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Zero to Hero (Just like that)

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Chapter One

It all began in China, in Qingqing City. There was news that a baby who gave off light had been born. After that, superpowers were quickly being discovered in various places and time passed without the cause being identified. Before anyone knew it, the supernatural became normal, and dreams became reality.The world has become a superhuman society, and about 80% of the world's population now has some kind of special trait. In this world swirling with chaos the profession that everyone once dreamed about and admired came into the limelight.

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Izumi Midoriya had been awake for about two minutes when she heard a knock on the door. “Izumi, time to get up,” called a voice. 

Izumi sighed, said “Coming, Mom!”, and dragged herself out of bed. She shuffled into the kitchen, wearing her pajamas, to find breakfast already prepared for her. “Thanks Mom,” she said, sitting down to eat.

Her mom, Inko Midoriya sat across from her, smiling. “Of course, dear,” said Inko. “Eat quickly though, we don’t want you to be late for school.”

“Yeah,” said Izumi drowsily, as she crammed eggs into her mouth as quickly as she could. Oversleeping was something she had a penchant for, so most of the time she relied on her mom or her alarm to wake her up early enough. A few minutes later, Izumi had finished her meal, and got up from the table, saying “I’ll be quick, so see you in a bit!”

Izumi rushed to the bathroom and began her morning routine with a very short shower. She got out and tried herself off, dripping water as she came before the mirror. 

Izumi looked at her face and soaked hair as she dried herself off with a towel. She was a short girl, with vibrant green hair, eyes to match, and a smattering of freckles across her face; her features were delicate. She put on her makeup, which she did most mornings, in order to give a boost to her generally low self esteem. After that, she tossed her hair into a sloppy over shoulder braid, and got dressed in her school uniform. With thirty minutes before class, Izumi was out the door and running to Aldera Junior High.

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Izumi was stopped by a fight occurring at a nearby train station, where a crowd had gathered to watch. A man with a transformation Quirk had stolen several purses, and when he was almost caught, he transformed and held up rush hour traffic. Kamui Woods, a young, popular hero was fighting him, and doing quite well. He was about to defeat the criminal, when a gigantic woman stole his thunder and made her debut as a hero. She popped out her butt, and the very first thing she said was “I’m Mt.Lady, pleased to make your assquaintance .” Izumi groaned at the bad pun, and overly sexual introduction, but began to write in her Hero Journal No.13 nonetheless.

Izumi desperately wanted to be a hero. The one she idolized most was the Number One Hero globally: All Might. There was just one problem. Izumi didn’t have a Quirk. 

She was unfortunately part of the 20% of the population that never manifested one. Most people without Quirks were old. Plus, since the first Quirk ever manifested in China, Quirks were even more common in the Eastern hemisphere. Japan’s Quirkless population was actually lower than the global average, at 8 or 9%. It was exceptionally rare for someone of Izumi’s generation to be Quirkless, and very very few kids her age were in that position. Being Quirkless was possibly the quickest way to be ostracized, too. Izumi was bullied a lot. After Quirks came in, Izumi’s childhood friend, Kagami Bakugo (or Kacchan, as Izumi called the other girl), abandoned her. Shortly after that, she became Izumi’s most active, cruel bully instead of her closest friend. She gave Izumi the nickname Deku, which meant useless, and it stuck.

In spite of this, Izumi still pursued her dream. She wrote down everything she could about different heroes; their strengths, their weaknesses, their personalities. She worked out relatively often, to the point where she did well in gym class and was more fit than average. She studied hard. If she just worked hard enough, she thought, maybe she could be hero. Still, just about everyone told her she couldn’t.

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“I’m supposed to give you these,” said Izumi’s teacher, holding a stack of papers. He tossed them aside, and exclaimed, “But you’re all pretty much planning on going into the hero course, right?”

The class cheered and played around with their flashy quirks, as Izumi sat awkwardly in her chair, left out as always. 

“Yes, yes, you all have wonderful Quirks, but remember, you’re not allowed to use them in school.”

Izumi heard a familiar, slightly arrogant voice broadcast to the classroom “Hey! Don’t lump me in with the losers! I’m the genuine article! But these flunkies will be lucky to play side kick to some busted D-lister!

The class erupted into protests, and the teacher said, “You were planning on going to U.A, right Bakugo?”

Izumi slouched in her chair so that she was less noticeable. She was applying to U.A too, but didn’t want anyone to know it. Unfortunately, her teacher went on to say “Oh, that’s right, Midoriya, you wanted to apply there too?”

Izumi shrunk even further to hide herself as the classroom burst into derisive laughter.

“Midoriya? At U.A? You’ve gotta’ be kidding me! She doesn’t even have a Quirk!”

“Yeah, everyone knows you can’t get into U.A’s hero program without a Quirk!”

Izumi blushed and refuted this. “They-they got r-rid of that rule! You can get in without a Quirk, it’s just that no one's done it yet!”

Bakugo came up to Izumi’s desk and leaned over it with a sneer. “Deku. Sweetheart,” she said condescendingly. “You’re worse than the rejects. I mean, you’re nothing but a Quirkless wannabe! Why would they ever let trash like you in, when they could have me?”

Izumi could smell the faint yet sweet scent of nitroglycerin that emanated from Bakugo because of her Quirk. She couldn't help but think,“She smells so good...and she looks so good.” She'd never admit it aloud, but Izumi had once nursed a small crush on her bully. Although, that had slowly faded over time because of Bakugo's cruel behavior. Still, Izumi did have to acknowledge that the blonde was very attractive.

Speaking so quietly that she was almost inaudible, Izumi said, “No, Kacchan, I swear, it’s nothing like that. I’m not trying to compete with you or anything. But I won’t know unless I try, right?”

Bakugo frowned and scoffed, exclaiming “Look, just stay out of my way, and in your fucking lane, alright?! I’m stronger than you, I’m smarter than you, and I’m prettier than you! Don’t fucking forget it!”

Izumi blushed a brighter red at Bakugo. She could usually deal with the girl's insults and attacks, but in front of all her other peers, it was a lot more embarrassing. 

Near the end of class, she was looking at the news on her phone, and the incident she saw on the way to school was all over the news. She wanted to head straight home and write down more about it. However, she couldn’t, because after class, Bakugo and her little entourage stayed behind to torment Izumi more.

“We’re not done talking yet, Deku,” said Bakugo menacingly as she approached Izumi's desk.“What’s that?” she continued, having picked up Izumi’s notebook. “‘Hero Analysis for the Future’ huh? ‘Hero Analysis for the Future’? Seriously?”

“I-It's fine, isn’t it? Give it back! Don’t be mean!” said Izumi, trying to get the item back.

Bakugo used her Quirk on the notebook, and tossed it out the window. 

“Wait no please!” protested Izumi. “I put so much time into that...”  she thought, disconsolately.

Bakugo scoffed, got very close to Izumi's face, and quietly said, “You know, most top heroes have stories about them from their school days.” Her voice was full of menace. "I want the shine of being the only student to make it into U.A from this mediocre city junior high school. After all, I'm a perfectionist,” she concluded, tossing back her hair with a snide smirk. 

“She’s so petty,” thought Izumi, annoyed and a little scared too. Bakugo had never used her Quirk forcefully or directly enough to leave lasting marks on Izumi, but she’d used it at a distance to leave minor injuries relatively often; ones that Izumi could explain away to her mom. And it looked like this might be headed in that direction.

“So anyway please don't apply to U.A,” the blonde finished. The manners she exhibited weren't sincere.

“Come on, you could at least say something back,” said one of Bakugo’s two friends as the small group began to leave the room.

“Don't say that. She's pathetic. She still can't face reality,” said the other friend.

Just before the three were gone, Bakugo turned her head back, and said, “Hey Deku! If you really want to be a hero that badly, there's a quick way to do it. Believe that you'll be born with a Quirk in your next life and slit your wrists!”

She slammed the door as she strutted out.

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Izumi retrieved her damaged notebook, and contemplated what Bakugo had said for the whole way home. 

What if I really did kill myself? Would anyone care? Would she even get in trouble for instigating a suicide? Maybe she's right..." thought Izumi miserably. 

But when she went underneath an overpass and was attacked by a villain made of slime, Izumi realized that no matter what Bakugo said, she wanted to live. 

The villain had captured her and was trying to force itself onto her, in order to take over her body.

"Stop struggling!” said the villain. “It’ll only hurt for forty five seconds or so.”

Just when Izumi was about to pass out from lack of air, and she felt the horrible sensation of drowning intensify, something changed.

All Might had saved her. With one punch, he’d blown away the villain. He woke Izumi up by shaking her body a little.

“Young lady! Young lady! Are you alright?” he said, as Izumi woke up.

“Huh?” asked Izumi when she gently stirred. She slowly opened her eyes, blinked for a moment, and after a couple seconds, realized her hero was standing before her. Izumi could have done a backflip out of sheer excitement. She went for her notebook so she could ask All Might to sign it, but he already had.

“Well, young lady, have a nice day,” said All Might, and he got ready to fly off, but before he could, Izumi stopped him.

“W-wait! I have a question! It’s really important!”

“I’m sorry, miss, but I have to get this villain to the police station,” said All Might, holding up a bottle full of sludge that Izumi presumed was containing the slime villain. 

He took off, but Izumi was clinging to his leg.

“Miss! I need you to let go! I love my fans but this is too much!”

“I can’t!” exclaimed Izumi. “If I let go, I’ll die!”

“Oh yeah, good point.”

When they had landed on a nearby rooftop, All Might said, “Not a very smart move. Not smart at all. Now, if you bang on the door for a while, someone’ll be sure to let you in.”

About a second later, All Might deflated like a balloon.

Izumi learned over the course of the next few minutes or so that All Might had suffered a severe injury five years ago. He could only do hero work for three hours a day, and when he wasn’t using his Quirk, his form was skeletal.

Taking advantage of this, Izumi asked her question.

“I want to know...can I be a hero even without a Quirk?”

All Might raised his eyebrows, and then his expression fell. He gave her a sad look, and said, “I’m sorry, but no. I can’t simply say ‘you can become a hero even without power’. Pros are constantly risking their lives. You need the strength to do that...but if you really want to help others, maybe you could be a police officer or a doctor. People tease police officers because criminals are often brought directly to them, but it’s a fine profession. I’m sorry, young lady. It’s okay to dream. But you have to be realistic.”

All Might reactivated his Quirk, and left.

So it’s true,” thought Izumi. “I can’t be a hero. All Might said so. The number one hero in the world said it. Without a Quirk, I -I can’t do it…

Someone eventually let Izumi in, and she started to walk back home.

Off in the distance, there were several explosions. Izumi saw them, and pondered “Explosions? Maybe if I go there now, I’ll see a hero at the scene, I think Kamui Woods was —” Izumi cut herself off. “Don’t be stupid, ” she thought. “Doing that now would only make me feel worse. It’s like All Might said. I can’t be a hero. Not without a Quirk.

But before she’d even realized it, Izumi had already gone to where the explosions were coming from. It was out of habit.

There was a girl struggling against the slime villain who’d attacked Izumi earlier. With a jolt of panic, she realized she must have made All Might drop the bottle holding him. But she was impressed that the other girl was still holding out. She’d felt like she was dying after just seconds, and this kid had been stuck for five minutes at least.

None of the heroes could get past to save her, and the villain had taken control of her powerful Quirk, involving explosions.

Explosions. Izumi looked a little more closely and realized it was Bakugo. And suddenly, Izumi was running towards her bully, to save her. Izumi didn’t know what she could do. But she couldn’t just let Bakugo suffer and die. 

She threw her heavy backpack at the villain, and it gave Bakugo a moment to breathe.

When she saw it was Izumi, Bakugo shouted, “Why are you here?!”

“My legs moved on their own! I don’t know why!”

In hindsight, Izumi thought there were probably several factors. But in the moment, it boiled down to one thing.

Tears of compassion welling up in her eyes, she said “You looked like you were asking for help…”

All Might was watching from the sidelines, but Izumi’s words, and what she had done, spurred him into action. He rushed forward, and blocked the attack that was heading toward Izumi.

He looked at Izumi, with a smile on his face, and said, “I really am pathetic.”

She gasped in disbelief. For the second time that day, he’d saved her.

“Even though I admonished you, I wasn't putting what I said into practice! Pros are always risking their lives! Detroit Smash !” As All Might’s fist collided with the slime villain and blew him away, an updraft developed, and it began to rain.

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Izumi continued to walk home after the paramedics made sure she wasn’t injured, and the heroes scolded her for acting so recklessly, while Bakugo was praised.

She was almost back at her house when she heard Bakugo’s voice.

“Deku! I never asked for your help! And you didn’t help me! I was fine on my own! Got it you Quirkless bitch?! You’re playing without a full deck! So don’t look down on me!”

Izumi thought to herself that Bakugo was right. She hadn’t really done anything. But at least now she could start looking at a more realistic future.

Izumi continued to slowly meander home, thinking about what she might want to do besides heroics. She'd had her heart set on that since she was four. But if she was being realistic...it was a lot more difficult to choose.

To her surprise, as Izumi passed a house, and turned down a street leading to her apartment complex, All Might appeared before her again.

“A-Al-All Might?! What are you doing here?!”

“Young lady, I come with an apology, a correction, and a suggestion. If you hadn't been there, and if you hadn't told me about your life, today, I would've turned into a guy in a bodysuit who was all talk. Thank you,” said All Might

“That can't be!” refuted Izumi. “It was my fault in the first place. I got in the way of your work and I said all those pointless things even though I'm Quirkless.”

“That's right. It was because it was none other than the timid, Quirkless you at the scene that I was able to act. Top heroes have stories about them from their school days. Most of their stories have one thing in common.Their bodies moved before they had a chance to think. That was true for you, wasn’t it?”

 Izumi began to cry, and exclaimed, “Yes!” as she fell to her knees.

All Might said the words she’d wanted to hear for her whole life. “You can become a hero. You are worthy to inherit my Quirk.”

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Images for this chapter:

Fem!Midoriya-

Image result for fem midoriya

Fem!Bakugo-

Chapter Text

Chapter Two

 “Inherit...your Quirk?” asked Izumi, confused.

All Might explained that his Quirk cultivated power, and was something passed down from generation to generation, like a sacred torch. It was a Quirk that anybody could receive. The everyman’s Quirk. One For All.

She simply replied, “I’ll do it.”

But getting All Might’s Quirk was easier said than done. In order to contain the immense power that had been compounded by prior generations, one’s body had to be in peak condition. If it wasn’t, a person would literally explode.

Izumi asked All Might if she could tell her mom about this, because Inko Midoriya could be somewhat overprotective at times.

He reluctantly said yes, but told Izumi to leave out the part about his hidden injury and emaciated form.

Izumi told her mom as much as she could. She left out the things All Might asked her to, of course. But nothing else.

She told her mom, finally, that All Might wanted her to be his successor. Eventually, after a long period of fielding questions and concerns, Izumi’s mom said she’d sign off on All Might’s idea, but that she was still cautious about it, and was only agreeing on the condition she met with the top hero and discussed it at length. Even then, she'd permit it because she knew it was her daughter’s dream. Secretly, and full of guilt, Inko had hoped her daughter would give up on becoming a hero; she worried about Izumi's well being.

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Izumi began a hellish experience. All Might said that she had a good start in terms of how athletic she already was, but he still thought they’d need at least seven or eight months just so her body could contain the power of One For All, much less use it. With ten months before U.A’s entrance exam, that would hopefully give them two or three months to train her to use One For All, and improve her body further.

In order to get her body ready for One For All, All Might was having her clean Dagoba Beach, which was covered in garbage. Ocean currents meant that objects frequently washed up on shore, and people used that as an opportunity to hide their illegal dumping. Behind All Might’s back, Izumi had also written a work out schedule, because cleaning waste off the beach, regardless of its weight, didn’t improve specific parts of her body, and if she didn’t work out her body equally, she knew it wouldn’t be enough.

When she wasn’t exercising or cleaning the beach, Izumi was eating, sleeping or studying. It was exhausting. Especially since recently, puberty had begun to hit, and with her body trying to help Izumi grow taller and develop, she had to eat even more.

One day, around five months into the process, Izumi collapsed of exhaustion. 

“Hey, hey, what’s wrong?” shouted All Might. “There are only five months left! You won’t make it! Wanna’ give up? Wanna’ take it easy and rest today?” 

But after a moment, All Might realized what was wrong.

“Overwork?” he asked incredulously. “The ‘Aim to Pass: American Dream Plan’ was adjusted with your body in mind to make sure you'd make it in time for the entrance exam. You haven't been sticking to the plan, have you? Overdoing it will have the opposite effect! Don't you want to get in?!”

“I do…” breathed Izumi heavily. “But I have to work even harder. I’m not lucky, like everyone else. If I don’t do this...I won’t be able to catch up. All Might, I want to be like you. A hero who smiles fearlessly, and saves people, even when it seems impossible.”

All Might had been concerned, and he still was, but now he understood. A wave of joy washed over him, and he said, “You go-getter fangirl! I like that! But if that's the case, then you really can't rush things now. But I understand your feelings. Leave it to this old man to adjust your plan!”

“All Might...you’re barely forty.”

At last, about two months before the exam, All Might deemed Izumi ready to receive his Quirk, which meant they had two months left to teach her how to use it.

Learning how to use One For All didn’t go well for Izumi, at first. She broke an arm the first time she tried to punch with it.

“Yes, Chiyo. I’m sorry about this, but I can’t bring my protege to her house with a broken arm. Her mother would kill me.”

During the time she was learning how to use One For All, Izumi was healed by the hero Recovery Girl or as All Might called her, Chiyo, far too many times. But eventually she, Recovery Girl, and All Might figured out how much power she could handle at a time without injury. It was a fraction of the full power of One For All, Izumi would guess it was around 8% of her personal maximum with the Quirk. But it was still a lot more power and speed than the average person possessed.

At the full extent she could use One For All, pink lines criss crossed her body and shone (though that was quickly overtaken by horrible bruising and broken bones). At 8%, a sort of strange, ethereal green lightning zapped outward from her body. All Might said it was likely the power that her body was struggling to contain leaking out a little, and explained that even though she could contain the Quirk without exploding, it would be a long time before she could use it like he could. She learned finer control over it in the last couple weeks before U.A’s exam, and avoided going over her limit by thinking of an egg in the microwave. That worked occasionally at first, but what really helped was thinking about the Quirk going throughout her whole body, rather than being focused in one spot. The easiest way to activate One For All for Izumi ended up being to think about the whole egg being warm but not exploding.

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And then, it was the day of the exam. 

Izumi took a deep breath, staring at the large building before her. U.A High, the high school All Might had gone to. The high school that turned out more pro-heroes proportionally than any other. The school she’d wanted to go to for ages now.

She was startled out of her reverie when she heard a familiar alto voice shout, “Out of my way, loser!”

It was Bakugo. Izumi jumped away from her. But Bakugo didn’t do anything; really, she hadn’t interacted with Izumi much at all since the event with the sludge villain. Izumi was simply afraid out of habit. Bakugo walked into the school, and out of Izumi’s sight.

Izumi stood in place, looking into the space that Bakugo had occupied moments ago — then, she focused, and took a step forward, moving towards the doors. 

Almost instantly, she instantly tripped over her own feet and began to fall towards the ground.

So, this is how it ends,” she thought morbidly. “Before I’ve even taken the entrance exam.”

Izumi suddenly halted, in mid-air.

She flailed her arms a bit, confused as to why she’d stopped moving, and then heard someone speak from behind her.

“Are you alright?” said the soft voice.

Izumi felt a gentle hand move her upright, and turned around to see a round faced girl with a chestnut colored bob and the kindest expression she had ever seen.  She spluttered in shock, “What? H-how?”

The other girl smiled. “It’s my Quirk. Sorry for using it without asking! But it’d be bad luck if you fell, right?”

Izumi smiled, and managed to eke out a shy, “Yeah. Um, thanks. Um, I’m Izumi Midoriya.” She put out her hand to shake.

The round faced girl took her hand, introducing herself, and said, “Ochako Uraraka. Want to sit together?”

Izumi couldn’t believe her luck. She hadn’t been able to make a friend since she was four years old, and all of a sudden, she’d stumbled upon someone with the personality of an angel.

“Yeah! Um, yeah, of course!” said Izumi, glad and shocked.

The two girls went to sit down, and the pro hero Present Mic outlined what the practical exam would be like. It would only last ten minutes, and Izumi was quite nervous about it, but with some luck, she thought she could pull off a good score.

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The exam began. 

Izumi rushed through the mock city, desperately punching at each an every robot she found. She thought was doing okay, but her knuckles were slowly starting to bleed, and she had to focus on keeping her Quirk controlled, which wasted time she could have otherwise spent tracking down more enemies. Meanwhile, she heard people calling out their scores. “45!” she heard a boy with glasses shout. Uraraka called out “28!” A boy with spiky red hair yelled, “30!” Izumi hadn’t been keeping track of her score, but definitely didn’t think it was that high.

Near the end of the practical exam, a massive robot came out; it was the zero pointer. Izumi was running away from it, but as she did, she heard a voice plead, “Ow! Help! I’m stuck!” She turned around. About ten feet away, pinned under some rubble, was Uraraka. Izumi recalled what the girl had said earlier that day. ‘It’d be bad luck if you fell, right?’ And she’d been so nice to her. It was like what had happened with the slime villain. Izumi was moving before she knew it. 

Izumi found herself more than a hundred feet in the air, and facing down the enormous robot. She raised her fist, and like All Might had taught her, thought, SMASH ! The faux villain collapsed and fell apart in a cascade of damage from top to bottom. It was a sight to behold, and everyone was gaping at her in shock; the small girl up in the air had taken down that monstrosity with a single punch .

Without the adrenaline that had just rushed through her, Izumi felt an immense amount of pain. She had been so careful to keep the amount of power she was using within the safe limit, but in that moment, she’d forgotten to do so. She chided herself, and thought “How dumb can I be? I can barely contain this borrowed power, much less use all of it.” She panicked as she fell. Her bones were broken, if not shattered, and she was sure she was going to hit the ground and die; but at the last second, Uraraka slapped Izumi with her Zero Gravity Quirk, and she lived.

Izumi wished she could move faster, gritting her teeth in agony and muttering "Just...a few more..." She hissed in white hot pain. "Points," she said miserably.

All the while, Present Mic shouted “One minute!”

The test ended, and Recovery Girl came to heal everyone. Izumi was sure that Recovery Girl would scold her later, but for now, she was too focused on the horrible sensations in her legs and right arm.

The academic exam was relatively easy for Izumi, even though she was quite exhausted from the practical. She was sure she’d gotten a good score. 

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Roughly a week later, Izumi’s letter from U.A arrived in the mail. She opened it anxiously, unsure of whether or not she was in. 

A hologram device was contained within the envelope, and All Might’s figure appeared when Izumi took it out.

"Young Midoriya! I am here as a projection!”

Izumi shrieked in surprise and fell out of her chair. Afterward she collected herself, and got back up.

“I had to do some paperwork that took some time, so I couldn't contact you. I'm sorry. Actually, I came to this town to work at U.A,” said the recording of All Might.

Izumi was surprised again. She hadn’t known All Might would be teaching at U.A

Hm? What is it? Wrap it up? But there is something I must talk to her about. It's going to push everything else back? Alright. Okay. Even if you passed the written exam, you only got eighteen points on the practical exam. Of course, that means you didn't pass.

Izumi knew she hadn’t done a great job on the practical, but it was just so frustrating. Months of grueling work for no payoff…

“...If that was all there was to it,” continued All Might. “I am an entertainer, as well! First, take a look at this video!” 

A video popped up on the T.V in the projection.

It showed an image of Uraraka in a classroom.

Excuse me - um.” 

She came to negotiate directly in person after the exam! Negotiate what? Keep watching to find out!” exclaimed All Might.

Um...the girl with green hair and freckles. Do you know who I'm talking about? Kind of, well...plain-looking? I think her name was Midoriya? Is it possible for me to give her some of my points? At least the points she lost because of me. It's just...she saved me! And well, I heard her saying something about getting just a few more points, and I thought she might not have enough. Please!"  said Uraraka to Present Mic, who was standing in front of her.

Even if you ask, you cannot give her your points. Anyway, there's no reason to give her any, female listener!” said Present Mic, patting her on the head lightly.

All Might spoke again. “There was absolutely no reason for you to put yourself in danger! In addition to now having a Quirk, your actions spurred others to act.The entrance exam the other day was not graded only on villain points! How can a hero course reject people who save others and do the right thing? Perish the thought! Call that lip service? Fine by me! This is a job that requires risking one's life to put that lip service into practice! Rescue points! And they're given by a panel of judges. It's the other basic ability we at U.A. look at! Izumi Midoriya, sixty rescue points! And Ochako Uraraka, forty-five rescue points! You both pass. Come, young Midoriya. This is your hero academia!” as All Might said all of this, his voice was full of pride directed towards Izumi. If she’d asked, her mentor would have said he knew he’d chosen the right successor.

Chapter Text

Chapter Three

Izumi did not realize it at first, but she actually received the highest score on the practical exam, by a single point. Bakugo had gotten second, though she’d achieved it without any rescue points. The already aggressive girl was furious.

She attacked Izumi for it, flying at her, incensed with rage. 

“I don’t know how you did it you Quirkless bitch! I was supposed to be the only one from this mediocre junior high to get in to U.A! I told you not to fucking apply! But instead, you do, and you somehow cheat your way into fucking first place! I should have been at the top! I told you to go somewhere else!”

She began to move her fist toward Izumi’s stomach, her hand smoking with the beginnings of an explosion, but Izumi managed to react and grab Bakugo's wrist with her hand just in time. 

“K-K-Kacchan. Someone told me...‘You can be a hero.' I got in because of my own hard work. Th-th-that’s why...I’m going. Even if you say I shouldn’t.”

=====================================================================

The next month of junior high passed like a blur for Izumi. Bakugo had mostly stopped harassing her after the sludge villain incident, aside from the one attack after they’d both been accepted to U.A. She was doing especially well in her classes too, so that was nice. The one thing she didn’t have going for her was interaction with the boys that sometimes followed Bakugo around, drooling after the blonde. Izumi wouldn’t describe them as the other girl's friends; they simply thought Bakugo was attractive, and she rarely tolerated them anyways. Granted, as children, the two boys, Tsubasa and Nagaiyubi, had been Izumi and Bakugo’s friends. They hadn’t become so goon like till Quirks came in. And at that point, they began to bully Izumi with the rest of their peers. Recently though, it had gotten worse, and they’d begun to sexually harass Izumi. To her credit, Bakugo shut it down whenever she heard them doing something of that nature. 

“Shut the hell up you idiots!” he screamed at them one day when they’d cornered Izumi and were making lewd comments about her. “If you’re gonna’ bother the bitch, do it right! Insult her for being a Quirkless fucking nerd, or that weird muttering she does! Don’t be creepy and stalk her for having big tits!” Say what you would about Kagami Bakugo, one thing she wouldn’t stand for was sexual harassment or sexual violence. 

The two boys scattered. Bakugo’s fierce reputation meant most people at their school were too intimidated to ever back talk or confront her.

“Thanks, Kacchan,” said Izumi to the violent girl.

Bakugo’s expression turned haughty. “I wasn’t doing that for you,” she said. “It’s just that no one deserves that shit. Not even a loser like you.”

“Thanks anyways,” said Izumi shyly. Bakugo stormed off, raising a well manicured middle finger towards Izumi. 

Unfortunately, a few weeks later, Bakugo was stuck at home with a horrible bout of flu. Though she insisted vehemently that she never got sick, and that this was “bullshit”. That statement was false. She did in fact get sick, and it was not “bullshit”, which she knew deep down. She stayed home, stuck in bed.

++++++++

Taking advantage of the fact that she was gone, Tsubasa and Nagaiyubi trapped Izumi in the bathroom after school. 

Izumi cowered, shrinking back against the wall, and stuttering “P-p-please s-stop it,” she said as they touched her against her will. “K-Kacchan won’t like this!”

“Bakugo?!” laughed Tsubasa. “Oh come on! Like she’s even gonna’ know, you dumb bitch! Obviously we’re not gonna’ tell her, and God knows you’re too scared to talk to her!”

Nagaiyubi laughed too, and said “Just lie back and enjoy it! You’ve been walking around the whole year, acting like a fuckin' tease. A body like yours is practically asking to get felt up!”

As she felt one of the boys grab her wrists to hold them in place, Izumi gritted her teeth and tried to block everything out.

Half an hour later, Izumi emerged from the bathroom, with her uniform out of place and looking a mess. The boys hadn’t gone beyond forcing off her clothes and touching her as she continued to protest and cry, but that was already horrible enough. Her cheeks and eyes were red and raw from tears, and she felt more disgusted with her own body than she even realized she could. 

Izumi got home later that night after spending a couple hours in the public park, sobbing. She went to bed without talking to anybody, even her mom, or eating dinner. 

++++++++

=====================================================================

In the last month before she left Aldera Junior High, Izumi kept her head down and was as quiet as possible. She rarely spoke in class, only answering questions if directly called on, and actively avoiding her abusers, often leaving rooms before she should, just so she didn’t have to see their faces, or hear their voices and names. Her teachers started to notice, and one day her math teacher, Mr. Arakawa, pulled her aside after class.

“Midoriya,” he said. “I just wanted to check, are you okay? You’ve been even more quiet than usual, and your grades...well, frankly, they’re slipping.”

“Oh!” said Izumi. “Um, I’m okay,” she answered, lying through her teeth. She’d never been a good liar, but she’d been covering up what had happened, and that skill improved at a rapid rate. “You know, j-just, um, junior high senioritis, I guess. Now that I got into U.A.” It was an outright lie. Schoolwork was never something that Izumi would abandon. She’d really leaned into it after discovering she was Quirkless. It was something she could do well at, even without a superpower. 

“Okay…” said Mr. Arakawa skeptically. “Well, just make sure to keep up. We wouldn’t want you failing junior high after getting accepted to a top ranked high school."

While all of this was occurring, Inko Midoriya was seriously getting worried about her daughter. She’d noticed that Izumi wasn’t sleeping well, hearing her child’s telltale muttering and pacing at late hours of the night, and she’d noticed the rapidly dropping GPA too. She’d give it a bit longer before asking Izumi about it, but soon she’d have to say something.

Luckily, junior high ended a couple weeks later, and Izumi didn’t have to worry about seeing Tsubasa and Nagaiyubi. Her sleep was still disrupted by nightmares, but was getting better. Plus, she was sure she’d be able to focus on schoolwork without glancing over her shoulder every few minutes to make sure that it wasn’t being grabbed by one of her assailants. Unfortunately,  that did have an unexpected side effect. The distance also meant she had begun to repress her memories more.

It would be several months before Izumi talked to anyone about the event.

Chapter Text

Chapter Four

All Might and Izumi met up on Dagoba Beach, and he congratulated her. Izumi had kept up with her training regimen over the past couple months, if only because she didn’t want to lose muscle, and the ability to have One For All held within her body. She’d like to keep her limbs, thank you very much. Not to mention, if she was going to U.A, she needed to stay athletic.

On the first day of classes, Izumi looked at her uniform apprehensively. All For One had pushed her puberty into overdrive, and the skirt fell a fair deal shorter on her than her old one. She wasn't thrilled about that, but she did like how she’d also gone from 4’8” to 4’10” within the course of a few months. She shook off any doubts about the uniform, and remembered, with a jolt of joy, that it was a uniform for U.A, so it didn’t matter to her what it looked like.

