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I Wasn't Made to Fly

Chapter Text

Izuku stands at the pedestrian crossing light rocking back and forth on his feet. His eyes are glued to the red light, willing it to turn green, but it doesn’t even as his eyes water. 

His mother asked him to go to the store a few blocks away from his middle school to get some groceries. He clutches the bill his mother gave him that morning and steps onto the road. He walks carefully between the white painted lines painted on the road as he moves further away from the direction of the school and his house. 

In the hand not clenching the grocery money, he also clutches his burnt notebook to his chest and tries to ignore the swarming thoughts that plague his mind. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for Kacchan to say something like that to him, and for the most part he’d become numb to the words, but when he wrecked Izuku’s notebook, the one thing he could always turn to when he was overwhelmed, Izuku just couldn’t quite shake his disappointment and teetering anger. 

He blows out a breath of frustration and turns the corner. Just a few more crossings and he’ll be at the store. He really just wants to go home now. 

Izuku swiftly picks out the few food items his mother requested and clutches the plastic bag in his fist, his other arm still holding the notebook tightly. The cashier glances at it a bit strangely, but Izuku leaves the store before the stranger can make any comments on it. 

When Izuku leaves the store...he knows something is off. There’s nothing particularly different about the area surrounding the store or anything he can physically see. Izuku doesn’t know how he knows how the aura in the air shifted, it just has. 

He shakes his head and begins walking down the street back home. 

On the way back, he hears sirens blaring from a few streets over. His intuition, which he likes to think is his inner hero, makes him think he should make his way over to the source of the noise. The exhaustion from being picked on yet again and waking up early for school every day tells him he should just go home and worry about it later. The heroes exist for the sole purpose of coming to situations like this, right? Whatever is going on will be fine, he needs to get back home and take a nap. 

And that’s exactly what he does. Until he hears his mother scream unintelligibly in the middle of his rest and he jolts awake once again. 

“Izuku! Izuku come out here!” she hollers from the living room. 

Usually, she adds something like “dear” or “please” to her sentences. She’s sweet like that, and it’s something Izuku loves about his mother. The lack of those candy-like words is what really brings Izuku to attention enough to peel his covers back and allow his feet hit the floor beside his bed. 

Dread seeps through his stomach, and makes its way into his bloodstream, weaving its way all along his body. In every nook and cranny, he knows something is very, very wrong and maybe he should have listened to his “inner hero.”

“I’m here...what’s wrong,” he mutters as he wipes the sleep from his eyes. He tries his hardest to not look terrified. 

Izuku's mother looks at him with wide eyes and points a finger to the television. Her finger shakes as she waits for him to notice the cause of her distress.

Terrified, Izuku's head turns toward the screen and his stomach drops to the floor. There’s no way what Izuku is seeing is real. No way. He’s supposed to stop this kind of thing from happening. This isn’t what heroes should let happen. Not at all. 

Izuku clenches his fists at his sides, his fingers grasping desperately at the rumpled cloth of his school uniform. With wide, dry eyes Izuku stares at the lifeless expression on Kacchan’s face as he’s held in All Might’s devastated arms. The blood he’d coughed up is splattered all over the front of his black uniform and his head lolls to the side, unsupported by All Might’s arms. 

Izuku doesn’t want to listen to anything. Not the words that the reporter asks All Might, not what All Might says, and most certainly not the words his mother is saying to him. She’s asking if he’s okay and if he got caught in this too, even though it was clear by the way Izuku is staring and shaking that he wasn’t. 

“Please talk to me,” his mother pleads. She’s standing in front of him now. He can’t remember her moving at all. 

“No, this is fake,” he mumbles, his voice barely audible by the way it catches securely in his throat. “I’m supposed to save him.” 

“Honey...don’t think like that. You didn’t know, right?” his mother asks him. Her fingers wrap around the fabric of his loosely hanging uniform. She tugs on it, and he jerks forward. 

Izuku shakes his head. “I didn’t. I didn’t go that way today because of the groceries.” He bites hard on his cheek until blood spills onto his tongue. “I should have listened. I thought there was something wrong. I’m so useless . Just like he says.” His cheek throbs with pain but it’s nothing compared to the pain he’s experiencing just looking at that screen. 

“Izuku...stop that.” His mother backs away from him. “I’ll get you some water. Go sit down, okay? There are tissues on the coffee table.”

He flicks his eyes toward the table in the middle of the living room. “What…” he mutters before pulling a hand to his cheek. It’s wet. He doesn’t remember crying. 

Izuku sits on the couch like his mother says and mutes the television. He won’t look at it. He can’t. It isn’t real anyway. 

He wipes the tears away with his coarse jacket sleeve, and it leaves a raw mark on his cheek. Izuku lifts up his phone to inspect the wound. It’s a pinkish streak, much like the trails of tears winding their way down his flesh. 

“Useless,” he repeats. Then he hears it in Kacchan’s voice, over and over again, until the tears return. He was right . Why did Izuku ever try to be someone. If he can’t even rush into the scene when someone he’s known his entire life was in trouble, then how will he ever know when to help someone he doesn’t know?  

Izuku’s mother returns with a glass of water and sets it on the table in front of him. “He’ll be okay,” his mother says as she sits down next to Izuku on the couch. The way she says it seems like she’s saying it to herself just as much as Izuku. “You know how strong he is,” she adds as she wipes her own tears away. 

“He’s always been better than me. He’ll probably laugh at death’s face when it comes for him and it’ll cower from him.” Izuku laughs bitterly. His throat is thick with sobs and disbelief. He eyes the water on the table and debates whether it’s worth it to wash those things away. 

Izuku’s mother places an arm around him. “You’re just as good as him. He may be strong in certain areas but you’re stronger than him in others. You’re caring and ignore the mean things kids say to you. That’s incredibly strong.”

“It’s not enough to make it though.” Izuku takes the cold glass in his hand and traces lines through the condensation. He takes a drink and waits for the icy liquid to trickle down his throat. The thickness remains, and he sighs. “I’m going to bed early.” 

“Okay, would you like something to eat before you go to sleep? You haven’t eaten much today, have you?” his mother offers. 

Izuku shakes his head. “I’m fine.” He stands up and glares at the screen again. Kacchan’s face isn’t there anymore, nor is All Might. A reporter is asking a woman Izuku recognizes to be Kacchan’s mother questions. 

“Were you aware this was happening?” the reporter asks her. 

The camera pans to her face, eyes watery and her face taut with a mix of anger and regret. “I wasn’t. He just told me he always walks with his friends home and I never thought anything of it.”

“Do you trust that our great hero was able to save your son from worse injury than he could have sustained?” 

The woman’s face twists. “Well, he’s always idolized All Might, so I hope so.” 

Izuku bites his lip and clicks the television off. He enters his room again and curls into his bed covers. Adrenaline, fear, denial, and agitation keeps Izuku awake, even long after the sun goes down. 

He can’t bring himself to look at his phone in fear he’ll see more news stories, so he turns it off. It’s just him, alone, staring at a blank, dark ceiling with no idea of what will happen when he goes to school in the morning. 

