Aizawa has supervised dozens of training exercises before. This year’s crop of students is nothing like he has ever seen before, with enough potential to shake the hero industry to its core, but they’re still first years. Aizawa knows how to handle teenagers.
Shinsou is the only rogue element, the student who holds the bulk of Aizawa’s attention. It’s his first time fighting hero students since the sports festival, and the results of today will either cement or destabilise his confidence.
Aizawa is expecting Shinsou to be targeted. For Bakugou or Monoma to pick a fight that spirals out of control. For an accident that ends in a sheepish trip to Recovery Girl.
He’s not expecting a mass of black tendrils to erupt from Midoriya’s chest.
In the microseconds after Midoriya’s chest rips itself open, revealing the swirl of black whips, his instincts start screaming at him—because that is a quirk. A powerful, unstable quirk, spinning wildly out of a teenager’s body.
The other teachers beg him to stop the match. Aizawa doesn’t like getting involved in student matches—there is no way to hit pause in the real world, after all, and heroes can’t expect someone to jump in and fix everything when things go wrong—but the way Midoriya writhes under the black mass of power, the way the other students start panicking…
In the end, Uraraka and Shinsou subdue Midoriya. All Might is already up and racing into the simulation to check on his favourite student. Aizawa follows at a much slower pace.
Midoriya already has a quirk, and a very powerful one at that. The smokey tendrils that spun wildly around him—that wasn’t a part of his strength-stockpiling quirk. That was something else. Something new.
Something is wrong with his student, Aizawa thinks. And it is his responsibility to find out what.
Once Midoriya regains consciousness and groggily pushes away his friends panicked hands, All Might helps him to his feet and ushers him away. To visit Recovery Girl, All Might says, but aside from the dazed look Midoriya wears and the stiff and slow way he moves, their student looks unharmed. Any student would have to visit the nurse after passing out in the middle of class, but there’s no reason for All Might to look so flustered. Considering the frequency with which Midoriya breaks his bones and the lack of care both he and All Might show towards serious injuries, All Might’s panic doesn’t add up.
Aizawa leaves Vlad King to conclude the class, and silently follows All Might.
Like he suspected, he doesn’t take Midoriya straight to Recovery Girl. Aizawa finds the two of them in a shadowy hallway, far enough away from the classrooms that they won’t be disturbed.
“How am I supposed to deal with six new quirks?” Midoriya’s voice is high and frantic.
“I … I don’t know. This never happened to me.”
“Maybe One for All manifests differently for everyone? I mean, I had a lot of trouble learning how to use it at first, when you mastered it fairly quickly, and you never saw the ghosts of past users so …”
“I don’t know,” All Might says again. “I spoke with Gran Torino. He isn’t sure what’s happening either.”
“All Might,” Midoriya says in a smaller voice, sounding, for once, like a teenager with an unpredictable and physically traumatising quirk, “I was finally catching up with everyone else. I thought once I learned how to use One for All, I would be on the same level as my classmates, and then I could start working on catching up to you, but now I have to discover and master six new quirks. It’s like starting all over again. It’s like—like I’m quirkless and learning how to use a quirk all over again.”
It’s silent, aside from their congested breathing—All Might’s wet with blood, Midoriya’s shaky with tears.
“I’m sorry, my boy,” All Might says at last, so soft and lost, and Aizawa finally decides to end this.
He rounds the corner to find Midoriya slumped under All Might’s arm, clutching at the front of his teacher’s jacket. He’s crying quietly. In Aizawa’s experience, when children cry quietly it is because they are simply too exhausted to stop.
They jerk away when they see Aizawa. All Might clears his throat. “Aizawa! Is something wrong? Do you need me to come back to class? Once I drop Midoriya off with Recovery Girl, I’ll—”
“What’s One for All?” Aizawa asks.
They stiffen. All Might has been hiding his personal details from the ravenous public for decades, and Midoriya has been lying by omission since he first walked into UA, but with the way they both glance at each other, and then quickly look away, fidgeting in place, he wouldn’t have guessed that either of them were capable of lying.
“It’s what I call my quirk,” Midoriya says, far too casually. “I renamed it since it’s, uh. It’s changing.”
“Changing,” Aizawa says flatly.
Midoriya nods, curls bouncing. He’s regaining some of the colour he lost to shock. Aizawa thinks he should be concerned that his student bounces back from trauma by lying to the adults trying to help him.
Midoriya opens his mouth, but All Might holds out a hand.
“It’s alright, my boy. I think it’s time we told Aizawa. We’ve kept this secret long enough.”
Midoriya’s eyes go wide. “Are you sure?”
“I’m sure.” All Might takes a breath, and says, “One for All is a stockpiling quirk that can be passed down from person to person. I received it from my mentor, and young Midoriya received it from me.”
Aizawa glances from All Might to Midoriya quickly. It sounds impossible—he’s never heard of a quirk that can be handed down like a family heirloom—but at the same time, it makes perfect sense. Midoriya’s inability to use his quirk at the start of the year. The strange, familial relationship between All Might and Midoriya. The slow malnourishment of All Might’s body, like his power was being siphoned away.
“You’re …” Aizawa begins.
“I’m All Might’s successor.” Midoriya’s proud but shaky voice rings clearly down the empty corridor.
“When did you receive his quirk?”
All Might winces. Midoriya says, “The day of the entrance exam.”
“And you were quirkless before then?” Aizawa asks.
