Chapter 1: one
Hitoshi was a habitual worrier. He’d try to deny it if anyone pointed it out, but it was an undeniable fact, and he knew it. There was just that underlying feeling, that cynical suspicion that everything was just too good, that the other shoe was about to drop. Hitoshi had held constant vigilance in this belief, from when he had first understood the way the world was to work when he was young to even now, surrounded by mountains of schoolbooks built up in a barricade around him and illuminated by tiny screens scattered around his makeshift castle. He had to believe that. It was the only way to survive a biased world, filled with biased people. He gently touched a scar running across the length of his right collarbone. Phantom pains sprouted from every place his fingers brushed as they travelled along the length of the long-healed injury.
He had to.
It was a blessing and a curse, he supposed. Constant skepticism kept you on your toes, thinking ahead and ever-prepared for disaster. It kept you alive, walking and talking and safe in dangerous situations- and situations not so traditionally menacing as well.
But it was also and inescapable curse, he realized as he checked two browsers and an app simultaneously on phone and laptop. Hitoshi caught himself mentally running through all of the news channels he could flick through on the common room TV and froze before sighing heavily. No, this was obsessive now, a fixation that was unhealthy for all involved. It was horrendous, and yet addicting. Gnawing at his lip, Hitoshi closed his eyes for a second and let the growing migraine pulse behind his strained eyes as he massaged the bridge of his nose. He let himself drift like that for a moment before forcing his eyes back open and swiping away from the ever-updating list of news articles gathered from around the Internet to open up the messenger. The stories flashed for a second onscreen before the messenger app opened.
Definitely completely obsessive.
But, he thought as he looked upon a dimly lit note on the wall,
Could you really blame him?
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND SPACEMAN]
[23:12:56] You: hey.
[23:13:02] You: hey spaceman.
[23:13:10] You: green-bean machine.
[23:13:15] You: broccoli-head.
[23:13:21] You: seaweed-brain.
[23:13:24] You: hey.
[23:13:26] You: ...
[23:13:36] You: izuku.
[23:13:42] You: please tell me you’re alright.
[23:13:58] You: it might be stupid but
[23:14:05] You: oh whatever
[23:14:08] You: it doesn’t matter anyways
[23:14:15] You: just… tell me when you get there
[23:14:22] You: don’t leave me hangin, man
[23:14:28] You: i might send my geese after you
[23:14:29] You: >:-)
[23:14:36] You: …
[23:14:46] You: ...promise me that i’ll wake up tomorrow to hear that you’re okay.
[23:14:52] You: i know that it’s not really possible
[23:14:55] You: but promise me.
[23:15:10] You: well
[23:15:16] You: i should probably get some sleep now
[23:15:25] You: the crew managed to finagle a training deal for me with Eraserhead-san so that I can train with your class some of the time- somehow
[23:15:31] You: a lot has happened since you left
[23:15:34] You: g’night, spaceman
[23:15:50] You: stay safe.
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
Izuku felt exhilarated and exhausted all at once. His new style was working amazingly, although he still needed some work using Hatsume’s tech. Still, when he’d managed to combine the two together, it was obvious how much he’d improved from where he’d started. He shivered at the memories from not so long ago, the lack of control and all of the logistics and sacrifices he’d worked through to win the day.
He regretted absolutely none of it.
Izuku yawned slightly, stumbling through double doors that separated room from room at the agency. The minute he stepped foot into the room, he was greeted by tired waves and smiles as sidekicks in various states of injury and care greeted him.
“Hey, guys.” Izuku gave a lazy wave in turn as people murmured out exhausted responses. He began to move more inwards as a whooshing noise sounded from beside him.
“Hello!” Toogata was suddenly right next to his ear. Izuku flinched hard.
“A-ah! Toogata-sempai! I-I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there, a-ah-“ There was laughter and he turned to look fully at the older student.
“Ah, it’s alright! I was just messing with you!” The blond gave a hearty laugh, Izuku supplying an awkward one of his own. “Say, you did really well out there today! I liked that new move you did- the flying kick and flick? Astounding! I say it could be a new signature move!” The shorter looked down to the floor, face reddening with the praise as he began to grin. “How’re you doing? A lot of us got pretty beat up this time, eh?”
“Yeah, we really didn’t expect to get ambushed like that on the way here!” Awata piped up. “You did awesome, though- you were soaring through the air, and the way you moved was like nothing I’d ever seen before!” She waved her hands in an illustrative manner, sweet-smelling bubbles drifting from her palms. Centipeder nodded sagely as she finished.
“Indeed. I thought you showed great potential at the Sports Festival, and I was simply astounded by what you did to save the training camp- but I never would’ve thought you would improve so quickly in such a short amount of time!” As others began to speak, Izuku could feel his face burn brighter and brighter with each bit of praise thrown by other sidekicks.
“Ah, thank you all!” He blurted at last, interrupting Awata in the middle of one of her sentences. “Awata-sempai, Toogata-sempai, all of you! You guys did amazing too! I’m okay, I just got my shoulder bandaged and a few scrapes here and there…” He ground into the floor with his toe. “You guys got it worse than me by a lot- really! I wasn’t that great…” There were disapproving hand waves and mutters from around the room.
“Oh, please!” Awata trilled, scoffing. “Honestly, having less injuries than we do doesn’t make you any less of a hero than us.” Izuku felt his eyes join in on the burning sensation. Awata didn’t seem to notice as she twisted around to point at a table across the room. “Oh, is that your phone? It’s been buzzing like crazy for a little while now.”
“Uhh… oh, yeah! That’s mine!” Izuku furiously began to walk towards the device, being pushed forward abruptly as Toogata slapped his back.
“Ah! Someone worried for you back home, then? A girl, maybe?” He smirked, laughing as Awata gasped at the comment and the rest of the room “oooh”-ed. Izuku eyes shot open, his hands waving as his head began to whip around the room.
“No! Nononono, it’s- it’s nothing like that! I mean- well, I guess- I- well-“ Giving up, he sprinted to the table with a nervous squeak as gentle teasing was aimed his way. Snatching his phone from the table, he swiped open the lock screen to look at the mountain of messages that had piled up. There were messages from his mother, which he responded to immediately and happily. Next was Iida, wishing him luck and reminding him of proper hero behaviour. Uraraka gave encouragements and sunny emojis mixed with an update on classes here and there. Izuku responded to both of them as well, a cheesy grin on his face at the running commentary from both. Quickly shooting off a message to Todoroki (he hadn’t said anything, but Izuku knew he’d like to know), he moved onto the final contact that was loaded down with messages.
He felt his face light up as he saw the bolded name, a veritable mountain of new messages piled up next to it. Toogata whistled from across the room as Awata squealed.
“SO IT IS A SPECIAL SOMEONE! Oh, your face gives it all away! Ohh- come on! Tell me all about her!” She was patting the spot next to her on the couch with an almost supersonic speed. Izuku felt his blush return.
“Wh- no, it’s not like tha- he’s not-“
“Oh, a boy? That’s alright too, we just didn’t know- what’s he like, then?” Hisakawa (Izuku thought) said, and as Izuku began to stutter even more violently, Centipeder stepped in. It was obvious that the man was trying to keep calm and stoic, but there was a rebellious smirk twitching the corners of his mouth up.
“Now! Mirio, Daiki, Kaoruko, be nice to him! I’m sure he’ll tell us about his boyfriend when he feels comfortable.” Izuku choked, almost dropping his phone.
“Awww! Butbutbut, he’s like our little brother nowwwwwww! It’s our job to tease him!” Awata had an enormous grin on her face. Toogata wiggled his eyebrows and wolf-whistled.
“Aaaannnnd, we gotta scope out whoever we might be getting as a future brother-in-law!” Kito cackled.
“PFAHAH- OH! But he’s going to have to go through us first!” He smiled impishly as he gave Toogata a very pointed look. The room exploded into even more chaos at the gentle jab, and Izuku hugged his phone closer to his chest as he slowly began to inch his way towards the edges of the room to make his escape. The other set of doors was mercifully close, and Izuku did his very best to stay low and quiet, out of the way of the messy riot that the group had devolved into. Only about a step away from the door, he at last let out a premature sigh- and promptly walked straight into a tightly-wound, skeleton-like frame. Immediately reeling back, Izuku felt his heart drop to his shoes.
“While the laughter and smiling are the goal of this hero agency, it is far too late to be performing such barbaric whooping tomfoolery!” Sir Nighteye’s voice projected through the room and silence immediately suffocated any good-natured fun that might have been present in the crowd. “What is the meaning of this?” More silence, before Toogata spoke up.
“Sorry Sir! We were just trying to get Midoriya here to tell us about his boyfriend back home!” Izuku tensed in embarrassment.
“HE’S NOT MY BOYFRIEND!” He screeched, clapping his hands over his mouth a second later as the volume of his protest registered. Sir Nighteye was deadly silent for a moment, eye twitching.
“...and is that the truth?” The taller man glared down his nose at Izuku, and the smaller shuddered as he frantically nodded. “Hmph. You’ll say that he’s simply a ‘very good friend,’ then.” Another bout of frantic nodding from Izuku. With one more searching, hard look, Sir Nighteye sighed and turned to the rest of the frozen room. “Well, you heard him. This mysterious boy is… ‘not his boyfriend.’” Izuku winced. “Now, everyone in this room had better be in bed in half-an-hour or have a good excuse as to why you’re not. Otherwise, you should expect to face… punishments.” A shiver went through the entire room as Sir Nighteye turned. “I will be coming back in 30 minutes exactly to check on you. Good night.” And with that, the elder was gone as quietly as he came. The room stayed dead silent for a second more before a relieved breath was collectively exhaled. Hisakawa glanced towards Izuku.
“Well, now that that's over- why don’t you tell us about your-“ He coughed. “-‘good friend?’” Izuku began to redden more and Hisakawa raised his hands in a placating motion. Water could be heard splashing around the pipes in sync with the movement. “Hey, hey, it’s okay. You don’t have to tell us if you don’t want to. Just know that I’m willing to listen if you want to talk, and I won’t make any more assumptions.” Izuku hesitated for a moment. “I promise.” His tone was sincere, and Izuku breathed shakily at last. Glancing around the room, he noticed Toogata wearing a guilty smile and looking to the ground as he leaned against the wall. Awata had her hand firmly clamped over her mouth as she tried to suppress her quirk with a horrified look on her face. Everyone who wasn’t in the process of hurriedly leaving the room was waiting patiently and somewhat apologetically for Izuku’s decision. Centipeder gave him an encouraging smile, and Izuku at last twitched a finger.
“U-uh…” His voice was quiet, cracking a little, and he clears his throat. “He- uh, his name is Hitoshi, Shinsou Hitoshi.” He stopped for a second, the rest of the sidekicks waiting expectantly for him to continue. "Well... He's a really good friend, for one- He has this really fluffy hair, and he doesn't sleep very well, and he's really determined to be a great hero!" Izuku gave a small smile, head tilting as he remembered his friend. There were interested hums from around the crowd.
“...is that all?” Hisakawa pressed gently, an equally gentle smile on his face. “You don’t have to continue if you don’t want to, but this boy sounds nice.” Various people nodded, murmuring quietly.
“Yeah, he sounds really cool- what else is he like?” Awata moved slightly to the side, opening the spot on the couch further. Izuku is silent for a moment before moving forward to sit happily on the couch.
“...he’s one of the bravest people I’ve ever met, and he’s a little bad at taking care of himself because he’s always trying to train and learn so he can move into the Hero Course at UA- he’s not there right now because they used robots for the entrance exam and his quirk didn’t work with them. But, he’s making sure to fix that! And he really likes cats…” Izuku's voice chirped on, eyes unfocused as he went through memories. The crowd was quiet, listening intently and finding spots to sit wherever possible- windowsills, floor, armrests, those who were able to levitated in the air. Occasionally, someone would ask a question and Izuku would spiral down yet another road to answer it. Time seemed to melt away as he spoke.
“-and, and he can read minds-“ Amazed gasps were cut off by Nanako flying down the hallway and almost through the wall, gasping. The room fell silent as everyone looked to the new member.
“Nighteye is coming!” They hissed. The temperature in the room dropped about ten degrees as Kito and everyone else whipped to the side to look at the clock. Barely 30 seconds were left of the 30 minute allowance Sir Nighteye had given them. Izuku suddenly became painfully aware of the sound of footsteps softly clicking down the hall.
Milliseconds later, the room had once more erupted into chaos as everyone scrambled to grab their things and evacuate to their rooms before Sir Nighteye could catch them. Izuku tightened his grip on his phone as he used a small amount of his power to vault over the crowd to escape. Hisakawa liquified and dissolved into the pipes as Toogata phased through the wall. A second later, he had reappeared in front of Izuku to grab his arm and drag him down and to the front of the mob.
“RunrunrunrunrunrUNRUNRUN RUUUUNNNIFYOUVALUEYOURLIFE-“ He choked out, and Izuku did his best to increase his speed and ignore the state of his sempai as the writhing crowd of quirk-users became only more panicked. Izuku felt a sinking sense of dread building in his gut as the crowd and Toogata shove him down the hallway.
“Sempai, my room is at the other side of the building!” He managed to gasp out. “I need to go the other way- what do I- how’s he going to- where did Sir go?!” Toogata clamped a hand over Izuku’s mouth.
“Shh! Just hold on and trust me- “ Toogata yanked him forwards roughly, shoving someone aside with a quick apology before ripping a sharp right turn into a definitively emptier hallway. Izuku barely had time to question where they were before Toogata had pulled him to the left and thrown him into a room, slamming the door shut and locking to behind the the two. He let out a relieved noise as he panted to catch his breath, leaning against the door and eyeing Izuku on the floor. Izuku could feel his whole body buzzing with adrenaline as his chest heaved. The pair sat in silence for a moment, before Toogata cleared his throat.
“Ah-hm. Sorry if I hurt you there, Midoriya!” The trademark smile was back on his face. “I hope you don’t mind staying the night in my room! Otherwise Nighteye…” He trailed off, shuddering as he relieved a memory. “...well, Nighteye- you don’t want to receive one of his punishments, is my point.” Izuku nodded vigorously.
“Of course! Thank you so much, Toogata-sempai, I promise I won’t cause any trouble for you!” He responded sunnily, and Toogata laughed.
“I’ll be holding you to that promise!” He jokingly waves a finger, walking softly over to the bed to begin to rearrange things. “I’ll try and make you as comfortable as possible- I have extra bedding and a folding mattress, don’t worry.” Izuku let out a surprised noise and Toogata winked. “Don’t tell, but we sidekicks have had more than our share of sleepovers here!” He laughed, and Izuku grinned as he made a zipping motion over his lips. Toogata gave one last grin before turning away to start pulling things out of his closet, and Izuku smiled for a moment more before looking down at his phone to check the time. A jolt went through his body and he gasped, unlocking his phone and hastily slamming open an app. Toogata jumped, looking over his shoulder.
“Everything alright over there?”
“Yes, yes- I just remembered I forgot to respond to Hitoshi! I’ll have to do that, I’m sorry!”
“Oh, not a problem! Just don’t stay up too late talking- we should be well-rested for tomorrow!” Izuku hummed in acknowledgement, moving out of the way to allow Toogata to begin arranging the mattress and sheets for him. Busy fingers began to type as Izuku tried and failed to suppress a yawn. Good lord, was this going to be a hard internship.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND GOOSE KING]
[00:15:02] You: Agh! Sorry Hitoshi! I’m just heading to bed now!
[00:15:10] You: The… uh, the trip here took a little longer than I thought it would!
[00:15:13] You: But I’m okay!
[00:15:19] You: I’m here, I’m safe.
[00:15:24] You: You don't have to send your geese after me :P
[00:15:30] You: Also, “green-bean-machine”? That’s a new one!
[00:15:35] You: And you got a deal to train with Aizawa-sensei?
[00:15:40] You: You’re totally moving up to the hero course soon!
[00:15:42] You: I knew it!
[00:15:45] You: But yeah, I’m fine!
[00:15:47] You: Just very tired :P
[00:15:51] You: ...As evidenced by my constant emoji use.
[00:15:55] You: I should probably sleep soon anyways!
[00:15:58] You: Universal, Hitoshi!
[00:16:05] You: …Or sHOULD I SAY GOOD MORNING?!
[00:16:09] You: i’ll stop now
[00:16:12] You: Good night!
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
WHOO OKAY THAT ONE WAS A LOT LONGER THANK GOD
Shoutout to Jacey for teaching me magical skills to enable me to not have to manually highlight things the slow way every time, and shoutout to myself from earlier this morning for cutting my finger and making it unnecessarily hard to type with my left hand.
(Tentative) Update Schedule: Every 3 or 4 days.
Hitoshi found he slept better on training days. Something about the prospect of being thoroughly exhausted took him directly into R.E.M, as did the mental and physical exhaustion afterwards of pushing himself to his limit and then far past that. He was pretty sure that was the only reason he was able to sleep so soundly with so much stress. Still, the very first thing he did that morning when his alarm went off was roughly blink the sleep from his eyes and check his phone. Relief washed through his system when he saw that Deku had responded, but it was brief. A million other factors were still at play here, and it would do him not good to relax at the first positive sign. So, Hitoshi slammed his alarm into silence and dragged his body off the mattress to a sitting position, innumerable cracks marking every movement he made. He began to crack his shoulders and stretch his arms, going through the regular pressure points. He had this routine memorized: crack his shoulders first, the elbows. Hit the pressure point on the back of his left shoulder, then his right. Crack his back, then hit the pressure points on his side, and then move to his lower body- hips, knees and ankles, before he bent forward as if to touch his toes. Hitoshi’s mind wandered somewhat as his body went through the motions robotically, mentally running through the rest of his morning to-do list. As he finished the stretching, he carefully tossed his head to the side to move the hair out of his face- he’d gotten a nasty concussion at a recent training session and he did want to add another to the pile. Permanent brain damage, for some reason, just didn’t sound so appealing to him.
Hitoshi snorted at his own mental sass, pushing himself off the bed with a groan and began to zombie-shuffle towards the kitchen. He’d managed to get a box of energy bars- courtesy of Iida and Uraraka, bless their Costco-loving hearts- and they worked wonders for his nutrition. They didn’t taste so bad either, which he supposed was a plus. Snatching one off the counter, he headed to his measly living room- if you could even call it that, he thought with a scoff. Ripping the wrapper open, Hitoshi leant back over the massager he’d been using more and more often these days and finally opened the notifications for the texts. His eyes scanned over them searchingly, mouth just barely twitching up at the edges as he read the sleep-deprived words. 12:15AM, huh. That was a little more than just a train delay. Any hint of a smile faded as he pursed his lips, adjusting his position on the massager and opening up one of his app. Along with the normal news, an app had been developed to specifically track hero news- of course it had. And of course he’d downloaded it, along with the regular news app. Of course.
As the app loaded the new and updating stories of the day, Hitoshi quickly switched to the messenger and back to text Deku.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND SPACEMAN]
[06:15:22] You: g’mornin spaceman
[06:15:26] You: hope you slept well
[06:15:32] You: imagine trying to talk to a civilian like that
His app still hadn’t loaded, so he jumped back to add another comment.
[06:15:36] You: how was the trip, o mighty emoji-man?
Mercifully, his app loaded a second later. Hitoshi began to scroll through the different news stories. Silencer had given a talk with Present Mic about the Deaf community. Ubawami had saved a building from a bombing in the Hosu prefecture. Hound Dog had sniffed out a known terrorist who had orchestrated an attack on an elementary school not too long ago. Hitoshi’s expression soured even more. The amount of these attacks and threats had been increasing recently, and it had been all but blatantly stated that they were all coming from, at the very least, a single very well-organized group. Law enforcement and heroes had reason to suspect, however, that there were multiple organizations working together or united under a common figurehead. It was a sickly and frankly terrifying threat that did nothing to calm Hitoshi’s nerves.
The teen startled as his phone dinged.
[06:17:55] Spaceman: Good morning, Hitoshi!
[06:18:02] Spaceman: Travelling and sleep were pretty good! What about you?
[06:18:07] Spaceman: Also, “emoji-man”? >:-(
Hitoshi laughed to himself, lifting himself off the massager to move himself down so it could massage his shoulder. He tapped the messages with a crooked smile, fingers trembling a bit from the vibrations of the machine as he typed.
[06:18:12] You: oh, forgive me
[06:18:16] You: emoji-boy
[06:18:18] Spaceman: >:O
Hitoshi veritably cackled at the response, phone buzzing in his hands as more messages flooded in.
[06:18:19] Spaceman: HI
[06:18:20] Spaceman: TO
[06:18:21] Spaceman: SHI
[06:18:23] You: I
[06:18:24] You: ZU
[06:18:25] You: KU
[06:18:31] Spaceman: Hitoshi why
[06:18:33] You: hitoshi because
[06:18:40] Spaceman: Hitoshi it is too early in the morning for you to be betraying my trust like this
[06:18:41] You: shh
[06:18:54] You: then go back to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeppppppppppppp
[06:18:56] Spaceman: I caaaaaaaaannnnnnnn’ttt
[06:18:59] Spaceman: Paperwork and patrol await!
[06:19:04] Spaceman: ...Hey, why are you up so early anyways?
[06:19:09] You: it’s just how i roll
[06:19:10] You: bro
[06:19:11] You: B-)
[06:19:15] Spaceman: And you call me the dork
[06:19:18] You: gASP!!!!¡!!¡¡¡!!
[06:19:23] You: hOw DaRe!!!!
[06:19:25] Spaceman: Pff-
[06:19:27] Spaceman: -But actually though
[06:19:34] Spaceman: Is everything alright? Did you have another nightmare?
[06:19:37] You: nope, we cool
[06:19:42] You: just training today, and i woke up like always so
[06:19:53] You: we have to go through tHe PrOcEsS like always
[06:19:55] Spaceman: Pfft!
[06:19:59] Spaceman: Well, if you say so!
[06:20:01] Spaceman: Also, wow
[06:20:06] Spaceman: Even Iida doesn’t wake up this early
[06:20:08] You: i’m a go-getter
[06:20:11] Spaceman: Obviously
[06:20:13] You: pfft
[06:20:14] You: indeed
[06:20:17] You: i’m honestly surprised you’re as peppy and not-tired as you are after the delay last night
[06:20:19] You: what even happened?
A new notification dinged into existence from his news app.
[06:20:30] Spaceman: Well, I stayed pretty late talking to all the other sidekicks!
[06:20:35] You: well, sure, but your train was still super behind
[06:20:38] You: there is an implosion of society if they’re delayed by seven seconds
[06:20:42] You: the heck happened to yours?
Hitoshi dragged down the notification bar and clicked on the pop-up- an update on another developing story regarding what a lot of people suspected was another act of terror by the unknown group. There had been a huge fight, and both heroes and civilians had been injured. Not a lot was known of what happened at first, but it looked like some of the agencies involved had released their reports. Hitoshi excitedly scrolled down to the new add-ons, arching back to turn off the massager for the moment.
[06:20:45] Spaceman: Well
[06:20:48] Spaceman: Uh
[06:20:56] Spaceman: There was a huge thing somewhere near us, I think?
[06:21:00] Spaceman: Had to stop a couple times
[06:21:04] Spaceman: Something involving a protest, or a street party maybe?
[06:21:05] Spaceman: I think.
Hitoshi glanced up to read the texts as they came in, slowly sitting up as he focused mainly on the article. The attack was almost confirmed by several agencies to be another act by a terrorist group- someone that might be called “Manta,” it seemed. The attack had shut down large areas of Kamino and destroyed a lot of the infrastructure in the city. The pictures of the collapsed buildings created a cold sense of fear in his chest, the sensation of being crushed suddenly far too present and pressing down on his torso. He had to put down his phone for a moment, breathing deeply with eyes wide open and focusing on the soft lights that his room possessed and reminding himself that it was fine. He was safe, there was no reason to panic right now. His claustrophia had no reason to act up. Clicking his tongue at last, he picked up his phone began to run through the list of offices involved in the fight. Genius, of course. Snipe’s office, also an obvious one considering the location. Fourth Kind, Vlad King-
Hitoshi felt the blood in his veins freeze, quickly clicking on the hyperlink leading to the side article.
[06:22:30] Spaceman: Hitoshi?
He skimmed the words in a panic, searching for any signs of what he darkly suspected. This was what happened when he let his guard down, The was what occurred-
A picture jumped out of the article, an unmistakable green jumpsuit and ears searing into his eyes. Hitoshi felt his heart jump to his throat. Too much blood. So much blood. Arms shouldn’t look like that.
Shaking, he leaned against the couch and did his best to breathe.
[06:23:03] You: spaceman
[06:23:07] You: i want you to be completely honest with me here
[06:23:08] Spaceman: Hm?
[06:23:10] You: How badly are you hurt.
[06:23:12] Spaceman: I
[06:23:17] Spaceman: … I’m sorry, what?
[06:23:19] You: sent Screenshot1232.img
[06:23:22] You: How badly are you hurt.
[06:23:24] Spaceman: Oh, jeez
[06:23:26] You: please
[06:23:27] Spaceman: Okay, okay!
[06:23:30] Spaceman: Not that badly, actually- I got my shoulder wrapped and a couple of band-aids, but I’m okay!
[06:23:32] You: …
[06:23:36] Spaceman: Hitoshi, I promise.
[06:23:41] You: ...alright
[06:23:44] You: sorry
[06:23:46] Spaceman: No, no! It’s okay!
[06:23:52] You: it’s not really, but sure. i worry way too much anyways
[06:23:54] You: but still
[06:24:00] Spaceman: Hey, it’s okay! I’d be pretty worried too, heh.
[06:24:03] You: hah.
[06:24:08] You: ...well, anyways
[06:24:10] Spaceman: Yeah, anyways
[06:24:14] You: anything interesting happen over there yet?
[06:24:16] You: other than the huge fight, obviously
[06:24:19] You: anything cool happen with the sidekicks last night?
[06:24:25] Spaceman: Uh
[06:24:30] Spaceman: Well.
[06:24:31] You: uh-oh.
[06:24:34] Spaceman: NOTHING BAD HAPPENED NOBODY IS DEAD YET
[06:24:36] You: yet??????????
[06:24:37] Spaceman: ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
[06:24:40] Spaceman: Okay, it’s a really long story, and there’s still some stuff that might happen
[06:24:41] You: are you kidding me
[06:24:43] Spaceman: SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
[06:24:45] Spaceman: -And I kinda gotta go anyways, hero work calls!
[06:24:47] Spaceman: So, can I call you later so I can tell you about it?
[06:24:49] You: sounds good
[06:24:52] Spaceman: ahhhhhi’msosorrythankyousomuch
[06:24:56] You: wh- pfft
[06:25:01] You: not a problem, bob-lem
[06:25:04] Spaceman: Pfft- Once more, I’m the dork?
[06:25:05] You: yyyyyyyyyuuupp
[06:25:06] You: through and through, my dude
[06:25:08] Spaceman: Oh my gosh you nessssSSSSSTTAAAHHHHPPPP
[06:25:11] Spaceman: Toogata-SEMPAI IS LOOKIN OVER MY SHOULDER AND ADKING WHY I’M LAUGINH SO HADR
[06:25:13] You: ... what???? who???????
[06:25:16] Spaceman: LOGN SOTRY TELL UOU LATRE
[06:25:19] You: uh, okay?...
[06:25:23] Spaceman: TANK YPU TOSHI GOOTA GO BYEY
[ SPACEMAN HAS CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[06:25:26] You: ...wow
[06:25:27] You: bye??????
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
Weee'reeee editing in a paaniiicccc
Chapter 4: four
Izuku makes friends and gets his first taste of paperwork.
Izuku ended up racing to the small breakfast room-hall-kitchen-area with Toogata tripping hot on his heels, rapidly trying to style blonde bedhead as Izuku straightened his shirt and did his best to pull on mismatched socks. The two slid into the room like a hurricane of flailing limbs and with half their clothes backwards, slamming themselves into free seats with more speed than necessary. Kito screeched as Toogata’s arm went halfway through his torso, while Nanako just caught Izuku in strong arms with a slightly terrified look on their face. Apologies were murmured (or projected, in Toogata’s case) intermixed with thanks as people righted themselves and quietly chuckled at the scene. Izuku let out a final puff of breath, giving a crooked smile to the rest of the occupants of the table.
“G’morning, guys! Did we miss much?”
“Ah, not much. Nighteye hasn’t even shown up yet, weird!” Hamada piped up from down the table, pushing a teapot towards Izuku. “Want some?”
“Oh, sure! Thank you!” Izuku carefully took the cup that was balanced on top of the pot and poured himself some tea. He took a sip, suppressing laughter at the ongoing interaction between Toogata and Kito. Toogata was smiling and laughing, calm as can be while Kito continued to wave his arms wildly as he lectured Toogata in a voice two octaves too high. It was quite a sight.
Despite himself, Izuku snickered at the scene. Hamada had his lips pursed as he tried to suppress his own laughter, slowly taking out a phone and holding a finger to his mouth as he looked to Izuku. Izuku grinned back, thanking the mysterious person who had just placed a bowl of cereal and a piece of toast in front of him. Man, he really had to learn at least the hero names of everyone here. Making a mental note, he began to eat his cereal as he continued to watch the fight.
“-LIKE, DUUUUUUDE! IT’S FREAKY WHEN YOU DO THAT! I’M JUST SITTIN’ HERE, DRINKIN’ MY JUICE- WHAT IF I HAD SPILLED MY JUICE, MIRIO?! WHAT IF I HAD- ORANGEY DELICIOUSNESS, WASTED! MILLIONS OF DUST PARTICLES, DROW-“ Kito stopped dead, mouth wide open and eyes blown to cartoonish proportions. Frost began to spread around him, covering the floor and the legs of any furniture and people touching the floor in a decently-sized radius of him. Toogata scoffed.
“What, freezing up in the middle of your rant?” He quipped, smiling. Izuku grinned, sending a confused look to Hamada. He shrugged back, turning back to look at the gaping teen- before someone cleared their throat behind them. The table froze- some literally, courtesy of Kito’s jolt- as heads snapped around to see Nighteye standing behind them. His face was unreadable as he looked blankly at the group. The entire room could be heard falling silent. Izuku could feel his torso slowly growing numb from cold, but couldn’t find it in his tense body to really care. The tension in the room grew with each passing second.
“G-Good morning, Sir Nighteye. Uh, sir.” Izuku heard himself stutter out. Nighteye raised a singular eyebrow.
“Good morning.” He responded at last, walking away slowly to the nearby counter. The entire room held their breath as Nighteye poured himself a cup of tea from a regal-looking teapot into an equally elegant cup. He took one long sip, exhaling long and hard through his nose.
“Kaneko.” He spoke, seemingly out of nowhere. The girl in question jolted, standing up from her place across the room. “Release those people from slowly freezing to death. Kito, calm down.” Kito flinched, nodding frantically as Kaneko made her way across the room. “I caught none of you specifically last night. Be forewarned though… I’m keeping a careful eye on you.” The temperature in the room dropped even more. “Kito!”
“Sorry!” The pale boy squealed. Kaneko began to work on freeing the trapped group from the ice as Kito quickly sat on his hands and began to do his best impression of breathing deeply. He wasn’t doing so well, but Izuku couldn’t blame him- doing anything with Nighteye staring you down was difficult. He felt his arms slowly regaining movement but kept his eyes on Nighteye as the man began to speak again.
“Today, everyone involved in the battle last night will be filling out a report, short briefing, and press statement on the events of the fight. I will need them submitted by nine, or nine-thirty if you’re feeling…” A deadly pause. “... tired.” The room visibly shuddered. Izuku was sure that all of them were making a silent pact to be in bed well before curfew tonight. “After that, regular work will resume. I’m sure everyone know their patrol routes- keep those in mind,- and I expect incident reports from all those required to present them. This includes incident reports on previous events that have yet to be presented to me. We will also be having an agency-wide briefing on the events of last night, followed by a meeting with all involved in the conflict last night and a select few higher-ups. Have I made myself clear?” A moment of hesitation before the room nodded and murmurs of “Yes, Sir,” were heard. Izuku felt the last bit of ice fall completely away from him and cracked his back, rubbing his arms.
“Thank you,” He whispered to Kaneko. She looked surprised for a second before brightly smiling back.
“Not a problem, lil’ dude,” She whispered back. Izuku was about to ask her about her quirk, but Nighteye had begun to speak again.
“As of right now, I have decided that many of you are not fit for duty today. As of such, take your memory of the patrol schedule and toss it out the window.” Izuku felt his stomach drop. “In order to access the revised edition of the schedule, you will be required to report to me with the three documents I requested of you, or if that does not apply to you a summarized report of how this may connect to other similar recent events, as well as a document outlining the proper procedure when dealing with groups such as this and hospitalized civilians and heroes. I also advise each and every one of you to give thought to the infrastructure damage in the Kamino ward and how we should assume responsibility regarding it.” Another sip of tea. “That is all. Use your time wisely.” He cleared his throat once more, picked up his teacup, and left the room.
“...oh my god.” Someone murmured, and the crowd erupted into stressed conversation and complaint. Izuku could feel his head spinning as he tried to register all that had just happen in the past few minutes.
“Well, Midoriya, I suppose you’re going to get your first taste of paperwork!” Even Toogata looked tired at the prospect of all the tasks assigned. Nanako whistled under their breath.
“Wow, that was a lot! And it’s your first time with Nighteye’s paperwork?” Kaneko groaned. “Man, I feel bad for you! Oh, we never got introduced- Kaneko Hikaru.”
“M-Midoriya Izuku.” Izuku stuttered back. The girl scoffed.
