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The Worst Things (get better)

Chapter Text

Aizawa didn’t know how he ended up in this situation. 

He wasn’t the one who had agreed to a spontaneous mall trip. No. That had been All Might saying that the kids needed a breath of fresh air and some light hearted fun where they didn’t have to worry about hero work for a second. Aizawa supposed he was right, but that didn’t make it any better when he was forced to tag along as well. At least one teacher or staff member of UA was required to accompany every group of 10 students leaving campus in case of villain attacks. Since the entirety of class 1A wanted to go, 2 teachers were required, hence Aizawa being roped into it. 

Only, there’d been a quirk incident. 

It hadn’t even been a villain who’d caused it; just a seven year old kid who didn’t have control of his quirk yet. He’d seen the group of UA students and immediately recognized several of them from the Sports Festival. For whatever reason, he seemed the most excited to see Shinsou. When he tried to run up to them, however, his mom pulled him back and hissed at him to keep going and not talk to strangers.

Aizawa saw where this was going but didn’t think it important enough to intervene. It was just some kid and he knew his apprentice’s thoughts on fans and media were the same as his own. Staying away from the spotlight would make him out to be a great underground hero in the future anyway. 

Just as Aizawa expected, the kid burst out into tears. As he did, a powerful wave of energy emitted from him, hitting everyone in the class and making them stumble slightly. When the kid realized what happened he started crying harder and the mom looked downright furious. 

It wasn’t uncommon for kids of that age to lose control of their quirk, especially at times of heightened emotion such as this. While Aizawa didn’t actually feel anything different, the reaction of both the kid and the mother concerned him a bit, so he decided to walk over and see what they were just hit with. 

“I am so sorry for my son, sir, he’s still learning to control his quirk and when I told him he couldn’t talk to some of the kids he recognized from the Sports Festival, it went off,” the mom explained, looking apologetic.

“It’s fine, ma’am. I’m their teacher and they are hero students so I will need to know what they were hit with and any possible side effects,” Aizawa stated calmly. 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry,” the kid kept chanting, keeping a firm grip on his mother’s pant leg.

“Hey, little dude, it’s alright! We’re totally fine, see?” Kirishima said brightly, crouching down to look at the kid better. “Nothin’ to worry about!”

The kid just shook his head, continuing to look frantic. 

The mom sighed exasperatedly. “His quirk makes it so that anyone affected will have their worst memory broadcasted to those around them.”

That got some grimaces and worried looks from the students. So this is why the kid looked so excited to meet Shinsou, he must’ve loved seeing someone with a quirk that messes with people’s minds do so well against hero students. 

“The first one should be starting any se–”

It was then that a large screen appeared above Ashido, who had been standing closest to the kid at the time. Her eyes went milky white and she stared ahead of her as though in a trance as the image above her began to play. 

All Might took immediate action, having been listening in to the conversation. He led the students into the nearest near-empty shop, evacuating the few customers and employees inside saying it was an emergency and privacy was necessary.

“Again, I’m so sorry, the effects should pass through everyone quickly, though it’s never affected this many people before. Once someone’s taken their turn, the quirk wears off and there are no other side-effects that we know of.”

Aizawa let her and her son go after getting her contact info, realizing there wasn’t much point in keeping them around. Then he joined his students in the shop, locking the doors behind him. It would be best to wait out the effects of the quirk before going back to the dorms so as to avoid anything sensitive being shown to the public. 

Aizawa was worried. Since the beginning of the year, his students had experienced several traumatic incidents involving life or death. Aizawa would be surprised and much more concerned if those weren’t the memories shown for most of them. 

Ashido’s memory, perhaps not so surprisingly given her quirk, actually showed her as a kid burning her mother’s arm with her acid so badly you could see bone. 

Ashido was taking hitched breaths and tears marred her face as she watched it unfold as though it were happening again right in front of her. Then the screen disappeared and she fell to her knees, openly sobbing. Jirou came to her side quickly and started running soothing circles into her back. 

“As we get further into this, let’s all be respectful and considerate of what we’re all about to see. Keep in mind that some of the things shown may be things those people didn’t want others to know about,” Aizawa stated clearly, getting nods of understanding in response. 

And so it went. Next was Kaminari whose memory involved the Summer Training Camp as one of the people unable to help, having to stay inside with the other people who didn’t pass exams. Tokoyami’s was also the Summer Training camp being right in the middle of the action. As was Shoji’s, Ojiro’s, and Koda’s. 

Asui’s memory was the USJ. Aizawa couldn’t help but flinch as he watched Shigaraki’s hand make full contact with Asui’s face, even though he knew that he had erased Shigaraki’s quirk himself just before he could use it, though that wasn’t shown. 

Shinsou’s was about what Aizawa had expected, just from knowing the boy, though that didn’t make it any less heartbreaking as he watched the boy he thought of as a son slit his own wrists in the bathtub of his foster home, a muzzle strapped tightly– too tightly–to his face. He was 9 years old the first time he attempted. He’d told Aizawa about it not too long ago and had since started going to therapy, something Aizawa thought would be a good idea to offer all of his students. 