With her acceptance letter, Izumi had learned she would be part of Class 1-A. She really hoped it didn’t have anyone scary, like Bakugo, and just nice people, like Uraraka. When she walked in the door, she was let down. 

A serious looking boy in glasses was speaking. “Dang it,” thought Izumi. “He’s almost as scary as Kacchan. Just...in a different way.”

“Take your feet off the desk!” said the boy. “That is disrespectful to our upperclassmen and the heroes who have gone here before —” 

He was interrupted. He had been talking to Bakugo, who had her feet up on the desk with her legs crossed, and was leaning back in her chair. Izumi had seen her bully do this a few times at their old school, and figured that old habits die hard. 

“I’ll do whatever the hell I want, thanks," said Bakugo, idly twirling her hair around a finger. “What school did you go to, you fucking side character?”

“I went to Somei Private Academy!” said the boy with glasses. “But besides that, you’re being very rude, and that unbefitting of our status as students at a school of this stature! You should be more ladylike!”

Bakugo’s eyes went wide, and anger spread over her features. “What did you say?” she growled. Bakugo hated it when people insinuated that she wasn’t ‘feminine enough’. She enjoyed womanhood, and actually liked quite a few ‘girly’ things, as evidenced by her sparkly pink nail polish. But she saw no reason why her gender should mean she had to hold back her personality.

It looked like a fight was brewing to Izumi, but luckily a red haired boy who had sharp teeth interjected and said, “Hey, no need to fight here, right? Come on, I’m sure we can all get along.”

Bakugo scowled and said, “Fuck off, sea urchin!” as she continued to play with her blonde locks. She had a point; the boy’s hair was rather spiky. 

"God she’s pretty,” thought the red haired boy privately. “And so feisty too. I think I might be in love? Like? Something.” He blushed, not responding to the blonde girl’s insult. 

The boy with glasses was much more reasonable and said, “You’re right, thank you. I wasn’t behaving how I should have. I’m Tenya Iida, it’s nice to meet you.”

The spiky haired boy grinned, and said, “Eijiro Kirishima. Good to meet you, man!”

Bakugo huffed, and closed her eyes to ignore the two boys. 

Izumi breathed a sigh of relief that things had not escalated, and just then, she felt someone tackle her into a hug from behind.

“Ahhhhhh!” she screamed in shock and terror as her classmates turned to see the second source of commotion.

“Midoriya! You made it in!! Just like Present Mic said! I mean, of course you did! The way you beat up that robot was so cool! It was just like bam and pow!” Uraraka had come up from behind Izumi and swept her into an embrace. The sweet if not excitable girl was clinging to her new friend/acquaintance nearly twenty seconds later.

“Um, yeah,” said Izumi shyly. “But I really only made it in because you went to talk to him directly. Thanks for that. But um...could you let go?” Izumi felt the beginnings of a panic attack creeping up on her. Touch outside of a combat or exercise setting wasn’t something she was very comfortable with anymore. 

“Oh! Yeah, sorry!” said Uraraka “But how did you know about—”

Before Uraraka finished her question, Kirishima interrupted.

“Wait!” said the muscular, spiky haired boy. “DUDE! You’re Midoriya?” he asked, pointing at Izumi.

“Th-that’s me!” she replied with an awkward smile.

“You got first place! That’s just so damn tough! And so- so- manly!” he exclaimed.

Behind Kirishima, Bakugo’s expression soured further. She stuck her tongue out at Izumi.

“Thanks? I guess?” said Izumi, unsure of whether or not that was a compliment.

She heard a creepy voice behind her say, “She’s super hot too...I’d love to squeeze —” 

Someone had smacked whoever was speaking and Izumi was grateful. She turned around and saw a tall girl with black hair in a ponytail, and a pretty face.

“Hello,” she said formally, next to a very short boy with purple, ball shaped hair, who was rubbing his cheek. “I’m Momo Yaoyorozu.”

“Minoru Mineta,” said the small boy next to Yaoyorozu. “But you can call me the man of your dreams.”

A shudder went down Izumi’s back; it was shared by a significant number of her peers. 

“M-Midoriya Izumi,” said Izumi, introducing herself, and looking warily at the tiny boy who’d gotten slapped. He had a perverted expression on his face and was staring directly at Izumi’s chest. She felt supremely uncomfortable around him and the first thing he’d said about her didn’t do anything to endear him to her. The feeling she got from him was similar to that from Nagaiyubi. And when she was reminded of that, Izumi just wanted to curl up into a ball and be alone. But she couldn’t do that, she was at school, meeting her new classmates. 

Suddenly there was a low voice coming from behind the small group gathered around Izumi and it said, “If you want to make friends, do it on your own time.”

The voice belonged to their homeroom teacher, Shota Aizawa. The man was disheveled, with unkempt stubble, and lengthy black hair which was styled into a manbun. He was incredibly dour, and after quickly introducing himself, brought everyone outside.

=====================================================================

A Quirk apprehension test. On the first day of school. They were skipping the official orientation for this (which a girl who looked rather alien like with pink hair and pink skin had objected to). And whoever got the lowest overall scores would be deemed without potential and expelled. 

Izumi was terrified. She’d only gotten first place in the entrance exam because of rescue points. She wouldn’t even have made it in if not for that. Besides, with her current grasp on One For All, her only real options were 8% or 100%, and both had drawbacks. With 8%, she was stronger and faster than the average human, easily. But that might not be enough to match or beat the others, who had ten years of experience with their Quirks, compared to her four months. With 100% she was absurdly powerful, but it would instantly incapacitate her. Still, she knew eight percent was likely the wiser and safer option, and she decided to go with that and simply hope for the best.

“You kids have been doing these since junior high, right? Physical fitness tests where you weren't allowed to use your Quirks. The country still uses averages taken from results from students not using their Quirks. It's not rational. Well, the Ministry of Education is procrastinating, but U.A isn’t. Midoriya, you finished at the top of the practical exam, right? In junior high, what was your best result for the softball throw?”

“Um...48 meters…” answered Izumi shyly. Her score wasn’t anything special, and was actually a little low, though her petite size accounted for that.

If Aizawa thought anything of it he didn’t say so. Matter of factly, he replied, “All right, try it with your Quirk.”

Great,” thought Izumi, mortified. “I'm being used as an example.”

Still, she stepped into the circle where the softball was and her teacher said, “You can do anything you like, so long as you stay in the circle.”

She took a deep breath and activated One For All as she closed her eyes. Pulling back her arm and flexing her muscles as hard as she possibly could, Izumi threw the ball.

It went flying through the air at top speed, and eventually, the sensor on it detected that it had hit the ground.

“225.7 meters,” read off Aizawa. It was far higher than her original score, and Izumi was quite glad she hadn’t totally embarrassed herself in front of her peers. None of them seemed super amazed, probably because they’d expected more power out of the person who finished first in the practical, but they still seemed relatively impressed. Except for Bakugo, who was incensed with a quietly simmering rage.

“Tell me how you did that,” said Bakugo to Izumi when their teacher dismissed her to stand next to the rest of her peers.

Izumi shrugged.

“Come on, don't be all mysterious. Just fucking tell me.”

“I'll explain it to you some other time?” said Izumi, hoping that would placate Bakugo. 

It luckily did. Bakugo dropped it, rolling her eyes.

Unfortunately, that didn't last.

Izumi kept using her Quirk for the assessment test, and eventually, Bakugo's anger reached its boiling point.

“Deku!” she screamed. “Tell me how the fuck you're doing this, you Quirkless little bitch! Or I swear to God, I'm going to fucking murder you!” The beginnings of explosions were sparking in her palms.

Aizawa used his Quirk to temporarily remove Bakugo's Quirk, at which point Izumi realized he was an underground pro hero, known as Eraserhead. She knew him because of her obsession with heroes, but he practically never appeared on T.V. and wasn't well known.

“Hey,”  said Aizawa. “Cut that out. That sort of thing might have flown at your old school, but not here. Death threats aren't exactly hero like. Back off, and let her do her thing.” 

Whispered conversations had broken out amongst the class. They weren't exactly sure why Bakugo had called Izumi Quirkless. As far as they knew and as far as they had seen, Izumi clearly had some sort of basic but powerful augmentation Quirk.

Bakugo let out a frustrated scream, but reluctantly listened. The rest of the test went on without a hitch.

Izumi did better than she thought she would, succeeding most in the areas of standing long jump, and the 50-meter dash. She did worst at repeated side steps.

After everyone had finished testing, the electronic scoreboard read as follows:

 

Name

Rank

Name 

Rank

Momo Yaoyorozu

1st

Rikido Sato

11th

Shoto Todoroki

2nd

Tsuyu Asui

12th

Kagami Bakugo

3rd

Hanta Sero

13th

Tenya Iida

4th

Izumi Midoriya

14th

Fumikage Tokoyami

5th

Yuga Aoyama

15th

Mezo Shoji

6th

Denki Kaminari

16th

Mashirao Ojiro

7th

Kyoka Jiro

17th

Eijiro Kirishima

8th

Koji Koda

18th

Mina Ashido

9th

Minoru Mineta

19th

Ochako Uraraka

10th

Toru Hagakure

20th

 

Izumi was thrilled. There she was, a little more than halfway down the list. 14th place, better than what she’d been hoping for.

“By the way,” said Aizawa when the list came up. “The thing about expelling someone was a lie.”

WHAT?!” exclaimed most of the class. Izumi thought she heard the invisible girl who’d gotten 20th place crying, though she wasn’t sure if the girl was sobbing out of relief or if she still hadn’t gotten over thinking she would be expelled on the first day

“It was a logical ruse,” said Aizawa, shrugging. “To draw out your fullest potential.”

“I thought that was fairly obvious,” said Yaoyorozu, the ponytailed girl Izumi had met earlier that morning. “Of course he wasn’t going to expel anyone.”

Aizawa smirked. “Oh how wrong she is ,” he thought, amused. “It’s just that this class has potential. But if that Mineta kid keeps acting like a creep, I might have to expel someone anyways.”

“Yeah, but we didn’t know that!” shouted a boy with bright yellow hair.

The rest of the students sighed and grumbled about how scared they were as Aizawa led them back inside for their classes, where they received several syllabuses and met the rest of their teachers. 

=====================================================================

Izumi was walking to the train station with Uraraka when she heard a voice call out behind her, “Hey! You two! Going to the station? Wait for us!”

It was Kirishima. He was walking with Iida. The two girls paused so the boys could catch up with them, and then the four students continued to walk and talk.

Iida hadn’t formally introduced himself to the girls, but did do and asked “Midoriya, I was wondering, why did Bakugo call you Quirkless earlier? It’s obvious you have one, so that didn’t make sense to me.”

Izumi began to freak out in her head. “Oh no no no no no no. They’re already asking about my Quirk?! I can’t tell them about One For All! What should I say?!”  she thought, but then, she figured out a solution. It wasn’t perfect, but it’d have to do.

“I um...w-was an extra late bloomer. Everyone thought I was Quirkless for a really long time. So...that’s why, I guess.”

“Huh,” said Kirishima. “Do you guys know each other? She called you Deku, is that like your nickname or something?”

Izumi sighed. She definitely didn’t want that insult to follow her to U.A, but figured nothing could be done for it. “We grew up together," she said. “We’ve gone to the same school since we were little. But, well, Deku is what she calls me to make fun of me. It means useless...she always said I couldn’t do anything.”

“That’s awful!” interjected Iida.

“I’m used to it,” said Izumi, shrugging. 

“Deku kind of sounds like dekiru though,” said Uraraka. “Gives off an 'I can do it' vibe, you know? It’s like she’s accidentally complimenting you! So I kinda’ like it!” 

“You can call me that if you want then!” said Izumi, blushing.

“What?!” said Iida. “Wasn’t it an insult just a second ago?!”

Izumi smiled lightly. “Yeah,” she said. “But you know...Kacchan’s been using it that way for so long. Maybe it’s time for me to reclaim it.” 

“You call her Kacchan?” asked Kirishima.

“Oh! Yeah, I mean, like I said, we um, grew up together. We were friends when we were little and I guess that I called her that and it just stuck. Habit, you know?”

“Do you think I could call her that?” asked Kirishima, blushing.

“I um, don’t think that’s a safe idea,” said Izumi. “I’m the only one who’s ever called her Kacchan. I don’t know how she’d react.”

“She’s super intense, isn’t she?” said Uraraka.

“Yeah,” said Izumi. “She’s always been confident and a bit mean, but she didn’t get so moody and violent until we were about twelve. You know, once puberty hit. ”

“Well,” said Iida. “Hormones aren’t an excuse for vicious behavior.”

“I’m sure she’s not so bad once you get to know her!” defended Kirishima.

“No,” denied Izumi, deadpan. “She’s just as bad, just easier to handle.”

Uraraka laughed. “Wow, you just went out and said it, huh?”

“Damn,” said Kirishima. “She really did.”

There was more laughter from Uraraka, and a bit from Izumi too. Iida simply smiled. 

The subject eventually changed, and the small group talked about their first impressions of their homeroom teacher, and what they were looking forward to most.

Izumi was glad to get to know Uraraka, Kirishima, and Iida. Uraraka was just as nice as she’d seemed and she was energetic, but not in an overwhelming way. Kirishima was boisterous, and used manly as an adjective to describe almost anything he deemed cool and/or positive, rather than its dictionary definition, but he was also very kind. Izumi was glad he’d been complimenting her when they first met. Iida, who Izumi had originally thought frightening, simply turned out to be earnest, if a little serious and overeager. By the time they got to the station, Izumi had all three of her classmate’s phone numbers, and the quartet had struck up a budding friendship.

=====================================================================

Izumi’s mom was quite happy for her when she came back from her first day at U.A. For the first time in a very, very long time, it seemed like Izumi was not only happy, but like she’d have friends.

Izumi drifted off to sleep with a smile on her face, looking forward to the next day

=====================================================================

Images for this chapter:

 Izumi in her uniform—

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Five 

Seating at U.A was alphabetical, which meant that Izumi was next to Bakugo and Mineta, with a boy whose name she couldn’t remember sitting in front of her. She did remember that the boy had some sort of tape Quirk involving his elbows. She didn’t mind the boy with the tape Quirk at all, because he seemed pretty nice, even if she would have liked to be next to Uraraka, Iida, or Kirishima. On the other hand, she’d rather not be next to Bakugo, who glared daggers at her whenever she wasn’t taking notes and could (literally and figuratively) explode at any moment. Still, a part of her was glad that her childhood friend was next to her, for one reason only; the explosive girl warded off any creepy comments from Mineta. 

=====================================================================

After homeroom, the class had Foundational Hero Studies which was being taught by All Might.

The giant of a hero burst through the door in the strangest fashion possible, as he proclaimed, “I am...coming through the door like a normal person!” Izumi struggled to hold back laughter because he hadn’t entered like a normal person at all, while the rest of the class gushed about him. Izumi understood how they felt. She’d known All Might for nearly a full year and still found herself enamored by him.

The class was told to change into their hero uniforms and to meet All Might at Ground Beta.

In the changing room, Izumi didn’t feel all that confident in her hero outfit. She hadn’t designed one before so she was relatively vague when putting in her request form to the design company. As such, the company had taken some liberties and because she was a girl, the outfit was a little more sexualized than she’d have liked, with exposed thighs. She’d be sure to request that it was changed whenever the class got the chance to make costume design edits, but at least they’d gotten the color right, and it was a lovely forest green. It did make Izumi feel better that she wasn’t the only one with this issue, as Uraraka had been placed in a similar position, and was wearing a pink, skin tight bodysuit.

=====================================================================

After everyone had changed, All Might announced that the class would be conducting mock battles, but they’d be very different from those in the entrance exam. Teams of two would be facing off against each other, as villains and heroes. The villains would be defending a faux bomb, and the heroes would have to find and retrieve said object in the time limit of fifteen minutes (simply touching the object would count), or capture the villains in order to win. The villains would have to keep the item safe for all fifteen minutes, or capture the heroes to win.

Izumi was paired up with Uraraka, much to her delight. Unfortunately, she’d be facing off against Iida...and Bakugo. This was going to be challenging, no matter who she was up against, and Izumi had no doubt that Bakugo was going to make things even harder for her.

Izumi and Uraraka were the hero team, and that meant Iida and Bakugo were going to enter the building first, and they’d have time to prepare.

The mock battle was brutal for Izumi. The moment that the two girls entered the building to face their opponents, Bakugo came flying from around a corner, explosions sparking in her palms. Izumi turned to Uraraka and said to her, “Run! I’ll meet up with you after I handle this!”

Bakugo’s expression contorted into a more furious look, as she shouted, “Handle this?! Don’t look down on me, you bitch!”

Izumi quickly activated One For All, and leapt back. 

“Fight me you coward!” screamed the blonde haired girl before her.

She dashed past Bakugo, taking advantage of her small frame, and started to run down a hallway to catch up with Uraraka. Her long time bully was on her tail.

Bakugo was furious with Izumi. All night she'd been stewing over the fact that the girl she'd been bullying for so long probably could have defended herself, but didn't. It made her feel that Izumi was treating her like a child. It made her think that Izumi was looking down on her.

“Hey! You tricked me, didn’t you?!" she shouted. “Was it fun pretending all this time?! Huh?! You’ve got a neat Quirk there, don’t you?! Try and get me with it! ‘Cause I’m way above you!” Bakugo raged.

Izumi realized she probably wouldn’t be able to simply run away. Bakugo was too quick, and she had far more control over her Quirk than Izumi had. Izumi turned around, and got ready to fight.

Bakugo came at her with a big right swing, but Izumi was prepared. She’d been watching the other girl for years, and writing down her tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses in Hero Analysis notebooks. As much as she hated to admit it, a part of Izumi admired her childhood friend and middle school bully. Izumi caught Bakugo’s arm, and using One For All, threw the other girl over her, slamming Bakugo down onto her back, hard. As she hit the ground, Bakugo thought “Did she read my moves ?” She started to get back up, and grumbled, “Deku…” as her anger swelled again.

Izumi was panting lightly. She hadn’t expected Bakugo to be that heavy, but figured it made sense, because muscle weighs more than fat. “Kacchan, you’re right handed. And you always begin with a big swing. Do you know how much I've been watching you over the past few years? I wrote an analysis for all the heroes I thought were amazing in my notebook. In the notebook you blew up and threw away,” she said, surprised at how much resentment was in her voice. “My ‘Deku’ isn't always going to mean ‘useless’! Kacchan, my ‘Deku’ means ‘You can do it!’

Bakugo rushed at her, screaming with fury, and the two fought, with Izumi mostly trying her hardest to avoid Bakugo’s relentless attacks. A couple of stray blasts hit her, and her costume ripped in some spots. And then, Bakugo pulled out all the stops. She revealed that the gauntlets of her costume contained excess sweat. With the way her Quirk functioned, Bakugo released nitroglycerin like sweat from the palms of her hands, and she was able to make it explode. But the restriction was how much recoil her body could handle. With these gauntlets, that recoil was effectively removed.

As Bakugo explained this, Izumi shouted “Please, Kacchan, don’t!” and All Might called over the PA system that was installed in each building, “Young Bakugo, stop!”

Bakugo simply said, “If I don’t hit her, she won’t die!”

Izumi jumped, and just barely avoided the unbelievably large blast. Even at a distance, she still got some nasty scorch marks and mild burns, and tears of fear and pain were welling up in her eyes.

Her classmates, who were watching the battle in a room with All Might, were all aghast.

Izumi knew she had to end this, and fast. She was aware that trying to beat Bakugo in a one on one fight was a dangerous play. There was no guarantee she could do it, and if she failed, she and Uraraka would probably lose the mock battle. Maybe when she had more practice with her Quirk, and was able to break past her current limits, or further in the year when there’d been more practical hero training, it’d be a less risky move. But then she thought...what if she fought dirty? She was on the hero team, but why not take a page from the villains and use an unfair tactic?

While Bakugo was still staring in amazement at her gauntlet, and gloating as she talked over All Might’s warnings about what would happen if she did that again, Izumi forced herself to get up, breathing hard. She activated One For All once more, stretching it to her furthest safe limit, and darted toward Bakugo. Just when she was close enough in proximity, she delivered a sharp punch to a sensitive area of the other girl’s body. Bakugo cupped her chest in pain and eked out, “Oh God...owwww! That fucking hurt!” 

In that moment, Izumi was able to trip the blonde girl. 

While Bakugo was on the ground, Izumi rapidly pulled out the capture tape, wrapped up her rival, and said “Sorry. I had to find some way to win.” She hesitated for a moment. “You're an amazing person, so that's why I want to beat you. I want to win and surpass you, okay? I was never for a second looking down on you!”

And with that, she ran off to catch up with Uraraka.

To Iida’s credit, he put up a very good fight. Unfortunately for him, with her Quirk, Izumi was quick, and the large advantage in speed Iida had over most people was not as wide of a gap. Plus, despite her small stature, One For All made her far stronger than Iida. She managed, with some difficulty, to deliver a short punch to the boy, and though he stayed standing (owing in no small part to his abs), it did hurt enough that Izumi was able to run past him and touch the paper mache bomb the villains were defending.

All Might called out, “Hero Team....WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN!!”

=====================================================================

Izumi and Bakugo cleaned themselves up, wiping dirt from their faces and sanitizing cuts with help from Yaoyorozu via her Quirk.

Back in the monitor room, the class analyzed the battle. Just about everyone agreed that the MVP was either Iida or Izumi. 

“Bakugo went after Midoriya over a clearly personal grudge,” said Yaoyorozu. “Meanwhile, Uraraka wasn’t able to find a sound enough strategy, and up until Midoriya came along, was really struggling to try to get past Iida. But both Iida and Midoriya kept a cool head, and brought a lot to their team. I would say that because she got so tied up fighting Bakugo and took a little too long to defeat her, Izumi isn’t the MVP as much as Iida is.”

All Might thought that he didn’t really have more to add, but felt like as a teacher, he should, so he said “W-Well, young Iida also has parts of him that could be more relaxed but, yes, that was correct!” and left it at that.

Iida beamed, as the rest of the class stared at Yaoyorozu, amazed. It made sense that her analysis was so succinct and sound though. She was one of the four students admitted to U.A on recommendations.

Bakugo’s gauntlets were temporarily confiscated after the match, because of the way she used them. She pouted on the floor and looked menacingly at Izumi for the whole time they were in the monitor room, and Izumi stood near Uraraka, Iida, and Kirishima, who she felt sure would defend her. 

The rest of the battles went on and while most were pretty evenly matched, there was one that was totally one sided.

Shoto Todoroki was another one of the four students admitted to U.A. via recommendations. The boy, whose expression was always neutral, as far as Izumi had seen, froze the building his opponents were in, and won the match moments after entering the structure. Then, he had slowly thawed the building out, beginning with his classmates. His teammate waited outside. Back in the monitor room, Izumi learned that Todoroki's Quirk was Half-Cold, Half-Hot. He could send out ice from his right side, and heat and fire from his left. 

Izumi felt bad for Ojiro and Hagakure, who had faced Todoroki. Their Quirks, Invisibility (which was exactly what it sounds like, though Hagakure couldn’t turn it off), and Tail (again, exactly what it sounds like, and permanently on) were totally unsuited to face that kind of overwhelming power. Izumi snuck stolen glances at Todoroki while the rest of the matches went on. He had taken her breath away, and privately, Izumi thought he was rather handsome. 

At the end of the lesson, All Might took a photo of the class together. “It’s so I can remember my very first lesson with you all,” he said, sentimentally. 

In the far left part of the frame, there was Izumi, kneeling next to an extra cranky Kagami Bakugo.

=====================================================================

After she’d gone to Recovery Girl for a quick patch up due to her mild burns and scorch marks, Izumi returned to her last class of the day, Modern Hero Art History, which was taught by pro hero Midnight. At the end of the day, Bakugo left to go home immediately, and Izumi followed after her , catching up outside the front of the school.

Izumi yelled, “Hey, Kacchan!”

Bakugo turned her head, deep fury smoldering behind her eyes, and said, “What, Deku?!

Izumi took a deep breath. She’d only told her mom about this, and even then, with permission from All Might, she’d been reluctant. But it felt important for her to say something to Bakugo.

“There's one thing I feel like I have to tell you. My Quirk is something I received from someone else,” she confessed.

“Huh?” asked Bakugo belligerently.

“I can't say who I got it from, though! I won't say. But it's like a story out of comic books. Well, except it's true. But on top of that, I still can't control it properly. I can barely control any of it at all! It's just a borrowed power that I haven't made my own yet. I've still got a long way to go. T-th-that's w-why! One day I will make this Quirk my own and beat you with my own power! But I just came to say that I never fooled you, or anything like that. And I never looked down on you.”

Bakugo’s expression got even less pleasant, if that was possible. “What? What the hell is that bullshit?! “Borrowed power”? You beat me today, that’s all there is to it! Are you trying to make me look even dumber?!” She had started crying, just a little.  “When I watched that ice guy, all I could think is ‘I can’t beat him!’ Damn it! I even ended up agreeing with what the fucking ponytail girl said! Deku, you bitch! Listen! I’m just getting started! Next time I’ll fucking beat you, okay?!”

All Might caught up to Bakugo as well and tried to comfort her as a mentor. However, Bakugo had already settled most her rage with her outburst to Izumi, so she simply shrugged off the hero, and left. She’d resolve the rest of her feelings at home, where she’d probably have a shouting match with her mother, which would inevitably end with harsh slap to her face.

Izumi waited for Uraraka, Iida, and Kirishima, and then headed to the train station with them.

=====================================================================

Images for this chapter:

Yaoyorozu in a more reasonable costume (she needs some exposed skin because of her Quirk, but still, yay clothes!)-

 Izumi in her hero costume-

Bakugo and Izumi in the class photo-

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Six

Over the next week, Izumi got to know her new friends, and became pretty close to Uraraka. She decided to invite her friend over for a sleepover after getting her mom’s permission. She’d never actually had a friend before, but from what she knew, things like that were part of friendship.

Before class on Wednesday, she talked to Uraraka and asked, “Um...so, Uraraka, I uh, I was w-wondering, if you’re y-you know, free this Saturday, if you’d want to come over to my house for a um, sleepover?”

Uraraka’s response was enthusiastic. “Yeah! Of course! That’ll be so much fun! Here, text me and we'll figure it out.”

Smiling and blushing, Izumi said “Great! I’ll, um, see you then!”

=====================================================================

“Deku!” exclaimed Ochako when she greeted Izumi on Saturday night. She was going to go for a hug, but then remembered that her new friend didn't like them, though she wasn't sure of why. Over the week, Deku had transformed into a friendly nickname that Uraraka used, though she and Bakugo were the only ones who ever called Izumi that. In the past couple of days, Izumi found that it had lost any impact it held as an insult, especially when she remembered what Uraraka had said about it on the first day of school. 

“Uraraka! Come in!” replied Izumi. About ten seconds later, Uraraka finally let go.

Izumi brought her friend into the living room, where her mom was reading, to introduce her.

“Um, mom, this is my friend, Uraraka,” she said.

Izumi’s mom put down her book very quickly, and introduced herself by saying, “Hi, I’m Inko! It’s so lovely to have you here! Let me know if there’s anything I can get for you, food’s in the kitchen, and the bathroom is down the hall on the right.”

Uraraka grinned, and said, “Thanks Mrs. Midoriya! It’s nice to meet you!”

The girls went to Izumi’s room, and Inko smiled. She was happy that Izumi finally had a friend.

Standing at the threshold to her door, Izumi said to Uraraka, “So, um...don’t freak out, but...I’m a little bit of a fangirl.”

The duo entered the room, and Uraraka’s jaw dropped in shock and delight, as she whispered, “Oh my God…” She turned to look at Izumi’s very red, embarrassed face, and said “Deku, I knew you were a fan of All Might, but this...this is incredible !” She began to laugh, in a good natured, friendly way.

“H-hey! Don’t laugh! He’s cool!” protested Izumi.

Through laughs, Uraraka was able to say, “I know, I know, but this is just too much!” When Izumi pouted, Uraraka took a deep breath, calmed down, and said, “Don’t worry about it, I just wasn’t expecting it.”

“Hey, I warned you!” said Izumi.

“Your warning wasn’t enough!” said Uraraka, giggling.

The two girls laughed with each other, and went into Izumi’s room.

They spent most of the night halfway watching Disney movies and chatting, and finally, the topic came to why they wanted to be heroes.

“So you want to be a hero for money?” asked Izumi.

“Um yeah,” responded Uraraka. “I know it’s not very admirable, especially compared to you...” she said more quietly.

Izumi was chagrined that she’d made her friend feel bad, and said, “No! No, not at all! Supporting your livelihood is a great goal! I’m just surprised is all.” 

Uraraka tilted her head downward, and said, “Well, I don’t really like to talk about it, but um...I’m kind of...poor. My family, well, we own a construction company. But we haven’t really gotten any work. So we’re flat broke.”

“Oh!” said Izumi. “So it’s not just for you! It’s for your parents! I really admire that, Uraraka.”

“Thanks. It’s why...no matter what, I will be a hero, and let my parents take it easy,” said Uraraka. “Um...and, well, since we’re friends and I have a nickname for you, you can call me Ochako.”

“Oh! Okay! Ochako,” said Izumi, smiling. 

Later on they talked briefly about crushes.

“So you don’t have one?” asked Izumi.

“I mean, maybe Iida or Ashido but I don’t know them super well yet,” replied Ochako. “You?”

“Todoroki’s handsome…” said Izumi quietly.

“Ooooooh, you like him, don’t you?” teased Ochako.

“N-no! I just think he’s handsome!” said Izumi, flustered.

Ochako continued to tease Izumi about her small crush for a few minutes, but dropped it after a bit, and for the rest of the night, they just hung out. At one point, they went and played some Smash Bros. and Izumi trounced Ochako. She was simply too good. She laughed as Ochako insisted on rematches. Her friend was more competitive than she’d thought.

Around 3AM the pair passed out, and they woke up in the morning to the smell of Inko’s cooking.

Izumi’s first sleepover experience had been wonderful. For the first time in a long time, she had friends, and she couldn’t be more glad.

=====================================================================

On Monday, Aizawa (as he preferred to be called by his students, rather than his hero name) told Class 1-A that it was time to select class representatives. At most schools, only a few people would want to hold those positions. The majority of students would only see it as extra responsibility. But at U.A, being class president or having any representative position gave a chance at gaining experience with leadership, which would be helpful for any aspiring hero. U.A was an ambitious school. It had a 0.2% acceptance rate, after all.

With all of this in mind, virtually everyone in the class wanted to be class president. Iida came up with the idea of electing people. None one of them knew each other well, and presumably most people would vote for themselves, but because of that, if there was anyone with more than one vote, it would speak volumes. Everyone agreed to implement Iida’s idea. 

To Izumi’s surprise, she tied for the most votes. She’d originally run because she did in fact want to be class president. But she hadn’t voted for herself, she’d voted for Yaoyorozu. Which meant that her three votes, no matter how shocking it was to her, were from other people. A tie breaker wasn’t needed, because Izumi gave the position of Class Representative to Yaoyorozu, and took Vice Class Representative for herself.

On the same day, the press swarmed U.A. They were somehow (likely through sheer numbers) able to get past the security wall keeping people without student or teacher IDs out, with the exception of certain times. Ultimately, when an alarm went off, and nearly everyone panicked Iida was able to calm everyone down by getting help from Ochako and standing balanced on a sign over the exit doors. Izumi thought it was very impressive, and decided to give her position as Vice Class Representative up to him because she felt he would fit it better, and then run to be Class Secretary. She got the new position without difficulty.

Unbeknownst to anyone, the security breach had been facilitated by someone with far more sinister intentions than the mass media, and allowed them to sneak onto school grounds...