“Aptly named, I see.” Izuku let out a confused noise as she flicked her hand. A bright flash smashed through another chunk of the winter restraints. “Hey, Vanilla Ice. What’s your name?”
“Wh- Vanilla Ice?!”
“Yeah! Y’know-“ Kaneko began to beatbox. “Ice Ice Baby, doo doo do do doo do do doo-“
“-COLLABORATE AND LISTENNN! ICE IS BACK WITH A BRAND NEW INVENTION-“
“If I give you my name, will you stop. Rapping?!”
“Maaayyyyyyybe I will, maaaaayyyyyybe I won’t.” She winked. “You’re gonna have to try to find out!”
“Oh, for the love of-“ He was cut off by Kaneko blowing a raspberry in his face.
“Hey! Think of the children!” She made an exaggerated gesture to Izuku, who jumped back a bit. From down the table, Hamada started to laugh as he shivered in his seat. “ See! HE likes me!” Kito leaned around Kaneko to glare at his laughing friend.
“Hamada, you traitor.” Hamada only laughed harder at that, Kito’s voice failing to hold any menacing ice despite his best efforts. Izuku snorted at the accidental pun and Kaneko beamed at him. Nanako shook their head gently, a smile on their features.
“His name is Kito Katsume-“ Kito gave an offended gasp. “-and I’m Nanako Kaede. And the hysterical one over there is Hamada Takahiro.” Hamada continued to laugh as he gave a shaky wave to Kaneko as Kito spluttered out discontent gibberish. Izuku could’ve sworn he caught Nanako nearly roll their eyes. “Now that we’ve gotten that over with, can we get to work now? I take a long time writing statements, and I feel like Midoriya here is going to need some assistance to get through Nighteye’s paperwork in one piece.” Izuku gulped as, within a second, everyone had sobered up greatly and nodded. Kaneko pats his back gently.
“It’s gonna be a long day, kid.” She sighed. “Good luck- you’ll need it.”
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND GOOSE KING ]
[08:07:56] You: I take it back
[08:08:00] You: I wanna go back to sleep now
[ YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
“...as of such, we implore all citizens to exercise caution. Be aware of those around you and…” His voice trailed off. “...and if you see anyone matching the description of the- the perpetrators, please report them to the nearest enforcement figure.” Izuku let out a breath as he finished. “How does that sound now?” Kaneko gave an enthusiastic thumbs up.
“It sounds really good now! You learn quick!” Izuku grinned out a thanks as she twisted her body to the side. “Hey, KitKat. What do you think?” Silence. The group looked around to try and find who she was referring to as she let out a huff. “KitKat. KiiiiiiitKat.” Still nobody. “KitKat. Elsa. Vanilla Ice-“
“What?! Why am I-“
“Criticism first, question later!~” Kaneko cut him off. Kito threw his hands up in the air.
“Oh my good lo- sorry, Midoriya. Your report sounds really good now, what better than what you started with. You’re doing a lot better than most newbies do with their report writing, I’ll give you that.” Izuku’s smile turned nervous. “The ‘be aware’ part could be smoother. That might just be me being picky, but believe me. Nighteye rips these things apart like tissue paper.” Izuku shuddered a bit. Hisakawa opened his mouth to protest but Kito had whipped back to look at Kaneko now. “And you.” Kaneko blinked innocently.
“ You!” He threw his arms up again. The glittering girl beside him tilted her head curiously. “Okay- I understood Vanilla Ice. I understood Elsa. I hated them both, but I understood them. But why the heck am I ‘KitKat’ now?!” Kaneko immediately grinned.
“Cuz of your name!” Kito stared blankly.
“My name.” Kaneko nodded vigorously.
“Yeah! Y’know- KIT o KAT sume! KitKat!” Hamada could be heard quietly laughing again in the background. Nanako let out a snort.
“That’s your name now. KitKat.” They muttered with a grin. Kito snapped his gaping mouth shut to pull a pout that would’ve seemed theatrical if Izuku hadn’t known him and his personality better. As Kito and Kaneko devolved into yet another argument- the group had learned quickly that Kito did not get along well with her- a soft knock sounded on the wall by Izuku’s head. Turning, he found Toogata standing by the doorframe.
“Ready to go? From experience, it’s only going to get worse the longer you wait to present them.” He gently motioned behind him. Izuku took a deep breath and nodded slowly, beginning to shuffle towards the door. Kaneko looked back at him briefly.
“Good luck, Lil’ Greeny!” Nanako nodded along with the words, a barely-there smile on their lips. Hisakawa waved with a thumbs up as Kito glanced up for a second.
“Yeah, good luck- AND ANOTHER THING-“ He snapped back to arguing with Kaneko the second the “encouragement” had passed his lips, and the two were back to fighting. Izuku laughed a bit, stepping out the door to meet Toogata in the hall. The taller student nodded to him.
“It seems like you and Kaneko are getting along well,” He said, beginning to walk. Izuku smiled as he followed him.
“Ah, yeah! She’s really nice and very smart and funny, and she helped me a lot with writing and editing my reports.” He looked back up to the blond. “How long has she been here, anyways?” Toogata thought for a second.
“About the same time as me, I think! She’s a force to be reckoned with in battle. Nejire likes her a lot- birds of a feather, I suppose!” He beams. “I think she likes you.” Izuku stood up a little straighter.
“What, Kaneko? Really?” Toogata nodded.
“Oh, definitely. If she’s given you a nickname, then you two are probably already friends in her eyes.” He snorted. “‘Lil’ Greeny,’ huh?” Izuku laughed quietly again.
“Yeah- I guess for my hair?” Toogata hummed.
“Maybe that! It could also be how you’re fairly new to the agency- a ‘greenhorn,’ if you will.” Izuku let out an eureka noise.
“Wow, I never even thought of it like that! That’s really smart- a double-meaning!” He began to mutter quietly to himself. “-then, maybe there’s more wordplay to what she says- that just be helpful during missions- puns and double-meanings-“
“Midoriya.” Toogata interrupted him. Izuku’s head snapped up and his stomach dropped as he stared blankly at the door of Nighteye’s office. He gulped and Toogata patted his back reassuringly. “Hey. You’ll be okay, I know it! I’m presenting right after you, so I’ll be in the room as well. You’re not gonna be alone. It’ll be alright.” He ruffled Izuku’s hair like one night with a younger sibling. “Come on, I believe in you! Smile!” Hands reached over, pulling the corners of Izuku’s mouth into a comically-wide grin. Toogata gasped theatrically. “All Might, is that you?!” Izuku laughed at last, gently batting Toogata’s hands away.
“Alright, alright!” A real smile was on his face now. “Alright.” Looking back to the wood, he gave a quiet sigh. After a second, he took a deep breath, straightened up, and summoned every last bit of rebellious “I AM HERE” spirit he had in his body as he forced his grin wider. “Let’s do this!”
Toogata nodded proudly at him before reaching around and opening the door.
They stepped into the judgement hall together.
[ GROUP CHAT- “SHINSQUAD 2K18” ]
[08:15:32] Spaceman: Wish me luck, you guys! I’m about to present a report to Sir Nighteye!
[08:15:34] Spaceman: Tell you how it goes afterwards!
[ SPACEMAN CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
Chapter 5: five
A look into what's happening back in Class 1-A.
It wasn’t even nine in the morning yet, and already Tenya had work to do. Sure, the work of a class president was never over- but it was normally less that this.
And yet, there he stood, with a sea of rowdy classmates surrounding him, as he put the finishing touches on a new training plan for Shinsou and edited the list of Midoriya’s missed assignments for the fifth time today. Two essays sat beside him, as well as an English workbook and two newly-checked-out novels on the history of impressionist art. There were bags under his eyes from working late, and if he was being frank, he honestly wasn’t feeling in his best health.
He was in absolutely no shape a class president should be in. Uraraka peered over his shoulder in concern.
“Iida, you look like you’re about to collapse! Are you sick?” Tenya sighed, shaking his head.
“No, no, I’m quite fine- simply revising this document. It is my duty as Class President to inform anyone missing class time for an excused and constructive purpose!” Uraraka smiled as she nodded, looking further over Iida’s shoulder to read over the assignments list. Her eyes scanned over the paper, brows furrowing as she read the words. Tenya’s did the same. “What, is there something wrong? Am I missing something? I’ve made my best attempt to compile all of the missed assignments for Midoriya, including the ones he had even a chance of missing- did I forget some? Should I also include extra-credit assignments?”
“Iida- no, this is perfect! Just…” She scanned it over once more. “...that is a lot of detail.” Tenya made a confused noise in the back of his throat.
“Well, surely Midoriya would benefit from knowing the most information possible about the assignments! It’s simply beneficial for his understanding! I will also attach the rubrics for each assignment when I share the document with him.”
“But… we didn’t get electronic rubric copies?”
“Well, of course! I made my own!” Uraraka gaped at him, reeling back.
“Iida-” She was interrupted by their phones buzzing out an alert in harmony. Snatching hers off of her desk, she swung her case open and grinned as she jumped in glee. “Oh! It’s Deku, he’s texting us! We should wish him luck at his agency, he says he’s making a presentation right now!” Fingers furiously typed away at her passcode as Iida spluttered in protest.
“Wh- hey! Use of cellular devices in class- especially when not for the purpose of schoolwork- is strictly prohibited! Put that away, or I may have to confiscate it and give it to Eraserhead-sensei!” Uraraka clicked her tongue with a smile.
“Ah! Prohibited during class, you mean, and we still have 15 minutes until school officially starts- much less class! I’m not breaking any rules yet.”
“Yet?!” Tenya scoffed. Uraraka giggled.
“Oh, come on! It would be rude not to respond to hiiiimmmmm…” Tenya froze as the words processed, looking from clock back to Uraraka and back again.
“Well- I- it would- ru- oh, fine,” He huffed at last, making a point of ignoring Uraraka’s fistpump of victory. Unlocking his own phone- the case was thankfully providing the grip his cramping fingers couldn’t,- he opened to the messenger app to scan over the texts sent in the group chat. The device vibrated in his hands as Uraraka tap-tap-tapped away at her own phone to send out quick responses.
[ GROUPCHAT- “SHINSQUAD 2K18” ]
[08:17:06] 💔🍏 : Ahh! Good luck, Deku! We’re rooting for you!
[08:17:08] WOTM: Yes, best of luck Midoriya!
[08:17:10] WOTM: ...Who changed my name?
[08:17:15] Goose King: blow him away, spaceman. and guilty as charged iida
[08:17:17] Goose King: to be fair, ura helped
[08:17:20] WOTM: But what does it mean? What does hers mean?
[08:17:25] 💔🍏 : Mine is an apple and a broken heart (for now) as a sort of way of saying, “Eat your heart out, Newton.” Cuz of my quirk!
[08:17:28] 💔🍏 : And yours stands for “What’s on the menu.”
[08:17:32] WOTM: What’s on the menu???
[08:17:33] Goose King: LEGS LEGS
[08:17:36] 💔🍏 : WHAT’S ON THE MENU!
[08:17:37] Goose King: LEGS LEGS
[08:17:39] 💔🍏 : WHAT’S ON THE MENU!!!
[08:17:41] Goose King: 👏 👏 👏 👏
[08:17:43] Goose King: L E G S
[08:17:50] WOTM: Shinsou, Uraraka is on the floor and inconsolable
[08:17:52] Goose King: WHOOPS SORRY GIRLY U OK
[08:17:58] 💔🍏 : I’m OkaTtYyyy
[08:18:00] Goose King: U SURE BOUT DAT
[08:18:12] 💔🍏 : juS laUGNiH rlLEy hArd SOZry gUyR
[08:18:15] Goose King: oh my gosh ura
[08:18:17] Goose King: IMMA LEAVE B4 I MAKE ANYTHIN WORSE G’BYE GUYS SOZ DEKU
[GOOSE KING HAS CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[08:18:22] WOTM: Midoriya, I apologize-
[WOTM AND 💔🍏 HAVE CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
GUESS WHO FORGOT SHE HAD TO UPDATE-
When Izuku surfaced from the office, it was with a completely new schedule, three times more anxiety than he entered with, and legs shaking like a leaf in a hurricane. He made it all of three steps down the hall before falling into a wall and slumping to the floor. Toogata was on his knees beside him immediately, talking softly.
“Hey, hey. It’s alright, I’m right here. Just breathe. Can you do that for me?” Izuku sucked in a sharp breath. “Okay, okay. Easy. Just breathe with me, okay? Just follow along. Come on, in through the nose…” He trailed off, sucking in a slow, exemplary breath of air and making sure Izuku was following. “Now, hold it for a second… yeah, exactly like that. Now out through your mouth.” He blew out the breath as Izuku did the same. “Again.” The pair repeated the action twice before Izuku began to go through the actions on his own. Toogata had shifted himself into a sitting position beside him, at first encouraging him softly before falling silent and just rubbing the younger hero’s back supportively. When Izuku regained partial control over his heartbeat, he cracked open eyes he hadn’t realized he’d closed.
“Thank you,” He quietly choked out. Toogata shook his head gently.
“Don’t thank me, you were obviously very stressed. You did really well in there, though, and I’m not just saying that to make you feel better. Nighteye can be absolutely terrifying sometimes, especially when you’ve never presented to him before. Hey, some of us still are terrified of giving reports to him.” Izuku bit his lip doubtingly and Toogata gave him a small smile. “Trust me, you did far better than I did my first time presenting.” He gave a small laugh and Izuku let out a scoff.
“No, really! I walked in and I was stuttering like crazy, and I managed to forget half of my report even though I was holding it- and I kept dropping things and knocking things over, so many things- at one point, I managed to accidentally phased one of my legs through the floor and got stuck-” Izuku finally coughed out a laugh.
“No way- you did not!”
“Oh, I did! It was a disaster, Nighteye was staring me down the entire time- he did the eyebrow thing, Midoriya. The eyebrow thing.” Izuku gave an undignified raspberry of laughter, his stress making the situation funnier than it probably was.
“Oh, yes!” Toogata flung his arms out for emphasis. “It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life-” Izuku began to laugh harder. “- of my LIFE! Honestly, I could be staring Death itself in the face and it still would’ve been more calming than talking to Nighteye!” Izuku’s stomach had long since started to ache from his hysterical laughter. “Nighteye will probably never die, even Death is terrified of him. It would just look like, Death looking down at his list and being like, ‘ah, crap,’ and then shuffling along to go to Nighteye’s office- and Nighteye would just do the thing-” Toogata tilted his head down, mimicking glasses on his face as he raised his eyebrows in the most sardonic way he could. Izuku could nearly see the flash of Nighteye’s spectacles as he watched the motions, giggling. “-and Death would turn right around and walk off somewhere else!” Toogata was struggling not to laugh at this point. “It looked like someone had dumped a bucket of water on me- I phased through my papers, like, five times- even Tamaki was calmer than me!-”
“Se- empai , sto-ah -ahAHAHA-AHP-” Izuku had to gasp it out through hysterical laughter. “ I-I can’t breathe-” Toogata gasped, hugging him.
“ Nooooo! I have failed yooouuu!” He began to gently shake Izuku’s hyperventilating form. “Breathe, man, breathe! Don’t go towards the liiiiiiiiiiggghhhtttt!” Izuku was well on his way to becoming a ball. “You have so much to live for-” Izuku let out a honk of laughter and finally curled fully into himself.
“Sempai, yes!!” Toogata was laughing audibly now.
“T-Toogata, please-” Izuku clapped his hands over his ears to block out any more “help” from Toogata and attempted to somehow calm himself down. Toogata was still poking and shaking him gently- frankly, not helping him halt his giggling- but with some intense breathing exercises and the power of restraint and sad puppies, Izuku at last managed to calm himself down to a manageable state. Letting out a slow exhale, he looked cautiously up to Toogata. The older student looked like he was trying hard to suppress a grin. Izuku took another deep breath.
“Sempai, please don’t take any of this seriously, but-” He looked Toogata dead in the eyes. “-worst. Brother. Ever.” Toogata snorted, clapping his hand over his mouth as he began to howl into his palm. Izuku grinned. “Oh my gosh, I am so sorry-” A hand waved him down as Toogata continued to laugh maniacally. Izuku sat quietly as he watched his mentor convulse beside him. After a minute, Toogata looked up with tears in his smiling eyes.
“Mm-hmm?” Izuku nodded nervously.
“You are now officially adopted as my little brother and also should probably go get ready for patrol before I exercise my new older brother powers to carry you onto the couch and bounce you to the moon.” Izuku blinked.
“Yes se-” He cleared his throat as his eyes suddenly began to sparkle brighter. “Yes, aniki!” And with that, he sprinted off down the hallway as Toogata’s jaw dropped in surprise, yelling something about not being allowed to one-up him like that. Izuku just laughed as he raced back to his room. We’ll see about that.
[ GROUPCHAT- “SHINSQUAD 2K18” ]
[08:57:15] Spaceman: Okay, firstly- DID YOU GUYS MEME IIDA WITHOUT ME
[08:57:17] Spaceman: Secondly, thank you so much! It went fairly well, I think!
[08:57:20] Spaceman: Thirdly (and related to the second one), I think I just got unofficially adopted into the agency????
[08:57:22] Spaceman: ANYWAYS GOTTA GO BYEEE GOOD LUCK TRAINING
[SPACEMAN CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
The weirdest part to me about updating this is that the hundreds of notes that are all scrawled around the margins of my original writing-copy-thing aren't there. It just feels... empty without them.
Anyways, here's Wonderwall.
Chapter 7: seven
Some sparring between Hitoshi and the Dekusquad.
Good lord I hated writing this fight scene.
Hitoshi bit back a scream as he hit the mat yet again, back screaming and bruises shooting jolts of pain through his system. He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes, memories of a similar defeat flashing through his mind. But this wasn’t not then, and the mat wasn’t concrete, and Uraraka isn’t Deku, and this wasn’t the Sports Festival.
It didn’t make it any better, though.
Still, he let out the steadiest exhale he could manage, wiped his bloody nose, and began to get up for a fifth round.
“Alright, that was better. Iida, critique for us?” He managed to push himself up alone, waving away Uraraka’s offered help. Finger-combing his hair back from his face, he put it in as neat of a ponytail he could with as much hair as possible. The result was a half-up, half-down, messy thing, but it was good enough.
“Uraraka, your punches are getting better! You became a bit cocky at some points, and your footwork was clumsy at times. Try not to cross your legs so much and be mindful of how you’re landing on your feet.” Uraraka gave a determined smile and nodded to Iida, slipping out a thanks as she walked to the sideline to get a drink of water. Hitoshi sniffed as best he could, wiping the blood from his nose with the back of one hand. It had probably just smeared all over his face, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care. Bringing his other hand up to repeat the motion, he found his wrist being grabbed. Flinching backwards, he shot a deadly glare up at the offender before softening as he realized who it was.
“Shinsou, please,” Iida’s tone was insistent as he shoved a stack of tissues into Hitoshi’s hands. “Sit down for a second, at the very least as to not bleed over the training mats and your clothes!”
“Yeah, I don’t think Eraser would like that very much,” Uraraka added, before leaning back to pick up a bottle of orange Gatorade. Holding it out with one hand, she used the other to tap the spot next to her with her water bottle. “Come on, you need to drink.” Hitoshi hesitated for a second before demanding his aching legs to carry him forwards to the bench. He forced himself to sit down slowly- there would be no collapsing, not here, not now- and brought one of the tissues to his nose as he pinched the bridge. Uraraka offered an apologetic smile.
“Sorry, guess I should’ve been gentler!” She scratched the back of her head with a guilty look. “I got really into it, heh- my fault!” Hitoshi waved her apologies away with a bloody and probably sprained hand.
“Ah, it’s okay,” He gave his best smile under the tissue, huffing a bit at how nasally his voice sounded now. “I did tell you to not hold back, after all.”
“Well, sure- but four rounds of full power? I’m going to give you bruises over your bruises!” She laughed.
I think you already have, Hitoshi bit back, instead laughing along. Iida shook his head.
“You two need to be more careful!” He whirled around. “Especially you, Shinsou! I appreciate your determination, but not at the cost of your own safety!” Hitoshi snorted as best he could.
“I’m turning into Deku,” He muttered under his breath. Uraraka gasped.
“Oh, you are! Oh- oh my gosh, that’s not good-” Hitoshi began to laugh again.
“No, it’s really not,” He tried his best to keep the tissue in place. Iida threw his arms up in frustration.
“You two- ridiculous!” The two laughed harder at his commentary as Iida began to monologue. They let him peter out as they laughed quietly.
“...So,” Hitoshi managed once he’d calmed down. “I say we let the bleeding stop completely, then one more round of hand-to-hand combat. Then…” He hesitated. “...okay, this will probably sound really bad, but everyone is strengthening quirks… do you think there’s a way I could work on mine? If there’s any-”
“Oh, sure!” Uraraka piped up before he could finish. “I’d be happy to let you use it on me- just don’t make me do anything embarrassing!” She grinned, and Hitoshi slowly grinned back.
“...Thank you so much.”
“Remember- don’t hurt yourselves!” Iida thrust the Gatorade bottle at Hitoshi again. “Shinsou, you should drink.”
“Alright, alright,” Hitoshi experimentally moved the tissue away from his nose, quickly chucking it back towards a nearby trash can and snatching the bottle to gulp down some liquid before shoving a new tissue to his face. “Thanks, Big Guy.” He began to wipe at some of the blood on his face with a grimace. The area around him had become strangely silent. He glanced back up to see both Iida and Uraraka gaping at him. “...What, did I-”
“That was smooth as HECK!” Someone whooped from behind him. Turning himself around, the strange pink girl in the blue camouflage jumpsuit he’d seen earlier was dancing around and jumping as she pumped her fists with a grin, cheering from a good distance away. He raised an eyebrow as she gave her friends one last enthused thumbs up and ran over to the small group of people that had been frantically waving her over from near one of the rocky cliffs in the more terrain-based area of the building. He gave one last questioning look before turning back to his two friends.
“Well, that was…” Hitoshi hesitated. “...something.” He shook his head quickly, barely catching Uraraka mutter something about “typical Ashido.” He hummed as he checked for spotting on the tissue, Uraraka leaning over to make sure of the absence of blood on the crumpled white object. “Mmkay, I’m good whenever you are.” The girl gave him a concerned look.
“Are you sure? Honestly, I may not be as strong as some of the people in this class, but I know my own strength. Your nose was bleeding pretty badly too…” Her brows were deeply furrowed as she trailed off. Hitoshi shook his head.
“I’m fine, I’m fine. I promise. Believe me, it wasn’t that bad.” A crooked smile. “If it makes you feel better, I can sit here a little more so you can you can make sure I’ll be okay. Look, I’ll even voluntarily drink Gatorade without you telling me to!” Uraraka huffed out a frustrated smile, shaking her head gently. Hitoshi just gave her a wink as he took another sip and looked round the combined gym-training area. He’d never known this place even existed- of course it did, though,- much less thought that he’d ever be using it. But, that was the magic of having Iida and Uraraka as friends, he supposed. He had just turned back to make another comment to Uraraka, only to see her straightening as she looked as she looked behind him. Turning curiously, Hitoshi felt himself freeze as he found Eraserhead standing beside him. Forcing himself to move, he nodded.
“Good afternoon, sir.” Eraserhead raised a singular eyebrow as he looked at the lanky teen.
“I saw you two sparring. Uraraka, watch your finger placement when you punch. You’ll break your thumb or your hand if you’re not careful.” Uraraka could be heard nodding from behind Hitoshi. “Twist your arm when you strike, that’ll give you more power.”
‘Thank you, Aizawa-sensei!” She bubbled. Eraserhead nodded once to her, before he- terrifyingly- locked eyes with Hitoshi. The teen returned it, fighting down the urge to gulp.
“Shinsou Hitoshi, correct?” Hitoshi nodded.
“Yes, sir.” The older man huffed slightly, a smile playing on the corners of his mouth.
“Hmph. Alright, you were doing okay until the end of that last one. You’ve been improving over the course of these last few fights, kid.” A spark of pride lit in Hitoshi’s chest.
“I wasn’t done.” Hitoshi almost imperceptibly slumped back down. He nodded slightly, silently waiting for the older man to continue his critique. Eraserhead eyed him over for a moment, face blank, before continuing.
“I don’t know your Quirk and I’m not going to ask. What matters is that it’s not like Iida’s or Uraraka’s; it doesn’t give you any physical advantage. Doesn’t matter if you’re using them or not- Iida still has more agility and stronger legs, and Uraraka has that same agility and a stronger stomach and arms. You have none of that.” Hitoshi was nodding to show he was following, body tensing even further than before as the quiet of the room hit him all at once. A quick glance to the side proved that everyone had stilled and quieted to stare at him and listen to their teacher. Hitoshi felt his anxiety spike as he sank more into a blank-faced facade, nodding once more to the Pro Hero before him.
“Alright, I understand. How can I fix it?” Hitoshi summoned all of the courage he could as he met his idol’s eyes. There was a pause as Eraserhead raised a brow yet again.
“You think that there’s something you can do?”
“You sound so sure. Why?” Both eyebrows were now raised, and the man had crossed his arms. Uraraka gave a hiss of warning behind him.
“Because there’s always a way. It sounds utterly cheesy and optimistic, but there is. It won’t always be pretty or entirely within your tiny bubble of comfort- but it exists.” Hitoshi’s gaze had hardened as he shrugged off Uraraka’s placating hand on his shoulder. “Sir, sometimes physical strength isn’t the thing that pushes you through the fight. Sometimes, it’s the mental strength of a person that puts them out on top. Combat isn’t a barbaric game of who can punch the hardest- it’s a war game, full of subterfuge, wit, wile.” Still maintaining eye contact, Hitoshi straightened his injured back as far as it would go, wiped the coagulating mixture of dry and wet blood off of his mouth, and gave his best smirk.
“One could say it’s as simple as a logical ruse.”
The area was dead silent. Hitoshi blinked once, then gave a sharp inhale when what he’d just said sunk in fully. Iida was gaping at him, wide-eyed, and Uraraka probably had her hands clamped over her mouth in horror if Hitoshi was to guess from how she was breathing. Eraserhead stared at him with a look of utter shock- a huge change from his normally emotionless face. It was as if the entire building was scared to even breathe, lest this entire situation come snapping down into chaos. Hitoshi was suddenly overwhelmed with the feeling that he’d been thrown head-first into the danger zone. Still, he kept eye contact with the hero as steadily as he could, all too aware of how his heart was absolutely jackrabbiting in his chest.
And then, Eraserhead laughed.
Eraserhead genuinely laughed- just for a second, but he still smiled and chuckled, and Hitoshi felt his heart dive straight to the bottom of his stomach. He kept quiet as the older man smiled at him for a second more.
“Alright. I see how we’re going to play it now.” He adjusted his capture weapon as twenty pairs of eyes stared at him. Hitoshi was still frozen solid in his chair. “-If you want me to give you combat tips, it’s to use your reach to your advantage. Long arms can be used to keep your opponent within striking distance but away from you, and it’s easy to tangle and trip someone with your legs.” He brushed hair out of his face as Hitoshi quickly came to his senses, nodding frantically. Eraserhead smirked to himself, possibly remembering something. “The enemy’s weakness is meant to be exploited. Got it?”
“Got it, sir.” Hitoshi nodded- yet again!- as he began to push himself up after a moment of hesitance. “Thank you.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Eraserhead waved him off. “Don’t nod so much, you’ll give yourself a headache. And watch it when you overextend, it exposes your weak spot.” A second later, he’d walked away to drone at the other students to stop staring and get moving. Hitoshi stayed standing, letting out a shaking exhale as he realized he was trembling.
“-insou, Shinsou! Are you alright? Sit down, you’re shaking-”
“No, no, I’m okay.” He puffed out a breath as he waved Iida off. “I’m fine.” Uraraka put a gentle hand on his shoulder and he jolted.
“Sorry!” She snatched her hand away as if she’d been burnt. “Sorry, I just thought-”
“It’s okay. I just wasn’t paying attention.” Hitoshi laughed nervously. “Is- is he always like that?” He took a calming breath, not really paying attention to however his friends responded as he closed his eyes. He opened them back up after a second, scanning the room and catching a glimpse of the teacher again. He was directing the pink girl and a boy with red hair with quirk use as they sparred against a boy in yellow and white armour and the boy who had waved to him when he’d first entered. As he continued to watch, the hero pointed something out to the boy in the leather jacket, before a flash of something caught Hitoshi’s eyes. After a second, he realized that Eraserhead was staring at him once more. The man raised his eyebrows and tilted his head down, questioning him silently. Hitoshi felt his breath catch in his throat as a memory from long ago resurfaced in a blur. Confidence suddenly flooded him, and he raised his chin towards the man with a small smirk.
“Fight me.” Hitoshi could hear Iida splutter and cough from his right.
“I asked Uraraka to fight me.” He turned around to the girl in question. Shock was plainly written across her face. Her mouth was opening and closing like a fish.
“Well- are you sure?” She spluttered. Hitoshi gave a small smile as he walked over to the mat he’d spent the better part of his time on.
“Yeah, I’m sure. I’ll be fine, come on. Don’t hold back.” He got into a fighting stance as he looked over to Uraraka on the bench with a cool determination. Iida had fallen silent, unable to form coherent thought after seeing his friend talk back to his teacher and then immediately challenge someone to a fight.
“...Shinsou, are you sure you’re okay? I me-”
“Come on! We agreed to spar one more time, and my time here isn’t infinite like yours. It’s almost time for me to leave, let’s goooooooooooo!” Uraraka hesitated once more and Hitoshi sighed. “Hey, we both know you need the practice-”
“ -Hey!” Well, that got her moving. She stepped to the mat with furrowed brows and a challenging smile. “Don’t be mean- I’m not that bad!”
“Oh, really?” He countered. Iida had collapsed to the bench in horror. “Why don’t you prove it?”
“Why don’t I?”
“You two-” Iida cut himself off with a horrified gasp as Uraraka snapped forwards with speed that was entirely unexpected from her. Hitoshi matched her movement with a leap backwards, watching her carefully. The enemy’s weakness is to be exploited. The enemy’s weakness is to be exploited. The enemy’s weakness is to- He ducked under a flying punch and quickly sidestepped the continued attack from his opponent. Pay attention! Hitoshi was ducking and weaving across the mat, serpentine as Uraraka attacked in a near constant stream of blows and moves and Iida barely peeked out from behind his fingers, whining quietly. He paid no attention to the taller boy though, as a plan began to form in his mind through the raging fight. Uraraka liked to go on the offensive, he knew that- the best defence was offense, he supposed. She left no time for him to attack her through punches and a high guard, but there were openings every now and then. He didn’t need to match her in agility or strength, but if he could just…
His resolve steeled as the vague outline of a strategy settled into his mind. Quickly, Hitoshi switched gears- no longer just dodging, he began to match Uraraka move for move through burning muscles and heaving lungs. The flying fist and well-placed kicks faded into nothing more than a pattern he devoted to memory.
He twisted too fast and his back let out a loud noise as his spine cracked. He honestly didn’t know where half these cuts and nicks were from, but it was clear that his body was reaching its limit from overuse and being used to wipe the mat with. Uraraka’s eyes were flashing with a burning fire, hands stained with blood by the palm strike from just minutes ago.
Yet, Hitoshi matched it with a flame of his own, one that scorched hot within his chest. Yes, he was on the retreat, yes, she was stronger.
But he was smarter.
Skirting and weaving around the girl in front of him, he began to evade Uraraka with what might’ve looked like a practiced ease if anyone hadn’t seen the past few hours- all-encompassed with a fluidity that ran more on instinct than anything else as he performed countless feints and sidesteps that only served to disguise his actual plan.
And then, his chance opened up.
Uraraka had lunged forwards to throw a right hook to his solar plexus, pushing herself ever-so-slightly off balance. It wasn’t enough to make her trip, but it was enough for Hitoshi to counter with a punch of his own. She snapped back in anticipation of the blow, retaliating by throwing a sharp elbow at him. Hitoshi felt his heart soar for a moment as he feinted away, ducking under the blow to throw his own elbow into the back of her skull. She let out a grunt, stumbling forwards. He quickly stuck out a leg, sweeping her legs under her with a sharp kick to her shins. She let out a cry of pain, beginning to fall forwards, and Hitoshi seized his chance as he grabbed her upper arm and twisted.
Straining, he spun himself around as he twisted his opponent’s arm further, yanking the girl up and above his head before slamming her face-first into the mat. She landed with a loud grunt, becoming stunned for a second as she hit the floor before flinging herself back up and spinning around with a battle cry and a raised fist.
Hitoshi caught her before she could get too far, knuckles screaming as they split for the nth time when they hit her face and arm feeling ready to drop off at the shoulder.
But it worked. Uraraka fell back with a sharp crack, hitting the mat with a dull thump.
This time, she didn’t get back up.
Hitoshi panted for a second, eyes still set in a determined glare, before Uraraka’s panting sent him back to Earth. It took a second more before a wave of guilt crashed down upon him as his eyes blew wide and he stumbled forwards to drop to his knees beside his friend. He’d broken her nose, for sure, and he had a feeling he’d winded her during that toss. Both of them sat in silence for a second as they wheezed in unison. Iida had finally broken and was stuttering out broken sentences and pleas as he rocked back and forth, hands over his face, and the entire building had once more fell silent.
“Nice job, kid.” Hitoshi couldn’t suppress the resulting flinch that occured when Eraserhead once more materialized beside him. “You actually tried to listen to whatever I told you.” He peered over the taller boy to look at Uraraka. “Are you okay?”
Hitoshi looked back to his friend. Another jolt went through him as he realized- well, firstly, how badly she needed some tissues and medical care. But, secondly, just how wildly she was grinning. Silently, he offered a hand to help her sit up and she accepted it enthusiastically.