Midoriya looks at his shoes and nods, and another puzzle piece slots together: in this new context, Midoriya’s shy and skittish behaviour suddenly makes sense. Aizawa doesn’t know—didn’t know—any quirkless people personally, but he knows how difficult life can be for them.
And if Bakugou has known Midoriya from childhood—Bakugou, who looks down on anyone without power or confidence, who antagonised Midoriya at the start of the school year—then …
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” Aizawa asks.
Midoriya’s eyes flit to All Might. “It—it wasn’t really my secret to tell.”
“It’s a powerful secret,” All Might admits, wilting under Aizawa’s fierce stare. “I respect you a great deal, but we hadn’t know each other very well, especially at the beginning of semester, and this is a secret only a handful of people are privy to.”
“I understand that,” Aizawa says, “but you gave a god-like quirk to a teenager, who had been quirkless for fifteen years and had no basis for how to use any kind of quirk, and then you immediately sent him off to take UA’s dangerous, high-pressure exam.”
All Might pulls on his long bangs. “UA has safety procedures in place to make sure that the kids who overextend themselves during the exam don’t get hurt.”
“And what if Midoriya had misfired and his quirk had injured the other exam goers? And it’s obvious that the quirk itself has the potential to rip its users apart if they’re not careful. The strain could have killed him.”
“Well,” All Might says weakly, “it sounds bad when you phrase it like that.”
“Remind me, Midoriya: how many limbs did you break in the entrance exam?”
“Uh.” Midoriya looks from All Might to Aizawa. “Only three.”
“Only three,” Aizawa echoes. “And you broke your finger and your arm on the very first day of school.”
Aizawa looks beyond them, at some sightless point in the distance. Midoriya and All Might exchange glances.
“I should have realised something more was going on,” Aizawa says, “but the both of you should have told me about this much sooner. I could have tailored Midoriya’s lessons more accurately. I can’t help if I don’t know the problem.”
“We’ve been doing okay,” Midoriya says. “Gran Torino’s been helping me. And I’ve improved a lot. I’m not where I want to be, not even close, but compared to where I was eighteen months ago …”
“I didn’t just mean your physical handle on your quirk,” Aizawa says, more gentle this time. “I haven’t overlooked the implications of this. You’re All Might’s successor. I’m guessing you’re planning on taking on his mantle when you leave UA.”
Midoriya’s hands ball into fists, pulling the scarred skin on his knuckles taunt. “Yes. As soon as possible.”
“Okay,” Aizawa says, mind whirling. It would be easy to get swept up in this revelation, but there is more to be discussed. More he doesn’t know. “Okay. And today?”
Midoriya explains haltingly about his six new quirks, and Aizawa, suddenly, feels exhausted.
How have these two been coping on their own? All Might is inexperienced as a teacher. He hadn’t had any real experience with children, aside from charity events and fan meet-ups, before meeting Midoriya.
And Midoriya. How has Midoriya been coping? This is a heavy weight for any man. To impose it on a high schooler …
Next, Aizawa starts grilling All Might on dietary plans and training regimes. Thankfully, All Might carries around electric copies on his phone, so he has a constant reference in his back pocket. He’s so involved, so busy mentally sifting through his revelation, that he barely notices Midoriya edging around them and disappearing down the hallway.
Midoriya’s head hurts.
He felt very small and very overwhelmed standing between his two teachers, the subject of their conversation but not quite involved in the discussions. So when they start pouring over his training program, he goes and finds an empty bathroom.
He hadn’t imagined revealing One for All to Aizawa, to have details of their shared past examined so efficiently and then torn apart so ruthlessly. He should have, probably. Aizawa is too smart. It would have come out eventually.
He’s disorientated. His surroundings are a blur. He doesn’t realise he’s not alone, until someone asks, “How do you have a second quirk?”
Midoriya spins around. The words tumble out before he can fully recognise who is in the room with him. “I don’t—it’s—”
His muscles go slack. A black fog swamps his thoughts.
“You already have one perfect, godlike quirk,” Shinsou says, a low ache undercutting his voice, like an old wound reopened. “How is it that you now have another one?”
The answer comes without his consent: “It’s called One for All. It’s a stockpiling quirk, passed down through the generations. I’m starting to receive the quirks of past users—”
Shinsou drops the control so fast Midoriya lurches back, bile in his throat. A painful tingle runs up his spine like an electric shock.
Shinsou seems just as dazed.
“I shouldn’t have done that,” he says, though he doesn’t apologise.
“No. You shouldn’t have.”
“Passed down through the generations, collecting more quirks as it goes. But that’s … oh. Oh. So you’re really not All Might’s son, then.”
That is enough to shock the anger out of Midoriya. He considers staying stubbornly silent, but it wasn’t quite a question—and the damage has already been done.
“Does everyone really think All Might is my dad?”
“Just the people who have seen you two interact,” Shinsou says, and ignores the way Midoriya goes red and flails his hands around his face. “So it really is All Might’s quirk that you received. To think, someone could receive that kind of quirk, that kind of power …” Shinsou squints at him. Midoriya swallows heavily. Those eyes feel like they could pierce right through him. “What was your quirk before?”
“I didn’t have one,” Midoriya says. “I’m quirkless.”
“Oh,” Shinsou says, and then again, “Oh.”
