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Ore no Hero Academia

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Men are not all equal at birth. It is this inequality which drives the world and keeps it going.

 

Midoriya Izuku at the tender age of four, had made this epiphany. When his quirk had manifested, no one had actually realized it at least until a few months later. It was only when he had called his mother’s attention that he had not charged his mobile phone for the past few months that, after a lengthy medical test with the quirk specialists, they had pinpointed his quirk to that of a minor, insignificant, recharging ability.

 

At the tender age of four, Izuku had felt his world already crashing down.

 

Raised with stories about the Golden Age of heroics, of caped men wearing spandex and crushing villains who performed terrible deeds and saving lives from terrible calamities; Izuku had aspired to become one of those acclaimed by the masses; a hero.

 

Heroes are the golden eggs of the world; supermen and superwomen who dedicate their lives to public order and safety.

 

Before the Golden Age, the thought of men wielding extraordinary powers were thought to be of myth and legend and a child’s fantasy. It was during the dawn of the Golden Age that, with the appearance of these abilities amongst 80% of the general population; the thought of ‘heroics’ as a career suddenly did not seem so farfetched at all.

 

To be a hero, certain moral qualities and ethics need to be followed. But even if you have the personality, charisma and face of a hero, what is important is your ‘quirk’, your ‘individuality’.

 

Your power.

 

From the 80% of the general population that receive ‘quirks’, only 30% can be considered ‘heroic’ material. The rest of the quirks are more useful in careers or specialized jobs. (Bioluminescence, empathy, auto-attraction, etc.)

 

Among these 30% heroic quirks, the strength of the quirk is also assessed. While breathing out fire may be considered a quirk worthy of heroics, there is a difference between one that can breathe out a large fireball versus one that can barely light kindling.

 

From this 30%, only 10% would have the capacity to be judged worthy for heroics.

 

And with the appearance of heroics, villainy was a shadow that stalked society thereafter. These were individuals who had chosen to selfishly use their potent quirks against society, instead of for its benefit.

 

Heroes, who at first had only calamities to deal with, now had to fight criminals with powers equal or greater than their own. Heroes and villains, as cliché as it sounds, are a common occurrence now, in the world where Midoriya Izuku lives.

 

Chapter 1

 

“WOAH!”

 

Izuku, 14 years old, gaped with delight at the hero-villain scuffle that was happening at the city crossing. Dozens of commuters and onlookers were waiting for the fight to finish, calling their workplaces or their homes and informing them that they might be late due to a villain’s indiscretion with time and location.

 

“Boss! Some handbag thief is rampaging near the train station. Might take a while until the heroes catch him.”

 

“Yeah, large rhino person. There’s a hero that’s already responded. I’ll call you back when this is finished.”

 

“blog…blog…hee…hee…”

 

The conversations and observations of the commuters buzzed through the air, but Izuku paid them no heed. Squeezing through the crowd that had gathered, he took account of each and every hero that was coordinating the local perimeter. (It wasn't that hard to do so; heroes tended to wear flashy costumes in order to attract attention from both civilians and villains.)

 

Crossing is rerouting traffic.” Izuku mumbled with a knowing air, shifting his eyes at each costumed hero. “Ace Catcher is watching out for rubble that might get thrown here. And Apollo X is making sure no pedestrian gets near the fight.”

 

His attention shifted towards a modest looking hero that was engaging the villain, one he could easily recognize as ‘Kamui Wood’.

 

“Ooh! Kamui Wood! He’s a young hero that’s been getting a surge of popularity over the past few weeks with a lot of female fans!” Izuku remarked, biting out the hero’s profile even before he knew it. Most of Kamui’s fights involved the flashy use of his Wood quirk. Izuku enjoyed witnessing flashy quirks. (Was it a feeling of jealousy since his own quirk couldn't even be considered anything remotely flashy?)

 

“Heh, little boy.” A guy, who looked like a hero otaku, noticed his outburst. “Ya’ seem to know a lot about them heroes. You a fan too?”

 

Izuku gave him a deadpanned look. “Ehm, no.” (I’m not a fan! I want to be a hero too!)

 

The sound of creaking wood made him turn towards the fight. Kamui Wood was rearing his arm back, an action Izuku was most familiar with.

 

“There it is! Kamui Wood’s “Absolute Preemptive Confi-“

 

Just as Kamui Wood was about to use his sure-capture technique, Lacquered Chains Prison, a humungous woman barreled through from the everyone’s blind spot and blindsided the villain (who looked smaller in comparison now) with a kick to the chin. (Izuku almost spat from the somewhat ridiculous situation of hero-kiting that just occurred. The woman just took out an engaging hero's villain, which means she probably was not aware of hero combat ethics.)

 

“CANNON CANYON!” The flying kick knocked the villain off his feet and rendered him unconscious instantly. With his awareness gone, the size-modifying quirk was rendered inert, and the bag thief slowly reverted back into his normal size (which was still at an abnormal 7 feet tall).

 

“Yaho~ ♫ Call me Mount Lady! Pleased to make everyone’s acquaintance!” Her cutesy voice thundered through the streets, making Izuku cover his ears for a bit due to the uncomfortable sound level. Several hero otakus quickly brought their cameras forward and took photos of her, probably in order to accompany a report on the newest hero on their blogs. Mount Lady basked in the attention, waving out peace signs and flying kisses. (Shameless, Izuku shook his head.)

 

Izuku hurriedly took out his Hero Analysis notebook, taking down notes at a quick speed, mumbling his personal observations and conclusions about her quirk.

 

“Titan Growth…Mount Lady…I assume she’s taking the connotation that her size is like a mountain even though she’s technically not…several titan size quirks have been registered already but is there anything unique about her quirk?...have not confirmed local body mass expansion or what the limit of her growth is…character seems brash and isn’t mindful of another hero’s quarry…her kick destroyed the train barrier and an adjacent building, which is going to give a headache to the cleanup and repair team…” Izuku mumbled, writing down notes as well as drawing a quick sketch of Mount Lady, complete with her horned mask and derisive grin. He also wrote her debut date and what her target market is (males, ages 20-45) when it came to public acclaim.

 

“Woah! Kid! Tha’s some fancy note-taking you have there! You wanna be a pro hero too?” The hero otaku beside him remarked at the detailed notes Izuku had written. “I’ll root for ya so give it everything you got, okay!?”

 

Izuku grinned, pocketing his notebook and pen. “Gonna do my best sir!”

 

 


 

 

Reality was harsh, however. And fancy note-taking didn’t have a role when it came to heroics.

 

Izuku’s lateness was excused when they had heard what happened earlier. He had arrived just in time to hear their middle school homeroom teacher finish giving a lecture on their career paths.

 

“No point giving you these Career Aspiration Documents when all of you have your ambitions set to become pro heroes though!” The teacher laughed, scattering the papers in the air.

 

Everyone cheered, with some of those who had flashier quirks shooting down or destroying the papers that were floating in mid-air. Izuku, always enthused when the topic was about heroes, looked strangely subdued.

 

“Almost everyone here has a quirk suited for heroics.” The teacher nodded sagely. “Let us remind ourselves that your quirks are not meant for use in public yet. This only applies to the lot of you, however.” (Ah, there's the rub. Let's gang up on the only guy with a non-heroic quirk.)

 

The teacher made a pointed look at Izuku, who shrank in embarrassment. Everyone followed his line of sight and laughed at this. They all knew how his non-heroic quirk worked.

 

TEACHER!” Someone from two seats down, one seat to Izuku’s right, boomed his voice to interrupt. “Don’t lump me in with these other losers!”

 

Izuku gazed softly at his childhood friend…well, “former” friend anyway: Bakugou Katsuki (nicknamed Kacchan), who is also the same age as him. Izuku and him were friends before their quirks manifested, but after that, their relationship took a turn for the worse. Bakugou had never failed to make Izuku feel miserable about himself because of the differences in their quirk. (Izuku, to this day, will always wonder whether his praising had somehow contributed to Kacchan's arrogance.)

 

Izuku had never felt any different towards Kacchan though. There was a small sliver of hope inside of him that truly wished they could become friends again. (Kacchan is awesome, his quirk is awesome. Before we had our quirks, we promised to fight together in the future as partner heroes.)

 

“I’ve no intention of grouping myself with these cannon fodders!” Bakugou continued on with his swaggering, breaking Izuku from his reminiscing. “ ‘Pro’ quirks? Hah! Everyone here might as well work in the glue factory!”

 

A large amount of booing ensued, while Izuku kept to himself.

 

“Pipe down you side characters!” Bakugou mocked. “Y’all are deadweights, so behave as such!”

 

The teacher looked thoughtful, remembering something. “Oh, if I remember correctly, you want to go to Yuuei Academy, isn’t that right, Bakugou-kun?”

 

His classmates murmured, everyone was unbelieving of this tidbit of information.

 

“That Yuuei? My brother told me the exams are all cutthroat in that academy…”

 

“You need an average of 79 in their entrance exams for even a chance to participate in the quirk exams! It’s why I chose East Side instead of Yuuei!”

 

Bakugou smirked, as he kicked off his slouch and stood on his table, looking down on the class.

 

“And that’s the difference between me and all of you! While everyone here is going with safe bets, I’m going to trash their exams and set a new record for Yuuei!”

 

“I’ll even surpass ALL MIGHT and then I’ll take the title of the highest ranking hero of all time! I’ll be the richest and most famous person in the entire world!” Bakugou declared, drawing ‘oohs’ and sighs from his classmates.

 

“Ah.”

 

Everyone suddenly turned towards their teacher, who had also remembered another interesting bit of information.

 

“Midoriya-kun, didn’t you put in your papers that Yuuei was also your first choice for high school?”

 

Everyone’s gaze shifted towards Midoriya, who trembled and looked three times smaller than what he was now. They all exploded in laughter after a few seconds.

 

“PFFFT!!! Really?! Midoriya-kun, you better give up now!”

 

“Seriously Midoriya-kun, don’t even kid yourself. Recharging batteries barely counts as something heroic!”

 

Izuku was totally flustered, trying to salvage what little dignity remained to his dream. He shakily sat up, close to tears. (Shut up!)

 

“Y-you can’t say it isn’t so until you try it!” He bit out with a weak-sounding voice. He was already shaking from embarrassment and from a little bit of anger at having his dream ridiculed. (Leave my dreams alone!)

 

“Shut up Deku!” Bakugou slammed his hand on Izuku’s table, making a small explosion and charring the surface crisp. Izuku was thrown from his chair, still seeing spots of light from having witnessed the explosion up close.

 

“Everyone here, except me, has weak quirks,” Bakugou sneered, looking very spiteful at Izuku’s dazed and cowering form. “But yours takes the cake for the most worthless and most pitiful!”

 

He lumbered towards Izuku, who was slowly kicking himself from the floor, away from Bakugou.

 

“So why, with your pitiful quirk that is almost useless for nothing, do you even plan to go to the same school as I am?” Bakugou’s face took a dangerous look. “Are you saying my Explosion quirk is as useless as your Plus Minus?! Huh, Deku?!”

 

“K-Kacchan, n-no!” Izuku shook his head, still keeping his distance away from the other boy. “I’m not competing or anything at all!”

 

“I just…I always wanted to go there ever since I was little…” He whispered, his voice ready to give out. “T-There’s no harm in trying…”

 

Bakugou looked furious, his hands already smoking. “You little runt! I’ll teach you not to speak back to someone like me!”

 

Everyone cheered for Bakugou, while most were laughing at Izuku’s crestfallen form. Even the teacher did nothing to stop them.

 

He was surrounded by people, but never had Izuku felt this afraid, alone and lonely.

 

 


 

 

Having spent the better part of the day dodging Bakugou's attempts at somehow disabling him enough to avoid going to Yuuei without outright killing him or causing permanent bodily injury (heavens no, Bakugou certainly wouldn't want "accidentally maimed classmate with useless quirk"  on his spotless and immaculate school record; that would be bad for him as a future hero), Izuku was checking the news on his mobile, scrolling through the webpage and reading articles about Mount Lady’s debut. Afternoon had come, and everyone was preparing to go home or sing karaoke with their friends since it was a weekend tomorrow.

 

He was cleaning up his stuff, when Bakugou appeared and swiped his Hero Analysis notebook from his blackened desk top, even before Izuku could react. “Hey!”

 

“We're not done yet, useless Deku.” He held the notebook between his fingers (probably afraid to catch Deku germs) and out of the shorter boy's reach.

 

Izuku bristled, trying to get a hold of his notebook. It was a personal effect that he had invested a lot of time and dedication on.

 

“Yo, Katsuki. What’s with that ragged-looking notebook?” A classmate came near, noticing the scuffle between Izuku and Bakugou.

 

“It’s Deku’s. Looks like some hero profile notebook.” Bakugou snickered, pushing Izuku away from the notebook with one hand while he kept the notebook out of Izuku’s reach.

 

“Kacchan!” Izuku whined, still struggling to get his notebook even if it was a futile endeavor. “Please give it back.”

 

“Woah, he’s gonna cry!”

 

“Ehh? Isn’t he a bit old for that?”

 

Bakugou pushed Izuku away. And before Izuku could even get his bearings, he clapped his hands together, sandwiching the notebook in a tight explosion.

 

“K-Kacchan…” Izuku whimpered, as if he had just witnessed his puppy getting run over by a large truck. “t-that’s…just too cruel…”

 

Bakugou leveled him a stare, letting out a ‘hmph’ while he casually flung the charred remains of the notebook out of the window and into the fish pond outside.

 

“Y’know, Deku. When our quirks appear, it already signifies whether or not a person is top hero material or not.” (You can't know that Kacchan...)

 

Bakugou stood in front of Izuku’s shell-shocked form.

 

“In our unheard-of municipal school, I’ll be the first to take the title of having entered Yuuei.”

 

He neared Izuku’s face, his gaze unwavering.

 

“And since I don’t want my record to be sullied by people who aren’t deserving of entering Yuuei, let me give you a friendly advice as once-childhood friends.” (He remembers?)

 

He lightly gripped Izuku’s shoulder with his left hand. There was a sizzling sound when it made contact.

 

“Why don’t you try forgetting any idea of entering Yuuei?”

 

Bakugou smiled. The same condescending smile a person would give to a shoe stain.

 

Izuku couldn’t speak, as the threat hung in the air. He shuddered when he felt the heat of Bakugou’s hand penetrate the thick layer of his school uniform. There was a foul mix of sadness and realization that the Kacchan he knew was gone. Kacchan whom he played with, Kacchan whom he shared his dreams with.

 

Even until Bakugou and his lackeys had already left the room. Even until Bakugou had lightly suggested that Izuku jump off a building and hope with all his might that his quirk would evolve into something that would save him -

 

Izuku quietly accepted the abuse. He quietly left the room, took what remained of his notebook from the fishpond, and exited from the main gate of their school.

 

 


 

 

 

Plus Minus. The name of his quirk. Izuku felt excited when the doctor registered his quirk as such in the medical database. He was, however, less thrilled when the doctor had given him a rundown of his quirk.

 

“The mechanisms of your quirk is still a mystery. I admit, this is the first time I’ve seen a quirk such as yours. It is fueled by your mental capacity and thought, and it projects a field that surrounds most of your hand and arms. In theory, as you grow, the field’s radius can extend and even just being near your hand, instead of in contact, a battery may become recharged.”

 

“Well, if you become proficient with your quirk, you can become a one-man power plant in the future.”

 

Because of the non-intrusive and non-destructive nature of his quirk, Izuki manages to always keep it active in order to keep his mobile phone and mp3 player always charged. The field range of his quirk is enough to even keep his seatmates’ batteries charging, something they appreciated but did not thank him for.

 

"Like people who leech off the Wi-Fi signals of their neighbor." Izuku muttered bitterly, as he walked home, still clutching the battered, but still intact, notebook. (The notebook Kacchan threw away...)

 

“No. I shouldn’t let Kacchan get to me. I’ll get into Yuuei with my own capabilities.”

 

Izuku made a fist, and then sighed.

 

“I still have to work out a solution on how to use my battery-charging quirk for heroics…” (I heard Yuuei has a Support Department for Heroics. Maybe they could help.)

 

Something that sounded slimy rustled behind Izuku, derailing his thoughts about the future.

 

“Invisibility…cloak…medium…”

 

“Eh?” Izuku turned around, wondering where it came from. He had little time to react when he was smothered by mud-like gloop that felt alive.

 

It forcibly slithered inside his mouth and nostrils, and the sensation was very, very unpleasant. (Horrible! Gross! Disgusting!)

 

Izuku wanted to puke, wanted to breathe, but he couldn’t. The gloop-like substance was pulsing, throbbing; running down his mouth and into his esophagus. It was asphyxiating him, and he could only gaze in terror, with tear-laden eyes, at his captor. (Who - what?!)

 

Don’t fret, little one. Let me just use your body for a little while, gehehe!! Just 45 more seconds and you won’t feel any pain anymore!”

 

Izuku’s eyes widened, and he panicked some more. His struggling did little however, and the villain (because no hero would do this to a civilian) was even pointedly ignoring his plight; stuck on a monologue on how there was a certain hero that inconveniently appeared when he was only having his fun.

 

Can’t breathe… (I need air!)

 

His hands kept flailing, kept trying to peel the sludge off of his mouth, to no avail. His hands slapped into the muddy appendage like water, but the thing was resolutely clamping down on his mouth and nostrils.

 

Help… (Someone rescue me!)

 

The villain’s eyes (eye?) widened a bit, its gaze turning towards the now slackening Izuku. Izuku could only ignore the wonder in its eye however.

 

…cannot die yet… (What will Mom do by then?)

 

The manhole behind them exploded into the air, surprising both him and the nameless villain. His gasp only made him swallow some more of the sentient mud when he saw who it was that appeared from underground.

 

“DON’T WORRY KID! FOR I AM HERE!” A large figure loomed from the steam that emanated along with his appearance. He was wearing a white T-shirt a few sizes too small (if the muscles straining against the fabric wasn't a clue), but the peculiar hairstyle gave it away. Blond, moth-like antennas that stood resolutely, like a beacon of comfort to anyone that would see and recognize who the owner was.

 

(OH MY GOD, IT’S ALL MIGHT!!!)

 

Before the villain could get a word in, the resonating sound of All Might’s “TEXAS SMASH!!!” rushed towards Izuku’s general direction. Izuku could barely think left to right before realizing he could breathe again. And puke. Because apparently, he did puke after being freed from the villain’s intrusive binding. All Might's attack caused a localized air blast that knocked the villain off of Izuku's body.

 

The rush of oxygen left Izuku light-headed, and instead of standing up from his earlier crouch, his legs buckled under him and he fell back into the ground, thankfully away from his vomit. (Heave! Heave!)

 

The insistent slapping on his left cheek roused him. Izuku had gone from terribly drowsy and dizzy to instantly awake and gushing when he saw All Might trying to get his focus on him.

 

“W-W-W-WOAH!”

 

“THANK GOD YOU’RE AWAKE! AT THE VERY LEAST YOU SEEM TO BE FINE, AND THAT’S WHAT’S IMPORTANT!”

 

Izuku nodded, still speechless however. The hero that he had idolized since he was two years old, highest ranking Hero All Might, in the flesh, was here with him right now!

 

HAHAHA! I TRULY APOLOGIZE, CITIZEN! YOU WERE FORCIBLY INVOLVED BY THAT DASTARDLY VILLAIN IN OUR CHASE! THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A ROOKIE MISTAKE THAT I CAN’T BE CAUGHT WITH, BUT IT CAN’T BE HELPED! PERHAPS IT IS BECAUSE I’M STILL ADJUSTING TO JAPAN’S CLIMATE, I GUESS WE WILL NEVER KNOW!”

 

Izuku’s mind whirled with all the facts he had gathered in regards to All Might. No one knows his age, or the nature of his quirk. But his ridiculously super strength and endurance is mostly associated with him. He had single-handedly ushered in the Golden Age of Heroics, earning himself the vaunted title of “Highest Ranking Hero No. 1” and “The Symbol of Peace: All Might”.

 

“A-a-a-a-a” Izuku scrambled for the notebook he had dropped, having conveniently pushed back the idea that he almost died just a few minutes ago, in order to obtain All Might’s autograph. “P-please sign my notebook – “

 

His eyes popped out in astonished glee, as All Might had already taken the liberty of signing his notebook in brilliant red ink.

 

“Thank you! Thank you so much! I’ll treasure this forever! I-I’ll make this a Midoriya family heirloom!” He kept bowing and bowing, adrenaline now pumping into his system.

 

All Might chuckled at his antics, but his senses suddenly tingled and he looked around, noticing his now empty Bepsi Bottle. The very same bottle he was holding the muddy villain in.

 

OH. MY. GOD!” All Might bellowed, dramatically bending backwards. “THE VILLAIN HAS SLIPPED FROM ITS PLASTIC PRISON! THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE, NGHH!!! NO, IMPROBABLE BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE! THE BOTTLE HAS HOLES AT A MICROSCOPIC LEVEL BUT – AGH!”

 

He crouched, tension building up in his legs.

 

“GOODNESS ME, I REALLY AM GETTING CARELESS IN MY OLD AGE!” Making a disappointed sound at himself, he turned towards his sole onlooker. “MY BOY, WORRY NOT ANY LONGER. I SHALL PURSUE THE DASTARDLY VILLAIN AND DELIVER HIM MYSELF TO A SECURE HOLDING LOCATION. SLEEP WELL AND REST EASY!”

 

With a resounding “Gooooooo!!” All Might disappeared into the sky with a gigantic and powerful leap. Midoriya was almost blown away by the kick back, but he was smiling and tearing up; happy to have been given the opportunity to have met and talked with All Might. (To have been saved by his hero!)

 

He carefully placed the notebook back inside his backpack, wedged between his other notebooks so that it would be protected from further abuse.

 

As he gazed after All Might’s fleeting figure, barely a speck in the sky, Midoriya skipped towards the train station, feeling a bit lighter with each of his steps.

Chapter Text

He was supposed to go home that afternoon.

 

He was supposed to board the train, spend the whole ride gushing over the autograph he had gotten (a once-in-a-lifetime event!) and he was supposed to safely walk the distance back to their house.

 

He was supposed to regale his mom about how he met All Might (omitting the part where he almost died of asphyxiation, of course) and then repair his notebook, do his homework and go to sleep.

 

He wasn’t supposed to see this.

 

To see Kacchan in the same situation as he was in, just a few minutes ago. To see how his quirk was used to tear up everything in the street, how this quirk stealing mud doll was using Kacchan as a puppet in order to terrorize both the civilians and the middle-rank heroes.

 

To see the Kacchan he had thought lost forever. With those eyes pleading for help and to make it all stop, and oh god, he could feel bile rising up his throat, remembering how violated he felt when the mud villain’s body was squirming inside of him.

 

But no one was moving an inch to save Kacchan. A few heroes would engage in hit and run tactics, just narrowly avoiding getting blown to bits by Kacchan’s quirk.

Midoriya would have been interested in writing down details on why the villain could expertly use a quirk he had probably just encountered by accident, but no, now was not the time for him to engage in his hobby.

 

Kacchan needed him! Kacchan was pleading for help!

 

“Wasn’t All Might pursuing this guy earlier?”

 

“Yeah, they were making a scene downtown. If he’s here, All Might shouldn’t be far off.”

 

Midoriya calmed down a bit, remembering the presence of the Number 1 Ranked Hero in town (why he was here in Japan when he should be in the United States, he would never know). But where was he?

 

“Considering All Might’s speed…” Izuku started mumbling again, catching the stares of a few onlookers. “…he should have been here already 10 seconds tops. Ah, but he can take to the skies and that would approximately cut off 3 seconds of delay and – “

 

Izuku remembered.

 

“Just 45 more seconds and you won’t feel any pain anymore.”

 

“E-excuse me!” He called the attention of a hero that was cordoning the area. “How long has the villain gotten hold of Ka- the victim?!” Izuku tried to sound calm, but there was a slight tremor in his voice.

 

The hero, who was wearing a full-helm fireman’s helmet, probably raised an eyebrow behind the mask at the question. “Probably half a minute already kid. Best you stay away. The explosions are a mite powerful. Could blow off a limb if you get near.”

 

30 seconds?!? But – Izuku shivered in dread at the realization that NO, he did not have time to wait for All Might. There’s only 8 seconds more before All Might would be too late to save Kacchan from being…whatever the muddy villain implied.

 

There was no use asking help for the heroes in the vicinity. Everyone had a disadvantageous quirk against Kacchan’s explosion and Muddy’s mud-shifting quirk.

 

Those who have the capability had no means of entering the vicinity. 7 seconds.

 

The lack of All Might’s appearance could be ignored. He was not appearing. 6 seconds.

 

There was no point telling the nearby heroes that Kacchan only had a few more seconds to live. They can’t help him. 5 seconds.

 

“Kacchan…” Izuku’s voice broke, the moments when the other boy’s bullying, the other boy’s tormenting him – all of them disappeared. 4 seconds.

In that split second, Izuku met Bakugou’s gaze.

 

 

3 seconds.

 

Izuku’s resolve became firm, and he broke through the cordon of heroes to rush towards Kacchan and the muddy villain. I’m sorry mom! I’m sorry! If I ever get out of this alive, I’ll apologize a hundred times!

 

His battle cry (where he was literally crying as he was hurtling towards the villain) was met with declarations of his stupidity from the heroes that had unsuccessfully failed to catch him.

 

“GET BACK HERE, YOU MORON!” Yeah, I am a moron. Running towards a villain with a near useless quirk. But my body just moved on its own. It wasn’t just because it was Kacchan that was caught. It’s hurting me more seeing someone in pain. I’m not a hero. I’m just a selfish kid who probably thinks too high of himself.

 

“I’M SORRY! I’M SORRY MOM!” Izuku cried, angrily wiping tears away because it was threatening to block his vision. His backpack was swaying violently behind him, threatening to fly away as if telling his owner that what he was doing was utterly idiotic and that it would have no part of it whatsoever.

 

At that moment, everything suddenly seemed to flip upside down. Izuku would look back at this moment, never forgetting it for the rest of his life.

 

“It’s here! It’s here!” The muddy villain cackled, flaring at once like a large , bloody, congealed tsunami. A whip-like appendage took hold of Bakugou’s ankle and flung him towards the audience at break neck speeds. He was thankfully intercepted by a few heroes that had the presence of mind to realize what the villain was about to do, effectively saving both him and the civilian bystanders that he was hurtling towards.

 

“Kacchan!” Izuku’s worried gaze followed Bakugou’s trajectory path, and a small smile lit up on his face when he saw that Kacchan was safe.

 

A split second was all it took for Izuku’s mind to recall that there was no one left in the villain’s attack range except for him. And even before he could turn around, the muddy villain’s body had already started to encroach around him like a foul dome.

 

“KWAK!” Izuku covered his nose, finding the stench much, much more fouler than what he experienced earlier. The villain’s body swirled around him, more fluid yet not having lost its viscosity. It was like he had received a –

 

“It was a long shot, but I knew causing a ruckus would lure you in here, battery!” Battery?

 

He continued covering his nose and mouth and closing his eyes, while the muddy villain was lost in a monologue.

 

“I’ll lock you up and have you all to myself! Your quirk will be mine to use and mine alone!”

 

Izuku’s attempts of covering his nose and mouth was in vain, as the muddy villain’s body soaked through his clothes and into his skin, forming small veins that leeched whatever they were leeching from him. Izuku felt dizzy all of a sudden, groaning at the sudden weakness in his body. The villain, meanwhile, bristled in excitement. His body undulated with growing power and suddenly expanded, being able to cover the city block with his writhing, sewage-smelling, writhing body. The red coloration of his body slowly darkened into an evil purple. It was a terrifying metamorphosis to witness, especially if you were caught in the middle of it.

 

The heroes panicked, with the lot of them suddenly grabbing a handful of civilians to evacuate them from the area. Another civilian however, slipped from their grasp and made a hasty beeline towards the looming mass of dangerous looking, fetid, writhing tentacles – towards the boy who was slowly slipping into unconsciousness.

 

Clumsily dodging lazy tentacles that tried to snare him, he made a very, very surprising leap that reached Izuku’s position in the muddy dome, while screaming and coughing up blood.

 

“G-get…away…” Izuku moaned weakly, his head was lolling on his shoulders from the immense weakness he was under in. “S-save…y-y…”

 

“KID!” The man, who looked haggard and emaciated and wearing clothes two sizes too big for him, coughed up some more blood. “I am ashamed! That I have spent my time idling to gain back enough strength to fight, instead of answering to the call of the helpless!”

 

Izuku could only stare at him, speech already slurring from having been drained too much.

 

N-no, I can’t let anyone get hurt on my account!

 

Summoning the last dregs of his strength, he grabbed the man’s hand and made to push him off before the muddy villain had thought of him too much of an annoyance to let be.

 

“G-go!” Izuku coughed, voice hackled. He tried to push the man away using his body weight since he couldn’t muster any pushing force.

 

The moment his hand gripped the man’s wrist, a spark travelled from Izuku’s hand to the man’s wrist and there was an explosion of smoke powerful enough to blow away most of the muddy villain’s body away from both of them.

 

“Guh!! What?! Where is my –“

 

“VILLAIN WHO TRAMPLES UPON THE WEAK AND THE DEFENSELESS!” A voice boomed from the smoke, revealing the imposing form of All Might. His voice was filled with righteous fury, and his form looked no less than how he was in his prime. “COME VILLAIN, KNOW THE STRENGTH OF THE TIMID! I AM ALL MIGHT, A HERO! AND WE PROFESSIONAL HEROES, WE PUT OUR LIVES ON THE LINE TO KEEP CITIZENS FROM HARM THAT YOUR ILK SENDS TOWARDS SOCIETY!”

 

"THIS IS CHECKMATE FOR YOU, VILLAIN. KNOW FEAR AND REGRET!" The wind started howling, surrounding his right arm like a turbulent gauntlet. There was a moment of surprise in All Might’s face, before he beamed like a child who had found his lost toy.

 

“DETROIT – “

 

The wind curled in on itself, the movement of All Might’s arm to deliver a powerful smash made a screeching noise, like grinding wind and rocks.

 

“HEAVY SMASH!”

 

His fist struck through the massive bulk of the muddy villain. Whatever the wind made contact was blown to bits into the air. The path of the wind gauntlet had enough strength to even shave the asphalt surface of the road akin to having been sandblasted.

 

The massive shift of air pressure from the sole punch of All Might released a blunt shockwave that burst into the air, carrying with it most of the villain’s mass. The upward release of force was enough to punch through the overcast skies, creating a hole in the thick clouds. Rain prematurely fell because of the phenomenon, surprising both civilians and heroes that he sheer strength that All Might had displayed.

 

Cheering exploded from the sidelines, while All Might basked in the rain. His arm was shaking but it was ever slight that no one could notice.

 

“HEY! HEY! DID YOU GET THAT ON CAMERA?! THAT WAS A HEAVY SMASH! ALL MIGHT HADN’T USED THAT FOR THE LAST TEN YEARS!”

 

“THE STRENGTH OF THE NO.1 HERO HASN’T WANED AT ALL! WHATEVER RUMOR THAT ALL MIGHT WAS WEAKENING WASN’T TRUE!”

 

“OH MY GOD, THAT WAS SO COOL!”

 

The cheers slid off of his ears like the raindrops on his skin. All Might took account of the situation, still unbelieving, but the proof was irrefutable.

 

It was the truth. He was weakening. He was past his prime. The proof was that he couldn’t do any heavy smashes ever since 10 years ago.

 

But now, it was like he was back in his prime. Nay, he was BETTER than that.

 

There was one trigger. It was that curly-haired kid’s quirk. Of course he didn’t know what it was, but there was no other thing that could have triggered this…renewal of his power and form. In that small window of danger and dying, when the kid’s hand wrapped around his wrist and All Might felt a surging power welling up inside of him like a tsunami exploding in the middle of a dry desert, there was no other explanation.

 

He looked around, left and right, swearing to himself.

 

There was no trace of the kid. The other kid with the Explosion quirk was being tended to by the other heroes, but the curly-haired kid disappeared like a bubble.

 

“GHH. MOST TROUBLING.” He groaned, pinching his nose bridge. “NO, I WAS CAREFUL ENOUGH. I COULDN’T HAVE DISINTEGRATED HIM WITH THAT PUNCH.”

 

Bidding the other heroes of his plan to leave early and leave damage control to them, and after personally checking up on the Bakugou kid; he dashed through the streets, eyes keen on picking out the black-verdant hair of the kid that was maybe holding a very powerful and dangerous quirk.

Chapter Text

“KIIIIIIIIIIDDDDD!”

 

All Might had easily cornered the kid with the strange quirk. He had used his super speed to search every alley way and corner in the immediate vicinity, accounting for the kid’s non-impressive physique. Sure enough, he had found him scurrying around a narrow alley, hiding behind thick lamp posts.

 

Midoriya, meanwhile, let out an impressive squeak akin to a dying hamster. The voice hadn’t surprised him much, but the volume had; and if he was any closer to All Might, his eardrums would have probably burst from the intensity and volume.

 

“A-All Might!” He was surprised that the No. 1 Ranked Hero was here with him. “H-how did you manage to get away from the reporters?”

 

All Might answered so with a flourish: saluting to no one in particular and doing his signature hero pose.

 

“QUITE EASILY! I AM ALL MIGHT AFTER AL- NO, LET’S GO BACK TO WHY I’M HERE!” All Might switched from one topic to another just as speedily as his arrival.

 

“Huh?” Izuku did wonder why All Might was here. (He wasn’t one for complaining though. Spending time with your childhood hero, all around idol, and living legend was something far from being complained about.)

 

YOUR QUIRK, MY BOY? WHAT IS YOUR QUIRK AND WHY DID THAT MUDDY CRIMINAL HEEDLESSLY MAKE A SCENE JUST SO HE CAN GET TO IT?”

 

Izuku briefly remembered the part where Kacchan got thrown back towards the heroes and civilians and how Muddy had declared that everything was just a setup so that he can get to him. He briefly shuddered at the part where Muddy had said he would lock him up for his sole use.

 

“M-my quirk’s name is Plus Minus. It’s not a powerful quirk at all. I just use it to recharge all my gadgets!” Midoriya took out his smart phone, showing the battery display at a full 100%. “I haven’t recharged this on an outlet ever since I’ve first received it for my birthday 4 years ago.”

 

“A RECHARGING QUIRK?” All Might looked skeptical, nevertheless he did peer close at the smart phone’s display as if it would reveal the secrets of the entire universe. “AND YOU’VE USED THIS ONLY ON YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES YOUR ENTIRE LIFE?”

 

Midoriya nodded, and added. “I’ve never turned it off ever since as well.”

 

All Might shuddered, gaze turning towards the youngster. “NEVER TURNED IT OFF?”

 

He smiled weakly, the unimpressive boy that he was. “Ever since it had manifested, I’ve never willingly turned it off.”

 

All Might looked as if he had just eaten a chocolate chip and found out it was full of raisins. He forgot whether he liked raisins or not though.

 

Quirks are still a mystery even though much research and money had been spent time and time again on trying to unravel its secrets. All Might not be the science-y type of person but he did spend enough time understanding his own quirk, which also led to understanding several others, until it had gone full-blown into extending towards villain territory. Understanding your foe’s quirks are just as instrumental when trying to defeat one.

 

Quirks were abilities, and the more you used them, the more powerful they got.

 

Current government laws prohibit the exhibition and use of quirks in public. Commuting times, even at school and only during inside classrooms; the number of places you can freely use a quirk is limited. Of course, these only applied to quirks that had the capacity to disrupt the basic flow of human traffic.

 

The normal individual will barely have a few hours per day in order to use and exercise their quirk. Childhood years were fair play for quirk use, but once children were made aware of the laws, their growth was already shackled. It was only a few individuals who would be able to keep their development unfettered and unshackled well through the years.

 

Midoriya had always trained his quirk from the start, never stopped using it, and so much so had never exerted himself to the point of pushing past his limits when it came to his quirk – even All Might could see the unfathomable depths in terms of potential power in regards to Plus Minus.

 

MY GOD - AARGH!” All Might exclaimed, spitting out a bit of blood.

 

Which in turn, shocked Midoriya (blood! blood!) so much so that for that few precious seconds, he unwittingly turned his quirk off. (It wasn’t visible at all, so no one actually knows whether it was on or off in the first place. It was just that unremarkable even for flashy heroic stuff.)

 

The moment Plus Minus was deactivated, All Might suddenly disappeared in an explosion of smoke, only to be replaced by an emaciated, lanky version of the No. 1 Ranking Hero.

 

“Eh?” The rather uncool, lame-looking guy with a baggy t-shirt, a few sizes too large for him kept patting his body.

 

“EH?” He was definitely shocked at what happened.

 

“EEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH?!?” Midoriya took the cake for having the biggest shock between them however.

 

 

 

“W-who are you?” Midoriya’s gaze was looking around for All Might, but his feet was slowly tiptoeing backwards, away from the sickly-looking, comically disproportionate person.

 

“I am All Might.” Blood spurted out from his mouth as he spoke, though he didn’t seem bothered by it.

 

Midoriya flicked his right hand in the classic tsukkomi pose. “AS IF!”

 

“You know, when you have a paunch in your stomach and suddenly this girl you like passes by, you breathe in and keep your stomach high enough so that beer-belly like appearance doesn’t sag? This is basically it, you know?” All Might casually explained, wiping the blood off his chin.

 

“That doesn’t even relate to this at all!” More tsukkomi ensues.

 

“Well, how about those fancy cakes you see on display, but when you look at it more closely, it turns out they’re just icing stuck on Styrofoam boxes?”

 

“Doesn’t that just mean you’re a fake to begin with?!”

