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【 無感覚な 】 : NO FEELING, REMEMBER?

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The BNHA fandom and its artists are amazing and a lot of the scenes/character dynamics/plot points were inspired by many fanarts I’ve come across both on Tumblr and Instagram, including but not limited to the art/art styles of msleilei, keiid, kinnme, kawaiikrisschan, mia-nee-chan, insanemarshmallow, & minibuddy. (these are all their tumblr usernames so you can find them & their amazing work too by searching them on tumblr) 

Specifically, the Omegaverse theme was inspired by/based off this fanart by oksopi12, originally posted on their twitter but which I came across, translated by seairu-kun on their tumblr : http://seairu-kun.tumblr.com/post/160886577156/bnha-omegaverse-translation 

That being said, a big part of this story will be alpha/beta/omega dynamics, which is a much more intricate dynamic than most people realize or give it credit for.

Here is a more in depth/general Omegaverse concept guide made by norabombay if you are new to the genre/universe or simply want to learn more about it : Alphas, Betas, Omegas: A Primer

Here is my own guide to how A/B/O will work in this story (for the most part it’s the same as how the concepts are described in the primer, but there are some changes I decided to make). It’s not necessary to read by any means, however it may help you understand/appreciate the story & character dynamics further and so therefore it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you do at least skim it.

Thanks for taking the time to check out Unemotional [“Mukankakuna”] : No Feeling, Remember? !

Please Enjoy !

 




 

 

Disgusting.

He really hadn’t meant to actually say it; it just...came out. 

But Deku didn’t know that. And the impact of that muttered word on him would have been easily seen on his face, had Bakugou bothered to look at his childhood friend after bumping shoulders as he passed by the other. But he didn’t. He just kept walking.

 

-- -- --

 

Bakugou Katsuki was good at a lot of things. He was confident, always at the top of his class, and was arguably born to play baseball. But the thing he was best at, much to his own aggravation, was noticing Midoriya Izuku.

His mother was high school friends with Izuku’s mother. That’s how they first came to meet, him and Deku. Back when they were both 4 years old.

 

Katsuki had his lips pursed as he swiveled his head back and forth, surveying his street out of the highest window in the front of his house. He was meeting a new friend today and he was very impatient for him to arrive.

His mother had shown him a picture of Izuku and Izuzku’s mother on her phone earlier that day, saying they were coming over to play. She had said something about needing to be nice to Izuku because his dad had just left but Katsuki didn’t listen, he was too busy staring at the picture of the boy on the screen with the green curly hair and spattering of freckles and the biggest smile Katsuki had ever seen in his life.

Katsuki liked that smile. He decided then, rashly, the way small children often make up their minds, that he wanted to see that smile as much as he could. He wanted to be the reason it existed.

Just then, he saw them round the corner of his street: a lady in a pink shirt and a small boy with a mass of curly green hair. Katsuki smiled excitedly and stomped his feet eagerly as they walked down the street, getting closer and closer, his eyes glued to Izuku the entire time.

Once they finally turned to start towards his front door, Katsuki jumped off the bench he’d been standing on to see out the window, and ran. He couldn’t get downstairs fast enough; practically tripping every few feet but he couldn’t be stopped – Bakugou Katsuki was nothing if not determined when it came to acquiring what he wanted.

He heard the doorbell ring and his mother call out as she went to answer it, and then the usual polite pleasantries began to be exchanged as he rounded the final landing.

“Katsuki! Come down and greet our guests!” His mother called, but Katsuki had jumped down the last two stairs and landed in the foyer before she had even finished her sentence.  

“Hello, I’m Katsuki,” he had greeted with a bright smile, voice probably a little louder than it should have been as he was panting, out of breath from all those stairs.

Izuku was hiding half-way behind his mother’s legs, clutching onto her blue skirt with one fist. He seemed shy, but Katsuki didn’t mind.

“Say hello too, Izuku,” the curly haired boy’s mom encouraged, gently ushering him out from behind her legs. In person, Katsuki noticed the boy’s freckles and big eyes even more.

“H-Hello…I’m I-Izuku,” the boy introduced himself, clutching the toy he was holding tighter to his chest. Noticing it for the first time, Katsuki’s eyes lit up after he saw what it was: an ALL MIGHT action figure.

“You like All Might, too?!” Katsuki exclaimed, balling up his fists in excitement. Then, after a sheepish nod from Izuku, he ran over into the den and quickly came back holding a square case and presented it proudly to the other boy. “My mom just got me the new video game!”

At that, Izuku’s eyes lit up and he smiled so big it made Katsuki’s stomach bubble with the happiness that was radiating off the other boy. “Waa, sugoi ne!”  

“Come on, let’s go play it together!” Katsuki said as he stepped forward and grabbed Izuku’s hand and then ran with him back into the den. They spent the afternoon playing the video game together. Izuku wasn’t very good at it, but Katsuki had already played it a lot, so he seemed like he was a natural.  

“Waa, you beat the villain again! Kacchan is the best!” Izuku cheered, his smile big and blinding and almost making Katsuki not register what he had just said.  

Eh?! ‘Kacchan’?” Katsuki titled his head to the side and looked at Izuku inquisitively. No one had ever called him that before… 

“Amo…I can call you ‘Kacchan’, right?” Izuku asked gently, a nervous expression now on his face, holding his action figure tight in his small hands. “Since we’re f-friends?”

After a few moments, Katsuki nodded his head once in agreement. “Ee.”  

Izuku smiled the widest he had yet, and let his precious All Might action figure fall into his lap in favor of reaching out and taking hold of Katsuki’s hand. “Kacchan is the best!”

Katsuki hadn’t realized how easy making Izuku smile would be, or just how much he would like it.

 

A week later they had started kindergarten together.

 

“Kacchaaaann!”

Katsuki looked up at the sound of his nickname and smiled as he saw Izuku running towards him through the crowd of kids and their parents. The All Might action figure was poking out the top of his yellow backpack.

“Izuku!” He yelled back and held out one of his hands, the other holding tight onto the strap of his own backpack.

The curly haired boy held out his hand as well, and once he reached him, Izuku threaded their fingers together.

“Let’s take a picture together at the front, Kacchan!”

“Ee!”

Holding tight, together they ran over to the sign for their kindergarten where both their mothers and Katsuki’s father were waiting. The cherry blossoms were in bloom and getting pink petals everywhere.

“Izuku, let’s pretend we’re superheroes like All Might!”

“Hai!”

They stood side by side in front of the sign with their hands on their hips, grinning proudly, like their favorite manga hero whom they had become friends over. Izuku smiled so big his eyes disappeared…

 

Bakugou thinks his mom still has that picture of the two of them hanging up in their hallway, but he wouldn’t know, he made an effort to stop looking at it a long time ago and now ignoring it is just habit.

He wished ignoring that damn nerd was as easy as ignoring that picture.

 

--

 

Izuku watched with wide eyes and an open-mouthed smile as his best friend bounced the rubber kickball off his knee, sending it over his head where he then stuck his foot out to let it bounce off of it and back over his head only to meet his knee once more and continue the trick over again. “Kacchan, Sugoi!”  

“This is easy!” Kacchan said as he continued to bounce the ball back and forth, grinning confidently.

Izuku wanted to do it too, he wanted to be like Kacchan. So, he bounced the ball off his knee up into the air but it ended up landing hard on his head and making him fall down onto his bottom. “Ow…”

“Izuku,” Kacchan had drawn his name out in a nagging way, as he came over and offered his hand to Izuku to help him back up. “you really can’t do anything, can you?”

 

Kacchan had always been better than him. Izuku knew that. Kacchan was strong, smart, always full of confidence. He was really cool, and Izuku looked up to him because of it (also because Kacchan was just taller than him).

 

“You can read the characters for ‘Izuku’ as ‘Deku’, you know,” Kacchan announced proudly, holding up Izuku’s pail and pointing to the name tag on it.

“Kacchan, you can read?” One of their neighborhood friends had responded in amazement; in of awe of Kacchan in that moment, just like Izuku was.

“You can’t?” Kacchan replied knowingly with a proud grin on his face before continuing, “And ‘Deku’ means someone who can’t do anything.”  

Izuku felt the group’s eyes turn on him after that.

“Really?” Their other friend had questioned with a smirk that made Izuku’s stomach uneasy.

“Cut it out…” Izuku called softly to no one in particular, his hands nervously gripping the bottom of his shirt, but his gaze was locked on Kacchan who still had that proud grin on his face.

“Don’t worry Izuku, we won’t call you ‘Deku’ – even if you can’t really do anything.”

 

Izuku remembers how it started back in kindergarten, Kacchan getting a lot of praise for everything he did – his grades, his sports skill, but especially for his drawings. He even won a few contests hosted by their prefecture and got his picture in the local paper. Izuku was always so happy for his childhood friend; always so happy that Kacchan would look right at him first whenever he got praised for something, as if Kacchan’s success was something they shared.

He remembers how, in Kacchan’s room one day during the winter break of their grade 2 year, when they were both 8, after they had learned the All Might mangas were getting discontinued, they decided to create their own manga; Izuku would write down the story and Kacchan would draw it out. Working together on this…it became Izuku’s favorite thing. He could never do anything right, but when he and Kacchan would come up with stories together of fantastical journeys and intense battles, Izuku felt like he couldn’t do anything wrong.

In grade three, they started to say that they would be mangakas, creators of manga, when they grew up. But whenever they did, they’d get some variation of the same reply: Kacchan should focus on baseball instead.

 

“Ha!” Kacchan let out a grunt as he moved his arm in an arc, his body going horizontal as he released the softball from his hand, the other first graders all letting out sounds of awe as the ball flew fast and straight through the air before hitting the net right in the center of the bullseye.

Kacchan grinned as he heard some of the kids who were also his kids from his neighborhood praise him. 

“Sugoi!” 

“So lucky!”

“That’s so cool!”

“Wow, what an amazing throw!” That was the male teacher. 

“It really is!” And the female one. “But pros always show talent at a young age, right Katsuki-kun? You’re going to be a professional baseball player when you grow up, right?”

 

Kacchan had always been naturally talented with a ball, like how he was naturally talented at everything else he did. Izuku supposed that perhaps it was because Kacchan was so athletically inclined, that he was especially praised for this talent.

 

“Kacchan, come practice with us after school!”

“It’d be a shame to see such talent go to waste!”

“We’re gonna play against the other neighborhood primary school this Saturday. You’re gonna be our starting pitcher, right, Kacchan?”

“You should spend more time practicing baseball, that’s what you’re good at.”

 

Suddenly, everyone expected so much of Izuku’s then-best friend. Kacchan was told constantly that baseball was what he should be doing; that it was what he was good at. And he was good; he was the best – the best in their school, and the other primary schools in the prefecture, even better than some of the older kids…

 

“Isn’t baseball what you’d like to be known for, Katsuki-kun?”

 

--

 

Baseball was what Bakugou should be doing; baseball was what Bakugou wanted to keep doing. But, he also wanted to keep drawing manga with Izuku.

That is, until he didn’t.

 

“This is all seriously stupid! I knew I should have given up this childish past-time a long time ago. I’m done with this! It’s worthless! Just like you, Deku!”

 

 

 

 

 

Bakugou has always liked Deku. Even before he knew anything about what it meant to like someone. In grade 3, he started to become more aware of the way Deku made him feel, but he didn’t understand what it was he was feeling. And then their falling out happened in grade 5 and those feelings were squished down under new ones: hatred, betrayal, superiority.

He, Bakugou Katsuki, was the best. Only him. He could do everything and anything he set his mind to. And he’d do only what he wanted, on his own terms. And no damn nerds were going to get in his way – he was nothing if not determined when it came to getting what he wanted.

So Bakugou kept Deku, and all those things he made Bakugou feel, out of his way, up until their first year of junior high.

 

-- -- --

 

“Oi, Katsuki—” 

Bakugou didn’t bother looking up at the sound of his classmate’s voice as he finished slipping on his shoes and stood up to put his school slippers back in his locker. It was the end of their first month of junior high, and they had all just gotten their status test results back during that day’s afternoon homeroom period.

“—whaccha say your status was again?”  

His grip on the small metal door tightened, causing his nails to scrape against it and make a harsh scratching sound, before he slammed it shut harder than necessary. 

“None of your damn business!” He nearly growled at the boys whom he’s known since kindergarten (others would call them his “friends”, Bakugou would call them extras) before shoving his hands in his pockets and beginning to walk away. 

“Geez what’s that all about?” 

“Our class rep told me that his result sheet said he was a Beta.” 

Hah?! But he’s such an Alpha?!”

Tch...” Bakugou could hear them talking behind him as he walked down the row of small box-lockers towards the exit, his teeth clenching harder with every word.

He, and everyone else, thought all his life that he would for sure be an Alpha. He had all the traits of one: tall, strong, smart, good looking, talented, confident. So when that stupid piece of paper earlier told him he was not an Alpha, but a Beta, it’s understandable that Bakugou would be agitated.

But in fact, he was agitated because he wasn’t upset about being a Beta for the reasons he thought he’d be. 

Sure, Betas were stereotypically considered “lesser” than Alphas in terms of skills but that didn’t bother him — it would just make all his accomplishments that much more outstanding. No, after he thought about it, being a Beta didn’t really bother him at all. Except for the fact that— 

“Midoriya-kun is it true? Are you really an Omega?”

It was one of the girls from his class, or rather, most of the girls from his class, standing around that damn nerd, right in his path for the door.

“E-Eto...well, yes, m-my result sheet said that I’m an Omega,” Deku stuttered out, his hand rubbing the back of his head awkwardly, his face turning pink from being so close to so many girls at once.

Bakugou hadn’t realized he’d stopped walking, until Deku actually said those words, and the sudden sour twisting in his stomach caused him to stare down at his stationary feet, brow furrowed at too many emotions stacked on top of each other inside him. 

Himself being a Beta, didn’t bother Bakugou Katsuki at all. 

Setting his jaw, his brow still creased, he raised his head and started walking again, his glare fixed on that damn nerd.

But that bastard Deku being an Omega? 

Ehhh, that’s amazing! I think you’re the only male Omega in school...”

“Does that mean you’re gonna have heats like girl Omegas do?”

“Can you mark others? I guess not cause you’re an Omega, being a guy wouldn’t change that, right?”

“That means only an Alpha can mark you, right, Midoriya-kun?”

That bothered him more than he was ever going to admit.

Bakugou’s stomach felt like a wet towel being rung out, but he just kept walking. He wasn’t going to acknowledge that, to him, the thought of someone else actually doing something he couldn’t, of someone else marking Deku, was utterly—

Disgusting.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

The Monday that followed, Izuku showed up to school wearing a collar. The girls in their class fawned over it at first and a few of the guys made light jabs at him for it, but by the end of the day it was old news. Kacchan hadn’t said two words about it, and that…threw Izuku off a bit. He’d expected Kacchan to give him the hardest time for the collar out of everyone, but his childhood-friend hadn’t even acknowledged it, or acknowledged him for that matter, the entire day.

And that was pretty much how the rest of junior high went; Kacchan would ignore him, or, when interaction was unavoidable, simply call him a nerd and tell him to shut up or go away – but his words, while harsh, never contained the venom that muttered “disgusting” from back in seventh grade had contained. Izuku was relieved for that at least, he could handle Kacchan keeping him at arm’s-length; even if it meant he didn’t really have any friends. Kacchan, being the most popular guy in their grade, would, in a variety of ways, steal away anyone who tried to get close or be nice to Izuku for too long.

Izuku didn’t understand why Kacchan ostracized him like that, but it’d been happening for so long now, that Izuku was used to it. He knew he had betrayed Kacchan all those years ago back in grade 5; but while that didn’t mean he deserved this harsh treatment, Izuku couldn’t bring himself to hate Kacchan for it either. Kacchan had his faults, Izuku knew that better than anyone else probably, but he was still smart and confident and good at a lot of things and Izuku couldn’t help but to admire Kacchan like he always had… Was admire the right word still? Izuku felt that somewhere along the way it had turned into…intimidation …somewhat.

 

-- -- --

 

“Since you’re all third years it’s time for you to think seriously about your future,” their homeroom teacher said in a stern voice, though Izuku was really only half listening; scribbling down a quick idea on what should happen next in the manga in his notebook.

It was the start of their first term as ninth graders, their last year of junior high (and of mandatory schooling) before they all went off to either start working or continue on into high school. Whoever decided to have youths make such a big decision at only 14 years old was obviously over-exuberant. 

“I’ll pass out handouts for your future plans now, but…” their homeroom teacher continued, Izuku glancing up from his seat in the back at the pause in the teacher’s voice. “…you’re all pretty much planning to transfer into the local high schools, right?” 

Haaai!” The whole class, for the most part, answered enthusiastically. While their junior high wasn’t really anything special, it did have the highest rate of students going on to high school compared to the other junior highs in the prefecture; so continuing on your education pass the mandatory level was pretty much assumed if one went here.

“Yes, yes, you all have your heads in the right place!” Their homeroom teacher continued with a merrier tone. “But you’re still required to fill out the forms…”

“Sensei!” Kacchan suddenly called out from his seat in the next row over and a space up from Izuku. He had his feet propped up on his desk and he was leaning back casually in his chair in such a way that said he really couldn’t be bothered with all this. “Don’t lump us all in the same group,” he continued. “I’m not gonna be stuck at the bottom with the rest of these rejects.”

“That was uncalled for, Katsuki!” One of their male classmates replied in protest, a few other of their classmates voicing agreement and glaring at the blond, spiky-haired boy. 

“You all should shut up like the extras you are!” Kacchan retorted with a snarky expression.

“Oh, oh,” Their homeroom teacher suddenly chimed in again. “If I remember correctly, Bakugou, you wanted to go to…Yuuei High School, right?”

A collective gasp went up from their classmates and Izuku tensed before lowering his head down onto his desk and hiding his face in his arms. 

Yuuei? The national school?!”

“Their acceptance rate is so low!”

“You have to be exceptionally gifted to get in there, though, right?”

“Katsuki is basically a baseball protégé so I’m not surprised…”

“That’s exactly why you guys are just extras!” Kacchan announced, silencing the class before he deftly propelled himself up onto his desk to tower above everyone else and continued, getting more and more worked up with each sentence. “I aced the mock test. I’m the only one at this school who could possibly get into Yuuei. I’ll definitely surpass Otani Shohei* and become the number one baseball player in Japan! My name’ll be inscribed on the list of top earners!" 

“…Oh yeah, Midoriya wanted to go to Yuuei, too, right?” The homeroom teacher suddenly chimed in and Izuku flinched before slowly raising his head up, having been praying silently that this wouldn’t be brought up. But of course, it was… 

Izuku glanced at Kacchan who was standing frozen on top of his desk, and he could feel the rest of the class’ eyes staring blankly at him. Only for a second though, because then the entire class burst out laughing at him, causing his hair to stand on end.

Hah? Midoriya? No way!” One of the guys in their class called out.

“You can’t get in there just by studying! You have to be talented at something!” Another one chimed in, everyone else still laughing.

“Th-That’s actually not a requirement!” Izuku protested, pushing himself to stand up, his expression even more wimpy looking than his voice sounded. “There’s just no notable precedent…”

With a loud landing Kacchan jumped from the top of his desk down to the floor right beside Izuku, silencing him and the rest of their classmates. 

“Oi, Deku!” Kacchan started, voice louder than it needed to be, taking a menacing step towards Izuku that caused the shorter boy to back up into the other aisle, but of course he tripped on the leg of his chair and landed on his butt on the floor instead. “You’re below these rejects!” Kacchan continued, his fists clenched tight and raised up slightly in some violent emotion or another. “You’re talentless! How can you even stand in the same ring as me?”

“No, wait, Kacchan!” Izuku started, a look of sheer panic on his face as he raised one hand in attempt to pacify his childhood friend, slowly backing up along the floor as he spoke. “It’s not like I’m trying to compete with you or anything!” His back hit the back wall of the classroom and he realized he’d trapped himself. “Believe me!” 

Kacchan’s expression didn’t move a centimeter.

“It’s just that…” Izuku continued, leaning forward a bit sheepishly, his voice not as panicked as a moment ago but still just as submissive. “It’s been my goal for some time now, and, well…” He chanced a glance up at Kacchan before adverting his eyes again. “I won’t know unless I try…”

“Whatddaya mean, unless you try?!” Kacchan yelled again, his eyes practically burning red, making Izuku flinch. “Are you taking the test for fun?!”

At that, Izuku lowered his head, ashamed.

“What the hell can you do?” Kacchan asked incredulously as he turned his back on his childhood friend, quiet snickers echoing from their classmates. “You’re worthless!”

 

-- -- --

 

PM 03:31

 

Izuku’s phone suddenly buzzed in his pocket as the classroom emptied of students, everyone heading home or making plans since school was done for the day. Pulling it out, he found a message from his mother saying she was running errands and would be home late and would he mind terribly getting dinner for himself that night?

“I’ll just pick up something from the convenience store on my way home…” Izuku said to himself as he texted his mother back. Slipping his phone back into his pocket, he then picked up the notebook he’d been writing in earlier off his desk and went to put it into his oversized yellow backpack, when it was suddenly snatched out of his hands.

Looking up, Izuku found a pissed-off Kacchan standing in front of his desk, sneering down at him, his notebook being fanned back and forth in Kacchan’s hand, just out of his reach. 

“We’re not done talking yet, Deku.” 

--

“Katsuki, what’s that?” Two of their classmates that Bakugou hung out with the most frequently, came up behind him then. They were both Alphas but, when they were around Bakugou they treated him like an Alpha and acted like Betas themselves.

In reply to the one’s question, Bakugou held up Izuku’s notebook over his shoulder, so the guys could see what was written on its cover, but kept his body facing Deku.   

“Huh?” The one guy spoke again, reading the front of the notebook. “‘The New Adventures of All Might’?” He stifled a chuckle then turned a bit and laughed out right. “Seriously?

“Midoriya…” The other guy chuckled, shaking his head at how childish it was.

“I-It’s fine, isn’t it?” Deku quickly responded, standing up from his sent. Then he immediately faced Bakugou and reached his hands out towards his notebook. “Give it back!” 

With an unchanging expression, Bakugou pulled out his black zippo lighter from his pocket and with a skilled, fluid movement flicked it open and on, holding it mere centimeters below the corner of Deku’s easily flammable paperback notebook.

Most of their classmates thought he was a smoker; he wasn’t, but Bakugou also never bothered to correct them since no one ever directly brought it up to him. Of course he knew better than to jeopardize his chances of becoming a pro-athlete by doing something as annoying as smoking. He just liked the weight of the small square object in his pocket, how the smooth cool metal felt in his hand, watching the flame flicker back and forth but never go out. 

He had first “borrowed” a lighter from his dad’s desk draw years ago, when the old man wasn’t home one time, and Bakugou had taken to always carrying one with him ever since. Keeping it out of sight when he knew he should, but pulling it out to absent-mindedly flip around his fingers when he could. Everyone knew he had fire in his hands but no one ever said anything.

--

“Ahh!” Izuku exclaimed but didn’t dare reach for his notebook, Kacchan’s glare keeping him firmly in his place. He could only watch as Kacchan held his precious notebook, with all his story ideas from the past 6 months or so in it, haphazardly by two fingers and swung it back and forth above the open flame, the edges slowly turning brown and crinkling from the heat. “T-That’s mean…!” Izuku cried, tears budding in his eyes; he was always one to cry easily.

But then, just as fast as Kacchan had produced the lighter, he flicked it close and slipped it away before tossing Izuku’s notebook over his shoulder and out the third-story window of their school building.

Whaaat?!” Izuku let out a shrill cry, still on the verge of tears.

“Hmpt,” Kacchan grunted softly as he lowered his hand and looked at Izuku with a more neutral expression now, but his eyebrows still furrowed in annoyance. “Most star athletes have stories about them from their school days,” Kacchan stated, Izuku still quivering where he stood, in shock over what just happened to his notebook. “I want the shine of being able to be called the only student to make it into Yuuei from this mediocre local junior high,” Kacchan paused and shut his eyes with a smirk before adding, “I mean, I am a perfectionist.”

One of the other guys looked over his own shoulder at that and said under his breath, “He’s so petty.”

Kacchan then reached out and clamped a hand onto Izuku’s shoulder, gripping it hard, letting Izuku know just how much stronger than him he was. “So anyway, don’t apply to Yuuei, nerd.”

Izuku turned to look from the hand on his shoulder to Kacchan’s intimidating grin and was barely able to stutter out a few sounds in what wasn’t really a response, truthfully.

Releasing him, Kacchan began to walk towards the door and the other two boys trailed after him, looking over their shoulders and smirking at the still frozen in place but quivering Izuku.

“Come on, you could at least say something back.”

“Don’t say that. He’s pathetic. He’ll probably try and be good at anything.”

-- 

Bakugou paused just before the door at that, those words ringing truer than their classmates probably realized. Writing was one thing Deku actually could do, and no one knew that better than Bakugou Katsuki, probably (thought honestly, he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t surprised that that damn nerd was still working on their manga after all these years…was surprised the right word? Touched, maybe?). If Deku managed to get into Yuuei and became a famous author or something…he could become just as, if not more famous than Bakugou was going to be. But he wasn’t about to let that happen; Deku can’t become famous, Deku can’t surpass him, Deku can’t…leave him… He can’t.

“If you wanna be good at something that badly, there’s a quick way to do it,” Bakugou said, his voice just as intimidating as before, not hinting at the pit that was opening up in his stomach at all, as he turned to look over his shoulder at that bastard once more. “Believe that you’ll be born with talent in your next life and take a last chance dive off the roof!” 

Deku flinched at that and after a moment turned around and looked back at Bakugou, his eyes intense but his expression still scared as hell. 

Bakugou cracked his knuckles intimidatingly loud and said in a teasing, sing-song way. “Nani?

But Deku just stood there quivering, not saying a word. So, with a soft “tch”, Bakugou turned and exited the classroom.

“Oi, Katsuki!” One of the guys called out once they were all a few paces down the hall. “Don’t you think that last part was bit much?”

“Tch,” Bakugou clicked his tongue again in distain, hands in his pockets, his thumb rubbing the side of his lighter over and over again. “He’s an idiot dreaming like a kid like that...it pisses me off…!”

 

-- -- -- --

 

Bakayaro!’ Izuku thought angrily to himself as he trudged along the side of his school building towards the front gate, his head hanging a bit dejectedly, his brow furrowed in thought. ‘If I really jumped, that would mean you instigated a suicide! Think before you speak!

Glancing to the side, he suddenly noticed the fish in his school’s koi pond noming at something floating on the surface…and that something happened to be his notebook that Kacchan had just thrown out the window. ‘That’s not fish food, baka.

That’s my notebook…’ he reached down and retrieved the soggy and burnt notepad. ‘Baka…’ He gritted his teeth so hard his head started to quiver a bit. ‘…Bakayaro!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

The All Might manga series started to get popular right when Kacchan and Izuku were born, though it had been in circulation for a couple years before that. It was a simple Alpha superhero comic, but the art style and story arcs were captivating and original enough to earn it an ample following and it became a very successful franchise.

Despite the notoriety of the manga however, the author, Yaki Shunten, was a very secretive person; never having a signing event or an in-person interview or releasing a picture of himself – no one even knew what his status was. Then, for reasons unknown to the public, he suddenly stopped making the manga when Izuku and Kacchan were in grade 2.

 

“I can’t believe they canceled it…” Izuku sighed as he rested his head back against the edge of Kacchan’s bed, staring up at his best friend’s bedroom ceiling. It was winter break, and he was over at Kacchan’s to play, though neither of them really felt like playing after the news they got this morning about how their favorite manga series, the series they’d become friends over, was being discontinued.  

“Tch, they’re selfish adults, Izuku. They always do whatever they want…” Kacchan retorted as he leaned back in his desk chair, making it balance on two legs, his feet propped up on the edge of his desk as he tossed a softball up into the air over his head and caught it over and over again. It was snowing pretty hard for once, so even if they wanted to go outside and play to take their minds off things, they couldn’t.

“I was really hoping that there would be a chapter that told us more about All Might’s past…” Izuku started, still staring up sadly at the ceiling. “I always thought that he must have been separated from his parents by a villain or something and that’s why he’s traveling all over; he’s trying to find his parents…”

“Or find the villain and get revenge,” Kacchan added before suddenly sitting right and tossing the ball to Izuku who looked up just in time to awkwardly catch it before it hit him in the face. “Hey, did I ever show you the villain I designed?”

Izuku shook his head ‘no’ then quickly got up and went over to his best friend when the other started to riffle through one of his desk drawers, the softball still clutched tight in both his hands.

“I got the idea for him after the last issue came out… Here—” Kacchan pulled out a large sheet of drawing paper and showed it to Izuku who’s mouth fell open in awe. “I call him Lord Explosion Murder. See—” Kacchan pointed to the drawing as he talked. “—he can shoot fire from his hands and he wears these giant cuffs on his wrists that can collect the fire and allow him to shoot out really big, powerful blasts.”

“Kacchan…sugoi!” Izuku exclaimed as he looked over the drawing. “This looks like it could be from the actual manga…!”

And that was when the idea hit both of them simultaneously.  

“We should continue—”

“—the manga ourselves!”

They grinned wide at each other.  

“You can draw it cause you’re such a good drawer, Kacchan.”

“And you can write everything down! You do have really cool story ideas, Izuku.”

Izuku shook his head. “We can come up with the story together, so it’ll fit your characters better.”  

Kacchan grinned with a renewed spark in his eyes and clenched his fist determinedly. “Let’s do this!”

 

-- -- --

 

The automatic doors of the convenience store let out their two-note chime as Izuku walked through them and back out onto the sidewalk. A plastic bag, containing some instant ramen and other snacks that would be his dinner that night, ruffled as he slipped his receipt inside of it, and then lowered it to his side. The sun was just starting to set and everything was taking on that warm golden glow that accompanied this time of day.

Continuing down the street a ways, he saw up ahead that the book store he frequented (since it was on his route home) was much busier than usual, with a queue of people stretching out the doors and out onto the sidewalk.

So many people...’ Izuku thought to himself as he got closer. ‘They must have a famous author here to do a signing or something.

Pardoning himself through and then around the line of people to actually get inside the store, he saw a large poster board propped up on an easel that confirmed his suspicions.  

“‘Today Only!’” Izuku read the sign aloud to himself. “‘Bestselling historical fiction author...Yagi...Toshinori...’” ‘Eh?!!! He’s going to be teaching at Yuuei next year?!’ Izuku quickly looked back at the crowd of people. ‘If only I had known! I would have gotten here sooner!’ He saw that the line had only grown in size even more and he slumped forward a little dejectedly and let out a hopeless sigh. ‘The sign says it’s ending soon so there’s really no use...’  

And so, still hunched over in defeat, Izuku made his way downstairs to the manga section of the book store; today was just one of those days that he desperately needed the type of escape only a good story could provide. Stowing the plastic shopping bag from the convenience store in his backpack, he walked over to the “Shounen” aisle, his eyes gazing over the brightly colored spines and covers of the various issues on the shelves. 

He noticed a few ‘SALE’ stickers on some issues on the lower shelves so he squatted down to get a better look at them, his hands resting atop his knees. This section of the store was rather quiet, since most people were upstairs for the signing, and Izuku was glad for that. While he didn’t like to always be alone, sometimes he could take comfort in knowing he didn’t have to be conscious of others around him.

He pulled out a few different comics and flipped through them, ultimately putting each one back on the shelf – until he saw it; tucked behind another random book, was a lone issue of the All Might series with a big ‘70% DISCOUNT’ sticker on the front. As he pulled it out from the shelf, he shifted his weight, his eyes shining as he looked at the manga in his hands.

‘It’s been so long since I’ve seen one of these in a store…’ Izuku mused to himself, a happy grin on his lips as he thumbed open the cover – it was in really good condition, especially for how old the issue was. ‘Ha! I remember this one! The villain in this was one of Kacchan’s favorites…’

As if on auto pilot, his eyes began to read through the dialogue and art, and without Izuku even realizing it, there he was: just sitting in the aisle of the book store, fully engrossed in the manga he's already read probably well over a dozen times, a stupid smile taking up his entire face. He was so wrapped up in the story that he didn’t realize how much time passed as he continued to read, the light from the small windows at the top of the wall fading slowly from the golden orange of late afternoon to the darker hues of twilight.

He probably would have sat there contently, reading until he had finished the issue and the sun was long gone, blissfully tuned out to the world around him. But fate has a funny way of screaming in your face when you least expect it. Or, in this case, walking into the same aisle in a book store as you, when you least expect it.

‘All Might’?”

A manly voice, that wasn’t too deep yet still commanding, jolted Izuku out of his escape. Looking over his shoulder, he saw a tall man in a tan trench coat standing just inside the aisle, his face was angular and taut, and his eyes dark and inset. His hair was blonde and disheveled with two long bangs framing his face, and Izuku could tell, even in spite of the baggy clothes he wore, that the man was skinny, almost like a person who was ill and lost a lot of weight.

“I’m surprised any one even still sells those…” The man continued, his eyes trained on the comic in Izuku’s grasp, his hands resting inside the pockets of his trench coat. “Don’t get too invested kid,” he added, his gaze shifting up to meet Izuku’s, “the author stopped making that manga years ago.”

“I know, I have this issue already anyway…” Izuku started as he closed the book, looking back down fondly at the cover before standing up and turning to face the man more. “It’s just been so long since I’ve seen an issue in a store anywhere, that I couldn’t help myself.” Unable to suppress the expression of admiration on his face, Izuku rubbed the back of his head in light embarrassment with one hand while he held the book to his chest with the other. Then he noticed how dark it was getting outside. “Ah, it’s late I better get going.”

With a slight bow of his head, Izuku turned and began to walk out the other end of the aisle towards where the register was, but he didn’t get very far before the stranger spoke again. “You’re going to buy it?”

Izuku stopped and turned back to face the man once more, his expression and voice now meek. “H-Hai!”

“But I thought you said you already have it?” The man questioned with a slight tilt of his head.

“Ano, I do...” Izuku answered bringing the book up to hold it with both his hands. “I have every issue.” He looked down at the cover once more, smiling bashfully, the large sale sticker on the cover glaring up at him. “...This series was my favorite when I was little. It’s what my childhood friend and I bonded over and what made us both decide to become mangakas when we got older,” his eyes glistened a bit at the memory. “The unique art style, the captivating storyline that took you on a roller-coaster ride and keep you reading until late at night with a flashlight under the covers, the awesome characters...”

“But it’s a children’s comic, you seem a little old to still enjoy reading it,” the man interjected.

Izuku’s expression softened at that. “…Maybe you’re right; for anyone else, they could just be buying it for nostalgia. To keep it on a bookshelf or in a box somewhere, just to say they have it but never to read it, maybe to give to their own kid one day. But for me…these stories mean so I much that I know I’ll enjoy reading them at any age. And isn’t that the sign of a really good manga?”

Looking up at the man then, Izuku was surprised to see him staring back at him in…was it awe? Amazement? Confusion? Izuku couldn’t pin the other’s expression to any one emotion, but it definitely wasn’t the expression Izuku was expecting to meet.

“A-Amo…Sumimasen. I-I didn’t mean to go on and on like that…S-Sometimes, when I start talking, my thoughts just keep coming out of my mouth faster than I—” Izuku rambled on, not really registering that the man was walking over to him until he had stopped right in front of Izuku and held out his hand.

“May I see that for a second please?”

“A…e…Ee,” Izuku mumbled out with a nod and passed the manga over to the stranger.

The man looked at the cover for a moment before opening it to the first page. He then preceded to take out a black marker from his pocket and began to write on the inside of the comic. Which obviously caused Izuku to start freaking out.

“Amo, w-wait, mister, I haven’t paid for it yet, I-I—”

“Yagi-sama,” the voice of another man from the other end of the aisle, behind the man who was currently vandalizing the manga (as far as Izuku was concerned that is), caused both Izuku and the stranger to turn and look. “The car is waiting.”

Aside from his height that made him even taller than the first man, this second man was rather plain-looking with short black hair and black eyes, he had on a fitted black suit, slacks and black shoes and tie tied close to his neck.