Aizawa announced that he, All Might, and someone else would be doing rescue training with the class. This was the thing Izumi had been looking forward to most. She’d fallen in love with the idea of being a hero because of a video where All Might rescued hundreds of people from burning wreckage single-handedly. It was his debut, and the most famous one of all time. And just the idea of being capable of saving and helping that many people was thrilling to Izumi.

Unfortunately, since her hero costume had been ripped a little during her bout with Bakugo, she was wearing her U.A gym uniform. On the bright side, the repair the costume needed gave her the chance to ask for a design change and a more durable fabric.

The class all went to a large domed building, called the Unforeseen Simulation Joint or USJ. Inside, they met up with the pro hero Thirteen. Apparently All Might could not make it. Izumi saw Thirteen put up three fingers during a hushed side discussion with Aizawa (as he preferred his students call him as opposed to his hero name), and she remembered All Might’s time limit. 

While Thirteen was going over several things with the class, when everything went sideways. A dark purple, bordering on black portal opened, and several villains came through it. 

Kirishima asked, “Hold on, is this like the entrance exam, where the lesson’s already started?”

Aizawa looked very seriously at the class, and said, “Don’t move! These are villains.” Addressing Thirteen now, he continued, saying “The trespassing the other day was the work of these scumbags after all, huh?”

Thirteen couldn’t reach the school, and Kaminari couldn’t contact the school with his Quirk either, so Aizawa came to the conclusion that someone had an interference Quirk blocking communication. This invasion had been planned.

Before the teachers could do anything to impact the villains machinations significantly, or the students could get away, a villain with a warp Quirk popped up behind Class 1-A. They figured he must have been the one who opened a path for the large group of villains. Bakugo and Kirishima used their Quirks and leapt towards him to attack, but they couldn’t harm him, and he held them in place.

The villain explained that the group was The League of Villains, and they were there to kill All Might, but the hitch in their plan was that All Might wasn’t there. Nevertheless, he said, they could still wreak havoc. Kirishima and Bakugo kept trying to fight him, and he simply said, amused, “That's right. Even if you are students, you are excellent golden eggs. Too bad, it’s my job to scatter you all and torture you to death.” He activated his warp again, and Kirishima and Bakugo were gone.

Facing away from the class and fighting several villains, Aizawa shouted, “This is bad! Get out of here, now!”

It was too late. The villain was sweeping towards the class, and Izumi didn’t know what to do.

At the last second, she used One For All, and dove towards Iida and Ochako, pushing them out of the way of the villain’s Quirk, and calling out, “Iida! Run and get help!”

And then, she was teleported, and fell into the water that was now below her.

Izumi saw a villain with a shark Quirk rapidly swimming towards her, and tried to swim away, but she was still disoriented from suddenly finding herself underwater. To her great relief, just as the shark villain was about to bite her, Asui Tsuyu came along and rescued her.

Above water with the frog girl, Izumi said, “Thank you so much, Asui. I thought I was going to die…” 

“Call me Tsu,” replied Izumi’s savior. “This has turned into a real bad situation though.”

“Yeah,” said Izumi. “We’re surrounded.”

The two girls were on a boat, and all around them were villains with Quirks suited to water. Tsu’s was suited to water as well, but Izumi’s wasn’t. She contemplated what to do, and then Tsu said “Midoriya, how fast can you swim?”

Startled out of her reverie, Izumi said “I don’t know. I’ve never actually tried swimming with my Quirk before. Pretty fast, I’d guess?”

“If we can take out some of the villains and make a small opening, maybe we can get to shore.”

“I don’t know, As-” Izumi caught herself before using the other girl’s last name and continued. “Tsu. That seems pretty risky. Maybe...I have an idea…”

Izumi knew she was quick and strong, especially with All For One. Although outnumbered eight to one, it didn’t seem like they had much of a chance. But there was one advantage they had and one tool that might work. One, based on the fact that they’d sent Tsu to the shipwreck zone, they didn’t know their Quirks, and two, Tsu’s extra long tongue that she could capture people with. If they picked off the villains one by one, with Izumi protecting Tsu and the frog girl taking out each villain, they could secure a chance to escape. She explained her idea to Tsu, and the girls began to implement it.

The plan was a success. Even though the boat was sinking after a villain had damaged it, and the villains kept attacking, the girls were able to thin out their opposition’s numbers so that the duo could flee and get to land.  

The girls surfaced near where Aizawa was fighting, and Tsu said, “It looks like he’s getting tired.”

“We should help out,” said Izumi.

They got out of the water to begin fighting, but immediately, Aizawa shouted, “No! Find your classmates, and stay safe!”

Following their teacher’s orders, Tsu and Izumi went to move towards their peers who the warp villain hadn’t managed to scatter. 

Off in the distance, Izumi saw Iida moving toward the exit at an even higher speed than she’d seen him at yet, with Shoji, Ochako, Sero, and Sato helping him to escape. It was a success, and he ran off to get help.

Meanwhile, Aizawa had been caught by a horrible, pitch black creature that was brutally smashing his face into the ground. Izumi ran towards her teacher, yelling, “No! Stop it!” and utilizing One For All. Just as she had almost reached him, a man with corpse like hands all over his body intercepted her. She had seen his Quirk, and was terrified in that second. The man could disintegrate with a single touch, and his hand was about to come in contact with her face. He touched Izumi, but nothing happened. Both parties, Izumi and the villain, were shocked.

Over to the side, Aizawa had struggled just enough to look up and erase the villain’s Quirk. The creepy figure before Izumi disdainfully said, “You really are cool...Eraser Head.”

Izumi breathed a sigh of relief and punched the villain in the moment he was distracted

And then, the true savior of the day arrived. All Might. He wasn’t smiling. 

Glaring at the villains, eyes blazing with anger, he said “It’s fine now! I am here!” He swept through the crowd of enemies in an instant, and grabbed the students, moving them out of the way, into relative safety. 

But sadly, the ringleader villain unveiled that he wasn’t the biggest threat. The real threat was the dark monster next to him. Nomu, The anti-Symbol of Peace. 

The creature and All Might began to engage in combat, but none of the hero’s hits were working.

“It doesn’t work because of his shock absorption,” said the man covered in eerie hands. “The most effective way to damage Nomu would be to slowly gouge out his flesh. Whether he’d let you do that is a different matter.”

“Thank you for telling me all that,” exclaimed All Might. “That makes this much easier!” He slammed the thing into a suplex.

The battle raged on, but eventually, All Might was put into a precarious situation by the warp gate villain, whose name turned out to be Kurogiri. 

Just when it looked like there was no way out, Izumi heard a familiar voice cry out, “Die!” followed by a series of explosive noises. Kurogiri was forced to let All Might go when Todoroki and Kirishima arrived with Bakugo. Faced with three students who had a high level of combat power, they had to back off.

The fight resumed, and All Might resorted to overcoming Nomu’s shock absorption by overwhelming it with sheer force. As he sent Nomu off into the stratosphere, All Might shouted,  “Hey villain, have you ever heard these words? Go beyond! Plus ... Ultra !”

Unfortunately, even with the defeat of the villains’ trump card, they elected to stick around. And though none of the other students were aware of it, Izumi knew All Might was almost at the end of his time limit. Izumi jumped at the hand villain, whose name she had overheard to be Tomura Shigaraki. She almost got a punch in, but Kurogiri intercepted with his warp Quirk, and Shigaraki began to move his hand toward her again as she felt fear overwhelm her, and tears of terror swam in her eyes. Suddenly a bullet shot through Shigaraki’s hand. 

The rest of U.A’s pro heroes had arrived. Everyone was relieved beyond possibility. The villains were forced to retreat, and the students all gathered at the front of the USJ, while Cementoss hid All Might as he reverted to his skeletal form.

Nobody was badly injured other than Thirteen and Aizawa, who were taken away by paramedics.

Everyone was sent home, and school was cancelled for the rest of the week. Principal Nedzu said the staff needed to figure some things out.

Chapter Text

Chapter Seven

It was because of the events at the USJ that Izumi found herself sitting quietly in the living room with her mom and All Might, while the number one hero was seeking permission to have Izumi stay in the dorms that would be constructed over the weekend. The idea was that with students living on campus, there would be higher security because the gates would be closed more often. Plus, that way, monitoring students and their safety would be easier for all of the teachers.

“Look, All Might, I’m not entirely sure about this. I’m supposed to entrust Izumi’s safety to U.A’s staff after what happened on Monday? My daughter could have died. You have no idea how afraid I was. I’m sorry...but...I don’t have the nerves of steel I need to entrust my daughter to U.A as it is now,” said Inko, unwilling to give permission.

“Mom! Please!” cried out Izumi.

After an argument with her mom, during which All Might sat looking increasingly uncomfortable, Izumi stormed off to her room. She emerged less than a minute later, and said, “It doesn’t have to be U.A. But no matter what, I will become a hero! When I saved Ochako during the exam, it felt right. Mom, I know that this is what I’m meant to do!”

All Might ended up begging with his head bowed low for Inko to let Izumi stay at U.A and stay in his life. “I apologize for not saying this first. But I believe Izumi is meant to be my successor. What I mean is, I believe she is meant to be a Symbol of Peace," said All Might. “That is why I want to stand by her and walk together with her. Will you allow me to pour my all into your daughter? I will protect her and raise her up, I swear! Even if I have to give my own life to do so!”

Inko fell onto her knees partially in shock and partially so she could talk to All Might on an equal level. “Listen,” she said. “Don’t give up your life. Please live properly to protect and raise her. If — if you can promise me that...then I will allow it.”

All Might tilted his head up a little, and in the most sincere voice Izumi had ever heard, said, “I promise.”

====================================================================

A few miles away from Izumi and her mom, Aizawa was sitting in a chair facing the Bakugo family. 

“So,” said Aizawa. “That’s the situation, and I understand that it may be difficult to —”

“Oh, no need to apologize,” said Bakugo’s mother. “Honestly we could use a break from this brat, so the dorms will be great.” 

“Really feeling the love,” muttered Bakugo, rolling her eyes. She knew that she was an accident, and that her mother had gotten ‘knocked up’ at nineteen. But she wished Mitsuki wasn’t such a bad parent. For a large portion of Bakugo’s life, neglect had been her predominant experience with her mother and father; and after eleven or twelve, more active physical, emotional, and verbal abusive set in. Her mother frequently slapped her, and even though she could theoretically prevent it, Bakugo was held financially captive. So she put up with it, and her main defense was shouting insults back and forth with Mitsuki. Meanwhile, her father, Masaru, wasn’t very helpful in preventing the unpleasant situation. 

“What was that?” said Mitsuki, with a sarcastic, almost angry smile stretching her mouth.

Bakugo’s face tensed. “I said I’m really feeling the love,” she replied. “I can just tell you care about me so much.” She made sure her voice was dripping with sarcasm.

Mitsuki smacked her daughter on the back of the head, though it was softer than she usually hit. “Shut up!” she yelled. “It’s your fault for being weak and not being able to stop the villains without help in the first place!”

“Don’t hit me, you bitch!” yelled Bakugo back.

“Don’t call me a bitch, you bitch!” screamed Mitsuki.

Masaru attempted to get a word in as an argument burst into life, as there was a teacher watching, but he might as well have been talking to a brick wall for all the progress he made.

I can see where Kagami gets the attitude, ” thought Aizawa. “But man, it doesn’t seem like she has a great home life. Might want to look into that…”

Aizawa managed to steer the two women away from their clash, and got formal approval for Bakugo to move into the dorms. Still, he felt uneasy and suspicious about the relationship his student had with her mother.

Bakugo continued to quarrel with her mother after Aizawa left. Eventually she was struck by the familiar sting of an open palm hitting her, and it was a much stronger blow than she’d felt earlier when her mother had to worry about a teacher seeing it.

Bakugo stormed up to her room, and lay down on her bed. She contemplated for a moment whether the dorms would be better or worse, eventually concluding that anything would be better than here.

She pulled out a sharp knife she kept in her desk, and pulled up her skirt to gain access to her thighs, ready to slit them. Her legs were riddled with long, vertical cuts, but the scars were up too high for anybody to see. It was her way of remembering that the pain could always be worse than Mitsuki's hands or words.

Just as she was about to open up another wound, Bakugo heard a ping from her phone.

She went to pick it up, and turn off the ringer, but saw a text from Kirishima. She paused for a second and took a look at it. The message read, “Hey, just checking in, hope you’re doing good :)” A meme was attached below.

Bakugo chuckled at the meme. She looked at the blade clutched in her fist pensively. “Should I really be doing this? ” she wondered. “I mean, the old hag and Mr. Do-nothing wouldn’t care, but...Kirishima...or that annoying pink chick, Ashido...or even stupid Deku. They probably wouldn’t like it…”

She stared at the knife for a few minutes, eventually electing to put it back in her desk drawer. “It’ll be there later,” she said to herself. She typed in “I’m okay, you?” (she wasn't really okay, but he didn't need to know that) and sent it to Kirishima, a small, uncommon smile gracing her face.

=====================================================================

“Damn it!” screamed Endeavor, punching a flaming hole in the wall next to himself. Aizawa had been by earlier to inform him of the new dorm system, and in order to keep up appearances, he’d agreed that his son could live in the dorm. In his opinion, if his child was going to fulfill his purpose and become the number one hero, going to U.A was a necessity. But he wasn’t happy about the dorms, which would mean Todoroki was further away, with more freedoms; without him there to watch, his son might engage in more rebellion than he already had. “Shoto!” yelled Endeavor up the hall, still furious at the boy’s teacher and U.A.  “Training time!”

In his room, Todoroki heard the screams coming from down the hallway. He’d been studying, but figured now was as good a time as any to stop. He rolled his eyes, got up from his desk, and left the room. He came face to face with Endeavor, scowling, and refusing to say a word as he entered the training space.

Todoroki exercised for hours on end as his father ranted about U.A’s new dorm policy, complaining that without his overbearing presence, Todoroki would backslide. Todoroki didn’t reply.

At last, sparring began. For Todoroki, this was both his least favorite and favorite part of training with Endeavor, which on the whole he detested. On one hand, he always came away from it battered and bruised, aching all over. Todoroki always had marks or burns that he covered using makeup borrowed from his sister, Fuyumi. On the other hand, it gave him the chance to hit his father, a man he’d been learning to loathe since the age of four. Todoroki groaned in pain as his father delivered a particularly powerful punch to his stomach. “Are you complaining?!” shouted Endeavor.

“No,” spat Todoroki resentfully.

“Good,” said Endeavor gruffly. “If you’re going to beat All Might, you’ve got to be better.”

“I know,” said Todoroki. It was the same message Endeavor had been preaching to him since childhood. “Because you can't beat All Might.”

Todoroki half-regretted the words as soon as they came out of his mouth. Another part of him was glad he’d said them. Provoking his father was a one way ticket to pain, but he did find a vindictive sort of pleasure in reminding Endeavor of his failures. 

A punch hit Todoroki right in the eye. “Don’t disrespect me, Shoto!” yelled Endeavor furiously. Todoroki skidded across the floor. He got back to his feet, cold hatred evident behind his eyes. 

“What’s there to respect?” he said. Another hard hit. Todoroki knew he wasn’t actually benefiting himself in any way with his words or actions. But he’d gotten so good at repressing his emotions in day to day life, and this was the only time he let the toxic and all consuming anger towards his father leak out. It was a deeply unhealthy coping mechanism, but it was also the only one Todoroki had. 

An hour later, training was over. Todoroki’s whole body was crying out for relief. It was awful, but did remind him he could feel something other than stifled ire and a numb, hollow sensation in the center of his chest. 

Besides, even though he knew he’d have a nasty black eye that’d he’d have to cover up tomorrow, Todoroki had definitely gotten a rise out of Endeavor. And that was all that mattered to him. If his father was going to make him miserable, Todoroki would try his level best to reflect the anguish back.

Todoroki went back to studying, the malignant emotion directed towards Endeavor freezing back into a glacier wrapped around his heart. 

=====================================================================

Izumi packed up her things over the next few days, and realized to her embarrassment that she had even more All Might merch than she thought. Still, she finished packing the day before students were due to move into dorms.

“I promise I’ll visit as much as I can,” said Izumi, hugging her mom goodbye. Students would have at least a little bit of time when they were permitted to be off campus, even though leaving and coming back would be heavily monitored to make sure nobody with ill intent could sneak in during the time the U.A barrier was down.

“You’d better,” said Inko tightening her hold. “I’m going to miss you.”

“I’ll miss you too mom,” said Izumi, starting to cry. Her mom wasn’t far behind. The Midoriya family could probably fill several pools with tears.

About ten or fifteen minutes later Izumi was at U.A, standing in front of a tall building that said 1-A Alliance on the front.

“Welcome to Heights Alliance,” said Aizawa to the class, who were all gathered outside of the building. “All of the luggage you sent to us beforehand will be in your respective rooms. The rooms are laid out as we saw fit. Girls will be on the right hand side of the building, boys on the left hand side.”

=====================================================================

Each student was to be given their own room in the dorm building, and the rooms also had bathrooms attached to them, so it wouldn’t be necessary to share or wait in the mornings.

The teachers had split things up so people were next to those they got along with.

The second floor had no girls, likely because Mineta was at the end of it, and considering his attitude toward the opposite sex, the school had placed him as far away from female students as possible. The third floor was entirely vacant, probably as an extra precaution.The second floor also featured Iida, Ojiro, and Koda. 

There were four girls on both the fourth and fifth floors. Izumi found herself rooming next to Tsu, Ochako, and Hagakure. She was okay with that, as Tsu had been bonding with her lately, and Ochako was her best friend. Hagakure was very easy to get along with, too. The boys on the third floor were Shoji, Todoroki, Todoroki, and...Aoyama. One of these things was not like the others. Nevertheless, three silent brooding types who wouldn’t bother her, and one very sparkly and energetic twink who was altogether likeable enough, if a little much to handle. It’d work out just fine for Izumi.

The fifth floor had Kaminari, Sero, Kirishima, and Sato on the boys’ side. Kaminari and Sero got along like two peas in a pod, even if they were obsessed with memes and acted pretty dumb on ocassion. Kirishima got along with them very well too. Meanwhile, Sato would be friendly but likely not participate in their antics. 

On the girls’ side, there was Bakugo, Ashido, Jiro, and Yayorozu. Ashido was one of the only people in 1-A who Bakugo was mostly civil towards, even if she irritated the blonde girl a bit (to be fair, everyone did). Meanwhile, Jiro and Yaoyorozu garnered some measure of respect from Bakugo, so that bomb was defused as well.

All told, the floors had been well set up. 

The first floor was a common area for everyone. It had a living room, a laundry room, and kitchen, a dining room, and several other features, including a courtyard outside. The dorms were very nice, but that made sense, considering the ample funding U.A had. 

The next evening, a few of the girls had finished unpacking and were chatting when Hagakure came up with an idea.

“Hey! I was thinking, we should have a room presentation contest! To see who has the coolest room!” said the invisible girl.

Izumi’s face went pale, and she started to panic. She didn’t think the whole class would be seeing her room. “No, no, wait —”

Ochako cut her off and said, “I already saw her room back at her house but if it’s the same here...it’s amazing. You have to see it to believe it.”

Izumi hung her head, and said, “Damn it, I’m not getting out of this, am I?”

“Nope,” said Jiro, a smirk on her face. “Come on, let’s go get the boys. I can’t wait to see Kaminari’s room, I bet it’s gonna’ be so dumb.”

The girls went downstairs, where some of the guys and Bakugo were relaxing in the living room.

“Hey everyone!” said Ashido. “Are you all done with your dorms?”

“Yep!” said Kaminari. “Just relaxing now.”

“Well, the girls were talking just now…” began Ashido.

“...and we have an idea!” finished Hagakure. “A room presentation contest! To see who has the best room!”

“I’m down,” said Kirishima. The girls were able to rope the rest of the boys into it no problem. 

 Though it had been tough to get Bakugo on board.

“Bakugo,” said Hagakure politely. “How about you?”

“I won’t fucking do it.” said Bakugo, sitting at Kirishima’s feet and painting her nails. “This shit is dumb as hell.” 

“Oh well,” said Jiro, shrugging. “I guess her skills just don’t extend to decorating. She had to be bad at something.”

“What,”said Bakugo menacingly, as she tilted her head upward. “The fuck did you just say about me?” 

“Well, I mean, if you’re too scared,” said Jiro in an innocent voice, obviously intended to provoke the other girl. “I’d understand.”

The fiery aura around Bakugo was intensifying, and Kirishima put a hand on her shoulder as he said “Hey, Bakugo, I’m sure she didn’t really mean—”

“Not now, Kirishima!” yelled Bakugo.

Kacchan knowing someone’s name and actually using it,” thought Izumi. “Wow, that’s new.

“I’ll do it, and I’ll win,” said Bakugo, glaring through Jiro’s very soul. Insulting Bakugo was like poking a bear, but doing so could get her to do almost anything. She was easily the most competitive student and challenging her was a fast way to get her participation.

Everyone looked at the boys’ rooms first, but they skipped over Mineta’s, as the boy leaned out his door and said creepily “Come in...I’ll show you something amazing.”

“Cursed,” said Jiro as the class rapidly walked away. They were able to ditch him pretty easily too, a basic threat from Bakugo doing the trick. 

Izumi and Ochako couldn’t help but laugh at the large collection of glasses in Iida’s preppy room. They took up a fair deal of space, and the reason he had them was wise, but it was still funny.

Ojiro’s room had an aesthetic that could only be described as ‘standard issue’. It was boring, and there wasn’t much more to say about it.

Koda’s room had a few pets in it, including a bunny rabbit.

Everyone ascended the stairs, moving past the empty third floor, and onto the fourth. 

 Tokoyami’s room was predictably very dark and edgy. It was Gothic, but in a sort of 'angsty teenager' way. A lot of the decor probably could have been bought at Hot Topic. He was at least a little embarrassed by it, because Ochako and Ashido had actually needed to push him away from his spot guarding the door. 

In stark contrast with his neighbor’s room, Aoyama’s room was almost blinding, filled with reflective surfaces. Izumi thought Tokoyami and Aoyama could both learn something about lighting from each other.

“Dazzling, non?” said Aoyama.

“It’s so bright,” said Ochako, shielding her eyes. 

Shoji’s room was minimalistic. When the class remarked on this, he said “I don’t like having a lot of things.” Which was rather ironic, considering the nature of his Quirk. Personally, Izumi found the barrenness of the room unsettling.

Todoroki’s room was impressive. He’d somehow managed to remodel it within a day, to look like a bedroom in a traditional Japanese home. Everyone was stunned and bewildered by it. 

All Izumi said to Todoroki about his room was “How ?”

He succinctly said, “I worked hard.”

Up on the fifth floor. Sero had an Asian inspired room that was pretty cohesive and well put together. Everyone was impressed, if not a little surprised. Jiro had said, “I didn’t know you were into this sort of thing.”

Kaminari’s room was absurdly tacky. It was as if he’d grabbed whatever he could find, and thrown it in. 

Kirishima’s room was like a shrine to manliness. It might have been slightly garish, but he did have an aesthetic. 

Sato’s room was pretty simple, but he had started baking a chiffon cake earlier, and had forgotten about it. Luckily, the cake hadn’t burned since it was on a timer, and everyone got to try some. It was incredible. Apparently he’d started baking to save money since buying candy for his Quirk could be expensive. He’d done so enough to become masterful in his baking skills. Izumi was thinking of voting for his room simply because of how delicious the cake was.

With all of the boys’ rooms having been looked at, they moved on to the girls’, starting on the fourth floor. With a feeling of dread, Izumi realized that her room would be last based on the order they were going in.

The group continued, starting with Yaoyorozu. The girl’s room was very cramped, because she’d bought furniture suited to her old bedroom. The class hadn’t realized she was a rich girl yet, but now they knew. 

Jiro’s room was filled with instruments, and designed with a rock and roll look in mind.

“Whoa, you can play all of these?” asked Kaminari.

“Yeah,” said Jiro, blushing. “Or at least the basics.”

The next room was one everybody was curious about. There were a few bets going, and Izumi wondered if it’d be decorated anything like it had been the last time she’d seen Bakugo’s bedroom, several years ago. 

Before entering Bakugo’s room, the explosive girl said “All right, prepare to have your asses kicked” She opened the door, and the room wasn’t what anybody had been expecting. It was actually surprising, taking into account her personality. Everything was very well organized. Her desk had neatly placed assignments and course materials, and above it was a cork board with a schedule, vacation spots, and a list of who she wanted to beat and who she disliked, with Izumi at the top. Next to the desk was a metal rack with an assortment of items including anger management books her mom got her that had never been opened, rock climbing magazines, and an array of cheesy action movies and ‘chick flicks’. Her bed sheets and comforter were pink camo print. On the wall next to her desk, and opposite from her bed, was a very large dart board, with pictures of her classmates on it.

“Is that a dart board with our faces on it?” asked Kirishima incredulously. “And I thought the written out shit list was extra.”

“The list is important! Besides, that’s my dartboard that picks who I’m nice to that day.” She smiled sweetly, starkly contrasting with her personality and the majority of the words that came out of her mouth. 

Bakugo’s definition of ‘nice’ was probably more liberal than others. ‘Barely civil’ would be a better descriptor.

Looking over the dartboard, Izumi didn’t see her picture. She was already pretty sure that she knew the answer, but asked anyway. “Um ...Kacchan? Why- why am I not on there?”

“Fuck off Deku! You’re lucky I haven’t killed you yet!” 

“Whoa! That’s way out of line!” exclaimed Kirishima.

“It’s fine,” said Izumi. “She’s always like this.” 

The class all looked at Izumi with concerned expressions, but dropped it. Bakugo spent the rest of the night in a huff, but Izumi was surprised the other girl hadn’t been more aggressive toward Kirishima for defending her. Izumi had actually noticed that Bakugo tended to be softer towards Kirishima, consistently using his name, rarely insulting him, and directing fewer curse words toward him. Izumi even thought she’d heard the blonde compliment Kirishima once or twice. 

The last room on the fifth floor, Ashido’s, was covered in hot pink decor that matched her personality.

The group descended back down the stairs to look at the last set of rooms. 

On the fourth floor, Ochako’s space was designed with a shoestring budget in mind. With a jolt of pity for her friend, Izumi remembered that Ochako’s family was poor, as she’d been told at the sleepover she hosted.

Hagakure’s room was very girly, which nobody was really expecting, though they weren’t shocked by it either. It turned out that invisibility made it difficult to get a read on someone. The class took everything in, and then moved on to Tsu’s bedroom.

Tsu’s room was themed with a blue and green color scheme, and had a waterbed in it. On the wall above her bed was a photo of her family, and based on how her siblings looked, the frog Quirk ran in the family. She also had a first aid kit that she’d somehow managed to affix to the wall. Her desk was a little disorganized, but one could tell she kept on top of classwork.

“Wow,” said Ojiro. “Isn’t the water bed hard to stay on?”

“I think it’s comfy,” said Tsu. “I have cough drops if anyone gets sick by the way.”

At last, they came to Izumi’s room.

Everyone was stunned by the sheer quantity of All Might merch.

“OH MY GOD!” said Sero, taken aback, but overjoyed.

“You’re a total fangirl, aren’t you?” said Kaminari, trying desperately to hold back a laugh.

Jiro grinned, turned to her new room neighbor, and said, “Midoriya...this is rough.”

“It hasn't changed a bit since we were kids...” murmured Bakugo incredulously.

“This is why I didn’t want anyone to see my room!” said Izumi, very embarrassed and growing increasingly red.

The entire way downstairs, the class poked fun at Izumi and her room, and after Sato won the contest by virtue of his cake, they kept doing so. 

Eventually, Izumi said, “If I can beat you all at Smash Bros., do you promise to stop making fun of my room?”

“Sure,” said Kirishima, shrugging. “I’m great at Smash.”

Ochako, who was the only person who’d played against Izumi, and therefore knew that in all likelihood, nobody would be able to beat her, shook her head in fear, and said, “Guys, we really shouldn’t. I played with her at our sleepover and it was —”

“I’m sure we’ll be fine, Uraraka,” said Iida. “I have full confidence that we’ll be able to beat her.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” said Ochako, remembering the games she’d played against her normally kind and somewhat shy friend.

“Take that and that and that!” yelled Izumi, unleashing a combo on Kaminari who was, of course, playing Pikachu. “Fuck you!” she screamed when her opponent got his first and only hit of the match in.

Everyone’s expressions shifted to horror, and Jiro said, “What have we unleashed?”

“Is she even allowed to curse?” asked Kirishima incredulously.

“I thought she was too pure,” said Sero in agreement.

“Shut up you bastards! I can curse all I want!” said Izumi, pummelling Kaminari’s character, so that there was no chance he could recover.

“Does she get this from you, Bakugo?” asked Kaminari, laughing as he lost.

“Shut the fuck up, Pikachu!” shouted the blonde as she glared.

“I guess so,” muttered Jiro to Yaoyorozu, who giggled.

About an hour later, Izumi had trounced the class. Shoji had given her the best fight, but he had the advantage of six arms, and she still beat him.

“All in favor of banning Izumi from Smash Bros?” asked Yaoyorozu.

“What? No!” said Izumi in protest. “That’s unfair! Just because you all lost?”

“No,” said Tsu, taking the controller out of her hands. “Because it brings out an evil demon that sleeps inside you.”

“Seriously girl, that was scary,” said Ashido.

“A mad banquet of darkness indeed,” said Tokoyami. Everyone laughed, and ridiculed him for the overdramatic statement for the rest of the night, while they kept playing Smash Bros. and Izumi pouted because she couldn’t.

After everyone finishing playing around midnight, Izumi was carried up to her room by Iida, because she'd passed out on the couch at about 10:30PM and she looked so comfortable that nobody wanted to wake her up.

Chapter Text

Chapter Eight

The annual U.A Sports Festival was swiftly approaching.“This is a huge opportunity for all of you,” said Aizawa in class one day. “Our sports festival is one of Japan’s biggest events. In the past, the Olympics were called a festival of sports, and all of Japan adored them. But over the years, as there have been reductions in scale and population, the Olympics are a shell of their former glory. And now, at least for Japan, what’s taken the place of the Olympics is the U.A Sports Festival.”

Jiro, Yaoyorozu, and Kaminari mentioned a few nuances of the festival, and Jiro teased that she could see Kaminari becoming an eternal sidekick because he “was dumb”. She wasn't really serious though; he’d gotten into U.A and the written entrance exam wasn’t easy. 

“Joining a famous hero agency will get you more experience and popularity,” continued Aizawa. “And time is limited. If you really expect to be a pro, the path to your future begins with this. One chance a year — a total of just three chances. No aspiring hero can afford to miss this event. If you truly understand that, don’t slack off with preparations!”

“Yes sir!” said the class.

“Homeroom is dismissed,” finished Aizawa.

The class broke out into a spirited discussion about the U.A Sports Festival and Ochako fervently declared, “I’m going to do my best!” 

Izumi thought about her friend’s motivation to become a hero. This was so much more than just an aspiration for Ochako...if she became a hero it would allow her family to break out of poverty. The U.A Sports Festival was an opportunity that mattered more to Ochako than almost anyone in the class.

As Izumi, Ochako, and Iida walked to the cafeteria for lunch, All Might came dashing out of a corridor pointing towards Izumi as he exclaimed, “Young Midoriya...is here!” 

Izumi was confused, and said, “Is something wrong?”

“Lunch,” said All Might, with a grin on his face. He brought his bento box into view, and said, “...Wanna eat together?”