“I”m fine, thanks! Wow, Shinsou! I really wasn’t expecting those moves from you-” She broke off to wipe her nose and Hitoshi scrambled back in a crabwalk to snatch the unused tissues off of the bench and thrust them at her clumsily. She accepted with a bright grin and a nasally “thanks!” and took one to begin to staunch the blood flow. Hitoshi nodded awkwardly, feeling partially numb and entirely unsure of what to do in this situation. After a minute, he settled for just leaning back onto his hands and staring blankly into space as he went over the straight-up miracle he had just performed. His elbow throbbed slightly- god, what must Uraraka’s head feel like?- and his nose was still annoyingly blocked by the blood clots from the previous fights. God help his arm muscles after all of today’s work- and how did he even pull off that punch at the end?
A foot was gently tapping by his hand. He blinked twice before slowly looking up to whoever it was attached to. Eraserhead was standing next to him with his hands in his pockets.
“Shinsou. You feeling alright?” His tone was bored, but Hitoshi felt this out of place bolt of feeling in his chest- something that implied that the man actually cared, despite his facade. Still, Hitoshi just shook it off as he nodded, fading in and out of awareness.
“Yeah, I’m okay. Just… yeah. I’m fine, thanks.” Eraserhead raised his eyebrows at the sentence before nodding slowly.
“Alright. Good work today. You have 15 minutes until your next class, and I don’t want to write you a slip.” Hitoshi was barely blinking, off with his head into the clouds once more. “Better get going.” He was zoned out for a second more before quickly clearing his throat and frantically nodding his assent.
“Yes, sir. Thank you again.” He pushed himself up and offered yet another hand to Uraraka, painfully aware of the murmurs and points that were coming his way from other students. Aizawa nodded slightly and then walked over to crouch by Iida, making sure that he was going to come out of this in one piece. Hitoshi gave him one last glance before noticing the pink girl and her friends gaping at him in the corner. Among them- he hadn’t realized this before- was that blond boy from the Festival. A chill went up Hitoshi’s spine as he took note of the scowl on his face and how his eyes drilled through him into what seemed like his very soul. He spun around as fast as possible to face Uraraka again, whispering frantically and slouching- as if that could save him from the eyes of the others.
“Uraraka- I am so sorry-”
“Shinsou, that was amazing!” Her hushed tone still managed to be full of enthusiasm. “That was so cool- I really wish you could stay longer! Ah- I’ll just have to tell you about it over text!” She grinned, adjusting the tissue slightly. Hitoshi gaped.
“Well, sure, but- are you okay? I really hit you- your nose is broken, oh my god-” She waved a hand in front of his face rapidly.
“Shhh, I’m okayyyyyy! Just go!”
“Text me your useless apologies later and don’t be late for class!” She flicked a hand out as if to shoo him. “Gooooooooooooo!” Hitoshi hesitated for a second as she began to push him away, before throwing his hands up in the air in frustration. Grabbing the front of her shirt, he pulled her closer and bent down, ignoring the gasps from around him.
“I am bringing you bubble tea and band-aids later and- so help me god- you will take them, and you will like them!” And with that, he let go of his friend and bolted out of the gym, ignoring how Uraraka was immediately surrounded by classmates and how everyone was giving him a similar look- like an illusion had fallen away and they’d just seen a monster for what it truly was.
Something in him told him he wouldn’t be welcomed back.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND URARARARARARARARARARARAKA]
[10:30:31] You: Okay, actually.
[10:30:35] You: I’m using capitals because this is some Serious Business™.
[10:30:37] You: Are you okay?????
[10:30:47] You: Like, I know I broke your nose and winded you and probably did something to your shoulder/mouth, but what else? Also, what flavour of bubble tea is your favourite? Because I’m getting you mango if I don’t get an answer, just warning you.
[10:35:15] You: ...I’m an idiot, you still have training.
[10:35:17] You: YA KNOW WHAT
[10:35:20] You: WE ARE ON A MISSION
[10:35:25] You: I’MMA DO SOME INVESTIGATIVE WORK SEE YOU AT LUNCH BYE
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND SPACEMAN]
[10:35:31] You: SPACEMAN YOU ALIVE OR STUFF
[10:35:33] Spaceman: YEE WHAT
[10:35:36] You: I AM IGNORING YEE USAGE FOR A QUICKY QUESTION
[10:35:40] Spaceman: VALID RESPONSE ASK AWAY
[10:35:42] You: what kinda bubble tea does girly-girl like???
[10:35:43] You: ...do u even kno?
[10:35:47] Spaceman: Oooohhhh! I do- we went out for bubble tea a couple times together! She likes combining strawberry tea with mango jelly and pearls from what I’ve seen!
[10:35:50] Spaceman: Wait, why are you asking? Did something happen?
[10:36:00] You: HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHWELL ABOUT THAT THIIIIIIIIIING
[10:36:02] Spaceman: Oh gods
[10:36:06] You: I’LL TELL YOU ABOUT IT LATER WHEN YOU CALL ME GOTTA GO NOW BYE
[YOU HAVE CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[YOU HAVE (1) UNREAD MESSAGE FROM SPACEMAN]
[10:36:13] Spaceman: HITOSHI OH MY GODS ALMIGHTY-
[ SPACEMAN CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND URARARARARARARARARARARAKA ]
[YOU HAVE (3) UNREAD MESSAGES FROM URARARARARARARARARARARAKA]
[11:21:55] Urararararararararararaka: Shinsou, no-
[11:22:00] Urararararararararararaka: SHINSOU THAT BETTER NOT BE YOU OVER THERE HOLDING THO
[11:22:04] Urararararararararararaka: S H I N S O U
[ URARARARARARARARARARARAKA CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
Chapter 8: eight
Izuku discovers a street which brings him both concern and homesickness, while Ochako pretends it's okay back at home.
“Midoriya, you okay?” Toogata’s voice cut through his musings, and Izuku nodded after a second.
“Yeah, all good! Just thinking a bit.” Toogata gave him an enthusiastic thumbs up, sun glinting off of his visor. His hero costume fluttered behind him in what could barely be called a breeze as it caught his cape. Izuku could feel the area around his mask just beginning to feel uncomfortable, and he squirmed slightly. It was important to wear, and he wasn’t wearing his hood so it wasn’t as bad, but Izuku was definitely making notes to tell the support department to make his mask more comfortable when he got back home. But, how? And could he ask for them to put in a gas mask feature as well, he wondered…
A hand was offered to him and Izuku accepted regretfully, allowing himself to be pulled out of the small spot of shade he’d managed to find to sit in. The day was far too hot for this time of year, and his costume was entirely long-sleeved with accents of heavy metal on knees and even heavier boots. Toogata must have had it twice as bad, though- heavy gloves, a skintight latex suit, knee-high boots, along with the huge cape he insisted on wearing. The only plus Izuku could see as they walked down the street was the red visor shielding his eyes from the blinding light of the sun reflected off of every reflective surface in the city. Izuku had to squint as the patrol continued silently, promising himself to also ask if he could somehow incorporate sunglasses into his hero look. Even if they couldn’t design something, there couldn’t be that much trouble in wearing a pair of green Ray-Bans every so often- he would make sure they went with his aesthetic and everything!
There was a tap on his shoulder. Toogata was looking at him questioningly, brows pulled together in a way that was less concerned and more gently confused. Izuku startled for a second, then looked down. He could hear Toogata take a breath.
“Midoriya, do w-”
“DoyouthinkIcanwearsunglasseswiththisorwouldthatbeabadideadoyouthink?” Was out of his mouth before he could stop it. Toogata gaped for a moment, hands slowly beginning to move as if breaking down the jumble of words into more manageable sections as he mouthed words. Izuku squirmed awkwardly, looking away from his partner and trying to focus on the people around him instead of the sidekick beside him. At last, there was the muted snap of gloved fingers as Toogata made a noise of epiphany.
“You want to know if you can wear sunglasses with your costume!” He crowed. Izuku winced, nodding.
“I-it’s a pretty silly question, I know- but it’s really bright outside! And I guess I should’ve thought of this before, but I didn’t, so-”
“Whoa! Whoa, Midoriya, slow down!” Toogata was laughing a little bit as he patted Izuku’s back. “It’s alright! Yeah, it is super bright, you must be cooking in that suit!”
“Well- yeah, a little, but at least mine isn’t skintight! I can’t imagine what it must feel like for you.” Toogata shook his head gently, waving to a citizen.
“Ah, not really! This suit is actually decently thin- I swear, the cape is the only thing that keeps me warm under 10 degrees.” Izuku winced, laughing a bit.
“Oh, noooooo! Sempai!” Toogata laughed as well.
“My fate has been sealed. I am permanently a warm-weather hero.” Izuku giggled again.
“Oh my gosh, T- Lemillion-” He stuttered before giving up and settling for shaking his head and fiddling with his mask as he grinned and looked at the ground. Toogata’s eyes glittered.
“But, anyways- I guess I sort of cheat with my quirk a little.” Izuku looked back up, smile fading into something more excitedly questioning. After all, it was always cool to look at other people’s quirks. Toogata smiled at the curiosity. “Alright. Watch.” Making sure Izuku was looking, Toogata held out an arm.
Then, his suit fluttered down as it suddenly disappeared.
Izuku gasped, catching the falling glove as he stared incredulously at the flickering form of his sempai’s arm and the suit that loosely hung off of it.
“That’s genius! I never would’ve thought to use a quirk like that!” Toogata smiled, using his other hand to bring the sleeve back up and over his arm before deactivating his quirk.
“Well, I have to use what I have to my advantage! Oh, thanks.” Toogata gently took the glove from Izuku’s hands, laughing a little at the awe in his wide eyes. “Well, it’s really not that amazing! I’m sure you would do the same if you had a quirk like mine.”
“Well-well, maybe, but still!” Toogata shook his head good-naturedly, yanking on the glove and adjusting his sleeve. He looked back up, waving Izuku forwards to wait at a traffic light with him. Izuku ran to catch up, making a mental note to think more on the non-heroic uses of quirks. The two watched the cars drive by, silently grateful for the artificial breeze created by the vehicles. With a content sigh, Toogata closed his eyes for a moment. Glancing over, Izuku noticed how his posture had completely changed. His smile was gone, and despite the fact that he was still standing straight, his posture had changed to something other than his normal sunny aura. It was jarring, and left as soon as it came as Toogata opened his eyes and perked up again as if nothing had ever happened. The smile was back, but Izuku note that it didn’t quite reach his eyes. The light in front of them blinked to green and Toogata stepped out onto the street.
“Come on, slowpoke! We still have a long patrol to get through!” Izuku jolted to life, once more racing after Toogata. The two reached the opposite sidewalk and turned a sharp left, going onto a street adorned with colourful posters and streamers. Around them, children played and ran with screams of laughter that danced through the air. It hit Izuku like a ton of bricks, memories smacking him straight in the face as he froze. Kites were flying overhead, and there were rainbow-coloured rubber balls bouncing around the street. A game was being played in the road, several kids always standing guard to scream if there was even a hint of a car about to drive past. As Izuku watched, a warning was screamed and the children seized their toys and props to evacuate to the sidewalks in a fashion that had been practised to near perfection. Trees provided shade for the kids to sit and cool down in, and the street looked more alive than anywhere else Izuku had seen on his patrol. It brought tears to his eyes as his mind wandered back home. Even now, there was a neighbourhood full of children who would flood the nearby parks and sport courts the second school let out- he would talk to them occasionally, or help to push them on the swings. Someone ran by, carrying a bucket full of chalk and followed by a little duckling-line of other kids, and his heart panged once more at the familiar sight. It could’ve been a perfect match to his own old bucket- sun-beaten and worn, but still a recognizable shade of signature blue and probably still sitting in the front closet in his apartment with the remnants of sand stuck to the bottom. There was a mix of nostalgia, sadness, and a bittersweet homesickness brewing in his gut. Quickly wiping his eyes, he cleared his throat and made a mental note to call his mother when he got back to the agency. It was probably better for both their sakes.
Toogata tapped his shoulder gently.
“Are you okay?” His voice was soft and the smile was replaced by concerned questioning. “Do you need to sit down?” Izuku shook his head empathetically.
“I’m fine.” His voice was equally quiet. “We can keep going. This just… reminded me.” Toogata nodded understandingly, slowly starting to walk once again. Izuku forced himself to move, shaking off the homesickness and looking around the street as a few groups of children gaped at him, eyes blown wide with some sort of emotion he didn’t quite grasp. He had to admit, there was a certain kind of happiness that was brought forth from this scene, and he managed a small smile through his melancholy. There was a reminder of why he wanted to be a hero- to keep people like this safe and to make them smile, giving them hope in hopeless times. To bring happiness to them like these children. Izuku felt something in him say that, no matter what, this would be his favourite part of patrol today.
There was a a yell and a ball came spiralling towards them. Izuku ducked with a squeak, watching the toy go flying towards Toogata. His mouth could be seen forming a perfect “O” before the ball phased through his head. It fell to the ground behind him with a rubbery, hollow thunk as his head resolidified and he twisted around to catch it. The street quieted a degree as he held the offending object.
“...Does this belong to anybody?” Toogata’s voice was far too loud in the sudden lack of noise. Izuku moved the hair out of his face and scratched around his mask, a strange sense of foreboding building in his stomach. The street had now fallen completely silent as a strange thumping sound filled the air. The foreboding sense would relent and then return full force in a way that was making Izuku’s stomach churn with anxiety. Yet, still, Toogata had managed to bounce back to his signature smile and was standing tall and strong despite all of it. “I’m not mad, I promise! I just want to give this back to whoever this belongs to!” The thumping got louder as the alarmed feeling grew. There was more silence, before a quiet shuffle could be hear. Looking over, there was a scuffle going on within a group of children, before a young boy was spat out and pushed towards the two sidekicks.
He couldn’t be more than 6 at the most and he tripped and shuffled as he walked, hands clutching the front of his shirt guiltily. It was now clear where the strange noise was coming from, as literal waves of anxiety rolled off of him. If Izuku had to guess, the child had some sort of emotional Emitter quirk, as his nervousness was amplified and projected to the pavement and children surrounding him. It was obvious he was trying to calm down, muttering under his breath and doing his best to breathe. It was in vain, however, as he moved closer to the two students and his anxiety soared, waves still cracking the pavement and making the two sidekicks tremble with knees threatening to collapse. Toogata’s breathing was beginning to stutter, face contorting into something more determined than happy, and Izuku could feel his heart pounding in his chest. The children had long since began to murmur, volume quickly soaring as they watched the two sidekicks begin to shake further and felt themselves begin to be affected. Soon, the area was filled with screaming children and accidental quirks as the boy drew nearer and nearer and gained more and more nerves.
Izuku could feel One for All sparking uncontrollably as the waves hit him more intensely. It was unclear now if he was the one cracking the pavement or if it was the kid. Toogata gave a gasp from beside him as his Permeation randomly activated and deactivated, sending him flying down into the ground before jerking to a stop or making his suit glitch through him, entire body flickering as he gasped for air. It was a miracle his visor hadn’t shattered from the random drops and falls. It was clear that if this kept going on any longer, someone was going to get seriously hurt. As yet another wave threatened to knock him over, Izuku felt himself spitting out a plea that came out just a little bit too loud.
“Please- PLEASE, STOP! You’re- PLEASE STOP, YOU’RE GOING TO HURT YOURSELF!” He screamed as the child let out a sudden spike of terror into his chest before suddenly pulling back and releasing the crowd of people. Izuku fell to the ground limply, gasping for air as his arms shook, the sound of nails on the pavement not helping to calm his racing heart as Toogata did his best to claw his way out of the concrete. The child had fell back, tears streaming down his face and hands clamped over his mouth.
“I- I’m sorry, I-I’m so so-rry- I didn’t mean to, I’m s-sorry-” He cut himself off with a sob, curling inwards to hug his knees as he shook uncontrollably. The thumping was slowly beginning to start up again and Izuku forced himself to breath as he lifted his head up, the most comforting look he could manage on his face.
“It’s okay- it’s okay, you’re okay. I promise. Just breathe right now, okay?” The kid sobbed again and Izuku shook. “Hey, hey. Please. You’re going to be okay, just please breathe for me. Come on, in-” He sucked in a breath, half as an example and half to selfishly calm his own racing heart. After a second, the child could be heard sucking in a sharp breath of his own and Izuku nodded gently. “Yeah, you see? Just like that. Hold it, hold it… and out through your mouth.” The kid huffed out the shakiest breath Izuku had ever heard, but it was progress. The feeling was fading, and the child was breathing at least. Izuku huffed out his own breath. “You’re doing amazing- can you do it again for me? Breathe in…” The pair repeated the process, the boy looking half a degree calmer with each repetition of the routine. At some point, Izuku could hear Toogata join in beside him. Soon, the street had quieted once more as, slowly, everyone began to breathe and calm down. Eventually, Izuku managed to stand up and help up Toogata, who gently picked up the ball. Looking around, the once lively street was now silent as kids sat in trees or kneeled on the sides of the sidewalk or in the shade. They alternative looked at the ground as they kept breathing or were looking curiously at the trio in the middle of the road. The concrete was cracked beneath them and the child was glancing up and down between the road and the two sidekicks in front of him. Toogata and Izuku glanced at each other before slowly and carefully stepped forwards towards the child. The kid twitched, quickly resuming his breathing. Toogata shoved the ball under his arm and whipped his hands up in a placating motion.
“Hey, hey.” His voice was soft, almost a whisper. “Look, it’s okay. It’s okay. Here.” He took one more step forwards before crouching and gently rolling the red rubber ball towards its owner. It took a second, but the boy grabbed the object with a look of absolute shellshock on his face. Toogata gave a soft smile and backed away, going to stand next to Izuku once more. He gently tugged on the shorter boy’s arm, voice loud enough to barely be heard. “Come on. Let’s go.”
Izuku was frozen for a second, looking back to the boy. Toogata’s voice had been too low, and the boy looked back with a slight look of horror on his face. Turning back to Toogata, the older was giving him a prompting look, head tilted to the side in a “follow me” motion. Hesitating somewhat, Izuku took one last glance at the children before slowly walking away to follow Toogata. They left the street in silence, minds whirling at the events of the past ten minutes.
Despite it all, Izuku still felt strangely refreshed. Exhausted, absolutely, but also refreshed. Getting the absolute everliving scared out of you tended to do that, he supposed. Glancing back to Toogata, he had an unreadable look on his face.
Kaneko was right. Today was going to be a long day.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND DEFYING URAVITY]
[19:15:55] You: How do you and Iida deal with children and constant movement
[19:15:59] You: This is literally exhausting and I just got back from patrol and stuff and I cannot believe people do childcare for jobs
[19:16:03] Defying Uravity: Oh, hey Deku! Yeah, it’s really tiring!
[19:16:09] Defying Uravity: If you want some tips, you should ask Tsuyu- she has something like three younger siblings? The oldest is about ten- not to mention her babysitting and all of the cousins!
[19:16:12] Defying Uravity: I can give you her number if you want!
[19:16:15] You: Oh, hey! That’s a really good idea! I already have her number, it’s okay.
[19:16:17] You: I’ll make sure to ask her about it!
[19:16:18] Defying Uravity: Awesome!
[19:16:23] Defying Uravity: Oh, sorry, Recovery Girl wants me for another checkup and Iida is offering me dinner. Gotta go!
[19:16:25] You: Oh, it’s okay! Have fun!
[DEFYING URAVITY CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[19:16:28] You: ...wait, Recovery Girl??
[19:16:30] You: Oh my gods not again-
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
3K words and a late update later-
I'll give you another fic either this evening or tomorrow to make up for it.
Hitoshi collapsed on his bed, instantly regretting that decision as his face hit the headboard roughly. He jerked it back up, moving himself back and flipping over onto his back with a groan. He pushed his hair back from his face and closed his eyes as he rested his hands on his forehead. He was physically exhausted from the day’s events- running to and from classes and buildings and trainings and far too many people. At one point, Recovery Girl herself had appeared in his class and pulled him away for a checkup- and oh boy. Had General Studies ever had a field day with that one. He couldn’t figure it out- maybe Iida had called her? But, in any case, after multiple physical checkups and far too many questions from his classmates, he was here. Home sweet dilapidated home.
And everything was fine. His dorm was warm and there was food on the table. He had handed in his extra work and gotten more in turn, this time even more advanced than the previous. Recovery Girl had given him a… relatively clean bill of health, he told himself. And he had avoided being hunted down by his classmates to ask him about the random medical exam and why he was missing that morning. Life was good.
Except, was it really?
His mind was still fixated on the looks those people had given him during training. Oh, sure, they could laugh at him or ignore him when Uraraka was absolutely mopping the floor with him, but when he started winning? When he beat her, when he flipped her and brought her to the mat with a sense of finality? No, that simply wouldn’t do. Class 1-A was a lot of things- absolutely reckless, stupid, privileged, golden children. But they were also fiercely protective of each other, and coldly judging when they wanted to be. Just his luck, he was caught at the receiving end of that cold inquisition. Because nothing was ever easy for him, was it? No, it never was, and even when he tried to be what they wanted, tried to improve and be likable and good and the furthest thing possible from the villain they saw, he failed. He failed miserably with each try and fell even farther into the inescapable pit. Just like they said he would if he kept up like this. He let out a low groan, almost yanking his hair back now before putting his hands back to cover his eyes. And it didn’t help that it seemed like his reputation had preceded him into the training center either.
His phone dinged weakly, snapping him out of his musings for a moment, and Hitoshi blindly reached out a hand to grab it. Bringing it up to his face, he found messages slowly building up on the lockscreen as they were sent. With a heavy sigh, he slowly began to respond.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND URARARARARARARARARARARAKA]
[19:15:37] Urararararararararararaka: Heya Shinsou! Are you doing okay? I still owe you for the bubble tea and food today- although, the bandages were a little overkill, LOL! I promise I’m doing fine, though, you didn’t hurt me!
[19:17:05] You: i’m fine
[19:17:07] You: you don’t have to lie to save my feelings don’t worry
[19:17:08] You: i’m sorry
[YOU HAVE CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND SPACEMAN]
[19:17:02] Spaceman: Hey ‘Toshi! I’ll call you in a second, I just wanna call Mom first!
[19:17:31] You: 👍
[YOU HAVE CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND NYOOM™]
[19:17:15] Nyoom™: Shinsou! Are you doing quite alright? I’ve created a training plan for you to use, if you would like to see it!
[19:17:55] You: training plan, huh. as if that’ll be of use to me now.
[19:18:01] You: hey iida
[19:18:03] You: you know how it is. get home, flop on the bed, drift until i fall asleep
[19:18:07] You: the usual. hbu?
[19:18:10] Nyoom™: Shinsou! My goodness, are you sure that you’re alright?!
[19:18:12] You: it’s all good in the hood, big man
[19:18:14] Nyoom™: …”Big Man”? I thought that I was “Big Guy.”
[19:18:16] You: you’re evooooooolllllllllvvvviiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnngggggggg
[19:18:18] Nyoom™: Oh my goodness gracious-
[19:18:22] Nyoom™: IN ANY CASE, you said the plan wouldn’t “be of use to you now”? Why’s that? Oh, and did Recovery Girl come and see you?
[19:18:23] You: hah.
[19:18:24] You: did she.
[19:18:27] You: gen. ed talked about literally nothing else for the rest of the day
[19:18:29] You: do you always pick such convenient times to completely and utterly embarrass your friends?
[19:18:30] Nyoom™: It was for your best health!
[19:18:32] Nyoom™: ...And, are you under the impression that I was the one who sent her to check on you?
[19:18:34] You: well, yeah, duh. who else would it be?
[19:18:36] Nyoom™: Eraserhead.
[19:18:37] You: djks
[19:19:30] Nyoom™: Shinsou?
[19:19:45] Nyoom™: Shinsou, are you still there?
[19:20:05] You: no way
[19:20:07] You: no way no way no way- you’re lying.
[19:20:11] You: you are lying straight to my face.
[19:20:14] Nyoom™: -No, no I’m not! Why would I ever lie about that?
[19:20:18] You: you are, and we both know it. there is no way that Eraserhead ever would’ve done that. he has no reason to care- he didn’t have one originally, but he definitely doesn’t have one now that i absolutely ruined that training and isolated myself even more
[19:20:21] You: why would he care at all? i’m not one of his students- i’m the weirdo gen. ed kid who beat up one of his best students
[19:20:23] You: he probably thinks less about me than the mud on his boot
[19:20:25] Nyoom™: Shinsou, stop that. Stop saying those things, for heaven’s sakes!
[19:20:27] Nyoom™: If I may say it- and I will,- you’re the one who is lying now! None of the things you just said were true!
[19:20:29] You: then enlighten me
[19:20:31] Nyoom™: -Shinsou, just listen to me now!
[19:20:33] Nyoom™: Okay? Please. You actually did amazing at training. Mina and Uraraka would not stop talking about it- it was a disruption to class, but I don’t believe that is the point here.
[19:20:35] Nyoom™: Eraserhead-sensei did not say one negative word about you. Not one, and I know this for sure because the entire class can understand him when he speaks and can pick up on his cues.
[19:20:38] Nyoom™: He wasn’t mad. He talked approvingly of you, and even asked Uraraka and I if you’d be joining us again!
[19:20:40] You: what
[19:20:45] You: are you absolutely sure about all of this?
[19:20:47] Nyoom™: Shinsou, please. Trust me. We both know that I wouldn’t lie to you about something as serious as this.
[19:20:50] You: fkjgblisudbodsbvos;dbmmmmmmmmohmygoooddddddddddd
[19:20:52] Nyoom™: Well, what’s the matter now?
[19:20:53] You: NOTHING
[19:20:54] Nyoom™: Oh my goodness-
[19:20:56] You: and he really said all those things??? and- what did he say about me??? what did he say about me when he was talking approvingly???
[19:21:00] Nyoom™: Well, yes. And, he used you as an example to show us proper fight technique and analyzation, among other things.
[19:21:02] Nyoom™: Shinsou, are you sure you’re feeling alright?
[19:21:05] You: are you kidding me?! i am the greatest i have ever been
[19:21:07] You: do you remember what he said??? when he used me as an example??
[19:21:11] Nyoom™: Well, uhm. He said that you were a perfect example of how to take critique and strategize on the battlefield- he showed us where you hit on Uraraka and then why they worked.
[19:21:13] Nyoom™: He sounded almost proud!
[19:21:15] Nyoom™: And, he had this expression I had never seen on him. It looked almost familiar- but, that doesn’t really matter.
[19:21:17] Nyoom™: I do think he would welcome you back!
[19:21:19] You: ilsvc;dusbf;osdbcodbucdu
[19:21:21] You: thank you so much for that
[19:21:23] You: gotta go now bye
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[YOU HAVE (2) UNREAD MESSAGES FROM NYOOM™]
[19:21:24] Nyoom™: But!-
[19:21:26] Nyoom™: I don’t understand…
[NYOOM™ CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
Hitoshi could feel his heart pounding as he lay on his bed with wide eyes. He’d been noticed, he’d been noticed- Eraserhead had noticed him and remembered him. Oh god- this might’ve been the best day of his life.
Or the worst- what if he thought the same of him as his students did?
No, but Iida had said otherwise- would Iida lie, though? Was- could Eraserhead be bluffing the praise? No, Iida knew him better than that, and Hitoshi wanted to believe he wasn’t, though, he wanted to hope and dream and for it to be true- oh, he would faint if it was true, he would faint and then wake up and then jump for joy and then die of happiness- well, maybe he’s cry a little while jumping and clap a little bit, but then he’d die-
Hitoshi forced himself to reel himself in, sucking in a forceful breath and suddenly all-too-aware of the idiotic smile on his face. His entire body was shaking with adrenaline, any physical exhaustion forgotten as his mind became even louder than before with the whirling of his thoughts. He was still heaving in air, the foolish smile refusing to leave his face. This was just… unbelievable. He might have to take up his friends on that offer of joining them for training again-
Wait. Wait wait wait, he was in no shape to be training more after this- he was a mess! Ruses and sneak-attacks were useful and all, but he couldn’t use it to carry him all the way through the fights he was sure to have. He needed to build up muscle for the other 90% of fights he might enter. A second later, he was forcing himself into a sitting position and scrabbling frantically for the phone he’d put down on the side table to message Iida.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND NYOOM™]
[19:25:24] You: WAIT IIDA R U STILL THERE
[19:25:29] Nyoom™: Yes, yes! Is something the matter? Why did you have to leave so abruptly?!
[19:25:30] You: oh thank god
[19:25:33] You: i’m fine, everything is fine, it’s a long story
[19:25:35] You: is the offer of the training plan still open?
[19:25:36] Nyoom™: Of course!
[19:25:38] You: oh my gosh thank you so much iida
[19:25:40] You: comin’ in clutch as always, shouldn’t expect any less
[19:25:42] Nyoom™: “Coming in clutch”??
[19:25:44] Nyoom™: I need a dictionary to keep track of your terminology, honestly.
[19:25:46] Nyoom™: “Big Man,” “Big Guy,” “heckadeku,” “ru gud…” What’s next?
[19:25:48] You: iida oh my gosh-
[19:25:49] You: you cannot be serious
[19:25:51] Nyoom™: I AM! Now, hurry up and define this clutch of mine and how I continually enter it as I share this document with you so I can note it down later.
[19:25:53] You: pf- iiiiiiIDaAaAaAaAaAa
[19:25:55] You: ya GOOF
[19:25:57] Nyoom™: A bASELESS ACCUSATION
[19:26:00] You: IIDA PEOPLE WILL WONDER WHY I’M LAUGHIGN SO HARD IF YOU KEEP UP LIKE THJIS
[19:26:02] Nyoom™: I APOLOGIZE BUT I WOULD TRULY LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT MY GRIPPING ENTRANCE
[19:26:05] You: I I D A
[19:26:07] Nyoom™: PLEASE REFRAIN FROM FIGURATIVELY YELLING SO DISRUPTIVELY
[19:26:09] You: IIDDDDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
[19:26:12] Nyoom™: THAT IS INDEED MY NAME
[19:26:14] You: HSAKHDDBFIDBSOIBSOJDOEFBIEBFIEBFIEVF
[19:26:16] You: HODL UP
[19:26:18] Nyoom™: Pardon?
[19:26:45] You: hhhhhhhh sorry, hold up
[19:26:47] You: oh my gosh iida what was that
[19:26:49] Nyoom™: I’m sorry, I don’t understand?
[19:26:51] You: that was literally entirely unexpected from you
[19:26:52] You: no offence
[19:26:54] You: but like that was super goofy and i didn’t think you had so much in you
[19:26:56] You: you were in like permanent class rep mode
[19:26:58] Nyoom™: I am not! I am simply continually being responsible and caring for the health of my peers above the value of my own humour.
[19:27:00] You: oh boy
[19:27:02] Nyoom™: Oh, and I’ve shared the document with you in case you would like to view it now!
[19:27:04] Nyoom™: Given your sudden return of enthusiasm, may I ask Eraserhead to allow you to train with us once more?
[19:27:06] You: absolutely yes please
[19:27:08] You: ...if you think i’d be welcomed back, of course
[19:27:10] Nyoom™: Of course you would, Shinsou. We will always welcome you back.
[19:27:12] You: ...thank you, iida
[19:27:14] You: for everything.
[19:27:16] Nyoom™: Of course.
[19:27:25] You: ...now i’m sorry, but i have to go for real now. deku is calling me
[19:27:27] You: g’night iida
[19:27:29] Nyoom™: Goodnight, Shinsou. Sleep well.
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
“You did good, Iida.” Uraraka patted his shoulder with a gentle smile. Tenya returned the gesture, letting out a soft sigh as he looked back to his phone.
“Thank you, Uraraka. I do hope he’ll be okay.” He paused for a second. “I think he worries more than we can ever see. We all do, but still.” Iida took one last look at the screen before turning off the phone.
“I think so too. He’ll be okay, though. He has us to lean on, and we’ll be helping him the entire way!” She gave a grin. “Shinsou is a lot stronger than he lets on.” Tenya gave another small smile before pushing himself up from his seat in the common room and offering a hand to Uraraka to help her up. The sound of Shinsou’s laugher through the wall echoed in his mind. The pair began to walk towards the door, an easy smile and silence shared between them. As they stepped out into the warm evening air, Uraraka softly spoke.
“Hey, Iida?” She murmured. Tenya gave a prompting hum. “How in the world did you learn the meaning of “coming in clutch,” and why didn’t you tell Shinsou? You were being so flamboyantly the opposite of how you normally are regarding slang.” Tenya was silent with shock for a moment before laughing quietly.
“Was I really that obvious?” Another laugh. “Ashido and her groupchat actually do educate me on some things, contrary to popular belief. As ridiculous as I sounded, I was willing to do it for Shinsou’s happiness.” Uraraka made an understanding noise and the pair fell into silence for a moment more. “But, really, was I really that obvious?” Uraraka giggled, bumping him with her hip. The two walked down the street, laughing in the warm air as they raved about the luxurious fast-food meal they were about to have. Cherry blossom petals blew softly in the barely-there breeze.
Life seemed truly optimistic for once.
I would like you to know that I when I wrote the entirety of the first angsty part, it was
A) Over a year ago
B) At 3AM while listening to Monty Python skits
As of such, I can't read this chapter without grinning like an idiot because all I can hear is just. Monty Python.
EDIT: GUESS WHICH DUMBASS FORGOT OVER 300 WORDS OF THIS CHAPTER
IT'S FIXED NOW THOUGH
Y E E T
Chapter 10: ten
My friends and I call this chapter "the Seven Stages of Sleepy Deku" and y'all are about to see why
Also, I forgot about 300 words at the end of the last chapter, so I fixed that real quick today. Y'all might wanna read it, even if it doesn't entirely change the plot.