“Of course, Naomasa,” the man close to Izuku replied before handing the manga back to Izuku and turning to leave with a flourish of his trench coat and not so much as another word to Izuku.

Watching them leave, the second man bowing to the first slightly as he passed by, before following behind him respectfully, Izuku couldn’t shake the feeling that he had seen the second man somewhere before. 

‘Familiar…or perhaps he just has one of those faces?’ he thought to himself as his feet carried him to the register. ‘But also…‘Yagi’? Where have I heard that name…’ he paid for the manga, preoccupied with his thoughts the whole time. He stared down at the issue in his hands as he started walking towards the stairs when he suddenly remembered, ‘…Oh, I should look what he wrote inside…’ 

Opening the covered, Izuku’s eyes immediately went wide and he stopped mid-step as he saw what was written there:

Thank you for reminding me -Yaki Shunten

“Th…that’s…” Izuku could hear his heart in his ears it was pounding so loud. For that signature, he recognized immediately— because he saw it every day hanging on the wall of his bedroom: the signature of Yaki Shunten, the author of the All Might manga series.

“WAHH, I MET YAKI SHUNTEN!” he wailed up at the ceiling, tears of joy in his eyes as he clutched the signed issue tight in both his hands, then he quickly realized he had said that out loud and clamped a hand over his mouth, looking back over his shoulder at the cashier who was paused mid-action staring at him with a single eyebrow raised over their glasses. 

“Heh heh…” Izuku chuckled quietly as he raised his hand slightly in apology, before turning suddenly and sprinting towards and up the stairs to get back to the main level of the book store. As he got to the top he looked around to see if the two men were anywhere, panting hard, but he didn’t see them.

Figuring they must have went outside already, Izuku started towards the main doors, the signed manga clutched tightly in one hand. As he went he saw a staff member taking down the poster from earlier since the signing event had ended awhile ago, and the name on the board caught his eye, “Yagi Toshinori…”

 

“Yagi-sama, the car is waiting.”

“Of course.”

 

The realization made him stop in his tracks and an aghast expression come over his face. ‘WAHHHH, YAGI TOSHINORI IS YAKI SHUNTEN!’

Looking from the front door to the poster and back a few times, Izuku managed to compose himself enough to start running towards the doors again. He burst through them panting hard, looking down the street first and then up it, spotting his hero about to get into the backseat of a sleek black car that the second man, Naomasa? (his secretary perhaps?), held open the door of, for him.

Yaki-Sensei!” Izuku cried out at the top of his lungs, his 14-year-old voice cracking, and started running towards the car.

The two men looked up at the sound of Izuku’s voice and Toshinori smiled lightly to himself before getting back out of the car. He patted the concerned-looking Naomasa’s arm once before taking a few steps away from the car and towards a fast-incoming Izuku.

Panting hard, Izuku slowed his gate until he had bounded to a stop about a yard in front of the blond man. Bending forward with his hands on his knees he panted hard a few times to catch his breath before righting himself and looking up at his hero with his face flushed and his eyes a bit teary. However, his expression was determined; despite all the things he could say, all the things he wanted to say, there was one question he must ask the man before him, no matter what.

“I...I...Can I become a mangaka even if I can’t draw?!”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

“Can I become a mangaka even if I can’t draw?!” Izuku practically shouted out, knowing he would have never gotten the question out had he said it in a normal tone. 

It was a silly question, he was aware, and one that even he could only assume the answer to. But even still, it was one he needed to ask. Especially now that the author of his all-time favorite manga, Yaki Shunten—er, Yagi Toshinori, was standing right in front of him.

“C-Can even someone who’s talentless, become like you?” he added, his eyes already shut tight and his cheeks flushed pink not only from his sprint over here, but also because of his embarrassment. Though, because his eyes were shut, Izuku didn’t see Toshinori’s surprised expression.

“…Hrk—” Suddenly, Toshinori let out a strained sound and Izuku opened his eyes just in time to see the blond man spit out a mouthful of blood and wipe his mouth on his sleeve.

Wa-ahhhhhh!” Izuku wailed in astonishment, taken aback by the sight.

Y-Yagi-sama!” Naomasa exclaimed as he took a few steps forward towards the blond man, his face full of concern. But Toshinori held up his hand as a sign that he was alright and Naomasa stopped advancing.

“…Young man…” Toshinori started as he lowered his arm and straightened his shoulders, eyeing Izuku with an assured gaze, his tone taking on a light air of disbelief. “You mean to tell me, you’ve wanted to become a mangaka all these years, but you don’t draw?!

“E-Eto…” Izuku mumbled, lowering his gaze, a bit ashamed. “M-My childhood friend could draw really well. We were going to be a team. I’d write, he’d draw... But he doesn’t draw any more—” ‘or talk to me at all really’ “—so...I’ve just been writing stories.” Clenching his fists at his sides, Izuku looked back up at the famous, award-winning author with a determined glint in his eyes. “But I want to get better! I want to go to Yuuei High School and—. . . !” Suddenly, he remembered what he had read on the poster when he first entered the book store earlier. “Wahhhh! You’re going to be a teacher there starting next year, right?!”

“Hm…” Toshinori let out a soft chuckle as his lips pulled into a grin. He then beckoned Izuku over closer to him, so that the two of them were less than an arm’s length apart before continuing. “Answer me this: why are you so set on becoming a mangaka? Why not just a regular literary author?”

Izuku blinked and looked down at his hands that were fiddling with each other for a moment before he started to answer. “I’m always made fun of at school because I can’t really do anything special. But I’ve always enjoyed reading manga and writing my own stories with the intention of them one day becoming a manga themselves...” His hand came up over his heart and his eyes shut gently as he continued, “The way the combination of words and pictures can touch your heart and make you feels things you haven’t experienced yourself. I want to be able to do that. I want to tell stories that impact others—” he looked up to meet Toshinori’s gaze once more, “—like how Yaki Shunten’s impacted me.” 

“…You want to tell stories like a person who no longer exists, huh?” Toshinori lifted his chin a bit as he smiled in a way that was both endearing but also had a ghost of sadness attached to it. Then, he raised one of his large pale hands and, with care, patted Izuku on the head once, twice. “Young man, I cannot simply say that you can become a mangaka even if you cannot draw. That skill is non-negotiable for that profession.”

Izuku’s expression fell a bit and he lowered his head, not wanting his idol to see the tears welling up in his eyes.

Of course, he knew all along that he couldn’t become a mangaka on his own if he couldn’t draw. He supposed that he was hanging onto the dream of being one for so long since…it was the last connection he had with Kacchan. It was the only sliver of hope he had that one day, Kacchan would forgive him for what had happened back in grade 5 and they could go back to how things were; the two of them, together, side-by-side, a team.

Being told now by his idol that he couldn’t do it on his own, wasn’t what upset Izuku. What upset him, was, being told that, forced him to accept that he really was on his own. That Kacchan wasn’t by his side anymore…and, realistically, probably never would be at his side again. So, if this is what Izuku really wanted, if this is what he chose to do, then, he was going to have to do it all on his own…

Bringing his arm up to rub his damp eyes against his sleeve, Izuku choked back a sob. “S-Sumimasen…hearing you, of all people say that, just made it very real for me.” He sniffed as he lowered his arm and smiled weakly, his still teary eyes lowered towards the ground. “I can’t just continue on like I have been…on my dreams alone,” He sniffed then added in a mumbled voice, “I…have to work a lot more than other people…or I won’t be able to catch up…”

Kacchan’s face from earlier that day flashed in his mind as Izuku said those words and his fist clenched tightly at his side. Regardless of whether or not he was good at it, Izuku knew this is what he wanted to do in life. He wanted to be a mangaka. And waiting for Kacchan to return to his side, like he had been doing, so that they could do this together, was foolish. Now Kacchan was so far ahead of him, pursuing his own dream. Izuku had a lot of catching up to do, if he wanted to reach his childhood-friend’s side once more.

Finally, he met Toshinori’s gaze once again, a determined glint showing in his own eyes now. “I want to become like you. I want to become a great author who makes stories people want to treasure, like you!”

Toshinori stared down at him for a moment in consideration, before suddenly smiling sincerely. “I’ll tell you what—” He started before leaning in closer and continuing in a lowered voice so as only Izuku would hear, “—one Omega to another…”

Izuku instinctively winced a little at that word, a small blush taking over his cheeks as he self-consciously brought a hand up and fingered the collar around his neck. It had been over 2 years now that he’s known what his status was, but it still made him flinch every time someone referred to him as an Omega… 

But, then he suddenly realized that Yaki—er, Yagi-sensei, had referred to himself as an Omega, too. Which took Izuku by surprise because firstly, he had never met another male Omega before, and secondly, because when he was writing mangas, Yagi-sensei had kept his status incredibly private. Admittedly, Izuku didn’t know much about Yagi Toshinori the literary novelist, but he was pretty sure the author had presented himself as an Alpha, or at least he at least let the public believe him to be an Alpha.

It struck Izuku then that, while the other man, Naomasa, had given off distinct Beta pheromones back inside the book store, the esteemed author before him…wasn’t giving off any pheromones what so ever – at least, not any that Izuku could detect1.

“…Y-You’re…an Omega, too?” Izuku questioned in a quiet voice, to which Toshinori simply winked.

“If you manage to get into Yuuei on your own accord,” Toshinori spoke, “then I’ll teach you how to draw.”

Izuku’s mouth fell open in awe; had his idol really just said what he thought he had?

“Although, it would be helpful to have something noteworthy in your portfolio to make sure the admissions committee puts you in the Mentor Course…” Toshinori commented as he brought one hand to his chin in thought as the other hand rested on his hip. After a moment of consideration, he snapped his fingers of the hand that had been on his chin, a plan falling into place in his head. “Here is my email,” he said to the still-in-shock and once-again-teary-eyed Izuku as he pulled a simple red, blue and yellow business card from his coat pocket and passed it to him. “Send me the name of a family restaurant close to your school and we can meet there tomorrow after your classes to discuss things further.” 

“H…H-Hai…!” Izuku sputtered out as he took the card with quivering hands, gazing down at the sharp graphic design on it in awe. Later, Izuku would notice that it had the same color scheme and design reminiscent of All Might’s superhero costume in the mangas.

“Young man,” Toshinori called out to him to pull him out of his stupor, and Izuku looked up to find his idol back at the door of his car, about to enter it once more. “Now that you know my identity and my status, make sure you don’t write about them online, even accidentally. I asked that these things not be made public for a reason.”

“Uh…mm,” Izuku nodded back once with his lips pressed tight together in a serious expression. Still clutching the card in his hands, he watched as the famous author slipped into the car along with that other man, Naomasa, and sped off down the street.

 

--

 

“You seem to have taken quite a liking to that junior high schooler,” Naomasa Tsukauchi commented from his place beside Yagi Toshinori in the back seat of the car. His eyes were on the phone in his hands, looking over Toshinori’s schedule for the next week, but all his focus was on the man sitting in his peripheral vision.

Toshinori was gazing out the tinted window as the buildings and few pedestrians sped past outside, one leg crossed over the other and his elbow propped on the door so that he could rest his head on his hand. Tsukauchi could still make out the grin that the other man’s lips were pulled into, however. 

“I think I may have found my protégé and Yaki Shunten’s successor.”

 

-- -- -- --

 

3:42 PM · THE FOLLOWING DAY

 

“Pardon my saying this, but…you look more exhausted than I do after pulling three back-to-back all-nighters in order to make a deadline,” Toshinori stated with a slight lilt to his other-wise concerned tone, one hand grasping his steaming mug of coffee that was resting on the table in front of him, while his other arm was strewn casually long the back of the booth Izuku and him were sitting at. “Did you not get any sleep last night?”

Izuku tightened his two-handed hold on the glass of orange juice in front of him, looking down at the straw in it and trying to get his semi-blurry vision to focus. He didn’t realize how the angle only made the dark circles under his eyes more prominent to the man sitting across from him.

“Eto…well…” Izuku began in a timid voice, still not meeting Toshinori’s gaze. “After you left yesterday, I went back into the book store and purchased a copy of every single one of your novels, and stayed up all night reading them.” He looked up then. “I-I’ve only finished two so far, but both were so captivating it was really enjoyable just to read through them,” he managed a sleepy smile and quickly covered his mouth as a(n adorable) yawn escaped out. “I don’t read very many novels, but even though they are composed of words alone, your work evokes the colors, sounds, and even smells so vividly. It’s different from your mangas in so many ways, yet…I can still tell it’s your work somehow. You may not write as Yaki Shunten anymore but, what was in your stories then, is still in your stories now.”

Half of that, Izuku probably wouldn’t have said out loud had he been at full mental capacity, but sleep deprivation only turned his mumblings into normal-volume ramblings.

“Then, today, during my breaks at school, I searched about you online to find out as much as I could,” Izuku continued after another yawn. “You’re not as secretive as you were back when you were creating manga, but you still keep a very private life and don’t do many interviews or signing events. Which explains why there was so many people at the book store yesterday...”

Izuku couldn’t help the pure, angelic grin that took over his face then. “Meeting you in person is a rare event… I feel really lucky that I’ve gotten to meet you twice in just twenty-four hours already.”

At that, Toshinori let out a hearty laugh and reached across the table to ruffle Izuku’s curly hair. “You’re a go-getter fanboy! I like that!”

Izuku let out a soft chuckle of his own as he smoothed down his hair, looking up at the famous author when the other started to speak once more.

“Young Midoriya, you want to go to Yuuei, right?”

“Hai…Hai!” Izuku answered once, then again with a bit more enthusiasm. “Because it’s where Yaki—er, where you went! So, if I’m going to go…I thought it would definitely have to be Yuuei!”

Toshinori reached over and ruffled Izuku’s hair once more, “You’re a true go-getter fanboy!” The older man then leaned back in his seat and brought the mug of coffee up to his lips. “I told you this before,” he continued in a more somber tone. “Being a mangaka; it’s not something you can do without knowing how to draw. It’s sad but that is what the reality is. And Yuuei’s the hardest high school to get into. In other words, if you want me to mentor you…”

“In the ten months until Yuuei’s entrance exam,” Izuku spoke to finish the man’s thought, leaning over the table a bit. “I have to do all I can to guarantee my acceptance!”

“That’s where this comes in—,” Toshinori quickly added as he pulled out a stack of papers from seemingly no-where and held it between two of his fingers, giving it a tap with his knuckles as he continued, “—I came up with this: ‘Aim to Pass: Notice Me Senpai Dream Plan’.” He then placed the stack of papers on the table and slid them over to in front of Izuku. “It’s a ‘training’ plan to help you write a novel by October. I’ve already cleared everything with my publisher. So long as you meet all your deadlines, they’d be happy to publish your work. This will be your first step towards becoming a mangaka!”

“…Hai?” Izuku questioned in a frail voice after a few beats, his head tilted to the side inquisitively. “My first step…write a whole book…in less than a year?!”

Toshinori nodded as he crossed his arms over his chest and sat back in the booth. “I understand you want to be a mangaka, but a manga will take too long to make with your lack of drawing abilities—let alone for it to get popular enough in time to make you noteworthy before the entrance exam. But if you manage to publish a novel this year, it’ll qualify for all the annual literary prizes, which get awarded around the time of the entrance exam. 

“While you could take more time and just publish closer to the exam date, I thought you’d agree that ‘award-winning published author’ carries a little more weight that just ‘published author’,” Toshinori raised his deep-set eyes to meet Izuku’s then, a small smirk playing over his lips. “Wouldn’t you agree?”

Izuku gulped, his lower lip quivering a bit in sheer panic. He looked down at the papers in front of him and took them up into his hands, shuffling though them as he skimmed them over with his eyes. “Even sleep and exercise time is included… 

“I want to engrain in you the skill that many writers lack: the skill of taking care of your health,” Toshinori explained, causing Izuku to flinch a bit because he hadn’t realized he had said that loud enough for Yagi-sensei to hear. “Only by taking care of your body, can your mind be at its best. Therefore, I’ll have you follow that plan in every aspect of your life!”

Toshinori leaned in across the table then and said in a lower voice, “Frankly, this is a super hard schedule, even for me; can you follow it?”

Izuku stared back down at the papers and gripped them tightly, his expression a mixture of determination and pure terror. “Of course…I have to work many times harder than anyone else, or else I won’t be able to achieve my dream!” 

And so began Midoriya Izuku’s ten months of hell.

The first seven were the hardest. Izuku wrote a lot regardless because he enjoyed it, but he soon learned that when you’re forced to do something you love every spare minute of every single day, even it can become tiring. But he never gave up. Even when the quiet thoughts of, ‘it’s okay if you don’t make it into Yuuei, you got to meet Yaki Shunten and spend this much time with him, that’s good enough’ crossed his mind. Because it wasn’t good enough if he didn’t achieve his dream, if he didn’t get to where he wanted to be.

Toshinori made himself available to Izuku as much as he could, which Izuku was especially grateful for, considering the man had his own work to be focusing on as well. Izuku was surprised at how adamant the famous author was about the healthy lifestyle aspects of the schedule he was forcing Izuku to follow, particularly when Izuku had seen him hack up blood enough times to know he wasn’t holding himself to the same standards… Izuku figured something was…wrong, with Toshinori’s health. But he could never bring himself to question his idol about it…partly because he didn’t want for there to really be anything wrong. And as long as he didn’t ask, there wouldn’t be.

Come mid-October, Izuku held a hardcopy of his just-published novel in his hands for the first time and nearly broke the ground with the strength of his tears-of-joy. The tale of a cherry blossom tree in love with a boy who sat underneath her shade and sang love songs while waiting to meet his soulmate. He never did and passed on due to old age, lying against her trunk. The cherry blossom tree wilted in grief and reincarnated into a girl with pale pink flowers growing on her skin. It was a little on the short side, but what it lacked in quantity it made up for in quality– according to Toshinori, that is.

The remaining few months were a whirlwind to Izuku, mostly consisting of intense studying for the actual entrance exam itself, and a couple marketing event for his novel – though for the most part, Toshinori worked behind the scenes with the other people at his publishing company to market the book for Izuku. Admittedly, Izuku never thought he would have enjoyed writing a novel; during the months of hell, he often found himself thinking ‘it would be so much easier to express this with a picture’. But in the end, he could definitely tell that he had grown as a writer, and he felt more confident in his talent than ever.

And then, it was 6am on the morning of Yuuei High School’s entrance exam.

 

-- -- --

 

FEBRUARY 26th · DAY OF ENTRANCE EXAM

 

“Yagi-sensei!” Izuku called out as he jogged out of his front door and over to where Toshinori was waiting for him on the sidewalk, Naomasa standing by the car pulled over at the curb. Izuku had awoken earlier that morning to a flurry of messages and calls from his idol. “What’s the matter?”

His breath puffed out into the cold morning air in small clouds and he held his jacket closed with one hand as he looked up at the famous author.

“My boy…” Toshinori began in a tone that made Izuku think he was in trouble at first, but then the older man suddenly produced a newspaper from no-where and held it up in front of Izuku as he let out a giddy, “You did it!

Izuku blinked as he was met with a picture of himself staring back at him from the page of the local paper. Taking it in his hands, Izuku saw that it was today’s issue. His eyes quickly scanned the article next to his name. “…I…I won the Gran Torino Literary Prize2?!

“Congratulations, my boy!” Toshinori said with a jovial laugh and ruffled Izuku’s hair affectionately. “This will surely sway the admissions committee in your favor! Assuming you pass the actual exam, that is. But you’ve been studying hard and I have faith in you! Now, on to business, the winner of this award gets their book translated into other various other languages for publication. Also, Gran Torino usually has an open conversation with the winner. He’s out of the country on a promotion tour for one of his own books, but he wants to meet with you as soon as he returns—” 

Toshinori cut himself off from his rambling when he noticed that Izuku had tears spilling down his face.

“I feel like I’m cheating…” Izuku spoke in a breathless whisper, his mouth wide in a grin despite his tears. “You did all this for me… I’m too blessed…”

Yagi chuckled a bit at this. ‘What are you saying?’ he thought to himself. ‘After all this time, it was your own hard work.’ He patted Izuku’s head once, twice. “We’ll have to fix those leaky eyes of yours.”

After he wiped away most of his tears, a line in the newspaper article made Izuku pause. “Wait…this award is given by… Wanforu3?” He looked up at his idol with a sudden hurt look in his eye. “That’s the publishing company that published the All Might manga series! And…,” he eyes hurriedly scanned the article again as a tight feeling overtook his chest. “And I remember reading in an interview that you mentioned Gran Torino was your mentor when you were at Yuuei…”

Toshinori’s face took on a grave expression then, as he knew what Izuku was insinuating. “Wanforu was my publisher. And Gran Torino was a teacher at Yuuei when I went there, and he helped me cultivate my writing ability. But Mirodriya, my boy, you did not win this prize because of your connection to me.

“Gran Torino knows nothing about you, actually,” Toshinori explained. “However, because of my connections, I knew this would be the only prize you even had a chance at winning because of the timing of the situation and because you are an amateur writer. That is why I pushed you so hard to get the book published by October, so that you could be entered in the pool of nominees. Though Gran Torino would not have chosen your book for the prize if it wasn’t worthy of it.” 

Izuku’s chest lightened a bit at the blond man’s words but he was still conflicted, staring down at the paper in his hands. Toshinori could sense this, and continued after a pause.

“This is something I was once told: ‘Something that you receive because you are lucky and something that you are given because you are recognized are different in essence.’ Take that to heart.”

Izuku’s face softened at that, the words making him trust his idol once more, as well as believe in himself.

“This award that you earned is because of your own effort,” Toshinori reiterated. “All I did was draw a starting line in the dirt for you.”

 

-- -- --

 

8:40AM · THE SAME DAY

 

“I made it…” Izuku said to himself as he caught his breath, panting slightly from the hill he just ran up to reach the arched entrance-way of Yuuei.

There was a small amount of kids walking the same direction he was, all of them in various different junior high uniforms, some with coats and scarves on as well since it was still winter. A sign off to the side read, ‘Yuuei High School Entrance Exam Location’, he was indeed in the right place. 

Yuuei High is a national school that, by reputation, only accepted the especially talented (or the especially wealthy). Its known as the school to go to if you want to become a household name. Its staff was primarily made of alumni, most of which were all famous people in their own respected fields, more than qualified to be high school teachers. Going there meant that, by your third year you’d have the network to go to whatever university or company and get whatever job you wanted – especially so if you managed to get into the Mentor Course.

Izuku gripped the straps of his over-sized yellow backpack as he walked under the archways towards the three oversized doors at the front of the building. His face the same mixture of determination and fear he had felt ten months ago when he began his journey to here. In the end, Yagi-sensei had told him not to mention their relationship or wanting to become a mangaka during the interview portion of the exam.

“Saying you want to be an author is more respectable than saying you want to be a mangaka, and it won’t draw suspicion to your already having published a novel,” Toshinori had told him that morning. “It’s alright to change to a mangaka after you get accepted, but for now I think going with author will be your best bet at getting in—to the Mentor Course, especially.”

Izuku covered his mouth with one hand and lowered his eyes as he slowed to a stop. “Yagi-sensei said it was alright but…should I really say that’s what I want to be…?” 

“Outta my way, Deku.

The harsh voice sounded behind Izuku and he quickly turned around to see his child-hood friend walking towards him, a pale scarf tied around his neck, eyes furrowed in the angry glare they always had whenever they looked towards Izuku.

“Kacchan!” Izuku didn’t know why his voice sounded so surprised, of course the spiked-haired boy would be here.

“Don’t stand in front of me. I’ll kill you,” Kacchan’s gravelly voice hissed out as he walked closer.

In panic, Izuku quickly side-steeped out of the other’s way and held up his arms a bit and flailed them in half-greeting, half-self-protection. “M-Morning,” he stuttered out. “L-Let’s both do our best…” 

He was a bit surprised when the taller boy just continued past him without another word or glance. Turning to watch his childhood-friend walk further towards the doors, Izuku overheard two other guys talking a couple yards away as they looked over their shoulders towards Kacchan.

“Hey isn’t that Bakugou? The one everyone’s saying is a shoe-in for the full-ride sports scholarship?

“Oo, he’s the real thing.”

Kacchan didn’t do anything to me,’ Izuku thought to himself as he stared after Kacchan’s back, before letting out a full-body sigh of relief. ‘I was just afraid of him out of habit.

Izuku stood up straighter and shook his head to psych himself up. ‘I’m different from before!’ he told himself, turning to look up at the large gold “Yuuei” emblem that hung above the front doors of the high school. ‘Remember these past 10 months!’ he cheered to himself, his expression determined despite his quivering legs. ‘Take the first step…to becoming a mangaka!

He stepped confidently forward, only for his back foot to get caught on his front and trip him up. The thought ‘This is it.’ passed thought his head as he felt himself falling, but then, just as suddenly, a pair of hands and a knee appeared and flipped him over until he was standing on his feet once more.

“Are you alright?” A soft voice sounded beside him, making Izuku realize that that really did just happen.

He spazzed out for a couple seconds, trying to work out in his mind how he went from falling to standing so quickly, until he registered that there was a girl standing beside him. Izuku immediately froze when he looked at her, short brown hair and rosy cheeks.

“My judo moves are sort of reflexive at this point,” the girl spoke with her fingers pressed together and a large smile on her round face. “Sorry for using them without saying first. But it’d be bad luck if you fell, right?”

Izuku was still frozen at this point. Had his brain been functioning, he really would have thought that she looked too small to be able to pull off the move she just did.

“Aren’t you nervous?” His female rescuer continued with a sing-songy tone as she gripped the straps of her own backpack, perhaps partly mocking Izuku’s frozen expression.

“E-Eto, eto…” Izuku managed to stammer out after that, flinching out of his stupor.

“Let’s do our best,” The girl said and raised her hand in departure as she turned and walked away towards the doors. “See ya!”

Izuku stared after her for a long moment before clenching his hands into fists passionately. ‘I talked to a girl!’

 

-- -- --

 

YUUEI HIGH SCHOOL MENTOR COURSE EXAM ORIENTATION


“For all you examinee listeners tuning in,” the male proctor at the front of the auditorium announced seconds after the lights in front had switched on. “Welcome to my show today! Everybody say ‘hey’!

The last part had been said in English and was met with a resounding silence. But the blond man with his long hair pulled back into a low pony tail and giant headphones resting around his neck, did not let his enthusiasm fade. “What a refined response. Then I’ll quickly present to you the rundown on the practical interview!” He then struck a dynamic pose, winking one eye over his tiny sunglasses at the auditorium filled with junior high students. “Are you ready?! Yeah!”

Again, silence.

Izuku, however, was barely containing his fanboying up towards the back of the auditorium where he was seated. “It’s the famous radio MC, Yamada Hizashi aka Present Mic! Sugoi…!” he gushed to himself behind his hands, his eyes sparkling and his cheeks blushing a bit. “I listen to him every week on the radio. I’m so moved. –All the teachers at Yuuei really are household names!” 

“—Shut up,” Kacchan lightly chastised from his seat beside Izuku, not bothering to look at the younger boy at all.

“As it says in the application requirements,” Hizashi began explaining. “You listeners will be participating in showcase interviews after your exams! You can bring whatever you want with you in order to show off your talents,” The large presentation screen behind him came to life then, showing a map of where they were supposed to go. “After the presentation, you’ll head to the specified interview area, okay?”

Silence.

Okay?!”

Izuku and Kacchan both looked at the exam tickets in their hands to find out where they were supposed to go for interviews.

“In other words,” Kacchan spoke, causing Izuku to flinch a bit. “They won’t let you be with your friends, huh?”

Izuku glanced over at Kacchan’s ticket and then back to his own. “Y-You’re right. Even though our examinee numbers are consecutive—” he looked back to Kacchan’s card, “—we’re assigned to different interview rooms.”

“Don’t look. I’ll kill you,” Kacchan growled low, making Izuku flinch away a bit. “Tch, damn, now I can’t upstage you.”

Suddenly, a guy sitting a few rows in front of him and Kacchan stood up and raised his hand high, calling out loudly to Hizashi. “May I ask a question?”

Okay!” Yamada answered as he pointed to the guy, whom then had a spotlight come on above him so that he was easier to see in the dark auditorium.

“Our exam tickets list two different interview rooms we are to go to,” The guy who stood up spoke loud and solidly as he held up his exam ticket and pointed to it. “If that is a misprint, then Yuuei, the most prominent school in Japan, should be ashamed of that foolish mistake,” he lowered his exam card then and held his fist to his chest. “We examinees are here in this place because we wish to be molded into exemplary professionals.”

The guy then turned around, his glasses glinting from the spot light, and pointed directly at Izuku. “In addition, you over there with the curly hair—”

With a meek expression, Izuku pointed to himself in question. 

“You’ve been muttering this whole time,” the guy said with an intense glare, not as mean as Kacchan’s but still intimidating none-the-less. “It’s distracting! If you’re here on a pleasure trip, then you should leave immediately!

Izuku quickly clamped both hands over his mouth and ducked his head, murmuring, “Sumimasen…” as the auditorium began to chuckled and giggle at him,

Okay, okay, Examinee Number 7111,” Yamada said, his voice elevated over the laughter by his microphone as he waved his hands in a motion for everyone to settle down. Then he shot the guy who had called Izuku out a thumbs up, “Thank you for the great message.” 

The large screen behind Yamada then changed to show some more graphics as he began to speak once more. “There are two interview locations listed so that those of you with athletic abilities will not have to be confined indoors when it comes time to show off your talents. Those of you with talents that can be displayed indoors can leave after your verbal interview in the first room is over.”

Glasses guy then bowed at a sharp ninety degrees, an action which was only extenuated by how tall he was, before speaking once more. “Thank you very much! Please excuse the interruption!” he then sat back down and the spot light above him switched off. 

Izuku over heard two guys in the row in front of him speaking to each other.

“I see… It’s sorta like a talent show, huh?”

“The whole thing is like a talent show.”

“That’s all from me!” Yamada spoke once more, his voice still full of enthusiasm. “Finally, I’ll give you listeners a present: our school motto! The hero Napoleon Bonaparte once said: ‘Ability is nothing without opportunity. Victory belongs to the most persevering.’ Go beyond—Plus Ultra!

 

 

Chapter Text

“But Aizawa, you haven’t even met the poor kid!” Nemuri chastised him from her seat across the table.

“I don’t need to meet them to know that they don’t belong in the Mentor Course,” Aizawa harped back in a solid monotone, his eyes closed as he took a sip of his coffee, black with 2 sugars snuck in.

“Uh oh, don’t tell me he’s already expelled another student?” Hizashi called out in his always-enthusiastic but currently-toned-down-because-he-was-at-a-family-resturant-with-his-colleagues-and-friends voice, setting his own stack of files down on the round table. “You realize that the acceptance letters have already been mailed out, right? It’d be an embarrassment to the school if they revoke the acceptance now.”

Aizawa set his mug back down on the table with a thud that was both discrete yet somehow also firm, his eyes still closed but now in annoyance. “I didn’t say I wanted the kid expelled, I just don’t want them in my class. They’re more fit for the General Studies department.”

“Principal Nezu won’t be happy,” Nemuri badgered from over the rim of her own mug of tea, raising a pointed eyebrow over her red glasses. “If the kid’s family complains it could be a PR nightmare.”

“Not my problem,” Aizawa shot back with little enthusiasm, sending off a quick email on his phone to Principal Nezu about the student he wanted removed. He was just slipping the phone back into his pocket when it began buzzing vigorously.

‘AIZAWA YOU BAKAYARO!’ His phone shouted at him when he answered and he quickly held it at arm’s length away from his head.

Oi, Oi, Oi! Who’s the one that accepted the kid in the first place?!” Aizawa shouted back into the phone and stood up, walking away from the table and out the door so as not to disturb the other restaurant patrons. “Did you even read their file?!”

Hizashi let out a sigh as he watched his best friend go. “He’s done something like this every year, I don’t see why Principal Nezu’s even worked up about it.”

“Normally he’ll have his two-cents in before the acceptance letters go out,” Nemuri spoke as her eyes trailed Aizawa out the door as well, before turning to look at her blond colleague. “But they were lagging on figuring out the rosters for the first year classes this time, so he didn’t get the student files until after the fact.”

“Did he finish going through all them?”

Nemuri nodded then tilted her head towards the closed folder resting on the table in front of where Aizawa had been sitting. “That was the last one, and the only one he wanted nothing to do with.” 

“Then he won’t mind if we go through his other files,” Hizashi sing-songed as he slid the stack of Aizawa-approved student files over closed to them and took one off the top.

“You’re not more interested in the one he rejected?” Nemuri questioned as she set down her own work and took a file for herself.

“Why bother with someone we’ll never meet?” Hizashi shrugged, not lifting his eyes from the file. “You and I both know he always gets his way.”

Nemuri glanced towards the front windows through which she could see Aizawa still on the phone outside, talking intensely, before nodding and looking back to the file she had opened.

“Aoyama Yuga...” Hizashi read the first student’s name to himself. “Oh wow, he’s a male Omega.”

“Oh really? Let me see—” Nemuri perked up at that and quickly snatched the file out of Hizashi’s hands. “Ooo, so stylish! And he wears a collar!” she exclaimed as she put a hand over her heart. “I’m so glad the younger generation are embracing them more.”

Hizashi snagged the file back then, giving Nemuri as light annoyed look before turning his gaze back to the file. “...Says here he did elementary school in France? And he’s an aspiring fashion designer... Apparently various magazines are calling him the next Hakamata Tsunagu…I wonder if Nezu-san can arrange a mentorship for him with Tsunagu-kun—”

Oooo look at her, I love her hair!” Nemuri suddenly squealed, stuffing her own file right in front of Hizashi’s face, much to the younger male’s exasperation. But he knew better than to chastise his senpai at this point so he simply set his file aside and looked at hers instead.

“Wow, uh…” Hizashi blinked a few times. “That’s really short and...pink.” 

“I know! Isn’t it so cute?” Nemuri gushed as she pulled the file back to herself just as quickly as she had pushed it in front of Hizashi. “Oh! Says here she’s a fashion designer too, no wait, my bad, costume designer. Apparently, she’s an avid cosplayer who makes all her own costumes and has a respectable and growing social media following.”

Hizashi leaned over and his eyes jumped to the top of the file ‘Ashido Mina…Omega’ somehow, he wasn’t surprised. He turned and picked up another file to look at. “…Oh hey, this one sounds like she might end up in your mentor class, and she’s wearing a collar too.”

Nemuri leaned over and looked at the file as well. “Asui Tsuyu...Omega...Marine Biologist,” she read aloud then skimmed over the lengthy section documenting how the girl had helped to rescue many marine animals during the Tsunami a few years ago. Then she nodded, “She’s a cutie, I accept.”

“Iida Tenya,” Hizashi read aloud, already having picked up another file while Nemuri had been reading. “Beta...Wait, is this—” his eyes quickly scanned over the document before he leaned back in his seat and wrapped the file with his knuckles. “It is! This is Iida Tensei’s younger brother!”

The Iida Tensei?” Nemuri questioned in disbelief. “You mean Iida 'Japan’s-fastest-runner, Olympic-relay-time-record-holder, I-have-5-gold-medals-and-counting' Tensei?”

“One in the same,” Hizashi nodded. “And from the looks of it, baby brother here is on the Olympic track too, only for the long jump and hurdles.”

“It’s been a while since we had a future Olympian at Yuuei.”

Hizashi nodded in agreement as he continued to read the file. He only got a few seconds however, before Nemuri gushed out once more.

Ooo this girl got the Infinity Scholarship!”

Hizashi looked up at that, “Wow, the school hasn’t given that out for the past two years. What did she get it for?”

Nemuri brought the file closer to her face, “Let’s see: Uraraka Ochako, Beta—”

“Is she—”

“Yes, she has a collar, I wouldn’t have squealed earlier otherwise...” Nemuri waved him off with her hand. “Huh, apparently she’s a Judo protégé of some sort; won her first competition at age 5, but...for some reason there’s a note that she also won a couple regional art competitions? For painting? Huh...it looks like Nezu-san wants her to be mentored by both Ken-kun and Hiro-chan, per condition of her scholarship.”

“She’s multi-faceted. I like that,” Hizashi nodded once in approval.

A waitress came to their table then and Hizashi ordered himself a cappuccino. Then they continued to go back and forth over the various student files.