Ochako stifled laughter at the way the number one hero was acting like a schoolgirl with a crush, as Izumi looked to her friends. Iida nodded his head, and she said, “Sure, I’d love to!” as she moved to the teacher’s lounge with him.

“Only fifty minutes?” said Izumi, shocked.

The battle at USJ had reduced the time All Might could be active as a hero.

“Yeah. I only have around an hour and a half in muscle form, and that’s when I’m idle. I overdid it too many times. And that Nomu was a tough opponent. It hurt.”

“About that,” said Izumi. “Sorr—”

All Might interrupted her with a laugh, blood spilling out of his mouth. Izumi recoiled. No matter how many times she saw that, she’d never get used to it. “Don’t apologize, my girl!” said her mentor. “It’s my fault for overdoing it.”

He gave her some green tea.

“Thanks,” said Izumi.

“So...about the sports festival. Do you have a plan?”

“Well, I haven’t really improved my limit for One For All...I don’t know if I could try to push it further without hurting myself. And I definitely can’t use it at full strength, not on a person, and not really at all...I was honestly thinking of just trying my best…”

“Listen,” said All Might. “To be honest, I don’t have much time left as the Symbol of Peace. And some criminals and villains are starting to realize that. I granted you One For All because I want you to succeed me. I know you feel the same as you did on that beach, don’t you?”

“Yes,” said Izumi.

All Might looked at her seriously, and said “Then the time has come for you to show that. The sports festival is something that pro heroes, no, make that the whole nation, will be watching closely. It’s your chance! A massive event! That is why I wanted to talk to you. The next All Might, the rising Symbol of Peace...Izumi Midoriya! I want you to make your mark, and tell the world, ‘I am here!’”

Izumi left her lunch with All Might feeling an immense amount of pressure. She really didn’t know what she could do. She thought that maybe she’d try pushing her current limit on One For All and seeing if she could access more power. But other than that, she really had no clue on what to do. Until she remembered one thing. Her hero notebooks. They had all sorts of techniques and skills listed under each hero, some of which she could implement, because they weren’t dependent on the hero’s Quirk, or because her current grasp of One For All produced similar results to the hero’s Quirk. And there was also an entry on Bakugo. If she studied all of her classmates in their Hero Foundation classes, she might be able to get a grasp of their strengths and weaknesses. It wouldn’t give her any info on Class 1-B, the other Hero Course class. And it wouldn’t give her information on the Support Course, General Studies Course, or Business Course. But it was a start.

=====================================================================

“Ouch!” Izumi shouted early that evening, while training in the large courtyard outside of Class 1-A’s Heights Alliance dorm. “God that hurt! Ow ow ow ow!” she loudly sobbed, holding her ankle, and beginning to cry in pain. She’d determined her new limit for One For All, but injured herself in the process. Iida and Yaoyorozu, who were helping Sero, Kaminari, and Ashido study so they wouldn’t fail a math test, rushed outside, their three pupils close behind.

“Midoriya!” said Iida. “Are you alright?”

Izumi hissed in pain, still on the ground, grabbing her ankle, and with a smile that convinced nobody, said, “I’m fine. Never better.”

Yaoyorozu looked at her skeptically. “Let me go get Tsu,” she said. Tsu had a first aid kit, and with two younger siblings, had learned to take care of a few injuries and illnesses. She might not help much, but she’d hopefully be able to do something until Izumi could see Recovery Girl in the morning.

“It looks like you sprained it. Pretty badly too,” said Tsu. “What were you doing?”

“Training,” said Izumi, through gritted teeth. “Obviously it went badly.”

Yaoyorozu sighed and said “Midoriya, you should really be more careful.”

“Here, we’ll wrap it up,” said Tsu. She pulled an ACE bandage out of the first aid kit, and gently taking Izumi’s ankle, bound it. Izumi winced in pain a bit, but she knew that this was going to help.

Izumi spent the rest of the night on the couch with her ankle elevated and iced, playing video games. She was playing Skyrim when Sato came up to her and handed her a cupcake. “I heard you got hurt,” he said. “So I made this for you.”

Izumi paused her game and smiled, saying, “Thanks.”

He smiled back and said, “No problem. I’m making dinner for the class too, if you want a plate.”

“Oh, I’ll just sit at the table. I’m not that crippled,” said Izumi.

“If you’re sure,” he said.

Everyone had been living with each other for about two weeks, and in that time had gotten to know each other pretty well. On occasion, someone would cook, and most of them would sit down and eat together. On other nights, a lot of them would be together in the living room, studying. There had been a couple movie and video game nights as well. Izumi’s Smash Bros. ban had been lifted when they realized she was like that with every game and they’d be forced to accept it. Even Bakugo participated in the bonding. There was only one student who never interacted with the others outside of the classroom: Todoroki. The rest of class speculated that he was just a loner, but Izumi had a sneaking suspicion it was something more. Nobody was that closed off without a reason, or something that had made them that way. 

The next two weeks were filled with training for everyone. Izumi worked out and trained for a few hours before class every morning, and tried to observe her classmates training as much as possible, so she could write down everything that might help in her hero notebooks. Her limit with One For All had gone up to 12% which would be somewhat helpful, but not to a drastic point. She knew that in order to do well, she’d have to rely on strategy more than power.

=====================================================================

The day before the U.A Sports Festival, Izumi was about to leave the classroom, but found a massive crowd outside the door.

“What business do you have with Class 1-A?” asked Iida in an overly serious manner.

“They’re scouting out the enemy, tight ass. We’re the ones who made it out of the villain attack,” said Bakugo. “They probably want to check us out before the festival. No point in it though, they’re gonna’  lose.”

“That’s Kacchan in neutral,” said Izumi to Iida, almost apologizing for the rude girl. 

“Coming through, extras!” yelled Bakugo as she took her hair out of a bun, putting the hair tie around her wrist. She had allowed Ashido to play with her hair for most of class, which was a relatively frequent occurrence. The pink girl had fun doing it, and unlike most things, it didn’t bother Bakugo.

“You can’t go around calling people extras just because you don’t know them!” reprimanded Iida, as Izumi and Ochako had a similar reaction. Kirishima, who was the closest person to Bakugo in the class, looked a little irked, but it wasn’t for the reason most people would expect.

A boy with messy, lavender colored hair came to the forefront of the crowd. He looked very tired, with large bags under his eyes, a pale face, and a tall, almost gaunt frame. “I came to see what the famous Class 1-A was like, but you just seem spoiled and arrogant,” he said. “Is everyone in the Hero Course such a bitch? Seeing something like this is a little disappointing. You know, there are quite a few people who enrolled in General Studies or other courses because they didn't make it into the hero course. And the school’s left those of us an opportunity. Depending on the results of the sports festival, they'll consider our transfer into the hero course. And it seems that they may consider transferring people out too. This is my best chance. Scouting out the enemy? I, at least, came to say that even if you're in the hero course, if you get too carried away, I'll sweep your feet out from under you. I came with a declaration of war.”

Bakugo scowled. She could deal with the remark about her being arrogant. She knew she came across self centered at times, and wouldn’t deny that she had a streak of vanity that meant she spent an hour or more in front of a mirror most days. But being called spoiled left a bad taste in her mouth. “Spoiled? ” she thought. “You bastard, you don’t know anything about me.

Izumi felt increasingly anxious. She could deal with hero stuff easily. Battle and perilous events she could handle. Tense social situations on the other hand...well, they made her feel very on edge, and it seemed like there were people at U.A just as bold as Bakugo, in and out of Class 1-A. But a part of her sympathized with the purple haired boy. If it hadn’t been for All Might, Izumi wouldn’t have a Quirk. She’d probably be in General Studies. Plus, she thought it was admirable how the boy wanted to do well in the sports festival and earn a transfer.

“Hey!” called out another voice. It came from a boy with silver hair, sharp teeth, and an odd pattern around his eyes. “I'm from Class B next door! I heard you fought against villains, so I came to hear 'bout it! Don't get so full of yourself! If you bark too much, it'll be embarrassing for you durin' the real fight!” Bakugo said nothing and had a passive expression as the boy talked. “You ignorin' me?!” he shouted in response to Bakugo’s callous attitude.

As Bakugo stood there, stone faced, Kirishima said, “Wait a minute! She just asked everyone to move! Sure, she could’ve been nicer about it, but you are all blocking the door!”

“It doesn't matter, Kirishima,” said Bakugo, aloof. 

“Are you sure?” replied the redhead. 

“I don’t need you to defend me. I’m a big girl, I can handle myself.” She was side-eyeing Kirishima, who she normally liked having around. But right now, Bakugo felt annoyed with him. “He’s only saying this because I’m a woman,” she thought. “I hate it when guys do that. It’s not like I’m weak.” “I’m going to win,” said Bakugo to the boy with purple hair. “So I could care less about your opinion.” She took out her hearing aids as she walked off; she didn't want to listen to what her peers said. The devices were necessary because the nature of her Quirk resulted in some hearing loss, but sometimes being hard of hearing had perks; and the ease of ignoring people was one.

“Damn it! That's so simple and manly!” said Kirishima, clenching his fist. “How is she so freakin’ cool?”

“Victory, huh? There is truth in that,” said Tokoyami, looking pensive.

“Hang on, don't be tricked!” said Ojiro. “She just made a lot of pointless enemies!”

“You’re right, Ojiro,” said Izumi. “But there’s not much we can do about it now. We’re going to be targets no matter what.”

The crowd dispersed, and Ochako, Iida, and Kirishima began to walk with Izumi to the dorm building. About ten feet in front of her, Izumi saw some disheveled purple hair she recognized as belonging to the boy who had confronted Bakugo. She turned to her friends, said, “One sec, I’ll be right back!” and rushed over the boy, tapping him on the shoulder.

The boy turned around, and said, “Oh. You’re in Class 1-A, right? What do you want?”

Izumi blushed and said, “Um, w-well, I just wanted to apologize for the way Ka—” Izumi paused for a second, and remembered most people referred to childhood friend by last name. “Bakugo was acting. I think it’s really cool how you want to work hard and get into the Hero Course. I’d love to see you in our class!” She gave an awkward, but sincere smile.

“My name’s Izumi Midoriya by the way,” she said in the brief silence that followed.

The boy didn’t say anything for quite a bit, but at last opened his mouth and spoke. “I’m Hitoshi Shinso. Good luck tomorrow.”

“You too!” said Izumi.

The two departed, and Izumi went back to her friends.

“What was all that about?” said Kirishima.

“Well, just because we’re opponents doesn’t mean we can’t be nice to each other, right?”

“I guess so,” said Iida. “But you can’t afford to go easy on anyone.”

“I know,” said Izumi seriously.

=====================================================================

That night, Kaminari made pasta for the dorm, and most of them ate together in the living room. It was simple spaghetti and meatballs, and while the sauce was nothing incredible, the dish as a whole was pretty good. 

“Denki,” said Jiro. “Be honest, is pasta the only thing you know how to make? Ashido, Kirishima, Sero and I have a bet.”

“No!” said Kaminari, offended. “I can really cook! I learned how to do it so I can get dates!” He grinned proudly. 

“Shit!” she said. “Sero was right?”

“Damn right I was,” said Sero, pocketing the three bills his classmates had handed him. “I know my best friend.”

Kaminari held his hand to his chest and said “Awwww, bro, that’s so sweet.”

“I know dude,” said Sero.

“Gay,” said Bakugo as she entered the living room through the kitchen, biting into what at first glance appeared to be an apple.

“Yeah, fair,” said Kaminari. 

“But being gay is— ”

“Whatever you’re about to say, Mineta,” said Iida, an uncharacteristic edge in his voice. “Think it through first.” Everyone had been tolerating Mineta’s presence, because he surprisingly hadn’t said anything horrible yet (key word being yet ).

“Wrong,” he finished, ignoring Iida’s subtle warning.

Everyone erupted into rage directed at the gross boy. 

“What the fuck, dude?!” yelled Sero.

“It’s wrong,” whined Mineta. “Just like how it’s wrong that Jiro’s a trann— ”

Kaminari shocked Mineta with a bolt of electricity before he could finish the bigoted sentence.

“Get out,” said Kaminari, pointing to the exit of the living room, a deep scowl etched on his face. “Don’t come back, stay away from Kyoka, and keep your mouth shut from here on out.”

Nobody had actually seen Kaminari angry so far. He was usually a happy go lucky type. However, Kaminari and Jiro had been close ever since the USJ incident. Recently, they’d gotten on a first name basis, and if it weren’t for Sero and Yaoyorozu, they’d describe one another as their best friend. Kaminari wouldn’t stand for people spewing bigoted garbage about Jiro because she was trans. Even if they weren’t friends, he wouldn’t have allowed that.

A part of him was a little disappointed though. He’d wanted to get along with all of his classmates, including Mineta, but apparently that wasn’t going to happen.

Everyone glared at Mineta, disgusted with what he was going to say before getting interrupted. The miniscule boy stormed off, acting as if he weren’t in the wrong.

“I’m going to talk to Aizawa about this,” said Yaoyorozu, looking just as upset as Kaminari.

Jiro was sitting on the floor with tears welling up in her eyes. Surprisingly, Bakugo was the first to come over and comfort her. “Hey,” said Bakugo, placing a gentle touch on the other girl’s shoulder. “Ignore that little bitch boy. He doesn’t know what the fuck he’s saying.”

“Yeah,” said Kaminari. “Bakugo’s right. Never thought I’d hear myself say that, but it’s true. You’re valid as hell.”

“Hey!” said Bakugo. “I’m always right!”

Jiro smiled, and wiped the tears from her eyes. “Thanks,” she said. “I appreciate it. Also, Bakugo, are you eating...a whole red bell pepper?”

“Hell yeah,” said Bakugo. “Bell peppers are good as fuck.”

The girl’s strange choice of snack broke the tension, and Jiro began to laugh, which spread slowly.

“Wait, what’s so funny?” said Bakugo. “Bell peppers are the fucking best!”

Everyone quickly forgot about Mineta, and spent the rest of the night talking about nothing in particular, enjoying each other’s company. 

“I can’t cook anything at all,” said Yaoyorozu when the subject returned to cooking skills.

“What?!” said a few people, as their heads turned towards her.

“The chef always did it for me.”

“The chef ?” asked Ochako incredulously.

“Yes. My family’s personal chef.”

“Dude!” exclaimed Kirishima. “I knew you were rich, but that’s on another level.”

Everyone sighed in envy, and a moment later, Ochako said, “Be my sugar mommy?”

They all laughed.

In the middle of that, Todoroki came downstairs. He emerged from his room rarely, only to get food.

“Hi Todoroki!” said Ashido, bubbly as ever.

Todoroki looked at her, his face inscrutable like always. He said “Hello,” and walked through the living room straight to the kitchen. A few minutes later, he came back with zaru soba, walked through the living room again, and up the stairs to his room.

Ashido huffed, and said, “Is he ever going to get to know us?!”

“I don’t think so,” said Yaoyorozu. “He’s pretty reserved…”

“Yeah, man,” said Sero. “I don’t know if he even wants friends.”

“No,” said Bakugo, scowling and pouting her lips. “The stupid candy cane reject thinks he’s better than us. Bastard.”

“I don’t know, Kacchan,” said Izumi. “Maybe he’s depressed. I mean, I’ve never even seen him smile.”

“That’d track,” said Yaoyorozu. “He matches a bunch of the symptoms. But there’s really no way to be sure.”

“Whatever!” said Bakugo. “All I know is that I don’t like him!”

“Yeah, well, you don’t like anyone,” said Jiro, rolling her eyes.

“Shut up! I don’t like you because you all suck!”

“Hey, come on!” said Kirishima.

After remaining silent for around ten seconds, Bakugo said, “Fine, except Kirishima.”

“Whipped,” said Jiro.

The group laughed again as Bakugo got angry, and they spent an hour or so longer chatting about nothing important, until finally going to bed around 8:00 PM, so they’d be able to wake up early.

Izumi tossed and turned, and had the most bizzare dream of her life that night, but before she knew it, the dream was over, and her alarm was going off.

It was the day of the U.A Sports Festival.

=====================================================================

Images for this chapter:

Izumi hanging out in the living room on Pasta Night (I have no idea what the Japanese text says, sorry)-

Chapter Text

Chapter Nine

Izumi set her alarm extra early, so she could fit in a morning workout as a sort of warm up, shower, and eat a good breakfast. She wasn’t thrilled to be awake at 4:00AM though. She forced herself out of bed, got dressed to exercise, grabbed her water bottle and a banana from the kitchen, and headed to the gym.

Izumi stretched, and began to lift weights. She worked out as much of her body as possible, but was careful not to overdo it, because of the sports festival. Then she did about half an hour of mild cardio, and headed back to the dorm.

By the time Izumi returned it was around 5:30AM. The festival started at 8:00AM, which gave her a fair deal of time. She entered the house to the smell of breakfast cooking, and headed to the kitchen. Sato was making pancakes, eggs, and bacon. He turned around when she walked in, and said, “Oh! Midoriya! I’m making breakfast for everyone. Do you want anything?” 

Izumi yawned, and said, “I’ll probably just eat some eggs and bacon. I don’t think pancakes would be great for the festival.”

“Alright, but you’re missing out. My pancakes are really good,” said Sato.

“I’ll try them some other time,” replied Izumi. “I need to go shower, I just got back from the gym.”

Izumi took a relatively long shower. Usually hers were only ten minutes or so, but this one was roughly twice as long. She exited, dried off, and put on her clothes. 

Downstairs, there were a few people sitting at the dining room table, eating breakfast. “Hey Midoriya,” said Tokoyami. 

“Hey Tokoyami,” said Izumi. “I didn’t take you for a morning person.”

“I’m not usually, but today’s an exception.”

“Do you think we should wake the class up?” asked Yaoyorozu.

“Sure, I’ll get Bakugo,” said Ashido.

“Ah, wait, Ashido,” said Izumi, holding the pink girl back. “Waking her up before she wants to be awake is a bad idea. She’ll come down soon enough. Everyone else is probably okay to get up though.”

“I’ll come with,” said Yaoyorozu to Ashido.

Over the next half hour or so, people slowly trickled into the dining room, and when the table got full, they moved to the living room. Todoroki did not come down with the rest of the class.

“Well, I’m done,” said Izumi. “I’ll be back in a bit.”

Izumi returned to her room, and looked over her classmate's entries in her hero notebooks during the time she had left. She wanted to win, and this was everything she had on her competition. Studying up on it just before she needed the info might be helpful. She came back down just after everyone had finished eating. They’d all prepared as best as they could, and the class left together to head to the stadium where the U.A Sports Festival would be held.

 =====================================================================

Everyone was in the waiting room, and the festival was about to begin.

“Aw, I wanted to wear my hero costume,” whined Ashido.

Ojiro said, “It’s so all of the courses are on as level a playing field as possible”

“Yeah, it’s only fair,” said Iida. “Anyways, are you all ready? We will be entering soon!”

The class started to stand and line up, and just as she was about to get out of her chair, Izumi heard someone say, “Midoriya.” The voice belonged to Todoroki. 

“Todoroki? What is it?” Izumi asked.

“Looking at things objectively, I think I’m stronger than you,” he said.

“Um, y-yeah, I guess.”

“But All Might has his eye on you, doesn’t he? I’m not going to pry. But I will beat you,” 

“Whoa. The strongest in the class is making a declaration of war?” said Sero to Kaminari.

“Hey hey hey! Why are picking a fight all of a sudden?” said Kirishima. “Not now, we’re about to start!”

“We’re not here to play at being friends,” snapped Todoroki. “So what does it matter?”

“Listen, Todoroki,” said Izumi. “I don’t know what you’re thinking when you say you’re going to beat me. And I don’t know why you’re saying this to me specifically. But it goes without saying that you’re stronger than me. You’re more capable than most people, looking at it objectively. Pro heroes included.”

“Midoriya, you probably shouldn’t talk that way about yourself,” said Kirishima. Izumi ignored him.

“But everyone — the students from the other courses too — is aiming for the top with everything they’ve got!” she continued. “I want to be the greatest hero. I can’t afford to fall behind. I’ll be going for it with everything I’ve got too.”

“Yeah,” replied Todoroki.

About twenty seconds later, the sports festival began.

“Are you ready?” said Ochako, when the students began to gather class by class, as Present Mic announced them. He was a commentator for the festival, along with Aizawa.

“For the festival?” said Izumi. “Yeah.”

“No,” said Ochako. “For the student’s oath. You’re representing the first years.”

“Wait what?! Why me?!” replied Izumi.

“Didn’t you know? You got first in the entrance exams, that’s why.”

“Oh no no no no no no no,” muttered Izumi, panicking. 

She had no idea what she’d say, and then Midnight, the R-rated hero and the umpire for the first years said, “Representing the first year students, from class 1-A, Izumi Midoriya!”

Izumi was ushered onto the stage while sweating nervously. If you’d asked her how she’d done looking back on it, she’d say she wasn’t able to remember. She didn’t do too terribly, but was a little awkward. At least her (admittedly very short) speech had been friendly enough to reduce some of the animosity toward Class 1-A, which Bakugo had created the day prior.

Midnight explained that the first game would be an obstacle course race, in which the students would be able to do whatever they wanted, as long as they stayed on the course.

=====================================================================

The game began, and immediately there was a bottleneck. The exit of the stadium was too small for everyone to fit through at once. It was an obstacle in and of itself. As she tried to worm her way through the crowded tunnel, Izumi felt a cold wind at her back and saw Todoroki moving his right hand. She looked down, seeing a wave of ice slowly spreading on the ground, and realized he was trying to freeze the competition in place. A few other people, especially those from Class 1-A, who already knew about his Quirk, had noticed too. They all rushed forward, bowling a few people over, as Todoroki skated past the crowd. They were still running on slick ice, but had avoided being frozen to the ground.

Izumi leapt high into the air in order to avoid having to run on the ice, and said, “Don’t think you can get away from me that easily, Todoroki!”

To her right, she heard explosions and a familiar voice shouting, “Fucking half-and-half bastard! I won’t lose!” As Bakugo passed Izumi, she said “Get out of my goddamn way, Deku!”

Izumi maneuvered to the left as best as she could, but it was hard to navigate in midair. She didn’t know how All Might managed it, and made a mental note to ask. 

Izumi let out a loud exhale as she hit the ground. It had been a difficult landing to pull off, as she was trying to avoid Bakugo’s explosions. But the trail of ice had stopped, and with it, Todoroki had as well. 

Before him stood a small army of robots. It was the ones that had been in the entrance exam. Now however, there were a smaller amount of one to three point robots, and eight zero point robots. The task seemed insurmountable at first. Until Todoroki sent out another blast of ice. This time, it had been directed at a robot, and was a far bigger wave than the last. It was intense to witness, and Izumi reminded herself that even if he didn’t do so often, the boy could use his ice on a very large scale; like she had seen in the mock battles on the second day of school. Izumi saw him exhale a cold, misty breath with a determined but icy visage on his handsome face. She thought it was rather attractive, in a strange way.

“He took it out!” said a boy. “We can go between the legs!”

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” said Todoroki moving past the obstacle quickly. “I froze it while it was unstable.”

It was as Todoroki had said. The robot he’d defeated was unstable and just after he said that, it began to fall. Izumi saw two people get crushed, and she was horrified. Until a moment later, they burst through the robot’s hull and exclaimed in unison, “If it hadn’t been me, someone would’ve died!” The two had been Kirishima, who survived thanks to his hardening Quirk, and a boy named Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu, who had a nearly identical Quirk. “Our Quirks are pretty much the same?! I have a hard enough time standing out as it is!” cried Kirishima, clearly upset. The two kept moving and passed the obstacle though.

Izumi saw Bakugo up in the air again, screaming “Stop trying to block me, you stupid Canadian flag!” as she flew over the robots. 

Izumi wasn’t sure how she’d get by, but she didn’t have time to worry about that. One of the two pointer robots was upon her, and had targeted her. She didn’t want to bloody her knuckles by punching its metal hull, not this early in the competition. But she found a work around when she spotted a part of hull that had fallen off the zero pointer Todoroki had defeated. She quickly picked it up by the long, thick wire that was still attached and ducked to avoid the two pointer as it came for her head. And after that, she rotated, and swung the hull towards the robot, smashing it. She decided to keep the hull. She thought she could use it at another part of the race too.

Izumi heard a series of blasts behind her, and turned around to see the rest of the zero point robots falling. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Bakugo who had defeated them. Rather, it was Yaoyorozu, who had made a cannon with her Quirk and demolished them. The obstacle had been taken out for everyone, and Izumi used One For All in order to move quicker than her opponents in the race. She had to catch up to Todoroki and Bakugo who were no doubt further ahead than the rest of her competitors, and by a wide margin at that.

She kept running, and in no time at all had reached the second complication. It was a set of rock pillars with large gaps between them, and the only obvious way to get from one to the next was a series of tightropes attached to each one. Izumi thought about crawling on the rope, but then remembered that she might be able to simply jump from each one to the next using One For All. It would be difficult, but if she picked the ones with the shortest distance between them, the strategy would work out.

 She tied the piece of robotic hull around her waist using its wire, and began to jump. She was relieved to find that her plan wasn’t a disaster. It would be an effective solution. She saw other people trying out their own methods. Tsu was jumping and crawling along each tightrope using her frog Quirk to her advantage. Iida was using his Quirk to propel himself across the tightrope. Todoroki was almost to the end of the chasm, but was using ice to skate along, and Bakugo, who wasn’t far behind, was still using her explosions to fly, as had been her catch all approach thus far. There was one girl equipped with a myriad of technology, utilizing one piece as a sort of grappling hook. Izumi guessed she was from the Support Course.

By the time Izumi had reached the third and final barrier, most of the competitors had begun to catch up with the front runners. They were still a fair distance behind, but Todoroki’s initially large head start was starting to wane. This was especially important for this obstacle, which was a minefield. It actually put those in the front at a disadvantage. 

Nevertheless, Izumi saw that Todoroki and Bakugo, who were neck and neck at this point, were near the end of the minefield. She was still at the start. Due to the nature of the hurdle, she couldn’t simply run with One For All to catch up. By now almost everyone had reached the minefield and there was a crowd running behind Todoroki and Bakugo. Frequently, Izumi saw a pink cloud of smoke come from a mine that had been stepped on, and the student who stepped on it went flying. That made Izumi realize what she could do to catch up as quickly as possible. She could use the mines to her advantage rather than her detriment. She started digging them up, and making a large pile of them, as her peers that passed all looked at her, bewildered.

Finally, she’d gathered a heap of mines. She took the metal piece tied around her waist, positioned herself on it like it was a boogie board, and then jumped down onto the stack, activating a massive explosion. She heard Present Mic shout from the stadium, in his very loud voice, “There’s a huge explosion from the back?! What’s with that force?!”

Everyone turned and stopped moving through the obstacle, even Todoroki and Bakugo, to see what was going on. They were shocked to see Izumi sailing through the air on the metallic hull she’d picked up at the start of the race. “Was it an accident or was it on purpose?!” announced Present Mic. “Class 1-A’s Midoriya is in hot pursuit with that blast! Actually, she’s taken the lead! Wow! Eraser Head, your class is amazing, what are you teaching them?!”

“I didn’t do anything,” said Aizawa. “They got each other fired up all on their own.”

Izumi felt herself beginning to descend. But she didn’t want to, no, she couldn’t lose the success she’d achieved. She dropped the metal she was soaring on, which set off an explosion to block Bakugo and Todoroki, who had stopped targeting each other in lieu of her. Still up in the air, she used One For All one last time, and leapt forward, propelling herself far enough ahead of Todoroki and Bakugo so they hopefully wouldn’t catch up. In the distance, she heard Bakugo yelling, “Deku you bitch! Get the fuck back here!” She kept moving. She was running through the tunnel back into the stadium.

She emerged back into the stadium, where the obstacle course race had started, and heard Present Mic announce, “Right now, the first person back in the stadium is that woman...Izumi Midoriya! She’s made a huge splash!”

The crowd erupted into massive cheers, and Inko Midoriya, who was at home watching the festival on T.V cried tears of joy for her daughter.

Up in the stands, Izumi saw All Might nod and grin. He was proud of her. She beamed, stunned that she’d managed to make it past the first game at all, much less win first place. 

Todoroki, Bakugo, and Iida were beating themselves up over their loss around her, but she really wasn’t focused on that. She stared into space, still surprised that she’d made it here.

Everyone would say she was amazing or skilled. She knew that. Ochako came up to her, and said so. But really, she thought she’d just gotten lucky. The real test of her abilities would be in the next game.

=====================================================================

"The second game is a human cavalry battle!" said Midnight. "The first forty two people to return to the stadium from the race will be participating, and each person is worth a certain number of points based on how well they did. You'll form teams of two to four people, and try to steal headbands from riders in order to finish with the most points. Each team is worth the point total for all of its members! 42nd place is worth five points, 41st is ten, and so on. Except for the person in 1st place." She said the last bit with a sadistic smile. "1st place is worth ten million points!"

As soon as Midnight said this, Izumi felt the overwhelming pressure of her competition all watching her, ready to target her once the game began. It was as if she were surrounded by a pack of vicious wolves prepared to pounce.

Izumi couldn’t find anyone who wanted to team up with her. “Sorry…” said Ojiro as he walked away from her. It was as she’d thought, nobody wanted to defend the ten million points for the whole game. She felt a tap on her shoulder and leapt in nervous shock before turning around to see Ochako. 

“Deku!” said Ochako. “Want to team up?”

“You want to team up with me?” said Izumi, surprised and relieved that she wouldn’t be totally on her own. “But...are you okay with having to keep the ten million points?”

 “If we run away the whole time, we’ll win, right? Anyways, it’s better to team up with people you get along with, right?” said Ochako.

“Ochako…” said Izumi as tears started to well up in her eyes. “Thank you!”

Izumi began to think of who might compliment herself and Ochako with their abilities and teamwork. Within seconds she had an idea.  

“Iida!” said Izumi as she approached her tall, speedy friend. “Do you want to be on a team with us?” she asked, grinning.

Iida looked conflicted and disappointed. He sighed, and said “Midoriya...I’m flattered you’d ask, but I’m afraid I must refuse. Ever since the entrance exam, I’ve been losing to you. You are a wonderful friend, but that’s why...if I keep following you, I will never grow. Todoroki and Bakugo are not the only ones who see you as a rival.” He turned away from his shocked green haired friend, and walked over to Todoroki, who was standing beside Kaminari and Yaoyorozu. Iida rounded out the team, and the four became a steely quartet staring down Izumi.

Izumi frowned and reminded herself where she was. “That’s right,” she thought. “I’m at the top now. Everyone’s competition. I can’t simply play at being friends.

“As I thought, this is great,” said a voice from behind. Izumi turned around, startled. “You stand out!” said a girl with wide eyes and pink hair. She was beaming, and had a voice full of excitement. “Team up with me, person in first place!”

“Who are you?!” asked Izumi, overwhelmed and confused. 

“I am Mei Hatsume, from the Support Course! I don't know you, but let me use your position!” said the energetic girl.

At least she’s honest,” thought Izumi.

“If I team up with you, then I'll inevitably become part of the team everyone's watching most, right? If that happens, then my super cute babies will inevitably be seen by the big companies.

That means, in other words, that those big companies will see my babies!” continued the girl.

“Wait a minute,” said Ochako, trying to interject. “Babies and big companies? What do you —”

The girl ignored Ochako, and plowed on. “And, I think you guys will also benefit! The support course develops equipment that helps heroes deal with their Quirks. I have a ton of babies, so I'm sure you'll be able to find one that you like! Oh, has this one caught your eye? I made this based on a certain hero's backpack, adding my own unique twist!”