 

“…Japan’s manzai culture sure is a fearsome thing to behold.”

 

“Stop straying off with the main issue on hand, damnit!”

 

A few more minutes before the two of them were left panting and sweating after finishing their tsukkomi. Both of them stared at each other, before falling down and laughing hard.

 

“What is this? All Might is actually just a hero that wants to do a manzai routine!” Midoriya giggled, finding All Might to be less of a symbol of peace and more of just a human who wants to smile and find the best out of any situation.

 

“Whether it’s a tsukkomi or a smile, the symbol of peace –“ All Might sat down on a nearby crate, catching his breath. “- must never give in to despair. Lest, the forces of evil bear its fangs on the people that depend on him.”

 

Midoriya shuddered, feeling the gravity of the situation suddenly growing heavier.

 

“My boy, this form of mine. This sickly, emaciated form that bears no resemblance to the All Might that people recognize – is a government secret of the highest degree. No one must know of this aside from you, do you understand?”

 

“……!”

 

“The reason I am saying this to you, is because of your quirk. I trusted you with my secret, so will you trust me with yours? This is what you call, skinship, right?”

 

Midoriya was taken aback, unsure on how to proceed. All Might trusted him? Because of his quirk? And his quirk’s secret? He didn’t know how to start except –

 

“All Might…I…I really want to be a hero when I grow up.” Midoriya took out his Hero Analysis Notebook and clutched it on both of his hands as a way to relax. “All Might was the reason I…I wanted to be a hero. I k-kept watching your rescue back in the Silver Age, a-and it was the reason I…w-wanted to follow your footsteps or – or something.”

 

All Might was listening, discerning his words.

 

“B-but when the doctor told me about m-my quirk, about Plus Minus, I just – everything fell. My plans to be a hero, my future – I mean, how could I become a hero that saves people if all I can do is – is – recharge stuff?”

 

All Might’s floppy antennae hair seemed to grow turgid, upon hearing the word ‘recharge stuff’.

 

“T-there’s no way I can become a hero because of a lame quirk, right?” Midoriya’s tears fell, his self-loathing breaking over the edge.

 

All Might hurriedly stood up, clasping Midoriya’s hands and holding them tight in a sign of encouragement. This had brought the boy out of his stupor, wondering what All Might wanted to do.

 

“My boy! You don’t understand! Your quirk is probably one of the most important there is in this age right now.”

 

Eh?

 

“You say that your quirk is a recharging quirk, but did your quirk specialist tell you what type of quirk it is?”

 

Midoriya recalled everything the doctor had said back then, it was a painful memory so it wasn’t hard to forget.

 

“H-he said it wasn’t an electric-type quirk though. Th-that it was a neuropathic-type, o-or empathion or s-something.”

 

“…that explains it. Of course it is. And you said that you have never turned your quirk off unwillingly ever since you had it manifested?”

 

Midoriya nodded, wiping his nose and sniffing the clogged sensation out.

 

Because it’s a non-disruptive quirk, it goes unnoticed and out of the law’s jurisdiction when it comes to using your quirk in public. He has been ‘training’ his quirk his whole life without even knowing about it! What a fearsome lad!

 

“My boy, one last question: Have you ever used your quirk on another person?”

 

Midoriya shook his head. “I’ve never – “

 

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

His hands slapped into the muddy appendage like water, but the thing was resolutely clamping down on his mouth and nostrils.

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

 

“…I did, didn’t I?”

 

All Might nodded.

 

“That Muddy – became stronger – because of me?”

 

All Might’s hands visibly clenched against Midoriya’s.

 

“He did. And apparently, so did I.”

 

Midoriya looked at All Might as if he had grown a second head.

 

“The truth is –“ All Might looked around, feeling itchy at having to say this. “ – the public was right. I am weakening, because of the injury I had received from an attack 5 years ago.”

 

Midoriya’s otaku-mode reared its head. “It was that person they never mentioned in the reports, right?”

 

All Might cringed at the name. “You’re strangely well-informed. Nevertheless, you see me as I am now in my real form. My body’s all torn up. Countless surgeries have left me gaunt and wasted. The biggest blow was my waning strength and the time limit I could do heroics.”

 

“My boy, that Detroit Heavy Smash I had done earlier was no longer possible for me, even before my unfortunate run in with the Chainsaw villain. But I did, I was able to – because you were there. Because you had your quirk.”

 

Realization dawned on Midoriya’s face.

 

“It is a recharging quirk, my boy. But that’s the beauty of a simple quirk, it knows no limits, just like my super strength. You heard it’s a recharging quirk so you simply assumed it was something for electronics. But you can recharge –“

 

“- anything.” Midoriya finished for him.

 

All Might nodded. “It will be tricky, but you know how to recharge electronics, and now, heroes and villains. Who knows what else you can do with your quirk, and I myself, shudder at those thoughts.”

 

Something was welling up Midoriya’s guts, it was a warm feeling, rising up from inside him. Could he possibly?

 

“A-All Might, I…can I try it with you? Again?”

 

All Might gaped for just a few moments, but nodded his permission.

 

A big battery…envision All Might like a big battery…

 

There was a steady hum for a few seconds before the whole section of the street exploded in smoke, revealing All Might, once again in his glorious, muscled form.

 

“MY GOD! TRULY, A MIRACLE! YOU’VE BROKEN MY TIME LIMIT FOR TODAY! AND I FEEL NO SIDE EFFECT WHATSOEVER!” All Might involuntarily flexed his glorious muscles. He was truly restored and was at his peak.

 

Midoriya finally fell on his butt, knees shaking and unable to support him any longer from the excitement that he was feeling.

 

“M-my quirk isn’t useless, at all! K-Kacchan was wrong.” Midoriya swiped at a lone tear that fell from the corner of his eyes.

 

OF COURSE NOT, MY BOY! YOUR QUIRK CAN EVEN BE CLASSIFIED AS A TACTICAL CLASS OR EVEN NATIONAL TREASURE LEVEL!”

 

“Guuh!” Midoriya promptly fainted at that declaration, his mouth foaming. To have the No. 1 Ranked Hero praise him and his quirk earnestly probably was too much for him to handle.

 

Everything was a blur that night. All Might had personally escorted Izuku to his house, introduced himself to his mother and brought the unconscious boy up to his room.

 

Midoriya could only wonder how the heck he ended up in Yuuei’s faculty room, flanked by All Might, that very next day.

 

Chapter Text

Earlier that morning

 

“Yuuei Academy?” Midoriya was busy chomping down on his toast, trying to finish both it and the eggs in record time. “I’ve set the school down as my first choice when I graduate from middle school, but why are you bringing me there, All Might?”

 

All Might had returned early that very morning, informing Izuku that they had a very, very important meeting with some of the higher ups from Yuuei, the most popular and most difficult Hero Academia that had produced some of the best heroes to date. Izuku also knew that it was All Might’s alma mater, not that it mattered or anything in the long run.

 

They were sitting at the Midoriya household’s dinner table. His mom was elated to have someone from Yuuei Academy over for breakfast, but when she offered something for him to eat; All Might refused and asked for something easier to digest. He got a cup of cereal energy drink to sip on instead.

 

All Might was wearing his emaciated look as a disguise, conserving his self-dubbed “3 Hour Hero Mode” for emergency use. It was the reason why Izuku’s mom didn’t recognize All Might and had thought of him as a Yuuei faculty member. (All Might did flash his ID, showcasing his gaunt face and the name “Toshinori”).

 

“Well, it’s a good enough coincidence that you’ve chosen Yuuei as a place to enroll, my boy.” All Might was taking careful sips while talking, he wasn’t coughing up blood today (much or anymore, it still needed seeing). “That makes matters less complicated for both you and me.”

 

“I’m not sure if it makes anything else easier for you, however.”

 

Izuku carefully considered those words, the toast was getting hard to swallow.

 

“Have you considered which department you’re trying to apply for, little Midoriya?”

 

Midoriya already knew where he wanted to go. Yuuei Academy had four major departments for hero business.

 

The Department of Management (Class I - K ). Focused on honing its students in basic and advanced techniques of selling heroes to the public, managing hero careers as well as mitigating damage from bad publicity. Every successful hero needs a good manager in order to keep his image clean and appealing in order for them to raise rank, manage PR duties such as hiring sidekicks, facing the media, running their hero office and basically handling everything from the background. The unsung heroes in this Age of Heroics!

 

The Department of Support (Class F – H ). The students of this department aim to provide necessary assistance to generally any hero and their quirks, not just for one. The common misconception is that sidekicks come from this department; it is more accurate to say that Research and Development personnel, Logistics and even Criminology students originate and graduate here. Gadgets, tactics theories, and even understanding the way a villain’s mind works; the Department of Support has a lot of things going on for them!

 

The Department of General Education (Class C – E). For students who choose to elect their quirk to non-heroic careers, this is the department for them. Additionally, students who choose to enroll to the Department of Heroics but have not met the standard score needed to do so may temporarily find themselves in this department. There are several events throughout the academia year that shift students from General Education to Heroics and vice-versa. Work hard, people of the Department of General Education!

 

And the Department of Heroics (Class A – B). The department that focuses on producing the best of the best heroes of every generation. Only those with the highest grades, mettle, and quality exhibited in the written and practical exam can enter this department. Heroes that focus on maintaining public order, immediate rescue and disaster management, urban counter villain and suppression and international relations among others, all graduate from this department. When people talk about heroes, they always talk about Yuuei’s Department of Heroics. Let’s not disappoint the expectations of everyone, students!

 

“The Department of Heroics.” Midoriya answered with fervor in his eyes.

 

All Might’s wide grin just got even wider at that answer. “Good, good. You have ambition and fire in your eyes. I know you’ll succeed.”

 

The grin momentarily faltered. “However, it will still depend on our meeting with the Yuuei faculty.”

 

Midoriya let out a muffled ‘hnf?’; confused and with food in his mouth.

 

“Because I have brought to Yuuei’s attention on how special your quirk is, it will only be a matter of time before the government finds out about you as well.”

 

All Might opened the briefcase he had with him and took out a worn registration form, showing it to Midoriya.

 

“As of now, the current registration of your quirk Plus Minus is nothing but an unimpressive recharging quirk.” All Might returned the form back into the brief case and took out two sets of Yuuei school pamphlets, one of which he gave to Midoriya, the other to his mother later. “That is what we will discuss later in the meeting with the other teachers and school officials.”

 

Midoriya glanced towards his mother, who was on the other side of the room, humming while washing the dishes.

 

“All Might, i-is my family in danger? Because of me?” He spoke in a hushed tone.

 

All Might closed his eyes, wondering how to word his answer delicately.

 

“Danger is…let’s just say that as long as only a few people realize the potential of your quirk, you and your parent…parents?” All Might raised an eyebrow at the silent question, Midoriya only shook his head. “…they will be safe and Yuuei promises to extend its protection to your household once we resolve everything in regards to your quirk.”

 

Midoriya drank the last vestiges of his glass of milk, bid his mom that he’s going with the Yuuei teacher for the day and that he already asked permission from school about it. All Might assured her of her son’s safety and left her with the other set of school pamphlets, giving her his contact number should she have any questions about the academia.

 


 

Bakugou simply had a bad morning.

 

Ever since what happened yesterday, he had been getting well-wishes like he had some fucking illness or some sort of shit he couldn’t fucking see because goddamnit, would people just fucking stop asking him if he was god-fucking-damn okay?!

 

For whatever small amount of gratitude he could muster, his glare kept the peanut gallery at bay. There were others who kept asking him about his situation with the muddy villain yesterday, but the moment they saw his hands sizzle and smoke they had immediately backed off.

 

Which worked too well-fucking fine for him. The less gawkers he had, the higher chance he’d be less irritable in class.

 

He was too absorbed in his thoughts that he had missed everyone standing up and bowing in order to greet their homeroom teacher. Said teacher didn’t miss Bakugou’s lapse of attention but excused it nonetheless, something on the lines that the ‘poor boy might still be traumatized in regards to what happened to him’.

 

Roll call was made. Bakugou had the presence of mind to answer when his name was called and remarkably, had also noticed that when Midoriya’s name was called, no one answered.

 

“Sensei, is Midoriya late again because of a villain attack?” Peanut Gallery Exhibit A spoke up.

 

“Hm?” The teacher had just finished with the roll call and was putting aside the attendance sheet, though answering absent-mindedly. “No, he’s excused for today. Yuuei Academy had requested his presence with a meeting.”

 

“What?!” Bakugou almost fell from his seat from trying to stand up immediately. “Why’s the little fucker with Yuuei?!”

 

The teacher, all too desensitized with Bakugou’s language, looked visibly nervous because of the unintended slip up. “Ah, well who knows? It probably had to do something with yesterday’s event – “

 

“Then why wasn’t I invited?! I was a fucking victim there to -" Bakugou momentarily bit his tongue, that little slip admitting his self-supplanted weakness. "Shit!"

 

The teacher, flabbergasted, couldn’t reveal the fact that Yuuei had sent a special summons to their school, asserting their right immediately take in any student due to ‘grave or special circumstances’.

 

Everyone had also started whispering and murmuring, creating various conjectures in regards to Midoriya’s absence.

 

Thankfully, the bell had rung and everyone immediately was sent away for Physical Education outside. Bakugou had somehow dropped the issue on his own, much to the teacher's relief.

 

Thank heaven for small miracles.

 


 

Izuku was exhausted.

 

The whole trip to Yuuei was very, very overwhelming. He didn’t have the time to admire the large H-shaped building that graced the façade of Yuuei’s property, nor the line of stone busts that immortalized past and present heroes that graced its halls.

 

More importantly, Midoriya had met a lot of heroes he never thought he would meet in his lifetime due to their civil and academic positions. The whole meeting was spent appraising Izuku’s quirk, an impressive demonstration using All Might as the guinea pig and finally, Yuuei Principal Nedzu's personal recommendation for him to enter the school with the undertone “as soon as possible” and “in the most discreet manner”.

 

“For mentoring” he added.

 

The whole hubbub had ended at around lunch time. Izuku was left with instructions on what to do as well as a slew of official-looking documents meant for his transfer with high priority, to be filled up by him and submitted to his middle school so that they can smoothly proceed with the relocation for the next ten months.

 

Izuku was treated to being personally served food by the Cooking Hero “Lunch Rush” (Lunch Rush’s latest cookbook “3 Minute Meals With Lunch Rush” is now out in major bookstores!) at Yuuei’s cafeteria before he was escorted by 18+ only heroine Midnight in and around the school’s various facilities and areas so that he would get familiar with the place.

 

“So, little Izuku, let’s talk about your ‘normal’ quirk.” Midnight filled their walk with idle talk. “Do you have any idea how you can use it to your advantage in the Department of Heroics?”

 

Izuku had been mulling over the same problem last night, when he woke up for a late dinner.

 

His mother had told him All Might had left and that he would return that morning for news (which turned out to be about Yuuei’s meeting at the end). He’d been experimenting on his quirk late last night, having only used it passively for his whole life. Yesterday was the day of firsts when he actively used his quirk against both people and gadgets.

 

“The Principal had suggested that I go in for special recommendation into Yuuei, but it would look suspicious if I got inserted into the Department of Heroics with a quirk that was unsuitable for heroics.”

 

Midnight nodded, letting Izuku continue with his ramblings. “Why not the Department of Support then? Your ‘other quirk’ seems very suited for it.”

 

“It’s no good. I can’t sit still long enough for support work."

 

 

I don't want to lose to Kacchan as well.

 

"The hero teachers had given various suggestions on how I could use my quirk though. No. 13-sensei had a good one. He said I could use my ‘normal quirk’ for rescue missions if I can remotely activate machinery in areas cut off from electricity. Since my quirk doesn’t run on electricity, I can safely provide power without fear of electrocution for the victims.”

 

“That is a good idea.” Midnight slapped her riding crop on her hand. “If there was a collapsed building and victims were trapped inside, you can use your quirk to provide energy for things like undamaged light fixtures, air conditioning and such.”

 

“It’s a rough plan with some holes in it at the moment, but if it works out in the end, I’ll probably be working a lot with No. 13-sensei.” Midoriya grinned sheepishly, a bit humbled.

 

Midnight hmm'ed her approval. “And? What about offense, have you given any thoughts on it?”

 

“Hmm.” Izuku pondered over it. “Theoretically, I can somehow ‘overcharge’ electric-related items. I accidentally blew out the batteries on our TV remote control last night when I was experimenting. I have an idea on how I can use my other quirk offensively, but it’s only on theory and I’m afraid of using it on another person. But for my normal quirk, I’m at a disadvantage against other quirk users.”

 

Midoriya cracked the joints of his shoulders by pulling on his arms, a gesture he did whenever he was embarrassed because he felt a sense of lacking in himself.

 

“This is the first time I’ve gone in-depth in analyzing my quirk, even though I’ve been doing so with others. I just realized how hard this is going to be for me because I decided not to take the easy way in.”

 

“Oh! Oh!” Midnight got excited, haphazardly switching the depressing topic out. “All Might did say you had a notebook with you about heroes you analyzed. You have an entry about me?”

 

Midoriya blushed and nodded, as he shifted his backpack and seemingly shuffled through several Campus-brand notebooks before he took out “For the future: Hero Analysis #6” that had Midnight’s entry on it.

 

The whole walk was spent with Midnight engrossed over Izuku’s notebook, all the while making some witty comments about some of Midoriya’s observations. Izuku appreciated Midnight’s correction on some of her data, and how she approved of his musing in regards to Midnight’s delicate balance between being a family friendly hero and an 18+ heroine at the same time.

 

They had reached the Department of Support without them knowing it. There were other students in non-Yuuei uniform looking and walking around, probably from other schools. They had visitor passes on them and were probably scouting the school as well.

 

Midoriya hadn’t noticed when a person had accidentally bumped him on the shoulder, but he did notice strange noises suddenly emitting from them. And when Midnight and Izuku looked at the person (‘it’ was a girl, apparently), she was panicking because various gadgets were haphazardly blinking in and around her body.

 

“Woowoowuwah! My cute babies! Why are you all awake?!” She panicked, hurriedly trying to turn them off to no avail. They weren’t turning off however.

 

“S-sorry, that was my fault! Wait a sec!” Izuku held out his hand, slowly reducing the radius of his recharging aura. One by one the gadgets slowly died down, until none was left.

 

“Oh my gosh!” The girl exclaimed, terribly excited she was. “How did you do it?! Is that your quirk?!”

 

He nodded, slightly abashed, extending a hand in greeting. “M-Midoriya Izuku, hoping to go for the Department of Heroics. Nice to meet you. I’ve got a recharging quirk.”

 

The girl took his hand and gave it a hearty shake. “A recharging quirk?! Awesome! I’m Hatsume Mei, gunning for the Department of Support. We’ve just met, but I have a problem I think your quirk can fix and I think I can help you with your goal in getting into the Department of Heroics!”

 

Izuku visibly shook, terrified and impressed by the girl’s lightning fast conclusion.

 

Hatsume seemed to read her expression and smirked. “It’s easy to see that a recharging quirk won’t do well in the Department of Heroics, but I’ve got a business proposition for you! My babies number like the stars in the sky and I’m sure one of them or even several would suit your needs! All I need from you is to make them shine and get noticed by people around you!” The girl’s cross hair eyes glinted with pride and ambition.

 

Midnight, who relaxingly observed from the side, just whistled at how convenient the turn of events were. Talk about luck of the devil.

 

 

Chapter Text

YOU’RE A STUDENT OF YUUEI NOW, MY BOY!” All Might’s “HA HA HA HA!” punctuated the early morning air. A flock of birds flew away from a nearby tree, possibly having been disturbed by the ringing laughter.

 

The days had gone by in a blur. His fortunate meeting with Hatsume and her “babies”, his abrupt transfer and immediate graduation from middle school (he was technically a high schooler with an irregular term at Yuuei now), and the one-on-one mentorship he was currently receiving from various teachers at Yuuei (the government had approved of Yuuei’s discretion in regards to the value of Midoriya’s quirk and had prepared a scholarship program for him among other things. Izuku’s mom was proud of him for having gotten a “scholarship” apparently, why he had gotten a scholarship and what it was for, she never knew the real reason.)

 

He had never spoken a word about this in regards to Kacchan, and Izuku briefly wondered whether Kacchan would raise a riot or not if he found out about his early and special admittance. (He bet Kacchan would, that’s just how he was. He hated anyone getting the upper hand on him.)

 

Everything was still overwhelming for him. One day, he had been constantly teased and demeaned about his quirk; the next day, it was like everyone was bending over for him.

 

Well no, not really. But he was providing gas for All Might now. And All Might being the symbol of peace and No. 1 Ranked Hero made Midoriya a very valuable asset right now. All Might’s ability to now constantly make rounds within the city and showcase his unwavering strength had successfully dispelled rumors of his waning power and kept villainy at a minimum.

 

During his first formal day at Yuuei, they had set up measuring tests in order to at least determine Izuku’s strength and limits.

 

Izuku’s current stat revealed the following: passively (when he’s not thinking about it, basically his default mode), his quirk emits a 1 meter aura that inertly recharges anything with a battery and powers gadgets with a working terminal. When Izuku was made to stretch the aura’s limit, it can non-intrusively extend to around a large city block (almost the whole size of the Academy).

 

A shock or a strong bump to his body can cause the aura to fluctuate, making it partially intrusive and volatile with electronics that are within the aura’s influence (which was pretty much what happened with his first meeting with Hatsume). Only by consciously reining in the fluctuations can he get control back. Midoriya likens the sensation to wooziness after spinning in place.

 

Solo Connections are a different territory all together. By initiating skin contact with another person or item, a solo connection is created. This connection visualized as a long cord, as opposed to the former, has a significantly longer range before it snaps. (The latest trial revealed All Might leaving the city’s territory before the connection “snapped”. Izuku was not a happy camper when it happened; he had gotten a debilitating headache from the feedback. All Might, in the meantime, was leaping when he lost power, but immediately switched to his 3 Hour daily limit.)

 

The 10 months spent in Yuuei is not only to prepare Midoriya for high school, but also to assist him in understanding his quirk. By helping him understand his quirk, he can strengthen it and help All Might and any other possible hero that would need his type of aid.

 

A less-mentioned reason is to shield him from public attention. Midoriya’s status as a golden egg meant that his power can easily be exploited by villains. If overpowered villains appeared one day, fueled by Midoriya’s quirk, society could easily crumble with heroes being easily overwhelmed by evil’s might. As long as Midoriya can keep his quirk’s function away from the abyss’ prying eyes, he can lead a relatively normal life.

 

So here he was in Yuuei’s track field, decked in Yuuei’s gym uniform, attending All Might’s physical education class. (As part of his “training”, All Might is ALWAYS running on Izuku’s power now, even when All Might is out doing heroics. Yuuei has been testing the limits of Plus Minus, like how many SMASHes All Might can pull off in his state or whether it affects Izuku consequently, and how to get All Might’s Heavy SMASHes into a reliable form).

 

It was All Might’s belief that training his body would significantly improve his quirk’s limits, range and efficacy. Izuku shrugged, not finding any fault in that logic; a strong body can house a strong quirk after all.

 

His daily routine started with Physical Education with All Might in the morning which ended at around eleven o’ clock so he could recover from fatigue. (If anyone could experience All Might’s brand of “gym classes”, a recovery period is very justified. Midoriya had actually puked his meager breakfast out on a few occasions.) Two hours is spent for recovery and lunch break. (The older students were surprised at the “new transfer student” but had later grown used to him being around in the cafeteria, even though no one knew which “class” he belonged to.)

 

Afternoon classes started at one in the afternoon, with various hero teachers spending about an hour with him on varied subject to prepare him for first year high school on Yuuei’s next term (Cementoss did his best to make Modern Literature feel less dull, while Present Mic’s English classes were highly…”impressionable”. Snipe was teaching the Sciences and Home Economics is part of Midnight’s territory. Principal Nedzu handled guidance counseling personally, making sure that Midoriya didn’t feel pressured or stressed by the situation).

 

Afternoons that are supposedly spent on clubs were a different case for Midoriya. He left school early in order to visit the Hatsume household, or specifically “Mei’s Workshop”.

 

Principal Nedzu’s first suggestion was to have Izuku work with their Department of Support, but had found Hatsume’s sales pitch more appealing. Since they’ll be attending the same year (and boy was she confident she can easily get in the Department of Support), she’d be a perfect match for Midoriya instead of the older students that the Principal had planned. (Midoriya was pretty sure Hatsume was just very insistent because his quirk was like the Holy Grail for her, apparently).

 

Hatsume had shown him everything she had created. Original gadgets, items that were based on past and present super heroes, and even the failures. Most of the failures turned out to be not-failures though, it was only because their size was small but the power they needed was huge.

 

There was a growing list of things Hatsume set aside for repair, development and creation; her “babies” that could now work thanks to Midoriya’s quirk. Among them was a pair of magnetic field-emitting arm guards (Hatsume had said it could be used to project an anti-metal bullet field, but the power consumption was insane) and a 7 foot Tinker Raptor whom Izuku dubbed as “Boots”.

 

“Seriously, Hatsume! You’re a genius!” Izuku praised her intellect, admiring the metallic monstrosity. The dinosaur exhibited a lot of moving parts that bordered on steam punk and the comically large boots was a very nice touch in his opinion.

 

“I’m glad Boots is to your liking.” She shrugged nonchalantly, though she was quite terrible in hiding how proud she was of it. “I was working on keeping Boots at a certain weight limit or else he won’t be easy to maneuver. I did keep him under the weight limit, but I forgot to add in the weight of any power source I could think of.”

 

“Didn’t you say he was under the weight limit?” Izuku climbed on top of Boots, settling himself on the controller’s seat.

 

“Boots’s weight plus the power source PLUS the rider.” She pointed out. “Well, it’s convenient that you’re both the rider AND the power source. Try and give him a spin in the backyard.”

 

Izuku nodded, with a big smile appearing on his face. He was undeniably giddy and excited. The controls were rather simple and after taking time in getting used to making Boots move, the duo found themselves in the Hatsume backyard, with Boots making careful steps as he walked around so it didn’t ruin the grass. Boots was running on Izuku’s quirk now.

 

Hatsume had activated her quirk “Zoom” (she can see everything clearly within 5 kilometers off her) so she could read the various gauges located on random locations on Boots’ body.

“Minimal stress on the joints, no known power clogs, tension overlay is low – damn Midoriya, I’d give an arm to even at least have a copy of your quirk.” She groused, nevertheless was still quite happy she was in a partnership with him. It meant she had unlimited access to his quirk.

 

“I got teased a lot back when I was younger because of my quirk you know. It’s useless by itself. It’s all thanks to Hatsume-san’s gadgets that I have some fighting chance in being able to use my quirk for heroics.”

 

Hatsume grinned, accepting the compliment. “Y’know, ‘Hatsume-san’ is what you call my father. If it’s Midoriya, you can call me Mei and I won’t mind. We’re partners, aren’t we?”

 

Izuku slid down from on top of Boots and raised his hand towards Hatsume. “Call me Izuku, since we are partners, Mei-chan.”

“It’s a deal, Izuku-chan!” She shook her hands with him, sealing their partnership.

 

Izuku was left flabbergasted at having the cutesy honorific attached to his name, grumbling things like ‘Whyyy? I’m not cute!’

 

He was glad he finally had a friend after a long time.

 


 

The months continued on.

 

All Might’s training regimen had gotten tougher and more demanding. They had even taken a year-end project of cleaning up a long abandoned Seaside Park and turn it into a hotspot for dating couples. (Izuku had to spit at the last part. All Might had the terrible misunderstanding that he was having feelings towards his partner. He later clarified that they were just friends and both of them would find that idea to be honestly weird.) All Might had Midoriya hauling all the driftwood, abandoned appliances, old cars and trucks and various other wreckages from the shore to a specified drop-off point.

 

This he did during the evenings so that they would not be seen. Hatsume would sometimes accompany them since she was scavenging for parts. It technically wasn’t illegal to scavenge since it was considered waste. Izuku just bid her to be extra careful because of the rust and twisted metal.

 

Couple this every night and the gym class every morning, Midoriya wondered whether he could go through the day without falling asleep in class.

 

All Might snorted, while making an off-hand comment about having a recharging quirk but not using it to ‘recharge’ himself. Midoriya smacked his hand in enlightenment, praising All Might’s ingenuity and, for the first time, used Plus Minus on himself.

 

There were two things they discovered that day: one, Midoriya CAN recharge himself back into energy. Two, if he does use this ability on himself, he turns into a sarcastic airhead with a lack of sense and delicacy a.k.a. an insensible jackass.

 

The teachers pointedly glared at All Might, who shrunk guiltily, for the whole day, as they observed Midoriya attending their class not lacking energy, but lacking enthusiasm, respect and a sense of T.P.O.

 

“Midnight-sensei! Are those plump jiggly-wigglies of yours fake or are they quirk-augmented? I’m sure they’re natural, right? I mean, you’re still young and not hitting your forties!”

 

An uppercut courtesy of an outraged and embarrassed Midnight had promptly knocked Midoriya out. They had sent his unconscious form home after that so that he can rest, recollect himself and ride off this annoying side effect of his quirk. The day after, Midoriya, with full memory of the things he did and said yesterday, had gone out of his way to apologize to everyone he had been rude and disrespectful to.

 

“I feel terrible!” He hid his face on his hands while turning red and sweating from embarrassment. “I knew what I was saying, I was aware! But it was like everything was just coming out of my mouth in spades and it just felt natural! Was I really this lecherous?”

 

Midnight and the other teachers patted him on the head, assuring him they didn’t take whatever he said yesterday personally. All Might was doing the dogeza, apologizing to Midoriya for making him go through with what happened yesterday.

 

“I-it’s fine.” Midoriya shook his head, staving off the apology. “At least we knew something amazing like my quirk had probably some sort of side effect.”

 

He turned red in a second.

 

“Uwah, did I just say my quirk was amazing? T-that’s not what I meant! I mean – “He hid his face behind his hands again, muttering things like having grown a big head just because of his situation and such. Midnight made an ‘aww’ sound and hugged Izuku, crushing his face on her chest, thankful that her ‘modest little Midoriya’ was back again.

 

Midoriya had a short fainting spell after that.

 


 

The final months before the entrance exams of Yuuei were now approaching.

 

Midoriya had fully accomplished his project with All Might, cleaning the beach of its litter and garbage. The strict training regimen by All Might, martial arts courses provided by various teachers and diet course planned by Lunch Rush had improved Midoriya’s physique, turning him from a lanky, adolescent kid into a compact, yet well-muscled fighter.

 

His height never did catch up with his body, and there was still a slight baby fat in Midoriya’s cheeks. Wearing his uniform, he still looked lanky and underdeveloped. Midoriya didn’t mind. As a hero undergraduate, the factor of surprise and being underestimated was valued.

 

His partnership with Hatsume was going quite well. Midoriya had already registered for both an official recognition of Hero and Support Partnership with Hatsume, as well as papers for personal use for a variety of gadgets that was powered solely by his quirk: amongst of which was the modified magnet arm guards that could now repel or attract metal, two volatile plasma daggers that responded to the output of Midoriya’s quirk, a quirk-powered sniper rifle “Egret” that shot stunning electric bullets at long range, and a fully upgraded “Boots” that had various features installed in him.

 

The newest and possibly the most significant upgrade Hatsume had given the raptor robot was its artificial intelligence. She had worked day and night on programming it, checking for bugs and making sure that the artificial intelligence did its best to assist and support Izuku with sound decisions, but without being too invasive. Hatsume dubbed it the “Replica System”, and once it was installed on the robot, it had taken on the personality of a sound and polite well-mannered guardian. Hatsume had introduced Boots to Midoriya, to which the robot had acknowledged Hatsume as his ‘creator’ and Izuku as his ‘master’ and ‘life giver’. This was the first instance where Izuku had made a solo connection with an ‘entity’.

 

Boots had been also been given short-range burst thrusters in order to offset the issue of weight over maneuverability, plasma blades that extended from its sides, and a null field generator that blocked out moderate physical forces. All of these were inconceivable due to their power costs, but thanks to Midoriya’s quirk, that issue was mitigated. As long as Boots was within Midoriya’s 1 meter area of influence, the strain wasn’t that terrible, even while he constantly held a solo connection with All Might.

 

“Snipe-sensei.” Midoriya asked the lone ranger-looking cowboy hero that accompanied him to the Gadget Registration Office. As Snipe himself was solely dependent on his guns when doing hero work, he was best suited to introducing Midoriya to this aspect of heroics.

 

“Wouldn’t the other students cry foul because I have these gadgets? A lot of us would be dependent on our quirks to get through our courses after all.” Izuku handed the registration forms to the awaiting officer.

 

“Ye don’ have ta worry ‘bout it. When ye’ say gadgets, they’re proper ‘quipment that’ll make a hero’s quirk easier ta’ use. As long as yer quirk powers ‘em gadgets, they can’t do nothin’ ‘bout it. Jus’ show ‘em them paperwork and yer gon be set genst ‘em.”

 

Snipe looked thoughtful, before he added more things to say.

 

“If it’s ‘bout comparison, a flashlight with batteries ain’t permissible. But if it’s a flashlight that runs only on your quirk, tha’s fair play. That or ye c’n jus’ point ‘em in my direction and I’ll shoot ‘em for ye using muh trusty guns.”

 

Midoriya nodded and thanked him, more confident that Hatsume’s babies won’t get slandered as much as he thought they would be. After registration, Snipe led them back to the school armory for weapons training and disarmament.

 


 

Ten months have gone by.

 

Exam day has arrived at last!

 

Chapter Text

“Izuku, do you have your writing implements?”

 

He searched through his backpack before he came up with two No. 1 pencils and two No. 2 pencils.

 

“What about your examinee ID and room number ID?”

 

Izuku brought out two IDs, much to Boot’s satisfaction (though it was hard for him to express it since his face was made of metal. He would have to settle for directly praising his master instead.”

 

“Well then, I shall deposit myself in the school parking lot. If you need my assistance, please call for me via the communicator Hatsume-sama had recently installed.”

 

The dinosaur didn’t move for a moment, making Izuku wonder if something is wrong.

 

“Good luck on your exam, Izuku.”

 

Midoriya nodded, appreciating the robot’s well-wish. “I’ll be going then.”

 

With his duties done for that moment, the dinosaur ambled off towards the back, heading for the parking spaces. It couldn’t be helped. Much as Boots wanted to accompany Izuku everywhere, his body was plain too big and too heavy. Hatsume and Izuku were working on something to remedy that problem though, so it was only a matter of time before Izuku can have Boot’s full company.

 

He had grown used to the dinosaur’s company. Boots worked like a personal butler and friend. Though he wasn’t big on emotions (since he was only a programmed AI), his answers were often on-spot with logic and political correctness. Boots had also made it easier for Izuku to traverse the distance from Yuuei to his house and vice-versa. Though they had applied for a license from the Land Transportation Office, they were not allowed to travel on main roads. Izuku and Boots often flew short distances using the installed short range thrusters.

 

When they were separated, they often talked through a com device that was attached to Izuku’s collar. This way, if Midoriya had anything to ask Boots, the dinosaur would immediately respond in haste.

 

During the written exam however, all forms of communication were to be disabled to avoid cheating. (Someone with an electronic interference quirk would set up a net over the exam venue). Normally, Boots would feel a tad irritated at being separated from his ward, but since Yuuei is on a location white list in his database (a.k.a. it’s a safe place so there’s no need for him to be on guard) he wouldn’t mind the distance between them. For now.

 

Honestly though, with the way Boots was acting earlier though, Midoriya swore Hatsume had installed some form of Mom software on him. Was it possible for robots to feel nervous for their wards or something?

 

HUH? Why the fuck are you here, Deku?” A rather brash voice cut through his musings, making Izuku turn around to a familiar face.

 

“Kacchan.” Izuku didn’t rise to his former-childhood friend’s baiting. Though he did greet the rather eternally-irate teenager, he didn’t deign to answer his question. Must be because he’d grown enough cojones during the last ten months.

 

“Didn’t you enter Yuuei with some fucking scholarship shit?” Bakugou was loathe to admit he was curious about anything in regards to the little fuckmunch, but now that the little shit was in front of him, he might as well get it out of the way. “What? Were you too fucking good for it even though you have a shitty ass quirk?”

 

Izuku’s fingers itched, moving towards his pant legs, to a region where he often kept the holster for his daggers, before realizing they were in his backpack. A deep breath was all it took for Izuku to rein in his emotions at having his quirk insulted for the last time.

 

Before he could even answer however, the sound of loud whispering suddenly assaulted their ears. Izuku could hear the words “Sludge incident” and “weren’t those two involved with it around that time?” and wow, they really weren’t being quiet about it.

 

Bakugou apparently has had enough of it and, without even waiting for Izuku’s answer, moved past the smaller boy and towards the Yuuei exam hall. There were no other further exchanged insults, and Izuku wondered what the change of heart was for.

 

“Hey, what was wrong with that guy? Insulting your quirk like that?”

 

A rather bored voice spoke from behind him. Izuku turned around to meet a somewhat taller boy with an impressive amount of hair that flew in all directions. His eyes were ringed with black, giving an impression that he was an insomniac.

 

“N-no.” Izuku shook his head, though the boy kept giving him an unimpressed look. “It’s just because my quirk is hard to use for heroics, even though I’m applying for the Department of Heroics. Frankly, he’s not the only one who thinks so. Even my former class had bullied me because of my quirk.”

 

The other boy reacted, somewhat turning stilted for a second or so, though Izuku hadn’t noticed. “Why would they think your quirk is useless for heroics?”

 

Izuku laughed with a nervous grin. “All I have a recharging quirk. I mean, it’s not even electricity-based, so it’s kind of hard working with my quirk alone, right?”

