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Present Mic’s Radio Show!

 Tuesdays and Thursdays from 18:30 to 19:30

Canary’s Hour

 

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH!

CANARY: Yay.

PRESENT MIC: IIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTT’S six thirty! And we all know what that means…

CANARY: I should be doing my homework.

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH – wait – that’s not what you’re supposed to say!

* faint scribbling sounds can be heard *

PRESENT MIC: Are you actually doing your homework?!

CANARY: Well, someone set us a massive English essay –

PRESENT MIC: You’re fluent in English!

CANARY: – that I thought would be acceptable to leave until last minute for precisely that reason. But then I remembered it’s due on a Friday and therefore leaving it until last minute would mean I have to do it on a Thursday evening and here we are.

* silence follows as the scribbling continues *

PRESENT MIC: Ok, are you actually going to –

CANARY: Almost finished…

PRESENT MIC: What’s it on again?

CANARY: You were the one who set it!

PRESENT MIC: I have a lot on my shoulders and –

CANARY: Whatever you say, Cockatoo.

* frantic tweeting noises *

CANARY: Yes, thank you, Siren – but if you poop on my work I will disown you.

PRESENT MIC: I think I need a pet bird too.

* flapping followed by a yelp, Canary’s muffled laughter and Siren’s squawks *

PRESENT MIC: PET WAS NOT AN INSULT – I REPEAT – PET WAS NOT AN INSULT!

CANARY: I think Siren has an intelligence Quirk – she is way too smart for her own good.

PRESENT MIC: I meant I need a bird companion too.

* a tense silence ended by a satisfied tweet and a sigh of relief *

CANARY: Finished! Can I hand it in now?

PRESENT MIC: NO! Because I will lose it, guaranteed.

* Canary sighs and a rustling of paper indicates he has shoved his work into a backpack *

PRESENT MIC: ANYWAY – Moving on! We have a show to get to! First things first, as always, let us begin with our weekly talk with one of you lucky listeners!

CANARY: I know what you guys are plotting, and I swear – I will hang up.

PRESENT MIC: I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear that and LET’S SEE IF OUR LISTENER PICKS UP!

* a ring tone can be heard – one which Siren repeats dutifully in the background *

LISTENER: Hello?

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH! You have made it all the way to our radio show!

LISTENER: Great, so, Midoriya –

CANARY: OH MY GOD, JIRO – I literally just said –

LISTENER {JIRO}: Yeah, yeah, whatever – so anyway – what was the English essay on again?

* Canary sighs exasperatingly *

CANARY: You know what, in punishment, I’m not going to tell you.

* A collective groan can be heard from the listener’s end *

CANARY: Ok, someone in the radio station is putting you through every time any of you guys call – and to that someone, Siren will find you and make your life a living hell.

* Siren tweets in agreement *

PRESENT MIC: WELL, you get one question that is not school related, Jiro!

LISTENER {JIRO}: Sure, err… why Canary? You could have chosen literally any other bird name out there – and you went for Canary, why?

CANARY: Oh, that’s an easy one. Let me tell you a story!

 

 

In a tradition dating back to 1911, canaries were the heroes of the underground, known for the capture of a silent killer, and for being the saviours of countless lives, all because of their singing.

Deep in the coal mines, where men were hard at work, chipping away at the stone walls in search of a black gold, hanging from the ceiling were tiny cages, each inhabited by a little bird – a canary.

The canaries would sing and sing, for it was all they knew – trapped in that tiny box, incapable of flight – all they could do, was sing. And so, they sang. They sang and they sang their little hearts out, finding melody within the rhythmic beat of the minors’ pics as they hit the walls mercilessly, desperate to find the fuel that would keep the cities alive and running. There were times when the minors would live for the singing of the canaries, a gentle reminder of the world above – of the morning sun and kind world they learn to love that little bit more as they spend so much time away from it.

And so, when the singing stops, it’s not hard to notice.

The minors look up at the ceiling, and see the little birds, collapsed in their cages – sounds no longer whistling from their throats.

Carbon monoxide – the silent killer.

The gas binds to blood instead of oxygen in a permanent fashion, meaning no matter how much more oxygen a person inhales, it would not satisfy them. It would never reach their cells, and they would die quickly – drifting off into an endless sleep.

There are several reasons that canaries were killed by the gas before the minors. The first, was the chemical make up of a bird’s blood. Whilst a human’s red blood cells are formed from stem cells in the bone marrow, a bird’s simply replicate themselves in the blood stream. This means, poisoned cells can not easily be replaced like they can in a human. However, the more potent reason is the size of a canary – so small, so fragile. Less blood means more can be poisoned at a faster rate. Meaning they drop dead before the minors.

And so, leaving the little bodies of the birds deep in the mines, the men are evacuated before the gas can kill them too.

The sweet sound of bird song, or the lack thereof, being the only reason that their descendants walk this Earth today.

 


 

 

Many years earlier

 (...Before the radio show, not 1911 - you know what? I'm just going to shut up and let you read, yeah? Yeah...)

 

Midoriya sighed as he closed his book. He was procrastinating – learning about things he really didn’t need to learn about – but when did that ever stop him? Anyway, all this talk of canaries in mines was far more interesting than any of the other facts he should have been committing to his mind.

He was supposed to be going over his history work. He was far ahead of the rest of the class, but one of the things he could never have known for sure, was what was to be on UA’s entrance exam, and he could never be too careful.

He needed to get into general studies. UA was his first step to –

He glanced up at the poster of All Might looming over his computer. He’d taken the rest of them down. But he couldn’t bring himself to completely free his room of memorabilia, and so, the poster remained.

becoming a hero.

No, no – NO.

It was a childish dream. It was about time he gave up and –

wish for a Quirk in your next life and take a swan dive of the roof of the building!

– and focused on a more realistic goal.

It’s good to have dreams, but… make sure they’re attainable.

Attainable… attainable…

“Izuku!”

Midoriya jumped, almost falling off his chair.

“Can I come in, Izuku?”

He didn’t say anything, so his mother let his door creak open.

“Still studying?” she frowned. Inko carried a bowl of ramen into his room and slid it in front of him. She pulled up a chair and sat to eat her own bowl beside him.

It took a moment, but eventually he picked up the chopsticks and began to eat too.

“If you overwork yourself, or you won’t be able to perform as well as I know you can in the exam tomorrow!” his mother insisted.

“I’m sorry, Mum,” Midoriya said in an impossibly quiet voice. It was almost a miracle his mother heard him at all.

“Your brain is much like any of your other muscles. You wouldn’t go for a run before a marathon! Why should you do the same for an exam? Your brain needs a rest.”

Midoriya smiled meekly and nodded.

“Good. If you can’t sleep – do something different! Play one of your instruments. I don’t mind what time of the night it is – oh, as long as it’s not the drums.”

Midoriya almost laughed. The smile was good enough for his mum.

“Maybe you could even sing! You know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you sing before - at least not in a long, long time. You should give it a try!”

He shook his head frantically, almost losing the noodles, halfway to his mouth.

“Why not, Izuku? You were so unsure about dance class at first, but that turned out to be really fun, remember?”

“Singing’s different,” he protested, his voice still as quiet as a mouse.

“Why is that?”

“Because to sing, I have to first talk.”

Inko sighed. She put down her chopsticks and gently rubbed her son’s shoulders. “You will get into UA – I’m sure you will. And once you’re there, you’ll make lots of new friends! They won’t be like the people at your old school. This is a hero school. Even if you’re not on the hero course, no one there is going to say anything about your Quirklessness. If they do, just tell one of the teachers and they will sort the problem out. The teachers are heroes, remember? You used to love heroes so much.”

You can’t become a hero.

She gazed up at the remaining All Might poster. “Things are going to be different,” she insisted, as if she was convincing herself of the fact. “And then, maybe talking won’t be so scary!”

Quirkless – useless – mute.

But he wasn’t mute – really. Midoriya could talk if he wanted to. But it was just so much easier to fade into the background – to not argue or complain. They pick on him less. He knew his place now – quiet, silent. But then that made it worse. He didn’t understand why – but eventually his classmates realised he hadn’t talked for months – that they didn’t remember what his voice sounded like. Kacchan noticed it too. He found it funny.

So, so funny.

And the teachers didn’t care. They told him off for not speaking in class or not answering for the register in the morning. And suddenly the words became harder and harder to say. Uttering a simple yes or no felt as hard as cracking open a locked safe. His mother took him to see specialists. She said that he would speak to her – but anyone else…

They told him he was selectively mute.

He told them that he wasn’t. He just didn’t like speaking. That confused them. But, nonetheless, Midoriya took the title, hoping his peers would leave him alone now his shyness had a name.

They didn’t.

“You could get their autographs!” Inko said suddenly, interrupting his thoughts. “Wouldn’t that be nice?”

Midoriya grunted in reply and put down his chopsticks.

“But honey, you’ve hardly eaten anything! You need brain power!”

“I’ll be alright.”

Inko hesitated. “D-Does that mean you feel prepared?! That’s wonderful to hear! N-Now… it’s seven o’clock – so a little early to go to bed quite yet. Why don’t you play something? The neighbours said they can hear it if you leave the window open – they really like it! Honestly, if you sang along, it could help with your confidence a little!”

“Maybe one day.”

Inko smiled as her son opened the window and picked up his guitar, tuning it slowly and fiddling with the fret.

“I’m proud of you, Izuku – you know that, right?”

He smiled at her, “Thank you, Mum.”

She picked up her empty bowl and her son’s worryingly full one, before beginning to walk towards the door as Izuku began to strum a tune.

 

~Tiny Dancer – Elton John~ 

 

She left his door open to let the music flow through the apartment, a skip in her step and a smile creeping across her face as she threw away the remainder of the food and washed up the bowls.

Inko began to hum the melody to the famous song. Music drifting through the air and giving the otherwise tedious task a new life and a new rhythm. It gave her such joy to hear her son pour his heart and soul into his music. He loved it more than he had ever loved anything. It gave him a purpose; something to enjoy. He’d wanted to be a hero all his life, but he was Quirkless, and as much as Inko wanted to support him; to say you can be a hero! she just couldn’t. Because it wasn’t the truth. Izuku deserved nothing but the truth.

The last ten months had been hard for him. She didn’t understand why but, all of a sudden, that stubborn light of hope that shone so lustrously from him was snuffed out. He stopped talking – focused only on his studies. Consequently, he was so bright that not even that school could put him down. But… that brightness just didn’t hold the same warmth as it once did. All Inko wanted was to see him happy again.

He was so good at the guitar. He had to stop lessons when the teacher said there was nothing more he could possibly teach him, and Izuku refused to spend money on something that was no longer necessary. He had the same attitude for nearly every instrument he’d ever learnt. He knew the guitar, piano, drums – but no instrument that required his mouth to play. Inko wondered if it was because he wanted to sing, but he refused every time. The only class he continued to attend was dance. It had kept his fitness up. If it weren’t for that, Inko was worried he’d waste away, locked up in his room forever. But the boy had always been drawn to such things – it was like music was a part of him.

Not that she was surprised. It was her husband’s influence, she supposed. With his Quirk, fire breath, he could never sing without filling the house with smoke, but that never stopped him when they were younger. He had such a beautiful voice. He told her she wasn’t so bad herself. That always made her smile. Inko wondered if Izuku had inherited it. She longed to hear him sing so much, to see if he had.

Inko opened the other windows across the apartment, letting the sound free from its cage to sing to the rest of the world, even if Izuku wouldn’t open his mouth to do the same – his music still brought others joy. It held a certain magic in it.

Tiny dancer. He’d danced to this song once before. It had brought her to tears. Hisashi always said she was such a crier.

Inko leant on the windowsill and gazed out at the rest of the world. There were drunks, hobbling home, arm in arm, down on the street.

As she opened her mouth to sing the chorus, more tears pricked at her eyes when those drunken souls began to kick at the puddles in the rain and sing along too.

“Hold me closer tiny dancer…”

If only Izuku had the bravery to sing along. His voice could change the world; Inko was sure of it.

A canary couldn’t save any lives if it refused to sing.

Chapter Text

The fact that Midoriya wasn’t to try for UA’s hero course seemed to satisfy Kacchan. He certainly wasn’t happy that Midoriya would be trying for any course at all in his dream school, but general studies would have to do. It’s not like the two would often cross paths anyway – let alone speak to each other.

Midoriya eventually concluded that his mother knew about his poor relationship with Kacchan. Whether she had ever spoken with Mrs Bakugo about the matter was another story. Nonetheless, she didn’t make him travel to the UA grounds alongside his old friend. That, unfortunately, didn’t save the two from meeting at the gates.

Kacchan glared at him, “Stay out of my way, Deku,” he hissed.

Midoriya didn’t say anything at all. He stepped back frantically and let Kacchan waltz in ahead of him. A few of the other people around him glanced curiously as he stood, head down, just outside the gates.

Once Kacchan was out of sight, Midoriya shook his head and stepped inside the school. ‘I need to get a grip – I’m not going to be in his class anymore so there’s no need to worry! Yeah, maybe words won’t get stuck in my throat anymore and –’

and he wasn’t looking where he was going. He tripped up on a loose tile, about to fall face first onto the ground and make an absolute fool of himself in front of everyone!

But then suddenly the ground stopped growing closer to his face – no, he stopped – in mid-air. ‘What the –’

“Are you ok?” someone laughed.

Midoriya almost yelped in surprise at the pink cheeked girl beside him.

“I stopped you with my Quirk. I would have asked first, but I figured you wouldn’t mind me helping!”

He just stared at her.

She didn’t seem to notice, only propping him upright, deactivating her Quirk and waving goodbye, before skipping off towards the hero course entrance examinations.

The hero course… A different world to his own.

Midoriya shook the brief thoughts of friendship and panics over actually interacting with a girl, to refocus on the upcoming exams. They would determine his future, after all – hero course or not.

There were two parts to UA’s hero course entrance exam, a practical and a theoretical. However, for general studies, the soon to be students were instead given two papers, one far more challenging than the other. It was clear, as Midoriya’s pen scribbled across the exam, that whoever set these questions did not intend for all the necessary knowledge to be in place. Some were far too advanced and complicated for your average middle school graduate to complete to their fullest extent. However, Midoriya was not your average middle school graduate.

Question Eighteen:

Explain how Quirklessness is inherited and how this can be identified by specialists.

It was practically made for him. To have the last question revolving around Quirklessness was to be expected, of course. This was the first year that UA had allowed Quirkless people to enter any of their courses. That included the hero course, but as many had said before, it was time Midoriya got his head out of the clouds and strived for a dream that was… more attainable.

Midoriya’s mind raced as he batted the top of his pen against his lip, ‘There are eleven marks available for this question. It’s clear they want us to use medical terms and clearly describe the link between the lack of a Quirk and an extra joint in your little toe…’ he thought, before beginning to write:

Quirklessness is a hereditary condition caused by two recessive alleles. This means both the mother and father must have been a carrier of Quirklessness (or be Quirkless themselves) in order to have a Quirkless child, despite having Quirks themselves. This is because the gene that allows the expression of a Quirk is dominant, meaning if only one dominant allele is present, it will mask the effect of a recessive allele and produce a Quirk. The probability of having a Quirkless child if both parents are carriers is 25%. This probability isn’t fixed because freak mutations can occur, resulting in Quirks entirely different to the child’s parents in rare situations. Carriers of Quirklessness are increasingly rare, meaning the percentage of the population which are Quirkless is less than 5%. However, a majority of this number are rather elderly, and the proportion of Quirkless people who are of my generation is only around 20%. This means the percentage of people who are of my age and Quirkless is only 1%. Quirklessness can be difficult to diagnose as some Quirks can be ‘invisible’ and difficult to identify at a young age. However, for Quirk doctors, this can be a little easier. Autosomal linkage is where two genes are positioned very close to each other on the same chromosome (close to each other in DNA) and are therefore frequently inherited together. The recessive alleles of Quirklessness are inherited alongside an extra joint in the subject’s little toes. A Quirk doctor need only take an X-ray to see if this joint is present in order to diagnose Quirklessness. The chance of having the extra joint and having a Quirk is rarer than Quirklessness itself (if you don’t take into account any situations where the Quirk results in extra bones or joints being present). In genetic inheritance, chromosomes can cross over and exchange pieces of DNA during meiosis. However, the recombinant frequency of Quirklessness and having an extra joint is so low (because the alleles are so close together) that the inheritance of either gene separately is near to unheard of.

 


 

“Have you come across anyone particularly interesting in the entrance exams this year, All Might?” questioned Principal Nedzu.

The skeletal man sighed, “Unfortunately no. There were a few who received a good number of rescue points, but no one who made a particularly grand impression.”

“Hm, a shame really. But perhaps Sir Nighteye’s suggestion will do you well?”

“I hope so. I have faith in Young Mirio – he seems a promising candidate. But I fear that he’ll refuse the Quirk.”

The two were sitting in the Principal’s office. Yagi gazed at the results board for the first-year hero course exams whilst Nedzu happily finished marking the theoretical papers for general and business studies.

“It is a possibility. He has done so well with his own abilities recently and could wish for another, less fortunate soul, to take up your mantle.”

“Yeah… What about you, Principal Nedzu? Anyone you find… interesting, this year?”

“Why yes, I most certainly did!”

Yagi blinked in surprise. “You did? From the hero course?”

“No, no,” he smiled. “Quite the opposite. For you see, I put some particularly difficult questions in the general studies examinations this year, but one student has breezed through it all with no apparent difficulty. You should read his brief essay on the inheritance of Quirklessness – quite stunning! I would expect such an answer from a graduate of UA – not simply a future student!”

“Quirklessness?” Yagi frowned, accepting the paper from the Principal. He scanned through the answer – neat handwriting and outstanding knowledge for someone of his age.

“Yes, but I would expect he’s done quite a bit of research into the matter, considering he’s Quirkless himself.”

All Might almost dropped the paper in surprise. “Quirkless? In his generation?”

“If you read his report you’ll find that only 1% of our population fit those parameters,” the Principal chuckled. “To think we could have missed out on such a bright young man if we continued to not accept Quirkless people. I’m almost ashamed of whoever set the rule to begin with. However, it would have been necessary back along, when Quirklessness was more common.”

All Might closed the paper and flipped to the front. He had a very high mark – only dropping a few here and there.

Izuku Midoriya…

Where had he heard that name before?

 


 

 Midoriya’s weekly schedule had been a busy one. Although, as he mastered instruments and dropped their lessons, he found himself with more and more free time. That was why, on a Thursday evening, he was wandering down the coastline, guitar bag in hand, looking for somewhere quiet and desolate to play.

He used to learn piano on a Thursday. It was guitar on Tuesdays – violin on a Wednesday. Mondays were always free, and so were Fridays. On Friday, his father called in from the United States. He would talk to his wife for a while before Izuku arrived and he would tell him about his week. Izuku never had much to say. He’d tell him about his music and revising for the entrance exams, but nothing more. There was never anything else to say.

Saturdays and Sundays were reserved for dance classes. The thing is with dance, is Midoriya could never really get enough of it. It was awfully scary at first, but he soon realised that everyone else there was as frightened as he was to mess up or look like a fool. They learned routines, sometimes together, sometimes alone – never a master of one but decent at everything they tried. It was… fun. But God forbid anyone outside the club ever learning of Midoriya’s past times. Kacchan knew about the drum lessons, but that was only because they’d bumped into each other there, and silently agreed never to speak of it again – not that it was too difficult for Midoriya.

Dagobah beach – what a tip.

The only ones around here to listen to Midoriya’s music were the seagulls – and he was more than happy for it. Perhaps he should do something about all this rubbish. Midoriya supposed this stretch of coastline could have been beautiful without all the trash.

He wandered down onto the sand. Being careful where he trod, Midoriya made his way to the front of the piles of rubbish, so he could look out at the sun setting over the ocean. Precariously, the boy clambered to the top of one of the towering peaks of junk and sat down on top of what appeared to be an old microwave. He balanced his guitar case under his feet and checked to see if the instrument was in tune.

He sat there for hours, strumming along to whatever tune surfaced in his mind, watching the waves lap at the shore. Eventually, when the light of day was all but gone, he packed up his things and started to wander home.

He didn’t see the familiar, gaunt man, sitting on the bench not far away, humming along to those same tunes as he watched Midoriya’s silhouette, contrasted against the orange of the sunset.

Yagi smiled, “Izuku Midoriya, huh?”

He was one to watch – that was for sure.

 


 

“Izuku?! IZUKU!”

Midoriya frantically tossed off his shoes and ran inside, worried about what his mum might be calling him for at such a time.

“M-Mum?!” he replied, dropping his guitar in the kitchen.

“Ah, Izuku!” she exclaimed, hurrying into view. “Your letter – from UA – it’s here!”

‘But it’s only been a few days…” he thought with a worried frown.

He couldn’t quite tell if that was good news or bad news.

Midoriya accepted the letter and sat down on the sofa beside his guitar case. His mother joined him, faltering as she asked if it was ok to see UA’s response at the same time as him. He didn’t protest, but his hands were shaking as he opened the envelope.

The letter fell out into his lap, the bold, golden logo of UA staring at him from the back of the message. Slowly but surely, he turned over the paper, and learned the nature of his fate.

Dear Izuku Midoriya,

Congratulations! It is with great pleasure that we at UA offer you a place in general studies class 1-C for the following academic year.

“IZUKU!” Inko cried, “You got in! I’m so proud of you!”

Midoriya merely grinned, his eyes never leaving the paper, transfixed on those first few words.

It was only after much squealing with delight from his mother that Midoriya was finally able to read the remainder of his letter. She hurried off to bring him a celebratory dinner, which he was certain she would have given to him in spite of the result. It spoke about the many opportunities that UA offered general studies course students – the close interactions with pro hero teachers and opportunities beyond graduating there. But after that, it was clear that the acceptance letter was more personalised than Midoriya thought it would have been.

Midoriya, you were the highest-ranking student in theoretical papers across all first-year examinations, with a staggering 91%, even against particularly challenging questions that even third years at UA would struggle to answer at the level of detail that you portrayed. We did not expect many of our candidates to exceed a mark of 80%, particularly when scoring points in tricky questions in the second paper. Most impressive was your answer to the question surrounding the inheritance of Quirklessness, portraying a scientific knowledge far beyond what is expected of someone your age. It was only when we checked your background that the reasons behind this became clear.

Midoriya gulped as he read on, fearing the worst – perhaps them saying that he needed to prove he was more than his Quirklessness if he hoped to succeed at UA. What if –

You will be the very first Quirkless student attending UA, should you accept our offer. But let us promise you that we will not let you down, nor permit any bigotry towards your condition or your selective muteness, as stated in your medical records. If you have any questions or queries surrounding this, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Principal Nedzu.

Midoriya hadn’t noticed his mum leaning over his shoulder, reading the words as he did.

“This all sounds very positive, don’t you think, Izuku?” she said cheerfully, pushing a bowl of katsudon towards him.

He hesitated, before putting the letter down and turning to his food. He smiled, “Yeah… I guess it is.”

And his mother smiled wider.

But neither of them could have guessed what his start at UA would lead to.

Chapter Text

Midoriya took a deep breath and stepped onto the grounds of UA – he just couldn’t believe he was here! At UA! The greatest hero school in all of Japan!

Wait, no – no.

He is not here to become a hero. He is here to learn and… maybe become a paramedic. Maybe. But he might have to get over the whole… muteness thing first. But he wasn’t mute – really…

He keeps telling himself this, but the denial thing is starting to wear thin. At first, it was the truth – the only reason he wasn’t talking was because it was just so much easier to just not say anything, rather than say the wrong thing. But then, it became harder and harder to get words from his brain to his mouth – and there are always so many things he wants to say; building up like water behind a dam. But that dam was getting near to impenetrable. Midoriya just hoped that one day it would burst – and when it did, it wouldn’t be too dramatic and would be for all the right reasons. That’s not too much to ask… right?

Right. Anyway – UA.

Clutching tightly onto the yellow straps of his backpack, Midoriya hurried towards the school. There were so many people there. They were all so excited, talking loudly to friends, new and old – wondering what this new year would bring.

‘Class 1-C… class 1-C… class 1-C – where are you?’

Wow, that’s a big door. Are all the homerooms like this? They have to be – they wouldn’t do something like this for a general studies class and not for a hero class. I wonder what Kacchan’s class will be like…’ Midoriya pondered.

He let the door slide open and hurried inside, trying not to make eye contact with any of his new classmates – he didn’t want to get off to a bad start, ‘Just stay quiet… keep your head down – and everything’s going to be ok.’

Midoriya found his nametag sitting on a desk near the window. It had a clip on the back of it. He glanced around to see some of the others were wearing theirs, so their name was displayed, loud and clear, to anyone who wanted to know it. Midoriya supposed he should do the same.

“Yeah, yeah! I was so sure I’d flunked it! I was kind of surprised when I got my acceptance letter after freaking out about it all so much!”

He looked up at the conversation occurring across the room. Most of his other classmates were standing together, discussing the exams they’d taken to get in.

“What was that one on hero laws? Like, I get this is a hero school primarily, but, come on, like we were supposed to know all that junk – this is general studies! Not how to be a hero 101, or whatever,” complained a grumpy looking girl with straight blonde hair, fiddling with her name badge – Sumiye Ohchi.

“That one was ok – I was more stumped on the thing about Quirklessness,” said the girl next to her – she had cat ears.

“I didn’t even know people could still be Quirkless!” added another.

“Hey, bored looking guy! What did you think of the exam?” questioned the first.

Suddenly everyone was looking at Midoriya.

'Oh my God – I’m going to have to speak – what if they ask if I’m Quirkless? What if –'

“It was alright, I guess.”

Midoriya let out a sigh of relief. They were talking to the guy sitting behind him, with heavy eye bags and a head of purple hair.

Then they turned to Midoriya. “What about you?”

Fortunately enough, no reply was necessary, because seconds later, the door was thrown open, cutting into their conversation spectacularly.

GOOOOOOD MORNING LITTLE LISTENERS!” It was Present Mic.

Midoriya thought he’d be able to not fanboy over every single one of his teachers but it’s Present Mic! His homeroom teacher was Present Mic! Midoriya listened to his radio show every day of the week!

It didn’t seem like the rest of his class were as enthusiastic as Midoriya was (then again, Midoriya didn’t exactly make that much of a fuss out loud) as they got to their respective seats in not much of a hurry.

“Welcome to UA’s general study course!” the voice hero exclaimed. “I’m your homeroom teacher – Present Mic. You might have heard my radio show and if you haven’t you should totally go check it out!”

Midoriya saw Ohchi roll her eyes from across the classroom. She certainly wasn’t much of a hero fan.

But anyway, before we begin orientation… IT’S TIME TO TAKE OUR VERY FIRST ROLLCALL! Are you ready?!”

No one replied.

“BY THE END OF THE YEAR YOU WILL BE REPLYING TO THAT!” he insisted.

His new class didn’t seem very convinced. Midoriya certainly wasn’t.

When he started to call out names, Midoriya began to panic again. But the register ran much faster than he expected and he didn’t even have time to let his brain whir into overdrive before his name was called out.

“Izuku Midoriya!” Present Mic announced like he’d just won a prize.

Midoriya did nothing but shakily raise his hand.

“Ah, yes,” said Present Mic, “You know JSL, Midoriya?”

He nodded frantically. He had learnt Japanese sign language with his mother. She said that, if talking ever got too difficult, he could at least resort to a nonverbal communication. He’d been reluctant, but eventually complied. Midoriya had always had a knack for learning things like that. Words, dates, facts and figures – they all neatly organised themselves in his head, even if they didn’t often come out.

[Are you ok with me telling everyone that you’re mute?] Present Mic signed at a remarkable speed with over exaggerated hand gestures.

Midoriya hesitated, but supposed he had no choice other than to nod – his brain to mouth communication just didn’t seem to be working today.

“Ok, everybody – just to give you a heads up! Midoriya here is selectively mute – so he’s basically the opposite of me! There’s no pressure to speak around here, Midoriya – just come to me if you have any questions ‘cause I know Japanese and American sign language!”

Unsteadily, Midoriya managed to sign in reply, [I know ASL too]

“WAIT! Are you fluent in English?!”

Midoriya flinched, although, he supposed that wasn’t too big of a jump to make. He nodded – of course, his father had often spoken English to him at a young age. It had been over the phone, as he was rarely able to meet his family face to face, but the regular video calls had been enough to engrain the language in Midoriya’s brain.

Present Mic pointed at Midoriya dramatically, “NEW FAVOURITE STUDENT! You lot better catch up quick!”

Midoriya blushed furiously and sunk into his chair.

“OK! Moving swiftly forwards… Can we get a YEAH from Hitoshi Shinso?!”

The guy with purple hair behind Midoriya glared at the teacher menacingly. He caved after about a second, “Yeah…”

“AWESOME! How about a more enthusiastic one from… Maki Matsumoto?!”

“…Yeah?”

“CLOSE ENOUGH!”

There was a silent agreement across the classroom. This was the start of three long years. And how right they were – for all the wrong reasons.

ALRIGHT listeners! We’re five minutes late for orientation so FOLLOW ME!”

Midoriya would have made sure everyone else left before him, but Shinso seemed to have exactly the same ideas and Midoriya didn’t want to get on the wrong side anyone… and this Shinso was certainly near the top of his list. His silence and hard glare just seemed to scream stay away from me – or else.

The first years were ushered to an assembly point just outside the school’s main building. Midoriya was quick to notice that they were positioned in order of class – from 1-H all the way up to 1-A. Wait, no, 1-B. Class 1-A was nowhere to be seen. It must have been Bakugo’s class, considering Midoriya couldn’t spot his head of spiky blond hair anywhere amongst the other heroics class, 1-B.

“Greetings to you all!” proclaimed Principal Nedzu.

Midoriya watched the creature’s beady eyes drift over the new student body as he spoke. The speech was long and tedious, revolving mainly around the promise within them and what good they could do for the world. Midoriya thought back to his acceptance letter. He had kept it; pinned it up on the wall next to his All Might poster. He hadn’t said a word about his Quirklessness being a disadvantage. In fact, the principal had held his condition at equal importance to his muteness. Midoriya didn’t know what it meant to him quite yet – or perhaps what it would mean for his future at UA… but… despite what he’d heard about Nedzu, despite all the comments of how frightening he was, Midoriya couldn’t help but look up at him with more trust than he’d placed in any other teacher he’d made an acquaintance with.

He could have sworn the Principal’s eyes lingered on Midoriya’s green ones for a moment. They had never met face to face – but surely he could have found a picture of him somewhere. The Quirkless, mute student with the highest marks across the year. Yeah, that wouldn’t be at all surprising.

After the assembly was over, the departments were taken around the school separately, for a brief tour. Of course, general studies didn’t need to know where any of the specialised heroics rooms were, nor the support classes. They were shown the cafeteria; where Recovery Girl’s office was; where the changing rooms and gym were. Finally, when class 1-D separated from 1-C, Present Mic led them back to their homeroom, where Midoriya was reunited with his precious bag – which he had been thinking about this entire time. Of course, UA wasn’t like his old school. He knew he wouldn’t return to find it reduced to a mere pile of ash, but no one would blame him for being cautious.

So, we have reached our intermission – i.e. LUNCH TIME!” Present Mic announced, “I know – we spent the entire morning listening to Nedzu, and trust me, it never gets old!”

His smile was rather fixed at this point.

“You lot know your way down to the lunch hall now – so you can head off whenever you want! In the meantime, I have to go and listen to Nedzu again in our annual first day staff meeting and find out if I won my bet – there’s no way Eraser Head hasn’t expelled anyone yet and I’M GONNA BE THE FIRST TO FIND OUT IF HE HAS! See you later, little listeners!” And with that, he was gone.

Instantly, chatter amongst his new classmates broke out around him. Midoriya had much preferred the silence.

“Ok, so I was talking to the people in class 1-D, and I couldn’t find whoever had that 91%,” Midoriya heard Ohchi tell her new friends.

He frowned at the revelation. 91%? Were they talking about the entrance exams still? Who managed to get 91%?

‘Wait –

‘Wait, that’s me.’

“So, whoever it is must be in our class,” concluded a boy with darker skin and spiky, brown hair. His name tag read Goro Tachibana.

Midoriya got up quickly. There was no way he was going to waltz up to them and say, yep, that’s me! Because, number one, he’d have to actually say that and he was almost positive none of them knew sign language. And number two, he’d really prefer to avoid the attention at this point. Or, at any point in the near future.

He scurried out of the classroom as quickly as he could, taking his bag with him – only to walk right into purple haired Shinso, who seemed to have the same idea when it came to prompt evacuation from any and all social situations.

[Sorry] Midoriya quickly signed, fully aware that he wouldn’t understand. He hoped that at least he’d register the hand movements as an obvious attempt at an apology.

“[Don’t worry about it]”

Midoriya stared at him. Shinso could… sign? He’d spoken the words as he signed them – so logically, he had no problem with speaking or hearing. Midoriya didn’t know what to think – there were about a dozen different questions he wanted to ask – well, sign. But before he could attempt any of them, Shinso walked away, not giving him a second glance.

Midoriya’s mind raced. Shinso clearly wanted him to know that he understood sign – or else he wouldn’t have bothered speaking and signing his response. He hadn’t been cruel in anyway – and was clearly as averse to social interaction as Midoriya was. Or, at least, he was on the first day of school.

“You coming?” Shinso called back. He hadn’t stopped or turned around to meet Midoriya’s gaze, but it was clear that he was still speaking to him.

He’s… speaking to me…’ thought Midoriya. It took a moment, but, just before he disappeared around the corner, Midoriya grasped tightly onto the strap of his backpack like it was the only thing tethering him to the Earth and ran after his classmate.

Midoriya stayed behind him as they walked to the cafeteria. Not a word was uttered between them – sign or otherwise – as they lined up for food. It was only when they reached the front of the line, that Shinso spoke again.

“What are you going to eat?” he asked, turning to Midoriya to see his reply.

He hesitated, glancing at the menu in panic. He had been so busy thinking about all the possible reasons for Shinso wanting to interact with him that he’d completely forgotten that he was lining up for lunch – which he would have to order – out loud.

[I’m not p-particularly hungry] he signed. Midoriya’s hand movements were so jerky that it could really only be translated as a stutter. [Maybe just s-some white rice?]

They reached the front of the queue. “Can we have two bowls of white rice?” Shinso asked Lunch Rush. He indicated at Midoriya in a way of letting him know that he was ordering for the two of them.

Midoriya was so stunned that Shinso was actually helping him, that he didn’t even freak out over the pro hero Lunch Rush or acknowledge their brief conversation about white rice being a wonderful comfort food. Shinso didn’t even look at Midoriya again until they had accepted their food and paid, when he was double checking that Midoriya was still, well, alive, and that he was following him to a small table as far away from everyone else as he could find.

[Thank you] Midoriya told Shinso as soon as he had put down his tray on the table.

Shinso just shrugged, sat down, and started to eat.

Midoriya followed suit.

The two ate in silence for a while, before Midoriya couldn’t take it any longer. He tapped his chopsticks on the side of his bowl to get Shinso’s attention – which took a couple of attempts. [Where did you learn sign language?]

He could have asked how or when or, more usefully, why – but for some reason, it came out as where.

“From the internet,” he replied simply. “Sometimes… it’s easier to just, not speak.”

Midoriya stared at him again. He’d been doing that a lot over the short time that they’d known each other.

“I was never mute,” Shinso added after a moment’s thought, “It never got that far. But I thought sign language would be useful. It… lets people know that I won’t… do anything to them.”

Midoriya frowned, his confusion clearly displayed across his face.

“It’s my Quirk,” he continued. “It’s a villain’s power.”

[No Quirk is a villain’s Quirk unless the holder is, themselves, a villain] Midoriya insisted.

Shinso scoffed, [It’s brainwashing] he signed. [I ask a question – out loud. If someone replies, then I have complete control over them]

Midoriya blinked at him, [But that’s an amazing Quirk! I’d love to have a power like that! You could so easily become a great hero with it!]

“You really think so?”

Midoriya nodded frantically, before taking another mouthful of rice. It was awfully difficult to eat and sign. He would have gone on a tangent about all the good he could do with it if he had a few more hands. But his mother had often said that his muttering didn’t translate well into sign. He always went too fast for anyone to understand.

“Well then, you’d be the first,” Shinso smiled.

[I’d love to have a Quirk like that] Midoriya insisted. [I would have gone straight to the hero course if I could!]

“I failed the entrance exam,” Shinso told him blankly. “They used robots. Mind control doesn’t work on robots.”

[That’s… rather unfair]

“Yeah… Wait, didn’t you take it too? You said you would have gone to the hero course if you could.”

Midoriya hesitated. He wasn’t planning on letting anyone know… But Shinso had been so kind to him – then again, it made him even more afraid that he’d turn away.

[I’m… Quirkless]

It was Shinso’s turn to stare now. He stayed like that for a couple of minutes as Midoriya’s cheeks flushed red and his brain filled his head with fog made of doubts and the unmistakable fear of abandonment.

“You’re the guy with 91%, aren’t you?”

And now Midoriya was staring again, [How did you –]

“I bet you aced that question on Quirklessness,” Shinso grinned as he finished his rice. “I would say it’s unfair. Then again, no one would be complaining if it was an essay on some kind of disease that I happened to have once and therefore knew more about it.”

‘He wasn’t even referring to Quirklessness as a disease!’ He even confirmed that seconds later.

[I didn’t t-think you were] Midoriya insisted.

“Are you going to keep everyone in the dark about you being the local genius?” Shinso smirked.

[I’m not a genius]

“Sure, you’re not, Mr, I’m fluent in English and JSL and ASL, got the highest score in the theoretical tests across all departments and is already a teacher’s favourite student – Midoriya.”

And now Midoriya was blushing again – a profound realisation washing over him:

He had a friend.

Chapter Text

Shinso didn’t know what he had been expecting from UA’s general studies course. All he could think of when he entered class 1-C for the first time, was that he just needed to last until the Sports Festival. That was where he could make his mark – where he could show the world (or, more specifically, UA’s principal, Nedzu) that he deserved a place in the heroics course. He just had to plough forwards, focus on his studies, and everything would be ok.

He had no plans on making friends. That would be a consequence on not planning on remaining in class 1-C for long enough to make friends. Even then, no intention crossed his mind of making more than an acquaintance with any possible classmates from the hero course. He had more pressing matters to attend to, that being, focusing on achieving his dream of becoming a hero. He’ll show the world that he wasn’t a villain – far from it.

But then that shy, bushy haired boy, the one sat in front of Shinso, caught his attention. He’d never met anyone else who found speaking more than a trivial part of everyday life; who understood its value and its consequences. Of course, there was bound to be a different reason behind this Midoriya’s selective muteness than any issues Shinso had faced. But then he found out he was Quirkless.

He had no plans on making friends – really. Shinso just wanted to help him. The thing is with someone who had struggles speaking, is it often comes down to the people around them. He was curious – he wouldn’t deny it. But being Quirkless? That made a lot of sense.

Suddenly, Shinso had found someone who he could really relate to – and not just on the problems with speaking front. It was an easy conclusion to make – Midoriya had been bullied at his old school (or possibly schools) for his Quirklessness, and, subsequently, developed some serious problems because of it.

He had no plans on making friends – but… maybe Midoriya hadn’t either. And that’s something else they had in common. And, well, Midoriya hadn’t shown the slightest ounce of fear confronted with Shinso’s Quirk (that might have been because Midoriya didn’t speak and therefore wasn’t easily mind controlled). He was the first person he’d ever met who learnt about his Quirk and didn’t immediately link it with that of a villain. In fact, he said he could be a hero. And for just saying that, Midoriya was Shinso’s hero.

“Did you hear?”

Shinso looked up from his phone. It was Kisho Shimizu. He had a twin in class, Kana, so the two both awkwardly insisted they called them by their first names.

“A guy from the heroics course has already been expelled,” Kisho finished, eyes wide. Well, Shinso assumed they were. He had a hideous bowl cut, with a fringe so long that it covered his eyes.

Shinso felt his heart skip a beat – if someone had already been expelled, then there was a place open in the hero course.

Midoriya tapped him on the shoulder from behind. Shinso turned, only to see his friend sign, [Present Mic won his bet]

Shinso smirked, “Yeah, I guess he did.”

[The person who was expelled must have been from Eraser Head’s class. I’ve heard of him – he’s so cool! His Quirk erases other people’s Quirks by looking at them – so he effectively fights Quirkless!]

“That does sound kind of cool. How come I’ve never heard of him before?”

[He’s an underground hero – they tend to avoid the press]

Sounds like the kind of hero I would want to be…’ Shinso thought. Yeah, he could see himself in Eraser Head’s class

“Hey, what are you two talking about?” interjected Matsumoto. He sat behind Shinso in class and was one of the few who still insisted on wearing those stupid name tags.

None of your business, was what Shinso was going to say.

“Oh, hi – Midoriya, right?” interjected Koneko – the girl with the cat ears, before Shinso could say those words. “Can you tell him I say hi?” she asked Shinso.

“He’s mute, not deaf,” Shinso retorted spitefully.

“Oh, sorry!” she exclaimed. “Is there something wrong with your voice or… what?”

Midoriya looked like he was absolutely ready to roll onto the floor and die.

Shinso was totally there with him.

“Rude much, Koneko?” snapped Ohchi. That girl was hardly ever in a good mood.

Sorry,” the cat girl replied. She sounded somehow offended.

“Come on, Midoriya – let’s go to lunch,” Shinso insisted, already getting up and heading towards the door.

“Sorry about her,” Ohchi told Midoriya as he hurried after Shinso. “I’ve only known her for a couple of days and I can already tell that she’s too curious for her own good.”

Midoriya just nodded frantically and then almost ran out of the door behind Shinso.

They didn’t say anything, almost per tradition, as they walked down to the cafeteria. Shinso ordered for Midoriya – who had the same thing as he did, and they even sat down on the same table. Shinso could tell this would be exactly what they’d be doing for the next… who knows how long?

“I wonder what that guy did to get expelled,” Shinso pondered as Midoriya picked at his food. He didn’t seem in the mood for talking – not even in sign.

Shinso tapped his chopsticks on the side of his bowl, something he’d noticed that Midoriya did to get his attention. It seemed to work both ways, because Midoriya looked up almost immediately.

[Are you ok?] Shinso signed.

Midoriya just sighed and shrugged.

[I know why you don’t like talking]

His eyes widened, clearly worried about what Shinso might have concluded.

[It’s because of your Quirklessness, isn’t it?]

Midoriya’s body slumped, his body language confirming Shinso’s assumption.

“When I was in middle school,” he continued, staring down at his untouched food. “I had similar problems because of my Quirk.” Shinso didn’t wait for a response from Midoriya. “People just… as soon as they learnt about it – they would stop talking to me, because they were worried I’d take control. They wrote me off as a villain before even getting to know me. When people don’t talk to you… it becomes that little bit harder to talk to them.”

Midoriya tapped the side of his bowl. Shinso looked up to see him sign, [It’s not that they didn’t talk to me… I stopped talking because I hoped they would stop talking to me – stop noticing me all together. They didn’t]

“But then it became too hard to talk anyway,” Shinso finished for him.

Midoriya nodded bleakly.

The two sat in silence for a moment, both staring into space – thinking about everything, yet nothing at all.

“I know what could cheer you up,” Shinso said, making Midoriya jump.

[W-What?]

“Making up sign names for our classmates.”

Midoriya grinned.

In sign language, specifically ASL, names had to be finger spelled unless they had a direct meaning, like Hope or Grace or something like that. So, instead of spelling out long names, people would come up with nicknames that had simple signs. It was easier in JSL, because the kanji could just be used – but that took the fun out of it.

[Ok, so, forget Koneko – her name literally means cat so there’s no point] Midoriya started.

“No, no,” interrupted Shinso. “Everyone’s getting sign names. Forget kanji and proper meanings.”

Midoriya laughed. Actually laughed – it took Shinso by surprise. It was the first sound other than the occasional surprised squeal that he’d ever heard Midoriya make.

[Let’s call Koneko… Curious] Midoriya decided.

[Ok, tamer than I would have chosen – but let’s go with it] replied Shinso, “What about Ohchi?”

[Um… Grump?]

“Definitely.”

[No one else here known sign language, right?]

“They would have said something.”

[O-Ok. Who else?]

“Honestly, I’m not great with names. I hardly remember anyone… Um, how about the twins, Kisho and Kana?”

[Kana’s the one with the glasses, right?]

[We’re calling her Glasses, aren’t we?]

Midoriya shrugged, still smiling broadly. [And her brother can be…]

[Fringe]

He laughed again, [Fringe?!]

[Have you seen his hair? Terrible]

[What about the person who sits behind you in class?]

“Matsumoto,” Shinso told him, “Um…” [He can be Donkey]

The laughter returned.

“What?! Don’t you think he looks a bit like Donkey Kong?!”

[No!]

They carried on like this for the rest of lunch – both barely eating anything, but neither of them seemed to mind. It had been a long time since Shinso really had this much fun with a friend, and it wasn’t hard to conclude that Midoriya thought the same way. What they were doing wasn’t particularly interesting… it was just – normal. Something that perhaps normal friends would get up to – laughing over stupid little things and making inside jokes that no one else would understand. But it wasn’t normal for the two of them. They had never really had the chance to do something like this before.

As lunch time came to an end and the two of them tidied away their trays and remaining food, Shinso could still see that beaming smile across Midoriya face – thoughts of rude questions and intrusive classmates left behind them.

Unfortunately, that euphoria couldn’t last forever.

 


 

That afternoon, class 1-C joined up with 1-D for a joint sports lesson. Present Mic and whoever the homeroom teacher for 1-D was (Shinso didn’t pay attention enough to care) had decided that they should do a team building exercise, so they could all get to know each other a little more, and that was why they were ushered into one of the school’s massive ‘gyms’ (or just huge halls that the newbie heroes would fight in) to play team C verses team D dodgeball.

“THE RULES ARE SIMPLE!” Present Mic cried over the way too excited ground of general studies students. “GET HIT ANYWHERE ON THE BODY AND YOU’RE OUT! Unless it’s the head – because that’s cruel! If you catch a ball, someone of your choice can re-join the game! Oh, and no crossing the line onto the other team’s side! We’re starting with your backs against the wall – run to the middle, grab your ammo and –”

“What about Quirks?!” called out Koneko.

“Err… For this first round we’ll say YES to Quirks – as long as it’s not going to seriously hurt anyone – we’ll see how it goes and ban Quirks next round if it all goes wrong. OK! You have ten minutes or so to talk as a team and then we’ll BEGIN!”

“Ok, guys,” started Ohchi, who was clearly aiming for the class representative position they would be choosing in a few days’ time. “Let’s talk Quirks. Anyone got anything useful for this?”

Shinso could feel Midoriya freaking out beside him. Shinso wasn’t faring so well either – he hadn’t told anyone about his Quirk – he didn’t want to make a bad impression… but… did it really matter? He had Midoriya – and it was clear he wasn’t about to be driven away.

“My Quirk’s absolutely useless,” laughed Goro Tachibana, “all I can do is turn things orange for, like, a day.”

“A day?” repeated someone else.

“Oh yeah, once at my old school, my friends dared me to turn the whiteboard orange, and then the ink in our teacher’s pens, so nothing would show up. I know it sounds kind of lame – but it was really funny at the time.”

[Can he turn himself orange?] Midoriya wondered. He often used sign language as he thought. He would mouth words too, occasionally.

“Midoriya asks if you can turn yourself orange,” Shinso told him.

Midoriya instantly blushed, clearly not expecting Shinso to repeat his thoughts.

“Err, yeah – if I want. I have more control over that – I can turn it on or off whenever I please,” Tachibana explained.

[T-Then why doesn’t he turn our side of the pitch orange and then himself so he blends in?]

Shinso repeated he plan out loud. The class was more than impressed.

They ended up going around the class, talking about Quirks and asking Midoriya to come up with strategies around them. He made rather mundane Quirks into a serious advantage. Shinso was shocked – but then he remembered. Midoriya was the one with 91% in the exam – he really was a genius.

Both Shinso and Midoriya was very relieved, however, when the other team complained that they were taking too long to strategize, and the teachers announced that the game had to start or they’d never have sufficient time to play enough rounds.

“THREE, TWO, ONE – BEGIIINNN!” Present Mic cried, and both teams charged towards the middle of the pitch.

Midoriya wasn’t so keen, and hung back whilst the rest of them dove right in. Shinso did begin like the rest of them, but quickly hurried back to Midoriya as Tachibana turned the ground orange.

“Are you alright?” he questioned, picking up a spare ball that had rolled towards him.

Midoriya nodded, and then squealed rather loudly as he dodged a flying ball, which he seemed to register more as a missile rather than a soft ball.

“Sure?” Shinso insisted.

He nodded again, dodging another projectile. The other team considered them good targets, considering they were standing still and hanging back. Midoriya, however, seemed to be exceptional at dodging. Shinso wasn’t sure if this was a good or bad thing. He also wasn’t sure what to think about how muscular his friend seemed. He looked so small and weak in his uniform – but his UA regulation PE kit showed otherwise – and Midoriya didn’t seem like the kind to work out for fun or go for runs or something…

Team C won the first round of dodgeball, and the second. Shinso got hit in the head twice, but neither him nor Midoriya were hit out. The third round was more interesting. Team D quickly realised Tachibana’s orange tactic and got him out as soon as possible. Kana and Kisho, who both had weak water manipulation Quirks, were banned from using them after the opposing team had a heated argument against them and Ohchi about pouring water on the balls so they could make their throws more accurate. Ohchi was hit out moments later, quickly followed by the twins, who now shouted very loudly at their remaining classmates.

Shinso stayed by Midoriya for most of the round. Midoriya had yet to throw a single ball and continued to dodge them expertly, whilst Shinso tried his hand at catching, mainly so he could let Ohchi back in so she would stop shouting at them.

In the end – Midoriya was the only one left, and as it turns out, throwing was not one of his strong points, and neither was catching. However, it was increasingly hilarious how worked up the last two members of class 1-D were getting. No matter how hard they tried, they could not hit Midoriya.

It wasn’t very helpful that one of them managed to catch one of Midoriya’s throws, and they chose to let back in one of their team members, who must have had some kind of accuracy or levitation Quirk, because the dodgeballs seemed to change direction mid air to zoom towards Midoriya.

“On my mark!” announced the team D player with the accuracy Quirk. His other two teammates stood, poised, next to him, dodgeballs in hand, ready to throw. “Three, two, one – NOW!”

Shinso winced as the three projectiles were aimed perfectly at Midoriya – he had no way to escape. Well, that’s what everyone had thought – until Midoriya leapt at an exceptional height over the balls, did a front flip, and landed perfectly.

Ok, now the fitness is even more questionable.

“WHAT WAS THAT?!” it was Present Mic who yelled that. He’d been commentating the entire time.

The other team players were so stunned that the next throw was poor enough for even Midoriya to catch it.

“AND HE CATCHES IT!” Present Mic exclaimed.

[Donkey] signed Midoriya to Shinso.

They forgot Present Mic knew sign.

Both were very thankful that he masked his laughter with coughing when Shinso told Matsumoto to re-join the team.

It wasn’t long after that, that the last three members of class 1-D were hit out by Matsumoto, so 1-C reigned victorious, and undefeated.

“That was amazing, Midoriya!” exclaimed Koneko as the class surrounded him after PE – when they’d all gotten changed and gathered in their homeroom class to collect their things at the end of the day. “Who knew you were so, like, athletic?!”

“Your strategies were really good,” Ohchi admitted, “Better than anything I could come up with.”

“Yeah, thanks for helping me with my Quirk!” Tachibana added, “I’d never thought of using it for camouflage!”

Midoriya seemed rather overwhelmed – but he wasn’t freaking out as much as usual.

They showered him with praise; not asking too many questions so Shinso didn’t have to act as the translator that many times. But, before the clock quite reached the end of the day, the one question he had been so worried about was finally uttered.

“We never got to ask,” said Ohchi. “What’s your Quirk, Midoriya?”

“It’s like, intelligence or agility, isn’t it?” supposed Kana.

Midoriya looked to Shinso in fear. But Shinso never had to make that horrible decision to let his only friend out on his biggest secret.

“What are you all still doing here?!” exclaimed Present Mic as he dramatically burst through the door. “I’d have thought you lot would hurry off home as soon as humanly possible!” he said, hurrying over to his desk to pick up a pile of paperwork.

“We were just talking, Sir,” explained Ohchi.

Present Mic’s gaze rested on Midoriya. “Ah, yeah! You were pretty awesome today, favourite student!” he said without shame. “You don’t need a Quirk to do stuff like that, huh?! Well, see you all tomorrow!”

He left as quickly as he had arrived, leaving a silence behind him. Shinso glanced back at Midoriya. He was shaking.

“Wait, you’re not… Quirkless – are you?” someone guessed.

Midoriya looked down at his bright red shoes in humiliation.

“Holy shoot – you’re awesome,” scoffed Watanabe, who sat next to Midoriya in class.

Midoriya actually jumped in surprise, looking up at him (he was rather tall) with wide eyes.

“Yeah, Present Mic’s right – you don’t need a Quirk to do all that cool stuff! I’ve got a Quirk, and I can’t do half of what you do,” added Tachibana.

“Midoriya’s the one with 91% in the entrance exam,” Shinso told them, resting a hand on Midoriya’s shoulder.

“I knew it,” sighed Ohchi. “I only got 73% - I bet you got all those marks in the Quirklessness question, huh?”

“And plenty of other stuff besides,” Shinso insisted with a menacing stare.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” she said with a wave of her hand. “Anyway, see you all tomorrow. I’m going to miss my train if I’m late again.”

Not a single person uttered a word against Midoriya’s Quirklessness. Shinso’s gaze scared off anyone who tried (specifically Koneko). Midoriya didn’t sign a word – but Shinso didn’t need that to tell that he was grateful.

They walked together out of school. Shinso could see a soft smile forming on Midoriya’s face.

“Well, see you tomorrow,” Shinso said as they were about to part ways. “Don’t worry about them knowing about your Quirklessness. I promise they won’t say anything untoward about it.”

Midoriya hesitated, before nodding. Satisfied, Shinso turned and to walk away. But, just before he could get any further, Midoriya reached out and grasped his shoulder.

Shinso turned, confused. That was when, in the smallest voice imaginable, his mute friend opened his mouth and whispered, “Thank you,” and nothing more – turning and walking down the street before Shinso even had the change to reply.

 


 

Shinso was quiet as he walked home. He didn’t say a word to his parents as he put down his stuff and shut himself in his room. He stood there, staring at the book on Quirklessness he had left open on his bed from the night before.

Midoriya was someone too afraid to speak to anyone. Shinso was someone that everyone was too afraid to speak to.

But, out of them all, the only one Midoriya would utter a word to…

…was him.

Chapter Text

There are some souls who live their lives to a constant beat. Nothing they do is out of rhythm, and this isn’t meant in the context of someone who is perfectly organised in everything they do, for that is near to impossible. Life simply cannot be ordered with such precision. Instead, this rhythm is irregular. It has its ups and downs – times where it’s in a minor key and where it transitions to major. This beat can be to an invention of the mind, or it can be well known – perhaps a song or two, or a hundred – shuffled on a mental playlist to an order which is not as random as initially anticipated.

Midoriya is one of these people.

He had only been attending UA for a few days, but already, there was a spring to his step and a song in his mind that he had not heard for far too long. Background music was what it was like. A soundtrack to his life, long since overdue. Now, everywhere he goes, songs creep up on him from the deepest depths of his mind – the tunes hanging just past his lips, tantalisingly close to spilling out into reality.

Midoriya was considering putting in earplugs and listening to whatever song the radio decided upon as he approached UA’s glistening halls. The gigantic building loomed up ahead of him. It wasn’t as ominous as it once was – representing nothing but a dream forever out of reach. Now, UA was a place where he could find a future. Maybe it wasn’t going to be where he had wished it would take him, but did that really matter? Right now, Midoriya was just happy to have gone there at all. The main reason for this, in fact, had just ran around the corner.

“Morning, Midoriya!” Shinso exclaimed. Midoriya had never seen him so… excited for the day ahead? No – he couldn’t quite place it. Something about his whole demeaner seemed different. The bags under his eyes were lighter – was that it? His smile was that little bit brighter – more genuine – less of a smirk and more of an actual smile. Midoriya grinned back at him.

“Good morning,” he said, and suddenly slammed his hands over his mouth. The words had just fallen right out – he hadn’t even thought about it – no impending panic attack about the very thought of releasing the smallest sentence. It was… normal – like speaking was supposed to be.

Shinso’s smile grew wider.

[T-That was an accident] added Midoriya, his hands fumbling over each other. He briefly wondered if his sign was even interpretable.

“What, Speaking?” questioned Shinso, his signature smirk returning to his face as he began to walk up the hill towards school, Midoriya walking faster than he usually would to keep up with him.

Midoriya hesitated. This was strange – it had been a long time since he was last able to talk so freely. Even talking to his mother could be a struggle sometimes. He would avoid it if he could. “Y-Yes…” he managed, before letting out a slight laugh.

“A good accident, I hope – and not that you were trying to not talk to me.”

“N-No – not a-at all!” Midoriya replied. ‘Oh my God – I’m having a conversation…’

“So… why, um, why are you talking all of a sudden?” he asked hesitantly, as if he was worried the question would put Midoriya off talking all together.

“I-I’m…” started Midoriya. He rubbed his throat, before glancing back at Shinso, who was still staring at him. “W-Well, um, usually, err – usually m-my-my throat gets all… clogged up – when I try to say something. So… n-nothing comes out.”

“Well, honestly, it meant a lot to me when you spoke yesterday,” Shinso admitted after a moment of silence.

Midoriya blinked at him, the confusion etched on his expression.

“You must be crazy,” he continued, “to only want to speak to the person who can brainwash you if you do.”

“I-I can deal with crazy,” Midoriya replied. It was getting a little easier – the more he spoke.

“Good,” Shinso laughed, “Because it’s only going to get worse from here, I promise you that.”

“I’ll hold you to that promise.”

They walked in silence the rest of the way to school. Yeah, it was silent between them, but as they reached the front gates, it was clear the rest of the world had other plans.

“Is that the press?” Shinso wondered aloud, voicing Midoriya’s own thoughts.

“Hey, you! You’re UA students! What’s it like having All Might as a teacher?” a reporter demanded, thrusting a microphone in the direction of Midoriya.

And the clog’s back.

“Back off,” Shinso snarled. “We’re general studies students – we’re not in the hero course. All Might doesn’t teach us.”

They backed off pretty quickly after that. Shinso grabbed Midoriya’s wrist and dragged him harshly through the crowd and finally into UA’s grounds.

[I didn’t know he teaches here!] Midoriya signed as soon as they were free from the crowd.

“I heard mutter from some of the others about it,” Shinso admitted. “Are you a fan?”

[I… I was…]

“You… were? What happened?”

Midoriya fiddled with his fingers, unsure of what to say. As they walked through the halls towards class 1-C, he took a deep breath, tugged on Shinso’s shoulder, and explained. [I was attacked by a villain a while back – All Might saved me. Afterwards, I asked him if I could ever be a hero without a Quirk… he said no; that it was good to have dreams, but that I had to insure they were… attainable]

“He said that?” Shinso gaped. “I wasn’t a huge fan to begin with… I’m even less of one now.”

[It doesn’t matter – really]

“So, did you talk to him?” he asked as they entered their homeroom.

[…Yes. I suppose it’s not so hard to speak to certain people. I don’t think I’d be able to speak to him now though. And that was over ten months ago. I found speaking easier back then. This whole… muteness thing only really became a major problem afterwards]

Shinso sat down in his desk, [I’m glad things are starting to get better now] he signed. [But you don’t have to pressurise yourself to speak. I can keep translating for you at school if you want – and Cockatoo can too]

Midoriya sniggered [Cockatoo?]

“Present Mic, obviously,” Shinso smirked.

“What’s this about Present Mic?” questioned Ohchi. She sat next to Shino in class, so Midoriya couldn’t blame her for overhearing.

“Inside joke,” Shinso replied, at the same time as signing, [See this is the problem with speaking out loud – eavesdroppers]

“Hey, Midoriya,” Ohchi continued, “I learnt some sign language after school yesterday. Is this right?” and so she signed, [Hello, good morning, how are you?]

“Depends on what you’re trying to say,” Shinso told her. “If you were trying to say: hello, good morning, how are you – then yes, but if not, then…”

“No, that’s obviously what I was trying to say,” Ohchi retorted in obvious irritation.

Midoriya, unsure of what to do in this situation, just gave her a nervous thumbs up. It was luckily all he had time to do before Present Mic burst through the door, in a dramatic manner that was becoming routine at this point.

“ARE YOU READY FOR ROLLCALL?!” he exclaimed.

No one replied.

“COME ON!” Present Mic yelled, “I wanna hear a YYYEEEAAAHHH!”

Still no answer.

“One day, one day,” he sighed, and started with the register.

Once he had finished, Present Mic didn’t disappear off to the teachers’ lounge as he usually did, and instead sat down in the chair behind his desk. “So – You lot have been here for a few days now, and hopefully you’ve all gotten to know each other! That means, it’s time to choose…. Drum roll please!”

No drum roll followed.

“…A class representative!”

It was a surprise to no one when the long and tedious task of choosing a class president resulted in Ohchi coming out on top. Midoriya and Shinso were more than glad when President Ohchi was told to stop her never-ending speech so lessons could begin.

[I almost regret voting for her now] Shinso sighed as he walked beside Midoriya to lunch.

[I’m just glad I was allowed to opt out] Midoriya signed in reply.

[You could have been a great class representative] Shinso insisted [You’re really smart and everyone likes you. You don’t have to talk to take on all those responsibilities Ohchi was going on about]

[I think talking is expected]

Sign language had many positives and negatives. First of all, it successfully allowed nervous, shy people like Midoriya to communicate without having to speak, and, because it wasn’t commonly known, he and Shinso could have secret conversations whenever they pleased. Then again, having Shinso acting as his translator whenever their conversations weren’t secret made him feel extremely guilty, although his friend insisted it wasn’t a problem. Another downside was the fact that they had to be facing each other to talk, and both hands had to be free, that meant, when, for example, carrying trays, their conversations were cut short.

Shinso’s audible sigh moments after paying for his meal made Midoriya jump.

“Our usual table is filled up,” he explained. “We’ll have to sit next to someone else.”

While holding his tray, Midoriya couldn’t reply, so all he could do was nod and follow Shinso as he wandered around the hall. Midoriya couldn’t help but relate the situation to a couple of sharks swimming through shallow waters – the thought made Midoriya chuckle softly under his breath.

“Mind if we sit here?” Shinso said eventually, drawing Midoriya out of whatever dream world he’d entered.

“Not at all! It seems rather crowded at the moment, doesn’t it?!” replied the rather energetic boy Shinso had sat down next to. Midoriya could already see the annoyance in his eyes.

“So, anyway, Iida, you’re going to make a great class representative – no need to worry about it,” the girl Midoriya ended up sitting next to said, finishing whatever conversation she had been having. “Oh, hey – I know you!”

Midoriya flinched in surprise, turning to the girl.

“We met on the day of the entrance exam, right?” she confirmed.

He nodded frantically, pinning the familiarity of her face to the girl from his first few moments at UA – who stopped him from falling with her Quirk!

“I’m Uraraka, and this is Iida!”

“Nice to meet you both! What class are you in?” polite Iida immediately questioned.

“1-C,” Shinso answered simply, digging into his food without a further glance at the two.

“We’re in 1-A!” said Uraraka happily. “What are your names again?”

“Shinso – and Midoriya,” he replied, pointing to Midoriya as he said his name.

His throat felt dry. It was strange, how earlier that morning his voice had felt freer than it had ever been, but now, as soon as he was exposed to a more social situation, the wall separating his mind from his mouth was thrown up again, closing him off from the outside world.

“Has anyone been expelled from your class yet?” Uraraka asked Midoriya. Yes, she was definitely asking Midoriya, she had turned to face him and everything. “We’ve already lost two people!”

“No, general studies isn’t like the hero course,” Shinso said bitterly.

“Although, I heard the examinations for entrance to general studies were quite strenuous!” Iida added.

“They were fine.” Shinso was clearly getting quite aerated by the unwanted interaction.

“How did you find them?” Uraraka asked Midoriya – she was clearly trying to involve him in the conversation.

“Midoriya’s selectively mute,” Shinso snapped.

Silence followed.

Midoriya pocked his rice with his chopsticks glumly. Curse his stupid mouth – why wouldn’t it open when he wanted it to?

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” Uraraka suddenly exclaimed.

Midoriya could do nothing but smile and sign an apology that Shinso translated for him.

“You know, sign language could be super useful for heroics!” Uraraka said, turning to Iida; changing the conversation abruptly.

“Yes, I suppose it could. I wonder if Mr Aizawa will let us set something up to allow the class to learn it,” he wondered aloud.

“Yeah, then we could talk properly!”

That was when a loud, blaring noise filled their ears.

Midoriya squealed and covered his ears as the person on the other side of Iida explained the significance behind the sudden alarm.

With Midoriya’s ears ringing, Shinso dragged him out of his seat and down the halls. A rapid influx of people barged between them, pulling the two apart. Panic set in – it was a toxic mix of fear from the alarm and an anxiety driven from being separated from Shinso.

Someone’s elbow rammed into his head.

“Ah!” it was Uraraka, “Sorry!” she exclaimed once she realised who it was.

The two of them were pushed up close to the window overlooking the entrance to the school.

Midoriya pulled on Uraraka’s shoulder and directed her gaze towards the outside. There were the press, crowding an agitated Present Mic and a scruffy looking teacher with long black hair.

“It’s the press!” Uraraka exclaimed. She called out for Iida, who’s head appeared over the crowd, not far from where the two were standing.

[I have an idea!] Midoriya signed to Uraraka on impulse.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand!” she replied.

“Everyone, calm down – it’s just the press!” Iida cried, but his voice couldn’t be heard over the din the rest of the student body was making.

Midoriya knew what he, well, they, needed to do. He remembered Uraraka’s Quirk – she made him float back at the entrance exam! If she could make either herself or Iida float above the heads of everyone else, they could get their attention.

He tapped Uraraka’s shoulder again, [Float] he signed.

“I don’t understand sign language!” she repeated.

Midoriya pulled at his hair. ‘Come on, guess!’ [Float!] he tried again. It was a simple sign – surely it looked enough like it meant float for her to understand?!

 But after yet another fail, Midoriya grasped her wrist, pulled her in close to his face and uttered the word, “Float.”

“Float?!” she repeated.

Midoriya’s eyes widened. He hadn’t processed what he was doing – did he really just manage to speak to a stranger?!

Iida must have heard what Uraraka said, because he reached out his hand over the crowd and yelled, “Make me float, Uraraka!”

And so, she did.

Midoriya was stunned to see the engine exhaust pipes sticking out the bottom of Iida’s legs. With a boost from his Quirk, he went spinning across the heads of the students of UA and crashed into the wall above the exit sign.

As he yelled his explanation at them, the pushing and pulling of the crowd halted, and Midoriya could breath a sigh of relief.

Shinso pushed through the crowd and made it to their side. “Are you ok?” he panted.

Midoriya nodded furiously, still ecstatic that he had managed to overcome that blockage in his throat and communicate with Uraraka. She was still focusing on making sure Iida made it safely to the ground before realising her Quirk.

[I spoke!] Midoriya told Shinso excitably.

[To her?] he frowned.

Midoriya nodded and actually bounced on the spot.

“That was a really good idea, Midoriya!” Uraraka exclaimed as the crowds began to part.