“Could you be talking about the Buster Hero, Air Jet? I like him, too!” said Izumi, finally able to get in a word.

The two girls bonded over interest in the hero, and Mei Hatsume became the third member of Izumi’s team.

Not being able to work with Iida was a blow,” thought Izumi. “But with Ochako and Hatsume, we just need one more team member to round things out.” Izumi looked all around the field. With the fifteen minutes everyone was given to strategize almost halfway over, nearly everyone had formed groups, and Izumi didn’t have a lot of choices. But she spotted someone who she thought would make up for her team’s deficiencies, and went up to him from behind, putting her palm on his shoulder. 

“Tokoyami,” said Izumi. “I need you on my team.” She’d decided an assertive attitude had the best shot of securing her final team member. Confidence had never been Izumi’s strong suit, but Tokoyami’s Dark Shadow Quirk was too valuable to miss out on. It featured omnidirectional defense, and some of the long range attack power her team was lacking. Plus, since Dark Shadow had a mind of its own, as well as its own personality, it was almost like having a fifth team member. With that in mind, the phrase ‘fake it till you make it’ was Izumi’s temporary motto. 

“I’m listening,” said Tokoyami, seemingly intrigued. Internally, Izumi breathed a sigh of relief. She had a chance.

At last, fifteen minutes had passed. Izumi had her team. Ochako, Hatsume, and Izumi would be ‘horses’ for the cavalry battle, and Tokoyami would be riding atop their shoulders. Around her, Izumi saw several interesting teams, but she knew what she really needed to pay attention to was her own. The plan they’d agreed upon was to run for the duration of the game playing keep away with their headband, securing the highest score for the cavalry battle. Izumi’s ten million points were to be guarded at all costs.

“Three! Two! One! Go!” called Midnight. Immediately, everybody was running towards Izumi and the rest of her team. They were primed to steal her headband and by doing so, win 1st place in the second game.

“The fate of the pursued…” said Tokoyami dramatically. “Midoriya! What is our choice?”

“Run away, of course!” exclaimed Izumi. 

Immediately, Izumi ran with her Quirk, faster than any of the other teams could keep up with. Ochako had made everyone besides herself weightless, so their weight was just Ochako plus equipment and clothing. Without her weight, All For One made Izumi speedier than even Iida. She didn’t have the stamina to continue running at her top speed though, and shortly started to slow down. She was still running quite fast, but the quicker teams, like Todoroki’s, were right on her tail. Tokoyami was attempting to guard each and every way with Dark Shadow, but it clearly took a great amount of effort.

“I’m getting tired,” said Izumi. “We should switch things up.”

“Me as well,” replied Tokoyami.

“Tokoyami, we should use Hatsume’s jetpack,” said Ochako.

“Of course!” exclaimed Hatsume. “Now all the big companies can see my baby in action!”

The team took to the air, and moved away from their opponents. Below her, Izumi saw that the competition had transformed into a free for all, and out of the eleven teams, only Todoroki’s team and Bakugo’s team were still chasing after Izumi’s points.

“Don’t you dare, you fuckers!” shouted Bakugo as she utilized her explosions to follow Izumi’s team into the air. 

While Bakugo approached Tokoyami rapidly, Izumi punched outward, and landed a blow straight on the explosive girl’s face with a weaker hit from One For All. Her nose erupted into a bloody fountain, and she barely stayed up in the air by grabbing onto Izumi’s ankle, as she screamed “Deku, you bitch!”

 Izumi kicked outward, injuring Bakugo’s face yet again, and said “I’m really really really sorry!” as the other girl fell out of air. Luckily, Sero caught Bakugo with his with Tape Quirk, and once she was back on his shoulders, Kirishima fretted over Bakugo, looking at the blood still pouring out of her nose. 

“Let’s land,” said Izumi. “We can’t stay in the air forever. People will come after us. We have to keep moving.”

With that, the team landed. Twenty minutes of the thirty minute cavalry battle had already passed, and Izumi was relieved that she’d only have to keep this up for ten more minutes. She looked over to see Bakugo’s bloodied face contorted with rage, as she confronted a boy from Class 1-B. She looked almost demonic and Izumi said in fear, “Keep away from Kacchan! I think she probably wants to kill me right now...”

“Looks like it,” said Ochako.

“Midoriya,” said a voice not belonging to one of Izumi’s teammates. In front of her team, Todoroki was atop his own allies, exhaling a frosty air, presumably from the use of his Quirk. “I told you I would beat you.”

“I did not think we would have a confrontation until later in the contest,” said Tokoyami. “He seems to think quite highly of you, Midoriya.”

“Todoroki,” said Izumi nervously. “I told you I’d be giving it my all. Hold on tight everyone,” she continued as she ran off at her maximum speed again, turning away from Todoroki.

“Yaoyorozu. Kaminari. Now,” said Todoroki with a sense of stiff urgency in his voice. There were only six or seven minutes left in the cavalry battle. 

Around her, Izumi saw almost every team coming for her again, as they had at the beginning of the battle. What she hadn’t noticed was the fact that Yaoyorozu had created an insulation sheet to protect her team from Kaminari’s lightning, and that Kaminari was about to shock each and every competing team.

Fortunately, Tokoyami had spotted this, and had Dark Shadow block the indiscriminate shock which Kaminari had sent out. However, nearly every other team was downed.

Izumi heard Iida’s feet hitting the ground and she could barely keep her distance. There wasn’t much difference in speed. She felt a rush of cool air, and saw that Todoroki was freezing other teams to the ground and swiping their headbands as he pursued Izumi’s team. 

“Tokoyami!” Izumi called out. “Use Hatsume’s jetpack again!”

Tokoyami tried, but the jetpack was acting up.

“My baby!” cried out Hatsume in dismay. “There’s room for improvement!”

“Damn it!” yelled Ochako. “Iida’s too fast! We can’t get away!” 

“I’ll restrain them!” said Tokoyami as he sent out Dark Shadow to attack Todoroki.

“Yaoyorozu!” said Todoroki, as the ponytailed girl used her Creation Quirk to form a sort of shield and guard against the offense. Behind himself, Todoroki began using his Quirk to form an ice wall which would keep everyone else away from Izumi’s team, and prevent the team from maneuvering past Todoroki’s team.

“Ugh!” said Izumi, annoyed. “Yaoyorozu’s Creation is too hard to deal with!”

“No,” said Tokoyami. “Kaminari’s Quirk is worse. With that power, if his shock from earlier had been sunlight...Dark Shadow would have been ripped apart.”

With a sinking feeling, Izumi remembered what Tokoyami had told her when she explained her plan for the team. Light was Dark Shadow’s weakness.

“As long as he keeps discharging lightning,” continued Tokoyami. “Attacking will be difficult.”

“It’s a dead end!” announced Present Mic, still commentating the games. 

Izumi and her team had reached the edge of bounds for the game, and now they were isolated behind Todoroki’s ice wall. To make matters worse, Iida’s Quirk was a mutant type, and as such, he’d had it since birth. Using it was second nature to him. Meanwhile, Izumi had only recently acquired One For All and couldn’t even use it to its full potential yet. Those factors already made it quite difficult to outrun Iida and the smaller area she was now confined to would simply make it harder.

“Present Mic’s right,” muttered Izumi under her breath. “Tokoyami, they don’t know about Dark Shadow’s weakness, right?” she asked as quietly as possible. She didn’t want Todoroki’s team hearing that Dark Shadow had a weakness at all. 

“I don’t believe so,” answered Tokoyami. “The only other person I’ve told about this is Koda, at USJ, and he is a man of very few words.”

“If they don’t know about it, we can use it to hold them back,” said Izumi, determined. “It’ll be alright. No matter what, we will hang on to the ten million points.”

Nearly five minutes later, Izumi and her team had managed to keep their points away from Todoroki. She and Iida were essentially running in circles, and Tokoyami was using Dark Shadow to keep the opposing team at bay.

With slightly less than a minute left, Iida elected to break out his finishing move. “Everyone,” he said. “There’s less than a minute left. You won’t be able to use me after this.”

“What do you mean?” asked Todoroki.

“Hang on tight. Make sure you get it, Todoroki. The ten million points.” That was all the explanation he gave, and he burst forward, accelerating at an unbelievable speed, as he exclaimed “Torque Over — Reciproburst!” with blue flames exploding out from the exhaust pipes that protruded from his calves.

Izumi tried to guard against the attack, but it was simply too fast, and she witnessed Todoroki rip the velcro headband off of Tokoyami’s forehead. “No!” she exclaimed in alarm. “We have to get that back!” 

“What?! So fast! So fast!” said Present Mic over the speaker. “Iida, if you could accelerate that fast, show us in the prelims!”

“What was that?” said Todoroki, still trying to process the G-force he’d felt when Iida moved so quickly.

“By forcing the torque and rotations to increase, I created an explosive power,” explained Iida. “With the recoil, my engine stalls after a while, though. It's a secret move I hadn't told anyone in class yet.” With plumes of black smoke emerging from his legs, he turned to face his competitors and said, “I told you I’d challenge you, didn’t I, Midoriya?”

Izumi glared at him. “Get back in there!” she said to her team.

“As long as they have Kaminari, we'll be at a disadvantage if we attack! Won't it be safer to try for other points right now?” said Tokoyami.

“No!” she refuted. “I don't know how the other points got split up! This is our only chance!”

“All right! We'll get it back, Deku!” said Ochako. “We definitely will!”

“Ochako…” said Izumi, looking at her friend and teammate. She remembered Ochako’s motivation for becoming a hero. She recalled how Hatsume was relying on her for a chance to show off her support gear. She recollected that Tokoyami had said he was leaving it to her when he decided to trust her plan and join the group. She knew she was carrying the feelings of the three who had trusted in her. But more than that, she was carrying All Might’s faith and her mother’s hopes for her. She knew in that moment that nothing was more important than getting the headband Todoroki had stolen back.

“With less than a minute left, Todoroki currently has six headbands!” announced Present Mic.  “He's wrested away the top spot from Midoriya, who was running away like crazy!” 

Izumi ran forward, moving faster than her limits would even allow, feeling some pain shooting through her legs. She knew it was reckless, but she felt that as long as nothing broke or got sprained, it would be worth it. Facing down her four classmates who were standing still and recovering from Iida’s burst of speed, Izumi’s expression hardened in determination. She thrust forward a forearm powered by One For All and swept it past Todoroki.

Todoroki’s left side ignited with fire as this occurred, and Izumi shouted, “I’m sorry Todoroki! But I won’t lose!” She grabbed two headbands, and a moment later shrieked “Agghhh!!” in pain. By overextending her limits by too much at the last second she had sprained her wrist, just as she had done to her ankle while training. But when she looked down, she was quite happy to see that she’d retrieved the ten million point headband she’d originally had, and a seventy point headband as well.

“With eleven seconds left, it seems like both Team Todoroki and Team Tokoyami are at their limits!” said Present Mic.

An explosion blasted over the perimeter of ice that Todoroki had created, and Bakugo was in mid air, coming toward Izumi, as she screamed, “Deku, you bitch! You’ll pay for what you did earlier!”

“TIME’S UP!” announced Present Mic. Bakugo stopped moving and fell to the ground in shock. “Let’s take a look at the top four teams right away!” continued Present Mic. “In 1st place, Team Tokoyami!” Izumi’s eyes were filled with tears out of pain, though a part of her dimly recognized that was the team she was on. She proudly realized that she’d won both the first and second games. 

“In 2nd place, Team Bakugo!” Off to the side, Bakugo was throwing a tantrum, as Kirishima patted her on the back, and the rest of the team shrugged and gladly accepted 2nd place.  

“In 3rd place, Team Todoroki!” Todoroki, Iida, and Yaoyorozu all looked very disappointed in themselves. Kaminari had temporarily short circuited his brain from overusing his Quirk, so he mostly looked dazed and blank faced.

“In 4th place, Team Asui!” The team was one Izumi hadn’t paid attention to, but it was a motley crew, comprised of Tsuyu, the purple haired boy who Izumi had briefly met (Hitoshi Shinso, if memory served her right), the boy with a Quirk like Kirishima’s, and a girl with vines for hair whose name Izumi didn’t know. They all smiled, happy to have made it this far.

“Now, we’ll take a one hour break for lunch and for our students to recover before we continue the afternoon’s festivities,” said Present Mic. “Hey Eraser Head. Wanna’ go get lunch?”

“I’m going to sleep,” said Eraser Head belligerently.

Down on the field, Bakugo scowled next to Kirishima. “Are you okay?” asked the redhead.

“What do you think?!” she replied petulantly. “We fucking lost!”

“No we didn’t. We’re going on to the next round, the one that matters most. Do good enough there, and you’ll win. Now come on, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and get up. It’s lunchtime.”

Blushing and pouting, she took his offered palm, and stood. She hated that he was right. When Kirishima was going to separate their hands, she made an impulse decision and said, “Don’t. You can keep holding it.”

Kirishima beamed, surprised. Bakugo blushed even more brightly, and the two walked off together.

“What are you smiling about, Hair-for-Brains?” 

“Nothing,” said Kirishima, still grinning.

=====================================================================

Images for this chapter:

Izumi back from her morning workout-

Izumi in the U.A gym outfit/sports festival outfit-

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Ten

Izumi sat in Recovery Girl’s temporary nurse’s office with an annoyed expression as the hero scolded her. She knew she’d overexerted herself, but her friends were waiting for her, and Eraser Head would probably lecture her after the festival anyways.

“Sorry Recovery Girl,” said Izumi, unable to keep the irritated tone out of her voice. 

“Don't be sorry, be more careful,” said Recovery Girl. “I don’t want to see you in here too often.”

Izumi went off with Ochako and Iida, and they met up with a few more of their classmates as well.

On the way out of the stadium, Todoroki intercepted them, and said “Midoriya. We need to talk.”

“Um, sure,” said Izumi, unsure of what this was about. “I’ll catch up with you guys,” she said to Ochako and Iida. “Go on ahead.”

Her friends shrugged, and continued.

Todoroki and Izumi stood face to face at the end of one of the tunnels that lead out of the stadium, leaning against opposite walls.

“So…” Izumi said, awkwardly. “What’s up?”

Todoroki stared at her, silent. His face was less welcoming than usual, as he’d swapped out his trademark resting bitch face for a frigid scowl. Izumi couldn’t help but think that he gave off a different sort of intimidation than Bakugo. It was a lot more restrained, yes, but somehow that only served to make it more intense and off putting.

“You know, the cafeteria will probably be really crowded if we don’t hurry, ” said Izumi

“I was overpowered,” said Todoroki, breaking his silence. “So much so that I broke my pledge.” He was staring at his left arm with a contemptuous expression. His face softened just barely as he turned his head back to Izumi’s face. “When you stole back the headband, nobody else felt it. At that last instant, I was the only one who was overpowered. Only me, who had experienced All Might’s power up close at the USJ.”

“What are you saying?” said Izumi.

“I’m saying I felt something similar coming from you. Midoriya, I have to ask...are you All Might's secret love child or something?”

Izumi struggled to hold back a burst of laughter, and then said, “All Might’s love child?! Oh God no, that’s not how it is! Well, I guess if I was All Might’s secret love child, that’s what I’d say, but I promise, it’s nothing like that. Why would you even think that in the first place though?”

“You said, ‘that's not how it is.’ But that must mean there’s some sort of connection between you two that you can't talk about, right?” replied Todoroki. “Endeavor's my old man.” He said this as if mentioning his heritage was a bitter confession. “I'm sure you know that he's been stuck as the number two hero for forever. If you have something from the number one hero, then I have even more reason to beat you.”

“Okay,” said Izumi. “You already told me you plan on beating me, you don’t need to —”

Todoroki interrupted her. “My father has a strong desire to rise in the world. As a hero, he won a name for himself with crushing force. Because of that, the living legend, All Might, is a great eyesore to him. Since he couldn't surpass All Might, he moved onto his next plan.”

Izumi blinked. This seemed like a strange segue to her. “What are you talking about, Todoroki?” she asked. “What are you trying to tell me?”

“You’ve heard of Quirk marriages, right?” queried Todoroki.

“Yeah,” said Izumi. “It became a big issue for the second and third generation after Quirks appeared.”

“Exactly,” said Todoroki. “Choosing a husband or wife only to have kids and strengthen your own Quirk. Forcing someone into marriage. An unethical, old fashioned way of thinking. My father is a man with wealth and influence and achievements. He won over my mom’s relatives and got a hold of her Quirk. I have three siblings, and none of them had the right balance of fire and ice for dear old dad. That’s why I even exist,” he spat. “I was born because of his selfish desires and bloated ego. He’s trying to make me into a hero that’ll surpass All Might. It’s so damn annoying. I won’t become the tool of scum like that.”

“Todoroki…” Izumi said quietly. She already wasn’t sure how to respond, but then his story got far worse. 

“In my memories...my mom is always crying...‘Your left side is unsightly,’ she said, as she poured boiling hot water over my face.” Todoroki had a palm pressed lightly up against his left eye, and a grimace on his face. Izumi hadn’t ever pried about the red mark, because it'd be rude, and nobody ever got the chance to talk to Todoroki anyways. Still, never had she thought its source would be something so horrible. Her eyes went wide, color drained from her cheeks, and she felt a shiver crawl up and down her spine.

The boy continued. “Midoriya, the reason I picked a fight with you was to show that bastard what I can do without his damned fire. No, I’m going to earn first place without it, and reject him completely. No matter what you are to All Might, I will rise above you with just my right side.” There was a moment of silence. “Sorry for wasting your time,” concluded Todoroki as he turned his back and exited the tunnel.

Unbeknownst to Izumi or Todoroki, Bakugo and Kirishima were right around the corner, and they had heard everything. They looked at each other, eyes just as wide as Izumi’s, and faces just as pale. Bakugo thought of her mother.

Izumi thought that if this were a comic, Todoroki would be the main character. That was the sort of tragic backstory he had. She suddenly understood why he isolated himself from the rest of the class. She would too if she had that sort of turmoil in her life. She didn’t know what to say, compared to that. She’d always had the support of others. She recalled All Might, her mom, Ochako, and Iida. All of the people who’d been kind to her and put their faith in her swirled in her memories. She wished Todoroki had that sort of thing in his life too, but she realized that it was because of those people that she still couldn’t lose. Just like Todoroki, she had her own reasons for winning.

“Todoroki! Wait!” she called out as the boy walked away. He stopped. “All Might’s the greatest hero,” she said. “He saves everyone with a fearless smile. And I want to be just like him. In order to do that, I have to be strong enough to become number one. I know my motivation probably seems trivial or stupid compared to yours. But I can’t lose either. I have to live up to the hopes of those who have supported me! That’s why...the declaration of war you made earlier, well, I’m returning it. I will beat you!”

Todoroki nodded, and walked away. Izumi spent all of lunch with his story looping in her head. She felt awful for him; nobody deserved parents that hurt them, or a home life that miserable. She only wished she could do something to help.

=====================================================================

“All right everybody!” exclaimed Present Mic after lunch. “Now that lunchtime is over, it’s time to unveil the last game! But before that, those of you who didn’t get to the finals, there’s good news! This is a sports festival! So we have recreational games that everyone can participate in, too! Let’s have fun! After that, everyone from that four teams that made it to the final game will duke it out tournament style, one-on-one!”

A one-on-one tournament, huh?” thought Izumi. “I guess it’s time to face Todoroki head on...Kacchan too…” A nervous feeling hit the pit of her stomach. Izumi felt like she could handle most of her competition. But those two were on a different level.

Present Mic’s voice brought Izumi back to focus. “Now, let’s draw lots to see the bracket! Once the bracket is decided, we'll have the recreational games and then start! The sixteen finalists can choose whether or not they want to participate in the recreation. I'm sure some of you want to rest and save your strength.”

The bracket popped up quite quickly.

Izumi saw that for the first round she’d be facing Hitoshi Shinso. Unfortunately, she had no idea of what Quirk the boy had, and going in blind wasn’t something Izumi was happy about. “At least most of my competitors are from Class 1-A,” she thought. She also saw that unless her and Todoroki both made it to the semi-finals they wouldn’t face one another. Now she felt even more determined to win.

Shinso came up to Izumi and said, “So, you’re who I’m facing in the first round. Scary.”

Just as Izumi was about to reply, Ojiro came up from behind her, and covered her mouth with his tail. “Don’t say anything,” he said. “I’ll explain in a bit.”

Shinso shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

“What was all that about?” asked Izumi.

“It’s that boy’s Quirk. Some sort of mind control. My team was doing alright, but as soon as she said something and I responded...my brain went blank. I didn’t come to until Bakugo bumped into me, and by then, my team was losing. I don’t know how his Quirk works, but I think talking to him is a bad idea. Keep quiet in your match.”

“Huh,” said Izumi. “That’s a really strong Quirk. But thanks for the heads up.”

Izumi didn’t participate in the recreational games. She took the time to strategize and rest up. She knew that based simply on appearance and what she could tell, she was way more athletic than Shinso. “As long as I keep things quick and physical, I should be fine,” she thought.

The recreational games were over before Izumi knew it, and it was time for her match.

=====================================================================

“The finals that you've all been waiting for are finally starting!” announced Present Mic. “Match number one — she’s the pretty girl who’s been crushing it, but what's with that nervous look? From the hero course, Izumi Midoriya! Versus — sorry, he hasn't done anything to stand out yet! From general studies, Hitoshi Shinso! The rules are simple. Force your opponent out of bounds, or immobilize them! You can also win by making your opponent say, ‘I give up!’ Bring on the injuries! Because we've got our very own Recovery Girl waiting on standby! Put your morals and ethics aside for a moment! But of course, anything life-threatening is trash! It's not allowed! Heroes should only use their fists to catch villains!”

“I’ll stop things if they go too far,” said Midnight from the umpire’s podium.

Now that she knew the rules, Izumi planned on pushing Shinso out of bounds. It was the simplest strategy for her, and she’d like to avoid injuring anybody too badly.  

“Ready! Start!” exclaimed Midnight. Izumi immediately rushed at Shinso.

Shinso was surprisingly nimble, and as she reached the boy, Izumi had more trouble landing a hit than she thought she would. Shinso began to talk, in an attempt to provoke Izumi into response. Izumi was keeping her mouth shut.

“You’re lucky, aren’t you?” said Shinso. “You have a flashy Quirk. Not like me.”

Izumi was struggling to stay quiet and still hadn’t landed a blow, though she’d come close. She didn’t want to use One For All right off the bat, but if Shinso kept evading her, Izumi knew she’d have to.

“But then, maybe that’s all you have going for you,” taunted Shinso. “Good looks and your Quirk. Maybe you got here because you’re a lucky pretty girl.”

Izumi saw red. She could deal with most insults, and she agreed that her new Quirk was a gift, but the implication that she didn’t work hard to get here infuriated her. “What did you say?!” she yelled.

Shinso smiled and said quietly “I win. Now turn around and walk out of bounds.”

Izumi didn’t want to do what Shinso told her to, but couldn’t stop herself. She turned around and started walking.

Up in the stands, Ojiro put his head in his palms. He couldn’t believe Izumi had fallen for it even after he warned her.

“Huh?!” shouted Present Mic. “Why’s Midoriya being so obedient?! Who could have imagined this?! Will the bottom usurp the top?”

“This is why the entrance exam is flawed,” said Aizawa.

“Huh? What do you mean by that?” said Present Mic.

“What I mean is that it gives a big advantage to those with physical, and especially offensive Quirks,” answered Aizawa. “Here's some basic data on the two. Since it's individual matches from here on out, I had someone compile it for me. Shinso failed the practical exam for the Hero Course. Since he also applied for General Studies, he probably knew that would happen. His Quirk is very powerful, but the practical exam consisted of fighting faux villains. Shinso wouldn't have been able to rack up any points with his Quirk. But against another person, he can do a lot more.”

No! ” thought Izumi, as she kept moving against her will. “Damn it! Stop moving! Stop! I fell for it, even after Ojiro warned me! I’m going to lose because I couldn’t keep my stupid mouth shut! I can’t lose! Everyone’s counting on me!”  Izumi remembered what Ojiro had said about bumping into Bakugo. It had snapped him out of it. “If only I could get some sort of shock to my system,” she thought. “Yeah, right. Basically no chance of that.

“You probably don’t understand,” said Shinso to Izumi. “But even with a Quirk like mine, I have a dream. Now lose for me.”

Just as she was about to walk out of bounds, Izumi saw a group of figures with glowing eyes watching her from the tunnel she was walking towards. For just one moment, her mind was clear. Izumi took advantage of it. One For All flooded her system, and she sent its power straight to her fingertips, unable to truly control it with the way her mind was. She flicked her fingers, and a wave of air pressure went outwards, straight toward Shinso, who was blown close to the edge of the concrete platform the two were on. Izumi’s fingers broke from the sheer power, and she was brought back to attention, free from Shinso’s Quirk.

“Whoa!” said Present Mic. Izumi had stopped moving, and he said “What’s this?! Midoriya has stopped moving!”

Izumi turned around, breathing heavily, trying to ignore the pain in her fingertips. “Why?” said Shinso, a scowl on his face. “What did you do? You shouldn’t be able to move freely!”

Izumi kept her mouth shut. She wouldn’t make her mistake from earlier a second time. “What was that?” she thought. “It looked like...I saw people. And…my body used One For All but it was like someone else moved my fingers for me. Could it be the previous users of One For All? Is this normal? Should I ask All Might about it? Yeah, that’s what I’ll do…”

Shinso’s expression turned into a tight lipped, disingenuous smile, and he went back to trying to provoke Izumi into talking. “Say something.” His voice was tense. “You can produce that much power with just your fingers?” he asked. “Wow, I’m jealous. Thanks to my Quirk, I’ve been behind from the start. Someone who’s blessed like you can’t understand, can you?”

He’s wrong,” thought Izumi. “I do understand. I used to feel the same way. But it’s true, I’ve been blessed.”

Izumi moved up towards Shinso, who was still trying to goad her into talking, put her hands on the purple haired boy’s shoulders, and started to push, moving her opponent closer and closer to being out of bounds.

“Someone like you was born with the ideal Quirk!” shouted Shinso. “Someone like you can achieve your goal!”

Izumi’s private monologue continued to swim through her head as she fought to keep her mouth closed. 

“Say something!” yelled Shinso in a voice far more passionate and high pitched than his standard baritone. “Damn it!” he thought as he struggled to resist his far shorter competitor’s surprisingly superior strength. “She’s going to push me out of bounds!

You’re right, Shinso,” thought Izumi. “I’m blessed. I’ve been blessed by others. That’s why I have to win!” As she said this to herself, she grabbed Shinso and did an over the shoulder throw, slamming her opponent onto the ground out of bounds and finishing the match. It was over.

Midnight cracked her whip and said “Shinso is out of bounds! Midoriya advances to round two!”

Shinso was stunned. He’d worked so hard just to get this far in the U.A Sports Festival, hoping that if she did well, he’d get to transfer to the Hero Course. This was a major blow. He suddenly recalled a conversation he’d had in middle school. 

“Shinso, your Quirk is brainwashing?” said one of Shinso’s peers. “That’s amazing! I’ve never heard of that before! I’m so jealous!”

“I can’t believe you can just control anyone!” piped up another one of his classmates. “You could do as much bad stuff as you want, and nobody would know it was you.”

“Everybody says that,” replied Shinso.

He came back to the present moment.

Of course, if someone else had my Quirk, the first thing I’d think is that they'd use it for evil, too.” thought Shinso, lying just out of bounds, where Izumi had slammed him on his back. “‘Criminal’... ‘It's good for being a villain, huh?’ I'm used to people insinuating that sort of thing about me. That’s just how the world is. But...you know...” He shook his head, listening to the cheers for Izumi all around him. He stood up, groaning in pain, and turned his back to walk away. But before he got all that far, Izumi called his name.

“Shinso, wait!” said Izumi. Shinso turned his head. “Why do you want to be a hero?” asked the green haired girl.

Shinso’s expression became one of sad desire, and he said “We can’t help the things we long for,” his voice rueful. 

Izumi felt a jolt of pity zap through her, and thought “I used to feel the same way before I inherited One For All. But...no matter what I say right now…” Her train of thought was interrupted when she heard an audience member say something.

“Shinso!” cried the voice. “You were really cool! Good job! I was really surprised!” The voice belonged to another U.A student, presumably one from General Studies.

“You're the star of General Studies!” said another person. 

“You put up a great fight against the girl who placed first in the obstacle course and the cavalry battle!” yet another voice said.

The audience began to weigh in, saying words of encouragement to and about the boy.

“That Quirk would work quite well against villains,” said a man who resembled a crocodile. Izumi recognized him as a pro hero. “I wish I had it.”

Another pro hero said “U.A’s not very smart if he’s in General Studies.”

“Well, they've got a ton of people applying, so some things just can't be helped,” reminded someone sitting next to that hero.

“It was the difference in combat experience, huh?” 

“Yeah, it ends up making a big difference.”

“What a waste.”

“You hear that, Shinso?” said one of the boy’s peers, speaking again. “You're amazing!”

Shinso smiled, and turned around to face Izumi again. “Depending on the results, they'll consider our transfer into the hero course,” he said. “Remember that. Even if it didn't work this time, I definitely won't give up. I'll get into the hero course, get certified, and I'll definitely become a better hero than you guys!”

“Yeah!” said Izumi, nodding her head and encouraging her opponent. Her body went slack like it had when Shinso had brainwashed her earlier. “He got me!” thought Izumi through the fog. “Even though the match is over! What’s he doing?” A second later, Shinso released her and she was lucid again.

“People are usually more wary when they talk to me,” said Shinso, still smiling. “Unless you’re more careful, someone’ll trip you up in no time. At least don’t lose in an unseemly way,” he finished, as he walked off.

Izumi was quickly healed by Recovery Girl, who scolded her yet again, and had a brief conversation with All Might about her vision during the match. He corroborated her speculation that it was likely something to do with the previous users of One For All but ultimately told her “Don’t worry about it! More importantly, don’t you need to see who you’ll be fighting next?”

Izumi went to the stands where most of her class was; she sat down by Ochako, Tsu, and Iida to watch the matches before her next one.

=====================================================================

The next match was between Tsu and Tokoyami. Izumi knew it’d be interesting, because Tsu’s Quirk was quite versatile, but Tokoyami’s was too, and it had few weaknesses. 

Ultimately, Tsu won by throwing Tokoyami out of bounds with her extendable tongue. The boy had a great Quirk; but ultimately Tsu was a more well rounded fighter, and was able to beat him, even without exploiting Dark Shadow’s weakness to light. Still, winning by taking him out of the ring rather than immobilizing him or knocking him was the easiest option. 

Now that Izumi knew her next matchup, she began to strategize. Still, she was nervous. Izumi hadn’t seen any weaknesses that Tsu had, and that didn’t seem likely to change soon.

=====================================================================

The third match was between Kirishima and Tetsutetsu. “Oh come on!” Kirishima had said when he saw the bracket. “That’s too redundant!”

“We’re gonna’ be here for a while,” said Ashido, smirking. 

She was right. For half an hour, the two boys punched one another over and over, continuing to use their Quirks in a futile attempt to beat each other.

Eventually, the duo collapsed on the ground.

Midnight ruled that the tie would be settled after the other matches of the first round, via arm wrestling.

=====================================================================

Todoroki left the waiting room thinking of how Izumi had won, determined to face off against her and win. He was almost at the opening he’d enter his first match through, when his father intercepted him.

Endeavors massive frame stood over Todoroki. Todoroki glared at his father and said “You’re in my way.”

