Uraraka was many things, but she was not a sore loser. At least, that’s what she was telling herself as she nursed her dislocated shoulder in Recovery Girl’s extremely busy station.
Her hard work had earned her a spot in the semi-finals for her final Sports Festival, but ultimately was unable to best Todoroki’s firepower. Fire didn’t care if it was airborne, it just wanted to burn. She groaned, shifting uncomfortably in her training uniform. She had burns everywhere and just wanted to cry.
She was so close! After the hell that was her match with Tokoyami and Dark Shadow, she had finally built up the momentum she needed to take on one of the classes Top 3. But she got cocky and assumed she knew everything up his sleeve, making Todoroki’s final attack (a vortex of ice AND fire) a surprise that blasted her out of bounds.
Hence her busted left shoulder.
Uraraka Ochako was not the same girl she was her first year at UA. The world was not the same either. Some days she wished she could go back, other days she’s thankful she couldn’t. If she was honest with herself, the thing she truly missed was the innocent wonder she perceived the world with, and the optimism that came with it.
But it turns out that wasn’t in the cards for her. It wasn’t really for any of her classmates, or anyone wanting to be a hero. And she had to accept that that was ok.
Third year Uraraka Ochako was a self-made force to be reckoned with. During the winter break between first and second year, the League of Villains ambushed she and her classmates, making it very clear that their Kill List had expanded. A simple outing turned into a life-or-death brawl that forced all of them to accept that to be a hero in a post All Might world was to be one who accepted that their lives-her life- would always be on the line. She’d never forget the memory of Iida almost being crushed to death by a car, and how an instinctive flex of her hand is the only reason why he’s not in the ground.
After that day, Uraraka had to make a choice. They all had to make a choice. Providing for her parents was still a top priority, but it wasn’t enough anymore. She wanted to provide for everyone now. Everyone deserved to be safe, and it was in her power to make that happen. And if she wanted to keep up with the powerhouses that were her friends, no-their equal-then Uraraka herself would have to become a powerhouse too.
To control her nausea, she spent 3 months straight suspended in zero gravity. After discovering they had the same gym schedules, Kirishima became her favorite sparring partner. Her now-current internship partner Bakugo would join occasionally to practice fighting in the air. Deku helped her hone her reflexes, and mornings were dedicated to pushing her quirk to its absolute limits. Over the course of her second year, Uraraka transformed, earning the respect of her classmates and teachers. No longer were people hesitant to go all out on the fragile floating girl. If her goal was to become the embodiment of her school’s motto, Plus Ultra, she achieved it and more.
At least, that’s the image she broadcasts. If she wants to stand on the podium with the best of them, she can’t very well also be complaining over how stiff her muscles are, or how she weeps in her room eating mochi while watching sad do videos. Her internship with Miruko taught her that to be a strong female hero meant to be an impenetrable force. Ending up sharing that internship with Bakugo taught her the necessity of speaking her mind, and an entire dictionary of new curse words.
She was proud of her work to earn a spot in the top 5 of her class, but sometimes a girl just wants to take a nap.
“Hey! Watch your damn language!”
She had to crack a smile. Kirishima was in the bed next to her wrapped head to toe in bandages. It was quite impressive that he got Deku to fight THAT ferociously against him in the quarterfinals, but damn did it do a number on his body.
Kirishima grew into what everyone predicted he would. A wall of muscle with a wicked sense of humor complete with a shit-eating grin. His friendship was a welcomed byproduct of her reinvigorated training regimen, and she’s always been thankful for it.
Also, he’s not bad to look at.
She laughed. “Give me another minute to whine, then I’ll be a good sport.”
It was his turn to laugh. “If having a potty mouth helps you fight like that, please never stop saying fuck again.” He groaned as he sat up in his hospital bed, bandages straining against his muscles causing him to look like a buff mummy. Control yourself, Ochako. “Seriously, that move Todoroki did was one hundred percent his last resort. It would’ve taken any of us down. You should be proud.”
Uraraka sighed, trying to lean against her own bed without grimacing. Her right arm was in a sling, but the bone hadn’t been popped back into its socket. Recovery Girl’s wing was full of students, as it had been last year. Her classmates just didn’t know when to quit.