Midoriya leans against the ceramic sink. He feels weak, like his new quirk has sucked out all his energy. “UA has been like something out of a dream. My whole life, people always said I couldn’t be a hero, that I was nothing, and now I’m here, and … it’s like another world entirely.”
“A quirkless boy with All Might’s quirk. With multiple quirks.” Shinsou turns away and laughs. The sound echoes strangely in the empty bathroom. “You really are something else, Midoriya.”
“You’re not mad?”
“Why would I be mad?”
“You don’t think it’s like—like I’m cheating, do you? You’ve had to struggle to become a hero using your own power, despite everyone villainising you, and here I am, having already inheriting All Might’s quirk, receiving more power—”
“When I was a kid and the way I was treated started to get to me,” Shinsou says, “I would think to myself, ‘At least I wasn’t born without a quirk.’ There was a quirkless girl in the year above me. I saw how she was treated. I thought anything would have been better than that.
“The whole world saw you break your bones at the sports festival. And it’s clear to see how hard you’ve been working at this, even compared to the other hero course kids. You’re like me, in that regard.”
Midoriya doesn’t realise he’s crying until his next breath catches in his throat, and he chokes on a sob. He presses a fist to his mouth.
“You’re not cheating,” Shinsou says.
“Thank you,” Midoriya manages, before he becomes too choked up to speak.
Aizawa takes constant mental notes about his students—lesson plans, and words of encouragement or admonishment, and issues to watch out for.
When he first saw Midoriya, shivery and narrow-shouldered, unable to hold his quirk without hurting himself, he knew he would require a lot of work. But he wasn’t unlike the other hero students. He was just a boy with a too-big dream and too-small skill-set.
The first time Aizawa began to think that Midoriya might be more trouble than the average would-be hero was during the USJ attack. The look on his face right before he blundered into the middle of an active villain fight—it was reckless, and naive, and that dumb, shaky smile reminded Aizawa startlingly of All Might.
There has been a series of moments, both big and small, between then and now that told Aizawa that Midoriya might be different, might be more—but this is bigger than he could have ever imagined.
Aizawa realises, now, that he has never—and will never—have a student like Midoriya.
Hizashi drops into the chair next to him. Aizawa doesn’t look away from the bright glare of his laptop.
“What did your kids do this time?” Hizashi asks.
“Kid,” Aizawa corrects.
“Ah,” Hizashi says. “What did Midoriya do this time?” Aizawa looks up. Hisashi shrugs. “I saw All Might wandering around all frazzled earlier, and you look like someone has spat in your tea—so something has probably happened with Midoriya.”
“I’m going to have to come up with an entirely new training regime for him,” Aizawa says.
“I thought he had been getting better. Is his fighting style not working out?”
“It’s working out. It just won’t work out in the future.” Hizashi opens his mouth, but Aizawa cuts him off, “You’ll find out soon enough.”
“Ominous,” Hizashi says.
“Purposefully so,” Aizawa says, and gets up and stretches. His spine cracks. Hizashi looks like he’s going to keep pestering for answers, so Aizawa shuts his laptop and goes to track down All Might. He has more questions about One for All. It’s only been a few hours since he found out, but it feels like he will never run out of questions.
The dizziness hits him mid-leap. Midoriya has been waiting, with excitement and dread, for this for over a week—so when his vision begins to blur at the edges, when he feels a tug in his chest, he lands on the rooftop and looks around desperately.
The blurry shape of a man is leaning against a row of pipes. His smile is half-feral. “We almost didn’t want you to get this one,” he says.
“I have it then?” Midoriya asks. “Your quirk?”
“Your quirk, now.”
“What is it?” Midoriya has so many questions. He wants to know these people, their quirks, their pasts. “Who are you?”
The man laughs. “This is going to hurt. It always does. Can’t do much about that part, I’m afraid.”
Midoriya blinks. Looks over the man’s shoulder to see a canon coming straight for him, too close to dodge. And then comes a familiar crack and a wave of pain that sweeps all his questions away.
“I’m so sorry, Midoriya!” Yaoyorozu is on the verge of tears, leaning over him with a handful of ice packs melting through her fingers. “I thought you saw me! You were looking in my direction, and your quirk makes you so fast—”
“It’s okay,” Midoriya says. He thinks his classmates are more bothered by his broken arm than he is. “Really. It doesn’t even hurt much anymore.”
“You’re just saying that.”
Midoriya blinks. “A-actually, I’m not.”
Aizawa pushes Yaoyorozu aside, towards the rest of her team, and kneels next to Midoriya. He picks up his arm. There’s a tinge of pain deep beneath the skin, like the strain of a still-healing injury knitting together, but the agony he was expecting doesn’t come.
Tsuyu peers over Aizawa’s shoulder. “Your arm isn’t broken. Ribbit.”
“But we saw it break,” Kaminari says, shuddering. “I won’t be able to forget it—his arm snapped. It was so gross.”
“But it’s not broken,” Tsuyu said. “Not anymore.”
Aizawa is quiet for a long moment, and then he says, “This is already far worse than I was expecting.”
Midoriya clutches at his newly healed arm, smiling sheepishly. “Sorry, sensei.”
Chiyo stares at Aizawa. The man always looks tired, but there is an air of resignation about him. A man who is used to the universe throwing worse-case scenarios at him, brought low by a teenage boy.
“That can’t be,” she says.
“It is,” Aizawa says.
“Midoriya,” she says again, “the boy who breaks his bones as often as Midnight gets love letters.”
“With a self-healing quirk.”