His fingernails dig into his palm until they nearly break his skin. He should have been there. That thought courses through his head over and over, until the words jumble together and he has no sense of what he was thinking in the first place. 

Nobody would accept a quirkless kid who can’t even save his only “friend” into UA. Izuku knows that for a fact. 

Telling himself this, he gives up. No tears come, but he wishes they would, so he doesn’t feel like a husk anymore. It’s the worst. Everything is waiting to burst out, but the denial of what just happened keeps all of Izuku’s emotions locked up in his chest. 

He eventually exhausts himself staring at the walls and succumbs to sleep. Only then, can he cry. 

He wakes up in the morning with a dry throat and a soaked pillow. When his mother comes in his room to wake him up, she bites at her nails at the sight of Izuku’s disheveled form. His hair sticks to his face from the sweat and tears that coat his skin, and his uniform is crumpled, his tie hardly tied together around his neck. 

“Go back to sleep, I’ll let your teacher know you aren’t coming in,” his mother tells him. 

Falling back asleep is easier than waking up to the reality of this situation. 

A month passes, and Kacchan is back to school. He isn’t the same. 

Before the incident, Kacchan would nag Izuku to death all day, jab at him and say crude things to get Izuku’s blood boiling, but that just…stopped the second he came back to school after being in the hospital for a month. 

Kacchan has to take physical therapy to get his muscles and bones back in shape so he can train for the UA exam again. When Izuku tries to ask him how it’s going, he shoves Izuku away and tells him to shut up about it and leave him alone. 

The words are the same as before, but the tone...is far from it. Kacchan sounds sad and angry with himself, rather than Izuku. Just that in itself is enough to make Izuku’s fists clench and his teeth grind together. 

“Kacchan,” Izuku grumbles under his breath as he clasps a fist around the back of Kacchan’s jacket. 

“What.” There’s not a bit of interest in his voice. 

“Are you okay?” Izuku bites his lip and tears away at the peeling skin. 

Kacchan’s eyes narrow. “I’m fine. Leave me alone.” He swats Izuku’s hand away and walks off down the hall. 

Before…before everything that happened a month ago, Izuku would have felt a little bit upset and insulted by what Kacchan said, but at least he gave Izuku some attention. It was never good or wanted attention, but it was something . Izuku craved any sort of attention from someone other than his mother, even if it was his childhood bully. 

"You don't care anymore, do you?" Izuku says before the words can form meaning in his brain. 

"What?" Kacchan growls. He turns around but stays where he stands a few meters away from Izuku. "What the hell does that mean?"

"You cared so much before. Now you don't. Why?" Izuku asks. His fingers curl into a fist and he squeezes so hard they ache. 

Kacchan scoffs. "Care about what? You ? Is that what this is about?"

Izuku plants his feet firmly on the slick tiled floors. "Yes, that's exactly what this is about."

“Who told you that lie? Is there something wrong with that tiny brain of yours?” Kacchan steps closer. His legs are still wobbly and his face is pale. But he still looks far more intimidating than Izuku could ever muster. 

“You always wanted to tell me how much better than me you are. And now you don’t. You don’t even care I exist. Why ?” 

Kacchan’s eyes narrow. “You’re not my competition, you know? You’re just Deku and I know you can’t beat me, so why should I care?” Kacchan raises his hands above his head to stretch, and then they settle behind his neck. “You proved that with the slime villain. Maybe I don’t know you as well as I thought. I expected you to burst in with that shitty grin of yours and ruin everything.” He smirks at Izuku. “I may be weak now, but I’m still stronger than you. Don’t forget that.” 

“That villain must have messed up your head,” Izuku mumbles as he laughs at Kacchan’s boundless determination. But the funniest part about it is…

Izuku believes every word of it.

Chapter Text

Sweat drips down Shouto’s back as he stares ahead at his father. His arms ache, his head aches, his legs ache. Everything aches. It's always like this. And it gets worse as he gets older. 

The toll the training takes on his body is too much for the average fourteen-year-old, but according to his father, it's necessary for Shouto to become successful in his entrance to UA. 

It’s total bullshit in Shouto’s opinion. He doesn’t want to go to UA, and he’s never had any desire to be a hero, if he turns out anything like his father. 

He grits his teeth and bends over to catch his breath. Even with his tank top on, he can see the blood seeping from his fresh wounds and the blooming of purple on his abdomen; fresh bruises. “Shit,” he mutters as he presses a hand against the wound, gauging just how severe they are. 

If Shouto were in a normal household, his father would have stopped to let Shouto bandage his wounds. But his house is never the normal household, nor will it ever be. 

“Shouto, get up,” his father bellows from across the room. “You’re not done.”

Shouto spits, “When will I ever be done?” 

A sour taste spills through his mouth when he speaks, like his body is warning him of the mistake he just made. But at the same time, he doesn’t want to take it back. His father doesn’t deserve respect from him, when all he gets from his father is broken bones and bruises. 

“When I decide you are,” his father responds gruffly. 

From across the room, Shouto can hear the snapping of his father's cracking knuckles, and Shouto winces. He doesn’t want any more pain. His body can’t handle it anymore. He’s sure if he keeps going, he’ll collapse. 

“I can’t do this anymore,” Shouto rasps. He’s sitting against the padded training room wall now. It’s a stupid thing to say, and it’ll probably only get him the opposite of what he wants, but all he can think to do now is try to plead for a break. 

His father advances across the room, and though his quirk isn’t activated, Shouto can feel the heat of his anger. “If you can’t, then you’re useless. You’re not my son, you’re not even worth living,” his father spits out as he grasps at Shouto’s arm and yanks him up, his feet dangling inches off the ground.

Shouto can feel and hear his shoulder pop out of place and he whimpers. “I don’t care, let me go.” 

The next thing Shouto sees is a sideways view of the training room, and his vision slowly going black.  

---

The UA entrance exam quickly approaches, and Shouto becomes less and less excited to move onto high school. He’s holding a mock exam in his hands while he sits on his bed in his empty, pathetic bedroom. 

The questions are easy. He can get into the school without a problem. And even if he fails the written portion, then the physical portion can’t be any harder. Though the training is painful and damaging to Shouto’s mental health, it did train him. He’s strong, and his reflexes are finely tuned.

All of this isn’t even the worst news. 

While he’s staring at the paper, his sister enters his bedroom and hands him an envelope. 

“A letter from UA,” she says, and watches as Shouto rips it open angrily. 

An acceptance letter. “I haven’t taken the exam yet, it has to be a mistake,” he mutters. He scans the length of the document and groans. “I was accepted on recommendation.” 

“Oh...I was afraid of that,” Fuyumi comments. “You’ll get through it. It’s only three years, right? Maybe you’ll make some friends and it won’t be so bad.”

Friends. “Do you really think that?” Shouto asks, scoffing. “Nobody will want to be friends with me. Just looking at me will send them away.” 

Fuyumi frowns. “If you say that, then you’ll believe it. Just try talking to someone on the first day, you’ll be okay.”

Shouto closes his eyes and falls back on his bed.