“Ojiru Mashirao, Beta, martial arts protégé,” Nemuri read out. “Another one for Hiro-chan.”

“Kaminari Denki— oh my god what a bowl cut,” Hizashi chuckled and Nemuri leaned over and joined in giggling once she saw the picture as well.

“Oh wait he’s got a collar—” Nemuri suddenly stopped and tapped the picture with her finger. “—I take it all back, don’t laugh at him.”

Hizashi tapered off his chuckles. “Still…it’s befitting a computer engineering genius.”

“LOOK AT THIS PRECIOUS LITTLE BEAN,” Nemuri squealed out as she shoved a second file in Hizashi’s face.

The younger male blinked a few times before reading the file. “Kirishima Eijirou…Alpha...Basketball Star...” He stopped and looked up when he suddenly felt Nemuri’s eyes staring at him.

“What?”

“I just realized that his hair looks just like how yours was in high school,” Nemuri started as she leaned back in her chair, crossing her arms over her chest.

“My hair wasn’t red in high school?” Hizashi questioned after looking at the boy's picture again.

“No, but it was spiked up higher than Mt. Fuji.”

Hizashi clicked his tongue, unamused, before looking at another file and then tossing is over to Nemuri. “Oh, look another collared boy for your reverse-harem.”

She snatched up the file and scanned it. “Koda Koji, Beta...Veterinarian? Seems kinda plebeian. I wonder why Aizawa approved him?”

“You don’t recognize him?” Hizashi asked with a tilt of his head. “That bald head is kinda unforgettable. He was the mute kid that—”

Mute?

“Yeah, well, kinda. I was in his interview room. He can talk he just prefers to use hand gestures or sign language,” Hizashi explained. “Anyway, he singlehandedly rescued like 1,000 animals after the big earthquake a few years back.”

Nemuri looked at him over her glasses. “1,000? Really?”

“Okay maybe not a thousand but it was a lot of furry creatures, regardless. News stations all over the country were running stories on him for weeks cause he reunited the majority of them with their owners too.”

“What a pure cinnamon roll!” Nemuri put her hand over her heart once more, pretending to wipe away fake tears with the other. “My faith in humanity has been restored.”

“Satou Rikidou,” Hizashi began reading another file. “Beta...aspir—”

“Wowza he’s got some big ass lips.”

Hizashi pursed his own lips as he was suddenly interrupted, and lowered his eye-lids as he glared at Nemuri. “...aspiring patissiere. You know, Nemuri-san, you can’t blurt stuff out like that when you're actually in front of the kids. They have delicate self-esteem.”

“Hizashi-chan, look me in the eye and tell me those are not the mush luscious set of lips you’ve ever seen.”

“...moving on.” Hizashi grabbed another file. “Shoji Mezo, Alpha...dang this kid is tall.”

Nemuri read over his shoulder and let out a long whistle. “187cm...Oo! And he wants to be a pediatrician!” At that she snatched the file out of Hizashi’s hands and buried her nose in it. Being Yuuei’s resident science teacher, she was responsible for mentoring any students who wanted to enter a science-related field.

“Aizawa always did have a soft spot for any pre-med students...” Hizashi commented as he picked up another file and sipped at his drink.

“Wait why is that?” Nemuri asked, looking up.

“His parents wanted him to be a doctor originally— remember? He was in all your advanced science classes and stuff when we were in high school?” Hizashi explained without looking up. “Regardless of him ultimately changing career paths, he understands the pressures they face. But he only lets them stay in his class if it’s something they really want to do, and not something their family is pressuring them into.”

“Well this kid doesn’t have a family so—” 

“Wait, what?” Hizashi asked, leaning over to look at the file once more.

“Says here he grew up and still lives in an orphanage,” Nemuri said as she tapped the file with the back of her hand. “Principal Nezu waved all his tuition fees so that he could go here.”

“Huh, Nezu must have interviewed him or something.”

They looked at each other, shared a shrug, then each went back to their files. Nemuri grabbing a new one however.

“Hey I know this girl!” She exclaimed as she pointed to the picture in her file. “This is Mika’s daughter! You know, Jirou Mika, the famous punk rock musician?”

“Jirou Kyoka? Oh I know, I interviewed her,” Hizashi said nonchalantly.

“Let’s see here…” Nemuri continued as her eyes scanned the file. “Beta…and she has a collar! But wait, this says here she’s an aspiring model...I mean I can see why, she’s an eye-catching girl, but you’d think she’d follow in her mother’s footsteps. Plus, isn’t Mika’s husband a famous composer or something?”

Hizashi nodded. “I’ve had Mika on my radio show a few times. I wouldn’t call us friends, but…she confided in me that Kyoka does have musical talent but is not confident about it at all. Mika thinks it's cause Kyoka grew up her whole life in her mother's shadow,” Hizashi explained. “Mika asked if I could help Kyoka gain confidence, so I requested that Kyoka be put in the Mentor Course should she pass the entrance exam. I’m glad she’s in Aizawa’s class cause now he can help me look out for her.”

Nemuri pursed her lips and looked back down at the file in her hands.

The blond male with the large headphones around his neck took a sip of his drink again before speaking. “Sero Hanta…" he read from his own file. "Oh lookie, he’s got a collar but he’s an Alpha, that’s a first.”

Finally putting Kyoka's file down, Nemuri leaned over to look at the file over Hizashi’s shoulder. 

“Hah! Listen to this,” he continued. “Says he was voted best arms in his class ever since grade four, haha.”

“Well I mean he’s on his way to being an Olympic tennis player so that kinda makes sense,” Nemuri commented before sitting back and taking another file for herself. “Oo, look another Alpha with a collar!”

“Tokoyami Fumikage...” Hizashi said after leaning over and looking at the file for himself. “I like the hair, very sleek.”

As he picked up another file for himself, Nemuri added in, “Looks like he’s a freelance photographer...oh wow his work has been featured in this many magazines?”

“Apparently he’s a pro...” Hizashi trailed off causing Nemuri to look up at him.

“A protégé?” She offered, then she saw the look on the male’s face. “What’s wrong?”

“Is this who I think it is?” he asked, showing her the file in his hands.

Nemuri’s eyes went wide. “Oh wow...I didn’t know Todoroki Enji had another kid who was an Alpha...”

“Todoroki Shouto,” Hizashi read aloud. “…he’s one of the official recommendation students.”

“Considering who his father is I’m not surprised," Nemuri stated. "Though I wonder why he’s sending him to Yuuei after what happened with...his other son.”

They both agreed it would be better to move on and each picked up new files.

“Yaoyorozu Momo, Alpha...also one of the official recommendation students,” Nemuri read as she scanned the file. “Ah, so it is the same Yaoyorozu family then.”

“Didn’t they donate a lot of money to the school?”

“That’s why the entire three-story library is named after them," Nemuri affirmed.

“Oh my god, hahahaha,” Hizashi nearly fell out of his chair laughing a few moments later.

“What what?”

“This kid’s hair looks like a fuckin grape!” Hizashi showed Nemuri the file as he continued to laugh his ass off.

Nemuri stifled a snort before composing herself and nagging her friend with his own words. “You know, Hizashi-chan, you can’t blurt stuff out like that when you're actually in front of the kids. They have delicate self-esteem.”

Hizashi waved a hand to dismiss her words as he tried to compose himself. Nemuri took the file from him and read it.

“Mineta Minoru, Beta, economics. Why didn’t Aizawa kick him out, he seems lame.”

“He only…expels those who don’t have potential,” Hizashi managed as he sat back in his seat. “Maybe he interviewed him and saw that potential? But I agree, on paper, this kid seems...”

“Lame.”

“I was going to saw unremarkable—”

“So, lame.”

Hizashi let out a sigh. Then he grabbed one of the two files that were left. “Oh I remember this kid, Iida Tensei’s brother called him out during orientation cause he was mumbling apparently.”

“Lemme see—” Nemuri held one half of the file. “He has a collar. And he’s a male Omega! Wow it’s rare that we have two male Omegas in the same class, let alone have two at all.”

Woah!” Hizashi exclaimed in English. “I didn’t know he was an award-winning author! They’ll probably give him to Toshinori-san to mentor.”

“I don’t know,” Nemuri started, taking the file as Hizashi gave it over to her completely. “Remember when Nezu recruited him last year? He said he didn’t want to be a mentor... Besides, this kid already won a national literary prize! He doesn’t really need a mentor, if you ask me.”

“Huh...” Hizashi suddenly said, already looking over the last file.

“What?”

“Oh wow...”

What?” Nemuri exasperatedly questioned again as she leaned over to get a look at the file too. 

“This kid,” Hizashi pointed to the file and Nemuri began to read over his shoulder.

“Bakugou Katsuki, Beta...” she paused as her eyes went wide. “He got the Full-Ride Sports Scholarship?! Hasn’t that, like, notoriously only ever been given to Alphas?”

“That’s why I said 'wow',” Hizashi added. “He must be really talented if he’s a Beta and managed to get that scholarship...”

“He is.”

They both bristled at the sudden sound of Aizawa’s voice and quickly looked up to see their friend standing before their table once more.

Aizawa didn’t seem to care that they were meddling through his files, as he uneventfully sat back down in his seat and took another sip of his coffee, black with two sugars snuck in, now lukewarm.

“So...” Nemuri started, trying to act nonchalant. “Did Nezu chew your ass out?”

Aizawa set his cup back down before answering. “He knew I was right, he just didn’t want to admit it. So, I let him yell for a bit before talking him down.”

“And the student?” Hizashi asked.

“They already sent an email saying that they’re getting an acceptance in the mail but they mixed up the address with another student and that they’re not really in the Mentor Course but just the General Studies department.”

Hizashi slide the stack of files back over to his best friend. “So you’re only going to have 19 students in your homeroom then?”

“For now.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Yuuei High School’s Mentor Course. A program for those whose goal was to become professionals and make a difference in society or a note in history. Among similar high schools across the country, Yuuei is the most competitive and the most popular. Their Mentor Course’s acceptance rate is less than one in three hundred every year.

The writer who refused a National Literary Award, the greatest writer of our time, Yagi Toshinori. Japan’s most successful architect, responsible for rebuilding much of the infrastructure after the tsunami, Todoroki Enji, owner of Endeavor Industries. Winner of the Best Jeanist award 8 years in a row, fashion designer Hakamata Tsunagu. Two-time Noble Prize winner for her work in suppressant technology and the invention of the collar, Kayama Nemuri, owner of Midnight Labs.

Graduating from Yuuei is a requirement for becoming a great household name.

 

 

  

It had been one week since the entrance exam. From self-scoring, Izuku knew that he just barely passed the written exam. But that was canceled out by the big fat zero in the practical interview. He had decided not to follow Yagi Toshinori’s advice and say that his goal was to become a mangaka instead of an author. He couldn’t bring himself to lie to the interview panel, even if it was just a half-lie. But he couldn’t read the panel’s reactions very well, so he decided to assume the worse. That way he at least wouldn’t be too disappointed when the rejection letter came in the mail.

And ever since the entrance exam, he hadn’t been able to contact Yagi-sensei.

“The results should arrive today or tomorrow, right?” Izuku’s mother asked, calling over to were Izuku sat on the living room sofa just starting into space.

“Un…” Izuku eked out an affirmative response after a disheartened sigh, his head lowering a bit.

“Jeez, I think it’s amazing that you even applied to Yuuei!” His mother added, trying to be supportive. 

“Un…” Izuku replied again.

He hadn’t even told his mother about Yagi Toshinori helping him write his novel or about him agreeing to mentor Izuku should he get into Yuuei, because Yagi Toshinori was also Yaki Shunten, the mangaka behind the ‘All Might” manga series that Izuku held so dearly in his heart. He had kept this secret, because Yagi-sensei had asked him not to reveal his past pseudonym and career. Izuku still didn’t know why, but he could tell that the esteemed author had his reasons.

Letting out another sigh, Izuku leaned his head back against the top of the couch and stared up at the ceiling fan spinning idly. ‘Yaki-sensei…Yagi-sensei,’ he thought to himself. ‘After you saw potential in me and helped he get so far, I’m sorry I didn’t live up to it! But I did what I thought was right. Yagi-sensei, you…’

His phone vibrated and lit up on the table in front of him suddenly, drawing his attention. Izuku’s eyes widened when he saw the alert on the screen: a message from that person.

 

-- -- --

 

DAGOBA MUNICIPAL BEACH PARK

 

Izuku sprinted the route he had jogged many-a-time over the past year as part of the writing-schedule Yagi-sensei had drawn up for him, and under normal circumstances he might have noticed that he was much faster and not nearly as out-of-breath as he had been all those months ago when he first started. But Izuku currently had bigger thoughts occupying his mind. 

“YAGI-SENSEI!” Izuku cried out in a cracked voice when he spotted the writer waiting for him out on the sand, staring out at the dark ocean. He bounded up to the blond man and stopped a yard or so in front of him. “I came…as soon as I got your message…”

“I can see,” Toshinori chided lightly, a small grin on his lips as he stared down at the boy catching his breath. “Sorry for not contacting you sooner, I had some paperwork and other things to take care of,” He started. “But I wanted to be the first you heard it from.”

Izuku blinked in curiosity as the author reached into his pocket and held out a sealed envelope to him. Izuku’s eyes widened as he recognized the seal as Yuuei’s crest and he looked up wide-eyed at his idol. Toshinori nodded to him as if to give him permission to open the envelope, which Izuku proceeded to do with trembling hands, gulping nervously.

After a minute of reading through the letter, Izuku finally looked up with watery eyes and found Toshinori grinning even wider at him, his hand raised up for a high-five.

“Congratulations on your acceptance.”

“A-A-Arigatou-gozaimasu!” Izuku managed through the overwhelmed tears streaming down his face, returning the blond man’s high five. He was still in shock, he really couldn’t believe it. His dreams…were finally starting to become reality.

“Just so you know, I didn’t tell the school about my connection to you,” Toshinori stated. “You’re the type that would think that’s cheating, right? I wasn’t involved in the final decision making.”

“Th-Thank you for your concern!” Izuku bowed deeply in appreciation, his eyes still watery from the news that was sinking in.

“However,” Yagi continued, causing Izuku to upright himself so that he could listen. “since you said in your interview that you wish to become a mangaka, I won’t formally be able to be your mentor. I can’t have people knowing I’m Yaki Shunten.” 

Izuku’s heart dropped at that. And he wanted to kick himself for not following Toshinori’s advice after it had gotten him so far. Of course, it was too good to be true…

But then, Toshinori raised a finger in the air as his other hand rested on his hip in a matter-of-fact kind of stance, and continued as if this was the most obvious thing, “Instead, I want you to go with the art-mentor classes to improve your basic skill and knowledge. Then, I’ll meet with you after classes each day to give you what guidance I can.”

“…This is too crazy…” Izuku choked out in what was barely a whisper, his eyes overflowing with joyous tears again and he clutched at the front of his shirt tightly to keep his heart from pounding out of his chest.

Toshinori smiled gently at him for a moment before stepping closer and reaching out to pat Izuku’s head once, twice. “Come, young Midoriya,” he said as he put a hand on Izuku’s shoulder and began to walk with him back to the beach entrance.

“Ano…Y-Yagi-sensei?” Izuku began a little timidly, he had been meaning to ask this question for a while now, but hadn’t felt he was at a place where he could, until now. “Why would you do something so great…for me?”

Toshinori stopped walking and turned to face Izuku, who in-turn stopped and turned to the tall man as well. “Do you remember the note I wrote you on the day we first met?”

Of course, Izuku did, he only say it every day, hanging on his bedroom wall alongside his other Yaki Shunten signature. 

‘Thank you for reminding me - Yaki Shunten’

“Long before I met you, I had forgotten my reason for writing,” Toshinori explained. “My reason for starting out on this path in the first place…was to write stories that people not only couldn’t put down, but that they also could pick back up again in the future and get the same amusement from, each time. 

“The mark of a true writer is being able to create a piece that leaves a lasting imprint on your readers,” Toshinori continued as he turned to stare up at the faint stars twinkling in the dark sky above them, Izuku looked up as well. “I had forgotten that, but you reminded me,” he turned back to look at Izuku after that, a gentle smile pulling his thin lips up. “In truth, I had been looking for a successor for some time now, which is ultimately why I agreed to start teaching at Yuuei.”

Izuku’s mouth opened in awe and understanding. ‘I see,’ he thought to himself in that moment. ‘He was originally planning on choosing one of the students. One of the students gifted with an amazing talent, already on the track to success...’

“When you said your dream was to become a mangaka,” Toshinori continued, “and that you were trying to go to Yuuei, and were a fan of my old comics on top of it all? My boy, even I cannot turn a deaf ear when fate is screaming that loud in my face.”

The famous author’s laugh bellowed out then, and Izuku could almost feel it ringing in his chest, as though he were in a dream. Toshinori grew serious for a moment then before speaking again. 

“Since Yaki Shunten is but name, I thought it would be all right for you to inherit it,” he held out his open palm, gesturing to Izuku, “You say you are talentless, but the greatest part of talent is passion, and you are one of the most passionate persons I have ever met!”

Izuku couldn’t help the tears welling up in his eyes or the choked-up sob that came out of his throat then. He really was too blessed.

“W-Well, it’s up to you, though,” Toshinori suddenly stammered out quickly, a hand going to rub the back of his head as if he were trying to brush off the awkward moment. “If you want me to be your mentor, that is. If not I can always arrange something with one of the other teachers...”

Izuku brought his arm up to use his sleeve to wipe his eyes roughly. ‘Is there…? Of course there isn’t! There isn’t any reason for me to turn him down!’ He lowered his arm, tears still dotting his eyes but an otherwise determined look on his face.

“I’ll do it!”

Toshinori laughed heartily at that once more. “An immediate reply! That’s what I thought you’d say!”

 

-- -- --

 

APRIL

 

“Izuku, do you have tissues?” his mother quested from where she stood behind him in the entry way of their apartment.

“Ee,” Izuku affirmed from his seat on the step where he was tying his large red sneakers. 

“And your handkerchief?” his mom continued to worry at him. “What about your handkerchief? Your hanky?”

“I have it!” Izuku snipped back, then stood up and hoisted his oversized yellow backpack onto his shoulders. “I’m going to be late. I have to hurry!”

“Izuku!” his mother called out to him.

“Nani?!” Izuku asked with a lightly stressed out expression as he turned from the doorway to look back at his mother, his hand already on the door handle.

She had a soft expression on her face as she looked down for a moment, then her eyes glistened with something that could only be called pride as she looked back up at her only son. “You’re really cool.”

Izuku gasped a little in surprise, all his stress and nerves melting away for a moment and he managed a solid smile. “I’m off!”

 

This was the start of Midoriya Izuku’s high school career.

 

 

 

  

Yuuei High’s Mentor Course, a program for especially talented or promising students, in which they were mentored by the various staff members best qualified to oversee their development.

The acceptance rate into the program is less than one in 300 every year. Other than the four people admitted through recommendations, 36 are admitted through the regular exam. Those 36 are split into two classes with 18 in each, then usually 20 each after the recommended people were placed.

Izuku quickly put his red sneakers into his locker after slipping on his grey school shoes, and then hurriedly ran through the halls looking for his homeroom. “Class 1-A…1-A…” Izuku mumbled to himself then huffed out, “This place’s too big…”

As he continued down the long, windowed hallway, he finally spotted the sign for his homeroom class. “There it is! —” he came to an abrupt stop in front of the door that stretched nearly the entire height of the 7-yard high walls. “The door’s huge…Is it for accessibility? Maybe to show status…”

Shaking off the stupor, Izuku clutched the straps of his backpack tightly, his face taking on his now-classic half-determined, half-scared-shitless expression as he stared at the door in front of him. “The elite chosen from the huge number at the exam…” Immediately, Kacchan’s and that tall guy with glasses that had called Izuku out during the exam orientation’s faces popped into his head. He swallowed nervously, and murmured to himself as he slid open the large door. “I hope I’m not in the same class as the scary peopl—”

But his words were cut off by the very two people he was just thinking about. 

“Don’t put your feet on the desk!” The guy with glasses spoke loud and firmly.

Hah?” Kacchan replied in his usual drawn-out, who-the-fuck-are-you type of way. His leg was in deed draped casually over his desk, like how he would always sit during free time back in junior high. 

Glasses guy was standing over him, harping him about it with a stiff arm and a pointed finger. “Don’t you think that’s rude to the U.A. upperclassmen and the people who made the desk?”

“Nope,” Kacchan replied in a rough voice that likened a growl, causing glasses guy to step back slightly, a confused-anger on his face. “What junior high did you go to, you side character?”

Izuku deadpanned a bit at that phrase from where he stood still hidden behind the barely open door. ‘The top two?’ he questioned to himself.

Glasses guy opened his mouth at the phrase as well but it only took a second for him to compose himself enough to answer, one hand on his chest while the other went stiff once more. “I attended Somei Private Academy. My name is Iida Tenya.”

Somei?” Kacchan drawled, making the word longer than natural, in the way he did when he was mocking something (which was most times he opened his mouth). “So, you’re a damn elite, huh?” He leaned forward a bit then. “Looks like I’ll have fun crushing you.”

“‘Crushing’?” Iida repeated questioningly, clearly not knowing how to deal with Kacchan's coarse language and disrespectful actions. “T-That’s cruel,” he stammered fast enough that his stutter was barely detectable. “Do you truly aim to be a household name?”

“Tch,” Kacchan blew him off, turning his head to the side that happened to be in the direction of the door, his expression changing, when he saw Izuku standing there, to the one of mild annoyance he always had whenever he looked at his childhood-friend.

Iida turned to look as well when Kacchan’s expression changed, standing straight when he spotted Izuku as well. “You’re…”

At that, everyone in class who had been watching the interaction between Iida and Kacchan turned to look as well, just now noticing Izuku was even there in the first place.

Izuku’s eyes widened and he quickly looked up to the ceiling, embarrassed to have so many eyes on him, “Oh, eto…”

“Good morning!” Iida suddenly called briskly as he all but marched towards Izuku. “I am from Somei Private Academy. My name is—”

“I heard!” Izuku said quickly, holding up both his hands in a matter such as to say that it was alright, smiling a bit nervously, his words causing Iida to stop in his tracks. “Eto, I’m Midoriya,” Izuku spoke again, his voice and expression a bit uneasy still. “Nice to meet you, Iida-kun.”

Iida brought his arms down to his sides with a sharp thud, then spoke in a serious voice. “Midoriya-kun, you had just received the literary award for your novel on the day of the exam, didn’t you?”

Izuku blinked at that, confused. Why was this being brought up all of a sudden?

“I had no idea you were an award-winning author…” Iida continued as if he had committed a grave offense against Izuku, bringing his hands up in front of him as he looked off to the side, as though he was disgraced with himself. “I misjudged you! I hate to admit it, but you are more talented than me.”

An awkward air came over Izuku and he mumbled quietly, “Gomen. I haven’t actually done all that much.”

“Oh, that curly hair! You’re the plain-looking one! You passed too!”

A cheery voice suddenly called from behind Izuku and he turned around to see that girl who had judo-flipped him out of a fall the morning of the entrance exam. He let out a surprised sound that resembled a squeak. ‘It’s the nice person!’ he thought to himself as she continued speaking. ‘She looks good in a uniform…’ 

Suddenly she bowed deeply to him and said, “Thank you again for lending me that pencil, I wouldn’t have passed without your help.”

Oh yeah, he had nearly forgotten. They had ended up being in the same testing room for the written portion of the exam, and her pencil had run out of lead right before the test was about to begin so Izuku had passed her his spare one without a word.

Izuku flushed red out of embarrassment and quickly covered his eyes with one hand and rubbed at the back of his head with the other. “A-Ano, it was nothing, really! I-I’m sure you would have done the same for me, o-or anyone else!”

“I brought it with me, hoping to see you again and give it back to you—” she spoke once more as she began digging around in her bag for it. “Now where did I put it…”

“Oh, that’s wasn’t necessary, really, it’s okay—”

-- 

Bakugou watched the scene in front of him unfold with the same unwavering, pissed off scowl he always had while looking at Deku, his mind shifting back to one of the last days of junior high, not even a month ago.

 

“I can’t believe we have two students from our school matriculating into Yuuei!” Their old homeroom teacher had exclaimed during an after-school meeting with Deku and him. “Especially you, Midoriya. It’s a miracle!”

Bakugou remembers the way Izuku had uneasily stared down at the floor then, presumably because he could feel Bakugou’s death glare on him.

After that meeting, Bakugou had dragged Deku out back and slammed him against the wall in a small alcove where no one could see them.

“What dirty tricks did you use to get in, huh?!” he had asked that damn nerd, gripping the front of his uniform in his fist. “‘The first student from his school to go to Yuuei.’ My future plan has already been torn to pieces,” he had continued, shaking Deku a bit all the while, his face as angry as ever but his voice just as annoyed as always. “I told you to go somewhere else!”

What happened next, Bakugou hadn’t been expecting. Deku had grabbed his wrist then, so tightly it actually surprised him a bit (albeit the damn nerd’s hand was shaking in fear, but still). Somehow, Bakugou had missed this bastard getting stronger over the past year.

“Kacchan…” Deku had started in a voice Bakugou had never heard before and that honestly scared him for a split second. “Someone told me…‘You do have talent.’ That it was because of my passion…” Deku was shaking with every word but his voice didn’t quiver like it usually did.

Then, the damn nerd had looked him in the eye then with an expression Bakugou had never gotten from Deku before. His face was clenched in determination, but his eyes were so close to tears it was almost pathetic. Bakugou didn’t think he had ever seen this bastard stand up to him without crying before.

“Th-that’s why…I’m going…!”

 

Bakugou gritted his teeth in annoyance. ‘How dare he defy me?’ he thought to himself before looking away. ‘Something’s definitely up.’ 

--

“I wonder if today’s just the entrance ceremony and orientation? I wonder what our teacher’s like?” The round-faced girl chanted as she moved her fists up and down in an excited manner, having moved inside the classroom along with Izuku at this point. “Aren’t you nervous?”

‘S-So close…’ Izuku’s face was still bright red from being so close to a cute girl who was talking to him so enthusiastically, and he was doing all he could with his arms to hide his face from her view while simultaneously trying to still face/look at her. He wasn’t really accomplishing either.

“Go somewhere else if you want to play at being friends.”

A gruff, tired voice from out in the hallway suddenly called, the preppy girl and Izuku both turning to see who had spoken, both their faces widening at the sight of the man standing there. He was tall with long, black hair that looked as though he had just gotten out of bed, and he had bags under his eyes that were noticeable even from a distance. He was currently sucking on an energy pouch and had a…bright yellow sleeping bag? thrown over his shoulder.

“This is the Mentor Course,” the man spoke again once he had drained the energy pack, and then stepped inside the classroom. Izuku could see the stubble lining the man’s jaw and upper lip. 

At this point, Iida’s expression was mirroring those of his two shorter, bewildered classmates. “S-Something’s here?!” the three of them murmur-exclaimed together, after which the whole class fell silent.

“Okay, it took eight seconds before you were quiet,” the man spoke as he tossed the empty energy pouch into the waste bin the corner without even looking. “Time is limited. You kids are not rational enough.”

At the man’s words, a few murmurs picked up in the classroom. ‘Eh? A teacher?’ Izuku thought to himself. ‘Which means, that person’s well known for something, too?’ his eyes took in the man’s casual attire. ‘But I’ve never seen a celebrity who looked that worn out before.’

“I’m your homeroom teacher,” the man spoke again, addressing the whole class in the same gruff and tired voice he had had the whole time. “Aizawa Shota. Nice to meet you.”

‘Homeroom teacher?!’ Izuku thought as the class began to murmur in bafflement again.

“You three,” Aizawa-sensei addressed Izuku, Iida and the girl whose name Izuku still didn’t know. “Take your seats so that we can get started.”

“Sensei!” Iida suddenly spoke out in what apparently was his always-intense way of speaking, a fist pressed to his chest. “Shouldn’t we wait to start until everyone has arrived?”

Aizawa-sensei had started walking to the teacher desk but stopped when Iida spoke, glancing over the class briefly before closing his eyes and answering in a drawl, “Why would we wait? You’re all already here.”

At this a low mumble and a few glances floated through the class, because it was clear to everyone that there were still four empty desks but only three students standing.

“You may be wondering why there’s an empty desk,” Aizawa-sensei spoke with a sigh, gesturing lazily with his hand to the right corner seat in front of Kacchan. “That is because, the student who was originally assigned it, I deemed to have no potential for the Mentor Course and had them transferred to the General Studies department instead.”

Izuku’s eyes went wide at this. Yuuei’s General Studies department wasn’t different from any other high school, that is to say the only remarkable thing was that it was at Yuuei. Most kids who didn’t make the cut for the Mentor Course got accepted into the General Studies department instead, where they just had normal high school classes. 

“You’re sitting here now,” Aizawa-sensei continued, addressing the whole class, “not because you have amazing talents or have done noteworthy deeds, but because you were deemed to have potential.” He shut his eyes then as lips pulled upward to expose his teeth, the sight too macabre to be classified as a grin. “If at any point during the year one of you fail to live up to your potential, you won’t be transferred to general studies.”

Everyone let out a collective sigh of relief at tha—

“You will be expelled.”

Eh?!” Izuku didn’t even try to keep the drawn-out sound in, and neither did the rest of his classmates.

“Yuuei’s selling point is how unrestricted its school traditions are,” Aizawa-sensei spoke as he walked around to stand behind the desk. “That’s also how the teachers run their classes; we’re free to do what we want about the circumstances of our students—” he used a hand to raise his bangs out of the way and fixed the class with that morbid smile again. “—Welcome to Yuuei’s Mentor Course.”

Izuku gulped and looked down at his hands uneasily. ‘A lack of potential…will get you expelled.’ Slowly, he closed his hands into fists and set his mouth into a firm line. He had already crossed the starting line, he couldn’t stop now. Especially because the moment he did, he’d be kicked out of the race before he even had a proper go at winning. Not that winning really mattered so much to Izuku; he more so just wanted to finish the race, period.

“Oi, Deku.”

Kacchan’s voice calling him snapped Izuku out of his thoughts as he looked up to his childhood-friend.

“Your seat’s behind me,” Kacchan said in his mildly annoyed tone, gesturing with his head over his shoulder to the empty desk behind him. It was then that Izuku realized Iida and the girl had already started walking to their own seats, so he gripped the straps of his backpack and quickly scurried over to his own seat behind Kacchan, who immediately leaned forward on his desk so as to be as far away from Izuku as physically possible. 

With that, Aizawa-sensei passed out handouts with the curriculum and such, quickly breezing through basic overviews of them, saying none of them were little kids (—Izuku couldn't help the glance over his shoulder to the extremely short boy with puffy purple hair behind him at that—) who needed things explained to them word-by-word. 

“Some of you are scholarship students, and I have some papers specifically for you regarding certain things,” Aizawa-sensei said as he returned to the desk and took out another, thinner stack of papers. “I’ll call you each up individually. …Uraraka Ochako.”

Izuku looked down at his own handouts then, taking the moment to read over them a little more thoroughly, in favor of looking to see who all the scholarship kids were. He knew Kacchan had gotten the full-ride sport scholarship – it was all their neighborhood could talk about when the acceptance letters had come – and truthfully, he was the only one Izuku cared abou—

“Todoroki Shouto.” 

At the mention of that name, both Izuku and Kacchan perked up. Then, they both turned simultaneously at the scrape of a chair being pushed along the floor by a person standing up a few rows behind them.

It was the white-haired boy who had been looking out the window when Izuku first came in, the only one who hadn’t paid Iida-kun and Kacchan any mind. But now, from this angle, Izuku could see only half his hair was white, the other half was red, and there was a red scar on the boy’s left side that peaked out from under his red bangs, only noticeable because that side’s eye was also a striking pale blue. 

Todoroki…Shouto…’ Izuku said the name slowly in his head, trying to place it as he watched the boy walk up to the front. And when he suddenly did, his eyes widened and he shifted just his eyes to glance at Kacchan sitting in front of him who was also eyeing the other boy. ‘…Could it really be the same person?

Kacchan was called up then to get his own set of papers then, and apparently, he was the last of them.

“With that, we’re done here,” Aizawa-sensei said after Kacchan had sat back down, before looking up at the clock. “When the bell rings, line up to go to the entrance ceremony. You may do as you please until then, just keep the noise down.” 

At that, Aizawa-sensei promptly zipped himself into his sleeping bag on the floor beside the desk and closed his eyes, presumably to enter into a power nap. Izuku wondered just what it was Aizawa-sensei was famous for, for he really had never seen a celebrity so dead tired.

“Long time no see, Midoriya-kun.”

Izuku blinked and looked up at the unfamiliar voice beside him to see the red-and-white haired male standing there, smiling soft and warm down at him.

“T…T-Todoroki-kun!” Izuku greeted as he rubbed the back of his head abashedly. ‘So it is that same person…’ He realized the other male’s appearance wasn’t all that had changed; he’d grown even taller than Kacchan. “Gomen…I didn’t recognize you before, you’ve changed so much.”

“No matter,” Todoroki replied, his expression back to one of indifference. “I wasn’t expecting you to recognize me at all.”

Izuku deflated a bit at that and lowered his head to mutter to himself, “So direct...”

“I see you’re wearing a collar.”

At those words, Izuku’s hand reflexively came up and fingered the black band around his neck before he looked up at the taller male. Then he closed his eyes and grinned in an embarrassed manner. “Ano…Seems as though you were right all those years ago…” he replied with an uneasy laugh.

-

Todoroki glanced over and made eye contact with Bakugou then. The spikey haired male had been looking over his shoulder, listening to the others’ conversation this whole time, trying to figure out how he knew the two-toned haired male whose name sounded so familiar. But when he was fixed with that gaze, the memory finally came flooding back to him.

From six, almost seven, years ago.

 

“Wahhh, Kacchan your drawing is so cool! Sugoi!”

“Tch, of course it’s cool, I drew it.”  

Izuku and him were in the neighborhood park, like they were every Saturday, working on their manga together under their tree, himself drawing while Izuku messily wrote down the story the two of them (though mainly Izuku) came up with together in a notebook. Katsuki was already 9, Izuku still 8, it was the spring of their grade 3 year.  

“Hello. May I play with you?”

Katsuki looked up from his drawing at the sound of a voice that wasn’t Izuku’s, and saw a boy standing there that he instantly didn’t like. (Probably because he was better looking than Katsuki). His hair was stark white, and his eyes were two-toned, the right a steely grey, the left a pale blue.

“I’m Todoroki Shouto.”

“Wahhh you’re really handsome!” Izuku suddenly gushed from his side and that was when Katuski’s eyebrows first began to furrow. “I bet you’ll be an Alpha for sure.”

“Oi, Izuku, don’t just blurt that kind of stuff out!” Katsuki harped at his best friend.

“I already know that I’m an Alpha,” The new boy said with an emotionless face.

“Wahhh really?!”  

Katsuki could practically see the sparkles around Izuku as he stared up at the new boy with the adoration that had been directed at himself not a moment before. With his brow knitted deeply and his eyes angry, he quickly snapped at his best friend.

“Baka Izuku, no one knows what they are until junior high. He’s just a stupid liar.”

“I already got tested. I’m an Alpha,” The new boy replied then squatted down so that he was closer to the other two’s eye level. He sniffed the air then pointed first to Izuku and then to Katsuki, saying in turn. “You’re an Omega and you’re a Beta.”  

The two of them stared, a bit chagrin, at the new boy for a moment before Izuku asked timidly, “H-How can you t-tell?”

Todoroki pointed to his nose. “I can sense your pheromones.”

“But…Kaachan and I are supposed to be Alphas—”

“And we will be, Baka! This kid doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” and with fire in his eyes, Katsuki got up, grabbed his papers with one hand and Izuku by the back of his hoodie with the other, before stomping away. We don’t want to play with you, Bakayaro! Don’t come back here ever again!”

 

“Tch,” Bakugou scoffed as he turned back around to face the front of the classroom. This half-n-half bastard irritated him now just as much as he did back then.