Chiyo and Aizawa share a moment of commiserating silence. Then Chiyo reaches into her desk and pulls out a bottle of whiskey. She would normally lie and say it was for medical purposes, but they both know it was a gift from Nezu. She wonders what he thinks about Midoriya’s situation. He is probably enjoying the chaos of it all.
She pours two generous glasses, and slides one across the desk to Aizawa.
“He’s going to develop more quirks,” Aizawa says.
Chiyo was once surprised, pleasantly so, by the young heroes who bounced in and out of her office. Those days were in the past, though. Way, way in the past. Now she knows that the entire hero community is a menace to her, personally, and that All Might and his boy have been put on this earth to victimise her for her past sins.
“His body has barely been able to handle one quirk without exploding. How is he supposed to handle more?” A question floats to her mind, terrible and boding. “ … how many more quirks?”
That dead look is back in Aizawa’s eyes. “Including the two he’s already discovered? Six.”
Chiyo drinks the rest of her whiskey like a shot. Then, she reaches across the desk, and drains Aizawa’s glass.
God help them all.
Quirk No. 3
Name: Regenerative Healing
- Would prevent me from being immobilised with injuries
- Healing would allow me to extend fights (Reference: Eri, Overhaul)
- Unable to heal other people (Test?)
- Exhausting. Healing uses my own energy reserves which could take me out of a fight just as fast as an injury
- Doesn’t negate permanent injury to my body
- After the revelation that I have a self-healing quirk, lots of the adults in my life look like they wish they had never been born
“Do you have a concussion?”
Midoriya tears his gaze away from the window. Shinsou is leaning against the far wall, munching steadily on an apple, examining him.
“You looked dazed,” Shinsou says. “I was wondering if you were concussed. Hero kids always seem to be injuring themselves in some way—and you, especially.”
“You’ll be a hero kid soon,” Midoriya says. Shinsou blinks and steps away, like he is surprised all over again by the reminder.
Shinsou clears his throat. “Aizawa wouldn’t let you wander around concussed, anyway. So what happened?”
“I got another quirk.” Shinsou gestures with his apple to keep talking. Midoriya scrubs a shaky hand through his hair, and says, “Regenerative healing.”
Shinsou barks out a laugh. “Oh, god. That explains why Aizawa looked so miserable when I saw him earlier.”
“Everyone seems to think I’ll use it as an excuse to destroy my body,” Midoriya grumbles. Shinsou stares at him, eyebrow raised. It’s eerily similar to the way Aizawa looks at him whenever he promises not to be reckless. “Hey! I won’t! Even if I can heal myself, I still have to deal with longtime damage and strain. Like when Recovery Girl heals me, I still have scars and there’s wear on my muscles and I’m still in danger of ruining my body permanently if I push it too far. And besides, how strenuous even is self-healing? It's exhausting when Recovery Girl uses her quirk on me, so it must be doubly so to use your own healing quirk on yourself—”
“Midoriya,” Shinsou cuts in.
“There’s a lot of unknown variables,” Midoriya says, and presses his lips together to keep all his theories from spilling out.
Shinsou laughs. His smile is conspiratorial. “Do you want to train? I could stab you and time how fast you heal.”
Midroiya considers this. “A broken bone healed fairly quickly, so a cut should heal even faster, since it’s surface damage. But a stab wound might not follow that same logic if it’s a deep injury. Depending on where you stabbed me—”
“Nobody is stabbing anybody.”
Midoriya and Shinsou spin around. Aizawa stands further down the hallway, already half-inside of his sleeping bag.
“I was kidding,” Shinsou says.
“He wasn’t,” Aizawa says, jerking his thumb at Midoriya.
Midoriya opens and closes his mouth, before he says, diplomatically, “I would like to explore the boundaries of this quirk. I’ve read about the theory behind regenerative quirks, and now that I have one, I’m curious.”
“Anybody that tries to stab their peers or themselves is getting marched straight to the principal's office and expelled.”
Shinsou snorts. Aizawa levels a dry scowl at him. He smiles back.
“You wouldn’t expel either of us for a little bit of stabbing.”
“Lunch will be over soon,” Aizawa says instead of arguing. “Get to class, both of you, before I find the energy to finish my letter of resignation.”
Midoriya can’t sleep. He’s busy staring up at the ceiling and thinking about the way Bakugou’s expression narrows every time he looks at him these days, like he’s a puzzle piece he can’t work out. He should probably talk to him. Explain some things about One for All. Not because he owes Bakugou, but because he wants to foster the respect forming between them.
There is a sharp pull in his stomach, behind his naval, like a hook dragging him ashore. Behind his closed lids, he sees Bakugou’s sharp red eyes, a growl of a mouth, baggy pants and spiky blond hair, and he feels the tangled weight of their decades-old relationship pressing down on him. The pull gets stronger.
There is a pop. And then, all at once, the pressure disappears.
“Where the fuck …?”
Midoriya jerks upright, clutching his blankets. There, in the middle of the room, dazed and squinty-eyed, is Bakugou. Pink lines crease his cheeks. Pillow marks.
How had a half-asleep Bakugou gotten into his room?
Bakugou looks up at the All Might posters on the wall, the All Might figurines stacked on the shelf, the All Might plushy propped on the desk. Something like horror dawns on his face.
Bakugou turns, slow enough to set off every survival instinct Midoriya has, and says, “Did you just fucking kidnap me, you broccoli-shaped motherfucker?”