The screen showed as he slid the blade across his fragile skin, blood dripping steadily onto the white porcelain of the tub. Aizawa pushed his way forward so that he could be there for the kid when the memory ended. As it did, Shinsou wasn’t crying, but he was shaking and scratching at his face where thin scars could still be seen from the muzzle. 

Aizawa put a grounding hand on Shinsou’s shoulder. “Breathe, kid, it’s in the past.”

Unsurprisingly, Midoriya came up as well to comfort the purple haired boy, taking his hand and rubbing circles into his back. With their combined effort, Shinsou was able to calm down and bring his hands away from his face, nodding gratefully as Todoroki’s memory began. 

Todoroki’s was more surprising. The image showed a woman, Todoroki’s mother, on the phone. She was talking about how she couldn’t stand to look at his left side as it reminded her of his father, Endeavor. Then she turned around and saw him peeking in from the doorway, nothing more than a young child from the height difference. She picked up the tea kettle she’d been boiling water in and threw its contents in his face. Outside of the memory, Todoroki screamed and clutched his face, experiencing the pain as though it were happening again in real time. 

It seemed Aizawa wasn’t the only one to make the connection between the memory and the scar on Todoroki’s face as there were many students who held looks of realization. 

It was Midoriya who ran to his side to comfort him through the pain which seemed to make the fire and ice user calm down quickly after he came out of the memory. 

Iida’s memory started immediately after, starting out with him at the Sports Festival getting a call telling him about his brother. Then it changed to a dark alleyway showing a man everyone recognized as the Hero Killer Stain. 

“Ingenium. You’re brothers, huh? In order to let news of me spread, I let him live.”

He kicked a spiked boot into Iida’s shoulder hard before forcing him down face first into the pavement, making their Iida grimace in real time. 

You’re weak.”

The Hero Killer brought out his sword and brought it down, stabbing it deeply into Iida’s upper arm making him cry out in pain. 

“You and your brother are both weak. Because you’re fakes.”

“Shut up, villain,” Iida grunted out. “He’s paralyzed from the waist down due to spinal cord damage! He can’t work as a hero anymore! Tensei is an excellent hero who saved many people and led them until now. There’s no reason for you to crush him. He was an excellent hero who gave me a dream! I won’t forgive you… I’ll kill you!”

“Save that guy first.” Stain gestures behind him to the pro hero Native sitting paralyzed against a wall. “ Reflect on yourself and save others. Don’t use your power for yourself. Being taken in by the hatred before you and trying to fulfill your own desires… That is the furthest from what a hero should be. That’s why you’ll die.” Stain brought his blade to his lips and slid his tongue across it. Iida suddenly became stiffer than he was before as the Hero Killer positioned his sword to give a lethal blow. “ Goodbye. You’re an offering to a more just world.”

The screen vanished and Iida fell to his knees in tears. Both Midoriya and Todoroki were the ones to comfort him. Both had been there that day when Endeavor was allegedly the one to take the Hero Killer down but according to what they just saw, the truth about what happened that night had been pretty greatly stretched. 

“What the heck, Iida, ” Aizawa heard Kaminari mutter in disbelief. A lot of the class was staring at him in surprised awe, though he didn’t seem to notice, still recovering from the experience of reliving it. 

Chapter Text

Eventually, everyone had gone except Aizawa, All Might, Midoriya, and Bakugo. 

Looked like All Might was next as the screen appeared over him and his eyes glazed over. Everyone seemed to be on edge as the video started, wondering what the heck counted as the worst memory of the Symbol of Peace . Would it be the fight that made him retire? Some other big time villain he’d fought in the past? Something more personal? 

The image showed someone a few of them recognized to be All for One, the last villain All Might had fought that forced him to retire. Only, he seemed younger and slightly more human. Probably because this was before he had faced All Might in any battles. In the image was also a woman with black hair and a white cape, standing a short distance away from All Might, glaring intensely at the villain in front of them. 

So this is your new successor, Shimura. He’s weak. It’ll be easy to kill him. Just like I’ll kill you. And then One for All will finally be gone from this Earth.

The woman–Shimura–turned to all Might. “Run, Toshinori, I’ll hold him off.”

“No, Nana, I can help, he’ll kill you!” came a much younger sounding voice of All Might. 

You need to continue the legacy! Finish what we started! Torino, get him away from here!”

As Shimura charged at One for All, a man clad in white with a yellow cape and a black mask– someone several recognized to be a young Gran Torino–came up next to All Might to lead him away. 

No, Nana!” Just before All Might was sped away by Gran Torino, the image showed Shimura receive what looked like might’ve been a deadly blow. “ NANA!”

As the screen faded, All Might was left with a hand covering his mouth and his eyes red with tears. Again, Midoriya was the one to go up to him, realization and understanding written across his face which told Aizawa that the Problem Child knew more about what just happened than anyone else in the room. Of course, knowing his relationship with All Might, it was to be expected. All Might would probably be the one to comfort Midoriya more than anyone else when it was the boy’s turn. 