So, his future was already determined. Like always. He isn’t even able to take the exam and be tested fairly like everyone else. He gets to stick out and be the golden child like he’s been trained to be. The exact thing he despises.

He’ll go to school to be a hero, and fulfill what his father has always wanted him to be. 

The whole thought makes Shouto sick. He curls into himself and stares at the word “recommendation” until he becomes so infuriated with it, he rips the paper into tiny pieces. Even destroying the paper won’t make it go away. His father probably already knows, and was also probably the one who bribed the school into letting Shouto attend. 

He’s disgusted

Isn’t it a parent’s job to ensure their child’s success, in the way their child deems is the right path for their future? That’s what the very few pieces of literature and media Shouto has been able to read and watch have said. To “follow your dreams,” “build your own future,” “find your passion,” and all of the other corny but repeatedly stated phrases. Those mean nothing to Shouto. 

They’re lies. He can’t follow his dreams, he can’t build a future of his own, and he can’t find what he’s passionate about. It’s all been decided for him, from the moment he breathed his first breath in this dismal world he lives in. 

It’s all his father . What are his father’s dreams? His father’s ideal future? His father’s passion?

Shouto becomes a hero, becomes a better hero than All Might was, and Shouto’s spirit for anything else is beaten down and broken in the process. 

Shouto brings a hand over the scar marring the left side of his face. He drags a hand down, his fingers scraping and the raised flesh. 

He’ll never use his left side. Not if it brings joy and pride to his father. If it makes him stronger and more ideal as a hero, he doesn’t want to use it. 

His right hand ices over and he grins at it. 

Shouto will show his father that he can do what he wants. Without the help of his father. 

A spark of inspiration and drive courses through Shouto, and for a moment, going to UA doesn’t seem as bad as it used to. 

Chapter Text

Words grate on Hitoshi’s brain. The lesson the teacher has chosen for the day flows through his ears but doesn’t mean anything to him. The words hit the walls of his skull and bounce right back. The words he’s focused on are what his classmates told him at lunch earlier. They echo in his head until he has a pounding migraine and every other noise around him is only an aggravator. 

He doesn’t ever tell people about his quirk. If he can help it, he keeps it hidden and never speaks of it. It isn’t necessary for people to know. It doesn’t affect his schooling or his ability to learn or function as a typical fourteen year old kid. 

But everyone is obsessed with them. If he tries to hide his ability, people ask him over and over again until he breaks. 

At lunch, he told the whole table about his quirk, and they all looked at him with such fear and disgust that he left the table in a rush of panic. He could still hear the laughing and gagging noises even as he left the cafeteria. 

They were scared of him. He had never spoken to them before, but they were scared of him. It doesn’t make sense why they would tease and belittle him when they were so scared he’d hurt them, but that’s what they did. 

The words hang heavy over Hitoshi’s head as he stares at the board, the symbols supposedly representing sentences registering as nothing in his head. 

You’re a freak Shinsou-kun! Don’t brainwash me!

No wonder you have no friends, you’d brainwash them to do what you want. 

Don’t answer him! He’ll make you do something embarrassing!

Shinsou-kun shouldn’t try to be a hero, he can only be a villain with that kind of quirk.

He almost hates his parents for making him like this. They couldn’t have known that he would have this quirk though. He wonders how they even figured out how it works. All he can remember is being five and sitting on the floor with one of his friends. Hitoshi’s mother kneeled down and told his friend to be careful when talking to Hitoshi, in case his quirk activated suddenly. They hadn’t figured out how to stop the effects once they started yet. That friend didn’t remain Hitoshi’s friend for very long. His mother was worried that Hitoshi would hurt her son. 

Hitoshi holds his head in his hands and presses deep into his temples. Maybe if he pushes hard enough, the memories and words will go away. 

They don’t. His head starts spinning and the room’s edges begin turning black. He stands abruptly and leaves the room before his mind can catch up with what his legs are doing. The teacher says something as he makes his way to the door but he holds a hand up as to say “stop” and leaves the room. 

Hitoshi makes it to the bathroom and leans against the cold tile wall. The shock of cold to the hot skin of his neck makes the room calm down a bit. He splashes some water from the sink against his face and wipes the water away with a paper towel. 

Even after he feels like he’s regained his footing and focus, he doesn’t want to leave the bathroom. He contemplates staying here until school is over so he can just go home without seeing his classmates again. 

Hitoshi sighs and locks himself in one of the stalls. His watch says he still has two hours of classes left. Both staying in the bathroom for two hours and returning to class for the last two hours seem pointless. He won’t learn anything if he goes to class, but there isn’t anything to do in here either. He can always leave early, but he risks his parents getting a call from his teacher. 

Reluctantly, he goes back to class. 

---

After school, Hitoshi regrets not skipping class. Hitoshi walks away from the school along the sidewalk he always takes, but a couple of his classmates block the way. He scowls at them. “Can you move so I can go home?” he asks in irritation. 

Both of them stare at him, and motion a zipper closing over their mouths. They feign terror and chuckle. 

“I’m not going to control you, I just want to go home.” 

One of them grabs the front of Hitoshi’s school uniform and drags his feet along the pavement until he’s suspended in the air. The kid must have some sort of strength quirk. Hitoshi grinds his teeth. 

“Can you let go?” Hitoshi asks, his voice wavering between calm and irritated. If they keep this up then maybe he will use his quirk on them. 

The bully makes the mistake of answering, "What are you gonna do if I don't? You're a twig."

Hiroshi narrows his eyes and lets the power of his quirk course through his body, and forces the bully to let go of him. 

Hiroshi drops to the ground and coughs, and releases his power. He could've done more, but seeing as everyone already hates him for the sheer fact that he can control people, he didn't want to take the risk of more people after him. 

The bully who held him yells, "What the hell, dude!"

“You didn’t let go,” Hitoshi states simply. “I’m not an idiot who uses his quirk to hurt people, but I’ll still use it to protect myself.”

The other guy grabs his friend’s arm and shakes his head. “That’s messed up.” 

Hitoshi grinds his teeth. “ What is? What your friend did? Yeah, it is. I just want to go home.” 

“No, dumbass, your freaky power. I’m out of here,” the second guy says and pushes past Hitoshi, making a point to ram his shoulder into Hitoshi’s. 

The bully stares at Hitoshi. “People are scared of you because you don’t hesitate to show off.”

“I don’t know what you mean. I’m not showing off.” Hitoshi clenches his hands into fists. “You’re trying to pick a fight with me and I don’t want to fight you. Will you just let me go home ?” 

Hitoshi starts to feel desperate, and his adrenaline kicks up. He wants to go home and relax, probably tell his parents everything that happened at school and see what he can do about it, but he can’t even do that until he gets past this kid blocking the way. 

He can just run, and avoid all the fighting and talking, but Hitoshi has no idea if this kid has a quirk too and if it could stop him. 

The bully nods, but opens his palms out in front of him. “Fine, but you have to do something for me.” 

“No, I don’t owe you anything.”

The bully’s face twists into confusion, and then anger. “You can’t say no !” his voice echoes and Hitoshi jolts. 