 

Even the other boy sniffed at that. “Why don’t you just join me in the Department of General Education? My quirk is pretty much useless in offense and I’m sure the practical exam is going to be about fighting large combat robots.”

 

Izuku wondered how the other boy knew about the second half of the entrance exam. Information like that would only be privy to the instructors.

 

“I may, or may not have asked an instructor about what exams will appear using my quirk.” He answered off-handedly, looking away in abashed embarrassment. “ I’m Shinsou Hitoshi. My quirk is brainwashing.”

 

“I’m Midoriya Izuku, and as I’ve said, my quirk is recharging.” They shook hands on it, before the words fully impacted Izuku. “Wait, brainwashing?! Woah, isn’t that overpowered? That’s an amazing quirk with a lot of potential offensive uses!”

 

“An amazing quirk?” Shinsou raised an eyebrow at that, fairly amused at the other person’s reaction. “Wouldn’t you mean a villainous quirk?”

 

“What?” Izuku’s face almost hinted that Shinsou was stupid for even thinking about it. “Are you kidding? The things you can do with your quirk! You can pretty much resolve a villain attack peacefully without even fighting! Even with something mundane like a suicide attempt, you can persuade them to stop long enough for the authorities to handle it from there! It’s a wonderful quirk you’ve been blessed with!”

 

Shinsou was taken aback, downright speechless at how earnest Midoriya praised his quirk. There was no hint of suspicion or animosity in the way Midoriya thought about what he could do with his quirk. He had always received flak for his quirk, but Midoriya, a stranger he had only met today, believed he can do good things with his brainwashing quirk.

 

“Shinsou.” Izuku looked at him straight in the eye. “You can become a great hero with your quirk.”

 

“And how do you suppose I can deal with the practical exam?” Shinsou’s hands clenched into fists. There was a frustrating amount of hope growing in his heart, one where he can jump into the Department of Heroics instead of General Education.

 

“I don’t know.”

 

Shinsou was ready to abandon that fragile little hope.

 

“But you know, when trouble comes our way, it is the hero’s duty to be the last person to give up.”

 

Midoriya had learnt those words from Principal Nedzu’s hero theories. The rat-like principal might be long-winded with his lessons and lectures, but everything he said had substance.

 

“Shinsou. You’re giving up even though the fight hasn’t even started.”

 

The taller boy closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He unclenched his hands, finally relaxing.

 

“You sure like to talk big, even though you have a sucky ass quirk.” Shinsou teased, but there was mirth in his eyes. “You sure they didn’t tease you because you were too nosy?”

 

Midoriya grinned, leading the way for the taller boy. He had grown familiar with the halls of Yuuei to know where the venue was even if he was blindfolded.

 

“I’ll take that as a compliment.” He replied with a laugh. “After all, butting one’s nose in is one of the principal qualities of a hero!”

 


 

The written exam had swiftly gone by. Midoriya was at least confident that he would score enough points to compensate for whatever he might lack with the practical exam.

 

Truth be told, the Principal had already told him that the exam was unnecessary for him since he was already enrolled. Izuku however, wanted to ask this as a favor for him. He really wanted to experience Yuuei’s “baptism”. He wanted to see if the ten months he spent training with the various teacher mentors would bear fruit and give him the necessary grade of 79.

 

Nedzu sighed, unable to say no to the burning fire behind Izuku’s eyes. He couldn’t go against the student by his own beliefs as well, since he wanted to espouse the philosophy of PLUS ULTRA!!! which meant going above one’s own limits and climbing over those walls.

 

At the very least, Nedzu finally agreed on letting Izuku take the exam on the condition that if he passes, his score will be added to his records without any preamble. But should Izuku fail to meet the passing criteria, they would nullify his grading result and make it look as if he never took the exam.

 

Izuku had been worried about the condition that was set before him, but after taking a few seconds to go over them, he had to ask the Principal for clarifications as to what the downside to the agreement was.

 

He said there was none. And that just because there was a ‘but’ it doesn’t main that it will always work in Izuku’s disfavor. Principal Nedzu had to emphasize the fact that they couldn’t risk Izuku getting exposed to villains. The Sludge incident was a harsh reminder of what happened should Izuku fall into the hands of evil. Either way, they are set on keeping Izuku in long enough for him to learn how to defend himself and control his power so that he does not unwittingly provide aid towards people he wouldn’t want to help.

 

The crash course introduction to the practical exam that was led by none other than Present Mic was met with deadpanned silence save for Izuku who was the sole person who kept responding to Present Mic’s jigs.

 

Izuku was tense during the whole situation. He was flanked on his right by none other than Bakugou, and on his left by Shinsou. Every time Izuku tried to engage Kacchan to a conversation, Bakugou would retaliate with a dead-ender. (Shut it, fuckface.)

 

He finally gave up, deciding to whisper with Shinsou in order to develop strategies for the other boy instead.

 

“I can’t use Brainwash on anything that has no brain, or that doesn’t respond to my provocations.” Shinsou explained the conditions to his quirk. “My quirk only activates if someone answers me and if I will it to activate at the same time. Also, they don’t remember anything while being under my control.”

 

Izuku pondered over these sets of conditions, mumbling incoherently.

 

“Does it tire you to switch your quirk on and off while changing targets?” Izuku asked, wary of the ‘no attacking your competitors’ stipulation.

 

“Nah. I can even keep around four or five people under control and it doesn’t bother me.”

 

Izuku nodded, having formulated an idea. He immediately shared his plan with Shinsou, who found it an ingenious solution to his current predicament.

 


 

They’ve been given one hour to prepare for the practical exam, of which Shinsou had decided to visit the Yuuei Armory at Izuku’s behest. He had applied for a temporary permit to borrow and use a B-Rank Electrified Blade “Nenekaruri”, a standard weapon for heroic use mainly for rescue when cutting open car wrecks or collapsed buildings.

 

Shinsou and Izuku’s practical exam venue was in Replica City – District D. There was a lot of fuss over Izuku travelling using Boots instead of riding the bus, but only a few people made a big deal out of it. The examiner did say “You can take whatever you like.”

 

Shinsou marveled at the sight of Boots, to whom Izuku had promptly introduced to him and vice-versa. Boots politely introduced himself as Izuku’s chaperone and that he was glad Izuku was starting to make friends.

 

“S-Shinsou’s not – I mean, we’re friends aren’t we?” Izuku blushed, wondering if he wasn’t off-tangent about it.

 

A small grin graced Shinsou’s face, as he ruffled Midoriya’s messy verdant hair. “You dork, of course we are. You’re a good guy, Midoriya.”

 

The gates of Replica City slowly opened, revealing a large city block full of empty buildings and ruined streets.

 

“It’s so big!”

 

“Yuuei’s nuts! How much money do they have if they can easily spend it on places like these?”

 

“Holy shit! There are other Replica City districts! So that’s where the other batches had gone to!”

 

While others were awestruck by the city, a few students milled towards them, particularly at Boots. Izuku was grateful Boots provided a decent distraction while he went over with Shinsou in regards to how he can use his quirk in the practical exam. They didn’t need prying ears right now.

 

“AND START!”

 

Everyone’s attention shifted towards a figure on top of one of the buildings, who was none other than Present Mic.

 

“Huh?”

 

“Wait – what?”

 

Present Mic looked slightly annoyed, but no one could see his expression since he was quite a distance away. Only someone like Hatsume with her Zoom quirk could have seen it.

 

What’s wrong, peeps?” His booming voice rode with the airwaves. “You looking for a countdown? Villains won’t have the time or decency to wait for you to get started! Chop chop everyone!”

 

This had immediately set everyone in a flurry, running into the Replica City. Shinsou nodded at Izuku, confirming he understood what he needed to do. Izuku nodded back, getting the message clear.

 

I’ll stick with the pack.

 

Boots and I will go solo. Let’s meet up at the center, 10 minutes before the end of the test in case you’re missing points.

 

With their plan in motion, Shinsou made a mad dash to catch up with the group, Nenekaruri secured in a holster on his right leg. Izuku immediately strayed away from the group, Boot’s Hudson Radar immediately detecting metallic entities within their vicinity.

 


 

The objective of the test was to destroy robotic targets inside the city block. The robots ranged in size, power and speed. The stronger the robot got, the more points it gave the examinee. The weakest robot, a 1-pointer, was a fast but brittle machine. The stronger ones, often larger than life, had a maximum of 12 points.

 

Present Mic had warned them that if they killed too many all at once, a very large and impossible-to-defeat version (Yaruki Robot) would appear and cause a rampage within the city block. There was no merit in defeating it since it gave 0 points. The only thing they can do is escape.

 

Midoriya’s plan was simple. For the exceptionally weak robots, those that usually ran from between 1-3 points, he can easily use the knife to deal with them.

 

For the stronger targets, Shinsou had only to use his quirk on a fellow hero examinees and order them to “cause a glancing blow” while he finished them off using Nenekaruri. He had to quickly release them from the brainwash before they realized they missed something however.

 

It wasn’t a foolproof plan however. Everyone was concentrating too much that they seldom answered Shinsou’s provocations (a condition needed to get someone under his control). Shinsou often spent more time dealing with small fry instead of the larger, stronger robots.

 

Which was where the second part of Midoriya’s plan came to effect. At the last ten minutes, they would meet up at the center of town and Midoriya, confident he and Boots can rake up enough points for them to qualify on their own, would help him gain points by weakening them for Shinsou to be able to finish them off solo and gain the points.

 

The robots were dwindling fast, and there was still twenty minutes before the exam ended when the Yaruki Robot appeared, destroying several buildings along with it.

 

Shinsou only had 19 points, a surefire guarantee of failing the practical exam, when it appeared. Letting out a subtle curse, he ran away from the robot’s direction, just like everyone else.

 

A small groan, amidst the rumbling of falling debris and crushed rocks, pierced through the noisy din. Shinsou turned around, horrified to find a girl whimpering in pain, crawling on the ground.

 

“Oi!” He shouted, trying to get her attention. “Stand up and run! That thing’s getting nearer!”

 

The girl tried to stand up, but fell short and crumpled back into the ground, making small ‘ow ow ow’ sounds. Shinsou had half the mind of leaving her behind, and by logic he should have been correct.

 

The Yaruki Robot was drawing nearer and nearer, and abandoning all clear thoughts like “This is just an exam. No one’s going to die.” or “The Yaruki Robot probably isn’t programmed to squish her.” he ran towards her, supporting her weight and dragging her away from the rampaging robot.

 

Hasty thoughts crossed his mind whether he was regretting this rather ill-thought decision but two things rang clear before the foot above them fell down towards their head with the intention of turning them into flat human pancakes.

 

I can’t help what I long to be, can’t I? I want to be a hero.

 

After all, butting one’s nose in is one of the principal qualities of a hero!

 

The foot crashed down, Shinsou closing his eyes and bracing for the immense pain heading their way.

 

SHINSOUUUUUUUUUUU!!! A loud voice called for him, revealing the rider and his robot.

 

“Midoriya!” He gasped, learning how to breathe again. Was he ever relieved to see the smaller boy and his chaperone dinosaur.

 

Izuku flew in record speed towards them, having Boots set up the Null Field Generator to protect the four of them under the robot’s foot the instant they were in the field’s territory. It was only to buy them time however, the field was not made to withstand this amount of pressure, even if Midoriya was persistently feeding it with power.

 

“Shit, what do we do, Midoriya?” Shinsou gritted his teeth, as cracks started to appear on the greenish field that surrounded them. He had placed the girl down, realizing she was already unconscious.

 

“Shield is at 79% efficiency. Durability is steadily decreasing.” Boots intoned, voice devoid of any emotion like they weren’t going to get crushed after the field gets destroyed.

 

A dozen scenarios passed through Midoriya’s head, none of them working at all. The thing was too large for him to overcharge. And Shinsou only had his brainwashing quirk which was quite –

 

“Shit! Useless! Why the fuck am I so useless when it comes to these?!” The taller boy scowled, desperation in his eyes. “Hey, you useless pile of junk! Take your foot off!” He shouted out of fatalistic nervousness.

 

It was a gamble.

 

Midoriya wore his sleeves up his arms and gripped Shinsou’s arm, making the other boy jolt in surprise.

 

“Shinsou. You can control this thing.”

 

The taller boy looked at him as if he had grown a second head. A stupid second head.

 

“Are you nuts?!”

 

“Believe you can do it! Just believe and put your faith in your quirk, Shinsou!”

 

“That’s fucking insane, Midoriya! I told you my quirk doesn’t work like that!”

 

“49%. Durability rapidly decreasing.”

 

“Shinsou! A hero’s duty is to be the last person to give up! If you can’t brainwash the robot, then CONTROL IT!”

 

Shinsou, probably because he had no other options, tried to do so. “STOP! TAKE YOUR FOOT OFF, YOU GIANT SHIT! MOVE!”

 

“It’s not enough Shinsou! Give everything you have to your quirk!”

 

Move!”

 

All Might’s words rang clear in his head, during one of his training stints a few months ago.

 

“Clench your asshole super tight! Scream with everything you got and BELIEVE FROM THE BOTTOM OF YOUR HEART!”

 

Shinsou felt like his heart was ready to burst with the amount of emotion that exploded outwards. He needed to save them, he needed to pass the exam. He truly believed that his quirk was capable of giving him both of that.

 

MOVE OUT OF OUR WAY AND DESTROY ALL THE ENEMY ROBOTS IN THE AREA, GODDAMMIT!!!”

 

The Yaruki Robot shuddered, slowly lifting its foot from on top of them. With its strong arms, it suddenly swung at the other robots in the area, effectively crushing them in one blow. Points started stacking on top of Shinsou’s score.

 

“Wha-? How – “Shinsou looked in disbelief at the now berserk robot. He looked at Midoriya; surprised to see the hands that were gripping his arm was glowing blue, whose face was set in deep concentration.

 

“What’re you…” He didn’t manage to finish his sentence before he fell on his knees over in sheer exhaustion. The Yaruki Robot, having lost its connection to Shinsou, lost power as well, crashing down and taking out a few buildings in the process.

 

Shinsou looked around, at the unconscious girl, at Izuku and Boots, and finally at the Yaruki Robot that was for all rights, dead.

 

“What happened?” He blinked, suddenly taking into account his very exhausted state. “Why am I so tired, and what happened to that large robot? Did someone save us?”

 

Midoriya, slightly overwhelmed at the success of his gamble, just shook his head nervously with an overly large grin plastered on his face before he too, fell on his knees. Boots ambled towards his side, just waiting for him what to do next.

 

Present Mic’s voice rang throughout the whole copy city, just in the nick of time.

 

“THE TEST IS OVER!!!”

 

Chapter Text

One week since the exam

 

It was nighttime, Sunday. The television was set on a random TV channel, displaying a movie that was often aired during Sunday nights.

 

Midoriya was quiet, lying down on the couch and paying no heed to the movie. He was bored, staring at the smart phone he was holding up against the light. Sighing softly, he covered his eyes with one hand while blindly placing the phone on the nearby living room table, knowing he wouldn’t get a reply today either.

 

The end of the exam was very eventful. Shinsou and the girl was treated for wounds (the swift recovery was to be credited to Recovery Girl’s work), Midoriya had gotten away with minor exhaustion and mental strain. Boots had a few things broken because of the power oversurge from the null field being strained to its limits, but nevertheless, Mei had gotten the robot dinosaur in tip-top shape after a few days. Izuku had gotten a proper lecture from Boots about his recklessness once the logic circuits and the M.O.M. software was up and running again.

 

Shinsou and Midoriya had shared contact numbers at the end of that day, the former having a wan smile on his face before he turned around and left. Midoriya didn’t know what the smile was, but he let it go, thinking nothing of it.

 

The next five days were spent with examining the results of Midoriya’s actions in the practical exam. New data in regards to his quirk were examined and compiled; even Mei had been called in so she could share her observations when she was repairing Boots. Izuku revealed Shinsou’s quirk and conditions to the faculty, under strict oath of secrecy, and what had happened with the Yaruki Robot getting controlled (something which had baffled the engineers). After which, he’d been given the rest of the week off so he could prepare for the start of the school year on Monday.

 

Saturday morning, Izuku sent an SMS to Shinsou, asking if he was free to hang out with in the mall. There was no reply or response from Shinsou, and Midoriya wondered if maybe the phone was just left unattended. The whole day had passed by with neither a chirp from his cell phone (aside from his mother asking him to buy soy sauce on the way home).

 

Sunday, Toshinori-san (!) came by, checking up on Izuku and his mother. Both were dutifully surprised, and the latter had immediately ushered All Might in for some food and refreshments. While she was busy in the kitchen, Izuku got his explanation that the academy was performing its duty mandated by the government to safeguard the Midoriya household. All Might was doing his daily rounds, and had thought best to enter the household instead of just usually spying from the outside.

 

“All Might should just let himself in. Mom would be thrilled to have a guest to entertain.” Izuku smiled softly, reddening from embarrassment. “All Might isn’t an unpleasant company, and she gets lonely most of the time, especially since I am rarely home as well.”

 

Speaking of lonely, he glanced towards his smart phone, noting the lack of any new messages or a missed call.

 

The day had passed by uneventfully, and night had arrived too soon for Midoriya’s taste.

 

That was where he found himself, falling fast asleep on the couch with the background noise of the television as company.

 


 

 

“Izuku, you have some tissues, right?”

 

“Yes, mom!”

 

“Izuku, I have found your missing wallet. It’s in the garage.”

 

“Ah! Thanks, Boots!”

 

“Dear, you forgot your hanky!”

 

“Mom!”

 

A few moments later, the handkerchief was tucked safe and tight inside Izuku’s pockets.

 

“Izuku.” His mom called out, to which he turned around, wondering what else he might have forgotten.

 

“I’m super proud of you.” She smiled, wiping a tear from her eye. “Thank you for being my son.”

 

A few steps too fast, and Izuku was hugging her tight, burying his head on her shoulder.

 

“Thanks mom.” He whispered softly, rubbing his head on his mom’s shoulder. “You’re a super cool mother.”

 

His mother stifled a choke, tightening her hug.

 

She had always known Izuku’s failed dream when his quirk was revealed. She was regretful she did little to support Izuku because she didn’t know what to do. But she was happy that things worked out and now, Izuku was working on his dream to become a super hero.

 

He slowly let go, offering a kind smile. “See you later, mom.”

 

Outside, Boots dutifully waited for Izuku to mount him and secure himself before kicking off and gliding towards the direction of Yuuei Academy.

 


 

 

The morning air was cold, and it was hitting Izuku’s face at great speeds.

 

It had taken him almost a two months of getting used to flying on top of Boots. While it seemed cool to ride a sentient, robot dinosaur armed with short-distance plasma boost thrusters, GPS-guided systems and magnetosphere levitation assisted hovering technology; there were also several cons that reared their heads at unexpected times.

 

The lack of any wind guard or cover while sitting on top of Boots was one issue. Mei couldn’t afford to add any additional baggage on Boots in order to preserve his structural integrity. He was already pushing it with the weapons and the null field generator, not to mention the hardware and software that housed the Replica A.I. System.

 

When it was a sunny day, Izuku’s face suffered dryness and irritation. When it was raining, he was pretty much soaked, not to mention the leather seat often got ruined by the water. Days when there was a lightning storm, they were effectively stuck to the ground.

 

The problem was remedied temporarily with Izuku buying a motorcycle helmet and a poncho he stuck under the seat for rainy days. His mother had suggested the idea and Izuku had taken to it enthusiastically. Mei had also agreed it was a good idea and took the helmet, much to Izuku’s surprise. It was later returned to him outfitted with several devices connected to Boot’s system.

 

A loud beeping sound emanated from one of Boot’s compartment speakers, alerting Izuku of an incoming call from Mei. He tapped the side of the helmet, prompting the call to go through.

 

“Fufufu! ♫ Morning, Izuku-chan!” Mei’s voice rang inside the helmet.

 

“G’morning, Mei-chan! You in school already?” Izuku answered, noting that the Yuuei building was only a few blocks away.

 

“We’re in the assembly hall, listening to Principal Nedzu’s welcome speech. It’s only for the General Education, Support Department and Business Department though. I heard you guys immediately start classes right away!”

 

“Yeah. The Heroics Department has it hard. Haha!”

 

Mei's voice considerably lowered. Izuku figured they were getting too loud for the school assembly. “So, I called in because I need to borrow Boots when you get here. Is it okay with you?”

 

Izuku blinked, curious. “Of course, Mei-chan. Did you need him for something?”

 

“Something of that sort.” She was teasing somewhat in her tone. “Some people got interested when they saw you riding him to and from school. They wanted to see him and talk to his creator, no? I know it’s not going to be possible to mass-produce him given the power requirements but I want to start forming networks with the market, y’ no?”

 

“It’s nice, right? People are finally noticing your work.” Izuku sincerely praised her. “It’s alright with you, na, Boots?”

 

The robot’s mechanical voice filtered through the speaker as well. “I detect no problem with the request. It is an order given by the creator.”

 

The duo alighted in front of the Yuuei Barrier, a large metal gate outfitted with sensors to immediately open whenever a student card or special entry permission ID is detected and snap shut if it is otherwise. Entry via the air space is only reserved for faculty, and though there was a debate whether or not to allow Izuku to have this privilege as well, it was later rescinded in order to avoid having a backlash on Izuku’s public image as a “normal” student of Yuuei. Well, it might change if circumstances allowed it, but now…

 

A loud, insistent ringing pierced the air. Even some of the students turned their heads around towards Midoriya (when they were already gawking at Boots). Midoriya fumbled in his pockets, taking out his smart phone.

 

Shinsou’s name was flashing on the screen, the [Call] button was flashing wildly. Midoriya lost no time in answering.

 

“H-hello?!” Izuku answered, voice a bit harried because of the spontaneity of the call. “Shinsou?!”

 

“Midoriya!” The voice answered, panicky but now relieved. “Wh-“

 

“Did something happen?! Are you hurt?! Where are you?!” Midoriya’s countenance was one of dread, and he was almost close to turning around and asking Boots to take flight towards Shinsou’s location once the other had given up his location.

 

“I’m in school. Calm down, Midoriya.”

 

Eh?

 

“Moron. I can see you at the gate, looking like you’re ready to run away.” His voice was amused, and a tad bit touched for the concern.

 

“S-Shinsou!” Midoriya bawled (shocking nearby bystanders again). “Y-you never replied to any of my messages!”

 

“Sorry.” Shinsou grumbled, mumbling something. “I think you did something silly to my phone, Midoriya.”

 

“Huh?” Izuku was now turning around, wiping his tears. Boots had been shooed away to go look for Hatsume, assured that he was now okay and that Shinsou was okay as well.

 

“My phone was always at 100% battery and I wondered about it, but then I only figured it out that your recharging quirk had something to do with it last Friday.”

 

“Yeah…” Midoriya scratched his head, urging Shinsou to continue. He was already taking the stairs up towards the Heroics Department classrooms.

 

“Me and my folks decided to go out of town to celebrate my acceptance to Yuuei when the letter arrived last Friday. When we went out of town, my phone went kaput.”

 

“Ah!”

 

“I tried to charge it but it won’t receive power. I wanted to call you about it, but your number was stored in the phone’s memory and I didn’t memorize it.”

 

Midoriya laughed nervously. “Oops.”

 

The call was abruptly cut off. Midoriya stared at the phone, wondering if Shinsou’s phone powered down again.

 

On top of the steps, Shinsou smiled, tucking his phone back into his pocket. He reached his hand out towards Midoriya.

 

“Heroics Class 1-A, Shinsou Hitoshi. Good to see you again, Midoriya.”

 

Midoriya took the hand, grinning as well.

 

“Heroics Class 1-A, Midoriya Izuku. Let’s do our best, Shinsou!”

 

The short distance walking towards their classroom was spent on Midoriya flatly denying that he was worried about Shinsou during the weekend.

Chapter Text


 

 

“Have you gone on ahead to the classroom?” Midoriya tried to switch the topic of their discussion. He was already embarrassed enough with this flub in regards to Shinsou’s phone. Apparently, when Shinsou was unconscious and Midoriya had to take his phone out from his pocket to search for emergency contact numbers, he had created a solo connection with it (Midoriya did recall he was quite flustered back then, the stress had probably created an accidental connection).

 

The minute Shinsou’s family left town, the connection snapped and it was unable to receive power from any other source. Midoriya had offered to take the connection back but Shinsou digressed, saying he wasn’t leaving town for any foreseeable future, so it was a waste not getting a freebie power service from Midoriya. Izuku adorably puffed his face at that, mumbling how Shinsou was just making him his personal power bank. Shinsou rolled his eyes and ruffled Midoriya’s already-messy hair, much to the other boy’s ire.

 

“I haven’t gone inside yet.” Shinsou rolled his shoulders, showing he still had his backpack on. “I did see a couple of interesting fellows, however. A guy with a tail, a guy with tentacles, a guy with a crow’s head, a girl that had strange-looking horns, a girl with earphone jacks on her earlobes…”

 

Midoriya grimaced. “Uwah. Somehow, we seem unimpressive.” He said, gesturing to his lanky self.

 

“Oh, I don’t know about that Midoriya.” Shinsou shrugged, both of them stopping in front of the large classroom door with “1-A” emblazoned on it in typical Yuuei style. “You have redeeming qualities when it comes to looks.”

 

The door creaked open, revealing a slightly red Midoriya.

 

“A-are you saying I’m remotely attractive?”

 

“You’ve got the look of someone people would want to flock to and protect.” Shinsou toothily grinned. “Of course, looking at you objectively, you are what people would define ‘cute’ and would be a rather good-looking target for tsundere bullies.”

 

The duo entered the rather noisy classroom, people moving around and introducing themselves to one another.

 

“Well, you ARE bullying me right now.” Midoriya groused, while easily finding the people Shinsou had mentioned earlier. He let out a sigh of relief when he saw other similar people with no other extra features or appendages. At least he wouldn’t feel left out.

 

Shinsou led them to two empty seats in the middle of the classroom, taking for himself the seat to the left of Midoriya. “Trust me, Midoriya-chan. I bully you like I would a little brother. You are impeccably cute.”

 

“E-eeeh.” Midoriya deflated, making an ugly monkey face.

 

“Like a Philippine tarsier.”

 

“That’s mean! My eyes aren’t that bug-eyed nor big!”

 

Shinsou only snorted in reply.

 

The two were interrupted by a slight cough from someone wearing glasses. Both turned towards the third party, whom Midoriya noted was a very impeccably neat and well-groomed young man with interesting eyebrows.

 

The teenager thrust out both hands towards them, making Midoriya jerk a bit from the sudden action and Shinsou regarding him with a suspicious stare.

 

“Hello to both of you– I’m Iida Tenya, from Soumei Junior High School.”

 

Ah, it was a greeting.

 

Midoriya gingerly took the hand closest to him and shook it. “M-Midoriya Izuku. Nice to meet you too.”

 

Shinsou glanced at the hand shaking, and deeming it safe enough, he took the other hand as well. “Shinsou Hitoshi. Yoroshiku.”

 

Iida nodded, looking grim all of a sudden.“I was in the same block as you two in the practical exam. And I have to admit that I was envious at the camaraderie that both of you displayed, as well as divining the true nature of the exam. Of course, as heroes, not only are we tasked to subdue villains, but to also rescue civilians as well.”Midoriya blushed at the praise. “I-it was just coincidence. Shinsou was the one who rescued her, I was just rushing towards a friends who’s in danger that’s all.”

 

“Midoriya–“ Shinsou groaned at the smaller boy’s flagrant display of friendliness. Or the unconscious act of throwing him into the lion’s den that was the four eyes’ compliments.

 

“NEVERTHELESS, Shinsou…kun!” Iida got a glare for that one. “Shinsou-san! You truly have the heart of a hero! I, myself, ran away at the sight of danger when the large robot went berserk, not even noticing someone who had fallen down onto the ground. I misread the situation and the whole point of the test. Both of you are truly the better men during that time.”

 

Shinsou looked away, completely unused to receiving praise from a stranger while Midoriya only laughed nervously, deciding against trying to argue with the taller teen.

 

By now the classroom had grown quiet, with almost everyone sparing a glance at the three of them. It was probably an unconscious action of sizing up their classmate, after all, everyone was striving to be a hero. Which means everyone was also a rival and school was just one big competition.

 

The door creaked open at that moment. A few more moments before the bell rang.

 

“Oh! It’s Curly Hair and Floofy Hair!” A girl entered the room, immediately calling out to the duo. “I missed you guys when I woke up; I haven’t even thanked you back then!”

 

Midoriya immediately recognized her, while Shinsou was still straining to remember who she was. The nickname wasn’t lost to him, however.

 

“You’re the girl from the exam! Are you alright now?” Midoriya greeted her, slightly perturbed at being called ‘curly hair’.

 

“I’m fine! I’m fine!” She grinned, full intensity, while flexing her biceps (!) showing that she was alright, A-OK, 100%. “It was a week ago, and it was only a strain on the ankle. Thank you for saving me, you guys!”

 

She immediately looked around, as if noticing a missing third person.

 

“Oh…where is Mr. Dinosaur? Wasn’t he a part of your group too?”

 

Shinsou turned towards Midoriya for the answer, a bit amused at the peppy energy of the girl both of them saved.

 

“His name is Boots.” Midoriya explained that he was a robot…butler of some sort that solely ran on his quirk. He was a…gift from someone in the Department of Support.

 

The school bell rang, immediately calling everyone’s attention and letting the four and some other wayward students clamber towards their seat.

 

As they diligently waited for their teacher to appear from the doorway, the table in the middle of the front of the classroom began to mysteriously quake. Everyone’s eyes popped out when the teacher appeared from underneath the table, cocooned in a sleeping bag.

 

Shinsou’s first impression of the teacher was that he was slovenly (and that was already saying because this was Shinsou himself). Nevertheless almost everyone had the same expression as him. Almost, being Midoriya’s expression was more of mirth than disbelief.

 

“Well, you kids certainly quieted down fast. Good job in that department I guess.” He mumbled, taking out a juice box and sucking out the contents lightning fast. The sound of a zipper filled the air and the sleeping bag fell down around him like a banana peel. He had an article of clothing held in one of his hands.

 

“Gym clothes. Get dressed, we’re going out to the field for practicals.”

 

It was a red, spiky-haired kid that had asked the question everyone had on the tip of their tongues.

 

“Uhh…sensei? Are you a pro hero too?”

 

The teacher directed a bored stare at him, almost in a sense of I’m-here-aren’t-I? “I’m your homeroom teacher inside this academy. Aizawa Shouta. Yoroshiku. That is all there is to it.”

 

Since no one was still scrambling (except Midoriya who was already used to Eraserhead’s quirky attitude), the teacher clapped his hands twice to dispel them of their wonder.

 

“C’mon you brats. Wear your uniforms and shove off to the grounds. We’re wasting daylight as it is.”

 


 

“By practicals, it was a Quirk Apprehension Test?!”

 

Some had a pained expression on their faces. Others looked excited (Bakugou far too terribly).

 

The girl they had saved earlier was also wondering about the Yuuei Entrance Ceremony and other usual school-entrance events.

 

“You are heroes-in-training first, students second.” Aizawa’s words cut through any other protest.

 

“While we are inside this school, and while you belong to my class; the school applies a freedom clause to all teachers. As your teacher, I can do anything within the limits of my job and responsibilities to you students.”

 

Now that everyone had gone quiet, Aizawa-sensei continued.

 

“MEXT has given us a standard in order to assess everyone’s quirks. Softball pitch, standing long jump, 50-meter dash, endurance running, grip strength test, sustained sideways jump, upper body exercise, seated toe-touch. These are designed to gauge your quirks strength and capabilities. It is a rational metric system used to measure the basis of your hero foundation.”

 

Aizawa’s glance fell on Midoriya, which the boy caught. He shifted his gaze back to everyone.

 

“However, I’ve realized that while those look reliable enough as a standard, they fail in practicality. Those tests do not measure a quirk’s potential at all or how they work for you as a hero.”

 

“So at the end of the eight tests, Principal Nedzu had asked me to perform one last test which I’m sure will fully exercise your quirk’s capabilities. Get ready for it.”

 

Shinsou, who was looking depressed and annoyed when the tests were mentioned, lit up at the last part. There was also some clapping from somewhere around him, but Shinsou couldn’t pinpoint out where. Midoriya was strangely quiet all this time, but he wore the widest of smiles.

 

Everyone else chattered excitedly. The opportunity to use their quirks outside of their homes had everyone in high spirits.

 

“Oh, should you fail the last test, you’ll get expelled.”

 

There was a schadenfreudistic side of the teacher that was tickled when the students gasped in horror. Protests were raised but the teacher had already raised a blind eye and a deaf ear to it.

 

“Midoriya, get over here.” Aizawa pointed at the position beside him. “You’re excused from this test.”

 

Izuku cringed as everyone’s heated stares (almost everyone) were directed at him. He quietly walked towards the teacher’s side, not deigning to face everyone. Even Shinsou. Especially Shinsou.

 

“Sensei, why’s he excused?!”

 

“Does he have a nurse’s pass or something?”

 

“My navel laser will do well in the tests!”

 

Aizawa raised a hand to still the complaints. “Midoriya is a summer student. We have already measured his metrics and quirk capability. There’s no point for him doing the test until next year.”

 

Of course, Principal Nedzu just wants to hold off having to show to his classmates what the boy’s quirk is.

 

Katsuki looked murderous now, but he reigned it in out of sheer concern for his grades. It was a sore reminder that his middle school crowing on how he was going to be the first to enter Yuuei from their school were both destroyed due to fucking-useless-quirk-Deku.

 

“C’mon kiddies.”

 

The atmosphere around the teacher somehow grew dark and heavy.

 

“Welcome to Yuuei Academy! Hope you survive this day!”

 

Chapter Text

Midoriya had returned from carrying a few boxes of hero support gadgets that would be used for the final test, but the complaints in regards to the expulsion part of the test hadn’t stopped.

 

“I-isn’t it kind of unreasonable?” The girl, whom Aizawa-sensei had addressed as ‘Uraraka”, looked a tad too worried. “Having had to go through such a tough entrance exam only to get expelled on the first day of classes?”

 

The teacher was looking skyward, irritation starting to simmer over his indifference.

 

If this doesn’t stop, sensei might just expel everyone.

 

Midoriya placed the last box down among with the others and returned to the teacher’s side, fists clenched at his side.

 

“Uhm, Uraraka-san. As well as everyone.” His timid voice was loud in the quiet field. Midoriya looked towards the teacher for permission. Aizawa just made shooing gestures with his hand. Midoriya continued with what he was going to say.

 

“There is no doubt that everyone here came with the goal of being a hero, myself included. Being a hero gives us the license to help and protect people from disasters and villainy. A lot of opportunities are also available for pro heroes, like work in the media, defense and even politics.”

 

“The things I learned in the summer here in Yuuei – everything is done rigorously in order to comply with their standard of producing heroes that go above and beyond duty.”

 

Midoriya raised his eyes to meet everyone’s gaze.

 

“Plus Ultra. To break expectations and break limits. Defeating the person you were yesterday by constantly improving yourself day by day. As long as you keep this in mind, you shouldn’t need to fear or worry about being expelled.”

 

Everyone was as silent as a grave.

 

Midoriya wondered if he made himself look like a fool for nothing, his fingers fumbled with one another out of being nervous.

 

“Your speech would have been more effective if you actually to the test with us.” Shinsou rebuked, though it was all done in humor. There was a small smile in his lips, too faint for everyone else but Midoriya to see.

 

“E-eeeeh.” Midoriya laughed nervously, scratching the back of his head.

 

“He’s not available for the test.” Aizawa-sensei interrupted them. “Today, he’s my dowdy assistant.”

 

Amidst Midoriya’s complaints of sensei, you’re calling me ugly too?; he directed everyone to get ready for the MEXT-accredited quirk practicals. Midoriya followed holding a clipboard, grumbling.

 

This had broken the tension with everyone, the atmosphere seemed lighter. Uraraka had even waved at Midoriya by the sidelines (wish us luck!) to which Midoriya gave a half-hearted wave.

 

“We’ll talk later.” Shinsou appeared by his side, passing through to get in line in the starting position for the 50-meter dash. “I’m not mad, just surprised so I’ll ask whatever explanation you can give.”

 

Before Midoriya could reply in the positive, Shinsou was out of hearing range already. Midoriya only sighed as Aizawa-sensei started the long queue of tests.

 

Amidst startling bursts of speed, exploding softball pitches, bone-breaking grip strength tests and ridiculous distances in the standing long jump, Midoriya marveled at the plethora of quirks that were being exhibited in various ways in order to obtain the highest possible score in each test. His own test results were mediocre, even if he had undergone ten months of All Might’s special hell training. He did shave off a few seconds from his time in regards to speed, and add distance to his other exams; but those were results obtained by strengthening his body, not his quirk.

 

The better part of the morning was dedicated to all the MEXT tests, and before Izuku had realized it, noon had arrived. Aizawa-sensei had gathered all twenty-one students to reveal their scores.

 

“Here, sensei.” Midoriya handed to their teacher a mid-air hologram display device, encoded in it are the tallied scores, their average and their respective rankings. Aizawa-sensei nodded his thanks and opened the visual interface of the device, revealing everyone’s ranks.

 

The top 10, from the first down to the tenth: Yaoyorozu, Todoroki, Bakugou, Tokoyami, Iida, Shouji, Ojiro, Kirishima, Shinsou, Ashido.

 

The next eleven, from the eleventh down to the last ranking: Uraraka, Monoma, Satou, Kouji, Asui, Aoyama, Sero, Jirou, Kaminari, Hagakure, Mineta.

 

Mineta, predictably, began to grow a dark, ominous cloud around him. The ones closest to him tried to cheer him up, to little avail.