Endeavor didn’t move. “You’re acting disgracefully, Shoto,” he said. “you used the power in your left side, you would've had an overwhelming victory in the obstacle course and the cavalry battle. Stop this childish rebellion already.” Todoroki continued to glare. “You have a duty to surpass All Might,” he said. “Do you understand? You’re not like your siblings. You are my masterpiece!”

“Is that all you can say, you bastard?” spat Todoroki, his voice full of vitriol. “I will win and advance with just Mom’s power. I will never use your power when I fight.”

“Even if that works for now, you’ll soon reach your limits,” growled Endeavor. Todoroki pushed past Endeavor, and stormed out onto the platform where he’d be facing his opponent. 

“Thanks for waiting! Next up is these guys!” announced Present Mic. “He’s good! He’s good! But what’s with that plainess he just can’t get rid of? From the Hero Course, Hanta Sero!”

Down in the ring, Sero muttered “That’s mean,” under his breath.

“Versus — Taking second and then third in the prelims! You're strong, kid! He wasn't recommended for admission for nothing! Also from the Hero Course, Shoto Todoroki! And now, for the fourth match of the finals!”

Todoroki was glowering.

“Ready! Start!” said Midnight.

Immediately, Sero tried to beat Todoroki with a surprise attack, wrapping him in tape, and attempting to fling him out of bounds. It wasn’t nearly enough to win. In no more than a second, Todoroki blasted out a veritable glacier. Izumi had never seen so much ice in her life. It froze the the bindings around Todoroki, which fell apart the moment he moved. Plus, it enveloped Sero, and covered almost half the stadium, casting a gigantic shadow over the audience. Standing on the umpire’s podium, Midnight was halfway frozen.

Everyone’s jaw dropped. Up in his commentators booth, Present Mic murmured, “Don’t you think that’s a little overboard?” through his microphone.

 Todoroki had entered the match with an enraged expression and the look on his face was still unpleasant to say the least, but it was slowly softening to something remorseful.

“S-Sero, can you m-move?” said Midnight through chattering teeth. 

“O-Of course not,” said Sero. “Ow…”

“Sero is immobilized,” said Midnight. “Todoroki advances to the second round!”

“D-Don’t worry about it…” said an audience member quietly. 

Picking up on this, another audience member shouted “Don’t worry about it!”

In no time at all, the audience had taken up a chant.

Down in the ring, Todoroki walked up to Sero, and with his left hand, began slowly melting the ice he’d created himself. “Sorry, I went overboard,” he said. “I was angry.”

For some reason, to Izumi, he looked very sad.

=====================================================================

Eventually, the ice was gone and the stage was no longer wet.

“Everybody, sorry for the long wait! The stage that was frozen in the fourth match is finally dry, so on to the next match!” said Present Mic. 

=====================================================================

Iida’s match was just embarrassing to watch.

He faced up against Mei Hatsume, and she basically played around with him like a doll for fifteen minutes, showing off her support items, or as she called them, her “babies”.

At last, she’d showed off each and every item. She stepped out of bounds, and Midnight said “Hatsume is out of bounds! Iida advances to the next round!”

Iida had technically been the victor, but didn’t feel like he was. He walked away, red as a tomato.

=====================================================================

“The Acidic Queen of Class 1-A! From the Hero Course, Mina Ashido! Versus — she’s one creative girl! And she was admitted through recommendation, so you know her skills are certified! From the Hero Course, Momo Yaoyorozu!”

“Sorry, girl!” said Ashido to Yaoyorozu. “I’ve got to win!”

“Likewise,” said Yaoyorozu, seriously.

The melee began with Ashido sliding forward using her Quirk, as Yaoyorozu barely hopped out of the way. She clearly didn’t respond to the pressure of battle well. On the spot thinking wasn't her forte. She was better at pre-planned strategy. 

Ashido kept advancing toward Yaoyorozu while sending out the occasional splash of acid, that Yaoyorozu attempted her best to block using her Creation Quirk.

Unfortunately for Yaoyorozu, Ashido’s Quirk was well suited against hers, dissolving each and every thing she made.

“Yaoyorozu is out of bounds!” declared Midnight, much to the surprise of the ponytailed girl. “Ashido wins!”

“Yes!” exclaimed Ashido jumping up and down.

I can’t believe I lost,” thought Yaoyorozu, hanging her head.

She walked away, a large blow having been dealt to her self confidence.

=====================================================================

The seventh match was actually quite amusing, in Izumi’s opinion.

As the two competitors walked onto the stage, Present Mic announced them as he’d done for everyone else. “The assassin from Class B! Pretty things have thorns, you know! From the Hero Course, Ibara Shiozaki! Versus — Sparking Killing Boy! From the Hero Course, Denki Kaminari!” he said. “Now, let’s have super flashy battle —” 

“Um...please excuse the interruption,” said Shiozaki. “But what do you mean by ‘assassin’? I have only come to find victory, not to take my opponent's life.”

“I-I'm sorry!” said Present Mic.

“In the first place, I wished to enter U.A. High School not for wicked reasons, but for the salvation of others!” continued the girl.

“I said, I'm sorry! My bad, okay?!” apologized Present Mic, yet again. 

“I thank you for your understanding,” said the girl.

Kaminari thought that Shiozaki was very cute, and resolved to ask her out on a date. Granted, Kaminari would ask out a lot of people on dates. He was working up the courage to ask out his best friend, Hanta Sero, and Jiro had recently shot him down on account of her being a lesbian. Kaminari was pansexual, and didn’t care much when it came to gender. But Shiozaki was objectively pretty. He didn’t want to miss this chance.

“Ready! Start!” said Midnight.

“When this is over, wanna’ grab a bite to eat?” Kaminari asked Shiozaki. 

Shiozaki blinked in surprise.

“I’ll comfort you if you have me. ‘Cause this’ll be over in about a second! Indiscriminate Shock: 1.3 Million Volts!” Kaminari unleashed the full strength of his Quirk, sending out a powerful wave of electricity. It didn’t go well. His Quirk was totally shut out by Shiozaki, and he found himself enveloped by thorny vines, high up in the air.

“Shiozaki advances to the second round!” called out Midnight.

Working security, and watching on a screen from outside the stadium, Kamui Woods decided to offer Shiozaki an internship after the U.A Sports Festival.

“Man, talk about a one sided match,” said Sero.

His classmates turned to face him, judgemental expressions abound. “This is coming from you? After that match with Todoroki?” said Jiro, deadpan.

Everyone laughed, even Sero.

“Still,” said Kirishima jokingly. “Would have been nice of her to say yes or no to the date he asked her on.”

They all laughed again.

==================================================================

Ochako was nervous. It was finally time for her match, and somehow she had the worst luck in the world. She’d be facing Bakugo, who everyone agreed was probably the most powerful girl in Class 1-A, though Izumi and Yaoyorozu could give her a run for her money.

Why me?” thought Ochako. “What am I going to do? My Quirk can’t beat hers. She’s just too strong…

Iida’s voice broke Ochako out of her reverie. “Are you alright, Uraraka? You don’t look yourself at all. Your brow is all wrinkled!”

“My brow?” asked Ochako. “Oh, must be nerves…”

“I understand,” said Iida. “Bakugo is a threatening woman.”

“Yeah,” said Ochako. “I’m pretty scared.” She spotted Izumi walking towards her, and called out “Deku! Didn’t you want to watch everyone’s matches?”

“Yeah,” said Izumi. “But you and Kacchan are the only match left in the first round. They’re just repairing the stage right now, the last two matches made it a bit of a mess. By the way, I think there’s a plan you could use against Kacchan — it’s not perfect, but it could work.”

“Thanks,” said Ochako. “But I can't accept your help. I have to win this match by myself. When we teamed up in the cavalry battle, I thought I was doing it because we get along. But looking back on it, I think I was relying on you. That's why...I can’t use your plan. I've got to rely on myself now. We’re all trying hard and fighting to reach our goals, right? So even though you’re my friend, you’re also my rival. So, let’s meet in the finals!”

Izumi smiled kindly. “Yeah!” she said.

=====================================================================

Ochako’s match was brutal to watch. 

Izumi sat up in the stands, looking at the scene down below, as Bakugo volleyed explosion after explosion toward Ochako, as the chestnut haired girl rushed at her over and over.

The large majority of the audience felt the match was unfair, though most of them kept quiet about it.

“Dude,” said Kaminari. “I know Bakugo is powerful, but this is insane.”

“How is this even fair?” said Sero. “This is like my match with Todoroki.”

“Not even close,” scoffed Jiro. “Uraraka’s at least putting up a fight.”

“Yeah Sero,” said Ashido. “Your match was funny. It was over in like, three seconds!”

Sero sighed, and hung his head.

“What was the plan you had for Uraraka?” said Iida to Izumi quietly.

“It really wasn’t much,” said Izumi, shrugging. “Kacchan’s strong...in close combat, it’s really hard to get a hit on her. The more she moves, the more she sweats, which only makes her Quirk more effective. Plus, she’s really good at moving around. She can even use her explosions to move in air.” Izumi sighed. “Ochako doesn’t really have many options. But Kacchan's got a really bad temper. Loses her head easy, you know? If Ochako can use that to her advantage, it might help. Or if she can use her Quirk to make Kacchan float, she has a chance. She got a good start, but if she hesitates at all, she’ll lose.”

Iida stared down at the match. “Bakugo doesn’t go easy, does she?”

“Mercy’s never been her style,” replied Izumi.

While Iida and Izumi talked, the battle raged on. 

“Thanks,” said Ochako down on stage. “It's been a good match.”

Suddenly, to Bakugo’s shock, an artificial meteor shower rained down upon her. “I’m gonna’ win!” yelled Ochako.

knew she’d have some sort of plan,” thought Bakugo. “She’s friends with Deku after all. But...something like this. It’s crazy.” Bakugo held one forearm with her other hand as she fired off a massive blast with her Quirk. She hadn’t wanted to go overboard. Harming herself with her Quirk was easier than most people realized. But it couldn’t be prevented. Not if she wanted to win. “Fuck!” she thought as pain shot through her arm. “I didn’t think she’d push me this far.”

“B-Bakugo delivers a satisfying explosion!” announced Present Mic. “She blasts boldly through Uraraka's secret plan! What a woman!”

Ochako stood back up from where she’d been knocked down. “I did as much as I could!” she said miserably. “And it was for nothing!”

Bakugo felt differently from Ochako on that matter. “Did nothing my ass. Damn my arm hurts,” she thought. “She’s really giving me a fight.” 

Ochako was breathing heavily. She felt dizzy and warm.

“All right, Uraraka! Let’s get serious!” said Bakugo. She went to rush at the other girl, and Ochako ran towards her as well. But just as Bakugo neared her opponent, she stopped.

Ochako had collapsed. “My body won’t do what I want,” thought Ochako.

“She passed her limit a long time ago…” said Izumi sadly. 

Ochako was crawling forwards towards Bakugo. She remembered how much her parents encouraged her. How much they loved her. “I can’t lose,” she said to herself, even as her body ached. “I’ll become a hero…” she muttered. She passed out.

Midnight rushed into the ring, and held up a hand to Bakugo, though the blonde had already stopped moving. “Ochako is out of commission!” she said. “Bakugo advances to the next round!”

=====================================================================

Ochako sat in the waiting room after her match, staring at the surface of the table she was sitting at. Izumi came to check up on her and she put on a brave face for her friend.

“Ochako,” said Izumi. “It’s okay not to be okay. I know how frustrated you must be…”

“I…” Ochako was going to say she was fine. But before she knew it, tears were cascading down her cheeks. Izumi took a seat, and Ochako sobbed into her friends’ shoulder until Izumi had to leave for her next match. 

=====================================================================

Izumi wasn’t quite sure how her next bout was going to go. She’d forgotten to be cautious in her first match, and she’d almost lost because of it. She did know Tsu’s Quirk pretty well, but she also knew that Tsu had very few weaknesses, if any. In the time she’d known Tsu, the frog girl’s only shortcoming may have been a lack of sheer power, and she made up for that dexterity and technique. Izumi had one idea, and she only hoped it would work.

“Now for the first match of the second round!” announced Present Mic. “The amphibian of U.A, from the Hero Course, Tsuyu Asui! And the woman who hasn’t taken less than first place yet, also from the Hero Course, Izumi Midoriya!” 

Izumi blushed at the way Present Mic described her. In her opinion, he was embellishing her performance as more impressive than it really was.

Tsu came for Izumi by leaping all over the place. Izumi was having trouble keeping track of the other girl with how frequently she moved around. Using One For All as her opponent came at her, Izumi dodged out of the way, and brought up her leg for a high kick, which almost landed, by narrowly missed. She was getting frustrated by Tsu’s maneuverability. 

Luckily, Izumi had the chance to use the only strategy she’d envisioned. Tsu shot out her long tongue in an attempt to capture her opponent, but Izumi took the girl’s strength and turned it into a weakness. She grasped Tsu’s slimy tongue as she thought, “Oh God this is so wet and gross,” and used it to throw her rival out of bounds, exclaiming “Sorry Tsu!” She guessed being pulled around by the tongue was an unpleasant, if not painful sensation.

“Asui is out of bounds!” exclaimed Midnight. “Midoriya advances to the semi-finals!” 

The crowd roared in approval.

=====================================================================

Kirishima had won the arm wrestling match to determine if himself or Tetsutetsu would be moving on to the second round of the third game, which meant he’d be facing off against Todoroki. 

The match was quick. It seemed as though Kirishima hadn’t remembered that Todoroki could do more than just use his Quirk, and that Todoroki could use it at short distances as well as long distances. Within no time at all, Todoroki had pushed him out of bounds, and Midnight announced he’d be moving to the next round.

Izumi gulped in anticipation. She knew her match against Todoroki would require her to fight with everything she had.

=====================================================================

Iida tried to keep his match with Ashido fast by using his Reciproburst move, but Ashido blocked it pretty easily. Her acid meant it was really difficult to get close to her.

“Come on Iida!” she said with a smile on her face. “Come and get me!” she taunted.

Iida scowled, and said “I won’t be defeated!”

The match boiled down to a fistfight with the ocassional Quirk usage from Ashido, until another two minutes in, when Iida’s engines finally cooled down.

Nearly thirty minutes later, the two students were absolutely exhausted. They’d given one another quite the runaround. But Iida was running out of even and stable footing to run on, as Ashido had used several bursts of acid to dissolve the cement below their feet. Usually she kept her acid at a pH level that was painful but not lethal to humans, but since she was using it on the concrete, she could make her acid however strong she liked. 

At last, they were at the edge of the ring, sweating and breathing hard. Ashido hopped and gave Iida a strong kick. He didn’t move much, but fell just out of bounds.

Ashido would be moving on to the next round, though it had been close.

=====================================================================

Bakugo walked onto the stage for her next match determined to take a more overwhelming victory than she had in her last match. “Ready to lose, plant girl?” she said as she came face to face to Shiozaki.

Out of every match in the second round, this one went fastest. Bakugo’s explosions ignited Shiozaki’s vines at a rapid rate, and the girl simply couldn’t keep up. 

“Well, that was easy,” said Bakugo, grinning as one of her explosions blew Shiozaki out of bounds.

With that, the third game’s semifinalists were determined.

Izumi stood from her seat, sweating bullets. “Well,” she thought. “I guess it’s time to fight Todoroki.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Eleven

“Good luck, Deku!” said Ochako as Izumi got up to head to her next match.

“Thanks, Ochako!” said Izumi. “I’ll need it,” she thought grimly. She walked through the hallway, psyching herself up as she tried to battle self-defeating thought patterns. Just as Izumi was about to round a corner, a large figure rounded the corner. Izumi backed up, and found herself staring at the intimidating face and form of Endeavor. 

“Oh, it’s you,” said Endeavor. “I saw your first two matches. You’ve got a good brain for strategy. And that first match...you’ve got a great Quirk. To create that much wind pressure with a flick of your fingers. In terms of sheer power, it’s comparable to All Might. ”

“What-what are you trying to say?” said Izumi. “Look, I’ve got to go.” As she walked away, Izumi thought “Does Endeavor know about One For All? No, the way he talked, it doesn’t seem like he does...but if there’s one person to keep that hidden from, it’d be him.”

“It is my Shoto’s duty to surpass All Might. His match with you will be very instructive as a test bed. Please don’t disgrace yourself in it.”

Izumi recalled what Todoroki had said about his father. “Midoriya, the reason I picked a fight with you was to show that bastard what I can do without his damned fire. No, I’m going to earn first place without it, and reject him completely.” She turned around and glared at Endeavor. “The way he talks about Todoroki…” she thought. “It’s so possessive. Does he even see that his son has his own life?” Izumi took a breath and said “I am not All Might.”

“That’s obvious —” started Endeavor.

“Pretty obvious, right?” interrupted Izumi. “Well, Todoroki isn’t you, either.” She turned around again, to walk to her match. “I really don’t like Endeavor,” she thought.

On the other side of the arena, walking towards his entrance, Todoroki was thinking about his tense pre-lunch conversation with Izumi. “I will win,” he thought. “Without the power of my bastard old man. 

=====================================================================

Izumi and Todoroki emerged and walked onto the stage, determined expressions on both of their faces.

“Now for the first match of the semi-finals!” said Present Mic. “It’s a clash for the ages! On one side, we have the son of the number two pro hero, Endeavor!” Todoroki’s jaw clenched as this was said. “And on the other side, a girl who came out of nowhere to win both the first and second games! These two have both delivered great performances so far! A battle between two amazing rivals! It’s Midoriya vs. Todoroki!”

Midnight cracked her whip, and exclaimed “Match start!”

=====================================================================

There was a tense moment where Izumi and Todoroki did not move.

Up in the stands, Ashido sat behind Bakugo and played with the blonde’s hair, as the pink girl had done during several classes. Kirishima was sitting to the right of Bakugo.

“It’s you and me next, right girlie?” said Ashido.

“Yeah,” said Bakugo. “I’m gonna’ crush you.”

“In your dreams,” taunted Ashido back.

“How’s the match down there going though?” said Sero.

“Nothing yet,” said Kirishima. “But man, I don’t know how Midoriya’s gonna’ handle those attacks from Todoroki. You know, him and Bakugo have those super powerful attacks that cover a lot of ground. It’s like, ‘Bam!’. ”

“And there’s not any time lag,” said Sero jealously.

“Don’t underestimate how hard it is,” said Bakugo “Him and me...we’re not just shooting those attacks off at random. If you overuse your muscles, the fibers tear. Or if you keep running, you’ll eventually run out of breath, right?” she said.

“Yeah,” said Kirishima. “That’s just how the body works. I mean, unless you’ve got a Quirk that stops it.”

“Well that’s just it, Hair-for-Brains. Quirks are physical abilities too. They have limits.”

“If you think about it that way, it makes sense,” said Kirishima. “So against Todoroki’s insta kill moves...Midoriya’s wants an endurance match.”

“I’m not sure she’s gonna’ get that,” replied Bakugo. “I don’t think knockoff Elsa wants to make the match easy.”

=====================================================================

After a few more seconds, Todoroki finally made the first move. A wave of ice crystals spread across the ground, gradually increasing in size the further it went. 

Izumi leapt out of the way with One For All as the jet of ice reached the end of the stage. It wasn’t like Todoroki’s glacier from his match with Sero, but it wasn’t small by any means.

I have to get in close and tire him out,” thought Izumi. “He’s got long distance moves, and unless I want to break my bones...well, I don’t.” She ran toward Todoroki as quickly as possible, while the boy continued to volley ice at her.

So she wants close combat?” thought Todoroki. “Well then, I can certainly give her that.”

Todoroki created a ramp of ice, and started to run toward Izumi, but Izumi realized that she’d been surrounded by ice. With the limited time she had, she began to punch and kick at it. The ice slowly cracked and broke apart, and Izumi hadn’t been expecting to the spires to be anything but freezing, but was shocked at just how frigid they were. The temperature was bordering on sub-zero, and it was the coldest thing Izumi had ever felt. To make matters worse, the spires were sharp, and surprisingly hard. Izumi’s hands were wet from a mixture of blood, melted ice, and frost.

Izumi didn’t have time to worry about her hands though. Todoroki was up close, and before she had the chance to react, Izumi’s foot was slowly being trapped in ice. Sharp crystals stuck up from each part of the spire, besides the one that had captured her limb.

Damn it!” thought Izumi. “He’s got me! And he’s so close!” Bracing herself for the inevitable pain, Izumi used her forearm to smash apart the ice keeping her stuck. The spires that stuck out pierced her skin, and Izumi found herself with large chunks of ice embedded in her. Bordering right on her limit, Izumi rushed at her opponent, and gave him the strongest kick she could with One For All. Todoroki went flying several feet, and made a small wall of ice to prepare himself for the impact. He slammed into the frozen construct, hard.

The audience broke into murmurs about how she’d managed to get such a good hit in, and Present Mic exclaimed “Now that's the kind of action I like to see!”

Izumi felt no small measure of pain. The sharp bits of ice that she’d smashed were larger than they’d looked, and one had ended up going straight through her hand. Several others were embedded in her forearm. She braced herself with a hiss, and quickly began to yank the ice out, creating several bleeding holes. “Ooooooh!” the audience recoiled in disgust. “Wow folks,” said Present Mic. “That’s gotta’ hurt!” 

Izumi’s arm was covered in blood. Her classmates watched from their spot in the stands, worried.

“That was a solid hit,” said Todoroki. “But it wasn’t good enough. Are you trying to tell me to keep away?”

It’s not just his Quirk…” thought Izumi. “His judgement, his technique, his mobility...he’s got it all.

The audience broke into more murmurs, this time praising Todoroki’s power.

“What’s wrong?” said Todoroki. “You’re that injured, just from defending?”

Izumi gritted her teeth in pain. She looked Todoroki up and down, frustrated that he was still standing strong. But then she noticed that he wasn’t totally unscathed. His arm was shaking.

He’s trembling?” she thought, surprised. She realized that his arm had frost starting to blanket it. “Is that how it is? He’s trembling, and still holding back? Damn it…

“Sorry,” said Todoroki, exhaling frosty breath. “But thanks, Midoriya. Look at him. The old man is furious. Just because I'm not using his damn Quirk.”

Yet again, Izumi thought of what Todoroki had said in the tunnel. “Midoriya, the reason I picked a fight with you was to show that bastard what I can do without his damned fire. No, I’m going to earn first place without it, and reject him completely.” She suddenly realized that Todoroki hadn’t made eye contact with her for the entire match. Even in the moments where the boy was most focused, he had an eye on Endeavor. 

“It can’t be easy to move with your arm like that,” said Todoroki. “Let’s finish this.”

Another wave of ice came hurtling at Izumi. She kicked it dead on, using One For All as powerfully as she could without breaking a bone or spraining anything. The ice fragmented, and broke apart, starting on her end, and slowly spreading to Todoroki’s. The crumbled ice fell around her, and she could see her competitor clearly again. 

“You think it’s that easy to beat me?” asked Izumi, rhetorically. “Look ahead and remember who you’re fighting! You’re shivering, Todoroki,” Izumi said. “Quirks are physical abilities too. There’s a limit to how much cold your body can take, isn’t there? And isn’t that something you could solve with the heat from your left side? Everyone here is fighting with all they’ve got. To win and get closer to their dream...to become number one. You want to win just half your strength? You can’t beat me with that! Come at with all you’ve got!”

Todoroki glared. “Midoriya...what the hell are you planning? Did my father pay you off or something? Now I’m angry!” He ran forward, but to Izumi’s surprise, his movements were slow. At his current speed, she could have outpaced him without One For All. Todoroki leapt into the air, and the instant he did, Izumi delivered a left handed fist powered by her Quirk straight to his stomach. He went flying, as he had done when she kicked him earlier.

Todoroki groaned, but got back up nonetheless. He was secretly stunned that a girl with such a small frame could kick and punch so much harder than his giant of a father ever had. But he figured Quirks could do that sort of thing. He sent out another wave of ice, but this one was far less speedy than his others.

His ice is slowing down,” thought Izumi. “I can take advantage of this.” Unfortunately, Todoroki closed the distance between them, and that made up for the slower ice. Not to mention, Izumi's right arm was still bleeding, and the pain was starting to catch up to her.

Todoroki retreated to the other side of the stage once more, and sent another blast of ice toward Izumi, and though she should have thought about which limb to use against it, Izumi used her right arm by reflex. She felt a couple more cold shards pierce her flesh, painfully, and as the ice broke, yanked them out.

“Midoriya uses her injured arm yet again!” announced Present Mic, shocked. “How she does it, I don’t know!” 

“Why are you going this far?” asked Todoroki. “You’re obviously hurt.” 

Todoroki was right. Izumi was losing a fair deal of blood, and starting to feel dizzy from it; but if she wanted to, she could probably win. This war of attrition was nearing its end.

“Because I want to live up to everyone’s expectations,” said Izumi. “I want to be able to smile and save them. To be a cool hero...That’s who I want to be!”

She delivered a headbutt to Todoroki’s gut. “Who she wants to be…” thought Todoroki. For a moment, he thought he could remember his mother’s voice, but the recollection fluttered away as quickly as it had arrived.

“And because Goddamnit! You’re pissing me the hell off! I’ve had to claw and scratch and do everything I could just to get here! Everyone’s giving it their all, and you’re over there half assing it! There’s no way I can really comprehend everything you’ve gone through,” she said, more gently now. “I can’t know everything about your resolve, or why you're even here. Your life is so different from mine, and I know it's been hard. But right here, right now, you should stop screwing around! If you want to reject your father, that’s fine! There's a ton of ways to do that! But you have no right to be number one if your aren’t giving it everything you’ve got!” 

===================================================================== 

In an instant, Todoroki was in the past, reliving his childhood.

Get up!” said Endeavor harshly. “If a punch like that takes you down, you can forget about beating All Might, or being a hero at all!” The small figure of his youngest son was on all fours below him, vomiting. 

Please!” said Todoroki’s mother. “He’s only five!”

He’s already five! Get out of my way!” replied Endeavor, with a slap to her face.

Back in the present, Todoroki was standing up as he said “Shut up…” His voice was agitated. “She doesn’t understand,” he thought. 

Another memory. He was crying into his mother’s shoulder as she held him and softly stroked his dual colored hair.

I don’t want to, Mom,” he sobbed. “PleaseI don’t want to be like him! I don’t want to be someone who bullies and hurts people!”

But honey, you do still want to be a hero, don’t you?” said his mom. “It’s okay for you to be one. Just remember, stay true to yourself. You can be the kind of hero you want to be.”

“I’m going to win this!” said Izumi, as another punch collided with Todoroki. “But it won't matter if you keep holding back!”

More from his past. Todoroki recalled his father dragging him away from his brothers and sisters, whom he had wanted to play with. 

And then, the worst moment of all. The conversation he’d overheard his mother having. The screech of the tea kettle and boiling water. The wet sensation that somehow burned. The agony, the tears, the wound around his eye that would one day become a scar.

Where’s Mom?” he had asked his father one day in the training room. 

Oh, that,” Endeavor replied. “I put her in a hospital because she hurt my masterpiece.”

That was your fault. You’re the reason she hurt me,” said Todoroki through gritted teeth. On that day, his hatred for his father crystalized, which would fuel a grudge that steadily grew over the next decade.

Todoroki skidded across the concrete. The short girl that was battling him stood with her bleeding arm clenched in a fist.

“I will reject...my father’s power,” said Todoroki, as he got to his knees. “I refuse to use my left side.”

IT’S YOURS! ” screamed Izumi emphatically. “YOUR QUIRK, NOT HIS!

As his opponent's words hit him, Todoroki blinked, stunned. One last bit of memory came flooding back to him. The words were like a puzzle piece, or a missing key. With them, everything clicked and came together. 

Yes, that’s right,” said All Might on the TV screen. Todoroki and his mom had often done this when he was a child. They’d watch recorded clips of All Might while Endeavor was out of the house. “Children often inherit Quirks from their parents, or develop similar powersets,” continued All Might. “But the most important thing to remember is that a Quirk is what you make of it; regardless of your history. You decide how you use it. That’s what I mean when I say ‘I am here.’ Only you can decide to become a hero. No one else. Take this to heart kids: you got it!” The number one hero finished with his usual grin.

Honey, you do still want to be a hero, don’t you? Just remember, stay true to yourself.” 

I didn’t realize how much I’d forgotten,” Todoroki thought, as he heard the rest of what his mom had said echoing in his mind.

You are not a prisoner of your lineage. It’s okay to use your power; to become who you want to be.

Fire blossomed across Todoroki’s left side.

“Th-this is!” stammered Present Mic.

Ochako felt the heat of Todoroki’s flames all the way from her spot in the audience. “The fire’s here…” she said.

Iida, who was sitting next to Ochako, thought of what he’d heard Todoroki say. “In battle...I will never use my left.

“Incredible,” murmured Iida. “He used it!”

“Even though you want to win,” said Todoroki. “Damn it. To help your enemy...now who’s screwing around? I...I want to be a hero, too!” 

Passion, which Izumi had never heard from Todoroki, somehow found its way into his voice.

Up in the stands, Todoroki could hear his father spewing some trash about how he was finally “embracing his destiny” and that it was the “dawn of a new era”.

That’s not itold man,” thought Todoroki. “I just don’t care about what you think right now. For the first time in my life...I feel like I can break away from you.” Tears of relief that nobody but Izumi could see began to roll down his face. The fire evaporated them nearly as fast as they could fall.

Izumi was beaming. 

“Why are you smiling?” said Todoroki. “You just made things harder on yourself. I mean, in this situation, and with those injuries...I don’t think you can win. You must be crazy. Don’t blame me for whatever happens next.”

Izumi leapt towards Todoroki as he unleashed a storm of fire and a hail of ice. “Alright,” she thought. “Screw avoiding risk! I’ve got to bring my full power to the table!

“Midoriya,” said Todoroki. “Thank you.”

With 100% of One For All flowing through her body, Izumi collided with Todoroki's attack. An unwieldy and powerful combination of wind pressure, heat, and cold erupted in the arena. Izumi hit the ground at Todoroki’s feet, and passed out.

While everyone was still losing their minds, and as the whirlwind slowly dispersed, Todoroki stared at the petite, badly wounded girl beneath him. “Unbelievable,” he thought with a tiny, almost unnoticeable smile curving the corners of his mouth. “She probably could have won, but instead, she comes in and breaks down all my walls. Might as well do the ‘gentlemanly’ thing.” He picked her up, and moved her so she was just slightly out of bounds.

“Midoriya is out of bounds!” exclaimed Midnight. “Todoroki moves on to the finals!”

===================================================================== 

Todoroki entered the tunnel to head back to the waiting room, only to find his father blocking the way. Endeavor was smiling, but it was a disingenuous grin, triumphant and self serving, even. “‘You’re in my way’,” he said. “You're not going to say that?”

Todoroki looked at Endeavor, but for once, he wasn't glaring. Todoroki stayed silent.

“You need to control your left side. You're just letting it all out, and it's dangerous. But you have finally abandoned your childish tantrum and become a perfect upgrade of me. After you graduate, come work for me. I'll lead you down the path of the mighty.” Endeavor offered his hand as he said this.

“I haven’t abandoned anything,” said Todoroki, spurning his father’s extended palm. “It's not something can be reversed so easily. It's just that when I was in that ring with Midoriya—” He stared down at his left hand for a second. “For that one moment, I forgot about you. If that’s right or wrong, if that's good or bad, I don’t know. I need to think about it.” He pushed past his father.