--

Kaminari Denki glanced around at his new classmates sitting around him, most reading over the handouts, others pulling out their phones, and ran his fingers through his bangs a bit timidly; he still wasn’t used to how they hung down along the side of his eye now. On reflex, his hand began to reach down into his bag to pull out his headphones, but he caught himself and quickly snapped his hand back up onto his desk.

‘No more being an anti-social nerd!’ he chastised himself mentally, squeezing his hands into fists. He had promised himself on the last day of junior high that his high school career would be different than his junior high one. He was the only person from his school who had even applied to Yuuei, so there was no one here to call him out for being “out-of-character” when he changed his hair so drastically and acted like an out-going alpha rather than the quiet, bowl-cut-sporting dweeb beta he’d been all his life.

This was his time to shine, to have the popular social life he’d always wanted. This was his chance to—

His attention was caught by the girl sitting to his left suddenly tucking a stand of her hair back behind her ear, allowing Denki to notice for the first time the highlighter-yellow, behind-the-neck headphones she was wearing. His inner tech geek coming out before he could stop it.

“No way! Are those the new MDR-EX750BT’s?!” He gushed out at her with stars in his eyes. “Those aren’t even supposed to be available to purchase for like another week—” he quickly cut himself off by clamping a hand over his mouth, but the damage had already been done.

She was already staring at him with a single eyebrow raised in confusion. “Hah?” she questioned after taking one of the earbuds out of her ear.

“Y-Your…headphones,” Denki offered in a calmer voice, one hand awkwardly rubbing at the back of his neck. “They’re the new in-ear ones from Sony, right?”

The girl glances at the earbud in her hand then back to Denki and nodded.

“I read that they’re supposed to be the best Bluetooth headphones on the market…” Denki continued, trying his best to save the conversation (and himself from the hole he had already thrown himself into). “But I thought they weren’t even on sale yet.”

The girl shrugged again. “I wouldn’t know. My mom does a lot of CVs for Sony and we get a lot of free products from them. She lets me take whatever catches my eye.”

A sudden hand on Denki’s shoulder made him realize he’d been staring at the headphone girl, but he wished he knew how long he’d been staring.

“Hey man, you seem to know a lot about headphones,” the guy sitting behind him suddenly spoke, and Denki turned in his seat to see a guy who was probably his height with bright red hair spiked up higher than should be possible, and one of the friendliest smiles Denki had ever seen. He was probably an Alpha.

“Eto, well, kinda,” Denki said with a cheesy grin. “I’m aiming to go into computer science or engineering, so tech in general is kinda my thing.”

“That’s really cool!”

Denki had to blink at that. “…It is?”

“Yeah!” The redhead boy nodded, still with the same warm smile. “Hey, do you think you could recommend me a good pair of headphones for working out?  I always end up catching the cord and yanking out the ones I currently have.” He then held out the hand that had been on Denki’s shoulder up until now, “The name’s Kirishima, by the way.”

Denki stared at the hand for a split second before taking it in his own and mirroring that friendly smile, “Kaminari.”

“Hey, can you recommend me some too?” The taller guy sitting behind earphone girl suddenly asked them, he didn’t have his uniform jacket on and Denki couldn’t help but notice how sculpted his arms were – he was probably an Alpha too. “I’m Sero, by the way.” 

“Sure thing!” Denki grinned at him as well, then glanced at the girl who had turned back to read over the handouts on her desk but had left the one earbud out of her ear, as if to stay apart of the conversation. “Well, if you both want them for working out, a style like the one she’s wearing might actually work well.”

“Oi, Jirou,” Kirishima suddenly called out to the girl without using any honorifics, but she didn’t even seem to care. “Got any more of those fancy headphones?”

The girl, Jirou, nodded without even looking at them. “Un, I’ll bring you three some tomorrow. They gave my mom so many I doubt she’ll even care.”

At that, Kirishima high-fived Sero in victory and started to say something about how cool they were all gonna look but Denki wasn’t really listening, he was too busy staring at Jirou, surprised and touched that she had included him. Then, Kirishima clapped him on the shoulder again and snapped him out of his trance.

“Right, Kaminari?” 

“Right!” Denki agreed with a laugh, even though he didn’t know what he was agreeing too. But he also didn’t really care because he had actually made some friends on his first day.

Maybe he really could pull off this whole new-image thing after all.

--

A few minutes later, the bell chimed through the school.

With a little groan, Aizawa unzipped himself from his sleeping bag, stood up, and started walking towards the classroom door. “Alright, line up in your rows at the front—” 

Aye, Eraserhead, how are you doing this morning?!” Yamada called in English, suddenly bursting through their classroom door, a cheesy grin on his face, his “announcer” voice as loud and obnoxious as always.

Aizawa paused where he was about halfway to the door gave a short sigh.

The rest of the class however let out a collective and drawn out “Hah?!

 “‘Eraserhead’?” Jirou questioned, her eyebrow raised up in confusion.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Kaminari quickly added on, as equally confused.

Didn’t he tell you?” Hizashi replied in English before switching over to Japanese. “That’s his underground DJ na—ACH!” The blond was quickly silenced mid-sentence by Aizawa’s fist coming down atop his head. 

“This is Yamada Hizashi, he will be your English teacher,” Aizawa spoke out in a commanding voice after he’d lowered his fist back to his side. “He is also in charge of the music club so speak to him if you want to know more about it. Now, line up, unless you all want to be late for the entrance ceremony.”

“Oi, Aizawa-kun,” Hizashi said in a quieter voice that only the two of them could hear as he rubbed the top of his head with one hand, giving his best friend an annoyed look. “You’re no fun.”

Aizawa gave Hizashi’s shoulder a single pat. “You’re enough fun for both of us.”

 

-- -- -- --

 

LATER THAT SAME DAY

 

Izuku tapped one finger against his mouth as he read over the reference handouts Yagi-sensei had given him, mumbling to himself as he walked down the arch-lined pathway that was in front of the school. “If I draw 10 a day…would he want quality?…a higher quantity means more practice though…”

His musings and his steps were suddenly halted by a firm hand coming down on his shoulder. Stopping, and turning a little, Izuku jolted in surprise at who he found behind him. “I-Iida-kun!”

“You disappeared towards the end of the entrance ceremony and didn’t walk back to the classroom with the rest of us,” Iida stated. “Is everything alright?”

“Ee, my…my mentor pulled me aside and gave me some assignments already,” Izuku said as he held up the papers a bit for Iida to see but not long enough for him to be able to read them.

 

“Something came up and I won’t be able to meet with you after classes today,” Toshinori had told him after beckoning Izuku to follow him out into the hallway towards the end of entrance ceremony. “But I still have an assignment for you.”

He had handed Izuku the papers then and Izuku had glanced over them quickly, “You want me to practice drawing…hands?”

“Hai,” Toshinori had nodded then, one hand on his hip. “Besides the face, I think that hands are the body part most capable of showing expression and character.”

Izuku glanced down at his own palm them.

“I think it would be easier on you if we meet every other day, so that you don’t neglect your other studies in favor of the assignments I give you,” Toshinori added then. “So, make sure to bring your sketches on Wednesday.”

“Hai!” Izuku nodded then turned to head back to his class.

“Young Midoriya,” Toshinori had called out to him. “Bring all your writings too. I’m curious to see what Yaki Shunten has been up to for all these years.”

 

Izuku pressed the papers against his chest as he continued walking with Iida. ‘Am I really worthy of the name 'Yaki Shunten'…?’

“I was really taken in by Aizawa-sensei,” Iida suddenly spoke, causing Izuku to look up at him. “I even thought, ‘this is the best of the best’ and such. I didn’t think a Yuuei teacher would encourage us with a threat.”

Izuku smiled a little as his tall class mate crossed his arms. ‘I thought Iida-kun was scary, but he’s just earnest.’

Oi!

The sudden call of a familiar voice made both boys stop and turn to see the girl from homeroom running after them.

“You two! Going to the station? Wait for me!”

‘The nice person?!’

“You’re the Infinity Scholarship girl,” Iida said once the girl had reached them. 

“I’m Ochaco Uraraka,” she introduced herself with a grin as she held tight to both straps of her backpack. “Eto, you’re Iida Tenya-kun,” she said as she looked at Iida and then turned to Izuku, “and you’re Midoriya Deku-kun, right?”

“‘Deku’?!” Izuku said in a questioning, startled tone.

“Huh? But this morning when we were finding our seats,” Uraraka explained, “the boy named Bakugou said ‘Oi, Deku!’ Right?”

“Amo…my real name is Izuku,” he explained with a slight embarrassed tint on his cheeks. “But D-Deku is what Kacchan calls me to make fun of me...”

“An insult?” Iida commented more so than actually asked.

“Oh, is that right?” Uraraka said, putting a hand behind her own head in embarrassment at her faux pas. “Gomen! But…Deku sounds like the Japanese word for ‘You can do it!’ so I kinda like it.”

“I'M DEKU!” Izuku suddenly exclaimed, his face as pink as a newborn baby.

“Midoriya-kun?” Iida questioned from his side, moving his hands in a manner that said he wasn’t computing what just occurred. “You’re accepting it too easily! Wasn’t that an insult?”

Izuku quickly turned around away from Uraraka and hid his still pink face behind his hands. “It’s like a Copernican Revolution…”

“‘Co-pe’?”

The three of them ended up talking and walking together all the way to the station.

‘There are so many things I can’t do, so much ground I still have to cover,’ Izuku found himself thinking. ‘I have to work hard and do my best. But, I can at least be happy that I have friends, right?’

 

-- -- --

 

“I’m home!” Izuku called as he closed the door of his apartment behind him and sat down to take off his shoes, feeling a heaviness he didn’t even realize was there lift off his shoulders as he did. “Ah what a stressful day…I’m glad it’s over.”

He stood and immediately it hit him: the dizziness, the head rush, the sudden heat burning him from the inside out. Staggering, Izuku put a hand on the wall to brace himself, blinking exaggeratedly as he waited for the grey static to clear from his vision. It only took a few seconds but his head was pounding so hard it felt like hours to Izuku. Once he had blinked away the pinpricks, he felt like he was seeing double, like his sight was lagging behind the movement of his eyes.

Panting, reeling, Izuku managed to shuffle-step his way down the hall, keeping a hand on the wall to steady himself. He had never heard his mom answer, she must be out shopping the 4'o'clock sales. Good. Izuku hated when she was around to see him like this.

Blundering into his room, he practically tripped his way over to his desk and grabbed the bottle of pills that sat there. Twisting off the cap, he forced himself to dry swallow two of the heat suppressant pills, even though he had already taken his daily dose that morning.

Slumping onto the floor then, he virtually ripped off his uniform jacket. He was hot. Way too hot. Burning, keening, panting. He hated this. He hated this more than anything.

His stupid fucking heat.

Feeling the wetness already beginning to seep through his pants, he leaned forward onto his hands to push himself up to stand, but the motion just triggered the nausea and he had spit back up the pills before he’d even realized it. Tears sliding down his cheeks, Izuku dropped his shoulders to the ground as he cried out in agony, his fingers digging into the floor before balling up into fists.

His heats were something he's hated ever since he first found out he was an Omega. The status test in junior high had said his status was recessive (his mother and father were fifth and fourth generation Alphas, respectfully) so he’d most likely also experience some idiosyncrasy.

“Some” was the understatement of the century.

Izuku’s body couldn’t control his hormones worth shit, making for highly irregular heat cycles. He took the strongest heat suppressants his mother could afford to buy but they didn’t work well and made for excruciatingly painful heats. Not to mention random flare ups that made him want to basically claw his skin off for three hours straight.

But Izuku took the pills away way; for even that chance at some semblance of normal.

“AAAAAGH,” Izuku screamed into his bedroom floor. He felt as though he was melting from the inside out. His ass was up in the air and he could feel the disgusting wet stickiness start to leak down his thighs. Really, he was humiliated. Every time this happened, he just wanted to get sucked into a hole in the earth and die, buried alive. That had to be less painful, less embarrassing than this.

Because his heat could happen anywhere, at any time. On the train or walking to the station, at school—Izuku’s eyes popped open that. At school…where he now sat directly behind Kacchan.

For some reason, his dick twitched at the thought of his childhood friend and he got this sudden, nearly uncontrollable desire to rut his hips against the floor—nearly uncontrollable. He held his hips up through the pain, pressing his face against the floor and screaming again.

 ‘I can never let Kacchan see me like this...’

 

 

Chapter Text

 

It had turned out to only be a short flare up and not his actual heat. Izuku was glad he didn’t have any homework to do tonight, because once it had passed, he’d managed to drag himself to the shower to wash off the tackiness on his skin, and then it was all he could do to curl up in his bed until the next morning. Too ashamed to even go down for dinner.

 

“Izuku?” his mother had called out from the hall after knocking on his closed bedroom door. “Izuku are you in there? Are you alright?”

“I-I’m fine, mom…just tired from all of the excitement of today,” he lied. If his mom could tell, she didn’t let on.

“Well dinner is almost ready.”

“I’m not hungry,” he lied again. “I just want to rest.”

“Oh, are you sure?”

He didn’t answer. But his mom didn’t push any further. And after her hesitating footsteps finally disappeared down the hallway, he curled himself into an even tighter cocoon in his sheets.

 

Izuku really hated his heats.

 

-- -- --

 

THE FOLLOWING DAY

 

Yuuei High School’s Mentor Course curriculum: regular classes like English, Math, History and gym in the morning, then lunch at the main cafeteria, where the students can buy gourmet food for reasonable prices, and then in the afternoon, the Mentor Class.

The students in the Mentor Course take the most units of this multi-hour class. Not unlike guided-independent-study, this is when the Mentors help the student’s hone their talents and passions so help them achieve success after they graduate – whatever “success” may be. Most train and network to go right into the work force or join a professional team right after they graduate, others so that they can go to the best university and further their abilities even more.

 

 

 

Izuku had left lunch early to go grab his sketch book from his locker before his mentor class started; he’d left it there in the morning because he knew if he had it with him during the day he’d just be drawing instead of paying attention during his other classes. Especially since he didn’t start sketching at all yesterday…

Rounding the corner of the aisle where his locker was located, Izuku stopped when he found Kacchan there was well, squatting down to get something out his own locker that was on the other side and end of the aisle that Izuku’s was on; but it wasn’t that long of an aisle. Standing behind him were two of their classmates talking to each other, Kirishima-kun and Sero-kun, if Izuku remembered correctly. Along with Iida-kun, the four of them were in the sport mentor class taught by Kan Sekijiro-sensei, Olympic heavyweight champ and Class 1-B’s homeroom teacher.

Quickly ducking his head in hopes of not being noticed, Izuku opened his own locker and grabbed the brown spiral notebook from between his red shoes before shutting the door once more. But he was in such a hurry that the sound of the locker shutting was louder than he intended it to be, and it caught the attention of the spikey-haired redhead.

“Un, Midoriya?” Kirishima called out to him, causing Izuku to freeze in his tracks with a flinch. “When did you get here?” 

Slowly, his shoulders coming down from around his ears, Izuku turned around to look at them, his notebook clutched to his chest. “E-Eto…I-I just came to grab something I left in my locker before class started again.” 

He hadn’t looked at Kacchan yet, but when he finally glanced down at him then, Izuku wasn’t really surprised to see that always-annoyed glare fixed at him, but it still made him weak-kneed a bit.

“Hm?” Kirishima-kun questioned as he leaned forward a bit, as if the few inches would give him a better view of what Izuku was holding— “A notebook?" —which apparently, they did. "Ah!” he snapped his fingers together, “That's right, you’re an award-winning writer, aren't you?”

“Award-winning? No way!” Sero-kun chimed in, making Izuku look down, embarrassed. He still wasn’t used to being called that, even though it had been a couple of months since he’d won the award. 

“Is that something you’re working on right now? Can I see?” Kirishima-kun asked as he started to walk over to where Izuku was, only succeeding in making Izuku panic and curl in on himself, clutching the notebook even tighter to his chest.

“A-Ano…i-it’s not, that is…I-I don’t—” Izuku stammered as he tried to form an excuse, Kirishima and Sero walking closer and closer. Unknowingly, Izuku backed himself up against the row of lockers, the solid structure hitting his back seemingly cutting off his ability to speak. 

“Come on, Midoriya, don’t be embarrassed,” Kirishima spoke easy, as he got just a step away, his hand reaching out to take the notebook. “I’m sure anything you write is good—” 

“Oi, shitty hair,” Kacchan suddenly called out, now standing up beside his closed locker, his hands in his pant pockets. His words made Kirishima freeze and look back at him, along with Sero and Izuku. “Didn’t you say you wanted to get dessert?” 

“Oh yeah, lunch is almost over!” Kirishima stated before beckoning Sero to follow him as he rounded the corner of the aisle and began to run back towards the stairs, calling over his shoulder, “Maybe some other time, Midoriya!”

Izuku watched them go for a moment, then let out a sigh of relief as he turned and leaned back against the lockers, closing his eyes for a moment. Opening them when he heard Kacchan’s footsteps and then flinching a bit when he realized his childhood-friend was right in front of him. Hands in his pockets, glaring Izuku down with that annoyed look he always gave him.

Izuku quickly lowered his eyes to the ground. “T…Thank—”

“Shut up,” Kacchan barked before walking away, adding in a mutter on the end, “Shitty nerd…”

Izuku stepped out of the aisle to look after the taller male as he walked away. Kacchan hadn’t really just saved him because he’d seen how uncomfortable Izuku was, had he? No, no, that was silly to even consider. Kacchan was probably just keeping Izuku away from his friends like how he did in junior high. But…his voice had been a bit softer than normal when he’d told Izuku to shut up…and his gaze right before that wasn’t as annoyed-looking as usual... At least, Izuku didn’t think so… 

A sudden click! click! sound drew Izuku’s eyes down from Kacchan’s back to his hand at his side, to the lighter Kacchan had pulled out of his pocket and was flicking open and closed, just like how he used to do in junior high.

 

 

 

 

 

Once Kacchan was far enough away that he wouldn’t chirp Izuku for following him, Izuku headed for the stairs as well, dragging his feet a bit so as to make the distance between them even greater. He couldn’t name the weird tightness in his chest as he played over what had just happened in his head, over and over again.

He made his way across the school to the room that the art mentor class would be taking place in. It was a typical art room, large tables and easels set up everywhere, drawers full of various supplies and sinks to wash paint brushes lining the back wall, paintings and prints hanging on the walls, a few stations for pottery making. It was actually a bigger room than you’d realize at first, it just felt small because of how much was inside it. 

Lost in thought, Izuku walked over to one of the easels that was beside one of the large windows, and sat on the stool behind it. He turned his head to look out the window then and perked up a bit when he realized he could see part of the sports facility from here, specifically the school’s baseball diamond. 

‘I’ll be able to see Kacchan practice…’ he caught himself thinking, the weird flip of his stomach making him back away from the window and sit back on the stool once more.

It wasn’t like he’d never seen Kacchan practice or play before. In fact, Izuku used to go to all of Kacchan’s games, and even most of his practices, before the two of them had had their falling out back in grade five… Then, Izuku could only go to a game every once in a while, when the crowd was big enough to hide him so Kacchan wouldn’t get mad about him being there. But by the time they’d gotten to junior high, Izuku had stopped going at all.

Yet Izuku could still picture it so clearly: the focus in Kacchan’s eyes…the clench of his jaw…the way his arm muscles would flex as he went through the fluid motion of a fast-ball pitch…the way he always held the ball with his pointer and middle finger pressed together for good luck… Izuku’s brain stuck on the image of Kacchan’s hand holding a baseball, and before he'd even realized it, he had opened the sketch book in his lap and began a rough outline.

The bell rang not too soon after that, but Izuku didn’t hear it nor even look up as other students began to file into the classroom, too focused on the sketches in his lap; too focused on picturing Kacchan’s hands in various poses: gripping a ball, throwing a ball, curled into a fist, holding his lighter, holding Izuku’s han—

“Deku-kun?!” Izuku jumped at the sudden sound of his name and looked up to see Uraraka in the doorway of the classroom, looking at him in confusion.

“Oh, Uraraka-san! Hi!” He stammered out, his face only half as pink as it had been yesterday, as she walked over to him. He glanced around then quickly showed off the empty stool beside his. “Y-You can sit next to me, if you’d like!”

“Thanks, but, are you sure you’re in the right classroom?” Uraraka questioned as she set her backpack down before sliding onto the stool. She had her uniform jacket tied around her waist and her sleeves rolled up to her elbows.

“Eh?” Izuku glanced around the room, once finger held up as if about to touch his lip in uncertainty. “Eto, this is the art mentor class, right?”

“Yes, but…I thought our Japanese History teacher—Yagi-sensei, was your mentor?” Uraraka asked with a tilt of her head.

Ah, that’s right; he had ended up telling her and Iida-kun about Yagi Toshinori being his mentor, after Iida had asked Uraraka about her scholarship during their walk to the station yesterday.

“Hai, he is,” Izuku affirmed. “But since I expressed interest in wanting to become a mangaka during my practical interview, and Yagi-sensei…can’t really help me with that, he arranged to let me be in the art mentor class with Ishiyama-sensei. Yagi-sensei wanted me to practice my drawing during school, since that’s what I’m weakest at,” Izuku explained. “I meet with Yagi-sensei every other day after school so he can mentor me with writing.”

“Waa! Sugoi ne!” Uraraka exclaimed. “We’re kind of similar then, cause we both have two mentors.”

Izuku blinked, he’d almost forgotten that Uraraka was getting mentored in two things as per her scholarship. “Oh yeah, so how did they decide to split up your time with each mentor then?”

“Monday and Wednesday, I have go to art mentor class with Ishiyama-sensei,” Uraraka explained. “Tuesday, Thursday and Friday I go to martial art mentor class with Batoru-sensei.”

“But…today is Tuesday?”

“Un, I know, but since we didn’t have a mentor class yesterday because orientation and the opening ceremony, and since I just had a tournament over the weekend, they said to go to Ishiyama-sensei’s class for today,” Uraraka explained with a grin before glancing over her shoulder and then holding up her hand in a sort of ‘wait’ gesture. “Ah, hold on for a sec, I want to go get some good brushes before the other students take them all.”

Izuku nodded with a soft smile and watched her get up and walk away before looking back down at his sketch pad, surprised to find that he had already filled up an entire page with sketches of nothing but Kacchan’s hand… 'Kacchan!' He quickly turned back to the window and sure enough, there he was, his childhood-friend out on the baseball diamond, doing his stretches...

Izuku didn’t know how long he’d been watching Kacchan, or realize he was gripping his sketch pad so tightly his knuckles were turning white, or notice that he was glaring so intently at his childhood-best friend, until he suddenly heard Uraraka’s voice from directly beside him.

“Bakugou-kun’s the one who makes fun of you, right?”

Izuku blinked and glanced over to her standing there with a painting palette and a few brushes in her hands. Her body was oriented as through she had been looking out the window as well, but her head was turned so that she was looking directly at Izuku, her expression one of concern. Normally, their close proximity would have made Izuku flinch away or blush or fall off his stool, but all he did was turn to look back out the window.

“He’s amazing,” he said easily, his eyes turning sad as he looked down to the sketch pad on his lap. “He’s a piece of work, but his goal, his confidence, his physical strength, and his talent are way more amazing than mine.”

Uraraka blinked in surprise when Izuku suddenly ripped the page with sketches on it out of his notebook and crumpled it up into a ball.

“But that’s why, right now,” Izuku spoke as he hesitated a split second before stuffing the paper ball into his pocket. “I don’t want to fall any further behind...”

The Infinity Scholarship girl stared at him for a moment before speaking, moving to sit back at her own easel as she did so, “A fated duel between men, huh?”

“Oh, gomen,” Izuku quickly turned back to look at her, raising his own hands up and shaking them in a dismissive manner. “This isn’t your problem, Uraraka-san.”

“But it is! We’re friends, aren’t we?” Uraraka exclaimed before pumping her fist and giving Izuku a determined smile. “Ganbatte, Deku-kun!”

 

-- -- -- --

 

AFTERNOON HOMEROOM

 

Medical Exam?!” the class exclaimed in unison after Aizawa-sensei’s announcement, to which the perpetually tired looking man sighed a bit in exasperation.

“That’s right. We’re the first class to go, so head over to the Nurse’s office immediately, they’ll direct you once you get there,” Aizawa-sensei explained before pointing to the door. “Come back to the classroom once you’re finished, you’ll have free time until the end of school then.”

With that, he promptly zipped himself inside his yellow sleeping bag once more and almost immediately falling asleep.

 

 

 

 

 

Denki cracked his neck from one side to the other as he walked back into the classroom. Three-fourths or so of the class was already done with the medical exam and back in the classroom as well, and Aizawa-sensei was still snoozing away in his sleeping bag on the floor.

The guy who sat in front of him, Ojirou, if Denki remembered correctly, was smiling down at his phone and texting away like he did during every break and before morning homeroom started. Denki thought he was a Beta. Sero was leaning against the side of Denki’s desk, talking with Kirishima and Ashido, the ditzy, pink-haired  Omega girl who sat on Denki’s right who had inserted herself in their little budding friend group.

Jirou was in the back standing beside that tall, recommendation girl, Yao-momo, and the girl who sat to Kirishima's right and had frog-themed everything. The three of them were talking to the quiet guy with the sleek, slicked-back, jet-black hair, who was currently sitting atop his desk like a delinquent. Frog-girl was an Omega, Denki was pretty sure, and Yao-momo and the cool guy were both Alphas.

Denki didn’t really know why he felt the need to specifically see where Jirou was and who she was talking with, or why he always caught himself staring at her during class... Maybe it was because she was the first person he’d talked to here, and therefore technically his first friend? Or maybe it was because he felt a connection to her since they were both Betas with collars? Although, that didn’t really mean anything—

“Oi, Kaminari!”

He was finally pulled from his thoughts and his Jirou-staring by Kirishima calling out to him.

“Perfect timing,” the redhead continued as Denki walked over to him. “I was just telling Sero and Ashido that I came up with a name for our group?”

“Why do we need a name?” Denki questioned with a slight laugh to his voice, an easy grin on his face.

“Cause we’re a squad! We have matching headphones and everything!”

Denki reached up and touched the set of black behind-the-neck headphones he was wearing below his collar. Jirou really wasn’t joking when she said she’d bring them each a pair – even Ashido. It was a sort of special thing only the five of them had now; Denki supposed that really did make them a "squad".  “Okay, okay, so what’s this name you came up with, Kirishima?”

Kirishima held out his hands as if he were framing out a sign in lights as he said, “A.B.A.O.A.

'A.B.A.O.A.’ ?” Denki questioned with his eyebrow raised, his confused expression mirrored on both Sero and Ashido’s faces.

“Yeah! You know, cause Alpha—” Kirishima pointed to himself, “—Beta—” he jabbed a thumb over his shoulder at Jirou, “—Alpha—” Kirishima pointed to Sero and Denki’s eyes widened, hoping this wasn’t going where he thought it was going, “—Omega—” Kirishima pointed to Ashido, fuck this was exactly where he thought it was going— “…Alpha.

Denki blinked at Kirishima’s finger that was aimed directly at him, and he realized he’d pulled off something he never thought nor intended to do: he got his new classmates, including other Alphas, to think he was an Alpha, too.

In the split-second that followed, Denki made a choice. Albeit it was the most idiotic choice he could have made in the situation, and one that would probably very well come back to bite him in the ass later, but Denki didn’t take the time to weigh all the pros and the cons. He was finally at the place he wanted to be – outgoing, no longer nerdy looking, with actual friends – and he wasn’t about to give all that up. Not yet, at least. Not on only the second day of his high school career.

“…I like it,” Denki praised with a grin and a single thumbs-up.

He wasn’t lying, he told himself, as Kirishima began to talk enthusiastically once more about some thing or another, maybe matching jackets? –It’s not Denki’s fault that they all thought he was an Alpha. His Beta pheromones had always been on the weaker side anyway and now that he was on suppressants, they were virtually non-existent. So what if everyone thought he was an Alpha? Alphas were cool, he should take it as a compliment! It was a good thing!

...But if it was such a good thing, then why did he suddenly feel an impending sense of doom?

 

--

 

“We don’t want to play with you, Bakayaro! Don’t come back here ever again!”

Shouto watched with a blank expression as the spikey-haired boy whom the curly-haired, freckle-faced boy had called “Kacchan”, pulled the latter of the two away by the back of his hoodie. 

“Agh! K-Kacchan!” the curly haired boy whined as he struggled half-heartedly to get free from the other’s grasp. “Ugh, yamero!”

“Urursai!” ‘Kacchan’ snapped back at him as he continued to march away.

Making friends wasn’t as easy as his older sister had made it out to be.

Shouto looked back down to the spot the two boys his age had been sitting at, and noticed the curly haired boy had left his notebook behind. Reaching down and picking it up, Shouto scanned over a few words. A journal? No...a story book? He looked up and could see the two boys still at the entrance of the park. He took a few steps after them—

“Shouto-chan!”

He stopped and looked back when his older sister called out to him.

“Mother says it’s time to go!”

Shouto gripped the book tighter and turned in the direction the two other boys had been, but now they were nowhere to be seen. He took a few hesitating steps backwards, still looking to see if they’d maybe reappear – “Shouto!” – but they didn’t.

 

Midoriya blinked as Shouto finished recounting how he came to possess the notebook Midoriya hadn’t seen in years but was now holding in his hands. “I can’t believe it…” he said softly as he thumbed through the gently-aged pages. “I thought this was gone forever.”

Shouto smiled softly, “I’m glad I kept it all these years.” His hands were casually in his pockets, the two of them were standing in the empty hallway, talking. Shouto had pulled Midoriya aside from where the shorter curly-haired boy was still waiting to go in for his medical exam, and had presented him with the old notebook. “It was worth holding on to.” 

“Ano… Todoroki-kun,” Midoriya started as he held the notebook to his chest. “Why did you even keep this?”

“Because it’s good,” Shouto stated simply, his face defaulting back to the indifferent expression it usually had. “I read it later that night and couldn’t put it down. I intended to go back to the park and give it back to you. I wanted to tell you to write more so that I could read it and find out what happened next, but…”

He trailed off as too many painful memories flashed through his mind at once, his hand coming up to cover the left side of his face.

 

‘That child’s left eye…is unsightly…’

 

‘M…Mother…’

 

‘Hm? Oh, she injured you so I put her in a hospital.’

 

‘It’s because of you…that mom’s like this…!’

 

“I moved soon after that,” Shouto continued, playing it off as if he was just wiping something out of his eye. “Years later when I could go off on my own, I tried to find the park again but I didn’t know where it was. Finally, I got directions but of course you weren’t there, so I took to going by there once a month ever since, to see if I could ever find you again.”

--

Izuku didn’t realize that he had a soft blush on his face then, nor did he realize that he was just starting in quiet awe of Todoroki.

“I don’t even know if there is an end to this story,” the two-tone-haired boy continued, gesturing to the notebook in Izuku’s hold with a tilt of his chin. “But I thought it was good, I still do. I’m glad to see that you continued writing,” Todoroki smiled again then. “I promise to support you however I can.”

What happened next was because Izuku was too overwhelmed with emotion and couldn’t help himself: in a quick moment, Izuku stepped forward partly and wrapped his arms around Todoroki, hugging him tightly. Though, it didn’t last long enough for Todoroki to return the hug, for Izuku quickly realized what he was doing and let go, stepping back to his original place.

“Ah, Gomen, gomen!” Izuku quickly worried out, holding up his hands and bowing in apology repeatedly, his eyes shut and his face pink. But then, Todoroki’s hand was suddenly on his shoulder and Izuku opened his eyes only to be met with one of the most blindingly handsome smiles he had ever seen

“Ganbatte, Midoriya!”

Izuku had to swallow back the tears welling up in his eyes. “H-Hai! Ganbarimasu!” 

-- 

Bakugou stared hard at the ground. He had heard everything from where he was standing, hidden around the corner of the hallway that he had posted up against after he’d passed that half-n-half bastard on his own way out of the medical exam and then heard him call out to the shitty nerd. His brow was furrowed as always, but his expression was less hostile, more contemplative.

“Midoriya-kun!”

A female voice called out then and Bakugou leaned out to look around the corner to see a nurse beckoning Deku inside for his exam. He turned back then and waited for the two males to part, staring back at the ground. He wasn’t expecting for half-n-half to speak as he passed by him then.

“Don’t try to come between Midoriya and I, Beta.”

Hah?!” Bakugou barked after him, pushing off the wall, but Todoroki just keep walking away. “You’ve got another thing comin’ if you think you can just tell me what to do, half-in-half bastard!”

That got him to stop. “Your attitude…” Todoroki began as he slowly turned back around to face Bakugou. “…it is because you lack calcium?”

HAH?!” Bakugou yelled out this time, clenching his fists at his sides as he walked right up to Todoroki. “I don’t know who you think you are, but you seriously keep rubbing me the wrong way. And if you so much as touch that damn nerd again, I’ll—”

“You’ll what?” Todoroki asked, the words should have been smug but his tone and expression were serious in such a way that it threw Bakugou off a bit. “Drag him away again like you did that day in the park? We aren’t little kids anymore, Bakugou.”

The way that bastard said his name made his eyes narrow that much more. He knew the half-n-half was implying more than he was saying; Bakugou would have to be nose-blind not to be able to detect the amount of Alpha pheromones raging off of Todoroki in that moment, marking his territory. And Bakugou couldn’t do shit because…because

His fists clenched so hard his knuckles turned white, but he didn’t dare break gaze with Todoroki. Just because he was a Beta, didn’t mean Bakugou was going to give that easily. 

“Midoriya is free to choose who he wants to be with,” Todoroki spoke again, expression and gaze unwavering; if he was aware of the double meaning behind his words, he didn’t show it. “So far, it’s clear which one of us he prefers.”  

The door to the nurse’s office behind them opened then, and the round-faced girl that Deku had been hanging out with, the one with the Infinity Scholarship, came out. She paused when she saw the way the two males were seemingly squaring up to one another, the air tense. “E-Eto…Todoroki-kun, Bakugou-kun, d-daijobu?”

Bakugou didn’t even bother to answer, let alone look back at her. Instead, he shoved his hands into his pockets and scoffed, “Tch!” Before he shoved past Todoroki and stalked down the hall. 

He hated annoying Alphas.

 

-- -- -- --

 

3:32 PM

 

“See you, Tokoyami-kun!”

Fumikage looked up from where he was packing up his things when Yaoyorozu-san called goodbye to him as she crossed in front of his desk, over into the other aisle where Jirou was waiting up for her.

“Un, see you,” he echoed her departing words in his voice that really was too deep for his appearance. Then he shouldered his backpack and stepped forward, only to bristle as his shoe made an un-natural half-squeak, half-wheezing sound.

Lifting up his foot slowly and then stepping back quickly when he saw that he’d stepped on a squishy green…something. Bending down to pick it up, Fumikage brought it up in front of his face.

“A frog?” he questioned after examining it for a moment. Then his eyes went wide as he recognized it as the charm Tsuyu had on her phone – a fact he only knew because they had been talking earlier during the free time, and after he’d mentioned that he was aiming to be a professional photographer, she had shown him a few pictures she had taken of her pet frogs with her phone to get his opinion on them. 

She really loved frogs… He had to return it this to her!

Looking around, Fumikage didn’t see Tsuyu in the classroom. ‘She must have already left…’ Gripping the charm tight in his hand, he jogged down the aisle and out of the classroom. The hallway wasn’t that crowded, but he still had to do a bit of dodging and weaving around people so as not to lose his momentum. 

“Oi, Oi, Oi, Tokoyami!” He skidded to a stop at his name and turned to see Kirishima, whom he had just passed-by along with Sero and Kaminari, looking at him. “What’s the rush?”

“Have you seen Asui-san?!” He asked in a rush, panting slightly as he held up the frog charm.

“Tsu-chan? Eto…” Kirishima glanced to the other two as if for confirmation. “She left right after the bell with Ashido—”

“Thanks!” Fumikage called back as he took off running again. He rushed down the steps, nearly slipping as he threw himself around the landing, then sprinting out the front doors and looking around quickly. He spotted Ashido-san first, her bright pink hair (that Fumikage had honestly thought was a wig at first) easily recognizable, and then he saw Tsuyu at her side.