“I know you’re right, but I can’t help to think that every fight I lose in here would be one where a villain wins out there." She sighed again. "It’s hard not to put so much pressure on yourself.”
Kirishima’s grin faded, replaced with an empathetic nod. Every hero-in-training felt that pressure. “When we graduate, let’s try to get hired at the same agency so we can watch each other’s backs, okay?”
Her grin returned as a smirk. “What? Just the two of us? And leave Bakugo by himself? Kirishima, is this a love confession?”
He wiggled his eyebrows at her. “I can’t lose the only sparring partner that doesn’t use me as cannon fodder!” They both leaned back laughing, and simultaneously winced through the pain it caused.
“Serves you right, fucking dumbasses.” Uraraka turned her head, shocked to see the scene of Bakugo being led into the office with an absolutely obliterated left arm by a very guilty Deku. Well, it looks like we know who won Deku vs Bakugo’s semifinal. I wonder how he allowed Deku to come with him. Three years later and she still didn’t have a single clear insight into their twisted relationship.
“Don’t worry Bakugo, you’re invited to join us.” She quipped, very pointedly not asking about the match. “Any agency would be lucky to have UA’s most busted up third years!”
This earned a snort from Kirishima and a murderous glower from Bakugo. “Go fuck yourself fat face.” Well excuse me then.
Training had leaned her out, but genetics were determined to keep her curvy. She didn’t quite mind it though. Her body was a reminder to her that she was in fact feminine, something she feels like she has to constantly disregard in the masculine driven world of battle heroes. She grew out her hair to shoulder-length and typically kept it in a low bun. Her bangs have never failed her and she doesn’t touch them, save for the occasional trim.
As Uraraka opened her mouth to retort, she was interrupted by a cough from UA’s number one, in combat and in anxiety. “Kacchan I’m so sorry about your arm I really didn’t-“
“SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Bakugo roared. Even from his wheelchair, his unadulterated aggression left him horrifying. “We’ve been through this! Fuck my arm! If you hadn’t have done it I would’ve killed you and won the fucking thing!” He spat angrily. “Accept the fucking win and get the fuck out of my face!”
If Kirishima grew into what was expected, Deku’s growth quite frankly defied logic. No longer was he a mop-headed kid desperately doing wall sits in between classes to bulk up. To make himself try to look older, he now sported an undercut (from Uraraka’s suggestion) to keep his curls at bay. He wasn’t beefy by Kirishima standards, but he was still an absolute unit of height and muscle. Uraraka couldn’t remember the last time she reached past his shoulders.
Uraraka reasoned that Bakugo was naturally the most physically attractive out of the bunch while simultaneously being the most emotionally repulsive. His shoulder to waist ratio didn’t matter, it was like having to babysit the kid in dodgeball who was constantly tagged out but refused to leave the game. Childish and exhausting. Despite mellowing out considerably since their first year, he had a long way to go before she (or any girl) would put up with that. Now if he DID calm down…
He growled again and turned away from the group, angrily nursing his broken arm. Uraraka got it. She really did. Losing sucked. Interning with Bakugo didn’t make them friends, but it gave her a better understanding of how he operated. She couldn’t imagine how hard losing his final Sports Festival must be for him, someone who places his self-worth on every win he gets. It’s even more insulting when the winner is a rival that tries to make excuses.
She sighed. “It’s ok Deku, if you won that means you earned it. Congratulations!” She smiled.
Deku’s face lit up at her voice and left Bakugo to his glowering. They all knew him well enough to give him a wide berth from here on out. Deku plopped down in the chair next to her bed. According to the schedule, they had at least an hour before the final match started. He needed to be preparing for it, but she was grateful for the company. “Uraraka, your fight was insane! I can’t believe the acrobatics you pulled in the last half! I almost wish WE were going up against each other.”
He turned to give an apologetic wave at Kirishima. “Hey, you doing ok?” Kirishima tried to wave back, but got caught on his own bandage. “I feel like shit, but in the best way. PLEASE win so I can say I got my ass kicked by the festival champion, it would soften the blow to my pride.”