Izuku snorted out a peal of laughter, rocking back and forth with a sort of drunkenness that only occurred with exhaustion as he held his phone up to his ear. He’d lost track of how long the two had been talking, the door to his room closed and his chest filled with a giddy sort of happiness that mingled with the aftereffects from the day’s work. With a huge grin, he twisted himself around to grab a fidget toy from the nightstand near him before flinching as a few joints in his back cracked loudly. The line immediately fell silent as Hitoshi abruptly stopped his sardonic ramblings.
“You good there? I actually heard some of that there, buddy, it’s like you’re turning into me.” Izuku scoffed.
“Yeah, I’m fine! It’s just been a crazy couple days for me, both for the trip here and for all of the work I’m assigned at this agency. Life of a hero, heh.” Shaking it off, he leaned over and grabbed the fidget toy with a small noise of effort before pinning his phone between shoulder and head. “So, anyways- she did what?!”
“...uh-huh. Yeah, so, Sugimoto is just gone. Like, poof, vanished, nowhere to be found. So, Gen. Ed freaks the heck out, because- oh my gosh, Sugimoto is gone, and Tachibana is somewhere, and what the heck is Snipe going to say if we just lost his niece. In the middle of this park- and it is freaky, buddy, fuh-ree-KEY. And- ahhh, and we were just about to have a complete and utter meltdown, there’s this howling noise-”
“-Oh my gosh-”
“-And Sugimoto is- we had NO CLUE where she came from! NO CLUE! But she was- And, out of nowhere, this girl is suddenly flying down, screaming-” Izuku coughed, an ugly noise, before beginning to laugh at the image of the child flying out of a tree as Gen. Ed screamed. He could hear Hitoshi breaking down on the other end.
“-YESSSSSS! And- and she comes streaming down, and Sugimoto screeches, and Tachibana- Tachibana- the howl, and- BA-CHOOM, ORANGE JUICE-” He broke off again and Izuku was shaking hard enough to almost drop his phone from laughter. Struggling, he managed to press the button for speakerphone on the device and finally let the phone bounce onto the bed as he threw the fidget toy to the side. He could hear Hitoshi laughing even harder at the memory, almost drowning out the sound of footsteps outside in the hallway. Coughing a little, Izuku did his best to try and quiet himself down to save some face. He ended up clamping a hand over his mouth to muffle himself as he listened to Hitoshi continue to snicker quietly. Soon enough, Hitoshi could be heard taking a few calming breaths to make an effort and regain sanity. The call fell silent for a minute or so as the adrenaline faded and both boys rode out their collective giggle storms. At last, Hitoshi cleared his throat.
“So, yeah. That was Gen. Ed today.” Izuku snickered again.
“Wow, that sounds like a crazy day!” Hitoshi scoffed, and Izuku’s tired mind could almost envision the eye roll that must’ve accompanied it.
“Crazy could be a way to describe it, sure. I could probably think of a few choice words to describe it with-”
“-but crazy works.” Izuku tisked, shaking his head as he looked disapprovingly at his phone. “...You’re shaking your head with that look on your face, aren’t you? With the eyebrows all twisted ‘n stuff, and the pout?” Izuku felt his jaw drop before he crossed his arms.
“I do not pout! And,” A sniff. “I suppose it would depend.” He could hear Hitoshi snickering.
“I might disagree with that-”
“Toshi…” It was in a warning tone, drawling and tired as the image of Hitoshi’s crooked grin surfaced in his mind.
“-but alright! Come on, shoot. Depends on what?”
“Depends on whether you are doing THAT look, with the big smirk and the eyes.”
“Wh- the eyes?? What ‘eyes?’ ” Izuku threw his hands up in frustration.
“ The EYES.”
“... very descriptive, Spaceman.”
“Oh, shush. ” Hitoshi was definitely smirking now, Izuku knew there was no doubt about it. Knowing ‘Toshi, he was also probably had his eyebrows raised in a way that was both teasing and questioning, and that made his eyes go wide and catch the light. He was probably covering his mouth with the back of his had by now, and looking down into his lap-
“...aceman, Spaceman, don’t tell me you’ve fallen asleep on me.”
“-No, I’m still here.” Being snapped out of his tired musings so quickly left Izuku disoriented and blinking confusedly. “Stiiiill here. Just- ...oh.”
“I was about to say that I had just spaced out for a bit, but that would be living up to my nickname a little too well.”
“Well, why do you think it’s your nickname?” Hitoshi poked back, a smile in his voice. Izuku gasped softly.
“Oh, come on- And you gave me that nickname within how long of knowing me? Half an hour?”
“That’s even worse!” Hitoshi started laughing again at the pure frustration in Izuku’s voice. Izuku covered his face with his hands.
“I- aww, come on, it’s really not that bad of a second-first impression.” Izuku sighed, before lifting his head slowly with a curious expression on his face.
“That… really doesn’t help me, ‘Toshi.” Izuku suppressed a small yawn.
“Okay, well- if we’re being technical, our very first impression, meeting, whatever you want to call it with one another was at the Sports Festival. Which, y’know, was… quite the event, and honestly didn’t give me the best impression of you.” Izuku hummed understandingly, a small bolt of regret shooting through his chest.
“Ah, yeah, I guess. But still... that is a super-short time of actual talking and not fighting one another for a nickname- nevermind one that I live up to- to form!” Despite the fact that he was arguing with Hitoshi, Izuku’s tone was calmer than it normally was when the two would debate. His mental picture of Hitoshi was raising an eyebrow right about now.
“Well, you almost gave me one after rambling me through a complete meltdown and then actually listening to me talk about Eraserhead in a hospital bed for like, two minutes.”
“Well, sure, but-” Izuku stopped dead, mouth opening and closing as his mind went blank and he struggled to form words. Hitoshi patiently sat, silent, on the other side of the line as he waited for an answer. At last, Izuku sighed in defeat.
“Yeah, thought so.”
“Hitoshi, I am too tired for your sass.”
“Yeah, obviously-” Izuku whined quietly, and Hitoshi stopped. “Ah, sorry. Habit, I guess.”
“I’ve noticed.” Izuku rubbed his face, closing his eyes for a moment. “Sorry, that was mean. What were we talking about again?” Hitoshi hummed dismissively at the apology.
“What happened over our days ‘n stuff.” Izuku gave a drawling noise and smiled a little.
“Right. Oh, how was training with Aizawa-sensei?” Hitoshi was silent.
“Well, it- I mean, I guess- it was alright, is what I mean. Anyways, I think it’s your turn to tell me something in return for my descriptions of tree-related madness, right?” Izuku tilted his head, aware in the back of his mind of the avoidance of the question.
“...‘lright, fine. Uhh… patrol was fairly tame, I suppose- really hot, but fairly tame. There was this whole thing…” He trailed off a little, mind drifting, as Hitoshi gave a prompting hum. “...I guess that having two heroes show up on your street after you’ve almost given one a concussion is pretty stressful for a kid.” Hitoshi scoffed and muttered something. “It’s okay, though, we’re all okay! Other than that, I guess my day was pretty standard for agency life. There were too many presentations and too much paperwork for my tastes, though.” Hitoshi gave a lazy hum.
“What about the long story with the sidekicks last night? You did promise to tell me.” Izuku harrumphed at the memory. “Oh, come on! Don’t just leave me on a cliffhanger.”
“W- it’s not that interesting.” Izuku laughed, speaking slowly to fend off the slurring that was threatening to take over his voice.
“But you promiiiisseeedd…”
“Shhhhh… it’s fiiinnneee-” His voice was beginning to shake with the effort of keeping a steady, normal tone.
“... pwease?” Izuku coughed in shock, feeling his voice go up half an octave and stay there. He could almost picture the scheming look Hitoshi must’ve had on his face by now. “Pwease Mr. Deku? Hewwo, hewwo, Mr Deku?! Awe you still thewe Mr Deku? Pwease Mr Deku, pwease, you PWOMISED-”
“StOP-” Izuku managed to gasp out, voice still too high for him. “Hitoshi- Hitoshi you’re turning into a MEME, a walking, talking MEME-”
“-I get it from you though!”
“And I get it from Sero and Kaminari , so it’s not my fault!”
“Shhhh, hurry up and tell me the stuuufffff! Or I’ll- Or I’ll meme at you until you tell me the story!” Izuku gasped in horror.
“Mercy, mercy! I’ll tell you, I will tell you- just no more memes!” There was tense silence for a second, before the sound of something dropping and muffled hysterical laughter could be heard from the speaker.
“It is literally only at ten at night that threats like that could ever work.”
“Then shush and lemme tell you so you can sleep.” The persuasiveness of his words was probably lessened by his pitch, but Hitoshi still gave a huff of frustration and fell silent as he waited. Izuku gave a tired smile of satisfaction before he began to talk.
“So…” A small pause to rub his eyes. “So, we were up pretty late, right. And we had started to tell stories and stuff, and I was telling a story about UA… when suddenly, Nanako come running down the hall and swings through the doorway to warn us that Nighteye was comin’!”
“Yeah!” Izuku’s words mixed with a yawn as he ignored the sarcasm. “And it was super past curfew- oh my gosh, we had gotten to the agency so late, and Nighteye had told us that there would be punishments if he caught us in the common room past curfew- and there we were-” Hitoshi snorts.
“Dear gods, dude- you were barely there and already causing trouble?” Izuku stopped his illustrative gestures to bat at the phone.
“Shhhh, lemme tell my storyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!~” His tone was whiny as he pouted, a faint part of him feeling relieved that nobody could see him (he hoped). “Now- oh, where was I? Uh… right, okay, so Nanako comes sprinting in, and they hiss that Nighteye is coming- and then, we hear the footsteps-” Hitoshi whistled. “So all of us just fly up- some of us litchrally, heh- and go stampeding towar’s the doors. It- oh my gosh, Kito froze half the floor- Hisakawa just liquified- I almost got trampled, it was crazy. I thought for sure that Nighteye was gonna catch me!”
“Yeah, it sure sounds like he would’ve! ” Hitoshi was laughing in shock again. “My gosh- did you manage to get out?”
“HOW?? There is no way- can you teleport? Is- is that your actual quirk, teleportation and not bone breaking?!”
“Wha- no, you- you silly goose!” Izuku froze a moment later, processing what he had just said, before both boys burst into laughter.
“Wh- was that on purpose?!”
“Noooooooooo!~ That was the best accidental pun I have ever made!”
“Shhhh- howdareyouspeaktoyourkingthatway- oh my gosh, A-NY-WAYS- we are never getting to sleep at this rate.” Izuku hummed in acknowledgement, a shaky smile on his face as he suppressed the urge to stretch.
“Alrigh’ fair enough… ugh, where was I-”
“I- fine! But I do not have a tele-teleportation quirk. Toogata-sempai ended up phasing through a wall and grabbing me to drag me into his room. I spent the night there- did you know that sidekicks have sleepovers a bunch in this agency? Pillow fort and flashlights and…” Izuku trailed off into incoherent babbling.
“Oh, no, I did not know that!” Hitoshi’s reply was in an imitation of Izuku’s upbeat tone, voice cracking as he tried to find a high enough pitch to imitate his friend. Five seconds later, Izuku snorted almost derisively as he processed the mockery. “Okay, but anyways- what was Nighteye’s punishment anyways? Did he end up catching anyone?” Izuku shook his head with a little shiver.
“Nah, not anyone in parti-particular. He jus’ did this thin’ over breakfast, scared all of us out of our seats- anyways, I dunno how he would’ve punished us. Apparently, he has this torture device in his office he would use- I really don’ wanna learn any more about it.”
“Whoa, understandably. And here I thought that you guys were the straight-laced heroes in bed by 8:30.”
“Toshiiiiiiiiiiiiii~...” Izuku pouted as he whined, giving up any attempts to stay composed as exhaustion began to really take over. “Meaaannnnnn….”
“Oh my gosh, Spaceman. Go to sleep before you fall asleep on the phooooonnnneeeeee.”
“But you haven’t told me all about your day yeettt…”
“Izuku, I am literally begging you to go to sleep. You need it, buddy.”
“Shhhh- do you need me to read you a bedtime story? Sing you a lullabyyyyyy?~” Izuku hesitated for a moment, a look of tired annoyance on his face before a spark of mischief glinted in half-lidded eyes.
“Sounds great!” A second later, there was a choking noise. “Hitoshi!”
“Y-” Hitoshi cut himself off with another bout of coughing. “-You sleep-deprived dork-” Izuku let out a tired laugh.
“I- I’m nooootttt!~”
“What, sleep-deprived or a dork?”
“Aww, Toshiiiiiiiiii…. I know ya don’ mean it though…” An absolutely massive yawn followed that, and then an airy giggle. Hitoshi had fallen suddenly silent.
“Hmm-mm?” It was no use trying to act coherent now. “Whu-sup?”
“Say ‘persuasion’ for me.”
“Whyyyyyy?~” HIs voice shot up at the end of the word.
“Just do it. Please?” Izuku rubbed his eyes, nodding slowly.
“‘Mmkayyyyyyyyyyy.~” He giggled again as he straightened himself up in a way that probably wasn’t as funny as he thought it was. “Pursewayshun.” The word hung in the air for a moment before Izuku frowned. “Wai’, nah. Pershuashun. Perssuatie-on.” His brows furrowed further. “Pour- persh- persue-”
“Spaceman.” Izuku looked to the phone with a slightly angry expression.
"You're tired , Spacey. You gotta go to sleep now, please?"
"Mmmno I'm naaaaught..."
“You’ve been slurring your words for at least ten minutes now, buddy.”
“I’m not sw- sluww-slurriiiinngg!~ You aaaaaaaarrhheee…” A moment of silence, before Hitoshi could be heard clearly sighing through the phone.
“Noooo!~” Izuku giggled. “I’m Izuku, not Zukooooooo!~ I’m not- I’m not-” A soft gasp. "Todoooooo!!"
“...did you just squeal ‘turtle?’” More giggling.
“Nooooo! To-DO, like To-do-ROKI! He’s- he’s half a Zuko… half an Elsa!! Let it goooooo, let it GOOOOOO!~”
“-Deku. Please. What can I do to get you to sleep?”
“Mmmm....” Izuku clumsily tapped his chin (or tried to). “Uhhhh…. Oh! Sing!”
“Yeeeeaa! Or tell me a storyyyy…. You pwomiisseeddd!”
“I promised nothing.”
“‘Oshiiiiiiiiii...” Another soft gasp. “Yoshi! ‘Toshi, are you Yoshi??”
“...what have I done.” Izuku only giggled harder at his friend’s horror.
“‘Toshi Yoshi! ‘Toshi Yoshi!”
“-If I go through with my promise, do you promise to go to bed?” Izuku stopped dead in his singing.
“Mmm…” He tilted his head. “‘Kay!”
“And you promise?”
“Pinky promise!” Izuku threw his hands up in the air. “Now, song!”
“Nope. No singing.” Izuku made an offended noise.
“But you pinky promisseeeeddddd-”
“-That I would go through with my promise and help you, yeah. Now shusshhhhh, I’m gonna tell you a story.” Izuku pouted, but flopped backwards nonetheless and rolled over to his side on the pillow.
“Ahhhh, wait- before I can tell you the story, you gotta do the bedtime boogie.” The way Hitoshi said it was easy as breathing, and despite himself, Izuku’s eyes lit up. Still, there was doubt in his voice as he responded.
“The bedtime boogie??” Hitoshi hesitated on the other end, perhaps just realizing what he’d said. There was a quiet groan before the taller boy spoke up.
“-Uhhh, yeah. Bedtime boogie.” Izuku shifted a little, eyes fluttering somewhat. “Did you brush your teeth?”
“Get a stuffy?”
“Mm- oh, no!”
“Well, then you’d better slide and shuffle over to your stuffy.” Izuku bounced up, a grin on his features as he clumsily danced to the side to retrieve a precious All-Might.
“Didya get your nightlight on?”
“Then go pirouette and plug it in.” The way Hitoshi said it almost indicated embarrassment, but was also ever so slightly curious. Izuku giggled yet again- albeit more quietly,- as he spun to do what was asked.
“...I cannot believe you’re actually doing this- how old are you-”
“Next step, next step!”
“-Ah, sure? I mean- oh, whatever. Okay, lights off?” Izuku began to reach towards the wall opposite to him, before remembering lights automatically switched out at curfew here. He settled for flicking the switch on the reading lamp.
“In bed you go.”
“Then story?” Hitoshi made a sound like he was almost laughing.
“”Yes, then story.”
“Yayy!” Alright, nevermind. Hitoshi could definitely be heard snickering as Izuku cannonballed onto the bed and burrowed himself under the covers.
“How old are you again?”
“Old enough to still recognize that acting childish is perfectly acceptable at my age and I still deserve to have fun, ” Izuku responded with an almost shocking amount of sincere seriousness, before sticking his tongue out for good measure. Hitoshi was shocked silent for a moment.
“...okay, fair enough.”
“Whazza story ‘bout?” Izuku cuddled the All-Might closer to himself as he stared at his phone with bleary eyes. Hitoshi sighed deeply.
“Story. Uh, okay-” A sound like something shifting. Izuku waited as patiently as he could, eyelids threatening to close with each passing second as Hitoshi prepared himself. At last, the rustling and shifting stopped, replaced with only one deep breath. When Hitoshi started to speak this time, his voice was lower. More soothing than before, arguably. “Ready?”
“Alright. This- This is the story of one of the greatest heroes to save the universe. Some say he might’ve been even greater than All-Might.”
“Shhhh… do you want to hear the story or not?” Izuku clapped a hand over his mouth, humming frantically. “Alright, alright! Okay, so-” Hitoshi cleared his throat again, voice dropping back to the soothing tone once more. “Okay. He was the greatest heroes there ever was… and he had some of the most amazing adventures. And this, is the story of how he did one of his most heroic deeds ever.”
“Did he beat the villain?” Izuku whispered, tired but awe-stricken.
“No.” Hitoshi seemed to smile a little as his tone lightened. “He saved him.”
“This hero was small, but mighty, and his heart was sometimes bigger than his brain. Not many people minded, of course- or, at least, not often.” There was some sort of grumbling noise after that. Izuku was trying his best to stay awake, but Hitoshi’s voice was a soothing force that was dragging him towards sleep. “But, in any case, he was a hero absolutely adored by most everyone.” A small laugh. “Most everyone.” Hitoshi fell silent again for a second, the lack of noise a little more depressed than before. Izuku’s mind was lazily simmering ideas of the nameless hero- all he could really manage at the moment, with the day’s exhaustion and injuries weighing him down.
“Who… whowas’t?” He barely managed to whisper out. Hitoshi sighed.
“It was… well, they were a villain, but not the kind you may think of. When someone hears the word ‘villain,’ they may think of the ones motivated by anger and spite. You probably do too.” Izuku hummed a little. “But- but this one wasn't. I swear, I promise he wasn’t one of them. I-” Hitoshi’s voice broke a little, and he had to clear his throat again. “I- okay. This… person, was someone who could’ve been a hero too, in another timeline. Ah, this is getting confusing- no, it is. In any case, the hero and the villain didn’t agree on most things, and the villain hated the hero for all he stood for.” Izuku made a disapproving noise.
“Not ve’y nice…”
“...Yeah. The villain wasn’t very nice.” Hitoshi shifted again. “The hero didn’t know about the villain at first- he was too busy with his hero business. But, soon, the villain came into the light.” Izuku gave a worried noise. “And- and the citizens were terrified. The villain’s powers were terrifying, only overtaken in power by his sheer bitterness towards the world. The people- they begged him to stop, crying out how he would be toppled soon enough for his evil reign. The villain only scoffed. ‘Send your heroes,’ he announced. ‘I will fell them all. Send your precious Spaceman after me- he will fall, just as all he stands for will.’ And with that, he disappeared, leaving a crowd of frozen people staring at where he once was.”
“Ahhhhhh… hey! Hey, ‘dat’s me… Spaceman… ‘at’s me…”
“Noooo, buddy, it’s just late. It’s only a bedtime story.”
“Mpfh...nooooooooit’snaaaauuugghhhtttt…” Izuku let out an enormous yawn, eyes slowly falling shut.
“Come on buddy… shhhh, storytime, ‘member?” Izuku barely managed to force out a response. “The villain, in his anger, disappeared, and the people all ran to Spaceman with terror in their voices. The hero listened in concern until they finished, angry that anyone had made his people feel such all-consuming fear. He was gone after a minute more, power cracking the ground around him as he searched for the evildoer. Eventually, the hero landed in the dark place the villain had been forced to call a home. ‘Come out! Come here!’ Spaceman screamed. ‘Spaceman has arrived! Come out and accept the challenge you’ve forced upon us.’ And there was silence.” A moment of pause. “-Before the villain struck.” Izuku managed to stutter out his best impression of a gasp in his state. “This villain wasn’t as fast as the hero, nor was he as strong. But he was hateful, motivated by spite towards the hero and blinded by his hopelessness. So, the fight raged on, both parties fiercely clawing at one another even as they fell into the deep depths of the darkness that surrounded the villain’s lair. Despite it all, the villain ended up entrapping the hero with his quirk, slamming him to the floor. But just as he was about to strike the killing blow- the hero spoke. ‘Why?’ And the villain froze.”
“...whyyy?” Izuku repeated in a hiss.
“Yeah. ‘Why?’ As the villain forced himself to move once more, a scowl came over his face. ‘Why what? Why be a villain, why choose this path?’ But, Spaceman only frowned. ‘No. Why do you think this is the only way? Why have you lost hope? Why-’ On and on, and try as he might, the villain couldn’t keep it together. He dropped to his knees, shaking. Still, Spaceman kept going. He talked and talked, never stopping even as the villain screamed and howled at him to stop, on and on, until the villain simply broke. The hero watched as the villain sobbed, regaling a tragic tale of a family ripped apart and the suppression of the every fibre of his being by the hopeless people of this world. And so, he cursed those people to get what they deserved, to feel the fury of the cosmic fates align and crash down upon them. And Spaceman sat and listened and comforted the broken villain. And when it was all over, the hero did the unthinkable.” Hitoshi stopped to breathe. “He offered him a hand.” Izuku’s eyes were closed, words flowing in one ear and out the other. His breathing had slowly evened out. Hitoshi was silent. His voice had quieted. “And with all the power he had in his voice, he turned to the villain and began to plead.” Izuku felt the darkness around him deepen, mind wandering farther. “He poured all of the emotion from the fight, from his love for his people, and from his love for the world into what he spoke. He…” A pause. “Spaceman?” Izuku couldn’t find it in himself to respond.
With one final sigh, Izuku let himself fall into darkness. He was out like a light not two seconds later.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND GOOSE KING ]
[ YOU HAVE (4) UNREAD MESSAGES FROM GOOSE KING ]
[23:27:29] Goose King: man, you fell asleep before i could even finish the story
[23:27:31] Goose King: :’-( :-p
[23:27:33] Goose King: it’s okay, buddy. sweet dreams
[23:27:35] Goose King: don’t let the bedbugs bite
[ GOOSE KING CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
It was three days later and a Friday when Hitoshi felt his heart rate begin to spike again, this time without training as an excuse. He was sat in class, worksheets and notes splayed out in front of him on the desk as he tried in vain to focus. Yet, it seemed that no matter what he tried, his mind refused to stray from his after-school activities.
At last, he was free of the Takahashi's. Hitoshi would never have to deal with their torture ever again. With the help of the police, Hitoshi was slowly getting all of the money the Takahashi’s has withheld from him, and the couple was never to be entrusted a foster child again. The investigation was ongoing, but Hitoshi and all related to him were trying their best to move on.
However, moving on meant finding him an official caretaker.
Which meant going back to a grouphome.
I shouldn’t be this nervous, Hitoshi had been repeating to himself. I shouldn’t be this nervous. It’s not that bad. It can’t be that bad.
“Hey, Shinsou.” A pencil was being tapped on his desk, and he jolted. Suzuki was staring at him with her amber eyes, pupils clearly dilated and eyes half closed. Hitoshi cleared his throat.
“Yeah, what?” She didn’t seem to be fazed by Hitoshi’s cold response.
“Okay, so. For this question- first of all, I got the formula down, right?” Hitoshi resisted the urge to give her a blank look, instead humming quietly and leaning over to scan her sheet. In less than two seconds, his brows were furrowed.
“Wait, wait. You’re trying to get the parabola here?”
“Well, firstly, the formula is y=ax2+bx+c, not bx2+cx2.” Suzuki gasped, quickly erasing the writing to correct it with a groan.
“Oh my gosh, I am an idiot.” She sighed. Hitoshi awkwardly hummed, the heat slowly drawing his eyelids lower and lower. Shaking his head a little bit, he tried to clear his throat and ward off the sleepiness.
“Well, anyways- what’s ‘a’ , what’s ‘b’ , and what’s ‘c’ here?”
“Oh! So, ‘a’ is heerrreee…”
Suzuki’s pupils had dilated, true to her catlike nature, as she slowly worked through the steps of the equation with Hitoshi prodding her along. At last, a victorious smile broke across her face and she slammed the pencil down to her desk.
“Mhm, not bad,” Hitoshi hummed. “Are you sure you can do it again?”
“Well, I should be able to!” Hitoshi fought down a scoff. Yeah right.
“Uh-huh. Try another question and see if you get it right.” He pushed her paper back to her from where it had ended up on his desk. Suzuki took it after a second with a small sigh and a kitten yawn. Hitoshi had to admit, the heat of the classroom was now truly getting to him as well. He had to suppress a lethargic stretch as Suzuki began to work on the next problem. It took three more questions, some more explanations and a few pointed throat clearings to get the girl back on track, but at last Suzuki appeared to have the process down. As she finished yet another question, her head snapped towards Hitoshi with an almost desperately hopeful expression as her tail swished from side to side in a way Hitoshi knew meant that she was content with her answer. Quickly checking it over, he gave her a small thumbs up and a swift nod.
“You got it.” Suzuki whooped, pumping her fists for a moment as she kicked her legs excitedly.
“Whoo! Thank you, Shinsou!!”
“Mhm.” Hitoshi turned back to his own work, writing down a few more sentences as his mind began to drift again. Take the train there- I mean, you could bike it, but that would mean you’d get all ugly and you need to look presentable. What’ll they be like?
“What’cha workin’ on? That doesn’t look like the assignment!”
“I finished it weeks ago. This is advanced work.”
“Whoa! So, you’re working ahead of the class?”
“Like, the stuff we’ll be doing later??”
“Extra credit too???”
“That too.” He kept his eyes trained steadily on his page, trying to suppress the annoyed twitching of his eye.
“Wow! You must be super smart!”
“And you understand all of it?”
“Mmm.” Please let her be done soon.
“Can I copy off of you?” Hitoshi sighed, resisting the urge to bang his head against the desk.
“No, Suzuki, you cannot copy off of me.”
“Because then we’ll both get in trouble.”
“Awwww!!” Suzuki squealed. Hitoshi was all of five seconds away from completely losing his mind.
“But it looks so haaaaarrddd!”
“Mhm.” His voice was slowly becoming more strangled as time wore on.
“And, like, I don’t know half of these formulas!”
“What am I gonna doooooooo!” She slumped back in her seat, face saddened. Hitoshi was almost cruelly relieved at the silence, letting out a (hopefully subtle) sigh. Now, if she could just- “OH!”
And there went that.
“Can you teach me how to do it?” Hitoshi swore he almost keeled over right then and there.
“Oh, god no! I don’t think my brain can handle any mooorrreeeee…” Suzuki faked a swoon. “Next week! Or, whenever we learn that.”
“You have to be kidding.”
“Pleeeeeaaaassseeee? Please, please, purr-ease?” Hitoshi jolted. Was that a cat pun?! “It would be furry nice of mew to help meowt! Purr-eeeeaaaasseeeee-”
“Oh, for god’s sakes- IF I SAY YES, can you please leave me alone and let me work?”
“Then… yes, fine.”
“Whoo! Thank you, Shin-chan!” Hitoshi was on the verge of snapping his pencil. At last, the girl moved away. Hitoshi took a calming breath, shook his head, and turned to his paper-
And the bell rang.
Hitoshi groaned, letting his head fall forwards to slam against his desk. He stayed there as the classroom slowly emptied of his peers, most of them staring at him as they passed- even more so when Suzuki walked past to ruffle his hair and thank him. He could hear the questioning murmurs of “Shin-chan?” whispered down the hall.
Deep within him, he started to regret not Brainwashing Suzuki away when he had the chance. Summoning all of his willpower, Hitoshi instead chose to pack his assignments into his bag and drag himself to the dorms, changing into a nicer set of clothes before grabbing his bag to sprint to the train station. He made it onto the train with barely a second to spare, collapsing into a seat as he tried to get his breathing under control. As soon as he could suck in air without wheezing, Hitoshi had whipped out his phone to begin to frantically finger-comb his hair. It took all of five seconds before he gave up, yanking a spare hair tie out of his pocket and forcing his hair into the most painstakingly neat ponytail he had ever crafted. It was the first time outside of training he could think of where he could see clearly. His heart rate was still higher than it should be, but not because of the mad dash to the train. Hitoshi tried not to gulp too audibly. It’s fine, it’s fine, don’t stress. You can… remember Iida’s routine for you. Yeah, do that. Go down the list… He strained for a second. I can’t remember. Oh my gosh, this cannot be happening. No, no, noo….
Taking a shaking breath, Hitoshi fumbled for his phone. He clicked on the first number he saw.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND URARARARARARARARARARARAKA]
[17:12:26] You: uraraka
[17:12:40] You: uraraka please i need help
[17:12:52] Urararararararararararaka: What’s wrong?? Where are you, do I need to call police??
[17:13:01] You: sorry
[17:13:03] You: i’m okay
[17:13:07] You: i just need someone to talk to right now or i am going to explode
[17:13:09] Urararararararararararaka: Okay.
[17:13:12] Urararararararararararaka: Are you sure?
[17:13:15] You: yeah
[17:13:17] You: just need to talk
[17:13:19] Urararararararararararaka: I’m happy to listen!
[17:13:22] Urararararararararararaka: Or talk too, if you need me to!
[17:13:24] You: thanks
[17:13:26] You: it’s just
[17:13:28] You: i’m on the train right now
[17:13:31] You: and i’m going to go do something that’s going to have a lot of impact in my life
[17:13:33] You: and they’re people that i should trust but i don’t and i’ve basically never met them anbd they’ll be deciding how my life goes and
[17:13:45] Urararararararararararaka: Shinsou?
[17:13:50] Urararararararararararaka: If you’re still there, it’s okay. You can take your time.
[17:13:53] Urararararararararararaka: I’ll be here and ready when you are.
[17:14:30] You: thank you
[17:14:32] Urararararararararararaka: Not a problem.
[17:14:34] Urararararararararararaka: Do you need me to distract you from things?
[17:14:36] You: uh
[17:14;39] You: do you have any advice?
[13:14:42] Urararararararararararaka: Advice?
[17:14:44] You: yeah, for
[17:14:48] You: for making them not hate me as much.
[17:14:52] Urararararararararararaka: Oh, Shinsou…
[17:14:59] You: that was incredibly stupid, ignore me
[17:15:02] Urararararararararararaka: No, it wasn’t. They won’t hate you, and that entire thing is just an baseless claim to begin with.
[17:15:06] You: you sound like iida
[17:15:09] Urararararararararararaka: ...Oh dear gosh, I do
[17:15:11] Urararararararararararaka: Oh my gosh
[17:15:13] You: concerning
[17:15:14] Urararararararararararaka: Very.
[17:15:16] Urararararararararararaka: BUT ANYWAYS
[17:15:19] Urararararararararararaka: I can promise you that if you’re honest and natural, they won’t hate you.
[17:15:21] Urararararararararararaka: Just act like how you do with me and Iida!
[17:15:24] Urararararararararararaka: And if they aren’t good to you, I’ll get Mina and Kyouka to beat them up for you.
[17:15:25] Urararararararararararaka: OH ACTUALLY
[17:15:26] You: oh my gosh
[17:15:29] Urararararararararararaka: I’ll get Mina and Kyouka to beat them up for you AND THEN
[17:15:31] Urararararararararararaka: I’ll set Momo and Iida on them
[17:15:33] Urararararararararararaka: AND THEN TO FINISH IT OFF
[17:15:35] You: - oh my gosh there’s MORE??
[17:15:37] Urararararararararararaka: SO MUCH MORE
[17:15:39] You: oh my gosh
[17:15:45] Urararararararararararaka: AND THEN TO FINISH IT OFF, I am going to lock them in a room with Bakugou, Eraserhead, and Fourth-heckin’-Kind to let them have their way while Kouda and I drag you off to the dorms for ice-cream, a campout, and a movie marathon.
[17:15:49] You: ERASERHEAD
[17:15:52] You: OH MY GOSH
[17:15:54] You: ...and what if i’m too lazy to be dragged away to a camp-out and ice-cream?
[17:15:56] Urararararararararararaka: It’s compulsory, you have no choice.
[17:15:58] You: but whyyyyyyyyyy
[17:16:01] Urararararararararararaka: LET US LOVE YOU SHINSOU
[17:16:04] You: I’M SORRY WHAT NOW
[17:16:08] Urararararararararararaka: LET US LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
[17:16:23] You: uraraka i have dropped my phone and gotten glared at for laughing too loud
[17:16:25] You: look at the mess you’ve made
[17:16:27] Urararararararararararaka: WHAT OH NOOOOO
[17:16:29] Urararararararararararaka: I’M BOTH SORRY AND CLAIMING NO RESPONSIBILITY
[17:16:31] You: what has this devolved to
[17:16:33] Urararararararararararaka: Why are you asking me that?