Asui-san!” He shouted louder than he probably needed to, before leaping down the front steps and running over to them. Before he got there, Ashido had said something to Tsuyu and shook the shorter girl’s arm a little vigorously.

He came to a stop in front of them and panted a bit, not realizing that his eyes had went half-lidded in an intense-looking sort of way.

“What is it, Tokoyami-chan?” Asui asked is her monotone but cute voice, raising a finger to her lip as she looked up at him with her large eyes.

“Tsu-chan, I’ll be leaving first,” Ashido said while Fumikage was still catching his breath, and she turned away with a wave (and he could have sworn a wink) to Tsuyu. “See you!”

After waving and watching Ashido walk away a few steps, Tsuyu turned back to look at him and he prayed in that moment that he didn’t look weird. “I…found this,” he stated as he held out the frog charm to her by its string. 

Tsuyu’s eyes widened (Fumikage didn’t know it was possible for them to get even bigger than they already were) at the sight of it, and she held out both her hands under the little frog. He lowered the charm down onto her palms.

“It was on the floor by my desk,” He continued as he watched her take out her phone from her pocket and sure enough, the charm was missing. “It must have fallen off when you were showing me pictures during afternoon homeroom.”

“Arigatou, Tokoyami-chan,” Asui said after she’d tied the charm back onto her phone and stashed them both securely in her pocket. “I really appreciate it. Sorry you had to go through all the trouble of running after me, though.” 

She fixed him with probably the most adorable smile he’d ever seen in his life then, and he quickly looked off to the side so as he wouldn’t blush any harder than he already knew he was. “Ah, no, it’s fine, no trouble at all, really…”

Awkwardly, neither of them said anything or made eye contact for a few seconds. Then, Fumikage managed to swallow the sudden lump in his throat.

“Asui-san…” he started, one hand coolly in his pocket while the other hung at his side, he had his eyes closed but he could feel her eyes on him. “I know this is sudden but…would you…” he opened his eyes then and looked straight into hers and felt all his chill that he worked so hard to cultivate leave his body like the air out of a deflating balloon. “…l-let me take pictures of you sometime?”

He couldn’t believe he stuttered. Tokoyami Fumikage never stuttered.

“Sure!” Tsuyu answered easily, still smiling, there could be a light blush on her cheeks but Fumikage was trying not to stare and so he couldn’t tell for sure.

--

“—and he walked around with it on his back the entire day!”

Denki couldn’t help the laughter that bellowed out of him as Kirishima, who was also bent over laughing at this point, finished recounting a story of a prank his friends had pulled back in junior high.

“That’s priceless!” Sero managed between chuckles, one hand on Denki’s shoulder to brace himself.

Running his fingers through his bangs (he was more used to them now) Denki glanced around and noticed that they were the only ones left in the hallway now. “Hah? It’s empty…”

“I must have been talking for longer than I realized,” Kirishima added as he looked around too, before gesturing behind him with his head. “Come on, I don’t wanna miss the earlier train.”

The three of them started down the hall towards the stairs that led down to the shoe-locker area.

“So did he ever realize it was on his back?” Sero asked Kirishima as the two of them started down the stairs. But just as Denki was about to take the first step down behind Sero and Kirishima, his ears caught the sound of a piano and a voice accompanying it, and he paused.

“It’s only just begun, I’m counting on you again tomorrow—”

‘Un?’ Denki turned his head in the direction the sound was coming from. ‘Singing?’

“—we’ve yet to reach our goal!”

“Oi, Kaminari!” Kirishima called from below, having paused and to look back up at Denki. “You comin’?”

Denki glanced down at his new friends then back in the direction he was hearing the piano. “I’ll catch up later,” he managed to say, fully distracted, before taking off down the hallway towards the sound.

“Ee? What go into him?” Kirishima questioned to which Sero only shrugged.

“Smile when you’re sad,

let’s blow it all away.

If you can laugh, the scenery will change,

Peeking through the clearing weather.” 

Denki let his ears lead him down the hall and around the corner, the singing and the music getting louder with every step he took.

“Even when you’re unsure,

the road leading to happiness

comes into view under the blue sky.”

Denki turned down another hall and jostled to a stop when his eyes caught site of a sign above one of the doors: “Music Room”. Gripping the strap of his bag with resolve, Denki made his way over to the open door.

“Rain falls from time to time,

but it’s harsh without water.

Don’t wither,

Nurture everyone’s tree of dreams!”

His eyes widened when he finally reached the doorway, for there, inside the room, was Jirou, sitting at a large grand piano, her eyes closed as she played and sang so effortlessly. Denki was so enraptured that he didn’t even notice Yao-momo was standing beside the piano, listening to Jirou play as well.

“Now, cheers for loving you!

With the courage to never give up,

let’s enjoy the present!

Cheers for loving you!

We can do our best,

wave goodbye to yesterday and—”

“What a beautiful voice…” Denki whispered to himself. 

“—look forward.”

Jirou sat back with a light sigh as she opened her eyes after playing that last note.

“Sugoi! Sugoi Sugoi!” Denki exclaimed as he ventured into the room then, starling both Jirou and Yao-momo, but Denki was so enthusiastic and determined that he didn’t notice. “I was seriously moved!”

Jirou’s eyes were wide and she had her lips pressed firmly together (it was the most emotion Denki had seen her express since he met her), then she looked off to the side and answered, “It’s nothing special…”

“It is!” Denki said, the passion radiating off him, and he pumped his fist. “You’re great at singing! You’re great at piano, too! Please tell me you’re going to join the music club?”

“He’s right, Kyoka-chan, you should join the music club,” Yao-momo added softly then, smiling gently down at Jirou.

But that only served to fluster Jirou to the point of a visible blush showing up on her cheeks, before she quickly stood up from the piano and grabbed her bag, beginning to head towards the door. “What are you talking about? I don’t have time for things like that!”

“Oi! Jirou...chotto matte—!” Denki’s call for her to wait was cut off by her slamming the music room door shut behind her as she left. Denki’s shoulders sank a bit as he stared after her. He continued to stare even when he felt Yao-momo come up beside him. “I didn’t mean to offend her…”

“You didn’t, Kaminari-kun,” Yao-momo said in her gentle voice that reminded Denki a bit of his mother’s. “Kyoka-chan…just has a lot to work through when it comes to her music. After all, growing up in her mother’s shadow must not have been easy.”

Denki looked up at the taller girl then. “Her mother’s shadow?”

“Um?” Yao-momo met his eyes. “You don’t know? Kyoka-chan’s mother is Jirou Mika, the famous punk rocker?”

“Ee? Wah! I had no idea!” Denki freaked out for a moment. 

“Everyone expected Kyoka-chan to follow in her mother’s footsteps if she were ever to pursue music,” Yao-momo explained, looking back at the door again. “But Jirou has a different genre of music playing in her heart, and…I think she’s afraid to let it out because she thinks she’ll be disappointing everyone.” 

Denki blinked down at the ground in deep thought, as Yao-momo walked over to the door. “But…” he began, causing her to pause and look back at him. “She doesn’t have to be what everyone wants her to be, or even what everyone tells her she should be,” Denki looked up at the pony-tailed girl. “The only thing she has to be…is herself.”

Yao-momo smiled at him in a knowing yet sad way. “I was telling her that all through junior high… Kyoka-chan has built walls around this part of herself that are too high for even me to climb... But maybe you can make her listen for once, Kaminari-kun.”

Denki really didn’t know why he was blushing then, but Yao-momo didn’t acknowledge it.

“See you!” she called to him with a wave before slipping out the door as well.

 

Chapter Text

 

“Ojiro-kun?” Mina called out to the blond boy who sat across and one row up from her, while adjusting one of the clip-in horns she was wearing in her hair. She had recently become obsessed with the dragon maid anime, and was working on cosplay outfits for multiple characters - even an outfit for an original character she had come with herself. Which is why she was also currently sporting black and yellow sclera contacts, trying to get used to them.

“Ee?” Ojiro answered, not looking up from his phone that he had in his lap, thumbs rapidly typing out a text.

“I always see you texting so much and smiling at your phone every homeroom and break...” Mina spoke. It was only the morning of their third day at Yuuei, and she had literally never seen the boy not on his phone when they were allowed to be. “Are you perhaps, messaging your girlfriend?”

“Un. She’s down the hall in class 1-B.”

Haaaaah?!” It was a collective sound that made Ojiro start a bit, before looking up and finding all five of the girls in the class had crowded around his desk, eyes sparkling.

“You have a girlfriend?” Mina gushed. “Really!?”

“What’s her name?” Ochako asked enthusiastically.

“What mentor class is she in?” Momo inquired genuinely. 

“Can we see her picture?” Jirou questioned.

Ojiro-kun couldn’t help but chuckle at their sudden collective investment in his relationship status. “Gomen. Her name is Hagakure Tooru, and she’s in the dance mentor class, but I can’t show you her picture.”

“Why not?” Ochako questioned with a tilt of her head and a curious expression that the other four girls had on their faces as well.

“Well, she’s very camera shy and so I don’t have many pictures of her in the first place...” Ojiro explained, looking down at his phone then and smiling fondly at it. “Also, she’s a bit self-conscious about how she looks, even though she’s cute and has no reason to be. Because of that, I don’t want to show you a picture of her that she wouldn’t want me to share.”

The girls all looked off to the side then, and each clenched a fist by their face, their brows furrowed deeply as they collectively murmured, “What a good boyfriend.”

“Hagakure...Tooru...” Momo repeated then to herself, her hand on her chin in thought before she looked over to Jirou. “I don’t think I ever seen her before.” 

“Neither have I...” Jirou echoed.

“Ojiro-chan,” Tsuyu spoke up then in her monotone voice, a single finger pressed to her lower lip in thought. “Do you think you could ask her to come over to our classroom? So we could meet her?”

“Good idea Tsu-chan!” Ochako praised.

“...I don’t see why not...” Ojiro commented before tapping out the message into his phone. The reply came faster than he was expecting it to. “She said that she’ll right over—“

Before he’d finished speaking, the five girls had ran over to the door and stuck their heads out into the hallway, looking down in the direction of 1-B’s classroom in anticipation. Letting out a sigh, Ojiro got up from his seat and went over to the door as well. Squeezing past the gaggle of girls, he stepped out into the hallway, wanting to greet his girlfriend first and not have her facing his female classmates alone.

However, just a he stepped out into the hall, the bell for homeroom to start chimed out, followed quickly by Ojiro’s phone buzzing in his hand with another text.

“Ah gomen,” Ojiro said as he held up his phone and rubbed the back of his head with his free hand. “She says maybe tomorrow?”

“Pull your heads back inside if you don’t want to lose them,” Aizawa-sensei’s perpetually-tired-sounding voice spoke then, and the five girls turned their heads to see their homeroom teacher standing there, his hand on the classroom door, poised to slide it shut. 

Their eyes widened in terror for a split moment before they all quickly ducked their heads back into the classroom with a barely audible “Eep!

Aizawa made eye contact with an apologetic-looking Ojiro then, and he simply jutted his head in a “get-in” motion towards the doorway. Ojiro ducked his head and quickly walked back inside the classroom. 

The homeroom teacher let out a sigh before following the boy inside and shutting the door after him. ‘Children.

 

-- -- -- --

 

LUNCH

 

“Midoriya.”

Izuku perked up at the sound of his name, his mouth full of pork katsudon which he quickly swallowed down once he saw his red-and-white-haired classmate standing beside his lunch table.  “Oh, Todoroki-kun, what’s up?”

“May I sit with you?” Todoroki asked, adjusting his grip slightly on his own lunch tray that had the soba noodle lunch set on it.

Izuku grinned and opened his mouth to reply but caught himself and quickly glanced at his tablemates for approval; Uraraka-san, who was sitting across from him, smiled and nodded, a gesture that was mirrored by Iida-kun, who was sitting beside her. Izuku turned back to look up at Todoroki and nodded once himself, “Sure!”

“Thank you,” Todoroki spoke with the expressionless tone he had about most things, before moving and taking the seat beside Izuku, across from Iida. However, Todoroki hadn’t even been sitting for a second before he suddenly blinked and spoke again, “Oh, I forgot a drink.” The tall, red-and-white-haired boy stood back up, “Excuse me, for a moment.”

“Shouto-kun!” Iida called out in his always-earnest tone after Todoroki had taken but two or three steps away from the table, then adjusted his glasses when the other male paused and turned back slightly. “I urge you not to get that strawberry milk you always drink. The added sugars will rot your teeth from the inside out!” 

Todoroki looked at him in rare moment of surprise before his lips barely pulled up into the smallest of smiles. “I’m surprised you remembered, Tenya.”

Izuku blinked in confusion about the exchange he had just witnessed, an expression he found Uraraka-san had on her face as well, after Izuku turned back from watching Todoroki walk off. 

“Iida-kun?” Izuku asked his friend, pausing a moment for Iida to look up from his beef stew.  “Ano…are you perhaps good friends with Todoroki-kun?”

Swallowing his mouthful of food, Iida thought for a moment before replying, “Not particularly, no.”

“But you called each other by your first names,” Uraraka-san pointed out. “and you knew he liked strawberry milk.”

“…Oh, I see!” Iida spoke when he realized why the other two were looking so confused. “We’ve just known each other a long time, is all,” he explained. “Our families run in the same social circles and when we’d get dragged along to social or charity events our parents were invited to, we were always the only kids our age there - along with Yaoyorozu Momo-kun as well. The three of us would always end up hanging out together at those things.” 

So he is rich!” Izuku and Uraraka exclaimed together in a hushed whisper.

“We never really saw or talked with each other aside from those events, so I wouldn’t call us close, but we have all know each other for a while,” Iida summed up. 

“Oh, I see!” Izuku said in understanding now.

“Un!” Uraraka nodded in agreement.

Todoroki returned back to the table then, a pink and white strawberry milk carton in one hand and a white and blue soda can in the other, which he held out across the table to Iida-kun. “Calpico, right?”

Iida blinked in surprise before giving Todoroki-kun a soft smile, the first smile Izuku thought he’d ever seen Iida make. “Arigatou, Shouto-kun,” Iida said as he accepted the soft drink.

Izuku smiled to himself at the interaction. ‘Iida-kun and Todoroki-kun are what childhood-friends are supposed to look like,’ he thought as Todoroki sat back down beside him.

Everyone went back to eating then, and Izuku waited for Uraraka and Iida to get distracted in a conversation of their own before he spoke again.

“Todoroki-kun,” he called quietly to his classmate beside him, “If you’d like, I can tell you what happened next in the story that you read in my notebook. Ano, o-only if you want to, that is...”

The smile that spread over Todoroki’s face then really could have out-shown the sun. “I would love that—”

“Oi, Todoroki!”

The four looked up when Kirishima’s voice suddenly sounded beside their table. Their spikey red-haired classmate was standing there with his hands on his hips, clearly having come over to their table just to say whatever it was he wanted to say to Todoroki.

“I saw you talking with Kan-sensei a few minutes ago,” Kirishima spoke with a grin and a lively tone. “Are you thinking about transferring to the sport mentor class?”

Izuku blinked in surprise and turned to look at Todoroki beside him who was looking up at Kirishima with his usual unemotional expression. “Yes, that’s correct.”

“Haha! I knew it!” Kirishima laughed boldly, “You should totally think about joining the basketball team with me, you’re tall so you’d be great at it!”

“But, Shouto-kun,” Iida interjected then, “I thought you were taking the business management mentor course with the principal, since you’re going to be taking over your father’s company?”

Todoroki simply lowered his gaze back to his plate and said bluntly as he began to eat again, as an answer to both boys speaking to him, “No. I like soccer.”

It was clear to everyone that the conversation was over then.

“Well, you’re always welcome in the club if you change your mind,” Kirishima said before throwing up his hand in farewell and walking away. “See ya!”

Izuku stared at Todoroki a few moments longer before dropping his gaze down to this own plate, getting lost in his thoughts as his other three table mates went back to eating and conversing. ‘I have a lot to learn about Todoroki-kun...’

He didn’t really know how long he had been spacing out but it must have been a while, for Todoroki’s hand was suddenly on top of his own and the red-and-white-haired boy was looking at him with a concerned expression.

“H-Huh?” Izuku asked, quickly shaking his head and looking over at his classmate beside him.

“You were staring at your plate and not responding,” Todoroki explained as he sat back in his chair a bit, but left his hand on top of Izuku’s for a movement longer than necessary, making Izuku’s cheeks burn.

“G-Gomen,” Izuku quickly apologized, bringing his now free hand up to rub at the back of his head sheepishly. “I get lost in my thoughts and space out sometimes...” he gave an awkward half chuckle. 

“I hope they were good,” Todoroki commented as he went back to eating his food.

“Nani?” Izuku questioned with a slight tilt of his head, which made Todoroki turn and look at him directly once more.

“Your thoughts, I hope they were good ones.” 

Izuku didn’t really know how to answer that, so he didn’t. He just turned back down to his food and continued eating as best he could with his cheeks practically glowing pink.

He was too overwhelmed with Todoroki beside him to feel Kacchan’s eyes glaring holes into the back of his head from across the cafeteria.

 

-- -- --

 

MENTOR CLASS

 

“Deku-kun!” Uraraka-san called out in a sing-song manner as she leaned over from her large easel to look over at her curly haired classmate beside her; he had barely said a word to her all class. “How are your sketches coming along?”

“Ee?” Izuku looked up suddenly at the sound of his nickname, sitting up a bit straighter, only to look back down at his sketch book. “Eto…” he started but trailed off a bit; after yesterday’s Mentor class, he had settled on doing 20 sets of hands – not including the page of Kacchan’s hands that was currently hidden in the drawer of his desk at home. “…I’m nearly done, just one more left!” 

He looked up at her then with a smile that quickly dropped when he saw the position her hands were in at her easel, one posed with a brush the other steadily holding the paint palette at the ready. She paused when she realized he had frozen up a bit.

“Un? What’s wrong—” 

“Uraraka-san! Would you mind if I sketch your hands just like that!?” Izuku quickly blurted out, turning a bit to face her and clutching his sketch pad suddenly close to his chest, a determined but also uneasy expression on his face.

She blinked and glanced at her hands before turning back to him with her trademark whole-face grin. “Sure! But only if you sit as a reference for me, afterwards.”

 

 

 

 

 

“I-Is…this alright?” Izuku questioned uneasily from his perch on his stool now in front of Uraraka-san, his legs stretched out a bit whimsically in front of him and his face turned towards the large window so that he was giving her his profile, chin up, one hand against his lower lip as if in thought. He was blushing a bit since he felt rather silly but no one else in the class was really paying them any mind. 

“Un, that’s perfect!” Uraraka confirmed as she glanced back and forth from him to her easel where she had traded her paints and her previous painting for a fresh canvas, now using a piece of graphite to sketch out her next painting. Only a couple minutes went by, before Izuku started to squirm a bit.

“Ah, it’s hard to keep still...” he murmured in what he thought was his head but apparently it was out loud for Uraraka heard him and replied.

“You can talk if you want, I’m not working on your face right now anyway.”

“But won’t that distract you?” Izuku asked, glancing over at her with just his eyes, making sure he kept his head in place.

“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Uraraka waved him off, a kind smile on her face. “I wouldn’t have suggested it if it wasn’t.”

Even with that affirmation, it still took Izuku another minute before he actually spoke up. “Uraraka-san, which do you like more, painting or Judo?”

“Eto...” she glanced up for a moment as she thought about her answer. “I like them both for different reasons so it’s hard to say which I like more...”

“Why do you like each, then?”

“Well...I’ve been doing Judo for so long, it’s past emotions like ‘like’ or ‘dislike’,” she explained, the sound of the graphite scratching out lines on the canvas following each word. “It’s just a part of me now; I can’t imagine ever not practicing Judo…”

“And painting?” Izuku asked, shifting his weight a bit. 

“Eto…Painting has always been something I just did for myself because I found it enjoyable. I never wanted nor expected any fame from it.”

“But you’ve won a few—” 

“Chin up,” Uraraka suddenly interjected and Izuku quickly obeyed the command, raising his chin up higher, not even realizing he had lowered it.

“...you’ve won a few art contests, right?” he finished.

“Hai,” she replied, furrowing her brow just the slightest bit as she concentrated on sketching a specific part. “...but truthfully, I never even entered any of them.” 

Hah!?” Izuku exclaimed in surprise, turning his head to face Uraraka fully, unable to help himself. “What do you mean you never entered any of them?”

“My art teacher in junior high entered my work without really asking me,” Uraraka explained, not chastising him for moving right away. “and it just turns out that other people thought I was as good as she did.”

Her words resonated with an unpleasant memory inside of Izuku, his hand that had been gripping the edge of the stool for balance tightening its hold as his gaze lowered off to the side. “You weren’t...mad at her, for going behind your back?”

“Not really,” Uraraka answered in such an easy and immediate way, that it made Izuku look up at her again, but she still had her eyes on her easel. “Before I started to get recognition for my paintings, I never even considered doing art professionally. It was something I enjoyed, but was just always going to remain a hobby since I already had the whole judo thing going for me.”

“…What—”

“Sorry could you put your other arm out behind you like this…” Uraraka suddenly interjected again, raising her own arm up in a rather elegant and ballet-esque way to demonstrate. Izuku copied her as best he could. “Perfect! That’s great…!”she praised and went back to sketching. 

“…what, made you decide that Judo was what you wanted to be well-known for?” Izuku asked after a moment. 

“Huh?” Uraraka stopped and looked up at him at that, then glanced away and sheepishly rubbed at the back of her head. “Eto…because…”

 

 

 

“For money?” Izuku asked in surprise. “You want to become well-known for the money?”

“To boil it down simply, yes…” Uraraka affirmed, still looking off a bit ashamed. “Gomen ne, it’s such an unwholesome reason. You and Iida-kun have such admirable motivations, it’s embarrassing…”

“Why? How is having a goal to support your livelihood not admirable?” Izuku questioned, his tone not condescending in the slightest. “But, it is a bit unexpected.”

Uraraka let out a sigh at that and slumped a bit on her own stool, sitting away from her easel as she looked down a bit troubledly. “My family owns a dojo, but we haven’t gotten any students at all, so we’re flat broke,” she quickly looked up and shook her hand quickly then, “This isn’t really something to tell other people, though…” 

“A dojo…” Izuku repeated in thought then snapped his fingers together. “Oh, if you become a famous Judoka, it will bring recognition to your family’s dojo, and you’ll get more students!” 

“Right!? That’s been my plan since I was little!” Uraraka echoed, pointing at him determinedly, but just as quick as she had perked back up, she suddenly looked troubled again. “But…during my practical interview…”

--

“Your application is very impressive, Uraraka-chan,” Principal Nezu said as he shuffled a few papers together. “But I have to ask, why didn’t you include any of your artwork in your portfolio?”

I told him what I had told you just now.

“The goal of taking care of your parents and your family dojo is all well and good, but here at Yuuei, we want our students pursuing things that truly make them happy,” Principal Nezu retaliated as he crossed his hands together on the desk in front of him.  

Ochako hung her head a bit at this, knowing it meant she probably wouldn’t be getting into Yuuei…

“Uraraka Ochako,” the principal had spoken again, causing Ochako to snap her head up.

“Hai!”

“If I asked you to be completely selfish, what would you choose? Judo or painting?”

Ochako’s eyes widened a bit at the question and she looked down to her hands that were in her lap, clutching tight at her skirt. She had never been asked that, nor had she even considered that question before; yet the answer came so easily, it frightened her. She answered in a barely audible voice, “…Painting, sir.”

She hadn’t seen it, but the principal had had a kind smile on his face then.

“So, its decided then,” Principal Nezu spoke firmly, causing Ochako to raise her head. “If you pass the written exam, you’ll attend Yuuei and be mentored in painting—” he met her gaze as her eyes widened in disbelief. “—and Judo.”  

“Sir, two areas of mentorship?” Another staff member who was sitting beside the principal questioned then.  

“We haven’t given out the Infinity Scholarship in a few years, right?” Principal Nezu spoke in a light-hearted voice before glancing at Ochako again with a knowing light in his eyes. “We should probably dust off those forms…”

--

Uraraka looked down at the piece of graphite in her hand before looking up around the room and then to Izuku as she closed her fist tightly. “I’ll definitely become well-known and make money and let my parents take it easy! But, I’ll follow my heart as well!” 

Izuku gazed at her in awe. ‘She’s getting the chance to pursue her dream, just like I am, but she’s also taking reality into consideration,’ he thought to himself. ‘She’s really cool.’

“Uraraka-san,” he called to her then, mirroring her clenched fist. “Ganbatte!”

She gave him a smile of thanks before pumping her own fist in the air. “Hai!”

 

 

 

 

 

“Alright, I finished the rough sketch,” Uraraka finally said, beckoning Izuku to come over.

“Let me see—” he said excitedly as she came to stand beside Uraraka to get a look at the canvas, but he frozen when he saw what was on it. “Ano, Uraraka-san…” he started quietly then got louder as he pointed to the sketch of what appeared to be a female version of himself with long flowing hair and a billowy dress, gazing wistfully out the window of a study. “I thought you were drawing me?!” 

“Un? Deku-kun, I asked you to reference, not model! Didn’t I tell you that I only paint girls?”

Eh?!?!?!

 

-- -- --

 

3:39 PM

 

Izuku lowered the cup of tea from his lips and held it gently in his lap, glancing around the lounge that Yagi Toshinori had gotten for them to use for their after school mentor sessions. 

It was a simple room: a couch that Yagi-sensei was sitting on as he looked over Izuku’s sketches, a coffee table, a chair that Izuku was sitting in across from the couch, large windows, two potted plants, a long desk built into the side wall that had the hot water brewer for tea and a coffee machine on it. Izuku didn’t mind the minimalist design so much, especially since the view out the windows was so soothing. The green tops of tress swaying in the wind against the blue afternoon sky; Izuku felt like he would be content to stare out that window forever if everybody let him. 

“Yagi-sama,” a voice suddenly sounded from the open doorway, drawing Izuku out from his thoughts and he turned to see the tall, average looking man who was always with Yagi-sensei – Naomasa – coming into the room. “Pardon the interruption, but your publisher just faxed over some contracts that you need to sign.”

“Hai, hai,” Toshinori called, waving him over as he set Izuku’s sketch book down for a moment before taking the stack of papers Naomasa passed him a little grumble. “Honestly, they know I’m a teacher now, these couldn’t have waited until later…?”

As Yagi-sensei went about signing the contracts, the man turned to Izuku with the serious expression Izuku realized he always had on his face, and bowed deeply in greeting. “Hajimemashite, Midoriya Izuku-san. I’m Tsukauchi Naomasa, Yagi-sama’s personal secretary.”

‘Tsukauchi… so Yagi-sensei calls him by his first name…’ Izuku quickly scrambled to set down his cup and stand up so that he could return the man’s bow. “H-Hajimemashite, Tsukauchi-san.”

“Since you’ll be working with Yagi-sama for a while,” Nao—Tsukauchi-san continued, after having righted himself, “I felt like I should properly introduce myself, especially since Yagi-sama probably hasn’t said two words to you about me.”

Oi, Naomasa-kun!” Toshinori grumbled in an offended tone, a bit of blood spewing from his mouth, as he had in fact totally forgotten to introduce the other two.

“Please do not hesitate to ask if you need anything,” Tsukauchi-san continued without paying Yagi-sensei any mind. “While you’re with Yagi-sama, consider yourself under my care as well.” 

“Under…your care…?” Izuku repeated a bit confused.

“Naomasa is also my bodyguard, to some degree,” Toshinori interjected, leaning back into the couch and closing his eyes as a smug-like grin came over his face. “He’s more of a big brother than anything else. He’s been looking out for me ever since we were little kids, isn’t that right, Namacchi?” 

At what appeared to be a childhood nickname, Toshinori received a swift chop on the head from Naomasa who had a straight face the entire time. “Please ignore whatever he says about me, Midoriya-sama.”

Tsukauchi then picked up the now signed contracts as Yagi rubbed at his head in pain, then excused himself and started for the door.

“Oi! Naomasa! Don’t treat me like a little kid!” Yagi hollered after him in a rather childish way, standing up and waving his fist in the air.

Naomasa replied as he slipped through the doorway, “I only treat you like what you act like, Yagi-sama.”

Toshinori huffed a bit and crossed his arms before sitting back down with a pout. Izuku had to cover his mouth to suppress his chuckle. ‘They really are like brothers…’

“…I realize I…haven’t told you much about me,” Yagi spoke suddenly, his tone and expression now serious. He leaned forward and rested his forearms on his knees, threading his fingers together. “I believe that if I am to seriously mentor you, it will be best for you to understand why I do certain things…” he sighed. 

Izuku sat straighter, his hands balled in his lap, gripping at the fabric of his uniform pants. “Yagi-sensei…” he called to the older man, then looked down at his hands. “Ano…I haven’t asked because I didn’t want there to be anything wrong with you…” He forced himself to raise his eyes to meet the other’s. “You’re sick, aren’t you.” 

Yagi Toshinori held his gaze for a long moment before opening his mouth, “I have stomach cancer.”

 

 

 

 

 

“You’ll recall that I confided in you my status,” Yagi spoke sincerely, taking a sip of his tea. “And that I asked you to keep it a secret…?”

He glanced to Izuku for confirmation and Izuku nodded.

“Being a male Omega wasn’t as rare as it is for your generation, but it was still uncommon,” Yagi continued. “Not to mention the gender stereotypes were much more present back then. I was already a bit of an outcast for my looks and because of my family’s class, I didn’t want to be teased for something that was considered ‘weak’ on top of it all. So, I hid my status as best I could with suppressants. Naomasa was the only one I told.”

 

“Toshi! Oi, Toshinori! Look at me!” Naomasa held the teary-eyed Toshinori with both his hands and shook him gently yet firmly, waiting until the slightly shorter blond met his gaze. “It doesn’t matter what your status is. I’m never going to stop being your friend,” he pulled Toshinori to him and hugged him tightly. “And I promise that I’ll always protect you.”

Toshinori couldn’t stop the tears as he hugged his best friend back tightly, pressing his face into the other’s shoulder, “N-Namacchi…”

 

“He’s never broken that promise,” Yagi said solemnly, recounting the memory. “He even applied to Yuuei with me. Even though he got placed in the General Studies Department, he was with me every second he could be. I’m forever indebted to him for his companionship during that time.”

“You’ve never spoken much of your high school days, or your family,” Izuku commented, a bit in astonishment as he tried to just take everything in. “You always avoid those questions during interviews…”

“My family is old money,” Toshinori explained, starting from the beginning. “The same company has been passed down from generation to generation. And even though I was the illegitimate child from my father’s affair with an American woman, I was expected to inherit the family business,” he paused to give Izuku a grin. “But of course, I wanted to be a mangaka.”

“The acclaimed author Gran Torino-sama,” Izuku spoke with a mirrored grin, “was your mentor while you were here at Yuuei, right?” 

“Hai,” Yagi-sensei affirmed as he took another sip of his tea. “I was the opposite of you in the sense that I could draw really well, but I didn’t even know how to go about creating a coherent story,” he chuckled to himself at what seemed to be a memory popping into his head, before continuing. “Sensei taught me the basics of writing and storytelling. A lot of how I plan to go about teaching you, is based off how he taught me.

“I came up with All Might during my first year at Yuuei,” Yagi continued after setting his cup down on the table. “Sensei thought it was good enough to actually publish, but I was still not confident enough to step out from my responsibility to my family. So I only agreed to the publishing, if I could do so under a pseudonym. That’s when I became Yaki Shunten.”

“The manga didn’t start to get popular until you were out of high school, though,” Izuku interjected, doing the math for the years in his head, his die-heart-fanboyness showing. “That means, by the time you graduated, you had gained the confidence to pursue your dream of becoming a mangaka and not take over your family's business?" Izuku questioned. "Was that because of Gran Torino and Tsukauchi-san, too?”

Yagi Toshinori shook his head. “That, my boy, was all thanks to a woman named Shimura Nana.”

“Shimura…Nana…” Izuku repeated, he knew he had heard that name somewhere before...

“She was my editor at Wanforu,” Yagi helped, and Izuku perked up in recognition, before deflating a bit when he saw the look of sadness on his idol’s face. “Nana, was not only my editor, she was my biggest fan and a second mentor.”

Yagi got up then and walked over to the window, looking out it for a long moment before speaking. “She was the reason why the All Might manga got as popular as it did…she was also the reason why I suddenly stopped writing it.” 

Izuku could feel the pit in his stomach as he asked, “Did…something happen to her?”

“…She died.” Toshinori said simply, his back to Izuku. “A semi clipped her car while going around a sharp turn during a rain storm. Her car went spinning off the side of a cliff.” 

Izuku's shoulders tensed a bit as he pictured the scene in his mind, slowly turning his gaze down to his lap. “Gomenasai…” he barely made out, his stomach twisting unpleasantly. But then, Yagi-sensei’s hand came down to pat his head once, twice, and he looked back up at the blond man now standing beside him, smiling despite it all.

Yagi walked back over to the couch, “All Might was nothing without her, Yaki Shunten was nobody without her. So I decided to retire as a mangaka, out of respect for her memory.”

“But…she sounds like the type of person who wouldn’t want that,” Izuku voiced before he could stop himself. “If I were her, I would want you to keep writing no matter what.” 

Toshinori’s eyes twinkled a bit at that, as he sat back down onto the couch. “That’s exactly what Gran Torino said to me,” he picked up his tea again and took another sip. “By this point in time, I had severed all ties with my family and writing was really all that I was good at. But creating manga…just didn’t feel right without Nana. So, I wrote my first novel instead. And published it under my real name.”

‘The Moon at the Bottom of the Sea’,” Izuku repeated the book title, it had been the first novel of Yagi-sensei’s that he had read after they’d first met a year ago. “You dedicated it to her, too.” 

Yagi nodded in affirmation.

“That book won a national literary award but you turned it down,” Izuku stated. “Why?”

“Around the same time the award got announced, was when I first got sick.”

 

“Oi, Yagi-sama,” Naomasa called as she slipped off his shoes and started down the hall of his boss’s apartment. “Don’t expect me to take in your mail just because you—”  

He was cut off as he rounded the corner into the living room, by the sight of his best friend on his hands and knees on the floor, one hand trying cover his mouth as he coughed up another mouthful of blood onto the already sizable pool on the floor beneath him. The blood-covered blond raised his head up a bit then and met Naomasa’s eyes, but the taller male could tell his friend was fading fast.  

“Nao…masa…” Toshinori managed to say as his vision blurred and he swayed over onto his side on the floor.

“Oi, Yagi!” Naomasa yelled as he rushed over to his friend’s side, Toshinori's vision going dark. “Toshi!

 

“The suppressants back then weren’t as regulated and refined as they are now,” Toshinori explained as the flashback played through his head. “And I had taken them for so long by that point, that they had mutated the atrophic gastritis I didn’t even know that I had, into a stomach cancer.”

Izuku could feel the headiness setting in on him.

“It’s a rare type of cancer that no one knows much about. The doctors have treated it as best they could over the years but I’ve lost the majority of my stomach,” Yagi then lifted up his jacket and shirt to show Izuku the large scar on his side from the multiple surgeries he’s had. “But part of this I’ve brought on myself. I didn’t want the public to know I was ill so I refused chemotherapy or anything that would have drastic side effects that affected my appearance.”

“Yagi…sensei…” Izuku murmured in disbelief. Then, before he could even register it, his body had moved on his own: getting up and going over to his idol’s side and bringing his fist down atop the blond man’s head. “Bakayaro! You need to take care of your health! You won’t be able to write anymore if you’re dead!” 

A beat passed between them as Yagi stared up at him, one hand on his head, and Izuku quickly realized what he had just done. But before he could utter a single syllable of apology, Yagi Toshinori burst out into a billowing laughter that filled the entire room. 

“Oh…my boy, I’m sorry,” Yagi managed to apologize after a few moments. “It’s just, in that moment, you sounded exactly like Nana.”

Izuku could only breath out a small chuckle of his own, smiling because the other man was smiling too. Yagi sat up straighter and reached a hand up to pat Izuku’s head once, twice, three times.