“Not on purpose?” Midoriya tries.
Bakugou lunges for him. Midoriya dodges, getting tangled in his duvet and almost braining himself on his bedside table, and sprints for the door, Bakugou hot on his heels.
Bakugou and Midoriya kneel back-to-back in the dirt. They know better than to strain against the capture weapon binding them together or argue with the teacher glaring down at them, not because Aizawa has taught them well, but because they have too much experience being in trouble.
Both boys are wearing pyjamas. They’re barefoot, bruised, and equally indignant. When they built the dorms, Aizawa prepared himself for midnight scuffles and accidental quirk usage. But half the class being pulled into an explosive chase through the dorms, the sudden manifestation of a student’s fourth quirk—he hadn’t been expecting that.
“If this happens again,” Aizawa says through gritted teeth, “I won’t be dealing with you. Principal Nezu will.”
“We’re sorry, sensei,” Midoriya says.
“Sorry,” Bakugou says, passingly polite.
“I won’t give you detention right now, simply because I know you’re both dealing with a lot of stress, and neither of you meant for Bakugou to be pulled into another dorm room in the middle of the night. But I do expect you to talk about this, calmly and rationally and without resorting to violence.” He aims this last part at Bakugou, who looks away, but doesn’t argue.
Bakugou has been getting better, especially since Aizawa dug deeper into their past, and pulled Bakugou aside for a firm discussion about bullying, past and present. But he’s sixteen years old and full of anger and stress, both old and new. Aizawa is keeping an eye on the situation.
Aizawa lets the capture weapon fall slack. “Get back to bed before I change my mind and leave you to Nezu.”
They scramble up and head for their rooms. Aizawa does another lap of the dorm, checking to see if anyone is awake or injured, before heading back to bed and trying to fit in a few hours of sleep before class.
Quirk No. 4
- Being able to summon back-up during missions or natural disasters
- Summoning friends/colleagues that are in trouble
- Summoning needed equipment (eg. weapons, first aid) in the field
- Unable to summon objects/persons I am unfamiliar with or don’t have attachment to. Wouldn’t work on civilians or random hero team-ups. Would have to build-up relationships with hero colleagues before attempting a summoning.
- No way of alerting someone before summoning them. Could potentially bring someone into dangerous scenario when they are unprepared for it (What if they’re having a shower when I summon them and they get stuck fighting a villain while naked?!)
*Ask Mei about coms in suits?
Luckily, Midoriya has more opportunities to practise summoning. Unfortunately, this boils down to his classmates asking him to fetch their things from across campus—or even just from across the dorm of laziness.
“It only works with things I have an emotional connection to,” Midoriya explains, when Hagakure, too lazy to get up from the couch, keeps pestering him to fetch the homework she had left in her room. “And I have to be semi-familiar with the object, too. I have to know it, emotionally and intellectually, to be able to summon it.”
“Hey, Midoriya,” Jirou says, leaning over the couch with a wicked smirk. “I have some questions I need to ask Todoroki about the upcoming practical. Could you get him for me?”
“You should probably just go talk to him yourself …”
“Come on,” she wheedles. “Don’t you need the practise? What if you needed to summon someone in the middle of a fight?”
Midoriya sighs and concentrates. He thinks about Todoroki’s twin-toned hair, his gentle face, the delicate planes of his hands. The warmth that balloons in his chest whenever he thinks about his strong, loyal friend.
A pressure builds up. Snaps.
Todoroki tumbles into Midoriya’s lap.
Hagakure squeals, while Jirou bursts out laughing. Todoroki looks down at Midoriya, his mess of curls brushing against Todoroki’s bare collarbones, exposed by his low-cut gym shirt, and says, “Oh.”
“I’m so sorry, Todoroki! It was—they thought I should—I’m sorry!”
“It’s fine,” Todoroki says, perfectly at ease in Midoriya’s lap. “Just warn me next time and I’ll come down using the elevator.”
Midoriya hides his burning face in Todoroki’s shoulder. He’s too embarrassed to speak. All he can manage is a nod.
Toshinori groggily picks up the phone ringing on his bedside table. Midoriya’s face smiles up at him. This is not unusual—a photo of Midoriya holding up his provisional license, red-cheeked and smiling shyly, is his lock screen—but this photo is different. It is Midoriya as a toddler dressed in an All Might onesie. Midoriya’s contact photo.
Toshinori answers the phone. “Is everything alright, my boy?”
“I froze the kitchen and now I don’t know what to do.”
Toshinori blinks. Sits up. “Froze the kitchen? How?”
“I—I don’t know! One minute, I was helping Sato and Tokoyami make cookies, and I was getting really happy because I don’t normally spend a lot of time with them one-on-one, but I started thinking about how they’re really good friends, and it was so great that they were willing to spend time with me so late at night and try and cheer me up—”
“Why would you need cheering up?” Toshinori asks.
“No reason. It’s—it’s nothing, really.”
Midoriya sucks in a few short gasps. Toshinori isn’t sure if he has run out of air from talking so quickly, or if he is edging into a panic attack. Regardless, he throws a jacket on over his pyjamas, finds his slippers, and heads towards the dorms.
“You were up at 2am with two young men known for their quiet and calm demeanours, making comfort food. That doesn’t sound like nothing.”