All Might’s memory brought on a lot of questions for Aizawa. Most of the students seemed just as interested as he was, though they refrained from asking for the time being out of respect. He had no clue who that woman was and he was interested in knowing how long ago the memory took place as it seemed to have been from when All Might was still a student. 

He didn’t have much time to dwell on it though as his vision blurred. It was his turn.

Aizawa realized he was standing in a street littered with rubble, 2 villains in front of him, and his 2 best friends at his side. Hizashi sent an aimed sound blast in the direction of one of the villains while Aizawa activated his quirk and released his binding cloth, sending it shooting towards the villain. Oboro used his clouds to act as a cover as he went to attack the second villain. Aizawa dove into the fight, keeping his focus on the villain in front of him as he threw punches and flashed his quirk. He heard the sound of a building collapsing behind him but didn’t think to stop to check what had happened as he continued his fight. He realized Oboro was no longer fighting behind him, probably having already won against the villain he was fighting. 

You got this, Shouta! Get him, Hizashi!” Aizawa heard Oboro calling from behind him. It spurred him on, made him fight harder. 

Once the villain was down, Aizawa turned around to join back up with Oboro. 

Hey, great job, Sho!” Hazashi congratulated, slinging an arm around Aizawa’s shoulders. 

Aizawa almost felt compelled to smile. Only, he realized he couldn’t see his other friend. 

Where’s Oboro?” he asked, suddenly urgent. 

I think I saw him get caught under some rubble. I’m sure he’ll be fine, he’s survived worse. We should find him to make sure he gets checked out though.”

Aizawa nodded, feeling uneasy. Caught under some rubble? He’d been so focused on fighting he hadn’t noticed his friend was down. He was okay, though, right? He was going to be okay?

It didn’t take too long to find him. Aizawa saw his flaming blue hair and brown jacket underneath a large piece of rubble that had fallen from the collapsed building. And blood. So much blood. 

Oboro? ” he called, panicking slightly. 

No answer. 

Oboro!

Still no answer. 

Medics made their way down to him and were able to get the rubble off before checking for a pulse. 

Nothing. 

Time seemed to slow down for Aizawa as the reality of the situation crashed down around him. 

He was dead. 

His best friend was dead. 

The boy who saved the kittens he left on the street, who made him want to be a teacher, who opened him up to the idea of making friends at all, the kind, open, wonderful Oboro Shirakumo... 

Was dead. 

OBORO!”

Aizawa blinked a few times as he was brought back to the present. His face was wet with tears and his throat felt scratchy and he realized with horror that just like many others in that room, he too had been crying during his memory. He knew now wasn’t the time. Oboro was dead. He’d been dead for years, there was no use dwelling on it. He needed to be there for his students. 

Aizawa realized that during the memory, Shinsou had come up and entwined his hand with his own, which Aizawa was still holding tightly. The concern painting the kid’s features warmed Aizawa’s heart and made him almost forget about the memory entirely. 

Aizawa wiped his other hand down his face, pointedly ignoring the stares of his other students, loosened his grip and muttered a quick, “Thanks, kid. I’m okay.”

Shinsou just furrowed his brow, sending him a disbelieving look but didn’t say anything as he nodded and released Aizawa’s hand, though he stayed close by his side as the next memory began. 

Chapter Text

Bakugou was next. 

Aizawa wasn’t sure exactly what he was expecting the explosive blonde’s worst memory to be. Maybe when he’d been kidnapped by the League of Villains or attacked by the sludge villain that’d he’d heard about happening to him in middle school. What he was not expecting, however, was an image of Midoriya. 

The Problem Child wore a black middle school uniform and sat at a desk holding a notebook. It didn’t look like anyone else was in the classroom as Bakugou walked up to him and snatched the notebook from his hands. 

“We’re not done talking yet, Deku,” Bakugou taunted. 

Katsuki, what’s that?” someone asked from behind him. 

Bakugou held the notebook up for them to see. 

Huh? ‘Hero Analysis for the Future’? Seriously? ” He started laughing. 

What was funny about that? While Aizawa hadn’t read any of the Problem Child’s notebooks, he’d caught glimpses of their contents. The kid was smart. Scary smart. Aizawa dreaded the day Nedzu took notice. 

Midoriya… ” another kid said. 

I-It’s fine, isn’t it? Give it back!” Midoriya said frantically, standing up and reaching for the notebook. 

Instead of doing so, Bakugou clapped the notebook between his hands and let off an explosion, burning it before tossing it out the window behind him. 

Seeing Midoriya’s reaction in the memory, Aizawa started feeling a little concerned. This didn’t seem like harmless teasing. 

Most top first-string heroes have stories about them from their school days. I want the shine of being able to be called the only student to make it into U.A. from this mediocre city junior high school. I mean, I’m a perfectionist,” Bakugou stated. Aizawa didn’t miss how badly the Midoriya in the memory was shaking with… fear.

Bakugou stepped forward and placed a smoking hand on Midoriya’s shoulder making the present Midoriya flinch. 