===================================================================== 

 Todoroki went up the stairs and stopped just before entering the waiting room. His eyes darted over to the door on his right, where Recovery Girl's temporary office was. “I should probably go thank her,” he thought. He headed over towards the office where he knew Midoriya would be, but her saw her friends burst into the room just before he reached it. “I shouldn't bother her while she's with friends. I'll talk to her after the festival,” he decided.

Chapter Text

Chapter Twelve

“Toshinori,” said Recovery Girl. “To push and light a fire under a child who would hurt herself so badly for what she yearns for...I don’t like it. I know she’s your successor, but you’re going too far. You and her. You have to teach her to be more careful,” she concluded.

When Izumi woke up, she was lying down on a medical bed in Recovery Girl’s temporary nurse’s office and looking up at fluorescent lighting. 

“Ah, Miss Midoriya,” said Recovery Girl, who was at Izumi’s left side. “You’re awake.”

“The match,” said Izumi. “Who? Did I? I mean, was it me or Todoroki?”

A deep sigh came from All Might, who was standing at Izumi’s right side.“I’m sorry, Young Midoriya…” he said. “...But Todoroki won.”

Izumi was about to say something, but Recovery Girl interrupted her. “More importantly,” she said, “Your injuries.”

Izumi grimaced. “How bad are they?” she asked, looking down at bandage around her right arm.

“Well, you badly injured your right arm, but I was able to sew your wounds shut and use my Quirk to heal your broken bones. Luckily, though there were several of them, the breaks were not too severe. With adequate rest and another short visit to me, you should be back to normal in a couple days. ”

Izumi sighed in relief, but Recovery Girl wasn’t done. “However,” said the nurse, with a cautionary note in her voice. “I am not a miracle worker. There will be some scarring. What’s more, I need you to be more careful from here on out. Engaging in foolish, dangerous behavior won’t help anyone.”

Izumi went quiet for a second. “Yes ma’am,” she said, shame worming its way into her words. She looked at her right hand, which unlike the rest of her arm, wasn’t covered by wrapping. In the center of it was a large, circular scar, presumably due to the ice that had pierced through it. That was the unfortunate thing about Recovery Girl’s Quirk. It only accelerated healing; so any after effects of an injury would remain. Izumi sighed, and said “Thank you, Recovery Girl.”

The door burst open. Ochako, Kirishima, and Tsu came rushing in to Recovery Girl’s office. “Midoriya!” cried out Tsu and Kirishima, as Ochako said “Deku!” at the same time.

All Might jumped in shock, and some blood gushed out of his mouth. 

“Oh!” said Ochako when she saw him, unfamiliar with his true form. “Nice to meet you.”

“Yeah…” said All Might with an awkward smile and a wave of his hand.

“Everyone…” said Izumi. “What about the next match?”

“They’re repairing the stage right now,” said Kirishima. “You and Todoroki pretty much destroyed it.”

“Oh,” said Izumi. 

“We were worried about you,” said Ochako.

“Yeah,” said Tsu. “That looked really dangerous.”

“I'm okay,” assured Izumi.

“Alright everyone,”  said Recovery Girl. “I know you’re worried, but I have to talk to Midoriya for just a bit longer.” She ushered everyone out of the room, and handed some clean bandages to Izumi. “Use these if you need to swap out the old ones,” she said. 

A few minutes later, Izumi was standing in the hall talking to her mentor. “Sorry…” she said. “I couldn’t do what you needed me to.” She sighed. “All Might needed me to tell the world ‘I am here!’ and I couldn’t do it. But I’m supposed to be his successor?” she thought. “It was because of what I said to Todoroki. If I hadn’t done that...I could’ve won.”

“You were trying to get him to realize something,” said All Might.

“It’s just,” said Izumi hesitantly. “He looked so sad. I meddled when I didn’t need to...but he- he reminded me of myself. Back before you and One For All, I was so frustrated; I was hurting and no one could see. The look on his face...it was the same. I had to do something.”

“Midoriya,” said All Might gently. “It is true that you didn’t win the match. But, you know...meddling when you don’t need to, helping others. That is the true essence of being a hero.”

Tears started to stream down Izumi’s cheeks. “Thank you,” she said. “But...I have a question.”

“Yes, my girl?” said All Might.

“You originally came to U.A to find a successor, right?”

“Yes,” answered All Might.

“I gave it my all. I put everything I had into the U.A Sports Festival. And I still lost. I could physically feel everyone’s emotions. Nobody wanted to lose. I mean, if you’re looking for a successor...maybe I’m not the right choice. So I…”

“Think I should choose someone else?” said All Might, voicing the unspoken words.

“Yes,” said Izumi, in what was barely more than a whisper.

“It’s true that this place is filled with wonderful potential heroes. One For All is the crystallization of power. It makes everything about someone stronger. For those with Quirks — well, for example, if Young Todoroki were to inherit it, the super strength on top of his Half-Cold, Half-Hot Quirk would probably make him an unbeatable superhero.”

“So then—” started Izumi. All Might stopped her with his own words.

“But you know, I was Quirkless too.”

Izumi’s eyes went wide. She couldn’t believe it. The number one hero had been Quirkless. Just like her. “Wait really?!” she said incredulously.

“It wasn’t as rare as it is for your generation,” he continued. “But it was very uncommon. My master had a Quirk. But she still trusted me with One For All, and raised me to become a hero.”

“You never told me—”

“Because you never asked!” laughed All Might.

“All Might...you were Quirkless too?”

“Yeah,” said the hero, with a smile and a thumbs up. “At first, I saw the old me in you. But you have gone above and beyond my expectations time and time and time again. And I am so, so proud of you. There’s something only you can draw out. I believe that. So please, don’t ever think you are unworthy of this power. My master once told me this: something you receive because you are lucky and something you are given because you’ve worked hard and are recognized for it are fundamentally different. Take that to heart. One For All is a power that you earned because of your own effort.” 

=====================================================================

Izumi walked to the stands to watch the match between Bakugo and Ashido with a smile and a skip in her step.

“Deku!” said Ochako when Izumi came back to her seat. “How are you feeling?”

“Tired,” answered Izumi. “But alright. Recovery Girl said I should be totally fine in a couple of days.”

“That’s good,” said Tsu, sitting next to Ochako.

Izumi looked around and realized that Iida wasn’t sitting where he’d been before her match with Todoroki. As a matter of fact, she didn’t see him at all. “Where’s Iida?” she asked Ochako.

“Oh...um, he had to go. He wanted me to tell you that you did a great job though!”

“That’s nice,” said Izumi, smiling. 

“Yeah,” said Ochako. “Actually, he wanted me to tell you something else too.” Her voice was suddenly much more serious. “Could you come with me?”

“Sure,” said Izumi. The two girls got up and moved the hallway. “So what’s going on?” asked Izumi. “Is everything alright?”

Ochako sighed. “Not really,” she said. “It’s Iida’s brother, Ingenium. A villain got him. He’s in the hospital.”

“Oh God,” said Izumi, shocked. “How bad is it?”

“They don’t know,” said Ochako. “Iida left to go see his brother in person. But he wanted us to know. He would have told you himself, but you were still asleep after your match with Todoroki.”

“Thanks for letting me know,” said Izumi. “Ingenium,” she thought as she walked back to her seat. “Please be alright. For Iida’s sake, at least.

=====================================================================

When Izumi and Ochako returned from their conversation, the match between Ashido and Bakugo had begun, and the stage was already a mess. “So much for repairing it,” thought Izumi.

Bakugo and Ashido had two very different Quirks, but both of the girls would be the first to admit their abilities were destructive. Rubble and melted terrain was scattered all over the space where they stood, and both girls were sweating and panting.

Regardless of their powers, Ashido was clearly worse for wear than Bakugo. The blonde’s edge when it came to technique was certainly counting for something.

Bakugo rushed at Ashido. The two girls grappled, and eventually, Bakugo got behind Ashido, and held the other girl’s arms in a tight grip.

Bakugo picked up the pink girl, threw her in the air, and sent her hurtling with an explosion. 

Ashido shrieked as she flew through the air, and hit the ground hard. 

Ashido’s right foot was just outside out bounds.

“Ashido is out of bounds!” said Midnight. “Bakugo advances to the finals!”

=====================================================================

“So, Bakugo vs. Todoroki, huh?” said Kaminari. “Who do you think is gonna’ win?”

“That depends,” said Tokoyami, who was sitting in front of the electric boy. “If Todoroki uses his fire, I believe he will win.”

“Bakugo’s crazy determined,” said Kirishima. “My bet’s on her.”

“Same here,” said Ochako. “How about you, Deku?”

“Huh?” said Izumi. She wasn’t paying much attention to the conversation. She was more focused on worrying about Iida and his brother. “What’s the question?”

“Who do you think will win?” reiterated Kaminari from a few rows back.

“I don’t know,” she said, shrugging. “Todoroki’s Quirk is tough to handle. But Kacchan has a good counter for it.” 

“Yeah,” agreed Sero. “Explosions are great for beating ice. Not like tape,” he said, a little dejected.

“What about his fire though?” chimed in Sato.

“I don’t know if he’ll use it or not,” said Izumi. She recalled how much effort it had taken to get him to do so during their match. “But if he wants to beat her, I think he needs to.”

Koda, shy as always, nodded his head in agreement. He was sitting a few seats down from Izumi. 

Mineta, who was sitting in the back row, tried to voice his opinion. But a number of voices rang out in unison, saying “Shut up, Mineta!” After last night, they weren’t interested in his point of view on any topic.

=====================================================================

Since the stage had been damaged yet again, repairs needed to be done before the final match. It wouldn’t require as much time as it had after Izumi and Todoroki’s clash, but it would take at least fifteen minutes.

Bakugo sat in the waiting room with determination blazing in her eyes. “He’d better not go easy on me,” she thought. “The bastard had better use his fire like with fucking Deku. I’ll show him he can’t put a fucking scratch on me.

In the other waiting room, Todoroki was facing a dilemma. “Should I use my fire again?” he thought. His mind was split. There was so much going into this choice. His past and his present. What he wanted for his future. “I wonder...Up until my fight with Midoriya, I didn’t even think about thinking about itShe came in so recklessly to destroy all the problems I’d been carrying. Was she always like this? So helpful?”

He didn’t have much time to worry about that though. The match was about to begin.

=====================================================================

“Match start!” said Midnight.

As soon as the battle began, Todoroki fired off a wide glacier of ice to trap Bakugo. 

“Todoroki gets a blow in right away!” announced Present Mic. “Is he trying to avoid close combat with Bakugo?”

The audience started to hear a series of strange, rhythmic noises shortly after that. Bakugo burst through a hole she blasted in the ice.

“Did she dig her way out through the ice like a mole with her explosions?!” said Sero.

“That’s so weird!” said Kaminari with a bewildered look.

Bakugo was furious. “Damn bastard's still using his ice,” she thought, rushing at Todoroki. She got on his left side and threw him, but he used his ice to avoid going out of bounds, sliding along it. Bakugo avoided the ice coming towards her and jumped at him.

He almost grabbed her arm, but Bakugo used her shorter stature to duck. 

Todoroki raised his left arm, and was about to use his fire, but before he did, he heard a voice shout “Use your left!” from the stands. “Use it, Shoto!” He recognized the voice as his father’s, and thought of all the things that man had done to make his life a living hell. He put down his left arm, and moved his right arm up, sending out a short blast of ice. 

“What the fuck are you doing?!” yelled Bakugo. “Am I not strong enough to make you use it?!”

That’s not it,” thought Todoroki. “I’m the one who’s not strong enough. I’m the one who can’t set these feelings aside.”

“I want an indisputable first place!” screamed the blonde. “I can’t do that if you keep fucking underestimating me! There’s no point if I’m not better than Deku! If you don’t intend on winning, then don’t stand in my way! Your circumstances don’t matter to me! Fight me on a level playing field, you dumbass!” She came at him with explosions sparking in her palms.

I’m sorry, Bakugo,” thought Todoroki. “Ever since my match with Midoriya, I’m unsure of what I should I should do...of whether or not I was correct.”

“Todoroki!” yelled Izumi, as loudly as she could. “Don’t lose! Do your best!”

Midoriya!” thought Todoroki.

“Damn nerdy Deku,” muttered Bakugo, unable to keep a small grin off her face. She blasted herself up into the air, and started to spin and dive for Todoroki, as ice melted off the boy’s right side, and fire came to life on his left. “That’s it!” said Bakugo. “That’s right! If you’re gonna’ stand in front of me, then you should just concentrate on winning!”

Todoroki raised his arm, ready to come at his opponent with his fire. But he couldn't. The whistle of the tea kettle and the image of his mother’s eyes filled his head, unbidden. He put out his flames while Bakugo set off a massive explosion and shouted “Howitzer Impact!” Up in the stands, Izumi saw Todoroki's arm drop, and she sighed.

=====================================================================

The award ceremony was uncomfortable to say the least. Izumi and Ashido stood on the 3rd place podium, smiling. Over on the 2nd place podium, there was Todoroki,  a sad, downcast expression on his face. In 1st place, Bakugo was furiously gritting her teeth and glaring at the red and white haired boy; she was enraged that he hadn’t ended up using his fire.

All Might was introduced by Midnight, who accidentally talked over him. After his introduction, he presented medals and dispensed quiet advice. Though it had been rather hard to get Bakugo to take her medal.

=====================================================================

The students needed to go back to their homeroom so teachers could give them important information, so they headed there after the U.A Sports Festival ended.

“So there will be no school tomorrow or the day after. I'm sure the pro heroes who watched the sports festival will want to recruit you, but we'll consolidate everything and announce it when you get back. So rest well, and look forward to that. During this time, you are allowed to leave campus, as long as you are back before 10:00PM. Class dismissed.” 

The class got up from their seats, and headed for the door, but Aizawa added on “Mineta, stay behind. I need to talk to you.”

Normally, Aizawa would have given Mineta a stern talk, and warned him what would happen if something like this occurred again. But this was far from the only incident involving the boy. A couple weeks ago, he'd snapped Yaoyorozu's bra strap in the middle of Present Mic's class, which had earned him a serious discussion with Principal Nezu, Present Mic, and Aizawa. Throughout the year, he'd been making comments about the girls that weren't okay. Aizawa knew he had to implement some form of disciplinary action.

Yaoyorozu and Iida were informed via email that because of his previous actions and because of what he'd said the night before the U.A Sports Festival, Mineta had been suspended through their days off, plus an additional three days. 

Class 1-A was quite happy about that information.

=====================================================================

Miles away from U.A, the mood was decidedly less jovial. Iida had finally made it to the hospital in Hosu City, and went to the front desk, where he was directed to his brother’s room. He ran down the hallway, ignoring the receptionist’s warning not to. “Mother!” he exclaimed when he reached the door of his brother’s hospital room. Out front of the door was his mom, waiting for him.

“Tenya,” said his mom softly.

“How is Tensei doing?” Iida asked

“Not good,” replied his mom sadly.

He opened the door urgently, and exclaimed “Tensei!” 

His mother pulled him back. “Tenya, keep your voice down and put on a mask.”

Iida’s eyes went wide as he drank in the scene before him. There was his big brother, whom he had always looked up to. It was like something out of a nightmare. His strong,  heroic brother was lying in a hospital bed with an oxygen mask. He looked like he was on death’s door.

“The anesthetic wore off earlier, and he woke up,” said the doctor. “He’s still in a haze. Honestly, if he’d come in for surgery a moment later, I doubt he would still be alive.”

“Tenya...Mother…” murmured Iida’s brother.

Iida made his way to his brother’s bedside, and said “Tensei! Big Brother Tensei!”

“Even though such an accomplished younger brother...like you...looks up to me…”

Iida remembered all the times his brother had loved and supported him over the years; how his brother always inspired him. Seeing Tensei like this...it was wrong.

“I’m sorry Tenya...your big brother...lost…”

“Tensei!” sobbed Iida, unprepared to handle the gravity of the situation. His mother came over to him, and gently took his hand as he cried.

Chapter Text

 Chapter Thirteen

“We should have a party,” said Kirishima when the class returned to the dorms.

 “What for?” asked Shoji.

“To celebrate the sports festival, bro!”

“That sounds super fun!” agreed Kaminari.

“Shouldn’t we wait for Iida to be here?” said Shoji, reasonably.

“Oh man, I can’t believe I forgot that he had to go,” said Kirishima.

“Why did he have to leave again?” asked Sero.

Izumi wanted to prevent her classmates from prying, so she vaguely answered, “He had a family thing,” before they could speculate too much.

“Oh well,” said Sero. “Why don’t we just do dinner tonight? We’ll have a party when Iida gets back.”

“Sounds good to me,” said Kirishima. “I’ll make curry, if that works for everyone.”

“No way,” said Bakugo. “If anyone’s making curry, it’ll be me, Goddamnit.”

“Kacchan, no!” whined Izumi. “You and your mom always make your curry super spicy! You’ll kill someone!”

“It’ll be fine,” said Bakugo, dismissing Izumi’s concerns. “I’ll have Kirishima help, he can make sure it’s not too much for your baby taste buds, alright princess?”

Izumi pouted. “Fine,” she said. “Kirishima, I’m trusting you.”

“I’ve gotcha’ dude,” said Kirshima with a friendly grin and a thumbs up.

Kirishima and Bakugo went to the kitchen where they got a start on cooking.

=====================================================================

While Bakugo and Kirishima cooked, the rest of the class (minus Iida and Todoroki) was hanging out in the living room, chatting. Izumi was lying down on the couch and animatedly talking to Uraraka when she heard a voice say behind her “Midoriya.” She recognized the voice as Todoroki's and turned around. 

“Hey!” she said, smiling.

“Dude, you left your room?” said Sero incredulously. “That’s new.”

“Could we talk?” Todoroki said, ignoring Sero.

“Sure,” said Izumi as she got up off the couch.

The pair went out to the courtyard and sat down on a bench. “What did you want to talk about?” asked Izumi.

“I wanted to say thank you,” answered the red and white haired boy.

“What for?” said Izumi.

“For what you said during our match. I...I didn’t realize that I don’t have to be...bound by him.”

“Of course,” said Izumi, smiling. “Do you mind if I ask you something?”

“What is it?” said Todoroki.

“Why didn’t you use your fire in the final?”

Todoroki sighed. “I don’t know,” he said. “I was going to but then I was unsure. There’s something I have to settle first.”

“I’m sure you can do it,” said Izumi. “Everyone’s gonna’ eat dinner and play Mario Kart, do want to stay?”

“I —” Todoroki paused. He was going to say no, but then thought about it for a moment. “Yeah. That sounds nice.”

The two came back inside, and sat down in the living room, where Kaminari was doing surprisingly well at Mario Kart.

“Dinner’s ready, idiots!” called out Bakugo. Everyone got up, and got their food. Todoroki stayed next to Izumi for nearly the entire time.

=====================================================================

“Wait, did we actually find a video game Midoriya’s bad at?” asked Kaminari incredulously.

Izumi blushed and said “Yes, alright? It’s the only one though!” A second later her kart went careening off the side of Rainbow Road. 

Ashido snickered and Ochako said “Well everyone has to be bad at something, but this is just embarrassing.”

“I can beat all of you in any other game!” snapped Izumi. “Also, Ochako, why did you pick Rainbow Road anyways?! It’s the worst!” 

“It’s in space!” protested Ochako. “It’s the best!”

“I don’t like to say it, but Deku’s right,” said Bakugo passively. She was cruising along in 1st place. “Rainbow Road is fucking trash.”

“I like it…” said Koda shyly.

“Thank you, Koda!” said Ochako. “At least someone has good taste.”

“This game sucks,” said Izumi as she finished in dead last. “I did good at first, and then Kacchan ran me off the road.”

“Bitch, you almost broke my nose today!” said Bakugo. “We’re fucking even.”

“How does this game work?” said Todoroki. Everyone turned to face him. It was the first thing he’d said to anyone except for Izumi.

“Have you never played Mario Kart? Or any racing game?” asked Jiro, a note of confusion in her voice.

“I wasn’t allowed to play video games at my house,” he said.

“Bro, that’s so sad,” said Sero. 

“Do you want to learn how to play?” asked Izumi.

“...Yes.”

It took a little bit of time to teach Todoroki the controls, but once he knew them, he did pretty well for a beginner. Eventually everyone dispersed around 2:00AM and headed up to their rooms. Izumi had long since fallen asleep with her head in Todoroki’s lap. He looked down at the sleeping girl, unsure of how to move without waking her.

“I’ve got her, icy hot,” said Bakugo as she picked up Izumi and draped the shorter girl over her shoulder in a fireman carry. “You don’t need to worry about your little sleepyhead girlfriend.”

“She’s not my—” began Todoroki.

Bakugo rolled her eyes. “Sure, keep telling yourself that,” she said, as she walked up the stairs with the smaller girl.

Todoroki was left standing by himself in the living room. He yawned, and elected to head up to his bedroom

=====================================================================

The following morning, several students left campus to visit their parents. Todoroki was one of them. He needed to resolve his issues.

“I’m going to visit the hospital,” he said to his sister over the phone.

“Are you sure?” said Fuyumi. “Why do you want to see Mom now, after all this time?”

“I need...to figure myself out. This is the first step.”

“Well, okay,” said Fuyumi, though there was some measure of concern in her voice. “It’s up to you.”

Todoroki stood in front of the hospital building, ruminating on his past and his present. “Ever since that day,” he thought. “I thought my presence would put pressure on her.” He went to the reception, where all the nurses were shocked to see him. In the decade since Rei Todoroki had been admitted, they had never seen her youngest son, or her husband. “I’m sure she continues to be bound by me...by Dad. That’s why, in order to aim to become a hero again, with this body...in order to become my ideal hero, I need to see her. To talk to her.” He slid the door of his mom’s room open.

“Mom,” he said. His mom turned her head, and smiled. “There’s so much we need to talk about.” 

The visit was very cathartic for Todoroki. His mother had almost instantly apologized for what she did, and immediately forgiven him for not visiting her. He updated her on where he was now, and who he was. She reciprocated, and despite the fact that she’d been behind hospital walls for years, the distance from Endeavor had done her a lot of good.

Todoroki left the hospital feeling infinitely lighter.

=====================================================================

The morning after the sports festival, Izumi left campus with a skip in her step, excited to see her mom.

It was a short walk, and Izumi let herself in. “Mom?” she yelled. “I’m home!” No response. “Huh,” she thought. “Maybe she’s in her office? ” As a lawyer, Izumi’s mom had a need for a home office, in case she ever needed to work on a case outside of the workplace. 

It turned out that Izumi’s guess was right. Her mom was in her office; but she wasn’t alone. Izumi opened the office door to find All Might sitting on the desk in his true form, making out with her mother

“MOM?!” she shrieked. “ALL MIGHT?!”

Izumi’s mom turned her head. “Oh, sweetheart!” she said, awkwardly. All Might continued to sit on the desk, looking supremely uncomfortable. “I didn’t know you’d be visiting today.”

“Never mind me visiting!” said Izumi. “What the hell is going on here?!” Izumi wasn’t happy. She knew her mom wanted a love life, and she really couldn’t hold it against her. But in Izumi’s opinion, nobody would ever be good enough to replace her dad. As such, whenever her mom started dating someone, Izumi got very angry. And to her, All Might was the one person besides her mom who she could trust most; it felt like a betrayal of the highest order. She was furious.

“Sweetie,” said Inko gently. “Toshinori and I...are dating.”

“Toshinori?!” exclaimed Izumi. “Since when are you two on a first name basis?! I mean, I didn’t even know All Might went by anything else! How long has this been going on?”

“Two or three weeks…” said Inko in a bashful voice.

“Two or three weeks?! What the hell?! And you didn’t think I should know about it?”

“Now, Young Midoriya,” began All Might.

“Don’t ‘Young Midoriya’ me, All Might!” shouted Izumi. “Unbelievable!” She shook her head violently and ran out the door as Inko called after her “Izumi,wait!”

Stupid fucking All Might,” thought Izumi as she ran back to U.A’s campus. “Calling me ‘Young Midoriya’, trying to replace Dad. He's my mentor, not my father.” She reached the dorms and entered the building, slamming the door so hard that the house practically shook.

“Whoa, Midoriya, what’s wrong?” said Kaminari. 

“Shut the fuck up, Kaminari!” yelled Izumi. “I’m fine!” She stormed up to her room.

“Holy cow,” said Sero. “That was intense.”

“I didn’t know Midoriya could get that mad,” said Ashido. “Wonder what’s up with her.”

=====================================================================

At around noon everyone could still hear the loud, angsty music blasting from Izumi’s room, coupled with the occasional odd, violent noise. The sounds had started around late that morning, and hadn’t stopped since. They were starting to get concerned. 

Bakugo entered the house, and was immediately swarmed by her classmates. She’d spent the morning out of the house, working out, getting a haircut, and running errands.

“Bakugo,” said Jiro. “Midoriya’s being weird, and we’re worried.”

“Weird how? And why’s it matter to me?”

“She’s acting like you on a bad day,” answered Jiro. “I’ve never seen her this way. You’re her childhood friend, right? Maybe you can figure it out.”

“The hell am I supposed to do?”

“I don’t know, just try talking to her?” said Jiro. 

“No way,” replied Bakugo.

“Please?” said Kirishima, standing to Jiro’s left. “For me?”

Bakugo blushed brightly, rolled her eyes, and said “Fine.”

Izumi’s room was a sight to behold. Bakugo opened the door to it to find a wide variety of All Might merch that had been demolished. Where All Might’s face had once been on a poster, there was now a hole through the wall. Izumi was sitting on her bed, ripping another All Might poster into shreds.

“Jesus Christ…” said Bakugo. “What the hell did All Might do?”

“He’s dating my mom,” said Izumi darkly. “Why are you here anyways?”

Bakugo sighed. Now she understood. “Izumi,” she said seriously. “You can’t freak out every time your mom starts dating again.” 

“Izumi? Since when do you call me that, Kacchan?”

Bakugo rolled her eyes. “Come on, don’t do that shit. Listen...I hate to say it, but getting angry won’t bring your dad back.”

“So what?” snapped Izumi. “I don’t care.”

“Goddamnit, don’t lie. Of course you fucking care. I get it, okay? Seriously though, it’s been a decade, and she deserves to be happy.”

Izumi frowned. “I know,” she said. Tears were streaming down her face. “But why does it have to suck so much for me?”

“Look,” said Bakugo. “I’m not the one to handle this. You and I haven’t been close since we were six. So do you want Uraraka? Or knockoff Sonic?”

“Iida’s dealing with his own thing,” said Izumi. “And I don’t even know if he’s here. So...I guess Ochako,” she mumbled petulantly.

“Do you mind if I explain to everyone what happened with your dad?”

“It’s fine,” said Izumi sadly. “They might as well know. ”

“Alright,” said Bakugo. “I’m gonna’ grab Uraraka.”

“Hey, Kacchan?” said Izumi quietly.

“What is it, Deku?”

“Thanks.”

Bakugo scoffed. “Don’t thank me,” she said. “I’m only doing this because Kirishima asked me to.”

She left the room and descended back downstairs.

=====================================================================

“Alright, dumbasses,” said Bakugo. “I figured out what’s going on.”

“Yeah?” said Ashido. “So what is it?”

“Her mom’s dating.”

“So?” said Sero. “That’s no big deal.”

“It is to Deku,” said Bakugo. “C'mon, I’ll explain in the living room.”

“So what’s wrong with Midoriya’s mom dating?” asked Jiro.

“It’s all about her dad,” said Bakugo. “Him and Deku were really close when she was a kid. But then, when we were around five...he got cancer.” A few people sighed or groaned in pity. “And about a year later, well, he died. So whenever a guy dates her mom, she flips her shit. She thinks it’s like he’s trying to replace her dad or something. Gets real fucking moody. I only saw it once or twice. But this is definitely the worst I’ve seen her get about it.”

Everyone was quiet for a moment. “So why doesn’t she talk about it?” asked Hagakure.

“Hell if I know,” said Bakugo, shrugging.

“If I were her, I wouldn’t want to,” replied Jiro.

“What a tragédie!” said Aoyama dramatically.

“Anyways,” said Bakugo. “Uraraka, she wants to talk to you. Or at least, she’ll let you talk to her.”

“Alrighty,” said Ochako. “I’ll be back later.” Ochako went to Izumi’s room to comfort her best friend.

A little over an hour later, Izumi emerged from her room, finally having calmed down.

A little over an hour later, Izumi emerged from her room, finally having calmed down. She awkwardly shuffled into the living room, where most people still were, and said “Hey everyone. I’m, um, sorry about earlier. I didn’t mean to be so…” The word she was searching for was ‘bitchy’ but she didn’t really want to say that. “Well, you know what I mean. And I’m really sorry for yelling at you, Kaminari.”

“It’s alright,” said Kaminari good naturedly. “We all have those days.”

“Thanks,” said Izumi. “Hey, um, Yaoyorozu, could you do me a favor?”

“Yes, Midoriya?” said Yaoyorozu.

“Well,” said Izumi as she nervously twiddled her thumbs. “I kind of broke some stuff in my room, and I was wondering if you could help me out with your Quirk?” 

“Of course!” said Yaoyorozu, and the pair of girls ascended the stairs.

=====================================================================

Iida finally returned from the hospital around 3:00PM, emotionally exhausted and sleep deprived. 

“Iida!” said Ochako when he walked in the door and began to take off his shoes. “How are you?” she said, softly.

“I’m...fine,” lied Iida.

“Are you sure?” said Ochako. 

“Yes, I am. I apologize for worrying you,” he said. His voice was tense, and it sounded as though he could break down at any moment.

“Okay then,” Ochako said concernedly. “But if you ever need someone to talk to, please let me know.”

Izumi, who was with Ochako, corroborated this and said “Yeah. We’re here for you.”

“Thank you,” said Iida, his voice cracking ever so slightly.

“Iida, my dude!” said Kirishima over on the living room couch. “You’re back! Now we can have that party!”

“Party?” Iida said.

“We were gonna’ have one to celebrate the sports festival,” elaborated Kaminari. “But we wanted to wait for you first.” 

“Oh,” said Iida. “That’s kind of you. I assume Aizawa will be chaperoning this?”

“Chaperoning?” asked Sero, who was with Kaminari, Kirishima, and Ashido. He looked back and forth between his friends and then the quartet burst into laughter. “Oh come on! We don’t need a chaperone! We’re almost 16!”

“A party should be handled responsibly and safely, we absolutely should —”

“Iida,” interrupted Yaoyorozu. “We’ll be here to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand. It’ll be fine.”

“Okay...I suppose you’re right,” acquiesced Iida.

“Thanks Yaomomo!” said Ashido.

“Yaomomo?” asked the black haired girl

“You don’t mind, do you? I just figure, we’re friends, right? And since we’re living in the dorms together, you know.”

“No, it’s alright. I don’t mind. I just haven’t had a nickname before,” she explained, smiling kindly.

The class began to discuss party logistics, but hit a snag pretty quickly when several people wanted to have alcohol at the party and Iida was strongly against it. Nearly three hours later, the class had finally managed to convince Iida to permit drinking at their party, but he was highly reluctant, and insisted that everybody be cautious.

=====================================================================

“Remind me why I agreed to this?” said Bakugo to Jiro. The two of them were at the grocery store, along with Izumi, Todoroki, Kirishima, Yaoyorozu, and Iida. 

“Because Kirishima wanted you to come along, and you have a crush on him,” answered Jiro.

Bakugo blushed a tomato red and whispered to Jiro, “Wait, is it really that obvious?”

“I mean, yeah,” deadpanned Jiro. “But I’m like, 99% sure he likes you too. I’m actually really surprised he hasn’t asked you out yet.”

Bakugo put her palms to her face, and groaned. “Ugh, why?” she complained. “This is the fucking worst.”