[Thank you] he signed and Shinso translated.

This was immediately followed by Midoriya teaching Uraraka how to sign thank you, whilst Iida hurried over to them.

“Shall we go back to our seats before our lunch gets cold?” Iida suggested.

“Sure!” replied Uraraka. “Look, this is how you sign thank you!”

[What did you say to her?] Shinso questioned as they all walked back to the cafeteria.

[Only the word float. She couldn’t figure out what it meant in sign and I was really frightened that you’d gone! I’m surprised I managed to say it…]

“Oh, what were you trying to sign to me earlier?” Uraraka questioned. “Did that mean float?”

Midoriya nodded.

“Can you show me again?”

The rest of lunch break consisted mainly of teaching Uraraka and Iida various words in sign. Despite the panic derived from the press’ attack, by the end of the day, Midoriya wouldn’t hesitate to admit that it had been one of the best days he’d had for a long, long time.

And it wasn’t over yet.

Although, it didn’t take long for Midoriya to realise Shinso seemed a little… off – as the day ended... No, it couldn’t be – was Shinso… jealous of Midoriya speaking to Uraraka?

[Thank you for helping me today] Midoriya told him as the two of them left school.

“What did I do again?” he sighed.

Midoriya took a deep breath, “Y-Y-You gave me the courage t-to speak.”

Shinso’s eyes widened; whatever emotion he could have been storing up immediately tossed to the wind. “I did?”

“I-I don’t think I could have e-ever done that if-if you hadn’t been so kind to m-me.”

It was clear his friend didn’t quite know how to respond.

“I could only say one w-word. B-But that-that’s one word more than usual,” he laughed meekly.

“Hey! Wait up you two!”

Midoriya jumped as he and Shinso turned. It was Uraraka again, with Iida jogging by her side.

“Are you guys heading off to the train station? We’ll come too!” she explained.

“I don’t go all the way to the train station,” Shinso admitted, “but Midoriya does.”

“We should walk together after school – would that be cool?” Uraraka questioned Midoriya.

He nodded briskly, but then hesitated, and glanced at Shinso. His friend smirked at him and gave him a reassuring nod.

“Y-Yes,” Midoriya stammered.

The two hero students looked like they were about to cry. Iida even clutched his heart. They barely knew Midoriya – but speaking meant this much to them?

The four talked animatedly as they wandered slowly towards the train station. Midoriya’s comments were few and far between, but he was just honoured to feel so included. Iida and Uraraka explained that they had researched what selective mutism was between lessons that afternoon and were just so thrilled that Midoriya had managed to overcome his mental barriers to speak with them after such a short space in time. Midoriya was quick to make sure they knew Shinso’s part in all this. He wasn’t sure if it was really their openness that allowed him to speak, or more his trust in Shinso.

Midoriya would admit to being more than a little fearful when they parted ways with Shinso; he was so worried that as soon as his friend was gone, the clog in his throat would return. But, although he could feel it there, somehow he could still push past. His sentences were filled with more stutters; he spoke slowly and quietly. But Uraraka and Iida were patient.

And as Midoriya stepped off the train and made his way home, that spring in his step was oh so much clearer.

“I’m home, Mum!” he called out as he closed the door to his house behind him.

“Izuku!” she exclaimed as she hurried into view; her face displaying a rather shocked expression. “How was your day? You seem… really happy!”

“Um, yeah!” he replied, putting down his rucksack and taking off his tie. “I, err, I talked to Shinso.”

“You talked?!” Inko cried. “Really? Izuku! I’m so proud of you!”

“It’s really nothing, Mum.”

“It isn’t?!”

“I m-mean, um, well – I managed to speak to a couple of other people as well.”

“Who?!”

“Um, Iida and Uraraka? They’re in the hero course. Maybe they know Kacchan…”

She squealed something that Izuku couldn’t have possibly deciphered as she pulled him into a hug. “I haven’t started making dinner yet – but how about Katsudon? I know it’s one of your favourites!”

“Oh, ok!” he replied. “But, um, I’m going to go get changed out of my uniform first, then maybe go out for a bit?”

“Where?” she asked in curiosity.

“Oh, um, I just found this empty stretch of beach not far from here. It’s really quiet; I just want to go mess around on my guitar for a bit?”

“Of course, Izuku,” Inko replied fondly. “But be back soon. You wouldn’t want your dinner to get cold – and it looks like it might rain in a bit.”

“Ok, Mum!” and with that, he pulled on the first set of clothing he located in his draws, grabbed his guitar case and ran out the front door.

 


 

Inko gazed fondly out the window as her son rushed off to reach the beach he mentioned before it rained. He always loved to play whenever he was feeling emotional. Whether it was because he was sad or angry, or, apparently, really happy! It had been so long since she’d seen him like this. It was about ten months ago, after he leaped in to pull Katsuki away from that sludge villain attack, when he truly began to fall silent. He hadn’t been great before – always fidgeting and stuttering, dreading the dawn of a new day, but it just got worse and worse as time went on. She was glad she’d convinced Izuku to take the entrance exams to UA, despite not being able to shoot for the hero course. This could really be the start of something wonderful.

 


 

His Mum was right about the rain. Midoriya couldn’t see the ocean in its true majesty because of the looming clouds. But he didn’t care. He was looking forward to the tranquillity of the trash covered beach of Dagobah. He didn’t mind its filthy state if it meant he could play whatever he wanted without disturbing anyone. He also knew that his mother wouldn’t have minded him playing in the house, in fact, she seemed to rather enjoy it – but Midoriya just wanted to be alone that evening, after such an eventful day.

He sat on top of the same pile of garbage that he had the first time he ventured into the sandy wasteland; leaving the case of his guitar by the abandoned boardwalk. Thunder crackled above him, and the clouds’ first teardrops trickled down Midoriya’s cheeks. Too late to hurry home, he just sat there and let the heavens open above him, not a thought concerning the welfare of his guitar crossing his mind. He’d left it out in the rain before. It certainly hadn’t been too happy about the ordeal, but the water didn’t have any long-lasting effects. Perhaps a certain waterproofing had been done to the wood.

Despite the heavy clouds, Midoriya could still see the slightest hint of the fading day – an orange that swept across the sky; illuminating the raindrops and swelling waves ever so slightly, in a way that gave the illusion of fire, rippling across the ocean and the sky.

He smiled and began to play the first song that crossed his mind. It was a song that perhaps he would come to regret, but, at the same time, look back on with a grin wider than the one he sported at the moment.

~Set Fire to the Rain – Adele~

This would be because, as the first chords rang out over the beach, something stirred in Midoriya’s mind; swirling in his chest. It was a feeling that had always been there, an emotion of sorts that he only felt as he began to play his music, it was one of the reasons that he loved it so much. He just felt like he belonged to the rhythm. It was where he could forget the world and immerse himself in an entirely new one of his own. There was a lightness about this feeling today. It rose up, past the familiar clog in his throat, washing it away. And this was why, with a thought back to the friendly faces he had become accustomed to seeing – that of his friends – his confidence budded, and he opened his mouth.

And he sung.

My hands – they’re strong. But my knees, were far too weak…”

He let his voice echo across the beach – filling every crevasse, nook and cranny. He loved the way it reverberated in his chest; a feeling long lost within him. He had sung before, of course, everyone had at some point, whether it was simply humming along to the radio or a gleeful chorus of happy birthday at a friend’s party. His mother had said there was something about Izuku’s singing – a certain magic to it that no one could quite describe. It was as if he always conveyed the meaning of a song; brought out the emotion it intended into the world around him without a clear effort. But never before had he truly poured himself into a song like he did on that day.

…I set fire – to the rain. Watching it pour…”

It was as though he was playing an ancient instrument – one he’d had with him for as long as he could remember, but never had the confidence to test and try. His throat felt sore and raspy from underuse, but somehow the music pushed through.

When I lay, with you…”

Midoriya gazed into the distance, eying the horizon as the sun continued to set. There was a break in the clouds now. Not enough to stop the rain nor to blind him with the fading sun, but enough to see its hazy silhouette above the Earth’s curvature.

The rain wetted his hair and made the strings of his guitar slippery and difficult to navigate. Whether he struck a wrong note at some point or not, he could never have known. He was so lost in the music that it just didn’t concern him anymore. Neither did the clinging of his clothes to his skin, or the salt of the air stinging on cracked lips.

The rain – it glowed with the light of the sunset – it was so bright that each droplet could have been a star of its own. His mind played tricks on him when the drops sizzled as they landed on his guitar.

And then the second chorus began.

But I set fire – to the rain!”

And the rain – it burned.

The music came to an abrupt stop as Midoriya yelled, falling down the pile of rubbish he had perched upon and into the water below. With the sound of the song gone, the flames too, began to fade, put out by the rain which no longer fuelled it.

Midoriya sat there breathing heavily in fear, knee deep in the ocean as the waves tossed the salted water over his back. His guitar had fell a few feet away from him. Slowly, he clambered to his feet, waded through the water and retrieved it.

It was covered in scorch marks.

Midoriya blinked as he stared up at the sky and felt the rain pitter-patter against his face. The sun had set. The light illuminating the clouds had gone.

So why had the rain continued to glow?

Did he hallucinate? Why was his guitar covered in spots of black soot whilst his skin remained unharmed? Why did the beach continue to smoulder around him? Hot pools of water seeped into his shoes as he climbed out of the sea and back onto the beach.

Midoriya fell to the ground by his guitar case. He tested the water that had collected inside of it – hot – almost too hot to touch.

“I set fire to the rain…” Midoriya mumbled as the water fell heavier down on his head.

It was in this moment, that Midoriya’s troubled mind drifted back to his entrance exam to UA – and to his answer to a certain question:

…However, the recombinant frequency of Quirklessness and having an extra joint is so low (because the alleles are so close together) that the inheritance of either gene separately is near to unheard of.

“Near to unheard of,” he said out loud to himself. “Near to…”

Not impossible.

Rare – but possible.

He tilted back his head and cried, one last time, “I set fire! To the rain!”

But nothing happened.

You’re going crazy… Something must have leaked from the garbage – burned the guitar. And the hot water was just from the sunlight heating it up… yeah – definitely,’ Midoriya reasoned pacing back and forth.

But… What if it was his singing?

Midoriya pulled out his phone, struggling to unlock it in the pouring rain. His mum hadn’t messaged him quite yet. He still had time before he had to head home.

He bit his lip… there’s got to be a way to try this…

And so, he tapped on his downloaded music, and managed to reach the playlist created for his dance class – filled with normal and karaoke versions of hundreds of songs that they’d danced to over the years – and he tapped on the song he’d been looking for.

A smile returned to his face as the familiar beat filled his ears.

~Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves~

 “I used to think maybe you loved me; now baby I’m sure…”

He let himself prance across the sand, jumping on top of half buried objects discarded there years ago. He twisted in the air; thoughts of a burnt guitar lost once more to the back of his mind as the upbeat rhythm consumed him.

Now every time I go for the mailbox, gotta hold myself down…”

He laughed dragging his feet in the sand as he almost tripped over an old tire.

The rain had drenched him at this point, and his dip in the ocean hadn’t helped. But now he couldn’t even feel the coolness of the rain as it grew heavier still. He was completely lost in his dance – not caring about the squelching of his shoes and the sand stuck to the back of his trousers.

Now I’m walking on sunshine! Woah!”

And that was when the clouds right above his head parted, and a beaming ray of sunlight illuminated the spot where he stood, following his every movement like a spotlight.

And as the chorus ended, laughing in extasy, he fell to the ground and turned off the music on his phone.

The sunlight faded once more.

Now that couldn’t have been a coincidence – the sun had already set!

Midoriya’s mind raced – thoughts of what would happen if he had kept singing mingled with what other songs could do and –

…oh my God – I have a Quirk!’

He leapt to his feet and screamed it to the sky, “I HAVE A QUIRK!”

His phone buzzed – it was his mother, wondering where he was.

A grin still plastered across his face, Midoriya raced back over to his guitar case, zipped it shut, grasped its handle and took off. He ran nearly all the way home; only stopping when he had run out of breath.

He trudged inside and closed the door behind him.

“Izuku! What happened? Did you really stay out in the rain?!” his mother cried when her son walked back in, dripping water everywhere. But then her gaze reached the expression on his face.

“What happened?” she demanded, “Izuku – you’re scaring me!”

“Mum,” he said shakily, shivering in the cold, but he didn’t mind. “Mum, I-I have a Quirk.”

“B-But… But that’s impossible – w-what – what is it?”

“Singing,” he breathed.

“S-Singing? B-But – What about your toe joint?”

“It’s possible,” he explained, dropping the sodden guitar case by the door and pulling the instrument out, tipping excess liquid out of it and dropping it up by the radiator so it could dry. “Rare, very rare – but not impossible, so, by definition,” he said, grasping Inko’s shoulders, “possible.”

Tears welled in her eyes, “A-Are you sure, Izuku?”

“Mum, I sung set fire to the rain and –” he held up his scorched guitar, “I set fire to the rain.”

She stroked the spots of ash on the instrument, gazing at the black substance left behind on her finger. “Y-You have a Quirk,” she stammered, before she let her tears flow, “Y-You sung!”

And then Midoriya was crying too, tears mixing with rainwater and the salt the sea left behind on his clothes.

But that, was only the beginning.

 

Chapter Text

Midoriya woke up before his alarm the next morning. His dreams had been busy; although he couldn’t remember the details, he knew they had to be about his Quirk somehow. He just couldn’t stop thinking about it – all those years spent analysing Quirks and picking at their strengths and weaknesses; finally, he had the chance to do that for his very own.

Although, he still wasn’t completely convinced he had a Quirk at all. Perhaps it had just all been a weird dream. But then Midoriya saw his guitar, still balancing against the radiator by the front door. And he saw the black spots covering it in its entirety – yeah, not a dream.

That was when the idea hit him. Before hurrying out of his house to begin the new day, Midoriya raced back to his room, grabbed his portable speaker and shoved it in the bottom of his rucksack.

“Mum?!” Midoriya called out as he stood by the door, ready to leave.

“Yes, Izuku?” she replied at a much lower volume, reappearing right next to him at such a speed that Midoriya briefly wondered if her Quirk included teleportation.

“Oh, um, I just wanted to say that I might be later home than usual today,” he warned her.

“Are you going to that beach again?” she frowned.

“I-If that’s ok?” Midoriya stammered, gripping the straps of his rucksack nervously.

“Well, honey, if you really think y-you have a Quirk – then you need to be exploring it somewhere a little safer…”

“Dagobah’s fine, Mum! Really, I’ll be safe – I promise.”

“Yes, but, other people might not be,” she acknowledged, glancing at the burnt guitar.

“O-Oh…” Midoriya said, following her gaze, “I suppose not.”

“Why don’t you ask UA?” she suggested hopefully. “They could help you register it!”

“Um… yeah, I’ll see if I can practise there then,” he agreed.

Inko teared up and threw herself into a hug, “I’m so proud of you, Izuku – you know that, right?”

“Thanks, Mum. See you later.” He pulled away after a moment and hurried out the door, leaving his mother staring after him, gripping the fret of his guitar fondly.

 


 

“There he is!” Uraraka exclaimed as Midoriya ran up the hill towards them.

Shinso wasn’t too sure what he thought of Uraraka and Iida. The three of them had been waiting for Midoriya to arrive for the past five minutes, with Iida getting increasingly worried about being later than ten minutes early to homeroom.

Uraraka was definitely the one he preferred out of the two. She seemed light-hearted and kind; easy to befriend and easy to understand. But, just like Iida, she had it too easy. Neither of them had faced the troubles that Shinso had in terms of reaching for their dreams. Then again, it was nothing compared to Midoriya. He tried to hide it, but it was clear to see – Midoriya would have loved to be a hero, but his lack of a Quirk held him back. Shinso couldn’t help but wonder how different life would have been for Midoriya if he had just been born with a power of his own.

“Did you miss your train or something?” Shinso questioned, eyeing the pair of green headphones hanging around Midoriya’s neck.

“N-No,” he replied. He was getting more confident with his speaking. Shinso couldn’t help but feel a little bubble of pride rising in his chest. “I-I just got a l-little lost in thought.”

“What were you listening to?” Uraraka quizzed as Iida encouraged them to hurry up and head towards school.

“Um – here,” he replied, before pulling off his headphones and handing them to Uraraka. She accepted them eagerly, standing close to Midoriya so the wire wouldn’t pull them off.

They walked in silence for a moment as Uraraka judged whatever she was listening to. “This is such a cute song!” she exclaimed rather loudly. “Oh! Was I shouting?” she giggled after taking them off and handing them back.

“You should be cautious with the volume of your music!” Iida instructed, chopping the air with his hand as he did so. “Too loud and you could damage your hearing!”

“S-Sorry!” Midoriya squeaked as he turned it off, leaving the headphones around his neck.

“What was the song about?” Uraraka questioned. “Like, I think I’m ok with English, but song lyrics are just beyond my capabilities if they’re not well known anyway.”

“Oh, um, it’s called Wings,” he answered.

“Midoriya’s fluent,” Shinso told her after he neglected to do so.

“Wait, in English?!” Uraraka gaped, “I thought we were still talking about the song for a moment there – but seriously?! Could you help with my English homework? Present Mic is way more confident in our abilities than he should be.”

“As UA students, it’s understandable that he thinks highly of our skills!” Iida interjected.

“Skills that still don’t exist,” she laughed.

The media had given up on standing on the school’s doorstep, so thankfully it wasn’t as much of a struggle to get through the gates this time around. The two hero students waved goodbye to Shinso and Midoriya as they reached the door to class 1-C. Uraraka was still humming the tune to Midoriya’s song as she skipped away.

For Shinso, the rest of the morning went by like any other ordinary day at UA. Midoriya however… seemed distracted. He kept muttering to himself – nothing out loud, but the movements of his lips clearly indicated that his mind was transfixed on something. He kept scribbling things down in a notebook; periodically scrolling through his phone and occasionally putting on his headphones to listen to something for a while. However, it clearly wasn’t for his enjoyment – the serious look on his face as he did this suggested otherwise. Shinso decided not to pry. If Midoriya was willing to tell him, he would, given time. That was the thing with Midoriya – you had to be patient. Wait your turn, and it would be worthwhile – rush him into anything, and you would end up in a worse position than where you started.

But Shinso would be lying if he said that he didn’t have his own distractions to consider. The Sports Festival – it was just around the corner. Only a few weeks, and his moment to shine would arrive – his chance to finally get out of general studies. He hadn’t been there long, but he was already sick of seeing the hero students waltz to class, hero costumes in hand. His only regret was that he wouldn’t be able to bring Midoriya with him.

However, as the day drew to a close, Shinso suddenly found himself with a reason to be happy to not be in class 1-A.

When Present Mic and a majority of UA’s faculty members charged out of their lessons halfway through the day, leaving class presidents in charge without a hint as to what was going on, the collective student body began to panic. When they returned, class 1-C was told what happened –

The hero course was attacked during a rescue training exercise at a place called the Unforeseen Simulation Joint – the USJ. They called themselves the League of Villains, and were hell bent on killing All Might.

Not that Midoriya said a word, but it was clear to Shinso that he was beside himself with worry.

Before the disruptive afternoon came to a close, the students of class 1-A returned to the main campus. Their arrival wasn’t hard to miss, and Midoriya waited agitatedly by the entrance to class 1-C for them to walk by.

“Hey, Midoriya!” Uraraka called out excitably as she and Iida arrived alongside the rest of their colourfully clothed classmates.

The expression on his face melted into visible relief as he saw how little cuts and bruises marred their faces.

“Is everyone ok?” Shinso questioned, voicing what he knew Midoriya would have said if it weren’t for all the other students milling around him, heading off to retrieve their things or be checked out by Recovery Girl in the infirmary.

“Thanks to the teachers!” Uraraka answered. “And Iida! He was great – he managed to get out and ran all the way here to get help!”

“Whilst everyone else stayed and fought, of course,” he reminded her.

“Hey, it could have gone a lot worse if it weren’t for you!” she snapped, “Don’t beat yourself down about it!”

Shinso didn’t miss Midoriya’s nervous fidgeting as some of the soon-to-be-heroes marched by. Another thing he acknowledged was the glare of an explosively dressed boy, who’s red eyes met Midoriya’s green ones for a split second. Shinso wondered what the story behind that was – if there was one at all and the guy didn’t just emit an aura of touch me and I kill you. Both are equally likely to be true.

“Nice hero costumes,” Shinso said, changing the subject.

“Why thank you!” Iida replied, doing his chopping the air thing again as he explained its various practicalities and features.

“I-It reminds me of I-Ingenium’s costume!” Midoriya stammered.

“He’s my elder brother!” Iida announced proudly.

Midoriya proceeded to gush over how cool he thought the hero was for the next three minutes. Shinso, meanwhile, was not as impressed. Typical, Iida had everything handed to him on a silver platter. He was born with the perfect Quirk and the perfect opportunity to reach for the stars. Shinso had to work for it – but he would; harder than any other – and he would prove them wrong.

“I should have been more specific with mine,” Uraraka laughed feebly. “It’s skin-tight! I would have preferred it to be a little loser – but I’m kind of getting used to it.”

“T-They’re both really good!” replied Midoriya.

“Hey! What are you two doing out there?!” It was Ohchi, who threw the door open dramatically. She blinked in surprise when she spotted the two hero students.

“We were talking,” Shinso replied coldly.

“Well, Present Mic should be back any minute – and he left me in charge!” she snapped. “Can’t you at least get in here and look like you’ve been doing some work?”

“Ah, yes!” Iida suddenly exclaimed, “We should probably return to our own class and check on what we should be doing next!”

“Lead the way, class rep!” Uraraka grinned. “See you guys soon!”

Midoriya waved weakly as Shinso dragged him back into the classroom as to not aggravate Ohchi more than necessary. Like most of general studies – she wasn’t fond of the hero course students, and perhaps wasn’t keen on that fact that they were conversing.

Fortunately, Present Mic returned only moments later, and began to explain that school would be ending a little early whilst the matter surrounding the USJ attack was dealt with.

“You’re welcome to hang about if your train doesn’t leave the station until the day’s officially up – but other than that, you’re officially… DISMISSED!” he announced overdramatically.

Nearly all of the class got up immediately, chattering amongst themselves in already tight-knit friendship groups as they left the room behind Present Mic. The only one who didn’t, in fact, was Midoriya.

“Can’t you get an earlier train?” Shinso questioned curiously as he noticed Midoriya made no effort to pack away his various things.

He shrugged and then signed, [I’ve still got some work to finish, and I’ll concentrate better here than at home. I think I’ll wait until the day’s officially up]

“I can wait with you if you want some company,” Shinso offered.

Midoriya shook his head frantically, [It’s really fine! I’ll only be writing anyway. So, see you tomorrow?]

It seemed rather dismissive, but again, if Midoriya didn’t want Shinso to know something, then Shinso would give it time, and leave him to it – hoping that one day, he’d trust him enough to explain. “Sure, see you tomorrow.”

After all, Shinso didn’t really want to stick around to deal with the press mobbing the school again after news of the USJ attack got out…

 


 

Midoriya felt awful about lying to Shinso, but he just wasn’t ready to tell him about his Quirk – not until he was sure what it actually was. Moreover, if he did tell him, he would have to show his Quirk to him – and that would require singing. He’d just barely gotten used to talking! Singing would take a little more time to get used to…

With all the chaos surrounding the USJ attack, most students headed home as quickly as they could, and few noticed Midoriya lagging behind.

He knew he told Mum that he would ask for permission to practise his Quirk at school so it could get registered… but… if he couldn’t even muster the courage to tell Shinso – how could he possibly tell a teacher?! That was why, only once he was sure everyone who knew him had gone, Midoriya mustered the courage to pack up his things and hurry out of class 1-C.

From the tour at the beginning of term, Midoriya knew vaguely where the different ‘gyms’ and halls were situated around UA. Eventually, he found himself at the door to the spacious hall where they had played dodgeball against class 1-D only a few days prior.

In the panic of leaving school early, someone had forgotten to lock the doors, and Midoriya let out a thankful sigh of relief as it swung open for him. Once inside, he shut the door behind him and flicked on the light switch, revealing a massive, empty space for him to work with.

He took off his blazer and tie, leaving them in a pile by his rucksack. Then, after delving for some time, he managed to locate his little speaker, and plugged it into his phone. After it was set up, Midoriya finally pulled out a pen and his new notebook, which he had titled: Quirk Analysis – it was a title that was inconspicuous enough to be ignored by anyone who picked it up, thinking it was another one of his hero analysis notebooks, but different enough for Midoriya to distinguish. It wasn’t just any Quirk analysis notebook – it was analysis on his Quirk.

“Ok, ok…” Midoriya mumbled, letting his thoughts tumble out into reality without fearing anyone could hear them. He picked up his notebook and began pacing around the hall, rereading his notes so they were fresh in his mind. “So, my Quirk activates whenever I sing a song… and it seems to give me a power whilst I’m singing that correlates with the meaning behind the song in question. And then I can’t use that power again for a limited amount of time – probably… That would explain why singing ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ didn’t work twice in a row. The power also seems to get stronger the longer I sing the song – for example, for my first song, at the beginning, the rain only grew hot, but then set alight when the music swelled for the second chorus – so, the strength of the power depends on how far through the song I am…” He paused, tapping his pen on his lip thoughtfully.

After a moment, he flipped through the notebook a little further, past the blank pages he’d left for further analysis, and reached his pages on possible songs and what abilities they could grant him. Sure, he was getting a little ahead of himself – there was still a looming possibility that all this was just a freak accident, and that he had no Quirk at all, but, for the first time in a while, Midoriya had allowed himself to be optimistic.

With these detrimental thoughts of it all being a big misunderstanding, Midoriya realised there was only one way to prove to himself that he really had a Quirk – sing a song that would grant him a power that would very clearly not be a fluke.

So, he jogged back over to his phone and speaker, left his notebook by his bag, and tapped on one of the songs he’d been considering all day long:

~Thunder – Imagine Dragons~

As the music started, he didn’t feel that pressure in his chest as he began to sing – not a worry crossed his mind of being heard, so the words came with ease.

… I was dreaming, of bigger things and – wanna leave my old life behind…”

The song carried on. It was familiar to Midoriya – he had heard it many times, over and over again. The sound of the drum seemed to find a rhythm with every other beat of his heart. It was so easy to sink into the music – to drift away from thoughts of villain attacks and anxiety. When he was alone with his music, everything was ok.

I was lightning – before the thunder!”

A smile broke across his face – his feet moving in time to the rhythm. He twisted and he turned, not caring how messy and unchoreographed his dancing would have looked – he was enjoying himself; that was all that really mattered.

Thunder! Feel the thunder…”

He could have sworn the whole building shook as he slammed his feet on the ground – the sound of thunder echoed around him.

And as the chorus ended…

…Lightning then the thunder!”

With a crash and a flash of light, Midoriya screamed.

The lights flickered, swaying above him. When they returned to normality, panting, Midoriya gazed down at his feet. Right there, next to him, was a scorch mark far greater than those left peppered across his guitar – the mark left behind by a lightning bolt.

Midoriya stood there for a moment in shock, staring at the blacked floor. And then he laughed, running back over to his phone and switching off the music.

Oh yeah – he most definitely had a Quirk.

Jotting down the results of his first test in his notebook, Midoriya sat by his bag, unable to stifle the massive grin splitting across his face.

But what now?

He picked up his phone and scrolled down through what he had most recently played – when he stumbled across the song Uraraka had been listening to earlier that day. Unlike the other songs he had thought of testing – Midoriya wasn’t too sure what this could bring. But… how could he ever know for sure until he tried it out for himself?

~Wings – Hurts~

There was something about this song – a certain understanding and belonging. It was like he could relate to it more than it most likely intended. It was likely about love – about two people finding safety and serenity in each other’s company. But Midoriya didn’t quite see it like that. He felt like it was about a guardian angel – someone who would lift you up from your darkest moments in life. That someone could be anyone, surely – his mother, his friends – even himself – a part of himself with the confidence to soar above the negativity of others and reach for the stars.

Say you’ll catch me when I fall …”

He almost forgot about his Quirk in that moment, deep in thought about the meaning behind the music. So, with a sense of surprise which was becoming routine alongside new powers at this point, the chorus arrived.

Wrap your wings around my body!”

Midoriya wasn’t dancing this time; just singing to the empty hall. Perhaps it was because he wasn’t moving, that he was able to maintain his composure and keep singing when the power activated – and a pair of massive green wings wrapped themselves around him.

Struggling to keep in tune, Midoriya spun around on the spot, trying to figure out where the mass of feathers had come from. It was only when he managed to reach the small of his back with his fingertips, that he realised the wings were his – protruding from beneath his shoulder blades.

He tried not to laugh with a mixture of shock and gleefulness as it dawned on him that yes, he had just grown wings.

When we stood on the skyline, there was no turning back – and you said not to stare at the ground…”

He slowly let the wings unravel and droop behind him like a cape of feathers. He was still singing when he tested his new limbs, moving them about unsurely in a similar manner to how a new-born foal would wobble on its legs, still grinning like a fool.

When he realised the next chorus was about to begin, he hurried back to his bag, and spread his wings to their fullest extent, crouching like he was at the start of a one-hundred-meter dash.

…When I’m lost in the storm – and I’m calling…”

When the familiar chorus began, he pushed himself forward, picking up as much speed as he could before flapping his great wingspan – and it wasn’t long before his feet were no longer touching the ground.

Wrap your wings – wrap your wings! Wrap your wings around my body!”

When he almost hit the wall on the opposite side of the hall, he turned clumsily in the air. Managing not to yell in fright, he somehow changed direction. Whilst being thankful for the hall’s ridiculously high ceiling, Midoriya whooped in joy when the song allowed him to do so.

Before long he was summersaulting – twisting and turning with ease. After his initial struggle, flying came so effortlessly to him. It was instinct, as natural as it would be for a fledgling bird, given time. Midoriya didn’t know if it was his own body or if it was part of his Quirk that allowed this to be true, but he didn’t really care at this point.

We’re flying above the valley below…”

In his euphoria, with the wind blowing in his hair and through his feathers, he felt lost to the world. For here, alone in the hall at UA, Midoriya finally had a reason to fly.

However, he wasn’t quite as alone as he thought he was…

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Present Mic wouldn’t be ashamed to admit that he was glad he didn’t have to go on patrol that evening, nor did he have to attend to his radio show, because yes, Aizawa was wrong – he did have back up plans for when his hero life took priority over his various other jobs – and with that, came back up radio hosts. It was almost a shame it hadn’t been a Friday – he only played non-stop music on Fridays, so there was really no need in him being there at the radio station. But it was a Wednesday, so never mind.

That day sure had been eventful, and the following few days were bound to not be much sanctuary. They’d only just gotten rid of the press – and now they’ll be back at it again! It was like the media were flies, and their fly spray wasn’t as effective as the packet said it was.

This was one of the reasons he chose to stay behind at UA’s main campus after school was ended early. The longer he could postpone leaving and having to run into the hoards of reporters, the better.  Another reason was so that he could have something to do whilst he waited for the hospital to give him the all clear to check up on his friend Aizawa. It had been rather destressing seeing his old school friend so blooded and bruised like that…

Anyway, someone had to sweep the school to make sure everyone had gone home before the police could start their investigations. There were only a few third years lagging behind anyway – taking advantage of the chaos to spend some extra time with the school’s resources before the day was up. This mainly involved the support classes – but no change there, they’d always been difficult to get away from their work benches.

So, when Yamada wandered up to Principal Nedzu’s office, he was pretty convinced the school was empty, and was pleased to report so.

“Good evening, Present Mic!” Nedzu chimed happily as Yamada entered the office.

“Hey, Principal Nedzu!” he replied with equal enthusiasm. “Just to give you a heads up – the school seems clear from top to bottom if you want to let the police do whatever they need to do!”

“Ah, yes – did you check the entire school?”

Yamada hesitated, “Did I miss someone?” he guessed. He’d checked everywhere he could have thought of where a student might have been...

“One of your first years, it would appear,” Nedzu informed him.

He frowned, “…Who?”

“Izuku Midoriya.”

Ok, that was a little off, “Sign language kid?”

The Principal waved him over to his desk, where his beady eyes were transfixed on his computer screen. Present Mic jogged over in upmost curiosity. But, when his own eyes rested on what Principal Nedzu was watching, his glasses almost fell off in shock.

“He has wings!” Yamada gaped, “I thought he was Quirkless – how in the –”

“Look closer,” the Principal insisted.

Yamada did, but he wasn’t too sure what the Principal was implying.

“He is unsure and unsteady,” he explained when no revelation was made on Yamada’s part. “Not used to this power. This is why I have reason to believe that the boy has only just realised he has a Quirk at all.”

“That’s impossible,” Yamada insisted. “You get a Quirk at like, four, and that’s it!”

“Midoriya’s Quirk appears to be rather peculiar,” Nedzu continued. “He summoned a lightning bolt earlier.”

“He did WHAT?!”

“Did you not hear it? I did – that is why I decided to check the security feed. Why don’t you go and speak with him?” Nedzu instructed in a polite manner that made it sound like it was only a request; one which Yamada didn’t necessarily have to fulfil, but he knew better. “You are his homeroom teacher, after all – and you are one of the only members of staff who can confidently communicate with sign language. However, it is a shame these security cameras don’t have a sound system. Look at his mouth – it’s moving. Therefore, he is either talking to himself, or perhaps he is singing.”

“But he’s mute!”

“And Quirkless,” Nedzu smiled in an unintentionally menacing way. “But you can’t know for sure, until you see for yourself. For example, how could one know that Japan is an island if they have never seen the ocean? How could they know the sea exists at all, or the rest of the world, for that matter? My point is, you can either trust in the evidence laid before you by another or set out to retrieve that evidence yourself. I believe that the latter is the better option in this situation. Not only for us, but for Midoriya too – who has just realised he has a phenomenal power, after spending his entire life facing a horrid prejudice for not having one at all.”

Present Mic, meanwhile, was still staring, dumfounded, at one of his youngest, most feeble students, doing backflips in the air like he’d been flying his entire life. He just nodded senselessly at Nedzu’s lecture. Once he was sure it was finished, he darted out of the room as fast as he possibly could, and sprinted all the way to the hall where Midoriya had hidden himself away in.

Panting, he hesitated by the entrance, hand hovering over the doorknob. He could hear the faint echo of music from within. He thought Nedzu was kidding when he suggested Midoriya could have been singing.

 

~Wings – Hurts~

 

We’re flying above the valley below…”

Present Mic opened the door as slowly and quietly as he could. His mouth hung open as he closed it behind him, not daring to take his eyes away from the student that he thought he’d be protecting from everyone and everything for the next three years – not in a million years, did he think he’d be facing something like this – and he’d just come back from a villain attack at the USJ (not universal studios Japan – but the two were easy enough to confuse).

The music swelled as Midoriya repeated those lyrics. They were the very first words Present Mic had ever heard him utter.

Here he was, soaring high above him in a hall for hero students, without a care in the world. He dipped and dived, twisting and turning with apparent ease – having the time of his life.

“Wrap your wings around my body!” the boy whooped with glee.

How he hadn’t noticed Yamada yet was beyond him. Perhaps he was so enthralled with his seemingly newfound ability that his mind simply blocked Yamada out of his peripheral vision.

Wrap your wings – wrap your wings – wrap your wings around…”

That was when he finally caught his eye.

The music that reverberated from the little speaker at Present Mic’s feet continued, but Midoriya’s mouth stopped moving immediately, eyes wide with surprise and fear.

Yamada faltered, before reaching down and pressing pause on Midoriya’s phone, letting silence fill the hall once more.

Midoriya just hovered there for a moment, before a sudden realisation seemed to wash over him and he frantically begun his descent. He fell to the ground with a thud – his wings disappearing in a burst of green feathers not far off the floor.

Rushing towards him, Yamada fell to his knees by Midoriya’s side. The boy breathed heavily and frantically, sitting right in the middle of a large, sprawling scorch mark in the middle of the hall.

“Hey there, little listener,” Yamada said softly to him. He had his knees tucked up to his chest, eyes darting around in panic, as if looking for anyone else who might have heard him. “It’s alright – take deep breathes for me, ok? Like this, breathe in, and… breathe out – ok – and again, breathe in… and out.”

It took longer than Yamada would have liked for Midoriya to calm down even a little bit. Eventually, he opened his mouth to say something, but all that came out was a strangled squeak. Midoriya grasped his throat like something was strangling him as he desperately tried to force the words out.

“Hey, look at me,” Present Mic insisted.

Midoriya looked up hesitantly, eyes brimming with tears.

[You’re not in trouble, don’t worry – and you don’t have to speak to me if you don’t want to] he signed, not speaking so the kid wouldn’t feel like he had to do the same.

His shoulders relaxed a little; his hand leaving his throat. He closed his mouth and gave Yamada a feeble nod.

[That was pretty awesome] Yamada added eagerly.

Midoriya seemed rather surprised by that. He blinked back the tears, his mouth slightly agape.

[So, you have a Quirk after all?]

He tensed up again. Wow, it was kind of hard to read his body language and react accordingly.

[I’m not telling you off] insisted Yamada. [Is this a new thing? You looked pretty confident with the whole flying around the place ordeal]

[New] Midoriya signed simply.

[So, you can sprout wings whenever you want? That sounds like an incredible Quirk!]

Midoriya shook his head.

Right, Principal Nedzu had mentioned a lightning bolt. Yamada glanced down at the scorch mark. How did that work?

[I-I’m so sorry!] Midoriya signed quickly in a jittery manner as he followed Yamada’s gaze. [I didn’t think – but I had no where else safe to practise – it was silly of me, I know – I promise I won’t do it again – damage school property or use my Quirk or –]

“Hey! No need to panic!” Present Mic exclaimed. The sudden sound startled the kid a little. “[You’re in a hero school – students damage stuff all the time, and this is just a scorch mark. Seriously, you’ve got nothing to worry about]” he spoke and signed at the same time.

[I still shouldn’t have used the lightning bolt] Midoriya insisted, [I was just so excited and I’d been wondering about it all day. I’m sorry…]

“If you didn’t use the lightning bolt then I wouldn’t have realised you were here,” said Yamada, deciding to leave Principal Nedzu and his hidden cameras out of the conversation for the time being. “And I think being here’s a good thing! Because now I get to see your Quirk – and it’s really confusing me!”

Midoriya laughed – it was little, very quiet – but it was something. [It’s confusing me too. That’s why I’m here]

“Do you know what it is?” Yamada questioned.

Midoriya wavered, holding his hands up as he thought through his response, [Singing]

 “Singing?” Yamada repeated after a moment. “How…?”

He didn’t meet Yamada’s eyes as he continued to sign, [Each song gives me a different power]

Present Mic thought back to the song he had just heard him singing. It had been about wings… and the boy consequently had wings. “That – is awesome!”

He didn’t even flinch at the raised volume that time, [You really think so?]

“Hell yeah! Just think of the possibilities!”

[W-Well there are downsides too… I only get the powers whilst I’m singing and for a few m-moments after I stop. and s-sometimes the Quirk only kicks in quite late into the song – usually in the chorus, and then gets stronger after that. And then I can’t use the same song again for a while… B-But I haven’t had much time to p-practise. I don’t know what other l-limitations there are] he explained, his movements jerky and a little difficult to understand – but Yamada didn’t mind.

“Of course, there are limitations!” Yamada laughed, leaping to his feet. “All Quirks have their own little problems! But with a power like that? Kid, you could become a hero.”

Midoriya jerked his head suddenly at the words, staring up at Present Mic with wide eyes, “You think I can be a hero?”

A smile broke out over Yamada’s face. He had met quite a few selectively mute kids in his past. They usually took a lot longer to trust him enough to speak. He wondered if this was Shinso’s doing. He and Midoriya had grown rather close over the short time in which they’d known each other. Perhaps a friend like that was what Midoriya needed to help him get out of his shell. Although, maybe that wasn’t the only reason why he spoke.

“YEAH!” Present Mic yelled, holding out his hand and pulling Midoriya to his feet. “And it’s not just the Quirk either! I mean, you’re smart – 91% in that entrance exam was no easy feat! And hey! Just look at what you did in dodgeball the other day! Not only were you super cool helping out all your other classmates with their Quirks but remember that flip?! Holy shoot – no one in the staff room believed me when I said you could do that! Who’d have thought you were so… athletic!”

There were tears rolling down Midoriya’s face, his bottom lip shaking, “I-It’s from d-dance class,” he explained shakily.

“You DANCE?! How can you get any more AWESOME?!”

Now he was laughing and crying at the same time, trying to rub the tears away, but to no prevail.

“No, no – wait, let me guess – you play an instrument don’t you? Because if you don’t that’s the next step up – wait, was that a nod? That was a nod! You play?! What do you play?! You know what, tell me later when your eyes have stopped leaking – sound like a plan?”

That was when Midoriya threw himself at Yamada, in a very tearful, shaking embrace.

“Careful of the shoulder spikes!” Yamada warned Midoriya as he hugged him back.

They stood like that for a while, as Present Mic waited patiently for Midoriya’s tears to run out. They did calm down a little – but Yamada started to suspect his supply was never-ending.

“Did you ever want to be a hero, little listener?” Present Mic frowned as he pondered Midoriya’s dramatic response to such simple words.

Midoriya pulled away and nodded tentatively.

“Well…” he started, thinking hard about what to do next. “The Sports Festival is coming up – if they’re still going through with it after the USJ attack thing. I think they will; Principal Nedzu thought it would be a good way of showing the world that we at UA are standing tall! Anyway, if someone from general studies shows enough promise, we can consider transferring them to the hero course later in the year!”

Midoriya rubbed away the last of his tears. His face lit up for a moment, before he turned away and fiddled nervously with his fingernails. “But… t-then I’d have to use my Quirk in front of everybody…”

“Well, yeah – you’d need to if you want to be a hero, but why – oh… is it because of the singing?”

He nodded.

Present Mic pouted; his arms crossed. That sure was a tricky one. How could the mute kid with a voice Quirk possibly learn how to use it?

“Well, from what I’ve heard so far, your singing is about as awesome as everything else you seem to do,” he proclaimed.

Midoriya gave him a weak smile, [Thank you]

 “All you need is a little more confidence!” Yamada concluded. But in such short notice? The kid barely knew what his Quirk was capable of – let alone his voice and anxiety issues…

 

It all started with a bit of a lightbulb moment.

 

“Ever listened to my radio show, Midoriya?”

Another nod.

“Well, then you’d know I’ve always had a bit of a problem with my Thursday shows, yeah?”

“Um, yes?”

“Everything else is all thought out – guests in on certain days, music on Fridays – you know. Every day has its specific schedule – except Thursdays.”

“Which… changes every week,” Midoriya finished.

Exactly!” Present Mic said with a click of his fingers. “So, you have problems when talking to most people face to face, yeah – well what about over the radio?”

Midoriya’s eyes widened. “Y-You – what?!”

“Tomorrow’s Thursday!” he continued to explain. “If you come with me after school – I could take you to the radio station and you could be a guest! How does that sound?!”

“T-Terrifying…” he gaped.

Present Mic laughed, “But it would improve your confidence!”

“T-That sounds r-really great! B-But I… I just don’t think I can do it… So many people listen to your radio show…”

“No one would need to know who you are,” he offered. “You hardly speak to anyone – so they won’t recognise you.”

He started kicking at the scorch mark beneath his feet, avoiding Yamada’s gaze again.

“Look, Midoriya,” he sighed, crouching down to look up at him. “You’re a great kid – with an incredible mind and an incredible power! I want to help you – you can be a hero! All you need to do, is make this one, brave step – and you’re on your way. And if you really can’t do it – then you can back out! There’s no pressure!”

He looked into his eyes again, before reaching up behind him to rub the place where his wings had been. There was no hole in his shirt – it was such an amazing ability. He could do so much good with it. All he needed to do, was say –

“Ok.”

 


 

Present Mic blinked, “O-Ok? You’ll give it a go?!”

Midoriya clenched his hands into fists, took a deep breath and nodded surely.

YYYEEEAAAHHH!” his teacher cried, leaping up excitably. “Good on you, Songbird!”

“S-Songbird?”

“Well, you need a codename, fledgling hero! Got a different one?!”

Midoriya hesitated.

That was when he thought back to something Shinso had said not long ago:

 

[You don’t have to pressurise yourself to speak. I can keep translating for you at school if you want – and Cockatoo can too]

[Cockatoo?]

“Present Mic, obviously.”

 

And then his mind drifted to that passage about little birds singing in the depths of coal mines so long ago. Little heroes that kept singing until the very end.

 

“Y-You’ll be Cockatoo,” Midoriya stated timidly.

Present Mic howled with laughter, “Is because of the hair?! That’s brilliant! I love it – but what about you?!”

 "I-I...I'll be...

 

“...Canary.”

 

Chapter Text

 

“Hey, Mum?”

Inko looked up in surprise. Izuku rarely spoke during meals. There had been a time where it was hard for her to get him to eat at all.

“Yes, Izuku?” she replied tentatively.

“Um… So, I did what you said to do yesterday,” he continued, not looking up from his food.

“W-What was that, Honey?”

“To, um, practise my Quirk at school.” He was jabbing at the rice with his chopsticks now; clearly nervous about talking to her about this.

“Oh!” she exclaimed, “You talked to a teacher?!”

“I, um, well I – I didn’t want to talk to anyone… It just sort of… happened?”

“Right…?” Inko pushed encouragingly, a smile spreading across her face.

“It was my homeroom teacher – Present Mic.”

“The man on the radio?!” Inko remembered, “Oh, yes, I remember you telling me – he knows JSL, doesn’t he?”

“Err, yeah,” he was stirring it absentmindedly now. “He said my Quirk was really cool.”

“See? The teachers at UA aren’t like the ones at your old school!” Inko said triumphantly, “Are you going to eat anymore, Izuku?”

He shook his head and pushed the bowl towards her as she began to tidy away the various cups and bowls strewn across the table.

“A-And, Mum – well, he said that if I did well in the Sports Festival with it – I could make it into the hero course!”

Inko’s hands froze over the tap, turning back to her son. She saw the shaky smile on his face and before long, her expression matched. “R-Really, Izuku?! Oh, that’s so wonderful– and singing? Are you sure the Quirk was about singing?”

He nodded surely. “I-I figured out how to grow wings and everything!”

“W-Wings?!”

“Yeah! But… if I-I want to get to the hero course, I need to sing in the Sports Festival – in front of all those people…”

Inko stirred the water in the washing-up-bowl thoughtfully. “Well, you could always take singing lessons?”

“No, Mum, I… Actually, Present Mic had a different idea.”

“Uh huh?”

“Well, he said that all I needed was a little practise and confidence…”

“Yes, but wouldn’t that be exactly what singing lessons supply?” Inko frowned. She wasn’t looking at her son now as she scrubbed the bowls diligently. Izuku got up from his chair and hurried over to her side, drying whatever items she had finished with.

“Maybe… but not like this,” he explained vaguely.

“Well? Are you going to keep me in the dark or tell me what he’s suggested?” she laughed, handing the chopsticks to Izuku.

“Err… He might have suggested that I go on his radio show with him…”

Inko froze, “O-On his radio show?!”

“Today? At about six thirty? I was going to tell you about it last night, but then you got that email saying school would be closed today because of that villain attack, and, well, I kind of forgot.” He didn’t look her in the eye, furiously wiping off the remaining suds.

“D-Did you say yes?!”

He tensed up, “Um…”

“Izuku, you have to say yes!” she insisted, grasping his shoulders with soapy hands. “This is an incredible opportunity! Even if you don’t make it onto the hero course, you could end up finding a little job at the radio station! It’s linked to his hero agency you know – oh, Izuku – please don’t tell me you said no!”

“I-I… I said yes!”

Inko teared up, pulling him into a hug. “I’m really proud of you.”

“T-Thanks, Mum,” he sobbed. “B-But I don’t know if I-I can do it!”

She pulled away, reaching up to cup her son’s face in her hands fondly. “I-It’s a radio show! You’re not talking to anyone but Present Mic face to face. Hardly anyone’s had the privilege of hearing your voice before, so they won’t know it’s you unless you say your name.”

“I-I’m not saying my n-name. I’m going to use a c-codename like the heroes d-do.”

“What is it?”

“C-Canary?”

“Like a songbird,” she concluded with a wide smile. “When you walk into that radio studio – you aren’t Izuku anymore, ok? You’re Canary! And Canary can be whoever you want him to be – you can be brave and kind and confident! Everything you are and more; everything you know you can be.”

He faltered for a moment, before nodding with a bright smile.

“I’ll be listening for sure. So, if you ever feel nervous, just think about me, listening in – and that no one else can hear you.”

 


 

Midoriya would be lying if he said he didn’t already know where Present Mic’s hero agency was. He knew about a lot of the hero agencies around Musutafu, and because of how much he enjoyed the radio show, Present Mic’s wasn’t an exception.

The news was rife with talk on the USJ attack that had occurred the day before. It was all anyone was thinking about. Midoriya, however, was a different story. As he stepped off the train and hurried along the streets, his eyes filtered past the billboards covered in information about arrested villains and class 1-A, as he scanned the buildings for the tell-tale sign of the hero agency he was looking for. It didn’t take long for him to find it. Before he knew it, Midoriya was standing on the doorstep, quite literally shaking in his boots.

He must have been there for a while, because the tinted glass doors suddenly opened to reveal a blue skinned lady, wearing a pair of headphones over messy, indigo hair. She narrowed her eyes at him momentarily, before asking, “It’s Izuku Midoriya, right?”

Midoriya nodded frantically.

The blue lady broke out into a wide smile, flashing a set of rather sharp, pearly white teeth. “Well, hey there, Canary! Don’t be shy, come on in!”

She help the door open for him and Midoriya stepped hesitantly inside.

“Present Mic said you’d be a bit of a nervous wreck – not in those words exactly, of course – but that’s what you look like – a nervous wreck. Reminds me of my first day here – terrifying,” she laughed. “I’m Aozora, by the way. Not a pro hero, nor sidekick, but I do my bit!”

Midoriya’s eyes darted around his new surroundings as Aozora led him straight to the elevator. There wasn’t much to see first off – just a brightly coloured reception area where several employees chatted happily amongst themselves. They saw Aozora and gave her a wave. Their gaze drifted over to Midoriya – one gave him finger guns and proceeded to type something on his computer. Aozora pushed him into the elevator before he could even wave back.

So,” Aozora began, tilting her head towards Midoriya and giving him that frightening grin once more, “Present Mic said you had a singing Quirk. That’s majorly cool.” She pressed the floor number as the doors of the elevator closed. “We’ve got quite a few voice Quirk heroes around here – that and like, listening heroes and stuff. I don’t know, I don’t really pay attention.” She laughed, “You see, I help manage the radio aspect of this place now. We cross over with the hero side quite a lot, but that doesn’t mean I know everyone’s Quirks inside and out.”

Midoriya gulped nervously as the lift began to rise up through the building. He caught his reflection in the mirrored walls of the elevator. Aozora was right – he did look like a nervous wreck.

“You listen to our radio, kid?”

Midoriya nodded anxiously.

“Good answer – ‘cause if you do well you might be here for a while. Not like, stuck in the building or anything, but you’ll probably be hanging around, you know? Quite a few of us here started out like you – with no idea what we’re doing and just going with the flow. But, hey, the flow worked out, am I right?”

With a soft ding, the elevator doors opened again. Aozora waltzed out confidently, with Midoriya scurrying along behind her.

“Here, look.”

Midoriya ground to a halt beside Aozora. She was pointing through a window at a room filled with rows of computers; most of which had workers sitting behind them, frowning at their screens or talking to someone through their headsets.

“So, if you do listen to the radio, then you’ll know about our emergency number, right?” Aozora questioned.

Midoriya gave her another nod.

“We’re like a hero version of 119. Not that you wouldn’t be able to get a hero if you called the emergency services, but our version if purely for our agency! We deal with a lot of domestic violence stuff – kids with mental health problems – crimes or dangerous situations that are a little more out of the public eye. It’s not so flashy, but still super important. It’s also kind of perfect for the types of Quirks our heroes have – maybe not so much Present Mic – he’s a little loud, but like, other people who can defuse situations or sneak into places unseen.”

Midoriya gazed curiously into the room. He remembered hearing Present Mic extatically announce the telephone number over the air sometimes, saying if you ever need a hero, to just call up – and they’d be there.

“I worked in there for a while, and trust me when I say you feel like a real hero – not the kind of guy who wears a fancy costume and whose got an amazing power like yours – but someone who can make a difference, you get what I mean? But it’s tough work; really destressing when things don’t turn out ok. You’ve gotta feel for those guys,” she said, nodding towards her colleagues. “But they do a good job.”

Aozora didn’t let Midoriya stand there for much longer. She grabbed his wrist and pulled him back down the corridor as she continued to speak, filling in the gaps so Midoriya didn’t have to.

“We’ve got the mainstream heroes too, like Present Mic – who go on patrols and protect the neighbourhood from the kind of villains you see in the media. Then we’ve got the heroes who stay in the background and go to the places they’re called to by the, well, we call it the ‘White-Noise Team’, those guys back there head the operation, and then more underground type heroes deal with the situation, get it?”

Midoriya nodded. He was doing a lot of that, but Aozora wasn’t giving him much time to breathe.

Before long, they were back in the elevator and heading up higher into the building. “Sorry, I just thought you’d want to see that. I love a good tour; we don’t give enough of them. Oh! We’re almost out of time, whoops. We’ll go straight to the studio then.”

As soon as the doors opened once more, Aozora steered Midoriya down another hallway, through a door, and into a rather large room, that seemed to be designed to be as comfortable as possible. The floor was carpeted; sofas were dotted about everywhere; there was a TV hanging on the wall, although it was permanently muted. There were various computers dotted around the place, beside far too many scary looking monitors with blinking lights. At the far end, was a long window, obscured by a set of beige blinds. A man sat in a chair in front of them, his headphones on, fiddling with various buttons and switches on a complicated looking panel before him.

“Hey, Nakano!” Aozora called out.

The man did a double take before taking off his headphones and turning around in his chair, “Ah, is that Canary?”

Midoriya waved feebly.

Nakano laughed, “Yamada said you’d be a little nervous. I know it’s easier said than done but try not to worry about it all. Present Mic will be out in a moment – he’ll put a song on and then we’ll be on our way.” With that, he turned back around and put his headphones on once more.

“Come, sit down with me,” Aozora insisted, dragging Midoriya over to a random sofa. She sighed as she took the weight off her feet. “God today’s been long. You hear about the villain attack at UA? Oh, of course you have, you go there! Anyway, I was going to take you around the news floor, but it’s for the best that we didn’t, come to think of it. Everyone’s in an absolute frenzy over it! But, you see, Present Mic won’t give us any intel on it, for obvious reasons – not that we’re pushing him or anything; there’s no need, really. But anyway, we’ve got what we needed from other sources but there’s still plenty of…”

Midoriya zoned out pretty quickly. It wasn’t as though he wasn’t interested, but his mind was elsewhere. First of all, oh my God – Present Mic had been talking about him to his radio friends, which was a terrifying thought. Then, and rather more urgently – he was about to go on the radio for the very first time.

“YYYEEEAAAHHH THERE HE IS!”

Midoriya nearly jumped out of his skin as Present Mic’s familiar voice cut through the air. He stood up and turned around but…

He was out of his hero costume – and this, for some reason, was not what Midoriya had expected him to look like. He wore rather ordinary, wire-rimmed glasses, unlike the bright yellow shades he usually sported. His hair was long really long. That much was obvious from the way it was spiked up in his hero costume, but without all the hair gel, it would have hung loosely around his shoulders, if he hadn’t tied it up in a bun. The only part of his hero costume he still wore was his leather jacket, which was no longer done up, showing a simple white shirt underneath. Midoriya didn’t know why the look surprised him so much – did he seriously expect he looked like Present Mic all the time?

“HA!” yelled Aozora, “I told you he’d be shocked when you weren’t in your hero costume!”

Midoriya blushed furiously and stared at his shoes in panic.

“Don’t frighten him anymore than necessary, Aozora,” insisted Nakano in a monotone voice as he glanced at the various flashing lights of the monitors built into the wall.

Present Mic grasped Midoriya by his shoulders and, in a similar fashion to Aozora, stirred him into the studio, behind the door beside Nakano.

“Welcome to the studio!” he announced, closing the door behind him.

The studio looked very much like an extension to the room Midoriya had just left, which he assumed was some kind of waiting room. There was a table in the middle, with four chairs organised around it. Present Mic sat down in his, tapping the microphone that hung by his head and picking up the wireless headset.

“Pick a chair, any chair!” he explained, indicating to the two remaining spaces. Midoriya took the one diagonal to him, closest to the door (which was a coincidence, and not a position he chose so he could escape at a moment’s notice – that was only an added bonus), rather than the seat beside him, which was covered in various piles of paperwork and scripts, or the one opposite him, which was kind of behind his computer monitor.

Midoriya had his own monitor, not that he understood anything on it. He decided it was best to be left along, evident by the fact that the only main control panel, sharing some similarities to Nakano’s, was out of his reach.

“How are you feeling, little listener?” asked the hero, in a much calmer voice than usual.

“A-A little nervous…” Midoriya admitted, repeating what both Nakano and Aozora had said. He was actually rather surprised the words came out at all.

“That’s ok!” Present Mic replied, “And expected! Everyone’s nervous on their first time on the radio! I’ve had a lot of other visitors in before – even pro heroes freak out from time to time!”

“T-They do?”

“YEAH! Some heroes are more used to being filmed from afar; they can feel a little trapped in the studio – can you believe it?!”

Yes, he very much could.

Anyway – I’ve got a song on at the moment; I made sure it was quite a long one, don’t worry! Look at your computer screen – see the word live in the top right-hand corner?”

 Midoriya nodded, briefly distracted by the various notifications popping up all over the place.

“Ok, I’ve got the master controls over here. In a minute or so, the word live is going to glow bright red! That’s how you know that your mic is on.”

He was just continuously nodding now, bobbing his head up and down as his brain went into overdrive.

“If you put your headphones on – not yet – you’ll hear the music playing over the radio,” Present Mic continued. “We’re going to be here for about an hour, but don’t worry, I’ve got some really long songs queued up for you this time around!” he laughed. “When we go on the air, I’m going to introduce you and we’ll just talk about stuff! Like having a normal conversation – that’s all!”

Except thousands of people are also listening in at the same time – no biggie,” thought Midoriya as he fiddled with his headphones in the stress of it all.

“What are you happy with me saying, kid?” questioned the hero.

“U-Um, what do you mean?” Midoriya stammered.

“Like, can I briefly describe your Quirk? Say that you go to UA?”

He nodded hesitantly. “I-I’m sure you know b-best…”

Present Mic gave him a rather pitiful smile. His eyes flicked towards his monitor for a moment, probably checking how much longer he had left, before turning back to Midoriya. “What are you thinking of, right now – cast your thoughts of the radio aside – what else is buzzing around in that big brain of yours?”

“I-I-I,” he stuttered, unsure where his teacher was going with this, “um… well…” Midoriya glanced at the closed blinds; he knew Aozora and Nakano were behind them. “W-What’s Aozora’s Quirk?”

Present Mic’s grin grew wider, “You know, she’s never told me.”

“She hasn’t?”

“Nope! I guess I could look it up – but where’s the fun in that, huh?! What do you think it is?”

“W-Well, she’s got blue skin a-and sharp teeth… Is there some other element that’s a little more hidden? O-Or sometimes mutational effects are as a result of underlying features…”

He carried on like this for a while, spouting out numerous possibilities for Aozora’s Quirk as Present Mic listened on in astonishment. He couldn’t go on forever though (well, actually, that was up for debate), mainly because the song Present Mic was playing on the radio soon came to an end.

“– Headphones on, little listener!” he suddenly interrupted.

Blinking, Midoriya was pulled from his thoughts. He hesitated, staring at the headphones, before gingerly pulling them over his head. They were rather comfortable – his own ones tended to hurt after a while, but with these he could see himself blocking the entire world out for the rest of the year – if they weren’t connected to the radio, that was.

He could hear the song ending – the headphones supplying clear audio quality. He let himself focus on that rather than the whole… radio thing, for a moment.

That was when that little live button glowed red – and the hour he’d look back on many, many times in the years to come, began.

 


 

Put Your Hands Up Radio

Thursday 18:30

Present Mic’s Radio Show!

 

PRESENT MIC: And the song is OVER! Wow, you know, that is way longer than I thought it was! It’s one of those songs where, about halfway through, you think it’s ending, but then – SURPRISE! It’s not! ANYWAY, it’s Thursday! And you know what that means… I HAVE NOTHING PLANNED! Thursdays are just one of those days, you catch my drift? You’re tired from the week behind you and it’s still not over! LIKE THE SONG I JUST PLAYED – see what I did there? But, this week SPECIFICALLY has been awfully tiring – isn’t that right, co-host?! Can I get a YYYEEEAAAHHH!

CO-HOST: U-Uh – y-yay?

*Momentary silence followed by a splutter of laughter*

PRESENT MIC: That’s got to be the most feeble YEAH I’ve ever heard!

CO-HOST: S-Sorry…

PRESENT MIC: AS MOST OF YOU KNOW – I am an English teacher at the well-known hero school of UA! And boy has this week been long! My little co-host here is one of my many students! He may not be on the hero course, but that doesn’t mean his week’s been easy going!

CO-HOST: T-There was, err, yeah – a l-lot of press outside the front g-gate.

PRESENT MIC: INDEED, THERE WAS! Then we thought we got rid of them but that horrible incident involving hero class 1-A was the catalyst for a whole different kind of trouble! SO, after school yesterday I go around the place checking that everyone’s gone home, and who do I stumble across? Why, it’s my co-host here! And he’s singing – his got an incredible voice – he’s blushing now – don’t give me that look! I feel bad!
OK! So, we talked – and he was mean to me – and I discovered – let me finish! I discovered he has this amazing Quirk! I’ve never heard of anything like this before! And I’m not going to say much about it, because he’s gone so red that I think he might explode – all I’ll say is it’s to do with his singing and it’s awesome!
Alright, I’m done – you don’t need to raise your hand, this isn’t a classroom!

CO-HOST: I-I – what? I wasn’t mean to you! I-I didn’t mean to be… mean.

PRESENT MIC: That was many means right there. ANYHOW – what you said was brilliant. Long story short, I am Cockatoo now.

CO-HOST: W-Was that mean?

PRESENT MIC: I can feel my co-producer cackling as we speak.

CO-HOST: I-I –

PRESENT MIC: IT’S THE HAIR! I don’t know how I never noticed it before – but this little songbird right here, is awfully observant; it can be a little scary at times. Anyway, I’ve just realised all our listeners are going to be very confused because they still don’t really know who you are! So, since I’m Cockatoo – this, is Canary! Say hi!

CANARY: Um, hi?

PRESENT MIC: You are very quiet

CANARY: W-Well, maybe you’re just v-very loud.

PRESENT MIC: I DON’T THINK THAT’S A MAYBE!

CANARY: Um, so, I balance you out?

PRESENT MIC: …Yeah, that’s a good point. Canaries are usually quite noisy though!

CANARY: Cockatoos are louder.

PRESENT MIC: Are they? Trust you to know that – have you conducted a study on what bird is the loudest?!

CANARY: Um… no…?

PRESENT MIC: You know though, don’t you?

CANARY: …Maybe.

PRESENT MIC: Then ENLIGHTEN US!

CANARY: I-It’s the Kakapo – a type of parrot…

PRESENT MIC: But why – why waste space in that big brain of yours for information on what birds are the loudest?!

CANARY: …B-Because I wanted to know? The Kakapo can reach around 130 decibels in its mating call, and then I think… a type of bellbird reaches 100? But the sound of a jet engine can be 140 decibels.

PRESENT MIC: YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY! But why research birds?

CANARY: …Honestly?

PRESENT MIC: It’s because you wondered how loud I could be before I burst someone’s eardrums, wasn’t it?

CANARY: Possibly…?

PRESENT MIC: HOW DID I GUESS?! Speaking of studying – when I bumped into Canary yesterday – he explained that he was trying to practise his Quirk so he could make a good impression at this year’s UA Sports Festival! All eyes are going to be directed towards the hero course, as per usual – but what most viewers fail to consider are the more background students in equally important courses, including the business, support and general studies departments! As the yearly commentator, it’s always super exciting when an underdog rises through the ranks! If they show promise in heroics, my colleagues at UA can consider offering them a place in the hero course – and that is where Canary is aiming! How are you feeling about it all?

CANARY: I, um, well – I probably won’t do that well… I haven’t had the practise or opportunities the others have had – b-but I can try my best!

PRESENT MIC: THAT’S THE SPIRIT! I have invited Canary here today because, with a Quirk like his, he needs confidence if he wants to succeed! It’s no easy feat, standing in front of all those people and singing! BUT – we all know a little encouragement can go a long way! THAT’S why Canary’s joined us here on Put Your Hands Up Radio! And if I haven’t scared him off – maybe I can get him to come back! What do you say?!

*A brief moment of silence follows*

PRESENT MIC: He shrugged everybody – that’s not a no! Why don’t the lot of you help him out?! Send us in some questions and your thoughts! But in the meantime – have a little listen to this – let the worries and stress of the day float away and we’ll be back soon – when the song is up!

 


 

The live light turned off milliseconds later. Midoriya let out a sigh of relief that he didn’t even realise he was holding in as he took of his headphones.

Present Mic didn’t say anything initially; Midoriya had been bracing himself for an ear-piercing yell, but instead, he gave him a wide grin and an enthusiastic thumbs up.

“See?!” he began, “That wasn’t so bad!”

“W-Was it?” Midoriya cringed, “I thought it was h-horrible!”

“Not at all!” Present Mic protested. “First of all, you spoke.”

Midoriya blinked at him – it took a moment for the realisation to wash over him. He was right – he just talked on the radio. The conversation had felt so natural, that the dam between his mind and mouth had become obsolete. Sure, he stuttered and stammered, but he still spoke.

“Yeah?” his teacher grinned, reading the stunned expression on Midoriya’s face. “What did I say?! CONFIDENCE!”

“I-I… I guess so!”

Present Mic pushed back off his desk, letting his wheelie-chair carry him to the window. He tugged on the blinds to pull them up. Midoriya’s gaze was immediately caught by Aozora and Nakano, who both had brilliant smiles on their faces.

Nakano pressed one of the many buttons in front of him, speaking into a little microphone fixed in front of him, “You did fine there, kid,” he insisted. “Really – I was worried that you wouldn’t speak at all for a moment there – but you did good.”

Aozora leaned over, pushing Nakano out of the way to reach the microphone. “Yeah, Canary! You’re really sweet and everyone’s going to love you – trust me on this one. You’ll have a fan base in no time. I will head it – guaranteed.”

“What was that bird called? A Kaka-what’s-it?” Present Mic strained to remember.

“K-Kakapo,” Midoriya replied nervously.

“How on Earth did you remember that?!”

“I-I don’t know… I just know a lot of random facts…” he admitted with a shrug.

“But why –,” he cut himself off, “actually, no – we’ll have this conversation on air. Wait a second, let me just see if we have any responses online yet…” Present Mic pulled the blinds back down. Aozora kept waving; making her seat sink down as she was obscured from view; it made Midoriya’s smile stretch a little further across his face.

It wasn’t long before the song came to an end and they were back on air. But there was a new life to Midoriya’s – no, Canary’s voice as the hour crept by.

He remembered his mother’s words from earlier that day:

“When you walk into that radio studio – you aren’t Izuku anymore, ok? You’re Canary! And Canary can be whoever you want him to be – you can be brave and kind and confident! Everything you are and more; everything you know you can be.”