So anyway,” Bakugou continued. “ Don’t apply to U.A., nerd.”

The words seemed to only solidify the idea that they had been rivals for a long time–Bakugou clearly didn’t want any competition–but what would make Midoriya react like that? Why wouldn’t he fight back? Why did he look so scared ?

As Bakugou walked away, the friends behind him kept talking. “ Come on, you could at least say something back.

Don’t say that. He’s pathetic. He still can’t face reality.”

Bakugou stopped just before he reached the door. “ If you wanna be a hero that badly, there’s another way to do it. Hope that you’ll be born with a quirk in the next life, and take a swan dive off the roof!

Everyone gasped. No one had expected that. What did he mean “hope you’ll be born with a quirk in the next life”? Midoriya wasn’t quirkless. If he was, that would explain a lot.

Geez. 

That would explain a lot

What Aizawa thought had been a harmless rivalry had actually been a bully-victim relationship. The reason Midoriya couldn’t use his quirk properly at the beginning of the year was because it had only just come in

Why didn’t he know about this sooner?

Aizawa mentally slapped himself. It was probably in his file. The file he didn’t read because he wanted to avoid bias like with all of his students. 

Still, he’d think that Midoriya would’ve said something. 

“Bakubro, that’s so not manly,” Kirishima muttered with similar remarks from many of the other surrounding students. 

Looking over at Midoriya, Aizawa realized he was in a bit of a daze, a smile pulling at his mouth. 

“Kacchan…” he muttered. 

Uraraka looked horrified. “Deku… how could he say that to you? He–” he breath hitched. “I don’t think I can ever talk to him again knowing how he treated you!”

“But, Uraraka, don’t you see…?” 

Then Aizawa realized. This was Bakugou’s worst memory. With all of the trauma Aizawa knew the boy had gone through, for that to be the case, the sheer amount of pain, grief, and guilt Bakugou felt over that memory must’ve been overwhelming

Looking at his face only confirmed that idea. While still furrowed in an angry scowl, Bakugou’s face was contorted with guilt, his hands balled tightly into fists at his sides. 

The memory wasn’t over yet. 

As it continued playing, it seemed to fast forward as Bakugou left the building with his friends and ended up in an alleyway when the sludge villain attacked. This was something a lot of them had seen on the news and weren’t too surprised to see. 

The memory showed Bakugou fighting for breath as the sludge villain made its way down Backugou’s throat. Bakugou let off one explosion after another trying to break himself free, but all the explosions were doing was making it more difficult for the heroes to get close. The memory showed several heroes on site but none of them helped because none of them had a quirk “suitable” to the situation at hand. 

Aizawa felt his blood boil at that. None of them even tried to get close, waiting for the person with the “right quirk” to come along. If they didn’t do anything soon, Bakugou was going to die!

Aizawa had to remind himself that the boy was, in fact, alive and standing right there in the room as proof. This was all in the past. 

To say the person who ultimately ended up doing something to help was a surprise would be an understatement. The last thing Aizawa expected to see come barreling towards Bakugou and the sludge villain was a middle schooler with a head of viridian green hair wielding nothing but a yellow backpack. And yet that’s exactly what happened as Midoriya hurled the backpack at the villain, going for the eyes. 

While the effort didn’t exactly end up freeing Bakugou, it did make the villain reel back enough to give the blonde another lungful of air. But why the Problem Child would risk his life to try to save the guy who just told him to kill himself was beyond Aizawa, though it really just solidified how much of a hero the kid really was. 

Glancing over at All Might, he noticed the man’s eyes were so full of pride, Aizawa really did wonder if Midoriya was his actual son. 

As the sludge villain crawled its way back down Bakugou’s throat, the screen disappeared and Bakugou let out a choked gasp. 

“That was when I came in,” All Might muttered. 

And that must’ve been how Midoriya and All Might had met. Given the timeline, that must’ve been about a year before the U.A. entrance exam. Midoriya didn’t look nearly as strong or capable as he did on the first day of class. Given All Might’s reaction, Aizawa guessed that this had been where he’d first met Midoriya. Midoriya’s performance had impressed him so he started training him, eventually getting him strong enough for his quirk to come in. That would explain their relationship and how All Might seemed to know him even on the first day of school. 

What surprised Aizawa however, is the fact that All Might would take interest in training a quirkless kid. That was something more along the lines of what Aizawa might do. Given his quirk and bravado, Aizawa would’ve thought that All Might would be more inclined to give special training to those more like Bakugou with strong, flashy quirks who would end up being a good successor for his title of the “Symbol of Peace”. Was he wrong? The idea started to make Aizawa look at the retired hero in a whole new light. 

As Bakugou came back to reality, Midoriya tackled him in a hug. Everyone expected Bakugou to lash out, push him away, yell some angry remarks, but instead he just froze. 

Aizawa could make out a faint, “I forgive you, Kacchan.”

Bakugou’s eyes widened slightly before he hesitantly put an arm around Midoriya to partially reciprocate before muttering, “Thanks, nerd.”

Midoriya pulled away as his eyes glazed over and the screen appeared again. 