“It’s just. Well.” Midoriya blows out a shaky breath. “I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about what my quirks could be? And how to contact the past users of One for All to learn more about them and their quirks, and maybe preserve their legacy, and then I thought about how I was going to explain the—the—the multiple quirks to everyone? And then I was thinking about how none of it would even matter if I didn’t get a handle on everything and—and—”
“Young Midoriya,” Toshinori cuts in. “Izuku. Breathe.”
Midoriya breathes, too fast and too shallow, until Toshinori gets to the dorm. He envelopes Midoriya into a hug as soon as he sees him. The boy is streaked with flour, still in his work-out clothes. He looks as though he has been crying.
“You’re not alone,” Toshinori says into Midoriya’s hair. “We’re going to work this out together. You, me. Aizawa. All of your friends. And all the people in the hero community who are on our side. It’s going to be okay.”
When Midoriya pulls away, embarrassed, Toshinori gets a proper look of the kitchen. And the two figures frozen inside it.
“Ah,” he says.
“I don’t know how to undo this,” Midoriya says. “They’ve just … been frozen like that for twenty minutes. I tried to touch them, but nothing happened.”
“Okay, no need to panic, young Midoriya. We can figure this out together.”
The kitchen is frozen, like a life-sized photograph. Sato is leaning over an electric mixer full of cake batter. Tokoyami is sat on the counter, feeding dark shadow bits of raw cookie dough, beak open as though he was mid-sentence.
“This is a very useful quirk,” Toshinori says after a moment. “You could freeze a villain before they did any damage.
“Yes,” Midoriya says, almost giddy, before shaking himself. “But it’s not useful when it freezes my friends!”
“We should probably call Aizawa,” Toshinori says, exchanging frightened glances with Midoriya. Neither of them want to wake the other teacher up, especially after he was pulled out of bed last week to deal with the sudden appearance of his fourth quirk. But they can’t leave two students frozen in the kitchen.
“Can I help?”
Toshinori was so caught up in Midoriya’s panic that he didn’t notice Todoroki coming downstairs. The student, dressed in sweatpants and a sleep-rumpled shirt, pours himself a glass of milk, unbothered by the still forms of Sato and Tokoyami.
“I don’t know if there’s anything you can do,” Midoriya says, glancing at Toshinori. “Your quirk is so different to this and—”
Todoroki presses a hand to the nape of Midoriya’s neck. Ice splinters down his back. Midoriya screams, twists and flails, and crashes into Toshinori’s side. “Todoroki!”
The electric mixer starts whirring again. Tokoyami swivels around on the counter, blinking owlishly at them. “What happened? When did you all get here?”
Todoroki sips his milk. “You’re welcome.”
Quirk No. 5
- Being able to pause dangerous situations (villains, natural disasters, accidents, bombs, ect.) would save lives
- Only seems to work when I’m content. It will be hard to find that happiness in frightening situations.
* Could possible treat quirk like conjuring a patronus? If I focus on strong happy memories, maybe I could fall into a calm state and activate my quirk. Will need further testing.
Present Mic hands back their English assessments two days later. Midoriya sees the near-perfect score marked on top of his paper, along with a scrawled note about how fast his vocabulary is evolving and how he’ll be proficient soon. He scans the class. Uraraka waves her assessment at him. She passed, too.
Iida holds up his assessment. He received a similar mark as Midoriya. Their little study groups seem to be helping each of them. A ball of warmth expands in his chest.
Mic squawks. Midoriya wrenches his gaze away from his friends.
In front of him, Bakugou is leaning back in his seat, frozen mid-rude gesture. Sero is slumped over his desk, unnervingly still. His failed assessment hangs motionless in the air, where it had begun to fall out of his grip.
In the desk in front of Sero, Jirou’s arm is stuck to her chair. She twists frantically in place. The very left side of her body is stuck, though she can move the right side.
“What’s going on?” Mic asks.
“I’m stuck,” Jirou says, panic undercutting her voice.
Midoriya jumps out of his seat. “I’m—I’m so sorry!”
Mic looks from the two and a half frozen students to Midoriya. “You did this?”
“Yes,” Midoriya says.
“But your quirk is stockpiled strength?”
“ … But you also managed to freeze two of your classmates in place?”
“Yes,” Midoriya says. “It was an accident. I was just really happy about acing the test.”
“I’m frozen, too,” Jirou says loudly. She’s stuck in an awkward position. Midoriya can see why she’s annoyed. “Midoriya, let me go.”
“Well.” Midoriya rubs at the back of his head. “I don’t … know how?”
“What do you mean you don’t know how?”
Mic looks at Midoriya, at the students frozen in place, at the wider class watching on without panic or even surprised, because they’ve seen him do this before, and scrubs a hand over his face. “I understand why Aizawa has been looking so tired lately. Good lord.”
Todoroki gets up from his seat and weaves through the desk. While Midoriya is distracted, floundering under Present Mic’s awed and horrified gaze, he creates a handful of ice and shoves it under Midoriya’s shirt.
Midoriya squeals and bucks up and out of his seat. Sero and Bakugou start moving again. Jirou regains control of her entire body.
Sero lifts his head and blinks dazedly at the room. Bakugou almost falls out of his seat, but catches himself at the last minute.
“What the fuck,” Bakugou says. He catches sight of the entire room, peering curiously at him, and Midoriya hopping in place behind him, trying to get ice cubes out of his shirt, and his expression hardens. “Deku. What the fuck.”
Midoriya picks himself up and hides behind Todoroki.