Yeah… he could get used to this.

 

Chapter Text

The past few weeks had been the best of Midoriya’s life so far – and that wasn’t even an exaggeration. He’d never had so much to say to his Dad during their Friday video chats. He told him all about Shinso, Uraraka and Iida; how his problems with muteness had finally begun to fade; discovering his Quirk; the USJ; talking with Present Mic; being on his radio show – becoming Canary! He had been pacing around the living room as he told his stories; speaking in such an animated way that he couldn’t help but notice the shocked expressions of his prideful parents.

It had been a while since he felt so… happy.

But it was strange, being able to write the word Canary into an internet search engine and for results that didn’t involve the bird or the island to appear. Of course, it had only been a one-time thing, so the mysterious being that was Canary wasn’t that prevalent in the minds of the people of Japan.

Being back at school again on Friday, it felt like everything was finally back to normal… He hung out with Shinso alone at lunch; bumped into Uraraka and Iida on their way back, who were walking with another of their class 1-A friends, who introduced herself as Please-Call-Me-Tsu Asui. They briefly talked about their resilient teacher, being back to lead them despite him being covered in bandages from the USJ attack – and they were on their way. Not a word about Canary was uttered in Midoriya’s presence. In fact, the only reminder the situation had occurred at all, was Present Mic. The hero asked him to stay after class on Saturday, giving him a couple of business cards and phone numbers, before inviting him to have a proper tour of his hero agency the following Sunday, which he graciously accepted.

So, of course Midoriya was surprised when, during his Sunday dance class, his new alter ego was finally mentioned.

“Any of you guys listen to the radio on Thursday?” questioned Megumi, one of the very few remaining people in Midoriya’s class. She was doing her stretches, sticking out her leg at horrendous angles like it was nothing. Then again, that was her Quirk – an impossible flexibility.

“No…” replied Yuuto. He was the only other boy apart from Midoriya. Then again, there were only five of them in total, so the genders were split pretty evenly, all things considered. “Thursdays are boring, remember? Didn’t we have this discussion, like, a couple of weeks ago?”

“Yeah, but not this Thursday!” Kasumi interjected.

“Oh! You listened too?!” Megumi replied excitably. Midoriya was watching her stretches with morbid fascination as he tuned his guitar.

“Uh huh – wasn’t Canary just the sweetest?”

“Oh, he so was – hey, Izuku! Did you listen?” questioned Megumi.

Midoriya hesitated, before nodding in reply. It was as close to the truth as he was happy to get.

“Maybe you know Canary! He goes to UA after all.”

“Oh, this is a future hero, I presume?” asked the remaining member of the freestyle dance club, Mika.

“He wants to be,” Megumi contradicted, “but he’s not on the hero course! He’s got a singing Quirk.”

“Odd,” was all Mika said.

“Alright, everybody!” announced Mrs Kita, their dance teacher, who was still working despite being heavily pregnant. “Have you finished stretching?”

The others nodded simultaneously as Midoriya’s mind drifted away from the matter of Canary and back to his guitar.

The Sunday dance lessons had always been Midoriya’s favourite of the week. Saturdays were fine too, but they were right after school and often tired him out. The club was only allowed to run for half an hour on Sundays, and for as long as Midoriya could remember, the class had been impossibly small – and he’d been attending for years – even back when Mrs Kita was still Miss Minami. He’d always liked their teacher – mainly because she knew sign language. His fellow dancers had changed over the last year though. As they moved to different schools, they ran out of time or, in some cases, they had moved to a new house entirely – now being too far away to attend their humble lessons. Despite this, they were all on first name basis, mainly because Megumi was too insistent, and no one bothered complaining.

However, talking? Well, Midoriya had started suffering from his muteness problem before Megumi joined. Yuuto wasn’t that bad – but he felt awkward around the other girls, and for some reason, Midoriya as well. Kasumi had been there for a while, but she was very focused on dance; attending every class the little place had to offer. She often didn’t speak at all, much like Midoriya, but grew a little friendlier once Megumi wormed her way into the girl’s inner circle of friends. Mika was another story – incredibly beautiful and a wonderful dancer; she was the newest of the lot. Midoriya used to speak to some of them, but that had been a long time ago, and since Mrs Kita knew sign language, he had just slipped into the habit of not talking at all.

It was the same group on a Saturday, excluding Yuuto, who was too busy with pursuing a future career in medicine to keep dancing. Midoriya did dance on a Saturday. But on Sundays – well, this was why he enjoyed it so much – on Sundays, he played his instruments, whilst the others practised their various routines to his tunes. He loved it. It allowed his to keep practising despite giving up on his other lessons. It was the only reason he had kept going to both classes, and not just dropped one.

“You have your guitar this week, Izuku!” realised Megumi, bouncing up and down. “I haven’t seen the guitar in ages – I thought you preferred your violin!”

[I don’t mind either] he signed in reply, and their teacher dutifully translated. She sat down beside him with a sigh; her hand on her growing belly. She had told them before that this was her favourite class of the week. They were just there for fun (excluding perhaps Kasumi) and were consequently very little work. She helped them with their choreography; improved their transitions and poise; gave them one-on-one tutorials if they so desired, but other than that, were very easy going.

“What happened to it?” frowned Mika, glancing at the burnt spots over the wooden instrument.

Midoriya gave her a weak smile and shrugged, hoping she wouldn’t pry further. He really didn’t want to have to explain that he’d set the rain on fire.

“Doesn’t matter,” interjected Megumi, who often came over as rude, although they all knew by this point that she never meant it. “What song are you going to play?

Midoriya hesitated, fiddling with the fret of his guitar in thought.

“Do you know Pompeii?” asked Kasumi, who positioned herself beautifully in the centre of the room. “We were doing a dance to it earlier – I could teach you all,” she offered, eager at the chance to impress.

“Do you?” pressed Mika.

Midoriya smiled and nodded in reply. He was trying to remember the first few chords when the door to the dance studio slammed open.

“SORRY I’M LATE!” screamed the newcomer, who tossed her bag across the room. It slid to Midoriya’s feet. His eyes caught the UA logo, and slowly but surely, he raised his gaze to meet that of the intruder.

Bright pink skin, short hair, little horns and big black eyes. She was dressed in gym gear – tight fitting leggings and a loose top implying a clear confidence in her form. The worst thing was, Midoriya recognised her.

“Ah, everyone, this is Mina Ashido – I’m the one who should be sorry, I almost forgot you were coming,” smiled Mrs Kita.

“Hey, no prob, Miss…?”

“Mrs Kita, lovely to meet you.”

The five members of the dance troop stared at her, all completely frozen in rather bizarre positions.

“And to you too!” the pink exclaimed. “Hey, guys – you can call me Mina, everyone does! I usually go to the dance place a couple of streets down, but then I saw a flyer about freestyle dance and I was like, I’m so totally in! I do all sorts of stuff, but my studio has never offered a complete free-for-all! It just sounded so fun, so, here I am!”

Kasumi glared at Mina, her nose held high, obviously disproving of the newbie.

“Hi!” exclaimed Megumi. “Sorry, you rather surprised us! Mika here’s the newest of us all, but she’s hung around for four months! So, yeah, we’re not that used to newcomers.”

“Ah, sorry!” she sung. She seemed to be in a good mood. “Gosh, I’m full of apologies recently. I just came back from my other dance class. My friend told me about this cute guy on the radio, and we were listening to it and I completely forgot I was supposed to be here!”

“It seems we were both at fault,” added Mrs Kita. “Well, Mina, we were just about to start a new routine. Kasumi suggested Pompeii as the music – do you have any other suggestions, or are you happy to begin?”

“Oh, Pompeii? I know that song! It’s great – really powerful, you get me?”

“Well,” interjected Kasumi harshly, “Izuku’s doing us a guitar cover, so it won’t be exactly the same.”

Mina spun on her heel, turning to face Midoriya; processing his presence for the first time.

“Hey… have we met?” she began, narrowing her eyes and pointing at him.

Midoriya shrunk back nervously.

“Izuku is mute,” snapped Kasumi. She was still posed, ready to begin the dance.

“OH!” Mina shouted suddenly, “Oh my God – do you go to UA?! You know Ochako Uraraka?”

Midoriya was starting to pray for the world to swallow him up at this point.

“‘Cause she’s my classmate! She said she had a friend in class 1-C with green hair and freckles and who was selectively mute! That’s you, isn’t it?!”

“You go to UA?” questioned Yuuto.

“Oh yeah!” she replied. Midoriya sighed in relief as the attention was taken away from him. “I’m in the heroics course – class 1-A!” she exclaimed, punching the air.

“As in the class in that villain attack?”

The one and only!” Mina answered with a hint of pride in her voice. She went on a rant about how they were all so totally terrified and how their teacher got all like, banged up but still turned up for class the next day.

That was when Kasumi cleared her throat pointedly. “Do you think we could get on with the lesson?” she snapped. “We don’t have long until our slot’s up.”

“Sure! What are we doing then, just, whatever?” the hero student frowned.

“Well, I’m going to be showing the beginning of a dance that I have been working on in my ballet class. And the others were planning on mimicking some of the movements and adding their own style as the song progresses. That’s how it usually works. Go now, Izuku.”

Midoriya wavered for a moment, eyes flicking between Mina and his older dance-mates. He hadn’t felt so awkward and out of place at dance for a very long time. But despite that, he mustered the courage to sink into the familiar tune:

 

~Pompeii – Bastille~

 

“Aw!” Megumi exclaimed, a smile stretching across her face. “This is one of those ones you know really well, isn’t it? I love it when we find these!”

“Like you said earlier, this is a little tamer than the original version, Kasumi,” acknowledged Mrs Kita, who was still struggling to untie the laces of her worn tap shoes. “So, you might want to relax your movements a little – make sure to keep up with the tempo.”

Her prized student nodded surely, returning to the starting pose; making sure Mina could see her superior stance.

As the first verse began, Kasumi gracefully moved into her dance, her face serious and her body controlled. The others watched her intricate twists and turns in awe – quite a contrast to the fiery meaning behind the song.

It wasn’t long before Megumi pranced to her own corner of the room, copying her friends dance in a near perfect mirror image, making up her own steps as she failed to predict what Kasumi would do next.

As the song picked up, Yuuto and Mika joined in. Yuuto was as strong and Mika was delicate. Together they made a wonderful couple in dance; although Midoriya was sure that the two were never together romantically, their dances tended to make him second guess.

Mina was absolutely ecstatic. She clearly didn’t know where to look – her gaze rapidly changing direction as she flicked from Kasumi to Mika and the others. But then Midoriya caught her gaze in the mirrored walls, and her eyes were transfixed on only him and the way he played his guitar. She seemed to find it more entrancing than the grace the others portrayed.

Then the chorus began, and Midoriya was rather stunned when it wasn’t only Megumi’s voice which filled the room – but Mina’s as well. Neither of them were record-label worthy, but they didn’t seem to care – they were just… enjoying themselves.

“…Does it almost feel like you’ve been here before?” they sung.

Megumi was still dancing elegantly at Kasumi’s side at this point, careful to give her friend enough space for her movements. Mina, meanwhile, was humming to herself, swaying back and forth and clicking her fingers in time to the beat.

As soon as the chorus ended, the pink-skinned girl leapt into her on place in the hall with a surprisingly well-timed summersault. Her dance was far less graceful than the others’, who were all following Kasumi’s lead. Mina’s movements were coordinated, but much faster and even a little robotic.

“In your pose as the dust – settled around us...”

The girl was breakdancing and somehow made it fit the music – it was quite a sight to behold.

However, it was the music that Midoriya was focused on. He’d played the tune many times before, as Megumi had predicted, but never before had he felt so… drawn to it. He didn’t even realise he knew all the lyrics – but suddenly they were there, waiting on the tip of his tongue.

And as you close your eyes!” Mina laughed, spinning and leaping in the joy she brought to the music.

Midoriya so desperately wanted to join in; to sing along! It was a strange feeling – new to him. It had been a long time since he’d had to stop himself from talking – or, singing…

But that couldn’t have been a good idea – to sing along. Not to this tune. No, he’d seen what he could do – setting fire to the rain was bad enough; at least no one was around. If he started singing Pompeii in a small, enclosed space, with other people around… who knows what could happen? Could he turn them all to ash – bring storm clouds of volcanic rock raining down upon them?

 

Soon enough, the song came to an end – and the dance lesson drew to a close. Midoriya was packing away his guitar when Mina bounced over to him.

“That was so cool!” she exclaimed. “You’re super good at the guitar – like, I think I actually prefer your guitar version to the actual song!”

Midoriya blushed and gave her a little bow.

“Will you be coming back next week, Ashido?” questioned Mrs Kita.

“Sure! You guys do Saturdays too, right?”

“We do – will you consider coming to both?”

“Well if Saturdays are as awesome as today’s lesson, then sure! I think I can make it!”

“Then we’ll see you then,” the pregnant woman smiled.

Midoriya was walking out the door when Mina suddenly appeared by his side again, after handing in her starting fee.

“Ochako never mentioned you did music and dance,” Mina acknowledged. “I know I’ve said it already, but it’s really awesome!”

Midoriya hesitated. Mina stopped walking as he did, a frown stretching across her face as Midoriya pulled out his phone. He tapped on the notes app and began to write. Once he was finished, he handed the device over to his new dance partner for her to read.

“Can you not tell anyone at UA about this – I’d rather they didn’t know,” she read aloud. “Aw, but it’s so sweet! I’m sure everyone would think the same way!”

Midoriya shook his head surely, taking his phone back. Please, he added to the message.

Mina sighed and smiled at him, “Fine – on one condition!”

He cocked his head to one side to show his interest.

“You give me your number!” she announced dramatically.

Midoriya flushed red and grudgingly gave his phone back to her so she could get the necessary details off it.

“There!” Mina exclaimed as she finished exchanging details. “Now we can talk without having to worry about speaking!”

He gave her a meek smile and texted, Thank you to her.

“No prob!” she laughed, “I’ve got to go – or I’ll miss my train. See you at school, guitar boy!” And with that, the terrifying encounter was over.

Midoriya stood there, in the street, for a few moments, slowly getting over his anxiety. That was when his phone vibrated again. He expected it to be Mina, who had inputted her name as Alien Queen in his phone, something that he supposed would be her future hero name, but, instead it was his mother:

Mum: Where are you, Izuku? We’re going to be late for the tour at the radio station!

He gasped, fumbled with his phone, and then took off in the opposite direction to Mina as fast as his legs would carry him.

His day wasn’t quite over yet.

 


 

His mum had been exaggerating when she said they would be late – as most mothers did. Midoriya still had time to change, have a shower and even have a quick bite to eat before the two of them left to get the train. Soon enough, they were standing inside the hero agency, waiting by the receptionists’ desk.

“There he is!” Aozora exclaimed as the elevator doors opened and she hurried into view. “And you must be Mrs Canary!” she laughed, “Inko Midoriya, yes?”

“Yes, lovely to meet you,” Inko smiled, shaking the blue woman’s hand.

“Your son has got a real knack for the radio, it seems,” Aozora said, showing off her pointy teeth in a wide grin. “He’s only been on one show and our Thursday evening has never had so many replays online!”

“Really?” his mother replied in surprise.

“Really,” said one of the receptionists – the one who liked to give Midoriya finger guns as he walked by. “People think you’re sweet, and they’re kind of invested in your story.”

“M-My story?” Midoriya repeated without thinking about it.

“Yeah!” said Aozora. “You know the, I need more confidence so I can be brave enough to use my Quirk in the biggest sporting event of the year and get into UA’s hero course?” she explained very quickly. “And a future hero that sings? Yeah, honey – you’re gonna have a fan base before you know it!”

Midoriya blushed and kicked at the floor. He was positive that he wouldn’t be hanging around the radio station for long enough to get a fan base.

“Well, follow me – and we’ll start our official tour!” Aozora finished, leading them back over to the elevator. She was telling his mother all about the ‘White-Noise Team’ that she’d shown Midoriya last time as she tapped various buttons in the elevator.

“We’ve got fifteen floors here, if you include ground level,” she eventually explained. “Some places are restricted, for example, floor four is for our underground heroes only, and you need a special card to access it. If I tried tapping floor flour, I would need to swipe my access card here.” She pulled out an orange card from her pocket and tried to do exactly that, but the whole system just glowed red and cancelled the elevator’s destination. “See? I’m not cleared for it – I can go most places, but not to the hero floors. Floor five is for over-ground heroes – I go there occasionally, but I’m not cleared to visit by myself.”

She ended up taking them to floor three, revealing the hustle and bustle of lunch time activity in a sort of break room. “Sometimes we get heroes coming here to have lunch!” she explained, “They’re not even from our agency – just good friends from this part of town. Did you know that we’re considered the best news company to deal with hero interviews? It’s because of Present Mic’s overview – he makes sure we’re not too intrusive, and consequently, we get the most business!”

“So, where was the White-Noise Team you mentioned?” Inko asked curiously.

“Ah, yeah – they’re floors seven and eight. I used to work there, so I still have clearance for floor eight, where they do all their call-ins and stuff, but floor seven’s more private. Sometimes we take people there after they’ve rung our emergency lines. It’s really quite homely.”

Next, the elevator doors opened on floor eleven. “This is our news station!” she proclaimed proudly. They didn’t stay there long – there were a lot of people hurrying around frantically from room to room, clearly in a rush. “We’re pretty busy at the moment,” Aozora admitted. “We’re the official radio hosts of the UA Sports Festival, and of course, Present Mic always does the commentary. They’re gearing up at the moment – hyping up the public, getting resources ready, you know, the usual stuff.”

All this talk about the Sports Festival was giving Midoriya a headache.

They were shown quite a few other floors after that, visiting the other radio areas as well as some of the offices. They even said hello to some of the heroes and sidekicks! – which Midoriya was very happy about.

Eventually though, after having a quick look at the offices on the top floor (because Aozora had to pick up a few things from her place) they were back at familiar floor thirteen – where Present Mic’s Radio show broadcasted from.

They sat down in the waiting room outside the studio. Izuku and Inko sat together on one of the larger sofas whilst Aozora sat opposite them happily, leaving a small stack of papers on the table between them.

“Don’t mind that,” she said as she caught Midoriya glancing at it. “It’s not all about you.”

That didn’t do much to lessen his nerves.

“So,” Aozora began, “how did you find your little Thursday introduction to the radio world?!”

Midoriya glanced between her and his mother hesitantly, before giving her a slight shrug, “I-I guess it w-wasn’t as bad as I t-though it would b-be.”

Inko smiled proudly at him. Midoriya wasn’t sure if that was because he didn’t downright say it was terrible and he never wanted to do it again or if it was because he actually spoke. Midoriya was quite proud of himself for speaking, considering what had happened earlier that day.

“I’d say that was a positive response!” Aozora concluded; she seemed rather pleased with herself. “As you can see, Sundays aren’t very busy here.” Midoriya wouldn’t have guessed. “There are less people commuting, so less listen to the radio! Present Mic’s out on patrol at the moment. But he should be back any minute to join us.”

Midoriya nodded in understanding.

“Anyway, as I said earlier, you’ve got quite the potential as a little radio star,” she grinned. “UA hero course aside, you’d do well here regardless!”

Inko grasped her son’s hand, sporting a wide smile on her face.

“You’re new,” Aozora continued to explain, “people like new things from time to time. Then there’s your whole story like we said – and there’s a certain mystery about you! Like, who is Canary? Did you know that question has been searched over five hundred times over the last three days alone? And I seriously think that’s an outdated number by now – I looked late last night.”

Midoriya blinked at her. It probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise to him, but nevertheless, it did.

“Moreover,” she continued, waving Midoriya’s surprise away, “You’re young. People your age listen to our radio mainly because of our music hours – and of course, none-stop-music-Fridays. But when there’s someone who they can relate to on the radio, then they’re convinced to listen for a little longer – and they tell their friends – and then more people tune in. You see where I’m going with this?”

He nodded hesitantly – still a little shocked by how much they all seemed to like him.

“Basically, long story short – you’re good for business! I know Present Mic brought you here to help build up your confidence, but now you’ve shown us what having someone like you on our show can do, we’re more than happy to make this a permanent thing.”

The door was thrown open as Midoriya’s mouth did the same.

Heeelllooo!” cheered an all too familiar voice, and Present Mic vaulted over the empty armchair beside Aozora, almost making it fall over, and sinking into it with a sigh of relief. After a moment, he leant forward, extending his hand to Midoriya’s mother. “Nice to meet you, Mrs Midoriya – I’m Present Mic, Izuku’s homeroom teacher!” he exclaimed.

Inko shook his hand meekly as Present Mic turned back to Aozora, “What did I miss?”

“We were just talking about why your trial run was such a success!” Aozora replied eagerly.

“Ah yeah!” he grinned widely. “Did Aozora tell you about our White-Noise Team?”

The three of them nodded.

“Well, I just checked in with them, and – I’m not going say much because it’s a private matter – but someone who called in with a problem today said they tuned into our radio for the first time and heard the number to call for help only after hearing about it from all the talk about you!” he announced dramatically.

Midoriya stared. It took a moment to process his words, “R-Really?”

“Yeah!” he grinned. “So, what do you say, Canary – want to come back again?”

He exchanged looks with his mother, who’s prideful grin and excited nod convinced him to follow suit and gave his mentor a determined nod.

All three adults cheered for him.

“Phew!” Aozora sighed, “I was worried for a moment you were going to chicken out!”

“Now that obstacle’s out of the way – we’ve got one more to face!” Present Mic continued, glancing at Aozora’s pile of paperwork, “Well, maybe two.”

“Ah, yes,” said the co-manager. “The Sports Festival isn’t far away, so if we want to build up your confidence enough in time, you might want to consider doing more shows than just the Thursday slot.”

“M-More?!”

“If it’s not too much!” the blue-skinned woman added hastily.

“It shouldn’t be,” said Inko. “You have to keep Fridays free for your father to call in – he works abroad,” she explained to them. “Then other than that it’s only Saturday and Sunday with dance class – you finished all your music lessons a while ago.”

Aozora gasped, “You dance? Ok, you’re just too good for this world.”

Izuku was growing redder by the second.

“What about Tuesdays?” interjected Present Mic.

Aozora reached towards her papers; fumbled through them for a moment and eventually located what looked like a schedule. “You might end up having other guests alongside the two of you, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem as long as you get them to sign a none-disclosure agreement about Canary’s identity – which I’m presuming you aren’t going to reveal until the Sports Festival?” she looked to Midoriya for the answer, who simply nodded in confirmation. “Great, great – same time on Tuesdays then, that would work.”

“How many shows is that before the Sports Festival then?” the hero frowned.

“Err… well, the event itself is still a couple of weeks away, right?”

“I think so?”

“You’re hosting it!”

“TWO WEEKS AWAY – RIGHT, GOT IT!”

Aozora sighed exasperatingly and turned back to Midoriya. “That gives us five shows as long as you can join us on both Tuesdays and Thursdays? Six thirty to seven thirty?”

After another look at his mother, Midoriya faltered before sealing his fate with a final, affirmative nod.

His two, well co-workers, he supposed – were absolutely ecstatic.

“This is going to be awesome, trust me on this one Canary,” Aozora grinned. Her smile was a little too wide to be natural. Maybe it had something to do with her Quirk… Right, no, focus.

It turns out, they had already planned on Midoriya saying yes – and had nearly everything in place. The paperwork which Aozora now spread across the desk for both Midoriyas to look over was almost complete; only lacking the two’s signatures here and there. As it turned out, Present Mic had gone to Principal Nedzu about the whole situation and had gotten official permission from the school to let Midoriya actually work at the radio station. Midoriya hadn’t realised he was really getting a part time job here – with a decent pay and everything. Well, at least it helped pay for his train tickets back and forth from the radio station – and perhaps he could start paying for his dance lessons too! Anything to help his mother out.

It wasn’t long before Canary was an official member of Put Your Hands Up Radio. Midoriya was clutching an orange card, similar to Aozora’s, as he was led all the way back down to reception, with clearance to all radio related areas, and a particular door that the co-manager had yet to show him through.

“Now this,” she grinned, “Is called the backdoor.” She through it open to reveal an ordinary corridor, leading all the way to the back of the building. “I just realised I said that really dramatically but I was being serious – it’s literally the backdoor.”

As Izuku and Inko were signed out of the building, Aozora ushered them through the backdoor, closing it behind her. When she opened the final door at the end of the empty corridor, Midoriya didn’t quite know what he had been expecting. It revealed a long, metal staircase, which made plenty of noise as they hurried down it to a very narrow street, concealed behind the towering building, amongst what seemed like ordinary, residential buildings.

“The backdoor is a secret to the general public,” Aozora told them in a theatrically hushed voice. “So, you’re going to have to keep it quiet for us. It’s a bit of a longwinded way into the building, but it avoids any hustle and bustle out front! It’s especially useful for big time celebrities who are trying to avoid the press at the main entrance to the agency. With that key card of yours, you can unlock it from the outside! I thought it might be a useful thing to show you – if you want to keep that secret identity of yours,” she cackled.

Before long, the three of them reached a rather quiet road, lined with the occasional, rather empty shop, and one very quaint café. From the street they could barely see the rooftop of the building they had just left behind. Not one of the few passers-by gave them a second glance as they went about their everyday lives. It was the perfect escape route for a busy hero.

“We can’t thank you enough!” said Inko, bowing before Aozora, and Izuku quickly did the same.

“No, no – thank you!” she insisted, giving them a bow too. “This is going to be a real wild ride – I can already tell – and I’m more than happy to be a part of it!”

“I’m not sure if I am yet…” Midoriya muttered.

Aozora howled with laughter. Maybe she had super hearing; he had been very quiet – he didn’t even realise he’d said that out loud, which was a revelation he hadn’t come across in a while.

“Well! I’ll see you on Tuesday then, Canary – hey, check out the website tomorrow – we’ll update it to show the new schedule as soon as we can!” And without any more of a goodbye, a satisfied Aozora turned on her heel and literally skipped back up the alleyway.

The two Midoriyas stared at her for a moment or so, even after she had vanished from view. Inko then pulled on Izuku’s sleeve, tears budding at the corner of her eyes as she pulled him into a hug. She needn’t say a word to express her feelings as they held each other there. Izuku melted into the warmth of her familiar hold – a wave of relief washing over him now the stress invoking encounter had come to an end.

But he couldn’t help but let a smile creep across his face, for despite all his worries, he knew this was only the beginning. Or, in Aozora’s terminology – the beginning of a real wild ride.

 

Chapter Text

 

Midoriya had two new notebooks. One, he’d mentioned before – titled Quirk Analysis, was just that, analysis on his Quirk. He’d discovered a lot of new things ever since he’d started officially practising after school hours. Although Midoriya had yet to speak to the elusive Principal Nedzu, he had been permitted to use that sports hall for himself for one hour after school whenever he could, meaning Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, because his dad didn’t call until a little later on a Friday evening anyway. Present Mic oversaw a few of them. He felt more than a little nervous, singing in front of people. That was probably why the hero started timing his arrival so that he only appeared when Midoriya was in mid song. It felt a little less awkward then.

Whilst most of that notebook involved information on what a particular song could do, the most important pages at the moment, were those detailing the specifics of his ability – or, more accurately, his limitations. And he’d made some very interesting discoveries in the short space of time that he’d had his Quirk. He put that down to putting so much energy into researching other Quirks, so when it came to his own, it was a piece of cake.

 

Quirk Name –    Songbird    Living Song   Music…something 

By singing a song, an ability is granted for the user to manipulate to their will whilst the song continues. The more practise put into a particular song, the longer effects last after the song has finished, the stronger it is, and the shorter the cool-down effect is between uses.

COOLDOWN:

If an ability is used, and the song is then sung again immediately after, the Quirk will not activate. The cooldown period starts as soon as the power turns off – whether that be because the song was interrupted or stopped part way through, or because the song came to an end. A new song has a cool-down length of roughly seventy-two hours (three days), which decreases slowly as the song is practised, but there will always be some kind of cool down. For example, the song Wings, which I have used on numerous occasions, still has a limit exceeding twenty-four hours, and that timespan is decreasing at a much slower rate than how it began.

ABILITIES:

Abilities vary from song to song, depending on how the user interprets the song themselves. Someone may think a song has a different meaning, but it relies solely on the user’s opinion. Only one ability can be used per song. Mashups seem to have no effect as several songs are used at once. As soon as one song is stopped, its power stops working. Its only benefit is being able to transition quickly from one ability to another at a higher power level than just starting a new song again. The strength of an ability increases as the song progresses, following how the music swells. It’s at its strongest near the end of the song and in choruses. I can use an ability if I skip straight to the chorus, but it will be weaker and the same cooldown period applies. Some songs grant the same ability but at slightly different power levels and have varied applications. Other songs seem to give no power at all, especially if they’re super short or have few lyrics. Some just don’t give powers for some reason. If I don’t feel a connection to the music, or dislike it in any way, shape or form, my Quirk won’t activate. If I forget a lyric or do something wrong, that counts as interrupting the flow of the music and the power shuts off; the cooldown period beginning.

LINGERING EFFECTS:

If a song ends un-interrupted or I purposely stop it at a suitable point, like when the chorus finishes, the ability the song grants can last even whilst not singing. Lingering effects cut off if I try to start using another song. The power lasts longer the more I practise a particular song.

AFFECTING OTHER PEOPLE:

My Quirk currently has three directions from which it can be easily applied:

Some songs only work on me, only giving me control, for example, songs with fire abilities – only I can control the fire. Some songs affect anyone the sound reaches, excluding myself, for example, sleeping songs. It works as long as the sound reaches them, so plugging ears doesn’t help. Some songs affect everyone including myself, such as strength enhancing abilities.

I believe I will have more control over this with more practise, for example, I might be able to focus a power onto only one person even whilst others are listening. This has only worked once before, where I was able to make a song which should have affected everyone but me, give the ability to only myself. Granted, it wasn’t very useful and I fell asleep but that doesn’t matter.

My Quirk doesn’t work through recordings or amplifiers. If I use a microphone, anyone who is close to me is still affected, but people who are far away enough so that they can only hear because of the amplification are not affected.

 

IF YOU USE TOO MANY SONGS IN A SHORT TIME-SPAN YOU WILL BE FATIGUED.

 

It seemed confusing at first. Well, there was rather a lot of information on it written down here. But, once you read through it, it became clear that much of the information was simply repeated in several different scenarios. And, in actual fact, there was a certain simplicity to Midoriya’s Quirk. But perhaps that was something only he could see. It was his power after all. He still felt giddy just thinking about that.

But Midoriya had two notebooks. We’re just going to ignore the other thirteen hero analysis notebooks and focus on these two.

The other notebook he had dubbed his Panic Book. Why? Well, that would be because he turned to it when he panicked. Another reason would be because everything he did now revolving Canary turned into a panic. The third and final reason was that it was what Aozora called it when she saw him jotting stuff down in it as he sat nervously in the waiting room before his second show.

On the very first page of the notebook, he had written a to-do list. It was rather high aiming, but he hadn’t planned on anyone ever seeing the inside of this notebook, so that fact didn’t apply:

 

  1. Practise and analyse your Quirk until you know it as much as anyone who might have had their Quirk for ten years would, i.e. like an ordinary person.
  2. Gain your confidence on the radio until you are able to talk without hesitation on air.
  3. Convert that confidence to real life so talking to ordinary people in reality isn’t a challenge.
  4. Take that confidence a step further so you can happily sing without any anxiety issues.
  5. Tell Shinso.
  6. Take part in the Sports Festival
  7. Make a good enough impression to allow you to be offered a place in the hero course.
  8. Transfer to the hero course.

 

Yes, number five was rather important. He also might have to consider moving that number up the list. Something he had not predicted, although probably should have, was how popular the character of Canary would really end up being.

“Hey! Canary!” Aozora yelled.

Midoriya looked up from his notebook. He was perched on the armchair nestled in the furthest corner of the room. If he was going to be staying here – then that armchair would be his, no questions asked.

“Present Mic’s just put the song on – you’re on in three minutes and counting! Get your feathers in there!” she finished, talking rather loudly because her headphones were still over her head as she bobbed side to side to whatever tune was drifting across the radio.

Midoriya took a deep breath, something he often found himself doing before big events, and stood up, leaving his things in a pile surrounding his armchair – it was already starting to resemble a bird’s nest and Canary had only claimed the space less than half an hour ago.

Present Mic did a celebratory spin in his chair when Midoriya entered the room. He was in his hero costume this time, most likely because he had to wear it at UA and hadn’t taken it off yet.

Midoriya still wasn’t too sure how to handle himself in the studio – how much noise he was supposed to be making; where he could go; what he could touch without ruining the entire show… This was why he was as quiet as he could be, almost tiptoeing across the room towards the same chair he chose last time – he could never be too careful.

“How are you feeling, my little listener? Wait, no, you’re not really a little listener anymore, are you?! Let’s make that my little co-host until I can find a better alliteration, huh?” the hero laughed.

“U-Um, I-I’m fine…” Midoriya stammered as he sat down.

“You don’t sound fine!” Present Mic retorted. He was pointing at him, his finger so close to Midoriya’s nose despite the width of the table that it was almost touching it. “You sound all panicked again – where’s the happy Canary we left off with last time, huh?!”

Midoriya gave him a meek smile, “I-I just… well, s-sometimes I h-hear people talking about me. A-And I know all those people are going t-to be listening today and I’m really worried that maybe they won’t like me anymore and this will just end up being one big disaster and I’m going to mess up and –”

“Woah, woah, woah!” Present Mic interrupted, “You’re going to give yourself a panic attack, and no one wants that.”

Midoriya’s hands were shaking as he fiddled with the headphones that were laid out before him. He wasn’t sure if he was more nervous the second time around as he had been the first – but either way, what he was feeling was certainly far from good.

“You’re not going to mess up,” continued Present Mic. He had adopted his calmer voice, the one he used when addressing panicked civilians and, more often than not, Midoriya. He’d come to recognise it well now. “People like you for being you. So, you don’t need to worry about messing up, because there’s nothing to mess up! We’re going to do exactly what we did last time, so there’s no need to fear, alright? The only difference is we’ve actually got some questions lined up and a bit more of a plan. Just follow my lead and I promise you’ll do absolutely great!”

Midoriya let a small smile creep back over his face.

“You know, I’ve got a stellar way to deal with anxiety for those who have a bit of a problem with it,” the hero told him.

Midoriya blinked up at him. He took that as an expression of interest.

“Turn your fear into excitement!” he said dramatically. “Think about all these negative emotions that you’re feeling, and say, hey, you know what? – this doesn’t have to be negative! Say, I’m not shaking because I’m nervous – it’s because I’m excited! I’m excited to begin! To get this other with – whatever floats your boat!”

He frowned at his teacher. Well, like his mother had said – here, in the radio studio, he wasn’t Izuku – he was Canary. Izuku may be nervous, but Canary could be excited! Perhaps separating the two wasn’t the best idea, but for now, it was a way forward – and Midoriya was running rather thin on those.

Midoriya’s smile grew that little bit wider, “O-Ok!”

Present Mic clapped his hands, “There he is! There’s the Canary I was waiting for! Just keep being you and roll with it! Put your headphones on, Songbird! Listen to the end of this song with me and then we can start!”

 

Present Mic’s Radio Show!

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 18:30 to 19:30

Canary’s Hour

 

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH!

*A brief moment of silence follows*

PRESENT MIC: Can I get a YEAH from Canary?!

CANARY: O-Oh! Err, err – y-yay?

PRESENT MIC: This is becoming routine and you know what? – we’re going to stick with it! ANYWAY! A big fat welcome to a new official segment of Put Your Hands Up Radio! We talked about it earlier, but here we are! Welcome to Canary’s hour!

CANARY: W-Wait, really?

PRESENT MIC: YES!

CANARY: It’s named after m-me?

PRESENT MIC: Well, you are the whole reason we’re doing it!

CANARY: Um… thank you?

PRESENT MIC: WHY ARE YOU SAYING THANK YOU?!

*A faint squeal is heard*

CANARY: Why are you s-so loud?!

*Present Mic’s howling laughter can be heard, most likely quietened from its original volume*

CANARY: He’s r-really loud! I-I’ve been listening to his radio show f-for… forever! A-And I don’t know why, b-but I didn’t expect him to be so loud in real life?

*Present Mic continues to laugh uncontrollably*

CANARY: O-Of course, the volume’s all c-changed on y-your end of the radio. But h-here? Here I can still hear how l-loud he is! And I keep reaching up to my ears t-to cover them with my hands but then the headphones are in the way and I press them closer to my face and it gets even louder a-and… and it’s just a vicious circle of decibels really.

*A moment of silence is endured as Present Mic recovers*

CANARY: A-Are you ok?

*Present Mic sighs loudly*

PRESENT MIC: He looks like a little ball of sunshine, but in reality – he has a cruel side. I feel like we’re bringing out the worst in him! But then, I remember he’s Canary and he’ll never change – CANARY, TELL US A FACT!

CANARY: Did you know the loudest sound ever recorded was the explosion of the volcano Krakatoa in 1883?

PRESENT MIC: …That was a very quick response – I guess you were thinking about that already?

CANARY: Uh huh. Apparently the sound travelled around the world four times and ruptured the eardrums of people standing over forty miles away.

PRESENT MIC: Huh – How many decibels does it need to be to burst eardrums?

CANARY: …S-Shouldn’t you know that?

PRESENT MIC: Pfft! Of course, I do… But you know everything so I was just checking if you knew!

CANARY: I-I don’t know everything – like how loud a sound needs to be to burst your eardrums, for instance.

PRESENT MIC: WELL THEN LOOKS LIKE WE’RE MOVING ON!

CANARY: Wait, but isn’t it a bit of a problem that you don’t know how loud you can –

PRESENT MIC: WE HAVE SOME QUESTIONS TO GET TO!

CANARY: But I have a question!

PRESENT MIC: You don’t need to raise your hand – and if it’s about noise, I don’t want to hear it.

*A brief moment of silence follows*

PRESENT MIC: Yeah, you lower that hand. ANYWAY, as I said, we still have plenty of questions from you wonderful listeners from last Thursday and the time in between! So, we thought that we could start off our first official Canary’s hour with a Canary Questionnaire!

CANARY: W-We are?

PRESENT MIC: YES! So, if Canary could so kindly turn to his screen – yes, that one – you will see your list of questions!

CANARY: Are we answering all of these?!

PRESENT MIC: PROBABLY NOT!

CANARY: O-Ok… um – do I just pick one, or…?

PRESENT MIC: Pick and click!

CANARY: Ok… I’ll just click on something r-random then…

PRESENT MIC: OUR FIRST QUESTION THEN!

CANARY: So… is this from twitter or…?

PRESENT MIC: We get most of our questions from social media! We should set you up an account! ACTUALLY, LET’S DO THAT ON AIR IN A MINUTE THAT WOULD BE GREAT!

CANARY: Oh, ok – but, um, this question is from White Wave…

PRESENT MIC: AND THEY SAY – from someone who’s bad at people-ing – my new favourite phrase – you sound like if a puppy got turned into a human being! Ha!

*Distant, barely audible squeaks can be heard*

PRESENT MIC: He’s doing that thing now where he goes really red and curls up in a ball – and there he goes – yep, he’s turned his chair away from me. RIGHT – White Wave’s question, getting to the point, is: can you sing?! Is your Quirk really good pitch? Well, little listener, that is a good hypothesis! However, even though that would be cool – I can’t see how it could be useful in heroics?

CANARY: Oh! Pitch control would be really cool – depending on how well you could manipulate it. If you go high enough and are able to direct your voice, you could do things like shatter glass and knock people out and… and that would be awesome but I can’t do that.

PRESENT MIC: But he CAN SING! And really well! Annnddd he’s returned to the ball. CANARY – CANARY THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM Lilnome – and they ask how old you are! Are you happy saying that on air?

*Undistinguishable muttering is heard*

PRESENT MIC: Can we… can we repeat that?

CANARY: I-I think I’ll just let y-you guess. I-I’m either in my second or first year at U-UA.

PRESENT MIC: LET’S HAVE ONE MORE QUESTION BEFORE OUR NEXT SONG THEN!

CANARY: Err… Oh – I’m not sure how to pronounce your name? So sorry if it’s wrong but D-Drakeneo? Is that right? Um, you asked – ha, ha – how would you describe Presentation Michael as a teacher?

PRESENT MIC: I’m not liking where this is going.

CANARY: Well, firstly – loud.

PRESENT MIC: And we’ve gone in a full circle!

CANARY: Secondly, um… I’m just deciding w-what is a good idea to say now that he’s sitting opposite me.

PRESENT MIC: And what’s THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!

CANARY: He’s very charismatic.

*A moment of silence*

PRESENT MIC: I’m not sure how that is an insult? But I bet it is – RIGHT – SONG, WE’RE GOING TO GO TO A SONG BEFORE HE RATS OUT ALL MY TEACHING SECRETS.

CANARY: There was a paper aeroplane stuck in his hair for our entire lesson the other day – he didn’t even notice.

PRESENT MIC: CUE THE MUSIC!

 


 

Present Mic was smiling because Midoriya was smiling – it was infectious.

“See?” Yamada began, “What did I tell you? Everyone loves you!”

Midoriya took off his headphones; still smiling broadly as he glanced at the remaining questions on his screen – and there were a lot of them.

“I didn’t tell you earlier because I didn’t want you to freak out more than you were already,” he continued.

That got Midoriya’s attention, making him look up in surprise, his smile quickly fading.

“Don’t worry! It’s a good thing – we’ve got a very high listener count today. I’m talking way more than what was on last Thursday. And they’re here because they want to hear you! And judging by the fact that the number isn’t going down but is instead steadily increasing – I would say you’re giving them exactly what they want!”

The smile crept back across his face, “Thank you.”

“For what?!”

“For… giving me a chance – a-and being so nice to me. Even before I had a Quirk – I’ve never had a teacher who has… but this much time and effort into helping me,” he admitted, twisting back and forth in his chair; avoiding Yamada’s gaze.

He didn’t say anything for a moment, processing Midoriya’s words. He hadn’t really put much thought into Midoriya’s past before – but then it clicked. He was mute because he was Quirkless. People saw the small, Quirkless boy and wrote him off before he had a chance to show him he was so much more than his condition. He was smart, kind and funny – he had a big brain and an even bigger heart, if that were possible. But despite all that, no one had really cared before. And so, the kid must have fell silent; slipped into the shadows, unnoticed. Perhaps it was even worse than that. He could have done it on purpose, as a way of avoiding the attention. Maybe it wasn’t just dance lessons that made him excellent at evading dodgeballs.

Midoriya wasn’t the first kid he’d brought with him on the radio. There had been a few in the past who needed a little confidence boost – several refused the offer, but the ones who took it up were rather thankful for it. Despite all that though, none had been quite so popular with the radio’s audience than Canary. Aozora was right, it wasn’t just his personality – people liked the story; they were eager to see what he would become. Present Mic felt the same way, but he also couldn’t help but think about what could have happened had he not gone and spoken to Midoriya that day in the sports hall – had Midoriya never even discovered his Quirk. What would have happened to him? What would his future have looked like?

“Um, Present Mic, Sir?”

Yamada blinked, “Sorry there, co-host – got lost in my own world for a second.” He smiled fondly. Screw him – he was very guilty of favouritism. Then again, one could say he just wanted to give Midoriya as good a shot at life as everyone else had (or maybe a little beyond that. Hey, plus ultra!). “You’re a real good kid, Canary. Awesome Quirk or no – you’re gonna make an amazing hero.”

Midoriya’s smile wobbled a little. “T-Thanks, Cockatoo.”

“Oh, I’m Cockatoo again now, am I?!”

He rubbed his eyes, laughing and nodding.

“Well then, I accept my fate.”

 


 

PRESENT MIC: And welcome BACK!

CANARY: Yay.

*Present Mic stifles his laughter*

PRESENT MIC: What is with that yay? ANYWAY – I thought we’d shake things up a bit!

CANARY: Oh no.

PRESENT MIC: Oh YES! Here’s the deal, listeners – you’re gonna pick up your phones and call us in! One of my lovely friends in the control room –

CANARY: That makes it s-sound like we’re in at a r-rocket launch.

PRESENT MIC: Well WHO KNOWS with your Quirk.

CANARY: …Yeah true.

PRESENT MIC: We’re just going to leave that there and confuse you all. You’ll find out what his Quirk really is at the Sports Festival.

CANARY: I’m terrified.

PRESENT MIC: You’ll be fine.

CANARY: Well, everyone knows my Quirk’s to do with singing. So, what if it doesn’t quite work for some reason? I could be standing in the middle of the arena – singing – and my Quirk doesn’t activate and I’ll just look like an idiot!

PRESENT MIC: Don’t be so pessimistic!

CANARY: I-I would say that was me being o-optimistic enough to assume I e-even make it to the tournament round.

PRESENT MIC: OK WE’RE GOING TO GO TO THE CALLER before Canary digs himself into a pessimistic pit.

CANARY: A what?

PRESENT MIC: OK – the number to call is five-five-five-o-one hundred!

(Author’s note – this is the legendary fake number and I haven’t checked it – pretty sure it’s still fictional. And no, I don’t care if it doesn’t match up to any Japanese regions and isn’t a complete number. Musutafu is a fake My Hero Academia place – a name taken from Star Wars – of course it doesn’t have an official area code. The other number eventually mention is also fake. I just didn’t want to write XXX-XXXX because I thought it was weird. Sorry – please do carry on)

CANARY: That w-was very fast.

PRESENT MIC: You say it then!

CANARY: Five-five-five-o-one hundred

PRESENT MIC: Fiv-fiv-fivey-o-one hundred

*A brief moment of silence follows*

CANARY: …What?

PRESENT MIC: CUE THE RING TONE!

*The ring tone dial is heard*

CANARY: But wait, if they’re calling us, why is there a ring tone?

PRESENT MIC: DON’T QUESTION MY LOGIC!

LISTENER: Um, hello?

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH – you, little listener – have made it all the way to Put Your Hands Up Radio!

LISTENER: Yay! Oh, my goshness – so cool!

PRESENT MIC: SAY HI, CANARY!

CANARY: U-Um… hi?

*A faint squeal is heard*

LISTENER: HI! I’m Kunie!

PRESENT MIC: NICE TO MEET YA, KUNIE! Where are you, in this exact moment?

LISTENER {KUNIE}: Oh, I’m on the train – going to my friend’s house.

PRESENT MIC: That explains the rumbling noise! Anyway, do you have a question for us, Kunie?

LISTENER {KUNIE}: Sure! Um, hi again, Canary!

CANARY: Hi…

LISTENER {KUNIE}: I was wondering – if you’re aiming to be a hero, what kind of hero do you want to be in particular?

PRESENT MIC: Oh, that’s a good question!

LISTENER {KUNIE}: Thank you! So, like, underground or rescue or…? I mean, I’m aiming for rescue myself and I totally wouldn’t mind having a sweet little birb like you as a co-worker!

PRESENT MIC: Aw – WHAT DO YOU SAY, BIRB?

CANARY: Ha, ha – um, well – I don’t really know? I guess it depends on how I use my Quirk… Um, I’m not sure if underground would work out too well – I think it might be difficult sneaking up on someone whilst s-singing…

LISTENER {KUNIE}: Oh yeah, that’s a good point!

CANARY: B-Bearing in mind I-I’m not actually on t-the hero course.

PRESENT MIC: YET.

CANARY: Y-Yeah…

PRESENT MIC: Anyway – a BIG thanks to Kunie for phoning in!

LISTENER {KUNIE}: Oh my gosh – seriously, thank you so much for having me!

PRESENT MIC: You have a song suggestion for us while we’re here?!

LISTENER {KUNIE}: Err… Rocket Man by Elton John!

CANARY: T-That was because of earlier, wasn’t it?

LISTENER {KUNIE}: YEP! Oh, and before I go – I’m sure you’ll do really well in the Sports Festival; I’ll be rooting for you!

CANARY: T-Thank you.

PRESENT MIC: BYE, KUNIE!

LISTENER {KUNIE}: Bye!

CANARY: G-Goodbye…

PRESENT MIC: But before we play that wonderful suggestion – WE HAVE ANOTHER NUMBER TO READ OUT!

CANARY: O-Oh yeah!

PRESENT MIC: Our hero hotline is a wonderful number that you can call if you need help! Of course, the real emergency number is obviously the priority, but if your problem is a bit more of a delicate situation – ring us up, and we’ll help you out the best we can! Even if it’s not an immediate emergency, or you’re having some tricky mental health dilemmas, we’ll do the best we can to give you the support you need! And CANARY is here with the number…

CANARY: O-Oh – um, it’s five-five-five-o-one-one-nine.

PRESENT MIC: Did you just say that from memory?

CANARY: …Maybe.

PRESENT MIC: THAT WAS five-five-five-zero-one-one-nine! And with that – TO THE ROCKET SHIP!

 


 

Before long, the radio show had come to an end, and with the final song put on for all to hear, Midoriya took off his headphones, wandered out of the studio, and collapsed onto his newly claimed armchair in a heap.

Present Mic laughed as he exited after him, turning off the lights inside the studio as he went. This was Present Mic’s private place. After his shows were over for the night, his other co-workers on the floor below them would take over for late night broadcasts. Present Mic was a hero, a radio presenter and a teacher. He knew how to manage his time to ensure that everything got done, but, consequently, some things were sacrificed. One of those being not hosting Put Your Hands Up Radio twenty-four-seven.

“Someone’s a little tired,” Aozora laughed. She was doing paperwork on one of the sofas near Midoriya whilst Nakano continued to manage the logistics of the end of the show, likely passing controls over to the news station.

“I-It’s just been a long time since I’ve done so much talking,” Midoriya admitted, feeling his throat gingerly. It hadn’t been so bad the Thursday before, but all this radio show business was really starting to get to his poorly used voice box.

“THEN I HAVE JUST THE THING FOR YOU!” Present Mic cried. He disappeared as Midoriya cautiously removed his hands from his ears once more, only for him to return, moments later, at an equally high volume. “HERE YOU GO, CANARY!” He thrown a small bag into Midoriya’s lap.

Frowning, Midoriya carefully undid the draw string and looked inside. “Throat lozenges?”

“Not just any throat lozenges. Ones that actually taste nice.”

Aozora pulled a mockingly shocked face. “Honestly though, they’re amazing. They work super well.”

“Aozora, why are you here?” Midoriya questioned as he unravelled one of the lozenges. “I thought you had your own office?”

“Yeah, but you’re here – and I wanted to see you.”

Midoriya couldn’t supress his smile as he put the lozenge in his mouth. Present Mic was right – they actually did taste nice.

“You can keep that bag, if you want,” he offered. “I have many.”

“For medicinal uses only – not just because you eat them like sweets,” Nakano insisted as he finished up his work.

“Yes, of course,” Present Mic nodded, waving off the comment.

Midoriya smiled as he packed his various things away, checking his pocket for his orange key card.

“Thank you all for everything,” he said for the one hundredth time as he almost skipped towards the elevator.

“Bye, bye, Canary!” Aozora called out as the elevator doors closed, “And if you say thank you one more time I swear I will –”

She didn’t get to finish that sentence, and Midoriya’s mind was left to comedically finish it as he wandered home. He left via the front door, as no one seemed to be outside to see him go, and practically ran all the way to the train station, eager to get home to his mother’s cooking.

She had promised Katsudon.

 

Oh, and someone give me a Quirk name HELP.

Chapter Text

 

Midoriya was acting a little… off recently. At least, that’s what Shinso was thinking at lunch time that Wednesday.

For one – he had been listening to a lot of music.

Midoriya had never really struck Shinso as much of a music lover. Although the fact was true that they hadn’t known each other for very long, Shinso couldn’t help but feel that it was odd that Midoriya was so entranced by whatever he was listening to. In gaps between lessons, he would listen to music, staring at the wall blankly, and then suddenly pull out a notebook titled Quirk Analysis, before turning to a new page and frantically writing in it, all the while his headphones were still firmly glued to his ears.

Secondly, he started talking a lot more. Sure, this was a good thing, but Shinso wasn’t too sure how he felt about it. It wasn’t that he didn’t want Midoriya to talk – quite the opposite actually. It was just that Shinso hadn’t expected him to open up so quickly over the span of only a few days. He still refused to utter a word to anyone who wasn’t named Shinso, Uraraka, Iida, or, weirdly enough, Present Mic. But the stutter was starting to fade from his voice – he no longer felt the need to hesitate before speaking and was gradually increasing in volume. But no – Shinso shouldn’t have been including this factor in his mental list. This was probably the best thing that had happened to Midoriya in a while – and Shinso wasn’t about to question it.

The third weird thing happened that lunch time.

Uraraka and Iida didn’t always sit with Midoriya and Shinso, so it wasn’t that strange that the two of them were sitting by themselves. It was near to the end of lunch – which was the best time to go there, because there were normally more spaces free and less social interaction was therefore required. However, this was not the case today. For some reason, a lot of the hall was still full when Midoriya and Shinso arrived. Consequently, they had to sit closer to the middle of the hall.

Time went on and the awkward second years they had been forced to sit next to left, leaving Midoriya to sigh audibly in relief as he gave up tucking his elbows in. That didn’t last long, however, because the queue for food was still long and there were few other spaces that sat a relatively large group. That meant that the rest of their table was the perfect place for someone else to claim.

“I found a table!” yelled an overly enthusiastic blond, who didn’t even bother checking if it would be ok with the general study students as he plonked his tray down – not on the other side, like a normal person would, but instead right next to Shinso.

“Hey, sorry for barging in,” apologised a redhead as he slid his tray next to the blond’s.

“Doesn’t matter,” grumbled Shinso. “We’re almost finished anyway.

That was when things started to become well… suspicious.

Moments after Shinso’s mood got even worse, due to the fact that he had just recognised this group of friends as students from class 1-A, i.e. the hero course he was supposed to be in, a girl with bright pink skin skipped over to the table, put her food down beside Midoriya, and sat down.

She waved at Shinso’s shy friend – and then did a double take.

Hey!” she grinned, giving Midoriya finger guns, “Well if it isn’t –”

He gave her a wide-eyed look, his noodles suspended halfway to his mouth.

The pink girl hesitated, as if she had just remembered something. She clapped her hands, and continued, “– Uraraka’s friend! Hi!”

Midoriya, who looked like he was about to spontaneously combust, gave her a feeble wave in return and turned back to his food.

“The… mute friend?” frowned another guy with rather large elbows as he sat down beside Pink.

They started muttering about how rude that was when the redhead stood up and waved to whoever was the last to join their group, “Hey, Bakugo! Over here!”

Shinso didn’t fail to notice the way Midoriya flinched. He immediately put his chopsticks down, not even signing a word to Shinso, as he stood up to put his tray away.

“Hey, where are you going?” Shinso frowned.

Midoriya didn’t even acknowledge him as he turned around. The hero students seemed a little confused too.

That was when Midoriya came face to face with a spiky haired blond with deep red eyes.

Shinso recognised him – it was that guy with the explosive hero costume from the week before, who Midoriya literally shrunk away from as he passed by.

“Get out of my way, Deku,” snarled the hero student.

Midoriya sidestepped instantly, his head down as he weaved as quickly as possible through the crowd with his tray. It wasn’t long before he was out of sight.

Shinso stared at him. Yeah, there was definitely a story there.

“Deku?” repeated Shinso.

‘Bakugo’ glared at him as if he couldn’t believe some low life from general studies was even talking to him. He didn’t say a word in reply.

Shinso got to his feet and marched to the other side of the table, where Bakugo had sat down opposite the redhead. “Why did my friend just abandon his food and run off at the mention of your name?”

“How am I supposed to know?” sneered Bakugo, who was rather focused on adding as much chilli to his food as humanly possible.

“I don’t know,” frowned the redhead, “he seemed rather freaked out by you, man. You know each other or something?”

Shinso had never seen someone close a bottle of sauce with such menace.

“He’s a Quirkless wimp I knew from middle school who likes to turn tail and run from everyone and everything. Anything else you’d like to know or can I eat my damned food in peace?” Bakugo snapped.

It took a moment for things to click into place in Shinso’s mind.

He knew him in middle school.

He called him names – called him Quirkless.

And Midoriya flinched around him like he was expecting he’d hit him.

Shinso had never been so tempted to brainwash someone to drown in their hot sauce. But that would have to wait for another time. Right now, Midoriya took priority.

So, with a mental vendetta set, Shinso grabbed his tray and joined the queue to tidy it away, before running through the halls after his friend.

When he first checked class 1-C, he was nowhere to be found, but by the time Shinso had returned for afternoon registration, so had Midoriya. He was sitting at his desk, headphones on, jotting notes in his Quirk Analysis book like nothing had happened at all.

Shinso tapped on the side of Midoriya’s desk to try to get his attention. That didn’t work – probably because the volume of his music was so loud that Shinso could almost hear it. So, he was forced to get out of his seat, tap Midoriya on his shoulder, and sit back down again so he could participate in a conversation.

[What happened back there?] Shinso questioned.

Midoriya blinked at him, like he wasn’t quite sure what he was talking about. [Nothing] was all he signed in reply.

[It wasn’t nothing. You jumped up like you’d had an electric shock and almost ran away from that guy]

Midoriya just shrugged.

Shinso would have pressed for more information, but Present Mic had just started the register, and Shinso wasn’t too sure how much of this Midoriya would want his teacher knowing. Shinso kept forgetting they weren’t the only ones in the school who knew sign language.

The rest of the day continued as normal – much unlike the Wednesday the week before, which was rather disjointed thanks to the attack at the USJ. But as soon as the final lesson came to a close, Shinso grabbed Midoriya backpack, stopping him from leaving.

Catching the gist of the scenario. Midoriya sat back down and waited glumly, headphones handing around his neck, as the two of them waited for the rest of the class to leave. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out that way, because the all mighty President Ohchi watched them like a hawk, and refused to leave until they did, ushering them out of the classroom.

Shinso grudgingly gave back Midoriya’s backpack as they met Uraraka and Iida by the front gates.

“U-Um…” stammered Midoriya just before they started walking, “S-Shinso and I h-have a project due tomorrow?” he lied blatantly. Shinso tried to keep the shock out of his expression. “S-So, we’re going to stay b-behind today for a while – you two c-can go on without u-us.” His stutter was back – showing how nervous he seemed.

“Oh, that’s ok!” Uraraka smiled. “You’ve been awfully busy recently, haven’t you?” she acknowledged. “You seem to stay behind at school a lot.”

“A diligent response to the amount of work our general study peers receive!” Iida exclaimed. “No matter – we will see the two of you tomorrow!”

So, the only sane hero students Shinso had encountered so far, left them be.

Shinso turned to Midoriya, only to see that he had already started walking away – not back to the main campus, but down a path to the side of it.

Frowning, he trailed his green-haired friend as he walked in silence. Eventually, they reached the sports hall that their class often used. Shinso was rather surprised when Midoriya walked right up to it and pulled open the door. He wasn’t sure if they were allowed in there, but he didn’t question it, and followed Midoriya inside.

When Shinso turned back around, after closing the door, he saw Midoriya on the floor, pulling out the contents of his bag. He just stared at him as he shuffled around for a while, flipping through his various notebooks; messing with what seemed to be a portable speaker; fiddling with his phone.

Shinso sat down in front of him, crossing his legs and tossing his own bag aside. “Midoriya,” he started.

His friend looked up, before immediately averting his gaze.

“Midoriya, what’s going on with you?” Shinso frowned. He let the questions spill out of his mouth. Usually, he was quiet – patient. He held back for his shy friend, but he just couldn’t take it any longer. “What happened with that guy at lunch? He said he knew you from middle school – and you… you ran away from him like you were scared he’d set you on fire.”

He was kidding – obviously. But then he doubted himself, remembering Bakugo’s explosion themed hero costume.

“…Did he bully you, Midoriya?”

He still wouldn’t look at him, twiddling his thumbs and refusing to raise his head. Shinso had the sinking feeling he was right.

He was quieter than a mouse when he spoke, “W-We live in the same neighbourhood. We used to go on p-playdates together when we were little – went to the same nursery; same kindergarten; same middle school… Everywhere we go, we’re always t-together. This is the first time that we’re not in the same class… He was my first f-friend – my only friend.”

“Some friend.”

There was a slight smile across Midoriya’s face now – but it was a sad one. “I was there when he manifested his Quirk… He was there when I… when I didn’t manifest mine.”

A friendship turned sour – a kid who thought he was the best. Better than Midoriya, his childhood friend – the Quirkless wimp. Deku.

“He… He called you something,” Shinso frowned, recalling the nickname.

Midoriya gave a small chuff of laughter. Again, there was no happiness within it. “Deku – it’s a different way of p-pronouncing the kanji of my first name… It’s supposed to mean useless.”

“You aren’t useless, Midoriya,” Shinso shot back at him. “You’re as far from useless as you can get.”

His smile didn’t change. It was like he didn’t believe him. “Thanks,” he murmured anyway.

They sat there in silence for a moment.

Shinso considered messaging his parents – he could be there for a while. As long as it would take; he didn’t want to leave Midoriya like this.

“He told me to jump off a roof once,” said Midoriya.

Shinso snapped his head up, his breath hitching.

Midoriya just picked at the concrete below him. “Said that if I wanted a Quirk so badly, that I should see if I get one in my next life… take a swan dive off the roof of the building.”

“You didn’t seriously –”

“Consider it?”

His voice had grown a little louder now. Midoriya finally met Shinso’s eyes. He stayed like that for a moment, mulling the question over in his mind before speaking once more. “No… but I did wonder – if anyone would miss me, I suppose. I knew he’d regret saying it – knew it would pull his hero plans out from under his feet if I decided to…” he gulped. “But I didn’t. Of course, I didn’t. Kacchan will make a great hero; I know he will.”

Shinso hesitated, not sure what to say, “Kacchan?” was what came out of his mouth.

Another laugh, “My nickname for him. I’m Deku and he’s Kacchan.”

“You mean you just decided to call him a cutesy name and he settled with useless?”

Midoriya shrugged, “I suppose.”

Screw hot sauce. Shinso was already plotting a more painful death for Bakugo.

“People would miss you if you were gone,” Shinso added, realising he should have said that a little earlier.

Midoriya didn’t reply. It hurt Shinso more than any words could have. But then he added, “I guess it’s a different story now.”

Shinso wasn’t sure what else to say. He knew Midoriya’s past must have been bad if it left him mute, but for some reason, he’d never expected this.

 

“Shinso, I’m not Quirkless.”

 

Ok… what?

“What do you mean, you’re not Quirkless?” said Shinso, furrowing his bow. Where the hell did this come from?

“I-I didn’t lie to you,” he stammered. “I didn’t lie to anyone!”

“I never said you were lying,” Shinso interjected, raising his hands to calm him down. “I just… that was the last thing I expected you to say – you’re not Quirkless?”

“Y-You know that girl from lunch?” he continued.

Shinso could not see where this was going, but he nodded unsurely anyway.

“T-That’s Mina," continued Midoriya. "S-She joined my… my dance class recently.”

Ok, this was just getting weirder and weirder. “Your… dance class…” repeated Shinso.

Midoriya flushed red and ducked his head again.

“You dance?” Shinso blinked. “No, no – I’m not insulting you! I just didn’t expect it. Wow, you are full of surprises today…”

He laughed again – a real laugh this time. It was small and quiet – but it was real; not pitiful or sad. “I-I really like music and dance… I always have. I didn’t know w-why – I just… It was something different. Everyone there was in the same place as I w-was; no one made fun of me or pressured me to speak…”

“So, she saw you dance and that’s how she recognised you?”

Midoriya nodded, but then shook his head. “Not this time – I didn’t dance I…” he twiddled his thumbs again, looking up at Shinso nervously, “I played the guitar?”

Right.

Shinso just nodded repeatably. “Ok – again, unexpected – but cool. I can’t play the guitar. I’d probably, I don’t know, break it.”

Midoriya’s smile grew wider, “I did break it.”

“You… broke your guitar?”

“W-Well, kind of. It’s a little burnt now.”

Shinso narrowed his eyes, “You set fire to your guitar?”

“N-No, no!” Midoriya stuttered, before wavering and adding, “Well, yes – accidently.”

“And this is during dance class?”

“Oh, no, this was before d-dance class – about… yeah, just over a week ago now? I um… well, I didn’t set fire to my guitar – I set fire to the rain.”

Shinso couldn’t help but smile at how ridiculous that sounded. “You set fire to the rain?”

Midoriya laughed again, a lot louder this time. He was getting more confident with his confusing story telling. “Like in the song!”

“You mean like the song – set fire to the rain?”

“Yeah!”

“I’m sorry, but you’ve lost me.”

“I-It’s my Quirk.”

“Your Quirk is setting fire to the rain?”

“No! The music is!”

“The music set fire to the –”

“Oh, you know what I mean!” Midoriya exclaimed.

“I really don’t,” Shinso replied, laughing through the confusion of it all.

“Here, look,” Midoriya continued. He opened his phone, tapped a few things, and slid it across the floor towards him.

Shinso picked up it. He saw a music playlist and narrowed his eyes again, glancing between Midoriya and his phone in bewilderment.

“Don’t bother plugging it into the speaker,” instructed Midoriya. “But just… choose a song – any of them. I don’t mind which.”

Patience. Have patience with Midoriya – good things come with time.

And so, Shinso sighed, and scrolled through the playlist, struggling to figure out what the songs had in common. They were karaoke versions, he noticed – some covers; some not. What caught his eye the most though, was Midoriya’s title of the playlist:

Arsenal.

Yeah, not at all worrying.

He hesitated at one of the songs he recognised. Looking up at Midoriya – who seemed a little terrified, Shinso tapped on the song and set his phone down before him, turning up the volume to its highest setting and waiting to see what Midoriya would do.

 

~Titanium – David Guetta / Sia~

 

As the music began, Shinso watched as Midoriya crossed his legs, reaching an almost meditative pose, and closed his eyes. And then, after taking a final peak at Shinso through one eye, a wobbly smile grew across his face – and he opened his mouth, and he sung.

“You shouted out. But I can’t hear a word you say…”

Momentarily forgetting Midoriya’s confusing story revolving suicide, dancing, guitar-playing and setting fire to the rain, Shinso’s jaw dropped as his selectively mute friend sung to him. And his voice was beautiful.

I’m criticised, but all your bullets ricochet…”

He opened his eyes again – just enough to see Shinso’s shocked expression; his smile grew a little wider, before he closed his eyes tightly once more, like he was scared of opening them. But still, that smile continued to light up the room as his voice echoed around it.

To think – all this time – the world had been missing out on such a voice, because of the harshness it had been succumbed to. The very thought made Shinso’s blood boil – but now was not the time for anger. Right now, his brain was still trying to figure out what the heck was going on.

Why was he singing? Sure, it was incredible – but why? He mentioned setting fire to the rain – and then the song – the song setting fire to his guitar? No… the rain setting fire to his guitar… Wait – the music did it – that’s what he said, right? So then… if Set Fire to the Rain – set the rain alight…

You shoot me down, but I won’t fall. I am titanium!”

And Shinso’s eyes grew even wider as the skin beneath Midoriya’s uniform became rigid – as the texture crept up to his neckline and down his arms – only to reveal it was turning silver. Like he was being coated in a metallic substance that dripped over every inch of his body. And he opened his eyes once more, and they too, where made of titanium.

I am titanium…”

Shinso pushed himself backwards as this silver Midoriya reached forward to turn off his phone. But of course, his metal skin couldn’t work the device. So, Shinso braved himself to take it off him and turn it off himself.

Midoriya’s grin wavered. He had stopped singing now – they were sitting in silence.