It was Midoriya’s turn. 

Chapter Text

Midoriya’s memory started with him on a roof. Immediately that raised alarms for Aizawa considering what he’d just seen in Bakugo’s memory. That changed though when he saw who the kid was looking at. It was All Might, his back turned, in his buff form wearing civilian clothes and walking towards the edge of the roof. 

Even if I don’t have a quirk, can I become a hero? ” 

And wasn’t that a loaded question? The kid had clearly wanted to be a hero for a long time, but the fact that he didn’t have a quirk made others–made him think that wasn’t possible. 

Please, to all things good, tell me All Might said yes, Aizawa pleaded mentally. 

Can someone without a quirk be like you?

All Might stopped in his tracks and turned his head back slightly. “Without a quirk…” He suddenly doubled over and started steaming, muttering strings of curses though Midoriya didn’t seem to notice all that much as he continued talking. 

Aizawa knew what was happening as he’d seen it himself a number of times before All Might’s retirement. He was running out of time. 

It might’ve been because I don’t have a quirk, but I’m always made fun of,” Midoriya continued. “ Maybe that’s why… I don’t know… But I think saving people is super cool .”

The steam was heavy now and All Might was impossible to make out in the cloud. 

Saving people with a fearless smile. I want to be the greatest hero, like you…!”

Then the steam dissipated and All Might’s true form was visible. 

Midoriya freaked out a little. 

Granted, so did most people when they saw his transformation for the first time. Aizawa wasn’t much of an exception. 

The memory did get a lot of people muttering in awe at the fact that Midoriya had known about the secret longer than anyone else in the room, Aizawa included since it was only All Might’s first year of teaching at U.A. and Aizawa suspected this was around the same time as the sludge villain incident. 

You know how the guys at the pool are constantly flexing and posturing? It’s like that.

“It can’t be… All Might is fearless… He saves everyone with a smile… He’s the greatest…” Midoriya stuttered in disbelief. 

All Might sighed. “ A fearless smile, huh?” He sat down. “ Now that you’ve seen me like this, young man, make sure you don’t write about it online, even accidentally.” He pulled up his shirt to reveal a mass of scar tissue. “ It’s an injury I got from an enemy’s attack five years ago. Half of my respiratory organs were destroyed and I lost my whole stomach. I’ve become emaciated from repeated surgeries and the aftereffects. Right now, I can only work as a hero for about three hours a day.

“That can’t be…” Midoriya breathed in horror. 

“Man, that would be anyone’s worst memory, finding out the hero you’ve looked up to your whole life is… well…” Sero trailed off, glancing back at All Might who was looking slightly paler than usual. 

While Sero had a point considering how much of a fanboy everyone knew Midoriya was, Aizawa suspected there was more to it.

Five years ago… was that when you fought Toxic Chainsaw?”

Yeah. Fanboy. 

You’re well-informed. But a punk like that couldn’t defeat me. This fight was not made public to the world. I asked that it not be made public. I will save people with a smile! The Symbol of Peace cannot be daunted by evil. I smile to show the pressure of heroes and to trick the fear inside of me. Pros are always risking their lives. I cannot simply say, ‘You can become a hero even without power.’”

And there it was. That was closer to the kind of thing Aizawa would expect from All Might. He relied too much on power and his flashy quirk to realize the potential of people without quirks. But that didn’t fit with Aizawa’s earlier theory. So what really happened? How did they get so close? 

I see…” Midoriya said. Aizawa could tell he was heartbroken. His hero had just shattered his dreams with a single sentence. 

“If you want to help others, then you could also become a police officer. They’re often teased because they get villains delivered to their doorstep, but that’s also a fine occupation.” 

Even though he expected it, Aizawa was still fuming. The blonde oaf had the audacity to crush this kid’s dreams while he wasn’t even right! A quirkless person could be a great pro hero, especially someone as smart as Midoriya. He would’ve needed to work harder, but Aizawa had no doubt he would’ve been able to do it. It’s just the twisted quirkist society that insists otherwise. Aizawa would know all about that, being on the receiving end of that kind of quirkism due to his so-called “villainous” quirk.

All Might walked over to the door leading inside the building. “ It’s not bad to dream. But you also have to consider what’s realistic, young man.” He closed the door behind him. 

Aizawa snapped. “ You left him on a roof?!” He flashed his quirk and shot out his binding scarf to wrap around the skeletal man and pull him closer. “You crushed his dreams and left him on a roof? He was quirkless! You know the stats!” 

As he said this, the memory continued. Midoriya stepped closer to the edge of the roof. Dangerously close. 

I can’t be a hero. Even All Might said so,” he muttered to himself. “ Maybe… Kacchan was right…”

Then an explosion went off in the distance and Midoriya’s head whipped up. “ A villain! What hero will go to the scene?” He started running towards the door before stopping in his tracks and hanging his head, remembering there was no point. 

The screen faded and Aizawa turned back to All Might, who had a defensive and somewhat guilty look on his face. 

“What the hell were you thinking?” Aizawa seethed. 

