Shouto isn’t expecting anything different when he walks into class that morning. The classroom is in the same disarray as it usually is before class starts, and everyone talks over each other as he makes his way to his seat. Midoriya greets him, Bakugou shouts at Midoriya, Kaminari and Ashido make silly faces at them both, and everything is normal. In fact, it’s so normal it doesn’t even occur to him that his teacher is a full ten minutes late to class, something that has never happened before.
When he finally notices Sensei isn’t actually in the room, Shouto doesn’t think too hard about it. The incident from last week comes to mind instead, and he dismisses his teacher’s absence, assuming the effects of the person’s Quirk had caught up with him. Briefly, he wonders if he’ll begin to see it affecting others, too—Sensei hadn’t been the only one who’d been engulfed in the strange force. Shouto notes that the tingle in his body and the fuzzy feeling in the back of his head haven’t left him since the Quirk hit, and that worries him a little. Will he fall victim to its mysterious ailments as well?
The careless chatter filling the room splutters to a stop when the door is violently thrown open and the resulting slam shakes the classroom. All eyes turn to the source of the noise, and a blanket of silence falls upon the students.
Standing in the doorway is Sensei, leaning heavily on the doorframe and looking positively ragged. He’s doubled over and out of breath, his legs shaking in a way that suggests he’s been running nonstop. Staggering over to the podium on unsteady feet, Sensei all but collapses onto it, a dark mop of hair obscuring his face. His hands grip the surface so hard his knuckles start to turn white.
Nobody in the class moves.
After another beat of silence, Midoriya breaks the spell.
“Aizawa-sensei,” he begins before fidgeting awkwardly in his seat, “are you okay...?”
Midoriya trails off as Sensei waves him off with a dismissive hand. Bracing himself against the podium, his teacher stands up straighter and brushes some of the hair out of his face. He takes a deep breath in, and the entire class holds its breath in anticipation for whatever wild explanation he’ll deliver in his usual monotone.
The unexpected happens.
Instead of a composed announcement, apologies tumble out of Sensei’s mouth like water pouring out of a faucet. His words come so rapid and frantic that no one can actually understand him, and he seems to realize this when he cuts himself off and shakes his head. Trying and failing to compose himself, he runs a hand through his messy hair and sighs deeply. It’s incredibly strange of his teacher to act like this, and the revelation of this strangeness sharpens Shouto’s senses.
For the first time, Shouto notices Sensei’s outfit.
It’s suddenly very obvious that his teacher isn’t even in his hero costume. The black jumpsuit Sensei wears every day is replaced by a pastel blue turtleneck sweater that is decidedly lame, and his dark brown dress pants contrast oddly with his top’s splash of color. His shoes are nowhere to be seen, and he’s only wearing a pair of grey socks that are dirtied from his presumably unexpected run to class. A pale pink hair tie wraps around his wrist. All things considered, the appearance of this strange new Sensei puts Shouto on edge, and he finds his outfit just barely forgivable.
Shouto shakes himself out of his judgmental thought process just in time to catch his teacher opening his mouth again.
“Very sorry for the wait, everyone,” says Sensei. He bows his already lowered head deeper in apology, and his voice is softer and more expressive than Shouto’s ever heard before. “I ran into some trouble this morning, so I’m a little late. Please understand.” He straightens slightly to acknowledge the class, though his previous calm quickly switches to acutely distressed. He begins to explain, but his words pick up speed and become more unintelligible the further his explanation moves along. Shouto just barely catches something about a promise and an alley in the jumbled mess that is Sensei’s word vomit.
In the corner of his eye, Shouto spies Bakugou growing more tense with every word that comes flying out of Sensei’s mouth. His expression is quickly morphing from disinterested to all-out enraged, and for a moment Shouto wonders if Bakugou’s teeth will shatter from how hard he’s clenching his jaw. His hands are balled into fists, and Shouto can already feel the explosive anger coming off of Bakugou in waves. He momentarily shifts his gaze from Bakugou to his emotional teacher, but even a glance is enough to tell Shouto that Sensei hasn’t noticed Bakugou and his murderous aura at all.
