize it was a lie, so… it worked.”

“Then good. It’s what he deserved.”

The others at the table laugh.

Just then a new voice says, “Hey hey hey! You’re Midoriya, right?”

Izuku doesn’t think they’ll ever get used to people recognizing them from the Sports Festival like they're some kind of celebrity.

They turn to the person who had approached the group of them just as he continues, “I’m Kaminari! You remember, right? From the Sports Festival? I was on Todoroki’s team during the Cavalry Battle! We fought each other, remember?”

“Um, yeah? I think so?”

“Cool! Can you do me a favor and stand up for a second?”

“…Huh?”

“I’ll explain in a minute, I promise.”

Utterly confused, Izuku stands up like Kaminari asks. Then, Ashido from Class A comes over and looks at them carefully.

What exactly is going on…?

“Nope!” Ashido eventually says, decisively. “Too short!”

Kaminari groans, then turns to Todoroki, “What do you think?”

Todoroki sighs heavily.

“Can someone please explain…?” Izuku asks, completely lost.

“Well,” Shinsou mutters, “It would seem that Kaminari here has this incredible theory that you are the vigilante Green Lightning.”

To an outsider, Shinsou’s tone probably would come across as “annoyed and disbelieving that Kaminari could ever come to that conclusion”. Izuku, however, is very aware that Shinsou’s actual intent is, “you are so bad at keeping secrets there is literally a theory about your secret identity”.

The rest of the table bursts into laughter (well, aside from Todoroki who looks as equally tired as Shinsou and Natsuki who laughs a lot softer than Hatsume and Sora).

Izuku is just glad that apparently Ashido wasn’t accounting for the height that would be added by the roller skates on their costume.

“All right, all right, I give up,” Kaminari dramatically sighs, completely oblivious that he had actually been right.

Kaminari and Ashido take their leave then, and as they walk away they go back and forth about more theories.

“To be fair,” Sora says once they’re gone, “At this point, because of their ‘wacky’ theory, people are less likely to genuinely suspect you, y’know?”

“Gee, thanks,” Izuku mutters. “…How long have they been going on about that theory?”

“Since a little after the Sports Festival,” Todoroki answers.

“Yep,” Shinsou confirms. “It would appear that most of Class A is very interested in the mysterious vigilante, Green Lightning.”

“Say what you want," Sora says, "but if you were the first person who knew about Green Lightning then technically, that makes you the biggest fanboy-” Suddenly he's abruptly cut off as by his phone as it buzzes in his hand and causes him to look down. He frowns at the screen.

“Sora-kun?” Izuku asks, a little concerned.

“Sorry, but… I have something to go take care of. If you’ll excuse me.”

Before anyone can argue, Sora gets up and walks away quickly.

What’s going on with him…?


When Kenji is far enough away from the others, he lets a scowl come onto his face.

Of course Nedzu wants to talk now…

Talking to Nedzu is the last thing he wants to do anymore. He would quit working for him all together if it weren’t for…

For the moment, he needs to have a better handle on his emotions. He can’t let this bitterness and anger get the better of him right now. Taking a deep breath and making an effort to turn his mind to Strictly Business mode, Kenji raises a hand and knocks on the door to Nedzu’s office.

“Come in!” Nedzu calls from the other side.

Kenji opens the door and steps inside, keeping his face as blank as he can.

“Ah, Sora-kun!” Nedzu says cheerfully. “Have a seat. Do you want some tea?”

They get situated in the seating area, and Kenji decides he would rather get this over with as soon as possible.

“So why did you call me in here?” He asks.

“What?” Nedzu feigns innocence, “Can’t I just call you here because I want to? Maybe I just enjoy your company.”

“You like keeping things to business,” Kenji mutters. “What’s the business then?”

Nedzu contemplates quietly for a second, then hums, “You’ve been very… lacking as of late.”

“Lacking?” Kenji echoes, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s been at least a month, and you haven’t given me any updates on the traitor situation,” Nedzu sighs. “You do remember that’s why you’re here in the first place, don’t you?”

“…Of course,” Kenji says, then clears his throat, “There have been some discoveries, but I didn’t think any of it was worth bringing to you.” Because it’s not like you’ll do anything with the information anyways.

“In other words,” Nedzu fills in, “You only have speculations and no concrete evidence.”

Kenji grits his teeth.

Just… stay… calm.

“…You could say that, I guess.”

“You were a lot more productive back in the first few weeks,” Nedzu recalls. “If the problem is that you’re having difficulty with focus, I could have you transferred to a different class-”

“No,” Kenji interrupts hastily. After a moment, he continues, trying to regain composure, “I… no. You don’t have to do that.”

Nedzu smiles at that. “Good. Forgive me. I was just worried that you were forgetting that your condition for staying as a student here was catching the traitor. It would be rather unfortunate if you made a promise like that and then didn’t keep it, wouldn’t it…?”

…Jerk.

Kenji hates it, because in that moment it’s very clear that both of them know that there’s nothing he can do to go against what Nedzu wants.

“I will find the traitor,” Kenji murmurs. “You don’t have to worry about that. It’s a promise.”

“I knew I could count on you,” Nedzu beams. “I wish you and Midoriya-kun good luck with catching them as soon as possible.”

That’s right… if I find the traitor then Midoriya finally gets to be in the Hero Course too. Just another thing for him to hold over my head.

He can feel himself slowly reaching his limit on how much of this he can take with a straight face. Yes, he’s blown up at Nedzu before, but considering his situation, it would be better if he took more care to… not let that happen again. At least, not right now.

“If that’s all, then I’ll be leaving now,” Kenji says, standing up.

“Yes, that’s all,” Nedzu hums. “Run on back and enjoy the rest of your lunch with your friends.” The threat goes unspoken, but Kenji knows exactly what he means: Ah, yes, your friends who I can very easily separate you from if you don’t do what I want you to.

Kenji doesn’t bother with a response as he leaves the room, trying to keep some semblance of dignity.

He had hoped he would be safe once he stepped out into the hallway and closed the door to the office, but shockingly, he finds Todoroki waiting for him in the hallway.

“A-ah, Todoroki-kun!” Kenji nervously says, trying to find the right tone, the relaxed and easygoing one he always goes for, “Who knew I’d f-find you here? What’s up?”

It doesn't even fool him for a second.

"You seem tense. Are you all right?" Todoroki asks.

Kenji's fake smile drops. "…How'd you find me here."

"Made the connection from how you talk about Nedzu and the face you were making when you said you had to go."

"…mm," Kenji hums.

"You didn't answer my question though. Are you all right?"

"Yeah I'm…" Kenji starts before clearing his throat, "I'm fine."

Now's not the time to get all choked up.

"…You know, Midoriya does that a lot too."

"Does what?"

"Says they're okay when it's obvious they're not."

At that, Kenji can feel himself growing more choked up, and now he thinks he feels a stinging at his eyes-

"Not here," he mutters quietly, rubbing furiously at his eyes.

He's not quite sure why he decides to bring Todoroki with him, but the next thing he knows he's grabbing Todoroki's wrist and dragging him through the hallway to- well, anywhere else really.

He makes sure to keep his grip light enough that if Todoroki wanted to leave at any time, he could.

But Todoroki stays, following after him.

Kenji isn't even all that sure where's he's going, and he only stops when he thinks they've found a spot where (hopefully) no one will bother them.

He doesn't know when exactly he started crying but he knows that by the time they've stopped walking, there are tears going down his face and he gets the feeling there's no way he could stop them even if he wanted to.

Todoroki doesn't say anything, though.

"I'm, I'm sorry," Kenji eventually mumbles between shallow breaths, "I don't… I mean, you probably have be-better things to, to do other than, um, worrying about me, huh?"

"I don't mind," Todoroki says softly. "Sometimes, having to hide how you really feel gets… exhausting."

Kenji tries to brush tears off his face, but more just fall and take their place. He tries to think of some way to respond but nothing comes to mind and he's not sure he could force out the words anyway, so instead he just nods.

"You don't have to have to talk about it if you don't want to, but I'm here for you if you do."

That means more to Kenji than he could ever try to say.

 

…But at the same time, it makes him all the more terrified of losing these friends that he's gained.


Shouto had stayed with Sora for the rest of the lunch period, but once the bell signaling lunch was over rang, Sora had done his best to pull himself back together and ran off after a quick apology and a hasty "See ya later".

Walking back to Class A, Shouto thinks back over Sora's behavior and finds himself… worried. At the very least, he doesn't think he'll ever think of trusting Nedzu now. But what exactly had happened…?

When he reaches the class, Shinsou comes up to him. "Hey. Is Sora okay?"

Shouto considers what exactly he should say, before muttering, "I don't know for sure, but I hope. At the very least, it's better to be able to get things out of your system rather than letting them fester."

Shinsou hums in agreement.

"Do you know what's up with him and Nedzu though?" Shouto asks, lowering his voice.

Shinsou hesitates. "I think it's supposed to be a top secret thing."

"Well, something tells me our friend group is particularly bad about keeping top secrets… well, top secret."

Shinsou huffs a dry laugh. "Something that makes me die inside on the daily."

"Understandable," Shouto agrees, fully aware of the feeling despite his shorter time span with the group. After a moment, he presses, "So? What is it?"

Shinsou glances around the room before whispering, "I'll tell you later, but not here. If the wrong person overhears, it would be pretty disastrous."

"…All right."

At that point, the start of class bell rings, and the conversation is over for now.

Chapter Text

The days unfold one right after another, with hardly any breathing room for anyone as they prepare for their exams; and before they know it, it's already time.

As stated earlier in the year, the Support Course exam involves the presentation of one thing you've built in the class that you're particularly proud of.

For the most part, the students that Izuku doesn't really know all that well go first. Most of what they show off is a modified piece of a hero costume that they were assigned to maintaining, and a few others show off other things as well, but usually theirs are smaller, more compact.

Then, it's Natsuki's turn.

She walks up to the front of the room, holding Izuku's helmet that's been spray painted gold temporarily.

"This is the Ultra-Helmet," She introduces, holding it up. "First of all, the screen part of it can easily change from normal vision, to night vision, and to light vision (which blocks out light when it's too bright and could possibly hurt someone's eyes). It also has a voice modifier; so if a hero were to need to disguise their voice it's an option, and another thing included is a silencer so that if a hero is on a stealth mission they don't have to worry about slipping up and giving themselves away. Lastly, the helmet can give and receive calls based on voice recognition and voice command; useful for calling in backup and communicating with other teammates."

"Very good. Next!"

A few more students go, and then Sora steps up.

It's hard to miss how dead tired he looks, and one could almost assume it was from the strain of preparing for the exam… except Sora had already been prepared weeks before.

Another thing Izuku can't help but notice is how, ever since the other day when Nedzu had called a meeting with him during lunch, Sora had started being a lot more withdrawn. Honestly… Izuku can't help but be worried about him.

"Um," Sora mumbles, "Its a camera. Senses quirks. Can be activated by a motion sensor. Can also be activated by remote. Has a nighttime footage option too so it can film in the dark. …That's it."

"Well… nice and to the point I guess. Next!"

Sora returns to his seat and immediately slumps down, resting his head in his arms.

I think at this point, saying I'm worried about him is an understatement, Izuku thinks, biting their lip.

More people go, and then it's Hatsume's turn to get up. She bounces excitedly up to the front of the room.

From the back, someone mutters, "Does she even need to do this? It's not like she didn't already show off in the Sports Festival."

Izuku isn't sure whether Hatsume didn't hear the comment at all or if she heard it and chooses to ignore it, but whichever the case she gives no reaction to it.

"I've been working on something special, just for this exam!" Hatsume introduces, and then holds up in dramatic fashion, a cape. "Many heroes love to wear capes! But for most of them it only has aesthetic use! THIS cape, on the other hand, is SPECIAL!"

Instead of explaining how it works, she wraps the cape around her for a demonstration. It wraps all the way around and includes a hood, and after a second-

Hatsume, cape included, completely disappears.

Still invisible, Hatsume cheers, "Now introducing! The Camo Cape!"

Hatsume reappears and bows dramatically.

"Well, you certainly have a performative flair. Next!"

Next is Izuku, and they've never been one to like talking in front of large groups, so of course they're anxious now.

They take a deep breath. Just focus on taking about what you made.

"Uh well… my gadget is geared towards helping mobility. It incorporates both the use of a grappling hook and a steam powered jet pack. Both are attached to this harness, and the harness itself is supposed to help protect from the strain of moving so fast. Anyway, you aim for the direction you want to go in with the grappling hook, it shoots out a line, and then you propel yourself forward with increased speed thanks to the jet pack. That's… that's it."

"I see. A very useful invention for heroes! Next!"

Izuku rushes back to their seat and collapses. They're thankful their part of the exam is over now that they've presented, but looking back on it, it was fairly easy.

…I hope Shinsou and Todoroki have an easy exam too.


Oh this isn’t going to be easy, Hitoshi thinks blankly, staring ahead as the teacher's explain the Hero Course exam.

"WE HAVE TO FIGHT THE TEACHERS?!" Ashido exclaims in horror.

"BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ROBOTS?!" Kaminari demands, equally as panicked.

"Those would be far too easy for you!" Nedzu smiles.

Once again, Hitoshi finds himself frustrated that everyone seems to insist the robots are "easy".

"You'll be paired up for this exam," Aizawa explains, ignoring Kaminari, Ashido, and Nedzu, "And so while you're on the way there, you should think about discussing strategies with your partners. Now then, the line up is…"

For the most part, Hitoshi doesn't really pay attention, only listening for his name.

It doesn't come up until the last pair.

"…and Shinsou Hitoshi and Orenji Ketsueki will be fighting against me," Aizawa finishes the announcement.

…Oh joy, Hitoshi thinks. I have to fight my favorite hero. Perfect.

From there, the class is free to get with their partners to discuss plans for the exam.

"I'm going to go find Yaoyorozu," Todoroki says.

"Who are you fighting, by the way?" Hitoshi asks, suddenly curious. "Sorry, I wasn't really paying attention."

“Nedzu,” Todoroki says with a certain edge to his voice.

“He’s probably a fearsome opponent, huh?” Orenji speaks up, and given that Hitoshi hadn’t noticed her approach, it makes him jump slightly. Not noticing this, Orenji continues, “What kind of animal is he, anyway? A mouse? A bear?”

“He’s a rat,” Todoroki mutters.

Well he’s certainly picked up some of Sora’s distaste for Nedzu.

“That being said,” Todoroki adds, “There’s no way I can come up with a plan by myself if Nedzu is as smart as his quirk makes him out to be. I’m gonna go make a plan with Yaoyorozu.”

“Good luck!” Orenji calls.

“So, looks like we’re working together huh?” Hitoshi glances at Orenji.

“Yup!” She laughs nervously, rubbing the back of her neck. “I wonder why Aizawa-sensei paired us up against him though…”

Hitoshi thinks about it for a second. “Probably because we’d be the most benefited to learning how to do some work without using our quirks.”

“What makes you say that?” Orenji asks, curiously.

“Well, my quirk is less effective if people know how it works or if the opponent is nonverbal, and… inevitably I’ll probably have to deal with a fight without it,” Hitoshi mumbles, “You, on the other hand, have a quirk that came in late. You’re doing a really good job of dealing with it, but if I’m being honest, it’s kind of hard to miss that your quirk is too strong for you. Again, not your fault, because you’ve had less time to learn to use it. But anyway, because of that it would be better to know how to solve things without your quirk.”

“Oh… clever!” Orenji says.

Unfortunately, understanding that is only half of the battle…

“I, uh, actually wanted to thank you,” Orenji nervously mumbles, after a moment of silence.

“Huh? Thank me for what?” Hitoshi asks, confused.

“Well…” Orenji mumbles, “At the Sports Festival I was… um, anxious about my quirk because it’s… you know, not the most heroic sounding quirk in the world. And you told me it doesn’t matter if a quirk seems heroic or not. And, um, I didn’t get to tell you at the time, but… I really appreciated it.”

Hitoshi shrugs. “It’s true. And I… I kinda know where you’re coming from because… well, my quirk isn’t exactly the epitome of what you expect from a hero either.”

“That’s true,” Orenji hums, before backpedaling, “Oh, that probably sounded rude huh? I didn’t mean- I just- You’re gonna be a great hero, I just know it!”

“Ah, thanks,” Hitoshi mutters. He’s never been good at taking praise.

“So, if you don’t mind me asking, how exactly does your quirk work again? I know the main idea, but a refresher would be useful.”

“If someone answers a question I ask, I can control them for a little bit. There’s not really a time limit, but the more orders I give someone, the less control I have. From there it kinda depends on the person; some people are better at deflecting my quirk than others.”

Orenji nods thoughtfully. “I see, I see… That’s a really useful quirk…!”

Hitoshi doesn’t really know how to respond to that… so he doesn’t. Instead, he clears his throat and changes the subject, “Now then, we need a plan for what to do with this exam.”

“Ah, right!”


“Yaoyorozu, I need you to help me plan for our exam,” Shouto cuts right to the chase as he approaches her.

“Huh?” Yaoyorozu turns to him, surprised. “You need… my help? Why?”

“Because. You’re the smartest person in the class.”

“I… I don’t know. I used to think that too, but then during the Sports Festival, when I got beaten… I had no idea what to do. Why would the smartest person in the class not no what to do?”

“Sometimes, combinations and settings for a fight are bad,” Shouto answers, “And you can’t always be ready for that. But I mean it when I say you’re smart. Besides. It’s not like I got any farther than you did in the Sports Festival.”

Yaoyorozu laughs softly. “I suppose that’s true. …At least the ones who beat us were the final two.”

“Now then, for the exam,” Shouto says. “Knowing Nedzu, we’re going to need two heads to come up with a solution.”

“Right,” Yaoyorozu nods. “…Do you think we should go for the escape approach or the capture approach?”

Shouto frowns. Immediately his mind says “capture” but he’s not sure whether that’s the smartest thing. Is Nedzu counting on them to try and use capture as a method, or does he think they’ll go for an escape…?

“…Is it possible to do both?” Shouto asks eventually.

“Both?” Yaoyorozu echoes.

“Do you think it’s possible to come up with a plan where one of us attempts to capture him while the other attempts to escape? Nedzu is smart, but if he has to split his focus between two concerns, it might be possible to outsmart him.”

Yaoyorozu considers it. “It’s not impossible. I could create a two way radio for us so that we can communicate after we split up. All right. And do you have any thoughts on who should try the escape method and who should try the capture method?”

So badly, Shouto wants to volunteer for the capture method. Knowing (sort of) what happened with Sora, he feels almost obligated to fight Nedzu, but deep down he knows that for that exact reason he shouldn’t. It’s… like a smaller scale of what happened with Iida. Fighting for the sake of anger, for the sake of bitterness, or spite, or revenge… that’s not what a hero does, and those emotions can cloud judgement.

“You should try the capture method,” Shouto tells Yaoyorozu.

“Sounds like a plan, then!” Yaoyorozu smiles. “Let’s wait until we know where our exam will be, and then we can try and come up with a plan that fits the setting.”

“I’m putting my trust in you.”


At the start of their exam, Hitoshi and Orenji sneak into the training grounds that were modified to look like a town.

The plan that they had worked out together is actually rather simple in execution; they’re going to try to move through the training ground as stealthily as possible and reach the other end without alerting Aizawa, winning through escape. As they move, Orenji will keep her quirk just active enough that if Aizawa were to deactivate it, she would notice.

Knowing that Aizawa has his capture scarf and can take away their quirks, it’s the best option they have. Hitoshi does have some support gear on him (an upside of having a bunch of support geeks as friends) as a part of his “costume” (which, technically, isn’t finished yet), but he only has a vague idea how to use any of it, meanwhile Aizawa has been training with his scarf for literal years. Not the best idea to pick a fight with him.

That being said, they do have a backup plan for if Aizawa does find them; Hitoshi just prays that they don’t have to go with it.

And so Hitoshi and Orenji go about making their way through the empty town, keeping to what would be the back alleys. Neither of them talks as they sneak around; after all that would defeat the point of sneaking. At the same time though, the dead silence is driving Hitoshi crazy. He feels like every scuffle of noise they make when they trip or bump into something is loud, too loud, like Aizawa could hear them from a mile away. Even more unsettling is when he thinks he hears a noise that neither of them made, and he has no idea if he imagined it or if Aizawa is closing in on them.

This is an exam after all… it shouldn’t be easy, even without immediate confrontation, Hitoshi reasons with himself, trying to calm down. This is just testing our ability to stay calm in a tense situation-

“He’s here!” Orenji whisper shouts to him.

Shit, Hitoshi mentally curses, looking around wildly. When he spots Aizawa, he finds him standing on a rooftop.

“Orenji, switch to plan B!” Hitoshi orders.

“Right!” Orenji shouts and proceeds to switch from stealthily moving along the wall to running as fast as she can.

Ah yes, plan B… Hitoshi holds off Aizawa (or at least tries really hard) and hopes to God that Orenji makes it to the exit (before Aizawa catches up to her after inevitably leaving Hitoshi in the dust).

It was a plan they had mutually agreed to; without their quirks, they didn’t really stand a chance against Aizawa’s capture scarf, and as the one with some Support Gear, Hitoshi was deemed the most capable of having a chance at holding off Aizawa.

Seeing Orenji running, Aizawa of course attempts to follow after her, and so Hitoshi jumps into action. Here we go, Hitoshi sighs, mentally praying that he can figure out how to work these gadgets.

Hitoshi blasts himself up onto the rooftop in front of Aizawa using a jetpack (definitely not in the most graceful way, but hey it got him up there and he’ll take that as a win). He pulls the first gadget from his belt and holds it in what he hopes is a threatening way.

 

“Lesson Number 8: Confidence is half the battle,” Aizawa had told him as they were going through the basics over their internship week.

Maybe Hitoshi had been taking more notes for Midoriya’s sake, but perhaps those notes were a bit helpful for him too.

 

“…It would appear we’re at a standoff,” Aizawa says.

“Seems like it,” Hitoshi mutters back.

Now that it’s been a few seconds, he does somewhat recognize the gadget he’s holding; after all if he had spent all those hours helping Midoriya maintain his gadgets without picking up any knowledge about them that would be kind of sad.

(He tries to keep a wince off his face as he thinks about how much Midoriya is helping him with this exam right now even though they're not here… why is it Hitoshi who’s here and not them? Why-)

Without any warning, Aizawa’s scarf lashes out, and Hitoshi scrambles to activate the gadget in his hands.

A purple blob shoots from the gadget and collides with Aizawa’s scarf mid-air; once it does, both crash down to the roof they’re standing on. After a second of struggle, Aizawa’s scarf retracts from the goop and returns back to him.

Stupid! Don’t get distracted in the middle of a fight like that! Orenji is counting on you to do your part of the plan whether or not you think you should be here!

This time when Aizawa lashes out again with his capture scarf, Hitoshi is ready. He swings up a different gadget this time- it’s the shape of a horseshoe magnet, and it draws the scarf toward it until it’s a tangled mess.

For a second, Hitoshi feels pretty cool, except then a backup scarf- ARE YOU KIDDING ME, SERIOUSLY?!- comes out of hiding and then wraps around Hitoshi, immobilizing him.

“Nice try,” Aizawa mutters, “But better luck next time-”

“ORENJI KETSUEKI HAS ESCAPED! BOTH STUDENTS PASS THE EXAM!”

Hitoshi sags and lets out a sigh of relief. Oh thank God, she managed to make it there in time.

He’s released from the scarf, and he stands up slowly.

Both students pass, huh…

“Why do you look upset?” Aizawa asks.

“Huh?” Hitoshi looks up, “I don’t-” …Yeah, okay, I’m not fooling anyone here. “…Both of us passed,” Hitoshi eventually mumbles.

“Right,” Aizawa nods. “That’s a weird thing to be upset about.”

“I just… I don’t know. Do I really deserve it? Orenji was the one who actually escaped, so…”

Aizawa sighs. “All right, let’s look at it this way. Did you both come up with that plan together?”

“Well, yeah, but-”

“And would she have been able to escape if you hadn’t stalled me?”

“I… probably not, but-”

“Then you deserved to pass,” Aizawa says simply.

“But you beat me though,” Hitoshi vents, frustrated, “How does that count as a win?”

“Heroes don’t always win. What matters is that they make the smart choices to end things as quickly as possible to avoid more danger and chaos than necessary,” Aizawa tells him. “Besides. I’ve been a pro hero for years, and you’ve been in training for a few weeks. For you to win, I would have had to let you win. And I don’t think you would have wanted that.”

“…All right,” Hitoshi murmurs.


For Shouto, most of his exam is running around an empty city setting… while the buildings around him occasionally collapse to block his path, creating a maze of sorts. He’s never been great with mazes, so he grits his teeth and hopes that Yaoyorozu finds and distracts Nedzu soon.

As much as Shouto would love to personally beat Nedzu, he’ll take “beating his exam” for now. After all, he does have a clear idea of how to get to the exit with these surroundings, he just needs to be sure that the building won’t demolish under his feet.

It’s only a matter of time before he gets the signal from Yaoyorozu.

“I found him!” Yaoyorozu tells him over the radio she had made for them back in the beginning of the exam.

Perfect.

He knew she’d be able to do it; after all, for the most part, this exam is a mind game and he knows that of the two of them she’s the smarter one.

That being said, it’s time to do his part.

Shouto uses his ice to quickly propel himself upwards to the city’s rooftop, locates the direction of the escape, and runs towards it (using more ice to create a bridge between the building rooftops that are separate).

Behind him he can hear some of the buildings collapsing as Nedzu apparently tries to stop him, but whatever Yaoyorozu is doing she’s distracting him enough that he’s not succeeding in getting Shouto. That being said, he doesn’t dare stop or look behind himself either.

In no time at all, he reaches the exit and goes to swing himself through it-

“YAOYOROZU MOMO HAS CAPTURED NEDZU! BOTH STUDENTS PASS THE EXAM!”

…Well good for her. Shouto thinks, standing right at the escape exit. Looks like the plan worked both ways.

Hm. The plan worked both ways…

…Why do I get the feeling that was Nedzu’s planning all along? Letting us pass as long as we had a good solid plan?

For a moment, Shouto wishes that he hadn’t offered to run for the emergency exit, but he quickly squashes the thought. Sora said it himself. He’s not worth getting angry over.


The classes of the day end, everyone having taken their exams that they either passed or failed. The day is over, and so the tests are over. Right?

That's what Izuku had been thinking right before they got a message from Nedzu, saying they needed to talk.

Obviously, considering how Sora has been acting recently, Izuku is nervous. At the same time though, Izuku can't just not go- without a doubt, if Izuku tried that, the result would probably be even worse.

So, Izuku anxiously makes their way over to Nedzu's office. They're lost in their thoughts as they walk over, and before they know it they're already at the door. Timidly, they raise their hand and knock.

"Just a minute!" Nedzu calls from inside. "…Come in!"

Izuku walks inside.

They've been in this office twice, now. The first time, they were outed as a vigilante. The second time, they had to relive painful memories to confirm for Nedzu that Bakugou… well… wasn't the greatest example of a hero.

Of course they're almost afraid of what they'll have to go through this time.

"I've been thinking about the possibilities of transferring you to the Hero Course," Nedzu starts by cutting right to the choice.

Izuku's heart skips a beat and when it returns they think it might beat right out of their chest. "Y… You mean it?"

"Note that I said I've been thinking about it."

"Oh… I… right."

"That being said, I have an idea to give you an opportunity!"

Izuku is getting whiplash from how quickly the mood is going up and down.

"After all, now is a time for exams. So, if you complete this exam that I assign to you, I'll move you to the Hero Course!"

It almost sounds too good to be true. But… "Whatever it is, I'll do it!"

"I knew you'd take it that way," Nedzu smiles.

"So what's the exam?" Izuku asks. Without a doubt, it will be something difficult, but Izuku knows that they'll be ready for it. They have to be.

"Well, the premise is actually very simple…" Nedzu hums.

 

"…If you track down the traitor for me before school starts back up again, you pass."


Kenji is nothing short of exhausted, but it has nothing to do with the exams.

For the past few weeks, he's been staying up almost all night looking for any electronic trace of the traitor. And he hasn't. Found. A SINGLE. Thing. It makes him want to tear his hair out.

But will Nedzu take that as an excuse? It's not even a question, Kenji already knows the answer; and it's "no".

"Hey! Hey, Sora-kun!"

Kenji turns to see Midoriya running up to him. He makes an effort to put a smile on his face (though, he's pretty sure that just about anyone could tell it's fake). "Hey. What's up?"

"You know how we're supposed to be working together to catch the traitor?"

"Yeah," Kenji says, daring to be just a little hopeful, Maybe they've found something, some kind of clue-

"Nedzu says that if we catch the traitor, he'll put me in the Hero Course!"

That instantly makes Kenji suspicious. "Did he now?" Why the sudden change of heart? Why now? What's his motive?

"He says it's like a sort of qualifying exam to get in," Midoriya clarifies. "All we have to do is catch them before the end of Summer break."

All in an instant, Nedzu's intent becomes clear; at the same time Kenji feels more awake and alert than he has in the last few weeks leading up to now, like he's finally stepped out of a fog.

For now though, it would be better to not let Midoriya know Nedzu's true intent. "Wow, that's great!" Kenji says, and now that he feels more awake, he hopes his act is more convincing. "Hey, I think I know where to find something related to the case- you go on ahead and I'll see if I can find it!"

"Great!" Midoriya beams, and for a second Kenji feels guilty for tricking them, but it's better than the alternative.

Before he can give it away on his face, Kenji turns… and speeds off in the direction of Nedzu's office.

He gets there and he decides that knocking on the door isn't important right now-

Except then when he enters Nedzu's office only to find him already talking with someone, he fills with instant regret.

Quick, quick, come up with a lie…!

"Sorry for barging in here, but it's an emergency," Kenji coughs awkwardly, hoping they'll accept that.

"It's all right," says the man Nedzu had been meeting with, "I was just about to leave anyway," He turns to Nedzu, says, "Thank you for your advice," and then gets up to leave.

As he leaves, Kenji can't help but be curious about the man. His baggy suit exaggerates his skeletal figure, his figure that doesn't match his vibrant yellow hair but does match his shadowed blue eyes. More than anything, the fact that Kenji's quirk doesn't detect any quirk means that the man is more than likely quirkless…

He leaves, closing the door behind him.

Kenji turns back to Nedzu. "Who was that?"

"It's not important," Nedzu waves it off and before Kenji can argue, he continues, "After all he has nothing to do with your quote unquote emergency that you're here for."

The surprise must show on his face, because Nedzu explains, "Yes, of course I know exactly why you're here. You're rather predictable, you know that?"

"…Well, if you know why I'm here, then why don't you go ahead and explain what the hell you think you're doing?"

Nedzu lets out a heavy sigh. "I don't know why you're angry now. First you were upset I wouldn't tell Midoriya-kun the truth, and now you're mad that I have told them the truth. Make up your mind."

"Don't act like you don't know exactly what you've done here," Kenji mutters lowly.

"All right, I'll humor you: what is it you think I'm doing?"

"You know Midoriya-kun is reckless and doesn't care about their safety. Not only was the deadline never a part of the original plan that you told me about, but by giving them a deadline, you're making it so that they'll do whatever it takes to reach it in time without any regard for whether or not it's dangerous- which, given the assignment, it very much so is!"

"Don't blame me. If you had actually done your job, it wouldn't have happened."

Kenji slams his hands down on Nedzu's desk. "I… have been searching for your stupid goddamn traitor nonstop for the past few weeks. Do you see these bags under my eyes?! I've gotten maybe three hours of proper sleep over this week. Don't you dare say I haven't been doing my job because it's the only thing I HAVE been doing."

"Really?" Nedzu asks, not phased at all. "Then why is it you still haven't found anything?"

"Because there ISN'T anything!"

Nedzu hums, "You just haven't been looking in the right place. There is a traitor. We know as much from the first few weeks. They wouldn't have suddenly dropped out without a reason or without leaving anything behind."

"But-"

"Have you tried looking into the lives of the Class A students outside of school?"

"That's… that's an invasion of privacy. I couldn't-"

"Do you know why I'm so adamant about you catching this traitor in the first place?" Nedzu interrupts, and though he's been calm up until now, his tone takes on a certain coldness. "You say you care about the safety of these students in Class A and get angry when villains attack them. If we don't solve the problem at the root itself and catch the traitor, villains will keep attacking them, over and over again. The more time passes, the more the villains have time to plan, and you had better believe the traitor is helping them do it."

"…But do you care because you actually want to stop the students from getting hurt, or do you care because getting attacked over and over like this is bad for your image?"

"That's not the point, Sora-kun," Nedzu says, which pretty much answers Kenji's question anyway. "Don't change the subject. Now then, you say you are worried about my recent proposal because you're afraid Midoriya-kun will get themself hurt looking for the traitor. All right. Then if you find the traitor first, they don't have to get themself hurt in the process. See, I don't care whether it's you who catches the traitor, or them, or both of you together. I just want the traitor caught. And if you won't make it happen by yourself, I need ways to make you motivated so that it will happen."

Before Kenji can try to argue further, Nedzu says, "There's nothing left to discuss. By standing here whining, you're not only wasting my time, but also yours. We're done here."

Kenji knows that when Nedzu says 'We're done' there's nothing else he can do. With a grimace, Kenji turns and storms out of the office.

 

…And any curiosity that had been piqued by the stranger who had been in Nedzu's office from the start had disappeared from his mind, long forgotten.

Chapter Text

After the exams was the start of their Summer break, where the students can kick back and relax.

Well… except for Izuku and Sora. They still have work to do.

Despite that, Izuku doesn't really mind- they're even somewhat excited for it. Especially considering that Sora seems to be a lot more active now.

It was even Sora who had invited Izuku over to his house so that they could try working on the case together.

Although, Izuku is a bit nervous. Excluding their brief hangout earlier in the year when they were sort of "catching up" on their friendship, it's been years since they actually visited Sora personally, like, at his actual house.

Trying to brush off the anxiety, Izuku rings the doorbell at the front door. There's a few thumping steps, and seconds later, Sora appears in the doorframe smiling brightly.

"Hey! Glad to see you made it!" Sora greets.

"I'm glad you invited me over!" Izuku cheerfully greets back.

"Come on, let me show you to the computer room."

Now, usually when someone thinks of "computer room", they expect maybe a small office room with one computer of varying quality.

Sora's computer room, on the other hand, is filled wall to wall with computers and screens, with a swivel chair in the middle of the room that lets him move around quickly from desk to desk.

"Well, you've certainly gotten an upgrade to your computer room," Izuku mutters.

"For epic sneaky spy stuff, obviously," Sora jokes.

"Heh," Izuku laughs softly. "So… where do you think we should start with this?"

"I think it would be best to review what we already know so far," Sora suggests. "From there we can narrow down the list of possible suspects."

"Well what's the list we're starting with?"

"Anyone who was in Class A at the start of the year," Sora answers.  "Whoever the traitor was, they were meddling with the student files, and we figure that their motive must have been trying to disguise anything suspicious that would have been on theirs. And considering that its Class A who seems to be in the spotlight of this, it makes sense that it's an inside job."

"Sounds reasonable," Izuku nods.

"From there though… when it comes to the identity of the traitor, we don't have much besides speculation," Sora frowns. "We know that whoever the traitor is, they play favorites; and that of the students in their favor, Orenji, Asui, and Shiozaki are most likely included. Other than that, we think the traitor was the one who sent in…" Sora hesitates, "…the evidence that got Bakugou expelled."

Izuku is quiet for a moment, thinking. "…Considering we don't really know much when it comes to personal relationships in the class, that's not much to go on."

"Especially since Nedzu is only interested in non speculative evidence anyway."

Darn. That doesn't really narrow down anyone in Class A except for Shinsou since he only joined recently, and Bakugou because… well, he got expelled.

"…What else have you been looking into?" Izuku asks.

Sora sighs, "Well, I've been trying to figure out where the League's base is by using security cameras, cause you know the traitor has to be going in and out of there periodically… but it's kinda hard when we don't have any specifics and they have a warp gate."

With a jolt, Izuku remembers something. "Hang on. I think I do know where they could be."

Sora turns to them, surprised. "Huh?"

"Well, I mean, it's nothing concrete, but…" Izuku clarifies, before explaining, "I was looking into one of their old abandoned bases and I found a pizza box from some place in Kamino. So maybe they have a base in Kamino?"

Sora considers it. "…It's better than nothing."

He takes a seat in the computer chair and slides over to one of the computers and types some stuff in. Then, he moves over to a new computer and does the same, before moving on again to the next.

He must be getting them all to the same general area… Actually, now that they think about it, Izuku does notice something strange.

"Hey Sora-kun? How do you have access to security cameras like that?"

"…The rat's good for some things," Sora mutters, probably alluding to Nedzu. He continues typing as he talks, "Because I'm working for him he gave me this sort of 'catch all' password. Apparently leading the top hero school in the country gives you… certain connections."

"…But if Nedzu has all these resources himself, why does he need us to do it?"

"He's probably too busy kicking puppies or whatever else he does in his free time," Sora grumbles.

Sora pulls up a chair for Izuku so they can look too, and together they spend some time trying to look through various tapes, seeing if they can find anything of use. Just when all hope seems lost…

“Huh? What’s this?” Sora murmurs.

Izuku perks up and slides over so that they're sitting next to Sora and can see the screen he’s looking at.

Sora has the footage paused on two individuals entering some kind of building; one is a man in a business suit, and the other looks much more drab and… has a bunch of scarring over his face.

Admittedly, yes, that does unnerve Izuku a little, but assuming the worst of people is rude, so they ask, “What makes you think they’re so suspicious?”

“The building they’re going in to is abandoned,” Kenji answers. “Been out of business for years, supposedly. So what’s their business there…?”

Izuku stares at the screen. “Hmmm… resume the footage and we’ll see if anything else happens, I guess?”

Sora clicks play, and they watch for a while; maybe ten minutes later, someone else leaves the building… and Izuku recognizes him.

“That’s Shigaraki!” Izuku exclaims.

“Bingo,” Sora mutters. “We don’t know for sure if this is their base, but I’ll connect to as many security cameras around it as I can, and if we see any more activity we’ll know. And then, all we have to do is… wait and see if anyone from Class A shows up.”

Izuku hates having to suspect them, but… there’s not much other choice. “All right.”

 

Maybe during the internships, the traitor interned at Kamino…

 

“Hey, you have access to UA files, right?” Izuku asks, just to check.

“Yeah?”

“I could use one of the computers that’s not looking at Kamino to see if any Class A students interned nearby.”

“That’s a great idea,” Sora says, “Go ahead.”

So, Izuku navigates their way through the files, and finds…

“The internship information has been wiped,” Izuku mutters. “…The traitor must be trying to cover their tracks, probably?”

Sora frowns, thinking. “Well, that’s not the only way to find out. Try asking Todoroki-kun if he can get in touch with other people from Class A and ask them where they spent their internships at.”

“That’ll work!”


It… didn’t work.

Izuku had asked Todoroki, who had asked Iida, and Iida had asked everyone else (as the class representative, hopefully he wouldn’t be suspicious). And so all of the answers came in, and… no one interned at Kamino.

Or, in other words, if the traitor had interned at Kamino, they lied about it to Iida.

Sora’s search was hardly any more productive; he did find more evidence to suggest that the abandoned place in Kamino is the League’s base, but the traitor didn’t go in or out using any of the doors that they could find a camera on.

So, a week after they’d started their work, Sora sits in the computer room, head in his hands, defeated. “Basically, we’re back to square one then.”

Izuku bites their lip, “But can’t we at least report to Nedzu about the League’s base?”

Sora scoffs, “Oh please, I can hear him already. ‘We don’t have the manpower to launch a spur of the moment attack on the League!’ or ‘But if you don’t have the traitor caught, they’ll just move on to a different villain group!’… We can’t count on Nedzu. He won’t help us.”

But giving up at this point… We just can’t…! “Well… maybe if I investigate the League’s base in person-”

“No,” Sora instantly snaps.

“We have to do someth-”

“You can’t go to the League all by yourself!” Sora insists fiercely. “What if you get found? What if you get hurt? What if you… you…” He doesn’t finish the thought, but Izuku knows what he means.

“But…” Izuku protests in vain, knowing that Sora will still deny the plan.

“We… we’re not giving up,” Sora says, “We can still wait and see if anything new comes in the future, or we can come up with a different plan but… Promise me Midoriya-kun. Promise me you won’t go after them by yourself,” Sora asks, almost pleading he’s so desperate.

“I…” Izuku murmurs, “…Okay, I promise.”

Izuku refuses to meet his eyes and only hopes that Sora doesn’t realize that’s because they're lying.


Once evening has started to fall, Izuku heads on down to his base at the beach to stock up on gadgets.

But when they get there, they find a note left on their work table;

[Hey! When you read this, you should call or text me! - Hatsume Mei :)]

Hatsume? What’s this about?

Unsure of what else to really do, Izuku pulls out their phone, and sends a text;

 

You:

Hatsume??

I got the note you left at the base

 

Not even a full ten seconds later, Hatsume responds,

 

Hatsume:

oh really?? great! stay right there i’ll be right over!!!!

 

Izuku can only imagine what this is about.

Well, they did come here for another reason anyway, so it’s not like they have nothing to do while they wait. They carefully pick out a bunch of gadget that would be useful for their… “mission”.