“Aizawa-sensei, stop!” Midoriya called, breaking out of his trance. 

“Kid, you can’t defend him after that. You looked about ready to throw yourself off that roof.”

“But… he was just telling the truth? Quirkless people can’t be heroes. Besides, it doesn’t matter anyway since I have a quirk now!” 

Aizawa was at a loss for words. He truly believed that? Where had he failed his students?

He did realize though that the mall amidst all of his students was probably not the best place to have this conversation. Reluctantly he let the retired hero go. 

“Midoriya was the last one so let’s head back to the dorms. We’ll talk more about this tomorrow, but for the time being, get some rest. We’ve all had a long day.” He shot All Might a glare as everyone started heading out. “Not you though, we’re talking as soon as we get back.”

The retired hero gulped and nodded.

Chapter Text

All Might fidgeted in his seat under Aizawa’s glare. They sat across from each other in the teacher’s commons area. They hadn’t gotten back until 22:00 so everyone was already asleep or confined to their quarters doing paperwork or preparing lessons. 

“Do you really believe a quirkless person couldn’t be a hero?” Aizawa started, his voice flat. 

All Might raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Well, yes. You can’t be a hero without a quirk, you’d be dead the first time you went up against a villain. That’s just how it is.”

Aizawa darkened his gaze. “And who am I, a joke?”

The oaf blinked. “I don’t think I understand–”

“My quirk takes away the quirk of the person I’m fighting. One person at a time and it doesn’t work against people with mutation quirks. I fight quirkless and in instances where I’m fighting more than one person or someone with a mutation quirk, I’m essentially quirkless. If I can be a hero, why not someone who’s actually quirkless?”

All Might shook his head, brows furrowed. “No, that’s not… quirkless people can’t be heroes, it’s not– that’s not– that’s not how it works.”

Aizawa wanted to tear the man’s face off. He suspected he would be quirkist, but this was taking it too far.

“So you imprinted those twisted, quirkist beliefs on a suicidal middle schooler who would take anything you say to be gospel truth.”

“No! You don’t…” All Might let out a defeated sigh. “If quirkless people really can be heroes then… then what about me ?” 

Aizawa couldn’t believe this. He resisted the urge to scoff as he said, “You’ve got an injury preventing you from using your quirk, it’s not the same thing.”

He winced. “That’s not what I meant. I… Young Midoriya and I have more in common than you realize.”

Wait. “Are you saying that…”

“I got my quirk when I was 15. Same age as young Midoriya.”

“How?”

Aizawa wasn’t expecting an answer, he expected it to be more of a biological mystery than anything else, maybe something with weird genetics, some sort of developmental anomaly. But then the retired hero began to explain. 

“Let me tell you a story of two brothers…”

And suddenly it all fell into place. Even if the idea of a quirk that could be passed from person to person was completely unheard of, it made sense given the context. 

“When I gave the boy my quirk, I thought All for One was dead, that I had defeated him for good in the battle that gave me this.” All Might gestured to his nonexistent stomach. “I thought he could continue the legacy as simply the next Symbol of Peace and not have to worry about the fight that’s been passed down for generations.”

“So, in your memory, the woman who died–that was your mentor, the previous One for All user,” Aizawa clarified. 

“Yes. I was still a student when she died so Gran Torino continued my training for her.” 

“And now you’re training Midoriya to be your successor.”

“Yes. After our conversation on the roof, Young Bakugou was attacked by the sludge villain. When I saw young Midoriya move without thinking as he did, I saw myself and I knew he was the right choice. I approached him with the offer right after.”

“Is that when you gave him your quirk?”

“No, he wasn’t physically strong enough yet. I spent the next ten months training him so that he could be ready to receive it. I couldn’t give it to him until the day of the entrance exam. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting him to do as well as he did. I told him he could go to another hero school, it didn’t have to be U.A., but because it was where I went, he insisted.”

So his theory hadn’t actually been too far off. The only thing missing from it was the whole passing of a quirk from one person to another. 

“Well, I can see why you would want to keep this a secret. The backlash of something like this getting out would be damaging to say the least.”

“So you won’t tell anyone?”

“No. Who else knows?”

“Nedzu, Recovery Girl, Tsukauchi, Gran Torino, and young Bakugou.”

“Bakugou knows?”

“Midoriya told him some of it at the beginning of the year and though he didn’t believe it at first, he figured out the rest on his own over the course of the year. He’s been helping the boy with training. I admit, I didn’t know about their history.”

“I see.” Aizawa found that somewhat surprising given their history that he was now more aware of. Though, given their earlier display after Bakugou’s memory, maybe not so surprising.

“I wasn’t planning on telling you, but I got to thinking about it and decided it would be for the best if you knew. Gran Torino was my homeroom teacher at U.A.. He was able to help me learn how to use One for All after my mentor was killed.”

“You want me to do the same for Midoriya.”

All Might nodded and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. “I know I’m not a great teacher. I had to send him to Torino for his internship so he could get more help in areas where I failed him. I thought if you knew the whole situation, you may be able to help him more than I have on my own.”