“How do you know it was him?” Todoroki asks.
“Something weird just happened. Of fucking course it was him.”
“Everyone settle down,” Mic says loudly, though he still looks dazed, and periodically squints at Midoriya like he’s never seen him before. “Back to your seats. Lets just … lets move on.”
Shinsou and Midoriya meet out on the lawn, under a shady tree. Snacks are piled between them, though Midoriya is distracted, scribbling in his journal and muttering under his breath.
“I’ve only been able to voluntarily pause time on small inanimate objects,” Midoriya said, “like spinning tops or rubber balls. People and larger objects only work when I’m in a calm, almost-meditative state of joy. Happiness and love aren’t enough to trigger it, which is difficult, because those emotions are fairly easy to conjure up. This quirk needs proper contentment to work. Which might be impossible when I’m in real danger.”
Shinsou thinks about this. “Do you think I could use brainwashing to force someone to feel emotions?”
Midoriya blinks up at him, and then breaks out into a smile. “Shinsou, you’re a genius!”
UA’s cafeteria is as large as some of its gymnasiums, and three times as loud. During the lunch hour, it’s a highway of movement and noise as hundreds of teenagers move around the space.
Shinsou leans against the doorway, surveying the cafeteria. Now, it’s quieter than an exam room. No one moves, or coughs, or breathes. The only motion comes from Midoriya, swaying gently in the middle of the cafeteria.
It’s a sight to behold: hundred students, frozen in place. Japan’s hero hopefuls, the future management and support masterminds, some of the most intelligent and powerful teenagers in Japan clumped around cafeteria tables. Unmoving.
Shinsou has never wanted to be a villain, but standing in the doorway with Midoriya—who must be one of the most powerful people in the world, with new powers manifesting every day—under his control, gazing out at the suspended chaos of the cafeteria … The power of it leaves him feeling dizzy.
“What the fuck.”
Shinsou peers over his shoulder. Kendo gapes at the cafeteria. Yaoyorozu, Ashido and Kaminari are with her, their sweaty hair pulled back with fabric bands. They must have gotten out of training late.
Yaoyorozu sighs. “Oh, Midoriya.”
“It was my idea,” Shinsou says, though if Aizawa asks, he is definitely throwing Midoriya under the bus. Aizawa probably wouldn’t ask. He would give them detention without pausing to ask questions.
“But—but—” Kendo splutters. “How?”
“Midoriya just be like that sometimes,” Ashido says.
“Midoriya, did this?” Kendo asks, awed.
“It really do be like that sometimes,” Kaminari says. “But hey, can we wake everyone up? I’m hungry.”
Yaoyorozu pushes past Shinsou and gently shakes Midoriya. He stares at her with a vague smile, like he’s high on laughing gas, and crooks a finger in the air. Yaoyorozu goes still.
“Is he going to do that to anyone that goes over to him?” Kaminari asks. “I don’t really feel like falling under Midoriya’s quirk again and wasting my lunch break.”
Shinsou sighs and lets the control drop. When Midoriya comes back to his senses, so does the rest of the cafeteria. There’s some confusion, some blinking, but no one seems to realise that they had all been frozen for several long minutes.
Kendo stares at Shinsou and Midoriya with her mouth open.
“What the fuck,” she says again, and Shinsou just laughs.
Uraraka had been studying for this test all week. At lunch, she had compulsively mumbled dates and names between mouthfuls of food. But as they are heading back to class to take the test, she begins to panic.
“I’m going to fail,” Uraraka groans into her hands.
Midoriya pulls her aside. He makes sure Uraraka is solely focused on him, and then says, forcing as much enthusiasm into his voice as he can muster, “Uraraka, you can do this. You’ve studied all week. You’re going to be amazing.”
Uraraka inhales sharply. She blinks, once, twice, and then laughs like she had been given a shot of adrenaline. “You’re right, Deku! I can do this. I’m going to ace this test.”
She sprints away, almost bowling over Ojirou, and disappears into the classroom.
Midoriya blinks. Ashido groans and slumps against the wall opposite him. “I wish I had her spirit. She has Midoriya and Iida to help her study, and I was stuck with Bakugou, since everyone was hogging Momo!”
“We’re going to die,” Kaminari agrees.
“I’m sure you’ll be fine,” Midoriya says, half his mind still on Uraraka. He’s glad she was so enthused by his pep talk, but it seems like a bit much, even for her. Maybe she’s covering up her nervousness with feral determination, the way she often does in Hero Training.
Ashido scans the windows and speculates, out loud, how hurt she would have to be for Aizawa to let her take the test another day. Kaminari ignores her, and says, “Easy for you to say, Mr. Number Four. You’re going to nail this.”
Midoriya doesn’t like seeing his normally cheerful classmates like this. Maybe they need a pep talk like Uraraka.
He draws himself up to his full height, and puts all his optimism into his words. “You’re not going to fail. You’re both smarter than you give yourselves credit for. You can do this!”
Ashido spins away from the windows, a smile plastered to her face. Kaminari stands up tall. They exchange energised looks.
“We’re going to pass this test,” Kaminari says firmly.
Ashido jumps into the air, pumping her fist. “Hell yeah! We can do this.”
They high-five and jog into class.
Asui comes down the hallway in time to see them topple into the classroom with twin war-cries. “What has gotten into them? Ribbit.”
Midoriya looks at her helplessly. “They’re just … very confident that they’re going to do well?”