[17:16:36] You: y’know, fair enough
[17:16:39] You: ...thank you, though
[17:16:42] You: that actually helped a lot
[17:16:45] Urararararararararararaka: Aw, hey! No problem at all!
[17:16:50] Urararararararararararaka: Just tell me if anything happens- I’ll be revising my master plan just in case!
[17:16:52] Urararararararararararaka: And my master plans B, C, and D!
[17:16:54] You: do i even want to know?
[17:16:56] Urararararararararararaka: Nah, I wanna see the look on your face when I put them into action.
[17:16:58] You: sounds like a plan
[17:17:05] Urararararararararararaka: !!!!!!!!!!!!!! SHINSOU DID YOU JUST
[17:17:06] You: AND WITH THAT ACCIDENTAL PUN I FLEE THIS CHAT
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
Hitoshi sighed, covering his face with his hands as he dropped his phone into his lap, smiling a little shakily as his heart fluttered a bit. Like the Grinch, he thought, almost derisively. My heart just grew 3 sizes.
Okay, maybe 2 and ¾.
Lifting his head up at last, Hitoshi took note of the other judging passengers, the murmurs, and the complete inability to care he was suddenly feeling. He gave them a little smile and a nod, almost smirking in delight at their expressions of utter horror. Oh, he was cruel. But, at least he had fun doing it.
Giving one last sunny smile and a wave to the other passengers (and almost choking from laughter as one woman literally- literally!- clutched her chest in shock), Hitoshi drew his earbuds out of his bag to plug them into his phone. The train ride was a fairly long one, and there was no point in sitting in silence for an hour. So, with a small smile on his face, Hitoshi tuned out the murmurs of the people around him and opened the news app, music shuffling for a second before settling on an alt. rock song.
The rest of the train ride passed in gentle thought.
soft and pure
Chapter 12: twelve
Shit, in the simplest of words, goes down.
Ochako, among many other things, was dead tired. Could’ve been the homework, could’ve been the dorm discussions about the most inconsequential things, could’ve been the training session. Could’ve been the late night she’d been pulling for no reason these days.
Ochako, however, was not the type to let exhaustion get in the way of her tendency to defend people. Especially when those people were her friends.
So, it wasn’t a huge surprise to anyone how quickly her head snapped up from her desk when she heard Shinsou’s name mentioned in that tone. Of course, she didn’t process it at first. Just heard Ojirou say “Shinsou,” nevermind the tone. So, Ochako had sprung up from her seat, Iida and his various exclamations be damned, and had made her way over to stand in the group of students that had clumped themselves near a few free desks in the front of the class. Eraserhead was passed out behind his desk, and the group was talking in relatively hushed tones because of that. As she managed to push her way into the tight circle to take a seat, she heard Mineta finish his sentence.
“-a freaky dude! What even was he doing in there?” Mutters followed his sentence. Ochako felt her face twist into a sour expression as his disgusted tone was registered.
“Who, Shinsou?” The group seemed to jump, most of them not having noticed her entrance.
“Uhh, yeah. We- yeah.” Sero responded after a second. “He- we- why was he at our training, we were wondering, and- uh- yeah.” Ochako blinked.
“Well, he was there cuz Iida and I invited him!” There was dead silence for a moment as her words hung in the air. “He told us that he wanted to work on his training, and we figured it would be nice if he trained with us!” More silence.
“M- mon amie,” Aoyama put a gentle hand on her shoulder. Ochako let out a surprised noise. “Are you alright?”
“Y-yeah!” Kaminari added in a second later. “You can be honest with us, we promise!” All at once, the silence was broken as the group all gave agreeing noises. Ochako looked around, becoming more and more confused by the second.
“I- I don’t understand?”
“Whatever is going on, we can help you fix it,” Someone murmured, and everyone agreed again. Ochako was scanning faces, brows only furrowing further.
“I’m sorry, I still don’t really get what you’re trying to tell me.” She looked around the group worriedly. “Is something wrong? He was just training with us! He’s- Shinsou is my friend!” The group plunged back into silence, jaws dropping and hands flying up to cover mouths. The only sound was something Ochako thought that she would never hear- the sound of Ojirou’s tail falling to the floor with a thump as he dropped his head into his hands and let out the most concentrated string of curses Ochako had ever heard uttered for a straight five seconds. Ochako felt her own jaw drop at the noise, only able to watch in mute horror as the blonde boy slowly pulled his head back up. His eyes were a mixture of cold, hard anger, and a pitying sadness- sadness, the group abruptly realized, that was for Ochako.
“Uraraka, please,” He had begun to plead, almost whispering. “You don’t have to do this. He’s not here, he can’t hurt you.”
“W-what?! He’s not! He’s my- he- Shinsou is my friend! He’s my friend, he would never hurt me!”
“Just like he would never break your nose?” Ojirou shot back. Ochako visibly flinched backwards, returning into shocked silence. “Just like he would never bruise your ribs? Throw you so hard you can’t breathe for a minute? Use you as his puppet?” More shocked silence. Ojirou’s voice had been dead as he spoke, and his eyes were now desperately scanning Ochako’s face. He almost wilted when he didn’t see anything he liked. “Uraraka, how deep does his Brainwashing go?” The group gave a collective gasp, tears flooding to Ochako’s eyes.
“Brainwashing?!” Several people nearly screeched. Iida immediately leapt up, reprimanding them with arms swinging and head swivelling to and fro, as if glaring at both the sleeping Eraserhead and at the group was going to fix the situation. It took several people and too many apologetic murmurs to stave him off, and the circle somehow became even tighter as students swivelled back inwards to continue their gossip.
“Brainwashing!” Momo whispered, sounding almost scandalized. “That sounds horrible!”
“Sounds pretty terrifying…” Satou whispered, almost hesitantly. Ojirou’s jaw was set.
“He used it on me in the Cavalry Battle,” He began, tail swishing from side to side as he spoke. “I couldn’t break free until someone ran into me, and I couldn’t remember any of the battle before that. Watching the replays… it was like watching a TV show. It felt completely foreign.”
“That’s horrible!” Aoyama gasped.
“Not cool,” Kirishima agreed. Ochako was scrubbing at her eyes furiously, struggling to remove the moisture and keep her composure as she listened to the comments.
“He seems… evil,” Mineta put in, and was met with countless agreements.
“Uraraka, are you sure you’re alright?” Momo was back, eyes wide and touch gentle and hesitant. Kyouka was peering over her shoulder.
“I’ll beat him up for you if you want,” She offered, earphone jacks already spinning. Kirishima hardened his arms, nodding determinedly. Ochako could feel herself choke.
“NO!” Ripped from her throat, a choked squeal that made the crowd wince. Despite herself, Ochako let a strangled half-sob slip past her lips as she frantically waved off comforting hands. Her tears weren’t from sadness, but rather hot and angry-in any other case, if she had more energy, she would’ve ripped into the crowd around her with her full fury. But, now, here they were, so she would have to work around the tears. Coughing, she made yet another attempt to regain some sort of composure.
“Uraraka-” Kaminari reached out a hand. Ochako flinched away, hiccoughing. “Oh, hey-”
“Uraraka, what did he do to you?” Ojirou was slowly moving closer, face concerned. “What-”
“No,” She coughed out, almost desperate. Ojirou froze in place. “No, please- just stop.” Her voice was almost embarrassingly small, and Ochako quickly snapped her mouth shut to focus on more steady breathing. Ojirou just nodded, slowly backing off with a few muttered apologies. The group was respectfully quiet as Ochako rode out her emotion, trying to calm herself down as quickly as possible. In, out. In, out. Repeat, ignore how everyone suddenly looked like they pitied her. She accepted their apologies, though, pretending they were directed to Shinsou and not her. At long last, after what felt like an eternity to her (but was a lot more like only a few minutes), Ochako trusted herself to speak.
“Guys,” She began, internally proud of how little her voice shook and cracked. “It- it’s not fair, how you talk about him. I honestly can’t speak for his actions in the past- it might be best if he does that for himself- but Shinsou, in no way, shape, or form has coerced me into doing anything against my will. He didn’t want to force us to let him come to training anyways, and I can cross my heart and hope to die when I say that he definitely didn’t mean to break my nose that way. After I went to Recovery Girl to fix it, he brought me food and presents to apologize. He even said he didn’t want to come back because he thought all of you guys hated him!” The group shuffled. “If you can trust me, why can’t you trust him?”
“...And how do we know that he’s not using his Quirk on you right now?” Mineta pushed back, almost accusingly. Uraraka was about to start screaming when Tsu jumped in.
“Well, I don’t really know this person that well,” She took a pause to push Mineta away from her and half out of the circle. “But, if Uraraka says that we can trust him, I’m going to trust her. Even if it’s only for now.”
“How could you trust him though? After what he’s done?” Ojirou pointed out, brows furrowed. Tsu tilted her head to the side.
“Well, ribbit, I’m not going to trust him completely. If Uraraka says he’s okay, I’ll believe her and give him a chance until I meet Shinsou and find out for myself.” A few skeptical hums. “It’s no good to make shallow assumptions about people before you’ve even met them.”
“Well, okay, but what if he Brainwashes you too? He’s evil!” Hagakure’s sleeves could be seen waving about as she talked with her hands. “He’s no good!”
“Asui has a point, though…” Momo interjected, painfully hesitant. The group quickly devolved into argument, Ochako quietly curling into herself as Tsu moved closer, giving her a comforting hug as the room increasing in volume. Iida’s yelling soon joined the fray, followed soon after by Bakugou’s explosions, until the room was a madhouse of Quirk-use and screaming. Just as it was about to get worse- just as Bakugou was about to land a well-placed explosion directly on Iida’s face- it all stopped.
“I take a half-an-hour nap and you devolve into this.” Eraserhead’s tired voice drawled. His eye was twitching ever so slightly, and he was gritting his teeth. “All of you. Out of my classroom and go bother your next teacher, and be glad I’m not giving you detention right off the bat. You’ll be receiving your punishments tomorrow after I figure out which of your privileges I’m going to have to remove. Am I clear?” Silence, then countless whispers.
“Good. Get out of my sight.” His hair fell back to his shoulders and he began to tiredly reach for his eyedrops. The class was frozen for a moment more before quietly and efficiently beginning to pack their things, bowing to their teacher before racing through the door. Ochako was noticeably slower than her peers, fumbling with her things a bit. She was one of the last to make her way towards the door.
“Thank you, Aizawa-sensei.”
“Uraraka. Wait.” She froze. “Come here, I want to talk to you.” Obediently, the girl doubled back to stand by the man’s desk. Kaminari gave her a look before slipping out the door, followed by Satou and then Kouda. At last, there was only Ochako, Eraserhead, and Tsu left. Eraserhead raised a brow at the green-haired girl.
“Aren’t you going to leave?”
“No, sir. I figure you want to ask Ochako about what happened, and I was there longer than her. I can provide more details and back up her statements, ribbit.” Eraserhead eyed her for a second before nodding.
“Alright. Come here.” Both girls stepped to the front of the desk, Ochako fidgeting awkwardly. Eraserhead slowly scanned them both before sitting back in his chair. “Start talking.”
. . . . . . . .
Ochako was back at the dorms after a day that was far too long for her likings. With her classmates back in their rooms, asleep or preparing for bed, she was left as the sole person outside their room. Once more she shifted forwards, swaying slightly as she hesitated. Her eyes stared at the door somewhat blearily, knowing who was on the other side and filling herself with apprehension. Ever since that talk with Eraserhead, Ochako had been debating telling Shinsou about the comments of earlier that day. It would only be right- but how would he react? I- no I shouldn’t- but I- ugh. The internal debate raged on, Ochako slowly inching towards the door despite whatever her head was saying. No, but- I shouldn’t- wait, I should- but- She gritted her teeth, taking a big gulp of air. I’m doing it. I need to do it. She raised a fist to knock, face set-
And then stopped dead.
It was only a faint noise, nearly unnoticeable. But no, it was definitely there, the noise of clumsy guitar string softly strumming and… humming. Ochako felt her breath stolen away as she listened to the noise, hesitant but somehow happy.
The exhaustion and emotion of the day hit her in full once more. Ochako stared at the door for a final moment before turning away to walk back to her room.
I’ll tell him tomorrow.
M E A N W H I L E
[GROUPCHAT- “We Need to Talk”]
[20:32:18] Tailman: Hey guys.
[20:32:58] Let’s Start a Riot: duuuuuuuuuuuuude
[20:33:02] Let’s Start a Riot: what’s with this weird ominous name??????
[20:33:05] Sex Tape: Yeah, buddy, that is a freaky name
[20:33:07] Creati: Sero! You need a more appropriate username if you are to participate in this!!
[20:33:08] Pinky and the Brain: this is so dramatic!!!!!!!
[20:33:08] ／(･ × ･)＼: !!! ????
[20:33:09] Kalamari: hi guys!!!
[20:33:10] Darkness Incarnate: Good evening.
[20:33:11] Tentacole: What’s the point of this groupchat again?
[20:33:12] Ear Bud: Why am I here
[20:33:13] Wreck-It-Ralph: Wow, are all of us in here???
[20:33:14] oui oui mon ami: ~Bonjour~
[20:33:15] Uravity: Oh my gosh no-
[20:33:16] Froggit: This must be a chat to talk about Shinsou, right?
[20:33:16] Invisible Girl: hi!!!!!!!!
[20:33:16] Explodo-Killz: STOP BLOWING UP MY PHONE YOU ACTUAL B-CLASS IDIOTS
[20:33:17] Tailman: GUYS CAN YOU SHUT UP FOR FIVE SECONDS
[20:33:19] ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): ...Jesus, dude.
[20:33:25] Tailman: Okay, yeah, I’ll admit the title is super dramatic, but we actually do need to talk about a huge problem. Tsuyu is right- it is about Shinsou.
[20:33:28] Uravity: So you’re just gonna keep trash-talking him, then?
[20:33:31] Invisible Girl: dang, he really has some tight control on you
[20:33:33] Explodo-Killz: I’M LEAVING AND MUTING THIS CHAT YOU IDIOTS
[20:33:36] Explodo-Killz: FIGURE IT OUT ON YOUR OWN
[ EXPLODO-KILLZ HAS DISCONNECTED]
[20:33:39] Kalamari: someone’s pissy
[20:33:42] Creati: Uraraka, this chat is truly here to help you.
[20:33:45] Creati: He can’t keep doing this to you unchecked.
[20:33:49] Uravity: And what if I don’t need help? What if he’s innocent and you’re just making assumptions?
[20:33:51] Tailman: Uraraka, it’s him.
[20:33:53] Tailman: There’s no way he’s innocent.
[20:33:55] Wreck-It-Ralph: He’s evil, Uraraka, and he’s controlling you.
[20:33:59] IidaTenya: Pardon me, Satou, but I would have to disagree with you!
[20:34:04] IidaTenya: I don’t think it’s exactly fair that you’re judging him without having met him!
[20:34:05] Sex Tape: We trust Ojirou, though
[20:34:07] Froggit: But you don’t trust Ochako?
[20:34:37] IidaTenya: Your silence is a bit disappointing.
[20:34:40] Kalamari: i don’t wanna pick sides here, but like
[20:34:42] Kalamari: both of you have some really good points
[20:34:44] Kalamari: i trust ojirou and he has a lot of good stuff and experience
[20:34:46] Kalamari: but i still trust iida and uraraka
[20:34:48] Kalamari: i just
[20:34:50] ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): Hey, whose side are you on?
[20:34:52] Pinky and the Brain: yeah! are you on our side, or his?!
[20:34:54] Kalamari: i’m not picking sides!
[20:34:56] Let’s Start a Riot: hey, don’t start attacking him now
[20:34:58] Invisible Girl: and whose side are YOU on, kirishima?
[20:35:00] IidaTenya: EVERYBODY CALM DOWN! It isn’t good to begin arguing amongst one another like this.
[20:35:02] Uravity: Iida, wait
[20:35:04] Uravity: EVERYBODY, WAIT
[20:35:06] Uravity: I can see you all typing at once
[20:35:09] Uravity: I understand that some of you disagree with me. I get that.
[20:35:12] Uravity: But can we get it over with and say what we think, and then we can make our separate groupchats and go our separate ways?
[20:35:16] Uravity: Then we can talk in our own chats and not attack one-another. Okay?
[20:35:19] Uravity: Ojirou, everybody? Can we agree on that?
[20:35:25] Uravity: Please?
[20:35:29] Tailman: ...Okay.
[20:35:32] IidaTenya: Alright. If you’re on the side of giving Shinsou a chance, just text a “yes” in. If not, “no.”
[20:35:33] oui oui mon ami: Non
[20:35:33] Pinky and the Brain: no!!
[20:35:34] Froggit: Yes.
[20:35:35] IidaTenya: Yes.
[20:35:36] Uravity: Yes, of course
[20:35:36] Tailman: No.
[20:35:37] Let’s Start a Riot: ...yes
[20:35:38] Sex Tape: No
[20:35:39] Wreck-It-Ralph: No
[20:35:40] Tentacole: Yes.
[20:35:41] Darkness Incarnate: I am not. No.
[20:35:42] ／(･ × ･)＼: ✖
[20:35:44] spICEy hot: No.
[20:35:46] spICEy hot: ...Ashido, change my name back.
[20:35:47] Invisible Girl: no way!! to both the request and the question!
[20:35:48] Pinky and the Brain: heck yeah!!!
[20:35:49] ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): No way
[20:35:51] Uravity: Deku is a yes
[20:35:55] IidaTenya: Yaoyorozu, Jirou, Kaminari. Why have you not voted?
[20:35:57] Creati: ...I am unsure.
[20:35:59] Creati: If I must choose… no. I am sorry.
[20:36:03] Ear Bud: Same boat, but I’m leaning to the yes side
[20:36:04] Kalamari: i honestly don’t know
[20:36:06] IidaTenya: Very well. Jirou, you will be with us. Yaoyorozu, on Ojirou’s chat.
[20:36:09] IidaTenya: Would it be fair to include Kaminari in both chats?
[20:36:11] Uravity: I’m good with it
[20:36:15] Tailman: Okay, sure. Everybody?
[20:36:17] Wreck-It-Ralph: Sure
[20:36:19] Creati: It seems fair!
[20:36:22] Pinky and the Brain: sure!
[20:36:24] Uravity: Then, it’s decided
[20:36:28] Uravity: Yes people- other than Kaminari- leave this chat. I’ll make another one
[20:36:30] Tailman: Goodnight, Uraraka. Best of luck.
[20:36:32] Uravity: Same to you, Ojirou.
[ SEVEN PEOPLE HAVE BEEN REMOVED]
[20:36:36] Sex Tape: ...Is it just me, or was that tense?
[20:36:38] Tailman: Shut up, Sero.
IT'S EXAM SEASON AND I MISSED THE UPDATE ON FRIDAY SO YOU GUYS GET TWO TODAY
HERE WE GO I GUESS-
Chapter 14: fourteen
P U R E
See y'all next week sometime
It had been about a month and a half since Izuku had come to the agency.
Well, a solid month and a half since he’d finished that short mission near home and the train ride and the fight that had gotten ‘Toshi so worried- he’d been at the agency longer than that, but that was something to mull over at some other time.
A month and a half since the train ride. A month and a half since the report. About a month since the incident with the street of children, and about the same amount of time since the conversation with Hitoshi.
It had been about two months since he’d seen his friends and family in person.
It was painful, he had to admit. You never know how much someone mattered to you until you were separated from them, and although he constantly video-called his mother and called and texted his friends, it wasn’t the same. Iida kept him updated on homework and Uraraka fed him a steady stream of gossip. Hitoshi supplied him with whatever lighter stories might occur at school.
It was still a little lonely.
But, Izuku was never too sad. He’d come back home, he’d keep in touch with his friends and family. He’d keep up with his schoolwork and keep on top of things.
Besides, this was a learning experience. Izuku had improved leagues with his power use in the past few months, that was absolutely undeniable. He’d learned how to better control himself and how to properly handle the hero life. Paperwork, civilian interactions, everything he could ever wish to know and more about the life he’d launched himself into headfirst. He’d found everything he’d ever wanted.
And maybe he’d found something more than that too.
“WHO ATE THE LAST SLICE OF CAKE?!” Kito’s voice came screaming from the kitchen. Izuku jumped a little from his spot on the couch. Toogata scoffed, rolling his eyes as he patted Izuku’s shoulder, and the occupants of the common room giggled and murmured quietly. Heavy footsteps could be heard stomping towards the room, frost quickly coating the doorframe and walls as if to announce Kito’s entrance. The boy in question came through the door not even five seconds later, looking almost theatrically annoyed. Hisakawa masked the sigh he’d just heaved and gave an amiable wave and a bored look.
“What’s up. WHAT’S UP?!”
“Yyyup.” Hisakawa gave a small smile.
“YOU’RE ASKING ME WHAT IS UP?”
“I will TELL YOU ‘WHAT IS UP,’ DAIKI. I WILL TELL YOU- DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ‘WHAT IS UP?!’” Kito continued on, still in a rage. Hisakawa shrugged.
“Well, dang man. I sure do.”
“OOOOOOHH-HO-HO-HO, MY DEAR FRIEND, I WILL TELL YOU WHAT IS UP. SOMEONE HAS EATEN THE LAST SLICE OF CAKE!”
“Oh no,” Hisakawa hummed absently. Izuku giggled quietly at the tone and how Kito seemed not to notice.
“YES, EXACTLY! ‘OH NO,’ BECAUSE THAT WAS MY SLICE OF CAKE!”
“Oh, not your poor slice of cake.” Kito caught on this time, scowling and skating over to smack Hisakawa on the back of the head.
“Take my pain seriously, you absolute chicken nugget!” He snapped. Izuku snorted out of pure shock as Toogata let out a peal of laughter. Awata gasped, snapping around to look at Centipeder.
“Daaaaadd! Katsume just hit Daiki!” She whined. Centipeder blinked twice before sighing.
“Oh, you have got to be kidding me.”
“ I’m not! Daaaaaaaddd! He hit him!”
“And I would do it again!” Kito growled. The common room gasped, horrified.
“Katsume! Be a good influence on the little ones!” Toogata exclaimed, hugging Izuku close as he gave the boy across from him a look. Izuku snickered slightly, squirming in Toogata’s hold. Kito rolled his eyes.
“Oh, don’t you get on my-” Toogata’s hands were quickly over Izuku’s ears, face transforming into overblown shock. Izuku watched as Kito’s mouth continued to move, words muffled to the point of almost silence. At last, Toogata’s hands were lowered and Izuku could hear the ever-increasing cacophony in the room.
“There are young ones here!!!!” Kaneko exclaimed, roughly gesturing to Izuku, Yoshida, and a giggling Hashimoto. Toogata made approving noises.
“Don’t make us set capital-D Dad on you!” Someone yelled, and Kito gasped.
“Oh, you wouldn’t!”
“I certainly would!” Yoshida began to laugh hysterically, snorting and covering her mouth with her hand. Izuku caught Hashimoto breaking into a wide grin as she watched the blonde across from her laugh, a fond look on her face. The room somehow devolved into even more chaos, people jokingly shoving one another and yelling over each other. Pillows were thrown, bubbles were popped, and above it all was a chorus of howling moans screaming “DAAAAAAAAAAAAADD!” Izuku could hear himself giggling, leaning into Toogata as the older student threw a protective arm over his shoulder. He wasn’t sure whether it was a conscious decision or not when Toogata tightened his hold around him, muttering something about “protecting the younger siblings even if nobody else would.” After a moment, Izuku gave his sempai an innocent look.
“A- aniki, what’s going on?” He gently nodded to the swirling mass of discord that had partially centered itself around Kito and vehemently trying to ignore how hard he was turning red from embarrassment. Toogata seemed to choke, then suddenly gained the widest grin Izuku had ever seen on his face.
“I don’t know, kyodai , I dunno.” Another comforting squeeze. “They’re a bit loud, don’cha think?”
“Waaayyyyyy too loud,” Izuku nodded seriously. The two watched the pandemonium grow in almost amused silence, slowly beginning to murmur amongst themselves as Hashimoto joined them with a shy smile. Kito was prancing around the room in a dramatic fashion, still bemoaning his loss of cake.
“And I figuratively slapped my name on it! I called that slice of cake!” He grabbed Yoshida, pulling her up by the shoulders and shaking her as he spun her around to face the crowd. “Look! Look at this innocent face! So horrified by my loss of cake!” Yoshida snorted.
“Actually, I’m kiiiiiiiiiinda the one who ate it?...” She raised a hesitant hand as she spoke. Kito gasped, scandalized, as the room fell silent.
“You WHAT?!” He at last squealed, hair shooting up into spikes as it froze. “Betrayal! BETRAYAL!” He shoved the girl away and she twirled as she went, hunched over from laughter with hair flying around her face. Hashimoto was laughing along, kicking her legs as she snorted and coughed at her mentor’s overzealous reactions. It only made sense that Yoshida would spin into the swinging limbs, causing Izuku to gasp as she plummeted into Hashimoto’s lap with a yelp. Hashimoto immediately jolted, falling silent and stiffening as her face went bright red and her expression changed to one of panic. Kito gave a scandalized noise.
“Daiki! Control your mentee!” A harsh gesture towards the calm man. “First the cake, and now she’s freaking out Hashimoto!” Hisakawa rolled his eyes in frustration.
“ Maybe don’t push my mentee around!” He shot back, getting up to help Yoshida up with an extended hand. Yoshida took it, cheeks still pink but a smile on her face nonetheless. Brushing her hands off on her jeans, she flipped her short curls and cocked her hip, giving Kito a look.
“Yeah, don’t push his mentee around!” Kito gaped at her, slapping a hand over his heart.
“Are you sassing me?”
“No, not at aaaallllllll!” The girl shot back, voice thick with sarcasm. Hashimoto was still bright red, hands firmly over her face as she hyperventilated as quietly as she could. Toogata threw his other arm over her shoulder to give her a one-armed hug as Izuku leaned more into his other side. The hug was comforting and warm, and Izuku strangely felt like he needed it at the moment. A quick glance to the right told him that Hashimoto felt about the same.
Kito was still going on, the room slowly preparing to lunge to lessen the building disaster.
“Watch your mouth!” He snapped at Yoshida. She only grinned wider.
“Why don’t you watch your mouth! Didn’t you learn your basic human decency lessons, or do we need to call in All-Might to teach you?”
“Do not take All-Might’s name in vain!” Hamada yelled from the hallway, and the entire room exploded into hysterics. Kito threw his hands up in the air.
“Does anybody take me seriously around here!”
“NO!” Yoshida, Awata, and Hisakawa all yelled in unison. Kito literally howled out of frustration.
“I SWEAR TO-”
“Kito.” A calm voice interjected. Kito whirled on the person.
“WHAT?!” He growled, probably out of instinct, before his entire face went slack and his jaw dropped as he choked. Izuku blinked in shock, huddling closer to Toogata subconsciously. Nighteye stood calmly in the exact same spot he’d seemingly materialized in. The room was dead silent. “I- we- I- I- sorry, Sir, I am so sorry-”
“-Nevermind. Yoshida, you ate the cake?” Nighteye looked as solemn as ever, scanning the room cooly. Yoshida nodded, eyes blown wide. “Kito, you marked it with your name or otherwise?”
“-I called dibs on it, Sir, so-”
“Last night, Sir, I- last night.”
“Well, I don’t think it’s logical to expect everybody to suddenly know that you had called… ‘dibs’ on that piece over 12 hours ago. Yoshida, be more careful. Kito, be more clear. And Hisakawa,” A pause. “Don’t gang up on your brother.” The entire room choked. Izuku jolted forwards, catching Hashimoto doing the same out of the corner of his eye. He could hear Toogata gasp, the hold on Izuku’s shoulders tightening. Nighteye seemed not to notice. “Awata, notify me or Centipeder sooner next time. That is all.” Nighteye turned on his heel to stride out the door. The group was dead-silent, stricken with some sort of mix of awe and shock and staring at one another in disbelief. It was so quiet, in fact, that they could hear Nighteye’s words from his place halfway down the hall.
“Play nice, children.” Izuku felt his heart stop.
As Izuku stared at Kito, fainted on the floor from stress, he went down the list of things he’d found. New skills, new powers, new people, new strategies.
And a new found family.
“I can’t believe I got away with that,” Yoshida whispered. The room descended back into disarray and Izuku grinned. Big, chaotic, and entirely dysfunctional, but still a family.
Izuku couldn’t have wished for anything else.
[ GROUPCHAT- “SHINSQUAD 2K18” ]
[18:25:07] Spaceman: Hey guys! Did I miss anything big today?
[18:25:25] Goose King: mmmmnope, nothing in my class
[18:25:27] 💔🍏 : Standard fare!
[18:25:29] WOTM: A few assignment work periods and some new details for assignments!
[18:25:33] Spaceman: Okay- thanks Iida! Wow :( No good drama ever happens over there!
[18:26:05] Goose King: it actually kinda sucks, yeah
[18:26:07] Goose King: sorry man
[18:26:09] Goose King: wbu?
[18:26:11] Spaceman: Well, actually…
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND SONIC ]
[18:26:15] You: Iida oh my god
[18:26:17] Sonic: I know.
[18:26:19] You: Iida oh my god
[18:26:22] Sonic: I know.
[18:26:25] You: Should we tell them???
[18:26:29] You: Deku would just worry, I don’t want that
[18:26:34] You: But what about Shinsou? Should we- does he- I don’t know anymore, Iida.
[18:26:37] Sonic: We should tell Shinsou at some point.
[18:26:39] Sonic: But…
[18:26:45] Sonic: He’s happy now. I don’t think we should ruin it for him.
[18:26:49] You: That sounds good to me
[18:26:55] Sonic: This is going to weigh on my conscious now, until we tell them both.
[18:26:59] You: It’s okay, I know
[18:27:05] You: It’ll all be alright, though, I promise
[18:27:07] You: Trust me
[18:27:10] Sonic: …
[18:27:15] Sonic: ...Okay.
[18:27:19] Sonic: We should go back to the groupchat.
[18:27:25] Sonic: We will tell them at some point, though.
[18:27:27] You: Of course
[18:27:30] Sonic: ...Fine.
[ SONIC CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[18:27:33] You: ...please trust me, Iida.
[ YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
Chapter 15: fifteen
I'm gonna miss the update on Monday, so have this double-update for the second time this week to make up for it.
Also, to boi, who has commented on almost every chapter as soon as I update- DUDE I LOVE YOU OH MY GOSH YOU'RE POSSIBLY THE BEST PERSON EVER FOR DOING THAT AHHH!!!!
Hitoshi had never been more unreasonably nervous in his entire life.
His new grouphome was wonderful compared to what he had before- anything was better than the Takahashis if he was being honest, literally anything- it might’ve been more crowded and slightly smaller, and a lot louder, but Hitoshi didn’t think it was that bad. The kids weren’t really around his age for the better part- go figure, considering his age and the fact that he still hadn’t been adopted- and they liked to poke at him and jump on his bed, but there wasn’t much more to expect from young children. The commute from the home to school wasn’t really an issue for Hitoshi either, considering that he lived at the dorms most of the time. And, the parents…
Mr. and Mrs. Kanemoto were some of the most average people Hitoshi had met. Granted, the standard for “average” in his mind was based off of the students and Pro Heroes he’d met at Yuuei, but still. The Kanemotos held down stable, run-of-the-mill jobs, had hobbies they’d indulge in every now and then, and were your average responsible parent-stand-ins in all aspects. Hitoshi hoped that that detail would make life better for him in long run.
In any case, the Kanemotos did their best to be good grouphome runners. They openly told Hitoshi what consequences certain actions- read, Brainwashing- and said that if he wanted to go places, like a friend’s house, the parents of the kid would have to fill out proper paperwork and get it all approved. Hitoshi had a curfew, house rules, and a fair amount of supervision at almost all times. It was… odd, a little annoying, and gave him the permanent feeling of suffocation despite it all, if Hitoshi was being completely honest. He was used to having freedom, whether he’d won it through the grouphomes and foster families completely ignoring him or completely fearing him. Now… well, the Kanemotos were wary, but they refused to ignore him, and Hitoshi had a feeling they were staving off any fear through their house rules and logic of “if you think that’s weird, I bet I can one-up it to the moon and back.”
Strange people, but more average than anyone who he’d been talking to recently.
And… well, the Kanemotos were okay with Hitoshi staying on-campus in the dorms, just barely. It took quite a bit of convincing and deliberating for the pair to agree to the setup, albeit with a few added conditions Hitoshi would have to fulfill.
Which, it just so happened, was the reason Hitoshi was sitting on his bed and musing about all of this as he stared blankly at the things he was supposed to be packing. A part of him just wanted to sigh and give up, flop back on his bed and ignore his messy room and phone and the alerts for the train he was supposed to catch, and just go through old Polaroids. His heart tugged at him, a mix of want and nostalgia nipping at him from within his chest.
He didn’t want to do this.
But , Hitoshi sighed. He figured he had to. So, pushing away the age-old question of “why,” Hitoshi forced himself up and slowly began to shove things into the ratty old duffel bag he kept in his closet. If he folded things right, slotted pieces like a puzzle into free spaces, he knew he could fit all of his worldly belongings in there. Clothes, Polaroids, assorted toiletries, a small back massager, and a phone charger. He’d have to leave behind the books and that big blanket he liked, but those things didn’t belong to him anyways.
But, he wasn’t packing everything up to move places once more- not just yet. So Hitoshi haphazardly threw items loosely into the bag and then stormed over to the bathroom to grab his toothpaste and toothbrush. If he was being completely honest with himself, that duffel bag might be getting a liiiiittle bit small to fit all of his things, considering how many things Izuku had given him since they’d met.