“You’re right. You’re not a good teacher. To be honest I have no idea why Nedzu hired you,” Aizawa stated bluntly, quirking a brow. 

“W-well, originally it was so I could find a successor. Things changed when I met young Midoriya, but his attending U.A. has allowed me to keep a closer eye on him and work with him more. Especially now that we’re in dorms. But… you do have a point,” All Might said as his shoulders slumped inward. 

Aizawa sighed. “But to clarify, both you and Midoriya grew up quirkless in an increasingly quirkist society where both of you were told your worth came from your quirk. You thought you were useless without one and then you both got one and… problem solved, right?”

All Might hesitated but nodded grimly nonetheless. “Right.”

Aizawa pulled his phone out of his pocket and opened up his texts. 

“What are you doing?” the blonde oaf asked. 

“Texting Midoriya.”

There was something Aizawa needed to impress on both of them and it couldn’t wait until morning. They’d already had the wrong idea in their heads for far too long. It needed correction ASAP. 

When the Problem Child arrived, he looked nervous and flushed. After the day they’d had, Aizawa thought that was somewhat understandable. 

“All Might?” he said in confusion. “Aizawa-sensei, what’s going on? I thought you said we wouldn’t be talking about anything until morning?”

“This couldn’t wait.” He gestured for the kid to sit down across from him, next to All Might. “All Might just explained One for All to me.” Midoriya gave All Might a look of surprise. The retired hero nodded in clarification.

“I understand that both of you grew up quirkless before receiving it.”

Midoriya suddenly looked like all the life had drained out of him. 

Aizawa continued. “The fact that you, Midoriya, were quirkless is something I should’ve known a long time ago.”

Midoriya hung his head and muttered. “I’ll go pack my bags.”

Aizawa was taken aback by that. “What are you talking about, Problem Child?”

“You’re gonna expel me because I’m quirkless. You wouldn’t have let me in the class at all if you had known earlier. I have a quirk now but it’s not mine, I’m still biologically quirkless.”

“I only expel people who don’t have the potential to be heroes. If I had known earlier that you didn’t grow up with your quirk, I wouldn’t have been training you as though you had. I saw you at the entrance exam and thought you were lazy for not training your quirk. The only reason I didn’t expel you on the first day is that you showed me potential. You’ve improved more than anyone else in the class, the fact that you were quirkless only makes that statement more impressive. 

“No, there’s something that I need you both to understand because this thought process cannot go on any longer. Your quirk does not define your worth. A quirkless person could be a hero given they put in the effort and recieve the right training. Both of you would be just as capable of becoming heroes without your quirk as you are with it.” 

Aizawa saw the disbelief and resignation on both their faces as they said, in unison, “But, we’re quirkless.”

And that was it, wasn’t it? These two had been told something their whole lives they had no reason to believe wasn’t true. Simply stating it wasn’t, wasn’t going to work. 

“One for All is a tool just like any other quirk. It can always be replaced by support items, strategy and physical training. There are plenty of underground heroes who have quirks that do nothing to help them in the field. There are heroes like me whose quirks are only effective under certain circumstances. The only reason there hasn’t yet been a quirkless hero is because of the quirkism rooted deep in the hero school system and society. It wasn’t until just recently that I was finally able to convince them to change the rules and allow quirkless people to apply for the U.A. hero course. Still, the entrance exam is flawed and biased so that even people with quirks like Shinsou’s, mine, and that boy’s yesterday have little to no chance of passing without support items or previous extra training. We’re all people with quirks who are still very capable of becoming heroes. Why can’t the same be said for quirkless people with a similar disadvantage as us? We’re only given the chance because we have quirks at all. Midoriya, your analysis skills alone would be more than enough to make up for your lack of quirk. All Might, with the right training, you could’ve become a hero too, I have no doubt. 

“If at any time you were to lose One for All or give it away, Midoriya, you could still be a hero. All Might, I know you meant well on that rooftop–as a quirkless person , that’s what you were brought up to believe–but your facts were wrong. Even retired, you’re a figure the world knows and looks up to; if you keep preaching false, quirkist beliefs, things are only going to get worse.”

A range of emotions flashed across both of their faces as he said this. When he was done, All Might held a look of immense guilt as he turned to Midoriya.

Midoriya looked conflicted. There were tears in his eyes as he stared down at his hands and muttered, “But… that can’t be…”

“My boy…”

Midoriya raised his head slowly to look at the man. “You told me…”

“I was naive and closed-minded. I only ever thought of what I’d been told my whole life and experienced before I was given One for All. It’d never been done and so I thought it never could be done. But… Aizawa is right. I’m… I’m sorry, my boy.”

It was then that Midoriya’s tears spilled over and he thrust himself into All Might’s arms, burying his face in his chest.

That’s all I ever wanted to hear,” Midoriya hiccuped. 

All Might wrapped his arms around the kid and held him tightly with a look filled with love and affection. 

They’re really not father and son? 

All Might glanced up to meet Aizawa’s gaze and gave him a grateful smile. Aizawa nodded in return and decided to get up and leave the room. 