“I just did though. I’m leaving anyway,” Hitoshi declares. His heart is pounding and blood is rushing in his ears, but he still pushes his way past the boy blocking the sidewalk and then runs as fast as he can away from the school. 

---

Hitoshi bursts through the front door of his house and slams it behind him as fast as he can. Even though he easily outran that bully, part of him feels like he’ll just pop up and grab Hitoshi again. 

It doesn’t help that he showed the two of them firsthand how his quirk works and just how easily he can activate and use it. That was a grave mistake on Hitoshi’s part. But he got away without any injury on both ends of the encounter, so that was at least a partial win. 

Hitoshi drops his bag by the door and takes his shoes off. He calls out breathlessly, “I’m home.” 

“Are you okay?” Hitoshi’s mother asks as she walks into the entryway to meet Hitoshi. “Oh, you’re out of breath, come sit down,” she suggests and leads the way to the kitchen. 

Hitoshi sits and his mother fills a glass with water to set in front of him. “Is something wrong?”

“Kids at school are scared of me,” he says simply. There’s no point in hiding what happened. 

His mother bites her lip. “Oh, honey, I’m sure they’re not actually scared of you.” 

“They are. They told me they are. And someone tried to threaten me, so I used my quirk to make them stop. But that just made them more scared and now they’re probably going to tell everyone else to not talk to me.” Hitoshi grinds his teeth and stares at the condensation on the outside of the water glass. “I didn’t even do anything. I just made him drop me. I just wanted to go home.”

Hitoshi’s mother holds his hand across the table. “Baby, you didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t listen to what those kids say. You need to talk to people who understand you. You have a couple friends, right?”

“I don’t. They aren’t my friends anymore. They started the rumors.” 

“I see. Have you told your teachers?”

“Not yet. I don’t think they can do anything.” Hitoshi clenches his jaw even harder until a dull ache forms.

“I’ll call them in the morning and talk to them,” his mother promises with a smile. “I’ll make you some dinner now, try to get some homework done if you can.” 

Hitoshi just nods and leaves the kitchen to go to his bedroom. He pulls his homework out and sits on his bed, but when he tries to read the directions, his brain stops comprehending words again. 

His mother is trying to help, but Hitoshi knows she can’t do much. People will believe what they believe about him, and he can’t do anything to change their minds about it. He’ll hear their wild theories about what he can do and about how dangerous he is, and even if he corrects them, it won’t do any good. 

That’s just how it is, and Hitoshi is going to have to get used to it.

Chapter Text

UA Academy’s sports festival starts today, and Izuku reluctantly watches the event on television. His mother tells him that maybe he shouldn’t watch it, since he’s still not entirely over his inability to attend the school. 

The school he is attending decided it’d be a good idea to cut the school day short, so everyone can watch the festival live instead of as reruns later on in the week. Everyone seems to be highly energized for this event, and as he walks home from school, he recognizes multiple different school uniforms wandering around. 

Despite his mother’s argument, he turns it on when he gets home, where he misses the first hour or so, but doesn’t miss the one on one battles. The lineup is filled with people he's never seen before, except Kacchan. It looks like Kacchan isn’t set up to battle until the very end, so Izuku has to sit through the others before he can watch the only person he knows. 

Just watching the introduction of the one on one battles, Izuku begins to remember all the regrets he’s tried hard to bury deep down. He still thinks it was for the better that he didn’t try to get into UA, but there’s still that small voice in the back of his mind that nags him. What if he did try to get in? UA changed their rules about only allowing those with quirks into the school recently. Maybe Izuku could have at least made it into a different field of study, but be able to go to school with all of the powerful future heroes he saw before him now. 

It doesn't matter. Izuku shakes his head and bites at his cheek hard. 

The tournament is starting. 

First up is a boy with wild purple hair, the strands standing on end in every direction. He has deep bags under his eyes and determination in his step. His opponent is a cheery-looking redheaded girl. Her bangs flop over her forehead and the rest of her hair is pulled back into a ponytail off to the side of her head.

They take their stances across the arena from each other while the announcer states their names and quirks. 

Izuku learns the boy is Shinsou Hitoshi, from the general course, and the girl is Kendou Itsuka, from the hero course. 

"He's not from the hero course?" Izuku mutters to himself. He leans over the side of the couch to find his hidden analysis notebook in between the couch and the coffee table. He didn't think he'd use it again after giving up on the path of a hero, but now he’s far too interested in what this will turn out like to not take notes. 

The notebook is still charred on the front, and the pages that were written on are smudged from the dive into the koi pond, but the second half of the book is still untouched and usable.

He draws a line down the middle of the page and labels one side "Shinsou Hitoshi" and the other side "Kendou Itsuka." He doodles a little sketch of each of their faces on either side, but before he can finish Kendou's, the fight begins. 

Izuku jumps in his seat when Kendou activates her quirk. Her hand suddenly becomes half her side and she advances forward to give Shinsou a good whack. 

He evades and smirks. He says something. 

Kendou falters and confusedly says something back. 

She stops moving. 

Izuku stares at the screen. He mumbles, "Move, Kendou. You can move, can't you?"

She can't. The announcer takes note of this and excitedly says, "It seems that Shinsou-kun can control people by talking to them! Look at his stare!"

Kendou's gaze is blank as she moves backward, then turns around and walks herself out of bounds. Shinsou releases his quirk, suddenly looking more tired than he was at the start of the fight. 

Izuku frantically takes notes in his notebook on both of their quirks based on what he just saw. 

Shinsou seems incredibly powerful, and Izuku can't understand why he isn't in the hero course. Someone like that deserves to be there, so why is he only in general studies? 

Then he hears the announcer say something that answers his question, "Wow! Shinsou-kun's manipulation quirk almost seems too personal to be a hero's quirk." 

Something about that makes Izuku's stomach churn. 

If Shinsou isn't a hero with that quirk, then what is he? Powerful quirks are always associated with heroes for him. Is the announcer trying to infer that Shinsou should be a villain?

The camera pans to Kendou and Shinsou off to the side of the arena. Shinsou's hand is placed behind his neck and he seems to be apologizing. Kendou nods and smiles at him, waving her hand in dismissal. 

Shinsou looks miserable. Izuku can't tell if it's based off the announcer's comment or what Shinsou did to Kendou. 

As soon as Izuku begins thinking about this, the camera cuts away and focuses on the next pair.

Immediately, Izuku is interested again, and turns to the next page of his notebook, splitting that in two sections as well. He places a star next to Shinsou's name on the previous page to indicate his victory. 

The next pair up is a boy with interestingly split hair, one side snow white, and the other fiery red. There's a faded red mark over his left eye, and Izuku leans forward in his seat. He has a hundred questions at once.

The other boy has shoulder-length pitch dark hair and strange circular devices on his elbows, but don't they look like flesh and skin? Izuku makes a note of the features of both opponents and listens for the names. 

Izuku learns the boy with split hair's name is Todoroki Shouto, and the boy with strange elbows is Sero Hanta. He frantically writes their names down. 