It hasn’t even been ten minutes when Hatsume skids through the door out of breath. “Fantastic! I wanted to be able to do this in person!”

“Can you explain what this is about now, Hatsume-san?” Izuku asks.

Hatsume holds up a box that she brought with her. “Three things! Three things for you!”

Izuku takes the box.

“Well come on, open it!” Hatsume eagerly cheers.

Taking off the lid of the box, Izuku finds…

“Hatsume-san, this is the Camo Cape that you showed off for your exam,” Izuku says.

“Yup! It sure is!” Hatsume beams, confirming, “And it’s yours now!”

“Huh? Mine?” Izuku blinks in surprise.

“One hundred percent! I made it specifically for you! It was a surprise- did you like it? Are you surprised?”

“Hatsume-san…” Izuku trails off, then beams, “This is exactly the kind of gadget I needed just now! Thank you so much, I’ll make sure to put it to good use.”

“Oh, but that’s just the first thing! There’s another thing in the box too!”

Seriously? There’s still more? Izuku thinks in surprise. He pulls the Camo Cape from the box, and finds some kind of a camera and a tablet sitting at the bottom. …Hang on, is this-?

“You kinda wrecked it when you were doing vigilante work, but I was planning on rebuilding it anyway so… new and improved long distance remote control camera! It now automatically saves the footage it records, and the camera can get up to fifty meters away from the tablet now, an upgrade from a previous twenty five!”

Before Izuku can even try to thank her again, she’s already continuing, “And finally!” She pulls a bracelet from her pocket. “It’s a friendship bracelet! It, ah… it doesn’t have anything cool in it, but I’ve been going around giving all of our friends one, and since I was already delivering this other stuff for you, I thought I should include it!”

“Hatsume-san… I… I don’t even know what to say to all this, I can’t thank you enough; I don’t know how I could ever repay you-”

“Oh, don’t sweat that!” Hatsume shrugs it off. “You’re my friend, you know? That’s why I made this stuff for you. Besides, I’ve said it before too, haven’t I? The point of making gadgets is having people use them! It would make me really happy to know you’re making good use of my gadgets that I worked so hard on!”

“I definitely will,” Izuku promises.

Hatsume glances by them now, noticing that they already have some gadgets gathered on the table. “Hm? What’s with that?”

“Ah?” Izuku looks back at the gadgets, and nervously explains, “I’m just, uh, going on a quick mission.”

“You seem nervous,” Hatsume frowns. “And you don’t have Shinsou-kun or anybody else here to help you.”

“They’re, um, all busy,” Izuku lies (not all that well, honestly).

“…Midoriya-kun. Are you trying to do some kind of secret mission that you planned on keeping from the rest of us?” Hatsume asks, and while most of the time she’s very upbeat, for once Izuku can tell she’s taking this dead serious.

Izuku tries to come up with something, anything, but… at this point it would be better to just tell her the truth. “I… yes, but it’s really important. Incredibly important. Please, please don’t tell the others? I mean, I don’t even plan on fighting the villains, they’ll never know I’m there!”  

Hatsume blinks. And then… “All right.”

“Really? You’re gonna let me get away with it?”

“On a handful of conditions!” Yeah, I should have expected that… “First of all, you have to let me be your mission manager or whatever you call it for this! I’m not letting you pull this off alone, and I wanna make sure that when you say you won’t be reckless, you mean it!”

“…All right.”

“Second!” Hatsume continues, “You have to wear the Camo Cape at all times! The entire mission!”

“I… was already sorta planning on that from the moment you said it was mine.”

“Good! And lastly! Because I’m being such a great friend and promising you that I’ll let you do this, you have to also wear the friendship bracelet all the time! This like, is including outside of the mission too. You have to wear it 24/7.”

Izuku releases a sigh of relief. Is that all? “Deal!” In the back of their mind, Izuku finds it heartwarming that Hatsume cares enough about them as a friend to want them to wear the friendship bracelet at all times.

“Now, where’s Garby? He’s gonna be my co-manager.”

Izuku laughs at that, and… actually, even though they had wanted to keep his plan a secret, they're much happier and feel safer with it now that Hatsume is on board.


“So what exactly is this mission of yours anyways?” Hatsume asks over the helmet’s communicator.

“Uh…” Izuku tries to think of the best way to properly answer the question, as they speed on their way to Kamino. “Well, keep in mind, that the plan is to avoid contact and not let them know I’m there,”

“Yep, yep, I’m well aware of that, so?”

“I… kinda sorta… know where one of the League of Villain’s bases is, and I want to try spying on them to see if any of them says any useful information.”

“Oooh, it’s a League of Villains mission…” Hatsume hums. “That’s why you said it was important.”

“Right,” Izuku mutters. “…That doesn’t change things with our situation, right?”

“You already promised that you never planned on coming into direct contact, so… no it doesn’t. Like, in terms of all the plans you’ve ever come up with? You could have gotten more reckless.”

“Gee, thanks.”

As Izuku continues on their way to Kamino, Hatsume rambles on about gadgets she plans on building, along with mentions of Natsuki and how they’ve got a few projects they’re working together on. It calms down Izuku a bit, taking their mind off things.

And then Izuku gets to Kamino, and they start recognizing some areas based on what they saw from the security footage that they and Sora looked at.

I definitely can’t let any of those cameras see me…

“…and then another thing that’s really cool is Natsuki-chan and I think we figured out a way to reduce the amount of power that’s needed to maintain a forcefield-” Hatsume rambles on.

Apologetically, Izuku interrupts, “Okay, Hatsume-san, I love listening to you ramble about gadgets and it’s actually been really helpful, but now that I’m almost there I would prefer it if you let me focus.”

“Oh!” Hatsume responds immediately, and then (needlessly) whispers, “Sorry. Right.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Izuku tells her.

Eventually, Izuku settles on settling into the abandoned building that’s just next door to the base. They throw the Camo Cape over themself (it’s more than big enough to cover them completely), and pull out Hatsume’s remote control camera.

“Turning the camera on now,” Izuku tells her.

“Got it!” Hatsume responds.

The camera and the tablet blink on at the same time. The right side of the tablet screen blinks “now streaming”.

“Aaand we’re connected!” Hatsume declares.

Before Izuku had left, Hatsume had the bright idea to stream the tablet’s footage to the TV at the base so that she could be up to date on the situation too.

“Perfect,” Izuku murmurs. And with that… they send the camera out into the base of the League of Villains.

They remember last time they were in a situation like this, when the strange villain that spoke through the screen had told the others about Izuku’s camera… the strange villain that Shigaraki had referred to as “Sensei”…  

Well. Hopefully this time he won’t notice the camera.

Even if he does, the only reason the villains almost found him last time was because they knew they must have been at the entrance (considering they had trailed two villains there). This time, there’s no way they’ll know where Izuku is… Right?

The camera reaches the air ducts, and as soon as Izuku picks up the sound of voices, they focus in on what the voices saying and carefully move the camera forward trying to keep it from making any sound.

“…need to go over our plan for attacking the training camp.”

“Right. If I’m supposedly leading this mission, I’d like to make sure we’re clear on all the details.”

The camera reaches a vent that lets them see into the villain’s main room, where a group of the villains are standing around talking. Shigaraki and Kurogiri are the ones Izuku recognizes, and after a moment they realize that another person in the room is the scarred man who they’d seen on the security footage, days before. The others, they've never really seen before.

Shigaraki sighs, exasperated. “Seriously? Okay, well you’d better listen, because I’m not repeating all of this again:

“The UA Hero brats have a training camp planned for their Summer Break, because for whatever reason, UA doesn’t seem to understand the point of what a BREAK is,”

“He’s got a point,” Hatsume murmurs quietly.

“Sh.”

“The informant will obviously be joining them,” Shigaraki continues explaining, oblivious to the outsiders watching, “And as soon as they get to their destination, we’ll have their location. At that point, Kurogiri will drop your team at the base closest to where their camp is.”

So they do have multiple bases… and an informant. Maybe if Izuku keeps listening, Shigaraki will drop a name, or a quirk, or any kind of clue…

“From there, you’ll wait for the informant’s signal, and as soon as they decide the moment is right, you’ll head in and that’s where your real plan starts.”

Shigaraki pulls a list towards him, presumably a list that he had previously given to the scarred man that he now wants to read off of.

“First and foremost, your target is the students. That being said, the plan of attack… well, it varies from student to student.”

A shiver goes down Izuku’s spine. What exactly are they planning?

“Pretty much all of the Class B kids are in the category of ‘terrorize them if you run into them, but if they want to run away, let them go’. Don’t go easy on them if they fight back obviously, but none of the media cares about them so that’s not our goal. Class A students that includes are… Aoyama Yuuga, Ojirou Mashirao, Kouda Kouji, Satou Rikido, and Hagakure Toru.”

Shigaraki flips a page. “The students that you are forbidden from attacking at all are Asui Tsuyu, Shiozaki Ibara, Orenji Ketsueki, Shinsou Hitoshi, and Uraraka Ochako.”

Forbidden from attacking? At least that means they’re safe but… but why?

“What’s the point of that?” The scarred villain acts, eerily echoing Izuku’s own thoughts.

Shigaraki rolls his eyes. “Cause the informant did the stupid thing and got attached to ‘em.”

Uraraka and Shinsou… we had a clue the traitor was picking favorites, but they weren’t on the original list. Shinsou’s only been in Class A for a short period of time too, so… what could possibly be the traitor’s motive…?

“Now then, the fun list,” Shigaraki says, flipping the page, “This is everyone that you have to capture at any cost. Well, no, you don't have to capture all of them, but one or two would be good.”

Capture? The word chills Izuku right to the bone. They want to capture someone from UA…?

“Ashido Mina, Iida Tenya, Kirishima Eijirou, Todoroki Shouto-”

With no explanation, the camera cuts out.

What?


Mei is staring intently at the screen when all of a sudden, it cuts out.

“What?!” She can’t help but exclaim out loud. “Midoriya-kun, what happened?”

Midoriya doesn’t respond.

“Midoriya-kun?” Mei repeats. She looks over at the other screen. It’s not just one or two gadgets- suddenly, all of them have the same reading.

Offline.

What the hell just happened?


Izuku is trying to do whatever they can to fix the camera but nothing’s working. They can’t even turn it on or off, it’s just… not responding.

Behind them, a voice says, “That’s a nice invis cloak. Would be a shame if it wasn’t working for you.”

Izuku feels their blood turn to ice.

“Ah, wait. It’s not working, is it? Wow, I was right! That is a shame!”

Well, as long as the Camo Cape isn’t working, crouching there on the ground isn’t doing anything. Izuku stands up and turns around to face the newcomer.

“Easy,” They say. “You don’t want to fight me, do you?”

From what Izuku can tell, they’re somewhere around the same age as they are, and though they have a mask covering the top half of their face, Izuku can still tell they bear no resemblance to any of the students from Class A.

Not the traitor then…

“What did you do?” Izuku demands. It’s then that they realize that the voice modifier in their helmet… isn’t working either.

“You know, it’s a funny thing,” The villain (because what else could they be) sighs. “Technology quirks are all the rage! Everyone loves a good technology quirk. They’re like, the second most popular next to heroes, because in the modern age they can do just about anything you want them to. Everybody loves having people with technology quirks around. Well… unless if their quirk is, say… turning off any and all technology in the area.” At that they give a smug, knowing smile.

It’s not just the camera, the Camo Cape, the helmet then… nothing works right now… Izuku realizes.

“No one wants someone with a quirk like that around!” The villain continues, “…Except for a villain league that’s been having problems with a certain vigilante that’s veeery attached to using gadgets in fights.” They cock their head and give a fake surprised gasp, “Oh my god? That’s you isn’t it? Super unlucky for you.”

They’re gloating like they’ve already won… Izuku thinks anxiously, when deep down they know that the villain probably isn’t that far off with that assumption. Come on, come on, think. What can I still do without gadgets?

“Speaking of that! What’s your deal with gadgets anyway, hmmm? Got any particular reason you use them so much?” The villain flashes them a devious smile. “They say you’ve got an electric quirk. Why don’t you use it on me right now?”

They know, Izuku realizes, more and more horror setting in with each second. This villain either knows, or at the very least assumes… that their “quirk” is a lie.

“You ask a lot of questions,” Izuku eventually says, finding their voice. “Why don’t you tell me something- say I do attack you, what are you going to do about it?”

“You would attack an innocent civilian? Why I’m just… shocked you would do that,” The villain dramatically says.

If their quirk is making technology malfunction, then they can’t have another quirk, right? And due to the nature of their quirk, they can’t use gadgets either. Which means…

Which means they can’t fight me. But the League wouldn’t hire them for no reason…

“Is the League coming to back you up, then? Since you can’t fight me yourself?” Izuku theorizes.

“Wow, you’re perceptive!” The villain lays on the praise thick. “Are you perceptive enough to think of a plan for when the League gets here, and you have no gadgets to help you fight?”

“I’m perceptive enough to realize that now your job is stalling me.”

“Well, anyone could figure that out,” They wave a hand at that. “Want a gold star for it anyways?”

Izuku reaches behind their back to see if there’s anything they can use without needing it turned on… “I’m gonna have to pass,” Izuku replies flatly.

“You’re no fun!” The villain, despite their words, doesn’t seem all that bothered. “You’re all business. Maybe that’s why the League wants you gone huh? Is it cause you’re boring?”

“I think that’s a subjective opinion,” Izuku takes a step or two forward, hoping the villain won’t think too much of it.

“Oh, now you just wanna escape, huh?” The villain hums, completely aware of what Izuku means to do. “Already makin your getaway? That’s no fun.”

“And what are you going to do about it?”

The villain shrugs. “Let you, I guess.”

That makes Izuku stop again. “…Why?”

“Honestly I’m just here to get paid,” They shrug. Holding up a hand and stage whispering, they add, “Villains make a lot of big bucks doing crime you know? Anyway. I already stopped you from spying on them, and for now that’ll do. Best of both worlds! I don’t have to deal with the conscious of the villains killing you and I still get paid for stopping you.”

“So… that’s it?”

“I mean, if you want to wait for them here and fight them, by all means, go ahead. Might be kinda hard if you’re quirkless though.”

“You don’t know that for sure,” Izuku mutters, trying to cling to the idea that Green Lightning is most definitely not quirkless.

“Your reaction says I do!” The villain smiles. “If you’re worried I’ll tell them, then don’t. I don’t really care.”

“And how do I know I can trust you with that?”

“You don’t!” The villain shrugs with a sing song voice. “But can you trust that you have enough time to fight me and drag me away before the League gets here? We’ve already been here for far too long, don’t you think?”

“You’re… weird,” Izuku mutters.

“Yep!” They laugh. “No time to chat about that though. Ya better get going!”

“All right, all right. I’m leaving.”

“See ya later, Sparky!”

“Don’t call me that!”

“Whatever you say, Sparky!”

Izuku leaves, having gone from anxious to incredibly confused, but at least it’s better than getting attacked.

 

Once they're far enough away, they see the front screen of their helmet blink back on, and immediately they realize, Oh, hey, Hatsume is probably worried sick right now.

They dial up to the base.

“MIDORIYA-KUN, ARE YOU OKAY?!” Hatsume yells hard enough to make their ears ring.

“Yeah, yeah,” They mutter, “The only thing hurt is my pride.”

They quickly relay what happened to Hatsume, as they continue walking away.

“So… what you’re saying is…” Hatsume says slowly, “…You lost my camera again?”

“I’m… sorry?” Izuku apologizes, hoping she won’t be too angry.

“Oh, I’m not angry, I just think it’s funny.”

“Ha-ha-ha,” Izuku says, humorlessly. “Now what though? We didn’t get any leads to the traitor, and I feel like I won’t get off so easy if I try again.”

“Well I don’t know what we should do now but I do know one thing.”

“And what’s that?”

“We definitely should not tell the others about this because they’ll never let you hear the end of it, and they’ll never let me hear the end of it either because I let you do this.”

“Glad we’re on the same page.”


 

Bonus:

After letting the vigilante Green Lightning escape… Akari finds themselves sitting at the bar in the villain’s hideout.

“So what you’re telling me, is…” Shigaraki seethes, barely containing his anger, “You just let them go?”

“No,” Akari lies smoothly, and explains, “they escaped is what happened. What, were you expecting someone with zero combat experience to be able to fight someone with a lightning quirk?”

The lightning quirk is a lie, but… they don’t need to know about that.

“So it’s our fault for picking you?”

“Now hold on, I kept up my half of our bargain. You hired me to stop them, and I did! They stopped spying on you once I intervened. I don’t know why you’re so upset.”

“Because,” the one villain that the others call “Sensei” speaks up, “When we hired you to stop them, we meant that we needed them stopped permanently.”

"Well, then, you should have written it in a contract somewhere. But ya didn’t! So I still upheld my end of the bargain.”

“…” For a while, “Sensei” doesn’t respond. When he does, he says, “Kurogiri. Would you mind teleporting me over there?”

Inexplicably, Akari is filled with both a sense of dread and curiosity at the same time.

What could this “Sensei” be like in person…?

When he steps into the room, Akari’s curiosity is gone and suddenly they wish that they could be… literally anywhere else besides where they are right now.

Oh, I’ve really gotten myself into a mess this time, haven’t I?

“You are right,” the man says, “With your skills, we should have predicted ahead of time that you were in no shape to fight Green Lightning even if you had the perfect quirk for dealing with them.”

“Sooo…” Akari says slowly, “Are we gonna call it a ‘your bad’, pay me at least like half price or something, and then let me go?”

The man laughs- definitely not the answer that Akari had wanted.

“Yes… it was as you said, ‘my bad’. From the start really, I should have taken your quirk and put it in the hands of someone more capable.”

Taken… my… quirk…?

“What does that mean?” Akari asks, nervous but trying not to let it show.

The man smiles, and Akari can feel a cold shiver across their entire body. “Why don’t I show you?”

Chapter Text

The video ends right where Izuku remembers it ending, but this time they're watching it in a different setting and with a different person.

“So the League is planning on attacking the training camp with the intent of capturing one of the students…” Nedzu hums, thoughtfully.

“You have to stop the training camp,” Izuku says. “One of them will get hurt otherwise.”

“Hmm… unfortunately, I can’t do that.”

“What?” Izuku asks, then repeats, “WHAT?”

“Don’t overreact, Midoriya-kun,” Nedzu sighs. “I can’t stop the training camp now, because it’s vital that they work on, well, training. I won’t do nothing though; in the video, Shigaraki says they’ll be waiting on the traitor’s signal, yes? They’ll be waiting for the opportune moment? Well, all right then; I’ll inform the teachers to make sure that they have an eye on all of the students the whole time, and so the traitor won’t have an opportune moment. Even if they think they do, we’ll have them caught.”

“I… don’t think it will be that easy,” Izuku mumbles.

Nedzu stirs his tea, not committed to the discussion. “If you’re worried about it, I can give you the location of the training camp and you can follow them there.”

“All right, then that’s what I’ll do!”

“If that’s what you want.”


They ride a bus to the training grounds, and the entire way there, the bus is just about as chaotic as the mornings before the school day officially starts, if not more chaotic.

Hitoshi decides to take the safe route and sits next to Todoroki. They don’t really talk on the way, but Hitoshi gets the impression that both of them are just fine with that. They enjoy spending time in silence anyway.

"All right everyone, rest stop.”

At some point, Hitoshi had fallen asleep without really intending to, leaving him still half asleep now.

 

…But even through his half asleep haze, he notices that the choice of a rest stop is… odd. There’s not a building in sight. Where even are we right now?

 

The Wild Wild Pussycats show up, and Hitoshi starts to suspect that this probably isn’t a real rest stop.

 

The Pussycats then throw them off of the cliff and tell them they have until noon to get to the campsite, and Hitoshi is definitely sure they’ve been tricked.

“Well, I’m awake now,” Hitoshi mutters, standing at the bottom of the cliff, covered in dirt and dust.


It is well, well, past noon by the time they arrive at the campsite, but the Pussycats don’t seem to mind; actually, from what Hitoshi can tell, it’s what they were expecting.

Stupid heroes making stupid tests that only apply to people with physically strong quirks, Hitoshi thinks to himself, exhausted.

“Hey, can I ask a question?” Ashido says to the Pussycats, now that they’re no longer running for their lives from crazy earth beasts. “Who’s kid is that?”

Ashido points out a kid standing behind most of the pros; Hitoshi had vaguely noticed him when they were at the top of the mountain too, but he hadn’t really been paying much thought to it. He never did well with kids.

“Ah, he’s actually my nephew,” Mandalay explains. “His name is Kouta. Kouta, do you want to say hi to everyone?”

Looking at the kid, “Kouta”, it’s very clear that he has zero intention of being friendly enough to say ‘hi’ to everyone.

Kaminari, on the other hand, does not seem to catch a hint from the hostile aura that Kouta exudes.

“Hey there!” Kaminari waves walking up, “I’m Kaminari Denki, it’s nice to meet yo-”

THWACK.

Hitoshi winces sympathetically as Kaminari cries in pain.

From there, they get dinner, and they go to bed. And the next day… starts their hell training.


Hitoshi feels like his head is going to split open right now.

“I think we should take a break,” He mumbles, clutching his head.

“Shinsou, I’m going to say this as plainly as possible: due to the nature of your quirk and how you use it, you are far behind your classmates when it comes to being able to use your quirk,” Aizawa says.

“Okay, but doesn’t that technically mean I also don’t have as much endurance as the others?” Hitoshi suggests hopefully.

Aizawa gives him a deadpan stare.

Guess that’s not gonna work, huh?

“Now then, let’s do this again, and see if you can figure out how to control for a longer period of time.”


That evening they have to make dinner for themselves, so it’s not quite as good as the dinner from the night before, but given their exhaustion, none of them really care.

Although, once he’s eaten, he notices that the the kid, Kouta, isn’t anywhere to be found. He looks around for a bit, and just when he thinks he should give up, he sees him sneaking off by himself.

I should probably leave him alone, Hitoshi tells himself, looking back to the table. He made it clear he wants absolutely nothing to do with us.

…Why does he feel so hesitant about this decision?

…Has he eaten anything? Did he skip out on dinner? I hadn’t seen him around at all before now, so…

Hitoshi sighs. I think I hang out with Midoriya too much, he thinks and, going against most of his better logic, and he stands up.

“Shinsou? What’s up?” Todoroki asks.

“I have a horrible idea. Don’t worry about it, I’ll be back soon, probably.”

“Okay, just don’t die.”

“Who do you take me for? Midoriya?” With that last joke, Hitoshi turns away.

Hitoshi trails Kouta, following the path he saw him take earlier, and though he loses the trail a few times, he eventually finds Kouta sitting out by himself on a wide cliff edge.

Here goes nothing…

“Hey,” Hitoshi calls softly.

Kouta jumps, startled, and turns back to face him. “What the hell are you doing here?!”

“Noticed you were alone. Didn’t see you at dinner. Thought I’d bring you food,” Hitoshi explains simply. He holds up the plate he brought with him.

“I… don’t want it,” Kouta grumbles.

“But is that because you already ate, or is it because you’re just stubborn?” Hitoshi asks. Kouta doesn’t respond. “I’m just saying, if you haven’t eaten anything recently, you should.”

“Don’t tell me what to do.”

“I didn’t say you have to, I just said you should. Less me telling you and more… giving advice.”

Kouta scowls at him. “Why do you even care?”

“Honestly, I don’t really know myself. I just don’t think you should be all alone out here, and so I figured the least I could do was make sure you have food.”

“…Whatever,” Kouta eventually mutters. “If it makes you leave me alone, then just give me the food.”

Taking that as permission to get closer, Hitoshi walks out onto the cliffside. He sets the plate of food next to Kouta and then… well, the kid has been very clear that he wants to be left alone, so pretty much all Hitoshi can do from here is. Well. Leave.

 

“Wait. You’re actually leaving?” Kouta asks.

“You said you wanted me to,” Hitoshi shrugs. “If you want me to stay, I will. If you want me to leave you alone, I will. Anything else at this point would just be rude.”

Kouta is quiet for a moment. “Did… did Mandalay tell you what happened to my parents?” He asks, and though his voice has a level of hostility to it, it’s mostly soft.

“Nope. Not a word. I’m just here because I think it sucks to be alone, and so if you don’t wanna be alone… I’m here, I guess, is what I’m trying to say.”

“…All right,” Kouta eventually says, “You can stay. Just. Don’t say anything.”

“Whatever works for you.”

Hitoshi is fine with saying nothing. It’s not like he’s all that good with words anyway.

“…I hate heroes,” Kouta murmurs. “I hate them. And I really hate the way society talks about them.”

“Why?” Hitoshi can’t help but ask. Kouta glares at him. “Sorry. Right. Shutting up.”

After a bit, Kouta continues, “When… when a hero dies, everyone celebrates it. Like it’s some kind of good thing. They say they died with honor or some bullcrap. They celebrate what the heroes did and the lives they saved. No one ever gets sad about it. They don’t treat heroes like people they’re just… objects. And I hate it.”

So it’s not really heroes themselves, it’s the whole… society and lifestyle thing.

“I don’t get it. I don’t get why you idiots want to be heroes. If you become heroes you’re just gonna go and get yourselves killed by some villain. So why? I don’t get why.”

“Do you want me to actually answer what I think, or is that a rhetorical question?” Hitoshi asks.

“…Depends,” Kouta mutters. “If I don’t like your answer I’ll tell you to shut up. How’s that?”

Hitoshi exhales in a way that barely resembles a laugh. “Well… You’re not really wrong with what you’re saying. Hero society kinda sucks.”

“Now you’re just saying that because you just wanna say what you think I want to hear.”

“Oh no, I’ve agreed with that before we talked,” Hitoshi grumbles. “I don’t really know what your deal is, but I’ve had to live my whole life with people judging me by what my quirk is. And I…” For a moment, he hesitates, but continues, “I have this friend who’s quirkless and… they have it even harder than I do. I fell out of love with the whole glorified hero society shtick a long time ago.”

“Then why? Why would you still want to be a hero? That just makes you even more stupid.”

“Definitely,” Hitoshi mutters. “But… maybe I want to hold on to the idea that helping others and caring about people is important. And if there aren’t still idiots like me out there that really believe in that stuff then… we really are a lost cause.”  

“You know that’s exactly the kind of stupid thinking that gets heroes killed, right?”

“Trust me, that friend of mine I mentioned earlier is ten times more reckless and selfless than I am, so I’m well aware.”

“…My parents were those kinds of heroes though,” Kouta murmurs quietly. “That’s why…”

…Oh. So… that’s what it is. His parents were heroes and then… they must have been killed by a villain. Seeing everyone on the news talking about it… in the way that they do must have been awful for the kid.

“…You shouldn’t have had to go through this,” Hitoshi says softly. “Your parents… they were probably great people outside of their careers, and they shouldn’t have died.”

“A lot of good that does now,” Kouta grumbles sarcastically, but Hitoshi can sense that it’s just barely concealing a layer of sadness.

“I know,” Hitoshi sighs, “But sometimes that’s really all you can say, isn’t it?”

“…I still hate heroes,” Kouto mumbles.

“That’s fair.”

“…But maybe some heroes that are… your kind of hero are okay.”

Hitoshi doesn’t respond to that, but he’s happy that something he said must have done some good for the kid.


The next day of training is… a little easier, because they already somewhat know what to expect, but it’s still hell.

Over the course of the day, Hitoshi notices Aizawa and some of the other Pussycats talking about something, but whatever it is, Aizawa doesn’t look pleased. In the end though, it seems like the Pussycats win whatever argument they’re having.

And then… the teachers tell them that training is over early today.

They probably know deep down this is going to end up as some “logical ruse” but right now, the students are all too tired to question it.

Dinner is prepared fast and eaten fast, and although Kouta refuses to join them again, Hitoshi does at least see him take some food with him when he goes up to his hiding spot.

“All right!” Pixie Bob calls, “Now that dinner is over… it’s time for a game! That counts somewhat as training.”

I’m not even surprised, Hitoshi thinks. At least it’s framed like a game though…

“Aw hell yeah!” Kirishima cheers.

“People who failed their exams have to come inside for extra lessons instead of playing the game,” Aizawa says.

“Aw shit!” Kirishima groans.

Hitoshi laughs to himself as Aizawa has to practically drag off Kirishima, Satou, Kaminari, and Ashido. Okay, he feels a little bad for them, but they did fail the exams so…

“All right!” Ragdoll announces once Aizawa and the others have left, “The game we’re planning is called a Test of Courage! You have to spread out in the forest, and half of the group will be working to scare the other half when they come through! Use your quirks as creatively as you want, just don’t do anything that would actually hurt each other. Now then, everyone get into pairs!”

As they go around passing out sticks to assign the pairs, Hitoshi vaguely hopes he gets paired with Todoroki- or, maybe even Orenji who he was with for the exam. She was nice enough.

But, in actuality, Hitoshi gets paired with…

“Ah, Shinsou-kun!” Iida says approaching him. “It seems we’re paired together! I look forward to working with you.”

“…Yeah. You too,” Hitoshi mumbles, not sure what else to say. He doesn’t really know what to think of Iida. When it had come to the time right after the internships, he had… actually been a little mad at him for getting Midoriya into another mess, but… after some more time had passed he found he couldn’t really stay upset at him. Since it had happened, Iida had seemingly started to get better, and from what he knows, Hitoshi trusts that he wouldn’t do something like that again.

That being said, Hitoshi and Iida have never really… talked. Being paired together like this makes it easier to start a conversation, but he still finds it… awkward.

This is gonna be an experience…


Well, he was right earlier! This is definitely an experience.

Not a good one though.

It’s a “villains are attacking us right now” kind of experience that one hopes they never, ever, have to go through, and yet has somehow happened to Class A twice.

“Shinsou-kun!” Iida calls, “Come on, we have to get back to the main building!”

“Right-” Hitoshi agrees, turning to follow him, when a sudden thought strikes him.

Kouta.

“Shinsou-kun!” Iida repeats, noticing that he’s stopped again, “We have to go!”

“The kid, Kouta!” Hitoshi quickly says, trying to explain, “He’s not at the main building, he’s out here in the forest. I have to go get him, I-”

“That’s too dangerous!”

“He has a secret hiding spot,” Hitoshi pushes the issue, “As far as I’m aware, no one else knows about it, and if the villains catch him, then…!”

Iida contemplates it for a second, frustrated, then finally relents, “All right, go! But you had better be coming back to the main building as soon as possible!”

“Got it!”

God, Midoriya really is rubbing off on me.


“We are under attack by villains! This is not a drill! Everyone return to the main building! If a villain encounters you, do not engage! I repeat, do not engage! Everyone needs to return to the main building!”

Mandalay’s telepathic voice comes through crystal clear as day.

Tsuyu feels a chill pass through her, but she tries not to let it show. “Ochako-chan. Stay close to me. We need to stick together.”

“Right!”

They don’t even make it ten full steps before a villain jumps into the clearing in front of them. Uraraka takes a step forward-

“Ochako-chan, you can’t,” Tsuyu protests, “We were told not to engage. We have to run!”

The response comes not from Uraraka, but from the villain. “Ochako-chan,” The villain repeats, before pointing to Tsuyu, “And that makes you Tsuyu-chan!”

“How do you know our names?” Tsuyu demands.

“That doesn’t matter,” The villain sighs. “What matters is I can’t attack you, otherwise Best-y would get upset. Later!”

Best-y? Who would she mean by “Best-y”…?


Kouta sits up on the wide cliff edge, all alone.

He had hoped that maybe that stupid hero kid from the day before might come back but… well, their stupid hero training game that they’re all up to probably got in the way.

Or… or maybe the hero kid doesn’t actually care at all. After all, hardly anyone else ever did.

Just then, he notices something drifting in a part of the forest. Huh? What’s that…? Is that some kind of a smoke?

The next second, Mandalay’s telepathic voice reaches his thoughts.

…You…  you mean we’re under attack by… by villains?

Kouta’s first instinct is to stay right where he is. Mandalay said that they need to return to the main building, but… but what if he runs into a villain on the way? Besides. No one ever found him up here before. His secret hiding spot is probably the safest place for him!

“Well, well, well, looky here!” A voice says, shattering any sense of safety he had gained. “I just wanted to get a good view from here, and instead I find something rather interesting!”

Shaking, Kouta turns around. The villain is… huge. Even for villain standards. Doesn’t help him feel any better at all. And then his eyes reach the villain’s face, and Kouta’s heart stops.

He knows that face. It was all over the news…

 

Right next to the faces of his parents.

 

This is the villain who… the villain who…!

 

Kouta, unable to form any other proper thought, turns to run-

The villain jumps over him and blocks his path yet again. “You know… the League gave us a list of the people to expect to see around here, and gave us specific instructions on what to do about them. But you weren’t on any of the lists! So…” Muscular stares into him with a purely murderous intent, “That means I can just kill you if I want, right?”

Oh god… oh god… am I actually going to die? Is he going to kill me?!

Just as Muscular is about to move forward to attack, there’s a loud CRACK in the air and then a blinding light.

Kouta squints his eyes shut. What’s that? What’s going on?

When the light seems mostly cleared, Kouta opens his eyes again, but there’s a layer of smoke and dust floating around the area, blocking his vision.

From behind him, he hears a voice- not Muscular’s voice, but something different.

“Hey. I’m here to save you. But first, I need you to trust me, can you do that?”

“Yeah,” Kouta answers shakily.

“All right then, here we go.”

Chapter Text

Hitoshi is running as fast as his legs will carry him (which, admittedly, isn’t all that fast)

Kouta… I have to get to Kouta…!

And then, his phone rings.

If he didn’t know exactly who it was, he wouldn’t answer. That being said. He knows only one person who would choose to call him at… such an opportune time.

Answering his phone, not even bothering with hellos, Hitoshi says, “Midoriya did you follow us to the training camp?” It’s less a question and more an accusation.

“Technically I followed the villains here!” Midoriya responds, out of breath (they're running too- but what are they running for?) “But basically other than that, yeah I followed you here!”

“Of course you did,” Hitoshi sighs.

“Yeah, anyway-” There’s a large crash in the background of the call, “Can I get some back up here?!”

Hitoshi hesitates, before answering, “That depends, how important is it right now? I’m sorry, normally I would be there right away, but there’s this kid, Kouta-”

Midoriya responds with a breathy laugh. “Yeah, uh, funny story about that…!”

“Are you serious?”

“Yep! So, I already sent my location- are you on your way?”

“…I’ll be right there.”

“You’re a lifesaver!” There’s another crash in the background, and Midoriya adds, “Probably literally!”

Hitoshi hangs up the phone. Dammit Midoriya.


Izuku tightly clutches the trunk of the tree they’re now hiding in, and hopes that the kid- Kouta, Shinsou had said- is smart enough to know not to make a sound.

Their original plan had just been running away to get the kid to safety, but that villain is fast. Very fast. They only hope that hiding will buy them a little bit of time…

“Come out, come out!” Muscular yells from below them. “If you don’t come out, I’m gonna start punching trees down till you fall out of one!”

Izuku grits their teeth. I can’t let the kid get hurt… They lean over to Kouta and whispers, “As soon as there’s an opening to run… run.”

Not waiting for a reply, Izuku latches onto a neighboring tree using a grappling hook and glides their way down to the ground. (Now that they’re standing face to face, the helmet gives them a summary of the villain’s quirk- he can grow his muscles. Fantastic to know.)

“Hey there. Nice weather we’re having?”

“Oh boy,” Muscular whistles, “I had a hunch, but wow! I really did get lucky!”

“Are you so sure that this is lucky for you?” Izuku warns, trying to give off an air of confidence.

“It sure is!” Muscular cheers not a care in the world. “You’re Shigaraki’s most wanted! We’re told we have to capture you at any and all cost…”

“Fun.” Izuku comments, dryly.

“It sure is!” Muscular roars, kicking off the ground and running for them. Izuku attempts to move to make some kind of retaliation but-

He’s so fast-!

Before Izuku can properly react, Muscular lands a solid punch to their side, and they go flying right into a tree before sliding to the ground.

“See! I’m having fun already!” The villain cackles.

Get up… Izuku tells themself through their slightly dazed mind. If I don’t stop him, he could hurt someone else…!

They push themself up onto their elbows-

Muscular is already there in an instant, lifting them up by the collar and pinning them to the tree with just a fist.

“Geez! I figured you’d give me more trouble if you were the League’s worst nemesis or whatever-”

The only thing that saves Izuku in that moment is that this guy loves to gloat; because that’s what gives them enough time to pull a taser from their belt and stick it right into Muscular’s side.

Muscular jerks as he’s shocked, and as soon as he let’s go of Izuku’s collar, Izuku falls to the ground and scrambles away further from his grasp.

The next thing they do is pull the forcefield activator from their belt because they get the impression they're definitely going to need it.

“Ah… that’s why…” Muscular says, and Izuku had thought that he couldn’t get more murderous before, but this is a whole different level. “That’s why you’re a thorn in their side…” Muscular stands up, the dangerous smile now replaced with a terrifying glare, his mechanical eye now glowing. … Mechanical eye?

Well, that’s one muscle he can’t seem to grow.

“Before this was gonna be fun for the sake of beatin’ someone to a pulp, but now it’s gonna be personal,” Muscular threatens.

“If you want me, then come get me,” Izuku offers, knowing that he’ll take the bait.

Muscular crouches down, ready to spring-

And, now!!

They press down the button in their hand to activate the forcefield just as Muscular bursts forward to get them; except, this forcefield isn’t the one they used during the Sports Festival. This one ah…

Muscular cries out as he’s thrown back, once again electrified.

This is a forcefield that bites back.

As soon as Muscular is thrown back, Izuku deactivates it. It takes a lot of energy to power, so they can’t afford to use it recklessly.

“SCREW ORDERS! YOU’RE FUCKING DEAD, VIGILANTE!”

Before Muscular can get up again, (because Izuku can tell he definitely plans on doing exactly what he’s saying) Izuku aims their hand for the villain and activates the gadget around their arm. A stream for electricity shoots for him again.

He’s just been shocked, what, three times? That’s gotta be enough to keep him down, right?

But Muscular stands up, yet again.

 

On the bright side- his mechanical eye is completely fried.

On the down side- the entire rest of the situation- he seems mostly unfazed by any lasting effects.

Why?! Why can’t he stay down?!

 

No longer playing around, Muscular shoots forward. Izuku scrambles to activate the forcefield, but Muscular’s fist slams into them before they can. They're thrown back into a tree with enough force to knock all the air from their lungs.

Izuku slumps to the ground, gasping for breath, but Muscular doesn’t give them the time to catch it. Muscular grabs them by the leg and slings them across the forest clearing like they're a ragdoll.

Just as they're able to get their breath back, Muscular grabs them again; one hand pins both of their arms so that they can’t grab for any of their gadgets, and the other grabs them by the neck. The grip isn’t tight enough to choke them yet, but it does make getting air back into their lungs rather difficult.

“So,” The villain says slowly, completely unfazed by Izuku's attempts to struggle and get away at this point, “Got any fancy last words?”

 

“Do you?” A different voice counters. A voice that Izuku recognizes. Is… is that…?

 

Muscular lets them go and Izuku gasps for air again. The hulking villain turns to the new arrival, and then laughs, “What do you plan to do? I know your quir-”

“And, yet, you just fell for it,” Shinsou mutters, and Izuku is so happy to know that it’s him that they could actually cry. “Now do me a favor and knock yourself out.”

There’s a loud thud as Muscular punches himself in the face, followed by another one as he falls to the ground, finally unconscious.

Izuku hears rustling, and suddenly Shinsou is kneeling over them.

“Midoriya, are you all right?”

“Yeah,” Izuku coughs, knowing they probably don’t sound convincing in the slightest. “Can you just… move so I can sit up?”

Shinsou backs up to give them space, and Izuku pushes themself into an upright position. They definitely ache all over and they probably have a million bruises, but other than that, they don’t think they've broken anything-

Without any warning, Shinsou wraps them in a tight hug.

“Sh-Shinsou-kun?”

“I almost thought you were dead,” Shinsou murmurs with a shaky voice and it catches Izuku off guard. “You almost-” Shinsou cuts himself off and then pulls back so they’re face to face, but he still keeps a grip on Izuku’s shoulders, “What would you have done if I hadn’t showed up just now? What if I didn’t make it in time, what were you supposed to do- what was I supposed to do?!”

“…You did make it in time, though,” Izuku says instead of answering the question. They smile, “I knew that you would. …I’m… I’m smiling right now, but you probably can’t see that through the mask…”  

Shinsou pulls them back into a hug again. “I hate you. I hate you so much.”

Izuku laughs softly. “Sure you do.”

In a start, Shinsou pulls back again. “Wait a minute. Where’s Kouta? You said that you found him…?”

“I told him to make a run for it as soon as he had an opening, so-”

“I’m right here,” Kouta says softly, from the tree.

Izuku winces, realizing that… that Kouta kinda just… saw all that. “But I-”

“I didn’t want to leave you behind,” Kouta mumbles.

After thinking for a moment, Izuku tells Shinsou, “Take him back to camp so that he’s safe, and then I need you to deliver a message to Mandalay for me.”

“Mandalay?”

“She’s the telepath one, right?”

“I… yeah,” Shinsou confirms. “What’s the message?”