“I’m sorry…” he whispered.

Slowly but surely, the metal was creeping away from him in the same way it had appeared, like wax melting from a candle.

It took a moment for Shinso to get himself together. “Holy shoot,” was what he managed.

Midoriya blinked at him as the last of the metal faded.

“That… that’s your Quirk?!” Shinso gaped.

Midoriya scratched the back of his neck sheepishly. “…Yeah. I, um, haven’t figured out what to call it yet…”

“Y-You…” Shinso looked back and forth from Midoriya and his phone again. Suddenly, the title arsenal made a lot more sense. “Your singing does that?!”

“Can you imagine my surprise when Set Fire to the Rain actually set fire to the rain?” Midoriya grinned.

Shinso jumped to his feet, “You have a QUIRK!”

“I KNOW!” Midoriya leapt up too, punching the air excitably, before faltering and turning back to Shinso, “Y-You’re not freaked out?”

“Freaked out?” Shinso repeated, “Yeah, just a little! But only because that was the most… stupid awesome thing I’ve seen a Quirk do since I made – actually, we’re not going to talk about that – Midoriya, this is incredible.”

“You r-really think so?”

“Err, yeah? Are you kidding me?”

“B-Because um, well, there’s one more thing I need to tell you,” said Midoriya, tensing up his shoulders in the way that he did when he was scared what someone might think or say.

“…What did you do?”

“It wasn’t me!” Midoriya replied quickly. “I-It was Present Mic.”

“Right…”

“He… He found me practising here last week and um… well, did you hear about Canary?”

Shinso frowned – he’d heard the name being flung around but wasn’t too sure about it. “Is that a new hero?”

Midoriya blushed for some reason, “A-Ah, no – no, actually, it’s me.”

“You’re Canary?” Shinso questioned. “What do you mean?”

“Um, well, Present Mic convinced me that, err, to improve my confidence – I could go on his radio show? But I didn’t want anyone to know who I was – so, um… Canary’s my… codename?”

Shinso smiled, “Your hero name.”

Midoriya flushed even redder, waving his arms about as he spoke, “N-No! I-I mean… not yet.”

And the puzzle pieces connected together.

“Let me get this straight,” grinned Shinso. “You’re building up your confidence on the radio so you can sing in front of a crowd at the Sports Festival and get into the hero course?”

Midoriya hesitated, “…Maybe?”

“Well, you know there are two spaces open in class 1-A,” Shinso acknowledged.

He didn’t need to say anymore.

Midoriya flung himself at Shinso in a grateful hug.

Shinso hugged him back, grinning, “The hero course isn’t going to know what hit it.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Midoriya wasn’t usually one to feel much pride about himself – but yesterday had been the exception. He actually sung to someone. Present Mic didn’t count – he always walked in part way through the song, so Midoriya didn’t have to muster the courage to begin; all he had to do is not stop. With Shinso, it had been different – but Shinso, of all people, deserved it. For it was only because of him that Midoriya had been able to muster the courage to begin singing at all – only because of him that he found his Quirk.

Now, Midoriya had been thinking a lot about this, mainly because that was all he ever did – but why had he only discovered his Quirk now? It must have manifested when he was younger, like everyone else, but he never came across the right conditions for it to present itself. Then there was the extra joint in his little toe – convincing him that there was no point in searching for a Quirk anyway. His ability was a freak mutation. Perhaps he did inherit Quirklessness from his parents, but a separate mutation resulted in a brand-new Quirk – stronger than any normally inherited powers. If finding that power was as simple as singing a song – why hadn’t he found it before? Surely everyone sings something at some point in their lives, including Midoriya.

That thought was what lead him to the discovery of another aspect of his Quirk; he called it: Euphoria Songs.

[As in, happiness songs?] questioned Shinso that Thursday afternoon as the two of them packed away their things at the end of the day, granted, that task took an awful lot longer than usual if they were trying to sign at the same time.

[Yeah! A song which gives me a weak ability – one that only makes other people happy! Or, I suppose I could include songs which grant any other type of emotion – but I feel like happiness is the most common] Midoriya explained.

[So, you think you never found your Quirk before because the only songs you’ve ever sung only grant a happiness power?]

[I think it’s most likely… Like, Happy Birthday, for instance! Or, nearly any Christmas song]

[Or if you sung, for example, Let it Snow, when it’s already snowing]

[Exactly! I’d have no idea my singing had anything to do with it – or other song abilities could be narrowed down to coincidences – or maybe I just didn’t sing enough of some songs to activate my Quirk]

Shinso smiled, pausing his signing so he could finish packing his bag. Slinging it over his shoulder, he said, [I can’t believe you have a Quirk]

[Me neither!] Midoriya signed in reply, bouncing to his feet as he also finished packing.

[And the radio station thing too] continued Shinso as they walked out of class 1-C, [I went and listened to all your shows. You’ve got a bit of a fanbase going on, you know that, right?]

Midoriya sighed audibly, [I know. We made a social media account for Canary last Tuesday and I already have so many followers… it’s crazy…]

Shinso huffed, “The Sports Festival’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure.”

Midoriya nodded frantically, insure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.

“Why’s it going to be interesting?” It was Uraraka, who had just joined the duo, alongside Iida, on their way down to the exit of the school.

“You’ll see,” was all Shinso said in reply.

As Uraraka tried desperately to convince Shinso to tell her what he meant, Midoriya’s thoughts returned to the radio show. It was Thursday, so he was due at the station soon – but he still had homework to do. If he arrived a little earlier than usual, perhaps he could do it in the waiting room whilst…

He froze.

“Is something wrong, Midoriya?” questioned Iida, frowning and looking back as Midoriya desperately thrust his hands into all the various pockets of his clothing.

“Have you lost something?” guessed Uraraka. Midoriya had pulled his bag off at this point, tipping out its contents in a distressed bid to locate it.

Failing at that, and putting his things away once more, Midoriya leapt to his feet and signed to Shinso, [My key card – it’s gone!]

“Your…” he glanced at the hero students, [What key card?]

[The one for the radio station! I can’t get in without it!]

Shinso sighed, “He’s lost the key card for his flat,” he lied. “You guys go on ahead – I’ll help him find it.”

Not questioning the oddity of having a key card for a flat rather than an ordinary key, Uraraka and Iida immediately suggested that they should help too.

“It’s fine,” insisted Shinso, “You’ll miss your trains. Anyway, I’ve been with Midoriya all day – it can’t have gone far. See you tomorrow.”

They weren’t too keen to leave, but after registering the obvious dismissal by Shinso, the hero students waved goodbye and good luck in finding the card as they left the premises.

“Ok, did you take it out at school at any point?” Shinso interrogated as soon as they were gone.

Midoriya shook his head in a panic.

“Why did you even bring it to school?!”

[Because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay behind and practise my Quirk – and then go straight to the radio station! But then we got all that maths homework and so I decided that maybe it would have been best to –]

“Ok, stop,” Shinso interrupted. Midoriya’s hand movements had become so erratic that Shinso probably couldn’t understand them anymore. “Let’s just retrace our steps. It must have fallen out of your pocket at some point today. What does it look like?”

[Orange – with the name Canary written on it]

“Oh, of course it does,” Shinso sighed.

Midoriya’s eyes widened at the conclusion. If anyone found the card – they’d see the radio station logo, and then the name Canary. If Midoriya went up to them, asking for it back – then they’d know that he was Canary…

“Come on, let’s try and find it before someone else does,” Shinso insisted.

And so, with Iida not around to tell them off, they took off at a run up the corridors back to class 1-C. They scoured every inch of the classroom, but it was nowhere to be seen. Then the length of the hallways down to the lunch hall – not there either – not even the lunch hall itself gave any relief to their problem.

But whilst Midoriya was seconds away from a panic attack, Shinso was far less worried. [You said you have Cockatoo’s number. Just tell him that you lost it and I’m sure he’ll let you in. They’ll get you a new one]

Eventually, Midoriya gave in and nodded. They walked back down from class 1-C, after checking it for a third time, about to leave the school when –

“No, look – it belongs to Canary!”

Midoriya and Shinso froze.

Just behind them, standing outside the doorway to class 1-B, a group of students crowded around a short girl with a block fringe so long that it rivalled what Kisho’s used to look like. He’d cut it much shorter now, so it looked worse – Shinso and Midoriya still called him fringe in sign language anyway.

Fringe 2.0 was rather short, so she held up what was in her hand high into the air for her other classmates to see – a bright orange key card.

Shinso swore quietly. He grasped Midoriya’s arm and pulled him over to the group, whilst Midoriya struggled to get away in fear that Shinso would expose him.

“Hey, what’s that?” Shinso questioned, wearing one of the best poker faces Midoriya had ever seen.

“It’s Canary’s,” Fringe 2.0 explained excitably.

“Who?” Shinso frowned. Midoriya was staring at him in awe – he was very good at this acting shtick.

“From the radio show?” scoffed one of the other girls. “Seriously, have you been living under a rock or something?”

Shinso rolled his eyes at her, “Well, whoever he is – I’m sure he’ll want that back. Why don’t you go give it to Principal Nedzu or something?”

“Well, you two clearly don’t know who Canary is, so, allow me to explain. He’s a guy in our year or the one above and he’s becoming uber-famous. He has a secret identity – so, whoever comes and asks for this card back must be Canary and –”

“Aren’t you supposed to be hero students?” Shinso snapped.

There was a bit of a crowd forming around them now. It seemed like quite a few people were interested in who Canary was.

The argument between Shinso and the group of class 1-B girls grew more escalated. Eventually, a girl with bright orange hair in a ponytail came in between them to back with Shinso, suggesting they should take the card to a teacher and leave Canary alone.

Midoriya, meanwhile – had decided that he should suck up the courage and take this matter into his own hands.

He left Shinso’s side, unbeknownst to anyone else, and crept around the crowd to the other side, where Fringe 2.0 was standing with the key card.

Shinso caught Midoriya’s eye and realised what he was trying to do. So, Shinso lunged forwards in an apparent attempt to take the card.

The girl backed away a little, holding the card behind her back. It was right in Midoriya’s face.

Shinso, of course, could have easily used his Quirk on her to force her to hand the card over. But, Midoriya wasn’t the only one hesitant to use his Quirk.

So, Midoriya was now in the corner of the crowd, directly behind where Fringe 2.0 had backed up to, away from Shinso. Midoriya was blocked from view of as many members of the crowd as he could hope for. So, as Shinso caught his eye once again, and lunged forward at the girl, Midoriya took that moment of surprise and snatched the card from her hand, thrusting it into his pocket without anyone noticing.

Shinso cried out in fake frustration. “Fine, you do you,” he hissed. “I seriously can’t be bothered to meddle with anymore hero course problems.” He looked to his side to see Midoriya there, as if he’d never left. “Come on – let’s get out of here,” he grumbled, and the two left without another word.

They turned the corner as they heard a frantic shout from behind them, “Hey! Where’d the card go?!”

Midoriya and Shinso exchanged glances struggling to hold back their laughter.

“You did get it, right?” Shinso confirmed, hesitating at the bottom of the stairs.

Midoriya waved the orange card at him, “I am a master pickpocket!”

“That’s not at all worrying.”

They hesitated, turning slowly towards the origin of the voice, just behind them up the stairs.

It was another girl, with deep purple hair and oddly shaped ear lobes – where those AUX cords attached to her skin?

“We’re going to give it to the Principal,” Shinso insisted without missing a beat.

“Sure,” said the girl, raising an eyebrow. “And you don’t sound exactly like Canary. Trust me, I always remember a voice.”

Midoriya tried desperately to reply, but his voice just got stuck in his throat again. So, he did the next best thing, and lifted his finger to his lips in a bid to keep her quiet.

She smiled, “Don’t worry – I won’t tell anyone, Canary.”

They began walking together as Midoriya slipped the card securely into his pocket once more.

“What’s your name?” Shinso questioned after a while.

“Jiro,” she replied. “You?”

“I’m Shinso – this is Midoriya.”

Midoriya gave a feeble wave. He was still a little glum that he had been foolish enough to let the card get out of his sight in the first place – and that it had ended up like this.

“Midoriya?” Jiro frowned, “As in Uraraka’s friend? I thought you were mute?”

“Ok, how many people has Uraraka talked to about Midoriya?” Shinso sighed, voicing Midoriya’s thoughts.

“Hm? Oh, we were just talking about people from other classes and you were brought up in conversation. Then you were all talking to each other after the USJ attack – it was something to divert the conversation to rather than think about everything that had just happened,” she explained.

Oh, ok – that’s a little less terrifying,’ thought Midoriya as the three of them left UA.

“So, anyway – you’re on the radio tonight, right?” Jiro asked Midoriya.

He nodded hesitantly.

“Are you gonna sing this time?”

Midoriya blinked at her, furrowing his brow.

“Hey, I’m following you on social media,” Jiro continued. “Have you even read the comments about you? You have like, an entire hashtag, dude. Everyone who’s heard of you wants to know who you are – and if they’re not talking about that, they’re talking about your Quirk.”

Midoriya looked at his feet, kicking at the gravel as they walked.

“Sorry,” Jiro said suddenly. “–About following you guys and seeing the key card. I saw you take it… But, yeah, sorry – I have a hearing Quirk, so I usually end up knowing things people like to keep under wraps.”

They stopped at the crossroads, the one where Shinso parted ways with Midoriya normally. Jiro turned towards the other road, about to leave.

“I’m good at keeping secrets,” she insisted. “But even you can’t keep this hidden forever – the Sports Festival’s just around the corner, and they’ll know who you are by then. So… Yeah – just bare it in mind.”

Midoriya nodded giving her a little bow in thanks rather than saying it out loud.

She nodded in reply as well, before turning and walking away, plugging one of her earphone jacks into her phone instead of having to both with tangled wires.

Shinso bit his lip, thinking hard about something before turning back to Midoriya. “She must be another hero student,” he realised. “Might be our classmate in the future.”

“Yours maybe,” Midoriya mumbled, “I’m not sure about me…”

“You’ll be great in the Sports Festival, Midoriya,” Shinso told him in determination.

“Not if I can’t sing.”

“You sung to me – you were great.”

“T-That was different… I trust you.”

“What do you need to trust me for?” questioned Shinso.

Midoriya stopped fiddling with his fingers, looking up at him in confusion.

“So, you trust me to not tell anyone that you’re an amazing singer with an incredibly powerful Quirk? It’s not as if your secret is a bad thing. And if you’re embarrassed by it – think of me – to get people to talk to me so I can activate my Quirk, I usually have to insult them, so everyone hates me by default,” he laughed sadly.

“I don’t hate you,” Midoriya contradicted quietly.

Shinso sighed and smiled, “My point is, you literally have a fan base – and it’ll be even bigger by tonight – whatever you end up doing it’ll be fine.”

Midoriya gave him a meek smile in return.

It was getting late – they’d killed a lot of time searching for the key card, but if Midoriya hurried, he’d be able to catch the next train back to his house, with enough time to spare to clean up and change, if he wanted to stick to his doing his homework at the radio station idea.

And so, still feeling rather down, Midoriya bid Shinso goodbye and ran the rest of the way to the train station.

He didn’t take his key card to school for a while after that.

 


 

Present Mic’s Radio Show!

Tuesdays and Thursdays 18:30 – 19:30

Canary’s Hour

 

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH!

CANARY: Y-Yay…

PRESENT MIC: IIIIIITTTT’S six thirty! And we all know what that means…

CANARY: Um, I-I’m here?

PRESENT MIC: CANARY’S HOUR IS UPON US!

CANARY: H-Hi.

PRESENT MIC: LAST TIME – on Tuesday, that is – we left off with the birth of Canary’s little social media account and it is ALREADY VERIFIED!

CANARY: …It is?

PRESENT MIC: YEAH! Have you not looked at it?

CANARY: I-I – um, occasionally… But I have schoolwork to do and –

PRESENT MIC: And that definitely wasn’t last minute homework I saw you doing in the waiting room earlier!

CANARY: I-It was set today! It’s due next week…

PRESENT MIC: Wait, so why were you doing it in such a hurry?

CANARY: S-So I could get it done before the radio show started?

PRESENT MIC: But you have all week to do it!

CANARY: By w-which time I’ll have more homework. Aren’t you supposed to do all work the day it’s set unless you’re overwhelmed?

PRESENT MIC: …Well, most of my students don’t.

CANARY: I’m one of your students.

PRESENT MIC: YOU’RE FLUENT IN ENGLISH – YOU DON’T COUNT!

CANARY: …You still give me homework.

PRESENT MIC: That’s because you ask for it.

CANARY: Everyone else is doing it… I-I might as well too…

PRESENT MIC: Ok, well – you’re a way better student than I ever was.

CANARY: T-Thank you?

PRESENT MIC: MOVING ON – Let’s have a look at the growing pile of questions, shall we?

CANARY: O-Ok!

PRESENT MIC: And the first thing I see is… A super long paragraph.

CANARY: It isn’t that long.

PRESENT MIC: Says the guy who does English essays for fun.

CANARY: But –

PRESENT MIC: CUTTING TO THE CHASE – Music Lover – great name – asks this: We all know you go to UA and you’re planning to go to the hero course with the Sports Festival, but how are we going to know who you are? Are you planning to show yourself in the beginning or after the festival starts?

CANARY: Oh, um –

PRESENT MIC: They also say that they can’t wait to see you and they’ll be watching at home and rooting for you!

CANARY: T-Thank you… Um, right – err, well, my Quirk’s kind of tricky? A-And it’s rather unique too. I think you’ll know w-who I am when I start using it…

PRESENT MIC: Canary has an awesome singing Quirk! Look for the guy who’s singing, and that’s him!

CANARY: Oh, um, yeah, I suppose…

PRESENT MIC: NEXT QUESTION – Canary, you pick.

CANARY: O-Ok – um… this is from E-Evening Star. T-They ask: how do you have the courage to go on the radio, isn’t it scary? I-I’m afraid to go on stage and I wanted to ask you how you do it. Can you help me?

PRESENT MIC: Canary’s the wrong person to ask!

CANARY: I-I am… I have really bad a-anxiety. Social situations just make me… freeze up – like stage fright, only constantly. The radio feels different though. I-It was scary at first, but after a while, it just feels like I’m just talking to C-Cockatoo.

PRESENT MIC: By the way – if ONE MORE PERSON calls me MR COCKATOO at school one more time!

*Canary’s soft laughter can be heard*

PRESENT MIC: I can tolerate you but EVERYONE?!

CANARY: P-Present Mic d-distracts me from my nervousness by m-making me talk about something else. T-That’s where the random facts come in.

PRESENT MIC: WAIT – I NEED MY DOSE OF RANDOM TRIVIA – GO, CANARY – GO!

CANARY: E-Err, um – you can’t just put me on the spot like that! W-Wait! Um…

PRESENT MIC: Whilst he panics in the corner for a moment, let me tell you what I told Canary before our first radio show! Everyone gets nervous – even the pro heroes coming in as guests get scared of the thought of coming in here! But what I find helps, is telling yourself that you’re not nervous, you’re excited! Excited to get it over and done with, perhaps – but the two emotions are surprisingly similar, and I find this helps a lot – Canary looks satisfied with himself – do we have a fact?

CANARY: A group of canaries is called an aria.

PRESENT MIC: That’s a lie.

CANARY: No, it’s not!

PRESENT MIC: It’s a flock! Surely!

CANARY: A-And a group of cockatoos is called a chattering!

PRESENT MIC: Oh, come on – that can’t be true; that sounds ridiculous.

CANARY: You’re supposed to be an English teacher!

PRESENT MIC: WAIT – I’m looking it up – wait.

*Distant typing is heard, before a pause and a gasp*

PRESENT MIC: Why are you always right?!

*Canary laughs again*

PRESENT MIC: Right, one more question and then we’ll move on to our next song!

CANARY: Oh, ok!

PRESENT MIC: Now, speaking of songs. I’ve collected into a little bundle here, many, many, people asking the same question. So… let’s just chose a random representative… Nightwing15! And they ask – can you sing us a song?

CANARY: C-Can I what?

PRESENT MIC: You! Not me – look up any screeching cockatoo video on the internet and that’s about as close as you’re going to get.

CANARY: Um, I-I don’t know…

PRESENT MIC: You don’t have to! No worries – but you’re a great singer – he’s really good, listeners!

CANARY: I-I’m sorry but I –

PRESENT MIC: You’re going to have to wait until the Sports Festival for that one, folks! But it’s not far away, so we won’t have to wait long! In the meantime – let’s have some music!

 


 

“You ok there, Canary?” questioned Present Mic as they both took off their headphones.

Midoriya had told his teacher about the incident with the key card earlier. He mentioned everything, including how Jiro found out – excluding what she said about his singing.

“I’m going to have to sing in the Sports Festival,” he said, aware of how quiet his voice was. “B-But… I don’t know if I can.”

“Sure you can!” Present Mic exclaimed. “You’re going to be awesome, and you know it!”

Midoriya didn’t say anything, just staring dolefully at the questions on his computer screen.

“We’ve got three more shows, not including this one, until the Sports Festival starts,” Present Mic reminded him. “That’s plenty of time! Look how far you’ve come already! Keep up this rate of progress and you’ll be ready for sure.”

Midoriya didn’t feel so convinced.

“You could always try.”

He looked up at Present Mic, “Try s-singing?” he repeated with a stutter.

“I’m not sure if you noticed – but there’s another radio room that can be accessed off the waiting room – it’s got another little window with blinds over it?”

“I-It does?”

“Yeah! I guess you might have thought that it was just part of this room – but it’s separate – and completely soundproof! Your Quirk won’t reach outside the room so you can sing whatever you want, granted it doesn’t destroy the place.”

Midoriya hesitated, ever conscious of the song playing on the radio as the time ticked by. “But what if I make a fool of myself?”

“You won’t,” insisted Present Mic. “How many times had you sung something seriously before I walked in on you singing the one that gave you wings?”

He wavered, thinking back over the times he’d activated his Quirk, “Um, that was the fourth time…”

“And you were awesome! Just think! With that little practise, you were that good – and you’ve been singing an awful lot recently after school. Perhaps you’re even better now!” Present Mic exclaimed. “Plus, we can always make you sound better.”

Midoriya couldn’t help but laugh at that, “I-It’s fine! You don’t have to…”

There was a pause before Present Mic said, “So, you’ll do it?”

Midoriya didn’t meet his eyes. “I-I… I want to… But I’m nervous I’ll –”

“You’re not nervous!” he suddenly exclaimed.

Midoriya blinked at him.

“You’re excited!”

 


 

*Silence follows the song as the music dies out, before Present Mic laughs in a mockingly villainous tone*

CANARY: This is a bad idea.

PRESENT MIC: HE HAS BEEN CONVINCED!

CANARY: I-I am feeling less convinced by the second!

PRESENT MIC: He’s going to sing – THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

CANARY: T-This is so weird. I-I’m in a different room now, so my Quirk won’t affect Cockatoo – but I can still hear him over the radio. It’s strange – not being able to see him.

PRESENT MIC: He’s distracting himself. I told you – distractions help!

CANARY: T-This is a mistake…

PRESENT MIC: No pressure! No one’s pressurising you – we’re all good – and if you want to back out mid song, that’s fine – but we’re all rooting for you!

CANARY: T-Thanks…

PRESENT MIC: He chose the song – and I feel like this is him trying to tell us something.

CANARY: I also have no idea what my Quirk’s going to do with it? So, maybe this isn’t such a good idea?

PRESENT MIC: It’ll be fine. What’s the worst that could happen?

*A brief moment of silence follows*

CANARY: Bye, bye, radio station.

PRESENT MIC: No with this song!

CANARY: I suppose that would require q-quite a stretch of t-the imagination…

PRESENT MIC: We’re confusing everyone, talking about your Quirk.

CANARY: I’m not telling anyone – you’ll have to find out y-yourselves!

PRESENT MIC: AHHH – THE SUSPENSION IS KILLING US ALL!

CANARY: W-Well I don’t know what I’m doing!

PRESENT MIC: I’m going then.

CANARY: Wait, what?

PRESENT MIC: I’m turning my mic off and listening! The music will start soon – have fun!

CANARY: Wait – no – what – why –

 

~Bad Day – Daniel Powter~

 

CANARY: O-Ok – this is happening. Please don’t hate me for this.

*Silence falls*

 

“Where is the moment when needed the most?”

Midoriya almost couldn’t believe the words were falling from his mouth. He was alone, in the small studio booth, singing to the microphone that hung over his head. He clutched onto his headphones, almost pressing the backing track closer to his ears as he continued to sing.

They tell me your blue-skies fade to grey…”

Present Mic had shown him the list of songs they were scheduled to play that evening. He hadn’t lied when he said that this was the one he chose – but it also so happened to be one of the ones they were going to use anyway. Perhaps it fitted into one of those Euphoria songs he mentioned – lighting the mood of others. Maybe it did the opposite. But Midoriya wasn’t focused on what his Quirk would do – it didn’t matter anyway. He wasn’t focusing on using it on himself, and no one was in earshot enough for it to affect them. His power wouldn’t travel over the radio – he’d already tried that.

“You’re faking a smile with the coffee to go…”

That reminded him of Shinso – he didn’t know why. Maybe it was the coffee bit – Shinso really liked his caffeine. It probably really disturbed his sleep schedule. Maybe that was the point.

What did matter was that, Quirk or no, Midoriya could feel a smile stretching across his face as he was lost to the tune. That was all that mattered now – he almost forgot, in that moment, that hundreds, maybe even thousands (probably thousands) of people were listening to him too.

“‘Cause you had a bad day – you’re taking one down – you sing a sad song just to turn it around!”

And maybe this was turning his day around. That smile of his grew wider.

The true meaning of the song, or whatever its lyrics were meant to convey, just didn’t matter anymore. All that did was the confidence that brewed steadily in Midoriya’s chest – how that mental barrier between thoughts and words simply crumbled as he sung. Perhaps this time, it wouldn’t be so hasty to build itself up again. Because, after all – what difference would the Sports Festival make after singing here? The only difference then would be that people could see him as well as hear him.

You had a bad day.”

 


 

Present Mic was grinning. He smiled so wide it hurt – and it continued to hurt all the way through the song. He wondered how his little Canary was faring. He didn’t sound nervous. That thought made him smile even wider.

They’d given him a sheet of lyrics, which Aozora hastily printed off for him. But the lack of the distinct sound of flapping paper, made Yamada wonder if Midoriya had even bothered with it.

Well you need a blue-sky holiday…”

Perhaps it was part of his Quirk – remembering lyrics – that would explain how he was able to remember such obscure facts. Then again, that could just be Midoriya’s above average intelligence shining through.

Present Mic was almost sad at the thought of Canary leaving his form group. But the world would be missing out on an incredible little hero if he didn’t.

You had a bad day!”

 


 

Shinso was sitting in his room, scrolling through the various Canary hashtags that earphone-girl had mentioned. People really did seem like they enjoyed listening to him. Shinso didn’t blame them – he did too. He always knew what to say, even if he didn’t say it out loud often enough.

He glanced at the clock – wait, isn’t Midoriya’s radio show on at the moment?

Shinso had never listened to it live – considering Midoriya had only told him about it the day before.

He hastily found the Put Your Hands Up Radio website to tune in. Struggling with his earplugs in the process. He envied Jiro – she didn’t have this problem.

His eyes widened when he eventually turned up the volume.

– you really don’t mind. You had a bad day…”

Midoriya was singing.

 


 

There was always music playing in the Jiro household. She blamed her parents – they were musicians after all.

They had always been quite fond of Present Mic’s radio show. They said he ran his hero agency well – and if Jiro ended up a hero like him, they’d be more than proud. Jiro didn’t see it. Present Mic was always too… loud for her liking.

What she did like, was when Canary joined the radio ensemble. He was a real breath of fresh air – and painstakingly relatable.

That was why she found herself joining the crowd surrounding the class 1-B girl with Canary’s key card. She would have stepped in, but that Shinso guy beat her to it, and she was kind of interested into where this would lead.

That was when she saw the bundle of green hair snatch the card away from right under their noses, and then rematerialize next to Shinso like he’d learnt how to hide in plain sight from a young age.

Naturally, she followed them. She’d expected them to take the card straight to the Principal, so imagine her surprise when she heard Midoriya’s voice – it was Canary’s voice. So, she bottled away her inner fangirl and confronted them about it. And gosh Canary was exactly the same in real life as he was on the radio, only, perhaps a little more timid – if that were possible.

You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost…”

And wow – he really could sing.

It was like, as soon as the music started, a switch was flipped inside of him, and all those anxieties and worries just faded away as the song swelled into being. Jiro wished she had that confidence. Talking was one thing – something that Midoriya couldn’t seem to do well – but singing? Canary had the whole thing backwards!

You work at a smile and you go for a ride!”

She looked forward to seeing what he could really do.

 


 

Midoriya was on the radio.

Mute, sweet little Midoriya – was singing on the radio.

Uraraka stared at the wall, the music playing softly across her apartment.

You had a bad day…”

Midoriya was Canary.

 


 

Inko blew her nose, tossing the tissue into the growing mountain beside her. This was the first time she’d ever heard her son truly sing.

And it was beautiful.

 


 

The music faded out and Midoriya sung his last note. The problem with that song was that it faded out rather than having a definitive ending – so he had to make one up.

It couldn’t have gone too badly.

Or it could have been horrendous.

Those were the only two explanations for the literal radio silence that followed the ending of the music.

 

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH!

CANARY: AHHH! No – stop yelling in my ears when I’m not expecting it! P-Please!

*Present Mic’s roaring laughter is heard*

PRESENT MIC: You did it!

CANARY: Um, y-yay?

PRESENT MIC: NO! You need to do a proper one.

CANARY: A proper… what?

*Present Mic clears his throat*

CANARY: Warning duly noted.

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH!

CANARY: I-Is he finished? I took off my headphones – wait, yes, he’s finished.

PRESENT MIC: Now, you go.

CANARY: Do I really have to –

PRESENT MIC: GO

*Canary takes a deep breath*

CANARY: YYYYEEEAAHHHH~!

*Silence*

PRESENT MIC: Did you just – he just sung that – that was AWESOME!

CANARY: I am never doing that again.

PRESENT MIC: WHAT! NOOOOOO!

CANARY: Can I come back now?

PRESENT MIC: I guess.

CANARY: What do you mean you guess?!

PRESENT MIC: Well then, let’s have another musical interval as we save Canary from the little sound-proof booth!

CANARY: This next song better be from a musical.

 


 

As a Disney song began to play over the radio, Midoriya let the wireless headphone hang loose around his neck as he opened the door, to see Present Mic standing there waiting for him.

“HIGH FIVE!” he yelled, holding out his hand to do just that.

Midoriya beamed, and instead threw himself into a hug.

Aw!” exclaimed Aozora from across the room. “Everything about that is adorable.”

“Thank you,” Midoriya whispered.

Present Mic hugged him back, “You’re the one doing all the work, little co-host.”

“Canary needs a matching leather jacket,” interjected Aozora, “That would make him even more adorable. Seriously, your listeners don’t know what they’re missing out on.”

“BUT CAN I HAVE A HIGH FIVE THOUGH?!” exclaimed Present Mic as they finished their hug.

Aozora filmed Midoriya jump up to reach his hand.

“After the Sports Festival – I’m posting this,” the blue-skinned woman grinned as she replayed her video to Nakano.

“How are you feeling about the Sports Festival now, Canary?!” Present Mic questioned as they walked back over to the main studio.

Midoriya smiled, “I-I… I think I’m ready!”

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Sure, Midoriya felt ready-ish for the Sports Festival.

His rising fame though?

…Not so much.

He heard people muttering about him on the train. Not him, of course – Canary. Having no idea that he was standing right behind them.

On his way to school, he often found himself walking alone up to the crossroads where Shinso would wait for him, or he would wait for Shinso – it was an unspoken (and unsigned) agreement they had made early into their friendship. It was rare that he’d bump into Iida, because he always arrived too early for Shinso, and thus too early for Midoriya. That meant, the only person he had the slightest chance in meeting at the train station, was Uraraka.

What he didn’t expect, was for her to be waiting for his train to arrive, standing nervously on the platform as he stepped out.

“Hey, Midoriya!” she called out, hurrying over to him with a big smile stretching across her face.

He frowned and waved feebly in response as he began to walk out of the station with her.

So, how are you today?” she asked, weaving expertly around people in the crowd.

Struggling to follow suit, Midoriya only gave her a thumbs up when they were free from the crowd of morning commuters.

“Good, good…” she replied.

They walked in silence for a while longer – which was nothing unusual.

It was only when they were a good distance from the train station, when the road they were walking along was all but empty, that Uraraka finally spoke what seemed to be on her mind all the while.

“I listened to the radio last night and I know it’s you!” she exclaimed, her eyes clenched shut and her fists balled as she announced this.

Midoriya wasn’t sure what to say. He clenched the strap of his backpack, biting the bottom of his lip as he looked down at his shoes.

“You… You have an incredible voice.”

He slowly met her gaze, “You really think so?” he barely whispered.

Uraraka smiled in a sympathetic kind of way. She walked back over to him, linked her arm threw his and began to march him up the hill. “I’m your friend, Midori! And I’d never lie to you. Now come on, I’m dying to know! How did this happen?!”

“W-Well, um,” he stuttered, still more than bewildered about her response. “I-I – well, I found my Q-Quirk.”

“Oh yeah!” she exclaimed, taking her arm away from his so she could clap her hands in realisation. “Oh, my goshness – you’re not Quirkless!”

Midoriya rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “N-No…”

“And it’s to do with singing? What?!” she squealed, bouncing up and down. “That’s sounds so cool!”

“U-Um, well – it’s a little tricky to get my head a-around,” he stammered.

“Everyone’s Quirks have their difficulties!” insisted Uraraka. “I mean, I have to sleep with mittens so I don’t float anything – Iida has to drink gallons of orange juice to get his engines working properly – there’s a guy in my class called Kaminari, he has an electric Quirk which short circuits his brain if he uses too much voltage at once! Then there’s – wait!”

Midoriya blinked at her, “W-What?”

“You’re going to compete in the Sports Festival, aren’t you?!”

“O-Oh, um, I suppose…”

“In which case don’t tell me anything!” she exclaimed, “Just in case we end up facing each other!”

Oh, Midoriya hadn’t thought about that – what if he has to battle Shinso?

“O-Ok then…”

“Who else knows that you’re Canary?” Uraraka whispered to him as more UA students crowded the road on their way to school.

“U-Um, from school?”

She nodded.

“J-Just you and Shinso… Oh, and, you know J-Jiro?”

Jiro? She knows too?”

“She overheard me and Shinso talking…”

“Ah, I guess that makes sense – oh, speaking of which!”

They’d reached the crossroads now, where Shinso stood waiting; this time, he wasn’t alone.

“Hi, Jiro!” Uraraka called out as she rushed over to her friend.

[Floaty heard my voice on the radio] Midoriya explained to Shinso.

[So, she knows?] he confirmed.

Midoriya nodded.

“Well, that makes four of us,” Shinso sighed.

Uraraka gasped, “What about Iida?!”

“What about him?” frowned Jiro, crossing her arms.

“He’s heard Midoriya speak too. If he hears him on the radio, then he’ll connect the dots,” Shinso explained in a hushed voice.

“Ah, that would make five then,” Jiro realised. “You’re not great at keeping secrets, are you, Midoriya?”

Midoriya would beg to differ. He didn’t often open his mouth enough to let the secrets out.

“Don’t worry, I’ll tell Iida before he accidently lets the cat out of the bag!” Uraraka offered, “If that’s ok with you, of course.”

Midoriya just nodded again. There wasn’t really any other way around it.

“Operation Canary Protection Squad is go!” proclaimed Uraraka, in a much quieter voice than usual, whilst punching the air excitably.

…Canary Protection Squad?

“Seriously though,” said Jiro as they started walking again, “you’re not even in the hero course yet, but you’re further down the line than any of us are.”

“W-What? No, I-I’m not – you’ve all fought real villains!”

Jiro blinked at him in surprise. Perhaps she hadn’t expected him to speak – Midoriya certainly hadn’t.

“People know who you are,” Jiro acknowledged. “The Sports Festival this year will be packed for sure – but not just because of the first-year class who survived a villain attack – they’ll be looking for you.”

Midoriya bit his lip. She was right, of course – but that didn’t make it any less unnerving.

“Yeah! You’re getting super popular!” added Uraraka. “Mina was the one who showed Canary to our class, and she said she heard about it from one of her dance lessons and who knows where they heard it from.”

“Then there was that situation yesterday,” Jiro continued. “With your key card? It just makes everyone all the more curious.”

“Don’t freak out about it, Midoriya,” Shinso interjected.

Midoriya must have looked freaked for him to feel the need to intervene. He smiled at Shinso, thankful that he could see this.

“Besides, if we meet in the tournament round of the Sports Festival, you’ll lose anyway,” he smirked.

Uraraka frowned, opening her mouth to protest when Midoriya just nudged him playfully instead, grinning widely.

“We’d both have to fight Quirkless,” Midoriya replied in less than a whisper. “But you’d be surprised how useful dance class can be.”

“Wait, dance?!” exclaimed Uraraka.

Midoriya yelped in surprise, which caught a few odd stares as they walked into UA.

Uraraka grasped him by the shoulders and gingerly shook him back and forth, “Why must you hide these awesome skills from us?!” she cried.

“Hm, see? He’s not bad at keeping secrets at all – he just hides the unnecessary ones and spills the important ones,” Shinso realised.

Midoriya gave him a look.

“What? It’s true.”

“Speaking of secrets,” said Jiro, “Did you leave the thing at home this time?”

She must be talking about the key card,” Midoriya realised. So, he smiled and nodded as they reached the door to class 1-C. The girls’ class was a little way down the hall.

“Good,” Jiro nodded in satisfaction.

“We should go – Iida will have it out for us if we’re late!” Uraraka realised, and with a wave goodbye, both hero students were gone.

Shinso sighed, [Well, that was a chore]

[What?] Midoriya frowned as they walked into the classroom, [They’re nice!]

[Too nice. Makes you think they have an ulterior motive]

[Don’t make me paranoid too!]

“I’m not paranoid,” Shinso frowned as he sat down.

Their classmates narrowed their eyes at the two of them. It must have been strange, only understanding odd snippets of their conversations.

Shinso barely seemed to notice this as he continued speaking, “What I’m saying is they’re making you feel unnecessarily uncomfortable.”

[They’re just pointing out the obvious] Midoriya pouted, [And yeah, it does make me scared for the Sports Festival, but I already was, so…] he trailed off, unsure of what else to say, hands hovering vaguely in mid-air.

“What’s this about?” questioned Ohchi in a strangely exasperated tone of voice.

“None of your business,” Shinso shot back without a second thought.

Midoriya simply smiled apologetically at her.

“One day,” she continued, “I’ll know enough sign language for your conversations to not be so secret.”

“That’ll be a shame,” Shinso retorted.

Midoriya wasn’t quite sure what to do to deescalate the situation, so he just waved his arms about in hopes that they would get the message that he wasn’t encouraging this.

“Speaking of secrets…” said Koneko, her cat tail twitching in excitement as she leant on Ohchi’s desk. “You guys hear about the incident with Canary’s key card yesterday afternoon?”

Their eyes drifted back over to Shinso, who just glared back at them. Midoriya could do nothing but watch helplessly.

“I heard he dropped it somewhere and a girl from class 1-B found it – then Shinso tried to convince her to take it to Principal Nedzu, before it disappeared into thin air,” recited Kana, pushing her glasses back up her nose.

“Well, I heard he was on the radio again last night, so he must have gotten the key card back somehow,” snapped Shinso.

“Oh!” exclaimed Koneko, “I wonder who he is?! The whole mystery is super intriguing.”

“Well, he’s not in our class,” reckoned Matsumoto, who had his feet up on the desk behind Shinso. “None of us have a singing Quirk, right?”

“Well, the only Quirk we don’t know a thing about yet is Shinso’s,” realised Koneko, leaning further over Ohchi’s table, much to her distaste, to get closer to him.

“You really want to know about my Quirk?” Shinso snapped.

“Oh, do tell us all about –” Koneko stopped talking immediately, her eyes glassing over and a vacant expression spreading across her face.

“Go back to your seat and stop bothering me,” Shinso ordered, and the cat-like girl did exactly that.

Everyone stared at him.

“What the hell did you –” started Tachibana, but Present Mic slammed open the door before he could finish.

HHHHEEEEEEEELLLLLOOO, my little listeners!” he cried, “How are we all today?!”

He made absolutely no sign of acknowledging the anxious atmosphere.

“Let’s take the register, shall we?”

Everyone nervously made their way to their seats, eyeing Shinso suspiciously as they went. When Present Mic finally reached Koneko’s name, Shinso decided to be dramatic – and he clicked his fingers as he broke his hold on her.

She blinked glancing around in bewilderment.

“I said – CAN WE GET A YEAH FROM ENA KONEKO?!?!” Present Mic repeated, pointing at her theatrically.

“Um, yeah?” she frowned, looking back over at Shinso and Ohchi, wondering how she got all the way back over to her desk without realising it.

The room was awfully tense as their teacher continued the rollcall.

“Give us a wave, Midoriya!”

He waved glumly.

“And a GOOD MORNING from Hitoshi Shinso?!”

“Morning,” he grumbled.

“AND LET’S FINISH OFF WITH A YEAH FROM MAKI MATSUMOTO?!?!”

“Yeah.”

“EXCELLENT! All present and correct!” he grinned widely. “Now just a little heads up for you all – the Sports Festival is just around the corner, barely a week’s remaining! You might find some of the hero students around school training – so try not to get in their way. But you’re all more than welcome to train too! The Sports Festival is a chance to show your stuff! An opportunity to be transferred to the hero course, even if you didn’t pass the entrance exam – or take it at all!”

Midoriya couldn’t wait for this all to be over – to finally be in the hero course with Shinso and to not have this silly secret identity… Of course, the hero course thing was still wishful thinking – but he couldn’t help but dream.

He wondered if Shinso daydreamed about that too. He must have felt awfully uncomfortable, with everyone staring at him and exchanging whispers and pointed looks all morning.

That was why Midoriya wasn’t at all caught off guard when Shinso grabbed a hold of his wrist and pulled him forcefully from the classroom as soon as lunch break began, leaving their bags behind.

They didn’t talk, sign or otherwise, as they waited in line for food – only a brief conversation occurred when Shinso asked what Midoriya would be having so he could order for him. When Shinso sat down, he immediately began to wolf down his food, as if he wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.

Midoriya tapped his chopsticks on the side of his bowl. That ringing noise reached Shinso’s ears, so he sighed and looked up to read Midoriya’s hands.

[They’d be less hostile towards you if you tried to explain] Midoriya tried.

Shinso put down his chopsticks, [They wouldn’t. They never do]

[UA is different. You showed me that]

Shinso stared at him for a moment, struggling to think of a reply. [We talked about this before. They see me as a villain and that’s that]

[Well, what could you possibly do with your Quirk to make you a villain?] Midoriya questioned. Of course, he knew the answer, but he was trying to prove a point.

Shinso blinked at him dumbfoundedly, “Seriously?”

[Just give me an example]

He sighed, [I don’t know – brainwashing someone into robbing a bank. That’s often what people jump to for some reason]

[Well, what about my Quirk?] Midoriya still felt weird, addressing a Quirk as his own.

“What about it?” Shinso frowned.

[I can… think of plenty villainous things I could do with it…]

“Oh yeah?” he smirked, “Like what?”

[The right song could kill everyone in this room]

Shinso’s smile faded, [I hadn’t thought of that]

[Does that make me a villain?]

“No, of course not – because you’d never do something like that.”

[Exactly] Midoriya retorted, pausing to eat the first mouthful of his lunch.

“Exactly… what?” Shinso repeated.

Midoriya put down his chopsticks again. [As in, I could use my Quirk to be a villain, like you could – but I won’t – like you won’t]

A ghost of a smile appeared on his friend’s face, “I guess. But others just don’t see it that way.”

[Then show them] Midoriya told him with a look of determination, [Show them you’re not a villain – I’m not the only one the Sports Festival gives an advantage to]

Now Shinso really was smiling, “I look forward to it.”

Nodding in satisfaction, Midoriya finally turned to his slightly cooler lunch.

Shinso, who was a lot further ahead of Midoriya when it came to eating, ended up waiting for him to finish. That was when a group of people that Midoriya recognised to be from class 1-D sat down beside them. Curse the lunch hall and its lack of table space.

They didn’t bother the two of them on the whole. It was just awfully difficult to not eavesdrop on their conversations when Midoriya and Shinso couldn’t have one themselves. Especially when the topic swerved around to something that made Shinso supress a wicked grin and Midoriya wish he could sign and eat at the same time so he could have finished a little earlier.

“Oh my God – speaking of the Sports Festival, did anyone listen to Canary’s Hour last night?”

Midoriya and Shinso briefly exchanged glances.

“The real question is, who didn’t?”

“No, the real question is – how the hell is this related to the Sports Festival?”

“Because Canary’s competing in it? Duh.”

“His singing though!”

Shinso flicked a piece of his remaining rice at Midoriya, who just glared at him in response. Shinso’s grin was getting harder for him to hide.

“I wonder what class he’s in?”

“Well, he’s definitely not in ours – we’ve already had that conversation, remember. Hey, you guys are from class 1-C, right?”

Shinso turned to him to reply, “Yeah?”

“Well? Do you think Canary’s one of your lot?”

“He could be a second year,” was Shinso’s answer, trying and failing to dodge the question.

“He’s probably not though,” pointed out the girl who had brought the topic up in the first place. “Why would you try and transfer to the hero course as a second year? UA probably wouldn’t let them.”

“Well, if he is one of ours, he hasn’t said anything,” Shinso said, now expertly avoiding the truth.

“What do you think about it all?”

And now they’ve turned to Midoriya.

“Midoriya’s mute,” Midoriya’s saviour (alternately known as Shinso) snapped.

Oh, sorry.”

And that was the end of that conversation.

Shinso actually started laughing as they walked back to the classroom. “Your face,” was all he managed.

[Oh, shut up] Midoriya signed as aggressively as possible, but Shinso’s smile was weirdly infectious.

[You’re lucky the Sports Festival’s not that far away – or else there’s no way you’d keep your secret for long enough] Shinso laughed as he signed.

Midoriya just crossed his arms as he plunged himself down in his seat, amongst his various open notebooks (fortunately, nothing Canary related).

Shinso just laughed again, “You think pouting’s going to help?”

Midoriya narrowed his eyes.

[You look like an angry little bird]

Offended, Midoriya reached behind him to try to playfully punch Shinso’s shoulder, which again caught more than a few stares from their other classmates. But they didn’t really care anymore.

At least they had each other.

 


 

“I hear-by initiate the very first meeting of the entire Cana– I mean Midoriya – protection squad!” Uraraka exclaimed as Midoriya and Shinso reached the small group of hero students, consisting of Iida, Uraraka and Jiro.

“You have no idea how hard it was to tell Iida your secret without him accidently telling everyone else in the process,” Jiro sighed.

“In my defence, your method of doing so was rather baffling!” Iida protested, doing his little karate chops in the air as they began to walk.

“We only tried to get you in a quiet place where nobody would overhear!” Uraraka retorted.

“It’s not my fault I can hear whenever someone’s coming our way,” added Jiro.

“Well, I don’t think our day was quite as eventful,” admitted Shinso, although Midoriya silently disagreed. He lowered his voice a little more, “Although, it’s funny when people talk about Canary with the real Canary.”

Uraraka laughed loudly, “Oh my gosh – that must be so weird!”

And the four of them continued to make fun of Midoriya the entire way to the train station. Apparently, he really did look like an angry little bird. Shinso didn’t translate when Midoriya signed that angry little birds go for the eyes.

Although, all the talk about Canary did eventually force Midoriya to put his headphones in on the way home in order to block it out. The UA uniform did catch some looks and Midoriya really didn’t want to have to go through the struggle of explaining his muteness again. He’d prepared some notes on his phone ever since the incident with Mina, but he’d still rather avoid the situation.

However, the problem with music and Midoriya, was that ever since he discovered his Quirk, once he started listening, he found it incredibly hard to stop. He just loved to listen to songs and theorise what abilities they could possibly produce. That was what led him to go for a wander after his train arrived. He felt awkward, just pacing around his house listening to music. It was far easier just to delay his journey home instead.

Midoriya was really getting into the swing of his musical tangent, when he was abruptly stopped by an unfamiliar woman crashing right into him, knocking off his headphones.

“I’m so sorry!” she cried, scrambling to her feet and picking up the little drawstring bag she’d dropped in the process. “Sorry, are you ok?”

Midoriya nodded and got up by himself.

“Yeah, good?” she confirmed, and he just nodded again. “Good – GREENIE COME BACK!”

And she charged off again.

Midoriya blinked at her, ‘Well, that was odd,’ he thought, turning off his headphones and hanging them around his neck.

The woman was now standing underneath a tree by the side of the road, her hands cupped to hold the open drawstring bag as she called for whoever Greenie was, up the tree.

Midoriya’s curiosity got the better of him, and he jogged over to her side.

She smiled meekly at him, “My bird’s escaped,” she admitted. “It’s not the first time either – I run that pet shop over there.” She tilted her head in the direction of the little shop, its door swinging open in the wind, showing a little trail of bird seed that led from the shop to the woman’s feet. That was when Midoriya realised it had come from the little bag, and she’d been using it in hopes of tempting the bird back to her. “Don’t worry – she’ll come back. She always does – she just likes to be difficult.”

Midoriya hesitated before pulling his phone out of his pocket and tapping on the notes app.

Can I help? he wrote.

“Catch Greenie?” she frowned, before sighing and looking up at the tree – the bird had started singing loudly, obviously rather proud of its escape.

At a second thought, he showed her one of his previously prepared notes:

Hello! My name is Izuku Midoriya and I am selectively mute. Sorry if this causes an inconvenience.

The woman smiled, “Hi, Midoriya – and no, don’t worry. But, uh – can you whistle?”

Midoriya cocked his head to one side to show his confusion.

“It’s Greenie – she’s the oddest canary I’ve ever had. But she responds well to whistling. Only, I can’t whistle! I’ll have to wait until my partner gets back…”

Midoriya looked back up at the tree. He couldn’t see the bird – and he hadn’t really tried whistling for a long time, but it wasn’t talking…

He waited for a moment as he listened to the distant bird song, and then repeated it the best he could.

The woman stared at him, stunned. Granted, it was quite an impressive thing to whistle.

Midoriya had to repeat the tune a few times before the tiny shape of the bird appeared on the lower most branches of the tree.

“Here,” insisted the pet shop owner, thrusting the bag of bird seed in Midoriya’s hands.

Whistling the tune one last time, Midoriya held out the seed in the same way the woman had, and Greenie finally flew down to perch on top of the bag.

The owner sighed in relief, “Oh, thank you so much – that would have been a nightmare otherwise. Come with me – don’t worry, she’s got bird seed now, she’s not going anywhere.”

And so, Midoriya followed the woman back across the street to her pet shop, with the bird sitting smugly amongst all the food.

She slammed the door shut as soon as Midoriya stepped inside, but it didn’t frighten the bird one bit. She just sat there, noticeably used to the scenario, but content with her bribe for returning.

“Thank you so much for your help,” said the woman. “Greenie has a little cage of her own over there,” she pointed at a little green cage near the window, its door left hanging open. There was a rather heavy padlock on it.

Midoriya frowned. There were quite a few different animals in the little store – but all the other birds were separated into only two cages. Why was Greenie all alone?

“Want to know the story behind that one?” the woman smiled, expertly reading Midoriya’s bewilderment.

He nodded eagerly.

“Well, remember how I said she’s the oddest canary I’ve ever had? Well, I wasn’t exaggerating. You see, female canaries can’t sing.”

Greenie chirped at her in response.

She sighed, rubbing her temples in the stress of it all, “So I thought she was a boy – so I put her with the boys, and, well, she’s definitely not a boy.”

Midoriya glanced at the birds. Most of them were bright yellow – except the occasional one, which were more of a lime green colour, not quite like Greenie’s feathers, but close enough for the assumption to be made.

“Then I put her in with the girls and God – she’s so loud. Won’t shut up – frightens the others half to death and pecks all their plumage out! So, the only logical solution was to separate her until someone’s brave enough to buy her. But of course, no one does. They either want girl canaries because they don’t sing – or boys because they do. And sometimes people want more than one so they’re not lonely – I always say that canaries don’t mind not having companions, but they never listen. And you can’t put Greenie in with another boy, obviously, and she just attacks the girls!” she complained.

Midoriya looked down at Greenie. She looked like the happiest bird on Earth. Her entire body was concealed by the seed bag, which was definitely was fuller to being with – and only her head was sticking out, staring at Midoriya complacently.

“But the little bastard doesn’t like the cage. Keeps somehow unlocking it by herself – hence the padlock. Would you believe it, she played dead so I would open the cage to check on her and she just took off! Well, I won’t be falling for that trick again, you hear me, Greenie?!” she hurried over to the lone cage to open it, and Midoriya hesitantly placed her inside. She didn’t move from the bag.

Midoriya stepped back as the shop owner struggled to get Greenie out of the sack of bird seed. He glanced around the shop for a while, before his eyes lingered on the sign next to the other birds.

Canaries: Male or Female. Price varies. JP¥3000 +

Wait a second.

Canaries.

A smile stretched across Midoriya’s face as he pulled his phone from his pocket once more.

 

Mum

Izuku: Hi, Mum – so you know you were asking me what I wanted to do with the money from the radio station…?

 

He was pleased to see she answered almost immediately.

 

Mum: Did you find some merchandise you’d like? Because you can have whatever you want! It’s your money. You don’t need my permission :)

Izuku: Well, it’s not exactly merchandise…

Mum: You can get anything you want, sweetie :)

Izuku: Then what’s the rules with pets in our apartment?

Mum: You want a pet?

Izuku: It won’t be much trouble, I promise! And I’ll buy anything she needs and look after her and stuff!

Mum: I don’t know Izuku, we can’t have dogs or cats or anything large

Izuku: Even canaries?

 

There was a moment of silence between them, whilst the dotted lines indicating that she was typing appeared and disappeared. All the while, the shop owner shouted mercilessly at Greenie, who had escaped the cage again and was now doing laps around the shop, screaming at the top of her tiny lungs.

 

Mum: There are no rules against birds

Izuku: Does that mean I can get her?!

Mum: As long as you promise to look after her all by yourself. Cleaning out her… litter tray? And feeding her and remembering to buy toys and food.

Izuku: YES – THANK YOU SO MUCH

Mum: See you in a bit with your new friend then :)

 

Greenie had now landed on Midoriya’s head, nestling herself in happily amongst his curls.

The shop owner panted heavily, resting her hands on her knees, “She… She seems to… Really like you,” she managed.

Midoriya grinned widely and held up his phone to her.

How much is she?

“H-How much?” she stuttered, her eyes darting between the message, Midoriya, and the little bird on top of his head. “You want to buy her?!”

He laughed and nodded.

She faltered, unsure of what to say, before holding her hand up like she was telling him to wait and dashing over to the phone behind the counter.

“Yeah hi! No, nothing’s wrong – no – well, yes – yeah, but it’s ok! No, I’m not kidding – No, I still can’t whistle – it’s not that weird! – Yes, someone helped – Yes – No, no it’s fine – Yes, but, if I said someone wanted to buy her, how much would she be? – That’s why I’m asking your opinion! – Yeah, same guy who helped – no, I wasn’t being hypothetical – no – yes, I know I’m the owner but still – that was my thought – ok, fine – you know what, you’re being useless – yes, yes – don’t worry, I’ve got it sorted now – yeah, no thanks to you – ok – ok, bye.”

She put the phone down and sighed exasperatingly, “What does the minimum say on the canary sign again?” she questioned Midoriya, before remembering that he couldn’t speak, and hurried over there to check herself. “Three thousand – no two thousand five hundred yen – that’s the price for you.”

So, after a quick call to his mum, a payment made and the necessary food, equipment and toys collected, Midoriya was sitting before the desk, about to sign the very small amount of paperwork required – compared to what Aozora put him through, it was nothing.

“You can change her name if you want,” the shop keeper pointed out, tapping the empty box where the name of the bird was supposed to be written. “You know? Since your name means green anyway. I only use Greenie because apparently I couldn’t call her Satan.”

Midoriya laughed as the bird, who still hadn’t let his hair, tweeted at her in protest.

“I’m kidding,” she grinned. “Anyway, do you have a name in mind?”

Midoriya frowned, he hadn’t really thought of that. He let his mind wander.

There really had been lots of talk about Canary – but Midoriya felt much safer amongst all that when it was just online. As his popularity grew so dramatically over the relatively short time he’d been on the radio, as did the theories – the questions – the speculations. One of the things that Midoriya found the most interesting, where the suggestions for what his Quirk might be. There had been all kinds of possibilities. One of the most popular was a play on lullabies, where his singing lulled people to sleep (which wasn’t impossible) – or another fan favourite, an imaginary Quirk dubbed Siren Song.

Now, Midoriya knew all about the mythical being of Sirens – it had followed the same (at the time) useless tangent of research that had led him to stories about canaries in mine shafts. Sirens were Mermaids, whose singing hypnotised sailors into swimming out to the origin of the beautiful sound, only for them to be dragged to the deepest depths of the ocean, never to be seen again.

The Quirk Siren Song was supposed to be to do with hypnotism – something which Midoriya had eagerly sent to Shinso. Although, he’d yet to find a song that could give him such a power – he was sure there were plenty out there. For now, Midoriya was focusing on improving his abilities in certain songs, so they were as powerful as possible for the upcoming Sports Festival. Expanding his arsenal of songs was just a hobby at this point.

Midoriya smiled as he picked up the pen and filled in the bird’s new name.

“Siren?” the shop keeper read aloud. “Close enough to Satan for me – anyway, there we go! She’s all yours – or, you all hers. Either way.”

After it had all been finalised, the kind shop keeper (whose name he never did catch) helped him load Siren’s various supplies into her new cage (not the tattered old green one with the massive padlock attached) and grinning from ear to ear, Midoriya skipped out of the pet shop, with the bird still happily perched on top of his head.

Once he had returned to his path home, as the sun began to set, Midoriya looked up at the top of his head the best he could in hopes he could see Siren’s little face. “So, you won’t be needing dinner today then, I guess?”

The bird flew off his head and landed on his shoulder. She gave him a determined chirp.

“Oh, yes, I can talk,” he said. He was talking to a bird. Oh well – there was no one around to hear him. “I just find it difficult, talking to Humans.”

She chirped again, digging her tiny talons – which was definitely the appropriate word – into his blazer to ensure her grip.

“My name’s Izuku Midoriya,” he continued. “And your name is Siren now – I hope you like it.”

There was a moment of silence before another satisfied tweet.

“I-I saw you didn’t like your cage at the pet shop. But don’t worry, I won’t lock this one if you don’t want – as long as you promise to keep your mess inside there and nowhere else.”

Chirp.

She obviously couldn’t understand him – but it was worth a shot.

“It’s funny. The shop keeper said that you weren’t supposed to be able to sing. But me? Well, I have to sing – it’s my Quirk, like a superpower. But I-I’m not very used to it. And I still get scared in front of people.”

Tweet, tweet.

“There’s a big sports festival coming up soon at my school. If I do well, I might be able to move to a better class – and I can train to become a hero. That way I can help as many people as possible – or anyone who needs help – you included,” he continued. It was kind of nice, letting his thoughts spill out of his head for once. “If I become a hero, my name will be Canary – that’s what people call me at the radio. I go there to help my confidence in speaking to people; maybe one day you could come too – that would be funny.”

He walked up the stairs to his flat, whilst making sure the little bird didn’t fall off. “Now, my home is up here. I live with my mum – she’s really nice. You’ll like her. But you have to be nice to her back, or else we might have some trouble letting you stay – oh and keep your voice down overnight. You don’t want to wake up the other people.”

Why was he talking to the bird again?

He unlocked the door and pushed it open, “Mum, I’m back!”

“I’m in the kitchen!” she called.

He closed the door behind him, kicked off his shoes and hurried over to meet her. “Mum, this is Siren – Siren, this is my mum!”

She smiled sweetly at him. Perhaps she thought it was silly, talking to the bird. But at least he was talking to someone.

“Oh, she’s very sweet – did she stay on your shoulder all the way back here?” she frowned. She was serving up dinner for the two of them – just how long had Midoriya’s detour been?

Midoriya nodded. “I don’t think she’s fond of cages – but she never goes far! She knows where food is.”

Chirp.

Inko jumped at the noise. She put her hand over her heart as she spoke, “Well, she’s your responsibility.”

Tweet!

“A-And perhaps you’re hers too,” she laughed. “Well, go put her things in your room and then we’ll have dinner – quick, before it all goes cold!”

And so Midoriya hurried over to his room, cleared a space by his computer, and rested Siren’s birdcage there. He hastily set up the little perches for her – and food and water, but as he expected, Siren wasn’t particularly hungry.

She did however – funnily enough – keep her mess inside her birdcage – hopping off Midoriya’s shoulder to do just that.

He blinked at her. The shop keeper was right – she sure was a weird canary.

Then again, so was he.

 

 

Chapter Text

Midoriya couldn’t remember when his free time was filled with something other than research. Research into what? – you might ask. Well, even Midoriya himself would struggle to give you a straight answer, for it involved anything and everything – wherever his mind wandered, he followed. Of course, it often wandered to Quirk analysis and hero trivia, but this time, it was a little different.

He had been scouring through the depths of the internet for information on UA general study students who transferred to the hero course after their first year Sports Festival. If he was aiming to do so himself, then he might as well gather as much intel on the process as humanly possible. However, the situation seemed to be as rare as Midoriya has initially suspected. Often, those who didn’t pass the hero course entrance exam, never went on to do well enough in the Sports Festival to be offered a place. In fact, there was only one participant that Midoriya could get the slightest bit of information on who managed to achieve this feat – Shota Aizawa.

A little more digging – and the man’s name was scarce and hard to come by. But he had done so well in his Sports Festival… there’s no way UA would just ignore a talent like that… surely? But then again, in his subsequent years, Midoriya couldn’t find any mention at all of Aizawa. Perhaps he didn’t transfer at all in the end? In which case, what hope was there for Midoriya and Shinso?! That was when he looked up his Quirk –

It belonged to Eraser Head. Eraser Head! Class 1-A’s homeroom teacher! Of course – he’d heard the name Aizawa before somewhere. Midoriya almost couldn’t believe he hadn’t made the connection before!

So, it really was possible.

But then, all Midoriya’s digging paid off – not in the information about Mr Aizawa – but in none other than the support course students. They brought equipment and support items into the Sports Festival. Midoriya looked up the rules – and there it was.

Students from departments other than the hero course are permitted to utilise support items, regarding they developed them themselves, as those with hero course training are seen as having an advantage over competitors in other courses.

Midoriya could use support items.

He told Shinso all of this, but he wasn’t that interested, for some reason. He was a little more intrigued by –

“You did what?” Shinso gaped.

“I-I bought a canary,” Midoriya grinned.

Shinso stared at him, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“B-But she’s amazing! I-I really think she has a Quirk – maybe a minor intelligence one!”

He sighed deeply, “You are unbelievable.”

“I got her on Friday. I thought I-I already told you this?”

“No – No, you did not.”

“I-I’ve been leaving her at home during school. I hope she’s a-alright…”

“She’s a bird.”

“Siren is a very smart bird.”

Shinso paused, “You called her Siren?”

Midoriya nodded happily.

He looked rather lost for words over the whole ordeal, which confused Midoriya rather a lot. Shinso then seemed to decide that he was done here and picked up his tray to join the queue to clean it up. Midoriya got to his feet and hurried after him. He’d already emptied his tray, after deciding he’d do so whilst the queue had died down but had returned to sit with Shinso anyway.

[Hey, so – about the support items] Midoriya pressed, eager to keep talking about the subject.

“I don’t know,” Shinso sighed – again. “What support items could possibly help my Quirk?”

[I could think of lots! Like, what about –]

“Stuff we can actually make in a few days, Midoriya.”

He hesitated, and then shrugged. All his ideas were rather complicated anyway…

“What about you?” pressed Shinso, “I’m guessing you have ideas of your own.”

Midoriya nodded eagerly, [It would be simple, like a device to play music and maybe some speakers or headphones or something…]

“Well, that all sounds pretty useful,” Shinso agreed, “but how on Earth are you going to be able to make support items for yourself before the Sports Festival? Where are you going to get the equipment from or figure out how to design it all. We’re not –”

The girl in front of them in the queue suddenly whipped her head around, spinning on the spot and almost sending her tray and Shinso’s flying in the process.

“Ok, I’ve been listening to almost everything you just said,” she admitted with wide eyes. “But hearing only one side of the conversation is tricky enough! You want to make support items for the Sports Festival?!”

Midoriya and Shinso blinked at her, “Um, yeah? What’s it to you?” asked Shinso, narrowing his eyes.

She laughed loudly, walking backwards as the queue progressed. “The name’s Mei Hatsume! And I’m just the girl you need!”

 


 

As it turned out, Hatsume was a first-year support course student, in class 1-F. She was… incredibly enthusiastic. Shinso wasn’t too sure how he felt about her, but Midoriya was keen to take up her offer of helping him make the support items he needed during the few remaining lunchbreaks they had up until the Sports Festival began. But first, Midoriya was keen to hurry back to class 1-C to retrieve his backpack, full of all his Quirk notes.

Shinso hesitated outside their classroom. Glancing down the corridor, he could see a large crowd forming, not unlike when that girl from class 1-B found Midoriya’s, or, Canary’s key card to the radio building.

Leaving Midoriya to collect his things in class 1-C, Shinso wandered down towards the group in curiosity.

“…We’re the class that survived a real villain attack,” Shinso heard a voice say, from just beyond the open door to class 1-A. “They want to see us for their own eyes.”

Shinso’s eyes widened – it was that boy, Bakugo.

Bakugo stopped short of the group, glaring at a guy from class 1-D, standing near the front. “At least now you know what a future pro looks like,” he leered. “Now move it, Extras.”

Shinso gritted his teeth as he heard the distant voices of Iida and Uraraka berating him for calling people extras just because he didn’t know them.

But Shinso had already heard enough. He pushed through the ground, making his way to the front. “So, this is class 1-A?” he growled. He’d only met a few of them before, but other than Iida, Uraraka and possibly that frog girl he’d been briefly introduced to – and maybe Jiro wasn’t so bad – every one of those hero course students seemed… “I heard you were impressive,” Shinso continued, now facing Bakugo head on. “But you just seem like a bonified bastard.”

Bakugo snarled at him, his hands twitching with barely contained rage as Iida and Uraraka stared on from behind him, a little terrified by the confrontation.

“I wanted to be on the hero course,” Shinso admitted. He saw how Uraraka’s expression warped as he said that. “But like far too many others here, I was forced to choose a different track – such as life.”

He saw the crowd moving to his left, and Midoriya burst past Koneko, who was standing nearby, almost stepping on her tail as he appeared by Shinso’s side, looking frantic and rather scared.

Shinso glanced at Midoriya before turning back to Bakugo. “If any of us do well in the Sports Festival, the teachers can decide to transfer us to the hero course – but you’ve only got two spots available, so they might have to transfer people out to make room. Either way, me and my friend here are after those spots – so I wouldn’t be so keen to be such an egotistical maniac. Or you’ll regret it, come next week.”

Bakugo’s eyes turned to Midoriya. “I don’t see a reason to be worried.”

Midoriya flinched, before turning to Shinso, [Come on – we’re just aggravating them further we shouldn’t –]

“I’m not about to be beaten by UA’s charity case,” Bakugo added without a second thought.