 

“Sensei.”

 

A hand shot up, belonging to someone who had two-toned hair and a burn scar surrounding his left eye.

 

“These scores will be submitted to the school’s database, right?”

 

“Yep.” Aizawa-sensei confirmed, his hands already moving in order to input the data even without him looking at the small device.

 

“Is it possible to retrieve Midoriya’s score and place it within the rankings so we can compare to his?”

 

Aizawa-sensei quirked an eyebrow upwards.

 

“Midoriya-san is part of class 1-A. It is important that we can also gauge his strength in order for us to adjust accordingly.”

 

Smart. Aizawa mentally snorted. Using the theme of class unity in order to find out whether or not Midoriya was really a black horse. Time to disappoint the little genius then.

 

A few taps into the device and Midoriya’s name appeared, being inserted into the slot between Asui and Aoyama. 16th in class ranking results.

 

Todoroki, inevitably, frowned at that. Bakugou’s scoff was loud enough for everyone around him to hear. There were others who found his rank to be curious enough to garner a little interest, but there was nothing special with Midoriya’s MEXT results.

 

“If everyone is done,” he nevertheless closed the holographic user interface before anyone could reply. “Enjoy your lunch break. The last test will be done in the afternoon. You will either be tested individually, in pairs, or even in a group; depending on your quirk.”

 

Hearing no objection from the class, he dismissed them and disappeared around the corner of a building.

 


 

A splendid school lunch feast provided by Cooking Hero “Lunch Rush” was in front of them. A bowl of rice, a side dish of vegetables, miso soup, grilled pacific saury, pickled ginger and warm tea; though common lunch fare, were cooked like a feast fit for a gourmand.

 

Everyone was in the cafeteria, each dividing themselves into different tables. Midoriya, Shinsou, Uraraka, Asui and Iida were in one table fit for six.

 

(Surprisingly, Kacchan’s table isn’t alone, occupied by the rather exuberant spiky-haired kid whom Midoriya now knows as Kirishima Eijirou, owner of a hardening-type quirk called, unsurprisingly, “Hardening”).

 

Todoroki and Yaoyorozu were in another table, quietly eating their meal in a fashion that Uraraka dubbed as the ‘School Council’s Table’. Iida commented that they did indeed exude the aura of being elite. Midoriya chuckled that Iida honestly would fit in along with them, making the taller teen sputter.

 

The largest table belonged to Satou, Kouji, Kaminari, Ashido, Monoma, Mineta, Hagakure, Aoyama and Jirou; which also turned out to be the loudest. Tokoyami, Shouji, Sero, and Ojiro’s table was probably the most normal looking, along with Midoriya’s when it came to a normal school setting.

 

“Hey Midoriya.” Asui introduced herself. “I usually just drop in on other people’s conversations so I hope I’m not being rude about it.”

 

Midoriya was surprised at how she had easily slid into the group with ease. “Ah – h-hi, Asui-san!”

 

“Call me Tsuyu.” The froggy girl corrected him.

 

Midoriya chuckled, a tad uneasy. “A-ahaha. R-right.”

 

“Ne, Midoriya.” Uraraka asked, in-between mouthfuls of rice and sipping on miso soup. “Can’t you give us any clue regarding the last test?”

 

Iida fussed on Uraraka’s eating etiquette (don’t talk with your mouth full of rice!) but Midoriya just shook his head at the question.

 

“There’s no point asking about it. The teachers probably already had a meeting in regards on how to handle testing everyone’s quirks. The tests are probably tailored to a personal design, so each would be different for everyone, disregarding if you end up getting paired with someone or joined with a group.”

 

Iida’s glasses glinted in the light. “Is it safe to ask what type of test yours was?”

 

Midoriya thought about it for a short moment and remarked. “It’s probably fine. There’s no harm in knowing what mine was.”

 

He drank a bit of tea before continuing.

 

“My quirk is called ‘Plus Minus’. It’s a – recharging quirk, to put it in simple terms. The teachers had decided to make mine a battery of tests. Did I just make a pun? How much I can recharge power on machines and buildings. The range I can do so. The amount of load I can handle without stressing myself. I basically had to make a lot of machines and gadgets power up.”

 

“I don’t think everyone else’s test would be as long as mine though. I mean, we are in a school year now, and everyone has to get their tests done. My situation was because I was the only summer student a few months ago.”

 

By now, the silence was tell-tale. Midoriya realized everyone was listening on their group. He quietly drank his tea while turning around, a bit shy with drinking in front of others.

 

“With the way you say it,” Asui commented, looking pensive about Midoriya’s reply. “Is it safe to assume I’ll probably take my test in the school’s swimming pool? My quirk works best with water.”

 

“Maybe I’ll end up in the jungle gym bars or something.” Ojiro contributed, his tail scratching his head in doubt. Shouji turned his head towards Ojiro, one of his tentacle arms turning into a mouth which suddenly spoke. “We’ll probably be a pair.”

 

“Aw man!” Kaminari looked towards Midoriya. “Is your recharging quirk electricity-based? It would have been awesome if we could partner up.”

 

Midoriya blushed up to the tips of his ears. The suggestion that he was wanted warmed him up. “Sorry. My quirk’s not electric-natured, though it would be nice if I could take the test.”

 

Todoroki frowned, and asked. “There’s a possibility you can take the test?”

 

Isn’t it a second time already that Todoroki was somehow focusing his attention to me?

 

Feeling a bit vainglorious with those thoughts, Midoriya dispelled them and turned towards Todoroki.

 

“Yeah. But it’s not up to me. The principal will drop by later on and…well, that’s all I can say in regards to the matter.”

 

Todoroki nodded, what little information he got from Midoriya, he stored away for later use. He turned his attention towards Yaoyorozu, who solicited his opinion in regards as to what tests would be possible for her Creation quirk.

 

“Midoriya.”

 

Crap. He forgot about Shinsou.

 

“Can you tell me why you were taking the entrance exam when you were already a summer student here in Yuuei?”

 

As Kacchan would put it. Fuck.

 

Even Uraraka, Iida and Asui were curious. Why was someone who was a guaranteed shoe-in to the school still taking the entrance exams?

 

Midoriya sighed, knowing a lie was a bad choice. He went with the truth.

 

“I’ve always wanted to enter Yuuei, but it was hard for someone like me. The incident with the muddy villain had given the opportunity to be here.” Midoriya shuffled his hands. “And when I arrived here, the expectations I had were all blown away by the reality of actually being a student of Yuuei. Meeting and learning from the pro heroes themselves, utilizing your quirk to perform things you would never have thought before entering school – everything!”

 

Midoriya wore an exhausted smile.

 

“I guess I was selfish. I wanted to experience Yuuei’s entrance exams too. The principal – well, he helped me. And my slot wasn’t an official one so it wasn’t like I bumped a candidate out of their position. But it was an awesome experience for me, and I’ve no regrets.”

 

He pointedly stared at Shinsou.

 

“I’ve gotten a new friend after all.”

 

His thoughts went to Mei and to Boots.

 

“And partners that both support a person like me.”

 

Shinsou grimaced at the self-depreciating tone Midoriya wore.

 

“Someone like you?”

 

Midoriya’s gaze discreetly went towards Bakugou, whose intense gaze also met his. Pain travelled between them, more towards Midoriya than anyone else.

 

“Someone who was once a useless guppy, with a quirk that was never made for heroics.”

 


 

Afternoon had arrived and everyone, noisier than usual, had once again gathered in the fields to wait for Aizawa-sensei. Apparently, suffering has a good tendency of letting strangers bond together, the class was no exception.

 

There were people like Asui, Kaminari and Ashido who flitted from one group to another, with everyone being comfortable with their presence. Then there was Shouji and Tokoyami, who neither felt uncomfortable being with other people or keeping to themselves.

 

Yaoyorozu and Todoroki were another pair, who felt a bit shy hanging around with other people and found camaraderie with that fact.

 

Midoriya and Shinsou were friends from the start, Uraraka stuck with them because of gratitude and interest and Iida was of admiration for the both of them.

 

Sero, Ojiro, Kouji and Satou had hit it off then and there, and were generally a good bunch of kids that would probably rank in the “I-like-them-as-a-friend-but-I-don’t-see-them-as-boyfriend-material” category.

 

Mineta was busy staving off Monoma, who had taken the opportunity to torment the smaller teen in regards to his ranking. Monoma was the type of guy who just didn’t have his heart in the proper place. He did have that thing where he just didn’t hit it off with Bakugou from the start, and when Monoma decided to copy his Explosion quirk just to piss him off, Bakugou had the mind to throttle him to kingdom come if not for Kirishima who was holding him back (chill, man!). Kendou from Class 1-B, often came by to remind Monoma that she was keeping an eye on him and BEHAVE!, even though they were in separate classes.

 

For some reason, though everyone could probably guess why, Monoma gave off the impression that he absolutely abhorred Class 1-B.

 

Kirishima himself, was a great wonder. He was able to withstand and even admire Bakugou’s caustic and vulgar nature, saying it was his ‘manliness’ talking. Kirishima was one to idolize manliness and virility, and Bakugou seemed to be the epitome of both qualities. And in a way, Bakugou has accepted his presence beside him, if not for Kirishima himself teasing Bakugou sometimes with his lack of common sense and public etiquette.

 

All of that in the first day of school.

 

Aizawa-sensei arrived, along with a few other teachers. Cementoss, All Might and Ectoplasm were with him. (All Might was waving enthusiastically at Midoriya, who replied back with an exhausted wave and an unsure laugh. Todoroki took note of his interaction with the legendary pro.)

 

The tests were straight out grueling.

 

The strength, durability and endurance tests were conducted by Cementoss. The hero had created various structures and large objects out of cement and had directed those under him to perform various tasks with it. Ojiro, Sero and Shouji were made to scale the jungle-gym like structure while random cement blocks burst out of them in an attempt to knock them back to the ground. Uraraka was made to hold up a few of those obstacles which the two would have to scale, it was a test for her endurance to keep her quirk activated. Mineta was made to stand in front of an incline where a large rock was situated to roll towards him. He had to pelt the incline with his sticky balls in order to prevent the rock from reaching him (and theoretically crush him). The rock (it was a cement ball, really) grew in size every minute that passed by and it steadily crushed and broke free from its clammy bindings, causing Mineta to throw more and more balls to compensate. Some others, like Kouji and Satou, had to push a large block of cement ways off in the field. Tokoyami was used to order Dark Shadow to throw large, heavy cement blocks of random shapes towards Asui, who was ordered to dodge them. (Cementoss assured her that should one manage to go past her limit, the blocks would disintegrate into dust before it would do harm to her.)

 

Evasion and accuracy tests were handled by Ectoplasm. Aoyama, Bakugou, Iida, Jirou, Ashido and Todoroki were the four participants for it. The challenge was trying to destroy Ectoplasm-sensei’s copies first without hitting the real body, and then once all the copies were destroyed, they had to somehow disable Ectoplasm-sensei. Destroying the clones were easy, the hard part was not only that new clones took their place every few seconds or so when no new ones were destroyed, but also because their powers not only hit the clones but also themselves. Bakugou was about to go on a tirade on how everyone else was fucking shit at this when Ectoplasm-sensei reminded them that should they fail this test, they’ll be expelled. The world didn’t need heroes that fought with one another or recklessly destroyed anything within their radius.

 

He immediately shut up and changed from someone prone to wrecking havoc into someone who delivered calculated blows and fancy maneuvering.

 

He was about to destroy another clone when Iida had immediately run up to him and tackled him to the ground, making him cuss that if you don’t get off me within the next three seconds, I swear to all that is fucking holy I’ll shove your exhaust pipe far up your fucking ass that you won’t be getting constipation your whole fucking life. (Iida colored red at the rather vulgar outburst).

 

He hastily explained that he was about to hit the real body, which would have failed all of them. Bakugou had a blank look before the fact had hit him, muttering a whatever, dick legs. It was probably the closest he could give an apology.

 

They had found out that only the real body had a shadow on the ground, to which Ectoplasm-sensei praised them for their acuity. To their despair, he produced another set of clones that could randomly cast a shadow. There were less explosions, acid sprays, electric blasts and lasers, and more planning afterwards because of it.

 

All Might took the last participants under his wing for special operations. The task he gave to those under him was to retrieve a remote control fastened to his belt. The participants can use all their quirks outside maximum tolerance, assuring them that he wouldn’t get hurt in the slightest. Yaoyorozu, Monoma, Shinsou, Kirishima, and Hagakure were the participants.

 

He had given the kids a handicap by lowering all of his abilities consciously to 10% of their maximum. Even then, neither of them could get near All Might. Monoma’s Explosion copied from Bakugou was nearing its expiration of five minutes, and All Might wouldn’t let him near enough to make contact. Shinsou tried to use his Brainwash quirk and for at least a few seconds, All Might would stall but the air around him would explode all of a sudden and the brainwashing would be dispelled.

 

Kirishima tried to engage in melee with All Might, but even with the full capabilities of his Hardening quirk, it came close to cracking under the subdued punches of All Might. Hagakure, who was invisible, would have been their best bet, but she was wary of coming near All Might who was mighty guarded about any invisible presence around him.

 

Yaoyorozu continued to ponder on how to effectively use her teammate’s quirks in order to solve this puzzle.

 

Chapter Text

It was a miracle, in Yaoyorozu’s point of view, that they managed to finally clear All Might’s task within the time limit.

 

She had relayed her plans to everyone, and the plan was executed flawlessly.

 

Shinsou’s brainwashing was useful for only a split second or so, but it was enough time for Kirishima to launch himself like a spiky wrecking ball and throw All Might off-balance. While All Might briefly struggled with removing Kirishima from his person; Hagakure and Monoma, who copied Hagakure’s invisibility, tripped All Might with a diamond-steel wire while he was unaware. Kirishima had finally unlatched the remote amidst all the confusion, earning them a pass with the test.

 

“AHAHAH! AMAZING TEAMWORK EVERYONE!” All Might praised them with a thumbs-up and an enthusiastic grin.

 

Even though All Might was working at a bare 10% of his strength, their efforts bore fruit. And for today, that was enough.

 

The tests have all been tallied so far, making the students sigh with relief. Izuku settled with helping distribute cooled towels to everyone, offering a gentle smile.

 

“Good work.” Izuku murmured as he handed a towel to Shinsou.

 

Shinsou offered him a blank stare, before taking the towel and burying his face in it. “What’re you talking about? I barely did anything. My Quirk was useless.”

 

Izuku was ready to refute, but Kirishima butted in, slinging an arm around him. The towel was now slung around his neck, swaying whenever he talked.

 

“That’s talking shit, man!” Kirishima bared a toothy, fanged grin. “Our combo wouldn’t have worked if you didn’t start it off! ‘sides, just because it didn’t work for this test doesn’t mean your quirk’s useless.”

 

Shinsou looked genuinely baffled, at the two who grinned at him.

 

“…thanks.” He didn’t bother to argue anymore, though there was a soft smile on his tired face.

 

“Well compared to your brainwashing, and Yaoyorozu’s quirk of just making anything out of her body, my Hardening just doesn’t seem to match up.” Kirishima pouted, raising an arm that immediately glinted at the sunlight. “It’s not all flashy and techy, or how people put it.”

 

“You say that now.” Shinsou had a teasing tone in his voice. “But try having conditions with your quirk. I can’t just willy-nilly brainwash people unless I can activate that condition. Unlike yours, which you can do anytime you want.”

 

Kirishima looked pensive, as he closed and opened his clawed hands. “Hmm…that’s true, I guess. You could train your quirk right? Either that or you can sharpen your tongue!”

 

Everyone else had grouped together, discussing the test results as well as each other’s quirks. It would have been a comfortable and warm atmosphere if not for –

 

“Alright, kiddies. Time to find out how many of you get to stay in the Department of Heroics.” Aizawa-sensei’s voice rang through the field.

 

Crap! We forgot about that!

 

Augh! We were too comfortable! I forgot there was an expulsion penalty at the end of the test!

 

Everyone gathered around the teachers, who were just finished discussing the results of the test. Aizawa, Cementoss, Ectoplasm and All Might nodded, as they placed data on individual tablets on hand.

 

“Compared to the previous tests, there are only two scores for this one.” Aizawa continued inputting something on his tablet. “You either pass or fail.”

 

Everyone shivered in fear.

 

“If your name is highlighted in green, you pass. If it’s red, say bye bye.” Aizawa-sensei pressed something on the holographic projector, as a scoreboard appeared out of thin air.

 

Green. Green. Green. Not an ounce of red was in the scoreboard!

 

The air surrounding the field burst with the wild cheers of the students, celebrating their passage in the trials.

 

“Oh my god!” Kirishima knelt on the ground while raising his hands. “This is great!”

 

Izuku was looking away from everyone, face set in an uncomfortable expression, like half-smiling and half-pained.

 

“Hm?” Aizawa-sensei stared at everyone. “I forgot to mention that the last test has no bearing on whether you’re expelled or not. Did everyone actually think they’ll be expelled if they failed?”

 

The whole field grew silent, before a large exclamation of surprise pierced through the air.

 

“EEEH!?” Uraraka was looking pale and confused.

 

“Augh, to think I’ve been hoodwinked again! You certainly can’t underestimate, Yuuei!” Iida groaned, flailing his arms in weird poses.

 

There was a whole lot of clamoring between the students, but they slowly shushed down when Aizawa did nothing but stare at them with a bored look.

 

“Twenty one seconds before you all quieted down. You guys really don’t know how to prioritize your life.” Aizawa grunted. “We’ll have a third of the school year to remedy that.”

 

“You performed under pressure and did well. Hopefully, you’ll do better even without a threat hanging over your heads. The penalty of expulsion was a logical ruse. Of course, the teachers here in Yuuei would need an exemplary reason in order to expel you from school. At least be critical about your surroundings and about what you hear from other people.”

 

Everyone just looked exhausted and spent, not having the energy or thought to argue.

 

“Report to class tomorrow for first lessons.” Aizawa sent out his dismissal. “Make sure to eat lots tonight in order to replenish your energy. I’m sure your quirks have not had been worked out well enough until today, so some of you will be feeling pains and immense bouts of hunger.”

 

“Class dismissed. Prepare for more hellish training tomorrow.”

 

Amidst the groans of pain and exhausted sighs, everyone turned around to return to class and collect their things. Izuku turned towards the gaggle of teachers, who gestured for him to return with his classmates as well.

 

“I’d say this year’s batch is privileged to have the last test.” Aizawa muttered, as he encoded the individual grades into the school’s database.

 


 

“Sensei’s codename is Eraserhead.” Izuku replied when nobody in the group had recognized who their homeroom teacher was. “He’s the hero with the quirk-erasing ability. It took me a few months to recognize who he was.”

 

Izuku, Shinsou, Uraraka and Iida walked through the Yuuei Barrier. They were discussing everything that had happened that afternoon.

 

“I’m not going to put words on sensei’s mouth, but maybe he’s glad the last test was placed into effect. Having a technical quirk like his really doesn’t do any good with the MEXT tests either.”

 

“Hmm.” Uraraka looked like she was brainstorming. “You’re right. I really can’t think of sensei being able to use his Quirk advantageously during the morning tests.”

 

Izuku nodded. “And yet, he’s considered one of the toughest heroes to date, even if he only acts underground and out of public sight.”

 

“Alright, I get it.” Shinsou huffed, slipping his hands in his pockets. “My quirk is only as powerful as I believe it to be. “

 

Iida intervened with an open hand. “Preposterous! Your quirk is without a doubt powerful! To have managed to control the Yaruki Robot during the exams even though it was a machine!”

 

Izuku wisely shut his mouth when Shinsou regarded Iida with a stunned expression.

 

“You,” Shinsou’s mouth was set in a straight line. “are definitely shitting me.”

 

Iida only raised a well-groomed eyebrow. “Surely, you have not forgotten? In any case, if you ever did, you can always ask the Board of Exams for a copy of the exam footage in order for you to be able to review your performance.”

 

“I can?”

 

“HE CAN?”

 

Both Midoriya and Shinsou asked at the same time, though Shinsou turned towards Izuku, wondering why it concerned him so.

 

“N-not that there is anything wrong with it.” Izuku immediately denied, looking all the more like the guilty party. Was he nervously laughing? “I’m curious how everything went when I blacked out too! We should check it out tomorrow, Shinsou-kun!”

 

Boots ambled towards them, giving Izuku a good excuse to leave the party and go home.

 


 

The moment he arrived home, greeted his mother with a hug and had his shower, Izuku locked himself in his room and contacted All Might with what happened in regards to last afternoon.

 

“Izuku, my boy,” All Might, in his Toshinori persona, placated him. Izuku sounded really panicky over the phone. “what do you feel should we do, if the decision was up to you?”

 

The sound of continuous muttering filled the speakers on All Might’s end, as Izuku listed a lot of situations that could occur should they choose to do one thing or the other.

 

“…there is the issue where Shinsou will really have to wonder why the video cannot be released for his perusal and that could raise suspicions within the student body so this of course would also raise red flags that could otherwise reach even social media outside-“

 

The sound of All Might clearing his throat shook Izuku from his self-reflection.

 

“Toshinori-sensei, there was never a plan to hide my quirk from my class, right?”

 

Another cough, but there was a hint of satisfaction.

 

“They are your comrades. This generation of heroes will be your second family.” Toshinori grunted, holding back a bloodied cough. “Once your quirk is revealed to your class, legal steps will have to be taken as a formality to keep it under wraps. You are yet young, little Izuku. There are dangers that hound national treasure-class quirk holders like you.”

 

Izuku kept pumping iron with his other hand while talking to his teacher.

 

“…I feel there’s something you want to tell me.” Izuku sounded hesitant. “It’s more than just villains attempting to kidnap me so they can exploit my quirk, isn’t it?”

 

There was a strained silence between them before All Might answered.

 

“No, my boy. And I pray from the depths of my heart that we would never have to talk about it nor will you ever have to even know. A calamity is not impossible should your quirk fall in the wrong hands.”

 

 

 

“Did you think you could hide your quirk under the guise of an electric-type recharging ability forever?”

 

Izuku shook his head, forgetting All Might couldn’t see his action anyway. “I don’t, but at the very least, I want to delay the inevitable.”

 

“Well,” Toshinori sounded amused. “at the risk of sounding like a peerless optimist as Aizawa would put it, everything will be fine! Tomorrow’s event is sure to awaken everyone’s eyes!”

 

“Wasn’t it more of a “peerless rescue-baka - wha-? What event -”

 

The line went dead before Midoriya could even process the implications.

 


 

A hasty breakfast and a quick goodbye to his mother, Izuku and Boots managed to make quick time going from home to school and arrived at Yuuei at least an hour early. Izuku was hoping to talk to Shinsou in regards to the video of their examination, but he had forgotten they were still students nevertheless. Shinsou, like everyone, had arrived only until at least a minute before the bell rang. Izuku greeted the harried-looking boy with a slight wave and an uneasy smile, to which the other boy returned with the same enthusiasm. No pleasantries were exchanged (yet) since Aizawa-sensei appeared from under the table (how does he do that?!) once the school bell had immediately rang.

 

Class was started with a greeting to the teacher led by Momo (since no class representative had been selected yet, and she was the top 1 Recommended Freshman amongst the whole batch of students). Aizawa muttered the usual homeroom announcements from a crib sheet he produced inside his sleeping bag, mundane topics like after-school clubs (1-A and 1-B were exempt from mandatory club sign-ups due to the expected workload they will be receiving).

 

Morning classes were composed of social and academic studies. English and languages, maths and sciences, history (particularly heroics history wherein hero and villain encounters were deconstructed and analyzed by the class) were amongst the subjects that primarily composed of lectures.

 

Lunch was an affair that passed by too quickly in their eyes. Yuuei’s famous Hero Curry and Rice combo was on the menu, and as the whole class was tightly wound up from yesterday’s event and this afternoon’s anticipated daily foundational heroics studies, everyone kept conversation up to only light and mundane topics.

 

Midoriya half-expected Shinsou to bring up the topic of the video, but aside from just engaging in conversations that tilted towards his early admittance to the school, what yesterday was all about and what he had for dinner last night, it never came to light.

 

Izuku thought Shinsou was just nervous, but he couldn’t blame him. He was nervous as well since All Might hinted something, and he wasn’t privy to know what it was until the last minute.

 

Tsuyu, Iida and Uraraka gathered around Izuku’s desk, raising the topic of what was going to be their first topic on their daily foundational heroics studies. The suggestions were from boring (introduce yourself to your class and your quirk) towards the justified (observation of a live-action hero-villain battle in downtown) towards the impossible (fighting a villain in an arena-style combat).

 

“That’s borderline human rights violation, Shinsou!” Izuku laughed nervously, while the others found humor in his reaction. No one took it seriously, only Izuku did.

 

“It was a joke, Izuku.” Shinsou blandly replied, sarcasm and amusement dripping in large amounts.

 

“Yeah? Well, we’re at Yuuei aren’t we?” Izuku countered with equal amounts of mirth and humor. “Plus Ultra, right?”

 

“Izuku is right scary when he makes sense.” Tsuyu spoke with candor, making the rest laugh.

 


 

“FOR I AM HERE! ♫” All Might’s entrance was heralded by his explosive voice. Izuku swore even 1-B was probably made aware of his arrival. “THROUGH THE DOOR, LIKE A HERE-OH!”

 

The pun was lost to the majority of the students who didn’t get his English. Izuku’s face was threatening to crack under a laugh when he understood it though. Momo was the same, Bakugou looked like someone just ran a truck over his puppy, and Todoroki made a sound like water was coming out of his nose.

 

COME KIDDIES! THE TRIAL OF BATTLE AWAITS!”

 

The atmosphere around All Might felt like it was building static. Indentations in the wall beside them suddenly appeared, revealing hidden shelves that held numbered packs. Everyone stood up in anticipation.

 

LET US WHOLEHEARTEDLY USE OUR QUIRKS AGAINST ONE ANOTHER IN THE HEAT OF COMBAT!”

Chapter Text

 

 


 

 

Izuku’s heroics costume was made for practicality. A lot of pockets, side pockets, pouches and whatnot were wrapped around accessible limbs in his body. He had to keep a lot of gadgets in his person, most of them made by Mei-chan, and all of them were essentially forced on him.

 

“You better use them Izuku-chan! Especially if there are lots of investors nearby!”

 

Izuku wore bright orange gloves which was a camouflage for anti-metal knuckles that could radiate a fluctuating magnetic field to either attract or repel metal. Plasma emitting daggers were strapped to his shoes now, hidden from plain view but can be retrieved easily should he need them. High speed oscillating knee guards that vibrated at a rate of 66,000 oscillations per minute and could easily grind and break rock were installed in his knee pads. Hatsume wanted Izuku to test run these gadgets for all-terrain rescue, especially when retrieving victims from landslides, crushed cars or collapsed buildings.

 

Lightning, a weirdly shaped rifle that used a rail gun-like principle in order to fire high speed bullets, was slung behind him. Made to run on Izuku’s quirk that converted it into a field of alternating magnetic charges to propel bullets, they shot specially commissioned, school standard rubber bullets that hid a very, very nasty surprise.

 

It was part of the first line of anti-personnel equipment he had, along with Egret, and was mostly used for engaging human-sized enemies over a long distance. Hatsume was still working on a set of twin guns for Izuku to use in mid-ranged combat, but it wasn’t finished in time. Snipe-sensei had been giving him lessons last summer, so at the very least, he had a good accuracy rate which meant he was not going to accidentally shoot his classmate’s eye out if he missed.

 

While this arsenal made him feel like a walking armory, it was not without consequence. Being inside Izuku’s charge field, the weapons and gadgets were always activated and ready to use or fire. But the act of firing and using them consumes a significant amount of power that could easily destabilize the field, knocking out the other gadgets temporarily.

 

Hatsume had groused one time that most of them got ruined because she had forgotten to install voltage guards within her gadget’s circuitry. It was a lesson she did not easily forget afterwards.

 

Izuku tried to work around with improving his focus on the stability of his field but with his level, the limit he could achieve is using two all-terrain gadgets simultaneously. Lightning was a case of itself; each shot jolted Izuku so much that he found it was impossible using another gadget while Lightning was activated.

 

Using his recharge field or slapping a personal gadget with a personal connection each; this was theory crafting even Izuku couldn’t decipher at the moment. He had not explored the depths of solo connections with his quirk. Right now, he had one on All Might, one on Boots, and one on Shinsou’s cellphone. Until he could better understand his quirk, he did not want to risk creating too many solo connections yet in order to power his gear. It could cause some form of detriment to his current ones, particularly All Might’s or Boots’.

 

Clearing his thoughts on everything else and appreciating the feel of his costume’s fabric on his skin, Izuku headed out of the lockers in order to join his classmates all fully-decked in their own costumes.

 


 

Having gone out to the courtyard where everyone else had already assembled (he really should stop reminiscing in the middle of doing something), All Might’s voice was like a beacon for assembly. Izuku ambled towards the group slowly, tugging his sleeves down or fixing his headset, or patting his t-shirt in a habit that one would normally associate with nervousness.

 

Izuku wasn’t nervous though, he just did this with every new thing he wore. Heroics costume was not an exception.

 

Uraraka was the first to notice his arrival and enthusiastically commented on his costume.

 

“That looks nice on you, Midoriya!” She was fixing the helmet that was somewhat loose on her head. “Looks very practical. You look so rugged! Like a field commander!”

 

Izuku smiled, given that he personally designed his costume. “Thanks. You look nice as well. The puffy boots are a nice touch.”

 

Uraraka reddened on cue, looking slightly abashed. “Really? I was worried the costume company had made it look too puffy.” She turned around, patting her rear. “This doesn’t make my butt look too big, doesn’t it?”

 

Izuku shook his head. “Not at all. It’s a nice ratio.”

 

Behind him, Mineta cleanly slapped his forehead. The grape balls on his head jiggled in response.

 

“C’mon, man!” Mineta tugged at his waist jacket. “A girl asks you how her rear bumpers look and all you say is ‘it’s a nice ratio?’ What are you, a rocket scientist?”

 

Izuku looked cleanly unaware of what Mineta was implying. “Well it’s true. Uraraka-san’s figure is a good ratio. Figma-wise or for any other criteria.”

 

Mineta slapped himself in the face this time, rolling his eyes upward.

 

Shinsou waved a hand towards Izuku, who reciprocated with his own gesture. His heroics costume was a classy business suit, complete with a stripy blue tie. Nenekaruri was strapped in a holster on his right thigh, but other than that, he looked completely unimpressive.

 

A smile tugged at Izuku’s lips, clapping his hand against Shinsou’s. “Your costume holds a dark secret.” He spoke in a sing-song manner, looking almost poignantly petulant, when he circled Shinsou to inspect the fine-looking threads of his suit.

 

Shinsou’s eyes glinted, a dangerous smile on his lips. “If you can easily tell how this will make my quirk all the more effective, I’m confident with my choice of heroics costume then.”

 

All Might clapped his hands, taking all of their attention with him.

 

He led everyone through the grounds, commenting on each and everyone’s hero fashion choices. Izuku had to look twice at Iida, not realizing it was him under that mecha-looking costume. His thoughts briefly flickered towards Ingenium, a pro hero, and how Iida’s costume looked something inspired on it.

 

Several questions were asked by the students regarding their first lesson, to which All Might promptly answered by taking out a crib sheet he had hidden under his gloves.

 

“Today’s training will be focused on hero-villain indoor battles. The villains will need 15 minutes to activate a nuclear weapon, thus, they have to guard it for that amount of time. It is the hero’s duty to foil the villain’s diabolical plan before the nuclear weapon is set off.”

 

At this point, All Might hid the crib sheet once more and explained ad-lib.

 

“If the villains are captured by the heroes using this,” he brought out a white roll of seemingly innocuous-looking tape, “the Capture tape, or if the nuclear weapon is taken from their possession, the hero team wins. Otherwise, if the heroes are disarmed or incapacitated or if the nuclear weapon is not retrieved after the specified amount of time, it would be the villain’s victory.”

 

All Might took out a lottery box and showed it to everyone. “Pick a ball from this box. Whoever shares the same letter as you will be your team mate for this exercise.”

 

After everyone had gotten a lottery ball from the proffered box, the results appeared in a holographic screen beside All Might, listing the team ups between Class A.

 

Team A: Tokoyami and Midoriya
Team B: Sero and Ashido
Team C: Shoji and Monoma
Team D: Yaoyorozu and Uraraka
Team E: Kirishima, Kaminari and Bakugou
Team F: Satou and Mineta
Team G: Ojiro and Kouji
Team H: Jirou and Aoyama
Team I: Hagakure and Shinsou
Team J: Todoroki, Iida and Asui

 

Team E and Team J were quite surprised when they found out they had three members each (except for Bakugou, who merely looked angry at anything and indifferent at the same time).

 

“Sensei!” Iida raised a hand, prompt as he is whenever he finds something out of the ordinary. “Two teams seem to be with extra members!”

 

“Fortune favors the bold, young Iida.” All Might didn’t look like he was surprised at the differently-numbered teams. “Sometimes, villains will surprise you with hidden numbers. Other times, too many heroes report to the scene of the crime. It is important you are able to work together and overcome all adversary even with such unreasonable numbers stacked in favor or against you.”

 

“I see!” Iida lowered his hand. “This is in preparation for our future! Please excuse my interruption, sensei!”

 

All Might shrugged it off, as he juggled all 10 balls in his hands. Two balls were thrown into two fish bowls, each named “Villain” and “Hero”.

 

The rubber balls flew seamlessly, gracefully arcing and depositing themselves at the bottom of the bowl. The letters ‘A’ and ‘E’ faced the curious spectators.

 

All Might’s grin just got impossibly wider. “IT IS DECIDED! PAIR ‘A’ SHALL BE THE VILLAINS WHILST PAIR ‘E’ WILL BE THE HEROES!”

 

Izuku and Tokoyami regarded the trio before them, who looked mighty confident with the arrangement. Bakugou in particular had a nasty glint in his eyes while directly staring at Izuku.

 

“The villains will go inside the building first in order to familiarize themselves with the structural layout! After five minutes, the heroes will pursue the villains in order to retrieve the nuclear weapon!”

 

All Might turned towards the other students. “We, on the other hand, will watch how the whole thing unfolds via surveillance cameras installed inside the buildings. This is merely an exercise! Please show restraint when using your quirk against a fellow student, I cannot stipulate this more than enough!”

 

Everyone’s stare discreetly went towards Bakugou, who looked unruffled and unaffected that he was being subtly warned.

 

“In worse case scenarios, Recovery Girl will be at hand for unlikely emergencies. But never fear! I will personally intervene before things even start to enter that level!”

 

With no questions on sight, All Might directed Tokoyami and Izuku towards the building entrance, giving them directions as to where the nuclear weapon might be.

 


 

“Isn’t this cool?” Kirishima pumped his fist in the air, flashing his pointy-toothed grin. “Just look at the three of us! We’re like…elemental bros or something!”

 

Kaminari shared his enthusiasm, fingers pointing at the three of them. “Awesome! I’m lightning – “ points at Kirishima “-you’re definitely earth” – and towards Bakugou who snarled at the finger “-definitely fire.”

 

“We’re not here to play, shitheads.” Bakugou groused, looking all tense and ready to spring at the end of the five-minute villain reprieve. “I’m going to march in there and complete this exercise, one-fucking-minute flat.”

 

Kirishima and Kaminari looked at him like he was weird.

 

“Just chill or something, Bakugou.” Kaminari huffed. “I mean, I understand if you’re going to be wary of Tokoyami since he’s got that cool shadow quirk thing – “

 

“Shadow?” Bakugou raised an eyebrow. “Birdhead’s quirk is a shadow?”

 

Kaminari’s jaw dropped while Kirishima was close to pulling his spiky hair out. “Oh my god, dude! We had our introductions just this morning! Everyone got their name and quirk out in front of class! Even you went up front and had those flashy explosions out of your hands y’know?”

 

“…huh” Bakugou only looked slightly miffed.

 

“Seriously?” Kaminari looked close to laughing. “Grow some awareness for your peers, Bakugou!”

 

Before Bakugou could even start a fight, Kirishima pacified him with information. “Okay, so hear me out, yeah? Tokoyami’s quirk is a shadow creature that looks like a bird. It’s pretty much like a guardian or something, so it’ll be hard getting close to Tokoyami with that thing hovering around him.”

 

Kaminari added his two cents. “You reckon he’s going to be the guard on the nuclear weapon?”

 

Kirishima shrugged. “Midoriya’s quirk is basically recharging stuff, right? We’ve seen him around with that cool-looking robot dinosaur, but it’s not here for this exercise. There was that awesome sniper rifle on his back though…”

 

Bakugou came to a sudden realization. “Let’s just blow the fucking building sky-high!”

 

“No collateral damage, All Might-sensei already told you a million times.” Kaminari rolled his eyes in exasperation.

 

“Bakugou, you’ll be vanguard.” Kirishima asked for Bakugou’s approval, which he gave sullenly. “You’re mighty fast, and your explosion quirk is hard to beat.”

 

“Kaminari and I will guard on flank. Just make sure not to go ahead too fast or Midoriya and Tokoyami might set up traps or an ambush.” Kirishima handed out a make-shift map provided for the heroes in the exercise.

 

Bakugou cracked his knuckles, his over-sized grenade arm guards shifting slightly. “Yeah, fuck whatever. I’ve got a score to settle anyway.”

 


 

Izuku had thought Tokoyami was intimidating. He already looked stern thanks to his avian head, but the fact that he rarely talked outside of social or academic necessity added to this impression of him.

 

They were now on the top most floor, inspecting the conspicuously large paper mache’ “nuclear weapon” which was shaped like a missile.