But, there was still no time to reminisce on better times, there was still a train to catch. The Kanemotos were expecting him.
God, even the thought soured his mood. If Nedzu or Nezu or the Principal or whatever he insisted on being called could negotiate with those two to allow Hitoshi to live mostly on campus, why couldn’t he think of a way to allow Hitoshi to- oh, I don’t know, NOT LIVE IN A GROUPHOME? Honestly, even I can think of at least three ways that I could stay here- no, four. Honestly-
Am I bitter? Maybe a little bit, yeah.
With all the spite and rage of a teenage band, Hitoshi shoved the last of his things into his bag and zipped it up roughly, throwing the thing over his shoulder and pulling the hood of his sweater out from under the straps, trying to ignore how dangerously close he was inching to a panic attack. Grab his keys, shove on his shoes, and Hitoshi stormed out the door, barely remembering to lock it before whirling around and storming down the hallway.
And of course, with his luck, went directly into someone.
“Agh! What the-” A noise that almost sounded like someone was choking. Hitoshi growled, keeping his gaze on the floor as he took little notice of the seeming lack of presence in front of him.
“Sorry,” He ground out, then continued on his merry way down the hallway. He almost to the doors to the stairway when an indignant noise sounded off from behind him.
“You’re exactly like Ojirou said!” A girl’s voice rang out. Hitoshi froze, looking over his shoulder with a scowl. There was a set of floating clothes, accompanied by slide-ons, and the sleeves of the t-shirt were rapidly flying around as someone gesticulated. Once again, he was abruptly reminded that Class 1-A had an invisible girl.
“Look, I said I was sor-”
“- NO!” There was a loud smacking noise, and the girl was way too loud for how close the two were standing. “YOUR BRAINWASHING WON’T WORK ON ME! I’M NOT LISTENING!”
“...Okay, I’m sor-”
“YOU’RE JUST AS BAD AS I THOUGHT!” Hitoshi coughed in shock. “YOU’RE HORRIBLE! Your Quirk is evil and- WHY ARE YOU HERE?! WHY ARE YOU-” Her words faded into angry yelling and insults as Hitoshi registered his mouth dropping wide open. He was frozen for a second, mind fruitlessly searching for what to do, before his hands slowly raised up in a gesture of surrender. The girl in front of him was breathing raggedly, hands presumably still clamped tightly over her ears. Hitoshi swallowed heavily, lowering one hand to stay in front of his chest as fingers stumbled clumsily over letters.
“S-O-R-R-Y,” He fingerspelled, hearing the girl suddenly stop breathing. Heart hammering, he took one step backwards, then two more, until his back slammed into the door and he turned around to open it. Without a second glance backwards, Hitoshi stepped through the doorframe and, ever-so-calmly, proceeded to descend the stairs in a clumsy, tripping mess.
He didn’t stop sprinting until he was seated on the train, keeled over and tears in his eyes as his legs and lungs burned with pain. Nobody got up to help him.
Hitoshi wished it could all just stop.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND KANEMOTO HIROSHI ]
[16:15:22] Kanemoto Hiroshi: Are you on your way? We are expecting you.
[16:16:02] You: Yes, I’m on the train. I’ll be there in about an hour.
[16:16:10] Kanemoto Hiroshi: Very good. See you soon, then.
[16:16:15] You: See you soon.
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
He was going to vomit.
Chapter 16: sixteen
Short and sweet.
[ GROUPCHAT- “Side Yes” ]
[15:45:27] Uravity: Is everyone okay?? I heard someone screaming!!
[16:16:32] Ear Bud: Everyone is fine. It was just Tooru
[16:16:36] Ear Bud: It’s nothing serious, I got it
[16:16:39] Let’s Start a Riot: is she ok???
[16:16:42] Ear Bud: All good
[16:16:46] Ear Bud: It was nothing
[16:16:51] Ear Bud: Hey, Prez. Ochako. Someone should text Shinsou. I think he might need it
[16:16:55] IidaTenya: I’m sorry, what?
[16:16:56] Uravity: We’re on it
[16:16:58] Uravity: Thank you, Kyouka
[16:17:00] Ear Bud: No problem
[URAVITY AND EAR BUD HAVE DISCONNECTED]
[16:17:05] Kalamari: what’s going on??
[16:17:08] Tentacole: I don’t know, but it will end up fine with Iida and Uraraka involved.
[16:17:12} Tentacole: I’m still worried, though.
[16:17:19] Froggit: I am too. But there’s not much to do.
[16:17:23] Froggit: We just have to trust.
Chapter 17: seventeen
Tenya liked to consider himself a very composed person. He kept his head in the most stressful of situations, was always well-mannered, was… not that impulsive, and could keep track of multiple tasks and issues while solving them. He was one of the most level-headed and unflappable people in his class.
That being said, Tenya could feel just how his gut dropped when Shinsou at last picked up his frantic phone calls with a cringe-inducing retch. Immediately, Tenya could feel himself go on high-alert.
“Shinsou, what’s wrong? I called you multiple times, are you alright? Where are you?”
“H-ey, slow d-ow’ Big Gu-” Another retch, and Tenya swore he could hear something spill as Shinsou choked. There was a quiet, broken swear. “I- so’y, I-” More coughing, desperate gasps for air, and Tenya could feel his panic rising.
“Where are you right now- Shinsou, you need to breathe. You need-” He could hear the boy on the other side of line hyperventilating. “Slowly- please, calm down-” He could feel himself slipping further with each pained noise Shinsou made, shots of anxiety reaching through his veins and curling around his heart as they pulsed with Shinsou’s irregular noises. At last, Tenya blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
“Shinsou, I’m calling an ambulance.”
“-NO!” Came roaring from the phone. Tenya almost dropped the device out of the sheer volume and desperation of the cry. “NO, NO YOU CAN’T- YOU CAN’T, PLEASE DON’T-”
“-Shinsou, please, you need-”
“NO!!!” The howl returned, and Tenya was ashamed to admit later that he’d let out a half sob of his own out of sheer anxiety and frustration. Uraraka came sprinting in a second later, face panicked. She screeched to a halt as she heard the broken cries emitting from the cellphone, punctuated by gagging and the horrid noises of coughing and choking. Her eyes hardened immediately.
“Shinsou, I- I don’t know what to do-”
“Put him on speakerphone,” She ordered, her voice all that of a rescue hero barking out instructions to civilians. Tenya instantly did as told, the noises of distress suddenly coming out in horrid, living colour. He could feel the knot in his chest clench even harder as he numbly watched Uraraka stride over to sit next to him and take the phone out of his hands to place it between them. There was a hint of a quiver in her lip.
“Shinsou?” Her tone was firm. “It’s Uraraka. I’m here, okay? I’m right here. Can you hear me?” Her forehead was lined and furrowed as she stared at the phone, listening as the retching and coughing only continued- now with broken bits of whining and unintelligible noises mixed in. Tenya could feel himself hyperventilating, barely noticing how Uraraka’s mouth had firmly set itself in a line. “Tap the floor near the phone twice if you can hear me.” Tenya had long since clamped his hand over his mouth, listening tensely.
Tap. Tap. Clumsy, but near enough to the phone’s microphone that the audio crackled on their end. Uraraka exhaled shakily, closing her eyes for a second to pull herself together.
“Alright. I know it’s hard, but I need you to try and breathe right now. Can you please do that for me?” A strangled noise came from the other side of the line. “Hey. Come on, do it with me. In-” She sucked in an exemplary breath. Another, almost inhuman noise. “Shinsou, please.”
Tenya could feel nothing but a vague feeling of helplessness, of fear, as he listened to sobs and retches through the phone and how Uraraka was almost pleading with Shinsou at this point. This was entirely out of his league, he realized. He’d been taught Hero Law, all of the special moves. He’d learnt costume safety and Quirk efficiency and the different types of civil disturbances, front to back.
But one thing that had never crossed his mind to ask about was just how to deal with a situation like this.
Some hero he was.
Tenya felt his gut wrench at the thought.
“-insou, please. We’re here. We’re right here. We don’t want you to get hurt, please. Just breathe in for a moment, okay? I know, I know- breathe in, you’re throwing up. Please, don’t choke. I know…” Uraraka’s voice was still going, shaking a pinch but still calm, quiet, and… surprisingly grounding. It brought clarity to Tenya’s mind, if only for a moment, and he faintly hoped it was doing the same for Shinsou.
Uraraka elbowed him gently, shooting him a soft look and mouthing, “you too” as she began the steps of a series of calming breaths. It took a second, but Tenya followed along and took a deep inhale, at last giving in to his urges to close his eyes and slump over to bury his face in his hands. He was so incredibly underprepared for this whole situation, and it almost hurt from how panicky and horrible it made him feel. His heart rate spiked as the noises of Shinsou’s distress filtered in and out of his ears. This was horrendous-he couldn’t breathe- how did people DEAL with this- he couldn’t think he couldn’t breathe he couldn’t MOVE- he was- he was-
But there was Uraraka, a saving grace out of the sky that cut through his mental discord and forced him to snap out of it.
“Both of you. Breathe. I don’t care how you do it or how much it hurts, but you have no choice now. Come on, come on. Breathe. In.” Tenya felt his chest shake as, as if almost out of the snap to attention inspired by that commanding tone, he gasped in a breath. “Hold it.” Shaking, shaking, shaking, the painful feeling of his heart slamming against the walls of his chest- “Now, push it out slowly through your nose.” Tenya blew- “Slowly.” -then slowed his exhale, until his lungs felt empty and fragile. He could hear the movement of clothes as Uraraka nodded. “Again. In…”
Time faded to black as the calming voice of the short girl beside him carried him closer and closer to composure. When he at last felt like he could sit up, Uraraka was in the exact same position she’d been in before. She was staring gently at the phone, chewing her lip.
“Hey,” She poked, nodding towards the phone subconsciously. “Are you still there?”
“...mmm,” Came shakily from the device. Tenya adjusted his glasses as smoothly as possible as he focused more on his friends than himself. Uraraka continued quietly. “We’re just gonna play a game, okay? It’s called ‘Real or Not Real.’ It’s pretty simple.” A moment of pause. “Please?”
“...o-okay.” Unbelievably small and quiet.
“Your name is Shinsou Hitoshi.”
“R-real,” A loud sniff followed the response. Tenya listened quietly.
“You’re in Gen. Ed in UA.”
“You love dogs.”
“-Not r-real, cats rule.” Shinsou seemed to say it with all the conviction he possibly could’ve possessed at the moment, and Uraraka smiled.
“No way- okay, fine. You’re a first year.”
“You have purple hair.”
“...Real, although I prefer to call it ‘a-aubergine,’” He sniffed again, and Uraraka giggled.
“I’d say it’s more of an eggplant, wouldn’t you?”
“They’re the same thing.”
“Not to a vegetable connoisseur!”
“...Girly, they are literally the s-same thing-”
“-Yeah, yeah, we’ll argue about that later! Your birthday is… oh. Uh, I actually don’t know when your birthday is.” She scratched the back of her neck guiltily.
“July first, and I’m kind of of con-confused why I’m doing this.”
“Because I wanted you to calm down a little. How are you feeling?” Shinsou huffed a little.
“Well, I sm-smell horrible and I feel light-headed like n- nobody’s business- and I’m not making much sense, as you can tell. But I’m breathing more, so that’s good.” A pause. “Is… Iida still there?” Tenya snapped himself to attention as well as he could.
“Of course, I wouldn’t leave you when you obviously needed support!”
“...uh-huh. Thanks.” It was painfully hesitant, and Tenya could feel a spark of insult in his chest. He pushed it away, though- now wasn’t the time to scold his friend- to focus on the small bit of concern that still lingered in his chest. Instead, he moved himself closer to the phone, straightening himself as best he could despite the drained feeling he carried.
“I know that I shouldn’t press too much as to what set you off, but I would like to know where you are so I can make sure you’ll be safe.” Uraraka shot him a warning look out of the corner of his eye. She was met with an immovable look of his own, and the two glared at each other for a moment.
“Shinsou, it’s okay if you don’t want to answer that,” Uraraka ground out, gaze never wavering. Tenya set his jaw.
“However, for the sake of ensuring you’re in a stable place if you should fall into an more unstable state once more, I would much prefer you to disclose your location.”
“-oh my god, hey- hey, calm down, it’s actually a good idea. I don’t, uh, I don’t really mind. I’m at my new…” A shaky exhale. “Don’t- okay, this is going to sound… uh, a little bit bad to you guys, but don’t judge me?” Tenya felt his eyebrows rise.
“Alright… I do hope you’re not involved in any illegal activities.”
“IIDA!” Uraraka gasped.
“It’s not!!!!” Shinsou spat out at the same time. Tenya waved Uraraka off, eyebrows still raised.
“Then, I don’t believe there is anything to judge.” Dead silence fell over the line.
“...I’m at a family friend’s new house for the long weekend- they just moved here, it’s a mess- because, uhm, parents… are- they’re away for the month on different business trips.” Tenya nodded, waiting for a moment.
“...Is that all?”
“Yup.” The nerves were creeping back into Shinsou’s voice, combining with the tenseness already there. “Thaaaaattt’s all.”
“What would we judge you for?”
“I- well, I mean- you two, hi Uraraka if you’re still there-”
“-have parents that… live with you, and call you, and you guys live with them...you two are probably gonna go visit them, if you already aren’t. Y’know, your parents are there. And mine… aren’t, really. So, uh- yeah, I guess.”
Tenya slowly looked up to meet Uraraka’s gaze. She was staring at him, confused and with only a sliver of concern mixed in. They had a silent conversation, completely forgetting about Shinsou until he cleared his throat.
“So, uh… sorry for, uhm, worrying you, I think I’ll just leave now-”
“-Wait, it’s alright!! Don’t leave!!” Uraraka nearly squealed. “Sorry, we just zoned out for a second there. We aren’t judging you for that, don’t worry. It’s not your fault that your parents are busy! We’re mainly concerned with why you were panicking so badly earlier.” Shinsou hissed from across the line, and Tenya could almost imagine the accompanying wince.
“That was nothing, really. I just- I was feeling a little sick, one of the kids here must’ve given me something, and I was feeling a little stressed too-”
“Shinsou, excuse me for saying this, but why are you so frantic to give so many reasons and excuses?” Tenya interrupted. Shinsou immediately fell silent. A pause, then a heavy sigh.
“Look, it’s really not important right now. You called me, I answered, I’m sorry. It’s all alright now, okay? I’m fine.” Tenya saw Uraraka recoil from the sudden hostility.
“Drop it,” He growled, and Tenya winced. “Thanks for checking in, I guess, but you know what you need to know. I’m at a family friend’s house, I’m sick, I’m stressed, and I’m not dying. Neither of you are helping me.”
“I need to go now.”
“Goodbye.” The line clicked and the metallic sound of beeping overtook the room. Tenya stared blankly at the phone, blinking. That thread of anxiety was back again, twisting and weaving in his chest. He was… he didn’t know any more.
“Iida, what just happened?” Uraraka whispered. Tenya startled to movement, reaching out after a second to silence his phone. His head felt like it was filled with cotton.
Something was very, very wrong.
And some heroes they were, powerless to stop it.
“I don’t know.”
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND SHINSOU HITOSHI]
[17:45:06] You: Shinsou, are you alright?
[17:45:09] You: Uraraka and I are extremely sorry.
[17:45:12] You: We won’t press you any more right now if you don’t want us to.
[17:45:16] You: You can trust us, I promise.
[17:45:18] You: Just, please.
[17:45:22] You: Please let us help you.
[17:45:28] You: All of us will be here and waiting to support you when you need us to.
[17:45:30] You: Just trust us.
[17:45:36] You: As for whatever happened earlier today, we’re here to work it out if need be.
[17:45:42] You: If you trust us enough to tell us what’s wrong- which, I really do hope you do- all of us will do our best to fix it, whatever it is.
[17:45:46] You: We’re here for you, we always are, just know that.
[17:45:50] You: Uraraka and I will check in later.
[17:45:54] You: Call or text us if need be, no matter what time it may be.
[17:45:56] You: Trust us.
[17:46:02] You: ...alright, I’ll leave you be for now. Have a good evening, and I’ll talk to you soon.
[17:46:06] You: ...yes. Feel better.
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[YOU HAVE (9) UNREAD MESSAGES FROM SHINSOU HITOSHI]
[18:22:36] Shinsou Hitoshi: shut up
[18:22:40] Shinsou Hitoshi: yuo don’t knwo anything about me
[18:22:43] Shinsou Hitoshi: i don’t wnana tlak about it
[18:22:47] Shinsou Hitoshi: porbably not ever, and definitely not now
[18:22:50] Shinsou Hitoshi: don’t expect any calls form me
[18:22:52] Shinsou Hitoshi: i’m done with this
[18:22:54] Shinsou Hitoshi: see you 2 @ school
[18:22:58] Shinsou Hitoshi: and both of you, have a great long weekend
[18:23:00] Shinsou Hitoshi: i know i sure will
[SHINSOU HITOSHI HAS DISCONNECTED]
Another night, another meeting. It had been… well, it had been a day, Izuku could say that. More or less normal- kind of- but full of surprises at the same time.
Patrol was… patrol, growing ever-hotter and making Izuku regret all costume choices he’d made in the entirety of his life even more than he already did. It had been standard fare, the assigned loop that brought him and Toogata through the street of children once more. The kids would normally clear the way when the two came, hushed murmurs accompanying worried stares as the sidekicks strode by. It was awkward, sure, but that didn’t mean that Izuku would ever give up hope on talking to them. He respected the distance and fear that they kept for him, and so he just smiled and waved as he passed by. Standard fare.
Today, however. Today, one of the kids waved back.
It was a young boy, black hair and scaly skin and solid yellow eyes- like Ashido’s, but inverted. A small, nervous gesture, but Izuku grinned wider all the same and chirped out a “hi!” All the rest of the occupants of the street had their jaws dropped, eyes blown wide. Their patrol had moved on quite quickly after that, but Toogata and Izuku walked with a little more bounce in their step nonetheless.
Izuku would be lying if he said that he still wasn’t a little excited.
But, he was just a little more exhausted, though. He joined the rest of the sidekicks in haphazardly kicking off suits and equipment, helping others get off the occasional arm guard or face mask. Yoshida gave him a thankful smile as he helped her slip out of some of the tubes needed for the suit, groaning as her back cracked when she reached up to remove her helmet. Izuku had to admit that he could relate, slowly peeling off all of the equipment on his legs as he hissed. Privacy had long since been shoved to the side here- well, mostly- and it wasn’t uncommon to find people wandering around with only half their costumes on, either in the process of gearing up or undressing in a tired daze. It was odd for the first little bit, but after a few months and spending some time with a civilian-clothed Toogata, Izuku found himself just desensitized enough to be able to deal with the process. Honestly, it was hard to be embarrassed about many things at this point, where the agency was more like a close-knit family than a group of coworkers or anything else. He had to pity any of the newcomers, though- poor Hashimoto had almost keeled over the first time she’d come back from a mission with the others and had them start dropping suit pieces while still in the hallway.
(Even now, she and Izuku still felt a little weirded-out at times.)
(Not that one was able to care too much when they were dead-tired and blasted to the Moon and back from the latest villain.)
The last piece of leg equipment fell to the floor, leaving Izuku in the thick, compression-legging-type pants that he wore underneath the gear. Moving on to the top half of himself now, the faceguard quickly joined the pile on the floor. Gloves, elbow guards, and then the big green over… sweater?? Izuku had always thought of it as a sweater, and it wasn’t like he had any better descriptors for it. So, the over-sweater dropped to the ground, followed by the compression shirt he was wearing, and then… a groan.
He had to pick all of that up now.
Heaving a heavy sigh, Izuku wheezed as he leaned down, scooping up the softer pieces in one arm and shoving the heavier armour into the other. Now, the attempt to stand up. One deep breath, then two, and then Izuku dragged himself up and took a step forwards. Of course, he stumbled a bit in the movements,- he was tired enough not even to remember his name- almost falling onto his face before a jolt ran through his body. Almost as if controlled, Izuku snapped up and into the straight-backed, poised position of a dancer, the items in his arms balanced meticulously in his grip all of a sudden. Gaping for a second, Izuku turned to look around the room. His eyes landed on Hashimoto soon enough- looking dead-tired and trembling as she swayed from side to side as if drunk, but still forcing a smile as she slowly lowered her arm. The sleeves and pants on her costume were shaking immensely, and she barely managed to wave her hand to dismiss the mumbled thanks Izuku forced out.
“Go quick. I’ll be fine.” She told him, shooting him one last kind look as she stumbled her way over to a wall to support herself. Izuku stayed frozen for a second more before nodding smoothly and turning. His tired mind barely noticed the boost of speed he had suddenly gained, or how fluidly he made his way out of the room and skirted around the crowds in the hallways. As he reached his room, the dirty clothes were shot into the laundry hamper in one smooth motion, armour landing neatly in a pile by the door as Izuku leaped across the room. One effortless movement later, his sweatpants had been snatched from the dresser drawer they were kept in and had replaced his compression pants- the latter were shot into the laundry hamper along with the other soiled clothing, a perfect three-pointer over his shoulder before he simultaneously kicked up the pile of armour and slid on a t-shirt. Catching the items, he slid back through the door and flounced back down the hallway, setting his armour neatly down on the shelves by the cleaning station in the laundry hallway. When he at last slid back into the room where everyone had been undressing, it was just in time to catch Hashimoto as she fell over. Glancing up, she gave him a grateful look before Izuku felt as if something was sucked out of him and his posture slumped. Hashimoto stood up steadily and gave him a guilty smile and a thanks as she practically glided away to her room. Izuku nodded after her slowly, raising his hand in a belated gesture of goodbye as he watched her go down the hall.
Dear god, was he tired.
Turning slowly, he patted the pockets on the oversized sweatpants that perched precariously on his hips, finding his phone in its place in the right one. Content with his discovery, he began to shuffle down the hall and towards one of the common rooms. Yes, it was probably smarter to go straight to bed if he was this tired, but he was hungry too and and it was basically tradition for the crew to meet up in this one specific common room by now. The other sidekicks here barely even blinked as Izuku mumbled out greetings in a way that probably sounded more zombie-like than human at the moment. Not that he really had the energy to care right now, nor the energy to laugh when he collapsed half on the couch and half on Hamada with one more groan and was greeted with a chorus of other moans. Slumping for a moment, Izuku just laid and breathed for a second, closing his eyes and relaxing somewhat, just listening to the white noise of the room. It was comfortable enough to allow him to drift a little, get lost in his thoughts, but not enough to let him fall into sleep completely. Izuku guessed it was slightly convenient, if he really thought about it, that he was able to relax and not completely lose himself so that he could get up when hunger finally won out against his exhaustion.
It was still a little annoying, though, to have his neck twisted like this and with Hamada’s elbow in his ribs, are you kidding me Hamada-
Izuku gave a halfhearted snort at his own brotherly annoyance towards the other sidekick, back arching a bit from the force of it before his body crashed back down. Hamada made a noise of pain, mumbling something about playing nice. Izuku couldn’t muster up an answer, just smiled crookedly with eyes closed and exhale. For the first time in a while, he felt at peace.
He had no clue how long it had been when the peace finally broke, a gentle nudge and tied-up blonde hair and strange black eyes that softly smiled at him. Izuku took the plate he was offered gently, food of all different kinds piled high upon it. There were a few spicier items on there, the kind that always sparked contests among his small group to see who could eat the most in one sitting before breaking. Izuku was almost always in the final few, if not the last man standing, and he smiled at the memories of how the crew would cry out in disbelief at his skills. He would always smile wider at the memory of how he’d gotten them, holed up in a warm kitchen on a rainy day and surrounded by screaming and flying blonde hair.
Oh, the simpler times.
Humming a small noise of thanks to Toogata, he began to eat as fast as he could. Hunger had finally overpowered him, and Izuku could hear Toogata laugh as he watched him wolf down the food. Izuku couldn’t find it in him to stop and give the other a look. He finished the plate soon enough anyways, setting the dish on the table in front of him gently and sighing contentedly. After a second, he smiled up at his sempai.
“Thank you again, Toogata!” It was a whisper in the quiet of the common room, careful of the sprawled, sleeping forms of everyone else in the room. Toogata made a dismissive noise, laughing quietly at how Nanako drooled slightly as they slept. He moved some hair out of Kaneko’s face, adjusting Kito’s body to a position more comfortable. The touches were gentle and tender, almost like that of an older brother caring for a set of siblings. Izuku had to smile a little fondly at the sight before turning red and ducking his head down as Toogata caught his stare. He could hear the older quietly snickering from across from him, adjusting how he was seated on the opposite couch. Izuku huffed out a whine.
“Shhhhh, shush-” More snickering. “-Shush, you saw nothing!!”
“Mhmm, do you need me to come over there and tuck you in too?”
“Oh, sorry, I need to get your All-Might for you-”
“ I-w- shhhhh-”
“-Nightlight too, really? Well, I suppose I can find an outlet-”
“Oh my god okay can we please talk about something else now?!” Toogata continued to laugh. “Sempai, have mercy on me!”
“Okay, okay! Shhhh, I’ll be nice.” Toogata smirked, making sure the stirring sidekicks in the room stayed asleep, cooing quietly as Awata hugged Kaneko closer. “Okay, tell me about everything going on back home, because you have to have some good gossip by now.”
“I’ve seen you clicking away on that phone at every free moment, I’ve just left you alone to build tension and have mercy. So.” Izuku balked, mouth falling open.
“Wh- and how do you know that I’m not just texting my mom?” Toogata raised a brow.
“Okay, firstly, if you’re texting your mother that much, then I truly fear for your social life.” Izuku squeaked offendedly. “ Secondly, does your mother make you giggle and ask Hashimoto for her book of puns? Or find out why we call Kaneko ‘Neko-Eko’ and ask her for the best cat GIFs? What about asking Kito for Nighteye trivia? Or, Nanako for good tips on gardening and cooking? Strategy and video game tips from Hamada. Questions on physics for Daiki. Hair tips from Yoshida. Tips o-”
“Okay enough you got me please stop-” Toogata snorted, hushing his mentee once more. “I’ve been texting my friends, yeah. Mostly it’s just been a lot of… confusion? I have no clue what’s going on, honestly, there were a bunch of cryptic groupchats and nobody is telling me what they’re about, so I have no clue. But, uh, anyways. Uh, Tenya- Iida, Iida, Ingenium’s little brother- is keeping me updated on homework, and we got into this really cool conversation on a bunch of hero costumes!! And he taught me how to make this really good orange juice? It was really nice. Uhhh, Uraraka filled me in on random happenings-”
“-Okay, but what about the purple one?” Toogata interrupted. Izuku paused.
“...The purple one?”
“The- oh, you know the one. Purple, uh, curly-fry hair… kittens, I think? Concerning sleep schedule…”
“Oh! Shinsou?” Izuku supplied happily. Then, under his breath- “What’s a curly fry?”
“Him, yeah! Didn’t his name start with an ‘H,’ though?”
“That’s his given name. Hitoshi.” Izuku grinned at the thought of his friend, before it faded. “I talked to him yesterday, actually! He told me he’s been sleeping better and training more, but that’s about it. The cryptic chats had some mentions of him, but I don’t have access to all the messages. And Iida and Uraraka have been strangely quiet on him… but, he’s been doing well!”
“He’s still trying to get into the Hero Course?” Toogata raised his eyebrows, absently playing with Kaneko’s hair. Izuku grinned a little wider.
“Hitoshi isn’t the type to give up so easily.” Toogata huffed, rolling his eyes.
“I can see why you two are friends, then.”
“I offer no apologies,” Toogata shrugged. “But he does sound pretty nice, I’ll admit. You should introduce him to us sometime.”
“I think he’d like to meet you!” Izuku whispered back, leaning more into Hamada. “Or, rather, I’d like him to meet you.”
“I can tell you off the bat that, for the one reason that he likes cats, Kaneko already likes him.” Toogata nudged at him verbally. Izuku suppressed a smile as he shrugged back.
“I’ll give her his number.”
“There’s the sassy Izuku I know.” Toogata froze. “Er, Midoriya.” Izuku felt something in him jolt.
“Ah, uh, it’s okay. I don’t, uh- really mind.” Toogata hummed skeptically.
“Alright. So, you’ve been talking to… Shiiiiinsou?”
“That’s his name, yeah! And.. well, I haven’t really heard from him recently. I talked a little with him the other day, but we’ve both been busy…” He paused again, looking down. “I regret not talking to him more. I really miss him a lot.” Toogata hummed again.
“Is he always this… tight-lipped?”
“Not really, only when something is-” Izuku stopped dead, mental gears whirring. Toogata’s brows furrowed.
“When something is?”
“...when something is wrong.” Izuku finally finished. Toogata hissed empathetically.
“How far does it go?”
“I- last time he did this, it was because of a horrible family situation- abusive and neglectful foster parents, I mean, I don’t know if they can even be called a family. It’s just that- those people, what they did- it can’t even be described!” Izuku couldn’t help how his voice raised from the injustice of what Hitoshi had to go through. Toogata winced at the rage in Izuku’s voice.
“Okay, okay. Wow. How- what are you going to do now? And how can we help?” Izuku blinked.
“...you don’t even know him.”
“But that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to help him. You don’t know the kid from today.”
“Fair enough. And… I don’t know.” It hurt him to say. “I- I don’t know what’s wrong, I don’t know how to fix him, I- I don’t know what to do.” He exhaled shakily, tired mind fruitlessly searching for an answer. “What do I do?” Toogata made a comforting noise.
“It’s okay. You’re going to figure out what to do. You’re a hero, you can do this, especially with your analytical skills. This is just one more puzzle to solve, and if you need to call us in to help you with it? We will. Okay? You got this, Midoriya. You can do this.” Silence fell quickly after that, leaving only the swirling thoughts that were quickly overtaking Izuku’s mind. Toogata’s words made sense, and hit home hard. Confidence planted itself in his chest- a small seedling, but still there. I got this.
“Thanks, Toogata. That really means a lot.” The two shared a smile. Izuku was about to add on something, when Kito let out the most ungodly snore he’d ever heard. Toogata snickered at the noise, patting Kito’s shoulder gently as he glanced over to get a better look at Izuku’s dropped jaw. “Whoa.”
“Yeah. Sleepovers are a task with him.” Izuku snorted.
“I bet- hey, how come I was never invited to the sleepovers?” It was meant to be joking, but Toogata met his eyes questioningly.
“Do you want an invite?”
“Wait- wait, what? I mean- uh- wait, you’re- ifitwouldn’tbetoomuchtroubleIguess??” Izuku stuttered out. “I mean- okay, subject change, who are you texting so fervently all the time? I’ve caught you banging away on your phone too, y’know.” He gave a victorious smile. Toogata made an impressed noise.
“Very good, young grasshopper.” He grinned. “I’ve been talking to my friends too, Nejire and Tamaki mostly- you know them!”
“Oh, yeah! They’re pretty nice. I like Amajiki.”
“He’s been my friend for forever, it’s amazing. So, yeah, I’ve been talking to them and a bunch of my other friends too.”
“Wow, and you’ve been texting a lot with them!” Toogata gave him a look.
“...wait.” Izuku could feel his mind straining. “Wait.”
“Don’t hurt yourself there,” Toogata muttered. “Yeah, talking to my friends and… more-than-friend. If I’m being completely honest.”
“You have a girlfriend?” Izuku raised his brows. Toogata suddenly started chewing his lip.
“Aww, how sweet!” A pause. “Wait, ‘kinda?’” Toogata seemed to get even more nervous.
“What does ‘kinda’ mean?”
“W- okay, it’s a long story that could become a very short story, depending on how you react.”
“And what does that mean??” Izuku could feel himself getting more and more confused by the second. “What are you talking about? I-” A clock ticked, and then a bell rang. The signal that curfew was imminent, that sidekicks should begin going through their nighttime routines. Toogata sighed, rubbing his face with his hands roughly.
“Look, I’ll tell you some other time. Expect a sleepover invitation soon.” And with that, the blonde was gone, entirely out of character and leaving Izuku to wake up the other common room occupants alone.
This was getting curiouser and curiouser.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND GOOSE KING]
[22:10:05] You: Hey, Hitoshi!!
[22:10:07] You: Sorry for not talking to you much
[22:10:12] You: ...and for waking you up this late, I have horrible thought processing right now-
[22:10:14] You: BUT ANYWAYS
[22:10:17] You: We’ve both been pretty busy, huh?
[22:10:22] You: When you have free time, do you wanna call or something? I need to take a break from hero-ing for a minute
[22:10:24] You: ...yeah!
[22:10:28] You: Okay, it’s my curfew time. Sleep well!
[22:10:34] You: Talk to you (hopefully) soon, and I’d better get an ending to that story!
[22:10:37] You: Goodnight!!
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[YOU HAVE (5) UNREAD MESSAGES FROM GOOSE KING]
[07:32:02] Goose King: hey
[07:32:07] Goose King: sounds pretty good when r u free
[07:32:10] Goose King: plz don’t call me rn
[07:32:13] Goose King: busy 4 the wknd
[07:32:18] Goose King: gotta go talk 2 u l8r
[GOOSE KING HAS DISCONNECTED]
Since this fic is depressed and sad right now (which, just hold on, we're on page 77 of the shit I've got prewritten right now and the fluff comes back on page 86-ish), who's your favourite character in here so far? Or, like, just in general? If you couldn't tell by now, Shinsou is Best Boy for me, but after that it's Sero.
Also, yes our green boy is coming to give Shinsou a hug really soon, I'm writing out one of the many fluffy scenes with that now, I'm not THAT cruel
,,,okay yeah bye-
Chapter 19: nineteen
Time to play the game of "Ominous or Pure?"