“The villains are after the students,” Izuku tells him, “And, while I wasn’t able to listen into the full list of who they want captured, I think it’s safe to assume it includes pretty much anyone who made it to the tournament part of the Sports Festival.”

“Got it,” Shinsou nods, then, “Does that include…?”

“No, it doesn’t include you,” Izuku shakes his head. “There was a list of a few people the villains were told to not attack and… and you were on it.”

“That’s… nice to know, but not what I was gonna ask,” Shinsou mutters. “I was gonna ask, does that include you.”

Izuku hesitates. “…Of course not. I’m not supposed to be here, remember?”

“That’s not what I-”

“I know, I know. It’ll be okay, I promise.”

Shinsou huffs at that, doubtful. “…So, if you’re sending me running on all these errands, then do you mind telling me what you plan on getting up to?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Izuku asks, pushing themself to their feet, and holding a hand out to help Shinsou up. “I’m gonna see if I can go help some more people.”

Shinsou accepts the hand and lets Izuku help him up, but protests, “You were just in a fight. You’re already injured.”

“Only a little. I can walk it off.”

“Then promise me.”

“Huh?” Izuku looks at him, surprised.

 

“Promise me that you’ll be safe,” Shinsou says.

 

“…Yeah. I promise.”

 

Izuku decides to leave then, leaving Shinsou with that promise, and fully intending to keep it.


Well… mission one, Hitoshi thinks to himself, watching Midoriya leave. Gotta get Kouta to the main building.

“So…” Kouta says slowly, “Were they the friend of yours you were mentioning?”

It strikes Hitoshi suddenly that Kouta just saw him talking to Midoriya while Midoriya was being Green Lightning. “Yeah, kiddo, I’m gonna need you to keep that little tidbit a secret for me, okay? Cause technically, they're a vigilante, not a hero so… if we get found out for this, it would get us in trouble. A lot of trouble.”

“Heroes are dumb anyway,” Kouta mumbles, “So all right.”

“Knew I could count on you,” Hitoshi smiles.

They continue walking for a bit.

Eventually Kouta murmurs, “They saved me. They saved me, even though they didn’t have to. Even though it got them hurt. Why… why did they do that?”

Hitoshi sighs heavily. “That’s just… what they do.”

“I don’t know why they have to get in trouble if they saved me, though.”

At first, Hitoshi doesn’t have any response to that. “…If you want, you can tell them the part about how they saved you; just leave out the part that I ah… know who they are, and also said their name, definitely don’t tell anyone their name. But other than that… yeah, they should get proper credit for saving you. I didn’t really do anything so…”

“You saved them though.”

“…Wish I didn’t have to.”

“Everyone needs saving sometime though.”

“…Yeah. Guess you’re not wrong there.”


Shouta mentally curses himself over and over again, because this is all his fault.

Nedzu told him dammit, he told him not to let any of the students out of his sight. He hadn’t said why, just that it was important.

And yet the Wild Wild Pussycats had convinced him to give them a fun night off. They’ve been working hard, they said, they deserve a break, they said!

Real good break they’re getting here.

Shouta should never have agreed, he should have stuck to what Nedzu told him, because sneaky rat bastard or no, he knows that if the students get injured that’s bad press, and that’s enough.

The only thing he can do for them now is run to Mandalay to-

All of a sudden, Shinsou appears on the path ahead of him. With Kouta.

“Aizawa-sensei!” He calls, and for a moment, Shouta is glad to see him, and then he says, “I need you to take Kouta to the main building, I have to-”

“No, you both have to get to the main building now,” Shouta says, eyes hardening. “There are villains out there, you understand that right?”

“It’s important,” Shinsou protests, “I have to get a message to Mandalay!”

“Lucky you, I’m on my way to see her right now. What’s the message?”

Shinsou hesitates, then answers, “The villains are trying to capture one of the students.”

A shiver goes down Shouta’s spine. It’s that bad…?

“I… don’t know exactly who, but I think it’s safe to assume that the list includes anyone who made it to the one on one matches in the Sports Festival.”

“Including you?” Shouta cocks an eyebrow at that. Shinsous hesitates, formulating some kind of protest, but Shouta interrupts, “Yeah, there’s no way I’m letting you deliver this message when you have a target on your back. Get to the main building.”

“I… yes, Aizawa-sensei.”

They both cross at the path… and Shouta continues on way to see Mandalay, now with two messages instead of one.

Chapter Text

“You can’t- we haven’t received permission to fight them yet!” Yaoyorozu protests.

Kyoka pulls her out of the way of an attack from the Nomu that’s dead set on chasing them down, before retorting, “I think our lives are a bit more important than permission!!”

Yaoyorozu hesitates for a moment, but that just gives the Nomu another opening; both of them dive out of the way, hitting the ground rolling.

“Jirou-san! If you’re okay with going through with this, I need you to distract it for me when I give the signal!”

“Got it!” Kyoka shouts right back, not even needing to take a moment to think about it. She trusts Yaoyorozu.

After a second (where Kyoka assumes that Yaoyorozu makes herself headphones to cancel out Kyoka’s quirk), Yaoyorozu yells, “NOW!”

Kyoka plugs her earphone jack into the boots from her costume (one of the only pieces of gear from her costume that she thought to bring, and now she’s incredibly grateful she did think of it), and attacks the Nomu.

The Nomu clutches its ears and lets out a horrid screech of his own, but even as Kyoka raises her hands to cover her own ears, she doesn’t allow her quirk to falter.

Eventually, Yaoyorozu runs towards her and when she reaches Kyoka, Yaoyorozu grabs her by the arm and continues running, pulling Kyoka along with her.

Taking the headphones off as she runs, Yaoyorozu yells, “That should stall it for at least a minute or two if it doesn’t stop it all together!”

“And if it doesn’t stop it all together?”

“And if it doesn’t stop it all together… then hopefully that second bit can give us some important intel,” Yaoyorozu murmurs.

“What do you mean?” Kyoka asks.

"I’ll… I’ll explain later! For now, we need to get away- even if it’s only stalled for a minute or two, that’s still enough for us to make a run for it!”

“All right! I trust you!” Kyoka yells, and the two continue running, hoping to escape the Nomu’s range before it can come back to its senses.


Shouto and Tokoyami hide in the bushes, avoiding the villains littered around the forest, trying to just make it to the main building.

“I’m sorry,” Tokoyami says quietly, so that he doesn’t give their position away, “I’m sorry I can’t really use my quirk right now…”

“Not your fault,” Shouto mutters back.

There had almost been a crisis earlier, when the panic had set in- apparently Dark Shadow starts to lose control when it’s too dark out. But then Shouto had used his fire to create a light source, and Dark Shadow had calmed down, thankfully. The downside, though, is that Dark Shadow has refused to do anything since then.

Which puts them at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to being swarmed by villains.

Shouto is powerful, but he’ll admit, fighting alone isn’t ever easy.

Just then, another one of Mandalay’s telepathetic messages comes through.

“All students, this is an announcement from Aizawa! You are hereby permitted to use your quirks to defend yourselves from villains in combat! ONLY to defend yourselves! … Additionally, the villains are specifically targeting students who made it to the one on one round matches of the Sports Festival! Those students should take extra caution!”

Great. We’re permitted to fight, except now I know that there’s a big target on my back. Perfect.

At least they haven’t really run into any villains-

From a small distance away, they hear shouts.

Dammit.

“Let’s go,” He whispers to Tokoyami. “We need to help them.”

Tokoyami nods.

Together, Shouto and Tokoyami sneak towards the shouting to see if there's anything they can do to help.

Seconds later, Sero and Shouji burst through the bushes and into the path.

"What's happening?" Tokoyami asks.

"WE'RE RUNNING!" Sero shrieks.

"From what?" Shouto asks.

As if to answer, some kind of a blade shoots past him, right in front of his face, missing him by a foot at most. Slowly, Tokoyami and Shouto turn to see the source, and find a villain with…  

Are these blades… his teeth?

"Ah. That."

"Do you have any kind of a defense battle plan, or are we just gonna keep running for our lives?" Sero asks.

Shouto turns to Tokoyami, "Now might be a good time to convince Dark Shadow to come out."

"I don't know if I can," Tokoyami winces.

"At the very least, you can try."

More blades come racing towards them, and Shouto sends up a large shield of ice in response.

"Until you pull that off though, it looks like our plan is 'run like hell'."

"I can live with that!" Sero agrees. He's the first to turn and run, but the rest are close behind.

They can hear the villain breaking through the ice behind them, so Shouto prepares himself to have to use more of his quirk-

The ice shatters, and Shouto quickly spins around and sends up another wave of ice to block the incoming rain of blades. Tokoyami had stuttered to a slower run next to him, probably to avoid leaving Shouto behind, but as soon as Shouto turns back around towards the path, they're both back to running again.

This cycle repeats for a bit, where they continue running, and every so often when Shouto hears the villain break down the ice he turns around and walls him off again.

But whether or not he wants to admit it, Shouto knows that the villain is ever so slowly gaining on them.

Just ahead of him, Sero trips over his footing, but Shouto quickly catches him before he can quickly fall to the ground.

"Come on!" Shouji calls encouragingly, "The main building isn't that far away, we can make it-!"

Behind them, the ice shatters again, but before Shouto even has the time to turn and create another blockade, the villain shoots right over their heads and lands down on the pathway in front of them.

The villain prepares to attack them again, and this time, Shouto doesn't think he can properly block; with the proximity, especially considering the others around, is it really possible-?

Thankfully, Shouto… doesn't have to block.

Because right at that moment, Dark Shadow finally spurs into action, and with the added strength that the darkness of night gives, Dark Shadow smacks the villain back, instantly knocking them out.

Shouto lets out a shaky breath of relief. “…Good job,” He tells Tokoyami and Dark Shadow after a moment, “Knew you could do it.”

“Course I could,” Dark Shadow boasts but… it’s a bit lacking from how he usually is. That’s fair, though, Shouto supposes.

Not giving them any room to breathe, though, another person runs onto the path with them- but, at least this time, it’s just another student.

“Hey,” Jirou gasps, out of breath, “Have you seen Yaomomo? We got separated at some point, and I haven’t been able to find her…”

“We haven’t seen her,” Tokoyami shakes his head.

“Neither have we,” Sero mutters.

Jirou looks to Sero, and the look on her face… Shouto doesn’t know why, but it’s giving him anxiety now.

“Sero… you were paired with Shouji, right?” She asks.

“Yeah?” Sero confirms, confused.

“Then where is he?”

A chill goes down Shouto’s spine, and apparently, it affects Sero and Tokoyami too. The three of them glance around but…

Shouji is gone. Disappeared.

“What? He was… he was just here…!” Sero exclaims, frantic, “Where did he go?!”

“First Yaoyorozu is missing, now Shouji?” Tokoyami notes.

Just then, Uraraka and Asui run their way.

“Uraraka, Tsuyu!” Jirou calls out to them, “Have you seen Yaomomo or Shouji?”

“No,” Uraraka blinks in surprise, “When was the last time you saw them?”

“Shouji was right here a second ago,” Sero explains, “And Jirou says that she and Yaoyorozu just got separated!”

“Couldn’t have been more than five minutes ago,” Jirou adds.

“Don’t worry, we’ll help you find them,” Asui nods.

“You won’t have to look very far!” A new voice cheerily interjects, causing them all to freeze. The group looks up to see a villain in a gaudy costume standing overhead on a tree branch, holding three strange looking marbles between his fingers. He flaunts the marbles, and explains, “What a magic trick! Certainly helps to make an easy getaway, doesn’t it?”

If his quirk can shrink people into marbles… and he took Shouji and Yaoyorozu… then who’s in the third marble?

Before Shouto can think to ask, Jirou steps forward, yelling, “Give them back, right now!”

“We just need to borrow them for a bit!” The villain assures, “I promise you, they’ll be unharmed! …Mostly.”

“You think we’ll let you get away with this?” Tokoyami threatens, Dark Shadow rising up to attack.

“Oh, but you don’t need to let me. I already have gotten away with it. And now, I’ll be taking my leave; it’s time to reconvene with my partners. Adieu!”

Before any of them can protest further, the masked villain flies away.

“We have to go after them,” Shouto says immediately, “We have to!”

For a second they stand there, minds racing, trying to come up with a plan.

Uraraka is the first one to perk up. “I’ve got it! I can use my quirk to make you lighter, and then Tsu-chan can throw you after the villain and you can catch up to them!”

“The villain said he was reconvening with his partners, meaning there will be more villains waiting for us there,” Tokoyami says, then asks, “Should all of us go after them?”

“I need to stay here to be able to throw you,” Asui comments

“Someone should wait here with her,” Jirou quickly argues.

Asui shakes her head. “I’ll be fine. They’re not after me.”

“What?” Shouto asks, “How do you kn-”

“We don’t have time to discuss it, and besides, the villains are all retreating anyway!” Uraraka interrupts, “If we’re gonna do this, we need to go- now!”

Shouto doesn’t even have to nod, and he knows they don’t have the time. He gathers into an awkward sort of group hug with Tokoyami, Sero, Jirou, and Uraraka who activates her quirk on them all just before joining. After taking a moment to check where the villain is, Asui wraps around them with her tongue, and sends them shooting after him.

This is it, here we go…! Shouto thinks as they fly through the air towards the villain.

The villain turns back to look at them in shock just as they crash right into him.

“Release!” Shouto hears Uraraka yell, and suddenly they’re falling to the ground.

In the chaos, Shouto reaches for the villains hand that he saw clutching the marbles- maybe he can swipe them from him while he’s not paying attention. As soon as he feels the three marbles, he closes his hand around them and pulls his hand back.

The six of them hit the ground, and look up to see a half circle of villains in front of them, staring at them in shock.

Shouto quickly turns to the other students and yells, “I got the marbles, let’s go!”

They turn, ready to bolt away and make their escape with the marbles, with Yaoyorozu and Shouji and whoever is in the third marble, but before they can get any further the purple mist of Kurogiri’s warp gate blocks their way.

“Actually,” The masked villain says, “Those marbles that you grabbed-”

The villain snaps his fingers, and suddenly, a large pile of sticks appears in Shouto’s hands. What?!

“-were decoys! Looks like we’ll still be getting away with the real ones, unfortunately for you!”

Shouto, Tokoyami, Jirou, Sero, and Uraraka turn around to face the villains as they step backwards into the warp gates, ready to make a getaway. The masked villain holds up three marbles in his hand, the hand opposite to the one that the villain had originally flaunted them in.

No… this can’t be happening… they can’t actually-!

Just when all hope seems to be lost, a beam of light shoots from one of the bushes, right towards the masked villain.

Aoyama?!

Shocked by the light passing right in front of him, the villain drops the marbles.

Time seems to freeze as everyone realizes the marbles are now in freefall, not held in anyone else’s hands.

Jirou, Sero, and Shouto are the first ones to shoot forward, and the villains shoot forward right afterwards.

The masked villain attempts to grab the first marble, but Jirou stabs at him with one of her earphone jacks and he flinches backwards, just enough for her to grab the marble from the air.

A villain wearing a strange black and white costume makes a move for the second marble, but Sero shoots forward with his tape and manages to grab it first.

Which just leaves Shouto, lunging for the third marble. He’s right there, ready to close his hand around it-

A scarred hand reaches out and grabs it just before he can.

“Such a shame, Todoroki Shouto,” The scarred villain hums, grasping onto the third marble.

(…That voice… why… why is it so familiar…?)

“One of them is good enough,” The scarred villain says to the other villains, “We have to leave now.”

Before any more attempts to get the final marble can even be plotted, the villains finally step through the warp gate for good, leaving them in the forest clearing, alone.

Probably due to some kind of distance limit with control, the two marbles that they did grab pop open; Yaoyorozu appears next to Jirou, and Shouji appears next to Sero.

For a moment, Shouto, and the others just stare around at each other. Yaoyorozu and Shouji are here, uncaptured…

 

But then…

 

Who was in the third marble?


Hitoshi paces back and forth down the entrance room of the main building.

He’s been doing that since he made it back there, as Aizawa had told him to.

“Shinsou-kun, I’m sure it’s fine,” Iida says. “Everyone… everyone is going to be okay.”

“That’s what I hope,” Hitoshi murmurs.

More and more people return. Orenji. Shiozaki. A couple of Class B students that Hitoshi doesn’t recognize.

Someone mentions that they think the villains are retreating. Are they? Why would they be leaving now?

Horrible scenarios flash through Hitoshi’s head, one right after another. Did they get someone? Did they actually succeed? No… they couldn’t have.

Soon, Todoroki returns with a group of other students, Uraraka, Asui, Jirou, Yaoyorozu, Sero, Shouji, Tokoyami.

Unsure what else to do, Hitoshi makes a b line for Todoroki.

“I heard someone say that the villains were retreating. Do you know anything about that?”

Todoroki looks at him with an expression too complex to decipher. “The villains… they took someone.”

Hitoshi’s stomach falls. “Who?”

“We… we don’t know who,” Todoroki murmurs. “One of the villains had a quirk that shrinks people down to marbles and… we never saw who was in the marble that they took.”

There’s a moment of silence between them.

“I… I want to believe that… there wasn’t anyone in that third marble, but…”

“But there’s no way to be sure until everyone returns,” Hitoshi finishes.

Todoroki nods, stiffly.

More and more people return to the main building. Aoyama. Kouda. A few more from Class B.

Is that really it? We only know who it is once everyone returns and we figure out who’s not here? I think the anxiety of waiting is almost going to kill me…

“Did they show up at any point, at least?” Kaminari asks, not directing the question to anyone in particular, but to anyone who’s listening in general.

“Who?” Orenji asks.

“You know. That vigilante. Green Lightning?” Kaminari says.

 

All at once, Hitoshi feels like he can’t breathe. He’s hit with an idea that he finds so horrific that he would have rather been hit by a truck.

 

Todoroki must notice the look on his face. “Shinsou? Are you all right? You look sick.”

“Yeah, I, um,” Hitoshi stammers out, trying to formulate a proper thought, “I… I need to go make a phone call really quick.”

Before anyone can stop him, Hitoshi flees from the room.

The villains are gone now, so no one stops him from going outside. He keeps walking, numbly, until he thinks he’s out of sight from anyone else. Then he goes to pull out his phone.

Maybe I’ll have texts, a few missed calls, maybe I just accidentally put my phone on silent and so I didn’t notice anything-

Hitoshi turns on the phone to find nothing. Radio silence.

With shaking hands, he pulls open his contacts and clicks call.

Ring…

Come on…

Ring…

Pick up…

Ring…

Pick up the phone.

Ring…

Pick up the phone, dammit!

You have reached voicemail.

Panicking even more now, Hitoshi… dials again, because he doesn’t know what else to do.

Ring…

ANSWER THE PHONE GODDAMMIT.

Ring…

THIS ISN’T FUNNY ANYMORE. IT WASN’T FUNNY TO BEGIN WITH.

Ring…

PLEASE… please just pick up…

Ring…

No… oh god no…

You have reached voicemail.

Hitoshi can’t breathe. He physically feels like he can’t breathe. He sinks to his knees, numb.

He knows who was in the third marble. He knows who the villains took. He doesn’t need to wait for anyone else to return to camp, he doesn’t need to wait for any kind of headcount.

 

It wasn’t someone from Class B.

 

It wasn’t someone from Class A, either.

 

It… was someone that wasn’t supposed to be here at all.

 

Someone…

 

 

 

From Support Course Class 1-H.

Chapter Text

Shinsou had messaged the group chat and told them the same night, told them exactly what had happened. At some point, he must have realized that no one else was going to.

It was a short message, straight to the point.

 

Midoriya has been taken by the villains.

 

That was the end of the conversation. Probably because none of them knew how to properly handle it.

 

But Kenji can't afford to get overly emotional about it right now. He has a job to do.

"Sora-kun, this had better be urgent," Nedzu says with a warning tone. "I'm sure you're aware that right now things are-"

"They took Midoriya-kun. The villains." Kenji blurts.

"…Did they now?"

"Yes. According to… someone else who knows about their secret, they showed up at the training camp to help them, and then… afterwards, they wouldn't answer anything. Call. Text. And we haven't been able to find them in person either, so…"

"…I see. Well. That's a shame."

A shame? A shame? You're just gonna say 'that's a shame' and leave it at that?

Kenji takes a deep breath to try and focus. "I… have a location for where the villain's base might be. I didn't bring it to you before because I didn't know if you would do anything with it-"

"Is it the place in Kamino?"

…Does… does he already know?

"I- yes. The place in Kamino."

"Midoriya-kun already informed me about that base," Nedzu waves a hand, unconcerned.

"You… you knew?" Kenji asks, and no matter how hard he tries, he can't quite keep the heartbreak out of his voice. "You knew?"

"Yes, and what happened at the training camp was a… miscalculation on my part. I thought that by telling Aizawa to be careful, the training camp wouldn't be an issue, but… well, at least things weren't any worse."

"Any worse- Midoriya-kun has been captured! Why are you treating this like it's not a big deal?!"

"We'll be doing everything we can; after all, they took Ragdoll of the Wild Wild Pussycats too."

"Oh, let me guess; you're only doing everything you can because it’s for her and she's a pro hero, is that it?"

"What do you want from me?" Nedzu snaps, tired, "What do you want me to say?"

"I want you to admit that this is your fault!!" Kenji yells. "Izuku wouldn't have even been there if it weren't for you- the whole thing didn't have to happen if you had just DONE something about it!"

"I'll admit that I was mistaken to not tell Aizawa the circumstances; I knew he would react poorly if he knew one of his students was a traitor, and I was caught up with the possibility that such knowledge would make him choose to ignore my advice. However, I will not take the blame for what happened to Midoriya-kun. If you want to frame it that way, then remember that you're just as much at fault as I am."

"Do you really believe that, or is that just what you'll tell yourself to help you sleep at night?"

"We're done here, Sora-kun."

"No, we're not-!"

"I said. We are done here, Sora-kun."

A million nasty and aggressive thoughts cross Kenji's mind, but… he doesn't speak any of them out loud. He doesn't say anything. Stiffly, he turns and leaves without even saying goodbye, and he slams the door shut on his way out.


The day after the training camp attack is spent, at least, by the Hero Course students, running around and answering questions about what the encounter with the villains was like. Supposedly to help gather more info that could help them take down the League.

Apparently Ragdoll was captured at some point during the night too.

People hypothesize that she was the third marble, the one that the villains took with them.

But that's not the truth. Hitoshi knows the truth. He knows, somehow without a doubt, that it had to be Midoriya. And he's… not handling that information well.

Hitoshi's not handling it at all really.

 

After the panic that had come with the realization, Hitoshi had just… shut down. People tried to get any kind of response from him but…

He didn't want to think.

 

So he just went through his day. Numb.

 

Before he knew it… that day was already over.

 

One day. Midoriya has been with the villains for one day. How many things could have happened in that amount of time?

 

The second day after the attack on the training camp, Hitoshi feels even worse… but at least now no one is crowding him, asking him what's wrong, commenting on how he looks so sick.

He can't blame them on that last part though. He certainly feels exhausted (he hasn't been able to sleep the past few days) but even that sense is… numb. Distant. He's too tired to even care that he's tired.

Somehow, he ends up at Midoriya's "secret base" on the beach. He's not sure when he decided to go there, and he doesn't even remember walking there either.

 

But here he is anyway.

 

He walks into the hollow, empty shack. The green chair with the tacky pattern and the dumb red paint splatters sits there, untouched. The work table has various papers scattered across it, along with a few empty energy drink cans.

If the base weren't missing a handful of gadgets, it would look exactly like it does on a normal day.

 

Except… there's one other crucial thing missing.

 

Hitoshi sinks into the chair at the work table.

And he's not quite sure what it is. Whether it's the fact that he's finally alone, or whether his emotions just finally caught up with him, or maybe the fact that he's sitting in Midoriya's now-empty base. But the walls he had been desperately keeping up crumble all at once, and he starts to cry.

 

You promised me… you promised me, dammit…!

You told me you would be okay, and now…!

Stupid… I'm so stupid… why didn't I realize…


I miss Midoriya.

Where did they go? They said they'd be back. They told me to wait right here.

Maybe I should have followed them again. They always gets upset when I follow but… they forgive me anyway, and then I can help them.

They need a lot of help sometimes. They are strong, but they just try to do too much all by themself.

I like that about them, even if it’s what gets them in to trouble more often than not.

 

Where are they? I miss them.

I think I hear something. Something in the gadget house.

Are they back? Did they come back?

I was sad because they took longer than I thought they would, but if they're back now I don't really mind.

As long as they're back now.

Except… it's not them. It's the purple one.

Midoriya likes the purple one. I like the purple one quite a bit too. He tries to keep them safe when I'm not able to.

But why's the purple one here when Midoriya isn't? Why is he here alone?

 

Where is Midoriya? I miss them.

 

I get closer, but the purple one hasn't noticed me yet.

And once I get closer I notice… he's crying.

He can't cry! If Midoriya knew he was sad, that would make them sad.

 

Where are they? I miss them.

 

Why is the purple one here, crying alone?

Well, maybe that's just a human thing. Waiting till you're alone to cry, even when others could comfort you, and probably want to comfort you.

 

Midoriya used to do that a lot. Come here alone so they could cry. They stopped doing that after UA, though. When I stop to think about it, it's probably thanks to the purple one.

 

I miss Midoriya. Where are they?

 

…Maybe the purple one knows where they are.

I climb up onto the work table. The purple one has his head buried in his arms, so I nudge his arm to try and get him to look at me. It takes a few tries, but then he stiffens and slowly looks up at me.

 

Where is Midoriya?

 

I can't ask the question out loud in any way that he'll understand, but usually Midoriya and their friends are good about figuring out what I mean.

The whole group of them care about me a lot. I care about them a lot. I care about them so much.

I care about Midoriya even more. They were the one who found me after I was abandoned.

 

Where are they? I miss them.

 

The purple one is staring at me in shock. Surprise. Many emotions.

Sometimes I wish humans had little emotion readers like I do. They can be very secretive about what they're feeling.

What is the purple one feeling? Why is he crying like this?

 

Where is Midoriya?

 

Where are they? I miss them. I miss them.

 

ImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthemImissthem - Wherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearetheywherearethey-


 

Great. Now Hitoshi feels a hundred times worse.

 

How the hell do you explain to a hyper intelligent ferret that it's owner got captured by the League of Villains? For a second Hitoshi tries to convince himself that it doesn't matter, that Garby wouldn't understand what he was saying anyway, but… no.

All he knows is that he can't take this anymore- he can't take Garby prodding him over and over again, as the visor on his head switches between two displays;

The first one is [?].

The second one is… [Lonely].

 

It has to be his way of asking where Midoriya is. There isn't any other explanation that comes to him.

Why does this have to be left up to me…?

He should do it quickly. Like… like ripping off a band aid. Either Garby will understand what he's saying or he won't, and if Garby is intelligent enough to understand then… he needs to know too.

 

"Midoriya was taken by villains," Hitoshi murmurs. He's hit by a wave of emotions again. Somehow, saying it out loud just refreshes it- that this is real. This is actually happening. This is reality, and it's not some kind of nightmare that he can just wake up from.

For a while, Garby does nothing but stare at him, his visor now having stopped flickering and staying on a [?].

Maybe… he doesn't actually understand, Hitoshi thinks. Man, he'd feel pretty stupid if that were the case. 'Oh, lookey here, he's talking to an animal like it's a person.'

And then, the display on Garby's visor changes.

 

[:(]

 

It occurs to Hitoshi that he's never seen that one before. He's never seen Garby's screen display when he's sad. Which, when he thinks about it, means he's never actually seen Garby when he was sad.

 

[:'(]

 

"Garby, I-"

The ferret runs off before Hitoshi can say anything else.

…Hitoshi just hopes that wherever he's going, he'll be okay.


"Shinsou-kun?"

With a start, Hitoshi raises his head up from the work table. He has no idea when he fell asleep, but he must have. Doesn't make him any less exhausted.

Groggily, he looks over to the entrance to see who woke him up.

"…Hatsume? What are you doing here?"

That's a stupid question. After all, why's he here in the first place?

But Hatsume instantly perks up at his question. Instead of answering, though, she speed walks towards one of the display screens as she pulls out her phone.

"Hatsume?"

After a few seconds, the screen blinks on and displays a map of some city that Hitoshi doesn't quite recognize; all he can tell is that there's a red pin pointing to one specific building.

"EURICA!!" Hatsume shrieks.

Hitoshi winces back from the loud noise, then asks, "Hatsume, what did you do?"

Hatsume isn't listening to him though, muttering to herself, "Looks like it is the same location as before… it was probably good to double check though because who knows how many possibilities the could have been-"

"Hatsume," Hitoshi repeats, "PLEASE explain what's going on?"

Hatsume turns to him with an expression that's a weird mix between proud, guilty, and nervous. "You, ah… Do you remember the friendship bracelet I gave you? And, ah, everyone else?"

"…Yes," Hitoshi answers, with a bit of growing suspicion. He holds up his arm to show that he's wearing the friendship bracelet right now.

"Yeah, uh, about that," Hatsume mumbles, typing something into her phone. A few seconds later, the screen shows a map featuring the beach, with a red pin on the general area of where the base should be. The base they're currently standing in.

"Hatsume," Hitoshi asks slowly, "Did you put a tracker in the friendship bracelet?"

"Can you really blame me though?"

That's fair.

"We can talk about the moral implications of me giving you all trackers later, for now we need to gather the others."

Hitoshi's on board with that.

Because… maybe, just maybe, this is the exact breakthrough they all need.


Shouto is at the hospital that they were all taken to after the training camp attack.

Not because he's injured, thankfully. And… well, technically he's not actually there to see anyone, considering that most of the people who are still checked in are Class B. In all honesty, he's there because he knows no one will bother him while he is.

"Todoroki! Hey!"

Or, maybe, someone will, Shouto thinks as Kirishima runs up to him.

"What do you want, Kirishima?"

"You're friends with Midoriya, right?" Kirishima asks, "This is… important. And it kinda concerns them."

"I already know they were captured by villains," Shouto mutters (although, he is intrigued as to how Kirishima found this out…)

"Yeah so- wait, you do? How did you know?"

"It's complicated. So, look, if that's all then… I don't want to talk about it."

"No, there's uh… there's more to it than that."

Shouto cocks an eyebrow at that. "What do you mean?"

"It would be better to talk in private, but what I can tell you is… I think I know how we can help them."

At first, Shouto is just… shocked. Eventually, he manages to say, "Let's find somewhere to talk."

On the way, his phone vibrates.

 

[Support Team For A Reckless Vigilante Idiot]

 

Purble:

can everyone come meet at midoriya's base really quick?

it's important

 

Shouto responds,

 

Peppermint:

I'm busy right now. I don't think I'll be able to come by.

 

He just hopes that whatever Kirishima has to say, it's worth it.


Hikari is the one who gets there first after Shinsou and Hatsume ask to meet. Only a few minutes later, Sora joins them.

With Todoroki unable to attend… that's all that they can expect to show up. Just four. It feels a little lonely.

"So why are we here?" Sora asks. Hikari can't help but notice that he looks a little worse for wear- though that could apply to all of them, probably.

"I know where Midoriya-kun is," Hatsume jumps right to the chase.

Hikari's heart leaps. "You do?"

Shinsou nods. "Apparently she put a tracker in each of our friendship bracelets."

"Don't blame me, I got the idea from Sora-kun," Hatsume clarifies. "And it's not the point anyway!"

Ignoring… the part about the trackers, because Hatsume is right, that’s not the point; Hikari's mind starts turning. "If we tell the heroes, then-!"

"We… can't really tell the heroes," Shinsou reluctantly admits. "If they questioned where we got this info, we would get in a lot of trouble. They never really cared overly much about what's actually heroic action."

"Then what can we do with this?" Hikari asks.

"I was thinking that Sora-kun could talk to Nedzu and-!"

"Forget it," Sora mutters. "The rat already knows."

"He… already knows?" Hikari asks, hope plummeting.

Sora nods, expression stormy. "Says they're 'doing everything they can'. I'm not sure how much I trust that, but the point stands. We can't count on help from Nedzu."

"Then, we can't actually do anything with this information…?" Hikari asks, softly. "Nothing?"

No one answers.

"…This is all my fault," Sora mumbles. "I tried to pin it on Nedzu but… That's just lying to myself. I was stupid… I should have known they'd-!" Sora stops himself, frustrated. "We were supposed to be looking for the traitor together, and… I should have been paying more attention. I should have done more."

"Sora, no, it's not your fault," Hikari says softly.

"If it's anyone's fault, it's mine," Hatsume mumbles in an uncharacteristically melancholic tone, one that shocks Hikari and breaks her heart to hear at the same time. "I… before the training camp, they were going to get information from the villain's base, and I… I helped. If I hadn't, they never would have known about the Training Camp, and they never would have been there. It's my fault…"

Shinsou speaks next, "I saw them at the Training Camp attack before they got captured. If I had just insisted on staying with them, or if I made them come with me, or if I could have convinced them to leave…" he trails off. "I… I made them promise me that they would be okay. I made them promise, and then I was stupid enough to believe that would work. I… it's my-"

 

"Shut up," Hikari interrupts loudly. She can't take this. She just can’t take any more of this. "Shut up, all of you! Do you even hear yourselves?"

"Natsuki-chan…" Hatsume murmurs, surprised.

"What are we doing? We're just standing around, blaming ourselves, having some kind of pity party. This… this isn't what Midoriya would want! Do you think they would blame any of you if they were here right now?!"

"But we-"

"I don't care what you think you could have done to stop it, it wasn't your faults! It was the villain's faults, and I'm- if we're gonna go around trying to blame ourselves, then we could point that finger at almost anyone! Hell, I know I could have done more because I didn't do anything!" Hikari stops then, taking a deep breath, recollecting her focus. "It… it doesn't matter what we did or didn't do to stop it. What matters is what we do now."

"What are we supposed to do then?" Hatsume asks miserably. "We can't go to the heroes, we can't go to Nedzu…"

And then, an idea dawns on Hikari. A horribly reckless idea that, under normal circumstances, she would immediately try and stop them from doing.

It's the exact kind of plan that… Midoriya would think of. Maybe that's why she's able to bring herself to say it out loud.

 

"Oh, if only we knew about some kind of a loophole in the legal system that mentions, say, that you have to use a quirk to be considered a vigilante."

 

The other three in the room freeze, and it's like Hikari can see the gears in their minds turning, realizing what exactly she's suggesting.

"I'm in!" Hatsume is the first one who says it. "If no one else will do anything, then we will!"

Sora is the next one to speak up. "…I know you said we shouldn't blame ourselves, but I can't help but feel like it was my inaction that led us here. If I did more… well, it doesn't matter. Like you said, what matters is what we do now. And so, I'm in."

Shinsou shakes his head and laughs. "You guys are crazy. And here I thought Midoriya was the most reckless one in this group…" Even though he's calling them crazy, he's smiling and Hikari can see the determination in his eyes. "Let's do this. Let's save Midoriya."


Kirishima leads Shouto… to Yaoyorozu, actually. He doesn't actually say anything when they get there either, he just gestures vaguely (but urgently) to Yaoyorozu and then to Shouto in a way that translates to "Well? Tell him!"

After the smallest moment of hesitation, Yaoyorozu admits, "Before that villain caught me… Jirou-san and I were running from a Nomu that the League of Villains had brought with them. So that we could get away, I asked Jirou-san to distract it, and while it couldn't move I made a tranquilizer that was supposed to keep it out long enough for us to get away, and… I attached one other thing to it."

"One other thing?"

"A tracker," Kirishima jumps in. "The villains- they took the Nomu with them when they left, so now Yaoyorozu can make a receiver that leads us right to the Nomu, and also the League's base!"

"Todoroki-san, will you please tell Kirishima-san that he's being reckless and stupid?" She asks. "We can't… we can't do this kind of thing. Fighting villains without a license is strictly prohibited."

"Only if you use your quirk," Shouto mutters, remembering that little tidbit from Midoriya.

"Don't tell me you're agreeing with him…!" Yaoyorozu groans.

"We don't even have to attack the villains directly!" Kirishima reasons desperately. "We'll get in, get Midoriya, and get right out!"

Shouto doesn't even need to consider for very long. "I'm on board." Midoriya has already done so much for me… it's only fair if I help them now too.

"Well? Yaoyorozu?" Kirishima pleads.

Yaoyorozu looks between the two of them.

"We're supposed to be heroes," Shouto says, trying to help convince her. "What kind of hero ignores a person in trouble?"

After a moment, Yaoyorozu sighs. "I'm only coming to make sure that I can hold you to that promise that you won't attack them directly."

"Yes!" Kirishima cheers.

"I'd like to come too!"

Kirishima shrieks, alarmed at the new voice. Shouto turns, surprised, to see-

"Aoyama-san?" Yaoyorozu asks, equally as shocked.

"I…" Aoyama hesitates, "I don't know Midoriya-chan much. I met them once. But… they're an inspiration to me. If I can help them, I want to."

"You heard all that, huh?" Kirishima mumbles, rubbing the back of his head.

"Well? Will you let me join you?"

“The more the merrier!” Kirishima grins, now that he’s over his initial shock. “Now then… we can’t have too many people so… just one or two more would be ideal…”

“I know that Midoriya is the one who does repairs for Uraraka’s costume, so she might be willing to listen, and I can get a hold of Shinsou. Probably the rest of Midoriya’s friends from the Support Course too,” Shouto offers.

“I… dunno about getting a bunch of other Support Course kids into this kinda thing…” Kirishima mutters, doubtfully. “I mean, we could get hurt! And hey, if they’re not heroes, they might not be as determined to… take this kind of action.”

Buddy, you have never met any of them, Shouto thinks to himself, but he doesn’t voice this out loud.

“I was paired with Uraraka-chan for the exams,” Aoyama says, “I’ll see if I can talk to her. Kirishima-chan, come with me, and Todoroki-chan, you try to get a hold of Shinsou-chan and see if he’s interested in joining.”

“Right!” Kirishima agrees, “But don’t tell him about it unless if you know for sure he’s gonna be free tomorrow!”

“So we’re doing this tomorrow… Wait, why do we need to be so secretive?”

“Even if he’s, like, on board with this kind of thing, if he can’t come it would be better to limit the number of people who know. This is top secret!”

Well… I certainly know they’re bad at keeping things that are “top secret” actually top secret.

“All right. I’ll see what I can do.”

Shouto finds himself a nice corner where he can talk in private, and then he calls Shinsou.

Shinsou picks up after a few seconds. “Todoroki? I thought you were busy?”

“It’s… a complicated situation. Look, are you gonna be busy tomorrow?”

“To… tomorrow? Well… when tomorrow are we talking.”

(After a quick back and forth with Yaoyorozu to figure out a good when,) Shouto responds, “Tomorrow night. Look, it’s really important…”

“Sorry,” Shinsou says immediately, “But I already have… ah… super important plans with Sora, Hatsume, and Natsuki then. I really am sorry, I’m sure that what you have planned is important too… actually, I was going to ask you if you wanted to join in on our plans but… I guess you’re busy.”

“That’s fine. I… I wish you good luck with your plans, then.”

“Yeah. You too.”

They hang up the call… and Shouto can’t help but wonder what Shinsou’s super important plans are.

More importantly… looks like they can’t count on any of the support team for the rescue mission.

Chapter Text

The night of the training camp…


Out of breath, they lean against the tree for support. It’s hard to use roller skates on a forest floor, so they've been running on foot- and despite insisting that they were fine to Shinsou, the bruises all over them are aching a bit more than they would like to admit.

Just have to catch my breath… and then… I’ll continue…

They don’t have a full idea of how many villains are in the forest, but there’s more than just Muscular, they know that for sure-

“Well this is certainly a chance encounter.”

They freezes where they are.

“Would you mind coming with me for a bit?”

Before they can even turn around, they feel a hand reach out and touch them on the back, and suddenly everything becomes warped.

Where am I? Why is it so small? Why is it so dark? What happened? Where am I? What’s going on?

They have no idea where they are, just that it’s small and dark, so small they feel like there’s not even room to breathe, and so dark they can’t even see, they can’t see anything, they can’t breathe-

What just happened?

It doesn’t take Izuku long to realize what happened. Villains. The villains had somehow done something to grab them, and now…

Mentally, Izuku curses to themself.

 

…Maybe… maybe there’s hope? Maybe someone else will run into the villain, and then I can escape…?

 

It’d be hard to explain exactly why they were there, and then depending on who it is, potentially hard to convince them not to turn them in for vigilantism. But it would be better than villains.

 

Please. Please. Oh god, please.

 

I promised him. I promised him I would be okay.

 

Stupid. I’m so stupid. I’m-

 

All at once, the world shifts around them again.

Suddenly they have room to breathe, and there’s actual light around them (though it’s not that bright). The transition feels like being dropped into an ice cold pool after falling asleep while sunbathing. Shocking and quick, far too quick.

They hear someone say something, but the voice is garbled like they're hearing it from underwater. They feel something lift their arms and make them stand.

All at once, Izuku’s vision clears.

 

They know where they are now. They’d seen it before.

From the other side of the camera.

 

The League’s base. They're inside of the League of Villain’s base. And Shigaraki Tomura is standing right in front of them, there’s no mistaking that.