 

“I believe,” Tokoyami broke the silence between them. “that we have not introduced ourselves to one another on a personal level, Midoriya. For this exercise, and for the chance that we could win against unfavorable conditions set upon us, I believe that trust is important in this hastily-created partnership so we could win.”

 

Izuku marveled at the amount of words that came out of Tokoyami’s beak, but nevertheless, raised a hand to grasp Tokoyami’s own outstretched hands. “Alright, Tokoyami.”

 

Introductions and formalities were performed once more, with Izuku being the first to explain his quirks as well as the arsenal he had on himself. Tokoyami fully absorbed everything that he had said, raising questions and such before he took his turn in explaining his quirk.

 

“This is Dark Shadow.” He gestured to his side where a dark mass of energy congealed to form an ebony bird-like creature. “In some ways, he is sentient, but often follows my command. He can pretty much do anything he is asked to. He is a strong and resilient guardian that has reliably become my partner ever since I discovered what my quirk was.”

 

Izuku let out a wide smile, finding the situation and relationship similar to what he had with Boots. “He looks amazing, Tokoyami! You have a wonderful quirk!”

 

“Thank you.” Tokoyami nodded, regarding his quirk. “But be wary when you meet him in the deepest dark. Docile he might be right now; he becomes unruly and incredibly strong when no light weakens his him. Only under the searing presence of light, will he return to being tame yet weak.”

 

Tokoyami turned towards him. “I trust you with my quirk’s weakness, Midoriya, because I am sure you can easily decipher the disadvantage we have aside from our adversary’s superiority in numbers.”

 

It was like gears turning inside Midoriya’s head, going through Kirishima, Kaminari and Bakugou’s quirks and Tokoyami’s revelation of his quirk’s weakness. “Light. Kaminari can create flashes of light using his electricity, and Kacchan has his explosions with him.”

 

Tokoyami raised a metaphorical eyebrow. “Kacchan?”

 

Midoriya shook his head. “Bakugou. We were friends, are at least to me. A story for another time, hopefully if you’re still interested to hear it.”

 

Tokoyami nodded, seeing the logic in his words. “If you still wish to share it.”

 

Midoriya turned towards Dark Shadow, who was silently regarding their surroundings. “Still, I have yet to encounter quirks that gain sentience. Perhaps he is an extension of your subconscious or something?”

 

Tokoyami shook his head. “He is a collection of my deepest, darkest desires and sins. What he is in the dark, are my fears that scare me the most.”

 

Midoriya’s thoughts went to a two letter word: id.

 

“Does that mean you rarely converse with him?”

 

“Converse?”

 

Midoriya shrugged. “Talk. Share ideas. If he is your subconscious, or your fears or your sins, it’s a wonderful way to discover more of yourself. People don’t get a chance to face what exactly they are hiding in the backs of their minds.

 

Tokoyami looked pensive at the suggestion, but it did hold wisdom. “I will consider it when I am free. Perhaps there is wisdom in what you have said.”

 

“I’m curious though.” Midoriya raised an arm towards Dark Shadow. “Is it alright if I touch him? I want to know how he feels like. What he feels like. There are a lot of things I want to try with him, something that could give us an advantage or at least balance the odds.”

 

“Be my guest.” Tokoyami gave his assent. “Dark Shadow is harmless right now, thanks to the ambient lighting in the room.”

 

Midoriya thanked him, grasping the handshake Dark Shadow presented to him.

 

At first, it was like holding tar, soft and muddy. He remembered the sensation of the first villain encounter he ever had. However, the sensation slowly solidified, turning jelly into muscle. Flesh. Midoriya can feel the shifting of dark fibers underneath the tentative handshake.

 

“Amazing. He’s really stro-“

 

A squelching noise was their only warning before Dark Shadow’s claw-like hands came off, making it look like Midoriya was shaking a severed hand.

 

“Uh…”

 

“T-this…” Tokoyami looked mildly terrified at the severed appendage Izuku was still holding. “This has never happened before. What did you do, Midoriya?”

 

He turned towards Dark Shadow, who by all rights looked equally confused and distressed as well.

 

The severed hand was slowly swelling and getting heavy, forcing Midoriya to drop it on the floor. The appendage slowly morphed, like some dark-colored slime that was erratically changing shape every few seconds.

 

Both of them slowly backed away, watching the mass finally stabilizing and settling on a particular shape and size. The end result made both of their jaws drop.

 

“I take back what I said in regards to your quirk being amazing, Tokoyami.” Midoriya swallowed; his Adam’s apple bobbing at the action. “I need something more amazing to describe Dark Shadow.”

 

“I…” Tokoyami’s eyes looked visibly wider than usual. ”I do not want to toot my own horn, but I find myself in a position not to disagree with your assessment.

 

Before them stood a 6-foot tall bipedal bird that was obviously Dark Shadow. Claws, beaks and feathers of ebony, only eyes that shone with an eerie yellow glow; it was a creature undoubtedly from nightmares, and yet it could only inspire awe from the two youngsters in the room.

 

“I can’t believe you made an actual black chocobo out of Dark Shadow.” Midoriya finally said it, not caring if Tokoyami would call him out on being a video game otaku.

 

“As I said, this has never happened before, Midoriya.” Tokoyami refuted the claim, eyes still not leaving the bird. “Yet, I find myself surprised that we actually thought of the same thing to describe this…mutation of Dark Shadow.”

 

Midoriya came close towards the bird, who crowed and lowered his head to allow Midoriya to pat it. The Dark Shadow-Chocobo’s wings morphed into clawed hands and also patted Midoriya on the head, reciprocating the action.

 

“He’s like a Dark Shadow copy independent from the main body.” Midoriya observed, walking around the creature while narrating his observations. It was unnerving how mini-Dark Shadow’s head was following his movement, his head rotating a full 360 degrees. “Same abilities as the main body, but is obviously autonomous given that there is nothing linking him to you.”

 

Tokoyami turned towards Dark Shadow. “Can you control him or are you in control?”

 

Dark Shadow shrugged unhappily, the light in the room was somewhat stronger. “Ehhh…not really. He acts on his own…but he’s cooperative to you and whoever you deem as allies.”

 

“Tokoyami.”

 

Midoriya rode on top of mini Dark Shadow, clutching his rifle with both hands. A spirited grin was on his face.

 

“I have a plan. We can definitely win this.”

Chapter Text

Everything just happened too fast for even Bakugou and Kirishima to react accordingly.

 

The moment they had stepped inside the building’s entrance, and just as Kaminari was jokingly telling Bakugou whether he has an Izuku radar they can use; a sound like a gunshot muffled by a silencer pierces through the silence in the air in a stifled “FWIP!”, and Kaminari collapsed onto the floor like a puppet bereft of its strings, not even able to sound a protest before the blacks of his eyes roll back on his head.

 

A red welt slowly blossomed like strawberry skin on the middle of his sternum, but other than that, the blond was dead to the world minus he was still breathing and a lecherous smile pasted on his face.

 

Kirishima immediately had his Hardening quirk all around his body, while Bakugou’s awareness shot through the roof. His hands crackled with anticipation; small sparks and flares being emitted at random like little firecrackers.

 

There was relative silence after that.

 

Kirishima vigilantly moved Kaminari’s body away from the line of fire in the narrow hallway that they were being flanked in. He deposited Kaminari just beside the entrance, slapping his cheek lightly and trying to rouse him to consciousness. The effort was in vain, as Kaminari seemed to be trapped in some form of deep sleep. The perverted smile never left his face, and Kirishima has no doubt this was something Quirk-based. The red welt that remained a dull red on Kaminari’s skin looked wet, Kirishima didn’t want to touch whatever it was.

 

Bakugou, meanwhile, was now traversing the hallway while keeping an eye out for a glint of metal or tell-tale movement. The end of the hallway had a busted light, but other than that, nothing seemed out of the ordinary –

 

His arm implements that looked like oversized grenades were probably the only thing that had kept him from suffering the same as Kaminari’s fate. It was only a split second that he immediately raised them just as his ears registered an alarming presence in the air, a sharp “FWOOMP!” when something made a ringing impact on his arms. A hard foam ball bounced off his armguards, ricocheting noisily on the walls and the floors; Bakugou’s eyes and genius had him immediately calculate the trajectory of the shot and let him send a conflagration of fire and explosion at the dark corner of the hallway where the shot had originated.

 

A creepy dark stain that was running on the walls with Midoriya-fucking-Deku stuck on it fled from his attack, running through the length of the passage in order to reach the staircase that led to the second floor at the end of the first floor hallways.

 

Bakugou snarled like a wounded animal, ready to give chase. But Deku, with his ridiculously shaped rifle, kept him at bay with his shooting. Only three shots were released before he disappeared, being carried by a mass of darkness towards the second floor. Bakugou evaded the first two shots before deflecting the third one with his bracers.

 

“What the hell was that?” Kirishima was by his side now, deciding that flanking Bakugou was more productive compared to rousing Kaminari from his forced sleep. “Ambushes are so unmanly!”

 

Bakugou snorted, making a small ‘keh’ sound. He wasn’t really expecting the exam to be a walk in the park, but this surprise teamwork by Deku and the Birdhead somehow just amped the difficulty up. They were one man down already, three minutes into the test.

 

He really hated being humiliated like this. Especially by Deku.

 


 

Izuku wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but he was really, REALLY enjoying humiliating Kacchan. That, or maybe the adrenaline was just messing with the rational part of his brain.

 

The moment Tokoyami had mentioned Dark Shadow’s fatal weakness, Izuku had run enough simulations to know that it was going to be hard trying to fend them off from their goal.

 

He was, basically, just a kid with a charging quirk. And Tokoyami had a shadow doll that could be fended off by two out of three members. His charging field was unstable at the moment. For whatever mobility or defense his magnetic gauntlets could provide, he can’t retaliate or subdue any of the three.

 

He needed to shoot his rifle “Lightning” for some offensive and subduing power (one that didn’t involve accidental decapitation or dismemberment via a fully charged plasma emitting dagger). He could set the daggers on a lower power for stun mode, but Kaminari would likely jump at the opportunity by consuming the electricity emitted by them.

 

Using his gauntlets or the daggers in close range was just asking to get himself mobbed, and Tokoyami would likely be easily fended off by the explosions and static shock emitting brilliant flashes of light.

 

It was a lose-lose situation, at least until his quirk and Tokoyami’s quirk spawned the literal black goat’s egg. Dark Shadow Jr. became the deus ex machine that provided the answer to Izuku’s problem: mobility.

 

With Dark Shadow Jr. being able to carry him around, he can easily focus his field’s power on his rifle. Dark Shadow Jr.’s sentience also made it possible for Izuku to not mind where they were going to evade, how to move or when to escape. Its shadowy nature was the very essence of evasion and elusion, choosing to flee rather than fight.

 

Izuku took the fighting role, and Dark Shadow Jr. took the fleeing role.

 

The foam pellets that Izuku used in his rifle were something special. Able to immediately cause a target to fall asleep, they released a special liquid that easily penetrated skin and infiltrated the body in order to take effect. They were also a product of a quirk improved by Izuku.

 

Midnight’s quirk “Sleep Gas”, an invasive quirk that automatically knocks out anyone in her immediate radius due to an aroma emitted by her body, putting them in a sleep-induced state.

 

But in handicapped situations like the enemy wearing a gas mask or if the wind is blowing her quirk away from the enemy and towards her; the quirk was not as effective.

 

Her supplemented quirk ability was named “Sleeping Beauty”. With this, her bodily fluids now contain the same potent effect of her quirk. Whether spitting on her enemy, or coating her whip with sweat dripping down her neck, as long as a single drop hits her target’s skin, they will easily succumb to long sleep and unconsciousness.

 

In this state, Midnight can easily deploy her quirk without her teammates suffering from friendly fire (compared to her quirk’s gassy state). The special thing about this upgrade in her quirk is that the fluids do not lose potency even after deactivation of her quirk. Of course, this could easily backfire as well, but it needed a lot of work anyway.

 

Izuku had requested Midnight-sensei for a vial back then, months before and had Mei-chan work suitable ammunition that could use this. It was completed just a few weeks ago, and Snipe-sensei had the opportunity to field test them and found them suitably working as intended for non-fatal capture of villains.

 

These were 20M Bullets, derived from Midnight-sensei’s sweat, able to knock human foes out for a total of twenty minutes. Her spit knocked them out for ten minutes. Her blood for thirty minutes. She had tested other bodily fluids, but being the R18 family-friendly hero that she was, refused to divulge this bit of information.

 

Armed with these bullets, Izuku had taken aim, making sure to stray away from Kaminari’s head and eyes and fired, successfully taking the boy out of the game. The time limit was fifteen minutes, he was going to wake up five minutes after the game had ended.

 

Frankly, Izuku could only afford to ambush Kaminari out of the three. Aside from Kaminari having the flashiest quirk, therefore presenting the most threat to Tokoyami’s Dark Shadow; Izuku had thought of him to be the easiest prey out of the three.

 

Kirishima supposedly looked the better target out of the three, thanks to the amount of exposed skin his costume had, but he was a short-ranged fighter and his quirk wasn’t made for mobility. Izuku wasn’t trying to insult Kirishima inside his head, but he presented the least threat to both him and Tokoyami.

 

Kaminari might suffer the same mobility issues as Kirishima, but his quirk had the capability of mid-range to long-range and even area of effect. Electricity was detrimental to their team’s flesh bodies and the light was detrimental to Dark Shadow’s corporeal mass of darkness. He was a high threat target, but his defenses and evasion were low.

 

Kacchan, well, call him biased but Kacchan was on a different level from the previous two. He was dangerous with his flashy, explosive quirk. He was very mobile, having seen Kacchan maneuver with the explosions back when he was showing them off in middle school. Flashy and fast, that would have already merited a danger sign for Izuku.

 

But the one thing he respected Kacchan the most was for his battle sense. Kacchan would somehow get involved in street fights when they were young, usually against older kids and even men, but he always managed to come out to the top. It wasn’t sheer, dumb luck. It was because he knew how to read the flow of battle, something only a genius had the capability of doing so.

 

Izuku envied him for that battle sense, being able to come up with plans on the fly in the middle of the battle. But his attitude needed tempering, blind rage often overlapping sound judgment. Izuku would gratefully take this handicap if only it would mean his team winning against Kacchan’s.

 

So he shot Kaminari with the sleep bullet. Kirishima predictably hardening up, protecting himself from a second shot, not that Izuku could take it. Kacchan’s field awareness was so powerful it prickled his skin and made him tense, made him unable to take an immediate second shot.

 

It was ambitious for Izuku to take the second shot but it was a far-fetched Hail Mary shot. Not only was the shot blocked, but his location was easily pinpointed by Kacchan’s quick eye. A conflagration of flames magnified by how narrow the hallways were surged towards him, and Dark Shadow Jr.’s preservation instinct was the only thing that kept him from being charred black.

 

Kacchan had easily flown towards him, and oh how Izuku’s heart swelled with misplaced pride that this was someone he grew up with, before he raised his rifle and sent three more shots in a futile attempt to keep the roaring monster that was now Bakugou from mauling him.

 

Izuku and Dark Shadow Jr., who now regained his bird form, ran through the hallways, alternately destroying light bulbs. He had sacrificed the first floor to take down Kaminari, but it was worth it. Now the only problem was how to stave off a pissed off Kacchan who was out for his blood.

 


 

“Hair-for-brains.” Bakugou grunted, thumbing towards the direction of the significantly darker stairways that led to the second floor. “Get your hardening shit up and work as my vanguard.”

 

Kirishima perked up, somewhat unbelieving that the headstrong Bakugou was actually asking for his help.

 

“Those bullets probably won’t work on your fucking asshole.” Bakugou clenched his fist. “I’ll drive that shadow fuck away so we can reach the top floor.”

 

It took Kirishima a few seconds to process the fact that he was being praised and insulted all at the same time.

 

“You got a plan or sumthin?” Kirishima took the front and did his best to cover Bakugou from any frontal assault. Bakugou kept shooting explosions on top of their heads, causing a large amount of smoke and brilliant flashes of light.

 

“…” Bakugou momentarily paused before simply answering. “I’m going to fuck Deku up so bad, he’s going to limp for the whole week.”

 

“HAAH?!”

 

Kirishima floundered, laughing nervously at the exclamation. “C’mon, man! I seriously thought you’d have something up your sleeves than just rushing up towards the two of them and pummeling them crazy-like!”

 

Bakugou looked at him all weird-like, but his face was all calm and still.

 

“I mean, the fucktards’ choices are limited.” Bakugou eyed the stairways that led to the third floor. “The little fucker knows that ambushes won’t work anymore. Stuck in a building like this, it’ll end with a brawl fest between me and them.”

 

“You mean us, right?” Kirishima helplessly pointed at himself, euphoric at the manliness Bakugou was exuding.

 

“Jump off a window, I don’t care.” Bakugou tightened his grenade bracers. “It’s gonna be me who’s winnin’ in the end.”

 

Kirishima grinned, brandishing his armored hands together. “No way I’m missing this party. Count me in! We’re going to win this game!”

 


 

At the third floor, both Bakugou and Kirishima stopped at the sight of Izuku and Tokoyami guarding the stairway that led to the fourth floor.

 

Izuku, with the prominent looking rifle now out of sight, looked smaller. Nevertheless, he looked intimidating enough handling an odd-looking set of sticks that emitted a short plume of electricity.

 

Tokoyami looked regal in his black, swirling cloak that reached just above his boots. With the appearance of their opponents, his robes flared upwards as menacing claws made of darkness stretched out over him.

 

“Yo, Deku.” Bakugou bared his teeth in a feral grin, crouching in his signature pose as he readied himself for battle. “You finally man enough to fight me head on instead of running away?”

 

“You’ll reach no further from your path, heroes!” Izuku yelled with unused bravado, holding the daggers in front of him in a parrying stance.

 

Beside him, Tokoyami let out an amused smile. So this was why Midoriya was asking him how to speak dark and villain-like for.

 

“Heroes, despair and fear.” Tokoyami let out an additional two claws, making for four impressive dark appendages that swayed in a non-existent breeze. “For WE are here!”

 

In the nearby control room, All Might let out a choked laugh, making everyone turn towards him in wonder.

 

“You sure laid it on thick, Tokoyami.” Izuku whispered through their com devices, attempting to stifle his laugh at the rather blatant reference to All Might’s catchphrase.

 

“At least they’re enjoying it.” Tokoyami whispered back, nudging Midoriya’s attention towards a starry-eyed Kirishima and a battle-lusting Bakugou.

 

“Awesome!” Kirishima was star struck, pumping his fist in response. “Prepare yourselves, villains! I’ll – uh…”

 

He turned towards Bakugou, who disappeared from his peripheral vision. The boy was already flying in mid-air, fueled by the explosions from his left hand. A manic grin was on his face, his sights set on both Tokoyami and Deku.

 

“FUCKING DIE!” His battle cry was punctuated by a prepared explosion from his right hand, just as he landed just in front of the two “villains”.

 

Izuku rolled away from Bakugou’s right, while Tokoyami used one of the arms to pull himself away from the explosion, only to face a flurry of attacks from Kirishima and his steel-hard arms and hands.

 

Because the room was significantly darker, with little light provided from the windows, Dark Shadow’s offense and defense was considerably stronger. Kirishima grunted, receiving a telephone punch from one of the arms, making him skid back and crashing towards a wall.

 

“Yo, man!” Kirishima shook his wrist to stave off the pain and brushing off the debris coating his body. “Your quirk’s nuts! Almost like Bakugou’s level!”

 

Tokoyami made an exaggerated bow of his head, before his arms started collecting rubble from Bakugou’s earlier stunt and hurled it towards Kirishima, with the intent of knocking him out of the building. It was a three-story drop; Tokoyami assumed Kirishima’s quirk could prevent him getting hurt if he fell down. It would be just the matter of destroying the second floor stairwell so that Kirishima couldn’t join forces with Bakugou.

 

Unfortunately, this plan was not meant to be. Kirishima stood his ground and crossed his arms together, hardening his whole body. The rubble that went flying towards him either bounced off harmlessly or were reduced to dust. The rocky assault did little to no effect on Kirishima.

 

Tokoyami was particular with not letting any part of Dark Shadow’s body touch the sunlight streaming from the hole that resulted from Kirishima’s crash. He was already releasing four of Dark Shadow’s arms. Should sunlight touch Dark Shadow while he was in this state, it could result to a minor frenzy that Tokoyami would be encumbered to deal with at their current, critical moment.

 

Kirishima was making no move of staying away from being bathed in the sunlight , so for the moment, both were locked in an unconventional stalemate.

 

On the other side of the room, Midoriya and Bakugou traded blows and kicks. Between Midoriya’s stun daggers that arced a bluish light, and Bakugou’s fiery explosions of black and red; Midoriya was clearly overpowered both in range and efficacy. The grenade bracers he had previously thought to be metal was clearly not. It was some material with a high insulation rate. He had sacrificed one dagger to test this theory, but it was destroyed with a knock of Bakugou’s explosion-enhanced wrist.

 

His notes on Kacchan’s fighting style are what was keeping him from being sent into unconsciousness by one of those dizzying blasts. Every explosion knocked out the oxygen in the air and was replacing it with the scent of nitroglycerin; Izuku had to put this in his Hero Notes somehow once this ordeal was over.

 

The last of his dagger was sacrificed to deter a punch blast meant for his face; Izuku jumped back to try and take some ground and breathing space. Bakugou broke through the smoke, howling as he chased towards Izuku with his hands stretched out, flame red with an imminent explosion that would activate on contact.

 

With a push of his hands, Izuku sent out a magnetic wave that pushed at anything metallic in front of him by activating the anti-metal knuckles inside his gloves. It was by sheer luck that the pins on Bakugou’s grenade arm bracers were enough to make him wobble off-course and land to the side. The floor exploded underneath his hands, but it was only a superficial explosion that barely made a mark on the cement.

 

Amazing.” Izuku’s eye twitched at Kacchan’s sheer control of his quirk. “Even in a spirited battle, he has enough control to minimize the danger of his quirk towards us.”

 

A hard lesson to learn was to never let your thoughts wander during a battle, as Bakugou resurfaced from the smoke screen and caught both of Izuku’s gloved hands in a clutch.

 

“These fucking troublesome things are a pain, Deku!” Bakugou growled, eyes ecstatic as his hands heated up. “Why don’t you stop relying on these silly little toys and use your shit-ass, useless quirk instead?!”

 

Izuku yelped, as the explosions destroyed both gloves along with the anti-metal knuckles inside them, leaving his hands free, bare but unharmed.

 

His knees were the next to go, as Bakugou drove both his hands down and with pinpoint accuracy, destroyed the knee pads that he hadn’t even gotten to use yet. Ah crap, Mei-chan is going to kill me for those. How did Kacchan even know I had gimmicks on those?

 

Izuku stood up and limped away (because seriously, getting punched in the knees still HURT!) but he was now bereft of both his gloves and his kneepads.

 

“That’s more like it!” Bakugou scrutinized Izuku’s now-weaponless body. “You’ve always had a shitty quirk, so let me school you in on how useless it truly is against those that are bound to heroics!”

 

Izuku tensed up, arms and legs spread apart, ready to move to either side in case the attack came.

 

A tell-tale “FWIIP!” shot through the air as a foam bullet whizzed towards Bakugou’s back...

 

...only to be knocked away as Bakugou whirled his arm guards to knock the projectile away. The attack wasn’t finished though, as a whirlwind of fire swirled towards the origin of the shot.

 

Dark Shadow Jr. screeched as the light from the explosion caused its body to become unstable, losing its cohesiveness before finally melting back into nothingness. The rifle “Lightning” that it held clattered uselessly onto the ground, away from both groups.

 

Izuku let out a small “Fuck!”, his last ditch plan of baiting Bakugou so that Dark Shadow Jr. could take the shot resulted into failure against the boy’s natural genius and battle lust.

 

He was expecting Bakugou to gloat about his victory and discovery over his failed ambush, but when he turned around, he wasn’t smiling. There was only contemplation and a frown; just like Bakugou finding a puppy and wondering whether to pet it or kick it.

 

“MIDORIYA!”

 

The short-lived tension disappeared with Tokoyami’s interruption as he literally flew (!) with ebony wings and carried Izuku away from Bakugou and up the fourth floor staircase.

 

“YOU SHITTY EGGFUCKER! GET BACK in HERE SO I CAN SHOVE STUFFING FAR UP YOUR ASS, YOU’LL BE SHITTING IT TILL THANKSGIVING!” Bakugou’s booming voice rang throughout the entire building.

 


 

“He’s rather eloquent.” Tokoyami commented, unaffected by Bakugou’s perverse vocabulary. They were flying at a sedate pace now, the fourth floor was more of a winding hallway type of floor, compared to the third floor’s vacant space.

 

“Are you sure you’re childhood friends with him? It seems rather unlikely.”

 

Midoriya, having finally gotten his bearings together, laughed at that. “Well, you know how it goes. Opposites attract, or what not. We were friends when we were too young to have quirks, but it just wilted when they appeared.”

 

Tokoyami gave a slight ‘hmm’ at that, the corner of his beak tilted upwards just a wee bit slight.

 

“Think that was enough time to stall them?” Midoriya asked. The watch they were provided with was destroyed by Bakugou along with the gloves.

 

Tokoyami took his arm out from under his robes. The watch he had on displayed 01:02 and was counting down.

 

“One minute more and we win.”

 

Midoriya huffed in reply, wondering whether it was enough to keep both Kirishima and Kacchan away from the fifth floor.

 

“I have displayed a lot of new abilities when I am within your proximity, Midoriya.” Tokoyami spoke softly, gesturing to the Dark Shadow wings. “I have a feeling that your quirk is far too complex to be explained as a ‘recharging’ quirk. Dark Shadow agrees with me.”

 

Midoriya closed his eyes , smiling a bit. Trust the resident loner to be so observant of his surroundings far more than other people.

 

“You trusted me with your quirk, Tokoyami.” Both of them landed at the foot of the staircase that led to the fifth and last floor that housed the paper mache’ nuclear weapon. “I’ll trust you with mine, but is it okay if this could wait until after school?”

 

Tokoyami looked disinterested (or maybe it was his natural poker face) but he nodded at the compromise. “Very well. It is up to you whether to trust me or not.”

 

Thirty seconds more.

 

“No way, Tokoyami!” Midoriya snickered, though his ears were alert for any sign of a rampaging demon that might have found its way through the fourth floor. “Are you guilt-tripping me? It’s a long story, you know.”

 

Twenty seconds more.

 

“Call me Kage.” Tokoyami looked away, as they were climbing up the stairs towards the fifth floor. “I’d want my friends to call me at least by my nickname.”

 

“Call me Izuku then.” Izuku grinned, both of them finally reaching the room where the nuclear weapon was being housed in. “I do want to be your friend, Kage.”

 

Ten seconds.

 

As the rocket-shaped nuclear weapon came into view, both Izuku and Tokoyami’s eyes widened when a familiar looking blond-haired boy was hunched in front of it, inches away from touching it.

 

“SHIT!” Izuku tried to run towards the ‘nuclear weapon’ and knock the person away but –

 

His hands alighted on the surface of the rocket, causing a siren to ring around the building.

 

“INDOOR PERSON-TO-PERSON COMBAT TRAINING…”

 

“HERO TEAM WINS!”

 

Izuku slapped his forehead in disbelief, while Tokoyami remained unperturbed. Kaminari’s appearance was certainly out of his calculation. He wasn't supposed to be in the game, at least for five minutes more!

 

“Kaminari!” Izuku flailed his hands, wondering the series of unanswered questions that were running through his head. “When – how?!”

 

Kaminari snickered, looking smug if not still a bit sleepy. “I took the fire exit and snuck up to the fifth floor when I woke up. No rule about using the fire exits, yo.”

 

Izuku looked flabbergasted for a moment, before finally surrendering to a fit of laughs at how absurd the test results were.

 

They were confident. And because of that, it was their downfall.

 

No, HE was confident. Midoriya shook his head. Perhaps it was natural that he had to be brought down a peg or two.

 

Bakugou was confident, and rightly so thanks to his natural born talents and hard work. Izuku was confident of his smarts and because his quirk was proclaimed as something like ‘national treasure – class’.

 

But in the end, he looked down on Kaminari’s resilience and possibly his electrical cowl negating the full effects of Midnight’s toxin.

 

“Why don’t you stop relying on these silly little toys and use your shit-ass, useless quirk instead?!”

 

Bakugou’s voice rang inside his head. And for how hot-headed and being a bully Kacchan's voice was, he was more right than wrong in a lot of occasions.

 

“Yeah.” Izuku lowered his head. “I was too confident. It’s my loss.”

 

I need to find a way to use my quirk offensively.

 

To Tokoyami, he bowed his head in penance. “My overconfidence cost us the exercise. Sorry, Kage.”

 

The other boy shook his head wistfully, putting a hand on Izuku’s shoulder to push him back up. “Raise your head, Izuku. It was a two-on-three match. We were outnumbered and outmatched from the get and go.”

 

Izuku did raise his head, but his shoulders felt heavy from an invisible burden. One that he placed on himself.

 

“I wanted us to win.” Izuku whispered, too soft for Kaminari to hear across the room. “And for the selfish part of me, I wanted to prove Kacchan wrong.”

 

Tokoyami let out a small smile.

 

“I, as well, wanted to see us being on top.” He closed his eyes. “But don’t lose yourself, if it was not meant to be for now.”

 

Kaminari remained silent, shaking his head from the sudden teenage drama. He simply slung his arms over both of their shoulders and led them down in order to meet up with the two other boys.

 


 

The control room during the skirmish was a whirlwind of shouts and cheers between the two groups. All Might, whose fights nowadays mostly consisted of him ending it with a SMASH!, was invigorated to see strategy, tactics and sheer dumb luck working to bring the battle to an unpredictable ending.

 

The five combatants, successfully retrieved from the building with little to no damage, were now standing in front of the class for All Might to assess.

 

With all that is said and done…” All Might stroked his chin, looking wistful as he ran his gaze at the five of them. “…the MVP in this exercise is the young Midoriya.”

 

Izuku, who was looking despondent and self-depreciating, raised his head in surprise. Tokoyami smiled, nodding in agreement. Kaminari, who was hoping to be the one, looked like his balloon just got popped. Bakugou, whose eyebrows were knit in concentration, acted like he wasn’t concerned with it at all, and Kirishima just sighed, muttering something like how it wasn’t manly of himself to let the title slip by.

 

“B-but, we…lost, didn’t we?” Izuku turned towards Tokoyami and All Might, the former just shrugging while the latter looked far too amused.

 

Asui Tsuyu asked the same question as well in a different manner. “Why isn’t it Kaminari since he won the exercise for his team?”

 

All Might had a playful expression in his usually dour-looking face. “Circumstances matter in this situation. As your teacher, HMM, it’s my job to fill you in on the lessons that you lack. However, I feel it best if students can realize them on their own.” He quickly raised his hand. “Does anyone want to try and explain why Midoriya is the MVP?

 

A hand shot through the air, in response to the challenge.

 

“All Might-sensei.” Yaoyorozu Momo answered with no doubt in her voice while raising her hand. “It is because, even at the start of the exercise, Midoriya had already taken control of the battlefield.”

 

The teacher’s silence prompted her to go on with her explanation.

 

“Starting from the right. Kirishima-san performed his roles well to become Bakugou-san’s vanguard and support. However, this position should have been prompted from him at the start. His Hardening quirk, as well as his fearless personality, makes him suited for this type of role. I believe that it was Bakugou-san who has had to ask Kirishima-san to fulfill that role. Nevertheless, while his basics with his quirk was adequate, if not, qualified for this task; he still needs a lot of battle experience in order to achieve the growth he needs to survive being a hero, whether as a team or an individual. Kirishima-san acted more like a sidekick than a hero during the exercise, something which he needs to address.”

 

Kirishima flinched at the assessment, but nodded to show that he accepted it, no matter how harsh.

 

“For Bakugou-san, it is not far-fetched to say that out of the five of you in this exercise; it is you who has the most powerful quirk. Even from far away, everyone understood that you have an unnatural battle sense that surpasses most of our peers. To be able to fend off being sniped, retaliate in turn, and engage Midoriya-san successfully both in close combat and ranged combat is something that needs acknowledgement of your talents. However, your personality needs work and your teamwork leaves something to be desired. Both Kaminari and Kirishima looked up to you as their team leader, but on the first minute, you already had Kaminari almost out of the game. No one will want to work with you if you disregard your team’s safety over the goal.”

 

Bakugou looked unperturbed, though his lips were still dangerously pointed in defiance at the assessment.

 

She huffed, catching her breath before proceeding.

 

“At the very least, you understood the dangers of releasing a large-scale attack indoors. And your control over your quirk is something that is worthy of note. As an individual hero, you’ll make it far. But you’ll surely hit a wall when the time comes for you to work together with others while dealing with large-scale disasters.”

 

“To Kaminari-san, whose initiative and creative thinking outside the box has won the exercise, you were certainly the dark horse given you were the first one to almost get knocked out. However, your lack of vigilance upon entering enemy territory needs to be worked out of you. If the rules were different, or if Midoriya-san had set his weapon from ‘incapacitate’ to ‘kill’, the outcome of this match would have certainly been different. Your luck is probably worth of note however, if Midoriya-san’s face is any indication. He was fully expecting you to be knocked out the entire game, but you have overthrown his expectations and rose above the challenge.”

 

Kaminari had the downtrodden look, like a stampede of Yaoyorozus just trampled all over his delicate self. He did perk up at the comment in the end however.

 

“Tokoyami-san was well-grounded throughout the exercise. He took the time to come up with a strategy with Midoriya-san, demonstrate his quirk, and give and accept feedback as well. He has shown quick synergy working with an unknown character like Midoriya-san, using his quirk to provide mobility and a means of escape in the first floor, and offense and support in the battle on the third floor. Your sense of teamwork even in an outmatched setting is impressive, and your calm demeanor is suited for tense situations that require a cool head. In contrast with Bakugou-san however, is your mastery of your quirk. You seemed to have been surprised at your quirk’s ability to split during the reprieve, as well as flying in the fourth floor. Perhaps if you were able to master your quirk, you would have provided more support options for Midoriya-san, seeing as you were apprehensive with engaging Bakugou-san in a one-on-one battle.”

 

Tokoyami nodded, content with Yaoyorozu’s misinterpretation over Dark Shadow Jr. and the wings instead of having to explain its weakness to everyone in class. “That certainly is true.”

 

“As for Midoriya-san.” Yaoyorozu narrowed her gaze at the fidgeting boy. “Your appearance certainly belies your character. Or perhaps that was a weapon of itself. At the start of the battle, you clearly had a picture of what will happen in your mind. Outmatched by numbers, the basics of winning lie solely on a defensive fortress battle, especially given that your quirk is simply not meant for combat. It is true that should your gadgets and weapons be taken away, you probably are just as helpless as someone without a quirk; but perhaps you were never meant to be on the battlefield. Your reason for taking out Kaminari was questionable at first, but as the battle progressed, more of us understood why you did so. Bakugou was nigh untouchable with the bullets, and Kirishima lacked any means to retaliate, so it had to have been Kaminari. You used the third floor to stall them enough for the time limit win, and the fourth floor was an extra precaution should that plan fail. You’ve taken consideration of everything that was in the battlefield, and perhaps, that was the reason why Kaminari managed to outwit you. But fully grasping your allies’ and your opponent’s quirks and setting them up to an advantage or disadvantage is something that should not be taken lightly in today’s world that believes supreme offense is what you only need to win the day.”

 

She turned towards All Might. “No offense to your fighting style of course, sensei.”

 

N-none taken!

 

“The hero team won because this was merely an exercise. In the battlefield, there are no rules, and it was to that effect that the hero team only won. The villain team stuck to the rules of the game until the end, and if technical penalties and point systems were implemented, would have won regardless of the battle conditions. “

 

“Demonstrating capabilities in different forms of combat, a highly inquisitive mind and a talent for figuring out solutions to problems that outmatch the conditions; if I should have the choice to work with any of them, I would put my lot with Midoriya-san.”

 

“…”

 

“…” WHAT THE HELL! THAT WAS SOME SERIOUSLY AWESOME EXPLANATION!

 

W-well, it’s also to the point that Midoriya could have also utilized the second floor but…that was correct in every sense! As expected of your analysis, Yaoyorozu-san!”All Might gave a shaky thumbs up, praising the stalwart maiden on her breakdown of the battle.

 

“The basics of every foundation are equally important in order to achieve greatness. We cannot devote to serving people as heroes, if we cannot devote to ourselves first. We will never be considered ‘top heroes’ if we are lacking in any way!”

 

The entire class was struck in silence at that declaration.

 

Well! The first round surely was an eye-opener! We’ll change locations and start with the next team!” All Might dipped one hand on the Hero bowl and the other on the Villain bowl. “Think about what needs to be done, and what needs to be improved upon! “

 

“Yes sir!” The class chorused, except for the five that were musing on the what-ifs and hows of the previous exercise.

 

The next teams are – “

 


 

The battle between their classmates swept through them in a blur, but only one of them took both Bakugou and Midoriya’s attention. It was Todoroki’s display of subduing his opponents and winning the exercise at the first minute using his freezing quirk.

 

For Bakugou, it was fear and realization that maybe, he wasn’t all that awesome that he once believed in. He was a genius with natural born battle instincts, and for the first time in his life, those instincts were screaming at him to run away. Because at his level, he would most likely, lose.

 

For Midoriya, it was a mixture of envy, want and a bit of lust at such a powerful quirk. A quirk that overpowered any strategy he could think of was definitely something worth taking note of. And its owner who clearly mastered its use was also another matter to deal with.

 

Both boys kept to their thoughts all throughout the rest of the day.