 

 

 

 

 

“Alright, it looks like you’ve made good progress with your hand sketches,” Yagi-sensei concluded as he passed Izuku back his sketch pad, and then took out some more handouts and handed them over as well. “For Friday, I want you to practice drawing sets of eyes. Try to convey a different emotion with pair.”

“Hai!” Izuku nodded as he glanced over the new handouts he’d received that had basic tutorials on them. 

“Do you have all your previous writings that I asked you to bring?” 

Izuku tensed a bit at that, and glanced down to the paper bag filled with notebooks beside his chair that he’d forgot had been there this entire time. “…Un…” He picked up the bag and stood up so that he could more easily hand it over the table to Yagi-sensei, but then he hesitated. “Are you…going to read them?” 

“It’ll be hard to give you feedback on them if I don’t—”

“You can’t!” Izuku blurted out, bringing the bag back to himself, his eyes quickly darting to anywhere but Yagi-sensei’s. “N-Not without his permission…”

Toshinori titled his head to the side in confusion, “Not without who’s permission?”

Izuku bit the inside of his lower lip as he kept his eyes on the floor. Looks like it was his turn for storytime.

--

They were both eleven, it was near the end of the summer vacation of their grade 5 year.

Katsuki spent most of his free time playing baseball and he and Izuku hadn’t gotten together to work on their story since the school year had started. But Izuku had called him a few minutes ago sounding all breathless and excited, begging Katsuki to meet up with him even though it was late, and so he’d agreed because even though he wouldn’t admit it, part of him felt a bit guilty that he didn’t have time for his best friend anymore. Though most of him just felt annoyed cause he was tired and just wanted to zone out in front of the TV.

“Kacchan!!”

He looked up from where he was leaning against the wall outside his family’s house, at a panting, curly-haired boy running towards him in the dark, clutching a newspaper tightly in his hand.  

Katsuki raised his eyebrow in question as the boy came to a blundering stop in front of him and dropped to put his hands on his knees to catch his breath. “Whatever’s got you worked up had better be good,” Katsuki said with a light click of his tongue. “I still haven’t taken a bath yet...”

“I...submitted...the story...and it got printed!” Izuku said excitedly as he righted himself, smiling almost blindingly brilliantly at his taller best friend.

“ Hah?” Katsuki questioned as he pushed off the wall and stood rightly in front of Izuku.

“The story? Our story, I...the paper was having a contest for short stories by local kids, and I sent in our story, and it got published!” Izuku held up the paper to show him.

“HAH?!” Katsuki questioned even louder and practically ripped the paper out of Izuku’s hands. His eyes quickly scanning the page, finding that, yes in fact, their story had been published - but without his drawings, and only under Izuku’s name.  

When his gaze flicked back up to his best friend, Izuku’s smile immediately dropped.  

“W-What’s wrong Kacch—?”

“Why is it only under your name?! And why didn’t you submit my drawings?! It’s a manga, not a damn short story!” As he spoke, Katsuki hit the paper with his hand as if to prove a point, fire blazing in his eyes as a mixture of rage and betrayal swelled in his chest.

Izuku lowered his head and flinched a bit with each punctuated word that left his best friend’s mouth. “W-Well…I wanted to submit your artwork too, b-but you’ve been so busy with baseball that I never had the chance to ask you if I could before the deadline, and well...I am the one who writes most of the story... S-So I only submitted it under my name...” 

“Bastard! Why didn’t you just call and ask me?!”  

“I-I did!” Izuku looked up at him, his eyes glossy with timidness. “But you were always either not home or asleep...” he lowered his head and fiddled with his fingers. “Gomen, Kacchan...I really did try to contact you, though.”

“Like shit you did!” Katsuki yelled and with that began to rip the newspaper to shreds, growling at it all the while.

Izuku stared on wide eyed in part horror, mostly heartache.

“This is all seriously stupid! I knew I should have given up this childish past-time a long time ago. I’m done with this! It’s worthless! Just like you, Deku! 

“Ka...Kacchan—!“

The slamming of Katsuki’s front door cut him off, and effectively cut their friendship off as well, for all that Katsuki was concerned.

--

After that day, Kacchan’s words only got meaner, cut deeper, his glares only got harsher, filled with hate. And every time Izuku would try to talk to him, Katsuki would say a variation of the same thing:

“I don’t have time for a worthless conversation with worthless Deku.”

Despite no longer having his artist, Izuku kept writing. Kept working on their manga. He filled notebook after notebook which he never showed to anyone, he couldn’t show anyone. Not without Kacchan’s permission.

 

Izuku’s hold on the bag of notebooks loosened a bit, tears brimming in his eyes as he recounted the event that had changed his life so much, to his idol. 

“I understand you don’t want to betray your friend,” Toshinori spoke after a moment. “But they stopped being his stories that night. They’re your stories now, Midoriya, my boy. And they’re always going to be your stories.”  

He blinked and looked up at the blond man; Izuku had never thought of these as anything except his and Kacchan’s stories… But that wasn’t true. Ever since that night, it had only been him writing them. Regardless of whether or not he’d kept Kacchan in his mind while writing, he, Midoriya Izuku had done the actual writing alone… 

“I won’t force you to show them to me if you don’t want to,” Yagi added. “but know that sharing them won’t affect young Bakugou. It will only affect, only help, you.”

Pressing his lips together, Izuku looked down into the bag for a moment before reaching inside it with one hand and pulling out three notebooks. They were the oldest ones: one was the one Todoroki had returned to him yesterday, and the other two were ones he and Kacchan actually had filled up together before their falling out. Setting the bag down for a moment, Izuku bent over and put the three books he had pulled aside into his yellow backpack.

“These ones belong to both Kacchan and me,” Izuku said before standing back up, picking up the paper bag once more and holding it out to Yagi-sensei. “These stories are mine.”

Yagi grinned softly before taking the bag and glancing inside it. “I’ll read them and give you feedback in two weeks. We’ll keep up the art practice in the meantime,” he then pumped his fist beside his face. “Ganbatte, Young Midoriya.”

Izuku had never felt as confident as he did in that moment. “Hai! Ganbattimasu!”

 

 

Chapter Text

THE FOLLOWING DAY (Thursday) · MORNING HOMEROOM 

 

“So, it’s going to be a karaoke and an arcade?” Denki asked with an excited lilt to his voice, to which Kirishima nodded in reply.

“The sign said, there’s even going to be a food court on the lower level,” Kirishima excitedly added. He was telling Denki, who was sitting backwards in his chair to face the red-head, and Sero, was standing and leaning against the side of his own desk, about a new entertainment place that was opening soon in his neighborhood. “We should totally check it out together once they open!”

“Definitely!” Denki nodded in agreement. 

“Sounds fun!” Sero chimed in as well, then looked over and called out to the Omega of their matching headphone group. “Ashido-san, you like karaoke, right?”

The pink haired girl looked up from her hushed conversation with Tsu-chan, the Omega, frog-loving girl who sat behind her, and blinked before grinning wide and shooting Sero a thumbs-up. “Haaai! And I’m a pro too!” 

“Oooo!” Denki and the other two boys chanted in unison.

But then, Denki saw the classroom door opening out of the corner of his eye, and as he turned his head, Kirishima and Sero’s calls of “No way!” and “Really?!” faded from his attention as he saw Jirou entering the room. He swallowed down the fluttering in his stomach and turned his whole body around in his seat to face her a little more head-on, as she walked over to her seat that was beside his. “Oh, Jirou, Ohayou!”

“Ohayou,” she replied monotonously without so much as a glance in his direction, as she slid into her seat beside him. Immediately putting in the earbuds of her bright yellow headphones and pulling out her phone, effectively shutting down any other chances for Denki to continue conversing with her. 

Ever since the other day when he’d walked in on her singing in the music room, Jirou hadn’t really spoken to him at all. But she also hadn’t especially ignored him either, which was a good thing… Denki can only hope that the weekend break coming up will help ease things between them even more. He definitely didn’t want to lose Jirou as a friend.

“Oi, Kaminari.” 

Denki turned at the sound of his name and found Sero wiggling his eyebrows as he glanced back and forth between Denki and Jirou.  Denki managed to stifle the blush he felt coming over him and stood up so that he could reach over and put Sero in a playful head lock and rub his knuckles into the taller, black-haired boy’s skull. “You got something you wanna say, Sero?”

“Hey, hey, cut it out!” Sero laughed back playfully, only half-assedly trying to escape the shorter blond’s hold.

 

 

 

 

 

“Everyone take your seats, homeroom is starting,” Aizawa-sensei said as he slid the classroom door closed behind him, the starting bell chiming right afterwards, as if it had heard the perpetually-tired-looking man’s words as well. He was carrying a stack of cards in his hand, and once he got to the teacher’s desk, he held them up in a gesture for everyone to take note of them.

“You’ll be getting your student ID cards today,” Aizawa said flatly. “Come up when I call you… Aoyama.”

Denki tensed a bit at that, then suddenly felt a tap on his shoulder and he turned around to see Kirishima with a similar uneasy expression on his own face.

“You don’t they’re gonna use our pictures from the day of the entrance exam…do you?” Kirishima questioned in a soft voice. “I was having a bad hair day then…”

“Ahahaha…” Denki gave an uneasy chuckle, remembering that he'd still had his embarrassing bowl-cut back then. “S-So was I, so I hope they don’t…”

Ashido sat back down in her seat then and Kirishima called over to her. “Ashido, did they use your picture from back in middle school?”

The pink haired girl blinked and looked up at them. “Huh? No, they used the picture they took the other day during the medical exam,” she said and held her card up for both him and Kirishima to look at it. “Didn’t they take your pictures too?” 

“Oh,” Denki and Kirishima said in unison, then Denki expanded with, “So that’s what the picture was for…”

“Well, I’m glad,” Kirishima said as he sat back and relaxed a bit in his seat.

But then, a familiar symbol in the corner of Ashido’s ID card caught Denki’s attention, and he waited for Iida-kun to pass down the aisle before reaching out and pointing to it. “What’s that?”

“Ee?” Ashido questioned and pulled her card back to look at it the small red symbol as well. “Eto…”

“It’s her status symbol,” Tsu-chan spoke up then and Denki turned to look at her.

“Status symbol?”

The girl whose expression rarely changed, nodded. “You know, the symbols that represent Alpha, Beta and Omega? They start including it on your ID once you get to high school.”

Ehh?!” Denki gasped in a taken-aback way, feeling the blood drain from his face. ‘I didn’t know they did that…’ he worried to himself. ‘That means anyone who sees my ID will know that I’m not a—!’

“Kaminari,” Aizawa-sensei called his name then, and Denki jumped a bit before getting up and going to the front to receive his card. Not bothering to even glance at it, he quickly returned to his seat and didn’t dare a peek until Kirishima had gotten up to retrieve his own card.

Shit…’ he cursed to himself, the symbol for “Beta” glaring back up at him in a crisp blue ink as he looked down at the card in his trembling hands. He couldn’t let anybody see this, especially not—

“Kaminari,” Kirishima spoke and Denki jolted as he looked up to see the red-head now standing beside his desk, and he quickly placed his ID card face down on his desk and covered it with both his hands.

“N-Nani?” 

“It came out good don’t you think?” Kirishima asked with a grin as he held out his own card for Denki to see.

Denki’s eyes glazed over the card, he knew Kirishima was asking about the picture, but Denki couldn’t help but focus on the small symbol for Alpha in the corner. “…Un, it’s very manly, just like you.”

“Right?” Kirishima grinned even wider and chuckled before slipping back into his own seat. “How did yours come out?” 

Denki flinched a bit, “Oh, you know…it looks like me… Heh…”

Kirishima smiled a bit mischievously. “That bad, huh? Now I gotta see it—” he leaned over his desk and Denki’s shoulder and had grabbed the ID card from under his hand before Denki even realized what was going on. 

“Oi, yamate—” Denki hollered as he quickly reached for the card and began to push and pull at Kirishima, trying to do all he could to get the card back or at least not let his friend see it. “Give it back, Kirishima!” 

“Chill, man! I just wanna look!” Kirishima hollered back as Denki’s hand pushed his face to the side but he did his best to keep the card out of Denki’s reach.

But then, Denki managed to catch Kirishima’s wrist and pull it suddenly, which sent his ID car flying over his head and clattering lightly to the floor right in front of someone’s feet. Denki’s eyes widened in horror as the person stooped down and picked up his ID, and he visibly paled as that person turned out to be Jirou, who had just received her own ID from the front.

She looked at his card for a beat then raised her gaze to his. Denki hoped she could see the inaudible pleads he was sending to her with his eyes.

“What’s it look like, Jirou?” Kirishima called out to her, after getting his face free from Denki’s hand. “Kaminari said it came out bad.”

Jirou hadn’t broken Denki’s gaze this entire time, and she held it a beat more before looking away as she walked back over to her own desk. “I wouldn’t call it bad,” she said as she sat down and then held Denki’s card up, the placement of her fingers hiding the status symbol inconspicuously. “He looks like his usual dorky self.”

Denki backed off of Kirishima as the red-head leaned in and looked at his ID card, then clapped Denki on the shoulder. “I don’t get why you were worried, Kaminari. You look like yourself.”

“Un…” Denki managed despite his shock over what Jirou had just done for him.

Sero came back to his seat from getting his card then and Kirishima moved his attention over to him. Jirou then held Denki’s card out to him between two fingers of her hand, still hiding the symbol, resting her head in her other hand nonchalantly.

He reached out and took the card but before Jirou released it, she mouthed, “You owe me one.”

Before Denki could say anything though, Jirou had turned away and put in her earbuds once more. He didn’t realize how hard his heart had been pounding, but he didn’t think it was because his secret had almost been revealed.

 

-- -- --

 

LUNCH

 

“J-Jirou!” Denki called out as he came up behind the girl in the hallway and grabbed hold of her elbow. She stopped and looked back at him then down at where he was gripping onto her and Denki quickly let go. “A-Ah, gomen. Ano, can I talk with you for a minute?”

She stared at him for a moment then turned to Yao-momo whom she’d been walking and talking with, “Gomen ne, Momo-chan, I’ll catch up with you later.”

The tall pony-tailed girl smiled softly and nodded once before giving a little wave and walking off. Jirou then turned and faced him with a single hand on her hip.

 

 

 

 

 

“If you’re worried about me blabbing about your status, I’m not going to,” Jirou said with her eyes closed and her arms crossed over her chest as she leaned back against the railing of the stairway they were standing halfway up, away from the few stragglers down in the hallway on their way to the cafeteria.  

“N-No, it’s...I actually wanted to say thank you for what you did...” Denki quickly stammered, then looked off to the side, one hand in his pocket as he stood in the middle of the stairs. “You didn’t have to do that for me, and I really appreciate it.”

He looked back to her then and she had apparently opened her eyes at some point, for he found her looking right back at him. 

“Well, don’t appreciate it too much,” she started then glanced down the stairs at the now empty hallway below. “part of it was I thought it’d be good black mail against you if I ever needed any.” 

Maji?!” Denki questioned in startled shock, taking a half-step closer to her; he wasn’t expecting that kind a of response from Jirou.

The short haired girl rolled her eyes lightly and looked back to him. “That was a joke, baka,” she chastised lightly, reaching out and flicking his forehead. 

Denki rubbed at the spot, a light flush on his cheeks as he hung his head a bit embarrassed, gently biting at his lower lip out of habit. He didn’t notice the color that had come to Jirou’s cheeks as well before she looked away again, choosing to hold onto the railing she was leaning against now, as opposed to crossing her arms.

“Why are you presenting as an Alpha, anyway?”

Denki blinked up at her then looked down at his feet. “Ah, well...ya see...” he trailed off at first then let out a sigh in defeat; he didn’t want to lie to her. “I was kind of a loner in middle school. I was the nerdy kid with a bowl cut who was too shy to talk to anyone and always had my nose in a book.”

He brought his phone out of his pocket and tapped and swiped on the screen a few times, before holding it out to show her the picture that was now on the screen. “Basically, I was as textbook passive Beta as you could get,” he added.

Jirou leaned closer to look at the phone screen, on it was a picture of a boy with a bowl cut that covered his eyes, holding a trophy in his arms and standing beside a robot-looking contraption. A banner in the background read “6th Annual Robo...” it was cut off, but Jirou guessed it was a robotics tournament. 

She covered her mouth with her hand as she snorted and chuckled, “What a geek!” to herself.

“Shut up!” Denki nagged her, having heard what she said, a bit but hurt even though he knew she was right. He brought his phone back and looked at the picture on the screen once more. “…I was tired of being alone.” He turned his phone off and slid it back into his pocket. “When I got accepted to Yuuei, I decided to reinvent myself. I was going to have the high school career every guy dreams about!” 

“By pretending to be an Alpha?” 

“No, that was never part of my plan,” Denki quickly explained, shaking his hands back and forth. “I just wanted to be more outgoing and well liked!” He looked off to the side, a little embarrassed. “Not necessarily popular, just actually have some friends for once...” 

Denki didn’t realize how Jirou was looking at him then, or that she knew what it felt like not to have any friends. He didn’t know, that she had isolated herself as a child since she quickly learned that most people just wanted to use her to get close to her mom. He didn’t know, that she didn’t make any real friends herself until junior high when she met Yaoyorozu Momo. He didn’t know, that he had nothing to be embarrassed about, so he just kept his gaze down as he continued talking.

“Kirishima thought I was an Alpha like him and Sero, I guess because we get along so well,” Denki explained. “I was just so happy that I’d actually done it, that I was actually making friends…I just...I didn’t want to risk losing that in any way, so I just...went along with it.” He brought a hand up then to scratch at the back of his head sheepishly, “It’s pathetic I know... If you don’t want to talk to me anymore, I’d get it.”

He started to turn as if to walk away but he was stopped by Jirou’s voice.

“Being a Beta isn’t that bad you know.”  

Denki looked over to her to find her hands at her sides, her eyes looking at him normally. He was grateful that she at least didn’t seem to be pitying him.

“I mean, Kirishima’s a good guy,” Jirou continued. “From what I’ve seen, and what Ashido-chan’s said about him, he wouldn’t give two licks if you were a Beta or an Alpha or an Omega. That stuff doesn’t matter to him.” 

“But the group name he came up with—”

“Is because he doesn’t have one creative cell in that dorky jock brain of his,” she huffed and crossed her arms once more, her expression something like a pout. “He likes you for you, and so does Sero and Ashido...—” she uncrossed her arms and met his eyes “—and so do I.”

Denki knows that realistically, they probably only held eye contact for a couple seconds, even if that, but to him it felt like hours and he was living for every moment of it. He had never outright been told that others liked him before, but the fact that Jirou was the one saying these words to him, honestly made his heart race like it never ever had.

“It’s a shame you decided to reinvent yourself,” Jirou said before turning away and starting down the steps. “I’d like to get to know the old Kaminari Denki. He sounds pretty rockin’ actually - or at least less of a dork than you are now.”

“If we spent more time together, I’m sure you’d meet him sooner than you’d think.” 

The words had come out of him before he could even think to stop them. They made Jirou pause and then turn back around to look up at him, one hand held in a fist over her chest, the lightest of dustings of a blush on her cheeks – that quickly darkened when she saw that Denki was indeed serious.

“Are you...asking me out?” 

Denki was blushing just as much as she was, but he somehow managed to face her straight on and nod. He really didn’t know what the hell he was doing, but he also wasn’t about to stop now. “O-Only if you want to, that is...” 

Jirou could only stare back up at him. This had never happened to her before – how was one supposed to respond when they were confessed to? Was this really a confession though? It wasn’t like any of the confession scenes in the manga she’d read or the dramas she’d watched on TV… But her heart was pounding just as much as all the female protagonists’ hearts had, and he was giving her that look—

“I-If you don’t want to it’s totally fi—” 

“N-No! I...” Jirou quickly managed to fumble out, the panic of losing the moment somehow getting her mouth to work again. She had reached her hand out towards him but then just as immediately pulled it back. Her eyes were locked with Denki’s for what felt like forever, but was probably not even a couple seconds, before she managed to open her mouth again.

“I’d like that.” 

 

 

 

 

-- -- -- --

 

FRIDAY · AFTERNOON HOMEROOM

 

Izuku pulled at his shirt collar a bit, suddenly feeling warm but not really thinking anything of it, too busy chatting with Uraraka-san, whom he’d just walked back from mentor class with, and Iida-kun, at their desks in the back.

Then, Aizawa-sensei walked into the classroom and Izuku gave his two friends a little wave before heading back over to his seat like everyone else in the class started to do – Izuku wondered if Aizawa-sensei had realized he’d already trained them all to automatically return to their seats as soon as he entered the room. Regardless, the perpetually-tired man didn’t bother to chirp them all about it this time. 

Izuku pulled at his collar again as he slid into seat, then picked up his notebook and started to fan himself a little with it. Glancing around, he wondered if anyone else was feeling as hot as he was. Though, it was probably just because he was sitting right next to the window and the sun was shining directly— 

“Midoriya.” 

Izuku jolted at the bark of his name and he focused his gaze to the front to see Aizawa-sensei beckoning him up to the front of the room with one hand.

“Bring your bag with you,” Aizawa added.

“H-Hai!” Izuku quickly replied before grabbing his bright yellow backpack off its hook on the side of his desk, and hurriedly stuffed his notebook inside it as he made his way up to the front. He could hear a few whispers go up as he came to stand in front of the teacher’s desk, probably wondering what he had done wrong – Izuku wondered the same thing.

Aizawa leaned in a bit and said in a voice low enough for only him an Izuku to clearly make out, “Your heat is starting.”

Ee?!” Izuku questioned in a startled whisper, clutching the straps of his backpack tightly in his hands, his eyes wide in a mixture of terror and worry. How could Aizawa-sensei tell? Had he sensed Izuku’s pheromones? He was an adult Alpha, so Izuku wouldn’t be too surprised if that was the case, but he was too flustered to ask.

“I’m aware of your idiosyncrasy,” Aizawa continued in a low voice as he took out a hall pass from one of the desk drawers and began to fill it out. “Your mother wrote into the school nurse about it, and she in turn informed your teachers so that we would be aware of, and watch out for, your…circumstance.” 

Izuku blinked rapidly as he tried to simultaneously stay calm while taking in everything that was happening. Other than feeling a little warm, he honestly didn’t feel as if his heat was coming on at all. Aizawa-sensei’s ability to sense others' pheromones must really be top notch.

“Take this and go straight to the nurse’s office,” Aizawa continued as he held the slip of paper out to Izuku then. “She’ll give you—”

“N-No!” Izuku quickly stammered out, raising one hand up in refusal. “No, let me just go home...” Izuku pleaded with his eyes. If his heat really was starting, then he wanted to be as far away from school as possible. Because school was where Kacchan was…and he could never let Kacchan see him… like that. “Please, I know how to handle these best. A-And school’s almost over anywa—”

“Fine,” Aizawa-sensei said after sniffing once, quickly taking the hall-pass back and crossing things out and writing other things in, before offering it to Izuku once more. “Make sure your guardian calls in to request heat leave for you.” 

“Hai…” Izuku nodded as he reached out and took the slip of paper.

“And Midoriya,” Aizawa-sensei spoke once more, looking Izuku dead in the eyes. “I would hurry, if I were you.”

 

— — — —

 

It was barely 20 minutes later, when Bakugou crossed the street to head from the train station, towards his neighborhood. Afternoon homeroom periods really were a waste of time, being only 5 minutes long. Normally, Friday's afternoon homeroom would be an hour long, but they had had a special schedule on Tuesday for the medical exam that took up their hour homeroom for the week.

Normally, Bakugou didn’t even bother to care about afternoon homerooms, since he had baseball club practice every day after school that made him stay late regardless. But since the practice today wasn’t mandatory, he had decided to catch an earlier train home for once. Granted he really didn’t even need to use the train, but it had become a habit to head straight for the station from school, since usually he wasn’t leaving until it was nearly dark out.

Heading down the block, his nose suddenly caught whiff of a scent that, while Bakugou had never smelt before, he could immediately identify: that damn nerd. His eyes flew open and his head raised up as he tried to get a better take of the scent; his body moving on his own as the smell pulled him in closer and closer, until he was practically jogging after it.

Shitty Deku had left class early after talking with Aizawa-sensei at the beginning of homeroom. Bakugou had tried to seem uninterested while simultaneously trying to pick up what he could of their conversation. The latter of the two not going so well, as he only allowed his eyes to trail after the curly-haired bastard as he’d exited the classroom as close to a running speed as he could get without actually running. Deku had seemingly been dismissed early, and with this freaking pheromone currently engulfing all of Bakugou’s senses, the spikey-haired blond had a pretty good guess as to why.

Rounding a corner, Bakugou halted in his tracks as he saw a person lying in a heap on the side of the walk-way, the yellow backpack beside them and obnoxious red shoes a dead give-away as to who it was.

“Oi, Deku!” Bakugou hollered as he sprinted over to his childhood-friend, having to stop short at first and cover his mouth and nose with his sleeve, his eyes beginning to water at the intensity of the invisible pheromones surrounding the green-haired male. Honestly, Bakugou was a little surprised no one else had come out to investigate the smell, it had practically been a siren call to him. “Deku!”

The shitty nerd groaned a bit in response. Up close now, Bakugou could see the other boy was curled up into the fetal position on his side, hiding his head in his arms. “Ang…

Bakugou resigned to breathing through his mouth as he kneeled down beside the other male. “Oi, look at me,” he called as he reached out and pulled one arm away from the freckle-covered face of the other. He didn’t bother asking if the boy was alright, or what was going on, because he’d have to be a true idiot not to figure the answers to those two out.

Deku blearily opened his eyes and looked up at him, pupils blown wide. “K-Ka…cchan…” he creaked out, his voice a weird mixture of a groan and a whisper that made Bakugou blush and want to punch the damn nerd in the face all at once. Weakly, Deku tried to pull his arm away from Bakugou’s hold as he shook his head a bit and turned away, but Bakugou wasn’t giving him an inch.

“Can you walk?” Bakugou asked, jerking the boy’s arm again to get him to look back at him. While Deku didn’t meet his eyes, he did manage to shake his head ‘no’. “Tch…shitty nerd…” Bakugou grumbled as he let go of Izuku’s arm and reached for the oversized yellow backpack instead.

After sliding the straps of the thing over his shoulders so that the pack was in front of him, Bakugou turned back to Deku and started to pull him up first into a sitting position, but as he tried to get Deku to stand, the green haired boy started to groan again and tried to push Bakugou away.

“Oi! I’m trying to help you here, damn it!” Bakugou yelled at him, giving him a rough shaking as he did. Deku’s eyes lulled up to meet his for only a second, but it was long enough to make Bakugou blush even more than he already was. Gritting his teeth, Bakugou managed to drape Deku over his back as though he were giving him a piggy back ride, and stood up. “Hold on unless you want me to drop you, nerd,” he growled at the incapacitated boy who barely managed to lock his arms around Bakugou’s neck in response.

He grabbed the back of Deku’s thighs and shifted the boy higher, his fingers brushing against a wet spot on the fabric - making him realize for the first time, that he was in fact, currently hard. Bakugou couldn’t see down past the bastard’s arms that were in front of his face, but he could feel how much he was straining against his boxer-briefs, and he was silently thankful for how baggy he chose to wear his uniform pants. Shifting the boy on his back again to adjust his hold on the boy’s thighs earned him another groan from Deku right into his ear – that, partnered with the pheromones annihilating his nose, were pushing Bakugou to the edge of his limit.

“Damn Omega…” he grumbled under his breath as he started forward, carrying Deku through the neighborhood to the shorter boy’s apartment complex. He grumbled about why the shitty nerd had to live on nearly the top floor, as he carried the boy up several flights of stairs – it was a good thing Bakugou was so in shape.

Not having any free hands, he kicked the nerd’s front door a few times to suffice as knocking, repeating the action after a good minute of waiting but still no one came. Deku’s mom must be out shopping or something.

“Oi, where’s your house key, nerd?” Bakugou asked over his shoulder, jostling the nerd a bit to make sure he was still conscious. 

Deku groaned in reply before slowly starting to push himself forward over Bakugou’s shoulder, his cheek brushing against Bakugou’s. The blond was surprised at how soft it was, and was startled that he actually noticed how soft it was.

“Oi—!” Bakugou hollered at him, but then he followed Deku’s out-stretched arm with his eyes and saw which pocket of his backpack he was trying to reach for. “Stop! I’ll get it!”

Bakugou leaned forward and braced his legs to adjust his balance, so that he could take one hand away from holding the nerd up, and reach around to dig into the pouch on the backpack. Retrieving the key, he managed a half step forward so that he could reach the door, and clumsily unlocked it with a growl of impatience.

After kicking the door open wide, Bakugou shuffled through the doorway and dropped down onto his knees so that he could gently (though only because the nerd was so out of it) deposit Deku down onto the ground, and then he shrugged off the yellow backpack as well. Panting lightly, Bakugou sat back onto his heels and he looked over to his childhood-friend with half-lidded eyes. 

“You’re heavier than you look, nerd…” he commented with almost a laugh to his voice, his lips twitching to pull up into a smile as he ran a hand through his hair. He was sweating a bit now, just like Deku was.

Deku was panting as well, staring up at Bakugou with glassy eyes for a good moment, before Bakugou realized he was staring back too and quickly adverted his eyes, aware of how hot his cheeks were getting.

“Auntie!” he called out into the dark hallway for Deku’s mother, but got no response. He glanced back over at the nerd who had closed his eyes and rolled over on to his back at that point, squirming his way out of his uniform jacket, a barely audible moan of, “Hot…too hot..” leaving his lips.

Bakugou grit his teeth and glanced over his shoulder; he had gotten the bastard back home like he’d decided he would, but he couldn’t exactly leave him splayed out in the front hall like this while he was in this state. Well, technically he could, no one was forcing him to help the shitty nerd…but he couldn’t bring himself to leave, not yet.

Looking back at Deku, Bakugou pushed himself up to stand and slipped off his own shoes, before steping close to the green-haired male. “Let’s get you to your room,” he muttered out, trying to keep the annoyed edge to his voice solid as he bent down and pulled off Deku's shoes as well. That’s all he would do: get the nerd to his room and then he would leave. That’s the least he could do, for his childhood-friend.

Deku seemed to have other ideas though, for he quickly shook his head and tried to push Bakugou away when he reached out for him. “No…don’t…” Deku pleaded in a shaky voice.

Bakugou didn’t listen to him through, and managed to get the nerd’s arm over his shoulder, and then looped his arm around the shorter boy’s waist to help him stand up. Deku gave in and reached over to hold onto Bakugou’s own uniform jacket with his free hand, which in turn made Bakugou decide this whole thing would be easier if he just carried the nerd again, so he did.

Lifting Deku up bridal style in his arms, Bakugou started down the hall that hadn’t changed at all despite the years since he’d last been down it. Even Izuku’s All Might themed name-plate hanging on his bedroom door was the same—…Bakugou paused for a moment when he saw it, remembering the smile Izuku had had on his face when Katsuki had given it to him for his birthday years ago. After everything that had happened between them, Bakugou was surprised that the bastard still used it…but he was also glad. 

Turning awkwardly so that he could turn the door handle while still holding Deku, Bakugou managed to open the door to the nerd's room. He then carried Deku over to the bed and laid him down in it.

Deku didn’t release his hold on the front of Bakugou’s jacket though, and instead pulled the other boy down so that he was leaning over him, Bakugou awkwardly bringing one knee up onto the edge of the bed to brace himself. 

His hands were pressed into the blanket on either side of Deku, glaring down at him with an irritated look, “Oi, what do you think you’re—” 

Kacchan.

The way the damn nerd moaned his name then, shut Bakugou up quicker than he was ever going to admit – mainly because he could also feel how his hard-on twitched at it as well. He looked down at the nerd’s flushed, panting face and half-lidded, dark eyes that were looking straight up at him, and it took all he had to swallow the lump in his throat and restrain himself.

Kacchan,” Deku said his name again, and Bakugou grit his teeth. “Please…Too hot…Kacchan…

Deku’s eyes closed as he arched his back up then, his grip on Bakugou’s jacket tightening even more, scrunching his face up as if he were in pain. His head tilted back in such a way that his neck was fully exposed, minus his collar, and the sight made Bakugou’s jaw go a little slack. 

He was too close to him. The pheromones were hazing over his brain. Making Bakugou want to do things to his childhood-friend that weren’t things childhood-friends should do to each other. But he could feel the strain in his pants, and his chest, and he really had to leave before he did something stupid—

Bakugou’s eyes went wide as Deku’s hand suddenly cupped his cheek, and he froze there, staring down at his childhood-friend going through heat below him. Equally dark eyes boring into each other, one set hesitating, one set pleading.

Deku’s tongue came out and wet his own lips then, “Help me.” 

And that was all it really took. Not thinking, Bakugou, brought his hands up and started undoing the buttons on Deku’s uniform shirt one by one. Two buttons left, he glanced into Deku’s eyes before tilting his head down and attaching his lips to the side of the green-haired boy’s jaw. Licking and kissing back towards the shitty nerd’s ear, as he made quick work of the remaining buttons. 

This apparently wasn’t what the nerd meant by “help me” though, for he started to push – or rather, attempted to push – Bakugou off of him, shoving at his shoulders with his hands, and even bringing his foot up to try and shove at Bakugou’s hip, as he squirmed away from the taller boy’s face.

W-Wait, Kacchan…Ngh, s-stop!” Deku got out in what was more of a groan than a protest, but Bakugou didn’t listen – he never listened to his damn nerd. Instead, Bakugou caught hold of Deku’s wrists and pinned them down on either side of the other’s head, using his own legs to lock down the nerd’s legs as he moved to sit more on the bed, all the while licking and nipping at the bastard’s skin that had no business being this soft or delicious.

Really, it ticked Bakugou off.

After a particularly sharp bite to the ear lobe elicited a down right sinful moan out of the shitty nerd, Bakugou couldn’t help the smirk that crawled across his face. Ignoring the boy’s protests and squirming, Bakugou lowered himself down to Deku’s now exposed collar bone and gave it a satisfying bite that had the bastard beneath him howling in such a slutty way, that Bakugou couldn’t help but continue.

He licked his way down Deku’s chest, sucking and twisting the hardened nub that was one of Deku’s erect nipples between his teeth in a way that made Deku arch his back up beautifully, and whimper like a little dog. Bakugou was livid at the reaction. He released one of his hands to toy with the nipple he had just assaulted with his mouth, as he moved over to torment the other one, and Deku’s now-free hand went straight into his blond spikes, tugging and pushing in an unspoken struggle between ‘more’ and ‘stop’.

Without warning or reason, Bakugou suddenly pulled away all at once. Sitting back up onto his heels, he panted as he wiped at his mouth with the back of one of his hands, staring down at his childhood-friend who was truthfully blissed-out-of-his-mind. Watching Deku’s lightly toned chest rise and fall as he took deep pants of his own, Bakugou’s hands slid off his own uniform jacket then began to fiddle with his own belt and pants.

At the sound, Deku’s eyelids flicked open and he barely spared a glance at Bakugou, before he began to turn himself over onto his side towards the edge of the bed, as if he was trying to escape. But Bakugou wasn’t having that. He reached out and grabbed Deku’s hips, pulling him back down onto his stomach with a yelp. Bakugou’s pants sagged down even more around his thighs, as he positioned himself back between Deku’s legs. 

Then, he forced Deku’s hips up into the air, his eyes widening a bit at the sight of the large wet stain on Deku’s ass, ignoring Deku’s whimpered pleas to stop. Gripping onto the back hem of the nerd's pants to keep his hips up, Bakugou leaned over Deku’s bend over body and attached his lips to the green-haired boy’s ear, as his other hand reached around to fiddle with Deku’s own belt and pant zipper. 

Nnn, Kacchan…s-stop it…” Deku whimpered out again for the countless time, squirming underneath Bakugou’s body. One hand was grasping Bakugou’s wrist, trying to half-heartedly push the taller boy’s hand away from the front of his pants, while his other hand was clenching the sheets beside his head into a ball. “S-Stop—

That last cry was cut off when his incessant squirming caused his ass to rub against Bakugou hard-on, that was now only covered by the thin layer of his boxer-briefs, and the resulting friction that made both boys groan in pleasure. As a “punishment” of sorts for that, Bakugou bit Deku’s ear again, as he used both hands to yank down Deku’s pants and briefs to around his thighs in one go.