"It's so… nice to be able to see you again like this in person," Shigaraki smiles.

"…Can't say I feel the same," Izuku mutters. For a second they think about trying to run away, but then they realize that there are other villains already restraining them at the arms.

They're trapped.

Oh boy, I've really done it this time, Izuku thinks numbly to themself.

Considering that the last time they met Shigaraki in person, it had ended with Izuku almost getting killed by an eldritch abomination creature called Nomu, and that since then Izuku has done nothing but be a thorn in the side of the League of Villains, it's probably safe to assume that whatever Shigaraki wants with them right now probably has to do with killing them in some slow and painful way. They can't say it's something they would exactly look forward to.

"I've been dreaming of this moment for a long time," Shigaraki says, "And now, it's finally here."

Izuku could say the same, except their dreams of this moment were far more like nightmares that they had wished would never come true.

"Now then…” Shigaraki murmurs with excitement, lifting his hand up to the front of Izuku's helmet, "Who are you, Green Lightning? Who are you, really? Who is the one who has played the role of annoyingly persistent nemesis?"

Shigaraki had tried to do the same at USJ, but that time he had been stopped by Aizawa.

There isn't any Aizawa here, though. Just Izuku and the League of Villains.

Shigaraki's hand touches the front of Izuku's helmet, and it turns to dust in seconds. I'm sorry… Natsuki…

Seeing them finally unmasked, Shigaraki freezes.

"Wait… wait… please say sike. Please say this is a joke, and that the real Green Lightning just sent you as a joke to get back at me? Come on, you can't be the real one!"

Izuku decides that, if they're going to go down anyway, they might as well say exactly what's on their mind. "Funny. That's what I first thought when I heard you were the League's leader."

Shigaraki responds to that with a strong punch to their gut.

…Worth it.

"Whatever. I can kill you now. That's what matters."

"Shigaraki, wait," Kurogiri speaks up. It surprises both Shigaraki and Izuku, who look over to him. "You can't kill them."

"Why not?" Shigaraki demands.

"That's Midoriya Izuku."

"Who?"

"The informant mentioned them," Kurogiri says in a way that suggests Shigaraki should remember.

Shigaraki squints at Kurogiri. "…You mean, they're the quirkless one?"

…Izuku finds it sad that of the things heroes and villains have in common, "not ever looking past the fact that they're quirkless" is at the top of the list, so far. It's not like they won the Sports Festival or anything. Nooo. Why would that be what anyone remembers them by?

"You mean, NOT ONLY have we been consistently stumped by some HIGH SCHOOL kid, but it's also a QUIRKLESS high school kid?!" Shigaraki demands.

"As infuriating as that is, it means you can't kill them. It would upset the informant."

Informant. They mean the traitor. They're talking about the traitor.

Shigaraki lets out wordless growl of frustration. "We finally catch Green Lightning and we can't even kill them!" He yells. "Whatever, just take all their gadgets and lock them away somewhere. I don't care where, just make sure the room has a lock."

Shigaraki starts to storm away, angrily.

"Wait!" Izuku shouts, "Who's your informant?!"

"Who cares?" Shigaraki asks rhetorically, and with that, he's gone.

Despite the fact that they're still alive, Izuku can't help but feel like their situation is still steadily getting worse.

They don't pay much attention as the villains start removing all of their gadgets. They've already lost anyway.

 

Then, one of the villains moves to Hatsume's friendship bracelet at their wrist.

"Don't touch that," Izuku mutters quickly.

The villain pauses. "Why not?"

They feel a bit embarrassed admitting it, but they mumble, "It's just a friendship bracelet. It doesn't do anything. There's no point taking it."

The two villains that had been disarming them share a look.

"Come on dude, it's just a friendship bracelet. Let them keep it," The lizard villain says.

"…Whatever," the scarred villain sighs, leaving it there.

Izuku can't help but feel a wave of relief rush over them. If nothing else, having Hatsume's friendship bracelet there will help calm them down.


Akari lays on the ground, staring at the ceiling and counting the cracks. They think there's forty nine of them, but it’s possible they miscounted.

Whatever. It's a boring pastime.

They only do it, because… it's pretty much the only thing left that they can do.

A shiver goes down their spine as they think of… that villain again.

Akari knows it won't work, but they lift their head up, stare at the lock on the door, and try to activate their quirk.

Nothing happens.

Somehow, even though they knew, they're still disappointed as they let their head fall back on the ground.

 

Akari is going to die here. They know it deep down. The rest of their life is going to be spent rotting away in this room, counting how many cracks there are.

(…To some degree, though, they'll admit it's what they deserve.)

They never should have gotten involved with the League of Villains. But what were they supposed to do? They didn't ask for the League to track them down because of their quirk. When presented with the options of "do this thing and get paid for it" and "say no to a villain that has obviously done their homework and more than likely knows that no one will miss you if you're gone" … well, Akari was probably doomed from the start.

 

At least I… kinda did the right thing.

 

Akari recalls their brief run in with the vigilante Green Lightning.

At the start, Akari had kinda intended on helping the League with actually catching them, and Akari had tried to act like it was what they really wanted but…

At some point, they realized they couldn't do it. They couldn't do this.

Maybe it was when Akari realized that Green Lightning was quirkless. Maybe that had been too close of a reminder to… to their brother.

Maybe it was before that.

Maybe Akari never could have done it and they just tricked themselves into thinking they could.

Whatever. It doesn't matter when. It doesn't matter why. Akari is just a little glad that they did, because now… at least-

Footsteps echo from down the corridor and Akari's focus snaps towards it. They sit up again and look at the door, waiting for it to move.

A few seconds later, Shigaraki appears at the door. Akari cringes- of the League members that they had to interact with, Shigaraki was always their least favorite (…except for…).

"What do you want?" Akari mutters.

"I wanted to tell you something," Shigaraki says.

Akari looks away. "Whatever. Not like I can stop you."

"I wanted you to know that what you did was completely useless."

"I've done a lot of completely useless things, so I'm gonna need you to clarify what exactly you mean-"

"You're here because you let Green Lightning go. But now that sacrifice is completely useless, because we caught the stupid vigilante anyway. And I wanted you to know about it."

 

Ah. So then…

"I don't care. I never said I let them go, and I never knew them personally or whatever. So why should I care?"

…Then I didn't even do anything good after all. What a fittingly pitiful conclusion. Always useless, even in the end.


Izuku doesn't know whether the League doing this on purpose, or if they're really just the stupidest villains alive.

They locked Izuku in the supply room. With supplies.

Do the villains think they don't know how to pick a lock?

At the very least, just in case if it was some kind if trap, Izuku waits for a while. They have no idea how much time is passing because there aren't any windows, and there isn't a clock, so… they decide to just sleep for a bit, and when they wake up later they'll work on the lock.

Izuku isn't sure whether sleeping helped or just made them feel worse. They're stiff all over, and if anything, the bruises from their fight with Muscular ache even more now. Fantastic.

But they need to get moving now. The longer they stay here, the more the villains have opportunities to decide that, hey, maybe they do want Izuku dead after all.

Sifting through a closet, they're able to quickly locate a box of paper clips. It doesn't take very long to bend one out into a shape that'll work as a lock pick, but it does take a while to pick the lock. Eventually though, they hear the soft click of all the parts falling into place, and they slowly turn the knob and gently push open the door.

 

The hallway is empty and dimly lit.

 

Taking in a deep breath, Izuku slips out into the hallway and lightly shuts the door behind them. Keeping their ears perked for any sound, they sneak through the hallway, sticking close to the wall.

After a bit, they hear voices down the hallway. Instantly they freeze and press themself close to the wall… but from what they can tell, the voices aren't getting any further away or closer. They're staying in the same spot, suggesting that whoever is talking is stationary.

Ever so slowly, Izuku moves forward until they can make out what the voices are saying.

"…we have three hostages. What are we planning to do with them exactly?"

Three hostages? Izuku instantly latches on to those words. Was I not the only one taken? Who else?

"Well, we captured Ragdoll specifically so Sensei could take her quirk."

Ragdoll? From the Pussycats? So they captured her too… but what do they mean by take her quirk?

"From there, she is a pro hero after all, and she had a team at that. If she cooperates without pissing me off, we can send a ransom note."

"And what if she does piss you off?"

"Then she dies. Duh."

The nonchalant use of such a final statement chills Izuku to the bone.

"And the other two?"

"The brat who had the stupid techno quirk is our back up if we need to make a new Nomu."

That tells Izuku… a number of things. The words "make a new Nomu" are… particularly unsettling. But other than that. "The brat who had the stupid techno quirk" - was that… would that be the person that was supposedly hired to stop Izuku, but let them go?

"Their name is Akari," one of the villains mutters with a slightly annoyed tone.

"Who cares?" Shigaraki's voice responds.

"Whether or not they failed their job, they were an ally. It wouldn't kill you to show them a little respect."

"They were an overconfident little shit. I'm just glad we don't have to pay them anymore."

"…I mean, we could just let them go."

"Hell no! They know our location and they know who's here. We can't let that information get out."

"Okay, fine, fine. What about the last one? The vigilante kid?"

Izuku isn't fully sure whether or not they want to know what they're planning on doing with them, but they sit and listen to it regardless.

They hear a heavy sigh of annoyance from Shigaraki. "Given the permission, I would kill them."

That's comforting, Izuku thinks sarcastically.

"As much as I hate it though, Kurogiri is right. We can't do something that would upset our informant like that so… their fate will probably be up to them. Knowing that it's… the informant, they'll probably want to convince them to join us or some crap, but who are we kidding, that's not really gonna happen. Maybe Sensei could manipulate the vigilante kid like he manipulated them, but I don't think it'd be worth it."

"All right well… on to the next order of business, then."

It hits Izuku that the villains are having a meeting right now. Well, they had realized that before- but what they realize now is that if they're all distracted, it might be their best opportunity to escape.

First though… they can't leave behind Ragdoll.

And… they can't bring themself to leave behind "Akari" either.

Well, let's pray that I can find them both.

If anything, Izuku hopes they find Ragdoll first, because they really wish they had her Search quirk right about now.

If I make it out of here, I'm definitely making a gadget that can find where anyone is in a concentrated area…

They have no idea where either of the people they're looking for were placed, so their only option is searching around and hoping they stumble across the right room.

 

No… no… no… not here either… dammit…!

 

And then, they come across a door that had been locked.

It occurs to them that they probably should have known the door would be locked. After all, their own door was locked.

Izuku does their best to make quick work of picking the door's lock, although lock picking has never been the easiest thing in the world.

After a minute or two, the lock clicks, and the door slides open.

Inside the room, Izuku finds pro hero Ragdoll.

She looks up at them in surprise. "You're not with the League," is the first thing she says. Then she backtracks, "Wait a second, who are you?"

"Don't worry about it," Izuku mutters, "But we need to get out of here now, while they're distracted."

Ragdoll blinks at them for a moment, still confused probably, but then she gets up.

"All right. Do you know where the exit is?"

"No, but… I think I know someone who does. There should be one last person here that's not a villain- I don't know where they are, but you can find them with your quirk, can't you?"

"I can do that," Ragdoll hums, focusing. "…Any clue where they are, though?"

"All I know is that the villains should all be together right now. I think they're having a meeting. Anyway, if you locate someone who's by themselves, it's probably the person we're looking for."

Ragdoll concentrates for a moment, eyes closed. "…They should be in the basement."

If they recall right, Izuku did pass a stairwell a few hallways back.

The two of them backtrack there in silence, neither wanting to speak, just in case the slightest sound would alert the villains that had captured them.

Once they reach the stairs, Izuku realizes… Akari knows about Green Lightning, but Ragdoll doesn't. And villains or no villains, if they can help it, Izuku would rather keep their identity secret. At the bottom of the stairs, Izuku turns to Ragdoll, "Can you stay here and keep watch? Tell me if the villains move or if they're coming for us."

Ragdoll is obviously hesitant to let them go alone, but she reluctantly agrees, "All right."

Alone again, Izuku walks through the basement halls.

Luckily for them this time, the keys are hung up on a hook right next to the door.

Akari looks up at them from their spot on the floor when Izuku opens the door.

"…The hell are you?"

"I believe last time we met, you called me Sparky," Izuku mutters, hoping they'll remember.

They sit up when Izuku says that, recognition in their eyes. "Damn, Shigaraki wasn't kidding. Hang on- what are you doing here?"

"I'm here for a picnic," Izuku says deadpan. "What do you think I'm here for, I'm escaping."

"Yeah, I got that," Akari says, "but why are you here? I was working with the villains, remember? Do you really think it's smart to save me?"

"You let me go and that wasn't smart," Izuku points out. "Let's just say I'm returning the favor. And if that's still too dumb for you then 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'. Doesn't matter what the reason is, but we need to get out now."

Akari is still hesitant, so Izuku walks up to them and offers a hand.

"Come on. Let's get out of here."

Akari sighs. "You hero types really are dumb."

They take Izuku's hand anyway, and Izuku helps pull them up to a stand. They definitely look worse than they did a few days ago when the two of them had just met, but… Izuku decides not to comment on it.

"One more thing," Izuku tells them as the two walk to the exit where Ragdoll is waiting, "Don't tell anyone about the whole… vigilante thing."

"Secret identities, huh?" Akari hums. "…Yeah, I'll keep my mouth shut. If you could do the same for me, that'd be great."

"Done."

They walk back to the stairwell together.

"The villains haven't moved," Ragdoll reports. Then, she turns to Akari. "They said you might know where the exit is?"

Akari glances at Izuku from the corner of their eye. "Ah. So that's your real reason for coming and getting me, huh?"

"The real reason was that I couldn't leave you here with a clean conscience," Izuku mutters.

"You mean you would have done it for anyone? I'm not special? You wound me."

"Do… you two know each other?" Ragdoll asks.

"No," Izuku mutters at the same time Akari chirps, "Yes."

Izuku doesn't regret saving them, but they get the impression they're going to make things… difficult.

"I… okay. Can you just lead us to the exit now?"

"Should be this way," Akari says, taking the lead. Addressing Ragdoll, they continue, "Your quirk will tell us if the villains are coming?"

"Right."

"Well, for your sake that better be true, because if the villains catch us they're gonna be pissed."

Akari leads them through the hallways for a bit, not even stopping to question the turns, only forging on ahead.

Izuku really hopes they actually know where they're going. It occurs to them momentarily that Akari could lead Izuku and Ragdoll right to the villains and get them recaptured, possibly to make the other villains forgive them but…

Something about the surprise on their face when Izuku came back for them makes it so they doesn't believe Akari would do that. Are they an honest person? Definitely not, that much is clear. But… that doesn't necessarily mean they're evil.

 

Just then, Ragdoll perks up. "The villains are on the move."

A wave of anxiety rushes over Izuku. "Do they know we're gone?" They ask.

"I'm… not sure. They're all gathering in a different room, from what I can tell."

Izuku wants to think that maybe their meeting is just over, or they're doing something else-

One of Kurogiri's portals opens beneath the group of them, swallowing them before they even have a chance to react.

 

The portal drops them out from the ceiling of the bar area.

Upon landing, Ragdoll is immediately grabbed by the villain with the shrinking quirk, and she's instantly shrunk back into a marble.

Meanwhile, before Akari and Izuku can even move, the scarred villain steps in front of them. "Don't try anything, or you're fried. Got it?"

In the background, Shigaraki is yelling, "How did she get out?!"

"I don't know!" The lizard villain shrinks back.

"You were in charge of locking her up!"

They think Ragdoll was the one who escaped first, Izuku realizes.

And then, Shigaraki's voice earlier during the meeting echoes through their mind again; "Then she dies. Duh."

"Wait!" Izuku shouts, trying to get the villain's attention, "It was me! I'm the one who got out and then found the other two!"

Shigaraki freezes, rigid. "…What was that?"

"I got out first," Izuku repeats. "You locked me in the supply room and I used a paperclip to pick the lock."

They can feel the murderous intent flowing off of Shigaraki. "You…"

"You don't have to do that, Sparky," Akari breaks in to the conversation. Izuku isn't quite sure what to expect from them, but it certainly isn't what they say next;

"We both know that it was me."

 

"Hold on, hold on," The bulky lady villain mutters, "Midoriya says they did it, and Akari says they did it, so… which one if them did it?"

"Well!?" Shigaraki demands.

"It was me," both Izuku and Akari insist at the same time.

Why… why are you doing this…?!  Izuku thinks, staring at Akari, bewildered. What happened to the 'you hero types are so stupid' attitude?

“Fine, if you’re just gonna make things difficult,” Shigaraki mutters, “Tell us the truth or both of you get punished. Whoever’s lying, if you think you’re sparing the other person, it’s not gonna happen either way.”

Akari and Izuku lock eyes.

“It’s okay,” Akari says, “Like he just said, there’s no point. Let it go, Sparky.”

“I can’t let you take the fall for what I did!” Izuku insists.

“So neither of you is gonna back down on this…?” Shigaraki sighs, annoyed.

“Come on, we both know they're lying,” Akari says desperately, switching to Shigaraki and giving up on trying to convince Izuku to go with it, “They're just some hero wannabe, you think they would actually pick a lock? Some goody two shoes who wants to be a hero wouldn’t have lock picking in their skill set-”

“Akari is the one lying,” The voice from the screen interrupts, with a lazy indifference (Izuku can’t help but notice how Akari visibly cringes at the sound of the voice too). “Midoriya did exactly as they said- picked the lock and found the other two, then hoped to make a getaway with them both.”

“Thank you, Sensei,” Shigaraki sighs again, this time in relief. Just when Izuku thinks he’s calmed down now, he lashes out and grabs Akari by the collar, yanking them to a stand. Alarmed, Izuku moves forward to do something (what exactly, they're not sure), but the movement is cut off when the scarred villain kicks them in the side. It’s not a particularly hard kick, but it connects with one of Izuku’s particularly nasty bruises, causing them to fall back down.

“You know, I don’t like liars very much,” Shigaraki growls to Akari threateningly. “I don’t like idiots with some kind of hero complex either. And somehow, just now, you managed to pull off both! So give me one good reason I shouldn’t kill you right now.”

Akari doesn’t say anything.

Before Shigaraki can move, Izuku, grasping for straws, suggests, “You were already keeping them alive for a reason. Whatever reason that is, you need them.”

Shigaraki glares at them for that. “Did I not just say I hate idiot hero complexes?” He turns back to Akari. “…They're right though. We need you alive… just in case.”

Izuku almost thinks that he’ll let go right then, and Akari will be safe.

Instead, Shigaraki continues, “On the other hand, you still have to be punished so that you won’t think of doing this again, so,” With no other explanation, Shigaraki reaches his other hand up and closes it around Akari’s wrist.

“Gh!”

After a few seconds Shigaraki lets go and Akari falls back onto the floor, cradling their forearm (which is now bleeding rather badly, even if Shigaraki hadn’t completely destroyed it).

“This is what happens when you act up. Got it?”

Akari doesn’t respond. From the way they’re biting their lip, Izuku can only imagine that it’s all they can do to not cry out in pain right now. It’s something that they find deeply unnerving.

“Kurogiri, take them to the doctor in base B and get them patched up enough that they won’t bleed out or whatever. And find somewhere to lock them up in that base too- actually, while we’re at it, take Ragdoll there as well.”

“Yes, Shigaraki.” Kurogiri takes the Ragdoll marble and Akari, and disappears.

“As for you,” Shigaraki turns to Izuku, “You better give me a better reason than that if you don’t want me to kill you, because right now, the fact that our informant likes you isn’t gonna cut it.”

Izuku is… out of options this time.

But then. The voice from the screen speaks up.

“Actually, Shigaraki, I’d like to speak with them for a bit.”

An intense shiver races down Izuku’s spine as though the temperature in the room dropped below freezing in an instant.

“…Fine. Do whatever you want with them. I don’t care.”

For a second, nothing happens, but then Izuku is enveloped in a strange black sludge. Moments later, they find themself in a dark room where the only light source is a large screen.

The light contrast hurts their eyes so they can’t quite make out what’s on the screen, but they can make out the outline of a large man standing in front of it with his back facing Izuku.

“How nice of you to drop in,” The man says, and Izuku instantly recognizes it as the voice from behind the screen, the one that Shigaraki calls Sensei. “Why don’t you take a seat?”

The general aura of the room makes Izuku feel like their heart is going to beat out of their chest. “…No thanks,” They eventually say once they find their voice, trying to keep their tone even. “I think I’d rather stay standing.”

“Ah… you think it was a question,” ‘Sensei’ hums. “I said…” (It’s like the air of the room condenses suddenly, increasing the anxiety ten times over.)  “Take a seat.”

His tone is so commanding that Izuku almost does, but even after they falter for a second, Izuku repeats, “I… I know that’s what you said. And I said I’d rather stay standing.”

“…Hmm.”

All at once, the oppressive air of the room is gone so quickly that Izuku almost feels like they imagined it.

“Forgive me,” ‘Sensei’ says. “I was perhaps being a bit too… commanding. I just wanted you to feel comfortable.”

His tone is so genuine, Izuku could almost believe it.

Almost.

“I’d ask you to forgive Shigaraki as well, but… that might be a bit too unreasonable to ask from you. After all, he’s made it clear to you he wants you dead and he’s always been rather… harsh with how he carries things out,” He explains, his tone apologetic.

What is going on…?

“You’re the one who hired him, though,” Izuku points out, head still reeling.

“To put it metaphorically… he’s like an old hammer. He’s not very pretty and he’s quite blunt, but at the end of the day he’s a tool and he gets his job done.”

A tool. Izuku had considered Shigaraki to be a leader, even though they knew of the existence of this “Sensei”- they had thought the two had some kind of companionship, some kind of… cooperation. For Shigaraki to just be immediately reduced to a tool…

“I needed someone who gave off a supervillain feel to be the League’s figurehead,” The man explains, as though he can sense what Izuku had been thinking. “Yes, Stain was closer to my actual motivations, but… he never would have worked as the kind of figurehead I needed. After all, his impact just goes to show… he questioned the Hero Society, and everyone agrees he made sense, and yet nothing is done about the problems he brought up. A shame. At least, though, we were able to use him to bring in others with similar mindsets…”

Even Stain is a tool to him. Izuku remembers his battle with Stain, how it had taken them and Iida and Todoroki to bring him down.

“Who are you?” Izuku asks.

“It’s a long story,” The man hums, and Izuku can hear the smile on his voice. “But for now… you may refer to me as All for One, if you wish.”

All for One. That’s a strange name. At the same time… something about it gives Izuku the chills all over again.

“…Why did you want to talk to me?” Izuku asks.

“I’ve wanted to talk with you for a long time,” All for One answers. “Ever since you first appeared as Green Lightning, I was ever so interested in the opportunity to meet you in person.”

“No you weren’t,” Izuku calls him out on that lie in an instant, “Up until recently, you wanted me dead just like Shigaraki does. You only care now because you know that Green Lightning is Midoriya Izuku, but you didn’t care about about Midoriya Izuku until you knew they were also Green Lightning.”

All for One sighs, and for a moment Izuku is afraid that he’ll get angry again. But then, All for One agrees with them. “You’re right. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t lie to you like that. You are rather clever, that’s how you got this far in the first place.”

He’s complimenting me. Why is he complimenting me?

It’s… unnerving. Unsettling. Akari (for the brief period they worked with the villains) did give them some compliments, but those were all teasing. All for One calls Izuku clever, and his tone suggests that he believes it. Why? Why is the villain complimenting them?

 

Why… can they suddenly not remember the last time someone had called them clever, and had actually meant it?

 

“When you were just Green Lightning, it didn’t matter who you truly were. At the time, all that mattered was that you were an obstacle, an enemy that wanted to ruin my plans, and for that it’s natural that I would want to defeat my enemies. Now though… I think vigilantism is wasted on you. This society… they do not deserve you.”

It all hits them in an instant. What Shigaraki had said during the meeting earlier, when Izuku had been listening in…

“You’re trying to manipulate me,” Izuku accuses, now that they've realized that it's crystal clear that’s exactly what he’s doing.

“I’m trying to reason with you-”

“What about Akari?” Izuku interrupts, not even letting All for One continue. “You watched everything that just happened- and don’t think I didn’t notice how they reacted at the sound of just your voice. How do you explain that?”

“Akari was just a gutter rat. They had no purpose before hand, and no one is going to be missing them. I let Shigaraki do as he did because allowing him certain freedom lets him think he’s in control, but in truth, Akari is going to serve a greater purpose-”

“You mean like making Nomus?” They demand. They still don’t understand the extent of what that means, but… they know it can’t be any good.

“…Ah, that’s right. You listened in on that part of the meeting…”

“Yeah, I did,” Izuku mutters, hostile. “Shigaraki said you’d try to manipulate me, just like you manipulated your informant.”

“That’s how things are from his point of view,” All for One reasons, “I have to tell him things like that so that he believes I’m on his side.”

“Is that what you tell the traitor too?” Izuku demands. “You’re using everyone else, why not them?”

“I don’t think you fully understand the situation,” The villain sighs.

“I understand that you’re trying to use me, and I’m not gonna let that happen.”

“Why not? You let it happen when it’s the heroes using you.”

Those words cut Izuku deep, and for that moment they falter.

“Tell me, Midoriya. Just recently you and your… reverse spy friend-”

How does he know about…?

“-have quite picked up more on your search for our informant. Tell me, why is that?”

Izuku can’t bring themself to answer the question.

“No? You’re going to let me guess? Well then, is it that they’re promising you that if you do find the ‘traitor’, they’ll let you be a hero?”

They wince. Am… am I really that transparent…?

“Judging by your reaction I’d say I’m right. You are smart, but have you not realized? They are using you. They can get you to do whatever they want as long as they attach a promise of becoming a hero on the end of it, and they’ll keep doing it. After all, you passed the entrance exam, and you won the Sports Festival, didn’t you? What makes you think that passing this trial will be enough for them?”

Izuku is trembling now. When did they start trembling?

“Can’t you see that you deserve better? You have a brilliant mind and incredible skill. And it’s wasted on them. Why do you care so much about helping a society that never cared about you anyway? Why should you care about a society that saw that Bakugou boy tormenting you and then did nothing about it?”

“How… how do you…”

“It’s sad, really,” All for One says, with a sorrowful tone. “You should be destined for great things, and yet everyone treats you like dirt.”

“That’s… that’s not… that’s not true…”

“Oh, but it is. Everyone sees the things you’ve accomplished, but you never get praised for them, and no one cares that you don’t.”

“…”

“My goal is merely to change the way that this society is, and they name me villain for it. You and I… vigilante and villain-”

“Shut up. Don’t say it,” Izuku snaps, voice trembling.

“Don’t say what?” All for One asks, feigning innocence.

“I got that line from villains a lot,” Izuku murmurs. “You know the one. We’re not so different, you and I. But it’s never been true. I’m nothing like you.”

All for One pauses. Then, completely switching topic, he asks, “Tell me, Midoriya. Have you met All Might in person? I’d like to know what he’s said about your predicament.”

“Why do you care about All Might?”

“Let’s just say, we… go way back. Now then, I believe I asked you a question…?”

“It…” Izuku falters as they think about the heroes words, his tone, as he had said that Izuku could not be a hero without a quirk. “It doesn’t matter. It’s not important.”

“He told you the same thing as everyone else…” All for One guesses, sympathetically. “How ironic.”

Ironic? Why would he be calling it ironic?

“What’s that supposed to mean?”  

“It means that he’s a hypocrite.”

“That doesn’t explain anything and you know it. What are you saying?”

“Why don’t you tell me? Your friend… Sora, was it? He can sense quirks, can’t he? Would you mind sharing what his quirk detects from All Might?”

“It… Sora-kun’s quirk doesn’t pick up any quirk from All Might. But that’s just because it can’t read weird mutation quirks well-”

“Oh, I think you’ll be interested to hear that it’s both, in this case,” All for One interrupts, not letting them ramble out any kind of justification. “It is a strange mutation quirk… but it did not originate with All Might. All Might… in the beginning… was just as quirkless as you are right now.”

Izuku’s throat closes up. “That’s… that’s a lie. You’ve seen the kind of power he has-”

“That power did not originate with him,” All for One corrects. “Would you like to know about his quirk? It’s called One for All.”

“I thought you were One for All?”

“All for One,” He corrects again. “Consider it like… the opposite side of the same coin. All Might’s quirk, though I call it his very loosely, is One for All. And this quirk… gathers power from the person who holds it, and once that person sees fit… they’re able to pass it on to the next person. The next person holds all the power of the previous users, and even still One for All collects power from the current holder. That truly does explain how All Might is so strong… considering that he’s the eighth holder of One for All.”

“That’s impossible,” Izuku protests, “There’s never been any kind of report about a quirk like that before-”

“Obviously. They have to keep it a secret, or else someone might try to steal it from them. They’re rather greedy, you know… only letting a handful of people in on the secret.”

“If it’s for the sake of their own safety, that makes sense. It’s not greedy to do that. Especially when the people trying to steal it would be villains like you.”

All for One sighs. “We’re getting side tracked now. I already told you the point that was important.”

“And which point was that?”

“The point is… that All Might used to be quirkless, just like you. And then that hypocrite had the nerve to tell you that you couldn’t be a hero. It’s rather sad, honestly.”

Izuku… doesn’t have anything to argue that. They have no way of knowing whether or not it’s true either.

 

But… if it is true… that explains Mirio’s sudden change of power… meaning that Mirio would be… All Might’s successor…

…Does All for One know about that though?

 

Eventually, Izuku murmurs, “You know, we do at least have one thing in common.”

“Oh?” Izuku can hear the amusement on All for One’s tone. “What do we have in common, from your perspective?”

“You’re stubborn,” Izuku starts. “No matter what I say, you keep trying to convince me that I should join you.”

“Because you should. Your talents are wasted elsewhere, where no one appreciates you-”

No, that’s wrong, Izuku thinks, determined, as they lightly touch the friendship bracelet on their wrist- Hatsume’s friendship bracelet.

“Well, I’m stubborn too,” Izuku interrupts him.

Hatsume appreciates me.

“You know, I’ll admit, I have no idea which things you said were the truth, and which things were lies. For the most part.”

Shinsou appreciates me.

“I can’t trust your words. But I can trust your actions, and the people you’ve chosen as your allies, or underlings, or whatever you’d like to refer to them as… it says a lot.”

Sora appreciates me.

“It tells me that you’ll kill people, you’ll kill anyone in your way. At the very least, you’re willing to hire people who are bloodthirsty monsters. Muscular proved that.”

Natsuki appreciates me.

“Like I said, I’m stubborn too. And so for that reason… I will never join you.”

Todoroki appreciates me.

“No matter what you say to me, no matter what lie you weave, I will never join you. Because you hurt innocent people. And that’s something that I could never bring myself to do.”

All for One is silent. And then… it’s like the air inside the room shifts, just like it did in the beginning. A threatening aura emanates from the villain.

…But Izuku isn’t even considering backing down now.

“You do know I’m in charge of your life right now, yes?” All for One asks, threatening. “I get to make the call for whether or not Shigaraki kills you.”

“I’m not scared of you.”

All for One laughs. “I think we both know that’s a lie. Your heart might as well be beating right out of your chest. Explain that if you’re not scared.”

“You’re… right. Yeah, I’m scared. But that doesn’t matter. Because scaring me into submission isn’t gonna work either. I… I meant everything that I said, and I’m taking none of it back.”

“…” All for One stays silent for a moment. Then… “You know, Shigaraki told me he hated you because you remind him of All Might. At first I thought it was just because he found you annoying and wanted you dead, but… now that we’ve had this chat, I think I can see where he’s coming from. You don’t remind me of All Might, though. No… you remind me of someone else…”

 

“You remind me of Nana Shimura.”

 

“Nana… Shimura…?” Izuku asks slowly. “Who’s that?”

All for One chuckles. “I’ll tell you what- if you ever see All Might again, why don’t you ask him? I’m sure he’d love to explain.”

Izuku opens their mouth to speak, but All for One interrupts them before they have a chance to say anything. “For the sake of the informant, I’ll insist that we keep you alive. But if I ever meet you in person again… know that it will be because I’ve decided it’s time to kill you.

 

"That being said… I hope we meet again soon, Midoriya Izuku.”

Chapter Text

Well, the villains definitely learned their lesson last time.

The new room that Izuku finds themself locked in isn’t the supply room, and if there had been anything for them to use as a lock pick before, it's gone now.

They had felt brave before when they stood up against All for One, but now that they're all alone… they can’t help but feel a little bit of despair sinking in. There’s no way the villains would have taken any chances this time, and so they doubt there will be any opportunity for another escape attempt; Akari and Ragdoll are in an entirely different building now, and even if Izuku gets out, All for One will probably find them again anyway.

Izuku sinks to the floor, burying their head in their arms. They held onto hope and stayed strong before when they had a plan and when they were facing the villains head on, but…

Honestly, they're tired. They're tired, they're sore, they're hungry (when was the last time they had eaten something? How long have they been here already?), but more than anything else they just want to go home.

Then the terrifying thought occurs to them, that… they might not ever be able to go home again.

Is that really how things will play out? Are they truly trapped here forever?

 

After all, they're just… useless. They've always been useless.

Why would anyone want to come help them? They're just a quirkless, useless, kid…

Why am I even here…? Why did I think I could ever doing anything right?

 

No matter how many questions Izuku asks themself, the room stays silent, and they don’t find a single answer.


It hurts.

It hurts, it hurts.

Akari’s mind is consumed with one thought that repeats itself over and over. Everything is the same as it was before Green Lightning had tried to help them escape, except now their arm feels like it’s splitting apart.

Oh wait. It kinda almost did. So less ‘feels like’ and more ‘is’.

The villains had only bothered to bandage it to stop the bleeding, and then left Akari in the closest lockable room to rot, again.

Akari stares at their heavily bandaged arm. They try to move their fingers…

But nothing happens.

Great. First I lose my quirk, and now I lose the ability to move my hand. Yay.

…Makes me wonder what they did to Sparky…

Faintly, Akari hopes that at least they can still find some way to escape.

Whatever. Even if they do, I’ll probably never find out… it’s none of my business.

Akari wills themselves to stop thinking about Green Lightning. Who cares. It’s over with. It’s done.

Now faced with no distractions, their attention is drawn back to their arm.

It hurts.


More time passes.

Izuku has no idea how long they've been here. They've drifted off to sleep once or twice, but they don’t know how long they rested. They try to spend what time they can sleeping, because at least if they're sleeping, they don’t have to think about their pounding headache, or their aching bruises, or the hunger gnawing away at them.

When they're awake, there’s not much they can do anyway. Their head is pounding too hard for them to think clearly, and there’s nothing in the room to keep them preoccupied, so being awake just makes them… bored.

Bored is an understatement, actually. The only pastime they have now (besides sleeping) is staring at a wall and contemplating the gravity of how much they've messed everything up this time. Which is what they're doing right now.

And then the door opens.

They're not expecting it, but at the same time they're… too exhausted to really care enough to give any big reaction. They glance over to the door briefly, see that it’s just one of the villains, then look back to the wall.

“Hi!” She says cheerily, “I’m here to check on you!”

From what Izuku can gather, she’s one of the younger recruits that the League of Villains has, maybe a year or so older than they are themself at most.

“I’m Toga!” She introduces herself, “Toga Himiko!”

Izuku doesn’t respond at all.

“So… how are you?” Toga asks, unfazed by how unresponsive they are.

“Horrible,” Izuku answers flatly.

“Oh, that’s not good! Best-y would get sad if she knew you were upset.”

“Best-y,” Izuku echoes. “Is that the League’s informant?”

Toga hesitates. “I… don’t know how much I’m allowed to tell you about that. But I can tell you that she’s my best friend! I love her lots.”

“So… the informant is one of the female students of Class A?”

“…Oops!” Toga laughs and rubs the back of her head, “Man, I’m really bad with this huh? Well, it’s okay. She’s said she wants to come see you anyway, and all she has to do is check in with Sensei first, so… hopefully she’ll be able to come see you and then me keeping her identity secret won’t be as big of a problem!”

Izuku wants to hate her. She’s with the villains. She’s a part of the League of Villains that’s keeping them captive here.

But… at the same time…

While she was with the villains when they were launching the attack, and while she does claim to be best friends with the informant, Izuku hasn’t actually seen her around much; not when they spied before the training camp, they hadn’t heard her voice at the villain’s meeting, and she certainly hadn’t been there when Izuku, Ragdoll, and Akari were caught during their escape.

Shigaraki had said it himself; the informant is being manipulated by All for One. From what they've experienced… Izuku believes that. They would guess that All for One is using and manipulating… pretty much all of them.

All of that being said… Toga hasn’t been at all malicious towards Izuku.

 

So for now at least… Izuku can’t bring themself to hate her. It does make them… curious though. All for One is very good at figuring out people and driving them towards his own goal (from what Izuku can tell) so…

“Why are you here?” Izuku finds themself asking. “Why are you working with the League of Villains?”

“Well, mostly it’s for Best-y, ya'know?” Toga hums. “We came from the same orphanage, so we go waaay back!”

An orphanage…?

That’s new information.

“She was the only friend I had for a while! Everyone else thought my quirk made me creepy and weird so they avoided me, haha. Well, honestly, my quirk did affect me for a bit, but then Best-y helped me work through it! She really is amazing… she can do just about anything!”

“So… you’re here just for her? Isn’t that kind of… dangerous?”

“It’s not just for her, I guess? We share some common opinions that drew us here. Although, she is the one who made me really think about it so… it’s thank to her, still!”

“Could I get an example of what you mean by common opinions, maybe?” Izuku asks.

“What it really comes down to is that this Hero Society is kinda sucky, honestly,” Toga explains glumly. “And it’s true! Everyone avoided me sure, but when it came to Best-y, they were so nasty to her just because of-” She cuts herself off, “Ah, I probably shouldn’t mention that! If I talked about quirks, you’d know who she is right away, ahaha!”

For a moment, Izuku wonders if Toga’s being so teasing about “Best-y”’s identity on purpose, or if she just really loves her friend.

“Point is!” Toga moves on, “It’s like your life has to be determined by your quirk, you know? People treat ya differently based on what your quirk is. After all, Best-y told me about what happened with you because you were quirkless-”

“I don’t wanna talk about it,” Izuku interrupts.

“Oh, did I make you grouchy? I’m sorry. Best-y says that I accidentally ignore people’s boundaries sometimes. I’ve been trying to work on that! Am I being too pushy?”

“I… you’re fine, I guess.”

They won’t admit it out loud, but at the very least this is one up from their ‘staring at the wall’ hobby.

“So, are you feeling better?”

“…What?”

“When I first came in, I asked how you were, and you answered that you felt horrible. So are you feeling better?”

“I mean, physically I still feel horrible, but talking with you has been… interesting.”

“Darn,” Toga mutters. “Anything I can do to make you feel better physically?”

“I… if I could get some food that would be great,” Izuku murmurs.

“I’ll see what I can do about that!” Toga cheers. She skips out of the room, closing the door behind her, and a few moments later the lock clicks back into place.

Talking with Toga had actually gotten their mind to start moving again, and so despite the aching pain in their head, they try to think more about the situation as a whole.

How many of them here are like Toga? How many of them… probably mean well, but are being puppeteered by All for One?

And what’s the traitor’s full motive…?

A few minutes later, Toga returns. She slips through the door, and only once the door is closed does she pull a wrapped sandwich from her sweater pocket.

“I asked Shigaraki and he said we weren’t allowed to feed you, but I sneaked this in for you anyway! Just don’t let anyone else know about it, ‘kay?”

Izuku is almost so grateful they could cry, but they hold back. Actually, they don’t know if they could cry even if they wanted to- now that they think about it the headache is probably at least partially from dehydration…

As if reading their thoughts, Toga hands them a water bottle next.

 

…Izuku really hopes this is just genuine kindness, and not something that All for One planned out as some kind of cruel trick.  


“Please just let me see them,” She begs.

In front of her, Sensei hesitates. “It’s not so simple, my dear. Midoriya has been… very difficult. They keep getting hung up over Shigaraki.”

“Then tell them the truth!”

“I tried, but it… backfired. Midoriya took it the wrong way and seems to believe that I must be manipulating and using you as well.”

“But you would never!” She protests.

“I know,” Sensei nods in agreement, “But the child is too stubborn to listen. I’m afraid that they might be beyond reason.”

“Then just let me talk to them,” She insists, “I could get through to them with the truth, I’m sure of it!”

“And what if they try to turn you against me?” Sensei asks. “They have their own version of the story cooked up in their head, and they might try to present it to you as truth.”

“You know I trust you, Sensei. They could never turn me against you…!”

The conversation stops when they hear approaching footsteps, and turn to see Toga enter the room.

“Toga-chan, help me out here. You just visited them, didn’t you?”

“Yep, I did!” Toga answers brightly. “I really think it would be good if you let her see them, Sensei.”

Sensei pauses, this time actually considering it. “…You were in there for a while. Would you mind telling me what you and Midoriya discussed?”

“They just wanted to know why I was in the League,” Toga answers simply.

“See!” She applauds. “Midoriya-kun isn’t dumb- I know they’ll be willing to hear me out, and when I explain everything, I’m sure they’ll understand…!”

“I will let you in,” Sensei agrees, but before she can properly react or thank him, he continues, “Under one condition.”

“Yes, Sensei?” She asks eagerly.