Midoriya froze, his hands twitching in mid-movement. Was he… actually angry? The thought almost made Shinso smile. Angry little birds go for the eyes.

“You hear that, you mute, Quirkless bastard?” snarled the real bastard here. “Stay out of my way.”

Midoriya glared daggers at him. Shinso was actually impressed – he didn’t think Midoriya had it in him.

“HEY YOU!”

Bakugo’s gaze was torn from Midoriya to look at the newcomer towards the back of the crowd.

“I’M FROM CLASS 1-B NEXT DOOR TO YOU!” the hero students shouted.

Shinso rolled his eyes – hero course students.

Bakugo just ignored him, pushing harshly past Shinso and Midoriya to walk down towards the lunch hall.

“Dude, where are you going?!” exclaimed the red-head Shinso had briefly encountered beforehand. “You gotta say something! It’s your fault they’re all hating on us, Bakugo!”

“These people don’t matter,” he snarled, staring back at Midoriya again.

“Huh?”

“The only thing that’s important is that I beat them.”

“Oh yeah?” retorted Shinso.

Bakugo hesitated, looking back at him.

“What about Canary?” Shinso smirked, mimicking Midoriya’s death stare, “He’s not in the hero course either.”

“Then I’ll crush him,” and with that, Bakugo stormed off, alone.

 


 

Midoriya walked down the street towards the radio station that evening with Siren perched on his shoulder. He didn’t feel like being alone.

“I just hate it,” Midoriya sighed, kicking at the stones on the pavement. “I’ve had enough – I-I want to show him, show everyone, that I’m not useless – I’m not a charity case! I-I’m not… not Deku.”

Chirp!

“Yeah, thanks,” Midoriya muttered. “At least I have Hatsume helping me out now – and Shinso too, of course. But Hatsume’s got so many good ideas! We talked to Mr Power Loader, that’s the support course teacher, and he told us what we were allowed to do and how much we needed to make for our support items. It’s lucky there wasn’t anyone else there at lunchbreak. So, I could tell her what my Quirk was without any trouble, well, I mean, I signed and Shinso translated. She doesn’t listen to the radio anyway, so she didn’t realise that I’m Canary. She will though, eventually.”

Tweet, tweet!

“What?” Midoriya frowned, and then looked ahead. It was the main entrance to the radio station – it was completely swamped with reporters.

He sighed, “I’ve had enough of crowds today…”

At least Midoriya had gotten changed from his UA uniform before heading over to the station, or else they could have very easily connected the dots. Fortunately enough, Midoriya was able to turn around and hurry off in the other direction before he was noticed, and ran all the way to the backdoor without being seen.

“Hey, well if it isn’t Canary?!” one of the receptionists called out as Midoriya closed the door behind him. “Have you seen that crowd?”

Midoriya nodded, glancing towards the front door, it was rather daunting. They couldn’t see him of course; the glass was blacked out on their side. But, from inside the building, Midoriya could see everything – the entire mob of people, desperate for a glimpse of –

“They’re looking for you,” the other receptionist grinned.

“M-Me?” Midoriya stammered.

“Yes, you!” she exclaimed. “The Sports Festival is just around the corner, and everyone is getting super hyped up! It’s crazy.”

“What’s really crazy, is trying to get through that mob to get into work,” sighed the first receptionist. “My key card doesn’t work for the back door, otherwise, that’s definitely the way I’d be going.”

“Technically, you could still come in through the front door,” the other pointed out. “No one knows what you look like yet.”

“T-They might guess…” Midoriya acknowledged, pressing the call button for the elevator.

“Yeah, and anyway, all this secret identity stuff isn’t going to last long. When’s the Sports Festival?”

“Um, a week and a day now, right? Isn’t it on next Wednesday?”

“Something like that.”

The elevator arrived and Midoriya hopped in, eager to get out of view of the media. He knew they couldn’t see him, but that didn’t make him feel any better about the situation.

“Hey, wait – Canary, is that a –” the receptionist couldn’t finish her question because the elevator’s doors had already closed on her. She was pointing out Siren, of course, who had now hopped onto Midoriya’s head. But she blended in remarkably well, so he couldn’t blame her for not noticing the little bird at first.

Midoriya didn’t plan on taking Siren into the studio, of course – but he always felt bad leaving her at home without him. It was clear Siren really enjoyed human company. When Midoriya wasn’t around, his mum explained that Siren tended to spend time with her instead. But whenever the door opened at the end of the school day, Siren tweeted excitably, zoomed across the house, and more than once, had catapulted herself right into Midoriya’s face. Midoriya had been trying to get his mum to delete the video evidence for the last few days but had yet to succeed.

The elevator doors slid open once more, revealing the waiting room in front of the studio. Present Mic was likely still inside, because he was nowhere to be seen. However, the usual were present and correct, and by that, he meant Nakano and, of course, Aozora.

“Evening, Canary!” she exclaimed as Midoriya stepped out of the lift.

“H-Hello,” Midoriya smiled, wandering over to his nest, which was what Aozora had now dubbed his armchair, and flopping into it happily.

Siren had to take flight for a moment to ensure she wasn’t squashed against the armchair – and that was how Aozora noticed her.

“HOLD UP A SECOND!” she cried, leaping to her feet and spreading her paperwork all over the floor.

She stepped on it as she literally ran over to Midoriya and stared at – not him – but what had now reasserted its position on top of Midoriya’s head.

“Oh – my – God,” she said, rather slowly in absolute astonishment. “Is that what I think it is?”

Midoriya grinned, “This is Siren – a-and yes, she’s a canary.”

Aozora actually shrieked, “THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!”

Siren didn’t even flinch, and just chirped at her happily.

“W-Why?” stammered Midoriya.

Aozora grabbed his shoulders and shook him gently, “Canary has a canary – that is genius!”

“Actually, it wasn’t r-really intentional,” Midoriya admitted.

“Oh, that’s perfect,” Aozora sighed, “you’re too perfect. This is going to be gold.”

“W-Wait,” continued Midoriya, gingerly retrieving Siren from his curls and cradling her in his palms, “can’t you look after her whilst I’m in the studio?”

No,” Aozora insisted, that freakishly wide grin spreading across her face, “you’ll be taking her in with you.”

“What?!” Midoriya exclaimed.

“YES! This is going to be awesome!”

“But, um, is that really a good idea?”

“The best – oh, and just to warn you, there’s a guest in there today.”

“A-A guest?!”

“Oh, don’t worry – you already know them. I made sure it would be someone you’ve already met. They’re from UA – you know Midnight, right?”

“O-Oh, yeah, I do.”

“Anyway – you and Siren better get in there! It’s almost six thirty! Go, go!”

And the blue skinned woman grasped Midoriya’s shoulders once more and pushed him towards the door to the studio. Siren flew back up and nestled in his green hair as he pushed open the door and hurried inside, with Aozora closing it behind him, that wicked grin refusing to leave her face.

“Oh my gosh!”

Midoriya blinked – there was Midnight, sitting in the seat opposite Present Mic, next to Midoriya’s usual one.

“It’s little Midoriya?!” she continued, gaping at him. “You’re Canary?!”

“H-Hi,” he squeaked.

Both heroes were in their civilian clothes. Present Mic had his hair tied back in a knot and was sporting his more casual leather jacket, rather than his hero one, covered in spikes. Meanwhile, Midnight was wearing a rather loose fitting, purple jumper that hung quite far down her legs, covering up what was probably shorts underneath. They were both wearing glasses – Midoriya didn’t know how he hadn’t realised they both needed glasses before – they just integrated them so well into their hero costumes that he hadn’t noticed they had a specific function.

Midoriya awkwardly assumed his usual seat beside Midnight.

“Aw!” she squealed, not dissimilar to Aozora, “You’re just too cute for words!”

Midoriya blushed furiously.

“I’ve been wondering who you might be,” Midnight admitted. “Yamada just refused to spill the details – but of course, it’s you. I wouldn’t want it to be any other!”

If it was possible, Midoriya grew even redder.

“Don’t frighten him off!” Present Mic exclaimed.

Midnight ignored him. “Oh, but your singing – it’s just – yes!”

“Nemuri, seriously,” interjected Present Mic – adopting his I’m not kidding around anymore! voice.

Midnight laughed, “Are you excited for the Sports Festival then, Dearie?”

“I-I-I’m a little n-nervous, a-actually,” he confessed.

“Which means excitement!” Present Mic exclaimed.

“O-Oh, y-yeah.”

“Anyway – the song’s coming to an end – so, headphones on, people!” said Present Mic, and Midoriya eagerly did just that, careful not to get Siren trapped underneath.

That was how she was finally noticed, and Midoriya struggled to suppress his grin at the look on Present Mic’s face.

 

Present Mic’s Radio Show!

Tuesdays and Thursdays 18:30 – 19:30

Canary’s Hour

 

*Silence*

PRESENT MIC: Um… Canary?

CANARY: Yep?

PRESENT MIC: Is… that a real canary?

*Distant chirping can be heard*

CANARY: Yep.

*Present Mic sighs*

PRESENT MIC: Knowing you, there’s a good story behind this.

CANARY: O-Ok, so –

*Present Mic and Midnight laugh*

CANARY: W-What?

PRESENT MIC: Nothing, nothing!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Do continue – I’m intrigued.

CANARY: Oh… um, ok – so, I-I was walking home a-and I bump into this woman w-who’s trying to get a-a bird who’s escaped from her pet shop out of a tree – and she said s-she needed to whistle to get her down, but she couldn’t whistle. So, I did it – and got the bird back, and then she was complaining about h-how difficult this particular bird w-was. A-And then –

PRESENT MIC: You bought the bird.

CANARY: Y-Yeah!

*Furious tweeting*

CANARY: Oh, um – her name is Siren!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Siren? Oh, I do like that name.

PRESENT MIC: So, why Siren?!

CANARY: Oh! That’s because sirens are mythical creatures – like mermaids, who sing to sailors and –

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: – And make them fall hopelessly in love! So, the poor boys swim out to sea, only for them to be dragged into the depths by the sirens and eaten alive.

*A brief moment of silence follows, before Siren chirps contently*

PRESENT MIC: And you called your bird this?!

CANARY: It suits her!

PRESENT MIC: …The man-eating demon creature?

CANARY: Uh huh!

*Happy tweeting*

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Oh, I love her already – I love both of you aw! You all don’t know what you’re missing out on. Our canaries are adorable!

PRESENT MIC: And you’ve broken him!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Oh, but it’s true!

PRESENT MIC: ANYWAY! WELCOME TO CANARY’S HOUR! And our guest, the wonderful MIDNIGHT! Will be staying with us until the end of the show! Can I get a YYYEEEAAAHHH?!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Yeah!

CANARY: Yay.

PRESENT MIC: WHAT IS WITH THE YAY?!

*Siren tweets*

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Siren’s joining in! Oh, I love her so much!

PRESENT MIC: AS PER TRADITION – BEFORE I FORGET – CANARY, TELL US A FACT!

CANARY: Oh! I need to start preparing these before I come here… um, um – the… smallest bird in the world is t-the bee hummingbird, and it’s five centimetres – or two inches – long.

PRESENT MIC: WHAT?!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: My nails are longer than that.

CANARY: Y-You have very l-long nails.

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Why thank you! I just got them done.

PRESENT MIC: Why don’t we STAY ON TOPIC?!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Canary, why don’t I just put him to sleep and we can do this ourselves.

*Canary laughs and Siren chirps at Midnight*

CANARY: I d-don’t think he’d be v-very happy about that.

PRESENT MIC: No, I would not!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: We can stay on topic then – a bee hummingbird, did you say? Well, I don’t think Present Mic would like a bee hummingbird?

PRESENT MIC: I wouldn’t?

CANARY: Why not?

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Check his hero fact page.

CANARY: W-Why?

PRESENT MIC: What are you plotting – oh, Canary’s got his phone out. They’re whispering something to each other. Listeners! If this is the last you hear from me – blame Midnight.

*Canary gasps and Midnight giggles*

PRESENT MIC: Oh no.

CANARY: You have entomophobia?!

PRESENT MIC: …What?

CANARY: You’re scared of bugs!

PRESENT MIC: MOVING SWIFTLY FORWARDS!

*Midnight laughs evilly and Siren joins in*

PRESENT MIC: WE HAVE THE CANARY QUESTIONNAIRE TO COMPLETE!

CANARY: O-Oh yeah…

PRESENT MIC: WHY DON’T WE START WITH CALLING SOMEONE UP?!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Once, when we were at UA together, there was a bug in Present Mic’s gym uniform and –

PRESENT MIC: THE NUMBER TO CALL IS FIVE-FIVE-FIVE-O-ONE-HUNDRED! CALL TO SAVE A LIFE – I.E. MINE!

*The dial tone for the phone rings out over the radio, drowning out Midnight’s voice. Siren joins in and repeats the ringtone*

LISTENER: …Err, hello?

PRESENT MIC: WELCOME! YOU’VE MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO CANARY’S HOUR ON PUT YOUR HANDS UP RADIO!

CANARY: Anyway, Midnight – you were saying?

PRESENT MIC: NO!

LISTENER: Oh my God – Hi! Wow, I’m actually talking to you guys! This is so cool!

CANARY: N-Nice to meet you! What’s your name?

LISTENER: Hi, Canary! I’m Kagura – I’m like, a huge fan – I’ve booked tickets to the Sports Festival, so you better be a first year, because that’s the event I’m seeing!

CANARY: I-I guess you’ll just have to wait a-and see.

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: He’s adorable, Kagura – you’re going to absolutely love him!

LISTENER {KAGURA}: So, he is a first year?

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Curious little one, aren’t you?

PRESENT MIC: Anyway, Kagura! What would you like to ask us?!

LISTENER {KAGURA}: Oh, right! Hi again, Canary!

CANARY: H-Hi.

LISTENER {KAGURA}: I really love your time on the radio; it makes me day so much better!

CANARY: Ah, t-thank you.

LISTENER {KAGURA}: So, my question – since your quirk is about singing, do you play an instrument, and, if so – what do you play?

CANARY: Oh, yeah, I do, actually! I um, play quite a few, um… piano, violin, guitar, drums – it’s just a fun p-pastime.

LISTENER {KAGURA}: Oh, wow! You really play a lot!

PRESENT MIC: And he’s really good!

CANARY: Oh, um, thank you…

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Oh! I really want to hear you play now!

PRESENT MIC: Do you have a song request, Kagura?!

LISTENER {KAGURA}: Sure thing!

 


 

“Aw, sorry for scaring you earlier, my little Canary,” fawned Midnight, pulling Midoriya into a very constricting hug.

“I-It’s ok,” he managed, desperate to pull away from her.

That was when the door to the studio slammed open, to reveal Aozora, still smiling like a shark.

“Canary!” she exclaimed, “I need to take a picture with you and Siren!”

“W-Why?” Midoriya stammered, rather confused.

“Because when the Sports Festival’s over, Put Your Hands Up Radio has to update their website with pictures of you – and your social media account will need to too – and Siren’s got to be there, because she’s my new favourite thing!” Aozora insisted, a camera already in hand as she pulled Midoriya away from Midnight and to his feet.

Siren chirped very happily at Aozora. At least she was enjoying all this company. Midoriya just felt rather petrified.

Aozora led him out of the room, leaving Midnight to continue to rave about how sweet he was to Present Mic. She positioned him in front of a clear, white wall and stood back to take a picture. Midoriya had never felt so awkward in front of her – and that was saying something.

“Aw, Canary,” Aozora sighed, “It’s a camera! Not a gun! Come on, Siren – help me get his act together,” she said jokingly, not expecting Siren to take action.

She leapt off his head and hovered before him, tweeting frantically.

Midoriya laughed at smiled at the bird – she really was strange.

“Perfect!” Aozora exclaimed.

“Wait, what?”

“Now, back into the studio! We’ll take another photo in a minute, once you have the thing!”

“W-What thing? What? I don’t –” But Midoriya couldn’t finish his sentence because Aozora had already hurried out of the room and shut the door in his face.

Midnight grinned, “I told you that girl would be a good hire.”

 


 

PRESENT MIC: And we’re back!

CANARY: Y-Yay…

PRESENT MIC: Now, before we get to that thing –

CANARY: What thing?! I’m so confused!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Just wait – it’ll be adorable – you’ll see!

CANARY: S-Should I be scared?

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: No!

PRESENT MIC: MOVING ON! We still have some questions to answer, Canary!

CANARY: O-Oh, right.

PRESENT MIC: Pick a question, any question!

CANARY: O-Ok. Um, this is from Thoughtfully-Beautiful-Witch – and they ask, do you have any hobbies that doesn’t have to do with heroics?

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Oh – they also asked if you were single?

CANARY: Ha, ha… um, I-I – yes.

*Midnight squeals*

CANARY: U-Um, y-yes – I do have h-hobbies. As we s-said earlier, I, um, play a lot of instruments and stuff.

PRESENT MIC: And he dances!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: You dance?!

PRESENT MIC: We’ve broken him again – Midnight – tap him and he might uncurl from his ball.

*Siren tweets aggressively*

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Aw, I love Siren – she’s all protective and adorable – look at those fluffed up little feathers!

PRESENT MIC: ONE MORE QUESTION BEFORE SIREN KILLS SOMEBODY!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Oh, let me choose one!

CANARY: Oh no.

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Don’t worry – I won’t choose a bad one… oh, this one’s good – it’s from… Several-Wombats-In-A-Trench-Coat?

*Canary snickers*

PRESENT MIC: Is there a joke here that’s going over our heads or is that just a funny concept?

CANARY: Oh, the collective noun for wombats is wisdom!

PRESENT MIC: No, it’s not.

CANARY: It is!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: I would just trust him on this one.

PRESENT MIC: That I am – ANYWAYS – what do they ask?

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Hey there, Canary – who’s your favourite teacher at UA?

*A brief moment of silence, promptly filled with a whistle from Siren*

CANARY: Um…

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: Me – it’s me –

PRESENT MIC: No, it’s definitely me.

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: I’ll give you extra marks on your next homework.

PRESENT MIC: You can’t bribe him!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: You’re only saying that because you can’t bribe him!

PRESENT MIC: Only because he’s fluent in English and there’s nothing I can do!

CANARY: Um… Present Mic?

PRESENT MIC: CORRECT ANSWER!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: NO! He doesn’t even teach you anything!

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH!

CANARY: B-But you’re close to the top!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: It’s ok, I forgive you – because I’m that good a teacher – I forgive my students when they give a wrong answer to give them the chance to try again.

CANARY: Err…

PRESENT MIC: I THINK THAT’S ENOUGH QUESTIONS FOR ONE DAY!

CANARY: Good idea…

PRESENT MIC: NOW WE CAN GIVE YOU THE THING!

*Midnight gasps and claps her hands excitably*

CANARY: I-I’m terrified.

*Something slams on the table*

CANARY: A b-box?

PRESENT MIC: A box TO BE OPENED!

CANARY: O-Ok…?

*The sound of Canary opening the cardboard box can be heard*

CANARY: Wait, is this –

*Midnight squeals in delight*

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH!

CANARY: Is this like yours?

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: AW! YOU MATCH!

PRESENT MIC: TRY IT ON AND DESCRIBE IT!

*The sound of Canary moving the box and standing out of his chair is heard*

CANARY: I-It’s a black leather jacket! L-Like Present Mic’s, but – wait, oh that’s so cool! It has canary wings on the back – green like Siren’s!

PRESENT MIC: And yours – but that’s super confusing for our listeners!

CANARY: W-Wings are part of my Q-Quirk

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: I’m very confused about your Quirk.

PRESENT MIC: Well, you’ll have to find out next week in the UA Sports Festival! So, we better see you all there!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: You know I’m going to be there.

CANARY: This is so cool! T-Thank you so much!

GUEST {MIDNIGHT}: I’m taking a picture; this is too cute!

PRESENT MIC: CUE THE MUSIC!

 


 

Aozora threw the door open again as soon as Present Mic clicked play on the next track.

“YES!” she cried for the second time that evening. “AS THE PROPHECY FORETOLD – matching leather jackets!” Aozora shot a look at Present Mic, “How dare you decide not to wear your hero costume today – now I can’t take a picture of the two of you!”

“I’ll wear it on Thursday, I promise!” Present Mic exclaimed, “PLEASE FORGIVE ME!” he added mockingly.

“Following the wise words of Midnight, that I shall,” Aozora said solemnly as she dragged Midoriya from the studio to take another picture.

Stumbling in front of the white wall again, Midoriya didn’t find it as hard to smile this time.

“Angle yourself so I can see the wings,” Aozora instructed.

So, he did just that, with Siren perched on his open palm – she was better at photo-shoots than Midoriya was, it seemed.

Aozora squealed again in the upmost delight as she got the picture she wanted.

She turned to Midoriya, “I just thought I’d warn you. The Sports Festival’s on a Wednesday, so, you’ll have Canary’s Hour the day after, and the day before – are you ok with that?”

Midoriya nodded happily.

“Are you sure? You might be really worn out after the Sports Festival’s finished,” she acknowledged.

“W-Well, we get the day off school after the festival,” Midoriya recalled, “So, I’ll have all morning to r-recover, if I need to.”

“Well then, two more shows until the day! I’ll be in the stands – cheering you on!”

“T-Thank you.”

“I’m sure you’ll do great,” she smiled, a little less terrifyingly, as she ushered him back into the studio.

“I-I really hope so…”

 


Chapter Text

 

Midoriya was sitting in the corner of the changing room just outside the Sports Festival arena, his head in his hands.

‘Oh my God – this is actually happening!’ his head screamed over and over again.

“Hey, Midoriya?”

He parted his fingers to catch a glimpse at Shinso’s face.

[It’ll be fine. Don’t worry] he signed.

[I’m going to mess up – I’ll look ridiculous – what if I –]

“Everyone, we’ve got to head into the arena now,” Ohchi sighed, unknowingly interrupting Midoriya’s and Shinso’s conversation.

Midoriya gulped.

“You might want to take off those headphones then, Midoriya,” she pointed out.

“Midoriya’s allowed to wear them during the competition,” Shinso snapped. “It’s to block out other sounds to make him less nervous,” he explained, repeating the semi-lie that Hatsume had suggested.

In reality, the headphones did far more than noise cancelling. Most of it was Hatsume’s idea, really, but Midoriya (much to Hatsume’s dismay) was the one who put the pieces together, so Mr Power Loader had counted the support item as Midoriya’s own.

The green headphones connected to a wire than ran under his shirt to a small device tied around his upper arm, out of sight for now. It was a simple MP3 player, with Canary’s Arsenal downloaded onto it. All he needed to do was choose a track and the music would play from speakers attached to the headphones. There was a little microphone too, currently concealed within the right side of the support item. It would turn on if he pulled it out, so his voice could be amplified across the stadium – the very thought terrified him.

“Fine whatever – let’s just get this out of the way,” their class president sighed, and the rest of the class began to file out of the room after her.

Shinso held out his hand to pull Midoriya to his feet. He gladly accepted. His legs were shaking so much that he very much doubted he would be able to get up alone.

“Midoriya,” Shinso repeated sternly.

He realised he had been hyperventilating – his vision blurry and his body trembling like there had been an earthquake.

His friend put his hands on his shoulders, gripping on the cloth of his UA sports uniform. The touch was all that was holding Midoriya together.

“Keep your headphones on,” he whispered. “And you’re in the radio station.”

Midoriya blinked at him, his breathing steadily slowing to a normal pace.

“Close your eyes – and you’re in the studio. You hear Present Mic, right? No one else – you’re in that booth with him, and I’m the only one who’s tuned in, got it?”

A wobbly smile spread across his face, and he nodded.

“Right, let’s – oh my God.”

Midoriya turned around, “Siren!”

Sure enough, there was the little green bird, perched on top of his bag; looking quite pleased with herself.

Stay here,” he ordered. Siren simply chirped at him.

“Um, shouldn’t we –” started Shinso.

“She’ll be fine,” Midoriya insisted.

Shinso grinned, “Then let’s go.”

“HEY!” Present Mic yelled, “MAKE SOME NOISE, ALL YOU RABID SPORTS FANS! GET THOSE CAMERAS PREPPED, MEDIA HOARDS! This year we’re bringing you some of the hottest performances in Sports Festival history, guaranteed! I’ve only got one question before we start this show! Are you READY?! Let me hear you scream as our students make their way to the big stage!”

Shinso and Midoriya stood at the back of their class, waiting by their entrance to the stadium impatiently.

“This first group are no strangers to the spotlight!” continued Present Mic, “You know them for withstanding a villain attack! The dazzling students lining up your TVs with solid gold skills – the hero course students of class 1-A!”

The crowd roared as Kacchan’s class made their way into the arena. Midoriya had been thinking hard about them… This was the class he and Shinso would join if they did well. But to do that… Midoriya might end up having to face his childhood tormentor once again.

“They haven’t been getting nearly as much screen time, but this next group is still chocked full of talent. Welcome, hero course class 1-B!”

That was the cue for the other hero course to make their way out into the open. Midoriya caught a glimpse of some of the students that had found his key card not that long ago. That’ll be another issue he’d have to confront…

“Next up, general studies classes C, D and E! Support classes F, G and H! And finally, business classes I, J and K!”

Midoriya almost stumbled as he followed Shinso out into the stadium. His eyes rested on the crowd and ‘oh God, that’s an awful lot of people!’

“But they’re not just here to make up the numbers! Amongst these students are potential stars desperate to catch your eye and make it onto the hero course! That includes a little someone who goes by the name of Canary! But who could he be?!”

‘Oh God, oh God, oh God!’

“Give it up for all of UA’s first year contestants!”

[This was a mistake!] Midoriya signed frantically to Shinso.

Shinso didn’t reply, only grinning at him.

[Don’t give me that look!] Midoriya protested. [I’m going to die!]

“Now you’re just being dramatic,” Shinso sighed.

“I don’t care what Present Mic says. I get the feeling we’re just here to make the hero students look better,” groaned Matsumoto.

“I can’t wait for this to be over with,” added Ohchi with her usual, grumpy flare.

Midoriya noticed how Shinso narrowed his eyes at the back of their heads. He hoped Present Mic wasn’t only referring to Canary when he spoke about others wishing to get into the hero course…

“Now the introductory speech!” It was Midnight, standing on the stage before the students in her… erotic hero costume. There was a lot of murmur about that, prompting her to demand the crowd’s silence, before announcing that Katsuki Bakugo would be performing the student pledge.

[This won’t end well…] Midoriya signed to Shinso, who nodded in agreement.

“He’s the first-year rep?” gaped Mina, who wasn’t standing far from them. Class 1-C had ended up pretty close to 1-A in the crowd of students.

“I guess that hothead did finish first in the entrance tests,” sighed another hero student.

“Ugh, only for the hero course exams,” Ohchi rudely interjected, pointing at Midoriya with her thumb.

Midoriya waved feebly at them.

“Hey, wait, you came first for the general studies exams?!” Mina gaped.

“That girl obviously hates us…” whispered the other student.

If Ohchi had heard him say that, she didn’t make any indication.

Midoriya was glad he had his headphones hanging around his neck rather than over his ears, or else he really wouldn’t be able to hear anything at all.

“Yeah, and we’ve got Bakugo to thank for them not liking our class,” groaned a third 1-A student.

His childhood friend waltzed up to the stage, his hands in his pockets. He leaned into the microphone, and said, “I just wanna say, I’m gonna win.”

Midoriya jumped as the crowd broke out into hisses and boos.

What did he say?”

“Class 1-A are so full of themselves!”

“Get of the stage!”

Midoriya just sighed. Trust Kacchan to say something like that…

He saw Iida leap forwards, berating him whilst chopping the air furiously, “Why would you be so disrespectful?! You’re representing us all!” he exclaimed.

Kacchan just turned and gave him a thumbs down, “Not my fault the rest of you are just steppingstones to my victory.”

“I can’t wait to crush this overconfident jerk!” yelled that kid from class 1-B, the one who had shouted at him before, when they were all crowding outside 1-A’s classroom. “I can’t wait to knock him down to size!”

Kacchan wandered down of the stage, looking as unbothered as before as the rest of the year continued to shriek at him angrily.

The two caught glances for a moment as he walked past, purposely knocking Midoriya’s shoulder as he went.

He seemed… different from before – the Kacchan that Midoriya once knew would have laughed – making it all a joke. Something had changed in him – perhaps he’d realised that he wasn’t necessarily the best, not until he proved himself here, at the Sports Festival. This was him pushing his limits – and making the rest of his class targets in the process. But, that was good for Midoriya and Shinso. The world would take little notice of them. They could stay quiet; slip through the ranks until they were right near the top. Yeah, that just might work…

“Without further ado, it’s time for us to get started!” announced Midnight, her amplified voice booming over the disgruntled crowd of students.

That was when they finally learned the nature of their fate – an obstacle course.

Midoriya pulled his headphones over his ears, deep in thought – a race around the outside of the arena? With Wings, he could win that easily – just fly over the obstacles, ahead of everyone else… but… then he’d draw attention to himself. They’d know he was Canary immediately, and the focus of the Sports Festival would shift from class 1-A to him. Would that really be a wise decision to make this early on in the competition? Or would it be safer to save Wings for a little later? True, he did have a second song ready in order to use flight twice, but it was far weaker.

“Now then, take your places, contestants!”

Midoriya’s legs were shaking as the crowd swept him towards the gate to the outside of the arena.

When he finally came to a standstill, his eyes widened in panic as he glanced around – he couldn’t see Shinso – where did he go?!

‘No, focus – focus. This is a competition; you’re against Shinso too. He’ll be ok – you’ll see him on the other side. Right now, focus on your own abilities,” he told himself, clutching his headphones and pressing them close to his ears in hopes to block out the roar of the crowd. ‘I can do this Quirkless – save my power for later. That way I won’t tire myself out before the tournament round – if I can get that far…’

“BEGIN!”

Oh shoot – the doorway.’

The student body rammed past Midoriya’s shoulders, desperate to push themselves through the gateway as fast as possible. It was just like when the press invaded campus and that alarm went off… No one could get anywhere at all. Midoriya hung back – panicked as his mind raced over what he could possibly do to pass this without his Quirk.

He heard Present Mic’s voice ring out across the stadium. There was someone else with him – was that Eraser Head?!

Focus, focus!’ he told himself, and Midoriya hurried forwards to the back of the mob of competitors, all pushing and shoving as they desperately fought through.

There was no way Midoriya would be able to get past on time; he shouldn’t have hesitated! They were all packed together so tightly; enough to almost walk across –

Oh, everyone’s going to hate me.’

Whilst the camera’s turned their focus to the students at the front, where one of which had just covered half the floor in ice, Midoriya took a few steps back, and then charged at the back of the group.

He silently thanked those, once unnecessary, flips and leaps he’d learnt during dance as he did a running jump. He twisted around, his hands grasping the shoulders of the closest competitor and flipping backwards over the heads of the students. Midoriya was light, but the force of him landing on someone’s shoulders was still more than enough to knock them to the ground if they weren’t prepared. People cried out in surprise as the small, green haired nobody from general studies ran over the crowd, pushing himself off the wall and landing on top of person after person, expertly keeping his balance as the others did not.

The crowd thinned as the road widened at the end of the doorway. Midoriya leapt towards the ground but immediately slipped on the ice, which he had completely forgot about in the heat of the moment, knocking his headphones off as the side of his face connected painfully with the floor.

“Watch where you step, Midoriya!”

He scrambled to his feet as he looked for the origin of the voice.

Shinso gave him a mock salute as he was carried like a king by several brainwashed strangers over the thick layer of ice. He turned towards the front, where a large group of hero students disappeared off into the distance, “So, they are good at using their Quirks,” he realised, before turning back to Midoriya, who was now skating uncertainly by his side. [You’re not using yours?] he signed with a frown.

[Too much attention] Midoriya barely managed. Maintaining his balance was now proving to be a little more of a challenge.

“Hm, interesting tactic,” he replied as numerous students shrieked in fright, sliding between them on the rapidly melting ice rink, “Well, I’ll see you at the end of this – no point in sticking together here.”

Midoriya nodded, readjusting his headphones once more and sliding away on the last of the ice. With firmer footing, Midoriya broke out at a run, dodging other competitors as he tried to get as far ahead as possible. If there had been anything Midoriya had learnt from being Quirkless, it was how to dodge, and how to run.

But he skidded to a halt as Present Mic’s voice rang out across the racetrack. The speaker was right next to him – enough for the sound to get through his headphones.

“–He’s never even fought those robots before! But they didn’t stand a chance against his jaw dropping moves!” Present Mic exclaimed.

Wait, robots?!

Midoriya gaped at the towering figures up ahead. One of the giant monstrosities had collapsed in a cloud of dust and ice.

“What a show! Shouto Todoroki from class 1-A has taken the lead!”

‘Todoroki, huh? He must be the one with the ice Quirk…’ Midoriya had more pressing matters than thinking about the hero course students – but he couldn’t stop his mind from going on a tangent as he saw Quirk after Quirk.

“–And it’s Kirishima from class 1-A! What a hardcore debut from this rooky!” Midoriya heard Present Mic continued as the red-headed boy pushed his way out from under the fallen robot, quickly followed by that class 1-B boy – whose name appeared to be Tetsutetsu, who appeared to have a similar Quirk.

Hardening and steel?’ Midoriya frowned as Present Mic announced the basics of their Quirks over the speakers. ‘They’d be tough opponents.’

Then there was the boy who grew scales on his arms – Midoriya wondered what he could do – and then –

Bakugo?!” yelled another hero student as Kacchan rocketed over the next robot with ease.

Midoriya shook his head, he couldn’t just keep standing around – he’d have to get through there somehow – best do it when the robots are distracted.

He let his headphones slide down to his shoulders to register the details Present Mic was reading out as he ran – someone with a tape Quirk – another with something called dark shadow

Other students began to follow his lead, running through the robot obstacle as quickly as they could to catch up with the leaders.

“…Class 1-A’s learned not to hesitate,” boomed an unfamiliar voice – one which Midoriya quickly realised belonged to Eraser Head.

His eyes connected with that of Jiro, who smirked at him as she easily disabled two small robots.

Midoriya had to sidestep to avoid the falling debris that Uraraka left in her wake – and the electric shock of another, blond classmate of hers.

Ah! All these Quirks are too distracting!’ he panicked internally as he took off at a run again, dodging and evading the best he could.

That was when another hero student stole the spotlight with a massive explosion – she’d somehow materialised an entire cannon. Midoriya gaped at her as the robot she’d faced crumpled to the ground, ‘Oh my God, that was so cool!’

With a path made through the obstacle, Midoriya summersaulted to avoid another robot and then charged past.

This round is obviously designed to give the hero students a chance to show their stuff and to get ahead in the competition – so most of the other classes should be eliminated. With around twenty students per class and… eleven classes – that’s a maximum of two hundred and twenty students in this race! They need… sixteen students for the tournament round, and a decent number for the round before… probably enough to involve all of the hero students plus the tops of the other departments so… forty, maybe fifty students will advance – so, maybe I should aim for the top forty at least – ah!’

Midoriya froze wobbling over the edge of a sheer drop and stumbling backwards.

“EVERYONE! Observe what my brilliant gadgets can do!”

Midoriya blinked and turned to see Hatsume, giggling manically before the gathering crowd, headed by Uraraka and Mina.

“Hey!” Mina exclaimed, “How come you got to bring all that stuff?!”

“Students in the hero course get all kinds of combat training for their Quirks,” Hatsume leered. “In order to keep things fair and give us a fighting chance, we’re allowed to bring whatever gadgets and costumes we want into the games so long as we develop them ourselves! Ain’t that right, Midoriya?!”

Mina and Uraraka turned to see Midoriya, who was now standing with crossed arms and narrowed eyes by one of the ropes, which was connected at the cliff edge to the next rock across the terrifyingly high obstacle.

“Midoriya?” Mina frowned, likely not at all expecting him to be there.

He sighed, twisted his headphones around his neck, using a mechanism that Hatsume had designed so it wouldn’t fall off, and carefully lowered himself down to the rope to start pulling himself over the drop.

“My super cute little babies are sure to make a splash!” he heard Hatsume proclaim as she whizzed past him with her bundles of gadgets, laughing hysterically as she went.

“Watch out, Midoriya!”

He looked back to see Shinso standing at the edge of his rope. If Midoriya wasn’t still trying to keep his voice a secret, he would have yelled, ‘How the heck did you catch up with me so quickly?!’ Instead, he kept his thoughts inside his head and simply pouted, pulling his ‘angry little bird face’, as Shinso followed his lead and grasped onto the rope himself.

“The hero students are widening the gap between us,” Shinso murmured to Midoriya as he helped him up off the first rope and the two of them made their way to the second.

[We only need to make it to the top forty] Midoriya signed whilst his hands were free.

“Really? What makes you think that?”

“I’m not one hundred percent sure,” Midoriya whispered in reply. “It’s only an assumption.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to use your Quirk yet? You could just use your wings and finish this race without any trouble.”

“I’m positive. We can get through this without it.”

Soon enough, the two of them were at the other side, panting as they both started running once more, the muscles in their arms aching from the effort.

“–THE REST OF THE COMPETITORS ARE CATCHING UP TOO!” Present Mic yelled over the racecourse.

Midoriya and Shinso froze once more as their eyes came to rest over the final obstacle.

“A mine field?” Shinso gaped, “Seriously? What is wrong with this school?!”

“And what’s this? Can our two leaders fight each other and stay in front of the competition?!” Present Mic continued as the two general studies students carefully began to hop over the buried mines.

“Go ahead,” Shinso insisted.

Midoriya almost fell on a mine in surprise.

“I’ll use my Quirk to get through this – I know you’re faster than me,” he grinned. “See you at the finish line.”

Midoriya nodded, and then charged ahead of his friend, using the same fancy footwork that he’d put into action at the very beginning of the obstacle course, in order to evade the various explosions and lumps of the hidden mines.

“Todoroki and Bakugo are neck and neck for the lead and knocking on the finish line!” Present Mic announced.

Midoriya vaguely wondered if the hero was looking for him over the mass of students reaching the end of the mine field.

He gritted his teeth as he finally rolled out of the minefield, running alongside the vaguely familiar faces of the hero course as he charged back towards the stadium where the screaming audience awaited.

“The first to make it back to the arena is the first-place winner…!

 

 

 

“Shouto Todoroki is our champion!”

Midoriya fell to his knees, sweating and panting by the gate. He couldn’t have been that far behind – surely he was in the clear.

“The contestants are now pouring in, one after the other!”

Midoriya raised his head, staring at the booth he knew his mentor was sitting in. He could see the tip of his outrageous hairdo. He smiled.

“Let’s hear some applause for all our competitors as we prepare the results!”

“Midoriya – you made it,” Shinso panted as he hurried over to him. “Still a shame – you could have left all those hero-wannabees in your dust if you used your Quirk.”

Midoriya smiled meekly, [Well, let’s just hope we’ve done enough]

And they had – twenty-second place wasn’t bad at all for Midoriya – and Shinso seemed satisfied enough with twenty-seventh.

“We beat so many of the hero course students,” Shinso breathed.

[I think… all of the hero students got through] Midoriya realised.

“Who else? Us – oh, there’s Hatsume – and over there – I don’t know who that is.”

[Class 1-K, I think – that one who Jiro mentioned was expelled from class 1-A]

“That purple midget? No wonder he was kicked out. He looks more interested in the girls than actual heroics,” Shinso sneered as the boy in question was levered away from a girl’s back. He seemed to have stuck himself there, forcing her to carry him over the finishing line.

“Now the real fun is about to begin. The chance to fully move yourselves into the limelight. Give it your best!” Midnight announced as the top forty-two contestants were gathered before her. “Let’s see what we have in store for you next…”

“A cavalry battle?” groaned one of the hero students, “I’m terrible at those!”

“Allow me to explain!” Midnight exclaimed. “The participants will form teams of two to four people as they see fit –”

“We could go in a team of two,” Shinso suggested, beginning to plot before Midnight had even finished explaining the rules.

[It seems like I’d have one hundred points and you’d have seventy-five…] Midoriya signed absentmindedly as he thought over the maths in his head.

“–And the point value assigned to the first-place contestant is… ten million!”

Midoriya didn’t miss that sadistic grin that spread across Shinso’s face as he glared in Todoroki’s direction, “Interesting…”

“Now, you’ve got fifteen minutes to build your teams,” Midnight finished after further explaining the rules, “I recommend you get started!”

[We’d have one hundred and seventy-five points together – likely not enough to make it through to the next round if we don’t steal any other headbands – and there’s no way I’m carrying you alone] Midoriya pouted.

“I could carry you – you’re light as a feather,” Shinso joked.

Midoriya just elbowed him harshly.

“There’s no point in asking anyone else,” sighed Shinso. “None of the hero students are going to want to –”

“Who said anything about hero students?!”

Midoriya turned and suddenly Hatsume was right in his face. He shrieked as she exclaimed, “I get you now!”

“What are you talking about?” Shinso frowned, glaring daggers at her for interrupting.

“Both of you – you want in on the hero course, don’t you?”

They exchanged glances.

Hatsume laughed evilly, “And you specifically – they might not have eyes on you now! But they will,” she rubbed her hands together. “I didn’t realise it at first – but then I listened to the radio last night – and I’d know that voice anywhere!”

Shut up, would you?!” Shinso hissed.

She waved him off, “Oh don’t worry – a big reveal on camera will be far more affective. And when you do – they’ll look back at what you’ve been doing in the Sports Festival and see my marvellous gadgets along the way! I would have teamed up with first place – but he seems to have made up his mind already.”

Midoriya turned to Shinso, [This could work – what do you think?]

Shinso glared at her again, before giving in and sighing deeply, “Fine.”

“Then let me show you my babies!”

“Your… what?”

[What about some of the people in the hero course?] Midoriya questioned.

“You know they won’t want to team up with us,” Shinso pointed out.

[Those who know the truth about me might]

“What’s he saying?” Hatsume asked Shinso shamelessly. “I don’t know the secret hand language.”

Shinso groaned, ignoring her and turning back to Midoriya, “Go and ask, but I seriously doubt they’ll team up.”

Midoriya hesitated, unsure about venturing off without Shinso, but then nodded when Hatsume assaulted his friend with her assortment of inventions, scurrying off to avoid her onslaught for a little longer.

Midoriya was used to how people tended not to notice him. Weaving through the crowd of plotting hero students – more than once he bumped shoulders and stepped on a few toes. He kept mouthing sorry whilst signing it in the process in hopes that they’d get the message.

He pushed past a group of 1-B students, smiling broadly as he spotted Iida on the other side. But that smile quickly faded when he saw him conversing with the boy with the ten million points, plotting their next moves with a newly formed team.

Next, he tried Uraraka. She wasn’t far away from Iida, near Jiro but then… the two of them had too, alongside one of Jiro’s friends – the boy with the bird head.

Uraraka waved excitably at Midoriya, beckoning him over, but he just smiling meekly in return, pointing at Shinso and Hatsume at the other side of the crowd. In understanding, she nodded and waved once more, turning back to her teammates to strategize.

Midoriya bit his lip. Shinso had been right after all – none of the hero students would want to –

He walked right into someone this time, but he was large; built like a rock, so he barely stumbled as Midoriya fell to the ground. He rubbed his head but looked up and saw the student holding out his hand to help him up. He smiled and gladly accepted it.

Sorry, he mouthed and signed again.

The boy did the same and turned away.

Midoriya was heading back to Shinso when he froze.

‘Wait – he knew sign!’

He turned on his heel and ran back to the unfamiliar hero student. Midoriya had to stand on his tippy toes to tap him on the shoulder.

[Do you have a team?]

He blinked at Midoriya, surprised by his reappearance [Do you?]

[Yes! I mean, there’s three of us – you could join and make it four!] Midoriya offered excitably. He was actually talking to someone new! Well, kind of talking. But it was so easy! No fidgeting with his fingers as he signed or shuffling about in panic.

[I’m sorry, do I know you?]

[I’m from general studies! I have my classmate in my team and a friend from support. I understand if you don’t want to team up with us though…]

He hesitated, and then smiled. It was a strange smile – but a warm one, nonetheless, “I-I’m Koda,” he whispered holding out his hand for Midoriya to shake.

“Midoriya,” he said at an equally low volume, taking his hand eagerly. [What’s your Quirk – if you don’t mind me asking] he continued to sign as they wandered back over to Shinso and Hatsume.

[I can give orders to animals…] he admitted shyly. [I know it’s strange, not talking to Humans but talking to animals]

[No! I completely understand! Humans are difficult – but animals – they always understand. Well, not understand, understand – but, well, understand your emotions. Not… necessarily the words…] Ok, this was new – the word vomit, or… sign…

“What the hell are you on about?” Shinso interjected, raising an eyebrow at him.

[Oh! This is… K-O-D-A] Midoriya eagerly explained whilst Hatsume just watched on in bewilderment. He turned to Koda, [Wait, what’s your sign name?]

[I don’t have one really… I’ve never spoken to someone else who knows sign like this before!]

And now there’s three of you!” Hatsume laughed. “So, big guy – if your joining us, come here so I can suit you up with some of my super cute babies!”

[Sorry about her] Shinso sighed. [What’s your Quirk?]

[He speaks to animals and can control them!] Midoriya replied, bouncing up and down in excitement. It was such an incredible Quirk!

Shinso furrowed his brow in deep thought, “What animals can you use here though?”

Koda panicked and looked down at his feet in shame. He looked rather menacing at first glance, but in reality, he was far from it. [They are scared off by the crowd. I’m sorry, my Quirk can’t help you. I won’t join your team if you don’t want me anymore]

Shinso rolled his eyes and pinched his brow, “No, no. Midoriya’s not using his Quirk quite yet anyway. Besides, you’d make a strong front horse if you’re still in.”

Koda wavered, but then clenched his fists and nodded frantically.

“Good,” Shinso sighed. “Then all we need to do is decide if it’s me or Midoriya that’ll be the rider.”

Midoriya wasn’t keen on being the rider. The more he was out of the spotlight, the better. But… if he ended up needing to use his Quirk, then being on top would have the greatest strategic advantage, especially if –

“Midoriya – you’re muttering,” Shinso interjected with a smirk.

Midoriya blinked at him in surprise. He had? He was muttering?!

An alarm rang out over the stadium – their time was up.

“Right, Midoriya, you be the rider,” Shinso insisted as Hatsume immediately began to attach her various gadgets to his legs. “Hatsume and I will go either side of you whilst Koda stands at the front. Ok?”

“OK ALL YOU FIRST YEARS!” Present Mic exclaimed as Midoriya was clumsily lifted on top of the group. “I hope you’re happy with your chosen teams!”

“We need to hang back,” Midoriya whispered to the three of them, tying his three-hundred-point headband securely around his head. “Everyone will go straight for the ten million points, so it would be easier to just collect smaller headbands to work our way up to the top.”

THREE!”

“Good luck, Midoriya!” Uraraka called from her team standing alongside his.

TWO!”

He smiled and waved again, desperately hoping they wouldn’t run straight for him.

ONE!”

“BEGIN!” Midnight finished and Uraraka’s team rocketed ahead, right towards Todoroki and the ten million points.

Midoriya let out a sigh of relief as his team stood still, assessing the competition from a distance instead of engaging in combat quite yet.

“We may have a good amount of points,” Midoriya continued to whisper, “But as students from different departments, the other teams are likely to underestimate us and leave us alone for now. We should wait until the other headbands move around before –”

That was when his headband was pulled from him, barely a minute after the game had begun.

“Sorry,” droned a blond boy from class 1-B. “But the lot of you were never going to hang around for long anyway,” he grinned as his team hurried away.

“You will come to regret those words!” Shinso yelled back at him, in hot pursuit of the team.

He grinned and opened his mouth, “Oh, will –”

“Midoriya! Now!” Shinso yelled as his Quirk took a hold of their opponent.

Midoriya reached forwards and grasped a handful of headbands from around his neck.

“Monoma!” exclaimed one of the boy’s teammates. “What the heck –”

Shinso released his power as they ran away, desperate to make some distance between them.

“Did you get our original headband back?” he asked Midoriya, who glanced down at the white strips of fabric and nodded surely.

“Good, now we should – ah!”

And another team lunged towards them.

“Activate hover shoes!” Hatsume announced gleefully as the inventions she had designed let their team hover a few feet off the ground. Secondly, a small grappling hook was fired from her side, and without warning, she clicked a button and sent the group flying across the arena, straight towards the wall where her invention had fastened itself.

How they managed to stay in one piece was beyond Midoriya as Hatsume reeled her baby back in and Koda groaned quietly after being forced to dig his feet into the ground to stop them from running out of bounds.

Now, who wants to look at each student’s points so far?!” Present Mic yelled eagerly, and the scoreboard lit up before a surprised gasp from the crowd. “Hold on here, this is an unexpected turn! Other than Todoroki, class 1-A’s not doing so hot!”

Midoriya quickly scanned the arena, his eyes resting on the members of class 1-B, who were snatching headbands from their sister class left and right. Even Kacchan had fallen behind.

“As expected,” Shinso grumbled. “Everyone’s so focused on class 1-A that they’ve forgotten about everyone else.”

“But they’re using that to their advantage…” Midoriya muttered, “Just like us.”

“Ugh!” Hatsume exclaimed, “No one’s paying attention to my beautiful babies! We simply have to get to the next round so I can prove my worth!”

“You’re not the only one who has to prove themselves!” Shinso snapped as they charged forwards, unsure of where to go.

There was so much going on. Teams descended on Todoroki as Kacchan’s charged ferociously at Monoma’s.

“Class 1-B are all working together…” Midoriya gaped.

“Not for long,” Shinso frowned.

Whatever trap they’d pulled to keep Kacchan at bay didn’t last long. But Midoriya couldn’t pay attention to that, because Todoroki was on the move.

“We could go for the ten million points!” Shinso suggested.

“No, it’s too risky,” contradicted Midoriya, “They’re plotting something.”

And they were. Soon enough, Midoriya saw the girl with the creation Quirk pull a thick blanket over the heads of her teammates, and the electric hero student light up beside her.

“Hatsume! Make us hover again, quickly!” Midoriya cried.

She didn’t question his judgement, and the team was lifted off the ground as electricity buzzed around them.

Midoriya could feel the power run through him, and the static buzz around the air, but no pain frazzled his nerves.

“What the heck?” Shinso gaped as he watched every other team cry out in pain as they were shocked by Todoroki’s team.

“We’re not grounded,” Midoriya explained. “That means we can’t be electrocuted – as long as we keep our feet off the ground, he can’t hurt us.”

The ice came next, spreading under their feet as the other teams were frozen in place, practically knocking them out of the competition.

“This is our chance,” Shinso mumbled. “If we collect the headbands of the frozen teams, we should be able to get through this stupid round.”

But they weren’t the only ones following that line of reasoning. Midoriya could see Uraraka’s team ahead, picking up the headbands before they could even try.

“Now what, should we attack? We never told them about my Quirk,” Shinso continued, the threat lingering amongst his words.

Midoriya glanced around, desperate for his eyes to see a miraculous answer to their problems. If only –

“Koda!” he exclaimed, “Over there – there’s a bird!”

“COME HERE, LITTLE BIRD!” he yelled in his squeaky voice, his anxiety fading as quickly as Midoriya’s had.

The bird took off from the stands and flew towards them, its tweets lost to the roar of the stadium.

“Wait,” Shinso frowned, “isn’t that –”

Midoriya grinned widely, “Siren!”

 


 

Siren was a peculiar bird. She had always known that. The other birds don’t seem to see the world the way she did. They saw the inside of their cages and saw Humans as sources of food. But, more importantly, they saw singing as nothing more than a method of flirting. Girl canaries aren’t meant to sing, her first Human had told her. She was nice but didn’t understand Siren. No one understood her.

Singing was fun. There was more uses for it than just as a mating call. Humans used noises all the time. Siren had spent much of her life learning to connect those noises with very specific things. Humans were clever – not like canaries. But some Humans didn’t use their smarts very well. They were silly. Siren found it annoying.

But she liked her new Human very much. He gave her a new name. She’d liked it at first. But then she learnt what it meant. Now she likes it even more. This Human understands her. And she understood him, even if he didn’t quite realise it himself yet.

Something else she understood, was that her Human needed help. He can sing too – but he’s scared to, like the other canaries were. Siren has to teach him not to be scared anymore. He was doing better. But he was scared that morning – very scared. Of course, Siren had to protect him. She wouldn’t be a very good guardian if she didn’t. That was what she thought of herself as – a guardian. Specifically, her Human’s guardian, and maybe some of his friends too.

She followed him all the way to this very big; very loud place. There weren’t any other birds there. It was too loud. But most of the Humans didn’t seem to mind, so neither should Siren.

It took her a while to understand what all these Humans were doing. They were playing games like children and watching for some reason. But her Human had been telling her how important this ‘Sports Festival’ thing was. This must be the Sports Festival then. In which case, she must make sure her Human does well. She can’t do that by just sitting and waiting by his portable nest. Very useful things, they were. It had books and food and other unnecessary things in it. But it was yellow. Yellow was Siren’s second favourite colour.

Her Human seemed to have made a new friend. Two, actually, but Siren was more focused on the big one who called out to her. He had a very incising voice. It was nice. Not as nice as her Human’s voice. But still nice.

“Siren, you have to help us!” her Human told her as she hovered before them.

“Hello, Siren,” said the new friend. “We need to get headbands!”

“Headbands? Those cloth things? You already have two. Why must you get more?” Siren replied. She knew this new friend could understand her words. She couldn’t explain how she knew – she just did.

“We need better ones to win this game!”

Ah, yes, winning is good. Winning will make my Human happier. Where is the better one? I must have the better one.”

“Koda, I have an idea!” Siren’s Human suddenly exclaimed. “If we can get Siren to follow the ten-million-point headband, she could steal it last minute and take it to us!”

I can steal.”

“Oh, thank you, Siren! Yes, it looks like the one on Midoriya’s head, but with a bigger number on it! Lots and lots of red numbers – can you get that one for us?”

I will steal.”

“Good! But you have to wait for us to tell you to do it, ok?” her Human told her.

She tweeted back at him and flew to his head nest. That was her favourite nest of all.

“Y-You understand her too?” the new friend frowned as they all ran across the arena.

“Oh, no, I just guess.”

Siren’s Human was very good at guessing.

“Do we really have to have this conversation now?!” exclaimed the purple friend. Siren liked the purple friend, because her Human liked the purple friend. Purple was Siren’s third favourite colour now.

They hurried around in circles for a while. Siren didn’t quite get why they were taking so long. She wanted to steal.

“TIME FOR A COUNTDOWN!” Oh, she recognised that voice. That was loud Human. She liked that Human too – where was he?

“SIREN, NOW!” yelled her Human.

YES!” she chirped and took flight.

Siren had been watching – looking for the lots-and-lots-of-red-numbers-headband. She saw it with the icy Human. He had it for a while. He wasn’t very happy when the spiky haired Human took it.

Siren narrowed her eyes as she flew over. She didn’t like spiky Human. She called him Explosion Human, but she would find a better name for him one day. One with a better ring to it. Siren didn’t like the colour red so much. This Human was very red.

But she must take the lots-and-lots-of-red-numbers-headband. After this, maybe she would like the colour red more. If red meant winning, then maybe she did like red.

Explosion Human hadn’t seen her; he was focusing on icy Human.

They were all acting very strange – piled on top of each other and running around the place. But Siren could wonder about that later. Right now, she could see her lots-and-lots-of-red-numbers-headband. Explosion Human had turned the headband around so the lots-and-lots-of-red-numbers weren’t facing the icy Human. That was very important, because it meant that Siren could very easily see it.

She decided that she definitely liked numbers. She was still considering the colour red.

Loud Human was shouting lots, and icy Human kept lunging at her lots-and-lots-of-red-numbers-headband.

Explosion Human fiddled with it, turning it so Siren could see the knot holding it together.

Yes, Siren was very good at undoing things.

And so, she grasped the headband with her talons (yes, they were talons; if you disagreed, she would show you why they were talons) and flew away with it.

There was lots and lots of shouting then.

She flew over the arena and back to her Human, who grasped the lots-and-lots-of-red-numbers-headband, pulled it around his head and –

“TIME’S UP!”

And all the Humans roared.

And her Human was grinning. That was good. She should steal things more often. She would do anything for her Human.

Her Human was green. Green was Siren’s favourite colour.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

“WHAT A TURN OF EVENTS!” Present Mic screamed across the arena. “Koji Koda – his Quirk, Anivoice! He can talk to and command any animal he wishes! Well, he sure is lucky that SOMEONE CAN’T KEEP THEIR BIRD IN CHECK!!”

Midoriya tried not to flinch and arise suspicion.

[I’m assuming he means you?] Shinso smirked as Midoriya clambered down from his cavalry battle positioning, grinning broadly.

And with that, the second round is officially over!” continued Present Mic. “Now, let’s take a look at who our top four teams are!”

Midoriya pulled off the ten-million-point headband as he gazed around at the ice-covered stadium.

“In first-place, Team Midoriya! Who would have thought that the team with only one hero course student in it would come out on top?!”

[Soon to be three] Shinso grinned as Hatsume frantically pulled her various gadgets from him, muttering manically about her next move in the Sports Festival.

“In second-place, Team Bakugo!”

“DEKU! YOU’RE FREAKING DEAD!” Kacchan yelled from across the pitch, grasping his remaining headbands with one hand and letting off menacing explosions from the other.

[T-That’s not good…] Midoriya signed with shaking hands.

“In third place we have Team Todoroki! So close, yet so far!”

And now Todoroki too, glared at Midoriya’s team from a distance.

And in fourth place is Team Uraraka – scraping in ahead of team Tetsutetsu despite being frozen in place! Being able to nab points without moving sure was helpful!”

[Thank you for helping us] Midoriya sighed, turning to Koda as he signed.

[Thank you for helping me!] Koda quickly replied, now he’d gotten over the shock of having attention drawn to him by Present Mic.

[We’re like team voice Quirks!] Midoriya smiled.

[And all of us communicate via sign language] Shinso smirked.

[And have been mute at some point or another] added Midoriya.

[Something is seriously wrong with our society…]

That was when Siren swooped down and snatched the ten-million-point headband from where it had been hanging loosely around Midoriya’s arm.

“Err, what’s your bird doing now?” Shinso questioned, raising an eyebrow.

Siren simply chirped at the three of them (Hatsume had hurried off with her babies already) and took off towards the stands.

“Um, she’s leaving,” Shinso acknowledged, watching the bird disappear off with the headband trailing behind her. “She’s leaving with the ten-million-points.”

[Ten million, six-hundred and fifteen, actually] Midoriya corrected, doing nothing but watch her disappear.

“Well, that’s gone then.”

“These four valiant teams, will advance on, to the final round!” Present Mic proclaimed. “Oh, and what’s this? We have an odd number! That means one member of our fifth-place crew, Team Tetsutetsu, will be joining us!”

“We should get out of here before something bad happens,” Shinso warned Midoriya, glancing over to the distant figure of Kacchan, grinding his teeth and glaring menacingly at him.

NOW, LET’S TAKE AN HOUR LUNCH BREAK BEFORE WE START THE AFTERNOON FESTIVITIES! SEE YA SOON!”

“Come on.” Shinso grabbed a hold of Midoriya’s wrist and dragged him towards the student exit.

Midoriya waved goodbye to a confused Koda as he went, no bothering to protest against Shinso as the two hurried away from the arena. They joined the steady stream of students already making their exit. After dropping off the remaining headband, they hurried towards the cafeteria, unnoticed.

The specialised exit from the arena led the students away from the crowds of the Sports Festival and back to the main school. At least, that was what normally happened. If, however, the audience was particularly keen, and were fast enough to get down from the stands, they could hover either side of the barricaded pathway for the competitors. It rarely happened – particularly for the first years. However, this seemed to be just one of those years.

“Come on, Canary!” yelled someone from the crowds.

“We know you’re in there!” added another with equal enthusiasm.

Midoriya trailed close behind Shinso, ducking his head, desperate not to be seen.

Present Mic had purposely not brought up the factor of Canary in the last round. Of course, there were only two students who remained that fit the bill for the radio star at all – Midoriya and Shinso. Other than Hatsume, who was female anyway, the two of them were the only ones not in the hero course. So, it wouldn’t be hard to assume that, if Canary had made it into the finals, then it was obviously one of the two of them. Then again, Canary could have not made it through… But Present Mic had thought of that possibility too.

As Midoriya and Shinso filed away from the stadium, he could still hear his teacher’s voice ringing out.

JUST A HEADS UP FOR YOU ALL!” he began. “Thank Team Tetsutetsu for letting their leader from class 1-B through into the final round! YEAH! What sportsmanship! Hey, Eraser, don’t you think it’s weird that only four competitors remain that aren’t in your class?!”

“Not at all. Class 1-B had a good strategy, overarching the entire competition, but it fell through in the end. I don’t think many of us are surprised by this outcome.”

“But what about the students not from the hero course?! Having three is certainly out of the ordinary!”

“Speak for yourself. Two of them are from your class.”

“MY GENERAL STUDIES CLASS, YOU MEAN!”

“What about your radio kid?”

“Hey, Midoriya,” said Shinso, stopping in his tracks and gazing back to the stadium as Midoriya walked right into him. “They’re talking about us.”

“WELL WE’VE SEEN HIS BIRD! Not sure about Canary himself though. Maybe next year – but we’ll just have to wait and see!”

“Hm,” Shinso frowned, [Interesting phrasing]

Midoriya hesitated, mulling it over in his mind as Present Mic continued to yell about the availabilities of food for the members of the audience, and for himself. [It’s to throw of suspicion, I think]

[It’s technically not a lie. He said he wasn’t sure if you would reveal yourself]

“Hey! Keep moving, would you?!” exclaimed a kid from another class.

Midoriya jumped, signed sorry, and then ushered Shinso forwards. They had been blocking up the pathway by standing still and signing to each other.

Consequently, they weren’t able to communicate again until they were finally in the lunch queue. Midoriya had pulled his headphones back over his ears, blocking out the consistently loud chatter. He’d yet to put his support item into proper use. And with Present Mic’s words, he wondered if he would be able to at all.

Shinso tapped on his shoulder, [What do you want to eat?]

[I’m not really that hungry…]

[You should eat] Shinso insisted as they reached the front of the line. [You need the energy]

He ended up ordering two of whatever he’d chosen. Midoriya hadn’t been paying attention – not that he could hear what Shinso had ordered anyway with the headphones on.

Shinso thrust a tray in his hands. Midoriya wobbled and barely managed to keep the bowl of steaming rice balanced. Shinso ended up paying for both of them. They often did that, taking alternate goes to pay. It made life just that little bit simpler.

Eventually, they sat down in the emptiest corner they could find.

Midoriya gazed around the dining hall, [It’s so strange, seeing everyone here in their PE kit rather than normal uniform]

Shinso raised an eyebrow at him, “That’s what you think is strange?”

[But it is!]

[We’re the two general studies students, competing in the final round of one of the biggest sporting events out there – and that’s what you pick up as strange?]

Midoriya smiled meekly, pocking at his rice with his chopsticks.

[You’re nervous] Shinso signed. He had to do it twice because Midoriya didn’t look up the first time he said it.

Midoriya just shrugged. Putting down his chopsticks, he replied, [It’s hard not to be, I suppose]

Shinso hesitated, clearly uncertain of how to reply. He took a large bite of his food (that was one of the many benefits of sign language; you could very much talk with your mouth full). [What was that thing Cockatoo is always saying to you on the radio?]

Midoriya furrowed his brow, unsure of what Shinso could have meant.

“Damn it, what was it…” he murmured after he swallowed his mouthful. [Right, you’re not nervous; you’re excited]

Midoriya felt a small smile spreading across his face. He tended to imagine the voice of whoever was conversing in sign language with him and he couldn’t help but think of Present Mic’s when Shinso said those words, which was rather funny. Such an eccentric voice really didn’t match Shinso at all.

Midoriya shoved some rice in his mouth to stop himself from laughing. [Thank you]

Shinso blinked at him, clearly a little bewildered as to why such a simple phrase cheered him up so much. So, he just nodded, stared at his food for a moment or so, and then decided to follow Midoriya’s lead and actually start eating.

“EXCUSE ME!”

Midoriya and Shinso looked up. Midoriya with his mouth full to the brim with rice and Shinso with his next bite halfway there. Midoriya pulled off his headphones, letting them hang loose around his neck as he frowned at the guy who had made the sudden exclamation.

The entire cafeteria gradually fell silent as someone clambered on top of a table right in the middle of the room. Some of his friends laughed and pulled at his ankles in hopes to get him down, but he was having none of it.

“RIGHT – SO!” he continued, clapping his hands briefly to grasp the attention of anyone who had failed to notice him the first time around. “We all know Canary’s out of the Sports Festival!”

Midoriya gulped and Shinso dropped his rice back in his bowl.

“So, come on man, tell us who the heck you are!” he exclaimed. Midoriya didn’t recognise him. Although he could have been from class 1-D, or perhaps the business or support courses. “You can’t just hold out on us for another year! Come on! We know you’re in here!”

One of his friends tried pulling him down off the table again, but he wrestled free. “Come on, Canary! Give us a wave!”

Midoriya tore his eyes away and returned to his food.

Shinso glanced between him and the guy on the table, who was now trying to start the chant: we want Canary!

This was stupid. Ridiculous, even. Midoriya felt his cheeks flush red with anger – how dare he do something like that?

And then – the chanted stopped with a yell and a clatter.

Midoriya looked up in surprise, as the hall rang out with laughter.

The student was still standing on the table, but he’d accidently kicked an empty tray to the floor in panic, as he tried to duck and evade the swooping figure of little green bird.

Midoriya probably should have found some way to call her off, but he couldn’t help his growing smile as Siren continuously dive-bombed the guy, the red and white head band she had previously stolen still trailing along behind her like a victory flag as she chirped furiously.

“I love that stupid little bird,” Shinso whispered, shaking his head in disbelief. He’d only known her for a few hours, and she’d already won him over. How Siren hadn’t be bought by someone else before Midoriya, was beyond him.

When he had finally managed to get off the table, everyone cheered, and Siren took off jubilantly into the air, now doing triumphant laps of the dining hall.

“Maybe we should stop her,” Shinso pointed out.

“Maybe,” Midoriya replied.

But they still did nothing.

Eventually, Siren flew off into the corridors of UA after a failed capture attempt, with the ten-million-point head band still stubbornly in tow.

With that chaos over and done with, Shinso and Midoriya tidied away their trays and hurried back towards the stadium. It was amazing how quickly an hour could pass with the weight of their future, bearing down on them.

“–But considering the wording of Present Mic’s announcement, it’s unclear as to whether the up and coming radio star, Canary, did advance to the final round of this year’s UA Sports Festival.”

Midoriya blinked at the reporter, standing right by the student entrance to the arena.

“Although the fact remains that somewhere in this huddle of students, now returning to the stadium for this afternoon’s events, Canary still remains, and might possibly still use this year’s Sports Festival as a chance to reveal his true identity, perhaps in the extra events before the tournament round.”

Shinso nudged him with a sly smirk. Midoriya shot a look back at him, and then grinned wildly at the camera before the reporter, hoping the slightest glimpse his face would momentarily appear in the footage, for the world to perhaps look back on.

IT’S ALMOST TIME FOR THE LAST ROUND!” Present Mic cried excitably as Midoriya and Shinso followed the other students back into the spotlight. “But before that, good news for everyone who didn’t make the finals! Since this is a Sports Festival, we prepared some super fun side games everyone can participate in! After they’re over, the sixteen students from our top teams will be digging it out, one on one in a tournament style fighting competition!”