Bakugou sat back then and pushed Deku’s ass down onto the bed. Despite the dark room, Bakugou could still see the lubrication shining on Deku’s ass, and he licked his lips hungrily at the sight. One hand on the small of Deku’s back to keep him in place, Bakugou shoved down his own underwear with the other, letting his cock whip out from its fabric confinements.

“W-Wait Kacchan!” Deku actually shouted out, having pushed himself up and twisted around to see what the other boy was doing. His eyes were still blown-out, but now they were scared and pleading. 

They made Bakugou hesitate for a moment; seriously considering stopping. They hadn’t crossed that line yet, there was still time to stop before he did something that he couldn’t undo. But if he did stop…then that half-n-half bastard would win for sure. This was his chance to get ahead, to score a point for himself that damn Alpha could never take away from him.

If he did stop, then…he’d lose Deku for sure.

“Shut up,” he growled as he reached out and grabbed the back Deku’s neck and shoved his face back down into the pillow. Using his other hand, he pulled Deku’s hips up a bit and scooted closer on his knees. Leaning forward so as he could keep one hand on Deku’s neck to pin him down, Bakugou used his other hand to slide his cock down the wet crease of Deku’s ass, stopping when he found the puckered, dripping entrance. 

If he hadn’t known for a fact that this was the shitty nerd’s first time (as well as his own), Bakugou might have been a little surprised at how easily he was able to breech the clenched ring of muscles with the head of his cock. Damn, Omegas’ natural lubricants during their heat sure were something else…

One of Deku’s hands slid down the blanket to clench a handful of it that was near his own leg, the other hand fisting a section that was beside his own head. Bakugou’s eyes trailed down the trembling figure of the green-haired nerd below him, and he silently cursed his own heart for how hard it was pounding, when the thought that Deku was beautiful, drifted through his brain.

Gritting his teeth, Bakugou adverted his eyes in favor of watching his length disappear inside his childhood-friend's ass, gasping low at the heat and the wetness that now enveloped him. His eyes closed and his back curled further over the other boy in ecstasy; this feeling was even better than he ever could have imagined it being.

A quiet sniffle made Bakugou’s eyes drowsily open, and he raised his head a bit to look down at the back of Deku’s head. Damn nerd was probably crying again like he did at every little thing. Grabbing hold of Deku’s hip once more, Bakugou shifted a bit to get a better angle before he started to cant his hips back and forth, his hips hitting Deku’s ass each time with the satisfying smack of skin-against-skin. 

Deku gasped and moaned and panted out with every movement, turning his face to the side to get more air, Bakugou could easily see the wet streaks that traveled down his face. He smirked a bit at the sight, panting himself as he kept a steady but still quick pace. He moved the hand that was on Deku’s neck onto the bed beside the boy’s body, so that he could support himself as he leaned over and bit down hard on Deku’s exposed shoulder.

The nerd cried out and clenched so hard around Bakugou, he thought for sure his dick was going to get cut off. Bakugou growled and slapped the other’s ass hard as punishment, “Damn nerd.”

He propped himself up with both arms now to get yet a different angle, and started to pound his hips down hard into the shorter boy’s ass, nearly pulling out each time only slam himself back in deep immediately afterwards. Bakugou groaned out at how good this felt, how good Deku felt. He wondered if all sex felt this amazing, or if it was specifically cause he was having sex with Deku that it felt this spectacular.

Dropping down onto his elbows, Bakugou reached down and grabbed Deku’s hand that had been clutching the sheets beside his leg and brought it up to be alongside the nerd’s head instead, sliding his own fingers between Deku’s, his heart skipped a beat on him when the nerd grabbed hold tightly in return. Keeping his pace, Bakugou leaned his head down to rest on the middle of Deku’s back, between the boy’s shoulder blades, his sweaty forehead sticking to the nerd’s uniform shirt that honestly was just as sweaty. His other arm slipped under the green-haired boy’s torso and pulled Deku’s body close against his, realizing then that he was still wearing his own uniform shirt as well since it pulled against his skin in this postion.

This close, he could hear now that the boy was still whispering out pleas of “no and “stop” between his moans and pants, and it broke Bakugou’s heart a bit. Wasn’t he feeling good? Wasn’t this helping him? Didn’t having sex relieve heats for Omegas? He had asked Bakugou to help him (although this might not have been what he had meant), and wasn’t he doing just that?

Feeling a rage begin to broil up in his chest, Bakugou pushed himself up and pulled out of the delicious heat, so that he could man-handle Deku over onto his back instead, yanking the nerd’s pants and briefs down from where they had pooled around his knees, completely off his body and tossing them aside. Bakugou then spread the boy’s legs apart and took little care as he basically shoved himself back inside the other. Deku keened and arched his back up, crying out at the rough treatment.

Which only made Bakugou even angrier, honestly. He pistoled his hips back and forth into the boy, one hand going up and holding onto Deku’s chin, shoving two of his fingers down into the boy’s mouth. Deku was still crying, letting out sobs now between each gasp and pant and moan, Bakugou’s fingers in his mouth causing him to drool a little too. But Bakugou didn’t care, he didn’t care how the shitty nerd was feeling, Bakugou was doing what the damn nerd wanted him to do, and he was going to see it through till the end.

Bakugou Katsuki never half-assed anything.

It didn’t take but a couple minutes more, for Bakugou to reach his tipping point. Panting, sweating, he grabbed Deku’s waist, then pulled the boy up to him, sitting back on his heels, he shortened his thrusts in favor of being able to push Deku’s shirt away. He wanted to mark him. He knew in the back of his brain that he couldn’t; because he was a Beta, it wouldn't work. But that damn well wasn’t going to stop him from trying. Deku was his, goddamn it.

Fumbling with the collar for a few seconds, Bakugou got it off without any resistance from the nerd, who had grown quiet about a minute-or-so ago. Then, holding the boy close, Bakugou came with an intense heat as he sunk his teeth into the lower side of Deku’s neck, the boy limp in his arms. He stayed like that for the duration of his orgasm, filling Deku up with every last bit of it, before slowly backing away, a string of saliva attaching his lips to the spot on Deku’s neck that would no-doubt have his teeth marks there for a good week, maybe two.

But he could tell it hadn’t worked. It was obvious it hadn’t. Bakugou bowed his head a bit and dug his fingers into Deku’s shirt, as waves of rage and rejection shook him from the inside out. “Fuck…” he muttered out through gritted teeth, then shoved the stunned nerd away from him.

Not bothering Deku even a glance, Bakugou quickly got off the bed. He snatched up his jacket and pulled up his pants up as he stalked out of the room and down the hall without a word. After grabbing his bag and slipping on his shoes, he slammed the apartment door behind him.

 

--

 

Izuku lay still in his bed in stunned silence. What had just happened to him? 

After a little while, his hand came up and tenderly fingered the area Kacchan had bit at the end, and he winced a little in pain. ‘Did that really just happen…?’

He slowly pushed himself up and looked around himself at his disheveled bed and his pants on the floor, his shirt pulling at his arms because of how it was awkwardly still half on him. He couldn’t stay like this; he couldn’t let his mom come home and find him like this. So he got up and stumbled a bit, his waist and legs a weird mixture of numb and sore that he had never felt before. He straightened his bed as best he could and put his clothes in the laundry before dragging himself into the bathroom and locking the door behind him.

Stepping gingerly over to the mirror, Izuku stared at his reflection and almost didn’t recognize himself; teeth outlines and a few faint red marks scattered across his skin, slick white trails running down the inside of his thighs. He didn’t even want to think about how he probably smelled.

Adverting his eyes, Izuku moved and turned on the hot water for the tub to fill. Then going over to the shower nozzle, he took it down from its wall-holder and turned that on as well to rinse himself off. But he just held it in his hand and watched listlessly as the water flowed across the tiles and into the floor drain, another wave a shock overtaking him. ‘Did that really just happen…?’

 

--

                                 

Bakugou glared at the wall of his own shower as the broiling hot water pelted down on his back from the shower head, but it had nothing on the emotions scalding inside his chest. He hated that damn nerd. Why did he have to be an Omega? Why couldn’t he have just been a Beta like him? Hell, Bakugou would even take him being an Alpha over him being a damn Omega!

His fists were clenched up tight at his sides. He didn’t want this, he didn’t deserve this. Deku was his, goddamn it, why couldn’t he just make him his?!

With a loud yell, he wheeled around to the mirror above the sink and punched it hard enough to crack the glass and make his knuckles bleed.

“Katsuki!? What the hell was that?!” His mother yelled from down stairs.

But he didn’t answer, his hand now loose and trembling at his side as the blood dripped from the tips of his fingers down onto the floor, angry tears welling up in his eyes despite his furrowed brow and clenched teeth. 

Why couldn’t he just make him his?

 

-- -- --

 

The next day, Deku was absent from school.

It was a Saturday, so they only had a half day of classes, but even so Bakugou had a hard time concentrating. He kept glancing over his shoulder at the empty desk behind him, or staring down at his bandaged-up hand as he slowly opened and closed his fingers. He didn’t really talk at all either. Shitty hair even came over and asked if he was all right, saying he was oddly mellow today. Bakugou had snapped at him, but only so that he would leave him alone, which thankfully shitty hair took the hint and did.

During every break, Bakugou was on his phone; repeatedly typing out and then deleting messages to Deku without sending a single one of them in the end. He didn’t want to talk to the damn nerd so much as he felt that he should talk to him, but everything he started to say just didn’t feel right.

On his way home after classes, skipping baseball practice once again, Bakugou found himself taking the same path he had yesterday to the spot where he had found Deku collapsed on the side of the road. He glared at the spot for a while, replaying what had happened yesterday, before angrily squatting down and dragging his clawed-fingers through his hair.

Why hadn’t he just ignored the damn nerd like always? If he had, then he wouldn’t be feeling…whatever this shitty emotion he was feeling was.

With a heaved sigh, he stood back up-right, waited a beat, and then turned and headed back towards his own house. He guessed the weekend would be a good break to try and figure this shit out.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

SATURDAY · AFTER SCHOOL

 

Fumikage ran a hand over the top of his hair, making sure it was still slicked back and in place as he stepped out of the train car and onto the platform. Not many others rode the trains at this time, so he could walk to the stairs with his eyes down and didn’t have to worry about bumping into any one.

Tsuyu had approached him during homeroom this morning with an idea of where they could take the photos he had asked her to model for.

 

“Tokoyami-chan.”

Fumikage looked up from his phone at the sound of his name and totally wasn’t blushing at all when he saw Tsuyu coming over to his desk.

“Ohayou,” she greeted with a small wave before clasping her hands behind her back, smiling that freaking adorable smile of hers.

“Ohayou, Asui-san,” he greeted back in turn as he set his phone face down on his desk.

“I told you, call me Tsu-chan,” she said in what should have been a nagging way, but her ever-monotone voice just made it sound more endearing than anything else. “I had an idea of where we could take photos today.”

“Is that so?” he asked, the words themselves condescending but his sincere tone canceling that out. “Where did you have in mind?”

“My neighborhood is having a small cherry blossom festival today and tomorrow, it’s not that big as a summer festival, but it always has a pleasant atmosphere,” she explained.

Fumikage looked at his desk for a moment in thought; a cherry blossom festival would be a cute backdrop for a cute girl like Tsuyu, especially if she wore a kimono… ‘!!’ he suddenly caught himself mid-thought and could feel his cheeks burning again, so he quickly turned away and reached down to fiddle with his camera bag so as to hide his face. (Tsuyu made him start to regret styling his hair away from his face like he did. Otherwise, he could use it to hide behind in moments like this when she completely frazzled him.)

“Ee, that sounds fine,” he replied, bringing out his camera and replacing its memory card with a new one even though he didn’t need to. “I’ve been wanting to experiment with more red and pink tones anyway.”

“Great!” she answered cheerily.

 

It was around 3:00 now, and Fumikage was exiting the station Tsuyu had told him to get off at.

He had never been to this neighborhood before, so they had agreed to meet up two hours after classes ended so as they both could go home and change out of their school uniforms, and so that Tokoyami would have plenty of time to find his way over. It wasn’t that his sense of direction was bad or anything, but he was one to get lost easily if he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going.

Fumikage adjusted the strap of his camera bag on his shoulder as he took out his phone, checking the directions Tsuyu had sent him once more. Since they were going to a cherry blossom festival, he had opted to not sport his usual all-black casual wear, and instead had on a dark red v-neck. His pants, shoes and watch were all still black, however.  

Putting his phone back in his pocket, Fumikage followed the directions a few blocks away, deeper into Tsuyu’s neighborhood to where she said they would meet; it ended up being the neighborhood park. There were various food and game booths set up along the walking path, and almost everything was red or white or pink or sakura-themed in some way. Fumikage stood at the entrance taking it all in, his eyes widening and his head tilting back slightly as he looked up at the tallest cherry blossom tree he had ever seen, towering up in the middle of the park - the wind stealing away a few pink petals with each gentle breeze and scattering them around the festival.

It was like a scene from a child’s story book. Normally, Fumikage would despise this sort of environment – personally preferring all things dark – but for once, he found this soft, sparkly-ness…at least bearable.

“Tokoyami-chan!”

Fumikage blinked out of his light stupor, and turned at the sound of the name only one, cute, frog-loving girl called him, and he immediately found himself captivated by the sight coming towards him: Tsuyu dressed in a dark green kosode that had orange and magenta flowers on it, with a purple sash tied around her waist, and sporting a bright orange and yellow checker-patterned haori as well. Her wooden sandals clattered with each step she took towards him, waving happily, the spring breeze gently blowing her long dark green hair behind her. 

“Asui, er…Tsuyu-chan,” Fumikage greeted her back as he turned to face her, correcting himself by using her first name. It wasn’t exactly the name she had told him to use, but he was trying, and she didn’t correct him this time.

“Have you been waiting long?” She asked as she came to a stop in front of him, looking up at him with her large eyes.

He shook his head, “Not at all, I just got here myself.” His eyes trailed over her outfit again but he caught himself when he reached her sash and quickly diverted his gaze to the side, bringing a hand up to scratch the side of his neck. “I didn’t realize I should have worn a kosode—”

“Nee-san, can I have money for ningyo-yaki?” Tokoyami was suddenly caught off by a little kid’s voice. When he looked back, he saw an elementary school boy dressed in a dark blue kosode tugging on Tsuyu’s sleeve, his hair was as black as Tokoyami’s but the boy had his hanging in his face, covering one eye. “Satsuki wants cotton candy, too.” 

As if on cue, a little girl who couldn’t be more than 5 or 6, dressed in a pink kosode, tugged on Tsuyu’s other sleeve. She had big doll-like eyes just like Tsuyu, but her hair was pulled back in to two low pigtails. She and Tokoyami stared at each other for a long moment, neither of them blinking, as if sizing each other up. Then, the little girl raised her other hand up and pointed at Tokoyami. “Karasu-nii-san.”

Fumikage raised a single eyebrow at that. ‘Karasu?’ had this little frog really just called him a crow? 

“Who’s this?” the boy suddenly spoke, and Fumikage looked back up to find the boy now sizing him up as well.

“Konnichiwa,” Fumikage said and bowed a little in polite greeting. “I’m Tsuyu-chan’s classmate, Tokoyami.”

“I’m going to be helping Tokoyami-chan out with some photos today,” Tsuyu explained to the two children, whom Tokoyami was going to assume where her siblings. “Remember, I told you two this earlier, before we left the house.”

The boy gave Tokoyami a discerning once over with his one eye that wasn’t covered by his hair, and then the two males proceeded to glare at each other (Tokoyami sensed this family was very good at staring contests) until Tsuyu interrupted.

“Samidare,” she called to the younger boy with her hand held out. Her younger brother looked to her then quickly held out his hands and took the handful of coins Tsuyu deposited into his hold. “I need to help Tokoyami-chan, so keep an eye on Satsuki and don’t leave the festival without me, alright?” 

“Wakatterru,” Samidare replied, knowing all this already, pocketing the coins and then taking the little girl’s hand and heading inside the park. Once they were a few steps away, Samidare turned back and called out to Tokoyami, “Onii-san, treat my big sis nicely, you hear!”

Fumikage couldn’t help the tiny grin that pulled at the corner of his lips as he raised his one hand up slightly in reply. “I hear you.”

The two youngsters then ran off into the festival.

“Gomen ne,” Tsuyu suddenly spoke, and Tokoyami looked over to her; she was still watching her siblings go off. “I had an ulterior motive in suggesting the festival as a place to take pictures today.”

Tokoyami turned and faced her fully once more and she did the same to face him.

“I had to watch my younger siblings today,” Tsuyu explained to him. “We go to this festival as a family every year, so I thought I could kill two birds with one stone by suggesting we take pictures here, as well,” she lowered her head a bit, a humbled expression on her round face. “I apologize for not telling you up front.”

“Daijoubudayo,” Fumikage quickly responded casually, moving his hand back-and-forth for emphasis. “Family should always come first, we can take pictures whenever.”

He gave her an easy-going, closed-lip smile then, which she returned gratefully.

“If you need to watch them, I’m fine with rescheduling,” he added.

But Tsuyu quickly shook her head. “No, no, Samidare is old enough to take care of himself and Satsuki now, so they’ll be fine on their own while we take pictures,” she re-assured him. “Besides, you already came all the way out here with all your equipment—” she nodded down to his camera bag hanging at his side “—it’d be a waste to not take any pictures.”

Fumikage took out his camera then and slipped the strap around his neck before looking down at Tsuyu beside him. “Let’s go then.”

The two walked into the park, but barely made it a few yards before a familiar voice suddenly called out to the both of them. 

“Huh? Asui-san? Tokoyami-kun?”

Stopping and looking over, the two found their martial-arts protege classmate, Ojiro Mashirao, standing inside a balloon-pop game booth.

“Ojiro-kun?” Tokoyami said as more a surprised statement than a question.

“Aha, konnichiwa!” Ojiro called over to them and waved once they had all properly recognized each other. “Look at you in that kosode, Tsu-chan… Very elegant,” he glanced between her and Tokoyami then added with a small grin. “Gomen, I didn’t mean to interrupt your date.”

Fumikage didn’t notice that Tsuyu turned just as pink as he did at Ojiro’s words, because he was too busy looking at anywhere but her. “No, no, I just asked Asui-san if I could take pictures of her today, and she recommended the festival for a location,” he explained, glad he had at least enough off his carefully cultivated chill left to not stutter. 

“Ah, is that it,” Ojiro replied and Tokoyami glared at him a bit because he could tell what the other male was implying.

“I didn’t know you lived in this neighborhood, Ojiro-chan,” Tsuyu commented. 

“Oh, I don’t. My girlfriend does,” Ojiro said with a content grin, if he had a tail it would probably be wagging happily right then. “She asked me if I could help out with her family's festival booth since both her parents had to work unexpectedly today.”

“Is she here now?” Tsuyu asked, bringing her finger up to touch her lower-lip cutely. “Can we meet her?” 

“Mm!” Ojiro nodded then called over his shoulder. “Tooru-chan! Two of my classmates want to meet you!”

Fumikage flinched the smallest amount when a sudden cascade of bangs and crashes sounded from somewhere behind the booth. Then, a giant bear costume stumbled out, butt-first, from the back, its paws straightening its head as it stood up and turned around to face them.

“Konnichiwa!” Came the muffled but obviously female-voiced greeting from inside the bear costume, as it waved a paw in hello. It appeared to be about the same height as Tsuyu. “I’m Mashiraochi’s girlfriend, Hagakure Tooru. Nice to meet you!”

“I’m Tokoyami Fumikage, nice to meet you,” Fumikage said in greeting, still a little off-set by the fact he was talking to a giant teddy bear.

“I’m Asui Tsuyu, you can call me Tsu-chan,” Tsuyu said naturally, raising her hand back in greeting as well.

“Ee? Tooru-chan, did the head get stuck again?” Ojiro suddenly interjected, finally acknowledging the bear costume.

Tooru brought one of the paws up and rubbed at the back of the head of the bear costume, and tucked her knees together embarrassedly. “Aheh…maybe. But it’s fine! We’re open now away way, so I’ll worry about getting it off when I take a break later.”

“Hagakure-chan?” Tsuyu suddenly asked, her finger on her lip again.

“H-Hai!” The bear-costumed girl replied, turning and facing Tsuyu with both of the paws pressed against the cheeks of the bear's head.

“Why are you dressed up as a bear?” 

“Ah! You see—” Tooru began to explain, moving around animatedly and gesturing to various things as she did “—we give out teddy bears as prizes if you manage to pop three balloons with the three darts we give you for 300 yen. But if you don’t manage to pop that many, then a giant teddy bear - that's me - gives you a helium balloon as a consolation prize.”

Tooru had pulled a handful of helium balloons on strings from somewhere during her explanation, and Fumikage was so disconcerted, that he did the only thing he could think to do, which was bring his camera up and take a picture of Tooru and Ojiro in the booth together.

Then, a little boy who was probably only 2 or 3, ran up to Tooru shouting “Bear! Bear!” at her, and Fumikage took this as his chance to escape.

“Let’s go,” he said under his breath to Tsuyu as he gently grabbed her elbow and walked her away from the booth.

“See you, Ojiro-chan!” Tsuyu called out to their classmate who gave them a quick wave goodbye, before turning back to interact with the toddler’s parents who had then come up to the booth as well, as Tooru bent down and hugged and danced with the little boy.

“Remind me not to suggest anything that involves costumes, come time for the culture festival at school,” Fumikage said once they were out of earshot of the others.

Tsuyu’s laugh that came out of her then almost sounded like the ‘kerro kerro’ noise frogs make. Tokoyami thought it was the cutest thing he’d ever heard.

 

 

 

 

 

“Did you get a few good shots at least?” Tsuyu asked as she sat down on the edge of the small stone wall that surrounded the cherry blossom tree in the center of the park, fanning herself with the paper hand-fan that had been tucked into the back of the sash tied around her waist, as she looked over to Tokoyami who was sitting behind her.

They had spent the past hour and a half or so going around the small festival, visiting the various booths and partaking of the games and foods as Tokoyami directed Tsuyu around, taking both candid and posed shots of her. Truthfully, he didn’t need to give her much direction at all, since she was very photogenic and completely at ease in this setting since she knew most of the people at the festival.

“If by ‘a few’ you mean ‘every single shot’ then yes, I got some good shots,” Fumikage said as he scrolled through the 200 or so pictures on his camera; he was going to have trouble picking out ones not good enough to keep, rather than finding ones that were. “You’re a natural, Tsu-chan.”

“Thanks, Tokoyami-chan,” she said happily, a light flush on her cheeks as she smiled the smile that, Tokoyami was now sure, was, in fact, the most adorable smile he had ever seen in his life. “But the photos are only as good as the photographer. If they’re really all that good, it’s because of your talent.”

“Not completely true,” Fumikage shook his head as he rested his camera on his thigh and looked at her directly. “It matters just as much to have a good model. You were especially relaxed here, and interacting easily with everyone; it was easy to make the photos look good with such an appealing muse.”

Tsuyu blushed a little more as she looked down into her lap, still fanning herself lightly with her hand-fan. “Well, I was born and raised in this neighborhood, so it’d be concerning if I wasn’t comfortable here.”

A memory from a little earlier in the day entered Fumikage’s mind at the sight of the longing expression on Tsuyu’s face then. “…The auntie at the takoyaki booth earlier,” he suddenly spoke as he put the strap for his camera back around his neck. “She asked if your parents were out of town again... Are they gone a lot?”

She didn’t answer right away and for a moment Tokoyami panicked that he had asked about someting he shouldn’t have, but just as he was about to dismiss the question, Tsuyu spoke up.

“They travel a lot for their work, so as a result, I’m the one who takes care of my younger siblings,” she explained as she raised her gaze up from her lap slightly, but not looking at anything in particular, the fan now resting in her lap. “It’s a hard but satisfying life. Still…between my younger siblings and my marine biology studies taking up even more of my time, I wasn’t able to make any friends before high school.”

She turned and looked up at him with a smile that was gentle and twinkled in her eyes; a truly content smile. “Thank you for today, Tokoyami-chan. I had a lot of fun hanging out with you.”

Fumikage couldn’t help but stare at the girl beside him then; stare at the girl that was always so cheerful and cute, so passionate about what she does and so friendly towards everyone, but was also so strong and resilient, so independent, and having responsibilities no one would expect her to be shouldering. He realized then what a big deal it probably was for her to go through on her word to take pictures with him today; how hard she'd probably worked so that she could have her siblings taken care of while also allowing herself to be selfish for just a little bit and do something she wanted to do.

“Tsuyu…” he spoke her name gently in a tone he rarely used, his hand suddenly coming up on its own as if to cup her cheek—

“Nee-san! Nee-san!” Samidare’s voice suddenly cut into the moment and quickly snapped Fumikage out of his haze, his hand sliding back to rub at the back of his neck instead as he glanced off to the side.

Tsuyu’s siblings ran up to her, taking her full attention, Satsuki coming up and grabbing onto Tsuyu’s knees while Samidare stood at her side. “Can we have 500 more yen? Satsuki wants to do the goldfish scoop.” 

“I want to take home the bubble-eyed one!” Satsuki stated determinedly, blinking her large eyes up at her older sister.

“Gomen ne, Satsuki,” Tsuyu said as she took her little sister’s hands in her own. “I gave you two all the coins I brought for today.”

The little girl lowered her head sadly and gave a depressed whimper, “But nee-san…”

“I’ll pay for it.”

The three Asui siblings looked over at the sound of Tokoyami’s voice.

“Really?” Satsuki asked, blinking up at him with big eyes. 

“Tokoyami-chan you don’t have to,” Tsuyu told him quickly but Fumikage only held up his hand in retort as he stood up and shouldered his camera bag once more.

“Its fine, besides, I owe these two for letting me borrow their big sis all afternoon,” he replied and gave the two younger siblings a wink and a light grin.

The next thing Fumikage knew, he was being dragged off by a 6-year-old girl to where the gold fish scooping booth was. It took her 3 tries but Satsuki eventually got her bubble-eyed goldfish, which she promptly named Karasu (because it was black, not after the sleek black-haired male with the camera, she insisted). Tokoyami then said he’d walk the Asui siblings home, and even bought everyone some ice cream from a convenience store on the way.

“Tsu-chan,” he suddenly began once they had reached Tsuyu’s apartment and the younger two had already gone inside, his hands in his pockets coolly as he leaned his weight on one leg. “I just…want you to know that I had a lot of fun today too, and… If you ever need help with Samidare and Satsuki, or help with anything at all, or just want someone to keep you company or whatever…” he realized he was rambling so he licked his lips, met her eyes and prayed to the gods that his voice wouldn’t crack. “You can rely on me.”

She stared at him for a moment, then broke out into the biggest smile he’d ever seen her make and Fumikage didn’t even try to stop or hide the blush that took over his cheeks then. He even managed to smile back.

 

 

 

 

Tsuyu was brushing her teeth that night when her phone buzzed with the message notification. Opening it, she found the picture Tokoyami had taken of her, Samidare and Satsuki together right after Satsuki had won her new pet goldfish. Underneath the image was short message that read:

‘Send this to your parents. It will make them happy.’

 

-- -- -- --

 

SUNDAY · 6:00 AM

 

“ONE PUNNNNNNNNCH!” 

Denki jolted slightly out of sleep when his alarm started blaring JAM Project’s “THE HERO !!” to wake him up; the intense guitar chords sounding as though they were being blasted directly into his ears. Fumbling around blindly for a moment, he eventually found his phone in his bed sheets and shut off the alarm, groaning as he rolled over from his stomach, onto his back, and rubbed at his eyes.

He was glad he wasn’t a natural morning person. Really, no one should ever get up while it’s still this dark out...

Picking up his phone from where he had set it on his chest, Denki first unlocked the screen, his still-weary eyes squinting at the brightness, before tapping over to the LINE app. He tapped on the chat he had been talking in yesterday and typed out a message:

 

you fell asleep on me last night

-- 

Kyouka blinked her half-lidded eyes drearily, before raising the paper cup of coffee she had stolen from the break room down the hall, to her lips and taking a sip. Mornings were so not rockin’ – the bags under her eyes could testify to that. Setting the paper cup down on the coffee table, she brought her feet up to rest on the edge of it before sliding down lower into her seat on the black faux-leather couch that was in the corner of her mother’s dressing room.

Her mother, Mika, had been asked to be a guest on a morning talk show for some radio station in Fukushima, where she was also putting on a concert later that night. Kyouka had been brought along because her dad (who was also Kyouka’s manager) had arranged for her to participate in the photoshoot for some local clothing brand’s new spring campaign later that same day.

Just as she let her eyes flutter closed, Kyouka’s phone vibrated against her stomach. Curious as to who would be messaging her at this early hour on their day off, she slid her phone out from its place in the front pocket of her hoodie, and smiled when she saw a certain blonde Beta’s name on her screen. Going into their chat, she typed out a response:

 

sorry, we got to our hotel just as i got your message

i forgot to finish replying when we got to our room

 

Kyouka sent a sticker of Brown, one of the LINE mascots, sitting on the floor and looking ashamed, after her messages. She got an almost immediate reply.

 

what a space-case

 

if you want me to remember to reply to you, maybe you should stop being such a dork

 

She knew neither of them meant it, really – this was just how they always talked to each other: endearing teasing. Denki sent another message then:

 

did you sleep well? have you eaten breakfast yet?

 

Kyouka smiled a little at that. After agreeing to go out with him, Kaminari had started to show his caring side to her and Kyouka secretly thought it was the cutest thing in the world. He doted over her both in person and over messages; making sure she was eating and drinking throughout the day, making sure everything was alright if she happened to space out.

Neither of them had told anyone about the two of them being together yet – especially since they hadn’t even had their first date yet (They had made plans to go out this weekend, but when Kyouka had gotten home from Saturday classes yesterday, her parents had sprung this last-minute trip on her and so their date had to be postponed.) – but Kyouka wondered if any of their classmates had noticed the subtle differences in the way Kaminari had started treating her the past couple of days.

She wondered if they noticed how he’d started always standing next to her, the frequent shy smiles they shared. She suspected Sero might know, because he was always teasing Kaminari about something behind her back. Momo probably knew too; she had caught Kyouka staring at Kaminari across the cafeteria on Friday but didn’t say anything, just smiled knowingly.

 

i slept fine though hotel beds are always too stiff

the radio station had croissants in their break room and i also stole some of their coffee

 

She added in a sticker of Brown eating after that, then sent another message:

 

it’s still early, what are you doing up now? did you not sleep well?

 

It took a minute for Kaminari’s reply to come through.

 

you said you’re always bored at these things so i woke up early to keep you company

 

Kyouka smiled wide at her phone at that, her stomach suddenly getting all bubbly in a good way. She curled her toes inside her combat boots happily and quickly read Kaminari’s next message that came through:

 

i slept fine, had a nice dream too

 

She started to type out a reply when—

“What’s got you all perky this morning Kyouka-chan?” Her dad’s voice suddenly called out from across the room, having just returned from getting her mom (who was in the middle of getting her make up done) a cup of coffee as well. “You normally never smile before at least 10 am.”

“A friend from school is messaging me,” Kyouka replied as she slouched down a bit more in her seat to hide slightly from her parents' gaze as she kept her eyes on her phone.

“A friend, huh?” her father spoke again as he took a seat near her mom. “What’s his name?”

“I-I never said it was a guy, papa!” Kyouka retorted as she suddenly she sat up straight and glared over at her father, her cheeks pink despite herself, clutching her phone to her chest with one hand.

Her dad simply shared a glance with her mom, before raising his own cup of coffee to his lips. “Oh? My mistake then.”

 

-- -- -- --

 

SAME DAY · 9:52 AM

 

Bakugou was awake despite having his eyes closed. His arms were crossed over his chest as he slouched down in his spot at the end of the train’s bench seat, his eyebrows furrowed as always.

Kirishima was seated to his left but had long since been lulled to sleep by the repetitive sound and gentle rocking motion of the train, his head titled back and his mouth open. Ashido was asleep as well on the other side of Kirishima, her head resting on the red head’s shoulder. Sero was on the other side of her, but for variety’s sake, he was wide-awake and half twisted around on the bench seat, looking out the window at the power-lines and treetops whizzing by.

But then, the peaceful atmosphere was ruined by Sero suddenly perking up and reaching over to give Kirishima’s head a shove so as to wake him up. “Oi, Kirishima, Kirishima!”

“Ugh, let me sleep…” came Kirishima’s groggy whine, lifting his arm to shoo Sero away – the movement jostling and waking up Ashido in the process.

“Look outside! It’s the mountain!” Sero called to him and that made Kirishima perk up as well.

“Really?” the red head asked, his eyes flying open as he raised his head up and pushed Ashido over a bit so that he could look out the window as well.

“Oi, let me see!” Mina called, now awake as well as she turned around and got up onto her knees on the bench seat so that she could see over the other two, rowdy boys.

Bakugou just clicked his tongue at the commotion – “Tch!” – not moving at all from his seat.

How did he get stuck with such noisy people on his day off, again?

 

Brrrrt! Brrrrt!

Bakugou’s phone started to ring in his pocket as he climbed the last few stairs of his house. It was Saturday afternoon, he’d just gotten home from school. He slid his phone out from his pocket and saw that it was shitty hair calling him through LINE.

Normally, he would just ignore phone calls since he didn’t care about anyone enough to waste his personal time talking to them. But for some reason, he found himself pressing the button to accept the call, and bringing the phone to his ear just as he stepped inside his bedroom and closed the door behind him.  

Brrrrt! Brr— “What,” he spoke as more of a statement than a question.

“Hey so dude—” came Kirishima’s ever upbeat voice on the other end of the call, not phased what-so-ever by Bakugou’s brashness. “—ya wanna do something this weekend?”

“No. I’m busy,” Bakugou answered bluntly as he dropped his school bag onto the floor randomly, then he brought his phone down from his ear and tapped the speaker phone button, before tossing the phone haphazardly onto his bed so that he could change out of his uniform.  

“Aw, come on! You’re always ‘busy’ and never wanna hang out. Don’t leave me hanging alone!”

Bakugou could practically hear the red-head’s pout on the other side of the call.

“What are you busy with?”

“Gonna go mountain climbing,” Bakugou stated as he undid his shirt buttons.  

“Wah, so manly! I shouldn’t have expected any less from you… What mountain?”

“Mt. Takao,” he tossed his shirt into his clothing hamper, it only landed half-way inside it.  

“What time are you gonna head there?”

“It’s 4 hours away so probably 6:00 to start climbing by 10:00.”

Hah?! You’re gonna be up at 6 in the morning? On our day off?”

“You don’t go mountain climbing at night, shitty hair,” Bakugou griped as he pulled one of his black t-shirts over his head.

“My hair’s not any different from yours!” came Kirishima’s quick reply, then, “You live in Shizuoka, right?”

“Ah…” Bakugou affirmed as he pushed his uniform pants down his legs and stepped out of them.

“’Kay, I’ll see if any of the others want to go, and we’ll meet you at your neighborhood station at 6:00 then.”

Bakugou paused mid-pulling up his casual pants and looked incredulously over his shoulder at his phone lying on his bed, as if it was shitty hair himself. “Hah?”

“Don’t leave without us, okay?”

Bakugou blinked and scrambled to pull his pants up fully as he tried to simultaneously walk back over to his bed and grab his phone so that he could properly yell at Kirishima through it. “Oi, who said you were—”

But his rebuttal was cut off by Kirishima ending the call just as Bakugou was about to grab the phone. The blond’s eye twitched before he grabbed the phone anyway and chucked it angrily across his room so that it would slam into the bean bag chair that was in the far corner, as he gave an angry yell. “Shineeee!”

 

Oh yes, that’s right…   

In hind sight, Bakugou could have just contacted Kirishima again and told him out right that he wasn’t inviting him or any of the others to come along, if he really didn’t want them here.

But he hadn’t.

“We made it to Takaosanguchi!” Mina cheered gleefully as she practically leapt out of the train car once the doors had opened, raising her arms high above her head as she stood on the station platform and faced the tall green mountain that towered nearby, her pink hair was tied back with a bandana and she was still sporting her black and yellow sclera contact lenses that covered her entire eyes.