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Inko began her morning like she always did, rousing to her alarm and dragging the gnarled strands of hair out of her face. She’d learned when younger to ignore how sleep would try to yank her back, how the pillows and sheets would look ever-so-tempting, and how the light barely filtering through the window would tell her to lie back down and surrender. She was a nurse, she was a mother, she had to care for her family and charges.
But it was a day off for her, another day without Izuku just one room over, and she’d been up late the night before. So, Inko allowed herself to relax, leaning back on her headboard as comfortably as she could from her sitting position, stretching in the sunlight that filtered through her blinds.
Her apartment was much too quiet.
Izuku, even while living at UA in the dorms, would always visit and call. He was lively when he was younger, and he was lively now- always moving, always talking about something, reading a new book about Quirks or writing in a notebook. He was a ball of energy, at times misplaced, but always crackling with the aura of an optimistic child. Sometimes, Inko couldn’t believe that the 16-year-old in front of her was the same one who’d once been a bouncing 4-year-old, barely waiting for “computer time” and wearing his All-Might onesies whenever he could. She gave a sad smile. Where had her little boy gone?
No, that wasn’t fair. Izuku had come so far, and was well on his way to becoming an amazing hero. He’d already done so much, helped so many people.
He’d proved her wrong in so many ways.
Inko tensed, clenching her fists. She would never get over the guilt of having let down her child, of having given him so little hope for his future. But she refused to fall to such lows again. She would act like the mother Izuku deserved, and she would be better.
She would be there.
Inko sniffled, bringing her hand up to touch her face. Tears. Well, she’d always been the emotional type, it had always scared Mitsuki so- not the point. Inko reached blindly to the bedside table, finding the tissue box and bringing a handful of tissues up to begin cleaning her face. Blowing her nose, she chucked the soiled objects clumsily into the trash can- well, she might’ve brought the trash can closer to herself beforehand, but it was still a very good shot- and took one last deep breath before picking up her phone from the side table. Izuku got up early now, oh-so-painfully early even with the time difference, but that at least meant that they could talk for a little bit in the mornings- if Izuku wasn’t busy.
She swiped open her phone, having no need for a password. Who would take her phone anyways? And why? But, still not the point- gosh, she almost rambled as much as Izuku- so Inko shoved that train of thought out of her mind as she opened up the messenger app.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND IZUKU]
[06:12:05] You: Good morning, sweetie! How did you sleep? Were you busy last night?
She didn’t even need to wait two minutes before receiving a response.
[06:13:13] Izuku: Morning, Mom! I slept like a rock, if I’m being honest- yesterday was a whirlwind! Sorry for not texting you…
[06:13:17] Izuku: How was work? Are you already at the hospital?
[06:13:19] You: Aww, sweetie! It’s okay!
[06:13:23] You: The hospital was very busy yesterday, so I got home quite late! I have a day off today.
[06:13:26] You: Are you okay?? What happened yesterday to make it so hectic???
[06:13:31] Izuku: It’s okay. Mom! We’re all here in one piece! My patrol was just long, and we had to break up some small fights.
[06:13:33] Izuku: Nobody’s hurt, though!
[06:13:39] Izuku: -But anyways, we had this huge meeting afterwards (confidential topics). As in, the literal SECOND we got through the door, we were dragged in- and it lasted FOREVER! I fell asleep RIGHT afterwards.
[06:13:42] You: Oh my goodness.That’s quite a bit.
[06:13:44] Izuku: Yeah.
[06:13:47] Izuku: Is everything alright at home, though?
[06:13:51] You: Oh, you don’t want to hear me drone on about my week and my friends…
[06:13:54] Izuku: I do! Please, I need something calm right now.
[06:13:57] Izuku: Everything’s been too busy lately.
[06:13:59] Izuku: So, please?
Inko felt something in her chest twinge. Even from however many miles and cities and days away her son was, he was hurt. And it was her duty as a mother to fix it.
So, Inko began to talk. She told Izuku about her craziest patients and the new tea she’d gotten, and how Mitsuki had finally given her that American chili recipe- did it really need that many spices? On and on and on, until Inko wasn’t entirely sure she was making sense anymore. But, Izuku was happy, so she kept going.
Eventually, of course, Izuku had to go. Her son was a hero, no matter how much that thought still threatened to give Inko a heart attack, and the life of a hero had no end. So, with a bittersweet feeling deep in her gut, Inko exchanged “I love you”’s and “goodbye”’s with her son. She expected the rest of her morning to be quiet and lonely.
Instead, her son texted her a few more hurried words that triggered a world of concern for a boy she’d nearly forgotten about until then to come crashing down.
[06:55:33] Izuku: Mom, can you do me a favour? I need to go soon, but please hear me out. I’ll answer any questions later.
[06:55:36] You: ...Alright, what do you need?
[06:55:40] Izuku: If you can, can you check up on Hitoshi for me? He’s been spotty with communication lately, and I don’t know how he is.
[06:55:45] Izuku: And when he does text, it’s vague and odd. I’m a little scared for him.
[06:55:48] Izuku: It sounds odd, but please. Just peek in on him.
[06:55:55] Izuku: I have to go now, but I’ll talk to you later. I’m so sorry for dropping this on you so suddenly. I love you, bye!!
[IZUKU HAS CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
Inko had spent the next few hours deep in thought. Shinsou Hitoshi, the boy who’d beat her son down in the Sports Festival and then re-entered their lives in a whirlwind of Quirks and confusion. He was a quiet boy who rarely smiled and who had spent a very odd American Christmas with them. Shinsou was a strange boy, who seemed to be… scared of her, even after so long of knowing Izuku. But he was one of the bravest, most supportive, and most unfortunate people she’d ever been introduced to, and Inko wasn’t afraid to admit to herself that she’d grown slightly attached to the sleep-deprived teenager.
But with that attachment came concern. Acting odd? Spotty communication? Sure, Shinsou might have simply been busy, but if Izuku was concerned then so was she. Inko knew that Shinsou was close to both their hearts, so she couldn’t help but feel that small spike of anxiety that only a mother could truly know.
If she really thought about it, it had been quite a while since she’d last seen the messy-haired boy.
Maybe it was time to invite him for a visit.
Yeah okay I might've maybe exaggerated how ominous this chapter was, but like.
Believe me, next chapter is gonna make up for it (and made my beta reader cry a little too)
Chapter 20: twenty
Things go downhill
This is gonna be a long one that’s HOPEFULLY formatted properly, because I’m currently updating from my phone. Please help me.
(Also, for anyone who also reads Kiss and Make Up, that’s gonna update on Fridays!)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Monday came and went, then Tuesday. Wednesday was quiet, other than saying which training sessions Shinsou would be joining them for. Thursday was dead silent, and Ochako was done. So, Friday arrived and she grabbed Iida to stalk over to 1-C the moment the bell rang. Despite his original protests, Iida soon gave up after listening to her snap various comebacks at him as they went, and the two (somehow) manage to get to the doors of 1-C before the lunch crowd began swarming the hallways. Snipe- obviously- hadn’t let out his class yet, and Ochako sighed as she dropped her shoulder bag to the floor and twisted to lean back against the wall. Iida was giving her a concerned stare, and she had to give him a look before he finally seemed to recoil and clear his throat.
“...what exactly are you doing?”
“Waiting to cut Shinsou off so we can talk to him and not have him run away like he’s been doing all week.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder. “As of this moment, though, I’m trying very hard to calm down.”
“Shin- calm...down- why?” He was trying to straighten his shirt and hair as he spoke, and Ochako almost smiled at his diligence towards the task. “Surely we should respect his privacy- we’ll be seeing him soon anyways- I don’t understand why you’re so determined to accomplish this!-” Ochako gave him a patient smile, holding up a hand to signal for him to stop. He did so with an almost pained noise of confusion.
“Iida, I understand where you’re coming from. But Shinsou has been blatantly avoiding us all week, and he’s been super irritable over text and call- when he even does that, since neither of us have heard from him since last Friday. He’s not even texting Deku!” Her voice raised ever-so-slightly in volume, and she quickly jerked it back down into control. “You don’t know how scary it is, having him text you in a panic on a train to somewhere you don’t know, terrified and begging you to distract him. When he tells you that his life has just been signed out of his control and he can’t do anything about it but sit and hope that the mysterious dark figures that he says that he ‘should trust’ but doesn’t are going to have mercy on him. And then, when you walk into a phone call to hear him breaking down on the other end, and then cutting you off- Iida, he’s been so vague for so long, and I’m worried. I’m worried that it’s all coming crashing down around him. And I’m worried he won’t tell us if he’s in trouble.” Huffing out an angry sigh, Ochako buried her face in her hands, dragging them down her face after a second. That whole speech had only served to make her more infuriated, and it was all she could do to focus back in on Iida. Expected something entirely different- a presidential lecture? An argument?- Ochako’s heart almost stopped at the look on his face. He seemed to be struggling between horror, sadness, anger, and shock, a cloudy mixture that made her stomach wrench. It was audible how heavily he gulped.
“Uraraka, I was unaware of nearly all of that, but it’s suddenly clear to me that this situation got entirely more serious. I think it’s only fair for me to be filled in on all of this and notified in the future.” Ochako pursed her lips, nodding.
“Meet me tonight, I’ll explain everything.”
“Very well. B-” The door beside them slammed open, and both Ochako and Iida jumped out of shock. Snipe came striding out the door, not even acknowledging them as he took a sharp left turn and disappeared down the hallway. Not even half a second later, a stream of students were stampeding through the doorframe, talking animatedly amongst themselves with huge smiles. Ochako tried desperately to calm her racing heartbeat as she scanned the crowd to try and find Shinsou. She could see Iida craning his neck around from the other side of the crowd to do the same. But, no matter where she looked, there was no sign of the boy- and Ochako could feel her frustration spiking. As the crowd coming from the classroom finally began to thin out, Ochako sent Iida a look. Did we miss him? Is he still-
The door slammed shut and Ochako looked up to find the man of mystery himself.
“Shinsou,” She said firmly, straightening herself up even further. Shinsou jumped, his head almost snapping up before he stopped himself. Iida’s brows furrowed as he stepped to stand in front of the other teen to block him.
“Hey, Uraraka.” Ochako almost missed it, his voice was so soft. “Hey, Iida…”
“Good afternoon, Shinsou.” Iida responded, as evenly-keeled as Ochako supposed he was able to be at the moment. She could see Shinsou’s shoulders tensing up, and she set her jaw.
“So. I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a while! Did you get your training schedule too?”
“Uhh, yeah. I did.” Under the mass of curly hair, Ochako could see the whites of his eyes flashing as he frantically glanced round- strange, considering the tried, bored tone of voice he held. Still, she persevered.
“Exciting, huh? Are you looking forward to it?”
“Totally.” Shinsou’s voice suddenly dropped even flatter than it had been before. “Yeah, I’m pumped. Guess I’ll see you there.” He started walking forwards, pushing past Iida and striding past. Iida stumbled backwards, mouth in a perfect “O” as he gasped in shock.
“Shinsou!-” He grabbed the skinny arm that stuck out from how Shinsou had shoved his hands in his pockets. “Why have you been avoi-”
Ochako felt herself freeze as she watched Iida go slack-jawed and Shinsou panickedly bow his head back down, clawing the gnarl of hair back over his face. But it was too late- the two had already seen everything.
Split lip, black eye, band-aids on his face. When the cuff of his jacket lifted, Ochako could see the thin pink marks of scratches on his arms, and now that she really looked at it, his collar was popped up and his tie haphazardly tied. His hair was knotted.
He looked destroyed.
“-Who did this to you?” Ochako finally forced out, voice oddly hoarse. Shinsou was still.
“I fell down the stairs the other day. No biggie.”
“But what about your arm?” Iida was next. “That can’t be from the stairs!” Shinsou shrugged.
“Got it from biking a little bit ago. Fell off by accident.” Ochako shot Iida a look.
“You look like a mess, though, that can’t-”
“-Look, if I wanted to stand here and get insulted, I would go back to middle school. I don’t need you two to block me and critique my appearance and grill me on what I choose to do in my free, private time. Just- just leave me alone!” Ochako’s brows furrowed and she felt the spurt of rage in her chest return and shoot through her veins.
“Well, excuse us for CARING!” Her voice was raised, too loud in the quiet of the hallways, but she couldn’t find herself to care. Her glare burned into his turned back. Shinsou continued walking down the hall. “You’ve been avoiding us all week, and we’re worried for you! We care and we’re worried- and so SUE ME if I try and find you to make sure you’re alright!!”
“Well, maybe I don’t WANT TO BE FOUND!!” Shinsou screeched back, whirling around. Ochako flinched, despite herself. “I DON’T WANT TO BE FOUND! I DON’T WANT YOU TO MAKE SURE I’M OKAY! I DIDN’T ASK YOU TO CARE!”
“THEN, LEAVE!” Ochako could feel the sensation of her throat ripping from the anger of her scream. “LEAVE!!” Shinsou snapped his head up, eyes intense and angry.
“Gladly,” He ground out, and with that- he was gone. Ochako stared at the spot he’d once been standing in, listening to the angry footsteps as Shinsou stormed away. She could hear her own ragged breathing, could see how Iida was wide-eyed and stiff out of the corner of her eye. She could feel every muscle in her body shaking before they gave up and she sunk to the floor.
She could hear with painful clarity how her choked sob echoed as what she said fully sunk in.
The memory of how she’d banished the person who just might’ve needed the support in their life the most felt like it would never leave her.
[GROUPCHAT- “We Need to Talk”]
[19:27:03] Tailman: Did you hear Uraraka screaming at lunch this afternoon? It’s sad to hear her like this, but… I really think she’s finally breaking free of his control.
[19:27:07] Tailman: You guys heard what he was saying, right?
[19:27:13] Creati: ...I’m sorry, but don’t you think it’s a little bit insensitive to talk like that?
[19:27:17] Creati: Did you even check to make sure she’s okay?
[19:27:20] Tailman: Iida was with her, she’s fine.
[19:27:24] Kalamari: and what if neither of them are okay?
[19:27:28] Tailman: ...Somebody else probably did.
[19:27:30] ／(･ × ･)＼: …
[19:27:34] Wreck-It-Ralph: ...that sounds kinda cold, man
[19:27:36] Wreck-It-Ralph: Uraraka is still our friend and we should support her
[19:27:40] Tailman: And we are. But Iida is with her now.
[19:27:42] Tailman: -FOR SURE
[19:27:48] Tailman: I saw them go into Iida’s room, and he was supporting her as they went.
[19:27:54] Tailman: I’ll text her, but I don’t think she’ll respond immediately.
[19:28:01] Tailman: I’m just proud of her for finally starting to fight and break free of his control and for standing up to him like that. Aren’t you guys?
[19:28:05] Tailman: She’s breaking free.
[19:28:07] ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): It’s awesome!!
[19:28:12] oui oui mon ami: Mademoiselle Uraraka did something truly heroic indeed
[19:28:18] Invisible Girl: we should be proud of her!!
[19:28:22] Pinky and the Brain: yeah, yaomomo! be excited!!
[19:28:24] Pinky and the Brain: you too, satou!!
[19:28:27] Creati: ...of course I’m proud.
[19:28:31] Creati: But, Ojirou, please check in on her.
[19:28:33] Tailman: Doing that now.
[19:28:35] Creati: Good.
[19:28:39] Invisible Girl: you 2 r so srs!! we should do somethn fun!!!
[19:28:42] Wreck-It-Ralph: Okay, like what.
[19:28:46] Pinky and the Brain: like gettin a better chatname
[19:28:48] Pinky and the Brain: what else
[19:28:50] Sex Tape: Oh my god, guys-
M E A N W H I L E
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND URARAKA]
[19:28:40] You: Hey, Uraraka.
[19:28:43] You: Are you doing okay?
[19:28:48] You: Congratulations on finally starting to cut free of that guy’s hold!! We’re proud of you!!
- - - - - - - -
[20:38:04] Uraraka: Excuse me?
[20:38:09] Uraraka: I was never “under his control” in the first place
[20:38:13] Uraraka: ...and you heard that?
[20:38:18] You: Half the school heard you telling him to screw off.
[20:38:22] You: Are you still shaking off the last bits of control?
[20:38:28] Uraraka: Ojirou, you are being incredibly rude right now
[20:38:35] Uraraka: I am not, was not, and never was under Shinsou’s control, like I said before
[20:38:40] Uraraka: He’s still my friend, and you’re still being unfair
[20:38:45] Uraraka: Right now, both of us are too upset to talk civilly
[20:38:50] Uraraka: It is horrible that you make assumptions like this
[20:38:55] Uraraka: I’d really hope you’d understand
[20:46:27] You: ...I was so wrong.
[20:46:31] You: About you and about him.
[20:46:33] You: I’m so sorry.
[20:46:37] Uraraka: I will accept your apology
[20:46:40] You: No, not for that.
[20:46:45] You: I’m so sorry that it wasn’t true.
[20:46:48] You: You’re still under his control.
[20:46:51] You: I can’t believe he controlled you to act so well-
[20:46:54] Uraraka: Ojirou, that’s not true.
[20:46:58] You: I thought you were finally free.
[20:47:04] You: I’m so incredibly sorry for you.
[20:47:07] You: I wish you luck if you ever make it.
[20:47:10] Uraraka: Ojirou, I am free
[20:47:15] You: That’s what he wants us to think.
[20:47:19] You: Tell him that it was a good try.
[20:47:21] You: Goodnight, Uraraka.
[YOU CLOSED THE CHAT WINDOW]
[GROUPCHAT- “Shinso-ooOOOH HEEELLLLL NAH”]
[20:48:03] Tailman: ...who the hell renamed this thing-
[20:48:05] Tailman: -Whatever.
[20:48:07] Tailman: It was a lie.
[20:48:10] Tailman: Uraraka is still not free.
[20:48:15] Tailman: That monster made her freak out like that to throw us off.
[20:48:19] spICEy hot: Are you serious?
[20:48:22] Tailman: Completely.
[20:48:26] ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): oh my god no way
[20:48:32] Tailman: Guys, this is getting worse. We need to break her out of this.
[20:48:36] Creati: Can’t we just tell Mr. Aizawa?
[20:48:40] Sex Tape: He keeps inviting the guy to training.
[20:48:43] Sex Tape: And he would notice!
[20:48:47] Pinky and the Brain: so we have to do it ourselves
[20:48:52] Kalamari: -okay, hey, let’s not get out of hand here
[20:48:56] Tailman: But we need to do something.
[20:49:05] Invisible Girl: we can corner him at training
[20:49:11] Invisible Girl: it won’t raise eyebrows if we “train” with him
[20:49:16] Creati: Now, wait one second! What are we planning on doing here?
[20:49:20] Tailman: Finding out more about this and stopping it.
[20:49:25] Tailman: If we go through with this, everybody: be careful.
[20:49:30] Tailman: We don’t want him to gain any more victims.
[20:49:33] Tailman: Okay, guys?
[20:49:37] Tailman: Is everybody with me on this?
[20:49:39] Pinky and the Brain: totally
[20:49:41] Invisible Girl: definitely
[20:49:42] ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): sure
[20:49:47] spICEy hot: ...Alright.
[20:49:49] Wreck-It-Ralph: I’m in
[20:49:52] oui oui mon ami: Okay…
[20:49:55] Sex Tape: Let’s do it.
[20:50:05] Darkness Incarnate: If we do it civilly, carefully, and non-violently… I agree.
[20:50:07] ／(･ × ･)＼: ^^^ ✓
[20:50:10] Sex Tape: Actually, yeah. On Tokoyami’s terms, I agree.
[20:50:15] Creati: Tokoyami says it well, and I agree with those stipulations.
[20:50:18] Tailman: Kaminari?
[20:50:22] Kalamari: …i don’t feel great on this
[20:50:26] ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): don’t be a wimp, man!!
[20:50:30] Kalamari: if i agree to this
[20:50:31] Kalamari: if
[20:50:38] Kalamari: i want everyone to promise that i won’t be forced into anything
[20:50:40] Kalamari: everyone
[20:50:46] Creati: I’m completely on board with that. Okay!
[20:50:48] Wreck-It-Ralph: Sounds good 2 me
[20:50:50] ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): aight
[20:50:51] ／(･ × ･)＼: 🆗
[20:50:53] Invisible Girl: alright
[20:50:54] Pinky and the Brain: fine by me
[20:50:55] spICEy hot: Okay.
[20:50:57] Sex Tape: Of course, bro!
[20:50:58] oui oui mon ami: ~oui~
[20:50:59] Darkness Incarnate: That is fair to me.
[20:51:03] Tailman: Of course.
[20:51:07] Tailman: Okay, guys, we should probably do our homework now.
[20:51:09] Creati: Goodnight, everyone!
[20:51:12] Pinky and the Brain: niiiiiiiiight!!
[KAMINARI STARTED A GROUPCHAT WITH SONIC, YOU]
[20:53:07] Kaminari: i need the truth about today
[20:53:10] Kaminari: about shinsou
[20:53:13] Kaminari: please
[KAMINARI HAS DISCONNECTED]
-on a less serious note, I want y’all to know that all of these text things? The group chats? Everyone has their own specific colour of text. Each and every character has a unique text colour, even the one at that you haven’t seen text yet. And AO3 is mean and doesn’t let me have coloured text and I’m mad.
This is all a roundabout way of saying the last “you” back there is Uraraka.
Chapter 21: twenty-one
Me: “I’m gonna update once I get home so I can actually use my laptop for it.”
Also me: “Monkey brain craves validation LET’S DO IT NOW”
The worst part, Tenya thought, was the music.
He’d comforted Uraraka that night, listening to her cry about how she’d absolutely ruined everything. He’d read the messages from Ojirou with her and had been horrified at the words. How could he ever believe such things? Shinsou may have hurt him in the past, but it was entirely unfair to continuously discount facts and hold such- such vile prejudice against another student, especially one as valuable and kind as Shinsou-
He forced himself to take a deep breath. It would do him no good to get so worked up about this. He would just have to stay rational and calmly prove his classmates wrong. Shinsou was deserving of all that he aspired to be, and after battling against the prejudice of society so viciously for so long, and to go to a place where there was so, so much diversity between classes and Quirks, and still be shunned- Shinsou was!-
Shinsou wasn’t entirely there at the moment.
He’d done what Uraraka had asked and left, both physically and mentally. Left their sights, that is- the school seemed to be littered with little signs of him. Purple hair pushing through crowds and rounding corners with a strange little bounce that Shinsou’s steps always held; the sound of scoffs that would make Tenya jump from how unexpectedly close they were. That almost signature pattern of footsteps going down an empty hallway. Or up a flight of stairs. Or-
Tenya sighed under his breath, trying not to disturb a very focused Uraraka as she listened to an equally focused Asui. Er, Tsuyu. The three had gotten together for a study session, an empty spot on Tsuyu’s right as usual. Where Midoriya normally sat- but that wasn’t the issue, Tenya reminded himself, as the heavy beats of something crashed back into his eardrums.
He could deal with everything else. How Shinsou would drift through the hallways in little glimpses, how he’d ignore and avoid them, the changing colours of the injuries Tenya could sometimes see, and how there was a persevering feeling of guilt in his gut now.
But the music. The music was going to drive Tenya insane.
It was at an entirely respectable volume, louder than usual but not disturbing or obnoxious to anyone. It was devoid of any disrespectful language. It was inoffensive in basically every way. But it made Tenya’s heart throb nonetheless because of the sheer hopelessness of it all.
It started off innocently enough, with the quiet music that Tenya associated with Sero’s more “indie” taste. Guitars and drums and piano, but quiet and slow and melancholic- all things which Tenya’s subconscious absolutely balked at correlating to Shinsou. What most baffled him at the beginning, though, was a song that seemed entirely misplaced in all of it. It was dark, heavily with electronic noises that mixed with solemn piano and sharp drum beats. It puzzled him for days on end- until he caught Jirou singing along to it.
“What does it mean?” He’d blurted. Jirou had jolted, stopped dead with the shock of Tenya suddenly appearing behind her and staring at him with wide eyes. She stuttered for a few seconds before clearing her throat.
“The song. You’re singing it, and it’s in English- if I’m correct. What do the words mean.” Point-blank, monotone, and serious. Jirou had to blink a few more times before responding.
“It’s, uh, nothing bad-”
“-Uh, yeah. The lyrics… you want all of them?”
“Later. Just the ones you were singing just now for the moment- I’ve been curious for a while.” He had paused stiffly. “It sounds… er, catchy?” Jirou stared at him for another moment.
“...uh-huh. Well, the translated lyrics- without all of the, uh, vocal tricks- are something like… ‘Don’t forget about me-’ uhm-” She paused, seemingly going over the lyrics in her mind. “‘Don’t forget about me… even when I doubt you, I’m no good without you.’ That’s the gist of the chorus, as smooth as I can make it sound. I’ll text you the rest… later?” Tenya could feel his heart squeezing painfully.
“That would be wonderful, thank you.” He’d muttered out. “I have to go.”
“Sure,” Jirou had responded, one eyebrow raised skeptically. “See you around.”
Oh, did he ever hate himself after that.
True to her word, Jirou had sent Tenya several translated copies of the lyrics, first her own translations and then several other sources to ensure he understood the words to the fullest extent. While Tenya appreciated the thoroughness, the more he read the lyrics the more he found himself wishing Shinsou was unaware of the true meaning of the song’s words. Maybe he just liked how the song sounded!
Something had told him that that wasn’t it, though.
After that came more piano- heavy music, fast-tempo yet still somber. Then, it was the acoustic guitar, and then it had become more of the electric guitar that Tenya associated more with Tokoyami’s tastes. He’d heard it was stereotypically “emo” to listen to those songs. He sincerely hoped he misunderstood the meaning of the word.
“Iida?” Tsuyu was talking to him. He quickly cleared his throat.
“My apologies! My thoughts simply wandered off elsewhere for a moment there. I am sorry for any disrespect! Could you repeat what you said?” Tsuyu looked at him with her large eyes, head tilted slightly.
“It’s about Shinsou, isn’t it?” She asked. Tenya could feel himself freeze.
“I- I’m sorry?”
“You’re thinking about Shinsou, kero. Probably worried for him.”
“I- w-” It felt like his chest was constricting him. “...how did you know?”
“You flinch every time you seem to notice the music, and you won’t even look in the general direction of where his dorm is. I’m guessing it’s over there anyways, kero.” She stated it plainly, and Tenya wilted.
“I… did not realize I was being so transparent with my emotions.” Uraraka sighed, dropping her head down to bury her face in her hands.
“I can get the feeling…” She groaned. Tsuyu looked between them, expression unreadable.
“Ochako, kero. Iida. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I know that a lot of us are worried about you two. I trust you and what you’ve told me about Shinsou, but it’s concerning seeing you like this.” Tenya winced, grimacing. “Just remember that you two aren’t Atlas, and you don’t have to bear the weight of the world alone, kero.” Her voice was surprisingly soft and quiet, but still managed to hold Tenya’s attention without question. Silence.
The drum beats were like an omen of doom.
“Thank you, Tsu.” Uraraka whispered. “We’ll try.”
“The chat is always here to help you.” Tsuyu responded easily. “...just out of curiosity, kero. Are you three still friends?” Tenya felt his heart stop, then sink.
“-I want us to be.” Uraraka picked up. “We want us to be. But, Shinsou… I don’t know how Shinsou feels. I won’t give up on him until I’m sure, though.” Her eyes were dull as she spoke. “He deserves at least that.”
“...yes.” Tenya forced out. “Yes. Exactly.”
“Alright.” Tsuyu said. Calm as ever. “It’s okay. You’re going to be okay.”
“But is he?” Tenya didn’t think as he muttered out the words, just barely managing to look over his shoulder to the general direction of his torment.
The two girls were strangely silent.
The study session went on awkwardly after that, a solemn air hanging over it all. Tenya did his very best to focus on the material, writing notes and answering questions, dissecting worksheets and reading through textbooks.
But the drum beat haunted him.
He found himself in his dorm, staring listlessly at his phone and at the week of unanswered messages to Shinsou. How did he get here? What had happened? What-
Tenya sighed, picking the device off of his desk. I won’t give up on you, Shinsou. I’ll wait. I’ll save you.
No matter what it takes.
[ GROUPCHAT- “Side Yes” ]
[17:26:24] Kalamari: ...how long has that music been playing?
[17:26:27] Tentacole: Has anyone seen Shinsou lately?
[17:26:31] Let’s Start a Riot: yeah… he’s been quiet for the past little bit
[17:26:34] Let’s Start a Riot: haven’t really seen him around
[17:26:37] Uravity: Yeah. Yeah.
[17:26:40] Ear Bud: ...Ochako, are you okay?
[17:26:43] IidaTenya: ...I think it may be time, Uraraka.
[17:26:45] Uravity: I think it is.
[17:26:49] Uravity: Alright guys, stuff happened.
[17:26:55] IidaTenya: We won’t disclose everything about the situation, but we were extremely concerned about Shinsou and had went to check on him. He wasn’t very pleased.
[17:27:02] Uravity: Yeah. Something… is very wrong with him, and he won’t tell us what it is. I got annoyed with him and
[17:27:07] Kalamari: ochako?
[17:27:15] IidaTenya: ...We’re worried that someone or something is hurting him, but he doesn’t want to say what.
[17:27:19] Tentacole: What set you off originally?
[17:27:24] IidaTenya: He was abnormally quiet and avoidant of us, keeping his head down and face covered. And… he looks very rough.
[17:27:27] Froggit: “Rough”?
[17:27:32] Uravity: He looks like he’s been used as someone’s personal punching bag.
[17:27:36] Let’s Start a Riot: oh god
[17:27:42] IidaTenya: We might be distant for the next while, and we might need to talk to you to stay sane as we work through this.
[17:27:47] Uravity: Sorry, but we might be using you as support.
[17:27:52] Uravity: Just know that Shinsou has never done anything to hurt either of us, and he would never.
[17:27:55] Uravity: This isn’t his fault.
[17:28:03] Tentacole: Okay.
[17:28:05] IidaTenya: Okay?
[17:28:10] Tentacole: I trust you and I’m willing to help.
[17:28:13] Let’s Start a Riot: me too
[17:28:17] Let’s Start a Riot: and i hope shinsou’s okay
[17:28:20] Ear Bud: Yeah.
[17:28:23] Kalamari: same here
[17:28:27] Froggit: We support you two.
[17:28:30] Uravity: Thank you
[17:28:35] IidaTenya: Yes, thank you all.
[17:28:37] IidaTenya: …
[ GROUPCHAT- KAMINARI , URARAKA , YOU ]
[17:28:45] IidaTenya: Alright. We won’t tell you everything but
[17:28:46] Kaminari: ????
[17:28:51] IidaTenya: What do you want to know?
Chapter 22: twenty-two
Hoo shit we getting to a point
We're getting to a POINT and I need to write more because I have, like, about ten or twelve POVs left and I'm not trusting myself to write full POVs by every Wednesday, so we're just gonna like
Frantically write a whole bunch of POVs in the coming days/weeks
And hopefully not have to take a hiatus or slow down my update schedule because I Crave Validation and I really like knowing what y'all think about my writings and things so yEE-
Also here take an Izuku POV and a POV from someone you haven't heard from before
Tick. Tock. Tick
Kito watched him.
Tick. Tock. Tick.
Kaneko watched him.
Tick. Tock. Tick.
Nanako watched him.
Tick. Tock. Tick.
Toogata patted him on the back as he passed, smile ever-so-slightly strained.
Tick. Tock. Tick.
Tick. Tock. Tick.
He’d been removed from the groupchat- the group chats, both of them now. Hitoshi was quiet. Iida was quiet. Uraraka was quiet.
Everything was quiet.
And Izuku felt so alone.
He tried the rest.
[17:45:03] You: How’s it going, guys?
“Fine,” “okay,” “boring,” “nothing.” Or no response.
The lights were on and no one was home.
He only texted his mother regularly.
MANTA was getting worse, and they still didn’t have enough information.
He was so cold, so angry.
Tick. Tock. Tick.
And so, so alone.
They noted how Midoriya paced, how Midoriya stuttered, how Midoriya moved. His aura, his mannerisms, his constant energy and movement.
And they noted how it all stopped.
Well. That just wouldn’t do.
So Kaede pushed their way through their exhaustion, their quiet way of life, and went up to the boy on the couches with determination in their step.
“How long have you been sitting there?” They said. Their voice was too harsh. Midoriya jolted, looking up with eyes too tired that flashed for a minute with something dangerous before becoming dull and lifeless again, mustering up a smile too fake.
“Ah, hah. Hi Nanako. Too long, I guess.” He showed no intentions of moving. “I’m just tired, I guess. Nothing big.”
“Mhm.” They responded, a brow raised. Kaede didn’t believe a second of it. “Come out and help me with the garden.”
“We have a garden?...” Still no intentions of moving. Kaede sighed.
“...I’m a bit too tired, hah, sor-”
“-Wasn’t an offer. Wasn’t a question.” They grabbed Midoriya’s arm, pulling him forwards before easily picking the boy up and throwing him up from his sitting position. “‘T was an order. C’mon.”
“Wha- bu- Nanako!”
“It’s for your own good,” They responded easily falling silent afterwards as Midoriya squirmed and protested from his place over their shoulder. Turning around, they began to walk with the same calm air as they always held as the boy objected and stuttered. Passing others in the hallways only resulted in a hard nod from Kaede as the other sidekicks would stare and gape at Midoriya in concern. Not their problem.
“-nnn, Nanako! Where are we going?!”