The first years gathered around in the centre of the arena, with the sixteen finalists, including Midoriya and Shinso, stood near the front, close to the stage that Midnight was standing on. She was holding a large yellow box, labelled lots. “Come closer and we’ll draw lots to see who you’re up against,” she explained, “then enjoy the pleasure of the recreational games before we start. The sixteen finalists have the option of participating in those activities or sitting out to prepare for battle. I’m sure you all want to conserve your stamina.” Getting down off her raised platform, she marched confidently straight towards Midoriya. “I’ll start with the first-place team!”

Midoriya felt his muscles seize up as the cameras turned towards him and Midnight thrust the box in his direction. She saw his panic, and smiled warmly, shaking the box about a bit.

Swallowing his fear, Midoriya somehow managed to raise his stiff arm and reach inside the box, pulling out a small piece of folded paper. But before he could open it, Midnight snatched it back off him, unfolded it herself, nodded and then turned to Shinso, who then followed the same pattern of choosing an opponent without knowing who it could have been.

Midnight did this for all of Midoriya’s team, as well as all of Kacchan’s, but then no one else.

There was a terribly tense silence as she put her hand to her ear, communicating with whoever was on the other side of her earpiece, hidden beneath her mane of hair.

“Take a look at the bracket, my dears!” she exclaimed once the organisation was finally over. Said bracket then appeared on the screens surrounding the stadium, finally revealing who would be facing who. “These are your opponents!”

The crowd cheered, but Midoriya blocked them out without needing to pull his headphones over his head again. All he could hear was a faint buzzing noise as he stared up at the screen.

 

Kaminari.

Wait, who was that?

 

“Looks like I’ll be facing you in the semi-finals,” Shinso scoffed, his voice cutting through the madness. “Shame. Would have been better if two general studies students made it all the way to the final match.”

He let his eyes drift over to whoever Shinso was facing. He was the first match, against Jiro.

[She doesn’t know your Quirk, right?] Midoriya questioned.

[Not that I’m aware of] Shinso confirmed.

“Sorry, Koda! But you’re going down!” Mina exclaimed assuredly.

Koda looked about as nervous as Midoriya. Although, Midoriya secretly hoped he wouldn’t be using Siren this time around – he’d hate for Mina to melt her…

“Oh, hey, wait, Midoriya?!” said Mina, hurrying over to him. “I didn’t realise you were in the finals!”

“How could you not?” Shinso gaped, his tone of voice dripping with more venom than Mina could ever hope to imitate. “We won the cavalry battle.”

Mina frowned at him, “Yeah, but like, I didn’t really realise it was this Midoriya – no offense.”

Midoriya furrowed his brow. What did she mean by that?

“Ah, wait – you’re that Midoriya! The Quirkless, mute one, right?” interjected that blonde electric guy, who had now appeared beside Mina. “Hey, man, I’m Denki Kaminari,” he finished, holding out his hand for Midoriya to shake.

Midoriya would have taken it, if Shinso hadn’t knocked his hand out of the way in the last second. [He’ll just shock you] he signed, glaring at the hero students as he did so.

Kaminari exchanged a glance with Mina; pulling a weird face, he turned back to Shinso. “You must be Shinso, right? That general studies guy from the halls that other day.”

Shinso glared at him, “I’m sick and tired of being just that general studies guy. And I’m sure Midoriya’s pretty fed up of being the Quirkless, mute one.”

Midoriya didn’t meet Kaminari’s gaze as Shinso said those words.

“It’s time for us to make our mark. Come on, Midoriya,” he snarled, and began to march away, his hands in his pockets.

Midoriya hesitated, looking back at the small gathering of hero students with a weak, apologetic smile.

But… Kaminari, Kaminari… where had Midoriya heard that name before?

“Hey, if it makes you feel any better, I’ll just be giving you a quick shock and it’ll be over with,” Kaminari said confidently, holding up his hand with a crackle of electricity to demonstrate.

Midoriya’s eyes grew wide.

 

“And your Quirk’s to do with singing? What?!” Uraraka squealed excitably, bouncing up and down as she and Midoriya walked up to school. “That’s sounds so cool!”

“U-Um, well – it’s a little tricky to get my head a-around,” Midoriya had stammered in reply.

“Everyone’s Quirks have their difficulties!” Uraraka insisted. “I mean, I have to sleep with mittens so I don’t float anything – Iida has to drink gallons of orange juice to get his engines working properly – there’s a guy in my class called Kaminari, he has an electric Quirk which short circuits his brain if he uses too much voltage at once!”

 

Oh.

 

Midoriya let a smile grow across his expression.

Kaminari’s quickly faded. “…What?” he frowned.

 

“Hatsume! Make us hover again, quickly!” Midoriya had cried during the cavalry battle.

 “What the heck?” Shinso gaped, watching every other team cry out in pain as they were shocked by Kaminari’s Quirk.

“We’re not grounded,” Midoriya hastily explained. “That means we can’t be electrocuted – as long as we keep our feet off the ground, he can’t hurt us.”

 

Oh.

 

Midoriya’s smile grew wider, and without an answer, he turned on his heel and ran after Shinso.

He could distantly hear Kaminari’s voice as he hurried away, “…Should I be worried?”

Maybe he should have been, but for once, Midoriya wasn’t.

 


 

As Present Mic’s voice continued to bellow across the stadium, Shinso and Midoriya were sitting side by side in one of the waiting rooms, with Midoriya’s sketch of the tournament bracket laid out before them.

Shinso sighed, “Everyone’s so focused on looking for you during the side games, that they’ve missed the bigger picture.”

Midoriya stared at the piece of paper before him. He’d started annotating it, and it had gotten a little manic. He’d also just realised – Shinso’s handwriting was near to illegible.

 

Canary's Strategy Sheet

 

“What did you do to my bird drawing?” Midoriya frowned.

“I gave it talons,” Shinso grinned.

“Whatever they are – they’re not talons – they look like arms, or… crooked forks.”

“Shut up, they’re amazing – look Siren has her headband now. Let me borrow your red pen so I can add the numbers.”

“Wait – no – that’s ten million. It was ten million, six hundred and fifteen!”

“Technicalities.”

“We won with those technicalities!”

“We would have won with just ten million!”

Midoriya couldn’t think of an adequate response, so Shinso instead started doodling elsewhere on the paper instead.

Midoriya grabbed his red pen back and immediately scribbled out Shinso’s addition of and then I win, to their strategy sheet.

“Are you saying I’m not going to win?” Shinso queried with a quirked eyebrow.

No – I-I’m not! I’m just –”

“You didn’t let me draw the arrow to say that you’d be in the final. And it’s going to be one of us so…”

“It might not be!” Midoriya protested, waving his arms about frantically as he spoke. “I might not beat Iida o-or you might not defeat Todoroki!”

[As soon as they speak to me, it’s over] Shinso retorted smugly, [And I haven’t used my Quirk enough for anyone to figure that out yet]

“T-They might after your fight against Jiro!” Midoriya pointed out. “O-Or Present Mic might announce your Quirk! He’s been doing that for the hero students so everyone understands what they can do, so…”

“My pessimism is rubbing off on you,” Shinso sighed, sinking back in his chair.

Midoriya pouted at him, “W-Well, if I get into the f-final, it’s not going to end… well…”

“Because you think Bakugo’s going to be against you,” realised Shinso, glancing back at the arrow on the brackets. They’d been debating for a while as to who would most likely beat who. Eventually it was concluded that it would be Bakugo, coming out on top and making it to the final round.

Biting his lip, Midoriya picked up his pen and added a new note next to Shinso’s crossed out one: and then I die.

Shinso snapped up his own pen and quickly drew a line through it.

Midoriya slammed his forehead on the table.

Shinso pulled the paper out from underneath him. He was busy adding random, snarky comments and adding to Midoriya’s scribbles, when Midoriya decided enough was enough, knocking the pen from Shinso’s hand before he was able to finish writing when is a shadow not dark? beneath Tokoyami’s Quirk name. Now it just read, when is a TOKOYAMI.

“Midoriya, you’re going to be fine,” Shinso insisted as Midoriya picked up the red pen and started writing ahhhhhhhh along the top of the page, which just turned into an indecipherable squiggle by the end.

Shinso confiscated the red pen.

[I am going to die] Midoriya signed for the second time that day.

[I’ll make sure of it if you keep being this infuriating] Shinso threatened.

Midoriya narrowed his eyes at him, and then reached for the only pen that remained in his possession. In the middle of the page, he wrote:

How to get into the hero course 101: 1) DON’T DIE

“Good, that’s an improvement,” Shinso smirked, before picking up his own pen and adding: 2) Kill Bakugo

Midoriya quickly crossed that out, and then took the red pen back and crossed it out a second time, before finishing with:

2) Don’t let anyone die

Shinso grinned. The final thing written on that mess of a strategy sheet was, basic hero essentials, before Midoriya folded it up and shoved it, along with the pens, back in his backpack.

“See you in the semi-finals, then,” said Shinso, wandering towards the door.

“N-Not back in the stands after you’ve f-finished?” Midoriya frowned.

Shinso rolled his eyes as he left, “You know what I mean.”

Midoriya just watched as Shinso walked out of sight, his footsteps echoing through the cold, concrete corridors.

Once even his shadow had completely faded, Midoriya pulled the strap of his backpack further up his shoulder and ran in the opposite direction.

Each of the eleven first year classes, A to K, had their own set of seats in the stands, separated from the main audience. They really did have front row seats. There were two sets of stairs leading up to them, one from either side, and then a long corridor that ran along behind the seats. Each class were only separated from each other by thin stone walls. Midoriya sprinted as fast as he could past the back of class 1-A’s seating area, and didn’t slow down at 1-B’s either, only skidding to a halt at his own section, with the rest of class 1-C.

“Midoriya!” exclaimed Ohchi as he hurried into view, “Where have you been?!” she insisted.

He was about to sign an excuse in reply, but she waved it off.

“Rhetorical question; not like I’m good enough at sign language to understand you anyway,” she sighed. “But you were almost late!”

“Come on, Quirkless wonder!” exclaimed Kisho. His fringe had grown a little longer again, but it still looked like someone had put a bowl on his head and cut around it. Shinso often pointed that out in their secret sign conversations. “We saved you a seat near the front!”

“Yeah, you deserve it, making it into the finals,” added Kisho’s twin sister, Kana.

“Not that he’ll last long,” Koneko protested, her cat tail twitching as she spoke. “He’s against the electric dude, remember?”

And they’re back to talking as if Midoriya wasn’t there.

With a sigh, he trudged down the steps and fell into the seat furthest from everybody else, plonking his rucksack on the chair next to him to save a space for Shinso.

HEY SPORTS FANS, ARE YOU READY?!” Present Mic suddenly exclaimed.

It made Midoriya jump. He pulled his headphones on to block out some of the sound as the crowd erupted into cheers. It was much louder now he was up close to them.

After all the action you’ve already seen, it’s time for the real battles to begin! Can you feel the excitement?!”

Yes, he could still hear him through his headphones – that’s how loud it was. Midoriya felt sorry for all the members of the audience, who had been suffering through this ordeal the entire time.

Our competitors are on their own now. Sometimes heroes have only themselves to rely on. Heart, strength, skill, wisdom – courage! They’ll have to use all of these things to rise to the top!”

Midoriya gulped, gazing down at the concrete arena before him. Shinso was down there, standing alone as he waited for the match to begin.

And I know it sounds super cheesy but remember that it’s the taking part that counts! The sheer determination of our competitors is what sets them apart from the others! Those who truly try their very hardest, are the ones who deserve their place in UA’s hero course!”

Midoriya wondered how much of that was directed at him, as he unfolded his strategy sheet once more, his hand struggling to hold his pen steady. This match would be over quickly – no matter who came out on top.

But you’ve heard me talk long enough! Let’s finally cut to the good stuff and not delay these finals any longer!”

From each corner of the pitch, columns of flames dramatically erupted, and Midoriya’s mentor appeared on the screen facing him. There were a few drones buzzing around the place. One flew to one side of the pitch, and one to the other, zooming in on the two participants of the first battle. The video they caught was shown on the screen next to the one showing Present Mic, so the audience could easily see what was going on, close up or far away.

“Welcome out first fighters!” Present Mic exclaimed, his face disappearing to reveal images of both Jiro and Shinso, and a large vs sign between them. “No way those ear plugs get tangled in her pocket! It’s Kyoka Jiro from the hero course!”

The camera panned over to Jiro as she marched confidently into the arena. Midoriya didn’t miss the way she twitched her brow when Present Mic made that comment.

Verses… Hitoshi Shinso from general studies – who really hasn’t done anything to stand out yet.”

Midoriya’s heart was beating so loud that he started considering taking his headphones off so it could be drowned out by the crowd’s roar.

The rules are simple, immobilise your opponent or force them out of the ring! You can also win by getting the other person to cry uncle!

“Ready?!

“BEGIN!”

 


 

“So, you can just give up, alright?” Shinso glared as soon as Present Mic’s ready echoed across the stadium.

Jiro pulled a bewildered face at him, but she didn’t reply.

“I need this more than you do. Can’t you lose for me?”

“BEGIN!”

Jiro scoffed, stepping forwards, about to charge, “Fat chance! You don’t –”

Shinso smiled, “And that’s it, I win.”

She stopped, her earplugs dropping to her side limply as her eyes blanked over.

Hey, hey!” Present Mic called out, “What’s going on here?! The fight has just begun, but Kyoka Jiro is completely frozen! And what’s with that look on her face? Could this be a Quirk at work?!”

 


 

Midoriya felt kind of bad for Jiro, but she was already in the hero course. Shinso deserved this win.

This is a perfect example of why the entrance exam isn’t rational.”

Midoriya frowned, knocking his headphones off his ears. It was Eraser Head – the last man to get into the hero course through the Sports Festival.

Since we’re onto the individual matches, I had some information compiled about our final competitors.”

He gulped – did that mean Mr Aizawa was holding information on Midoriya too?

Shinso failed the practical exam to get into the hero course. Since he also applied for general studies, he probably figured that would happen…”

Eraser Head continued to talk about the entrance exam – about the robots and Shinso’s disadvantage. On the screen, Midoriya could see Shinso grit his teeth in frustration, and then finally spit some words at Jiro.

Her starry-eyed expression remained as such as she slowly turned and began to hobble away, dragging her feet as she went.

What?! Huh?!” Present Mic exclaimed melodramatically. “What’s this?! Jiro is obeying him!”

Midoriya turned to the other members of class 1-C, who continued to gape down at the two competitors with wide eyes.

“Hitoshi Shinso, his Quirk – brainwashing! When his opponent answers a question, it flips a switch in their mind, forcing them to do whatever he says! Not every question does it though – he only brainwashes when he wants to!”

Midoriya blinked up at Present Mic – oh no. He explained Shinso’s Quirk…

He looked back down at his strategy sheet. Shinso was against Todoroki next. This might not work out quite the way they’d planned.

“I know I said his Quirk seemed creepy as hell,” Koneko whispered from the back of class 1-C’s stands. “But… that’s actually pretty amazing.”

Midoriya smiled. It sure was an incredible Quirk.

AND JIRO’S WALKED RIGHT OUT OF THE RING!”

The hero student stopped, blinking, the light returning to her eyes and she glanced frantically around her. She turned on her heel and shouted panickily at Shinso as Midnight exclaimed, “Jiro is out of bounds! Shinso advances to the next match!”

“Come on, guys, let’s congratulate him!” Kisho exclaimed, leaping to his feet. Not everyone followed – even Midoriya, for a moment, because he was so stunned that any of his classmates would actually think to do such a thing. Eventually, he got up too, and ran after the five who had left.

Jiro was ushered back into the ring, and both her and Shinso bowed to in respect as Midoriya and the others rushed out of sight. He caught a glimpse of Jiro’s expression though. She was frustrated, that much was obvious, but her sly smile made Midoriya realise that their budding friendship wasn’t quite over yet – in fact, it was only just beginning.

As Shinso walked down from the stage and towards the exit, Midoriya and the others had made it to the stands right above him. Some of the pro heroes laughed as Matsumoto called out to him, “You were awesome out there, Shinso!”

Ohchi smiled and waved at him, “We’re proud of you!”

“You didn’t tell us you were that good!” added Tachibana.

Kisho laughed, “Yeah, you’re the star of our program!”

“I can’t believe you’ve only used your Quirk once before on Koneko!” said Watanabe, “Where were you when we needed her to shut up, hey?!”

Shinso smiled at them – a real, genuine smile.

Midoriya leaned over the wall so he could definitely see him. [Look, they don’t think you’re a villain at all]

“Listen to them!” exclaimed Matsumoto, unaware that Midoriya was talking too.

Midoriya turned to the per heroes behind him, whilst Shinso strained to hear too. He decided to sign their words to make sure Shinso knew what they were saying.

“[With a Quirk like that, it would be very simple to capture dangerous villains. I wish I had it]”

“[I can’t believe they stuck him in general studies. Those idiots.]”

“[Well, there are a ton of applicants each year. I guess sometimes people slip through the cracks.]”

“Shinso, did you get that?!” Matsumoto beamed.

“It’s great!” added Watanabe, “They think you’re incredible!”

[Your go next, Canary] Shinso signed to Midoriya, grinning widely.

“What did he say?” Tachibana questioned Midoriya.

“He can’t answer you, idiot!” snapped Ohchi. She turned back to Shinso, “Come on up and talk to us! We’ll help you strategize for you next match!”

Midoriya waved at him one last time, and the six of them finally hurried back to their seating area. Shinso reappeared moments later, and they all cheered (well, Midoriya just clapped).

It had been a while since Shinso looked so happy. Perhaps the last was when Midoriya spoke to him for the first time.

TOO MUCH STANDING AROUND!”

Midoriya actually yelped at Present Mic’s sudden exclamation, which made the rest of his class laugh, as Shinso pushed his bag off the seat next to him and sat down.

Now, welcome to the ring – our next players!”

[Whoever wins this is your next opponent] Midoriya reminded Shinso.

“We already know who’s going to win.”

He’s got skills, but at the expense of some really creepy elbows. From the hero course, it’s Hanta Sero!”

“Cruel,” Kana muttered.

Verses, someone who’s been front-running this entire competition so far! He’s way too strong for his own good, and rightfully got onto the hero course based on recommendations, it’s Shouto Todoroki!”

Midoriya leaned forward, desperate to see as much as possible. Yes, he was pretty sure Todoroki would come out on top. If Shinso was defeated, then there was a possibility that Midoriya would come to face him too. He needed every asset he could get – analysing Todoroki’s Quirk was his first step.

And now for the second match of the finals, ready?! Begin!”

The match ended in less than twenty seconds.

Midoriya was very much not leaning forward after that. In fact, both he and Shinso had their backs pressed right against their seats in shock, edging away from the bombardment of ice as much as they possibly good.

[You’re going to die] Midoriya slowly signed.

Shinso didn’t reply.

“Sero has been immobilised; Todoroki advances to the second round,” Midnight announced.

There was no cheer at first, everyone was (and, in some cases, rather literally) frozen.

As some of the audience started yelling nice try to Todoroki’s victim, Midoriya leant around the ice to see…

Todoroki begin to melt it.

So, he was right – Todoroki could use fire.

It would make sense, as the son of the flame hero, Endeavor, for him to have such a power. Everything about Todoroki seemed to scream that he had a duel ability, half hot, half cold. And the ice, it only covered the left side of Todoroki’s body now he had used it. Yes, an equal split down his middle, like his hair and eyes and – that scar

Something was wrong here – very wrong. Why hadn’t Todoroki used his fire offensively? Or… even defensively. It could have been such a huge asset in the previous rounds.

Midoriya bit his lip as Present Mic announced that they would have to take a short break as they removed the sheer volume of ice. But after that…

[You’re up] Shinso signed, Midoriya could see his hand movements in his peripheral vision.

But he just couldn’t take his eyes away from Todoroki. For some reason, in that moment, he just looked so… so sad to him. And Midoriya knew what that felt like.

He had to do this. He had to beat Kaminari – and then whoever came out on top of Iida’s and Hatsume’s match too. If Todoroki defeated Shinso, then Midoriya had to be the person to fight him next. He just wanted to help him, somehow. Midoriya had never been very good with words… but… maybe things were different now.

“G-Good luck, Midoriya,” stammered Ohchi as he got to his feet, struggling to get past the ice that had obstructed his way out.

“Yeah, good luck,” repeated Matsumoto

He nodded at them, and slowly made his way down from the stands. There was no need to hurry.

He took a deep breath as he stood waiting in the corridor before the stadium. The air was cold.

Midoriya untangled the wire hanging from his headphones, and then rearranged the device that had been hiding beneath his shirt for the beginning of the Sports Festival. Strapping it on top of the fabric, he turned it on, and flicked through his arsenal for the one he had prepared for – the song he was so thankful for – one of the ones which started it all.

He listened to it far too many times before he heard Present Mic’s voice ring out, halfway through his song.

WELCOME BACK TO THE FINALS EVERYONE! Sorry for that long wait!”

Midoriya gulped again. He had been thinking, and no – he wouldn’t activate his microphone the first time around. One step at a time.

“The insane amount of ice –”

Tweet, tweet!

“Siren!” Midoriya exclaimed, turning on his heel to see the canary, sitting before the small pile of cloth that was the headband which she refused to give back. “What are you doing here?!”

Tweet!

“I-I have to go on now – and no, you can’t help me this time. I have to do this alone. The only match you’re allowed to help with is Koda’s… but be careful with that…”

Chirp.

“Y-You have to stay here and wait until I get back – or go and see Shinso, ok?” Midoriya insisted, making sure his headphones were fastened securely around his neck. He wasn’t going to be wearing them this time around – he didn’t need the music… he didn’t need the power to last long or be that strong. He’d practised this particular ability enough for it to activate quickly and for him to be good at controlling it. But he had his playlist ready, just in case something went wrong.

“–It’s time to welcome new competitors!”

“See you soon, ok?” Midoriya said to Siren, and then with one final, deep breath, he stepped out into the arena.

It’s the boy with the electric personality, Denki Kaminari from the hero course, class 1-A!” Present Mic exclaimed as Midoriya’s opponent stepped up onto the pitch, smiling confidently. “Verses, our resident genius, with some of the highest scores in UA history on our theoretical papers, it’s Izuku Midoriya from general studies, class 1-C!”

“Like I said, it’ll be over in two seconds!” Kaminari exclaimed, giving Midoriya a thumbs up as he reached the top of the stairs to the raised stage.

This was it – he was finally here.

Ready?!”

Like Shinso said – it was time for him to make his mark, and go beyond –

BEGIN!”

– plus ultra!

 

Chapter Text

 

“Like I said, it’ll be over in two seconds!” insisted Kaminari, brimming with confidence and an easy smile.

Ready?!” Present Mic’s voice boomed

Midoriya could feel his heart thumping manically within his chest. He assumed a position similar to that of someone beginning a race, his eyes focused and mind determined. This would all be a matter of timing.

BEGIN!”

Kaminari raised his hands in the air, buzzing with growing static, “Sorry about this!”

It all happened very quickly. As electricity spread quickly towards Midoriya, he took two big steps forward, and leapt into the air.

 

~Wings – Hurts~

 

WRAP YOUR WINGS AROUND–”

And he took to the sky, the familiar feeling of his wings spreading out behind him as he shot straight upwards, the wind ruffling his feathers and blowing the hair from his face.

Wrap your wings, wrap your wings…” he sung.

The stadium was far below him now – he’d gotten a little carried away.

Spreading his wingspan to its fullest extent, he came to a halt just before a camera drone, set to hover way above the arena, likely to film attacks like Todoroki’s from earlier.

He smiled widely at it, before snapping his wings closed and plummeting back towards the Earth.

Oh, how Midoriya loved to fly.

Midoriya was still singing, almost humming, as he heard the yells and screams of the crowd around him – Present Mic hadn’t said anything yet.

He got rather close to the ground before he threw open his wingspan once more, catching himself in the air to rocket towards Kaminari. A beat of Midoriya’s wings sent a gust blowing his opponent’s hair from his face as Midoriya’s feet touched the ground. He was now standing right in front of Kaminari. But he made no flinch, nor movement to indicate a further fight. He looked rather frazzled as he swayed side to side.

Midoriya stopped singing. He was breathing heavily – adrenaline still rushing through his veins from the thrill that a flight always gave him. His wings remained still; spread out widely either side of him.

Midoriya smiled – he had been right. Kaminari had overused his Quirk – and he now stood before him, completely short-circuited.

Cautiously, Midoriya tapped his forehead. He got the slightest static shock, but nothing more. With further confidence, he grasped Kaminari’s shoulders, twisted him around, and pushed him towards the edge of the arena.

As Kaminari tripped over his own feet and faceplanted the concrete on the other side of the boarder line, Midoriya was dragged back to reality with an ear piecing yell.

YYYEEEAAAHHH!” Present Mic screamed.

Midoriya just grimaced at Kaminari’s fallen form as the sound rang out.

“Kaminari is out of bounds; Midoriya advances to the next round!” Midnight exclaimed, unable to suppress the smile on her face as she announced as such.

“A-Are you ok?!” Midoriya stammered nervously, pulling Kaminari back to his feet; almost hitting him on the head with one of his wings in the process.

“Yee…” the electric boy replied in a dazed expression.

There was a robotic stretcher which arrived to take Kaminari away to Recovery Girl, perhaps in hope that she could do something about his Quirk over usage, or at least give him a place to recovery quietly.

Wait, I don’t understand, my information –” Midoriya heard Eraser Head protest. Added to the sound of rustling paper, it was clear that he was glancing through his compiled information in utter bewilderment.

Your information’s out of date!” Present Mic replied enthusiastically.

Realising he was still standing in the middle of the Sports Festival arena, Midoriya decided this was as good a time as any to make his move and run as quickly as he could back towards the exit.

Izuku Midoriya! His Quirk, Living Melody!” continued Midoriya’s teacher. “When he sings a song, it can give him a specialised powerup that lasts the duration of his singing! Isn’t that cool?!”

His wings were definitely falling apart now, sending fading, green feathers drifting away behind him as Midoriya hurried towards the steps down from the raised pitch.

HEY CANARY!”

Midoriya, in surprise, stumbled and fell down the stairs, he was forced to do a flip to avoid slamming his head into the hard concrete. He landed expertly and turned to glare at Present Mic’s commentary box.

WE WANT TO HEAR YOU SING NEXT TIME!”

Midoriya wavered, before grinning sheepishly at him and then continuing to hurry towards the exit, where Siren sat waiting for him dutifully, singing merrily herself.

“DON’T YOU WALK AWAY FROM ME!”

 


 

Class 1-A stared.

Of course, a good proportion of them had already encountered Midoriya at one point or another. Whether it was because they new the truth, or because they’d met him during lunch period or heard Uraraka speaking out about the timid, Quirkless boy in general studies.

Mina was the first to break the silence.

“B-But… WHAT?!” she cried, pulling at her horns. “T-There’s no way – Midoriya can’t possibly be –”

“Wait, isn’t that the same guy from outside our class the other day?” frowned Sato. “The one who tried pushing that brainwashing dude out of the way?”

“URARAKA!” Mina yelled. “How dare you keep this from us?”

She just laughed, “I only figured it out, like, a week ago!”

“To be fair, he’s not very good at keeping secrets, despite hardly being able to talk,” Jiro smirked.

“YOU KNEW TOO?!”

“She figured it out before me,” Uraraka laughed sheepishly. “And then we told Iida before he could listen to the radio and recognise Midoriya’s voice.”

“WAIT!” Mina had leapt to her feet now, standing on her chair to gaze at them all, awestruck, “He talks to you?!”

“He doesn’t lack the ability to speak,” Jiro rolled her eyes, “he’s selectively mute.”

“So, what? He chooses to be mute to me but not you lot?!”

“Don’t you think that is rather disrespectful, Ashido?!” exclaimed Iida. “Besides, I fail to recall a situation where the two of you have even had the chance to converse!”

“I go to the same dance class as him!” she protested, putting her hands on her hips.

“Now who’s keeping secrets?” gaped Sero. He’d only just returned from Recovery Girl’s after being frozen solid by Todoroki. “You and Canary go to the same dance class?”

“Well I didn’t know that, did I?!”

“Wait, is the secret the fact that Mina goes to dance class or the fact that Midoriya also goes to a dance class?” frowned Uraraka.

“Um, both?” Sero replied.

“Shouldn’t we be freaking out over the fact that Canary is right there?!” Mina cried, “And we know him?! He could be our future classmate!”

“Anything’s better than Mineta,” Yaoyorozu sighed.

Iida had left at this point, ready for his match against that freaky support class girl.

Speaking of which –

“Oh my God – we’re going to have to fight him!” Mina suddenly realised, collapsing back into her seat beside Momo.

“I don’t get it, what’s his Quirk?” Kirishima sighed. “Present Mic didn’t explain it very well.”

“Has he talked to you guys about it?” Mina questioned, turning to Jiro, who was sitting directly behind her.

“Not really,” she replied. “You don’t just get over being mute all of a sudden – he takes a while to warm up to you.”

“We started talking about Quirks,” Uraraka remembered, “Oh! But then I stopped him in case we ended up facing each other in the Sports Festival,” she moaned.

Mina groaned loudly. “I guess we’ll just have to watch his next match carefully...”

“Isn’t your fight after this one?” pointed out Tsuyu.

“Oh, right!” Mina exclaimed, jumping to her feet and swivelling around to grin menacingly at Koda. “I bet that bird didn’t hang around long, huh?!”

Koda blinked at her, and then whispered in that squeaky voice of his, “Actually… That was Canary’s bird.”

“…Oh no.”

 


 

Scooping Siren off the ground (the more-than-ten-million-points headband had disappeared at this point, likely stashed away somewhere secret), Midoriya finally hurried around a corner and disappeared from view. Only then could he truly appreciate what had just happened.

With wide eyes and a heavily beating heart, he leant against the wall and sank to the floor.

“I did it,” he breathed, staring down at Siren, “I-I actually did it!”

Tweet, tweet! she exclaimed, actually hopping up and down in his hands.

He actually… felt rather sick. He could feel the acid creeping up the back of his throat. “Oh my God – I did it.”

Now everyone knew.

Everyone.

Midoriya could still hear Present Mic as he confirmed that yes, that was Canary, and no, he wasn’t Quirkless. Eraser Head’s information really was out of date. But none of the words processed in Midoriya’s mind. All he could focus on was the blurred image of Siren as his breathing grew faster and faster and a ringing filled his head.

Chirp!

Midoriya blinked, eyes focusing in on Siren’s tiny body properly again.

Tweet, tweet!

“Thank you, Siren,” he choked, his voice once more returning to barely a whisper.

He sat there for a while, thinking. Siren soon decided that his hands weren’t a good enough perch and flew back up to his head to nestle under his locks.

What was he thinking about? Well, not much. Perhaps it was just the solitariness that he was enjoying.

“Ok, so, the world knows now. They know who I am,” Midoriya told Siren. He was just staring at the wall now, knowing his bird was happily nestled on top of his head. “Then again… they kind of already knew? The only different now is that they know my name and what I look like – Oh, and my Quirk too, I guess. That bit’s not that bad… right?”

Cheep, cheep!

“Right. But, um, yeah, it’s the people who knew me – not Canary – that I’m worried about… W-What will they say? What will they –”

“Midoriya?”

He flinched dramatically, although Siren still managed to cling on as Midoriya scrambled to his feet. “H-Hi, I-Iida,” he stammered.

“Are you ok?” Iida frowned.

“O-Oh yeah… just… thinking…” Midoriya replied awkwardly, kicking at the ground.

“Well, you did very well in that match, let me be the first to say congratulations,” he grinned.

“T-Thanks… a-and, sorry about s-stealing your t-team’s headband back t-then,” Midoriya added, pointing to Siren, who had been rather camouflaged against his hair.

“Oh, I see, is that your canary?” Iida frowned, adjusting his… what is that?

“Yeah, um…” Midoriya grimaced, “Iida, what are you wearing?”

“Ah yes, you remember Hatsume from your cavalry battle team?” Iida began to explain.

Midoriya fiddled with the headphones hanging around his neck, ‘Oh no, poor Iida.’

“Well, she has requested of me to wear some of her inventions in order to keep the fight fair and promote them in the process!” he announced happily, clearly quite pleased with his decision of helping Hatsume.

Midoriya gulped, “G-Good luck then.”

“And to you,” Iida returned, holding out his hand for Midoriya to shake, which he did. “If I win this, I will be facing you next.”

Midoriya hastily pulled his hand away, “Ah, right yes – I-I’ll see y-you then… then…”

Iida nodded and turned to walk towards the entrance to the arena.

Midoriya stood there in silence for a moment longer. Only when Present Mic’s voice boomed through the speakers, announcing the next match, did Midoriya begin to scamper his way up the stairs and back towards his seat.

He hesitated at the top of the stairs. He was on the other side of the arena this time, so, thankfully, he wouldn’t have to walk past the backs of the hero course students. However, it did mean he had to hurry past all the other classes.

Midoriya pulled his headphones back over his head, being careful not to squash Siren in the process, and he walked at a brisk pace down the corridor along the seating arrangements.

He was thankful to Hatsume, in… several ways… Firstly, for helping him make sure his headphones were at least remotely soundproof, and secondly, for being such a good distraction for the crowd and the other first year students, so Midoriya could theoretically hurry past without many noticing. Unfortunately, this plan was not a complete success.

“Hey, isn’t that Canary?”

Midoriya pretended not to hear them.

“Canary! Oh my gosh, it’s him!”

“I can’t believe he’s been hiding out amongst us for all this time.”

“Didn’t Present Mic say he was like, some super genius or something?”

“Do you think he’d give me his autograph if I asked?”

He almost missed the entrance to his class’ seating area in his haste.

No one noticed him at first. Some, optimistic, glimmer of hope at the back of his mind said that perhaps they would respect his boundaries. Smile and wave encouragingly at him, but just leave him be as he went to take his place beside Shinso, who currently had his hand over his face in disbelief as he barely watched Iida’s and Hatsume’s fight, which had just become a commercial for her gadgets at this point.

It was Koneko, with her cat-like senses, who picked up on Midoriya’s presence first. She did a double take, before gasping and turning around in her chair to gaze at him with stars in her eyes. “Midoriya!” she exclaimed, causing the rest of their class to take notice to him too. “You’re Canary!”

Midoriya didn’t say anything, only tensing his shoulders nervously as he wished that his wings had never faded, so he could take to the skies, never to be seen again.

In the meantime, his class had suddenly leapt to their feet, scrambling out of the rows of chairs to surround him, wide smiles crossing their faces.

“I can’t believe it!” exclaimed Matsumoto.

“Dude, you were amazing!” said Tachibana.

Koneko was bouncing up and down, “Seriously! Why didn’t you tell us?! This is the coolest thing ever!”

“Hey, do you think you could sign something for me, so I can show my friends out of school?” questioned Kana.

Midoriya blamed Shinso for his brief moment of sass, when he then used sign language to say, [I’d rather not]

Kana just blinked at him, completely missing the joke as Midoriya heard Shinso snigger distantly.

“This makes, like, no sense,” Koneko scoffed, turning to her classmates, a few of which nodded dumbfoundedly in agreement, “You’re Quirkless!”

“And mute,” Midoriya snapped, before slamming his hand over his mouth in surprise. He hadn’t planned on that word tumbling out into reality. Gosh, things were awfully difficult with speaking. It was like he had a faucet which he couldn’t control in terms of turning on and off, so it spewed water out everywhere at the unlikeliest of times.

Shinso grinned back at him, through a gap in the crowd around Midoriya, with that sadistic look of his.

“P-Put that in the p-past tense a-and you’d be correct,” Midoriya added, completely astounded by himself.

Still rather desperate to get out of this situation, Midoriya started to push through the crowd, down towards Shinso, but he was quickly halted by Ohchi, who had grasped onto his wrist as he passed by.

“You can talk!” she realised, a wide grin spreading across her face. “How long have you been able to –”

“Leave him alone,” Shinso interjected, still not getting up, but his smile had quickly faded.

A short-lived silence fell between them, filled only by the excitable cries of Hatsume down in the arena.

“So, what, you just don’t want to talk to us or something?” asked Kojima, who rarely spoke to any of his classmates anyway – the hypocrite.

Midoriya’s eyes widened in fright and he frantically shook his head.

“Talk to us then!” added Koneko, as curious as ever, despite the fact that Midoriya had already reached an all-time high in his word count towards them

Shinso actually did get up now, ready to properly intervene as Midoriya opened his mouth to reply.

“I-I-I…” he stammered, chocking on even such a simple word. All of a sudden, that mental shutter slammed shut between his mind and his mouth as he began to panic about what his disappointed classmates could possibly be thinking. And suddenly it was hard to breathe – that feeling of bile rising up the back of his throat returned. He held his hands over his neck, tears pricking at the corner of his eyes in utter frustration of falling at such a pathetic social hurdle.

Tweet, tweet!

And the bird hopped down from the very top of his head. Grasping into a particularly long strand of hair, Siren hung down so that her face was right before Midoriya’s.

“S-Sorry,” Midoriya breathed, focusing all his attention on Siren’s beady eyes, “I don’t… words…”

Swiftly, Shinso was there, pulling one of Midoriya’s hands away from his throat and leading him down the stairs by his wrist.

“Who do you think will win then?” Shinso questioned as he pushed Midoriya down into his seat, ignoring the worried stares of their classmates.

Midoriya’s eyes slowly drifted from Siren’s form, now hovering beside him, back towards the arena. “Iida.”

“Iida? But Hatsume has complete control of him,” Shinso scoffed, “Has this entire time.”

“She…” Midoriya furrowed his brow. What was wrong with him? It had never been like this before… Perhaps he should just fall back to sign language again – that would make things easier, right? But… he needed the practise. It was ok – he was just talking to Shinso… “She d-doesn’t want to advance.”

Shinso smiled at him, pulling out their strategy sheet. Midoriya had always been sure Iida would come out on top. “Surely it would be better for her if she went on to win the Sports Festival with her creations?”

“She won’t. C-Can’t – but Iida… could.”

“Yeah? But why would that be good for her?”

Midoriya took another deep breath and gazed down at Hatsume as she bragged about her many babies. “Because if she shows that she is more than capable of defeating Iida, and then Iida goes on to win the festival, what does that say about her? It will more efficiently showcase her capabilities without having to risk losing, or further damaging her gadgets.”

Shinso frowned, “Are you sure that’s what her plan is?”

“No. Absolutely not. She probably just wants to use this as an advertisement and has no need to do anything more beyond that.”

“Wait, wait, wait – I don’t get it – did you like, lie about being Quirkless or something?” Koneko interjected from the back of the stands, pouting with her hands on her hips; her tail twitching in irritation.

As Midoriya tensed up, Shinso turned around and glared daggers at her, after a brief glance towards Watanabe, he said, “Can you do us all a favour and, for once in your life, shut up?”

The girl gaped at him, clearly offended, her eyes flicking between Shinso and Midoriya, who was vaguely watching the exchange out of the corner of his eye. “Hey, I’m just –”

She fell silent when Shinso activated his Quirk. No one dared continue the conversation after that, and they slowly but surely, filed back to their seats.

“Err, Hatsume stepped out of bounds,” Midnight’s voice rang out over the rather bewildered stadium as Hatsume’s advertisement finally came to a close. “So, Iida advances to the next round.”

“Koda’s next,” Shinso realised as the audience cheered, possibly in relief that it was over.

“Oh, right!” Midoriya exclaimed, ‘Oh… that was loud…’ he realised, gingerly placing a hand over his mouth and glancing nervously at Shinso, who just smirked and shook his head in disbelief.

“They’re probably going to want to move onto the next round pretty quickly because of how long Hatsume and Iida took,” Shinso realised.

He was quickly proved right, and the thoughts of Midoriya’s troubles melted away as Present Mic finally announced the beginning of the next match.

UP NEXT, LET’S HOPE WE FINALLY GET A SUPER FLASHY FIGHT!” he exclaimed. “It’s a big guy with a big heart, Kouji Koda from the hero course – verses – is there a purpose to the horns on her head? It’s Mina Ashido, from the same class!”

Midoriya grasped Siren from the air and then leant over the wall before him, holding Siren out towards the pitch where Mina had just started defying all the laws of physics by skating forwards on her acid, a determined look on her face.

“Go help Koda, but be careful,” Midoriya insisted.

WHAT’S THIS?!” Present Mic exclaimed, “Looks like Koda’s taking advantage of the only animal not frightened of the noise we’re making!”

The camera panned to Midoriya, stretching his arms across the wall as Siren puffed out her chest, before leaping off his hands and soaring down towards Koda and Mina.

Koda seemed a little stunned as Siren started dive bombing Mina of her own accord, rather than taking an order from him. Midoriya just mimicked Shinso’s grin from a distance as Siren did her bit.

It wasn’t the flashy battle that Present Mic had perhaps been hoping for.

Mina seemed far more frightened of Siren than she was of her. But she was still sure not to use acid that could hurt her as she skated back and forth, desperately trying to get past Siren’s defences to reach Koda, who had now sucked up the courage to instruct Siren’s movements. Whether she was actually listening to them or not, was a completely different argument.

In the end, Midoriya had been right in assuming that Koda would not come out on top. He kept backing away from his ever-approaching opponent until eventually, he was forced to step out of the arena to avoid the puddles of acid, creeping in his direction.

Siren seemed to enjoy herself, at the least.

The next round, however, did not go quite as Midoriya had expected. Mainly because he had no idea what this dark shadow was truly capable of! Shinso just smiled at him and sighed as Midoriya pulled another notebook from his back and excitably started to jot down as many notes as he could on one small piece of paper.

Midoriya had all but forgotten about his earlier panic as he was drawn into the spectaculars of the festival. It was, in fact, only about halfway through Kirishima’s and Tetsutetsu’s drawn out fight when something finally caught his eye.

“I’ll see you in a bit,” Midoriya whispered to Shinso, grasping the notebook he’d been jotting Quirk logistics in and hurrying from his seat.

“Where are you going?” Shinso called out in reply, but Midoriya had already turned the corner before he had the chance to answer.

“Uraraka!” Midoriya called out, waving as he hurried after her.

“Hi, Canary,” she smiled, “You did great out there! So confident!” she insisted, punching the sky eagerly as she paused to talk with him. But her bubbly attitude seemed… so much more forced than usual.

“H-Have you g-got a strategy for y-your fight?” Midoriya questioned. He was acutely aware of the whispers and stares thrown in his direction by the other first years, but he tried his hardest to ignore them. Uraraka seemed less bothered.

She didn’t answer immediately, but after a moment’s thought she clenched her fists and nodded surely. “Yeah – yeah, I know what I need to do… It’s just… Oh, you wouldn’t know,” she sighed, fussing with her hair as they slowly began to walk towards the stairs. “The guy I’m up against, Bakugo – he’s one of the best in our class. I thought I’d be able to do a little better than flunking in the first round.”

“You really don’t have to come with me,” Uraraka smiled. “I’ll be fine, don’t worry.”

“O-Oh, it’s just… well, I-I thought that, if you h-hadn’t come up with a plan, that I could –” he cut himself off.

Uraraka turned to follow Midoriya’s gaze.

“Oh! Hi, Bakugo – good luck out there,” she smiled forcefully.

But Kacchan didn’t seem to care about her.

“The hell was that?” he snarled after a moment, curling the top of his lip and narrowing his eyes at Midoriya.

“What?” said Uraraka, confused as she glanced between the two boys.

Kacchan continued to ignore her completely as he stared Midoriya down. “You. Don’t. Have. A Quirk,” he growled.

It was Kacchan – Kacchan was speaking to him – expecting him to speak back! It had been so long since Midoriya dared to utter a sound before his childhood friend. It was one of the reasons he fell silent in the first place… actually…

He stopped shaking; curling into himself in a primordial instinct to make himself appear smaller. And that feeling of unrivalled fear was replaced with that hot, molten lump of an emotion that had been slowly building inside his gut for so long – anger. All of this was Kacchan’s fault.

If it weren’t for him – none of this would have ever happened.

He’s the reason he gave up on his dreams – the reason he stopped talking – and thus the reason he never found his Quirk. If it weren’t for him – Midoriya could already be in the hero course – he wouldn’t have to suffer through the pains his mind supplied, or the stress in the build up to the Sports Festival – or… or the radio station… or Siren’s little tantrums or even Shinso’s Quirk problems. He would have missed it all.

“I do,” Midoriya whispered, his eyes slowly drifting up to meet his. “I do have a Quirk, and you’d be happy to know that I didn’t have to take a swan dive to find it.”

Uraraka looked like she felt increasingly out of place.

“And I-I’d also like to thank you,” Midoriya added, standing up tall and trying his hardest to suppress the quiver that continue to wrack his nerves, “If it weren’t for you. None of this ever would have happened.”

And with that, he turned on his heel to march away, before hesitating, tilting his head and saying, “Good luck – both of you. I hope to see you in the finals.”

He hoped he’d left that ambiguous enough. Of course, he’d rather Uraraka would win out of the two. But… it was about time he stopped cowering into the shadows – and started fighting back.

 


 

“What do you think will get him talking?” Shinso questioned. He and Midoriya were sitting in one of the waiting rooms, staring blankly at their new strategy sheet, now the second round had finally been decided upon.

 

Midoriya was absentmindedly drawing another bird as he stared at the name Bakugo at the bottom of the piece of paper. He’d defeated Uraraka. He’d gotten better since Midoriya last saw him – but that had been expected, of course. And now the prospect of facing him was becoming ever more realistic – Midoriya wasn’t too sure how he felt about it.

“Midoriya?” said Shinso, grabbing his attention again.

Shinso’s match against Todoroki would start any minute now – after they’d decided who would proceed to the next round out of Kirishima and Tetsutetsu. Midoriya had already decided that it would be Kirishima.

“R-Right,” Midoriya stammered. “U-Um… a-anything to frustrate him enough to speak, I suppose.”

“Perhaps his scar,” Shinso pondered, jotting a note down above Todoroki’s name.

Midoriya pouted. He wasn’t fond Shinso’s method of getting people to talk. “H-How about a joke?”

Shinso gave him a look.

“W-What?! I-It would work. Y-You could m-make him laugh!”

He sighed, “First of all, do I look like the kind of guy that would be good at jokes? And secondly, does Todoroki look like the kind of guy who would like jokes?”

Midoriya wavered, “I suppose…”

“I get that Present Mic needed to announce our Quirks to even the playing field and explain what’s going on to the audience and heroes and stuff but…” he leant back in his chair, running his hands through in hair in frustration, “I have less of a shot of beating him without that detail – wait, what is that?”

“All the possibilities for death,” Midoriya explained, drawing arrows to a few of the matches, specifically, every single one Shinso took part in. He was quick to point that out.

“So, you don’t think there’s any chance of you getting hurt in your next match then, huh?” Shinso pondered.

“Well… I have an idea.”

“Oh, do you? Is it from my suggestion?”

“Well, the thing is – I never ended up finding a song that could slow someone down like that… I guess I could speed myself up. But I have a different strategy.”

Shinso faltered, clearly trying to think about what that strategy could possibly be as he continued to doodle on their brackets, “Well, I guess I’ll have to wait and see.”

Midoriya sighed, “Do you always have to sabotage my drawings?” he asked as he stared his bird doodle, which now had red eyes and sported the ten-million-six-hundred-and-fifteen-point headband.

“Yes,” he answered, without hesitation this time. He then put the lid on his pen and flicked it so it rolled across the table towards Midoriya. “Go up to the stands and I’ll see you in a bit,” he finished, getting to his feet and scraping his chair back.

Midoriya leapt to his feet and held out a hand for Shinso to shake, “It was nice knowing you.”

Shinso failed to contain his laughter as he shook Midoriya’s hand. “You too,” he replied. “If I don’t win – you have to incinerate him for me, ok?”

“I-I’ll try my best.”

He smiled broadly, and with that, his rather skeletal friend gave him a mock salute and disappeared down the corridor, ready to meet Todoroki on the battlefield.

Midoriya didn’t hesitate to pack up his pens and paper and run back to his seat. However, he didn’t get very far before –

“CANARY!”

‘Oh, no – not again…’

Midoriya jumped several meters backwards as Mina tried to throw herself at him for a hug.

“AH! That was so cool!” she exclaimed, completely overlooking the fact that Midoriya had intentionally avoided her touch.

Midoriya smiled meekly and started backing away.

“Like, oh my God! I can’t believe all that time we were talking about Canary in dance class and –”

Mina!” Midoriya exclaimed in a hushed voice, “Y-You d-didn’t t-tell anyone about t-that d-did you?”

“About dance?” she frowned, cocking her head to one side, “And AHHHHH! You talked oh my God!”

“T-That was a secret,” he blinked at her, unbelieving that she’d dare give out the only thing he trusted her with.

“Your talking?”

“N-No…”

Oh… Sorry – I thought that, well, considering that now everyone knows you’re Canary that you wouldn’t mind – I’m really sorry though!” she insisted.

Midoriya let his shoulders relax with a sigh. He supposed it wasn’t that big of a deal anymore anyway…

IT’S THE FIRST MATCH OF THE SECOND ROUND!”

Midoriya flinched – Shinso! “I-I have to go,” he insisted, and ran off without waiting for a reply.

Mina instead simply yelped as Siren reappeared and whizzed past her to follow Midoriya back to his seat, desperate to witness the fight. For whoever won, would be fighting whoever came out on top of Midoriya’s match.

 


 

It’s the seemingly unstoppable force that’s been frontrunning this entire competition, Shouto Todoroki! Verses, the underdog with a pretty terrifying Quirk – Hitoshi Shinso!”

“What do you hope to achieve by winning this festival, son of Endeavor?” Shinso snarled.

His opponent simply narrowed his eyes at him, making no attempt to speak.

READY?!”

“All you’ll do is win and show the world that you’re just an upgraded version of your father! What about people like me? People like Canary?! We need this so much more!”

“BEGIN!”

Todoroki slammed his foot forward and the ice began to creep along the floor towards Shinso.

“DON’T YOU HEAR ME, SCAR FACE?! WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE COMPARED TO ME?!”

But he didn’t reply.

And the ice surrounded him. It shot straight upwards, covering every muscle in an instant.

“Shinso is unable to move. Todoroki wins!”

Tears pricked at Shinso’s eyes as he gazed up at the stands. He could see Midoriya standing there. His headphones were on, face determined. He gave him a nod and disappeared.

Teeth gritted in frustration, Shinso glared at Todoroki as he put a hand on Shinso’s chest, warmth spreading out from it as he was thawed from his icy prison.

“I have nothing,” Shinso snarled. “I’ve started from the very bottom of this hell-hole of a society. Know that Canary has too – and he will beat you for me. Then I hope you’ll look forward to seeing those places filled in your godforsaken class – because we’ll be taking them.”

But no words left his mouth. He didn’t even meet Shinso’s eyes.

Just like it had always been –

– nothing ever changes.

Except, perhaps, for Midoriya.

 


 

Midoriya cracked his knuckles as he waited by the entrance to the arena. He was more determined than ever to win this – or at least get past this match.

He needed this.

NEXT UP! We have another young hero following the footsteps of a family legacy – Tenya Iida!”

Midoriya wasn’t hanging around. He needed this song to be as powerful as possible – and no one said anything about him not being able to start singing before the match started…

 

~Lullaby – Paloma Faith & Sigala~

 

The music began to play through his headphones, pulling Midoriya to a reality far from the one he was standing in, where he marched out into the stadium, muttering the lyrics as quietly as he could as he went – vaguely hearing Present Mic’s voice echo through.

No journey is too far for the one who healed my scars –”

VERSES! Our rising radio star – Canary! It’s Izuku Midoriya!”

–let me hold you…”

He reached the stairs, deaf to the screams and cheers of the audience as he paraded up towards his fate, walking in time to the beat.

“Good luck, Midoriya,” was what he was sure Iida had said as he nodded towards him.

READY?!”

“Somebody out there –”

Midoriya smiled, nodded in return, and reached up to tap the button on the side of his headphones that had been collecting dust this whole time – the speakers activated – his microphone extending forwards from the device –

BEGIN!”

– and he set his voice free.

Won’t you sing me your sweet lullaby?!”

He slid to his left as Iida charged forwards, missing him by inches – and Midoriya couldn’t help but smile.

–the sound of your voice is the thing that I need!”

Iida turned around at a remarkable velocity and sped towards him once more. Midoriya flipped this time, leaping right over his head and rolling to a stop on the ground, before scrambling to his feet and darting out of Iida’s path with startling agility, even for him. He supposed people knowing about his dance classes really wasn’t that much of a leap from what he could already do…

“‘Cause I just need your song!”

Jump.

Something to sing along!”

Dodge.

When I’m not –”

Flip!

Midoriya was beaming – literally dancing with the enemy, who was unable to lay a finger on him as he leapt from side to side.

But he could see the determination growing on Iida’s face – he’d use that super move of his in a moment – he’d been stalling, unsure of what Midoriya would do – come on, just a little longer…!

And as Iida went full throttle, speeding towards him like a juggernaut as Midoriya braced himself for an inevitable defeat –

“– So, sing to me!”

– Midoriya’s Quirk overcame him.

He stopped singing as he Iida’s eyes rolled to the back of his head, plummeting towards the ground before Midoriya.

He lunged forwards and grasped the back of Iida’s shirt, suspending him millimetres from the ground and saving his glasses, which barely remaining hanging off the bridge of his nose.

“Well played… Midoriya…” Iida moaned as Midoriya pushed his headphones from his head, so they dangled down over his shoulders.

He began to drag him across the arena to the edge as the crowd roared.

“Why…am I so… tired…?” Iida barely managed.

“Interesting, isn’t it?” Midoriya replied as he pushed him over the line. “It gets more and more powerful, every time I use it.”

“Iida is out of bounds! Midoriya advances to the next round!” Midnight cried

YYYEEEAAAHHH CANARRYYYY!” Present Mic cried as Midoriya crouched down beside Iida, trying to help him up.

Aren’t you supposed to be unbiased?” Eraser Head groaned.

“How… long does this last?” Iida mumbled as the robotic stretcher arrived.

“Err… yeah, I practise that one a lot so…” Midoriya tried to explain. “Um, well – it’ll wear off soon, don’t worry – and I’m really sorry about –”

“Don’t be sorry about… being… winning…” Iida slurred as Midoriya lifted his legs up onto the stretcher. And with that, he passed out.

 


 

Shinso grinned.

He’d changed into a spare set of UA’s regulatory sports uniform, because his own one was freezing cold and soaking wet. But that didn’t matter at the moment.

Canary had been victorious.

Midoriya smiled and waved at him as he hurried across the pitch and back towards the stairs to sit beside him in the stands for the next match.

Shinso’s gaze drifted to the teachers’ stands – where they sat, watching their students compete. If they let one of them into the hero course, then, like Midoriya had once pointed out to him, they surely had to contemplate the other as well, especially considering there were two spaces free in class 1-A.

Sure, Shinso was out – but that didn’t mean it was over for him yet.

 


 

Inko’s neighbours were probably becoming rather concerned at this point.

She was surprised she had enough tears to fell the constant need to ball her eyes out as she watched the Sports Festival through blurry eyes and the frequent tissues she held across her running nose.

Her baby was singing – and dancing and he was smiling.

It didn’t even matter if he won or not.

He had become a winner in her eyes ever since he uttered his first word.

 

Chapter Text

 

Instead of heading straight back to his seat beside Shinso, Midoriya instead hurried right the way around the inner workings of the Sports Festival stadium’s corridors, to locate Recovery Girl’s temporary office and check that Iida was ok.

He would have gotten there a lot quicker, if he hadn’t bumped into someone on the way there.

“Sorry, young man,” the tall, gaunt figure replied, holding out his hand to pull Midoriya to his feet.

It was then when they made eye contact.

“All Might,” Midoriya breathed, scrambling to his feet without the man’s help. “H-Hi…”

All Might blinked at him, utter surprise washing across his face. He glanced down at his deflated self and then back to Midoriya, “You know who I am?” he frowned.

Midoriya’s heart skipped a beat. ‘Does he… not remember who I am?’

“We… met,” Midoriya started hesitantly, surprised his voice was still working at all. “J-Just under a year ago now… actually.”

He narrowed his sullen eyes as his mind whirred – then they lit up, as much as they possibly could whilst still concealing the white colour of his sclerae. “You’re the… kid from that sludge villain incident, aren’t you?” he realised.

Midoriya nodded unsurely, backing away slightly, “Y-Yes… that was… before I knew I had a Q-Quirk…”

“That’s right…” the hero murmured. “You said you were Quirkless back then… But look at you now! You’re doing very well for yourself, Canary,” he smiled.

Midoriya looked up at him slowly. This was the man who used to cover every inch of his wall at home. Now, only one faded poster remained – beside an ever-growing collection of other posters, and a string of Aozora’s photographs.

Midoriya’s descent into muteness was gradual. Over many years, he simply said less and less until the words just didn’t come at all. At first, this was only towards his classmates, but then others too, slipped into this growing sense of distrust, until only his mother ever heard Midoriya speak. But it was that fateful day, the day he met All Might, that he truly stopped talking.

He remembered, after All Might had told him to find a career which was more… attainable – running towards the sludge villain as it slowly suffocated Kacchan – attacking its weak points in a frenzied attempt to free his old friend. He couldn’t just stand there and watch him die.

But Midoriya couldn’t bring himself to put on a brave smile, like All Might could, whilst he did his best to save Kacchan – nor did he utter any of these things aloud.

After the other heroes berated him for being so stupid… Midoriya realised his dreams really were… unattainable.

To think, Midoriya could have just plodded on through life, completely unaware of the power he possessed, if it weren’t for the people who trod him down – and for the people who pulled him back up again, he wouldn’t be standing there today.

“Are you ok, young Midoriya?” All Might frowned.

Midoriya flinched, he must have been standing in silence, thinking, for a little too long. He nodded, in response.

“Well, this is fortuitous timing, because I had just been told to go looking for you,” he continued.

Midoriya, becoming increasingly uncomfortable in this situation, simply nodded a second time in hopes that this would be over soon.

“We saw you singing before getting into the arena for Iida’s match,” he explained.

Midoriya’s eyes grew wide, his head snapping up and his head beating faster in panic – was he being told off? Would he be disqualified?!

“Don’t worry, young man!” All Might laughed, “You’re not in trouble. In fact, for nearly any other person, we would have completely ignored it. But you see, you are very powerful! We have to keep things fair – so make sure to not start singing until the fight begins next time, alright?”

Staring at the floor, Midoriya suppressed the rising lump in the back of his throat and simply nodded.

“But with what you’ve shown us so far,” All Might smiled, giving him a thumbs up, and swelling into his muscle form in a puff of steam, “It is clear that you shall one day become a great hero!”

 

No.

You’re too late for that.

 

 And then, unable to face this man any longer, Midoriya simply whispered, “Excuse me,” as he side stepped the hero and hurried past, almost breaking out into a run towards Recovery Girl’s office, leaving the number one hero standing behind him with a wavering smile and a bewildered mind.

He knocked thrice on the door.

“Hello?” Recovery Girl frowned as she let it creak open.

Midoriya was trying not to have a full-on fanboy freak out as she looked up to him with a soft smile on her face, “Ah, well if it isn’t Canary? It’s lovely to meet you, my dear.”

“Y-You too!” he stammered, “I-I’m here to see I-Iida. Is he still h-here?”

“Ah, such a sweet boy,” she grinned, opening the door wider, “Come in, come in.”

“Midoriya!” Iida exclaimed as he stumbled through the door, “What are you doing here?”

“O-Oh, just checking that you’re alright – that song d-doesn’t usually knock people un-unconscious,” Midoriya hastily explained.

Iida was sitting upright in a bed, with his legs hanging over one side. He straightened his glasses and smiled broadly at Midoriya, “How very kind of you! But I am perfectly alright – your Quirk has been slowly fading away – although I am still r-rather…” he yawned loudly, punctuating the end of his sentence, “tired…”

“I see that!” Midoriya laughed. “I’m really sorry – I didn’t see any other way to beat you rather than bringing you to a halt. I-I had speed songs but I knew that you had way more experience at high speeds than I did and therefore I thought it probably would have been strategically advantageous to –”

Iida laughed heartily, “Slow down, Midoriya!” he insisted, getting to his feet, “I haven’t heard you talk this much… well, before, really! It’s wonderful to hear!”

“O-Oh… thank you,” Midoriya blushed, rubbing the back of his head unsurely.

“You didn’t need to come and check on me,” Iida continued as he made his way towards the door. “You’ve got your match against Todoroki to prepare for.” He turned to Recovery Girl, swiftly thanked you with a bow, and then left with Midoriya trailing behind him.

“Yes, well, I-I think I have a plan,” Midoriya told Iida now they were walking back up the stairs towards the student seating area.

“Oh? Are you putting him to sleep like you did for me?” he questioned in obvious interest.

Midoriya shook his head, “I-I need to act a little more quickly with Todoroki – not that I didn’t need to for you! I-I thought for sure that I would lose…”

“Your dodging skills were quite remarkable, I must say,” Iida recalled. “I should have used my speed boosting move far earlier – but I was uncertain of what your power was and thought that it would be best to remain cautious.”

“W-Well, better l-luck next t-time, I g-guess,” Midoriya stuttered, unsure of what to say in response to such a compliment.

Iida laughed, “When you make it into class 1-A, I’ll be sure to organise a rematch! How does that sound?”

“O-Ok!”

Iida stopped by the back of his class’ seats. Midoriya cringed as nearly every single one of the hero students turned in their seats to stare at him.

Kacchan wasn’t there, thankfully – neither was Kirishima, nor Mina and the student with the dark shadow Quirk, who were just about to start their match down in the arena.

But Todoroki was there.

“I’ll see you soon, Midoriya – good luck in the remainder of the Sports Festival!” Iida smiled, walking down the steps to his seat near the front.

“Hi, Canary!” Uraraka called out with a wave.

Jiro waved too, “Hey, you did great – I had no idea you were that powerful.”

Midoriya laughed nervously as he backed away, waving feebly as he went.

Todoroki glared at him from the corner of his eyes.

Then Kaminari leapt to his feet and pointed at Midoriya dramatically, “YOU!” he exclaimed.

It had been a while since Midoriya had felt this uncomfortable.

“How dare you hold back on us like that! I thought you were Quirkless!” he pouted.

“S-So did I,” was Midoriya reply as he turned on his heel and hurried out of sight.

He ran past class 1-B before things had to get even more awkward, and then leapt down the steps towards Shinso, who was now warm, dry and free from any and all ice. No one from class 1-C spoke to him, which was a nice break from the chaos it all brought. But Midoriya was pretty sure that Koneko took a picture of him…

[It’s a shame we won’t get to fight next] Midoriya signed to him as he sat down – relief to take a break from talking for a little while.

“Ashido is out of bounds! Tokoyami advances to the next round!” Midnight cried at the end of the very quick match between the two. Midoriya hadn’t seen any of it.

[You’re only saying that because I would have won] Shinso replied with a smirk.

“Not true,” Midoriya pouted.

“It is,” Shinso sighed in reply.

Siren was perched on his shoulder, and she happily transferred to Midoriya’s as soon as she had the chance.

They sat there in silence for a moment, both lost in their own worlds. Midoriya was busy thinking through his song choices. He had to make sure the one against Todoroki was perfect – and not just for the power he needed from it.

The song he chose… wasn’t his strongest for this particular ability. It had a different strength to many others with similar meanings – whether it would be useful in his upcoming fight or not was yet to be determined.

– the top scorer in the hero course’s entrance exam this year, Katsuki Bakugo!”

Midoriya looked up as Present Mic continued to announce the final match of the quarter finals.

Verses… he’s shown us all he’s as hard as stone – tougher than nails! It’s Ejiro Kirishima!

“READY?!

“BEGIN!”

“You said Bakugo would win this match,” Shinso remembered, pulling the strategy sheet from Midoriya’s bag and staring at the confident red arrows he had drawn all over it.

Midoriya nodded, staring at the two as they fought.

“But look at Bakugo,” Shinso said, leaning forwards and narrowing his eyes. “He’s on the defensive this time,” he pointed out as Kirishima continued to take lunging jabs at his opponent, drawing a speck of blood from his cheek as he remained untouched.

For some reason, Present Mic’s commentary of the match seemed to surprise Midoriya. He’d been silent all throughout his fights – but that was probably because no one would be able to hear his singing otherwise… Other than that, most fights had been very short lived so far, or else Midoriya was too busy to watch them. Only now did he really have the opportunity to listen in.

–and he countered!” Present Mic cried as explosion after explosion was set off in Kirishima’s face, but nothing seemed to work, the smoke simply billowing off his hardened skin like it was nothing.

“Hm… Kirishima’s Quirk seems simple on the surface,” Midoriya muttered, “but it’s still effective…”

“Then isn’t there a good chance that he’ll come out on top?” Shinso predicted.

“All Quirks have their limits,” replied Midoriya.

WHAT?!” Present Mic suddenly exclaimed, startling the two somewhat. Even Siren let out a surprised tweet. “Bakugo’s countering again! But what’s this?! It seems to be working this time!”

“Kacchan is smart,” Midoriya whispered. “He must have come to the same conclusion that I did.”

Shinso frowned, “And what’s that?”

BANG!

Kacchan let out one of his larger explosions – far bigger than what he ever attempted back in middle school – which was subsequently followed by a bombardment of smaller, but just as affective, blasts.

Seconds later, Kirishima fell to the floor, unconscious.

“Kirishima is knocked out. Bakugo is the winner!” Midnight exclaimed with a cheer from the audience.

“There’s only so long that Kirishima’s Quirk can last,” said Midoriya.

“…But the same goes for you,” Shinso reminded him.

With that vicious carpet bombing, Bakugo advances to the third round!” Present Mic informed the audience.

As Kirishima was pulled out of the ring and Bakugo strolled back to the stands, his hands dug deep in his pockets, the screens above them flashed to an updated version of the brackets, before a display of the four remaining competitors: Bakugo, Tokoyami, Todoroki… and Midoriya.

LADIES, GENTLEMEN AND ALL THOSE IN BETWEEN! I GIVE YOU OUR FINAL FOUR!”

Midoriya gulped, straightening the device on his arm and moving Siren back to Shinso’s shoulder. “Wish me luck,” he said, standing up and starting to make his way back down towards the arena, his heart thumping so heavily that he was sure it could burst free from his ribcage at any moment.

“Good luck,” Shinso called back.

“Yeah, good luck, Canary,” repeated Tachibana.

“Good luck!”

“Show ‘em what you got, man!”

Midoriya smiled feebly at his classmates as he hurried past, waving goodbye as he took the long way down to the base of the stadium. Better avoid the back of the hero course seating area…

He put his headphones on as he walked, relishing in the muffled silence it brought.

God, he hoped this worked.

 


 

-THE FIRST MATCH OF THE SEMI-FINALS!”

Todoroki marched up the stairs – one foot in front of the other.

It’s the winner of the first round of the competition – Shouto Todoroki!”

As he came to a halt within the concrete pitch, he glared at his obstacle.

Verses – one of the leaders of our second round – Izuku Midoriya!”

He narrowed his eyes as this Canary put on his makeshift support item. Fiddling with the buttons on the headphone and breathing heavily into his extendable microphone in a way of checking that it was activated.

START!”

Todoroki put his right foot forward – ready to send his signature assault of ice in his opponent’s direction – but then –

 

~Things We Lost In The Fire – Bastille~

 

“Things we lost –”

Todoroki hesitated – what was… this?