Chapter Text

All Might, after leaving them with instructions to return to class, change into their school uniforms and spend the free time left discussing the flow of events in their respective exercise; promptly disappeared in a powerful sprint that left a small sonic boom in his wake. An urgent missive from a nearby ward requesting his help with a hostage situation was the reason for his abrupt leave, but nevertheless, class was already ending that day so the school had decided it was alright to cut his time short.

 

The walk back to the building was peppered with Class 1-A discussing a lot of segregated topics.

 

Shinsou, Uraraka and Iida came over towards Midoriya and Tokoyami’s group. The rifle ‘Lightning’ was passed around, admired and examined; even by Tokoyami, who admitted he was curious about it. Izuku promptly explained that this was through the efforts of a Department of Support student, a registered partner, one Hatsume Mei.

 

Izuku’s military-like moves and training made Shinsou and Uraraka curious, even eliciting theories from the latter that Izuku grew up in a soldierly family. He deftly denied it, pointing out that he had enrolled in a summer class for it. Iida visibly deflated for a second, but had recovered swiftly before anyone could even take notice.

 

Most of the other students made small talk with Todoroki; his display of employing catastrophic abilities pretty much made an impression in class. The boy, to his credit, didn’t attempt to look standoffish or cold however. He took things to stride; politely answering questions about him, his family, his quirk and how he was enrolled through U.A. via recommendations.

 

Izuku’s fanboy-mode reared its ugly head once more. Even amongst the company of friends, his attention was solely focused on the stoic boy who was flanked by Yaoyorozu to his right, and Shouji to his left.

 

Thoughts of Todoroki’s quirk and Izuku’s questions literally emanated from Izuku, like waves of dark clouds that fruitlessly crashed towards the unaffected target of his attention.

 

“I’m really curious about his ice powers…how does he do it…does he lower the temperature of anything he touches forcefully, or does he absorb the heat from anything he touches…it would explain the crawling ice that spread throughout the building…but he easily melted the ice after the exercise…does it mean his quirk is not limited to just lowering temperature but also raising it…or does it mean his quirk is more of temperature manipulation than just an ice quirk…”

 

Izuku’s manic mumbling slipped through his lips, worrying Uraraka and Iida. Shinsou took it calmly, aware of his habit; while Tokoyami only stared, unsure how to react.

 

“Midoriya, you’re creeping out your other friends.” Shinsou teased, poking Midoriya on the nose.

 

“E-eh?” Izuku was popped out from his proverbial thought bubble, shifting his attention towards Uraraka and Iida who looked uncertain on what to do. “Sorry! Please don’t mind me when I do that. It’s a bad habit I developed when I was a kid.”

 

“That was some evil-like concentration, Midoriya-kun!” Uraraka let out a breath she’d been holding, while patting her heart somewhat. “It was like you were out for his head!”

 

“I disagree, Uraraka-kun!” Iida interjected with his index finger waggling nonsensically. “The way he was mumbling about Todoroki-kun’s quirk, you would think Midoriya-kun is a quirk vampire!”

 

“Oh! You’re right, Iida-kun!”

 

Midoriya only laughed nervously, feeling exhausted with the duo’s outlandish conspiracy theories regarding him. Shinsou looked highly amused at Midoriya’s expense, while Tokoyami had a small smile while choosing to keep his silence.

 

His gaze landed towards the other flitting groups. Kaminari, who was being teased by Jirou and Mineta. Bakugou, and an uncharacteristically serious-looking Kirishima; the latter engaging in a one-sided conversation. Yaoyorozu was often visited by the others, asking for short individual reviews of their own exercises. She did admit that she could not memorize everyone’s battles, and that her analysis wasn’t really 100% helpful, but nevertheless, most flocked to her for advice regardless.

 

After visiting the locker rooms and storing their hero costumes for laundry and maintenance, the talks continued as they walked back towards their classroom, though in a lower tone while they were passing through the other departments.

 

Upon entering their classrooms, the hero and villain teams settled in group circles to discuss the exercise that happened that day. Bakugou was surprisingly…cooperative.

 

Ideas and thoughts on their plans and course of actions flowed towards each and every one. Izuku, Tokoyami, Kacchan, Kirishima and Kaminari’s group settled in the area where Kacchan and Izuku’s seats were found.

 

It took a few moments for the group to realize that everything that needed to be said was already said back then. The atmosphere was turning dark and sour with the awkward silence that landed on their group.

 

“M-man!” Kirishima broke the ice with a large smile towards Izuku. “I mean, wow, I really didn’t expect you to just bring out a sniper rifle against us! I mean, you did explain you had nothing but a recharging quirk!”

 

Izuku laughed nervously. “What were you expecting, Kirishima-kun?”

 

“Mhm, I dunno. Probably some sort of martial arts and uh…if you start losing energy, you’ll just recharge yourself?”

 

Izuku’s eyes turned beady as a particular foul memory crossed his mind, while his hand was making defiant moves. “Definitely not. That’s an out for me. A serious foul. Recharging myself is one taboo I’ll never break.”

 

“Taboo?” Tokoyami tilted his head, curious with the consequence.

 

“It was one time during summer when I accidentally tried doing it. I became a foul-mouthed, loose-lipped moron with no regard for tact and danger. I had to be sent home to ride out my quirk’s reaction.”

 

“What’s the difference with being a deku?” Bakugou muttered to no one in particular, though Izuku did hear it.

 

But unlike the time when he was bullying him during middle school, Izuku could feel there was no heat with those words. Did he daresay hope it sounded more like…something fond?

 

Izuku mentally shook his head. No! Kacchan never did something fond! Flowers? Kacchan made them explode! Bees? Kacchan made them explode! Puppies? Kacchan made them… well, he did kick them away, and Izuku had to apologize to them for Kacchan, when he was trailing the irate boy back when they were kids.

 

Had he missed how Kacchan looked relaxed amongst their motley group, pretending to not give them any attention when his ears often twitched when someone else spoke?

 

What a weird day.

 

“Hmm.” Kaminari looked thoughtful, not having heard it or Izuku’s mental parade of thoughts. “That goes the same with me. If I use my power on a higher intensity or for longer periods of time, I become something like a literal moron.”

 

Izuku laughed uneasily, brushing his feelings aside to pay attention to what was happening right now. “That sounds kind of harsh, Kaminari-kun.”

 

“Well, are you sure you really aren’t an electricity-based quirk?” He raised a fine-colored eyebrow. “No need to be shy about it.”

 

Izuku laughed, gesturing that he wasn’t with a shake of his hands.

 

“Hmm,” Kirishima extended his arm and hardened it into an uneven spiky appendage. “Come to think of it, aside from being non-flashy, I don’t recall any serious effect from using my quirk too much.”

 

“Kirishima-kun, are you hardening your skin to create something like armor, or does your body turn into something hard all the way to the inside?” Izuku looked genuinely curious.

 

“Hm?” The boy in question shifted his arm back to flesh and blood. “Why do you think so?”

 

 “…what would happen if a part of your body broke off because something harder than you attacks you? I mean, it would be a clean break right?”

 

“…that’s just scary dude! Wah! The mental image isn’t going away!” Kirishima panicked, standing from his seat and catching everyone’s attention. Izuku, broken off from his musing due to the shocked reaction, also stood up, apologizing and trying to pacify a freaked out Kirishima.

 

Amidst Izuku saying sorry, Kirishima explaining that what he was doing was just donning a rock-hard armor made from his skin, and Kaminari laughing his ass out; Tokoyami almost missed Bakugou letting out a snort from his nose.

 


 

The day ended with All Might not having returned to the classroom to dismiss them, instead Midnight took the role of doing so, after which she skipped over towards Midoriya, asking about how effective her quirk’s product was.

 

She had a copy of Midoriya’s exercise in a small CD, tucked between her breasts; it was how she knew of what happened.

 

Shinsou and Tokoyami stood outside the hallway, waiting for Izuku, as he did tell them he wanted to share something with them when they manage to get into a family restaurant.

 

Midnight whispered something towards Izuku, however, halting that plan at least for today.

 


 

“Tomorrow?” Shinsou echoed what Izuku said, genuine curiosity raising his eyebrows at the change of plans. After leaving Midnight’s company, Midoriya gestured for them to walk with him to the gates of Yuuei. “Why put it off for tomorrow?”

 

Tokoyami, having the same inquiry at the tip of his tongue, left the series of questions to Shinsou.

 

“Plans changed.” Midoriya’s voice was controlled, and if it had a look, was probably grimacing. “It seems that the faculty was aware of what I planned to do, and thus decided to let you in on matters but only when it’s tomorrow.”

 

Shinsou stopped walking, and with the lack of footsteps from his general direction, prompted Midoriya to turn towards him.

 

“This is pretty big, isn’t it?” Shinsou whispered, emotions kept in check by his poker face. “Is this connected to why they won’t let me see the video of me controlling that big-ass robot?”

 

“…yeah.”

 

Shinsou nodded, continuing their walk towards the elevator. Tokoyami held his silence, choosing to hold his peace. He was going to find out tomorrow anyway, it was better than being kept in the dark and lied to.

 

Once they reached the gate, Izuku’s eyes were drawn towards Boots, who gave a small nod at his appearance. Shinsou was the first to leave them, giving a small smile and a wave to Izuku and a nod to Tokoyami, before he disappeared behind the doors of a bus.

 

Izuku turned towards Tokoyami, who seemed to look like a constipated pigeon with the way he was fidgeting.

 

“Kage?” Izuku cocked his head sideways. “What are you trying to do?”

 

Tokoyami struggled for one last time before giving up. “Hm, I was sure that with my proximity to you, I’d manage to bring Dark Shadow’s wings out like earlier. Maybe I judged wrongly.”

 

Izuku weighed his options on whether to tell Kage that needed a stronger connection to him in order for that to happen.

 

Izuku mentally shook his head. Now was probably not the best time.

 

“You wanted to try flying back to your home?”

 

 “It would save me on transportation expenses.” Tokoyami sighed, pointing at his temples. “I literally have a bird’s head but I can’t fly. There’s something wrong with this picture.”

 

Izuku grunted hard enough to hurt his uvula. “Warn me next time you crack a joke, Kage. Your ambush attacks are too deadly. All Might would probably enjoy your sense of humor too.”

 

“All Might?” Tokoyami raised a feathered eyebrow.

 

“Yeah.” Izuku secured his bag on top of Boots. “He likes manzai.”

 

Tokoyami nodded. “I see.”

 

“Besides,” Izuku strapped himself on Boots as the dinosaur prepared to lift off. “if you really want to try flying, you need to get a license from the Land Transportation Office for a Para-Land license. This way, you won’t get accosted by heroes for flying without one.”

 

“Do you have one?” Tokoyami shielded his eyes from the dust that was being kicked around by the thrusters. He waved a hand, his goodbye for that day to a new friend.

 

“I do!” Izuku waved a goodbye, as he made for Mei-chan’s workshop before heading for home.

 


 

“MY BABIES!”

 

“I’M SORRY!”

 

For other people, this would have sounded something bad and bordering on emergency; but the Hatsume household had already grown used to Izuku unwittingly breaking Mei’s gadgets, and Mei crying over it like Izuku just took an axe and beheaded her firstborn child with it.

 

After countless apologies and pacifying Mei-chan using the field test results for Lightning and the 20M Bullets, Izuku bid the household farewell.

 

“Izuku.” Boots called his attention, just as he was about to climb on top of the dinosaur’s frame.

 

“Hm? What is it?”

 

“Your mother has contacted me asking for your whereabouts. I have taken the initiative to inform her of your delayed arrival.”

 

Izuku nodded, muttering a small ‘thanks’. The sun was slowly disappearing into the horizon, he still had enough time to fly home for their usual early dinner.

 


 

“Mom! I’m home!” His arrival was heralded with a large yell from the front doorway. Boots decided to put himself away in the garage, at least until when the family was asleep before he started doing the midnight patrols.

 

“Welcome back!” The greeting came from the kitchen, where his mom was cooking. The smell of oil, fried bread coating and pork wafted in the air, making Izuku drool in anticipation.

 

“Are we having katsudon tonight?” He greeted his mom with a kiss. “It’s not a special occasion or anything, right?”

 

His mom shook her head, amused and fond with her eyes on her son. “Nothing like that. There was a sale on pork earlier, and I figured it didn’t hurt to make your favorite food especially since you’re still a growing boy.”

 

“Mom!” He blushed on cue, though he made for the stairs instead of being targeted by his mom’s teasing. “I’m going to take a bath.”

 

“Your clothes and bath towel are on top of your bed!” She replied. “Where will you eat?”

 

“At the table!”

 


 

After a hearty ‘itadakimasu’, the only sounds that were heard in and around the house was the monotonous drone of the evening news on the television and the occasional crackle of crispy tonkatsu in Izuku’s mouth.

 

“Seconds please.” Izuku offered his rice bowl for another scoop of rice.

 

They were halfway done through dinner when his mom asked him of today’s events. Izuku relayed as much of the experiences he had as he could stuff into a few minutes, while making sure that he took out any of the dangerous details like almost getting blown up by Kacchan or something similarly hazardous.

 

He was sure that his mom appreciated the school’s contribution in her child’s physique and mental outlook; there was no need to sour her opinion in regards to the school’s hands-on approach to introducing their students to the dangers of heroics.

 

Their table was small; a rectangular wooden tabletop with four chairs. Izuku and his mom sat parallel towards each other, while the rice cooker was beside her in case seconds were asked. There was a tray with a bowl of rice and a bit of katsudon on the side.

 

Izuku glanced at the third set of bowls on the table and sighed.

 

It wasn’t hard enough for Midoriya Inko to realize what it was about.

 

“I’m sure your father is fine.” She tried to comfort Izuku. “He’s just probably gallivanting off somewhere…earning money for us.”

 

Izuku muttered in a disjointed tone. “Can’t he just do it here, in the city? I mean, ever since the Heroic Age started, there’s a wave of new jobs that appeared, right? Even the government boasted there’s a 98% employment rate with a lot of jobs still needing to be filled.”

 

“There’s a difference between having a lot of vacant jobs and having qualified people for it.” Inko sighed. “Your father…well, I’m not exactly sure if Hisashi is even the type to like being on the office or out into the field.”

 

“He’s probably out there, looking for himself.” She tried to say with a false sense of cheer.

 

Izuku shook his head, feeling guilty for taking it out on his mom. “I’m not antagonizing you mom, but…I’m terrified you know? He’s my father, I’m supposed to miss him. But I don’t. I can’t remember his face, I don’t remember a single time in my life when he was supposed to be there. When we went to the doctors to have my quirk checked, during my first day of school, my graduation, my admission to Yuuei…he wasn’t there.”

 

He tugged at his hair. “Sometimes, when the neighbors think I can’t hear them, they’re gossiping about you and how you are a single parent. And I want correct them, tell them that you aren’t. That I have a father and you have a husband…but he’s just not there.”

 

“Oh Izuku…” Inko reached out across the table to hold his hand. “Please don’t hate him.”

 

Izuku’s expression slackened at the comforting gesture. “I don’t. I don’t hate him. I told you mom, I’m scared. It’s because I don’t feel anything at all. I just wish he’d show up one day and explain himself, but right now…he’s every bit of a stranger to me.”

 


 

“Mom…our teacher told us all ‘bout quirks today!”

 

“Oh Izuku! Did you learn a lot?”

 

“…it was kind of weird.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Mom’s quirk is pulling objects towards her, right?”

 

“That’s right!”

 

“And dad’s quirk is breathing fire?”

 

“…y-yes, it is.”

 

“My teacher wondered why my quirk is recharging stuff…then she looked all surprised and then just patted my head and hugged me.”

 

“…mom, why are you hugging me too?”

Chapter Text

Flying over the city via the Boots Express, especially on dreary cold mornings, often left Izuku somewhat sleepy. But a certain event certainly knocked his barely-awake mind awake; one that was coalescing in front of Yuuei’s doors.

 

Arriving at school, he was alerted by a throng of reporters that have decided to swarm just outside the entrance of Yuuei. A lot of the incoming students were being accosted for an impromptu interview regarding the teaching environment Yuuei had to offer for the top class in the Heroics Department.

 

There was Iida and Uraraka, the former who gave a lengthy enough answer that caused the reporters to shrink away from his ‘enthusiasm’ while the latter gave an answer too light for the reporters’ liking. Monoma, who was laughing and proudly boasting that yes, he was indeed in Class 1-A, and Kacchan, whose interview shifted from daily 1-A life towards the issue months ago when he was abducted by the slime criminal.

 

Izuku mildly disliked the too enthusiastic reporters, but he did still feel bad for Hatsume’s gadgets.

 

Sending a brief message to Mei-chan’s communicator and girding his loins, he made a stern face and landed just outside the walls of Yuuei, in a flashy and attention-grabbing display of wind, dust and leaves.

 

“Holy crap! There’s a kid with a flying robot dinosaur here!”

 

“Wait! Does he even have a license for that kind of thing?”

 

“Isn’t he the other kid during the sludge guy incident?”

 

Izuku stood his ground, his face looking unaffected as the reporters swarmed towards him, eager to find out about his rather exotic looking ride. He was being bombarded by both questions and microphones, asking about the robot dinosaur, about All Might’s curriculum and about himself (the last one was probably just to sound ‘polite’).

 

Keeping a poker face in front of the cameras, the lights, and the excited mass of people was very hard! Boots suddenly moved towards Izuku, sliding his head on Izuku’s shoulder and encroaching the smaller boy’s frame inside his metal claws. The reaction garnered a positive reaction, and even with Izuku’s inability to answer their salvo of questions, they kept the rate of inquiries streaming in like a muddy river after a heavy summer rain.

 

Izuku’s head swiveled towards a strange sound that grew into a recognizable “Izukuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!”, as a girl with pink hair and a ton of mish-mash gadgets came to her rescue. Relieved at her arrival, he introduced her to the reporters.

 

“I’d like to introduce the creator of this dinosaur, so please direct all questions towards her!” Izuku smiled obligingly towards the reporters, gesturing at the beaming girl. And like hungry Labradors, they descended towards her with their questions about the dinosaur, almost all thoughts about All Might temporarily forgotten.

 

Mei-chan seemed to enjoy the whole thing, soaking the attention in with the free publicity. She gave a wave to Izuku, thankful for it. Izuku gave a wave back, happy she had gotten something for the trouble he caused yesterday.

 

By the gates of Yuuei, Aizawa-sensei was observing the whole thing. And with a quick thumbs-up, he disappeared inside, returning to campus. Most of the other students also hurried inside, afraid the reporters might notice them.

 

By the time the reporters realized they’ve been had, there were no students left. Hatsume, having gotten her publicity, was able to get to her class with five minutes to spare and Boots flew over the walls to deposit himself in the parking space of the school, much to the chagrin of everyone.

 

“Ah…”

 

The Yuuei Barrier closed shut when one unwitting reporter came too close to it.

 


 

Aizawa-sensei finished roll call without much trouble, since the class was characteristically less rowdy, now that they have gotten a bit of an idea in regards to his personality. He was a no-nonsense person and surprisingly strict, but he fostered growth when he saw there was a chance, and cut his losses when there was none. As long as you were willing to learn and grow, he does not cut corners to help you in your endeavors.

 

“Now then.” He dropped a stack of papers on the teacher’s desk. “I’ve reviewed the footages of each and everyone’s indoor exercises yesterday; you may be at liberty to read my personal notes and comments in regards to your trials once I’ve given these out to everyone.”

 

His eyes momentarily rested on Bakugou; those who were observant enough were keen in seeing to whom he was staring at. The way his mouth opened, it was almost like he was about to say something, but he stayed his opinion and shook his head.

 

“I’ll leave the notes on the desk. Take the ones with your name on it once I leave the room for your first period.” Aizawa-sensei took a piece of paper from a hidden pocket in his suit and checked its contents.

 

“Now, homeroom notices…”

 

“…”

 

“…it’s time for you guys to choose a class representative.”

 

“SERIOUSLY! FINALLY SOMETHING SCHOOL-LIKE!” Everyone cried in relief at the sliver of normalcy that existed within the classrooms of the hero school.

 

Aizawa-sensei raised a hand before everyone could start nominating themselves. “Listen up. The reason we conducted the hero exercise yesterday was so that everyone could have a grasp on each person’s Quirk and personality. I don’t want to hear selfish reasons of choosing yourself just because you feel like it or because it will look good on your credentials.”

 

Almost everyone literally dropped their hands (the ones who didn’t never raised theirs in the first place).

 

“…with that said, I really don’t care how you guys do it. But settle this matter quickly before homeroom ends.” Aizawa-sensei muttered, as he slid himself back in his bagworm-like sleeping bag.

 

He delivered the punch line in the end!

 

“Hmm… what to do?” Kirishima wondered out loud. “It’s gotta be a vote, right?”

 

“The responsibilities of a class representative entail the weight and pull of everyone inside the classroom! They must be willing to go above and beyond the role of a student and become a leader everyone will look up to. I believe that a class representative should be someone everybody trusts, and this is only reflected through a fair and proper voting procedure!”

 

“And there goes Iida-kun with his two cents.” Izuku thought to himself, laughing timidly. “Though it sounded like two dollars instead of cents though.”

 

“Then let’s make a rule.” Shinsou raised his hand to get everyone’s attention. “We can nominate candidates, but we can’t nominate ourselves.”

 

Murmurs went around, there was a lot of nodding and agreeing on the condition.

 

“Well, with that settled.” Shinsou rose up and went towards the blackboard and wrote a name. “I nominate Midoriya Izuku.”

 

“EEH?!”

 

“Shut the fuck up, Deku!”

 

“Sorry…”

 

“Shinsou-kun.” Tsuyu raised a froggy hand, her tongue sticking out. “Can you please write down Yaoyorozu-san’s name?”

 

The girl in question looked surprised, turning red.

 

“T-then…” Yaoyorozu raised a shaking hand. “I’d like to nominate Todoroki-kun as well!”

 

Shinsou let out a soft ‘eh’ when he got roped into being the unofficial class secretary; nevertheless he obliged and wrote the third name on the blackboard.

 

There were other nominations written down (Kirishima jokingly nominating Bakugou, who expectedly flared up but didn’t rescind the nomination while looking suspiciously red like a spiky tomato or Ojirou nominating Tokoyami, whose face looked like a pigeon shot with a peashooter when his name was mentioned. He did rescind however, not choosing to be put in the limelight.)

 

Votes were cast using torn up pieces of paper, and once they were collected, were counted and the results were drawn on the blackboard, with the scores attached to their respective names.

 

Midoriya Izuku – 5
Yaoyorozu Momo – 5
Todoroki Shouto – 6
Bakugou Katsuki – 4
(particulars) – 1 each

 

“FUCK! I GOT ONE VOTE LESSER THAN DEKU?!”

 

“Oh look, a tie between Yaoyorozu-san and Deku-san.”

 

“D-Deku-san?!”

 

“Isn’t that how it’s read? Midoriya Deku?”

 

“I-it’s not! It’s Midoriya Izuku!”

 

“I…I only got one vote…”

 

“That’s too bad, Iida-kun!”

 

“Iida-kun, you can’t nominate yourself, but you can vote for yourself you know?”

 

“AH!”

 

“Wait! What are we going to do about the tie? Should we hold another vote for the tiebreaker?”

 

The class representative – “ Aizawa-sensei’s voice pierced through the din of after-election noise. “ is going to be Todoroki Shouto. “

 

“…”

 

“The assistant class representatives are Midoriya Izuku and Yaoyorozu Momo.”

 

As expected, the class went into a tizzy at the appointment of two assistant class representatives.

 

“EH? Do we really need two assistant class representatives?!”

 

“Let’s just have a tiebreaker vote for the two of them!”

 

“I..I’m okay with anything…”

 

BE QUIET.” The class immediately fell silent once more at Aizawa-sensei’s command. “It was already troublesome holding an election once. I’m not doing this again. You get two assistant class reps. Be happy, squirts.”

 

Ah. So that was why.

 

Sensei found the election too troublesome, I see…

 

As expected of Yuuei Academy! We really can’t let our guard down even for one second!

 

Iida-kun, I don’t think this applies to the situation at the moment.

 

“Well that’s settled, finally.” Sensei looked uncharacteristically cheery all of a sudden, now that the troublesome issues were out of the way. “Todoroki-kun, you’re responsible for leading the class in the usual class greetings and goodbye bows. Additional responsibilities for both class rep and assistant class reps will be handed out in the teacher’s lounge after class, so all three of you report there to me.”

 

“Yes sensei!” All three chorused at the order.

 

Aizawa-sensei tapped his temples, trying to remember something before succeeding. “Also, Shinsou and Tokoyami. I need you to report to the teacher’s lounge as well. You guys accompany them later in the afternoon. Understood?”

 

“Yes sensei!” The two concerned replied, though there was a bit of wonder why they were called.

 

There was only one pattern Izuku saw between the two of them; but his thoughts were disrupted with Todoroki leading the class in a bow as their teacher left the room.

 

Just as everyone stood up to go towards the table, Todoroki pacified everyone and had the three of them distribute the papers instead. It was less rowdy and more efficient, something which a few of their classmates teased Todoroki with.

 

Izuku wouldn’t lie that he and Yaoyorozu didn’t enjoy seeing the red tinge at the tips of Todoroki’s ears.

 


 

Lunch had come sooner than expected. With the blessings (and proddings) of Shinsou, Tokoyami, the Iida-Uraraka combination, and running the idea with Yaoyorozu, who welcomed the idea with much enthusiasm that was almost bordering on relief, Midoriya was invited to eat alongside Todoroki (who didn’t know) and Yaoyorozu (who was in the whole thing).

 

Otsukare, iincho!” Both Midoriya and Momo greeted Todoroki, who was concentrating on his beef and vegetables.

 

Midoriya was smiling, though inside he was nervous like hell. Todoroki never did smile much; he was stolid at worst and emasculatory towards those he disliked. Was it a good idea to base Todoroki’s first impression of him with a bit of teasing, even if Yaoyorozu was in on it?

 

“You two…” Todoroki grimaced, chewing at an uncharacteristically tough piece of meat. “…it’s just a class position you know? Take a seat, Midoriya. I assume the third seat on this table was meant for you.”

 

“It’s not trouble for both of you, or anything, is it?” Izuku took the aforementioned place, setting his tray down. At the corner of his vision, he could see Iida and Uraraka give an enthusiastic thumbs-up. “Never thought I’d find myself sitting on the Student Council’s table.”

 

That earned a snort from Todoroki. Even Yaoyorozu made a humorous choking sound.

 

“Is that what they call it?” A hint of a smile was in the corners of Todoroki’s lips, though it disappeared in an instant. Midoriya called the event a success then and there. “Sit and eat. We’ve got things to talk about after you eat.”

 

“Right.” Izuku agreed, though not having any idea what it is they’ll talk about. Middle school was a bad experience for him, ever since Kacchan bullied him down the bottom rungs of the class social ladder. Even now, it was still awkward for him to have people eat lunch with him willingly.

 

The curry he brought with him was consumed in a flash, Izuku having underestimated his appetite and only having toast for breakfast. Todoroki had finished eating earlier and bid his time staring at his now-empty plate. It only enthused Izuku to eat his meal faster than before.

 

“I just realized something.” Yaoyorozu perked up, now that the table was cleared of scattered dishware and everyone had now eaten. “All of us were brought here under recommendations, right?”

 

Todoroki shrugged, agreeing. Midoriya tilted his head, having just realized it as well.

 

“Wow. Now it really does feel like the Student Council table.” His mouth ran its course before his brain could make a follow-up.

 

Even Todoroki’s stolid façade didn’t bear much weight, as all three of them shared a stifled giggle.

 

“Why don’t we take a walk while we talk?” Todoroki suggested, pointing a thumb towards their classrooms. “It’s getting crowded here and we could do well with moving about.”

 

The three walked away, bouncing topics around each other mostly topics about their quirks, the responsibilities of being class rep and assistant class rep and other minute things, having just missed the panic at the cafeteria when the school sirens blared due to the destruction of the Yuuei Barrier by five minutes.

 


 

“How did the press even get inside the school?”

 

“Heard someone took down the Yuuei Barrier. It’s practically in shambles now.”

 

“Apparently, Iida-kun managed to control the cafeteria situation. Lunch Rush was praising him endlessly.”

 

“I-it wasn’t like that! I couldn’t have done it without Uraraka-kun’s help!”

 

“Young master Iida is so shy!”

 

“Y-young master?!”

 

“We’ll be counting on you, Emergency Exit Iida-kun!”

 

“Emergency Exit Iida-kun!”

 

“A-ah…”

 

Midoriya paid no heed to the din that was happening inside the classroom. He was writing like a maniac, jotting down notes on the things he heard Todoroki and Yaoyorozu explained about their quirk. They were truly amazing quirks indeed, top-tier if he dared call it.

 

Yaoyorozu’s Creation, which can create anything save organic materials and compounds. Converting her body fats into different types of elements and atomic configurations, she can literally create almost anything so long as she understands their atomic structure. Creating machines and complex contraptions would further require additional understanding of their mechanics as well. If she was able to create anything as she claimed to be, then Yaoyorozu’s genius must be on an entire tier above the class!

 

Todoroki’s Half Cold Half Hot, an amalgamation of two different temperature extremes housed inside one person. The drawbacks of being burned or frozen yourself if overextending the use of either sides being remedied by the quirk itself makes it a strong ability with little disadvantage.

 

Was that scar an accident from his fire side? Fire seems flashier but he favored ice over it. He probably just didn’t want to hurt the opposing team. His thoughts drifted towards the exercise yesterday. Iida and Tsuyu couldn’t do much with Todoroki’s overwhelming quirk advantage, so they just sat back as his ice crept through the entire building and froze any solid opposition present inside. Monoma was eternally pissed he wasn’t able to copy Todoroki’s quirk and fight back since he had to actually touch Todoroki for his Copy quirk to activate.

 

All Might’s absence that day led to Aizawa-sensei taking over Heroics lessons for that afternoon. In relation to yesterday’s exercise, the class turned into a hero-villain encounter session. Various clips and footages of past hero fights were shown, choice of actions were explained as well as letting the students work on finding better methods to deal with villains who advantageous or disadvantageous quirks.

 

Class had ended on an uneventful note for Midoriya on the second day. He was jarred from his thoughts on what dinner was when Todoroki called for him from the door, alongside Yaoyorozu. His thoughts drifted towards Tokoyami and Shinsou, who looked meaningfully at him.

 

“Ah.”

 

Right, that could only be it. So that was why Yuuei asked him to delay the revelation for today. The class representatives were needed to be aware of his situation. Aside from his friends, Izuku needed allies inside the classroom should things turn out ultra-bad. Not necessarily close friends, but powerful, responsible allies.

 

The five of them had reached the teacher’s lounge, though when Todoroki knocked on the door, there was nobody else around save for Blood Hero Vlad King, Class 1-B’s Homeroom Teacher.

 

“Vlad-sensei…is Aizawa-sensei around?” Todoroki asked, wondering why there was nobody around. Especially their homeroom teacher since he was the one who asked them to meet him there.

 

“You guys are already here, huh? Let’s go then. We’re having it on the conference room on the first floor.” Vlad-sensei stood up, ruffling Izuku’s hair when he passed by them and gesturing for all of them to follow him. Todoroki quirked an eyebrow at the familiarity Izuku had with Class 1-B’s homeroom teacher.

 

“Do all the teachers know who you are, Midoriya?” Todoroki asked in a polite tone, genuinely curious at the boy’s relationship with Yuuei’s faculty members.

 

“Somehow.” Midoriya replied, turning towards Todoroki. “I was also recommended, but I was pulled out of my middle school during my last year and spent it here. It’s why I’m familiar with most of them.”

 

“I didn’t see you when we were touring the campus last year.”

 

“…did you guys reach Training Field E?”

 

Todoroki racked his memories. “No, we went through Field A and were ushered back towards the main campus since the guide said all the fields look alike so there wasn’t much point visiting them once we already saw one.”

 

“That was probably it then. I spent majority of my time in Field E doing physical exercises.”

 

“Physical exercises…” Todoroki’s eyes subtly meandered across the shorter boy’s figure. The school uniform seemed to make him look lanky, but the way Midoriya’s knapsack dug into his shoulder gave Todoroki the idea of what his figure looked like underneath the clothes. “…was that how you moved so nimbly yesterday?”

 

“Yeah.” Izuku nodded. “Carrying a rifle on the field, maneuvering terrain, endurance, light parkour…most of it got drilled into me last year. All Might was very thorough about it.”

 

“All…Might?” Todoroki eyes widened slightly. “You received personal instructions from All Might?”

 

“Huh? Yeah.” Izuku continued, not slightly disturbed with how Todoroki suddenly seemed more invested into their conversation now. Their captive audience was doing little to disturb the flow of their talk either, so words kept rolling between them with little impediment. “He went through the exercises and training with me, though it wasn’t really all that fair since he had his One-for-All thing going for him. The saying ‘misery loves company’ only works apparently if both of you are suffering.”

 

“Why would All Might...take an interest in you?”

 

Midoriya was quiet.

 

“We’ve seen your quirk and just as Yaoyorozu said, it’s not meant for the battlefield. So why would the strongest in the world go out of his way to look after you?”

 

“Todoroki-ku – “

 

Their conversation ceased with Vlad King’s “We’re here!” as the doors of the conference room opened.

 

Todoroki, Yaoyorozu, Shinsou and Tokoyami’s eyes goggled at the impressive roster of heroes and heroines occupying the seats. Six empty seats remained, and with Vlad King taking one, it went down to five.

 

The holographic projector in the center of the room lit up, a video displayed in mid-pause.

 

“Todoroki-kun…everyone. You might…no, you will have your answer here.” Midoriya whispered, as he stepped forward to claim a seat of his own. “I’ve worked with my quirk for 10+ years. But there are people here who can describe what I can do far better than I can.”

Chapter Text

After taking their seats, Todoroki’s eyes couldn’t help but roam across the impressive hero lineup that comprised part of Yuuei’s faculty. Inside this high tech room that had the usual chairs and tables, the walls were lined with complicated looking computers and monitors; it looked more like a war room instead of a conference room.

 

“Some of you might not have met him since we missed first day’s school assembly due to Aizawa-sensei’s exam.” Midoriya gestured towards a white, creature wearing a dandy set of clothes; a sweater vest, pants and shoes. “This is our school principal, Principal Nedzu.”

 

“Yes! It is I, your principal!” Said ‘person’ introduced himself with much flair. “The person you can’t pick out whether he’s a mouse, a dog or something in between!”

 

Deadpan silence. Aside from Todoroki discreetly clearing his throat and Midoriya’s fidgeting.

 

“Yes, yes!” Principal Nedzu clapped, as he stood up from his chair to give Midoriya a bunch of documents. “That reaction is very refreshing! Wonderful! Whether it is from the shine of my coat or the softness of my paw pads; any antiphon is whole-kindheartedly appreciated!”

 

“…”

 

“Principal.” Midoriya’s eyes sped through the papers full of charts and words. “This is the conclusion you’ve arrived based from using your quirk, right?”

 

The principal nodded his head, his tail swaying along with the action. “Correct! That’s right! And not only through the exertion of my quirk alone, but even with the application of its extension, Sonic Specs!”

 

“That’s right, golden eggs!” Without missing a beat at a rate that could put Present Mic to shame, Principal Nedzu turned towards the remaining four students with a twist of his head. “My intelligence is unparalleled; no human can surpass my wit! This is my quirk “High Spec”! But with Midoriya-kun’s influence, I can unlock a talent my quirk has hidden deep inside! Reading the flow of patterns! Finding order amidst chaos! It is not within my confines to be unable to divine the future for as long as complete data is given to me! Yes, this is it! The capacity to absorb and process knowledge at a full 100%! Sonic Specs!”

 

“Now everyone, take a seat!” Without even bothering to determine what their reactions were, Principal Nedzu ushered everyone to the empty seats. “Much to discuss, that we do. We need to hasten; something is quite amiss in the air. There is the calm before the storm; the horizon opens towards the gaping maw of Nietzsche’s beast.”

 

After everyone had settled in (the students somewhat feeling nervous now), Principal Nedzu gestured a hand at the four students, asking them a question. I am sure you have been called here for different reasons. Eraser Head, which is Aizawa-sensei, has informed me that Todoroki-kun, Yaoyorozu-kun and Midoriya-kun have both taken office for the class representatives.”

 

“Yess’r…” Todoroki fidgeted somewhat, though it was barely visible given the room’s lighting was now dimmed just a bit. Yaoyorozu nodded, mouth set in an uncomfortable line.

 

“As for young Shinsou-kun and Tokoyami-kun, you have no inkling as to your participation in this meeting.”

 

Tokoyami didn’t shake his head, only closing his eyes. Shinsou couldn’t answer, because he was wondering why the paused video on display in the holographic projector was none other than entrance exams fiasco when he unwittingly controlled the undefeated Yaruki Robot.

 

“Well then, if you would please lend me your energies, Midoriya-kun.” Principal Nedzu nodded towards Midoriya, who stretched his palm out towards him. “In order to accurately map your quirk out without any blunder, I will need Sonic Specs once more!”

 

It only took a few seconds for the atmosphere around the principal to shift. His snow white coat swayed, before lengthening a little bit and standing on end, turning his appearance into something similar to a humanoid porcupine. The tips of the Principal’s spiky hair started to immediately steam, the ashen vapor being siphoned away by the room’s air duct.

 

The other hero teachers near the principal slowly edged away, the heat being emanated by his body was debilitating. Even after a distance away, the four other students could feel the warmth lashing at their faces.

 

“Todoroki-kun.” The principal looked up from the spiky fringe shadowing his pointed face. “I understand that your quirk deals with ice and fire. Might I inconvenience you if you can wrench the heat away or at least surround me with freezing air?”