It was hard to stay pouting when her friends were such good sports. She quelled the frustration building in her gut. At least, that’s what this pull she felt must be. She chalked it up to residual jealousy on being unable to progress to the finals. Uraraka playfully swatted Deku with her good arm. “I wish I could’ve seen your match, hopefully I’ll be out in time for the final.”
Deku closed his eyes, and reached out to squeeze her arm. Two years ago the action would’ve left them both flustered and blushing messes. Now, after everything they’ve been through, their relationship ran deeper than a mere romantic attraction. It was nestled somewhere between love and family, and neither were in a hurry to explore what that meant yet. “This is the first time I’ve made it to the finals, I’ve got to make it count.” He opened his eyes, gleaming with the determination he’d been perfecting these past 3 years. Uraraka beamed. Her own loss aside, she couldn’t be more proud.
“We love Todoroki, but kick his ass.” She said while grabbing his arm and thrusting it into the air via victory pose. “And afterwards, we can go get pizza!”
“Pizza.” They both sighed together. The forbidden, greasy delicacy they only allowed themselves once a semester. He dropped her hand and shook himself. “I’ll make it a victory pizza.”
“You guys are fucking stupid.” A quiet insult came from Bakugo’s angry corner. He huffed to no one in particular. “Where the fuck is that old lady?”
Kirishima gave him a look. “If someone hadn’t decided to blow up the stadium in the first round and give the majority of UA second degree burns, then maybe Recovery Girl could get to us quicker.”
“I DON’T NEED YOUR ADVICE ON HOW TO WIN!” Bakugo roared.
They were immediately dowsed in tense silence. Uraraka was wondering who would be dumb enough to prod Bakugo after such a public loss, and then realized too late the words came from HER. Shit. Maybe Todoroki blasted her away a little too hard.
He gave her a look that could melt glaciers. Here we go. “When we’re all put back together, I’m going to tear your ass into a new one.”
She flinched. There was nothing more intimidating than being zeroed in on by an angry Bakugo. She didn’t know how Deku did it all these years. She felt another pull of her stomach, one that was EXTREMELY painful. She grimaced. This wasn’t anxiety. “What the hell?”
Deku noticed too. “Uraraka, are you ok?”
She nodded, “I’m ok, maybe I have some internal bruising, I’m not sure-“ A wave of pain caused her to yelp and convulse. Something was wrong. She seized again.
“Uraraka? URARAKA?” Deku hunched over her, trying to keep her body from seizing. She felt like she was being torn apart. “What’s..happening?” She hissed. Her bad arm slapped against her bed, the pain making her vision go fuzzy.
“Someone get Recovery Girl! She might have internal bleeding!” She couldn’t tell who was shouting anymore, she couldn’t tell much of anything. What the hell was going on?
“Deku, something’s…not right. This isn’t…” The room started to spin, people began to fall out of focus. She must’ve been losing her mind, because she heard birds chirping.
“Uraraka, hang in there! SOMEONE GET HELP!” Deku was now clutching her face, trying to keep her conscious. The rip in her stomach spread through her whole body, and she flung herself against the hospital bed. “Make it stop! Please!”
In the future, when she was no longer experiencing the feeling of being torn apart, Uraraka wished she could’ve taken a picture of their faces for what happened next. No one can prepare you for your classmate to start glowing. “What the fuuuuuck?” Kirishima whispered in horror.
“Stole the words from my fucking mouth.” Bakugo looked on dumbfounded. They were both rooted in place in fear, completely at a loss for the scene unfolding in front of them.
Uraraka’s mind desperately grasped for some sort of reason as to why even though his grip on her was iron tight, she was slipping through her best friend’s fingers. Why Recovery Girl’s station was slowly fading away and being replaced by a lush forest. Why whatever this was felt like it was tearing her apart. And most importantly, why a steady glow emanating from her body was growing in intensity. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she thought that if this wasn’t so absolutely horrifying, the glowing might’ve looked beautiful. Something out of one of her bedtime fantasy novels of damsels whisked away to other worlds in ornate portals and magic summons.
But this was not beautiful. This was hell.
She needed to convey this to her friends, to help them understand what was going on. But all she could choke out was, “…trees?” She’d lost it.