When the camera focuses on the two boys readying to fight, Izuku notices there's a tensity in Todoroki's shoulders and face. He looks...angry. Sero bounces on his heels and rolls his shoulders, seemingly excited to fight. 

Izuku has his eyes on Todoroki more than Sero. Though he is quite interested to see why those elbows are designed like that.

They both lunge forward when given the go, and before Izuku can even catch what Sero's quirk is, an overwhelming wall of ice pushes its way across the arena, capturing Sero inside. The ice is taller than the arena, but fortunately Todoroki stops it from encasing the bleachers in ice as well. 

Izuku leans back on the couch and stares with his mouth gaping. 

Ice. He didn't expect just ice. With Todoroki's features split down the middle, he expected two different things. 

Todoroki walks over to the ice wall he created, says something to Sero, and helps get him out of the ice. 

Izuku tries to take notes, but has to leave Sero’s side completely blank. Todoroki’s side is full of question marks and the word “ice” written in large letters with more question marks surrounding it. 

When Izuku looks back up at the screen, it’s no longer focused on the two students, but someone in the bleachers. A pro hero he immediately recognizes as Endeavor, the number two hero, and likely one of the only heroes Izuku never found much interest in, due to his gruff presence in the hero world. At first, Izuku is confused why they would choose to show Endeavor, but then Izuku makes a connection that clears only some of his questions up further. 

Endeavor’s real name. He’s Todoroki’s father. But doesn’t that mean that Todoroki should also have fire within his quirk? Unless he only inherited his mother’s. But that split...the red side should be fire, right? Why wasn’t he using it in the fight? Maybe it has something to do with the scar over his eye. 

Izuku scribbles down his speculations on Todoroki’s side of the page, and draws a star next to his name. His pencil refocuses on the little doodle of Todoroki’s face, and he refines the scar, and shades the red side of his hair even darker. He draws an arrow next to it with “fire?” adjacent to it. 

Before Izuku realizes it, the tournament moves on and an entire fight passes while he flips back and forth between the pages for Shinsou and Todoroki. He finds both of them interesting. Not for any particular reason, but he feels like he is drawn toward them. 

Izuku slaps himself on the cheek. “You’ve never met them, don’t be creepy,” he mutters to himself. 

The rest of the fights are also interesting, but nothing like those with Shinsou and Todoroki. Though, Izuku is in luck, because they both made it past the first round, so he’ll be able to watch them again. 

Izuku takes more casual notes for the rest of the fights, then when he notices Kacchan is queued up to fight in the next match, he gets up to get a drink. His mother notices him while she’s washing the dishes. 

“Are you doing okay?” she asks, turning her head away from the sink. 

Izuku nods. “I’m doing fine! I’m enjoying myself, actually. It’s cool to see everyone, it reminds me of when I was really invested in heroes. I’m taking notes on everyone, just for fun.” 

He didn’t realize there’s no point in taking the notes until now. He’s never going to meet any of these people, and he gave up on heroes anyway, so what really is the point? Sure, he may see them around when he’s older and graduated from his current, boring, normal high school, but what good will those notes do him now? It’s just for fun, like he told his mother. 

His mother smiles. “That’s good, I’m glad. You were worrying me for a while, when you gave that up.” 

“Oh, was that a bad thing?”

“You haven’t been acting like yourself, Izuku. Haven’t you noticed?”

Izuku clutches his glass of water in his hand. He had, but he doesn’t like to admit to it. 

“I guess I have. Sorry for worrying you,” he says softly. He turns to return to the living room. He thinks he hears Kacchan’s name announced, and he’s curious who he’ll be fighting. “Kacchan is fighting now, I want to watch this.”

As Izuku sits down, his mother calls to him, “Make sure you eat something later, don’t get too caught up in that.”

“Got it,” he says absentmindedly, which means he’ll completely forget to eat until it’s too late and his mother is bugging him about dinner.

The battle is about to start, so Izuku draws his line down the page and labels one with Kacchan’s name, and waits for his opponent to be announced. A girl with short brown hair stands across the arena from Kacchan, stretching her legs and arms out. She looks nervous but Izuku can tell she won’t be an easy fight for Kacchan. There’s a steel in her stance and eyes, like she’s been preparing herself for this. 

The announcer says her name is Uraraka Ochako, so Izuku writes that down and doodles her face next to the name. She has cute, rosy cheeks and a friendly crinkle to her eye even as she’s about to fight Izuku’s childhood friend. 

Part of Izuku wants Uraraka to win. To finally give Kacchan a reason to reevaluate himself and try a little harder instead of having the assumption that he’ll win all the time. 

When the fight starts, Izuku has confidence in Uraraka. She easily dodges most of Kacchan’s attacks, and wills her hands to float the rocks in the arena to launch toward Kacchan. After a while, she seems to get tired. Her movements are slowing, but she shifts her arms up and closes her eyes, standing still while Kacchan makes advances on her. 

He’s about to land another attack on her, when a rain of pebbles and rocks fall down on the arena. The audience gasps and begin clapping, but Uraraka falls out of exhaustion. Kacchan wins, despite how much of a fight Uraraka put up. 

“He won again,” Izuku bitterly comments. He makes notes about Uraraka and her quirk, but makes crude notes about Kacchan’s relentless personality and quirk. If only Izuku could have received a quirk, of any kind, so he could train his ass off until he finally can beat Kacchan. 

It’ll never happen. He hopes there’s someone at UA who can teach him that life isn’t about winning all the time, and maybe more decent people would want to associate him, and he’d be happier.

Finally the second round is about to begin. Izuku flips through the starred students and scans their quirks. They all seem powerful, so Izuku is interested to see who makes it to round three. He still has eyes on Shinsou and Todoroki, who end up paired to fight against each other. 

Izuku’s stomach turns. He doesn’t know who he wants to win. He’s really curious about Todoroki’s quirk and what’s going on with his split colored hair, but he also wants to see Shinsou’s quirk in action again. 

The fight starts, and Izuku leans forward in his seat again, like leaning closer to the screen will encourage them to fight harder. 

Shinsou starts talking, but Todoroki’s mouth doesn’t ever open. His eyes are narrowed and his right side encases itself in ice. He sweeps his hand across the floor of the arena and freezes the ground solid in ice, so it resembles an ice rink. Shinsou looks at the ground beneath his feet and holds his arms out in an attempt to steady his balance. 

Todoroki only used his right arm to activate the ice, so Izuku has a feeling he’s right about there being something else, something that Todoroki is refusing to show everyone he has. 

Shinsou seems to notice it too, and points at Todoroki’s left arm. The filming team manages to catch what Shinsou is saying. “Why aren’t you using your left arm? Are you hiding something?”

Todoroki’s lips part for a moment, and the ice surrounding his arm grows smaller. He grits his teeth and crouches, then launches himself across the arena on a sheet of ice, carrying himself feet off the ground, until he knocks Shinsou over, and he slides out of bounds. Todoroki lands on the ground again, and crouches again, this time placing his left hand on the ground, and slowly, the ice melts. 

“Maybe he does have fire,” Izuku mutters, and makes more notes about what he saw. 