Shouto sighs. He has a feeling this won’t end well.
His suspicions are confirmed when Bakugou finally snaps and slams his fist into his desk. Sensei’s mouth snaps shut immediately, and he looks up fully at the class for the first time. His eyes are wide with shock and vague horror, making him look like a deer caught in headlights. Before Shouto can make a more careful observation of Sensei’s face, Bakugou unleashes a vicious explosion from his palms. He’s standing up now, posed and ready to throw down on the spot. With a terrifying sneer on his face, Bakugou levels Sensei with a blazing glare.
“ Cut the crap, you bloodsucking bitch! ”
Shouta can safely say he’s had a less than spectacular day so far.
With the promise he’d made that afternoon ringing in his mind, he’d gone to bed last night almost fully dressed. Of course, it’d been uncomfortable to sleep in clothes that were definitely not his pajamas, but he’d known he’d need all the time he could get in the morning. After all, he’s a man of his word, and he’d never let his students worry about him being late. He’s too afraid of their disapproval to let them down like that.
Everything had been just fine until he’d woken up this morning.
The panic didn’t settle in when he’d first opened his eyes. Not even a minor sense of something being wrong had come to him. It’d been only when he’d fully taken in his immediate surroundings that fear had jumpstarted the rapid beating of his heart and he’d scrambled to his feet. Instead of the familiar curtains and furniture in his bedroom, his eyes had met the grime and tall walls of an unknown alley, puddles of odd and potentially filthy liquid everywhere. He’d lifted his head in alarm when he’d heard footsteps quickly fading from the mouth of the alley, clearly the result of someone bolting from the scene.
The skies had still been dark. Shouta hadn’t been able to see anything.
Knowing there was no way in hell he’d be able to catch up at this rate, he’d turned his attention instead to something that had been lying at his feet. He’d stooped low to pick up the item, identifying it as some sort of flat object the moment he’d gotten it safely in his grasp. A closer look had revealed that it’d been his identification card for UA, and that revelation had reminded him of yesterday. He’d taken off running before examining the card any further, all sense already gone from his mind.
He needs to make it to class. He needs to fulfill his promise!
After mentally running on pure determination and physically running for who knows how long, he’d ended up at the gates of UA by nothing short of a miracle. With his ID in his pocket and his lungs screaming for air, he’d made one final, mad dash through the halls to get to his classroom uninterrupted. The door to Class 1-A had appeared before him at last, and he’d reached out just as his legs had threatened to give out on him.
One door slam and a near collapse onto the podium later, he’d officially arrived to class, thus leading him to his current situation.
Shouta stands stock-still in complete bewilderment as Bakugou, usually so sweet and kind, looks like he’s ready to rip someone apart with his bare hands. He’s glowering at him threateningly, gnashing his teeth and contorting his face into a horribly violent expression that Shouta’s never seen on the boy’s face before. He has half a mind to ask him what’s wrong, but his common sense finally shows up and alerts him to the fact that the child is standing on top of his desk with his palms bared and quirk ready to fire again. He suddenly realizes that Bakugou’s mouth is moving very quickly, but Shouta can’t hear his furious shouting with how loud his own thoughts are.
Shouta breathes in deeply and does the best he can to work himself down from the panic that’s going wild and bashing itself against the inner walls of his mind.
It seems it’s just in time that he does that, too. Bakugou looks to be at the very end of his rope, and Shouta calms down just enough to catch the very last of what the boy has to say.
“—something, you stupid bitch! I’ll blast you to outer-fucking-space! ”
Shouta can’t stop himself. It’s ridiculous, but the words fly out of his mouth before he can do anything.
“Bakugou!” he cries, appalled by his display of behavior. “Language!”
Bakugou stands slack jawed for a moment before a fierce scowl appears on his face and his fury returns in full force. His fingers twitch and his palms crackle with small explosions. “The fuck you just say to me, you little shit?! ”
With an explosive hand outstretched, the boy screams his head off in rage and launches himself at him.