“–to the flames…”

Todoroki had met Canary on only a few occasions, most of which being on that very day. He had only listened to the radio once – out of curiosity as he travelled to UA. In all those scenarios, Canary had never once struck Todoroki as so… intimidating.

He shook his head, tearing his eyes away from Canary’s piercing gaze, and took another couple of steps to initiate the fight.

But with the slow notes echoing across the stadium, Canary put his best foot forward too. He raised a hand at the fast approaching glacier of ice in as calm a manner as Todoroki had sent it.

Sits before–”

He vanished from view for a mere second.

–shattered into ash…”

And that’s exactly what it did.

“These are the things!”

The ice – it crumbled at the touch of his enemy’s fingertips – falling to the ground in a pile of dust and smoke.

The things we lost in the fire – fire – fire!”

Todoroki had been trying to shield his eyes, gritting his teeth as the ash billowed over the stadium – but now he could see him, a distant glowing figure, running right at him.

The things we lost in the fire – fire – fire!”

He came into view only seconds before Todoroki had the chance to throw up a shield of ice.

Canary landed right on it – not slipping as his flame covered hands dug into the ice – it turning to dust as the flames licked the crystalline structure.

Todoroki’s eyes widened as he leapt back – that was the power – the fire cremated anything it touched instantly.

Canary grinned at him, “–down the backs of tabletops –”

Damnit – that was annoying.

Todoroki threw up another wall of ice, desperate to get some distance and rethink this.

The ash was starting to settle now – clearing the air so his eyes stopped watering – each breath he took didn’t make coughs wrack his body. How Canary didn’t manage to suffer from this problem, was beyond him.

–when loneliness came and you were away…”

What the hell was this song meant to be about anyway?

His ice wall fell to the ground in another crash of grey dust – obscuring his vision again. The more of his ice he used – the harder it was to fight.

These are the things!”

And Canary leapt back into view again. Jumping towards him, leaving clouds of ash in his wake, he swiped furiously at Todoroki, the flames flashing before his eyes.

“–The things we lost in the–”

Dodge.

Fire–”

Duck.

“–Fire–”

Roll.

“–Fire!”

Todoroki lunged forwards at exactly the right moment, aiming for the device tied poorly to Canary’s left arm, in a desperate attempt to freeze it over and stop the music – but the flames dissipated the ice crystals in the moment they formed, before Canary knocked him away harshly.

“–in the fire – fire – fire!”

And then Canary ran back again, hidden by the foggy illusion he had created as his voice continued to boom out across the stadium.

Why did he retreat so suddenly? That didn’t make any sense – why –

Todoroki’s eyes widened – it was the music.

The chorus had ended, and now the distant glow of Canary’s fire dimmed along with the song – his fire had crept back down his arms; no longer eating at his sleeves. He must have been strongest right at the beginning – when the song swelled so suddenly – but now, during the verses, he was weaker.

Now was the time to make his move.

I was the match –”

Todoroki cooled the air around him as quickly and as severely as he could, watching as the flakes of ash loaded themselves with ice, and fell to the ground like snow.

He could hear the announcer’s excited yell as the stadium became more and more visible.

Canary stood across the pitch from him, flakes of snowy ash clinging to his green tinged hair. He held out his hand towards him, a flame flickering in his palm.

–all we had burn on the pyre.”

Todoroki gritted his teeth and charged towards him once more, desperate to freeze him solid – covering his mouth in the process.

–sure as hell have nothing now!”

…What?

We were born–”

 

“I have nothing,” the brainwasher snarled.

 

“–and we sure as hell–”

 

“I’ve started from the very bottom of this hell-hole of a society. Know that Canary has too – and he will beat you for me!”

 

These are the things!”

The flames reached him this time as they were thrown from Canary’s hands – the chorus bringing his greater power as Todoroki stumbled backwards, trying and failing to send ice in his enemy’s direction to freeze him in place.

He could hear the crunch of the snow beneath his feet despite the reverberating sound of Canary’s singing – wait –

The snow – It covered the ground – smothering the raised pitch and a little beyond as yet more of the ash continued to fall.

And he couldn’t see the boarder lines.

Now he realised that Canary always positioned himself further towards the middle of the pitch than he did. His feet scraped across the ground, as if trying to see if they had stepped over the line at any point.

Do you understand that we will never be the same again?!”

Canary leapt to his left side – Todoroki’s fire… if he used his fire he could – no – no, he wouldn’t

Canary grasped Todoroki’s arm – but he didn’t let his own flames lick Todoroki’s skin. He stared into his eyes – the ferocity fading from his expression as he sung:

The future’s in our hands and we will – never be the same again…”

Todoroki tossed his hand away, snarling as he sent more of his ice in Canary’s direction. He jumped and dodged – not able to defy the laws of physics and disintegrate it this time.

What the hell was this Quirk supposed to be?

–never be the same again!”

And then – with a flash of anger across Canary’s face – he lashed out, leaping off Todoroki’s ice and kicking him right in the stomach.

 

“These are the things!”

 

He remembered being curled up, cradling his injured body.

 

The things we lost!”

 

He remembered his father standing over him, scowling.

 

“The things we lost in the fire – fire – fire!”

 

As Todoroki relied on his reflexes, scrambling to his feet to evade Canary – he remembered what he had lost.

These are the things!”

His childhood.

The things we lost –”

The family he could have loved.

The things we lost –”

his control over his future – over his Quirk.

–in the fire – fire – fire!”

 

Canary span on his heel and kicked him around the head with impressive flexibility. Todoroki would have fallen to the ground if it weren’t for the support from the ice he summoned in a split-second response – although the barricade between the two didn’t last long, before it shattered into the grey-white substance that now overwhelmed every surface.

If Todoroki used his fire now – he could melt all the snow and overwhelm Canary himself…

Now, he had to use it now!

That sounded like Father’s voice. He could almost feel his eyes glaring down at him from the stands.

No!

He refused.

He refused to lose anything more to the fire.

 

Just remember, stay true to yourself,” his mother had once said. Long before he lost her to his father’s flames. “You are not a prisoner of your lineage – it’s ok to use your power; to become who you want to be.”

 

But what would he be losing – if not himself?

 

And so, finally, he set himself free.

 

Flames they licked – the wounds…”

Todoroki’s eyes widened – the flames roaring up his side as Canary’s died down – the song was coming to an end but then…

…the snow beneath his feet melted away.

–all that I adored…”

And there was the boundary line.

 

There was a silence that fell over the stadium, whilst Canary turned off his music and smiled, bowing to Todoroki.

 

Finally, Midnight raised her whip into the sky, and exclaimed, “Todoroki is out of bounds! Midoriya advances to the final!”

 

Todoroki stumbled backwards, his own fire fading. Until the throbbing in his head became too much, and he collapsed under the weight of his own mind.

 


 

The song echoed in the back of Todoroki’s mind.

Flames they licked… the wounds…

As he woke up, he reached for his scar, stroking the damaged skin in hopes to banish the phantom pains.

“How are you feeling, dearie?”

Todoroki’s gaze drifted to the kind old face of Recovery Girl.

He didn’t reply, sitting up and blinking at his surroundings as ash fell from his hair. He was in the old heroine’s temporary office at the stadium. Wait, what happened?

“You have a very worried visitor, if you’re willing to see him,” Recovery Girl informed him as she poured a couple of her energy gummies into his open hand.

Todoroki frowned, “Who?” he croaked.

She just smiled, before using her cane to hobble open the door and pull it open, “Come in, come in,” she insisted, and Todoroki’s visitor did just that.

Todoroki furrowed his brow – why on Earth was –

“I-I’m sorry,” Canary stammered. “I-I think I kicked you a few times, are you ok?”

He blinked at him. Todoroki could already feel the bruises blossoming on his gut – but it was nothing he wasn’t used to. “Yeah… fine,” he replied, still thoroughly confused.

“O-Oh, that’s good to h-hear,” Canary sighed, fiddling with the wire attached to the headphones around his neck. “I-I was a little worried w-when you passed out…”

Todoroki rubbed the side of his head, where yet another large lump was forming. As he did so – he could hear the distant explosions of the next match.

“Shouldn’t you be watching this fight?” Todoroki pointed out as he stood up.

Canary hesitated, “Oh, right – um – n-no, it’s ok, I-I already know what’s going to happen anyway…”

“You… do?”

“Well, yeah? I mean… T-Tokoyami’s dark shadow is great and all but… I’m pretty sure it has a weakness to light? I-I’ve been watching you all… That’s how I figured out you w-weren’t using your fire,” he admitted.

Todoroki wasn’t sure what to think of this strange new edition to his life. He wasn’t like anyone he’d ever met before at UA – or even beyond, for that matter. But no one else would come and check on him after he passed out, even if there was a possibility it was due to injuries inflicted by them.

Recovery Girl smiled as she sent the two on their way, letting the door swing closed behind them.

They walked in silence through the corridors for a while, Todoroki’s brain whirring as he tried to process the events of the last… how ever long it had been.

“I liked that song,” he eventually said.

The words seemed to startle Canary, “Y-Yeah?” he replied.

Todoroki nodded in confirmation, “I’d never heard it before.”

“I-It gives a… useful power for me,” Canary explained.

Todoroki raised an eyebrow at him, “And what power would that be exactly?”

Canary wavered, before giving him a feeble laugh, “Well, you see – t-that didn’t actually end up doing what I thought it would…”

Todoroki stared at him, “You… didn’t know what your Quirk would do?”

“Um, no, not really… Well – I’ve a-actually practised that song quite a few times. The fire has done the err… ash shattering thing – a few times before? But not to that extent. I-I think that my Quirk becomes stronger if I’m more emotional… or maybe because I’m trying really, really hard to convey the message of the song…”

“You were?”

Canary flinched. “You weren’t using your fire… and then earlier – in your match against… I think his name’s Sero? I, err… well, I just – you looked so sad… I know what that feels like…”

Todoroki let his shoulders relax, stopping at the bottom of the stairs as he stared at him. He opened his mouth to reply, before closing it again, unsure. He wasn’t used to this… talking to people. But then again, Canary didn’t seem to be either.

He held out his hand to Canary, “You… deserve your place in the finals,” he told him as Canary cautiously took his hand.

The last words of Canary’s brainwashing friend resonated in his brain.

“Then I hope you’ll look forward to seeing those places filled in your godforsaken class – because we’ll be taking them.”

“–and your place in the hero course,” Todoroki added.

Canary broke out into a wobbly smile, “T-Thanks…”

Todoroki had shaken the hands of far too many people in his lifetime. Not a single one of which was someone he legitimately respected, nor admired. But you could tell a lot about a person by how they shook your hand. And Canary? Canary was tired. He felt so weak, wobbly; unsure of himself. Whether that was simply his personality, or him being seriously lethargic, was up for debate.

They started to walk up the stairs together.

“So, um, a-are we friends n-now?” Canary stammered, almost tripping over a step in the process.

Todoroki blinked at him, remembering something he had said to class 1-A only a few hours beforehand:

We’re not here to be each other’s friends.”

“I…” said Todoroki, focusing intently on his steps as they continued to climb upwards. He smiled softly, “I would be honoured to be.”

Canary’s face lit up, “A-After the Sports Festival – I can give you my number and then I’ll send that song to you!”

They reached the top of the stairs, and then the back of class 1-A’s seating area. “I look forward to it,” Todoroki smiled.

He turned back to his class, his smile fading quickly as he saw them all staring at him.

WOAH! Bakugo leaps behind Tokoyami!” the commentator cried over the stadium.

Canary peered over Todoroki’s shoulder at the match still ongoing, below in the arena.

“How long was I unconscious?” Todoroki frowned. They’d already cleared away all the snow and ash and Bakugo’s fight wasn’t far from finishing.

HEY! Stop obscuring the arena – how am I supposed to commentate when I can’t see?!”

Canary cringed at those words – Bakugo had just sent a vast amount of smoke up into the sky, hiding him and Tokoyami from view.

“Quite a while, man,” Kirishima replied, scratching at the plasters on his face. “And – hey, is that Canary?”

Canary let out a squeal as he was spotted, before giving a very feeble wave.

“Tokoyami gives up!” Midnight cried. “Bakugo is the winner of this match!”

The others turned to stare down at the pitch again.

The commentator was quick to announce the results, “That means our final fight will be between Bakugo and Canary!”

Bakugo turned his head slowly, and then narrowed his eyes up at Canary.

He gulped.

Todoroki’s classmates started muttering about the outcome of the match, but all Todoroki could think about was Canary’s fate.

“Good luck in your last match,” Todoroki told Canary, who continued to stare down at Bakugo, practically shaking in his boots.

“T-Thanks,” he barely whispered in response, “I think I’m going to need it…”

 

Chapter Text

After leaving Todoroki, Midoriya hurried straight back down the stairs; ran all the way to his designated waiting room and proceeded to pace in circles, staring at the ground beneath his feet blankly as his mind raced…

 

–Selectively mute.”

The class turned and stared at him, and Midoriya sunk further into his desk, bile rising up the back of his throat as his shoulders began to shake.

Whatever words further droned from his teacher’s mouth fell short of Midoriya ears. All he could hear was a ringing noise – like the sound which reverberated around him when Kacchan used his Quirk.

BOOM!

There it was.

“HEY, WHAT THE HECK DID HE MEAN BY THAT?!” Kacchan yelled.

So loud – always so, so loud.

And not a good kind of loud either – not like All Might – not like Present Mic on the radio – this was a scary loud.

The teacher had gone now – Midoriya realised. How long had he been gone? How long had he been sitting there, lost to the mess that his mind had become?

“How can you be selectively mute?” scoffed one of those blank faced people who never told him their name. There were too many names on the register. And why would Midoriya cast any of them to memory, if not all bothered doing the same to his?

“So, what, you just choose not to talk to certain people?” frowned another. “In which case – I’d like to be selectively mute too,” they laughed.

Not funny. Really – not funny.

“Basically – he just doesn’t want to talk to us.”

“How on Earth do you think he managed to get a doctor’s note for it?”

Why were they talking like he wasn’t there?

“It’s just pathetic, Deku,” snarled Kacchan. “Bet you think you’re above us all, huh? Too smart to be associated with losers like these!”

“Hey, Katsuki! Watch your mouth!”

“Yeah, at least Midoriya’s got the decency to not insult us to our faces!”

“Oh, right he can’t – remember, he doesn’t want to even speak to us.”

I’m getting into UA’s hero course – and even if you get into general studies – you’ll be eating my dust whilst I become the number one hero, and you’ll be left in the gutter!” Kacchan told him, tossing his books on the floor.

Midoriya scrambled off his chair to retrieve the scattered paper.

“He said he’d be a paramedic, right?”

Said is a loose term.”

“How can you help anyone if you refuse to speak to them? Just seems rude, to be honest.”

He fumbled with his notes, almost dropping them again as he wished being mute meant no one could speak to him either.

 “Defenceless Izuku – look at him, he’s practically shaking in his boots!”

“Come on, Deku – speak to us!

“Yeah, come on, already!”

“Just leave him. If he doesn’t want to speak to us, then he’s not worth our time.”

“I heard all he does is study. That’s why he’s top of the class – and why he’s got no friends either.”

 “Ha, ha – is he going to cry?”

 “Stupid Deku.”

“Where are you going, Midoriya?”

“Run back to your little hidey hole then, Deku!”

“Hey, what are you doing?”

“Speak to us, Midoriya!”

“Midoriya?”

“It’s not that hard, Deku!”

“Snap out of it!”

“We’re not done here yet, bastard!”

“Midoriya?!”

“CANARY!”

 

Midoriya blinked, his hand gripping on the table leg – it was solid; real.

Shinso was there, holding on to his shoulders, a worried expression covering his face, “Are you alright?”

He leant into the touch of the table – where reality was certain. He nodded weakly.

Shinso sat, cross legged in front of him, clearly freaked. “You have a while until the final starts,” he informed him. “Is there something you wanted to talk about?”

Siren tweeted softly at Midoriya, hopping onto his knee and cocking her head to one side.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, pushing his hair out of his face, “I think I got… lost in thought.”

“Yeah,” Shinso replied, standing up to move to a proper chair.

Midoriya followed after a moment’s hesitation.

“Were you thinking about Bakugo?” Shinso supposed, hitting the nail on the head.

Midoriya focused his attention on Siren, who had just landed in front of him on the table. He nodded.

“Just beat him up.”

Midoriya almost laughed.

“I’m not kidding – you’d probably be applauded for it – no, you will be applauded for it.”

[I don’t want to beat him up] Midoriya signed.

“Yes, you do.”

Midoriya was smiling now, unable to shake his head to deny this.

Siren chirped supportively.

“You do,” Shinso repeated. “At this point, it doesn’t even matter if you win or lose. Either way, the school simply has to acknowledge you for the hero course – and with you, they’ll probably consider me. Right now, the victory you need, is the one over whatever the hell is going on in your head.”

He nodded, still smiling at his friend. “W-Well then, what do I do?”

“For what, the fight?”

He simply nodded once more.

“Chose a song that will really blow his fuse,” Shinso grinned manically.

“…Isn’t that a rather bad strategy for someone who is going to literally blow me up?”

He laughed, “You don’t get it! Mimic him.”

“M-Mimic…. What?” Midoriya frowned, unable to suppress his bewildered smile.

“You know his Quirk, right?” Shinso continued as Midoriya nodded in agreement, “You know how he works. Then find a song which gives you a similar power to him and use it against him. Beat him at his own game.”

“I-I don’t know if I can beat him.”

“You’ve come this far,” Shinso acknowledged. “It can’t hurt to try.”

Midoriya winced, “I don’t know about that…”

“Oh, come on – stop twisting my words,” Shinso sighed, standing up from his chair, grabbing Siren and plonking her back on his shoulder. She didn’t protest. “It doesn’t matter if you end up in first place anymore,” he repeated, trying to drill that fact into his head.

Midoriya stood up too, thinking through the various songs he’d practised for fun over the past few weeks. There was one that… yes – that’s the one… It described Kacchan perfectly. But did he really want to risk it?

“You will have won the moment you start singing.”

Shinso held out his hand and with a stifled laugh, they did an awkward fist bump – something that Midoriya had never attempted before in his life – and he very much doubted that Shinso had either.

“Are you really ok, though?” Shinso pressed. “You don’t look too good.”

Midoriya smiled, sitting back down in his chair. “I’m just… tired.

“You look it,” Shinso agreed, pulling his own seat around the table so he could sit opposite him. “Is it to do with your Quirk?”

He hesitated before giving him an affirmative nod. “That last song… the one I used against Todoroki – it was so much more powerful than it should have been… I think it was my emotions. I got worked up, so my power did too but it really sucked up my energy and I…” Midoriya shook his head, unsure of what he was concluding. “I don’t know how much my Quirk can take…”

There was a moment of silence before Shinso replied, “You’ve only had it for a few weeks. Of course, you’d reach your limits quicker than the hero course students.”

“I-I think I can manage one more song,” said Midoriya confidently. “I… only need one more anyway.”

“Right,” Shinso nodded. “Just be careful.”

Silence fell between them again as Midoriya’s mind whirred.

“I have an idea of what song to use,” he smirked after a moment or so.

Untangling the wire from his shirt, he leaned over the table and put the headphones on Shinso’s head, before starting to play the song in question.

It took a while before Shinso’s grin reached his eyes, but once he reached the chorus, he was almost shaking his head in disbelief.

“If you can sing that,” Shinso told him, returning his headphones, “you deserve more than just a dumb medal.”

 


 

Deku.

Bakugo was in the finals of the greatest sporting event in Japan – and his opponent was none other than Deku. The Quirkless, mute, loser that had been trailing him around like a lost puppy ever since he could remember.

But now he wasn’t mute. And he wasn’t Quirkless either. And he certainly wasn’t the nobody that Bakugo had become accustomed to kicking aside whenever he got too freaking clingy. He was calling himself Canary – had a Quirk that easily matched Icy-Hot’s – and had yet to be scratched by any of his classmates. Not even the ones that Bakugo had stared at on his first few days of UA, with the profound realisation that perhaps he wasn’t the best. But, oh, he had showed them – he’d shown them all. He was at the very top of this damned school! No one was going to stop him from being the best of the best! But then…

–There was Deku.

Bakugo kicked the door open to his waiting room, only for his eyes to rest on the faces of two others, sitting opposite each other around the table in the centre of the room.

“Hey, what are you two bastards doing here?!” Bakugo snarled, “This is my place to –”

Waiting room 2.

Damn it.

“Back off, would you?” said the purple haired imbecile from general studies. That tired, skeletal looking guy with the brainwashing Quirk.

Bakugo gritted his teeth and marched up to him. “What the hell do you want, Eyebags?”

“I want you to back the hell off,” he said, standing up and glaring at him. “Do you want me to use my Quirk on you?”

Bakugo didn’t dare reply to that question. Instead, he turned his head towards Deku, who had cowered into his chair like he always used to, with his stupid little bird cupped in his hands.

“Are you going to freaking speak to me now, huh?” Bakugo questioned him.

Deku simply averted his eyes, stroking the bird gingerly.

“You better not freeze up on me,” he continued, baring his teeth as he ignored Eyebags. “I want the world to know that you’re nothing compared to me! I will beat you at your best – however pathetic that may be!”

And with that, he turned on his heel and stormed away.

If Deku thought he could sing him a little song and everything would be over and done with – then he had another thing coming.

 


 

WELCOME TO THE FINAL BATTLE OF THE UA SPORTS FESTIVAL!” Present Mic cried. “In just a moment here we’ll see which first years come out on top!”

Midoriya was already standing in his position, opposite Kacchan in the arena. He had his headphones on. He could hear the muffled voice of his teacher, and the enthusiastic roar of the crowd. But he could also hear the thumping of his own heart as he stared at his childhood friend – at the sadistic smile spread across his face and the position of his hands, ready to send that explosive power of his roaring in Midoriya’s direction. If he didn’t time this right – it would be over in a matter of seconds.

“Yes, It all comes down to this, folks! It’s the top of the hero course – Katsuki Bakugo! Verses – the top of general studies – Izuku Midoriya!”

This was it – this was what it had all been building up to.

Midoriya turned his head to look at the distant face of Shinso in the crowd. He mimicked his grin and turned back to Kacchan.

Kacchan flinched, his smile fading for a moment, before returning with a more determined force.

READY?!”

Midoriya activated his microphone and breathed deeply into it; hearing the sound echo across the pitch as his hand hovered over the play button on the device strapped to his arm, suppressing the painful throbbing feeling inside his head.

BEGIN!”

 

~Legend – The Score~

 

Midoriya felt his grin grow wider as the music began to swell into being. He relished in the confusion that briefly flickered across Kacchan’s face.

This was not Midoriya’s normal type of music.

And that’s what made it so perfect.

As he let the first sound fall from his mouth, he expertly manoeuvred himself to evade Kacchan’s first attack. It was much easier to fight with this song than it had been with Todoroki’s. His had been much slower – not good for a fast-paced battle. He’d barely come out on top of that anyway. A couple of seconds more and he would have been screwed – but now wasn’t the time to think back on where he could have gone wrong. Or else he would have even more regrets to deal with after messing this up too.

Here we go, here we go!” he began, “It’s about time that we set it off.”

He was walking backwards now, easily predicting Kacchan’s first movements, like he had his entire life. He also knew that it wouldn’t be long until, like Shinso had said, his fuse would blow – and his fighting style would be thrown out of sync as his anger took hold. Midoriya couldn’t be sure if it was a strength or a weakness.

Midoriya ducked and rolled as another blast was sent his way, remerging behind his opponent – about to hit him hard.

But he hesitated – he should have hit Kacchan around the head – but… why did he hesitate?

Kacchan turned faster than Midoriya could think, attempting to achieve what Midoriya hadn’t. With another duck, Midoriya avoided that right hook of his.

So predictable. Midoriya could use that…

Now he was back to evading as the fury built up in Kacchan’s expression. Midoriya should be thanking him – after all, he was the one who taught him how to dodge, if not unknowingly.

“Got me singing like –”

His smile returned.

Bang, bang!”

And Kacchan’s faded.

Bang, bang!”

He felt the energy begin to run through his very veins.

“–this fire’s a weapon!”

He tried to put some distance between them – using the skills he’d innocently picked up on in dance to evade Kacchan further. The power roared towards Midoriya’s palms, building up and up – until he let go.

–won’t stop ‘til we’re legends!”

BOOM!

The fire rippled through the air, much like it did for Kacchan’s Quirk, and it engulfed him as Midoriya was propelled into the air.

WHAT’S THIS?! Canary’s using his Quirk to completely copy Bakugo’s!” Present Mic exclaimed in excitement as Kacchan roared out in frustration, failing to supress his nitrogenous sweat from igniting in the heat that Midoriya sent his way.

BANG! – went Midoriya’s new power as he sent another explosion at Kacchan.

It tossed him off the ground again, until he skidded to a halt not far from where Kacchan had been hit.

Won’t stop ‘til we’re legends!”

Oh, he looked furious.

– here we go, it’s my turn –”

Bakugo swivelled and threw an explosion of his own at Midoriya. He countered with his own, slightly weaker blast – now that the chorus was over. But it didn’t matter, because he knew how to deal with a power like this. He’d studied Kacchan’s for years.

Yeah – a dreamer with the fever to be great was all I ever want –”

Their combat was faster paced now – evading and counter-attacking – exchanging the crackles and pops of each other’s abilities in a fiery game of cat and mouse, leaving scorch marks all across the concrete and the crowd cheered and yelled beyond the bellowing sound of Midoriya’s music. But Kacchan’s aim was becoming more precise – his anger just kept on building.

Got me singing like –”

But so was Midoriya’s – and the chorus was just about to return, and so with it would the fullest extent of this song’s abilities.

Bang, bang – this fire’s a weapon!”

Kacchan didn’t let him run this time – the blast would just have to be point blank as his power dipped and started to surge up inside of him.

Bang, bang – won’t stop ‘til we’re legends!”

KABOOM!

And the music stopped.

Kacchan had grabbed a hold of his arm, pushing his extended palm out of the way so that Midoriya’s fire barely skimmed his cheek, as he sent his own power straight at his left arm, frying the mechanism of his and Hatsume’s invention, burning the wire and searing through the strap.

Midoriya tried to leap backwards as Present Mic screamed out the result of the hit, but Bakugo didn’t let go of his arm. He swung his fist and hit Midoriya square in the jaw.

He tumbled to the ground, rolling across the rough concrete painfully.

He looked up as Bakugo sneered; his foot crunched down on the most integral part of Midoriya’s support item.

“Is that all you’ve got?!” he leered, and then charged.

In panic, Midoriya held up his right hand again, blasting Bakugo as he leapt to his feet – he hadn’t expected for Midoriya’s power to linger. But it was far weaker than it had been. It could now be easily compared with the fire that Bakugo toyed with in middle school – what he used to threaten rather than attack.

Midoriya’s cool confidence faded quicker than the song had when it was cut short.

Ripping the dangling wire from his headphones, Midoriya summersaulted to avoid another blast.

Without the beat of the music, he felt lost – his movements uncoordinated and messy.

His head was throbbing – his body felt sluggish – he could barely see straight, let alone keep fighting.

Now what? What could he do without his music?

Sure, he could activate his Quirk without a backing track – no problem. But it was weaker – and moreover, in the stress of the situation, the lyrics simply didn’t come to his mind.

“Don’t you dare fall mute on me again!” Bakugo roared – Midoriya was surprised it wasn’t amplified by his microphone.

Without his singing, Canary’s power is completely done for!” Present Mic shouted across the stadium. But his voice didn’t hold its usual excitement – he just sounded worried.

All Midoriya could hear beyond that was a ringing noise…

…the one which reverberated around him when Kacchan used his Quirk.

BOOM! BOOM! BANG!

And now he was being tossed around like a ragdoll – none of his dodges successful – the heat kissing his skin like he was right back in middle school.

“You are nothing, Deku!”

BOOM! BOOM! BANG!

“You won’t be getting on the hero course – and your freakish friend won’t either!”

He caught a glimpse of Shinso up in the stands. He was shouting something. Midoriya couldn’t hear anything more than Kacchan’s explosions –

BOOM! BOOM! BANG!

–but the very image of his moving mouth brought a little spark of determination back from the depths of Midoriya’s mind and –

BOOM! BOOM! BANG!

– and he didn’t need music to find a rhythm.

He held his hand over his microphone to block out the sound as he shouted back, “Don’t you dare insult my friend! He’s spent his whole life being called a villain – whilst you were called a hero! Well, you know what?! THEY GOT IT THE WRONG WAY AROUND!”

He gritted his teeth and let a grin return to his face. He pushed past the limits of his Quirk, as he started to clap his hands, and stomp his feet.

 

~We Will Rock You – Queen~

 

He couldn’t go on much longer – but he put on a smile like… Present Mic would! And he kept going anyway. Maybe, in some piece of luck – greater than what blessed him in Todoroki’s match – he could still win this.

So, he slammed his feet into the ground and clapping his hands close to the microphone by his lips.

He couldn’t hear much, despite the fact that the music was no longer booming through his headphones. But, despite that, it didn’t take long until even Kacchan’s blasts were drowned out by the deafening sound of a very familiar beat.

Buddy, you’re a boy, make a big noise –”

“DAMNIT!” Kacchan cried, lunging towards him with another blast.

He’d only used this song once before. Every other power he’d utilised in the festival had been heavily practised and well thought out… to some extent. But this was certainly a spur of the moment decision.

And even through his headphones, Midoriya could hear every single member of the audience scream those words, laughing; clapping their hands; stomping their feet; joining in and edging Midoriya on.

Singing, we–”

Midoriya slammed his feet into the ground once more – but this time was not like the others. The concrete beneath him cracked and crumbled; great boulders rose from it, which Midoriya kicked skilfully in Kacchan’s direction.

We will, we will, rock you!”

Midoriya’s feet moved in time to the beat that the stadium provided for him – spitting the words like venom at his opponent.

Buddy, you’re a –”

Surely, Kacchan was running out of go like Midoriya was? Wasn’t most of his sweat burnt away by Midoriya’s earlier song? Just how much stronger had he gotten during his short time in the hero course; since his explosions were last sent in Midoriya’s way?

But Kacchan continued to roar as Midoriya’s head persisted to throb. He knew he was still singing – but the words were simply falling from his mouth at this point. He felt like he was fighting for his life, rather than just for a competition.

We will, we will, rock you!”

One of Midoriya’s boulders whizzed past his face, cutting into it and leaving behind a nasty red mark.

We will, we will, rock you!”

He was thrown a distance away, forced to be on the defensive like he’d been with Kirishima, as he struggled to destroy the pieces of rubble that Midoriya kicked and punched in his direction.

Midoriya’s knuckles were raw from impacting the concrete, but the physical pain meant nothing to him compared to what Kacchan had put him through in the past. He still bore those scars – mentally. This was him, fighting through them.

–somebody better put you back into your place!”

And Kacchan screamed.

“We will, we will, rock you!”

He leapt up onto one of the discarded boulders and propelled himself into the air.

We will, we will, rock you!”

Midoriya tried his hardest, frantically tossing the rock at the explosive hero student as he spun himself around in the air, avoiding every single projectile.

“We will, we will, rock you!”

Kacchan spun himself into a swirling whirlwind of smoke and fire as Midoriya threw up the best shield he could.

We will, we will, rock you!”

BOOM!

 


 

Shinso stood up, leaning over the wall that barricaded him from the arena, desperate to see through the thick cloud of smoke and rubble that had been tossed up by Bakugo’s last explosion whilst the crowd stopped singing and cried out in panic. It was clear whose side they were on.

Present Mic didn’t even take the opportunity to say that he once again couldn’t properly see the end of the match. He instead sounded frantic and fearful as he questioned if they (meaning, Midoriya) were ok down there.

Shinso’s heart was in his mouth. Even Siren had shut up.

It took longer than Shinso would have liked for the dust to settle and the scene to become apparent.

Midoriya’s headphones were in pieces, strewn across the pitch along with the rest of his makeshift support item. They weren’t in a much better state than the arena itself – which looked more like a war ground than the result of a simple Sports Festival match – it had been completely annihilated.

As for the competitors – the winner was clear.

In the centre of the arena, grasping the top of other’s shirt as he hung limp in his grip.

 

 

 

Was Bakugo.

 

 

 

He was screaming something at Midoriya, who was unconscious.

Moments later, Midnight appeared through the clouds of dust, pulling at her hero costume to send her fragrance in Bakugo’s direction, so he too, fell to the ground, dropping Midoriya’s damaged self harshly onto the wrecked ground in the process.

“Midoriya was knocked unconscious,” Midnight explained to the crowd, raising her hand in the air, “That means, Bakugo is the winner!”

The crowd wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as they perhaps might have been, if it had been anyone but Midoriya falling short of victory.

Shinso gripped the edge of the wall. Midoriya had been so close – so close.

A-And with that incredible display of power, the final match is officially over,” said Present Mic. He didn’t seem too happy about it, but someone needed to announce the results. “That means – despite an extremely close battle – the first-year champion from the UA Sports Festival is Katsuki Bakugo from class 1-A…”

Unbiased,” Eraser Head snapped at him.

GOOD JOB TO ALL OUR COMPETITORS!”

“Come on, Siren,” Shinso muttered. He grabbed Midoriya’s rucksack after tossing the remainder of his notes inside and ran past the rest of class 1-C, ignoring their mutterings and worried gazes as he went.

 


 

Midoriya could have sworn that he had never felt so exhausted in his life.

When his consciousness finally flooded back to him, a brief moment of bewilderment led his tired mind to believe he was back in middle school, waking up early for another, tedious day, even after the last had led to him running home as fast as his aching legs could carry him.

Opening his eyes, this thought was quickly corrected by the sight of the white, sterile room and the blue curtain which separated his bed from whatever was behind it.

Ignoring the protests of his muscles, he sat upright with a soft groan.

The curtain was quickly thrown open.

“You’re awake!” Shinso exclaimed with a relieved smile. “You were unconscious for way longer than you should have been, Midoriya,” he sighed, rubbing his temples as if to dispel the stress.

“W-What?” Midoriya groaned, still struggling to get his head around what had just happened and why he was there.

He reached up to rub his eyes, but his fingers made contact with the many plasters that covered his face, and the bandage wrapped tightly around his forehead.

“You took quite a hit,” Recovery Girl explained as she joined Shinso on Midoriya’s side of the curtain. Unravelling Midoriya’s fingers, she poured a selection of energy gummies into his palm for him to eat. “Although I think you wouldn’t have lasted much longer in that match despite Bakugo’s attack. Quirk exhaustion is very serious – and I don’t expect for you to be dismissing it so readily ever again, do you understand me?!” she ordered.

“Y-Yes, ma’am,” Midoriya replied, before shoving most of the gummies in his mouth at once.

Siren then zoomed into view. She hovered before him, tweeting frantically.

“I-I’m sorry!” Midoriya explained as soon as he’d managed to swallow the gummies. “C-Calm down, Siren, it’s o-ok.”

She didn’t seem very satisfied but landed on the bed beside him anyway.

“I’ve healed you enough for you to walk,” Recovery Girl continued – which sounded slightly ominous. “So, I’m going to tell them that they can start the awards ceremony soon. I’ll give you five minutes,” she smiled, before disappearing from view.

Midoriya turned back to Shinso, [How long have I been out?] he questioned, after popping the last few sweets in his mouth.

[About twenty minutes]

Midoriya almost choked, “T-Twenty minutes?”

Shinso nodded with raised eyebrows. “But don’t worry, they haven’t been waiting for you long. They had to fix the arena first anyway. You and Bakugo really did a number on it – and each other.”

“I-Is he ok?” Midoriya whispered in reply.

“Yeah – you… came out a lot worse than he did,” Shinso explained. “And your headphones are definitely dead.”

Midoriya laughed meekly as he stroked Siren’s feathers. Then he stopped, wide eyed, and turned to Shinso again, “Oh my God – I came in second place!”

Shinso blinked at him, “Yeah.”

“I almost beat Kacchan!”

“Err, yeah, I guess,” Shinso laughed at Midoriya’s excitement.

Midoriya lunged forward and grabbed a hold of Shinso’s shoulders. “Do you think they’ll let us on the hero course?!”

Shinso hesitated for a moment, before that manic smile of his returned to his expression. He shrugged off Midoriya’s hands and held out his fist. Siren quickly flew up to land on it.

With a laugh, Midoriya gave him a fist bump, with Siren singing happily on top.

“Next stop,” Shinso grinned.

And together they said, “–Hero course!”

 

Chapter Text

 

There was an awful lot of people in the audience.

Sure, this had been apparent from the beginning – but only now, when Midoriya was standing (barely, standing) on the second-place podium, staring at them all, did he really appreciate he sheer quantity of people who must have been singing along with him during the final.

He blinked up at them, mouth slightly agape as the crowd roared, clapping, cheering and whistling for them – and for him.

Midnight had said something – so had All Might, but Midoriya could barely register it. He was busy panicking about the cameras, flashing lights in his face. They were probably pretty enthralled by Siren, who had refused to leave his side, even when Shinso tried to pull her away. Now the little green canary kept flying circles around Midoriya’s head, twittering in excitement – only occasionally landing on his shoulders to hop around the place, still singing in his ear.

All Might was handing out third place medals to Todoroki and Tokoyami, talking to one for a good while before turning to the other.

Midoriya, meanwhile, kept signing little gestures to Shinso, who was standing at the edge of the huddle of students watching the awards ceremony.

[Sleep] Midoriya signed.

[Join the insomniac club] Shinso replied.

[No! I want sleep!]

[Join us, Canary]

Another benefit of sign language – communication over a lot of noise and a good distance.

“In second place, Izuku Midoriya!” Midnight suddenly cried.

Midoriya actually jumped into the air at the proclamation, whilst the volume of the crowd increased exponentially and he silently mourned the loss of his headphones.

It was so loud – people were standing at they yelled his name and punched the air – making as much noise as humanly possible, so much so that All Might actually had to wait for them to calm down a bit before he could talk to Midoriya himself.

He held out the silver medal and slowly lowered it over Midoriya’s head.

Silver had never felt more like gold.

“You put up a remarkable effort, young Midoriya,” All Might told him as he embraced the boy awkwardly.

Midoriya tried not to squirm away at the touch.

Siren must have noticed his discomfort, because she immediately flew right at the number one hero’s face, tweeting furiously at him.

“Feisty little thing, isn’t she?!” All Might laughed heartily.

And with nothing more to say, he left Midoriya’s side to retrieve the gold medal for Kacchan.

As soon as he was no longer hidden behind All Might’s bulk of a body, the crowd cheered louder once more.

[You’re famous!] Shinso signed as big and boldly as possible, a big grin plastered on his face.

[I don’t know if that’s a good thing!] Midoriya replied nervously.

“And in first place, Katsuki Bakugo!” Midnight announced to the crowd.

But… the cheer for Kacchan was nothing compared to Midoriya’s.

He must have noticed – because rather than letting All Might drape the golden medal over his neck, he simply snatched it off him. His hand gripped the metal as All Might spoke, as if trying to bend it or screw it up into a ball to toss it away.

Midoriya wasn’t sure what All Might had said to Kacchan. Everything was too overwhelming – loud – bright – distracting – that he couldn’t process the distant words that fell from his once-idol’s mouth.

But gold had never felt more like silver.

 


 

The students were soon ushered back to their respective changing rooms to pull off their sweaty, and in some cases, rather wrecked, sports uniforms, to finally get back into the comfort of their home clothes.

His mum must have changed whatever Midoriya threw into his bag that morning – perhaps she supposed there was a chance he’d be caught on camera – and for that scenario, she didn’t want him wearing one of this novelty shirts which simply read dress-shirt or something. Instead, he had ordinary jeans, a plain, white top and –

He pulled it out of his bag and smiled.

– his Canary jacket.

Shinso scoffed at him. He was wearing a jacket too – but it wasn’t leather and certainly didn’t have pockets full of forgotten bird seed.

“Don’t forget your medal,” Shinso pointed out. Siren was trying to pick it up to fly after Midoriya with it – but it was rather heavy, and as soon as she managed to drag it off the table, it plummeted towards the ground and pulled her with it.

Midoriya smiled as he scooped Siren up, put her in his pocket and then went to shove the medal in his bag.

Shinso instead snatched it off him and managed to ring-toss it around his neck, which made both Midoriya and Siren let out a high-pitched note of surprise.

Midoriya reckoned he was getting better at the stares. He had slung his kit bag over one shoulder and had is rucksack over the other. Walking towards the door, his classmates still staring at him in awe – but he managed to ignore this and instead focus on the back of Shinso’s head as he threw the door open wide enough to let Midoriya walk through too before it swung closed.

He was smiling – the sunlight glancing off the silver of his medal as it bumped up and down off his chest. Siren was singing – taking little breaks to stuff her beak with bird seed from time to time.

They had the next two days off school. Midoriya was looking forward to that – after the Sports Festival, he was completely exhausted. It was Wednesday – that meant he had the radio tomorrow and then Dad would be calling him the day after. Then, he’d be back at school on Saturday and would have to face dance class in the evening, and the same went for Sunday… he wasn’t looking forward to that so much. Maybe he’d get lucky. Mrs Kita wasn’t far off having her baby, and she would cancel dance lessons for a while after that until a teaching replacement could be found – that would give Midoriya an excuse to miss the lessons and not have to face explaining to the others that he in fact was now a famous (that word still didn’t feel right to Midoriya) radio star (also felt off to him) with a singing Quirk and then he’d have to face the prospect of speaking to them and –

Shinso grasped the collar of his jacket and pulled him back before Midoriya could walk around the corner.

“W-What?!” he stammered.

“Look…” Shinso replied.

The two cautiously tilted their heads around the corner.

“Oh, wow – that’s a lot of people,” Midoriya realised.

Other students were stifling their laughter at them as they walked calmly past and out into the streets.

“Good luck there, Canary.”

“Oh… Have fun –”

“I suggest running.”

Midoriya and Shinso ignored all of them and just stared for a while.

The student exit barricaded a clear path through the crowds and out of the festivities, but either side of those barricades, was a crowd that easily exceeded the size of the one which often swarmed the front of the radio station – and that was saying something.

The mob consisted of everything from reporters to sports fans to just general… fans. They waved at the UA students walking by, congratulating them on a job well done. Of course, the hero course students got a lot more love than most others, considering their faces were more familiar.

There was a girl from 1-B blushing profusely as she showed off her Quirk to a small group of kids nearby. And Jiro was there too, looking rather stunned as someone waved a pen and notepad at her for her autograph, despite her not getting very far in the tournament round.

“Haven’t the second-year events already started?” Shinso frowned, looking back to Midoriya for answers, as if he just knew everything.

[They must be more interested in seeing us than watching them…] Midoriya signed slowly in response.

Shinso leaned back, away from the doorway and entrance to the student exit. He sighed, “Great.”

[Well, we always could run] Midoriya suggested.

Shinso shook his head in disbelief and smacked his hands out of the air to stop him signing anything else foolish.

“Come on then,” he said eventually, “There’s no point in standing here for the rest of the day.” With that, he shoved his own hands in his pockets and marched out of the exit.

There was a little cheer for him when he appeared, like a few of the other tournament competitors had gotten, but nothing more, as he walked calmly away.

Midoriya, however, stayed put, clutching his medal nervously and rubbing his finger over the engravings.

Chirp!

Midoriya blinked down at Siren, who was rather deep inside his pocket, with her beady eyes staring up at him.

“What?” Midoriya whispered. “Have you seen how many people are out there? Look –” He gently removed her from the pocket, holding her out on his flattened palm.

She ruffled her feathers a bit, before hopping around in a circle to look at Midoriya again.

Tweet!

“It was less scary in the stadium!” he protested quietly. The people walking by were still grinning stupidly at him, nudging their friends and pointing him out as he talked with his bird.

Twitter, tweet!

“Huh, what?”

And then Shinso reappeared, sighed deeply, and without warning, pulled him out into the open by his shoulders.

The crowd cheered much louder that time. Every single one of them turned to see Midoriya with the canary in his hands – clapping loudly and even whistling in his direction as the camera lights flashed.

Siren, as always, wasn’t at all bothered by the noise (unlike Midoriya) and quickly took flight to do laps around Midoriya’s head as Shinso began to walk away again.

Completely and utterly overwhelmed, Midoriya almost tripped over his own feet as he stumbled to catch up with Shinso and hide behind him – something that he did not let him do.

But the people here weren’t like those in class 1-C or the rest of UA. They didn’t stare and whisper about the Quirkless boy who had lied to them – or the mute one who actually can speak. These people just leaned over the barricades and cheered devotedly – pointing at the green wings painted on the back of his leather jacket and the bird flying circles around his head.

Shinso walked a little further ahead of Midoriya, a little smile on his face – one that he couldn’t seem to supress as he turned his head to see his friend glance, stunned, at all the people calling his name and waving at him.

When he mustered up the courage to pull his arms away from his chest and wave feebly back, they cheered even louder.

“Canary, Canary!”

Midoriya turned his head to lay his green eyes on a surprisingly large group of people, making as much noise as they possibly could, laughing and clapping.

Midoriya wouldn’t have done more than wave at them with wide eyes if Siren hadn’t diverted off from her circles in the air to greet them.

“Siren, no!” he hissed and hurried after her as she perched happily on the bar in front of them, singing.

Shinso didn’t stop. He simply shook his head, laughing, and disappeared off into the distance.

“Aw look, she’s so cute!”

“Oh my God – guys, he’s coming!”

Midoriya was tempted to just grab the bird in his fist and take off after Shinso.

“Hi, Canary!” two at the front exclaimed simultaneously. They laughed at each other for a moment before turning back to Midoriya, starry eyed.

Midoriya blinked at them, reaching forwards to try and lever Siren off the bar – which was a tougher job than it sounded. “H-Hi,” he stammered after that failed.

“Hi!” they chorused.

“You did so well!”

“I love your singing!”

“Seriously man, I’d never have the guts to pull something like that.”

Midoriya’s eyes then zeroed in on what they were wearing.

“You like them?!” one exclaimed, pulling at her top.

They all had different variants of it – but each followed a similar pattern. Some had the word canary written across them, others were decorated with birds or feathers. One – which was Midoriya’s favourite, thinking back – had Present Mic written with the wire to a microphone, whilst Canary was below it, with a bird perched on the word, singing into the mic.

Midoriya nodded, flushing red as he did so.

“You don’t have any merchandise! So, we made stuff up.”

Midoriya was just frozen in place, unsure about what to say or do or –

“Can I have your autograph?!” questioned the one with Midoriya’s favourite design, thrusting a pen and notepad at him.

He jumped backwards a little. The fan just laughed. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to!”

“I-I-I… I d-don’t have a-an au-auto-autograph,” he stammered terribly as Siren flew off his hands to land on top of his head. But he did speak! Which was an achievement in itself.

She laughed again, leaning over the barricade as far as she could to give him the pen and paper, “Then make one up! And I can say that I have your very first!”

After a tweet from Siren, with shaking hands, Midoriya accepted the notepad and almost dropped the pen.

He stared at the paper for a moment, before grimacing and just writing the word Canary as quickly as possible. But then he hesitated – glancing back and forth between the girl and the paper. After a moment, he put his pen back on the end of the y, and swirled it around, so it ran over the top of the word, and then crossed right through the c, ending with a twirl. It looked roughly like a treble clef.

“I-I hope that’s ok,” he said, handing the pen and paper back nervously.

She really did drop the pen as she jumped up and down, showing her friends the autograph.

She yelled thank you after Midoriya as he stepped away panickily, looking for Shinso in the crowd of students leaving UA – but his indigo head was nowhere to be seen. Shinso dealt with the pains of social interaction very differently from Midoriya – but at least he didn’t have a whole mob of people screaming his name and congratulating him.

After his first interaction though, Midoriya wasn’t too keen to stay there long. Not that he wasn’t secretly enjoying himself – there was just an awful lot of people. And that would mean an awful lot of words. But his mouth seemed to be working at the moment – he would like it to stay that way. That was why he signed very little else – spoke to very few – and then, was gone, blending in with the crowd the best he could, as quickly as he could.

 


 

“Izuku?”

Midoriya felt a prod in his arm.

“I-Izuku? Are you awake?”

He groaned as his eyes fluttered open.

“Your friend Shinso’s on the phone!” his mum exclaimed, thrusting it in his direction. She seemed generally excited Midoriya had a friend and that he’d actually called to check up on him.

Midoriya just blinked at her, his brain taking its time to process her words.

He’d fallen asleep on the sofa. After he’d gotten home, he threw off his shoes; hugged his tearful mother; tidied away the copious amount of tissues, and then immediately collapsed.

“Hello?” he moaned across the phone.

He heard Shinso’s spluttering laughter, “It’s barely six o’clock – how tired are you?”

“Tired,” he replied simply, rubbing his eyes.

Then I’m guessing you haven’t seen it yet.”

“…Seen what?”

My point exactly. Is your phone within arm reach? Because it doesn’t sound like you’re physically capable of getting up to retrieve it.”

“My phone’s… in my hand…”

No. No – that’s your landline.”

“…Is it?” He pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it for a couple of seconds. “Oh yeah.”

“Yeah – go back to sleep.”

“No, I want –” he yawned– “to know now.”

 “Then stay on the phone so I can hear your reaction,” Shinso insisted.

Midoriya didn’t bother questioning the ominousness of that statement as he threw off the blanket that had miraculously appeared at some point and wandered over towards his room.

His mum had already moved his bags into there, so he supposed that was where his phone had gone. However, what first caught his eye when he switched on the light and stepped inside, was not the contents of his bag, strewn across the floor, but was, in fact, Siren’s bird cage.

The door hung ever open, with the little lock twisted in a certain way so it would never swing closed by accident – not that Siren wouldn’t have been able to undo it. Usually, all that her little home consisted of was that cage, her little perch next to it – and the swing inside, above her ‘litter tray’. She was a very neat bird – except when it came to food – because there was bird seed all over the counter and even in her water. Siren also had a bell – which she very much enjoyed ringing instead of Midoriya setting an alarm – or when she insisted, two hours early, that it was time she had more food.

None of the above was out of the ordinary.

What was – happened to be a certain something, fashioned into a little ball next to her cage – which Siren was now sitting in the middle of.

The missing headband from the cavalry battle.

She must have stowed it in Midoriya’s backpack so he would carry it home, and then somehow emptied the entire contents of his bag in order to retrieve it.

He blinked at her, “Seriously, Siren?” he questioned.

Shinso sighed from across the phone, “What has she done now?”

She just tweeted in reply, pulled herself out of the stolen fabric, and flew over to him eagerly.

“I’ve found that headband.”

“…Something is seriously wrong with that bird.”

“I know and I love her for it.”

Midoriya, meanwhile, had chosen to ignore the reappearance of the headband, and went to find somewhere to hang up his medal, which he had yet to take off. It ended up dangling from the side of his bed – mainly because his room was so cluttered anyway, that he really didn’t have anywhere else to put it. Siren liked that idea though – she quickly demonstrated its noise making abilities by constantly swinging it side to side so it crashed against his bed periodically.

Further ignoring Siren’s antics, because he’d come to learn at this point, that there were very few ways that he could get her to stop doing it, Midoriya collected together his various things and started to tidy them away.

What are you doing?”

“Tidying.”

“Stop procrastinating and pick up your phone.”

“I’m doing the opposite of procrastinating – I’m being productive.”

“You sound dead on your feet – for once in your life, just sit down and stop.”

Midoriya had now tucked the phone between his ear and his shoulder as he smiled down at his and Shinso’s strategy sheets – and promptly used the rather large wad of blue-tack he had collected from his old All Might posters, now hidden under his bed, to pin them up on the wall, covering up the pealing parts of his wallpaper which were once concealed by the posters he no longer had the heart to look at. He needed to get some new ones – maybe some of Present Mic! Of course, he had his collection of photographs from Aozora – and that took up a good amount of space too…

Oh, right yeah, phone.

“Oh, it’s in my pocket,” Midoriya realised as he tipped the bird seed off it.

Of course it is,” Shinso sighed.

Midoriya hesitated before finally turning on the device.

“Oh no.”

Let me guess – a lot of notifications?”

More and more were popping up every second – in fact.

“I… think I might need some time to sort this out.”

Shinso snorted, “Alright fine. Message me when you’ve finished so I can send you a video I found where someone translated all our sign language conversations.”

“Oh God…”

Yep – it’s as bad as it sounds. Anyway – have fun.”

And he hung up without another word.

Midoriya hesitated, staring at the silent phone for a moment, before grabbing the back of the wheelie chair currently tucked under his desk (which almost tipped over as he fell into it) and turned on his computer.

As it booted up, he turned back to his own phone. The very first thing he did was delve through the settings and turn off the notifications to his social media.

He sighed in relief once the bombardment had stopped – and then was about to tap on his messaging app when someone started calling him – and he pressed answer before he was able to process who it had been.

“Hello?” he said nervously.

The person on the other end screamed in delight, “YYYEEESSS! MY LITTLE FLEDGLING HAS AWOKEN!”

Midoriya grinned, “Hi, Aozora.”

YOU DID SO WELL!”

“Thank you…” he replied as he turned back to his computer, clicking on the internet.

Everyone’s buzzing about your final match! It was incredible! You got the entire stadium singing along with you – and me, of course!”

He struggled to type in the word Canary whilst also holding his phone to his ear.

“W-Well, I didn’t win.”

Oh, who cares about that?! You’ve barely had your Quirk for a month – yet you still nearly came out on top! Canary, you’re a star!”

Midoriya wasn’t sure what emotion to feel when, for the first time, it was not the bird nor the islands that appeared first in his search contents – but him.

You need to get onto your social media in a minute – post something, anything at all! A picture of Siren with your medal if you want. Oh, and change your profile picture to that awesome shot of you flying above the Sports Festival arena!”

Midoriya was staring at that particular photograph right now – taken by the drone he had faced high in the air, during his brief match with Kaminari – his green wings spread out either side of him and a great smile across his face.

“Um, what is it at the moment?”

Oh, I think it’s just the Put Your Hands Up Radio logo. But – have you seen that picture? It’s incredible – I’m printing a poster of it.”

“W-Wait, what?!”

“Yeah! And then you’ve got to sign it – I know you made up a signature – I’ve seen people bragging about getting one on the internet. It’s a good signature as well, nice and neat!”

Midoriya was busy gaping at the news articles – completely dismissing the actual winner of the Sports Festival to instead focus on him and his story.

Relive the Moment – Canary’s Shocking Debut

Canary ROCKED It in This Year’s UA Sports Festival Finale!

Radio-Star Canary’s Identity Revealed!

Replay Canary’s Radio Debut

Izuku Midoriya Comes Second Place in UA’s First-Year Sports Festival

Top Ten Theories for Canary’s Quirk

Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo – Who Should Have REALLY Won the Sports Festival?

The TRUE Story Behind Canary

Aozora was babbling on about updating the radio show records and media presence and what Midoriya should be expecting for tomorrow’s show as he cautiously clicked on the bottom link.

The TRUE Story Behind Canary

Story written by Hamaki Kimikawa – posted Today at 3:41pm

Second place in this year’s UA first-year Sports Festival, Izuku Midoriya, better known by his alias, Canary, has seen a quicker rise to fame than even heroes like Hawks over the past month. His fights have been replayed thousands of times in the short space of time between now and their occurrence. He first became well-known after his start in the ever-popular Canary’s Hour – a show featured in Put Your Hands Up Radio on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, along side the pro hero, Present Mic. The public now know Canary as the shy, yet extremely powerful, hero in training, held back in UA’s general study class, 1-C.

But why was Canary in that class to begin with? After showing so much potential in the Sports Festival and easily coming out on top of many of UA’s hero course students, including Shouto Todoroki, son of the number two hero, Endeavor, one would think that Canary could have effortlessly passed UA’s practical entrance exam with flying colours. Not only that, but Present Mic announced during the Sports Festival that Canary was the top of the general studies course, stating that he was their “…resident genius, with some of the highest scores in UA history on [their] theoretical papers…”

The answer to Canary not already being in the hero course is simply – he never took the exam in the first place. Now because he never wanted to be a hero – but because he didn’t know he had a Quirk at all.

This fact was first highlighted upon by class 1-A’s homeroom teacher, the pro hero Eraser Head, who aided Present Mic with Sports Festival announcements this year. The information compiled about the competitors in the tournament round appeared to be “out of date,” suggesting that something had changed in Canary’s records rather recently. This change would be the registering of his Quirk in the first place.

How can we confirm this? Well, it all comes down to the nature of Canary’s Quirk. Although the specificities of his Quirk have yet to be determined, one fact is clear – it’s a voice Quirk.

During a moment briefly caught on camera, at the end of the cavalry battle, we see a conversation between Canary, his friend Hitoshi Shinso, and hero course student, Koji Koda. All three have voice Quirks – and all three appeared to be communicating via sign language (JSL). It is transcribed as such:

 

We’re like Team Voice Quirks.

And all of us communicate via sign language.

And have been mute at some point or another.

Something is seriously wrong with our society.

 

The key point I would like to highlight here is the term ‘mute’.

Has Canary been mute for a good proportion of his life? Would this explain why he was unable to discover his Quirk until after the UA hero course entrance exams had passed? If so, what events led to –

 

Midoriya closed the tab – not wanting to read anymore rumours or speculations – no matter how true they happened to be.

You get all that, Canary?”

Oh – right, he was still on the phone to Aozora.

“U-Um… I –”

She laughed loudly, “It’s ok! I figured you weren’t really listening. A little distracted, are we?”

“I… Yeah – a little.”

“Well, it’s ok. You’ve got the rest of today and tomorrow to be distracted, and the day after too, I think – just make sure you’re awake enough for the radio tomorrow evening, got it?!”

“Y-Yes, of course!”

Aw, well – see you tomorrow then, little fledgling – that’s your name now on my phone by the way – Fledgling.”

“Ha, ha… Thanks…”

Bye!”

“Goodbye…”

Midoriya sighed and threw himself onto his bed – this was proving to be the start of a long few days…

He could have just fallen asleep again, right then and there – but firstly, he still needed to sort out the mess that was his phone, and secondly – he’d just managed to jolt himself out of his sleepy state with a sneeze.

He was allergic to feathers. Just, when one manages to stick itself up your nose, sneezes are generally to be expected.

He rolled off his bed and onto the floor with a clatter – so much so that he had to yell that he was fine to his mum from across the apartment.

It wasn’t like his room was covered in Siren’s feathers. He’d sat through a lecture with the pet-shop-keeper-lady (he never did catch her name) about canary diets and mannerisms and moulting seasons and had payed enough attention to know that Siren wouldn’t be moulting for at least a few months yet. But that didn’t stop her from depositing fluff in various, inconvenient locations or pulling out the occasional feather on accident – she tended to make a big fuss when she did that.

Sighing, Midoriya stared under his bed – only because that was the position he had found himself in – now face to face with some of the All Might merchandise that couldn’t quite fit in the boxes, and instead either hung out of them, or were piled clumsily beside them.

He was just blankly looking at a little, chibi All Might, attached to a long, silver chain that Midoriya had never found a purpose for. But as Siren continued to be rather enthralled by noises that banging his medal against his bedside could make – Midoriya finally had an idea.

He grasped the plastic figure, disconnected it from the chain and tossed mini All Might back into one of the boxes. Then, after a moment’s thought, he retrieved said box again, and delved through it in search of the bits and pieces he required.

Dotted around his room from his time spent fiddling with his now deceased support items, where various tools and objects that he had bought to help him with the project. Even they found a new purpose as he twisted little bits of metal – removing them from the old merchandise and forcing little holes into them.

He located one of Siren’s largest discarded feathers, which she’d left on his pillow as some kind of gift – and completed his creation moments before his phone buzzed once again.

It managed to vibrate itself off his bed. Staring at it for a moment, he eventually reached down to pick it up.

(5) Unread messages from – Shouto Todoroki

Midoriya blinked at it – ah, yes! He’d given Todoroki his number at the end of the Sports Festival – just before him and Shinso had hurried off to get changed.

 

This Is the Beginning of Your Chat With Shouto Todoroki

 

Izuku Midoriya – Hi! This is Canary!

 

Shouto Todoroki changed your nickname to Canary

 

Shouto Todoroki : Thank you

Shouto Todoroki: You looked tired after your match against Bakugo. How are you feeling now?

Shouto Todoroki: My father is not too pleased that I lost to you

Shouto Todoroki : He doesn’t like that song.

Shouto Todoroki: It’s now his ringtone

 

Canary : Wait, what?

Canary : Sorry I just woke up

Canary : What… happened?

 

Shouto Todoroki : He isn’t very good with technology. So, I changed his ringtone to that song you used against me. He can’t change it back and now he has to go to work.

 

Canary: Oh my God.

Canary : You’re kidding me

 

Shouto Todoroki: No, I am not.

Shouto Todoroki: What was the song you used against Kaminari?

 

Canary: Wait, no! You can’t change the subject like that!

 

Shouto Todoroki : Oh, sorry. I just wanted to know.

 

Canary : No, it’s fine. It’s just… Did you really change Endeavor’s ringtone to THAT?!

 

Shouto Todoroki: Yes.

 

Canary: Oh my God.

Canary: The first song I used was Wings by Hurts, by the way

 

Shouto Todoroki: Thank you.

 

Midoriya stared dumbfounded at the chain of messages for a moment, struggling to process what had just happened. Blinking at his phone – he turned to the other string of notifications that he had yet to examine.

 

Canary Protection Squad

This chat group includes Izuku Midoriya {Canary}, Hitoshi Shinso {Raven}, Ochako Uraraka {Dove}, Tenya Iida {Crane} and Kyoka Jiro {Owl}.

 

Dove : Wait wait wait no

 

Raven: I just love how, collectively, no one cares

 

Crane : Bakugo did win the Sports Festival though!

 

Owl : Yeah but no one cares

 

Raven: And I love that

 

Dove : wait wAIT

 

Owl : What are we waiting for again?

 

Raven: Uraraka’s looking for a link to something

 

Dove : [Fan account for our lord and saviour, Siren]

 

Owl : What the actual heck?

 

Raven : That is beautiful

 

Canary : What did I just read?

 

Dove : CANARY!

Dove : Yay! How are you feeling?

 

Canary : A little tired, but ok

 

Raven : Midoriya, you forgot I was talking to you over your landline despite holding the phone in your hands.

 

Owl : Yeah, that doesn’t sound ok.

 

Canary : I’m tired. I do weird things when I’m tired.

Canary : Speaking of weird things!

Canary : I was talking to Todoroki

 

Owl : Todoroki? As in, fire and ice, Todoroki?

 

Canary : Yeah, so anyway, he really liked that song and then he decided to

Canary : actually

Canary : can I add him here?

 

Raven : Can I first ask how you make friends so easily and yet the only person you’ve ever mentioned knowing before UA is Bakugo?

 

Owl : Excuse me what?

 

Crane : I wasn’t aware you and Bakugo knew each other personally!

 

Raven : Do whatever you want Midoriya. But Todoroki has yet to speak to me and I am bitter.

 

Owl : You’re always bitter

 

Raven : Shut up

 

Canary added Shouto Todoroki to the chat!

 

Canary : ok, now tell them what you told me!

 

Shouto Todoroki : what is this?

 

Crane : Hello, Todoroki! This is Iida! We have bird names here.

 

Dove : My idea (Uraraka :D )

 

Owl changed Shouto Todoroki’s name to Phoenix

Raven changed Phoenix’s name to Penguin

Crane changed Penguin’s name to Woodpecker

 

Dove : No no no! I’ve got one

 

Dove changed Woodpecker’s name to Puffin

 

Puffin : Why am I a Puffin?

 

Dove : Because they’re like… Kind of white and red (and black) and it was the best upgrade of penguin that I could think of.

 

Raven : I prefer Penguin

 

Owl : That’s just because you’re still salty about losing

 

Puffin : oh, is that the brainwasher?

 

Raven : I have a name

 

Canary : You know? I’m just going to go and fix my social media account…

 

Raven : You come back here

 

Midoriya sighed exasperatingly as he turned to the task he’d been putting off.

Aozora was right – he’d done hardly anything on the account – but… wow – that was a lot of followers for someone with only one post…

And he’d been tagged in a lot of things to. Everything from Put Your Hands Up Radio – which posted the picture that Aozora had taken not so long ago in order to update the information that the Canary’s Hour part of their website displayed – to fans taking photographs of him from the arena, and a couple where he’d nervously agreed to take a selfie with them.

It didn’t take long for Midoriya to locate the photo Aozora had specifically identified though – it was on the UA Sports Festival’s main account. He gaped at it – not just because it really was a good picture (and even he couldn’t deny it), but because only the winners ever got their photos posted there – and here he was, congratulated for second place shortly after Bakugo was briefly praised for first. The photo of him was far less appealing – with him standing on the podium; staring at his first-place medal, a snarl on his lips.

It took Midoriya a little longer than it perhaps should have for him to figure out how to repost it and then set it as his profile picture… All this media nonsense really wasn’t Midoriya’s… style. But he was helping Present Mic’s and Aozora’s business, right? And then, of course, surely all this attention could convince Principal Nedzu to let him onto the hero course. All he had to do now, was figure out a way to make sure that Shinso would be able to follow…

He stared down at the gift he had made for him. It was a necklace – of sorts. He knew it sounded… weird. He didn’t expect Shinso to wear it or anything. But Shinso didn’t win a medal. Midoriya felt like he should have. Or, at the very least – won a medal for all the good things he’d done for him. That was what it was – a medallion, with Siren’s green feather as a pendant. He put it around his neck for now – or else he knew he’d completely forget about it.

Tweet, tweet!

Ah – right. One more thing to do.

He turned and grinned.

Siren was back in the nest she’d made out of the ten-million-six-hundred-and-fifteen-point headband. She looked very proud of herself.

Turning to his phone camera and grasping the medal from the side of his bed again, Midoriya placed it gingerly beside her and bent down to take a picture that he was sure Aozora would be proud of. But he didn’t take it until Siren stubbornly insisted on adjusting the medal’s position a little, so it was propped up a little more by the fabric of the headband.

Midoriya shook his head at her as she fluffed out her feathers – she was posing. Maybe Principal Nedzu would enjoy meeting her…

He took the photo and finally posted it online.

“Izuku! It’s time for dinner! I’ve made Katsudon again!” his mum called across the house.

Midoriya grinned – Katsudon for the third time this week.

He really loved Katsudon.

 


 

Bakugo’s golden medal was sitting on his pillow whilst he perched, cross legged, at the other end of his bed, staring at it. His phone was in his hand – ear plugs in.

He’d been listening to the same two songs on repeat for the last few hours. He knew one – obviously, there were few who didn’t know that song. But the other…

He hated how much he liked it. And how much more he would have liked it if it weren’t for the bitter memories that those notes made resurface in his mind.

He could still hear Deku’s word echoing in his skull.

They got it the wrong was around!

A villain.

All his life, he’d been the future hero – the star in the making. Whilst Deku was the nobody – the one who’d ended up tripping over his own feet as he failed to chase Bakugo’s shadow.

But now it was his shadow Bakugo was standing in.

He was in first place.

He was the best of them all.

There was his golden prize.

–and Deku had his silver one.

 

{Canary’s_Aria} Hello everyone! Thank you for all the support before and after the festival! And to the festival officials – I really hope that you’re not still looking for that 10000615-point-headband… because it’s here… Siren won’t let me take it back so…

 

 

Did they get it the wrong way around?

 

 

Chapter Text

Shinso had never been to Midoriya’s house before. So, who could blame him for not expecting Siren to catapult herself into his face the moment he opened the door?

“Siren!” exclaimed two voices at once.

Midoriya pulled the bird off Shinso’s face as she chirped contently.