He gleaned no new information about Shinsou, but he learned a ton about Todoroki. He wishes he could see the fire of Todoroki’s quirk in action, and he wonders why Todoroki would want to hide something like that. He must be incredibly powerful, if his ice can do that, and he also has another quirk on top of that? Izuku wouldn’t want to be in the room if Todoroki got angry. 

Shinsou stands up from his spot out of bounds and looks back at where Todoroki is crouched on the ground. He scoffs and walks away, brushing the cold water off his arms. 

The announcer is incredibly interested in and excited with what just happened, but Izuku doesn’t bother to listen, his thoughts are keeping him occupied as it is. The audio on the television set was incredibly loud, so Izuku turns it down so he can think.

Endeavor is Todoroki’s father, so his mother must have an ice quirk. Todoroki might have inherited more power from his mother’s side, so he hasn’t trained his fire side as much since it isn’t as strong, so he just never uses, or he could possibly be scared of it? Fire destroys, generally, so Izuku can see why it’d be scary, especially being on the receiving end of a particular explosion quirk in his childhood. 

Todoroki didn’t answer Shinsou’s question either, but maybe he knew that Shinsou’s quirk could control him if he answered. He could have been shy and didn’t know how to respond? Or the answer was too personal for him to tell someone so easily. 

Now Izuku wishes he gave UA a shot, so he could at least ask Todoroki these questions. A very small and silly reason, really, but the questions he has are going to keep him up if he doesn’t get the answers.

Two more fights fly by while Izuku is pondering all the possibilities for Todoroki hiding his quirk, and his theories on how Shinsou’s works. 

Then Kacchan is up again, this time fighting the guy who won a rematch in the first round. He has red spiky hair, unnaturally pointy teeth, and his uniform sleeves are ripped so his shoulders are fully exposed. He seems to know Kacchan well, with the way he’s smiling and chatting with Kacchan so casually. 

Kacchan seems to only scoff at what the guy is saying, but there isn’t any violent intention behind it. 

Izuku raises an eyebrow. He flips to the other guy’s profile in his notebook and makes a note of “might be friends with Kacchan???” 

The guy’s name is Kirishima, and Izuku is very much interested in how Kirishima managed to calm Kacchan down to the point where he doesn’t blast someone in the face for laughing with him. Kirishima must have some sort of magic that Izuku wishes he had.

When they start fighting, neither of them hold back, and Kacchan is knocked back a couple times, before he eventually overpowers Kirishima. 

Even after the fight is over, Kirishima is still laughing and joking with Kacchan. Kacchan looks annoyed but doesn’t do anything about it as he walks off the arena to prepare for the next round. 

He needs to talk to Kacchan about all of his classmates at some point, though he doubted how accurate Kacchan’s words would be. It could still give him insight on how they act. 

More specifically, he wants to know more about Shinsou and Todoroki. 

Round three starts, and Todoroki is up again, this time battling against a bespectacled student Izuku remembers from the previous rounds. His shoulders are wide and match his above average height. Though when Izuku flips back to his notes page on the student, he remembers the boy's physique doesn't match his quirk much at all. 

Izuku wonders how Todoroki's double quirk will do against the speed of his opponent, Iida Tenya. 

Todoroki wins the match after a few minutes, and Izuku scribbles down more notes. Then Kacchan battles against a student who looks oddly like a large black bird with a strange companion sprouting from his shoulder. Kacchan wins that battle as well.

And now it's down to Todoroki and Kacchan. 

Izuku has been sitting in front of his television for a couple hours, and he only now realizes his mother isn’t in the kitchen anymore. It is getting into the beginnings of the evening from the looks of the window behind the drawn curtain in the living room. 

The stadium on the television is brightly lit, so he assumes it’s an indoor stadium made to look like an outdoor stadium. It wouldn’t surprise him if that is the case, seeing as UA is likely the most well-known school in Japan, and they surely have funds for something like that. 

Izuku fiddles with his phone for a moment while he waits for the final battle to begin. He sees multiple news stations and amateur reporting accounts posting about the tournaments, though the articles seem a bit lackluster for his taste, just based on the few he skims through. He wishes he could be a reporter for a hero newspaper or something, but he doubts his skills are anywhere near good enough. And with how puny and weak he is, he doubts he can get close to the battles to even report on them. 

In his frustration, he throws his phone down on the carpeted floor and watches as it bounces and eventually falls flat on the ground. 

“That’s stupid, don’t do that,” Izuku mutters to himself. Now isn’t the time to be thinking about silly dreams. 

The television makes noise again, and he lifts his head up from reaching down to grab his phone to see Todoroki and Kacchan standing across from each other on the battlefield. 

Their stances are intense, and Kacchan seems to be staring Todoroki down like he’s a villain. They seem to have some sort of bad past, since even Todoroki, who seemed stonefaced so far, scrunches his nose in disgust at the sight of Kacchan. 

The fight begins more quickly than the other ones and Kacchan launches himself toward Todoroki before he has a chance to steel himself. Even with the blockage of the camera, distance and delay of the live feed, Izuku can still see Kacchan’s determined expression as he launches himself forward. Todoroki manages to put a foot behind him to give himself better balance while his body receives the force of Kacchan’s explosion. 

Still, Todoroki is thrown backwards forcefully towards the boundary, and he takes a moment to recover from it. Kacchan doesn’t take a break before trying to land another attack, but Todoroki is able to create a wall large enough to shield himself from the brute force of the explosion. Of course, once the fire touches the ice, it shatters, but Todoroki has already dodged away from the wall and is creating higher and higher platforms of ice to glide along. 

Kacchan bellows in anger, but Todoroki doesn’t seem bothered by it. 

The fight goes on like this for a while. Todoroki creating barriers and platforms to avoid Kacchan’s attacks, and Kacchan throwing all of his energy and strength into the attacks. 

It’s different from the other fights Izuku has watched today. Kacchan is usually more strategic than this, though arguably not by much. Bottomline, his technique usually doesn’t involve him throwing himself against his opponent repeatedly. 

There’s something about Todoroki as an opponent that’s making Kacchan angry, though it seems like Todoroki isn’t picking up on it. 

The battle is going on longer than any other previously, save for the draw between Kirishima and Tetsutetsu. 

Izuku almost gives up on watching, due to how late it’s getting and the fact he still has school in the morning and homework to do. But there’s something that Kacchan says that draws his attention back to the screen. 

“Asshole, why aren’t you using your full power?”

Todoroki stops building his ice wall and his right arm falls to his side. “What?”

“There’s no way you’re using your whole quirk if you’re just using one arm. You’re hiding something, and it’s pissing me off,” Kacchan hisses. 

Todoroki is silent as he stares at Kacchan. He takes a deep breath in and his fists clench. “Shut up, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” A spark of orange flickers on his left knuckles, and he quickly puts the arm behind his back, his scowl deepening. 

“I saw that. Are you going to face me for real or not,” Kacchan demands. He takes a step forward. 

“Shut up,” Todoroki repeats, his voice sounding deeper and more sinister than before. He takes a step backwards, then another, and another, until he’s centimeters away from the edge of the boundary. 