For a moment, Shouta can’t help but wonder if he’s made a terrible mistake somehow. Has he done something wrong to deserve this? Is this punishment for his misdeeds in another life? Maybe this is a nightmare or some other cruel trick of fate specifically designed to scare the living daylights out of him.
Heart racing, Shouta’s eyes widen as he reaches for something he knows won’t be there.
The boy doesn’t stop or slow down at all.
Ultimately, Shouta ends up dropping to the ground to avoid an explosion to the face. He scrambles to regain his bearings and only narrowly avoids another hit by ducking around to the other side of the podium. Vaguely, he registers the rest of the class moving, the students getting onto their feet and taking action. Shouta doesn’t have much time to mull over it, though. Bakugou is coming after him like a vengeful bullet, and he has to focus to dodge strike after strike.
He’s quickly tiring, lacking the energy to keep up with his surroundings. He wants to say something, to find out why his own student is going off the rails, to ask what he did to deserve this. He wants to, but he can’t get a single word in, not with how persistent Bakugou is. The attacks just keep coming. It’s genuinely frightening how ruthless one of his sweetest students is being.
Shouta stumbles, and his mistake earns him an explosion to the back. Pain blooms across the area, causing him to cry out. No, no, no, he can’t do this, he hasn’t been directly involved in a battle of any kind since—
“Stop! Stop!” he finally manages, panic beginning to cloud his brain again. His eyes are wild now, and he backs himself into a corner like a caged animal. Bakugou stands over him threateningly as Shouta curls in on himself and tries to block out his own racing thoughts. Why is he like this? When did he get so pathetic? He tries to come up with some sort of excuse, some sort of way to get his student to react and stop doing this . “I’m on medical leave, you can’t– I’m in no condition to–”
“Save it,” Bakugou growls, explosions lighting up his palms. He raises his hand, clearly ready to fire, but another hand catches him by the wrist before he can do so.
“Don’t you ever listen?” hisses a voice, deep and filled with annoyance. “I’ve been telling you to stop since you started your little onslaught.”
Bakugou whips around and bares his teeth, ignoring Shouta for the moment. “Shut it, Half-and-Half. I didn’t ask for your input.”
Todoroki steps out from behind Bakugou, lightly pushing him aside to get a better view of the situation. If he notices Bakugou looking about ready to explode, he doesn’t show it.
Shouta isn’t sure what to make of the cold eyes studying him. Todoroki’s gaze is hardened and serious, and it’s so unlike the warmth usually found in his student’s expression. That alone is enough to be very unnerving, but that’s not all. There’s something else that feels off about the boy, but Shouta can’t quite put his finger on it. Gears turn slowly in his mind as he attempts to figure out what’s wrong with Todoroki’s appearance, but he doesn’t focus on that abnormality for now. Instead, his attention is drawn to the horrible scar on the child’s face, and his personal anxieties instantly dissipate as deep concern swiftly replaces them.
How could such a thing happen? A scar of that severity can’t form overnight, and Shouta doesn’t remember seeing any large wound on the child’s face yesterday. With the security of both UA and his household, Todoroki shouldn’t have been in harm’s way in the first place. Who would want to hurt such a kind, innocent boy?
Todoroki’s voice cuts into Shouta’s worried thoughts.
“That’s not who you think it is. This Aizawa-sensei doesn’t even look the same as ours, so it can’t be Toga Himiko.” The boy points an accusatory finger directly at Shouta’s face, and he can’t help but flinch and take mild offense from the gesture. “He has a different scar. It’s a long, jagged streak across his face instead of a crescent below his eye.”
Bakugou unceremoniously shoves Todoroki out of the way again, causing a scowl to appear on his face from the rough treatment. “So what?” Bakugou snarls, snapping at the other boy like an angry dog. He turns his attention away from Todoroki and back to Shouta, cracking his knuckles as his hand forms a fist. “He’s still an impostor, and I’m gonna beat the crap outta him if he doesn’t tell us where the real Aizawa-sensei is!”
He sets off another explosion to further emphasize his point.