“Promise me that you will always trust in me. No matter what, you will believe in me. Is that understood?”

“Of course,” She nods instantly. It wasn’t that much of a condition- of course she trusts him. She has for the past five years, so why would she lose all faith in him in just one day?

“Good,” Sensei smiles. “I really would appreciate it if you could try your hand at convincing them.”

“I’ll do my best!”

With that, she turns and heads down the hallway, determination steeled. When she passes by, Toga gives her a thumbs up for good luck.  

She… knows this won’t be easy. Not in any way shape or form. Especially because, to Midoriya… this will probably feel like some kind of betrayal. But she needs to reason with them. She just knows that if they understand the situation, that everything will work out okay.

It was a shock learning that they were Green Lightning, though. The Midoriya she had met during the Sports Festival was so… mild mannered, even if they proved to be strong over and over again. And it had been surprising because she had already mostly ruled it out because of Kaminari and Ashido joking about it.

She wonders how many people know. Is this something Midoriya has kept a complete secret, or is there a handful of people who know?

Todoroki must know. That would explain how Green Lightning was in Hosu. Does Shinsou know, though? Did Iida find out when Green Lightning saved him from Stain?

The whole situation is a mystery, and suddenly she feels like she doesn’t even know Midoriya at all.

Is that how they’ll feel, in a few moments, when she reveals herself…?

Before she knows it, she’s reached the door. The tension is unbearable. She almost feels like she can’t move forward…

She takes in a deep breath, and… she unlocks the door, and steps inside.

Midoriya glances at her briefly, gaze distant, and she almost thinks they don’t realize it’s her; but then they do a double take, and she sees the shock fill their eyes.

“You… you’re… but…”

“Hey…” She mumbles, “I… think we need to talk.”


“I… think we need to talk.”

 

You’re telling me, Izuku thinks, numb from shock, as they stare up at none other than Orenji Ketsueki of Hero Course Class A… and the informant of the League of Villains, apparently. There’s no other explanation for why she would be here.

“Please just… say something,” Orenji asks, guilt written all over her face. “Yell at me, curse me out, just… say anything.”

“…Why?” Is the first thing out of Izuku’s mouth. “Then tell me why- why are you here? I don’t… I don’t understand.”

Orenji smiles sadly at them. “It’s ironic. I think, out of everyone, you would be the one who would understand.”

“Then… explain it to me, because right now I… I have no idea.”

“I told you the start of the story when I first met you,” Orenji starts, hesitates, and adds, “Well… when I met you as… Midoriya Izuku. Not as Green Lightning.

"For most of my life… I was quirkless. That was the truth. And so, when… when my birth parents found out, they…”

“We came from the same orphanage!” Toga had said. Izuku stares, thinking,  Don’t tell me they…

“They gave me up as soon as they found out. Abandoned me without a second thought. Of course, after that, no one wanted to take me in either. People don’t even want to keep a quirkless kid, why would they want to adopt one?” Orenji rhetorically asks, an unfamiliar bitterness in her voice.

They know the question isn’t really a question, so they don’t answer.

Orenji continues, “And, well… you know better than anyone how people treat you when you’re quirkless, even as a kid. You get pushed around just because you can’t defend yourself, and all the adults who are in a position to stop it just… let it happen.”

“So… you were the one who got Bakugou expelled, aren’t you?” Izuku asks.

“Can you honestly say that it’s not what he deserved?” Orenji counters. “What he did to you… he shouldn’t have just gotten away with it.”

“But… you can’t deny that he worked hard to get to UA-”

“That doesn’t mean he was fit to be a hero,” Orenji says. “Come on, don’t tell me you feel bad for him. He was horrible. What he got was exactly what he deserved.”

“…Whatever. We’re not here to talk about Bakugou,” Izuku mutters. “I understand what you’re talking about when it comes to how people treat you when you’re quirkless, but… how did that get you here?”

Orenji is quiet for a moment. “I don’t know exactly how much Toga-chan told you about the situation, but… for the longest time, all we had was each other. All we had. Because no one else wanted anything to do with us. Me, because I was quirkless, and her, because her quirk involved drinking blood. It’s not like either of us chose that for ourselves, and yet everyone based the entire way they interacted with us off of it.

“And I realized that was wrong. I decided that no one should have to go through what we did. …Of course, I couldn’t bring myself to say it when I realized it, though. They would have called me crazy, over dramatic, they would have said I was making a big deal out of nothing, they would have called me a liar when I tried to talk about how everyone treated me… there was nothing that I could do about it by myself.”

So far, Izuku… completely gets what she’s saying. And to some extent, they know what it’s like, because… yeah, they went through a time where that was what they thought, too.

“And then… five years ago I met Sensei.”

An involuntary shiver goes down Izuku’s spine.

“I had Toga-chan before that, but… he was the first of any kind of authority figure to say what I had been thinking. He was the first one besides me and Toga-chan that… actually cared about what was happening.”

Except he doesn’t care about it, not really, Izuku thinks, and they're about to say it, but Orenji continues talking.

“This society, the invisible hierarchy created based on who has what quirk… it’s horrible. It shouldn’t be like this. But it goes right down to the core of society, and so… according to Sensei, the only way to stop it is to start over. Defeating All Might is the easiest way to get everything to start to fall apart and… then when we restore everything, it would be better. We’d make sure that no one would have to go through what we did.”

“Do you realize what you’re saying?” Izuku can’t help but ask. “How many innocent people would get hurt through that?”

“If you want to put it like that, then how many innocent people are there out there that are just like you and me that are being horribly mistreated right this second because nobody chooses to do anything about it?”

Izuku bites their lip. They switch topics, “What about everyone else? What about the rest of Class A? No matter what your reasons, you’ve been putting them in danger over and over again.”

“They were never the real targets,” Orenji refutes. “Of course I don’t want any of them to get hurt. They’re my classmates.”

“But you can’t deny that it’s a possibility for them to get hurt,” Izuku points out. “Shigaraki-”

“I know Shigaraki is…” Orenji hesitates, looking for the right word, “…difficult, but according to Sensei we need him. He’s not really in control, he has to listen to what Sensei says.”

“But haven’t you ever thought about why? Why Shigaraki is needed? And even if he’s not ‘really’ in control, he’s the one in charge of these attacks, so it’s not absurd to assume that it could lead to someone getting hurt.”

“Sensei told me why we need him. He-”

“Yeah, he told me why you apparently need Shigaraki too, but I haven’t actually seen any proof. All we have that supports his claim is his own word. Do you really trust that and that alone?”

“Yes!” Orenji snaps. “He cared about me and Toga-chan when no one else did. Why would he lie?”

“Because he’s using you, Orenji-san-”

“That’s not true,” She insists. “He would never do that. I’ve known him for five years, and you’ve known him since yesterday. How can you already be so sure-”

“He tried to manipulate me too. You wanna know what happened when I didn’t cooperate though?”

“You… he said that you were just being unreasonable, and it’s possible that because of that, he just got heated-”

“He threatened to kill me, Orenji-san. When I told him that I refuse to join the League of Villains, now or ever, his response was to threaten to kill me.”

“That…” Orenji stares at Izuku in shock. She didn’t know. Just as they thought. “That… that can’t be true! You… you must have just misunderstood what he said-!”

“What he told me was that the next time I met him in person would been when he decided to have me killed. And then he followed that statement by saying he hoped to see me again soon. Tell me how that is not threatening to kill me.”

“I… but… that’s not like the Sensei I know at all! Why would…?”

“It’s not like the Sensei you know, because that version of him is a lie. He’s lying to you so that he can use you-”

“No!” Orenji snaps, but this time her tone is more desperate. “There… there has to be another explanation. He was probably just frustrated-”

“Then what about Akari? How do you explain them?”

Orenji looks at them, confused. “Akari? Who’s that? What do you mean?”

“You don’t even know,” Izuku mutters. “Of course. That would certainly be easier than explaining it- hiding it from you.”

“Who’s Akari? What do you mean it’s being hidden from me?”

“Akari was hired to stop me, as Green Lightning, because they had a quirk that caused any technology around them to stop functioning. Had a quirk. Because they let me go after they found me, and because they did, your ‘Sensei’ stole their quirk and locked them up so that the League could make a new Nomu later.”

Izuku still doesn’t know exactly what they meant by “make a new Nomu” but mostly that’s because they don’t want to think about it. Whatever the answer is, it’s unpleasant.

Orenji stares at them in horror. “I… how do you know for sure? How do you know that they would do that? All you know is that Akari let you go and that they’re gone now, apparently-”

“No. Because when I tried to escape, I found them and tried to take them with me. And I overheard Shigaraki in a meeting with the rest of the League say that that’s exactly they’re plan. After we were caught, Shigaraki wanted to kill them, and the only reason he didn’t is because of that reason.”

“That… that can’t… Sensei wouldn’t authorize that…”

“Except he did.”

Orenji doesn’t respond, simply standing there in shock. “I…” Eventually she murmurs, with a shaking voice, “I have to go… there has to be a reason for all of this…!”

“Orenji-san, wait!” Izuku protests as she makes her way to the door, “If you ask him, he’ll just lie to you again-”

"I’m going to find answers,” Orenji interrupts, stiffly. “That means listening to both sides of the story.”

“Orenji-san, please-!”

But she ignores them as they call out.

Izuku gets the feeling that as soon as Orenji gets to All for One, all of Izuku’s argument will miraculously disappear as All for One creates a new lie to explain everything Izuku had just brought into questioning. In other words. They're basically doomed.

…The traitor was Orenji all along, huh…?

The answer they had been so desperately searching for, the answer Sora had looked for nonstop for weeks to the point where he lost sleep…

And yet now that they know, they just wish that they didn’t.

Chapter Text

Hitoshi meets up with the others at Dagobah beach as the sun starts to set. Hatsume, Natsuki, and Sora lay out all of the gadgets that they’ve gathered together out on Midoriya’s work table.

“I’m… sorry,” Natsuki mumbles, a tad embarrassed. “I was the one who called us into action, but I have the least amount of gadgets… I’ve never been all that good with creativity for coming up with gadgets to build.”

“That’s okay, Natsuki-chan!” Hatsume assures. “That just means the babies you do have are top tier!”

“Besides. I don’t have any gadgets,” Hitoshi mutters.

“Oh, right. Sorry, Shinsou, I didn’t mean to suggest that not having brought gadgets would make you useless…”

“I know. Geez, you were the one who told us to quit feeling sorry for ourselves, have more confidence in yourself too.”

“Right!” Natsuki nods.

“Now we just have to try and split these up between us,” Sora says, causing them to focus back on why they’re here. “First, if… we really are going for the pseudo vigilante approach like Midoriya-kun, each of us needs something to cover our face.”

“For me I… probably need to work backwards,” Natsuki hums.

“But Natsuki-chan, if you take off your glasses… won’t you lose your vision?” Hatsume asks, concerned.

“It’s fine,” Natsuki promises, “We’re working at night anyway, so… the light level won’t be as much of a problem. I’ll still need to rely on your help when we arrive, but I won’t be completely blind.”

Sora considers it for a moment. “All right, well, we still all need some kind of cover for our hair, like a hat, or a hood.”

Wordlessly, Natsuki undoes the high ponytail that she always keeps her hair in and moves the hair tie to her wrist; then she pulls the hood of her sweatshirt over her head.

“Happy?” She asks afterwards.

“That works,” Sora confirms. “For the rest of us, we have a pick of something to use…”

“Ooh!” Hatsume shouts, and her hand shoots out first, grabbing a pair of goggles. “These can pick heat signatures to locate people behind walls. I call dibs.”

“Fair enough.”

Hatsume switches on the goggles to show that once they’re on, the glass over the eyes glows a hot pink. “Just call me… Pink Lightning!”

“We’re not picking vigilante names,” Hitoshi mutters. “This is a one time thing.”

“LET ME DREAM, SHINSOU-KUN.”

Sora picks from the pile next. “I’ll take these then. They’re night vision goggles that have a zoom function.”

“Do yours glow a pretty color too?” Hitoshi asks sarcastically.

Sora sighs semi-seriously, “Had it not been for the fact that this is a stealth mission, I would have brought my goggles that glow in all the colors of the rainbow.”

The last of the group left, Hitoshi looks over the pile of gadgets for something simple, when a specific pair of goggles catches his eye. They’re a bit more scuffed up than the others, but that’s not why they draw his attention.

It’s that… they’re the goggles that Midoriya first used before they had the helmet.

They’re clunky, and odd, and it’s easy to tell it’s one of Midoriya’s older inventions but… that just means that it has its own charm.

He pulls them from the pile.

Midoriya… we will save you.

“…I’ll just use these, then,” Hitoshi mutters, without offering any other explanation why.

“Good,” Sora says, moving on, “Now we need to evenly split up the gear between us…”


Shouto stands outside of the hospital, waiting for the others to arrive. (He’s still a little disappointed that Shinsou and the support students are busy, but there’s not much he can do about it.)

The next person who shows up is Aoyama.

Neither of them says anything while they wait for the others, but Shouto can’t help notice that Aoyama is visibly nervous. In all honesty, Shouto is surprised that he showed up; for the most part, he’s a mystery entirely. Aoyama has always seemed… glowing, boastful, eccentric. Right now, he maintains none of those qualities.

For someone so loud and boisterous… Shouto has no idea what he’s thinking or feeling. Maybe he really is one of the biggest mysteries around.

Uraraka shows up next.

“Oh, hey…!” She greets, surprised and quiet but… trying to keep some level of cheer. “When I first heard from Aoyama-kun that you’d be here I was a little surprised, but… it’s good to see you Todoroki-kun.”

Shouto nods. “Likewise.”

“I… am curious, though,” Aoyama says, speaking up for the first time. “Todoroki-chan, you knew that Midoriya-chan was captured before learning it from Kirishima-chan, didn’t you? Considering he learned it from Yaoyorozu-chan, and that you didn’t know about the rest of the situation that Yaoyorozu-chan was a part of… How did you find out?”

The answer, in truth, is Shinsou of course. Shinsou had told him. And Shinsou had known because Midoriya is Green Lightning.

He can’t tell them this, though.

“Me, Shinsou, and a few of Midoriya’s friends from the Support Course… we noticed that they were missing in the past few days and we couldn’t get a hold of them. Eventually we… got news from their mother. Apparently the League contacted UA to try and get a ransom, and UA has just been keeping quiet about it; but they told Izuku's mother, and she told us.”

Aoyama nods in understanding.

“So… you’ve kept in touch with Midoriya-kun since the Sports Festival then?” Uraraka asks, trying to keep conversation.

“Kind of hard not to,” Shouto mutters, solemnly. “They've always had this… stupid, stubborn, persistent, charm about them.”

Midoriya reached out and tried to help him when no one else did. Midoriya saved him as Green Lightning even though they technically didn’t have to. Midoriya went to Hosu at Todoroki’s request to help someone they hardly knew.

Indeed… they have always had a stupid, stubborn, persistent, charm.

And that’s why this has to work. Midoriya is too stubborn and persistent to be gone. More than anything, Shouto wants for them all to get their stupidly charming friend back.

Kirishima and Yaoyorozu show up at the same time.

"Are we the last ones here?" Yaoyorozu asks.

"Seems that way," Shouto says.

"Is it really just the five of us?" Kirishima asks, counting out the other four of them there; Shouto himself, Yaoyorozu, Uraraka, and Aoyama.

"I tried to talk to Orenji-chan, because knowing her I thought she'd want to be a part of this for sure, but she was too busy to even be able to respond, so… yeah," Uraraka murmurs.

"And Shinsou?"

"He's busy too," Shouto answers.

"So it really is just us," Yaoyorozu observes. "I suppose that's better, to be honest… we aren't going to be directly fighting the villains anyway."

The way she says it and the emphasis on her tone makes it clear that it's a reminder; that their mission is not fighting the villains, it is just rescuing Midoriya.

"Well, then… let's go," Kirishima says.

They all turn to do just that, when Iida steps out into the path in front of them.

"I know what you all are planning," He tells them, tone warning.

Shouto's stomach drops.

"Iida-kun… I know you don't agree but… this is something we have to do," Uraraka responds, determined.

"Is it?" Iida asks. "Running right into the villains base is something that you 'have' to do?"

"It's not like that," Yaoyorozu assures, "I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen."

"Let the heroes solve this! It would be better to not get involved!"

Done with biting his tongue on the issue, Shouto counters, "You mean like you did in Hosu?"

Iida looks to him, hurt. "That's why I'm trying to stop you now. Can't you see…? Can't you see you're just repeating my own mistake?"

"What mistake?" Uraraka asks. "What are you talking about?"

Iida doesn't answer her. Instead, he keeps his focus on Shouto.

"I want you to answer something for me, and I need you to be honest. Completely honest. Can you do that?" Iida asks him.

"Yes," Shouto answers immediately.

"Is Midoriya-kun Green Lightning?"

Shouto grimaces. He already agreed to be completely honest but… this isn't his secret.

At this point though… maybe it doesn't matter if he keeps it a secret. Maybe it would be better to just give it up.

"What…?" Kirishima asks, surprised by Iida's question. "Of course they're not! That's just Kaminari's crazy theory-"

"It's true," Shouto admits, softly.

Everyone falls dead silent. If a pin had been dropped, it would have been heard loud and clear, that's how silent everyone had gotten.

"…What?" Uraraka stares at Shouto in shock.

"How did you figure it out, Iida?" Shouto asks. Thinking back in it, there were plenty of signs.

"At first I thought that Kaminari-kun's theory was absurd… but then after I overheard that Midoriya-kun was captured by the League, everything started to make sense. When we were in the USJ, and they were telling me to run for help… they called me out by name. They showed up in Hosu, suddenly and with no real explanation. But that was just to save me, wasn't it? You asked them to. And in the Training Camp… it explains how Midoriya-kun was captured, and it explains Shinsou-kun's reaction when Kaminari-kun mentioned Green Lightning, asking if anyone had seen them."

Shouto nods slowly. "You're right. You're right about all of it."

"Wait, wait," Kirishima mumbles frantically, "Kaminari was right? And Shinsou knew? You knew?"

"Honestly, I'm surprised the secret was as well kept as it was. Midoriya was never really the best about hiding it."

"But… why?" Yaoyorozu asks, lost. "Why did they do that?"

"Because being a hero was all they ever wanted," Shouto answers. "And in the meantime, they figured being a vigilante was close enough."

"Midoriya-kun…" Uraraka murmurs.

"But that's not the point right now anyway," Shouto says, changing the subject. "The point is… we're going to save Midoriya, Iida. And you can't stop us."

"It's a horrible idea," Iida repeats, and Shouto is about to protest when he continues, "But… if I can't stop you then I guess I have no choice but to join you. Yaoyorozu-kun says that your plan is to avoid a fight at all costs. And I want to be there to make sure that's what happens."

Shouto stares at him in surprise. And then… "Thank you, Iida. You won't regret this."

"I sincerely hope I don't."


Hitoshi and the others arrive at Kamino- the area that Hatsume's tracker leads them to.

Though none of them have put on their goggles yet, for the most part they're all already disguised enough that if Hitoshi was just glancing over them, he wouldn't recognize them.

Natsuki still has her hair down, and she's replaced her regular bulky glasses for a slim pair of sunglasses. Hatsume, on the other hand, borrowed her hair ties and now has her hair done up in  twin tails. Sora has on a loose fitting beanie that leaves only his bangs uncovered. Hitoshi, on the other hand, simply has his hair down and plans on keeping his hood up.

Deep down, Hitoshi knows that their plan is really stupid and reckless, and it's even more present in his thoughts now that they're actually here… yet he can't bring himself to care. Because he cares so much more about bringing Midoriya home.

Hitoshi hadn't been paying much attention to the civilians around their group, but then someone says, "Hey, isn't that UA?" And all at once the four of them snap into attention.

What they find is a large screen displaying a press conference, and at the table to take questions is Aizawa, Vlad King, and Nedzu.

"This is the third time that students of UA have been attacked while supposedly under your protection!" One of the reports accuses.

The Stain attack wasn't really something they should blame on UA… Hitoshi thinks, defensively.

"Do you have any plans to deal with stopping attacks like this in the future?!"

"I wouldn't count on it," Sora mutters under his breath.

"We are doing everything we can to put a stop to the problem from the source," Nedzu explains. "We want to make sure that once this problem is solved, it won't come back ever again."

"What do you have to say about the pro hero Ragdoll's capture?!" Another reporter jumps up.

"UA takes no responsibility for that. As a Pro Hero separate from our school, it was up to her and the rest of the Pussycats to be able to defend themselves. Of course I would never blame her for her own capture, however, what happened to Ragdoll is no fault of UA; the blame should rest solely on the villains."

"What about the students injured in the attack? Do you take responsibility for them?"

"It has been ensured that all of the students received medical attention, and any student who needed extensive care had their fee paid in full by the school's on money. Right now, we are grateful to note that all of them will be okay."

"All of them?" A new reporter questions. "We've heard that a student from the Support Course of UA was kidnapped by the League, what is your explanation for that?!"

"That information is just a rumor and we have never confirmed it," Nedzu lies.

"They're being so hard on him…" Natsuki murmurs, watching.

"It's not like he didn't do this to himself," Sora grumbles. "If he didn't want everyone to freak out at him, he shouldn't have let it happen."

"Sora?" A voice from behind them asks suddenly.

Hang on, Hitoshi realizes, I recognize that voice-

He turns around to meet a pair of eyes, one blue and the other brown.

"Todoroki?"

"Shinsou-kun?" Iida points him out, bewildered.

"Iida-kun?!" Hatsume exclaims.

"Hatsume-chan?" Uraraka drops her jaw in shock.

“Aoyama!” Aoyama yells, just because he can.

Todoroki and Hitoshi have been staring at each other in awe since the first realization. Hitoshi notices that he's wearing some kind of wig to cover his two-toned hair; actually, he notices that the others are all wearing some kind of disguise.

It adds up in his head rather fast.

"…Ah," Todoroki speaks first though. "It would seem that we had the same plan."

"We are so stupid!" Hitoshi groans.

All at once their group has gone up from just Hitoshi, Natsuki, Sora, and Hatsume to now include Todoroki, Aoyama, Uraraka, Iida, and… Yaoyorozu and Kirishima? Geez, that's a lot.

"So… does that mean they all knew about the whole Green Lightning thing too?" Kirishima asks.

"Todoroki-kun, you told them?!" Hatsume exclaims dramatically.

"Todoroki, I change my mind, you are now the worst secret keeper," Hitoshi mutters.

"Iida was the one who figured it out and confronted me about it in front of the others, don't blame this on me."

Ignoring the accusation, Iida asks, "Any particular reason that you all have so much support gear with you?"

"You're not actually planning on fighting the League, are you?" Yaoyorozu follows up the question with another.

"Well," Sora explains, "None of us are really fighters besides Shinsou-kun, so that's not an option; really our plan is, run in, create a diversion, grab Midoriya-kun, throw some smoke bombs and get out before they catch us."

"You can't," Yaoyorozu protests, "Not only would that be dangerous, but attacking villains is illegal without a license-"

"Only if you use a quirk," Hatsume clarifies innocently.

"Oh, I get it, you learned that from Midoriya!" Kirishima realizes. "So it wasn't just weird random trivia…"

Yaoyorozu sighs heavily, "Look we've already had this discussion, it's still dangerous...!"

Hitoshi knows that she's just being the voice of reason, but right now he doesn't care about that.

"Yeah, well, we already came up with this plan ourselves and no offense but we don't need to ask for your permission," Natsuki mutters apologetically.

"Hang on," Uraraka asks, "How do you guys know where the League's base is?"

"That's… not important," Hatsume laughs nervously as the other three from the Support Course team look to her.

Todoroki squints at her, suspiciously. "…Hatsume. Did… did you do something to the friendship bracelets you gave to everyone?"

"…" Hatsume doesn't respond with anything but a 'aw hell I've been caught' expression, before blurting, "OH, SO SORA-KUN CAN PUT A TRACKER IN LEG-MAN'S HERO COSTUME AND GET OFF FINE, BUT SUDDENLY KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR UNBELIEVABLY RECKLESS FRIENDS IS A CRIME?"

" 'Leg-man'- is that supposed to mean me?" Iida asks. He turns to Sora. "You put a tracker in my hero costume?!"

"Just so that Midoriya-kun could help you out in Hosu!" Sora explains defensively, "To be fair, they said it was a life or death situation!"

"What happened in Hosu that you all keep referencing to?" Yaoyorozu asks.

"That's not important right now," Iida says,

Answer the question, Iida. Tell her Iida. What happened in Hosu, Iida?

"You guys can't keep doing things like this. If you get caught there's no way you'll be let off easy-"

"This is a one time thing. As soon as today is over, we won't ever do vigilante-y stuff ever again. Promise," Hitoshi says.

"And that includes Midoriya-kun too!" Sora adds. Hitoshi looks at him surprised, but Sora doesn't look back at him.

Iida hesitates. "…Fine. As long as you promise you won't do any more vigilante stuff after this."

"Promise."

"…Hey, hang on!" Hatsume shouts after a second, "Everyone's all on my case with how I know where the League is, but how do you guys know?"

"I put a tracker in a Nomu that attacked me when the villains crashed the training camp," Yaoyorozu explains.

"Well, why did you have a tracker?" Hatsume asks.

"I used my quirk to make it."

"Ah. All right. No more questions."

"We should probably get going," Todoroki says. "The night isn't going to last forever, and I'd prefer to get this over with as soon as possible."

"Right," Yaoyorozu nods, looking to the tracker in her hand, "It looks like we need to go to…" She squints at the screen and reads out the location.

"Um… I think we have a problem…" Hatsume mumbles, looking at her phone, where she receives the signal from her own tracker. "Mine has a different location. Maybe a dozen blocks down, it looks like?"

"Multiple bases…" Sora murmurs. "Not that much of a surprise."

"All right then, we'll follow Hatsume-san's tracker," Yaoyorozu offers.

"…No, wait," Hatsume mutters, doubtfully. "Even if there are multiple bases, we don't know where Midoriya-kun is, technically. We have no way of knowing if they would have taken the bracelet off of them, considering they already had so many other gadgets…"

There's a quiet moment. Damn… we got here, but we still don't know for sure where he is, huh…? What if when we show up at one base, they double down defense on the other? Dammit.

"Natsuki-chan and I will take the bracelet tracker base," Sora decides.

"What? Just the two of you? But that's dangerous!" Kirishima protests.

"You all wanted it to be a stealth mission anyway. The fewer people the better, but we can't send anyone alone, so a team of two is perfect. A hero course student would be too… attention drawing, and Natsuki-chan and I have the most gear for enhancing stealth. Meanwhile… checking the spot where the Nomu went will be dangerous. If you get caught, it's better for you to have as much defense as possible, from what I've heard."

"What about me? Why can't I come?" Hatsume asks.

"Even if the larger team is meant to have better defensive chance, we're both still technically on stealth missions. You have the heat vision goggles which can help you see through walls to know if any villains are closing in on you. Like I said, Natsuki-chan and I are the ones with the most stealth gear, so they need you more because they have less stealth."

"It's no use arguing over it," Yaoyorozu says.

After a second of trying to think of another way to argue, Hatsume sighs and types the tracker's location into a text message which she sends over to Sora.

Sora nods. "Thanks, Hatsume-chan." He turns to Natsuki. "We should get going so we can finish this mission as soon as possible."

Just before Sora can fully turn to leave, Hitoshi calls out, "Sora, wait." Sora turns back to him. "Good luck."

After a second, Sora gives him a grin. "Yeah. You too."


"So," Natsuki asks as soon as the others are lost in a crowd. "…Are we going to acknowledge the fact that you totally chose this as your plan because you wanted to be the one to save Midoriya?"

Kenji acts shocked. "I have no idea what you're referring to! It doesn't matter which team actually encounters them, everyone who came in the first place is going to be responsible for getting them home safe and sound. It's a group effort."

"Mmhmm," Natsuki hums in a way that Kenji knows is unconvinced. "…What about promising that Midoriya will stop all vigilante activity, though? I don't know if we can get them to agree to that."

"We won't have to," Kenji says. "Because after this, there's no way Nedzu can deny them access to the Hero Course."

"How do you know that?"

"Cause if the rat doesn't let Izuku in, I'm gonna skin him and wear him like a hat," Kenji mutters, flatly.

"You think that maybe that's a tad harsh?"

"It's exactly what he deserves."


The wind is howling around them when they arrive at the building where the Nomu tracker leads them. Todoroki had nearly lost the wig he was wearing more than once, but eventually once they were in an area with less people around he just let it go.

Hitoshi turns to Hatsume and asks, "Do you see anything in there yet?"

Hatsume focuses on the building, the pink light twinkling from her goggles. "…There's something in the back. I'm not exactly sure what it is, just that it's big."

"Should we check and see what it is?" Uraraka asks.

"Might as well, just in case," Kirishima tries to whisper at first, but the wind is too loud to hear him, so after that he just says it in his normal voice.

"We shouldn't approach it from the front," Hitoshi cautions. “Let's see if we can sneak around through the alleys."

The group nods. Before long, they've started to squeeze through into an alley just until they reach a window.

"Iida," Kirishima says, "Lift me up on your shoulders so I can get a look through that window."

"All right," Iida agrees. For a second, Hitoshi thinks about offering him a pair of night vision goggles so that he can see, but then Kirishima pulls out his own pair. Figures.

"For the most part…" Kirishima murmurs, scanning through the window, "it looks abandoned-" He cuts off with a sharp gasp, almost falling from Iida's shoulders.

"What? What is it?" Todoroki asks urgently.

"Yeah, uh, the 'something big' in the back that you noticed?" Kirishima says, directed to Hatsume, "It's a whole bunch of Nomus."

"Ah. Perfect."

"Is that all that was in there?" Iida asks.

"Yeah," Kirishima nods. "Other than that, the building was completely empty."

"I see," Yaoyorozu hums. "Then this location was incorrect…"

"Hold on," Hatsume directs, her gaze fixated on the ground. "I think they have some kind of… underground setup. I'm getting readings from down there. We never know until we look…"

"But looking means going inside," Iida insists, "That's too dangerous!"

"They won't be able to sneak up and find us," Hatsume promises, "After all, we have me!"

"I… I don't know…" Iida says doubtfully.

"Please, Iida?" Hitoshi asks, a surprise to even himself. "I don't know, I just feel like… if we leave now, we're missing something important."

"He's right," Todoroki agrees.

Eventually, Iida lets out a heavy sigh. "You all are going to be the death of me."

Hitoshi can't help but be reminded of how he first reacted to Midoriya's antics.

Yep. They've definitely rubbed off on me.

Silent as they can be, the group sneaks into the building. At first, Hitoshi was grateful for the wind because he hoped the sound would cover up their entry, and then the wind had nearly slammed the door they were coming through- they stopped it in time, but that would have been louder than any other crash they could have made.

As they sneak through the villain's base, Hitoshi can't help but be reminded of his final exam. That relied on stealth too.

But this isn't an exam. This is real. The consequences aren't passing or not passing… the consequences are getting Midoriya back or… he doesn't even want to consider the possibility of not getting them back. It's not something Hitoshi can bear.

Eventually, the group finds a set of stairs and they go down a level.

"Hatsume. See anything?" Todoroki asks, whispering.

"A few things, actually," she whispers back. Pointing down different hallways as she does, she explains, "It looks like that way, there's some kind of computer room… I think there's someone at the computer but I can't say for sure. I'm pretty sure we should avoid them. Then that way… I think I see someone. From what I can tell, they're just laying stationary. There's another person in the same condition down the last hallway."

"So… one of them has to be Ragdoll-sensei, and the other would be Midoriya-chan?" Aoyama whisper-asks, hopefully.

"It seems that way," Hatsume nods.

"Which hallway do you think we should go down first?" Uraraka asks her.

Hatsume stares at each of them for a moment, calculating. And then, she points, "Down that way."

Silently, everyone complies and heads down the hallway she pointed to, Hatsume in the lead.

Occasionally, Hatsume glances back towards the computer room she had pointed out; probably checking the position of the (possible) villain to make sure that they haven't moved.

Eventually, she stops them as the group reaches a door. She tests the knob, only to find it locked.

"…Does anybody here know how to pick a lock-?" Hitoshi tries to ask, but Hatsume is already pulling out a gadget and sticking it over the door handle. After a second, the lock clicks, and Hatsume pulls the gadget off the door, sticking it back in her pack.

"…That's an interesting invention to have in your possession," Iida comments.

"You know what else is interesting? The Hosu incident. Wanna talk about that, buddy?" Hatsume counters.

"…Continue."

Hatsume turns the doorknob and pushes open the door. But inside the room… they don't find Midoriya.

They don't find Ragdoll, either.

Whoever they've found, Hitoshi has never seen them before in his life.

"Huh?" Hatsume says out loud.

The group of them approaches the strange person.

Like Hatsume said before, they're laying down, stationary.

When Hitoshi gets closer, he notices a few other things too.

They're unconscious, but from what Hitoshi can tell, it's that kind of "I'm having a nightmare" unconscious where even sleeping doesn't make them look peaceful. Next he notices the tube stuck in their arm, which connects to some kind of a medical device. Looking closer at the medical device, Hitoshi reads that it's some kind of sedative. 

Hitoshi looks back to the person, anxious, and this time his gaze falls upon the cuffs latching them to the table, and their left wrist, completely wrapped up in bandages…

"This is like… something out of a freaky horror movie…" Kirishima murmurs.

"But who are they? And… and who would even do this?" Aoyama asks, distressed.

"…It doesn't matter," Iida tells the group, determined, "We need to save them anyway."

"Iida?" Todoroki looks to him, surprised. "I thought you were against the whole vigilante action thing?"

"This is different," Iida says seriously. "Hatsume-kun. Do you have any inventions that work for breaking cuffs?"

"I'm on it," Hatsume nods solemnly, looking through the gadgets she's brought with her.

And so the group works together to try and figure out how to get them free.

Hitoshi doesn't know much what he's doing, but he decides to (carefully) pull out the tube that had been stuck in their arm.

Suddenly, without any warning, their eyes shoot wide open and they take in a deep breath like they had been drowning.

At the same time, Kirishima yelps in surprise as he goes flying back into one of the walls.

Now that they're awake, the strange person is taking in uneven, shaky breaths.

Hitoshi feels a headache starting to grow, but he ignores it now. "Hey, calm down," He tries to assure them, "It's okay, we're not villains."

Their gaze turns to Hitoshi, and after a few seconds they seem to start making an effort to calm down.

(Hitoshi's headache had flared up when they started directly at him, but as they start to calm down, the headache disappears. Is it part of their quirk...?)

Kirishima shoots up from the ground, "I'm okay! I managed to harden before I hit the wall so I wasn't hurt!"

"…Sorry," the stranger mutters quietly, "That was probably… my fault."

Hatsume steps up, "We're… here to help you. Like Shinsou-kun said, we're not villains."

For a long moment, the stranger stares at Hatsume and Hitoshi.

"…What?" Hitoshi eventually asks.

"You have a lot of… gadgets," They mutter. "You must be friends with Sparky."

"Sparky?" Hitoshi echoes, confused, and then he realizes, "You mean Midoriya?"

"Where are they?" Hatsume asks eagerly.

If they know Midoriya, they must have crossed paths…!

But the stranger shakes their head. "If you're looking for them, you're in the wrong place. We used to be in the same base, but then we tried to escape and so… the villains separated us."

"What's your name?" Uraraka asks.

"…Akari."

Before anyone else can talk, Akari continues, "We can talk and walk at the same time. We need to get out of here as soon as possible, before… before he finds out."

"Who? Shigaraki?" Yaoyorozu asks, anxiously.

"He's dangerous, yeah, but that's not who I was talking about," Akari says, absentmindedly looking at their bandaged arm. "I was referring to… to…" They lower their voice further, "All for One."

"We've… we've never heard of All for One before," Iida says.

"Good. Then trust me. You want to keep it that way."

Something about the tone of their voice sends a shiver down Hitosho's spine. He feels himself growing a little lightheaded…

"Come on, there's no point in staying around here," Akari says, turning for the door.

"I can lead the way!" Hatsume offers, jumping up. "I have heat vision goggles!"

"…So they shoot lasers?"

"No! They read heat levels and can tell me where people are even when there are walls in the way."

Akari stares at her for a moment. "All right."

As they walk through the hallways, while Akari stays awake, Hitoshi can definitely tell that they're exhausted. They have a distant look in their eyes, and… to be honest, they look like they haven't had any decent meals or rest for more than a week.

"So… what's your quirk?" Uraraka asks them curiously.

Akari hesitates, and settles with, "It's hard to explain. To be honest, I… I don't know, really."

That catches Hitoshi's attention. "What? How can you not know-"

There's a loud and heavy CRASH above them, heavy enough to shake the ground and make dust fall from the ceiling.

"What was that?"

Chapter Text

Ketsueki sits at a table in the bar area with her head resting in her arms.

Everything is just so… confusing right now.

She trusts Sensei, and she trusts Midoriya too. But right now, both are saying that the other is lying to her. So which is the truth? She's believed in and trusted in Sensei for five years, yet somehow she can't believe that Midoriya is deliberately lying to her. They just… wouldn't.

How can she believe Midoriya though? That would mean that Sensei is the one lying to her, and he would never. Sure, she's had one or two periods where she started doubting him, but the situation was soon after resolved when… when…

Huh. That's strange. She can remember starting to doubt him at points, but she can't remember why, and she can't remember how the problems were resolved.

Weird.

She is a little upset at Midoriya- they made her break her promise that was the condition for being able to visit him.

For a brief moment, she had started to doubt Sensei. How could she? She promised, didn't she? She promised she would believe in him.

Why does she feel doubt growing in her mind? Why now?

It doesn't matter. Even if… even if she doubts, it's not like she can turn back anyway. After… after what she's done, if she was wrong

I'm not wrong. I can't be wrong. I know what I went through, and I know that no one should ever have to go through it.

"You look troubled."

Ketsueki lifts her head to see Magne enter the room.

"I'm… fine," Ketsueki responds. "Just thinking about some stuff."

"What'cha thinkin' about?" Magne asks, sliding into the seat across from her.

"It's… it's stupid. I don't know… I…"

"How about this; I can promise that whatever you say, I won't tell anyone else. That help?"

"You… you promise?" Ketsueki asks.

Magne nods. "Promise."

"I… I was talking to Midoriya-kun earlier and now I'm starting to have some… doubts."

"Hmmm," Magne hums, "Yeah. I know what you mean. I only joined originally 'cause they said we wouldn't actually be hurting the hero kids but… I think the whole vigilante kid threw a wrench in things. I've been thinking that once this job is done, I'll be quitting the League."

So… her too, huh…?

At the very least, Ketsueki is glad she's not the only one with doubts.

 

There's still… one thing… that she doesn't know whether it's true or a lie. And now might be her best chance to find the truth; after all, if it's something they're hiding from her, they would have kept it from Toga too- but they wouldn't have kept it from Magne…

"Can you be honest with me about something?" Ketsueki asks.

"Sure."

"…Midoriya-kun mentioned someone named Akari. Sensei said that everything they  said was a lie, but… I don't know who to believe. So I want to know what the truth is. From you."

Magne grimaces. "Honestly, that Akari kid is probably the biggest reason why I want to quit. Originally, they were part of the League, and their job was to take down the vigilante, but… well, to be honest the kid's not that great at sticking to the truth, so I dunno what the truth of the matter is, but what I do know is that they let the vigilante go."

"And… and then?"

"Well, obviously that pissed off Shigaraki, and then your Sensei came in and stole the kid’s quirk. According to Shigaraki, we can't let them leave because they know the base's location but… I don't think that reason is the only one. Don't think the other reasons would have been so nice to hear either."

A rock sits in Ketsueki's stomach. "So he… he really did keep it from me…"

Magne is quiet for a moment, before offering, "It is a sticky situation. He probably wanted to keep you from worrying about it after it was said and done, and maybe he was convinced-"

"But to lie to me, to my face, when I find out the truth and ask him?" Ketsueki asks. "Why… why would Sensei…?"

Magne leans back in her seat, and glances around the room. Then, murmuring under her breath, she asks, "Do you really want my opinion on this?"

"What-?"

"Shh," Magne shushes, "If anyone hears, they'll have my head smashed in. I'd prefer to leave here with a working skull."

Ketsueki leans forward. "All right, tell me," She murmurs.

"Have I ever told you how I ended up becoming a villain?" Magne asks.

Ketsueki shakes her head "no".

"I have a sister. It used to be that we occasionally saw each other, but… I haven't seen her in years. Anyway. Last time I was with her was… three years ago? And that's what started everything.

"When I was visiting her, it… it didn't take long for me to realize that the man she was with at the time… was abusing her. It made me mad. And so, when he showed up I ended up killing him.

"Technically, it was an accident. I lost control of my quirk in the heat of the moment, and then," Magne snaps her fingers to illustrate the point. "…But I don't regret it. For what he did to my sister, it was what the bastard deserved.

"Granted, no one else would see it that way, of course. To them, it was just another murder. Since then, I've been on the run. Villains are usually the only types that accept having me around anymore, and so I pick up odd jobs now and then, like this one here. But the one thing I'll say is that I never kill innocents. All of the ones that I did in were some kind of abusive bastard, one way or another.