“Na-na- kooooooo…” Midoriya moaned, before suddenly going limp. Kaede frowned, adjusting their grip on the boy in anticipation of what was to come.
“Why are you doing thiiiiiisssss?” He whined. Kaede raised their eyebrows.
“Why am I carrying you? Well, you obviously weren’t going to move on your own.”
“But why am I the one you’re forcing to help you?”
“Because you’re strong and one of the only ones to not help me out there yet, and I need some help getting the fruits and vegetables picked.”
“I know that’s not why you’re doing this.” Midoriya retorted. Kaede was silent. “Nanako?... Nanako! Are you even listening to me?!”
“I am. Just not responding.”
“Nana- uuuuUUUGH! Put me DOWN!” Midoriya kicked, and Kaede had to put up another arm to restrain him. “Na-na-KO! I SAID, PUT ME DOWN!!”
“Stop screaming.” They kept their voice level, calm, the exact same volume it had been at the beginning of the conversation. They could hear Midoriya growling and screaming as he thrashed from side to side as best he could from his spot on Kaede’s shoulder as the taller kept walking down the hall. The concerned stares were getting more and more frequent, and Kaede had to shake their head more and more to ward off the others. They never stopped moving, even as Midoriya almost careened over their shoulder with one huge thrash, backed by strength he couldn’t possibly have possessed. They could hear people whispering as they went along, two right turns and a left and then through the double doors, adjust their grip on Midoriya and then one more right into a kitchen-mudroom combination. Kicking on some flip-flops, they looked at Yoshida boredly as she gaped and Midoriya continued to alternate between thrashing and going limp.
“Is- is he-”
“-Lock the door behind us, please.” They cut her off a little too easily, watching as she opened the door shakily before walking through it towards the gardens, pausing for only a moment to hear the little click that indicated the door was locked. Satisfied, Kaede walked along the dirt path and in between the greenhouses and bushes, ducking through a few trees before ending up at the greenhouse farthest away from the building. Only they ever used it, so it was perfect.
“-Nanako, for the last time, PUT. ME. DOWN!!” Kaede sighed, opening the greenhouse door.
“Alright.” They threw the kid into a pile of dirt within the greenhouse before stepping in and closing and locking the door, blocking the lock with a crust of dirt as an afterthought. Midoriya was still sputtering angrily , clawing his way out of the dirt clumsily.
“What was that!!” He shrieked. Kaede walked over to check on the squash. “Nanako- what the heck was that?! I swear to- and NOW you’re ignoring me again, just great!” Out of their peripheral, Kaede could see Midoriya waving his arms angrily as he spoke. Kaede was pretty sure this was the first time they’d seen the kid so worked up. Quietly listening to the rant, Kaede moved to checking on the carrots, carefully moving soil to aerate it and check on the vegetables. “-And now I’m locked in a greenhouse with you, after you single me out and dragged me out here against my will, and I’m tired and SICK of all of this! I am SICK of you ignoring me like this- ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO ME?!” With a sharp gesture, the dirt flew back onto the plants as Kaede whirled around.
“YES!” They raised their voice and Midoriya flinched. “YES! I’ve been listening to you scream and whine this whole time, and I DON’T CARE! I am TIRED OF YOU sitting on that couch, looking depressed and lifeless, and I’m going to FIX IT! So you can stand there and cry all you want, because you and I are going to be locked in this DAMNED GREENHOUSE until the apocalypse comes and you. Man. UP!!” They stood tall, glaring at Midoriya with intense eyes as the boy almost cowered beneath them. Not even a hint of remorse could be found in their body. At last, Midoriya slumped with resigned anger and defeat.
“Okay.” He whispered. Kaede smiled, slouching back down to their normal position.
“Very good. Go over there and fill up that watering can.” They pointed to the oversized green object and, after a moment of hesitation, Midoriya did as told. Kaede could still see the tension he held in his shoulders as he went and quietly rolled their eyes. Oh, he’d learn soon enough.
In the meantime, Kaede stepped over delicate plants on a path they’d long memorized from their many escapes out here, examining leaves and buds and fruit as they went and finally stopping under a large apple tree that had sprouted in the corner of the huge structure. Its highest leaves just barely made it to scrape just under the roof’s limits, and Kaede prided themselves on caring for it so well. Quietly, they could hear Midoriya struggling to open the tap, grumbling under his breath before gasping and growling as water splashed beside the watering can instead of the intended place of inside of it. Kaede could feel the anger in his actions as he slammed the watering can under the stream to fill it up. Still, Kaede stayed silent as they listened to Midoriya snatch up the watering can and begin struggling to drag it away from the tap without spilling anything. Kaede could almost envision the expression of anger on Midoriya’s face right now and had to wave off their laughter internally.
“Could you bring that over here, please?” They called, barely even looking over their shoulder. They could hear Midoriya huff, the grumbling and the mockery under his breath growing even louder as the kid approached. Subtly, Kaede brought up the wet, muddy soil from deep underground, hidden in the plants as Midoriya continued to approach unhappily. Kaede smirked. “Can you make it?”
“Yes, and I’ll be fine! Ugh, and I still don’t understand why the heck I needed to be dragged out here-”
“-You’re in a depressive spiral.”
“-I AM NOT, I AM FINE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! EXCUSE ME FOR RELAXING AFTER DOING MY JOB WHILE AT THIS INTERNSHIP! I AM SORRY FOR-” His foot hit the wet patch, stomping stride and bare skin mixing with the lack of friction and making him skid on the soil and careen backwards. Midoriya hit the ground with a wheeze, the watering can flying down and spilling its contents onto him and then landing on his stomach with a hollow metallic thunk. Midoriya wheezed again, coughing as cold dirt and liquid flew into his mouth, until it all went silent.
And then, Midoriya screamed.
Kaede watched emotionlessly as Midoriya screamed, then howled, and then started to sob and curled himself up, smearing mud all over himself in the process. At last, Kaede shook their head and walked over, quietly hushing and humming towards the kid as they knelt beside him.
“Hey, shh, hey. It’s alright, you’re okay… what hurts? Did you sprain-”
“NO!” Midoriya howled, a wet sound. “NO!! IT’S NOT THIS, NOTHING HURTS!” Kaede blinked.
“Then, everything is fine, right?”
“I-” Another wet cough, and Midoriya made an unintelligible noise.
“-NOTHING is okay, OKAY?! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?! I’M NOT FINE! I ADMITTED IT! MY FRIENDS CUT ME OFF AND TOOGATA WON’T TALK TO ME- I’VE BEEN REMOVED FROM ANY AND ALL GROUPCHATS- THE ONLY PERSON WHO I TEXT REGULARLY NOW IS MY MOTHER!! I AM ALONE, I HAVE NO ONE, AND I’M CONVINCED ONE OF MY CLOSEST FRIENDS IS IN TROUBLE AND WON’T GET HELP! HE COULD BE DYING, AND I CAN’T HELP! I CAN’T DO ANYTHING, ABOUT MY FRIENDS OR ABOUT MANTA OR ANYTHING!” A gutteral noise. “NOTHING IS OKAY!!” Another scream of frustration and pain. “ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!” Kaede was still for a second, before sighing and hugging the boy closer.
“Yes, I’m actually very happy.” In that same calm, level voice. “Because you spoke up about what’s been bothering you, and now we can work through it. So. We’re going to calm you down, and then I’m going to kick your butt for thinking you could get away with lying to yourself and lying to us.” Midoriya only sobbed in response, huddling closer to Kaede’s form. Kaede sighed, rocking the boy gently from side to side as he cried it out. They silently exhaled the tension they’d been carrying in their chest since this whole thing started, looking around the greenhouse.
Midoriya was going to get it.
Chapter 23: twenty-three
I'm an Idiot who didn't update yesterday and this is a super short POV too, so now I'm wondering if I should give y'all two chapters today.
It’s dark here.
It’s dark here and the pipes drip, and the lights flicker when they turn on- which isn’t that often at all, really. It does no good to cater to the lowest of the low. To care.
That, she knows.
It’s so much nothingness that it almost hurts, such a void of darkness and silence and pain that she can feel it tearing at her skin. Or, maybe it’s the concrete where she used to sleep coming back to haunt her- the concrete where she still sleeps most days, she thinks, even though it’s gotten a little better. It’s so dark that she doesn’t know anymore.
She’s not sure if she wants to find out.
It’s better now. It’s better, because she’s proved her use to Them, and They still often will watch her carefully. But They’ve seen her worth, so she’s been moved, and he’s been moved with her as well. A package deal, that’s what They call the pair now. She doesn’t mind. She stays with him and keeps him safe, just like she’s always done and just like she always will. Until the day I die, she’d vow, and he’d scramble to beg her not to.
The phrase carries a lot more weight now, what with the situation they’re in, but both know that she’ll never yield.
But, she’s earned their keep, so They let the two get a space to themselves. Right by the utility room, so it’s always a little too hot or too cold, but it’s better than what the pair used to have, and she knows he appreciates it as much as she does.
She knows she shouldn’t be playing this game right now. Yet, here she is in the records room of this building, just one more area in the lower levels of this hellish place. Thankfully, not as dank as the rest of the building- of the rest of the building she lived in- but still cold and miserable.
It’s an exercise of trust to let her in here, she knows. Nobody is allowed in here, not unless they have a card and a clearance and a mind that has been scrubbed blank and then repainted to suit the needs of the people upstairs. But here she is, the guardian of it all, after proving her organization and responsibility and after explaining her past life.
Here she is. Breaking Their trust.
Because every day, she goes in, takes the books and records that people return and helps them find new ones. Everyday, she stacks the returned texts, new and old, onto the little cart that always hides in the corners, and pushes meticulously-oiled wheels around the room.
And everyday, she checks to make sure nobody is looking and hides her tiny body behind the cart in the dim lights.
And then she begins to memorize each and every word that those books hold.
A dangerous game. A stupid game, she knows.
But, she still plays it.
And when the day ends, she goes back to her room, back to him, and they sit together and she mutters the things she’s found in their own secret code, and they plot.
It’s dark, and wet, and too cold too warm too hard and broken and sad and wretched,
And they will escape.
Even if it kills them.
At some point in the many- or, actually, rather few- years he’s been alive, Hitoshi had done his best to strap down any hint of immaturity he might possess. Tie it to a table, chain it to a wall, muffle it and shove it in a chest or corner of his mind so that it never saw the light of day. He was, rather proudly, considered extremely mature for his age.
But damn, if he didn’t want to stomp his feet and scream right now.
It wasn’t that his foster siblings were too loud, or that the Kanemoto’s were too oppressive, or that his homework was too hard or that his classes were too long. It wasn’t his insomnia getting to him again.
It was just all too much for him right now, and for god’s sakes, it shouldn’t have been!
He shouldn’t be this unhappy and hateful and she shouldn’t be pushing everyone away like this, and he SHOULDN’T be disappointed that Iida and Uraraka and everyone were unhappy with him! It was absolutely ridiculous that he was so heartbroken over this, over how Uraraka had screamed at him to leave like that- and how it was his fault his fault his fault-
And this had never happened before, he’d been able to separate himself and push people away from him for all his life. But now, it just didn’t seem to be working. And now- and now he was back here, where this whole mess had started, and he hated it, hated it, hated it so much- the Kanemotos and the kids and the house and his bed and how alone he was all the time and-
And you hate him.
You hate them, and they hate you back.
No- no, no.
Fake heroes that give fake hope in this twisted system. Can you hear them screaming?
Stop- no, stop, none of this was right, sTOP-
Screaming, screaming, screaming. What a poor lost little boy. Blonde hair, sharp-tooth smile- no power, no control, stupid stupid stupid dumb, you’re better Quirkless, you’re better dead, monster child hATE YOU HATE YOU HATE YOU-
Screaming. Explosions. Crying. Black. Housefallingdown, Mom Dad where are you help rubblerubblerubblescreamingsirensfakeheroesALONE-
Hitoshi shot out of his bed, hand over his mouth to muffle his ragged breathing.
He hated a lot of things. But most of all, he hated the voices.
They’re still banging on at the edges of his vision, memories he wished wouldn’t resurface.
He had to run.
But no, he can’t, he won’t, he wouldn’t make this worse than it already was.
Instead, Hitoshi would do what he’d always done. Go just far enough to push the boundaries of the rules, but not far enough to fully fall out of favour.
And that was why, with quiet feet, Shinsou Hitoshi slipped out of bed and stayed close to the walls as he crept along the floor, careful not to wake any of his “siblings” as he moved. It was done with practised ease, an almost shameful admission if it hadn’t been for years upon years of careful survival from this method. Through the door (open) and into the dim light of the hallway that came filtering from the bathroom door, half-closed as usual. Hitoshi had to blink the bright whiteness out of his eyes for a second after he made the mistake of looking over towards the source. Then, he kept close to the wall once again- he’d noticed the floors were even creakier here- and crept to the end of the hall. Past the spare bedroom, take a right turn to avoid the stairs, and Hitoshi had finally reached the office. Almost mercifully, the patriarch of the Kanemoto family had kept his word from over the dinner table and gone to sleep earlier that night, allowing Hitoshi to slip through the doors and quickly stride past the desk and to the window. One lock, two lock, shove the window open silently, and then slip out and onto the roof.
Wow. That was… suspiciously smooth.
Shaking off his doubt, he closed the window until there was only enough space for two fingers to fit through, then turned and climbed out onto the overhang. From there, it was a quick jump up to the next metal awning before he clambered up to the highest point of the roof. The wind was cold, and it smacked him straight across the face as soon as he turned his face to the right.
But it was better. So Hitoshi shoved his shivering aside and crawled over to a place on the roof where he could sit comfortably, leaning back on some element of architecture behind him. He didn’t know what it was, and he wasn’t conscious enough to try and go through the layout of the house to figure it out.
So, what now?
Sighing, Hitoshi banged his head back against the outcropping. His mind was still spinning and his heart was still pounding, and not much felt leagues better, if he was being honest.
And the voices-
A growl ripped from his throat against his will. He was exhausted, so, so incredibly exhausted, and his brain was fried and his chest hurt and he didn’t want to think anymore- much less open his eyes-
-screaming crying black suits bad, where was Mom, where was Dad- something on top of him SO MUCH on top of him- helphelphelphelphelphelphELP- blondegreenblackblue, touchdon’ttouchstopthatno- I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry bELIEVE ME I’M SORRY I DIDN’T MEAN IT I-
Hitoshi scraped his hands down the rough shingles of the roof, a noise catching in his throat. He could feel how his hands were getting wetter, and he knew that if he could see his palm right now, they would be turning bright red.
He was tired.
And he’d had enough of this.
And here he was, sitting on the roof of this house, alone, in the dark, and the voices in his head just wouldn’t stop talking-
He’d had enough. But the wind was cold and his hands were bloody and the voices in his head were still singing their ominous words, so Hitoshi took a deep breath, flung himself back onto the outcropping, and did the only thing he could think of at the moment.
He started humming.
It was a simple tune, of course, from an English song he’d found and was trying very hard to learn on the guitar he’d gotten as some sort of strange welcoming present before the Kanemoto family had even met him; and it wasn’t like he could really muster up his best singing… “abilities” at the moment. But it would do for now. Who else was out here to judge him anyways?
So Shinsou Hitoshi sat on the roof in the cold night air, humming English pop songs to himself to ward away the demons, and when at last he felt like he could go to sleep again, he crept back down the roof, almost fell through the window, and shuffled back to his bed to try and sleep the rest of the night away and ignore the breaking dawn.
Nobody needed to know.
Everybody needs a hug but don't worry, there's cuddles and stuff next chapter
(There's actually gonna be multiple POVs next chapter, unless y'all want infuriatingly short chapters of 200-500 words for the next... 3-5 chapters, but I don't think you guys will want that-)
Chapter 25: twenty-five
Aight y'all, I have made the executive decision to keep all of the POVs separated but do a couple in one update if they're short (i.e., probably less than 300-ish words), so y'all are getting two chapters today. Enjooooyyyyyyyyy-
It’s another Tuesday when he finally appeared again.
Ochako was, shamefully, surprised at the reappearance of the man of mystery. But she can’t help but let her jaw drop when Shinsou- first of all- walked through the common room doorway in broad daylight, head held decently high despite the hair still plastered to his face; then, secondly, he moved forwards and made eye-contact with her; and thirdly- as stiff as it was- he nodded at her. Like he was saying hi, or at the very least acknowledging her.
And just as quickly as he came, he was gone into his dorm room.
Leaving Ochako sitting on the couch in utter shock.
Did he do that- on purpose? What- was he forgiving her? Was this a sign that he was letting her talk to him again? What- what the hell-
“Hey, Ochako?” Kyouka’s voice cut through her musings. “You okay?”
“Yeah!” Mina bounced out in front of her. “You just started staring into space all of a sudden!” Ochako had to blink a few times before she could bring a genuine smile to her face and a response to her mouth.
“All good! Just… zoned out a little bit, I guess!” A little laugh. “I should probably be paying attention more, heh- I almost spaced out in class today way too many times.” Mina made a noise of agreement.
“Okay, giiiiiiiiiiiirl- I almost fell asleep so much! Like- okay, like- honestly, I don’t even know, girl, it was crazy!! Like- okay, I-” She cut herself off with a groan. “You don’t even know!!” Ochako suppressed a grin.
“...Do you want to take a nap or something?” Kyouka suggested, tone a little bored. Mina groaned again.
“I wannaaaaaaa, but I have homeworrrrrrk…” She almost wilted.
“Take an hour-long nap and work afterwards?” Ochako put in. Mina seemed to consider for a moment before nodding.
“That… okay!! That might work!!”
“Better go fast, then,” Kyouka muttered. Mina hummed something, shoving her hair out of her face before sprinting away from the two and towards her room with a noise of thanks. Kyouka sighed as she watched her go, turning to leave. Ochako- almost impulsively- grabbed her sleeve, yanking her back and making her trip over her feet. Kyouka spluttered, raising a brow. “What-”
“He talked to me again today.” Ochako blurted. Kyouka froze.
“...what happened?” She at last ventured. Ochako let out a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding, tugging on Kyouka’s sleeve twice to get her to sit down on the couch beside her.
And, slowly, she began recounting almost all of the slow decline that had happened in the past few weeks- almost month.
And for once- for once, for once, for once- she felt like it was going to be okay.
Whether she was right or wrong was another question.
“Good morning, Midoriya.” Centipeder greeted him. Izuku forced a smile.
“G’morning, lil’ Greeny!” Kaneko said as she ruffled his hair, her other hand firmly around Toogata’s. Izuku giggled quietly with a hum, but kept going.
“Hey, Midoriya! Did you forget our normal spot?” Toogata seemed to joke, eyes ever-so-slightly strained. Izuku waved him off gently, carefully balancing his plate of breakfast on one hand. His smile was small, close-lipped. Instead, Izuku shook his head and continued on his way to the table in the corner, almost hidden from the rest of the room and as private as it was possible to be in this space.
And he sat and he waited, eyes directed downwards as he picked at his food, taking small bites every now and then.
And just like had happened for the past week, he heard the scrape of the chair opposite to him after barely five minutes of solitude.
“Good morning, Izuku,” Nanako almost whispered, sitting down across from him. Izuku nodded at them, eyes still focused on his food. “How’re you feeling today?”
“Okay is better than nothing,” They responded smoothly. “Do you have any plans for today?”
And although he was tired, and homesick, and concerned and angry and snappish, Izuku smiled.
“I think Hashimoto wants me to drop by today so that she can show me a new book she got.”
“You know Kaneko is going to be there too, right?”
“You’re alright with that?” Izuku took a moment to consider.
“...yeah.” Nanako smiled a little.
“Good. You’re helping me in the greenhouse again today, alright?” Izuku rolled his eyes, but a smile was building on his face.
“Careful, I might have you fertilize…” Nanako teased. Izuku’s eyes flashed.
“Oh, you wouldn’t.” And Nanako laughed, laughed out loud as Izuku half-giggled through his dramaticism, and even though the others stared- it would be alright.
He would be alright.
Fun fact: one of my biggest fears is skipping a POV switch when I post a chapter, so I'd have to delete it and half the people here who actually read my stupid fic immediately (lookin' at you, Tiyu) would know what the hell might be happening later in the fic. It's a thought that gives me far too much anxiety.
He would be alright.
Hitoshi told himself that, repeated it like a mantra since that night on the roof. He told himself that every morning and every night, and whenever he felt like he was losing track of things. He would be alright.
And when would he start believing that? He didn’t know. But he figured he would at some point.
Which was why he took a deep breath before he tapped on his screen in a nervous, jerky motion.
[DIRECT MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND SPACEMAN]
[19:26:07] You: hey spacey
[19:26:10] You: how’s it going?
And he sat and he waited, ignoring the message gap from the last text Izuku had sent him and the texts that he’d sent just now.
Well, hey. A few weeks of radio silence couldn’t have been that bad, right?
GOOD MORNING Y'ALL I'M PROCRASTINATING CHEMISTRY REVIEW BY WRITING FIVE FICS AT ONCE
Y'all are getting another double-chapter today, and then I promise next week's chapter is about 2K words. No more short chapters after this!!!
He dreamed of Hitoshi again.
He’d done it yesterday. And last week too, and the week before. Izuku would always wake up gasping, unable to remember the contents of the dream. Or not sure if he wanted to. And every time, there’d be a strange feeling in his stomach, running down his legs and through his fingers, and sitting deep within the pit of his stomach as it writhed.
And all he could do was try and choke back the soft whisper of “Hitoshi,” drifting out in a shaky exhale as his mind would stop and then start, stop and then start, unable to form thoughts.
And Izuku hated that he couldn’t stop them.
But no. No, he had to- he had to- he had to-
His hand slammed down onto the bedside table hard enough rattle it, wincing at the amount of noise it made before he scrabbled for his phone to check the time. 2:23AM.
Well. It wasn’t like he was going to sleep anytime soon (as much as his mind very much wanted him to). So, laying back down with a sigh, Izuku unlocked his phone and idly began scrolling through apps, first clicking on one game and then another. A half an hour passed before tired green eyes looked up to see a little notification for unread messages that hovered over his messaging app. That was weird. I didn’t have any messages when I checked before… maybe someone forgot about the time difference and messaged me?
Curiously, he clicked the icon to see which mysterious person could’ve been texting him. He had to reread the name twice with a vise-like grip on his device to avoid dropping his phone out of shock.
[YOU HAVE (2) UNREAD MESSAGES FROM GOOSE KING]
Izuku swore that he could feel his heart stop. This time, he didn’t bother stopping the shaky sigh that escaped him. Hitoshi.
Hitoshi had texted him- actually talked to him first. For the first time in weeks. Whatever being was watching him must’ve been feeling merciful to have given him this-
And yet he still hesitated for a second as his thumb hovered over the notification. He shouldn’t be scared of something like this, he knew. It was just a text message. He’d faced much worse than that in the past- in the past- he didn’t know how long anymore. In the past forever, in all of his life. Everything he’d faced, from birth up to this moment, was so much more terrifying and difficult than opening this one text message. So, why was he scared? Why was he shaking like this, it- it didn’t make sense, why he couldn’t press the notification and why he was filled with so much anticipation and fear, and why his mind would stop then start, stop then start, stop then start-
His finger twitched and hit the pop-up, and Izuku sucked in a tense breath at his mistake. But it was too late, the messages were there, time to face his doom-
“how’s it going?”
What the hell?
This was one of the most anticlimactic things he’d ever experienced. A simple “how’s it going,” after weeks of not texting, and two weeks after Izuku had finally stopped trying to talk to anyone.
“how’s it going?”
And it hurt.
It hurt because it was so simple, yet so vague all the same, and it still made Izuku’s heart flutter with- with some type of twisted mix of emotions, fear and hate and excitement and so many other things he didn’t want to admit he was feeling.
But it was all he had, so he held it down deep in his chest and typed out a trembling response.
[MESSAGES BETWEEN YOU AND GOOSE KING]
[02:55:02] You: Hi, ‘Toshi!
[02:55:07] You: I’ve been all different types of busy, hah
[02:55:12] You: What about you? What have you been doing?
A pause before he typed out the next one.
[02:55:19] You: We haven’t talked in forever.
Izuku let out a breath through his nose, letting his hands drop down with his phone into the blankets. Why am I doing this? It’s not some big deal, right? I mean- it’s not like- why am I so shaky?
Because he might be okay, another voice answered. Izuku hesitated for a second. He might be okay, and he’s talking to you again.
And maybe, just maybe, it would be okay.
He worried about his boyfriend and about the green-haired kid he was told so much about and he worried about his friends and his mentor and his classmates and his teachers and-
He worried. And he knew that there was nothing he could do to stop that.
But when Kirishima smiled at him like that, and when he got those text messages from the contact only identified by yellow and blue hearts, and when his mentor would get him that special type of takoyaki from the store that he liked-
Well, he figured it would be okay.
Aight there we go
Thank you for dealing with my short chapters, have a good morning, and maybe expect a new fic sometime this week (if I'm motivated enough to edit)
Enjoy??? I know all of these are kinda frustratingly cryptic but there's a point to these, I promise
They had a plan.
They had a plan and no matter how much of a fight Kaminari had put up, they were going to use it. No matter what.
So, carefully, the group discussed the steps of their procedures as the days counted down, and when at last Thursday arrived-
They watched, watched carefully, and all of them shared a meaningful look as the object of their hate entered the room. Observed how he moved, avoided eye contact with Iida and Ochako, and made a beeline to the corner to stretch his limbs. She could hear Hagakure hiss under her breath, hear Satou murmur to himself, and heard Ojirou whisper, “He looks like he’s lost.”
And the group nodded, their plan heavy on their minds as they took one last minute to look at the boy across the room. And then, she took a deep breath, looked to make sure nobody who would stop her was looking, and walked across the room to the boy.
“Hi! My name is Ashido Mina, what’s yours?”
The boy stiffened, looking up at her with dead eyes. “Shinsou Hitoshi,” He muttered, looking back down to the ground as he spoke. Mina could’ve shivered with how cold he was acting. Still, she forced herself to keep up her fake smile.
“Nice to meet you! Can I stretch with you?” She said, voice bubbly and light. She could see how Shinsou paused for a moment, still not looking up at her.
“...do what you want to do.” He at last said. Mina could’ve rolled her eyes.
“Cool!” She said instead, letting herself drop to the floor. She began to stretch her wrists and legs, humming happily to himself and watching as Shinsou became more and more tense and frustrated. He finally snapped when she started stretching her shoulders, growling and rounding on her with such ferocity that she couldn’t help how she winced backwards. His eyes were hard, dark, and entirely terrifying.
“Okay, what do you want from me? It’s obvious you didn’t just come over to stretch and have fun, and I’m getting tired of you acting innocent.” Mina suppressed a scowl. How on Earth anyone was expected to believe that Uraraka and Iida spent time with him willingly was something else.
But, no. She had to keep up the act for just a little bit more. So, Mina put on her best sheepish smile and gave a nervous laugh.
“Hah, sorry… uh, to be honest, I wanted to ask you if you could come and train with me and my friends. We noticed that you’re super good at hand-to-hand, and we got pretty bored of working on our Quirks. So… yeah! They’re over there, so if you’re done stretching, we can head over right now!” A vague gesture over her shoulder at the rest of her group. She was sure that Ojirou was well-hidden and out of the way by this point, and that Sero and Satou were chatting away happily and making the rest of the group smile. They looked as normal as they possibly could’ve been, and hopefully it would help put Shinsou at some sort of ease. The guy gave a skeptical sort of hum, eyes a little surprised. They had expected the resilience on his part, so Mina smiled again- so many smiles today, dear lord. She hoped that at least some of them were mildly convincing. “Please? We haven’t really talked much, but we’d all like to get closer to you!” Another skeptical hum, and then…
A sigh. Mina beamed. “Let’s go!” She grabbed him by the wrist, taking note of how skinny he was as she pulled him up to his feet and began dragging him towards the group. She could hear vague noises of sputtered protest from behind her and ran even faster, hoping to make it most of the way there before he started using his Quirk. If he hadn’t already- there was no way to know for sure. She could feel him struggling against her grip, heard him take in an angry breath of air like he was preparing to speak, and she flung him forwards in what was almost an act of desperation. He stumbled forwards as Mina tripped, landing solidly by Hagakure’s feet. Glancing up to find Shinsou panting and looking around, a strange sense of relief struck her.
“Oh, hey man! Sorry for bothering you, hah, we figured we should probably catch you before Iida and Uraraka grabbed you.” Sero’s voice was saying. Mina could almost envision the smile on his face as he talked to Shinsou, and she began to get back up. “Your name is… Shinsou, right?”
“Yeah.” Shinsou grunted in response. Back to being cold, obviously.
“Nice! I’m Sero, that’s Ashido, and this one is Satou Rikidou.”
“Hey,” Satou hummed. Mina looked up to see Shinsou give him a nod of acknowledgement. He was looking more and more uncomfortable as the minutes ticked by, and Mina felt a strange sense of satisfaction somewhere within her at it.
“So, uh. You- Ashido mentioned something about training?” He stuttered out. It looked like he was trying to be normal and friendly, but also cold and attempting to escape this whole situation at the same time. It was almost funny to watch.
“Yeah, we wanted to train with you! Hand-to-hand combat, of course, just so that we don’t hurt you by accident.” Mina piped in, smiling once more. “Oh, uh- no offense, of course.”
“None taken. It makes sense, after all.” Shinsou responded. It was hard to tell if he was being sarcastic or not with the way he was speaking- and his embarrassed adjustments to his gym uniform weren’t helping any of the group interpret his mixed signals. Mina glanced over to her friends to see the same confused looks on their faces. Ojirou shrugged subtly from his place just out of Shinsou’s line of sight, and Mina had to suppress a sigh. Was everyone here a socially-incompetent nerd?
But, still. She mentally shook her exasperation off, shoved away her revulsion, and looked back to Shinsou- still standing there awkwardly. Go figure.
“So, is there any specific way you wanna do this? Any sort of hand-to-hand we should avoid, focus on?” She asked. Shinsou blinked blankly for a moment.
“I- no, not really. I have… a lot of areas for improvement.” His eyes suddenly became guarded again. “Are you sure that this is the best idea?” Mina winced internally. Please, god, don’t let him catch on this quickly.
“Sure! We won’t use our full strength on you, and there’ll be no Quirks in the fight! It’ll just be one-on-one, no fancy moves from your opponent. And- hey, everybody has to start somewhere, right?” Sero was speaking- always a charmer, one of the best bluffers into this class. Mina nodded along encouragingly, and she heard the rest of the group make affirming noises and say words of support with Sero. She was sure that everyone was mentally crossing their fingers that Shinsou would be convinced. They watched him carefully, expectant smiles on their faces as he practically squirmed under their gaze. He still seemed to be hesitant, though, and Mina could feel the hope within her slowly withering. Please, please, pleasepleaseplease-
“...it’s okay if no.” Sero broke the silence. Mina couldn’t stop how her head snapped over to look at him in shock. What the hell is he doing- “We’re pretty overwhelming, hah.” He gave a small smile, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. Shinsou was staring at him with a slightly more subtle look of surprise.
“I…” He trailed off. Sero gave him another gentle smile.
“Yeah, understandable. C’mon, guys.” Sero made a motion to the rest of the group to follow him. Mina, still gaping, hesitantly began to shuffle away from Shinsou.
“Uh, yeah, sure…” She heard Satou whisper. Shinsou was still looking on confusedly.
“Sorry for bothering you, man.” Sero was still talking, still smiling. “Actually, I’m pretty sure that Uraraka and Iida are looking for you anyways-”
“-wait.” Shinsou suddenly gasped out. Mina stopped, turning around. Shinsou was standing there, looking like he regretted blurting out the cry but not backing down from his spot. Mina caught Sero turning out of the corner of her eye.
“All good?” He asked. Shinsou seemed to be trying not to glare at him, working through something mentally before nodding slightly.
“I-I wanna train with you. Hand-to-hand combat, I don’t care who.” The way he said it was decisive. Mina was frozen for a second before a grin- a real grin- flew to her face. She made a mental note to thank Sero for his genius thinking later when this was all over.
“That’s great!” She bubbled, jumping happily. Satou nodded as enthusiastically as he could manage, expression filled with anxiety. Mina could relate, but she still dearly wished that he could hide it better for the sake of Shinsou’s belief in their trust in him. Quickly, she glided over to him with some sort of exclamation of how exciting this was and a very pointed look. He got the hint almost immediately and forced himself to relax (at least, that’s what it looked like).
And with that, the first part of their plan was over and done with successfully. Easy- almost too easy, but Mina would gladly take this suspicious bit of calm over a complete freakout from Shinsou and the plan slowly falling to shreds on display for the entire class.
Wow, that was surprisingly eloquent-
-And fitting. Eloquent and fitting. Because as Mina followed the group past the rocks, past the cliffs into a private spot where nobody would notice them gone- as Mina watched Shinsou awkwardly shuffle around, cracking his joints as his eyes scanned the room warily- as Mina gave one last subtle look to her friends and the plan kicked into high gear-
It was the most poetically perfect thing she could ever imagine.
He left and their plan had worked and even if Shinsou was still going to come back for more, it felt better than they ever could’ve imagined to beat him down like that.
He was gone.
And even if Kaminari caught their eyes and glared at them; even if a couple people in the group gasped as he left, finally seeing his injuries to the fullest extent; even if all he did was sigh, drag himself out the door quietly so nobody would see what he looked like, and there was the slightest hint of guilt within their bodies as they watched him go; they told themselves it was for the better.
And they were happy.
One of my friends refers to this chapter as "it's all going downhill" and honestly? That's probably what it seems like. Now, whether the pattern continues? Ehh, you'll have to wait until next chapter to find out.
Don't worry. It'll be okay.