 

The student in question nodded and let his ice run from his foot on the metal floor towards the Principal’s chair. The ice steamed at first, meeting harsh resistance, before regaining stability and slowly lowering the temperature around the Principal.

 

“Ah, thank you!” The Principal sighed in relief, as the shimmering air around him vanished. “Even with the room’s air conditioner in full blast, we never really got around to effectively cooling my body whenever Sonic Specs is brought out.”

 

“A supercomputer needs specific temperature management in order for it to work without a hitch. In this form, my brain exceeds the calculating power of the world’s most powerful data processors by a million factors! But the process generates an immense amount of heat that is drained by my coat from out of the body and into the surrounding air.”

 

Shinsou lamented a sigh.

 

“If your acuity’s tops, you should have thought of something about that problem.” He murmured, realizing his mouth had run off before his brain could comprehend what he had just done.

 

“Yes, indeed. A sound argument, Shinsou-kun! A thousand answers, a million possibilities for a simple problem like mine. But one does not need to use a powerful computer’s resources in order to solve a simple equation like “1+1”, yes?”

 

“During the first time I obtained the use of Sonic Specs, I had indeed attempted to use my quirk against a simple problem such as this. What happened had terrified me at first, for a world was opened to me before my very eyes. How one problem could easily split itself into tens of answers, hundreds of scenarios, thousands of consequences, and millions of possibilities!”

 

Principal Nedzu regarded the chastened Shinsou with his scarred eye. “Using a too-large solution for a minute problem will always create new problems in itself. It is the same with hero work, we do not send a powerful hero against a small-time villain because it is a mismanagement of resource, a risk for collateral damage and accidents can always happen.”

 

“When it comes to being long-winded, even I can’t beat the Principal.” Present Mic muttered.

 

Shinsou was truly regretting not keeping his mouth shut.

 

“Now then!” The principal had probably felt that the chastising had done its job. “For the sake of our younger audience, I feel perhaps that it may be best that the whole matter is explained from the beginning. For our teachers, new things have come to light now that ample data has been gathered thanks to the Indoor training conducted during All Might’s class.”

 

“According to young Midoriya’s quirk registry, he has the ability to recharge items, as is evident by the amount of devices he often wields during practicals. The entry is called ‘Plus Minus’, and is indeed considered a recharging quirk of the non-electrical category. It is a rare quirk, but nevertheless, unimpressive and unfit according to common hero standards.”

 

Midoriya nodded, closing his eyes and taking a slightly deeper breath.

 

“However, young Midoriya has revealed that he has been fervently using his quirk without pause for the past eleven years. For common heroes, this figure is nigh unattainable even in during their active years. Can anyone of you students tell me what happens when a quirk is used all the time?”

 

“The ease of use improves.” Todoroki answered, huffing a breath of warm air to maintain his body temperature.

 

“The effects grow stronger?” Yaoyorozu raised a hand due to habit.

 

“Efficiency for me.” Shinsou replied, shrugging.

 

“…you become more familiar with the nuances of your quirk.” Tokoyami thought for a moment, most of the previous answers he had thought correct.

 

“Educated guesses, yes! We go back to the theory that quirks are biological processes, one and the same. The postulate that is the most accepted nowadays due to supporting evidence is that quirks are able to extend function, role, and utility. This is an advanced lesson for you first years, determining the identity of your quirk extensions.”

 

“Quirk extensions?” Yaoyorozu looked thoughtful. “If we take it by its name, can we assume that it means our quirks do not change, but rather break new…abilities?”

 

“An 80/100 guess, Yaoyorozu-kun.” Principal Nedzu nodded. “Let us take breathing for example, a common physical process exhibited by almost all living beings. Every living being breathes but just because you breathe your whole life, it does not mean you become proficient at it. You need discipline and practice to convert breathing into something of an advantage over other living beings.”

 

“Masters of the martial arts convert breathing into a form of discipline, coordinating it with activity, thus practitioners are less-winded when performing physical activities compared to others. Swimmers and deep divers adapt breathing and convert it to deep breathing; holding their breaths when treading water or when exploring the murky depths with no gear on their backs. All of this returns to the basics in breath management.”

 

“So how does this all relate to young Midoriya?” Principal Nedzu tapped something on his PC tablet, showing a chart. “Quirks are a product of evolution, and through my musings with my own quirk, I have arrived at the conclusion that through his unabashed usage, he has extended his quirk far enough to cause it to mutate.”

 

“Almost a year ago, Young Midoriya and a middle school classmate of his by the name of Bakugou Katsuki was involved in the rampaging of the Muddy criminal in the Tatooine Ward shopping district.” From his PC tablet, a Hero News Flash article displayed the details of the event. “All Might had been pursuing the villain at an earlier time and though an impressive heteromorphic quirk it was that the villain possessed, he was easily apprehended and stood no chance against the No. 1 Hero. “

 

The pictures shifted to those that were obviously taken by CCTV cameras. “While being pursued, he was an algae green color.”

 

A second picture was placed beside it in comparison. “And on his second appearance, after having escaped All Might’s jurisdiction, here we see that he has evolved into a blood red color.”

 

The pictures were put away. “Police reports on both events have stated that it was only on the second occurrence that they had noticed the villain to have been emitting a powerful chemical capable of knocking out people with weak stomachs due to the indescribably foul odor surrounding it like miasma. There was a noted increase of mass and strength in the villain that had raised him into a threat level only All Might was capable of dealing with, as compared to his earlier form.”

 

“Hold on, sensei.” Yaoyorozu carefully examined the photograph showing Midoriya running towards the already powered up villain that had been holding Bakugou hostage. “I understand where this is going, but your photograph clearly shows Midoriya had yet to make contact with the red version of the villain.”

 

“I had expected your astute brain and keen eyes to come to this conclusion, Yaoyorozu-kun.” Principal Nedzu gestured for Cementoss to pass some papers towards her. “This is a shared report given by All Might that is only accessible to this school and with the police. Please do read the contents.”

 

Yaoyorozu visibly reddened at the compliment, but she composed herself and skimmed through the report, eyes searching for the keyword ‘Midoriya’.

 

…had found a boy, one identified as Midoriya Izuku being assaulted in a stranglehold by the villain underneath a tunnel after pursuing his trail through the sewers. Successful extraction of the hostage was performed and no grave effect was observed on the victim. Noted near asphyxiation but was successfully revived.  Imprisoned villain in…so what this says is that Midoriya DID have contact with the villain before his assumed ‘power up’?”

 

“Without a doubt. Both All Might, though not here, and Midoriya-kun would put weight behind my words. But those are things that had happened, and one thing was for certain; Midoriya-kun had the capability of accelerating growth on quirks far enough to stimulate the development of extensions.”

 

The students were quiet. Midoriya braved a glance towards them, and was met with unbelieving stares and open mouths.

 

“Through Plus Minus, whose reason was to regenerate energy dwelling in both man and machine, there was no rhyme and reason, at first glance, for it to become a quirk that essentially levels-up another individual’s quirk.”

 

“But due to Sonic Specs, I can now map out the path Midoriya-kun’s quirk had taken in order to become what it is right now, a quirk that is essentially a one-up cheat code. How his ‘recharge’ became a ‘charge up’ as you will.”

 

The video in the middle of the table began to play at once, regaling everyone with what happened when the Yaruki Robot stopped being a robot against players and had begun to do Shinsou’s bidding. The video ended with Midoriya talking to Shinsou looking confused at everything.

 

“Shinsou-kun, might we trouble you to give us a short overview of your quirk?” The principal urged the boy for some information.

 

“My quirk’s name is Brainwash.” Shinsou mumbled, reluctant in doing so. “With it, I can have someone do my bidding until I consciously release them from my hold. I have not tested the limits as to how many I can control at one time, though. “

 

“An outstanding quirk that would otherwise do well in person-to-person combat.” The principal nodded, sparing Shinsou the opportunity of revealing further information about it. “Not so much against robots, whose intelligence is solely artificial, I presume.”

 

Shinsou nodded.

 

“But therein lies the mystery on how you had managed to force your will on something that clearly has no brain that you can…well, ‘brainwash’.”

 

“You have tasted the next step in the growth of your quirk, Shinsou-kun. But it is not the only way your quirk can grow. Midoriya-kun’s ability is to merely open a door for you, but he cannot keep it indefinitely open. Whether you choose to open that particular door is up to you and you alone. The quirk extension of manipulating a non-living entity has been opened for you; it is a far cry from your original ability of brainwashing. You can choose to instead strengthen your hold, or improve the number of people you can put under your influence; your quirk has a number of paths not yet trodden that only you can put your footprints on.”

 

Shinsou looked positively overwhelmed with the wave of information he had just received, making him slump into the back of his seat.

 

The video then shifted towards the Indoor Combat Training session with Tokoyami. There were no microphones around the building, but the part where Dark Shadow split into its smaller replica, Izuku riding it to and away from the first floor, the combat on the third floor, and finally, Tokoyami unfolding his ebony-black wings.

 

“Tokoyami-kun’s Dark Shadow…” Principal Nedzu still had that easy-going, all-knowing smile playing on his face. “During the school entrance interview, I was quite terribly curious about your quirk. The common man would ask what the quirk is, would it be the being inside Tokoyami-kun or would it be the ability to host Dark Shadow. It’s easy to think of Tokoyami as a single person, but he is essentially a human being living a symbiotic relationship with Dark Shadow.”

 

“Midoriya-kun had the right mind to tell you how to strengthen Dark Shadow, Tokoyami-kun.” Principal Nedzu faced the poker-faced, bird-headed boy. “However you represent him, whether as a collection of things you hide and the things you fear or something else equally dark and morbid; it is a being that is a part of you and apart from you. Dark Shadow grew his own extension when Midoriya touched it, and you managed to utilize his wings just by being near Midoriya-kun’s proximity. This synthesis between man and quirk is exciting! What path will you take Tokoyami-kun? Will you work with Dark Shadow, or will you tame it? Will it be a pet for you, or a partner and confidante? I offer the same words I have spoken to Shinsou-kun, a lot of options are open for you on how you will grow! And the same could be said to Dark Shadow!”

 

Tokoyami nodded thoughtfully, though he couldn’t hide his surprise when Dark Shadow manifested from his shoulder and gave his own warble as a reply. A small blob dripped out of its body and became a mini Dark Shadow Jr., standing only at 2 inches tall on the table. It waddled unsteadily towards Midoriya, seeking out the comforting energies the boy was emitting.

 

“Dark Shadow has already begun to manifest its quirk extension!” Principal Nedzu remarked with controlled wonder. “Small as it is now, compared to when Midoriya was there to help it; Dark Shadow has slowly begun to open its own doors.”

 

“What a mad banquet of darkness…” Tokoyami sighed, as he willed tendrils of Dark Shadow (with visible effort) to creep over his skin and form patches of what looked like to be pseudo-muscles. “I’ve taken note of my quirk’s weakness and my dependence on Dark Shadow during combat. Izuku had given me the idea to augment my body with Dark Shadow, for each of us to cover the other’s weaknesses. So while Dark Shadow lingers under my skin, hidden from light, I could deal with close combat fights.

 

"I may not yet be able to throw punches of All Might’s caliber, but one hit will nevertheless be enough to throw enemies away. I will need to enroll in extra-curricular hand-to-hand combat classes, but I feel it will be worth it. I only need to practice more in trusting Dark Shadow when he’s possessing parts of my body.”

 

“Kage!” Midoriya exclaimed in surprise, amazed at his initiative.

 

“Wonderful!” Principal Nedzu expressed his satisfaction. “I do not need to expect great things from you, Tokoyami-kun. I know you will do great things.”

 

“Class representative Todoroki, and Assistant Class Representative Yaoyorozu.” Principal Nedzu turned his attention to the two, who looked subdued at the turn of the events, gears noisily turning in their heads. “Hmm? Your acumen indeed deserves praise. You realize the implications of all of this, am I correct?”

 

Yaoyorozu nodded, whose analytical skills are foremost. “We’ve seen the consequence should Midoriya-kun fall into the wrong hands. We know his dedication to a peaceful society is irrefutable, but there are countless villains out there that possess quirks and methods that could make Midoriya…think otherwise. Midoriya-kun must be protected.”

 

“On the other hand,” Todoroki gave his rebuttal. “it will benefit neither Midoriya nor us should he be locked away and coddled like a baby. Midoriya needs to grow and be exposed to the hero curriculum like everyone else. The school was within reason to keep his quirk categorized as a recharging quirk; he does not need the extra attention, not when it will paint him into being a target for villains everywhere.”

 

Todoroki regarded the Principal with suspicion.

 

“You called us here because you want us to prioritize Midoriya’s safety should an emergency arise. Principal, I feel that you are not telling us the complete story here. We are merely kids; you could have let a pro hero teacher prioritize Midoriya’s safety over ours. It is not like we are completely helpless to begin with.”

 

“I don’t think I should, Todoroki-kun.” Principal Nedzu batted Todoroki’s opposition away like a noisy gnat. “There are secrets linked to Midoriya-kun that could shake the pillars of hero society. I have been given authority to disclose this one secret to the four of you, as it was the wisest decision I could come up, based upon the thousands of simulations I have performed using my hyper quirk function.”

 

“I do not wish to estrange Midoriya-kun from his class, which is why the teachers are trying their best to limit the attention given to him. There are places and situations where teachers cannot go to assist Midoriya-kun, but fellow students can. I am sure that the close-combat exercise revealed to you that even though we have done our best to arm Midoriya-kun, it is often not enough against powerful quirks that can easily overwhelm other lesser abilities.”

 

“Moreover, it is not like you would not benefit from this arrangement, Todoroki-kun; Yaoyorozu-kun.”

 

The students made a small ‘oh’ sound, and regarded Midoriya thoughtfully. Said boy squirmed in his seat, uncomfortable at the attention.

 

“Are you not curious about the next steps your quirks will take when evolving? You’ve seen Shinsou-kun and Tokoyami-kun’s results. You’ve seen how large a step forward they have taken in a single day, compared to pro heroes that would have taken years and even decades to achieve.”

 

“One quirk whose strength is unrivaled in class 1-A, and the other whose quirk is akin to a god’s.” Principal Nedzu sagely stroked his spiked coat. “It is not a far cry and impossibility for anyone of you to completely surpass our generation faster than we had with our predecessors.”

 

“Which brings me to you, Midoriya-kun.”

 

“Yes, sir.” Midoriya nodded, gulping down his Adam’s apple. “You said you found new things about my quirk.”

 

“This quirk of yours is not without its dangers; I do hope you realize that.”

 

Midoriya stilled, not at all expecting this turn of the news.

 

“Eh?”

 

“The danger is subtle.” Principal Nedzu took a piece of paper. “It is a silent poison that will quietly slip inside your blood, driving you to madness should we leave this unchecked. My quirk has told me so.”

 

“Midoriya-kun, should you wish to boost your peers in times of crisis, I advise that you should leave them to the tender mercies of your field’s range. Do not, I repeat, do not ever share your quirk’s ability through contact by touch with another quirk holder, especially a villain.”

 

“Your quirk has evolved far too extensively to levels unknown to most of us. It is a quirk that encourages growth, but exercise care when doing so. Just because you give to others, it does not mean you do not receive something in return.”

 

“Something…in return?” Midoriya clenched and unclenched his hands. “I didn’t realize what and when.”

 

“For simplicity’s sake and thusly are we able to remember easily, I will provide labels that will help you understand what I have gleaned through countless replications of theories and philosophies that govern singular quirks like yours.” He gave the piece of paper he’d been writing on towards Midoriya, illustrated with his quirk’s evolution.

 

“At four years of age, Plus Minus had made its appearance. A shabby quirk that was a recharging ability for machines at most.”

 

“From then till you have reached the age of fifteen, an approximate 11 years of continued, untiring use of your quirk resulted in silent growth. From recharging machines, it grew to be able to influence quirks. How? Why? The answer is your obsession with quirks, Midoriya-kun. You influenced your quirk with your mania on hero stats, hero note-taking, and hero skill and habit dissection so much so that your quirk had little choice but to latch on to this direction.”

 

“Your inferiority complex stemming from your quirk’s inapplicability to hero usage warped it long enough to want to make an impact. Heroes need flashy quirks; heroes need quirks that make an impression to everyone around them.

 

The boy gulped at how easily the Principal read his past.

 

“Your quirk was like a cosmic egg, waiting for that one single moment or thing to cause it to explode in its own version of a Big Bang. You wanted a quirk that was suitable for heroics. But quirks that are used for heroics require one specific criteria: they are to be used on other people, whether offensively or defensively. Midoriya-kun, you have never used your quirk on another person because you were told it was only for machines.”

 

“That stagnancy ended rather too abruptly, at that event in the Tatooine Shopping District. And the consequence of having used your quirk for the first time was rather too evident, but only for the people who knew you. But no one really knew you, did they?”

 

Midoriya nodded, too rapt in the information provided that he didn’t even deign to do his usual mutters.

 

“Your first beneficiary, unwilling that you were, was the Muddy criminal. Your quirk has caused his to extend. His body become more fluid, more rancid, more deadly. Your second beneficiary around that time…was All Might. Consequently, his able performance in executing a heroic move lost to him when he slipped from his prime was found once more; it was that Heavy Smash he was mostly fond of during the Golden Age.”

 

“All Might?” The question slipped from Todoroki’s mouth, eyes looking at Midoriya. How is it that Midoriya keeps being related to All Might…the coincidence for Todoroki was hard to believe.

 

“How did it feel, Midoriya-kun?” Principal Nedzu regarded Midoriya with his cunning, beady eyes, ignoring Todoroki’s quite outburst. “Did you perhaps feel you were…strong? Did you feel a little bit…vindictive? Have you felt emotions that you otherwise had not felt before, at least months after that encounter with the villain and the top hero?”

 

Midoriya shook his head. “I don’t think I felt any diff-“

 

 

 

“Kacchan.” Izuku didn’t rise to his former-childhood friend’s baiting. Though he did greet the rather eternally-irate teenager, he didn’t deign to answer his question. Must be because he’d grown enough cojones during the last ten months.

 

Izuku’s fingers itched, moving towards his pant legs, to a region where he often kept the holster for his daggers, before realizing they were in his backpack. A deep breath was all it took for Izuku to rein in his emotions at having his quirk insulted for the last time.

 

“Oh.”

 

“I think…” Midoriya considered his words carefully. “…I almost shanked Kacchan with a knife the first time we met after a long while.”

 

Some of the faculty members looked concerned at the villainous confession. Principal Nedzu only nodded, like how a scientist felt satisfied when an experiment supported his conclusion.

 

“Your quirk’s side effect, when you tried to recharge yourself, had given me the clue to this rather detrimental knock-on consequence. A shift in personality, a change, a reflection; your quirk adapts to one quality depending on whomever you have shared, or were forced to have, a boosting touch with.”

 

“For most of the teachers here, I included, we only had ourselves within your range. I had carefully insisted that no one offer to touch you when boosting quirks, nor receive one from you. My suspicions were proven correct.”

 

“From the Muddy criminal, you were afflicted with malice and anger and hatred and violence. From All Might, you were given strength of will and justice and daring and control. Perhaps it was because of All Might’s dominant personality that had prevented such a mishap during your encounter with the young Bakugou that you speak of rather…condescendingly around that time.”

 

“And proving myself correct, I postulate that your contact with Shinsou-kun has given you a strong sense to dominate and lead, at least through victory during the Indoor Closed Combat training exercise, as is his quirk’s ability to govern another person’s will temporarily. And that contact with Tokoyami-kun has given you, control. Forgive the pun, but he has given you a bird’s eye view in regards to yourself. As I suspect that Tokoyami-kun must need strength to rein in Dark Shadow’s character during the darkest of nights.”

 

Tokoyami nodded, not denying Dark Shadow’s character that mirrored Jekyll Hyde’s.

 

“I guess there was.” Midoriya scratched at his elbow, feeling like he was being stripped naked through the Principal’s correct guesses. “Though I didn’t remember making contact with Kage…”

 

“I did carry you, Izuku.” Tokoyami interjected, equally fascinated with everything was happening. “up through the fourth floor when we thought Bakugou and Kirishima-kun would be in hot pursuit. It probably counted.”

 

Midoriya’s blank face looked enlightened, as his hand made an ‘oh right’ gesture. This wasn’t lost to Todoroki, whose fixation with hands was unknown to most people. Still, he reigned in a tampered expression and looked like he was holding a cough.

 

“We’ve established that you absorb personalities like a dry sponge does to water. So I would like to suggest that you consider who you choose to entrust contact boosts versus field boosts.”

 

“Is there any difference,” Shinsou raised a hand. “with those two types of boosts?”

 

“Oh! I can answer that one.” Midoriya interjected, just as Principal Nedzu was about to answer. “Contact boosts are easier for me to gauge how much…quirk energy I transfer towards someone. With field boosts, I can’t really tell what’s happening. But with contact boosts, I could almost…see what’s happening, huh?”

 

Midoriya looked confused.

 

“I just realized something when I touched Dark Shadow. I saw it in something like…a mind’s eye. A static-like black egg. I fed it enough energy just to make it hatch, and well…” he ran a finger through Dark Shadow Jr.’s tiny head. “some version of this came out.”

 

“This brings me to my second point, Midoriya-kun. It is not only personalities that you have managed to absorb, but your quirk also mutates itself into some aspect of any that it touches.” Principal Nedzu clapped his paws together. “Without even any preamble, I have successfully managed to hypothesize the end result!”

 

“From the Muddy criminal, your quirk has obtained Elasticity; to stretch your quirk’s range to a limit.”

 

Midoriya’s thoughts went towards the solo connections he was able to establish with All Might, Boots and Shinsou’s cellphone. “Oh, that’s right.”

 

“From All Might’s One for All, the details are entailed as another secret, thus I cannot reveal it here. From Shinsou’s Brainwash, you have acquired In Sight, the ability to peer into another quirk’s appearance. And from Dark Shadow and Tokoyami you have acquired…hmm, Midoriya-kun, try and generate your quirk into a field in your right hand.”

 

Midoriya cocked his head sideways at the strange order, but did so anyway. Everyone snuck a peek in, trying to see if anything will happen.

 

“Picture in your head that you are giving it a specific wavelength, a color in the spectrum that is visible to the naked eye. Pick any color.”

 

All Might’s blue Golden Age costume was the first thing to appear in Midoriya’s head. And right before everyone’s eyes, from his hand blossomed a shifting maelstrom of snowy blue and gold petals made of light that burst from his arm and sank back in without leaving a mark on his skin.

 

“From Dark Shadow, an irony and contrast in appearance, your quirk has obtained the property of Visibility.  You have given your quirk a form that is discernible to anyone, much like how Tokoyami has given form to Dark Shadow.”

 

Midoriya stared in wonder at the petals that danced to the tune of a non-existent gust of wind. “Why petals though?”

 

The Principal shrugged. “Only you can answer that.”

 

“And while this may seem impressive, this also hints that your quirk is at an unstable level, if it can freely change itself and can be easily influenced by outside factors. I need more time with the hyper intelligence provided by Sonic Specs, but that will have to be for another time.”

 

Principal Nedzu’s spikes slowly shrunk back to his coat, and he was once more the way he was; unassuming and less threatening. Blood started dripping from his nose; of which Blood Hero Vlad King immediately staved off with a wave of his hand.

 

“Thank you, Vlad-sensei. My limit with hyper intelligence causes me to develop hyper blood pressure, as my body compensates to provide more blood to my brain. I could probably die if I use it too much ahaha! Thank goodness I am an animal, and not human.”

 

Everyone was silenced by the rather morbid, yet comedic attempt at dispelling the tension in the air.

 

“Ah, age is truly a factor for Midoriya-kun’s quirk. It seems that only those who still have the room to grow will see little to no side effects while accessing such advanced forms. If only I were a bit younger, I could go full day on prickly porcupine mode. ”

 

The principal closed his eyes, willing the embers of Sonic Specs to work before they fully go out.

 

“Desperation. Consider this Midoriya-kun, as the holder of what I appropriately name now as ALL PLUS ONE, for your quirk embodies breaking everyone’s limits, adding a new facet to their uncut surface. Whoever seeks your power must be desperate enough to acquire it; only then will they break their limits two folds or even three. They must have a goal in mind should they wish to fully tap your power. ‘ I want to protect. I want to save. I want to kill. I want to rule. I want to LIVE.’ These are some of the keys to help unlock their desired growth.”

 

Murmurs between the teachers rose up. Principal Nedzu spoke for the last time before he dismissed the meeting.

 

“Todoroki-kun, Yaoyorozu-kun, Tokoyami-kun, Shinsou-kun…I foresee a great danger in the immediate future. Having seen a certain pattern in the movements of villains and heroes, something will happen that will put both students and teachers at risk. I cannot tell when or how, as perfect prediction requires complete data. But be vigilant. I grant you permission to do what you will to keep you and your classmates safe.”

 

“Midoriya-kun, feel free to seek me out should you wish to talk about the matter further. But for now, I need rest. I am bordering on the edge between being awake and falling into unconsciousness. Perhaps I may have pushed…myself too m…uch…”

 

Principal Nedzu fell sideways, right into the open arms of Blood Hero Vlad King, who anticipated that the sudden drop of blood pressure in the Principal’s body would cause this fainting spell. Every one of the students made moves to go towards the principal, but Aizawa bodily blocked their attempts.

 

“You’ve been given your orders, kids.” Aizawa-sensei dismissed them, though all five of them found it hard to stand up quickly. The heavy weight of revelation for the four, and information for one weighed heavily on their minds. “It’s up to you on how you will act on this. The principal decided to burden you with this because he’s seen you fit enough to carry this. Go be Plus Ultra outside. Shoo.”

 

Having been successfully kicked out of the conference room, the group quietly trod towards the Yuuei Barrier, thoughts occupied by a lot of things.

 

All five of them still looked hesitant. Todoroki looking tired, Yaoyorozu looking worried, Midoriya fidgeting nonstop, Shinsou looking troubled and Tokoyami looking downcast. The Dark Shadow Jr. on Midoriya’s shoulder squawked its last before dissipating into dark threads that blew away into the wind and disappearing without a trace.

 

“Honestly. Stories like quirk-boosting powers…” Todoroki muttered, sighing, exasperated. “I was expecting to go home after receiving my class representative responsibilities, not having a state secret shoved up my face.”

 

Midoriya grimaced, taking a step back. Tokoyami and Shinsou sensed their friend’s distress and flanked the fidgety boy, the former sending a deadpan look at Todoroki, the other a rather despondent glare.

 

Todoroki, recognizing that he was acting like a jerk for indirectly blaming Midoriya, dispelled the other boy’s worries. “Take no offense, Midoriya. The whole afternoon was just too surreal for me. I know I should be impressed…or something. ”

 

Yaoyorozu crossed her arms under her ample breasts. “…’or something’ seems accurate.”

 

Todoroki sent her a nonplussed stare that looked like “aren’t you just in the same boat as I am?” Yaoyorozu shrugged, slightly shaking her head.

 

“Nevertheless, an opportunity is an opportunity. Aside from class administrative work, we now have more reason to work closely than ever. Yoroshiku, Midoriya Izuku.” Todoroki offered his right hand in the gap between Tokoyami and Shinsou, which Midoriya gingerly took, yet firmly shook. Shinsou grudgingly moved aside, while Tokoyami was still calm as ever.

 

Yoroshiku, Todoroki-san.” Midoriya shook the other boy’s hand. “I’ll try not to burden any of you.”

 

Todoroki looked unimpressed but doubtful, imperiously tilting his head. “You won’t. Your combat experience is adequate, and your analytical skills can probably give most pro heroes a run for their money. There is no need to unnecessarily demean yourself like this.”

 

Midoriya lowered his head in an attempt to hide the reddening of his cheeks.

 

“Me too, Midoriya-kun. “ Yaoyorozu chimed in, offering the same handshake. “I do think you have a very powerful quirk, even if it is not evident during combat use. I feel like I’ve underrated it the first time during the indoor person to person combat training. I hope you didn’t take offense.”

 

“None taken, Yaoyorozu-san.” Midoriya shook her hand, smiling in relief. “Your quirk is amazing, but the effort you’ve put in learning every single item’s composition is one that should be commended. It must be a never-ending learning experiencing.”

 

Yaoyorozu predictably blushed at the complement.

 

“I will be frank, Midoriya.” Todoroki looked pensive, touching his chin and looking thoughtful. “I will have to think about whether or not I would like access to your quirk’s ability. But I am hesitant letting anyone else tamper with this quirk I have. If anything else…”

 

He glanced towards Shinsou and Tokoyami, reminded that there was a captive audience between them.

 

“I’d appreciate it if we can privately discuss the circumstances surrounding my – this quirk.” Todoroki mumbled, taking a piece of paper out of his pocket and a pen from the other pocket.  Scribbling something hastily on it, he handed it to Midoriya. “Here’s my number. Once you conclude your business with Yaoyorozu-san and the others; call me or send me an SMS or email so I can meet up with you.”

 

Nodding his leave towards the other three, Todoroki spared a glance towards Midoriya, tilted his head, and went along his way, exiting out of the – huh, the barrier’s destroyed. So that was what everyone was talking about…how the media managed to get inside the school grounds.

 

“How surprising.” Yaoyorozu discreetly glanced at the piece of paper, though she couldn’t make out what the numbers were. “Todoroki-san looks like the type of person who values his personal information. I didn’t think he’d actually give you his contact number.”

 

“He does have that air, doesn’t he?” Tokoyami agreed. “Like a king. Or better yet, an Emperor. Considering how his quirk is, it’s not easily that farfetched of an idea.”

 

“His attitude needs a lot of work though.” Shinsou ‘hmmphed’. “Midoriya, since the principal said that you got that Insight thing from me, and you saw Tokoyami’s black egg – “

 

“…what.” Tokoyami felt ruffled at how that sounded.

 

“How vulgar.” Yaoyorozu covered her mouth, attempting to hide a laugh or a grimace.

 

“ – can you tell me what my quirk looks like to you?” Shinsou grinned, slinging an arm of Midoriya’s shoulder. “Can you do it without contact though? Wouldn’t want you to start acting like I do.”

 

“I’m curious as well to see how you do it Midoriya-kun.” Yaoyorozu clasped her hands together. “I hope you don’t mind if you could do the same to me after Shinsou-san.”

 

“Not a problem. I can try and do it simultaneously.” Midoriya shook his head and closed his eyes, concentrating. He raised his arms towards the both of them and generated his field.

 

What he didn’t realize was that while attempting to connect his quirk with Shinsou and Yaoyorozu; something new happened. Small bits of green energy that looked like leaves erupted from his arms and slowly flew towards the both of them, as if blustered by a fickle zephyr.

 

The two looked apprehensive when the petals slowly drifted towards them, and visibly shivered when they entered their bodies through the any part of their exposed skin. Midoriya remained unaware, steeped in light concentration.

 

“Shinsou-kun’s quirk has a form of golden spider webs…so many.” Midoriya whispered. “Yaoyorozu-san’s is…oh, this is – different.”

 

He opened his eyes, amazement and wonder reflected in them.

 

“I saw a large two-headed turtle with a kind of tree growing on its shell.  Didn’t look like sakura but it did have fruits on it. The heads are kind of like each other’s tail. One head was sleeping, but the other head was coughing up a lot of different things – oh, wow!”

 

That was the point where he saw the green leaves floating and in and around his classmates. Tugging at them with his will and a jerk of his hands; the leaves changed direction, whirled in a silent flurry and vanished into the air like they melted into nothingness.

 

“Aside from your terrifyingly vivid description of what my quirk looks like, that leaf storm looked like it came out of a ninja series.” Yaoyorozu secured her bag over her shoulder. “Thank you Midoriya-kun. I daresay it was…cool, for lack of better terms. I would like to secure permission from my parents first before I venture into also doing something about my quirk. But I will have news by tomorrow at the very latest.”

 

A limousine drove in front of the destroyed Yuuei barrier.

 

“Would anyone like to take advantage of an escort to your home?”  

 

Somehow I’m not surprised she has a limo escort her to and from school.

 

“I’ll take the opportunity, Yaoyorozu-san. Thank you very much.” Tokoyami replied, turning towards Shinsou. “What about you, Shinsou-san?”

 

“…mhm, guess I’ll take you up on that offer as well. My parents are probably going to freak out if they see me arriving home in a limousine. They’ll probably say I mind-controlled someone into giving me a free ride again.”

 

Tokoyami raised a non-existent eyebrow, while Yaoyorozu looked amused. “…again?”

 

“It was one time!” Shinsou vehemently denied the accusation, looking uncharacteristically flabbergasted. “And it was a terrible senpai who kept bullying me by saying I have a villainous quirk. So I ordered him to ride me home on his bike and…probably a few other things that I shouldn’t say unless I want to dig myself a deeper grave.”

 

“What about you, Midoriya-kun?” Yaoyorozu turned towards him.

 

“I’m fine, thank you. I have Boots to take me home.” Looking at Yaoyorozu’s confused face, Midoriya explained. “He’s my sort of butler and ride. A flying…robot dinosaur, sounds surreal I know; but it’s true. I do have to meet with Todoroki-san after this though. He did tell me to contact him after we finished keeping things in order.”

 

“Uhm…I might take you up with your offer one day however, if that is alright. I do want to try riding a limousine at least once in my life.”

 

Yaoyorozu nodded, satisfied at the least. Tokoyami bade him goodbye and to take great care while around Todoroki. Shinsou did the same with the additional threat of bodily harm towards Todoroki if something happened to Midoriya.

 

“I’ll have him dance naked around Tatooine Downtown if there’s so much a scratch on you. Take it as me threatening him. It’s going to be fun pulling him down from his high horse.”

 

Sending all three of them towards the direction of the limousine (“Seriously, Midoriya! Call me just in case!”), he sent a discreet text message to Todoroki’s mobile and speedily got a location on where to meet up.

 


 

“There you are, Todoroki-san!”

 

Midoriya waved a hand to get the other boy’s attention. Todoroki sat on one of the benches fronting the hospital. He looked to be lost in thought at first, but having heard his name; it was like the illusion was broken.

 

As soon as Midoriya stood beside him, the other boy stood up as some sort of greeting.

 

“Did you have a hard time finding this place, Midoriya?”

 

The slightly shorter boy shook his head. “Your directions were helpful. I haven’t been really to the hospital much so I was kind of unfamiliar with the place.”

 

He laughed nervously. “I mean, aside from getting sick or visiting someone, I try to avoid going to any hospitals. It’s kind of scary, you know – not that I should be saying stuff like this if I want to be a hero.”

 

Todoroki gestured for them to walk. “Hospitals…terrify you?”

 

“Un. ‘Terrify’ would probably be an accurate term for it. Everything is just white and sterile, and there’s a particular smell that always exists inside hospitals that really…make me feel uncomfortable.”

 

Todoroki sent a sharp glance towards him. “For a logical person, you sure do have irrational fears. Hospitals are there to care for the sick, nothing more, nothing less.”

 

“I’ve never been hospitalized so I can’t vouch for everyone but…the one thing that makes me afraid of hospitals is that it makes me think. When you’re kept inside a room, stuck in your bed and you can’t sleep; it makes you think of a lot of things. I tend to think a lot, and most of those are things aren’t really good ones. Painful memories, things about the future, family-related issues, my dad….”.

 

“Midoriya, I’m not here to play nice and make friends with you. “ Todoroki cut him off, making Midoriya halt with his train of thoughts. “Frankly, the same goes with everyone.”

 

“But – “

 

Todoroki scratched his scar, his fingers running along the line that separated scarred tissue from living ones. “If you’ve got a problem with your old man, I could lend an ear, I guess. At the very least, there’s some common ground we can go back to.”

 

Midoriya noticed the action and frowned. “Did…was Endeavor responsible for…that?”

 

“Hmm?” Todoroki lowered his hand and shrugged. “Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. But was he responsible for it? That’s going to be a yes.”

 

Another breath. “Did your dad do something similar to you? Probably a scar hidden by your clothes?”

 

Midoriya immediately denied the claim. “Oh no! Nothing heavy-handed like that. He just has this habit of never appearing in our lives.”

 

“Wish I could say the same for my shitty old man.”

 

Midoriya let out a small smile. So Todoroki can also be disdainful of things. “Endeavor really does put out an aura that’s he’s…strict.”

 

“Strict is putting it lightly. We’re nothing more than bred animals for his goal of usurping All Might from his – “

 

Todoroki stopped himself, feeling like he just got shocked from what he was saying. “You will keep this to yourself, Midoriya.”

 

Midoriya shrugged. “I’m a walking state secret. It’s not like I don’t understand the meaning of discretion.”

 

Mollified a bit, Todoroki grumbled an apology. “Sorry, I keep forgetting about your circumstance. Had your situation not have been revealed to any of us, you would have been another faceless mook to me.”

 

“It’s like you and Kacchan are the same breed.” Midoriya let out a choked sound. “Must be an on-going trend for people with super-flashy and powerful quirks.”

 

“Kacchan?”

 

“Katsuki Bakugou. My (ex – not ex) childhood friend and personal bully back then. Also the one I got involved with during the Muddy Criminal incident. The guy with the explosion quirk. Kacchan is what I call him because I just got used to it and he doesn’t mind.”

 

“He looks like the type of delinquent to blow up stuff if you call him a cutesy name like Kacchan.”

 

“Well, he’ll blow up stuff either way, whether you call him Kacchan or not.” Midoriya realized they were walking through the ancestral residences of the city. “He calls me Deku though, so it’s an equal trade of some sort I guess.”

 

“Deku? Like dekiru?”

 

“Deku like deku no bou. Probably. Kacchan just made that name up on a whim and told everyone Deku means 'someone who can't do anything'.”