Shouta knows when to avoid unnecessary conflict, so he lifts his hands in surrender despite still being completely clueless in this whole fiasco. The gesture seems to be enough for Bakugou, who smirks smugly and looks plenty pleased with himself. Keeping his expression a careful neutral, Todoroki comes closer, and Midoriya steps in after him, unease written all over his face.
“You’re going to answer some questions,” Todoroki states. It’s less of a request and more of a demand. “Who are you and what have you done to our teacher?”
“And don’t lie,” Bakugou adds before he can even open his mouth, “or I’ll kick your ass.”
Shouta doesn’t know what’s going on and doesn’t have an actual answer, but he’s in no state to argue, especially not with his back aching like it currently is. He figures it’d be best to gain these hostile students’ trust enough for him to fix up the wound Bakugou caused earlier. With his declining health, it isn’t good for him to leave it unattended. Sighing in defeat, he slowly lowers his hands to the floor and concedes.
“... My name is Aizawa Shouta.” He doesn’t miss the way Bakugou’s hand twitches in annoyance. “I don’t have anything to do with your teacher, at least not to my knowledge. I just woke up in an alley this morning and made my way here.”
“Sounds like a load of shit.”
“We should hear him out first, Kacchan.”
Shouta awkwardly clears his throat, and the focus shifts back to him. He keeps his head level as he speaks. “This is probably all a misunderstanding, so I think we’ve started off on the wrong foot. We can safely say that something isn’t right here, but before we move onto anything else, can one of you please find Recovery Girl? I understand if you don’t trust me right now, but I need medical attention.”
Bakugou crosses his arms and scowls at him. “You want us to help you ? What, like we owe you or something?”
Todoroki rolls his eyes. “His back, Bakugou. You were the one who injured him earlier.”
“... Right.” He huffs. “Forgot this guy’s a shitty dodger.”
“Wait,” Midoriya chirps, turning his attention to Shouta, “assuming you’re telling the truth, you’re still Aizawa-sensei, right? Is something making you look and act different?”
Shouta scratches at the back of his neck, frowning. “I… don’t feel any different. To me, it’s more like you’re the ones acting strange.”
“Which means you’re the odd one out.” Todoroki has an interested gleam in his eyes now, as if seeing the situation in a new light. “Funny how that is. Just this morning I was thinking of the incident last week.”
Midoriya and Todoroki exchange a look before Midoriya’s entire face lights up. Bakugou frowns and appears to be left out of the loop.
“Todoroki-kun, you’re amazing!” Midoriya exclaims, suddenly grabbing onto Todoroki’s hands and holding them in his burst of joy. Todoroki himself looks a little flustered, but he doesn’t say anything as Midoriya rambles on. “That person’s Quirk really has to be the only explanation, considering it didn’t seem to do anything for so long! Maybe it has some sort of delayed effect or the user can activate it from a distance and was just biding their time until they could which would make sense considering they managed to flee from the scene but then does that mean it can only work on one person at a time or can multiple people be simultaneously affected which probably wouldn’t be good because it wasn’t just Aizawa-sensei who got hit by the Quirk but then that also leaves the question of what it really does because this version of Aizawa-sensei seems to recognize us but also looks and acts different while saying we don’t act the way he expected and Todoroki-kun what if he’s been sent from another reality to replace our own Aizawa-sensei and if so does that mean our Aizawa-sensei was sent to the other one’s world and—”
The boy in question immediately pauses and proceeds to flush bright red in embarrassment. “Oh, I’m sorry, Todoroki-kun!” Midoriya smiles sheepishly and lets go of the boy’s hands. “I was mumbling again, wasn’t I?”
“Yes.” Todoroki doesn’t seem the least bit frazzled or offended by Midoriya’s theorizing. “It was very insightful. I think you have a valid point.” He brings his hand to his chin and closes his eyes in thought. “Maybe it has to do with alternate universes, like some sort of universe-swapping Quirk.”
Midoriya nods frantically, practically vibrating in excitement. “Yes, yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking!”
“Hey,” Bakugou butts in, “if you guys are done being fucking nerds—”
The door slams open and kills the conversation for the second time that day, and Hagakure’s cheerful voice rings out loud and clear.
“Everybody, look! I brought Recovery Girl!”