They needed some time alone and he needed to speak with Nedzu. 

Chapter Text

“Yesterday brought up an opportunity for some valuable lessons.” Aizawa stood in front of his class, scanning their faces. Everyone showed up at least. He was a little surprised by that. After the ordeal they went through the day before, he would’ve expected at least a few of them to have wanted to stay in the dorms, not face everyone. Then again, from what Midoriya had told him that morning, they had all talked things out the night before. The fact that they all felt comfortable coming to class together striked a bit of pride in Aizawa knowing that they had formed that bond of trust together as a team and with him as their teacher. “For a lot of you, your worst memories revolve around some of the events of this year. That’s understandable. This class has gone through more trauma than most. After what happened yesterday, I talked to Nedzu. We’ll be requiring all of you to go through a psych evaluation before we can continue lessons.” The class groaned in complaint.  “It’s important that all heroes remain psychologically healthy,” Aizawa continued over their muttering. “After I’m done talking, each of you will meet with Hound Dog for the evaluation. Not passing does not mean immediate expulsion from the hero course. Rather, you’ll be required to attend regular therapy sessions and your provisional license will be suspended until you’re deemed mentally fit.” He paused as he contemplated what he was about to say next. “You all saw All Might and my worst memories. Can anyone tell me what they had in common?”

After a second, Asui raised her hand. Aizawa nodded for her to answer. 

“The loss of a friend, kero.”

Aizawa nodded. “What else?”

This time Yaoyorozu raised her hand. 

“In the field. They were both killed while on duty as heroes.”

“That’s right. Shimura Nana was All Might’s mentor. She died during a fight against the villain All for One, the same villain who later forced All Might into retirement. Shirakumo Oboro, hero name: Loud Cloud, was my best friend. He died during our internship in our second year at U.A.. In the events of this year, we’ve gotten remarkably lucky. So far, none of you have experienced any casualties in the field. That will change. Pro hero work is one of the most dangerous professions. You’re here to learn how to decrease the likelihood of being killed but bad things happen. Even the best heroes lose. It’s likely that in the next ten years a number of you will have been killed. There’s also the risk of your loved ones being targeted by villains if your civilian identities get out. That’s why it’s important to keep your civilian identities under wraps.

“Because of all the risk involved, there’s really only one reason anyone should become a hero: To help people. If you’re only here for the fame and the glory of being a daylight hero, you can leave right now. When you go out there, you can’t only be thinking about yourself. That’ll cause the fear to overwhelm your senses and fear means hesitation. Hesitation means people could die. It’s okay to feel fear in dangerous situations, all heroes do. But your reason for being out there needs to overpower any of those feelings of fear you might have.” He paused for a second to let his words sink in. He glanced at Iida who was staring blankly at his desk, and Bakugou whose head rested on his fist as he stared out the window to his left.

Hound Dog entered the room, giving Aizawa a nod of acknowledgement and Aizawa continued. 

“You won’t be attending any classes today. Hound Dog will be seeing each of you individually for 20 minute evaluations. These will just be to gauge your current mental health and let us know what needs to be done to better help you on your way to becoming heroes. Don’t try to fight it and don’t try to hide anything. You’ll find that if you do, it’ll only end up working against you.”

Hound Dog then stepped forward to talk about how they’d be doing things. He left a list of the order people would be going in and the times they’d need to be there. After each person went, they could go back to the dorms for the rest of the day. 

At 17:00, 10 minutes after Yaoyorozu–the last student–left, Inui emerged from his office with eye bags to rival Aizawa’s. 

“Coffee?” Aizawa offered, holding out a steaming cup of the dark liquid, having known in advance the counselor would need it with the day he’d had.

Inui took the cup gratefully before sitting down across from Aizawa in the teacher’s lounge, setting the stack of files on the table between them. 

After taking a sip of his coffee, Inui started, “They’re good kids. Most of them are fine. They’ve experienced trauma and dealt with it in a normal, healthy manner. I’d recommend therapy for all of them, but there are a few I pointed out who need it more than others. Of those, only one failed to pass the evaluation.”

Aizawa nodded, expecting that not all of his students would have passed. 

Inui pulled out a file from the stack, setting it to face Aizawa. 

Bakugou. 

Aizawa couldn’t say he was surprised. There was a reason he was one of the last ones to get his provisional license and it wasn’t due to lack of skill or strength. 

“Bakugou needs to work on his anger management, though I suppose that you already knew. He also has a dangerous superiority complex, though it looks like it’s gotten better in his time at U.A., if only slightly. 

“As for those I would still recommend therapy to, there are seven.” He laid out the seven files so that Aizawa could look over them. “The psychological concerns I have for them don’t seem to be bad enough to negatively affect how they work as heroes, but they’re still worth noting.”

Aizawa wasn’t too surprised by these either. The students whose files lie in front of him now included Yaoyorozu, Midoriya, Todoroki, Tokoyami, Kirishima, Iida, and Ashido. He supposed he’d be speaking to all of them over the next several days.