“Is she just your attack bird now or something?” Shinso groaned as Midoriya held the door open for him, and he stepped inside.

Midoriya grinned guiltily at him, releasing the bird into the air again, only for her to fly circles around Shinso’s head in the enclosed space.

“So, what have you been doing today?” Shinso questioned as he kicked off his shoes.

“Oh, um, nothing much, really…” he said timidly.

Shinso narrowed his eyes, that couldn’t have been a good sign. [What happened?] he had to repeat the question twice before Midoriya saw his hand movements.

“Nothing,” he replied simply, walking Shinso into a room with the name Izuku written on the door. Midoriya immediately collapsed into the bed.

[Are you sure?] Shinso pushed, deciding to sit down on the chair that had been tucked underneath his computer desk. Then, accidently jogging his computer mouse, the device flickered into life – and that was an awful lot of tabs.

Who Is Canary? the Answer Will Rock You!

All Things You Need to Know If You Want to Be a True Canary Fan!

Canary Is Less Likely to Enter the Hero Course Than You Might Think

Which Collective Noun Are You?

UA's Sports Festival Finale Was Explosive -- Literally!

What’s up with Canary’s Bird?

Reasons Why Canary Isn’t the Angel He Makes Himself out to Be

Bending the Rules? Why General Studies Students Izuku Midoriya and Hitoshi Shinso Shouldn’t Have Gotten so Far Through the Sports Festival

Suspicious Finale, Canary Under Scrutiny for Cheating

Shinso gave Midoriya a look. “You shouldn’t be reading this stuff.”

Midoriya sat up with a sigh and started to fiddle with what seemed to be one of Siren’s feathers as a pendant on a necklace.

“It’s ridiculous, like – are you under scrutiny for cheating?”

“Um, well… n-not that I’m aware of?”

“Exactly,” Shinso sighed, “What’s up with Canary’s bird? We’re all asking that question buddy, and no one’s any closer to the answer.”

Midoriya snorted.

Reasons why Canary isn’t the angel he makes himself out to be?” Shinso grinned. “I wasn’t aware you made yourself out to be an angel. You’re still threatening to go for my eyes every time I call you an angry little bird.”

He grinned brightly at Shinso, who smiled back, and then proceeded to close down those endless tabs.

“So, when are we heading off to the radio station?” Shinso questioned.

“As soon as my mum comes back. She went out grocery shopping because… well, I’m delaying leaving the house,” Midoriya admitted.

Shinso shrugged, “Fair enough. Is that why you invited me to be your bodyguard?”

“You’re not my bodyguard!” Midoriya exclaimed. “You said you were bored – so I invited you over for dinner and I forgot about having to do the radio today,” he pouted.

“You sure that your… manager person – said that it was ok for me to hang around for the hour?”

“Yeah, Aozora was fine about it. She’s excited to meet you.”

“Should I be worried?”

“Possibly.” He was looking at the photograph of Midoriya with an energetic, blue skinned lady, who Shinso assumed to be this Aozora – amongst his growing collection on his wall. She had a very strange smile – and rather pointy teeth.

“What’s her Quirk?” Shinso frowned, generally curious.

“No idea,” Midoriya replied.

Shinso narrowed his eyes at him – already spying the growing conspiracy in those bright eyes.

“Alright then,” he said, deciding it was best to leave the matter be.

Shinso drifted his gaze over Midoriya’s small room. Siren had dominated a good amount of it, despite her size – including a lot of his work desk.

“Do you like her nest?” Midoriya grinned, nodding at the bundle of cloth that was the missing headband, and Midoriya’s silver medal, lying beside it. There was a Present Mic pin there too – Shinso was quite certain that wasn’t there in Midoriya’s picture last night…

“It’s like a dragon’s hoard,” Shinso scoffed as Siren landed in it, puffing out her chest proudly.

“That’s what it’s turning into,” Midoriya agreed with a sigh. “I hadn’t planned on letting her keep the medal – but she gets all upset when I move it now, so, I suppose it’s staying there.”

Shinso grinned, “I love that bird almost as much as my cats.”

Midoriya’s eyes widened, “You have cats?”

He blinked at him, “There’s no way I haven’t mentioned this before. I complain about cat hair all the time.”

“Not to me.”

“Ah, well I’m sorry I deprived you of that particular conversation then.”

Midoriya laughed, and then looked down at his feather necklace again, faltering, and saying, “Um, well, speaking of medals.”

Shinso frowned “…We’ve already changed topic.”

“But speaking of –”

“We’re not speaking about medals anymore though.”

“Shush up and let me speak!” Midoriya exclaimed – turning into angry bird mode. Shinso would have pointed it out but he was slightly fearful of Siren being present. “You… helped me speak,” Midoriya explained.

Shinso furrowed his brow but didn’t interrupt him.

“You helped me when you didn’t need to… all the way back on the first day of school and if you hadn’t done that then I would still be really struggling with speaking and I would never have found my Quirk and I –”

“Ok, yeah – you’re speaking faster than I can think,” Shinso grinned. “What are you trying to say?”

Midoriya simply leaned over and dropped the feather necklace into Shinso’s open hands. “It’s for you.”

Shinso blinked at it, “For me?”

“Well – I still think you should have got a medal in the Sports Festival. You were more than powerful enough to win – a-and you definitely would have counteracting my Quirk, so, there’s that… But yeah – you don’t actually have to wear it; I was wearing it so I wouldn’t forget. But it’s… my version of a medal… to say… thanks…”

He continued to stare down at it for a moment – at the swirl of metal wire that secured the feather in place – at the neat fastenings of a slightly different colour to the rest. Shinso wasn’t sure where he’d gotten the pieces, other than the feather, of course – but either way, it seemed as though Midoriya had gotten them all separately and spent a good amount of time carefully creating the… medal.

Shinso smiled. Trust Midoriya to do something like this – so incredibly wholesome and kind. That very thought reminded him though, that he’d never had a real chance at friendship before.

Midoriya would make a brilliant hero – it was what he was born to do. From his personality to his Quirk, everything about him screamed heroism. But the world hadn’t agreed at first. Midoriya was different from the other hero course students. He knew what it felt like to be downtrodden – be told he couldn’t or shouldn’t, despite what his heart yearned for. Shinso was exactly the same – and boy, was he glad that, on the first day of school, he’d decided (unknowingly) to be the first to give Midoriya the chance he needed.

The simple gift meant more to Shinso than Midoriya could have ever realised.

“You really don’t have to wear it,” Midoriya smiled as Shinso fastened it around his neck. “It’s more like… a keepsake.”

“Too late – I’m never taking it off.”

Midoriya continued to stutter in apparent embarrassment for a while, until Shinso changed the subject of the conversation to the internet’s love of Siren – which was always a fun topic. That was until Mrs Midoriya returned, and called her son over to help unload the shopping, which Shinso was happy to help with.

“You have to go in a minute!” Mrs Midoriya (who insisted on being called Inko from Shinso anyway) exclaimed. “Go and change, Izuku.”

“W-What?” Midoriya stammered, fumbling dangerously with a carton of eggs, “This is fine – I’m only going to the radio station!”

He was wearing his usual set of home clothes – an incredibly oversized T-shirt that was comically labelled exactly that, T-shirt, and an ordinary set of trousers.

“Yes, but people know your face now,” Inko acknowledged, “And you might be seen on the way to work. At least put on something that fits you.”

Midoriya sighed, but didn’t protest, and quickly hurried back to his room to change.

“Izuku gave you his present then?” smiled Inko as she continued to telekinetically pull items of her shopping across the room. It was a very different Quirk to Midoriya’s – something that Shinso sometimes struggled to get his head around.

“Uh, yeah,” Shinso replied. He was just taking various things from the shopping bags and setting them out on the counter for Inko to tidy away, since he didn’t know where anything belonged himself.

“I-I hope you realise how important of a friend you are to him,” she said, speaking in a slightly hushed voice so that her son wouldn’t hear. “He was in a bad place before he met you,” Inko added sadly. “Y-You know that he didn’t talk – but he wouldn’t eat sometimes too. The only way I got him to leave his room when he didn’t need to be at school was through his dance and music…”

Shinso bit his lip. She clearly didn’t know about Bakugo’s… suicide baiting.

“But then he started coming home from UA all happy and smiley – and he would actually talk to me about everything; about you and Uraraka and Iida – and then he decided to go out to this nearby beach to play his guitar. He’s done that a few times before – but this time he came back soaking wet and with this beaming smile on his face; his guitar all covered in scorch marks and he’d found his Quirk,” she sighed. “You know what happened from there on out.”

Shinso smiled back at her. Yeah, things were really looking up – all they had to do now, was figure out a way to make UA transfer both of them onto the hero course.

“Ok, let’s go, let’s go!” Midoriya exclaimed, hurrying back into view – wearing a yellow hoodie (only slightly oversized) and dark blue jeans, with those bulky red shoes of his in his hands, ready to be put on.

“Don’t forget your key card again,” Shinso sighed as he started to walk towards the door.

“Shinso,” Inko called back.

He turned.

Thank you.”

And with a smile, he nodded, following Midoriya out of the house, with Siren whizzing along behind them.

Midoriya practically skipped down the steps from his apartment ahead of Shinso; Siren was singing loudly.

“Did you get your key card in the end?” Shinso questioned after a while as they walked towards the train station.

“Yep!” Midoriya replied, popping the p. “I keep it with my train card now – in the back of my phone case,” he explained, removing his phone from the green, plastic casing to reveal both cards hidden behind it. He shoved the device back into his hoodie pocket.

“Excellent – that way, if you lose one thing – you lose everything,” Shinso grinned.

Midoriya shoved him playfully, “Shut up – I won’t lose my phone.”

“You managed to lose your key card pretty easily.”

“My phone is different! I keep it on me at all times now – with my earphones. How else would I be able to listen to music when I’m bored?”

It didn’t take long for them to reach the station. As they stepped onto the train, Shinso pulled Midoriya’s hood over his head.

He gave him a strange look as they stood as far away from everyone else as possible. It was about half five, so the train was still rather busy.

[It’s different now, remember?] Shinso reminded him. [Keep Siren in your pocket – you might be recognised]

Shinso heard a slight, disgruntled tweet from the bird who remained hidden beside Midoriya’s phone in his pocket, as Midoriya shoved his hand in to keep her still, and nodded to Shinso nervously, ducking his head a little to hide himself from someone standing nearby, who kept glancing over to them.

Shinso began fiddling with the feather around his neck fretfully as he realised that he might be identifiable too.

It wasn’t as though it would be dangerous to be recognised. It would just be a major inconvenience.

A few stops down the line, and they could finally hop off the street. Thankfully, the radio station wasn’t that far away – according to Midoriya. Although, Shinso was pretty sure that he got so lost in his music as he walked there, that he wasn’t actually aware of time passing by – because, fifteen minutes later, Midoriya yanked on Shinso’s arm to pull him to grinding halt.

Ah – now that was an inconvenience.

“Didn’t you say there was a secret way to get into the radio station?” Shinso whispered as the two stopped and stared at the sheer volume of people standing outside the front of the hero agency.

“Y-Yeah…” Midoriya stammered in reply, grabbing Shinso’s wrist and pulling him back around to hurry down the street they had just walked up.

He took a left – and then another left and kept running until the two found themselves in a rather desolate area. The only surviving business in what seemed to be a row of empty shops, was a small café. The owner of which was clearing one of the tables outside and gave Midoriya a wave from a distance.

“Do they know who you are?” Shinso questioned unsurely as Midoriya led him down a very narrow alleyway opposite the café.

“I think a lot of people from the radio station go there,” Midoriya replied as Siren finally freed herself from his pocket and decided to perch on his shoulder instead. “So, yeah – they must have figured it out by now… But they close at half six, so I’m often their last customer.”

Midoriya’s secret passageway really was secret. Shinso was pretty sure they’d walked up the fire escape to someone’s house at some point. He hadn’t even realised they’d arrived until Midoriya pulled his key card out from the back of his phone case to swipe it through a lock at a seemingly insignificant door, and opened it wide before Shinso, grinning wildly as he ushered Shinso inside ahead of him.

“What time is it? Are we late?” Midoriya asked as he pushed past Shinso in the narrow corridor to use his key card a second time on the second door at the far end.

“Err –” he tapped on his phone to check the time– “It’s about twenty past six; we’re fine.”

“Oh, good,” he sighed. “Hello, everyone!” Midoriya called out to the receptionists as him and Shinso marched out into the main entrance to the hero agency.

They cheered and clapped, “Hey, it’s Canary!” one exclaimed, whilst the other gave him finger guns. “You did great!”

Shinso was busy staring at the front door to the building. The entire wall was made of glass – and he could see the mob standing, waiting, by the door for someone to dare venture close.

“They can’t see us,” Midoriya explained as Shinso almost stumbled over his shoelaces, making his way towards the receptionists’ desk. “It’s completely blacked out from the other side.”

“Woah –” Finger-guns frowned – “You can’t just sidestep our conversation about the Sports Festival!”

“Come on, Shinso – you need to register that you’re in the building,” said Midoriya, sidestepping the conversation.

“Yes, come on, Shinso,” grinned the female receptionist, “Come sign in.”

“You’re doing this on purpose – this isn’t fair. Why do you always do this to me? Every time we get a celebrity –”

“I-I’m not a c-celebrity!” Midoriya suddenly exclaimed, jumping back a little in apparent surprise – even though it wasn’t a very surprising thing to state.

“Tell that to them,” Shinso protested, nodding his head towards the crowd outside, as the receptionist finished transferring his details from the piece of paper he filled out and signed onto her computer.

“Hey, want me to take a picture of you in front of the glass?” Finger-guns (Shinso had given up thinking of a better name) quickly suggested, waving his camera phone at them.

Shinso glanced between Midoriya and the mass of people outside, having no idea they were right there. He grinned, “Didn’t the manager lady say to update your social media more often?”

“Aozora,” Midoriya grumbled in response. For someone who had so quickly risen to fame, he remained stubbornly camera shy.

“Go on – it’ll be a good picture!” insisted the receptionist, getting up from behind the desk excitedly.

“U-Um, m-maybe not –” Midoriya stammered, but Shinso just grinned sadistically at him and pushed him over towards the glass.

“Stand there,” he instructed, and hurried back over to Finger-guns’ side.

“Smile!”

Midoriya gave them the most nervous smile Shinso knew he could muster, as well as a feeble wave as he was backdropped by the unknowing mob.

“You can do better than that,” the other receptionist scoffed. “Give us a real smile!”

That didn’t do much to help.

Shinso sighed, “Hey, Midoriya – you know you said I should try and activate my Quirk through jokes?”

He blinked at him and nodded uncertainly.

“Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.”

Midoriya did not smile – and just crossed his arms and pouted.

‘Alright then,’ Shinso thought, ‘Challenge accepted.’

“Why did the shark cross the road? To get to the other tide.”

Still no smile – but the way his bottom lip wobbled indicated that he was close to it.

“Why did the dodo cross the road?”

He narrowed his eyes as Shinso grinned, probably thinking of what else could possibly rhyme with side and tide.

“It didn’t, it got run over and died.”

The receptionists stared at him.

“Ok – not where I was expecting that to go.”

But Midoriya – knowing Shinso’s odd sense of humour, finally spluttered into laughter.

Shinso pulled his own phone out of his pocket and took the successful photograph.

“If you were a villain – you’d be screwed,” Shinso grinned, walking over to him.

Midoriya was still laughing periodically at the morbid joke as the receptionist took a second picture of the two of them, which he sent to Shinso, using the details he’d signed into the building with, not long after.

“It’s almost half past six, you two!” they were suddenly reminded.

Midoriya jumped in surprise, jolting Siren off his shoulder as he panickily steered Shinso towards the elevator on the far side of the room.

As Midoriya pressed on the button for floor thirteen and used his key card to activate it, Shinso wondered aloud, “Why don’t they use elevator music?”

“U-Um… I don’t know?” Midoriya replied, raising his eyebrow uncertainly.

Siren was enjoying experimenting flying around as the elevator moved up.

“Or at least play the radio – this is a radio station.”

Midoriya just shrugged as he grasped Siren from the air – stopping her from hurting herself as the elevator came to a stop, and the doors slid open.

“HEY!” cried the blue lady that could only have been Aozora. She bounced off the sofa she’d been lying on, scattering paper across the floor as she grabbed Midoriya and hugged him tightly, swaying side to side with him, “You did so well – I’m so proud! Oh my God – your face! You’re still covered in plasters! Were you too tired for Recovery Girl to completely patch you up?! Present Mic said that might have happed but oh – you did so great anyway!”

Midoriya was struggling to get away from her and Shinso was just enjoying watching.

He was tempted to film – but he valued his eyes.

And if Midoriya didn’t reach angry little bird mode, then Siren would much quicker.

He eventually broke free of Aozora’s hold, “Um, Aozora – this is Shinso! Shinso, Aozora.”

She grinned. And it was a scary grin – it stretched a little too far across her face…

“Ah! I’ve been told all about you!” she said. Shinso couldn’t tell if that was a good thing or not. “Both of you did incredibly in the Sports Festival! Mic will be out in, like, two seconds – and I’m sure he’ll be –”

YYYEEEAAAHHH!”

“– never mind.”

“CANARY! YOU ROCKED IT!”

“If another person makes that pun – I swear I’ll –”

“Angry bird mode,” Shinso sighed.

He turned around to shoot back at him his usual retort but was then smothered by a hug from Present Mic in a similar manner to Aozora.

Speaking of which, Aozora did not have the fear of Siren that Shinso had rightfully come to appreciate. She pulled out her phone and started filming Canary pretending to suffocate in the embrace.

“I have control over Present Mic’s social media,” she giggled to Shinso. “If you think that this isn’t going on there, then you’d be wrong.”

Present Mic was now holding onto Midoriya’s shoulders and gently shaking him back and forth whilst screaming about how good he was.

It was good to see Midoriya acting so… confident. This was the Midoriya that Shinso knew – not the one that he acted like around most others. Here, he wasn’t so shy or unsure of himself. He spoke aloud the sassy remarks that he often reverted to sign language to make, so Shinso would have to stifle his laughter. He had now shoved his hand over Present Mic’s mouth to stop him from talking and was telling him off for being so biased.

“Speaking of bias!” Present Mic yelled.

The volume felt so much more intense in the radio waiting room than it did in the classroom. Shinso felt sorry for Midoriya’s ears.

“You did great, little listener!” he was pointing at Shinso.

“Me?” he frowned.

He should have seen the – “YYYEEEAAAHHH!” – coming.

“Canary said you have an awesome ability, but never said what!”

Shinso rubbed the back of his neck nervously, his fingers catching on the clasp of his necklace. “Err, thanks.”

“If you both don’t get onto the hero course – I’ll eat my hair gel!”

The smile that spread across Midoriya’s face mimicked Shinso’s demonic one so much that he almost laughed.

He turned to Aozora, “Please say you got that on camera.”

“I see this as a win-win situation,” she sniggered.

Present Mic’s face fell, “Wait, no, what are you two planning?”

“Three,” Shinso corrected. If his teacher was going to eat his hair gel, he was going to be there to watch.

Oh!” Aozora suddenly exclaimed, almost dropping her phone. “I’ve actually got something for you, Canary!”

“Huh?” he frowned.

“Yeah! It’s – actually – it’s almost six thirty, you two should get into the studio. You can see it in a bit,” she decided, now moving to pick up the paper she’d previously scattered across the room. “Your friend can adopt your nest while he waits!”

“Your… nest?” Shinso repeated.

Everyone pointed at an armchair in the far corner of the room, completely covered in cushions.

Aozora grinned, “He literally goes there every single time he – WAIT!”

Midoriya jumped.

Where is your jacket?”

He blinked at her and smiled nervously, “At… home?”

WHY?!”

“Because it’s like a homing beacon saying, I am Canary!”

Aozora opened her mouth, wavered, and then said, “That is a good point.”

“Get back in there, you two – the song’s about to end,” ordered a guy that Shinso hadn’t noticed before, wearing headphones and fiddling with an assortment of buttons and levers, set out on a panel in front of a window into the main studio.

“The blinds are open,” Midoriya realised with a frown. He must have been referring to the blinds tied up at the top of the window. Perhaps they were usually closed whilst he was in the studio.

“We can close them again if you want,” the man offered as Present Mic steered Midoriya towards the door to the studio.

“U-Um, it’s o-ok for n-now,” he stammered. “B-Bye, Shinso!” he waved as Siren whizzed past the door and it was slammed shut.

Shinso went and immediately collapsed in Midoriya’s ‘nest’, vaguely watching Midoriya and Present Mic talking in the soundproof room.

“Hey, purple!” Aozora suddenly exclaimed. She was sitting in a wheelie chair beside the other guy.

“It’s Shinso,” he mumbled in reply.

“I need a nickname then!” she insisted with that scary grin of hers. Shinso aspired for his grin to strike fear in the hearts of whomever saw it like Aozora’s did.

He hesitated for a moment, briefly considering his very short list of future hero names. But then his phone vibrated in his hand. Todoroki had just sent them a message in the Canary group chat. He’d been sending them a string of updates of his father struggling with his phone and Shinso had saved every single one of them.

“Raven,” he replied.

Aozora gave him a slightly bewildered look.

“Canary has a group chat with me and a few of the hero course students,” Shinso sighed. “One of them – Uraraka, the girl with the gravity Quirk – decided we should all have bird nicknames there – and mine’s Raven.”

“Ok, I love Uraraka.”

Shinso grinned – not just at Aozora – but at the picture of Endeavor moments away from setting his phone on fire.

“Anyway, hey, Raven!”

He raised his eyebrows at her.

“Want a pair of headphones to listen to the show?”

Shinso hesitated. The pair Aozora was waving at him were wireless. That meant he could still sit in the nest whilst wearing them.

“…Sure.”

 


 

 

Present Mic’s Radio Show!

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 18:30 to 19:30

Canary’s Hour

 

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH!

CANARY: Yay!

PRESENT MIC: Now that’s more like it!

*Canary laughs and Siren twitters in the background*

PRESENT MIC: WELCOME BACK to Canary’s slow and steady progression to screaming YYYEEEAAAHHH with me!

CANARY: Spoiler alert – it’s probably not going to happen.

PRESENT MIC: In all seriousness – Welcome back to Canary’s hour! Where our favourite little co-host has –

CANARY: Bias.

PRESENT MIC: – I’m not being biased!

CANARY: You have other co-hosts!

PRESENT MIC: Our – the people listening here are listening for you!

CANARY: T-Then shouldn’t it be f-favourite host.

*A brief moment of silence follows*

PRESENT MIC: You can tell when Canary’s about to insult me because he gets all nervous about it and starts stammering.

CANARY: H-Hey! A-At least I’m t-talking a-at all!

PRESENT MIC: ANYWAY – as I was saying – where our Canary has just returned to the land of the living after rocking it in the Sports Festival!

CANARY: I warned you about the rock pun!

PRESENT MIC: BUT IT’S A GOOD –

CANARY: Siren.

*Furious tweeting can be heard*

PRESENT MIC: NOOO! CALL HER OFF! I won’t do the rock pun again, I swear!

*A sigh of relief after a satisfied chirp and a flutter of feathers*

PRESENT MIC: Did you train her to be an attack bird?!

CANARY: No – she came like that.

PRESENT MIC: I can believe that.

CANARY: A-And also – what did you mean, returned to the land of the living?

PRESENT MIC: I was told you’ve been asleep!

CANARY: Not this entire time!

PRESENT MIC: That, I don’t believe.

CANARY: I wasn’t in a coma!

PRESENT MIC: You seemed pretty tired during the awards ceremony!

CANARY: I-I – I wasn’t – stop looking at me like that! M-My friend’s outside the radio studio and – hey! Stop it!

PRESENT MIC: Oh, they’re signing to each other now. SPEAKING OF WHICH! You two forgot that there are other people in this world who know sign language again, didn’t you?!

CANARY: …Maybe.

PRESENT MIC: Because I’ve been shown several videos where your sign language conversations in the Sports Festival have been translated!

CANARY: Ah… yeah – um, my friend told me about those. W-What do I call you on here – your real name or – w-what? Why? Oh, ok – Raven. We’re calling him Raven.

PRESENT MIC: Why is Raven your friend’s codename?

CANARY: O-Oh, that would be because we k-kind of have a group chat? With me, and Raven and um… three – no, four others from school. And, for some reason, they decided that they should all have bird codenames like I do. So, we have Canary, Raven, Dove, Crane, Owl and… Puffin!

PRESENT MIC: …Ok, that’s adorable.

CANARY: A-Apart from me and Raven – they’re all on the hero course. A-And, they’re probably listening, so, hi!

PRESENT MIC: It’s Canary’s aria!

CANARY: I-Isn’t that my social media account name?

PRESENT MIC: Yes! But are these five not your original aria?

CANARY: U-Um, four of them a-are. Puffin only joined yesterday… B-But um, yeah – those were the only four who knew that me and C-Canary on the radio show were the same person before the Sports Festival.

PRESENT MIC: What about ME?!

CANARY: I-I wasn’t including you!

PRESENT MIC: How did they find out then?!

CANARY: O-Oh, well, Raven was the first to know. I-I told him… then… Owl was next. T-There’s a bit of a story behind how she found out…

PRESENT MIC: Tell us then!

CANARY: U-Um, ok! Well, t-to get into the radio show building… place – here – I have this key card. A-And on this particular day, I-I brought it to school with me and… I might have lost it?

*A moment of silence*

PRESENT MIC: You’re looking at me like you expect me to be mad.

CANARY: Y-You’re not?

PRESENT MIC: WHY WOULD I BE?! I lose mine all the time!

CANARY: …Your co-producer’s glaring at you.

PRESENT MIC: Yes, and I fear for my life – YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED THE STORY!

CANARY: O-Oh, right! Um, basically, me and Raven were searching for it after school, and then we found it – but someone else d-did before us… that didn’t make any sense. Someone else found the key card, and we had to try and get it back off her without her r-realising that it was me. Um… And Raven tried to convince her to take it to a teacher – and the argument kind of drew a crowd. I-I somehow managed to grab it off her without her realising, and me and Raven ran off. But Owl was the only one who saw us do it, and she followed us, and – I think she was going to tell us off for stealing it. S-So, we ended up explaining.

PRESENT MIC: …That sounds like quite an adventure!

CANARY: I-I guess?

PRESENT MIC: What about the others?

CANARY: Oh – Dove tuned into the radio and heard my voice… Then we had to tell Crane before he heard too and accidently gave it away…

PRESENT MIC: On the topic of voice! There are some important things we might want to clear up before we move onto our usual Canary’s Hour schedule!

CANARY: T-There are?

*A moment of silence follows*

CANARY: Oooh – yeah…

PRESENT MIC: I just signed an explanation – if anyone’s confused by that! I’ll let you say – but remember, only if you want to!

CANARY: Um, yeah thanks… Um… There’s a lot of rumours and stuff online about… stuff… And, um – yeah, I get why it’s weird t-that only four people figured out who I was… B-But, that’s because no one really, apart from them, had a-actually heard my voice b-before the Sports Festival… b-b-b-because I-I-I…

PRESENT MIC: Do… you want me to finish that?

*Silence, likely where Canary nods to Present Mic*

PRESENT MIC: Canary here suffers from selective mutism! This is why I offered to let him come on the radio station – to help improve his confidence for him to effectively use his Quirk, which requires his voice to work properly!

CANARY: Thanks to this… I’m getting a lot better.

PRESENT MIC: We’ve gone down a few decibels. Should I be whispering too?

*Siren tweets very loudly into the microphone*

PRESENT MIC: NEVER MIND THEN! Another thing that we might want to address – is why Canary isn’t already on the hero course!

CANARY: I-I never took the exam… I didn’t know I had a Quirk at all.

PRESENT MIC: But despite that, in the Sports Festival – he absolutely –

CANARY: Don’t you dare.

PRESENT MIC: …rocked it?

*Canary clicks his fingers and the flapping of Siren’s wings can be heard as Present Mic yells*

PRESENT MIC: CUE THE MUSIC – CUE THE MUSIC!

 


 

“CALL HER OFF!” Present Mic screamed, “I repeat! Call her off!”

“No! Don’t call her off! I’m still filming!” Aozora’s voice rang out across the studio as she spoke into the microphone on the other side of the glass, holding up her phone and giggling manically.

[Well done] Shinso signed from across the room. He never left the chair, and instead just turned it around slightly so it was at a better angle to see the studio.

[For what?] Midoriya replied, continuing to ignore Siren doing what she did best.

He shrugged, [For managing to explain that]

[I didn’t do a very good job of it]

[You did pretty well for someone who was almost completely mute a few weeks ago]

Midoriya smiled widely.

“O-Ok, Siren, that’s enough,” Midoriya told her, after realising he’d left Present Mic at her mercy for a little too long.

He looked rather frazzled after Siren finally backed down. Siren didn’t actually hurt him – she just enjoyed giving the impression that she was trying to. Midoriya didn’t doubt that she really would go for the eyes if she thought someone was a serious threat. The thought made him sudden uncomfortably.

He looked back to the other side of the glass, Aozora was grinning wickedly as she showed Nakano the video she had taken.

Shinso waved his phone at Midoriya, urging him to pull his own out of his pocket.

 

Canary Protection Squad

 

Raven: You guys listening to the radio?

 

Dove: Oh my God, it’s Canary’s Hour!

 

Owl: Like always, Shinso, or should I say RAVEN?

 

Dove: We have been mentioned!

 

Raven: Did you only just tune in?

 

Dove: At the end of the bit where he mentioned us yeah

Dove: Wait, are you there? At the radio station?

 

Raven: Yeah

 

Owl: Lucky

 

Puffin: My sister told Father how to change his ringtone

 

Owl: It was fun whilst it lasted

 

Dove: Nooooooo!

 

Crane: It would have been too unprofessional to keep it as such for too long

 

Raven: Unprofessional was what we were aiming for

 

Canary: Apparently setting my attack bird on people is unprofessional, but that’s not going to stop me from doing it.

 

Dove: Canary! I thought you were on the radio!

 

Canary: I am, I’m waiting for the song to end.

 

Owl: Do you get to pick the music?

 

Canary: No, I think Cockatoo does

 

Owl: Well, you have to show us your arsenal sometime

 

Dove: His arsenal?

 

Raven: The music playlist he has to use his Quirk with

 

Dove: pfft

Dove: Good name

 

Owl: Why do I feel like that was Shinso’s idea?

 

Raven: That was actually Midoriya’s

 

Owl: You’re slowly corrupting him

 

Raven: Nah, he came like that.

Raven: I’m just making it worse

 

Midoriya looked up from his phone and gave Shinso a scowl through the glass.

“Hey, Canary!” Aozora suddenly exclaimed. She had obviously disappeared at one point without Midoriya realising it and had now returned with two boxes in her arms, grinning wildly as she beckoned him to leave the radio room for a moment.

Present Mic assured him that the song they had on would be a long one, and he then quickly scurried out of the room to see her – Siren nestled in his hair as he did so.

Aozora slammed the boxes down on the table near Shinso, gingerly moving the smaller one off the larger one to undo the cardboard and then push it eagerly towards Midoriya.

“W-What is this?” he questioned, peering at the quantity of coloured pieces of paper within the box.

“Fan mail!”

The two boys stared at her.

“W-WHAT?!” Midoriya cried. “B-B-But there’s so much!”

Aozora laughed, “Isn’t it great?! Obviously, they don’t know your address, so, they sent it here instead! We need to open a PO box for you.”

“N-No – I-I don’t need a-a – I don’t want fan mail!”

She laughed even harder, “Well tough!”

Shinso picked up a random letter and grinned at it Midoriya genuinely, “Wow.”

“The other box has stuff which I… don’t think is fan mail. It might be – I don’t know – I obviously haven’t opened any. You’ll have to check yourself.”

“H-How much time do we have left?” Midoriya asked, turning to Present Mic and Nakano across the room.

“About two minutes,” Nakano warned.

Midoriya turned back to the smaller box. The fan mail would have to wait. Perching on the side of the armchair Shinso was occupying, he put the box on his lap and opened it – reaching for and ripping open the first letter he set his eyes on.

His eyes widened as he skimmed through it – his heart beating at a million miles per hour.

“What is it?” Shinso questioned, trying to peer over Midoriya’s shoulder to read it too.

But Midoriya had already folded the letter up and shoved it back into the envelope it came from. He tossed it onto the table and began to do the same to several others.

The others seemed rather confused by how frantic Midoriya seemed, until he finally explained, “They’re from hero schools…”

“What?” Shinso frowned.

“Hero schools – other than UA – offering me a place if I can’t transfer onto the hero course!” He pulled out yet another letter. This one was peculiar… it was coloured pitch black, with a white and gold, diamond shaped insignia sealing it closed. He didn’t even need to open it to know who it was from.

Shinso saw it too, “That’s… Shiketsu Academy…”

“The next biggest hero school from UA…” Midoriya finished.

“Not long left now!” Nakano warned.

Shinso gaped at Midoriya, “What are you going to do…?”

Midoriya gripped the black envelope tightly, before shoving it back in the box, along with the others. He hesitated, and then let a grin spread across his face, “You’ll see.”

 


 

PRESENT MIC: YYYYEEE–

CANARY: I miss my headphones.

PRESENT MIC: –AAAHHH! Wait, what?

CANARY: My headphones – they were kind of ruined during the Sports Festival.

PRESENT MIC: And you bring this up now because…?

CANARY: Because I just put on these headphones?

PRESENT MIC: Oh! Ok, I get it now.

CANARY: I had to make those from scratch so that I’d be allowed to take them into the event – I spent ages on them… N-Not that I was exactly expecting them to last very long.

PRESENT MIC: That is very sad.

CANARY: That was sarcastic.

PRESENT MIC: No, it wasn’t! But you can always buy new ones. You don’t have to make them this time.

CANARY: I suppose so.

PRESENT MIC: Hey, you know what we haven’t done yet?

CANARY: W-What?

PRESENT MIC: YOU NEED TO TELL US A RANDOM FACT!

CANARY: Oh! Um… Oh – did you know that a group of ravens is an unkindness?

PRESENT MIC: I thought that was crows?

CANARY: No, that’s murder.

PRESENT MIC: WHAT?!

CANARY: A group of crows is called a murder!

PRESENT MIC: …I hate collective nouns.

CANARY: I think they’re great!

PRESENT MIC: WELL – why don’t we speak to one from your aria then?!

CANARY: O-Oh ok!

PRESENT MIC: Cue the ring tone!

*Siren repeats the beeping of the ring tone in the background as it plays*

LISTENER: HI!

PRESENT MIC: Wow! You were quick!

*The listener laughs*

CANARY: H-Hello!

LISTENER: Nice to hear you!

CANARY: Ha, ha… yeah…

*Siren tweets enthusiastically in the background*

LISTENER: Yeah, I hear you too, Satan!

CANARY: Oh my God – you’re –

LISTENER: The pet shop owner who sold you that little bastard – that’s me!

PRESENT MIC: Wait, wait, wait! YOU sold him Siren?!

LISTENER: That’s me! The girl who can’t whistle! I’m Tori, by the way – Tori Mikata!

CANARY: N-Nice to officially m-meet you!

LISTENER {TORI}: We’ve already met! You just couldn’t talk to strangers back then, I’m guessing.

CANARY: U-Um, yeah k-k-kind of…

PRESENT MIC: This bird is a nightmare

LISTENER {TORI}: I know right?!

*Siren tweets aggressively*

LISTENER {TORI}: That noise haunts my dreams.

PRESENT MIC: I KNOW THE FEELING!

CANARY: You guys are mean! Siren is amazing.

*Siren sings a happy note*

LISTENER {TORI}: My life has been made so much easier now that I don’t have to deal with chasing that bird around the place every other hour. Did you know that she can pick locks?

PRESENT MIC: …Thank you for that information.

LISTENER {TORI}: It’s important to know these kinds of things when a sadistic bird is out to get you.

CANARY: Don’t listen to them, Siren.

LISTENER {TORI}: Listeners should know though; Siren is a weird as hell bird – canaries are not usually like that. So, if you’re thinking of getting one – remember that they probably won’t be like her!

CANARY: Y-Yeah – Siren’s very special.

LISTENER {TORI}: Special is a loose term!

PRESENT MIC: Anyway, Tori! Do you have a question for Canary?!

LISTENER {TORI}: Err… I probably should have thought of this earlier… um…

*There is a clutter and a crash from the listener’s end, followed by a frightened yell*

LISTENER: HEY! I’m Washi Tomodachi – and I have a question because Tori’s being incompetent and now the guinea pigs have escaped.

CANARY: S-Shouldn’t you help her?

LISTENER {WASHI}: I’ve spent way too long chasing after Siren for her – it’s her go to capture the escapees.

PRESENT MIC: I can appreciate that logic!

LISTENER {WASHI}: My question is – how come Siren listens to your ever command?

CANARY: O-Oh, she doesn’t do that. She tends to only do that when she wants to… She likes attacking people though – so it’s easy to get her to do that!

LISTENER {WASHI}: Are you sure your Quirk’s only to do with singing? Don’t have a secret animal communication ability hidden in there somewhere?

CANARY: No… I just guess.

LISTENER {TORI}: Conspiracy confirmed – Canary can speak to canaries!

LISTENER {WASHI}: You are impossible.

PRESENT MIC: Well, my question is – do you have a song suggestion for us?!

LISTENER {TORI & WASHI}: YES!

LISTENER {WASHI}: No, you have a terrible music taste!

LISTENER {TORI}: Well, I rung up so I –

LISTENER {WASHI}: You missed a guinea pig.

LISTENER {TORI}: Wait, nooooooo!

*Siren’s background singing sounds suspiciously like laughter*

LISTENER {WASHI}: Hey, Canary – are you going to sing something today? We’d all love to hear your beautiful voice again.

CANARY: I-I-I – well, I don’t know, I-I hadn’t thought about –

PRESENT MIC: YES – THAT WOULD BE GREAT! Will you, Canary?!

CANARY: I…

*Canary sighs*

CANARY: Sure.

*Present Mic and Washi cheer*

PRESENT MIC: Go get ready then, Canary! Whilst our pet shop friends tell us a bit about owning pet birds!

LISTENER {WASHI}: Sure! What do you want to know?

PRESENT MIC: And with Washi and Tori off to rescue their many escapee creatures – I believe that Canary is ready in his soundproof room!

CANARY: H-Have I told you h-how scary I find t-this?

PRESENT MIC: You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to!

CANARY: You say that every time…

PRESENT MIC: That’s because it’s the truth!

CANARY: Well – too late now I-I guess. Oh – Siren’s tapping on the window – hello, Siren – I’ll be out in a bit!

PRESENT MIC: READY WHEN YOU ARE!

 

~Fight Song – Rachel Platten~

 

 


 

Like a small boat –”

Midoriya had the blinds pulled down this time – hiding himself from the radio crew in the little soundproof room. Shinso could barely see his shadow through the dusty blinds as he sang along to a tune that he most clearly selected for a reason. He hoped that there were others out there who could understand them.

Like how a single word, can make a heart open…”

Shinso had spent hours with Midoriya – going through songs and trying to find what powers might lurk within them. This was one of them – one of the ones that Shinso now knew every word to. But only now did he really begin to realise how much these words meant to Midoriya.

And all those things I didn’t say – wrecking balls inside my brain!”

Shinso looked down at the cardboard boxes full of letters – his eyes lingering on that black envelope.

–can you hear my voice this time?”

With the music ringing in his ears, headphones placed awkwardly over his gelled hair, Shinso reached down and removed that envelope from the box, running his fingers over the Shiketsu seal and the glossy, black paper that the envelope was made from.

He glanced back at all the other letters. There were so many – and although Shinso didn’t open any himself, he knew what they were offering Midoriya – places at hero schools from across the country. They saw his potential, realised his growing fame and decided to make a move, in case UA decided not to, or took too long.

– my power’s turned on –”

But would he take it?

– I’ll be strong –”

Shinso’s hands gripped the sides of the black envelope. Would Midoriya take this opportunity? Would he leave him behind? It wasn’t that… Shinso was jealous in any way – he just… with Midoriya, he’d finally understood what friendship could be like – and it wasn’t just him anymore, there was Jiro, Uraraka, Iida – heck, even Todoroki. And he couldn’t –

– Wait.

He remembered that sly grin of Midoriya’s when some kind of idea drifted across his mind, whilst he put this envelope away.

Oh…

“‘Cause I’ve still got –”

How symbolic...

“– a lot of fight left in me.”

 


 

Inko was rarely able to call her husband on days other than Friday. It was early in the morning for him – but he didn’t mind.

– everybody’s worried about me…”

Inko was playing the radio out loud through the house, holding the phone close to the speaker as she tried not to sob.

Wow,” she heard Hisashi breath. “He sings more beautifully than you do.”

Inko laughed, which quickly turned into tears. She wasn’t very good at singing at all.

Nevertheless, in that moment, all three Midoriyas were singing the same tune – despite how far apart they stood.

Still believe – yeah I still believe…”

 


 

Jiro had just finished making a social media account by the name of !_Owl_!

Now she was prancing around downstairs, playing the music of the radio out loud as she jumped from sofa to sofa, singing along.

I will scream them loud tonight! Can you hear my voice this time?!”

 


 

Iida was sitting in the hospital’s waiting room.

His glasses kept misting up – at this point, he’d given up, and had taken them off to constantly rub the glass clean with the little cloth he always carried around in his pocket.

– prove I’m alright song!”

He’d known for a while, but the doctors would only be officially confirming it today.

Tensei would never walk again.

– I’ll be strong…”

Iida rubbed his eyes as Midoriya’s singing continued to fill his ears. They were playing the radio out loud in the hospital.

It did bring a smile to his face when the name Crane was mentioned, although, it was still beyond Iida as to why Uraraka decided upon that particular bird.

Names… Ingenium.

Tensei had asked him to take that name… but could he?

“‘Cause I’ve still got, a lot of fight left in me…”

 


 

She liked the radio – listened to it over her phone from time to time.

A lot of fight left in me…”

But oh – she liked Canary.

He was so close to winning! Came out all beaten and bruised and bloody…

She giggled as she skipped along.

She liked that.

 


 

Like a small boat –”

Cheater…

– on the ocean…”

He didn’t like that Quirk of his.

Sending big waves –”

He didn’t like the attention that was drawn to it.

– into motion…”

And he could destroy anything he didn’t like.

 


 

He’d needed to get outside – clear his head. But for some reason, he’d found himself taking his phone and headphones along with him. He’d listened to playlists for a time – but the string of songs had somehow taken him in a full circle – back to the ones Deku sung to him – and then back to the radio.

“I might only have one match…”

Bakugo kicked at the pebble by his feet, sending it skidding across the road as he walked.

…But I can make an explosion.”

…Bastard!

 


 

This is my fight song!” Midoriya sang, “Take back my life song!”

Siren was hopping around on the other side of the window, occasionally peering through the little gaps in the blinds to look at him. She was singing – although Midoriya couldn’t quite hear it through the soundproof glass.

My power’s turned on –”

He grinned. He felt so free, alone in that little room. He could just forget how many thousands were listening to his every word, and just enjoy their existence himself, as the barriers that once separated his mind from his mouth continued to crumble, and his control returned.

And I don’t really care if nobody else believes…”

And for once, he really didn’t.

“‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me!”

But he would get onto UA’s hero course – and Shinso would too.

– I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me…”

He would make sure of that.

 

Chapter Text

 

“Did you ever get through all that fan mail?” questioned Shinso.

Jiro had brought a massive umbrella with her, the three of them huddled underneath it in a desperate bid to avoid the downpour.

“You got fan mail?” Jiro gaped, “Already?”

“What do you mean, already?! I’m surprised I got any at all!” Midoriya exclaimed, almost tripping over his shoes as he struggled to stay under the cover of the umbrella.

I was surprised when my Owl account got so many followers,” said Jiro.

“It’s probably just because of Canary’s following us,” Shinso pointed out. He’d made an account for Raven too – not that he’d really done anything with it.

“We still need to convince Iida to make one for Crane,” Jiro remembered. “Then that’s everyone.”

“Um, a-are you ever going to tell anyone who you are?” Midoriya questioned as they approached the UA gates.

“Nah – it’s funnier denying it for now.”

“Good morning, everyone!”

The three of them stopped just in time to see Iida charging towards them, decked out with a long, green coat and wellington boats as he ran through the rain.

“Nice raincoat,” Jiro scoffed.

“Why are you all walking so slowly, we’ll be late!” Iida exclaimed, boosting himself past them with his Quirk.

“We’re still five minutes early!” Shinso called after him as they tried their best to catch up, despite huddling under the umbrella.

“UA students should always arrive ten minutes early, don’t you think?!” and he disappeared under the cover of the building.

“I swear, he’s always so intense,” Jiro sighed.

She shook the rainwater off her umbrella as they reached school, chucking it absentmindedly into the umbrella box, labelled 1-A.

Midoriya’s gaze lingered on it for a moment – realising how many students didn’t seem to be worried at all over their umbrellas being stolen or ruined. Midoriya himself had given up on taking umbrellas to school after his first was stolen and his second had Quirkless graffitied all over it.

“Have you seen Uraraka this morning?” Shinso questioned Midoriya as he shoved his own raincoat, which proved to not be quite waterproof enough, into his locker.

“Oh, y-yeah. She didn’t have a raincoat so she kind of just ran ahead of me screaming,” Midoriya explained, shaking the water out of his hair. He’d just accepted that he was going to get wet when he left the house that morning, and so was still rather damp when Jiro offered out her umbrella. That was when he heard a rather disgruntled squawk.

“Oh, my God,” Shinso sighed.

Oh – Siren! Why must you be like this?” Midoriya groaned, pulling the bird from his hair.

“I don’t think pets are permitted in the school grounds!” Iida protested as he pulled off his boots and replaced them with his ordinary shoes.

“I’d like to see them try and remove her,” grinned Shinso.

Midoriya just smiled at his bird and ended up tucking her into his pocket where she happily began to clean her feathers.

Speaking of feathers. Shinso hadn’t been joking when he said he would never take off the feather necklace. Midoriya could still see the edge of the chain, mostly concealed by the collar of his uniform.

“Oh, by the way, Iida,” Jiro began, picking up her bag as they all started to wander up towards the classrooms, “How is your brother? I heard what happened on the news.”

Midoriya looked to Iida with a worried look on his face. With all the panic about Canary, he’d almost missed the articles on Ingenium, Iida’s older brother – who had been critically hurt by the infamous Hero Killer, Stain.

“Ah, there’s no need to worry,” he replied simply. “Everything will be fine.”

Midoriya bit his lip. He wasn’t so sure how much he believed him.

“How about you, Midoriya?” Iida suddenly asked.

Midoriya jumped, “M-Me?”

“Yes. I see you’ve still got some withstanding injuries.”

Midoriya rubbed the bandages on his knuckles, becoming increasingly aware of an itch under the plaster on his chin. “O-Oh, it’s ok. Recovery Girl just couldn’t do much with it all because of how tired I was…”

“You were one of the only ones with many serious injuries,” Jiro recalled. “Maybe Bakugo… Kirishima, that guy from class 1-B – oh and Uraraka. But all the other matches ended pretty quickly or without much conflict… No thanks to you two,” she said, shooting a look at Midoriya and Shinso.

“No hard feelings, right?” Shinso replied.

Jiro smirked, “I suppose –”

Her face fell and eye became blank. Shinso grinned.

“Don’t be mean,” Midoriya pouted at him.

He shook his head and released his hold on her.

She blinked, took a moment to realise what happened and then aimed a sharp earphone jack at him. He ducked and batted it away.

“A-And you too, Iida,” Midoriya interjected. “I’m sorry a-about the Sports Festival and –”

“Honestly, Midoriya, there’s no need to make a fuss over it. It was a competition! I wouldn’t expect any less from someone with ambition equivalent to yours!”

Midoriya blushed furiously.

“Speaking of which,” Shinso sighed. “Back to class 1-C, Midoriya.”

“O-Oh, right,” he said, halting at the door to their classroom.

“I keep forgetting that you two aren’t already in our class,” said Jiro, twiddling her earphones around her fingers. “We’ll see you at lunch or something then, I guess.”

“M-Maybe not today,” Midoriya suddenly remembered, “Shinso and I might be busy.”

Shinso blinked at him, “We are?”

“You’ll see.”

He connected the dots far quicker than Midoriya had imagined.

“See you both later then,” he grinned, and they waved goodbye to the confused hero students, opening the door to class 1-C.

“It’s the stars of general studies!” exclaimed one of their classmates as Shinso and Midoriya came into view.

Siren immediately launched herself from Midoriya pocket and flew over to the guy, landing on his desk and staring at him threateningly.

“Err… I don’t think you’re allowed to have her at school, Canary,” Ohchi informed Midoriya cautiously.

“She followed us here,” Shinso grumbled in response, all too used to answering Midoriya’s questions for him. He was still rather grateful for it.

“Don’t you have a cage for her?” questioned Koneko.

Siren fluttered over to her desk next and glared at him as if to say, I’ll put you in a cage – cat!

“She doesn’t like cages,” Midoriya mumbled.

The few who heard Midoriya speak exchanged glances. They’d rarely heard him speak before, of course – and now the whole world knew the truth about him, or at least, most of it – about his selective muteness and the issues that arose with discovering his Quirk.

The door was thrown open.

HHHEEELLLOOO! Little listeners!” Present Mic cried, hurrying across the room and landing ineptly in his chair, only for it to spin around a couple of times. He slammed his hands on the desk to bring it to a halt. “Are we ready for the register?! Can I get a yeah?!”

“YEAH!”

Midoriya jolted in surprise at his classmates’ exclamation. He had been too busy watching Siren hop across the floor to reach him again, rather than fly over the others’ heads.

FINALLY!” Present Mic shouted joyously. “Took you long enough! Let’s see if you can continue being that enthusiastic in the rollcall!”

And they were, more or less. His classmates laughed as each of them replied to their name in as unique of a way as possible.

“Isao Kojima?!”

“HERE!”

Izuku Midoriya?!”

He raised his hand.

The whole class stared at him for a moment – Present Mic included. Perhaps they were expecting some kind of sound from him – anything at all. Instead, all they got was a little chirp from Siren.

“Is here!” Present Mic said for him eventually. “Hitoshi Shinso?!”

“Present,” Shinso replied with far less enthusiasm than the rest of them.

Aaaaaand – Maki Matsumoto?!”

“YEAH!”

YYYEEEAAAHHH!” Present Mic repeated in his ear-splittingly loud fashion. “All present and correct! And that’s all I have to say! Except – Midoriya and Shinso! Principal Nedzu would like to see you at lunch time!”

As the class turned to look at him once more, Midoriya let a small smile creep across his face.

He turned to face Shinso, who smirked, and then signed, [You were right – as always]

Midoriya turned back to the front, briefly catching a glimpse of Present Mic’s confused expression as he looked down towards his open backpack, sitting by his seat.

The black letter was there – its golden seal staring up at him, delicately kept intact after Midoriya had opened the message the night before.

It was all going according to plan.

 


 

“Tea?”

Principal Nedzu was standing on his desk, holding out two cups of green tea to Midoriya and Shinso as they walked in. Both graciously accepted, whether they really wanted it or not, and sat down in the two chairs pulled up to the other side of the Principal’s desk.

Tweet, tweet!

“Oh!” the Principal exclaimed as he clambered back down into his seat. Siren had hopped off Midoriya’s shoulder to great Nedzu across his desk. “Hello, Siren! Nice to meet all three of you!”

“I-I’m sorry I didn’t keep her at home,” Midoriya said hastily. His voice was a lot quieter than he would have liked. “But she doesn’t like cages.”

Nedzu smiled at him in the best way he could, “Neither do I.”

Midoriya gulped, for such a short, squeaky sounding little creature, his presence was awfully menacing, especially considering what Midoriya was planning to do and say in the coming minutes.

“On another matter of freedom, how is your selective muteness these days, Midoriya?” Nedzu questioned, pouring himself his own cup of tea. “You seem able to talk to me. Do you believe you are improving?”

Midoriya could feel Shinso’s sarcastic thoughts.

“I-I-I think so… um, yeah. I am…” he stammered in response.

“I would expect that you would find it harder to start speaking to people who knew you more personally, from before you started improving your capabilities in speech again,” Nedzu presumed, sipping his tea.

Midoriya nodded, staring at his shoes.

“But your time at the radio show has shown such a promising improvement already! I look forward to seeing you one day conclude your muteness… a thing of the past.”

“Thank you, Sir,” Midoriya barely whispered.

“And how about you, Shinso?” the Principal turned to him. “Have you faced any issues at all concerning the nature of your Quirk and the opinions of your classmates during your time here?”

He had – from time to time.

“No, Sir,” he answered quickly.

“Good, good!” Nedzu smiled, “How lovely to hear.” His eyes followed Siren as she hopped across his desk, glancing curiously at the various things piled there. “Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why you’re here –”

“– Not really, Sir,” were the words that shot out of Midoriya’s mouth before he had the chance to think about them.

Nedzu simply continued to smile. “The two of you wish to transfer to the hero course, do you not?”

Midoriya saw Shinso tense up beside him. He tried not to do so himself. He had this under control… right? If he could at least act like he did – then perhaps he’d be that much closer to his goal.

“Of course, Midoriya, with your performance in the Sports Festival, we simply cannot ignore you. You have more than proved your potential – and, perhaps after a few more tests, we can transfer you for the start of the next academic year.”

Midoriya’s heart was beating way too fast. He knew this would be how it would go.

“As for you, Shinso. You also showed us a great power that could be very useful in the field of heroics. However, you didn’t quite get as far in the Sports Festival, and relied heavily on your opponents’ lack of knowledge of your Quirk. You might need further training and time before we can confirm a place in the hero course for you. Does that make sense?”

He didn’t say anything; just stared at Nedzu for a moment, before nervously glancing to Midoriya in the corner of his eye.

“No.”

Nedzu looked back to Midoriya, “No?”

Even Midoriya was surprised by his own proclamation. He quickly shook off the unfamiliarity of the burst of confidence and continued to plough forwards. “N-No, it doesn’t make sense.” He ignored Shinso’s stare as he transfixed his focus onto the man – creature – who could define their future. “We want to be on the hero course specifically f-for that training. I-If you delay transferring us, we’ll only fall further behind.”

“A logical conclusion,” Nedzu said calmly. “But good things come with time. Throwing the two of you straight into the intensity of the hero course could prove detrimental to your progress. We wouldn’t want to expose you to more stress and anxiety than necessary – especially for someone like yourself, Midoriya.”

What did he mean by that? His mental health?

“I’m improving,” he reaffirmed.

“Yes, and we wouldn’t want to damage that,” Nedzu nodded. “You’re doing so well. Focus on continuing to recover, and once this year comes to a close, I am positive that you will be ready for the pressures of heroics.”

“What about me?” Shinso breathed. For once, he seemed to be struggling to talk more than Midoriya was.

“As I said, you rely too much on your Quirk. You need skills beyond that if you hope to become a great hero one day. Show us an ambition to improve upon those abilities, and we will be more than happy to have you in the hero course too!”

“And how exactly do I do that?” Shinso pressed.

“Eraser Head said that he saw potential in you too.”

Midoriya was certain that Shinso’s heart skipped a beat in that moment. “Eraser Head? The… class 1-A homeroom teacher?”

Nedzu nodded, that smile had yet to fade from his face. “He believes that you might have a chance as an underground hero, like himself – a hero who avoids the media; focuses on less… flashy villains. But ones of equal, if not more, importance, of course. You need to keep the ins and outs of your Quirk under wraps if you want it to be effective, much like Mr Aizawa’s, in a way.”

Midoriya could see a twitch of a smile on Shinso’s face. After Midoriya first mentioned the hero Eraser Head to Shinso, they’d continued to talk about him from time to time. It was clear that Shinso had gone away and researched him himself. He’d become a bit of a fan, although he’d never admit it out loud. But Midoriya was enough of a fan boy himself to recognise when his best friend was becoming one.

“Of course, Midoriya would not work quite as well as an underground hero,” Nedzu chuckled to himself, “the villains would hear you coming. Your Quirk is much flashier – suited for bigger, action-based incidences, or perhaps rescue operations, rather than undercover work. However, thinking of that, you don’t really know an awful lot about your Quirk, do you, Midoriya?”

“N-No… Sorry, Sir.”

“No need to apologise!” he exclaimed, jumping off his chair with the kettle in hand to refill the boys’ presumably empty teacups.

Midoriya quickly drank a good volume of it as to not be rude. Shinso suppressed a snort at Midoriya’s antics and seemed to not bother following his example.

“Your tea’s getting cold, Shinso,” the Principal acknowledged after refilling Midoriya’s hastily emptied cup.

There was a moment of silence as Nedzu strolled back around to his seat.

The three of them had long forgotten about Siren. Meanwhile, she was busy exploring every corner the highly esteemed mammal’s office, blissfully unaware of the seriousness of the meeting.

“For someone who has had such little time with their Quirk, you have done remarkably well with it. You have shown a profound ability in analysis into it! I suppose that is something you picked up from elsewhere?” Nedzu continued, settling into the conversation so easily that Midoriya wondered why he was considered more Human than the Principal was. It was so normal to him. Shouldn’t it be normal to Midoriya too? – And not so nerve wracking that he couldn’t even trust his head to continue to let the words he needed tumble out into reality?

“I-I used to – I mean, I still – like to analyse Quirks, Sir. Specifically, heroes’ Quirks… It’s kind of a… hobby,” Midoriya admitted in a way that made it sound like a crime.

“And a wonderful hobby at that! A pursuit of knowledge purely to satisfy curiosity, rather than to gain greatness. But it seems to have proven useful. Your results in the general studies entrance exam were nothing to sneeze at, after all.” The Principal turned back to Shinso again. Midoriya saw his friend dig his nails into his palm as the mammal’s gaze met his. “You, however, took the hero course entrance exams, didn’t you, Shinso?”

“You would know,” Shinso snarled. He probably should have said it in a far less menacing manner.

Principal Nedzu didn’t seem to think anything of it though, as he said, “Your theoretical results were also rather good. But you fell more than short on the practical exam.”

“I can’t use my Quirk on robots,” Shinso retorted.

“No. A rather unfortunate drawback.”

“It’s not a drawback – your exam is just biased.”

Midoriya knew he should have intervened before Shinso said something he would regret. But he felt a similar anger bubbling in his chest. He let Shinso spit the venom that he wanted to do oh so badly.

“UA likes to flaunt it’s success rate in producing top heroes,” Shinso continued, gritting his teeth and narrowing his eyes. “But of course, you can – you never give anyone without a flashy power half the chance!”

Nedzu just lent back in his chair and let Shinso keep going. It unnerved Midoriya, but Shinso was persistent.

“Like what Midoriya said – if you want us to improve on our skills in order to become heroes. What better way than to put us in the hero course?! Just waiting is going to put us even further behind!”

“I’m sorry, Shinso, but the two of you just aren’t ready to enter the hero course right now,” Nedzu sighed. “Present Mic and Eraser Head are both interested in training the two of you separately and out of lesson time. It is a very fortunate situation to be in – you have some of the best tutors in the country in terms of the way your Quirks work and how you need to learn to apply them to heroics. Later in the year, perhaps we can test your improvements by letting you join the occasional hero class and seeing how well you fare. We will officially consider transferring you after that. My decision is final.”

The Principal’s smile wasn’t quite so happy anymore – more, apologetic, and perhaps a little forced.

“Y-Your decision might be final,” Midoriya stammered, putting down his cup of tea; his hand reaching towards the yellow backpack that he had resting by his feet. He’d emptied its contents into his locker earlier that day, so now all that remained inside it were the items necessary for his meeting. “But mine isn’t.”

He stood up, unzipped the bag and poured every letter out onto the Principal’s desk. Midoriya felt little shame in ruining the order of his table.

He tossed the empty bag back onto the floor, once he was sure all the letters had fallen out, and grasped the bold, black envelope from the pile.

Midoriya took a deep breath, and silently prayed, ‘Voice, don’t fail me now.’

“T-These,” he began unsteadily, staring at the insignia on the seal, “are from hero schools. Every single one of them.”

Nedzu hadn’t stopped smiling – although it had begun to fade as he gazed over the mass of paper.

“A-And a vast majority of them state that I will be able to transfer to their hero course effective immediately, if I-I so wish. B-Because they see potential in me too. But they have taken the initiative to act upon it.”

“Unlike you,” Shinso snapped.

Midoriya swallowed his fear and pressed on, “I could take up any one o-of these offers at any time I like. I could leave UA and become a hero on my own terms.” He was getting louder now; more confident with his speech – he had to be, if this was going to work the way he wanted it to. “They are offering to help me get my provisional licence within the year! But if I stay here, in general studies, I might not even be able to pass the next exam first thing next year – because I wouldn’t have received the training I need – that you said I need.”

“But if you leave UA,” Nedzu interjected, “what would happen to your position at your radio station?”

‘He’s trying to find weaknesses in my argument,’ Midoriya realised. “I have a contract with them,” he remembered. “Leaving UA wouldn’t make a difference to that.”

“But you would leave the mentorship of Present Mic.”

“You don’t know that I would,” retorted Midoriya. “My place at the radio station gives me a passageway into his hero agency – the option will a-always be there.”

Nedzu hummed thoughtfully as he glanced down at the various letters, “These are all fairly low rate hero courses. Not that they don’t produce admirable heroes – but they don’t get far. Being more… local heroes then someone who could earn themselves a place on the hero ranking.”

“W-Well, firstly, I don’t care about that stuff. Secondly, I-I have enough of a… fan base – to get me somewhere despite that – and thirdly–” he waved the black envelope at the Principal– “not all of them are low rate.”

He stood up, leaning closer towards Nedzu as he showed him the symbol of the letter, passing it across the desk. “T-This is from Shiketsu Academy, I-I’m sure you’ve heard of it.”

“That I have,” Nedzu agreed, examining the envelope sitting in his paws after placing his cup of tea gingerly down beside the scattered letters.

“That is the school I choose,” Midoriya warned. “Your rival school.”

Nedzu’s smile grew a little bit wider, “Interesting…”

“I will go to Shiketsu, and I will tell the world about how little UA did for me – other than Present Mic… I have the media presence – the popularity – the ability to be heard. I can choose to go there and drag your name down with it!”

The creature was showing his teeth now, his smile stretching as far across his face as it could go, “So, this is blackmail?”

“W-What?! N-No, of course not!” Midoriya exclaimed, jumping back a little. “W-Well, it is black mail but n-not blackmail… T-That’s a bit extreme – n-no, no – I-I –”

“Tell me your proposition, Midoriya,” Nedzu insisted, placing the Shiketsu letter down on top of the little mountain of envelopes before him.

He faltered, before saying, “Let me and Shinso into the hero course – b-by next semester at the latest. Both of us. Or else I will leave. A-And… UA will regret turning its back on us.”

Silence fell between them for a moment.

Even Siren was quiet. Actually, Midoriya had no idea where Siren was so… that didn’t really matter.

Nedzu clapped his paws together, positively beaming at him, “Wonderful!”

Midoriya blinked at him, “H-Huh?”

“Absolutely wonderful!” he repeated. “I know very few Humans with the confidence to threaten me like that – and with such a well thought out argument in mind too!”

Midoriya was a little too stunned to reply, so Shinso took his place, “So? What will you do?”

“Well, it appears my decision has been made for me. If you can undertake a situation as stressful as this and find you are not only still able to talk but have the ability to propose such a daring agreement, then you are more than ready to take on the pressures of the hero course!”

Midoriya felt like he was about to pass out – but he wasn’t about to make that problem known.

“Of course, the issue still stands that the two of you are far behind the other hero course students. So, this is my proposition. You might be aware that, in the week after next, for the first time, first-year students will be taking internships under heroes who have reached out to us. What you do not know, is that I have had certain heroes approaching me to ask if Canary is available for them. However, we simply cannot agree to such matters. You are not in the hero course yet – the paperwork isn’t in place, and then comes the slight matter of insurance and governmental permissions and caretaking… No, we cannot allow you two to take part in an internship like the others will,” Nedzu explained.

He had gotten up off his chair again, and was standing on his desk, retrieving Midoriya’s copious amounts of letters to pile them neatly in front of him.

But, with the hero students away on internships, our lovely members of staff don’t have their lessons to teach! I have been looking into it, and have come to the satisfying conclusion that, by alternating through UA teachers, both of you can have a week of study under their supervision, in a very similar method to the rest of the hero course.”

Wait – what?!

“That way, they will be able to review your abilities, and perhaps begin to refine them! If you can agree with me that transferring next semester will be a benefit to us all – especially considering the paperwork and issues surrounding what course materials you need to know – we can make the transfer official then! As long as our teachers each agree that you both are as capable as I believe you can be, after the week is over.”

Midoriya shakily accepted the stack of envelopes from Nedzu, and gently put them back into his bag, along with the Shiketsu letter – almost squishing Siren in the process, who had reappeared in the backpack at some point during the meeting.

“By staying in general studies for the rest of this semester though, you will be slightly ahead of your hero course peers. That will give you the chance to catch up on the hero topics you fall behind on. Especially since you are fluent in English, Midoriya – and your grades show that you are not so bad yourself, Shinso. Perhaps you are picking up some skills from Midoriya already?”

“Wait, hold on,” Shinso interjected, shuffling forwards in his chair. “What are we doing again?”

“I will need to confirm and organise a few things first. But I should have a timetable organised, at the very latest, by the end of next week,” Nedzu grinned. He was now sitting back in his tall chair, his beady eyes glinting at him in amusement as he gazed upon their confused expressions. “Our UA heroes will assess your abilities during the internship week, and then you must pass your exams at the end of the semester for your current, general studies department. You can then join our hero course students in their summer camp in order to make an acquaintance with them – only to officially join this coming semester.”

They stared at him, mouths agape.

“Well?” he said, cocking his head to one side. “Are we in agreement?”

 


 

In a bit of a daze, Midoriya and Shinso followed a singing Siren down to the lunch hall.

Shinso was so shocked that, for the first time, Midoriya had to order food for him. It was hard to read the expression on Lunch Rush’s face when Midoriya spoke – but he was pretty sure it was a smile.

After paying, the two of them (well, three, if you counted Siren) were waved down by Uraraka, across the hall.

The table was big enough for the six of them – right in the corner of the hall, not far from where Shinso and Midoriya used to sit alone at the beginning of the term. But, somehow, it was the first time all six had been truly together.

“So, you were busy?” Jiro pushed as soon as they sat down.

“What happened – was it a meeting with Principal Nedzu?!” guessed Uraraka.

“Did it go well?” Iida asked.

“Will you be transferred into class 1-A?” questioned Todoroki.

Shinso didn’t even notice Siren almost crash landing into his food as he slowly turned to Midoriya, “Err, care to explain?”

Midoriya spluttered into laughter.

“What just happened?” Shinso wondered aloud, starting to laugh nervously alongside Midoriya. “What the heck did you just do?!”

“Don’t leave us hanging!” Uraraka protested. She’d dropped her chopsticks, leaning across the table as if getting closer to them might somehow convince them to tell her what happened quicker.

Shinso pointed at Midoriya accusingly, “I think this bastard just blackmailed the Principal!”

“WHAT?!” they all cried at once.

“N-No!” Midoriya laughed uncontrollably. “Shinso! That’s not what happened!”

“Then what did?!”

“You were there!”

“And I’m as clueless as anyone!”

Todoroki raised his hand leisurely, “I’m confused.”

“You’re always confused,” Jiro interjected.

“I-I think…” Midoriya breathed, staring at each of his friends in turn with a bewildered smile across his face, “I think we just got onto the hero course!”