Kacchan’s fists explode and he laughs in horror. “You’re just going to give up? You won’t face me for real? Do you think I’m not worthy of your full strength? Why are you going easy on me?” Kacchan cries, and his lip begins to quiver. 

“I’m not going easy on you,” Todoroki says. He seems to have calmed down a bit, but his determination is still heavily present. “I have my reasons, but it’s not because of you.” He takes the final steps out of bounds and walks away from the arena, disappearing through one of the waiting doors. 

The crowd goes silent, not even the announcer knows what to say. 

And a certain pro hero in the stands looks furious , his flames shooting up and whipping around forcefully. He leaves the stands. 

Izuku doesn’t know what to do but stare at the screen and at Kacchan now crumpled on the ground of the arena, like he was stomped on. He was screaming, and the rest of his class huddled around him to try to console him, but he wasn’t having any of it. 

There’s a part of Izuku who wants to see the award ceremony, but a bigger part of him says to turn the TV off and call it a day. 

He leaves the living room to lie down on his bed and stare at the notes he took. He adds a few more to Todoroki’s page, but it doesn’t lead to understanding him any more than Izuku already did. 

Izuku decides to message Kacchan, even if it’s a bad idea. 

To: Kacchan

I saw the sports festival and I just want to check if you’re okay. 

He debates adding more, something about what happened with Todoroki, but he decides that it would only upset Kacchan. Izuku leaves his phone on his bedstand, and stares at the darkened ceiling, illuminated only by the dim light from the sun beginning to set. 

It’s a bit early to go to bed for him, but he falls asleep quickly due to exhaustion, leaving his homework forgotten and unfinished.

Chapter Text

Shouto’s never experienced this intense a feeling of regret until right now. 

He’s speed walking through the back hallways of the arena as sweat drips down his neck. Flames lick at his knuckles subconsciously, and all he wants to do is smash his fist into a wall to put them out. 

Shouto doesn’t know how Bakugou knew about his left side, and quite frankly, he doesn’t want to be there to listen to the explanation. All he knows is what Bakugou said led him to say things that probably got him in major trouble, and despite his best efforts, there will be no way to escape that trouble. 

He should’ve stayed silent and just walked off like he planned, but his mouth acted before his brain could catch up. 

No matter how fast he runs, there’s no escaping what waits for him at home, but he can still try to fight back. 

---

The next day goes by in a blur, mostly due to Shouto’s head throbbing as a result of yesterday’s events. 

Bakugou avoids Shouto like the plague, which doesn’t particularly bother Shouto, until he’s forced to pair with him during training. 

“Hey, we were paired up,” Shouto says, unenthused. 

Bakugou’s grumbling at his phone and all Shouto’s able to see before Bakugou whips around to stare him down is the contact name “Dumbass Deku” and some expletives in all caps from Bakugou. “I’m not teaming up with you,” Bakugou says matter-of-factly. 

Shouto tilts his head to the side. “But we’re paired up.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not going to be your partner. Figure out another partner,” Bakugou says angrily and turns back to his phone. 

Shouto’s headache gets just a little bit worse. 

“I’ll find Aizawa then,” Shouto says halfheartedly as he walks away from Bakugou. 

Aizawa is at the edge of the training arena giving out orders to the students who aren’t paired up yet. He tries to ignore Shouto at first, but Shouto hovers for long enough that Aizawa sighs and turns to him, asking, “What is it?”

“Bakugou hates me right now, can I have a different partner?”

Aizawa stares at him for a moment before sighing even heavier. “Isn’t that just how he always is?”

“He said he’s not going to team up with me and then he started texting again.”

“I see.” Aizawa turns his head to talk to another student asking for his attention, then turns back to Shouto. “He doesn’t mind working with Kirishima right? I’ll just switch you with Kirishima’s partner.” 

Aizawa sets Shouto up to be partnered up with Ashido instead, and Kirishima happily gallops over to where Bakugou is sitting hunched over his phone, aggressively typing, probably texting whoever “Deku” is. 

“You doing okay, Todoroki-kun?” Ashido asks once she comes over to where Shouto is standing. 

Shouto shrugs. “I’ve been better.”

Ashido hums, and her eyes focus in on the bandage hidden under Shouto’s uniform sleeve. “What happened? Was that from the tournament yesterday? But...I don’t remember…” 

Shouto cuts her off, “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.” He clutches the gauze to try to hide it from view completely. 

She doesn’t seem convinced but doesn’t press any further. 

---

The training went by like normal, though Shouto had a bit of a hard time keeping up, probably due to the extra training his father has been forcing him to do. It’ll be even more now, because he didn’t win the tournament, and especially because he’s still refusing his left side. 

His father keeps creating new and more intensive programs to try, to try to force the fire out of Shouto. The more he resists, the worse the programs get, but there’s still nothing that can convince Shouto to give in to it. 

And because the programs are intense, that means Shouto gets hurt a lot more. Sometimes it’s not exactly from the programs themselves, but he isn’t about to let his classmates know about it. They don’t really understand anything, and telling them will only lead them to worry. Or worse, they won’t care at all. 

By the end of the day, Shouto is dreading going back home. He decides to avoid it by going to a restaurant nearby to get something to eat. He stays there and pulls his homework out to start on it, and finishes it while he’s there. 

Then there’s no longer an excuse to stay out. He has to go home. 

---

The next year, Shouto’s father takes him out of UA. 

His grades began to drop near the end of his first year, and only continued to worsen in the second. His once fourth place ranking becomes thirteenth place, which is highly unacceptable to his father. 

But his father blames the school for most of it. He claims the school isn’t teaching to its highest capacity, because his son is a prodigy, and should obviously be excelling in all of his classes, training, and hero prep work. 

The thing is, Shouto doesn’t care about being a hero anymore. So he stops caring about the work he has to do to become a hero. There’s no point in trying so hard if all it does is encourage his father to push him harder and become even more certain Shouto can surpass All Might. 

Once Shouto is no longer a student at UA, his life becomes much worse than he thought was possible. 

---

For the next year, Shouto acts as his father’s sidekick, doing anything he asks, or else he’s punished. 

He puts up with it, and when they’re not patrolling, he sneaks off to do something else, anything else. 

One day, he sees a guy, probably about his age, with a mess of green hair dodging through the alleyways and down the street. He looks determined and Shouto catches a glint of metal strapped to his belt. 

Shouto can tell by his outfit and the way he carries himself that he isn’t a hero, but Shouto also knows that the guy is heading directly toward the most recent villain sighting. Maybe the guy’s a villain himself, and he’s heading there for backup. Probably that. But Shouto isn’t on duty, so his attention returns to the smoothie stand he stopped at. 

Part of him wishes he had the dedication to be a hero like he did when he first started at UA. It kind of sounded cool back then. Though his intentions for being a hero were very different from his father. Now, he just can’t seem to find the energy to care. 

He receives his beverage and begins walking back home, with the sounds of screaming and explosions behind him. The cashier at the smoothie place calls out to him in a panic, “Sir, you’re a hero, aren’t you? Aren’t you going to go help them?”