“Kaminari and Ashido,” Asui says. “Confident in a test.”
“It is a bit out of character, yeah.”
During the test, Uraraka stays bent over her desk, scribbling furiously. Her teeth are gritted. Her grip on her pen is worryingly tight.
Her pen breaks ten minutes into the lesson. Ink explodes everywhere. Everyone looks up from their tests to see what has happened—everyone aside from Kaminari and Ashido, who remain bent over their papers, frantically writing out answers.
“Uraraka, go get cleaned up,” Aizawa says.
Yaoyorozu makes a wet wipes so Uraraka mop up the ink. Uraraka ignores her. She rubs ink off her test, staining her blazer and sleeve and getting ink on the desk and floor, and keeps writing.
“Uraraka,” Aizawa says again. “Go to the bathroom. I’ll give you a fresh test.”
Uraraka doesn’t stop writing. Aizawa watches her for a moment, and then activates his quirk. Uraraka stops. She looks around, dazed, before noticing the ink staining her front.
“Oh! How did that happen?”
Aizawa looks past Uraraka to Midoriya.
“Um,” Midoriya says. “I think Kaminari and Ashido might be affected too?”
Aizawa tips his head in their direction, and they stop writing.
Ashido blinks down at her mostly filled-out test. “When did that happen?”
“Oops,” Midoriya says.
Quirk No. 6
- Like a shot of adrenaline for fellow heroes in the field
- Could encourage dazed or frightened civilians to run to safety
- How much free will is taken away?
- What if I ill-advisedly encouraged someone into a bad situation?
- What if I encourage someone to run to safety/defend themselves and they run mindlessly into traffic or grievously injure/kill someone in the name of self-defence?
* Ask Shinsou about the morals of brainwashing quirks. I’m sure he’s read a lot about this subject.
The next morning, Shinsou texts him and asks to meet at the back of the school. Midoriya goes after his early morning jog, squinting suspiciously at the ruffled pyjama-clad form of his friend.
“You’re not going to beat me up, are you?”
Shinsou snorts. “As if I could lay a hand on you if I tried.”
“Probably not without using your quirk, no,” Midoriya allows. “But if I had received your message a year ago, I would’ve been certain you were going to beat me up. Or maybe I would have expected a fake love confession, or to be left waiting, or—what’s with that expression, Shinsou?”
Shinsou is no longer leaning casually against the wall. He stares at Midoriya with a pinched expression. “With how much power you have, it’s easy to forget you were once quirkless. People really …”
Midoriya flashes him a strained smile. “It wasn’t so bad, towards the end. And for a while, it was mostly just Kacchan, and he’s gotten better, so … what can I do for you, Shinsou?”
“Oh, right.” Shinsou shakes himself. When he smiles, it is sleep-deprived and maniac, and reminds Midoriya alarmingly of Aizawa. “I heard about what happened yesterday. I want to help you practise with your newest quirk.”
A few hours later, Aizawa is pulled out of class by a very bewildered looking Gen Ed teacher. When he comes back in, almost fifteen minutes later, he says briskly, “Midoriya. Detention. One week.”
Midoriya slumps in his chair. He has a feeling Shinsou will be joining him for this string of detentions. “Yes, sensei.”
Midoriya sits in the shade outside the gymnasium. Another quirk had manifested itself in the middle of training, but instead of spinning wildly out of control, Midoriya had grabbed hold of the quirk—the power he hadn’t even known he had had, the quirk he had no context for how to control—and wrestled it down. There was no panic. The classmates around him cheered and catcalled at the display.
It is a staggering change from the day the first unexpected quirk manifested.
Even if he has made so much progress, even if the power Midoriya wields sometimes takes Aizawa’s breath away, he is still a teenager. He gets tired, and scared, and overwhelmed, just like any other sixteen year old.
Aizawa crouches down beside him. Midoriya’s head is bent over his knees, fists pulled tight around his calves. He’s shaking.
When he first found out the truth about Midoriya’s quirk—the history behind it, the unpredictable future of it, the way it was going to unravel inside his student, the power of several pro heroes manifesting inside one still-growing body—he had been overwhelmed. Frustrated. Because he couldn’t protect Midoriya from his own power.
But Midoriya has shown him, time and time again, that he doesn’t need Aizawa’s protection. He needs support and understanding, but he can handle the power unfurling inside him without letting it tear him apart.
And, watching him take on new challenges and come out on top, seeing him inspire his classmates, push through the pain and the fear and keep on smiling—Aizawa can see the hero Midoriya will become. The hero he already is. The next Symbol of Hope.
Aizawa puts a hand on Midoriya’s back. He can feel the fine tremors wracking his body through the reinforced kevlar.
“Are you alright?” Aizawa asks. Midoriya nods, yes, keeping his head bent close to his knees. Aizawa casts a glance around. There is no one behind the shadowy gymnasium. He takes a breath, and says, lowly, “I’m proud of you.”
Midoriya’s head shoots up. In that moment, there is something fragile and disbelieving about him, something open writ on his face that makes Aizawa drop his gaze.
“All Might picked his successor well,” Aizawa says, staring at a distant outcropping of trees. “If anyone was to take on his mantle, to push through and surpass All Might, to lead Japan out of the dark, it would be you. Problem child.”
Midoriya’s face cracks open and he slumps, boneless, against Aizawa’s shoulders. Aizawa cups the back of his head and holds him steady as he cries.