“Stay with us! Ochako, Recovery Girl’s coming! Stay-“ Unfortunately Deku couldn’t finish what he had to say next. One second he was clutching his best friend in what he had perceived to be in the middle of a seizure, and the next, she was dissolving through his fingers in a flood of light. Now it was his turn to lose it.
“What the fuc-?” Her forest hallucination had solidified into reality. Her friends had faded, their screams muted by the now-present wind. The bed she was laying on disappeared from under her and Uraraka hit the ground. Hard.
The pain wasn’t finished with her, but her body had had enough. Finally succumbing to unconsciousness, her last fleeting thought was how she wished she could’ve stuck around a second longer, just to hear Deku drop his first fbomb.
Pain and confusion. That’s what woke her from her slumber. That and the stray leaf that tickled across her nose. Uraraka sneezed and yelped as the state of her body forced her into consciousness. It was a soreness she couldn’t comprehend. Without opening her eyes, she ran a shaky diagnostics check. Despite feeling like it, she wasn’t actually torn to shreds. Her organs and limbs were intact, albeit filled with a stiffness and aching she wouldn’t wish on her greatest enemy. The slight burns from her match were already fading away to a dull ache. Her biggest injury remained her dislocated shoulder. She didn’t understand how her fight with Todoroki left her in this state. Why hadn’t Recovery Girl fixed her shoulder already? Wasn’t Deku with her? Another leaf blew across her face and her eyes snapped open.
Recovery Girl hadn’t healed her because she wasn't in her station. She wasn’t even in a building. Uraraka glanced around, still unable to lift her head. She was definitely outside, on the ground, with trees surrounding her. Did she end up in a park? Her hand shakily reached for her phone, only to stop mid-way in frustration. It was still in the waiting room with her bag, she didn’t even have time to grab it between her match ending and being sent to the infirmary. Of course, she huffed, of course I wouldn’t have my phone on me. That would just make this convenient, and we can’t have that!
Uraraka forced herself to maintain steady breathing as she tried to recount what had happened. Her body hurts because something happened in the recovery wing that caused her to glow, dissolve, and experience an unbelievable amount of pain. She had to double back real quick. Yes, that actually happened.
Thinking back, it was a miracle she hadn’t activated her quirk in the delirium. And now, she was on the forest floor, defenseless, and in her tattered training uniform. She grimaced. It must’ve been a quirk that did this, but whose? She didn’t know anyone with the power to teleport people. Did she do it to herself?
No, she grimaced as she braced herself to sit up. Whoever did this knew what they were doing. That was far too painful and gradual of an experience for it to be at random. But she was coming up at a loss for who could be responsible. The most important thing right now was to find either a familiar face or a store with a phone. Her muscles screamed as she wrestled upright, gauging her surroundings.
It was early afternoon. Her match had ended a little after 10, she must’ve been unconscious for at least a few hours. She scratched her forehead, trying to motivate herself to stand up. “This is nothing, Ochako. You are Uravity, master of zero g. If you don’t get up now, you won’t be able to get pizza with Deku and Iida.” Despite getting a hold on her nausea, she knew she was in no shape to activate her quirk on herself. She had to rely on good old-fashioned willpower to get off this ground.
Taking a deep breath, she pushed herself off the ground with her good arm, only to fall immediately back down. “FUCK!” She rarely swore (out loud), but the soreness that shot through her arm was enough to make a sailor out of her. And this was supposed to be her good arm!
Was she supposed to just wait until someone passed by? She had no idea where she was! The day’s events were starting to wear on her. She was hurt, she was starving, and she was stuck. Tears welled up and she let out another scream of frustration.
“Oi!” Her head shot up. Was that a voice in the distance? Uraraka bit her lip. This person could either be her knight in shining armor, or someone very dangerous she’s attracting towards her. She knew her body, she was in no position to defend herself. Regardless, he grit her teeth and made the decision. “I’m over here!” She took a gamble, she can handle herself if needed. She was a hero for crying out loud.
Whoever was yelling was far enough away that Uraraka had time to drag herself to rest against a tree. She sighed. All I want right now is to get back to the dorms and take a long hot bath. “Still over here!” She called after a few more minutes.