“The weather is great! The air tastes great too,” Mina cheered again after they four had exited the train station and a cool morning breeze greeted them.

“Ashido, you seem a little excited...” Kirishima commented as they walked down the road towards the mountain’s base station, the three boys were walking together with Mina marching enthusiastically ahead of them. 

“Well, you know why?” she asked, looking over her shoulder with a sly grin. Then she stopped and turned around completely to face the three males, hands on her hips in a sort of power pose, and announced, “Mt. Takao is a treasure trove of power spots!”

Then, the pink haired girl turned and dashed over to the railing that marked the boundary of the parking lot of the base of the mountain and she pumped both her fists in front of her and bend forward a bit with her legs apart as she glared determinedly up at the mountain. “Now my fortune will soar too!”

“Huh?” Sero murmured from his spot beside Kirishima, where the two males were observing their female friend – Bakugou was over at a nearby water fountain filling up his thermos – then he spoke up, “Hey, it’s a mountain railway.” Sero pointed over to the building he was talking about, “Want to get on?”

“We’re here to climb, not to ride around in train cars all day,” Bakugou stated as he walked back over to others as he slung his daypack back onto his shoulders. 

“Yeah, come on guys, taking the easy way up isn’t manly at all,” Kirishima rallied, suddenly getting pumped up as well. “Let’s climb this mountain with our own two feet!”

“Hai!” Sero and Mina cheered in unison, both raising a fist in the air.

The three then jogged over to catch up with Bakugou, who had continued past them and was currently heading towards the trailhead for Trail 1.

 

 

 

 

 

“By the way, Kirishima,” Mina suddenly asked, turning around and walking backwards so that she could face the redhead who was a couple paces behind her and Sero. “How come Kaminari-kun and Jirou-chan aren’t here?”

“Jirou had to go out of town for a work event,” Kirishima replied. “And Kaminari said he never wakes up before 10:00 on his day off.”

Sero then gently elbowed Mina to get her attention before saying with a mischievous smirk, “100 yen says they’re actually on a date with each other.”

“Sero! Shhh!” Mina chastised the tallest male, despite the grin on her own face, elbowing him back a bit harder as she turned back around to walk straight, which only made Sero chuckle.

Kirishima then looked over his shoulder at Bakugou walking far behind them, head down. Kirishima stopped and turned around as well so that he could call out to the blond, “Are you sure you want to take it that easy, Bakugou?”

Without lifting his head, Bakugou called back, “I’m good with this pace.”

The red head furrowed his brow for a moment before deciding to wait up for the other male, taking up pace beside Bakugou once he’d reached him.

After a few steps, Bakugou added, “Rather than going fast, it’s better to maintain a pace. If you rush you’ll get tired right away.” Bakugou then raised his head slightly to look up at Mina and Sero practically running on ahead, and Kirishima looked on at them as well. “They’ll be winded before we even reach the first rest point.” 

Kirishima looked back over to Bakugou, who had gone back to walking with his head down, and looked at him for a couple steps before his gaze traveled to the blond’s professional yet gently-worn looking daypack on his back. The redhead turned his head forward before commenting, “I take it you go mountaineering a lot.”

Bakugou shrugged lightly, not bothering to look at him, “My parents took me mountain climbing a lot when I was little, my dad would buy me a keychain for every new summit we reached.” The blond slid both his hands into his pant pockets then, so that he could fiddle with the lighter in his pocket – smoothing his thumb over the cool metal as fuzzy memories drifted through his brain. “But then their jobs got busier and I started getting serious about baseball, so we haven’t gone as a family in a long time…”

He trailed off then raised his head up, looking forward at the trail, his eyebrows still knitted together but not as angry as normal. “Nowadays, I go when I want to clear my head and be alone.”

Kirishima paled a bit at that last part, having realized what he’d done, and chuckled awkwardly. “Sorry, for…inviting myself and the others along,” he rubbed the back of his neck with one hand apologetically. “I guess you can’t really get any peace and quiet with all of us here…”

Bakugou stopped up at Kirishima’s words and actions, “Oi.” The red head stopped a step ahead of Bakugou and turned back to look at the blond who in turn looked him directly in the eyes for the first time that day, “If I didn’t want you here, then I would have said so earlier.”

He had the same perpetually-furrowed eyebrows as always, but Kirishima couldn’t find the annoyance that was normally present the Bakugou’s gaze. 

After a moment, Bakugou dropped his eyes down and started walking again, passing up Kirishima. “Come on, we’re losing flat-face and raccoon-eyes.”

Kirishima watched him go for a few steps, a strange feeling rising up in his chest that Kirishima was surprised at, but at the same time, wasn’t surprised at, at all.

Blinking, Kirshima grinned wide, “Hai!” He called before jogging to catch up with the blond.

“Oi, Bakugou…you do know their real names, right?”

 

-- -- --

 

Sure enough, they found Sero and Ashido some ways up, bent over on the side of the trail, panting their lungs out. Thankfully, they were near the first rest point, so they all decided to stop for a water break.

“I bought some dangos!” Kirishima called as he came over to the bench their group had all but taken over.

Sero and Mina had collapsed on one end with their bags at their feet, still panting as they caught their breaths, leaning against each other for support. Bakugou had sat down on the other end, as far from the two out-of-breath idiots as he physically could be, putting his pack on the bench beside him. He sat hunched over, eyes focused on the lighter that he was twirling in his hands, his water container on the ground between his feet for easy access. 

The first two immediately perked up at the mention of the sweet food Kirishima just brought over, and eagerly accepted the two skewers of sweet dumpling dough the red head offered them. But Bakugou just drank some of his water in response to the out-held skewer, so Kirishima shrugged and took the open spot on the bench between Mina and Bakugou’s daypack; more dangos for him then. 

“Hey, isn’t that the Skytree?” Sero suddenly spoke up with food still in his mouth, pointing out to the skyline with his now-dango-less skewer.

“Where?” Kirishima asked eagerly as he scanned the cityscape, his mouth even more full.

“There! There!” Mina chanted excitedly, pointing it out. “It looks like a needle.”

“It looks so tiny,” Sero commented, “You can see it even from here, huh?”

Kirishima glanced over at Bakugou beside him to see if the blond could see the infamous building too, but found him sitting back against the bench with his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes closed. Kirishima smiled gently at the sight, before turning back to the view. 

 

 

 

 

They started out again soon after that, stopping at lots of the power sights located along the mountain on their way up: an octopus statue that gives you good luck if you rub it, a supposedly sacred cedar tree that was over 700 years old, a long flight of stone steps said to cleanse ascenders of worldly desires, a giant ring carved in a block of stone that you could walk through to have your wish granted, a long-standing temple, beloved Ksitigarbha statues… And before they’d even realized it…

“Ee? We’re already at the summit?” Sero questioned as they came out of the forest path to the Mt. Takao Lookout Park. 

“It’s Mt. Fuji!” Mina cheered and pointed out in the distance, as she walked over to the top of the steps that led down to a lower lookout platform, Sero following close behind her. 

“Ah, the air feels great!” Kirishima crooned as he stretched his arms up high above his head, following after the other two, Bakugou a couple steps behind him.

Then, Mina’s stomach let out a loud grumble that quickly had her covering her stomach and giggling embarrassedly.

“Oi,” Bakugou called out to them, the three turning and seeing him holding his daypack in one hand as he pulled his pack lunch out from it with the other, nodding with his head over to the covered picnic tables nearby. “Let’s have lunch.”

They made their way over to one of the tables and sat down, Sero and Mina on one side, Bakugou and Kirishima on the other with Kirishima across from Ashido.

“We climbed it surprisingly fast, didn’t we?” Mina said after swallowing a bite of her okra & natto. 

“Yeah, it was a little anticlimactic,” Sero stated, in the middle of peeling his orange.

“They why don’t we take a different rout down?” Kirishima suggested, raising a hot-dog that was cut to look like an octopus from his bento box, into his mouth with his chopsticks. Then he pumped his other fist next to his face, “Why don’t we try the toughest route?”

“Well, it shouldn’t be too hard since we’re going downhill…” Sero commented.

“What do you say, Bakugou?” Kirishima asked, turning to the blond beside him.

“Whatever. But I’m not going slower just because you amateurs are with me,” Bakugou stated after swallowing a mouthful of his homemade spicy, not bothering to even look up at the others from his food and therefor completely missing Sero and Mina’s agitated expressions. “Keep up, or take the railway down.”

“Oi, Bakugou! We already made it to the top, didn’t we?!” Mina retaliated, slamming her hand on the table, but Bakugou didn’t even react.

“Yeah, we made it through the hard part fine, have a little faith in us!” Sero added, glaring at the blond.

Bakugou waited until he’d finished the bite he had put in his mouth, then he braced both his hands on the picnic table and stood up, eyes closed as he stated, “The climb isn’t over until you descend.”

He then walked away towards the bathrooms with his hands in his pockets, leaving Sero and Mina still partly fuming but now sated, and Kirishima pulling a heart squeeze face, murmuring, “So manly.”

 

 

 

 

 

Trail 6 was much steeper compared to the trail they had taken up, so Bakugou led the group this time with Kirishima behind him, followed by Mina and Sero.

Suddenly, Bakugou stopped up and moved to the edge of the path as two older women, who were hiking up the path, approached their group. “Konnichiwa,” he stated. 

“Konnichiwa,” they echoed cheerily back to him.

Then, Bakugou turned and looked back at the others. “Oi, say hello. It’s mountaineer manners.” 

The three blinked before giving out a scattered chorus of “Konnichiwa” to the two ladies once more, moving to the side like Bakugou had done to let them pass by. The ladies returned their hellos and gave them kind smiles as they passed.

Kirishima watched the ladies go up the mountain, with their large backpacks and walking sticks, and wondered how long they had been climbing mountains for. Then, when he turned back, he found that Bakugou had already started walking again and was actually pretty far ahead. 

“O-Oi, Bakugou, wait up!” he called, which got Sero and Mina’s attention as well and the three quickly scrambled down to catch up with their fearless blond leader.

They walked on for some ways, following Bakugou down the more advanced trail that he made look like a stroll in the park. Until suddenly… 

“Sugoi! That path turned into a river!” Kirishima exclaimed, clapping Bakugou on the shoulder as he came up beside the other male who had stopped by this point. Ashido and Sero came up beside him as well and their eyes sparkling when they saw the shallow waterway stretching down in front of them, a stepping stone path running down it’s middle.

“It’s slippery so we need to be careful,” Bakugou stated, before turning to look back at the other three. “Kirishima, you’re with me. Ashido, Sero, you two watch out for each other, got it?”

The three blinked, a bit thrown off by Bakugou’s sudden use of their actual names, and not his physical nicknames for them, but they all quickly replied, “Hai!”

Kirishima then grabbed Bakugou’s shoulder again and held him back as Mina and Sero started down the river path. The blond gave him a questioning look, to which Kirishima only smiled lightly as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, red gift bag and held it out to Bakugou.

“What’s this,” Bakugou said as he took the little thing from Kirishima, squeezing it in his hand lightly.

“A souvenir I bought back at the rest station,” Kirishima stated as he slid his hands into his pockets and bashfully kicked the toe of one of his boots against the ground. “I want you to have it, as a thank you for letting us three ‘amateurs’ tag along today.” 

Bakugou’s brow furrowed a little more as he opened the small gift bag and poured out its contents, a keychain of a small plush of one of the wild boars native to the mountain, falling out into his palm.

“I know you probably already have a keychain from here,” Kirishima explained, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand, “but I thought it’d be nice for you to have one to remember the time you climbed Mt. Takao with all your friends, by.” 

Bakugou stared down at the small stuffed accessory in his hand for a long moment.

Friends?’

He had always been popular, always been well-liked, he knew that. But he never considered any of the people idling around him to friends… Aside from shitty Deku, no one had ever put in the effort to hang out with him outside of school or baseball practice, or whenever they weren’t required to be around him. Bakugou knew it was partly due to his own actions; always giving excuses of being “busy” whenever others spoke about wanting to hang out with him or inviting him to come along somewhere, even when he wasn’t. Seeing who, if anyone, would be persistent enough to keep trying...it was a sort of game of his that had grown stale and predictable fast, since everyone was the same. 

Everyone, until Kirishima.

This shitty haired boy who, even though he hadn’t known Bakugou for that long, had pushed past Bakugou’s hollow excuses of being “busy”, willingly woke up at an ungodly hour on their day off, came all the way out here, and climbed a mountain with him. He’d even convinced two other people to come along as well. Just because he wanted to hang out with Bakugou, his friend.

Bakugou had never experienced someone who put in so much effort just to…be with him, before. It made his stomach twist in a way that was weirdly pleasant and totally unfamiliar.

Closing his fist around the small plush, head lowered so that his hair would hide his eyes and his confused expression, Bakugou opened his mouth to reply—but before he could get a single sound out, Mina’s high-pitched shriek sounded from a few yards downstream, causing both Bakugou and Kirishima to turn and start towards her and Sero. 

They got over to the tall male and the pink haired girl quickly, who had both fallen into the river.

“What are you two doing?” Kirishima asked as he came to a stop on the stone above them. 

“It’s dangerous, so we thought we’d hold hands going down, but…” Mina trailed off from where she was sitting in the water, an embarrassed smile on her face.

“We ended up both falling in, instead…” Sero finished, the same bashful expression on his own face as he held onto one of the stepping stones, as if about to push himself up.

Bakugou subtly pocketed the keychain as he came to a stop beside Kirishima, who now had his hands on his hip and was nagging the other two, “You realize that’s actually a bad idea since it hinders you—” 

“Oh shut up Kirishima!” Mina cut him off, flinging her arm through the water and sending a splash up towards the redhead that was poorly aimed in all honestly, and ended up drenching Bakugou instead.

Kirishima immediately burst out laughing at the sight, clutching his stomach, trying to speak through his loud laughter, “Bakugou…you look like…a drowned rat!”

Bakugou glared death at the red head before smiling evilly and then, in one swift movement, reaching over and shoving Kirishima off the stepping stone they were on and into the cold water as well.

Kirishima sat up sputtering, his normally spikey red hair now hanging limp all in his face, an utterly shocked expression on his face, which made Mina snort and Sero flat out laugh. So, Kirishima quickly retaliated by sending a large arc of water at both of them, drenching them both once again.

It was inevitable that a lengthy water war ensued after that.

 

-- -- --

 

“Wah, I don’t wanna go to school tomorrow…” Mina whined as she rested her head on Kirishima’s shoulder while they stood on the train platform, waiting in the golden light of sunset for their train home.

Each of them had convenience store towels around their shoulders, their clothes still a bit damp from their water battle, and Sero was holding a plastic bag full of snacks they had purchased for the ride back well, sipping on some coconut water that he had bought for himself. 

Bakugou was standing beside Kirishima, his daypack resting against his leg as he toweled off his hair some more, not really listening to Mina’s whining but still enjoying the cozy atmosphere that had settled in. He guessed this was what it must be like, being surrounded by frien—

“…I hope Midoriya’s back tomorrow—”

He tensed at that, his body and mind freezing in place at the mention at of that shitty nerd; all the events and feelings of what had recently happened between them, the events and feelings that he had been trying to get a break from all day (and actually had for a little bit there), coming back all at once. He lowered the towel slowly to around his shoulders, glaring down hard at the ground as his knuckles turned white from how hard he was gripping the damp cloth.

Bakugou was so consumed by this shitty feeling again, that he didn’t notice that Kirishima had noticed his sudden change in demeanor. Nor did he notice the worried look the red head gave him, before the announcement for their arriving train came over the speakers.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

MONDAY · 8:28 AM

 

Bakugou had his eyes down as he slid the classroom door open quietly – not to say that it was quiet at all, but it didn’t slam! and gather everyone’s attention like how it normally did when he’d shove it open with his foot. He was later to homeroom than he normally was, thanks to his mentor catching him in the hall and giving him a lecture about skipping practice (which he did twice last week), but he still made it to the classroom before the bell for homeroom.

He didn’t bother opening his eyes until he was a few steps into the classroom, halfway to his desk, but when he did, he stopped short. For instead of finding his own seat empty and Deku sitting in the one behind it, Bakugou found shitty hair in Deku’s seat, turned sideways so that he could talk to flat-face and headphone girl, as well as raccoon-eyes and pikachu-hair who had come over to talk as well. He turned his head to the left and found Deku in what was usually Kirishima’s seat, head down, writing in some notebook, that stupid yellow backpack that he’s had for years, hanging off the back of the chair.

Bakugou had to do a double take of what he was seeing, to make sure he was really seeing it correctly; that shitty nerd had actually moved away from him.

During the few moments Bakugou had spent staring, Kirishima had noticed him and raised his hand with a smile, about to call the spikey-haired blond over. “Bakugou—”

Oi, Deku!” Bakugou suddenly hollered then, cutting off Kirishima and garnering the attention of the rest of the class as he stalked over to where Deku was currently sitting. “Why did you switch seats with shitty hair?!” he asked, his tone and eyes as angry as usual whenever he was interacting with Deku, coming to a stop beside the front corner of the desk as he glared down at his childhood-friend.

--

Izuku had tensed at the sound of Kacchan calling his name, but froze rather than looking up, lowering his head even more when his childhood-best-friend had come up beside his desk. 

He couldn’t bring himself to look at Kacchan. Not yet; not so soon after…what had happened on Friday. There were still marks on his skin, hiding under his clothes. And his stomach was twisting itself into knots now that Kacchan was so close again, now that Kacchan’s scent was occupying his nose again…it had taken him three separate showers to get rid that smell (probably because Izuku wasn’t sure at first if he really wanted it gone, or not).

Now, Kacchan was right here, beside him once again, waiting for an answer, and Izuku needed to say something. He needed to give an excuse quick to make Kacchan go away before Izuku’s own body got the better of him—

“I don’t see why you’d need to know that.”

Izuku’s eyes widened and he quickly looked up over his shoulder, to see Todoroki-kun standing there beside him, glaring Kacchan down in a way Izuku had never seen anyone ever do so before. His nose twitched, a sudden sharp scent he wasn’t familiar with overpowering Kacchan’s scent that he knew so well, for just a moment.

“I don’t see why you’re butting into our conversation, half-n-half bastard!” Kacchan shot right back at him, mimicking Todoroki-kun’s words and taking another step to get right up in the red-and-white-haired male’s face.

Izuku turned slightly in his seat, his brows knitted together in concern. If he were in a manga, he’d have a sweat drop on the side of his heat right now. He moved as if to reach his hand out and touch his childhood-best-friend’s arm. “Ka—”

“Be quiet,” Aizawa-sensei’s voice suddenly broke the tense atmosphere as he came through the door of the classroom and then turned to shut it behind him. “It’s too early for all this yelling. Take your seats.”

Again, as if he’d had a remote control in his pocket or something, the bell rang right after Aizawa-sensei had finished talking.

Kacchan held Todoroki’s gaze a moment longer before scoffing under his breath, “Tch!” and then turning away and going over to his seat by the window.

Izuku watched him go with a worried look in his eyes, until he suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder and he looked up to see Todoroki-kun still standing there beside him.

“Midoriya, are you okay?” Todoroki asked softly, holding Izuku’s gaze, probably noticing the dark circles under the green-haired boys eyes that weren’t there last week.

Izuku managed a small upturn of the corners of his mouth and gave the taller male a nod. Todoroki nodded back softly before gently withdrawing his hand from Izuku’s shoulder and then turning around and heading back to his own seat.

Kacchan had been watching their interaction with his chin propped on his hand, a blank but angry expression on his face as he continued to stare at Izuku. But Izuku didn’t notice, he had ducked his head back down as was using all his strength not to let his graze drift towards the left side of the room whatsoever.

 

 

 

 

 

“Now, let’s get down to homeroom business,” Aizawa-sensei said as he stepped behind the teacher podium, raising his eyes up to look out at the class. “Sorry to ask this so suddenly, but I need you to choose a class representative.”

The entire class perked up a bit at this.

“I was supposed to have you do this on Friday, but school policy requires everyone in class to be present for the decision,” Aizawa stated, his gaze drifting to Midoriya as he spoke since the curly-haired boy had been on heat leave both Friday and Saturday. “As no one is absent, I’ll have you choose today.”

With that, Kirishima-kun suddenly stood up in his seat behind Bakugou and raised both his hands above his head. “I want to be class rep! Pick me!”

“Me too!” Kaminari-kun called from his seat in front of Izuku, raising his hand as well.

“I want to do it, too,” Jirou-san spoke up, raising her hand up high, arm straight.

And that was how the entire class began to shout out various forms of “Pick me! Pick me!”

“It’s a job made for m—” Aoyama-kun was cut off.

“I’ll be the leader!” by Ashido-san.

“My manifesto is for all girls’ skirts to be 30 centimeters above the knee!” Izuku could here Mineta-kun calling from across the room.

“Let me do it! Me!” Izuku’s ears could easily pick up Kacchan’s voice out of the throng of others, even though he still couldn’t bring himself to look at his childhood-best-friend.

In a normal class, students might feel like they’re just taking on daily duties, and this wouldn’t happen. But here in the Mentor Course, getting chosen to be class rep is a coveted role that everyone would love to list on their applications for universities or companies, because it shows that you can be an effective leader and are well liked by your peers.

Just as Izuku began to raise his hand too, Iida-kun’s voice suddenly cut through the noise.

“Silence please,” Iida said in such a commanding way that everyone turned back in their seats to look at him. “It is a job with the serious responsibility of leading others. It is not just a job for anyone who wants to do it. It is a calling that requires the trust of those around you. If we want to use democracy to decide on a true leader, then we should hold an election to choose one.”

“Your hand is raised the highest!” Everyone else exclaimed under their breath at the sight of Iida standing up with his hand up high.

“Why did you suggest that?” Kaminari questioned.

“We haven’t known each other for that long, so how can we have trust or anything?” Asui-san commented.

“If that’s the case, and everyone votes for themselves—” Kirishima worried but was quickly pacified by Iida. 

“Don’t you think that is precisely why whoever receives multiple votes here can be truly considered the most suitable person?” Iida then looked to the front where Aizawa-sensei was finishing zipping himself into his yellow sleeping bag. “What do you think, Sensei?”

“I don’t care, as long as you decide it before homeroom is over,” Aizawa stated before curling up on the floor beside the teacher's desk for a nap.

“Thank you very much!” Iida said formally.

It was then that Izuku looked back and caught Uraraka’s gaze. The two of them shared a grin and then a nod, mentally agreeing to their just-then-created plan without uttering so much as a word. 

A little while later, the results of their election were written on the chalk board in the front. Just as Kirishima had thought, it appeared most everyone had voted for themselves because everyone had one vote – except for Yaoyorozu Momo who had two, and Iida Tenya who had three. 

“Then, the class rep is Iida,” Aizawa announced, still bundled up in his sleeping bag. “and the deputy class rep will be Yaoyorozu.”

“I-I got three votes?!” Iida stammered fast enough that his stutter was barely detectable, his eyes wide behind his glasses and his jaw slack as he stared at the board.

“Congrats, Iida-kun!” Uraraka said from her seat behind him, clapping the taller male on his shoulder. Iida turned and looked over his shoulder at her, and she fixed him with one of her sunny smiles and a thumbs up. “Show everyone why Deku-kun and I were smart for voting for you.”

The broad-shouldered track-star blinked then turned forward again and looked to the green haired male, now sitting a seat up and over from his own, who was also looking at him and giving him a thumbs up and a smile.

Iida clenched his fist tightly and lowered his head, his eyes scrunched closed as he bit his lip, truly moved by Uraraka and Midoriya’s display of friendship. “Arigatou,” he said, dramatically. “You guys…”

--

Momo let out a sigh as she turned back toward her own desk, shutting her eyes for a moment as she muttered under her breath, “Well, at least I’m not the only person who thinks I’d make a good class rep…”

She didn’t notice that the two-tone-haired boy to her right was watching her and had overheard what she had said, until he spoke up as well.

“I was the one who voted for you,” Todoroki confessed, causing Momo to raise her head and look over at him in surprise.

“Shouto-kun…?” Momo questioned, her hands balled up into loose fists that rested on her lap.

“You’re a good student, and you’ve been a good role model to follow ever since we’ve been little,” Todoroki explained, straight-faced and monotone as always. “So I thought you'd be good at this too. I’ll support you however I can, Momo.”

She felt a light blush begin to buzz in her cheeks as she stared over at her childhood-friend, who had now closed his own eyes and turned back to face forward, for a moment, then she looked back down to her lap, her cheeks still pink and her chest swelling a bit. “Arigatou…Shouto-kun.”

 

-- -- -- --

 

LUNCH

 

Bakugou opened his eyes as soon as the bell for lunch chimed out, and took his chin off of where it had been resting on his palm, before sliding both his hands into his pockets and standing up from his desk, turning his head to look across the room to where that damn nerd was now sitting. During one of their breaks earlier, Bakugou had learned from Kirishima that Deku had texted shitty hair late on Sunday night, asking if they could switch seats. And that, apparently, by the time Kirishima had gotten to homeroom this morning, Deku had already been to the teachers’ office and gotten Aizawa’s permission for the whole thing as well.

Kirishima said Deku had given some excuse about the sunlight from the window making it hard for him to concentrate in the afternoon; but Bakugou knew better. He knew he was the reason Deku had moved seats; it was clear by the fact that the damn nerd hadn’t looked at or acknowledged him once all day.

Deku was avoiding him, and it made his blood boil.

…Did it? Or was it the fact that that annoying, half-n-half bastard Alpha was now closer to Deku than he was? That now, others could get to Deku before he could? The shitty nerd wasn’t right under his nose anymore; how was he supposed to keep Deku from being stolen, now?

“Deku-kun!” 

Bakugou blinked out of his Deku-staring-stupor, looking up slightly to see round-face and the new class rep now at Deku’s side, talking to the curly haired Omega about something or another, Bakugou couldn’t make out their conversation over the din of the small-talk that filed the room but he didn’t really care to, either. He was more occupied with the damn Alpha who had just came up to them as well to join in their conversation, Bakugou's eyebrows furrowing tightly into a glare at the minuscule distance between Deku and the half-n-half. 

He balled his fist in his pants pocket, his clammy hand squeezing the cold metal of the lighter tightly, as Deku smiled up at the shitty Alpha and the shitty Alpha smiled back. 

Tch,” he scoffed, finally pulling his gaze away as he began to walk out of his aisle towards the front of the room. Fine, if distance was what Deku wanted, then that’s what he was going to get… But Bakugou only made it half-way across the front of the classroom, towards the door, before he couldn’t prevent himself from looking over at the nerd once more. His brow still furrowed as he watched those large eyes blink up at everyone but him, and he felt his stomach twist like a wet towel being rung out.

Disgusting.”

He had only muttered it under his breath, or at least he thought he had, but Deku had froze and bristled then, as if he had heard him. Bakugou couldn’t tell for sure, and he never would, for just as Deku began to turn his head in Bakugou’s direction, Kirishima had slung his arm around Bakugou’s shoulders in that moment and started walking the blond Beta towards the door once more.

“Bakugou! Bro! Sero and I were talking, and we definitely think that—”

--

“—riya? …Midoriya?”

Izuku blinked and realized he had been staring at the classroom door, even after Kacchan had disappeared through it with Kirishima. He had thought he’d heard Kacchan say something…a word Izuku had heard in years, but had haunted the shadows of his mind ever since the day Kacchan had cursed it at him.

‘Disgusting.’

Turning his gaze down, Izuku now found a hand gently cupping his shoulder, and when he looked up to see it’s owner, he found Todoroki-kun staring down at him with a worried look on his face.

“Ah, G-Gomen, Todoroki-kun, was I spacing out again?” he said as cheerily as he could manage, giving a meek smile and rubbing the back of his head apologetically, ignoring the sour wrenching in his stomach as best he could. 

Todoroki stared at him for a moment longer, glancing with just his eyes towards the classroom door and then back to Izuku. Then, the red-and-white-haired boy opened his mouth— 

“—L-Let’s get going, before the cafeteria fills up!” Izuku quickly interjected as he stood up, adjusting his uniform jacket as he began to walk away, Uraraka-san and Iida-kun nodding and following after him, and then after a moment, Todoroki followed as well.

‘Gomen, again, Todoroki-kun,’ Izuku thought to himself, gripping the front of his uniform jacket. ‘I just don’t want to talk about, who I know you were about to bring up…’

 

 

 

 

 

Izuku was glad people had, for the most part, accepted his reason for suddenly switching seats after he’d come back from heat leave, as that the sunlight was making him too sleepy to focus in the afternoon, and not that he didn’t want to sit behind a certain blond Beta anymore…

He didn’t really want space from Kacchan, but rather, time. He needed time to figure out what had happened, what he was feeling – because he was feeling quite a lot of different things that he didn’t think he should be feeling, things that he didn’t know what to do with. And being around Kacchan, let alone having him sit right in front of him all day, his scent invading Izuku’s nose – it was making it nearly too difficult for Izuku to think. 

So, for Izuku, time and space needed to be connected here. Until he figured out why he got weak-kneed at just the mere sight of his childhood-best-friend. Until he figured out why he could feel his heart beat pounding in every inch of his body whenever he thought of Kacchan’s eyes (since Izuku had avoided looking directly at them all day) or why he suddenly got heady whenever he caught a whiff of the Beta’s pheromones, or why his stomach felt all fluttery whenever Kacchan was close by.

He needed to figure out why…why he didn’t hate Kacchan for what he had done to him.

Kacchan hadn’t been nice to him in years; he hadn’t necessarily bullied Izuku, but he definitely hadn’t been Izuku’s friend either. In spite of this, though, Izuku couldn’t find it in himself to be angry at Kacchan for…taking his first time. Maybe, because part of him knew it was Kacchan’s first time too, and he was so happy to have shared that moment with his old best friend; maybe, because, deep down, a part of him had always wanted to share that moment with Kacchan… 

But Kacchan didn’t like him. They weren’t best friends anymore. Kacchan didn’t care about him; he probably didn’t carry the same reverence for their act that Izuku did. Yet, even so, Izuku didn’t regret what had happened. But he knew that he should – he knew he should be angry, he should be furious, he should feel violated for being forced into something he didn’t want…but he wasn’t. Not in the slightest bit.

And that was what confused Izuku, what made him feel uneasy, what…absolutely terrified him.

 

-- -- --

 

AFTER SCHOOL

 

“So what did you want to talk to me about?” Kirishima asked as he leaned against the wall, hands casually resting in his pants pockets as he tilted his head to the side slightly, looking back at Kaminari who was standing about a step away from him.

Denki was looking off to the side, his hand rubbing nervously at the back of his neck; he couldn’t believe he’d actually let Jirou and Yao-momo talk him into this…

Waiting a moment as most of the stragglers still in the hall, left, Denki took a shaky breath and raised his gaze to Kirishima’s – but that only made him more nervous so he looked anywhere but at the redhead as he finally started to ramble out, “I just, uh…I wanted to correct you, er, tell you…that is…–now, I didn’t exactly lie to you, alright? I just…let you believe something that wasn’t exactly true, and I didn’t correct you before because—”

His eyes met Kirishima’s and Denki cut himself off midsentence because the red-haired boy was looking at him as if he was speaking another language. Letting out a defeated sigh, Denki resigned that it’d be easier to show Kirishima what he was going on about, rather than tell him.

So, reaching into his back pocket, Denki took out his student ID card that he’d already taken out of his wallet earlier, and handed it over to his best friend. “…I’m not an Alpha, Kirishima,” he looked down at his shoes. “...I’m a Beta.”

Kirishima blinked once, looked down at the ID card in is hands for a moment and then back up at Kaminari. “Oh…I’m sorry, bro. I didn’t mean to assume your status like that.”

Denki blinked and quickly looked back up at the redhead who was now looking at him sheepishly and scratching the back of his head and— “No, no, Kiri, you don’t need to apologize—” he quickly reached out and put his hand on the other boy’s shoulder, not expecting that reaction at all “—you’re not in the wrong here. I just…” 

Looking down again for a moment to collect his words, Denki met Kirishima’s gaze when he continued, “When you thought I was an Alpha, I went along with it because I wanted you to like me… But, I don’t want our friendship to be based on lies.” He tightened his grip a bit on Kirishima’s shoulder, “Kirishima, you’re my best friend and I want to be up front with you about everything. So, that’s why I’m telling you this, not because I’m mad at you or something like that.

“If anything, you’re the one that should be mad at me for…lying to you in the first place,” Denki added, slowly taking his hand off of Kirishima’s shoulder and looking off to the side again, too ashamed now that he’d actually said the words out loud, to meet Kirishima’s eyes.

But then, all of a sudden, Denki found himself being tightly hugged by the red-haired male and his eyes went wide. A few seconds later, Denki heard Kirishima give a sniff and it brought the blond out of his daze. “Ee, Kirishi—…?” Denki spoke, turning his head a bit towards the red-haired male’s head that was currently resting on his shoulder, but his words were cut off when Kirishima tightened his hold around Denki.

“Kaminari…” Kirishima spoke with a light distraught tone to his voice, his eyes closed and brows furrowed, tears budding in the corner of his eyes. “That’s one of the manliest things anyone has ever said to me!” Kirishima pulled back then and held Denki at arms-length by his shoulders, his cheeks a little rosy as he fixed Denki with a fierce smile. “For the record, I don’t care about your status or whether or not you lied to me. You’re my best friend because of who you are as a person. So don’t feel bad, alright?”

Denki blinked then smiled back at the other male, “Kirishima…” He stepped forward and hugged Kirishima this time, the other male returning the embrace and patting his back lightly. “Arigatou…” he murmured before stepping back and receiving his student ID card back from the red-haired male. 

“Souda!” Kirishima exclaimed then, making one hand into a fist and bringing the side of it down into his other palm. “We’ll need to change the name of our group!” he then propped one hand on his hip as the other held his chin in thought, “Eto…A.A.B.B.O? …B.B.A.O.A.? …A.B.B.A.O.?”

“A-Ano…how about just ‘headphone gang’?” Denki suggested.

“Un? ‘Headphone gang’? Hmm…” Kirishima considered it for a split second then suddenly took a stance of someone who was pumped up. “I like it!”

Denki chuckled a bit uneasily to himself, ‘This guy sure is enthusiastic about everything he does…’

“Oh yeah, I almost forgot,” Kirishima spoke then. “I need to go catch up with Bakugou before he leaves,” he started to jog down the hallway, turning back to call to Denki, “I’ll message you later, Kaminari! See ya!” 

“See you, Kirishima!” Denki called with a wave after the red-haired male, smiling to himself that it had all gone so well. Heading down the hall himself then, Denki returned to the classroom to retrieve his bag, and found Jirou and Yao-momo waiting for him beside his desk.

“Since you’re not limping or anything, can I assume it went well?” Jirou asked with a slight knowing tone to her voice, her arms crossed over her chest as she leaned against her own desk.

“Un,” Kaminari nodded with a light smile as he came over to his desk and picked up his bag, holding it over his shoulder with one hand. “Kirishima was fine with it, just like you said he’d be.” 

Jirou and Yao-momo smiled brightly at him.

“That’s wonderful, Kaminari-kun!” Yao-momo exclaimed happily, placing one hand lightly over her chest, then turned to the side slightly and pumped her fist enthusiastically. “We should go out somewhere to celebrate your successful social life!”

As the tall, pony-tailed girl began to gush about different places to go or things they could do as she walked towards the classroom door, Jirou took the moment to reach out and playfully punch the blond boy in the shoulder, saying loud enough for only Denki to hear, “I’m proud of you, dork.”

Denki held the side of his arm with his free hand and blinked at Jirou for a moment, before returning her soft, blushing smile with one of his own. “Thanks, space case.”

“Oh, I know!” Yao-mom suddenly exclaimed, turning around to face Jirou and Denki who were still standing by the blond boy’s desk. “Let’s go to Karaoke!” she then put both her hands on her cheeks and gushed endearingly, “I’ll get to hear you two lovebirds sing a duet!” 

Denki and Jirou both pulled shocked faces as Yao-momo twirled day-dreamily out the classroom door.

‘L-L-Lovebirds’?!” Denki exclaimed with a red face, at the same moment Jirou, who was also red-faced, exclaimed, “‘D-D-Duet’?!”