"To get good at killing them, I had to get good at spotting them first. So you wanna know what I think? The vibes that I get off of your Sensei and the way he treats you, and hell, even the way he treats Shigaraki… it's those same vibes."

Ketsueki feels like she's having a hard time breathing. "That's… that's not possible… he… are you saying that he's been lying to me this whole time?"

Magne nods. "Using you, manipulating you, whatever you'd like to call it. Obviously I don't have all the facts, but… the vibe is certainly there."

"I…" Ketsueki pushes herself up from her seat with shaky hands, "I… need some time to think about this myself. I… after all, you said… there's not any real proof… I… I need to go home and think."

"Sure, kiddo. Take however much time you need," Magne says. Ketsueki steps away from the table, but Magne catches her attention again, "Hey. Just saying… if you decide you want an out of this, I'll help you. Villain life is harsh. I don't want a sweet kid like you to get stuck with it and have no way out."

"I'll think about it," Ketsueki nods. "…Thank you, Magne."

 

Sensei… Sensei… should she trust him, or are Magne and Midoriya right? Everything is so… confusing.

 

She knows one thing though.

This time, going to him isn't an option. She has to think about it for herself.

 

But first… home. She has to go home to her apartment near UA.

She tracks down Kurogiri, and leaves the League's base without breathing a word to anyone else.

Faintly, she feels guilty about leaving Toga behind for the moment, but Toga will be fine… Ketsueki will just have to text her that she already left the base…

For now she needs space. And she needs to think things over.


The sun has long past set, and the part of town they wander has been abandoned for a while as well.

In this level of darkness, Hikari really can see without her glasses. Not perfectly of course, the moon and stars are a bit bright for her liking, but you can't have everything, she supposes.

"Are we getting close?" Hikari murmurs quietly to Sora.

"About a block away," Sora whispers back.

"Got it."

Normally, this is the kind of behavior she would fight against, but… the situation is different.

 

According to Sora, there aren't any entrances aside from the door. No windows, a vent too tiny for a person to crawl through, and no back doors.

As long as they get Midoriya and get out, it'll be fine. Definitely. They'll definitely be fine.

"There it is," Sora murmurs, gaze focused on one of the abandoned buildings.

"So… how are we getting in? Are we supposed to walk up and knock on the door?"

Sora shrugs. "Well, it can't hurt."

He walks to the door.

"Wait, wait, wait, I was kidding-!"

Sora knocks on the door.

"What are you-?!" Hikari whisperer yells.

"I have a plan. Don't worry."

"Considering we have not gone over the plan, I am very worried!"

From inside, a voice calls, "Who's there?"

Hikari glares at Sora expectantly. Sora sheepishly glances back- she gets the feeling he wasn't actually expecting a response.

"…Kamino pizza delivery!" Sora eventually calls back.

Hikari looks at him, bewildered and frustrated.

"I panicked!" He whisper yells back defensively.

The door opens, and before the villain can say anything, Sora whips out his stun gun and fires. The lizard-like villain that had answered the door slumps to the ground, unconscious.

Sora steps carefully over the body. "…I'm in."

Hikari sighs heavily, following behind him. "If we die, I blame you."

Behind the door, they find an empty bar; however, given the drink cups sitting around half emptied, it’s not abandoned. There are lights on, and though they're quite dim, Hikari is almost tempted to bring back her pair of regular sunglasses.

Sora drags the lizard villain behind the bar to try and hide the evidence.

Just then, from down the hall, they hear voices and footsteps. Hikari and Sora share a look, then dive behind the bar.

"…I want them DEAD, Sensei," is the first thing they hear once the voices enter the bar room; definitely not a comforting thing to hear.

"I know, as do I," the second choice assures. "They're having a rather rotten effect on our informant, making them question their loyalty… unfortunately, that's the very reason we cannot kill them. Yet. If we kill them now, our informant doubt us further. I'd rather avoid using memory altering quirks as much as possible."

The informant. Question their loyalty.  Memory altering quirks.

So much information is being thrown at her, and her mind almost can't keep up.

"It doesn't matter, Sensei-!"

"Hold a moment… there are intruders in base C."

"What? Intruders?"

Hikari's heart leaps into her throat. He can't be referring to the rest of our group, can he…? Were they discovered?

"I see. The heroes have decided to step up to the plate. We'll continue this discussion later, Shigaraki."

They hear a warping sound, and then, presumably, Shigaraki is the only one left in the room.

For a second, Hikari considers jumping up and stunning him, but then another person enters.

"Who was at the door?"

Hikari side eyes Sora. Is this part of your master plan? She thinks, sarcastically.

"What? What do you mean?" 

"Someone knocked on the door. I thought Spinner went to answer it. Where did he go?"

"I haven't seen him!" Shigaraki yells, exasperated.

Before the conversation can continue, Sora and Hikari meet eyes, and then nod. Both jump up and out of hiding, weapons in hand. Hikari has her gadget pointed at Shigaraki, and Sora points his at a villain covered in scars.

"Hands up, villains!" Sora commands.

"Seriously?" Shigaraki asks, "More teenaged vigilantes? It's like an epidemic!"

"We said, hands up," Hikari repeats.

"You seriously think you can take us?" The scarred villain asks. "We-"

"Greasy over there doesn’t have a long range quirk, and as for you, Mr. Fire Quirk, bold of you to assume this gadget isn't geared towards ice and can't take down any fire you throw at us."

It's a bluff, and Hikari knows it. She just hopes the villains won't.

Slowly the two villains raise their hands.

"I'm pretty sure we all know why my partner and I are here. So give us who we want and we'll leave."

Shigaraki laughs, "It's not happening."

"And why not?" Hikari asks.

"Because now,"

There's the sound of various approaching footsteps.

"…You're outnumbered."

Hikari grimaces as the room fills with more villains. The warp gate, Kurogiri, and the masked magician villain, and the villain with the black and white jumpsuit, and the large lady villain, and… a high school girl with messy blonde hair. Hikari hasn't ever seen her before, but she can't help but think of the traitor.

"…You only think we're outnumbered," Sora boasts. "We have backup on standby. If anything happens to us, then they'll be here to stop you too. You don't want this to get ugly, do you?"

"How many of you are there?" Shigaraki asks.

There's ten of us… Hikari calculates in her head, taking into account the second group that had joined them.

"Fifteen," Sora lies firmly.

"What?! How the hell did you-?!" Shigaraki exclaims, then stops. "What, are you telling me you have fifteen people that actually care about some quirkless kid?"

"Don't call them that!" Sora snaps, trembling now. "They're our friend. It doesn't matter if they have a stupid quirk or not, they'll always be our friend."

Hikari has been staring at the girl villain ever since she entered, and when Sora says that, the girl's face changes ever so slightly.

"Your friend, huh…?" Shigaraki repeats quietly. "Kurogiri."

Hikari turns to point her gadget at Kurogiri, but the warp gate is already opening-

And out of it spills Midoriya.

Seeing her friend again, here, makes her heart stop for a second.

Quickly, Shigaraki snatches Midoriya and pulls them into a headlock.

Midoriya looks dazed and surprised, trying to figure out what's going on, when they meet Hikari's eyes.

"Natsuki? Sora-kun?!"

"Weapons down, now," Shigaraki commands, "And if you don't, I swear I'll kill them."

There's a beat of silence as Hikari and Sora hesitate.

And then

The blonde girl shoots forward at Shigaraki and only stops when she's standing right next to him, a knife pointed directly to his head. "I can't let you do that," She snarls.

Kurogiri looms over her. "Do not interfere-"

The large lady villain steps towards him. "If you even think about attacking her, I'll crush your metal head like a grape."

Suddenly, they're all in a standoff, and Hikari isn't even quite sure how it happened. Why are the villains all suddenly turning on each other like this? How?

"…I suggest you put down your weapons, or this will get, as you said, ugly," Shigaraki says.

"Ugly for you, maybe," Sora counters smoothly. "Can you take a stab to the head?"

"I trust Kurogiri," Shigaraki waves it off. He taps Midoriya with four of his fingers, the fifth just barely held off in the air; "But can your friend here take being disintegrated alive? You came here to save them, right?"

Hikari hesitates, and Sora just barely lowers his gadget.

"Don't-!" Midoriya grunts in protest.

Shigaraki interrupts them by yanking them closer and tighter into the hold. "Shut. Up."

"…Gee," Sora says lightly, "Things are… looking pretty dark for us, wouldn't you agree, Natsuki-chan."

Looking pretty dark?

A second later, Hikari realizes. Her quirk.

"Well? Make up your mi-"

 

Hikari activates her quirk.

 

All at once, the room is covered in an inky pitch black as all light is cut off at once. For everyone else, it's pure blindness. For Hikari… her vision is finally completely clear.

The villains are alarmed now, shouting in the dark, but Hikari knows it won't last forever; she vaults herself over the bar, lunges for Shigaraki, and punches him square in the face.

"GAGH-!"

In surprise, Shigaraki lets go of his headlock on Midoriya. Hikari instantly reaches for their wrist.

"Midoriya, it's me. Come on, we have to go."

Midoriya seems to understand, and avoiding all of the villains stumbling around blindly (still shouting, which hurts Hikari's ears) the two make their way to Sora.

Sora, through the night vision goggles, still has the ability to see; Hikari knows because she and Hatsume made those goggles together.

Running for the door, both of them pull a smoke bomb and throw it into the room. Then, they throw open the door, and run away into the night (making sure to close the door behind them to disguise their exit somewhat, at least).

Hikari deactivates her quirk, and her vision gets annoyingly brightened once again, but she pushes past it for now.

"Hey, yeah, what the hell is going on?" Midoriya asks, as they're still running.

"Escape party!" Sora yells, "Real fun! We'll talk later, run now, mmkay?!" He pulls a gadget from his belt and hands it off to Midoriya, "Also, here, take this- it's better than nothing!"

They have no way of knowing if the villains are pursuing them or not, so running is pretty important right now, because despite their bluff they are in no way capable of taking on seven villains. Or is it five now? She has no idea where to place the girl villain and the large lady villain.

"Wait- wait- what about All for One?" Midoriya asks as they run.

"All for One?" Hikari echoes, "Who's that?"

"He's the real leader- the other villains call him Sensei!"

That rings a bell. Then that would be the villain Shigaraki was talking to before…

"He said he had to go check something in base C," Sora says, "We overheard him talking with Shigaraki."

"Did he say why?" Midoriya asks.

"Intruders or something," Hikari answers. "We just hope he was talking about someone other than Hatsume's group."

"Hatsume's group?" Midoriya repeats, bewildered. Then, they shake their head like they're trying to clear their thoughts, "Okay, we'll talk about that later, but right now if they're in the same area as All for One, they're in danger- we have to help them!"

 

(At that moment, there was the faint sound of a crash coming from behind them. They didn't know then, but that was when the pro heroes launched their own attack on the villains.)

 

Hikari thinks for a moment about what Midoriya is saying about the mysterious 'All for One'. "Sora, Hatsume sent us the location for the place they were going to. You check that, I'll see if I can call her."

"Got it,"

Hatsume doesn't pick up the phone. Hikari feels a wave of anxiety rush over her.

"I have the location," Sora offers, shining at least a little light on the situation-

Midoriya suddenly cries out, and Sora and Hikari turn around frantically to see them completely enveloped in a strange black sludge.

"Midoriya-kun-!" Sora yells, panicked, reaching out for them- but the next moment, they disappear.

Dead silence falls between them as Sora and Hikari meet eyes again.

"Come on, let's go," Sora speaks first, looking to his phone for direction. "Midoriya-kun is probably at base C now- we just got them back, I'm not gonna let some ‘Sensei’ take them away again, and I don't care if he's a crazy powerful supervillain or whatever!"

Hikari nods. "I feel the same. Let's go!"


 

Five minutes ago


When they had heard the crash from above, Mei had worried that it was one of the villains, or a Nomu, or something else awful. Thankfully though, when they get back out, they find heroes.

Apparently, they're doing something about the villains after all.

"The heroes are here now, and they'll rescue Ragdoll-sensei," Iida reasons. "Our job is done. We should leave."

"All right," Mei agrees, and the others nod in agreement too.

Meanwhile, Akari, the strange person they found in the League's base, has a distant look on their face.

"Akari?" Mei asks.

Akari glances at her. "It's… fine. But we should go. And hurry about it."

It starts to sprinkle rain over them.

The group turns to leave, and Mei just hopes that the heroes are there at the second base too, or maybe that Natsuki and Sora actually found Midoriya and actually managed to get them out… knowing Natsuki, if it was possible, she probably was able to do it.

"Huh?" Kirishima murmurs, glancing back at the base. "There's only one villain that's there to fight the heroes. That's weird."

"Really?" Mei can't help but glance back, as well as the others.

At the sight of the villain, standing there alone, Akari goes pale.

(The rain picks up until it starts pouring, the wind throwing it everywhere.)

"Akari?"

One of the heroes prepares to launch an attack at the lone villain.

"Everyone, get down, now!" Akari shouts.

Their voice is so forceful that the rest of them do so immediately, but why-?

 

Behind them, suddenly, there's a BOOM, and despite the wind that had been blowing in the opposite direction, debris flies over their heads.

All at once, Mei goes numb, frozen with terror. Before, she had thought a lone villain was no problem; now, the aura of the villain himself is enough to feel like she's choking on air.

What… what the hell is this…?

"Interesting," the villain speaks, and though it's not rough or particularly loud, the underlying malice in the otherwise normal voice makes Mei shiver down to the core. "I was planning on blasting all you heroes to hell, but you managed to pull them out of the way just in time… Best Jeanist, is it? I suppose that's why you're the number four hero."

He was… this villain was able to do that when faced with the number four hero...?

 

They had thought everything was over.

They were right.

They had just mistaken which side won.

Chapter Text

When Natsuki and Sora had found them and helped them get out of the villain’s base, Izuku thought that they would actually get away with escaping this time.

And then, they had been covered in the black sludge that they knew to be All for One’s own warping quirk, and that hope had been shut down on the spot.

Now, Izuku drops out onto hard, cold, rubble, as rain pelts down from above.

As though he can sense Izuku’s hope still fading away to dismayed despair, All for One laughs, “Did you really think you could get away like that? Under normal circumstances, perhaps I would have let you go… but now that you know about the identity of our informant, that’s out of the question. It’s funny. They revealed themselves with the intent of keeping you safe, but unknowingly doomed you here.”

Izuku grits their teeth but doesn’t respond otherwise.

“Shigaraki. Take everyone with you to base D. I’ll stay here and deal with these pesky heroes, and once I’m done, I’ll rejoin you.”

Izuku hasn’t moved at all since being teleported here, eyes focused on the ground, but when they see one of the villains moving out of the corner of their eye, coming closer to grab them, they snap into action. They pull out and activate the gadget that Sora handed to them while they were running (funnily enough, it’s the electrified staff, which at this point is pretty much one of their trademarks as Green Lightning. Or… well… it was.)

“Stay back,” Izuku orders forcefully, holding it out threateningly, glancing around to see if any other villains are trying to come at them.

All for One merely… sighs, sadly. “You silly child… this is just pathetic at this point. What do you plan to do here, really? You don’t think there's a chance to escape at this point, do you? You don’t think you can continue to fight while you’re still injured from the training camp attack, do you? Give it up. There’s nothing that you can do.”

For a beat, the only sound around them is the pouring rain and the howling of the wind.

Then… Izuku lowers their staff, just a little. “Maybe you’re right. Yeah, I am just a quirkless high school kid, and all I have here is this one gadget, and I’m outnumbered eight to one, and to top it all off I’m still injured. You have me cornered right where you want me, and there’s nothing I can do about it, right? So what is useless little Midoriya Izuku supposed to do?”

“You finally see reason-” All for One starts to say.

“But,” Izuku continues shakily, tightening their hold on the staff, lifting it, and looking up to stare All for One right in the face, “I’m not just Midoriya Izuku. I’m also Green Lightning. Green Lightning, who tracked you down before the League even revealed itself to the world, Green Lightning, who ruined your plan at the USJ by helping one of the students escape and stalling you long enough for the heroes to arrive, Green Lightning, who defeated the Hero Killer Stain, Green Lightning who’s taken out dozens of villains outside of the League’s influence…”

Izuku takes in a breath, gaining confidence now. “I am Midoriya Izuku, and I am Green Lightning. They aren’t two separate entities. Both are me. Maybe you don’t think Midoriya Izuku can fight you, but Green Lightning sure as hell can. And I will. I swear, no matter what it takes, I will never give up.” As if to punctuate their declaration, lightning strikes at the edge of the rubble strewn field.

All for One stands there in silence for a long time. Eventually… that silence is broken with what starts as a chuckle, but grows into a full on laugh. “I have to say, you truly are one of the most… annoyingly stubborn people I have ever met. That being said, you are right. Ever since you were unmasked, I’ve been treating you as Midoriya Izuku. I see now that was a mistake. When I decided that I wanted Green Lightning dead, I should have stuck to that, no matter who you turned out to be. Although… I did tell you, didn’t I? The next time I saw you, I would kill you? I think it’s time to uphold that promise.”

“But… but what about your informant-?” The lady villain asks, bewildered.

“Damn the informant!" All for One snaps, uncharacteristically uncomposed, "Who cares about them, anyway?”

“I care,” Toga growls.

“We’ll talk later, then,” All for One hums, “But right now… it’s time to end this.”

Izuku knows deep down that there’s no way they can take on All for One. But they knew already that the villains wanted them dead, and if they have to make the choice, they would rather die standing.

They can’t let All for One be the one to make the first attack, so they run at the villain, staff raised-

The ground beneath their feet is blasted open, throwing them back effortlessly. Izuku uses the staff to help themself land at least somewhat upright, but when they look back up, All for One is already preparing to fire at them again. They make a dive to the side to dodge the attack, but not fast enough apparently- it still catches them on the shoulder, throwing them into a roll. Izuku still manages to land on their knees, and they rise to a stand… only for All for One to lift them up with some telekinetic ability and fling them at one of the already crumbling buildings.

When they hit the first wall they blow right through it, and when they hit the second wall they leave a clear dent in it before falling to the ground.

Izuku’s head is ringing. Somehow, it’s even worse than getting thrown around by Muscular; probably because this time they're already covered in bruises that are a few days old. Or maybe it’s that All for One is on a whole other level.

But… they… they still can’t give up yet…

Izuku pushes themself up onto their hands and knees-

“No no,” All for One gloats, using the telekinesis to push them back down to the ground, “Don’t get up.”

Before Izuku can even try to fight back, All for One flings them back the other way. They roll for a few feet, and then skid to a stop. They can’t even bring themself to try getting up again. Their grip loosens, and the staff falls from their hand.

They hear All for One’s approaching footsteps, but they feel like they can’t move. Is it even because of the telekinesis, or is it just the utter hopelessness…?

“Pathetic. Just as I thought,” All for One hums. “This is what you get when you try to resist me. You were doomed from the start.”

Through the haze of their mind clouded by pain, one thought pierces through, louder and more desperate than the rest.

I don’t want to die.

They had thought they accepted it earlier, when they decided they’d rather die standing but…

I don’t want to die.

I don’t want to die.

I don’t want to die I don’t want to die I don’t want to die I don’t want to die I don’t want to die I don’t want to die-

“Are you scared now? Good,” All for One hums, and Izuku can hear the smile on his voice. “I’m still going to kill you of course. I meant what I said. I just wanted to make sure that, when I did, I had crushed any of the bravery or confidence that was left in you first. Otherwise it would have felt like you won anyway, you know?”

Somehow, Izuku manages to meekly push themself up onto their elbows. Standing across from them, All for One stands tall, composed, and no more damaged than when the “fight” began.

“If you have any last words, now would be the last time to say them,” The villain offers.

Izuku feels a stinging in their eyes, and so they turn their gaze back to the ground. They don’t trust themself to speak without their voice breaking, so they don’t. The least they can do is keep themself from looking any more weak than they already do.

“Stubborn to the end, I see. Very well. Goodbye, Green Lightning, Midoriya Izuku, or whatever the hell else you’d like to call yourself.”

All for One raises his hand to deliver one final strike.

CRASH

There’s a rush of wind… but the attack never connects. Startled, Izuku looks up.

Standing between Izuku and All for One is none other than the number one hero, All Might.

“I was starting to wonder when you would arrive, All Might,” All for One says, mostly unphased by the development. “Cutting it a bit close, don’t you think? You were almost too late.”

“…I have no words to say to you, villain, save this; I may have failed to destroy you before, but I will not fail again.”

“Yes, yes, I know,” All for One waves him off, bored. “I already had my fill of listening to some stubborn hero dump their hopeful monologue on me. Shigaraki; take the others to base D, now. I would enjoy it if I could kill the child myself, but other than that it doesn’t really matter if you take them dead or alive.”

Before All Might can make any kind of protest, All for One attacks. All Might is strong, and can stand a chance against the villain, but he has no room for dealing with the other villains.

Which leaves… just Izuku.

Get up… I have to… get up…

Now that All Might has All for One occupied… Izuku needs to get up and fight.

“Compress. Grab them,” Shigaraki orders.

Izuku tries to push themself up to their hands and knees… but they're trembling from the effort, and they feel like they could fall back down at any second.

But then.

Toga steps in front of them defensively, a knife in each hand. “If you want to get them, you’re gonna have to go through me.”

“You don’t want to do this,” Shigaraki warns.

“I don’t care about anything you have to say,” Toga says. “You were always horrible to Best-y… but she put up with it. For Sensei. And now… well, there’s no reason to put up with it anymore, is there? And Greeny here was better to me than you ever were, so, I’m not gonna put up with you terrorizing them either.”


“We have to do something!” Hitoshi whisper yells to the group as they glance over and watch the battle take place from the rubble.

Quite honestly, the only reason he hadn’t run out there when All for One was throwing Midoriya around was because Akari had practically tackled him and desperately reasoned that Hitoshi didn’t stand any more of a chance than Midoriya did, and that if he went out there he would just get killed too.

But now All Might is here, and All for One is distracted.

“We can’t fight the villains directly,” Yaoyorozu reasons doubtfully, “And if we jump in there now, we’ll just be in the way.”

“On the contrary,” Todoroki speaks up, “Because Midoriya is still there, All Might is at a disadvantage. He can’t go all out in this fight, because he can’t risk Midoriya being caught up in the damage. All for One, on the other hand, probably doesn’t care if he accidentally damages his underlings, or would at least blame it on All Might. We need to get Midoriya out of there for All Might to be able to win.”

Just then, Natsuki and Sora run up to them, out of breath. “Hey!” Natsuki gasps, “Have you seen Midoriya? We found them and then we kinda lost them-”

Hatsume wordlessly points over her shoulder to the battle.

“Son of a bitch,” Sora mumbles.

“We’re trying to come up with a plan to get them out of there,” Hitoshi explains.

“They're surrounded on all sides though,” Kirishima mutters, doubtfully. “Even if we could get in there, is there a way to get back out without getting trapped or chased?”

Hitoshi grimaces.

“…Is it possible to escape from above?” Hatsume asks suddenly.

Everyone turns to her.


Himiko has no idea how exactly it happened, but the League is splitting in half.

When she stepped up to defend Greeny, she hadn’t expected any backup. She thought she would have to go it alone.

And yet, without even speaking a word, Big Sis, Spinner, and even Dabi all stepped up next to her, joining her. She doesn’t fully know any of their reasons or motives… but she’s grateful.

And as long as she knows her own motive, her head is clear.

Best-y… this is for you…!


"…And that's our plan," Mei finishes explaining.

"That… might just be crazy enough to actually work," Iida reluctantly admits.

"I made what you asked for, but…" Yaoyorozu murmurs, "At this size, it can probably hold only six people, I think."

"Oh, so… we have to decide who goes and who stays down here…" Kirishima says.

"I'm pretty sure I need to stay down here for my part of the plan," Todoroki sighs, "So I can't be one of the ones that goes."

"On the flip side, with Hatsume-kun being the only one with a jetpack, and also the fact that saving Midoriya-kun is the whole point, that's two spaces taken up. So… four left," Iida calculates.

"I… I think that Shinsou-kun and the other Support Students should go," Uraraka suggests.

Shinsou, Sora, and Natsuki look to her in surprise.

"You've all known Midoriya for the longest," Uraraka reasons. "I want to help save them, but… at the end of the day, I hardly know them. Having you guys be the one to do this step… it just feels right."

"So, Hatsume-san, Midoriya-san, Sora-san, Shinsou-san, Natsuki-san… that's only five. There's still one spot left open," Yaoyorozu observes.

"I'll take it."

Everyone turns to Akari, the one who had spoken (if she's being honest, Mei almost forgot that they were there at all).

"Huh? You? But… earlier you looked like you were deathly afraid of All for One," Uraraka points out.

"Well… from the way I see it, this plan is the equivalent of a giant metaphorical middle finger towards him," Akari hums. "There's no way I'm missing out on that." They look away, and Mei almost misses it, but they murmur quietly, "And, maybe… Sparky saved me earlier and I wanna repay them or whatever."

"So, that's decided then," Iida nods.

"We still need one last thing; someone has to distract the villains so that Hatsume-san can get in there," Yaoyorozu says.

"Leave it to me!" Aoyama offers. "I'll use my laser to draw in their attention, and the villains will be totally stunned by my fabulous-ness!"

"First, we need to move around to a different side of the field," Mei says. "We don't want to draw the villains this way, because then they'll attack you guys that are staying here. So… Aoyama-kun's laser distraction is also a signal that it's time to go."

"Right," Todoroki nods. "We'll wait for your signal."

Mei flashes him a thumbs up, and then she and Aoyama turn to sneak their way around the battle.

Occasionally, they sneak a glance over the rubble to check the villain's positions; though she hadn't mentioned it, part of the reason she suggested going around was that she wanted to find a good angle to jump in there from.

"…Here should work," Mei eventually decides. "All right Aoyama-kun, give them the signal."

Silence.

"Aoyama-kun?"

"I… I don't know if I can do this."

Mei turns back to Aoyama. He gives off an entirely different air now than he did when they were back with the group. Now, he's… scared.

"What if it doesn't work?" Aoyama asks. "What if… what if I'm not good enough?"

"You at least have to try," Mei urges, "We're all counting on you-"

"That's why I'm scared!" Aoyama insists, frantically. "Everyone is counting on me, and so if I fail, I'm… I'm letting them all down. I can't, I… I don't think I can do this."

"Well, if you think like that, you won't be able to," Mei says. Before Aoyama can respond, she continues, "Why are you here, Aoyama-kun? What's the reason that you came?"

"Because, I… I think Midoriya-chan is amazing. They're an inspiration-"

"Great! Good! You wanna know how Midoriya-kun got this far? It's because they believed they could. They didn't worry about whether or not they   could- they did it because they thought it needed to be done, and they didn't stop in the middle and start doubting themself. Yeah, maybe that got them into a lot of trouble, but it's also what got them out of it! So, believe in yourself, and then there's no way we can't pull this off!"

Aoyama still seems nervous and scared, but at the same time, Mei can tell that her words have an effect. She sees the determination growing in his eyes.

He nods. "Okay."

Mei beams at him. "Now, give the signal."


Izuku never thought they'd find themself standing on the same side as four villains, but here they are.

Letting the villains just… fight for them without any help on their end would have felt… wrong, so as soon as they had felt like they caught their breath, Izuku had picked up their staff and rejoined the fight.

If it was an option, they'd try making a run for it (after all, the villains are all only fighting over them anyway), but Izuku is pretty sure that if they do that, Shigaraki and the others on his side will immediately switch to stopping them-

A bright light cuts through the dark and draws their attention. The storm has started to calm down a bit, leaving just a drizzle of rain and some leftover wind, but the light is still bright enough to stand out.

What is that?

There's a loud CRACK from the other side of the field, and the temperature drops; they all turn to see a ramp of ice that had appeared out of nowhere.

Todoroki?

Something goes flying up from the ramp, but for the most part it's hard to get a good enough look to tell what it is-

Someone else runs into the rubble strewn field.

 

Huh?!

 

Before any of the villains (or even Izuku, really) can get a grasp of what's happening to properly react, Hatsume shoots over towards Izuku, grabs them in a weird sort of half-hug, and then flies upward using a jetpack.

 

…Wait WHAT?

 

"Hatsume-san?!" Izuku exclaims.

"You could sound a bit happier to see me!" Hatsume jokes.

 

Ah. So. This must be what Sora meant by "Escape Party". Hm. Izuku is still processing that information.

 

They fly up high enough to where they're finally close enough to see the thing that had flown up from the ramp. It's some kind of a makeshift, boxed, sled, and inside of it is a small group of people.

The first person Izuku is able to properly make out is Shinsou, as he leans out over the side of the sled, hand extended.

"Take my hand!"

Not even questioning it, Izuku reaches out with the hand not wrapped around Hatsume and accepts his hand. Similarly, Hatsume reaches out and grabs Natsuki's hand, and then she finally deactivates the jetpack.

"Mission successful!" Sora cheers.

From the back of the sled, Akari- (Akari too?!)- asks, "Hey, uh, guys? Anyone know how to land this thing?"

Everyone looks to each other hopefully before realizing that no, nobody here knows how to land this thing.

"Then we should probably prepare for a bumpy landing."

Hatsume and Izuku glance at each other, and then dangle a little lower so they can get a view from under the sled.

The sled is lowering rapidly, and headed directly for a building rooftop. That, at the current trajectory, could probably squish the both of them flat.

"Pull us up," Izuku says, before Hatsume repeats them, yelling, "PULL US UP, PULL US UP, PULL US UP!!"

Shinsou, Natsuki, and Sora all work together to pull Izuku and Hatsume into the sled. Just as they make it in, their landing happens.

Though, "landing" is a generous word for it; the sled bounces up and down a few feet, then skids for a few more, before finally tipping over, spilling all of them out onto the rooftop.

For a second, the six of them just lay there in a pile, groaning dizzily.

 

Sora is the first one to stand up, patting his limbs all over, and mumbling, "Are we dead? I can still feel my arms, so I think we might not be dead."

"Never again," Shinsou groans, sitting up.

Natsuki nods in agreement. "Never again.

Meanwhile, Hatsume shoots right up, yelling, "Wooh, that was FUN! Let's go again!!!"

Akari, on the other hand, is rolling around on the rooftop laughing their head off, occasionally babbling something about "Oh my god I'm actually still alive."

 

As they're all standing on the rooftop reacting to… what just happened in their own, various, ways, it finally clicks in Izuku's head.

 

"What the HELL were you guys thinking?” Are the first words out of their mouth.

("Oh boy, here we go," Sora murmurs.)

"That was the most reckless plan I've ever seen- what on earth even possessed you to go through with this? You could have gotten hurt, you could've, could've-!"

"Well, we learned from the best," Shinsou deadpans.

"NO, no, this- this is different! You could have died doing this, don't you get it? You-" Izuku turns to Sora and Natsuki, "You were surrounded by villains! You realize they could have killed you, right?" He turns to Hatsume, "You know what, that applies to you too! What were you thinking?!"

Akari raises their hand, "Am I also being yelled at here, or-"

"Later!" Izuku snaps.

"Cool, cool," Akari says, lowering their hand and not so subtly backing away.

"And you, Shinsou-kun, you of all people!" Izuku continues, "You're supposed to be the one that's smarter than this! What if you got caught, you could get expelled from UA, after all the work you put into getting to the Hero Course…!"

A tiny part of Izuku knows that they're being unreasonable and a tad hypocritical, but right now they're too emotional to care. They just can't help but imagine what could have happened if they had failed…

"Why?" Izuku demands, "Why did you do all this? Why did you do this when you could have gotten expelled, or hurt, or even killed?"

"Because you're our friend and we were worried about you, idiot," Shinsou blurts. "We didn't… we didn’t want to lose you."

At those words, Izuku's thought process shuts down as they're overwhelmed with… well, with everything they've been feeling for the past few days. They feel a lump grow in their throat and their eyes start to sting.

Without another word, Shinsou pulls Izuku into a hug, and at that, they can’t help but let all of their emotions out.

At some point, Sora, Natsuki, and Hatsume join in on the hug, but Izuku isn't paying attention to time.

 

Although, when they do check what time it is (once the hug is separated), they realize that it's well past midnight.

It occurs to them that they don't know exactly how much time passed while they were captured either, so they check the date.

 

July fifteenth. Their birthday.

 

Huh. Figures.


Now that everything is said and done, it occurs to the group of them that Izuku… really should probably get to a hospital.

"Time to explain what we're doing here," Natsuki sighs, unenthusiastically.

"Mm," Akari hums. "And I, ah… I should probably get going-"

"You're injured," Izuku points out, stubbornly.

"It's fine," Akari waves it off.

"You need to go to a hospital," Izuku insists.

"No I don't."

"Look at your arm! Are you gonna try to tell me that's fine?"

"It is!"

"Really? Then prove it."

Shinsou groans, "God, you two bicker like siblings."

"See?" Akari gestures to Shinsou, "He agrees that you're being too pushy about this-"

"On the contrary, I think you're the one being stupid and stubborn, and if you don't let us bring you to a hospital, I can and will drag you there."

"Geez, whatever!" Akari groans. "Fine! I'll go to a stupid hospital!"

Izuku sighs in relief. I'm not that bad, am I?

Izuku and Akari separate from the rest of the group, while the others promise they'll visit as soon as possible. Izuku finds that comforting.

It doesn't take long for Pro Heroes to notice Izuku; despite the fact that UA had kept their kidnapping a secret to the media, most of them seemed to be in on that secret.

Akari doesn't say much of anything. Izuku is just glad they stopped fighting against getting help.

An ambulance comes (Izuku thinks that's a bit extreme, but okay).

Then, in the back of the ambulance, Izuku and Akari are finally alone.

"So…" Izuku mumbles, "There's something I wanted to ask you about."

"Oh boy. Is this what you meant by 'later'? Am I about to get scolded for coming to help you?"

"Not… exactly. What I want to know is why you tried to lie for me when we first got caught after trying to escape."

Akari's gaze is focused on watching the window. At Izuku's question, they shrug. "I'm a liar. That's what I do."

"This was different," Izuku says, pointing out, "Usually the logical thing would be to lie in your own favor, but this? In that situation it got you more hurt than you needed to be. And so I just… I just want to know why."

Akari takes in a deep breath. "Those friends of yours. The ones that came to rescue us. They really care a lot about you. And I'm pretty sure there are other people that care about you too, right?"

"I… yeah."

"I don't have any of that," Akari murmurs. "I'm not saying it because I want any pity, it's just how things are. My point is… you had them, and I had nothing. And I thought… I thought that if only one of us could escape, it needed to be you."

Izuku stares at Akari for a long time.

Then, Akari turns to them with a smile plastered on their face. "Or, maybe, that's all a lie and I just wanted you to owe me one. Who knows?"

Akari… you really are a mystery.

Chapter Text

“What the hell were you four thinking?” Shigaraki demands, seething. “You got in our way, and now we LOST Green Lightning!”

“It’s what Best-y would have wanted,” Toga smiles serenely, unphased at Shigaraki’s anger.

“As a vigilante, they were the right kind of person to become a hero,” Spinner defends. “I follow Stain’s rules first and yours second.”

“I couldn’t leave Toga alone,” Magne grumbles. “And besides, attacking children in the first place is a bit low. Even for me.”

“And you?” Shigaraki turns to Dabi, still fuming and annoyed.

“I think we both know you don’t actually care about what I was thinking when I did it,” Dabi mutters.

Shigaraki growls wordlessly to himself. “You’re lucky that Sensei is defeated now- if he was still around, I wouldn’t need you, but now that he’s gone we need more manpower than ever. This time, you listen to me. You follow orders. Is that understood? Any more rule breaking and I’ll break your spine.”

“Yes sir!”

Magne is sooo finding another job elsewhere.


A few days have passed. Izuku is still in the hospital. Not that they're in bad shape anymore… actually, Izuku almost gets the impression that it's to keep an eye on them.

(They can't help but wonder to themself if Shigaraki or one of the other villains told them about Green Lightning, or… maybe they heard Izuku's own declaration when they were facing All for One.)

 

For a while, Akari and Izuku had shared the same room, so Izuku knew what happened with them.

Akari's arm that Shigaraki had disintegrated had to be amputated. Akari waved it off like it was nothing, and even joked about it, but Izuku wonders if it bothers them more than they let on.

 

Mom came to visit as soon as she was allowed to, and though Izuku wouldn't want to admit it, they did cry again at the sight of her. Akari had apparently "taken the hint" and decided to let them have some privacy for their reunion (though, to be fair, the greater part of it was the two of them sitting, hugging, and crying for at least an hour).

Izuku hadn't known it at that time, but that was when Akari snuck away on their own to run off, and apparently they haven't been seen since. Admittedly, Izuku is worried about them and hopes they're okay, but at least they were in the hospital for some time, even if it was small.

So… now, six days have passed, Izuku is still in the hospital.

They're bored out of their mind (and eerily, it reminds them of sitting in that locked room in the League's base), when their thoughts are broken up by a knock at the door.

For a second, Izuku hopes that it's one of their friends- they still haven't been allowed to come see them yet (and Izuku can't message them either, since the League took their phone along with their gadgets).

Rubbing the friendship bracelet like a good luck charm, Izuku calls, "Um, come in!"

The door opens, and… it's not one of their friends, but instead, All Might.

Or… the powered down version of him that was revealed in his fight with All for One, anyway.

…Oh boy, here we go.


Toshinori had already made up his mind to come here, but now that he is, he… doesn't really know what to say.

Now that he's here, the events that happened when he first attacked the villain's base, before All for One came out, replay in his mind clearly like they had just occurred…

 

The wall easily smashed down. Inside the building were the villains…

But neither of the people that the heroes were tasked with rescuing.

The villains had all been already restrained by Kamui, and so Toshinori approached Shigaraki first.

"Where are they?!" He demanded.

Shigaraki scoffed, annoyed. "You're too late."

Usually, those words coming from a villain would have been gloating, or boastful. Instead, the villain sounded… upset. Why?

"What does that mean? Explain yourself!"

"Kid was just rescued by a 'vigilante duo' not even five minutes ago," One of the other villains grunted.

"You've got a real vigilantism problem with the students at UA, huh?"

"…What does that mean?" Toshinori had asked, confused.

"Oh? You hadn't heard?" Shigaraki smiled eerily.

 

What followed was… an explanation that Toshinori hadn’t known whether or not he could truly believe. Then, a group of UA students had shown up to help at the fight with All for One, and he started to wonder if it really was true.

The other heroes have been treating it like it is true, for the most part; it leaves them not quite sure what to do with this case (some of them argue that the kid can’t even technically be called a vigilante due to the definition itself and the child’s lack of a quirk).

But Toshinori wants to know for certain.

From the source.

Midoriya stares at him after he steps through the door, and it makes Toshinori a little self conscious now, considering he’s stuck permanently in his debuffed form…

Eventually, Midoriya looks away and breaks the silence by mumbling, “Um… good job with uh. Taking out All for One like that. Must have been really difficult. I’m glad you were able to stop him.”

“I should have taken him out years before now,” Toshinori deflects. “This should never have happened.”

“But it’s good that you stopped him now,” Midoriya repeats, stubbornly.

Toshinori decides not to debate about it. That’s not why he’s here anyway. “Kid, there’s something I want to ask you about.”

“…Is there?” Midoriya asks, tensely. Toshinori gets the feeling Midoriya already knows what he wants to ask, but Toshinori still feels the need to ask anyway.

“Shigaraki mentioned that… originally, the League’s intent was capturing the vigilante Green Lightning. They succeeded, and when they unmasked the vigilante, it was revealed that it was… you. I’d like to confirm whether or not that’s true.”

Midoriya is still avoiding looking directly at him. “…You already know it is, don’t you? There’s no way you don’t. I’ve never been great about keeping it secret in the first place.”

They're not even trying to deny it. They're just… accepting that they got caught. Toshinori hadn’t been expecting that, knowing the profile of Green Lightning; a vigilante particularly evasive and shrouded in mystery…

“I… I guess Shigaraki succeeded in some way after all,” Midoriya murmurs. “He wanted to get rid of the vigilante Green Lightning, and now… well, no matter what happens, I don’t think you’ll just let me continue doing… that kind of stuff.”

“It’s… definitely a tricky situation,” Toshinori admits.

There’s a pause.

“Was that all you wanted to ask me, or…?” Midoriya asks hesitantly.

“To be honest, I thought you were going to be a lot more argumentative about this. I’m not quite sure what else to say.”

“Then, since you’re here, can… can I ask you about some things? It’s just that… there were some things that All for One said that didn’t fully make sense, and they’ve kind of been… on my mind.”

Some things that All for One said? “Are you saying that All for One talked to you?” Toshinori asks, disbelieving.

Midoriya fidgets. “…A bit ago, I… tried to escape on my own but I got caught. At first Shigaraki wanted to kill me, but then All for One… um… kinda insisted on meeting me in person. I think he was trying to manipulate me, but… when he realized that he wasn’t getting through to me he got… mad.”

A chill goes down Toshinori’s spine at the potential gravity of what Midoriya is describing. But… right now is not the time to dwell on it. “You said you had questions?”

Midoriya nods. “…All for One said that… you and him go way back. Is it a kind of long term nemesis deal, or…?”

“He’s a villain. An enemy to me. He always has been, and he always will be.”

“…Does… does your conflict have something to do with One for All?”