“If it makes you feel any better, he’s a good guy,” Jiro said.

“He should just ask me out already,” grumbled Bakugo. “I’d say yes.”

“Sorry,” said Jiro, shrugging. 

During their conversation, Todoroki walked over to the grocery cart holding eight bags of chips in his arms. 

Izumi giggled, and said “Todoroki, we only need two or three, like, max.”

“She’s right, bro,” said Kirishima. “There aren’t that many of us.”

Todoroki shrugged and said, “Okay,” as he tossed three bags into the shopping cart. He wasn’t exactly sure how to shop, because at home Fuyumi always did it. This was his first trip to the grocery in many years.

About an hour later, the group returned to the dorms with a myriad of snacks for the party. 

=====================================================================

“Deku, get off of Lightning McQueen’s shoulders!” yelled Bakugo. “Everyone can see up your damn skirt!”

“N-never!” slurred Izumi. “I feel so tall! Is this what being tall is like?”

Ochako sighed at her friend’s drunken shenanigans, and asked “How many drinks has she had?”

“Like, two,” replied Jiro, equally exasperated.

Over on the couch, Kirishima, Kaminari, Sero, and Ashido were laughing.

“How is she this drunk then?” said Yaoyorozu.

“She’s only 4’10”,” answered Tsu quietly. “And 100 pounds, if that…”

“I-I’m 4’11”!” protested Izumi. “I got — taller!” She said this proudly, though a small hiccup had interrupted her part way through.

“Hey, Iida,” said Yaoyorozu. “We’re going to get some water in Midoriya’s system, mind putting her down?”

“Of course,” said Iida. “She was only on my shoulders so I could keep her from doing anything unwise.”

“Water is stupid,” complained Izumi.

“Come on, girl,” said Ochako, taking Izumi’s hand and leading her to the kitchen.

“I didn’t know I needed wasted Midoriya in my life,” Ashido laughed.

“This is why I didn’t want alcohol at the party,” said Iida stiffly.

“Loosen up, glasses,” said Bakugo. “Have some fun.”

“Hey guys,” said Kaminari excitedly. “We should watch The Bee Movie!”

“The Bee Movie?” asked Hagakure in confusion. “What’s that?”

“It’s a movie where a bee played by Jerry Seinfeld has an affair with a human woman and sues the entire human race due to their use of honey,” explained Tokoyami. “It’s awful.”

“A love story?” intoned Aoyama. “Magnifique~!”

“This sounds like a horrible idea,” Ojiro said. “But let’s do it.”

=====================================================================

A half hour later, the class was gathered in front of the television, half cringing and half laughing at The Bee Movie.

“Dude,” whispered Kirishima, so that he didn't talk over the movie. “This was a great idea.”

“I like jazz,” Tokoyami murmured with a small smile.

“Bro, are you a secret memer?” asked Sero.

“Niche internet humor may in fact quell the never ending darkness in my soul.”

“Sorry, I don’t speak edgy middle schooler,” said Sero. “Shoji, help?”

“He likes memes,” translated Shoji.

“Good to know, man,” said Kaminari. 

Izumi had finally sobered up a little, and was sitting next to Todoroki on his left side, with her head on his shoulder. “You’re warm,” she said. “It’s nice.”

“Oh,” said Todoroki. “I’m warm on the left. My right side is cold.”

“Because of your Quirk?”

“Yeah,” Todoroki said. He looked a little pained, as if the small reminder weighed on his conscience.

“That’s cool,” Izumi said.

“Thanks,” said Todoroki. Izumi moved her body a little closer to his.

“Blech,” Bakugo said. “Get a room.”

Izumi turned bright red, though Todoroki’s face stayed mostly passive.

“This is coming from you?” said Jiro. “With the way you act around —”

Bakugo put her hand over Jiro’s mouth, and said “Not a fucking word about him,” as she blushed furiously.

“About who?” asked Todoroki. Though none of his classmates knew it, he was a curious person by nature. However quiet he was sometimes, he took an interest in gossip and knew quite a few conspiracy theories.

“None of your business, you glorified Pokeball.”

“Haven’t heard you use that insult before,” said Kirishima, passing by to get to the kitchen. “Hey, Jiro, mind if I ask you something? Like, privately.”

“Sure,” said Jiro as she stood, smirking at Bakugo. The blonde girl squinted and stuck her tongue out at her friend.

“So, what’s up?” said Jiro, twirling a long, wire like earlobe around her finger

“So…” Kirishima said awkwardly. “IsortahaveacrushonBakugo!”

“Okay, slow down,” said the black haired girl.

“I...have a crush. On Bakugo. And I wanted to know how to ask her out. You’re friends, right?”

“No duh you have a crush on her. You two have been pining over each other for weeks. Anyways, just go for it. She wants to date you, she was just complaining to me about it earlier.”

“But like, what kind of date should I ask her on?”

“I dunno’,” said Jiro casually. “She tolerates me and I tease her, that’s the extent of our friendship. Ask Midoriya.”

And so, Izumi found herself in the kitchen, having been sought out for advice.

“I’m not sure,” said Izumi. “We were only friends as kids. But um, she likes spicy food. Action movies and ‘chick flicks’ too. Oh, and rock climbing. And...” Izumi turned her head down, and began muttering, as she tried to recall more information. “When we were little, she was super into butterflies. But that’s all I know, sorry.” She shrugged apologetically. 

“No, that’s great!” Kirishima said, smiling enthusiastically. “Now I just have to find a good time to ask her out,” he thought. 

=====================================================================

“‘A tiny horse’ is obviously the best card,” said Ochako. Everyone had finished watching The Bee Movie, and they had moved on to playing Cards Against Humanity.

“No way,” said Izumi.  “‘Pac-Man uncontrollably guzzling cum’ is so much better.”

“Oh God,” laughed Kaminari. “Remind me why we thought Midoriya was innocent?”

“It’s ‘cause she’s so cute,” Ashido said. 

“Guys,” said Izumi. “I grew up around Kacchan. It’s not like I don’t know bad words.”

“She makes a good point,” said Kirishima. “Sorry, Bakugo.”

“Nah, I get it. I curse a fuckton,” dismissed Bakugo with a wave of her hand.

Izumi yawned loudly, and said “I think this is my last round. I don’t want to fall asleep out here again.”

“Same here,” agreed Tsu. “I’m getting tired.”

Iida was squinting at the cards in his hand. He’d managed to win the last round, so he was judging, but Cards Against Humanity wasn’t suited to his personality. “I don’t think I like this game,” he said. “It’s very vulgar.”

“Just pick a card, dude,” urged Ashido. 

“I guess I choose ‘A micropig wearing a tiny raincoat and booties,’” sighed Iida.

Koda signed ‘Yay’ and took the black card. He’d amassed a small collection of them, and was winning by a wide margin.

“How in the fuck is Koda beating us?” said Bakugo, bewildered.

“I guess it's the quiet ones that sneak up on you,” speculated Jiro.

Koda nodded.

Izumi said, “Alright, bed time,” and stood up, followed shortly by Tsu.

“Sweet dreams!” exclaimed Hagakure.

The majority of the class joined in wishing the two green haired girls a good night, though some simply waved their hands or gave a good natured nod. 

Just as Izumi was climbing the stairs, Todoroki said “Good night, Midoriya.” He looked a little sad to see her go. 

=====================================================================

Bakugo awoke the morning after Class 1-A’s party to a series of knocks on her door. She was tired, a little hungover, and altogether not in the mood to talk to anyone, but nonetheless pulled herself out of bed, and walked over to the door, grumbling. She pulled open the door and started to say “What the fuck do you—” but quickly realized the person who’d knocked on her door was Kirishima. She blushed and thought “Fuck! Of course it’s my crush, and of course the first thing I do is yell at him! And of course I have bedhead!” But she couldn’t say that out loud. Bakugo awkwardly smiled and said “Oh. It’s you...um, hi.”

“Hi,” said Kirishima. “Sorry, I know it’s early, but I was wondering, um…sorry, I don’t quite know how to say this.”

“What is it?” snapped Bakugo. She was still pretty sleepy.

“I l-like you! And um, Jiro said you like me too, and, uh, do you want to go out with me?”

“Like, on a date?” said Bakugo.

“Yeah!” confirmed Kirishima.

Bakugo grinned. “Took you long enough, damn it.”

“So, is that a yes?”

“Yes, Hair-for-Brains.”

“Oh thank God,” sighed Kirishima in relief. “I was so nervous.”

“You don’t have to be nervous around me,” said Bakugo, turning her head and blushing. “Um, how about we go out Saturday?”

“Oh, uh, Saturday,” said Kirishima, smiling. “Yeah, Saturday. Saturday sounds good.”

=====================================================================

Mina Ashido added Yuga Aoyama, Kagami Bakugo, Kyoka Jiro, Momo Yaoyorozu, Ochako Uraraka, Toru Hagakure, and Tsuyu Asui to Get 2 Dummies Together

Mina Ashido set her nickname to Alien Queen

Mina Ashido set Yuga Aoyama’s nickname to Sparkle Gay

Mina Ashido set Kagami Bakugo’s nickname to Explosions r c00l

Mina Ashido set Kyoka Jiro’s nickname to Rocker Chick

Mina Ashido set Momo Yaoyorozu’s nickname to Useful Lesbean

Mina Ashido set Ochako Uraraka’s nickname to Zero G

Mina Ashido set Toru Hagakure’s nickname to John Cena

Mina Ashido set Tsuyu Asui’s nickname to oh shit waddup

Alien Queen: so midoriya & todoroki clearly like each other but they’re both too stupid 2 do anything about it. we should help them

Explosions r c00l: Nope I’m out

Explosions r c00l has left the chat

Alien Queen: NOOOOO!!!!

Alien Queen added Explosions r c00l to Get 2 Dummies Together

Explosions r c00l has left the chat

Alien Queen added Explosions r c00l to Get 2 Dummies Together

Explosions r c00l has left the chat

Alien Queen added Explosions r c00l to Get 2 Dummies Together

Explosions r c00l: Jesus fucking Christ! If I stay will you leave me the fuck alone? I’m lifting

Alien Queen: yeh

Explosions r c00l: Fine then

Rocker Chick: I’m down

oh shit waddup: same

Zero G: let’s do this

Useful Lesbean: While I think meddling in love lives is usually a bad idea, I’ll help too.

John Cena: this sounds like fun!

Sparkle Gay: I will help! This idea is merveilleux! Superb~

====================================================================

Class 1-A’s second day off after the U.A Sports Festival went relatively quickly. Where the night after the festival and the first day off had been dedicated mostly to celebration, most people spent their last day off resting. Nobody could deny that the sports festival had been somewhat exhausting.

Upon everyone’s return, they’d be presented with any offers for hero internships. Though Izumi did not know it, along with Todoroki and Bakugo, she had quite a few.

Chapter Text

Chapter Fourteen

On the morning that Class 1-A returned to class, it was stormy. Lightning and thunder filled the sky, and rain poured down like a waterfall. 

Unfortunately, Izumi did not have an umbrella.  “Ahhhh! So cold!” she shrieked as she ran through the rain as quickly as possible. 

“Here,” said a deep voice from behind her. It was Shoji, and he’d done Izumi the favor of protecting her from the weather with his six large arms. 

“Thank you,” she said through chattering teeth while she slowed down to walking speed. She pulled her wet hair out of her face, and wiped away her runny mascara.

“I hate rain,” said Ochako, who had just caught up with Shoji and Izumi. Unlike Izumi, she had an umbrella. “It’s so gloomy.”

“I like it,” said Tsu. She was also with Ochako, and Todoroki wasn’t too far behind. “It’s nice.”

“How about you, Todoroki?” asked Izumi.

“I prefer snow,” he said. “Your shirt is uh...see through, by the way.” He had a light blush on his face.

“Wait, what?” said Izumi, looking down. “Oh God...” She quickly brought her arms across her chest, glad that she had her blazer, though even the jacket was waterlogged.

“Why didn’t you grab an umbrella?” said Ochako. “Yaomomo made some for the class this morning.”

“I must have missed it,” Izumi guessed with a shrug. “It’s alright,” she said optimistically. “I’m sure I’ll dry off pretty fast.”

“Here,” said Todoroki, passing her his blazer. 

“Oh, no, I couldn’t,” protested Izumi.

“You need it more than me. Yours is soaked,” Todoroki reasoned.

“Alright,” said Izumi, reluctantly taking his jacket. Ochako and Tsu gave each other a knowing look.

=====================================================================

“Wow,” said Kirishima when Izumi entered the classroom. “You’re drenched. Didn’t you see the umbrellas Yaoyorozu made?”

“No,” admitted Izumi, slightly embarrassed. It seemed that out of all of her classmates, Shoji and her were the only ones who had missed the memo. On the other hand, Tsu had intentionally forgone an umbrella because she loved rain.

“Midoriya, you should really be more aware of the weather before leaving the dorms,” reprimanded Iida.

“I didn’t mean to…” Izumi murmured. “I just — I didn’t bring my raincoat or anything like that when everyone moved in. There wasn’t enough space in my bags.” She frowned and shrugged.

“Ah, I see,” said Iida. “That’s a shame.”

“Yeah, but it’s not that bad. Todoroki lent me his blazer.”

“How chivalrous of him,” said Iida in a chipper tone.

“Actually,” said Izumi. “I should probably get that back to him, mind if I go do that?”

“No, not at all.”

Though he was ten minutes early, Todoroki was sitting quietly at his desk, rather than chatting to pass the time. He appreciated the fact that his peers had so readily embraced him after the sports festival; he’d been so cold and aloof in the past. But...as nice as his classmates were...for the time being, he really only felt comfortable with Izumi. That wasn’t to say he felt uncomfortable around the rest of the class. He simply didn’t know them very well.

“Hey,” Izumi said. “I figured I should give you your jacket back.”

“No,” refused Todoroki. “Keep it. At least till yours dries off.”

“O-okay,” agreed Izumi. “Um, you look a little bored. Do you want to come talk with everyone?”

“...Sure.”

Izumi and Todoroki headed over to chat with everyone, and Todoroki stood next to Izumi awkwardly, until Yaoyorozu came up to him and nudged him with her elbow. “Hey,” she said quietly, so that only he could hear. “You know, you don’t have to be so shy around us. I understand that you have a connection with Midoriya, but we want to be your friends too. I just thought you should know.”

“Thank you...I’ll keep that in mind,” replied Todoroki.

Yaoyorozu continued to converse with the rest of her classmates for a few minutes, and Todoroki added a couple contributions, though they were mostly monosyllabic. Aizawa came in shortly after that.

“Sit down,” he said, clearly annoyed with the fact that class was starting and they still weren’t in their seats. “Morning.”

“Good morning!” greeted the class, much more enthusiastically than he had.

“Mr.Aizawa, your bandages are gone,” noted Tsu. She was correct. Aizawa no longer had his mummy like wrappings. Now, however, he was sporting a new scar under his eye. It was deep and shaped like a crescent moon, though nobody was rude or careless enough to mention it.

“The old lady went way overboard in her treatment,” responded Aizawa, rolling his eyes. “More importantly, we're having a special hero informatics class today. Code names. You'll be coming up with hero names.”

“Dude! That’s so exciting!” exclaimed Kirishima. “I was worried it’d be be a pop quiz or something!” 

“This is related to the pro hero draft picks I mentioned the other day,” continued Aizawa. “The drafts begin in earnest in the second and third years, after students have more experience and skill. In other words, for them to extend offers to first years like you shows that they’re interested in your future potential. These offers are often cancelled if that interest dies down by graduation.”

“So we have to prove ourselves if we’re chosen,” said Hagakure.

“Exactly,” Aizawa said. “Now, here are the totals for those with offers.” Aizawa clicked a button and projected the numbers onto the board.

 

Class 1-A No. of Offers

Todoroki: 3999

Bakugo: 3217

Midoriya: 412

Ashido: 360

Asui: 272

Iida: 263

Kirishima: 169

Yaoyorozu : 57

Tokoyami: 31

Uraraka: 20

Kaminari: 13

Sero: 12

 

“In other years, it’s been more spread out,” Aizawa explained. “But this year, all eyes were on these two.” He pointed at Todoroki and Bakugo’s names.

Izumi looked at her name in shock. 412 offers. Sure, it was nothing compared to the amount that Todoroki and Bakugo had. Still, she didn’t know how in the world she was going to sift through them all.

“Gah! There’s such a big difference!” complained Kaminari.

“Todoroki’s first, and Bakugo’s second?” said Jiro, bewildered.

“It’s the opposite of their placement in the festival,” Kirishima said, brows raised in surprise.

“Some people probably don’t want to ask for such a violent girl,” guessed Sero. “You know, she’s not what everyone wants in a female hero.”

Kirishima was about to defend Bakugo, but she beat him to the punch. “What the fuck did you just say?!” shouted Bakugo, her Quirk sparking in her palms. “Goddamn sexism holding me back,” she thought furiously.

“Sorry! Sorry! I take it back!” backpedalled Sero while waving his hands frantically. 

“Wow,” said Yaoyorozu. “You’re amazing, Todoroki.”

“They’re probably all because of my dad,” Todoroki said, tight lipped.

“Keeping these results in mind,” continued Aizawa. “Whether anyone gave you offers or not, you will all be participating in internships with pros this week.”

“Internships?” asked Izumi.

“Yeah,” answered Aizawa. “At the USJ, you experienced combat with real villains. But it will be helpful training for you to witness pros at work first hand.”

“So that explains the hero names!” exclaimed Sato.

“Things suddenly just got a lot more fun!” Uraraka said with a grin.

“Well, these hero names will be temporary,” said Aizawa. “But if you don’t take this seriously…”

The door burst open, and Midnight entered the room. “You’ll have hell to pay later!” she cautioned. “Because a lot of hero names used by students become recognized by society, and end up becoming professional hero names!”

“Well, that’s how it is,” agreed Aizawa. “So Midnight will be making sure your names are okay. I’m no good at things like that.” He recalled how he’d been unable to pick his hero name fifteen years ago, and that his husband, Present Mic, had ended up doing it for him. It was a fond memory. “When you pick a hero name, you get a more solid picture of what kind of hero you might like to be in the future, and you can pursue that. That’s what they mean when they say, ‘names and natures often agree’. Like All Might, for example.” He began to walk around the classroom and pass out white boards with markers. From there, Aizawa let Midnight take over.

The kind of hero I might like to be in the future… ” thought Izumi. “Back when I was little, I thought of all sorts of names that sounded like his and grinned while Mom read them. Mighty Girl, All Might II...I wasn’t very creative. But now that he’s entrusted me with his power, and I’m under his care, well...I can see how huge the difference between us is. Besides,”  she reminded herself, “I'm mad at him, why would I pick a name like his?”

=====================================================================

Everyone was coming up with their hero names relatively fast, but after fifteen minutes, Izumi was no closer, and Aoyama had just gone up to read off his hero name. Surprisingly, Midnight only workshopped it a little, and he wound up with ‘Can’t Stop Twinkling’. Ashido’s was great, and her hero name, ‘Alien Queen’ was approved without issue. After that, people went up faster and faster.

“Queen Explosion Murder,” announced Bakugo. Izumi turned her head up in shock. That was...a name. The blonde girl was summarily rejected, and told to select a different name.

Ugh, ” thought Izumi. “Just about everyone’s got something great, but I’ve got nothing. At this rate, maybe I’ll just pick my first name like Todoroki did. Or I could always do ‘Deku’, but that’s an insult. Of course...Ochako did say it sounded a little like ‘dekiru’. Wait! That’s it! ‘Dekiru’!

“Dekiru,” said Izumi confidently. “It means ‘I can do it’. For a long time, there was an insulting nickname for me that I really didn’t like. But then, one of my friends came along, and she told me it sounds a little like this. So, um, yeah.”

“That’s a great choice!” Midnight said. “Approved!”

Bakugo looked a little guilty. She knew the nickname Izumi was referring to. “God, ” she thought. “I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings. ...No, that’s not true. I told her to fucking kill herself in middle school. Maybe I should apologize? Wait, no! That’s ridiculous! What would I even say? ‘Sorry for being a total bitch to you for ten years, let’s be friends again?’ Fuck!

“Alright, so aside from Bakugo, everyone has their names picked out,” said Midnight. “Make sure you have a good name picked out by Monday, young lady!” she chided. Bakugo rolled her eyes.

“Since today’s Friday, I’m giving you the weekend to pick where you’ll be interning,” said Aizawa. “Have your decisions in by Monday at 3:00PM”

“We only have two days?!” protested Kaminari.

“Choose efficiently,” said Aizawa as he walked away.

=====================================================================

“So do any of you know where you’re interning?” asked Ashido later that night, after everyone had returned to the dorms.

“No clue,” said Sero. “I’ve only got 12 offers, and I’m still having trouble picking. I don’t know how Todoroki and Bakugo are gonna’ do it.”

“I narrowed it down to two,” said Bakugo. “Best Jeanist or Edgeshot.”

“I’m probably interning with my old man,” Todoroki said.

“Ryukyu for me!” grinned Asido with her usual bubbly demeanor.

“W-what?! How do you guys know already?!” spluttered Izumi. “We all had a bunch of offers! I don’t even know what kind of hero I want to intern with!”

“Just pick the highest rank you can get, Deku,” reasoned Bakugo. “That’s what I’m doing. Only reason Edgeshot’s in the running is ‘cause he matches my fighting style better than Best Jeanist.”

“B-but, there’s more than ranking!” Izumi debated. “I mean, Endeavor’s number two, but he solves everything with brute force! Someone like Ochako or Tsu probably wouldn’t want to intern there!”

“She makes a good point,” Yaoyorozu said.

“Whatever,” scoffed Bakugo. “Not my job to pick for you fuckwads.” She left the living room and went upstairs.

“Midoriya, if you want, I’ll help you choose,” offered Todoroki.

“That would actually be super helpful, thanks,” said Izumi with a sigh of relief. “Um, if you’re alright with it, we could do that in my room.”

“Sure,” said Todoroki, and the pair left the room in favor of Izumi’s bedroom.

“I’m sure he’s just ‘helping her choose’,” Uraraka said with an amused smirk. A few people chuckled.

=====================================================================

Despite the fact that some were skeptical about Todoroki and Izumi’s intentions, the dual colored boy was really just helping Izumi pick where she’d intern.

“So, I have everything split up into categories. What kind of hero they are, what Quirk they have, the type of incidents they handle, ranking, how much I like —”

“Midoriya,” interrupted Todoroki before Izumi could really get into her stride with a nerdy rant. “Let’s start with where you don’t want to go.”

“Well, I don’t want to go intern with a hero who’s all brawn and no brains,” said Izumi.

“Okay,” Todoroki said, nodding. “Then none of these.” He picked up a stack of offers that Izumi had labeled ‘Muscle Types, Combat Incidents’, and tossed them in the trash.

“Wait!” protested Izumi. “There could be someone in there who I really want to intern with!”

“You have 400 offers,” sighed Todoroki. “We have to start somewhere.”

“Fine,” she acquiesced. 

The pair continued in a similar vein for about two hours, until they’d at last narrowed it down to 3 options.

“Alright. So we have Midnight, Best Jeanist, and Sir Nighteye. Which do you want to pick?” Todoroki inquired.

“Y-yeah,” said Izumi. “I uh- um- Best Jeanist? Wait, no! Midnight! No, I change my mind! Sir Nighteye! Ughhhh! This is too hard!”

“We have Saturday and Sunday left to choose. You could just stop here for now,” said Todoroki.

“Alright,” Izumi said, shrugging. “I was wondering...are you sure you want to intern with your dad?”

Todoroki rubbed his fingers against the bridge of his nose. “I don’t know,” he mumbled with a grimace.

“Why’s that?” Izumi asked.

“It's complicated,” began Todoroki. “He's a garbage father. But I can’t deny that he’s an effective hero. I’m not sure, but I think that interning with him might be my best option. Personally and professionally.”

“You have other offers. You don’t have to go with him. Unless you want to.”

“I...I think I need to do this,” Todoroki decided.

“Okay,” said Izumi. “It’s your choice.”

“Thanks though,” he said. “I appreciate your concern.”

“Of course,” she said, smiling.

=====================================================================

Izumi woke up on Saturday morning to a text from her phone.

All Might: Hello, young lady! I was wondering if you had any time to meet today? I would like to talk to you

Izumi: Fine. What time? And where?

All Might: 2:00, near the front of the school

Izumi: See you then

Izumi heaved a sigh, and grumbled “This is so dumb. I don’t wanna’ talk to him.” Nevertheless, she wanted to ask for All Might’s advice on internships, so she figured she might as well, even though she was still angry with him for dating her mom.

=====================================================================

Kirishima was waiting downstairs for Bakugo. He’d been looking forward to Saturday ever since he’d asked her out, even though he was nervous. Just when he was about to head upstairs to check on her, she came down to the living room and took his breath away. Bakugo was wearing a short navy blue dress and some low heels. Her hair was tied up into a tight bun, and she had large silver hoop earrings dangling from her ears.

“You look good. Really good,” breathed Kirishima, lovestruck.

“I know,” said Bakugo, blushing. “But thanks.”

“I was thinking we could get lunch and go to the butterfly pavilion. Or maybe see a movie?”

“How did you know I like butterflies?” wondered Bakugo.

“Midoriya told me,” he confessed.

“Of course she did,” scoffed Bakugo. “But yeah. Lunch and the butterfly pavilion sounds good.”

=====================================================================

“Thanks for this,” said Bakugo. “I haven’t been here since I was a kid.”

“Of course,” Kirishima said. “Also, I think I’m still dying from how spicy that food was.”

“Oh come on,” said Bakugo. “It was fucking tame!”

“No way! It was crazy hot!”

“Whatever,” said Bakugo as she lightly punched his upper arm in a show of affection. She hesitated for a moment, and turned to Kirishima, putting her arms over his shoulders.

Kirishima paused and said “Do you mind if I —” Before he could finish his question, Bakugo cut him off with her lips. Kirishima was surprised, but quickly got over his shock and readily embraced the kiss. 

When the two separated, Bakugo let out a soft sigh, and grinned. “Was that what you were thinking?”

“Yeah,” admitted Kirishima. “I’ve, um- had a really great time...do you want to do something like this again?”

“Sure, Hair-for-Brains.”

Kirishima chuckled at the playful nickname, and they kept walking through the pavilion.

=====================================================================

“So,” said Izumi as she sat down on the bench next to All Might. “What did you want to talk about?”

All Might was quiet for a moment, and he uncomfortably fidgeted on the small bench. Finally, he said “I wanted to speak to you about my relationship with -um- your mother.”

“What about it?” said Izumi tersely. 

“I know that...you aren’t entirely comfortable with it. But I want you to know that I’d never do anything to hurt her.”

“It’s not about that,” sighed Izumi. She paused for a moment, thinking about whether or not she should tell him how she was feeling. It was hard to set aside her misdirected anger toward him. Ultimately Izumi decided this was needed, and that she couldn’t stay pissed off forever. “Well, no, that’s not true,” she corrected. “I care about her, that’s important. It’s really about my dad though.”

“Ah,” said All Might. “Inko did tell me about him.”

“It’s just...we were really close. And it feels like my mom’s trying to replace him. I’m not really mad at you. I’m kind of mad at her.”

“Young Midoriya. I don’t know if you know this, but your mom loves you so, so much. I care about you deeply. But Inko, well, you’re everything to her. I mean, you’re her world. She cares about your wants and needs more than you know.”

“Then why is she trying to replace him?” sniped back Izumi.

All Might brought his 7’3” frame down a little so he was making direct eye contact with Izumi. “I promise you, she isn’t,” he said sympathetically. “No one’s ever going to replace your father. That’s not possible. I think she just wants romantic love back in her life. Inko deserves happiness, and I’d like to try to provide her with some. So, please, give me a chance?”

Izumi contemplated his request for a moment. “Okay,” she reluctantly agreed. “I guess if my mom’s gonna’ date someone, you’re a pretty good choice.”

“Thank you,” said All Might.

“Um, I actually had a question for you,” Izumi said shyly.

“Yes?”

“It’s about internships. I’ve narrowed down my choices to Midnight, Best Jeanist, or Sir Nighteye, but I’m really not sure. Do you have any advice?”

“I think that it’s up to your discretion. Sir Nighteye was my sidekick years ago, but we’ve since had a falling out. He does good work though. A good option for sure. Best Jeanist is high in the rankings and has great approval ratings, so you can’t go wrong with him. And then, Midnight. I understand if you’d want to intern with her. There aren’t a lot of female heroes after all. I think you should trust your gut,” he advised.

“Well see, that’s the problem!” complained Izumi. “They’re all good options!”

“You know, there’s a fourth hero I think you should consider,” recommended All Might. “Gran Torino. He worked at U.A for one year. He was my homeroom teacher. He knows about One For All too. Honestly though, it’s been so long since he was active that I all but forgot about him.”

“Wait, really?!” said Izumi excitedly. “What’s he like?”

“He’s…” All Might had paused and was shaking a little, with a horrified expression on his face. “Um- he’s...w-well, it’s my duty to train you, but you should go work to your heart’s c-content.”

Just how scary is this guy?! ” thought Izumi. 

“Regardless,” continued All Might. “Like I said, follow your gut instinct.”

“Y-yeah,” agreed Izumi. “I’ll do that.”

She walked away no closer to deciding where she’d intern. Although she had a fourth option she hadn’t even thought about. Yet, since All Might had suggested Gran Torino, the unknown hero had become a front runner (regardless of how frightening All Might seemed to find him).

=====================================================================

Yaoyorozu was having almost as much difficulty deciding where to intern as Izumi was. “Why not go to Fatgum’s agency?” suggested Izumi, looking over the list of her friend’s options.

“I don’t know most of these heroes and I don’t have the amount of time I’d need to research all of them,” explained Yaoyorozu. “I’m not sure who Fatgum is or the kind of hero work he does.”

“Oh!” said Izumi in surprise. “Um, let me think...he’s pretty popular, I think he’s around 22nd in the Hero Billboard Chart rankings. And his Quirk is basically that he can absorb energy with his fat. So he’d always have snacks around his agency! He’s a good option for your Quirk. I think he’s right around Aizawa’s age, so he’s been a hero for a while too.”

“Wow,” said Yaoyorozu. “I can’t believe I almost missed him. Thanks, Midoriya.”

“Of course!” Izumi said, smiling.

She makes a good point,” Izumi thought. “We don’t have much time to pick. I have to narrow it down a little more. So...Sir Nighteye and Gran Torino. Gran Torino knows about One For All, and I’d bet Sir Nighteye might know too. I think they’re my best choices.

=====================================================================

Iida sat in his room, brooding and looking down at the two offers he was still considering. One was from Wash, a very popular hero who worked primarily in Tokyo. And the other was from Manual: The Normal Hero, who was relatively unknown. Manual worked in Hosu, where The Hero Killer:Stain had last been seen. Iida knew that he shouldn’t get caught up in the idea and the trap of revenge, but… He picked up the offer from Wash, and regretfully threw it away. He needed to find Stain and avenge his brother. Then, and only then, could he take up the name and mantle of Ingenium. 

=====================================================================

Similarly to Iida, Izumi was in her room, deliberating upon which of her options to take. She knew that Sir Nighteye was an amazing hero, and yet, he didn’t have the advantage of a recommendation from her mentor. Not to mention, All Might said the two of them had a falling out, so that dissuaded her a little. All Might had said to trust her instincts. At last, with a day to spare, she’d chosen to intern with Gran Torino.

=====================================================================

Images for this chapter:

Izumi swapping out her wet blazer for Todoroki's dry one-