 

“Hmm.” Todoroki settled for a ‘whatever’ stance. “You’re free to follow Kacchan’s definition, or you’re free to follow what I think. The fact that your quirk boosts others gives it a ‘you can do it, ganbare’ vibe.”

 

Midoriya paused mid-step.

 

Dekiru. Ganbare. Ittekimasu. I can do it. Good luck to me. I’m heading out. That’s the type of person you are, based on my first impressions when you fought during the exercise. You didn’t waver even when faced with a disadvantage in number and a disadvantage with quirks. You went out and did it anyway. And our other classmates got sucked into the pace of your battle, even though most of them assumed you would have folded during the first five minutes. “

 

All Might's words rang through Midoriya's mind. You can be a hero!

 

“Then…Todoroki-san, can you please call me ‘Deku’? With the idea that anyone can do it?”

 

Todoroki turned around, aware that Midoriya hadn’t been keeping pace with him. A small smile was on his lips as he acquiesced to the request.

 

Dekiru yo. (Yeah, I can do that.)”

 

Midoriya felt that he could smile a million-watt grin then and there.

 

“And call me Shouto between the two of us.  Todoroki-san is what they call my father. No way am I sharing a name with my shitty old man.”

Chapter Text

Izuku shouldn’t really have been surprised with how large and traditional Todoroki’s house actually is.

 

Considering that they were in the swankier part of the ward; where mansions and large estates were a commonplace as compared to his 2 storey home, Izuku should have expected much. But a mental image versus the actual thing in front of him effectively jarred Izuku on the inside.

 

“Midoriya?” Todoroki wondered why Izuku didn’t follow him inside, noticing the other boy was staring shock still at all the visible parts of their house. “Midoriya Deku, are you alright?”

 

The comical use of his nickname being substituted for his first name brought Izuku out of his self-induced stupor with a spray of spit. It was followed by a laugh and slapping of knees.

 

“What was that, Todo-Shouto-kun?!” Izuku was beside himself in laughter. “That was the first time someone ever called me that!”

 

Todoroki regarded him as ‘he’s alright’ but ‘though he probably got a screw loose somewhere there’. “You seemed to be out of it. Are you feeling unwell?”

 

Izuku shook the unwarranted concern off with a smile. “I’m fine. I was just…uh, not expecting a rather big house. And ancestral too.”

 

“…”

 

“There’s a stone garden too. And a stone walkway. Bonsai trees. Plants are well-kept and watered. The wood used seems to be a century-old based on the weathered look. The sliding doors seem to be well-used. The rice paper is maintained and replaced yearly…”

 

Todoroki scratched his head as Izuku continued his manic muttering.

 

“It’s just a house, Deku.” He huffed, as a stray gust of wind ruffled his hair. “Nothing more, nothing less.”

 

He gestured for Izuku to walk in so they can traverse the distance to his room. The sun had just been floating over the mountains, implying they had an hour’s worth of time before nightfall.

 

The sliding door to the entrance way of the house slid open, revealing a woman with snowy-white hair pocked with red highlights. The greeting at the tip of her tongue failed at the sight of Izuku trailing behind his younger brother.

 

“Oh! Shouto, welcome home!” The woman crossed her fingers together in a clasp. “But who is this? Is he a friend?”

 

Todoroki extended a hand to introduce them to one another. “Fuyumi, Midoriya Izuku. Deku, Todoroki Fuyumi; my older sister.”

 

While Todoroki was slipping off his shoes in order to leave it near the doorway, Izuku extended a hand to the flustered sister. “It’s nice to meet you, Todoroki-san.”

 

“Oh! Nice to meet you too, Midoriya-kun!” Fuyumi enthusiastically shook his hand. “Please call me ‘nee-san!’ My, you didn’t tell me you were bringing a friend home, Shouto!”

 

Todoroki was silent for a few seconds, a literal “…” hovering over him before he finally answered.

 

“My bad. We just got acquainted today.”

 

The declaration that Shouto actually had a ‘friend’ stalled Fuyumi into shocked silence. Izuku took the time to slip off his shoes and pad towards Shouto’s side, waiting for him to show him around.

 

“Come, Deku.” Todoroki directed him towards the hallway leading towards the second floor and to his room. “We can talk privately in my room.”

 

“Okay.” Izuku nodded, turning towards the still-shocked Fuyumi. “It was nice to meet you, Todoroki-neesan!”

 

Fuyumi continued staring at the odd scene playing out before her; his youngest brother actually socializing with another person without being persuaded by their father. He could hear Shouto’s ambient warnings of “don’t get too close to my sister, Midoriya Deku” and the appalled reply of “I was being polite to your sister, Shouto-kun!

 

The casual use of his younger brother’s first name from another person’s mouth outside of their immediate family made her collapse to her knees on the floor.

 


 

“To-Shouto-kun…” A harsh whisper. “It seems like something heavy just fell on the floor.”

 

“Pay no heed to it, Deku.”

 

“Are you sure it’s okay to just –“

 

“My sister will have taken care of it.

 


 

Fuyumi was in an outright state of panic.

 

This was…this was big news! Oh, where were her younger brothers when she needed them the most!

 

She was fumbling with her fingers, wondering whether she should call them or not. But a few seconds of contemplation had her inching away from the idea. Whatever happened inside the house often led back to their father. And Todoroki Enji was known to them as someone who would cut away anybody he deems unnecessary to Shouto’s purpose of snatching the title of No. 1 Hero from All Might.

 

Still…she really needed to tell someone about this!

 

She took her cellphone, slid through her contacts and after finding the number; slipped back to the kitchen to hide away from prying ears.

 


 

Izuku was glad Todoroki’s room was more western than the house.

 

At the very least, it seemed Todoroki valued privacy as much as every teenager their age did. The privacy a wooden door provided versus a sliding door with rice paper panels was immense.

 

Todoroki’s room almost had the same setup as Midoriya’s; a bed pushed towards the corner of the room, a study table where a few piles of notebooks where stacked, a bookshelf with a sparse collection of titles too dim for Midoriya to see. The color scheme was a subdued blue, and if it wasn’t for the color; there would have been an immediate lack of personality.

 

 A small table for snacks was moved away from the center, and Todoroki gestured for Midoriya’s bag; of which he both deposited in the corner nearest to the door. Gesturing for Midoriya to take a seat on his bed, he excused himself and exited the room.

 

His absence was short-lived, and the reason why was clarified for Midoriya when he returned with two empty glasses and a 2-liter bottle of barley tea. He had served both of them a glass each before Todoroki took a seat beside Midoriya, taking a large gulp of his drink before talking.

 

“First of all, I apologize if I’m imposing on your good favors, Deku.” Todoroki didn’t look at him, choosing to focus on his half-empty glass of iced tea. “I seem to be making such a large fuss over the issue in regards to my quirk, and with your…abilities, I was hoping you could remedy a problem I’ve been mulling about ever since I was young.”

 

Midoriya admitted he had never heard Todoroki talk up a storm before. Whatever was bugging the other teen was probably serious enough to warrant a walk home, an intrusion to his room’s privacy, and a loose tongue of sorts.

 

“It’s fine, though I am curious though. What’s with the cloak and dagger, Tod-Shouto-kun?”

 

“…”

 

“…”

 

“Before we get to the main topic, this has been bugging me somewhat but are you having a speech impediment in regards to pronouncing my name?”

 

Midoriya turned red. “I’ssnot! It’s just – well, your first name is – we’re friends right?”

 

Todoroki tilted his head sideways in confusion. “I should hope so; the benefits are mutual to both of us.”

 

“Benefits?” A certain idiom passed right through Midoriya’s head, the one that started with “friends with – “.

 

“Aizawa-sensei has placed the responsibility of ensuring your safety to me and to Yaoyorozu-san, Tokoyami-san and Shinsou-san.” Todoroki took the bottle of tea to refill his glass. Swirling the liquid inside; small chips of ice coagulated in the mini-maelstrom of brown liquid. “However, I would assume that battle-wise between the four of us, the one who stands a greater chance of protecting you is me.”

 

“Oh…” Midoriya tried to fight the confusion, disbelief and (was it?) anger warring inside me. “Am I just a responsibility to you, then?”

 

Feeling that he had trodden on a certain faux pas, Todoroki hastened to correct the assumption.

 

“Not at all. What I’ve said to you earlier were all truths. I do admire your ways of fighting, and I’ve never looked at you like some damsel in distress. I also fear that you may entirely not need my help at all, so the favor I would ask you would probably skew me into owing you one, instead.”

 

Mollified and slightly confused now, Midoriya wore a muddled look on his face.

 

“Then what am I to you?”

 

“You’re a friend, Deku; though perhaps I have been insensitive to ask your side of this association as well. Are you unsatisfied with this arrangement?”

 

“I’m not. Not dissatisfied or how else you put it. But how you’re saying it is like…some sort of business arrangement.”

 

Todoroki sighed in relief. “Forgive my lack of decorum then. My social skills have long died away due to circumstances you may or may not be privy to in the near future. I have been without friends ever since; only family, relatives and…my shitty old man’s acquaintances.”

 

The words omiai lingered in the air far too heavy for Izuku not to notice.

 

“…so what you were saying was…you wanted us to be friends back then during the walk?”

 

Todoroki had an appearance that looked like childish innocence. “I had offered you the use of my first name, had I not? I have noticed you had done the same with Shinsou-kun and Tokoyami-kun.”

 

“Well, yes you did but – I’ve taken it as some sort of trade for me asking you to call me ‘Deku’. Also, there was the certain condition you have with your father which is why you express dislike in being referred to by your last name.”

 

Todoroki certainly turned red at this point.

 

“That was – I was just embarrassed.”

 

Midoriya had nothing to say to that.

 

“You were the first friend I tried to make for a long while now. I had to tack in some sort of excuse just so I… uhm, yeah.”

 

Well, he DEFINITELY had nothing to say to that.

 

“Well uh…” At this point onward, Midoriya was willing to do anything to spare them both from unnecessary grief. “I did ask you to call me Deku but – call me Izuku too, okay?”

 

Todoroki turned towards him, eyes looking hopeful.

 

“Izuku…” He tested the name with his tongue.

 

“Don’t wear it out or sumthin’.” He gently teased Todo- Shouto with it. “And friends don’t do business arrangements with each other. If you needed my help with something and if it is something I can do about; I’ll try my best to help. Friends don’t owe each other.”

 

Todoroki nodded, a small weary smile finally gracing his tired face.

 

“So…what - did you need help about?”

 


 

“I’m telling you! It’s true! Shouto’s actually brought home a friend! He even said so!”

 

There was a bit of a scuffle on the other line, with Fuyumi having been put on loudspeaker by her cousins.

 

A light hearted voice came through the din. “Damn, isn’t that like another prediction that already came true, Yuuichi?”

 

“You owe me another carton of rice crackers, Jun.”

 

“Those two have been betting on whether Yuuichi’s prediction regarding Shouto would come true.” A third voice, not unlike of a Todoroki male explained the situation. “How are you, Fuyumi-neesan?”

 

“Oh! Shuuji! Glad to hear from you. Please tell me those two aren’t causing you grief.”

 

“Unfortunately.” There was a sigh, likely Todoroki Shuuji’s. “You should visit Mikado City once in a while, neesan. And bring Shouto and his friend along. He’s probably tired of sharing space with Uncle Enji for far too long.”

 

“Don’t you know it?” Fuyumi groaned, glad at least that someone understood the situation around the house. “Vacation’s still faraway though, and Shouto’s just started classes at U.A. What about you guys over there?”

 

There was laughing and a bit of roughhousing on the background, as far as Fuyumi could hear. “Yuuichi had just started working as a consultant for the largest hero agency here, while Jun is working as PR. I, myself, already started working as a field agent; but I end up getting called back whenever these two make a scene in the office.”

 

Fuyumi smiled softly. “How is life as a Todoroki now? You’ve only carried the name for a year, right? Did you encounter any trouble?”

 

“…I’m a Todoroki, neesan. But I’m also always going to be a Miwa. I’ll never forget who I am. But I’m also secure with who I am now. Thank you for helping me back then during my…most troubled of times.”

 

“Oh honestly.” Fuyumi felt like scolding the slightly younger boy (by a year) over the phone. “Don’t you have Yuuichi to thank for? He’s your boyfriend right? That was the first time he threatened the Todoroki elders he’d leave the clan if they didn’t allow your adoption.”

 

There was a loud commotion in the background, and with Shuuji not replying to any of Fuyumi’s questions; it probably had something to do with the playful Yuuichi and the doting Jun.

 

Shuuji might have been adopted into the Todoroki clan out of a favor (insistence) for Yuuichi, but Shuuji’s quirk “Lead Flames” had already been too special for even the clan elders to ignore.

 

Black flames that creep along any surface; anything it burned increased its weight by one ton per square inch. A rare fire-type quirk; especially for the Todorokis who valued the potential of flames.

 

Yuuichi held the quirk ‘Divining Flames’, a quirk that allowed the user to peer into the immediate or far future, for as long as Yuuichi could see them with his eye. The quirk didn’t work with people he had never met, but the ramifications of a prophetic ability was valued and outright envied even by other clans.

 

And while the term used was ‘legal adoption’, it was more along the lines of ‘marriage’ for Shuuji and Yuichi. Even though people will always eye it as one case of ‘quirk marriages’ that will result to a child with a superior quirk compared to that of their parents; to those who knew them, there was no doubt they loved each other.

 

“Fuyumi-neesan?” Shuuji was now back on the line. “Sorry, I think they broke someone’s ancestral vase. I had them clean the thing up.”

 

“Never mind the old thing, when are we expecting a bun in the oven though?” Fuyumi was teasing in her tone. She was pretty sure Shuuji would be turning red on the other end of the phone.

 

“T-that is – uhm…probably not for a while.” Shuuji muttered, voice soft in fear that Yuuichi might hear their discussion. “I just started service and…well, needing a maternity leave at the onset would be bad for my employment record.”

 

“I’m not really sure why you’re insisting with carrying throughout the term.” Fuyumi twirled a lock of her snowy hair. “As a boy, you have access to other forms of quirk-assisted pregnancies, right? There’s one woman with a pregnancy quirk that can immediately form a child just by touching two different people, and there’s another that can form an incubating egg where you can grow your kid outside from start to finish.”

 

“Fuyumi-neesan.” Shuuji sounded like he was actually scolding her. “You’re starting to sound like Enji-sama.”

 

“I’m rightly concerned you know!” Fuyumi bit back. “Not only are you going to be in pain for the next nine months, but there are several complications as well for quirk-induced male pregnancies.”

 

“It is Yuuichi’s children and mine.” Shuuji’s voice was quiet. “I will gladly bear the pain and any inconvenience that comes with carrying them, because it will be worth it, Fuyumi-neesan.”

 

“I’m just worried for you Shuuji…”

 

“…in any case, Yuuichi said barring any complications; it’ll be a pair of fraternal twins. A boy and a girl. And I’ll have no problem delivering them, save for a painful C-section. We already agreed we’re calling them Todoroki Chika and Todoroki Yuuma. That’s what his quirk’s telling him.”

 

“…”

 

“…”

 

“I keep forgetting your husband has a very convenient quirk.” Fuyumi laughed. “I guess I worried for nothing.”

 

“It is appreciated though, nee-san.” Shuuji yelled at both his husband and their adoptive cousin to stop rough-housing. “Sorry, I really have to cut the call short. I’m preparing dinner for a few visitors that decided to pay a last-minute visit to our house.”

 

“Oh!” Fuyumi looked at the refrigerator in realization. “I forgot I was about to bring up snacks for Shouto and his friend as well! Thanks for reminding me Shuuji!”

 

“Uhm…sure, nee-san.” Shuuji blinked, not expecting the spontaneous turn of gratitude. “I’ll be calling from time to time. Say hi to Shouto for me.”

 

The call was ended rather hastily, with Fuyumi rummaging the cupboards for any snacks that would go well with iced tea.

 


 

“I won’t mull you with the details but – is there any way you can permanently tamp down the flame parts of my quirk?”

 

With all the suspense Todoroki was building in regards to his quirk, the one thing Midoriya did not expect Todoroki to do was to have him try and put a handicap on his quirk.

 

“Uhm.” Midoriya looked like he was about to abort someone’s baby, given the way his eyes looked wide enough and the disbelief running through his face. “I think I must have misheard something you said, S-Shouto…-kun.”

 

“You just asked me to literally extinguish your flame side…am I right?”

 

Todoroki didn’t look like he was kidding. “Permanently.”

 

Izuku hurriedly placed his glass of barley tea down and wiped whatever dregs were left on his face after comically spilling the liquid out in a rude spray.

 

“Why would you even want to consider doing that?!” Midoriya was ready to protest against the rather absurd idea.

 

“I can’t say.” Todoroki fully faced him, expression dead set on his intent. “But it’s something I must do.”

 

“It’s not something you must do! You’ll hurt yourself doing something like that!” Midoriya’s thoughts turned towards his notes regarding Todoroki’s quirks. It was a personal hypothesis that his flame side and ice side balanced each other out, but now was probably not the best time to butt theories with the stolid boy thinking THE stupid idea.

 

“I will manage.” Todoroki didn’t look disturbed one bit. It was almost the same face a man would make after declaring that didn’t have any problem chopping off his right hand and leg.

 

“You will not!” Midoriya declared, anger leaking in his voice. “Quirk removal is dangerous! Or even modifying it just a single bit! There’s been records of people having had their quirks moved around or changed, and they all ended up brain dead or worse – oh, I dunno …body dead!”

 

Todoroki shifted uncomfortably, having remembered their history lessons on the victims of a certain unnamed villain who managed to steal other people’s quirks during the Golden Age.

 

“Right…that was a terrible idea.” Todoroki massaged his right temple, looking away.

 

“You’re a genius, Shouto-kun.” Midoriya admonished, finally relieved that Todoroki dispelled the rather foolish notion of impairing his quirk. “But when it comes to things about yourself, you tend to lose a bit of that genius.”

 

Todoroki looked away, completely mollified. “It was my one chance to disavow him. To cut the tie that binds my quirk to his.”

 

Midoriya took his glass back, about to drink the contents again. “I can put two and two together. But I don’t understand what this ‘bind’ has to do with your father, Shouto-kun.”

 

Todoroki grimaced, torn between explaining everything to Midoriya and telling the other boy to butt off. Midoriya’s next words hit the mark however.

 

“All Might once said that…it’s a hero’s principal quality to butt their nose in on other people’s businesses.” Midoriya tentatively placed a hand over Shouto’s sleeve. “But the same could be said otherwise, right? They should also be willing to have other people prod into whatever problem they might have.”

 

The last threads of resistance fell away inside of Todoroki’s mind.

 

“I want to inherit the title of No. 1 Hero from All Might.” Todoroki admitted. “If only it would mean that I could prove to him that I’m better than him. But doing so will mean I’m falling right into the palm of his hands. I was bred to become the person who will usurp All Might, Izuku. If I become No. 1, that will mean he was right and everything I’ve done to fight against him will be utterly fucking useless.”

 

Midoriya was quiet, an understanding look on his face.

 

“So I will use my ice side to gain that title. I’ve only ever used it because it was mom’s quirk. The more I keep away from his flames, the more irritated he gets. It’s a childish victory against this war we’re both having, but I’m grasping straws, Izuku. I’ll take every single win, every little victory I have against him; whatever happens, I don’t care.”

 

From Midoriya, tiny green bits of energy emerged from his body, dancing around Todoroki’s still form.

 

“I won’t say I fully understand your situation, Shouto-kun.” Midoriya closed his eyes, grasping Todoroki’s left sleeve with both hands. “I can only say with conviction the things I know. And from my experience with everyone’s quirks; from the faculty, to our classmates, there’s one constant thing that never changes.”

 

“Their quirks are their own, Shouto-kun. There is nothing that binds their quirks to other people, or to their families, or to their parents.”

 

Midoriya opened his mind’s eye to witness Todoroki’s quirk form.

 

“When people you save thank you, when people call you; they will shout your name, Shouto. Not Endeavor’s, not your mothers; but yours. When they see your quirk, they will not say it is your mom or your dad’s. It’s yours and yours alone.”

 

A bright mist, unlike fog, floated in vast empty space. Midoriya looked like he was floating in an empty abyss, the mist was quite a distance away.

 

Amazing. Midoriya thought, as he turned around in a 360 direction. He was met with nothing but darkness that was darker than black. His quirk has so much room to grow, but because he’s deliberately denying his fire side; his quirk is so stunted.

 

Midoriya tried to float closer towards the mist, but it was like chasing the moon. The more he tried to get closer, the more it seemed to shy away from him.

 

This wouldn’t be an issue if I could initiate skin contact, but the Principal had told me how dangerous it could be.

 

“Shouto.” Midoriya was still concentrating, eyes closed and energy dancing around them like a green flurry of leaves. “I need to somehow get close to your quirk. I need more contact area between us, but avoid trying to have our skin touch one another. Can you do that?”

 

Todoroki nodded, but realizing Midoriya couldn’t see, he answered instead. “I think so, but what are you exactly trying to do?” He shifted a bit and rested his right sleeve over Midoriya’s double handed grasp.

 

“Proving a point.” Midoriya answered, maintaining his concentration, as the quirk slowly crept in close but only so. “And hoping to figure out how your quirk works, because right now, all I see is something like a scared child inside of you.”

 

“A scared…child?” Todoroki murmured, mildly fascinated and curious at whatever Midoriya was seeing.

 

“A bright mist in an empty vast of space.” Midoriya frowned, the contact between them was still lacking. “But your quirk is so…underdeveloped that it isn’t filling up the space inside of you. It’s hiding in a corner, small and almost…afraid.

 

“Quirks don’t have emotions, Izuku.” Todoroki frowned, the action useless against Midoriya’s closed eyes though.

 

“I know they don’t. But I’ve seen a turtle inside Yaoyorozu-san and a black egg inside Kage. I’m hardly going to discount something like a quirk being afraid right now, Shouto.”

 

Todoroki would have wanted to ask what exactly did the other boy mean by a turtle and a black egg but Midoriya cut through him before he could put his question out.

 

“Still not enough. I can’t reach your quirk like this, Shouto. I need more contact with you. Can you try and do something about it?”

 

Midoriya, too absorbed inside Todoroki’s realm, could only observe whether he was getting closer or farther from the bright mist which he assumed was Shouto’s quirk; his senses were too detached from reality.

 

“How’s this, Izuku?”

 

“…need a bit more, but whatever you did made me go closer to it.”

 

“…”

 

“…”

 

“…how’s this?”

 

“Better. But still not enough, whatever you did, try to…uhm, Plus Ultra it?”

 

“…Plus Ultra huh?”

 

A few seconds passed before results came to Midoriya’s side.

 

“…yeah, yeah – that’s it. Good!” Midoriya was finally floating face to face with the glowing mist.

 

Now that he was this close to it, he could fully feel the strength of Todoroki’s quirk; even though it was in such a diminutive state.

 

The whole mist-fog thing was alive. It was bombarding Izuku with heat, but it was also stealing heat away from him. The mist was undulating, and every movement it did; Izuku could feel his body swaying with the motion. Like a gigantic tidal force that moved so little, yet influenced a lot.

 

Izuku raised a hand towards the glowing, golden fog. Slowly moving his hand through the sparkling mist, his face morphed into surprise when sparks of electricity crackled in his hand. The movement sent a chain reaction through the whole mist, resulting in a shot of blue lightning shooting towards the darkness.

 

Todoroki’s hand twitched and to his surprise, ice began to coat his hand even without him willing for it to appear.

 

“Izuku, what did you do? My ice powers appeared without me using it.”

 

“I’m not sure but – Shouto, try and will your ice powers this time. I need to see something.”

 

Todoroki did so, and from Midoriya’s side; the whole mist rippled blue before shooting out another shot of blue lightning. Outside, Todoroki’s hand was slowly being encrusted with layers of ice.

 

“Shouto… can you….try and use your fire side this time?”

 

Todoroki frowned, denial at the tip of his tongue already at Midoriya’s latest request.

 

Midoriya patiently waited before the mist began to rumble a violent red and shot a clumsy bolt of red lightning that had too many branches compared to the blue one earlier that only exhibited itself as a single bolt.

 

“I see.” Midoriya murmured. “So that’s what it was…”

 

Midoriya Izuku began to work immediately.

 


 

Todoroki Shouto surmised that maybe, just maybe, having someone tinker with his quirk might not have been his brightest idea to date.

 

Oh, no. He definitely trusted Midoriya Izuku wouldn’t screw up on whatever he was focusing on doing.

 

He didn’t base this trust however, on some flimsy concept like friendship and all that nakama-bullshit he kept hearing on television. Nope. Gaining strength by shouting and believing in your friends was something that should be reserved for stories featured only on JUMP!

 

Midoriya worked his magic on all the faculty members of Yuuei; it was a hypothesis with much evidence. And if the Principal and even All Might (because how else would Izuku be linked to All Might in some conspiracy-wrapped secret if not for Izuku somehow engineering All Might’s quirk back to strength) had given him the green light and approval that Midoriya Izuku wouldn’t accidentally fuck up his quirk, then Todoroki believed that Midoriya was adequate in…whatever he was doing.

 

So Todoroki’s current situation right now was that there was him and a boy on his bed, with Todoroki’s limbs all wrapped around the smaller boy’s prone form in a literal over-the-top bear hug from the back.

 

A sleeve was not enough to satisfy Izuku’s quirk to work properly, two sleeves weren’t enough. And when a casual arm over the shoulder was not enough, Midoriya had given him instructions to Plus Ultra what he was doing.

 

And Plus Ultra he did, as he gingerly positioned himself from behind the boy (making sure that no skin made contact as per the Principal’s instruction), slid his legs under Midoriya’s thighs, enveloped his arms around Midoriya’s torso, shifted him so that he was literally sitting on Todoroki’s lap and rested his head on the smaller boy’s shoulder blades.

 

The position proved fruitful when Midoriya made a satisfied remark and delved deep inside him to find out if there was something wrong with his quirk for the other boy to comment that it was somehow like a scared child.

 

(Memories of him cowering in his room and hiding from his father’s punishing training sessions flashed through his head.)

 

He felt a trickle of power escape his right hand, feeling ice emanate from it. The leaf-like energies flowing around them somehow looked beautiful against the frigid air.

 

Another minute passed and Midoriya requested he use his right side, then his left side. And so he did, and something in Midoriya clicked, because he finally grew silent as if in deeper concentration.

 

Todoroki didn’t know what was happening, since Midoriya was making no indication that he was going to offer a blow-by-blow account with whatever he was seeing inside of Todoroki. All he could do now was make sure that he wasn’t disturbing Midoriya’s work, and keeping close, undisturbed contact until this was done.

 

Easier said, it was, however. The silence and closeness they shared in that same space was deafening. All his senses were hyper-aware in regards to the smaller boy. How the muscles in Izuku’s legs and torso were relatively hard, in comparison to his which was only toned. The muscles in his shoulder, where Todoroki was resting his cheek on, was also more developed compared to people of their age.

 

Hmm…I’ll have to ask Midoriya what training menu he uses. Todoroki ruminated, intuitively nuzzling his face deeper into the crook between Izuku’s shoulder and neck, being careful not to get an iota of skin contact between them.

 

As he closed his eyes and waited, he didn’t notice the green leaves that signified Midoriya’s quirk turning into a snowy blue and gentle gold.

 

I want to become strong. I want to stand above Endeavor and All Might. Even if it means using my shitty old man’s quirk. Even if it means asking for Izuku’s help. He’s right. This is my quirk, not his!

 

I will bear it all. I will devour it all. I will carry it all. So let me be stronger than anyone else, Izuku.

 

I want to become a hero worthy of taking the title of No. 1.

 


 

 “Oh!” Midoriya gasped, when his quirk finally clicked and slowly began affecting the mist inside of Shouto. “There we go.” He whispered, as blue and gold energy flowed from him and interacted with the mist.

 

The golden miasma grew at an exponential rate, and as it did, it was pushing Midoriya away from itself; as if sentience existed and didn’t want Midoriya to be devoured by its reach. It took a little while, but the darkness inside of Shouto was slowly being replaced by color and power.

 

Soon enough, bolts of blue, red, purple, gold and a myriad of other colors were flashing inside the gas cloud, like silent lightning.

 

After a few minutes, the situation from earlier was now in full reverse. What occupied the space inside Shouto was his entire quirk, with only a minute area occupied by darkness and emptiness. The cloud which was diminutive in size earlier was now a vortex of swirling haze, currents flowing in and out of the body like a young star.

 

Midoriya, due to inexperience dealing with a younger quirk (compared to the faculty’s already developed ones), wasn’t sure if this was how it should be; but the overall feeling he was getting around here was that this was enough and thank you. Shouto would have to be the one to finish the job. He had done enough.

 


 

Shouto, the moment something inside him seemed to connect together, jolted his eyes open.

 

It was instinct. But something new.

 

Just like how babies immediately know how to breathe when they were born, Shouto just somehow knew something in him changed.

 

His hair, now that he thought about it, was somehow moving even though there was no source of wind inside his room. It was floating like it was under floating water, however minute the movement might be.

 

Moving his hand only, he gestured at his glass of barley tea on the tray that was quite the distance from where they were sitting now. A tug of his finger caused a blossom of ice to erupt from within the drink, proving his suspicions that something changed.

 

Half Cold Half Hot (or how inaccurate it seemed to him now) required that he touch something before being able to make it freeze. This often limited him to resorting to use ground attacks if the enemy is in long range, or wasteful spires of ice if the enemy was flying. In close combat, the situation was easier. A simple tap or punch would immediately cause the enemy to be encased in thick, unforgiving ice.

 

No, Shouto thought, as he observed the phenomenon that had just happened. The ice erupted from within, but it still started at the side of the glass facing towards them. Cryokinesis would have made the ice blossom from the center outwards. Something still had to connect his finger to the side of the glass from this distance –

 

“It’s plasma.” Midoriya seemed to have read his thoughts, as his eyes slowly opened to adjust to the light after having closed it. “Like…science-y plasma and not blood plasma.”

 

Shouto straightened up, realizing he was hunching over Midoriya’s form. “Like the fourth state of matter? Highly ionized gas with free flowing electrons and whatnot?”

 

“It took me a while to understand what that mist was.” Izuku raised a hand to rub at his eyes, feeling he could still see the glare from Shouto’s quirk. “but now it reminds me of a primitive nebula that was now forming a new…star of some sort.”

 

Shouto had the temptation to stick his finger in his ear and clean it out.

 

“I have a star inside of me?”

 

Midoriya smiled, finding humor in how Todoroki could even manage to attempt thinking something like that. “It’s just a representation, Shouto. It’s how I see quirks because they were given form. There’s really not a literal star inside of you. That’s just how my quirk lets me see it.”

 

“I’m really not sure how or why you’re not hurt by this plasma, or how your parents factor into this. My only guess is that while you did inherit your father and your mother’s quirk, they didn’t stay separate. They mutated into one whole new quirk, with fire and ice as one of its abilities. It’s easy to think you have two separate quirks, given your whole, uh, bicolor scheme.”

 

Shouto shrugged, unconcerned with how his hair split into different colors.

 

“I did say your quirk looked like a nebula, but I think I understood what it meant now. You’ve only used your ice side ever since, which means that you’ve neglected all the other aspects of your quirk. It looked like a glowing cloud to me, because it was dissipating.”

 

Shouto’s eyes slowly widened, tightening his hold on the other boy. “Dissipating? I never felt my quirk weaken though. Are you sure that’s how you’ve been reading it, Izuku?”

 

“Some people think quirks are body parts, others think they’re extended bodily functions, and some think they’re talents. It doesn’t change the fact however, that the less you use something, the faster it declines until it just disappears or functions at full-stop.”

 

Midoriya bowed his head. “If you continued with your rebellion and denied your fire powers from manifesting, your ice powers might not have been enough to keep your quirk from disappearing. Your quirk would have stopped working within two years or three. It’s not only my quirk that’s unstable at our age, you know.”

 

The prospect scared Shouto, and for the first time in his life, his childish rebellion seemed so small, so insignificant against the prospect of actually losing the only thing that could make him into a pro hero; a dream he shared with his mom when they were watching one of All Might’s television interviews.

 

“You know, Shouto, on an objective basis, I think you’re above me in terms of practical strength.”

 

“…”

 

“But with how underused and skewed your quirk is, it will barely hold a candle against your father, before it finally dies out.”

 

I will become a hero.

 

Todoroki shook his head. “I’ll start over. If it means I have to relearn everything, if it means I have to discover everything there is to know about my quirk, even if it means asking his help, I will take it all in order to become strong.”

 

He raised his left hand, putting in a more noticeable effort before a small orb of flame hovered above it. It was a spherical blue flame, unlike the usual one with a flickering tail of yellow and orange. Midoriya’s eyes widened at the control Shouto displayed, even though he was generally lacking in the area of flame control. And the flames weren’t in contact with his skin. It was hovering in mid-air, supported by a cushion of almost-invisible lilac gas.

 

“I just remembered Mom saying my Dad’s quirk was breathing fire…” Izuku’s gaze was fixed on the ball of fire. “If I inherited his quirk instead, will you have hated me when you first met me, Shouto?”

 

Todoroki tried to imagine a scenario where Izuku would have flames instead. A small smile tugged at his lips.

 

“I would probably have considered you a good target practice for my ice skills. People would have probably tagged us as some sort of rivals due to our conflicting quirks. If you did have a strong flame quirk qualified for heroics, I would have thought you were from a branch of the Todoroki family, or from a disowned relative.”

 

“Heh.” Midoriya unwittingly buried himself further into Todoroki’s one-armed hold, finding the position rather comfortable.

 

There was only one knock on the door, before it opened to reveal Fuyumi’s cheerful face and a tray full of tea cakes and rice crackers.

 

“Shouto! Sorry if it took so long for me to find the snacks! I had to rummage through the cabi…nets…”

 

The sight of Shouto’s deer-caught-in-the-headlights look, Midoriya’s this-is-NOT-what-it-looks-like face, the smaller boy being ensconced within Shouto’s embrace, a ball of blue flame hovering in Shouto’s left hand, and the fluorescent light above acting in a funny manner like there was water inside; Fuyumi did the most logical thing she could do when faced with such a surreal situation.

 

“S-Shouto-kun…” Fuyumi half-heartedly interrogated his younger brother. “I’m sure you’re aware t-that uhm, did you your school…” Her hands flailed in a sort of wishy-washy pattern. “…the birds and the bees?”

 

Shouto extinguished the flame and gave his sister a deadpanned look. “I am fifteen years old, sis.”

 

Midoriya horrified look turned towards Shouto’s poker face. SHOUTOOO! YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DENY THE WHOLE THING IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!

 

“I-I see.” Fuyumi sighed, smiling like she just sank in despair and took out two brightly colored packets of something and placed it on the tray she was carrying. “Just to be on the safe side…”

 

Placing it on the coffee table alongside the glasses of tea, Midoriya’s suspicions proved to be certain when the words ‘ribbed’ and ‘L’ were found on the labels.

 

“Todoroki-neesan!” Midoriya protested amidst Shouto still not letting him go, while the taller boy inspected the one with the ‘XL’ on the label and made a curious sound. “He’s just joking!”

 

“E-eh?”

 

“We were working on something quirk-related!” Midoriya blushed, covering his face. “And my quirk need body contact for it to work.”

 

Shouto felt the heat emanating from Midoriya’s embarrassment and, feeling a modicum of duty, decided to help him out.

 

“It’s for an assignment.” Shouto made an excuse, too used to it already. “Pick a partner and describe how their quirks work.”

 

The next few minutes was spent by both boys placating a highly embarrassed Fuyumi who apologized for the confusion, just as much as Midoriya kept apologizing for looking the way they were when she found out.

 

When the sun had finally set, Midoriya bid goodbye to the both of them since he had to go home by then. Todoroki escorted him to the gates and kept him company while waiting for Boots to arrive (the dinosaur-robot had to fly over from Yuuei).

 

“Izuku.”

 

Midoriya turned towards Todoroki, after having settled himself on his seat. “Yes, Shouto-kun?”

 

“…I’ll do my best so that your hard work on me won’t be wasted.” Todoroki raised a fist towards Midoriya. “I’ll be troubling you further from now on, if that’s alright with you.”

 

Midoriya chuckled, reaching towards Todoroki and responding with a clumsy fist bump of his own.

 

“Tomorrow, Shouto-kun.”

 

Todoroki tilted his head, a question playing on his eyes.

 

“Earlier, you called me by name only. Why are you going back to honorifics again?”

 

Midoriya shook his head, not remembering the instances when he did. “I don’t seem to remember doing so. Did I?”

 

Todoroki nodded. “I prefer if you did so starting from now on. I’ll see you tomorrow then.” He waved goodbye as he turned back to return inside their house.

 

Midoriya waved back, watching as Shouto opened the sliding door, only to be immediately dragged in by the arm inside by his sister. 

 

He clenched his hand into a tight knuckle as Boots took to the air on a direction towards his home.

 

The feeling of Todoroki leaning on his shoulder somehow never left him.

 


 

After finishing his actual homework, Shouto went down to eat dinner. His sister, noticing Shouto’s search for food, served dinner for him to eat alone.

 

“Sis, has the old man arrived already? There’s something I need to talk to him about.”

 

Fuyumi stared at Shouto like he had just grown an extra head. She never remembered Shouto actually seeking out their father unless it was so that he could avoid him.

 

“He’s…in his study right now.”

 

Shouto nodded, finishing dinner and thanking his sister for it.

 

Fuyumi never really found out why Shouto went looking for their father. Only that their night was punctuated with Todoroki Enji’s laugh, followed by the training room being blown to smithereens in the middle of the night.