The shock hits Toshinori like a bolt of lightning.

“The names are pretty similar,” Midoriya continues, rambling. “One for All was… um… another thing he mentioned.”

“It… it has everything to do with One for All.”

“Right. And could you… explain what exactly One for All is, just to clarify?”

Toshinori winces. “I… if All for One was trying to manipulate you then… in this case he wouldn’t have to twist the story very much to make it seem… negative, from your perspective.”

“He didn’t mention the connection between his name and One for All, and… I’d still like to hear it from you anyway.”

“I… guess the best place to start is from the beginning,” Toshinori sighs. “All for One… I’m sure you figured out by now that his quirk is the ability to steal powers from others and then give them to people he chooses. In the beginning, he had a quirkless brother. There’s no way of knowing if it was out of pity or if it was a way to use him, but All for One gave him a quirk that stockpiles power. Except… it turned out that his brother wasn’t so quirkless after all. He just had a quirk so useless that originally it wouldn’t have mattered. That quirk was… the ability to pass itself on. However, when the power stockpiling quirk and the brother’s quirk mixed, it created… One for All. A way to pass on power from generation to generation. I am the eighth holder of this quirk, and… I was… I was quirkless before receiving it. Like you.”

“…I see. And, this is just a hunch, but… would Togata-senpai happen to be the ninth?”

“You noticed, huh?” Toshinori winces. “It’s true. And after passing it on, One for All has been leaving me, and… that last fight with All for One is what finally used up the last of my power. I’m now functionally quirkless again.”

“You… lost your power because you had to fight All for One,” Midoriya murmurs. “So, if it weren’t for me, then…”

“No,” Toshinori insists, and surprised, Midoriya finally looks up at him. “Me losing One for All was not your fault. It’s been happening for a while now. Don’t try to blame yourself.”

“…All right,” Midoriya mumbles, and as they do they glance away slightly, but for the most part they stay facing Toshinori. “I, um… I still have one last question.”

“Yes?”

Hesitantly, Midoriya glances up to meet his eyes, before asking quietly, “Who… who is Nana Shimura?”

Toshinori freezes where he is, and his heart nearly stops altogether. “Would… would you mind explaining… the context in which he brought up that name?”

Midoriya fidgets nervously. “Um… towards the end of the… talk, he said that one of the reasons that Shigaraki hated me so much was that I… um… apparently remind him of you. All Might. But, um… All for One… he said that I didn’t remind him of you, but that I reminded him of… Nana Shimura. I tried to ask who that was, but he… wouldn’t explain. Instead, he said that… if I ever saw you again, I should ask you. I don’t think he ever thought I would be able to see you again, but… since I am anyways…”

Staring at Midoriya, an ache grows in Toshinori’s chest. He had started realizing it before, but now, it’s becoming increasingly obvious, that…

“Nana Shimura was… the seventh holder of One for All. My predecessor.”

…Midoriya would have been perfect for One for All. Their selfless drive, their work ethic, and now… the fact that All for One would compare them to Nana…

“Are you angry with me?” Toshinori asks.

Midoriya looks at him confused. “About what?”

“Are you angry that I didn’t try to offer you One for All? That I didn’t offer it to you even though I too used to be a quirkless person who dreamed of being a hero?”

Midoriya lets out a soft laugh. “It’s funny. Togata-senpai asked me almost the same question- although, he didn’t mention One for All, because it was a secret, but… he asked me, if it were possible to receive a quirk from someone else, would I want to have that quirk.”

“And… what did you tell him?” Toshinori asks, anxiously.

“I told him no,” Midoriya answers simply, and they continue, “And that’s the same answer I have for you right now. If you had tried to offer me One for All, I would have said no. It wouldn’t be right if I became a hero just because I got your quirk.”

“It wouldn’t be just because of One for All,” Toshinori defends, “You would have had to do a lot of preparation to be able to accept it, and learning to use it would be all your effort-”

“But how is that effort any different from the effort I’ve already been putting into my attempts to be a hero?” Midoriya counters, a slight edge to their voice. After a moment, they slow down and take a deep breath. “…If I got One for All, I would have been in the Hero Course. Yeah. But is that really what I want, only succeeding because I suddenly have a quirk? It’d be like saying everything else I’ve done just doesn’t matter.”

…I see. Midoriya may have been perfect for One for All… but One for All would not have been perfect for Midoriya, Toshinori observes. I suppose I made the right decision after all, then…

It also makes it clear that they really… have been treating this kid unfairly. Because, they're right; if they had a quirk, any quirk, there was no way they wouldn’t have been admitted to the Hero Course. Especially not after the Sports Festival. But, because they were quirkless, the other staff of UA- no, not even just them, Toshinori himself too- they all discredited any of the kid's achievements and decided there was no way they could be a hero.

“…I once told you something, and I realize now that I was wrong,” Toshinori murmurs, “I’d like to correct myself now that I’ve realized that though, if you’ll let me.”

“What?” Midoriya asks.

“You asked me if you could be a hero without a quirk, and I told you no. But… I was wrong.”

Toshinori takes a deep breath.

“Midoriya… you can be a hero. Quirk or no quirk.”

Midoriya stares at him in shock.

Toshinori isn’t sure what else to do from here, so he clears his throat awkwardly, and says, “That’s… all I had to say. I’ll leave you alone now.”

Toshinori turns towards the door.

“All Might, wait!”

Toshinori turns back to them.

“…Thank you,” Midoriya says, still looking bewildered.

Toshinori smiles, gives them a thumbs up, and then leaves.


“…a vigilante, they should be immediately expelled, if not arrested all together!” A voice roars, the first thing Toshinori hears as he enters the conference room where the other heroes are still discussing the Midoriya situation.

Toshinori sighs heavily. Throughout this entire thing, Endeavor has been consistently the most vocal on the side of those that want the kid to receive some kind of punishment.

“Again,” Aizawa mutters, exhausted, like he’s had to explain this a thousand times already, “Technically, Midoriya hasn’t committed a single crime.”

“How is that possible?” Kamui asks skeptically.

“They don’t have a quirk, so they couldn’t have attacked any villains with a quirk. In the law, everything that’s not a quirk, as long as it doesn’t include lethal force, falls underneath defense laws.”

“They weren’t defending though,” Endeavor argues, seething, “They were attacking the villains. That’s not defense.”

“On the contrary,” Aizawa doesn’t even bother looking at him as he refutes Endeavor’s claim, “Every recorded Green Lightning appearance has been in the defense of someone being attacked by a villain. Green Lightning never started the fights, and therefore, because of the lack of quirk, falls under defense laws.”

“What about their gear?” Endeavor demands, getting more and more heated, “Isn’t it illegal to create support gear without a license?”

“As a student of UA’s Support Course, they are licensed to create support gear,” Nedzu hums. “It would be a problem if they distributed the gear, but they didn’t.”

“Don’t tell me you’re actually on their side!”

“I am on the side of logic,” Nedzu narrows his eyes. “I will consider both sides of the argument, and come to a conclusion of whether or not Midoriya should be expelled-”

“You can’t,” Toshinori finally speaks up.

Everyone in the room turns to him.

“You can’t expel them,” Toshinori repeats. “That’s just cruel. That kid belongs at UA. Not just at UA- in the Hero Course.”

“Are you suggesting we reward Midoriya for what they have done instead of punish them?” Edgeshot asks, eyebrow quirked.

“I’m suggesting we give them what they deserve. Since the beginning of this school year, we have been denying Midoriya what they rightfully earned. This is a result of that action; because we denied them simply because they were quirkless, they did what they had to do. All because they had a selfless drive to help people.”

“So what you’re saying is,” Endeavor mutters, “They're a child throwing a temper tantrum because they didn’t get their way, and so now you want to just give them what they want? That teaches them that this is an acceptable way to deal with losing at something.”

“If anyone is a child throwing a temper tantrum, it is you,” Aizawa says coldly. “They didn’t lose. The point is that they won, and you all denied them what they rightfully earned. Did that go in one ear and out the other for you? Am I going to have to explain this repeatedly to get it through your thick skull?”

Endeavor glares at him, but doesn’t respond.

Toshinori takes the silence to continue, “The only reason we have denied Midoriya is because they're quirkless. Had the situation been any different, it wouldn’t have even been a debate; they would have been in Class A from the start. This problem is one of our own creation. To solve it, we should right what we did wrong. Put Midoriya in the Hero Course.”

“Well…” Nedzu hums, calculating.

“I agree,” Aizawa speaks up. All Might never thought they would be able to agree on anything, but here they are. “Frankly, I thought it was incredibly stupid to not admit them after the Sports Festival to begin with.”

Nedzu folds his paws in front of himself, and rests his chin on them. “…As I said. I will need to take both sides of the argument into consideration. You make a good argument, but it still needs to be thought through to see if your argument holds water.”

“You’re actually listening to them?!” Endeavor demands.

“I’m listening to your side too,” Nedzu points out sharply. “And considering they’ve given far more support for their argument, you have no room to talk about what I am listening to and considering. If you actually gave some decent arguments that weren’t so easily refuted, I might be more inclined to listen to you.”

“I shouldn’t need to argue about it when I’m obviously right!” Endeavor yells, furious.

“Enough. I’m done discussing this,” Nedzu states, and his tone says that it’s final. “And whether or not what Midoriya did was right, it is true that, legally speaking, they have not broken any laws. Because of that, I see no further point to keeping watch on them here. Send them home, and we’ll decide from there whether or not Midoriya and the other students should be expelled.”

“…The other students?” Endeavor asks, hesitantly.

“The ones who came to rescue Midoriya, of course. What they did is fundamentally not all that different from what Midoriya did, and so if you want Midoriya to be punished then naturally, they should also receive punishment. Especially the students who used their quirks without a license, like Todoroki Shouto.”

Endeavor visibly winces at that.

Nedzu is scary when he makes threats… remind me to never get on his bad side.  


Izuku isn’t sure if it’s something All Might did or if it was just a coincidence, but the night after they have their talk, Izuku is officially released from the hospital and free to go home.

Izuku is ecstatic at finally being back home.

Somehow, even the idea of being able to sleep in their own bed again makes them almost burst out crying for what must be the hundredth time since escaping from the League. (They really wish that he could stop crying so much right now, but they can’t help it.)

When they wake up… it’s nearly noon; they can’t remember the last time they slept so well.

 

Good. Good. If things just… go back to normal they can… they can just put this whole incident behind them. Everything is going to be fine. They're home now. They're home. Everything is going to be fine.

 

The first thing they notice when they step out of their room is the smell of food coming from the kitchen. They don’t even have to think twice about what to do next; they immediately follow the smell out to the living room.

When Mom sees them, she beams at them (they missed that… so much. They missed Mom so much.) “You’re up now! That’s good. I was just finishing up breakfast.”

“I can set the table,” Izuku offers.

“No no, I’ve got it! You don’t have to bother yourself with that.”

“I want to help you though.”

Mom smiles at them softly. “…Okay then. If you would like to set the table, go ahead. I appreciate it, thank you.”

Izuku sets the table for the two of them, just in time for Mom to move the food from the kitchen to the table. It’s katsudon. She made them katsudon. Their favorite.

Nope nope nope, do not cry, I am not gonna cry again, do not cry. Not going to cry. Nope.

The two of them eat in silence, mostly because it’s hard to talk when you have food in your mouth. It’s the most amazing meal they've had in a while, between having exactly one sandwich while stuck with the League and hospital food. Having some homemade cooking… well, looks like that’s just one more thing that they missed so much more than they realized that they did.

“Izuku? Honey? Are you okay?” Mom asks, concerned.

Izuku looks up, shaken from their thoughts. “Huh?”

“You’re crying again,” Mom points out.

Ah… guess I am, huh.

“It’s nothing,” Izuku mumbles, brushing the tears from their eyes. “I’m just…”

“I’m really happy to be home.”

Mom smiles at them again, and this time, Izuku can see her starting to cry as well.

“Not happier than I am.”

They both break out into tears again, and step around the table to come back into a hug.

Izuku gets the feeling that there’s going to be many more tears and many more hugs to come.


 

Bonus:

 

Mei stands in front of a full body mirror, wearing her heat vision goggles, her hair up in pigtails, and wearing a black hoodie with a single, bright pink heart on the front. She holds up a gadget and strikes a pose.

“I am the light that pierces the darkness! The boom that splits the silence! I am the one who can see clear even through the darkest of hours. I am… PINK LIGHTNING! Evildoers of the world, beware! BWAHAHAHA-!”

“Hatsume, what are you doing?” Natsuki frowns, watching from the doorway.

Startled, Hatsume almost drops her gadget but scrambles to regain her hold on it, before turning to Natsuki, hiding the gadget behind her back. “H-hi Natsuki-chan! I’m- I’m not doing anything, ahahaha!”

Natsuki stares at her for a second, unconvinced. Then…

Natsuki removes her glasses again for a moment and strikes a dramatic pose, chin pointed to the air, “And I’m the dark to compliment the light- I am… Blackout! Villains never stand a chance against the amazing vigilante duo of Pink Lightning and Blackout!”

For a moment, Mei is speechless. Seeing Natsuki act so silly is a rarity. Mei can’t help it- she bursts into a fit of giggles; soon after, Natsuki joins her.

“Okay,” Natuski eventually says, trying to regain control, “Can you seriously come help me put all of these away? There are some labels that don’t match up with what’s on your shelves…”

“Yep! Coming!”

Chapter Text

There’s a dull, rapidly repeating thud as Izuku’s leg bounces up and down from where they're sitting on the couch. They're not intentionally bouncing their leg, necessarily, it’s more of a habitual thing. The same could probably said of the way they're tapping their finger on their cheek as their head rests in their chin, to be honest.

They don’t want to admit it, but… just sitting at home is making them anxious. Not the part that it’s home, of course, but the part where they're just sitting in one place, not doing much of anything…

(It probably has something to do with… what happened after the training camp up to now when they came home.)

(They don’t want to acknowledge that though.)

They try staying where they are for another few minutes, but eventually they can’t take it anymore; they can’t take being in one place for too long right now.

“Hey mom, do you mind if I go out for a bit?” Izuku asks; not because they think she’ll have a potential problem with it, but because they know that if she doesn’t know where they are, she could panic (although, considering the circumstances, they can’t really blame her…).

“Out? Where do you plan on going?” Mom replies.

“I was gonna see if any of my friends were free to hang out and then we could plan something together. Is that all right?”

“All right,” Mom agrees. “Stay safe. I love you.”

Izuku beams. “Love you too, Mom!”


They make their way to Dagobah Beach first, before sending a quick message to the group chat to meet them there. (They have a new phone now; and they notice that the group chat is full of messages, but they don’t really want to bother with scrolling back through and reading all of them).

Izuku steps into their base for the first time since the… incident.

They notice a few things; aside from the ones they brought with them to the training camp (which are… kinda gone forever now, they suppose), one or two gadgets are missing from the shelf, a few others misplaced in the wrong spot; one of them is sitting on the table, which had been cleared of whatever Izuku had originally left on it.

Izuku gets the feeling it has something to do with their friends and that reckless plan of theirs…

Behind them, there’s a rustle and a soft squeak. Izuku turns to the sound.

Garby sits on the ground, staring up at them. The visor on his head displays

[!]

“Garby?” Izuku says softly. Oh god. They hadn’t even thought about Garby. What had happened with Garby while they were gone? Was anyone looking after him?

Before Izuku can say anything else, Garby is scrambling towards them and climbing his way up to their shoulders.

Izuku can’t help but laugh as Garby nuzzles them insistently. Both because it tickles, and because… wow they did not even realize just how much they missed Garby.

“You look like you’re kinda having a moment, so do you want me to come back later, or…?”

Izuku looks over, surprised, to see Shinsou standing in the doorway. “Oh, Shinsou-kun…!”

Garby jumps down and runs towards Shinsou, looking between Izuku and Shinsou as if to say Look!! Did you see?? They're back!!

“Yeah, I know,” Shinsou mutters to Garby, “Went and got them just for you.”

[Doubt]

“Oh come on, what’s that for?” Shinsou scoffs.

“Maybe he’s able to tell that the real reason you came to save me was ‘I’m your friend and you were worried about me, idiot’,” Izuku suggests, quoting what Shinsou said.

“I… did say that out loud, didn’t I,” Shinsou mutters, half to himself.

“Yep, you did,” Izuku nods.

“…It was true though. I really was worried.”

Izuku can’t help but recall how Shinsou had reacted, after finding them at the training camp and stopping Muscular. They… can’t help but remember…

“I’m… I’m sorry about that, by the way,” Izuku mumbles.

"Sorry for… what exactly?” Shinsou asks.

“I promised you… I promised you that I was going to be safe, and then I-”

“You’re not seriously about to try and apologize for the fact that villains captured you?” Shinsou interrupts. “Because you better not.”

“I promised you that I’d be okay, though,” Izuku insists guiltily.

“That doesn’t make it your fault,” Shinsou argues. “Look I… I know, you really want to blame yourself, I know how that feels because…” For a moment, Shinsou falters, trying to figure out what to say, “Because when we were planning to come get you, the others felt that way too. Hatsume, and Sora, they both felt like it was their faults. And… and I kinda blamed myself too. The point is, you shouldn’t blame yourself. No one else does. It was the villains’ fault, okay?”

Izuku stares at Shinsou for a moment, speechless with shock. They… they all blamed themselves? For a second that almost makes them feel more guilty, but… they stop themself. That’s not the point of what Shinsou is saying. After a few seconds, Izuku nods. “Okay.”

Shinsou lets out a shaky sigh. “Geez, Midoriya-”

“Izuku.”

“…What?” Shinsou looks at them, a little surprised.

“I mean… if you want to, you can call me Izuku,” They mumble. “…No pressure though. Only if you want to. It’s just… we’ve been through a lot together and so… if you want to, I really don’t mind.”

“…Okay,” Shinsou says eventually, before adding, “…Izuku.”

For some reason, hearing Shinsou say that fills Izuku with a warm feeling.

“And, um. I guess if you want to, you can call me Hitoshi too,” Shinsou mutters. “I mean. You don’t have to. Y’know. It’s up to you.”

“Hitoshi…” Izuku says slowly. “…Got it! Hitoshi!”

“Yeah, yeah, well… don’t wear it out,” Shin- er, Hitoshi mumbles, glancing away.

Izuku smiles. “…You know, I um… I missed you, Hitoshi.”

“…Yeah. I missed you too.”

It’s not really one of them that steps forward first, but both of them, almost in unison, move forward and wrap each other in a tight hug.

They did hug before, right when the plan had (… well, worked, Izuku supposes), but this time it feels… different.

It’s like the hug before was a question; is it really safe? Did we make it? Are things going to get better from here?

This hug is an answer. It tells Izuku, yes. We're safe. You're home, and you're safe, everything will only get better from here.

Izuku hugs Hitoshi tighter, like they're clinging on to that feeling, because they never want to let go of that.


Eventually, the others all arrive; Natsuki, then Hatsume, and then almost at the same time, Sora and Todoroki.

“So, what’s the plan?” Hatsume asks. “What are we up to?”

“I wanted to see you guys,” Izuku answers like it’s obvious (because, to them, it is.)  “And I couldn’t take being cooped up at home, so I wanted to get out and do something, so I figured it would be good to kill two birds with one stone.”

“Sorry we couldn’t visit you, by the way,” Natsuki says. “We really wanted to, but they kept denying us access, and then you were already released, and… we didn’t know whether you wanted us to bother you once you were home…”

“It’s fine,” Izuku promises, “I didn’t think you were avoiding me.”

“Are…” Sora starts to ask, hesitant, but he continues, “Are you still mad at us for coming after you?”

For a moment, Izuku isn’t sure how to answer. Then… “Well. I… probably would have done the same so… I can’t really be mad. To be honest, I’m just surprised that so many of you came.”

“To be fair,” Todoroki mutters, “When Kirishima came to me about the plan and we were trying to find other people, we… didn’t know that Shinsou, Natsuki, Sora, and Hatsume were kinda planning the same thing. So it was kinda… like, two separate groups, technically.”

“That… doesn’t make it any less overwhelming. Actually, I’m more overwhelmed now. What the heck you guys. You mean Kirishima-kun was there too? How many people actually showed up?”  

“Well… there was also Uraraka, and Yaoyorozu, Aoyama you probably already guessed, and Iida was there. Actually, Iida tried to stop us at first, and then when he realized that wouldn’t work, he joined us to try and keep us from being too reckless.”

“…I mean, from the looks of things, he didn’t really succeed,” Izuku mutters.

“On the contrary, I was prepared to run in and fist fight every single one of the villains for you,” Hatsume hums.

Sora opens his mouth to add something, giving a small glance to Natsuki, when Natsuki lightly elbows him in the side.

…Izuku both wants to and doesn’t want to know what Sora was about to say.

“You know what, let’s just decide what we’re gonna do to hang out before you work me into anxiety again,” Izuku mumbles.

“Oh! Oh!” Hatsume jumps up and down, “I know where to go!” She pulls her phone from her pocket, “I was just thinking that I hadn’t been to the zoo in forever! There’s a really neat one close by, and I think it would be cool to go together!”

“Any objections?” Izuku asks, just to be sure, glancing around at the others. No one says anything. “Zoo it is!”


They’re about halfway there when the group hears a loud SQUEAK! and there’s a rustle from inside Hatsume’s bag.

“Hatsume,” Hitoshi says, tired.

Hatsume unzips her bag to reveal Garby, and mutters, “But he wanted to come!”

“We can’t take a ferret to the zoo!” Izuku protests.

“You’re not gonna make him leave are you?” Hatsume pouts. After a second, she holds up Garby, who’s visor displays a pouty face, to help emphasize her point.

Izuku sighs heavily. “Okay, fine.”

At the same time, Hatsume beams and Garby’s visor switches to [:)].


They walk around for a while, naturally, because that’s kind of… how being at the zoo works.

After a bit, Izuku notices that Natsuki is occasionally writing in some kind of a notebook when they occasionally stop at an exhibit.

Eventually, Izuku has to ask, “What are you writing?”

Natsuki jumps and snaps the notebook shut. “Ah… nothing!”

Izuku raises an eyebrow at her.

She sighs, and mutters, “I… know I need to work on being more creative when it comes to building things so… I don’t know, I thought I’d try to take some inspiration from animals, I guess? Like-” She opens the notebook again, flipping through the pages, “Maybe some leg braces that make it so the user has the kicking power of a kangaroo?”

Izuku blinks at her in surprise.

Natsuki laughs nervously, and mumbles, “Yeah, kind of stupid, sorry.”

“I wasn’t thinking that!” Izuku waves their hands back and forth frantically.

“That’s a really cool idea, Natsuki-chan!” Hatsume adds. “And if it helps you get your creative ideas flowing, it’s not stupid!”

Natsuki gives a small smile. “Thanks.”


In the reptile house, Izuku finds Sora staring at a really big snake.

“Do you think a really big snake would, naturally, eat really big rats?” Sora asks.

“…You reeaally need to take it easy and stop thinking about Nedzu.”

“Probably.”


Right after the reptile house is the amphibian house.

Every time Todoroki passes a frog, he points to it and says in a deadpan voice, “Look, it’s Asui.”

You’d think it would get old after the first few times, but somehow each time the group finds it funnier.


When passing through an aviary, Hitoshi points to a bird and says, “Look, it’s Tokoyami.”

The group breaks into even more uncontrollable cackles.


Every time they pass a big cat exhibit, whether it’s a fearsome lion or a stealthy panther, both Hatsume and Hitoshi gasp dramatically and shout, “Cat!”


Hatsume stares at the otter exhibit for a moment, before turning back to the rest of the group. “Water ferrets.”

“Ah yes,” Sora hums, nodding in agreement, adding on to the joke, “Garby’s cousins…”

At that, Natsuki glances around at everyone. “…Speaking of has… anyone seen Garby recently?”

Everyone glances around then, and finds that Garby is not with the group.

“Oh god, where did he run off to now…” Izuku grumbles, worried.

“Guys. Hey guys. Look back to the exhibit guys.”

Izuku slowly turns around, to see…

“Garby, get out of there right now!” Izuku shouts, but in a whisper, trying not to draw attention from anyone outside their group.

Because yes, indeed, Garby found some way to sneak into the otter exhibit.

Out of the corner of their eye, Izuku sees Sora slowly lift up his phone to start filming Garby, and then Todoroki leans over and whispers, “Hey, send the video to me later.”

“Why?”

“I think my siblings would love to know what the funny little ferret is up to.”

“Deal.”

They’re no help, Izuku thinks glumly, turning to the others.

“Well,” Hatsume says, “I did say they were water ferrets, and NOW they have one land ferret!”

“Hatsume-san, that doesn’t help,” Izuku mutters.

Hitoshi merely has his face in his hands. “Even the ferret. Even the ferret is stupid and reckless.”

“You know what?” Natsuki sighs, “I’m not even surprised. Of course he did that.”

The situation is eventually resolved when Garby steals one of the toy balls in the exhibit, makes a run for the exit while being chased by the otters, throws the ball back to distract them just in time, and makes it back through the bars and fence to escape.

Garby sits in front of them, with a smug [:)] on his visor.

“Garby, I can and will put a leash on you.” 

[Doubt]

“Yes I will!”

“To be honest, I don’t believe that you would either,” Hitoshi mutters.

Izuku pouts. “Traitor.”


At the end of the day, even after Garby’s… escapade, Izuku really enjoyed hanging out with their friends. It turned out to be exactly what they needed.

They all retire back to Izuku’s base first, and from there they start to disperse, each of them starting to head home one right after the other.

Coincidentally, Hitoshi is the last one in the base (other than Izuku themself), just as he had been the first one to arrive.

Before Hitoshi can officially leave, a thought comes to Izuku. “Hey, ah, Hitoshi?”

“Yeah?” Hitoshi turns back to Izuku quizzically.

“There’s actually… something I really want you to help me out with, if you can.”

“Sure, what is it?”

I… I haven’t told anyone the truth about this so… it should be okay to ask…

“I need to get into contact with Orenji-san.”


Izuku paces around the entrance to the beach anxiously.

They had told her to meet them here so that they could talk; she hadn’t made any kind of reply, but they know she did at least read the message. They only hope that… she’ll actually come-

“What were you thinking?”

First they hear her voice from behind them, but before Izuku can turn, a streak of red comes at them from the front, stopping just in front of their face; Orenji’s quirk… probably.

“I’m with the League of Villains,” She says, voice trembling. “I know that. You know that. Why would you call me here? Don’t you know Shigaraki is in charge now that… he’s gone? And Shigaraki wants you dead. So… so give me one good reason not to kill you right now.”

Izuku swallows, trying to force themself to relax. “Because you don’t want to.”

“And what makes you think that?!” Orenji demands. “You don’t know anything about me-”

“If you had wanted to, you already would have. And… you wouldn’t have asked me to give you a reason not to. And Orenji-san… I do know you. I truly believe that… what you thought you were doing was the right thing.”

The attack in front of them falls, zooming behind them (presumably back towards Orenji). Finally, Izuku turns to face her.

Her head is down, gaze fixated on the ground.

“Orenji-san… I-”

“You were right,” She interrupts, voice thick with emotion. “You were right the whole time. He… really was just using me. God, I’m so… I’m so stupid…!”

“No, you’re not stupid-”

“But I am!” Orenji yells, finally looking back up. Her eyes are welled with tears, her expression furious. “Five years, he lied to me for five whole years, and I just… let him! I thought he… I actually thought he cared. I thought that, for once, an adult actually cared about what I had to go through, but… he never actually did, did he?”

“Orenji-san… I can’t even imagine how you’re feeling,” Izuku admits, “But it’s not too late. You don’t have to stay with the League of Villains, you can just give up, stay at UA and become a hero-”

“No, I can’t!” Orenji shouts, frantic. “I betrayed them, don’t you get it?! I betrayed you all! It doesn’t matter what my intentions were, because… because you were right. I really did put them in a position where Shigaraki could have… could have actually hurt them. How am I supposed to face them again, knowing that? How?!” She buries her hands in her hair, and says, “I… even when I thought of that possibility early on, I thought… deep down, I thought that maybe it didn’t actually matter. Because… they wouldn’t care about me if they knew the real me, right? The quirkless me. But then… but then… they came to save you. They hardly knew you, and they knew you were quirkless, but so many of them came to save you. And now I… I know there’s absolutely no excuse for what I’ve done.”

“You can still start over!” Izuku urges desperately. “You didn’t want them to get hurt, and… your goal was never just to fight heroes for the sake of fighting them. You don’t belong with the League-!”

“But that’s the condition, isn’t it?” Orenji asks sadly.

“What?”

“That’s Nedzu’s condition for you to be admitted to the Hero Course,” Orenji sniffles. “You would have to tell him that I’m the traitor. And then… there’s no way I could go back.”

“Then…” Izuku hesitates, “Then I won’t! Orenji-san, I can’t just-”

“I know,” She sniffles again, a sad smile on her face. “I know you can’t do it. So I’m… I’m making the decision for you. Because I know you wouldn’t be able to.”

“Orenji-san-!”

“Tell Nedzu I won’t be coming back to UA,” Orenji says thickly, smiling despite the few tears running down her face, “And then tell him that I’m the traitor. Tell him that UA is safe because I won’t be coming back.”

“You can’t do this…!”

“I still have some more thinking to do but… on this choice, there’s no other way. Even if I stopped being the traitor, Nedzu would still be on you and your friend Sora-kun about what happened to me, right? It would only make things harder for you. And I… I don’t deserve to be there in the same place as them after what I’ve done.”

Izuku tries to think of some argument, some counter, but… he can’t. Her… observation about Nedzu is undeniably right.

Orenji brushes the tears from her eyes with a soft laugh. “Thank you… thank you for meeting with me like this. I know this isn’t what you wanted out of this, but… it’s what I wanted. And… like I said, I have to work some things out for myself, but… until I have, you probably shouldn’t reach out to me like this again.”

“It doesn’t have to be like this,” Izuku murmurs.

“But it is.” Orenji gives them one last sad smile. “Goodbye, Midoriya-kun. If I ever see you again, then… that will mean that things have gotten better.

 

"That being said… I hope to see you again soon.”

Chapter Text

The next morning, Kenji gets a call from Midoriya.

“I know who the traitor is.”

Any leftover drowsiness is immediately washed away by those words. They agree to meet up within the hour, and Kenji hurriedly sets about getting dressed.

Midoriya and Kenji meet up, and then head towards UA together.

Kenji… almost wants to ask Midoriya what exactly they found (or even why they didn’t bring it up earlier) but… Midoriya’s expression is so stormy, he decides it’s better to not ask.

Nedzu lets them in right away when they arrive.

“Have a seat, have a seat,” Nedzu cheerily offers, “Would either of you like a cup of tea?”

Kenji can’t help but be a little angry that despite everything that’s happened, Nedzu is now acting all “buddy buddy” with them. For that reason, he grumbles, “No thanks.”

Midoriya simply shakes their head.

With a shrug, Nedzu pours out a cup of tea for himself. “Now then, down to business. Midoriya-kun, you have something to report?”

Midoriya purses their lips. Eventually, they murmur, “Orenji Ketsueki. From Class 1-A. She’s the traitor.”

Kenji can’t help but glance over at them in shock.

Orenji? Really?

He had… actually ruled her out just because of how… nice she always acted, according to others at least. His theory had been that the traitor must be outside of her actual friend group, someone who had just decided that they were all, well, nice.

Well… that was what he wanted to believe, to be honest. Not what he really was sure about as the truth.

“And… do you have proof for this-?” Nedzu starts to ask.

“I saw it with my own two eyes,” Midoriya interrupts. “And she said it herself too. She would… also like to inform you that she won’t be coming back to UA. You don’t have to worry about a traitor anymore.”

“Ah,” Nedzu hums, taking a sip of tea. “That’s good to hear. Well then. Congratulations, to the both of you! It seems your mission is complete.”

Despite Nedzu’s cheery tone… somehow, Kenji can’t feel like this is a win, and he gets the feeling that Midoriya next to him is the same.

“And… what about your promise?” Midoriya asks, hesitantly.

“Ah, right. I’ll think about transferring you to the Hero Course as well,” Nedzu says.

“You’ll… think about it?” Kenji repeats, with a slight glare in his direction.

Nedzu shrugs. “Circumstances have changed a little. If she’s not coming back, is there really a point to revealing her now? Technically you could say she wasn’t really beaten by either of you either. And, as I’m sure Midoriya-kun knows, most heroes now know about you being a vigilante. Due to this, I can’t say for sure that-”

“No.” Midoriya murmurs, their hands clenched at their sides.

“…What was that?” Nedzu asks, looking up from his teacup at them.

“I said… no,” Midoriya says, standing up suddenly. “You’re not doing this to me again. I passed, your stupid, and quite frankly, bullshit, exam. I’ve passed every test so far to get here. And… if I’m not going to stand there and take it when a villain tries to use me for their own goals, then I certainly should not have to take it from you. Do you hear me? I’m done. I am done playing this game with you. I’m not going to let you puppeteer me towards whatever goal you want in the name of some ‘heroic test’. If… if any thinking on it still needs to be done, then know that this time, your decision means whether or not I stay. Because, I swear, if you try to use me again, I can and will drop out of UA all together and find somewhere else.”

Nedzu stares at Midoriya for a long time after their declaration. Kenji can’t help but stare as well.

Nedzu stirs his tea in front of him. “It looks like I have some more thinking to do.” Switching topics, Nedzu continues, “Now then, Sora-kun… With the end of this assignment, you’ll have some free time, but I’ll keep in touch if I ever need your assistance again.”

“Actually…” Kenji mumbles, feeling a bit braver now, thanks to Midoriya, “I quit.”

Nedzu looks up at him sharply. “…I see. So that’s how it is.” He returns to his tea and stirs it a bit more. “Well, if that’s the case, then; Sora-kun, you’re expelled.”

Those last two words hit him like a hard punch to the gut.

What? For real? You mean I put up with that bullshit just for him to expel me anyway, even though the traitor is caught?

“You can’t do that either,” Midoriya insists.

“And why not?” Nedzu asks, “He is only here because I let him in, and I let him in to help me-”

“Catch the traitor,” Midoriya interrupts, finishing his sentence. “Which, we have done. That condition is fulfilled. And even if it wasn’t, he passed the Support Course exam. And he’s passing his other classes as well. You have nothing that you can use as grounds to expel him, and so the only reason you’re doing it is spite.”

Softly, Nedzu sets his tea cup on the table in front of him; his expression gives away that he’s contemplating how exactly to respond to this.

Eventually… he looks up with a smile.

“I suppose I have been a bit hard on you! All right. If you want to quit, that’s fine, and I suppose I won’t expel you for it.”

Trying not to give away how relieved he is, Kenji mostly contains his reaction to that statement, but he can’t help the shaky sigh of relief that escapes him.

“Then I suppose our business with each other is concluded,” Nedzu cheerily (too cheerily) says. “Now then, I do have some stuff to think over, so if you’ll see yourselves out…?”

Kenji and Midoriya leave the room, together.

Outside of the room now, door closed, Kenji bites his lip. “…I almost want to go back in and apologize.”

“You have no reason to,” Midoriya murmurs.

“I know but… we just crossed the rat. Crossing the rat never works out well.”

Midoriya’s gaze hardens. “Let him do what he wants. I’m not letting him use me or you like that again.”

Kenji stares at Midoriya for a long moment. “…Midoriya-kun… thank you.”

Midoriya’s face softens, and they give Kenji a small smile. “I just did what I could to help.”

…Heh. I guess that’s what you always do, huh?

“Now, come on,” Midoriya says, turning away from Nedzu’s office door. “Let’s go.”


At first, there’s only darkness and silence.

That’s always how this nightmare starts.

No. Not a nightmare. A memory.

 

Why? Why am I seeing this again?

Stop. Make it stop.

 

The nightmare doesn’t stop. It never does. No matter what they do, the events always play out… just as they did the first time.

The door opens and… that villain steps into the room.

The memory of their past self scrambles backwards, trying to get away. But they know. They knew it then, too. There is no escaping.

 

Wake up. Wake up. I don’t want to see this again.

 

“Get away from me,” Their past self warns, fearfully.

The villain sighs, exhausted. “Or what? What are you going to do? You’re just a scared child.”

“I’m- I’m not scared,” Their past self stammers, faking confidence, “Why would I be scared of you? You look like a badly peeled boiled egg-”

It slams into their past self, and their present self stuck in the memory feels the same thing.

A sudden inability to breathe. Choking, drowning.

“You know…” The villain murmurs, unphased as he watches them desperately try to breathe to no avail, “I’ve had to put up with a lot recently. My proteges are warring with each other now more than ever, and I have no idea what to do with this stupidly stubborn child vigilante that we’ve caught. But I can’t take any action against them, no, I have to just take it and stay patient. As you might be able to tell… because of that my patience is running thin. So if I were you, I wouldn’t try testing it.”

The choking stops and suddenly they’re able to breathe again. Their past self gasps for air, letting out hoarse coughs.

“Now then, were you saying something?”

They don’t respond.

“Good. As I thought.”

“What…” Their past self coughs, “What do you want from me?”

“From you?” The villain laughs. “There’s nothing I want from you. There’s nothing that you can give me. I already stole your quirk. You’re useless.”

 

Useless. They’ve always known that. They always knew they were useless.

 

“Then let me go,” Their past self begs desperately, giving up on acting strong. “Or… or just kill me already.”

“Letting you go isn’t something I can do,” The villain hums. “That other option though…”

It’s more distant, but they can still feel the jolt of fear that had passed through their past self at those words. True, they did think death must be easier than this, but that didn’t mean they were ready to just die.

“As I said. You’re useless as you are. There is nothing you can give me. But if I give you quirks… you’re not useless to me anymore, are you? Unfortunately, adding any more than two quirks into an individual leads to… the destruction of their mind. Well. It’s unfortunate for you, not really for me.”

They shiver at the implication of those words.

The villain raises a hand, and black tendrils start to emerge from his fingertips, the same ones that had first stolen their quirk.

Their heart is in their throat.

“Don’t worry. By the time I’m done, you won’t even remember a thing.”

The black tendrils zoom towards them.


Akari shoots awake, sitting straight up, eyes wide open. They still feel everything that they felt from the nightmare, just as real as if it had occurred moments before. Their heart thunders against their chest, and their breaths are short and uneven.

They bring their hand up to their mouth. Calm down. It’s just a stupid memory. Calm down.

After a second, they realize that it’s pouring rain down on top of them. They shakily stand up, quietly cursing to themselves repeatedly as they do.

It’s dark- still the middle of the night- and incredibly stormy, so for the most part they’re just left stumbling around blindly until they can find some cover from the rain at least.

Eventually they do find a road that passes underneath a bridge, and the bridge offers some… decent cover (it’s better than nothing).

Akari is still soaking wet, and the wind keeps them chilled down to the bone, but there’s not much they can do about that as it is.

Some time passes. A few hours. They’re not sure exactly. But the storm has… somewhat calmed down, and the light coming through the clouds tells them that it’s day now.

Akari never fell back asleep- they never do after having a nightmare like that- so instead they sat in the same spot, staring into space.

They’ve dried off at least a little by now.

They’re hungry though. Hmm. Maybe they should have stayed at the hospital for a little longer…

No.

They were already around for too long. They don’t need anyone. (They… don’t need anyone to worry about them more than they deserve).

 

Squeak squeak!


Akari slowly comes out of their thoughts to see a… ferret, sitting at their feet. It has a strange screen on it’s head.

Weird.

“Leave me alone,” Akari mutters. They’re not in the mood right now.

The ferret doesn’t leave, and instead comes closer and pulls on the laces in their boots, as though trying to get Akari’s attention.

“I will kick you,” Akari threatens, doing their best to give a glare to the little creature.

The visor on its head blinks, and then displays a single word.

[Doubt]

“Oh yeah?”

[:)]

The ferret pulls at their laces again.

“What are you after, little dude?” Akari asks, bored, because… well, why not. Sure. Whatever.

The ferret gives one last little tug… and then walks away.

Akari tries not to let it show that they’re disappointed.

A few seconds later, the ferret stops though. It stops, and turns back around to look at them.

“What? Do you want me to follow you?”

[:)]

Akari stares at it for a long moment. Then, they let out a heavy sigh.

Well… it’s not like I had any other plans for today.


Izuku is at the beach, just tidying up a little bit, when Garby runs in looking absolutely pleased with himself.

Huh? What were you up to…? Izuku is about to ask out loud, when a voice from behind them says,

“Ah. I probably should have guessed the ferret was yours when I saw the headset.”

Izuku turns around surprised, and finds Akari standing in the doorway.

“Akari!” Izuku jumps up. Last time they saw each other, the other had kinda… run away from the hospital, and so Izuku had no idea if they were okay or not since then.

Akari smirks. “Aw. Was I missed? I’m touched.”

“To be fair… yeah, I was kinda worried when you ran off. Where have you been? Have you been staying somewhere?”

For a brief moment, something flickers in their eyes, but it’s already gone within the same second. “Of course! Five star hotels and giant mansions only.”

(Out of the corner of Izuku’s eye, Garby’s visor blinks [Doubt])

“Right,” Izuku mutters. “What happened to working for villains because you needed money?”

Akari shrugs. “Never said I paid. Or, hey, you never know if that was a lie or not.”