Shouto tilts his head at the cashier and shakes his head. “It’s not my job right now. Sorry.”

“What if that was someone you cared about getting hurt right now? Wouldn’t you want to help them? How can you call yourself a hero if you won’t try to help those people?”

“I never called myself a hero. And there isn’t anyone I care about. So it doesn’t matter,” Shouto explains, taking a drink from his straw and turning to slide away on his ice. 

---

The fight from the day before results in one major injury, no deaths. The villains are taken to jail, and the heroes are thanked for their work. The green-haired boy Shouto saw rushing in that direction was spotted during the fight, but his identity wasn’t revealed. He only interjected in the fight a few times, so it couldn’t be determined if he was helping the villains or heroes; he vanished before the fight ended. 

Shouto’s father was enraged when he came home and found out Shouto hadn’t tried to help. Though, Shouto knew his father would have only helped for the exposure, not out of the kindness of his heart.

Sometimes, when Shouto and his father got in arguments, he threatened to join the villains, like his brother had, and that always shut his father up. 

Shouto was learning how to survive living in the house with his father. But that didn’t last for long, because the next day, when his father was having a particularly heated argument with former number one hero, All Might, Shouto met the green-haired boy again. 

Chapter Text

The past three years have not been kind to Hitoshi. The bullying he experienced in middle school and early high school never stopped, and only got worse as he got older. He started to use his quirk more in self defense, but that just made people more wary of him. 

His parents don’t know what to do to make it better; they discussed taking him out of UA, but thought it’d be a waste of an opportunity to take Hitoshi out. He worked hard to get here, and they don’t want to push that aside. But Hitoshi’s grades started slipping horribly, until he was failing his classes. 

His parents ask the teachers if there’s any way to give him private tutoring, just so he isn't falling behind so rapidly anymore. 

The only teacher who volunteered was Aizawa, who wasn't even Hitoshi's teacher anymore. He was a first year teacher, but had grown a bit fond of Hitoshi after seeing what his quirk could do at the sports festival. 

It helps to be able to reach out to someone who has an idea of what it's like to have a controversial quirk like Hitoshi's. But it doesn't erase the hurtful words his classmates said to him. It only helps him cope with it. 

Aizawa trains Hitoshi and helps him control the urge to use his quirk against the people who corner him in the hallway and taunt him. 

All of the training seems to work for a while, but it ceases to be effective after a particularly bad encounter with a group of boys in one of the other classes. They corner Hitoshi, and hold their arms out so he can't escape, then talk so rapidly and loud that even if Hitoshi were to want to use his quirk, he can't. He can't be heard, even when he asks them to quit it and let him go home. 

Nobody is nearby, so Hitoshi closes his eyes and closes his fist tightly, then thrusts it outward until it comes in contact with one of the boys’ faces. 

There's a lull in the commotion as Hitoshi calls out, "Can you just leave me alone?"

One of the boys falls for it, and answers, "Ha, we bothered the weird kid."

At that, his friends' eyebrows shoot up in fear, and Hitoshi focuses on using his quirk to move them away from him. 

He doesn't want to hurt anyone, but he's already broken his mental rule by throwing that punch, so it doesn't really matter at this point. He forces them all to scatter, and then when Hitoshi is far enough that he's safe, he turns their positions so they're all facing each other with little space between, and releases his hold on them, so they collide into each other and fall in a pile on the floor. 

There's a cacophony of shouts and expletives as Hitoshi strolls away from the scene unscathed. 

Despite how powerful Hitoshi has become and the advances he's made with his control of his quirk, he still feels a pang of discomfort. Controlling people doesn't make him feel good . But he knows how to control multiple people at once now, and can get himself out of difficult situations if he needs to. 

Hitoshi walks back home, and his mother notices a small scrape on his cheek. "Are you okay? Did kids pick on you again?" his mother asks in a panic. 

"I'm fine," Hitoshi says with a sigh. 

"Okay, where did you get this from," she asks, inspecting his face closely. 

Hitoshi pushes her hand away from his face. "Mom, I said I'm fine."

"Toshi, this happens way too often. You can't keep going to school and coming back hurt."

Hitoshi drops his bag by the table and pulls a drink from the fridge. "Mom, I'm okay. They'll be hurting much worse than I am."

"What?" she screeches, whipping her head around from where it was focused on the paper in front of her. "Did you get into a fight? You know you can't use your quirk--"

Hitoshi interrupts her, "I had to use it. They cornered me. I couldn't get out at all."

His mother sighs and leans back in her chair. "Toshi, you're killing me." She holds her head in her hands. "Please, don't hurt anyone with your quirk. Your grades are slipping, and if you keep causing trouble, you could get kicked out."

Hitoshi understands it in theory, but in practice, it seems near impossible. He can't walk home in peace, and he can't teleport home, so what other option is there? "Mom, I really can't prevent it anymore. They don't leave me alone. I can't even get to class sometimes." His throat seems to close up. "I wish I could just...be a normal kid like everyone else, but I can't."

His mother's eyes become misty. "Toshi…" she lifts her head, and wipes her eyes, "come here."

Hitoshi sits down in the chair next to her, placing his drink in front of him. "Mom, please don't."

He doesn't get his way. His mother has her arms wrapped around him and pulls him close to her. "I know I can't do much, and I'm not even the one who gave you this quirk, so I don't quite understand how it works besides what you've told me, but I just want you to make it through this year and graduate. I want you to do okay, and be able to live normally when you graduate." 

Hitoshi wants to argue. He wants to tell her he doesn't have plans to graduate, but he doesn't want to crush her even further. "Okay."

---

During the night, Hitoshi is only able to get half of his homework done, the rest of it is over content he wasn't in class for. 

He pulls at his hair in frustration, and pulls a book off his shelf. It’s a book full of pictures of him and his...family.

When Hitoshi's quirk manifested, his birth parents were terrified. They had a notion in their heads that Hitoshi would eventually use it against them, and they rejected him. He was left to foster homes for most of his elementary schooling, then he was adopted when he was in middle school, but not by his current mother. Before her, a couple decided to adopt him, because he was older and they didn't want a young child to care for. It didn't last long, when kids began bullying him and the specifics of his quirk came out. The couple didn't understand how to help, and only made matters worse, so they decided to see if someone else could take care of him. 

That's when his current mother came in the picture. It was difficult to convince the adoption agency to allow her to adopt Hitoshi, since she's single, and they weren’t sure she could handle raising him. It doesn't bother Hitoshi that he only has a mother; she's kind and concerned about Hitoshi's health and schooling. And it’s much better than having two parents who don’t like him. 

But she's possibly bit too attached to him. The opposite reaction he's used to. Sometimes he thinks she might get along well with Aizawa. 

The photos in the book are mostly of him and his mother, but there are some of his birth family and his previous adoption family as well. 

It doesn't help his overwhelming stress to look at old photos, but he can't think of anything that actually will help. 

He has a plan to get out of this situation, but it is likely a very bad plan, especially concerning his mother. He doesn't want to leave her, but he can't think of any other way to make it through the next couple months. It’s his only option now.