She heard crashing footsteps to her left. Whoever was coming to her rescue either had a vendetta against the brush they were tearing apart, or was the size of an elephant. They broke through the brush and she caught a glimpse of ash blonde hair.
Ah, that explained it.
She sank against the tree. Thank god, someone she knew. She couldn’t be that far from campus then. “Wow Bakugo am I glad to see you-“ But as he came into view her words caught in her throat and her jaw dropped.
This wasn’t the Bakugo from this morning. It was him…but it wasn’t. His build was slightly off. His chest was broader-well-everything was slightly broader. Obviously Bakugo was cut, but she didn’t remember to this extent. There was a hungry nature about this Bakugo that felt primal. Not only that, he carried himself in a way that made him seem a head taller. And his hair…still the ash blonde spikes, but the sides were shaved down in an undercut that Deku wished he could pull off. But nothing prepared her for his choice of clothes…or lack thereof. Adorned in pants, leather boots, and an assortment of jewelry, Uraraka could only gawk at the only thing covering his top half, a lavish burgundy cape with fur trim.
“Uhh..” But it WAS Bakugo! No one on this planet could replicate the scowl permanently set on his features. Other than his mother, she had also never met anyone else with eyes quite like that. Eyes that were now piercing her with an intensity that made her feel like a cornered animal.
“What the fuck happened to you?” He barked at her, not moving from his stance. Her alarm was mirrored in his eyes.
“I-uh” This was not what she was expecting. “Is your arm okay?”
His eyes widened, brows furrowed even deeper than she thought was possible. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
Right. Recovery Girl. Uraraka shook her head. “Sorry, dumb question I guess. Uh, Bakugo..can you please explain to me why you’re dressed like…” She motioned her chin in his direction, “..that?” She knew her welfare should be top priority right now, but she really couldn’t get over this Dungeons and Dragons ensemble. Was it for a tournament mini-game? But he had never participated before.
He didn’t speak for a moment, anger radiating from his body. It was clear he was thinking hard about something, but she didn’t know what. After a few moments, he shook his head and growled. “I can’t believe this shit. You run off into these damn woods some supposed voices calling your name, only to disappear for an entire afternoon and turn up batshit crazy. If you were looking to prove you could be useful, you fucking failed. Now we’re behind.” He thrust out his hand to point at her, suddenly getting very defensive. “And what the fuck am I wearing? I’m wearing my goddamn clothes. What are YOU wearing?”
Was this LARPing? How did Deku convince him to do this with him? Her shoulder twinged painfully. She didn’t have time for this. “Listen,” she hissed, “You and I both know I don’t know what you’re talking about. You can bully me all you want when we get back to the stadium but I need you to help me get to Recovery Girl so I can fix my shoulder.”
Bakugo’s eyes shifted to her injured shoulder in the sling and immediately tensed. “Who dressed that?” He whispered, looking at her in a light of suspicion. “And what ARE you wearing? And where did those mystery voices of yours go?” To her mortification, he sniffed at her. “Your scent is different too.”
Before she had a chance to retort, he crouched into a battle stance. His eyes alit with rage. “I knew it. There weren’t any voices. You’re a spy. This was a set up.”
If she wasn’t so afraid of the murderous intent rolling off him in waves, Uraraka would’ve laughed. But she didn’t even have time to blink. In a flash he was on her, roughly grabbing her jaw and bringing her to his face. He held her in place against the tree. Her face paled. “If you thought you could lure us in and pick us off one by one, you really are a stupid bitch.” The heat coming from his hand was starting to burn. She tried to squirm out of his grasp but he held tighter. “Were you just pretending to be useless? So we wouldn’t suspect you? Nice try.” He lowered his face to to meet her eyes. “When I’m done with you, you’ll have wished I would’ve ended you right here.”
His other hand went to her neck and started to apply pressure. This was all too much. She was losing oxygen too quickly to even slap him with her quirk. What was happening? “Your fucking murderer of a king will never win.” What?
If she was honest with herself, at this point, Uraraka welcomed the darkness that took her. Maybe when she woke up, this would have all been a bad dream. A horrifying, visceral nightmare, but not real. Maybe. Hopefully. Because if not, then that means this Bakugo wants her dead, and can’t do anything to stop him. Where the hell were her friends? Where the hell was she?