[Doubt]

“I see,” Izuku hums. “So… you’re good?”

“Of course! Why wouldn’t I be?”

[Doubt]

This time, Garby actually steps forward and gently nibbles the edge of Izuku’s finger. Izuku softly mumbles Ow! and pulls their finger back, but it’s mostly out of surprise than anything.

“…Well, see, the thing is, Garby here has been calling you out on pretty much everything you’ve said since showing up,” Izuku says.

Akari’s expression falters for just a second. Their smile seems just a bit more forced. “Maybe it’s just a really skeptical ferret.”

“Akari, you know… if you’re not okay, you can say so. You don’t have to hide.”

“…Why do you care?” Akari asks softly. “I don’t get it. Why… why do you care?” Their voice grows louder as they continue, their act of false confidence completely shattering, “Why did you try to save me? Why did you stick up for me? Why did you care enough to ask why I would save you? Why do you care enough to ask if I’m okay? Why? I’m just… I’m just useless…”

“Akari, you’re not useless. You’re a living breathing person. You could never be useless. You’re… you’re a good person.”

Izuku doesn’t know much about them… but they know enough. They know Akari tried to save them. They know they’re not a bad person. For now, that’s enough.

For the longest time, Akari doesn’t do anything but stare at Izuku, disbelieving. Eventually they duck their head, hiding their eyes, but the way that they bring their hand up to rub their eyes makes Izuku pretty certain that… they’re crying. “Geez,” Akari mutters, “You really are just. Something.”

“Akari… please be honest with me. Do you have a place to stay?”

“…No,” They murmur quietly, under their breath.

“All right then,” Izuku says decisively, “You can stay at my house.”

“…Huh?”

“I mean, I’ll have to check in with my mom first, but I really can’t imagine her saying no, so if you need a place to stay, you can stay with us.”

“That’s not that smart,” Akari scoffs, trying to distance themselves again. “Inviting me to stay at your house- you don’t know what kinds of things I could-”

“Akari,” Izuku interrupts, “No offense, but there is literally no possible way for you to convince me that you’re secretly scheming and evil. So just come on.”

“…Whatever. Fine.”


Inko is busy preparing dinner when she gets a phone call from Izuku.

She answers right away of course (you never know how important a phone call is, so it’s better to answer every call like it’s an important one). “Hello?”

“Hey mom!” Izuku responds, then nervously asks, “So, uh, I have this… friend, and they don’t have anywhere to stay. Would you mind if they stayed with us for a bit?”

Inko blinks in surprise. She can’t help being curious what exactly the situation is, but… now might not be the best time to pry. And she can’t very well turn down Izuku’s friend if they really have nowhere else to go. “That’s absolutely fine! Bring them over!”

“Thanks mom!” Izuku cheerily responds. “I’ll see you in a bit. Bye!”

“Bye,” Inko says into the phone. A few seconds later, Izuku hangs up.

Inko looks back at the dinner she’s preparing, and adds a bit more to it knowing now that a third person will be staying over.

Before long, Inko hears the door open.

“I’m home!” Izuku announces so that she can hear, and Inko hears them say something to the friend they brought with them, but it’s not quite loud enough for her to make out what they're saying.

“Dinner will be ready in a few minutes!”

“‘Kay!”

Inko looks back at the food cooking on the stove for a moment, then takes a second to quickly glance out of the kitchen to see… well… which friend they brought.

After the quick glance, she returns her focus back to the kitchen.

She… vaguely recognizes them. Probably only because it was still recent, because it was so brief that she doubts she’d remember them otherwise.

But… they were the one that had shared Izuku’s hospital room after… the incident, and all Inko knows is that pretty much as soon as she was allowed to visit Izuku again, they disappeared altogether.

And they’re missing their left arm. There’s also that.

It’s a mystery. And, due to the fact that they were in the same hospital room… Inko can only assume that they must have been in some kind of a similar circumstance…

Adding on top of that… how Izuku mentioned that… they don’t have anywhere else to stay…

Frowning to herself, Inko goes back to stirring the cooking food. Hmm. I most certainly can’t turn them away.


Sparky is… weird.

What kind of weirdo lets you into their house after you, A, were hired by villains to stop them, B, utterly failed at helping escape or saving them in any meaningful way, and then C, showed up out of the blue after being dragged to their place by a ferret?

Actually, you know what, the whole situation is. Strange.

Akari can’t help but glance around anxiously at the small house around them, feeling… out of place. Do they really belong here…?

(They can’t remember the last time they truly belonged somewhere)

Sparky sets about setting the table, and Akari attempts to help, but after a few seconds, they realize that ah… there’s not much you can do with only one arm.

Hm. Still getting used to that.

Anyway! Moving on! Not thinking about that!

Not much later, Sparky’s mom brings dinner out to the table.

“Uh, Mom, this is Akari!” Sparky introduces, before turning to them and continuing, “And, um, Akari, this is my mom.”

Akari still feels too… awkward to meet her eyes, so instead they glance away and mumble, “Um… thank you for letting me stay here, Miss…” Wait, what was Sparky’s real name again?

Before they can worry to much about their mistake, she smiles at them, “It’s all right, you don’t have to be so formal. Just Inko is fine, dear.”

“…If you insist,” Akari mumbles. She’s so trusting. Just like they are. I… probably shouldn’t be surprised, huh?

 

The food is… good. Really good. Akari can’t remember the last time they had home cooking. Before they know it, all the food in front of them is already gone. They get the feeling that eating this much after not eating at all might give them a stomach ache later, but right now they don’t really care.

Inko sends Sparky out to take care of the dishes when dinner is done, leaving… just the two of them sitting there.

Akari can’t help but wonder in the back of their head if she did it on purpose.

Whether or not it was the intention… it does mean that Akari has an opportunity to talk to her.

“You know, uh…” Akari murmurs, clearing their throat, “Anyway if, um. If I’m a bother, at any time, you can tell me to leave. It’s fine.”

“…I’ll keep it in mind if you insist on it, but I don’t really think you’ll end up being a bother.”

“…Right.”

A bit more silence.

Akari doesn’t really… know how to act around her. Usually, their first instinct is to drive people away, which, usually, involves lots of teasing and taunting, but… maybe it’s her aura, but Akari just can’t do that with Inko.

What are they supposed to do…?

“You really… have nowhere else to go…?” Inko asks softly.

“Ah… yeah…” Akari mumbles awkwardly in reply. “Um. I don’t have to stay here for that long if it bugs you though. Really, it’s fine.”

“You can stay here for as long as you need to,” Inko tells them, “And I don’t want you to leave a second sooner.”

“…Huh?”

“I’m not sending you out if you have no home to return to. And if you need it… this is your home now. I don’t know you well, yet, but… Izuku trusts you. And that’s good enough for me. Whenever you have nowhere else to stay, this home is open to you.”

Akari… almost wants to cry. Home. When was the last time they had a home? A place like this?

(What did they ever do to deserve this kind of kindness?)


When Inko first saw Akari, she’ll admit she was… a bit intimidated. As far as looks that teenagers go for, they certainly weren’t on the softer end of the scale.

But… at the end of the day… they’re just a child. And they’ve probably had to go through worse than what they ever could have deserved.

Inko has always had more compassion than sense. She won’t deny that, and she knows that Izuku definitely gets it from her.

That’s why she could never turn them away. She would add, “even if she wanted to” but… no. She can’t even imagine herself wanting to. Even if they turn out to be troublesome, she still can’t imagine that she’d ever turn them away.

She meant exactly what she said.

Akari will always have a home here.


 

Bonus:

 

“Okay! Air mattress is all set up!” Izuku says cheerily.

“Great. I call dibs,” Akari mutters.

“What- no,” Izuku stammers, “You’re the guest. You take the bed.”

“I can’t just steal your bed, that’s rude.”

“And I can’t just make you sleep on an air mattress, that’s rude!”

“Dude, I’ve been sleeping in ditches, a roof over my head and an air mattress is like, heaven.”

“That doesn’t make it better!”

“Look, I’m already laying down! I’m already on the air mattress! If you want me to move you’re gonna have to do it yourself.”

“I can’t believe you.”

“So… I win?”

“…Hitoshi is right. You are like an annoying sibling.” Izuku mutters.

“Aw, does that mean you still like me anyway?” Akari teases.

“Yeah.”

For a moment, Akari just stares at Izuku, dumbfounded. Then, they turn over on the air mattress to face away from them. “…Whatever,” They mutter, half to themselves, but Izuku can hear just a touch of softness on their voice.

Chapter Text

Panic. Fear. Pain. Shock. Panic. Panic. Panic.

“Hey,” A voice says, and somehow despite how softly it's said it immediately cuts through the haze of their dream.

Izuku lurches awake, breathing heavily.

What- what just- huh-?

“Hey, hey, hey, calm down. It’s okay,” The same voice quietly murmurs.

Izuku forcefully tries to slow their breathing, and after a moment, they realize that they're… in their room. Confused, they glance over to see who was talking to them in the first place.

In the dimly lit room, Akari stares back at them.

…Oh. Yeah. That’s right.

“Sorry,” Izuku mumbles quietly, “I um… I probably woke you up, didn’t I?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Akari mutters drowsily. “You’re not the first person in the world to have a nightmare. It happens.”

A nightmare.

…Yeah. There’s no way they're denying that, considering Akari was… literally right here to see it.

“I still woke you up though. Sorry.”

Akari just sighs heavily, possibly annoyed that Izuku is apologizing again. “I said, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”

“…What time is it?”

“I don’t know,” Akari mutters. “Didn’t check the time. There’s no point really, because whatever the time is, if you look at it you’ll be disappointed.”

“I… you’re not wrong I guess.”

“…Do you wanna talk about it?” Akari asks. “For some people it helps. I guess. I don’t know.”

“…” Izuku hesitates, thinking about… the nightmare. “No. I’d really rather not.”

Akari nods. “Yeah. I wouldn’t wanna talk about it either,” They mutter.

Then, they give a soft chuckle, “Actually, um… the other day I accidentally woke myself up ‘cause I don’t have any control over my quirk. Anyway, so I um… I kinda accidentally activated my quirk in my sleep, and I made this rock go flying and it just-” for dramatic effect, they flick the center of their forehead, “bonked me right awake.”

Izuku knows Akari is just trying to make them feel better but… “Your… quirk? I thought. Um. I thought that… wasn’t it stolen?”

Akari stares at them blankly, as though only just realizing that they accidentally said more than they meant to. “…That… that one bastard could take quirks and… could give quirks. So…… you know what, look, I don’t wanna talk about it.”

“Yeah I get that,” Izuku murmurs. “…What kind of quirk is it though?”

“I’m… not actually a hundred percent sure,” Akari hesitates. “Something to do with weather, apparently- I keep making it storm. Either that or life thinks it’s really funny to keep making it rain and thunder around me. But sometimes I send objects flying around too. So… I have no idea.”

Izuku’s still tired and not fully awake, but they do consider the possibilities. “Something… to do with air pressure maybe?”

Akari shrugs. “There’s no point talking about it right now. Let’s talk about something else.”

“…Yeah. All right.”

For a while, they just… chat. About anything or everything, as long as they avoid talking about villains. Akari does tease Izuku about all of the hero merch around their room, but that’s as close as they get to talk of villains.

Before they know it… they’re both asleep again, and Izuku is sleeping too deeply for a nightmare to bother them again.


The first thing in the morning, Shouto leaves his house.

He can’t stand it. He can’t stand being around the old man anymore.

It’s like the old bastard’s pissed off at everything. He’s pissed off at All Might for retiring, apparently he’s pissed off at Nedzu for… well, not expelling Midoriya yet, and… he’s pissed off at Shouto, too, for being there to try to rescue them.

“Why,” the old man demanded over and over, “why did you go out of your way to save a quirkless nobody like them?”

Shouto couldn’t answer. He knew that no matter what reasons he gave, the old man would never be able to understand.

So for today, Shouto’s getting out of the house before he can get worked up again.

On the other hand, though, that leaves him pretty… bored.

Eventually, Shouto pulls out his phone.

 

[Support Team For a Reckless Vigilante Idiot]

 

Peppermint:

Hey. Is there anyone available to hang out today?

 

#1 Support Course Student:

oof, sorry, me and natsuki already had plans :P

 

Palm Tree:

Yeah, unfortunately, we’re already busy.

We would consider inviting you but, it’s just a bunch of support course work and you probably wouldn’t be all that interested anyway.

 

Peppermint:

That’s all right.

 

Shouto can’t help but notice that Midoriya seems to be the only one not currently reading the chat (looking to the active bubbles on the side of the screen), but… he decides not to look too much into it. If anything happened, Inko wouldn’t have kept it from them, so Shouto can only assume that Midoriya is preoccupied. Or maybe they're not even awake yet.

 

Purble:

i’m busy too

sorry

 

007:

Well, I’m free!

If you don’t mind it being just the two of us, we could hang out

 

Shouto doesn’t mind hanging out with Sora. Actually, out of all of them (besides maybe Midoriya), he’s probably most comfortable around him to begin with.

Peppermint:

That works.


They end up meeting out at Dagobah Beach, but not in Midoriya’s workshop; instead they’re actually at the end of the beach’s dock, watching the waves, and skipping rocks.

“So, what’s up with you?” Sora asks first. “Usually you’re not the kind to instigate hangout stuff.”

Shouto shrugs. “Avoiding going back to the house, and I was kinda bored. Spending time with other people is less boring.”

“I see,” Sora says. “Any reason in particular that you were avoiding it, or was it just the general?”

Tossing another rock at the water, Shouto lets out a sigh. Sora… while he doesn’t necessarily know the full situation, he knows at least that the old man is bad news.

“He’s mad about All Might’s retirement. And, well… the whole situation with Midoriya. Apparently the pros were all told about Green Lightning situation, even if the information hasn’t been made public.”

Sora winces. “Owch. …I figured he’d be happy about All Might’s retirement though. Doesn’t that make him number one? I always thought that was what he wanted.”

“It’s… complicated,” Shouto mutters. “Long story short, he’s upset that he didn’t ‘earn’ it.”

“And short story long?”

Shouto hesitates, frowning to himself.

“…Sorry,” Sora quickly backtracks, “It’s probably personal. You don’t have to tell me.”

“…No. To be honest, venting about it might help me feel better,” Shouto mutters to himself. “Besides. I already told Midoriya before our fight in the Sports Festival, and I didn’t even know them back then.”

“The true origin story of ‘It’s always Endeavor hating hours, lads’?” Sora murmurs, just under his breath.

“Huh?”

“Ah, haha, don’t worry about it,” Sora laughs nervously, waving his hand as though to drive off his previous statement. “But, if you’re comfortable with sharing… then I’m here for you, and I’ll listen to what you have to say.”

Shouto takes another skipping stone from the pile and turns it over in his hands for a moment, thinking to himself as he stares at it.

“Have you ever heard of quirk marriages?”

“Pairing up based on quirks, usually to… to try and get child with a powerful combination… of the two…” Sora murmurs, before hesitantly glancing to Shouto, “Is… is that why…?”

Shouto throws another rock to the water, this time a bit more forcefully. “…The old man always wanted to be number one. But… pretty early on, he must have realized there was no winning against All Might as he was. So he came up with a… different plan.”

Another rock skips into the water.

“He found my mother because of her quirk. And he was already rising steadily through the ranks, making a name for himself so… it wasn’t hard for him to win her family over. They set up a whole arranged marriage deal and well… you can probably tell the rest.”

Sora grimaces, “You mean… so… basically your father was trying to… forcibly create a kid with a quirk that was ice and fire, with the intention that they would be stronger than All Might and overtake his spot as number one.”

Shouto nods. “Basically.”

“Dude. That’s… really messed up. He really is the worst, huh?”

“I’ve heard Nedzu gives him a run for his money,” Shouto jokes flatly.

“We’re talking about Endeavor being shitty right now, I can complain about Nedzu later.”

Shouto laughs softly at that, but as he continues explaining, his face returns to neutrality; “Anyway… it took a few tries to get a ‘perfect’ combination of an ice and fire quirk, but… well, I’m here now, so it succeeded eventually. …Ever since my quirk appeared, the old bastard has been basically raising me as a tool to defeat All Might, and nothing else.”

Shouto skips another rock, trying not to let too much of the bitterness curling inside his stomach get to him.

“So now, from his perspective, it’s like he’s spent all these years trying to create the perfect tool, only for the purpose of that tool to suddenly become obsolete. More than that… the way All Might went out kind of ensures that no matter what the old man does, he can’t ever compete. All Might only ended his time as the symbol of peace because he fought a villain like All for One. No matter what Endeavor, or anyone else does, there is no replacing that kind of a symbol.”

“Ah,” Sora hums. “Well, it’s what he deserves.”

Shouto can’t help but smile at that. “You’re not wrong. The only downside is that the old bastard is… pretty hard to deal with when he’s that mad.”

“Oh… yeah. I can see that.”

Shouto thinks for a bit longer, frowning. “I just… I don’t know how he could do all of this. I suppose I know why he did it, and what his reasons are, but… I don’t know if I could ever understand how he could actually do it. How was he able to do something so awful, and then go on to continue working as a hero like nothing’s wrong, without ever stopping and actually considering what he’s doing?”

“Guess he’s just not a real hero,” Sora mumbles. “I can’t understand it either. …Have you ever thought of doing something about it?”

Shouto grimaces. “Can’t.”

“Why not?”

Shouto sighs, “Why do you think? He’s… well, he was the number two hero, and now he’s number one. He’s got at least a few fans who wouldn’t give a single shit about this stuff if they knew, but more than anything else, he’s got more than enough money to throw at any problem that comes his way. He would never actually pay for his actions no matter how much I want him to. And… this might be kind of selfish, but… I don’t want people to give me that pitying look all the time.”

“What do you mean?”

“If people knew about the full truth, there’s no way I could ever escape his shadow. Everything would be about him and how I ‘had to overcome what he did’. That’s not what I want it to be. I want to forget him and leave him behind as if he never existed. I want people to know that he’s not a good hero, but in a way that makes it so they all just forget about him. And I’m not quite sure what the best way to make that happen is.”

“I think it’s possible,” Sora says quietly. “If there’s any justice in the world, it’s possible.”

Somehow, just those words manage to make Shouto feel emotional. He tries not to let it show though, and instead murmurs, “Yeah. I hope so.”

Shouto reaches to grab another skipping stone from the pile, but instead he finds his own hand brushing up against Sora’s.

Both look over, surprised, to find the pile of skipping stones already emptied. For a moment, the two of them just stare.

Sora is the first to pull his hand back, mumbling "Ah, I guess we should go find more rocks."

"Right," Shouto nods.

"You know, talking about this has made me feel a little better at least," Shouto sighs, sitting back down next to Sora with the new pile of skipping stones next to them.

"I'm glad."

"So… what about Nedzu?"

"…Huh?"

"I mean, obviously I can't make you talk about it, but… I did say that if you ever want to talk, I'm here for you."

Sora turns over a rock in his hands, thinking.

So far, all Shouto knows is that Nedzu was working with Sora to find a traitor who had snuck into UA, apparently, and… that other day when Sora had come out of Nedzu's office an emotional wreck.

Sora throws the rock at the water. "My problems aren't really… as bad as yours."

"It's not a competition," Shouto says. "If it hurt you, then it hurt you. And it shouldn't have happened."

 

"……With Nedzu, it was… well, at least, it didn't start out personal. It was just… the way that he did things, they rubbed me the wrong way."

"Like what?"

"…You can't tell anyone about this. Anyone."

"I won't tell anyone," Shouto promises.

Sora thinks for a minute, almost glaring at the water. "Nedzu knew about the USJ. I mean, he knew the villains were going to attack there. And he knew about the training camp."

The gravity of what Sora is saying sets in. "You mean he… let it happen?"

Sora nods. "For the sake of catching the traitor. And… I don't know. Yes, we stopped the traitor now; Midoriya-kun found out their identity during the Kamino incident; and maybe because of that we shortened the conflict and prevented future attacks but… is it worth it? To put you in danger both of those times, was it worth uncovering the traitor?"

"I… don't know. That depends on how long it would have taken to get to the traitor otherwise. And we have no idea how that would have happened."

"Nedzu says that what he does is for the greater good," Sora murmurs, "And… I guess I can believe that. But the things he sacrifices along the way to get to that greater good… I don't know how he's able to do it and keep a clear conscience."

Sora throws another rock to the water before continuing, "And then… well… after the USJ, I started… doubting Nedzu, obviously. Then, the way he treated Midoriya-kun made me angry because… no matter what excuse he gives, I can't see what he did as right. So then, uh… it didn't take long for Nedzu to realize that I didn't think very highly of him."

Another rock hits the water.

"After that, Nedzu must have decided there was no point to playing nice for me. He basically threatened to kick me out of UA if I didn't find the traitor." With a sarcastic voice he continues, "After all, I was ONLY at UA to help Nedzu find the traitor in the first place. Why wouldn't he kick me out if I didn't manage to complete my one job?"

"Sounds to me like he saw you as less of an ally and more…" Shouto trails off, the word on the tip of his tongue, but he doesn't want to say it.

"A tool," Sora mutters. "Yeah."

Shouto winces. He can't help but think of the old man at that… (maybe the two of them have more in common than they thought.)

"I'm… not special on that front, though," Sora continues, throwing another stone to the water. "For him, everyone else is split up into two categories. People he can use as some kind of tool, and enemies."

"Must have a lot of enemies," Shouto hums. There are quite a few people he can't imagine getting used as tools… 

"You'd be surprised," Sora frowns. "When you don't know about his true nature, he's rather manipulative. For most people, he never lets them see his true colors."

"He let you see his true colors though, apparently," Shouto points out.

"Cause he thought I wouldn't be able to do anything about it," Sora grumbles. "After all, in most cases, who are you going to believe; the principal of the most prestigious hero school in the country, or some first year high school student who's not even in the Hero Course?"

"I believe you."

Sora stares at him for a moment.

"I never doubted you in the first place."

Sora merely continues to stare at him, bewildered. Then, he glances away, anxious. "Wow, sometimes having friends really is… something."

"You're telling me?" Shouto laughs, disbelieving.

After a second, Sora laughs too.

A bit of time passes in somewhat silence, as they toss a few more rocks into the water.

"I mean, it's nice getting this kinda stuff off my chest; you're right about that," Sora says, "But… thinking about how much the principal of UA sucks and talking shit about the new number one hero… almost makes me want to give up on the hero ideal thing."

"…Why don't you?" Shouto can't help but ask.

"Because. There are people like you in the Hero Course."

Now it's Shouto's turn to be stunned. "Well… you probably wouldn't be saying that to the me from the beginning of this school year. It's really only thanks to Midoriya and you that I'm out here instead of sitting around at home being bitter and driving everyone away."

Sora scoffs, "Oh come on, I didn't do anything. Midoriya-kun is probably the one to thank."

"For a lot of things, maybe, but… you didn't do nothing," Shouto hums. "You were the one who taught me… that it's okay to not be perfect. That it's okay to not be good at something. You, uh… I know you didn't mean it in the context of being a hero, but. Hearing you say so simply that I don't have to be perfect at everything… made me think."

"I… kinda didn't really mean anything by it, yeah, but… when I think about everything you just told me, it probably meant a lot," Sora murmurs.

"It did."

Each of them tosses another couple of rocks, thinking more of… what to say.

Shouto can't help but notice that Sora still seems to be a bit on edge. "What's wrong?"

"I'm still… a little nervous. Midoriya-kun and I quit working for Nedzu just the other day, so…"

"Okay, you're gonna have to explain why that makes you nervous, because from what I can tell, that's like. A good thing."

"We crossed the rat," Sora murmurs. "Never cross the rat. He almost always has something up his sleeve, some kind of plan… and the more time he has to plan, the worse it's going to be."

"He's not really that spiteful, is he?" Shouto asks.

"It's more like… you know what I said before? To him, either someone is a tool or an enemy? Midoriya-kun and I have made it clear that we refuse to be tools anymore. That makes us enemies. From his point of view, we're dangerous, because… well, we know about his true colors. I just ranted to you about how he really is. True, I can't do any large scale damage because most people won't believe me, but I can still start rumors here and there because of what I know."

"…Hm," Shouto hums, now frowning. "Yeah. That's a problem for him."

"So Nedzu wants us to keep our mouths shut, but now we're not even tools for him," Sora continues. "In his mind, he either has to find a way to dissuade us from talking, or… discredit what we could say-"

At the same time, both Shouto's and Sora's phones give off a message tone.

The two glance at each other.

 

[Support Team for a Reckless Vigilante Idiot]

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

Check the news.

We have a problem.

 

Sora is already going ahead and checking the problem, and so Shouto anxiously waits to see what this… "problem" is.

Sora's face goes pale as he stares at his phone.

"What? What is it?" Shouto asks.

Wordlessly, Sora turns the phone screen towards him. Shouto reads the headline at the top of the page;

 

[The True Identity of the Vigilante Green Lightning Revealed?]

 


“But who would do this?” Natsuki asks, now that the group has gathered together at the base on the beach.

“I can think of a few ideas,” Todoroki mutters, arms crossed.

“It has to be Nedzu,” Sora grumbles, glaring at his phone (assumedly, he still has the article pulled open), “It says the source was anonymous, but who else knows about it and has the records to be able to confirm that Midoriya-kun was missing on the day of the USJ attack?”

Akari leans over to Izuku and whispers, “Is now an appropriate time to say ‘that bitch’?”

Izuku, still somewhat in a state of shock, just glances over to them and stares for a second, mixed between annoyed and bewildered, before muttering, “Yeah, sure.”

Akari gasps dramatically and says, “That bitch!”

“Uh,” Hitoshi mumbles, “Not to be rude or to derail the conversation but… why are you here?”

“Blame the ferret,” Akari mutters.

Garby, sitting on the table, smiles innocently.

“Okay, well, getting back to the rails of the conversation,” Hatsume interrupts, “Why would Nedzu do this?”

“He’s too much of a coward to take action without knowing how it will reflect on him first,” Sora mutters, “This is him testing the waters to see how the public reacts; if they have a good reaction, he’ll move Midoriya-kun to the Hero Course and take all the credit for it even though he was the one holding them back.”

“That… sounds like a good thing though,” Akari hums. “I think I’m lost here.”

“That’s if people have a good reaction to it, but chances are, they won’t. Even if Midoriya-kun hasn’t actually done anything wrong, just the word vigilante has mostly negative connotations and would probably make people misjudge the situation if they’re looking at it from just a glance.”

“So…” Hitoshi asks slowly, “What is he going to do if there is a bad reaction to this news?”

Sora stares at the ground with a grim expression, arms crossed. “…Midoriya-kun already threatened to drop out of UA, so Nedzu would have zero problems with just expelling them on the spot. Worse than that, because of this reputation, they probably won’t be able to go anywhere else. And on top of all that, Nedzu has secured a way to make sure that nothing any one of us could say against him has any merit to it anymore.”

“I shouldn’t have done it,” Izuku mumbles. “I shouldn’t have stood up to him, I should have known something like this would happen…!”

“It would have sucked either way,” Sora mutters. “You don’t win with the rat.”

“So, hang on, let me see if I’ve got this. Whole situation straight,” Akari says, “So, you told him that you weren’t going to let him continue to manipulate you through promises of getting into the Hero Course… and in response… he decided to do something that has a high likelihood of, hmm, literally ruining your life?”

“…Basically, yes,” Izuku mutters, feeling a little depressed that, yes, that really is what is happening.

“That bitch…!” Akari whispers again.

From the TV, a voice exclaims, “Hold on, this just in, Green Lightning has been spotted in the downtown area!”

Everyone looks to the TV confused and then to Izuku, more confused.

“I have no idea what that is, I’m right here and I haven’t done anything since Kamino,” Izuku promises.

“Is this… a recording?” Hatsume asks, hesitantly.

“No,” Izuku mutters, eyebrow furrowing, “We had the news turned on live to see… well, what the reactions would be.”

Baffled, the six of them look up at the screen and watch.

The footage switches to live footage of a downtown area, and as the reporter said, on screen is…

“They look the exact same!” Hatsume exclaims, dismayed.

The exact same, the same gear and everything- except, not even Izuku has that gear anymore because it was confiscated from them by the villains. What really baffles them is that they have a copy of the helmet, because even if the villains disposed of their other Green Lightning gear in a way where someone could find it, the helmet was absolutely destroyed, turned completely to dust.

And then… this new “Green Lightning” shocks the villain that they’re fighting without using one of the gadgets.

“AN ACTUAL ELECTRIC QUIRK?!” Hatsume exclaims again.

“No,” Sora murmurs, squinting at the screen, “That’s not it. It’s… a transformation quirk. She… turns into other people and is able to use a small amount of their quirk.”

“She?” Hitoshi asks. “You… know who that is?”

“I recognize the quirk,” Sora mutters, eyebrows furrowed. “She… she was with the villains.”

Toga…?!

There’s no one else it could be- and it explains where the gear came from- but…

“But why would a villain be doing… this?” Todoroki asks.

“Actually,” Natsuki says, “If it’s the one I’m thinking of… she might not be a villain after all.”

 

“She’s doing it for me,” Izuku murmurs, almost not even believing it themself.

 

Everyone turns to them. “What?”

“No doubt, she heard about the apparent ‘Green Lightning’ reveal just as well as we did,” Izuku explains, staring at the TV screen, “And she knew it would work out badly. So… she did this to remove suspicion off of me. Look- by using an electric quirk like that, she’s reconfirming that Green Lightning has a quirk- people are still probably wondering if the article is real or not, and so by showing off Green Lightning using a quirk, it will make people decide that… a quirkless student could never be Green Lightning.”

 

And so the problem… all resolved itself in the same afternoon.

The next day, there were already articles taking back the previous “identity reveal” and clearing Izuku’s name.

 

They only wonder… if Orenji had anything to do with it too.


 

Bonus:

 

Izuku and Akari are playing cards early in the morning.

“You know…” Izuku mumbles slowly.

“Oh boy, that’s the advice giving voice,” Akari groans.

“I’m just saying. That. If you were trying to work with villains for money. Did you know? That heroes… also make money.”

Akari glances at Izuku over the cards in their hands. “…Are you trying to convince me to come to UA with you?”

“God no,” Izuku scoffs, “We just went over why Nedzu is the worst, go literally anywhere else.”

Akari snorts a laugh at that.

“But…” Izuku continues, more seriously, “I think you would make a good hero.”

Frowning at their cards, avoiding Izuku’s eyes, Akari is silent for a moment. “…I’ll take it into consideration.


 

Double Bonus:

 

“Hello!” Mei greets cheerfully with a mischievous gleam in her eye, the kind that specifically comes when she has an idea for a new project.

“Yo,” Akari greets back unphased.

Ah. Mei likes Akari. They’re already so weird that they don’t even get nervous when Mei gets excitable about making gadget babies…

“Are you, perhaps,” Mei asks, “In the market for a robotic arm with cool functions?”

“I mean, I don’t really need it to have cool functions, if I could literally just have an arm that would be great.”

“It’s gonna have so many cool functions and you’re gonna have to live with it.”

“Oki doki, if you say so.”

Chapter Text

“Izuku, we need to talk,” Mom says.

Usually, Mom doesn’t make them nervous, but when she words it like that and uses that exact tone, Izuku can’t help but be nervous.

Akari isn’t home at the moment (Izuku wonders what exactly they’re up to, but whatever it is, they have business elsewhere), so the two of them are able to sit in the living room to talk.

“So… what did you wanna talk about?” Izuku asks, trying to swallow down their nervous energy.

“There’s… a letter from UA.”

Ah. Hmm. That could mean a lot of things.

“Apparently, because of… what happened with the Training Camp Attack, UA has been put under pressure to be better about student safety so… they’re switching to a dorm system. Students of UA will be required to live in on campus dorms.”

Oh. That’s not… so bad.

“In addition, the letter says that… if you choose to return to UA, you’ll be admitted to the Hero Course.”

That information almost makes Izuku faint on the spot.

They’ll be admitted to the Hero Course.

Finally? For real?

Maybe they argued with Nedzu to get it, but they… still weren’t sure whether or not they could expect it to happen.

 

Wait.

Wait a second.

If?

 

“What do you mean… if?” Izuku asks.

Inko avoids their eyes, biting her lip. “Izuku… do you… really need to go to UA? Are you sure  that this is what you want?”

Izuku stops. She… she does have a point. UA… has honestly been a lot of trouble.

 

Is it worth it?

 

Is it?

 

Why are they still here?

 

Why should they go back?

 

“Yes,” Izuku answers, and though it took them a while to come to that conclusion, when they do… they're completely sure of themself. “I… want to go to UA.”

“I’ve heard the way you talk about Nedzu though,” Inko murmurs. “Are you sure that you couldn’t find a better place to go?”

“I… I’ve actually thought about this myself, at least a little,” Izuku murmurs. “But when it comes down to it… it would be hard for me anywhere. No matter where I go, I’ll have to face these kinds of problems. And so… really, what’s important to me… is being able to work with the friends that I’ve made at UA. I don’t want to leave them behind.”

Inko carefully listens to what they say, not interrupting.

“Besides,” Izuku adds, after a moment, “I’ve already gotten as far with it as I have and… that makes me a little determined to be able to see it through.”

Inko lets out a heavy sigh. “I’ll always worry, you know that?”

Izuku nods.

“…I know that you’ve quit being a vigilante for good, but… can you also please promise me that… you’ll be more careful as a hero in training than you were as a vigilante?”

Izuku smiles, eyes getting a little watery, “I promise to try.”

Inko laughs softly. “That’s not very comforting, but it’s probably the best I can hope for, huh?”

“Probably,” Izuku jokes. “So…? Are you going to agree to let me live at the UA Dorms?”

“…Yes. If you’re sure it’s what you really want… then I don’t want to stop you. Even if I wish you’d go somewhere else… well. I’ve seen how much your friends care about you too. I’m glad you have their support.”

Izuku beams and feels themself start to get choked up again.


Hitoshi is sitting at home when his phone buzzes.

 

[Support Team for a Reckless Vigilante Idiot]

 

[Reckless Vigilante Idiot has added Akari to the chat]

 

Akari:

oooh it’s group chat time lads

 

Reckless Vigilante Idiot:

OH!!

OHH!!!

HOLD ON I JUST THOUGHT OF SOMETHING!!

 

Hitoshi isn’t quite sure what to expect, when…

 

[Reckless Vigilante Idiot has changed the group chat name to Support Team for a Reckless Hero Idiot]

 

[Reckless Vigilante Idiot has changed their nickname to Reckless Hero Idiot]

 

Hitoshi feels his heart skip a beat with excitement.

You mean they…!

 

#1 Support Course Student:

HHHHHHHHHH

DOES THAT MEAN WHAT I THINK IT MEANS????

 

Reckless Hero Idiot:

GUESS WHO GOT IN THE HERO COURSE

 

007:

I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!

 

Palm Tree:

I’ll miss having you in the Support Course, but I’m still so happy for you!

 

Reckless Hero Idiot:

Oh, about that!!

Even though I’m in the Hero Course now, I have permission to come use the Support Lab at any time!

 

007:

The best of both worlds,,,

 

Now that Hitoshi has had some time to gather his thoughts and his reaction, he decides to make his own contribution to the conversation.

 

Purble:

its about time

 

007:

Nedzu may live

For Now

 

Peppermint:

Time for Kaminari and Ashido to lose their minds.

 

#1 Support Course Student:

Place Your Bets Now:

A: kirishima or some1 already told them the truth about green lightning

B: they STILL conspiracy theory midoriya as green lightning even tho its been “disproven”

C: (the boring one) they joke and laugh about it like “haha, man, can you believe we thought you were green lightning?”

 

Peppermint:

The “boring one” is probably the best case scenario. We don’t want any unnecessary complications.

 

#1 Support Course Student:

Hmmmmmmm

BORING!


???:

this is sora, right?

um, it’s akari that’s messaging

can we talk?

Kenji… has no idea what they want. Akari is a complete mystery to him. So, he might as well see what… this is about.

The two meet up at the beach (it’s convenient and useful so… the group really ends up there a lot, huh).

Akari seems… anxious, but in the way that they’re trying to hide how anxious they are.

“So… why did you want to meet?” Kenji asks.

“Your quirk is, uh… sensing other quirks, right?” Akari mutters, looking away.

“Yeah?”

“Um… could you tell me what… my quirk is?”

That’s… a bit of a surprise, but Kenji can handle that. “Well… it turns off electronics and various other machines, right?”

Akari grimaces. “Oh. So… hmm.”

“Is… that not right?”

“It… used to be,” Akari murmurs, biting their lip.

 

Kenji thinks back to… to the villain All for One.

His quirk involved stealing and giving quirks.

 

“Hang on… did… um… did All for One…” Kenji asks, but he can’t quite finish the question. Even suggesting it seems wrong.

“I don’t wanna talk about it,” Akari snaps, tensely. After a second, they take a deep breath, “Ah, I mean, just… yes my quirk is different now, let’s leave it at that.”

“And… so you wanted to know exactly how it works,” Kenji guesses. “…Sorry. Weird mutations or… well, situations with that villain end up confusing my quirk. Although… maybe I can still help? What do you know about your new quirk?”

“I dunno,” Akari sighs annoyed, “It controls the stupid weather and makes things go flying. Sparky said it was probably something to do with controlling air pressure. Except I have no idea how to use it. It only works when I get emotional.”

“Can you try using it? I mean… I know how most quirks work because of my own, so it might not be too hard to understand it if I see it in action…”

Akari’s face screws up as they try to concentrate.

 

Nothing happens.

 

“Aw, come on!” They yell, frustrated, “Sure, I can use it without thinking, but as soon as I try to-”

Kenji sees something moving in the background and he quickly shouts, “Get down!”

The two of them duck just as a couch goes flying right over their heads and crashing into another pile of garbage.

Akari takes a deep breath trying to calm themselves down, but not without mumbling, “Oh nice, salt in the wound.”

Kenji thinks about it for a moment. “Well… I think I know someone who can help?”

Fifteen minutes later, Todoroki has joined the two of them on the beach.

“What am I here for again?” Todoroki asks.

“Akari has a quirk they don’t know how to activate,” Kenji explains, “And… asking other people might be the easiest way to figure it out.”

“Well, it’s better than nothing,” Akari sighs. They crack a smile. “Thanks for puttin’ up with me.”

“If you don’t mind me asking… why do you want to learn how to use it so bad anyway?” Kenji asks.

Akari doesn’t answer for a moment.

Then, they laugh, “Well, being able to control the weather to reflect your emotional state is cool in theory, but man does it get annoying for it to storm overhead all the time! I was just thinking that if I figured out how to control it I could stop activating it accidentally. Ahaha!”

There’s… probably more to it than that, Kenji thinks skeptically …Oh well. It’s not like I can make them tell me the full reason.

Can’t help but be curious though.


Izuku is packing their stuff for the dorms when Akari returns.

“Oh, hey, you’re back!”

“Hey,” Akari replies casually. “What’cha up to here?”

“Oh, well, uh, UA is switching to a dorms system to try and prioritize student safety so…”

“So in OTHER words,” Akari continues, “My room now?”

Izuku snorts a laugh, “Yeah, sure. You do know that you were the one who insisted on sleeping on the air mattress, right?”

“No idea what you could be talking about,” Akari smiles, taking a seat on the bed. “…I might miss having you around though. It was nice having someone around to help with nightmares without it getting super awkward.”

“Wow!” Izuku says, faking shock, “Did you just admit how you really feel?”

Akari freezes, an awkward smile stuck on their face. “…That was a lie obviously, ahaha! Got’cha, didn’t I?”

Right. Sure. Mmhmm.


Tenya was the first one to arrive at heights alliance.

If he’s honest, he was a bit… worried.

His own presence and the presence of the others that came to Kamino might have posed a problem, and maybe UA would see to punishing them for it… but no, the school didn’t take any action againnst them. Tenya is grateful that they seem to be getting a second chance.

More and more students arrive, one after the other, lugging bags and suitcases with them. Eventually… there are nineteen of them gathered.

“Looks like we’re waiting for just one more,” Aizawa mutters.

“Orenji-chan?” Tsuyu observes, looking around.

Tenya also takes a moment to survey the group and notices that yes, Orenji is missing. That’s it.

“Actually, no,” Aizawa answers; a ripple of surprise passes through the class. “Orenji Ketsueki has… chosen not to return to UA. No further comment on the situation.”

Her family must have been against the dorm setup? Tenya guesses. Or… maybe she just decided that being a hero was too much for her…

That’s a shame. She was very kind.

“But then… who are we waiting for?” Kaminari asks.

Out of the corner of his eye, Tenya notices Shinsou smiling to himself as he stands off to the side.

Then, they all hear someone else approaching.

“Ah, sorry I’m late! I kinda got lost…!”

Tenya turns to see… Midoriya.

“MIDORIYA-KUN?!” Uraraka screeches in excitement. Aoyama lets out a dramatic gasp.

“H-hi everyone!” Midoriya waves awkwardly as just about everyone stares at them in awe (off to the side, Shinsou merely smiles even wider, as does Todoroki. Tenya gets the feeling that somehow, they knew already).

“This is Midoriya Izuku. Starting today, they’ll be joining Class 1-A," Aizawa introduces.

Tenya is glad. It just seems right to have them here now, even though thei